Page images
PDF
EPUB

and yet you see how quick he took what you said.” “Oh no," replied Dodington," he was only laughing now at what I said last treasury day.” Mr. Trenchard, a neighbour, telling him that though his pinery was expensive, he contrived, by applying the fire and the dung to other purposes, to make it so advantageous that he believed he got a shilling by every pine apple he ate : “ Sir,” said Dodington, “ I would eat them for half the money."

Dodington was married to a Mrs. Behan, whom he was supposed to keep. Though secretly married, he could not own her, as he then did, till the death of Mrs. Strawbridge, to whom he bad given a promise of marriage, under the penalty of ten thousand pounds. He had long made love to the latter, and at last, obtaining an assignation, found her lying on a couch. However, he only fell on his knees, and after kissing her band for some time, cried out, “ Oh that I had you in a wood !"-" In a wood !” exclaimed the disappointed dame; “ What would you do then? Would you rob me?” It was on this Mrs. Strawbridge that was made the ballad

My Strawberry-my Strawberry

Shall bear away the bell. To the burthen and tune of wbich Lord Bath, many years afterwards, wrote his song on“ Straw. berry-hill.”

Dodington had no children. His estate de. scended to Lord Temple, whom he hated, as he did Lord Chatham, against whom he wrote a pamphlet to expose the expedition to Rochfort.

Nothing was more glaring in Doddington than his want of taste, and the tawdry ostentation in the dress and furniture of his houses. At Eastbury, in the great bed chamber, hung with the richest red velvet, was pasted, on every pannel of the velvet, his crest (a hunting horn supported by an eagle) cut out of gilt leather. The foot cloth round the bed was a mosaic of pocket flaps and cuffs of all his embroidered clothes. At Hammersmith his crest, in pebbles, was stuck into the centre of the turf before his door. The chimney piece was hung with spars resem. bling icicles round the fire, and a bed of purple, lined with orange, was crowned by a dome of peacock's feathers. The great gallery, to which was a beautiful door of white marble, supported by two columns of lapis lazuli, was not only filled with busts and statues, but had, I think, an inlaid floor of marble; and all this weight was above stairs.

One day, showing it to Edward, Duke of York, Dodington said, “Sir, some persons tell me this room ought to be on the ground.” “ Be easy, Mr. Dodington, replied the prince, “it will soon be there."

Dodington was very lethargic: falling asleep one day after dinner, with Sir Richard Temple, Lord Cobham, the general, the latter reproached Dodington with his drowsiness; Dodington de. nied having been asleep, and to prove he had not, offered to repeat all Lord Cobham had been saying. Cobham challenged him to do so. Dodington repeated a story, and Lord Cobham owned

he had been telling it. “Well,” said Dodington," and yet I did not hear a word of it; but I went to sleep because I knew that about this time of day you would tell that story.”

HORACE WALPOLE.

THE HON. GERARD HAMILTON. HAMILTON, who in the English Parliament got the nickname of Single Speech, spoke well, but : not often, in the Irish House of Commons. He had a promptitude of thought, and a rapid flow of well conceived matter, with many other requisites, that only seemed waiting for opportunities to establish his reputation as an orator. He had a striking countenance, a graceful carriage, great selfpossession and personal courage : he was not easily put out of his way by any of those unaccommodating repugnances that men of weaker nerves or more tender consciences might have stumbled at, or been checked by; he could mask the passions that were natural to him, and assume those that did not belong to him: he was indefatigable, meditative, mysterious; his opinions were the result of long labour and much reflection, but he had the art of setting them forth as if they were the starts of ready genius and a quick perception : he had as much seeming steadiness as a partisan could stand in need of, and all the real flexibility that could suit his purpose or advance his interest.

CUMBERLAND.

ELEGANT EXTRACTS.

PART IV.

Characters.

BRITISH AND FOREIGN.

LORD HOLLAND. MR. HENRY Fox was a younger brother, of the lowest extraction, His father, Sir Stephen Fox, made a considerable fortune somehow or other, and left him a fair younger brother's portion, which he soon spent in the common vices of youth, gambling included : this obliged him to travel for some time. When he returned, though by education a jacobite, he attached himself to Sir Robert Walpole, and was one of his ablest éléves. He had no fixed principles either of religion or morality, and was too unwary in ridiculing and exposing them. He had very great abilities and indefatigable industry in business ; great skill in managing, that is, in corrupting the House of Commons; and a wonderful dex

VOL. II.

Сс

terity in attaching individuals to himself. He promoted, encouraged, and practised their vices; he gratified their avarice, or supplied their profusion. He wisely and punctually performed whatever he promised, and most liberally rewarded their attachment and dependence. By these and all other means that can be imagined he made himself many personal friends and political dependants. He was a most disagreeable speaker in parliament; inelegant in his language, hesitating and ungraceful in his elocution, but skilful in discerning the temper of the house, and in knowing when and how to press or to yield. A constant good humour and seeming frankness made him a welcome companion in social life, and in all domestic relations he was good natured. As he advanced in his life his ambition became subservient to his avarice. His early profusion and dissipation had made him feel the many inconveniences of want; and, as it often happens, carried him to the contrary and worse extreme of corruption and rapine. Rem, quocumque modo rem, became his maxim, which he observed (I will not say religiously and scrupulously, but) invariably and shamefully. He had not the least notion of or regard for the public good or the constitution, but despised those cares as the objects of narrow minds, or the pretences of interested ones; and he lived, as Brutus died, calling virtue only a name.

LORD CHESTERFIELD,

« PreviousContinue »