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were left one stricken man and six sorrowing orphans to bewail this sudden loss—the most fatal, the most utterly irreparable, that can visit the home of a household. Where a child is called unto God, it is but a single death. No one loses old, accustomed, aid thereby. The mother weeps; but by-and-by there is sunshine, and Time, the great consoler, brings her peace. But it is otherwise where that mother herself is summoned to her rest. The single death is then multiplied, and every child of her heart has lost a mother. At Sterling's hearth there were six who were visited by this bereavement, with himself, the most sorely smitten of them all. On the evening of the funeral, he, perhaps, became conscious of the coming sound of another summons; for he looked upon his little ones and whispered to them, “ If I am taken from you, God will take care of you ;" and the serious little wonderers bowed their heads and slept.
It was at Ventnor that Sterling pitched his last earthly tabernacle. Ere he finally departed thither, Carlyle held with him his last counsel. The two friends talked of Cromwell. The neophyte had not even yet fulfilled the expectations of his instructor. He found Sterling on some points essentially wrong, “ as I said, I would convince him some day.” What they were we are not informed; but we may guess thereat, hoping therewith that the conviction reached not the heart for which it was intended. In the meantime, Sterling published his “ Strafford” for the good and loving reason that his wife had approved of his labour. He worked, too, at un seasonable hours, on a poem, fashioned after Wieland's “ Oberon,” carrying truths under a light mask of satire, and entitled “ Cour de Lion.” Amid the labour there fell upon him fatal symptoms, and with them the fatal sign which so startled Keats, but which Sterling contemplated with submissive calmness—the spitting of blood. Still he laboured on even while, as he said in reference to the death of the mother of his little ones, “ the heart is gone out of my life.” At this time, Francis Newman, the author of various infidel works, was with Carlyle one of the most assiduous of his correspondents. We find traces of this double influence in every page that is left of this sad record. Carlyle teazed him with letters upon Cromwell, and he records Sterling's admission, as matter very worthy noting, that “ of the Royalists there was something very small about the biggest of them.” In the meantime, death surely but gradually approached, and as the angel that may not be avoided drew near, Sterling arranged his affairs, burnt his autobiography and other papers, and left
record. double influus of his
his literary executorship to Archdeacon Hare and Carlyle. The bursting of a blood vessel in April, 1844, was the last warning of a stroke which did not, however, fall till the following September. Ere the final day arrived he wrote a letter to his eldest boy, in London, in which he says :
“ When I fancy how you are walking in the same streets and moving along the same river that I used to watch so intently, as if in a dream, when younger than you are, I could gladly burst into tears—not of grief, but with a feeling that there is no name for. Everything is so wonderful, great, and holy—so sad and yet not bitter—so full of death and so bordering on heaven. Can you understand anything of this? If you can, vou will begin to know what a serious matter our life is; how unworthy and stupid it is to trifle it away without heed ; what a wretched, insignificant, worthless creature anyone comes to be who does not, as soon as possible, bend his whole strength, as in stringing a stiff bow, to doing whatever task lies first before him.”........
And he who could thus thoughtfully and truthfully write, committed his young son, and entrusted the arming of him for the battle of life, to a man remarkable, in the eyes of Mr. Carlyle, for his deep, religious belief, and his “mild, pious, enthusiasm”-in other words, to Francis Newman !-to the author of the “ Phases of Faith,” from which work we extract the following passage as demonstrative as well of the writer's fitness for the office bequeathed to him by Sterling as for his claim to the opinion expressed of him by Carlyle:
“ Many who call themselves Christian preachers busily undermine moral sentiment by telling their hearers that, if they do not believe the Bible (or the Church), they can have no firm religion or morality, and will have no reason to give against following brutal appetite. This doctrine it is that so often makes men atheists in Spain and profligates in England as soon as they embrace the national creed ; and the school which have (sic) done the mischief moralise over the wickedness of human nature when it comes to pass, instead of blaming the falsehood which they of themselves inculcated.”.........
“ The great doctrine on which all practical religion depends, the doctrine which nursed the infancy and youth of human nature, is the sympathy of God with individual man.'”
Between the act which left Sterling's son ward of Mr. Francis Newman and the day of the inexpressible changethe day of his decease, September the 18th, 1844—there is little to notice save the influences which his last biographer seems to have continued to exert over him. What those influences were are only shadowed forth in the closing letter written by the now dying man to his fatal monitor. The first sentence is thrilling—" Certainty, indeed, I have none." To such a confession had he been brought! All his intercourse with Carlyle after leaving the Church wherein, under Archdeacon Hare's superintendence, he was working good, in faith and in love, in light and in content, ends suddenly in this confessed conclusion—" Certainty, indeed, I have none !" And then he adds,“ With regard to you and me, I cannot begin to write, having nothing for it but to keep shut the lid of those secrets with all the iron weights that are in my power. Towards me, no man has been and done like you. If I can lend a hand when there, that will not be wanting.” This sentence makes evident allusion to more than Mr. Caryle has chosen to touch upon: indeed, the last pages induce us to believe that, probably, the most startling features in poor Sterling's mental history were developed at this period. On such a subject, when the necessary materials whereby to arrive at an opinion are withheld, conjecture even becomes useless. We pass on then to the last scene; but there, too, we feal bound to pause.
