born with the disposition. To be constantly occupied about the actions of others; to have constantly presented to your contemplation and attention events and occurrences memorable only as evincing certain qualities of mind and will, which very qualities in a measure you feel within yourself, and yet without any impulse to exhibit them in the real world of action "which is the world of all of us;" to contemplate, yet never act; "to have the House before you," and yet to be content with the reporters' gallery, shows a chill impassiveness of temperament, a certain sluggish insensibility to ardent impulse, a heavy immobility under ordinary emotion. The image of the stout Gibbon placidly contemplating the animated conflicts, the stirring pleadings of Fox and Burke, watching a revolution and heavily taking no part in it, gives an idea of the historian as he is likely to be. Why, it is often asked, "is history dull? It is a narrative of life, and life is of all things the most interesting." The answer is, that it is written by men too dull to take the common interest in life, in whom languor predominates over zeal, and sluggishness over passion.

Macaulay is not dull, and it may seem hard to attempt to bring him within the scope of a theory which is so successful in explaining dullness. Yet, in a modified and peculiar form, we can perhaps find in his remarkable character unusually distinct traces of the insensibility which have been ascribed to the historian. The means are ample: Mr. Macaulay has not spent his life in a corner; if posterity should refuse-of course they will not refuse to read a line of his writings, they would yet be sought out by studious inquirers, as those of a man of high political position, great notoriety, and greater oratorical power. We are not therefore obliged, as in so many cases even among contemporaries, to search for the author's character in his books alone; we are able from other sources to find out his character, and then apply it to the explanation of the peculiarities of his works. Mr. Macaulay has exhibited many high attainments, many dazzling talents, much singular and well-trained power; but the quality which would most strike the observers of the interior man is what may be called his inexperiencing nature. Men of genius have in general been distinguished by their extreme susceptibility to external experience. Finer and softer than other men, every exertion of their will, every incident of their lives, influences them more deeply than it would others. Their essence is at the same time finer and more impressible; it receives a distincter mark, and receives it more easily than the souls of the herd. From his peculiar sensibility, the man of genius bears the stamp of life commonly more clearly than his fellows; even casual associations make a deep impression on him: examine his mind, and you may

discern his fortunes. Mr. Macaulay has nothing of this. You could not tell what he has been. His mind shows no trace of change. What he is, he was; and what he was, he is. He early attained a high development, but he has not increased it since; years have come, but they have whispered little; as was said of the second Pitt, "He never grew, he was cast." The volume of "speeches" which he has published place the proof of this in every man's hand. His first speeches are as good as his last; his last scarcely richer than his first. He came into public life at an exciting season; he shared at the time in that excitement, and that excitement still seems to quiver in his mind. He delivered marvellous rhetorical exercises on the Reform Bill at the time; he speaks of it with marvellous rhetorical power even now. He is still the man of '32. From that era he looks on the past. He sees "Old Sarum" in the seventeenth century, and Gatton in the civil wars. You may fancy an undertone in his mind running somewhat thus: The Norman barons commenced the series of reforms which "we consummated;" Hampden was "preparing for the occasion in which I had a part;" William "for the debate in which I took occasion to observe." With a view to that era every thing begins; up to that moment every thing ascends. That was the "fifth act" of the human race; the remainder of history is only an afterpiece. All this was very natural at the moment; nothing could be more probable than that a young man of the greatest talents, entering at once into important life at a conspicuous opportunity, should exaggerate its importance; he would fancy it was the "crowning achievement," the greatest "in the tide of time." But what is remarkable is, that he should retain the idea now; that years have brought no influence, experience no change. The events of twenty years have been full of rich instruction on the events of twenty years ago; but they have not instructed him. His creed is a fixture. It is the same on his peculiar topic-on India. Before he went there he made a speech on the subject; Lord Canterbury, who must have heard a million speeches, said it was the best he had ever heard. It is difficult to fancy that so much vivid knowledge could be gained from books-from horrible Indian treatises; that such imaginative mastery should be possible without actual experience. Not forgetting, or excepting, the orations of Burke, it was perhaps as remarkable a speech as was ever made on India by an Englishman who had not been in India. Now he has been there he speaks no better-rather worse; he spoke excellently without experience, he speaks no better with it,-if any thing, it rather puts him out. His speech on the Indian charter a year or two ago was not finer than that on the charter of 1833. Before he went to India he recommended that writers should be examined

in the classics; after being in India he recommended that they should be examined in the same way. He did not say he had seen the place in the mean time, he did not think that had any thing to do with it. You could never tell from any difference in his style what he had seen, or what he had not seen. He is so insensible to passing objects, that they leave no distinctive mark, no intimate peculiar trace.

