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petition, which by-and-by, doubtless, will disgust us with the very names of Havelock and Lucknow. We believe this is the great secret of the evanescence of modern reputation. No sooner is a great achievement known, than packs of hungry pens rush on it and after it, hunting the unfortunate heroism into unspeakable tedium and weariness. We can conceive no reason whatever why a respectable Dissenting clergyman should have found it his duty to make up the brave General, who happened to belong to his " denomination," into crown octavo upon so short a notice. The public could not have been in any great degree injured by waiting a few months longer for a less furtive and more legitimate memoir; and certainly this haste to catch the first gust of popularity, common as it is among those unfortunate hacks of literature who, having nothing of their own to hope success from, eagerly seize upon every successive topic of popular interest, does not become a publication which professes to set forth "the religious character of the deceased General," and to be written "in deference to a very generally expressed desire." Is, then, the religious character of a man that part of him which can be most easily detached from his life, and may be treated most hastily and superficially Are examples of godliness so few and so extraordinary that the lesson must be snatched on the instant, before the sod has been well laid down, or the reverent dews of heaven had time to fall over the good man's grave? or are we to conclude all other motives secondary to the impulse of supplying the market instantly while the demand is at its height? We are grieved to suppose that the last shows most reasonable symptoms of being the true inducement, and still more so to be obliged to believe that the portion of the world which, for want of a better name, is called the religious public, runs just as eagerly after a novelty, and hunts up a new lesson with the same enthusiasm, as another portion of the public, not religious, pursues a new opera. No one can object that the life of Havelock, or of any other good man, should point the
moral of a sermon, or bring public enthusiasm to the aid of a personal address; but that love of excitement, which must have something new to occupy it, and which surrounds the ministers and teachers of religion with the flattering urgency of "a generally expressed desire," ought to have its just title, and no more. It is not piety which buzzes after these new incitements; it is curiosity, love of novelty, the very same frivolous sentiments which animate lovers of pleasure; and it is scarcely fair to the latter to condemn their busy running to and fro in pursuit of new sensations, and to call the same impulse, when allied to the title and profession of religion, by any nobler name.
General Havelock was born at Bishop-Wearmouth, educated in the Charterhouse, and originally intended for the Law; but yielding, as he himself says, to the military propensities of my race," entered the army at the close of the Peninsular War, and was sent to India, where he remained, taking part in most of the fighting then in progress, for the most part of his soldierly life. In Burmah and Affghanistan, in the contests with the Sikhs, through battles, leaguers, and marches innumerable, he led a hard-fighting life of it for more than thirty years, and might, so far as human appearances go, have died, as he lived, a highly honourable, but not distinguished veteran, but for the horrible chance, as people say, of this Indian mutiny. Nobody knew, as it would appear, up to the moment of his showing it, what daring and indomitable courage was in this Baptist soldier, who, for a
lifetime back, had been holding prayer-meetings in his regiment, and making "saints" of his men. That he was a brave man, and did his duty, everybody allowed; but had he died two years sooner, no one could have supposed what amount of undeveloped force lay in his modest grave. This is perhaps the most wonderful lesson that ever was drawn from soldier's life-how a man may live till he is sixty, brave but not remarkable, yet at last die gloriously, the hero of such a fiery, rapid, breathless campaign as might
have opened the career of some glorious young conqueror, invincible in his first ardour, and genius, and youth. A strange lesson, and not an encouraging one-showing how God himself does not treat the lives of his servants as so many allegories to draw "lessons" from, but brings about, perhaps, the greatest issue of their existence in the strangest, most inconsequent, unexpected way, and leaves the weightiest act of their lives so near the end, that one feels an instinctive involuntary start of anxious wonder, as if, another moment delayed, Providence would have been too late. A brave man does not live and die in order that some one may improve his fortunes into a memoir, and young men's societies draw lessons from it; but if there were such an intention in the life of Havelock, what a strange, startling, unaccountable problem for a young spirit! To have it in him for sixty years, and yet to work through all that time without means or power to show it forth-to wait for the hour and the opportunity until just the verge and extent of the common life of man. But Providence takes no pains to sort and arrange, and make portable for us, such a lesson as this. What can any one make of it? It is not a logical human_creation, set and balanced and made the most of, but one of those grand, incomplete, broken-off works of God which point silently, with a meaning above words, to the life beyond, where these fragments shall be put together, and all things fulfilled.
