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and truly national writer ; but, in fact, in BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES

every fresh tale he writes, he seizes and OF CELEBRATED MEN. *

exhibits some new phase of our national In presenting to our readers this third character—witness his delineations of page of autographs, the question, what Trotty Veck, the Brothers Cheeryble, have these men done for the people little Dot, the amiable Brownlow, Oliver

Sam Weller, Pęcksniff, Peerybingle, and have they perforined aught that tends to the public good? may well be asked : that Twist, the simple Workhouse-boy, Mrs. they have, each in his own sphere, sought Nickleby, and the detestable Squeers, to diffuse the light that was within them is

the Yorkshire Schoolmaster. In Mr. sufficiently evidenced by their being here: Dickens' genius we recognise the flow of any further reference to this general cha

an ever-enlarging humanity; and while racteristic is, therefore, needless now;

he takes hold of the ludicrous points of a and we proceed to speak of the several character, he never fails to show us that, worthies sereatim: and first of

however good or bad it may be, it is never CHARLES DICKENS.—What matters it wholly excellent, or entirely detestable. to tell where this gentleman was born, In this he discovers his great habit of oband when, for is he not nationally a citi- servation and knowledge of life ; and the zen of the world? May the page of his

thanks of many a worn and weary heart history be long unwritten! What mat

are due to him, for having lightened ters it to say, that the author of Pickwick something of its load of care. Through was once a reporter on the “Morning the cordial medium of his own kind heart, Chronicle,” or that the first efforts of his he has created for us, in his works, a host pen, “The Sketches by Boz," appeared of friends, whom, though only on paper, in the pages of that paper ? for us it is

we are proud and happy to call our own. sufficient to know that his labours have For his noble championship of the weak tended greatly to the amelioration of so

and the oppressed, his prevailing love for cial abuses, and the extension of real,

his species, and his exposure of many warm, and heartfelt good among all great and manifold evils of our domestic classes. The character of Charles Dickens system, the thanks of all good and true is best displayed in his writings, for in

natures are strictly due. Mr. Dickens, it them we discover his genial humour, his is needless to say, is the author of many large-hearted benevolence, and his sound justly popular works,-works which wili, moral excellence. In the works of no

there is little doubt, carry his name down other author is there so great an amount

to a late posterity, as the expositor of the of genuine fun and good-natured satire, manners and habits of the English people and, at the same time, such a perfect free of the nineteenth century. He is married, dom from anything approaching narrow

and has a family of five children. He is a views or old-fashioned prejudices. His well-known patron of poor literary men, exuberant wit and kindly nature, his

and is ever ready to give his aid in all intimate knowledge of life, and happy works of charity and benevolence. It is manner of expression, his art of drawing

a great thing to say, and we may say it out the real character of his-heroes, by conscientiously, that Charles Dickens has apparently the simplest and most natural never published a sentence, the morality means, his sympathy with the forlorn and

of which is questionable, or put the authodestitute, and the positive interest of his rity of his name to a word of which he tales, have made him the most popular might be ashamed. living author in Great Britain ; and not

JOHN BRIGHT, the well-known memhere only, but in America, Germany, and

ber for Manchester, is of the extreme libeFrance, where his admirable novels, in ral side in politics; and has rendered his spite of their strictly local character and

name celebrated, by the noble stand he incidents, are fully known and appreciated.

made on the question of the repeal of the Had Dickens written nothing more than Corn Laws, and the firm tone he has the Pickwick Papers, they alone would adopted in the matter of the Game Laws, have stamped him as the most original disgrace to the onward spirit of the age.

which he, and many others, consider as a * See Autographs.

On all subjects of a liberal tendency, Mr.

BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES OF CELEBRATED MEN.

153

Bright has ever proved himself a true Mr. Serjeant Talfourd, as member for friend to the people, and a firm promoter Reading, represented the birth-place of of the public good.

