Page images
PDF
EPUB

same. I think you will see what I to him, and by the tender dependence mean if you consider it. There is only of the clinging arm. He set her one way that I can be your true protector doubts at rest almost as eloquently, and guardian, and that is if you will con- and quite as warmly, as if she had sent to marry me, Alice. Will you ? indeed been that woman who had You know I have nothing to offer you; disappeared among the clouds for ever, but I can work for you, and take care and led her home to Sora Antonia with of you, and with me you would not be a fond care, which was very sweet to alone."

the forlorn little maiden, and not irkIt was a strange way of putting it, some by any means to the magnanicertainly—very different from what Colin mous knight. Thus the decisive step had intended to say, strangely different was taken in obedience to the necessities from the love-tale that had glided through of the position, and the arrangements his imagination by times since he became (as Colin had decided upon them) of a man ; but he was very earnest and Providence. When he met Lauderdale sincere in what he said, and the innocent and informed him of the new event, the girl beside him was no critic in such young man looked flushed and happy, matters. She trembled more and more, as was natural in the circumstances, and but she leaned upon him and heard him disposed of all the objections of prudence out with anxious attention. When he with great facility and satisfaction. It had ended, there was a pause, during was a moonlight night, and Colin and which Colin, who had not hitherto been his friend went out to the loggia on the doubtful, began himself to feel anxious; roof of the house, and plunged into a sea and then Alice once more gave a wistful, of discussion, through which the young inquiring look at his face.

lover steered triumphantly the frailest "Don't be angry with me,” she said ; bark of argument that ever held water. "it is so hard to know what to say. If But, when the talk was over, and Colin, you would tell me one thing quite truly before he followed Lauderdale downand frankly-Would it not do you a stairs, turned round to take a parting look great deal of harm if this was to happen at the Campagna, which lay under them as you say 4-

like a great map in the moonlight, the "No," said Colin. When he said old apparition looked out once more the word he could not help remember from the clouds, pale and distant, and ing, in spite of himself, the change it again seemed to wave to him a shadowy would make in his young prospects, but farewell. “Farewell! farewell! in heaven the result was only that he repeated his nor in earth will you ever find me," negative with more warmth. “It can sighed the woman of Colin's imagi. do me only good,” said Colin, yielding nation, dispersing into thin white mists to the natural temptatiors of the moment, and specks of clouds; and the young " and I think I might do something for man went to rest with a vague sense of your happiness too. It is for you to loss in his heart. The sleep of Alice decide - do not decide against me, was sweeter than that of Colin on this Alice,” said the young man; “I cannot first night of their betrothal; but at that part with you now.”

one period of existence, it often happens "Ah! ” said Alice with a long that the woman, for once in her life, breath. “If it only would not do you has the advantage. And thus it was any harm,” she added a moment after that the event, foreseen by Lauderdale once more with that inquiring look. on board the steamer at the beginning The inquiry was one which could be of their acquaintance, actually came to answered but in one way, and Colin pass. was not a man to remain unmoved

To be continued. by the wistful, sweet eyes thus raised

No. 61.-YOL. XI.

THE CAMBRIDGE “APOSTLES.”

BY W. D. CHRISTIE.

A WRITER in the July number of Fraser's Magazine, who has described most of the living Judges of England, has, under a mistake about one of them, introduced an allusion to a Cambridge Society to which, not by itself, the name of « Apostles" has been given. He says of Mr. Justice Blackburn that “he was educated at Eton and Trinity College, where he took a creditable degree in mathematics. His friends thought highly of him, and he was enrolled a member of the club or society called “The Apostles,' which boasts of having 'worked wonders in the domains of thought and imagination. It may lay claim to a man of genius or two, and several men of talent, as having belonged to the fraternity; but, as regards national thought or progress, its annals might be cut out of the intellectual history of England without being missed."

