Page images
PDF
EPUB

felf, and friends. Thus, I confefs to you, your modefty is fpared only by my vanity; and I hope you will give me leave to indulge it yet further, in telling all the world I am, with great truth, Sir, your moft obedient, and moft humble fervant, RICHARD STEELE.

LETTER CCCCXXXII *.

To Lord FINCH †.

MY LORD,

May 25, 1714.

THIS firft part of a narration, to which I

have given the title of "A Roman Eccle"fiaftical

Prefixed to "The Romish Ecclefiaftical History of late "Years."-It may be proper just to mention, that the dedication to "An Account of the State of the Roman Catholic Reli"gion throughout the World," though published by Steele, was the production of his friend Bifhop Hoadly, and therefore not republished here, its origination was a circumftance of fuch public notoriety, as ill deserved the malicious reflection it produced from Swift; that

66 Steele, who own'd what others writ,
"And flourish'd by imputed wit,

"From perils of a hundred jails,

"Withdrew to starve, and die in Wales.”

It is added, on the written teftimony of Dr. John Hoadly, who put the fame interpretation on the ill-natured lines above quoted, that SWIFT, with his usual arrogance, was highly offended with the publication of the fine piece of irony and grave humour above mentioned, under the name of STEELE, and thus infolently refented it, as if forfooth it had been an invasion of a province which he idly affected to monopolize, and of which he dreamed that he was the only perfon in the world competent to be the manager. See in HARRISON's Spurious Tatler, vol. V.

N

"fiaftical History," is only an account of fome collateral and contemporary circumstances and fecret

No 28, SWIFT's account of himself, under the fictitious name of Hiereus.

The lines above quoted may likewise very well be supposed to allude to STEELE'S publishing papers of other writers in the TATLER, SPECTATOR, and GUARDIAN. Thefe he generally, though not always, diftinguished from his own by certain fignatures; and as he ordinarily bought them, he had, unquestionably, a right to publish and to vend them. Addison was paid, probably very amply, for his papers; and Dr. JOHNSON fays, he received his payments for them with "avidity and great eagerness."-It appears, on the teftimony of the Bishop's fon, that Bp. Berkeley had always one guinea and a dinner with Sir Richard Steele for every paper of his in the Guardian; and there is little doubt but that, in all Steele's publications, the affiftances he had from others, when they would accept of pecuniary gratifications for them, were well rewarded by a man who fometimes perhaps might be vainly profufe, and too often imprudently generous. See more of this in a note on the new TATLER, vol. VI. N° 271, p. 451, & feq.

+ Daniel Finch, eldest fon to Daniel Earl of Nottingham. He was elected one of the Knights of the Shire for the county of Rutland in the ninth of Queen Anne, and ferved for the fame county in all parliaments whilft he continued a commoner. On the acceffion of King George I. he was appointed one of the Gentlemen of the Bedchamber to his Royal Highnefs the Prince of Wales, our late Sovereign, when his father was declared Lord Prefident of the Council; alfo on October 10, 1715, was constituted one of the Lords Commiffioners of the Treasury; and refigned all his employments February 29, 1715-16. His Lordship was made Comptroller of His Majefty's Houshold, May 25, 1725; which office he voluntarily refigned, after he fucceeded his father as Earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham (Jan. 1, 1729-30). On June 1, 1725, he was fworn of his Majefty's most honourable Privycouncil. On March 16, 1741, his Lordship was constituted First Lord Commiffioner of the Admiralty; and on April 15, 1743, was appointed one of the Lords Juftices on his Majefty's abfence Dd 3

in

fecret paffages, joined to an account of the ceremony of the laft inauguration of Saints, by his Holiness the Pope.

It displays the utmost abuse of Christianity, and that to the most fantastical degree. After the See of Rome has ufurped the dominion over the whole earth, it goes on to dispose of Heaven alfo, and to name the inhabitants of those bleffed manfions. Thefe fhe employs to receive the importunities of mortals, before they come at the Almighty. Is this for His eafe who is all-fufficient,-for His information who is omnifcient? Grofs!-prophane!-ridiculous!

This account gives us a lively idea of the pageantry used in that Church to ftrike the imaginations of the vulgar, and needs only to be repeated, to give every ferious man, an abhorrence as well as contempt of their idolatry. Į take the liberty to address it to your Lordship, in regard that you are by birth, and imitation

in his German dominions. His Lordfhip was one of the affiftants to the Duke of Somerfet, chief mourner at the funeral of Frederick, Prince of Wales, April 13, 1751. On March 13, 1752, he was elected Knight Companion of the most noble order of the Garter, and inftalled on June 4 following. His Lordship, on April 6, 1757, was a fecond time appointed First Lord of the Admiralty; but refigned in June following. At the acceffion of the prefent King, he was continued a member of the Privy-council, and conftituted Prefident thereof on July 12, 1765, which office he refigned July 30, 766. His Lordfhip was also one of the Elder Brethren of the Trinity-houfe. He departed this life, at his house on Parfon's-green, Middlesex, August 2, 1769, in the Sift year of his age.

of

of your predeceffors, obliged to exert a firm and unfhaken zeal to our Church, which is reformed from fuch abfurdities, and retains every thing that is confiftent with gravity, good fenfe, true religion, virtue, and piety. Descriptions wherein men, dedicated to the service of God, bear a part, are never to be made to the derogation of fuch his fervants, except in cafes wherein they apparently abuse that respect which the Laity have for them, as conductors to a better life, to ferve their own power, vanity, and ambition in this. When that happens to be the cafe, it is our business to obviate fuch injuries in the first attempts of impofing them on mankind: for we neglect our duty to Heaven when we permit its interests to be prostituted to ends unworthy. For this reafon, I dare acknowledge that any power affected by Clergymen, above what the laws of our country allow them, or independent of the Sovereignty of it, is to me Popery. I cannot think the endeavour at temporal power from the fervice at the altar a lefs guilt, than building a falfe fuperftructure upon that foundation, which only can be laid for fpiritual and holy purposes.

Your noble Father has, in all his actions, maintained fo unbiaffed an affection to the Church of England, that to his zeal, more than to that of any other man, it owes the inhibition, "that any who diffent from her fhall bear office Dd4 "in

[ocr errors]

"in these realms." None can defire more, who do not think it reasonable that they fhould alfo be excluded from property, and deprived of life itself, for Nonconformity.

I have often afferted, that they who affect profeffing their zeal for the Church on all occafions, reduced themselves to an absurdity, and betrayed the weakness of their caufe, when they ranked his Lordship among those whom they call Whigs. By this one circumstance they acknowledge it is not care of Religion, I fay, it is not refpect to Religion, or to the perfons of Clergymen, but joining in a combination with the least known for virtue and piety among them; and adding the cry of the Church to their common projects for power and domination, which conftitutes thofe (whom they call) Churchmen.

Your Lordship has too good a difcerning, to want that these things fhould be pointed to you; and it is to the frank fpirit of men of your age and abilities among the nobility and gentry, we muft owe the amendment of fuch inveterate evils.

I congratulate your Lordship upon the early confpicuous figure you make in the bufinefs of

To this noble Earl the Church was afterwards indebted for an Antive to a pamphlet of Whiston's, 1721; for which his Lordship was complimented by addreffes from both the Univer fities, and from the London Clergy.

the

« PreviousContinue »