Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

P.S."The residence of Mr. Bryant, at Cypenham, was within the parish of Farnham Royal, where that learned gentleman was buried, and in the church of which place a monument to his memory is thus inscribed : “ M. S. Jacobi Bryant, Collegii Regalis apud Cantabrigienses olim Socii ; qui iu bonis quas ibi hauserat, artibus excolendis consenuit. Erant in eo plurimæ literæ, nec eæ vulgares, sed exquisitæ quædam & reconditæ, quas non minore studio quam acumine ad illustrandam S.S. veritatem adhibuit : id quod testantur scripta ejus gravissiina, jam in Historiæ Sacræ primordiis eruendis, quam in Gentium Mythologia explicandâ versata. Libris erat adeò deditus ne iter vita secretum iis omninò deditum, præmiis honoribusque quæ :'i non magis ex Patroni nobilissimi gratiâ quam suis meritis abundè prætio erant, usque præposuerit. Vitam integerriniam ti rerè Christianam, non sine tristi suorum desiderio, clausii, Nov. 13, 1804, anno ætatis suæ 89." Lysons's Buckinghamshire, p. *729. “ DEAR Sir,

Milbourne House, March 9, 1814. "I can recollect less of Dr. Battie than of my other Heroes ; for I did not see him enough to see him thoroughly; but what I do remember of him I repeat in general with gratitude and pleasure. That he was a most able Physician, as well as particularly gifted in that most affecting branch of it which had brought him forward, none who had the least experimental knowledge of him ever denied; but I remember two features of his medical deportment, which are both of them so much to the honour of his feelings that I record them with enthusiasm for the best of his, and of all fame, that of scrupulous and (as it would by some be called) romantic integrity.

“ He had an aversion to Dr. James ; and it was the aversion of an honest mind. He said, and proved, that James had eluded the rights of the Publick by an imperfect specification, which enabled him (as it now enables those who represent him) to be the sole vender of his powder. He would never prescribe it; and was, I know, firm to this text for several years; 'insisting that he could not, as an honest man, prescribe a medicine of which he could not be a competent judge without knowing all the ingredients and all their proportions. I believe that he carried that antipathy so far as never to meet him at a consultation. He often declined attendance in fevers upon this account; but admitting the efficacy of that medicine which had acquired such fame.

“If you call this a whim in a Physician of strong sense and of established fame, I have no objection to the word; but I respect such a whim in such a man.

“The other fact I personally attest, as known to me at the fountain-head, for he told it mé himself. '

“Dr. James offered himself at the College, and was critically examined. I rather believe that Battie was then President of the College ; but he certainly had then, as at all other times, a powerful influence upon their debates and councils ; for he was a most admirable Speaker, close, pointed, and impressive ; stern,

and,

and, perhaps, a little too peremptory in his tone ; but he paid you for it in sterling sense and sterling honor.

“I called upon him one day in town. He was at home to me, and seemed in a very bad humour, which rather clouded his manners; never graceful, but in general frank, and amongst his friends very cordial.

“ I asked him if some girl had jilted him.' 'You are an im*pudent fellow,' said he; 'and as you love an oddity like your*self, I'll give you a partner in me. I have quarreled,' said he

with half the College, by taking part with James. D-n the ( fellow! I hate hiin still; but, should you ever be a Judge, ‘ you must one day or another take the Devil's part if it's neces• sary; that is, if he is a party in the cause; and you are the Judye who are to say whether he is in the right or in the wrong.

• I became that fellow's advocate against half the world, who could not hate him worse than I did; and what do you think ' was the reason ? because the dog had more brains in him, • and more knowledge, than I ever had experienced in our Can*didates—prejudice here became iniquity; and a sense of honour to a good-for-nothing dog was my fee.'

“ I cannot undertake to say whether he was out-voted, or prevailed. He was in politics what in those days was called a Tory, a term which I do not here profess to define, or even to illustrate, more than by saying that it was the opposite creed of that upon which my Uncle, the first Lord Camden, acted, thought, and spoke, in power as well as in opposition. Yet these two men were the dearest friends and a manlier independence of opinion I never saw than Battie asserted, but with playfulness and good-humour. He had a peculiar archness of manner, with a fund of dry humour-that made bim an excellent companion. He had no stiffness of manner, though he had a serious and a harsh countenance. He was, I believe, an admirable scholar; but he had a powerful simplicity of mind, which made him superior to the exhibition of his learning. He was too proud to be rain.

