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that part when he was present. He was petit looking like any thing important and parochial. and ordinary in his person and appearance. I He thought that he approached nearer to that have seen him sometimes in what is called good stamp daily. He had a general aversion from company, but where he has been a stranger, sit being treated like a grave or respectable character, silent, and be suspected for an odd fellow ; till and kept a wary eye upon the advances of age some unlucky occasion provoking it, he would that should so entitle him. He herded always, stutter out some senseless pun, (not altogether while it was possible, with people younger than senseless perhaps, if rightly taken,) which has himself. He did not conform to the march of time, stamped his character for the evening. It was hit but was dragged along in the procession. His or miss with him ; but nine times out of ten, he manners lagged behind his years. He was too contrived by this device to send away a whole com- much of the boy-man. The toga virilis never sate pany of his enemies. His conceptions rose kind- gracefully on his shoulders. The impressions of lier than his utterance, and his happiest impromptus infancy had burnt into him, and he resented the had the appearance of effort. He has been accused impertinence of manhood. These were weaknessof trying to be witty, when in truth he was but es; but such as they were, they are a key to exstruggling to give his poor thoughts articulation. plicate some of his writings. He chose his companions for some individuality He left little property behind him. Of course of character which they manifested. Hence, not the little that is left, (chiefly in India bonds,) de many persons of science, and few professed literati, volves upon his cousin Bridget. A few critical were of his councils. They were, for the most dissertations were found in his escrutoire, which part, persons of an uncertain fortune ; and as to have been handed over to the editor of this Magasuch people commonly nothing is more obnoxious zine, in which it is to be hoped they will shortly than a gentleman of settled, (though moderate,) appear, retaining his accustomed signature. income, he passed with most of them for a great He has himself not obscurely hinted that his miser. To my knowledge this was a mistake. employment lay in a public office. The gentleHis intimados, to confess a truth, were in the men in the Export department of the East India world's eye a ragged regiment. He found them House will forgive me, if I acknowledge the reafloating on the surface of society ; and the colour, diness with which they assisted me in the retrieval or something else, in the weed pleased him. The of his few manuscripts. They pointed out in a burrs stuck to him--but they were good and loving most obliging manner the desk, at which he had burrs for all that. He never greatly cared for the been planted for forty years; showed me ponsociety of what are called good people. If any of derous tomes of figures, in his own remarkably these were scandalised, (and offences were sure neat hand, which, more properly than his few to arise,) he could not help it. When he has been printed tracts, might be called his “Works.” They remonstrated with for not making more conces- seemed affectionate to his memory, and universalsions to the feelings of good people, he would re- ly commended his expertness in book-keeping. It tort by asking, what one point did these good seems he was the inventor of some ledger, which people ever concede to him ? He was temperate
should combine the precision and certainty of the in his meals and diversions, but always kept a Italian double entry, (I think they called it,) with little on this side of abstemiousness. Only in the the brevity and facility of some newer German use of the Indian weed he might be thought a lit- system--but I am not able to appreciate the worth tle excessive. He took it, he would say, as a of the discovery. I have often heard him express solvent of speech. Marry-as the friendly vapour a warm regard for his associates in office, and ascended, how his prattle would curl up some- how fortunate he considered himself in having his times with it! the ligaments, which tongue-tied lot thrown in amongst them. There is more him, were loosened, and the stammerer proceeded sense, more discourse, more shrewdness, and even a statist!
talent, among these clerks, (he would say,) than I do not know whether I ought to bemoan or in twice the number of authors by profession that rejoice that my old friend is departed. His jests I have conversed with. He would brighten up were beginning to grow obsolete, and his stories sometimes upon the "old days of the India to be found out. He felt the approaches of age ; House,” when he consorted with Woodroffe, and and while he pretended to cling to life, you saw Wissett, and Peter Corbet, (a descendant and worhow slender were the ties left to bind him. Dis- thy representative, bating the point of sanctity, of coursing with him latterly on this subject, he ex- old facetious bishop Corbet,) and Hoole who pressed himself with a pettishness, which I thought translated Tasso, and Bartlemy Brown whose faunworthy of him. In our walks about his subur. ther (God assoil him therefore,) modernized Walban retreat, (as he called it,) at Shacklewell, some ton-and sly warm-hearted old Jack Cole, (King children belonging to a school of industry had Cole they called him in those days,) and Campe, met us, and bowed and curtseyed, as he thought, and Fombelle--and a world of choice spirits, in an especial manner to him. “ They take me more that I can remember to name, who associatfor a visiting governor,” he muttered earnestly. ed in those days with Jack Burrell, (the bon vivant He had a horror, which he carried to a foible, of of the South Sea House,) and little Eyton, (said
to be a fac simile of Pope he was a miniature of or did in their lifetime, a few glittering words only! a gentleman,) that was cashier under him, and His essays found some favourers, as they appearDan Voight of the Custom House that left the ed separately; they shuffled their way in the famous library.
