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selves. One of the Paris prints, most hostile to the English, was constrained to admit the love and confidence of their rivals in their laws, and their own detestation and opposition to them. The cause of this, says the Presse, is, that in England the spirit of the law is tutelary and beneficent-in France it is oppressive and malevolent.
The loss, too, under the second revolution, of occasions for national display, was, perhaps, on the whole, the great cause of its unpopularity. No nation ever lived so little for itself or was willing to pay so much out of its own pocket for external applause. It is one of the strongest characteristics of the French that, when grumbling under the pressure of internal distress, they are certain to wind up their complaints with some allusion to foreign policy; and, thus, they have the misery and misfortune of taking external politics for the ground of dispute between their internal parties. With us the dissensions of party have been miserable enough ; but at least they have been grounded on home measures—they have led to the examination of home grievances--they have made our statesmen acquainted with home wants. We, at least, have our disputes to ourselves : no frightened foreigner is alarmed at their result, or begins to put himself on his guard against the troublesome meddlers who are everlastingly complaining of the mismanagement of their own business, and yet are never contented unless they are settling that of other people. The divisions of party on any question of external matter are sufficiently dangerous; but what can we say when these divisions are based on nothing else. The negligence of internal questions
produced by this state of things is yet more lamentable... An Englishman, proprietor of the largest manufacturing establishment in the south of France, once told us that, being summoned before M. Guizot on the subject of some commercial questions, he had to correct on every point the minister's notions of the industrial habits and feelings of the southern population of his own country !
The dissatisfaction of the general population of France was mainly held in check by the immense patronage at the disposal of the governments. From the earliest times of the modern system, this patronage has been turned to the same account: the writers and orators of the reign of Louis XV. are to be found successively at the feet of the royal mistresses asking for places. The number of places in France has been estimated at 250,000. Even under the present unsettled rule, patronage has immense influence in keeping the nation in order. The subsistence of half the educated portion of the community depends more or less on the will of the government; and as the
value of the places range from 101. annually to 8001. and upwards, the discontented in each of the higher classes are kept in check from the dread of losing something, either for themselves or their relatives.
It may be possible that the recollection of former terrorsthat interest in the maintenance of some degree of regularity throughout the nation-or that the dread of provoking foreign intervention may prevent the French from giving way to the more violent of their present advisers. The future is too cloudy for us to hazard even a guess concerning it. But it will be a hopeless task to give them
that spontaneous inclination for quiet which alone can insure prosperity to themselves or free their neighbours from apprehension. As long as it is their chief anxiety to appear conspicuous in the eyes of others--as long as they continue to dress out the body politic in the frills and finery which used once to be the caricature of the individual Frenchman-as long as they talk of their mission to give the rest of the world that liberty and prosperity which they have as yet been unable to secure for themselves, so long will France be thwarted in all her foreign movements by universal distrust and suspicion. At home, she has yet to learn that modern progress is not aided by the promulgation of vague notions and undefined theories, but by the earnest cultivation of tangible and positive improvement. Until she has satisfied herself of this, so far from finding herself foremost in that “spirit of the age” which her theorists are so fond of quoting, she will with difficulty prevent herself from falling behind every nation of Europe in the social, moral, and political order to have established which was not long ago the chief boast of the modern era. Even yet, amidst the present storms, enough, we trust, may be discerned of the real feelings of the European nations to give us some confidence that this boast may not altogether be annulled.
Art. IV.-1. The Life and Adventures of Oliver Goldsmith.
A Biography in Four Books. By John FORSTER. One
Vol. 8vo., 704 pages. 1848. 2. The Life of Gerald Griffin, Esg. By his Brother, DANIEL
GRIFFIN, M.D. London: 1843.
OLIVER GOLDSMITH first saw the light just one hundred and twenty years ago. When this period is considered, one might almost rank him with ancient authors; but the truth is, he is still of our time. There are yet persons living of our generation who have looked upon and who remember his plain yet intellectual face; and when we recollect that he himself was contemporaneous with individuals who, in their childhood, had seen another great Oliver in Ireland, Oliver Cromwell, it brings the regicide himself to our minds as a man of yesterday. However this may be, Goldsmith, as we have said, was born one hundred and twenty years ago (1728). Half-a-dozen Greek cities claim the honour of being each the original cradle of Homer: two Irish towns dispute the glory of having produced Goldsmith, Elphin and Pallasmore. Mr. Forster disagrees with Dr. Mitford, and adopts the legend on the commemorative stone in Westminster Abbey, awarding to Pallasmore the credit of having rocked and starved the most unpromising of children who was destined to become the great favourite of
Oliver was one of a tolerably large family who looked up to their father, a clergyman, for support, comfort, and instruction. Imperial babes are born in the purple: Goldsmith was born wrapped up in the regrets of those whose slender store he came to decrease. There was an ancient tribe of Thebans, as there is said to be an existing tribe of Mexicans, with whom it was the custom to hail every new birth with tears and groaning, The welcome of poor Oliver was hardly more cheerful : every evil fairy, with Want at their head, attended his coming : each of the tiny people dowered him with an inevitable curse; but a good spirit descended as he lay on his mother's bosom, and the crying child was hushed into smiling, and the heavy heart of that poor mother was solaced, and the world was made glad ; for the promise was given that he of the saddened soul should give joy to the souls of others—that the mission of the sufferer should be to alleviate suffering—that ills inflicted should be borne with a manly spirit, and that for his trials during life, he should be awarded renown imperishable and affection undying as long as time itself should endure. Men of heroic mould purchase fame at a fearful price. To few has it cost so much as to Goldsmith; but if his spirit be permitted to revisit the pale glimpses of the moon, and be conscious of the veneration which is paid to his memory, we have no doubt but that a smile of content testifies to the truth that, even on earth, there has been compensation made for earth's trials.
