Obrazy na stronie

posing a half-penny stamp on pamphlets vehemently opposed by Swift. “If,” he and periodicals, which caused the discon- argued, " this clause had made part of a tinuance of several, and limited the circula- law, there would have been an end, in all tion of many others; although it did not likeļihood, of any valuable production for (as was asserted by Sir Edward Bulwer the future either in wit or learning; and Lytton in the debate on the newspaper that insufferable race of stupid people who duty in 1855) stop or ostensibly injure the are now every day loading the press, would Spectator.

then reign alone---in time destroy our very Another of Bolingbroke's proposals, fortun- first principles of reason, and introduce ately rejected, was that each writer's name barbarity amongst us, which is already kept and address should be affixed to his article, out with so much difficulty." All his own a favourite measure at all times with all best writings were first composed for the who dread and wish to limit the influence emergency, and published anonymously; of the press. The proposed object is to so that such a law might have deprived the check violence and personality. The proba- world of the Tale of a Tub, the Drapier's ble effect would be to augment both, and Letters and Gulliver's Travels. It would thereby, as well as by other inncialted also have silenced Addison, if not Steele, as changes, to lessen the wholesome influence a periodical writer. of journalism. The best-conducted journal On another important question of prininvariably is that with which the greatest ciple, Bolingbroke was in advance of his number of writers of talent, character, and age. The commercial treaty which he position, are connected sufficiently to make meant to form part of the general pacificathem in some sort answerable for its tone. tion, was based upon the enlightened docIn all such cases the editor is responsible trines of free trade, and proceeded upon the both to them and the public, and lets nothing assumption that nations might be simulta-, appear that can reflect discredit or give neously enriched by international dealings. reasonable umbrage; whilst the writers are Addison maintained the opposite, the Prochecked by the consideration that they re- tectionist, creed, which was that of the present a party which they have no right to nation at large; and the treaty was percompromise. No one contributor who may force abandoned after a ministerial defeat in have animosities to indulge, can claim to do the House of Commons; which M. de Remso on the grounds that his signature makes usat suggests, was no great mortification to him individually responsible. Withdraw Oxford, because it tended to lower Bolingthe veil, and you at once compel numbers broke. of occasional contributors, of the most de- Their quarrel came to a head in the sum. sirable kind, to give up this description of mer of 1714. Oxford was dismissed in full writing altogether; yet it by no means fol. council, at which he paid back with interest lows that they do so because they feel the the insults and reproaches heaped upon him, practice to be dishonourable. An eminent not sparing even the Queen and her favourauthor or politician may have other and ite Abigail. Bolingbroke expected to obperfectly defensible reasons for not coming tain the Premiership thus vacated, and to before the public as the avowed writer of keep it by aid of a coalition with the most an ephemeral composition, which might lead moderate or most accessible of the Whigs. to a troublesome controversy. Nor is the The Queen's death overthrew all his plans; we altogether a fiction or a gratuitous as- and if amongst them was one for the restorsumption of authority, and the journalist ation of the Stuarts, it was not ripe enough who holds the pen upon the usual conditions to be put in execution, and he refused to cannot be regarded as speaking solely for concur in the daring project of Bishop Athimself

. The existing system involves per- terbury, who volunteered, attired in his sonal responsibility enough to impose the episcopal robes, to proclaim the Pretender desired restraint, if it could be imposed by at Charing Cross. Bolingbroke retained the such means. The principal metropolitan seals of Secretary of State until the arrival editors and writers wear their masks very of an order from Hanover for their surloosely ; and some of them are recognized render to Lord Townshend. His treatment members of the best circles in that capacity. by the new sovereign was far from reassurThe experiment of compelling the signature ing; but he put a bold face on matters till was actually tried in France, and had the the following spring, when he learned that effect of gradually deteriorating the French Prior had landed at Dover, and had prompress, until the Emperor availed himself of ised to tell everything. A private warning its loss of authority to reduce it to its pres- is also said to have reached him from the ent state of comparative inefficiency. Duke of Marlborough. He then made his

