« PreviousContinue »
at Malta, where the poor deaf lad suffered much from illness, and much from wounded affections-for shut out though he was from his fellows, he had yet had his affair of the heartthe quarrel was again resumed, and he received a reprimand from the Committee of the Mission in England, which was virtually a dismissal.
Dismissed from his situation, he returned to England with but forlorn prospects. There was, however, work for him to do, and an unexpected opening, which providentially occurred shortly after his arrival, served greatly to fit him for it. A missionary friend bound for central Persia engaged him to accompany him on the journey as tutor to his two boys: a charge for which his previous studies, pursued under the direst disadvantages, adequately fitted him; and, with his eyes all the more widely open from the circumstance that his ears were shut, he travelled through Russian Europe into Persia-saw the greater and lesser Ararats-passed through the Caucasian range of mountains-loitered amid the earlier seats of the human family-forded the Euphrates near its source-resided for about two years in Bagdadwitnessed the infliction of war, famine, and pestilence; and then, his task of tuition completed, journeyed homewards by Teheran, Tabreez, Trebizond, and Constantinople, to engage in his great work.
Never did literary man toil harder or more incessantly. His career as an author commenced in 1833, and terminated at the close of 1853; and during that period he produced twenty-one separate works, some of them of profound research and great size. Among these we may enumerate the "Pictorial Bible," the "Pictorial History of Palestine," the Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature," the "Lost Senses," Scripture Lands," and the "Daily Bible Illustrations.” And in order to produce this amazing amount of elaborate writing, Dr. Kitto used to rise, year after year, at four o'clock in the morning, and toil on till night. But the overwrought brain at length gave way, and in his fiftieth year he broke down and died. Could he have but retained the copyright of his several works, he would have been a wealthy
man; he would at least have left a competency to his family; but commencing without capital, and compelled by the inevitable expense of a growing family to labour for the booksellers, he was ever engaged in "providing," according to Johnson, "for the day that was passing over him," and died, in consequence, a poor man.
We know not a finer example than that which it furnishes of the "pursuit of knowledge under difficulties,” nor of a devout and honest man engrossingly engaged in an important work, in which he was at length to affect the thinking of his age, and to instruct and influence its leading minds.
[LOCH-NA-GARR is a lofty mountain in the south-west of Aberdeenshire, near which Byron spent the early part of his life, the recollection of which gave birth to these stanzas. The mountain has a dusky appearance owing to the huge boulders of greyish granite that cover its rugged sides, and the dark mists that frequently rest on its top. A small loch washes the base of the mountain.]
AWAY ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses!
Restore me the rocks where the snow-flake reposes,
For still they are sacred to freedom and love! Yet, Caledonia, beloved are thy mountains,
Round their white summits though elements war; Though cataracts foam, 'stead of smooth flowing fountains, I sigh for the valley of dark Loch-na-Garr.
Ah! there my young footsteps in infancy wandered:
As daily I strode through the pine-covered glade;
Gave place to the rays of the bright polar star; For fancy was cheered by traditional story,
Disclosed by the natives of dark Loch-na-Garr. "Shades of the dead! have I not heard your voices Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale?"
Surely the soul of the hero rejoices,
And rides on the wind o'er his own Highland vale.
They dwell in the tempests of dark Loch-na-Garr.
Victory crowned not your fall with applause;
You rest with your clan in the caves of Braemar; The pibroch resounds, to the piper's loud number,
Your deeds on the echoes of dark Loch-na-Garr.
Years have rolled on, Loch-na-Garr, since I left you,
Yet still are you dearer than Albion's plain.
To one who has roved on the mountains afar;
NAPOLEON AND WELLINGTON.
NAPOLEON and Wellington were not merely individual characters: they were the types of the powers which they respectively headed in the contest; Napoleon had brighter genius, Wellington superior judgment: the former combated with greater energy, the latter with more perseverance. Rapid in design, instant in execution, the strokes of the French hero fell like the burning thunderbolt; cautious in counsel, yet firm in action, the resources of the British champion multiplied, like the vigour of vegetation, after the withering stroke had fallen. No campaign of Wellington's equals in
energy and activity those of Napoleon in Italy and in France; none of Napoleon's approaches in foresight and wisdom that of Wellington at Torres Vedras. The vehemence of the French Emperor would have exhausted, in a single season, the whole resources which, during the war, were at the disposal of the English general; the caution of Wellington would have alienated in the very beginning the troops which overflowed with the passions of the Revolution. Ardour and onset were alike imposed on the former by his situation, and suggested by his disposition; foresight and perseverance were equally dictated to the latter by his necessities, and in unison with his character. The one wielded at pleasure the military resources of the half of Europe, and governed a nation heedless of consequences, covetous of glory, reckless of slaughter; the other led the forces of a people distrustful of its prowess, avaricious of its blood, niggardly in the outset of its expenditure, but, when once roused, invincible in its determination. And the result, both in the general war and final struggle, was in entire conformity with this distinction. Wellington retired in the outset before the fierce assault of the French legions, but he saw them, for the first time since the Revolution, permanently recoil in defeat from the rocks of Torres Vedras. He was at first repeatedly expelled from Spain, but at last he drove the invaders with disgrace across the Pyrenees. He was in the beginning assailed unawares, and well nigh overpowered in Flanders; but in the end he baffled all Napoleon's efforts, and, rising up with the strength of a giant, crushed at once his army and his empire on the field of Waterloo.
The personal and moral characters of the two chiefs were still more strikingly opposed, and emblematic of the sides they severally led. Both were distinguished by the unwearied perseverance, the steady purpose, the magnanimous soul, which are essential to glorious achievements; both were provident in council, and vigorous in execution; both possessed personal intrepidity in the highest degree; both were indefatigable in activity, and iron in constitution; both enjoyed the rarer qualities of moral courage and fearless
But, in other respects, their minds were as opposite as were the poles asunder. Napoleon was covetous of glory, Wellington was impressed with duty; Napoleon was reckless of slaughter, Wellington was sparing of blood; Napoleon was careless of his word, Wellington was inviolable in faith. Treaties were regarded by the former as binding only when expedient-alliances valid only when useful; obligations were regarded by the latter as obligatory, though ruinous-convention as sacred, even when disgraceful. Napoleon's wasting warfare converted allies into enemies; Wellington's protecting discipline changed enemies into friends. The former fell because all Europe rose up against his oppression; the latter triumphed because his principles were such that all Europe was at last glad to place itself under his guidance. There is not a proclamation of Napoleon to his soldiers in which glory is not mentioned, nor one in which duty is alluded to; there is not an order of Wellington to his troops in which duty is not inculcated, nor one in which glory is mentioned.
The intellectual characters of the heroes exhibited the same distinctive features as their military career and moral qualities. No man ever surpassed Napoleon in the clearness of his ideas, or the stretch of his glance into the depths of futurity; but he was often misled by the fervour of his conceptions, and mistook the dazzling brilliancy of genius for the steady light of truth. With less ardour of imagination, less originality of thought, less creative power, Wellington had more justness of judgment, and a far greater capability of discriminating error from truth. The young and the ardent who have life before them, will ever turn to the St. Helena memoirs for the views of a mind of the most profound and original cast on the most important subjects of human thought. The mature and the experienced who have known its vicissitudes, will rest with more confidence on the "Maxims and Opinions" of Wellington, and marvel at the numerous instances in which his instinctive sagacity and prophetic judgment had, in opposition to all around him, beheld the shadow of coming events, even amidst the