Page images
PDF
EPUB

ed with some lively caricatures by Horace Wal-, so many affairs, he answered, “ Because I never pole, we are somewhat surprised that the truth of put off till to-morrow what I can do to-day." the case should have escaped the sharp-sighted Chesterfield was also the first to introduce at Dubeditor of the Suffolk Correspondence.

lin-long as it had reigned in London—the prinChesterfield now exchanged his lord lieutenancy ciple of impartial justice. It is no doubt much for the office of secretary of state in England-a easier to rule in Ireland on one exclusive principle change alike unfortunate for himself, for his sove- or on another. It is very easy, as was formerly reign, and, we are most seriously persuaded, for the case, to choose the great Protestant families the permanent interests of the empire. He came for · Managers,' to see only through their eyes, to take part in an administration with the heads of and to hear only through their ears; it is very which he never cordially agreed on the main ques- easy, according to the modern fashion, to become tion of their foreign policy; and a variety of col- the tool and champion of Roman Catholic agilisions, the details of which are no longer of tators ; but to hold the balance even between both ; general interest, produced his resignation of the to protect the establishment, yet never wound seals in 1748—which proved to be his final retire- religious liberty ; to repress the lawlessness, yet ment from official life--he being at that time only not chill the affections, of ihat turbulent but warmin the fifty-fourth year of his age, and in the full hearted people ; to be the arbiter, not the slave, possession of talents and experience such as no of parties : this is the true object worthy that a contemporary surpassed. Had he continued in statesman should strive for, and fit only for the Ireland for but a few years more-heartily ani- ablest to attain! I came determined,' writes mated as he was with an interest in the country, a Chesterfield many years afterwards, to proscribe warm love of the people, a thorough conviction no set of persons whatever, and determined to be that a course of steady impartial government, a governed by none. Had the Papists made any fixed discountenancing of jobs of every sort and attempt to put themselves above the law, I should kind, and the cordial promotion of national indus- have taken good care to have quelled them again. try in all departments—the whole administration It was said that my lenity to the Papists had conducted on the principle of fostering whatever wrought no alteration either in their religious or was at once Irish and good, and of discouraging their political sentiments. I did not expect that it whatever needlessly irritated the prejudices of a would ; but surely that was no reason for cruelty naturally generous and affectionate race of men- towards them.' Yet Chesterfield did not harshly had Lord Chesterfield been allowed to remain in censure, even where he strongly disapproved ; but Dublin for ten years in place of eight months, we often conveyed a keen reproof beneath a goodthink it almost impossible that he should not have humored jest. Thus, being informed by some exaccomplished more for the civilization of the asperated zealot that his coachman was a Roman people, the improvement of the country's re- Catholic, and went every Sunday to mass— Does sources, and the obliteration of its long-descended he, indeed ? replied the lord lieutenant, . I will feuds and bitternesses, ihan could have been looked take good care that he shall never drive me there!! for from twenty years of any lord lieutenant since When he first arrived at Dublin, a dangerous rethe revolution. It was a grievous blunder that bellion was bursting forth in the sister kingdom, removed from Ireland, which needed a first-rate and threatened to extend itself to a country where man, a first-rate man for whom the first place was so many held the faith of the young Pretender. not open in England, and who could nowhere be with a weak and wavering, or a fierce and headsatisfied long to fill any place but the first. long lord lieutenant-with a Grafion or a Strafford

We cannot refuse ourselves a quotation from there might soon have been another Papist arıny Lord Mahon :

