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At the time of his mother's removal to Bath, the subject of this memoir was only four years old, and was sent with his brothers to the grammar school, where he received his elementary instruction.
His mother, however, trusted much more to the natural parts, and assiduous habits of her sons, than to the assistance of masters. It
may be questioned how far with most children her plan of education would have answered; but, it appears, that she used to incarcerate them for a certain number of hours every day, and that, on their release, the task was generally found to have been mastered. On the same principle she never allowed her son Daniel the aid of a writing master, and yet it is well known, how beautiful was his penmanship. He used to say himself, and quote Lord Chesterfield in support of his assertion, that any man, with the use of his eyes and fingers, might write what hand he pleased. Mrs Sandford's sons were indeed occasionally very differently employed during these hours of imprisonment from what she supposed, for they were none of them deficient in those mischievous propensities, without which a schoolboy must be either better or worse than the generality of his species. On most occasions, however, the boys were on honour, and she had no reason to regret the confidence reposed in them. Whatever may have been the merit of this domestic system of education, to his intercourse with the Bowdler
family, and to his early introduction into polished and intellectual circles, Mr Sandford owed much of his literary taste, as well as of his elegance of mind and manner. Admitted, when still a boy, to the drawing rooms of the Duchess of Portland, and of the celebrated Mrs Delany, and accustomed to the conversation of the most intellectual persons, he saw and heard every thing that could interest and instruct. Such society must have been very profitable and delightful, and he loved to revert to it in after years, though he always spoke of it with a sigh, as what he should never see again. Not that he was insensible to the intelligence and improvement of modern days, but he thought there was a closer affinity between high breeding and elevated sentiment than many men imagine, -that ruffles and brocade were useful fences of society, and that what the present age gained in ease, it lost in refinement. He sometimes regretted that the days were gone when birth and breeding were preferred to wealth, when the gradations of society were definitively marked, when the gentleman might be known by his address, and the mistress distinguished from her maid. Mr Sandford seems to have been always of a delicate habit; but when about fourteen years old, he had a violent fever, which confined him to bed for several weeks, and greatly impaired his constitution. As the fever reached its crisis, he was, for some time, insensible, and his life was despaired of. The first sign of returning consciousness was displayed by his shooting a marble which lay on the pillow at a friend who had watched continually by his bed-side. At the laugh which accompanied this exploit, Mrs Sandford clasped her hands, exclaimed, Thank God! and burst into tears. You may be thankful, said the lady, but I have nearly lost my eye. Throughout his illness this affectionate friend divided with his mother every anxiety; and to her tenderness, under God, he always gratefully attributed his recovery:
Soon after this, it appears, that he was placed at Southampton, together with the present earl of Bristol, under the charge of a clergyman, of the name of Watson, afterwards preferred to the rectory of Rothbury in Northumberland. Mr Watson was an accomplished scholar, and probably did justice to his pupil's education,—but he was a man of coarse mind, and it was greatly to Mr Sandford's satisfaction, that he was removed from his charge, and entered as a commoner at Christ Church in 1784.
“ Those that seek me early, shall find me.”—Prov. viii. 17.
At no period did this noble college present a better opening to a young man of piety and conduct than at this time, when it flourished under the superintendence of that great and good man, Dr Cyril Jackson. Gifted with uncommon powers of discernment, and as steady in his attachment as prompt in the selection of its objects, Dr Jackson understood the characters of all the young men committed to his care, and fixed at once upon those who would do credit to their college, and distinguish themselves in life.
It was no little honour to be favoured with the countenance of such a man; and it was always a source of honest pride to Mr Sandford that, at the commencement of his academic course, and through life, he was distinguished by his friendship. He encouraged him to apply to him on all occasions, frequently directed him privately in his studies, and treated him, at all times, with the most flattering confidence.
In furtherance of the views which this partiality encouraged, Mr Sandford was, at the
request of the Duchess of Portland, appointed by Dr Moss, then Bishop of Oxford, to a studentship of Christ Church. A path was thus opened to any office to which the kindness of the Dean and his own good condućt might introduce him. Nor was he himself wanting in those exertions which might at once justify and advance the intentions of his friend. At a time when there were few of the incentives to study which now inflame the assiduity of youth, when reading had neither the example nor the encouragement it now has, and when he was surrounded by temptations to idleness, did he steadily devote himself to the pursuits, for the prosecution of which he had been sent to college. He had, indeed, all that tenderness of conscience, and all that manly and honourable feeling, which are required to carry a young man through such a scene with consistency and
He lived in the best society of Christ Church, for his maxim was, that a young man should keep such society or none at all, but he was never known to indulge in idle expense, or to forget for a moment that, to be respectable, his style must be in keeping, not with that of his companions, but with his own means and expectations. Nothing can be a greater solecism in taste as well as principle, than for a man of limited means, whom talent or connection has associated with his superiors in rank or affluence, to attempt to vie with them in their own peculiar