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evidence than Mr. Gleig's of the state of the case, we might feel disposed to take a darker view of those two years, than the letters now in our own possession warrant. By the light of these, we see no trace of dotage. There is, if we may so call it, latterly a sort of stammer in the style, as if words eluded the feeble memory, but ideas are there, and the capacity of giving them ute terance in choice language. Indeed, Mr. Hastings, appears to us to have always been happy in the neatness and good taste of his style. The correspondence between the two friends was kept up as regularly as age, and its infirmities, would admit. Here are the two last letters in our possession that close the correspondence on Mr. Hasting's side, and with reference to Mr. Gleig's remarks, we leave them to the judgment of our readers.
“ Daylesford House, 18th May, 1818. “ MY DEAR FRIEND,—1 acquit you of intentionally sinning against me, but you have certainly provoked me to sin against myself, and most grievously, if indiscretion be a sin; for at your recommendation
I have bought Mr. Marsden's translation of Marco Polo's travels, a book which reminds me almost painfully of the following line of Crabbe:
And ladies read the book they cannot lift.' You may however gather the kind of interest which I have already taken in it, when I have told you, as I do, that I have read besides the introduction, (a work of no small intricacy, to a mind so worn out it cannot be sure of spelling a word of four syllables without losing one of them by the way), seventy pages of the body of it, in only a part of two days in which it has been in my possession. But this is not the purpose for which I began my letter, but the following: In the 530 page of the book it is related that in a certain lake not far from the Caspian sea, fish never make their appearance until the first day of Lent, and from that time to Easter-eve they are found in vast abun. dance; but on Easter-day they are no longer to be seen, nor during the remainder of the year.' Now it may appear a strange coincidence that should bring the Caspian, or one of its subsidiary bodies of water, and the pond of Daylesford into a mutual comparison ; but it is a fact which I vouch on the credit of my own veracity, that about the time that I was beginning to collect a store of carp and tench for my pond at Daylesford, it chanced that somebody sent me a present of some jack, which I ordered to be put into one of the stews till I should want them. I had sent for a famous breeder of fish from Banbury for his advice, who as soon as he came, accosted me with a look of alarm, and said-'I see, Sir, that you have got four or five brace of jack in a stew there. I advise you to part with them as soon as you can. Your surest way will be to send them at once to the kitchen for if you leave them where they are till Shrove Tuesday, you may depend upon it they will spawn, and then your pond will be all stocked with jack and pike, and you will never get any other fish to
breed in it; nor will you get rid of these. By this anecdote it ap. pears that the popular superstition is equally prompt to ascribe the same influence to the recurrence of the feasts and festivals of religious appointment at Banbury, as on the coasts of the Caspian sea or the lake of Aral; for you will observe that the fish of both countries are mentioned as deriving their nativity from the times of their common relation to the ecclesiastical, not astronomical calendar. But this agreement, though in a palpable falsehood, is a proof of the veracity of the traveller. I hope my reasoning upon this subject is fair ; for I shall never get through another so much to my own satisfaction : besides, I feel an interest in its favor, extending both to the writer and his translator and annotator, which indeed is a plausible reason to make me mistrust my opinion upon them, and their work altogether.
"I am much gratified by your approval of my decision to let Mrs. Hastings depart and leave me behind. I have the conscious satisfaction of having throughout allowed a bias in favor of every wish and opinion in preference to my own; and after the age of four-score, I believe, it is the wisest resolution, as well as the most virtuous that a man can come to. I almost regret her absence too, as it deprives her of the new beauties of the spring, which is bursting upon us with all the arrears of delight which we have been so long expecting. Are we to lay this privation to the account of the approach of the icy mountains ! And what is your opinion of the Arctic exploration ?
