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was born to him, May 7th, 1719; and at his baptism George I. stood godfather. The child died of smallpox in London, when barely a year old. With a view to secure his talents for the Whig party he was created, by the King's Letters Patent, Duke of Wharton (January 28th, 1718-9), and on coming of age he took his seat in the House of Peers, December 21st, 1719. Regardless of the source whence he derived his new dignity, he soon afterwards turned against the Government, opposed the extension of the South Sea Charter, and in his place in Parliament attacked the Ministry, especially Earl Stanhope, Secretary of State, for their connection with the inflation and collapse of the South Sea Bubble (February 4th, 1720-1); to which the Earl replied with such passion that he was seized with an apoplectic fit, and died the following day.*
Wharton had now become associated with a freethinking and profligate club, which was suppressed by proclamation (April 28th, 1721); and on the second reading of a Bill for the suppression of blasphemy and profaneness, he said that he was not insensible of the common talk and opinion of the town concerning himself, and therefore was glad of the opportunity to justify himself by declaring that he was far from being a patron of blasphemy or any enemy to religion; but he could not be for this Bill, because he conceived it to be repugnant to the spirit of Christianity; then, taking a Bible from his pocket, he excited the amusement of the House by reading with much gravity many passages from the sacred volume containing exhortations to universal charity, meekness, and mutual forbearance.
• Edward Harley, one of the original Trustees of the Bible Charity, wrote to his brother Robert, Earl of Oxford, February 17th, 1720-1 : “All is at present in jumble and confusion. Most officers of the army are plunged in the South Sea Scheme, and all trade and credit stagnated. He that does not see the just hand of heaven in these things is very blind. While blasphemy and infidelity prevail what can we expect but greater judgments?" Lord Nottingham is endeavouring to bring some of the Bishops into a Bill to declare that the nation is yet Christian !”-Report of Hist. Commission, Welbeck Papers.
When Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, was arrested for correspondence with the Pretender, with a view to incite a Jacobite insurrection, and a Bill of Pains and Penalties was debated in the House of Lords, Wharton spoke in defence of the Bishop (May 15th, 1723). The main points of his speech, it is said, he obtained surreptitiously from Sir Robert Walpole. However this may have been, his speech was marked by great force and eloquence. It did not, however, prevent the passing of the Bill, and Atterbury went into exile and died in France (1732). Wharton's Jacobite zeal appears in a letter from Viscount Lonsdale to James Lowther (his cousin), September 26th, 1723.
“The Duke of Wharton went about ten days ago to his estate in Swaledale, near Richmond, and Sir C. Musgrave went along with him ; when they were there the Duke took occasion of treating about three score of the country people, and after they had drunk a good deal the Duke and Sir C. Musgrave pulled off their coats and waistcoats, fell down upon their knees and drank the Pretender's health by the name of James III. of England and VIII. of Scotland, and obliged all the people that were with them to do the same.
“The noise of this was quickly spread, and the wives and daughters of the people who were in company came immediately crying to fetch their husbands away.
Some of the men being frightened themselves, went to make information to a Justice of the Peace, but the Justice, in all probability not caring to meddle themselves with so great a man, told the people who came to him, that if they would bring the offenders before him he would do as the law directed, but would grant no warrant.”—(Histor. MSS. Commission, Earl of Lonsdale. 13 Report. App. VII., p. 123.)
During these years he was in friendly relations with Dean Swift, Pope (who described his character in no flattering terms), Lady Mary Wortley - Montagu, and other literary celebrities, and published twice a week a paper called The True Briton, consisting of short political essays (June, 1723, to February 17th, 1724). Some of his other literary productions were subsequently published (1727). “ It is difficult,” says Horace Walpole, “to give an account of the works of so mercurial a man, whose library was a tavern, and women of pleasure his muses; a thousand sallies of his imagination may have been lost; he no more wrote for fame than he acted for it.”
