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wealth was a necessity, Chance placed for- | to long for renown, to wish for the trappings tune within his reach, and when three years and the ornaments of place, is common in India were sufficient to give him all the enough, but the number of those who really wealth which he desired no one could won- wish to incur the trouble of governing others der that he should consent to leave home is much smaller than moralists who conalmost at the crisis of his political life. stantly warn their readers against ambition, Natural as was the course which he pursued, which is, after all the rarest of vices, are it was, in our opinion, a mistaken one. If willing to believe. To the number of these indeed he had been willing to devote his lovers of power Macaulay did not belong. whole energies to statesmanship, the abso- He wished for fame; we doubt much whether lute necessity for obtaining an independence he ever really wished to bear rule. Conmight have vindicated his retirement from nected with this want of genuine political the field of politics, even though this retire- enthusiasm is his apparent lack of adminisment threatened fatally to injure his posi- trative capacity, and possibly also his intion. But he was not prepared to surrender ability to originate any new idea. He could all his political success. Desire for literary discern what was true in the thoughts of fame was at bottom his ruling passion. To others, and could illustrate the truths which gain this the wealth gathered by his three other men had pointed out with a copious years of exile was not needed. He went to supply of felicitous examples, but he never India
poor. He came back rich, but the suggested a new reform, or worked out a golden opportunity for forcing his way to single legislative improvement. An age the vanguard of the Liberal party had been which saw its greatest minister in Peel, adlet slip. The lost ground might, indeed, mired but could not find employment for the have been recovered, but the labor required genius and rhetoric of Macaulay. At moto do this would have entailed the sacrifice ments a reader of Macaulay's works is of his best prospects of literary fame. His tempted to regret that labor, which did not efforts to gain a political name became lan- lead to adequate success in the domain of guid, and on the first rebuff he gave up the politics, should have been withdrawn from game of politics and retired with a noble the field of literature, but the regret is usedignity to the cultivation of letters. less and grounded on an erroneous view of
Something more, however, than the mere the great historian's character. Had he force of external circumstances is required never entered Parliament he might have left to explain the way in which these circum- behind him two or three brilliant essays, or stances acted on Macaulay's mind. His some volumes of his “ History” which will character was better adapted to the study of now never delight the public; but, though literature than for the achievement of suc- he might have written more, complete litcess in public life. All political leaders have erary leisure would have deprived his works one common characteristic—an intense thirst of half their charm. No one could have for
power. “To starye if they do not rule” written of English politics as he has written, has been the source of at once the weakness without having himself been a politician. and the strength of every person who, from His experience as a statesman taught him the days of Periander to those of Lord how to tell the history of the statesmen of Palmerston, has been a leader among men. former ages. More and more literature and This hunger for rule is found in minds of politics are becoming disconnected. Mathe most different capacity. It tormented caulay is the last type of the men who the imbecility of George the Third, no less brought to the government of the country than the heaven-born genius of his minister. all the feelings, the education, and the digIt is not in itself any qualification for the nity conferred by the culture of our univerexercise of authority, but no one not under sities; and as we read his political life we its influence ever for long held power. Many seem to see a feature of a special kind of men of more than average talent have none greatness which is rapidly passing away of this true ambition. To aspire to dignity, from English society.
From The Athenæum. around her. She had wealth to any heart's Letters of Mrs. Piozzi to William Augustus desire; the most distinguished men of the Conway. (Unpublished.)
