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But the poem of Parnell's best known, and on to England, and are sensible how much that Doc. which his best reputation is grounded, is the Her- tor is cursed and hated, who introduced their spemit. Pope, speaking of this in those manuscript cies into your nation; therefore, as you dread the anecdotes already quoted, says “That the poem is wrath of St. Patrick, send them hither, and rid the very good. The story,” continues he, “ was writ- kingdom of those pernicious and loquacious animals. ten originally in Spanish, whence probably Howel “I have at length received your poem out of Mr. had translated it into prose, and inserted it in one Addison's hands, which shall be sent as soon as of his letters. Addison liked the scheme, and was you order it, and in what manner you shall appoint. not disinclined to come into it.” However this I shall in the mean time give Mr. Tooke a packet may be, Dr. Henry Moore, in his dialogues, has for you, consisting of divers merry pieces, Mr. the very same story; and I have been informed by Gay's new farce, Mr. Burnet's letter to Mr. Pope, som, that it is originally of Arabian invention. Mr. Pope's Temple of Fame, Mr. Thomas Burnet's
With respect to the prose works of Parnell, 1 Grumbler on Mr. Gay, and the Bishop of Ailshave mentioned them already; his fame is too well bury's Elegy, writ:en either by Mr. Cary or some grounded for any defects in them to shake it. I other hand. will only add, that the Life of Zoilus was written “Mr. Pope is reading a letter; and in the mean at the request of his friends, and designed as a time, I make use of the pen to testify my uneasi. satire upon Dennis and Theobald, with whom his ness in not hearing from you. I find success, even club had long been at variance. I shall end this in the most trivial things, raises the indignation of account with a letter to him from Pope and Gay, in Scribblers: for I, for my What-d'ye-call-it, could which they endeavour to hasten him to finish that neither escape the fury of Mr. Burnet, or the Gerproduction.
man doctor; then where will rage end, when Ho.
mer is to be translated? Let Zoilus hasten to your
“London, March 18. friend's assistance, and envious criticism shall le "Dear Sir,
no more. I am in hopes that we may order our "I must own I have long owed you a letter, but affairs so as to meet this summer at the Bath; for you must own, you have owed me one a good deal Mr. Pope and myself have thoughts of taking a longer. Besides, I have but two people in the trip thither. You shall preach, and we will write whole kingdom of Ireland to take care of; the Dean lampoons; for it is esteemed as great an honour to and you : but you have several who complain of leave the Bath for fear of a broken head, as for a your neglect in England. Mr. Gay complains, Terræ Filius of Oxford to be expelled. I have no Mr. Harcourt complains, Mr. Jervas complains, place at court; therefore, that I may not entirely Dr. Arbuthnot complains, my Lord complains; I be without one every where, show that I have a complain. (Take notice of this figure of iteration, place in your remembrance. when you make your next sermon.) Some say you
“Your most affectionate, are in deep discontent at the new turn of affairs;
“Faithful servants, others, that you are so much in the archbishop's
“A. Pope and J. GAY." good graces, that you will not correspond with any that have seen the last ministry. Some affirm you "Homer will be published in three weeks." have quarrelled with Pope (whose friends they observe daily fall from him on account of his satirical I can not finish this trifle without returning my and comical disposition;) others that you are in- sincerest acknowledgments to Sir John Parnell
, sinuating yourself into the opinion of the inge- for the generous assistance he was pleased to give nious Mr. What-do-ye-call-him. Some think you me, in furnishing me with many materials, when are preparing your sermons for the press; and he heard I was about writing the life of his uncle, others, that you will transform them into essays and as also to Mr. and Mrs. Hayes, relations of our moral discourses. But the only excuse that I will poet; and to my very good friend Mr. Stevens, allow, is your attention to the Life of Zoilus. The who, being an ornament to letters himself, is very frogs already seem to croak for their transportation ready to assist all the attempts of others.
Henry, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke.
(FIRST PRINTED IN 1771.)
