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bility for the use of such abilities as he had was no less remarkable. Whatever may have been his mistakes in government, no man ever sat on the British throne who was more thoroughly honest in his intentions, or more deeply anxious to show, in the discharge of his duties, his consciousness of being
'Ever in his great taskmaster's eye.'
That his public acts did not more adequately correspond with his good desires was due, in large measure, to an infelicitous parentage and a narrow education.
As the father of lies sometimes speaks truth, so a mere party manifesto may sometimes give sound advice, though clothed in a discreditable garb. When public attention came first to be attracted to the character of the peculiar influences which began to mould the training of the young Prince of Wales soon after his father's death, a Court Chamberlain received, one morning, by the post, an unsigned document, which he thought it his duty to place in the hands of the Prime Minister, and he, when he had read it, thought the paper important enough to be laid before the King. This anonymous memorial denounced, as early as in the winter of 1752 (when the Prince was but fourteen years old), the sort of education which George The Third was receiving as being likely to initiate an unfortunate reign.
The paper (which 1 have now before me) is headed: 'A Memorial of several Noblemen and Gentlemen of the first rank' and in the course of it there is an assertion—as being already matter of public notoriety—' that books inculcating the worst maxims of government, and defending the most avowed tyrannies, have been put into the hands of the Prince of Wales,' and such a fact, it is said, ' cannot but affect the memorialists with the most melancholy apprehensions when they find that the men who had the honesty and resolution Book H,
. . . Chap. IV.
to complain of such astonishing methods of instruction are The driven away from Court, and the men who have dared to .Kc't0'Ksa,°,!(' teach such doctrines are continued in trust and favour.'* Ll»«*«
Making all allowance for partisan feeling and for that *M<*>°rM, tinge of Whig oligarchism which peeps out, as well in the Addit. 6271, very title, as in the contents of this 'Memorial,' there was obvious truth in the denunciation, and a modicum of true prophecy in the inference. But such a remonstrance had just as little effect, in the way of checking undue influences, as it had of wisdom in the form given to it, or in the mode of its presentation at Court.
The Prince's education was not merely imbued with Namo* ideas and maxims little likely to conduce towards a pros- G*orcm TMr perous reign. It was intellectually narrow and mean. He grew up, for example, in utter ignorance of many of the great lights of English literature. In respect to all books, save one (that, happily, the greatest of all), he became one of those who, through life, draw from the small cisterns,
* Lord Harcourt resigned his office of Governor to the Prince at the beginning of December, 1752. Scott, then the Prince's tutor, was recommended to his office by Bolingbroke. The Bishop of Peterborough's appointment as Preceptor was made in January, 1753. Among the books complained of, the Histoire de la Grande Bretagne of Father Orleans, and the Introduction a la vie du Roi Henri TV of another Jesuit, Father Pcrefixe, are said to have been included. Another and more famous book, which was much in Prince George's hands in his early years, was also obnoxious to the Whigs—Bolingbroke's Idea of a Patriot King. But it would scarcely have been prudent in the malcontents to have put a work which (whatever its faults) ranks, to some extent, among our English classics, in the same expurgatory, or prohibitory, index with the books of Orleans and of Perefixe. If George the Third got some harm out of Lord Bolingbroke's book, he probably obtained also some good. Pure Whiggism—pure but not simple—has never been noted for any discriminating tolerance of spirit. And, in 1752, it was furious at the prospect that the continuance of its long domination was imperilled.
Book n, instead of going to the deep wells. He seems to have Thv been trained to think that the literary glories of his country
■geoeouh' began with the age of Queen Anne, Limaey. jn afj.er years> George The Third attained to some dim
consciousness of his own narrowness of culture. The ply, however, had been too early taken to be got rid of. No training, probably, could have made him a scholar. But his powers of application under wise direction would have opened to him stores of knowledge, from which unwise influences shut him out for life. His faculty of perseverance in study, it must be remembered, was backed by thorough honesty of nature, and by an ability to withstand temptations. When he was entering his nineteenth year, a subpreceptor, who had watched him sedulously, said of him: 'He is a lad of good principle. He has no heroic strain, and no turn for extravagance. He loves peace, and, as yet, has shown very virtuous principles. He has the greatest temptation to gallant with ladies, who lay themselves out in the most shameless manner to draw him on, but to no purpose.' Certainly this last characteristic was neither an inherited virtue nor an ancestral tradition. And it stands in curious contrast with the tendencies of all his brothers and of almost all his sons.
From youth upwards the Prince read much, though he did not read wisely. No sooner was he King than he began to set about the collection of his noble Library. In the choice of a librarian he was not infelicitous, though the selection was in part dictated by a feeling of brotherly kindness. For he chose a very near relative—Mr. afterwards Sir Frederick Augusta Barnard. Mr. Barnard had many qualities which fitted him for his task. TM TMAs£ The foundation of the Library was laid by a very fortuRoiiL Li- nate purchase on the Continent. Its increase was largely
promoted by a political revolution which ensued shortly Bookii,
, , . . . . Chap. IV.
afterwards; and, in order to turn his large opportunities to The most account, the King's Librarian modestly sought and in- . Gkoe'oitm' stantly obtained the best advice which that generation could L,BEAKYafford him—the advice of Samuel Johnson.
In 1762, the fine Library of Joseph Smith, who had been British Consul at Venice during many years, was bought for the King. It cost about ten thousand pounds. Smith had ransacked Italy for choice books, much as his contemporary, Sir William Hamilton, had ransacked that country for choice vases. And he had been not less successful in his quest. In amassing early and choice editions of the classics, and also the curiosities and rarities of fifteenth-century printing, he had been especially lucky. From the same source, but at a later date, George The Third also obtained a fine gallery of pictures and a collection of coins and gems. For these he gave twenty thousand pounds. For seven or eight years the shops and fl«<»K»<*«« warehouses of English booksellers were also sedulously i787; i*ii examined, and large purchases were made from them. In Mo^gu, this labour Johnson often assisted, actively, as well as by ^"'"* 8g advice.
When the suppression of the Jesuits in many parts of Europe made the literary treasures which that busy Society had collected—often upon a princely scale and with admirable taste, so far as their limitations permitted—both the King and his librarian were struck with the idea that another fine opportunity opened itself for book-buying on the Continent. It was resolved that Mr. Barnard should travel for the purpose of profiting by it. Before he set out on his journey, he betook himself to Johnson for counsel as to the best way of setting about the task.
Johnson's counsel maybe thus abridged: The litera
ture of every country may be best gathered on its native soil. And the studies of the learned are everywhere influenced by peculiarities of government and of religion. In Italy you may, therefore, expect to meet with abundance of the works of the Canonists and the Schoolmen ; in Germany with store of writers on the Feudal Laws; in Holland you will find the booksellers' shops swarming with the works of the Civilians. Of Canonists a few of the most eminent will suffice. Of the Schoolmen a liberal supply will be a valuable addition to the King's Library. The departments of Feudal and Civil Law you can hardly render too complete. In the Feudal Constitutions we see the origin of our property laws. Of the Civil Law it is not too much to say that it is a regal study.
In respect to standard books generally, continued JohnSon, a Royal Library ought to have the earliest or most curious edition, the most sumptuous edition, and also the most useful one, which will commonly be one of the latest impressions of the book. As to the purchase of entire libraries in bulk, the Doctor inclined to think—even a century ago—that the inconvenience would commonly almost overbalance the advantage, on the score of the excessive accumulation of duplicate copies.
And then he added a remark which (long years afterwards) Sir Richard Colt Hoare profited by, and made a source of profit to our National Museum. 'I am told,' said Johnson, 'that scarcely a village of Italy wants its historian. And it will be of great use to collect, in every place, maps of the adjacent country, and plans of towns, buildings, and gardens. By this care you will form a more valuable body of geography than could otherwise be had.'
On that point—as, indeed, on all the points about which