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realized, if at all, at such a distance of command, and he has the skill to comtime as to wear out the patience of ordi- bine them in grand and irresistible effect. nary placemen. Sheridan, however, has To have heard him speak is now a disunquestionably become a portion of the tinction among men. Yet, doubt it not, collective wisdom of the empire. he delivered many comparatively dull
The first thing he has to do on taking speeches. No man is uniformly great. his seat in the House of Commons, is Still
, always with a great occasion, Sheto answer a petition against his election, ridan rises to the level of its requireinvolving charges of bribery and cor- ments; by force of genius and incredible ruption. Some of “the lowest and most industry in the acquisition of informaunprincipled voters” had been seduced tion, he invariably equals, and ofteninto raising the accusation. The young times exceeds the expectations of those member successfully defended himself who most intimately knew him, and and his constituency against the ca- who entertained the highest opinion of lumny; and “wished that some ade- his powers. Burke declared his speech quate penalties should be inflicted on in the House of Commons, on the conthose who traduced and stigmatized so duct of Warren Hastings in India, to be respectable a body of men.
“the most astonishing burst of elotion, as almost uniformly happens in quence, argument and wit united, of such cases, was instantly withdrawn; which there was any record or tradition." Sheridan was confirmed in his seat. He Fox said of it, that “ all he ever heard, was listened to with great interest and all he ever read, when compared with attention by the House, his literary re- it, dwindled into nothing, and vanished putation having prepared for him a like vapour before the sun."
And even willing and favourable reception. It Pitt, Sheridan's most uniform and deappears, however, that even those who termined adversary, acknowledged that were disposed to judge favourably of the speech surpassed all the eloquence his capabilities, confidently concluded of ancient or modern times, and posthat “Nature never intended him for sessed everything that genius or art an orator.” A certain indistinctness of could furnish to agitate and control the speech, and considerable agitation and human mind.” The testimony of such hesitancy of manner, impressed the judges is of the highest, most unquesmajority that “his mental powers ap- tionable character, and leaves nothing peared to be very superior to his physi- in the way of further eulogy to be adcal qualifications.” On concluding his duced. speech he went into the gallery where Sheridan's parliamentary career, imWoodfall was reporting, and with evi- perfectly delineated in his published dent anxiety tried to obtain from him speeches, extends over a space of up, an opinion as to the probability of his wards of thirty years, an eventful and ultimate success. Woodfall candidly exciting period of British history. advised him to abide by his previous During the whole of this time, his inpursuits, for that now he was certainly fluence over the public affairs was out of his element, and had little chance manifest and considerable, though not, of ever becoming properly adapted to perhaps, so great as some of his adit. Sheridan, nevertheless, entertained mirers seem to fancy. In political a contrary belief; “I know that it is in insight he was probably inferior to none me,” said he, "and therefore out it shall of the prominent men of the time; he come !"
saw into the future quite as far, and Accordingly, after many efforts, and knew as intimately as any what the much diligent study and preparation, commotions and distractions of the age it did at length “come out," with rather might signify; many a keen glance did astonishing effect. He rises into bound- he dart beyond him, many a wise warnless celebrity; becomes the most bril. ing vehemently deliver; no one had liant and attractive orator in England. a more clear or comprehensive underHe" has it in him,” and ever as oppor- standing of the political doctrines which tunities occur he makes it visible that he espoused, or adhered more consisthere is a man of consummate gifts and ently to their consequences. Yet with cultivation. Hearing him, men learn to all this, Sheridan had nothing of statescomprehend the magnificent powers of man-like ability. The man human speech. All the splendours of greater than his time; could in no case a rich composite eloquence are at his have successfully directed the tendencies
of the time. To speak of Sheridan as ward peacefulness, and all true effort ranking among great statesmen is absurd. and activity, go finally to wreck. He had no one quality, beyond his gift Meanwhile, wonderful to say, his exof speaking, out of the many by which traordinary talent for raising money is a statesman must be distinguished. He prosperously exercised whenever an is a splendid rhetorician, an accom-emergency arises. Drury Lane Theatre plished parliamentary debater; ser- has to be rebuilt; all that was required viceable and illustrious in that capa- for the purpose was a sum of £150,000, city, but if lifted into statesmanship" which was raised with the utmost facimust have been utterly insignificant. lity.” Sheridan is at this time at the The man that could not direct the zenith of his reputation. His popularity, finances and concerns of a theatre, had his talents, his exertions in behalf of the clearly but an indifferent capacity for public interests, are the theme of geneguiding the affairs and destiny of a ral eulogy. Drury Lane Theatre, with nation. Beyond the distinction here much effort, and after“ unforeseen diffiassigned him, Sheridan, in truth, has culties, fresh expenses, and vexatious neither qualification nor pretension. negotiations,” is successfully rebuiltAn adroit, brilliant, party politician is though destined soon to be disastrously all he ever was or aimed to be.
