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Having thus given you my thoughts freely and impartially (in which perhaps I may be mistaken) I will truft your good fenfe for the ufe that may be made of this; and I beg it may not prejudice me with Mr. Clayton or yourself, and that you will not let him know of this, but only inform yourself farther from others, on the hints here given.
I fhould not, you may be fure, give you or myself this trouble, but that I do not know how far it may concern your intereft to be rightly informed, which is the only regard I have in fhewing you this way how much I am, Sir, yours, &c. JOHN HUGHES,
Aug. 2, 1711.
WENT this evening to vifit a friend, with a defign to railly him, upon a ftory I had heard
This extract from the Spectator, No CXXXIII. is felected to do juftice to the memory of a friend of Steele, whofe kindness he acknowledges in feveral paffages of the preceding letters (fee pp. 51, 54, 55, &c.). On good authority it may be now told, that the character here fo affectionately drawn, is that of Stephen Clay, ef. This gentleman was the fon and heir of Edmund Clay, a haberdasher in London; was admitted of the honourable Society of the Inner Temple, Nov. 16, 1693, and called to the Bar, Nov. 24, 1700.
Great pains have been taken to recover fome account of this ingenious Lawyer; but they have not been attended with much fuccefs. The two following fhort poems may probably incline
heard of his intending to fteal a marriage without the privity of us his intimate friends and acquaintance. I came into his apartment with
the reader to fympathize in the regret that this enquiry has not been more fruitful of discoveries:
The MAID'S COMPLAINT; a SONG, by STEPHEN CLAY, Efq.
But 'tis to men a pleasure.
They freely can their thoughts explain,
We have got eyes and tongues in vain,
Men to new joys and conquests fly,
And yet no hazards run;
Then equal laws let cuftom find,
More freedom give to womankind,
SONG, in Imitation of an Ode of HORACE to BARINE.
Oh! that I could one blemish find,
To moderate my pain!
On that alone I'd fix my mind,
I ran thy face and body o'er,
But thou art lovely there;
Thy fpeech, thy mind, I did explore,
Through all mankind you spread defires,
But all that's female you must shun,
See Rofcommon's Miscellaneous Works, 1709, 8vo. Part VIII.
that intimacy which I have done for very many years, and walked directly into his bed-chamber, where I found my friend in the agonies of death. What could I do? The innocent mirth in my thoughts ftruck upon me like the most flagitious wickednefs: I in vain, called upon him; he was fenfelefs, and too far spent to have the least knowledge of my forrow, or any pain in himself. Give me leave then to transcribe my foliloquy, as I ftood by his mother, dumb with the weight of grief for a fon who was her honour, and her comfort, and never till that hour, fince his birth, had been an occasion of a moment's forrow to her.
"How surprising is this change! from the "poffeffion of vigorous life and strength, to be "reduced in a few hours to this fatal extremity ! "Thofe lips, which look fo pale and livid, "within thefe few days gave delight to all who "heard their utterance! It was the butinefs, the "purpose of his being, next to obeying him (to "whom he is going), to please and instruct, and "that for no other end but to please and in
ftruct. Kindness was the motive of his ac“tions, and, with all the capacity requifite for ༦ making a figure in a contentious world, mo"deration, good-nature, affability, temperance, "and chastity, were the arts of his excellent
life. There as he lies in helplefs agony, no "wife man, who knew him fo well as I, but "would
"would refign all the world can bestow to be fo near the end of fuch a life. Why does my "heart fo little obey my reafon as to lament "thee, thou excellent man!-Heaven receive "him, or restore him!-Thy beloved mother, thy obliged friends, thy helpless fervants, "ftand around thee without diftinction. How "much wouldst thou, hadft thou thy fenfes, fay to each of us!
"But now that good heart burfts, and he is "at reft! With that breath expired a foul who "never indulged a paffion unfit for the place he " is gone to! Where are now thy plans of juf"tice, of truth, of honour? of what ufe the "volumes thou haft collated, the arguments "thou haft invented, the examples thou haft "followed? Poor were the expectations of the “studious, the modeft, and the good, if the "reward of their labours were only to be ex"pected from man. No, my friend, thy in"tended pleadings, thy intended good offices "to thy friends, thy intended fervices to thy "country, are already performed (as to thy "concern in them) in his fight before whom the "past, prefent, and future, appear at one view. "While others with thy talents were tormented "with ambition, with vain glory, with envy, "with emulation, how well didst thou turn thy "mind to its own improvement in things out "of the power of fortune, in probity, in inte"grity,
"grity, in the practice and study of juftice; how "filent thy paffage, how private thy journey, "how glorious thy end! Many have I knowi more famous, fome more knowing, not one fo “innocent.”
To the Duke of MARLBOROUGH.
Jan. 1, 1711-12.
T was with the utmost confternation I, this day, heard your Grace had received a dif miffion from all your employments* and left you should, out of the foftnefs which is infeparable from natures truly heroic, believe this a diminution of your glory, I take the liberty to express to you, as well as I can, the fenfe which mankind has of your merit.
That great genius with which God has endowed you, was raised by Him, to give the first notion, that the enemy was to be con
*«On the 30th of December, the Queen declared in council, "that her Majefty being acquainted, that an information against "the Duke of Marlborough was laid before the House of Com
mons, by the commiffioners of the public accounts; her Ma"jefty thought fit to difmifs him from all employments, that that "matter might take an impartial examination; and the next day "her Majefty fent his Grace a letter, written with her own hand, fignifying her royal pleasure to refume all the employments the "had intrufted him with." Life of Queen Anne, p. 415.