The unwelcome son of the poor clergyman was, like other poor children, dragged up rather than brought up. Dulness and misadventure marked him for their own. Elizabeth Delap tried in vain to teach him to read. To give him the chance of arriving at instruction under severe discipline, he was sent to an old soldier ; but from him the stupid boy caught nothing more than a love for telling stories (which has made the world grateful), and an attack of confluent small-pox which rendered Oliver hideous.
If variety of classical instructors could secure good scholar. ship, Goldsmith ought to have been a phenomenon. Successively at Elphin, at Athlone, and at Edgeworthstown, did he pursue his shy acquaintance with the old men of ancient lore, but to little purpose: his stupidity was irritating. There was no sympathy for one at once so ugly and obtuse. Had he been as fair and unprincipled as the curled son of Climas, people would have pardoned him his lack of sense, and a patron might have placed him in the Treasury. Ugly and honest, he was destined to stand behind a counter; but the good fairy had not forgotten her nursling. At this very turning point of his fate she breathed into him the spirit of poetry: the dull lump of clay was illuminated with intelligence : the cold statue was vivified by the Promethean spark from heaven: he who could not comprehend the poetry of others wrote a stanza of his own. His kindred cried, “A genius ;” and, as Irish kinsmen love the genius of which they are by blood a portion, it was unanimously decreed that the genius should proceed to Trinity College, Dublin. Thither it went in the capacity of sizar, and there the friend of Johnson and of Burke was expected to gain knowledge and refinement by sweeping out the court-yard, making beds, waiting at table, and studying, without means or encouragement to study. This
may be called the first step in Oliver Goldsmith's public life, and it was marked by a circumstance which typified every subsequent step made by him in his vexed and painful career: he always failed, or, if he ever succeeded, it was with narrow escape of failure. The first exemplification of this, distinguished his ambitious attempt to achieve this exalted sizarship: only eight candidates could be successful, and Oliver was the last of the eight. In field phrase he was not distanced, and that was the utmost of which he could boast or his friends be proud. His college career was influenced, perhaps, by this inglorious success; and Goldsmith was slow in all things but the indulgence of his own dreamy waywardness. The year of his entrance was that eventful year in which the Stuarts had well nigh shaken the house of Brunswick into ruins: it was a year rich in rebellion and executions: the hangman and the balladsinger profited by both; and the poet not only gave fame to the victim but won it for himself in describing the sacrifice. In this year Shenstone immortalized his " Jemmy Dawson” in a slipshod measure which told a narrative, than which the world had never heard a tale
“So sad, so tender, yet so true.” We are not enabled to say whether Shenstone's example moved the young sizar, or that he wrote from direct inspiration. However this may be, it is clear that the pennyless student, instead of studying Homer's ballads as was his duty, wrote ballads of his own, as much from inclination as necessity: these were sold to the Dublin Catchpole—the Mæcenas of starved rhymers---who printed them in primitive style, and retailed them to the street-singers whose vocation it was to recite them to ambulatory audiences, with “vocal voices most vociferous.” The poor author used to steal into the streets by night and listen to the applause awarded by critical hearers to his songs. Would that these could be recovered ! Indefatigable Mr. Tegg, who is the greatest purchaser of “remainders” of any bibliopolist in Europe, would immortalize his house, and gratify innumerable firesides, were he to announce to the world an edition of the recovered ballads of Goldsmith, the sizar.
Oliver was a candidate for a scholarship. He failed, of course ; but he got an exhibition worth a poor annual thirty shillings, and in attaining this he was seventeenth on a list of nineteen successful candidates ! It was all but failure, and his triumph had all the consequences of failure; for it involved him in a college riot-the offspring of a convivial party given by him to celebrate his equivocal victory; and this riot was followed by his running away from college, his endurance of much suffering, and his return in disgrace. He endeavoured to wipe out the latter by going up for his B.A. He just and only just succeeded: he was the lowest on the list, and there was little difference of qualification between him and the next candidate, who had the honour of heading the oi rollo of unfortunates.
He left college without regret, and repaired to the parental roof to prepare for admission into the Church. His course of preparation was a strange one. It occupied the period intervening between his twenty-first and his twenty-third year, and it consisted chiefly of making resolves and not keeping them. The remaining portion comprised fishing, rambling, and presiding over a tavern-club, the best merits of whose members consisted in telling old tales and singing miscellaneous songs. Iu due time, however, Oliver went up to the Bishop of Elphin. The only orders he received was a command to return home and prepare himself more seriously for the office to which he aspired. This was doubtless a disappointment; but what other