century offered her the homage of their As Mrs. Thrale and as Mrs. Piozzi, the admiration, and the choicest treasures of friend of Johnson, the rival of Burney, will literature were added for her pleasure to never cease to retain a certain kind of in- the delights of society. Her cherished terest. Her life was a busy and a bright friends were fond and faithful, her domestic
She moved for a time in the very best relations were happy, and the world, abroad circles, and though she was herself, with all and at home, did her honor. Her second her wit and learning, a weak, fickle, foolish marriage gratified the dearest affections of creature, she knew some of the great men, her heart. Her old age, to the verge of in whose lives the curiosity of mankind will existence, still retained influence and comnever die. Her story is familiar to every manded respect, though “ the love of many one who reads. In her lifetime she had only bad waxed cold.” On the other hand, the scant justice done to her; her offence against whole career of the actor was marked by the world being her exercise of that one disappointment and vexation of spirit. His woman's right which would never be dis- birth was obscure ; "he had no success in his puted in Utopia—the right to give her love profession; he was persecuted by the press and her hand to the man she preferred. with gibes and sneers as one who had misSociety thought otherwise. Her first hus- taken his vocation; he had no friends; the band was a brewer, her second a musician. lady of his love proved faithless ; fortune Beer, with a house in the Borough and a mocked him ; bitter poverty was his portion;
n villa at Streatham, was respectable. But if the world scorned his pretensions and refused the men and women of her own set-includ- him even the meed his talents and labors ing Johnson — ridiculed or resented her had fairly won. His life of struggle and marriage with Piozzi, they never breathed suffering ended in a suicide's death. The against her name the accusation of female editor of the pretended “Love Letters of frailty. This scandal has been reserved for Mrs. Piozzi” assumes that this aged and our own day. The“ Autobiography of Mrs. respectable lady fell into an absurd passion Piozzi” contains allusions to her corre- for this woe-begone hero of the sock and spondence with a young actor, Mr. Conway, buskin. But on comparing the correspondat a very advanced period of her life. No ence as Mrs. Piozzi wrote it with the correliable publication has ever been made of respondence as the editor published it, we any portion of this correspondence. A thin find that the suggestion of sexual love is volume purporting to contain seven “ Love made by an abominable misrepresentation Letters of Mrs. Piozzi” was published many of two passages in her letters, which we shall years ago ; the seven letters were not, how- reproduce. They are both taken from the ever, proper copies of the originals, but were same letter, dated Feb. 3, 1820, and numso garbled and distorted as to change their bered in the printed copy No. VI. The character.
printed copy quotes these words : Mrs. Ellet, the American lady who pos- Written at three, four, and five o'clock (in sesses the whole mass of Mrs. Piozzi's cor- the morning] by an Octogenary pen ; a respondence with Conway, has been good Heart (as Mrs. Lee says) twenty-six years enough to place the letters in our hands. old, and, as H. L. P. feels it to be, ALL YOUR We are, therefore, in a position to tell the own." The proper text runs thus : “ And exact truth about this pretended passion of now, dear sir, let me request of you— -to the aged lady for the young actor. love yourself—and to reflect on the neces
No greater contrast can be imagined than sity of not dwelling on any particular subthat between the lives of Mrs. Piozzi and ject too long or too intensely.
It is really Conway. In her youth the pet and admira- very dangerous to the health of body and of tion of her Welsh relations, and enjoying soul. Besides that our time here is but the most absolute freedom in the indulgence short: a mere Preface to the great Book of of her tastes, she married to become the star Eternity ;-and 'tis scarce worthy of a reaand queen of a brilliant circle, where wit, sonable being not to keep the end of human beauty, and gayety kept perpetual holiday existence so far in view, that we may tend
to it either directly or obliquely in every | chosen friends, but those who had the nearstep. This is preaching --but remember est claim had disappointed her affection. how the sermon is written ; at three, four Of her daughters she says, the eldest writes and five o'clock, by an octogenary pen—a once a year, “an Annual Register ; heart (as Mrs. Lee says) twenty-six years other three, “ A Quarterly Review, once in old; and as H. L. P. feels it to bem-all three months." The birthday of “ dear your own.” The true text contains a relig- cruel Lady Keith,” her eldest, only brought ious exhortation; the printed text is made despondency. to suggest an immoral communication. The Sir John Salusbury, the creature of her word octogenary is emphasized by Mrs. bounty, her nephew by marriage, and adopted Piozzi, not by her editor; “ all your own son, to whom she had given rank and estate, bas no emphasis in the letter, and is put in appears to have neglected her, at least to capital letters by the printer.
