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Styles of Hume, Gibbon, and Robertson-HUME.
the throne of England;"h" Broken armies, disordered finances, slow and irresolute counsels; by these resources alone were the dispersed provinces of Spain defended against the vigorous power of France;" "Slow without prudence, ambitious without enterprise, false without deceiving anybody, and refined without any true judgment: such was the character of Philip;" Headstrong in his passions, and incapable equally of prudence and of dissimulation: sincere from violence rather than candour; expensive from profusion more than generosity; a warm friend, a furious enemy; but without any choice or discernment in either: with these qualities, he had easily and quickly mounted to the highest dignities;' "By what arguments he could engage the prince to offer such an insult to the Spanish nation, from whom he had met with such generous treatment; by what colours he could disguise the ingratitude and imprudence of such a measure; these are totally unknown to us;' "m"When we consider Charles, as presiding in his court, as associating with his family, it is difficult to imagine a character at once more respectable and more amiable: a kind husband, an indulgent father, a gentle master, a steadfast friend; to all these eulogies, his conduct in private life fully entitled him ;"""The eager expectations of men with regard to a parliament, summoned at so critical a juncture, and during such general discontents; a parliament which, from the situation of public affairs, could not be abruptly dissolved, and which was to execute every thing left unfinished by former parliaments; these motives, so important and interesting, engaged the attendance of all the members." The reader contemplates these sentences, and wonders why the author chose to give them so awkward and unpleasing a form.
In his character of James I. he gives us a sentence without a verb; a liberty which no writer before or since, except Robertson, who once copied him,
has ventured to allow himself. a feeble temper more than of a frail judgment; exposed to our ridicule by his vanity; but exempt from our hatred by his freedom from pride and arrogance. ." He presents us with another sentence similarly deficient in another place : "What security either against the farther extension of this claim, or against diverting to other purposes the public money, so levied?" q
He is occasionally too little regardful of accuracy of expression, using a phrase without attaching any meaning to it, or at least without making it apparent to his reader that he attached any "He bestowed pensions, to the amount of sixteen thousand crowns a year, on several of the King's favourites; on Lord Hastings two thousand crowns ; on Lord Howard and others in proportion."r What does he mean by in proportion?
There is also a want of exactness in saying, "A prince whose character, containing that unusual mixture of dissimulation and ferocity, of quick resentment and unrelenting vengeance, executed the greatest mischiefs." We never say that a man's character executes either good or evil, but that the man himself executes it.
P Ch. xlix. vol. 6, p. 154. 9 Ch. lii. vol. 6, p. 816. Ch. xxii. vol. 3, p. 256. 8 Ch. xl. vol. 5, p. 210. Ch. lxx. vol. 8, p. 237. u Ch. xvi. vol. 2, p. 489. w Ch. xxvi. vol. 3, p. 373. * Ch. xxxi. vol. 4, p. 127.
which might, all of them, have been foreseen before the embarkation ;" › "Men of education in England were, many of them, retained in their religion more by honour than by principle;' "They had, all of them, been previously disgusted ;” Complaints rose as high against the credit of the Gascon as ever they had done against that of the Poictevin and Savoyard favourites." b "Laws which he made be enacted for the government of his subjects." c "As much as the bold and
vivid spirit of Montrose prompted him to enterprising measures, as much was the cautious temper of Hamilton inclined to such as were moderate and dilatory." d
In the following sentences, the word what is ungracefully, if not ungrammatically used with a noun and verb in the plural. "But what threatened more immediate danger to Mary's authority, were the discontents which prevailed;" e "What rendered the King's aim more apparent, were the endeavours which he used to introduce into Scotland some of the ceremonies of the Church of England."f A remark nearly similar may be applied to the word whoever, in this passage: "It was required, that whoever had borne arms for the King, should forfeit the tenth of their estates. "'g Such phraseology seems to convict a writer of a want of absolute command over his language.
