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peculiarly formed to give instruction. Her gentleness, her patient endurance of waywardness and petulance, her simple unpretending manner, her familiar explanations, and condescension to all the ignorance and slowness of childhood, win an easy way to the infant mind; and the precepts which are to be given, and the knowledge which is to be conveyed, assume a pleasing and attractive form when they are tenderly inculcated and mildly enforced. But Mr. Bowdler's mother possessed advantages which fall to the lot of few. Her mind was naturally powerful and comprehensive, her talents highly cultivated, her reading very extensive, her manners elegant. She had, also, a peculiar turn for conveying instruction, a peculiar art in gaining the attention of children, and making knowledge pleasing, which some of those who were trained under her care now remember with gratitude and delight. She applied herself to this important task with great diligence, and being in the habit of reflecting deeply on every topic which came before her, and of committing her thoughts to paper, she entered thoroughly and philosophically into those subjects which she communicated familiarly to her scholars. Her chief labour in the instructing of her children was to give them a thorough knowledge of the Bible, and of every part of Christianity, and to fix in their hearts sound and steady principles. For this purpose she drew up an explanation of the church catechism,
so comprehensive and yet so plain, that there is scarce any point of doctrine, of duty, or of the discipline of our church, which may not be easily learned from it.
To the instruction thus given by an excellent mother, was added that of a father, so well informed, so well read, particularly on religious subjects, so pious, and at the same time so gentle and affectionate, that his teaching, whether delivered in the way of precept, or in the more familiar form of conversation, while it was valuable beyond what most men are capable of giving, won an easy way to the hearts of his children, and left there a deep impression of reverence love and gratitude.
Thus trained in the good and the right way, from which, under the directing grace of God, he was never to depart, the son of these excellent parents acquired a knowledge of religion beyond his years, and firm principles of action, which gave him, while yet a boy, the fixed and steady character of a man. At eight years old he went to school to Mr. Graves, at Claverton, near Bath. An anecdote, almost too insignificant to be related, may serve to mark the strictness of his principles. Having incurred a debt to a schoolfellow of a trifling amount, his conscience sadly misgave him when he went home as usual on the Sunday. An error of this amount having occurred in some settlement between his parents, the difference was
given to him. The largest inheritor of this world's wealth never probably was so happy as he was at that moment. The money was paid immediately on his return to school; and if there was one thing which through life he dreaded more than another, as unjust and disgraceful, it was the being in debt.
Mr. Graves was well known in his day as an elegant scholar and a pleasing poet, the friend of the simple and pathetic Shenstone. His name, it is hoped, still lives in the groves of the Leasowes, and he is known to the present generation as the author of the Spiritual Quixote. Here Mr. Bowdler might have made rapid progress in classical knowledge, and have cultivated to great advantage his taste for poetic beauty; but for some reason not now known he was removed to an academy at Brompton, where he mourned over his hard fate, and a Scotch grammar, which, by multiplying difficulties instead of unravelling them, detained him in the rudiments of Greek long after the time when he ought to have been tasting its beauties, and enriching his mind with some of its exhaustless stores. It will, perhaps, be thought but a poor compensation, that he learned writing and arithmetic, and the whole art and mystery of keeping accounts, in which he greatly excelled. The disadvantages and disappointments which he suffered, did not, however, seduce him into a neglect of his studies : his sound principles and good conduct gained the approbation of his master, who
wrote to his father, “ My ever dear pupil has just carried off his books: very good use (thank God) has he made of them; and good use will he make (I hope) of his future, as he has done of past opportunities : with joy do I own his uncommon good behaviour, &c.”
In the spring of 1762, Mr. Bowdler quitted Kensington, and was placed under the private tuition of the Rev. Nicholas Brett, at Spring-Grove, in the county of Kent; a person of talents and acquirements, very different from those of his former preceptors. Mr. Brett was the representative of a family which had been settled in that part of Kent for many generations, and the only surviving son of the Rev. Dr. Brett, the author of many valuable works respecting Church government, and the nature of the Eucharist, particularly a Collection of the Ancient Liturgies used by the Christian Church in the celebration of that holy ordinance, and a Dissertation upon their usefulness and authority. The learning of this excellent and orthodox divine was very extensive and recondite; and those qualities which are of more value than much learning, mildness of temper, candour, and self-command, showed themselves to great advantage in his replies to several calumnious attacks which were made upon him. His son was like him, well versed in literature and theology, and added thereto an intimate acquaintance with almost every branch of useful knowledge, which made his in
struction highly valuable, for a person who was to take an active part in the busy and varied scenes of life.* His knowledge of history led him probably to direct his pupil's attention more particularly to that subject; and the peculiar turn of Mr. Bowdler's mind here showed itself in his habitual “ love of truth ;" which, says Mr. Brett, “ is such, that he cannot read even an old historian with any pleasure, because of the mixture of falsehood he finds in it: and he made such complaints of Diodorus Siculus, that when he had got through two or three books, I advised him to throw it aside.” Here Mr. Bowdler read several of the ancient historians, the historical parts of Scripture, and ecclesiastical history, and from thence pro
In Mr. Bowdler's diary, under the date of August 20th, 1776, is as follows: “I lost my worthy friend Mr. Brett, a man of universal knowledge and benevolence; he was very well skilled in French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, divinity, history, accounts, justice law, parish business, the laws relating to the poor, and the roads, measuring and valuing of land and timber, pedigrees and genealogies, and, in short, in almost every branch of useful knowledge; and being always ready to assist and advise his friends and neighbours, his death was an irreparable loss, not only to his wife and children, but to all that part of the country in which he lived. How much he was lamented may be guessed by this, that when his funeral passed through Wye, there was scarce a house in the town without one or more persons looking out at the windows in tears; the clergyman could with great difficulty read the service, and the whole congregation wept incessantly." By his will, Mr. Brett left to Mr. Bowdler all his pamphlets and papers ; an honourable mark of the regard and good opinion which he entertained towards