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have you read Dante, sir?” “ I have add, that Mr. Nicholls, in an elegant and endeavoured to understand hin,” replied interesting narrative of his travels (which Mr. N. Mr. Gray, being much pleased he never intended to make public), has with the illustration, and with the taste privately recorded whatever fixed his which it evinced, addressed the chief of mind, exalted his jinagination, and rehis discourse to trin for the remainder of fined his judgment. The celebrated and the evening, and invited him to his rooms learned count Firmian, the Austrian in Pembroke ball.

minister at Milan, to whom he was in. Mr. Gray found in his young acquaint- troduced, noticed him, and became his ance a ready and a docile disposition, intimate friend. From count Firmian's and he became attached to him. He powerful recommendation Mr. Nicholls · then gave him instruction for the course had access to every circle of distinction of his studies, which he directed entirely, in every foreign country which he visited; even to the recoinmendation of every au. and no man ever profited inore from the thor, and to the very order in which they advantages which were so singularly and should be read, which happily continued so happily offered to him. till the time of Mr. Gray's death. Mr. Ou his return from the continent, he N. might well say to the poet, in the found that he had sustained a loss which words of his favourite Florentine: “ Tu was irreparable. Mr. Gray was no sei lo mio mnaestro."* To this incident, more. llis friend, his companion and so rare and so honourable to Mr. Nicholls, enlightened guide, was no longer to con. and to the improvement which was the tribute to his happiness, and to animate consequence of it, I attribute not only his studies; and to this irreversible dooin the extent and the value of his know be submitted, quiet, though sad. ledge, but the peculiar accuracy and Upon the best motives he retired, and correct taste which distinguished him resided constantly with his mother in the throughout his life, and which I have cheerless depth, and then uncultivated seldum observed in any man in a more solitude, of his Suffolk livings, where he eininent degree.

passed his tine in continued study and The letters of Mr. Grayto Mr. Nicholls, in the exercise of his professional duties. preserved by Mr. Mason in his Memoirs of But I must observe that, since his resia the poet, sufficiently

. prove the intimacy dence there, the country and the neighbetween them; and it is my opinion that, bourhood have assumed another aspect. with the single exception of his earliest As there was no rectorial house upon and most accomplished friend the hon. either of his livings, he fixed upon a Richard West, Mr. Gray was more af. place, which I could wish that future fectionately attached to him than to any travellers might visit and speak of as we other person:

do of the Leasowes : I mean his villa at By the advice of Mr. Gray, Mr. Nic Blundeston, which, (if barbarous taste cholls visited France, Swisserland, and should not improve it, or some inore barItaly. He there found scenes and per- barous land-surveyor level with the soil sons congenial to his taste and to his fa- its beauties and its glories,) will remain culties. In Swisserland he looked abroad as one of the most finished scenes of culthrough nature, from every “ice-built tivated sylvan delighi which this island mountain" and rugged cliff; and by the can offer to our view. Il was his own lakes and valleys of that once envied and his appropriate work; for scarcely a country, he felt the truth of Rousseau's trace of its uncouth original features can inimitable remark, “ qu'il y a des moments be found or pointed out to the visitant. o il suffit du sentiment de son existence.But to the eye of a mind like Mr. Nie In Italy he found all which could capti. cholls's, the possible excellences of a vate and enchain his attention among the place yet unadorned, were visible; and inost finished works of art; and under even as it then was, there were to be the soft but animating influence of cli- found in it walks and recesses, in which mate, of scenery, and of classic imagery, Mr. Gray observed, in his sublime conhe improved his talents; and, by his con- ciseness, " that a man who could think, versation and knowledge of the language, might think.” By perseverance and he was peculiarly acceptable in the most skill, he at last surinounted every diffi. select assemblies. When Italy is the culty which was opposed to hin through theme, it is difficult to restrain our sen- a long scries of years, and he formed and sations: but in this place I would only left the scene as it now is.* Throughout • Dante. Inf. c. 1.

