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tion, by whose influence in the late House of Commons, as a great statesman has remarked, “ more was added to the public burdens, and more taken from the public liberties, than at any period since the Revolution.”
The severities which he now sustained were tempered by the habitual seriousness of his disposition, which suggested motives to cheerfulness and hope from sources to which too. many are utter strangers. The awful, but animating, consideration of the omnipresence of the DIVINE BEING was seldom absent from his mind in the season of silence and solitude;' and the prospect of immortality was a never failing resource.
Such a man was Gilbert Wakefield. He may be justly ranked among those who in their lives, as well as their writings, have shewn that the principles of Christianity happily accord with every mental accomplishment which rea
. The following is an extract from his private papers, written while in Dorchester gaol:
“ A dignified consolation of solitude is, to regard oneself as more immediately in the presence of the Supreme Being; and as we strive to recommend ourselves to human society by a blameless, kind, and accommodating demeanour; so to render our conduct as acceptable as possible to our omnipotent associate, by the utmost purity of thought and propriety of action."
son values or virtue approves; animating to the duties of life, and consoling in the expectation of death. Though his date was short, it was extended by unceasing exertions; and though cut off in the midst of his years, he fell not immaturely: for, as it has been beautifully expressed, “Honourable
is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by number of years: but wisdom is the gray hair unto man, and an unspotted life is
Respect paid to Mr. Wakefield's Memory-Letter from Dr.
Parr-Funeral-Sketches of his Character-Verses on the
The death of such a man as Mr. Wakefield, under circumstances so affecting, would naturally call forth expressions of regret from his various connexions.
Among numerous letters received on this occasion, the following from Dr. Parr, which we have obtained his permission to publish, does equal honour to the amiable sensibility of the writer, and to the memory of him who is the subject of it. This letter was written to an intimate friend of Mr. Wakefield in reply to one which announced the circumstance of his death.
I was yesterday evening honoured with your letter; I read the contents of it
with inexpressible anguish; I passed a comfortless night; and this morning I am scarcely able to thank you, as I ought to do, for your delicacy in averting the shock which I must have suffered, if intelligence so unexpected, and so distressing had rushed upon me from the newspapers.
In the happiness of the late Mr. Wakefield I always took a lively interest: many are the inquiries I made about the state of his health, and the course of his studies, while he was at Dorchester; great was my anxiety to see him after his sufferings were at an end: and when his name was announced to me at my lodgings in Carey-street, I seized his hand eagerly, I gazed stedfastly upon his countenance, I was charmed with the freshness of his spirits, and the apparent stoutness of his constitution; I anticipated for him a succession of years, during which he might have smiled at the malice of his enemies, and enjoyed the sympathies of his friends: and at parting I received from him a book, which the circumstance of captivity under which it was written, endeared to me, and which his death has now consecrated.
“ Auget etiam molestiam, quod magna sapientium Civium bonorumque penuria, vir egregius, conjunctissimusque mecum studiorum
multorum societate, alienissimo reipublicæ tempore extinctụs, et auctoritatis et doctrinæ suæ triste nobis desiderium reliquit: doleoque quòd non adversarium aut obtrectatorem laudum mearum, sed socium potius et consortem gloriosi laboris amisi.”
The illustrious man who wrote nearly these words upon the loss of Hortensius, would not complain of any diminution in their truth, or their dignity, if he could know that I had applied them to my own feelings on the decease of Gilbert Wakefield.
To the learning of that excellent person my understanding is indebted for much valuable information, but my heart acknowledges yet higher obligations to his virtuous example. I loved him unfeignedly, and though our opinions on various subjects, both of criticism and theology, were different, that difference never disturbed our quiet, nor relaxed our mutual good-will.
When we reflect upon the injury which literature has sustained from the disappointment of his numerous plans, and from the cessation of his useful labours, we may be tempted, perhaps, to exclaim.“ O fallacem hominum spem, fragilemque fortunam, et inanes nostras contentiones ; quæ in medio spatio sæpe franguntur et corruunt, et ante,