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Though naturally not of a very strong, fairly believe that no event of his life ever and certainly not of a very robust constitu- gave him such pleasure as this. The Royal tion, he lived, notwithstanding years of la- Society, the nurse of English science, borious exertion and times of almost inces- though at times it has suffered from the insant toil, to see the fruit of his labours; to fluence of cliques, has had the good fortune witness, beside his own personal success, never to degenerate into an Academy. that development of the sciences, and that This may partly be attributed to the fact exaltation of the character of the surgical that its fellowship is not restricted to culti, prefession, for which he had striven. With- vators of pure science, but that intellectual out trespassing much on a subject that has prowess is leavened with the leaven of high often been selected as a butt for sarcasm, social station and of distinguished practical we may perhaps venture to say that the ability. In their President the 'Fellows length of his life was in part the result of his bave often wisely sought not so much rare own care. Seeing so clearly as he did how success in one branch of science as a catho much mental exertion depends on a comfort- lic appreciation of all kinds of knowledge. able physical condition of the body, he In no one could such a quality have been considered that carelessness in regard of his found to a more eminent degree than in Sir health was worse than a waste of time. In Benjamin Brodie. For three years he his early days he once allowed a too intense adorned that office as he had adorned his proapplication to render him for a while unfit fession; and it was with the greatest re for his duties, but he never, we believe, gret that the Council, in November, 1861, repeated the mistake. As far as was in his unwillingly accepted his unwilling but forced power he so kept his body, that in his old resignation. An affection of the eyes, age he was able to enjoy the honours that which even the skill of a Bowman was unacame upon him.
ble to arrest, was beginning to render him We have already mentioned, that in 1834 unfit for all active duties. The same cause he received the highest political mark that compelled him to resign the Presidency of can be bestowed on the medical profession. the General Medical Council, where his Had there been other higher ones he would wisdom and experience had been of especial undoubtedly have had them, and as undoubt- use. The life that had been so rich in edly would not have cared much for them. works was beginning to fail. His general He told his students more than once that health, however, continued so far good that they were to seek not political but scientific he was able to be in London during the rank. “Our profession,” said he, “is not a winter of 1861-2, and to attend and speak political one." And the words which have at a meeting of the Royal Medical and Chibeen chosen by Mr. Hawkins in which to rurgical Society, when an address of condo give a facsimile of Sir Benjamin's handwrit- lence to the Queen on the death of the laing, do not merely express a sentiment put mented Prince Consort was voted ; a fit in to grace an introductory lecture; like subject for his last public speech. everything else that Brodie said, they simply At the end of April he returned to Broome spoke bis real feelings. In telling the stu- Park, and after a few days was seized with dents what they were to look forward to, he fever. Very soon a malignant affection of was talking of his own desires. Looking the right shoulder began to show itself. He back on his own life, he could not but recog- gradually got worse, and on the 21st of Ocnize its great success in the wealth, profes- tober, 1862, he died. His death was such sional reputation, and social rank he had as might have been expected from bis life. attained to. One thing only was lacking to He, the greater part of whose days had been him some external token that science as spent “in the midst of the valley of the well as the world acknowledged his labours, shadow of death,” who had ever been most and was proud of his worth.
earnest in the search for truth, was not likeHis cup might be said to be full when on ly to have been heedless of the things bethe 30th of November, 1858, he was elected hind the veil, or to have been unready himPresident of the Royal Society. We may self to pass beyond it.
abated. They are recommended, moreover,
as good stimulants in these days of toil and Conclusion of an Article in the North British worry, and as well fitted for relieving overReview.
