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he accepted. With a large and increasing family and a slender and precarious income, he could scarcely decline a high judicial station which promised ample means and literary leisure, although at the cost of expatriation, and, as the event proved, of the loss of health. On this occasion, he received the honour of knighthood. He had previously lost his first wife, and married, in 1798, a daughter of J. B. Allen, Esq., of Cressella, in Pembrokeshire, who, with several children, accompanied him on his voyage to the East.
'It is not very honourable to the discernment of the Government,' remarks the American writer above referred to, ' that they should have permitted the expatriation, for so many of the best years of his life, of one of the master spirits of the country, whose proper sphere of action was the centre of business at home; and it is much to be regretted that private considerations rendered it expedient for Sir James to consent to the proposal.' Want of discernment, in this instance, cannot, however, be fairly imputed to the Government. The constitutional indolence which unfortunately adhered to him, and which rendered his life a course of splendid but desultory efforts, with long intervals of comparative inaction, his deficiency in the habits of business and in the practical knowledge of his profession, together with his singular improvidence, would probably have debarred him from filling that sphere of usefulness at home to which his great talents would otherwise infallibly have raised him. While he remained in India, Sir James discharged his official duties with distinguished zeal, ability, and philanthropy; and it was while there, that the subject of Criminal Jurisprudence became more especially an object of his attention. By his high intellectual and moral qualities, he contributed to elevate the standard of civilization in that remote colony. He founded a literary society at Bombay, as Sir William Jones had done at Calcutta; but he did not engage with similar ardour in the study of the oriental languages, his acquaintance with which was very limited. After a residence in India of between seven and eight years, he found his health seriously impaired by the effects of the climate; and in 1811, he returned to England with his fortune not much improved, and with a liver complaint which adhered to him for the rest of his life, and ultimately shortened his days. He obtained a retiring pension from the East India Company, of 12001. a year; but habits of economy are not to be learned in India.
As soon as his shattered health would permit, Sir James was introduced into Parliament. In July 1813, he entered the House of Commons as representative for the county of Nairn. In 1818, the influence of the Duke of Devonshire secured his return for Knaresborough, for which borough he was re-elected at the subsequent elections of 1820, 1826, 1830, and 1831. On all questions of foreign policy and international law, on the alien bill, on the liberty of the press, on religious toleration, on slavery, on the settlement of Greece, on Parliamentary Reform, and more especially upon the reform of the Criminal Law, Sir James took a prominent part, and was always to be found on the side of freedom, justice, and humanity. On the questions connected with neutral rights, which grew out of the relations between Great Britain and the United States of America, he cooperated actively and ably with his friend Mr. Brougham in support of a liberal policy. After the close of the last American War, he took occasion, in one of his speeches in the House, to compliment the American Commissioners at Ghent, upon their 'astonishing su'periority' over their opponents; a circumstance which we find noticed with great complacency by our North American contemporary, who adds :—' In other speeches, and in his writings, he 'has often spoken in friendly and favourable terms of this coun"try. This candid,—perhaps partial disposition, in one whose "opinion was authority, coming into contrast, as it did, with the "meanness and illiberality of many of his contemporaries, had so 'much endeared the name of Sir James Mackintosh to our citi
* zens, that he was generally styled in the newspapers, whenever
* he was mentioned, the friend of America. A report which 'was spread soon after the entrance into power of the present mi'nistry, that he was coming out to reside amongst us as British 'Minister, was heard with much satisfaction; and there cannot 'be a doubt that his reception would have been of the most gra'tifying character.' We can scarcely suppose that there was any foundation for the report, as the station would have been ill suited to Sir James, and the state of his health would scarcely have admitted of his encountering, without imminent risk, the trials of a long voyage and a new climate.
