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in the mountains of Burgundy, and her parents honourably encouraged the connec. tion. In a calm retirement the gay vanity of youth no longer #. in her bosom ; she listened to the voice of truth and passion, and I might presume to hope that I had made some impression on a virtuous heart. At Crassy and Lausanne, I indulged my dream of felicity; but, on my return to England, I soon discovered that my father would not hear of this strange alliance, and that without his consent I was myself destitute and helpless. After a painful struggle, I yielded to my fate; I sighed as a lover, I obeyed as a son; my wound was insensibly healed by time, absence, and the habits of a new life. My cure was accelerated by a faithful report of the tranquillity and cheerfulness of the lady herself, and y love subsided in friendship and esteem. The minister of Crassy soon afterward died; his stipend died with him; his daughter retired to Geneva, where, by teaching young ladies, she earned a hard subsistence for herself and mother; but in her lowest distress she maintained a spotless reputation, and a dignified behaviour. A rich banker of Paris, a citizen of Geneva, had the good fortune and #. sense to discover and possess this inestimable treasure; and in the capital of taste and luxury she resisted the temptations of wealth, as she had sustained the hardships of indigence. The genius of her husband has exalted him to the most conspicuous station in Europe. In every change of prosperity and disgrace he has reclined on the bosom of a faithful friend; and Mademoiselle Curchod is now the wife of M. Necker, the minister, and perhaps the legislator, of the French monarchy.” Gibbon had been absent from home almost five years, when his father, hearing of his restoration to the Protestant church, the improvement made in his studies, and the good behaviour he maintained, was pleased to desire his return. He took leave of Lausanne on the 11th of April, 1758, with a mixed emotion of pleasure and pain. On his arrival in England, he hastened to the house of his aunt Porten, with whom was indulged a mutual effusion of joy and confidence. The meeting with his father was more ceremonious, though it proved very agreeable. “He received me (says the historian) as a man and a friend; all constraint was banished at our first interview, and we ever after continued on the same terms of easy politeness.” His father had married a second wife during his absence, and the son was disposed to consider the change as a mark of displeasure, which excited many strong prejudices against her: it appears, however, that she was an amiable and excellent woman, and deservedly gained and secured his permanent respect. Some endeavours were used to obtain for Gibbon the situation of secretary to a foreign embassy, but without effect: his stepmother suggested the study of the law, which he declined. Of the two years he had been in England, only nine months were passed in London—the other time was spent in the retired walks, and amid the usual enjoyments of a country life. Of the former he writes thus: “The metropolis affords many amusements, which are open to all. It is itself an astonishing and perpetual spectacle to the curious eye; and each taste, each sense, may be gratified by the variety of objects which will occur in the long circuit of a morning walk. I assiduously frequented the theatres at a very propitious era of the stage, when a constellation of excellent actors, both in tragedy and comedy, was eclipsed by the meridian brightness of Garrick, in the maturity of his judgment, and vigour of his performance. The pleasures of a town life are within the reach of every man who is regardless of his health, his money, and his company. By the contagion of example 1 was sometimes seduced; but the better habits, which I had formed at Lausanne, induced me to seek a more elegant and rational society; and if my search was less easy and successful than I might have hoped, I shall at present impute the failure to the disadvantages of my situation and character. Had the rank and fortune of my parents given them an annual establishment in London, their own house would have introduced me to a numerous and polite circle of acquaintance. But my father's taste had always preferred the highest and the lowest company, for which he was equally qualified; and, after a twelve years' retirement, he was no longer in the memory of the great, with whom he had associated. I found myself a stranger in the midst of a vast and unknown city; and at my entrance into life I was reduced to some dull family parties, and some scattered connections, which were not such as I should have chosen for myself. The most useful friends of my father were the Mallets; they received me with civility and kindness, at first on his account, and afterwards on my own ; and (if I may use Lord Chesterfield's words) I was soon domesticated in their house. ... Mr. Mallet, a name among the English poets, is praised by an unforgiving enemy for the ease and elegance of his conversation, and his wife was not destitute of wit or learning. By his assistance I was introduced to lady Hervey, the mother of the present Earl of Bristol. Her age and infirmities confined her at home; her dinners were select; in the evenin her house was open to the best company of both sexes and all nations; nor .