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a great deal of it extremely fine: the numbers did not answer to the merit: the new friends, the duke of Newcastle and Mr. Fox, had 311 to 105.
The bon-mot in fashion is, that the staff was very good, but they wanted private men. Pitt surpassed himself, and then I need not tell you that he furpaffed Cicero and Demofthenes. What a figure would they, with their formal, laboured, cabinet orations, make vis-à-vis his manly vivacity and dashing eloquence at one o'clock in the morning, after fitting in that heat for eleven hours! He spoke above an hour and a half, with scarce a bad sentence: the most admired part was a comparison he drew of the two parts of the new administration, to the conflux of the Rhone and the Saone; “ the latter a gentle, feeble, languid stream, languid but not deep; the other a boisterous and overbearing torrent ; but they join at last; and long may they continue united, to the comfort of each other, and to the glory, honour and happinefs of this nation!" I hope you are not mean fpirited enough to dread an invasion, when the senatorial contests are reviving in the temple of Concord.—But will it make a party? Yes, truly; I never saw fo promising a prospect. Vol. v. P. 346.
The letters to and from Mr. Gray commence only in 1746, and end in 1768. We therefore lose the earlier part of the correspondence ; but the letters which are preserved are important, as they contain the confidential opinions of the two friends on many literary subjects. With respect to the Hiltoric Doubts, which are canvassed in some of these letters, we find that Mr. Gray cannot acquit Richard of, the murder of Henry VI. We regret that this correspondence was not more frequent.
The letters to Mr. Chute extend from 1753 to 1771.' They are chiefly interesting at the period of Mr. Walpole's travels ; and we have remarked, that, in his correspondence from the continent, the saine circumstances are seldom repeated, or, if they again occur, are placed in a varied light : yet, in one place, he speaks of copying a part of a letter for another pero ton.
In a letter from Paris, dated October 3, 1765, are these passages :
• What strikes me the most upon the whole is, the total difference of manners between them (the French) and us, from the greatest object to the least. There is not the smallest fimilitude in the twentyfour hours. It is obvious in every_trifie:
their lady's train, and put her into her coach with their hat on. · They walk about the streets in the rain with umbrellas to avoid putting on their hats ; driving themselves in open chaises in the country without hats, in the rain too, and yet,often wear them in a chariot in Paris when it does not rain. The very footmen are powdered from the break of day, and yet wait behind their master, as I saw the duc of
CRIT. Rey. VOL. XXIV. 02. 1798. L
Praflini's do, with a red pocket handkerchief about their necks. Versailles, like every thing else, is a mixture of parade and poverty, and in every instance exhibits something most dissonant from our manners. In the colonnades, upon the staircases, nay in the anti-chambers of the royal family, there are people selling all sorts of wares. While we were waiting in the dauphin's fumptuous bed-chamber, till his dresling-room door should be opened, two fellows were sweeping it, and dancing about in fabots * to rub the floor.
* You perceive that I have been presented. The queen took great notice of me; none of the rest said a syllable. You are let into the king's bed-chamber just as he has put on his shirt; he dresses and talks good-humouredly to a few, glares at strangers, goes to mars, to dinner, and a hunting. The good old queen, who is like lady Primrose in the face, and queen Caroline in the immensity of her cap, is at her dressing-table, attended by two or three old ladies, who are languishing to be in Abraham's bofom, as the only man's bofom to whom they can hope for admittance. Thence you go to the dauphin, for 'all is done in an hour. He fcarce stays à minute ; indeed, poor creature, he is a ghost, and cannot poslibly last three months. The dauphiness is in her bedchamber, but dressed and standing; looks crots, is not civil, and has the true Westphalian grace and accents. The four mesdames, who are clumsy plump old wenches, with a bad likeness to their father, stand in a bed-chamber in a row, with black cloaks and knotting bags, looking good-humoured, not knowing what to say, and wriggling as if they wanted to make water.
