Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 1 by Horace Walpole

Part 2 out of 18

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

But, with opinions as to the genius, the taste, or the talents
of Lord Orford, this little notice has nothing to do. It aims
solely at rescuing his individual character from
misconceptions. Of the means necessary for this purpose, its
writer, by the "painful preeminence" of age, remains the sole
depositary, and being so, has submitted to the task of
repelling such misconceptions. It is done with the reluctance
which must always be experienced in differing from, or calling
in question, the opinions of a person, for whom is felt all
the admiration and respect due to super-eminent abilities, and
all the grateful pride and affectionate regard inspired by
personal friendship.

M. B. October 1840.

(5) T. Babbington Macaulay.

(6) Sketch of the Life of Horace Walpole, by Lord Dover. See
vol. i.

(7) See Preface to Madame du Deffand's Letters, p. xi.; and
vol. ii. of this collection.

(8) See Edinburgh Review, vol. lviii. p. 233.

(9) Edinburgh Review, vol, lviii. p. 233.

(10) See vol. iii.

(11) See Edinburgh Review, vol. lviii. p. 232.

(12) Ibid., p. 237.

Second Advertisement

THE last volume will be found to contain upwards of one hundred
letters, introduced into no former edition of the Correspondence
of Horace Walpole. The greater part of them were written between
the years 1789 and 1797, and were addressed to the Miss Berrys,
during their residence in Italy. They embrace most of the
leading events of the first five years of the French Revolution;
and wherever the facts detailed in the letters have appeared to
require elucidation or confirmation, the Editor has generally had
recourse to M. Thiers's useful "History" of that great event;
which has recently appeared in an English dress, accompanied with
notes and illustrations, drawn from the most authentic sources.

While the last volume was at press, the Editor was favoured with
a letter from the Right Honourable Sir Charles Grey, relative to
the share which he considers Mr. Walpole to have had in the
composition and publication of the Letters of Junius.

Albany Street, Regent's Park,
October 28, 1840.



1. Before your last volume is published, I am desirous of stating
to you some of the considerations which, more than seventeen
years ago, led me to the belief I still entertain, that Walpole
had a principal share in the composition and publication of the
Letters of Junius: though I think it likely that Mason, or some
other friend corrected the style, and gave precision and force to
the most striking passages.

2. It was in 1823, whilst I was residing in India, that Lord
Holland's edition of Walpole's Memoires of the Last Ten Years of
the Reign of George the Second suggested to me this notion; and
it was shortly afterwards communicated to several of my friends.
The edition of Junius which I had with me, was that of Mr.
Woodfall the younger, in three volumes; and I am not at present
by any means satisfied that all the letters which the editor
assigns to Junius were written by him: but in this hasty notice I
must proceed upon the supposition that they were.

3. It will be remembered that the Memoires were composed by
Walpole in secrecy, and that he left them in a sealed box, which,
by his will, was forbidden to be opened till many years after his
death. The letters from which the corresponding passages are
given below are all published as Letters of Junius by Mr.
Woodfall, and are of dates later than the time when Walpole wrote
his Memoires; but half a century earlier than the time when they
were printed.

Note by the transcriber: there follows a table, in which letters
of Junius are presented for comparisons side by side with
of Walpole. I have changed the format to present them in
sequence. Return to text.

I own, my lord, that yours is not an uncommon character. Women,
and men like women, are timid, vindictive, and irresolute.
Woodfall's Junius, vol. ii, p. 168.

As it is observed that timorous natures like those of women are
generally cruel, Lord mansfield might easily slide into rigour,
etc.-Walpole's Memoires, vol. ii. p. 175.

Without openly supporting the person, you (Lord Mansfield) have
done essential service to the cause; and consoled yourself for
the loss of a favourite family by reviving and establishing the
maxims of their government.-vol. ii, p. 182.

The occasions of the times had called him (Lord Mansfield) off
from principles that favoured an arbitrary king-he still leaned
towards an arbitrary government.-vol. ii. p. 266.

You (Lord Mansfield) would fain be thought to take no share in
government, while in reality you are the mainspring of the
machine.-vol. ii. p. 179.

Pitt liked the dignity of despotism; Lord Mansfield the
reality.-Vol. ii. p. 274.

You secretly engross the power, while you decline the title of
minister.-vol. ii. p.179.

He was timid himself, and always waving what he was always
courting.-Vol. ii. p. 336.

In council he generally affects to take a moderate part.-vol. ii.
p. 354.
At present there is something oracular in the delivery of my
opinion. I speak from a recess which no human curiosity can
penetrate.-vol. i. p. 314.

The conduct was artful, new and grand: secluded from all eyes,
his (Lord Chatham's) orders were received as oracles.-vol. ii. p.

Our enemies treat us as the cunning trader does the unskilful
Indian. they magnify their generosity when they give us baubles
of no proportionate value for ivory and gold.-vol. ii. p. 359.

They made a legal purchase to all eternity of empires and
posterity, from a parcel of naked savages, for a handful of glass
beads and baubles.-Vol. i. p. 343.

If you deny him the cup, there will be no keeping him within the
pale of the ministry.-vol. ii. p. 249.

Where I believe the clergy do not deny the laity the cup.-Letter
to Montague.
He took care to regulate his patron's warmth within the pale of
his own advantage.-Memoires, vol. ii. p. 197.
Come over to the pale of loyalty.-vol. i. p. 282.

Honour and justice must not be renounced although a thousand
modes of right and wrong were to occupy the degrees of morality
between Zeno and Epicurus. The fundamental principles of
Christianity may still be preserved.-vol. ii. p. 346.

The modes of Christianity were exhausted.-Vol. ii. p. 282
To mark how much the modes of thinking change, and that
fundamentals themselves can make no impression.-vol. ii. p. 265.

He (the duke of Bedfor) would not have betrayed such ignorance or
such contempt of the constitution as openly to avow in a court of
judicature the purchase and sale of a borough.
Note.- In an answer in chancery in a suit against him to recover
a large sum paid him by a person whom he had undertaken to return
to parliament for one of his Grace's boroughs. He was compelled
to repay the money.-vol. i. p. 576.

Corruption prevailed in the House of Commons. Instances had been
brought to our courts of judicature how much it prevailed in our
Note.-The Duke of Bedford had received 1500 pounds for electing
Jefrery French at one of his boroughs in the west; but he dying
immediately, his heir sued the Duke for the money, who paid it,
rather than let the cause be heard.

The Princess Dowager made it her first care to inspire her son
with horror against heresy, and with a respect for the church.
His mother took more pains to form his beliefs than either his
morals or his understanding.-vol. iii. p. 408.

>From the death of the Prince the object of the Princess Dowager
had been the government of her son; and her attention had
answered. She had taught him great devotion, and she had taken
care that he should be taught nothing else.-Vol. i. p. 396.

That prince had strong natural parts, and used frequently to
blush for his own ignorance and want of education, which had been
wilfully neglected by his mother and her minion.

Martin spoke for the clause, and said, "The King could not have a
separate interest from his people, the Princess might; witness
Queen Isabella and her minion Mortimer."-Vol. i. p. 118.

Transcriber's note: the following paragraph is surrounded by
asterisks. it appears to be a comment by the letter writer, sir
charles Grey, rather than either Junius or Walpole.

Our great Edward, too, at an early period, had sense enough to
understand the nature of the connexion between his abandoned
mother and the detested Mortimer.

when it was proposed to settle the present King's household as
Prince of Wales, it is well known that the Earl of Bute was
forced into it in direct contradiction to the late King's
inclination. vol. ii. .-

Fox had an audience. The monarch was sour, but endeavoured to
keep his temper, yet made no concessions; no request to the
retiring minister to stay. At last he let slip the true cause of
his indignation: "You," said he, "have made me make that puppy
Bute groom of the
stole."-Vol. ii. p. 92.

Though too long to be cited in these hurried notes, there are
several other passages in which the coincidence of sentiment and
expression and of the order in which the thoughts and arguments
are ranged, is very remarkable: and the difficulty of accounting
otherwise for such coincidences between the Letters of Junius and
the unpublished and secret Memoires of Walpole, first made me
suspect that the two names might belong to one and the same
person-Horace Walpole the younger.

4. Being led by this conjecture to examine the other works of
Walpole, I found, in them also, many echoes, as it were, of the
voice of Junius, which it is singular should not have been more
observed. No One, I think, can collate the concluding portion of
Walpole's letter to Lord Bute, of February 15, 1762, and the
latter part of the eulogium of Junius on Lord Chatham, without
being struck by the similarity of manner and tone; and by the
identity of that feeling, which, in both cases, prompts the
writer, whilst he is elaborating compliments, to defend himself
jealously against all suspicion of flattery or interested

Transcriber's note: there follows a comparison of material from
Junius and Walpole, set out in parallel columns. I have changed
these to a sequential arrangement.

I did not intend to make a public declaration of the respect I
bear Lord Chatham. I well knew what unworthy conclusions would
be drawn from it. But I am called upon to deliver my opinion,
and surely it is not in the little censure of Mr. Home to deter
me from doing signal justice to a man who, I confess, has grown
upon my esteem. As for the common, sordid views of avarice, or
any purpose of vulgar ambition, I question whether the applause
of Junius would be of service to Lord Chatham. My vote will
hardly recommend him to an increase of his pension, or to a seat
in the Cabinet. But if his ambition be upon a level with his
understanding; if he judges of what is truly honourable for
himself with the same superior genius which animates and directs
him to eloquence in debate, to wisdom in decision, even the pen
of Junius shall contribute to reward him. Recorded honour shall
gather round his monument, and thicken over him. It is a solid
fabric, and will support the laurels that adorn it. I am not
conversant in the language of panegyric. These praises are
extorted from me; but they will wear well, for they have been
dearly earned.-Vol. ii. p. 310.

I did not purpose to tempt again the patience of mankind. But
the case is very different with regard to my trouble. My whole
fortune is from the bounty of the Crown and from the public: it
would ill become me to spare any pains for the King's glory, or
for the honour and satisfaction of my country; and give me leave
to add, my lord, it would be an ungrateful return for the
distinction with which your lordship has condescended to honour
me if I withheld such trifling aid as mine, when it might in the
least tend to adorn your lordship's administration. From me, my
lord, permit me to say these are not words of course, or of
compliment, this is not the language of flattery: your lordship
knows I have no views; perhaps knows that, insignificant as it
is, my praise is never detached from my esteem: and when you have
raised, as I trust you will, real monuments of glory, the most
contemptible characters in the inscription dedicated by your
country, may not be the testimony of, my lord, your lordship's
most obedient humble servant.-Letters, vol. iii.

