Page images
PDF
EPUB

Chambers in the Temple, had made it his choice to take up his lodgings at the Mitre Tavern in Pleet-street, induced thereto, as the discourse then ran, by dispositions in favor of one Mrs. Watts, whose husband some small time before kept the said house, and who was daughter to the Widow Bowles, then possessed of it. Hereupon, the doctor, who was constant in his enquiries after Mr. Nutley, in case he at any time missed him at this their accustomed place of meeting, being made acquainted with his ill state of health, paid him'a visit; and after the wonted questions from a physician to his patient, which he received answers to, in such a manner, as shewed his indisposition to be rather in the mind, than the body; though he did all he could to conceal the knowledge of his condition from a friend who was able to set him right, in more than one sense, left him, with assurances of prescribing such a remedy as should infallibly cure him. Accordingly, going into another room, he despatched his man to his goldsmith's for two hundred guineas, which being sent him, he put them into a green purse, with the following letter :

“My dear Billy,—Think not that I deal in the black art, if I have consulted other means than the beat of the pulse, for a true state of your distemper. It is unkind, very unkind, for one friend to conceal those circumstances from another, which are the only touch-stones of true sterling friendship; I have, therefore, flung off all manner of disguise, and opened myself plainly to you, that you may do the same by me upon all occasions. In a word, merit and good fortune are not always attendants upon one another; and I clearly perceive, that your generosity of soul is too large for your estate : therefore, since remittances from brother Dick in Ireland may not come soon enough to discharge present incumbrances, I shall take it as a favor, if you will make use of the small sum that bears this company, for the support of a spirit, which, if once depressed, will rob all that know you of the best comfort of their lives. These pieces of money have three hundred more of the same complexion at your service, if you shall think them to be of use to you ; therefore draw upon me, and your farther demands shall be answered ; for I am not such a niggard, as to prefer mountains of gold to the conversation of a person, that gives gaiety even to old age, and vivacity of temper to the most splenetic. The effects of this prescription will be known, by your readiness to give us your company in the old room, where you will find the Earl of Denbeigh, Lords Colpeper and Stawel, with Mr. Blackmore, and myself, who am, my dear Billy, your most affectionate servant, and assured friend,

JOHN RADCLIFFE." MR. NUTLEY'S ANSWER. “ Sir,-Your manner of engaging me to be free with you, is so very powerful, that I can hide nothing from you : but must own, that you have perfectly hit upon

the nature of my distemper, at the same time that I blush for the cause of it. What you have already sent, is sufficient to place my affairs in such a state, as to be out of the reach of disquiet, and shall be repaid, with thanks, upon the first return of monies from the kingdom you mention. In the mean time, though I am but too conscious of your overrating the value of my poor company, common gratitude obliges me to make all possible baste to give it you; especially, since as an addition to the satisfaction I shall have in your agreeable conversation, I am to be blessed with that of the noble lords, and worthy gentlemen, your's has promised. Your Aurum Potabile has had such an effect upon my spirits, that I am impatient till I am dressed, and of letting you know personally, that I am, with the greatest thankfulness, Sir, your most obliged and most humble servant,

W. NutLBY. “ By remittances mentioned in these letters from the kingdom of Ireland, the reader is to understand, that the above-named Mr. Nutley had a younger brother there, named Richard, who, by going over as counsel for the commissioners of the forfeited estates in Ireland, had acquired such practice, as to enable him to allow the said Mr. Nutley 300l. per annum out of the profits, in lieu of the possession of an estate of his own, which brought him in but 1401. yearly, and which his said brother was fearful of its being alienated from the family by sale or mortgage, through the other's expensive way of living.

“ Yet, though the doctor was given to understand by the contents of the foregoing letter, that the money already advanced, was sufficient to make the person, whom he had obliged with it, very easy, and should be returned upon the first opportunity, he was so sensible of the gentleman's modesty, whom he had so honorably obliged, that he not only pressed upon him, and obtained his acceptance of the other three hundred guineas, without any thoughts of payment, but had actually bequeathed him a legacy of 1,5001., to be paid him annually by quarterly payments, during life. But the great Dispenser of Providence had decreed otherwise; and that unfortunate gentleman, who knew no bounds to a freedom which he made too licentious an use of, had so fretted out a strong and healthful constitution, into its last decays, that, in six weeks after, notwithstanding all the art and assiduity of the doctor to master bis distemper, and get the upper-hand of it, no medicines were sufficient for his recovery from a violent fever, which carried him off in the 29th year of his age, to the great regret of all true lovers of wit, and other social virtues, than whom none knew better than him to distinguish himself in the exercise of ; and no gentleman ever went to the grave more lamented, especially by his friend and benefactor, who made appear that his acts of humanity were as well exerted in the just praises of the dead, as in the support of the living, in the following letter to the late Lord Craven :