at the Boyne. But so able were the measures of “ Chesterfield's second embassy to Holland, in Chesterfield; so clearly did he impress upon the 1745, confirmed and renewed the praises he had public mind that his moderation was not weakness, acquired by the first. So high did his reputation nor his clemency cowardice ; but that, to quote his stand at this period, that Sir Watkin Wynn, own expression, his hand should be as heary as though neither his partisan nor personal friend, Cromwell's upon them if they once forced him to once in the house of commons reversed in his favor raise it ;'-so well did he know how to scare the Clarendon's character of Hampden, saying that timid, while conciliating the generous, that this • Lord Chesterfield had a head to contrive, a tongue alarming period passed over with a degree of tranto persuade, and a hand to execute, any worthy quillity such as Ireland has not often displayed action.' At home his career, though never, as I even in orderly and settled times. This just and think, inspired by a high and pervading patriotism, wise—wise because just-administration has not deserves the praise of humane, and liberal, and failed to reward him with its meed of fame ; his far-sighted policy. Thus, after the rebellion, while authority has, I find, been appealed to even by all his colleagues thought only of measures of those who, as I conceive, depart most widely from repression—the dungeon or the scaffold—disarm- his maxims ; and his name, I am assured, lives in ing acts and abolition acts—we find that Chester- the honored remembrance of the Irish people, as, field • was for schools and villages to civilize the perhaps, next to Ormond, the best and worthiest Highlands.' But undoubtedly the most brilliant in their long vice-regal line."-Vol. i., pp. 9–11. and useful part of his career was his lord lieuten- This eloquent passage is now reproduced exancy of Ireland. It was he who first, since the actly as it first appeared in 1839. We cannot read revolution, made that office a post of active exer- it over without again expressing our hope that tion. Only a few years before, the Duke of Lord Mahon may yet expand and illustrate its Shrewsbury had given as a reason for accepting it, statements. There are some apparenı inconsisthat it was a place where a man had business tencies in Chesterfield's language, and conduct enough to hinder him from falling asleep, and not too, as to the Irish Romanists, on which Burke enough to keep him awake! Chesterfield, on the has left us a fierce commentary in the letter to Sir contrary, left nothing undone, nor for others to do. H. Langrishe, but as to which we think it probaBeing once asked how he was able to go through | ble the archives of Dublin Castle might yet furnish a vindication. To these points Lord Mahon makes pamphlet is given to Lord Marchmont, who, no allusion ; and, as matters stand, they are suf- Horace adds, had nearly lost his own place in conficiently puzzling. We think even here he might sequence. To this piece of evidence we can ophave said more on the good effects in Ireland of pose the opinion of Horace Walpole himself at a what was precisely the source of his chief difficul- later date; for in his “ Memoirs of George II.” he ties and disasters in his political career at home. expressly calls it “ Chesterfield's book”-and, The wit of the viceroy had a thousand charms for moreover, we have now before us the copy of the the Irish, and no terrors. He was not afraid of " A pology sold at the Strawberry Hill Auction, joking with anybody : he could give and take with and on its title-page in Horace's autograph are equal readiness ; and even what to us now-a-days these words~" Lord Chesterfield's.”. It is possiseem very indecorous jokes, to have come from a ble, however, that Lord Mahon placed more reman of his years, to say nothing of his station, liance on Chesterfield's own disclaimer at the time were enjoyed and reciprocated at Dublin with most to Mr. Dayrolles, viz., " Upon my word and honor, unceremonious glee. "Lord Mahon does not for- so far am I from having any hand directly or indiget the remarkable fact that during the whole of rectly in it, that I do not so much as guess the his lieutenancy, as also while secretary of state author, though I have done all I could to fish him afterwards, the earl had resolution to abstain out.” (April 8, 1748.). But, in the first place, wholly from the gaming-table, though it is well the very formality and solemnity of this disclaimer, known that he reäppeared at White's the very addressed to his intiinate friend the resident at the evening he resigned the seals. It is proper to add Hague, would to us have seemed very suspicious ; that he exerted himself in every way, by precept for it is clear, from not a few passages (now first and by example, and with considerable success, to published) in his correspondence with this very put down the habits of deep drinking in Irish gentleman, that Chesterfield had no faith in the society; and no lieutenant could have had a post-office. He says to Dayrolles shortly before chance of success in that direction unless one dis- his resignation, (January, 1748,) “ Write to me posed and qualified to enter freely into all the un- from time to time as usual-but remember I shall brutal parts of convivial enjoyment—one capable be no longer master of the posit—therefore let no of reconciling even George Faulkener by copious- letter that comes by it contain anything but what ness of merriment to scant of claret. We fear he will bear an opening previous 10 mine,” (vol. iii., set a bad enough example as to some other mat- p. 238,) and in April, after he had resigned, he ters, but even this promoted his popularity with says, " Don't send me the name in a letter by the high and low. We fear also that Lord Chester- post, for I know that most letters to and from me field's patronage of the Roman Catholics (such as are opened,” (ibid., p. 257.) We put Chesterthat was—a much nearer approach to patronage, field's denial to Dayrolles, in a word, on the same at all events, than they had experienced since foot with Swift's denial of his concern in Gulliver 1688) had its root, partly at least, in his general to Pope and Arbuthnot, and account for it in the indifference to religion ; but on that subject we same way. Secondly, it is impossible to read the shall say something by-and-by. Meantime he pamphlet and believe that Lord Chesterfield read condensed much wisdom into his parting sentence it without a suspicion who wrote it. It could have to the Bishop of Waterford—Be more afraid of come from no man but one intimately conversant Poverty than of the Pope.