burnt down. All along Sheridan conIt should not be overlooked that, side trives to live like a man possessing a by side with Sheridan's public and poli- large income. It appears he usually tical life, there was all the time going kept up three establishments, and " bis on some sort of private and domestic style of living was such as became a one ; which, if we could realize, would, man mingling in the richer class of sorather than the other, be highly satis- ciety, and enjoying all that luxury can factory. A family is gradually growing give.” up around him, sprightly and clever And so the
year's roll on, downwards boys and girls, to whom their father's to 1792. This year Sheridan has to reputation cannot be altogether un follow to the grave his beautiful and known. “Mr. and Mrs. Sheridan at affectionate wife, whom the then Bishop home," were an agreeable and inte- of Norwich was wont to call a “connecting resting chapter, had we the materials link between woman and angel;" and for writing it. We are able to perceive, whom Wilkes declared to be “the fairest however, that Sheridan spends a great flower that ever grew in nature's garden." deal of his time utterly away from home. She died at the age of thirty-eight, of He is invited largely into all kinds of pulmonary disease. A beautiful “codistinguished and select society; his quette of the first magnitude,” but long fascinating manners and polished wit since sobered down into a loving, helpmake his presence everywhere courted ful, and judicious wife. Deep was the and acceptable. He is a diner-out of grief of Sheridan, when they bore her the first lustre. By his brilliant con- away to the “ still-dwelling ;" sad and versation, his boundless vivacity, and irreparable the loss which he sustained. frank sincerity of disposition, he dazzles From that moment a blight fell upon and delights all manner of high and him— a secret immeasurable sorrow illustrious men and women, and is, in sapped his remaining strength, and gave his turn, dazzled and delighted. His a pallor to his noble countenance which princely liberality of taste leads him to no occasional after gaiety could dispel. furnish expensive entertainments in his “ I have seen him," says Kelly, “ night own house; for which, unhappily, the after night sit and cry like a child, embarrassed treasury of Drury Lane while I sang to him, at his desire, a must yield supplies. As this grows pathetic little song of minemore and more inadequate, obliging
They bore her to a grassy grave. tradesmen cheerfully contribute; for a time, at least, are nowise urgent about I never beheld more poignant grief their bills. Thus in a mingled element than Sheridan felt for the loss of his of splendour and of shiftiness, a gay and beloved wife.” The lightsome careless pleasant life alternates with mean vexa- nature, with its gay beedlessness and tions and restraints; continually de- humour, falls suddenly asunder, and is manding some new sacrifice of temper or dissolved in mournful tears; like a bright of principle. An utterly incongruous-April day, descending into night amid existence; wherein manly dignity, in showers of transient gloom.
For transient are the pains of every the world, where he speedily mingles as human sorrow, however profound its before in the exciting strifes, in the turecollections. Nature reneweth day by mult and animosities of the life that is day the broken spirits of whomso- going on. Rest, thou buried one! and ever she ordains to live. Sheridan is thy name shall soon be as though it recalled by his public duties back into were forgotten.*
RICHARD WINTER HAMILTON, L.L.D., D.D. Great intellectual and moral powers incumbent of the united parishes of must ever command homage in this St. Olave's, Jewry, and St. Martin's, for world. Intellectual power alone, when thirty-three years. This uncle was kind not associated and directed by a moral and generous towards his nephew purpose, cannot fail to charm and influ- | Winter; and when he died, left him ence its admirers. But when a man an equal share of his property. gifted with rich intellectual endow- Mrs. Frederick Hamilton, the mother ments, consecrates them to the per- of Winter Hamilton, appears to have formance of duty, and the scrupulous been a woman of great beauty, of culfulfilment of the high behests of heaven, tivated intellect, of gentle disposition, we then see human nature in its and eminently pious. Many of her most attractive aspect; our admiration letters are preserved to this day, and warms into love, and our love borders they evince a most loving disposition, on the reverential. Such a man was and a devoted faith to the orthodox Dr. Hamilton, whom we are now about creed. There can be little doubt, in to sketch. Unlike the great philosopher fact it is quite evident, that she did of the New World, whose history we shall much to mould the character and direct hereafter trace, Dr. Hamilton was a secta- the footsteps of her son. And that son rian. He confined himself to the bound when he became a man, and had attained aries of what may be termed evangelical an eminent position in the church of orthodoxy, and dared not launch out which he was a member and advocate, into those bold speculations outlined by frequently alluded in tender and touchEmerson. But as a sectarian, and with ing accents to the memory of her to a faith shaped, squared, and measured, whom he owed so much. Though poswe shall find that he possessed im- sessing a strong religious faith, her mense attractions, an original mind, affection for her children bound her and, what is better, a large heart. soul closely to the world, when on the
