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“ That great good man-good, but not so great as he afterwards proved himself—was only once in the printing office. I had ordered a certain thing to be done ; the man demurred. My order to him was to obey. I knew what was right. With acute perception, that shrewd good man said,
is right !" then walked down stairs. From that time, I never saw that distinguished gentleman in the printing office, though our connection lasted till his death,
-a duration of upwards of fifteen years.
Years rolled on, pleasantly too; for my studio was next to that of a gentleman whom 1 esteemed for his worth, whom I admired for his talent, and whose example was one of the brightest that could be set forth to a young man.
I say my studio : for the pen was still in requisition, though I became one of the largest newspaper printers in London. I was of the printing office, not in it, and managed the whole easily by kindness and by system.
Here, again, I found my French of great advantage; for my services in that respect were occasionally useful to Mr. Wilson, which tended to unite our friendship by a closer tie than otherwise would have been effected.
Years rolled on, and with each year Mr. James Wilson rose a step in the ladder of fame, while my printing office grew from a wooden press to two offices with seven steam printing machines. Indeed, had I been desirous of being a large printer, I might have been so under distinguished patronage ; but I cared little about amassing wealth to the sacrifice of intellectual pursuits ; so I studied ! wrote! and hoped !
After the tedium of the day, I occasionally passed pleasant hours with Mr. Wilson ; but were I to narrate to you all the pleasurable moments I have passed with that dear departed friend, I could fill a volume. On one occasion I received a letter, dated Claverton Manor, requesting me to be there in the evening. I started by the train for Bath. On arriving, I
hired a cab, and drove up to Claverton Manor. I rang the bell; the porter was at the gate; and behind him the Right Hon. James Wilson. He came forward, shook me by the hand, and when the cab was being driven away,
asked me where my portmanteau was ?
"I have no portmanteau.
Well, that I can easily do." “ But,” he said, laughingly, " where's your night-shirt ?”
I smilingly answered, “ How many times have both you and I slept—a hard couch for sleeping-place, lulled by the knocking-up of formes, and the whirring of the engine?”
“Come along! You're a strange fellow !"
I entered the drawing-room. It would not be easy to describe the happiness of that united family. You must not imagine that these great men, my son, have not their moments of joyousness. Quite the reverse. In their homes, they are children in hilarious merriment; and the charm which attends the moments, stolen from weighty cares and deep thought, is scarcely describable. It is, as it were, a delicious stream, wherein they float, filled with philanthropy, unconscious of their mighty tasks! Bed-time arrived; I was shown to my room by that excellent and amiable man, who, as he said “Good night!" with a pleasant twinkle in his eye, presented me with a night-shirt.
But what a night was that, my son !
I was in a state of collapse ! Drowned, as it were, in a sea of eider-down! Smothered, or nearly so! Sleep I could not. I said to myself, “Is this the bed of luxury ? Oh, for my hard sofa.”
I was up by sunrise ; and, always a lover of nature, experienced delight in its contemplation.
I returned to breakfast. " How did you sleep, Mr. ?” “Sleep!” I said, “Sleep! How could I sleep in an oven ?”
OF THE GREAT AND GOOD.
“Rather, ask me how I have survived the luxury of being smothered in a bed of down!"
After breakfast we visited the fernery, where I was astonished at the knowledge of plants and flowers possessed by Mr. Wilson. Then we visited the stable, when he asked me if I could ride.
“When I was a boy I used to take the Paisley coach-horses to the river Cart. No saddle nor bridle, only a halter ; but those horses had not the eye of yours.
Not that I am afraid, but I would not like it to be said that you had invited a man to your house who could not sit his saddle.
Mr. Wilson smiled, saying, “ Well; we shall use our feet, then.” We walked up the Downs, laughing and chatting; his genial liveliness and vigour giving life to the instructiveness of his conversation; then we returned to dinner, where humour and happiness reigned.
Poor Mr. Wilson! To rise as he did by his own ability from a hatter to the high position which he had attained to be Secretary of the Treasury-and then to go to India for his country's sake, and sacrifice his useful life so soon! Sad, sad, indeed! His funeral, my son, was the largest ever known at Calcutta, and was attended by almost the entire population, from the Governor-General downwards, and not a single voice dissented from the general grief.
“ That he should have come out to die here !" 16 That he should have left a great English career for this !" were the phrases in every one's mouth.
When I first heard the melancholy intelligence of his death, we were playing, my son, with pebbles at the sea-side at Hastings.
An old gentleman came to me abruptly, with a paper in his hand, saying "What a loss you have had Mr. .
My question was"What do you mean ?” " JAMES WILSON IS DEAD!"
You remember how I snatched the paper from him : read the lines ; but remained in utter disbelief. I rushed away to seek the Times and Daily News ; for the paper he showed me had on occasions contained doubtful intelligence. I hastily went from shop to shop, till I obtained the papers I sought. Alas ! the news appeared to be but too true; yet, still I doubted. We started by the next train for London, where doubt gave way to stern reality.
As the life of the late Right Hon. James Wilson affords many bright traits from which your father profited much, a recapitulation of a few, extracted from his “Life,” by his talented son-in-law, Mr. W. Bagehot, may prove edifying and beneficial in the guidance of your head and heart, both of which Mr. Wilson possessed to an eminent degree.
“ In 1836, or thereabouts, Mr. Wilson was unfortunately induced to commence a speculation in indigo, in conjunction with a gentleman in Scotland. It was expected that indigo would be scarce, and that the price would rise rapidly in consequence. Such would indeed appear to have been the case for a short period, since the first purchases in which Mr. Wilson took part yielded a profit. In consequence of this success, he was induced to try a larger venture-indeed to embark most of his disposable capital. Unfortunately, the severe crisis of 1837 disturbed the usual course of all trades, and whether from that cause or from some other, indigo, instead of rising rapidly, fell rapidly. The effect on Mr. Wilson's position may be easily guessed. A very great capitalist would have been able to hold till better times, but he was not. • On the first of January,' he said at Devonport, ' in a given year, my capital was nearer
25,0001. than 24,0001., and it was all lost.' Numerous stories were long circulated-most of them exaggerated, and the remainder wholly untrue, as to this period of misfortune in Mr. Wilson's life; but the truth is very simple. As is usual in such cases, various arrangements were proposed and agreed to, were afterwards abandoned, and others substituted for them. A large bundle of papers, carefully preserved by him, records with the utmost accuracy the whole of the history. The final result will be best described in his own words at Devonport, which precisely correspond with the balance-sheets and other documents still in existence. They are part of a speech in answer to a calumnious rumour that had been circulated in the town: Now how did I act on this occasion ? And this is what this placard has reference to. By my own means alone I was enabled at once to satisfy in full all claims against me individually, and to provide for the early payment of one-half of the whole of the demands against the firm, consisting of myself and three partners. I was further enabled, or the firm was enabled, at once to assign property of sufficient value, as was supposed, to the full satisfaction of the whole of the remainder of the liabilities. An absolute agreement was made, and an absolute release was given to all the partners ; there was neither a bankruptcy nor an insolvency, neith
business stopped for one day. The business was continued under the new firm, with which I remained a partner, and from which I ultimately retired in good circumstances. Some years afterwards it turned out that the foreign property which was assigned for the remaining half of the debts of the old firm, of which I was formerly a partner, proved insufficient to discharge them. The legal liability was, as you know, all gone; the arrangement had been accepted—an arrangement calculated and believed by all parties to be sufficient to satisfy all claims in full ; but when the affairs of the whole concern were fully wound up, finding that the foreign property had not realised what was anti