These remains show what a historian of literature we have lost in Mr. Pattison. He was certainly capable of doing much more than the specimens of work which he has left behind; but what he has left is of high value. Wherever the disturbing and embittering elements are away, it is hard to say which is the more admirable, the patient and sagacious way in which he has collected and mastered his facts, or the wise and careful judgment which he passes on them. We hear of people being spoilt by their prepossessions, their party, their prejudices, the necessities of their political and ecclesiastical position; Mr. Pattison is a warning that a man may claim the utmost independence, and yet be maimed in his power of being just and reasonable by other things than party. As it is, he has left us a collection of interesting and valuable studies, disastrously and indelibly disfigured by an implacable bitterness, in which he but too plainly found the greatest satisfaction.
Mr. Pattison used in his later years to give an occasional lecture to a London audience. One of the latest was one addressed, we believe, to a class of working people on poetry, in which he dwelt on its healing and consoling power. It was full of Mr. Pattison’s clearness and directness of thought, and made a considerable impression on some who only knew it from an abstract in the newspapers; and it was challenged by a working-man in the Pall Mall Gazette, who urged against it with some power the argument of despair. Perhaps the lecture was not written; but if it was, and our recollection of it is at all accurate, it was not unworthy of a place in this collection.