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any concession on his part which could justly neither the ministers nor the leaders of the op. offend the Whigs. It was his rare good-fortune position could be offended. to share the triumph of his friends without The singular affectation which had from the having shared their proscription. When the first been characteristic of Congreve, grew house of Hanover came to the throne, his for- stronger and stronger as he advanced in life tunes began to flourish. The reversion to At last it became disagreeable to him to hear which he had been nominated twenty years his own comedies praised. Voltaire, whose before, fell in. He was made a secretary to the soul was burned up by the raging desire for island of Jamaica; and his whole income literary renown, was half puzzled, half dis. amounted to 12001. a year-a fortune which, gusted by what he saw, during his visit to for a single man, was, in that age, not only England, of this extraordinary whim. Con. easy, but splendid. He continued, however, greve disclaimed the character of a poet-de. to practise the frugality which he had learned clared that his plays were trifles produced in when he could scarcely spare, as Swift tells an idle hour, and begged that Voltaire vould us, a shilling to pay the chairman who carried consider him merely as a gentleman. “If you him to Lord Halifax's. Though he had no- had been merely a gentleman,” said Voltaire, body to save for, he laid up at least as much “I should not have come to see you." as he spent.
Congreve was not a man of warm affections. The infirmities of age came early upon him. Domestic ties he had none; and in the tempoHis habits had been intemperate; he suffered rary connections which he formed with a sucmuch from gout; and when confined to his cession of beauties from the green-room, his chamber, had no longer the solace of literature. heart does not appear to have been at all in. Blindness, the most cruel misfortune that can terested. Of all his attachments, that to Mrs. befall the lonely student, made his books use- Bracegirdle lasted the longest, and was the less to him. He was thrown on society for all most celebrated. This charming actress, who his amusement, and, in society, his good breed was, during many years, the idol of all Lon ing and vivacity made him always welcome. don; whose face caused the fatal broil in
By the rising men of letters he was consi- which Mountfort fell, and for which Lord Modered not as a rival, but as a classic. He had hun was tried by the Peers; and to whom the left their arena; he never measured his Earl of Scarsdale was said to have made strength with them; and he was always loud honourable addresses, had conducted herself, in applause of their exertions. They could, in very trying circumstances, with extraordi. therefore, entertain no jealousy of him; and nary discretion. Congreve at length became thought no more of detracting from his fame her confidential friend. They constantly rode
han of carping at the great men who had been out together, and dinerl together. Some people lying a hundred years in Poet's Corner. Even said that she was his mistress, and others that the inmates of Grub Street, even the heroes of she would soon be his wife. He was at last the Dunciad, were for once just to living drawn away from her by the influence of a merit. There can be no stronger illustration wealthier and haughtier beauty. Henrietta, of the estimation in which Congreve was held, daughter of the great Marlborough, and wife than the fact that Pope's Iliad, a work which of the Earl of Godolphin, had, on her father's appeared with more splendid auspices than death, succeeded to his dukedom, and to the any other in our language, was dedicated to greater part of his immense property. Her him. There was not a duke in the kingdom husband was an insignificant man, of whom who would not have been proud of such a Lord Chesterfield said, that he came to the compliment. Dr. Johnson expresses great House of Peers only to sleep, and that he admiration for the independence of spirit might as well sleep on the right as on the left which Pope showed on this occasion, and of the woolsack. Between the duchess and some surprise at his choice. “He passed over Congreve sprung up a most eccentric friendpeers and statesmen to inscribe his “Iliad' to ship. He had a seat every day at her table, Congreve, with a magnanimity of which the and assisted in the direction of her concerts. praise had been complete, had his friend's That malignant old hag, the Dowager Duchess virtue been equal to his wit. Why he was Sarah, who had quarrelled with her daughter, chosen for so great an honour, it is not now as she had quarrelled with everybody else, possible to know.” It is certainly impossible affected to suspect that there was something to know; yet, we think, it is possible to guess. wrong. But the world in general appears to The translation of the “Iliad” had been zeal- have thought that a great lady might, without ously befriended by men of all political opi- any imputation on her character, pay attention nions. The poet who at an early age had to a man of eminent genius, who was nearly been raised to affluence by the emulous libe- sixty years old, who was still older in appear. rality of Whigs and Tories, could not with pro- ance and in constitution, who was confined to priety inscribe to a chief of either party, a his chair by gout, and was unable to read from work which had been munificently patronised blindness. by both. It was necessary to find some person In the summer of 1728, Congreve was or who was at once eminent and neutral. "It was dered to try the Bath waters. During his ex therefore necessary to pass over peers and cursion he was overturned in his charios, and statesmen. Congreve had a high name in received some severe internal injury, from letters. He had a high name in aristocratic which he never recovered. He came back circles. He lived on terms of civility with to London in a dangerous state, complained aru of all parties By a courtesy paid him I constantly of a pain in his side, and con
tin Bed to sink, till, in the following January, that is a bold word) the ngliest and most absurd he expired.