# displeased at her preference and affectation of the manners, the language, and the literature of France. But my progress in the English world was in general left to my own efforts, and those efforts were languid and slow. I had not been endowed by art or nature with those happy gifts of confidence and address, which unlock every door and every bosom; nor would it be reasonable to complain of the just consequences of my sickly childhood, foreign education, and reserved temper. While coaches were rattling through Bond-street, I have passed many a solitary evening in my lodging with my books. My studies were sometimes interrupted by a sigh, which I breathed towards Lausanne; and on the approach of spring I withdrew, without reluctance, from the noisy and extensive scene of crowds without company, and dissipation without pleasure.” A mind in love with intellectual pursuits, ean derive but little enjoyment from the puerile customs adopted by the votaries of fashion, and always mingles in such follies rather by constraint than free choice. Gibbon preferred the tranquillity of his father's residence in Hampshire to the tumultuous gratifications of the metropolis, and availed himself, as often as possible, of the comforts he found beneath the parental roof. The old mansion, being in a decayed state, had been improved with the conveniences of a modern habitation. “Our immediate neighbourhood (he states) was rare and rustic; but from the verge of our hills, as far as Chichester and Goodwood, the western district of Sussex was interspersed with noble seats, and hospitable families, with whom we cultivated a friendly, and might have enjoyed a very frequent, intercourse. As my stay at Buriton was always voluntary, 1 was received and dismissed with smiles; but the comforts of my retirement did not depend on the ordinary pleasures of the country. My father could never inspire me with his love and knowledge of farming. I never handled a gun, I seldom mounted a horse; and my philosophic walks were soon terminated by a shady bench, where I was long detained by the sedentary amusement of reading or meditation. At home 1 occupied a pleasant and spacious apartment; the library on the same floor was soon considered as my peculiar domain; and I might say with truth, that I was never less alone than when by myself. My sole complaint, which I piously suppressed, arose from the kind restraint imposed on the freedom of my time. By the habit 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 tea 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.” His father's study contained some valuable editions of the classics, and many English publications of modern date; to this collection he never neglected to make a judicious addition, whenever his means permitted. The English writers, since the Revolution, commonly occupied his leisure : this appeared to him the best method to recover the purity of his own language from the corruption contracted by the use of a foreign idiom. To Swift and Addison he chiefly directed his attention: as the style of the first displays a manly, original vigour; and that of the latter is adorned with the graces of elegance and simplicity. In the spring of 1761, he ventured to make his appearance as an Author. He ublished a small volume, entitled Essai sur l’Etude de la Littérature; which was gun at Lausanne, and finished in his own country. In France, and other places abroad, it gained the most flattering commendations, while the writer's countrymen received it with cold indifference; owing, it is probable, to the language in which it was written. He would not permit his bookseller to reprint it, though a new edition, some years afterward, was much desired: its scarcity, and the rising fame of the Author, enhanced the value from half-a-crown to thirty shillings. When the Essay was published, Mr. Gibbon was induced to enter upon a mode of life not very agreeable to his taste and general habits. A regiment of militia had been raised in Hampshire, and he was appointed to the office of captain. In the spirit of loyal enthusiasm, he had overlooked the fatigues of military duties, and as little did he calculate, that the bloodless campaign would last two years and a half.
This new profession, however, was not altogether unprofitable to him. “After my foreign education (he says), 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; had 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 lanF. and science of tactics, which opened a new field of study and observation. 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.” At the restoration of peace in 1762–3, his regiment was broken up, and he resumed his studies upon a more regular and systematic plan. He was undetermined, at first, whether to direct his mental energies to the mathematics, or the Greek language, both of which he had neglected since he left Lausanne: at length he decided in favour of Greek, and to it he gave a vigorous application. But whatever might be the nature of his studies, the object he had in view was invariably the same— from early youth he aspired to the character of an historian : The tour of Europe having been long considered as essentially necessary to complete the education of an English gentleman, he now determined to travel, and succeeded in obtaining the consent of his father. From the duke de Nivernois, Mr Walpole, lady Hervey, &c. he received recommendatory letters to their private or literary friends, though his Essay had already justly entitled him to the