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whole Academy was in commotion-Farington read aloud the Letter to the Dilettanti Society-information of personal irregularities was given by Messrs. Dance and Danielland Wilton, a sculptor, and at that period Keeper, imbodied the charges in compliance with the direction of the committee. They accused James Barry of making digressions in his lectures, in which he abused members of the Academy-the dead as well as the living; of teaching the students habits of insubordination, and countenancing them in licentious and disorderly behaviour; of charging the Academy with voting in pensions among themselves sixteen thousand pounds, which should have been laid out for the benefit of the students; and, finally, of having spoken unhandsomely of the President, Benjamin West.
With the haste of anger, the Academy proceeded to act upon these charges. The accused was allowed no copy of the indictment-was permitted to say nothing in explanation or defence-was formally degraded from his station of Professor-and expelled the Academy, nay, that nothing might be wanting to prove to the world the severities which public bodies can with impunity commit,--the sanction of the King had been obtained to all these proceedings-before it was communicated to Barry that his name was for ever removed from the roll of academicians. These measures, which will always be pronounced by far too precipitate, sounded, at the time, about as strangely in ears unaccustomed to the bickerings and animosities which prevail in most corporate bodies, as poor Barry's own wild extravagance, when he classed the academicians with thieves and house-breakers--and imagined his person and property the object of professional conspiracies.
His friends flattered themselves that he was now done with debates and would at length find leisure to finish those great works in which he had made
some progress. In order that he might be secured against want, and to repair the loss of the thirty pounds a year of which his brethren had so ungracefully, if not unjustly, deprived him, they proposed to gather such a sum by subscription as would purchase a decent annuity. It was at this time of distress that the late Earl of Buchan, among others, stood forward in Barry's behalf. This nobleman desired to be, thought public director in all matters of poetry and painting in Scotland. He spent his long life in speaking kind words, writing encouraging letters, and dispensing patronising looks to all who had visited the Vatican, or were found loitering about the nether regions of Parnassus. On this occasion he stirred himself more than was his wont, and astonished many by publicly subscribing ten pounds; he also interceded with the Society of Arts, and applied to many who thought favourably of Barry's talents. I wish he had done no more. He praised the set of proof engravings which Barry sent in a present to Dryburgh-fell in love with others which were in London-longed to possess an “ easel picture” as a memorial of friendship-condescended to name the picture he particularly affected, The Interview of Milton with Elwood the Quaker-and, finally, requested in addition a proof engraving from the Birth of Pandora. The painter, pleased with ali this condescension, sent a sketch of his Milton to the noble speculator in subscriptions; and the “easel picture” would have followed—but that hand was soon to be laid upon Barry which has recently fallen on his disinterested patron.
One thousand pounds in course of time were subscribed, and an annuity of corresponding value was purchased of Sir Robert Peel; but all this kindness came too late.
He was now in the sixty-fifth year of his age ; his health was generally good, and his frame, naturally strong, had been hardened with his ways of living, and promised to endure for many years. He had softened too the asperities of his manners, and, though the ecstasy of early thought was abated, many noble paintings were expected from his hand, now that at length his mind was eased by what he considered affluence, and he had no longer either committees or councils to disturb him. During the years which had passed since his expulsion from the Academy, he had been engaged on his great work on Theology ;-but a large piece now grew slowly under his hand and indeed he appears never to have possessed that dashing alacrity of composition which distinguished most of the great Italian mas. ters. He had been employed too, from time to time, upon his engravings; but upon the whole it may be said that, during these latter years of his life, he had mused much and wrought little. Nevertheless, high hopes were still entertained by his wellwishers.
No previous illness had given him warning when, on the evening of the sixth of February, 1806, he was seized, as he entered the house where he usually dined, with the cold fit of a pleuritic fever, of so intense a degree that all his powers were suspended, and he could neither speak nor move. Cordials were administered; he came a little to himself, and was conveyed in a coach to his own house; but some idle boys had plugged the keyhole with dirt and pebbles, and the door could not be opened. The night was dark and cold; he was shivering with disease, and a person who accompanied him carried him to the house of Mr. Bonomi. A bed was procured in the neighbourhood. Barry was laid down. He desired to be left alone, and bolted the door. So well were his orders obeyed, that he remained for forty hours without medical aid, and when it came it was too late. The disease had struck him mortally; a hot fit had succeeded the cold one, and he
complained of a burning pain in his side and of difficulty of breathing. Ill as he was, he left his bed on the afternoon of the eighth, and repaired, pale and tottering, to Dr. Fryer, to make his complaint. He had a pain in his side, a short and incessant cough, quick and feeble pulse. He related that his friend Bonomi had made arrangements for receiving him into his house, spoke with warm feeling of the kindness of Mrs. Bonomi, and said how happy he would be there compared to under his own roof, where he had neither a servant nor a comfortable bed. Dr. Fryer requested him to go to his friend's house immediately, as he was more fit for his bed than making visits.
He went accordingly to Mr. Bonomi's, and thenceforth Dr. Fryer and Dr. Combe attended him instantly; but all skill was in vain. As the disease gained head he was warned of his approaching dissolution, and he heard of it as a thing neither to be desired nor dreaded. He conversed occasionally with much cheerfulness, and, having lingered till the twenty-second of February, expired in tranquillity and peace in the sixty-fifth year of his age. The Royal Academy had never proclaimed peace between them and their former Professor, and they now allowed his dust to remain unhonoured. The Society of Arts permittted his body to be borne from the hall of the Adelphi, which his genius had adorned, and Sir Robert Peel, who by the painter's sudden death had made a profitable bargain in the matter of the annuity, generously gave two hundred pounds to pay for his funeral, and raise a tablet in St. Paul's to his memory.
This conduct of the Academy was, no doubt, conformable to etiquette; but Barry, though he had sinned against their rules, had done nothing to lower him in the general estimation of mankind. He might be in their eyes a degraded Academician
no one could call him a degraded artist; and the
remains, at least, of a man of genius had surely a claim to some concession at their hands. But a certain air of loftiness, it would seem, belongs to that body collectively, which its members never claim individually. The sway of Reynolds was resented so far, that numbers refused their concurrence to having his body laid out in state, as it is called, in their rooms, before interment. If their dignity required this severity in the case of one whose genius had in a great degree created and supported them, it required more in the case of him who had satirized and reproached them as men mean in spirit-whose mental vision was narrow, and who could only be credited on oath. They did accordingly what they could; they allowed Barry to be borne to his grave by hands that had never touched a pencil.
James Barry said seriously of himself, “I am a pock-pitted, hard-featured little fellow." He was in person under the middle size-the vicissitudes of fortune, frequent controversies, and bitter disappointments had impressed in early life the aspect of years upon his brow-his face was naturally grave and saturnine, which gave uncommon sweetness to his smile, and great fierceness to his anger. If we lament his unhappy temper, we cannot refuse praise to the fortitude which baffled all manner of discomfort: he resided, without a murmur, in a house the perfect image of desolation—the rent walls admitted the wind, the shattered roof let in the rain : and there, without a servant-without even a decent bed, the companion of poverty and solitude, he painted many noble works. When he commenced his far-famed Six Pictures, he was advised by one who loved him, to take a better house, wear better clothes, hire a steady servant, and set up a neat establishment. Barry answered, “The pride of honesty protests against such a rash specillation.” Many are the stories which have been told