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To The Edinburgh Review, Ireland owes much; to it Roman Catholic, Protestant Dissenter, and every section of the community, oppressed by exclusivism or injured by monopoly, is indebted for relief, and to Sydney Smith, more than to any other contributor, belongs the deepest gratitude.
From his appointment to the canonry of St. Paul's to the period of his death, his pen was little employed, his only publication of importance being the pamphlet on The Ballot, and the letters on American Debts. But his kindness and his humanity were ever active, and his heart was filled with gratitude to God for the happiness he enjoyed. He had never repined; even when his life was wearing out at Foston, he wrote thus, bravely, to Lord Murray :-"I seldom leave home (except on my annual visit to London), and this principally because I cannot afford it. My income remains the same, my family increases in expense. My constitutional gaiety comes to my aid in all the difficulties of life; and the recollection that, having embraced the character of an honest man and a friend to rational liberty, I have no reason to repine at that mediocrity of fortune which I knew to be its consequence."* And he thus, in later life, wrote to Lady Hollaud:"I thank God heartily for my comfortable situation in my old-age,above my deserts, and beyond my former hopes."+
Thus surrounded by friends, his life faded away into the closing scene, which his daughter thus describes :
"My father went, for a short time, in the autumn, to the sea-side, complaining much of languor. He said, I feel so weak, both in body and mind, that I verily believe, if the knife were put into my hand, I should not have strength or energy enough to stick it into a Dissenter.'
In October my father was taken seriously ill; and Dr. Holland went down immediately to Combe Florey, and advised his coming up to town, where he might be constantly under his care. He bore the journey well; and for the first two months, though very weak, went out in his carriage every day, saw his friends, broke out into moments of his natural gaiety, saying one day, with his bright smile, to General Fox (when they were keeping him on very low diet,) and not allowing him any meat, Ah, Charles! I wish I were allowed even the wing of a roasted butterfly;' and was at times so like his former self, that, though Dr. Holland was uneasy about him, we could not give up hope.
"Memoir." Vol. II. p. 201.
But other and more urgent symptoms coming on, Dr. Holland became so anxious, that he begged that Dr. Chambers might be called in. My father most unwillingly consented,-not from any dislike of Dr. Chambers, but from having the most perfect confidence in Dr. Holland's care and skill.
That evening he, for the first time, told his old maid and nurse, Annie Kay, that he knew his danger; said where and how he should wish to be buried;-then spoke of us all, but told her we must cheer him, and keep up his spirits, if he lingered long.
But he had such a dread of sorrowful faces around him, and of inflicting pain, that to us he always spoke calmly and cheerfully, and as if unaware of his danger.
He now never left his bed. Though suffering much, he was gentle, calm, and patient; and sometimes even cheerful. He spoke but little. Once he said to me, taking my hand, I should like to get well, if it were only to please Dr. Holland: it would, I know, make him so happy; this illness has endeared him so much to me.'
Speaking once of the extraordinary interest that had been evinced, by his friends for his recovery (for the inquiries at his door were incessant,) It gives me pleasure, I own,' he said, 'as it shows I have not misused the powers entrusted to me.' But he was most touched by the following letter from Lady Grey to my mother, expressing the feelings towards him, of one of the friends he most loved and honoured,-one who was, like himself, lying on that bed from which he was never to rise, and who was speaking as it were his farewell before entering on eternity.
Lord Grey is intensely anxious about him. There is nobody of whom he so constantly thinks; nobody whom, in the course of his own long illness, he so ardently wished to see. Need I add, dear Mrs. Sydney, that, excepting only our children, there is nobody for whom we both feel so sincere an affection. God knows how truly I feel for your anxiety. Who is so sadly entitled to do so as I am? But I will hope the best, and that we may both be blessed by seeing the person most dear to us restored to health.'
One evening, when the room was half-darkened, and he had been resting long in silence, and I thought him asleep, he suddenly burst forth, in a voice so strong and full that it startled us,
We talk of human life as a journey, but how variously is that journey performed! There are some who come forth girt, and shod, and mantled, to walk on velvet lawns and smooth terraces, where every gale is arrested, and every beam is tempered. There are others who walk on the Alpine paths of life, against driving misery, and through stormy sorrows, over sharp afflictions; walk with bare feet, and naked breast, jaded, mangled, and chilled.'
And then he sank into perfect silence again. In quoting this beautiful passage from his sermon on Riches, his mind seems to have turned to the long and hard struggles of his own early life.
The present painful struggle did not last many days longer. He often lay silent and lost in thought, then spoke a few words of kindness to those around. He seemed to meet death with that calmness which the memory of a well-spent life, and trust in the mercy of God, can alone give."
