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SIR JASPER CAREW, KNT. CHAPTER XXV.-TOE COUNT DE GABRIAC. CEAPTER
XXVI.- PARIS IN '95. CHAPTER XXVII.—THE BATTLE OF THE SECTIONS .
The Editor of The DUBLIN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE begs to notify that he will not undertake to return any manuscripts forwarded to him for perusal.
THESE lines were written by the late Marquis Wellesley in his eighty-first year, and were intended to be engraved on the civic statue of the Duke of Wel lington, erected by the citizens of Lon. don, in front of the Royal Exchange, in 1841. They appear in a sinall vo. lume of classical poems, entitled “ Pri. mitiæ et Reliquiæ," privately printed by the noble marquis, and distributed amongst his intimate friends a short time before his death. The Latin flows easily and is not inelegant, but by no means equal to other specimens in the same collection. Lord Wellesley was an accomplished scholar, who retained his early love of Greek and Roman lore to the latest period of his existence. He valued, and solaced himself in the decline of life with his Étonian reminis, cences, as much as he prized the fame and honours derived from his Indian go vernment and other high public offices. A pen so gifted should have resumed the theme, and have composed a more elaborate eulogium on his illustrious brother. We have reason to believe that be meditated something of the kind, but died too soon for its accom. plishment. The aim was ambitious, but might have missed the mark. A bappy subject and a favouring will do not always produce the desired object. Genius is arbitrary and wayward, and sometimes refuses to be fettered by rule or inclination. Waller was exceedingly anxious to propitiate Charles
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II. by a complimentary ode, but it proved tame compared with his earlier panegyric on Cromwell ; and when the good-tempered monarch told him this without being affronted, and inquired the reason, the poet adroitly answered, "May it please your Ma. jesty, it is much easier to describe fiction than truth.” Personal friends, relatives, or intimate associates, are not always the happiest eulogists. Poets in particular write with more fervour, more genuine estro, when deal. ing with imaginary or remote subjects, than when commemorating events and persons belonging to their own times. Claudian may be quoted as an exception. His praises of his patron, Stili. cho, compete in style and composition with the best efforts of the Augustan agc, and drew from Scaliger (no lenient critic) the admission, that he has compensated for the poverty of his matter by the purity of his language, tbe happiness of his expressions, and the melody of his numbers.
In studying the character and transactions of the gifted few who have held in their hands the destinies of nations, and who may be looked upon as the selected instruments through whom the mighty scheines which regulate the world are carried out to their ordained completion, it is equally instructive and agreeable to turn sometimes from the sustained, solenin seriousness of didactic or historical narrative, and to walk carelessly in the lighter fields of anecdote, everyday routine, or ordinary incident; to see greatness without its external attendants; to gaze closely on the objects of our habitual respect and ad. miration in their intervals of domes. tic privacy and familiar intercourse, when, for a season, they have put off the cumbrous panoply of command, and are no longer fenced in by the barriers of ceremony. In this view, such volumes as those we now propose to glance through hastily, are invested with a peculiar interest, which will never fail to prove acceptable to the general reader. * Great men are not always mounted on the stilts of office. They unbend like ordinary mortals, and recruit while they appear to relax the energies of mind and body by simple recreation.
The death of the Duke of Welling. ton naturally gave rise to many public cations respecting his life and career, some of which, long written, had been suppressed for various reasons until that event occurred. Others sprang into existence on the spur of the mo. ment, and not a few were suggested by the increased popularity of the subject, arising from his recent loss, and the deep, fervent, national regret with which men of all parties concurred in doing homage to his character, and in rendering a just tribute of respect and reverence to his memory. The subject will not easily tire, and many more volumes will yet be turned eagerly over before it may be pronounced effete or wearisome. When all is done, as every thing must end at last-when eloquence and language have exhausted their pow. er and variety, and when the historian has adorned impressive fact with the ad. vantages of style and the charms of composition, his own published despatch. es and orders will be selected in prefe. rence, as exhibiting the truest reflex of his mind and opinions, the most faithful
portrait of his talents, and the clearest index to his unexaggerated character. It was long said and thought that the great Duke had preserved a complete chain of memoranda, notes, and reflections, on which he intended, in the leisure of repose, when full of years and honours, to construct an autobiography of his public career; and then, when this idea was abandoned, that his papers either were, or would be committed to the late Sir George Murray, his confidential quartermaster-general, to be revised and published under his auspices. Whatever may have been the intention, neither of these plans were ever carried into effect; nor has it yet transpired that any papers were left by his Grace which may become valuable for historical purposes, beyond those with which the public are already familiar. Sir William Napier's “History of the Peninsular War” may seem to render any future commentary on those memorable campaigns (comprised between 1808 and 1814) equally hopeless and superfluous; yet it has been stated in print that Sir George Murray considered it incomplete, and said, emphatically, that it was not the book; and the Duke of Wellington himself recorded in a published letter, that although he entertained the highest respect for the author, he had not read his history, lest he should become entangled in an endless controversy. Biographies of illustrious monarchs and ministers, of great generals and statesmen, written during their lives, must of necessity be incomplete, and composed with reserve, or from one-sided information. Important documents are often withheld through delicacy, which ceases to influence with the lapse of time, and when the parties referred to are no longer actors in the busy scene. Such memoirs cannot be entirely divested of partisanship, and must be tinged by the very diversified feelings of in.
* 1. "Private Journal of F. S. Larpent, Esq., Judge Advocate-General of the British Forces in the Peninsula, from 1812 to the close of the Peninsular War.” Edited by Sir George Larpent, Bart. 3 vols. Crown 8vo. London: Bentley. 1853.
2. * Passages from My Life ; together with Memoirs of the Campaign of 1813 and 1814." By Baron Von Muffling. 8vo. London: Bentley. 1853.
3. " Three Years with the Duke of Wellington in Private Life." By an Ex-Aid-de-Camp. Crown 8vo. London: Saunders and Otley. 1853.
4. “The Duke of Wellington.” By Jules Maurel. Translated by Lord Ellesmere. Cr. 8vo. London : Murray. 1853.
5. “Life and Character of the Duke of Wellington; a Discourse delivered by Lord Ellesmere." Cruwn 8vo, London : Murray, 1852.