Зображення сторінки

so, or to do as they do. My father unluckily had neither uneasiness enough in his blood, nor imagination enough in lieu of it, to enter sufficiently into the uneasiness of others, and so grapple vigorously with his fortune for their sakes; neither, on the other hand, had he enough energy of speculation to see what could be done towards rendering the world a little wiser : and as to the pride of cutting a figure a little above his neighbours, which so many men mistake for a better principle of action, he could dispense with that. As it was, he should have been kept at home in Barbadoes. He was a true exotic, and ought not to have been transplanted. He might have preached there, and quoted Horace, and been gentlemanly, and drank his claret, and no harm done. But in a bustling, commercial state of society, where the enjoyment, such as it is, consists in the bustle, he was neither very likely to succeed, nor to meet with a good construction, nor to end his pleasant ways with pleasing either the world or himself.

It was in the pulpit of Bentinck Chapel, Lisson Green, Paddington, that my mother

[blocks in formation]

found her husband officiating. He published a volume of sermons preached there, in which there is little but elegance of diction and a graceful morality. His delivery was the charm; and, to say the truth, he charmed every body but the owner of the chapel, who looked upon rent as by far the most eloquent production of the pulpit. The speculation ended with the preacher's being horribly in debt. Friends, however, were lavish of their assistance. Three of my brothers were sent to school; the other, at her earnest entreaty, went to live (which he did for some years) with Mrs. Spencer, a sister of Sir Richard Worsley, and a delicious little old woman, the delight of all the children of her acquaintance. My father and mother took breath, in the mean time, under the friendly roof of Mr. West, who had married her aunt. The aunt and niece were much of an age, and both fond of books. Mrs. West, indeed, ultimately became a martyr to them; for the physician declared that she lost the use of her limbs by sitting in-doors.

From Newman Street my father went to live in Hampstead Square, whence he occasionally used to go and preach at Southgate. The then Duke of Chandos had a seat in the neighbourhood of Southgate. He heard my father preach, and was so much pleased with him, that he requested him to become tutor to his nephew, Mr. Leigh; which my father did, and remained with his Grace's family for several years. The Duke was Master of the Horse, and originated the famous epithet of “heavenborn minister,” applied to Mr. Pitt, which occasioned a good deal of raillery. I have heard my father describe him as a man of great sweetness of nature, and good-breeding. Mr. Leigh, who died not long since, Member of Parliament for Addlestrop, was son of the Duke's sister, Lady Caroline.

He had a taste for poetry, which has been inherited by his son and heir, Mr. Chandos Leigh ; and, like him, published a volume of poems. He was always very kind to my father, and was, I believe, a most amiable man.

It was from him I received my name. I was born at Southgate, in a house now a boarding-school and called Eagle Hall: a magnificent name for a preacher's modest mansion;" but I suppose it did not bear it then.

To be tutor in a ducal family is one of the roads to a bishoprick. My father was thought to be in the highest way to it. He was tutor in the house not only of a Duke, but of a State-officer, for whom the King had a personal regard. His manners were of the highest order ; his principles in Church and State as orthodox, to all appearance, as could be wished; and he had given up flourishing prospects in America, for their sake; but his West Indian temperament spoiled all. He also, as he became acquainted with the Government, began to doubt its perfections; and the King, whose minuteness of information respecting the personal affairs of his subjects is well known, was doubtless prepared with questions which the Duke was not equally prepared to answer, and perhaps did not hazard.

My father, meanwhile, was getting more and more distressed. He removed to Hampstead a second time: from Hampstead he crossed the water; and the first room I have any recollection of, is a prison.

Mr. West (which was doubly kind in a man by nature cautious and timid) again and again took the liberty of representing my father's circumstances to the King. It is well known that this artist enjoyed the confidence of his Majesty in no ordinary degree. The King would converse half a day at a time with him, while he was painting. His Majesty said he would speak to the bishops ; and again, on a second application, he said my father should be provided for. My father himself also presented a petition ; but all that was ever done for him, was the putting his name on the Loy. alist Pension List for a hundred a-year ;-a sum which he not only thought extremely inadequate for the loss of seven or eight times as much in America, a cheaper country, but which he felt to be a poor acknowledgment even for the active zeal he had evinced, and the things he had said and written; especially as it came late, and he was already involved. Small as it was, he was obliged to mortgage it; and from this time till the arrival of some relations from the West Indies, several years afterwards, he underwent a series of mortifications and distresses, not without great reason for self-reproach. Unfortunately for others, it might be

« НазадПродовжити »