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Accounts differ as to the moment when the rout of the French took place. The English say the Imperial Guard was repulsed before Blucher came up; Wellington says it was at the same moment with the attack of Blucher; Gneisenau, who wrote Blucher's dispatches for him, says he attacked the right flank of the French, broke their line in several places, and that then the whole army gave way in a panic. Napoleon says that the flight was occasioned by this attack, and that the Guard, ordered forward to arrest it, advanced, but was unable to deploy, because 2,000 Scotch cavalry had penetrated between them and General Reille on their left, and because they were inundated by fugitives on their right. Being thus attacked, and being unable to deploy, they gave way. The French and the Prussian statements correspond pretty accurately with each other.
Such was the batile of Waterloo — undoubtedly one of the 'great decisive battles of the world,' or great turning points in the stream of human history. The English, we are sure,
have boasted more of this battle than the Romans ever boasted of all their military successes, from Romulus to Julius Cæsar. Yet, after all, it amounts to this only:- One hundred and twenty thousand men were, after a desperate and doubtful struggle, foiled, in an invasion, by two hundred thousand men. Really, it does appear to us, that this was no very superhuman feat after all. Indeed, if all the circumstances of the case be calmly and dispassionately considered, we can hardly discover sufficient grounds or reasons for those outbursts of self-gratulation which have so often shaken the British Isles. But when we consider the magnitude of the stakes at issue, and the force of the feelings enlisted in the contest, we can at least fully comprehend, if we cannot wholly approve, such tremendous explosions of British pride and passion. How differently had been the result, if Napoleon, the greatest warrior that ever lived, had not let down in the race of glory! How different, especially, had been the fate of England and the fame of Wellington !
Ra From Mt St Jean to Wavre.
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Road to Wavre.
Meuse R. Namur.
ART IV.-Christopher North'; A Memoir of John Wilson, late
Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, compiled from family papers and other sources. By his daughter, Mrs. Gordon. Complete in one volume. New York: W. I. Widdleton. 1863.
The celebrated saying of Buffon, 'the style is the man', has seldom, if ever, been more strikingly illustrated, than in the case of John Wilson. His fulness of life, his exuberance of animal spirits, his wild, rollicking joyousness of disposition, exulting alike in sunshine and in storm, are all as perfectly reflected in his writings as in his personal existence. Indeed, he is so personally present in his writings, that he was a familiar acquaintance of ours even before we read his Life by Lady Gordon. No hypocricies concealed, and no conventionalities disguised, either the beauties and sublimities of his noble character, or its deformities. The style is the man', and the man is the style. And a more pleasing study than the man John Wilson, or the writer Christopher North, it would be difficult to find among the biographies of modern men of genius.
The many-sided character of the man', says Lady Gordon, 'I have not attempted to unfold; nor have I presumed to give a critical estimate of his works,- they must [and they will] speak for themselves. Now and then, in the course of the narrative, when letters are introduced referring to literary subjects, I have made a few observations on his writings; but in no other way, with the exception of those chapters devoted to Blackwood's Magazine and the Moral Philosophy chair, have I departed from my original intention of giving a simple domestic memoir. If
I have in any way done justice to my father's memory in this respect, I am rewarded.' This, as the reader will no doubt say, was well and wisely done ; for who that has seen John Wilson in his writings, would desire 'a critical estimate of his works' from the pen of his daughter. All, however, will thank her for the admirable 'domestic memoir,' in which all may see the man as he was in himself, as well as in his relation to others.
John Wilson was, in fact, one of a group of very remarkable men ;
a bright particular star' of a magnificent constellation of writers. The glimpses of his contemporaries', says Mackenzie, afforded by Mrs. Gordon, show us Lockhart and De Quincey, Jeffrey and Scott, Hartley Coleridge and “Delta," and, above all, that singular “wild boar of the forest," James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, the redoubtable hero of the “Noctes,” and William Blackwood, the astute publisher.' These, no doubt, give additional fascination to the pages of Lady Gordon's memoir of her father; but there are other glimpses of men of genius in the same volume, which, in our estimation, very greatly enhance its value and its interest. Her Memoir is, indeed, all ablaze with glimpses of such men as Alison and Macaulay, Aytoun and Brown, Mackintosh and Bentham, Brewster and Brougham, Byron and Moore, Wordsworth and Southey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Carlyle, Hallam and Sir William Hamilton, not to mention a hundred other names of less note in the world of letters. Such reading is good for the young. It suggests many valuable lessons. Especially this : that great men become great, , and bright men become bright, only by prolonged study and patient meditation. "From the wild mirth,' says Mr. Mackenzie, 'which he delighted to throw into the immortal “Noctes," the world, [the unthinking world), fancied that Wilson was as reckless, humorsome, and jovial, as he represented their heroes to be. Mrs. Gordon's plain record shows that these very remarkable dialogues were written with prolonged toil, and upon no stronger inspiration than a chicken for dinner, and tea or cold water as a beverage to follow!' Not so with poor Maginn, however, whose name we miss in Lady Gordon's mention of Wilson's contemporaries. Though equal to Wilson in genius, and more than equal to him, or to Lockhart, or to Hogg, or to any other contributor to Blackwood, in early promise, his 'sun went down while it was yet day', and it went down amid clouds and darkness and disgrace. If he, too, had drawn his inspiration from ' tea or cold water,' he would, in all probability, have shone forever, as a star of the first magnitude, in the grand constellation of Wilson's contemporaries. As it is, however, we miss him from that bright array of immortal lu
minaries, and mourn him as we do the lost Pliad'. How sweet, how bright, how beautiful, how glorious the opening of Maginn's life! How dark, how troubled, and how inglorious its close!
It was otherwise - far otherwise with John Wilson. We can not infer, however, from his writings alone, that he was always happy, or jubilant, at heart. It is a well-known and oftenquoted fact, that the very men who convulse the world with laughter, are themselves the victims of a terrible melancholy. This is the case, however, only when there is something morbid in their nature. In Wilson there was nothing morbid. His moments of exaltation and gladness, were, it is true, sometimes followed by hours of depression and gloom. But melancholy, in the true sense of the word, never preyed upon his mind. At one time, indeed, under the stress of bitter trial and great temptation, he showed what looked a good deal like melancholy, But his great, strong, healthy nature, soon threw off the incubus, and righted itself. Many writers open only the ante-chambers of their real being to the world, while all that is deepest and truest lies hidden within ; but the man, who does not write truly from his own heart, can never lay hold of the hearts of his readers. This was the secret of Wilson's success, that he projected his heart, his whole heart, and nothing but his heart, into his writings. Frank, free, genial, and open as the day in his disposition, he neither concealed his capacity for strong tender love, nor his propensity to vehement dislike. But always honorable and magnanimous in his enmities, he was ever ready for any battle, however stern, in the cause of truth, or justice, or mercy, without one particle of that sensitive, timid shrinking from contact with the world, which is supposed to characterize
Much of all this was, no doubt, due to his fine physique. No man was ever more perfectly formed. Marvellous stories are, indeed, told with respect to his dexterity, skill, and muscular force, in all manner of gymnastic sports, into which he usually threw himself with ardor. As a wrestler, as a boxer, as a leaper, and, above all, as a pedestrian, his feats were prodigious. One morning, for example, he walks, we are told, fifty miles to a