페이지 이미지

in variety of affairs, but there is one general use of it, which I remember my Lord Bacon somewhere mentions-that it tends above all things to fix the attention of youth; for in demonstration, if a man's mind wander ever so little, he must begin again.

The study of the Roman civil law is what every true friend of your lordship would most earnestly wish you to pursue, as the ground work of the law of most countries, and in cases where their municipal laws have made no special provision, it is their rule of judging : believe me, the benefits you will derive from a superior knowledge of this science are not to be described within the compass of a letter; and as your lordship may possibly one day have a seat in Parliament, your country will by this means find you the much better qualified for their service, as well as your own. I shall be in danger of going farther out of my depth, if I attempt to say much about your exercises. They require judgment in choosing, and many of them are highly conducive to strengthening the constitution, and forming a graceful behaviour: it seems to be a fault of the present age, to neglect the manly and warlike exercises, and to prefer those which are soft and effeminate; the former are certainly a necessary part of the education of a man of quality, not to be laid aside as soon as learned, but to be made a habit for life. Hence you will be rendered more apt for military fatigue and discipline, if ever the cause of your prince and country shall require you to endure it. And one cannot help observing, that it would be much for the honour of the nobility, as well as the security of this kingdom, if more, even of those who do not think fit to make war their trade, would however qualify themselves to perform that honourable service.

To these I presume travelling will succeed, not only from the reason of the thing, but the fashion of the times, and it were much to be wished that being in the fashion was not for the most part the sole aim of it. It is undoubtedly in itself a noble part of instruction, as it affords an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the constitutions and interests of foreign countries, the courts of their princes, the genius, trade, and general pursuits of the people. But as things are now managed, what is often substituted in the room of these most useful inquiries ? Nothing but the infection of their vices and luxury, their arts of dressing themselves and their victuals, and the acquisition of false vitiated taste in both. To intimate one or two of the many causes of this unbappy abuse, may serve just to point out the way to avoid it. One fundamental error is travelling too early; the mind of a young man wants to be fitted and prepared for this kind of cultivation : and, until it is properly opened by study and learning, he will want light to see and observe, as well as knowledge to apply, the facts and occurrences met with in foreign countries : without this foundation, a boy may be carried to see one of these idle shows called moving pictures, or the French court in wax-work, with almost as great advantage, and with much more innocence.

Another fatal error is excessive expense, to which this part of what is called education is suffered to be carried. It is not uncommon to see a young gentleman spend more by the year in such a tour, than the income of his estate will in prudence afford him the means of doing when settled with a family at home! And to what purpose? Not to enable him to learn the more; for it turns him out of the paths of application and attention into those of pleasure and riot : not to enable him to associate with the best company of foreigners, but the most luxuriant and extravagant of his own countrymen, or with such strangers as will resort to him only for his money. If the great number of travellers be considered, the drain of cash hereby occasioned is an apparent detriment to this kingdom, and the mischief to particular families is irretrievable, by acquiring a habit of expense which their estate cannot possibly bear, and which will ever be followed by a certain train of consequences dangerous to the public as well as private welfare. In former times, the people of Britain, when they travelled, were observed to return home with their affections more strongly engaged towards the well tempered constitution and liberty of their own country, from having observed the miseries resulting from arbitrary governments abroad. This was a happy effect, and most desirable to be continued : but by an unlucky reverse it sometimes happens in these days, that being taught to like the fashions and manners of foreign countries, they are led to have no aversion to their political institutions, and their methods of exercising civil power.

The Protestant religion being established here is one, great security of our civil liberty. That ocular demonstration of the gross superstitions and absurdities of religion abroad, which travelling furnishes, was formerly thought to fix the mind in a more firm attachment to our primitive simplicity and abhorrence of the latter. It were much to be wished that this observation would constantly hold; but I fear the case is now sometimes otherwise, with this furthur ill consequence, that many of our young men, by a long interruption of the exercise of their own religion, become absolutely indifferent to all.

In what I have said I desire to be understood not to advise your lordship against travelling; my view is far otherwise :-it is only to lay before you what appeared to me, informed as I am, to be the modern abuses of it; that, by avoiding those, you may be in a condition to make use of that which is truly useful in itself.

Forgive me, my dear lord, this tedious letter, drawn from me by your own request, and proceeding from the sincerest desire of your lasting prosperity. Be assured that I should think it a very happy circumstance in my life, if any advice of mine could be in the least degree assistant towards rendering a young nobleman of your quality and hopes the more capable of performing that service to his king, his country, and his family, which they may justly expect from him; and that I am, with the utmost truth, your lordship’s most faithful and obedient humble servant,



August 16, 1736. I HAVE been out in the coach with my lord this afternoon. If a fine evening, and the most delightful rural scene in the world, could give any one the least sensation of delight in so terrible a situation as ours, I must have felt it to-night. But when I came near the house, where the best of friends that has had so great a part in the happiness and improvement of my life, lies languisbing in the greatest misery, I felt a chillness at my heart, an inexpressible something, that made me imagine it is better to be always in the midst of this melancholy scene than to undergo the fears that necessarily attend an hour's separation from it. I thank God that we found nothing worse at our return than we left when we went out. Since Saturday the convulsions are not in. creased, as we every moment dreaded. Yesterday they were rather lessened; but do not be too much pleased at my saying this. The case still continues hopeless; and I do not know whether one ought to be glad that she may continue in this misery a week or fortnight longer. Alas! what a dreadful sentence have I writ here ! I am shocked at looking over it, to see with what apparent calmness I have said, that in so short a space of time I must, in all probability, lose one of the greatest blessings of my past life, the best of friends, the most amiable companion; must see the remainder of those who are, and ought to be, the nearest to my heart, given up to the VOL, V.


« 이전계속 »