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never to have succeeded in any object during his whole life. He loved only three things; women, play, and politics. Yet, at no period did he ever form a creditable connection with a woman. He lost his whole fortune at the gaming-table; and with the exception of about eleven months, he has remained always in Opposition. It is difficult to dispute the justice of this portrait.” — Wraxall.
Note. — He preferred Mrs. (now Lady) Crewe, to all women living; but Lady Crewe never lost an atom of character, - I mean female honor. She loved high play and dissipation, but was no sensualist.
Note. — Lord Sandwich came very early into a very small paternal estate ; and his first entrance into life was marked by an apparently warm disposition towards virtue. He was, however, avowedly poor and proud; said that Sir Robert Walpole possessed no powers of gaining him over from the opposition party, whilst he was contented to live with the woman of his heart in a small house somewhere about Westminster, and walk to the House arm-in-arm with one friend, for whose opinions he had the highest deference. Sir Robert laughed, and only said, “ We shall see how all this ends."
The Countess, though forty-four years old when Lord Sandwich came of age and could not be persuaded to forbear pursuing her, brought him a son, which cost her future health, and with her health that flexibility of temper, which before marriage he deemed her possessed of. But,
“To win a man when all our pains succeed,
The way to keep him is a task indeed.” Virtue and sense were soon found insufficient, joined to a faded form and fretted mind, wherein resided sullen disapprobation of all that frolic playfulness to which her lord was naturally prone, and which his interested friend taught him to consider as innocent, even when combined with late hours, loose company, and sometimes higher play than he could afford ; although Lord Sandwich never was a rated gamester like Fox, or Fitzpatrick, &c. Ill received at home, however, his pleasures drew him thence, and they, growing hourly more and more expensive, as his friend's amusements were all placed to his account.
The Minister felt happy to provide for both, and this young nobleman owed to his wife's stern virtue, and his companion's insidious indulgences, a character no man but Churchill could portray, - no man, I hope besides himself, deserve:
" Is God's most holy name to be profaned?
An agent like Lothario to his mind.” The end of such men (with regard to this life) is safer to imagine than describe. When talents, though they can't protect, reproach their mad possessors, and conscience, which congratulates the good man's exit, lighting his last steps with her hallowed taper:
“Turns to a fury with a flaming torch,
Quickly extinguished in mephitic gloom!” O, let us, to use a phrase of Shakespear, sweeten our imaginations; and forgetting such characters, rather recollect Doddridge's Epigram upon his own motto:
“ Dum vivimus, vivamus.”
“ Live while you live, the epicure will say,
Now as a note to the third or fourth line of Churchill's verses, accept the following true anecdote :
Lord Sandwich had trained up a huge baboon that he was fond of, to play the part of a clergyman, dressed in canonicals, and make some buffoon imitation of saying grace. Among many merry friends round the table, sat a Mr. Scott, afterwards well known by name of Antisejanus; but then a mere dependent servitor at college, and humble playfellow of young Hinchinbroke. The ape had no sooner finished his grimaces, and taken leave of the company, than Scott unexpectedly, but unabashed, stood up and said:
“I protest, my lord, I intended doing this duty myself, not. knowing till now that your lordship had so near a relation in orders.” *
I must add that Lord Sandwich praised his wit and courage without ever resenting the liberty.
He had founded a society, denominated from his own name, “ The Franciscans," who, to the number of twelve, met at Medmenham Abbey, near Marlow, in Bucks, on the banks of the Thames.
The best account of these horrors, and the least offensive, is in “ Chrysal ; or, the Adventures of a Guinea," written by Smollet.
“Beauclerc discovered him (Fox) intently engaged in reading a Greek Herodotus. “What would you have me do,' said he, “I have lost my last shilling!' Such was the elasticity, suavity, and equality of disposition that characterized him ; and with so little effort did he pass from profligate dissipation to researches of taste or literature.” — Wraxall.
Note. — I have heard this story before, and believe it is true. Topham Beauclerc (wicked and profligate as he wished to be accounted) was yet a man of very strict veracity. O Lord ! how I did hate that horrid Beauclerc !
“If Burke really believed the facts that he laid down (regarding the American war), what are we to think of his judgment !” - Wraxall.
