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and eagerly of all that bore upon her son,
now in better train for reading than I was at the joy, even more than the pride of her heart. Have first, so that I think, on an average, I may say ing saved him from the early peril that threatened eight days will suffice for each history." He was him, and saved him, as she fondly believed, in a
aware that this proceeding was hasty and supergreat measure by her loving care, he seemed twice ficial, and he looked forward to completing his her own ; and that he was saved for great things, to knowledge by further study of larger and more do true and permanent service to mankind, was also elaborate works, such books as Sismondi's “Hisan article of that proud mother's creed, little dreaming how short a time was to be allowed even for toire des Français," and by reading in biographisowing the seeds of usefulness. ... When I said cal dictionaries the lives of all the notabilities of above that Mrs. Buckle spoke freely of her own ex
the period he was studying, for he made it a rule perience, I should add that her conversation was the to go through a period in many books, instead of very reverse of gossip. It was a psychological rather going through many periods in one book. One than a biographical experience that she detailed. I can not say that his method of study was exactly rarely remember any names being introduced, and uncritical; he found out the first day that Dr. never unless associated with good.
Lardner quite deserved his reputation for inac
curacy, but he took no precaution against having It is natural to compare Buckle's training, or to unlearn more important errors than a wrong want of training, with Rousseau's, and perhaps name or date. A professional scholar does not the reason it turned out so differently was, that it feel that a fact is the foundation of an opinion till was conducted by a Calvinist mother instead of he is sure that he has reached the right point of by a libertine father, and that the physical condi- view. In all but very exceptional cases this tions were healthier. Rousseau when a child method leads to more questions than answers, habitually turned night into day; it was an event and constructive effort has to restrict itself inwhen Buckle sat up to write to Sir Robert Peel. creasingly to monographs, and the largest specuEntering life at eighteen his own master, with lation generally turns upon the application and powers that had never been taxed, with an im- extension of one or two conceptions, such as the agination ceaselessly stimulated, it is no wonder primitive family or the survival of the fittest. that he was enormously ambitious. He set to · Now Buckle, like Bacon, thought that it was work at once to gratify his ambition. He trav- possible to pick out facts from the best seceled for more than a year on the Continent with ond-hand authorities, like Hallam, or even from his mother and an unmarried sister, studying the authorities which were not the best, like the manners of different countries, and taking les- “ History of Helvetia," in two volumes, which he sons in the languages from masters, who taught picked up for eighteenpence in a book-stall, and him to talk them fuently, but could never break then to tabulate the facts picked out, and graduhim of his British accent; the grammar he found ally sift them into a system. he could master more quickly and thoroughly Wherever he could he used translations, beby himself. At the same time he began a cause he could go through them faster, but, as course of omnivorous reading, and his wonder- many works were not translated, he learned nineful memory very soon made him seem a prodigy teen languages, seven of which he could write of information, especially as, like Dr. Johnson, and speak serviceably (he introduced himself to he had the talent of tearing the heart out of a Hallam by interpreting for him in Germany). At book.
first he still found time for travel, and formed The way he began his studies with a plan of æsthetic preferences; he thought, till he saw the “ History of Civilization” in his mind is ex- Egypt and Petra, that he preferred beauty of ceedingly characteristic. He began the “ Histo- form to beauty of color. He had a marked disry of the Middle Ages " in Lardner's “ Cabinet like to being bullied or cheated, which reminds Cyclopædia," finishing thirteen pages in two us of Schopenhauer. At Naples, for instance, hours, during which he referred to Hallam and the boatmen threatened to leave him in a cave at Hawkins's little work on Germany for verification Capri unless he would pay more than he had barof dates. “This brings me from the invasion of gained for. He gave them his purse, but took Clovis in 496 to the murder of Sigebert by Frede- care to stay and have them punished. At Dresgonde in 575. I have at the same time made den a chess-player gave out that Buckle was not copious abstracts of the times referred to." This good enough for him to play with; he placarded is from the first entry in his diary, October 15. a challenge to play the braggart for five hundred 1843. Ten days later we read : “The sketch, thalers, with the result that he did not venture to then, of the history of France during the middle show his face till Buckle left. Again, when he ages has occupied me just ten days, but then on had bought a new carpet from a man who had one of those days I did not read at all (on ac- promised him discount for cash, and then asked count of a thick fog). And, besides that, I am for the whole sum, Buckle quietly returned the
unpaid bill to his pocket, and told him to call for powers of explanation. Pages of our great prose payment that day two years.