There are, however, nothing but lessons in this little volume. Havelock's own letters-fatherly, husbandlike, and always pious, in which lie all the interest of the book-cannot be simply left to tell their own story, but must be docketed, and labelled, and put up in bundles, to prove this thing or the other thing. He cannot even acknowledge in an address to his soldiers, as any good man and leader would, "the blessing of God on a most righteous cause," but his biographer must put it in Italics, and direct everybody's attention to the simple thanksgiving. Let us quote a few examples, in which it is quite worth notice, the ingenuity with
which the historian opens out, and expands into half a page of writing, the plain and pious expression of his hero's heart. Take, for instance, the first which comes to our hand. Havelock has written home to inform his wife of his appointment as Brigadier-General, "to relieve Cawnpore, where Sir Hugh Wheeler is threatened, and to support Lucknow ;" and ends his letter thus, as it was to be supposed he would, "May God give me wisdom and strength to fulfil the expectations of Government, and restore tranquillity in the disturbed provinces"-a most simple, as doubtless it was a most sincere prayer, and one which certainly does not seem to require any comment, or even any particular remark. Mr Brock, however, thinks otherwise. Afraid, perhaps, that its naturalness and simplicity might make his readers pass it without sufficient notice, he paraphrases it thus :
"In this spirit of religiousness did he set out on his last eventful campaign. He knew what confidence was placed in him. He was aware of his competency for the undertaking. He held gratefully in mind the courage and sagacity of many of his older comrades. Various considerations cheered him, though the enterprise was hazardous; but tranquillity in the disturbed provinces would be secured only through Divine interposition.' 'Wisdom and strength' adequate to the extremity could be obtained from God alone. Hence he prepared to leave for Allahabad as seeing the strength of the Lord. The Divine Him who is invisible. He would go in sovereignty had ordered his return when his services were urgently required. In the Divine faithfulness and power he would implicitly put his trust. The work had been given him to do; the Lord graciously helping him, it should be done."
Now, we have heard often enough a text of Scripture deluged and lost in words after this fashion, but what was there in General Havelock's sober and simple aspiration to call for such a commentary? The writer, however, goes on ticketing and labelling every natural sentiment, every expression of thankfulness, every Christian sympathy which the old soldier unconsciously expresses
because they are in him, but all of which, as if their existence had never been suspected before, his historian feels bound to search out and call the public attention to. He proceeds after the following fashion :
"While writing his despatch, with all that had just occurred pressing forcibly upon his mind, Havelock thus recognises
the Author and Giver of his success
Cawnpore Cantonment, July 17.- By the blessing of God, I re-captured this place yesterday,'" &c. Again: "Havelock's account of those successive en
gagements to the circle at Bonn has a significant mention of the courage of his eldest son, and a reference to his youngest brother [whose youngest brother?], which will be deemed pleasant evidence of his habitual recollections of home." "In this confidential despatch of the undemonstrative warrior, the reader will not fail to remark his sympathy for the hardships and sufferings of the private soldier." "In the foregoing and succeeding communications Havelock's specifications of domestic incidents will be noticed." "The deep emotions of the husband and father are expressed with much force and significance in the letter which succeeds ;"
and so on and on, till there are no more letters to be indexed and discriminated for the dull public which does not know, until it is told by authority, the meaning of what it reads. Poor General Havelock! he writes letters worthy of a tender heart and a devout soul-letters of a man living and not indifferent to life, the head of a family which loved him; but they all become proofs of certain qualities and sentiments, each one demonstrative of one little bit of his character, which his biographer seems to think may be unbound and separated into pieces like a bundle of sticks, in the hands of Mr Brock. But it happens, unfortunately for this style of writing, that a man with life in him, whose whole frame moves together spontaneously and with natural harmony, is an object much more pleasant to look upon than a man on springs, however cunningly constructed; though it is possible the latter might be made the more instructive of the two, so far as anatomy is concerned. No one desires to find "evidence" of such and such a moral quality formally
