Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXVIII. February, 1843. Vol. LIII.

Part 6 out of 6

"The combined army of England and of India, superior in equipment, in
discipline, in valour, and in the officers by whom it is commanded, to
any force which can be opposed to it in Asia, will stand in unassailable
strength upon its own soil, and for ever, under the blessing of
Providence, preserve the glorious empire it has won, in security and in

"The Governor-General cannot fear the misconstruction of his motives in
thus frankly announcing to surrounding states the pacific and
conservative policy of his Government.

"Affghanistan and China have seen at once the forces at his disposal,
and the effect with which they can be applied.

"Sincerely attached to peace for the sake of the benefits it confers
upon the people, the Governor-General is resolved that peace shall be
observed, and will put forth the whole power of the British Government
to coerce the state by which it shall be infringed."

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There are few things more painful connected with the increase of years
in an established periodical like our own, than to observe how "friend
after friend departs," to witness the gradual thinning of the ranks of
its contributors by death, and the departure, from the scene, of those
whose talents or genius had contributed to its early influence and
popularity. Many years have not elapsed since we were called on to
record the death of the upright and intelligent publisher, to whose
energy and just appreciation of the public taste, its origin and success
are in a great degree to be ascribed. On the present occasion another of
these melancholy memorials is required of us; the accomplished author of
"Cyril Thornton," whose name and talents had been associated with the
Magazine from its commencement, is no more. He died at Pisa on the 7th
December last.

Mr Hamilton exhibited a remarkable union of scholarship, high breeding,
and amiability of disposition. To the habitual refinement of taste which
an early mastery of the classics had produced, his military profession
and intercourse with society had added the ease of the man of the world,
while they had left unimpaired his warmth of feeling and kindliness of
heart. Amidst the active services of the Peninsular and American
campaigns, he preserved his literary tastes; and, when the close of the
war restored him to his country, he seemed to feel that the peaceful
leisure of a soldier's life could not be more appropriately filled up
than by the cultivation of literature. The characteristic of his mind
was rather a happy union and balance of qualities than the possession of
any one in excess; and the result was a peculiar composure and
gracefulness, pervading equally his outward deportment and his habits of
thought. The only work of fiction which he has given to the public
certainly indicates high powers both of pathetic and graphic
delineation; but the qualities which first and most naturally attracted
attention, were rather his excellent judgment of character, at once just
and generous, his fine perception and command of wit and quiet humour,
rarely, if ever, allowed to deviate into satire or sarcasm, and the
refinement, taste, and precision with which he clothed his ideas,
whether in writing or in conversation. From the boisterous or
extravagant he seemed instinctively to recoil, both in society and in

Of his contributions to this Magazine it would be out of place here to
speak, further than to say that they indicated a wide range and
versatility of talent, embraced both prose and verse, and were
universally popular. "Cyril Thornton," which appeared in 1827, instantly
arrested public attention and curiosity, even in an age eminently
fertile in great works of fiction. With little of plot--for it pursued
the desultory ramblings of military life through various climes--it
possessed a wonderful truth and reality, great skill in the observation
and portraiture of original character, and a peculiar charm of style,
blending freshness and vivacity of movement with classic delicacy and
grace. The work soon became naturally and justly popular, having reached
a second edition shortly after publication: a third edition has recently
appeared. The "Annals of the Peninsular Campaign" had the merit of clear
narration, united with much of the same felicity of style; but the size
of the work excluded that full development and picturesque detail which
were requisite to give individuality to its pictures. His last work was
"Men and Manners in America," of which two German and one French
translations have already appeared; a work eminently characterized by a
tone of gentlemanly feeling, sagacious observation, just views of
national character and institutions, and their reciprocal influence, and
by tolerant criticism; and which, so far from having been superseded by
recent works of the same class and on the same subject, has only risen
in public estimation by the comparison.

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_Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work_.


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