« VorigeDoorgaan »
through the hurry of the times, or their want of application, afforded him but few helps towards his improvement. Every one
all things, the duty to their country, the preservation of the laws, and the public liberty ; subservient to which they preached up moral virtues, such as fortitude, temperance, justice, a contempt of death, &c. Sometimes they made use of pious cheats, as Elisian Fields, and an assurance of future happiness, if they died in the cause of their country; and even deceived their hearers into greatness. Hence proceed all those noble characters wherewith their histories are so stocked: hence it was that their philosophers were deservedly looked upon as supports of the state they had their dependence upon; and as they could have no interest distinct from it, they laid out themselves towards the advancing and promoting the good of it, insomuch that we find the very fortune of their commonwealths lasted no longer than they did. The managers of our modern education have not been quite so public-spirited; for it has been, as I have shewn, for the most part, in the hands of men who have a distinct interest from the public: therefore 'tis not to be wondered at, if, like the rest of the world, they have been biassed by it, and directed their principal design towards advancing their own fortunes.—'Twas not to learn foreign languages, that the Grecian and Roman youth went for so long together to the acadeinies and lectures of their philosophers;—'twas to learn how and when to speak pertinently, how to act like a man, to subdue the passions, to be public-spirited, to despise death, torments and reproach, riches, and the smiles of princes as well as their frowns, if they stood between knows Mr. Hobbes instructed him in the mathematics, and was much regarded by him after his restoration.
them and their duty. This manner of education produced men of another stamp than appears now upon the theatre of the world; such as we are scarce worthy to mention, and must never hope to imitate till the like manner of institution grows again into reputation, which in enslaved countries 'tis never likely to do as long as the ecclesiastics, who have an opposite interest, keep not only the education of youth but the consciences of old men in their handsa.” I mean not, by any thing here said, to undervalue the industry, the learning, or abilities of the clergy. Many of them are highly eminent. But the education of gentlemen, gentlemen intended for legislators, and governors of a people distinguished by their love of liberty, ought to be committed to the care of such to whom liberty is dear, who have been used to manly freedom, and who are capable of relishing and making others relish its invaluable blessings. Not but even ecclesiastics are infinitely to be preferred to those who instil nothing valuable into the mind,-but form the petit maitres, the debauchees, the village-tyrants, or the understrappers of power in the higher stations of life.--I have said, after Burnet, that Duppa was no way fit for his post.
Wood however assures us, “ he was a man of excellent parts, and every way qualified for his function; especially as to the comliness of his person, and gracefulness of his deportment, which rendered him worthy the service of a court, and every way fit to
* Molesworth's Works, Pref. to his Account of Denmark.
Hampden, who makes so noble a figure in this part of our history, it is said, was once proposed for tutor, or rather, as I
stand before princes: and that when he was translated from Salisbury to Winchester, at the restoration, it was to the great joy and comfort of many lords and gentlemen, as well as the reverend clergy, who all had a deep sense and memory of his prudence and piety, owing him a lasting tribute, not only for his great example of virtue and godliness, but for those excellent seeds and principles so happily laid in the youth of the then sovereign lord the king. He was beloved of King Charles I. of happy memory, who made use of his pious conversation during his imprisonment in the isle of Wight; and so much respected by King Charles II. that when this worthy prelate lay on his death-bed at Richmond, he craved his blessing on his bended knees by his bed-sidea." I suppose, being an apt scholar, his majesty might have learned, from his lordship, the mighty value of his boon. Such as know Dr. Duppa owed some of his preferment to George Villiers, will not think themselves at a loss about his real character.
Hampden was once proposed as tutor or governor to the prince.) Mr. Whitlock, speaking concerning the preliminaries to lord Strafford's trial, says, “There was a proposal (the subject of much discourse) to prevent all this trouble, and to restore the earl of Strafforde to his former favour and honour; if the king would prefer some of the grandees to offices at court, whereby Straffordes enemies should become his friends,
* Wood's Athenæ Oxonienses, vol. II. c. 273. Lond. 1721. fol.
think, governor to the prince; but, fortunately for his own character, fortunately for the nation, it took not place: though
and the kings desires be promoted. It was that
should be made lord treasurer, the lord Say master of the wards, Mr. Pym chancellor of the exchequer, Mr. Hollis secretary of state, Mr. Hampden tutor to the prince, others to have other places. In order whereunto, the bishop of London [Juxon] resigned up his treasurers staff, the lord Cothington his place of master of the wards, and the rest were easily to be voided. But whether upon the kings alteration of his mind, or by what other means it came to pass, is uncertain : these things were not effected; and the great men baffled thereby, became the more incensed, and violent against the earl, joining with the Scots commissioners who were implacable against him a.” Had Hampden, and his glorious fellow patriots, accepted the high posts which they were designed by this project to have filled, it is not improbable but their characters would have sunk as low in the eyes of posterity, as the false patriots in more modern times; who, under the guise of good men with upright intentions and disinterested views, forced themselves into power, and, when possessed of it, used it to as bad purposes as their predecessors. “Of all modern virtues, patriotism has stood the test the worst. The great Strafforde, with the eloquence of Tully and the heroism of Epaminondas, had none of the steadiness of the latter. Hampden, less stained, cannot but be suspected of covering ambitious thoughts with
he was undoubtedly capable of filling the post with honour and advantage to his pupil.
the mantle of popular virtue.- In the partition of employments on a treaty with the king, his contenting himself with asking the post of governor to the prince, seems to me to have had at least as deep a tincture of self-interestness as my lord Strafforde had, who strode at once from demagogue to prime ministera.” It seems therefore to have happened very fortunately, as I have said, for Hampden's character, that he escaped the temptation, and therefore carried down an unsullied name to posterity. He might, however, in the trial have come off
conqueror. The coalition of these patriots and courtiers would have had also infinite bad effects on the public. The instruments of tyranny would have escaped unpunished, perhaps uncensured; and, emboldened by impunity, have increased the burdens then too heavy to bear. But above all, the great and noble struggle for liberty made by Hampden, and his fellows, in arms, against tyranny and the tyrant, would never have had an existence;-the noble example would have been lost; and the means of recalling liberty remained unknown.-What Hampden's character was in the eyes of his enemies, we must learn from Clarendon, who says,
“ when this parliament begun (being returned knight. of the shire for the county where he lived) the eyes of all men were fixed upon him as their patria pater, and the pilot that must steer the vessel, through the tempests and rocks which threatened it. And I am
* Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, vol. II. p. 18. 8vo. Lond. 1759.