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who died at ages so different, an entire superiority must, on the other hand, be assigned to Burke—the more especially as his speeches belong rather to written than to spoken eloquence. As a great political philosopher again we mean a statesman and politician in the largest and best sense, and not a metaphysician and sophister of public things, such as we could name if it were worth while the palm over all moderns, except the mighty Florentine secretary, must be assigned to Burke. But here again, in favour of one whose legislative career on a sufficient theatre was so short and yet ennobled by such admirable speeches one of which, in particular (that on the Sub-Treasury) need shun the comparison of ability with none of Burke's—large allowances must be made for inferior age or occasion or audience. The various papers of Legaré on the Democratic politics of Greece are of a merit at least approaching to that of the productions which constitute Burke's superiority —his several discourses on the French Revolution. Now, these were written under all the advantages of a present event the most agitating and appalling, by a man above 60; and those by one full 20 years younger.
In the cast of their genius, of their public virtues, and even, in no small degree of their opinions, they were much alike. Originally, the American's tendency was to the investing philosophic thought and what may be called intellectual passion in a diction ornate and imaginative, like Burke's. In his progress of practice and thought, however, he turned this gorgeousness of a strong imagination to its legitimate and merely occasional office; and arrived at a manner more vigorous, by dint of being simpler and purer. His style grew to be for use that of Fox, for richness—where richness could be permitted--that of Burke. In a word, he became of a true vehemence, a Demosthenian severity and fire; while Burke, rarely addressing tumultuary audiences, never shook off his almost unvarying Ciceronian pomp. Let us, however, return to our narrative, perhaps already interrupted too much.
For what cause he was now, somewhere in his eleventh year, translated from the school of so able a master to another, we do not learn. Probably enough it was out of a special personal admiration for the gentleman (Mr. Mitchell King, afterwards an eminent lawyer and not long since, under circumstances signally honorable, Recorder and Judge of the City Court of Charleston*) then at the head of the latter—the High School as it really was, of Charleston. It has since risen into what it was originally, in 1785, incorporated to be, the local college of that very cultivated city; and through fortunes suffering long under what may be called the competition of its state, with its abundantly endowed institution at Columbia, now flourishes, under not a numerous but a highly efficient Faculty and the presidency of one who conciliates for it a deserved esteem.
* The remarkable trait of beneficence here alluded to cannot be more authenti. cally given than in the subjoined statement of the Charleston Courier. We ourselves had, in another form, spoken of the fact upon distant and inexact information, as follows.
Under Mr. King's care, every way enlightened and affectionate, young Legaré remained between 12 and 18 months, that is, until he had completed his 13th year. From the lessons of one not destined to teach until his own knowledge had congealed into that of the mere pedagogue, but of a better, freer, more general scholarship, fit to be, as it presently became in Mr. K. the instrument of high active pursuits, his pupil cannot have failed to derive if not a large addition to his positive knowledge, yet much as to the taste, spirit and aims that were to give it life. Certain it is that they formed for each other a regard which continued faithfully through life and of which the tokens are before us in a long and intimate interchange of letters. Nor, indeed, were their relations as master and pupil to cease, when they terminated in the academic form: for when Legaré exchanged, a few years later, the studies of a college for those of a profession, it was in Mr. King's office that he began to prepare himself for the bar.
"Mr. King, after a laborious life, distinguished as much by merit as by success, has crowned a long professional career by accepting, in a very singular manner, a high judicial appointment, of which the salary is appropriated to the support of the almost destitute family of his predecessor.”—American Review, No. 10. p. 417.
The Courier of Oct. 25. 1845, supplies a correcter and minuter acconnt of the circumstances :
“T'he tribute to Judge King is one richly merited by that erudite scholar, eminent lawyer and benevolent gentleman; but is somewhat inaccurate in detail. He is not still the incumbent of the judicial chair (as one would infer from the tense in which the reviewer speaks), which benevolence and public spirit alone induced him to occupy only for a season. When the late estimable Judge Axson, Recorder of the City and Judge of the City Court of Charleston, was providentially struck down by paralysis, in the prime of life and usefulness, Judge King, at great personal sacrifice and inconvenience, kindly accepted the office of Additional Recorder, and discharged the duties of the station gratuitously, in order that Judge Axson might continue in the full receipt of his salary; and, on the death of that lamented functionary, he consented to serve for a few months longer, receiving the salary only to bestow it on the family of the deceased—and then, voluntarily vacated the office to resume his suspended professional engagements and literary pursuits.”
Merely as an author, and quite apart from the personal regard in which we have cause to hold this excellent gentleman, we rejoice lo be able to brighten our page with an act of such singular disinterestedness.
Meantime, offering a trait of character in him and of judgment in his mother, we must not pass unmentioned the only fact which we have heard of this part of his school life. As probably of junior pupils and a boy of one of the lower forms, he seems to have been under the immediate care of a harsh or injudicious usher, little observant of the boy's temper or perhaps of justice; who for some slight cause one day disgraced him in his own eyes by a blow. That evening, boiling with indignation at the unmerited dishonor which had never before been inflicted upon him, he returned to his mother, imploring her to remove him from the school ; protesting that he had been unjustly degraded, and that he could not, would not endure it. She, however moved by the strong sense of wrong and shame which showed itself in his violent emotion, was too steady and too wise to yield to his unexamined representations and perhaps thus teach that he was always to be sustained against his teachers. She calmed him, therefore, with the assurance that the matter should be looked into, and meanwhile privately saw the head master. He no sooner heard what had happened than he pronounced that the usher must have acted injudiciously at least ; that the boy was clearly one with whom every thing could be done without blows and whom a blow might ruin: 'twas too generous a spirit to be treated in that way. He suggested, therefore, to Mrs. L. to send her son back to school, with the healing assurance that Mr. King desired to take him under his own charge: which was accordingly done.
