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which I piously suppressed, arose from the kind restraint imposed on the freedom of my time. By the babit of early rising I always secured a sacred portion of the day, and many scattered moments were stolen and employed by my studious industry. But the family hours of breakfast, of dinner, of tea, and of supper, were regular and long : after breakfast Mrs. Gibbon expected my company in her dressing-room ; after tọa my father claimed my conversation and the perusal of the newspapers ; and in the midst of an interesting work I was often called down to receive the visit of some idle neighbours. Their dinners and visits required in due season a similar return, and I dreaded the period of the full moon, which was usually reserved for our more distant excursions. I could not refuse attending my father, in the summer of 1759, to the races at Stockbridge, Reading, and Odiam, where he had entered a horse for the hunter's plate ; and I was not displeased with the sight of our Olympic games, the beauty of the spot, the fleetness of the horses, and the gay tumult of the numerous spectators.”
During this period, however, he wrote bis “ Essai sur l'Etude de la Litterature," which was received with great applause in France, and neglected in England, perhaps chiefly from the study of the French language being then less common. He never would suffer this work to be reprinted ; and, though originally published at three shillings, it afterwards, as bis fame advanced, was frequently sold for a guinea or thirty shillings.
Mr. Gibbon now entered on a mode of life uncongenial to all his former babits. A regiment of Hampshire militia being raised, he was persuaded to accept the office of captain. Although the time spent on this service was far from agreeable, he admits it to have been useful to him in several respects. The babits,” says he, 66 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 fof 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 in my
native country, had I not been shaken in this various scene of new faces and new friends; bad 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 Memoires 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."
After spending in this manner two years and a half, he went to make the tour of Europe. He began by spending three months and a half at Paris; and a much longer time, he conceives, might have been agreeably filled. The account which he gives, in letters to Mrs. Gibbon and his father, of the societies of that capital, though short, will be found interesting. To Mrs. Gib
bon he says :
“ Paris, in most respects, bas fully answered my expectations. I have a number of very good acquaintance, which increase every day; for nothing is so easy as the making them here. Instead of complaining of the want of them, I begin already to think of making a choice. Next Sunday, for instance, I have only three invitations to dinner. Either in the houses you are already acquainted, you meet with people who ask you to come and see them, or some of your friends offer themselves to introduce you. When I speak of these connections, I mean chiefly for dinner and the evening. Sappers as yet I am pretty much a stranger to, and I fancy shall continue so; for Paris is divided into two species, who have bat little communication with each other. The one, who is chiefly connected with the men of letters, dine very much at home, are glad to see their friends, and pass the evenings till about nine in agreeable and rational conversation. The others are the most fashionable, sup in numerous parties, and always play, or rather game, both before and after supper. You may easily guess which sort suits me best. Indeed, madam, we may say what we please of the frivolity of the French, but I do assure you, that in a fortnight passed at Paris, I have beard more conversation worth remembering, and seen more men of letters among the people of fashion, than I had done in two or three winters in London. Amongst my acquaintance, I cannot help mentioning M. Helvetius, the author of the famous book de l'Esprit. I met him at dinner at Madame Geoffrin's, where he took great notice of me, made me a visit next day, has ever since treated me, not in a polite but in a friendly manner. Besides being a sensible man, an agreeable companion, and the worthiest creature in the world, he has a very pretty wife, an hundred thousand livres a year, and one of the best tables in Paris."
To his father he adds:
" I have now passed nearly a month in this place, and I can say with truth, that it has answered my most sanguine expectations. The buildings of every kind, the libraries, the public diversions, take up a great part of my time; and I have already found several houses where it is both very easy and very agreeable to be acquainted. Lady Harvey's recommendation to Madam Geoffrin was a most excellent one. Her house is a very good one; regular dinners there every Wednesday,
and the best company of Paris, in men of letters and people of fashion. It was at her house I connected myself with M. Helvetius, who, from his heart his head, and his fortune, is a most valuable man,
« At his house I was introduced to the Baron d'Ol.. bach, who is a man of parts and fortune, and has two dinners every week. The other houses I am known in are the Duchess d'Aiguillon's, Madame la Comtesse de Froulay's, Madame du Bocage, Madame Boyer, M. le Marquis de Mirabeau, and M. de Foucemagn. All these people have their different merit ; in some I meet with good dinners ; in others, societies for the evening; and in all, good sense, entertainment, and civility, which, as I have no favours to ask, or business to transact with them, is sufficient for me.
Their men of letters are as affable and communicative as I expected. My letters to them did me no harm, but were very little necessary. My book had been of great service to me, and the compliments I have received upon it would make me insufferably vain, if I laid any stress on them. When I take notice of the civilities I have received, I must take notice too of what I have seen of a contrary behaviour. You know how much I alz ways built upon the Count de Caylus : he has not been of the least use to me. With great difficulty I have seen bim, and that is all. I do not, however, attribute bis behaviour to pride, or dislike to me, but solely to the man's general character, which seems to be a very odd one.”
After spending some time at Lausanne, he made the tour of Italy, with high gratification, though he has given a very succinct notice of it. The view of Rome and its illustrious monuments kindled an enthusiasm in which he seldom indulged.
66 At the distance of twenty-five years," says he, “ I can neither forget nor express the strong emotions which agitated my mind as I first approached and entered the eternal cily. After a sleepless night, I trode with a lofty step the
ruins of the forum ; 'each memorable spot where Romulus stood, or Tully spoke, or Cæsar fell, was at once present to my eye, and several days of intoxication were lost or enjoyed before I could descend to a cool. and minute investigation.” After spending six weeks at Naples, he then returned to bis native country, and to his former mode of life. The five years which now followed were, as he states, passed with the least enjoy. ment, and remembered with the least satisfaction, of any of his life. He was again doomed to the noise, turbulence, and hurry of a military life, which allowed him only a few occasional intervals of study. He had never made choice of any profession, but had declined that of the law, which Mrs. Gibbon proposed. He felt now the want of independent income, and professional importance. His fortune could only be increased by the death of his father, an event wbich he sincerely deprecated; and the embarassments of the family led to the apprehension of his old age being left entirely destitute. He found leisure, however, for various excur. sions into the fields of literature. He entered into a controversy with Warburton, which he carried on with equal learning and acrimony. In conjunction with M. Deyverdun, an intimate friend, whom he had formed at Lausanne, he undertook a journal, entitled “ Memoires Litteraires de la Grande Bretagne," which, however, met with little success. He had now decidedly turned his ambition to the production of a historical work, and had for many years been revolving various subjects in his mind. The expedition of Charles VIII of France into Italy; the crusade of Richard I ; the wars of the barons against John and Henry III of England; the history of Edward the Black Prince; the lives, with comparisons, of Henry V, with the emperor Titus ; the life of Sir Philip Sidney, that of the Marquis of Montrose, and of Sir Walter Raleigh, were successively planned and rejected. The history of the revolutions of Switzerland took deeper possession of his mind. He entered into a long course of research on