writers," says Miss Shirreff, “ were impressed on his At first chess was his favorite recreation, and memory. He could quote passage after passage with by the time he was thirty he had some right to the same ease as others quote poetry; while of poeconsider himself the champion player of the day, try itself he was wont to say, 'It stamps itself on the though with his customary independence he never
brain.' Truly did it seem that, without effort on his studied printed games or openings, and had no part, all that was grandest in English poetry had chessboard at home which was not too small for become, so to speak, a part of his mind. Shakehis men. He had a special talent for giving odds, speare ever first, then Massinger, and Beaumont and
Fletcher, were so familiar to him that he seemed and knew by intuition what risks it was safe to
ever ready to recall a passage, and often to recite it run with a strange player, since the play of a
with an intense delight in its beauty which would giver of odds can never be perfectly sound. He have made it felt by others naturally indifferent." was a pleasant antagonist, whether he won or It was the same in all that was best in French literalost, but he avoided exposing his temper to too ture, in Voltaire, Corneille, Racine, Boileau, and, great trials. One player, known as “the tele- above all, Molière. Captain Kennedy recalls an ingraph,” he would never engage, and at last gave stance of this ready memory on an occasion when the following explanation : “Well, sir, the slow- they were in company together. The conversation ness of genius is difficult to bear, but the slow- turned on telling points in the drama, and one of ness of mediocrity is intolerable.” Even with the party cited that scene in “Horace” which so this precaution chess was too exacting a game struck Boileau, where Horace is lamenting the disto be the sole relaxation of a student, and from grace which he supposes has been brought upon him 1850 onward he showed an increasing preference by the flight of his son in the combat with the for the stimulus of society; he was beginning to asks Julie ; and the old man passionately exclaims,
Curiaces. “Que vouliez-vous qu'il fît contre trois ?" be known, and, as he refused to write except for
“Qu'il mourût.” Buckle agreed that it was very immortality, it was natural he should talk.
fine, and immediately recited the whole scene from While his mother was well enough, he gave
its commencement, giving the dialogue with much din
spirit and effect. ners during the season of from eight to eighteen persons two or three times a week, and dined out him- A more formidable feat was reciting Burke's self frequently; indeed, he could not bear dining peroration on the loss of the American colonies, alone, and, if without any special invitation, he would to prove to Burke's biographer that it was Burke, drop in upon some of his relations or more intimate not Sheridan, who applied the metaphor of shearfriends to spend the evening. Of his talk, Miss Shir. ing a wolf to the obstinacy of George III. reff truly observes: “The brilliancy of Mr. Buckle's conversation was too well known to need mention; cetic: he “cultivated" his sense of taste, at one
In other ways his life was the reverse of asbut what the world did not know was how entirely time actually seeing his steaks cut at the butchit was the same among a few intimates with whom he felt at home as it was at a large party where suc- er's; insisting on having toast made before his cess meant celebrity. This talk was the outpouring eyes every Monday, when the bread was more of a full and earnest mind, it had more matter than than one day old; and teaching his womankind wit, more of book knowledge than of personal ob- how to make tea, which ought, it seems, to stand servation. The favorite maxim of many dinner. rather longer when the caddy is full than when table talkers, 'Glissez, mais n'appuyez pas,' was cer- it is nearly empty, and the proportion of tea-dust tainly not his. He loved to go to the bottom of a which does not need to be uncurled by the steam subject, unless he found that his opponent and him- is larger. The same spirit of minute forethought self stood on ground so different, or started from ran through his management of money matters. such opposite principles, as to make ultimate agree. He had never more than fifteen hundred pounds ment hopeless, and then he dropped or turned the a year to spend, and had made up his mind that subject. His manner of doing this, unfortunately, three thousand pounds was the least he could gave offense at times, while he not seldom wearied marry on. (He never did marry; for one cousin others by keeping up the ball, and letting conversa- whom he fell in love with at seventeen married tion merge into discussion. He was simply bent on getting at the truth, and, if he believed himself to
