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Thus he praises: —" The Spartans banished Ctesiphon for CHAP, saying he could talk a whole day upon any question. A rhctorician told one of their kings that eloquence was the most ~ ~ I740 excellent gift to mankind; he answered, —' You do well to say so, because 'when you are commanded silence you are
useless.' I observed when I conducted the ambassador
of Lacedasmon to the royal chamber, agreeably to the usual ceremony, he dropped a ring which he wore upon his finger, and in stooping to recover it made an awkward reverence to our monarch. Podarchus stood as a candidate a few months since to supply a vacancy in the chosen troop of the 300, and, upon finding he was not chosen, he went out from the presence of the Ephori with much seeming gaiety, and in a fit of laughter. They called him back, and inquired the reason of it. He answered, —' he could not help congratulating the state in silence on being possessed of 300 braver and better citizens than himself.' At the last Olympian games, another Spartan being asked whether his victory there would be of any service to him, he replied, —' Yes, for it would recommend him to a station before the King in battle.' The statues of the Gods are all in armour, to intimate that the people place their confidence in military force. Their sacrifices are made -• with uncommon frugality, because they imagine the Deity is more moved by the sincerity than the incense of the worshipper. The only prayer they offer up at the altar is, that they may receive good things for their good actions. All mourning ceases in eleven days. No one is allowed an inscription on his monument except he dies in the field. They set so much a higher value on a victory gained by stratagem than by force, that in the former case they sacrifice an ox to Mars, and in the latter no more than a dunghill cock." But thus their great lawgiver is censured in describing the results of his institutions: —" The Spartans are a proud and severe people. Let them thank Lycurgus who has made them so. Unlike the rest of the admired sages who have given salutary laws to the world, instead of enlarging the minds of an ignorant race, he has more effectually contracted them. Instead of teaching them a little condescension to others, they have learned only to set a value upon themselves. Instead of
polishing them into an ease and benevolence of temper, he has reformed them out of it, aud for the sake of avoiding the refinement of luxury, he has introduced a neglect of that humanity in the lesser offices of life, which adds such a relish to the enjoyment of it."
In the letters there are frequent allusions to contemporaneous English politics. Thus Charles Yorke, in another letter from Cleander to Hippias, on "Ostricism," evidently points at the resolution then generally entertained to drive Sir Robert Walpole from the helm: "No mischiefs are to be wondered at in that state where a man's merit, instead of gaining him the love of his citizens, recommends him to nothing but disgrace. Good Heavens! can there be a surer sign of universal frenzy in a commonwealth than the punishing of great virtues with a severity only due to the basest vices, and rewarding high services and the noblest achievements with such black unthankfulness?" But we must follow the youthful author in his academical career.
Avoiding Jacobite roisterers and the fellows of Trinity — M such a parcel of stupid drunken sots that the like was not in the whole kingdom*,"—not very regular at lecture, and sometimes missing chapel,—but rising in summer with the sun, and in winter lighting his own fire long before day; following with intense ardour the course of study which he preferred, — taking no relaxation but a walk with a brother Athenian, in which they planned a despatch to or from Babylon, he spent his time most pleasantly and most profitably on the banks of the Granta. In 1742, he took his degree of JV1.A. as a nobleman, and left the university without his merits being fully known, for he was only talked of as having agreeable manners, although "one of a set who were great saps and rather exclusive."
He now seriously began the study of the law. His father, on account of the sprightliness he had displayed even in his nurse's arms, having from his infancy destined him for the bar, had entered him of the Middle Temple, while yet in his 14th year.f Before he began to "keep terms" he was
* Language of Dr. Bentley, the Master of that College, f The Honb,s Charles Yorke, EsqTM, 2"d son of the Right HonM<! Philip Lord Hardwicke, Baron of Hardwickc, in the county of Gloucester, Lord transferred to the "Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn," of CHAP.
... CXLIX which he became a distinguished ornament. * He had con-''
trived to keep some terms there while he was still an under- A. D. 1742.
graduate. To free him from the temptations and distractions lJc ,sludira
the law at
of Powis Housef, where the Chancellor now lived in great Lincoln's splendour, our student had a set of chambers assigned to him lnn" in Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, from which he was not to migrate to the paternal mansion except on "high days and holidays," by special invitation. He had not the ad- He is advantage of sitting at a desk in an attorney's office; but he had JJJ, frjjj, often breathed a legal atmosphere, from which he had unconsciously imbibed many legal notions;—and the Chancellor, observing his acuteness and aptitude for instruction on all subjects, had taken a pleasure in expounding to him the elements of jurisprudence, and making him comprehend the bearings of any constitutional question which agitated the public mind.