taxed brains by diverting our thoughts from
the absorbing occupations of daily life. HAVING now passed in review the long Others, again, take different ground. Acroll of Miss Braddon's personages, what recording to them the “ sensation tale” is no port can we make, what judgment must we novelty. They boldly avow that all great pronounce ? Have we discovered among novels are as sensational as those of Miss them one who thoroughly amuses or inter- Braddon. If called upon they would cite ests us; one who we might be tempted to as examples some of the best works of Scott, take as a model, or compelled to admire and a few of the works of Bulwer Lytton, as the impersonation of anything noble in and George Eliot. The Heart of Midlothian demeanour and lovable in mind ? Is there and Eugene Aram, Adam Bede and The Mill a single page in her writings from which we on the Floss, are unquestionably novels have derived any gratification or learned wherein there are incidents as highly colanything new? Have we found her to be oured as in Lady Audley's Secret or Henry a creator of new types, a copyist of living Dunbar. The difference, however, is far personages, or a creator of unnatural mon- greater than the resemblance. These works trosities?
are truthful taken as wholes, and even the Applying to her productions the test startling occurrences are not at variance which we named at the outset, we find that with experience and probability. Accordshe excels where to excel is no merit, fail- ing to Miss Braddon, crime is not an acciing utterly in those respects wherein to fail dent, but it is the business of life. She would means mediocrity. Of pathos and humour, lead us to conclude that the chief end of happy touches and telling sayings, words man is to commit a murder, and his highest which depict while they explain, thoughts at merit to escape punishment; that women once original and impressive, we can discover are born to attempt to commit murders, and no traces in her pages. What is conspicuous to succeed in committing bigamy. If she above all things is the skill with which she teaches us anything new, it is that we should groups her materials, and the manner in sympathize with murderers and reverence which she deals with revolting topics, so as detectives. Her principles appear to us to to hinder the startled reader from tossing resemble very strikingly those by which the her volume away in sheer disgust. She can Thugs used to regulate their lives. tell a story so as to make us curious about The charge is a hard one ; but of its justice the end. Does the power of doing this we are firmly convinced. The extracts we alone stamp her as a great novelist ? have given suffice to prove that it is deserved.
Sydney Smith would have replied, Assur- Let her personages cease to be potential edly it does. When reviewing Mr. Lister's or actual criminals, and they will stand undeservedly forgotten novel, Granby, he forth as lay figures distinguishable for nothwrote these words: “ The main question as ing except the shape of their noses and the to a novel is, Did it amuse ? Were you sur colour of their eyes and hair. They excite prised at dinner coming so soon ? did you our interest only so long as they are blamemistake eleven for ten and twelve for worthy. Her good people are insufferably eleven? Were you too late to dress ? and stupid. Sir Michael Audley, John Mellish, did up beyond the usual hour? If George Gilbert, Francis Tredethlyn suffer a novel produces these effects it is good; if for the sins of others, and seem to suffer deit does not, story, language, love, scandal it- servedly. We can hardly sympathize with self, cannot save it. It is only meant to fools when their own folly is the cause of please; and it must do that or in does noth- their misfortunes. Miss Braddon renders all ing."
