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this was refused, for the simple reason that quently the war was brought to a close. the naval stores had been usually appraised Afterwards some dispute arose between the for about half their value. They however Dey and our Government as to the condid not come, and as a consequence the struction of the treaty, and the Dey wrote a Dey of Algiers declared war a second time letter to the President of the United States, against the United States.
setting forth his views. To this the PresiThis declaration was of but little conse- dent made no reply; and the new difficulquence to us. We were then at war with ties, which the Dey was called to meet in Great Britain, and had no commerce within the following year, caused him to abandon the reach of the Algerine corsairs. Our his claims, and to leave the treaty with the Government did not regard it as of suffi- construction which our Government gave it. cient importance to even recognize them as This was the last controversy which our enemies. The only notice taken was to Government had with the Barbary States. stop the tribute and to treat them with en- The attack of the allied squadron under tire neglect. But the day of retribution Lord Exmouth, in 1816, nearly destroyed was at hand. At the close of the war with their power, and made them afterwards Great Britain in 1815, we had a powerful comparatively harmless. They no longer navy, which that war had created, and made themselves the aggressors upon the which had then become the pride of the commerce of the world, but submitted quicountry. There was a universal desire etly to the fate which seemed even then to through the country that Algiers should be await them. After the abolition of Chrismade to feel its power. Accordingly Con- tian slavery and the system of paying tribute, gress directed a fleet, under the command they ceased to be formidable, and seemed to of the gallant Decatur, to be sent to the have lost the whole power which they had Mediterranean. It arrived off Algiers early so. constantly and cruelly exercised for cenin June, 1815, and without delay appeared turies. While tribute was paid, they had before the city, prepared to use such argu- the means of making war upon Christian ments as would carry conviction, if not fear, nations; and while prisoners were to the mind of the Dey.
somed at high prices, there was no want To him and his people the appearance of of inducements to make them. The whole such a fleet was wholly unexpected. It system, as it existed prior to 1815, was nothwas the first indication of resistance—and a ing more or less than a system of piracy, pretty formidable one too. A communica- sanctioned by the silent assent, if not by postion was sent to the Dey, informing him itive agreement of every nation of Christenthat commissioners on board were ready to dom. negotiate a peace on terms of perfect equal- Our Government had the honor of taking ity, and without the payment of any tribute the lead in this reform, and made the first whatever, and at the same time demanding decisive movement in support of it. an immediate answer. There was no alter- a reform demanded by the advancing civilinative for the Dey. In case of refusal, the zation of the nineteenth century; and the destruction of the city was certain. He readiness with which all the European naaccordingly agreed to negotiate on the tions discarded the old system shows with trems proposed, and in fact to abandon all what abhorrence they in fact regarded it. the peculiar claims which that Government | Its long continuance may be ascribed to had so long and invariably made. A treaty their jealousy of each other, and their conwas then concluded, which was subsequently stant attempts to use it for the purpose of ratified by our Government, and conse- gaining some commercial advantage.
VOL. VII. NO. 1.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF LEIGH HUNT.*
With no poet of the nineteenth century where a fellow-feeling unites the community do we feel ourselves more familiarly ac as with one heart. Of this school, judging quainted than with Leigh Hunt; and that, from Charles Lamb's description of it, the pewithout reading so much as half of all that i culiar tendency is favorable to the expansion he has written, or receiving, even from what of the best feelings, and superinduces two we have read, a pleasure the highest or most important elements of poetry—revermost enduring. But there is something in ence and love. Hunt's muse has no vagaries, the name, so frequently mentioned among but is always cheerful and compliant. He his literary associates, and more in his own delays not, like Coleridge, for the storm or once frequent and friendly greetings. In other cause to swell the current of his verse, short, his free conversational style affects us nor does it ever become, like his, the mighty like the cordial countenance of a person whom river rolling onward to the ocean and reflectmeeting for the first time, we forget, after ing the broad heavens. Hunt's genius is half an hour's chit-chat, that we have not not the “ giant element” like Byron's, leapknown him all our lives. No one hears ing the headlong height,” and shaking the the name of Leigh Hunt without a smile of abyss. Neither does he, like Wordsworth, recognition ; and an allusion to his “Feast brood over his subject to the exclusion of of the Poets” is sure to call up the recollec- what suggested it, concentrating within himtion of some favorite couplet. With men self the strong poetic power till a fitting ocof genius, his contemporaries, Byron, Words- casion to give out its fertilizing streams. worth, Coleridge and Moore, though we have His fancies spring up in jets continually, held (as who has not ?) delighted intercourse, clear and distinct, and sprinkling with their there is no such familiar recognition. To dropping freshness whatever they can reach. speak of Hunt as a poet among these may Of all that he touches, we realize the presbe deemed irregular, the critics having ence; and he throws over it a descriptive ranked him long since with the minors. elegance and grace, causing it to "glisten His poetry, indeed, is not of that noble with livelier ray,” just as he converted his stamp which elevates while it charms, and English prison into a bower of roses behallows every object that it touches; but neath Italian skies, literally covering its trifling and even coxcombical as he frequently bars with flowers, and singing amidst them becomes, there is a cheerful humanity about like a bird. His descriptions are always him, a bright, playful wit, which bears us graphic, and in those of rural scenery he forward as it were with a sympathetic in- verifies his own couplet : fluence, catching refinements from his delicate fancies, growing merry with his mirth,
“And when you listen you may hear a coil
Of bubbling springs about the grassier soil." and witty with his bon mots; and we leave him at last in a mood as genial and ani It was chiefly as a critic and free-spoken mated as after a game of romps with chil- politician that, in England, Hunt became dren in the hay fields.