I have neither time nor space for going much farther into this
part of the subject; but there is one circumstance which, in its
application to the supposition that Francis was Junius, is too
remarkable to be passed over. Sir Philip Francis supplied Mr.
Almon with reports of two speeches of Lord Chatham, in one of
which there is this passage, "The Americans had Purchased their
liberty at a dear rate, since they had quitted their native
country and gone in search of freedom to a desert." Junius,
about three weeks before, had said, "They left their native land
in search of freedom, and found it in a desert;" and it has been
inferred from this, that the words in the speech were not Lord
Chatham's, but the reporter's, and that Sir Philip Francis was
Junius. But it happens that Walpole, in his Royal and Noble
Authors, some years earlier than either the letter of Junius or
the speech of Lord Chatham, had said of Lord Brooke, that he was
on the point "Of seeking liberty in the forests of America."

5. If we turn from a recollection of the words to a consideration
of the peculiarities of the style of Junius, I think it will be
agreed that the most remarkable of all is that species of irony
which consists in equivocal compliment. Walpole also excelled in
this; and prided himself upon doing so. Are we not justified in
saying, that of all who, in the eighteenth century, cast their
thoughts on public occurrences into the form of letters, Junius
and Walpole are the most distinguished! that the works of no
other prose writer of their time exhibit a zest for political
satire equal to that which is displayed in the Letters of Junius,
and in the Memoires and Political Letters of Walpole and that
the sarcasm of equivocal praise was the favourite weapon in the
armoury of each, though it certainly appears to have been
tempered, and sharpened, and polished with additional care for
the hand of Junius? When did Francis ever deal in compliment or
in equivoque? In his vituperation there was always more of fury
than of malice: but Junius and Walpole were cruel. Madame du
Deffand says to the latter, "Votre plume est de fer tremp`e dans
de fiel." I have sometimes thought that clever old woman either
knew or suspected him to be Junius. She uses in one place the
unusual expression, "Votre `ecrit de Junius:" and if Walpole was
Junius, some of the most carefully composed letters in 1769 and
1771 were written in Paris ; where, indeed, it would seem that
Junius, whoever he was, collected the materials for the
accusation with which he threatened the Duke of Bedford, and
which he evidently knew to be untrue.

6. It has sometimes been said, that the Letters of Junius must
have been written by a lawyer, and they were at one time
attributed even to Mr. Dunning. The mistakes which I am about to
notice, trifling as they may be, make it impossible that any
lawyer should have been the author; and it appears to me that not
only is there a considerable resemblance in those mistakes which
I adduce of Walpole's, but that the affectation in both of
employing legal terms with which they were not familiar, and of
which they did not distinctly apprehend the meaning, is very
remarkable. Junius thought De Lolme's Essay deep," (13) and
talks of property which "savours of the reality:" (14) he
misapplies that trite expression of the courts, bona fide: (15)
misunderstands mortmain, (16) and supposes that an inquisitio
post mortem was an inquiry how the deceased came by his death.
(17) Walpole talks of "the purparty of a wife's lands;" of
"tenures against which, of all others, quo warrantos are sure to
take place;" (18) of the days of soccage," which he supposes to
be obsolete; and of a fera naturae.

Transcriber's note: Again there are a few passages from Junius
and Walpole compared in parallel columns, which I present below
in sequence.

You say the facts on which you reason are universally admitted: a
gratis dictum which I flatly deny.-vol. ii. p. 143.

This circumstance is alleged against them as an incident
contrived to gain belief, as if they had been in danger of their
lives. The argument is gratis dictum.-Works, vol. ii. p. 568.

They are the trustees, not the owners of the estate. the fee
simple is in us.- vol.-vol. i. p. 345.

Do you think we shall purchase the fee simple of him for so many
years?-Letters, vol. ii.

7. Walpole's time of life, his station in society, means of
information, and habits of writing much, and anonymously, and in
concealment, all tally with the supposition of his being Junius.
So do his places of residence, when that part of the subject is
carefully examined.

8. It is an odd circumstance that Walpole, who makes remarks on
every thing, makes no remark on Junius. If he ever expressed an
opinion of him in his letters to any of his numerous
correspondents, those letters have been suppressed. There are
fewer letters of his in the years during which Junius was
writing, than in any others.

9. Walpole's quarrel with the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, and
The party whom he calls "the Bedford court," and Junius "the
Bloomsbury gang," would account for the rancour of the letters of
the latter to the Duke.

10. Walpole's dislike and opinion of the Duke of Grafton, which
is nowhere more remarkably expressed than in a letter published
for the first time in your third volume, coupled with his
friendship for the first Duchess of Grafton, fall in with the
attacks of Junius on the Duke.

11. The Memoires of Walpole show an enmity to Lord Mansfield
almost equal to that of Junius.

12. Turning from these to a person in a different station, we
find, on the part of Walpole, (and, by-the-by, of Mason too,) a
sort of spite against Dr. Johnson; and in the works of Walpole,
selected by himself for publication after his death,' there is a
high-wrought criticism and condemnation of the style of Johnson,
which I cannot help believing to have been conceived in revenge
of the well-known handling of Junius in Johnson's pamphlet on the
Falkland Islands. "Let not injudicious admiration mistake the
venom of the shift for the vigour of the bow," is said by Johnson
of Junius: and Walpole says of Johnson, that "he destroys more
enemies by the weight of his shield, than with the point of his

13. There is a host of small facts which might be adduced in
support of what I have advanced. Any one who has leisure to
examine the voluminous works of Walpole, and who can lend his
mind to the inquiry, will find them crowd upon him. Let me
mention one well known occurrence.

Junius says, in the postscript of a private note to Mr. Woodfall,
Beware of David Garrick. He was sent to pump you, and went
directly to Richmond to tell the King I should write no more." He
then directed Woodfall to send the following note to Garrick, but
not in the handwriting of Junius:-"I am very exactly informed of
your impertinent inquiries, and of the information you so busily
sent to Richmond, and with what triumph and exultation it was
received. I knew every particular of it the next day. Now, mark
me, vagabond! Keep to your pantomimes, or be assured you shall
hear of it. Meddle no more, thou busy informer! It is in my
power to make you curse the hour in which you dared to interfere
with Junius." (19)

Mr. Woodfall remarks on this, that Garrick had received a letter
from Woodfall, (the editor of the newspaper in which the letters
of Junius first appeared,) before the above-note of Junius was
sent to the printer, in which Garrick was told, in confidence,
that there were some doubts whether Junius would continue to
write much longer. Garrick flew with the intelligence to Mr.
Remus, one of the pages to the King, who immediately conveyed it
to his Majesty, at that time residing at Richmond; and from the
peculiar sources of information that were open to this
extraordinary writer, Junius was apprised of the whole
transaction on the ensuing morning, and wrote the above
postscript, and the letter that follows it, in consequence. Now
all that appears to Mr. Woodfall the younger. to be so wonderful
in these circumstances is very easily explained, if we suppose
Walpole to have been Junius. Strawberry Hill is very near
Richmond Park, and Walpole had many acquaintances amongst those
who were about the King; whilst his friend, Mrs. Clive, the
actress, who lived in the adjoining house to his own, and her
brother, Mr. Raftor, who frequently visited her, both belonged to
Garrick's company.

But I have extended this letter too far. My purpose was merely
to invite your attention to a subject of some literary interest,
which you have peculiar opportunities of examining; and to enable
you, if you should think fit, to draw to it the attention of the
public also. I am, Sir, Your obedient servant, CHAS. EDW. GREY.
Albemarle Street, October 24, 1840.

(13) Woodfall's Junius, vol. i. p. 385.

(14) Ibid. p. 312.

(15) Ibid. p. 311.

(16) Ibid., vol. ii. p. 131.

(17) Ibid.,vol. i. p. 454.

(18) Walpole's Works, vol. iv. p. 361.

(19) Junius, Vol. i. P. 228.


Any one who attempts to become a biographer of Horace Walpole
must labour under the disadvantage of following a greater master
in the art; namely, Sir Walter Scott, whose lively and agreeable
account of this Author, contained in his "Lives of the
Novelists," is well known and deservedly admired. As, however,
the greater part of Walter Scott's pages is devoted to a very
able criticism of the only work of fiction produced by Walpole,
"The Castle of Otranto," it has been thought, that a more general
sketch of his life and writings might not prove unacceptable to
the reader.

Horace Walpole was the third and youngest son (21) of that
eminent minister, Sir Robert Walpole-the glory of the Whigs, the
preserver of the throne of these realms to the present Royal
Family, and under whose fostering rule and guidance the country
flourished in peace for more than twenty years. The elder
brothers of Horace were, Robert, Lord Walpole, so created in
1723, who succeeded his father in the Earldom of Orford in 1745,
and died in 1751; and Sir Edward Walpole, Knight of the Bath,
whose three natural daughters were, Mrs. Keppel, wife to the
Honourable Frederick Keppel, Bishop of Exeter; the Countess of
Waldegrave, afterwards Duchess of Gloucester; and the Countess of
Dysart. Sir Edward Walpole died in 1784. His sisters were,
Catherine, who died of consumption at the age of nineteen; and
Mary, married to George, Viscount Malpas, afterwards third Earl
of Cholmondeley: she died in 1732. The mother of Horace, and of
his brothers and sisters here mentioned, was Catherine Shorter,
daughter of John Shorter, Esq. of Bybrook, in Kent, and grand-
daughter of Sir John Shorter, Lord Mayor of London in 1688. (22)
She died in 1736; and her youngest son, who always professed the
greatest veneration for her memory, erected a monument to her in
Westminster Abbey, in one of the side aisles of Henry the
Seventh's Chapel. Horace Walpole had also a half-sister, the
natural daughter of his father, by his mistress, Maria Skerrett,
whom he afterwards married. She also was named Mary Walpole, and
married Colonel Charles Churchill, the natural son of General
Churchill; who was himself a natural son of an older brother of
the great Duke of Marlborough.

Horace Walpole was born October 5th, 1717 (23) and educated a
Eton School, and at King's College, Cambridge. Upon leaving the
latter place, he set out on his travels on the Continent, in
company with Gray the poet, with whom he had formed a friendship
at school. They commenced their journey in March 1739, and
continued abroad above two years. Almost the whole of this time
was spent in Italy, and nearly a year of it was devoted to
Florence; where Walpole was detained by the society of his
friends, Mr. Mann, Mr. Chute, and Mr. Whithed. It was in these
classic scenes, that his love of art, and taste for elegant and
antiquarian literature, became more developed; and that it took
such complete possession of him as to occupy the whole of his
later life, diversified only by the occasional amusement of
politics, or the distractions of society. Unfortunately, the
friendship of Walpole and his travelling companion could not
survive two years of constant intercourse: they quarrelled and
parted at Reggio, in July 1741, and afterwards pursued their way
homewards by different routes. (24)

Walpole arrived in England in September 1741, at which time his
correspondence with Sir Horace Mann commences. He had been
chosen member for Callington, in the parliament which was elected
in June of that year, and arrived in the House of Commons just in
time to witness the angry discussions which preceded and
accompanied the downfall of his father's administration. He
plunged at once into the excitement of political partisanship
with all the ardour of youth, and all the zeal which his filial
affection for his father inspired. His feelings at this period
are best explained by a reference to his letters in the following
collection. Public business and attendance upon the House of
Commons, apart from the interest attached to peculiar questions,
he seems never to have liked. He consequently took very little
part either in debates or committees. In March 1742, on a motion
being made for an inquiry into the conduct of Sir Robert Walpole
for the preceding ten years, he delivered his maiden speech; (25)
on which he was complimented by no less a judge of oratory than
Pitt. This speech he has preserved in his letter to Sir Horace
Mann, of March 24th, 1742. He moved the Address in 1751; and in
1756 made a speech on the question of employing Swiss regiments
in the colonies. This speech he has also himself preserved in
the second volume of his "Memoires." In 1757 he was active in
his endeavours to save the unfortunate Admiral Byng. Of his
conduct upon this occasion he has left a detailed account of his
"Memoires." This concludes all that can be collected of his
public life, and at the general election of 1768 (26) he finally
retired from parliament.