gratitude and civility of the French nation. On coming to Paris, he became intimately acquainted with Diderot, D'Alembert, Barthelemy, Arnaud, Raynal, Helvetius, and several other eminent persons. To Mrs. Gibbon he writes:—“Paris, in most respects, has full answered my expectations. I have a number of very good acquaintance, whic 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. Suppers as yet I am pretty much a stranger to, and I fancy shall continue so; for Paris is divided into two species, who have but 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 mine in agreeable and rational conversation. The others are the most fashionable, sup in numerous parties, and o 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 heard 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. Among 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.”—Pursuing the subject in a letter to his father, he says: “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 Hervey's recommendation to madame 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 hand, and his fortune, is a most valuable man. At his house I was introduced to the baron d'Olbach, 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 Brocage, madame Boyer, M. le marquis de Mirabeau, and M. de Foucemagn. All these people have their different merit: in some I met 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 always built upon the count de Caylus: he has not been of the least use to me. With great difficulty I have seen him, and that is all.” After staying fourteen weeks in Paris he again visited Lausanne, a place which excited many delightful recollections. “An absence of five years (he tells us) had not made much alteration in manners, or even in persons. My old friends, of both sexes, hailed my voluntary return—the most genuine proof of my attachment. They had been flattered by the present of my book, the produce of their soil; and the good Pavilliard shed tears of joy, as he embraced a pupil, whose literary merit he might fairly impute to his own labours.” He stayed at Lausanne nearly eleven months; in the course of which time he became acquainted with Mr. Holroyd (the late lord Sheffield), of whom he speaks in the most affectionate terms. In April, 1764, he undertook the tour of Italy, having previously studied the geography of ancient Rome, and the science of medals. The excessive heat obliged him to continue a few weeks at Florence, and he did not reach home till the beginning of October. “My temper (he says) is not very susceptible of enthusiasm; and the enthusiasm which I do not feel I have ever scorned to affect: but, at the distance of twenty-five years, I can neither forget nor express the strong emotions which agitated my mind as I first approached and entered the eternal city. After a sleepless night, I trod with a lofty step the ruins of the forum; each memorable spot where Romulus stood, or Tully spoke, or Caesar 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.” In another place he remarks, “It was at Rome, on the 15th of October, 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the capital, while the barefooted friars were o: vespers in the temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city first started to my mind.” After devoting six weeks to the tour of Naples, he returned to his own country: the succeeding five years and a half afforded him scarcely any pleasure. The military profession he sustained, necessarily involved him in engagements altogether uncongenial to his character: every spring he attended the monthly meeting and exercise of the militia at Southampton; but at each visit he was more disgusted with the inn, the company, and the wine. While others were rapidly advancing in the various paths which lead to fame and fortune, he appeared to himself to stand alone, without the probability of a change of condition; and this discouraging view led him to deplore that he had not embraced, at an early age, the lucrative pursuits of the law or of trade, or even the sacred function of the church. The friendship and society of Mr. Deyverdun (a native of Switzerland) frequently proved, under these mental anxieties, a seasonable relief—with him his future projects were usually discussed. “The decline and fall of Rome (says Gibbon) I still cultivated at an awful distance; but the two historical designs, which had balanced my choice, were submitted to his taste; and, in the parallel between the revolutions of Florence and Switzerland, our common partiality for a country, which was his by birth, and mine by adoption, inclined the scale in favour of the latter.” A plan was accordingly conceived and digested, and in a short time the first book was completed, and submitted to the examination of a society of foreigners in London: their decision was unfavourable to his hopes, and he relinquished the work. In conjunction with Mr. Deyyerdun, he undertook a journal in imitation of the Journal Britannique (by Dr. Maty), and entitled it, Mémoires Littéraires de la Grand Bretagne. Only two volumes were published; the third was nearly completed when his friend and coadjutor was appointed to officiate as travelling governor to sir Richard Worsley, and the speculation was abandoned He next began a controversy with Dr. Warburton, who, in his Divine Legation of Moses, had supported the hypothesis, that the descent of Æneas to hell, is not a false but a mimic scene, which represents his initiation as a