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would have been realized if Mr. Fox had continued longer in power. As it was, his first preferment was his last. He paid great attention to the duties of his parish, and knew every one of the seven hundred or eight hundred individuals belonging to it. But besides this he attended more than any one of the neighbouring gentry to the public business of our part of Wiltshire, as a magistrate and deputy-lieutenant, and in other ways. Thus he acquired a considerable local influence beyond that which with his moderate fortune he would have acquired otherwise.
He held what is commonly called a very good living; and my mother, not many years after her marriage, inherited a fortune of 10,000/. as her share of her father's fortune; to which ultimately there was an addition of some thousands of pounds from other parts of her family. My father was very anxious that his sons should be well educated. But with his means he found that he could not afford to send us all to public schools; and as he did not like to send us to schools of an inferior order, he determined, in addition to his other undertakings, to instruct us himself. For many years this was indeed the principal object of his life, and I cannot too strongly express my gratitude for the thought and labour which he bestowed on the cultivation of our minds.
My elder sister, who afterwards married the Rev. Mr. Marsh, chancellor of the diocese of Salisbury, was educated with her brothers. She was well acquainted with Greek and Latin, and afterwards instructed her own children in those languages previously to their being sent to Westminster School. Being seven years my senior, she took some part in the instruction of myself also. When I was seven years old, my father being for a time absent from home, she superintended my first translations of Ovid, and some six years afterwards I went through Euclid's Elements with her assistance.
Our life at Winterslow was removed as far as possible from one of idleness. In the summer my brothers and myself rose at six o'clock, and two hours were devoted to study (generally learning to repeat Greek and Latin poetry, or Cicero's Orations) before we breakfasted at half-past eight o'clock. Immediately after breakfast we resumed our studies; we dined at three o'clock, and were then at our studies again from four to six o'clock. In the winter our hours of study were somewhat different; and from eight to half-past nine o'clock in the evening my father read some book of amusement or instruction aloud to the whole family. On two days in the week when my father was absent on public business, we had half-holidays. We had no other vacations during the whole year, except on some grand occasions, such as a cricket match, or the first few days of the skating season. On the whole, our average time of study was from seven to eight hours daily; and there having been only very rare intermissions, the result has been that the habit of being employed in some kind of study became a part and parcel of my nature. Idleness even for a single day has been always irksome to me, and I have had little inclination* for any pursuit which did not seem to lead to some ulterior object. Much of my success in my worldly career is, I am convinced,
to be attributed to this discipline in my early years.
Being a large family we had a society among ourselves; and only a very limited acquaintance with the families in the neighbourhood. Indeed there were but few for us to visit. The nearest place at which we could have any acquaintance was Salisbury, and this was by the carriage road seven miles distant. Some of our cousins, however, used to come at times to stay with us for a few weeks. Among them were the present Lord Denman, the present Sir George Staunton, Colonel Squire of the Royal Engineers, who afterwards died in the Peninsula, and his two brothers. Lord Denman resided with us as a pupil of my father's for a year after leaving Eton. Referring to him at this period, I cannot but recognise in him the same character which he has preserved through life. He was a thoroughly good boy, upright and honourable as he has been ever since. As we grew older we formed other acquaintance, and I may mention specially Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Maton, who afterwards became a physician of great eminence in the metropolis; Mr. (now Sir John) Stoddart, who for many years filled the office of chief justice at Malta; and the late Mr. Wray, of the Chancery bar. These were ever afterwards my most intimate friends. At the present time the only one of these who remains among us is Sir John Stoddart, still retaining an active and vigorous intellect, and engaged in literary pursuits at nearly eighty years of age.
There were undoubtedly disadvantages belonging to the kind of life which my brothers and myself led at this period, having so little acquaintance with those of our own age and station. We had much to learn when we came into the world which others learn as boys at Eton or Harrow or Rugby. In my own case, one was a shyness in general society, which for a long time was very oppressive, and which it took many years for me to overcome; and another was that, not having sufficient opportunities of comparing myself with others, I formed no right estimate of my own character, overrating myself in some things, and underrating myself in others. Yet I am inclined to think