his parents and himself. His father, who BAPTIST NOEL.—This gentleman, who was established there as a brewer, marrejoices in the title of honourable as well ried the daughter of a dissenting minister, as reverend, is the son of the late Sir Mr. Thomas Noon, who had officiated Gerard Noel, and brother of the present over an Independent congregation in Earl of Gainsborough. Educatad for the Reading for thirty-three years, and died church, Mr. Noel nevertheless inclined three days previous to the birth of his to the doctrines advocated by his mother, grandson, on the 26th of January, 1795. Lady Barham, with whom he passed his He passed two years at the Protestant youth and early manhood; and when, in Dissenters' Grammar School, at Mill Hill, 1830, Mr. Thomas Binney declared his which he quitted for the public grammar hostility to the establishment, avowing school at Reading, conducted by Dr. Valthat she ruined more souls than she py. While at this school, he was encousaved, a cordial letter from Mr. Noel, ex- raged to print a small volume of poems, pressing doubts as to the truth of his con- on various subjects. This volume exceeds clusions, produced much discussion, - in merit the usual first fruits of genius, many averring that the churchman was few of which equal it in force of thought, forgetful of the duty he owed to the Crown gracefulness of expression, or kindly and his oath of allegiance. The discus- feeling. sion was eventually closed by the publi- Quitting school, he came to London cation of a pamphlet by Mr. Binney, in with a letter of introduction to Lord, then which the whole question of Dissent and Mr. Brougham, who advised him to work Establishment was reviewed, under the his way to the bar by literary exertion. title of “Audi alterem partem,” (hear This prudent advice was strictly followed, both sides). Mr. Noel, as is well known, and the patron has lived to see his quonwithdrew from the communion of the dam pupil arrive at the height of his amChurch of England in 1849, after a mi- bition. In 1833 he was called to the nistration of twenty years; and in a book degree of Serjeant, and in 1849, he took entitled “ An Essay on the Union of Church his seat on the bench; but he seldom and State, by Baptist Wriothesley Noel, neglect ed the muse for any length of M.A.,” published his reasons for so de- time; and the noble tragedy of “ Ion," cided a step. Of his sincerity, there is not produced for Mr. Macready's benefit on the slightest doubt; and in the work the 26th of May, 1836, has stamped its alluded to, he discusses the whole question author as a most talented and successful in a most free and impartial spirit. Mr. dramatic writer. Noel has been constantly before the pub- SOUTHWOOD SMITH. Among thenames lic—always popular-always zealous and of the true friends of progress and the active, and always the centre of a circle people, that of Dr. Southwood Smith will

He has been a liberal sup. stand, if not foremost, at least in a high porter of various charitable institutions; and respectable position. Soon after his and when he withdrew from the church, settlement in London he was appointed it was with the respect, at least, of all physician to the Fever Hospital. Then classes and sects. Mr. Noel was publicly he assisted in the establishment of the baptized in the autumn of last year, and “Westminster Review," and in its pages has now a chapel of his own, which is advocated all healthful reforms, and parweekly filled with large and admiring con- ticularly pointed out the evils of intragregations.

mural interment and the overcrowding of THOMAS NOON TALFOURD.— This gen- cities. In 1833 he was appointed one tleman, now Mr. Justice, though better of the Central Board of the Factory Comknown as Serjeant Talfourd, has earned mission, and in 1840 he acted with Lord a brilliant reputation, both as an elo- Ashley on the Central Board of the Chilquent advocate and a graceful and drens' Employment Commission, which pleasing poet; and in Westminster Hall, was an enquiry into the employment of the House of Commons, and in the Repub- children and young persons in mines, and lic of Letters, he has achieved an almost collieries, and manufactories. The efforts equal fame.

of this commission resulted in the ex

of his own.

ere

clusion of all women and female children spite of the prejudices of political partizanfrom working in mines and collieries. In ship, was well received by the reviewers, 1837 he was busily engaged in effecting im- and the character of its author has come provements in the sanitary condition of at last to be cleared from the vile imputhe people, and in the report which fol- tations hitherto thrown upon it by his oplowed the labours of his coadjutors, he ponents. The trade which produced such describes the actual state of the working. men as Hans Sacho, George Fox, and classes in London so vividly, that people Gifford of the Quarterly, has reason to be were astonished that they lived in so foul a proud also of such a poet as Thomas place, and immediately set about the Cooper. work of improvement. In 1840 he advo- GEORGE THOMPSON, M.P., was born cated the complete drainage of towns, at Liverpool on the 18th of June 1804, and soon afterwards we find him in con- and accompanied his parents to London junction with Dickens, Thackray and he completed his second year. others, founding a Sanatorium, or home Notwithstanding his father's limited in sickness, for unmarried people. In fact, means, he managed to acquire a good in all schemes for improving the social knowledge of the languages and general condition of the people, Dr. Southwood literature; and when, in 1831, he was Smith is ever found an active and willing engaged to lecture for the London Antico-operator.

Slavery Society, and thus exhibited the THOMAS COOPER, the author of the and the public were alike instructed and

varied qualities of his mind, his friends “ Purgatory of Suicides,” is another of roused into exertion in that great cause. those self-made men who ever and anon

In 1834 he visited the United States; arise from among the people. Thomas and in 1841, having returned from InCooper was born at Leicester in the dia where he had resided for some time, midst of the most sordid poverty, his he was induced to join the agitation for widowed mother frequently wanting the the repeal of the Corn Laws.

