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to have been attended by "all that should accompany old age, honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,” but some faces, alas, were missing. Mackintosh, whose memory he fondly cherished, was no longer living, and others had fallen in the race. He gained, however, the alliance of Dr. Holland,* who married his daughter Saba, in 1834, and new faces came to cheer him in his home-circle.
The fifteen years assigned to the Canon of St. Paul's, bore rich fruits of his preceding culture and discipline. He had ceased contributing to the Edinburgh Review, having penned his last article-it was on the Catholic Question-in 1827. He now thought it decorous that a Church dignitary should appear openly to the world in his writings, and not shelter himself under the anonymous. His pen, however, was not idle, and he stood forth still, as ever, in pamphlets and letters to the newspapers, a champion of liberal interests, and of the rights of his order.
Having been thrown, upon his first arrival at Bristol, in 1830, into the midst of the violent agitations of the times, he met the crisis by his practical earnest advice to the uninstructed laboring classes, and his more resolute warnings to the exclusive politicians. To enlighten the poor on the value of machinery, which they were bent upon destroying, he published several cheap tracts, entitled "Letters to Swing;" while at county Reform meetings at Taunton, he levelled several most vigorous speeches at the pressing evils of the representative system. In one of these occurs his now world renowned introduction of Mrs. Partington.
The most notable of all Sydney Smith's writings on the affairs of the Establishment, were his three Letters addressed to Archdeacon Singleton, the first of which appeared in 1837, and the
* Sir Henry Holland, eminent for his literary and philosophical, as well as professional attainments. He took his degree of M. D. at Edinburgh, in 1809. In the summer of 1810 he visited Iceland, in company with Sir George Mackenzie, to whose book of travels in the island he contributed the Preliminary Dissertation and the article on Education and Literature. His "Travels in the Ionian Isles, Albania, Thessaly, Macedonia, &c., during the years 1812 and 1813," were received with favour on their publication
others at intervals of about a year. They relate to the affairs of the Whig Ecclesiastical Commission, then sitting, and chiefly to its attempted invasions of Cathedral endowments and patronage. It was proposed, among other things, to assist the revenues of the poorer clergy, by taking from a number of the larger benefices pecuniary advantages, to form a fund for the augmentation of small livings. The prebendal stalls of St. Paul's, in particular, were exposed to the shears of the projected bill. They were to be diminished in number, and their emoluments curtailed. Sydney Smith came forth resolutely to the rescue. As it was a commission of Bishops in which Deans and Chapters were not represented, and as Episcopal revenues were not to be touched, the Bishops were made to feel the full force of his wit and argument. There is some very plain talk addressed to the Bishop of London, the learned Blomfield, whose passion for government is made to appear a virtue in excess. "Here it is," Smith exclaims, citing a charge of rashness against the Bishop's classical emendations, "qualis ab incepto. He begins with Eschylus, and ends with the Church of England; begins with profane, and ends with holy innovations-scratching out old readings which every commentator had sanctioned, abolishing ecclesiastical dignities which every reformer had spared; thrusting an anapast into a verse which will not bear it; and intruding a Canon into a Cathedral which does not want it." The handling of the Bishop of Gloucester, Dr. Monk, who threw into the discussion an attack upon Sydney Smith, 66 as a scoffer and jester," is excessively severe, retorting personality for personality. There is a very neat example of mingled satire and eulogy in a page on Lord Melbourne. In these papers, too, occurs the celebrated description of Lord John Russell: "There is not a better man in England; but his worst failure is, that he is utterly ignorant of all moral fear; there is nothing he would not undertake. I believe he would perform the operation for the stone-build St. Peter's—or assume (with or without ten minutes' notice), the command of the Channel Fleet; and no one would discover, by
his manner, that the patient had died-the Church tumbled down -and the Channel Fleet been knocked to atoms."
The main argument of the Letters, which shows the Canon something of a conservative in the plurality interest, is that the reform would be unjust and injurious to the Church. It would interfere with vested rights, and, though it might tend to equalize the incomes of the clergy, the majority of them would remain very small- the individual gain would be trifling, while the great pecuniary and social rewards of the Church would be destroyed. The English Establishment, he argued, is, upon the whole, poor, but its character is maintained in a country where wealth is essential to secure respect by its high prizes. As in the profession of the bar, many are induced to enter it, and encounter every early privation with the hope of attaining its splendid positions; which also attract many persons of independent incomes, who thus supply the general deficiency of means. Destroy these glittering emoluments, and the ground will be occupied by inferior men, low, badly educated, and fanatical. "You will have a set of ranting, raving Pastors, who will wage war against all the innocent pleasures of life, vie with each other in extravagance of zeal, and plague your heart out with their nonsense and absurdity: cribbage must be played in caverns, and sixpenny whist take refuge in the howling wilderness. In this way low men, doomed to hopeless poverty, and galled by contempt, will endeavour to force themselves into station and significance."
