Imágenes de páginas


In the life of Pope, written by Mr. owles and published in the year 1806,

is said, that Lord Hervey wrote the Memoirs of his own lime, leaving strict innctions with his executors that they were >t to be published until after the decease George III. It seems now that such as not the fact, the injunction not to pubsh having proceeded from a son of Lord ervey. Augustus, third Earl of Bristol, ho, perceiving that the Memoirs were ritten with great freedom, forbade out of lOtives of delicacy and duty, that they i ould ever see the light until two generaons, at least, had passed off from the .age. More than the prescribed limits, ne hundred and ten years in fact, have lapsed since Lord Hervey completed his lanuscript; the actors during the reign of ^eo^ge II. have long since taken their laces in the niches of history; the direct lale line of the family of Hanover comleted its drama in the morning of our ay, when the old men around us were rst stepping upon the threshold of active ife, and the middle-aged were busy in the lays of the school-ground ; and the earnest present of the Georgian era, with its wit nd learning, its eloquence and poetry, its tate and splendor, its fair women and irave men, has long since been hushed into he stillness of the silent past. The time hen has come at length, when the Meaoirs of Lord Hervey—first announced to he world by Horace Walpole, in his "dialogue of Royal and Noble Authors, >ublished in 1757; desiderated by Lord rlailes in his compilation of the Opinions of he Duchess of Marlborough, who, in his amentation over the fashion of destroying >riginal papers during the eighteenth cen

tury, rejoices that "much which was then in doubt would be made clear, should the writings of Lord Hervey ever see the light;" and alluded to with an ill suppressed curiosity by every historian of the reign of the second George—the time then has come at length, when, without personal offence or public impropriety, they may be given to the world.

The Memoirs are preceded by a prefatory and biographical notice of the noble author, written by the editor, John Wilson Croker, who prepared and published an edition of Lady Hervey's letters in 1821. The original manuscript, as it now exists, was committed to his hand by the present Marquis of Bristol, nephew to the late Earl of Bristol, and grand nephew to the author of the Memoirs. Mr. Croker describes the MS. as being wholly in autograph, remarkable for its clearness and legibility, and complete as it came from the author, with the exception of several chasms, indicated by * * upon the printed page, occasioned by former possessors having destroyed several sheets here and there, that appear to have contained additional details of the dissensions in the royal family. He thinks that these omissions are not, upon the whole, to be regretted; that they have spared us much scandal; and that they have not essentially diminished the historical value of the work. Now, with all deference to Mr. Croker's apology for his noble employer and his most noble ancestors, we take the liberty of expressing an opinion entirely contrary to his upon this subject. We can discover no possible ground in the whole chapter of rights, upon which one of Lord Hervey's literary executors, in any generation since his day, could have been justified in mutilating a manuscript of veritable history. The expunged portions contained, undoubtedly, the true narrative of the difficulties which existed between Frederick Prince of Wales, and his royal parents, from the day he first landed in England until his decease, and the causes which produced them,—a secret, unparalleled iu all modern history, which neither contemporaneous writings, nor tradition, have ever satisfactorily unlocked. We agree with Lord Hailes, when speaking upon this very subject, that to destroy the records of genuine history is a relic of barbarism unpardonable to the last degree, and that they who suppress memorials of truth, "do all that they can to leave the history of the eighteenth century in darkness."

* Memoirs of the Reign of George the Second, from his accession to the death of Queen Cnroline. Bv John, Lord Hervey. Edited from the original manuscript at Ickworth, by the Right Hoa J. #. Croker. 2 vols. 8vo. Philadelphia. 1848.


Mr. Croker has also made some alterations from the original MS., with which, however, as they pertain mainly to the correction of lax and antiquated orthography, the suppression of indelicate expressions, and the substitution of more decent equivalents, we do not feel disposed to find much fault; still we cannot but regard even this as a matter of very serious question. Waning the subject of orthography, as of comparatively little consequence, we should like to ask how far the prevailing taste of any particular age, present or future, has a right to go in its demands for the revision, alteration and expurgation of ancient manuscripts? What would be thought of an expurgated edition of Shakspeare, for example, emended and corrected according to the most approved notions of a Xew York Blue Stocking Club? Or of a revised edition of Dean Swift's writings, by the Cincinnati Moral Reform Society'? Or of Sterne's Tristam Shandy, rendered fit for beginners by a grandmother? The truth is, there is great danger in these days of overdelicacy about language, and over-carelessness about sentiment,—for such is the character of nine-tenths of the fictitious publications of the last ten years,—there is great danger of indulging the scruples of refinement to the manifest hurt of historical truth. If we would know what other generations before us were, if we would possess a true idea of individual character and national manners as they r"" iwistrd. we must take them as they