There are some characters that seem formed | know, was strongly attached to the republican by nature to take delight in struggling with oppo- party, Henry, the subject of the present memoir, sition, and whose most agreeable hours are passed was brought up in his family, and consequently in storms of their own creating. The subject of imbibed the first principles of his education amongst the present sketch was, perhaps, of all others, the the dissenters. At that time, Daniel Burgess, a most indefatigable in raising himself enemies, to fanatic of a very peculiar kind, being at once posshow his power in subduing them; and was not sessed of zeal and humour, and as well known for less employed in improving his superior talents the archness of his conceits as the furious obstinathan in finding objects on which to exercise their cy of his principles, was confessor in the presbyactivity. His life was spent in a continual con- terian way to his grandmother, and was appointed flict of politics; and, as if that was too short for the to direct our author's first studies. Nothing is so combat, he has left his memory as a subject of last- apt to disgust a feeling mind as mistaken zeal; and, ing contention.
perhaps, the absurdity of the first lectures he reIt is, indeed, no easy matter to preserve an ac-ceived might have given him that contempt for all knowledged impartiality in talking of a man so religions which he might have justly conceived differently regarded on account of his political, as against one. Indeed no task can be more mortiwell as his religious principles. Those whom his fying than what he was condemned to undergo : politics may please will be sure to condemn him "I was obliged,” says he, in one place, “while yet for his religion; and, on the contrary, those most a boy, to read over the commentaries of Dr. Manstrongly attached to his theological opinions are ton, whose pride it was to have made a hundred the most likely to decry his politics. On whatever and nineteen sermons on the hundred and nineside he is regarded, he is sure to have opposers; teenth psalm.” Dr. Manton and his sermons were and this was perhaps what he most desired, having, not likely to prevail much on one who was, perfrom nature, a mind better pleased with the struggle haps, the most sharp-sighted in the world at disthan the victory.
covering the absurdities of others, however he Henry St. John, Lord Viscount Bulingbroke, might have been guilty of establishing many of was born in the year 1672, at Battersea, in Surrey, his own. at a seat that had been in the possession of his an- But these dreary institutions were of no very cestors for ages before. His family was of the first long continuance; as soon as it was fit to take him rank, equally conspicuous for its antiquity, dignity, out of the hands of the women, he was sent to and large possessions. It is found to trace its origin Eton school, and removed thence to Christ-church as high as Adam de Port, Baron of Basing, in college in Oxford. His genius and understanding Hampshire, before the Conquest ; and in a suc- were seen and admired in both these seminaries, cession of ages, to have produced warriors, patriots, but his love of pleasure had so much the ascenden and statesmen, some of whom were conspicuous cy, that he seemed contented rather with the con for their loyalty, and others for their defending the sciousness of his own great powers than their ex rights of the people. His grandfather, Sir Walter ertion. However, his friends, and those who knew St. John, of Battersea, marrying one of the daugh- him most intimately, were thoroughly sensible of ters of Lord Chief Justice St. John, who, as all the extent of his mind; and when he left tha university, he was considered as one who had the ing the poet, and praising his translation. Wo fairest opportunity of making a shining figure in have another, not so well known, prefixed to a active life.
French work, published in Holland by the CheNature seemed not less kind to him in her ex- valier de St. Hyacinth, entitled, Le Chef-d-Euere ternal embellishments than in adorning his mind. d'un Inconnu. This performance is a humorous With the graces of a handsome person, and a face piece of criticism upon a miserable old ballad; and in which dignity was happily blended with sweet. Bolingbroke's compliment, though written in Engness, he had a manner of address that was very lish, is printed in Greek characters, so that at the engaging. His vivacity was always awake, his first glance it may deceive the eye, and be mistaken apprehension was quick, his wit refined, and his for real Greek. There are two or three things memory amazing: his sublety in thinking and more of his composition, which have appeared since reasoning was profound; and all these talents his death, but which do honour neither to his parts were adorned with an elocution that was irre- nor memory. sistible.