The Chapter rights were gallantly and successfully defended from behind the entrenchments of St. Paul's, with many a dashing sortie and skirmish-without any particular delicacy as to the weapon or its stroke-with the Bishops. That his friends, the Whigs, suffered from the force of his logic was but a proof of his independent character. It was no desertion of his political principles, but evidence of his constancy to what he had always regarded as the practical welfare of the Church; while he had, shortly after, an opportunity of proving to the world how little he
LIVING OF EDMONTON.
was guided, in this defence, by his private pecuniary interests. perquisite of the Chapter of St. Paul's, the living of Edmonton, worth seven hundred pounds a year, fell to his share, on the death of his associate, Mr. Tate. According to the usage in such matters, it was expected that he would turn the emolument to his own advantage. He generously conferred the whole on the son of the late incumbent. The incident is so characteristically narrated by him, in a letter addressed to his wife, that it would be injustice to the reader not to present the scene in his own words: "I went over, yesterday, to the Tates at Edmonton. The family consists of three delicate daughters, an aunt, the old lady, and her son, then curate of Edmonton; the old lady was in bed. I found there a physician, an old friend of Tate's, attending them from friendship, who had come from London for that purpose. They were in daily expectation of being turned out from house and curacy. ... I began by inquiring the character of their servant; then turned the conversation upon their affairs, and expressed a hope the Chapter might ultimately do something for them. I then said, 'It is my duty to state to you (they were all assembled) that I have given away the living of Edmonton; and have written to our Chapter clerk this morning, to mention the person to whom I have given it; and I must also tell you, that I am sure he will appoint his curate. (A general silence and dejection.) It is a very odd coincidence,' I added, 'that the gentleman I have selected is a namesake of this family; his name is Tate. Have you any relations of that name?' 'No, we have not.' 'And, by a more singular coincidence, his name is Thomas Tate; in short,' I added, 'there is no use in mincing the matter, you are vicar of Edmonton.' They all burst into tears. It flung me, also, into a great agitation of tears, and I wept and groaned for a long time. Then I rose, and said I thought it was very likely to end in their keeping a buggy, at which we all laughed as violently.
“The poor old lady, who was sleeping in a garret because she could not bear to enter into the room lately inhabited by her
husband, sent for me and kissed me, sobbing with a thousand emotions. The charitable physician wept too. I never passed so remarkable a morning, nor was more deeply impressed with the sufferings of human life, and never felt more thoroughly the happiness of doing good."
A pamphlet on the Ballot was the most important of Sydney Smith's later productions. It appeared in 1839, when the subject was much agitated by the liberals. He opposed its introduction with his usual ingenuity and pertinacity of argument, considering it ineffective in reaching the evil, interference with the freedom of voting, it was set forth to cure. He regards it as inimical to moral courage, a foe to just responsibility and good example; citing, with unction, a reply of John Randolph, at a dinner-party in London, to the question whether ballot prevailed in his state of Virginia. "I scarcely believe," replied the American orator, “we have such a fool in all Virginia, as to mention, even, the vote by ballot; and I do not hesitate to say, that the adoption of the ballot would make any nation a nation of scoundrels, if it did not find them so." "John Randolph," continues Sydney Smith, "was right; he felt that it was not necessary that a people should be false in order to be free; universal hypocrisy would be the consequence of ballot; we should soon say, on deliberation, what David only asserted in his haste, that all men were liars." It is curious to note the matter-of-fact way in which it is taken for granted, that the landlord will, in some way, control his tenants. In America, where the ballot, though generally prevalent, is not universal, he asserts, "it is nearly a dead letter; no protection is wanted: if the ballot protects any one it is the master, not the man." One of the difficulties urged, in the use of the ballot, is its defeat of a reliable system of registration, by which contested returns might be settled. At the close of the essay, the argument of which rests, as usual with him, greatly on local expediency, he expresses his distrust of what he regarded as a concomitant of the measure in England, the demand for universal suffrage.