are, even at the expense of strict decorand if the oral and written intereou>the purest men and women who Kv»-hundred years ago was of a charaeUshock our delicacy, so undoubtedly »•■ oftentimes the manners which they r. vated and the dresses which thev wore. ■ banish the one of which from the desr: lions of the poet, or the other from the; ■ traits of the limner, would be no less; surd, than to insist upon the dialect of . present day being used in their connrs. tion.

Lord Hervey was the eldest Sod of'. first Earl of Bristol, by his second * daughter of Lady Howard, and gri: daughter and heiress of the third £>Sutfolk. The readers of Horace Walpi letters may remember several complin tary allusions to Carr, Lord Hervey, elder brother of the author of the Mr: by the first wife of the Earl of Br_Horace says, "that he was reckoned have had parts superior to his more cbrated brother," a remark incidei^ confirmed by Pope, who, in one of sarcastic sallies towards the second L Hervey, the Sporvs of his Dunciad. r" fesses the pleasure with which he J«mthe memory of the first, '* the debt he i ■ to his friendship, whose early death • prived the family of as much wit as<i' mor as he left behind him in anv bof it." With all his intellect and agnbility, Carr, Lord Hervey. seems to t. been a man of great laxity of priticr Lady Louisa Stuart speaks of him. b introduction to the works of Mary V' ley Montagu, as a person of great t*y and great vices, and adds also, under e tainly the strongest corroborative trmony, the very curious fact, that h* r undoubtedly the father of lloraet Waif If there were no evidence in the Mar "* before us of the truth of this, ie almost incredible laxity of Sir R.** Walpole's conjugal relations, ccoorr. with the well-known assertion of L» Mary, that " the wife of Sir Robert »-• one of the very few women whoalwvretained the friend after she bad k*t lover," it certainly affords the factory explanation of those tricities of Horace's mind and which, so utterly dissimilar lo b> •'« family, were yet close akin to the B*>


ock, which Lady Mary immortalized by er division of the human species into 'leu, Women, and Herveys.

Lord Hervey's early education seems to ave been of the most thorough kind. he hope of the family after the death of his rother, the comfort and support of a suerior and judicious mother, and the main sliance of many personal friends of his ither, whose early retiracy from court ad been deeply regretted by the party to hich he belonged, his early promise was lierished and cultivated by all the appliices which rank and wealth could evoke, .fter a successful completion of academic udies, and having made the usual tour f the Continent, the young nobleman Ltached himself to the court of the Prince tid Princess at Richmond, where he soon ecame a great personal favorite. At this eriod Pope and his literary friends were L great favor at this young court, of hich, in addition to the handsome and lever Princess herself, Mrs. Howard, Mrs. elwyn, Miss Howe, Miss Uellenden, and liss Lepell, with Lords Chesterfield, lathurst, Scarborough, and Hervey, were le chief ornaments. Perhaps the world as rarely seen more of beauty, gaiety, it, elegance, taste, and refinement than ■ere to be found in the galaxy of the 'rince and Princess of Wales during the ist years of George I. Pope, the wit ad poet of the circle, warmed into a new fe by the smiles of royal courtesy, was ever tired in after days, when the sunnine of favor had been withdrawn, of itirizing the follies in the midst of which e had basked. In the outset he had ourted the acquaintance of Lord Hervey, nd an intimacy had sprung up between hem and their joint friend, Lady Mary, rhich promised to be perpetual. Alas, jr the mutability of human love, that he hould have become the bitterest enemy f the former, and have given ample ocasion to the latter to realize the truth of 'ongreve's mourning bride, when she delares that

Earth hath no curse, like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorn'd."

low far the quarrel with Lord Hervey nduced Pope's subsequent rupture with vady Mary, we are not informed. It has leeu often ascribed to the rivalry of the

gentlemen for the good graces of the lady: but besides the improbability of Lady Mary's tact failing her in a matter of gallantry concerning herself, in all points of which it was her pride and boast to give denials without offence and favors without jealousy, we can trace no evidence for, and some little against the statement. Lady Mary told Spence her own version of the quarrel, and he relates it thus in his Anecdotes:

"I have got fifty or sixty of Mr. Pope's letters by me. You shall see what a goddess he makes of me in them, though he makes such a devil of me in h;s writings afterwards, without any reason that I know of. I got a third person to ask him why he left off visiting me; he answered, negligently, that he went as often as he used to do. I then asked Dr. Arbuthnot to get from him what Lady Mary had done to him. He said that Lady Mary and Lord Hervey had pressed him once together—(and I do not remember that we ever were together with him in our lives)—to write a satire on certain persons; that he refused it, and that this had occasioned the breach between us."