have yielded none of the warm affection The second case is dealt with still less which was her due. Having it in her power honestly. Conway was in love with a young yet to confer benefits, with a heart full of lady, Miss Stratton, who jilted him. Mrs. the richest milk of human kindness, it was Piozzi wrote, as most friends would do un- but natural that it should overflow on any der like circumstances, saying, in effect, the worthy object presenting itself. It is the lady was unworthy of him, and that he nature of most women to have pets. The ought to look higher. These are the very melancholy young man, whose position was commonplaces of consolation, old as time so isolated, whose need of a friend was so itself
, and daily renewed in the great moil urgent, whose fortune was so hard, who of life. These were her words: “ Exalt sought her aid so appealingly, found a welthy love-dejected heart— —and rise supe- come and encouragement to pour out his rior to such narrow minds. Do not, how- griefs and difficulties ; sure of sympathy and ever, fancy she will ever be punished in the assistance. Mrs. Piozzi formed an intiway you mention. No, no; she'll wither rate friendship with Mr. Conway's mother, on the thorny stem, dropping the faded and Mrs. Rudd. The ladies passed much of their ungathered leaves." The editor of the let- time together, and consulted each other how ter has changed the sense of the passage, to help the young actor in his schemes, and printing it so: “EXALT THY LOVE: how to secure for him the fame they were DEJECTED HEART- and rise supe- sure he deserved. Mr. Conway soon rerior to such narrow minds. Do not however garded Mrs. Piozzi as his best, his only fancy she will ever be punished in the way friend ; and to be “the destitute's sole you mention : no, no; she'll wither on the friend” is a distinction gratifying to any thorny stem, dropping the faded and un-benevolent heart. The story of his love for gathered leaves."
Miss Stratton was confided to Mrs. Piozzi, The true relations of Mrs. Piozzi to Con- who approved of the attachment and cultiway were at first those of patroness and vated the acquaintance of the lady's relatives protégé: afterwards it became more affec- for Conway's sake. When he was jilted by tionate: almost that of grandmother and the fair one, and suffered a severe illness in grandson. The melancholy of a blighted consequence, “his more than mother,” as youth weighed heavily upon Conway at the he called Mrs. Piozzi, showed herself indigtime he first heard of Mrs. Piozzi, and he nant at the wrong, and poured into his wound eagerly sought her acquaintance, hoping, no the balm of her disinterested friendship. doubt, to find sympathy in her love for art What rational person could imagine her and the drama, with unprejudiced judgment soothing expressions dictated by an unbeof his own efforts. She was then at Bath, coming passion for the unhappy lover! If the centre of an agreeable literary circle, her language is warm and flattering, such and her patronage might aid him in securing was hers usually to all her intimate friends ; the success which had hitherto eluded his and at her extreme age, precluding the posattempts to grasp it. As every reader of sibility of misconstruction, it was surely her memoir and letters must know, she was natural that she should write affectionately of an impulsive nature, and generous to a to her favorite, the son of her friend, and fault. Her quiet home was the resort of one whose misfortunes claimed solace from
her pitying regard. How could she have me to offer you their best wishes, and I thought of being on her guard while writing remain, to the grateful young man who could not
“ Your ever faithfully affectionate,
6 S. SIDDONS. have misunderstood his benefactress ? In a letter dated “Bath, June 30, 1819," sion of health with all the hilarity of five
“Our friends seem to enjoy their access Mrs. Piozzi says:-
and-twenty. I am to dine with them to“I wonder how you really like Johnson's morrow, and shall make them happy by my and my letters! I wonder if you recollect report of you, dear soul! for they love you asking me once if I should like to lead my dearly; but who is not Alonzo's friend " life over again ; such a happy one, as you then thought it. Poor H.L.P.! a happy that Mrs. Piozzi practised reserve with her
The above sufficiently refutes the calumny life! Yet few, if any, have been more so, I
It believe ; and the moments which gave com- friends in speaking of her favorites. fort to three unequalled creatures—he and shows, too, the demonstrative style then the Siddons and yourself, will come smiling prevalent. She writes to Conway:to my heart while its last pulse is beating. Of the three, she was most immediately ben
- You have been a luckless wight, my efited ; and I am glad she has not forgotten admirable friend, but amends will one day me. Naughty lady! how they whistled her be made to you, even in this world ; I know, away from me, after- -but no matter
I feel it will. Dear Piozzi considered him. try again, you see. What are hearts made self as cruelly treated, and so he was, by his for? The cook would reply, to be minced; own friends, as the world perversely calls but my last friend will defend it."