In this mad career of pleasure he continued for To the assemblage of so many gifts from na- some time; but at length, in 1700, when he arture, it was expected that art would soon give her rived at the twenty-eighth year of his age, he befinishing hand; and that a youth, begun in excel- gan to dislike his method of living, and to find that lence, would soon arrive at perfection : but such is sensual pleasure alone was not sufficient to make the perverseness of human nature, that an age the happiness of a reasonable creature. He therewhich should have been employed in the acquisi-fore made his first effort to break from his state of tion of knowledge, was dissipated in pleasure; and infatuation, by marrying the daughter and coheirinstead of aiming to excel in praiseworthy pur-ess of Sir Henry Winchescomh, a descendant from suits, Bolingbroke seemed more ambitious of being the famous Jack of Newbury, who, though but a thought the greatest rake about town. This period clothier in the reign of Henry VIII., was able to might have been compared to that of fermentation entertain the king and all his retinue in the most in liquors, which grow muddy before they bright- splendid manner. This lady was possessed of a en; but it must also be confessed, that those liquors fortune exceeding forty thousand pounds, and was which never ferment are seldom clear.* In this not deficient in mental accomplishments; but state of disorder, he was not without his lucid in- whether he was not yet fully satiated with his tervals; and even while he was noted for keeping former pleasures, or whether her temper was not Miss Gumley, the most expensive prostitute in the conformable to his own, it is certain they were far kingdom, and bearing the greatest quantity of wine from living happily together. After cohabiting for without intoxication, he even then despised his some time together, they parted by mutual consent, paltry ambition. “The love of study," says he, both equally displeased ; he complaining of the ob"and desire of knowledge, were what I felt all my stinacy of her temper, she of the shamelessness of life; and though my genius, unlike the demon of his infidelity. A great part of her fortune, some Socrates, whispered so softly, that very often 1 time after, upon his attainder, was given her back; heard him not in the hurry of these passions with but, as her family estates were settled upon him, which I was transported, yet some calmer hours he enjoyed them after her death, upon the reversal there were, and in them I hearkened to him." of his attainder. These sacred adnionitions were indeed very few, Having taken a resolution to quit the alluresince his excesses are remembered to this very day. ments of pleasure for the stronger attractions of I have spoken to an old man, who assured me, that ambition, soon after his marriage he procured a he saw him and one of his companions run naked seat in the House of Commons, being elected for through the Park in a fit of intoxication ; but then the borough of Wotton-Basset, in Wiltshire, his it was a time when public decency might be trans- father having served several times for the same gressed with less danger than at present. place. Besides his natural endowments and his
During this period, as all his attachments were large fortune, he had other very considerable adto pleasure, so his studies only seemed to lean that vantages that gave him weight in the senate, and way. His first attempts were in poetry, in which seconded his views of preferment. His grandhe discovers more wit than taste, more labour thau father, Sir Walter St. John, was still alive; and harmony in his versification. We have a copy of that gentleman's interest was so great in his own liis verses pretixed to Dryden's Virgil, compliment- county of Wilts, that he represented it in two Par
liaments in a former reign. His father also was
then the representative for the same; and the inOur author appears fond of this figure, for we find it in- terest of his wife's family in the House was very Iroduced into his Esxiy on. Polite Literature. The propriety, extensive. Thus Bolingbroke took his seat with. however, both of the simile, and of the position it endeavours to illustrate
, is ably examined in a periwical work, entitled many accidental helps, but his chief and great te lic Philanthrope, published in London in the year 1797. 1 source lay in his own extensive abilities.
