Page images
PDF
EPUB

war.

[ocr errors]

exhibits one of the most disgusting of all the and his most abject, profligate creatures of both moral diseases—the rankling of the arrow of dis- sexes, while the public treasure and trade of the appointment in the heart of a defeated political locusts to get large bribes, and giving considerable

nation is ruined ; suffering and encouraging these schemer. It is not the man of brave and bold

employment at their recommendation, while men of designs baffled, or the utopian enthusiast disap-merit and service, and of the best families and interpointed of the fulfilment of his golden dreams, or est, are neglected or abused, employing insignificant the adherent of one absorbing political idea look- | brutes or the greatest rogues, and favoring almost ing at it lying broken to pieces at his feet : in all none but such; maltreating and insulting all whom of these there is a dash of noble and disinterested his rascals and jades complain of. But the list is sentiment, and the politician, defeated in his con- too long to go through wiih here."'* flict with the world, has still the consolation of Grange thought at one time that he had great an honest if mistaken heart, into which he can claims on Walpole and Lord Ilay ; and he seems retire without the sting of self-reproach. But all to have very diligently performed one class of Grange's disappointments were connected with duties which politicians sometimes think sufficient paltry schemes of personal aggrandizement. Fawn to establish a claim for reward—he had been an and flatter as he might, Sir Robert Walpole, and indefatigable petitioner for ministerial favors. We his Scottish coadjutor Ilay, knew him and dis- have heard somewhere of a story of a political trusted him, and when he came to court them, economist, who during a long walk is pestered by gave him but fair words, and sometimes not even an Irish beggar, who asks his honor just to give that. With Sir Robert he carried on an unequal him a sixpence, “ for the love of God.” The

Believing that he could scourge the minis- economist turns round to argue the matter : “I ter in Parliament, while he was a judge of the deny," says he, “ that I would be showing my Court of Session, he resolved to obtain a seat, love to the Deity by giving an idle rascal like you and thereupon the all-powerful minister at once money; if you can state any service you have checkmated him, by carrying an act to prohibit ever done to me worth the sixpence, you shall have judges of the Court of Session from holding seats it.”—“Why then,” says the mendicant thus apin the House of Commons—it was a less invid- pealed to, “have n't I been keeping your honor in ious proceeding than the dismissal of his lordship discourse this half hour ?" Such seems to have from the bench would have been, and it had the been the character of Grange's claim on the minappearance of being dictated by a desire for the istry—he kept them in unceasing " discourse” as public good. Grange preferred the senate to the a petitioner. Not that he did not profess some bench, and resigned his judgeship; but he never claims of another kind. During all this time," achieved political eminence. In the mean time he says, “I ran their errands and fought their he acquired Dr. Johnson's desideratum of an hon- battles in Scotland.” Nor did he fail sometimes est hatred towards his enemy, and indeed hatred to allude to his services as a religious professor, appears to have been the only honest ingredient so ill-requited, that he taunts Ilay with having in his character. He expressed it so well towards already effectually interposed for Tom (now Walpole, that we must quote his confidential opin-Baron) Kennedy, who had been queen's advocate, ion of that mighty statesman :

and obnoxious to all the Presbyterian party, which An insolent and rapacious minister, who has I was not.And how was he rewarded for all kept us under the expense of war in time of peace, this running errands, fighting battles, and being reyet hindered us to fight to vindicate our trade, so ligious enough not to be obnoxious ? " Ilay showed grossly violated by Spanish robberies, and when we me no countenance, and Argyle shunned to see could have put a stop to it, and corrected them

He [Ilay] never speaks nor writes without drawing upon us the arms of any other nation, maintained his hollow and expensive peace by have seen) about my own; and, these three or

to me of any business, but to shamm me (as you ridiculous contradictory treaties, trying us to take part in all the quarrels of Europe, and sometimes to four years past, has visibly to all the world drawn de on both sides, and at the same time allowing off by degrees from all familiarity with me, and confederacies to go on so powerful, and which we has dropped me even from his conversation about are not of, that now when a war is breaking out trifles or mirth. I could give you many strong we know not where to turn us ; laying plots to de- instances of this.” Here is an incident told with vour the land by new swarms of officers of the

a pathos sufficient to move a whole antechamber revenue, to put the merchants' stocks in the

possession of these vermin, and trade under their power, &c., as by that most damned excise scheme; openly protecting the frauds and villains that plunder the bade me wait on Sir Robert at his levee. I told

