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From his first visit to India dates the renown of the English arms in the East. Till he appeared, his countrymen were despised as mere pedlars, while the French were revered as a people formed for victory and command. His courage and capacity dissolved the charm. With the defence of Arcot commences that long series of Oriental triumphs which closes the fall of Ghazni. Nor must we forget that he was only twenty-five years old when he approved himself ripe for military command. This is a rare if not a singular distinction. It is true that Alexander, Condé, and Charles the Twelfth won great battles at a still earlier age; but those princes were surrounded by veteran generals of distinguished skill, to whose suggestions must be attributed the victories of the Granicus, of Rocroi, and of Narva. Clive, an inexperienced youth, had yet more experience than any of those who served under him. He had to form himself, to form his officers, and to form his army. The only man, as far as we recollect, who at an equally early age ever gave equal proof of talents for war, was Napoleon Bonaparte.
From Clive's second visit to India dates the political ascendency of the English in that country. His dexterity and resolution realized, in the course of a few months, more than all the gorgeous visions which had floated before the imagination of Dupleix. Such an extent of cultivated territory, such an amount of revenue, such a multitude of subjects, was never added to the dominion of Rome by the most successful proconsul. Nor were such wealthy spoils ever borne under arches of triumph, down the Sacred Way, and through the crowded Forum, to the threshold of Tarpeian Je ve. The fame of those who subdued Antiochus and Tigranes grows dim when compared with the splendour of the exploits which the young English adventurer achieved at the head of an army not equal in numbers to one-half of a Roman legion.
From Clive's third visit to India dates the purity of the administration of our Eastern empire. When he landed at Calcutta in 1765, Bengal was regarded as a place to which Englishmen were sent only to get rich by any means, in the shortest possible time. He first made dauntless and unsparing war on that gigantic system of oppression, extortion, and corruption. In that war he manfully put to hazard his case. his fame, and his splendid fortune. The same sense
of justice which forbade us to conceal or extenuate the faults of his earlier days, compels us to admit that those faults were nobly repaired. If the reproach of the Company and of its servants has been taken away-if in India the yoke of foreign masters, elsewhere the heaviest of all yokes, ban been found lighter than that of any native dynasty,-if to that gang of public robbers which once spread terror through the whole plain of Bengal, has succeeded a body of functionaries not more highly distinguished by ability and diligence than by integrity, disinterestedness, and public spirit—if we now see men like Munro, Elphinstone, and Metcalfe, after leading victorious armies, after making and deposing kings, return, proud of their honourable poverty, from a land which once held out to every greedy factor the hope of boundless wealth-the praise is in no small measure due to Clive. His name stands high on the roll of conquerors. But it is found in a better list in the list of those who have done and suffered much for the happiness of mankind. To the warrior, history will assign a place in the same rank with Lucullus and Trajan. Nor will she deny to the reformer, a share of that veneration with which France cherishes the memory of Turgot, and with which the latest generation of Hindoos will contemplate the statue of Lord William Bentinck.
LIFE AND WRITINGS OF SIR WILLIAM
Mr. COURTENAY has long been well known to politicians as an industrious and useful official man, and as an upright and consistent member of Parliament. He has been ono of the most moderate, and, at the same time, one of the least pliant members of the Conservative party. His conduct has, on some questions, been so Whigish, that both those who applauded and those who condemned it, have questioned his claim to be considered as a Tory. But his Toryism, such as it is, he has held fast to through all changes of fortune and fashion; and he has at last retired from public life, leaving behind him, to the best of our belief, no personal enemy, and carrying with him the respect and good-will of many who strongly dişsent from his opinions.
This book, the fruit of Mr. Courtenay's leisure, is intro. duced by a preface, in which he informs us, that the assistance furnished to him from various quarters " has taught him the superiority of literature to politics for developing the kindlier feelings, and conducing to an agreeable life."
We are truly glad that Mr. Courtenay is so well satisfied with his new employment, and we heartily congratulate him on having been driven by events to make an exchange which, advantageous as it is, few people make while they can avoid it. He has little reason, in our opinion, to envy any of those who are still engaged in a pursuit, from which, at most, they can only expect that, by relinquishing liberal studies and social pleasures,-by passing nights without sleep, and summers without one glimpse of the beauty of nature,—they may attain that laborious, that invidious, that closely watched slavery which is mocked with the name of Power.
