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Characteristics of the Genius of Scott
By Harriet Martineau

The advent of genius is the most striking, and will, in time, be perceived to be the most important species of circumstance which can befal society. When, as in the case of Scott, it manifests itself, not only in a highly popular form, but in a peculiarly healthy state, it becomes equally interesting to analyse it as an object of psychological research, and a duty to inquire into the process of education by which it has been brought to sound maturity. Such an inquiry may 6eem as an instrument wherewith to measure the achievements of genius in this particular instance of its manifestation, and also as an indication how most wisely to cherish any future revelation of the same kind with which the world may he blessed. This is a social service enjoined upon survivors by departing genius; a service which may not be refused, though emotions of grief must be largely mingled with the awe and hope which arise out of the contemplation of the past and future influences of the high presence which has become hidden. We, therefore, proceed, first, to inquire into the discipline of the genius of Scott, and the characteristics of its maturity; and, next, to attempt an estimate of the services that genius has rendered to society.—Walter Scott was happy in his parentage and condition in life. His father had good sense, benevolence, and sincerity ; his mother added to these virtues vigorous and well-cultivated talents. The experience of pain which appears to be essential to the deepening and strengthening of genius, was not, in his case, derived from hardships which infuse bitterness with strength, and corrupt while they expand. There was neither the domestic oppression under which Byron grew restive, nor the over-indulgence which prepares its victim for finding the world an oppressor. Scott was, it appears, surrounded with a kindly moral atmosphere from his birth. There was no thwarting of his early tastes; his young sayings were laid up in his piother’s heart; his brothers were his friends; and we have his own word for the tenderness with which he was regarded in his second home—his grandfather’s farm at Sandyknow.

“For I was wayward, bold, and wild,
A self-willed imp, a grandame’s child;
But half a plague, and half a jest,
Was still endured, beloved, carest."

Neither was his experience of pain derived from poverty, from a baffling of desires, from a deprivation of means to an earnestly-desired end, from the irksomeness of his occupations, or a sense of the unfitness of his outward condition to his inward aspirations. He was spared all that sordid kind of suffering which irritates while it excites, and even while communicating power, abstracts its noblest attribute,—its calmness.

Of this class of evils, from which genius has extensively suffered, Walter Scott knew nothing; and, happily for him, it did not therefore follow that he was raised above that experience of real life, which is the most nourishing aliment of intellectual power. It is a rare thing, and happier than it is rare, to lay hold of reality under a better impulse than that of hardship, and with sufficient power to make it serve its true end. The lordling knows nothing of reality. What he is told he believes, be it what it may. What he is commanded he does, or leaves undone, according to a will which is not the more genuine for being perverse ;—a will which springs out of convention, and is swayed by artificial impulses. His very ailments are scarcely teachers of reality, for they are not only artificially beguiled, but are made the building materials of a spurious experience. The fever of a lordly infant leaves its victim less wise than the fever of a cottage child, which is to the latter an evil felt in its full force, but uncompounded with other evils. On recovery, the cottage child knows best what sickness is; and, yet, bodily affections are the least susceptible of admixture of any: they afford to the lordling the best means of gaining genuine experience. All else is with him passive reception or conventional action, though he may travel in his own country and abroad, and learn to play trap-ball at Eton. As for those who have to do only with what is real, the hewers of wood and drawers of water, they are too generally unprepared to make use of reality. Their power, as far as it goes, is superior to the lordling’s; but it is a scanty and unfruitful power. They are for ever laying a foundation on which nothing is seen to arise. This is better than building pagodas of cards on a slippery surface like the lordling; but it is not the final purpose for which the human intellect was made constructive. It is not enough for the little cotton-spinner, or ploughboy, to know what the lordling only believes,—of the qualities of twist, and the offices of machinery, and the economy of the nests of larks and field-mice. They should be led beyond cotton-spinning and field labours by such knowledge; but it as seldom happens that they are so as that the lordling exchanges his belief for knowledge; which is the same thing as saying, that genius is as rare in the one class as in the other; being, in the one, overlaid with convention ; in the other, benumbed by want. The most efficacious experience of reality must be looked for in the class above the lowest, and in individuals of higher classes still, fewer and fewer in proportion to the elevation of rank, till the fatal boundary of pure convention be reached, within which genius cannot live except in the breasts of one here and there, who is stout-hearted enough to break bounds, and play truant in the regions of reality. The individuals who may thus come out from the higher ranks (where all efficacy is supposed to reside in teaching, instead of enabling to learn) may generally be observed to bear some mark of providence, which they themselves may endure with humiliation, which their companions regard with ignorant compassion; but in which the far-sighted recognise, not only a passport to the select school of experience, but a patent of future intellectual nobility. What this mark may be, signifies little. The important point is, that there should be pain,—inevitable pain,—not of man s infliction,—natural pain, admitting of natural solace, so that it may produce its effects pure from the irritation of social injury, and be bearable for a continuance in silence. Whether the infliction be orphanhood, leading to self-reliance ; whether it be the blindness which has exalted the passion of many bards, or the deafness which deepened the genius of Beethoven, or the lameness which agonized the sensibilites of Byron, or mere delicacy of health (which has often, after invigorating genius, been itself invigorated by genius in its turn;) whether the infliction be any of these or of the many which remain, matters little; its efficacy depends on the de gree in which it is felt; that is, on the degree of the knowledge of reality which it confers.

To pain thus inflicted, to a knowledge of reality thus conferred, was Scott, in a great measure, indebted for the prodigious overbalance of happiness which afterwards enriched himself, and the world through him. He suffered in childhood and youth from ill health and privation.

His ill health caused his removal into the country, where, from circumstances of situation, &c. those tastes were formed which predominated in him through life, while the passion with which they were cherished must have been deepened by the one affliction which he had to bear alone, —his lameness. Few have any idea of the all-powerful influence which the sense of personal infirmity exerts over the mind of a child. If it were known, its apparent disproportionateness to other influences would, to the careless observer, appear absurd; to the thoughtful, it would afford new lights respecting the conduct of educational discipline; it would also pierce the hearts of many a parent who now believes that he knows all, and who feels so tender a regret for what he knows, that even the sufferer wonders at its extent.' But this is a species of suffering which can never obtain sufficient sympathy, because the sufferer himself is not aware till he has made comparison of this with other pains, how light all others are in comparison. Be the infirmity what it may, as long as it separates, as long as it causes compassion, as long as it exposes to the little selfishness of companions, to the observation of strangers, to inequality of terms at home, it is a deep-seated and perpetual wo; one which is, in childhood, never spoken of, though perpetually brooded over; one which is much and universally underrated, because it is commonly well borne; and, again, well borne, because under-rated, and, therefore, unsympathized with. That this was the case with Walter Scott, is certain. His lameness in childhood was, no doubt, thought much less of by every one, even his mother, than by himself. Not an hour of any day, while with his young companions, could this pain of infirmity have been unfelt. In all sports, in all domestic plans, iit all schoolboy frolics, he either was, or believed himself to be, on unequal terms with his playmates; and though he happily escaped the jealousy which arises too often from a much less cause, he suffered enough to drive him to a solace, whose pure and natural pleasures might best counterbalance his peculiar and natural pain. We have notices of these things from himself; a touching recurrence in one of his lightest pieces, to the days when the little lame boy lagged behind with the nurse-maid, while his brothers were running wild; when he was painfully lifted over the stiles which others were eager to climb. More at large we have tidings of the opposite pleasures, in which he found the best repose from his mortifications. His worship of Smailholm Tower, amidst the green hills; his quest of wallflowers and honeysuckles, and of the blossoms of traditionary verse which adorn the retreats where he sought his pleasures. The immediate enjoyment arising from the study of nature, is probably as much less in childhood than in mature years, as the pain arising from personal infirmity is greater—the pleasure being enhanced and the pain alleviated, by the variety and complexity of associations with which each becomes mingled; and Walter Scott, therefore, gained in pleasure with every year of his youth. But yet there was a sufficient balance of enjoyment, even in these e*rly days, to render his genius of that benignant character which proves its rearing to have been kindly. He not only gained power by vicissitude, (which is the most rapid method of knowing realities,) but pleasure fast following upon pain, the pain was robbed of its irritation, and the pleasure was enhanced by a sense of freedom, the welcome opposite of the constraint which any species of infirmity imposes in society. Scott's childhood was, in short, spent in feeling, the best possible preparation for after thinking. His limbs were stretched on the turf, his hands grasped the rough crags, and wallflower scents reached him from crumbling ruins, and streams ran sparkling before his eyes; and these realities mingled with the no less vivid ones which he had just brought with him from society.

Nor were these the only vicissitudes he knew. His tastes thus form, ed, suited little with his school pursuits; and hence arose wholesome and strengthening exercises of fear and love. It seems strange, contemplating Walter Scott in his after life, as firm as mild, to think that he could either experience or cause fear ; but there is no doubt whatever that this formed part of the discipline of his genius. He was a naughty schoolboy, as far as learning lessons went. He tells us of disgraces and punishments fbr being idle himself and keeping others idle,—and of the applause of his schoolfellows for his tale-telling being a sort of recompense for what he thus underwent. Since he felt this applause a recompense, the evil of punishment was feared and felt. Since he continued to incur punishment, his love of nature and romance was yet stronger than his fear. This alternation went on for years, for he never gained credit as a learner of languages, and finished in possession of “ little Latin and less Greek.*' For a long continuance then, there was disgrace in school, and honour in the playground; fear in school, and a passion of love among the green hills; slavery between four walls, and rapturous liberty when rambling with a romancing companion amidst the wildest scenery that lay within reach. A glorious discipline this for a sensibility which could sustain and grow under it!

