Page images

calm interchange of ideas between scien- simple duties as those of food inspection tific men themselves can afford a chance and analysis might easily be performed of the elicitation of the truth on some by an official so qualified as we have of the more difficult questions involved supposed our district health-officers to in forensic inquiries—I mean the truth, be. This great relief being given, the not in the abstract, but so far as science remaining subjects which would occupy already knows it.

the attention of our district officer would Before concluding, I must answer be confined to a circle of science certainone objection which is certain to be ly not larger, one would say greatly less, raised – namely, that no man could than that which the ordinary practitioner grasp effectively the great range of of medicine is supposed to grasp. And science involved in the multifarious we should be delivered from the uncomduties indicated. This objection might fortable spectacle, now so frequently readily be met by separating from the thrust upon us, of worthy men, pergeneral duties of the office, which would fectly well qualified for the latter branch be homogeneous in character, certain of work, assuming at a moment's notice specialties which are at once very diffi- the functions of advisers of the state cult and of a different nature from the on the highly special and peculiar subordinary duties. Chemistry is a good jects which have been enumerated in instance of this. It would be not only this paper. possible, but highly desirable, that elabo- I am well aware that the ideas now rate chemical inquiries, such as those put forward are difficult of realization. I concerned in cases of suspected poison- am content, however, to wait the course ing, should be taken out of the hands of of events. These ideas, which two years toxicologists, and always decided, apartago had not attracted much attention, from any theoretical considerations in have since that period received the notice physiology, by officials like those, let us of influential persons, and are already say, of the College of Chemistry. On making distinct and perceptible prothe other hand, such comparatively gress.



On eager feet, his heritage to seize,
A traveller speeds toward the promised land.
Afar gloom purple slopes on either hand ;
Glad earth is fragrant with the flowering leas;
The green corn stirs in noon's hot slumberous breeze,
And whispering woodlands nigh make answer grand.
That pilgrim's heart as by a magic wand
Is swayed : nor, as he gains each height, and sees
A gleaming landscape still and still afar,
Doth Hope abate, nor less a glowing breath
Wake subtle tones from viewless strings within.
But lo! upon his path new aspects win ;
Dun sky above, brown wastes around him are ;

From yon horizon dim stalks spectral Death !
GUILDFORD, June, 1856.


field sports.

And here the men of I. “ OF MAGNANIMITY."

Mincing Lane and the Stock Exchange I was lately travelling in a railway car- were in their element. They all hunted, riage, in which there happened to be a they all fished, they all shot, and they party of city men, who were going into could all talk of sport and the money the country to shoot. Wealthy, portly, it cost them. Smith had with nim a middle-aged men of business—they were favourite setter, for which he had lately evidently good specimens of a class which given a hundred and twenty guineas; is every day becoming larger among us, Jones was going to try a new breechthe class of men who make their money loader, for which he had paid the fancy in town, and like to spend it in the price of fifty pounds. “You know,” he country, upon Norfolk stubbles and remarked, “you can get a gun to do Scotch moors, and upon all the parapher- anything a gun should do for half the nalia of dogs, guns, keepers, and beaters money; but then,” he continued naively, which such tastes necessitate. They had “I like to have everything of the best, come out for a week's pleasure, and a tip-top-keepers, dogs, horses; or else very happy and jovial party they were. the swells are sure to laugh at you.” A Happy, with the exception of one of sentiment which even Miserrimus entheir number, who had left in his cab a dorsed, with the remark that he did not fine turbot, which was to have made its mind giving a fancy price for the best of appearance at the dinner-table after the everything, -not even if it was three morrow's battue ; and this poor gentle- shillings a pound for such a fish as that man, out for his brief holiday, was —that turbot which he had left in the miserable on account of the loss of his confounded cab.. fish. His enjoyment, for that day at Listening to the harmless tattle of any rate, was quite marred. The me- these city gentlemen, I lit another cigar, mory of the turbot, like Banquo's ghost, and gave myself up to the various phases rose up to destroy every present plea- of littlemindedness which crop out so

We talked of the cotton famine, plentifully upon the surface of modern and, after agreeing with us that the crisis society. I asked myself, Do long seasons of difficulty was over, he turned to one of national and individual prosperity of his riends and remarked, “It's a thou- tend to foster this littlemindedness ? sand pities I forgot that fish, Jones, isn't Was the Laureate right in welcoming a it? I gave three shillings a pound for European war as a moral flood to rebapit-I did, upon my word-at Grove's, tize the nations ? And so I fell upon just before I started." We sat in considering the virtue of Magnanimity, silence, and smoked our cigars in bold -whether we know even the shadow defiance of bye-laws and regulations, for thereof in these our days; whether every compartment of the carriage was amongst all our friends and acquaintoccupied, and every occupant had lit ances we know-any one of us-of one up, when the silence was broken by a who might stand for the truly magnaniplaintive voice exclaiming à propos to mous man. The word, indeed, has somenothing, “I say, Smith, it is a con- what narrowed its horizon in the course founded bore about that turbot, isn't of time. We all know that it means greatit?” And so on, and so on, till at last mindedness. But, as a general rule, we the conversation turned upon a topic in limit it to that single phase of greatwhich even Miserrimus—for so we will mindedness which is shown in the call him—was interested; the topic of forgiveness of a wrong. And yet this


