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Home > Mezzofanti > Eminent linguists > British and Irish linguists > Carteret

What Henley was in the learned languages, the distinguished statesman Lord Carteret, afterwards Earl of Granville, was in the modern. With all his brilliant qualities as a debater, and all his great capacity for public affairs, Carteret combined the learning and the accomplishments of a finished scholar. Swift said of him that " he carried away from Oxford more Greek, Latin, and philosophy, than became a person of his rank," He spoke and wrote French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and even Swedish ; and one of the first causes of the jealousy with which Walpole regarded him, was the volubility with which he was able to hold converse in German with their common master, George the Pirst. But Henley and Carteret stand almost alone among the English scholars of the early half of the seventeenth century; and the first steady impulse which the study of languages received in England, may be chiefly traced to the attractions of the honourable and emolumentary service of the East India Company. What the diplomatic ambition of France in the Levant effected among the scholars of that country, the commercial enterprise of the merchant princess of England achieved in her Indian territory; and the splendid rewards held out to practical Oriental scholarship, gave an impulse to the study of Eastern languages on a more liberal and comprehensive scale.

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