Upon this occasion he writes thus to George Montagu,-" As my
senatorial dignity is gone, I shall not put you to the expense of
a cover; and I hope the advertisement will not be taxed, as I
seal it to the paper. In short, I retain so much iniquity from
the last infamous parliament, that, you see, I would still cheat
the public. The comfort I feel in sitting peaceably here,
instead of being at Lynn, in the high fever of a contested
election, which, at best, Would end in my being carried about
that large town, like a figure of a pope at a bonfires is very
great. I do not think, when that function is over, that I shall
repent my resolution. What could I see but sons and grandsons
playing over the same knaveries that I have seen their fathers
and grandfather's act? Could I hear oratory beyond my Lord
Chatham's? Will there ever be parts equal to Charles Towns@ends?
Will George Grenville cease to be the most tiresome of beings?"

>From this time Walpole devoted himself more than ever to his
literary and antiquarian pursuits; though the interest he still,
in society at least, took in politics, is obvious, from the
frequent reference to the subject in his letters.

In the course of his life, his political opinions appear to have
undergone a great change. In his youth, and indeed till his old
age, he was not only a strenuous Whig, but, at times, almost a
Republican. How strong his opinions were in this sense may be
gathered, both from the frequent confessions of his political
faith, which occur in his letters, and from his reverence for the
death-warrant of Charles the First, of which he hung up the
engraving in his bed-room, and wrote upon it with his own hand
the words "Major Charta." The horrors of the French Revolution
drove him, in the latter period of his life, into other views of
politics; and he seems to have become, in theory at least, a
Tory, though he probably would have indignantly repudiated the
appellation, had it been applied to him.

Even during the earlier part of his career, his politics had
varied a good deal (as, indeed, in a long life, whose do not?);
but, in his case, the cause of variation was a most amiable one.
His devoted attachment to Marshal Conway, which led him, when
that distinguished man was turned out of his command of a
regiment, and of his place at court, in 1764, (28) to offer, with
much earnestness, to divide his fortune with him caused him also
to look with a favourable eye upon the government of the day,
whenever Mr. Conway was employed, and to follow him implicitly in
his votes in the House of Commons. Upon this subject he writes
thus to Conway, who had not told him beforehand of a speech he
made on the Qualification Bill, in consequence of which Walpole
was absent from the House of Commons upon that occasion--"I don't
suspect you of any reserve to me; I only mention it now for an
occasion Of telling YOU, that I don't like to have any body think
that I would not do whatever you do. I am of no consequence;
but, at least, it would give me some to act invariably with you,
and that I shall most certainly be ever ready to do." (29) Upon
another occasion he writes again in a similar strain:-"My only
reason for writing is, to repeat to you, that whatever you do, I
shall act with you. I resent any thing done to you as to myself.
My fortunes shall never be separated from yours, except that,
some day or other, I hope yours will be great, and I am content
with mine." (30)

Upon one political point Horace Walpole appears to have
entertained from the first the most just views, and even at a
time when such were not sanctioned by the general opinion of the
nation. From its very commencement, he objected to that
disastrous contest the American war, which, commenced in ignorant
and presumptuous folly, was prolonged to gratify the wicked
obstinacy of individuals, and ended, as Walpole had foretold it
would, in the discomfiture of its authors, and the national
disgrace and degradation, after a profuse and useless waste of
blood and treasure. Nor must his sentiments upon the Slave Trade
be forgotten-sentiments which he held, too, in an age when, far
different from the present one, the Assiento Treaty, and other
horrors of the same kind, were deemed, not only justifiable, but
praiseworthy. "We have been sitting," he writes, on the 25th of
February 1750, "this fortnight on the African Company. We, the
British Senate, that temple of Liberty, and bulwark of Protestant
Christianity, have, this fortnight, been considering methods to
make more effectual that horrid traffic of selling negroes. It
has appeared to us, that six-and-forty thousand of these wretches
are sold every year to our plantations alone! It chills one's
blood-I would not have to say I voted for it, for the continent
of America! The destruction of the miserable inhabitants by the
Spaniards was but a momentary misfortune that flowed from the
discovery of the New World, compared to this lasting havoc which
it brought upon Africa. We reproach Spain, and yet do not even
pretend the nonsense of butchering the poor creatures for the
good of their souls." (31)

One of the most favourite pursuits of Walpole was the building
and decoration of his Gothic villa of Strawberry Hill. It is
situated at the end of the village of Twickenham, towards
Teddington, on a slope, which gives it a fine view of the reach
of the Thames and the opposite wooded hill of Richmond Park. He
bought it in 1747, of Mrs. Chenevix, the proprietress of a
celebrated toy-shop. He thus describes it in a letter of that
year to Mr. Conway. "You perceive by my date that I am got into
a new camp, and have left my tub at Windsor. It is a little
plaything-house that I got out of Mrs. Chenevix's shop, and is
the prettiest bauble you ever saw. It is set in enamelled
meadows, with filigree hedges:-

'A small Euphrates through the piece is roll'd,
And little finches wave their wings of gold.'

Two delightful roads, that you would call dusty, supply me
continually with coaches and chaises; barges, as solemn as barons
of the exchequer, move under my window; Richmond Hill and Ham
Walks bound my prospects; but, thank God! the Thames is between
me and the Duchess of Queensberry. (32) Dowagers, as plenty as
flounders, inhabit all around; and Pope's ghost is just now
skimming under my window by a most poetical moonlight." (33)

He commenced almost immediately adding to the house, and
Gothicizing it, assisted by the taste and designs of his friend
Mr. Bentley; till, in the end, the cottage of Mrs. Chenevix had
increased into the castellated residence we now behold. He also
filled it with collections of various sorts-books, prints,
pictures, portraits, enamels, and miniatures, antiquities, and
curiosities of all kinds. Among these miscellaneous hoards are
to be found some fine works of art, and many things most valuable
in an historical and antiquarian point of view. For these
various expenses he drew upon his annual income, which arose from
three patent places conferred on him by his father, of which the
designations were, Usher of the Exchequer, Comptroller of the
Pipe, and Clerk of the Estreats. As early as the year 1744,
these sinecures produced to him, according to his own account,
nearly two thousand a-year; and somewhat later, the one place of
Usher of Exchequer rose in value to double this sum. This
income, with prudent management, sufficed for the gratification
of his expensive tastes of building and collecting, to which his
long life was devoted.

With regard to the merits of Strawberry Hill, as a building, it
is perhaps unfair, in the present age, when the principles of
Gothic architecture have been so much studied, and so often put
in practice, to criticise it too severely. Walpole himself, who,
in the earlier part of his life, seems to have had an unbounded
admiration for the works of his own hands, appears in later times
to have been aware of the faults in style of which he had been
guilty; for, in a letter to Mr. Barrett, in 1788, he says, "If
Mr. Matthews was really entertained" (with seeing Strawberry
Hill), "I am glad. But Mr. Wyatt has made him too correct a Goth
not to have seen all the imperfections and bad execution of my
attempts; for neither Mr. Bentley nor my workmen had studied the
science, and I was always too desultory and impatient to consider
that I should please myself more by allowing time, than by
hurrying my plans into execution before they were ripe. My
house, therefore, is but a sketch for beginners; yours (34) is
finished by a great master; and if Mr. Matthews liked mine, it
was en virtuose, who loves the dawnings of an art, or the
glimmerings of its restoration." (35)

In fact, the building of Strawberry Hill was "the glimmering of
the restoration" of gothic architecture, which had previously,
for above a century, been so much neglected that its very
principles seemed lost. If we compare the Gothic of Strawberry
Hill with that of buildings about the same period, or a little
anterior to it, we shall see how vastly superior it is to them,
both in its taste and its decorations. If we look at some of the
restorations of our churches of the beginning of the eighteenth
century , we shall find them a most barbarous mixture of Gothic
forms and Grecian and Roman ornaments. Such are the western
towers of Westminster Abbey, designed by Wren; the attempts at
Gothic, by the same architect, in one or two of his City
churches; Gibbs's quadrangle of All Souls' College, Oxford; and
the buildings in the same style of Kent, Batty, Langley, etc. To
these Strawberry is greatly superior: and it must be observed,
that Walpole himself, in his progressive building, went on
improving and purifying his taste. Thus the gallery and
round-tower at Strawberry Hill, which were among his latest
works, are incomparably the best part of the house; and in their
interior decorations there is very little to be objected to, and
much to be admired.

It were to be wished, indeed, that Walpole's haste to finish, to
which he alludes in the letter just quoted, and perhaps also, in
some degree, economy, had not made him build his castle, which,
with all its faults, is a curious relic of a clever and ingenious
man, with so little solidity, that it is almost already in a
state of decay. Lath and plaster, and wood, appear to have been
his favourite materials for construction; which made his friend
Williams (36) say of him, towards the end of his life, "that he
had outlived three sets of his own battlements." It is somewhat
curious, as a proof of the inconsistency of the human mind, that,
having built his castle with so little view to durability,
Walpole entailed the perishable possession with a degree of
strictness, which would have been more fitting for a baronial
estate. And that, too, after having written a fable entitled
"The Entail," in consequence, of some one having asked him
whether he did not intend to entail Strawberry Hill, and in
ridicule of such a proceeding.

