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autres,' these were his words, “ vous mêlez la théologie arcc la philosophie, c'est gâter tout ; c'est mèler le mensonge avec la vérité. Il faut sabrer la theologie.' Speaking of Hume, he said, ' Je vous dirai un truit de lui, mais il vous sera un peu scandaleux peut-être, car vous Anglais, vous croyez un peu en Dieu; pour nous autres, nous n'y croyons guère. Hume dina avec une grande compagnie chez le Baron d'Holbach. Il était assis à côté du Baron ; on parla de lu religion naturelle :' ' pour les Athées, disait Hume, je ne crois pas qu'il y en existe. Je n'en ai jamais vu.' Vous avez été un peu melheureur, répondit l'autre—vous voici à table avec dix-sept pour la première fois.' "-Vol. i., p. 177.
About this time (1781) he became a very assiduous attendant on the houses of parliament, and began to imbibe those political sentiments which indeed were inevitable to a person of his feelings and character. At this time Lord North held the reins of power. Romilly's father was a zealous ministerialist-Mr. Spranger as ardent an adherent of the opposition. Romilly, with his natural love of truth and justice, endeavored to find a middle course, and discover what was good in each.
In 1783, at the age of twenty-six, he was called to the bar, and immediately began to attend the courts. His particular friend was a young barrister of the name of Baynes, and, with him, in 1783, he went over again to Paris; while there he saw Franklin, of whom he says:
Baynes had a letter of introduction to Dr. Franklin, who was then residing at Passy, and I had the great satisfaction of accompanying him on his visit. Dr. Franklin was indulgent enough to converse a good deal with us, whom he observed to be young men very desirous of improving by his conversation. Of all the celebrated persons whom in
life I have chanced to see, Dr. Franklin, both from his appearance and his conversation, seemed to me the most remarkable. His venerable, patriarchal appearance, the simplicity of his manner and language, and the novelty of his observations, at least the novelty of them at that time to me, impressed me with an opinion of him as one of the most extraordinary men that ever existed. The American constitutions were then very recently published. I remember his reading us some passages out of them, and expressing some surprise that the French government had permitted the publication of them in France."-Vol. i., p. 169.
He says, that, for several years after being admitted, he was employed to draw pleadings in chancery; but that he did not, during that time, open his mouth in court. He
subsequently renounced the circuits entirely for the practice of the court of chancery.
In 1784, he became acquainted with Mirabeau, and appears to have been, for a time, intimate with him. He translated, for the count, a pamphlet against our renowned order of the Cincinnati.
"Mirabeau's vanity," he says, “ was certainly excessive; but I have no doubt that, in his public conduct, as well as in his writings, he was desirous of doing good, that his ambition was of the noblest kind, and that he proposed to himself the noblest ends. He was, however, like many of his countrymen, who were active in the calamitous revolution which afterwards took place, not sufficiently scrupulous about the means by which those ends were to be accomplished. He indeed in some degree professed this; and more than once I have heard him say, that there were occasions upon which • la petite morale était ennemie de la grande' “ Notwithstanding all that has been said against him, I am well convinced that, both in his writings and in his speeches, he had what he sincerely conceived to be the good of mankind for his object.”— Vol. i., pp. 80 and 109.
In 1784, he published his first work, “ A fragment on the constitutional powers and duties of juries,” which was originally written for the constitutional society to which he, with Mackintosh and many other young men, at this time belonged.
We only refer to it here as bringing him into connexion with Lord Lansdowne, who conceived from it a very favorable opinion of him, and became, in consequence, desirous of his acquaintance. Lord Lansdowne, as well as his distinguished son, is of those who have best and most faithfully discharged the high stewardship of an English peer, by seeking out and bringing forward talent in the inferior ranks.
In 1785, Madan published his “ Thoughts on executive justice," of which he speaks as “ a small tract, which, by the mistaken application of the maxim, that the certainty of punishment is more efficacious than its severity, for the prevention of crimes, absurdly insisted on the expediency of rigidly enforcing, in every instance, our penal code, sanguinary and barbarous as it is”-adding that “ Lord Lansdowne, among others, was dazzled and imposed upon by this writer's reasoning, and even recommended me to write something on the same subject. This, of course, induced me to look into the book; but I was so much shocked at the folly and inhumanity of it, that, instead of enforcing the same arguments, I sat down to refute them.":
This resulation he soon after published anonymously, in in the form of, “ Observations on a late publication, entitled, • Thoughts on executive justice.'”
In 1788, he went over to Paris to watch the first light of the meteor revolution, of which he thus speaks :
“ I was amo
mong those who, in the early stages of the French revolution, entertained the most sanguine expectations of the happy effects which were to result from it, not to France alone, but to the rest of the world ; and I very early, I think some time about July, 1789, published a short pamphlet on the subject, under the title of, • Thoughts on the probable influence of the late revolution in France upon other countries,' or some such title.”—Vol. i.,
Not long after this, and in or about 1790, as we suppose, Lord Lansdowne wished to bring him into parliament, but he refused, simply on the ground that he would not come in as the nominee of any man, and was resolved, if ever he were a member, to be perfectly independent. In addition to this, he was influenced by the wise determination to remain at his profession, as the only certain means of avoiding a dependant position.