with the interior state of the cabinet, and with the Chesterfield resigned the seals in 1748—and secret occurrences of Chesterfield's own vexed whoever was the perman of the once celebrated career as secretary. We have no doubt the tract entitled “ An Apology for a late Resigna- pamphlet was dictated by Chesterfield, and think it tion,” we have no doubt that it states truly the most likely that Mallet, not Marchmont, held the ground of his retirement—namely, his aversion to pen. Some few inelegancies in the language are the war and his resentment of his cousin New- probably marks of Mallet's hand—but these, and castle's interference with the proper patronage of even certain inflated compliments to Lord Chesterhis office. That he at the time meant his retire- field's wit, may have been studiously introduced ment to be final, Lord Mahon seems to believe by the master himself-parts of his blind. fully-but here we cannot agree with the editor. On his resignation, George II. offered him a We consider it much more probable that he would dukedom; but Chesterfield, whom so many think have been very willing to take office again—upon of as a perfect peacock of vanity, declined that disthe great changes produced by the death of Pel- tinction. He did not approve of Lord Johns and ham especially—but for the sad, to him of all men Lord Charleses. the most grievous, infirinity of deafness, which During his brief tenure of the seals as secretary within but a few years after 1748—though it might occurred that address and dedication to him of the not materially interfere with his efficiency as a plan or prospectus of the English Dictionary with parliamentary orator,* must have unfitted him for which Boswell's narrative still connects in the watching and participating in the tide of debate, as popular mind impressions bitterly adverse and would have been expected from an official leader (we think) quite unjust to Lord Chesterfield. We in the house of lords. As to the authorship of the fancy few take the trouble to reflect on the actual “ A pology,” Coxe, on the authority of Bishop positions of the earl and Johnson in November, Douglas, ascribes it to Mallet (Life of Lord Wal-1747. Samuel Johnson was anno ætat. 38, not pole, vol. ii., p. 206.) Lord Mahon (vol. iii., p. our and Boswell's Dr. Johnson. Boswell himself 254) does not allude to this claim, but seems to never saw him till sixteen years later. Visiting attach more weight to a letter of Horace Walpole London in_1760 he had a glimpse of a chance to Sir H. Mann, (December, 1748,) where the through-Derrick the poet, but that failed. In

1761 he had another glimpse through-Sheridan * Even Horace Walpole admits to Mann, in December, 1743, the elocutionist, but that failed. In May, 1763, that the finest speech he ever heard was one of Chesterfield's his hopes were crowned by an introduction in the Horace had heard, when he wrote this, his own father, and Pul back shop of Tom Davies ! But what had excited leney, and Carteret, and Wyndham, and Mansfield, and Chat

even Boswell's nervous curiosity even in 1760 ?

ham.

