Imatges de pàgina

“ Ye thoughtless Many, who from earliest youth
The wayward paths of vice, and folly (read;

Hear from the Grave the sacred voice of Truth,
Nor scorn instruction from the Unhappy Dead.”

· This barren spot where legal victims lie,
With speed you pass, as groundless fears impel;

Yet here Reflection with the thoughtful eye,
And melancholy Musing love to dwell. .

• Here with swoln heart the pensive mourner views
Th’uncoffin'd victims in their cells beneathi.

Each varied scenę while memory pursues
From life's fair morning to the tree of death.

• Haply on these has some fond parent smil'd,
And as he view'd with joy the blesling giv'n,

Has pray'd th' Eternal, “ Oh! protect my child,
And grant him virtue, happiness, and Heav'n!”

• For These with sleepless eyes, and anxious breast,
Has some fond mother nightly vigils kept;

And as the lull'd her infant charge to rest,
Has smil'd with transport, and with transport wept !

The harmless prattle of their lisping tongue
With ears enraptur'd have their parents heard;

Diffolv'd in tenderness have o'er them hung,
And fancied plans of future fame uprear'd.

• Delusive fabric ! on a base how frail
Each flatt'ring hope of human bliss is built ;

Soon the young blossoms feel the noxious gale,

By which example taints the soul with guilt.' The second peformance deserves but little notice. As the great event, according to the author, which it was intended to celebrate,' did not take place, he might, without any detriment to his poetical credit, have suppressed it. The lines are very smooth; but we learn little more from them than that Mr. Halloran is a very loyal subject, and has a very high opinion of the loyalty of the city of Exeter, whose fidelity to the royal family, he apprehends, is of so durable a nature that it will hold out

{ Till time hall be no more!'

A View of the Character and public Services of the late 7ohn

Howard, Esq. LL. D. F. R.S. By John Aikin, M. D.

8vo. 35. 6d. sewed. Johnson. 1792.. M R. Howard has been a frequent object of public attenV țion. Those, who thought that a degree of humanity unusually great and extensive, especially when it led to the dreary and disgusting scenes of fqualid misery, could scarcely be suggested by calm reflecting reason, have stigmatised his attempt by the name of madness, or at least of Quixotism; while others, who have often wiped the eye of drops which sacred pity has engendered,' who think that every distress of mankind ought not to be indifferent to man, have, perhaps, by a converse of the error, raised his character too high: in the intemperance of their zeal, they have been led to propose plans distressing to him they meant to honour, and disgraceful to that temperate wisdom which, disdaining the blind path of admiration, is contented with approving. The character of Mr. Howard was, indeed, a singular one, and it requires a mas. ter's ikill to delineate the minuter traits, the features of his mind. Dr. Aikin has executed his talk with great skill, in a manner that merits our commendation : if we find that he has coloured the more brilliant parts of the character too highly, and shaded the dark traits with a lighter hand, it must still be considered as one of the venial errors which reflects honour on the heart; one of the defects which the author may be proud to own.


After much reflection on this very singular man, and his peculiar conduct, we shall venture to premise a few remarks, which may contribute to illustrate his character, and perhaps elucidate some of the more intricate movements of the human mind. If they may seem to detain us long, we trust they will not be without their utility on other occasions, as well as this now before us.

In every well regulated mind, the train of ideas is regular and confitent. The inclinations, the desires, the emotions, and passions are raised by suitable objects, and the actions are usually directed to their proper end: they produce the destined effect, and yield in order to the train that chance or other circumstances shall next introduce. If the object calculated to excite inclination or desire, rises to the higher degrees of emotion or passion; if these fail in answering their usual pura pose, or continue in an inordinate degree, and beyond the time when the end is attained, it may be considered as a mental disease. Thus Horace, in the style of the philosophers of the porch, calls passion a short madness, for by anger he means an inordinate degree of the emotion; and, in a milder and less offensive sense, every deviation from the regular order may have the same appellation. We say, in a less offensive sense, because, when we use the term madness in this view, it is not designed to express the degree of degradation of human reafon, which reflects disgrace on a person and a family. Of these diseases no one, to the mental pathologist, appears more strike

ing · ing than those emotions which, 'with little more than usual vi

olence, are unusually permanent. In such instances, the dis

ease of the mind may be owing to a constitutional tempera. ... ment, founded on bodily organization, which is most com: monly the case, or to circumstances which favour the conti

nuance of one strong emotion, by the absence of others fuf. ficiently powerful to rouse the mind from the former course, or to suggest new associations. This state of mind occasions either a gloomy melancholy, or a more active enthusiasm: the prevalence of the leading idea and its influence are equally conspicuous in either instance, and the effect is the fame. While the disease is slight, the mind is not incapable of attending to other objects, nor of reasoning correctly on these as well as on the ruling idea : the disorder consists in the force and the unufual permanency of the idea. This state of mind is perceive cd in all its variations in the eager fanguine projector, to the airy castle-builder in his cell; from the gloomy reformer in his closet, to the dark enthusiast in his tub. The difference only lies in the permanency of one train of ideas, which when in a certain degree destroys the powers of reason on the peculiar subject, and in a greater degree unfits the mind from judge ing of and reasoning on any other subject. The Don Quixote of Cervantes is an admirable performance; but it errs in this point: when the ruling idea has proceeded so far as to colour objects with its peculiar hue, it is very uncommon, it is pera haps. impossible, to find it capable of reasoning correctly on

other subjects. This error every reader perceives : it disgusts · fome entirely, and lefsens the pleasure of others. It is called

improbability and inconsistency; but the source of the displeafure arises from its combining two opposite and inconsiltent ftates of mind,