Whether Horace Walpole conferred a benefit upon the public by
setting the fashion of applying the Gothic style of architecture
to domestic purposes, may be doubtful; so greatly has the example
he gave been abused in practice since. But, at all events, he
thus led the professors of architecture to study with accuracy
the principles of the art, which has occasioned the restoration
and preservation in such an admirable manner of so many of our
finest cathedrals. colleges, and ancient Gothic and conventual
buildings. This, it must be at least allowed, was the fortunate
result of the rage for Gothic, which succeeded the building of
Strawberry Hill. For a good many years after that event, every
new building was pinnacled and turreted on all sides, however
little its situation, its size, or its uses might seem to fit it
for such ornaments. Then, as fashion is never constant for any
great length of' time, the taste of the public rushed at once
upon castles; and loopholes, and battlements, and heavy arches,
and buttresses appeared in every direction. Now the fancy of the
time has turned as madly to that bastard kind of architecture,
possessing, however, many beauties, which compounded of the
Gothic, Castellated, and Grecian or Roman, is called the
Elizabethan, or Old English. No villa, no country-house, no
lodge in the outskirts of London, no box of a retired tradesman
is now built, except in some modification of this style. The
most ludicrous situations and the most inappropriate destinations
do not deter any one from pointing his gables, and squaring his
bay-windows, in the most approved Elizabethan manner. And this
vulgarizing and lowering Of the Old English architecture, by over
use, is sure, sooner or later, to lose its popularity, and to
cause it to be contemned and neglected, like its predecessors.
All these different styles, if properly applied, have their
peculiar merits. In old English country-houses, which have
formerly been conventual buildings, the gothic style may be, with
great propriety, introduced. On the height of Belvoir or in
similar situations, nothing could be devised so appropriate as
the castellated; and in additions to, or renovations of old
manor-houses the Elizabethan may be, with equal advantage,
adopted. It is the injudicious application of all three which
has been, and is sure to be, the occasion of their fall in public

The next pursuit of Walpole, to -which it now becomes desirable
to advert, are his literary labours, and the various publications
with which, at different periods of his life, he favoured the
world. His first effort appears to have been a copy of verses,
written at Cambridge. His poetry is generally not of a very high
order; lively, and with happy turns and expressions, but injured
frequently by a sort of quaintness, and a somewhat inharmonious
rhythm. Its merits, however, exactly fitted it for the purpose
which it was for the most part intended for; namely, as what are
called vers de soci`et`e." (37) Among the best of his verses may
be mentioned those "On the neglected Column in the Place of St.
Mark, at Florence," which contains some fine lines; his
"Twickenham Register;" and "The Three Vernons."

In 1752 he published his "Edes Walpolianae," or description of
the family seat' of Houghton Hall, in Norfolk, where his father
had built a palace, and had made a fine collection of pictures,
which were sold by his grandson George, third Earl of Orford, to
the Empress Catherine of Russia. This work, which is, in fact, a
mere catalogue of pictures, first showed the peculiar talent of
Horace Walpole for enlivening, by anecdote and lightness of
style, a dry subject. This was afterwards still more exemplified
in his "Anecdotes of Painting in England," of which the different
volumes were published in 1761, 1763, and 1771; and in the
"Catalogue of Engravers," published in 1763. These works were
compiled from papers of Vertue, the engraver; but Walpole, from
the stores of his own historical knowledge, from his taste in the
fine arts, and his happy manner of sketching characters, rendered
them peculiarly his own. But his masterpiece in this line was
his "Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors," originally published
in 1758. It is very true, as Walter Scott observes, that "it
would be difficult, by any process or principle of subdivision,
to select a list of so many plebeian authors, containing so very
few whose genius was worthy of commemoration." (38) But this
very circumstance renders the merit of Walpole the greater, in
having, out of such materials, composed a work which must be read
with amusement and interest, as long as liveliness of diction and
felicity in anecdote are considered ingredients of amusement in

In 1757 Walpole established a private printing-press at
Strawberry Hill, and the first work he printed at it was the Odes
of Gray, with Bentley's prints and vignettes. Among the
handsomest and most valuable volumes which subsequently issued
from this press, in addition to Walpole's own Anecdotes of
Painting, and his description of Strawberry Hill, must be
mentioned the quarto lucan, with the notes of Grotius and
Bentley; the Life of Lord Herbert of Cherbury by himself,
flentzner's Travels, and Lord Whitworth's account of Russia. Of
all these he printed a very limited number. It does not,
however, appear, as stated in the Biographical Dictionary, (39)
he reserved all the copies as presents; on the contrary, it would
seem that in most instances he sold a certain portion of the
copies to the booksellers, probably with a view of defraying the
expenses of his printing establishment. As, however, the supply
in the book-market of the Strawberry Hill editions was very
small, they generally sold for high prices, and a great interest
was created respecting them.

In 1764 Walpole published one of the most remarkable of his
works, "The Castle of Otranto;" and in 1768 his still more
remarkable production, "The Mysterious Mother." (40) In speaking
of the latter effort of his genius, (for it undoubtedly deserves
that appellation,) an admirable judge of literary excellence has
made the following remarks; "It is the fashion to underrate
Horace Walpole firstly, because he was a nobleman, and secondly,
because he was a gentleman: but, to say nothing of the
composition of his incomparable letters, and of "The Castle of
Otranto," he is the Ultimus Romanorum, the author of the
'Mysterious Mother,' a tragedy of the highest order, and not a
puling love-play: he is the father of the first romance, and of
the last tragedy in our language, and surely worthy of a higher
place than any living author, be he who he may." (41)

In speaking Of "The Castle of Otranto," it may be remarked as a
singular coincidence in the life of Walpole, that as he had been
the first person to lead the modern public to seek for their
architecture in the Gothic style and age, so he also opened the
great magazine of the tales of Gothic times to their literature.
"The Castle of Otranto" is remarkable," observes an eminent
critic, "not only for the wild interest of its story, but as the
first modern attempt to found a tale of amusing fiction upon the
basis of the ancient romances of chivalry." (42) "This romance,"
he continues, "has been justly considered not only as the
original and model of a peculiar species of composition,
attempted and successfully executed by a man of great genius, but
as one of the standard works of our literature.' (43)

The account which Walpole himself gives of the circumstances
which led to the composition of "The Castle of Otranto," of his
fancy of the portrait of Lord Deputy Falkland, in the gallery at
Strawberry Hill, walking Out of its frame; and of his dream of a
gigantic hand in armour on the banister of a great staircase, are
well known. Perhaps it may be objected to him, that he makes too
frequent use of supernatural machinery in his romance; but, at
the time it was written, this portion of his work was peculiarly
acceptable to the public. We have since, from the labours of the
immense tribe of his followers and imitators of different degrees
of merit, "supped so full of horrors," that we are become more
fastidious upon these points; and even, perhaps, unfairly so, as
at the present moment the style of supernatural romances in
general is rather fallen again Into neglect and disfavour. "If,"
concludes Walter Scott, in his criticism on this work, (and the
sentiments expressed by him are so fair and just, that it is
impossible to forbear quoting them,) "Horace Walpole, who led the
way in this new species of literary composition, has been
surpassed by some of his followers in diffuse brilliancy of
composition, and perhaps in the art of detaining the mind of the
reader in a state of feverish and anxious suspense through a
protracted and complicated narrative, more will yet remain with
him than the single merit of originality and invention. The
applause due to chastity of style--to a happy combination of
supernatural agency with human interest-to a tone of feudal
manners and language, sustained by characters strongly marked and
well discriminated,-and to unity of action, producing scenes
alternately of interest and grandeur,-the applause, in fine,
which cannot be denied to him who can excite the passions of fear
and pity must be awarded to the author of the Castle of Otranto."

"The Mysterious Mother," is a production of higher talent and
more powerful genius than any other which we owe to the pen of
Horace Walpole; though, from the nature of its subject, and the
sternness of its character, it is never likely to compete in
popularity with many of his other writings. The story is too
horrible almost for tragedy. It is, as Walpole himself
observes,"more truly horrid even than that of Oedipus." He took
it from a history which had been told him, and which he thus
relates: "I had heard, when very Young, that a gentlewoman, under
uncommon agonies of mind, had waited on Archbishop Tillotson, and
besought his counsel. Many years before, a damsel that served
her, had acquainted her that she was importuned by the
gentlewoman's son to grant him a private meeting. The mother
ordered the maiden to make the assignation, when, she said, she
would discover herself, and reprimand him for his criminal
passion: but, being hurried away by a much more criminal passion
herself, she kept the assignation without discovering herself.
The fruit of this horrid artifice was a daughter, whom the
gentlewoman caused to be educated very privately in the country:
but proving very lovely, and being accidentally met by her
father-brother, who had never had the slightest suspicion of the
truth, he had fallen in love with and actually married her. The
wretched, guilty mother, learning what had happened, and
distracted with the consequence of her crime, had now resorted to
the archbishop, to know in what manner she should act. The
prelate charged her never to let her son or daughter know what
had passed, as they were innocent of any criminal intention. For
herself he bade her almost despair." (45) Afterwards, Walpole
found out that a similar story existed in the Tales of the Queen
of Navarre, and also in Bishop Hall's works. In this tragedy the
dreadful interest is well sustained throughout, the march of the
blank verse is grand and imposing, and some of the scenes are
worked up with a vigour and a pathos, which render it one of the
most powerful dramatic efforts of which our language can boast.

The next publication of Walpole, was his "Historic Doubts on the
Life and Reign of King Richard the Third," one of the most
ingenious historical and antiquarian dissertations which has ever
issued from the press. He has collected his facts with so much
industry, and draws his arguments and inferences from them with
so much ability, that if he has not convinced the public of the
entire innocence of Richard, he has, at all events, diminished
the number of his crimes, and has thrown a doubt over his whole
history, as well as over the credibility of his accusers, which
is generally favourable to his reputation. This work occasioned
a great sensation in the literary world, and produced several
replies, from F. Guydickens, Esq., Dean Milles, and the Rev. Mr.
Masters, and others. These works, however, are now gathered to
"the dull of ancient days;" while the book they were intended to
expose and annihilate remains an instructive and amusing volume;
and, to say the least of it, a most creditable monument of its
author's ingenuity.

The remainder of the works of Walpole, published or printed in
his lifetime, consist of minor, or, as he calls them, Fugitive
pieces." Of these the most remarkable are his papers in "The
World," and other periodicals; " A Letter from Xo Ho, a Chinese
Philosopher, in London," on the politics of the day; the "Essay
on Modern Gardening;" the pamphlet called "A Counter Address," on
the dismissal of Marshal Conway from his command of a regiment;
the fanciful, but lively "Hieroglyphic Tales;" and "The
Reminiscences," or Recollections of Court and Political
Anecdotes; which last he wrote for the amusement of the Miss
Berrys. All of these are marked with those peculiarities, and
those graces of style, which belonged to him; and may still be
read, however various their subjects, with interest and
instruction. The Reminiscences are peculiarly curious; and may,
perhaps, be stated to be, both in manner and matter, the very
perfection of anecdote writing. We may, indeed, say, with
respect to Walpole, what can be advanced of but few such
voluminous authors, that it is impossible to open any part of his
works without deriving entertainment from them; so much do the
charms and liveliness of his manner of writing influence all the
subjects he treats of.

Since the death of Walpole, a portion of his political Memoires,
comprising the History of the last ten years of the Reign of
George the Second, has been published, and has made a very
remarkable addition to the historical information of that period.
At the same time it must be allowed, that this work has not
entirely fulfilled the expectation which the public had formed of
it. Though full of curious and interesting details; it can
hardly be said to form a very interesting whole; while in no
other of the publications of the author do his prejudices and
aversions appear in so strong and unreasonable a light. His
satire also, and we might even call it by the stronger name of
abuse, is too general, and thereby loses its effect. Many of the
characters are probably not too severely drawn; but some
evidently are, and this circumstance shakes our faith in the
rest. We must, however, remember that the age he describes was
one of peculiar corruption; and when the virtue and character of
public men were, perhaps, at a lower ebb than at any other period
since the days of Charles the Second. The admirably graphic
style of Walpole, in describing particular scenes and moments,
shines forth in many parts of the Memoires: and this, joined to
his having been an actor in many of the circumstances he relates
and a near spectator of all, must ever render his book one of
extreme value to the politician and the historian.

