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grinding engine than a receiver; every particle it absorbed became instinct with vital life like the power of flame it consumed all approximating substances. In Warburton, the power of digestion was certainly disproportioned to the insatiability of appetite, what he could not retain, he was therefore obliged immediately again to eject, and he did again eject it, but not in its received and original state, but altered in its outward form and semblance, and mouldered up into some glittering and fantastical hypothesis, some original and more alluring shape, as different from its first condition as is the crawling caterpillar from the butterfly which expands its golden wings in the air. The defects of his digestive faculty were amply supplied by his power of assimilation, which, spider-like, had the faculty of weaying innumerable webs and phantasms out of the matter which was presented to it, and disguising and recasting into some other outward appearance those morsels which were too hard to retain, and too ponderous to swallow. Such, indeed, was the voracity of his appetite, that he refused nothing which offered itself; and the wide gulf of his intellectual appetite often reminds us of the boa constrictor, after it has swallowed the rhinoceros, as it lies in gorged and torpid fulness, stretched out in all its giant-length on the ground. This difference in the perception and application of knowledge was distinguishable in every production of these great men; it is perceptible from their earlier works to their latest; and being' occasioned by the peculiar construction and formation of their mental faculties, it formed the character of their minds; and, therefore, continued, without receiving alteration, from their first years of authorship to their last. In Johnson, therefore, learning, when received, might more properly be called knowledge, it was stripped of its superfluous and unnecessary parts it was winnowed of its chaff, and deposited in the re.
ceptacles of thought, while, in Warburton, it was like clay thrown into a mould ready prepared for it, for the purpose of forming materials for building up to their measureless height the countless edifices of his fancy.
“In that practical knowledge of, and insight into human nature, which forms the chief qualification for the moralist and the writer on men and manners, Johnson was greatly superior to Warburton. The former had acquired his knowledge in the tutoring school of adversity; and the long and dreary probation he had to serve before he attained to competence and success, had given him a sound and piercing view into life and hu. man nature ; while the haughtiness of the latter formed a kind of circle about him, which prevented his mingling with the crowd, and deriving, by universal converse and acquaintance, an universal and comprehensive knowledge of man. He was also a more prejudiced and less unbiassed spectator of mankind, continually referring their causes of action, not to the acknowledged principles of experience, but to some preconceived and ready-fashioned theory of his own, with which he made every deduction to square in and quadrate, and to whose decision he referred the settlement of all the various anomalies and phenomena which distract the inquirer into human nature. Otherwise was the knowledge of Johnson formed: he was no speculatist in his views of mankind; what he had learned, he learned from practical experience; commented upon with extraordinary acuteness and penetration of discernment; and what he had once learned, his judgment was too sound to permit him to warp, and his love of truth too great to allow him to conceal.
“In private life, the character of Warburton was distinguished by the same kind of bold openness and unshrinking cordiality ; the same livid warmth in his enmities and friendships; and the same impatient haugh
tiness and dogmatical resolution which stood forth displayed in his writings. No one communicated to his productions more of his own personal character, or drew his own full-length so admirably in his works. After a perusal of what he has written, his character lies in all its native colours before our eyes, and we hardly want the intimacy of a personal acquaintance to be fully and thoroughly masters of his peculiarities. What he thought, he dauntlessly and fearlessly expressed. Disguise he hated, and subterfuge he despised. He who was the enemy of Warburton was sure of bold, honest, and manly hostility; he who was his friend was equally certain of the full participation of all the benefits of assistance and protection. It was one of his maxims, both in his public and private character, “He who is not with me is against me. He hated a neutral worse even than an enemy; to him indifference was worse than decided dislike ; imperturbable placidity more disagreeable than a storm. Pass over his opinions or his productions, without giving any decided opinion as to their justice or their merits, and he would immediately number you amongst the list of his foes, and let loose upon you all the torrent of his mingled scurrility and wit. This fervid warmth of temper frequently overpowered the cooler dictates of his reason, and to this we may perhaps ascribe that high and overstrained excess of praise which he showered down upon the productions of his friends; for of flattery we cannot justly accuse him: he would have disdained what he conceived implied fear. One exception, however, must be made to this remark, and that is, the case of Bishop Sherlock, whom, during his life, Warburton extravagantly praised, and after the death of that prelate, not only expunged from his writings every syllable of commendation, but paragraphed him in the Dunciad of his Divine Legation with the utmost contumely and contempt. For neglect of his
clerical duties, Warburton has been lashed by the unsparing hand of a relentless satirist, whose pictures are often less of true resemblances than hideous caricatures ; but the suffrages of many must overpower the testimony of one; and it has been almost universally agreed, that in the discharge of the social relations of life, his conduct was equally faultless and exemplary. The char. acter of Johnson has been so often pourtrayed, and, through the admirable delineations of his biographers, is now so well known, that it would be useless to attempt to describe it. He had certainly more habitual reverence for what he conceived to be truth; was more rigid in his morality, more fervid in his piety, than Warburton. He had not less perhaps of pride and haughtiness, but his pride was more lofty, his haughti. ness more independent. He could not bend to greatness, nor stoop to rise as Warburton certainly could do, and sometimes did. His character, while it was much more dignified than that of Warburton, had not the same mixture of impetuosity and warmth, and thus he was prevented from falling into those excesses which the former could hardly avoid. Both had a certain portion of intolerance in their dispositions, but in Johnson that intolerance was exerted against the oppugners of that creed he had received from others, while in Warburton it was directed against the questioners of theories of his own. In the one, it was prejudice unmixed-in the other, it was always prejudice co-operating with vanity. Upon the whole, perhaps, the character of Warburton, notwithstanding its dictating and dogmatical insolence, was the most attracting of the two. There is, notwithstanding all its effervescences and excesses, a generous fervour, a kindliness of soul, an enthusiastic warmth about it, which induces us to like him in spite of ourselves, and to which we can forgive whatever is disgusting in his scurrility or revolting in his pride.
“To bring my observations on the characters of these great men to a close, -in Warburton, the distinguishing faculty was a fiery and ungovernable vigour of intellect, a restless and irrepressible vehemence of mind, an unquenchable and never-dormant principle of action, which required continually some fresh matter to work on-some fresh subject to exercise its power-some new and untried space to perambulate and to pass through ; it was an ever-working and operating faculty, an evermoving and resisting principle, which it was impossible to tire or tame. There was nothing like rest or slumber about it: it could not stagnate,-it could not stop; it was impossible to weaken its energies, or to contract their operation. No matter was too tough for its force, no metal too unmalleable for its strokes.
“ Such was the elasticity of its constitution, that it could not be broken ; such was its innate and surpassing resistibility of temperament, that it could not be overwhelmed. Entangle it with subtleties, and it immediately snapt asunder its bonds, as Sampson burst the encompassing cords of the Philistine. Bury it with learning, and it immediately mounted up with the bril. liancy and rapidity of a sky-rocket, and scattered about it sparks and scintillations, which lightened the whole atmosphere of literature. It was this volatility of spirit, this forcible and indomitable action of mind, this nevertiring and never-weakening intellectual energy, this bounding and unceasing mental elasticity, which serves to distinguish Warburton not only from Dr Johnson, but also from all the characters who have ever appeared in literature; and it is to the self-corroding effect of these qualities, that his alienation of mind at the latter period of his life is undoubtedly to be attributed.