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when Mr. Mackintosh was disposed to most serious reflection, by a severe domestic affliction,* and when his mind was able to ascend to the highest tone of thinking, he made, upon these dread matters, the following solemn declaration, to a mant the best qualified, in every respect, to receive such an effusion of his soul, to a most accomplished scholar, a most learned and pious divine, to his most enlightened and confidential friend.
“ The philosophy which I have learnt aggravates my calamity, instead of relieving me under it ;-my wounded heart seeks another consolation, governed by those feelings which in every age and region of the world have actuated the human mind; and I seek relief, and find it in the soothing hope and consolatory opinions, that a benevolent wisdom inflicts the chastisements, as well as bestows the enjoyments of human life;—that a superintending goodness will one day enlighten the darkness that surrounds our nature, and hangs over our prospects;~that this dreary and wretched life is not the whole of man;—that an animal so sagacious and provi. dent, and capable of such proficiency in science and virtue, is not like the beasts that perish;—that there is a dwelling place prepared for the spirits of the just, and that the ways of God will yet be vindicated to man; and I sincerely declare, that Christianity in its genuine purity and spirit, appears to me the most amiable and the most venerable of all the forms in which the homage of man has ever been offered to the AUTHOR of his being.”
On such solemn sentiments, so energetically expressed, we shall not presume to offer a single observation: we shall only remind the friends and admirers of Mr. Mackintosh, that they ought rather to rejoice than repine at these impotent attempts io disparage his merits, and tarnish his reputation. They must know that these clouds, with which envy endeavours to overcast his name, must at last only tend to brighten and diffuse its lustre. They must know that his character has more than sufficient in it of resilience and of energy to resist and overpower all the efforts that the spite of defeated rivals, or the malice of detected sophistry, can accu. mulate against it. They must know that transient must be the triumph of meanness and malignity; and though Antæus, per.
chance, might strike him to the ground, he is sure to rebound like Hercules.
Such are the particulars which we have collected of the life, the character, and the writings of Mr. Mackintosh, and which we trust will prove as interesting to our readers as they have proved to ourselves. We do not profess to be the panegyrists or apologists of Mr. Mackintosh, though we are well aware that his rivals and his enemies will accuse us of having over-rated his talents, and allowed them a superiority to which they have no claim. We can only say, that what we have advanced is no more than the genuine opinion impressed upon our mind, both by what we have read and by what we have heard. Nor are we less sensible that, while by some we are thus accused of extravagant eulogy, yet that, by others, and those perhaps the most competent to estimate his merits, we shall be censured rather as sparing than prodigal of praise.
AGRARIUS DENTERVILLE, OR THE VICTIM OF DISCONTENT:
Laudet diversa sequentes. HORACE.
“ The Heavens are against me," exclaimed Agrarius, retiring into his house with his rake over his shoulder, “ the heavens are unpropitious, and my hay will be spoiled. My ground never afforded so large a crop of grass; how eagerly have I anticipated the sum it would produce, and to what advantage has my imagination disposed of the money, and now to benold my prospects blasted—surely 'tis insupportable. Had I never expected it, had my land yielded at first but a scanty supply, I should have remained satisfied: or, at least, should not have murmured at my misfortune; but now disappointment is rendered doubly painful. How unhappy is the situation of the husbandman," continued he, seating himself on a bench by his door," a dependant on the seasons, he tills the earth, but does not enjoy its fruits; he sows the corn, but the produce of his labour is rescrved for another: with the sweat of his brow he contributes to enjoyments in which he cannot participate, and to luxuries in which he will never indulge. There," cried he, pointing with his finger to an elegant villa that was situated on the top of a neighbouring hill, “there is the mansion of my landlord. How unbounded is his happiness! a spacious domain, crowds of servants, costly chambers, the most inviting delicacies, the most voluptuous gratifications, and whatever can delight the imagination, or satisfy the desires, are united to render his existence pleasurable. If he asks, he receives. If he speaks, he is obeyed. His domestics vie with each other in their attention towards him; they venerate him as a being of an order superior to themselves, and all are emulous to please the persons they adore. Whilst I! painful recollections! I have no menials to attend me; no pleasures to alleviate the disquietude that corrodes me. Does the humble swain bow down at my approach?-And oh, my God!" continued he, suddenly starting from his seat, “is this thy justice? Is it thy will, that thousands, by their misery, should contribute to make one man happy? a mortal formed from the same dust, and composed of the same materials as themselves.-Oh! my father, my father, why did thy injudicious fondness deprive me of the blessings of ignorance? why didst thou so sedulously instil into my mind the seeds of learning? -Baneful seeds! they have shown me the wretchedness of my condition, without pointing out any method of relief; they have taught me I am unhappy, but they have not instructed me how to be otherwise."
