Page images

upon the latter (1714), which aimed at the entire suppression of Nonconformist schools and colleges and threatened the repeal of the Toleration Act, he spoke with great force.

“He excepted in particular against the word Schism, with which the frontispiece of the Bill was set off; and said it was somewhat strange that they should call Schism in England what is the established religion in Scotland; and therefore, if the Lords who represented the nobility of that part of Great Britain were for this Bill, he hoped that, in order to be even with us and consistent with themselves, they would move for the bringing in of another Bill to prevent the growth of Schism in their own country. .. He further said that both in this Bill and in the speeches of those who declared for it, several laws were recited and alleged; but there was one that had not been mentioned. He expected that the venerable bench of Bishops would have put us in mind of it; but since they were silent he would himself tell them that it was a law of the Gospel to do unto others as we should be done unto."-RAPIN.

Both the Bills referred to became Acts of Parliament, but they remained a dead letter in consequence of the death of Queen Anne, and were formally repealed a few years later (1719).

George I. made him Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, and created him (January 7th, 1714-5) Baron of Trim, Earl of Rathfarnham, and Marquis of Catherlough (Carlow) in the peerage of Ireland, and (February 15th) Marquis of Wharton and Malmesbury. But in less than two months after receiving his new honours he died at his house in Dover Street, London, April 12th, 1715, "as willing to leave the world as he had been formerly to live in it.” He was buried at Winchendon ; where not long afterwards his widow was laid beside him (February 14th, 1716-7). He left behind him (1) one son, Philip, the Duke, and two daughters—(2) Jane, and (3) Lucy. order to prevent occasional conformity it was further provided that if a teacher so qualified were present at any other form of worship he should at once become liable to three months' imprisonment and should be incapacitated for the rest of his life from acting as schoolmaster or tutor. In order to prevent latitudinarian Anglicans from teaching Dissenting formularies, a clause was carried making any licensed teacher who taught any Catechism other than that of the Church of England, liable to all the penalties of the Act. The facility with which this atrocious Act was carried abundantly shows the danger in which religious liberty was placed in the latter years of the reign of Queen Anne.”- LECKY, “ History of England in the Eighteenth Century,” I. 95.

By his will, dated April 8th, 1715 (printed in London 1715), he appointed Evelyn Lord Marquis of Dorchester, Charles Earl of Carlisle, and Nicholas Lechmere, Esquire, His Majesty's Solictor-General, as trustees, and left £8,000 to his daughter Jane, £6,000 to his daughter Lucy, £ 500 to his niece Margaret Ramsay, daughter of his sister Lady Lockhart, and £1,000 “for the satisfying of any claims or demands not recoverable by law or equity, but in honour"; the guardianship of his son Philip Lord Winchendon [afterwards Marquis and Duke), until twenty-one years of age, to his wife and trustees, recommending it to him “to observe the advice of his mother and guardians, and to endeavour by a dutiful and prudent behaviour to make the best amends he can for the false step he has made" [in marrying beneath him]; also the guardianship of his daughters, strictly charging them "to take the advice of their mother and guardians in all their affairs, and more especially in their marriage, and not to marry without their consent”; he also left £100 to the poor of the parishes of Winchendon and Waddesdon, to be distributed at the discretion of his executors.

A just estimate of his character cannot be formed from the portrait of him painted by Dean Swift (whom Wharton, when Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, refused to make his chaplain), nor even from the graphic description of him given by Macaulay, chiefly drawn from the representations of his political adversaries. With many vices Honest Tom Wharton, as he was familiarly and derisively called, had also many excellences. was,” says the writer of his Memoirs, “generous to all that he employed, and charitable to the poor-especially old people and children; never was a man of his quality more easy of access, and never one who was a kinder master.”

“Such manly sense, with so much fire of mind,
Judgment so strong, to wit so lively joined.
No prepossession swayed his equal soul,
Steady to truth she pointed as her pole :
Bright as the youngest, as the oldest wise,
In both extremes alike he gave surprise."'*

• Dodsley's Collection of Poems, 1758.