This ceremony too is very short: then you are carried to the dauphin's three boys, who you may be sure only bow and stare. The duke of Berry looks weak and weak-eyed : the count de Provence is a fine boy ; the count d'Artois well enough. The whole concludes with seeing the dauphin's little girl dine, who is as round and fat as a pudding. Vol. v. P. 417.
The correspondence with the earl of Strafford is continued from 1756 to 1790, and connected chiefly with domestic politics.
The letters to Miss Lepél, afterwards lady Hervey, are ex. tremely lively and pleasing; those to the countess dowager of Aylesbury are equally fo. The last of the series, which are addressed to Miss Hannah More, did not greatly entertain us. Mr. Walpole's vivacity seemed · falling into the sear, the yellow leaf.' He labours to be gay, wity, and polite : perhaps he is sometimes ironical. What he has faid of Mrs. Yearlley is jua dicious.
. Seriously, madam, I am surprised and chiefly at the kind of genius of this unhappy female. Her ear, as you remark, is perfect
* Wooden fhoes.
But that being a gift of nature, amazes me less. Her expreflions are more exalted than poetic; and discover taste, as you fay, rather than discover flights of fancy and wild ideas, as one should expect. I should therefore advise her quitting blank verse, which wants the highest colouring to distinguish it from prose; whereas her taste, and probably good sense, might give sufficient beauty, to her rhymes.
• Her not being learned is another reason against her writing in blank verfe. Milton employed all his reading, nay all his geographie knowledge, to enrich his language--and succeeded. They who have imitated him in that particular, have been mere monkeys; and they who neglected it, flat and poor.
• Were I not persuaded by the samples you have sent me, madam, that this woman has talents, I should not advise her encou. raging her propensity, left it should divert her from the care of her family, and, after the novelty is over, leave her worse than she was, When the late queen patronised Stephen Duck, who was only a wonder at first, and had not genius enough to support the character he had promised, twenty artisans and labourers turned poets and ftarved. Your poetess can scarce be more miserable than she is, and even the reputation of being an authoress may procure her customers: but as poetry is one of your least excellencies, madam (your virtues will forgive me), I am sure you will not only give her counsels for her works, but for her conduct; and your gentleness will blend them so judiciously, that she will mind the friend as well as the mistress. She must remember that she is a Lactilla, not a Pastora ; and is to tend real cows, not Arcadian sheep.'. Vol. v. P. 579.
The last part of the volume contains inifcellaneous letters; and in this class we find two from Voltaire. It has been said chat Voltaire began the correspondence, and, in his letter to the duchess of Choiseul, spoke disrespectfully of Mr. Walpole, insinuating, that to his own extraordinary merit the first overture from Mr. Walpole was to be attributed. In reality, Voltaire's letter to the duchess was only a lively method of requesting a conveyance, as the intercourse between the two countries was not then open; and, having spoken of himself with his ofual vanity, he did not feel an equal impulse to speak of his correspondent in a complimentary way. The first letter came from Voltaire, requesting a copy of the Hiftoric Doubts, in modeft, respectful, and even flattering terms. Mr. Walpole replied with equal propriety and good sense, adding to the parcel the romance of the Castle of Otranto ; the preface to which contained fome remarks upon Voltaire's criticisms on Shakspeare. He thus undoubtedly threw down the gauntlet; and it is not surprising, that the critic 1hould rea -ply. The answer is in some points fatisfactory.
In the letter respecting the application from Dr. Robertson, are some observations, mingled with too much contempt of the historian's ability, and fome farcafıns on his political inte. grity. Of this letter, which is addressed to Mr. Mafon, we Ihall transcribe the greater part.