My very good lord, -I had answered yours of the 27th ult. much sooner, could I have done myself that honor, by an opportunity of sending you any thing new : I mean not in relation to matters of state, which is neither my province nor inclination to be conversant in, but to things that concern the friendship you have hitherto been pleased to favor me with. Your lordship, and the rest of your noble acquaintance, had carried every thing that was grateful to me out of town with you, at your leaving it, but poor Will. Nutley; and the burial-ring that comes inclosed in this, will tell you, that I am now deprived of him, by a more fatal accident than has occasioned that separation; and which, I doubt not, will have the same melancholic effects upon your spirits, that it has upon mine, especially when you call to remembrance the many agreeable hours you bare spent with him.

He desired me, in his last moments, to thank your lordship, and all his friends, in his name, for the favors of your conversation; and that you and they would, by so much the more, take care of the preservation of your lives, by how much the more important they were than his, for the service of your country; and he likewise requested of you to accept this small token of his grateful resentments of the honors you have all done him, in admitting him among the number of your acquaintance. I am also to ask the same of my good Lord of Denbeigh; who will, no doubt, partake in the general sorrow shewn by his friends, for the loss of a person, whose value can be only known by the want of him, and whose readiness to entertain us upon all occasions, has been the chief cause of our ceasing to be entertained by him, since, had his manner of address in company been less engaging, he had been undoubtedly much longer lived ; which may serve as a caution to your lordship, not to be too profuse in displaying those excellent and attracting qualities, which hastened his death, and of which, none has a greater share than your lordship. Thus having fulfilled the desire of my deceased friend, or rather of one whom I had in some measure adopted for my son, I leave your lordship to reflect on the uncertainty of human life, and the certainty of our being gathered to our fathers, sooner or later, when it shall so please that Divine Being, that is both the preserver and destroyer of men; and has thought fit to take to himself poor Will. Nutley, who was the better half of me, and of whose affection and friendship I shall always retain the most grateful sense, while I survive bis dearest remains; and am, my lord, your lordship's most faithful and most obedient servant, Bloomsbury Square, July 14, 1707.

John RADCLIFFE. P. S. Davis gives his service to your lordship, with his desires, that you will not bottle off the two hogsheads of wine I sent you last week, till he comes down, and gives directions to your butler.”

The doctor's letter in the foregoing extract, and the one to the Bishop of Norwich, already quoted, shews that he had become more genteel, and got into a residence in Bloomsbury Square : always famous, by the bye, for medical men. His attachment to Lord Craven will be shewn also in the above letter; and, indeed, his friendship for that nobleman and the Duke of Beaufort, both St. Clement's men, be it remembered, appears to have been of the strongest kind. They were for many years his chosen boon companions, and the death of them, one after another, though at some distance of time, deeply sunk into the doctor's soul. My next extract is a letter written to the Duke of Beaufort, announcing the death of Lord Craven; it runs thus :

"My dear Duke-You will doubtless be very much surprised and grieved at the death of one of your most intimate acquaintance, which makes me wish, that some other hand had eased mine of a task that renews my affliction at the same time it gives birth to your's. But since it may be expected from me, as the physician of the deceased, to give you the circumstances of my poor Lord Craven's sickness, and untimely end, your grace will have the goodness to be made apprised of them after this manner. His lordship, from a particular freedom of living, which he took, and always indulged himself in, had contracted an obeseness of body, that, through want of exercise, made him entirely averse to it. This disposition bred an ill habit of body in him, from whence proceeded dropsical symptoms, which I endeavoured to prevent the effects of, by proper remedies. Nor could they have proved unsuccessful, had his lordship been of a less hospitable temper, or the nobility and gentry been less taken with the sweetness of his conversation, and affability of his deportment. Alas ! I tremble for your grace, when I consider that all these good qualities, that were so eminent and conspicuous in my dear breathless lord, occasioned the very loss of them, for other noblemens' imitation : for, by these engaging, these attractive, and alluring virtues, the best, good-natured companion that ever lived, is lost, for ever lost, to all our hopes and wishes, and had it not in his power to abstain from what was his infelicity, while it was thought to be his comfort.