of the buildings at Stowe. He left 10,000l. saved out of the emolu We have said that Wycher,ey was a worse ments of his lucrative places. Johnson says Congreve. There was, indeed, a remarkable that this money ought to have gone to the Con- analogy between the writings and lives of these greve family, which was then in great distress. two men. Both were gentlemen liberally edu. Doctor Young and Mr. Leigh Hunt, two gen- cated. Both led town lives, and knew human temen who seldom agree with each other, but nature only as it appears between Hyde Park with whom, on this occasion, we are happy to and the Tower. Both were men of wit. Nej. agree, think that it ought to have gone to Mrs. ther had much imagination. Both at an early Bracegirdle. Congreve bequeathed 2001. to age produced lively and profligate comedies, Mrs. Bracegirdle, and an equal sum to a cer- Both retired from the field while still in early tain Mrs. Jellat; but the bulk of his accumu- manhood, and owed to their youthful achieve lations went to the Duchess of Marlborough, ments in literature the consideration which in whose immense wealth such a legacy was they enjoyed in later life. Both, after they had as a drop in the bucket. It might have raised ceased to write for the stage, published volumes the fallen fortunes of a Staffordshire squire- of miscellanies, which did little credit either to it might have enabled a retired actress to en- their talents or their morals. Both, during joy every comfort, and, in her sense, every their declining years, hung loose upon society; luxury-but it was not sufficient to defray the and both, in their last moments, made eccentric duchess's establishment for two months. and unjustifiable dispositions respecting their
The great lady buried her friend with aestates. pomp seldom seen at the funerals of poets. But in every point Congreve maintained his The corpse lay in state under the ancient roof superiority to Wycherley. Wycherley had wit; of the Jerusalem Chamber, and was interred but the wit of Congreve far outshines that of in Westminster Abbey. The pall was borne every comic writer, except Sheridan, who has by the Duke of Bridgewater, Lord Cobham, the arisen within the last two centuries. Congreve Earl of Wilmington, who had been Speaker, had not, in a large measure, the poetical facul. and who was afterwards First Lord of the ty, but, compared with Wycherley, he might be Treasury, and other men of high consideration. called a great poet. Wycherley had some Her grace laid out her friend's bequest in a knowledge of books, but Congreve was a man superb diamond necklace, which she wore in of real learning. Congreve's offences against honur of him; and, if report is to be believed, decorum, though highly culpable, were not so showed her regard in ways much more extra- gross as those of Wycherley; nor did Congreve, ordinary. It is said that she had a statue of like Wycherley, exhibit to the world the deplohim in ivory, which moved by clockwork, and rable spectacle of a licentious dotage. Con. was placed daily at her table; that she had a greve died in the enjoyment of high considerafax doll made in imitation of him, and that the tion; Wycherley forgotten or despised. Confeet of this doll were regularly blistered and greve's will was absurd and capricious; but anointed by the doctors, as poor Congreve's Wycherley's last actions appeared to have feet had been when he suffered from the gout. been prompted by obdurate malignity A monument was erected to the poet in West Here, at least for the present, we must stop. minster Abbey, with an inscription written by Vanbrugh and Farquhar are not men to be the duchess; and Lord Cobham honoured him hastily dismissed, and we have not left our with a cenotaphy, which seems to us (though selves space to do them justice.
MACAULAY'S MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS.
THE LATE LORD
[EDINBURGH REVIEW FOR JULY, 1841.)
Many reasons make it impossible for us to ed to render-the continuance of an extensivo lay before our readers, at the present moment, grievance, and of the dissatisfaction consequent a complete view of the character and public thereupon, dangerous to the tranquillity of the career of the late Lord Holland. But we feel country, and ultimately subversive of the au. that we have already deferred too long the duty thority of the state. Experience and theory of paying some tribute to his memory. We alike forbid us to deny that effect of a free con. feel that it is more becoming to bring, without stitution; a sense of justice and a love of liberty further delay, an offering, though intrinsically equally deter us from lamenting it. But we of little value, than to leave his tomb longer have always been taught to look for the reme. without some token of our reverence and love. dy of such disorders in the redress of the griev.