remarkable. He was the first who took an The secret of Hunt's power lies in the independent stand in theatrical criticism, ultra-sympathetic sensibility which he learn- and among the boldest of those who in the ed of his mother, and the natural cheerful- closing reign of George III. dared openly ness which he inherited from his father, to condemn the course adopted by the assisted by his education at Christ's Hospital, Prince Regent. The criticisms created him
* Autobiography of Leigh Hunt; with Reminiscences of Friends and Contemporaries. NewYork: Harper & Brothers.
a host of enemies, for which he was com- | hear him talk a great deal about himself pensated by the acquisition of as many for the sake of the lesson of his experience, friends; the political articles condemned provided he does it in good faith : provided him to a two years' imprisonment. He we are not obliged to swallow the whole, we comes before us now, in the decline of his can even relish a dish of egotism, prepared eventful life, with a claim upon our kindest with the seasoning of such rich and spicy reciprocities which we heartily acknowledge. condiments. Somebody has said that “ literary men talk Brought by his position, as editor of the less than they did.” We are happy to see Examiner, to take an active part in the that our old friend has lost none of his public events of the period, Hunt was acpleasant garrulity, and we gladly welcome customed to see men in their public relahim to his old place at our fireside to call tions with society, and to take an enlarged up the reminiscences of " auld lang syne." view of its operations. Thus his volume, We wish he did not make so many excuses predicated upon long and wide experience, for presenting his autobiography. Diffidence affords, in the matter of the very errors it does not sit naturally at all upon Leigh Hunt. unfolds, subject for reflection as well as enThis hesitation is not genuine : these apolo- tertainment, and we shall offer our readers gies, and this long account of whys and where- no apology for the large extracts we intend fores, must have been superinduced by some presenting to them. pretty severe critical thrusts at that habit of Upon the biography proper, as having talking to the reader in his own person, and been already before the public, we shall encomparing notes with him by implication on large but slightly. all sorts of personal subjects, to which he freely The family of Hunt laid no claim to high acknowledges he has all his lifetime accus- ancestral honors. Our author takes the tomed himself. His own sincerity naturally main stock to have been mercantile, and is made him confident in that of others, and even of opinion that Hunt is quite a plebeian such good faith in an author rarely fails to name. İlis father, the son of a clergyman insure the accordance of the reader. Hunt in Barbadoes, was educated in Philadelphia, knows this, and no sooner gets clear of his and practised law there up to the time of preface, than he falls back into his own un- the Revolution, when, by his Tory princiaffected and sprightly freedom, and more- ples and loyalist pamphlets and speeches, he over-for we must say it—into his own old drew upon himself the popular odium, and egotistical habit.
found it expedient to withdraw as secretly The Autobiography, as it now appears, is and speedily as possible from his country. a revision, but includes some letters never His wife, following nearly three years later, before published, and several articles which found her husband transferred from the have only appeared in the Examiner, and bar to the pulpit, where his fine voice, are new to most readers. The whole work, agreeable declamation, and handsome perindeed, the author thinks, may be new to son, together with his charity sermons, the present reading generation, and interest- (against which, to the good 'man's asing, inasmuch as times have altered, and tonishment, Bishop Lowth remonstrated,) writers are willingly heard now who would acquired for him a great popularity. His not have been listened to thirty or forty years sermons being chiefly remarkable for eleago. This is likely to be especially true gance of diction and graceful morality, in his case, whose matured judgment has the delivery was their principal charm. "I dictated the acknowledgment of former remember," says his son, “when he came errors of opinion, and who, while with frank- to that part of the Litany where the reader ness he states the origin of those opinions prays for his deliverance in the hour of and their change, illustrates them with racy death and at the day of judgment,' he used anecdotes both of himself and the literati of to make a pause after the word “death,' and his day, with most of whom he was on terms drop his voice on the rest of the sentence. of intimacy, or in some way connected. The effect was striking ; but repetition must
When an author candidly acknowledges have hurt it. I am afraid it was a little thevanity and other faults, and the mistakes in atrical.” The Reverend Mr. Hunt seems to his life consequent thereon, we lose all have delighted over much in the pleasures heart to upbraid him; we are willing to lof the
table, and, with all his ropularity
found it difficult to make his way in the Americans. A likeness has been discovered Church, more especially as, being of a specu- between us and some of the Indians in his lative turn, he had taken up some modifica- pictures.” Hunt describes his mother as tion of church opinions. Through the influence of “ Pope and Swift's Duke of
“A gentle wife, Chandos,” in whose family he had become A poor, a pensive, yet a happy one, a private tutor, and also through that of Stealing, when daylight's common tasks are done,
An hour for mother's work; and singing low, Sir Benjamin West,“ who enjoyed the King's While her tired husband and her children sleep." confidence in no ordinary degree,” Mr. Hunt obtained a pension of one hundred pounds The fatigue of the tired husband probably a year, which however he was obliged to arose from reading and smoking. Mrs. mortgage, and he continued for several years Hunt was a Universalist and almost a Rein a condition of great pecuniary embarrass- publican ; somewhat intolerant, but only in ment. “He grew deeply acquainted with theory, her charity always running before prisons, and began to lose his graces and her faith. · She was fond of poetry, and enhis good name." Nevertheless he left no
couraged her son's perseverance and vanity poor inheritance to his children in his ani- by treasuring up his verses and showing inal spirits, and independent mode of think them to his friends. ing. Many years before his death he re
Leigh Hunt was born in 1784, at Southlaxed so far in his religious tenets as to be gate, a village lying on a road running come a Universalist. He had the art of from Edmonton, through Enfield Chase, making his home comfortable, and settling into Hertfordshire, which he shows to be himself to the most tranquil pleasures. classical ground, and associated with the
“We thus struggled on between quiet and dis. best days of English genius, both old and turbance, between placid readings and frightful knocks at the door, and sickness, and calamity,
“ Edmonton is the birth place of Marlowe, the and hopes, which hardly ever forsook us.
father of our drama, and of my friend Horne, his sanguine was my father in his intentions to the congenial celebrator. In Edmonton churcb-yard last, and so accustomed bad my mother been to lies Charles Lamb; in Highgate church-yard, try to believe in him, and to persuade herself she Coleridge: and in Hampstead have resided Sheldid, that not long before she died he made the ley and Keats, to say nothing of Akenside before most solemn promises of amendment, which by chance I could not help overhearing, and which them, and of Steele and Arbuthnot before Aken
side." she received with a tenderness and a tone of joy, the remembrance of which brings the tears into One of the earliest sketches in Mr. Hunt's my eyes. My father had one taste well suited to book is that of his father's friend the Rev. his profession. He was very fond of sermons, which he was rarely tired of reading or my W. M. Trinder, who was also, as the title mother of hearing.
page of a volume of sermons declares, " It is a pity my father had been so spoilt a LL.B. and M.D. IIow the doctor combined child, and had strayed so much out of his sphere; in his person the three professions of law, of the last of the gentry who retained the old physic and divinity we are not informed, fashion of smoking. He indulged in it every night but Hunt suggestively signifies that the before he went to bed, which he did at an early triplicity might have arisen from a philanhour; and it was pleasant to see him sit, in his thropic disposition, and that law and meditranquil and gentlemanly manner, and relate anec- cine were added to the paramount profession dotes of My Lord North,' and the Rockingham administration, interspersed with those mild puffs of divinity for the same reason that Shelley and urbane resumptions of the pipe."
was led to walk the hospitals,--for the pur
pose of doing good among the poor. One of With the discursive talent of his father, Trinder's sermons, “On Cruelty,” condemns Hunt inherited the kindness and candor of the gentle craft of anglers, which gives ochis mother's nature. She was an Ameri- casion to our autobiographer to enlarge very can, and her son bore in his personal ap- agreeably and sensibly upon that subject. pearance the proof of his American descent. Though many brave and good men have * The late Mr. West,” he says, “ told me been anglers, he thinks their goodness would that if he had met myself or any of my bro- have been more complete, and their bravery thers in the streets, he should have pro- of a more generous sort, had they abstained nounced, without knowing us, that we were from procuring themselves pleasure at the
expense of a needless infliction. It was received upon the subject of religion, and formerly thought effeminate not to hunt his own cheerful temperament in general, Jews—then, not to roast heretics—then, were a check upon the bad effect of all this. not to bait bears and bulls—then, not to We learn from Lamb, who suffered equally 'fight cocks; all which evidences of manhood under nervous terrors, that Hunt took warncame gradually to be looked upon as no ing from his early experience, and was evidences at all. He has not found anglers careful to exclude from his own children or sportsmen in general braver than others, every taint of superstition. Yet, “It is not," but on the contrary, that they inake a great says Elia, “ books, nor pictures, nor stories fuss if they hurt their fingers, while all their of foolish servants which create terrors in reasoning in favor of the amusement is dis- children. These can, at most, but give them ingenuous and selfish.
a direction. Dear little T. H., (Thornton
Hunt,) who was never allowed to hear of “ As to old Izaak Walton, who is put forward as goblin or apparition, or scarcely to be told a substitute for argument on this question, and of bad men, or to read or hear any distresswhose sole merits consisted in his having a taste for nature and his being a respectable citizen, the ing story, finds all this world of fear, from trumping him up into an authority and a kind of which he has been so rigidly excluded, ab saint is a burlesque. He was a writer of conven- extra, in his own thick coming fancies ;' tionalities; who having comfortably feathered his and from his little midnight pillow, this dest, as he thought, both in this world and in the nurse-child of optimism will start at shapes, world to come, concluded he had nothing more to do than to amuse himself by putting worms on a
unborrowed of tradition, in sweats to which hook and fish into his stomach, and so go to heaven, the reveries of the cell-damned murderer chuckling and singing psalms. There would be are tranquillity.” something in such a man and in his book offen
This is so poetical a theory that we are loath eive to a real piety, if that piety did not regard whatever has happened in the world, great and to combat it; but it must be said that comsmall
, with an eye that makes the best of what is mon observation is opposed to it. No doubt perplexing, and trusts to eventual good out of the the “chimeras dire” which pervade the worst. Walton was not the hearty and thorough brain of superstition are there before they advocate of nature he is supposed to have been indicate themselves, but they are there only There would have been something to say for him on that score, had he looked upon the sum of evil through some yet earlier and unsuspected as a thing not to be diminished. But he shared impression, received silently—unconsciously the opinions of the most commonplace believers perhaps, and brought into action through in sin and trouble, and only congratulated himself
association. The on being exempt from their consequences.
very mistakes which a child
The overweening old man found himself comfortably
makes in the meaning of a word may be off somehow; and it is good that he did. It is a sufficient to plant the seeds of terror. A comfort to all of us, wise or foolish. But to rever- picture may indicate a mystery, and even so ence him is a jest
. You might as well make a much cultivation of the imagination as is god of an otter. Mr. Wordsworth, because of the necessary to sympathy, or to render refined servitor manners of Walton and his biographies of divines, (all anglers,) wrote an idle line about his language intelligible, may, by the merest 'meekness' and his heavenly memory. When accident, result in a superstitious enthusiasm. this is quoted by the gentle brethren, it will be as Who can say what subtle agencies, imwell if they add to it another passage from the same poet, which returns to the only point at issue, possible for the most watchful parent to and upsets the old gentleman altgether. Mr. guard against ; what words, looks or tones Wordsworth's admonition to us is,
engender dreams that haunt the pillow of a
child? Had “ little T. H.” no hours of play Never to link our passion, or our pride, With suffering to the meanest thing that lives.'"
with other children? Did his parents never,
even out of their very guardedness, allude Leigh Hunt was naturally sensitive to obscurely in his presence to forbidden subjects, impressions of awe and fear. In his child- or awaken his attention by suddenly checkhood he was frightened with ghastly pictures ing the discussion? Did he never hear his in story books, and particularly of one called father read that the Mantichora, with the head of a man and
What seemed a head the body of a beast; "the same animal The likeness of a kingly crown had on;" which figures in Pliny, and which the ancients called Martichora." It was fortunate
Danger, wliose limbs of giant mould for him that the cheerful views he had
No inortal eye can fixed behold ?"