“ Poor William Lord Craven! How did I flatter myself with the uninterrupted enjoyment of his inviolate and unalterable friendship, during the residue of those few years of life that are allotted for my use! How have I dwelled upon the contemplation of his future acts of affection, loyalty, and beneficence to the Church, the State, and the Commonwealth, when I should be laid low in the earth, and be devoid of means to see and admire them! And yet, how have I been deceived, in surviving that dear, that agreeable person, whose death I ardently desired, for the sake of posterity, to be long, long preceded by my demise.

“ Your grace will pardon me this one soliloquy in remembrance of a loss that is in common to all who had the honor of his acquaintance, or who might have received benefit by his example: and give me leave to tell you, that next to yourself, and my good Lord of Denbeigh, there is no one whose welfare I had more at heart than his lordship's.

“What is incumbent upon me, is to request of your grace to take care of a life so important as your's is, in this dearth of great and valuable men; and to assure you, that while you consult the preservation of your health, by letting the exercises of the field share with the pleasures of the bottle, in so doing, your grace will not only give length of days to that which is mortal in your own earthly fabric, but for some small time longer prevent the return of that frail tenement of clay, to its first origin, which as yet continues to be dragged on by, my dear duke, your grace's most obliged and faithful servant,

JOHN RADCLIFFE.” Thus far we have contemplated Dr. Radcliffe chiefly as a physician, but he was for a short time placed in the situation of a legislator, and all the works which have deemed him worthy of notice in other respects, have been lamentably deficient in this; the Retrospective Review does not notice the circumstance at all, and the “Gold-headed Cane,” with its wonted meagreness, merely mentions that he was in Parliament; now he was not only in Parliament, but, old as he was, spoke there, and from my little work I shall give two of his speeches, which are quite like the man.

During the doctor's discharge of his senatorial function, there was but one session of Parliament in which he could give his attendance; therefore little or nothing has been communicated to us on that head, only, that he acted all along with, and for, the then Ministers, for the good of the Church and State, and did what he thought it behoved him as a Christian, to promote the honor and interest of both, in all debates where he was present. But as none of his speeches are come to hand, except two short ones, the one in favor of the Malt Tax bill, whereby the Scots were to be assessed in proportion to that part of Great Britain, called England; the other of the bill to prevent the growth of schism ; I shall give both in their order, as follows. " "Mr. Speaker, I am sensible that though I am an old man, I am but a young

3 K

VOL. 1.

member, and therefore should defer speaking till my betters have delivered their sentiments; but young and old are obliged to shew their duty to their country, which I look upon with the eyes of a son to his parent. Crassus's son, that was tongue-tied, spoke when his father was in danger; and I, who otherwise should have no relish for speechmaking, do the same upon much the same motive. The North British member that spoke last, says, their nation has had hardships enough put upon them in other matters relating to the Union, not have an addition made to them in this article of the Malt Tax.' But, by that worthy gentleman's leave, I must beg the favor to say, that all the hardships, if any, lay on the side of England. For, as I take it, to give on the one part, and to receive on the other, are two different cases; therefore it is but fitting they should refund the equivalent we, who are such great gainers by it, made them a present of, or acquiesce in this duty upon malt, which will not come to the twentieth-part of it: since it is very reasonable that we, who have given them money to come and incorporate with us, ought to have it returned us again, if they refuse to be upon equal terms with us. This is my sense of the matter, and therefore I am for reading the bill a second time.' THE DOCTOR'S SPEECH IN PARLIAMENT, FOR THE BILL TO PREVENT THE FARTHER

GROWTH OF SCHISM, &c. ""Mr. Speaker,The gentleman who spoke last on the side of this bill, being one of the same faculty with myself, I must beg leave to offer a word or two in behalf of what he has said; for though a certain member has been pleased to insinuate that our profession ought to be excused from speaking in matters of religion, as some persons are from pannels of juries, I shall, whatsoever limits he thinks fit to circumscribe physicians with, not depart from that liberty of speech which is allowed me as a member of this House.