Bolingbroke's intended restriction was escape ; and in the disguise of a courier,

with a mail-bag across his shoulder, he ar- Resentment and despair of his attainder rived at Calais on the 27th March 1715. hurried Bolingbroke into his brief official Oxford remained to face his accusers, and connexion with the Pretender, which speedthe contrast thus presented was necessarily ily convinced him of the hopelessness of a unfavourable to Bolingbroke; although he counter-revolution with such instruments. protested that the active part he had taken When he quitted it, he was accused of havin making the treaty of peace, and his con- ing betrayed the secrets of the mock court tinuance in office after Oxford's dismissal, of St. Germain's, and of having misapproexposed him to greater obloquy and peril, priated a part of its small revenues. “For without fairly implying conscious guilt. But my part," writes Lord Stair, “I believe that besides his fight, there is his subsequent ac- poor Harry's only crime was not being able ceptance of office under the Pretender to be to play his part with a sufficiently serious explained away-an act which has had upon face, nor to help laughing now and then at his reputation much the same effect as such kings and such queens. He had a Mary's marriage with Bothwell upon hers. mistress at Paris, got tipsy at intervals, It has, notwithstanding, been elevated into a and spent on her the money with which he historical doubt or problem, on which writ- ought to have bought powder.” In every ers of no less eminence than Sir James point of view this hasty, ill-considered, and Mackintosh, Mr. Hallam, Lord Stanhope short-lived adhesion to a ruined cause, with (Mahon,) and Lord Brougham, have pro- which he had no genuine sympathy, was nounced after diligent investigation --wheth- most unfortunate for his reputation. He er Bolingbroke really harboured treasonable continued to reside in France till 1723, when designs during his tenure of office under he sent over his second (reputed) wife whom Queen Anne. Our own impression is, that he professed to have married in 1720, to such designs occasionally crossed his mind negotiate for an amnesty. Walpole, then as what circumstances might drive or com- Prime Minister, proving inexorable, she pel him to execute, and that he held com- was introduced by Lord Harcourt to the munications with the Jacobites of a nature Duchess of Kendal, who undertook the comto lead them to suppose him an accomplice mission for the modest remuneration of or a friend. As those of his apologists who about £11,000 sterling. The utmost that deny this, cannot deny that he afterwards could be obtained, however, was permission joined the Stuart cause, and then again did for Bolingbroke to reside in England, but his best to injure it, his character for truth without recovering his rights, his title, and and loyalty cannot be materially darkened his fortune. On arriving at Calais, on his or cleared by proof or disproof of the charge. way home, he met Atterbury, against whom The best defence is that which, assuming a bill of attainder had recently been passed. St. John's double dealing from the first, has “I am exchanged then,” exclaimed the Bishbeen set up by M. de Remusat, who had op, on learning that Bolingbroke was there evidently some of his own countrymen and and about to embark for Dover. cotemporaries in his mind's eye when the He had an interviev with Walpole, who following just reflections suggested them- coldly advised him to keep clear of the selves :

Tories, since his restoration depended on a

Whig parliament; and, finding his situation " It should be observed that notions of fidelity far from comfortable, he returned to the and political loyalty were not then placed so high, Continent, where he lived till 1725, when a nor so solidly established, as they are at present- bill was passed restoring his proprietary I speak of England. The principle of obligation and other civil rights, with the exception of towards the State and its actual constitution, may doubtless be attached to principles of universal sitting in parliament or holding office under morals; but it also depends on social conventions, the Crown. These limitations originated which are in their nature variable. At epochs with Walpole, and were deemed by Bolingwhen events expose everything to frequent varia- broke of a nature to cancel any obligation tions, when all those matters

, law, constitution, he might otherwise have held binding todynasty, are subject to change—in a word, in re- wards the minister, whom, accordingly, he volutionary times, political duty, less distinct, is used every effort to displace. During the less stable and less inflexible. More lights are needed to discern where lies the right

, where the next ten years he was the constant assailant public good, where the possible and the jast; of Walpole through the press, and was the and the conscience is only engaged in proportion originator, as principal adviser of the oppoto the intelligence. A certain indulgence is there- sition, of scheme after scheme for his overfore natural at like epochs, and even legitimate in throw. His principal organ in the press the moral appreciation of political actions; we was The Craftsman, a bi-weekly journal must acknowledge it, although our eyes may be founded by Pulteney in 1726, and edited wounded by the degrading consequences to which by one Amherst, under the pseudonyme of this relaxation may lead."