our relations, who shut their door in his
face, because his love of music led him to On other occasions she contrasts Con- face the public eye and ear. He was brought way's gratitude with the coldness shown by up to the church; but 'Ah! Gabriel,' said the two favorites who had stood on the same his uncle, thou wilt never get nearer the level with him in her esteem.
altar than the organ loft.' His disinclinaMrs. Piozzi mentions Conway in one of black gown, and their ill-humor drove him
tion to celibacy, however, kept him from the her letters, noticed in “ Piozziana,” dated to Paris and London, where he was the first May 4, 1818. Mrs. Siddons speaks of bim tenor singer who had £50 a night for two in a letter, written a few days later, which, songs. And Queen Marie Antoinette gave as it has never been published, we tran- him a hundred louis-d'ors with her own fair scribe:
hand for singing a buffo-song over and over
again, one evening, till she learned it. Her “27 Upper Baker Street, Regent's Park, cruel death half broke his tender heart,
May, 18, 1818.
You will not wait as he did for fortune and “You can never doubt, my dearest Mrs. for fame. We were both of us past thirtyPiozzi, of the happiness it must always give five years old when we first met in society at me to see any testimony of your continued Dr. Burney's (grandfather to Mrs. Bourdois
kindness. I only wish you would oftener and her sisters), where I coldly confessed his • take the opportunity: I saw Mr. Con
uncommon beauty and talents; but my heart way only for a few minutes, and those in
was not at home. Mr. Thrale's broken company with many talkers, but long enough health and complicated affairs demanded to satisfy me that you are as young and gay and possessed all my attention, and vainly both in mind and person as in those never-aid my future husband endeavor to attract to-be-forgotten days of felicity which your my attention. So runs the world away.” kindness allowed me to enjoy at dear, dear Streatham Park. Many and happy returns The postscript reveals her own opinion of of that day, which I wish I could participate the affection of her heirs :with Mr. Conway and Susan; but I dare not promise myself so much happiness. But “ The Admiral and Lady Baynton are wherever I may be I will rejoice, and be come tearing home from France, haring assured, my beloved friend, that till I forget heard of Mr. L.'s illness. Run, neighbors, myself I never can cease to love and admire run !! Ob! how a man must be flattered, you with all the faculties of my heart and sure, to see long distant, suddenly dutiful mind. Remember me most affectionately relations arrive, breathless with haste, too! to my dear Dr. Whalley. Present my kind o, my dear sir! pray for me that I may compliments to his lady and to Miss Sharpe. 'scape the vultures by swift, if not sudden, My dear Cecy and Miss Wilkinson desire | dismissal."
ful to you.