66

Between 1747 and then Johnson had shot up to a con was really entitled to “substantial" encourgiant In 1747 he had published nothing that we agenient throughout the various stages of its now value him for except his “ London,” and his embryo progress, the author (or rather the pubLife of Savage. By 1760 he was the Doctor, the lishing undertakers,) ought to look not to Philip author of the Rambler and the Adventurer, of Earl of Chesterfield, but to whoever succeeded Rasselas, and of the Dictionary, &c., &c.; and him as his majesty's secretary of state ? But even then we see what were the sort of channels tertio-Chesterfield retired from office in April, through which a gentleman of birth, fortune, and 1748—probably before Johnson had penned de talents, an enthusiastic admirer of his works twice facto one page of the Dictionary first announced failed, and ultimately succeeded, in getting access in November, 1747—and during the years that to his society. In 1747 Chesterfield was fifty- passed between the presentation of the plan and three, and secretary of state. Johnson's good the publication of the book, was the earl—as a friend, Dodsley, the bookseller, suggested that it private nobleman—so situated as to have made it would be well to address the plan to the brilliant likely that he would seek after the private acand literary minister—but Dodsley had no acquaint- quaintance of a literary man fifteen years his ance with my lord, and Johnson waited on him in junior, and known to none of his friends--or, if person with his prospectus, whereupon he had Boswell falls back on the mere furthering of the patched sundry elaborate eulogies of the patron in approved prospectus, were Johnsoli's own public fore-phrases most magniloquent, which he must proceedings during the interval such as would have concocted with some iwinges of conscience, naturally inspire confidence in his industrious proas Chesterfield, though a scholar and a wit, was secution of the gigantic labor of the programmed at least as well known as a gambler, a voluptuary, Dictionary. As to Johnson, we have already menan infidel-and a whig. We need not repeat the tioned that during those eight years he was before immortalized grievances of his alleged reception, the world as author of an uninterrupted series of he had the secretary's approval of the plan, but important writings, none of them in any way conwhat his friend Tyers calls the substantial proofs nected with the Dictionary; some of them, (“Rasof approbation,” were limited to one donation selas" and the “Imitation of Juvenal," espeof ten guineas—and Samuel Johnson, beside being cially,) such as a man like Chesterfield might actually kept waiting one day for some time in the naturally enough think little likely to proceed from secretary's antechanıber, had the mortification to a diligent lexicographer's desk ; each of ihem and see Colley Cibber come out as he was invited to all in their sequence and patent results such as walk in. Kept waiting !-Samuel Johnson had must be supposed to operate largely for the pecunot had much experience of Whitehall. Only ten niary benefit of the author, and the encouragement guineas !-He had received no more for his “ Lon- of his booksellers as to whatever else he might don”—he got but fifteen in 1748 for his “ Vanity have in hand. But what was the bodily condition of Human Wishes." Sir," said he to Boswell of Lord Chesterfield during these eight years when in reference to another yet later payment—" Ten Johnson was keeping himself before the world as pounds were to me at that time a great sum. novelist, biographer, essayist, and poet, though

Boswell could not deny that when, after an all the while guiding, directing, and animating the interval of eight years, Johnson's Dictionary was corps of humble scribes associated with him in the at last published, Chesterfield recommended it unseen toils of the Dictionary ? One would have promptly and efficaciously by two papers in “ The thought that everybody must have read at least World”—but he calls this as a courtly device” to Voltaire's tale, “ Les Oreilles du Comte de Chescover the “ neglect” of the intervening years, and terfield.” Mr. Croker says :ascribes Johnson's famous letter to indignation “Why was it expected that Lord Chesterfield mainly at this " courtly device.” Imprimis, the should cultivate Johnson's private acquaintance! plan or prospectus was admirably written, but still — That he did not do so was a loss to his lordship; it was only a plan. Its writer was known to Ches- and the amour propre of Johnson might be (as, · terfield merely as a clever Grub-strect author-the indeed, it probably was) offended at that neglect, companion of the Savages—the hack of Cave and but surely it was no ground for the kind of charge Dodsley. How could he be sure that the plan which is made against his lordship. would ever be executed? Are either earls as “ The neglect lasted, it is charged, from 1718 earls, or earls as secretaries of state, expected to 1755; the following extracts of his private letnow-were they really expected then—to provide ters to his most intimate friends will prove that “substantially" for the support of any stranger during that period Lord Chesterfield inay be exwho announces a great literary work while he cused for not cultivating Johnson's society :shall be composing the work—a work which pos- “ 20th January, 1749.—My old disorder in my sibly he may have no serious intention to compose head hindered me from acknowledging your for-a work which very possibly he may never be mer letters.' able to complete, (for the cleverest do not always “ 30th June, 1752.— I am here in my hermit-calculate exacıly the quid valeant humeri) —a work, age, very deaf, and consequenuly alone ; but I am finally, which if composed and completed well, is less dejected than most people in my situation would sure to turn out highly profitable to somebody-be.' but not assuredly to the earl or the secretary ! “ 11th Nov., 1752.- The waters have done Secundo, notwithstanding Johnson's sonorous puff's my head some good, but not enough to refil me for of the earl's taste and genius, his plan was without social life.' question addressed to the earl because he was the “ 16ih Feb., 1753.-I grow deafer, and consecretary. Now he ceased to be the secretary sequently more “isoléfrom socicty every day.! very soon after the plan was submitted to him-in * 10th Oct., 1753.-' 1 belong no more io social about four months after that awful waiting in the life, which, when I quitted busy public life. I fatsalle des pas perdus; and might he not be excused tered myself would be the comfort of my declining if he put the same construction on the puffs that age.' we do, and considered that if the announced lexi- “ 16th Nov., 1753.— I give up all hopes of