But, the posthumous works of Walpole, upon which his lasting fame
with posterity will probably rest, are his "incomparable
LETTERS." (46) Of these, a considerable portion was published in
the quarto edition of his works in 1798: since which period two
quarto volumes, containing his letters to George Montagu, Esq.
and the Rev. William Cole; and another, containing those to Lord
Hertford and the Rev. Henry Zouch, have been given to the world;
and the present publication of his correspondence with Sir Horace
Mann completes the series, which extends from the year 1735 to
the commencement of 1797, within six weeks of his death-a period
of no less than fifty-seven years.

A friend of Mr. Walpole's has observed, that "his epistolary
talents have shown our language to be capable of all the grace
and all the charms of the French of Madame de S`evign`e;" (47)
and the remark is a true one, for he is undoubtedly the author
who first proved the aptitude of our language for that light and
gay epistolary style, which was before supposed peculiarly to
belong to our Gallic neighbours. There may be letters of a
higher order in our literature than those of Walpole. Gray's
letters, and perhaps Cowper's, may be taken as instances of this;
but where shall we find such an union of taste, humour, and
almost dramatic power of description and narrative, as in the
correspondence of Walpole? Where such happy touches upon the
manners and characters of the time? Where can we find such
graphic scenes, as the funeral of George the Second; as the party
to Vauxhall with Lady Harrington; as the ball at Miss
Chudleigh's, in the letters already published; or as some of the
House of Commons' debates and many of the anecdotes of society in
those now offered to the world? Walpole's style in
letter-writing is occasionally quaint, and sometimes a little
laboured; but for the most part he has contrived to throw into it
a great appearance of ease, as if he wrote rapidly and without
premeditation. This, however, was by no means the case, as he
took great pains with his letters, and even collected, and wrote
down beforehand, anecdotes, with a view to their subsequent
insertion. Some of these stores have been discovered among the
papers at Strawberry Hill.
The account of the letters of Walpole leads naturally to some
mention of his friends, to whom they were addressed. These were,
Gray the poet, Marshal Conway, his elder brother, Lord Hertford,
George Montagu, Esq., the Rev. William Cole, Lord Strafford,
Richard Bentley, Esq., John Chute, Esq., Sir Horace Mann, Lady
Hervey, and in after-life, Mrs. Hannah More, Mrs. Damer, and the
two Miss Berrys. His correspondence with the three latter ladies
has never been published; but his regard for them, and intimacy
with them, are known to have been very great. Towards Mrs.
Damer, the only child of the friend of his heart, Marshal Conway,
he had an hereditary feeling of affection; and to her he
bequeathed Strawberry Hill. To the Miss Berrys he left, in
conjunction with their father, the greater part of his papers,
and the charge of collecting and publishing his works, a task
which they performed with great care and judgment. To these
friends must be added the name of Richard West, Esq., a young man
of great promise, (only son of Richard West, Lord Chancellor of
Ireland, by the daughter of Bishop Burnet,) who died in 1742, at
the premature age of twenty-six.

Gray had been a school friend of Walpole, as has been before
mentioned, they travelled together, and quarrelled during the
Journey. Walter Scott suggests as a reason for their
differences, "that the youthful vivacity, and perhaps
aristocratic assumption, of Walpole, did not agree with the
somewhat formal opinions and habits of the professed man of
letters." (48) This conjecture may very possibly be the correct
one; but we have no clue to guide us with certainty to the causes
of their rupture. In after-life they were reconciled, though the
intimacy of early friendship never appears to have been restored
between them. (49) Scott says of Walpole, that , his temper was
precarious;" and we may, perhaps, affirm the same of Gray. At
all events, they were persons of such different characters, that
their not agreeing could not be surprising. What could be more
opposite than "the self-sequestered, melancholy Gray," and the
eager, volatile Walpole, of whom Lady Townshend said, when some
one talked of his good spirits, "Oh, Mr. Walpole is spirits of
hartshorn." When Mason was writing the life of Gray, Walpole
bade him throw the whole blame of the quarrel upon him. This
might be mere magnanimity, as Gray was then dead; what makes one
most inclined to think it was the truth, is the fact, that Gray
was not the only intimate friend of Walpole with whom he
quarrelled. He did so with Bentley, for which the eccentric
conduct of that man of talent might perhaps account. But what
shall we say to his quarrel with the good-humoured, laughing
George Montagu, with whom for the last years of the life of the
latter, he held no intercourse? It is true, that in a letter to
Mr. Cole, Walpole lays the blame upon Montagu, and says, "he was
become such an humourist;" but it must be remembered that we do
not know Montagu's version of the story; and that undoubtedly
three quarrels with three intimate friends rather support the
charge, brought by Scott against Walpole, of his having "a
precarious temper."

The friendship, however, which does honour both to the head and
heart of Horace Walpole, was that which he bore to Marshal
Conway; a man who, accordant to all the accounts of him that have
come down to us, was so truly worthy of inspiring such a degree
of affection. Burke's panegyric (50)upon his public character
and conduct is well-known; while the Editor of Lord Orford's
Works thus most justly eulogizes his private life. "It is only
those who have had the opportunity of penetrating into the most
secret motives of his public conduct and the inmost recesses of
his private life, that can do real justice to the unsullied
purity of his character-who saw and knew him in the evening of
his days, retired from the honourable activity of a soldier and a
statesman, to the calm enjoyments of private life, happy in the
resources of his own mind, and in the cultivation of useful
science, in the bosom of domestic peace-unenriched by pensions or
places, undistinguished by titles or ribands, unsophisticated by
public life, and unwearied by retirement." The offer of Walpole
to share his fortune with Conway, when the latter was dismissed
from his places, an offer so creditable to both parties, has been
already mentioned; and if we wish to have a just idea of the
esteem in which Marshal Conway was held by his contemporaries, it
is only necessary to mention, that upon the same occasion,
similar offers were pressed upon him by his brother Lord
Hertford, and by the Duke of Devonshire, without any concert
between them.

The rest of' Walpole's friends and correspondents it is hardly
necessary to dwell upon; they are many of them already well known
to the public from various causes. it may, however, be permitted
to observe, that, they were, for the most part, persons
distinguished either by their taste in the fine arts, their love
of antiquities, their literary attainments, or their
conversational talents. To the friends already mentioned, but
with whom Walpole did not habitually correspond, must be added,
Mason the poet, George Selwyn, Richard second Lord Edgecumbe,
George James Williams, Esq. Lady Suffolk, and Mrs. Clive the

With the Marquise du Deffand, the old, blind, but clever leader
of French society, he became acquainted at Paris late in her
life. Her devotion for him appears to have been very great, and
is sometimes expressed in her letters with a warmth and
tenderness, which Walpole, who was most sensitive of ridicule,
thought so absurd in a person of her years and infirmities, that
he frequently reproves her very harshly for it; so much so, as to
give him the appearance of a want of kindly feeling towards her,
which his general conduct to her, and the regrets he expressed on
her death, do not warrant us in accusing him of. (51)

In concluding the literary part of the character of Walpole, it
is natural to allude to the transactions which took place between
him and the unfortunate Chatterton; a text upon which so much
calumny and misrepresentation have been embroidered. The
periodicals of the day, and the tribe of those "who daily
scribble for their daily bread," and for whom Walpole had,
perhaps unwisely, frequently expressed his contempt, attacked him
bitterly for his inhumanity to genius, and even accused him as
the author of the subsequent misfortunes and untimely death of
that misguided son of genius; nay, even the author of "The
Pursuits of Literature," who wrote many years after the
transaction had taken place, and who ought to have known better,
gave in to the prevailing topic of abuse. (52) It therefore
becomes necessary to state shortly what really took place upon
this occasion, a task which is rendered easier by the clear view
of the transaction taken both by Walter Scott in his "Lives of
the Novelists," and by Chalmers in his "Biographical Dictionary,"
which is also fully borne out by the narrative drawn up by
Walpole himself, and accompanied by the correspondence.

it appears then, that in March
1769, Walpole-received a letter from Chatterton, enclosing a few
specimens of the pretended poems of Rowley, and announcing his
discovery of a series of ancient painters at Bristol. To this
communication Walpole, naturally enough, returned a very civil
answer. Shortly afterwards, doubts arose in his mind as to the
authenticity of the poems; these were confirmed by the opinions
of some friends, to whom he showed them; and he then wrote an
expression of these doubts to Chatterton. This appears to have
excited the anger of Chatterton, who, after one or two short
notes, wrote Walpole a very impertinent one, in which he
redemanded his manuscripts. This last letter Walpole had
intended to have answered with some sharpness; but did not do so.
He only returned the specimens on the 4th of August 1769; and
this concluded the intercourse between them, and as Walpole
observes, "I never saw him then, before, or since." Subsequently
to this transaction, Chatterton acquired other patrons more
credulous than Walpole, and proceeded with his forgeries. In
April 1770 he came to London, and committed suicide in August of
that year; a fate which befell him, it is to be feared, more in
consequence of his own dissolute and profligate habits, than from
any want of patronage. However this may be, Walpole clearly had
nothing to say to it.

In addition to the accusation of crushing, instead of fostering
his genius, Walpole has also been charged with cruelty in not
assisting him with money. Upon this, he very truly says himself,
"Chatterton was neither indigent nor distressed, at the time of
his correspondence with me. He was maintained by his mother and
lived with a lawyer. His only pleas to my assistance were,
disgust to his profession, inclination to poetry, and
communication of some suspicious MSS. His distress was the
consequence of quitting his master, and coming to London, and of
his other extravagances. He had depended on the impulse of the
talents he felt for making impression, and lifting him to wealth,
honours, and faine. I have already said, that I should have been
blamable to his mother and society, if I had seduced an
apprentice from his master to marry him to the nine Muses;' and I
should have encouraged a propensity to forgery, which is not the
talent most wanting culture in the present age." (53) Such and so
unimportant was the transaction with Chatterton, which brought so
much obloquy on Walpole, and seems really to have given him at
different times great annoyance.

There remains but little more to relate in the life of Walpole.
His old age glided on peacefully, and, with the exception of his
severe sufferings from the gout, apparently contentedly, in the
pursuit of his favourite studies and employments. In the year
1791, he succeeded his unhappy nephew, George, third Earl of
Orford, who had at different periods of his life been insane, in
the family estate and the earldom. The accession of this latter
dignity seems rather to have annoyed him than otherwise. He
never took his seat in the House of Lords, and his unwillingness
to adopt his title was shown in his endeavours to avoid making
use of it in his signature. He not unfrequently signed himself,
"The Uncle of the late Earl of Orford." (54)

He retained his faculties to the last, but his limbs became
helpless from his frequent attacks of gout: as he himself
expresses it,

"Fortune, who scatters her gifts out of season,
Though unkind to my limbs, has yet left me my reason." (55)

As a friend of his, who only knew him in the last years of his
life, speaks of "his conversation as singularly brilliant as it
was original," (56) we may conclude his liveliness never deserted
him; that his talent for letter-writing did not, we have a proof
in a letter written only six weeks before his death, in which,
with all his accustomed grace of manner he entreats a lady of his
acquaintance not to show "the idle notes of her ancient
servant."-Lord Orford died in the eightieth year `of his life, at
his house in Berkeley Square, on the 2d of March 1797, and was
buried with his family in the church at Houghton and with him
concluded the male line of the descendants of Sir Robert Walpole.