adduced to prove the same, in the life of a man of whom already the world knows something, and of whom it is worth anybody's while to write a memoir. Would that biographers in general, and, above all, the composers of religious biography, could but understand the charm and power of everything which is spontaneous! There is no such spell in all the tricks of composition, in all the expedients of literary ingenuity. That which comes warm and simple from one man's heart goes glowing into the hearts of other men, with a force of nature which art cannot touch; but when art (should it even be of better quality than the present) sets itself to construct a bridge of access between the two-to introduce the one patronisingly to the other, and point out to the hearers the speaker's meaning, alas for the issue! Christianity, devoutness, and true religion are not indigenous in the human soul, but it is the most grievous error to suppose them unnatural. The waters are changed and purified at the fountain-head; but it is not necessary in consequence that they should hereafter run in iron pipes and artificial aqueducts, instead of the natural channel, picturesque with all the inequalities of nature which God made for them before sin was. Christian art-which we presume may mean something else than Gothic architecture severely pointed-is indeed wholly against the system of breaking up a living person into abstract bits of qualities. On the contrary, following the great model, which has Inspiration, a higher soul than art, for its guidance, we should be disposed to say, much unlike the writer of this biography, that the genius of Christian portrait-painting was to show how livingly and truly all these qualities made one man.
Recent events have rubbed the rust and moss off that old character of soldier which we were almost beginning to forget. All the modern devices of education, all the flux and increase of superior knowledge, have not produced a nobler development of that old perennial unadvancing humanity which, with every circumstance external changed, is to-day as
it was in the days of Hebrew David or heathen Homer, and in whose perverse and wonderful nature the stern urgency and stress of physical opposition, the assault of fiery trials, cruelties, sufferings, and deaths, have even produced signs the most incontestable of a higher birth and a more noble power. War is terrible; but war has taught ourselves, when peace, with all its sweetness and prosperities, had almost persuaded us to the contrary, that there are things in the world less endurable than even the hardest agonies of nature. Civilisation and safety had been saying otherwise for years; and these quiet years had so surrounded us with alleviations and solaces, so persuaded us that there must be a cure for everything, that the common heart began to feel death, disease, and calamity, evils intolerable, and not to be borne. But the war has taught us all a harder lesson; the war roused us up-us who cannot hear of a shipwreck or a railway accident without taking refuge from our horror at the sight of pain, in finding somebody to blame as the cause to the length of bearing voluntarily such loss of life and happiness, such rending of hearts and sacrifice of men, as had never been known before in the experience of this generation. We have learned how to send forth out of our careful homes the very flower and blossom of our race, at desperate peril of never beholding again what it was the delight of our eyes to see, and sending them forth, with tears and prayers, but never with a grudge, into the midst of those old rude primitive agonies of humanity, the battle, and murder, and sudden death, against which we have been so long wont to pray-have learned by the act that pain, after all, was not the one thing to be avoided, and death was not the chief of evils. Theories and thoughts do not educate so certainly as things do; it is easy enough to resign everything in imagination for national integrity and honour, but it was not so easy to send the boys out of our hearts to dismal hospitals and deadly trenches, which even the mothers and the wives learned to do without grudging as they wept. Somehow it
seems as though human nature could never show its bravest till it stood among the deadliest foes of its existence, holding its own superior part, as it must always do when driven to the uttermost, by itself, without a single secondary help. That old ideal of courage and simplicity, highest in all the forces of manhood, yet most like a child of all other men, which war has restored to our personal acquaintance, and which is the universal conception of a soldier, shows plainly enough the universal natural appreciation we have of the results of such a practical and primitive collision between a man and the great adversaries of his nature. To go out in the face of death, and hold one's own against all its bitterness, for that spiritual and intangible something which a plain British soul calls by the modest name of Duty, is a thing impossible to conceive of without a quickening of one's heart. The superficial opinion of untroubled times is sapient about the bloody trade, the wild passions, the hired slayers of war; but through all these shines the gallant old imagination, brave, honourable,devout, and singleminded, the ideal knight and soldier, the Bayard of the heart. He who must meet without shrinking every evil thing which oppresses naturehe whose limbs may be frozen, whose brain may be scorched, whom fatigue, want, toil, and hardship may all assault, but must never subdue-he who must bear his arms and hold on his march, after every faculty of his frame is exhausted, and only will and courage and a stout heart carries him on-he who must rush upon his death with a cheer, and rest upon the horrible field without a tear wept over him, or a friend at hand-and who does all this with the calmness not of a stoic, but of a hero; he may be but a nameless one among many, a heavy-witted and unremarkable individual, yet he is at once the simplest and the most wonderful instance of that triumph of spirit over flesh which is the grand and peculiar privilege of humanity.
