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LITERARY PORTRAITS. No. VI.
WILLIAM HAMILTON MAXWELL.
(WITH A PORTRAIT.)
OPPOSITE this page, good reader, you will behold the comely countenance of the author of the Stories of Waterloo, and many other polemical works of the same school. If not exactly painted con amore, it is nevertheless drawn by Lover, which is a tolerable guarantee for its excellence in every respect; and yet we do not, however, think due justice done to the facial appearance of William Hamilton Maxwell.
But Lover will say or swear, "How the devil is it to be expected that my brush or Greatbach's burin should impress upon paper or canvass that face?" Tom Moore has somewhere said that Sheridan's genius resembled a peacock's tail, which compliment we ima gine would have tickled the risible faculties of that red-beaked senator and dramatist. But we suppose that Tom, of whom we speak in the highest honour, especially as he is a contributor of ours, intended to say that in variety of brilliant colouring, and ever changing diversity of beautiful tint, Sheridan's talent was deserving of being compared to one of the finest, gayest, grandest, and most graceful things in nature. Now, if Sheridan's mind was like a peacock's tail, and therefore hard to be depicted in a stationary drawing, how can it be expected that Maxwell's face, which is in no particular like a peacock's tail, but something far more splendid, is to be caught simpered and simmered down into one standing position? Sir," continues Lover, for it is he who has been speaking all this time, though we have made a sort of jumble of ourselves with his oration," Sir, I tell you that Maxwell has fifty faces, all of them indicative of genius, frolic, wit, fun, knowledge of the world, good-nature, and good-humour; and as for his nose, why to quote Tom Moore once again,
Rich and rare are the gems it wears;'gems, no doubt, purchased at a price which would have bought up any brilliant in the world short of the Pitt diamond."
He is of soldier-romance-mongers the first. Mind, we are not going to disparage Gleig of the Subaltern, Hamilton of Cyril Thornton, or any of the other gentlemen who have turned the sword not into a ploughshare, but into as hard-working an instrument-a pen; but among rollicking describers of fights, campaigns, sieges, carousings, riotings, lovemakings, and all other matters connected with the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war, he decidedly bears off the bell. He does not venture at long set stories, decked out and arrayed into all the full three volumed dignity of a novel ;-no, he flings off his tales as if they were so many tumblers of punch, hot and strong, pleasant and heart-cheering, hastily mixed, and as hastily disposed It needs no particular power of critical discernment to discover that Maxwell's acquaintance with the scenes which he describes is anything but theoretical. In fact, though now a man of peace, he was once a man of war,-a jolly grenadier, in the Eighty-eighth, standing some six feet two, and coming in for a slice at the close of the
Peninsular campaigns, and taking his share at the battle of Waterloo. But when the melancholy days of disbanding came, and fun had departed out of the world,
When the army was gone, and the navy adrift,
as a brother Connaught Ranger sings, then adopting Sir Walter Raleigh's motto, Tam Marti, quam Mercurio, finding that Mars was gone, he applied himself to the god of eloquence and persuasion, turned his military cloak into a surplice, gave up the charges of the Duke of Wellington for those of the Archbishop of Tuam, abandon. ed the Articles of War for the Articles of the Church, and, unwilling to leave the service altogether, took to the service of the Liturgy. He is now Prebendary of Balha,-still a see among the canons—in Tuam. That he now wages war upon the devil and all his angels, most theologically, we doubt not; but here we are recording him only as an author upon more mundane subjects. The war (we need not say what war, for this generation, and many more, will pass over before another war will turn up to put down that which ended at Waterloo, from its post of being the war par excellence) and Ireland are his own. Maxwell, in his sketches of the gentleman class of Ireland in their hours of relaxation, and in their own wild, untameable, and somewhat ferocious jollity, or violence, being of them, in blood and bone, he and his people before him for many a long day,is quite at home, not only with his own Wild Sportsman of the West, but with all that horsewhip-handling, trigger-pulling, ladykilling, claret-drinking, steeple-chasing, hot-headed, puzzle-pated, tumultuous race of gentlemen, who, issuing from "Ould Thrinity," led a noisy reckless life, fearing nobody but a dun or a sheriff's officer, eternally in debt or drink, or duelling, or all three together; usually highly bred and well travelled, almost always generous, though seldom just, unquestionably brave, (at least it would not have been particularly safe to question it,) taking no wrong, and giving very little right; governed by the most curious, and the most curiously extended, code of honour ever devised, and covering a multitude of sins by everlasting good-humour and—a pistol. These noble specimens of mankind are, alas! fast passing away before the baleful effects of civilisation, rail-roads, steam-boats, and the schoolmaster abroad, as much, we suppose, to the distaste of Maxwell, as of the late Sir Jonah Barrington. As it is fit, then, that some record of them should remain, none can supply it better than the soldier. scholar, gentleman of blood, and Irishman of birth. But it would be unjust if we were to confine his praises to mere jocular or romantic writing. In his "Victories of the British Armies," he discovers a mind replete with stores of ample information on almost all subjects, long trains of well considered reflections, high and honourable feelings, generosity to conquered enemies, and proud patriotism in recounting the gallant deeds of conquering friends. And his Life of the Duke of Wellington is a book worthy of its hero.
Remains it only to mention, that Maxwell is a fine, dashing-looking, long, well-knit fellow, whose age is about that of his national game, i. e. five-and-forty.
GUY FAWKES: AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE, ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE
BY J. A. WADE
AN IMPUDENT MONKEY, WITH AN ILLUSTRATION,
THE TWO COUSINS,
TONIS AD RESTO MARE,
THE SOUL-AGENT, WITH AN ILLUSTRATION, BY ALFRED CROWQUILL
Chapter III.-The Proposal.
Chapter IV.-A Lover beside himself."}
Chapter V.-An uninvited Guest.
Chapter VI.-The Confirmation of the Transformation.
Chapter VII.-Adeline's Marriage.
THE PORTFOLIO OF MR. PETER POPKIN, (DECEASED)
Chapter XVII.-Colin is pursued, and who his pursuer was.-A strange set out, and a very
Chapter XIX.-The singular meeting of Colin and Palethorpe.-A jolly night, and the
AUNT FANNY (A TALE OF A SHIRT,) BY THOMAS INGOLDSBY
STANLEY THORN, WITH AN ILLUSTRATION BY ALFRED CROWQUILL,
Chapter X.-The first night out.