(20) Originally prefixed to his lordship's edition of Walpole's
Letters to Sir Horace Mann, first published in 1833.

(21) In a MS. note by Walpole, in his own copy of collins's
Peerage, it is stated, that Sir Robert Walpole had, by his first
wife, "another son, William, who died young, and a daughter,
Catherine, who died of a consumption at Bath, aged nineteen."-E.

(22) The occasion of the death of sir John Shorter was a curious
one. It is thus related in the Ellis Correspondence:-"Sir John
Shorter, the present Lord Mayor. is very ill with a fall off his
horse, under Newgate, as he was going to proclaim Bartholomew
Fair. The city custom is, it seems, to drink always under
Newgate when the Lord Mayor passes that way; and at this time the
Lord Mayor's horse, being somewhat skittish,-started at the sight
of the large glittering tankard which was reached to his
lordship." Letter of Aug. 30th, 1688.

"On Tuesday last died the Lord Mayor, Sir John Shorter: the
occasion of his distemper was his fall under Newgate, which
bruised him a little, and put him into a fever." Letter of
September 6th, 1688.

(23 )birthdate) In Chalmers's Biographical Dictionary it is
stated, that Horace Walpole was born in 1718; and Sir Walter
Scott says he was born in 1716-17, which, according to the New
Style, would mean that he was born in one of the three first
months of the year 1717. Both these statements are, however,
erroneous, as he himself fixes the day of his birth, in a letter
to Mr. Conway, dated October 5th, 1764, where he says "What
signifies what happens when one is seven-and-forty, as I am
to-day? They tell me 'tis my birthday," And again, in a letter
to the same correspondent, dated October 5th, 1777, he says, "I
am three-score to-day."

(24) The exact cause of this quarrel," says Mr. Mitford, in his
Life of Gray, " has been passed over by the delicacy of his
biographer, because Horace Walpole was alive when the Memoirs of
Gray were written. The former, however, charged himself with the
chief blame, and lamented that he had not paid more attention and
deference to Gray's superior judgment and prudence." See Works of
Gray, vol. i. p. 9, Pickering's edition 1836. In the
"Walpolianae" is the following passage:-"The quarrel between Gray
and me arose from his being too serious a companion. I had just
broke loose from the restraints of the University with as much
money as I could spend, and I was willing to indulge myself.
Gray was for antiquities, etc. while I was for perpetual balls
and plays: the fault was mine."-E.

(25) Sir Walter Scott says that Walpole, on one occasion, "
vindicated the memory of his father with great dignity and
eloquence" in the House of Commons; but, as I cannot find any
trace of a speech of this kind made by him after Sir Robert
Walpole's death, I am inclined to think Sir Walter must have made
a mistake as to the time of delivery of the speech mentioned in
the text. [Secker, at that time Bishop of Oxford, says that
Walpole "spoke well against the motion." See post, letter to Sir
Horace Mann, dated March 24, 1742.

(26) Sir Walter Scott is in error when he says that Walpole
retired from the House of Commons in 1758, "at the active age of
forty-one." This event occurred, as is here stated, in March,
1768, and when Walpole was consequently in his fifty-first year.

(27) Letter, dated Arlington Street, March 12th, 1768. It is but
fair to mention, in opposition to the opinion respecting George
Grenville, here delivered by Walpole, that of no less an
authority than Burke, who says, "Mr. Grenville was a first-rate
figure in this country,"

(28) He had also offered to share his fortune with Mr. Conway in
the year 1744 (see letter of July 20th of that year), in order to
enable Mr. Conway to marry a lady he was then in love with. He
ends his very pressing entreaties by saying, "For these reasons,
don't deny me what I have set my Heart on-the making your fortune
easy to you." Nor were these the only instances of generosity to
a friend, which we find in the life of Walpole. In the year
1770, when the Abb`e Terrai was administering the finances of
France, (or, to use the more expressive language of Voltaire,
"Quand Terrai nous mangeait,") his economical reductions
occasioned the loss of a portion of her pension, amounting to
three thousand livres, to Madame du Deffand. Upon this occasion
Walpole wrote thus to his old blind friend, who had presented a
memorial of her case to M. de St. Florentin, a course of
proceeding which Walpole did not approve of:-"Ayez assez
d'amiti`e pour moi pour accepter les trois mille livres de ma
part. Je voudrais que la somme ne me f`ut pas aussi indiferente
qu'elle l'est, mais je vous jure qu'elle ne retranchera rien, pas
m`eme sur mes amusemens. La prendriez vous de la main de la
grandeur, et la refuseriez vous de moi? Vous me connaissez:
faites ce sacrifice `a mon orgueil, qui serait enchants de vous
avoir emp`ech`ee de vous abaisser jusqu'`a la sollicitation.
Votre m`emoire me blesse. Quoi! vous, vous, r`eduite `a
repr`esenter vos malheurs! Accordez moi, je vous conjure, la
grace que je vous demande `a genoux, et jouissez de la
satisfaction de vous dire, J'ai un ami qui ne permettra jamais
que je me jette aux pieds des grands. Ma Petite, j'insiste.
Voyez, si vous aimez mieux me faire le plaisir le plus sensible,
ou de devoir une grace qui, ayant `et`e sollicit`ee, arrive
toujours trop tard pour contanter l'amiti`e. Laissez moi go`uter
la joie la plus pure, de vous avoir mise `a votre aise, et que
cette joie soit un secret profond entre nous deux." See Letters
of the Marquise de Deffand to the Honourable Horace Walpole.-It
was impossible to make a pecuniary offer with more earnestness or
greater delicacy; and Madame du Deffand's not having found it
necessary subsequently to accept it, in no degree diminishes the
merit of the proffered gift.

(29) See letter, dated Monday, five o'clock, Feb. 1761.

(30) See letter, dated April 19th, 1764.

(31) See letter to Sir Horace Mann, Feb. 25, 1750.

(32) Catherine Hyde, the eccentric friend of Pope and Gay. She
was, at this time, living in a small house in Ham Walks.
Walpole, having found her out airing in her Carriage, one day
that he had called on her, there addressed the following lines to

'To many a Kitty, Love his car
Would for a day engage;
But Prior's Kitty, ever fair,
Retains it for an age."

(33) Letter of June 8th, 1747.

(34) Lee, in Kent.

(35) Letter of June 5th, 1788.

(36) George James Williams, Esq.

(37) In his vers de soci`et`e we perpetually discover a laborious
effort to introduce the lightness of the French badinage into a
masculine and somewhat rough language."-Quart. Rev. vol. xix. p.

(38) Lives of the Novelists, Prose Works, vol. iii. p. 304, ed.

(39) Chalmer's Biographical Dictionary, article Walpole.

(40) "The Mysterious Mother" was printed in that year: but was
never published till after the death of Walpole.

(41) Lord Byron, Preface to Mtrino Faliero."

(42) Lives of the Novelists, Sir Walter Scott; Prose Works, vol.
iii. p. 313.

(43) Shortly after the appearance of this romance, the following
high encomium was passed upon it by Bishop Warburton:-"We have
been lately entertained with what I will venture to call a
masterpiece in the fable, and a new species likewise. The piece
I mean is laid in Gothic chivalry, where a beautiful imagination,
supported by strength of judgment, has enabled the author to go
beyond his subject, and effect the full purpose of the ancient
tragedy; that is, to purge the passions by pity and terror, in
colouring as great and harmonious as in any of the best dramatic

(44) Lives of the Novelists; Prose Works, vol. iii. p. 323.

(45) Postscript to "The Mysterious Mother."

(46) Lord Byron.

(47) Social Life in England and France," by Miss Berry.

(48) Lives of the Novelists; Prose Works, vol. iii. p. 301.

(49) "In 1744, the difference between Walpole and Gray was
adjusted by the interference of a lady, who wished well to both
parties. The lapse of three years had probably been sufficient,
in some degree, to soften down, though not entirely obliterate,
the remembrance of supposed injustices on both sides; natural
kindness of temper had resumed their place, and we find their
correspondence again proceeding on friendly and familiar terms."
Mitford's Gray, vol. i. p. xxiii; see also vol. ii. p. 174.-E.

(50) Speech on American Taxation, April 19, 1774.

(51) "Vanity, when it unfortunately gets possession of a wise
man's head, is as keenly sensible of ridicule, as it is
impassible to its shafts when more appropriately lodged with a
fool. Of the sensitiveness arising out of this foible Walpole
seems to have had a great deal, and it certainly dictated those
hard-hearted reproofs that repelled the warm effusions of
friendship with which poor Madame du Deffand (now old and blind)
addressed him, and of which he complained with the utmost
indignation, merely because, if her letters were opened by a
clerk at the post-office, such expressions of kindness might
expose him to the ridicule of which he had such undue terror."
Quart. Rev. Vol. xix. p. 119.-E.

(52) See "Pursuits of Literature," second Dialogue:-

"The Boy, whom once patricians pens adorn'd,
First meanly flatter'd, then as meanly scorn'd."

Which lines are Stated in a note to allude to Walpole. See also,
first Dialogue, where Chatturton is called, "That varlet bright."
The note to which passage is "'I am the veriest varlet that ever
chew'd,' says Falstaff, in Henry IV. Part 1. Act. 2. Mr. Horace
Walpole, now Lord Orford, did not, however, seem to think it
necessary that this varlet Chatterton should chew at all. See
the Starvation Act, dated at Strawberry Hill."

(53) Letter to the Editor of the Miscellanies of Chatterton.
Works, vol. iv.

(54) The Duke of Bedford has a letter of Walpole's with this

(55) "Epitapilium vivi auctoris."-l 792.

(56) "Social Life in England and France."


