Page images
PDF
EPUB

laugh, the management of your fnuff-box, with the whiteness of your hands and teeth (which have justly gained you the envy of the most polite part of the male world, and the love of the greatest beauties in the female), are entirely to be ascribed to your own perfonal genius and application.

You are formed for these accomplishments by a happy turn of nature, and have finished yourfelf in them by the utmost improvements of art. A man that is defective in either of these qualifications (whatever may be the fecret ambition of his heart) muft never hope to make the figure you have done, among the fashionable part of his fpecies. It is therefore no wonder we fee fuch multitudes of afpiring young men fall fhort of you in all these beauties of your character, notwithstanding the study and practice of them is the whole bufinefs of their lives. But I need not tell you that the free and difengaged behaviour of a fine gentleman makes as many aukward beaux, as the eafinefs of your favourite hath made infipid poets.

At present you are content to aim all your charms at your own fpoufe, without farther thought of mischief to any others of the fex. I know you had formerly a very great contempt for that pedantic race of mortals who call themfelves Philofophers; and yet, to your honour be it fpoken, there is not a Sage of them all could

you

could have better acted up to their precepts in one of the most important points of life: I mean, in that generous difregard of popular opinion which fhewed fome years ago, when you chofe for your wife an obfcure young woman, who doth not indeed pretend to an ancient family, but has certainly as many forefathers as any lady in the land, if the could but reckon up their names.

I must own, I conceived very extraordinary hopes of you from the moment that you confeffed your age, and from eight-and-forty (where you had ftuck so many years) very ingeniously stepped into your grand climacterick. Your deportment has fince been very venerable and becoming. If I am rightly informed, you make a regular appearance every quarter-seffions among your brothers of the quorum; and, if things go on as they do, ftand fair for being a colonel of the militia. I am told that your time paffes away as agreeably in the amusements of a country life, as it ever did in the gallantries of the town; and that you now take as much pleasure in the planting of young trees, as you did formerly in the cutting down of your old ones. In fhort, we hear from all hands that you are thoroughly reconciled to your dirty acres, and have not too much wit to look into your own eftate.

After having spoken thus much of

my Pa

tron,

tron, I must take the privilege of an Author in faying fomething of myself. I shall therefore beg leave to add, that I have purposely omitted fetting those marks to the end of every paper, which appeared in my former volumes, that you may have an opportunity of fhewing Mrs. Honeycomb the fhrewdness of your conjectures, by afcribing every fpeculation to its proper author: though you know how often many profound Criticks in ftyle and fentiments have very judiciously erred in this particular, before they were let into the fecret. I am, Sir, your most faithful, humble fervant, THE SPECTATOR.

LETTER

CCCCXLII *.

SIR,

WHO

To Mr. WALPOLE †.

[1715.] 7HOEVER reads the following Apology will eafily allow me, that I am much

lefs

*Prefixed to Steele's "Apology for himself and his Write "ings, 1715."

+ Robert Walpole, efq. born Aug. 26, 1674, was chofen member for King's-Lynn in 1700; and continued to reprefent that corporation till created an Earl, excepting the interval of one feffion, when he was expelled the Houfe (Dec. 30, 1711), and fent to the Tower. He was appointed of the council to Prince George, Lord High Admiral, in June, 1705; Secretary at War, Feb 12, 1707-8; Treafurer of the Navy, Jan. 13, 1709-10. On Dr. Sacheverell's impeachment, Mr. Walpole was one of the managers. He was removed from his employments in Au

દુપર

lefs concerned for the fame of a writer than that of an honeft man. I have declared the affiftances I had in compofing the writings which are here defended; for the upright purpose, the innocent intention of them, is all which I am anxious to affert. In defence of truth I incurred popular hatred and contempt, with the profpect of fuffering the want even of the ordinary conveniencies of life. The probability of

guft 1710; and was not in any office during the rest of the Queen's reign. He was appointed Paymaster of the Forces Sept. 24, 1714; and fworn of the Privy Council O&. 1; conftituted First Lord Commiffioner of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer Oct. 10, 1715; and the fame year was elected Chairman of "the Committee of Secrecy." He refigned his high places April 10, 1717; but was appointed Paymaster of the Forces June 4, 1720; and refumed his offices in the Treasury April 4, 1721. He was one of the Lords Juftices and fole Secretary of State in 1723, during the abfence of the Lords Townfend and Carteret, who went with the King to Hanover. He was elected a Knight of the Bath in 1725, and was again one of the Lords Juftices; was elected a Knight of the Garter in 1726, and inftalled June 16. He was a third time one of the Lords, Juftices, in 1727. On the acceffion of King George II. he was continued in all his high pofts; was chofen a Governor of the Charter house, and attended at the coronation as a Privy Counfellor and Knight of the Garter. In the first feffion of the Parliament which met Dec. 4, 1741, finding a strong party against him in the nation as well as in the parliament, he refigned all his places, and was created, Feb. 9, 1741-2, Baron Houghton, Vifcount Walpole, and Earl of Orford. He afterwards, the inquiry into his conduct being dropt, or rather fufpended, lived a very retired life, enjoying reft from his labours, the fweets of private friendship, and the cfteem and love of his Sovereign; but was much afflicted with the stone, which at length put a period to his life, March 18, 1745-6, in his 72d year.

[ocr errors]

being undone I could not but form to myself
when I took upon me what I did; but a weight
heavier than all this fell upon me, to wit, a re-
folution of the reprefentative of my country to
my dishonour. This indeed was a blow unex-
pected; nor could it enter into my imagination,
that the infolence of any minifter could run fo
high, as to demand of the House of Commons
to punish one of its members for being unac-
ceptable to him. The perufal of this pamphlet
will convince the reader, there was not so much
as the appearance of any other motive for my
expulfion. The day of debate was indeed a
very memorable one, and the perfons concerned
in it hugely worth fufpending the councils of a
nation. It was remarkable however, that fuch
was the force of truth, that the member accused
had not an harsh perfonal expreffion used against
him; and the minifter, in the midft of all his
power, who brought on the accufation, was
treated in the manner which all mankind knows
he deferves. As for my part, I ever thought
meanly of the capacity, though not, till lately,
of the good-nature of that demagogue, and faw
very well his audacioufnefs would one day fuffer
by his ignorance. It was vifible, whatever be-
eame of his country, which I believe had little
fhare in his Lordship's cares, he would, with the
wand in his hand, raise powers which he would
want kill to command, and which conie-
quently would tear him himself in pieces.
Ff

But,

« PreviousContinue »