The estrangement between Pope and Lord Hervey commenced in 1725, two years before the decease of George I., but it was greatly increased in bitterness two years later, when the new court, to which Lord Hervey soon gave in his adhesion, discarded its old friends, and continued Walpole at the head of the government. Whatever may have been its cause will probably now never be known. Lord Hervey was not unlike Pope, in many characteristics of mind and heart, and especially in that nervous irritability so common to men of a poetical, temperament, the genus irrilabue valum. Floating together upon the surface of a life, the brilliancy of which was made up of sententious witticisms and sparkling repartees, lively tittle-tattle and biting pasquinades, and, to a certain degree, rivals for ladies' favors and courtly smiles, it was not wonderful that a disagreement should spring up between them, which should at last grow into open hostility. Where the public quarrel commenced, or who was the first aggressor, it is difficult to tell. In Pope's "Miscellanies," published in 1727; in his first edition of the "Dunciad," published in 1728; and in some lighter pieces published subsequently, there are bitter allusions to Lord Hervey, either by the use of his initials, or under a fictitious name. These are slight, howover, compared with an attack made jointly upon him and Lady Mary, in one of Pope's Imitations of the Satires of Horace, where he dubs Hervey as Lord Fanny, and Lady Mary as Sappho, in couplets offensive to all decency, and alike disgraceful to the writer and the publisher. Retaliation followed from both the parties attacked, and counter-retaliation from the poet, until the warfare became tedious and disgusting. As a specimen of the bitterness of the parties, we subjoin two quotations, made by Mr. Croker from the published satires :—

•' So much for Pope,—nor this I would have

paid, Had not the spider first his venom shed: For, the first slime I ne'er unjustly cast, JJut who can blame the hand which throws the

las,t? And if one common foe the wretch has made Of all mankind—the folly on his head."

.In.his 'Epistle to Arbuthnot, published in 1134,.Pope Aook occasion to immortalize the personal foibles, the faults, weaknesses and vanity.ofiord Hervey, in one of the most brilliant and popular sallies of mingled invective and sarcasm ever published.

P. Let Sporus-tremble—
A. Whaf! that thing of silk?

Sporns! that -mere white curd of ass's milk?
Satire or sense, alas, can Sporus feel,
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?

P. Vet let me flap tliis bug with gilded wings, This painted child of dirt that stinks and

stings! Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys, Yet wit ne'er tastes nor beauty ne'er enjoys; As well-bred spaniels civilly delight In mumbling of the game they dare not bite. Eternal smiles his emptiness betray. As shallow streams run dimpling all the way. Whether in florid impotence he speaks, And as the prompter breathes the puppet

squeaks; Or at the ear of Ere,"familiar toad". Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad, In pun or politics, or tales or lies, Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies. His wit all see-saw between that and this, Now high, now low, now master up, now miss, And he himself one vile antithesis."

But to return to Lord Hervey. In the

midst of the fascinating society *f k Prince's court, he soon found a ww t traction in the person and mind ■..' Yj Lepell, daughter and heiress of Brir-a General Nicholas Lepell. Of the rrtm of the character of Miss Lepell, as -wii i of the charms of her person and fee * have abundant testimony, not ooh fr: Walpole, Lady Mary Wortley M:^: Chesterfield, and others, friends of Li Hervey, but even from his avowed « mies, one of whom, Pope, goes out of a way to compliment and eulogue ker. in his satire upon the husband might bt a keener. Gay wrote:

"Now Hervey, fair of face, I mark fnS To With thee, youth's youngest daughter, fe/ L pell;"

and a celebrated ballad of the day ::i eulogizes the happy pair:

"For Venus had never seen bedded So perfect a beau and a belle,

As when Hervey, the handsome, wis *M* To the beautiful Molly Lepell."