Half the work was now done. Through the exercise of the sensibility the faculties were strengthened. There was yet little knowledge, but there was power,—power which would* soon have preyed upon itself, if objects had not, by a new set of circumstances, been presented for it to employ itself upon. An illness confined him long to his bed, in a state which admitted of no other amusements than chess and reading. He read ravenously, and, as he himself says, idly; that is, he devoured all the poems and novels which a large circulating library afforded, till he was satiated, and then took to memoirs, travels, and history. He continued this practice of desultory reading, when afterwards removed once more into the country on account of the state of his health; and thus was he initiated into the second of the three great departments of knowledge, which it was necessary to traverse in preparation for the work of his later years. He had now made acquaintance with nature in her aspects, though not in her constitution, and with man as he is displayed in books. History showed him man in his social capacity; tales of real and fictitious adventure showed him man in contest with natural difficulties, and passing through the diversified scenery of various climates and nations; memoirs showed him man going through the experience of human existence, but all this was at second-hand. The third great study which remained was, man as he appears in actual life. It remained to verify what man seems in books by what he is before the eyes. And for this also opportunity was afforded by another change of circumstance. Walter Scott recovered his health, or rather became, for the first time, vigorous in body, and able to enter the world on the same terms with others. He studied law in college as well as under his father, and mixed in society far more than ever before ; and though looked upon rather as an abstracted young man, very fond of reading, than as a particularly sociable personage, he was actually at this time, and for some years afterwards, making acquaintance with human nature under a great variety of forma, whether in the courts, or in his own rank of society, or wandering, as was still his wont, among the vales of Tweeddale, gathering legends from the shepherds, or domesticating himself by the farmer's fireside. During this stage of his preparation, it was an important circumstance that he became enrolled in a cavalry regiment, formed under the apprehension of an invasion from France. Here he was far from being considered “ an abstracted young manbeing highly popular, from his good humour and his extraordinary powers of entertainment, which probably were exercised in a somewhat different way from the goblin romancing, which made him a favourite among his school-fellows. He now probably communicated the results of his observation of actual life, while he no doubt improved them at the same time.

During the next few years he continued to enlarge his knowledge in all these three departments, by travelling, by the study of German literature, and by the performance of the active duties imposed upon him by his office of Sheriff of Selkirkshire ; an office which, no less than his travels, brought him into communication with human nature under a variety of modifications. The study of German literature alone,— (we say nothing of the language, as, by Sir Walter's own confession, he only used it as a means of scrambling into the literature)—this new acquisition alone might serve, to a mind so prepared as his, as a sufficient stimulus to the work he afterwards achieved; and to it we cannot but attribute much of that richness of moral conception, much of the transparent depth of his philosophy of character, which is, to merely £nglish readers, the most astonishing of his excellencies.

Here, then, we have gained some faint insight into the process by which an organization (probably of great original excellence) was made the most of, and rendered the constituent of a genius as kindly as it was powerful; that is to say, as healthy as it wa9 rare. Such an organization may not be rare. We cannot tell; so little do we know of its mysteries, and so complicated is the machinery of education and of society by which it may be ruined or impaired. As probable as that there might be a Milton or a Hampden in Gray's presence, when he pondered his elegy, is it that there may be many Scotts in our regal halls, in our factories, in our grammar or dame schools; one weakened in the hot-b%d of aristocracy, another withered by want and toil, a third choked with what is called learning, a fourth turned into a slave under the rod. It seems that some light is thrown upon the matter of education by such a case as the one before us. Here is a discipline diametrically opposite to received notions of what is fitting. Here is a boy,— not so unlike other boys in the outset as to make this case an exception to all rules,—here is a boy lying about in the fields when he should have been at his Latin grammar; romancing when he should have been playing cricket; reading novels when he should have been entering college ; hunting ballads when he should have been poring over parchments; spearing salmon instead of embellishing a peroration; and, finally, giving up law for legends, when he should have been rising at the bar. Yet this personage came out of this wild kind of discipline, graced with the rarest combination of qualifications for enjoying existence, achieving fame, and blessing society; with manners which were admitted by a king to ornament a court, although his accomplishments were to be referred solely to intellectual culture, and in no degree impaired the honesty of his speech and action; deeply learned, though neither the languages nor the philosophy of the schools made part of his acquisitions; robust as a ploughman, able to walk like a pedlar, and to ride like a knight-errant, and to hunt like a squire; business-like as a bailiff; industrious as a handicraftsman; discreet and frank to perfection at the same time; gentle as a woman ; intrepid as the bravest hero of his own immortal works. Here is an extraordinary phenomenon, to result from an education which would give most people the expectation of a directly contrary issue. Here is enough to put us, on inquiring, not whether learning, and even Bchool- discipline, be good things, but whether the knowledge usually thought most essential, the school discipline, which is commonly esteemed indispensable, be in fact either the one or the other; whether the study of nature, in her apparent forms, may not be found a much more powerful stimulus to thought than it is at present allowed to be, let the study be pursued among the hills of Tweed-dale, or in the laboratory, Botanic Garden, or Observatory: whether again, the discipline of pain and pleasure, appointed by Providence, may not effect more by being less interfered with than it is under our present educational methods, which leave scarcely any experience pure from artificial admixture. Many parents will say that they do not wish their children to become poets and romance writers, and will plead that Walter Scott was but little of a lawyer after all. But it should be remembered, that the generation and direction of power are very different things. It was the discipline of natural vicissitude which generated power in Walter Scott; its direction was owing to local and individual circumstances. The example might be followed exactly in the first particular, and only analogically in the other. This might be done without any apprehension ; for no one will deny the practicability that there was for turning Sir Walter's genius in some other direction, if it bad been thought desirable. There was such a practical character about all his undertakings, such good sense pervading his conversation and views of life, that there can be no doubt of his power being of that highest kind, which is as flexible as it is strong; which can change its aims as readily as it can pursue them perseveringly. The question is, bow to obtain this power, much more than how to direct it. The movements of society must not, it seems, be trusted to originate it; but the pressure of society may probably be trusted to direct it.

While few inquiries can be more interesting than tha% of how the genius of Scott grew up, few contemplations can be more pleasurable, more animating, than that of the same genius in its matured 6tate. It is difficult to decide where to begin in reviewing the qualities which serve as tests of its healthfulness; but perhaps the most striking, not from its predominance, (where none can be said to predominate,) but from its importance, is its purity.

This purity is not solely to be ascribed to the purity of the aliment on which the genius was nourished. All the aliment presented to genius is pure in itself, whether it be the tranquil beauty of blue skies and verdant hills, or the mournful beauty which sanctifies the relics of things passed away, or the idealized beauty of works of art, or the suggestive beauty of passing circumstances, or that moving pageant in which many see no beauty, that display of society, in which crime, littleness, and wo, are mixed up with whatever is more honourable to humanity. All these things are pure, in as far as their action upon genius is concerned, as stimulants of sensibility, and provocatives to thought; and there can be little doubt that Scott would, if placed, without Byron's training, in Byion’s position, amidst the licentious intrigues of fashionable life, have painted that life in all its hideous truth, with perfect purity of spirit. There is no more reasonable doubt of this than that Byron would have carried his stormy passions with him into the stillest nooks of Tweed, dale, and wakened the echoes of Smailholm Tower with his bitter mock, ery of certain of his race. It is not the material on which genius employs itself that can ever be impure; since genius has nothing conventional in its constitution, and the purity or impurity which is thought to reside in objects, is wholly conventional. All depends upon how the material is received; whether as the food of appetite, or of the affections, chastened by philosophy. It is not true genius which defrauds its own aliment for its own pleasure ; and where depravity exists in combination with genius, it is by a forced connexion, and the depravity goes to feed the appetites, while the genius finds its nourishment elsewhere. Such a combination exhibits the two-headed monster of the moral world, one of whose countenances may be regarding the starry heavens, while the other is gloating over the garbage of impurity beneath it. The employment of the one has nothing whatever to do with the contemplation of the other. The genius of an artist is no more answerable for his gluttony or drunkenness, than his gluttony and drunkenness for his genius. Where genius is somewhat less unfortunate in its connexion, where it is linked with the licentiousness of caste and custom, rather than with that of brutality, it is supposed to be nourished by this licentiousness, and Don Juan is appealed to as a proof; but it is not the licentiousness, but the knowledge of human passions, gained by its means, (a knowledge which might be much better gained by a thousand higher means,) by which the genius is enriched. Genius accepts the knowledge, and rejects the poison amidst which it is conveyed. The more the experience savours of impurity, the less is there for genius to appropriate; the more there is of philosophic investigation, (and this was at the bottom of much of Byron’s pursuit of experience,) the more is genius profited, and the less base are the excesses with which it is mixed up. Where, with this philosophical investigation, is united that chastened affection for humanity which makes the observer far-sighted, and connects him with his race by generous sympathies instead of selfish instincts, no impurity can attend any knowledge whatever of the doings of the race, no more than pollution could dim the brightness of an angelic presence passing through a Turkish harem, or kindle unholy fires in the eyes of the Lady while watching the rabble-rout of Comus. The genius of Scott was not onjy innocent as the imagination of a child—all genius is so in itself—it was also pure ; that is. it did not bring into combination with itself any thing which could deteriorate its power, or defile its lustre. His purity of thought and feeling was not of the still and cold, but of the active and genial character. It was not like the mountain snow, which is all whiteness under common circumstances, but which, if by chance melted, may be found to have held many dark specks congealed within it; but rather like the running stream, which catches light, warmth, and colouring, from all substances through which it passes, and sweeps away, or buries, all with which it has no affinity. No one can dispute Walter Scott’s knowledge of life, and his insight into the mysteries of society. He could have told, more than most men, of the intrigues of courts, the licentiousness of nobles, the secret revels of divers classes of men, and the excesses which follow close on both the gratification and the disappointment of all the stronger passions. No one had a warmer sympathy with the stirrings in men’s bosoms, or could make larger allowance for frailty, or feel more genially the pleasures of conviviality and other social excitement; yet no man was ever more remarkable for combining perfect purity of conception with truth and freedom of delineation. He was himself temperate in his habits as genial in his temperament; and his works are like himself. The Templar, Varney, Mike Lambourne, Christian Dalgarno, find each their place in his pictures of life—they are not made the text of a sermon, but rather allowed to speak for themselves in a not very sermonlike style; and the issue is, that they leave on the mind of the reader not a single impression which can defile, but instead, a conviction that, as respects the mind of the author, they came and went, leaving no spot or stain behind. .

