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of Genius has been recommended from the carliest days till the time present ;—this being a more liberal patronage from those benefited. Speech after speech has been made, poem after poem written, essay
after essay put forth, book after book-tinctured with a bitter sense of the World's parsimony and hardness of heart ! l'ensions-professorships—that yet more direct relief from worldly cares which private assistance implies—have been again and again recommended, not merely as matters of feeling, but as matters of duty. And, as case after case of failure in happiness, disorder in affairs, and the fearfully common catastrophe, on which it were needless now to dwell, occurs; amiable and eloquent persons propound one or other of these remedies, in an agony of that kindly sympathy which longs to be “ up and doing,” and will not stay to ask how far such momentary succour as it can minister-escaping, thereby, its own uneasiness—may or may not tend to a reproduction, nay, to an increasc, of the same distress among children yet unborn!
Now, at the risk of being called hard, over-strained, ---precisely those names which are felt as more intolerable than grave accusations—I must assert, that this nostrum of Patronage, besides being impossible, would be wholly insufficient to the cnd proposed ; in whatsoever manner it were applied.–First as regards the impossibility. Who are to be the latrons ?-Who the l'atronised ? Some have said, that the Many should, in faith, combine to do honour to all capable of cxalting them, giving them pleasure, teaching them, and the like. Well, but are the Many sure to worship true divinities ?-Are the greatest, those with regard to whose claims they agree the most readily? Is it not those whom the Many neglect—will neither listen to, nor reward—that we are desired to pension (which is the patronage of the Few)? The Philosopher, that he may have leisure for recondite meditations,—The Historian, that he may follow out trains of claborate research, The Poct, that lie may continue his song above the crowd? The Many, then, must be led by the Few :-believe in their power, their impartiality, their skill as a Faculty to licence,—their acute perception of that which may be, as well as that which has been. But can you provide against anti-chambering, with all its evil moral influences,-against such virtual injustice being again and again repeated, as the Specious Projector, pushing foremost into the honours and the emoluments, which better men are too timid to solicit, or too proud to claim ? And, if you can exclude the Few from small per
sonal influences, are you sure that they may not set up false gods, and overlook the true ones? Consider, again, how fine à hair-line
separates the original from the eccentric man :-how apt Indolence is to mistake itself for Contemplation :-how an honest wrongheadedness may impose on one or two admiring friends, for that singlehearted devotion which will ultimately achieve greatness ! For one wreath of laurel which would fall on befitting brows, half-adozen would drop amiss ; since there is something in the act of patronage prepense, that is sorely destructive of judgment. “My God is better than your God, because you cannot understand him!” IIas this been never the cry—even among the learned and gifted themselves ?-how much the more, then, shall it arise among
those whose very duties imply less learning-fewer gifts—but wealth in greater plenty? If Patronage is to mean the right Man placed by others in the right place—the Patron must be, not only as well instructed, but as self-sacrificing as, the Man! Again, what is to be the nieasure of Patronage ?
A competence.—As agreed on by whom? If you are to help the Poet, for the sake of his Poetry, dare you answer it to your conscience to check or to criticise his tastes? If you are to give your IIistorian the means of carrying out his researches, is it fair to quarrel with his passion for old books and precious manuscripts—bread of life to him—though well nighı as hard to be come by, as Pitt and Pigot diamonds ? Patronage by halves leaves the thing undone, the grievance unredressed :-Patronage by wholes, leaves you at the
mercy of appetite, reasonable or unreasonable, and without a right to restrain or distinguish. These may be but naked outlines, but the fillings-up, with their forms and colours, must be familiar to every one, who has studied not merely the aspirations but the self-delusions-yet more the appetites-of the Man of Genius. They may but seem flat assertions, yet, for their disproof, new facts and phenomena must be assembled : and those before the World set aside. In this, let me solemnly declare, I mean neither reproach nor unkindness to those more gifted than myself ; but, by pointing out the difference between their scale and the World's (which is in nothing greater than the estimation of what is befitting), to demonstrate the impossibility of any measure of patronage, such as some beneficent persons desire, being satisfactory—seeing that the Patron is called upon to allow for dreams, as well as realities, and is denied the right of question and search; since how can he tell, but that such very scrutiny may bring, of itself, destruction
to all those finer thoughts and more mysterious processes it is his express business to let live ” and to “ make flourish ?”
It would be indecent-it would be needlessly wounding—to call the crowd of witnesses who could prove the above assertions to be founded in sad truth who could demonstrate that the Men of Genius to whom assistance has been the most largely given, have been the least content, the most supine. I cannot admit as valid the argument which some among the considerate are apt, apologetically to make ;-namely, that smallness of amount in production necessarily implies superior quality. I believe it will be found that the most perfect and symmetrical creations are not those to which the process of revision and polish has been again and again applied. There is a self-contemplativeness which becomes morbid -impatient of all individuality — in its agony to produce what never
was, and never yet shall be, faultless piece,”—fastidiously effacing stroke after stroke, trace after trace, till the result is indeed sometimes wondrously finished but still lacking vitality. Yet this is taking the favourable aspect of Genius at leisure ; at ease with regard to its future, content in its present immunity from cares, and willing to devote itself and its powers to their best development. On the other hand, are there no such pitfalls as sloth, sensual indulgence, immoderate desire, into which the Privileged are apt -- I will boldly say, are encouraged — to fall ? Does any plan of Patronage bridge over these, so as to make the pilgrimage in general safer, or more directly tending to its upward goal? I fear the experience of all ages would decide in the negative. It matters little whether the Man of Art or of Letters be dependant on a Buckingham or a Chesterfield, or on that department of government which a Buckingham or a Chesterfield administers (it being admitted, I take for granted, that his election to honours, at least, is not one on which universal popular suffrage can be brought to bear). We may refer to the days amongst us, when dedications earned their guineas, and noble houses maintained their “led authors,” without fear of its being proved that Men of Genius, as a class, were either greater, better, happier, or more productive than now.
