Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

CHAPTER 1.

The Man of no Party. Education. Ordination.

His father saw his powers: I'll give, quoth he,
My first-born learning, 'twill a portion be.

Eager of fame, he read, he thought, he wrote,
Weigh'd the Greek page, and added note to note.

CRABBE.

[ocr errors]

Vy father, though a layman, was a very

sincere member and stout upholder of M

the Established Church. He rightly

conceived religion to be the great safeguard of a nation; and having a just abhorrence of the atrocities of the French revolution, which he considered to be the natural result of the nation's infidelity, he threw all his influence to the side of order and Christianity.

It was his wish that I should receive such an education as would qualify me for the bar ; deeming that I had a competent share of ability, and that with industry and upright conduct a man is sure to make his way in that profession. Accordingly I was sent to a public school, and thence to the University of Oxford ; at both of which places, though not pre

B

eminently distinguished, I obtained the credit of being a fair scholar. I read diligently the principal authors, both Latin and Greek. I studied divinity, logic, rhetoric, and ethics ; and did not neglect the various opportunities afforded of attending lectures in chemistry, botany, anatomy, geology, and other branches of information, which are too commonly passed over by students at the university. My father's maxim was, that a lawyer ought to know the principles of every thing, and then, when occasion required, the details might easily be mastered. He related an anecdote of Mr. Pitt, who on a certain occasion shewed himself so intimately acquainted with the cotton-trade, that old Sir R. Peel declared he knew more about it than he (Sir Robert) did himself. It was, therefore, partly in obedience to the wishes of my father, and partly in accordance with my own inclinations, that I availed myself of the opportunity afforded at the university of making myself acquainted, as far as I was able, with the whole

range of arts and sciences, literature and philosophy.

After taking my degree, I made a tour on the continent, and obtained such information as a hasty journey of six or eight months is calculated to give. Nor must this be looked on as inconsiderable. To a young mind gathering ideas, perhaps no time can be more profitably spent, for that purpose,

than a few months devoted to travelling. The most cursory glance at foreign cities and places, a week at Paris,

a fortnight in Switzerland, three weeks at Rome; nay, a mere hasty visit of a day to the various cities which have been the theatre of great events,-is sufficient to give an interest and reality to all we read and hear of such places in the course of after-life, which one who has not visited them can never experience. And even the travelling with foreigners in a diligence, or bargaining with them in their shops, and the other casual opportunities of associating with them which present themselves in passing through their country, afford more insight into their character and feelings than one would at first imagine. Of course, he who wishes to have a thorough intimacy with foreigners must associate with them for months and even years. But then, in associating with foreigners there is a danger of impairing one's English feelings and habits. Few things can be more ill-advised than for parents to send their children to be educated in a foreign coumtry, for any considerable portion of their youth. If they wish them to become Frenchmen or Germans in their feelings and habits, they cannot take a better course to secure their object; but if they desire them to maintain the manliness and modesty of English character, they must educate their sons and daughters in their native land. There is also this peculiar disadvantage in a lengthened residence abroad in afterlife; namely, that a man living as a mere visitor or sojourner is apt to forget the ties which bind him to other classes of society. He ceases to feel his responsibility as a member of a national family. If a

« AnteriorContinuar »