“You are not a greater admirer than I am of the Princess of Saxe Homburg; and you have added an incitement to my admiration. Certainly our gracious Queen deserves infinite merit from the virtues and accomplishments of all her amiable daughters. I will take a little time to consider whether I can quite praise two rhymes of an assortment not quite familiar to me, but not for that reason not the best. But my words escape my own conception ; a warning to break off, which I do with confirmed assurances of affection in which you and your dear Lady are ever joined in my remembrance.
“ Daylesford House, 9th June, 1818. “MY DEAR FRIEND,-I am pleased that you were pleased with my commentary on a passage in Marco Polo. I have since met with another similar accordance in the same book, with a fact of which I was an eye witness, and which I have no doubt that the fastidious readers of those days passed to the account of the many incredibles which were laid to his charge. It was the traveller's assertion of his having seen a man walk-not swim, nor what is popularly called treading water, but literally—walk, at more than the height of his waist above the bottom of a river. My own evidence of a similar feat occurred, when I was at Lucknow, in the month of May, 1784, much about the time that you joined me there. One morning I went to visit the Prince Jehandar Shah, whose quarters then occupied a terraced house close adjoining to the bank of the river. I had scarce made my obeisance, when the Prince said : 'I have a very extraordinary man in my
service, who possesses the art of walking beyond his depth in the water. You shall see him, if he is here. Advancing then to the brink of the terrace, and calling to the people below, he asked, if such a one, mentioning his name, was there. The man instantly made his appearance, being just then occupied in cooking his dinner, with no other garment upon him but his loonghee. The Prince commanded him to let me see him walk in the water. The man, without other bidding or preparation, advanced, passed leisurely into the channel of the river where his movements at this time, after a lapse of thirty-six years, scarce retain the indistinct but certain traces on my remembrance of his having walked, and moved about in the surrounding stream, with a buoyancy apparently independent of the physical effects of gravitation. I do not recollect whether any one accompanied me in this visit. If there did, Jonathan Scott is most likely to have been the person, and I should be much inclined to put his memory to this test, if it did not require the prior knowledge of his direction, a knowledge of no difficult attainment, except by one to whom every thing presents a difficulty. In the mean time I have a present difficulty to overcome. I have lost the page of Marsden's book in which this do. cument is to be found, nor after repeated search have been able to recover it. If it should not have escaped your notice, and you can turn to it again, I shall be obliged to you for the information of page in which I may find it.
You will rejoice to hear that my dear wife after all that she had encountered of tumult, parade, and festivity, and some sickness, in London, with added inflammation, dust and jaded horses in her departure from it, returned to her own comfortable abode in perfect health and gaiety of spirits, and found me as glad without going so far for it. We both unite in kind regards to yourself and your dear lady, and I ever am, my dear friend,
Yours most affectionately,
Extract of a previous letter, dated 18th January, 1818. * At your recommedation I have bought Mr. Marsden's translation of Marco Polo's travels. Your may gather the kind of interest which I have already taken in it, when I have told you, as I do, that I have read, besides the introduction, (a work of no small intricacy to a mind so worn, that it cannot be sure of spelling a word of four syllables without losing one of them by the way) seventy pages of the body of it in only a part of two days in which it has been in my possession :—but this is not the purpose for which I began my letter."
Dated in May, 1818, we have two or three memoranda taken from Mr. Hastings' diary. They refer to “confused sounds, as of distant multitudes.” “I date their first perception from the 20th, at times resembling slow music—but its effect !!” We do not care to question Mr. Gleig's opinion regarding this “communion of unearthly voices hovering, as it were, on the brink of
the great gulph.” May it not, however, admit of a physiologi. cal explanation, as there are states of the aural organs where all kinds of sounds impress themselves upon the sensorium. If beautiful, it shews the beneficence of Nature in some of her compensations. To a classical scholar like Mr. Hastings, that beautiful passage in the Odyssey where Ulysses visits the regions of the dead could not but be familiar. Where did Homer get that cultus? The description altogether is very affecting where the spirits of the married and single-of tender virgins and of the slain in battle--appear and greet the living.