In his family he was affectionate and pleasant, but so rigid in frugality, that it was not easy to make his purse bleed : yet, Before its time, he had a very handsome house and place at Marlow, where I had once the happiness to be his guest, and where I found him truly hospitable — in all senses of the word. He had thoroughly endeared himself to all his children (three daughters), two of whom are living ; but his parsimony and the vigour of his health I have rernarked, more than once, in his vehicle, the Nestor of carriages; which, half open, to avoid the rain, conveyed him to London-and home again.

“ Of his incomparable and ready humour I will give you a picture, drawn by one of the parties in the scene. Serjeant Prime, one of the most inflexibly serious Pleaders in his day, was attended by Barnard, then Master of Eton, who was doing the honours to him. Amongst other places which they visited

was

was a room for some of the Collegers, called the lower chamberin this room they found Battie, who had been rambling with some of the boys over the favourite scenes of his youth. He knew Barnard with intimacy, and admired, with passion, all his jesting powers. A conflict ensued, which Barnard, then my host, made alive to me, though at second hand. He fell upon Battie as a delinquent Colleger! The other fell upon him in return as a partial Master, who, as all the boys would bave told him, if they dared, spited him! The Serjeant, all astonishment, with smiling civility, after the scene had closed, asked Barnard what it meant ; 'for the Gentleman,' said he, ‘appears of an age to have escaped from your dominion over him, and he bad no College habit upon him. Barnard (with difficulty keeping his countenance) told him it was a kind of practice between them, to keep their hand in. Oh! it was facetious then, was it said the Serjeant ; 'Oh! yes, I see it was, and upon my word, Sir, it was excellent of its kind.' Here Barnard, who was an admirable mimic, personated the Serjeant.

“ This extraordinary man, the vietim of their frolic, was an able advocate ; and, without a conception of humour, convulsed the Court with laughter upon more occasions than one, by telling his facts dryly, but weightily, as he found them on his brief. Ŭpon some occasion to a Jury he depreciated his adver. sary's witnesses, having first elevated his own : Against thcse Gentlemen of repute, what is the enemy's battle array ?

Two Butchers and a Taylor,
Three Hackney-coachmen and a Corn-cutter.
But, in the rear of the column,

An Alderman of London, solus. *** In the First Volume of “ Precedents of Proceedings in the House of Commons," published by Mr. Hatsell in April 1776, and “ gratefully and respectfully dedicated to the Right Honourable Jeremiah Dyson, Cofferer to His Majesty's Household, and one of His Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council,” the learned Editor observes that, “ Perhaps some apology is necessary, for his having presumed, without leave or any previous notice, to inscribe these Collections to a person whose universal knowledge, upon all subjects which relate to the History of Parliament, will render this, and every work of this sort, to him unnecessary. But the Publisher could not prevail upon himself to omit such an opportunity of expressing to that Gentleman, and to the World, the very grateful sense he entertains of that kindness and generosity, which first placed him, even without any application on his part, in a situation, that has made it his duty to apply himself more particularly to the examination of the Journals of the House of Commons, and to studies of a similar nature. The public character of that Gentleman, his comprehensive knowledge, his acuteness of understanding, and inflexible integrity, are sufficiently known and acknowledged by all the world: but it is only within the circle of a small acquaintance, that he is

admired

admired as a man of polite learning and erudition; a most ex. cellent father, and a most valuable friend. They only who have the pleasure and advantage to know him intimately, know, that the warmth and benevolence of his heart, are equal to the clearness and sagacity of his head. A very ill state of health has at present unfortunately withdrawn this Gentleman from the ser, vice of the publick ; but all who remember his abilities in Parliament, will lament the loss of that information, which his knowledge of the History, and of the Laws and Constitution of this Country, enabled him to give ; and which he was at all times so ready, in private as well as public, to communicate.”

