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ÆT. 46.] GENERAL MINA-CONGREve-modern warfare. 157
given me a general invitation to see him at Woolwich. Possibly your martial minds may be so far interested in the science of warlike engines, as to wish to see the practising with his rocketsas well as with a new invention-namely, the discharging of small rockets from muskets which are only four pounds weight. This invention will be a new era in military science. But don't let your humanity shudder; for philosophers say that war is always less bloody in proportion to the destructiveness of the weapons. This is a little paradoxical, to be sure; but there is no doubt that ancient battles were more bloody than modern ones.
"I admired Mina* very much, and sat next to him. His French, to be sure, is very Spanish; and he squeezes hands, and is too cordial, with every body at the very first interview. His features are rustic,-it would be wrong to call them coarse, and his appearance is more like that of a good, plain, honest man, than a high-bred soldier: but his face, I should say, is one of the most prepossessing I ever saw. The expression is so loveable, that I was at times on the point of thinking him handsome-although he resembles in a very little Madame de Staël. He has something of the fire of her eyes, to be sure, which were very fine. I may bring him down to see you. T. C." "March [15.]
"It is a mean thing, they say, to count debts amongst friends; but thinking you were in debt to me a letter, and expecting every day to hear from you, I did not write. Indeed, I lead such a life, that what can I send you unless commentaries on books which I am reading, or narrate my dreams? for, except in books and dreaming, my mind has no occupation."
April 11th.-I wish some of you, my friends, would come to town-particularly to look at the exhibition of the new society of British Artists. I hardly know what to think-though I trust it will be found rich and strong, according to my first conception of Haydon's chief picture. I long to converse with you about it; its coloring is certainly dropping odors-dropping wine; yet I begin to fear that the coloring is not perfect. Come, my friends, and see this hiving of our artists! I think you will own with me that it shows British talent shooting into farther directions than it has hitherto done. Phillips told me that the
*Mina, born 1782; arrived in London, November 30, 1823; obt. December, 1836.
host of young Artists ought to be called the Army of Martyrs ! I have a new design upon you-I have an Italian poet, an improvisatore, to bring down. He was sent to me by Admiral Sir Grahame Moore. His case is interesting. Pepé had determined not to introduce him, for fear of troubling me; but Sir Grahame gave him a strong and particular recommendation. He had no earthly connexion with the Carbonari of Naples; but had written a line about the blessings of Freedom, and was sentenced to banishment without a trial! Sir G. Moore generously took him into his own cabin, where he was a great favorite, on account of his improvisatore talents; and the Admiral, and all his officers, I suppose, helped him liberally with money -bravo, British generosity! T. C."
An unpremeditated visit to Sydenham, attended with some inconvenience to his friends, drew from him the following explanation and apology. The incident is very characteristic of the Poet, in his "moods of mental abstraction."
"SEYMOUR-STREET WEST, May 8, 1824.
"Yes; when I came home I reflected on the urgency and importunity with which I had pressed myself upon your hospitality. I felt very sorry that a simple solution of the difficulty had not occurred to my mind. It appears strange; but to any who knew how ill I have slept of late, and what an unsocketing my nerves have received, it would not appear strange that my memory is fallacious. I thought only of the disagreeableness of sleeping out of your house-never recollecting that the books, which are necessary at night to lull my mind into a disposition for sleep, could have been carried with very little difficulty to any lodging for the night. Had I remembered this trifling circumstance, I should not have given you all the disquiet about lodging me, which I have given you. I must have appeared very selfish; and yet I feel that it is not in my nature to be so. Pray forgive me! On very short reflection, I saw the impropriety of my having allowed one of your own kindred inmates to leave the house on my account. Do me the kindness to recall the exorbitant favor which I asked in my nervous state. It is true my disease of sleeplessness has returned; but how like infatuation it seems that I never recollected that, even sleeping at the "Grayhound," I could still have had from your house plenty of books to answer the purpose of making me weary at night. In a word, though I am ashamed to own it, I really fear
SYDNEY SMITH-DR. STRAHAN-IRVING.
I labored under a nervous illusion, when I pestered Mr. A. and you with my regrets at your house being full; but I comfort myself with thinking that your friendship for me will long survive this absurdity on my part."
"SEYMOUR-STREET WEST, July 5, 1824.
"Had I not been privately performing the part of a great philosopher, I should have been dreadfully soured by the cross accident that prevented me from going to S. on the day appointed. I bore it heroically, but I must positively make out my visit next week, for fear I should become a mere dead letter -a stalactyte in your memories-or, as the Academicians phrase it in their catalogues, wrought into marble! Now, what a dreadful fate it must be to be wrought into marble! Your friend Sydney Smith called on me for a few seconds-I can scarcely say minutes-talked about a thousand things, and went away laughing. I don't think the worse of his heart for this flighty way; it is his head that is distracted by the multitude of his engagements and acquaintances in London. Dr. Strahan* says he never met such pleasant people in all his life— with an Aberdeen shortness of emphasis upon the all, that is purely northern. Dear good man! I like him for his affection for you. . . . He met Sir Charles Morgan at my house; and now Dr. S. and Lady M. are to meet and become friends. . . . He likes to see all the lions, he says; so I brought him yesterday morning to a den of large roaring ones. We sat down nineteen to breakfast; Generals Lallemand and Pepé-Lord Dillon, loudest of all-Washington Irving, half lamb, half lionand a long list of etceteri. The Canadian Pastor was highly pleased.
