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nipotentiary from England to the Court of Florence, where he res mained in the same character for forty-six years: he died at an adyanced age in 1786. His answers to Walpole's letters are preserved at Strawberry Hill; they are very voluminous, but they possess no interest, being devoted to trifling details respecting the society of Florence, and the politics of Italy:
The early letters of Walpole to his friend present but little that may be deemed worthy of attention. They are for the most part taken up with allusions to public matters and personal characters, but not in a way that can at all times be relished by a reader. From that portion of the epistles therefore, we must be content with extracting such pleasantries as will serve to give a fair idea of the humour of this gifted writer. We select the following light paragraphs:
* There was a strange affair happened on Saturday; it was strange, yet very English. One Nourse, an old gamester, said, in the coffee-house, that Mr. Shuttleworth, a member, only pretended to be ill. This was told to Lord Windsor, his friend, who quarrelled with Nourse, and the latter challenged him. My Lord replied, he would not fight him, he was too old. The other replied, he was not too old to fight with pistols. Lord Windsor still refused : Nourse, in a rage, went home and cut his own throat. This was one of the odd ways in which men are made." Vol. i, p. 56.
The Duchess of Buckingham, who is more mad with pride than any mercer's wife in Bedlam, came the other night to the Opera, en Princesse, literally in robes, red velvet and ermine. I must tell you a story of her: last week she sent for Cori, to pay him for her Opera ticket; he was not åt home, but went in an hour afterwards, She said, " Did he treat her like a tradeswoman? She would teach him respect to women of her birth ; said he was in league with Mr. Sheffield, to abuse her, and bade him come the next morning at nine." He came, and she made him wait till eight at night, only sending him an omlet and a bottle of wine, and said, " As it was Friday, and he a Catholic, she supposed he did not eat meat." At last she received him in all the form of a princess giving audience to an ambassador. “ Now,” she said, " she had punished him."
In this age we have some who pretend to impartiality; you will scarce guess how Lord Brook shows his: he gives one vote on one side, one on the other, and the third time does not vote at all, and so on, regularly,'--Vol. i. p. 64, 65.
And as a specimen of the profligacy of the Court in those days, we present the reader with an anecdote of Lady Sundon, who was Mistress of the Robes to Queen Caroline, and a Woman of the Bed Chamber. This pleasant story contains quite sufficient to shew how offices were obtained in the time of George II. She had great power with her, though the Queen pretended to despise her; but had unluckily told her, or fallen into her power, by some secret, I was
saying to Lady Pomfret, “ To be sure she is dead very rich!” She replied, with some warmth, “She never took money," When I came home, I mentioned this to Sir R. "No," said he, but she took jewels; Lord Pomfret's place of Master of the Horse to the Queen
was bought of her for a pair of diamond ear-rings, of fourteen hundred pounds value.". One day that she wore them at a visit at old Marlbro's, as soon as she was gone, the Duchess said to Lady Mary Wortley, How can that woman have the impudence to go about in that bribe?"-" Madam," said Lady Mary, " how would you have people know where wine is to be sold, unless there is a sign hung out? Sir R. told me, that in the enthusiasm of her vanity, Lady Sundon had proposed to him to unite with her, and govern the kingdom together: he bowed, begged her patronage, but said he thought nobody fit to govern the kingdom, but the King and Queen,
A good deal respecting the relations which subsisted in those days between the government and the opposition, may be learned from the graphic sketches of parliamentary scenes, which are given in some of these letters. We were particularly struck with the account of a discussion introduced by Pultney, the arch political enemy of Sir Robert Walpole. The object of this motion was, to appoint a committee of accusation, under the ostensible title of a committee of twenty-one, for the purpose of proceeding principally against Sir Robert. Pultney declared that this committee was not sought for as against any particular individual; nevertheless, the powers of the committee were to be these:—to sit and examine whatever person and papers they should please, and to meet when and where they pleased. Pultney, with all that plausibility which used to be the distinguishing features of the members of former cabinets, protested that the only object he had in view was to give the King advice. But towards the close of the debate, by some blunder or another, Lord Perceval let out the whole secret; whereupon Sir Robert Wal
pole röse, and said that he should not have spoken, but for what he had heard last: but that now he must take it to himself. : He pourtrayed the malice of the Opposition, who, for twenty years, had not been able to touch him, and were now reduced to this infamous shift. He defied them to accuse him, and only desired, that, if they should, it might be in an open and fair manner: desired no favour, but to be acquainted with his accusation. He spoke of Mr. Doddington, who had called his administration infamous, as of a person of great selfmortification, who, for sixteen years, had condescended to bear part of the odium. For Mr. Pultney, who had just spoken a second time, Sir R. said, he had begun the debate with great calmness, but, give him his due, he had made amends for it in the end.
