« AnteriorContinuar »
Mr. Hogg's account of it, it is sufficiently ward and unaffected account of his Uniclear that this alarming performance was versity acquaintance with his illustrious nothing else than a squib, prompted friend. In fact, he was then doing for perhaps by the decided success of the bur- Shelley what the University ought to lesque verses the friends had published have done, and did not. « The use of in the name of “My Aunt Margaret the University of Oxford,” remarked an Nicholson;" at all events a natural corol- Oxonian to Mr. Bagehot, “is that no lary from Shelley's inconvenient habit of one can overread himself there. The writing interminable letters to everybody “appetite for indiscriminate knowabout everything. Of course Stockdale ledge is repressed. A blight is declined to print it himself, and we can “thrown over the ingenuous mind,” readily believe that he employed his &c. Mr. Hogg's companionship was best efforts to dissuade Shelley from
same thing for Shelley having it printed by another. There the in a different way, not quelling his matter might have rested, but, unluckily, friend's thirst for interminable discussion in spite of Shelley's anticipations, the by repulsion, but by satiety. The entire public had not been captivated by the character of their intimacy is faithfully title-page or any other portion of St. miniatured in the celebrated story of the Irvyne," and the bookseller was begin- dog that tore Shelley's skirts, whereupon ning to feel uneasy about his bill.' Shel- the exasperated poet set off to his ley was a minor, dependent on a father College for a pistol. “I accompanied persuaded that short allowances make “him," says Mr. Hogg, “but on the good sons, and who, on the subject being way took occasion to engage him in delicately mooted to him, had less mildly a metaphysical discussion on the nature than firmly declared his determination of
anger, in the course of which he not to pay one single farthing. In this "condemned that passion with great strait, Stockdale seems to have argued “ vehemence, and could hardly be that he should best earn his claim by“ brought to allow that it could be justirendering the Shelleys an important “fiable in any instance.” It is needless service, which might be accomplished to add that the dog went unpunished; by preventing the appearance of Percy's and, had the Oxford authorities possessed adventurous pamphlet. At the same the slightest insight into Shelley's pecutime, it was essential that his merits liarities of disposition, and Mr. Hogg's should be recognised by Sir Timothy, merits as
merits as a safety-valve, they might which could not well be, if he were have preserved an illustrious modern scrupulous in respecting his son's con- ornament of their University. Stockfidence. Yet it was equally necessary to dale, as we have seen, was all anxiety avoid creating an irreparable breach to frame a bill of indictment; and, his between the two, and therefore highly wife chancing to have relations in the desirable to find some one to whose evil part of Buckinghamshire where Mr. communications the deterioration of Shel- Hogg had been residing, he availed ley's patrician manners might be plau- himself of the circumstance to make sibly ascribed. Such a scape-goat provi- inquiries. In those days Mr. Hogg's dentially presented itself in the person of “Life of Shelley” was not, and the Mr. Jefferson Hogg, who, happening to world had not learned on his own be in town about the beginning of 1811, authority that not only “he would not had several times called upon Stockdale “walk across Chancery Lane in the on Shelley's business, and at his request. “narrowest part to redress all the
The absurdity of the insinuation he wrongs of Ireland, past, present, and nevertheless did not scruple to make “ to come,” but, which is even more to seems not to have altogether escaped the the purpose, that “he has always been publisher himself, and must be perfectly “totally ignorant respecting all the apparent to us who have had the advan- “ varieties of religious dissent." It was tage of perusing Mr. Hogg's straightfor- therefore easier for Mrs. Stockdale to
collect, with incredible celerity, full On receiving this, Stockdale wrote materials for such a representation of Sir Timothy a letter, which the baronet, Shelley's honest but unspeculative friend like Dr. Folliott, in “Crotchet Castle," as suited the views of her husband, who appears to have considered “deficient in immediately transmitted the account to “the two great requisites of head and Sir Timothy. Sir Timothy naturally “ tail :"informed his son, who informed Mr. Hogg, who immediately visited the de
“FIELD PLACE, 30th of January, 1811. linquent publisher with two most indig
“Sir, I am so surprised at the renant letters, which that pachydermatous ceipt of your letter of this morning, that personage has very composedly repro
I cannot comprehend the meaning of duced in his journal exactly as they the language you use. I shall be in were written. Shelley does not appear
London next week, and will then call to have fulfilled his intention of calling
on you. upon Stockdale in London ; but, the
“I am, sir, latter's replies to Mr. Hogg proving emi
“ Your obedient humble servant, nently unsatisfactory, with his wonted
“T. SHELLEY.” chivalry of feeling he addressed him the following letter from Oxford :
Sir Timothy did call, and Stockdale 'OXFORD, 28th of January, 1811.
