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During the time that the subject of the present article was first magistrate of the metropolis, a little employment in his disposal became vacant, and many candidates applied, for whom strong interest was made. At a court of aldermen, held soon after, a poor friendless freeman presented a petition for the place in question; to which the lord mayor appointed him, without asking one question, or receiving a single recommendation in his favour. The vid man, unable to utter a word, retired with tears in his eyes, and a heart throbbing with gratitude.
Sir John being asked by one of his associates, what superior merits the successful candidate possessed, replied in the following words:
“I guessed that my manner of proceeding would excite your attention and surprise; yet, after an explanation, I am inclined to think, that you will not only approve of what I have done, but that, placed in my circumstances, you would have acted precisely in the same manner.
“ I never spoke to the person whoin I have appointed, and am as entirely a stranger to his situation, and the circumstances of his life, as any gentleman present.”
The curiosity of the alderman naturally increased.
“ But in my way to Clapham Common, which, as many of you know, I have visited for a little fresh air and undisturbed repose, for these last eight-and-twenty years, my notice has been attracted by the sedentary diligence and unremitting attendance of the man to whom I have given the place; which I wish was better worth his acceptance.
“It was at a little watchmaker's shop,"continued sir John,“on London bridge (in those days a street, crowded with houses), that he first caught my eye; and during the whole period I have specified, at my going out of town in the afternoon, and at my return in the morning, he never was absent from his post and employment a single day.
“I know nothing, as I have before observed, of the state of his finances; bui the appearance of his coat, and his grey locks, indicate that he is not very young, nor very wealthy; and he, who for so many years has been ineffectually diligent-he who has toiled so long, without securing a comfortable competency for declining life, has, in my opinion, a preferable claim, a demand which ought not to be resisted, on the generosity, as well as jus. tice, of a commercial city like ours.”
The worthy citizens not only agreed in opinion with their chief magistrate, but, uniting their contributions, made a handsome purse, which sir John was requested to present, in their names, to the man whom he had so laudably patronized. Subsequent inquiry fully justified the step which had been taken in favour of the veteran mechanic. It was a case of genuine distress, be. yond the possibility of imposture.
FOR THE PORT-FOLIO.-WITTY ELOQUENCE,
Amusing myself a few days ago with the perusal of a volume, containing reports of the debates in the parliament of Ireland, in the years 1763 and 1764, I was forcibly struck, in a variety of passages, by the superiority of the eloquence of that day. I do not mean the verbiage, but the intrinsic excellence and weight of argument—the simple wisdom of some of the orators, the sparkling wit, the pungent humour, the keen satire, and the biting irony of others-and of all of them the condensed solidity of argument, which seemed rather to scorn than to solicit the aid of high-sounding words, and to urge conviction with vehemence and energy, rather than to court applause and admiration. Of Mą. lone it was said by lord Camden, that he was among orators what the La Plata was among rivers: but his eloquence was such that, to present a specimen of it, one must give an entire oration. I happened, however, to stumble upon a short speech of a celebrated orator, lawyer and humourist, who seems to have been, in his day, the subject of much admiration. His name was Harwood. Though without the dignity or wisdom of Malone, he was superior in wit-a talent above which the mighty mind of the former was elevated by simplicity and directness.
A motion being made, in the house of cominons, that an address should be presented to the lord lieutenant, that he would be pleased to order the report of his majesty's attorney and solicitor general, with respect to the legality of granting the office of chancellor of the exchequer for life, to be laid before the house, a great debate ensued, in which Harwood made a speech, the conclusion of which I extract for your publication, if you think it deserving of a place.
