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have entertained a doubt of their good faith and purity of intention, would, but a short time back, have been stigmatised as folly and radicalism.

· The system of government adopted by Ferdinand upon his return to Spain, was eminently suitable to the views of the Holy Alliance, and particularly agreeable to the high personages of which that body was composed. When the sovereigns were restored to the tranquil enjoyment and secure possession of their thrones, by the energy and virtue of their people, they naturally apprehended a reaction on the part of the latter, if, in exchange for the patriotism which they had shewn, and the sacrifices which they had made, their rulers were to give them again absolute and despotic governments. Hence the language of the monarchs was, in the beginning, mild and conciliatory. Hence they held out the most flattering hopes to their subjects, believing that it was expedient still to speak in that liberal tone, in which Alexander addressed the inhabitants of Poland. The most enlightened diplomatic persons of Europe were of opinion, that it was necessary to concede advantages to the middling classes of society, which had so efficaciously contributed to the destruction of the common enemy; and he who would then have ventured to propose, in the councils of the sovereigns, those extensions of the royal power which have since taken place throughout Europe, would have been deemed a rash adviser, if not a real enemy of crowned heads. The Holy Alliance was then precisely in the situation of those fortunate men, who, being desirous of accomplishing a great enterprise, and not possessing courage enough to take the first step, from not knowing whether the ground is or is not safe, find another man of less pru dence and less fear, who boldly ventures of his own free will to make an experiment of the danger, and teaches them, by his example, the evils or the advantages which they have to expect. Francis, Louis, and Alexander, saw in Spain the caput mortuum of this grand experiment of arbitrary power. They left Ferdinand to work at his ease, in order that they might observe to what extent the patience of nations would go; and when they saw that the people who had fought with so much glory, and during so many years, in defence of their king and their liberties, yielded with such docility to the yoke which was imposed upon them, they calculated that the same thing would be done by their own subjects, who had acquired comparatively inferior titles to the gratitude of their rulers. Europe has witnessed the purposes to which this direful lesson has been applied, and the general imitation of that principle to which the conduct of Ferdinand imparted so much consistency and strength. pp. 137-139.

Art. VI. The Annual Biography and Obituary for the Year 1894.

Vol. VIII. 8vo. Price 12s. London. 1824. N the present volume of this convenient work, the analysis

of biographical works and the neglected biography are


omitted, to allow a greater space for original memoirs. The former of these may, we think, be very properly left to us Reviewers: the latter might be rendered very acceptable.

It is an unavoidable drawback on the value of such a work, that the memoirs must needs partake very much of the partiality of friendship and the language of panegyric; but still, it forms a useful depository for information not wholly unin'teresting, which would otherwise be lost; for, with all the voracity of the reading public, it cannot digest quarto or octavo memoirs of every celebrated painter, poet, politician, physician, ecclesiastic, soldier, or dramatic performer that may die within the year. The memoirs of most interest in this volume are those of the venerable Dr. Hutton, Robert Bloomfield, Mr. Angerstein, Mr. Ricardo, Lord St. Vincent, Mr. Nollekens, and Dr. Jenner. We will confess that it is partly with a view to place in our pages a brief memorial of the Author of “ The Farmer's Boy,” that we notice the present volume; since, as an annual work, the general commendation expressed with regard to former volumes might seem all which it could claim from us.

The life of Robert Bloomfield was as uneventful as his character was unassuming, The tale is soon told, and, though not a tragical, it is a melancholy one; for it begins and it ends with poverty and sorrow. Yet, Bloomfield was neither vicious nor neglected. Had he possessed either a stronger

, mind or a worse heart, he might have ended his days in ease and competence. But generous, improvident, with a crazy frame, and a mind debilitated by sickness and domestic solicitude, the efforts which were made to lift him above a state of poverty, were constantly rendered abortive either by his anxiety to help others, or his inability to help himself.