gave him such particulars as the “ Sir,—On my arrival at Oxford, my
urgency of the case required. The friend Mr. Hogg communicated to me
consequence was,” he continues, with the letters which passed in consequence
touching simplicity, “ that all concerned
became inimical to me." of your misrepresentations of his character, the abuse of that confidence which
Shelley's expulsion took place on the
25th of March. He immediately came he invariably reposed in you. I now, sir, demand to know whether you mean
to town, and on April 11th addressed
this note to Stockdale :the evasions in your first letter to Mr. Hogg, your insulting attempted cool
"15, POLAND STREET, OXFORD STREET. ness in your second, as a means of
“SIR,— Will you have the goodness to escaping safely from the opprobrium inform me of the number of copies which naturally attached to so ungentlemanly
you have sold of St. Irvyne ? Circuman abuse of confidence (to say nothing
stances may occur which will oblige me of misrepresentations) as that which
to wish for my accounts suddenly ; permy father communicated to me, or as a
haps you had better make them out. denial of the fact of having acted in this unprecedented, this scandalous man
“Your obedient humble servant, ner. If the former be your intention,
“P. B. SHELLEY." I will compassionate your cowardice, and my friend, pitying your weakness,
Stockdale delayed to act upon this will take no further notice of your con
suggestion ; and, when he at length sent temptible attempts at calumny. If the
in his account, Shelley had quitted latter is your intention, I feel it my duty
London. The bill, however, overtook to declare, as my veracity and that of
him in Radnorshire :my father is thereby called in question, that I will never be satistied, despicable “SIR,—Your letter has at length as I may consider the author of that reached me; the remoteness of my preaffront, until my friend has an ample sent situation must apologize for my apology for the injury you have at- apparent neglect. I am sorry to say, tempted to do him. I expect an imme- in answer to your requisition, that the diate, and demand a satisfactory letter. state of my finances renders immediate “Sir, I am,
payment perfectly impossible. It is my * Your obedient humble servant, intention, at the earliest period in my
“PERCY B. SHELLEY." power to do so, to discharge your ac
count. I am aware of the imprudence of "an age for reflection, and shed a gleam publishing a book so ill-digested as “St. “of ghastly light athwart the palpable Irvyne;' but are there no expectations “obscurity of his tomb." It must be on the profits of its sale ? My studies acknowledged that Stockdale's eloquence, have, since my writing it, been of a like Pandemonium, is rather sublime than more serious nature. I am at present luminous; it must ever remain uncertain engaged in completing a series of moral whether the “ghastly light” is supposed and metaphysical essays-perhaps their to be derived from the respect, or the copyright would be accepted in lieu of hope, or the wife, or the orphans, or the part of my debt?
“brief memoirs,” or any two or more of “Sir, I have the honour to be, these, or all five at once; and what * Your very humble servant, follows about the prayer of a hope of a
“ PERCY B. SHELLEY. possibility is even more unintelligible. “ CWMELAN, RHAYADER, RADNORSHIRE,
But those were days in which men disAugust 1st, 1811.”
paraged the character and genius of
Shelley as a matter of course, without The offer of “moral and metaphysical the remotest idea of the ridicule and essays” from one in Shelley's circum
contempt they were meriting at the stances could not well appear very hands of succeeding generations. Only inviting, and so the acquaintance of six years previously, a writer in the author and publisher ended in an unpaid Literary Gazette had expressed the disbill. This account, which cannot have appointment he had felt, in common been a large one, soon escaped Shelley's with all right-minded people, on learning memory, and, when better times arrived, that the author of “Queen Mab” posStockdale did nothing to remind him of sessed neither horns, tail, hoofs, or any it-an unaccountable oversight, unless other outward and : visible sign of the we can suppose him ignorant of the diabolical nature. 1 The progress of circumstances of one whose writings and public opinion respecting Shelley has proceedings were provoking so much imitated the famous variations of the public comment. In spite of his dis
Moniteur on occasion of Napoleon's appointment, Stockdale, who really
escape from Elba.