Before I came from London in November last, he stocks and ruin multitudes, and must sink the king him I had always done so, but was not in the least dom ; plundering the revenue, and using all his art, noticed, or had so much as a smile or a gracious and power, and bribes to stop all inquiry into, or nod from him. But said he, “ I promise you I 'll the least amendment of these things, either by Par- tell him to take particular notice of you, and to asliament or otherwise ; openly ridiculing all virtue

sure you of favor, and that he will do for you : which and uprightness; enhancing all power to himself

(said his lordship) will make my game more easy and his brother, and suffering almost none else to do or know anything ; barefaced and avowed brib- when I ask anything for you ;' and he bid me ing of members of Parliament and others, and boast- come to him that he might carry me to the levee in ing of it; heaping up immense wealth to himself * Miscellany of the Spalding Club, iji., p. 57.

me.

to tears :

his coach. This was done, and I set myself in Sir had need to be very firmly recovered, for the Robert's

eye

in the front of the crowd that sur- guardian may at present so vex, tease, and plague rounded him, and Ilay was by and looking on. Sir

her, that it would turn anybody mad.' Robert came and went by me without the least regard. Ilay slipt into another room ; and, that I

It was believed that if Lady Mar were released might not wait longer in so silly a figure, 'I made from Lady Mary Wortley Montague's influence, up without being called to the great knight ; and ineans might be taken for so arranging matters told him I came to testify my respect, and ask his that her husband should participate in her jointure. commands for Scotland. His answer, with a very There was another matter, however, in which dry look and odd air, was, “ I have nothing to say Grange himself had a more particular prospect of to you, my lord. I wish you a good journey.” I saw llay afterwards, and he said there was nothing had a beneficiary interest in a lease of a house in

pecuniary advantage. Lady Mar appears to have in it. Sir Robert had only forgot, and I am sure (said he) he will do for you what I desired him.* Whitehall, forming part of the royal demense.

An arrangement seems to have been made by In the sequel he exclaims, “ Can such usage which, during her incapacity from insanity, her be borne, even by the spirit of a poor mouse !”

own term was conveyed to her brother-in-law, deeming probably that its endurance by a rat was Lord Grange, while he at the same time obtained quite out of the question.

a reversion of the lease in his own favor. He had. It is singular enough to find from these revela- it appears, sold his whole interest in the property tions of Lord Grange's character and habits, that both the lease he had obtained from Lady Mar's while he was plotting the abduction of one mad guardians and his own reversionary interest. He woman, he was busily engaged in attempting the was now, therefore, in endeavoring to procure the release of another. Yes, as a first step, he was release of Lady Mar, on the ground of her restointending to release her; but there are a few hints, ration to sanity, about to enable her to revoke the slight in themselves, but wonderfully suggestive transference that had been made to him of her own when they are associated with his wife's history, share in the lease. In his own words, “ On Lady showing us that his ultimate intention was to make Mar's being at freedom, the assignment of her a second victim. In this scheme he was defeated lease to Lord Grange becomes void, and so does by a spirit less crafty but more audacious than his the sale he has made of it; and in that sale the own—by no less renowned a person than Lady lease to Lady Mar was valued at £800 sterling, Mary Wortley Montague, whose name has already which will be lost by the avoidance of it.” Such been mentioned as openly blessed” by Lady is the danger; and now, in a very brief coatinuGrange for her opposition to our friends,” mean- ation of the quotation, let us observe the way in ing the Jacobites. We have among the papers which it was to be met, for, considering who was the history of the baffled attempt—at least one the writer, it is really well worthy of observation. side of the history, and, when shaken free of the “ Were Lady Mar in her freedom, in right hands, dust of Grange's prolix grumblings, it is infinitely she would ratify the bargain, but if in her sister's, amusing. The intended victim in this instance probably she will not.”' Such was the plot; she was Lady Mar, Lady Mary's sister, the wife of

was to be restored to her freedom that she might Grange's brother.