There is yet one more mis-statement of the case so perpetually made, as to be worth looking into. The flimsiness of our current literature and art is mournfully ascribed to this want of Patronage.
0— would not have wasted himself on the Magazines, had literature met due honours among us. What, then, can you prove
that ()-- would have done any thing better — have become a scholar? From another victim, notable works of Art might have been expected, if like facilities had been granted.—Is not the whole World's Ilistory at variance with this? I cannot, with all my faith, believe that means to subsist and to enjoy such as had satisfied ()—---'s desires would have made him a great poet, he huring nerer shown himself such alreaily :—that any amount of commissions, with time ad libitum, would convert Stone-Cutter, into a Sculptor! Yet there are many who assert that the writer who has given no signs of depth, remains frivolous because he must work for the market, that the stone-hewer, by the compulsory manufacture of busts, is rendereil incapable of Apollo Belvideres anl Dancing Fauns. Do we legislate in any other case of social disoriler on vlut might be? Do we not appeal from what is before us to uhat luas born? Reasoning from the past, and seeing that honours, &c., can be at best but limited, what would be the fruits of conjectural l'atronaye, save further exclusion from kind consideration of the very persons it is meant to serve ?-a sadder injustice than any the world has yet seen!
Such are some among the difficulties attendant on the soothing and sympathising system, carried out, with regard to People of Genius, by the World undertaking the stewardship of their fortunes. Yet are we, therefore, to sit down and bemoan the woes of the Gifted, as beyond remedy? This is worse than the incomplete attempt at redress made by humane persons, afflicted by the sight of suffering.—But I am firmly convinced that whatever be the measures in relief we obtain from the kindness or wring from the shame of men, they will be all found vain, even hurtful, unless The Artist be first prevailed upon to help himself: to study cre he begins his career, its privileges, its trials—his true calling, his true position,-in brief—to look for his reward within, and not to the outer world ; and to preserve as jealously as he would the power of his right hand or the sight of his right eyehis independence. I would say to all about to commence the climbing of the steep, “What is it you do? What seek you
you work out the great ideas and the noble thoughts which God has given you,—for the sake of their beauty, and their loftiness, which brings you nearer Feaven than your fellows ? Or would you have riches and honours—the praise of men
n-the acknowledgment in every delicious form, that you are greater
and better than they?” The latter motive, believe me, will not carry you far. Fevers, discords, disappointments, jealousies, mean concessions of your own nobility to those who cannot appreciate it—thirst for praise, not DESIRE FOR TRUTII, must attend your career—if this be its end and aim. The calling of an Artist is one of as much renunciation as the profession of a Priest. Do the tastes of the former press upon him more vehemently, than the appetites and passions of the latter? Yet, The Priest, because his profession is high, is required to live a life apart and peculiar as an example. Does he murmur at this? Does the World pity him therefore? Why, then, if he is to be sharply visited by public censure should he be covetous, unchaste, slanderous, wrathful,ought The Artist to fare better : if he, whose express duty it is to keep a serene spirit, by extravagance or licence succeeds in so clouding it with care, that no self-discipline can thenceforth clear it?
And that this view of what might be, is not wholly Utopian, we have many examples. It is not, I repeat, by the most self-indulgent, or the most prosperous
that the greatest artistic creations have been made. There is something in self-sacrifice-steadily, not fanatically pursued, which strengthens every nerve and muscle, and decpens every thought --which, by invigorating the mind, enhances all its powers of abstraction. If sharp trial and emergency have been known to wring from the gifteil some of their most precious crcations,—a lite of simple habits, and the self-respect insured by lionourable toil for independence, cannot surely do othorwise than maintain The Artist's thoughts åt that exalted point, — where the opinions of Man become of little consequence, IIcaven is so near!-And I firmly believe that independence consistent with a certain leisure, enough for any Genius that WILL to work its purposes out—is at the command of every artist: without indignity or needless degradation. Xay, while he is subduing himself, to toil for his daily breail-he has a chance in that very toil to raise the taste of the Many. Be he a sign-painter wită his historical treasure in the garret—or a penny-a-liner (like your humble servant, the writer,) with his treatise on Philosophy, or his tragedy in his trunk,—or a music-master compelled to find a capacity for dull children, when his dreams are of Operas and Symphonies such as Beethoven wrote, -if the Spirit of Iligh Art be with him, he will perform what seem at times repulsive mechanical tasks, with an habitual truth and conscience. HIC will throw the poetry of his soul, and thic honour of his virtuc, into