"My father died at peace with himself and with all the world; anxious, to the last, to promote the comfort and happiness of others. He sent messages of kindness and forgiveness to the few he thought had injured him. Almost his last act was, bestowing a small living of £120 per annum on a poor, worthy, and friendless clergyman, who had lived a long life of struggle with poverty on £40 per annum. Full of happiness and gratitude, he entreated he might be allowed to see my father; but the latter so dreaded any agitation that he most unwillingly consented, saying, Then he must not thank me; I am too weak to bear it.' He entered,-my father gave him a few words of advice,-the clergyman silently pressed his hand, and blessed his death-bed. Surely such blessings are not given in
My father expired on the 22nd of February, 1845, his death caused by hydrothorax, or water on the chest, consequent upon disease of the heart, which had probably existed for a considerable time, but rapidly increased during the few months preceding his death. son closed his eyes. He was buried, by his own desire, as privately as possible, in the cemetery of Kensal Green; where his eldest son, Douglas, and now my mother, repose by his side.
And if true greatness consists, as my dear and valued old friend Mr. Rogers once quoted here from an ancient Greek writer, 'in doing what deserves to be written, and writing what deserves to be read, and in making mankind happier and better for your life,' my father was a truly great and good man.."
ONE OF THE BEST OF MEN.
THOUGH ADMITTED BY HIS CONTEMPORARIES TO BE GREAT,
HIS UNOSTENTATIOUS BENEVOLENCE,
AND HIS ENDEAVOUR TO PROMOTE THE HAPPINESS OF MANKIND
BY RELIGIOUS TOLERATION
BY RATIONAL FREEDOM.
HE WAS BORN THE 3RD OF JUNE, 1771; HE BECAME CANON RESIDENTIARY OF ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL, 1831;
HE DIED FEBRUARY THE 22nd, 1845.
In dictating a few words in his favour (for he was too weak to write) to the Bishop of Llandaff, he says:- In addition to his other merits, I am sure he will have one in your eyes, for he is an out-and-out Tory.' So little did party-feelings influeuce my father in bestowing preferment !
[On the opposite side of the Tomb.]
THE ELDEST SON OF THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH,
CATHERINE AMELIA, HIS WIFE.
HE WAS BORN FEBRUARY 27, 1805; HE DIED APRIL 15, 1829.
HIS LIFE WAS BLAMELESS.
HIS DEATH WAS THE FIRST SORROW
HE EVER OCCASIONED HIS PARENTS,
BUT IT WAS DEEP AND LASTING.
A beautiful epitaph. But what is an epitaph? He was a great, noble, honest, fearless man. He never was the client of a Minister, or the beggar of an ecclesiastical superior. Free in mind; true in heart; a Christian in conduct; bright in genius; a man in every thing, yet he died with no higher dignity than that of Canon. He was moral; he was an able advocate of his party; he was a Whig in the days of Whiggish exile from office and from power; he was faithful to his party in all their many days of difficulty and trial, yet he died without the mitre! Years before his death he had abandoned all hope of ever reaching the bench, but to his last hour of life he felt, bitterly, that he had been neglected by his party, a party which he had helped to form, and which he had solidified, advocated, and defended.
He did not spend his "May of life" in groping amongst Greek accents or in toadying a Bishop. Too honest and too true to remain silent whilst he could help the oppressed or relieve the long suffering, in politics or in religion, he endured the penalty of rectitude-neglect. Had he been more pliant he would have been richer; had he forgot his principles, he would have been of higher rank in the Church; but neither tact, nor honesty, nor plain speaking, can make a party grateful, and thus, and therefore, Sydney Smith died a Canon of St. Paul's, whilst men of mean talents, and meaner principles, were raised to the highest offices in the profession.
We have stated that these volumes are interesting, we should have written that they are something more, in the grave suggestive topics introduced: none can read them without wonder, without admiration, without instruction: they are an important addition to the splendid biographies of those who have been a glory to the Literature of our Nation.
ART. IV. THE POETS OF AMERICA.
1. The Poetical Works of John G. Whittier. Author of " Old Portraits," &c., &c. London: George Routledge and Co.,
2 and 3, Farringdon-street. 1852.
2. Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination; and Poems. London: Clarke, Beeton, and Co., Fleet-strect.
3. The Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell. Edited with an Introduction, by Andrew R. Scoble. London: George Routledge and Co., Farringdon-street. 1853.
4. Poems by Thomas Buchanan Read.
Illustrated by Kenny
Meadows. London: Delf and Trübner, 12, Paternosterrow. 1852.
5. The Poetical Works of N. P. Willis. Author of "Pencillings By the Way." London: George Routledge and Co., Soho-square. 1850.
We do not see to what we can more fittingly compare the beneficial tendency of the productions of the American Poets, which are so calculated to counteract the multiform evil influences which exist in that country, than to the waters of the Nile, which when the country around has been rendered sterile by the scorching and terrific heat of a tropical sun, profusely irrigate the plains, restoring lusty vegetation to the soil, and golden prosperity to the Egyptian people. Like that generous river, the collective waters of these authors' genius flow on peerlessly, gladdening many an arid mind, and producing an invigorating effect upon many an intellect, which had been weakened and well nigh destroyed by the raving doctrines of the Mormonite, or the brazen and blasphemous lucubrations of the apostles of ignorance, or socialism. It is very consoling to the true American, and to all well wishers of America to reflect, that their fine Poets afford such a sheet anchor, wherewith to keep at their safe moorings, those comprehensive principles, and invaluable adaptations of ethical rules, upon the observance of which so much future greatness depends, and that these authors constitute such a happy safeguard against