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When I complain of the loss of time, justice to myself and to the militia must throw the greatest
Recollecting some thoughts I had formerly had in rela-, tion to the system of Paganism, which I intended to make use of in my Essay, I resolved to read Tully de Natura Deorum, and finished it in about a month. I lost some time before I could recover my habit of application.
Oct. 23d.)–Our first design was to march through Marlborough; but finding on enquiry that it was a bad road, and a great way about, we resolved to push for Devizes in one day, though nearly thirty miles. cordingly arrived there about three o'clock in the afternoon.
Nov. 2nd.]-I have very little to say for this and the following month. Nothing could be more uniform than the life I led there. The little civility of the neighbouring gentlemen gave us no opportunity of dining out; the time of year did not tempt us to any excursions round the country; and at first my indolence, and afterwards a violent cold, prevented my going over to Bath. I believe in the two months I never dined or lay from quarters. I can therefore only set down what I did in the literary way. Designing to recover my Greek, which I had somewhat neglected, I set myself to read Homer, and finished the four first books of the Iliad, with Pope's translation and notes ; at the same time, to understand the geography of the Iliad, and particularly the catalogue, I read the 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, 13th, and 14th books of Strabo, in Casaubon's Latin translation: I likewise read Hume's History of England to the reign of Henry the Seventh, just published, -ingenious but superficial ; and the Journal des Sçavans' for August, September, and October, 1761, with the Bibliothèque des Sciences,' &c. from July to October: both these journals speak very handsomely of my book.
December 25th, 1761.)—When, upon finishing the year, I take a review of what I have done, I am not dissatisfied with what I did in it, upon making proper allowances. On the one hand, I could begin nothing before the middle of January. The Deal duty lost me part of February ; although I was at home part of March, and all April, yet electioneering is no friend to the Muses. May, indeed, though dissipated by our sea parties, was pretty quiet; but June was absolutely lost upon the march at Alton, and
part of that reproach on the first seven or eight. months, while I was obliged to learn as well as to settling ourselves in camp. The four succeeding months in camp allowed me little leisure, and less quiet. November and December were indeed as much my own as any time can be whilst I remain in the militia ; but still it is, at best, not a life for a man of letters. However, in this tumultuous year, (besides smaller things which I have set down,) I read four books of Homer in Greek, six of Strabo in Latin, Cicero de Naturâ Deorum, and the great philosophical and theological work of M. de Beausobre: I wrote in the same time a long dissertation on the succession of Naples; reviewed, fitted for the press, and augmented above a fourth, my Essai sur l'Etude de la Littérature.
In the six weeks I passed at Beriton, as I never stirred from it, every day was like the former. I had neither visits, hunting, nor walking. My only resources were myself, my books, and family conversations. But to me these were great resources.
April 24th, 1762.]—I waited upon colonel Harvey in the morning, to get him to apply for me to be brigade-major to lord Effingham, as a post I should be very fond of, and for which I am not unfit. Harvey received me with great good-nature and candour; told me he was both willing and able to serve me; that indeed he had already applied to lord Effingham for Leake, one of his own officers; and though there would be more than one brigade-major, he did not think he could properly recommend two; but that if I could get some other person to break the ice, he would second it, and believed he should succeed; should that fail, as Leake was in bad circumstances, he believed he could make a compromise with him (this was my desire) to let me do the duty without pay. I went from him to the Mallets, who promised to get sir Charles Howard to speak to lord Effingham.
August 22.]—I went with Ballard to the French church, where I heard a most indifferent sermon preached by M. ******. A very bad style, a worse pronunciation and action, and a very great vacuity of ideas, composed this performance. Upon the whole, which is preferable—the philosophic method of the English, or the rhetoric of the French preachers? The first (though less glorious) is cer. teach. The dissipation of Blandford, and the disputes of Portsmouth, consumed the hours which tainly safer for the preacher. It is difficult for a man to make himself ridiculous, who proposes only to deliver plain sense on a subject he has thoroughly studied. But the instant he discovers the least pretensions towards the sublime or the pathetic, there is no medium; we must either admire or laugh; and there are so many various talents requisite to form the character of an orator, that it is more than probable we shall laugh. As to the advantage of the hearer, which ought to be the great consideration, the dilemma is much greater. Excepting in some particular cases, where we are blinded by popular prejudices, we are in general so well acquainted with our duty, that it is almost superfluous to convince us of it. It is the heart, and not the head, that holds out: and it is certainly possible, by a moving elo. quence, to rouse the sleeping sentiments of that heart, and incite it to acts of virtue. Unluckily it is not so much acts, as habits of virtue, we should have in view; and the preacher who is inculcating, with the eloquence of a Bourdaloue, the necessity of a virtuous life, will dismiss his assembly full of emotions which a variety of other objects, the coldness of our northern constitutions, and no immediate opportunity of exerting their good resolutions, will dissipate in a few moments.
