however, what was called the Great Lodge, or Capital Mansion. King James I. gave the Honour of Ampthill to the Earl of Kelly. It soon reverted to the Crown. In 1612, Thomas, Lord Fenton, and Elizabeth his wife, resigned the office of High Steward of the Honour of Ampthill to the King. The following year the custody of the Great Park was granted to Lord Bruce, whose family became lessees of the Honour, which they kept till 1738. In the 17th century, the Nicholls's became lessees of the Great Park under the Bruces, who reserved the office of Master of the Game. The Nicholls's resided at the Capital Mansion. After the Restoration, Ampthill Great Park was granted by Charles II. to Mr. John Ashburnham, as some reward for his distinguished services to his father and himself (vide Hist. Eng.) The first Lord Ashburnham built the present house, in 1694. In 1720 it was purchased of this family by Viscount Fitzwilliam, who sold it in 1736 to Lady Gowran, grandmother of the late Lord Ossory, who in 1800, became possessed of the lease of the Honour, by exchange with the Duke of Bedford. His family name, an ancient one in Ireland, was Fitzpatrick; he was Earl of Upper Ossory in Ireland, and Baron of the same in England. He died in 1818, and was succeeded by Lord Holland, the present possessor, who has also a fine old mansion at Kensington.2
The present Lord Holland, Henry Richard Vassal Fox, Baron Holland of Holland Co. Lincoln, and Foxley, Co. Wilts, Recorder of Nottingham, F. R. S. A.; was born November 23, 1773, succeeded to the title in 1774; married, 1797, Elizabeth, a daughter of Richard Vassal, Esq.
CHARACTER OF A GOOD ALBUM.
(For the Mirror.)
——"Here's a gem of beauty!
It sparkles with a pure and virgin lustre,
And many prize it much."
There is something very interesting associated with a well-arranged and elegant album, embodying passages of delicate taste and superior talent, and containing the diversified, playful, pointed, eloquent, and original papers, of a number of intellectual and distinguished contributors.
I had, a short time ago, one of these beautiful albums placed in my hand, which was characterized by marked and pre-eminent excellencies. In addition to its being bound in the most splendid manner, and containing the most tasteful embellishments, on paper exquisitely embossed, it was adorned with appropriate contributions, from the vigorous mind of Mrs. Hannah Moore—from the pure and classic taste of the eloquent Robert Hall—from the fervid and poetic imagination of James Montgomery—and many an elegant and beauteous production, communicated by our superior and ingenious writers. It was deeply interesting to mark the specimens of penmanship which the various contributors furnished: the bold hand of one—the neat style of another—the careless and dashing strokes of another—and the stiff, awkward, and almost illegible writing of another. I was much struck, also, with the variety of mind which the album exhibited: on one page, there was the comic strain of Hood; on another, the pure and exquisite taste of Campbell; on another, the fire and vividness of Scott; on another, the minute and graphic painting of Crabbe; and on another, the bold, condensed, and impassioned style, in which Byron so peculiarly excelled.
Now, if all albums could be of this character, their value would be intrinsic and superior, and they would be permanently interesting, because to them we could frequently recur with refreshing and peculiar enjoyment. I regret, however, to say, that the majority of albums are comparatively valueless: they are written with so much negligence; many of the pieces are of so light and frivolous a character; there is so much childish and mawkish sentimentality in numbers of the effusions poured forth; and there is so great a destitution of solid, original, and striking thought, that, in my unpretending, yet honest estimation, the majority of albums are worth comparatively nothing. A good album should contain pieces of genuine talent; should be marked by no frivolity or childishness; should be concise, pointed, and powerful in its contributions; and should embody valuable moral principle; and, to secure these excellencies, the possessor of an elegant album should not place it in the hand of any, accompanied with the request that a contribution be inserted, without ascertaining, in the first instance, that the person solicited is of genuine taste and talent, and real principle; because, if these qualifications be not developed, an album will be merely filled with trifling, crude, unconnected, and worthless pieces—marked by no beauty, exhibiting no taste, characterized by no originality, and inculcating no valuable sentiment.
(For the Mirror.)
No man will be found in whose mind airy notions do not sometimes tyrannize and force him to hope or fear beyond the limits of sober probability.—Johnson.
The superstitions of nations must always be interesting, since they afford a criterion of the progress that knowledge and reason have made. To trace the origin of the belief that departed spirits revisit the earth, a belief apparently so repugnant to reason and revelation, must ever attract the attention of the curious. For it is a question of importance to religion, even although the existence of apparitions would not in the slightest degree invalidate those sacred writings on which the bases of religion are founded; on the contrary, if the reality of apparitions (that is of the existence of apparitions) could be ascertained, another proof would be added to an immense weight of testimony of the ability possessed by the Deity to arrest or alter what appears the ordinary course of nature.
The existence of apparitions has been acknowledged by many, and a tendency towards a belief of them is to be remarked in many more. Ardent, and what is stranger still, since directly opposed to ardent, morbid minds are too ready to embrace "the pleasing dreadful thought," and to this may be attributed the prevalence of this kind of superstition among the poets, and all indeed of an enthusiastic temperament.3 Some of the tales urged in defence of apparitions are upon a primâ facié observation to be traced to an exuberance4 of imagination on the part of the ghost, others that are plainly false, and others that as they cannot be authenticated, are not worthy of notice. I shall here give what I consider an example of the former.
During the celebrated Peninsular campaign, as a lady, whose son, a French officer in Spain, was seated in her room, she was astonished to perceive the folding doors at the bottom of the apartment slowly open, and disclose to her eyes, her son. He begged her not to be alarmed, and informed her that he had been just killed by a grape-shot, and even showed her the wound in his side; the doors closed again and she saw no more. In a few days she received a letter, which informed her that her son had fallen, after distinguishing himself in a most gallant manner, and mentioning the time of his death,