Lady Mar was insane, and in be put “ in right hands”—in hands in which there some shape or other committed to the guardianship was no chance of her refusing what might be deof her sister. There were some pecuniary mat- manded. But there was a lion in the way, or ters depending on the question of her detention or rather a lioness, as we shall see. Lord Grange's release, so vaguely hinted at that it is not easy to anticipation of Lady Wortley Montague's operdiscover their nature. It would appear that Lady ations is not the least remarkable of his revelaMar was allowed by the favor of the court, and tions. It is “the power within the guilty breast" probably through the interest of her relatives, a working as in Eugene Aram's dream. What Lady jointure of £500 a year over the estates which Mary suspected it were difficult to say, but he who were forfeited from her husband. Lord Mar was ventured to predict her suspicions spoke from his then living in poverty abroad ; and Lord Grange own guilty conscience-spoke as the kidnapper was inclined to think that this sum would be better and secret imprisoner. We pray attention to the administered by himself and his friends than by remarkable expressions with which the following Lady Mary. Looking at the £500 from his own quotation closes :side, he of course saw Lady Mary on the other,

May not an artful woman impose on one in such and judged that her motives were as parallel to his circumstances, and whose mind cannot yet be very own as the one jaw of a shark is to the ocher-so firm? And this is the more to be feared, because he says, “ Lady Mar, they say, is quite well ; and at the beginning of her illness the sister said loudly, so as in common justice she can no longer be de- and oftener than once to Lord Grange himself, that tained as a lunatic; but she is obstinately averse her husband's bad usage had turned her [Lady to appearing in chancery, that the sentence may Mar) mad. Supposing, then, the sister tell and

" You see your husbe taken off. Her sister probably will oppose her persuade her to this purpose :

band's friends quite neglect you. Lord Erskine, liberty, for thereby she would lose, and Lord Mar though in the place, seldom comes near you. How in effect gain, £500 yearly; and the poor lady, easy were it for Lord Grange to have made you a being in her custody, and under her management, visit on hearing you are so well. Surely it became * Miscellany of the Spalding Club, iii., p. 46.

* Miscellany of the Spalding Club, ii., p. 4.

the fellow to pay you that regard, and he would poetic powers went any further, we are unable, have done it had he any kindness for you; and, if and perhaps no one will ever be able, to deterthe husband had, he would have laid such commands

mine. on his son and brother which they could not have resisted. Now, you may get your freedom, but

We must quote, unmutilated, one of Grange's can you again trust yourself in their hands ? Quite conflicts with Avidien's wife. Though the scene separated from your father's and mother's friends, be roughly described, it has an interest, from the and from your country, locked up in Scotland or for- unscrupulous vehemence of the principal actors, eign parts, and wholly in their power, what can you and the eminence of the little group, who cluster expect? Your friends here could give you no re- round it like a circle of casual passengers round lief, and you should be wholly at the barbarous the centre of disturbance, where the wife and the mercy of those whose sense get not sufficiently the better of their hatred or contempt, as to make them

brother-bacchanalian compete, on the pavement, for carry with seerning respect to you till they get you the possession of some jovial reveller, whose halfin their power.

What will they not do when ihey clouded mind remains vibrating between the quiet have you?''*

comforts of home and the fierce joys of the tavern. Such are Lord Grange's “imaginary conversa

There is something affecting in the vacillating tions” of Lady Mary Wortley—like many others, miseries of the poor invalid—we wonder how a more accurate reflection of the thoughts habit- much of the cruel contest can be true ; for, that it ually dwelling within the writer's own mind, is all true, it is impossible to believe-yet Lady than of those of the person in whose name they Mary could be violent, and she could be hard, are uttered. And then, in continuation, he paints when she was attacked or bafiled ; and she had a the formidable effect of the imaginary pleading rough and unscrupulous nature to combat with, in “Such things to a woman so lately of a disturbed

the historian of their warfare. brain, constantly inculcated by so near a relation Lady Mary, perceiving how things were like to whom she only sees, and her creatures, and de- go, did what I was always afraid of, and could not pends on her entirely for the time—what may they possibly prevent: she went in rage to her poor sisnot produce ? And if they have their effect, then ter, and so swaggered and frightened her, that she the consequences are these : the lady being at relapsed. While she was about that fine piece of freedom legally, but de facto still under her sister's and in his presence Lady Mary continued to this pur

work, Lord Erskine happened to go to Lady Mar's; absolute government, the bargain about her jointure pose with her sister : “Can you pretend to be well? becomes void, and thereby she (or rather the sis- Don't you know you are still mad? You shan't get ter) gets more than £500 sterling yearly, and our out of my custody; and if Lord Grange and his confriend has nothing at all.” Then follows the federates bring you before lord chancellor, I'll make statement about the lease ; and the meaning of the you, in open court, in presence of the world, lay your whole is, that Lady Mar, as a free woman, would whether you can say you are yet well. Your salvation

hand on the gospel, and swear by Almighty God, be entitled to live with her sister, and dispose of shall be at stake ; for, remember, perjury infers damher own property, unless she were put in the nation-your eternal damnation." So soon as I was “right hands" to make her“ ratify” any desired informed of this, I assured my lady, (and so did bargain.