those who are not wicked so utterly ridicuNow, the reviewers who have lauded Miss lous, that we are tempted to infer she deBraddon's novels, apply to them only. the signed to show how mistaken a thing is protest employed by Sydney Smith. They tell bity or goodness, us that the plots will hardly bear criticism, Tested, then, by a purely literary standthat the tone is unhealthy, that the views of ard, these works must be designated as the life are false and mischievous ; but they rec- least valuable among works of fiction. They ommend them to us notwithstanding, mere- glitter on the surface, but the substance ly on the ground that each can be read from is base metal. Hence it is that the imparthe first to the last page without our atten- tial critic is compelled, as it were, to unite tion ever flagging, or our interest being with the moralist in regarding them as mis
chievous in their tendency, and as one of have excited the interest of a very wide cir the abominations of the age. Into uncon- cle of readers. But the class that welcomed taminated minds they will instil false views them was the lowest in the social scale, as of human conduct. Such notions are more as well as in mental capacity. To Miss easily imposed on the unwary than eradicat- Braddon belongs the credit of having penned ed from the minds which have cherished similar stories in easy and correct Engthem. Miss Braddon makes one of her per- lish, and published them in three volumes sonages tell another that life is a very dif- in place of issuing them in penny numbers. ferent thing in reality than in three-volume She may boast, without fear of contradicnovels. She has manifested this in her own tion, of having temporarily succeeded in works. But the fact of this difference is a making the literature of the kitchen the. conclusive proof of their inferiority. A novel favourite reading of the drawing-room. is a picture of life, and as such ought to be faithful. The fault of these novels is that they contain pictures of daily life, wherein there are scenes so grossly untrue to nature, that we can hardly pardon the authoress if she drew them in ignorance, and cannot
From the Examiner, 30 Sept. condemn her too strongly if, knowing their falseness, sbe introduced them for the sake
THE FENIAN FLEAS. of effect. The Archbishop of York did not IN “ Nicholas Nickleby," Smike and overstate the case when, speaking as a mor. another represent a general rebellion on a alist, he said at the Huddersfield Church In- country stage. In the present performance stitute, in November last, that “ sensational of the " Plot Discovered, or Erin Preserved," stories were tales which aimed at this effect the absurdity is reversed, and it is not the simply-of exciting in the mind some deep duality but the plurality of the rebels that feeling of overwrought interest by the means makes the affair so ludicrous. They are so of some terrible passion or crime. The want very many and so very little, or, as the to persuade people that in almost every one Americans would say, “cruel small.” Govof the well-ordered houses of their neighbours ernment lays hold of traitors of the size of there was a skeleton shut up in some cup- fleas, but their name, forsootb, is legion. board; that their comfortable and easy-looking And it is their boast that, as there is as good neighbour bad in his breast a secret story fish in the sea as ever came out of it, so which he was always going about trying to there is a fine stock of Fenians lest, not withconceal; that there was something about standing the captures made. And this may a real will registered in Doctors' Commons, be true, for fools, kuaves, and dupes always and a false will that at some proper moment abound. should tumble out of some broken bureau, The idea of this conspiracy was derived and bring about the dénoûment which the from the exhibition of the Industrious Fleas. anthor wished to achieve.” Though the Those fleas marched like soldiers, fired guns, foregoing remarks have a general applica- and performed various evolutions in admiration, yet they apply with crushing force to ble order. Why should not Irishmen do as the present case. It need only be added, much and as well, - or even surpass the as advice to those who either possess or de- feas, upset a mighty Government, and eslight to buy such books, that the proper tablish a republic under a green flag? So shelf on which to place them is that where the fleas industriously commenced drilling, on stands The Newgate Calendar.
organizing, and conspiring. They appointWe should act unfairly if we left on our ed Captains of hundreds, Colonels, Generals, readers' minds the impression that we do and what not in that line; and so bold did not regard Miss Braddon as an authoress of they feel, so confident of their own strength originality and merit. In her own branch in disciplined numbers and the coming of literature, we hold that she is without a armada from America, for which a bright living rival. The notoriety she has acquired look-out is kept, that they made no secret is her due reward for baving woven tales of their great designs, and thought indeed which are as fascinating to ill-regulated to strike terror by boisterously proclaiming minds as police reports and divorce cases. their treason. Could they realize that Her achievements may not command our unanimity of fleas which Curran thought respect; but they are very notable, and al- must be irresistible? And hard to deal most unexampled. Others before her have with, in one sense, it must be confessed are written stories of blood and lust, of atrocious the fleas, for catching them is not a very crimes and hardened criminals, and these I nice or dignified business, por much advanc
ing total suppression. Government gets
From the Examiner. hold of what it wants, but what is it? A
BREAK DOWN OF ABSOLUTISM. flea, a traitorous flea, a flea of the worst intentions, a flea that would overthrow the POLITICAL and ecclesiastical absolutism is throne, a flea that would set up a republic, cutting but an indifferent figure just now. a flea that would unfurl that green flag ap- Right Divine, when it had little else to say propriate to the sovereignty of the greenest for itself, used to boast of its peculiar claim of people.
