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ing the great military skill of its commander, and the sanguine expectations formed by the French emperor of the final overthrow of the British army, they paused only to behold the resistance offered to them; and in the spring of the following year they retreated from this scene of British prowess, in the greatest confusion and dismay. During this arduous struggle, Lieutenant-General Sir Brent Spencer nobly supported the post of honour as second in command, and on all occasions manifested the most ardent desire to promote the plans of the Commander-in-chief, for which he constantly received his warmest acknowledgments. Some circumstances having rendered it, at this time, necessary to order Lieutenant-General Graham, his senior officer, from the command at Cadiz, to join the army, Sir Brent Spencer returned to England in the month of August following.
The military character of Sir Brent Spencer was marked by an ardent zeal, an inflexible firmness, and a devotion to the performance of the trusts reposed in him almost unparalleled. The charge and the use of the bayonet were his constant and favourite mode of warfare. In the numerous actions in which he was engaged, he on all occasions possible adopted it with the most powerful effect; and he must be considered to have been particularly instrumental in establishing a practice which has, in all our late military movements, given a decided superiority to our arms, and in restoring to the British soldier that mode of fighting, the most consonant to the national character, and by which the victories and conquests of former ages were gained. *
* The philosopher, in his retirement, whilst contemplating the moral duties of mankind, may ask, after perusing the transactions of a long life passed in such adventurous pursuits, Will this rage for military glory never cease ? or is it an instinct of our nature which no time or circumstances can control? and in his meditations will come to the melancholy conclusion, that the progressive improvement of the human mind, with all its present refinement, has done nothing towards its mitigation; that it seems to mock to scorn alike the reasonings of philosophy and the precepts of Christianity; that the modern world acknowledges its influence in as great a degree as the ancient ; and that instances abound of devotion to this passion during the late war, that have equalled, if not surpassed, any of Greek or Koman fame.
Since the peace, Sir Brent Spencer passed his time in perfect retirement, enjoying the pleasures of a rural life, and the society of a few chosen friends. Conspicuous and honourable as was his public life, his private virtues were equally transcendent; his friendships were lasting and sincere; and his latter days were passed in the performance of those beneficent acts, which become a great and exalted character, and do honour to human nature. His long and arduous career is now closed, and his memory will be long cherished in the breasts of a large circle of friends, who are best able to appreciate his private worth, and the virtuous and honourable sentiments that regulated all his actions.
Multi, sed omnes illacryraabiles
This gallant officer's death took place at the Lee, near Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, on the 29th of December, 1828.
With the exception of a few brief paragraphs, we are indebted for the foregoing Memoir to "The United Service Journal."
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
CHARLES ABBOT, LORD COLCHESTER.
L. L. D. F. R. S. F. S. A. &c.
Lord Colchester was born at Abingdon, in Berkshire, October 1*, 1757; and was the younger son of the Rev. John Abbot, D.D., Rector of All Saints, Colchester, by Sarah, daughter of Jonathan Farr, (which Sarah, after Dr. Abbot's death in 17GO, was re-married to Jeremiah Bentham, Esq., and died in 1809.) He was educated at Westminster School, where he manifested the same diligence which distinguished him in after life, under Dr. Markham and Dr. Smith; and went off to Christ Church, Oxford, as the student at the head of the election of the year 1775. He gained the prize poem for Latin verses in 1777; and the subject being the Czar Peter I., he was honoured with a gold medal by the reigning Empress of Russia. He travelled to Geneva for improvement in foreign law, in 1781; took a law degree the next year, and became Vinerian scholar. Soon after he was called to the bar, and practised with increasing success till other objects attracted his notice.
Lord Colchester seems to have first turned his thoughts towards public life in the year 1790, when the name of Mr. Abbot appears in the Journals of the House of Commons as having been a candidate for the borough of Helston; and upon a vacancy in the representation of that place, caused by the remarkable appointment of Sir Gilbert Elliott as Viceroy of Corsica, he came into Parliament in June 1795. In the beginning of the next session he distinguished himself by an uncompromising speech on the Seditious Meetings Bill, in which he fearlessly attacked the leading democrats of the day.
In a subsequent part of the same session he recommended an improvement in the manner of dealing with expiring laws, by establishing a regular method of laying full information before the house on that subject; and the hotchpotch acts, by which the most discordant expiring laws were at that time continued by one act, fell gradually into disuse, and entirely disappeared after the year 1806.
Proceeding in the same course of legislative utility, he brought before parliament, in 1797,apian for a-due promulgation of the statutes among magistrates, by furnishing each petty sessions with a copy of all acts of parliament; and thus enabling them at once to see the real state of the law, instead of being obliged to refer to private collections of acts, or decide according to their own notions of the justice of the case before them.
At this time Mr. Pitt found it expedient to appoint a finance committee, of which Mr. Abbot became the indefatigable chairman, and brought up to the table of the house thirty-six reports during that session and the next. These reports have since served as a model to similar committees: they are uniform in the quantity of information collected; but not so in form and method, the reports on various offices having been distributed for preparation among the several members of the committee. The chairman prepared those regarding revenue, the exchequer, and law courts. The proceedings of government on several of these reports are appended to them in the folio edition of reports, and the whole is still referred to with advantage and due respect on all suitable occasions.
An unostentatious act of great importance was among the best fruits of this finance committee; Mr. Abbot (in 1800) having introduced a bill "for charging public accountants with the payment of interest," whereby the "unaccounted millions" which used to be retained indefinitely by successive paymasters and others, in and out of office, becoming chargeable with interest, have not since been retained.
At this time Mr. Abbot seems to have occupied himself in deliberate preparation for an investigation into the national records; he moved for a committee to that effect in February, 1800, and presented to the house in July of that year the large and valuable produce of their labours. Nothing could be more consonant to the solid mind of Lord Colchester than such an extensive research, which could not but demonstrate the eminence of England and Scotland over all other nations in the quantity and value of records, from Doomsday Book through the reigns of the Plantagenets, the Tudors, and the Stuarts. Too frequent have been intestine broils and civil wars during that long period of history; but the insular position of Britain precluding successful invasion, the combatants have all felt a common property in these national treasures, which have fortunately escaped the base levellers of the 14-th and 15th centuries, and the fanatics who disgraced England at the close of the civil war between Charles I. and his parliament.
From the reports of the record commission naturally sprung the royal record commission, which continued this useful labour with renovated authority under the guidance of Mr. Abbot, till his retirement from public life in the year 1817. Numerous publications, especially the authentic edition of the statutes of the realm, testify the perseverance of the commissioners in the trust delegated to them by the Crown and supported by parliament.
In the beginning of the year 1801, Mr. Abbot introduced a bill for ascertaining the population of Great Britain, with the increase and diminution thereof. The first of these objects is well known to be the primary rudiment of statistical knowledge, in which England had remained remarkably defective, whether from a scriptural prejudice against "numbering the people," or from an apprehended difficulty of obtaining true information on a subject too likely to excite