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which led them to regard such a contin- field House compact was the consequence, gency as the harbinger of Ireland's disen- by which Ireland was given over to his tenthralment; and it soon became manifest der mercies; and the anomalous and porthat there were irreconcilable differences tentous spectacle was presented, of a Britbetween the Old and the Young Irelanders, ish administration, controlled and manaand that the one were ready to brave all cled by an agitator who had excited the consequences in a reckless daring for their masses of Ireland to the verge of treason. country's rights; while the other, after an- Offences for which former demagogues paid cient Pistol's fashion, talked, indeed, "very the penalty of exile, or forfeited their lives, brave words," but took, at the same time, he found sources of personal emolument, very good care to let I dare not' wait and political consideration; and had the upon I would,'" like the old cat in the Young Irelanders been only quiescent unadage. der his rule, there is no amount of mischief Thus, the very turbulence and insubordi- which he would not have finally accomnation by which the agitator had bullied plished, until, by obtaining concession after and terrified successive governments, were concession of constitutional principle and now turned against himself. The Young Protestant strength, he had succeeded in efIrelanders now became his "difficulty." fecting the dismemberment of the empire. He had nourished and brought up children, Of the mistakes and oversights thus made, whose countenances reflected the very fea- we are now reaping the bitter fruits. The tures of their parent, and they rebelled dragon's teeth were then sown, which have against him. Not only did they urge him since sprung up into armed men. When to bolder measures, and threaten revolt, if turbulence was made the arbiter of order, their demands were not complied with, but it is not surprising that "confusion worse they were perpetually making inconvenient confounded," should be produced. Former allusions to matters of account, and de- demagogues had to wrestle with the law; manding a full and satisfactory explana- here the laws were placed in abeyance to tion of the expenditure of the vast sums the popular disturber, and the Arch Agiwhich had been raised for repeal purposes, tator himself was enabled" to bestride our by the enthusiasm of the people. This was narrow world, like a colossus," "while we, "the unkindest cut of all." It struck the little men," were compelled " to peep about, dictator in the tenderest part, and clearly and find ourselves dishonorable graves." proved to him that his supremacy was no When, at length, treason had reached a longer undisputed. We will not say that height beyond which endurance was imposhe sank under the blow; but his warmest sible, the mode of dealing with it was alpartisans ascribed to the annoyances thus most as reprehensible as the previous neglect experienced from the impracticable perti- by which it had been rendered so alarming. nacity of the Young Irelanders, the rapid The monster meetings, which never should increase of the maladies which hurried the old man to his grave.

have been suffered to assemble, were attacked by a monster indictment, which was But the evils that he caused have not almost as unwieldy in the hands of the law been buried with him. Too long was he officers, as the danger which it was intended suffered to make a sport of the laws; too to avert was tremendous. The case required long was he suffered to trade upon agita- a supersession of the ordinary clemency of tion. He found those very acts and princi- the laws. A power of intimidation had ples a passport to power and influence, been suffered to prevail, which rendered it which in former and better times would in a high degree improbable, that they have led to another species of exaltation. could be wisely or fearlessly administered. He waged, for nearly a half a century, a Such, and so open, was the seditious vioguerilla warfare against the institutions of lence of the disaffected, that the principal the country. At first he was neglected, be- difficulty of the law officers was to know cause he was despised; and, finally, he was whether what they were about to prosecute tolerated, if not encouraged, because he was as sedition, should not be prosecuted as feared, if not respected. A conservative treason-and, had the bolder course been government made the fatal mistake, of ad- taken, it would have been justified by the mitting him and his faction to power, upon result, and agitation, in the person of Mr. grounds of intimidation and alarm; and a O'Connell, would have received a blow from Whig government soon found that they which it could not have speedily recovered. could not stand without him. The Litch- As the case was managed, contrary to all

probability, a verdict was obtained; but | Many believed, that by no stretch of power, no moral result was produced; and the could the career of the demagogue now be demagogues exulted in their defeat, as in a arrested; and when, in almost regal state, victory. The following extract is exceed- he took his place in the Rotunda, to reingly instructive, and clearly shows how Mr. ceive the declarations and addresses of the O'Connell felt both before and after this deputations who came from various parts of abortive prosecution;-how seriously he the country, to tender to him their congratuwas affected when he apprehended (as well tion and confidence- we had almost said he might) that the charge against him would their homage and allegiance-the scene was be made a capital felony; and how lightly one of the most imposing that could be he regarded it as soon as he found that he imagined, and might well be called the was to be indicted only for a seditious con- very apotheosis of agitation. spiracy.

