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side of the Alps, my countrymen are the least practised and least perfect in the exercise of the French tongue. By sir William Temple and lord Chesterfield it was only used on occasions of civility and business, and their printed letters will not be quoted as models of composition. Lord Bolingbroke may have published in French a sketch of his Reflections on Exile:' hut his reputation now reposes on the address of Voltaire, “ Docte sermonis utriusque linguæ :" and by his English dedication to queen Caroline, and his
Essay on Epic Poetry,' it should seem that Voltaire himself wished to deserve a return of the same compliment. The exception of count Hamilton cannot fairly be urged; though an Irishman by birth, he was educated in France from his childhood. Yet I am surprised that a long residence in England, and the habits of domestic conversation, did not affect the ease and purity of his inimitable style ; and I regret the omission of his English verses, which might have afforded an amusing object of comparison. I might therefore assume the “primus ego in patriam,” &c. but with what success I have explored this untrodden path must be left to the decision of my French readers. Dr Maty, who might himself be questioned as a foreigner, has secured his retreat at my expense. “Je ne crois pas que vous vous piquiez d'être moins facile à reconnoître pour un Anglois que Lucullus pour un Romain.” My friends at Paris have been more indulgent; they received me as a countryman, or at least as a provincial; but they were friends and Parisians.* The defects which Maty insinuates, “ Ces traits saillans, ces figures hardies, ce sacrifice de la règle an sentiment, et de la cadence à la force,” are the faults
* The copious extracts which were given in the Journal Etranger' by Mr Suard, a judicious critic, must satisfy both the author and the public. I may here observe, that I have never seen in any literary review a tolerable account of my History. The manufacture of journals, at least on the continent, is miserably debased.
of the youth rather than of the stranger : and after the long and laborious exercise of my own language, I am conscious that my French style has been ripened and improved.
I have already hinted that the publication of my Essay was delayed till I had embraced the military profession. I shall now amuse myself with the recol. lection of an active scene, which bears no affinity to any other period of my studious and social life.
In the outset of a glorious war the English people had been defended by the aid of German mercenaries. A national militia has been the cry of every patriot since the Revolution; and this measure, both in parliament and in the field, was supported by the country gentlemen, or Tories, who insensibly transferred their loyalty to the house of Hanover: in the language of Mr Burke, they have changed the idol, but they have preserved the idolatry. In the act of offering our names, and receiving our commissions, as major and captain in the Hampshire regiment, (June 12th, 1759,) we had not supposed that we should be dragged away, my father from his farm, myself from my books, and condemned during two years and a half (May 10, 1760—December 23, 1762,) to a wandering life of military servitude. But a weekly or monthly exercise of thirty thousand provincials would have left them useless and ridiculous; and after the pretence of an invasion had vanished, the popularity of Mr Pitt gave a sanction to the illegal step of keeping them till the end of the war under arms, in constant pay and duty, and at a distance from their respective homes. When the king's order for our embodying came down, it was too late to retreat, and too soon to repent. The south battalion of the Hampshire militia was a small independent corps of four hundred and seventy-six, officers and men, commanded by lieutenant-colonel sir Thomas Worsley, who, after a prolix and passionate contest, delivered us from the tyranny of the lord lieutenant, the duke of Bolton. My proper station, as first captain, was at the head of my own, and after. wards of the grenadier company; but in the absence, or even in the presence, of the two field officers, I was entrusted by my friend and my father with the effective labour of dictating the orders, and exercising the battalion. With the help of an original journal, I could write the history of my bloodless and inglorious campaigns; but as these events have lost much of their importance in my own eyes, they shall be dispatched in a few words. From Winchester, the first place of assembly, (June 4, 1760,) we were removed, at our own request, for the benefit of a foreign education. By the arbitrary and often capricious orders of the war-office, the battalion successively marched to the pleasant and hospitable Blandford (June 17;) to Hilsea barracks, a seat of disease and discord (September 1;) to Cranbrook in the Weald of Kent (December 11 ;) to the sea coast of Dover (December 27 ;) to Winchester camp (June 25, 1761 ;) to the populous and disorderly town of Devizès (October 23;) to Salisbury (February 28, 1762 ;) to our beloved Blandford a second time (March 9;) and finally to the fashionable resort of Southampton (June 2; where the colours were fixed till our final dissolution December 23.) On the beach at Dover we had exercised in sight of the Gallic shores. But the most splendid and useful scene of our life was a four months' encampment on Winchester Down, under the command of the earl of Effingham. Our army consisted of the thirty-fourth regiment of foot and six militia corps. The consciousness of defects was stimulated by friendly emulation. We improved our time and opportunities in morning and evening field-days; and in the general reviews the South Hampshire were rather a credit than a disgrace to the line. In our subsequent quarters of the Devizes and Blandford, we advanced with a quick step in our military studies; the ballot of the ensuing summer renewed our vigour and youth; and had the militia subsisted another
year, we might have contested the prize with the most perfect of our brethren.