Caleb d'Anvers. Walpole retaliated with by Moore in his Life of Sheridan. “By both pen and tongue. His pamphlet in him who has not been born among the great, reply to the letters of the Occasional this (equality) can only be achieved by poliWriter shows he possessed no mean talent tics. In that arena which they look upon as as a controversial writer, and a speech of his their own, the legislature of the land, let a in 1735 has been popularly cited as the man of genius, like Sheridan, but assert his cause of Bolingbroke's voluntary re-expatri- supremacy-at once all these barriers of reation in that year. Bitter as it was, and serve and pride give way, and he takes by formidable as was the implied menace of a right a station at their side which a Shaksrenewal of the old charge of traitorous cor- peare or a Newton would but have enjoyed respondence, we suspect that Bolingbroke by courtesy." Yet Burke and Sheridan, who was too case-hardened and too familiar with shone conspicuously on this arena, were supthis description of threat, to be driven away posed to have been excluded from the higher by it, had there not been other motives for prizes by their want of aristocratical advanretreat.

tages; whilst, on the other hand, Swift was After the meeting of the new parliament never a member of the legislature, and Pope (January 1735) he saw the hopelessness of kept uniformly aloof from politics. The continuing the contest; he was anxious to truth is, that any congeniality of taste, or get as far as possible from the political community of pursuit, strongly felt and stage, which agitated whilst it tempted him; eagerly followed, will cause original differhis wife's health began to fail, and his for- ence of rank to be laid aside or forgotten; tune enjoined economy. Yet he must have and no man of independent mind will live abandoned Dawley, and have broken off long in familiar intercourse with the great or suspended the ties and habits he had except on a perfect footing of conversational formed or indulged there with deep regret. equality. But given equal talent and equal Amongst the most constant of his visitors had knowledge, the balance of influence will nebeen Pope, Gay, and Arbuthnot. When cessarily incline to the side of birth, rank, Swift came to England, much of his time and fortune. was devoted to the fallen statesman; and One very remarkable fruit of BolingVoltaire, during those two years' residence broke's familiar intercourse with men of letin England of which so little is known, is ters was the famous Essay on Man, to which supposed to have been influenced more than he is understood to have contributed the he subsequently cared to admit, especially metaphysics and the philosophy. He is imin his religious and philosophical views, by perishably connected with it by the opening constant communication with the same dar- couplet: ing and suggestive mind. The most graphic account of Bolingbroke's way of life during “Awake, my St. John! leave all meaner things his rural retirement is given in one of Pope's

To low ambition and the pride of kings." letters to Swift:

Whatever his influence with Voltaire, it * I now hold the pen for my Lord Bolingbroke,

was almost unbounded with Pope, who who is reading your letter between two haycocks; awows a belief that so great a man must but his attention is somewhat diverted by casting have been placed here by mistake, adding his eyes on the clouds, not in admiration of what that, on the appearance of the last comet, it you say, but for fear of a shower. He is pleased might have been supposed to have come for with your placing him in the triumvirate, between the

express purpose of transporting him from yourself and me; though he says that he doubts our system into its own. So implicit was that he shall fare like Lepidus, while one of us runs away with all the power like Augustus, and the poet's trust in his adviser and guide, another with all the pleasures like Anthony. It that he never was at the pains of studying is upon a foresight of this that he has fitted up his or ascertaining the true tendency of the docfarm. Now his lordship is run after his cart, I trines which he had undertaken to circulate have a moment left to myself to tell you, that in the most attractive of all forms, until he I overheard him yesterday agree with a painter was committed to them beyond recall. His for £200 to paint his country hall with trophies surprise was on a par with his mortification of rakes, spades, prongs, &c., and other ornaments, when he found himself set down by half of merely to countenance his calling this place a farm."

the Christian world as a deist ; and the

warmth of his gratitude to Warburton, for Such scenes, coupled with Swift's descrip- helping to vindicate him from the reproach, tion of his own familiarity with Ministers of may be taken as the measure of his fears. State, and added to what we learn from " It is indeed,” he wrote, “the same system other sources of Addison's reception by the as mine, but illustrated with a ray of your great, constitute a valuable commentary on own, as they say our natural body is the a popular theory thus ingeniously illustrated same still when it is glorified.”

