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Who, among our London brotherhood of letters, does not miss that simple cheerfulness—that inborn and exquisite urbanity—that child-like readiness to be pleased with all—that happy tendency to panegyrise every merit and to be lenient to every fault? Who does not recal that acute and delicate sensibilityso easily wounded, and therefore so careful not to wound—which seemed to infuse a certain intellectual fine breeding, of forbearance and sympathy, into every society where it insinuated its gentle way? Who, in convivial meetings, does not miss, and will not miss for ever, the sweetness of those unpretending talentsthe earnestness of that honesty which seemed unconscious, it was worn so lightly—the mild influence of that exuberant kindness, which softened the acrimony of young disputants, and reconciled the secret animosities of jealous rivals? Yet few men had experienced more to sour them than Laman Blanchard, or had gone more resolutely through the author's hardening ordeal, of narrow circumstance, of daily labour, and of that disappointment in the higher aims of ambition, which must almost inevitably befal those who retain ideal standards of excellence, to be reached but by time and leisure, and who are yet condemned to draw hourly upon unmatured resources for the practical wants of life. To have been engaged from boyhood in such struggles, and to have preserved, undiminished, generous admiration for those more fortunate, and untiring love for his own noble yet thankless calling; and this with a constitution singularly finely strung, and with all the nervous irritability which usually accompanies the indulgence of the imagination: is a
proof of the rarest kind of strength, depending less upon a power purely intellectual, than upon the higher and more beautiful heroism which woman, and such men alone as have the best feelings of a woman's nature, take from instinctive enthusiasm for what is great, and uncalculating faith in what is good.
It is regarded thus, that the character of Laman Blanchard assumes an interest of a very elevated order. He was a choice and worthy example of the professional English men of letters of our day. He is not to be considered in the light of the man of daring and turbulent genius, living on the false excitement of vehement calumny and uproarious praise. His was a career not indeed obscure, but sufficiently quiet and unnoticed to be solaced with little of the pleasure with which, in aspirants of a noisier fame, gratified and not ignoble vanity rewards the labour and stimulates the hope. For more than twenty years he toiled on through the most fatiguing paths of literary composition, mostly in periodicals, often anonymously; pleasing and lightly instructing thousands, but gaining none of the prizes, whether of weighty reputation or popular renown, which more fortunate chances, or more pretending modes of investing talent, have given in our day to men of half his merits.
In his life are apparent many of the sores and evils peculiar to literary men in a country. in which mind is regarded but as a common ware of merchandise; its products to be bought but by the taste and fashion of the public; with no resource in those provisions which elsewhere (and in Germany more especially) the state affords to such as quit the Agora for the Schools.
The institution of professional chairs in Germany has not only saved many a scholar from famine, many a genius from despair, but, by offering subsistence and dignity to that valuable class of writers whose learning and capacities unfit them, by reason of their very depth, for wide popularity, it has given worthy and profitable inducements to grave study, and, more than all else, has maintained the German fame for patient erudition, and profound philosophy. And this has been effected without the evils which free traders in literature have supposed the concomitants of the system; it has not lessened the boldness and originality of such authors as a Public alone can reward and appreciate; nor has it crushed, by the patronage of a State, the spirit of free inquiry and enlarged discussion. In England, the author who would live on his works can live only by the Public; in other words, by the desultory readers of light literature; and hence the inevitable tendency of our literary youth is towards the composition of works without learning and forethought. Leisure is impossible, to him who must meet the exigences of the day ; much information of a refining and original kind is not for the multitude. The more imaginative rush to novels, and the more reflective fritter away their lives in articles for periodicals. Under such influences the author of these volumes lived and died.
SAMUEL LAMAN BLANCHARD was born of respectable parents in the middle class, at Great Yarmouth, on the 15th of May, 1803. His mother's maiden name was Mary Laman. She married first Mr. Cowell, at St. John's Church, Bermondsey, about the year 1796;
he died in the following year. In 1799, she was married again; to Samuel Blanchard ; by whom she had seven children, but only one son, the third child, christened Samuel Laman.
In 1805, Mr. Blanchard (the father) appears to have removed to the metropolis, and to have settled in Southwark as a painter and glazier. He was enabled to give his boy a good education-an education, indeed, of that kind which could not but unfit young Laman for the calling of his father; for it developed the abilities and bestowed the learning, which may be said to lift a youth morally out of trade, and to refine him at once into a gentleman. At six years old he was entered a scholar of St. Olave's school, then under the direction of the Reverend Dr. Blenkorm. He became the head Latin scholar, and gained the chief prize in each of the last three years he remained at the academy. When he left, it was the wish of the master and trustees that he should be sent to college; one boy being annually selected from the pupils, to be maintained at the University, for the freshman's year, free of expence; for the charges of the two remaining years the parents were to provide. So strong, however, were the hopes of the master for his promising pupil, that the trustees of the school consented to depart from their ordinary practice, and offered to defray the collegiate expences for two years. Unfortunately, the offer was not accepted. No wonder that Poor Laman regretted in after life the loss of this golden opportunity. The advantages of an University career to a young man in his position, with talents and application, but without interest, birth, and fortune, are incalculable. The pecuniary independence afforded by the scholarship and the fellowship is in itself no despicable prospect;