The motion for a committee was lost by 253 against 250., The writer proceeds to comment on the various speeches on both sides, which were delivered during this memorable debate. One of the ' most extraordinary was that of Mr. Pultney himself, whose delicate
and graceful wit was exhibited in such bursts as the following:"I ? have heard this committee represented as a most dreadful spectre; Sit has been likened to all terrible things; it has beeu likened to the
King; to the inquisition; it will be a committee of safety ; it is a committee of danger; I don't know what it is to be! One gentleman, I 063483
think, called it a cloud! (this was the Attorney) a cloud! I remember Hamlet takes Lord Polonius by the hand and shows him a cloud, land then asks him if he does not think it is like a whale." woThe exertions, the arts, the tricks and intrigues resorted to by the Opposition to get up a full attendance of their partizans on this occasion, almost defies credibility. The siek and dying were absolutely carried into the house, and the spectacle of Sir William Gordon, just dragged out of his bed, with a blister on his head,"and flannel hanging out from under his wig, 'must have been excessively ludicrous. But then these practices, it is only fair to remember, were not confined to one side of the house; for, we find that Robert Walpole, a brother of the author, had got in his house no less than three invalid members, who, as he had arranged, should go into the Commons through his door which adjoined, for they were all too ill to go round by Westminster Hall. But when the moment came for the sick members to rise and go forth, the key-hole of the door was completely filled with sand, which put a stop'to the
a of the maneuvre.
PPD 0 It would appear from what follows in the same letter, that all these battles in public were no more in effect than theatrical exhibitions, and that as soon as the combatants left the stage, they were as good friends as possible. No other inference surely can be drawn from the circumstance recorded by Walpole, namely, that when the del bate was over, Mr. Pultney owned that he had never heard so fine a debate on our side; and said to Sir Robert, “Well, nobody can do what you can!” “ Yes," replied Sir R., “ Yonge did better.".1 Mr P. answered, "It was fine, but not of that weight with what you said."1944
The illustrations of the political corruptions, which reigned at the time we are now considering, become more striking in every page. ) A Sir Thomas Robinson, for example, was for a long time suing to obtain the government of Barbadoes. There were, we presume, i very sufficient reasons why the trust should not have been given to such à man, and it is more than probable, that he never would have been promised it but for this little accident, namely, he had a very handsome house in London, to which Lord Lincoln took a fancy, and, in order to gain his object, the noble lord exercised his influence, and with success, to have Robinson sent away as governor!
iti ) We are told of Lord Perceval, whose blunder we have just noticed, that he had a rostrum in his house, where a set used to go to rehearse speeches. A gentleman known to Walpole, called one evening, but was refused admittance to Lord Perceval's, but insisting that he had been engaged to come by the noble proprietor, the porter exclaimed, “Oh, sir! what, are you one of those who play at members of Parliament.”
The resignation of Sir Robert Walpole, and the events cond nected, with it, are briefly described in one of these letters:
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Horace Walpole's Letters to Mann. i bolloo227 10911991.1 Walpole says, that in his interview with the King, after sannbund, ing his retirement, his Majesty fell on Sir Robert's neck, wept land kissed him, and begged to see him frequently. A great clamour was raised against Sir Robert, particularly on account of a grant of 4,0001, a year, as a pension on his resignation. Public opinion even then was strong enough to make an ex-minister ashamed, and he relinquished the pension for the present. But three years afterwards, when the clamour was at an end, and his affairs extremely involved, he sued for it; which Mr. Pelham, his friend, and élève, was brought with the worst grace in the world to ask, and his old obliged master the King prevailed upon, with as ill
grace, to grant.
There was another affair at the same period, which tended to render Sir Robert very obnoxious. He had a natural daughter by his mistress, (whom, however, he ultimately married) and nothing would serve him but to prevail on the King to give him a patent, which would confer on this girl the rank of an Earl's daughter!