It was while he was in prison that poor Smith O'Brien declared himself an out-and

"On the following day, the 12th of October, a report was spread that the Government would out repealer. The delight of the imprisoned prosecute upon a charge of high treason. O'Con- Agitator at this accession, was quite unnell's spirits, which had previously been excellent, bounded. seemed suddenly and greatly depressed by this information. He knew that the Government would "On being visited by Smith O'Brien (who had not risk a prosecution for high treason without joined the Repealers at the commencement of the first being thoroughly certain of the jury. It was prosecutions), he took him by both hands, saying, true, he said, that he should have the privilegeI think it was Providence that raised you up to of challenging the jury, a privilege which in a us in our need; I look on your adhesion as inmere prosecution for sedition he would not pos- dicative of what Providence will yet do for us.' sess; but the materials from which Dublin panels were taken were so leavened with bigoted orangeism, that he looked on his life as the certain forfeit. But,' said he, I scarcely think they will attempt a prosecution for high treason-though, Alas, poor man! what does he himself indeed, there is hardly any thing too desperate for now think of the course upon which he then them to attempt! If they do, I shall make my adventured? We shall not hazard a conconfession, and prepare for death. Such a step would either immensely accelerate Repeal, or else throw it further back than ever.'

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"But the real nature of the prosecution was speedily made known to the traversers. When O'Connell heard that he and his fellow-patriots were to be tried for a conspiracy,' he scoffed at the whole proceedings, as likely, indeed, to be harassing and tedious, but in no other respect formidable. One day he said to John O'Connell, I do not think two years' imprisonment would kill me; I should keep constantly walking about, and take a bath every day.'

"But why talk of imprisonment at all? returned John; surely there is, please God, no danger of it.'

"I take the most discouraging view of the case,' said his father"in order to be prepared for the worst.""

"Mr. O'Brien's junction at this crisis was of very great value to the Repeal cause. O'Connell said that he did the best thing at the best time.””

jecture.

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.-A summary of the Committees which have been sitting this session, Public and Election Committees, and Committees on Private and Railway Groups, is given in the Appendix, with the names of the Member of days of their sittings. This will showbers who have been serving on them, and the num

44 Public Committees, some of them of more than usual importance, with an average number of fifteen Members serving on each Committee.

28 Election Committees, with five Members serving on each Committee.

14 Groups on Railway Bills, with five Members serving on each Group.

17 Groups on Private Bills, with five Members
serving on each Group.

112 Other Committees on Private Bills.
Of the Public Committees, that on
Commercial Distress, sat
Sugar and Coffee Planting, sat
Navy, Army, and Ordnance Ex-
penditure, sat

39 days.

39 days.

40 days.

37 days.

Miscellaneous Expenditure, sat The average number of petitions presented durthe five years ending 1842 the average rose to ing the five years ending 1837 was 7,436; during 14,014, being an increase of 6,578 over that of the preceding five years; during the five years ending 1847, the average rose to 16,397, being an increase

The prosecution ended in his committal to Richmond Penitentiary, for a period of three months, when the decision of the House of Lords, by which the verdict against him was set aside, procured his enlargement; which took place in grand procession, and with every circumstance which could mark his triumph over the government. Numerous were now the accessions to repeal. Demonstration after demonstra- of 2,383 over that of the preceding five years. tion took place, which marked the progress present session is upwards of 18,450.-Report of The number of petitions presented during the which it was making in the public mind. [Special Committee.

From the British Quarterly Review.

LIFE AND WRITINGS OF JOHN STERLING.