His elowherewithal to purchase bread. At fifteen he was apprenticed to a shoemaker, well known to need repetition, suffice it,

quence and success in that cause are too but his active mind soon lifted him from

that with the respect of all parties, he his trade; he filled up his leisure moments in

was returned to Parliament at the last the acquisition of knowledge, and so made election, as member for the Tower Hamhis occupation honourable.

In this way lets, by one of the largest majorities ever he acquired a competent knowledge of the

known. languages; and acting under the advice

DR. ACHILLI.--We would feign forego the of friends, adopted the profession of school

relation of this gentleman's history, for of master, which he foilowed with much

all differences among men, those on recredit for upwards of eight years at ligious topics are the most severe and unGainsborough and Leicester. We next

relenting Dr. Achilli was

born at find him acting as sub-editor of the Viterbo, in Italy, in the year 1803, and *“ Stamford Mercury;" and then circum

assumed the Dominican habit at the early -stances obliging him to leave Stamford,

age
of sixteen;

and in the year 1821 was he comes to London to be fooled by pro

ordained a priest at Lucca, where he enmises of support in high quarters, and to joyed the friendship of the reigning Duke. literally live by his library, which was Returning to Viterbo, his talents and sold book by book to purchase food. eloquence soon attracted notice, and he Being offered a situation as reporter on

was appointed to the chair of Professor of the “ Leicestershire Mercury,” he visited that city, and attached himself to the li- Philosophy in the Lyceum of that city in beral movements then rife. In 1842 he carrying with him the love and goodwill

In 1833, he quitted Viterbo, was arrested for inciting the people at the of his countrymen, and was appointed Potteries against the Government; was

visitor of all the Convents of the Domitried, and suffered an imprisonment of two nicians, an office which he held till 1835. years and eleven weeks, during which About this time, however, his opinions period he wrote his great work—“ The Purgatory of Suicides.” This poem in the Roman doctrine of transubstantia

underwent an entire change; and viewing

66

reasons,

BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES OF CELEBRATED MEN.

155 tion with horror and disgust, he openly JAMES SHERIDAN KNOWLES.—This avowed himself a Protestant. He was eminent dramatic poet, of whom England speedily summoned to Rome, and appear- no less than Ireland may well be proud, ing before the Inquisition, he was con- was born in Anne-street, Cork, on the fined by their order. After using all the 12th of May, 1784. He is descended from arts of persuasion and threats to induce the Sheridans of celebrated memory, his him to revoke his heretical opinions, the immediate progenitor being the wellPope allowed him to leave Italy, and he known lexicographic editor of “Sheridan's came to this country in 1818. On the Pronouncing Dictionary." Mr. Knowles flight of Pio Nono, and the consequent was earlyinitiated into the mysteries of the religious liberty it occasioned, Dr. Achilli pen, his first drama, “ The Gipsy,” being returned to Rome. But his safety was not only written, but actually performed at no longer assured; he was again seized Waterford before he had attained his by the emissaries of the church. The twenty-third year. It was well received following was written by him during his by the press and the public, and in two imprisonment in October, 1849—it ex- years from its birth the tragedy of plains itself:

“ Caius Gracchus” was produced at Bel"I was quiet in my house, when on the fast. Then followed “ Virginius," by night of the 29th of July, I was arrested many considered as his chef-d'ouvre, in the name of the Prefect of the French which, after having attained considerable Police, and the next morning conducted popularity in the sister-isle, was proto the prison of the Inquisition. Thence duced on the metropolitan boards, where I was carried to the prison of the Castle it has since kept its stand as one of the of St. Angelo.

finest of our modern dramas. “ William “After some days it was intimated to Tell,” “ The Hunchback,” “The Wife,” me that I was under the jurisdiction of The Beggar of Bethnal Green,” “ The the tribunal of the Inquisition for religious Love Chace,” “The Daughter,” “Woman's

Wit,” “ Love," &c., &c., appeared in rapid " I protest against the illegality of my succession, and sufficiently attested the arrest, because it is under a tribunal com- author's brilliant genius. The works of posed of Cardinals and the Pope, who are Sheridan Knowles are of the most unexat present not at Rome.

ceptionable character; they breathe the “I protest against the irregularity of sentiments of independence, love of the proceedings, because two months of country, liberty, and patriotism, inculstrict imprisonment have elapsed without cate the virtues of hope, charity, and my ever having been examined, nor has benevolence in eloquent and heart-stirring the true reason of my incarceration been verse; and he has his reward in the declared.

unfeigned respect and gratitude of every “I wish this protest may have full lover of the histrionic art. weight with every one, because I protest

SIR JOSHUA WALMESLEY is well against the injured rights of liberty in known as a consistent and thorough rematters of conscience and of religion. I former, bis late efforts on the subject of claim to be judged by a French tribunal, Parliamentary and Financial Reform since I have nothing to do with the Pon- entitling him to the admiration and retifical Government. 1. “Because I am no longer a priest of With Mr. S. Blair he shares the repre

pect of politicans of all creeds and parties. the Roman Church. 2. Because I am sentation of the Borough of Bolton in the domiciled in England, having come into Imperial Parliament, and as well by his Rome as a foreigner, with the English public character as his private virtues, has passport.