Closely allied with the purity of Scott's genius was its modesty—a modesty as astonishing to his distant admirers as it ever was amusing to his near friends. It is scarcely possible to imagine how, with his quick sense of the good and the beautiful, he should have remained so innocent of all suspicion of how much there was of both in his own works. If the ingenuousness of his mind had been less remarkable than it was, there would have been a pretty general suspicion that he was not above the common affectation of pretending to dispute the decision of the public; but the entire simplicity of his speech and conduct place his ingenuousness beyond question. It is certain that he alone failed to perceive or to bear in mind the power and richness of his own conceptions and delineations, while it is no less certain that, if he had met with the most insignificant of his characters in any other novel, or had (like Dr. Priestley) stumbled upon a forgotten odd volume of his own, without the titlepage, and had not known whither to refer it, he would have fallen into an enthusiasm of admiration upon it, as, to the great amusement of his friends, he was wont to do about productions of much inferior merit. Credulous as he was where merit was to be ascribed, here only he declined taking every body's word. Deferential as he was to the voice of society, here only he evaded its decision. Sometimes he seemed scarcely aware what was comprehended in the words of its laudatory decrees: sometimes he ascribed his success to novelty, sometimes to fashion; now to one temporary infiuence, now to another—to any thing rather than his own merit. This modesty so verges upon excess as to cause some passing feelings of regret, that it was impossible to inspire him with a due sense of what he had done, with that virtuous complacency which is the fair reward of such toils as his; till we remember that he could not but have had his private raptures over {he beauties of his own creation; his thrillings of pleasure in converse with the divine *Die Vernon, and of lofty emotion when winding up his most solemn scenes; and his paroxysms of mirth after calling up a Friar Tuck, or a Triptolemus Yellowley; till, reminded by the world that all these bore the closest connexion with himself, they, with the pride of pleasure they had afforded, were swallowed up and forgotten in his modesty. That they should be thus forgotten or lightly esteemed, still seems unfair, however the fact may be accounted for; and it is a positive relief to meet with a notice here and there, in Sir Walter's notes and prefaces, which indicate that he did derive some gratification from his success, that he did consent to taste a little of the delicious brimming cup which his brethren of the craft are usually all too ready to drain before it is half full. "I have seldom," he says, “felt more satisfaction than when, returning from a pleasure voyage, I found Waverley in the zenith of popularity, and public curiosity in full cry after the name of the author. The knowledge that I had the public approbation, was like having the property of a hidden treasure, not less gratifying to the owner than if all the world knew that it was his own/' We thank him for having let us know this. It is one of the most precious passages in his writings, though, if occurring in those of almost any other of the genus trritabile, it is probably one to which we should have given little attention. The delicacy of his modesty appears in the following passage, which, coming from a man who had Btood as severe a trial of his humility as was ever afforded by the sudden acquisition of unbounded fame, bears a very high value, and ought to be taken to heart by many who are more frail, though less tempted than himself. Our readers have all pro. bably seen it before; but a second, or even a twentieth, reading can do them no harm.

“I may perhaps be thought guilty of affectation, should I allege, as one reason of my silence [as to the authorship of the novels,] a secret dislike to enter on personal discussions concerning my own literary labours. It is in every case a dangerous intercourse for an author to be dwelling continually among those who make his writings a frequent and familiar subject of conversation, but who must necessarily be partial judges of works composed in their own society. The habits of self-importance which are thus acquired by authors are highly injurious to a well-regulated mind; for the cup of flattery, if it does not, like that of Circe, reduce men to the level of beasts, is sure, if eagerly drained, to bring the best and the ablest down to that of fools. The risk was in some degree prevented by the mask which I wore ; and my own stores of self-conceit were left to their natural course, without being enhanced by the partiality of friends, or adulation of flatterers!'

It may, however, be observed, that this degree of discretion is desirable, perhaps practicable, only where the authorship relates to light literature, and that it would be an injustice to works of a grave and scientific character, to deprive them of whatever advantage the author may gain by the discussion of his subject duripg its progress. In these cases, however, the discussion should be of the topics, not of the authorship ; of the work, not of the writer. Simplicity is the true rule, as in all other cases so in this: the simplicity which was exemplified in the Author of Waverley, and which is equally far removed from the jealous unsocial secresy of Newton respecting his scientific researches, and the prattling vanity of those weak-minded literati and philosophers who do all that in them lies to bring contempt on their calling.

In fairness, it should be added, that the genius of Sir Walter owed some of its modesty to his Toryism, which prescribed other objects of ambition than literary fame. To his aristocratic taste it was more agreeable to be ranked among the landed proprietors than among the authors of his country. He was better pleased to be looked up to as the local dispenser of justice than as the enchanter of £urope. He wrote a score of matchless romances for the sake of improving a patch of bad land; and while apparently insensible to flattery on the score of his works, and unable to account for even reasonable praise, he exhibited a gratified complacency in his title of “ the Shirra,” and in his rank as a country gentleman of Roxburghshire. So much for the variety in men's estimates of good!

This, his modesty, guarded by his Toryism, partly accounts for the extraordinary union of frankness and discretion in' his character. It could only be by lightly valuing his achievements, by thinking little of

himself and his doings, that a man of his sincerity could have been such a Becret-keeper. It was not by measures of precaution as regarded his own conduct; it was not by plot and underplot, that the public was misled as to the authorship of the novels. It was by the coolness of his manner, and the simplicity of his speech and demeanour, that inquirers were baffled; and this coolness could scarcely have been preserved by one so ardent and simple, if he had thought his achievements as marvellous as they appeared to others, or if they had been the objects of his principal interest. In what light he regarded them may be gathered from a passage in which he offers us his views of the duties of those who are entering on a literary life. “Upon the whole, as I had no pretension to the genius of the distinguished persons who had fallen into such errors, [vanity and irascibility," I concluded there could be no occasion for imitating them in such mistakes, or what I considered as such. With this view, it was my first resolution to keep as far as was in my power abreast of society; continuing to maintain my place in general company, without yielding to the very natural temptation of narrowing myself to what is called literary society. By doing so, I imagined I should escape the besetting sin of listening to language which, from one motive or another, ascribes a very undue degree of consequence to literary pursuits, as if they were indeed the business rather than the amusement of life.”

Whatever may be conjectured as to how much Sir Walter included under the term “literary pursuits,” and as to how differently he might have estimated them if he had beheld another in his own position, the above passage vindicates the truth, that “out of the abundance of the 'heart the mouth speaketh.” The abundance of his heart did not consist of that of which he did not speak—of himself and his fame. He spoke of politics, of other men’s literature, of antiquities, of planting and farming, of law and justice, of fishing and shooting; “of man, of nature, of society;” and of these things his heart was full. He did not speak or encourage others to speak of his labours of the desk, and of their rewards; and of these things his heart was not full.

It seems rather strange that he should have spoken thus lightly of literature, when he himself applied its forces to some of the gravest purposes in which they can be employed,—in the delineation of the working of the darker passions. If the inquiry had been brought home to him he would scarcely have persisted that there was mere amusement to himself in the conception, or to his readers in the contemplation of such characters as his Dirk Hatteraick, Front-de-Boeuf, the Templar, Tony Forster, Varney and Leicester, and Rasleigh Osbaldistone, and many more, whose dark thoughts and deeds it would be as wrong as it is impossible to allow to pass before us as a mere spectacle, and be forgotten. There is too solemn a character belonging to the sufferings of Amy Robsart, and of the Master of Ravenswood, to permit their having no permanent effect on philosophy and morals, aiid too much depth in the genius which delineated them to justify the speaking lightly of such of its efforts as those in question. If the office of casting new lights into philosophy, and adding new exemplifications and sanctions to morals, be not the "business” of literary genius, we know not what is. It is the “business,” the first business of every man, to deduce these very lessons from actual lifeand we can conceive of no more important occupation than his who does the same thing for many, while doing it for himself; presenting the necessary materials, and their issues, unravelled from the complications, and separated from the admixtures which may impair their effect in real life, but no less palpably real than if they had passed under actual observation. This is the task, the real “business* of moral philosophers of all ranks and times; of Socrates, Zeno, and picurus, in the temple and the garden ; of the Fathers of the Church in their twilight cells of learning; of the philosophers and bards of the middle ages; and, in the present, of Scott in his study, no less than of the divine in his pulpit. How much more conscious Scott really was than he seemed, of the importance of his office as an exhibitor of humanity, can probably never now be known; but that that office did, in fact, constitute the real business of his life, is as certain as it will be evident, when not one stone of Abbotsford shall be left upon another, when the last tree of his planting shall have tottered to its fall, and the last relic of the man shall have been lost, except that which is enshrined in his works.

It may be said, that he had little to do with the darker passions, and proved that there are but few villains among the host of characters; but these dark passions cast their shade far and wide, and one villain modifies the fortunes of many innocent persons. Rashleigh is at the bottom of all that happens in Rob Roy, and ambition gives its entire colouring to the romance of Kenilworth. These dark passions cause the predominant impression left by moral pictures ; as a thunder cloud characterises the summer landscape, though the streams of sun-light may far outnumber the flashes of the lightning. That dark passions are introduced, and have excited an interest, is a sufficient basis for the argument, that their exhibition constituted an important part of the business of his life, who conceived and portrayed their workings.

The world, at least that part of it which knows what it is talking about, has ceased to be astonished at the union of mirth and pathos in the effusions of genius. That mirth is often found without pathos, and pathos without mirth, is no argument against their co-existence; as there have been some in every age to prove, beginning (at the nearest) from Solomon, when writing the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, and finishing with Sir Walter Scott. Indeed, as an acute discrimination of analogies is the basis equally of poetry and wit, and as the same discrimination, applied to the workings of human emotion, is the chief requisite to pathos, the wonder is rather, that Milton should have been able to keep ludicrous combinations of ideas always out of sight, than that Shakspeare should have been profuse in them; that the Man of Feeling should never have been moved to mirth, than that Uncle Toby should have brushed away his tears with a laugh. The power produced by this union has seldom been more fully shown than in the Abbot Boniface of Scott. While the Abbot of the Monastery, he is little better than contemptible. The man moves no sympathy, and is regarded as a fine satirical sketch; as a representation of an obsolete class, and in nowise interesting as an individual. How miraculously he comes out as the old gardener, grown innocent in his tastes, and crossed in his sole desire,—their harmless indulgence ! The comic aspect of his official character is preserved, while we are made •to feel a respectful compassion for the individual; and his last words sink deep into the heart, and return for ever upon the memory and the ear.

“The Ex-Abbot resumed his spade. c I could be sorry for these men,* he said; "ay, and for that poor Queen; but what avail earthly sorrows to a man of fouttecore? and it is a rare dropping morn for the early cole-wort.”