After the death of Sir Samuel Romilly, the advocacy of the revision of the Penal Code devolved more especially upon Sir James. He was Chairman of a Committee in the House of Commons on the subject of the Criminal Law in 1819; and in pursuance of its report, he introduced six bills in the course of May 1820. Only three of these were, however, at the time, persisted in; and in the Commutation of Punishment bill, only four offences were suffered to be included in its provisions, out of the eleven for which it was proposed to commute the capital punishment; the other seven being expunged from the bill in the House of Lords. For some time, after the death of Tierney, Sir James was, we believe, regarded as a sort of chief of the Opposition party ; but, although a most important auxiliary, he was deficient in many of the requisites demanded by the post of a political leader and tactician. His character as a parliamentary speaker, is thus por
trayed in an article originally inserted in the New Monthly Magazine, and attributed to the pen of Mr. Lytton Bulwer.
'" Sir .1 nine's Mackintosh never spoke on a subject without displaying, not only all that was peculiarly necessary to that subject, but all that a full mind, long gathering and congesting, has to pour forth upon any subject. The language, without being antithetic, was artificial and ornate. The action and voice were vehement, but not passionate; the tone and conception of the argument, of too lofty and philosophic a strain for those to whom, generally speaking, it was directed. It was impossible not to feel that the person addressing you was a profound thinker, delivering a laboured composition. Sir James Mackintosh's character as a speaker, then, was of that sort acquired in a thin House, where those who have stayed from their dinner, have stayed for the purpose of hearing what is said, and can, therefore, deliver up their attention undistractedly to any knowledge and ability, even if somewhat prolixly put forth, which elucidates the subject of discussion. We doubt if all great speeches of a legislative kind would not require such an audience, if they never travelled beyond the walls within which they were spoken. The passion, the action, the movement of oratory which animates and transports a large assembly, can never lose their effect when passion, action, movement are in the orator's subject; when Philip is at the head of his Macedonians, or Catiline at the gates of Rome. The emotions of fear, revenge, horror, are emotions that all classes and descriptions of men, however lofty or low their intellect, may feel:—here, then, is the orator's proper field. But again; there are subjects, such as many, if not most, of those discussed in our House of Commons, the higher bearings of which are intelligible only to a certain order of understandings. The reasoning proper for these is not understood, and cannot therefore be sympathised with, by the mass. In order not to be insipid to the few, it is almost necessary to be dull to the many. If our Houses of legislature sat with closed doors, they would be the most improper assemblies for the discussion of legislative questions that we can possibly conceive. They would have completely the tone of their own clique. No one would dare or wish to soar above the common-places which find a ready echoing cheer: all would indulge in that vapid violence against persons, which the spirit of party is rarely wanting to applaud. But as it is, the man of superior mind, standing upon his own strength, knows and feels that he is not speaking to the lolling, lounging, indolently listening individuals stretched on the benches around him: he feels and knows that he is speaking to, and will obtain the sympathy of, all the great and enlightened spirits of .Europe; and this bears and buoys him up amidst any coldness, impatience, or indifference, in his immediate audience. When we perused the magnificent orations of Mr. Burke, which transported us in our cabinet, and were told that his rising was the dinner bell in the House of Commons; when we heard that some of Mr. Brougham's almost gigantic discourses were delivered amidst coughs and impatience . and when, returning from our travels., where we had heard of nothing but the genius and eloquence of Sir James Mackintosh, we encountered him ourselves in the House of Commons;—on all these occasions we were sensible, not that Mr. Burke's, Mr. Brougham's, Sir James Mackintosh's eloquence was less, but that it was addressed to another audience than that to which it was apparently delivered. Intended for the House of Commons only, the style would have been absurdly faulty: intended for the public, it was august and correct. There are two different modes of obtaining a parliamentary reputation: a man may rise in the country by what is said of him in the House of Commons, or he may rise in the House of Commons by what is thought and said of him in the country. Some debaters have the faculty, by varying their style and their subjects, of alternately addressing both those without and within their walls, with effect and success. Mr. Fox, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Canning were, and Lord Brougham is of this number. Mr. Burke and Sir James Mackintosh spoke to the reason and the imagination, rather than to the passions; and this, together with some faults of voice and manner, rendered these great orators (for great orators they were) more powerful in the printed reports, than in the actual delivery of their speeches. We ourselves heard Sir James Mackintosh's great, almost wonderful, speech upon Reform. We shall never forget the extensive range of ideas, the energetic grasp of thought, the sublime and soaring strain of legislative philosophy, with which he charmed and transported us; but it was not so with the House in general. His Scotch accent, his unceasing and laboured vehemence of voice and gesture, the refined and speculative elevation of his views, and the vast heaps of hoarded knowledge he somewhat prolixly produced, displeased the taste and wearied the attention of men who were far more anxious to be amused and excited, than to be instructed or convinced. We see him now! his bald and singularly formed head working to and fro, as if to collect, and then shake out his ideas; his arm violently vibrating, and his body thrown forward by sudden quirks and starts, which, ungraceful as they were, seemed rather premeditated than inspired. This is not the picture which Demosthenes would have drawn of a perfect orator; and it contains some defects that we wonder more care had not been applied to remedy."' * pp. 119—21.