December, 1809.
MONTHLY Mac, No. 199,

31

the

correct taste.

own.

426 Letler on the Death of the Rev. Norton Nicholls. (June 1, the whole, and in every part of it, the for painting or for rural scenery, eren be marks of a judgment which cannot be has declared, that “some praise must questioned, and of an unerring taste, be allowed to him who does best, what which was regulated by discreet expence, such multitudes are contending to do are so eininently corispicuous, as to pro- well.” To say this, is something; yet it claim Mr. Nicholls to have been, what is to be a niggard of our speech to say a kindred poet so happily terms

no more, when such liberal delight is Un artiste qui pense,

the object of communication. Prodigue de génie et non pas de dépense.* In every department of elegan: literaTo be a visitor and an inmate guest to

ture Mr. Nicholls displayed the same Mr. Nicholls at Blundeston in the gay

His knowledge of history season, when his lake was illuminated by

was copious but chosen; in ancient and suminer suns, and rippled by the breeze; in modern writers he was accurateig when every tree and shrub, in its chosen versed, and in all subjects he had reposition, seemed to wave in homage to

course to the original springs of knoisits possessor and cultivator; when a ledge. In the l'rench and Italian lanhappy and youthful company of either guages, as well as in the particular moden sex, distinguished by their talents and of the life and manners of those countries, accomplishments, was enlivened by the he was eminently instructed; and the good humour and spirit which presided merits of every author and poet of dis over the whole; with the charm of music, tinction were familiar to him. In the and with every well-tempered recreation

most polished society of unrevolutionized which the season could present, and with France, and in the Tuscan conversations, all the elegance of the domestic internal be was received as a native. He seemed, arrangements; it was difficult indeed, I indeed, to have transfused into bis babit) say, to be a visitor and a guest at Blun. and manners such a portion of their deston in that gay season, and not to be spirit, that many persons were inclined reminded of Spenser's imagination :

to think, that either the Seine or the " For all that pleasing is to eye or ear,

Arno might have claimed bim for thei Was there consorted in-one harmony;

In Italy, during his short sojoura Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all among the unrivalled remains of genius

and of art, he accurately studied and Whoever have been witnesses of the comprehended the works of the greatest scene will know that I speak of it as they masters of the pencil. He did this not bave seen it, and that 'I have set down with the idle spirit of a loitering traveller, nothing in fiction. I had fondly hoped but with the unremitting application of that I should have revisited this favourite a man who knew the value of his time spot, and its beloved and accomplished and of his talents. He felt and prosecumaster, for many a year with increasing ted the desire of improving them by as pleasure. But what are the prospects of honourable familiarity with the designs man! The mind which presided over it of great painters and sculptors; and of is fled; and the scene is solitary:

.fixing in his own mind those forms of Secca è la vena dell'usato ingegno:

excellence by which his judgment mig! Vedove l'erbe, e torbide son l'acque !

be guided, and his recollection gratitied. If Mr. Nicholls indeed bad devoted in the future course of his life, among is Bis time and talents exclusively to the choicest and most liberal amusements. ornamental laying out of grounds, and

Mr. Nicholls was by nature commabad originaly made it his profession, it nicative, and his spirit was not finely might be said with truth, in the diction touched but to fine issues.” His younger of poetry, that Pactolus might have roll- friends will be gratefully alive to av ed through his own domains. But to

words, when I allude to his willingness, embellish the form of rural nature was and even his eagerness, to impart infor only his amusement. In his own neigh- mation, and to diffuse rational pleasure. bourhood there could be po emulation such indeed were his good manners, dus nor vanity; for where could he discover benevolence, and his hospitality, that his a competitor? His villa at Blundeston spirits might be said to shine through was an Oásis. Even the severe but dig. him and in the reception of friends, ar nified moralist, F to whom nature had acquaintances, and of strangers, under bis denied an ear for harmony, and an eve

roof, were shewn that readiness and

urbanity wbich announced the genuemaa * Delille, les Jardins, l. 4.

of birth and the man of breedmg. I am + Dr. S. Johnson

indeed convinced, that there is not a

schalar,

agree!"