The most remarkable circumstance attending Scott's opposite powers of moving is, not their co-existence, but their keeping one another in check, as they ever did, except in the one (repented?) instance in which he allowed his wit to run riot—in his sketches of the Covenanters in Old Mortality. None probably deny, that fanaticism is a most tempting subject for wit to divert itself upon, and that there may be little exaggeration in the reports given of Mause Headrigg's conversation and achievements ; but there are also few to defend a needless outrage upon the religious prejudices of a nation, at the risk of disturbing something better than prejudices. Sir Walter did not excuse himself for this single indiscretion, or probably intend to do so, by his subsequent exposition of the absurdity of men of the present day clinging to the letter of the faith and practice of their forefathers. In all other instances his mirth was as discreet and innocent as his pathos was deep and true. £ach enhanced, while it controlled the other; and their union afforded an infallible test of the power of the genius whose healthy development it characterised.

In no respect has the character of genius been more importantly vindicated by Sir Walter than in his habitual cheerfulness. There may be, and ought to be, an end for ever to the notion, that melancholy is an attribute of genius; for Sir Walter was as little given to melancholy as any whistling ploughboy within the realm of Scotland. If it be true, that genius dives deep into the recesses where pain shrouds itself from the light, it is also true, that genius opens up new and everspringing sources of joy; while the common and wearing troubles of life are thrown off by its elasticity, and its own light sheds beauty on all that surrounds it.' That many geniuses have been moody men, is not owing to their genius, but to habit of body or mind, which their genius was not powerful enough to overcome. If the mind be its own place the highest mind must hold the happiest place; the wider its ken the more numerous the objects of good within the circle; the more various its powers the more harmonious the creation of which those powers take cognizance. Thus was it with Sir Walter Scott; his internal cheerfulness breathing music through the fiercest storms that gathered at his spell, and forming the basis of all the varied melodies which he drew from the chords of the human heart. It is never lost—not in the darkest scenes where his personages are raging, suffering, sinking under violence and wo: there is even here a principle of vigour in the humanity displayed,—a tacit promise, that there are better things beyond, which, without any obtrusion of the author’s individuality, supports the reader's spirits upon the buoyancy of the writer's. We will not flatter even the dead. We will not say that this cheerfulness appears to us to spring so much from a lofty faith in humanity as from other causes, equally pure, but with which it is a pity that the faith we speak of should not co-exist. Walter Scott had a perpetual spring of joy within him from his love of nature, from his secret sense of power, from his wise regulation of his tastes and desires, and from the kindliness of disposition which endeared him to every one, and every one to him; but there are no traces of that long clear foresight of the issues of social struggles, no evidences that he caught the distant echoes of that harmony into which all the jarrings of social interests must subside; no aspirations after a better social state than the present; no sympathy beaming through its tears, for the sacrifices of patriotism, and the patient waiting of the oppressed for redress. No one showed more respect for opinion as the basis of practice, or more sympathy for individual sorrows: no one could put a more benevolent construction on what passed before his eyes, or was more disposed to make the best of whatever is; but his perpetual, fond recur, rence to the past, his indisposition to change; in a word, his Toryism prevented his recognising the ultimate purposes of society, and reposing amidst that faith in man which is next to trust in God, (of which indeed it forms a part,) the best resting place of the spirit amidst the tumults and vicissitudes of life. It was from a deficiency of support of this kind that his spirit once quailed: that once, that will never cease to be mourned, when multitudes, far his inferiors in all besides, were enabled to rejoice while he suffered, trembled, supplicated, all the more keenly, all the more urgently, from the might of the heart within him. The fear of change perplexed him, and he warned and petitioned against it ineffectually, and to his own great injury; when, if he could but have seen that change was inevitable, and might be directed to the most magnificent achievements, he might have been one of the adored leaders of a heroic nation, instead of being made a spectacle to the people while offering his affecting farewell—>“ Mori turns vos salutat” He had vigour to support his own misfortunes, and to set about repairing them with unflinching heroism. But he had not faith in man collectively as he had in individual man, and could not resist the sadness with which political change inspired him, and which, more than any private sorrows, were thought to accelerate his decline. From the hopefulness which springs out of faith in man's progression, he was cut off. It was a great misfortune. Far be it from us to taunt his memory with it, or to ascribe it to any thing but the outward circumstances of his training. If the world lost something by it, he lost more, and moreover suffered by infliction as well as deprivation: and all this makes the depth and continuity of his cheerfulness the more remarkable. This cheerfulness, this tendency to put a kindly construction on all which has been and is, accounts for his popularity notwithstanding his Toryism, and is, in its turn, partly accounted for by his industry,—another test of the healthiness of his genius. On this industry little can be said. Its achievements are before every one's eyes, and are, we suppose, nearly as unaccountable to most people as to ourselves. We give up the attempt to settle how he did all, and when he did it. We have his own word for his works (except during an interval of two years) being all written by his own hand ; and if we had not had this unquestionable word, we should have dissented from Goethe's supposition, that he sketched and touched up, and left it to inferior hands to compose the bulk of his works. There is such a character of unity amidst all the diversity; the dullest scenes are so evidently enjoyed by the author, however little they may be so by the reader; there is such gusto, such an absence of all sense of drudgery throughout, that we could (as we said at the time) have staked our character for penetration upon the fact, before the disclosure was made, that every chapter in this library of novels was written by the same hand. How it was done is another matter. How he wrote for years together, sixteen pages of print per diem, on an average, while discharging his official duties in town, or before beginning his daily occupations and pleasures of hospitality in the country,—sixteen pages of historical, as well as fictitious, narrative, including all the research which either required, is to us matter of pure astonishment. We must be content with it as a fact; and taking it thus, we can understand how so perpetual a flow of fresh ideas, so animating a consciousness of power, so ever-present an evidence of achievement must have fed the springs of his cheerfulness, and have given that character of luxury to his intellectual refreshments which bodily toil gives to the meal and the couch of the labourer. There is a delight appertaining to earned pleasures which is common to all classes in the intellectual and social world ; and herein was Sir Walter least of all aristocratic. His example of this truth is so valuable, his sanction so impressive, that we must be excused the triteness of our morality. If there be any in whose eyes industry has not hitherto been majestic, they may now perhaps be led to appreciate her dignity. All others will dwell thankfully on every new testimony to her congeniality with genius.

It is not easy to see how it can ever be tolerable to genius to be idle. To conceive achievements, and not attempt them; to discriminate beauty, and not reach after it; to discern that action is necessary to further contemplation, and not to act;—these things seem, if not contradictory, unnatural; and the impulses arising from them are quite sufficient, without any help from the ambition of which Sir Walter had a very small share, to account for any degree of exertion that physical and mental energy can sustain. They are enough to render the spirit willing; and where the spirit is willing, the might is strong; and this willingness and might together constitute industry ; an indispensable grace of the lofty, (whatever some who are great in their own eyes may think,) as well as the most ennobling virtue of the humble. Genius implies toil, both as its cause and its consequence; and the example of Walter Scott (unnecessary as a proof, though welcome as a sanction to some) will open the eyes of many as to a new truth. And herein we recognise another of his mighty services as a vindicator of genius.

The practical character of his conduct and conversation was another of his valuable characteristics,—implied in his industry, indeed, but remarkable apart from that. Good sense is as remarkable a feature of his most imaginative writings as illustration and humour were of his homeliest conversation. He had a considerable degree of worldly sagacity, not only of that which, being worked out in the study, makes a good show upon paper, but of that shrewdness which is ready for use in all the rapid turns of life, and sudden occasions of daily business. This is evident, not only in his portrait, and in his exposition of the system of Scotch banking, but in his most delicate delineations of his fairest heroines; in his records of the conversation of the glorious Die Vernon, in the t$te-d-tetes of Minna and Brenda, and conspicuously in the interview between Rebecca and Rowena. It is the practical character, t. e. the reality which pervades his loftiest scenes, that gives to them their permanent charm : in the same manner as the writer himself was respected as a man of superior rationality, and beloved as an endearing companion, instead of being regarded as a wayward dreamer, merely tolerated on account of supposed genius.

Here we must stop for the present. In pursuing this inquiry into the education and characteristics of his genius, we seem to have done little towards expressing the emotions which his name awakens, exalted as it is amidst the coronach of a nation. We shall hereafter attempt some estimate of his achievements, and of his services to his race—services of whose extent he was himself nearly as unconscious as his contemporaries are proud.


Having already (in No. IX. p. 301.) tendered our homage to the memory of Scott In his capacity of vindicator of the character of Genius, we proceed to discuss his other claims to the veneration and gratitude of society.

In doing this, we shall not etiter into any elaborate criticism of hi9 compositions as works of art. This has been done a hundred times before, and will be done a hundred times again, to the great benefit of literature and the fine arts, and to the exalted entertainment of both those who lead and those who follow in the discrimination of the manifold beauties and graces with which Scott has adorned the realms of taste. We apply ourselves to the contemplation of the works of Scott, in their effects as influences, rather than to an analysis of their constitution as specimens of art. If we include in our inquiry the services which he rendered to society, negatively as well as positively, unconsciously as well as designedly, it may appear that the gratitude of one age and one empire is but a sample of the reward which his achievements deserve and will obtain.