p. 245.

66

cure. I know my place, and form my plan accord- | but still Johnson, a lover of wit, had no objection ingly, for I strike society out of it.'

to a lord. Boswell once dined with him at a duke's *7th Feb., 1754.—. At my age, and with my table, and candidly allows that he never saw him shattered constitution, freedom from pain is the best so courteous or more brilliant. On the whole, I can expect.'

therefore, we think it probable that if any such " Ist March, 1754.— I am too much isolé, too common friend as Topham Beauclerk, or Wyndmuch secluded either from the busy or the beau ham, had brought them together in after days, we monde, to give you any account of either.'

should have had the record of another scene as “ 25th Sept., 1754.— In truth, all the infirmi- edifying as the one when John Wilkes squeezed ties of an age still more advanced than mine crowd the lemon on the doctor's roast veal, and gave him upon me. In this situation you will easily sup- a bit more of the kidney. In that case even Chespose that I have no pleasant hours.'

terfield's infirmity could hardly have been an “ 10th July, 1755.— My deafness is extremely obstacle—for surely, if ever voice was deafnessincreased, and daily increasing, and cuts me proof, it was Samuel Johnson's. wholly off from the society of others, and my other We have already alluded to Walpole's “Mecomplaints deny me the society of myself.' moirs of the Last Years of George II.,” as decisive

- Johnson, perhaps, knew nothing of all this, of his ultimate opinion as to the substantial authorand imagined that Lord Chesterfield declined his ship of the “ Apology" of 1748. As the passage acquaintance on some opinion derogatory to his had escaped Lord Mahon's recollection, and as it is personal pretensions.”— Croker's Boswell, vol. i., perhaps the very chef-d'æuvre of Horace Walpole's

cold deliberate malice, we may as well pause to Boswell's editor has been equally successful in extract it from the huge quarto in which it as yet clearing up the history of the famous Letter itself. lies entombed. It is Horace's résumé, on having Chesterfield showed it at the time to some of his to state that the alteration of the style of 1752 was friends—11ay, kept it openly on his table, and took adopted on the motion of Lord Chesterfield-the a pleasure, as it seemed to them (though Boswell government shrinking from such a proposal as considers this another courtly device,") in point- likely to disturb the prejudices of the old women. ing out the skilfulness of some of its vituperative February, 1751.- Lord Chesterfield brought turns and phrases. Johnson, on the other hand, a bill into the house of lords for reforming our to his credit be it said, seems to have repented of style according to the Gregorian account, which his violence very soon after it was committed. He had not yet been admitted into England, as if it never made a show of the letter. Importunate were matter of heresy to receive a calendar amendcuriosity and adulation, and the doctor's own au-ed by a pope. He had made no noise since he thorly vanity, induced him near twenty years after- gave up the seals in 1748, when he published his wards to give Bozzy a copy-but he gave it under Apology for that resignation. It was supposed 10 The strictest injunctions of secrecy, and when sub- be drawn up by Lord Marchmont, under his direcsequently urged by the rhinoceros-skinned recip- tion, and was very well written ; but to my Lord ient to withhold no longer such a masterpiece from Chesterfield's great surprise, neither his book nor the gaze of the world, he sternly refused, saying, his retirement produced the least consequence. “ I have done the dog too much mischief already." From that time he had lived at White's, gaming,