“ He “He was a worthy, complete statesman," says another, “a principal promoter of the Revolution, zealous for the Hanover settlement, of great sagacity, elocution, and spirit." And in the preamble to the Patent by which George I. conferred a new title on his son it was stated: “The British Nation, not forgetful of his father, lately deceased, gratefully remember how much their invincible William III. owed to that constant and courageous asserter of the public Liberty and the Protestant Religion. The same extraordinary person deserved so well of us in having supported our interests by the weight of his counsels, the force of his wit, and the firmness of his mind, at a time when our title to the succession of this realm was endangered, that in the beginning of our reign we invested him with the dignity of a Marquis as an earnest of our royal favour, the further marks whereof we were prevented from bestowing by his death, too hasty and untimely for his King and country.”*



AND DUKE, 1698-1731.
“Wharton! the scorn and wonder of our days,

Whose ruling passion was the lust of praise."-POPE. Philip, the only son of the Marquis of Wharton, and Lucy Loftus, daughter of Lord Lisburn, was born on December 21st, 1698 (nearly three years after the death of his grandfather, the Good Lord Wharton). He was educated at home, under the superintendence of his father, whose ambition was to make him a great orator, and exhibited a precocious intellect, his memory being an extraordinary one. He had the most part of Vergil and of his more beloved Horace by heart. He was,

“ The Life and Writings of Philip, late Duke of Wharton," 1732; “The Honourable Descent, Life, and True Character of the Marquis of Wharton,' 1711; “Memoirs of the Marquis, to which is added his Lordship’s Character by Sir Richard Steele,” 1715.

however, as his subsequent conduct proved, unstable impulsive, and reckless, without moral or religious principles; and “an illustrious but a melancholy instance of the greatest abilities and the most flagrant indiscretions that ever met in the same person.

An anecdote is told of him as a boy which indicates the genius for mischief which he displayed throughout his career. When Addison, his father's secretary, was on a visit to Winchendon, the little lord led him to look at some of their fine racing horses. There were very high gates into the field, and at the first of them his young friend fumbled in his pocket, and seemed vastly concerned that he could not find the key. Addison said it was no matter, and he could easily climb over it. As he said this he began mounting the bars, and when he was at the very top the little lord whips out the key and sets the gate swinging, and for some time kept the good man in that ridiculous situation. (Spence's “ Anecdotes.")

When a mere youth he was married (March 2nd, 1714-5), by one of the Fleet parsons, to Martha, daughter of Major-General Richard Holmes, and this clandestine alliance so affected his too-indulgent father that he died six weeks afterwards. He thus early succeeded him, “in all his titles and abilities, but none of his virtues" and his estate (including the jointure of his mother) was worth £ 14,000 a year. Under the direction of his guardians, with a view to his being confirmed in strictly Protestant principles, he left England at the beginning of 1716, and travelled through Holland and Germany to Geneva, in company with a Huguenot as his tutor and “ governor”; but not liking his instructions and restraints, he suddenly departed from him, leaving him a bear cub pet, with a message to the effect that, being no longer able to bear his ill-usage, he had thought it proper to be gone from him, and left him the bear as his most suitable companion.

Before leaving England he had, probably, imbibed something of the Jacobite sentiment, which was preva* Preface to his Life by an Impartial Hand, 1731."

lent at the time; and from Geneva he went to Lyons (October 13th, 1716) and entered into correspondence with the Chevalier de St. George, better known as the Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart, son of James II., who had the year before landed in Scotland in a fruitless attempt to bring back the Stuart dynasty. He made a personal call on the Chevalier at Avignon ; and on arriving at Paris he also visited the widow of James II. (Mary Beatrice d'Este), who wrote of him : “His attachment for the King I am persuaded is very sincere at present, and I hope will continue so," and gave him £2,000, which she obtained by pawning her jewels, for the furtherance of the Jacobite cause in England. At the table of Lord Stair, Ambassador at Paris, he had the audacity to drink to the health of the Pretender. When expostulated with by an English gentleman of distinction for having swerved so much from the principles of his whole family, he replied that he had pawned his principles to Gordon, the Pretender's banker, for a considerable sum, and till he had the money to repay him he must be a Jacobite, but as soon as that was done he should be a Whig again. By the end of the year he was back in England.

He then crossed to Ireland and, as Earl of Rathfarnham and Marquis of Catherlough, was allowed to sit in the Irish House of Peers, though under age. Here he spoke strongly in support of the Whig Ministry. About this time he had as his friend and companion Dr. Edward Young, the author of “Night Thoughts," who subsequently dedicated to him “The Revenge, a Tragedy" (1721), stating, “My present fortune is his bounty, and my future his care," and received from him an annuity of £200 and a complimentary gift of £2,000. He also, it is said, received from him a different kind of present, viz. a human skull with a candle fixed in it, which Wharton gave to the Doctor as a most proper lamp for him to write tragedy by.

On returning to England, he resided for a year or two with his wife at Winchendon, where a son, Thomas,

« PreviousContinue »