“In a word, my sentiment is, that lawyers do, and that they should differ in opinions upon points of law. I think also that it is very proper for lawyers upon some occasions, to differ, not only from one another, but froin themselves. I believe there are many gentlemen present who have found the advantage of it. If all lawyers were to be of the same opinion, what subjects could there be for litigation? If there were no subjects for litigation, there would very soon be no lawyers;—and if there were no lawyers, what would people do for advice? and to whom could even the crown have applied, upon the great and momentous occasion that we are now considering? I cannot sufficiently admire and commend my worthy friend's opinion, that my brethren of the law ought always to be consulted, especially upon important and public occasions: it is an opinion from which great and manifest advantages will result, if it should be adopted; and I cannot but congratulate my brethren, that it is adopted in a very considerable degree already. There are knotty points, which even those august personages, the lords, to whom we in this lower house , look up, with an humble sense of our inferiority, may possibly find it something difficult to discuss:—they have, therefore, as it is very fit and becoming they should, the prime of our lawyers for their counsellors. The lawyer of a lord, ought not, certainly, to be less than a judge; and accordingly we see that our learned judges, seated on the soft wool-sack, and distinguished by the lordly robe, are always at hand, in their house, to be occasionally consulted by them, to save their lordships the labour of thinking; which is certainly beneath the dignity of personages so sublime and august. If it is
that lawyers ought always to be consulted, it is fit that we, of the commons, should have our lawyers too; and it gives me great pleasure to see that we are not without them. Look which way I will, some of the learned body are still in my eye; and this being the case, what need have we to look abroad? It would neither do us nor our lawyers eredit, to have consultations without doors, to explain or determine what they are expected to explain, and we are to determine within. I humbly conceive that this affair, great, and solemn, and momentous as it is, may maintain its dignity in parliament, as well as in a court of law, and be as skilfully discussed, and as wisely determined. As to the laying of the written opinion of the attorney and solicitor general before the house, I confess I do not see what end it will answer. Whatever their opinion was I cannot tell; and if I could, I might be equally at a loss to know what their opinion is. As the gentlemen, therefore, are here, ready to answer for themselves, I must declare myself against the motion.” And accordingly it passed in the negative.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
POEMS BY THE KING OF PERSIA.
Fath Ali Shah, the present sovereign of Persia, is celebrated for being, not only a munificent patron of learned and ingenious men, but himself the author of a Dirwan, or collection of elegies and sonnets. Mr. Morier, in his travels, lately pub. lished (p. 186), informs us that the king's chief poet receives from his majesty a gold tomaum (about one pound in value) for every couplet, and once obtained the remission of a considerable debt by the composition of some pleasing verses. The government of Kashan, one of the chief cities in Persia, was the reward of poetical excellence, according to Mr. Scott Waring, who, in his “ Tour to Sheeraz,” has exhibited a specimen of the king's amatory productions. The following translations are from a French version; and the notes are added, in the hope that some of our poetical correspondents may be induced to clothe the ideas of the royal poet in a proper dress.
My soul, captivated by thy charms, wastes itself away in chains, and bends beneath the weight of oppression. Thou hast
said, " love will bring theę to the tomb: arise and leave his do minions. But, alas! I wish to expire at thy feet, rather than to abandon altogether my hopes of possessing thee. I swear by the two bows, that send forth irresistible arrows from thine eyes, that my days have lost their lustre: they are dark, as the jet of thy waving ringlets; and the sweetness of thy lips far exceeds, in the opinion of Khacan,* all that the richest sugar cane has ever yielded.
IV. The humid clouds of spring float over the enamelled meads, and, like my eyes, dissolve in tears. My fancy seeks thee in all places, and the beauties of nature retrace, at every moment, thy enchanting image. But thou, O cruel fair one! thou endeavour. est to efface from thy memory the recollection of my ardent love, my tender constancy.
Thy charms eclipse the glowing tulip:—thy graceful stature puts to shame the lofty cypress. Let every nymph, although equal in beauty to Shireen,t pay homage to thy superiority; and let all men become like Ferhad of the mountain, distracted on beholding thy loveliness.
How could the star of day have shone amidst the heavens, if the moon of thy countenance had not concealed its splendour be
• This is a poetical surname adopted by the author, signifying emperor or king.
+ Shireen, the favourite of the monarch whom European writers style Chosroes, is no less celebrated on account of her beauty than for the passion with which she inspired Ferhad.
Of this unfortunate poet, the romantic story has often been told. The moun. tain to which our royal poet alludes is the Kooh Bisetoon, in the province of Curdistan, where are till visible many figures, sculptured on a rock, which, by the romances of Persia, are ascribed to Ferhad. Among these sculptures, travellers have noticed the representations of a female; according to local tradition, the fair Shireen, mistress of king Khosroo, or Chosroes, and the fascinating object of Ferhad's love. As a recompense for clearing a passage over the mountain of Bisetoon, by removing immense rocks, which obstructed the path-a task of such labour as far exceeded the powers of common mortals; by the lover, how. ever, executed with case, the monarch had promised to bestow Shireen on the enamoured statuary; but a false report of her death having been communicated to him in a sudden manner, he immediately destroyed himself; and the scene of this catastrophe is still shown amid the recesses of mount Bisetoon.