London Society at the Time that Fox entered the Great World. -- Its Narrow Limits and Agreeable Character. -- Prevalent Dissipation and Frivolity. -- The Duke of Grafton. -- Rigby. -- Lord Weymouth. -- Lord Sandwich. -- Fox in the Inner Circle of Fashion. -- Lord March. -- Brooks's Club. -- Gaming. -- Extravagance. -- Drinking and Gout. -- George the Third's Temperate and Hardy Habits. -- State of Religion among the Upper Classes. -- Political Life in 1768. -- Sinecures. -- Pensions and Places, English, Irish, and Colonial. -- Other Forms of Corruption. -- The Venality of Parliament. -- Low Morality of Public Men, and Discontent of the Nation. -- Office and Opposition. -- Fox's Political Teachers.
MORAL considerations apart, no more desirable lot can well be imagined for a human being than that he should be included in the ranks of a highly civilized aristocracy at the culminating moment of its vigor. A society so broad and strongly based that within its own borders it can safely permit absolute liberty of thought and speech; whose members are so numerous that they are able to believe, with some show of reason, that the interests of the State are identical with their own, and at the same time so privileged that they are sure to get the best of everything which is to be had, is a society uniting, as far as those members are concerned, most of the advantages and all the attractions both of a popular and an oligarchical form of government. It is in such societies that existence has been enjoyed most keenly, and that books have been written which communicate a sense of that enjoyment most vividly to posterity. The records of other periods may do more to illustrate the working of political forces and to clear up the problems of historical science; the literature of other periods may be richer in wealth of thought and nobler in depth of feeling; but a student who loves to dwell upon times when men lived so intensely and wrote so joyously that their past seems to us as our