Mr. Croker says :—

"To her more solid merits as a daujt' • wife, and a mother, we have the cr.rii--: nearer, and more valuable testimony c Bristol, who seems to have been enchis:-.' more by the brilliant than the amiableqaU *i his daughter-in-law, and to haveendenon* «"j a growing affection and admiration to r--J less irksome to her the occasional rivarnfti his Countess—a lady of considerable ttirS a very lively but not equable temper, »^: so ready and sharp a wit, that in one r. letters she triumphantly tells Lord BrirtjJ * she had answered some impertuienci'S a! rs so cleverly, that the Queen said ' she sa» "* Lord Hervey had derived his talent for tvn'r from his mother.'"

In 1725, Lord Hervey was rw•-• from Burg as member of Parliament. * following the lead of the yonng <■•«" joined vigorously in the opposition. A the accession of George II. however. »H the new King foiled all the expettattkn?' his long-tried friends, and. selecting n pole as Prime Minister, began to M"* out the measures of the former ns{* Hervey deserted Pulteney and the cfcp of the Craftsmen, so called from i '>+* party paper of that name, and accept' pension of £1000 per annum, cameo** r of the ministry. Distinguishing him11 o less by the vigor and logic of his , a talent of no small account in that of powerful and searching political ussion, than by the terseness and comeness of his speeches, he soon rose to first rank among the supporters of the isters, though honored with no place the King. This became at length a it source of dissatisfaction between self and the party with whom he actand even threatened a rupture of their idly relations. Brought forward, howr, by the force of circumstances, as a , of exponeut of the party, in a gross .ck upon Wnlpole, which appeared in "Craftsman," he was forced into a ■1 with Pulteney, the great opponent of ilpole, from which he came oft' with siderable reputation. His demands for ce could no longer be refused, and in 27, he became Vice Chamberlain to the ig, from which date the chief interest the Memoirs begins. Before we leave the personal history of rd Hervey to examine the subject of his moirs, it may be well enough to say it he retained his place, his standing, his uence, and his friendships, until 1741; en Sir Robert Walpole, finding himself repeated minorities, was forced to ree from his position at the head of the vernment. He died on the 8th of Aust, 1743; his wife surviving his loss for >re than twenty-five years. Many of ; friendships, especially that with Lady iry Wortley Montagu, he retained to the t. Lady Louisa Stuart relates the folding incident in her works in reference this:—

"Lord Hervey dying a few years after Lady iry settled abroad, his eldest son (George, irJ Hervey) sealed up and sent her letters, th an assurance that none of them had been encd. She wrote him a letter of tha iks for ! honorable conduct, addimj that she could nost regret he had not glanced his eye over :orrespondence which would have shown him bat so young a man might perhaps be inclined doubt—the possibility of a long and steady endship subsisting between two persons of ffercnt sexes without the least mixture of ve."

Although Mr. Ciokcr is inclined to treat ic remark of Lady Mary, in regard to the latonic nature of their friendship, rather

superciliously, we have no manner of doubt that it is true. The world, especially that part of it which have known no difference between friendship and love, technically so called, and which have found the great clement of both in what Lord Kames calls "self-satisfaction," have no faith in the existence of a sentiment between the sexes, except that by which we are endowed for the continuance of the species. And yet there is no emotion of which mankind are susceptible, that is capable of being sustained by the proofs of a greater number of examples, where a mutual friendship has been cultivated for years between individuals of the different sexes, as pure, generous, magnanimous, unselfish and enduring as human ties can be, than this; and we believe it will be found universally true, that in all cases where such a friendship has existed unimpaired for many years, it has always been of this character.

The friendship of Lord Hervey and Lady Mary had existed for more than twenty-six years, and though there may be here and there throughout the correspondence expressions of regard inconsistent apparently with the lady's declaration, yet we have no doubt that to the parties themselves they were the simple utterance of compliment on the one side, and the courteous acknowledgment of it on the other. Take for example a letter of his, written in 1737, when he was forty-one years old and Lady Mary forty-seven, in answer to one of hers in which she had complained that she was too old to inspire a new passion, he, after complimenting her charms, as Mr. Croker says, "more gallantly than decorously," goes on to say:—

"I should think anybody a great fool that said he liked spring better than summer, merely because it is further from autumn, or that they loved green fruit better than ripe only because it was further from being rotten. I ever did, and believe ever shall, like woman best

'Just in the noon of life—those golden days When the mind ripens ere the form decays."'

One of Lord Hervey's last letters, after he became greatly reduced by long and severe illness, was written to his old friend. It is simple and touching in no common degree:—

« AnteriorContinuar »