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which was naturally vigorous, had never been weakened by excess or indulgence; but, on the contrary, had been strengthened by early rising and manly exercise. He excelled in boxing and fencing, and particularly in horsemanship, and, till within a year or two of his death, was fond of riding spirited horses, indulging perhaps a little harmless vanity in his success, and calling to mind his skill in former days,
Dum melior vires sanguis dabat, æmula necdum
In field sports he never indulged, and he was an entire stranger to the intemperance and gambling which sometimes accompany the most innocent amusements. But in the amusements themselves he used to take much delight, and some now alive will long remember the eager interest with which he attended a race or a cricket match, and encouraged those who took part in the game.
But we are here in some degree anticipating the future, when he resided in the country. Between the years 1770 and 1780, he was for the most part in London engaged in the study of the law, in which he proposed to practise as a chamber counsel. This profession he soon quitted, disliking it, and feeling a great unwillingness to hazard an opinion in matters of importance. It was, indeed, remarkable, that though at all times desirous to afford his best assistance to those who needed it, he was exceeding averse from giving advice. His mind and habits were of a practical turn; and as he shrunk from responsibility, and was diffident of his own opinion, he was rather willing to follow in the path marked out by others, than to suggest the line which should be pursued. He was also more and more engaged in managing his father's affairs, some of which were of a perplexing nature: and his desire to be useful made him take an active part in some public charities, particularly in the the Magdalen, and in Bridewell and Bethlem Hospitals. In private charity, too, and in affording assistance to friends who were in distress, he was ready to be employed, and an expression which he used in a letter to his father, when he wished to relieve a person in embarrassed circumstances, may serve to show his general feeling upon such a subject : “'Tis very plain, (at least to my feelings,) that if such a man wants a few guineas, one ought to lend them ; but the doubt with me is, at what precise number one ought to stop; if I had 100,0001. this doubt would be resolved.” His kind and active friendship on such occasions may perhaps be yet better described by a few words from the pen of his brother-in law, Mr. Charles Hanbury, a young man of brilliant talents and extraordinary attainments, and of the most amiable and affectionate disposition, who, while these were in their full bloom, was snatched away from the friends who tenderly loved him, and the society which he
was calculated to adorn. In a season of deep distress, he thus writes to one of his brothers. “ It is impossible for me to describe the attention and affection of my dear Bowdler on this occasion. It would require the eloquence of an angel to do him justice. This affliction is, indeed, a fiery furnace, and burneth away all our dross; the little gold we have remains unhurt.”
To the characters of a dutiful son and a kind friend, were now to be added those of an affectionate husband, and a watchful parent and head of a family. In January, 1778, he married Harrietta, eldest daughter of John Hanbury, Esq., viceconsul of the English factory at Hamburg, by Elizabeth Harrietta, sister of Thomas Lawrence, M.D., some time president of the College of Physicians in London, and the intimate friend of Dr. Johnson. By this marriage Mr. Bowdler had ten children, four of whom were cut off in infancy, and of the remaining six, two who will be noticed hereafter, died, ante ora parentum, leaving a pleasing remembrance of whatsoever is pure and lovely and of good report. Of her, who was for nearly five and forty years the kind companion, the loving and obedient wife, and faithful friend, it were an easy task to speak; and delightful it were to tell of her simplicity and sincerity, her Christian faith and humble piety, her calm unrepining submission, her entire forgetfulness of self, and controul over her
own wishes and desires; of her maternal solicitude
To rock the cradle of declining age;
Mr. Bowdler's principles and moral conduct, at the time of his marriage, are thus described in a letter to Mrs.B., by the pen of one who knew him well, and would speak nothing but what he knew.
“ There is one thing which I must talk about a little, and that thing is your husband. All his acquaintance have undoubtedly spoken to you much in his favour, for all that know him esteem him. His sisters have, also, no doubt, sung his praises pretty sufficiently, and yet I think I am better qualified to speak of him than any body else, for: in order to judge properly of a man, one should have a general acquaintance with the sex, which a woman cannot possibly have, for we are as totally disguised when we are in the company of women, as we are at a masquerade. I know him thoroughly, more so, indeed, than I know any man living; but during the time that I have been at college and elsewhere, I may safely say that I have been sufficiently acquainted with above a thousand men, to know their general character and way of life better than any woman could possibly have known it. After all this, I must say, that without any exception whatever, he is the best young man I ever knew. He is one that the whole world could not tempt to do what he thought dishonourable. He has a warmth of heart and feelings which are seldom to be met with, and if (which I don't doubt) he is as much superior to other men as a lover, as he is in the character of a friend, you are most fortunate. This I am confident is the case, though I don't assert it, because it is impossible for me to know it, and I will tell you nothing which I am not sure is truth. Of one thing I am sure, which is, that his heart is thoroughly yours. This I am sure, for he says so, and he is incapable of disguising his sentiments. I cannot leave this favourite subject without adding that, among all the young men I ever knew in my life, I never saw one (and I say it absolutely without exception) who possesses in such a degree, those virtues which should render a man most dear to a woman of delicacy. I must tell you, in plain terms, that I never was so happy at any piece of news in my life, as I was at hearing of an event which will contribute so much to his hap