to consistency, its councils being held with It vexes us to see treason reduced so low closed doors, and the motions of its will being that the law cannot stoop to deal with it undisturbed by outward interference. if it without some compromise of its dignity. Is seemed sometimes to err, at least it might there no artificial way of raising the affair, always demand the respect due to tenacity and giving it some show of consequence, of purpose and to unchangeability of aim. fictitious though it may be ? Bulwer Lyt- Its resolution once taken, popular importuton tell us of a Hidalgo of mighty pride nity and protest broke in idle foam at its and small means, who used to wear magni- feet
, and though it might pay dearly now fying glasses when he dined off a bunch of and then for its exalted obstinacy, there was cherries, to the end that he might seem to something imposing to vulgar ears in the be eating fruit as big as pumpkins. By solemn iteration of non possumus, whether similar process could the feas be magnified uttered at Vienna or the Vatican; as to the size of elephants ? No, their number though men heard the voice of a mysterious forbids, and fleas will be fleas, Fenians fate declaring — As it was in the beginning, Fenians, no matter what is done to make is now, and ever shall be, irresponsible more of them. But there is one expedient government without end. Philosophers by which may be escaped the humiliation of might laugh and sceptics mock, and the confessing that the treason grappled with va'ets de chambre of papal and imperial has not mounted above the condition of a. royalty might shrug their shoulders as they lawyer's clerk, and has its general level in dressed and undressed its limbs and saw it the degree of shop-boys. It is to give the quake and totter when the blinds were prisoners their rank in the Fenian Army drawn. But to the public the spectacle was in posse. There is a Colonel now in custody ever reproduced with imposing effect as who was in a Union Poor-house last winter. before, and though the wise grew weary, for By all means give him his Fenian rank to a great and varied multitude there was consink other circumstances. There are Gen- tinuity in the spell; and that, too, was someerals, too, no doubt, whose capture would thing. sound well but for the mention that one is a But the spell is broken ; the orchestra no tailor, another a costermonger, another a longer plays in tune; the scenes don't fit; muffin-man, and so on. We are told, too, and a painful dissipation of delusion is caused that there is a Field-Marshal, nothing less, by the apologetic announcement ir commonwho escaped from the Widow Cormack's place accents that the oft-repeated piece has, cabbage garden (when rebellion succumbed through unavoidable circumstances, been to a sergeant's guard of policemen) dis- discontinued, and that the public must be guised as a lady's maid. Let bim have his satisfied with something different instead. baton. Why indeed grudge anything that Even Apostolic Vicars and Kaisers in this can elevate this egregious nonsense ? As- degenerate age find themselves in want of sume their honours if they have them not. money; and when they do, they are forced, Perhaps there is a President of the coming like other people, to put their finest first Irish Republic in some mean calling, and principles of government into their pocketwould it not dignify the prosecution to books, and try what they can get for them set forth his high pretensions in the indiet- upon mortgage. In their hearts they doubtment? The thing is now insufferably low less never mean to part with them for good. and mean, and something must be done to The ultimate right to fall back upon them give it, if not the reality, at least the show and to repudiate the temporary bargain as of some elevation. But alas ! we fear it is usurious is silently reserved. But in the impossible. “ Fleas are not lobsters, d-n meantime necessity has no law; so the Pope their eyes," swore Sir Joseph Bankes, ac- and the Emperor allow it to be quietly cording to the witty Peter Pindar; and fleas understood that they are open to an offer never will be anything but fleas or Fenians, from the surviving relatives of those they nor is it possible to make decent traitors of shot and hanged the other day for presuming such poor stuff.
to parley with them.
