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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES

OF .

ECCENTRIC CHARACTERS.

LORD CAMELFORD).

We cannot survey the circumstances of the life of Lord Camelford, without regretting that the virtues and good qualities which he occasionally manifested were obscured by passions often dangerous to the peace and welfare of society. At the same time, these mischiefs were not the result of a bad heart, for when reason and reflection recovered the dominion which the love of every species of extravagance had usurped in his mind, he thought no sacrifice too great to repair the injuries which the gratification of his humor had occasioned. He exhibited a truly singular compound of human virtues and frailties ; being distinguished for eccentric boldness and intrepidity of spirit; for many acts of noble, but oddly irregular, beneficence; for a love of frolic; and a passion for national and scientific pursuits; at one time, for uncommon dignity, good sense, and enlargement of sentiments; at another, for unreasonable positiveness ; for liberality of expense without foolish vanity or mad profusion; so that those who studied his character with the greatest attention, knew not whether they ought to admire his virtues and rectitude of understanding, or to lament his dangerous eccentricities.

Thomas Pitt, Lord Camelford, was the greatgrandson of the famous Governor Pitt, who acquired the greater part of an ample fortune

in India, by the advantageous purchase of a • diamond, which was sold in Europe, with great pro it, to the duke of Orleans, regent of France. He was allied to some of the first families in the kingdom ; his father, who was elevated to the peerage in 1784, being the nephew of the late earl of Chatham, and his sister having married Lord Grenville.

Lord Camelford was born February 26th, 1775. In his spirit and temper, when a boy, there appeared something which, though vigorous and manly, was, however, peculiar and unmanageable. He received at Berne, in Switzerland, the first rudiments of his education, which he afterwards completed at the Charter-house. In compliance with a predilection of his own, he was suffered, at an early

age, to enter the royal navy as a midshipman. In this capacity he sailed, in the year 1789, in the Guardian frigate, commanded by the late gallant Captain Riou, and laden with stores for the new colony of convicts settled at Botany Bay. The calamity which befel that ship was well calculated to inure the youthful seaman to the perils of the element which he had chosen for the theatre of his professional life. At that early period, he manifested the same contempt of danger which so particularly distinguished the whole of his career. It is well known that when all endeavors to save the vessel appeared to be fruitless, her commander gave permission to such of the crew as chose to avail themselves of it, to consult their safety and betake themselves to the boats. On this occasion, Lord Camelford was one of those who, to the number of ninety, resolutely resolved to remain in the ship, and to share her fate with their gallant commander. After a passage little less than miraculous in the wreck to the Cape of Good Hope, his lordship, in September, 1790, arrived at Harwich, in the Prince of Orange packet.

So far from being daunted by the hardships and dangers he had encountered in the Guardian, Lord Camelford, soon after his return, solicited an appointment in the voyage of discovery which was then fitting out under the command of the late Captain Vancouver. He accompanied that officer in the ship Dis

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6 SKETCHES

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