some one else, and he was parted from another hold it, he could with difficulty be made to under- every way suitable because his family thought it stand that others might be impatient while he set it wrong for cousins to marry.) He spent three forth. On the other
hand, it is fair to mention that, hundred pounds a year on books, and it is not if too fond of argument, and sometimes too prone to surprising that he taught his servant to bind the self-assertion, his temper in discussion was perfect; ragged ones in brown paper, and that he cherhe was a most candid opponent and a most admira- ished comfortable old clothes. He could spend ble listener." His memory was almost faultless, and as well as spare; his books were luxuriously always ready to assist and illustrate his wonderful lodged in glass cases, and if a friend's family needed rest or change, he was anxious to press contingent on the result of the sales. He actua hundred pounds on them as a loan. He was ally received six hundred and sixty-five pounds kind, too, in immaterial ways, exercising the same for the first edition of fifteen hundred copies, and minute forethought for others as for himself. five hundred pounds for the copyright of the secFrom his first acquaintance with Miss Shirreffond edition of two thousand. and her sister he was unwearied in his endeavors His immediate success was deserved by the to assist them. Here are one or two fragments industry with which he had studied a clear and of his letters in 1854: "I feel it was very ill- popular style, reading and rereading the great natured on my part not to press Comte upon you masters, French and English, going through last night when you so considerately hesitated as Johnson's dictionary and Milton's prose works to to borrowing it. To make the only amends in enlarge his vocabulary, writing out in his own my power I now send it you, and beg that you words the substance of a passage of Hallam and will keep it as long as you like, for I promise that Macaulay, to see where his own inferiority lay. if I have at any time occasion to refer to it I will Besides, his habit of never leaving a subject in ask to have it back, so that you need have no conversation till he had made his meaning perscruple on that head. The only thing I will beg fectly clear must have served him as valuable of you is that when not reading it you would practice in exposition, even if part of the audihave it put into some cupboard, as on several ence were wearied at the time. grounds I value it very much, and I never leave The author's want of systematic training was it out at home. You sent me the first three itself an advantage for the immediate effect of volumes of Comte as I happen to remember, for his work; he knew nothing but the prejudices he I put them away directly they came. I am sorry had escaped, the facts he had accumulated, and you should have missed taking them with you, the doctrines he had marshaled them to support; as in the country one particularly needs some in- he addressed a public as ignorant as he had been, tellectual employment to prevent the mind from and as acute as his father had been. He had falling into those vacant raptures which the beau- followed the scientific movement of his day, and ties of nature are apt to suggest." This is ten observed with prophetic insight that the discusmonths later: "I am truly sorry to receive so in- sion of the transmutation of species was the different an account of your health. To hear weak point in Lyell's great work on geology, but such things is enough to prevent one from being he had not busied himself with the speculative an optimist-how much more to you who feel movement then mainly political or theological. them. I have often speculated on what you and If he had done so he would have been in danger Miss Shirreff could accomplish if you were made of losing himself in side issues. As it was he capable of real wear and tear; but this is a specu- stated and illustrated clearly and weightily, so lation I could never bring to maturity, because that the work will not have to be done again for of the strong suspicion I have that with a certain any section of the Western world, the concepmind there must and will be a certain physical tion of an orderly movement of human affairs structure of which we may modify the effects but depending upon ascertained facts of all degrees never change the nature. Look at Miss Marti- of generality. This is his great service: his speneau! Give her delicacy as well as power, and I cial theories were of value chiefly as they furbelieve that she could never have gone through nished headings under which facts could be clasthe work she has." He was ready to criticise sified. Such conceptions as the “principle of the second work of the sisters in manuscript, protection" and the “principle of skepticism” while his own work was passing through the are not made for immortality; it is not a key to press.