3. Because during the time earned for himself an enviable reputation, of my sojourn here, no one accuses me of

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, the late having transgressed the Roman laws. “ GIACINTO ACHILLI."

poet laureat, has been in every respect “From the Castle of St. Angelo,

a fortunate man, for he never tasted the Oct. 1, 1849."

ills of poverty, and yet lived to acThe subsequent liberation and return quire fame. Samuel Taylor Coleridge of the eloquent and gifted Dr. Achilli to thus speaks of his old friend and fellowEngland are well known.

student :

was the

as

“ In Wordsworth, we find, first, an WILLIAM CHARLES MACREADY.This austere 'purity of language, both gram- eminent tragedian was born in London matically and logically; in short, a per- on the 3rd of March, 1793;, his father fect appropriateness of the words to the

manager of a country theatre, and meaning. Secondly, a correspondent he early showed a talent rather for the weight and sanity of the sentiments, won pleasures of academic study than the honnot from books, but from the poet's own

ours of the histrionic art. meditations. They are fresh, and have ever, proved that his wishes were incapa

Events, howthe dew upon them. Even throughout ble of realization ; for just as he was about his smaller poems, there is not one which to proceed to Oxford, his father's affairs is not rendered valuable by some just and became embarrassed, and he was obliged original reflection.

Thirdly, the sinewy to turn to the stage for a livelihood: perstrength and originality of single lines

haps it was fortunate for him as it hap. and paragraphs; the frequent curiosa

pened. Determined to retrieve the fallen felicitas of his diction. Fourthly, the perfect truth of nature in its images and broken and disordered company, and made

fortunes of his father, he organized the descriptions, as taken immediately from his first appearance as Romeo, at the nature

, and proving a long and genial Birmingham Theatre, in June, 1810. His intimacy with the very spirit which gives history, since that day, has been the hisa physiognomic expression to all the works tory of a series of triumphs. His fame of nature. Fifthly, a meditative pathos, preceded him, and in 1816, he made his a union of deep and subtle thought with bow to a London audience at Covent sensibility; a sympathy, with man

Garden. It is needless, in our pages, to man; the sympathy indeed of a con

record the successive delineations of his templator rather than a fellow-sufferer famous character, or trace, year by year, and co-mate; but of a contemplation from his vever-waning popularity; suffice it, whose view no difference of rank conceals that he has been honoured by royaltythe sameness of the nature; no injuries of welcomed in almost every town in Great wind or weather, or toil, or even of ignor- Britain-enthusiastically received by the ance, wholly disguise the human face divine. Last and pre-eminently, I chal- | Americans, and has had even the fortune lenge for this poet the gift of imagination foreign to their own.

to enchain a French audience in language

Mr. Macready, the in the highest and strictest sense of the word. In the play of fancy, Wordsworth, honour and the fame of first enunciating

greatest of living actors, has had the to my feelings, is always graceful, and

the want and the capabilties of a thoroughsometimes recondite. The likeness is oc

ly national theatre. May he live many casionally too strange, or demands too

years to complete his grand design. peculiar a point of view, or is such as appears the creature of predetermined re- BENJAMIN DISRAELI,—Is the wellsearch rather than spontaneous presenta- known son of a well-known father, the tion. Indeed, his fancy seldom displays last the author of one of the most enteritself as mere and unmodified fancy. But taining books ever printed—“ The Curioin imaginative power he stands nearest of sities of Literature,” the first, the writer all modern writers to Shakspere and Mil- of some of the most attractive novels ton, and yet in a mind perfectly unbor- which the age has produced. As Memrowed and his owo. To employ his own ber for Buckinghamshire, Mr, Disraeli words, which are at once an instance and leads what is called the Protection Corps an illustration, he does indeed to all in the House of Commons, and in that thoughts and to all objects

capacity displays a tactand judgment wor“Add the gleam,

thy of a better cause. He is a slow but The light that never was on sea or land,

eloquent speaker, with no action, but with The consecration and the poet's dream."

William Wordsworth was born at Cock- an eye of fire--no graces of oratory, but ermouth, in Cumberland, and died at his a stinging satireno enthusiasm, but a house at Rydal Mount, among the lakes judgment clear and decided. Mr. Disraeli and hills he loved so well, on Tuesday the enchains and delights his audience. He 23rd of April 1850-having lived long

is a true friend to popular progress, notenough to enjoy fame.

withstanding his Conservative opinions.

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