There is little reason to question that Scott has done more for the morals of society, taking the expression in its largest sense, than all the divines, and other express moral teachers, of a century past. When we consider that all moral sciences are best taught by exemplification, and that these exemplifications produce tenfold effect when exhibited unprofessionally, it appears that dramatists and novelists of a high caliber have usually the advantage, as moralists, over those whose office it is to present morals in an abstract form. The latter are needed to. systematize the science, and to prevent its being lost sight of as the highest of the sciences; but the advantage of practical influence rests with the for* mer. When we, moreover, consider the extent of Scott's practical influence, and multiply this extent by its force, there will be little need of argument to prove that the whole living phalanx of clergy, orthodox and dissenting, of moral philosophers, of all moral teachers, except statesmen and authors of a high order, must yield the sceptre of moral sway to Scott. If they are wise, they will immediately acknowledge this, estimate his achievements, adopt, to a certain extent, hi3 methods, and step forward to the vantage ground he has gained for them. If they be disposed to question the fact of the superiority of his influence, let then* measure it for an instant against their own. Let them look to our universities, and declare whether they have, within a century, done much for the advancement of morals at home, or to bring morals into respect abroad. Let them look to the weight of the established clergy, and say how much they actually modify the thoughts and guide the conduct of the nation ; taking into the account, as a balance against the good they do, the suspicion there exists against them in their character of a craft, and the disrepute which attaches itself to what they teach, through an admixture of abuses. Let them look to the dissenting clergy,—far more influential as they are than the established,—and say, whether they operate as extensively and benignantly upon the human heart, as he who makes life itself the language in which he sets forth the aims and ends of life; who not only uses a picture-alphabet, that the untutored and the truant may be allured to learn, but imparts thereto a hieroglyphic character, from which the most versed in human life may evolve continually a deeper and yet deeper lore. Let our moral philosophers (usefully employed though they be in arranging and digesting the science, and enlightened in modifying, from time to time, the manifestations of its eternal principles,)—let our moral philosophers declare whether they ex. pect their digests and expositions to be eagerly listened to by the hundred thousand families, collected, after their daily avocations, under the spell of the northern enchanter; whether they would look for thumbed copies of their writings in workshops and counting-houses, in the saloons of palaces, and under many a pillow in boarding schools. Our universities may purify morals, and extend their influence as far as they can; their importance in this case runs a chance of being overlooked; for Scott is the president of a college where nations may be numbered for individuals. Our clergy may be and do all that an established clergy can be and do; yet they will not effect so much as the mighty lay preacher who has gone out on the highways of the world, with cheerfulness in his mien and benignity on his brow; unconscious, perhaps, of the dignity of his office, but as much more powerful in comparison with a stalled priesthood as the troubadour of old,—firing hearts wherever he went with the love of glory,—than the vowed monk. Our dissenting preachers may obtain a hold on the hearts of their people, and employ it to good purpose; but they cannot send their voices east and west to wake up the echoes of the world. Let all these classes unite in a missionary scheme, and encompass the globe, and still Scott will teach morals more effectually than them all. They will not find audiences at every turn who will take to heart all they say, and bear it in mind for ever; and if they attempt it now, they will find that Scott has been before them everywhere. He has preached truth, simplicity, benevolence, and retribution in the spicy bowers of Ceylon, and in the verandahs of Indian bungalowes, and in the perfumed dwellings of Persia, and among groups of settlers at the Cape, and amidst the pinewoods and savannahs of the Western world, and in the vineyards of the Peninsula, and among the ruins of Rome, and the recesses of the Alps, and the hamlets of France, and the cities of Germany, and the palaces of Russian despots, and the homes of Polish patriots. And all this in addition to what has been done in his native kingdom, where he has exalted the tastes, ameliorated the tempers, enriched the associations, and exercised the intellects of millions. This is already done in the short space of eighteen years; a mere span in comparison with the time that it is to be hoped our language and literature will last. We may assume the influence of Scott, as we have described it, to be just beginning its course of a thousand years; and now, what class of moral teachers, (except politicians, who are not too ready to regard themselves in this light,) will venture to bring their influence into comparison with that of this great lay preacher ?

If they do so, it will be on the ground, not of disputing the extent of his influence, but its moral effect; which, therefore, we proceed to investigate; beginning with his lesser, and going on to consider his greater achievements.

His grateful countrymen, of all ranks, acknowledge that he has benefited Scotland, as much morally as in respect of her worldly prosperity. Not only has he carried civilization into the retreats of the mountains-and made the harmonious voices of society float over those lakes where the human war-cry once alternated with the scream of the eagle; not only has he introduced decency and comfort among the wilder classes of his countrymen, a full half century before they could have been anticipated, and led many thousands more into communion with nature, who would not, but for him, have dreamed of such an intercourse ; not only has he quickened industry and created wealth, and cherished intelligence within the borders of his native land; he has also exercised a direct moral influence over the minds of those on whom Scotland's welfare largely depends; softening their prejudices, widening their social views, animating their love of country while drawing them into closer sympathy with men of other countries. It may be said,—it is said,— that his country is not sensible of his having done all this; that she cannot be sensible of it, since she suffered his latter days to be overclouded by sorrows which she could have removed, and his mighty heart and brain to be crushed by a weight of care and toil of which she could have relieved him. The fact is undeniable; and it is on record forever, with a thousand similar facts, from which it is to be hoped that men will in time have philosophy enough to draw an inference, and establish a conclusion in morals to which Walter Scott has failed to lead them, even by the mute eloquence of his own sufferings. They may in time perceive that the benefactor of a nation should be the cherished of a nation, before he has become insensible of their affection; and that it is a small thing to make splendid the narrow home of him who was allowed to perish unsheltered in the storm. It is not enough to abstain from the insult which aggravated the sufferings of Lear;—to be innocent of inflicting his woes. It is not enough for the subjects of this intellectual being to have honoured him equally when his train was shortened, and to have uncovered their heads as he passed, in respectful compassion for his reverses: they ought to have felt that in having been made their king, he had become their charge; and that whencesoever adversity arose, it was their duty to avert it from his honoured head. It is folly to talk of the evil of a precedent in such a case. The line of intellectual sovereigns is not so long as to make the maintenance of their prerogative a burdensome imposition; and we ask no loyalty to pretenders. As for the present case, bitterly as we feel the crudeness of the world's morality of gratitude, we are as far as was the illustrious departed from imputing blame to individuals,—to any thing but the system under which he suffered. He was too humble—too little consci. ous of his own services to apply to himself the emotions with which the lot of other social benefactors were regarded by him, and with which his own is too late regarded by us—the emotions of grief and shame that society has not yet learned to prize the advent of genius; that the celestial guest is still permitted to tread, solitary and unsheltered, the nigged highways of the world, however eagerly its deeds of power and beneficence may have been accepted. That the countrymen of Scott feel truly grateful to their benefactor, we doubt not. We implore them to strengthen this gratitude from a sanction into a principle of conduct; that, if it should please Heaven again to bless them with such a guest, they may duly cherish him while yet in the body, delay his departure till the latest moment, and be disturbed by no jarring mockeries of shame and remorse while chanting their requiem at his tomb.

To do his next work of beneficence, this great moralist stepped beyond the Border, and over continents and seas. He implanted or nourished pure tastes, not only in a thousand homes, but among the homeless in every land. How many indolent have been roused to thought and feeling, how many licentious have been charmed into the temporary love of purity, how many vacant minds have become occupied with objects of interest and affection, it would be impossible to estimate, unless we could converse with every Briton, from the Factory Terrace at Canton round the world to the shores of the Pacific, and with every foreigner on the Continent of Europe whose countenance lights up at the name of Scott. If one representative only of every class which have been thus benefited were to repair to his grave, the mourning train would be of a length that kings might envy. There would be the lisping child, weeping that there should be no more tales of the Sherwood Foresters and the Disinherited Knight; there would be the school-boy, with his heart full of the heroic deeds of Coeur de Lion in Palestine ; and the girl, glowing with the loyalty of Flora, and saddening over the griefs of Rebecca; and the artisan who foregoes his pipe and pot for the adventures of Jeanie Deans; and the clerk and apprentice, who refresh their better part from the toils of the counting-house amidst the wild scenery of Scotland ; and soldier and sailor relieved of the tedium of barracks and cabin by the interest of more stirring scenes presented to the mind's eye; and rambling youth chained to the fireside by the links of a pleasant fiction; and sober manhood made to grow young again; and sickness beguiled, and age cheered, and domestic jars forgotten, and domestic sympathies enhanced;—all who have thus had pure tastes gratified by the creations of his genius, should join the pilgrim train which will be passing in spirit by his grave for centuries to come. Of these, how many have turned from the voice of the preacher, have cast aside “ good books," have no ear for music, no taste for drawing, no knowledge of any domestic accomplishment which might keep them out of harm's way, but have found that they have a heart and mind which Scott could touch and awaken ! How many have thus to thank him, not only for the 6olace of their leisure, but for the ennobling of their toils !

Another great service rendered is one which could be administered only by means of fiction—a service respecting which it matters not to decide whether it was afforded designedly or unconsciously. We mean the introduction of the conception of nature, as existing and following out its own growth in an atmosphere of convention; a conception of very great importance to the many who, excluded from the regions of convention, are apt to lose their manhood in its contemplation. There is little use in assuring people of middling rank, that kings eat beef and mutton, and queens ride on horseback : they believe, but they do not realize. And this is the case, not only with the child who pictures a monarch with the crown on his head, on a throne, or with the maidservant who gazes with awe on the Lord Mayor's coach; but, to a much greater degree than is commonly supposed, with the father of the child, the master of the maid,—with him whose interests have to do with kings and courts> and who ought, therefore, to know what is passing there. It would be impossible to calculate how much patriotism has lain dormant, through the ignorance of the plain citizen of what is felt and thought in the higher regions of society, to which his voice of complaint or suggestion ought to reach, if he had but the courage to lift it up. The ignorance may be called voluntary : it may be truly said that every one ought to know that human hearts answer to one another as a reflection in water, whether this reflection be of a glow-worm on the brink, or of the loftiest resplendent star. This is true ; but it is not a truth easy in the use; and its use is all-important. The divine preaches it, as is his duty, to humble courtly pride, and to remind the lowly of their manhood: but the divine himself realizes the doctrine better while reading Kenilworth, or the Abbot, than while writing his sermon; and his hearers use this same sermon as a text, of which Nigel and Peveril are the exposition. Is this a slight service to have rendered?—to have, perhaps unconsciously, taught human equality, while professing to exhibit human inequality?—to have displayed, in its full proportion, the distance which separates man from man, and to have shewn that the very same interests are being transacted at one and the other end of the line ? Walter Scott was exactly the man to render this great service ; and how well he rendered it, he was little aware. A man, born of the people, and therefore knowing man, and at the same time a Tory antiquarian, and therefore knowing courts, he was the fit person to show the one to the other. At once a benevolent interpreter of the heart, and a worshipper of royalty, he might be trusted for doing honour to both parties; though not, we must allow, equal honour. We cannot award him the praise of perfect impartiality in his interpretations. We cannot but see a leaning towards regal weaknesses, and a toleration of courtly vices. We cannot but observe, that the same licentiousness which would have been rendered disgusting under equal temptation in humble life, is made large allowance for when diverting itself within palace walls. Retribution is allowed to befall; but the vices which this whip is permitted to scourge are still pleasant vices, instead of vulgar ones. This is not to be wondered at; and perhaps the purity of the writer’s own imagination may save us from lamenting it; for he viewed these things, though partially, yet too philosophically, to allow of any shadow of an imputation of countenancing, or alluring to vice, with whatever wit he may have depicted the intrigues of Buckingham, or whatever veil of tenderness he may have cast over the crimes of the unfortunate Mary. His desire was to view these things in the spirit of charity; and he was less aware than his readers of a humble rank, that he threw the gloss of romance over his courtly scenes of every character, and that, if he had drawn the vices of the lower classes, it would have been without any such advantage. Meanwhile, we owe him much for having laid open to us the affections of sovereigns,—the passions of courtiers, —the emotions of the hearts,—the guidance of the conduct,—the cares and amusements,—the business and the jests of courts. He has taught many of us how royalty may be reached and wrought upon; and has therein done more for the state than perhaps any novelist ever contemplated. That he did not complete his work by giving to courts accurate representations of the people, seems a pity; but it could not be helped, since there is much in the people of which Walter Scott knew nothing. If this fact is not yet recognised in courts, it soon will be; and to Walter Scott again it may be owing (as we shall hereafter show) that the true condition and character of the people will become better known in aristocratic regions than they are at present.

