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"Icktrorth Park, June 18lh, 1743. "The last Ma?es of an infirm life are filthy roid-s and like all other roads I find the farther on? goes from the capital the more tedious the miles gro-.v. aiid the more rough and disajr^c^Lle the way. I know of no turn[>;«<„-*. to fnend them; medicine pretends to be ■-.ioh. but doctors who have the management of it. like the commissioners for most other tornpikes, seldom execute what they undertake; they only p«t the toll of the poor cheated passenger in their pockets, and leave every jolt at !e.i-t as bad as they found it, if not worse. May all your trays (as Solomon says of wisdom ) be ways of pleasantness, and all your paths peace: and when your dissolution must come, mav it be like that of your lucky workman. Adieu!"
The great interest of the Memoirs commences, as we have already remarked, in 1727, when Lord Hervey first received the key of Vice Chamberlain. At this time George II. was forty-seven years old, the Queen a few months older, and Walpole fifty-four. The characters of all the roval family have long been familiar to the readers of English history of that day. The King, perhaps the weakest in intellect, as he was the most obstinate in opinion, of all the Hanover family who have yet filled the throne, is perpetually before us, with his blurt", easy countenance, (except when frettinc, as he often was, over some fancied neglect of his family or some pertinacious opposition in Parliament,) his fat, burly figure, his strong German accent, his rough, earnest manner, and his opinionated conversation, which suffered no contradiction at the time from Queen or Minister, yet set off in many strong points of native good sense, love of truth, and acquiescence in the inevitable ;—the Queen, strong-minded, intelligent, gracious, bearing, with the true dignity of a noble woman, the abuse and neglect of his Majesty without a murmur, and always ready to seize the favorable moment when his heart could be brought to bear upon his opinions enough to gain his assent to measures essential to the welfare of the nation;—the Prince of Wales, always at variance with his father and mother, maintaining a strong power in opsition to the crown, which, however, fifteen years effected no change in mintl policy ; irascible, fluctuating, ultra,
I and yet possessed of the tnie elements of I a great and good man;—the Princess Royal | gentle, loyal, beloved, and accomplished, | becoming the victim of slate poTitiqoe a » reluctant marriage to the hideous Prince of Orange, pining for love without its passion, and for home without daring to approach it:—the Princess Emily, earnest violent, talented, dissatisfied with her psition, disgusted with her parents, and tire* of her life of celibacy, her chief anrs!«ment consisting in petting her <atkrr« weaknesses in his presence and ridrs!ing them in his absence :—the Prinri*Caroline, the youngest and most indul::<-i of all the children, gentle, quiet, amiable and tender, loving and beloved by aD wto came within the beautiful sphere of h-r attraction, and most of all by Lord Hervey, for whom, says Horace Walpok. "she had conceived an vnconqverahWpassion ;" and whose death was really the signal for her retirement from the world :— all the personages of the royal eir:* each consistent in principle and eharar't: to the end, advance and recede upon"' stage of action, in its various phases, V we become familiar with them as with is characters and faces of household rnmi'^ Upon his accession to the crown, )lf Howard, afterwards Lady Suffolk.' been for some rears the avowed lav-: 1 of George II. She was the daugnt"" Sir John Hobart, and sister of Henry hbart, Knight of the Bath, subswpri'created Earl of Buckinghamshire. E»" married to Mr. Howard, the y^-' brother of the Earl of Suffolk:'**. • 'slender fortune on her own part, ard '-' reverse of opulence on her hosbani' without expectations from her family. -; with little hope of Mr. Howard's sac* in political life, the young couple had "■ sorted to Hanover towards the c'.--< '■ Queen Anne's reign, to endeavor t» K.""I tiate themselves with the future sovm .— i of England. In process of time they- .*: wife became Mistress of the Robe* to * Princess of Wales, and after the Tie""1 between the Prince and Miss Beire-" whose confidante shu had bees, and » had never reciprocated the grot* sat* of her royal lover, she succeeded to friend's post of favorite, though i her dislike nor her: Though George IL
rous, it seems to be allowed on all s, that bis continued attachment to Mrs. rard arose more from bis idea that an x of gallantry gave him freedom from
government of the Queen, than from
real affection. It is certain that bis Iness for the person even of bis wife, ay nothing of his entire reliance upon
opinion, was far greater than for any is mistresses. This seems not to have 1 known, however, until some years r the accession to the throne. At . time, Mrs. Howard, having long i known to have enjoyed the confice of the King, was courted by all the ectants of office—Sir Robert Walpole r excepted, who seems to have discov1 in the outset where the source of rer lay—in the hope of finding her hes the law of the King. Such, howr, proved not to be the case. No faite of royalty ever enjoyed less of the liaucy and power of the situation than 1 v Suffolk. Watched and thwarted by
Queen, and disclaimed by the minister,
owed to the dignity of her own beior the chief respect that was paid to