Mr. Justice Blackburn was eighth wrangler in 1834, and was not a member of the Society to which his name has served as a pretext for this allusion. His abilities are accredited to the world by something stronger than his college honours or the opinion of friends, for there is probably no more remarkable instance of a high appointment given entirely from disinterested conviction of ability and learning than the selection by Lord Campbell, when Lord Chancellor, for the first judgeship he had to give, of Mr. Blackburn, a political opponent, known to him only as a member of the bar, and not suggested for promotion by precedence, for he was not a Queen's Counsel, or by popular opinion, for to the general public he was unknown. It so happens, however, that the learned Judge did not belong to the fraternity which, according to this writer, “boasts of having worked wonders in the domains of thought and

imagination," and whose annals, strange to say, though the writer asserts that it has comprised one or two men of genius and several of talent, might yet, he thinks, be “cut out of the intellectual history of England without being missed.” The mistake has perhaps originated in a confusion with a younger brother of the Judge, the Professor of Mathematics at Glasgow, who was a member of the Society.

This Society has existed for forty-four years in the University of Cambridge. Its own name is Conversazione Society. It is limited in number to twelve actual members in residence, undergraduates or bachelors of arts. Hence the name of “ Apostles,” given at first in derision. *Thirty years ago, the fame, then already considerable, of one, of whom few would. now say that his works, if lost, would not be missed, or that he had not done wonders in the domains of thought and imagination,—the fame of Alfred Tennyson, and a band of his friends and contemporaries, all members of the Society, among whom may be named Arthur Hallam, Milnes, Trench, and Alford, had made for the Society in Cambridge a name which has never since departed from it. Poetry was not its sole or special pursuit. In 1834, the actual members had the advantage of the continued presence in Cambridge, and friendly counsel, and familiar companionship, of a large number of college tutors and lecturers, who had taken high University honours, and had already, according to the rules of the Society, become honorary members. Among these were W. H. Thompson, the present Regius Professor of Greek, Blakesley, now a Canon of Canterbury, Charles Merivale, the historian of Rome, G.S. Venables, and Edmund Lushington, the Professor of Greek at Glasgow. In this year, 1834, an agitation and

controversy having arisen about the ad- were members of this Society, are three mission of Dissenters to degrees in the distinguished living ornaments of the Universities, and great fears having been House of Commons, to two of whom it expressed by Mr. Goulburn in the has been given to be members of the House of Commons, and by Dr. Turton, Cabinet, or again as Tennyson says, then Regius Professor of Divinity, in a

“To mould a mighty state's decrees pamphlet, of mischievous theological

And shape the whisper of the throne," controversies among undergraduates, i that giant in learning and intellect, and the other of whom is one of our Connop Thirlwall—then an assistant ablest parliamentary orators. The three tutor of Trinity, soon after made Bishop are Mr. Walpole, Lord Stanley, and Mr. of St. David's-scouted the alarm with Horsman. a reference and a tribute to this Society. Of a fourth who attained eminence in Addressing Dr. Turton, Mr. Thirlwall public life I will speak more at large, said, “If you are not acquainted with for death has closed his distinguished the fact, you may be alarmed when I career, and in his last years I had inform you that there has long existed peculiar opportunities of knowing him. in this place a society of young men, The name of Charles Buller, by several limited indeed in number, but con- resemblances—by his wit, by his death tinually receiving new members to at a moment when his fame was culmisupply its vacancies, and selecting them nating and higher political honours by preference among the youngest, in had begun to come to him, by many which all subjects of the highest in- qualities described in Burke's famous terest, without any exclusion of those eulogy on Charles Townshend—involunconnected with religion, are discussed tarily recalls to mind that more eminent with the most perfect freedom. But, if but less estimable politician. For of this fact is new to you, let me instantly Charles Buller it might have been as dispel any apprehension it may excite, truly said in the House of Commons, by assuring you that the members of when he had ceased to adorn it, as it this Society, for the most part, have been was said by Burke of Charles Townsand are among the choicest ornaments hend: “In truth, he was the delight of the University, that some are now and ornament of this House, and the among the ornaments of the Church, 'charm of every private society which he and that, so far from having had their honoured with his presence. Perhaps affections embittered, their friendships there never arose in this country, nor in torn and lacerated, their union has been any country, a man of a more pointed one rather of brothers than of friends." and finished wit, and of a more refined,