Nothing but the inveterate mania of toadyism and pronouncing witticisms among the boys of and lionizing could have made a gentleman born quality. He had early in his life announced his like Boswell adopt the notion that men of liter- claim to wit, and the women believed in it. He ary or scientific eminence have a right, merely as had besides given himself out for a man of great such, to be cultivated as private acquaintance by intrigue, with as slender pretensions; yel the either secretaries of state or Earls of Chesterfield; women believed in that too-one should have that they or their friends for them should ever con- thought they had been more competent judges of descend to complain of what Boswell in this story merit in that particular! It was not his fault if he over and over calls “ neglect," is to our view most had not wit; nothing exceeded his efforts in that melancholy and most degrading. We must add, point: and though they were far from producing whatever were Chesterfield's faults, he had none the wit, they at least amply yielded the applause of those which Boswell on this occasion ascribes he aimed at. He was so accustomed to see people to him—and which Boswell would have been the laugh at the most trifling things he said, that he last to say a word about, had there still been any would be disappointed at finding nobody smile bechance of an invitation to Chesterfield House or fore they knew what he was going to say. His Blackheath-the faults which do often keep men speeches were fine, but as much labored as his of high rank aloof from the society of persons extempore sayings. His writings were every. inferior to them only in worldly station, and con- body's: that is, whatever came out good was sequently in the minora moralia of manner and given to him, and he was too humble ever to readdress. We need not repeat what has been said fuse the gift. ** In short, my Lord Chestera thousand times, that his dwelling so pertina- field's being the instrument to introduce this new ciously on external trifles in the letters to his son era into our computation of time will probably was the consequence merely of the son's peculiar preserve his name in almanacs and chronologies, position and defects. In his own person ihe earl when the wit that he had but labored too much, was a most polished, but yet by no means a fastid- and the gallantry that he could scarce ever exejous man. He could keep company with a set of cute, will be no more remembered.”—Memoirs, Irish squireens just as pleasantly as with the élite vol. i., pp. 44–46. of St. James' or Versailles. For he was a student To balance this Strawberry-hill view of Chesof man-human manners were his special lifelong terfield we consider it is only fair to subjoin the study—and no man ever did study manners with same “noble author's" character of Dr. Jolinson, true delight and diligence who had the misfortune from the newly published and closing volumes of to be emasculated by over-nicety. Johnson's mere his " Memoirs of the First Ten Years of George manners were certainly in general bad enough : III.” :

ever anx

Mahon says:

“With a lumber of learning and some strong | being the result of that father's own transgression. parts, Johnson was an odious and mean character And when one reflects on the mature age and lat--by principle a Jacobite, arrogant, self-sufficient, terly enfeebled health of the careful unwearied and overbearing by nature, ungrateful through preacher of such a code, the effect is truly most pride, and of feminine bigotry. His manners were disgusting; which feeling is not diminished hy our sordid, supercilious and brutal, his style ridicu- reading, in the original preface of Mrs. Eugenia lously bombastic and vicious ; and in one word, Stanhope, that Lord Chesterfield was with all the pedantry he had all the gigantic little- ious to fix in his son a scrupulous adherence to ness of a country schoolmaster."-Vol. iv., p. 297. the strictest morality’!

—that it was " his first and When Chesterfield was dead, and the letters to most indispensable object to lay a firm foundation his son published, Johnson, as everybody knows, in good principles and sound religion ;''-after said they taught the morals of a strumpet and the which it is hardly worth while to quote Chestermanners of a dancing-master—but he subsequently field's own occasional injunctions, such as “ your admitted that “a very pretty book” might be moral character must be not only pure, but, like picked out of them. In our younger days we Cæsar's wife, unsuspected—the least blemish or remember a little book compiled in consequence speck on it is fatal ;'-or to notice the dead silence, probably of the doctor's hint-and if, as we be- from first 10 last, as to religion, unless we must lieve, it has fallen out of print, it is a pity that except a passage where the Old Testament is menthis should be so. The remarks on punctuality, tioned as one of the books needful for giving order, despatch, the proper use of time-on the some notion of history''-or the many enthucheapness and vast value of civility to servants siastic eulogies of Voltaire, amidst which not one and other inferiors—and so forth-all these are syllable is ever whispered as to the infidel tendency instinct with most consummate good sense and of all the writings of the first of poets''-though knowledge of life and business, and certainly no- some caution against infidel talk in society is once thing can be more attractive than the style in introduced-on the sole ground of its not being which they are set before young readers. Lord universally acceptable.

