« AnteriorContinua »
of oral instruction, judiciously and diligently communicated, upon the competitions that will arise among numbers, whose judgments on the qualifications of each other are too frequent to be eluded, too impartial to be resisted, and too weighty to be slighted, -upon the institution of prizes for compositions to be recited in the Halls of Colleges, or the Theatres of the Universities,-upon the distribution of literary distinctions in seasons of general examination, or, upon the connection of other academical rewards, lucrative or honorary, with moral and intellectual excellence. Waving, therefore, all such pertinent and interesting topics, I would only request that the usefulness of these seminaries, like that of every human institution, may be judged by their fruits.
Dr. Parr quotes passages from Dr. Johnson, Sir William Jones, and Dr. Lowth, to support his favorable estimate of English University Education. Dr. Johnson in the Idler (No. 21), says:
The number of learned persons in these celebrated seats is still considerable; and more conveniences and opportunities for study still subsist in them than in any other place. There is at least one powerful incentive to learning-I mean the genius of the place. This is a sort of inspiring duty, which every youth of quick sensibility and ingenuous disposition creates to himself, by reflecting that he is placed under those venerable walls where a Hooker and a Hammond, a Bacon and a Newton, once pursued the same course of science, and from whence they soared to the most elevated heights of literary fame. This is that incitement, which Tully, according to his own testimony, experienced at Athens, when he contemplated the portico where Socrates sat, and the laurel-groves where Plato disputed. But there are other circumstances, and of the highest importance, which make our colleges superior to all places of educa. tion. These institutions, though somewbat fallen from their primary simplicity, are such as influence in a particular manner the moral conduct of their youths ; and, in this general depravity of manners and laxity of principles, pure religion is no where more strongly inculcated.
Sir William Jones in an oration intended to have been spoken in Oxford, July 9, 1773, says:
There is no branch of literature, there is no liberal art, no sublime or useful science which may not here be learned to perfection. All nature lies open to our inspection. The surprising fabric of this visible world has been explained to us, not by conjectures or opinions, but by demonstration; the works of poets, critics, rhetoricians, historians, philosophers, the accumulated wisdom of all nations and all ages, are here made accessible and familiar to the students of every class, in whose minds they are preserved as in a curious repository, whence they may at any time be extracted for the honor and benefit of the human species.
Dr. Lowth, in vindicating himself from the implied aspersion of Bishop Warburton in contrasting his own self-education with his (Dr. L's) opportunities of academical culture, confesses :—that
He had been educated in the University of Oxford ; he had enjoyed all the advantages, both public and private, which that famous seat of learning so largely affords; that he had spent many years in that illustrious society, in a well regulated course of discipline and studies, and in the agreeable and improving commerce of gentlemen and scholars; in a society where emulation without envy, ambition without jealousy, contention without animosity, incited industry and awakened genius; where a liberal pursuit of knowledge, and a genuine freedom of thought was raised, encouraged, and pushed forward, by example, by commendation, and by authority; that he had breathed there the same atmosphere which the Hookers, the Chillingworths, and the Lockes had breathed before.
ENGLISH HOME LIFE AND EDUCATION.
THE EVELYN FAMILY.* Mrs. Evelyn, the daughter of Sir Richard Browne, and wife of William Evelyn, the central figure in this sketch of English Home Life in the 17th Century, was not called to the performance of deeds of heroism, nor was she distinguished for her learning or shining talents. She possessed an amiable disposition, good sense, and a cultivated understanding, united with a sincere and siinple piety
qualities which made her the best daughter and wife, the most tender mother, a desirable neighbor and friend in all parts of her life.' She was born at the English Embassy at Paris, in 1635.
Her childhood passed happily in the brightest capital in Europe, where ber father, Sir Richard Browne, resided as English Ambassador; and to it she always looked back with grateful attachment. Here she was tended with all the care a gentle fate could assign to the only child of good, tender, and pious parents, and here it was that she was early seen and admired by the excellent and accomplished Mr. Evelyn; himself described as one of the best and most dignified specimens of the old English country gentleman.' Unshaken in his fidelity to a falling cause, when that cause became again triumphant he never condescended to bow the knee to wickedness in high places. Indeed, it may be presumed that his loyalty must at last have partaken pretty much of the character of Horace Walpole's patriotism, who, when the patriots of his day were boring the dilettante statesman with, “Sure, Mr. Walpole, you love your country! replied, 'that he believed he should love his country very well, if it were not for his countrymen.' So it may be suspected that Evelyn would have supported the Royal cause with still more ardor than he did, had it not been for some royalists.
Although he trailed a pike at Gennep, and joined the King's army at Brentford, yet on the day on which was fought 'the signal battle of Edge Hill,' after having seen Portsmouth delivered up to Sir
* Abridged from The English Home Life of English Ladies in the 17th Century." By the author of Magdalen Stafford.' London: Bell & Daldy.
William Waller, he was able to make a careful archæological survey of the city of Winchester, calmly noting its castle, church, school, and King Arthur's Round Table. Thus devoted to the pursuits of peace, it is no wonder that he shortly afterward quitted a land divided by civil warfare. After exhausting the sights of Paris, he sailed to Genoa, inhaled the perfumed breath of the South, lost himself in the sunny mazes of Italian gardens, gazed with curious eye on the treasures of Florentine galleries, wandered through princely palaces, heard the Pope say mass at Rome on Christmas Day, climbed Vesuvius, and glided through the voiceless streets of Venice. Then, having declined the honor of a degree offered to him by the University of Padua, and passed, with exceeding pleasure, through the Paradise of Lombardy,' he set his face homeward, returning by Geneva to Paris. Farther, for awhile, he did not proceed; and there, the only time in his whole life, as he tells us, lived most idly.
We all know the indigenous growth of such a soil-love, in idleness, of a necessity, sprang up. It was no idle passion, however, with which the daughter of Sir Richard Browne inspired him, though he was at this time seven-and-twenty; and she, the age of one of Shakspeare's women,' not yet fourteen.
Early in the year we find bim changing his lodgings from the Place de M. de Metz, near the Abbey of St. Germain, to one in the Rue Columbier, doubtless to bring him nearer to 'Rue Farrene,' where the English Ambassador resided, and of which the pleasant situation lingered long in the memory of the Ambassador's daughter. Nay, as spring advanced, he began learning the lute, though to small perfection; a symptom which we take to be something like Benedict's brushing his hat o' mornings. Later, his valet, Herbert, robbing him of clothes and plate to the value of threescore pounds, his effects were recovered for him by the good offices of Sir Richard Browne; for whose lady and family, when mentioning the circumstance, he acknowledges he had contracted a great friendship; having particularly set his affections on their daughter. His suit found favor with the Ambassador and his lady; and in her declining days their child recorded her gratitude to those who had placed her in such worthy hands. Accordingly, on Corpus Christi Day, 1647, wben the houses were hung with tapestry, and the streets strown with flowers, amidst all the glitter and gaiety of a Paris fête, the marriage vows were taken in the Chapel of the Embassy, before Dr. Earle, afterward Bishop of Salisbury. Three months after this Evelyn quitted Paris for England, leaving his wife, still very young, under the care of an excellent lady, and prudent mother.'
Young she certainly was; her studies, it may be, somewhat incomplete, and her habits unfixed. But circumstances, after all, are our great instructors, and the brief spring-tide of her youth had been passed amid such as would not fail to impress a thoughtful nature with a serious view of life and its responsibilities. Her eyes had early been accustomed to look on scenes of suffering solaced by benevolence, and of trial sustained with fortitude. Her mother's house was an asylum for her exiled countrymen, as well as an hospital for the sick and needy. For many years of their residence in Paris they were subjected to the direst want of money, and precious lessons are those that are taught in the school of poverty. In a letter of Sir Richard Browne's to Lord Digby, dated 1644, he declares that, “ unless he is supplied with money, inevitable ruin must befall him.'
Mrs. Evelyn was still residing in her father's house when Sir Richard's landlord threatened to seize on his goods, the rent having been for some time due, and he being without means of satisfying him. Charles himself was at this time besieged by butchers, bakers, brewers, and other tradesmen. Hyde was often puzzled how to pay the postage of his state correspondence. Neither to the King, then, nor to his Chancellor of the Exchequer, could the Ambassador apply for assistance, and he was at last obliged to Sir Richard Foster for helping him ont of his difficulties.
But household cares would be lightly met in those times, in which the vail of conventionality was rudely torn aside from life. Delicate women learnt to endure hardship; the timorous cast aside their fears. They came forth to head the defense of a beleagured castle, or to conduct in safety some precious and imperiled life through the threatening dangers of surrounding foes, as though these were the ordinary avocations of their condition; so calmly and with so little self-consciousness were their decds of heroism accomplished. In such seasons of revolution, whether of thought or society, or of government, it is indeed impossible to be young, and to be indifferept.'
Paris was strictly besieged by the Prince de Condé, and Sir Richard Browne and his family shared in all the discomfort and annoyance, if not the dangers, of the siege, and the letter of consolation,' written by Evelyn to his wife at this time, must have been especially welcome. This was in February, 1649. They did not meet again until the following August, after a separation of a year and a half.
Evelyn's presence in England was necessary for the sake of his own affairs, and those of his father-in-law, at whose house, Sayes Court, he spent much of his time, having a lodging and some books there. Mighty changes had been accomplished during the period of his sojourn there. Charles's head had fallen by the hands of his subjects, and “unkingship was proclaimed in England.'
The faithful few who still acknowledged a King of England now sought him at St. Germain, whither Evelyn, soon after his return to Paris, proceeded, to kiss his Majesty's hand, being conveyed there in my Lord Wilmot's coach, their party including Mrs. Barlow, the mother of the Duke of Monmouth. It was in better company than that of the brown, beautiful, bold, but insipid creature,' whom in those few words he has so graphically described, that his next visit to the English court was paid. For his wife and cousin accompanied him to kiss the Queen Mother's hand, and they dined there with my Lord Keeper and Lord Hatton.
At the Louvre in the following month they visited one of the heroines, whose great qualities the misfortunes of the times had called into action. Lady Morton now resided there, the widow of Robert, Earl of Morton, and governess to the Princess Henrietta, who, a fortnight after her birth, had been committed to her care by her ill-fated mother, when compelled to flee from Exeter by the approach of the Earl of Essex. Lady Morton remained in the threat
of laying the infant for the first time, and, as it proved, the last, in the father's arms; for Charles never again saw the child, who was baptized, according to his desire, by the name of Henrietta Anne.
From Exeter Lady Morton removed with the Princess to Oatlands; but in the course of the following year, she was ordered by the Parliament to resign her charge to the Countess of Northumberland, with whom the other royal children were placed. On this she resolved to escape into France where Henrietta Maria now resided, and to restore the princess to her mother, by whom she had been first consigned to her, and to whom alone she could feel justified in resigning ber.
From Oatlands to Dover her journey was accomplished on foot; and as the utmost secrecy was requisite to insure the success of her plan, a disguise was of necessity adopted. Lady Morton accordingly assumed the dress of a poor French woman; but even this homely garb could not conccal her grace and loveliness ;