Robert Bloomfield was born at Honington in Suffolk, Dec. 3, 1766. His father, who was a taylor, died when Robert was about six months old, leaving a widow with six small children. His mother, a pious and exemplary woman, was the village schoolmistress; and to such instruction as she could impart, Robert was indebted for all his education, with the exception of attending for two or three months at a school in a neighbouring village, to be improved in writing. When he was not above eleven years of age, his uncle by marriage, a farmer at Sapiston, a village adjoining Honigton, took him into his house, agreeing to give him his board for his service; but he was so small of his age, that Mr. Austin pronounced it unlikely that he would ever be able to get his living by hard labour. His mother, in consequence, wrote to her sons George and Nathaniel, then journeyman-shoemakers in London, begging their



assistance in placing him out. George, in reply, offered to take his brother, and find him board and lodging, while Na. thaniel engaged to clothe him. His mother herself accogi. panied Robert to London, observing that she should never be happy, if she did not herself put him into his brother's hands. She charged ber son George, as he valued a mother's blessing, to watch over his little brother, to set him a good example, and never to forget that he had lost his father; - a solemn and pa • thetic adjuration which seems to have been religiously at• tended to • Little I thought,' says his brother, that that • fatherless boy would one day be known and esteemed by the • most learned, the most respected, the wisest and the best

men of the kingdom.'

The Farmer's Boy now found himself transferred to a garret in Pitcher's Court, Bell Alley, Coleman-street; as regarded health, an unfavourable exchange. Robert waited on his brothers, learned to assist them in their jobs, read the newspaper to them aloud, or some magazine or folio weekly number taken in by his brothers or the other journeymen. In this way, he spent as many hours in reading as other boys spent in play.

• At that time his brother George took in the London Magazine, in which publication about two sheets were appropriated to a review. Robert was always eager to read this review. Here he could see what literary men were doing, and could learn to judge in some measure of the merits of various works as they appeared. The poetry, too, always commanded his attention. Observing this circumstance, and hearing him with some surprise one day repeat a song which he · had composed to an old tune, his brother George persuaded him to

try if the editor of their paper would give his verses a place. He , did so; and thus was kindled the fame of ambition in the youthful poet's breast. This, the first offspring of Robert Bloomfield's muse that appeared in print, was called " The Milk-Maid, or the First of May."' Emboldened by his success, he soon produced another little piece, to which he

gave the name of " The Sailor's Return;" wbich was also published in the same newspaper. Indeed, he had so gene rally and diligently improved himself, that although only sixteen or seventeen years of age, his brother George and his fellow-workmer began to be instructed by his conversation. pp. 109, 10.

About the same period, Robert made an acquaintance with a Scotchman who had many books, and, among others, Thomson's Seasons and Paradise Lost, which he lent to him; and Robert spent all his leisure hours in reading the Seasons, which he was now capable of understanding. Another circumstance must not be passed over, which occurred soon after he came to London,

• One Sunday, after strolling the whole day in the country, the brothers went by accident into a meeting-house in the Old Jewry, where a dissenting minister was lecturing. This preacher, whose name was Fawcett, and whose language and action were very rhetorical, although his discourse was sound and rational, filled Robert with astonishment. He was so delighted, indeed, that he thenceforward attended the lecture whenever he could ; and, although the meeting. house was so crowded with the most respectable persons that Robert was compelled to stand in the aisle, he always quickened his pace, in order to reach town on a Sunday evening in time to be present. of this gentleman, Robert soon learned to accent what he called "hard words ;” and in other respects greatly to improve himself.'.

In the year 1784, a dispute among the journeyman-shoemakers, rendered it expedient for Robert to return for a season to Suffolk, and Mr. Austin kindly bade him make Sapiston bis home. He remained here two months, during which time, with his mind warm from the perusal of Thomson, he retiac :d with new sensations the scene of his early occupation as the farmer's boy, and imbibed that enthusiastic love of rural quiet and nature, by which he became distinguished. He at length returned to London, and resumed his craft.