Essays and Tales, by John Sterling: collected and edited, with a Memoir of his Life. By JULIUS CHARLES HARE, Rector of Herstmonceux. 2 vols. 8vo. Parker: London, 1848.

THE life of John Sterling must not be pro- | house, from which his genius, in later life, nounced a failure. The accomplished in drew large supplies of embellishment. Inhis history, indeed, is small, compared with dications of the pulmonary disease, which what he might achieved under more auspi- so much impeded, and at length terminated cious circumstances. But in him there was his course, were observable even from his an ill match, from the beginning, between childhood. He was a pupil at two private the superior and inferior nature. The body schools, before being admitted to Christ's soon gave signs of being unable to obey the Hospital; and in his nineteenth year, he demands made upon it by the higher power entered Trinity College, Cambridge. In to which it owed subjection. This fact was his boyhood, the loss of an elder brother not favorable to anything like severe disci- had deeply affected him, and awakened pline in early life, and prevented his assign- considerable religious feeling. It was at ing that larger space to the obscure processes Cambridge that he became known to Mr. of self-culture and acquisition which would Hare, the editor of these fragments, and have brought his faculties into most ad- the author of the interesting memoir which vantageous action. But his was a highly- precedes them. gifted and a noble nature, though hard to restrain from a too early authorship, and liable "Here," says the biographer, "I was soon atto a somewhat unsteady course, from the tracted by the marks of his genial intellect and want of a better "grounding" in many things spirit. A good scholar, indeed, in the common at the outset. Twenty years since, there was men become so, without going through a regular sense of that phrase, he never was: few Englisha clique of talented young men about Lon-course of scholastic instruction. But he was don, just entering public life, from whose something better, inasmuch as he soon showed lips we often heard the name of Sterling, that he could relish and delight in the beauty of men who appreciated his genius, and were Greek poetry, and the practical and speculative confident in their predictions that he was a wisdom of Greek history and philosophy. Thus man to "do something." And now his began an acquaintance which subsequently ripened into one of the most precious friendships race is run, and these two volumes of frag-vouchsafed to me during my life.”—p. 9. ments are all that we possess! How com

mon a piece of history is this! In life, how But Cambridge disappointed Sterling; often are we reminded, that the morning and the causes of this disappointment, as must not be taken as a prophet to the even- stated by Mr. Hare, deserve attention, as ing. Here, as elsewhere nature puts forth her blossoms in much greater abundance than her fruits. The fragments in these volumes, however, are of no ordinary character; and before we call the reader's attention to them, it may be proper to make him a little better acquainted with their

author.

bearing on the utility of the system which has grown up with our older universities, and which is still to so large an extent obstinately retained:

"In the regular course of the studies at the university, Sterling did not take much part. Of the genial young men who go to Cambridge, many do not. This is greatly to be regretted. For even John Sterling was born at Kames Castle, where the alternative is not blank idleness, or inin the Isle of Bute, in July, 1806. In 1810, tellectual self-indulgence and dissipation, it is a his parents removed to Llanblithian, in misfortune for a young man to lose the disciplinaGlamorganshire, where they remained until ry influence of a prescribed system, and the di1814. In 1815, they settled in London. rection and encouragement of intelligent guides. Thus his earliest recollections connected It is perilous to set sail on such a sea as that of him with some of the wildest and most and so many whirlpools to swallow us up, and knowledge, with so many sirens to lure us astray, beautiful appearances of nature; and these yet to have no compass or pilot. The blame, memories of the distant and the past be- however, in such cases, does not rest wholly with came to him as an almost sacred treasure- the pupils. One of the mischievous consequences

from the prevalence of that hollow fallacy, that made a most warm and grateful record. emulation in the chief spring and spur of intellectual Of the sixteen papers included in the first activity, has been to narrow the range of studies of these two volumes, ten were published to such as afford the greatest facilities for instituting a comparison among the numerous competi- in the Athenæum, at that time, besides tors; that is, to such as present definite, tangible the Travels of Theodore Elbert, which results, measurable grain by grain. Where a extend to nearly a hundred pages in the positive scale is adopted, this is not requisite: but second volume, and some half-dozen tales. where each candidate is to have his relative place By the way, we exceedingly regret that Mr. assigned to him, the subject-matter of the compe- Hare, who, upon the whole, has discharged tition must be determinate, and of such a kind his function as editor with so much judgthat the proficiency of each in it may be ascertain

