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sparkled upon the topmost waves of the world. He felt it a proud distinction -perhaps he felt it too proudly—to be the owner of a luminous and vigorous mind. He could not be reproached with suffering the ploughshare to rust in the generous soil. It was rather his glorious but disastrous error, to suffer that soil too rarely to lie fallow. There was a mean, which he did not, or would not discover; and Study may add his name to her long list of martyrs.-- But the name of Hazlitt is associated with far nobler recollections. Whatever might be his speculative, whatever his practical errors, he was the fearless, the eloquent, and disinterested advocate of the rights and liberties of man, in
every cause and in every clime. His opinions were such as to make him one of a party, whom the brilliant and influential Administration, under which he commenced his career, honoured with no small portion of political and personal hatred. And they did not want either means or instruments to make the effects of that hatred felt, even by those, who were too haughty to show any pain, when the sword had pierced through their souls.' As far as I am acquainted with his personal history, he escaped the harsher measures, which involved so
many of his political allies.
He was neither prosecuted,
fined, nor incarcerated. But these were the lightest and briefest of the evils which they experienced, though to the common eye, they might appear the heaviest and the worst. The most active prosecution, which the Government could excite against them, was far less lastingly prejudicial and painful, than the cloud of silent obloquy, in which it found means to involve their opinions and their leaders, and from the effects of which no time or change could redeem them. A whisper went forth against them, which was, in its effects, more appalling than the thunder. Calumny (I cite the verses for the sake of the powerful contrast), seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain, and when she was set, her disciples came unto her; and she opened her mouth, and taught them, saying,'— These men
are the enemies of the peace and happiness of mankind. They speak of liberty ; but they think of licence: they prate of the rights and wrongs of man, while they are undermining the foundations of social justice and order. They have no true regard for the prosperity of the people, for the sanctity of the altar, or the majesty of the throne. They are impatient of all restraints
their turbulent aspirings; and would turn the world upside down,' in order to see how the pyramid would stand upon its head. Beware, therefore, how you join these friends of sedition and blasphemy, these enemies of
peace and piety, whereever they are found. Listen not to the subtle voice of the serpent. Read not their writings, nor mix in their society; but rather unite with the true friends of your country, in banishing all such, by a silent ostracism, from the dwellings of the pious, the prudent, and the peaceful.
“ These assertions and insinuations, enforced by the speaking-trumpet of an ascendant faction, made it once a dangerous and a daring thing for any man to avow himself the partizan of liberty and reform. Now, my brethren, the case is widely altered. The hearts of nations have been touched-their minds have been enlightened — their voices have been lifted and heard. But there was a time, when he, who dared to advocate those principles, was overwhelmed with a foaming deluge of obloquy and opprobrium. The step was, of itself, almost enough to blast his public hopes, and his private fame. Detraction followed him-Derision went
with him--and Persecution lay in ambush before him. Let us therefore, my brethren, look back with honour upon the few, who once lifted the sacred standard of Liberty, amid the • fiery darts of the wicked' and of the world. Praise to their living names, and peace to their solemn graves! Whatever else they may have done, or left undone, for this, at least, they deserve the gratitude of their kind. That gratitude, indeed, must soon be lost in oblivion. Those names, now bright as the sunset cloud, will
darker and darker as the evening draws on, and be lost at length in the majesty of night. Posterity cannot remember the names of its benefactors; but that which is the misfortune of after ages, would be the crime of the present. It is ours, my brethren, -our duty and our prerogative,—to hang a fading wreath, or to breathe a passing requiem, over the memories of those, who, in evil times, advocated a perilous but glorious cause ; who bore the colours in the infant ranks of Freedom; and who, wherever they rest, should rest in our imaginations, with those colours wrapped round them, under which they fell.”
ON THE GENIUS OF WILLIAM HAZLITT.
The present century has produced many men of poetical genius, and some of analytical acumen ; but I doubt whether it has produced any one who has given to the world such signal proofs of the union of the two as the late William Hazlitt. If I were asked his peculiar and predominant distinction, I should say that, above all things, he was a critic. He possessed the critical faculty in its noblest degree. He did not square and measure out his judgments by the pedantries of dry and lifeless propositions-his taste was not the creature of schools and canons, it was begotten of Enthusiasm by Thought. He felt intensely ;-he imbued—he saturated-- himself with the genius he examined ; it became a part of him, and he reproduced it in science. He took in pieces the work he surveyed, and reconstructed the fabric in order to show the process by which it had