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going Charter. To many it must have appeared tedious and uninteresting, but it was inserted at the particulur
request of a number of subscribers.— Some Bye Laws of the Corporation will be published in our next number.)
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF DISTINGUISHED PERSONS.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THOMAS qualities which adorn human nature in such an eminent degree, that his first act on coming of age, was to augment his mother's jointure, and to settle it upon Mr. Philips during his life. This bounty, to a man who had needlessly mortified him, and embittered so many years of his infancy and youth, evinced a very elevated mind.
Even at that period, "when youth elate and gay, steps into life," Mr. Day was a rigid moralist. Though he had no intention of confining himself to the pursuits of a particular profession, he entered at the Middle Temple in 1765, and be so far made a study of the law, as at length to be called to the bar. But the study of men and manners was his favourite object. The fruit of these researches into the condition of mankind seems, at first, to have produced a kind of melancholy, proceeding from a sense of its wretchedness; but the native strength of
his benevolence enabled him in some degree, to surmount this impression, and what remained was an ardent and active zeal for opposing tyranny in all its shapes, and promoting the welfare of his fellow creatures. His strict integrity, energetic friendship, open-handed bounty, sedulous and diffusive charity, greatly over-balanced, on the side of virtue, the tincture of misanthropic gloom, and proud contempt of society that frequently marked his character.
In 1770, he went to reside at Lichfield. He then looked the philo
EXTRACTED FROM ANNA SEWARD'S LIFE OF DR. DARWIN, AND THE BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY.
THOMAS DAY, a man of singularly benevolent and independent spirit, was born in London in 1748. His father died while he was an infant, leaving him a conderable fortune. His mother, a woman of sense and a strong mind, brought him up in good habits and dispositions; which exerted an influence upon his whole character through life.* She married soon after her husband's death, a gentleman of the name of Philips. This man was one of those common characters, who seek to supply their inherent want of consequence, by a busy, te zing interference in cir. cumstances, with which they have no real concern. Mrs. Philips, influenced by such a husband, often rendered uncomfortable, the domes tic situation of a high-spirited youth of genius; yet he possessed all those
It is probable that he received from his mother an education well fitted to call forth strength of character, and to display the energies of a powerful mind. An instance of courage and strength of mind is related of her. While walking alone through a field, she was attacked by a fierce bull. She endeavoured to escape by flight, but finding that the animal gained on her, she resolutely turned round, and unfolding an umbrella, which she held in her hand, she faced him, using the umbrella as a shield, and thus retreated, till she was able to clear the ditch and escape
............ "Of good and evil, Passion, and apathy, and glory, and shame," very expressive were the energies gleaming from them, beneath the shade of sable hair, which curled about his brows.
He possessed true compassion for the poor in their sufferings of cold and hunger; to the power of relieving them he nobly sacrificed all the parade of life, and all the pleasures of luxury. He was fond of rational society, but he disliked fashionable circles, and entertained supreme contempt for those who arrogate consequence upon the mere grounds of rank and wealth. Above all things he expressed aversion to the modern plans of female education. He had learned, from some disappointments iu very early life, to look back with resentment to the allurements of the graces. He resolved, if possible, that his wife should have a taste for literature and science, for moral and patriotic philosophy, that she might be his companion in that retirement to ! which he had destined himself; and
assist him in forming the minds of his children to stubborn virtue and high exertion. He resolved also, that she should be as simple as a mountain girl in her dress, her diet, and her manners; fearless and intrepid as the Spartan wives and Roman heroines. There was no finding such a creature; philosophical
romance could not hope it. He must mould some infant into the being his fancy had imaged; he nursed systematic ideas of the force of philosophic tuition to produce future virtue, and he determined to mould the infant and youthful mind.
After procuring credentials of his moral probity, he set out with his friend Mr. Bicknel, a barrister, to the town of Shrewsbury, to explore the hospital in that town for foundling girls. From the little train, Mr. Day in the presence of Mr. Bicknel, selected two of twelve years each; both beautiful; one fair, with flaxen locks, and light eyes; her he called. Lucretia. The other, a clear brunette, with darker eyes, more glowing and chesnut tresses, he bl m, named Sabrina. These girls were obtained on written conditions, for the performance of which Mr. Bick-, nel was guarantee. They were to this effect; that Mr. Day should, within a year after taking them, resign one into the protection of some reputable tradeswoman, giving, one hundred pounds to bind her apprentice; maintaining her, if she behaved well, till she married, or began business for herself; upon either of these events, he promised to advance He avowed his four hundred more. intention of educating the girl he should retain, with the view of making her his future wife; solemnly engaging, if he should renounce his plan, to maintain her in some respectable family till she married, when he promised five hundred pounds as her wedding portion.
