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public opinion agrees in pronouncing, that Chatham, Burke, Pitt, and Fox, were far above all merely mercenary considerations. To the belief in their disinterestedness, and in their sincere love of their country, they owed their ascendancy over their followers, and their general influence on the public mind.
To educate a youth to be a great statesman, Rut, if any one at this moment hopes to learn from this essay the art of rising in the world, the means of acquiring court favour, or political power for petty purposes, let him close the book; and study Castiglione's Accomplished Courtier, or Chesterfield's Letters, or Dodington's Diary, or the Memoirs of Sir Robert Walpole, or Mirabeau's Secret Memoirs, or— what he will.
To form a great statesman, noble ambition must be inspired; ambition to serve, to save his country. Before such an ambition can be raised in youth, its foundation must be prepared in childhood. A generous boy will make a disinterested man: a boy of truth, and justice, and honour, will become a man of integrity. Truth and honesty then, are the fundamental parts of a great character, and these qualities can be most effectually taught in early childhood. Begin by training the boy to dare to tell the truth* Use every motive of shame and praise to inspire him with this courage. Make him despise the cowardice of deceit and cunning. Teach him to scorn to tell a lie. Explain to him the nature of a promise: explain it to him with some solemnity. Tell him that a gentleman, a man of honour, never, for any consideration, breaks his word. Teach him to be fearfully cautious of making promises, and to feel a holy horrour of breaking them. Teach him this by example, as well as by precept, or your words may play upon his ear, but they will never reach his heart.
* Practical Education.
Charles Fox was, among modern statesmen, remarkable for being famio Tful to his promises; his word of honour was a sufficient pledge in any engagement with his political associates ; this exactness in keeping his word, this respect for his promises, was early taught him by his father's example. It is said, that Lord Holland once promised his son that he should be present when a certain wall was to be thrown down; by the mistake of some workmen, the wall was pulled down without his lordship's knowledge, and in the boy's absence: Lord Holland had it rebuilt, that he might have it in his power to keep his promise literally to his son, who was then but eight years old. By this early education, he raised in the boy's mind a high principle of honour, and scorn of mercenary temptations. While Charles Fox was at Eton, his father offered him a very handsome watch, but he refused to accept of it, because some of his companions were not at that time satisfied with his father's political conduct; Charles Fox said, that he would not take the watch till he was convinced, that he could fairly defend his father against the attacks of his companions. This appears equally honourable to the father and son: to the son, who early showed such a noble temper, and to the father, who had raised such an independent spirit in the son.
It would have been happy for Charles Fox, as a private, and as a public man, if his father had been equally judicious in other parts of his education. The misfortune, the vice, of Charles Fox's life was gaming. It cannot be the wish of any one who admires the generous character of this truly great statesman, to dwell upon his private errours. Enough has been said as a warning to others. There is every reason to believe that he felt the consequences of his own imprudence, with poignant regret.
If the anecdotes, which have been published, of Charles Fox's education may be depended upon, his father took the very means that would render his son imprudent and extravagant, and that would inflame those tastes, which proved the misfortune, disgrace, and reproach of his life. When he waş seven years old, the father, to gratify the senseless whim of the child, perinitted him to dash a valuable watch from his hands upon a marble hearth.–At school, the boy was supplied extravagantly with pocket money—at the university, the young man's allowance was exorbitant.
And— can it be believed of a father, who was neither mad, nor a fool ?—Lord Holland gave his son five guineas a week, for the special purpose of playing at games of chance! an hebdomadal premium for gambling! the first direct bounty for, the encouragement of vice, that ever was given expressly by parental authority.
Of the amountof the debts of this hopefully-educated youth during his travels we are not exactly informed, but from a part we can judge of the whole; during a few months' resi
dence in Italy, it is said that he incurred a debt of 160001., equal to 300001. at present, which his father paid. Is any one surprised at the enormity of the sum? Or does any one pity the father for having such a penalty to pay? All this arose from one mistaken notion in Lord Holland's mind; he fancied that this extravagant indulgence was the only method to secure the affections of his son, and it was his first wish to make his boys excessively fond of him. What meanness in a father to sacrifice the virtues and happiness of his children to such a selfish motive! Not only what meanness, but what absurdity! for though the boy might have doated on his father for providing him a weekly allowance for gambling, what must have been the feelings of both father and son, when some years afterwards, the consequent debt of 160001. was to be acknowledged on the one part, and discharged on the other? It is but justice to observe, that, for the defects in certain points of his son's education, Lord Holland in other parts provided ample compensation : and it is to be hoped, that parents will be inclined to imitate him in the meritorious, not in the faulty instances of his conduct towards his children. Let none flatter themselves, that they can teach generosity by encouraging or by permitting extravagance. Many a youth, who begins his political career with all the reality of disinterested patriotism, is induced, is compelled, to abandon his principles, to act in contradiction to all he has said and thought, merely from the consequences of dissipation and extravagance. These reduce him, as it is called, to distress ; he has not the fortitude to bear momentary mortifications of his vanity; he has not the courage to withdraw from the mode of life in which he is engaged: he thinks he cannot retrench his expenses ; his debts increase ; his creditors are clamorous; executions are before him, and he has no resource but to sell his reputation. Such is the career of many a man, who begins life with the fairest prospects, and the most honourable intentions.
Therefore, next to truth and honesty, the habits that parents and preceptors should be most careful to give to a pupil intended for public life are those of economy. In the education of private gentlemen, the influence of a taste for luxury upon the character has been considered; the bounds of innocent and vicious luxury have been defined, and it has been urgently recommended, that habits of economy should be taught early, as preservatives of independence. These are still more necessary to those who are intended for statesmen, both because such men will have but little time to bestow on the care of their property, and because they will be more tempted to indulge in expense, and to accept of unworthy remuneration for the waste of their private fortunes. They may perhaps rise to situations, where a certain degree of pomp and state are really necessary to maintain the dignity of office; but they should never consider these external honours as the ultimate object of their ambition. If youths be taught to raise their views above these vulgar notions of grandeur ; if they should, in the course of their political life, be called upon to fill high offices, they will not be extravagant in parade, to gratify the vanity of others ; but they will know how to support the dignity of station, without attaching their chief pride or pleasure to external distinctions.