Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER VIII.

THE ATHENAEUM, 1873—1875.

1873. IN the number for January 4th, 1873, it is Mr. Thoms. announced that " Mr. Thoms has resigned the Honorary Secretaryship of the Camden Society, an office which he has held for upwards of thirty-four years, during which the Society has issued about a hundred and ten volumes, illustrative of our political, ecclesiastical, and literary history. Mr. Alfred Kingston, of the Public Record Office, succeeds Mr. Thoms." The subject of the first review is "A Lady of the Last Century (Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu) illustrated in her Unpublished Letters. Collected and Arranged, with a Biographical Sketch and a Dr. Doran Chapter 'On Blue Stockings,' by Dr. Doran." Stockings.' The chapter on Blue Stockings " may be said to contain, within a few pages, the whole literature of the subject." "Dr. Doran points out Boswell's blunder in saying that the celebrated term occurred for the first time about 1781, for at that date—

'Benjamin Stillingfleet, the highly accomplished gentleman, philosopher, and barrack-master of Kensington, had been dead ten years, and he had left off wearing blue stockings at least fourteen years before he died.'

—The first mention by Mrs. Montagu of Stillingfleet and his stockings occurs in 1757."

Lord Lytton died on January 18th. On the day 1-ord Lytton. before his death he wrote a long letter of four pages to Mr. George Bentley, the publisher. He was born on the 25th of May, 1803. The Athenceutn, in its obituary notice on the 25th of January, states that "between his Oriental tale of Ismael,' published in 1820, by Hatchard, 'Ismael.' and his forthcoming three-volume novel of 'Kenelm Chillingly,' about to be issued from 'Kenelm the press by Blackwood, his labours as an c'i,"lng'y. author have, indeed, been enormous, varied, and for six and forty years together persistent and unrelaxing Material rewards,

of a remarkable kind, have fallen into his hands, moreover, unsought, though not unmerited, during the lapse of his laborious life. By authorship alone he accumulated an enormous fortune. For the right accorded to one enterprising publishing house, that of Messrs. Routledge, to issue his novels, for a period of Large sum fifteen years, he received no less a sum than hta novels!' 30,000/. sterling. Thirty-six years ago, on the accession of the reigning sovereign, he was selected by the then Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, as the representative man of letters,

for nomination to a baronetcy, simultaneously with the elevation to the same dignity of Herschel, as the representative man of science. Afterwards, in recompense partly of his literary achievements, but partly this time of his parliamentary services to the Conservative party, he was advanced, at the instance of the late Lord Raised to the Derby, to the Upper House, under the title of Baron Lytton of Knebworth." The following inscription is emblazoned round the banqueting hall of his old ancestral home of Knebworth :—

"This Old Read the Rede of this Old Roof Tree.

Roof 1 ree. Here be trust fast Opinion free.

Knightly Right Hand. Christian knee.

Worth in all Wit in some.

Laughter open. Slander dumb.

Hearth where rooted Friendships grow,

Safe as Altar even to Foe.

And the sparks that upwards go

When the hearth flame dies below,

If thy sap in them may be,

Fear no winter, Old Roof Tree.

On the 15th of December, 1883, 'The Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of Edward Bulwer, Lord Lytton,' by his son, is reviewed; and on the 7th of May, 1887, the 'Life of Rosina, Lady Lytton,' by Louisa Devey, is noticed.

Charles Charles Knight died on Sunday afternoon,

Knight. 0 J

March 9th, 1873. Had he lived to the following Saturday he would have been eighty-two. The

Athenceum in its notice of that day states: "His

London life began in 1824, when he was 'settled His London

as a publisher in a newly-built house in Pall Mall h e

East, the next house to the College of Physicians,'

hard by Trafalgar Square, where 'there was as

yet no Nelson's Column, no fountains in the

centre, to be ridiculed as dumb-waiters.' And

from that date till 1864, when he closed his

literary labours with the 'Passages of a Working

Life,' he worked zealously as publisher, editor,

journalist, and historian. Of the achievements

of those forty years there is no need to speak in

detail; information respecting them can be

gained from his Autobiography Charles

Knight was too much of a social reformer 1 to be a safe and prosperous man of business. In his eagerness to make ordinary people wiser, he let slip the opportunities of making himself rich. His blood was too warm, his heart too generous, for trade. Dangerously sanguine, he underrated the obstacles and overestimated the favourable influences affecting his commercial projects. Had this not been the case, he would never have entered on what is his greatest achievement and strongest title to gratitude, the publication of the Penny Cyclo- , Penny pcedia, on which he spent, for literature and cycloPaiiiaengravings, the large sum of 42,000/., and in

producing which he had to pay to the Excise no less a sum than 16,500/." In his transactions he was conscientious and honourable. He was a man of many friends. "As Charles Knight was one night retiring from the table of 'Our Club,' Douglas Jerrold described the man in two words, when, with a twinkling eye and tender voice, he

"Good

Knight." said ' Good Knight .'

The 'Life, Journals, and Letters of Henry Dean Alford. Alford, D.D., late Dean of Canterbury,' edited by his widow, is reviewed on the 26th of April. "Dean Alford's biography may fitly and well be called Memorials of a Good Man's Life. He

was thoroughly good He was a man who

toiled unceasingly, and his great laboriousness
probably stood in the way of brilliancy. There
is enough of genuine poetry in his early poems,
'The School of the Heart,' and others, to show
that, if he could have devoted himself to poetry,
and concentrated his powers on that art, he
might have risen to a considerable reputation."
In December, 1834, he became Vicar of Wymes-
wold, the value of the living being 110/.; and in
March, 1835, he married his cousin. In 1853
the Rev. Hampden Gurney, Rector of St.
Mary's, Marylebone, presented him to Quebec
Chapel, of the same parish; and in March,
1859, Lord Palmerston unexpectedly offered
him the deanery of Canterbury. At the end

« ZurückWeiter »