Note. — Burke troubled himself but little to think on what he had said ; he spoke for present and immediate effect, rarely if ever missing his aim ; because, like Doctor Johnson, he always spoke his best, whether on great or small occasions. One evening at Sir Joshua Reynolds's it was his humor to harangue in praise of the then ceded islands, and in their praise he said so much, that Mrs. Horneck, a widow with two beautiful daughters, resolved to lose no time in purchasing where such advantages would infallibly arise. She did so, and lost a large portion of
* At a supper of the Hell-fire Club, a chair was left vacant at the head of the table for the Devil. In the height of the revelry, the ape unexpectedly took his seat upon it, and the company, conceiving the Spirit of Evil to be among them, broke up in most admired confusion.
her slender income. “Dear Sir,” said I, when we met next, “ how fatal has your eloquence proved to poor Mrs. Horneck ! ” “ How fatal her own folly ! ” replied he ; “ Ods my life, must one swear to the truth of a song.”
To Wraxall's remark that Burke's Irish accent was as strong as if he had never quitted the banks of the Shannon, she adds, “ very true.” The description of him as “gentle, mild, and amenable to argument in private society,” is qualified by, “not very ;” and in the sentence,“ infinitely more respectable than Fox, he was nevertheless far less amiable,” she proposes to replace “amiable” by “respected.”
" It is difficult to do justice to the peculiar species of ugliness which characterized his (Dunning) person and figure, although he did not labor under any absolute deformity of shape or limb.” — Wraxall.
Note. — Sir Joshua alone could give a good portrait of Dunning. His picture of Lord Shelburne, Lord Ashburton, and Colonel Barré, has surely no superior. The characters so admirable, the likenesses so strong.”
Of the first Lord Loughborough she writes :
Wedderburn was particularly happy when speaking of Franklyn, who (he said) the Ministers had wantonly and foolishly made their enemy. An enemy so inveterate, said he, so merciless, and so implacable, that he resembles Zanga the Moor, in Young's tragedy of the “ Revenge,” who at length ends his hellish plot by saying:
“I forged the letter, and disposed the picture,
I hated, I despised, and I destroy.”' The quotation struck every one.*
Benjamin Franklyn, who, by bringing a spark from Heaven, fulfilled the prophecies he pretended to disbelieve; Franklyn, who wrote a profane addition to the Book of Genesis, who hissed on the colonies against their parent country, who taught men to despise their Sovereign and insult their Redeemer; who did all the mischief in his power while living, and at last died, I think, in America; was beside all the rest, a plagiarist, as it appears; and the curious epitaph made on himself, and as we long believed, by himself, was, I am informed, borrowed without acknowledgment, from one, upon Jacob Tonson, to whom it was more appropriate, comparing himself to an old book, eaten by worms; which on some future day, however, should be new edited, after undergoing revisal and correction by the Author.
* Franklin never forgave this speech, and by making it Wedderburne aggravated the very mischief he was deprecating.
There are some exquisitely pretty stanzas, very little known, written by one Mr. Dale, upon Franklyn's invention of a lamp, in which the flame was forced downward, burning in a new discovered method, contrary to nature. I had a rough copy of the verses, and they lay loose in the second volume of “ Retrospection,” but I suppose they dropped out, and I lost them, or they should have been written down here.
I cannot trust my memory to do them justice. The first stanzas praise his philosophical powers :
“But to covet political fame,
Was in him a degrading ambition;
And first kindled the blaze of sedition.
“May not Candor then write on his urn,
Here alas ! lies a noted inventor;
But inverted, descends to the centre.” *
“Like his nephew, Mr. Fox, the Duke (of Richmond) did not spare the King, when addressing the House of Lords; and he was considered as peculiarly obnoxious at St. James's.” — Wraxall.
Note. — He never forgave the preference given by the King's immediate advisers, when there was question of a Consort to the English Throne, where he hoped to see his beautiful sister (Lady Sarah) seated — in vain! Lord Bute was too quick in providing a much safer partner.
* It is strange that she forgot to mention Turgot's famous motto for the bust of Franklin, by Houdon:
“ Eripuit cælo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannis." Franklin's own criticism on it was that the thunder remained where he found it, and that more than a million of men co-operated with him in shaking off the monarchical rule of Great Britain.