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STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER
lamentations, but, without suggesting possible answers or qualifications, they no doubt explain one cause of the peculiar pleasure of transporting ourselves to the middle of the eighteenth century, when political revolutions and mechanical inventions had not yet turned things topsy-turvy. When I indulge in day-dreams, I take flight with the help of Gibbon, or Boswell, or Horace Walpole, to that delightful period. I take the precaution, of course, to be born the son of a prime minister, or, at least, within the charmed circle where sinecure offices may be the reward of a judicious choice of parents. There, methinks, would be enjoyment, more than in this march of mind, as well as more than in the state of nature on the islands where one is mated with a squalid savage. There I can have philosophy enough to justify at once my self-complacency in my wisdom and acquiescence in established abuses. I make the grand tour for a year or two on the Continent, and find myself at once recognised as a philosopher and statesman, simply because I am an Englishman. I become an honorary member of the tacit cosmopolitan association of philosophers, which formed Parisian salons, or collected round Voltaire at Ferney. I bring home a sufficient number of