În 1789, the second fragment abruptly closes, and here we shall terminate our strictly chronological account of Sir Samuel's career.
The most important event of his private life was his marriage, which took place in 1798, to Miss Garbett. Of it he thus speaks:
“When I began to set down the few events of my unimportant history, I was living in great privacy, I was unmarried, and it seemed in a very high degree probable that I should always remain so. My life was wasting away with few very lively enjoyments, and without the prospect that my existence could ever have much influence on the happiness of others, or that I should leave behind me any trace, by which, twenty years after I was dead, it could be known that ever I had lived. But since that period, and within the last few
I have been in situations that were more conspicuous; and though it has never been my good fortune to render any important service, either to my fellow-creatures or to my country, yet, for a short period of time, at least, some degree of public attention has been fixed on me. It is, however, with no view to the
public that I am induced to preserve any memorial of my life; but wholly from private considerations. It is in my domestic life that the most important changes have taken place. For the last fifteen years, my happiness has been the constant study of the most excelient of wives; a woman in whom a strong understanding, the noblest and most elevated sentiments, and the most courageous virtue, are united to the warmest affection, and to the utmost delicacy of mind and tenderness of heart; and all these intellectual perfections are graced and adorned by the most splendid beauty that human eyes ever beheld. She bas borne to me seven children, who are living; and in all of whom I persuade myself that I discover the promise of their one day proving themselves not unworthy such a mother."— Vol. i., p. 40.
Bowood was closely associated with the event which secured to him domestic happiness; in speaking of it, towards the close of his life, he relates the circumstances which led to the connexion, and takes occasion to record another tribute to the personal loveliness, exemplary virtue, and exalted worth of his almost idolized wife.
"We stayed there ten days. The amiable disposition of Lord and Lady Lansdowne always renders this place delightful to their guests. To me, besides the enjoyment of the present moment, there is always added, when I am at Bowood, a thousand pleasing recollections of past times — of the happy days I have spent — of the various society of distinguished persons I have enjoyed -- of the friendships I have formed here; and above all, that it was here that I first saw and became known to my dearest Anne. If I had not chanced to meet with her here, there is no probability that I ever should have seen her; for she had never been, nor was likely, unmarried, ever to have come, to London. To what accidental causes are the most important occurrences of our lives sometimes to be traced !
“Some miles from Bowood, is the form of a white horse, grotesquely cut out upon the downs, and forming a landmark to a wide extent of country. To that object it is that I owe all the real happiness of my life. In the year 1796, I made a visit to Bowood. My dear Anne, who had been staying there some weeks with her father and sisters, was about to leave it. The day fixed for their departure was the eve of that on which I arrived ; and, if nothing had occurred to disappoint their purpose, I should never have seen her. But it happened, that, on the preceding day, she was one of an equestrian party which was made to visit this curious object; she overheated herself by her ride ; a violent cold and pain in the face was the consequence. Her father found it indispensably necessary to defer his journey for several days, and in the meantime I arrived. I saw in her the most beautiful and accomplished creature that ever blessed the sight and understanding of man. A most intelligent mind, an uncommonly correct judgment, a lively imagination, a cheerful disposition, a noble and generous way of thinking, an elevation and heroism of character, and a warmth and tenderness of affection such as is rarely found even in her sex, were among her extraordinary endowments. I was captivated alike by the beauties of her person and the charms of her mind. A mutual attachment was formed between us, which, at the end of little more than a year, was consecrated by marriage. All the happiness I have known in her beloved society, all the many and exquisite enjoyments which my dear children have afforded me, even my extraordinary success in my profession, the labors of which, if my life had not been so cheered and exhilarated, I never could have undergone—all are to be traced to this trivial cause.” – Vol. iii., p. 314.
He speaks repeatedly, as we have just noticed, of his wife being the cause of his success, and whether this was strictly true or not, certain it is, that all his triumphs came after his union to this amiable woman. From this period he seems to have had “greatest care of future times.'
From this time, indeed, till his death, he was constantly before the public in one way or another, in the various capacities of a lawyer, of a reformer of the law, and of a member of parliament. Perhaps we shall best make his character understood, by stating, as briefly as the subject will admit, what he attempted and what he achieved in each of these capacities; and first—as a member of parliament.
He was in the house of coinmons twelve years, from 1806 till 1818, and with the exception of the short period of the Grenville administration, a constant and consistent adherent of the opposition.
In 1806, upon being appointed solicitor-general, he was brought in by the ministers for Greenboro', then under the control of the ordnance.
He had already been offered a seat by Lord Lansdowne, as we have already stated, and the same proposition was again made in 1912, by the prince regent. The latter application came through Creevy, one of the prince's familiars, in a letter, which, together with the answer, is given at full length in the volume, but which we have not space to extract.
George IV., with all his faults, did not want ability, and especially that of estimating able men. His early associates were among the most remarkable persons in the country. He appreciated Romilly, and desired to attach him to his