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, scholar, nor a man of fashion with the have been required. But his eye, his attainments of a scholar, who knew Mr. mind, and his heart, pervaded all bis Nicholls intimately, who would not will- concerns. In no private duty was he de.' ingly have adopted the words of the poetficient; nor was any thing considered as of Syracusa, and hailed him as the too minute for his own inspection, if he Τον Μωσαις φιλον ανδρα, τον ε Χαριτεσσιν of te wisdom which dictated this im

thought it necessary; and he was aware απεχθη. *

portant apliorism, that “ he who de. Ile was passionately, perhaps rather spiseth little things shall fall by little and too much, devoted to music. He had stue little.” In the direction of his house, in died it accurately as a science, under the embellishment of the rural scenery, some of the greatest masters; and in the in his library, in his studies, and in all pursuit and cultivation of it he was un, things which produced that integrity, tired, and indeed indefatigable. But he order, and harmony, which proved that generously coininunicated his knowledge all was well within, and that every end and his taste to congenial, and particu- which he wished,' was accomplished; larly to young minds, in which he saw

in all these, I would repeat it with and marked the proinise of genius and earnestness, he relied invariably on thal the ardour of application. His manners, habits, and inclinations, reserve, that subsidiary strength, the pa

magnum vectigal,” that possession in naturally led him to frequent the most

rent of peace, the guardian of private polished society; but study and letters life, and the support of all public gorendered the intervals of solitude useful

vernment-discreet economy. and agreeable. In his sphere of life and

In that sacred and bounden duty action, by his instruction, by his intiu, which is owing from a son to a parent, ence, 'and by his example, he diffused he was eminently exemplary. Ilaving over' an extensive district an elegance lost his father so very early in life as and a refinement unknown before he re

scarcely to have seen him, his attention sided in it. As a county magistrate, one

and reverential attachment to his mother, of the most important offices which a

to her extreinest age, was singularly atprivate gentleman can undertake, he fectionate, unremiting, and unvaried ; was diligent and regular in his attendance; and, with the pious choice of his illusand in the discharge of his duty in that trious friend Mr. Gray,“ in death he was function, which is indeed the unbought

not divided." He always expressed his defence of civilized society, and unknown intention, and he directed it by his will, to other countries, he was useful, dis. that one grave should enclose their recerning, temperate, and impartial.

mains: and it does enclose them. I To ihose friends who visited Mr. Nic

myself, in cholls, and partook of his refined hospi- solemnly attended them through the

company with another friend, tality and of his entertainments at Blon church-way path, with christian resin. deston, it may possibly have appeared nation and with quiet obsequies, to the that his mode of life required a large house appointed for all living. Yes; it command of fortune, and that an ample is finished. patrimony could alone supply the display of such generosity. Yet his inheritance, Omnia solvuntur jam Matri, et funeris um.

Nihil oh tibi, amice, relictum : which was inconsiderable, and his pro

bris! fessional income, which was not large, detrayed the whole. He had indeed the If such a desire be indeed a weakness, it

is at least honourable to our common namost discerning æconomy which I ever observed in any man; an economy,

ture; and I envy not the heart of him which neither precluded liberality to his - who is disposed to censure it. equals, nor, what is far more important,

Of his higher and important profescharity to his inferiors. The fidelity, the sional duties, Mr. Nicholls was neither attachment, and the conscientious ser

unmindful nor neglectful. lle was l'evices, of his valuable domestics, some of gular in the discharge of his sacred offices whom harl grown old under his roof, as a clergyman in his parishes, in which made them rather humble friends than

he generally resided between nine aud servants; and by the faithful discharge ten months every year; and during his of their several duties, they relieved him residence he read prayers and preached from attentions which otherwise must twice every Sunday. There was a pecu

liar propriety and decorum in his manner * r friend of each muse, and favourite of of reading; and though his mode of each Grace."