We leave it to the critical to determine whether this was a shout or a mournful wail. Be that as it may, it is painful to think that the last request of the dying statesman, in regard to some provision which he begged the East Indian Directors to make for his wife, was not attended to.
The gifted author* of the only one of the (so called) “Bridgewater Treatises,” that received no pecuniary prize, however much it merited one, in a very curious passage, argues (we write from memory, not having the work to refer to,) that sound and motion cease not their being, though their vibrations be no longer apparent in our sphere, but have passed on continuing their impress upon the elements of infinite space. It may be said of writing too that it ceaseth not its movement. The immortal principle that gives it impetus, clings to it. Characters which the hand (may be carelessly) traced, may become luminous when the will that urged and the fingers that wielded the pen have alike vanished from the things that are true, and not without its solemnity is the saying, litera scripta manet. A thousand peril, environ the tablet on which it may be traced, be it stone, brass, or papyrus; but like bread cast upon the waters, it yet somehow casts up after many days. It is not for any age to determine him many secrets may be flashed back, when least expected, from the night of time. Links of a chain supposed to be lost in the ocean of oblivion, have ever and anon, been fished up by the surest of drags, the litera scripta. What does not the world owe to it! We allude not altogether to what was done with formal intent and deliberation, but also to what may have proceeded from spontaneous flowing of thoughts, or passing impulse. Sometimes even a brief missive that was traced by the light pen of confidential abandon has turned up after many years, stamping a more vivid impress upon our conceptions of character, and merits, than studied treatises. It is much to have the men of rank whom the world would not willingly let die, admitting us as it were, to their fire-sides. Significant indeed is the sayinglitera scripta manet.
* Said to be the author of the Calculating Machino.
casts up y secrets e. Linkever and what
ART. IV.-Unpublished Documents.
For an Englishman it is more dangerous to be before than be. hind the world. In the former case he has at least the advantage of sympathy. He is backed by one-half his fellowmen, and that half the highest in position, in character, and in that indefinable something which Englishmen call respectability. He has with him all the old, all the timid, a moiety of the wealthy, and a majority of the official world. His opponent stands alone. He is resisted not only by that vis inertia, against which it is well that every projector should have to strive, but by some of the strongest peculiarities in the English character. His idea is apt to stand by itself, apparently unsupported by facts, and in ideas Englishmen profess to have but limited faith. He is usually deficient in practical details, for until the time for action has arrived, such details are simply burdensome, and the practical Englishman despises the deficiency. Above all, he is usually obscure. His own conviction is complete, and he forgets that he addresses men who are quoad his idea as ignorant as chil. dren. He makes up for his failure of expression by vehemence of language, and is fortunate if he is set down as a fanatic instead of a visionary.
This indisposition to enthusiasm has doubtless its advantages. It kills off fallacies. No scheme is ever accepted simply because it is new. It must also be practicable, and hundreds of crude ideas and pretty bubbles, die out without any injury beyond the trans. fer of a little cash from the pockets of dupes to the hands of shar. pers. Nothing not really based upon a fact can stand that tempest of ridicule, and hostile investigation. From politics to spirit rapping, the new movement is invariably stripped bare of its vesture of charlatanerie. The form beneath may be beautiful, and if so its beauty is acknowledged, but it is permitted no aid from dress or ornament. Or, to change the figure, we may say that every new project is flung into the crucible. The gold may be lost in the process of elimination, but at all events the dross is kicked into the dust heap. But the temperament has also its disadvantages, and they are neither few nor unimportant, Everything waits too long. The process of inquiry is protracted till the time for action has passed, till the most efficient agency has disappeared from the scene. In politics we are at this very moment witnesses of such a blunder. The English public has a new idea as to the true result to be achieved by its great struggle, But the idea is so overloaded with oppressed nationalities, speechifying, Red Republicans, Kossuth, the Poles, Popery, Lord Dudley Stuart, Mr. Urquhart and charlataneries without end,
bryst akong scheme ise has doubtles