at the last, a respect which must have n meagre compensation for the slavery her life and the mortifications she ened. Notwithstanding the earnest astions of Lady Suffolk's descendants, :ked by no inconsiderable proof, that • connection with the King was purely i Platonic character, Horace Walpole's (position of the contrary is full}' conned by the revelations of Lord Hervey, o had certainly every opportunity to Jw the facts in the case. Still, added her personal beauty, which is said to re been very attractive, her syraraetri
figure, exquisite make, and beautiful nplexion, always set off by remarkable ntility, and simple taste in dress and irinjf, contrasting well amid the more owy belles of the court, there was so ich of intelligence and character, of disition and love of truth in her whole life, lich continued to the age of seventyne, that it made her many friends and ive her high respect from all who knew r. Indeed, she was always treated both tring her connection with the court, and ter her retirement, as if her virtue bad ;ver been questioned; and though her itreme deafness damped ber enjoyment
in society, she formed around herself, at her villa of Marble Hill, a coterie, the refinement, intelligence and wit of which, the savans of that day are never tired of praising. Pope alludes to ber defect of hearing in his lines " On a certain Lady at Court:"
"I know a thing that's most uncommon;
(Envy be silent and attend !) I know a reasonable woman,
Handsome and witty, yet a friend, Not warp'd by passion, awed by rumor,
Nor grave through pride or gay through folly; An equal mixture of good humor
And sensible, soft melancholy. * Has she no faults then,' (envy says,) ' Sir?'
'Yes, she has one, 1 must aver; When all the world conspires to praise her.
The woman's deaf, and does not hear.""
Whatever may be the truth in regard to Lady Suffolk's connection with the King, it is certain that Mr. Howard sold his own noisy honor and the quit-claim to his wife, for a pension of twelve hundred a year. The Queen's forbearance, good sense and decency, contrived to diminish the scandal at the time, and to give it a shade of doubt to posterity, to whom, as Sir Walter remarks in his review of the Suffolk correspondence, it is after all of little interest, since gossip is only valued when fresh, and the public have generally enough of that poignant fare, without ripping up the frailties of their grandmothers.
Throughout the whole Memoirs the reader is indulged with frequent glimpses of the Queen's tact in managing his Majesty, without his suspecting it. Lord Hervey often speaks as freely upon this subject, as be does in the following passages :—
"As people now saw that all court interest, power, profit,favor, and preferment were returning in this reign to tlio same track in which they had travelled in the last, lampoons, libels, pamphlets, satires and ballads were hnnded about, both publicly and privately, some in print and some in manuscript, abusing and ridiculing the King, the Queen, their ministers, and all that belonged to tliem; the subject of most of them was Sir Robert's having bought the Queen, and the Queen's governing the King; which thought was over and over again repeated in a thousand different shapes and d esses, both of prose and verse. And as the 'Craftsman' had not yet lashed their Majesties on! of all feeling for these transitory verbal corrections that smart without wounding, so the King's vehemence and pride, and the Queen's apprehension of his being told of her power till he might happen to feel it, made them both at first excessively uneasy. However, a6 the Queen by long studying and long experience of his temper knew how to instil her own sentiments, while she affected to receive his Majesty's, she could appear convinced while she was controverting, and obedient while she was ruling; and by this means her dexterity and address made it impossible for anybody to persuade him what was truly his case—that while she was seemingly on every occasion giving up her opinion and her will to his. she was in reality turning his opinion and bending his will to hers. She managed this deified image as the heathen priests used to do the oracles of old, when, kneeling and prostrate before the altars of a pageant god, they received, with the greatest devotion and reverence, those directions in public, which they had before instilled and regulated in private. And as these idols consequently were only propitious to the favorites of the augurers, so nobody who had not tampered with our chief priestess, ever received any favorable answer from our god; storms and thunder greeted every votary that entered the temple without her protection ; calms and sunshine those who obtained it. The King himself was so little sensible of this being his case, that one day enumerating the people who had governed this country in other reigns, he said Charles I. was governed by his wife; Charles II. by his mistresses ; King James by his priests ; King William by his men; and Queen Anne by her women—her favorites. His father, he added, had been by anybody that could get at him. And at the end of this compendious history of our great and wise monarchs, with a significant, satisfied, triumphant air, he turned about, smiling, to one of his auditors, and asked him— 'And who dot hoy say govern-i now ?'"
The following verses will serve for a specimen of the strain in which the libels and lampoons of that day were composed:
'You may strut, dapper George, but 'twill all
be in vain; We know 'lis Queen Caroline, not you, that
reign— You govern no more than Don Philip of
Spain. Thus if you would have us fall down and
adore you, Lock up your fat spouse as your dad did
Another pasquinade of the time began thus:—
"Since England was England there «n»
was seen So strutting a King and so prati^f i
Queen," &c , etc.