The Church is unchanged and unchange from above instead of from below. How able, and the Temporal Power is the apple of could a set of half-educated Czechs or Magits eye; nevertheless, if certain things of a yars know what was good for them and for substantial kind were only made right, his the Empire and for Europe at large, as well Holiness might nod or wink hard for a as Princes of the blood and great nobles of while at what he can no longer help; and the land, and Haynau, Benedek, and Radetzthough he cannot be expected to anoint or ki? How often have we heard even jourcrown the King of Italy, he thinks it high nalists who ought to have known better take time to abate somewhat of his anathemas this temporizing and truckling tone, and against the new régime, when he beholds the members of our Legislature chime in with it Ambassador of the chaste and devout Isa- too faithfully. What have they to say now bella publicly received at Florence.
for it or for themselves ? Shall we be told In like manner his Majesty Francis Joseph, that the recent Rescript of the Emperor is after desolating, Hungary with fire and a generous yielding to popular prayer, sword, and decimating its chosen sons in evidence of royal readiness to meet the fulfilment of his hereditary duty to God and wishes of his people? The correspondent of Christendom to fuse the Austrian Empire into a daily contemporary uses the too significant one indivisible mass, and after having spent phrase, in describing the ebullition of feelfifteen years in worrying all the unhappy ing in Hungary, that Pesth“ seems drunk kingdoms and provinces subject to his sway with joy." We know what regard is to be with the assertion of this Apostolic revela- paid to drunken vows. For us there is tion from on high, avows himself ready to neither merit nor dignity in this dropping of sell his Protectorship of German rights for the reins of despotism. We see in it a betwo millions and a half of Prussian thalers, trayal of abject weakness, and nothing more. ready money down, and to hypothecate his As little value can we set upon the temDivine right to torment Hungary for a con- porizing of Pius IX. with M. Boggio. The ditional promise of a loan from the bankers temporal power is sick unto death, and it of 150,000,000, without which the Imperial would willingly palter now with those whom, machinery cannot be kept going. All the up to yesterday, it insulted and defied. stately talk about unification of forms and Help from Spain was its last hope, and, assimilation of laws and centralization of thanks toʻthe grim attitude of the Liberal authority suddenly ceases. The united Par- party in Spain, that hope is now at an end. liament of the Austrian Empire is dissolved, Austria, however willing, is less able than with the vaguest of vague hints as to its ever to guarantee the possession of Rome as ever being called together again. The in- an exclusively ecclesiastical capital; and tractable Hungarians and Bohemians are France has been alienated more than ever discovered to have been right after all; and by the madness and folly of the late Encyclithey are now respectively bidden by their cal. Even the lath-and-plaster monarchy liege lord to do that which, if they had done of Mexico objects to be painted outside of or threatened to do it any day during the last the papal colours. It is time to trim; so fifteen years, they would have been treated Rome is trimming. as rebels for doing.
Facts have not changed in the least, nor feelings been modified a whit. Right was right all this time, and wrong was wrong. But so long as monarchy could borrow money without acknowledging the truth, the
From the Spectator. truth was said to be a lie, and the people FENIANISM - ITS DANGER AND ITS suffered. Whenever on-lookers from afar
REMEDY, ventured mildly to intimate their doubts of the absolute wisdom of Absolute Power, There is one point about this Fenian courtly politicians were sure to tell us that movement upon which English opinion is, high reasons of state rendered the denial of we think, at least partially in error. The popular claims necessary, and that in the insurrection” is declared contemptible end it would be seen how sagacious and pro- because its leaders are such mean people. found was the imperial policy. Every A schoolmaster, a tailor, a news agent, a specious show of liberal concession made fifth-rate journalist, a discharged sergeant, from time to time by the Austrian Govern- how, it is asked, can an agitation be forment was extolled as a new proof of the midable whicb has for its chiefs men of such gradual spread of constitutionalism, and of condition as these ? Unfortunately, it is the superior merit of reform proceeding this very circumstance, and this alone,