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intellectual culture of her children seemed to increase in anxiety and attention the farther they were removed from her immediate care. With his former tutors, likewise, Mr Woolley and Mr Church, he kept up for some years an affectionate, and to him most salutary, intercourse, receiving from them advice as to the course of his studies, and, in return, communicating to them the progress he was making in the acquisition of knowledge.

In the autumn of 1817, after an illness of considerable duration, which caused much anxiety among his friends, it was thought desirable that he should spend the coming winter in a milder climate than St Petersburg, and he accordingly returned by sea to England, which he reached in the beginning of October, his health being much improved by the voyage.

On his arrival he found his mother and two youngest sisters, then unmarried, on the point of setting off for the Continent, and it was determined that he should accompany them. This he did, and the winter was spent by the party at Nice.

The greater part of the next year was passed in a tour through the north of Italy and Switzerland ; but in the course of the summer a separation took place, the ladies proceeding northwards to Switzerland, while Charles, for the benefit of his eyes, which were at that time very weak, was left at the baths of Valdagno and Recoara in the Vicentine. Here he lived two or three months in close intimacy with the amiable and accomplished paraphraser of Casti, the late Mr William Rose, and no doubt profited by the society of one so cultivated and refined. At the close of the summer he rejoined his mother and the family party, increased by the arrival of his elder brother, George, from England, returned to the south, and passed the winter at Naples. In the summer of the next year the two brothers travelled to England together, by a circuitous route, through the south and west of France, visiting the Pyrenees and the Loire. And his health being now roestablished, Charles Thomson once more took his seat in the counting-house, and passed the winter in the ordinary occupations of mercantile business.

After so long a holiday, spent in the amusement and excitement of foreign travel, it was quite natural that the young man should feel the confinement and dull routine of a London counting-house extremely irksome; and his letters at this period contain many complaints of the kind. His anxious desire, indeed, both then and for some time after, was to exchange the occupation he had so far engaged in for that of diplomacy, for which both his natural and acquired quali

fications, as well as the habits of foreign travel, and the society in which he had for some time moved, peculiarly fitted him. He had a remarkable knowledge of many languages, speaking French, German, Russ, and Italian, almost like a native; and his manner and address were courtly, refined, and fascinating. At his earnest solicitation endeavours were made by his friends with the view to obtain employment for him in some foreign embassy, fortunately without success. It was not long before he had reason to congratulate himself on the failure, and to discover that in an age and country of so practical a character as this, the knowledge of facts and habits of business to be acquired in commercial pursuits, by a mind endowed with faculties of a high order, are far more likely to lead to station and power than any familiarity with foreign courts or diplomatic intrigue. Had his wishes been fulfilled, and his career consequently changed, he might, and probably would, have grown grey in the pleasant but somewhat idle occupation of a chargé d'affaires at some petty foreign court, without ever attaining one-tenth part of the reputation or power to which his mercantile education and information, gathered in the busy marts of British industry, speedily elevated him.

Whether, as yet, any aspirations of this character had crossed his thoughts or not, the young merchant, at all events, continued from this time to apply himself unremittingly to the study of his business, which his natural quickness of comprehension and tact very soon enabled him to master. And after a probation of a year and a half passed in London, he was once more sent out to St Petersburg in the spring of 1821, entrusted with a share in the conduct and, of course, in the profits of the business.

The journey was performed leisurely by the route of Cuxhaven, Berlin, and Riga, and his journals bear witness to the powers of observation and judgment already exercised by him on the countries through which he travelled, and especially on their commercial resources. On the 4th of May he reached St Petersburg.

Here he remained for nearly two years, making the most of his time and the opportunities afforded by his admission to the best society of that capital, in which he was a general favourite, and especially among the diplomatic body. Nor did he neglect the study of books; and his anxiety to store up knowledge appears from entries in his journal of this period, in which he occasionally records as a "lost day” one in which he had been able to add nothing to his previous acquirements.

In the winter of 1822 and spring of 1823, he took a journey to Moscow, and thence through the centre of Russia, by Kieft

fications, as well as the habits of foreign travel, and the society in which he had for some time moved, peculiarly fitted him. He had a remarkable knowledge of many languages, speaking French, German, Russ, and Italian, almost like a native; and his manner and address were courtly, refined, and fascinating. At his earnest solicitation endeavours were made by his friends with the view to obtain employment for him in some foreign embassy, fortunately without success.

It was not long before he had reason to congratulate himself on the failure, and to discover that in an age and country of so practical a character as this, the knowledge of facts and habits of business to be acquired in commercial pursuits

, by a mind endowed with faculties of a high order, are far more likely to lead to station and power than any familiarity with foreign courts or diplomatic intrigue. Had his wishes been fulfilled, and his career consequently changed, he might, and probably would, have grown grey in the pleasant but somewhat idle occupation of a chargé d'affaires at some petty foreign court, without ever attaining one-tenth part of the reputation or power to which his mercantile education and information, gathered in the busy marts of British industry, speedily elevated him.