Names have been mentioned which 'exquisite, and penetrating judgment. If may already suggest that this Society he had not so great a stock as some have might have been spared the remarks by had, who flourished formerly, of knowwhich an anonymous writer, led to men- ledge long treasured up, he knew better tion it by mistake, has accompanied his by far than any man I ever was admissions of praise. “ It may lay claim acquainted with, how to bring together to a man of genius or two, and several within a short time all that was necesmen of talent, but, as regards national sary to establish, to illustrate, and to thought or progress, its annals might be decorate that side of the question he cut out of the intellectual history of supported. He stated his matter skilEngland without being missed.” Well, fully and powerfully. He particularly genius does not grow on hedgerows, and excelled in a most luminous explanation rare always have been the spirits which and display of his subject. His style of are, in Tennyson's words, “ full-welling argument was neither trite and vulgar, fountain-heads of change," governing nor subtle and abstruse. He hit the national thought and progress.

House just between wind and water." i Among those who, in academic youth, Burke qualified his praise of Towns

hend's judgment by a few words which I have omitted—“where his passions were not concerned.” These words do not apply to Charles Buller, and here lay one point of superiority. Charles Buller also was not a trimmer or a waverer. He was an earnest, singleminded, consistent politician. It is believed that his political advancement was for some time retarded by the character which he had acquired of a joker ; but whoever thought that under that bright pleasant surface of playful humorousness there was a character wanting in solidity or strength of purpose, was greatly mistaken. He was never a seeker of office; for a considerable time, indeed, while it was within easy reach, he avoided it. The secretaryship of the Board of Control was offered to him by Lord Melbourne, in 1839, when Lord Melbourne's government was strong, and he declined it. Later, in 1841, after Lord Melbourne's government had taken the first step towards free-trade by proposing a moderate fixed duty on corn, and the early fall of the Ministry was certain, the very same office was offered to Charles Buller, and he accepted it, casting in his fortunes with a falling Ministry. When the Liberal party returned to power in 1846, under Lord John Russell, as Premier, Charles Buller was appointed JudgeAdvocate. This is never a Cabinet office, and many thought that there should have been then an ampler recognition of Charles Buller's abilities, long-tried political steadfastness, and self-made parliamentary standing. But his was not a grasping or self-asserting nature, and he himself was contented. He took the office of Judge-Advocate, but he declined its usual accompaniment, the rank of Privy Councillor. He was by profession a barrister, and had latterly been often employed in cases before the Privy Council, and he desired to retain the power, when he might lose his office, of practising as a barrister, which would have been contrary to rule or usage, if he were a Privy Councillor. And here appeared both the simplicity and

the prudence of his character. He was the eldest of three children of a retired civil servant of the East India Company, who was still alive, and who indeed survived him; and, though he might have looked forward in the ordinary course of nature to a not remote possession of a fortune which to him, whose ways were frugal and unostentatious, would have been a complete competency, and though he had in his ready and happy pen a source of income on which from experience he might count, he preferred to waive a rank which is the general object of honourable ambition, that he might preserve the security of an additional means of pecuniary independence. He used to like to call himself a “political adventurer ;” and, being not a man of wealth or title, but a man of talent and political convictions, he belonged to that class of “adventurers " from which the House of Com. mons and the great aristocratic parties of England have derived lustre,—the class of Burke, Sheridan, Canning, Horner, Praed, and Macaulay. In the autumn of 1847, he received from Lord John Russell an offer, which he declined, but the handsome terms of which gave him great satisfaction. It was the offer of the seat of Legislative Member of the Indian Council, which had been first held by Macaulay, and was then vacated by Mr. Cameron, whose term of office had expired. Lord John Russell wrote to him that he could not allow the office to be offered to anyone else before giving him the refusal, and that it was with regret he should lose him from England, where high office must soon present itself for him. He was chiefly moved to decline this office by his unwillingness to separate himself from his father and mother, neither of whom, if he went to India, he could expect to see again. On the meeting of the new Parliament in November, 1847, he was appointed President of the newly constituted Poor Law Board. In a short twelvemonth he was dead. His fame was rapidly ripening when he died at the early age of forty-two. It had been finally arranged very shortly before his

