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BEAU AND THE WATER-LILY.

TO LADY HESKETH.

THE LODGE, 27th June, 1788.

For the sake of a longer visit, my dearest coz, I can be well content to wait. The country, this country at least, is pleasant at all times, and when winter is come, or near at hand, we shall have the better chance of being snug. I know your passion for retirement indeed, or for what we call deedy retirement, and the Fs intending to return to Bath with their mother, when her visit at the Hall is over, you will then find here exactly the retirement in question. I have made in the orchard the best winter-walk in all the parish, sheltered from the east, and from the north-east, and open to the sun, except at his rising, all the day. Then we will have Homer and Don Quixote: and then we will have saunter and chat, and one laugh more before we die. Our orchard is alive with creatures of all kinds; poultry of every denomination swarms in it, and pigs, the drollest in the world!

I rejoice that we have a cousin Charles also, as well as a cousin Henry, who has had the address to win the good likings of the Chancellor. May he fare the better for it! As to myself, I have long since ceased to have any expectations from that quarter. Yet if he were indeed mortified as you say (and no doubt you have particular reasons for thinking so), and repented to that degree of his hasty exertions in favour of the present occupant, who can tell? he wants neither means nor management, but can easily at some future period redress the evil, if he chooses to do it. But in the mean time life steals away, and shortly neither he will be in circumstances to do me a kindness, nor I to receive one at his hands. Let him make haste therefore or he will die a promise in my debt, which he will never be able to perform. Your communications on this subject are as safe as you can wish them. We divulge nothing but what might appear in the magazine, nor that without great consideration.

I must tell you a feat of my dog Beau. Walking by the river side, I observed some water-lilies floating at a distance from the bank. They are a large white flower, with an orange coloured eye, very beautiful. I had a desire to gather one, and having your long cane in my hand, by the help of it endeavoured to bring one of them within my reach. But the attempt proved

vain, and I walked forward. Beau had all the while observed me very attentively. Returning soon after toward the same place, I observed him plunge into the river while I was about forty yards distant from him; and when I had nearly reached the spot, he swam to land with a lily in his mouth, which he came and laid at my foot.

Mr. Rose, whom I have mentioned to you as a visitor of mine for the first time soon after you left us, writes me word that he has seen my ballads against the slave-mongers but not in print. Where he met with them, I know not. Mr. Bull begged hard for leave to print them at Newport-Pagnel, and I refused, thinking that it would be wrong to anticipate the nobility, gentry, and others, at whose pressing instance I composed them, in their design to print them. But perhaps I need not have been so squeamish for the opportunity to publish them in London seems now not only ripe, but rotten. I am well content. There is but one of them with which I am myself satisfied, though I have heard them all well spoken of. But there are very few things of my own composition, that I can endure to read, when they have been written a inonth, though at first they seem to me to be all perfection.

Mrs. Unwin, who has been much the happier since the time of your return hither has been in some sort settled, begs me to make her kindest remembrance. Yours, my dear, most truly,

W. C.

(From the Same.)

JOSEPH PRIESTLEY

[Joseph Priestley was born near Leeds in 1733, was educated at Daventry, and became in 1755 minister at Needham Market, Suffolk, and from 1758-61 minister and schoolmaster at Nantwich. From 1761-67 he was teacher at Warrington Dissenters' Academy, where he found time to write on grammar, biography, and education, as well as to gain the title F.R.S. for a book on Electricity. In 1767 he went to Leeds, first to a chapel and then as librarian to Lord Shelburne (1773-80). In 1768 he wrote on Civil Government, in 1770 on Perspective. In 1773 he got the Copley Medal of the Royal Society for valuable discoveries in regard to fixed air. In 1776 he published discoveries on Respiration. Books on Natural and Revealed Religion (1772-74), and on philosophy and science followed fast; and his profession of materialism (Matter and Spirit, 1777) and belief in "Philosophical Necessity" (appendix to Matter and Spirit), and perhaps also his devotion to Hartley, estranged him from Shelburne. In 1780 accordingly he left Leeds and settled in Birmingham at his old clerical duties. There, amongst other things, he wrote on the History of the Corruptions of Christianity (1782), and used the book to draw Gibbon into a correspondence, the publication of which by Priestley was no doubt improper, and certainly imprudent, but as the means of preserving a masterpiece of vituperation (Gibbon's Letters, No. cxliv.) hardly now to be regretted.

Priestley, at Birmingham, was a militant dissenter and Unitarian; he was also a warm defender of the French Revolution. Accordingly in the riots of 14th and 15th July 1791 his house was wrecked and his books and instruments were destroyed or stolen. The story is well told in the New Annual Register, 1791 (History, pp. 210-3). He was only one sufferer out of several; and the rioters were put on their trial and two of them hung. But Priestley left Birmingham to succeed his friend Richard Price at Hackney; and finally, in 1794, he left England for Northumberland, Pennsylvania, where in 1804 he died. His works fill nearly eighty volumes, and he left an autobiography and correspondence, published soon after his death.]

PRIESTLEY'S services to science are his most considerable achievement. Gibbon wrote to him: "Give me leave to convey to your ear the almost unanimous and not offensive wish of the philosophic world that you would confine your talents and industry to those

sciences in which real and useful improvements can be made.” But he was not only a great chemist. His sturdy force of character made him a man of influence in England. His ideas of education were broad and enlightened; he laid down (and indeed had taught) all the main articles of what is now called the "education of the Citizen." He would supplant, or at least supplement, the old classical training by a course of law and history, economic and demographical principles, and not least an acquaintance with political and local institutions.

In philosophy he followed David Hartley in regarding the association of ideas as the key to psychological difficulties; indeed he went beyond Hartley in becoming materialist, while still like Hartley remaining theist. He praised Jonathan Edwards; of philosophical necessity, as opposed to freedom of the will, he says, "There is no truth of which I have less doubt" (Examination of Reid, p. 169). He is said by Bentham to have suggested to him (by his Civil Government, 1768) the principle of the greatest happiness of the greatest number. In his criticisms of the common-sense philosophy of Reid, Beattie, and Oswald, he treats his opponents with something of the arrogance once supposed to be characteristic of the savant. But these were times when men had not learned to express disagreement in an agreeable manner. It must be said that while his theological controversy with Bishop Horsley was equally warm it was more temperate in terms.

Though, pace Bentham, there is nothing new in Priestley's views of Civil Government, or in his Letters to Burke on the French Revolution, his political writings have features of some historical interest. In the Civil Government he makes clear the distinction between political liberty and civil liberty. In the Letters, he pleads for French reformers in the language of an English dissenter who has suffered through intolerance and injustice in his own country, and there is as much said about England and America as about France.

The style of this author is adequate to his thought. There is little flexibility or vivacity; the diction is heavy, and occasionally the preacher bestows on us the tediousness and prolixity too frequently associated with sermons. He has usually something to prove, and, if he does not prove it, the fault is not in the manner but in the matter of statement.

J. BONAR.

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