able with exactitude. It is true, this is quite impos- ment and good taste, should have fallen sible: lesser merits will often be estimated above into the unpardonable blunder of arranging higher ones, and much will ever depend upon these papers in so unchronological a manchance, but hence it has come to pass that almost ner. In the course of the first volume, we the only study specially fostered by the university, leap from 1828 to 1842; and in the second and rewarded by its honors, except the various volume, we have to make our way back branches of mathematical science, is classical phi-again to the beginning of that interval. lology, of a somewhat meagre kind, hardly rising The rhyme or reason of this we cannot disbeyond grammatical criticism, and the minute de

tails of archeology. But if a certain class of stu- cover. In reading the papers of an author, dies is specially encouraged, those which are left as in reading his life, we wish to begin at without this encouragement are in a manner dis- the beginning, and to go on from the midcouraged. The contrast of the sunshine deepens dle to the end. We have met with some the shade. When a race is going on, they who other instances of this sort, where the error do not join in it are mostly mere bystanders, with has surprised and annoyed us not a little. no higher object than amusement. At all events, But to return: the following is Mr. Hare's they cannot partake in the benefit of being swayed and borne along by a common impulse; they lose judgment concerning these early producthe stimulus, so powerful with the young, of tions of his friend :sympathy in a common pursuit: and if they follow any peculiar studies by themselves, they are "These writings show powers of imagination thereby set in a kind of opposition to authority and reflection very remarkable in a young man of and established institutions, are led to look upon two-and-twenty. Perhaps the most striking and them with dislike, if not with disdain, and to feel precious quality in them, is the deep sympathy ⚫ an overweening confidence in their own wisdom. with the errors and faults, and even with the sins It is often made a matter of complaint, that men of mankind, a sympathy which, in different modes, of the world, men who act a prominent part in characterizes the works of his two great friends, public life, feel little affection for their university. Mr. Maurice and Mr. Carlyle, more than almost For this there are various grounds; some of them any writers I know of, and which was a main connected with the ordinary temper of the years cause of his warm admiration for the latter. This spent there, which is seldom reverential: but one sympathy was awakened by very different contemcause assuredly is, that the university, in many plations, and proceeded from very different grounds cases, has done next to nothing for them. Under a from those which lead our great poet to lament. conviction of this sort, Sterling when he left Cam- What man has made of man;' but it concurred bridge, wrote of it in the " Athenæum" as misera- with him in that lamentation. It arose from the bly failing in fulfilling its office, and took a warm deep consciousness of partaking in the same sinful interest in the new London University, in which nature: but, while it acknowledged the power of he hoped that what seemed to him the capital de-circumstances in making men what they are, it fects of our older universities might be remedied. did not therefore exonerate the will from its moral This may be censured by some as presumptuous; responsibility, nor would it have left men to conbut it arose from the feeling that the university tinue what they are. It yearned with passionate had not supplied him with the discipline and teaching which he needed."-pp. 10-13.

intensity, not merely to improve their circumstances, but also to speak to and emancipate their will, by calling out the conscience from its state of stagnation, or of maimed, crushed inertness. Had Sterling's health allowed him to lead an active life, to this work he would have devoted it. This was what he always set before him, when he

Sterling left Cambridge, accordingly, in 1827, and without taking his degree. In 1828, the "Athenæum" was started, and Sterling appears to have contributed more than any other man to give to that journal the high place which it at once attained. sure from the debility and comparative languor ocMr. Maurice, his friend, and subsequent-casioned by the encroachments of disease."—pp. ly his relative, was the editor; and of the 34, 35. great benefit which he derived from the kindred spirit of that gentleman, he has

was most himself. When he was fain to content himself with lower aims, it arose in a great mea

