He had been an unsparing worker, and found a kind of pleasure in congenial work. He loved a country life and the pursuits of a country gentleman, and yet he doomed himself to the drudgery of office and the incessant toil of the House of Commons as if he could never grow old. His abstemious habits stood him in good stead, for the joviality of his manner was accompanied by a temperateness in dietary which might have suited an anchorite. He lived long enough to take part in the tribute of public honour paid to Mr. Cobden's memory on the death of that great Englishman early in April, 1865. The last time the writer of this volume saw Lord Palmerston was on one of the latest days of that session, and then he sprang to the saddle of the horse, which was waiting for him in Palace Yard, with the ease and vigour of a young man. He died on the 18th of October, 1865, just within two days of the completion of his eighty-first year. Many great statesmen since Queen Victoria's accession to the throne lived longer than Lord Palmerston; but not one maintained more thoroughly the fulness of life to the very end.
On the 25th of August, 1867, the world of science lost one of its brightest ornaments by the death of Michael Faraday. Faraday died at Hampton Court in his seventy-sixth year. His great career had come from a very humble beginning. He was born at Newington Butts, on the south side of London, and was the son of a blacksmith. At the age of thirteen he was apprenticed to a bookbinder; and the occupation gave him some occasional time to devote to the study of science, which he pursued with an eagerness and precocity worthy of Pascal himself. He had the good fortune to be able to attend some of the lectures of the late Sir Humphry Davy on chemistry, and these lectures exercised a guiding influence over the whole turn of his intellect. He had taken notes of them; and he wrote a letter to Sir Humphry Davy enclosing his notes and soliciting the help of the great chemist in order that he might be able to pursue his studies in the science which he loved. Davy proved an appreciative and generous patron; obtained a position for him as assistant in the laboratory of the Royal Institution; and afterwards took him as a travelling companion in a journey on the Continent. Thenceforward the career of Faraday was clear; and he is considered as the founder of the science of magnetico-electricity. Faraday, like Richard Owen, and Huxley and Tyndall, was not only a great scientific authority, but also a most clear, fascinating and brilliant lecturer. His lectures at the Royal Institution and during the sittings of the British Association kept his audience literally enthralled by their eloquence of style and their exquisite expression. Unlike some of the great modern teachers of science, Faraday had a deeply religious mind; and the more he studied in the ways of science, the more profoundly convinced he became as to the immortal truths of the doctrines of Christianity. His name was honoured all over the world where scientific discovery and scientific research found appreciation. He had not laboured for fame; he had laboured only for science and for truth. With him, science and religious truth were one; but his fame soon found him, and will remain with him so long as the scientific world has its story to tell and its heroes to honour.
Sir Richard Owen. 1804-1892.
On the 7th of May, 1868, a long career of genius, of political eloquence and of restless energy came to a close - Lord Brougham died at Cannes, a place which he loved and made the home of whatever restful time he had in his later years, a place which he may be said to have discovered for the English public in general. We have already in this book followed the whole of Brougham's public career. We have described his eloquence and his energy, his indomitable public spirit, his fearless advocacy of many a great cause, and we have not hesitated to point to some of the many defects which too often marred his judgment and even disfigured his generous nature. He made many devoted friends, but he made also many bitter enemies. There were times when he could not control his own eloquence, when his mere volubility of speech carried him away as if it were a flood and brought him now and then to rhetorical confusion and wreck. He had a passion for knowing everything, and for doing everything. It was not in his nature to admit that there was anything he did not know or anything he could not do. There have been greater orators in English public life than Lord Brougham; but hardly any English orator has filled the same sort of place which Brougham contrived to occupy in his time. He was full of surprises, partly because he loved to surprise people, and partly, too because his temperament and nature were such that he could not help surprising people, whether he would or no. Caricature found in him, during the whole of his public career, a most tempting object for its sport. His whole appearance and manner lent itself to caricature. The marvel is how, with so many disadvantages of manner, of temper and of taste, he contrived to win for himself such a position and such a fame; but that he did win position and fame is simply a matter of fact and admits of no question. Few, indeed, are now living who can have heard him in his greatest days; but there are many of us who can remember him in days which if not his greatest were yet great enough to enable us to take the measure of his wonderful powers, and to understand how it was that he became so great a Parliamentary figure in the age of Canning and Robert Peel, of Lyndhurst and O'Connell and Derby, of Disraeli and Gladstone.