that intellectual luxury, the speculative, appreciative, picturesque Article a profound and entertaining compound of metaphysics, biography, history and criticism of the highest gusto.

The momentum of Jeffrey increased as he proceeded, his treatment growing more easy, varied and commanding; Smith struck his peculiar vein at the outset. The latter wrote seven articles for the

first number of the Edinburgh. His first paragraph was a famous description of Dr. Parr's wig, humourously turned into a quiz on the arrangement of his text and notes. A few pages further on he despatched, in two or three sentences of witty drollery, an Anniversary Sermon before the Humane Society, by a Doctor in Divinity. There are also some grave words of counsel administered to Dr. Rennell, Master of the Temple, for his aptness "to put on the appearance of a holy bully, an evangelical swaggerer, as if he could carry his point against infidelity by big words and strong abuse, and kick and cuff men into Christians." A Mr. John Bowles is also pungently rebuked for his vulgar style of writing on the affairs of France. In fine, there is proof in this very first number, of that moral courage, and of most of those brilliant powers of thought and expression which, for nearly half a century after, were the delight of Smith's intimates among the brightest and most cultivated men of England. His style appears to have been fully formed: nor is it any marvel, as, with the favourable natural disposition which he inherited, he had been a precocious youth in his studies; had been well disciplined at Oxford; since sluggish fortune had afforded him opportunity for meditation on the silent desert of Salisbury Plain, and the habit of teaching had brought all his faculties promptly to the surface; and he had, moreover, enjoyed, for several years, the sharp contests of the Edinburgh wits, to give the keenest edge to his understanding. In October, 1802, the date of the first publication of the Edinburgh Review, he was in his thirty-second year, a mature age for his work. His contributions to the first three volumes were numerous; they were then intermitted, for a time, till they were



vigorously resumed in 1807, and continued, with little interruption, for the next twenty years. There were occasional conflicts between Sydney's humourous style and the editor's more sober judgment; but, happily for the Review, and for posterity, the wit had pretty much his own way, in spite of the snubbing. "I think," Smith writes, in 1807, to Jeffrey, "you have spoilt many of my jokes;" and we find the humourist, even after he had established a reputation, restricted "on the subject of raillery."*

The prospects of the Review did not, at the outset, promise a fortune to the contributors and projectors. Indeed, at the commencement, the literary services rendered to it were voluntary and unpaid. It was only after some consideration, and the abandonment of false notions on the subject, that it was found essential to establish the work on a sound mercantile basis, with a paid editor, and paid writers. In this period of indecision, with the purse held aloof, and with the fortunes of the Review yet to make, Sydney Smith, whose profitable pupils had now outgrown his services, taking counsel from his wife, resolved to carry his talents to London, as the best mart of intellect and literature, doubtless looking for a better field for his pulpit oratory, with better chances of church promotion than the scant episcopacy of Scotland afHe had preached frequently in the Edinburgh chapel, the assistant of its regular occupant, Bishop Sandford, with success, and had published a first collection of "Six Sermons,"† with a striking preface, commenting freely on the not uncommon lethargy, and other defects of the pulpit. He took with him, from Edinburgh, in addition, a respectable knowledge of medicine, acquired by attending the hospitals-sufficient, at least, to enrich his vocabulary with anatomical and other professional terms, occasionally employed in his writings with felicity; and practical enough to alleviate the imaginary or real ailments of his country parishioners. He became quite fond of the practice in an amateur * Letter to Jeffrey, March 17, 1822.

† Six Sermons. Edinburgh, 1800. 12mo.



way, stirring up wit with his prescriptions, and playing a merry jingle with his pestle.

Arriving in London, he at first occupied a small house in Doughty street, Russell Square, which he chose, we are told, for the legal society of the neighbourhood. His habits of mind qualified him to enjoy the best points of the profession. Romilly and Mackintosh were among his acquaintances at the time, and he rapidly found his way into the brilliant circle of wits and dinersout who centred about Holland House. The family alliance of his brother facilitated this social connection, which common political views and congenial powers of mind firmly cemented. Among the wits and statesmen who have gathered in those historical halls, sacred to literature and freedom, in the group of Lansdowne, Russell, Horner, Mackintosh, Allen, Sharp, Rogers, Moore, Luttrell, Dudley, and all that gifted race of beings, the figure of Sydney Smith will always be remembered.