And perhaps it is this purely practical contest, in which and through which he must live his life, which makes us associate a certain simple
profound,unquestioning--if one might use the word,even unreasoning-piety, with the highest ideal of a soldier. We require no speculation at his hands; he has little leisure for it. But thrown, as he is, out of all our peaceful confidence in external and secondary agencies into the far older and deeper consciousness of that life and death which lie absolutely in the hand of God, it is natural that the tone of his faith should take a literal plainness and urgency, which minds with more leisure to think, and less occasion to do, can rarely attain. Who can help recognising this pure thread of individuality, descending from the Knights of the San Grail, from Bayard and Roland, a manly, noble, touching strain of that faith which believes "like a little child," down to the Uncle Toby of Sterne, and the still purer impersonation of Roland Caxton? Only fiction, excellent reader-imaginary personages every one-for few people care to know more fact of Roland than is told in that saddest of love-tales, which even Rhine tourists cannot make vulgar; or of Bayard, save that he was the sans peur et sans reproche, a repetition of whose praise has been the highest fame for every knightly soul since his time. Yet though they are fictitious, so true and so tender is the imagination, that it remains triumphant over all memoirs and biographies, the real soldierly ideal and type of man.
Is it a sinful act to speak of these creations of poetic fancy in the same breath with General Havelock, or with that younger and less distinguished victim of religious life-writing, a brave young Christian soul, but a much-injured man, Hedley Vicars, whose fate it has been to run through some hundred thousand copies, and to give a new impetus and vigour to the art of biography, so far as its model department is concerned? We are bound to confess we do not think so. Havelock, too, has the sans peur et sans reproche which is better than the cross of the Bath; and we have not the remotest doubt that the young soldier whose name we class with his, was pricking gallantly upon the road to that same distinction. No one can read of the
steady Christian efforts of General Havelock, of those prayer-meetings and instructions, and that devout supervision of his men, which at last made his commander, in an emergency, "call out Havelock's saints," as the special portion of his forces known to be never incapable, and always ready-without a respect and admiration, only shadowed by the wish that, if it had been possible, the noble old soldier could have had some strain of victory more like the occasion, than a hymn out of a congregational "Selection" to sing with his men. One must not be too particular about the hymn-though one may be permitted to wish that Havelock had been so fortunate as to be born a Scotsman, if for no other reason than that he might have celebrated his triumphs in those true Psalms, bold Saxon and pure Hebrew, which have found refuge in the Scottish churches, and might give a fit utterance, in their rugged nobleness, for a soldier's song of battle. But it is impossible not to recognise in all these labours, in Havelock's life-long efforts, and the eager devotion of the young Vicars to every work of charity and mercy within his reach, the practical development natural to the piety of men trained to the most practical of professions, and fighting their way against no metaphysical difficulties, but through tangible evil. One can perceive this by inference in their biographies-but the biographers have no idea of exalting that characteristic and high peculiarity. On the contrary, what Mr Brock wishes to show of the General, and what the remarkable lady who writes the Memorials of Hedley Vicars does succeed in showing of her young hero, is, that they could talk and write in that style of religiousness which obliterates all personality, and could spin out pious sentiments and wishes by the yard, skilfully keeping back behind that veil every sign of an individual speaker. General Havelock lived to be an old man, experienced and acquainted with life. If ever he did write vague letters of general piety, age had taught him that words were not his vocation. General advices to everybody, and big conclusions about everything, do not lie in the way of