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that what we gained in some respects was fully equal to what we lost in others. In my solitary walks through Lord Holland's woods, or over the Wiltshire downs, I early acquired the habit of reflection, and of thinking and judging for myself, and the consequence has been that through the whole of the after part of my life I have never been inclined to adopt opinions on the authority of others, nor until I had looked at both sides of the question. I also learned to be independent of others for occupation and amusement, and of this I have felt the great advantage ever since. In the many years previous to my marriage, during which I was climbing up-hill in my profession, when I passed what is called the empty season in London, with very few of my acquaintance left in the great city, time never hung heavily on my hands. Indeed very few portions of my life have been much happier than those in which I had no other society than that of my books and writings, and little recreation beyond that of a solitary walk in' the evening in the fields which now form the Regent's Park, or those which are now
covered with houses and gardens in the district of St. John's Wood.
Notwithstanding what I have said as to our want of society at Winterslow, we were not altogether without opportunities of studying the characters of others, and of learning how to deal with mankind. Education and position in society modify our tastes and sentiments and hahits, hut they do not alter the essential qualities of human nature, the observation of which in one class of persons cannot fail to teach us much of what we want to know as to others. In the year 1798, when there was an alarm on account of a supposed probability of invasion by the French, my elder brothers and myself raised a company of volunteers, amounting at last to as many as 140 in number. The eldest of us was only nineteen years of age, and I myself was not more than fourteen, when, through my father's influence, we received our commissions as captain, lieutenant, and ensign. The men were clothed and armed by Government, and received pay for each day of exercise. We expended the pay which we received as officers in one way or another on the corps, principally in giving them entertainments in my father's great barn, after being inspected by the general officer of the district (or on some other occasions), to which we invited some of our friends in the neighbourhood and the farmers of our parish. I have no doubt that the pay and the dinners did much for us; still, as we were nothing but volunteers in the true sense of the word, and as each one of our soldiers could go and come as he pleased, if we had not attended to their feelings, and thus exercised an influence over them, we could never have maintained among them the necessary discipline, nor have kept up the number of our corps. I cannot look back at these boyish occupations without being satisfied that they afforded me many useful lessons by which, I profited in the world afterwards. I may add that we bestowed great pains on the drilling of our corps; and, by diligently studyiug the system of tactics published by authority, we succeeded in obtaining for it the credit of being by far the best disciplined of any in our part of the country.
In the year 1799 my elder brother, Peter, left Winterslow to be entered at the Temple and reside as a law-student in London. My next brother, William, was at this time residing at Salisbury, it being intended that he should be brought up to the woollen cloth manufactory, for which Salisbury had in those times a reputation, which it has long since lost. In the latter part of the year 1801 I followed my elder brother to London. This interval of two years from 1799 to 1801 was a very important portion of my life. I was old enough to know that I must depend on myself for making my way in the world, and that I might never again have the same opportunity of laying in a store of general knowledge. I read a great deal of Greek and Latin, and still more in other subjects. In mathematics I never soared higher than geometry and algebra, but of these I learned enough to obtain a sufficient knowledge of mechanics, optics, and hydrostatics for ordinary purposes, and a general knowledge of astronomy. In general literature my reading was very various, including many books which might as well have »
been left to a later period: such as Locke's 'Essay on the Understanding;' Harris's 'Philosophical Essays./ Reid's 'Inquiry;' Priestley's 'Abridgment of Hartley's Theory;' Godwin's 'Political Justice;' Smith's 'Theory of the Moral Sentiments;' &c. I also acquired some knowledge of chemistry. I knew Lavoisier's 'Elements' by heart, and fitted up a laboratory with such simple apparatus as with my very limited means I was able to make or purchase. I read a great deal of English poetry, and some French and Italian. What I had then committed to memory of Greek and Latin and English poets has been a great resource to me since, during the many long nights which I travelled by myself in a postchaise, before the invention of railways. But I cannot say that my poetical taste at that time was of the purest kind. I was a vast admirer of Darwin, and never properly appreciated Shakespeare until I had lived for some few years in the world. Looking back at these two years, the impression on my mind is that it would have been well if I had read less and digested more; nevertheless I am satisfied