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deeply studied; as an orator, his speeches will always be models of their kind; and, as a man, there was something so graceful, so fascinating, so spirited in his bearing, that, even when we condemn his faults, we cannot avoid feeling affection for his memory, and a sympathetic admiration for his genius. —Sir Henry Bulwer's Historical Characters.
Of the subject of this memoir, as a character in history, Sir Henry Bulwer says, “Every day leaves us fewer of those who remember the clearly-chiselled countenance which the slouched hat only slightly concealed"; the lip, satirically curled, the penetrating eye, piercing the opposition benches, —of the old parliamentary leader in the House of Commons. It is but here and there that we find a survivor of the old day, to speak to us of the singularly mellifluous and sonorous voice, the classical language, now pointed into epigram, now elevated into poesy, now burning with passion, now rich with humour, which curbed into still attention a willing and long broken audience.”
STATUE OF MR. CANNING. This colossal bronze statue of our great “orator, wit, poet, and statesman,” well executed by the late Sir Richard Westmacott, at a cost of £7000, was erected in 1832, in the open space in New Palace Yard, opposite the new Houses of Parliament. The figure is to be admired for its simplicity, though, altogether, it has more stateliness than natural ease. The likeness is strikingly accurate, and bespeaks the intellectual grandeur of the orator.
The situation of the statue has been more judiciously chosen, being but a short distance from the senate, wherein Canning built up his earthly fame. Yet Judge Taunton, , coming out of Westminster Hall with Thesiger, found fault with the likeness; “Besides,” said he, “ Canning was not so tall.” “No, nor so green !" said Thesiger.
Still, rather than speculate upon Mr. Canning's political career, we quote Lord Byron's manly eulogium on the illustrious dead. “ Canning,” said Byron, in his energetic manner, “is a genius, almost an universal one--an orator, a wit, a poet, and a statesman.
“Yet somewhat may remain, perchance, to chime
And never, even in that house, could'st tame
MR. CANNING'S LIBRARY. The principal portion of this collection was disposed of in the year 1828, at Christie's Rooms, by order of Mr. Canning's executors. The attendance consisted principally of the celebrated statesman's admirers, who were naturally anxious to possess some memorial of him whom “they loved while living, and in death deplored.” The books themselves had constituted for some time his library in Downing Street, and deserved a higher character for elegance and ornament than for either curiosity or usefulness. There were a few works on international law and political economy, diplomacy, and philosophy; but the ancient classics and modern history constituted by far the best and largest portion. What chiefly prevented the assortment being select was the great number of presentation copies in which it abounded. Of late years it would appear that everybody who wrote a book, learned and unlearned, valuable or worthless, presented a copy in gilt leaves and morocco binding to the popular minister. They fetched on the whole extravagant prices, particularly the said presentation copies, or those which bore the owner's autograph. The original volume of the Anti-Jacobin, in one lot with a thin 4to. volume of Common Occurrence, viz., poems by Mr. Canning's father, usually sold for 2s. 6d., was purchased by Lord Durham at the extraordinary price of sixteen guineas and a half; a copy of the latter book was bought by the writer of this notice, in a sale at Sotheby's, excellently bound and perfect, for one shilling. A copy of the Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores, in four 4to. volumes, 1814, sold for twenty-three guineas and a half. This work was printed at the expense of the Duke of Buckingham, under the care of Mr. O'Connor, the librarian at Stowe; it was originally published at six guineas, and deemed by the trade at the time a heavy, unsaleable book; which occasioned so much chagrin to the noble duke that he withdrew it from sale, and the great mass of copies were deposited in the archives at Stowe :--one day they will probably be brought to market. The History of the College of Ashridge, the site on which the Earl of Bridgewater has built his fine mansion in Hertfordshire, privately printed, and distributed only to friends, sold for sixteen guineas. Few of the volumes contained any MS. notes by the premier himself; the Anti-Jacobin had merely the addition of his signature. Some sensation, however, was excited by the following stanza, inserted in Mr. Fox's Life of James II., which marks the tendency of Mr. Canning's mind towards liberal principles, by the admiration evinced towards the orator :
“A patriot's even course he steered,
By all who knew his heart beloved.” In a volume entitled The Confessions of an Old Bachelor, there was preserved a letter from the author to Mr. Canning, in which he acknowledged his willingness to accept a place, if it were procured for him by that gentleman. The opinion of the company at Christie's was that the whole book did not contain a more sincere confession than this.
There were several collegiate prizes among the collection, including the stereotype Livy of 1750, obtained as a premium by Mr. Canning's father at the University of Dublin. Dibdin's Bibliographical Tour, a copy presented by the author to the Right Hon. deceased, brought thirty-two guineas. Had this library been sold without the distinguished name of the late proprietor, £250 would have been the utmost obtained, whereas £700 were produced by it. On June 25th, 1828, the elegant articles of furniture, china, and ormolu of Mr. Canning, sold for £816 8s. 6d. Some very fine pictures were sold on June the 28th for many thousands, but the items are not reckoned up. The old wines of Mr. Canning obtained £1071 18s. 3d. In the catalogue were seven dozen of Johannisberg hock, of the prime vintage of 1819, which, as a proof of its genuineness, had the cachet inimitable, with the Metternich arms, stamped upon each bottle ; it was a present from Prince Metternich to Mr. Canning.
The sale of Mr. Canning's books, in the same year, at Brighton, fetched high prices, and many of them were objects of eager competition, not so much for their intrinsic value, as from the wish of the purchasers to obtain some relic of the late premier.
WIT AND HUMOUR.-CHARACTERISTICS.-OPINIONS
AND PERSONAL TRAITS.
Among the coincidences in Canning's political life, it may be mentioned that he was of the same age as his fellow-collegian, the Earl of Liverpool, and each became premier. The last of Mr. Canning's public acts was his signing a treaty for the settlement of the affairs of Greece; and one of the first poems he wrote, when a youth, was a Lament on the Slavery of Greece.
The Anti-Jacobin, started in 1797, under the editorship of Mr. Gifford, was commenced at the instigation and with the support of the old contributors to the Microcosm, and did more than any parliamentary eloquence could have done in favour of the Anti-Ja in cause.
“Must wit,” says Mr. Canning, who had then to contend against the most accomplished humourists of his day, “be found alone on falsehood's side ?" and having established himself as the champion of " truth," he brought, no doubt, very useful and very brilliant arms to her service.
" The Friend of Humanity and the Knife-Grinder," almost too trite to be quoted, and yet too excellent to be omitted, will long remain one of the happiest efforts of satire in our language.
Among Mr. Canning's playful rhymes will be remembered, in the Microcosm, Nos. 1, 11, and 12, those commencing :
“ Ye Queen of Hearts
She made some tarts," &c. The continuation, which is less known, apparently contains some political allusions :
“Ye Queen of Spades
Ye King so brave
Says to the Knave,
You make more work
Than Mister Burke
Does with ye Queen of France."
The following is a variation :
“Ye Queen of Spades
She beat ye maids
Ye Knave of Spades
He kissed those maids,
Ye King then curst
That Knave who durst
" 'Tis my decree
Was one day seen
Ye Diamond Knave
He blushed, and gave
Ye King, distrest
That his dearest
Says, 'By my wig
She's like ye pig
Made syllabubs ;
He snatched the cup
With hands and eyes
That marked surprise
Alas!' said he,
SONG, BY ROGERO, IN “THE ROVERU."
The dungeon that I am rotting in,
niversity of Gottingen,
niversity of Gottingen. (Weeps, and pulls out a blue kerchief, with which he wipes his eyes; gazing tenderly as he proceeds.)