“Thus with each gift of nature and of art,
(POPE, First Epistle of “ Moral Essays,” 1733.) Wharton was utterly destitute of prudence and economy, indulged in various kinds of dissipation, and, with a folly verging on madness, rapidly wasted his inheritance. According to his own account, he lost £120,000 in the South Sea Scheme. He had previously sold the manor of Healaugh. Most of his property was put into the hands of trustees for the payment of his debts, and he received an allowance of £1,200 a year. A story is told of Colley Cibber, actor, dramatist, and poet laureate, that once riding with the Duke in his coach near Winchendon, where the soil is a stiff clay, and the ruts very deep, he said to him: “Report states your grace to be running out of your estates, but you will never run out of this." In 1723 his Rathfarnham estates were sold, and in 1725 his estates in Buckinghamshire. Yet his debts amounted to £70,000, and in the course of a few years his patrimony was all gone.
About the middle of 1725, involved in debt, in impaired health, and with a bankrupt reputation, he went abroad
and openly espoused the cause of the Pretender, from whom he received the Order of the Garter and his Patent as Duke of Northumberland (April 5th, 1726). While at Madrid he heard of the death of his wife, which took place April 14th, 1726, and three months later he married Maria Teresa O'Beirne (daughter of Henry O'Beirne, an Irish Colonel in the Spanish service), a maid of honour to the Queen of Spain. Just before this he had professed himself a Roman Catholic. But he did not give up his dissipated habits. Sir Benjamin Keene, Ambassador at Madrid, said of him, “The Duke of Wharton has not been sober or scarce had a pipe out of his mouth since he came from his expedition to St. Ilfonso ” (the palace of the King, thirty miles from Madrid). Returning with his wife from Rome by sea to Barcelona, and hearing that the English fortress of Gibraltar was being attacked by the Spanish, he obtained permission to serve in the Spanish army as a volunteer, and was made by the General his aide-de-camp. “The day before yesterday," wrote one from the camp, May 16th, 1727, “the Duke of Wharton insisted on going to the battery to show his garterriband, crying out a thousand times 'Long live the Pretender!' and using a quantity of bad language. They represented to him frequently that he ought to withdraw, but he refused to do so. At last he was struck by a piece of a shell on the toe. He had been drinking brandy, otherwise perhaps he would have been wiser.” For his conduct at Gibraltar he was indicted for high treason, and outlawed by a resolution of the House of Lords and attainted of high treason (1729).
With one or two brief intervals of remorse and amendment he continued to pursue his course of folly and extravagance at Rouen, at Paris, and elsewhere until he had exhausted all his resources. His duchess then resumed her attendance on the Queen of Spain, and having some time previously received a commission as colonel-aggregate in the Irish regiment Hibernia, in the Spanish service, he repaired to his regiment in Catalonia, intending to live on his pay of eighteen pistoles a month, or £88 vs. a year. While at his quarters at Lerida, in May, 1731, his health broke down completely, and in the hope of its restoration he set out to try some mineral springs from which he had shortly before derived benefit. But he never reached his destination; and the pathetic manner in which he ended his career cannot be contemplated without pity and regret. When riding through a small village he was seized with a fit of sickness, and was found there in an utterly destitute and helpless condition by the fathers of the monastery of the Franciscans de la Puebla, at Reus (nine miles west of Terragona), who carried him to their house and carefully attended to his needs. After languishing on a pallet in one of the cells for a week, he expired on May 31st, 1731, in the thirty-third year of his age. He was buried the next day in one of the aisles of the church pertaining to the monastery “in the same poor manner in which they inter their own monks.” In this “ once beautiful monastery of Poblet" (which was wrecked in an outbreak of popular frenzy about sixty years ago) the following epitaph was recently discovered :
“Hic jacet Excellentissimus Dom. Philippus ac Wharton, Anglus Dux Marchio et Comes de Wharton, Marchio de Malmesbury et Catherlough, Comes de Rathfarnham, Vicecomes de Winchendon, Baro de Trim, Eques de Sto. Georgio alias de Gerratierra (the Garter), obiit in fide Ecclesiæ Catholicæ Romanæ Populeti die 31 Maii 1731."
Appropriate to his melancholy end Pope wrote: “What riches give us let us then inquire :
Meat, fire, and clothes. What more? Meat, clothes and fire. Alas! 'tis more than (all his visions past) Unhappy Wharton, waking, found at last." In his will, dated April ist, 1731, and proved at Dublin by his widow, December ist, 1736, he called himself Philip James (doubtless in compliment to the Pretender), and left his estate to “her grace the