the history of France to be told that there the The first volume was printed at his own ex- spirit of protection manifested itself in secular pense, after negotiations with Mr. Parker, which affairs, while in Spain it manifested itself in spirshowed a curious mixture of suspicion and gen- itual. Nor can we explain the difference between erosity. Buckle would not consent to his MS. the history of Spain and Scotland by observing being submitted to any person whom he did not that a bigoted clergy opposed the crown in Scotknow; but he was sincerely anxious that Mr. land and supported the crown in Spain; or the Parker should have some independent opinion, difference between America and Germany by obwhen he was ready to dispense with it. He was serving that the ablest minds of Germany dewilling that Mr. Parker should assess the esti- voted themselves to the deductive method and mated profits of the first edition, and to accept the accumulation of knowledge, and the ablest half for his share, but if he disposed of the copy- minds of America to the inductive method and right of the first edition he was determined to the diffusion of knowledge. secure a sum down, and drew back when he He was never too far in advance of his day: found that the half profits, if any, were to be he thought women ought to be educated, but not for careers in which they would compete with did not hurt him, as he said himself he throve on men. He made instinctively all the reserves for it. His superiority to his critics was too evident. which the orthodox are fighting more or less He was the lion of the literary season; he was hopefully now; he took over without discussion elected a member of the Athenæum, after some the sharp dualism between body and mind trans- ineffectual threats of clerical opposition; he lecmitted through Locke from Descartes. Even tured at the Royal Institution on the “Influence such a phrase as mental disease displeased him. of Women on the Progress of Knowledge,” and Disease could only consistently be thought of in Faraday, Owen, and Murchison severally thanked connection with a material organism. After this him for the great treat they had enjoyed. it is not surprising that he held that in another In the midst of his great success the great life there would be no difference between the ge- sorrow of his life came upon him; his mother's nius and the idiot of this : they differed because health had been failing since 1852, and in 1856 their brains differed. At the same time, the dif- she feared that she should not live to see the reference between learning and ignorance might be ception of his work, and the fame that her coun. more permanent, for it is by its own action that sel and sympathy had done so much to prepare. the mind acquires learning. He understood, and When at last her son showed her the first volume, was half inclined to adopt, Kant's distinction be- with its magnificent dedication, he was frightened tween transcendental freedom and empirical ne- at her agitation. On the 11th of August, 1857, he cessity, although he was fully convinced by his writes: “ Month after month she is now altering statistical studies that any limited power of self- for the worse, at times slightly better, but percepdetermination the individual might imaginably tibly losing ground. Her mind is changed even possess could safely be neglected in the scien- since I was here last; she is unable to read; she tific study of masses. Most important of all, he confuses one idea with another; and nothing rerecognized as clearly as Pascal the logic of the mains of her as she once was, except her smile, heart. Instead of treating the convictions as a and the exquisite tenderness of her affections. I mere disturbing force warping the action of the while away my days here doing nothing, and carpure reason, he dwelt eloquently upon their char- ing for nothing, because I feel I have no future." acter as an orderly independent factor in our “For the last six months of her life she was from deepest convictions. This combination of fun- time to time delirious, but such was her strength damental conservatism, with revolutionary energy of mind that always when her son entered the upon two or three large yet definite questions, is room she became perfectly rational.” He was not unlike Mr. Bright-a politician who is, or no longer able to write except after the stimulus was, unpopular with just the critics who depre- of conversation; and at last the sight of her ciated Buckle as a thinker.
"slowly but incessantly degenerating, mind and One can hardly think that the literary class body both going,” brought his work to a standwere so much to blame for their hostility as Mr. still, and Mr. Capel suggested that he should try Huth supposes. They had emancipated them- the distraction of reviewing Mill's “Essay on selves as far as they cared to be emancipated; Liberty.” On the ist of April, 1859, he entered they held implicitly a great deal that Buckle pro- in his diary, “At 9.15 my angel mother died claimed emphatically; they held it with all sorts peacefully, without pain.” When all was over of qualifications which they felt not unreasona- he sat down, “ in the dull and dreary house, once bly it was easier to apply in practice than to for- so full of light and love," to write his proof of mulate beforehand; they found plenty of crudity the immortality of the soul. It is very like St. in Buckle's special theories, and were angry with Anselm's proof of the being of a God. It is a him for not advancing knowledge upon special weak feeling that can believe that it adds to or matters in the way in which Sainte-Beuve or even creates its object; a strong feeling is sure that Macaulay did. It was not their fault that in their its object is eternal. eyes individual facts, which Buckle made a point The next twelve days were spent upon his reof despising, were more interesting as well as view of Mill's “ Liberty," which is still momoraless uncertain than the general facts, which no ble for the grotesque, pathetic, eloquent philippic doubt are more important. Besides, it was quite on Pooley's case. It is never clear what we are true, if not exactly relevant, that they might