About the close of his 13th year, his mother, probably now consulting rather the physical benefits to his feeble frame to be derived from an upland school, than any expectation of a better teacher; or perhaps under the sound idea that he had now reached the age when the effeminacy of a home education should be broken-determi ed to send him to a distance. For this purpose she pitched upon a school, called the Willington Academy, then conducted with great reputation by the Rev. Dr. Moses Waddell. It was situated in the fine upland District of Abbeville, near the Savannah river, and therefore not far from the borders of Georgia; from which State, as well as upper Carolina, it drew many of its pupils : so that Dr. W. had His range
the good fortune to number among his disciples, at one time or another, many men not a little distinguished in after life.*
The school, we have said, and its master were then of great repute; and the fact that from it emerged many who figured in the public life of their region, seems to justify Dr. W.'s reputation. Yet, though he afterwards passed into Georgia, became the President of its college at Athens, and reigned, down to less than 20 years since, the Aristarch, the Parr, the Busby of a whole literary realm thereabouts, we are little able to say what were his merits as a scholar, or even as a teacher.
any thing like erudition was probably not large; but within it he was exact, methodical and rigid -a man to teach well, so far as he did it, by governing well; which is by-the-bye, the teacher's main qualification for the advancement of the mass of pupils.
This, however, as will have been easily divined, was not the sort of system of which Hugh Legaré had need or by which he could well be managed. A man of forms in the elevated pursuits which he had now learned ardently to love, a teacher who,
With the same cement ever sure to bind,
Would bring to one dead level every mind, suited not that fervor of knowledge which had now fired him and would have hurried him on at a pace quite beyond the methods of his new preceptor. In the spirit towards himself, he doubtless met for the first time, a discipline not the most genial. In a word, he and his teacher appear, from the first, to have understood each other sufficiently ill. The school itself and the manners of his co mates of the country seem soon to have grown most heartily distasteful to him; and he began, within but a few weeks, to supplicate his mother, in frequent and very earnest letters, to remove him elsewhere. She, however, bent on accomplishing what she had proposed to herself, had the constancy to resist all his appeals. Repelled thus, he seems to have grown exceedingly unhappy, especially when presently the the teacher, who liked him not, made him, in his suspicions an imaginary party, along with some of his lowland associates, to a meditated plot or rebellion. At this harshly expressed persuasion, he became as indignant as he had before been disgusted, and renewed in the most vehement terms to his mother his entreaties to be recalled.
The letters conveying these fresh supplications are written in the
* Among them, besides Legaré, may be mentioned George McDuffie, Judge William Harper, and James L. Petigru-all Carolinians.
most passionate strain of indignation and suffering: but in the midst of the extremest expression of emotions evidently the most violent, it is still delightful to see that nothing escapes him, even when he thinks his mother cruel in her persistance, that does not breathe the completest filial respect and devotion. Every where, the mother is apparent, in the correspondence, as one not less firm than tender—the son as proud, vehement, even stormy, when his inborn, but yet, un. formed feelings are once excited into full action ; but full, as to his parent, of a sentiment that says all the while, to the very tempest and surge of his passion, “Thus far shalt thou
go, and no farther!" It is in these letters, indeed, that first visibly opens to us the beautiful (and ah! the rare) spectacle of the unbroken, unceasing, entire affection of these two. In the one, it is the fond maternal instinct, heightened by the widow's, the sole protectress, and guardian's stronger necessity to direct with a father's command, as well as cherish with a woman's utmost tenderness, her boy, her darling, him the young image of her husband, the hope of her house, its future honour: in the other, it is that child repaying, by a feeling as deep and almost as unmixed, the ceaseless solicitude, the admirable nurture, of which he was the conscious object. In life, we can recal no equal instance of this sort of love—but one that approaches it. Perhaps those of Pope, Gray the poet, and Schiller, are the known examples likest itby all these, except in six touching lines of the verse of one of them,* kept sacred (as it was by Legaré) from the vulgar eye, and betrayed only in the confidence of the most intimate interchanges of thought, or in other records of what was passing in the breast. Of course, in the Legarés, main pleasure as it was in the existence of both, it often discloses itself in their mutual letters: and his, which alone we see,
• In these days, when Wordsworth's read and Shelley understood, when Bowles's sonnets "sell” (“stick to your sonnets, man! At least they sell;"-BYTon)—when Pollok has passed for sublime, and all the last sweepings-out of Parnassus seem to have been flung down upon us, a mere reference to Pope is not enough; and we must, in order to be sure to be understood, cite eight lines, six of which are those to which we allude, and perfectly appropriate here, as describing the pious care with which Legaré watched over the failing years of his mother:
"Ah friend! may each domestic bliss be thine !
And keep at least one parent from the sky !”