Whether, as yet, any aspirations of this character had crossed his thoughts or not, the young merchant, at all events, continued from this time to apply himself unremittingly to the study of his business, which his natural quickness of comprehension and tact very soon enabled him to master. And after a probation of a year and a half passed in London, he was once more sent out to St Petersburg in the spring of 1821, entrusted with a share in the conduct and, of course, in the profits of the business,

The journey was performed leisurely by the route of Cuxhaven, Berlin, and Riga, and his journals bear witness to the powers of observation and judgment already exercised by him on the countries through which he travelled, and especially on their commercial resources. On the 4th of May he reached St Petersburg

Here he remained for nearly two years, making the most of his time and the opportunities afforded by his admission to the best society of that capital, in which he was a general favourite, and especially among the diplomatic body. Nor did he neglect the study of books; and his anxiety to store up knowledge appears from entries in his journal of this period, in which he occasionally records as a "lost day” one in which he had been able to add nothing to his previous acquirements.

In the winter of 1822 and spring of 1823, he took a journey to Moscow, and thence through the centre of Russia, by Kieff

been led to indulge somewhat in the brilliant dreams of a rapid creation of wealth by combined associations, which, at that period of universal excitement, carried away thousands of older and far more experienced heads.

Accordingly, into some of the American mining speculations, set on foot in the spring of 1825, Mr C. Thomson entered with the energy which was devoted to whatever he undertook. He took an active part in the direction of one or two of these schemes; and, being a bona fide believer in their promised advantages, he, of course, like many others, suffered by the bursting of the bubbles on the arrival of the Panic." :

His elder brother had throughout remonstrated against any participation in such adventures; and it was probably owing to his prudent advice that they were not embarked in it to a seriously inconvenient extent. As it was, the loss sustained was sufficient to read him a lesson of caution, from which there can be no doubt that he derived much benefit in after life.

But the year 1825 was not remarkable only for the general speculative mania. It constitutes, moreover, something like an era in the history of the commercial policy of the nation. In the course of the two or three preceding sessions, the attention of parliament had begun to be directed by Mr Huskisson to the faulty character of that system of protective duties which had been acted on for the supposed benefit of colonial and domestic producers: the navigation laws had been already relaxed ; and, in this year, 1823, the same statesman, as President of the Board of Trade, carried through a general revisal and simplification of the revenue laws or tariff. Commercial questions were thus assuming a prominence in the debates of parliament which might well suggest to a merchant entertaining enlarged views on these subjects, and conscious of the possession of an amount of knowledge and information which might be usefully brought to bear upon their discussion, the desire to take part in these debates. It was not difficult to perceive that the time was favourable for men of practical experience in commercial affairs, not only to obtain a hearing, but even to exercise considerable influence in the deliberations of the House of Commons.

Mr C. Thomson, moreover, entertained strong opinions of a liberal character on the more ordinary political questions of the age: these principles were entirely self-formed. Those of his family—of his father certainly-were rather of the opposite complexion. But, whether acquired by reflection during his residence among the despotic and, consequently, stagnating states of the Continent, or from his course of reading, or from

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the general bent of his mind, or, as seems most probable, from all these influences combined, certain it is that his political principles were, from the first, of a very liberal character, and led him to cultivate the society of those who entertained similar views on questions of public interest. He thus became acquainted about this time, among others, with Dr Bowring, Mr Mill, Mr Warburton, and Mr Hume, and was occasionally admitted to the hermitage of the eccentric and amiable Bentham. He likewise studied the science of political economy with Mr M'Culloch, and frequented the Political Economy Club then lately instituted.

Taking thus a lively interest in the political questions of the day, and more especially in those relative to commercial matters, it was natural that he should listen with favour to proposals which were made to him in the summer of 1825, from parties connected with the liberal interest in the borough of Dover, to become a candidate for its representation at the next election; and, with this view, he made several visits to Dover in the course of the winter, for the purpose of canvassing, having issued an address to the electors on the 15th of September.

In the pursuit of this object he was warmly aided by his friends of the utilitarian school. Dr Bowring, who indeed had been the medium of his original introduction to the electors of Dover, accompanied him there and assisted in his canvass. And Bentham himself had taken so great a liking for him, that he broke through all the habits of his hermit-like existence, actually took up his residence at Dover, canvassed daily for him, opened his house, and allowed himself to be accessible to all Mr Thomson's friends, and mingled in the contest in a manner which surprised all who knew his retiring disposition, but which strongly marked the interest he took in his young friend's prospects.

In aiming at a seat in parliament, however, Mr Charles Thomson was unsupported by the assistance, or even by the countenance and advice, of his family. His father and eldest brother remonstrated against the undertaking, as tending to withdraw his attention from the city business, to which it was desirable that he should devote himself: neither, it is clear, had at this time the least idea of the powers possessed by him, and before long to be brought into active exertion-powers which, applied in the career of public life, enabled him subsequently, not merely to reflect lustre on his connections and on the mercantile class to which he belonged, but materially to benefit the general interests of British commerce, and advance the welfare and prosperity of his country.

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