"Have you happened to see the notice of the author of being brought to Newgate bar? . . There is something in this event that shocks me more than it ought to do. I knew, though not intimately, that man, and met him in the house of — in Edinburgh Castle; so you may guess he was not in bad company. He was a man addicted to gallantry, but was the handsomest man ever seen. But of his probity in money matters, there was then no suspicion. He had married an heiress, lived in good style, and was said to be worth 2000l. a year. That was twenty years ago. A few weeks since he called on me to borrow, or rather beg. I gave him a trifle, and since, I suppose,
*The Right Rev. Dr. Strahan, late Bishop of Toronto, Canada.
desperate distress has driven him to this crime. He had a child--the beauty of which is now before my mind—a little angel. Alas! I fear it is the same being who is charged as an accomplice in the robbery, and supposed to be his son. T. C."
Having been applied to by one of those exiles, who so often experienced the active generosity of his friendship, for an advance of money upon certain objects of vertu, Campbell writes to a confidential friend :-August , 1824-"I beg you will recommend me to some judge of antique seals and medals, who will at least tell me their value, if he should not choose to purchase some of them." "Colonel Stanhope," he adds, "has been pressing me to go to Greece; but it won't do. I can't get away; but things are going on there better than our newspapers represent." He then announces, for the first time, a new enterprise in his own more special field, and says, "I have a new poem-Theodric-a very domestic story, finished, and about 500 lines long, common heroic rhyme; so so, I think; rather in good heart about it, though not over sanguine.-T. C.”
The criticisms of his friend, to whom the MS. poem was submitted, are thus acknowledged and approved :
"August 14, 1824.
I have thrown in a great many elucidating lines into my new poem, which I hope you will find sufficient to obviate the obscurity you complained of. .. I don't know whether I am not over sanguine; but you and I have now motived my story better. I have accounted for Constantine's death in a more natural way, by a renewal of the family strife; but you will judge when you see it. I now perceive very clearly that the story is too abrupt as it stands. T. C."
The state of his son's health, meanwhile, had become more and more discouraging; and to the same friend he writes :"Thomas is not more outrageous, but more dogged and disagreeable, if possible; excessively anxious to convince us how very cordially he hates both his mother and me... But I must really determine not to let this misfortune depress me.
Such was the daily state of feelings under which this poem was composed, corrected, and published.
ET. 47.] LITERARY FRIENDSHIP-EDITORIAL PATRONage.
As editor of the "New Monthly," Campbell had frequent opportunities of showing the "frater-feeling" which warmed his heart in all transactions with literary men. He was very fastidious as to his own writings, but indulgent to those of others; yet, in the exercise of his functions as censor of the articles, so various in subject and merit, that were brought before him, he showed that sound taste and discrimination which speedily raised his journal to a standard of excellence which left it without a rival. With all his vigilance, however, he was deceived more than once as to the merit of papers, to which he had given his sanction, and the mortification was acutely felt. His kindly feelings at times got the better of his judgment. Whenever poverty and distress came before him, his critical severity was too apt to be disarmed; and while he thought he was but paying a just tribute to merit, he was, in fact, yielding to the compassionate impulse of his own heart.
Of the grateful acknowledgments thus called forth from the recipients of his patronage or bounty, many instances might be adduced; but I will merely add one example, and a very pleasing one, of his solicitude to serve a meritorious stranger :—
"Oct. 2d.-I feel remorse in troubling you again, though it be to offer you my hearty thanks for your attention so kindly manifested to my friend's Essay. We are both sincerely obliged to you; and I trust you will find no cause to repent of your encouragement of a most intelligent and interesting foreigner. You have learnt, undoubtedly, the happy art of conferring a favor in a manner that renders it doubly valuable. For my own share in the business, I return you many, many thanks. Were I likely to recover, I would ask my dear friend, Joanna Baillie, to procure for me the pleasure of a personal introduction to you; but my days wax few; and it will be some gratification to you, perhaps, that you have contributed your part to the many consolatory circumstances which cheer their decline. I cannot conclude without expressing a hope, that the literary intercourse thus begun between Madame de and yourself may not end here. She unites with me in regard.
We are reminded by the correspondence of this autumn, that Campbell had paid the liberal annuity to his two younger sisters, commenced in 1801, and continued without interruption. -November 11th, he regrets that the day of publication is postponed, but that his poem will certainly appear in the course