At that time the whig and the tory parties were | been sincere and disinterested; for the latter chose strongly opposed in the House, and pretty nearly to follow his fortune, and the next day resigned his balanced. In the latter years of King William, the employments in the administration, following his tories, who from every motive were opposed to the friend's example, and setting an example at once of court, had been gaining popularity, and now began integrity and moderation. As an instance of this, to make a public stand against their competitors. when his coadjutors, the tories, were for carrying Robert Harley, afterwards Earl of Oxford, a a violent measure in the House of Commons, in staunch and confirmed tory, was in the year 1700 order to bring the Princess Sophia into England, chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, and Bolingbroke so artfully opposed it, that it dropped was continued in the same upon the accession of without a debate. For this his moderation was Queen Anne, the year ensuing. Bolingbroke had praised, but perhaps at the expense of his sagacity. all along been bred up, as was before observed, For some tinie the whigs seemed to have gained among the dissenters, his friends leaned to that a complete triumph, and upon the election of a new persuasion, and all his connexions were in the Parliament, in the year 1708, Bolingbroke was not whig interest. However, either from principle, or returned. The interval which followel, of above from perceiving the tory party to be then gaining two years, he employed in the severest study, and ground, while the whigs were declining, he soon this recluse period he ever after used to consider as changed his connexions, and joined himself to Har- the most active and serviceable of his whole life. ley, for whom then he had the greatest esteem; nor But his retirement was soon interrupted by the did he bring him his vote alone, but his opinion, prevailing of his party once more ; for the Whig which, even before the end of his first session, he Parliament being dissolved in the year 1710, he rendered very considerable, the House perceiving was again chosen, and Harley being made Chaneven in so young a speaker the greatest eloquence, cellor, and Under-treasurer of the Exchequer, the united with the profoundest discernment. The important post of Secretary of State was given to year following he was again chosen anew for the our author, in which he discovered a degree of same borough, and persevered in his former at- genius and assiduity that perhaps have never been tachments, by which he gained such an authority known to be united in one person to the same and influence in the House, that it was thought degree. proper to reward his merit; and, on the 10th of The English annals scarcely produce a more April, 1704, he was appointed Secretary at War trying juncture, or that required such various abiliand of the Marine, his friend Harley having a ties to regulate. He was then placed in a sphere little before been made Secretary of State. where he was obliged to conduct the machine of
The tory party being thus established in power, state, struggling with a thousand various calamiIt may easily be supposed that every method would ties; a desperate enraged party, whose character. he used to depress the whig interest, and to prevent istic it has ever been to bear none in power but it from rising ; yet so much justice was done even themselves; a war conducted by an able general, to merit in an enemy, that the Duke of Marlbo- his professed opponent, and whose victories only rough, who might be considered as at the head of tended to render him every day more formidable; the opposite party, was supplied with all the ne- a foreign enemy, possessed of endless resources, cessaries for carrying on the war in Flanders with and seeming to gather strength from every defeat; vigour; and it is remarkable, that the greatest an insidious alliance, that wanted only to gain the events of his campaigns, such as the battles of advantage of victory, without contributing to the Blenheim and Ramilies, and several glorious at- expenses of the combat ; a weak declining mistress, tempts made by the duke to shorten the war by that was led by every report, and seemed ready to some decisive action, fell out while Bolingbroke listen to whatever was said against him ; still more, was Secretary at War. In fact he was a sincere a gloomy, indolent, and suspicious colleague, that admirer of that great general, and avowed it upon envied his power, and hated him for his abilities: all occasions to the last moment of his life; he these were a part of the difficulties that Bolingbroke knew his faults, he admired his virtues, and had had to struggle with in office, and under which he the bwast of being instrumental in giving lustre to was to conduct the treaty of peace of Utrecht, which those triumphs by which his own power was in a was considered as one of the most complicated nemanner overthrown.
gociations that history can afford. But nothing As the affairs of the nation were then in as seemed too great for his abilities and industry; he fuctuating a state as at present, Harley, after set himself to the undertaking with spirit; he be maintaining the lead for above three years, was in gan to pave the way to the intended treaty, ny his turn obliged to submit to the whigs, who once making the people discontented at the continuance more became the prevailing party, and he was com- of the war; for this purpose he employed himself pelled to resign the seals. The friendship between in drawing up accurate computations of the numhim and Bulingbruke seemed at this time to have Ibers of our own men, and that of foreigners, em
ployed in its destructive progress. He even wrote cestors had been distinguished, having kept the
While he was thus industriously employed, he Nothing could have been more weak and injudi.