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be relied on, is too small to justify any hope of early distribution to the creditors.
"The indigo-factories, and the real property generally of the firm, have been, the committee are informed, mortgaged for a sum considerably under what the property is worth, even during the depressed state of things for the last three years. If that property were now brought into the market, it would not bring two annas in the rupee of its real value, even if it could be disposed of at all."
In regard to the second charge, I unequivocally deny having, on my own. authority, stated one single word as to the probable amount of dividend. I possessed no direct knowledge, and could only refer inquirers to the certificate filed by the assignees, in conformity with the 23d clause of the 9th Geo. IV., and to the opinions of the committee, who "observe that a most important consideration is, what is the present value of the assets of the late firm? The assessed appreciation of the whole is doubtless a difficult task, requiring time and skill to accomplish. In the mean time, from the inquiries which they have been able to make, they would say, that about 60 per cent. is not too large a deduction to be made. This would give 196 lacs of assets to meet 344 lacs of claims;" or, after full payment of claims covered by security, about eight annas in the rupee.
From private letters, it was impossible to arrive at any conclusion, so much did they vary, with the sanguine or desponding temperaments of the writers, some sinking to one shilling, others soaring to fifteen shillings in the pound. With your correspondent's surmises and on dits," on the dangers and disadvantages of carrying on the factories, I have no quarrel; but it would, perhaps, have been more candid in him to have given us some of the latter on the favourable side; such, for instance, as "the realization of a profit of £50,000 or £60,000, the late season;" or that " unmortgaged property to the value of £80,000 or £100,000 was on hand unsold, and expecting a better market;"-or the expectation "that the whole of the mortgaged property, with the exception of about sixteen or seventeen lacs, would be restored to the estate at the conclusion of the present season :”—though I am far from asserting these are more worthy of credit than his own.
He is of opinion, also, that the house should have stopped sooner; and, judging by the event, it would perhaps have been the wisest course; but, at the time, it is not so easy to decide. The members of the firm were as much interested, if not more so, than any body else, in doing whatever seemed best for the general interest, and unquestionably hoped their struggle might have terminated successfully. If, however, they have erred in judgment, they have erred on high authority. In the Minutes of Evidence before the Committee of the House of Commons on the Bank Charter, it was stated by more than one Director, that, in the panic of 1825, they were prepared " to pay their notes to the last farthing;" and it can scarcely, I think, be seriously contended that the persons presenting their notes, after the last farthing was gone, could have reasonably complained that " more fortunate," or as A Creditor" adds, more "favoured," holders were before them.
London, 24th March 1834.
Your obedient servant,
MR. WILLMOTT'S LIVES OF SACRED POETS.*
"WE live in times of transition, when old feelings are passing away; ancient institutions crumbling into dust. The age of romance has vanished; the age of utility has arisen in its place. Few amongst us have now the privilege of contemplating the face of poetry in the still air of uninterrupted studies on every side we are saluted with the Io! of some new triumph of science and utility." Many, like Mr. Willmott, will survey the revolution, commemorated in this extract from his elegantly-written preface, with a sentiment of regret, and would, without offering any meditated affront to the dignity of utilitarianism, gladly recall the days when "the presence of the sacred muse was revealed in the common paths of human life, by the tranquillity and ease which were diffused around her."
In times so little propitious to poetry as these "evil days," when we are scornfully asked, what have poets done to benefit mankind? it appears a hardy and desperate undertaking to challenge public attention to our early sacred poets, whose works have been so long shamefully flung aside as coarse dunghill weeds," and whose names are often used to invite a sneer or to barb a satire. Some degree of praise is fairly due to an author who thus gallantly enters upon what may be termed a forlorn hope; but Mr. Willmott's pretensions stand upon higher ground; for, in this volume, he has displayed a diligence of research, a soundness of criticism, a purity of style, and a perception of the genuine traits of poetry, which eminently qualify him to shine in a province of literature, where the fame of Johnson has deterred many from seeking distinction.
The poets who form the chief objects in the very pleasing picture which Mr. Willmott has traced, are Giles Fletcher, the author of Christ's Victorie, "one of the finest religious poems to which the early part of the seventeenth century gave birth;" the eccentric, unfortunate, and imprudent George Wither; the well-known Francis Quarles, so contemptuously and unjustly degraded by Pope; the pious and amiable George Herbert; and Richard Crashaw, from whose "dregs," as Warton calls them, Pope has, indeed, collected so much gold. In his account of the lives and the labours of these authors, as well as in his introduction, Mr. Willmott has interwoven biographical and critical notices of others of less reputation, but who do not deserve to be consigned to the oblivion into which they were fast sinking: amongst these are Drummond of Hawthornden, Herrick, Henry More, and Flatman.
Various causes have concurred to perpetuate the neglect from which the genius and undoubted merit of many of our early minor poets have not been sufficient to rescue them. They wrote when our language had hardly emerged from rudeness, and when the taste of the age ran strongly in favour of the puerile conceits, ingenious but 'strained, unnatural metaphors, and
* Lives of Sacred Poets; containing a Biographical and Critical View of English Sacred Poetry during the Reigns of Elizabeth, James, and Charles the First. By ROBERT ARIS WILLMOTT, Esq., of Trin. Coll., Cambridge. Published under the direction of the Committee of General Literature and Education, appointed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. London, 1834. Parker.
mere verbal dexterity, which, as Wither
On my soul's knees I lift my spirit's palms;
could, at other times, write in the following easy, natural, and poetic strain :
Ah! sweet Content, where is thy mild abode?
Is it with shepherds and light-hearted swains,
Tending their flocks and calling unto plains?
The minds and parts of every living thing?
Ah! sweet Content, where doth thine harbour hold?
Which praise the gods with prayers manifold,
And in their studies meditate it then?
The success, which sometimes attended the painful efforts of these poets, in their unnatural attempts to outdo nature, occasionally blinds us to the deformity of the vice. The following image, in some verses of Giles Fletcher, on the "velvet-headed violets," is so striking and beautiful, that we almost forget that it is, after all, a conceit:
So let the silver dew but lightly lie,
Like little watery worlds, within your azure sky!
Mr. Willmott has not commended beyond its deserts the great poem of this author, Christ's Victorie, which abounds with passages displaying much sublimity and force of imagery, alternately reminding us strongly of the Paradise Lost and the Faery Queen. Fletcher died before the publication of the former poem; the Faery Queen appeared in 1590, and the first edition of Christ's Victorie in 1610.
The most copious and the most interesting of these biographies is that of George Wither, whose singular history Mr. Willmott has traced with great diligence, and whose character he has delineated with a firm and steady pencil, without exaggerating or making too prominent its virtues or its weaknesses. Throughout the volume, indeed, there reigns a tone of charitable and kindly feeling, which by no means impairs the effect of the author's criticism.
Wither, though a puritan, was a rational and an honest one; that is, he had no crooked designs in his puritanism. He says, "I am not for or against
the Presbyterians, Independents, king, parliament, members, or people, more or less than in my judgment may conduct to the wrong or the right way, from or toward the truth of God." He desired a reformation, not an extirpation, of the royal power; he drew up a petition against the execution of the king, but could not find a member bold enough to present it; and in the zenith of Cromwell's power, he showed himself perfectly independent of his smiles or frowns. As a politician, Mr. Willmott remarks, "he was weak and inconsistent; a reed shaken by every wind." He, however, paid dearly for his vacillations, having sacrificed a good estate for no return but a series of persecutions, only exceeded by those of De Foe. As an author, and especially as a poet,-in which latter capacity the public have been the better provided with means of judging since the publication of some of his pieces by Sir. Egerton Brydges, he is not likely to rank high. His multifarious productions are tedious, prosaic, and so overloaded with base matter, that the gold will scarcely repay the toil of digging and refining. He has the merit, however, of writing in a simple and easy style, having been an avowed enemy to "verbal conceits;" and there are passages, here and there, in his works, which, though they will not leaven the entire lump, still suffice to vindicate Wither's claim to the title of poet.
The devout or rather enthusiastic spirit, which breathes through the poems of George Herbert,—the "head-work and heart-work," as Baxter expresses it, though, perhaps, the chief ground of his popularity in his own day, very much restricted it in after times. Of his Temple, published in 1633, it has been said, though with some exaggeration and injustice, that it is "a compound of enthusiasm without sublimity, and conceit without ingenuity or imagination." Mr. Willmott acknowledges that "if Herbert had been less enthusiastic in his devotional feelings, his poems would have been more generally popular;" and the reader will find his conceits plentiful, and not of a very striking character.
The poems of Richard Crashaw, who is characterized, by no less a pen than Cowley's, as
Poet and saint, to whom alone are given,
The two most sacred names of earth and heaven;
and which Pope says he read "twice or thrice," and found "may just deserve reading," are perhaps better known at the present day than the works of any writer in the volume before us, except those of Sternhold and Hopkins. He is classed amongst the metaphysical poets unjustly; his pieces are freer from conceits than those of his contemporaries, exhibiting a sufficient number only (and those of the better sort) to keep them in decent conformity with the fashion. His paraphrase of the Dies Ira has been admired, praised, and plundered: it is no slight tribute to the merit of Crashaw, that his works have been (stealthily) imitated as frequently as those of classical authors.
Our recommendation of Mr. Willmott's volume is given with confidence; for we are convinced that no reader of taste will rise from its perusal with any other sentiment than that of satisfaction.
Asiat. Jour.N.S.VOL.14. No.53.
GOVERNMENTS OF THE EAST.
TO THE EDITOR.
SIR: In the Journal Asiatique of Paris there appears, annually, a list of the principal sovereigns of Asia and North Africa for the current year, with statistical notices. The only value of such a document consists in its being at least tolerably correct, whereas it is full of inaccuracies, which are continued from year to year. The following errors, amongst many others, occur in the list for 1834.
Bengal.-Lord Wm. Bentinck, it is stated, succeeded Lord Amherst in May 1828; whereas his lordship was appointed on the 17th October 1827, and did not arrive at Calcutta till the 4th July 1828, on which day he was proclaimed.
The area of the presidency of Bengal, it is said, contains 328,000 English square miles, and 57,500,000 subjects; whereas, from official parliamentary returns, published more than two years ago, and republished in the Asiatic Journal, the extent of the presidency appears to be 306,012 square miles only, but the number of inhabitants is 69,710,071, exclusive of those in the ceded districts on the Nerbudda and in Berar, whence there are no returns, which would probably swell the total to 90,000,000.
Madras -The governor of this presidency is said to be "Le Comte Clare " (also represented as governor of Bombay), who is said to have succeeded" Sir Stephen Lushington;" whereas it was Sir Frederick Adam who succeeded Mr. S. R. Lushington, on the 25th October 1832.
The extent of territory under this presidency is stated at 145,000 square miles, and the number of inhabitants at 15,000,000; whereas, the former is 141,923, and the latter 13,508,535.
Bombay. In like manner, this presidency has 71,000 square miles assigned to it, and 10,500,000 inhabitants; although with the Concans, Poonah, Ahmednuggur, Ahmedabad, Kandeish, &c., its extent is but 64,988 square miles, and its inhabitants but 6,251,546.
Under Ceylon, the present governor is represented to have succeeded, in March 1831, Sir Hudson Lowe; whereas he was appointed in February, in succession to Sir Edward Barnes: Sir Hudson was never governor of Ceylon.
In the native states of India, errors equally or more glaring appear; the figures being taken, in all cases, from the first edition of Hamilton's Gazetteer, founded upon merely loose estimates.
The scanty particulars given of the sovereigns of Transoxiana and northern Asia are often incorrect, though many facts might have been obtained from the communications of Messrs. Burnes and Gerard, respecting those countries, published in your Journal. Neither are the details of Ultra-Gangetic India fuller or more exact. One instance will suffice.
Under the Birman Empire, the writer says, the king Maduchaou “died a few months back; the name of his successor is unknown." This has appeared, totidem verbis, in each list since January 1832 inclusive, and it is wrong, there having been no demise of the crown in Ava for some years.
As I before remarked, the entire value of these details depends upon their, accuracy.