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the all-accomplished Sidney ; concerning Essex, the ornament of the court and of the camp, the model of chivalry, the munificent patron of genius, whom great virtues, great courage, great talents, the favor of his sovereign, the love of his countrymen,
all that seemed to ensure a happy and glorious life, led to an early and an ignominious death ; concerning Raleigh, the soldier, the sailor, the scholar, the courtier, the orator, the poet, the historian, the philosopher, sometimes reviewing the Queen's guards, sometimes giving chase to a Spanish galleon, then answering the chiefs of the country party in the House of Commons, then again murmuring one of his sweet love-songs too near the ears of her Highness's maids of honor, and soon after poring over the Talmud, or collating Polybius with Livy. We had intended
. also to say something concerning the literature of that splendid period, and especially concerning those two incomparable men, the Prince of Poets, and the Prince of Philosophers, who have made the Elizabethan age a more glorious and important era in the history of the human mind, than the age of Pericles, of Augustus, or of Leo. But subjects so vast require a space far larger than we can at present afford. We therefore stop here, fearing that, if we proceed,
may swell to a bulk exceeding that of all other reviews, as much as Doctor Nares's book exceeds the bulk of all other histories.
DUMONT'S RECOLLECTIONS OF MIRABEAU.*
[Edinburgh Review, 1832.]
This is a very amusing and a very instructive book ; but, even if it were less amusing and less instructive, it would still be interesting as a relic of a wise and virtuous man. M. Dumont was one of those persons, the care of whose fame belongs in an especial manner to mankind. For he was one of those persons who have, for the sake of mankind, neglected the care of their own fame. In his walk through life there was no obtrusiveness, no pushing, no elbowing, none of the little arts which bring forward little men. right to the head of the board, he took the lowest room, and well deserved to be greeted with — Friend, go up higher. Though no man was more capable of achieving for himself a separate and independent renown, he attached himself to others; he labored to raise their fame ; he was content to receive as his share of the reward, the mere overflowings which redounded from the full measure of their glory. Not that he was of a servile and idolatrous habit of mind ; not that he was one of the tribe of Boswells, those literary Gibeonites, born to be hewers of wood and drawers of water to the higher intellectual castes. Possessed of tal. ents and acquirements which made him great, he wished only to be useful. In the prime of manhood, at the very time of life at which ambitious men are most ambitious, he
* Souvenirs sur Mirabeau, et sur les deux Premières Assemblées Législatives. Par Etienne Dumont, de Genève : ouvrage posthume publié par M. J. L. Duval, Membre du Conseil Représentatif du Canton du Genéve. 8vo. Paris : 1832.
was not solicitous to proclaim that he furnished information, arguments, and eloquence to Mirabeau. In his later years he was perfectly willing that his renown should merge in that of Mr. Bentham.
The services which M. Dumont has rendered to society can be fully appreciated only by those who have studied Mr. Bentham's works, both in their rude and in their finished state. The difference both for show and for use is as great as the difference between a lump of golden ore and a rouleau of sovereigns fresh from the mint. Of Mr. Bentham we would at all times speak with the reverence which is due to a great original thinker, and to a sincere and ardent friend of the human race. If a few weaknesses were mingled with his eminent virtues, if a few errors insinuated themselves among the many valuable truths which he taught, this is assuredly no time for noticing those weaknesses or those errors in an unkind or sarcastic spirit. A great man has gone from among us, full of years, of good works, and of deserved honors. In some of the highest departments in which the human intellect can exert itself, he has not left his equal or his second behind him. From his contemporaries he has had, according to the usual lot, more or less than justice. He has had blind flatterers and blind detractors ; flatterers who could see nothing but perfection in his style, detractors who could see nothing but nonsense in his matter. He will now have judges. Posterity will pronounce its calm and impartial decision ; and that decision will, we firmly he. lieve, place in the same rank with Galileo, and with Locke, the man who found jurisprudence a gibberish, and left it a science. Never was there a literary partnership so fortunate as that of Mr. Bentham and M. Dumont. The raw material which Mr. Bentham furnished was most precious; but it was unmarketable. He was, assuredly, at once a great logician and a great rhetorician. But the effect of his logic was injured by a vicious arrangement, and the effect of his rhetoric by a vicious style. His mind was vigorous, comprehensive, subtle, fertile of arguments, fertile of illustrations. But he spoke in an unknown tongue ; and, that the congregation might be edified, it was necessary that some brother having the gift of interpretation, should expound the invaluable jargon. His oracles were of high import; but they were traced on leaves and flung loose to the wind. So negligent was he of the arts of selection, distribution, and compression, that to persons who formed their judgment of him from his works in their undigested state, he seemed to be the least systematic of all philosophers. The truth is, that his opinions formed a system, which, whether sound or unsound, is more exact, more entire, and more consistent with itself than any other. Yet to superficial readers of his works in their original form, and indeed to all readers of those works who did not bring great industry and great acuteness to the study, he seemed to be a man of a quick and ingenious but ill-regulated mind, who saw truth only by glimpses, who threw out many striking hints, but who had never thought of combining his doctrines in one harmonious whole.
M. Dumont was admirably qualified to supply what was wanting in Mr. Bentham. In the qualities in which the French writers surpass those of all other nations, neatness, clearness, precision, condensation, - he surpassed all French writers. If M. Dumont had never been born, Mr. Bentham would still have been a very great man. But he would have been great to himself alone. The fertility of his mind would have resembled the fertility of those vast American wildernesses, in which blossoms and decays a rich but unprofitable vegetation, wherewith the reaper filleth not his hand, neither he that bindeth up the sheaves his bosom.' It would have been with his discoveries as it has been with the • Century of Inventions.' His speculations on laws would
have been of no more practical use than Lord Worcester's speculations on steam-engines. Some generations hence, perhaps, when legislation has found its Watt, an antiquarian might have published to the world the curious fact, that in the reign of George the Third, there had been a man called Bentham, who had given hints of many discoveries made since his time, and who had really, for his age, taken a most philosophical view of the principles of jurisprudence.
Many persons have attempted to interpret between this powerful mind and the public. But, in our opinion, M. Dumont alone has succeeded. It is remarkable that, in foreign countries, where Mr. Bentham's works are known solely through the medium of the French version, his merit is almost universally acknowledged. Even those who are most decidedly opposed to his political opinions, the very chiefs of the Holy Alliance, have publicly testified their respect for him, In England, on the contrary, many persons who certainly entertained no prejudice against him on political grounds, were long in the habit of mentioning him contemptuously. Indeed, what was said of Bacon's philosophy, may be said of Bentham's.
It was in little repute among us, till judgments in its favor came from beyond sea, and convinced us, to our shame, that we had been abusing and laughing at one of the greatest men of the age.
M. Dumont might easily have found employments more gratifying to personal vanity, than that of arranging works not his own. But he could have found no employment more useful or more truly honorable. The book before us, has. tily written as it is, contains abundant proof, if proof were needed, that he did not become an editor because he wanted the talents which would have made him eminent as a writer.
Persons who hold democratical opinions, and who have been accustomed to consider M. Dumont as one of their party, have been surprised and mortified to learn, that he VOL. II.