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'to himself.' He confessed that he had scarcely read a syllable of Byron's Vision of Judgment,' which he had denounced by name from his pulpit. I did not see enough ' of him to form a judgment, but what I did was not favourable.' 'We had the lover, Barry Cornwall, by far the 'best of the company.' The name of another well-known writer of the time still retains a reflected interest. Merivale called on Isaac Disraeli, to consult him on a scheme of publishing certain papers, and found him living in a magnificent house (for an author) in Bloomsbury Square.' On
one occasion Disraeli told him that he would leave off writing if he could no longer make 100l. a month. Merivale afterwards says that Disraeli himself is incredibly, ' almost ludicrously, dull in conversation, perpetually aiming at something like wit, and attempting to tell a story, in 'which he uniformly fails, in a manner burlesque enough to 'be made a stage character.' A much abler person, Sir Benjamin Brodie, astonished Mr. Merivale, at whose house he was dining, by discussing mesmerism in terms such as 'have seldom been used since Alexander cut the Gordian 'knot. Every difficulty which is otherwise insurmountable 'he gets rid of by denouncing it as a lie!' Still more audacious sceptics have sometimes added to the same solution the statement that the lie was told by persons in'capable of deception.'
Even when he voted at Brentford in the cause of liberty,' Merivale had been but a moderate Whig, and the introduction of the Reform Bill occupied his thoughts in the way of gradual alienation from its promoters.' In December 1831 he subscribed to the Reform Election Fund, his last ' act of Whiggism.' In the general election of 1835, after the dismissal of Lord Melbourne's Government, he took an intense interest, having now become a zealous Conservative; and, though he was suffering from cold and influenza, he 'got out of bed in the midst of bitter snow and frost to record a vote for the Conservatives of Finsbury.' The alarm which was caused by the Reform Bill is not without historical importance, though it may suggest erroneous inferences. Moderate politicians who supported the measure were justified by the result in their judgement that the Bill was not revolutionary. Their opponents were right in their anticipation that it would be followed by ulterior changes, but few of them expected that the new Constitution would last for thirty-five years. If the franchise and distribution of seats, which were established by Lord Grey and his col
leagues, had survived to the present time, the House of Commons would probably now be controlled by a permanent Conservative majority. At an earlier time Mr. Merivale underwent a change of opinion on subjects in which he felt a deeper interest than in party politics. His sympathies had become gradually alienated from the religious communion in which he was born and bred, and his studies convinced him of the soundness of Church of England doctrines. He persuaded himself that his grandfather might, if he had lived longer, have arrived at the same conclusion. Yet the published remains of Samuel Merivale indicate a continually growing indifference to theological dogma. The Unitarian minister at Exeter, to whose congregation the elder Mr. Merivale still belonged, told the son that his grandfather's sermons would by no means suit the present opinion and temper of the sect. Its members and teachers had probably in the course of two generations drifted as far from the early Unitarian creed as its first professors from the Presbyterian standards of the seventeenth century. Conversions from one Protestant communion to another are now becoming rare; but among the upper classes, and perhaps over a wider area, the Church has within fifty or sixty years probably gained largely on Nonconformist bodies, and especially on the cultivated, thoughtful, and unimaginative Unitarians.
In 1844 Mr. Merivale died suddenly at the age of sixty, after a life which was singularly happy and prosperous, though it was unmarked by any brilliant success. He deeply enjoyed the early promise of his sons, and he lived to see it fulfilled in their subsequent distinction. Of two of them who died in his lifetime, one had taken high honours at Cambridge, and had been a Fellow of Trinity College. His names, Alexander Frederick, record the date of his birth, as they commemorated the visit to England of the Emperor of Russia and the King of Prussia. The historian of the Roman Empire happily survives, and five years have already passed since he was an honoured guest at the University boat-race dinner in celebration of a jubilee dating from 1829, when he pulled in the Cambridge boat at Henley. The time has not yet come for a full record of the life of the Dean's elder brother, Herman Merivale, well known both as an able public servant and as one of the most remarkable scholars of a generation which is now passing away. His precocity was almost as extraordinary as that of John Stuart Mill, and he was fortunately not exposed to the mental isolation which produced in his
famous contemporary, in combination with vast attainments and great intellectual power, incurable ignorance of character and human nature. A large family and a public school are the best correctives of the less wholesome tendencies which beset premature development of the intellectual faculties. At the age of ten Herman Merivale was sent to Harrow under the care of his uncle, Henry Drury, who found on examination that 'his understanding and quickness ' of comprehension far exceeded anything he had expected 'to find.' At twelve, his father says that Herman's 'perse'vering fondness for Dante is one of the most extraordinary things he ever heard of,' and it would certainly be difficult to find a writer in the whole range of literature whose writings would be less attractive to an ordinary child. When about the same time he was prevented from reading by an accident to his eye, he translated fifty or sixty lines from memory in the terza rima.' Miss Merivale prints in an Appendix an elaborate review of Tasso, in a letter from Herman to his father, written before he was thirteen. In a letter of the following year he sends his father the results of his study of Gibbon, with the remark that by far the most interesting fact to me of the history is that of the Arian controversy,' which he accordingly proceeds to discuss. A timid parent might perhaps have been alarmed at the early wisdom and learning of a schoolboy; but Mr. Merivale was a man of sense, as he shows in a casual mention of a visit from his Harrow boys, when he 'was much pleased by the look and behaviour of both. 'had a black eye from fighting with a boy of his own age ' and standing.' The scars of honourable warfare render the look of man or boy not less pleasing to a judicious father.