Mr. Day went instantly to France with these girls; not even taking an English servant, that they might receive no ideas, except those which he might choose to impart. They teized and perplexed him; they quarrelled, and fought incessantly; they sickened of the small-pox; they chained him to their bed side by
crying, and screaming if they were ever left a moment with any perSon who could not speak to them in English. They lost no beauty by their disease. Soon after they had recovered, crossing the Rhone with his wards in a tempestuous day, the boat overset. Being an excellent swimmer he saved them both, though with difficulty and danger to himself. He came back to England in eight months, heartily glad to separate the little squabblers. Sabrina was become the favourite; he placed Lucretia with a chamber milliner. She behaved well and became the wife of a respectable linen-draper in London. On his re. turn to his native country, he entrusted Sabrina to the care of Mr Bicknel's mother, with whom she resided some months in a country village, while he settled his affairs at his own mansion-house.
After taking possession of his mansion, he resumed his preparations for implanting in Sabrina's young mind the characteristic virtues of Arria, Portia, and Cornelia; his experiments had not the success he wished and expected; her spirit could not be armed against the dread of pain and the appearance of danger. When he dropped melted sealing wax upon her arms she did not endure it heroically, nor when he fired pistols at her petticoats, which she believed to be charged, with balls, could she help starting aside, or suppress her screams. When he tried her fidelity in secret-keeping, by telling her of well-invented dan gers to himself, in which greater danger would result from its being discovered that he was aware of theni, he once or twice detected her having imparted the secret to the servants, and to her play-fellows. She betrayed an averseness to the study of books, and of the rudiments of science, which gave little promise of ability,
that should one day be responsible for the education of youths, who were to emulate the Gracchi.
Mr. Day presisted in these expe riments, and sustained their continual disappointment during the whole year: The difficulty seemed to he in giving Sabrina a motive to exer tion, self-denial, and heroism. It was against his plan to draw it from the usual source, pecuniary reward, luxury, ambition, or vanity. His watchful cares precluded all knowledge of the value of money, the reputation of beauty, and its concomitant desire of ornamented dress. The only inducement, therefore, which this lovely artless girl could have to combat and subdue the natural preference, of ease to pain, of va cant sport to the labour of thinking, was the desire of pleasing her protector, though she knew. not how, or why he became such. In that desire, fear had greatly the ascendant of affection, and lear is a cold and indolent feeling.
Thus after a series of fruitless trials, Mr. Day renounced all hope of moulding Sabrina into the being his imagination had formed; and ceasing to behold her as his future wife, he placed her at a boarding-school in Warwickshire. His trust in the power of education faltered; his aversion to modern elegance subsided. From the time he first lived near Lichfield, he had daily conversed with the beautiful Honora Sneyd; without having received a Spartan education, she united a disinterested desire to please, fortitude of spirit, native strength of intellect, literary and scientific taste, to unswerving truth, and to all the gra ces. She was the very Honora Sneyd, to whom the gallant and unfortunate Major Andre's unextinguishable passion is on poetic, as his military fame and hapless destiny are on patriotic record; pa
rental authority having dissolved their juvenile engagements, Mr. Day offered to Honora his philosophic hand. She admired his talents; she revered his virtues; she tried 7 to school her heart into softer sentiments in his fayour; she did not succeed in the attempt, and ingenuously told him so. Her sister, Elizabeth Sneyd, one year younger, was very pretty, very sprightly, very artless, very engaging, though countless degrees inferior to the endowed and adorned Honora ;-To her the yet love-luckless sage transferred the heart, which Honora had with sighs resigned. Elizabeth told Mr. Day she could have loved him, if he had acquired the manners of the world, instead of those austere singularities of air, habit, and address.
He began to impute to fickleness, the involuntary iciness of the charming Honora, as well as that for which her sister had accounted. He told Elizabeth, that, for her sake, he would renounce his prejudices to external refinements and try to acquire them. He would go to Paris, and commit himself to dancing and fencing masters. He did so; stood daily an hour or two in frames, to screw back his shoulders, and point his feet; he practised the military gait, the fashionable bow, minuets, and cotillions; but it was too late; habits, so long fixed, could be no more than partially overcome. The endeavour, made at intervals, and by visible effort, was really more ungraceful than the natural stoop and unfashionable air ;neither was the showy dress, in which he came back to his fair one, a jot more becoming.