J'; }} In the midst of all this political agitation, balls, masks, and parties were as rife as ever, and Horace Walpole himself has time and good humour enough to tell some pleasant things, as the following:
-The brother of the Princess of Wales, a Saxe-Gothic Prince, was driven by stress of weather into Dover, as he was on his
s way to Italy. The man of the inn, whom he consulted about ludgings in town, directed him to an hotel in Suffolk-street, the reputation of which was about the worst in London. General Churchill, he next tells us, asked Pultney once—“Well, Mr. Pultney, will you break me too?"-"No, Charles," was the reply,
You break fast enough yourself.” Another remark of Walpole's deserves commemoration. The Common Council of the City of London had a meeting, where they resolved to give instructions to the City members. In one of their resolutions they declare them selves prepared to stand " by our present Constitution:" one of the members of the Council proposed to insert before the words, four Constitution," these-"The King and Royal family,” which was rejected by three-fourths of the body.
1919 coIt is well known that Sir Robert Walpole was created Earl of Orford on his resignation. The selection of this title gave great offence to Lord Sandys, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, for his lady happened to be the daughter of Lady Tipping, who had been niece of Russel, Earl of Orford. The title, therefore, seemed to have been already appropriated ; and a good deal of jealousy was shown by the Sandys' family. It is curious, that, in a former instance of this aristocratic tenacity of hereditary claims, the amount of the resentment by which its violation was punished, led to nothing short of the scaffold; for it was to the deadly perse. verance of Sir Henry Vane that the ill-fated Strafford was prou
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secuted to death ; and penetrating historians have shown that the malice of Sir Henry had its origin in the circumstance of Wentworth having taken the title of Raby, from a castle so called, which was the property of the former. 1. 16 As our readers may have a little curiosity to know the nature of a masquerade as it was carried on some ninety years ago, we venture to transcribe the account of one at the Duchess of Norfolk’s i by the present author, who was an eye-witness of the scene.
* I must tell you how fine the masquerade of last night was. There were five hundred persons, in the greatest variety of handsome and rich dresses I ever saw, and all the jewels of London_and London has some ! There were dozens of ugly Queens of Scots, of which I will only name to you the eldest, Miss Shadwell! The Princess of Wales was one, covered with diamonds ; but did not take off her mask : none of the Royalties did; but everybody else. Lady Conway was a charming Mary Stuart: Lord and Lady Euston, man and woman hussars. But the two finest and most charming masks were their Graces of Richmond, like Harry the Eighth and Jane Seymour ; excessively rich, and both so handsome! Here is a nephew of the King of Denmark, who was in armour, and his Governor, a most admirable Quixote. There were quantities of pretty Vandykes, and all kinds of old pictures walked out of their frames. It was an assemblage of all ages and nations, and would have looked like the day of judgment, if tradition did not persuade us that we are all to meet naked, and if something else did not tell us, that we shall not meet then with quite so much indifference, nor thinking quite so much of the becoming. My dress was an Aurengzebe: but of all extravagant figures, commend me to our friend the Countess! She and my Lord trudged in, like pilgrims, with vast staffs in their hands, and she was so heated, that you would have thought her pilgrimage had been, like Pantagruel's voyage, to the Oracle of the Bottle! Lady Sophia was in a Spanish dress was Lord Lincoln: not, to be sure, by design ; but so it happened. When the King came in, the Faussans were there, and danced an entrée. At the masquerade the King sat by Mrs. Selwyn, and with tears told her, that the Whigs should find he loved them, as he had done the poor man that
gone!"); He had sworn that he would not speak to the Prince at their meeting, but was prevailed on.'— Vol. i. pp. 108-110.
Walpole adds, that the Princess of Wales owed the precious gems with which she was bejewelled to a man (a broker) named Frankz; they consisted of forty thousand pounds worth, and he agreed to ask nothing for the hire, if the Princess would only tell every body where she got them!
A Lord Mayor, named Sir Robert Godschall, who had also the honour of being a member of parliament, becomes now and then the special object of Walpole's wit. This individual, like many before and after him too, was much cried up before he became a member, but when tried there he was found miserably wanting;
he proved so dull, says Walpole, that one would think that he chewed opium. A friend of Walpole's, respecting the same person, added
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