Bolingbroke was far from pleased by what arts, who were no longer in France. It is he termed this weakness and want of moral not known whether he renewed his acquaintcourage in his disciple. Unluckily for Pope's ance with the Parisian world. His former peace of mind, he, Bolingbroke, and War- society was dispersed. Voltaire, at this burton once met at a dinner given by Lord epoch, is no longer occupied with him : he Mansfield (then William Murray) at his was living at Cirey, Luneville, Brussels, the chambers in Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields. The con- Hague, Berlin, and seemed to forget the versation turning on the divine attributes, Cato and the Mæcenas that he had admired.” Bolingbroke let fall some expressions which It is, then, really in retreat that Bolingbroke led Warburton to develop his profession lived this time: work alone animated his of faith. This provoked Bolingbroke, who solitude. When, after the fall of Walpole replied with vivacity, and there ensued a in 1742, he ventured home again, he had sufficiently warm dispute, which left Pope the mortification to find that his worshipextremely agitated, for he was obliged to be pers, as well as his enemies, had diminished of the opinion of each, the one being his with the lapse of time. He was grown out master, the other his apologist: the one think- of fashion both as a writer and a politiing, the other answering, for him. This cian. Chatham called him a pedantie and happened the year before Pope's death, which turbulent old man who quarrelled with his brought to light an act of bad faith on his wife, Chesterfield sought and delighted in part, and materially altered the feelings with his conversation, but took good care not to which Bolingbroke had hung over the dying follow his advice or be mixed up in his poet in his last moments.

intrigues. It was his misfortune also to be Some years before, Pope had been in- always cultivating the favour of those very trusted with the confidential commission of members of the Court circle who had least getting a few copies of the Idea of a Patriot interest in it. Indeed, in the maturity of King printed for private distribution. After his judgment, he had fallen into the mishis death it was discovered that he had take-of which Lord Chesterfield, with all caused 1500 additional and (it seems) garb- his boasted penetration, was also guilty-of led copies to be struck off for his own profit fancying that the mistress of a royal personin the case of his surviving the author. age must necessarily have more influence They were brought by the printer to Boling. than the wife, and that the back stairs were broke as the lawful proprietor, and he im- the best preparation for the front. Every mediately lighted a large fire on the terrace one now knows that Queen Caroline favoured at Battersea, and consumed the whole of George the Second's intercourse with “my them. To complete his revenge by stain- good Howard” upon a well-founded convicing Pope's memory, he gave a genuine and tion that he regarded and treated her as a corrected copy of the work, together with puppet, endeared to him rather by habit his " Letters on the Spirit of Patriotism," than by affection. to Mallet, with directions to publish them, Lady Bolingbroke's death in March 1750, with a preface (written by Bolingbroke) de was a deep blow to her lord, who, twentytailing the circumstances of the transaction. seven years before, had written to SwiftA war of pamphlets ensued. Warburton " the love that was wont to scatter with again appeared as the apologist of the poet, some profusion on an entire sex has been for and was answered by the noble philosopher some years devoted to a single object.” In in the “Familiar Epistle to the Most Impu- the epitaph he inscribed on her tomb, he dent Man Living."

calls her " the honour of her sex, the charm We have anticipated by several years to and admiration of ours.” The mystery that follow the connexion with Pope to its unfor- hung over their marriage involved him in a tunate and discreditable termination. After good deal of troublesome litigation, and was quitting England in 1735, Bolingbroke re- not cleared up till after his death, which sided in France till 1752, and contrived to took place on December 17, 1751, in his be—what the men who make most noise in seventy-fourth year, their time always may be if they set about The immediate cause was a cancer in the it in right earnest—unnoticed and almost face. He bore the excruciating tortures of forgotten by the world. “His presence in this complaint with fortitude, but died, as he France," says M. de Remusat," produced had lived, a deist, and refused to communino effect. He remained there seven years cate with a clergyman. His will begins without being mentioned in the memoirs of thus :—“In the name of God, whom I humthe period, rare enough in truth. He had bly adore, to whom I offer up perpetual no connexion with the French Court, where thanksgiving, and to the order of whose the Cardinal Fleury, a great friend of Wal- Providence I am cheerfully resigned.” The pole's, reigned : no connexion with the Stu- most noteworthy of his bequests was that

by which he assigned to Mallet, after recit- frequently conveys the notion of the orator, ing the printed works of which he was the and the following estimate is just in the author,—“ the copy and copies of all the main :manuscript books, papers, and writings," which he had written or composed, or "It seems to us that, to take men in general, should write or compose, and leave at Bolingbroke has elevation, although he does not the time of his decease. The intention, as

attain to the sublime,-a mind bold and active, understood by the legatee, was the publica principles, --more elegance than grace --animated

