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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 afforded. He 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.
SIR THOMAS BERNARD.
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
CONTEST WITH A RECTOR.
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 considered 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; 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
but without avail.
Christian submission to the logic of his opponent. Considering the position of the parties, the doctor in and the curate in power 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-eigh 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.
readily be accounted for. They have, what may be remarked attending all superior minds, an air, a voice of authority.
Though setting out with the zeal of a reformer in the pulpit, Sydney Smith really attempted little innovation upon its habitual practice His published sermons have nothing special to distinguish them from many others of their class. He probably found, on experiment, that there was little room for originality in compositions of necessity circumscribed by various limitations; and had the good sense to recognise the boundary. In the Church of England, the admirable liturgy leaves little to be asked of the sermon. Sydney Smith was content that the Church should be her own expounder in matters of doctrine; and directed his attention to the practical religious obligations of life. His sermons, subsequently preached at St. Paul's, and to his country congregations, of which a volume was published after his death,* are grave and earnest, instinct with the solemnities of life and death.
Sermons Preached at St. Paul's Cathedral, the Foundling Hospital, and several churches in London; together with others addressed to a country congregation, by the late Rev. Sydney Smith, Canon Residentiary of St. Paul's Cathedral. London, 1846. Two of the sermons in this collection, "On the Excellence of the Christian Gospel," and "On the Necessity of Prayer," were freely borrowed from Dr. Barrow. The usage of the English pulpit would seem to allow some liberty in this particular. Sydney Smith himself tells us, in one of his letters (No. 545 in the collection) that he preached Dr. Channing's sermon on war in St. Paul's Cathedral: "I thought I could not write anything half so good, so I preached Channing." Channing's direct, manly self-reliance pleased him, the pith of his style, and his separation of great moral themes from disabling exceptions. These qualities are all to be observed as belonging to Sydney Smith himself.
The Christian Observer for June, 1846, makes a grave representation of Sydney Smith's obligation to Barrow. The publication, it should be remerabered, was not an act of Smith but of his executors. A similar negligence occurred in the posthumous publication of the sermons of the American Bishop Ravenscroft, one of the most esteemed divines of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Sydney Smith, but little indebted to the books of others for the honours of his writings, cannot be supposed to have practised any wilful deception to heighten his reputation. Writing of the imputation
of receiving attention for articles in the Edinburgh Review not from his pen, he says: "I should have considered myself the have disguised myself in another man's wit and
lowest of created beings to sense, and to have received