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“Burke exclaimed, that he (Pitt) was not merely a chip of the old block, but the old block itself.'” — Wraxall.
Note. — Not quite. The old block's head was beautiful, and the eyes in it brilliant with intelligence.
Note. — I have seen Sheridan (the father of R. B.) on the stage in former days, acting Horatio in Rowe's “ Fair Penitent,” to Garrick's Lothario ; but of his powers as a lecturer, Mr. Murphy gave the most ludicrous account, taking him off with incomparable powers of mimicry, — quite unequalled.
Note. — He (Lord Mulgrave) was a haughty, spirited man, whom I should not suspect of any possible meanness, for any possible advantage. Rough as a boatswain, proud as a strong feeling of aristocracy could make him, and fond of coarse merriment, approaching to ill-manners, he was in society a dangerous converser : one never knew what he would say next. “Why, Holla, Burke! (I heard him crying out on one occasion.) What, you are rioting in puns now Johnson is away.” Burke was indignant, and ready with a reply. But Lord Mulgrave drowned all in storms of laughter.
In reference to the “Optat Ephippia Bos piger” story of Lord Falmouth and Pitt, told by Wraxall, she writes :
I have heard my father relate the story somewhat differently, but in substance the same. He said some wag chalked the words on his (Lord Falmouth's) door, and that seeing them he exclaimed, “He would give £100 to know who wrote them.” The first friend he met said, “ Give me the money, Horace wrote them.” Then comes the next mistake, “ Horace ! a dog, after all his obligations to me,” &c.*
A similar story to this was related to me in Italy. Cardinal Zanelli was pasquinaded at Rome for his ingratitude to the Dauphin of France, whose influence, exerted in his favor, had procured him the dignity of Eminenza. Zanelli's coat armor was a vine ; the statue exhibited these words :
“Plantavi Vineam, et fecit labruscas.” The enraged Cardinal, little skilled in Scripture learning * i. e. Horace Walpole. Lord Falmouth's family name was Boscawen, and he had just been soliciting the Garter.
actually promised a reward to whoever would tell who wrote it. Next day Pasquin claimed the reward for himself, having marked under the words, 40th chapter of Isaiah.
Note. — In this memorable year, 1782, the “ Atlas ” man-ofwar was launched, a three-decker of eminent beauty. We all know that the figure at the ship's head corresponds with the name, and I'was informed that Hercules's substitute was a most magnificent fellow, fit to support the globe. When, however, they came to ship her bowsprit, he stood so high, that something was found necessary to be done; and the rough carpenter, waiting no orders, cut part of the globe away which stood upon the hero's shoulders. When it was examined afterwards, the part lost to our possession was observed to be America. Sailors remarked the accident as ominous, and the event has not tended to lessen their credulity.
When Montcalm was dying of his wounds in the great battle which deprived us of General Wolfe, “Well, well !” said he, “ England has torn North America from us, but she will one day tear herself from the mother country. Once free from the French yoke, she will endure no other.”
My father said those were his very words : my father died in the year 1762, but he always predicted American Independence.
“During his elder brother's life, when only Lord Harry Powlett, he (the Duke of Bolton) had served in the royal navy, where, however, he acquired no laurels, and he was commonly supposed to be the Captain Whiffle' portrayed by Smollet, in his · Roderick Random.” — Wraxall.
Note. -- I don't know whether this Lord Harry Powlett, or an uncle of his wearing the same name, was the person of whom my mother used to relate a ludicrous anecdote. Some lady with whom she had been well acquainted, and to whom his lordship was observed to pay uncommon attentions, requested him to procure for her a pair of small monkeys from East India, — I forget the kind. Lord Harry, happy to oblige her, wrote immediately, depending on the best services of a distant friend, whom he had essentially served. Writing a bad hand, however, and spelling what he wrote for with more haste than correctness, he charged the gentleman to send him over two monkeys, but the word being written too, and all the characters of one height, 100, — what was poor Lord Harry Powlett's dismay, when a letter came to hand, with the news that he would receive fifty monkeys by such a ship, and fifty more by the next conveyance, making up the hundred according to his lordship’s commands !
Note. — They said Pitt and Legge went together like Cæsar and Bibulus, — and so they did ; all the attention paid the first, and none to the last-named consul.
Note. — The following epigram was handed about to ridicule Sir Thomas Rumbold: —
“ When Mackreith lived 'mong Arthur's crew,
And Rumbold answered, Yea, Bob.
And boldly answered, Nay, Bob (Nabob).” Note. — On this occasion (victory over De Grasse in 1782) Rodney is said to have taught them the method of breaking the line, by which I have heard it asserted that Lord Nelson won all his victories by sea, and Buonaparte by land ; but which is a still stranger thing, Lord Glenbervie told me (and I believe him) that Epaminondas won the battles of Leuctra and Mantinea by the same manoeuvre 2,178 years ago.
“ The Princess of Franca . Villa was commonly supposed to have bestowed on him (Lord Rockingham) the same fatal present, which the ‘ Belle Ferroniere' conferred on Francis the First, King of France; and which, as we learn from Burnet,* the Countess of Southesk was said to have entailed on James, Duke of York, afterwards James the Second.” — Wraxall.
In Italy it was supposed to have been the succession powder mingled with chocolate whilst in the cake, not in the liquid we drink. Acqua Toffana, and succession powder (polvere per successione) were administered, as I have heard, with certain although ill-understood effects. Lord Rockingham desired to be opened after his death, and was so.
* The story is told in Grammont's Memoirs.
On the application of the term “ disinterested” to Archbishop Moore's conduct, in communicating to his pupil, the Duke of Marlborough, the advances of the Duchess Dowager, her note is :
Disinterested is not quite the word to use. He served his interest in preferring the Duke's power to a connection with the Duchess, who had only her life income to bestow, and a faded person possessing no attractions.
“ There were a number of Members who regularly received from him (Pelham's Secretary of the Treasury) their payment or stipend at the end of every session in bank-notes.” — Wraxall.
Note. — I am sorry to read these things of Mr. Pelham, whom everybody loved, and Garrick praised so sweetly, saying:
“Let others hail the rising sun,
Which sets in endless night;
With calm but cheerful light.
All their lost friend deplore.
That Pelham is no more.” This Ode, from whence I have selected two stanzas, not the best, and a comical thing called “ The News Writers' Petition,” that came out a very little while before, give one the impression of his having been a very honest man. I am quite sorry Wraxall's book tends so much to destroy that impression.
Pelham's death was curious, and he thought so; for it was his favorite maxim in politics, never to stir an evil which lies quiet, “ And now,” said he, upon his deathbed to his doctor, “I die for having acted in contradiction to my own good rule, — taking unnecessary medicines for a stone which lay still enough in my bladder, and might perhaps never have given me serious injury.” But so it is, that though death certainly does strike the dart, it is often vice or folly poisons it, — with regard to this world or the world to come.