RICHARD CLEASBY was born on the 3Oth of November in the year 1797; the son
of Stephen Cleasby of Craig House in Westmoreland, descended from a Yorkshire
family of that name, derived from a village in that county, the by in the termination
of which is a sure proof of original Scandinavian extraction. His mother was a
daughter of George John of Penzance ; and during the latter portion of their lives
his parents lived at No. 3, Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, London. Mr. Stephen
Cleasby was in business in the City as a Russia broker, and was altogether in affluent
circumstances. He had one daughter, Mary, afterwards Mrs. Jones ; and three sons:
Richard, the eldest; Anthony, of Trinity College, Cambridge, who was Third Wrangler,
and in the First Class of the Classical Tripos in 1827, now Sir Anthony Cleasby, and
one of the Barons of the Court of Exchequer; Stephen, a third brother, who came
between the two, died in November, 1835, and the intelligence of his death called forth
a remarkable letter from Richard to Anthony in December of that year. It seems
to have been the determination of Mr. Stephen Cleasby that his eldest son should
be associated with him in pursuits in which he took a just pride; and so it was that
Richard Cleasby was neither at a Public School nor one of the Universities; but, after
a sound classical education at a school in the neighbourhood of London, where he
gained a love of learning which was the foundation of that philological knowledge for
which he was afterwards so well known, he entered his father's counting-house at the
early age of fifteen, and for a while seemed entirely devoted to commercial pursuits.
The regular and industrious habits engrafted in him and both his brothers by the
example of the father, whom they all loved and respected, coupled with great natural
ability, would have made success certain in any sphere of life; but of him it may be
said, that while his hand was on the desk in the City, his heart was away among his
books in his library at home ; his tastes for literary and philological knowledge grew
with his growth and strengthened with his strength, until, as the drudgery of the
merchant's office became irksome to him, he gave up business in the year 1824, and
obtained his father's consent to reside abroad on an ample allowance, that he might
devote himself entirely to his literary labours. One great advantage he had over many
scholars. They are often tied and tethered, as it were, to one field, through want of
means to change their abode, and so are apt to grow one-sided and undeveloped in all
aspects but one. The case of Richard Cleasby was altogether different. He had both
the power to roam, and the will to make his flitting from one city or country to another
a means, not of idle amusement, but of advancement in sound learning and fruitful
study. He was not one of those butterflies which pass from flower to flower, and gain
nothing at the end of the day but death ; but rather like the bee, which seems to spend
its time in the same way, and yet returns to the hive laden with honey. Thus, shortly
after leaving England, Richard Cleasby took up his residence at Geneva, where he