In two or three places he has used words for which he had no precedent, and which do but little credit to his taste: "The intolerating spirit of that assembly;" h "The affrightened and astonished mind:" "Introit to the communion service." k
He is commonly careful to keep his sentences free from useless words, yet in a few instances he has clogged them with some that are wholly superfluous and highly offensive: "Without the most manifest and most flagrant im
y Ch. xxv. vol. 3, p. 354.
z Ch. lxxi. vol. 8, p. 281. a Ch. lxxi. vol. 8, p. 303. b Ch. xii. vol. 2, p. 165. Ch. xxvi. vol. 3, p. 397. d Ch. lviii. vol. 7, p. 45. e Ch. xl. vol. 5, p. 189. f Ch. xlvii. vol. 6, p. 8 Ch. Ivii. vol. 7, p. 37. h Ch. xlv. vol. 6, p. 27. Ch. lvii. vol. 7, p. 42. Ch. viii. vol. 1, p. 401.
piety;"1" Universally to be the stan.. dard of belief to all mankind ;” m men remained in silence and mute astonishment." This last piece of tautology he seems to have admired, for he inserted it without variation in a
subsequent passage." "Sheerness was soon taken, nor could it be saved by the valour of Sir Edward Sprague, who defended it." P This reminds us of a remark of Hawkesworth in his Voyages, that "the sailors could not find anchorage, nor could anchorage any where be found."
He often gives an unpleasing stiffness to his periods, by omitting, after the manner of Sallust, but, I think, with somewhat less art than the Roman author, the connective particles : "Overcome by the fond love of life, terrified by the prospect of those tortures which awaited him, he allowed the sentiments of nature to prevail over his resolution ;" "The Lords Boyd and Ochiltree, Kirkaldy of Grange, Pittarow, were instigated by like motives.' "T
He occasionally, though but seldom indeed, uses, after the French mode, the present tense for the past: "The Commons send Shirley to prison; the Lords assert their powers. Conferences are tried, but no accommodation enFour lawyers are sent to the Tower by the Commons, for transgressing the orders of the House, and pleading in this cause before the Peers. The Peers denominate this arbitrary commitment a breach of the great charter, and order the Lieutenant of the Tower to release the prisoners: he declines obedience." s In this manner he proceeds for some lines farther; a manner always ungrateful to English ears.
Such are the defects in the style of Hume; but what is to be blamed in it is very trivial, in comparison with what is to be praised. When all his faulty passages are considered, the general character of his periods will still be, that they are well constructed and modulated; and of his diction, that it is select; and, what is always 1 Ch. xi. vol. 2, p. 73. m Ch. xxxii. vol. 4, թ. 205. n Ch. xl. vol. 5, p. 107. • Ch. xlii. vol. 5, p. 320. P Ch. Ixiv. vol. 7, p. 420. a Ch. xxxvii. vol. 4, p. 429. r Ch. xxxix. vol. 4, p. 90.
Ch. lxvi. vol. 8, p. 14.
List of the Boys at Eton in the years 1779-1780.
to be commended in a Scotch author, free from scotticisms; and his few blemishes are no more to be regarded in the number of his excellencies, than the spots in the sun are noticed in the splendour of noon.
(To be continued.)
I HAVE transcribed, from the original, a List of the Boys at Eton in the years 1779-1780, upwards of half a century ago. Your readers will recognise among them the names of many, highly distinguished in afterlife in their different characters of Statesmen, Judges, Generals, Ambassadors, and men of learning. It would be matter of curious inquiry to ascertain how many out of the number of these three or four hundred boys are yet alive. I have marked with an asterisk some of the names of those believed to be now living; of others, your readers may be better informed. Yours, &c.
A. D. 1779-1780.
Provost of Elon-Dr. Baruard.
Upper Master-Dr. Davies.
Assistants in the Lower School - Messrs.
Private Tutors to Noblemen and others, not assisting in the School:
Mr. Luxmoore, afterwards Bishop of St.
Mr. Plumptre, afterwards Dean of Glouces-
Becher-Brown's Medal in 1782, for the
Lloyd.-Norrisian Prize in 1784; Vicar of
Prize, 1788, and 1789; Browne's Medal
Myddelton. Of Chirk Castle.
Roberts.-Rector of Spawl, co. Norfolk.
Dyson, ma.-Son of the Clerk of the House of Commons.
Anguish.-Prebendary of Norwich.
*Leycester, ma.— Chancellor's Medallist, M.P. for Shaftesbury.
-Fellow of St. John's, Camb. Bayley, ma.— Townsend.-The late Lord Sydney.