These letters, like her books, are thickly! We have it likewise in Percy's collection of sown with classical and historical allusions, old ballads ; but, perhaps, for I have not the in which Mrs. Piozzi's unimpaired memory Have you a good Launcelot ?. Shakspeare
book, it may be told there as an Italian story. loved to revel
did certainly know more of the colloquial Apropos to. notes [she writes, in May, language and manners of Italy than his com1819), as dear Mr. Conway says, 'when do mentators are aware of. I cannot help knowyou find time to write so much, Mrs. Piozzi?' ing that if a gentleman in past days saw an But the annotations to Wraxall don't dis- old humpbacked man he would call after him, tress me with fears of falling into improper Gobbo, che ora è ?' or · Cicco, cosa fai tu hands, as Johnson's letters did-because of là ?! – Hunchback, what's o'clock?' or, those old confidential stories; and as your · Blind man, what are you doing there ? ' fancy in a happy hour prompted you to court Footmen, too, if favorites, would seldom be acquaintance with Thrale's wife more than called by their names; but . Here, you, Bionwith Piozzi's widow, I shall leave marking dello,' little fair-face, or • Morettino, little and margining my Travels' till the last. brown-face; as we find Shakspeare does in May all of them but contribute to amuse the Taming of the Shrew.' 'Nay, but as you, and keep me alive in your remem- Johnson's letters say, let us hear something brance; a place I can't give up. To keep about Bolt Court. Why, then, this you shall you in ours, no need of such a contrast as hear, that I felt delighted to think I caine little Mr. Booth exhibits, surely; the Triton in your head as sitting—for so I used-kickof the minnows; and Miss Willoughby talks ing my heels in the carriage waiting for the of some new man — nobody knows who. good doctor who would not be hurried, but Miss Williams says that if you ever go to who would be angry enough, and Mr. Thrale Chester by any accident, she could be use- still more so, if the dinner was spoiled by
You will want none of us; and our being so late home. And what a mornin two years it will be virtue in you to name ing I once had when carrying Sir Luca Pepys our names with kindness. Farewell, then, to attend him in a dirty room-with one unand adieu! To these synonymes the Latin cleaned window—my companion cried out, word Vale is univocal. Romans often at the · Let us get him to Streatham Park directly; end of their letters say, "Jubeo te bene why, life would go out here of its own acvalere, you may observe,—'I command cord!! Ah, si vous pouviez comprendre, how thee to be well,' or 'to keep well;' but Vale, I do wish, and hope and try, to make you in the imperative mood,' is neuter, and feel an interest in all this old stuff! But Frenchmen best translate it, Portez-vous here comes our clerer Mr. Mangin, from bien.' Vales to servants sprung from this Paris, and you shall not escape hearing how old Latin way or idiom ; meaning a gra- your oldest, at once, and newest and truest cious farewell; little as the word was under-friend is esteemed in that capital for having stood to have so classical an origin. Yes, written your favorite booli, · British Synosays Juliet, ' but all this did I know before;' nymy.' And there is a portrait prefixed to yet thus and thus do I beguile the time—ay, the work, and the people asked Mr. Mangin and the thing I am, by seeming otherwise." if it was like, and came round him, he said, I
and cried · Vit-elle encore !' • Vit-elle enMrs. Piozzi seems to have been at this core !' Comical enough! I had no notion time domesticated with Conway's mother. on't. He tells me that the abhorrence of Mrs. Stratton was the grandmother of the these strange fellows to the Bourbons exyoung lady he loved, his Charlotte,” as tends not up to the king; and that he knows Mrs. Piozzi called her.
very competently well how to
manage them. The following letter is characteristic :
The stage he describes as polluted with libel
lous representations, ridiculing our country, “Fryday, June 4th. our customs and our government; but they “And now, whilst all the world is preparing showed him an imitation of my · Three in some way to celebrate our old king's birth- Warnings,' en vers libres, very well done. day, my dear friend is rehearsing Bassanio And now, if you do feel rejoyced that the for the evening, having first read his letter last morsel of paper will soon be covered, it from No. 13. It must ever be a matter of will vex me. So it will if you fancy I recuriosity to think that so strange a tale as quire answers to all this congerie of sense Shakspeare founded his • Merchant of Ven- and nonsense. Indeed, I am not exigeante; ice' on-should be familiarly related in three all I wish, all I beg, at least, are the three kingdoms. I have read it in Gregorio
Leti's words I used to teize Salusbury for when he Life of Sextus Quintus,' and again in Span- was at Oxford ; safe-well and happy; but ish, where Portia's contrivance is called let me have those magical words sent me milagio d'ingenioa miracle of ingenuity. soon; or how shall I again be a funny little