is but one of many ways in which great- “mind openly and boldly when occasion ness of soul can manifest itself; and " calls for it. He is not apt to admire, perhaps it is not even the highest mani- “ for nothing is great to him. He overfestation of the virtue. For I am not “ looks injuries. He is not given to talk sure but that some men, in whom am- * about himself or about others; for he bition and vanity are strong, may not “ does not care that he himself should find it easier to forgive the injuries of “ be praised, or that other people should a foe than to pardon the successes of a “ be blamed. He does not cry out about friend. Dean Trench has shown us how “ trifles, and craves help from none. words have dropped out of the world's “ The step of the magnanimous man is vocabulary, as being no longer needed, "slow, his voice deep, and his language or have altogether lost their primary “stately : for he who cares about few meaning And it will be worth while things has no need to hurry, and he to inquire whether the virtue which was " who thinks highly of nothing needs magnanimity in heathen days has found “ not to be vehement about anything.” no place for itself under the Christian Such is the character of the magnanimous dispensation, and so has narrowed itsel man, as drawn by an old heathen writer down to the Christian virtue of forgive- more than 2,000 years ago. Doubtless ness, or whether it has undergone a this was a standard of perfection at rebaptism, and is known in the modern which Aristotle himself aimed, and world under some other name. At any which many a Greek attained to,-in rate, it is evident that even in Christian outward seeming at least; though the England, in the nineteenth century, Athenian magnanimity must bave sadly there is room for a word which shall degenerated when Paul of Tarsus express the contrary to that fidgety, preached on Mars Hill to a crowd or prying, invidious, mean and despicable gossips and triflers four hundred years condition of mind which men fall into later. And certainly the portrait as who deal with things rather than with drawn by Aristotle has something grand, persons, who are chiefly conversant with we may almost say noble, in its lineathe petty concerns of life, with money- ments. Indeed, it would be noble but getting, with buying and selling, and so for the lazy scorn which flashes from the forth, and so insensibly lapse into a low eye and curls the lip. Self-contained and stunted condition of soul.

and self-reliant, the magnanimous man The magnanimous man,” said Aris- towers above his fellows, like an oak totle, “ is he who, being really worthy, amongst reeds,--his motto nec franges “ estimates his own worth highly. If a nec flectes. And, if there be somewhat “man puts too high a value upon

him- too much of self-sufficiency about him, “self, he is vain. And if a man, being we must remember that, to be great and “ worthy, does not rate himself at his strong, a heathen must necessarily lean “proper worth, why he is little better upon himself. The settler in foreign “ than a fool. But the magnanimous and sparsely inhabited countries.needs "man will be only moderately gratified and acquires a degree of self-reliance and “by the honours which the world heaps self-assertion which would be offensive “ upon him, under the impression that in the person of a member of civilised “ he has simply got what is his due. He society. And the Greek became self“ will behave with moderation under sufficient even in his ethics, as having “both bad fortune and good. He will no definite promise of help out of him“ know how to be exalted and how to be self, or beyond his own resources. “abased. He will neither be delighted But it is curious to notice how in “ with success, nor grieved by failure. the main the ethics of 2,000 years ago " He will neither shun danger, nor seek repeat themselves in the fashionable " it; for there are few things which he ethics of to-day. Much of what Ariscares for. He is reticent and some- totle has said of the magnanimous man what slow of speech, but speaks his as to his carringe and bearing, might

She saw

have been published only last year as a thousand a year." And really there is fashionable treatise by the Hon. Mr. something more in her assertion than A-- or Lady B on good breeding appears upon the surface. and the manners of a gentleman. Alter that she was living a life of petty shifts a word or two here and there ; blot out and little meannesses, cajoling one friend, the rather offensive self-sufficiency; lay flattering another, and cringing to a a very thin wash of colour over the third ; and all for the sake of a mainsuperciliousness of manner which is tenance, for a few paltry pounds more somewhat too manifest in Aristotle's or less. Give her the money, and what magnanimous man, and you might be need would there be any longer for reading a description of "the swell,” as flattery, or meanness? Another modern poor Jones calls the man who lives and philosopher, however, is of quite a differmoves and has his being in society. ent opinion from our friend Becky. Mr. There is no doubt, in fact, that the laws Ruskin, in one of his amusing pamphlets, of good breeding, the leges inscriptæ of —which, under the name of Art, treats society, do tend, more or less, to produce of all things and a few things besides, an appearance of what the old Greeks whether in heaven or earth, or in the named magnanimity. These laws are waters under the earth,-Mr. Ruskin simply the barriers which the common suggests that some benevolent gentleman sense of most has erected, to protect shall set up shop, in order to show the people who are thrown much together world that honesty, and gravity, and from each other's impertinences. They truth, and piety, may be found behind a are lines of defence, and therefore their counter as well as anywhere else. But tendency is to isolate the individual from has Mr. Ruskin forgotten the old adage the crowd ; to make him self-contained, about contact with pitch ? I will state reticent, and independent of opinions; his case and illustrate his idea. His alike careless of censure and indifferent model tradesman, let us suppose, a to applause. It may be said that much gentleman by birth and education, dons of this is only manner.