Having gained all the prizes and honours which could be won at Harrow, Herman Merivale renewed and increased his triumphs at Oxford, where he afterwards for a short time took private pupils, one of whom, now Cardinal Manning, has sometimes asserted more or less seriously, that he had through life felt a kind of respectful fear as often as he met his former tutor. At an early age Herman Merivale became Professor of Political Economy at Oxford, having already begun to practise at the bar, where he joined the Western Circuit. A work on the Colonies, which originated in his lectures as Professor, was probably the cause of a later change in his career. Though he published little in his own name, Herman Merivale was a voluminous writer on literary, economical, historical, and political subjects; and it may
be mentioned that he was for many years a frequent contributor to this Journal. In his case the alternation of political opinion among successive representatives of the family was once more exemplified. From his early youth and throughout his life Herman Merivale was a resolute and consistent Whig of the school to which Romilly, Lord John Russell, and Macaulay belonged. He made no attempt to enter Parliament, and it is not known whether he was desirous of distinction in public life. A somewhat abrupt and occasionally sarcastic manner suggested a doubt whether he would have succeeded as a debater; but his abundant knowledge and his great ability would probably have given him a high position in the House of Commons among the class of members which was conspicuously represented by Sir George Lewis. At the bar Herman Merivale's progress was not rapid but steady, as became a well-instructed and sagacious lawyer who had not the qualities of a popular advocate. If he had not left the profession he would probably have risen to the bench; but he may perhaps have been impatient of deferred success, when in 1847 he accepted Lord Grey's offer of the place of Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. Several years afterwards he exchanged his office for the corresponding post in the Indian Department, of which Viscount Halifax, then Sir Charles Wood, was at the time the head. Merivale's strong party feeling had perhaps something to do with his preference of a chief who had always been a Whig, over the Duke of Newcastle, formerly a follower of Peel, who was then Colonial Secretary; but he fully shared the loyalty to the Government of the day which has long characterised the permanent Civil Service. The Ministers under whom he served at the Colonial and the India Office fully appreciated his merits. One Conservative Secretary of State, Lord Lytton, left on record an elaborate and eloquent eulogy of Merivale's extraordinary gifts and attainments. No competent superior or colleague could fail to recognise his great knowledge and his vigorous understanding. The history of a family which still flourishes may appropriately close for the present with the brief mention of one of the worthiest of its members.
ART. X.-1. Political Speeches delivered in August and September, 1884, by the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.P. Edinburgh: 1884.
2. Speeches delivered in Edinburgh and Dalkeith in September, 1884, by the Right Hon. Sir Stafford Northcote, M.P.
3. Reform of Parliamentary Business: House of Lords. W. RATHBONE, M.P. London: 1884.
HE difficulties which blocked the path of Parliamentary Reform were stated and discussed in this Journal at the beginning of the year. These difficulties were admitted to be many and serious: some of them to be almost insuperable. They were not, however, regarded as of so grave a character as recent events have shown. No one could have supposed that the treatment in Parliament of the simple question raised by the proposal to extend the franchise to counties could have produced in the country that sort of temper which, unless restrained in time, might lead to revolution. And yet it is hardly an exaggeration to say that if the attitude which the two parties have respectively taken up be not altered consequences to the well-being of the State and to the equilibrium of the political forces in the country may be developed of a more serious kind than it was possible, nine months ago, for the most pessimist imagination to conceive.
The questions which are agitating the country to-day have very little in common with those which were just ruffling the surface of public opinion last year. In the autumn of 1883 an assembly of obscure political individuals met together in a midland town in England and passed a series of resolutions, some of them wise enough and opportune, others of them foolish and even mischievous, to the effect that the time had come when the Reform proposals which were carried by a Tory Government in 1867 with respect to the boroughs of England and Scotland, should be extended to the counties and to Ireland. That seemed a simple proposition then, and it seems a simple proposition now. Both parties in the State were practically pledged to these proposals: the Tory party by the fact that they had carried them into action in 1867, the Liberal party by the fact that every candidate in the Liberal interest, with hardly an exception, had pledged himself at the last election to see that they were passed into law by the present Parliament. There really was no controversy about the matter.