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from the pen of Junius. Assuredly Leigh Hunt His articles
, on the Prince showed no weak shrinking when his hand laid Regent. on the lash, and it is in no way surprising that the Government were provoked into retaliation. It is said in compiled' biographies of Leigh Hunt that he was imprisoned for two years for calling the Regent 'an Adonis of fifty'; but the cause of offence was much more serious......
"His ephemeral notices of plays and players in the News (a journal which preceded the Examiner) were stamped with the fairness and freedom which marked his critical writings His critical throughout his life. But, independently of writings. the honesty of his nature, he possessed every requisite for superior criticism. He was a man of various reading, a good scholar, was catholic in taste, and widely sympathetic in feeling. The purely literary essays — the * Indicator' and its companion publications
—and the volumes Wit and Humour' and * Imagination and Fancy' are fine, almost faultless, specimens of genial criticism......He thought no toil too great in hunting out small facts that he might do his literary tasks with conscientious workmanship; a few pages of his antiquarian works (such as “The Town; or, the Old Court The Old Suburb') represented weeks of the most diligents drudgery in searches over parish registers and local records. As he advanced in life, from VOL. II.
youth to middle age, he was a living refutation of the worldly maxims which attribute generosity to youth, and harder virtues to maturity and old
age. In literature, as in daily life, as he grew His kindly older he became kindly and considerate to a
fault. When he had passed fifty, he no more could have written the philippic against the Regent than he could have fought a duel. The indignation against wrong-doing would be as warm, the courage to face a prison would be as high, but to the pith and moment' of the young journalist would be added the 'pale cast of thought' of the man who had known suffering both physical and mental, and who could not, without some compunction, deliver his 'swashing blow,' as in the days of youth. This tenderness and delicacy were no signs of intellectual decay; they were the evidence of growth in one who was no mere literary partisan, but a man, sharing human sympathies and not able to carry into discussion the intensity of hot youth seeing no right save on its own side. We think there is something like a poem in this twofold life of Leigh Hunt-known to one generation as the fearless martyr to truth, to the other as a tender poet, an essayist touching nothing that he did not brighten...... Up to the last he took an interest in the literature and news of the day, and within the last few weeks he contributed some remarks on Shelley to the Spectator. He was passionately fond of music. Almost his last words were in applause of an Italian song sung by his daughter in the next room, and at the final moment he passed away without pain."
It is announced on the 5th of November that "Mr. Thackeray is to bring out his magazine on The Cornhill New Year's Day. His plans are already laid Magazine. down. He is not going, he says, to set the Thames on fire or regenerate society-only to do his best to please and amuse the town. He proposes to seek an audience of gentlemen and gentlewomen for his sermon, and to take care that all the matter to which he shall lend the sanction of his name and popularity shall be such as one gentleman might write and another may read. So far so good. Such a publication should have a humour and a place of its own. We wish Mr. Thackeray every success.”
On the same day the first number of another new magazine is referred to :—“Mr. Macmillan's Macmillan's Magazine has anticipated the New Year, and Magazine. has made its appearance under the careful generalship of Prof. Masson. It is a good opening number. A review of political affairs, from the philosophical rather than the partisan point of sight, three chapters of ‘Tom Brown at Oxford,' 'Pen, Ink, and Paper,' by Prof. George
Wilson, and Mr. Lushington's ‘Italian Freedom, are magazine articles high above the average in thought and style.”
The first article on the 19th of November is
devoted to a review of Charles Darwin's new Darwin's “On work “On the Origin of Species by Means of Species.'
Natural Selection; or, the Preservation of
-all that flies, and walks, and creeps, and wades—has been independently created ; and the majority of naturalists have agreed with Linnæus in supposing that all the individuals propagated from one stock have certain distinguishing characters in common, which will never vary, and which have remained the same since the creation of each species. Mr. Darwin, on the contrary, believes that the innumerable species, genera, and families of organic beings with which this world is peopled, have all descended, each within its own class or group, from common parents, and have all been modified in the course of descent. To his mind, 'it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the
birth and death of an individual.'......'I believe, says Mr. Darwin, that animals have descended from at most only four or five progenitors, and plants from an equal or lesser number. Analogy would lead us one step further-namely, to the belief that all animals and plants have descended from some one prototype.'......
“A man of imaginative power might most attractively depict the grand yet simple and direct issues of such a theory. Here are a vast variety of forms of life, most wonderfully coadapted, most closely connected, most richly adorned, yet they are all “the lineal descendants of those which lived before the Silurian epoch ; and one may feel certain that the ordinary succession by generation has never once been broken, and that no cataclysm has desolated the whole world. Hence, we may look with some confidence to a secure future of equally inappreciable length. And as Natural Selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection.'......After all, this book is but an abstract :-it is the pilot balloon to a greater machine. Probably it is designed to show which way the wind blows. The larger work is nearly finished, but it will demand two or three more years for completion. Health, labour, and observations are wanting