Whilst he gave vent to these reflections, the rain subsided, the sun appeared again; and Agrarius, discontented with his own, and envying the fate of his exalted neighbour, returned to his labour with a mind overwhelmed with despondency.
Agrarius had been born with better prospects. His father, descended from a reputable family, had been a merchant of great respectability, and once had large possessions in the West Indies. He had married a woman of some beauty, and of an amiable disposition; and (what made her appear still more amiable in his eyes) she had brought him a fortune more than adequate to his expectations. Misfortunes, such as no earthly wisdom could have foreseen, or prevented, stript him of his riches. Of his ships, some were overtaken by storms and foundered at sea, and others were captured by the privateers of the enemy. A rebel. lion was excited among the negroes of the island where his possessions chiefly lay, and, in the general confusion, his estates suffered the most considerably. Loss succeeded to loss, till at length, finding it impossible to stem the torrent of such repeated misfortunes any longer, he resigned what remained of his property into the hands of his clamorous creditors. Upon an examination of his affairs, they found them to be even worse than had been supposed, but they, considering his distresses rather the result of ill fortune, than imprudence, accepted a dividend of so much in the pound of what remained, and ceased to trouble their debtor when they perceived no advantage could accrue themselves by further persecution. His wife had departed from the world in time to avoid being a spectator of the troubles that ensued, leaving behind her Agrarius, their only son. Reduced to poverty, and preserving nothing of his former splendid condition but his inflexible pride, the father of Agrarius collected together the few trifles which the generosity of his creditors had reserved him, and retired with his son into obscurity as soon as he found he could maintain no longer the brilliancy of his accustomed station in life. The pride which made him so anxiously shun the taunts of the world, restrained him likewise from entreating the assistance of any of his former friends. To lie under an obligation was to him insupportable, and he could with greater fortitude endure the long catalogue of miseries attendant on poverty, than appear in a supplicating posture before the companions of his prosperity. But still he was no philosopher, the misfortunes he had experienced served rather to contract his mind, than to elevate him above them, and the stern look of discontent was from that moment always seen to lower in his furrowed brow. He rented a small farm situated in one of the most retired spots he could discover, which he cultivated chiefly with his own hands and those of his son. Agrarius had been naturally of a lively disposition; when a boy, his fine countenance had borne the marks of a manly freedom, and his behaviour had been dstinguished for its graceful affability; but the pernicious precepts and ideas so carefully instilled into his tender mind, counteracted the good intentions of nature, and rendered him a misanthrope, whom she
had originally intended for society and the world. His father had received a liberal education, and that education he employed, not for the welfare, but for the ruin of his son. There are many things that at first we regard only in the light of superfluity, which, by repeated indulgence, become, at last, to be ranked among the necessaries of life; and the aged father of Agrarius, accustomed from his infancy to the various entertainments and splendid banquets of a voluptuous city, could badly relish a poetical, though perhaps monotonous life of rural privacy and vegetable repasts. His sole delight was to recount and exaggerate to his attentive and credulous son, the splendour in which he had formerly lived, and the luxurious ease he had enjoyed; and he never omitted afterwards to compare the glowing picture he had so vividly painted, with the laborious exertion and rigid frugality inseparably connected with their present situation. The contrast was not to be endured. He became dejected at the continual recollection. The united pressure of discontent and despondency, by degrees, overpowered him; and, after an ineffectual struggle of a few years, he sunk to his grave, execrating the poverty, his misfortunes had reduced him to, and detesting a world in which he was now become insignificant. Unhappily he did not die before he had inculcated into the mind of his son the erroneous ideas that had occasioned his own destruction.
One morning as Agrarius, returning from his labour, walked thoughtfully toward home, mournfully sighing at his wretched situation, and glancing many an invidious look at the superb mansion of his landlord, he saw a man approach towards him, drest in mourning, and riding upon a horse which appeared quite exhausted with fatigue. The man, who seemed unconscious of the jaded condition of his beast, continued whipping and spurring, till coming up to Agrarius, “ Pray, my friend,” said he, “ does not a person, by the name of Richard Agrarius Denterville, live somewhere hereabouts.” The youth started with astonishment; that had been the appellation of his father, but, after his mis. fortunes, he chose to retain only his second name, thinking, that although the insolvency of Denterville was the topick of every one's conversation, few would interest themselves concerning the solitary Agrarius, “ Yes,” replied he, half hesitating whether