“The tiger has appears to have been captivated by “broken loose, the monster has landed, Shelley, and to have been not more “the traitor is at Grenoble, the enemy at forcibly impressed by the energy of his “Lyons, Napoleon is at Fontainebleau, intellect than by the loveliness of his “the emperor is in Paris !” Stockdale character, emphatically expresses “My flourished in the tigrine era, when it “fullest assurance of his honour and rec
was perfectly natural that he should “titude, and my conviction that he would terminate his articles by an invocation “vegetate, rather than live, to effect the
of “the seven other spirits, more wicked “discharge of every honest claim upon than himself." “him.” In default of having given him the opportunity, he endeavours, with full 1 This will be thought a parable or an extrasuccess, to extract the largest possible vaganza, and is, nevertheless, simple, serious, amount of self-glorification from his literal truth. There is a curious illustration of subject. Had he but had his own way,
the slight recognition Shelley's writings had
obtained so late as 1828, in Platen's exquisitely “What degradation and self-abasement classical address to his friend Rumohr, whom "might have been spared to the widowed he invites to visit him at his residence on an " wife and fatherless orphans, who, per
island in the Gulf of Spezzia, telling him “haps, at last, may be indebted to my brief that he will see, among other things, the spot
Wo der Freund “memoirs for the only ray of respect and
Jenes Dichters ertrank, “hope which may illumine their recollec- without the slightest allusion to Shelley's own “tions of a father when they have attained
achievements as a poet !
THE RAMSGATE LIFE-BOAT: A RESCUE 1
gale came on again in all its fury, and
they soon gave up all hopes of saving A WRECK OFF MARGATE.
the vessel. They hoisted their boat on
board, and all hands began to feel that The night of Sunday, the twelfth of
it was no longer a question of saving February, in the present year, was what sailors call a very dirty night. Heavy
the vessel, but of saving their own lives.
The sea began to break furiously over masses of clouds skirted the horizon as
the wreck, lifting her, and then bumping the sun set; and, as the night drew on,
her with crushing force upon the sands. violent gusts of wind swept along, accom
Her timbers did not long withstand this panied with snow squalls. It was a dan
trial of their strength ; a hole was soon gerous time for vessels in the Channel,
knocked in her; she filled with water, and it proved fatal to one at least.
and settled down upon the sand. The Before the light broke on Monday
waves began now to break over the deck ; morning, the thirteenth, the Margate the boat was speedily knocked to pieces lugger, Eclipse, put out to
and swept overboard ; the hatches were cruise around the sands and shoals in
and some of the cargo floated the neighbourhood of Margate, on the
on deck, and was washed away. The look out for any disasters that might brig began to roll fearfully as the waves have occurred during the night. The
one after another crashed over her; and crew soon discovered that a vessel
the men, fearing that she would be was ashore on the Margate Sands, and
forced on her broadside, cut the weather directly made for her. She proved to rigging of the mainmast, and it was be the Spanish brig Samaritano, of speedily swept overboard. All hands one hundred and seventy tons, bound
now sought refuge in the forerigging. from Antwerp to Santander, and laden
Nineteen lives had then no other with a valuable and miscellaneous cargo.
hope between them and a terrible Her crew consisted of Modeste Crispo,
death than' the few shrouds of that captain, and eleven men. It seems that shaking mast. The wind swept by them during a violent squall of snow and
with hurricane force ; each wave that wind the vessel was driven on the sands
broke upon the vessel sprang up into at about half-past five in the morning;
columns of foam, and drenched them to the crew attempted to put off in the
the skin; the air was full of spray and ship's boats, but in vain ; the oars were
sleet, which froze upon them as it fell. broken in the attempt, and the boats
And thus they waited, hour after hour, stove in.
