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OF THE MEMOIRS OF THE LATE
“We ne'er shall look upon his like again."
THE decease of emInENT CHARACTERS natuT rally rouses the attention of mankind. Their talents and their virtues become still more interesting when we find that they have for ever quitted the stage of mortality. We are then supposed to view their actions through a more distinct medium
-aud temptations, either to flattery or to resentment, being equally removed, we adjudge their merits with a more rigorous impartiality. With these ideas we sit down to collect particulars respecting the late venerable LORD ROKEBY. He was a truly original character- few biographers can do justice to his integrity. We shall, howeyer, do the best in our power, and we trust to that candour which we have hitherto liberally experienced from the readers of our Miscellany. Our account, indeed, cannot be any thing more than a
sketch-but, we hope, that these outlines will be perused with a degree of satisfaction."..
LORD ROKEBY (whose real name was MAT. THEW ROBINSON), was born about the year 1712, near Hythe, in the county of Kent. He was the eldest son of Sir Septimius Robinson, Knit. whose family possessed considerable influence in the court of George the second. He was sent at the usual age to Westminster school, where the chile dren of the wealthy are for the most part educated and prepared for the university. Accordingly, the subject of our memoirs was in due time admitted at Trinity College, Cambridge. Here he applied to his learning with great diligence, and acquitted himself with ability. A proof of this his progress may be taken from his election to a fellowship of which he was very fond, and retained it to the close of his life. The taste which he acquired for literature during his early years, never forsook him his library was large and well chosen--and he could refer to the contents of his several volumes with a wonderful facility. Education is always sure of cherishing those seeds of good sense, which lie latent in most minds, and is an ex. cellent means of raising the character to a meritorious celebrity. Even where it is not wanted as a medium of livelihood, it greatly heightens and promotes respectability.
After his education was compleated, he went to Aix-la-Chapelle, in Germany, a place celebrated for its baths, and, at that period, much distinguished for the peace made there, by which the European nations were once more brought back to their accustomed serenity. The company generally frequenting this spot, rendered it the resort of fashion--and here LORD ROKEBY passed much! of his time, indulging himself in every species of gaiety. His wit and politeness attracted no small
attention, and he soon became the theme of general admiration.
Upon his return to his native country, the electors of Canterbury chose him to represent them in parliament. The duties of this public station he discharged with uncommon integrity. Duly apprised of the importance of his office, he made himself acquainted with the views of his constituents, and deemed himself only the organ through which they were to legislate for their country. Such were his ideas of the province of a member of par. liament-and, agreeable to these notions, he acted in his public capacity with zeal and activity. At the ensuing general election he was re-chosen with acclamations of applause. The electors knew him to be an honest man-were therefore proud of his services-whilst he, on the other hand, considered their approbation as a source of the most refined satisfaction. · During the American war he remonstrated with peculiar energy against the measures taken against the colonists by this country. He foresaw the evil consequences which must proceed from coercion. He reprobated taxation without representation, which was the only ground of complaint with the • Americans in the first stages of that unhappy busi
ness. They afterwards indeed aspired to the proud idea of independence, and their struggles were finally crowned with victory.
How long LORD ROKEBY continued in parliament we are not able to say, nor can we with cer, tainty assign the reasons of his resignation. He, however, positively refused to be chosen at the next election, and retired to his seat near Hythe, where he passed his life free from those cares and anxieties which attend public stations. The sen. sible mind is never at a loss for enjoyment. Nature