Another of the lampoons describes tir pleasure with which he received Ldrs Edgcombe, who was very short in statist:
"Rejoiced to find within hi* court
Notwithstanding the gross character i these libels, their authors seem new «c have been discovered, though the K»f made many attempts to do so. Learnt that one of them had been shown to Loft Scarborough before it was published, is Majesty taxed him with the fact hV confessed the truth of the accusation, ba refused to say by whom it had bee: shown him, alleging that previously tthis reading it or knowing what it w» ^ had passed his word not to reveal t* name of the author. The King repBed •him in great anger,—" Had I beti L.ti Scarborough in this situation and yon ii» King, the man should have shot me, or• him, who had dared to affront me. in u* person of my master, by showing me Skj insolent nonsense." Lord Scarbonwri replied, that he had never told his Maj* ty it was a man from whom he had it. tsi persisting in his concealment, left the K::; in almost as much anger against bin » the author.
Lord Hervey frequently apologiRs the course of his narrative for repeats what he calls "little circumstance meaning the current gossip of daily fifr * the palace. It is curious how the bp* of time has exalted into an important*, far exceeding all his anticipations, tbe personal descriptions and minor details of LMemoirs, while it has detracted intbesatt degree, and in even a greater one, &* the value of his historical narrative. TV subject-matter of the latter is an old stwj. familiar from boyhood; but the former— the anecdote, the manners, the per*** peculiarities of those whose names »r' household words, trie bon-mot, the rfpwtee, the carriage of the body or the wiping of the dress,—lost in the longcamfl of years, and now again appearing"» to the mind of a generation distant D«* the scene, dispelling doubts, dissolTM? difficulties, explaining enigmas of Com*'
acting upon the past as the current ics of the day act upon the present, :idating, resolving, confirming it, bele land-marks of history, invaluable n their bearing upon what we already »w, and connecting the beginning and end of a century of years by a fresh I indissoluble bond. Such knowledge mot be overvalued. It is the wand the enchanter, evoking by its touch rits of life from the distant past; the r-stone that completes the arch of a nan's history; or, better still, the object iich starts into being the new and valule ideas of life, making
"The past and present reunite
The following anecdote, for example, eds light on the Townshcnd rupture >m Sir Robert Walpole's party, the uses of which have always been supsed to exist in personal difficulties, witht knowing what they were :—
"There was an occurrence at the latter end this summer (1728) at Windsor, relating to s court Lord Townshend then made to Lord ■evor, which I shall relate, because I think will give a short but strong sketch both of >rd Townshend's and Sir Robert's temper; it before I begin my relation, I must premise at Sir Robert Walpole at this time kept a sry pretty young woman, daughter to a merlant, whose name was Skerrett, and for whom ! was said to have given (besides aji annual lowance) £5000 as entrance money. "One evening at Windsor the Queen asking ir Robert Walpole and Lord Townshcnd here they had dined that day, the latter said i had dined at home with Lord and Lady revor; upon which Sir Robert Walpole said > her Majesty, smiling, 'My Lord, Madam, I link is grown coquet from a long widowhood, nd has some design upon my Lady Trevor's irtue, for his assiduity of late in that family is rown to be so much more than common civily,that without this solution I know not how 'account for it.' What made this raillery of >ir Robert Walpole's very excusable and imossible to shock my Lord's prudery, let him ique himself ever so much on the chastity of is character, was. that my good Lady Trevor, csides her strict life and conversation, was of hemost virtuoiH, forbidding countenance that Mural ugliness, age, and small-pox ever comwunded. However, Lord Townshend affectng to take the reproach literally, and to unlerstaad what Sir Robert meant to insinuate
of the political court he paid to the husband as sensual designs upon the wife, with great warmth replied, ' No, Sir, I am not one of those fine gentlemen who find no time of life, nor any station in the world, preservatives against the immoralities and follies that are hardly excusable when youth and idleness make us most liable to such temptations. They are liberties, Sir, which I can assure you I ain as far from taking as approving; nor have I either a constitution that requires such practices, a purse that can support them, or a conscience that can digest them.' Whilst he uttered these words his voice trembled, his countenance was pale, and every limb shook with passion. But Sir Robert Walpole, always master of his temper, made him no other answer than ;;sking him with a smile, and in a very mild tone of voice, 'What, my Lord, all this for my Lady Trevor ?'"