The fictions of Scott have done more towards exposing priestcraft and fanaticism than auy influence of our own time short of actual observation ; and this actual observation of what is before their eyes is not made by many who see the whole matter plainly enough in the characters and doings of Boniface, Eustace, and the monks in Ivanhoe,—of Balfour, Warden, and Bridgenorth. It is, we allow, no new thing to meet with exposures of spiritual domination ; but the question is, not of the newness, but of the extent of the service. These things are condemned in the abstract by books on morals; they are disclaimed from the pulpit, aud every Christian church demonstrates its odiousness by the example of every other; but these exposures do not effect half so much good as exemplification from the hand of a philosophical observer, And disinterested peace-maker. Men may go on for centuries bandying reproaches of priestcraft and superstition on the one hand, and irreligion on the other;—men may go on long pointing out to those who will not see, the examples of all which may be seen at every turn,—of priest, craft nourishing superstition, and superstition inducing irreligion; and less will be done by recrimination towards finding a remedy, than by the illustrations of a master-hand, choosing a bygone age for the chronology, orders long overthrown for the instruments, and institutions that have passed away, for the subjects of his satire. Many who take fire at any imputation against their own church, have become aware of its besetting sins by pictures of a former church, and will easily learn to make the application where it may be serviceable. Many who look too little to the spirit through the forms of religion, are duly disgusted with the foibles of the puritans; and, perceiving how much the vices of the cavaliers were owing to the opposite vices of the contrary party, acquire a wholesome horror of spiritual pride and asceticism in the abstract, and become clear-sighted to the existence of both, in quarters where they had not before been recognised. Sir Walter says, in one of his prefaces, u I am, I own, no great believer in the moral utility to be derived from fictitious compositions;'* but, in saying this, he either meant that sermons are not commonly found to produce so good an effect when intro-duced into a novel as when offered from the pulpit, or he was thinking at the moment of his own fictitious compositions, which, he, was singularly apt to imagine, could have little influence to any good purpose. If he had looked at his own writings as those of any other man, he would have thought, as others think, that his vivid pictures of the effects of a false religion are as powerful recommendations of that which is true, to those who will not read divinity, (and they are many,) as works of divinity to those who will not read Scott's novels, (and they are few.) When to such a picture as that of his Louis XI. is added such a commentary as is found in the preface, we have a fine exposition of an important point of morals, and a satire upon every species of profession which rests in forms.

“The cruelties, the perjuries, the suspicions of thiB prince, were rendered more detestable, rather than amended, by the gross and debasing superstition which he constantly practised. The devotion to the heavenly saints, of which he made such a parade, was upon the miserable principle of some petty deputy in office, who endeavours to hide or atone for the malversations of which he is conscious, by liberal gifts to those whose duty it is to observe his conduct, and endeavours to support a system of fraud, by an attempt to corrupt the incorruptible. In no other light can we regard his creating the Virgin Mary a countess, and colonel of his Guards, or the cunning that admitted to one or two peculiar forms of oath the force of a binding obligation, which he denied to all others; strictly preserving the secret, which mode of swearing he really accounted obligatory, as one of the most valuable of state mysteries. It was not the feast singular circumstance of this course of superstition, that bodily health and terrestrial felicity seemed to be his only objects. Making any mention of his sins when his bodily health was in question, was 6trictly prohibited ; and when, at his command, a priest recited a prayer to St. Eutropius, in which he recommended the king's 'welfare, both in body and soul, Louis caused the two last words to be omitted, saying, it was not prudent to importune the blessed saint by too many requests at once. Perhaps he thought, by being silent on hi3 crimes, he might suffer them to pass out of the recollection of the ce-lestrial patrons whose aid he invoked for the body.”

It may be said, that all this may be found in history. True; but how many have been impressed with this and all other instances, from the rise of popery to the decline of puritanism, in comparison with the numbers who have received, and will receive, a much stronger impression to the same effect from Scott's novels?

Another important moral service, which belongs almost exclusively to fiction, is that of satirizing eccentricities and follies, commonly thought too insignificant to be preached against, and gravely written about; but which exert an important influence on the happiness of human life. The oddities of women he has left almost untouched; but we have a brave assemblage of men who are safe from pulpit censure; (unless another Henry Warden should rise up to preach against the sixteen follies of a Roland Graeme under sixteen heads;) but who may be profited by seeing their own picture, or whose picture may prevent others becoming like them. Is it not wholesome to have a Malagrowther before us on whom to exhaust our impatience, instead of venting it on the real Malagrowthers of society? Shall we not have fewer and less extravagant Saddletrees, and Shaftons, and Halcroes, and Yellowleys, for these novels? and will not such bores be regarded with more good humour? Will not some excellent Jonathan Oldbuck now and then think of the Antiquary, and check his hobby?—and many a book-worm take a lesson from Dominie Sampson? Whether such a direct effect be, or be not produced, such exhibitions are as effectual as comedy ought to be on the stage, and mirthful raillery in real life, in enforcing some of the obligations, and improving the amenities of society. The rich variety of Scott's assemblage of oddities, and the exquisite mirth and good-humour with which they are shown off, are among the most remarkable particulars of his achievements. There is not only a strong cast of individuality (as there ought to be) about all his best characters; but his best characters are none of them representatives of a class. As soon as he attempted to make his personages such representatives, he failed. His ostensible heroes, his statesmen and leaders, his magistrates, his adventurers, his womankind, whether mistresses or maids, leave little impression of individuality; while his sovereigns, real heroes, and oddities, are inimitable. The reasons of this failure of success may be found under our next head. The result is, that Walter Scott is not only one of the most amiable, but one of the most effective satirists that eVer helped to sweep the path of life clear of the strewn follies under which many a thorn is hidden.

In ascending the scale of social services, for which gratitude is due to the illustrious departed, we next arrive at one which is so great that we cannot but mourn that it was not yet greater. There can be no need to enlarge upon the beauty and excellence of the spirit of kindliness which breathes through the whole of Scott's compositions; a spirit which not only shames the Malagrowthers of society, just spoken of, but charms the restless to repose, exhilarates the melancholy, rouses the apathetic, and establishes a good understanding among all who contemplate one another in these books. It is as impossible for any one to remain cynical, or moody, or desponding, over these books, as for an infant to look dismally in the face of a smiling nurse. As face answers to face, so does heart to heart; and as Walter Scott's overflowed with love and cheerfulness, the hearts of his readers catch its brimmings. If any are shut against him, they are not of his readers; and we envy them not. They may find elsewhere all imaginable proofs and illustrations of the goodliness of a kindly spirit; but w hy not add to these as perfect an exemplification as ever was offered? It may be very well to take' one abroad in the grey dawn, and tell him that the hills have a capacity of appearing green, the waters golden, and the clouds rose-coloured, and that larks sometimes sing soaring in the air, instead of crouching in a grassy nest; but why not let him remain to witness the effusion of light from behind the mountain, the burst of harmony from field and copse? Why not let him feel, as well as know, what a morn of sunshine is ? Why not let him view its effects from every accessible point, and pour out his joy in snatches of song responsive to those which he hears around him, as well as his thankfulness in a matin hymn ? If it be true, as no readers of Scott will deny, that it exhilarates the spirits, and animates the affections to follow the leadings of this great Enchanter, it is certain that he has achieved a great moral work of incitement and amelioration. The test of his merits here is, that his works are for the innocent and kindly-hearted to enjoy; and if any others enjoy them, it is by becoming innocent and kindly for the time, in like manner as it is for the waking flocks and choirs to welcome the sunrise: if the fox and the bat choose to remain abroad, the one must abstain from its prey, and the other hush its hootings.

