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their bearings, the interests and designs of the several empires and states, on whose conduct the tranquillity of the world most principally depends ; in acquiring an intimate acquaintance with the laws of his own country; and in developing the whole scheme of that wonderful constitution, which preserves its balance in the midst, and almost by the means, of its very inequalities, and of which the apparently discordant and heterogeneous elements all combine and harmonize to the general beauty, and strength, and stability.
When, however, these noble studies had opened into knowledge, and were just on the point of being brought into immediate action, she, the beautiful, and high minded, and accomplished woman, who had urged, and even assisted, his labours, and for whose sake, he chiefly desired to be distinguished, sickened, drooped, and expired in his arms. At once his hopes were smothered, and his ambition melted away. Upon self-examination, also, he felt his own unfitness for political promotion. Assuredly he was neither enough a courtier ever to become a minister ; nor had he the suppleness, and address, and habits of practical dexterity. And far less was he adapted to preside in a court of justice; since his extreme sensibility had often induced him to declare, that he thought he should suffer less in parting with his own life, than in passing the sentence of public, painful, and ignominious death upon a fellow creature. It is no wonder then, that when the loss of an adored wife had taken away the strongest of his incitements, he remained satisfied, if not happy, in seclusion; and relinquished, with out asigh, his former visions of public advancement.
Poets are fond of telling us, that a man cannot fly from himself; and that, by crossing the seas, and roaming through foreign lands, he will neither escape his thoughts, nor alter his disposition. Yet change of scene and circumstance has surely some power to dissipate the grief, which is, on the contrary, concentrated, and nourished, and continually renewed in the place, where it was first engendered. There can be little doubt which objects are most proper to console an afflicted mind ; those, which fill it with new images and impressions; or those, which perpetually recall to it the source of its affliction. No man, when his happiness is gone, should linger on the spot where he has once been happy. Under such an impression at least, the subject of this sketch spent some years in visiting the various countries of Europe ; and, endued as he was with an active intellect, well disciplined in habits of observation, every where gathered, as he proceeded, new treasures of knowledge ; and formed larger, and more accurate views of man, of society, and of government.
On his return, his whole thoughts, and wishes, and ex. pectations, were fixed upon an only son, whom he had left in England for education, at a public school. He now beheld him at the most interesting period of life-a boy of promising talents, of frank and open temper; and of that buoyant, spirited character, which is best fitted for struggling with the world. Every thing about him might well justify the fondness of a father, who looked forward with a proud delight to the time, when he should enter with him upon a course of practical instruction, when he should instil into his unspoiled and unsophisticated mind, the principles of rational liberty, and sound patriotism; when he should imbue his uncorrupted heart with the vital warmth of those fundamental and eternal truths, by an adherence to which communities are held together, and individuals are rendered happy and respectable:—Nay more—who looked forward to the time, when he should see him become a more conspicuous character than himself had ever been; when he should see him play a successful part on the universal stage; when he should see him fill a large and honourable space in the eye of his country. But what are the hopes of man! How little are all the comparisons, that were ever made, adequate to express their rashness, their blindness, their hollowness, and their insecurity! Just as the expectations of the father were about to be realized or surpassed ; just as the boyish intellect was sufficiently mature to reap the full benefit of parental experience, his son too died, and left him desolate!
At this period he was overpowered by his anguish. Life was nothing to him—the world, with its millions of inhabitants, was spread before him as a desert: he looked on it as on a thing which had no longer any relation to himself. As physical pains will rack the body, until it faints and becomes insensible to further torture; the irons of moral infliction had entered into his soul, until its feelings were benumbed with the excess of their own agony. He saw almost without perception; he breathed almost without consciousness; and he walked upon the earth as a being, who had no share in its occupations or enjoyments.
But time does something where it cannot do all. A good man, besides, will not long suffer his spirit to remain sunk in utter listlessness, and his life to be altogether useless to his fellow men, Although no personal ties attach him to existence, conscious virtue will support him, general benevolence will animate him, religious hope will forbid him to despond.
Such was the case with the censor of our Council. After some indulgence in natural grief, he roused the energies of his soul from the trance of abasement, and nerved himself with the fortitude of resignation. At length he became calm, and even cheerful. His individual interest in existence was indeed gone; and the cords that bound him to this world had been rudely broken. But the exercise of a large and pure philanthropy, the diffusion of comfort within his immediate sphere, and a generous concern for the common welfare of mankind-all these things were left to occupy his faculties, and divert his thoughts. His eyes still sparkled at the mention of the warlike glories of his country; and his heart kindled within him at the idea of its still more memorable efforts in the cause of science and humanity. He was no longer a husband-no longer a father; but he was still an Englishman. He was at once a contemplative, a practical, and a patriot philosopher. He felt for others, although he cared little about himself; and those kind emotions had expanded the more into universal benevolence, which, but for the bitter misfortunes of his earlier life, might have been almost absorbed in domestic affections.
It is true, that the illusions of life had passed from him as a dream; and that he survived to mourn the disenchant
ment. The unstable fabric of his hopes had been thrown down; but sullen moroseness had not risen upon the ruins. His ambition and enthusiasm had subsided ; but they had not sunk into misanthropic apathy. His visions of human excellence had been clouded ; but they had not been succeeded by dislike, or disdain of his species. Pride, he would remark, was not made for man; and, when we are all the creatures of circumstance and opportunity, who shall pretend to look down upon another? He saw the intrigues, and jealousies, and heart-burnings, of human beings--and he pitied them.--He saw their miseries, -and he did his utmost to relieve them.
Many may think it strange, that a man of this stamp should live by choice in a crowded and luxurious metropolis ; yet London was, on many accounts, his favourite place of residence. Cities are the best abodes for men whose homes are empty ; here he could most surely escape notice, when he wished to observe without being observed. Here, too, he had the best opportunities of maintaining a correspondence with several foreign friends, whose acquaintance he had made during his travels; and of forming, from the multiplied sources of information, a truer estimate of passing events. He found, also, as much instruction in the busy stir of men, as in the solitude of nature; and how infinite is the instruction in both! He loved to view the mighty tide of existence roll on, and meditate upon a scene, which is itself an universe. He felt himself in the centre of energy–in the centre of intelligence in the heart of that country which is the heart of the world. A few words may now sum up the character of our president.
At the present period he has just passed the meridian of his years, and his sun of life is gently declining to the west. His calm clear eye is yet undimmed by age; and the high and scarcely wrinkled forehead still well expresses his prudence and depth of character. His sentiments are always listened to with the utmost deference; and they, who have taken his advice, have seldom found reason to repent its adoption. His faculties are at once vigorous and steadyhis judgment strong and cool. He is a philanthropist in the highest sense of the word ; although rather, perhaps,
wishing well to men in general, than much esteeming or
Sapientum templa serena
Ad summas emergere opes, rerumque potire.
To these exhortations he has always replied-at least before the unlucky hour, as he calls it, when he was seduced into “ The Council of Ten"_“ Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” The vanity of ambition has long departed from me; but, alas ! there is vanity even in our endeavours to do good. How are our efforts rejected with scorn, or accepted without thanks! Often, too, we ourselves direct them blindly, or pursue them unskilfully, and aggravate the mischiefs which we were anxious to remove. Why, then, should you wish me to engage in the political contentions of the day? My influence over such a chaos would be like rain upon the sand, or a pebble cast into the ocean. If, at my time of life, I should be drawn into the vortex, I