preaching was not peculiarly eloquent,

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428

Letter on the Death of the Rev. Norter Nicholls. (June 1, it was impressive, and often affecting. The hour was now approaching rapidly The matter of his sermons tended more when his sun was also to set ; for an unto the discussion and enforcement of the perceived decay was undermining biş moral duties of the gospel, than to the constitution, and many a flaw hinted consideration of the subtle points of theo. mortality. Yet it must be confessed, logy. · His compositions for the pulpit that, with all his cheerfulness of temper, were, as I think, formed chiefly on the with every internal assurance of a wellmodel of Massillon and Flechier, in whose spent life, and with every assistance from writings he was conversant. Je con. philosophy and froin religion, Mr. Nje scientiously adhered to the church of cholls, like niany other good and blanieEugland from principle, and bad an less men, could nerer sustain in thought aversion to all dispute and controversy. the shock of final separation from the He maintained and recommended, pub- world, without a visible reluctant emolicly and privately, every doctrine wlrich tion when he spoke of death. But ere upliolds legitimate government, and pre- we make any remark, surely we may vents confusion political and theological. ask, who is sufficient for these thoughts? He loved bis country; he loved her laws, Can we answer, One of a thousand ? hier ordinances, her institutions, her re. However, if there were any weaknesses ligion, and her government: for he knew about him (and who is exempt?) I think that they have made, and still make, one of them was that of Aaitering himEngland to be what it is. He abhorred self with an extended prospect of long, every troubler of the state : the specious continued health and strength beyond reformer, the obstreperous tyrannical wbat is permitted to man: demagogue, and the disorganizing sophist.

Quæ facili sperabat mente futura He dreaded also the influence and the Arripuit voto levis, et pr esentia finxit. principles of the Romnish church; and, His appearance indeed never bespoke however they may be softened or ex. his age; and in the best sense of the plained away by inodern statesmen, he

word, I think he was always young. deprecated their encouragement or their revival among us : but he loved that too 1809, Mr. Nicholls was attacked by a spe.

In the spring and summer of the year leration and freedom which the church cies of cough, me nature or the cause of and constitution of England, steering whiclı he conid not ascertain. His coun. between opposite extremes, grant with evangelical discretion to every sect of bore marks of great indisposition, and of

tenance, during that period, sometimes christianity, however distinguished. In

a tendency to what is called a breaking seed, it may be said to his honour as a

up of the constitution. But still he conclergyınan, a scholar, and a man of u!)

tinued his accustomed occupations; he cominon attainments, that he was mo. flerate, enlightened, indulgent, and lia enjoyed, as usual, the company of his beral, “ Nullius 'obscuravit gloriam, But his infirmity evidently increased, yet

friends, and he promoted their happiness. nullius obstitit commodis, nullius obe

without any strepuit studiis; dignitates non ambivit; fatal tendency. I think, indecd, that

alarm or apprehension of its quæstum non venatus est." When he was a child bis constitution pectation of his dissolution, either in the

he had by no means a distinct view or er. was delicate; but as years advanced, by care, by exercise, and afterwards by rom beginning or in the progress of his malady, reign travel and change of scene and of nation which was so soon to take place,

A very few days before that lermi. clinate, by a scrupulous attention to he returned home, much indisposed, to his person and to a neatness never ex

Blundesion, where he received erery as. ceeded, and by an even placid temper, sistance from bis faithful and afflicted vis frame acquired a strength, an, ala. domestics, and experienced every affeccrity, and a springy activity, which I think tionate attention and relief from a phy. accompanied him to the last, and gave a sician,* for whom, I know, he uniformly zest to his pursuits, and vigour to his fa- and constantly expressed his esteem, culties. But on all the labours, the and in whose care and skill he placed a troubles, and the enjoyments of our na

confidence unlimited and unvariad. But ture, the night, in which no man can work, his complaint, which was bilious, inadvances fast; and, however unwilling, creased beyond the reach of art ; a diswe must all hear

solution of strength, without a pang -The due beat

which tortured, or a pain which exhausted of time's slow-sweeping pendulum, thật hiin, succeeded; and, from the sudden

marks The momentary march of death on man. * Dr. Girdlestone, of Yarmouth in Norfolk.