We shall say very little of the book which ances which justify them, and in the removal lies on our table. And yet it is a book which, of the dissatisfaction from which they flow even if it had been the work of a less distin- not in restraints on ancient privileges, not in guished man, or had appeared under circum- inroads on the right of public discussion, nor stances less interesting, would have well repaid in violations of the principles of a free govern. an attentive perusal. It is valuable, both as a ment. If, therefore, the legal method of seeks record of principles and as a model of compo- ing redress, which has been resorted to by sition. We find in it all the great maxims persons labouring under grievous disabilities, which, during more than forty years, guided be fraught with immediate or remote danger to Lord Holland's public conduct, and the chief the state, we draw from that circumstance a reasons on which those maxims rest, condensed conclusion long since foretold by great author. into the smallest possible space, and set forth ity-namely, that the British constitution and with admirable perspicuity, dignity, and preci- large exclusions cannot subsist together; that sion. To his opinions on Foreign Policy we, the constitution must destroy them, or they for the most part, cordially assent; but, now will destroy the constitution." and then, we are inclined to think them imprudently generous. We could not have signed It was not, however, of this little book, valua. the protest against the detention of Napoleon. ble and interesting as it is, but of the author, The protest respecting the course which Eng. that we meant to speak; and we will try to do land pursued at the Congress of Verona, though so with calmness and impartiality. il contains much that is excellent, contains In order fully to appreciate the character of also positions which, we are inclined to think, Lord Holland, it is necessary to go far back Lord Holland would, at a later period, have into the history of his family; for he had inadmitted to be unsound. But to all his doc- herited something more than a coronet and an trines on Constitutional Questions we give our estate. To the house of which he was the hearty approbation; and we firmly believe that head belongs one distinction, which we believe no British government has ever deviated from to be without a parallel in our annals. During that line of internal policy which he has traced, more than a century, there has never been a without detriment to the public.
time at which a Fox has not stood in a promiWe will give, as a specimen of this little nent station among public men. Scarcely had volume, a single passage, in which a chief the checkered career of the first Lord Holland article of the political creed of the Whigs is closed, when his son, Charles, rose to the head stated and explained with singular clearnes's, of the Opposition, and to the first rank among force, and brevity. Our readers will remember English debaters. And before Charles was that, in 1825, the Catholic Association agitated borne to Westminster Abbey, a third Fox had for emancipation with most formidable effect. already become one of the most conspicuous The Tories acted after their kind. Instead of politicians in the kingdom. removing the grievance, they tried to put down It is impossible not to be struck by the strong the agitation, and brought in a law, apparently family likeness which, in spite of diversities sharp and stringent, but, in truth, utterly impo- arising from education and position, appears tent, for restraining the right of petition. Lord in these three distinguished persons. In their Holland's protest on that occasion is excellent. faces and figures there was a resemblance,
such as is common enough in novels, where « We are,” says he, “well aware that the one picture is good for ten generations, but privileges of the people, the rights of free dis- such as in real life is seldom found. The ample cussion, and the spirit and letter of our popular person, the massy and thoughtful forehead, the institutions, must render—and they are intend-large eyebrows, the full cheek and lip; the ex.
pression, so singularly compounded of sense, • The Opinions of Lord Holland, as recorded in the humour, courage, openness, a strong will and a Journals of the House of Lords, from 1797 10 1841. Colucted and cdited by D. C. Moylan, of Lincoln's Inn, I sweet femper, were common to all. But the Barrister-at-Law. Svo London. 1841.
features of the founder of the house, as the
pencil of Reynolds and the chisel of Nollekens, people with the bayonet. Many of his contemhave handed them down to us, were disagree- poraries had a morality quite as lax as his; bui ably harsh and exaggerated. In his descend- very few among them had his talents, and none ants, the aspect was preserved; but it was had his hardihood and energy. He could not, softened, till it became, in the late lord, the like Sandys and Doddington, find safety in conmost gracious and interesting countenance that tempt. He therefore became an object of such was ever lighted up by the mingled lustre of general aversion as no statesman since the fal! intelligence and benevolence.