But the brilliant young divine had something else to attend to, at this time, besides forming distinguished friendships. A narrow purse had to be expanded and filled, to meet the wants of an increasing family, which now included a son and daughter; Saba (his recent biographer, Lady Holland), born at Edinburgh, and Douglas. He applied himself to his profession, preaching several occasional sermons, one of which, before a company of volunteers when a French invasion seemed imminent, attracted some attention from the public. He was soon recommended by the friendship of Sir Thomas Bernard,* to an evening preachership at the

*This eminent philanthropist was the son of Sir Francis Bernard, the Colonial Governor of New Jersey and Massachusetts. He was an Alumnus of Harvard College, of the class of 1767. Returning to England, he was called to the bar in 1780, by the Society of the Middle Temple. Having become wealthy by marriage, and the practice of his profession, he devoted himself to measures of philanthropy. In 1795, he was elected treasurer of the Foundling Hospital, and adopted Count Rumford's plans for economy in food and fuel. He projected the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor, and was one of the originators, in 1799, of the Royal Institution, intended for the "improvement of the means of industry and domestic comfort



Foundling Hospital, worth fifty pounds a year, which was an important addition to his limited income. An effort made by himself to secure another position was less successful. A friend who was the owner of a chapel, at that time occupied by a congregation of Swedenborgians, offered the lease of the building to Sydney Smith. To secure the privilege of preaching in it, it was necessary to obtain the consent of the rector of the Parish. The letters addressed him on the occasion by Smith, afford the clearest proof of the necessity and poverty to which he was at this time reduced. His pride stooped to a plea for the admissibility of his talents and virtues to such a post, while he ingeniously complimented the rector, and warded off the objection to a divided interest, by reminding him that the mere surplus of his over-crowded church would fill the few seats of the chapel, which would, moreover, thus be rescued from what both must consider the vulgar and injurious doctrines of the New Jerusalemites. The rector saw in the proposal violation of church precedents, danger to the parochial establishment, and may have been naturally disinclined to admit a rival near his throne. He refused the application. Sydney, who thought it a grievance that any ranter might preach, as a matter of course, where a well-educated clergyman, with the noblest intention, could not gain admission, plied him with pleas and arguments; but without avail. The rector was determined to protect his parochial interests; and the more admirably the applicant argued, the more danger was probably seen in the request. Annoyed by the correspondence, the dignitary took refuge in an affectation of Christian submission to the logic of his opponent. Considering the position of the parties, the doctor in power and the curate in among the poor," as well as "the advancement of taste and science." Care of the chimney sweepers, a Free Chapel in the neighbourhood of the Seven Dials, Hospitals, the British Institution for the Fine Arts, the Alfred Club, were among his spirited and benevolent projects and labours. Besides his Philanthropic Reports, he wrote a little volume, Spurinna; or, the Comforts of Old Age, with Biographical Illustrations. He died in 1818, at the age of sixty-eight. A memoir of Bernard, written by his nephew, the Rev. James Baker, was published the next year.



poverty, it is but a pitiable illustration of the "pride which apes humility," which is presented by a sentence of his closing letter. "I hope never to be offended, sir," he writes, "at the freedom of any who are so kind as to teach me to know myself; and the inconsistency of my letter to you, which you are so good as to point out, is, alas! an addition to the many inconsistencies of which, I fear, I have been too often guilty through life.”

In an article in the Edinburgh Review, Sydney Smith subsequently argued the general question of the allowance of free competition of preachers within the parishes, with an express allusion to his own case. He saw, in the deprivation, a great loss of peculiar talents and efficiency to church interests, and admitted, as well, the improbability of gaining his point. "We hope nobody," he writes, "will rate our sagacity so very low, as to imagine we have much hope that any measure of the kind will ever be adopted. All establishments die of dignity. They are too proud to think themselves ill, and to take a little physic."*

Besides the poorly-paid duty at the Foundling Hospital, a favourite resort of the Londoners, for its excellent music, and the neat display of its charities, Sydney Smith also secured a morning preachership at Berkeley Chapel, where his genius and emphasis soon succeeded in covering empty benches with a flock of intelligent hearers. He afterward alternated this service with a similar duty at Fitzroy Chapel, with equal acceptability to the public. The character of these pulpit discourses, may be judged of by the "Two Volumes of Sermons" which he published under that title, at the close of this, his first London period, in 1809. They are terse in expression, marked generally by strength, propriety and dignity. There is underneath, rather than lying on the surface, a vein of genuine feeling. The occasional discourses for public charities are manly, vigorous appeals; full of sympathy for human infirmity, and confident reliance on Christian duty. Enforced by the preacher's full sonorous tones, their popular effect may

*Article on Toleration. Ed. Rev., Feb., 1811.

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