bursting

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bursting of a blood-vessel, he breathed and prejudices of mankind, to support out his virtuous spirit by an instant and the interests of virtue and religion, and quiet expiration.

to promote morality, decency, and order, I now, my dear sir, close my letter. in society. For, however little observed Much I have omitted, and many an in- or acknowledged, it is to the divine incident have I suppressed which your re- stitution of the sabbath, and the constant collection will supply; as I am unwilling and general exercise of the duties and to lessen general interest by minute am- services of religious worship, perhaps plification, nor would I by too eager a more than to every other cause, that zeal frustrate the labour of love. I have we owe the preservation of both public never, in the whole course of my life, and private inorality and order in the offered praise to any man when living, or world. This is a cause, of which Aung incense on bis tomb, from the on, though the operations be silent and une qualified consideration of his rank, of marked, they are constant and universal; his connections, or of his wealth; but to and however little their effects may appear genius, to learning, and to virtue, in in particular instances, it is not easy to what station soever united, I have always calculate how great and extensive they paid, and (however unworthy. I may be are on the civil, moral, and religious to do so) I hope I always shall pay, my characters and lives of the people, and inost deliberate homage. I feel that on the interests of the public in general. this tribute is due to my deceased friend ; To estimate these effects aright, let and I know that my pen has been guided us only suppose the institutions and by a pious and disinterested affection. public services of religion entirely aboI hope also that you, or any of our friends lished for a short time, and endeavour, into whose hands it may fall, will either in thought, to trace what the probable approve or excuse this little memorial of consequences would be. In the lower a most valuable and accomplished man, and ordinary ranks of life, (in this coun. whom I loved and esteemed when living, try at least, where private and domestic and whose departure I most sincerely religious instruction, admonition, and and most deeply regret.

example, are so shainefully neglected,)

we should probably soon see ail regard For the Monthly Magazine. to God, all sense of religion, and even of On the PROPOSED PARLIAMENTARY CON- decency and morality, lost; and the inost sideration of the sITUATION of the debased and abandoned depravity of

character and morals, and finally barVE king, in his speech at the open- barisin itself, to prevail.

ing of the session, recommended Now, however light statesmen and to the consideration of parliament, the politicians may hold all these in a merely situation of the inferior clergy; and for mɔral and religious point of view, they some time past there has, I think, been must be miserably ignorant of the nature on foot an enquiry respecting all livings of man, and of the history of the world, under 1501. a year; 'and when lord if they do not know how important they Harrowby, in the house of lords, made are in a civil and political view. 16 a motiou on the subject, it was for an is presumed the British parliament are account of the number and value of fully sensible of their importance in every livings of the poorer clergy.

respect. Yet this great and all-in. Thus, it would appear, that it is only teresting concern is left almost entirely the beneficed clergy that are intended to the neglected and disregarded curates to be relieved by the proposed consider- of England! ation of parliament. But there is a de- For instance: the place from which scription of the clergy, more numerous, I now write consists of two parishes; the more laborious, and more importantly one living is a little above, the other a useful, whose situation calls inore loudly little below, 1501. Of the incumbents, for consideration and relief, than even the one has not visited his living for these the lowest of the beneficed clergy- fifteen years; he has indeed age and in. mean the officiating curates of England, firmities to plead in excuse: the other, by whom, I believe, the greater part of without any such plea, has not seen his the parochial duty in the country is per- living, heard from, nor been heard of in formed, and to whom, in a great mea- it, not even by his curate, for I believe sure, it is left, under necessity and ob. more than seven years; though both of scurity, perhaps neglect and contempt, them reside within less than sixty miles to elude or oppose che perverse passions of their livings, the whole duty, and

charge

INFERIOR CLERGY.

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