of Strafford has incurred-of such genera. As it was with the faces of the men of this aversion as was probably never in any country noble family, so was it with their minds. Na- incurred by a man of so kind and cordial a dis. ture had done much for them all. She had position. A weak mind would have sunk under moulded them all of that clay of which she is such a load of unpopularity. But that resolute most sparing. To all she had given strong spirit seemed to derive new firmness from the reason and sharp wit; a quick relish for every public hatred. The only effect which re. physical and intellectual enjoyment; constitu- proaches appeared to produce on him, was to tional intrepidity, and that frankness by which sour, in some degree, his naturally sweet temconstitutional intrepidity is generally accom- per. The last steps of his public life were panied; spirits which nothing could depress; marked, not only by that audacity which he had tempers easy, generous, and placable; and that derived from nature-not only by that immogenial courtesy which has its seat in the heart, rality which he had learned in the school of and of which artificial politeness is only a faint Walpole—but by a harshness which almost and cold iinitation. Such a disposition is the amounted to cruelty, and which had never been richest inheritance that ever was entailed on supposed to belong to his character. His seany family.
verity increased the unpopularity from which But training and situation greatly modified it had sprung. The well-known lampoon of the fine qualities which nature lavished with Gray may serve as a specimen of the feeling such profusion on three generations of the of the country. All the images are taken from house of Fox. The first Lord Holland was shipwrecks, quicksands, and cormorants. Lord a needy political adventurer. He entered Holland is represented as complaining, that the public life at a time when the standard of in- cowardice of his accomplices had prevented iegrity among statesmen was low. He started him from putting down the free spirit of the as the adherent of a minister who had in- city of London by sword and fire, and as pining deed many titles to respect; who possessed for the time when birds of prey should make eminent talents both for administration and for their nests in Westminster Abbey, and unclean debate; who understood the public interest beasts burrow in St. Paul's. well, and who meant fairly by the country ; Within a few months after the death of this but who had seen so much perfidy and mean- remarkable man, his second son Charles ap ness, that he had become skeptical as to the peared at the head of the party opposed to the existence of probity. Weary of the cant of American War. Charles had inherited the patriotism, Walpole had learned to talk a cant bodily and mental constitution of his father, of a different kind. Disgusted by that sort of and had been much-far too much-under his hypocrisy which is at least a homage to virtue, father's influence. It was indeed impossible he was too much in the habit of practising the that a son of so affectionate and noble a spirit less respectable hypocrisy which ostentatiously should not have been warmly attached to a displays and sometimes even stimulates vice. parent who possessed many fine qualities, and To Walpole, Fox attached himself politically who carried his indulgence and liberality to and personally, with the ardour which belonged wards his, children even to a culpable extent to his temperament. And it is not to be denied, The young man saw that the person to whom that in the school of Walpole he contracted he was bound by the strongesi ties, was, in the faults which destroyed the value of his many highest degree, odious to the nation; and the great endowments. He raised himself, indeed, effect was what might have been expected to the first consideration in the House of Com- from his strong passions and constitutional mons; he became a consummate master of the boldness. He cast in his lot with his father, and art of debate; he attained honours and im- took, while still a boy, a deep part in the most mense wealth-but the public esteem and con- unjustifiable and unpopular measures that had fidence were withheld from him. His private been adopted since the reign of James the friends, indeed, justly extolled his generosity Second. In the debates on the Middlesex and good-nature. They maintained, that in election, he distinguished himself, not only by those parts of his conduct which they could his precocious powers of eloquence, but by the least defend, there was nothing sordid; and vehement and scornful manner in which he thal, if he was misled, he was misled by bade defiance to public opinion. He was at amiable feelings—by a desire to serve his that time regarded as a man likely to be th: friends, and by anxious tenderness for his most formidable champion of arbitrary govern. children. But by the nation he was regarded ment that had appeared since the Revolution as a man of insatiable rapacity and desperate -to be a Bute with far greater powers-a ambition; as a man ready to adopt, without Mansfield with far greater courage. Happily scruple, the most immoral and the most un- his father's death liberated him early from the constitational measures; as a man perfectly pernicious influence by which he had becza fitted, by all his opinions and feelings, for the misled. His mind expanded. His range of work of managing the Parliament by means of observation became wider. His genius bruke secret service-money, and of keeping down the through early prejudices. His natural tene
volence and magnanimity had fair play. In a come a mere form, as it was in the Irish Hous very short time he appeared in a situation of Peers before the Union. This was a grea worthy of his understanding and of his heart. misfortune to a man like Lord Holland. It was From a family whose name was associated in not by occasionally addressing fifteen or twenty the public mind with tyranny and corruption- solemn and unfriendly auditors, that his grandfroin a party of which the theory and the prac- father and his uncle attained their unrivalled tice were equally servile-from the midst of parliamentary skill. The former had learned uc Luttrells, the Dysons, the Barringtons- his art in "the great Walpolean battles," on came forth the greatest parliamentary defender nights when Onslow was in the chair sevenof civil and religious liberty.