“ ' Bills have been heretofore brought in Parliament (and may again be offered to its consideration) to regulate the practice of physic; an art full as foreign to the studies of those gentlemen, to whom the regulation of it has been committed, as religious affairs can be said to be to those belonging to our faculty; and yet wholesome laws have been provided by them against empyrics and quack-pretenders. Why then are not we to be allowed the same privileges, since it is not impossible but the business of our calling, which sets before us in a more than ordinary manner the wonderful works of Providence, entitles us to as great an insight into divine speculations, as theirs who make no manner of searches into the operations of Nature, does them.

• Therefore, Mr. Speaker, to be as brief as possible, for I find one who can talk much better than me on this head, on tiptoe to exert himself against this bill, I must declare, that I see no reason why the bill should not be read a third time, but on the contrary, hold myself obliged to urge the necessity of it; since, if sehools and seminaries are suffered to be continued much longer, for the education of Dissenters' children, the growth of schism may be such as to render this House incapable of preventing it; and then good night to our two famous Universities, that have made us the envy and glory of the whole universe.'

We are now getting near the end of this extraordinary man's life; but he was doomed to hear of the death of his beloved Duke of Beaufort before his own departure, which took place in the same year, 1714, and here, for the last time, we find the doctor spoken of at the Bull-head Tavern, Clare Market.

“ This noble lord, who had youth and vigor enough to have withstood the injuries of time for many years, and had often been too hard for the strongest liquors, fell a sacrifice to the weakest ; for at his return from hunting, near his seat at Badminton, his grace, by a draught of oat-ale, when over-heated, was tbrown into a fever, which not being rightly understood by the physicians of the bath, who should have kept his body open, and not given him restringents, proved fatal to him ; though not before Dr. Radcliffe was made apprised of his illness, who told the messenger that brought the state of the duke's condition, and was sent to fetch him down to his master, that it would be to no purpose to take such an unnecessary journey, because, if the duke was not dead at that juncture, it was impossible he could live six hours longer, for the very medicaments he had taken, would undoubtedly dispatch him by that time. Nor was he out in his conjectures, for when the servant returned, he found the family all in tears for bis grace's decease, which happened half an hour before the time above-mentioned expired; and

which the doctor laid so very much at heart, that in the hearing of several persons, at the Bull-head Tavern in Clare Market, (whither he never came after) he said, that now he had lost the only person whom he took pleasure in conversing with, it was high time for him to retire from the world, to make his will, and set his house in order, for he had notices within that told him, his abode in this world could not be twelve months longer.”

After this time the poor doctor's life was but a tissue of misery ; he was dreadfully ill with the gout at Carshalton, and though upon that account entirely unable to attend Queen Anne in her last illness, yet he was blamed and threatened in the most ferocious manner, for having been the cause of her death.

After his death on the lst of November, 1714, he was buried in St. Mary's, Oxford, on which occasion great and most unusual honors were paid to his remains by the University of Oxford, in consequence of his magnificent benefactions ; and a regular programme was issued for the more solemn performance of his funeral rites, a copy of which is inserted in the volume referred to.

A NATIVE OF ST. CLEMENT'S.

TO
ALTHOUGH thy grave with grass

is

green,
I feel I never can forget thee-
Forget the days which I have seen!

No! whilst I live I must regret thee.
Regret that death hath broke that tie

No human pow'r had strength to sever---
When once I gaz'd on thy blue eye,

I dreamt our love would last for ever.
And shall it not ?. Death's pow'r is vain!

Look from that bright pure Heav'n above me---
One moment, glorious Spirit, deign,

Artd see, oh, see! I still can love thee.

Come, then, pale Death, enshroud me now ;

Come free me from this world of care ;
Come, smooth this throbbing, aching brow---
I long to soar 's bliss to share.

CATHARINE.

THE ORIGIN OF THE PHRASE “ TO TRUMP.” In one of our former numbers we made some remarks upon the mutability of language, and illustrated our meaning by drawing attention to the strange alterations which have taken place in the signs of inns, and in the names of the pictured cards in the common pack of playing cards; an ingenious correspondent, in reference to this subject, points out the appellation “ trump," applicable to the winning suit of cards, as another illustrative instance. The word trump, he informs us, is derived from the French triomphe, which signifies the trump card; and as a proof that our English word is certainly derived from this source, he reminds us that it is yet common amongst vulgar people to call the trump card "the trumph."

« PreviousContinue »