We give Lord Chesterfield full credit for his “ It is by these letters that Chesterfield's char- parental zeal and anxiety; in this respect he was acter as an author must stand or fall. Viewed as very amiable ; but we are afraid he went to his compositions, they appear almost unrivalled as grave-he certainly drew up his last will—without models for a serious epistolary style; clear, elegant, ever having reflected seriously on the nature of his and terse, never straining at effect, and yet never own dealings with his son's mother, or on-to hurried into carelessness. While constantly urg: speak of nothing more serious still the pering the same topics, so great is their variety of sonal, domestic, and social mischiefs inevitably argument and illustration, that in one sense, they consequent on the sort of conduct which his preappear always different, in another sense, always cept as well as his example held up for the imitathe same. They have, however, incurred strong tion of his own base-born boy. By his will he reprehension on two separate grounds: first be- leaves five hundred pounds to Madame de Bouchet cause some of their maxims are repugnant to good as some recompense for the injury he had done morals; and, secondly, as insisting too much on her.” The story we believe to have been this :manners and graces, instead of more solid acquire- About a year before Chesterfield's marriage, when ments. On the first charge I have no defence to he was ambassador to Holland, he was the great offer ; but the second is certainly erroneous, and lion, and moreover the Cupidon déchaîné of the arises only from the idea and expectation of finding Hague. Some of his adventures excited in a a general system of education in letters that were particular manner the horror of an accomplished intended solely for the improvement of one man. Frenchwoman of gentle birth who was living Young Stanhope was sufficiently inclined to study, there as dame de compagnie to two or three Dutch and imbued with knowledge; the difficulty lay in girls-orphans, heiresses, and beauties. Her elohis awkward address and indifference to pleasing. quent denunciations of his audacious practices, and It is against these faults, therefore, and these her obvious alarm lest any of her fair charges faults only, that Chesterfield points his battery of should happen to attract his attention, were comeloquence. Had he found his son, on the contrary, municated somehow to the dazzling ambassador ; a graceful but superficial trifler, his letters would and he made a bet that he would seduce herself no doubt have urged with equal zeal how vain are first, and then the prettiest of her pupils. With all accomplishments when not supported by ster- the duenna at least he succeeded. She seems to ling information. In one word, he intended to have resided ever afterwards in or near London, in write for Mr. Philip Stanhope, and not for any the obscurest retirement and solitude-cut off fur. other person. And yet, even after this great de-ever from country, family, friends. Five hundred duction from general utility, it was still the opinion pounds! Recompense !- Five hundred pounds from of a most eminent man, no friend of Chesterfield one of the wealthiest lords in England, who had and no proficient in the graces—the opinion of no children-Philip himself had died some years Dr. Johnson, • Take out the immorality, and the before—and whose vast property was entirely at book should be put into the hands of every young his own disposal ! It is satisfactory to add that she gentleman.'Preface, pp. 18, 19.

refused the recompense.” In the magnificent These letters were addressed to a natural son-mansion which the earl erected in Audley Street, and that circumstance should be constantly kept you may still see his favorite apartments furnished in mind; it is needful to explain many things that and decorated as he left them-among the rest are said, and the only apology for many omissions; what he boasted of as “the finest room in Lonbut at the same time we must say that if any cir- don"--and perhaps even now it remains unsurcumstance could aggravate the culpability of a passed-his spacious and beautiful library, looking father's calmly and strenuously inculcating on his on the finest private garden in London. The son the duties of seduction and intrigue, it is the walls are covered half way up with rich and classifact of that son's unfortunate position in the world Ical stores of literature ; above the cases are in

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »