Page images
[ocr errors]

not heard from the most credible testimony, or read in indisputable records, that considerable success bas attended all these seemingly miraculous performances? There is little doubt but that hundreds have .thus been cured, who had previously defied the power of medicine: and yet with the exception of the last instance we do not believe that prayers constituted any part of the ceremony of healing. Why then should the prayers of Prince Hohenlohe be supposed either by Catholics or Protestants to be the cause of Miss O'Connor's cure, or of any of the cures wrought under his directions? The “ Protestant Physician to the Convent” tells ns with singular inconsistency, that the sentiments of those persons who attribute the cure to the prayers of Prince Hohenlohe are very much his own; and then takes some pains to shew that there is nothing in this “ extraordinary, " '“ wonderful,” “miraculous" event, but what has happened repeatedly before-that a violent excitement of the mind has effected what medicine could not effect. That the cause of the swollen arm, whatever it might be; a complaint at any rate, as it would seem, of the blood-vessels, in which no pus or disorganization had been produced, but in which violent inflammation and enlargement were the chief symptoms ; that a complaint of such a description should gradually have subsided in consequence of the removal of some obstruction of the healthy circulation by the violent and sudden operation of the mind, cannot, surely, be deemed a mighty wonder, though it may not happen every day.

In short, we cannot, as Protestants, properly ascribe the honour of the event recorded in Dr. Badeley's “ authentic narrative," to the prayers of Prince Hohenlohe, because it would be conceding, that he receives from above the power of healing diseases without the intervention of external means, or, in other words, of working miracles. As reasonable men we are not justified in attributing to a supernatural cause that which may be, and has often been, the effect of a natural one. But the recovery of Miss O'Connor might very probably arise from the strong affection of the mind, produced by her confidence in Prince Hohenlohe's character; for similar cures have been performed by similar persuasions. To the state of mind, then, into which she was thrown by the act of fulfilling his directions, and by the ardent enthusiasm, probably excited by the concomitant circumstances; and still more probably by the sudden transition from hope to despair, by the excessive mortification of seeing her expectations blighted, and believing herself rejected by the Almighty, as unworthy of the mercy which she sought; to the mental agitation occasioned by all this whirl of feeling, and not to the prayers of Prince Hohenlohe, which might or might not be offered, must we in consistency and common sense, attribute that revulsion which produced the sensation in her arm, and laid the foundation for her gradual recovery.

This appears to us to be the just view of the subject, and to simplify the matter so much as to prevent its assuming a dangerous form, either as a snare to the weak, or a handle to the wicked. We have devoted more time and space to the consideration of Dr. Badeley's suggestions than we intended, having meant to confine ourselves to the narrative; but we could not allow many of the inferences which might be drawn from his opinion, and some of his own remarks which affect the fundamental principles of the Protestant Faith, and the credit of the Priesthood of the Church of England, to pass unnoticed.

Before we conclude, however, we must be permitted once more to observe upon the strange, not to say irreverent, assertion, that Protestants and Catholics unite at, last in one belief; by faith bodies are saved here and souls hereafter." Surely Dr. Badeley does not mean to put upon a footing that superstitious confidence, that imaginary security, that absurd and groundless trust which is placed by the ignorant or the enthusiastic in the horse-shoe on the threshold, or the relic in the shrine, with saving FAITH in the Divine Redeemer of Mankind. There is every reason to believe, for there are examples of the fact, that any one passion of the mind--that fear, grief, hatred, anger or disappointment suddenly and violently excited, would no less than confidence, bave effected such a change as that which took place in Miss O'Connor's arm : supposing that faith is the agitating principle, it may be widely different from religious faith, as when it rests on the instrument, the ceremony, the charm, the relic, or the man; any where but on the Creator, and the one Mediator between God and us.

As a member of the Church of England, as a medical man, and as an advocate, we do not think that Dr. Badeley has executed his self-imposed task in a useful manner, or made the best of his very slender materials. We shall be glad to find that he does not rather aggravate than allay, the spirit of the controversy, which has already been stirred up by the use of the word miracle, and that no harm ensues from his interference.

Of Prince Alexander Hohenlohe, or of the general nature of the cures performed by him, we have not at prosent sufficient authentic documents to enable us to speak decidedly, but at some future opportunity we may return to the subject, and tell some greater wonders still,

Art. IV. Anecdotes, Biographical Sketches and Memoirs :

collecled by Lætitia-Matilda Hawkins. Vol. I. 8vo.

9s. pp. 306. Rivingtons. 1822. If our disposition led us to refinements of revenge, we should be little contented with the simple wish that our enemy would write a book. The style and manner in which his pen is to be employed must be specifically defined, if we are to have our fill of vengeance; and he must not only write a book, but his book must be a book of auto-biography. The reading world will then take ample care to satisfy us for the rest; and the good and evil which all real consessions must embrace will be respectively extenuated and set down in malice, till the outline of himself which the author sought to preserve, with a fidelity which no one else could attain, is completely lost and obliterated by the varied colouring which has been rubbed in by the hands of others. Miss Hawkins, in her present publication, without immediately undertaking to write her own life, has employed herself on a task of scarcely less difficulty and danger, that of recording how her life has been passed in relation to those with whom she has been associated; or, in other words, of telling all that she thinks worthy of being told of such persons, with whom she has been thrown in collision during the course of more than half a century. Of the delicacy of her attempt, if we may judge from its execution, it is impossible that any one can be more thoroughly apprised than she herself bas been. And though much may be allowed to an andeviating correctness of principle and of taste, which has prevented this lady from mingling in any society but that of which the memorial deserves a higher praise, than that it is merely agreeable, yet we cannot but think that something and that not a little, is due to the nice propriety and fine adjustment, if we may so say, of feeling, which has enabled her carefully to exclude from 350 pages of contemporary memoir a single anecdote which, even remotely, could give pain to a single individual.

After having premised that which Miss Hawkins premises for herself, and every syllable of which is fully borne out by

her subsequent pages, we shall endeavour to place our readers in possession of a summary of their contents. A severe and tedious indisposition, which for many months pat an end to more operose employment, induced a mind unaccustomed to, and therefore intolerant of idleness, to throw together such scraps of circumstance as a life of some length bad been able to collect, and which a babit of committing them to paper had assisted in preserving. These are “ the motives” and “ the authorities” alluded to below.

“ Little of preface is necessary to this light work. I have said in the outset all I could, to explain to the reader, the motives to compiling it, the authorities on which the facts contained in it rest, and the spirit by which I have been guided in the selection. I have anticipated censure and I have asked for indulgence. I have therefore, now one volume is closed, only to express my hope that I have not disappointed expectation or forfeited confidence. If I have, after all my care and circumspection, been the cause of a moment's pain or painful recollection to any human being, I shall repent my undertaking. If, by placing good actions in a luminous point of view, I have gratified any person connected with those who have acted well, I shall feel rewarded :-if I can excite any one to imitate what is praiseworthy, I shall indeed be over-paid for my labour.

“Should another and a very contrary species of error from that which gives pain, be laid to my charge, and it be said that I have flattered, I must plead not guilty,' and excuse myself for any such appearance, by saying, that having never had acquaintance with any but the worthy and the good, I have it not in my power to produce specimens of what is very wrong." P. vii.

Sir John Hawkins the father of Miss Hawkins, lived in the best literary society of that which may be considered as among the best of our literary ages : and from her earliest years Miss Hawkins was introduced to the knowledge of the giants of bye-gone times. She found her father (and this" periphrasis for her first acts of memory" needs no apology, for it is a highly expressive phrase) in intimacy among others, with Johnson, Hawkesworth, Horace Walpole, Goldsmith, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Bennet Langton, Tyrrwhit, George Steevens, Garrick, Paul Whitehead, Thomas Warton, Cracherode, Dr. Farmer, Bishops Lowth, Halifax, Percy and Hard. This was indeed a goodiy company, and it amply explains the “ sort of Hibernian regret” expressed by Miss Hawkins, that she “ was not born older."

That the estimate formed of many of these characters (which are so entirely publici juris that we have a right to form our estimate of them also) does not always coincide with our own, cannot be a matter of surprise to any one who knows the difference between an author seen only through the mist of years in full prelary costume, and a plain coat and waistcoat author, seen by a tea-table fire side. Thus we think Miss Hawkins, in the vivid remembrance which she preserves of Johnson's personal desagrémens, when he leant his powdered wig on her shoulder in fondling urbanity, is led unconsciously to detract from tbal unmeasured power, that ingenium ingens in a bark only inculti corporis, which made him the monarch, grim, perhaps, but not on that account only, the unapproachable monarch of the literature of his day. Again, we doubt not that the natural and laudable intluence which the courtesy of high rank exercises over a youthful mind has produced an impression in favoar of Ilorace Walpole, from which we, who know him only by the littleness of his first ponderous volumes, and the worse than littleness, the ripened malignity of his recent Memoires are wholly emancipated. With Paul Whitehead's privacy we are totally unacquainted: but our recollection of his poetry would induce us to place him far above the very low standard to which he is here reduced, when Sir John Hawkins is said to have had for him “ that relish which any one may have for the attendant of a mountebank.” It is not often since the days of Pope, that antithetical versification has been executed with as much pointeduess as will be found in Paul Whitehead's " Manners."

A near neighbour to Sir John Hawkins on Twickenham Common, was the Marchioness of Tweedale, at that time a widow; and a familiar intercourse subsisted between the families.

“ The Marchioness herself had been Lady Frances Carteret, a daughter of the Earl of Granville, whom, I believe, I may distin. guish as the elegantly, if not the classically read Lord Granville, and had been brought up by her jacobite aunt Lady Worsley, one of the most zealous of that party. The Marchioness herself told my father, that on her aunt's upbraiding her when a child, with not attending prayers, she answered that she heard her ladyship did not pray for the King: --Not pray for the King ?' said Lady Worsley, 'who says this ? I will have you and those who sent you, know that I du pray for the King ;-but I do not think it necessary to tell God Almighty who is King.'” P. 63.

His profound knowledge of that science of which he was afterwards the historian, introduced Sir John Hawkins to numerous musical acquaintance. One morning when he

« PreviousContinue »