and no help came, until one and all The lugger, Eclipse, as she was run
despaired of life. ning for the brig, spoke a Whitstable
In the meanwhile, news of the wreck smack, and borrowed two of her men
had spread like wildfire through Marand her boat. They boarded the vessel
gate. In spite of the gale and the as the tide went down, and hoped to be blinding snow squalls, many struggled able to get her off at high water.
to the cliff, and with spyglasses tried to this purpose six Margate boatmen and
penetrate the flying scud, or to gain, two of the Whitstable men were left on
through the breaks in the storm, glimpses board. But, with the rising tide, the
of the wreck.
As soon as they saw the peril the 1 The following narrative is by one who crew of the brig were in, the smaller of had the best local opportunities of being
the two Margate life-boats was manned, accurate, and of receiving accounts of every detail of the rescue from the lips of the men
and made to the rescue. But all the who were engaged in it.
efforts of her crew were ir rain; the gale
was furious, and the seas broke over and Nelson and The Lively, undaunted by filled the boat. This her gallant crew the fate of the life-boats, put off to heeded little at first, for they had every
The fate of one was soon confidence in the powers of the boat to settled; a fearful squall of wind caught ride safely through any storm, her air- her before she had got many hundred tight compartments preventing her from yards clear of the pier, and swept her sinking ; but to their dismay they found foremast out of her; and her crew, in that she was losing her buoyancy and turn, had to make every possible effort fast becoming unmanageable; she was to avoid being driven on the shore-rocks filling with water, which came up to the and wrecked. The Lively was more men's waists. The air-boxes had evi- fortunate ; she got to sea, but could not dently filled ; and they remembered, too cross the sand, or get to the wreck. late, that the valves with which each box The Margate people began to despair; is provided, in order to let out any and, when the tidings passed among the water that may leak in, had in the ex- crowd that the lieutenant of the Marcitement of starting been left unscrewed. gate coast-guard had sent an express Their boat was then no longer a life- over to Ramsgate for the Ramsgate boat, and the struggle became one for steamer and life-boat, it was thought their own safety. Although then within impossible, on the one hand, that they a quarter of a mile of the brig, there was could make their way round the North no help for it; the boat was unmanage- Foreland in the teeth of so tremendous able, and the only chance of life left to a gale, or, on the other, that the ship the boatmen was to run her ashore as could hold together, or the crew live, soon as possible on the nearest part of exposed as they were in the rigging, the coast. It was doubtful whether during the time it would of necessity they would be able to do even this, and take for the steamer and boat to get to it was not until after four hours battling them. with the sea and gale that they suc- We now change the scene to Ramsceeded in getting ashore in Westgate gate. Bay. There the coast-guard were ready to receive them, and did their best to revive the exhausted men. As soon as
CHAPTER II. it was discovered that the first life-boat had become disabled, the big life-boat
MAKING FOR THE WRECK. (The Friend of all Nations) was got ready. With much trouble it was drag- From an early hour on the Monday ged round to the other side of the pier, morning, groups of boatmen had asand there launched Away she started, sembled on the pier at Ramsgate, occaher brave crew doing their utmost to sionally joined by some of the most hardy battle with the gale, and work their way of the townspeople, or by a stray visitor, out to the brig; but all their efforts were attracted out by the wild scene that the in vain. The tremendous wind and sea storm presented. In the intervals beoverpowered them; the tiller gave way; tween the snow squalls, they could and, after a hard struggle, this life-boat faintly discern a vessel or two in the was driven ashore about a mile from the distance running before the gale; and town.
they were all keenly on the look out With both their life-boats wrecked, for signals of distress, that they might the Margate people gave up all hopes of put off to the rescue. But no such saving the crew of the vessel. There signal was given. Every now and then, seemed no hope for it; they must be as the wind boomed by, some landsman content to let them perish within their thought it the report of a gun from one sight. But this should not be the or other of the three light-vessels case until every possible effort had which guard the dangerous Goodwin been made ; and two luggers, The Sands; but the boatmen shook their