While thus employed, Sterling became

known to Coleridge, and was greatly influ- haste, will do nothing well; the temptation enced in the future complexion of his to sacrifice truth to partizanship; the inthinking and taste by that event. His ducement to look large, and to become worship, indeed, was extended almost disputatious and dogmatic; and the covert equally to Coleridge and Wordsworth. offered to all indulgences of this sort by These authors, with a good lift from Nie- the anonymous character of such writingbuhr to boot, gave him his first effectual all these, it must be confessed, are circumhelp in getting out of the slough of Ben- stances fraught with danger to the author thamism. The wonder is, that such a na- and to the man. Hence the men who enture should ever have found its way into gage in such service are generally of two the said slough, even for a season. That classes-those who find in it the most accesthe man who, if our memory does not de-sible means of subsistence; and those who, ceive us, was his frequent antagonist in much as they might prefer some calmer and youthful debate, Mr. Roebuck should live more deliberate employment of their faculand die in that marsh of conceit and ill-ties, give themselves to labor in this form, temper, is not so difficult to understand. in the hope of doing service to great inteTouching power in debate, the skill of rests that might otherwise suffer injury. Sterling in this respect appears to have Most literary men, indeed, have their mobeen extraordinaryments when they are disposed to throw their thoughts, and the results of their

he

"In the debating society at Cambridge," says reading, into the space and shape suitable Mr. Hare," Sterling was one of the most promi- to periodical literature; but we can hardly nent members. I have been told by several of the most intelligent among his contemporaries, that, of conceive of a man of real capacity giving himall the speakers they ever heard, he had the great-self wholly to such authorship from choice. est gift of natural eloquence. On this I never had Nevertheless, poverty-the scholar's bride adequate means for forming a judgment; but his—may wed him to it, or a mental restlessconversational powers were certainly among the ness which unfits a man for giving a very most brilliant I have witnessed. In carrying on continuous attention to any one subject, or an argument I have known no one comparable some higher motive, may prompt him to be with him. In addition to the secondary merits of a rich command of language and illustration, thus self-denying. Sterling appears soon used to show a mastering of the subject matter, to have become aware of the unhealthy inproceeding from the singular clearness of his un-fluence of this kind of labor on his own imderstanding and readiness of his knowledge, which mature knowledge and imperfect mental even when his adversaries had chosen ground discipline. It is thus he expresses himself where they fancied themselves at home, took them on this point :by surprise and confounded them. He seemed like a skilful chess-player, who knew by antici"The desultory, fragmentary kind of thinking to pation how his opponent was going to move, nay, which I am too prone, is encouraged by the habit foresaw a long series of moves, and, like Socrates, of composition for a weekly journal; and I feel so would push him on, move after move, till he sud-strongly the necessity of educating myself, that I denly found himself checkmated. At times, too, should be glad if it were possible not to let a line he would maintain a contest of this sort against of mine be printed for some years to come. But I half a dozen antagonists at once, holding the reins fear this cannot be: I must go on sacrificing the of four or six in hand without letting them get en- future to the present; grinding my seed-corn, and tangled, answering all in turn, and having a suffi-cutting down my saplings. The time is not yet cient answer for each.”—p. 31.

our

come in my case for acting directly upon others.' Then, after mentioning a projected tour in Germany, he adds: To spend some time at Berlin or Gottingen would undoubtedly be of great advantage to me, inasmuch as at all events it would take me away from the busy idleness of London, and the wretched technicalities of trade literature.

There is some affinity between this readi ness in debate, and the skill with which Mr. Sterling acquitted himself in the walks of periodical criticism. But such criticism, somewhat addicted to it as we are selves, we must venture to say is consider-I am not so sure that I should gain more by going ably hazardous both to the literary and from anything like my present occupations, and abroad, than by withdrawing myself, if possible, moral taste of the young man who happens calmly studying for inward, instead of outward to find his chief occupation in it. The de- ends."-pp. 35, 36. mand incessantly made, that such writers should aim at the showy and the brilliant- The reader will not be surprised to find, the style so much coveted by our literary that with such feeling Mr. Sterling ere long dram-drinkers; the certainty that the man separated himself for a while from connecwho does many things, and all in much tions which compelled him to go on pro

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