It must not be surprising, while there are gradations in bodily disorders, and that every person affected with the lightest tremor is not to be alarmed by the apprehension of violent conpulfions, or with the flightest swelling of the legs, immediatea ły to apprehend an universal dropsy, that there should not be fimilar gradations in mental diseases. For this reason a pera son may be eager, fanguine, and impetuous, or he may be unusually torpid, and his ideas subject to little change, without the imputation of madness; yet these are minuter degrees of the fame disease, which without various other concurring circumstances will never rise higher. It is acknowledged in a common and very judicious maxim, nullum magnum ingenia um fine mixturâ dementiæ : the same irregularity, the fame excentricity of mind, which is distinguished by the name of gepius, is owing to the rapidity of ideas which discriminates

some Come species of madness. Besides this there are various other kinds ; but these are from our purpose. .

It is time to return to Mr. Howard, and we fear, notwithftanding all our caution, our readers may consider this long discussion as designed to convict him of insanity. We mean only to observe that, though his object was highly salutary, his intentions excellent, and his pursuit in the motives and consequences commendable; they were pursued with that peculiar pertinacity which is inconsistent with a well regulated mind. "The man who would walk by St. Peter's at Rome, and decline hearing the music of Italy in its highest perfection, because he thought it distracted his attention, must surely be supposed to have carried his enthusiasm too far. A mathe. matician, in the solution of his theorems, or a chemist in the middle of an interesting process, would not suddenly break off to attend to either; but he who was only to employ his eyes and his attention on sensible objects before him, would be scarcely more unfit for his employment after attending an oratorio, or visiting the most finithed piece of architecture in the universe, In short, such a conduct may raise admiration in a weak mind, but it will never secure the approbation of a judicious one. The important end and the consequences shield from censure, and even from the slightest tendency to ridi.. cule; but they raise a transient smile in the progress.

• Among these truly illustrious persons who, in the several ages and nations of the world, have marked their track through life by a continued course of doing good, few have been so diftinguish, ed, either by the extent of the good produced, or the purity of motive and energy of character exhibited in the process of doing it, as the late Mr. Howard. To have adopted the cause of the prisoner, the fick, and the destitute, not only in his own country, but throughout all Europe ;-0 have considerably alleviated the burden of present misery among those unfortunate classes, and at the same time to have provided for the reformation of the vicipus, and the prevention of future crimes and calamities;-+to have been instrumental in the actual establishment of many plans of humanity and utility, and to have laid the foundation for much more improvement hereafter ; and to have done all this as a private unaided individual, Kruggling with coils, dangers, and difficulties, which might have appalled the most resolute; is surely a range of beneficence which scarcely ever before came within the compass of one man's exertions, Justly, then, does the name of Howard stand among those which confer the highest honour on the English characer; and, fince his actions cannot fail to transmit his memory with glory to polteriiy, it is incumbent on his countrymen and cotemporaries, for their own fakes, to transmit cosresponding me. mosials of their veneration and gratitude,

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• It would, indeed, be a convincing proof of the increased good sense and virtue of the age, if such characters as this were found to sise in the comparative scale of fame and applause. Long enough has mankind weakly paid its admiration as the reward of pernicious exertions, of talents, often very moderate in themselves, and only rendered confpicuous by the blaze of mischief they have kind. led. It is now surely time that men should know and distinguish their benefactors from their foes; and that the nobleft incitements to action should be given to those actions only which are directed to the general welfare.'

These observations are truly correct and judicious: they are employed with great propriety to introduce an account of an excellent man, the best part of whose life was employed in works of beneficence, directed to a source which terrifies many, and which scarcely any one would dare to examine.

This Account of the Life of Mr. Howard is derived from much personal knowledge, and a long continued intercourse with him: it is not countenanced by any communications of the family. This Dr. Aikin has with great propriety disclaimed.

The father of Mr. Howard was an upholsterer, and a Proteftant Dissenter. He was himself bound an apprentice to a wholesale grocer, after a very insufficient education under a schoolmaster, (as Mr. Howard admitted in a conversation with his biographer) whose moral and religious character had gained him the esteem and confidence of the opulent Diflenters of the metropolis in this office. It is with peculiar propriety that our author guards • small communities with strong party attachments from this misplaced confidence. It is an evil that has greatly prevailed, and materially injured the cause of the Diflenters; though we may add, that the party attachments, the prejudices, and the confidence, have greatly lessened, while the instructors have become more liberal and learned: the inconveniencies from this cause are perhaps nearly at an end. Mr. Howard, it is remarked, ' was never able to speak or write his native language with propriety and correctness;' and his acquaintance with other languages, the French perhaps excepted, was slight and superficial.'

On his father's death he purchased the remaining period of his indentures, and we know little of him till his 25th year, when we find him offering to marry a widow of twice his own age, and very fickly, with whom he lodged, in recompence for her attention to him during his own ill health. This excentric conduct shows him to have had an excellent disposition, but to have been little acquainted with the manners of the world. The marriage took place, and it had no bad ef

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