This kindliness of spirit being of so bright a quality, makes us lament all the more, as we have said that it had not the other excellence of being universally diffused. We know how unreasonable it is to expect every thing from one man, and are far from saying or believing that Walter Scott looked otherwise than benignantly on ail classes and all individuals that came under his observation. What we lament is, that there were extensive classes of men, and they the most important to society, that were secluded from the light of his embellishing genius. His sunshine gilded whatever it fell upon, but it did not fall from a sufficient height to illuminate the nooks and vallies which he found and left curtained in mists. What is there of humble life in his narratives? What did he know of those who live and move in that region? Nothing. There is not a character from humble life in all his library of volumes; nor had he any conception that character is to be found there. By humble life we do not mean Edie Ochiltree's lot of privileged mendicity, nor Dirk Ilatteraick’s smuggling adventures, nor the Saxon slriVery of Gurth, nor the feudal adherence of Dougal, and Caleb Bal-derstone, and Adam Woodcock, nor the privileged dependence of Caxon and Fairservice. None of these had anything to do with humble life; each and all formed part of the aristocratic system in which Walter Scott's affections were bound up. Jeanie Deans herself, besides being no original conception of Sir Walter's, derives none of her character or interest from her station in life, any farther than as it was the occasion of the peculiarity of her pilgrimage. We never think of Jeanie as poor, or low in station. Her simplicity is that which might pertain to a secluded young woman of any rank; and it is difficult to bear in mind—it is like an extraneous circumstance, that her sister was at service, the only attempt made throughout at realizing the social position of the parties. We do not mention this as any drawback upon the performance, but merely as saving the only apparent exception to our remarks, that Sir Walter rendered no service to humble life in the way of delineating its society. Faithful butlers and barbers, tricky ladies' maids, eccentric falconers and gamekeepers, are not those among whom we should look for the strength of character, the sternness of pas. sion, the practical heroism, the inexhaustible patience, the unassuming self-denial, the unconscious beneficence—in a word, the true-heartednes* which is to be found in its perfection in humble life. Of all this Walter Scott knew nothing. While discriminating, with the nicest acumen, the shades of character, the modifications of passion, among those whom he did understand, he was wholly unaware that he bounded himself within a small circle, beyond which lay a larger, and a larger; that which he represented being found in each, in a more distinct outline, in more vivid colouring, and in striking and various combinations, with other characteristics of humanity which had never presented themselves to him. He knew not that the strength of soul, which he represents as growing up in his heroes amidst the struggles of the crusade, is of the same kind with that which is nourished in our neighbours of the next alley, by conflicts of a less romantic, but not less heroic cast. He knew not that the passion of ambition, which he has made to contend with love so fearfully in Leicester's bosom, is the same passion, similarly softened and aggravated, with that which consumes the high-spirited working man, chosen by his associates to represent and guide their interests, while his heart is torn by opposite appeals to his domestic affections. He knew not that, however reckless the vice of some of his courtly personages, greater recklessness is to be found in the presence of poverty; that the same poverty exposes love to further trials than he has described, and exercises it into greater refinement; and puts loyalty more severely to the test, and inspires a nobler intrepidity, and nourishes a deeper hatred, and a wilder superstition, and a more inveterate avarice, and a more disinterested generosity, and a more imperturbable fortitude, than even he has set before us. In short, he knew not that all passions, and all natural movements of society, that he has found in the higher, exist in the humbler ranks; and all magnified and deepened in proportion as reality prevails over convention, as there is less mixture of the adventitious with the true. The effect of this partial knowledge is not only the obliteration to himself and to his readers, as far as connected with him, of more than half the facts and interests of humanity, but that his benevolence was stinted in its play. We find no philanthropists among his characters; because he had not the means of forming the conception of philanthropy in its largest sense. He loved men, all men whom he knew; but that love was not based on knowledge as extensive as his observation was penetrating; and it did not therefore deserve the high tide of philanthropy. We have no sins of commission to charge him with, no breaches of charity, not a thought or expression which is tinged with bitterness against man, collectively individually; but we charge him with omission of which he was unconscious, and which he would, perhaps, scarcely have wished to repair, as it must have been done at the expense of his Toryism, to which the omission and unconsciousness were owing. How should a man be a philanthropist who knows not what freedom is ?—not the mere freedom from foreign domination, but the exemption from misrule at home, the liberty of watching over and renovating institutions, that the progression of man and of states may proceed together. Of this kind of freedom Sir Walter had no conception, and neither, therefore, are there any patriots in his dramatis persona. There ore abundance of soldiers to light up beacona and fly to arms at the first notice of invasion; many to drink the healths and fight the battles of their chiefs, to testify their fidelity to their persons, and peril life and liberty in their cause; plenty to vindicate the honour of England abroad, and to exult in her glory at home. But this is not patriotism, any more than kindliness is philanthropy. We have no long-sighted views respecting the permanent improvement of society,—no extensive regards to the interests of an entire nation; and therefore, no simple self-sacrifice, no stedfastness of devotion to country and people. The noble class of virtues, which go to make up patriotism, are not even touched upon by Scott. The sufferings of his heroes are represented to arise from wounded pride, and from the laceration of personal, or domestic, or feudal feelings and prepossessions; and in no single instance from sympathy with the race, or any large body of them. The courage^of his heroes is, in like manner, compounded of instincts and of conventional stimuli; and in no one case derived from principles of philanthropy, or of patriotism, which is one direction of philanthropy. Their fortitude, howsoever stedfast, when arising from self-devotion at all, arises only from that unreasoning acquiescence in established forms, which is as inferior to the self-sacrifice of philanthropy as the implicit obedience of a child is inferior to the concurrence of the reasoning man. None of Scott's personages act and suffer as members and servants of society. Each is for his own; whether it be his family, his chief, his king, or his country, in a warlike sense. The weal or woe of many, or of all, is the only consideration which does not occur to them—the only motive to enterprise and endurance, which is not so much as alluded to. There is no talk of freedom, as respects any thing but brute force,—no suspicion that one class is in a state of privilege, and another in a state of subjugation, and that these things ought not to be. Gurth, indeed, is relieved from Saxon bondage, and Adam Woodcock is as imperious and meddling as he pleases, and the ladies' maids have abundant liberty to play pranks; but this sort of freedom has nothing to do with the right of manhood, and with what ought to be, and will be, the right of womanhood— it is the privilege of slavery, won by encroachment, and preserved by favour. Gurth got rid of his collar, but in our days he would be called a slave; and Adam Woodcock and Mistress Lilias lived by the breath of their lady's nostrils, in the same manner as the courtiers of Cceur de Lion gained an unusual length of tether from their lord's knightly courtesy, and those of the second Charles from his careless clemency. There is no freedom in all this. Slave is written on the knightly crest of the master, and on the liveried garb of the servitor, as plainly as even on the branded shoulder of the negro. But it must be so, it is urged, when times, and scenes of slavery, are chosen as the groundwork of the fiction. We answer, Nay: the spirit of freedom may breathe through the delineation of slavery. However far back we may revert to the usages of the feudal system, there may be,—there must be, if they exist in the mind of the author,—aspirations after a state of society more worthy of humanity. In displaying all the pomp of chivalry, the heart ought to mourn the woes of inequality it inflicted, while the imagination revels in its splendours. But this could not be the case with Scott, who knew about as much of the real condition and character of the humbler classes of each age as of the Japanese; perhaps less, as he was a reader of Basil Hall. Beyond that which seemed to him the outermost circle, that of the domestics of the great, all was a blank; save a few vague outlines of beggar-women with seven small children, and other such groups that have by some chance found their way into works of fiction. His benignity, therefore, alloyed by no bitterness of disposition in himself, was so far restricted by the imperfection of his knowledge of life, as to prevent his conveying the conception of philanthropy in its largest sense. His services to freedom are of a negative, rather than a positive character ; rendered by showing how things work in a state of slavery, rather than how they Bhould work in a condition of rational freedom; and it follows, that his incitements to benevolence are also tendered unconsciously. Through an exhibition of the softening and brightening influence of benignity shed over the early movements of society, he indicates what must be the meridian splendour of philanthropy, penetrating everywhere, irradiating where it penetrates, and fertilizing, as well as embellishing whatever it shines upon.

Much has Walter Scott also done, and done it also unconsciously, for woman. . Neither Mary Wollstonecraft, nor Thompson of Cork, nor any other advocate of the rights of woman, has pleaded so eloquently to the thoughtful,—and the thoughtful alone will entertain the subject,—as Walter Scott, by his exhibition of what women are, and by two or three indications of what they might be. He has been found fault with for the poverty of character of the women of his tales; a species of blame against which we have always protested. If he had made as long a list of oddities among his women as his men, he would have exposed himself to the reproach of quitting nature, and deserting classes for extravagant individualities; since there is much less scope for eccentricity among women, in the present state of society, than among men. But, it is alleged, he has made so few of his female characters representatives of a class. True; for the plain reason, that there are scarcely any classes to represent. We thank him for the forcible exhibition of this truth: we thank him for the very term womankind ; and can well bear its insulting use in the mouth of the scoffer, for the sake of the process it may set to work in the mind of the meditative and the just. There is no saying what the common use of the term canaille may in time be proved to have effected for the lower orders of men; or in what degree the process of female emancipation may be hastened by the slang use of the term womankind, by despots and by fools. It may lead some watchful ’intellects—some feeling hearts—to ponder the reasons of the fact, that the word mankind calls up associations of grandeur and variety,—that of womankind, ideas of littleness and sameness;—that the one brings after it conceptions of lofty destiny, heroic action, grave counsel, a busy office in society, a dignified repose from its cares, a stedfast pursuit of wisdom, an intrepid achievement of good;—while the other originates the very opposite conceptions,—vegetation instead of life, folly instead of counsel, frivolity instead of action, restlessness in the place of industry, apathy in that of repose, listless accomplishment of small aima, a passive reception of what others may please to impart; or, at the very best, a halting, intermitting pursuit of dimly, discerned objects. To some it may be suggested to inquire, Why this contrast should exist?— why one-half of the rational creation should be so very much less rational?—and, as a consequence, so much less good, and so much less happy than the other? If they are for a moment led by common custom to doubt whether, because they are less rational, they are less happy and less good, the slightest recurrence to Scott's novels is enough to satisfy them, that the common notion of the sufficiency of present female objects to female progression and happiness is unfounded. They will perhaps look abroad from Scott into all other works of fiction—into all faithful pictures of life—and see what women are; and they will finally perceive, that the fewer women there are found to plead the cause of their sex, the larger mixture of folly there is in their pleadings; the more extensive their own unconsciousness of their wrongs, the stronger is their case. The best argument for Negro Emancipation lies in the vices and subservience of slaves: the best argument for female emancipation lies in the folly and contentedness of women under the present system—in argument to which Walter Scott has done the fullest justice; for a set of more passionless, frivolous, uninteresting beings was never assembled at morning auction, or evening tea-table, than he has presented us with in bis novels. The few exceptions are made so by the strong workings of instinct, or of superstition, (the offspring of strong instinct and weak reason combined,) save in the two or three instances where the female mind had been exposed to manly discipline. Scott's female characters are easily arranged under these divisions:—Three-fourths are womankind merely: pretty, insignificant ladies, with their pert waiting maids. A few are viragoes, in whom instinct is strong, whose souls are to migrate hereafter into the she-eagle or bear,—Helen M'Gregor, Ulrica, Magdalen Greeme, and the Highland Mother. A few are superstitious,—Elspeth, Alice, Norna, Mother Nicneven. A few exhibit the same tendencies, modified by some one passion; as Lady Ashton, Lady Derby, and Lady Douglas. Mary and Elizabeth are womankind modified by royalty. There only remain Flora M‘Ivor, Die Vernon, Rebecca, and Jeanie Deans. For these four, and their glorious significance, womankind are as much obliged to Walter Scott, as for the insignificance of all the rest; not because they are what women might be, and therefore ought to be; but because they afford indications of this, and that these indications are owing to their having escaped from the management of man, and been trained by the discipline of circumstance. If common methods yield no such women as these; if such women occasionally come forth from the school of experience, what an argument is this against the common methods,—what a plea in favour of a change of system! Woman cannot be too grateful to him who has furnished it. Henceforth, when men fire at the name of Flora M'lvor, let woman say, “There will be more Floras when women feel that they have political power and duties." When men worship the image of Die Vernon, let them be reminded, that there will be other Die Vernons when women are impelled to self-reliance. When Jeanie is spoken of with tender esteem, let it be suggested, that strength of motive makes heroism of action; and that as long as motive is cenfined and weakened, the very activity which should accomplish high aims must degenerate Into puerile restlessness. When Rebecca is sighed for, as a lofty presence that has passed away, it should be' asked, how she should possibly remain or reappear in a society which alike denies the discipline by which her high powers and sensibilities might be matured, and the objects on which they might be worthily employed? As a woman, no less than as a Jewess, she is the representative of the wrongs of a degraded and despised class: there is no abiding-place for her among foes to her caste; she wanders unemployed (as regards her peculiar capabilities) through the world; and when she dies, there has been, not only a deep injury inflicted, but a waste made of the resources of human greatness and happiness. Yes, women may choose Rebecca as the representative of their capabilities: first despised, then wondered §at, and involuntarily admired; tempted, made use of, then persecuted, and finally banished—not by a formal decree, but by being refused honourable occupation, and a safe abiding place. Let women not only take her for their model, but make her speak for them to society, till they have obtained the educational discipline which beseems them; the rights, political and social, which are their due; and that equal regard with the other sex in the eye of man, which it requires the faith of Rebecca tor assure them they have in the eye of Heaven. Meantime, while still suffering under injustice, let them lay to heart, for strength and consolation, the beautiful commentary which Walter Scott has given on the lot of the representative of their wrong9. If duly treasured, it may prove by its effects, that our author has contributed, in more ways than one, to female emancipation; by supplying a principle of renovation to the enslaved, as well as by exposing their condition; by pointing out the ends for which freedom and power are desirable, as well as the disastrous effects of withholding them. He says,—