It is characteristic of such a man that he should think literature more instructive than life. Hazlitt said severely of Mackintosh, "He might like to read an account of India; but India itself, with its burning, shining face, was a mere blank, an endless waste to him. Persons of this class have no more to say to a plain matter of fact staring them in the face than they have to a hippopotamus." This was a keen criticism on Sir James, savouring of the splenetic mind from which it came. As a complete estimate, it would be a most unjust one of Macaulay; but it cannot be denied, that there are a whole class of minds which prefer the literary delineation of objects to the actual eyesight of them. An insensible nature, like a rough hide, resists the breath of passing things; an unobserving retina will depict in vain whatever a quicker eye shall not explain. But any one can understand a book; the work is done, the facts observed, the formulæ suggested, the subjects classified. Of course it needs labour, and a following fancy, to peruse the long lucubrations and descriptions of others; but a fine detective sensibility is unnecessary; type is plain, an earnest attention will follow it and know it. To this class Mr. Macaulay belongs; and he has on that very account characteristically maintained that dead authors are more fascinating than living people. "Those friendships," he tells us, "are exposed to no danger from the occurrences by which other attachments are weakened or dissolved. Time glides by; fortune is inconstant; tempers are soured; bonds which seemed indissoluble are daily sundered by interest, by emulation, or by caprice. But no such cause can affect the silent converse which we hold with the highest of human intellects. That placid intercourse is disturbed by no jealousies or resentments. These are the old friends who are never seen with new faces, who are the same in wealth and in poverty, in glory and in obscurity. With the dead there is no rivalry. In the dead there is no change. Plato is never sullen. Cervantes is never petulant. Demosthenes never comes unseasonably. Dante never stays too long. No difference of political opinion can alienate Cicero. No heresy can excite the horror of Bossuet." But Bossuet is dead; and Cicero was a Roman; and Plato wrote in Greek. Years and manners separate us from the great. After dinner Demosthenes may come unseasonably; Dante might stay too

long. We are alienated from the politician, and have a horror of the theologian. Dreadful idea, having Demosthenes for an intimate friend! He had pebbles in his mouth; he was always urging action; he spoke such good Greek; we cannot dwell on it,-it is too much. Only a mind impassive to our daily life, unalive to bores and evils, to joys and sorrows, with head in literature and heart in boards, incapable of the deepest sympathies, a prey to books, could imagine it. The mass of men have stronger ties and warmer hopes. The exclusive devotion to books tires. We require to love and hate, to act and live.

It is not unnatural that a person of this temperament should preserve a certain aloofness even in the busiest life. Mr. Macaulay has ever done so. He has been in the thick of political warfare, in the van of party conflict. Whatever a keen excitability would select for food and opportunity, has been his; but he has not been excited. He has never thrown himself upon action, he has never followed trivial details with an anxious passion. He has ever been a man for a great occasion. He has been by nature a deus ex machinâ. Somebody has had to fetch him. His heart was in Queen Anne's time. When he came, he spoke as Lord Halifax might have spoken. Of course, it may be contended that this is the eximia ars; that this solitary removed excellence is particularly and essentially sublime. But, simply and really, greater men have been more deeply "immersed in matter." The highest eloquence quivers with excitement; there is life-blood in the deepest action; a man like Strafford seems flung upon the world. An orator should never talk like an observatory; no coldness should strike upon the hearer.

It is characteristic also that he should be continually thinking of posterity. In general, that expected authority is most ungrateful; those who think of it most, it thinks of least. The way to secure its favour is, to give vivid essential pictures of the life before you; to leave a fresh glowing delineation of the scene to which you were born, of the society to which you have peculiar access. This is gained, not by thinking of your posterity, but by living in society; not by poring on what is to be, but by enjoying what is. That spirit of thorough enjoyment which pervades the great delineators of human life and human manners, was not caused by "being made after supper out of a cheeseparing;" it drew its sustenance from a relishing, enjoying, sensitive life, and the flavour of the description is the reality of that enjoyment. Of course, this is not so in science. You may leave a name by an abstract discovery without having led a thorough or vigorous existence; yet what a name is this! Taylor's theorem will go down to posterity,-possibly its discoverer was for ever dreaming and expecting that it would; but what does pos

terity know of the deceased Taylor? Nominis umbra is rather a compliment; for it is not substantial enough to have a shadow. But in other walks,-say in political oratory, which is the part of Mr. Macaulay's composition in which his value for posterity's opinion is most apparent, the way to interest posterity is to think but little of it. What gives to the speeches of Demosthenes the interest they have? The intense, vivid, glowing interest of the speaker in all that he is speaking about. Philip is not a person whom "posterity will censure," but the man "whom I hate;" the matter in hand not one whose interest depends on the memory of men, but in which an eager intense nature would have been absorbed if there had been no posterity at all, on which he wished to deliver his own soul. A casual character, so to speak, is natural to the most intense words; externally even they will interest the "after world" more for having interested the present world; they must have a life of some place and some time before they can have one of all space and all time. Mr. Macaulay's oratory is the very opposite of this. Schoolboyish it is not, for it is the oratory of a very sensible man; but the theme of a schoolboy is not less devoid of the salt of circumstance. The speeches on the Reform Bill have been headed, "Now, a man came up from college and spoke thus ;" and, like a college man, he spoke rather to the abstract world than to the present. He knew no more of the people who actually did live in London than of people who would live in London, and there was therefore no reason for speaking to one more than to the other. After years of politics, he speaks so still. He looks on a question (he says) as posterity will look on it; he appeals from this to future generations; he regards existing men as painful prerequisites of great-grandchildren. This seems to proceed, as has been said, from a distant and unimpressible nature. But it is impossible to deny that it has one great advantage; it has made him take pains. A man who speaks to people a thousand years off will naturally speak carefully: he tries to be heard over the clang of ages, over the rumours of myriads. Writing for posterity is like writing on foreign postpaper: you cannot say to a man at Calcutta what you would say to a man at Hackney; you think "the yellow man is a very long way off: this is fine paper, it will go by a ship;" so you try to say something worthy of the ship, something noble, which will keep and travel. So writers like Macaulay, who think of future people, have a respect for future people. Each syllable is solemn, each word distinct. No other author trained to periodical writing has so little of its slovenliness and its imperfection.

This singularly constant contemplation of posterity has often coloured his estimate of his social characters. He has no tolera

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