Thus instructed, he made a rapid progress, and by attend- His proing the Courts in the morning, and devoting himself to Lit- f^awTtu? tleton and Plowden in the evening, he laid the foundation of dent, his professional eminence. Although he never was considered a deep black-letter lawyer, he acquired the faculty of knowing where all the learning on any point that might arise was to be found, and he could prepare himself successfully to enter the lists against men who ignorantly rejoiced to think that science had never taught them to stray beyond the precincts of Westminster Hall. Even now he did not abandon his literary tastes, and by avoiding frivolous amusements, and attending strictly to the improvement of small sections of time wasted by most others, he could, without detriment to his professional progress, keep an assignation with an eminent tragic actor or painter, and carry on a clanHigh Chancellor of Great Britain, was specially admitted into the Society of the Middle Temple the 1 *' day of December, 1735.
• "Lincoln's Inn The Honorable Charles Yorke, Esquire, second son of
the Right HonMo Philip Lord Hardwicke, Baron of Hardwicke, in the county of Gloucester, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, is admitted into the Society of this Inn the 23d day of October, in the sixteenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, George the Second, by the grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c, and in the year of our Lord 1742."
t On the south side of Grosvenor Square.
CHAP, destine correspondence with a critic or a poet. These were CXL1X. ,. . .. r r his dissipations.
A. D. 1742. He had formed a great intimacy with the author of the His inti- « Divine Legislation of Moses," and this tyrant of the liWarburton. terary world was to him condescending, bland, and courteous. A. D. 1742. There is happily preserved to us C. Yorke's very interesting answer to a letter of Warburton, accompanying a presentation copy of the first volume of a new edition of his great work: —
"July 1. 1742.
His letter "I was pleased, on returning home the other day after an ton^on r"'" excursion of a few weeks, to find your first volume waiting ceiving a for me, with a most agreeable letter from yourself, full of Dmnef e kindness and vivacity. To speak the truth, I had been meLegation. ditating before I received yours to say something to you on the very piece you allude to; but you have prevented me in it: — I thought only of congratulating you, but you seem to require condolence. — And surely without reason. What signifies it that your adversaries are not worth contending with? It is a proof that men of sense arc all on your side. — Like the spectres whom .lEneas encountered, you cannot hurt them by any weapons; but it should be remembered, on the other hand, they do not injure but tease, and will follow you the less the more you endure and despise them. You should forgive them too, for you began hostilities. The only provision in the constitution of things for the dull is the indolence of the ingenious. Therefore, when a man unites great application to great parts, throws down the fences of prejudice, and strikes out new paths in knowledge, they confederate against him as a destroyer of their merit, and a dangerous invader of their property.
"After all it is a serious and melancholy truth, that when speculative errors are to be reformed, and received opinions either rationally opposed or defended, the matter cannot be attempted without much censure. The discreet upbraid you with imprudence, the prejudiced with absurdity, and the dull with affectation. It is a censure, however, which generally arises from interest; for the works of such as you contribute CHAP, to bury many useless volumes in oblivion. t xux,
"I rejoice that you approve of the further remarks I sent *. D- l745 you on a few passages in Tunstall's Epistle; not only on account of your candour in doing it, but because your sagacity has confirmed what I had thrown out, by two or three very eloquent turns of argument. Whenever you treat a subject, you leave nothing to be said after you, and for that reason can always improve upon others. But this is a trifle. The new edition of your book shows that you can even improve upon yourself. Tully, I think, says of his behaviour in the office of friendship —' cateris satisfacio quam maxime, mihi ipsi nunquam satisfacio.'' And in writing, it is one mark of superior understanding not to be contented with its own produce.
"Your correspondence is exceedingly acceptable to me. When I am conversing with you on subjects of literature or ingenuity, I forget that I have any remote interest in what is going forward in the world, nor desire in any time of life to be an actor in parties, or as it is called somewhere, 'subire tempestates reipublica.' But when I find every body inquiring to-day concerning the report of the secret committee yesterday*, this passion for still life vanishes; agilis Jio et mersor civilibus undis.
"I am, dear Sir, with the greatest affection and esteem,
"Your most obliged
"and faithful Servant,
This seems to me to be a very wonderful production, considering that the writer was only nineteen years of age. He appears thoroughly to have understood the foibles as well as the merits of his correspondent; and the advice he gives him is remarkable, not only for its boldness, but the felicity of expression in which it is conveyed. We must likewise admire
* This refers to the Report of the Secret Committee on the conduct of Sir Robert Walpole, — in which it was thought that Lord Chancellor Hardwicke might be implicated. —12 Pari. Hist. 788.
f Warburton's Letters, 495.