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