The Miss Skerrett, named here, is the same person to whom more than one of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's letters are addressed, and who seems to have been, from the frequent mention of her name in other letters, upon terms of intimate acquaintance with her. Sir Robert, after his first wife's death, in 1738, was married to her, thereby gaining an addition, if the journals of the day may be believed, to his already princely fortune of £80,000. A daughter, born to them long before the marriage, was afterwards created with the rank of an Earl's child, greatly to the scandal of the peerage. Gay's satire of the " Beggars' Opera," which had a great run in its day and is still read by lovers of the old drama, caricatured Walpole, his lady, and Miss Skerrett. Gay afterwards published a second part, more severe than the first, which Sir Robert, had prohibited from appearance at the theatres, rather than suffer the ridicule of being produced for a succession of nights upon the stage in the person of a highwayman. The poet, irritated at the bar put in the way of his success, added some supplemental invectives to the piece, and applying to the Duchess of Queensbury, beautiful, accomplished, and at the head of the fashionable world, resolved to print it by her advice, upon subscription. The Duchess, interested in the author, and having herself a personal pique to gratify, set herself at the head of the undertaking, and making her solicitations so universal and so pressing, that she went even to the Queen's apartment and around the drawing-room, inducing every one to contribute his guinea for printing of the book. The Memoirs tell us that
"The King, when he came into the drawingroom, seeing her Grace very busy in a corner with three or four men, asked her what she had been doing. She answered,' What must be agreeable, she was sure to anybody so humane as his Majesty, for it was an act of charity, and a charity to which she did not despair of bringing his Majesty to contribute.' Enough was said for each to understand the other, and thougli the King did not then (as the Duchess of Queensbury reported) appear at all angry, yet this proceeding of her Grace's, when talked over in private between his Majesty and the Queen, was so resented, that Mr. Stanhope, then Vice Chamberlain to the King, was sent in form to the Duchess to desire her to forbear coming to court; this message was verbal. Her answer, for fear of mistakes, she desired to send in writing, wrote it on the spot, and this is the literal copy:
"Feb. 27th, 172S-9. "That the Duchess of Qucensbury is surprised and well pleased that the King hath given her so agreeable a command as to stay from court, where she never came for diversion, but to bestow a great civility on the Kinw and Queen; she hopes by such an unprecedented order as this is, that the King will see as few as lie wishes at his court, particularly such as dare to think and speak the truth. I dure not do otherwise, and ought not, nor could have imagined that it would not have been the highest compliment that I could possibly pay the King to endeavor to support iunocenco and truth in his house, particularly when the King and Queen both told me that they had not read -Mr. Gay's play. I have certainly done right, then, to stand by my own words rather than his Grace of Grafton's, who has neither made use of truth, judgment, nor honor, through this whole affair, either for himself or his friends.
During the year 1733, the anxiety of the nation in regard to a Protestant succession to the crown,—then and for many years before and after a subject of paramount interest throughout the realm,—induced the King to communicate to Parliament the intended marriage of his eldest daughter, the Princess Royal, to the Prince of Orange. The match had become one of necessity, it being the only marriage the Princess Royal could have made in all Europe, that would have been satisfactory to the people. To the Princess it was a
choice of two evils, either of whkb *» sufficient to becloud all the brightness«' her life, and to dampen all her expeditions of the future. On the one side »» the certainty, should she outlive her iiii-.-r of dependence upon a brother's manaenance, with whom she was upon tern* of irreconcilable enmity; on the other sac?. a marriage with a royal personage indeed but who, from all accounts that she brix. must be an object of disgust to every beholder; on the one side a wedding toaieformed Prince, on the other a life of wdr en meditation in her royal convent. Lsi Hervey says:—
"The Prince of Orange's fignre, besides bac being almost a dwarf, was as much Aektad as it was possible for a human creature to be: his face was not bad, his countenance trusssible, but his breath was more offensive tbu i is possible fot those who have not been offea!: by it to imagine. These personal defeeu, *■ recompensed by the iclit of rank or the t*r. essential comforts of great riches, nudi t* situation of the poor Princess Royal «o W more commiserable; for as her youth and u excellent, warm, animated constitution o«> her, I believe, now and then remember site » L<' woman, so I can answer for her that Mtui and acquired pride seldom or never let b« :'xget she was a Princess ; and as this m itch jiw her little hope of gratifying the one, *j i: i forded as little prospect of supporting tie other."
After great delay occasioned by neglect towards his future son-in-law by the Sre the indifference of the Princess Royal tie sickness of the Prince of Orange, and ik1 discussion about ceremonials, the weddsj day at last came.
"The chapel was fitted up with estreat good taste, and as much finery as velvets. r= and silver tissue, galloons, fringes, tassel*, rlustres and sconces could give. The fc^ spared no expense on this occasion, but if W had not loved show better than his diurh'er. i would have chosen rather to have given her '-'•* money to make her circumstances easy, u** to have laid it out in making her wetfif splendid.
"The Prince of Orange was a lest state? and a less ridiculous figure in Lhi* pump*-' procession and at supper, than one eonU »*■ urally have expected such an Jisop. i» *** trappings and such eminence, to have app"**He had a long peruke-like hair that flo*e<! '-• over his back and hid the roundness of it; •**