Poor Elizabeth reproached her reluctant, but insuppressive ingrati tude, upon which all this labour, these sacrifices had been wasted. She confessed, that Thomas Day,
blackguard, as she used jestingly to style him, less displeased her eye than Thomas Day, fine gentleman.
Thus again disappointed, he re sumed his accustomed plainness of garb, and neglect of his person, and went again to the continent for another year, with pursuits of higher. aim, more congenial to his talents and former principles. Deviating from the usual mode of fashionable tourists, he fixed his residence for sometime in particular spots; mak、 ing himself thoroughly acquainted with the way of life followed by classes of society seldom known to travellers, and finding occupation for his benevolence in the relief of their distresses. Returning to England in the year 1773, he saw Honora Sneyd united to his friend Mr. Edgeworth, of Edgeworth's-town in Ireland, who was become a widower; and in the year 1780, he learned that Elizabeth Sneyd, was also, after the death of Honora married to Mr. Edgeworth. It was singular that Thomas Day should thus, in the course of seven years, find himself doubly rivalled by his most intimate friend; but his own previously re nounced pursuit of those beautiful young women, left him without either cause or sensation of resentment w their account.
From the year 1773 this hitherto love-renounced philosopher resided. chiefly in London, and amid the small and select circle which he visited there, often met the elegaut Esther Mills of Derbyshire, who, with modern acquirements, and amongst modish luxuries suited to her large fortune, had cultivated her understanding by books, and her virtues by benevolence. The again unpolished stoic had every charm in her eyes,
"She saw Othello's visage in his mind,” But from indignant recollection of
hopes so repeated baffled, Mr. Day looked with distrust on all females; and it was not for many years that be deigned to ask Miss Mills, if she could, for his sake, resign all that the world calls pleasures, all its luxuries, and all its ostentation. If, with him, she could resolve to employ, after the ordinary comforts of life were supplied, the surplus of her affluent fortune in clothing the naked, and feeding the hungry; retire with him into the country, and shun,, through remaining existence, the infectious taint of human society..
To proposals so formidable, so sure to be rejected by a heart less than infinitely attached, Miss Mills gladly assented; but something more remained. He insisted that her whole fortune should be settled on herself, totally out of his present or future controul; that if she grew tired of a system of life so likely to weary a woman of the world, she might return to that world any hour she chose, fully empowered to resume its habits and its pleasures.
They married, retired into the country about the year 1780: no carriage, no appointed servant about Mrs. Day's own person; no luxury of any sort. Music, in which she was a distinguished proficient, was deemed trivial. She banished her harpsicord and music books. Frequent experiments upon her temper, and her attachment, were made by him, whom she lived but to obey and love; over these she often wept, but never repined. No wife, bound in the strictest fetters, as to the incapacity of claiming separate maintenance, ever made more absolute sacrifices to the most imperious husband, than did this lady, whose independence had been secured, and of whom, nothing was demanded as a duty. Thus he found, at last, amid the very class he dread
ed, that of fashionable women, a heart whose passion for him supplied all the requisites of his hightoned expectations.
Sabrina remained at school three years, and gained the esteem of her instructress; she grew feminine, elegant, and amiable. She proved one of the many instances that those modes of education, which have been sanctioned by long experience, are seldom abandoned to advantage by ingenious system-mongers. When she left school, Mr. Day allowed her fifty pounds annually. She lived some years near Birming ham, and afterwards in Shropshire: wherever she resided, wherever she paid visits, she secured to herself friends. Mr. Day corresponded with her parentally; two years after his marriage and in her twenty-sixth year, his friend Mr. Bicknel, proposed himself; that very Mr Bicknel who went with Thomas Day to the foundling hospital at Shrewsbury, and by whose suretyship for his upright intentions the governors of that charity permitted Sabrica and Lucretia to be taken from thence. More from prudential motives, than affection, Sabrina accepted Mr. Bicknel's addresses, yet became one of the best of wives. Mr. Day gave her the promised dower of five hun dred pounds.
Mr. Bicknel, without patrimonial fortune, and living up to his professional income, did not save money; his wife brought him two boys; when the eldest was about five years old, their father was seized with a paralytic stroke, which in a few weeks terminated fatally. His widow had no means of independent support for herself and her infants. Mr. Day allowed her thirty pounds annually, to assist the efforts which he expected she would make for the maintenance of herself and children. To have been more bounteous must