« PreviousContinue »
is it strange that this fhould happen to your Lordship, who could bring into the fervice of your Sovereign the arts and policies of ancient Greece and Rome; as well as the moft exact knowledge of our own conftitution in particular, and of the interefts of Europe in general; to which I must also add, a certain dignity in yourself, that (to fay the leaft of it) has been always equal to thofe great honours which have been conferred upon you.
It is very well known how much the Church owed to you, in the most dangerous day* it ever faw,
*This most dangerous day was June 29, 1688, the very day on which the Seven Bishops, who had been committed to the Tower by that wicked chancellor, Jefferys, for modeftly petitioning King James H. to excufe them from reading his declaration of his dispensing power in matters of religion, were tried in Westminster-hall, and acquitted, to the univerfal joy of the nation. In this famous trial, our Author's patron, then only Mr. Somers, was one of the learned counsel for the bishops, and, for his noble defence of thofe prelates, who were then generally ftyled the feven golden candlesticks, he was, by King William, made Solicitor-general, May 7, 1689; then Attorney-general, May 2, 1692, and knighted; and Lord Keeper, 1693. April 21, 1697, he was created Lord Somers, Baron of Evesham, and made Lord Chancellor of England; from which poft he was removed in 1700, and in 1701 impeached by the Common's, but acquitted on his trial by the Lords. He then retired to his ftudies, and was chofen Prefident of the Royal Society. In 1706, he projected the Union. In 1708, Queen Anne made him Lord Prefident of the Privy Council; but, on the change of her ministry in 1710, he was also displaced. Towards the latter end of the Queen's reign he grew very infirm; which probably was the reason why he had no other poft than a feat at the council-table at the acceffion of King George I. He died of an apoplectic fit, April 26, 1716, after having for some time
faw, that of the arraignment of its prelates; and how far the civil power, in the late and prefent reign, has been indebted to your counfels and wisdom.
But to enumerate the great advantages, which the publick has received from your adminiftration, would be a more proper work for an history, than for an addrefs of this nature.
Your Lordship appears as great in your private life, as in the most important offices which you have borne. I would, therefore, rather choose to speak of the pleasure you afford all who are admitted into your converfation, of your elegant tafte in all the polite parts of learning, of your great humanity and complacency of manners, and of the furprifing influence which is peculiar to you in making every one who converfes with your Lordship prefer you to himself, without thinking the less meanly of his own talents. But if I fhould take notice of all that might be obferved in your Lordship, I fhould have nothing new to say upon any other character of diftinction. I am, my Lord, your Lordship's most devoted, inoft obedient, humble fervant, THE SPECTATOR.
unfortunately furvived the powers of his understanding. This Jetter of Steele gives a lively sketch of his character; but surely no man's was ever better depicted by a pen than this nobleman's is by Mr. Addison in that admirable paper, intituled, “The "Freeholder," published on the 4th of May (the day of his Lordship's interment), to which the curious are referred. His writings are too well known to need enumeration.
To CHARLES Lord HALIFAX *,
SIMILITUDE of manners and studies is
ufually mentioned as one of the strongest motives to affection and efteem; but the paffionate veneration I have for your Lordship, I think, flows from an admiration of qualities in
* In a note on a former epiftle to this nobleman, p. 308, this further acccount of him was promifed.
Mr. Charles Montague, grandson to an Earl of Manchester, was taken much notice of at Cambridge, for his "City and "Country Moufe," a fatire on Mr. Dryden, Being brought to Court at the Revolution, he was conftituted one of the Lords Commiffioners of the Treafury, March 2, 1691-2; Chancellor of the Exchequer, in May 1694. The coin being exceedingly debased and diminished, he formed the defign of calling in the money, and re-coining it, in 1695; which was effected in two years to fupply the immediate want of cafḥ, he projected the iffuing of Exchequer bills. For this fervice, he had the thanks of the Houfe of Commons in 1697. He was next year appointed First Lord Commiffioner of the Treafury; and, refigning that poft in June 1700, obtained a grant of the office of Auditor of the receipt of the Exchequer; and the fame year, Dec. 13, was created Baron Halifax. On the acceffion of King George I. he was a member of the regency; was appointed First Lord Commiffioner of the Treasury, Oct. 5, 1714; created Viscount Sunbury and Earl of Halifax, Oct. 15; and died May 15, 1715."Addifon has celebrated this Lord in his Account of the great"eft English Poets. Steele has drawn his character in the fe"cond volume of the Spectator, and in the fourth of the Tatler; "but Pope, in the portrait of Bufo, in the Epiftle to Arbuth
not, has, returned the ridicule which his Lordship, in conjunction with Prior, had heaped on Dryden's Hind and Panther.” Walpole's Catalogue, vol. II. p. 116.
you, of which, in the whole course of these papers *, I have acknowledged myself incapable. While I bufy myself as a stranger upon earth, and can pretend to no other than being a looker-on, you are confpicuous in the bufy and polite world, both in the world of men, and that of letters. While I am filent and unobferved in public meetings, you are admired by all that approach you as the life and genius of the converfation. What an happy conjunction of different talents meets in him whose whole difcourfe is at once animated by the ftrength and force of reason, and adorned with all the graces and embellishments of wit! When learning irradiates common life, it is then in its highest use and perfection; and it is to fuch as your Lordship, that the fciences owe the efteem which they have with the active part of mankind. Knowledge of books in reclufe men, is like that fort of lantern which hides him who carries it, and serves only to pass through fecret and gloomy paths of his own; but, in the poffeffion of a man of business, it is as a torch in the hand of one who is willing and able to fhew those who were bewildered, the way which leads to their profperity and welfare. A generous concern for your country, and a paffion for every thing which is truly great and noble,
* This Letter was originally prefixed to the fecond volume of "The Spectator."
are what actuate all your life and actions; and I hope you will forgive me that I have an ambition this book may be placed in the library of fo good a judge of what is valuable, in that library where the choice is fuch, that it will not be a difparagement to be the meaneft author in it. Forgive me, my Lord, for taking this occafion of telling all the world how ardently I love and honour you; and that I am, with the utmoft gratitude for all your favours, my Lord, your Lordship's moft obliged, most obedient, and most humble fervant, THE SPECTATOR.
To Mr. PoPE.
HAVE received your very kind letter, That part of it which is grounded upon your belief that I have much affection and friendship for you, I receive with great pleafure. That which acknowledges the honour done to your "Effay*" I have no pretence to; it was written by one whom I will make you acquainted with, which is the best return I can make to you for your favour to, Sir, your moft obliged humble fervant, RICH, STEELE,
* This relates to the Spectator, No CCLIII. which was written by Addison, and pays a handfome compliment to Pope's "Effay on Criticism."