Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Session, and affirmed the appeal in favour of Mr. Douglas, without a division. Thus practically ended the great Douglas cause.

In honour of this great victory, the Duchess of Queensberry, one of the two victorious Duchesses, gave a ball on Saturday, the 11th March, 1769. It was attended by several of the royal family, including the Duke of Cumberland and the Queen's two brothers, about 140 people, and six or seven and twenty couple of dancers. The ball was very fine. The Lord Chancellor invited himself, and seemed in very good spirits. His lady and daughter were invited. For that civility his Lordship wrote his thanks to the Duchess, adding that, if she would permit him, he would come and return his thanks in person. To which the Duchess answered in these words:-" Katherine Queensberry says, "Content upon her honour," this being the form of assent by the Lords in the House of Peers.

'The Duchess of Hamilton continually brought up the Douglas cause to the King and Queen whenever she had an opportunity. But their Majesties never gave her an answer, and judiciously evaded the subject. The Duchess of Douglas, on the other hand, did not go out of her house, nor solicit any of the peers for their votes. After the judgment was pronounced in favour of Mr. Douglas, the Princess Amelia expressed her satisfaction, and her belief that the King and Queen were also pleased.

6

Amongst the partisans of the Duke of Hamilton was David Hume, the historian, who displayed great keenness, through his connexion with Mr. Andrew Stuart. Contrary to his custom, Mr. Hume was much out of humour when the cause was decided by the Lords, and made several peevish remarks, which hurt him. After the final judgment, many pamphlets, including "Durando, a Spanish Tale," and letters continued to be published by partisans on either side. One of the ablest of these productions consisted of a series of letters addressed to Lord Mansfield by Mr. Andrew Stuart, against the opinion of his Lordship. But, while ably and even calmly written upon certain points, the feelings of the disappointed litigant appear throughout.'

We rescue the following anecdote from the obscurity of a footnote (p. lxxxii) :

'So great was the excitement in London about the judgment in the Douglas cause, that Mr. John Home, the author of "Douglas," attributed the want of success of his tragedy of " The Fatal Discovery," and the thinness of audiences to hear it at the playhouses, to the absorbing interest of the Douglas cause. How different was the previously marked success of the tragedy of "Douglas," by the same author. Crowded and enthusiastic audiences night after night were gratified with it. Amidst the applause one more than ordinarily enthusiastic Scotch admirer was heard triumphantly exclaiming, "Whaur's "your Wullie Shakespeare noo?"

If such was the feeling in London '(we return to our author's text, vol. ii. p. 531), 'the popular excitement and expression in Scotland were much more enthusiastic. A private letter to Sir John Steuart of

"Your

Grandtully, written when the news reached Edinburga, says, "brother has carried his cause unanimously; no division of the House. "God make us all thankful. .Send off to Ballachin instantly. "This is glorious. The joy here is beyond description. The express "is not in above half an hour, and the windows are mostly illuminated "already." In another private letter, the popular feeling in Edinburgh is thus referred to: "An express arrived here at eight o'clock Thurs"day night, with the news of Mr. Douglas having prevailed, which was so agreeable to the people in general, that in a few minutes the "whole houses were illuminated; all the windows to the street were "broke by the mob before candles could be lighted. They began "with the President's house, the Justice Clerk's, Lord Galloway's, &c., "&c., upon which the military in the castle were called. Last night "the mob were as numerous as ever. The houses were again illumi"nated last night, and it's thought the mob will continue this evening. "The military continue still to patrol the streets; and, notwithstand"ing, I hear of no damage done except the breaking of windows, which "indeed is general."'

These demonstrations were directed chiefly against the judges who had given their votes in favour of the Hamilton claims; but no unfestive window was allowed to remain whole. The extent of the illuminations was hence an index to the fear of the inhabitants quite as much as to their joy.

With the consummation of his victory, the son of Lady Jane Douglas sank into useful and respectable mediocrity. He continued the rebuilding of Douglas Castle, was created in 1790 a British peer, with the title of Lord Douglas of Douglas, was twice married, and lived to the age of eighty. A writer in the Glasgow Gazette' in 1863 could still recall his appearance :

[ocr errors]

'When he came into Glasgow, as he did frequently from Bothwell Castle, in his elegant carriage and four high-mettled blood horses, with their handsome outriders in their cockades, he received the most polite attention from gentle and simple, young and old. He was a hale hearty old man down to the day of his death.'

Not one of his eight sons left issue, and the estates descended through his eldest daughter, Lady Montagu of Boughton, to her grandson, the present Earl of Home.

ART. VII. Sketches from my Life. By the late HOBART PASHA. London: 1886.

A CONTROVERSY has gone on for nearly a century and a half as to the authenticity of the Memoirs of Captain Carleton,' a narrative now generally attributed to Daniel Defoe, and published amongst his works, but which appeared anonymously, and professed to be a record of events in which the author had taken part. The book was regarded as truth by Dr. Johnson, has been quoted as an historical authority by Lord Stanhope, and accepted as such by Lord Macaulay. But in spite of the claim of Lord Stanhope to have found amongst his ancestor's papers proof that a Captain Carltone' had been taken prisoner in Spain under circumstances identical with those related in Defoe's book, the controversy is not dead, and excellent authorities still doubt whether any Captain Carleton existed at all.