others,) that in law no such oath could be put to The interchange of compliments between the her, and that Lady Mary had only said so to fright parties, when they came to actual conflict, is ex- her. But so strong was the fright, that nothing we tremely instructive. “She concluded with rage,

could say was able to set her right again. And says the judge, “ that we were both rascals, with again and coaxed her, and (as I found by diverse

Lady Mary, having thus dismounted her, came many other ridiculous things.” But, perhaps, instances) strove to give her bad impressions of her more people will think her ladyship's penetration family, and every body but Lady Mary's sweet self. was not more ridiculously at fault on this than on Yet next day Lady Mar went and dined at Mr. other occasions. Horace Walpole left an unfavorable Baillie's, in town, and there saw a deal of company,

And Dr. Arbuthnot, who, testimony to her treatment of her sister, when he and behaved very well. alluded to “the unfortunate Lady Mar, whom she among others, saw her there, said he thought her

very well; and had not the turn happened you will treated so hardly when out of her senses.” Pope presently hear of, he and Dr. Monro, (son to Mr. caught up the same charge in the insinuation

Monro who, at the Revolution, was Principal of Who starvęs a sister, or denies a debt.

Edinburgh College, and is now physician to Bed

lam,) and Dr. Mead, were to have gone to her with Lord Grange, for his own part, has the merit, me next day and afterwards, that they might have when characterizing his opponent, of a coincidence vouched her condition before the chancellor. I bewith the illustrious poet—at least in the bestowal lieved it best for me not to be at Mr. Baillie's, that of an epithet. Every one remembers Pope's

all might appear as it was, free and natural, and

not conducted by any art of mine ; only I went Avidien and his wise, no matter which ;

thither about seven at night, and found her in a room For him you call a dog, and her a

with Ladies Harvey, Binning, Murray, Lady Griz

zel Baillie, and others. She was behaving decentIt is satisfactory to find, on the most palpable ly, but with the gravity of one that is wearied and evidence, that Lord Grange had sufficient poetical tired. Mr. Baillie himself

, and the other gentlemen genius to supply this rhyme, though whether his and ladies, (a great many being in the next room,)

now and then joined us, and she seemed not in any* Miscellany of the Spalding Club, p. 6. thing discomposed, till the conversation turned on LIVING AGE.

5

CCLXXXII.

VOL. XXIII.

of "

her sister's late insult, which, it was visible, gave" in right hands,” but had not crossed the border. a shock to her, and disconcerted her; and when This was in 1733, a few months after Lady Grange Lady Murray and I went home with her to Knights had been safely conveyed to the grim solitudes of bridge, she was so dumpish that she scarcely said Hesker. Surely some bird of the air had whis one word. When I went to her next day, I saw how strongly Lady Mary's physic wrought, and pered the matter to Lady Mary; for her measures dissipated her poor returning senses. She had be- were prompt and stern, and they drew from the fore urged me earnestly to proceed faster than was baffled plotter many hard expressions and insinuafit, to get her before the chancellor, and do every- tions. “ But on the road, she [Lady Mar] was thing needful for her liberation, that she might go seized by lord chief-justice's warrant, procured on to her husband and family. But now she told me false affidavit of her sister Lady Mary, &c., and she would not for the world appear before the chancellor, and that neither she nor any other must make brought back to London—declared lunatic, and by oath as to her recovery, (at this time, indeed, it had lord chancellor (whose crony is Mr. Wortley, been a very bold oath :) and that she preferred her Lady Mary's husband) delivered into the custody soul's salvation to all things. And, among other of Lady Mary, to the astonishment and offence things, she said, what a dismal condition shall I be even of all the English, (Sir Robert among the in if, after all, the chancellor send me back under rest ;) and llay pretended to be angry at it, yet Mary's government; how shall I pass my time after refused to give me that relief by the king in counsuch an attempt? In short, she was bambouzled, and frighted quite. But that her head was really cil,