* With this able critique, the reader may be pleased to compare the estimate furnished by the American Reviewer, who describes his own impressions. 'His eloquence was of a dignified, manly, and imposing character. His manner was not particularly graceful, and he had a slight Scotch accent; but his language was flowing, copious, energetic, and elegant, and, above all, carried with it to the minds of his hearers, the rich gifts of profound and original thought. The delightful combination of philosophy and taste was exhibited by Mackintosh in higher perfection than it had been by any parliamentary orator since the time of Burke; not excepting even Canning, who yet exemplified it in a very remarkable degree. The eloquence of Sir James was far more finished than that of Brougham; although the latter, from his superior activity and industry, possessed a greater share of political influence, and has finally made a much more brilliant fortune in the
Sir James was elected, in 11)22, Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow, and again in 1823. On the 1st of December, 1830, he was appointed one of the Commissioners for the affairs of India. If our recollection does not deceive us, he held, for a short time, another public office at an intermediate period, which he resigned in consequence of some political changes. Had the state of his health permitted, it is believed that he would have formed a member of the present Administration, or have been promoted to some important and lucrative post. In that case, his American friend remarks, ' after having been nailed for much 'of his life to the north wall of Opposition, and suffered a good 'deal from pecuniary embarrassments, he would have found the 'evening of his days gilded and cheered with the southern sun 'of power and fortune.' It is not the fact, however, as this Writer imagines, that he was unpensioned and neglected, with no other temporal reward for his labours, than 'a great but dowerless 'fame.' Our admiration of his splendid endowments must not blind us to the lesson which may be derived from the history of his career. The homely virtues of steady industry and prudence, 'the secrets of fortune,' would have enabled him to secure at least an honourable competency; and while we may respect him for despising wealth, we cannot but regret that his improvidence interfered with his comfort, as much as his desultory habits did with his usefulness. The evening of his life was overcast also, we understand, by trials of a domestic character. We rejoice to be assured by Dr. Gregory, in his Life of Hall, that latterly, if a sadder, Sir James became a wiser man in ' the mast essential 'respects;' and that having always been the friend of Virtue, he became, towards the close of his days, more than he had been, the disciple of Religion.
Sir James's health had been for some time rapidly declining; and we were painfully struck, on meeting him at the anniversary of the Anti-Slavery Society in 1831, with the unequivocal indications of premature age. The illness which immediately led to his death was, however, the effect of accident. About the beginning of March 1832, while at dinner, a small particle of bone in a portion of the breast of a boiled chicken, which he was attempting to swallow, stuck in his throat; and it was not till after two days that the obstruction was removed by an emetic.
'The effects of the accident completely unsettled his general health. lie afterwards laboured under increasing debility and occasional attacks of severe pains in his head, shoulders, and limbs. A few days before death, the pains suddenly ceased. Febrile symptoms set in, and the head became affected. Although this change was met, and in a
world.' For a spirited and, upon the whole, correct portrait of Sir James, as a writer, a speaker, and a converscr, we may refer also to a clever volume, "The .Spirit of the Age." (8vo. 1825.)