“The character of the fair Jewess found so much favour in the eyes of some fair readers, that the writer was censured, because, when arranging the fates of the characters of the drama, he had not assigned the hand of Wilfred to Rebecca, rather than the less interesting Rowena. But, not to mention that the prejudices of the age rendered such an union almost impossible, the author may, in passing, observe, that he thinks a character of a highly virtuous and lofty stamp, is degraded rather than exalted by an attempt to reward virtue with temporal prosperity. Such is not the recompense which Providence has deemed worthy of suffering merit; and it is a dangerous and fatal doctrine to teach young persons, the most common readers of romance, that rectitude of conduct and of principle are either naturally allied with, or adequately rewarded by, the gratification of our passions, or attainment of our wishes. In a word, if a virtuous and self-denied character is dismissed with temporal wealth, greatness, rank, or the indulgence of such a rashly-formed or ill-assorted passion as that of Rebecca for Ivanhoe, the reader will be apt to say, Verily, virtue had its reward. But a glance on the great picture of life will show, that the duties of self-denial, and the sacrifice of passion to principle, are seldom thus remunerated ; and that the internal consciousness of their high-minded discharge of duty, produces on their own reflections a more adequate recompense, in the form of that peace which the world cannot give or take away."

These, then, are the moral services,—many and great,—which Scott has rendered, positively and negatively, consciously and unconsciously, to society. He has softened national prejudices; he has encouraged innocent tastes in every region of the world; he has imparted to certain influential classes the conviction that human nature works alike in all; he has exposed priestcraft and fanaticism; he has effectively satirized eccentricities, unamiablenesses, and follies; he has Irresistibly recommended benignity in the survey of life, and indicated the glory of a higher kind of benevolence; and finally, he has advocated the rights of woman with a force all the greater for his being unaware of the import and tendency of what he was saying.—The one other achievement which we attribute to him, is also not the few magnificent for being overlooked by himself.

By achieving so much within narrow bounds, he has taught how more may be achieved in a wider space. He has taught us the power of fiction as an agent of morals and philosophy; "and it shall go hard with us but we will better the instruction.'' Every agent of these master spirits is wanted in an age like this; and he who has placed a new one at their service, is a benefactor of society. Scott might have written, as he declared he wrote, for the passing of his time, the improvement of his fortunes, and the amusement of his readers : he might have believed, as he declared he believed, that little moral utility arises out of works of fiction: we are not bound to estimate his works as lightly as he did, or to agree in his opinions of their influences. We rather learn from him how much may be impressed by exemplification which would be rejected in the form of reasoning, and how there may be more extensive embodiments of truth in fiction than the world was before thoroughly aware of. It matters not that the truth he exemplified was taken up at random, like that of all his predecessors in the walks of fiction. Others may systematise, having learned from him how extensively they may embody. There is a boundless field open before them; no less than the whole region of moral science, politics, political economy, social rights and duties. All these, and more, are as fit for the process of exemplification as the varieties of life and character illustrated by Scott. And not only has he left the great mass of material unwrought, but, with all his richness of variety, has made but scanty use of the best instruments of illustration. The grandest manifestations of passion remain to be displayed; the finest elements of the poetry of human emotion are yet uncombined; the mo3t various dramatic exhibition of events and characters is yet unwrought; for there has yet been no recorder of the poor; at least, none but those who write as mere observers; who describe, but do not dramatize humble life. The widest interests being thus still untouched, the richest materials unemployed, what may not prove the ul timate obligations of society to him who did so much, and pointed the way towards doing infinitely more; and whose vast achievements are, above all, valuable as indications of what remains to be achieved? That this, his strongest claim to gratitude, has not yet been fully recognised, is evident from the fact, that though he has had many imitators, there have been yet none to take suggestion from him; to employ his method of procedure upon new doctrine and other materials. There have been many found to construct fiction within his range of morals, character, incident, and scenery; but none to carry the process out of his range. We have yet to wait for the philosophical romance, for the novels which shall relate to other classes than the aristocracy ; we have yet to look for this legitimate offspring of the productions of Scott, though wearied with the intrusions of their spurious brethren.

The progression of the age requires something better than this imitation;—requires that the above-mentioned suggestion should be used. If an author of equal genius with Scott were to arise to-morrow, he would not meet with an equal reception; not only because novelty is worn off, but because the serious temper of the times requires a new direction of the genius of the age. Under the pressure of difficulty, in the prospect of extensive change, armed with expectation, or filled with determination as the general mind now is, it has not leisure or disposition to receive even its amusements unmixed with what is solid and has a bearing upon its engrossing interests. There may still be the thoughtless and indolent, to whom mere fiction is necessary as a time; but these are not they who can guarantee an author's influence, or secure his popularity. The bulk of the reading public, whether or not on the scent of utility, cannot be interested without a larger share of philosophy, or a graver purpose in fiction, than formerly; and the writer who would effect most for himself and others in this department must take his heroes and heroines from a different class than any which has yet been adequately represented. This difference of character implies, under the hands of a good artist, a difference of scenery and incident; for the incidents of a fiction are worth nothing unless they arise out of the characters ; and the scenery, both natural and moral, has no charm unless it be harmonious with both. Instead of tales of knightly love and glory, of chivalrous loyalty, of the ambition of ancient courts, and the bygone superstitions of a half-savage state, we. must have, in a new novelist, the graver themes—not the less picturesque, perhaps, for their reality—which the present condition of society suggests. We have had enough of ambitious intrigues; why not now take the magnificent subject, the birth of political principle, whose advent has been heralded so long? What can afford finer, moral scenery than the transition state in which society now is? Where are nobler heroes to be found than those who sustain society in the struggle; and what catastrophe so grand as the downfal of bad institutions, and the issues of a process of renovation ? Heroism may now be found, not cased in helm and cuirass, but strengthening itself in the cabinet of the statesman, guiding the movements of the unarmed multitude, and patiently bearing up against hardship, in the hope of its peaceful removal. Love may now be truly represented as sanctified by generosity and self-denial in many of the sad majority of cases where its course runs not smooth. All the virtues which have graced fictitious delineations, are still at the service of the novelist; but their exercise and discipline should be represented as different from what they were. The same passions still sway human hearts; but they must be shown to be intensified or repressed by the new impulses which a new state of things affords. Fiction must not be allowed to expire with Scott, or to retain only that languid existence which is manifest merely in imitations of his works : we must hope,—not, alas! for powers and copiousness like his,—but for an enlightened application of his means of achievement to new aims : the higher quality of which may in some measure compensate for the inferiority of power and richness which it is only reasonable to anticipate.

It appears, then, from the inquiry we have pursued, that the services for which society has to be eternally grateful to Walter Scott are of three distinct kinds. He has vindicated the character of genius by the healthiness of his own. He has achieved marvels in the province of art, and stupendous benefits in that of morals. He has indicated, by his own achievements, the way to larger and higher achievements.*— What a lot for a man,—to be thus a threefold benefactor to his race ! to unite in himself the functions of moralist, constructor, and disco verer ! What a possession for society to have had ! and to retain for purposes of amelioration, incitement and guidance! He can never be lost to us, whatever rival or kindred spirit may be destined to arise, or whether he is to be the last of his class. If the latter supposition should prove true,—which, however, appears to us impossible,—he will stand a fadeless apparition on the structure of his own achievements, distanced, but not impaired by time: if the former, his spirit will migrate into hit successors, and communicate once more with us through them. In either case, we shall have him with us still.

But, it will be said, the services here attributed to Scott, were, for the most part, rendered unconsciously. True; and why should not the common methods of Providence have place here as in all other instances? Scott did voluntarily all that he could; and that he was destined to do yet more involuntarily, is so much the greater honour, instead of derogating from his merit. That some of this extra service was of a nature which he might have declined if offered a choice, is only an additional proof that the designs of men are over-ruled, and their weakness not only compensated for by divine direction, but made its instruments. Great things are done by spontaneous human action: yet greater things are done by every man without his concurrence or suspicion; all which tends, not to degrade the character of human effort, but to exemplify the purposes of Providence. Scott is no new instance of this, nor deserves less honour in proportion to his spontaneous efforts than the sages of Greece, or the historians of Rome, and the benefactors of every age, who have been destined to effect more as illustrators than even as teachers and recorders. He was happy and humbly complacent in his creative office: it is so much pure blessing that we can regard him with additional and higher complacency as a vindicator of genius, and an unconscious prophet of its future achievements.

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