death that he should be made a Privy conduct a beautiful veracity, as if it Councillor; but he died before he could were unconscious of itself: a perfect be sworn in. The most eminent of all spontaneous absence of all cant, hypopolitical parties joined to commemorate crisy and hollow pretence, not in word his worth and brilliancy by a bust, and act only, but in thought and placed in Westminster Abbey, bearing instinct. To a singular extent, it can an inscription written by one of his be said of him, that he was a spontaoldest and most admiring friends, neous, clear man. Very gentle, too, another “ Apostle,” Richard Monckton though full of fire ; simple, brave, Milnes. When Macaulay, excluded from graceful. What he did, and what he the House of Commons in 1847, was said, came from him as light from a re-elected for Edinburgh in 1852, he re- luminous body, and had thus always ferred in the speech which he addressed in it a high and rare merit, which to his constituents to some of the emi- any of the more discerning could nent men who had vanished during his appreciate fully.”l absence; and he began with Buller:-“In Is it not time that some friend should Parliament I shall look in vain for virtues collect the scattered remains of Charles which I loved, and for abilities which I Buller's wit and wisdom, and present admired. Often in debate, and never them to the world, with one of those more than when we discuss those ques- Memoirs with selected correspondence tions of colonial policy which are every which in later times have made so day acquiring a new interest, I shall numerous and valuable a department of remember with regret how much elo- historical biography ? quence and wit, how much acuteness This Cambridge Society may feel a and knowledge, how many engaging just pride in one whom all its members, qualities, how many fair hopes, are from the oldest to the youngest, from buried in the grave of poor Charles the most distinguished to the humblest, Buller.” Later, another distinguished regard with affection—the poet, the politician and man of genius, reviewing excellent prose-writer, the temperate the celebrities of St. Stephen's, has given and thoughtful politician, who, with Charles Buller a due place in his gallery general public approval, has lately been of fame.

made Lord Houghton. If Richard “ Farewell, fine humourist, finer reasoner

Monckton Milnes had not been a man still,

of the world and busy politician, and Lively as Luttrell, logical as Mill,

if he bad been able to concentrate his Lamented Buller : just as each new hour

energies on poetry, and gird himself to Knit thy stray forces into steadfast power, Death shut thy progress from admiring

the building up of some great poem, eyes,

none who know what poetry he has And gave thy soul's completion to the written, can doubt that it was in him skies.” 1

to be a great poet; and none who know Charles Buller. before he went to his “Life of Keats," or any of his many Cambridge, had been the pupil of one pamphlets and articles in Reviews and of our greatest writers and worthiest Magazines, will deny that he presents men, Thomas Carlyle, who always loves another example of what he has himself to speak of the fine endowments of lately proclaimed, and supported by his pupil, and who, immediately after much proof, that a good poet makes his death, testified publicly to his vir- himself a good prose-writer. To give tues and capacity. The author dwelt examples of Tennyson's poetry is needcharacteristically on the truthfulness less, but there may be readers who will and simplicity of Charles Buller :- wish now to see a specimen of Milnes. “There shone mildly in his whole

1 Escaminer, December, 1848. 1 “St. Stephen's, a Poem," known to be Sir Introductory Address in the Philosophical E. B. Lytton's, though his name is not on the Institution, Edinburgh, by Lord Houghton, title-page.

1863.

« PreviousContinue »