* Memoirs of the Life, Works, and Correspondence of Sir William Temple. By the Right IIon. T'HOMAS PEREGRINE COURTENAY. Fols. 8vo. London, 1836
The volumes before us are fairly entitled to the praise of diligence, care, good sense, and impartiality; and these qualities are sufficient to make a book valuable, but not quite sufficient to make it readable. Mr. Courtenay has not sufficiently studied the arts of selection and compression. The information with which he furnishes us must still, we apprehend, be considered as so much raw material. Το manufacture it will be highly useful, but it is not yet in such a form that it can be enjoyed by the idle consumer. To drop metaphor, we are afraid that this work will be less acceptable to those who read for the sake of reading, than to those who read in order to write.
We cannot help adding, though we are extremely unwilling to quarrel with Mr. Courtenay about politics, that the book would not be at all the worse if it contained fewer snarls against the Whigs of the present day. Not only are these passages out of place, but some of them are intrinsically such that they would become the editor of a third-rate party newspaper better than a gentleman of Mr. Courtenay's talents and knowledge. For example, we are told that "it is a remarkable circumstance, familiar to those who are acquainted with history, but suppressed by the new Whigs, that the liberal politicians of the seventeenth century and the greater part of the eighteenth, never extended their liberality to the native Irish or the professors of the ancient religion." What schoolboy of fourteen is ignorant of this remarkable circumstance? What Whig, new or old, was ever such an idiot as to think that it could be suppressed ? Really, we might as well say that it is a remarkable circumstance, familiar to people well read in history, but carefully suppressed by the clergy of the Established Church, that in the fifteenth century England was Catholic. We are tempted to make some remarks on another passage, which seems to be the peroration of a speech intended to be spoken against the Reform bill: but we forbear.
We doubt whether it will be found that the memory of Sir William Temple owes much to Mr. Courtenay's researches. Temple is one of those men whom the world has agreed to praise highly without knowing much about them, and who are therefore more likely to lose than to gain by a close examination. Yet he is not without fair pretensions to the most honourable place among the statesmen of his time.
A few of them cqualled or surpassed him in talents; but they were men of no good repute for honesty. A few may
be named whose patriotism was purer, nobler, and more disinterested than his; but they were men of no eminent ability. Morally, he was above Shaftesbury; intellectually, above Russell.
To say of a man that he occupied a high position in times of misgovernment, of corruption, of civil and religious faction, and that, nevertheless, he contracted no great stain, and bore no part in any crime ;-that he won the esteem of a profligate court and of a turbulent people, without being guilty of any great subserviency to either, -seems to be very high praise; and all this may with truth be said of Temple.
Yet Temple is not a man to our taste. A temper not naturally good, but under strict command,-& constant regard to decorum,-a rare caution in playing that mixed game of skill and hazard, human life,-a disposition to be content with small and certain winnings rather than go on doubling the stake,—these seem to us to be the most remarkable features of his character. This sort of moderation, when united, as in him it was, with very considerable abilities, is, under ordinary circumstances, scarcely to be distinguished from the highest and purest integrity; and yet may be perfectly compatible with laxity of principle, with coldness of heart, and with the most intense selfishness. Temple, we fear, had not sufficient warmth and elevation of sentiment to deserve the name of a virtuous man. He did not betray or oppress his country: nay, he rendered considerable ser. vice to her; but he risked nothing for her. No temptation which either the King or the Opposition could hold out ever induced him to come forward as the supporter either of arbitrary or of factious measures. But he was most careful not to give offence by strenuously opposing such mea
He never put himself prominently before the public eye, except at conjunctures when he was almost certain to gain, and could not possibly lose ;-at conjunctures when the interest of the state, the views of the court, and the passions of the multitude all appeared for an instant to coincide. By judiciously availing himself of several of theso rare moments, he succeeded in establishing a high character for wisdom and patriotism. When the favourable crisis was