• When Robert was between nineteen and twenty years of age, by which time he could work very expertly at his trade, that of a ladies' shoemaker, his brother George left London. After that period he studied musie, and became a good player on the violin. His brother Nathaniel had married a Woolwich woman : and it happened that Robert took a fancy to a comely young girl of that town, Mary Anne Church, who was the daughter of a boat-builder in the govern. ment yard ; and whom he married on the 12th of December, 1790. Like most poor men, he got a wife first, and had to procure household stuff afterwards. It took him some years to work himself out of ready-furnished lodgings. At length, by dint of hard labour, he was enabled to purchase a bed of his own : and he then hired a room up one pair of stairs, at No. 14, Bell Alley, Coleman street ; the land. loril of the house kindly giving him leave to sit and work in the light garret, two pair of stairs higher. In that garret, amidst six or seven other workmen, his active mind employed itself in composing" The Farmer's Boy."

Bloomfield composed the latter part of his “ Autumn," and the whole of his “ Winter,'

Winter, without committing a single line to paper. When completed and transferred to paper, which was in the year 1798, he felt a strong anxiety that it should meet his mother's eye in print. Stimulated by this idea, he offered his manuscript to several London publishers, but in vain. Foiled, yet not disheartened, he now transmitted the poem in its manuscript state to Suffolk, for the inspection of his mother and his friends. At the suggestion VOL. XXI. N.S.

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of some of these, George Bloomfield was induced to submit his brother's production to Mr. Capel Lofft, who not only pronounced a highly favourable judgement on its merits, but exerted hiniself most strenuously to obtain the speedy publication of the poem. It appeared with what is in this Memoir termed,' an able and elegant preface from the friendly pen of • Mr. Lofft.' It was, in fact, neither elegant nor able, but it was kindly meant, and at the time serviceable ; and there can be no doubt that to Mr. Lofft's exertions the Author was chiefly indebted for the auspicious commencement of his poeti. cal career. The publication was completely successful, and the Farmer's Boy became a general favourite.

* Among the distinguished individuals who expressed the gratificetion which the perusal of “ The Farmer's Boy" had afforded them, one of the earliest was His Royal Highness the Duke of York, who

the poet a liberal present in testimony of his approbation. The late Duke of Grafton also had him to Whittlebury Forest, of which His Grace was the ranger; and settled upon him a gratuity of a shil. ling a day; and, about two years after his first appearance as an author, gave him the appointment of Under Sealer, in the Seal Office; a situation which his declining health compelled him subsequently to relinquish the private allowance, however, after the death of His Grace, was generously continued by the present Duke. Local subscriptions were also entered into at Hadleigh, and elsewhere, for the purpose of testifying the high and general esteem entertained for Robert Bloomfield's poetical talents and personal virtues. But bis greatest emoluments were derived from the sale of his work, of which, in a comparatively short space of time, above forty thousand copies were disposed of.

• Mr. Bloomfield's finances having thus improved, he removed to better lodgings, and eventually took a cottage, near the Shepherd and Shepherdese, in the City Road. Here he worked for some years at his trade, and also made admirable Æolian harps; of which latter circumstance many liberal persons availed themselves, by purchasing harps at large prices, and thus delicately diminishing the obligation which a pecuniary gift might have been supposed to create.' p. 121.

In 1802, appeared the pleasing little collection of poems entitled " Rural Tales, Ballads, and Songs.” It did not excite an equal degree of attention with his first performance, but it was received with considerable favour, and did not merit it less. In 1804, Bloomfield published a poem designed to celebrate the then newly introduced practice of vaccination, under the title of Good Tidings, or News from the Farm.” Two years afterwards, appeared “ Wild Flowers, or Pastoral and Local Poetry.” In the summer of 1807, he had the bigh gratitication of accompanying a party of friends down the Wye, and through part of South Wales. This gave rise to his de

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