Over that scene accordingly we will draw a veil, forbearing to judge," for we are sinners all.” Mr. Carlyle sums up the character of this undoubtedly honest man, of good intentions, yet easily misled on points of belief where brilliancy of intellect was expended to dazzle and delude him, by saying of him, that he was “devoutly submissive to the will of the Supreme in all things....... the sole essential form which religion can assume in man.” Again, his biographer speaks of him as « prostrating his heart in the Church by such accredited rituals and seemingly fit, or half fit methods, as his poor time and country had to offer him-not rejecting the same methods till they stood committed of palpable unfitness”-standing so committed—that is to say, by the authority that is not to be gainsayed—of Mr. Carlyle. And what did he give poor Sterling in return? The reply to such a query is in the dying complaint of the soul that was passing away-viz., " CERTAINTY, indeed, I have none." The good Archdeacon Hare, however, looks on that death-bed at Ventnor, and has hope in the latent faith that he believes never was surrendered by him who lay there in confessed uncertainty. Carlyle smiles and exclaims, “In no scene or epoch could he have been a Church saint.” Thus, though the sunshine of hope illumines that little room, the sombre shadow of Mephistopheles lies darkly athwart the motionless body that rests therein.
Art. VI.-The IIistory of Mary, Queen of Scots. By F. A.
MIGNET. Two vols. London: Bentley. 1851.
THROUGH some centuries to come at the least, and probably so long as we remain a nation, we shall look back to the events of the sixteenth century as among the most important in our historical annals. Our ecclesiastical polity then underwent a change; and a change so great, so beneficial, and so much to the purpose, that the future destinies of England may be said to have been altogether directed by it, its influence being still extensively felt in all portions of our widely-extended and scattered empire, and throughout the daily increasing territories of the American republic. We owe all that we have, indeed, of our prosperity at home and of our possessions abroad to that intellectual freedom which we then gained, and which we have ever since used with so much profit to ourselves, and with so much benefit to all the people over whom our power extends. . In the instruments of that change, in the characters who chiefly figure in the scenes of those times, we are long likely to take an interest: they all unconsciously to themselves worked out great and lasting results, while selfishly striving to gratify some pique or some passion or to gaiu some petty object of very temporary importance. But it is no easy matter, either very clearly or correctly, to understand what were the motives and the deeds of some of the most important of the personages who lived in this island in the sixteenth century: it was difficult in some cases to get at the only trustworthy documents that the times themselves supplied, and where such documents were to be found was to many unknown; and, besides this, party prejudices and predilections clouded and obscured the subject whatever light any newly-discovered manuscript might throw upon it; and there never was a history written in which party spirit more prevailed among the writers than in the history of Mary, Queen of Scots. Writers wrote of her for strictly party purposes for political objects—and judged for or against her more because of her strict adherence to the tenets of the Church of Rome than for all else besides. She was the representative of a class in the religious world, and therefore her guilt as a woman is denied or asserted very much, indeed, according to the creed, or politics, or nation, of the historian who treats of her. That she was a most captivating subject to write upon, and that she afforded by her conduct and her varied fortune a very wide scope for the most imaginative writer to discurse in, there is no question ; her early and brief prosperity and her lasting adversity, her beauty, her ability, her fascinations and her indiscretions, her duplicity and her cruelty, her frequent triumphs and her as constant reverses, her passions and her vengeance, her intrigues and her misfortunes, her very chequered career, her brief and turbulent public life, and her untimely death, are so many subjects of more or less mournful or stirring interest upon which every writer has enlarged according to his discretion; and as he has been discreet or not, or just or not, so in general has the reader been instructed or dissatisfied:
Notwithstanding, however, all that has hitherto been written concerning the Scottish Queen, the public mind is by no means of one accord as to her guilt or innocence of the very serious crimes with which she was in her life-time so directly charged. Even the unprejudiced, who would willingly have formed an unbiassed opinion concerning her—who would have been influenced by no family or party considerations—have been frequently prevented from coming to any decision respecting her knowledge of, or her complicity in, the murder especially of her husband, because of the divided opinions of the historians themselves upon the matter. Among the many of these we may mention, as fully persuaded that she was implicated in that most revolting affair, the historians Robertson, Hume, Laing, Hallam, Turner, Raumer; while there are others who would justify her, as Lingard, Goodall, Whittaker, and Tytler. There will, however, we conjecture, be an end to all doubt about the Queen's participation in many of the guilty deeds of which she was accused with all who read these volumes. The new sources of information to which Mr. Mignet has had access, and the very important documents he has copied from the archives of Simancas—from the confidential letters of the Spanish ambassadors in England, and Rome, and France, with their Sovereigns and with each other, from 1558 to 1588—have instructed us most soundly upon many subjects we have hitherto had but very little insight into, and will enable us to form a very clear and correct judgment of much that has hitherto been but very imperfectly understood.
What Mary would have been in other times and under other circumstances, with a less talented and interfering Sovereign than Elizabeth on the English throne, and a less fierce and inflexible Presbyterian reformer than Knox-hourly denouncing and aggravating her in her own capital—we can only form very vague conjectures upon; but there is reason to conclude that, with a greater freedom of will than was generally allowed to her, her passions would have been more violent, her tyranny more absolute, and her indiscretions more abundant. There