In the Second Volume, relating to“ Members, Speakers, &c." under the article “ Clerks,” an office which for nearly half a century Mr. Hatsell has most meritoriously filled, the following appropriate compliment is paid to his Predecessor: “ By virtue of his office, the Clerk has not only the right of appointing a Deputy to officiate in his stead; but has the nomination of the Clerk Assise tant, and all the other Clerks without-doors. Formerly the appointment to these offices made a considerable part of the Clerk's income, as it was the usual practice to sell them; but, when Mr. Dyson came to the office of Clerk, though he had purchased this of Mr. Hardinge for no less a sum than six thousand pounds, he, with a generosity peculiar to himself, and from a regard to the House of Commons, that the several Under-Clerkships might be more properly filled than they probably would be if they were sold to the best bidder, first refused this advantage, and appointed all the Clerks whose offices became vacant in his time, without any pecuniary consideration whatever. I was the first that experienced this generosity as Clerk Assistant; to which office Mr. Dyson appointed me, not only without any gratuity on my part, but indeed without having any personal acquaintance with me, till I was introduced to him by Dr. Akenside, and recommended by him, as a person that might be proper to succeed Mr. Read, then just dead, as Clerk Assistant. This office, at the time I received it from Mr. Dyson gratis, he might have disposed of, and not to an improper person, or one unacquainted with the business of the House of Commons, for 3000l. Mr. Dyson's successors, i, e. Mr. Tyrwhitt and myself, have thought ourselves obliged to follow the example which he set : but it is one thing to be the first to refuse a considerable and legal profit, and another, not to resume a practice that has been so honourably abolished by a predecessor*."

In the Preface to his Second Volume, Mr. Hatsell with great propriety says, " It would be impossible to peruse a page of the following Work, without observing the great advantage that it derives from the notes and observations of Mr. Onslow, the late Speaker of the House of Commons, which have been very obligingly communicated upon this occasion by his Son, the present

* Mr. Dyson died Sept. 16, 1776. He was at that time M. P. for Hor. sham, a Member of the Privy Council, aud Cofferer to His Majesty's Housebold.

Lord

Lord Onslow. It would be impertinent in the Editor of this Collection to suppose, that any thing which he can say, will add to the reputation of a character so truly eminent as that of Mr. Onslow; but, as it was under the patronage, and from the instructions of that excellent man, that he learned the first nudiments of his Parliamentary knowledge ; and, when Mr. Onslow retired from a public station, as it was permitted to the compiler of this work, to visit him in that retirernent, and to hear those observations on the Law and Constitution of this Government, which, particularly in the company of young persons, Mr. Onslow was fond of communicating, he may perhaps be allowed to indulge himself for a moment in recollecting those virtues which distinguished that respectable character, and in endeavouring to point them out as patterns of imitation to all who may wish to tread in his steps. Superadded to his great and accurate know. ledge of the history of this country, and of the minuter forms and proceedings of Parliament, the distinguishing feature of Mr. Onslow's public character was, a regard and veneration for the British Constitution, as it was declared and established at the Revolution. This was the favourite topic of his discourse ; and it appeared, from the uniform tenor of his conduct through life, that, to maintain this pure and inviolate, was the object at which' he always aimed. In private life, though he held the office of Speaker of the House of Commons for above three and thirty years, and during part of that time enjoyed the lucrative employinent of Treasurer of the Navy, it is an anecdote perfectly well known, that, on his quitting the Chair in 1761, his income from his private fortune, which had always been inconsiderable, was rather less than it had been in 1727, when he was first elected into it.—These two circumstances in Mr. Onslow's character are of themselves sufficient to render the memory of that character revered and respected by all the world* ; but the recollection of them is peculiarly pleasant to the Editor of this work; who, amongst the many fortunate events that have attended him through life, thinks this one of the most considerable; that, in a very early period of it, he was introduced and placed under the immediate patronage of so respectable a man; from whose instructions, and by whose example, he was confirmed in a sincere love and reverence for those principles of the Constitution, which form the basis of this free Government; the strict observations and adherence to which principles, as well on the part of the Crown as of the People, can alone maintain this country in the enjoyment of those invaluable blessings, which have deservedly drawn this eulogium from the best informed writers of every nation in Europe : That, as this is the only Constitution, which, from the earliest history of mankind, has had for its direct object • Political Liberty ;' so there is none other, in which the laws are so well calculated to secure and defend the life, the property, and the personal liberty of every individual. Sept. 22, 1781."

* See vol. I. p. 392 ; vol. II. pp. 263, 354; vol. III. pp. 281, 282 ; vol. IV. pp. 580, 727.

Extracts

« ZurückWeiter »