teen hours without intermission; when the The late Lord Holland succeeded to the thick ranks on both sides kept unbroken order talents and to the fine natural dispositions of till long after the winter sun had risen upon his house. But his situation was very differ- them ; when the blind were led out by the hand ent from that of the two eminent men of whom into the lobby; and the paralytic laid down in we have spoken. In some important respects their bed-clothes on the benches. The pow. it was better; in some it was worse than theirs.ers of Charles Fox were, from the first, exerHe had one great advantage over them. He cised in conflicts not less exciting. The great received a good political education. The first talents of the late Lord Holland had no such lord was educated by Sir Robert Walpole. Mr. advantage. This was the more unfortunate, Fox was educated by his father. The late lord because the peculiar species of eloquence, was educated by Mr. Fox. The pernicious which belonged to him in common with his maxims early imbibed by the first Lord Hol- family, required much practice to develope it. land, made his great talents useless, and worse With strong sense, and the greatest readiness than useless, to the state. The pernicious of wit, a certain tendency to hesitation was maxims early imbibed by Mr. Fox led him, at hereditary in the line of Fox. This hesitation the commencement of his public life, into great arose, not from the poverty, but from the wealth faults, which, though afterwards nobly expiated, of their vocabulary. They paused, not from were never forgotten. To the very end of his the difficulty of finding one expression, but career, small men, when they had nothing else from the difficulty of choosing between several. to say in defence of their own tyranny, bigotry, It was only by slow degrees, and constant exand imbecility, could always raise a cheer by ercise, that the first Lord Holland and his son somc paltry taunt about the election of Colonel overcame the defect. Indeed, neither of them Luttrell, the imprisonment of the Lord May- overcame it completely. or, and other measures in which the great In statement, the late Lord Holland was not Whig leader had borne a part at the age of successful ; his chief excellence lay in reply. one or two-and-twenty. On Lord Holland no He had the quick eye of his house for the un. such slur could be thrown. Those who most sound parts of an argument, and a great felicity dissent from his opinions must acknowledge, in exposing them. He was decidedly more that a public lise, more consistent, is not to be distinguished in debate than any peer of his found in our annals. Every part of it is in times who had not sat in the House of Com. perfect harmony with every other; and the mons. Nay, to find his equal among persons whole is in perfect harmony with the great similarly situated, we must go back eighty principles of toleration and civil freedom. years—to Earl Granville. For Mansfield, This rare felicity is in a great measure to be Thurlow, Loughborough, Grey, Grenville, attributed to the influence of Mr. Fox. Lord Brougham, Plunkett, and other eminent men, Holland, as was natural in a person of his ta- living and dead, whom we will not stop to enulents and expectations, began at a very early merate, carried to the Upper House an eloage to take the keenest interest in politics; and quence formed and matured in the Lower. Mr. Fox found the greatest pleasure in forming The opinion of the most discerning judges was, the mind of so hopeful a pupil. They corres- that Lord Holland's oratorical performances, ponded largely on political subjects when the though sometimes most successful, afforded no young lord was only sixteen; and their friend- fair measure of his oratorical powers; and ship and mutual confidence continued to the that, in an assembly of which the debates were day of that mournful separation at Chiswick. frequent and animated, he would have attained Under such training, such a man as Lord a very high order of excellence. It was, inHolland was in no danger of falling into those deed, impossible to converse with him without faul's which threw a dark shade over the whole seeing that he was born a debater. To him, as career of his grandfather, and from which the to his uncle, the exercise of the mind in disyouth of his uncle was not wholly free. cussion was a positive pleasure. With the
On the other hand, the late Lord Holland, as greatest good-nature and good-breeding, he compared with his grandfather and his uncle, was the very opposite to an assenter. The Laboured under one great disadvantage. They word " disputatious" is generally used as a were members of the House of Commons. He word of reproach; but we can express our became a peer while still an infant. When meaning only by saying that Lord Holland was he entered public life, the House of Lords was most courteously and pleasantly disputatious. a very small and a very decorous assembly. In truth, his quickness in discovering and ap. The minority to which he belonged was scarce-prehending distinctions and analogies was ly able to muster five or six votes on the most such as a veteran judge might envy. The law. important nights, when eighty or ninety lords yers of the Duchy of Lancaster were astonishwere presents Debate had accordingly be- led to find in an unprofessional man se strong