August 24th. ]— The same reason that carried so many people to the assembly to-night was what kept me away; I mean the dancing.
28th.]—To day sir Thomas came to us to dinner. The Spa has done him a great deal of good, for he loooks another man. Pleased to see him, we kept bumperizing till after rollcalling; sir Thomas assuring us, every fresh bottle, how infinitely soberer he was grown.
29th.]—I felt the usual consequences of sir Thomas's company, and lost a morning because I had lost the day before. However, having finished Voltaire, I returned to Le Clerc (I mean for the amusement of my leisure hours ;) and laid aside for some time his · Bibliothèque Universelle,' to look into the Bibliothèque Choisie,' which is by far the better work.
September 23rd.)–Colonel Wilkes, of the Buckinghamshire militia, dined with us, and renewed the acquaintance were not employed in the field; and amid the per. petual hurry of an inn, a barrack, or a guard-room, sir Thomas and myself had begun with him at Reading. I scarcely ever met with a better companion; he has inexhaustible spirits, infinite wit and humour, and a great deal of knowledge; but a thorough profligate in principle as in practice, his life stained with every vice, and his conversation full of blasphemy and indecency. These morals he glories in-for shame is a weakness he has long since surmounted. He told us himself, that in this time of public dissension he was resolved to make his fortune. Upon this noble principle he has connected himself closely with lord Temple and Mr Pitt, commenced a public adversary to lord Bute, whom he abuses weekly in the North Briton' and other political papers in which he is concerned. This proved a very debauched day: we drank a good deal both after dinner and supper; and when at last Wilkes had retired, sir Thomas and some others (of whom I was not one) broke into his room, and made him drink a bottle of claret in bed.
October 5th.;—The review, which lasted about three hours, concluded, as usual, with marching by lord Effingham, by grand divisions. Upon the whole, considering the camp had done both the Winchester and the Gosport duties all the summer, they behaved very well, and made a fine appearance. As they marched by, I had my usual curiosity to count their files. The following is my field return: I think it a curiosity: I am sure it is more exact than is commonly made to a reviewing general.
all literary ideas were banished from my mind. After this long fast, the longest which I have ever known,
Ne, of Files. No. of Men. Establish.
ment. Grenadiers, 24
N.B. The Gosport detachment from the Lancashire consisted of two hundred and fifty men. The Buckinghamshire took the Winchester duty that day.
So that this camp in England, supposed complete, with only one detachment, had under arms, on the day of the grand review, little more than half their establishment. This amazing deficiency (though exemplified in every regiment I have seen) is an extraordinary military phenomenon : what must it be upon foreign service? I doubt whether a nominal army of a hundred thousand men often brings fifty into the field.
Upon our return to Southampton in the evening, we found sir Thomas Worsley.
October 21st. ]—One of those impulses, which it is neither very easy nor very necessary to withstand, drew me from Longinus to a very different subject, the Greek Calendar. Last night, when in bed, I was thinking of a dissertation of M. de la Nauze upon the Roman Calendar, which I read last year. This led me to consider what was the Greek; and finding myself very ignorant of it, I determined to read a short but very excellent abstract of Mr Dodwell's book de Cyclis, by the famous Dr Halley. It is only twenty-five pages; but as I meditated it thoroughly, and verified all the calculations, it was a very good morning's work.
Cctober 28th.)-I looked over a new Greek lexicon which i had just received from London. It is that of Robert Constantine, Lugdun. 1637. It is a very large volume in folio, in two parts, comprising in the whole 1785 pages. After the great Thesaurus, this is esteemed the best Greek lexicon. It seems to be so. Of a variety of words for which I looked, I always found an exact definition ; the various senses well distinguished, and properly supported