The loss of so many busy and idle hours was not compensated by any elegant pleasure; and my temper was insensibly soured by the society of our rustic officers. In every state there exists however a balance of good and evil. The habits of a sedentary life were usefully broken by the duties of an active profession : in the healthful exercise of the field I hunted with a battalion instead of a pack; and at that time I was ready, at any hour of the day or night, to fly from quarters to London, from London to quarters, on the slightest call of private or regimental business. But my principal obligation to the militia was the making me an Englishman and a soldier. After my foreign education, with my reserved temper, I should long have continued a stranger to my native country, had I not been shaken in this various scene of new faces and new friend's; had not experience forced me to feel the characters of our leading men, the state of parties, the forms of office, and the operation of our civil and military system. In this peaceful service I imbibed the rudiments of the language and science of tactics, which opened a new field of study and observation. I diligently read and meditated the. Mé. moires Militaires of Quintus Icilius, (Mr Guichardt,) the only writer who has united the merits of a professor and a veteran. The discipline and evolutions of a modern battalion gave me a clearer notion of the phalanx and the legion; and the captain of the Hampshire grenadiers (the reader may smile) has not been useless to the historian of the Roman empire.
A youth of any spirit is fired even by the play of arms, and in the first sallies of my enthusiasm I had seriously attempted to embrace the regular profession of a soldier. But this military fever was cooled by the enjoyment of our mimic Bellona, who soon unveiled to my eyes her naked deformity. How often did I siglı for my proper station in society and letters ! How often (a proud comparison) did I repeat the complaint of Cicero in the command of a provincial army!“ Clitellæ bovi sunt impositæ. Est incredibile qudm me negotii tædeat. Non habet satis magnum campum ille tibi non ignotis cursus'animi ; et industriæ meæ præclara opera cessat. Lucem, libros, urbem, domum, vos desidero. Sed feram, ut potero; sit modo annuum. Si prorogatur, actum est."* From a service without danger I might indeed have retired without disgrace; but as often as I hinted a wish of resignation, my fetters were rivetted by the friendly entreaties of the colonel, the parental authority of the major, and my own regard for the honour and welfare of the battalion. When I felt that my personal escape was impracticable, I bowed my neck to the yoke : my servitude was protracted far beyond the annual patience of Cicero; and it was not till after the preliminaries of peace that I received my discharge, from the act of government which disembodied the militia.fi
* Epist. ad Atticum, lib. v. 15.
+ JOURNAL, January 11th, 1761.]—In these seven or eight months of a most disagreeably active life, I have had no studies to set down; indeed, I hardly took a book in my hand the whole time. The first two months at Blandford I might have done something; but the novelty of the thing, of which for some time I was so fond as to think of going into the army, our field-days, our dinners abroad, and the drinking and late hours we got into, prevented any serious reflections. From the day we marched from Blandford ! had hardly a moment I could call my own; alınost continually in motion: if I was fixed for a day, it was in the guard-room, a barrack, or an inn. Our disputes consumed the little time I had left. Every letter, every memorial relative to them, fell to my share; and our evening conferences were used to hear all the morning hours strike. At last I got to Dover, and sir Thomas left us for two months. The charm was over; I was sick of so hateful a service; I was settled in a comparatively quiet situation. Once more I began to taste the pleasure of thinking