So closely are fact and fiction mingled in the late Hobart Pasha's Sketches of my Life,' that, did they remain unseparated now, the whole book might come to be classed with one of Defoe's novels, and in a few years doubts might arise as to whether there ever was such a person as the late Turkish Admiral. But a naval officer, writing in his own name and professing to relate the events of his own life, cannot, at any rate immediately, be concealed in the obscurity which now veils an imaginary Captain Carleton, who lived in the reign of Queen Anne. It is comparatively easy to obtain from the records of the navy the names of the ships in which any officer has been serving, and generally his exact position at any given date. No flights of imagination can transport him from Portsmouth to the Parana, or from the Pacific to the coast of Spain, when the hard facts officially recorded stand in the way. What strange fancy possessed an officer in the late Hobart Pasha's position to mingle the true and the false in a personal narrative to the extent he has done is a psychological problem which will have to be faced, but not to any extent at the present moment. The fact, however, remains that so much of this history melts into legendary air on the application of the simple tests above referred to, that there is not ground for accepting any statements which we cannot corroborate by separate and independent testimony. If the reader is horrified at the wretched picture of Hobart's first ship and the cruel injustice of her

captain as painted by his own hand, let him console himself by reflecting that he is not called on to believe it to be a true one. If he is amused and excited by the romantic and terrible incidents which crowd the early chapters of the book, let him accept his gratification and surprise in the same temper and on the same grounds as he has already accepted them in turning over the pages of Lever or of Marryat. Still further, when historical events and historical personages are brought in, the reader is to understand that to an indefinite extent both are used for the purpose of making up a story.

But the tales told differ in their origin from those of the two authors spoken of. Nine-tenths of these are directly evolved from the inner consciousness of the novelists. Hardly anything in Hobart's book is entirely fiction. Almost always there is a slender thread of truth discoverable after sufficiently diligent search. But times, places, and actors are all so jumbled together as to make the unravelling of the real thread a process something like that of winding off a silken cord from a badly tangled skein. Hobart claims to have been present at scenes where it is absolutely impossible he could have been. He tells stories of incidents as happening to himself which he can only have heard related, and as to which we can safely say where and when he heard them. But alternating with these stories, and sometimes mingled with them, are relations which are true in every way; others also which are true, all but his claim to have been an eye-witness. There is nothing to mark off the fact from the fiction. Statements and narratives which on the face of them we should receive with cautious doubt are true enough. Others which we should read without the slightest suspicion are the merest dreams. The book is like a kaleidoscope which the author has taken into his hands in a certain position with the view of drawing the symmetrical forms displayed. He has given the instrument a turn, and though the materials have never varied, the picture now presented is entirely different in form and colour from that which was originally before him.

Concerning the book under review itself, it may be well to point out that it is sharply divided into three parts, omitting the sporting chapters. We have the life in her Majesty's Navy, the somewhat buccaneering experiences of a blockade runner, and what should be the graver and historically important narration which embraces the professional work of the Turkish admiral. It is the first part of the

It

book, containing the sketches' of his life from his birth to his forty-first year, which we know most surely to possess the extraordinary characteristics we have described. might undoubtedly be possible to pass it over with no more notice than we have already allotted to it. But then it would be impossible to speak gravely of the later chapters. How are we to say that the kaleidoscopic views of things disclosed in the first eighty-six pages are wholly abandoned throughout the remaining one hundred and forty-seven? We must take the book as a whole. It is a strong evidence of character, and if that turns out to be a strange combination, it is all the more necessary that we should understand it. The mind which has produced this extraordinary aggregation of dream and reality actuated a person whose reputation is European. We frankly confess that the psychical question presented by the fact that the man who wrote these sketches also administered and commanded in the Turkish fleet with admirable skill and success, is to our mind by far the most interesting and important issue which the publication of the book has raised.

A younger son of the Earl of Buckinghamshire, sprung from a family not wealthy, but distinguished by its descent from no less a personage than John Hampden, the Hon. Augustus C. Hobart, in making the navy his profession, looked to it also as his livelihood; and if we would view his career aright, we must bear this fact in mind. Slenderness of means is not a stepping-stone to success in the naval service. But slenderness of means combined with a consciousness of capacity and an impatience of subordinate situations form together a compound exceedingly hampering to naval advancement. Hobart came into the service with what in his day would have been called interest' at his back, but his promotions were slow notwithstanding. He was a mate partly through his own failure, we strongly suspect-for more than four years, a lieutenant for ten years, and he did not reach his captain's rank-the 'table-land of the service'until he had been seven years and a half a commander. This progress would hardly be called rapid even in these days of stagnation, but in Hobart's time and case the delay was remarkable-all the more so, since he had found and used the opportunity to distinguish himself very early in his career. What he represents as the most stirring scenes of his life were passed before his twenty-third year was completed, and from 1844 to 1854 there was a period of no

« ForrigeFortsæt »