Il ne faut point d'esprit pour s'occuper des vieux


Motives to the Undertaking-Precedents-George the First's Reign a
Proem to the History of the Reigning House of Brunswick-The
Reminiscent introduced to that Monarch-His Person and Dress-The
Duchess of Kendal-her Jealousy of Sir Robert Walpole's Credit
with the King-and Intrigues to displace him, and make Bolingbroke
Minister. '

You were both so entertained with the old stories I told you one
evening lately, of what I recollected to have seen and heard from
my childhood of the courts of King George the First, and of his
son the Prince of Wales, afterwards George the Second, and of the
latter's princess, since Queen Caroline; and you expressed such
wishes that I would commit those passages (for they are scarce
worthy of the title even of anecdotes) to writing, that, having
no greater pleasure than to please you both, nor any more
important or laudable occupation, I will begin to satisfy the
repetition of your curiosity. But observe, I promise no more
than to begin; for I not only cannot answer that I shall have
patience to continue, but my memory is still so fresh, or rather
so retentive of trifles which first made impression on it, that
it is very possible my life (turned of seventy-one) may be
exhausted before my stock of remembrances; especially as I am
sensible of the garrulity of old age, and of its eagerness of
relating whatever it recollects, whether of moment or not. Thus,
while I fancy I am complying with you, I may only be indulging
myself, and consequently may wander into many digressions for
which you will not care a straw, and which may intercept the
completion of my design. Patience, therefore young ladies; and
if you coin an old gentleman into narratives, you must expect a
good deal of alloy. I engage for no method, no regularity, no
polish. My narrative will probably resemble siege-pieces, which
are struck of any promiscuous metals; and, though they bear the
impress of some sovereign's name, only serve to quiet the
garrison for the moment, and afterwards are merely hoarded by
collectors and virtuosos, who think their series not complete,
unless they have even the coins of base metal of every reign. As
I date from my nonage, I must have laid up no state secrets.
Most of the facts I am going to tell you though new to you and to
most of the present age, were known perhaps at the time to my
nurse and my tutors. Thus, my stories will have nothing to do
with history.

Luckily, there have appeared within these three months two
publications, that will serve as precedents for whatever I am
going to say: I mean Les Fragments of the Correspondence of the
Duchess of Orleans, (57) and those of the M`emoires of the Duc de
St. Simon. (58) Nothing more d`ecousu than both: they tell you
what they please; or rather, what their editors have pleased to
let them tell. In one respect I shall be less satisfactory.
They knew and were well acquainted, or thought they were, with
their personages. I did not at ten years old, penetrate
characters; and as George 1. died at the period where my
reminiscence begins, and was rather a good sort of man than a
shining king; and as the Duchess of Kendal was no genius, I heard
very little of either when he and her power were no more. In
fact, the reign of George 1. was little more than the proem to
the history of England Under the House of Brunswick. That family
was established here by surmounting a rebellion; to which
settlement perhaps the phrensy of the South Sea scheme
contributed, by diverting the national attention from the game of
faction to the delirium of stockjobbing; and even faction was
split into fractions by the quarrel between the king and the heir
apparent-another interlude, which authorizes me to call the reign
of George 1. a proem to the history of the reigning House of
Brunswick, so successively agitated by parallel feuds.


As my first hero was going off the stage before I ought to have
come upon it, it will be necessary to tell you why the said two
personages happened to meet just two nights before they were to
part for ever; a rencounter that barely enables me to give you a
general idea of the former's person and of his mistress's-or, as
has been supposed, his wife's.

As I was the youngest by eleven years of Sir Robert Walpole's
children by his first wife, and was extremely weak and delicate,
as you see me still, though with no constitutional complaint till
I had the gout after forty, and as my two sisters were
consumptive and died of consumptions, the supposed necessary care
of me (and I have overheard persons saying, "That child cannot
possibly live") so engrossed the attention of my mother, that
compassion and tenderness soon became extreme fondness; and as
the infinite good-nature of my father never thwarted any of his
children, he suffered me to be too much indulged, and permitted
her to gratify the first vehement inclination that I ever
expressed, and which, as I have never since felt any enthusiasm
for royal persons, I must suppose that the female attendants in
the family must have put into my head, to long to see the king.
This childish caprice was so strong, that my mother solicited the
Duchess of Kendal to obtain for me the honour of kissing his
Majesty's hand before he set out for Hanover. A favour so unusual
to be asked for a boy of ten years old, was still too slight to
be refused to the wife of the first minister for her darling
child; yet not being proper to be made a precedent, it was
settled to be in private, and at night.

Accordingly, the night but one before the king began his last
journey, my mother carried me at ten at night to the apartment of
the Countess of Walsingham, (59) on the ground floor, towards the
garden at St. James's, which opened into that of her aunt, the
Duchess of Kendal's: apartments occupied by George II. after his
queen's death, and by his successive mistresses, the Countesses
of Suffolk and Yarmouth.

Notice being given that the king was come down to supper, Lady
Walsingham took me alone into the duchess's ante-room, where we
found alone the king and her. I knelt down, and kissed his hand.
He said a few words to me, and my conductress led me back to my
mother (60)

The person of the king is as perfect in my memory as if I saw him
but yesterday. It was that of an elderly man, rather pale, and
exactly like his pictures and coins; Dot tall; of an aspect
rather good than august; with a dark tie-wig, a plain coat,
waistcoat, and breeches of snuff coloured cloth, with stockings
Of the same colour, and a blue riband over all. So entirely was
he my object that I do not believe I once looked at the duchess;
but as I could not avoid seeing her on entering the room, I
remember that just beyond his Majesty stood a very tall, lean,
ill-favoured old lady but I did not retain the least idea of her
features, nor know what the colour of her dress was.

My childish loyalty, and the condescension in gratifying it,
were, I suppose, causes that contributed, very soon afterwards,
to make me shed a flood of tears for that sovereign's death,
when, with the other scholars at Eton college, I walked in
procession to the proclamation of the successor; and which
(though I think they partly felt because I imagined it became the
son of a prime-minister to be more concerned than other boys)
were no doubt imputed by many of the spectators who were
politicians, to fears of my father's most probable fall, but of
which I had not the smallest conception, nor should have met with
any more concern than I did when it really arrived, in the year
1742; by which time I had lost all taste for courts and princes
and power, as was natural to one who never felt an ambitious
thought for himself.

It must not be inferred from her obtaining this grace for me,
that the Duchess of Kendal was a friend to my father; on the
contrary, at that moment she had been labouring to displace him,
and introduce Lord Bolingbroke (61) into the administration; on
which I shall say more hereafter.

It was an instance of Sir Robert's singular fortune, or evidence
of his talents, that he not only preserved his power under two
successive monarchs, but in spite of the efforts of both their
mistresses (62) to remove him. It was perhaps still more
remarkable, and an instance unparalleled, that Sir Robert
governed George the First in Latin, the King not speaking
English, (63) and his minister no German, nor even French. (64)
It was much talked of, that Sir Robert, detecting one of the
Hanoverian ministers in some trick or falsehood before the King'S
face, had the firmness to say to the German, "Mentiris,
impudentissime!" The good-humoured monarch only laughed, as he
often did when Sir Robert complained to him of his Hanoverians
selling places, nor would be persuaded that it was not the
practice of the English court; and which an incident must have
planted in his mind with no favourable impression of English
disinterestedness. "This is a strange country!" said his Majesty;
"the first morning after my arrival at St. James's, I looked out
of the window, and saw a park with walks, a canal, etc. which
they told me were mine. The next day, Lord Chetwynd, the ranger
of my park, sent me a fine brace of carp out of my canal; and I
was told I must give five guineas to Lord Chetwynd's servant for
bringing me my own carp out of my own canal in my own park!"
I have said, that the Duchess of Kendal was no friend of Sir
Robert, and wished to make Lord Bolingbroke minister in his room.
I was too young to know any thing of that reign, nor was
acquainted with the political cabals of the court, which,
however, I might have learnt from my father in the three years
after his retirement; but being too thoughtless at that time, nor
having your laudable curiosity, I neglected to inform myself of
many passages and circumstances, of which I have often since
regretted my faulty ignorance.

By what I can at present recollect, the Duchess seems to have
been jealous of Sir Robert's credit with the King, which he had
acquired, not by paying court, but by his superior abilities in
the House of Commons, and by his knowledge in finance, of which
Lord Sunderland and Craggs had betrayed their ignorance in
countennancing the South Sea scheme; and who, though more
agreeable to the King, had been forced to give way to Walpole, as
the only man capable of repairing that mischief. The Duchess,
too, might be alarmed at his attachment to the Princess of Wales;
from whom, in case of the King's death, her grace could expect no
favour. Of her jealousy I do know the following instance; Queen
Anne had bestowed the rangership of Richmond New Park on her
relations the Hydes for three lives, one of which was expired.
King George, fond of shooting, bought out the term of the last
Earl of Clarendon, and of his son Lord Cornbury, and frequently
shot there; having appointed my eldest brother, Lord Walpole,
ranger nominally, but my father in reality, wished to hunt there
once or twice a week. The park had run to great decay under the
Hydes, nor was there any mansion (65) better than the common
lodges of the keepers. The King ordered a stone lodge designed
by Henry, Earl of Pembroke, to be erected for himself, but merely
as a banqueting-house, (66) with a large eating-room, kitchen,
and necessary offices, where he might dine after his sport. Sir
Robert began another of brick for himself, and the under-ranger,
which by degrees, he much enlarged; usually retiring thither from
business, or rather, as he said himself, to do more business than
he could in town, on Saturdays and Sundays. On that edifice, on
the thatched-house, and other improvements, he laid out fourteen
thousand pounds of his own money. In the meantime, he hired a
small house for himself on the hill without the park; and in that
small tenement the King did him the honour of dining with him
more than once after shooting. His Majesty, fond of private
joviality, (67) was pleased with punch after dinner, and indulged
in it freely. The Duchess, alarmed at the advantage the minister
might make of the openness of the King's heart in those
convivial, unguarded hours, and at a crisis when she was
conscious Sir Robert was apprised of her inimical machinations in
favour of Lord Bolingbroke, enjoined the few Germans who
accompanied the King at those dinners to prevent his Majesty from
drinking too freely. Her spies obeyed too punctually, and
without any address. The King was offended, and silenced the
tools by the coarsest epithets in the German language. He even,
before his departure, ordered Sir Robert to have the stone lodge
finished against his return: no symptom of a falling minister, as
has since been supposed Sir Robert then was, and that Lord
Bolingbroke was to have replaced him, had the King lived to come
back. But my presumption to the contrary is more strongly
corroborated by what had recently passed: the Duchess had
actually prevailed on the King to see Bolingbroke secretly in his
closet. That intriguing Proteus, aware that he might not obtain
an audience long enough to efface former prejudices, and make
sufficient impression on the King against Sir Robert, and in his
own favour, went provided with a memorial, which he left in the
closet. and begged his Majesty to peruse coolly at his leisure.
The King kept the paper, but no longer than till he saw Sir
Robert, to whom he delivered the poisoned remonstrance. If that
communication prognosticated the minister's fall, I am at a loss
to know what a mark of confidence is.