But, as in the apron and commences trade in—we poetry the matter often grows out of will say the small grocery line of busithe manner, so the character is often ness in a little country town. Of course insensibly influenced by the outward he finds that there is an opposition shop bearing; a man becomes to some extent —there always is an opposition shop in what he wishes to appear.

little country towns--quite ready to For the question must needs present compete with him, and to undersell him itself,—Is this a mere matter of fashion by any and every means, legitimate or and good breeding. The calm and stately otherwise. All goods must be sold at bearing, the polished, urbane address, the lowest price compatible with any the unruffled surface of a stream which profit at all; and, if his rival has capital seems to have no slimy depths,—are enough to carry on the game, at a lower these things the mere accidents of a price still. Then come the sanding of position, the mere outward husk and the sugar, the dusting of the pepper, shell of a man ; or are they the indices the watering of the tobacco at the oppoof certain qualities inherent in a certain sition shop;

and what is our magnanimous class, and in which other classes are not man to do? Shall he preserve his inequally privileged to share ? Aristotle tegrity and vacate the field, or shall he associates magnanimity with good for- throw his honesty to the dogs, and tune.

He declares boldly that wealth strangle his truth? It is clear that one and power tend to make men magnani- or other of these things he must do. Do I mous. And a philosopher of a later then mean to assert that magnanimity is age, the clever and witty Becky Sharpe, incompatible with trade, that greatness if we mistake not, held a similar opinion. of soul is not to be found in the man “ Ah! how good and great-minded I whose daily business is weighing out could be," she remarks, “if I had five sugar and selling figs? By no means, But I am very much of Becky Sharpe's dependence of mind and a sovereign conopinion, that it is much easier to be tempt for the world's opinion, I can only magnanimous on five thousand a year say that he will have tried my remedy than on fifty pounds a year. Of course in vain. For it is strange to see how there are exceptional men who will show even the meanest minds often rise into their greatness by bending their minds magnanimity under the pressure of a to mean but necessary occupations, and great and sudden trial. We will take raising these occupations by the spirit in the first instance that offers itself for an which they are followed. But such men example: that poor private in the Buffs as these are the salt of the earth. And who was killed by the Chinese a year or I take it that such men as these are very two back for refusing to kotow at the rare. In truth, even with the highest name of their emperor.

Here was an class of minds, the accidents of their ignorant country lad, a mere clod of position, the men with whom they are Suffolk or Dorsetshire clay, far from thrown, the callings they pursue, do friends and home, and fresh from the uncontribute more or less to foster or to heroic discipline of pipeclay and goosedestroy the virtue we are considering step, yet giving his life like a hero for It is hard to live with narrow-minded his honour and his duty. Yesterday, people and yet not to contract some stain a clown, his highest pleasure the grogof narrow-mindedness. It is above all shop-to-day, Leonidas does not surpass a difficult thing to be engaged in the him in magnanimity! business of money-getting and still to Ou the whole I think it will be found valne money at its proper worth ; for that a strong religious conviction is the the subject of our daily labours and best, perhaps the only, specific for deanxieties must necessarily be apt to ob- livering men from the petty interests, tain an undue and preponderating pro- the little cares, the envies, the heartminence in our thoughts.

burnings, the meannesses, which pertain But, if poverty be inimical to mag- to an overcrowded state of society. I nanimity, as tending to make men exalt believe that few religious enthusiasts will the temporal at the expense of the be found to have been littleminded in eternal, wealth and prosperity have no worldly matters. They may have been less their dangers. The struggling man bigoted, fierce, cruel; they may have had of business, who has safely carried honour a narrow mindedness peculiarly their and magnanimity out of the fray, may own : but we must acknowledge that the find his Capua in respectability and a zealots of religion have, on the whole, handsome income in the funds. He

been magnanimous in dealing with the may become littleminded and a trifler, things that are Cæsar's. Indeed, the ina hanger-on upon great people, a taster terests with which religion is concerned of entrées, and a connoisseur of wines, are so vast that all merely temporal inand be a little too apt to complain of the terests are dwarfed into insignificance by crumpled rose-leaf in his couch. And the side of them. And, of all human what then can restore him to himself exemplars of magnanimity, I know of but the sharp pinch of a great trial? If none who can for a moment compare he has any regard for the virtue he has with that poor prisoner, who from his lost, I recommend him at once to draw dungeon at Rome declared with unhis money out of the funds, and to invest faltering voice that he had learnt through it in the private bank of an intimate much suffering, in whatever state of life friend, if possible of a near relation, he was, therewith to be content ;

that with interest at the rate of six, or even he knew how to be full and to be seven, per cent. paid quarterly. And hungry, how to abound and to suffer then, if there does not speedily come want; and that he was willing, if it such a crash as shall astonish him, and pleased God, to live, and yet was not send him back to his mutton chop and afraid, yea, was

even ready, if so it pint of pale ale with a magnanimous in- pleased Him, to die.

« PreviousContinue »