Barrister-at-Law; Assessor of Cambridge University.
Moore.-Barrister-at-Law; Senior Bachelor's prize-man in 1792; Browne's Medal for the Latin Ode, 1786, and Greek Ode, 1787.
Lowndes.-Barrister-at-Law. *Fancourt.-Incumbent of a Church at Leicester.
Mr. North, Francis.-Son of the Earl of Guilford.
Grove.-Wasted a good estate, and was reduced to poverty.
Eden.-Sir Frederick E. Bart. Mellish, ma.-Dean of Hereford. *Lord Downe.
Sandys. Sir Edwin S. Bart.
Pott. Son of the celebrated surgeon. *Lord Blandford.-Now Duke of Marlboro'. Mr. Montagu.-Eldest son of the Earl of
*Evans.-Under-Master of Harrow School;
Heys. Fellow of Trinity Coll. Cambridge; Members' Prize for Bachelors in 1791; Craven scholar, 1787; a Barrister-at-Law. *Cottrel.-Barrister-at-Law. *Lockhart-M.P. for Oxford City. Mellish, mi.-Elton.-- Reid.---*Jones. *Freeman, mi.-Rector of Milton near Cambridge.
*Grover.-Fellow of Eton; senior Bachelor's prize in 1793.
*Lord Stopford.-Earl of Courtown.
Scott.-Rector of Wootton Courtney.
Marshall.-Rector of Kingston in Jamaica.
Street. -Son of a banker at Bath.
Mr. Stopford.-Second son of the Earl of Harrison.- -Knott.
Douglas.-Canon of Salisbury.
Mr. Evans.-Earl of Carbery:
Herne.- -Tilson, mi.- -Beedell, ma.
Mr. Bathurst.-Son of the Earl Bathurst. Mr. Watson.-Lord Sondes.
Tenants in Chief of Domesday Book.
Clark. Lieut. in the Navy.
Mr. Bligh.-General B. son of the Earl of
Waller, mi.-A descendant of the Poet.
Arden. Son of an ingenious Poet, the
friend of Garrick. Champness.- -Monk.
Grey.-Sir George G. brother of Earl Grey. Bridges.-Eldest son of Sir Brooke B. Bart. Hart.-Vicar of Ringwood.
*Luke.-Fellow of Sidney Sussex College. Palmer.-Sir Palmer, Bart.
Hankey.-A banker in London. Walpole.--Adams.--Plummer.---Trigg. Baker.-Sir George Baker, Bart. Lord Downe.-Earl of Moray. Oliver. A clergyman at Leicester. *Mr. Wesley. The Duke of Wellington. *Mr. Wesley.-Prebendary of Durham. *Moore, mi.-Son of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Hazlewood.
Ansou.-Gen. Sir George Anson. Concannon. -Lucy.- -Careless. Langley. -North.- -Prior, ma. Prior, mi
Lower School, third Form.
Wey, ma.-Of Denham, Bucks.
Sir Griffith Boynton, Bart.
Mr. King. Lord Kingston.
Lord Dalkeith.-Duke of Buccleugh.
Mr. Dawney.Son of Viscount Downe.
THESE remarks of your Reviewer (Nov. Magazine, p. 427) induce me to send you, earlier than I had intended, some particulars of a foreign family, members of which shine eminently as Tenants in Capite in the great Book of Domesday and afterwards appear, though at long intervals, in the pages of English history.
Previously, however, to my submitting the statement purposed, you must allow a few words of defence, on the neglect of Antiquaries here noticed. Imperfect as the execution of my wishes must have been, I have for some time past given occasional attention to the subject, and have wished to give to the antiquarian and historical world, memorials of the Domesday Tenants in Capite, and their descendants in the male line; but sadly few are the records of those who lived eight hundred years since; and small is the proportion, even of those few records, which is of a public nature; for I cannot call one to mind between the Domesday Survey in 1085, and the Pipe Rolls in 1129, a period of 60 years; during which time most, if not all of the Conqueror's soldiers, must have shaken off their mortal coil. The consequence of this is, that our only information must be obtained from some accidental and very rare recital in a subsequent record; or in the Chronicles and annals of religious houses; or in private charters (or the enrolment thereof, as the Carte Antiquæ