"When he had told me his object, I said, “ Write the reign of king William, doctor Robertson! That is a great task! I look on him as the greatest man of modern times since his ancestor William prince of Orange." I foon found the doctor had very little idea. of him, or had taken upon trust the pitiful partialities of Dalrymple and Macpherson. I said, “ Sir, I do not doubt but king William came over with a view to the crown. Nor was he called upon by parriotism, for he was not an Englishman, to assert our'liberties. No; his patriotism was of a higher rank. He aimed not at the crown of England from ambition, but to employ its forces and wealth against Louis the XIVth, for the common cause of the liberties of Europe. The whigs did not understand the extent of his views, and the tories betrayed him. He has been thought not to have understood us; but the truth was, he took either party as it was predominant, that he might fway the parliament to support his general plan.” The doctor, suspecting that I doubted his principles being enlarged enough to do justice to so great a character, told me he himself had been born and bred a whig, though he owned he was now a moderate one I believe, a very moderate
I said Macpherson had done great injustice to another hero, the duke of Marlborough, whom he accuses of betraying the de. sign on Brest to Louis XIV. The truth was, as I heard often in my youth from my father, my uncle, and old persons who had lived in those times, that the duke trusted the duchess with the sea cret, and the her sister the popish duchess of Tyrconnel, who was as poor and as bigoted as a church mouse. A corroboration of this was the wise and sententious answer of king William to the dukę, whom he taxed with having betrayed the secret. " Upon my honour, sir," said the duke, “ I told it to nobody but my wife." " I did not tell it to mine,” said the king.
I added, that Macpherson's and Dalrymple's in vidious scandals really serve but to heighten the amazing greatness of the king's genius ;; for if they say true, he maintained the crown on his head, though the nobility, the church-men, the country gentlemen, the people were against him; and though almost all his own ministers betrayed himBut," said I, “nothing is so filly as to suppose that the duke of Marlborough and lord Godolphin ever meant feriously to restore king James. Both had offended him too much to expect forgiveness, especially from so remorseless a nature. Yec a re-revolution was so probable, that it is no wonder they kept up a correspondence with him, at least to break their fall if he returned. But as they never did effectuate the least service in his
favour, when they had the fullest power, nothing can be inferred but king James's folly in continuing to lean on them. To imagine they meant to sacrifice his weak daughter, whom they governed absolutely, to a man who was sure of being governed by others, one must have as little sense as James himself had.
The precise truth I take to have been this. Marlborough and Godolphin both knew the meanness and credulity of James's character. They knew that he must be ever dealing for partisans; and they might be sure, that if he could hope for support from the ge. neral and the lord treasurer, he must be less solicitous for more impotent supporters. • Is it impossible," said I to the doctor, “ but they might correspond with the king even by Anne's own consent? Do not be surprised, fir," said I : “ fuch things have happened. My own father often received letters from the pretender, which he always carried to George II, and had them indorsed by his majesty, I myself have seen them counterfigned by the king's own hand.”
In thort, I endeavoured to impress him with proper ideas of his subject, and painted to him the difficulties, and the want of materials. But the booksellers will out argue me, and the doktor will forget his education--Panem et Circenses, if you will allow me to use the latter for those that are captivated by favour in the circle, will decide his writing and give the colour. I once wished he fhould write the History of King William ; but his Charles V. and his America have opened my eyes, and the times have put his. Adieu !' Vol. v. P. 651.
Among the other epistles we may distinguish those to Mr. Pinkerton (for whom Mr. Walpole seems to have entertained a high respect), to lady Craven, Mr. Roscoe, and Mr. Beloe.
To fpeak' particularly of Mr. Walpole's works would be unnecessary, as his merits and his faults have long been known. The present collection shows him as he was--a respectable man, and an entertaining, frequently an instructive, author. The editor must not pass unnoticed. The modest and judi. cious preface is, perhaps, exactly what Mr. Walpole would himself have approved ; and those parts of the edition, which were not selected by himself, would perhaps have passed even the ordeal of his fevere judgment. The voluines are splendid, without fuperfluous ornaments. The old plates are in good prefervation, or are well retouched; and the additional ones are executed with fidelity and elegance. The portraits of those to whom Mr. Walpole's letters are addressed, or who are particularly mentioned in them, form very interesting embellithments; and the publication constitutes a most valuable and important addition to the stock of English literatures