RICHARD WINTER HAMILTON was born borders of eternity. A little before her at Pentonville, London, on the 6th of death she wrote to a dear friend in July, 1794. Of his ancestry it is known these words: “When I felt a daily deonly that his grandfather came to crease of strength—my cough growLondon, from Scotland, early in life. ing worse, and my breath shorter-I This Mr. Hamilton was a member of could not but think of what all this the Baptist persuasion. He married a must lead to, even to the chamber of the Miss Hesketh, one of the company who grave. I was enabled to hope and to first joined the Rev. Mr. Wesley, and believe that I was entirely in his of whom mention is made by Mr. hands who is the resurrection and the Wesley in his journal of that time. life;' but yet, whenever I for a minute They had six children, and the Rev. soared upward, I was again drawn down Frederick Hamilton, the father of by, as it were, a picture presented to Richard Hamilton, was one of them. One my eye, of my person shrouded in my of Winter Hamilton's uncles, the Rev. coffin, and all my dear and very affecRobert Hamilton, D.D., LL.D., F.R.S., tionate children weeping around me. died October 8th, 1832, in the eighty- Indeed, I think I have never before first year of his age, after he had been proved my affection so strong, or my faith so weak.” This beautiful minded ward in learning; for many of the woman died when her son Winter, who greatest ornaments of our race were was the cherished child of the family, slow to learn at first. Precocity is no was about eleven years old. Though true sign of future greatness. Neither he enjoyed a greater latitude of in- is inaptitude to learn elementary knowdulgence than his brothers and sisters, ledge any guarantee that the future man fortunately it did not lead to pride in shall not be eminent for his abilities. him, or envy in them. They often We cannot expect children to be philogladly saw him taken to enjoy pleasures sophers. Rather should we expect them which they would cheerfully have to be buoyant, sportive, and, it may be, shared; and they welcomed his re- inclined to mischief. In Winter's period turn from such visits, that they might of childhood there was no lack of that listen to his graphic descriptions of quickness of apprehension which disthe persons and places he had seen tinguished him through life; nor were during his absence, without any ad- there wanting even these indications of mixture of jealousy. While young, he that luxuriant imagination which prodisplayed some of those qualities which duced such rich flowers and fruits in especially characterized him in after after years. He had an unbonnded flow life. When he was only five years of of animal spirits; and his wit, or as his age, an association of ministers had brothers and sisters always called it, met at his father's table, and the servant his fun, afforded them perpetual amusewho had waited on them told the chil- ment. dren the next day, that one of these When about nine years of age, he ministers had described his poverty and was sent to a preparatory school at his struggles to support a large family Hammersmith, near London; after at forty pounds a year, which was ail passing about a year there, he was rehis poor village flock could raise. The moved to an excellent school conducted children felt it very much, and often by the Rev. J. Petticary, at Newport, talked over what ought to be done for Isle of Wight. Here he was superthe good man. At last Winter thought intended by his mother's cousin, the of a plan, which he imagined excellent. Rev. Robert Winter, who watched over It was that they should put together him with constant care. If Winter all they could call their own, and buy a Hamilton did not in after years become a cheap calf, fully expecting that the little useful member of society-if not a great grassplot at the side of his father's and good man, it would have been surhouse would be sufficient to keep it till prising, as every care and attention was in a position to present it to the poor lavished on him by his religious relaminister. The elder part of the family tives when young. But though breathtold him this was impracticable; not ing such a puritanic atmosphere, his only they could not raise money enough, unconquerable love for drollery, and but that they had no place large enough, mimicry continually manifested itself. to rear the calf. Winter was not to be He was frequently getting into scrapes turned so easily from his generous pur- of some kind or other on account of his pose. With the utmost simplicity he boyish mischief, and though he knew proposed that they should buy a little he should not escape punishment, he pig, which, he said, could run about the was never known to deny, his faults nursery, and sleep under the bed, till when questioned, or prevaricate when large enough to be a valuable gift. censured. So completely was his cha
* The conclusion of this life will appear in our next number,
Though this period of his age was racter for truthfulness 'established in so much marked by a generosity of dis- the family, that his parents often said position and sprightliness, he did not to friends, when he left the room, make any particular progress in the " There goes a child who, to our knowrudiments of education. He had a wise ledge, never told a lie.” and patient teacher in his mother; but From his thirteenth to his sixteenth she frequently wept over him for very year, he was at Mill Hill Grammar weariness, and probably from the greater School, where he made decided progress. vexation in consequence of the evident The reports of his learning and his talent which he showed in other respects. conduct were most satisfactory. His We mention this so that kind mothers religious character was then in the and fathers may not be discouraged course of formation. Even at that early when they consider their children back- I period he seems to have devoted him
self to God for the work of the ministry. ridian glory; and the late Rev. John He grew up to be a minister almost as Ely, of Leeds, between whom and Dr. a matter of course, as he never expressed Hamilton afterwards existed such a any wish for any other vocation. From tender, vital and enduring friendship. the time when he used to preach to his When Dr. Hamilton entered Hoxton brothers and sisters, on a box in the College, he was younger than most of nursery, they all considered it a settled the students, and was distinguished by point that Winter was to be a minister. great vivacity and buoyancy of spirits. But this showed more solicitude than As he had great facility in acquiring wisdom on the part of his parents. By knowledge, and had enjoyed greater addedicating a child, before the natural vantage of early education than most of tendency of his mind developed itself, his associates, the studies prescribed in to the important mission of a minister, the classes to which he belonged made was not wise, as he might thereby be but a slight demand on his time and made a very mechanical and lifeless efforts, and left him much leisure for preacher, when, perhaps, if left to him- indulging his own taste and inclination. self, with careful guidance, he might Without any intensity of application, otherwise become a great man. But in it was easy for him to prepare for the the case before us it proved to be suc- ordinary examinations in the lectures cessful, as the bent of Winter Hamilton's delivered, and on the books required to disposition, and the aspirations of his be read. The Rev. Dr. Burder, one heart, were naturally inclined in the of the tutors of the College, appredirection marked out by paternal wishes. ciated the talents of the young divine. Before he was sixteen years of age, he Wben speaking of his productions, signed a “Covenant,” in which he dedi- at this time, the Rev. Doctor says: cated himself to “his Father in heaven" " They were distinguished by an exuand to the services of His church. We berance and even wildness of fancy extract from the “Covenant” a sentence which greatly needed discipline and or two, to indicate the condition of his training. The excrescences of his imamind at that time. He says, “ This gination required no ordinary degree of day do I, with the utmost solemnity, judicious pruning. It became my duty, surrender myself unto Thee. I renounce as one of his tutors, to point out these all former lusts that have dominion deviations from good taste with an unover me; and I consecrate unto thee all sparing freedom. With this unwelcome that I am, and all that I have—the duty, howerer, I found no difficulty in faculties of my mind, and the members uniting ample commendation of budding of my body, my worldly possessions, my and unfolding excellences." No doubt time, and my influence over others, to Dr. Burder's warning was very judibe all used entirely for thy glory, and cious, and well it should be, when it resolutely employed in obedience to thy attempted to prune the imagination of a commands, as long as thou continuest young student. There is nothing more me in life, with an ardent desire and delicate and difficult than such a task. humble resolution, to continue them And, generally, it is much better for through all the ages of eternity. Ever tutors to leave the imagination to take holding myself in an attentive posture care of itself. Dr. Hamilton, throughout to observe the first intimation of thy will, his useful life, was particularly distinand ready to spring forward with zeal and guished by a rich imagination, and did joy to the immediate execution of it.” he not possess it, there is but little evi
Very soon after, he was admitted, at dence to show that he would have the age of sixteen, as a student for the risen above the barren mediocrity of ministry amongst the Independents, at the vast majority of his brethren in the Hoxton College. And it rarely happens ministry. A vivid imagination is frethat one more qualified by mental capa- quently a promise of future eminence; city and spiritual longings, for a sacred and though for a time it may be wild calling, enters on such a course. Among and luxuriant, as the understanding the associates and friends of Mr. Ha- gets enlightened and the judgment conmilton at Hoxton, was the late Rev. solidated, that creative faculty, which Thomas Spencer, of Liverpool, whose may be called the handmaid of genius, career opened so prosperously, but finds its proper orbit. It is much better whose useful and brilliant life was for the fledgling to try to fly and fall, quenched before it had reached its me- than not to make the trial.