crowd singly; how they will read, now they are Well, Elia is gone for aught I know, to be brought together, is a question for the publishers, reunited with them and these poor traces of his who have thus ventured to draw out into one pen are all we have to show for it. How little sur piece his “weaved-up follies.” vives of the wordiest authors! Of all they said
BY SIR J. MACKINTOSH, T. B. MACAULAY, ESQ., M. P.,
GEO. DEARBORN, PUBLISHER.
SIR THOMAS MORE.
BY SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH,
ARISTOTLE and Bacon, the greatest philosophers of the ancient and modern world, agree in representing poetry as being of a more excellent nature than history. Agreeably to the predominance of mere understanding in Aristotle's mind, he alleges as his cause of preference that poetry regards general truth, or conformity to universal nature;
while history is conversant only with a confined and accidental truth, dependent on time, place, and circumstance. The ground assigned by Bacon is such as naturally issued from that fusion of imagination with reason, which constitutes his philosophical genius. Poetry is ranked more highly by him, because the poet presents us with a pure excellence and an unmingled grandeur, not to be found in the coarse realities of life or of history ; but which the mind of man, although not destined to reach, is framed to contemplate with delight
The general difference between biography and history is obvious. There have been many men in every age whose lives are full of interest and instruction, but who, having never taken a part in public affairs, are altogether excluded from the province of the historian. There have been also, probably, equal numbers who have influenced the fortune of nations in peace or in war, of the peculiarities of whose character we have no information; and who, for the purposes of the biographer, may be said to have no private life.
These are extreme cases. But there are other men, whose manners and acts are equally well known, whose individual lives are deeply interesting, whose characteristic qualities are peculiarly striking, who have taken an important share in events connected with the most extraordinary revolutions of human affairs, and whose biography becomes more difficult from that combination and intermixture of private with public occurrences, which render it instructive and interesting. The variety and splendour of the lives of such men render it often difficult to distinguish the portion
of them which ought to be admitted into history, from that which should be reserved for biography. Generally speaking, these two parts are so distinct and unlike, that they cannot be confounded with out much injury to both ;--either when the biographer hides the portrait of the individual by a crowded and confined picture of events, or when the historian allows unconnected narratives of the lives of men to break the thread of history. The historian contemplates only the surface of human nature, adorned and disguised when the actors perform brilliant parts before a great audience, in the midst of so many dazzling circumstances, that it is hard to estimate their intrinsic worth; and impossible, in a historical relation, to exhibit the secret springs of their conduct. The biographer endeavours to follow the hero and the statesman, from the field, the council, or the senate, to his private dwelling, where, in the midst of domestic ease, or of social pleasure, he throws aside the robe and the mask, becomes again a man instead of an actor, and, in spite of himself, often betrays those frailties and singularities which are visible in the countenance and voice, the gesture and manner, of every man when he is not acting a part. It is particularly difficult to observe the distinction in the case of sir Thomas More, because he was so perfectly natural a man that he carried his amiable peculiarities into the gravest deliberations of state and the most solemn acts of law. Perhaps nothing more can be universally laid down, than that the biographer never ought to introduce public events, except as far as they are absolutely necessary to the illustration of character, and that the historian should rarely digress into biographical particulars, except as far as they contribute to the clearness of his narrative of political occurrences.
SIR THOÑAS MORe was born in Milk Street, in the city of London, in the year 1480, three years before the death of Edward IV. His family was respectable- --no mean advantage at that time. His father, sir John More, who was born about