lawgiver, and describes the several parts of the Eleusinian mysteries. The attack of Gibbon was evidently successful: still he candidly declared, he thought he acted a cowardly part in con cealing his name and character. Thus criticism on Warburton, and some articles in the Journal, were his sole publications during the fifteen years (1761–1776) which followed his Essay on the Study of Literature. In November 1770, his father died; the event was sincerely deplored, though it removed those unpleasant forebodings which so harassed him at a former period. He became possessed of an ample and independent fortune; and his mind being perfectly at ease, he judged it the favourable era for commencing the great work, which had long employed his thoughts, and for which an extensive course of preparatory study had fully qualified him. “The classics (he observes) as low as Tacitus, the younger Pliny, and Juvenal, were my old and familiar companions. I insensibly plunged into the ocean of the Augustan History; and in the descending series I investigated, with my pen always in my hand, the original records, both Greek and Latin, from Dion Cassius to Ammianus Marcellinus, from the reign of Trajan to the last age of the Western Caesars. The subsidiary rays of medals and inscriptions, of geography and chronology, were thrown on their proper objects; and I applied the collections of Tillemont, whose inimitable accuracy almost assumes the character of genius, to fix and arrange within my reach the loose and scattered atoms of historical information. Through the darkness of the middle ages I explored my way in the annals and antiquities of Italy of the learned Muratori; and diligently compared them with the parallel or transverse lines of Sigonius and Maffei, Baronius, and Pagi, till I almost grasped the ruins of Rome in the fourteenth century, without suspecting that this final chapter must be attained by the labour of six quartos, and twenty years. Among the books which I perused, the Thodosian Code, with the commentary of James Godefroy, must be gratefully remembered. I used it (and much I used it) as a work of history, rather than of jurisprudence; but in every light it may be considered as a full and capacious repository of the political state of the empire in the fourth and fifth centuries. As I believed, and as I still believe, that the propagation of the gospel, and the triumph of the church, are inseparably connected with the decline of the Roman monarchy, I weighed the causes and effects of the revolution, and contrasted the narratives and apologies of the Christians themselves, with the glances of candour or enmity which the pagans have cast on the rising sects. The Jewish and heathen testimonies, as they are collected and illustrated by Dr. Lardner, directing, without superseding, my search of the originals; and in an ample dissertation on the miraculous darkness of the passion, I privately drew my conclusions from the silence of an unbelieving age. I have assembled the preparatory studies, directly or indirectly, relative to my history; but, in strict equity, they must be spread beyond this period of my life, over the two summers (1771 and 1772) that elapsed between my father's death and my settlement in London.” By the interest of a friend he held a seat in Parliament as the representative of the borough of Leskard ; this was not permitted to check the progress of his History. In February, 1776, he published the first volume, and such was the reception it met with, that the impression was disposed of in a few days: a second and a third edition barely satisfied the demand. His book was almost on every table and toilette, and the historian was extolled by all who pretended to taste or fashion. But gratifying as this general approbation might be, the flattering testimonies of eminent contemporaries produced a stronger and more lasting satisfaction. Mr. Hume writes thus: “As I ran through your volume of History with great avidity and impatience, I cannot forbear discovering somewhat of the same impatience, in returning you thanks for your agreeable present, and expressing the satisfaction which the performance has given me. Whether I consider the dignity of your style, the depth of your matter, or the extensiveness of your learning, I must regard the work as equally the object of esteem; and I own, that if I had not previously had the happiness of your personal acquaintance, such a performance from an Englishman in our age, would have given me some surprise. You may smile at this sentiment; but as it seems to me that your countrymen, for almost a whole generation, have given themselves up to barbarous and absurd faction, and have totally neglected all olite letters, I no longer expected any valuable production ever to come from them. #. it will give you pleasure (as it did me) to find, that all men of letters in this place, concur in their admiration of your work, and in their anxious desire of your continuing it. I must inform you that we are all very anxious to hear that you have fully collected the materials for your second volume, and that you are even considerably advanced in the composition of it. Dr. Robertson's letter to Mr. Strachan is as follows: “Since my last, I have read Mr. Gibbon's History.with much attention, and great pleasure. It is a work of very high merit indeed. He possesses that industry of research, without which, no man deserves the name of an historian. His narrative