, tion of a complete edition, and he refused to and brilliant talent without a powerful imaginalisten to Lord Hyde (Cornbury) to whom tion, without genuine originality. His diction is the letters on history had been addressed, sustained, ornamented, by no means cold, but and who earnestly pressed the omission of monotonous; by no means obscure, but wanting the Scriptual parts. "Mallet was so confident in those luminous traits which throw a sudden of the value of his legacy, that he refused day over the thought. His spoken eloquence 3000 guineas for his copyrights, and put must have had warmth and movement, but neither forth, in 1754, an edition in five quarto vol- the communicative attraction of sincere passion, umes on his own account. The sale sadly nor that dialectic power which subdues conviction. disappointed his expectations; for the poli- In attack he must have wounded by disdainful sartical tracts had lost their interest, and the casms rather than have overwhelmed by invective; philosophical essays were mainly indebted and what is told of his manners, his countenance, for the notice they attracted to the scandal and his mode of speaking, place him amongst the which they caused. The popular feeling orators whose eloquence resides greatly in action, was not materially overstated by Dr. John- In him, the writer and the orator are in our eyes son when he thundered out :-“Sir, he was above the rest,--the politician and the man fall a scoundrel and a coward—a scoundrel for below them. The two last had only the show of charging a blunderbuss against religion and greatness, and it is always fortunate that true morality; a coward, because he had not greatness should be wanting where there is neither the resolution to fire it off himself, but left goodness nor virtue.” half-a-crown to a beggarly Scotchman to draw the trigger after his death."

The second volume is devoted to Horace Bolingbroke is now read exclusively for Walpole, Junius, Fox, and Burke. These, his style, which is clear, flowing, idiomatic, if more familiar, are certainly not exhausted attractively coloured, and judiciously orna- or easily exhaustible subjects. So long as mented. He is ranked by Pope above all the study of morals and manners shall posthe other writers of his time, but posterity sess attractions for the philosophic speculawill except Swift and Addison, although his tor, Horace Walpole will be eagerly read works contain passages in which, if equalled, and emulously quoted; and French writers he is certainly not excelled, by either of will find many points of sympathy in those them. We agree with Mr. Cooke that very tastes and opinions of his which are amongst his peculiar merits must be named least calculated to command assent or conthe beauty and propriety of his images and ciliate goodwill in England, -as when he illustrations--as in the passage of the Letter says that he should like his country well to Windham, beginning :-“ The ocean enough if it were not for his countrymen. which environs us is an emblem of our gov Many years have passed since Mr. Maernment, and the pilot and the minister are caulay declared the chain of presumptive in similar circumstances. It seldom happens evidence by which Junius had been identithat either of them can steer a direct course, fied with Sir Philip Francis to be complete ; and they both arrive at their port by means but presumptive evidence cannot be deemed which frequently seem to carry them from complete so long as the circumstances can it.” Or in the “ Spirit of Patriotism”- be reconciled with any other hypothesis ; “ Eloquence must flow like a stream that is and several theories of the authorship have fed by an abundant spring, and not spout subsequently been promulgated, which have forth a little frothy water on some gaudy kept the final judgment of criticism susday, and remain dry all the rest of the year." pended. No literary problem was ever English is so essentially a spoken language, better calculated for the display of learning and so susceptible of idiomatic and irregular and acuteness, and the interest in the inquiry, graces, that an orator had better write as he which recommenced on the publication of talks, instead of imitating Fox, who in his Woodfall's annotated edition in 1817, has excessive zeal to avoid diffuseness, has fallen continued unabated to this hour. into the opposite and more fatal error of The extent to which the names of Burke dryness. But still we must admit to M. de and Fox are associated with the early stages Remusat, that Bolingbroke as a writer too of the French Revolution of 1789, and the

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