Nor was that discovery the first intimation that Walpole had
received of the measure of Bolingbroke's gratitude. The
minister, against the earnest representations of his family and
Most intimate friends, had consented to the recall of that
incendiary from banishment, (68) excepting only his readmission
into the House of Lords, that every field of annoyance might not
be open to his mischievous turbulence. Bolingbroke, it seems,
deemed an embargo laid on his tongue would warrant his hand to
launch every envenomed shaft against his benefactor, who by
restricting had paid him the compliment of avowing that his
eloquence was not totally inoffensive. Craftsmen, pamphlet,
libels, combinations, were showered on or employed for years
against the prime-minister, without shaking his power or ruffling
his temper; and Bolingbroke had the mortification of finding his
rival had abilities to maintain his influence against the
mistresses of two kings, with whom his antagonist had plotted in
vain to overturn him. (69)

(57) Charlotte Elizabeth, daughter of the Elector of Bavaria. In
1671 she became the second wife (his first being poisoned) of the
brother of Louis XIV. by whom she was the mother of the regent,
Duke of Orleans. She died in 1722. A collection of her letters,
addressed to Prince Ulric of Brunswick, and to the Princess of
Wales, afterwards Queen Caroline, was published at Paris in

(58) These celebrated M`emoires of the Court of Louis XIV. were
first published, in a mutilated state, in 1788. A complete
edition, in thirteen volumes, appeared in 1791.-E.

(59) Melusina Schulemberg, niece of the Duchess of Kendal,
created Countess of Walsingham and -,afterwards married to the
famous Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield.

(60) The following is the account of this introduction given in
"Walpoliana:"-"I do remember something of George the First. My
father took me to St. James's while I was a very little boy;
after waiting some time in an anteroom, a gentleman came in all
dressed in brown, even his stockings, and with a riband and star.
He took me up in his arms, kissed me, and chatted some time,"-E.

(61) The well-known Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke,
secretary of state to Queen Anne; on whose death he fled, and was
attainted. ["We have the authority of Sir Robert Walpole
himself," says Coxe, "that the restoration of Lord Bolingbroke
was the work of the Duchess of Kendal. He gained the duchess by
a present of eleven thousand pounds, and obtained a promise to
use her influence over the King, for the purpose of forwarding
his complete restoration."]

(62) The Duchess of Kendal and Lady Suffolk.

(63) Sir Robert was frequently heard to say, that during the
reign of the first George, he governed the kingdom by means of
bad Latin: it is a matter of wonder that, under such
disadvantages. the King should take pleasure in transacting
business with him: a circumstance which was principally owing to
the method and perspicuity of his calculations, and to the
extreme facility with which he arranged and explained the most
abstruse and difficult combinations of finance." Coxe.-E.

(64) Prince William, afterwards Duke of Cumberland, then a child,
being carried to big grandfather on his birthday, the King asked
him at what hour he rose. The Prince replied, "when the
chimney-sweepers went about." "Vat is de chimney-sweeper?" said
the King. "Have you been so long in England," said the boy, "and
do not know what a chimney-sweeper is? Why, they are like that
man there;" pointing to Lord Finch, afterwards Earl of Winchilsea
and Nottingham, of a family uncommonly swarthy and dark-"the
black funereal Finches"-Sir Charles Williams's Ode to a Number of
Great Men, 1742.

(65) The Earl of Rochester, who succeeded to the title of
Clarendon on the extinction of the elder branch, had a villa
close without the park; but it had been burnt down, and only one
wing was left. W. Stanhope, Earl of Harrington, purchased the
ruins, and built the house, since bought by Lord Camelford.

(66) It was afterwards enlarged by Princess Amelia; to whom her
rather, George II. had granted the reversion of the rangership
after Lord Walpole. Her Royal Highness sold it to George III.
for a pension on Ireland of twelve hundred pounds a-year, and his
Majesty appointed Lord Bute ranger for life.

(67) The King Hated the parade of royalty. When he went to the
opera, it was in no state; nor did he sit in the stage-box, nor
forwards, but behind the Duchess of Kendal and Lady Walsingham,
in the second box, now allotted to the maids of honour.

(68) Bolingbroke at his return could not avoid waiting on Sir
Robert to thank him, and was Invited to dine with him at Chelsea;
but whether tortured at witnessing Walpole's serene frankness and
felicity, or suffocated with indignation and confusion at being
forced to be obliged to one whom be hated and envied, the first
morsel he put into his mouth was near choking him, and he was
reduced to rise from table and leave the room for some minutes.
I never heard of their meeting more.

(69) George II. parted with Lady Suffolk, on Princess Amelia
informing Queen Caroline from Bath, that the mistress had
interviews there with Lord Bolingbroke. Lady Suffolk, above
twenty years after, protested to me that she had not once seen
his lordship there; and I should believe she did not, for she was
a woman of truth: but her great intimacy and connexion with Pope
and Swift, the intimate friends of Bolingbroke, even before the
death of George I. and her being the channel through whom that
faction had flattered themselves they should gain the ear of the
new King, can leave no doubt of Lady Suffolk's support of that
party. Her dearest friend to her death was William, afterwards
Lord Chetwynd, the known and most trusted confidant of Lord
Bolingbroke. Of those political intrigues I shall say more in
these Reminiscences.


Marriage of George the First, while Electoral Prince, to the
Princess Sophia Dorothea-Assassination of Count
Konigsmark-Separation from the Princess-Left-handed
Espousal-Piety of the Duchess of Kendal-Confinement and Death of
Sophia Dorothea in the Castle of Alden-French Prophetess-The
King's Superstition-Mademoiselle Schulemberg--Royal
Inconstancy-Countess of Platen-Anne Brett--Sudden Death of George
the First.

George the First, while Electoral Prince, had married his cousin,
the Princess Dorothea (70) only child of the Duke of Zell; a
match of convenience to reunite the dominions of the family.
Though she was very handsome, the Prince, who was extremely
amorous, had several mistresses; which provocation, and his
absence in the army of the confederates, probably disposed the
Princess to indulge some degree of coquetry. At that moment
arrived at Hanover the famous and beautiful Count Konigsmark,
(71) the charms of whose person ought not to have obliterated the
memory of his vile assassination of Mr. Thynne.(72)His vanity,
the beauty of the Electoral Princess, and the neglect under which
he found her, encouraged his presumption to make his addresses to
her, not covertly; and she, though believed not to have
transgressed her duty, did receive them too indiscreetly. The
old Elector flamed at the insolence of so stigmatized a
pretender, and ordered him to quit his dominions the next day.
The Princess, surrounded by women too closely connected with her
husband, and consequently enemies of the lady they injured, was
persuaded by them to suffer the count to kiss her hand before his
abrupt departure and he was actually introduced by them into her
bedchamber the next morning before she rose. From that moment he
disappeared nor was it known what became of him, till on the
death of George I., on his son the new King's first journey to
Hanover, some alterations in the palace being ordered by him, the
body of Konigsmark was discovered under the floor of the
Electoral Princess's dressing-room-the Count having probably been
strangled there the instant he left her, and his body secreted.
The discovery was hushed up; George II. entrusted the secret to
his wife, Queen Caroline, who told it to my father: but the King
was too tender of the honour of his mother to utter it to his
mistress; nor did Lady Suffolk ever hear of it, till I informed
her of it several years afterwards. The disappearance of the
Count made his murder suspected, and various reports of the
discovery of his body have of late years been spread, but not
with the authentic circumstances. The second George loved his
mother as much as he hated his father, and purposed, as was said,
had the former survived, to have brought her over and declared
her Queen Dowager. (73) Lady Suffolk has told me her surprise,
on going to the new Queen the morning after the news arrived of
the death of George I., at seeing hung up in the Queen's
dressing-room a whole length of a lady in royal robes; and in the
bedchamber a half length of the same person, neither of which
Lady Suffolk had ever seen before. The Prince had kept them
concealed, not daring to produce them during the life of his
father. The whole length he probably sent to Hanover: (74) the
half length I have frequently and frequently seen in the library
of Princess Amelia, who told me it was the portrait of her
grandmother. she bequeathed it, with other pictures of her
family, to her nephew, the Landgrave of Hesse.

Of the circumstances that ensued on Konigsmark's disappearance I
am ignorant; nor am I acquainted with the laws of Germany
relative to divorce or separation: nor do I know or suppose that
despotism and pride allow the law to insist on much formality
when a sovereign has reason or mind to get rid of his wife.
Perhaps too much difficulty of untying the Gordian not of
matrimony thrown in the way of an absolute prince would be no
kindness to the ladies, but might prompt him to use a sharper
weapon, like that butchering husband, our Henry VIII.
Sovereigns, who narrow or let out the law of God according to
their prejudices and passions, mould their own laws no doubt to
the standard of their convenience. Genealogic purity of blood is
the predominant folly of Germany; and the code of Malta seems to
have more force in the empire than the ten commandments. Thence
was introduced that most absurd evasion of the indissolubility of
marriage, espousals with the left hand-as if the Almighty had
restrained his ordinance to one half of a man's person, and
allowed a greater latitude to his left side than to his right, or
pronounced the former more ignoble than the latter. The
consciences both of princely and noble persons in Germany are
quieted, if the more plebeian side is married to one who would
degrade the more illustrious moiety-but, as if the laws of
matrimony had no reference to the children to be thence
propagated, the children of a left-handed alliance are not
entitled to inherit. Shocking consequence of a senseless
equivocation, that only satisfies pride, not justice; and
calculated for an acquittal at the herald's Office, not at the
last tribunal.

Separated the Princess Dorothea certainly was, and never admitted
even to the nominal honours of her rank, being thenceforward
always styled Duchess of Halle. Whether divorced (75) is
problematic, at least to me; nor can I pronounce, as, though it
was generally believed, I am not certain that George espoused the
Duchess of Kendal with his left hand. As the Princess Dorothea
died only some months before him, that ridiculous ceremony was
scarcely deferred till then; and the extreme outward devotion of
the Duchess, who every Sunday went seven times to Lutheran
chapels, seemed to announce a realized wife. As the genuine wife
was always detained in her husband's power, he seems not to have
wholly dissolved their union; for, on the approach of the French
army towards Hanover, during Queen Anne's reign, the Duchess of
Halle was sent home to her father and mother, who doted on their
only child, and did retain her for a whole year, and did implore,
though in vain that she might continue to reside with them. As
her son too, George II., had thoughts of bringing her over and
declaring her Queen Dowager, one can hardly believe that a
ceremonial divorce had passed, the existence of which process
would have glared in the face of her royalty. But though German
casuistry might allow her husband to take another wife with his
left hand, because his legal wife had suffered her right hand to
be kissed in bed by a gallant, even Westphalian or Aulic
counsellors could not have pronounced that such a momentary adieu
constituted adultery; and therefore of a formal divorce I must
doubt-and there I must leave that case of conscience undecided,
till future search into the Hanoverian chancery shall clear up a
point of little real importance.

I have said that the disgraced Princess died but a short time
before the King. (76) It is known that in Queen Anne's time there
was much noise about French prophets. A female of that vocation
(for we know from Scripture that the gift of prophecy is not
limited to one gender) warned George I. to take care of his wife,
as he would not survive her a year. That oracle was probably
dictated to the French Deborah by the Duke and Duchess of Zell,
'who might be apprehensive lest the' Duchess of Kendal should be
tempted to remove entirely the obstacle to her conscientious
union with their son-in-law. Most Germans are superstitious,
even such as have few other impressions of religion. George gave

Book of the day: