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is above the little prejudices which make many a race defraud the public of what was designed for it by those who alone had a right to give or withhold. It is above suppressing what Lord Herbert dared to tell. Foibles, passions, perhaps some vanity, surely some wrongheadedness; these he scorned to conceal, for he sought truth, wrote on truth, was truth: he honestly told when he had missed or mistaken it. His descendants, not blind to his faults, but through them conducting the reader to his virtues, desire the world to make this candid observation with them. That there must have been a wonderful fund of internal virtue, of strong resolution and manly philosophy, which in an age of such mistaken and barbarous gallantry, of such absurd usages and false glory, could enable Lord Herbert to seek fame better founded, and could make him reflect that there might be a more desirable kind of glory than that of a romantic duelist.' None shut their eyes so obstinately against seeing what is ridiculous, as they who have attained a mastery in it: but that was not the case of Lord Herbert. His valour made him a hero, be the heroism in vogue what it would; his sound parts made him a philosopher. Few men in truth have figured so conspicuously in lights so various; and his descendants, though they cannot approve him in every walk of glory, would perhaps injure his memory, if they suffered the world to be ignorant, that he was formed to shine in every sphere, into which his impetuous temperament, or predominant reason conducted him.
As a soldier, he won the esteem of those great captains the Prince of Orange and the Constable de Montmorency; as a knight, his chivalry was drawn from the purest founts. Had he been ambitious, the beauty of his person would have carried him as far as any gentle knight can aspire to go. As a public minister, he supported the dignity of his country,
even when its prince disgraced it; and that he was qualified to write its annals as well as to ennoble them, the history I have mentioned proves, and must make us lament that he did not complete, or that we have lost, the account he purposed to give of his embassy. These busy scenes were blended with, and terminated by, meditation and philosophic inquiries. Strip each period of its excesses and errors, and it will not be easy to trace out, or dispose the life of a man of quality into a succession of employments which would better become him. Valour and military activity in youth; business of state in the middle age; contemplation and labours for the information of posterity in the calmer scenes of closing life: this was Lord Herbert. . . .
Being written when Lord Herbert was past sixty, the work was probably never completed. The spelling is in general given as in the MS. but some obvious mistakes it was necessary to correct, and a few notes have been added, to point out the most remarkable persons mentioned in the text. The style is remarkably good for that age, which coming between the nervous and expressive manliness of the preceding century, and the purity of the present standard, partook of neither. His lordship's observations are new and acute, some very shrewd; his discourse on the Reformation very wise. To the French confessor his reply was spirited; indeed his behaviour to Luynes, and all his conduct, gave ample evidence of his constitutional fire. But nothing is more marked than the air of veracity or persuasion which runs through the whole narrative. If he makes us wonder, and wonder makes us doubt, the charm of his ingenuous integrity dispels our hesitation. The whole relation throws singular light on the manners of the age, though the gleams are transient. In those manners nothing is more striking than the strange want of police in this country. I will not
point out instances, as I have already perhaps too much opened the contents of a book, which if it gives other readers half the pleasure it afforded me, they will own themselves extraordinarily indebted to the noble person by whose favour I am permitted to communicate to them so great a curiosity. -Advertisement to 1st edition of the Autobiography of Lord Herbert of Cherbury.
GILBERT WHITE was born at Selborne, July 18, 1720. He received an excellent classical education, and became Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, in March, 1744. Of his life nothing is known beyond what is contained in the following few words prefixed to a new edition of the History of Selborne :—
'Of an unambitious temper and strongly attached to the charms of rural scenery, he early fixed his residence in his native village, where he spent the greater part of his life in literary occupations and especially in the study of Nature. Though several occasions offered of settling upon a College living, he could never persuade himself to quit the beloved spot, which was indeed a peculiarly happy situation for an observer. Here his days passed tranquil and serene, with scarcely any other vicissitudes than those of the seasons, till they closed at a mature age on June 26, 1793.'
Gilbert White's Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, his only work, is the record of his life-long observation of the habits of animals and the aspects of Nature. It derives the charm which makes it an unique book in natural history, from the freshness and vividness of its descriptions of the instincts and ways of animals, which formed for him the object of a close daily attention. He was not a systematic naturalist; yet the new species which he added to the British Fauna, among which were two quadrupeds-the harvest mouse, mus messorius, and the great bat, vespertilio noctula, sufficiently attest his skill in distinguishing animal forms. He pourtrays the life of birds with especial sympathy and delicacy. What he tells, he tells in a style simple and unaffected, yet of a purity and elegance which he perhaps owed to his classical training.
1. The Fern or Churn-owl.
On the 12th of July I had an opportunity of contemplating the motions of the capri-mulgus or fern-owl, as it was playing round a large oak that swarmed with scarabai solstitiales or fern-chafers. The powers of its wing were wonderful, exceeding, if possible, the various evolutions and quick turns of the swallow genus. The circumstance that pleased me most was, that I saw it distinctly more than once put out its short leg while on the wing, and by a bend of the head deliver somewhat into its mouth. If it takes any part of its prey with its foot, as I have now the greatest reason to suppose it does these chafers, I no longer wonder at the use of its middle toe, which is curiously furnished with a serrated claw.
There is no bird whose manners I have studied more. It is a wonderful and curious creature. Though sometimes it may chatter as it flies, yet in general it utters its jarring note sitting on a bough. I have for many an half-hour watched it as it sat with its under mandible quivering, and particularly this summer. It perches usually on a bare twig with its head lower than its tail. It is most punctual in beginning its song exactly at the close of day; so exactly, that I have known it strike up more than once or twice just at the report of the Portsmouth evening gun, which we can hear when the weather is still. It appears to me past all doubt that its notes are formed by organic impulse, by the powers of the part of its windpipe formed for sound, just as cats purr. my neighbours were assembled in an hermitage on the side of a steep hill where we drink tea, one of these churn-owls came and settled on the cross of that little straw edifice and began to chatter, and continued his note for many minutes. We were all struck with wonder to find that the organs of