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as they were in the former period, they are still more excellent in the latter, having their amazing force more compacted and better directed. In the latter period we seldom find that vehement declamation, that profusion of invective, which frequently marked his speeches in the former. Indeed, when we compare Fox's speeches in the House of Commons with those he makes in mixed clubs, where he has every thing his own way, and nobody to oppose him, we perceive a very striking difference. In the one he assumes positions neither self-evident, proved, nor universally admitted to be true, and declaims upon them as if they were axioms; in the other he advances no proposition without either true or plausible grounds. The acuteness, indeed, of Pitt very readily perceives a flaw in an opponent's argument. His eloquence, as well as that of Burke and Fox, is original. We do not find that it so specially resembles that of any other orator, ancient or modern, as to give ground to believe that he has followed a model. While closely attentive to logical precision, he has not neglected rhetorical art. His language is proper, elegant, and harmonious.
About the same time' another member appeared on the side of Opposition, also displaying talents very superior to those of the majority of parliamentary speakers. Mr. Sheridan having earned and acquired a character, by his comic poetry, surpassing that of any writer since the time of Congreve, came to display in the senatę a genius that had procured him such applause on the theatre. Penetrating acuteness of discernment, fertility of invention, variety, abundance, and brilliancy of wit, force and justness of humour, Sheridan possesses · above most inen. His powers he directs with great dexterity, so as to give them all possible effect. He is an elegant classical scholar, and has an exquisite taste. His mind, however, is not enriched hy knowledge equal to its capacity: hence his eloquencé, though manifesting great ingenuity in occasional observation, seldom contains a
considerable quantity or variety of new information. That he can reason well, appears often in the strength and 'shrewdness of his remarks and inferences; but his speeches cannot be said to have arguinentation for a leading characteristic. His arguments are singly forcible, rather than collectively chained. Sheridan is not peculiarly eminent for continuous reply, although his speeches, in opening a debate or discussing a question proposed by himself, be distinguished for ability, ingenuity, and eloquence. But, if his replies are defective, it requires no great penetration to see that the deficiency is owing to the want of particular knowledge, not of general powers. He has dealt more in sarcasm than any speaker in the house. Burke, indeed, could be as sarcastic as any man; but was not so often so as Sheridan. I remember, when Sheridan, Fox, and Burke were co-operators in politics, to have heard a gentleman give the following character of the severities which each of them occasionally employed, and Sheridan most frequently.
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casms of Sheridan, mingled as they are with the strongest humour and adorned with the most brilliant wit, appear to result from natural or habitual acidity of temper ; Burke's to arise either from particular irritation, political opposition, or moral censure; Fox never sour, seldom transported into rage, abounding in the milk of human kindness, was rarely severe, but from the opposition of party or the disapprobation of patriotism and virtue.' Sheridan displays a very thorough knowledge of human nature, not indeed so much of the anatomy of mind, as of its active powers, and the springs that set them in motion. His writings do not only exhibit manners and the surface of life; but character, sentiment, and passion ; with their causes and their operation. Men of genius, in imitative performances, as they advance in experience, knowing Nature better, copy from her more closely. In the plays of Fielding, written in the early part of his life, we meet with several fancy pictures; in his first novel, although there be a considerable de
gree of imitation of real life, yet there is in it a good deal that has no archetype but in the author's imagination. Tom Jones is a complete copy of actual and usual existence. This has been the case with Sheridan in his first comedy: ingenious and able as it iis, some of the principal characters either doo not at all resemble any to be found in real life, or resemble them very slightly; of the first sort is Acres, of the second is Lydia Languish. In the School for Scandal there is not a character, of which originals are not to be daily found in real life. This progression from fancy to actual existence is, in imitative performances, analogous to that in philosophical researches from abstraction to experience. The Rivals is the work of great genius, operating on somewhat scanty materials, collected partly only from observation, and therefore having recourse to fancy: the School for Scandal is the work of great genius, matured in the knowledge of that class of objects on which its exertions are employed, and taking real conduct for its archetype.