have to be indignant at; no doubt it was a miscarfound whatever they were inclined to accept in riage of justice that the judge did not find out Buckle, in Comte, or Quetelet before. Their jus. that Pooley was mad; perhaps the law under tification is complete when we remember that which he was sentenced was getting rather rusty ; Buckle's method and generalizations have been still poachers are sentenced more severely, and quite unfruitful. Mr. Darwin and Mr. Herbert Pooley was as great a nuisance as a poacher in a Spencer and Sir H. S. Maine have had followers; respectable neighborhood. But Buckle was in a Buckle had only readers. At the time criticism state of exaltation where he had too little sense of the proportion of things to measure the per- better when they grew older; they were ashamed sonal responsibility of the judge, or the impor- of what they had done, and did so no more. tance of the case, but he saw correctly that while His growing friendship with the Huths was damaging his own position he was doing some the chief interest and consolation of his later thing to make further prosecutions for blasphemy years in spite of its rather unpromising comdifficult, and he had the sense to turn a deaf ear mencement, which we will leave Mrs. Huth to to the many letters from people with grievances describe : that poured in upon him. ' He said himself about this time, “Only they
It was in 1857 that we became acquainted with are wise who can harden their hearts." His Henry Thomas Buckle. Long before, we had heard health was failing. Even before his first volume that Buckle was then writing the “History of Civil
him talked of by an enthusiastic friend, who told us appeared he fainted in crossing the park; though ization. Our friend Mr. Capel would not borrow his hours of work were not immoderate, seldom
a book from us to read without first asking "my exceeding eight a day, his recreations, chess and friend Buckle” whether it was worth reading, as he conversation, were equally exhausting. He was knew all books. If I praised a favorite author, I only able to work very fitfully upon his second was told that my admiration was misplaced, as “my volume, and before long he lost his nephew, a friend Buckle” saw imperfections in him. “But very promising boy, who could appreciate him, would not Mr. Huth like to call on my friend Bucsaying, “When you talk to me, uncle, it is like kle?" Mr. Huth decidedly objected, saying that if being in a dream." Children were always fond that gentleman's library contained twenty-two thouof him. A little girl whom he met in his walks sand volumes, and he had read them all, as Mr. at Blackheath could conceive no consolation for Capel assured us, it would be an impertinence, for a his leaving except the hope of being “his little man who had not anything very extraordinary to girl.” His landlady, who read his works, took recommend him, to intrude upon him. I was very charge of some children from India, and one of glad of this answer, for I hated that “friend Bucthese soon found what liberties she could take kle,” whose name was constantly in Mr. Capel's with the philosopher.
mouth, and bored me intensely; who was always put
forward to contradict me ; who was said to know When he visited Mr. Capel's pupils at Car
everything, and who had seemingly done nothing. shalton, he romped with them and got them holi- We were therefore considerably surprised when Mr. days; they followed him about like a pack of Capel came one day and said, “I have told my friend dogs, and wrote home, “ When he was here, he Buckle that you wish very much to make his ac was a jolly chap." “He is a very nice fellow, quaintance, and he will be glad to see you if you and never talks philosophy to us." His theories like to call upon him." My husband looked very of education were simple; he was very much black, but he had nothing for it but to go to 59 afraid of children being overworked, and thought Oxford Terrace, where he was told Mr. Buckle was that if moral suasion failed the cane was the not at home, and he left his card. Later, when our safest punishment; keeping children in only dear friend made his last stay with us, I told him made them dull.
how we had been forced into our acquaintance with But his forbearance was inexhaustible. When him; and he explained that he had only agreed to he fainted, after a discussion on political econo- Mr. Capel
, who was going to have a son of ours at
see us, as he thought it would be of advantage to my with Mr. Huth, he went up stairs to try to his school. At that time he had never expected our sleep for two hours. At the end of the time Mr. acquaintance to develop into a friendship. Huth heard the landlady's children singing loudly and jumping violently as it seemed just over Mrs. Huth soon found there were two Mr. Mr. Buckle's room. He stopped the noise and Buckles, one who lived among cold abstractions, then went to inquire if he had slept. Mr. Buckle and took the highest and the widest view. “The said, “No, the noise had prevented it." Why Other Buckle was tender, and capable of feeling did he not ring the bell?" Oh, no, poor little every vibration of a little child's heart; selfthings! it was their time for singing and jump- sacrificing, to a degree which he would have ing, not their sleeping-time.” When Mr. Huth's blamed in another, and habitually concentrating sons were traveling with Buckle in the peninsula his great intellect on the consequences of indiof Sinai they told him how they had been amus- vidual actions to the actor.” His calm and ing themselves by knocking off the tails of liz- cheerfulness were but rarely interrupted. Once ards to see how these jumped, while the lizards Mr. Capel surprised him in a flood of tears. ran away as if nothing had happened. Mr. “You don't know how I miss my mother." He Glennie remarked that it was very cruel, and could never bear to go into his drawing-room ought to be put a stop to, which made the boys after her death. An old lady, neither handsome angry; Buckle quietly said that it was the nature nor clever, as she said herself, with neither rank of boys to be cruel, and that they would know nor title, “ bore witness to his great sympathy;