which by law was undoubtedly competent. turned by Lady Mary's threats of damnation, further The people with whom his London connection appeared by this instance : Lady Grizzel Baillie and brought the judge in contact, display a gathering Lady Murray having gone to take leave of her, of dazzling names in the firmament of fashion and (their whole family is gone to Spa,) when I saw her wit. Bolingbroke, Windham, and “the courtly next day, she gravely told me that Lady Murray Talbot” are casually mentioned. Grange says was no more her friend, having endeavored, when in passing, “ I am acquainted with Chesterfield.” taking leave, to deprive her of all the comfort left her—the hope of heaven. And though (said she)

He has something to say sweet Lepel,” the I was bred to the Church of England, and she to “wife of that Lord Hervey who last winter wrote that of Scotland, yet merely the difference is not so the pamphlet against Mr. Pulteney, and on Mr. great that she must pronounce me in a state of dam- Pulteney's answer, fought with him and was nation ; and she asked me seriously, what Lady wounded.” Arbuthnot, and the prince of classiMurray had said to me about her being damned? cal collectors, Richard Mead, mix with the ordiNever in my life, madam, answered I, did she or

nary actors of the scene. Young Murray, not any London lady speak to me about salvation or damnation ; but I'm sure my Lady Murray loves then a crown lawyer—but sufficiently distinyou as her sister, and heartily wishes your happi- guished for wit, eloquence, and fashionable celeb ness here and hereafter. Then she gave me a sealed rity, to have called forth the next to immortal letter to Lady Murray, begging me to deliver it and compliments of Pope-must have been one of the bring an answer. I read it with Lady Murray. It brilliant circle ; and in the early period of his inwas long, and all expostulatory why she pronounced tercourse with his brother's sister-in-law, accident her to be damned ; and said many odd things. Lady would be strangely against him, if he did not Murray's answer was the proper one-short and general, but very kind, which I also delivered ; and sometimes meet in the ordinary circle the pale Lady Mar said no more to me on that head. Before distorted youth, with noble intellectual features she took this turn, perceiving her so vaporish and and an eye of fire, whose war of wit and rancor easily disconcerted, I would not venture to put the with “ furious Sappho” left the world uncertain case wholly on perfect recovery, but stated it also whether to laugh with their fierce wit, or lament as I really thought it-viz., recovered from all that the melancholy picture of perverted genius, excould properly be called lunacy, yet exceeding hibited by a hatred so paltry yet so unquenchable. weak, and api to be overturned. And I had prepared a memorial in law on that supposition, which

In his autobiographical revelations, the economI was to have laid before Mr. Talbot, solicitor-gen- ical old judge leaves some traces of his conscious eral, and other counsel, the very day she took this ness that his journeys from Merlyn's Wynd to wrong turn; but thereupon stopt altogether. At Whitehall were a decided transition from the parting, she appeared to me as one who, fearing to humble to the great world. He thus describes provoke a worse fate by attempting to be better, sat one of these journeys, in the letter already cited, down in a sort of sullen despairing, content with her present condition, which she (justly) called mis- in which he gratified his humor by talking of ery. Thus seemed she to be as to any sense that himself in the third person. remained with her; but all her sense was clouded,

Lord G. is now pretty well acquainted with the and, indeed, fancies which now perplexed her brain

ways there; his personal charges, he is sure, will were, like the clouds, fleeting, inconstant, and some be small in comparison ; he will not be in expensive times in monstrous shapes.

companies or houses, but when business requires We have no more of this affair until the lapse for keeping up the cheerfulness of his own spirit

, it; nor at any diversion but what he finds necessary of several months, when the judge, at the very and the health of his body. He wears plain and moment of apparent victory, is routed by his not fine clothes. When ihere last he kept not a watchful antagonist. He had obtained possession servant, but had a fellow at call, to whom he gave of Lady Mar-she was on her way to Scotland, a shilling a-day such days as he was to be at court

* Miscellany of the Spalding Club, pp. 17-20

* Houston's Memoirs, p. 31.

Flow on, my tears, but flow in vain, The depths of woe ye cannot drain.

V.

It is not that a Vandal horde

Has burst within thy shattered wall, That Brennus waives his reeking sword,

Exulting in thy second fall.
Oh! 't is not this extreme of woe
That bids the streams of sorrow flow.

VI.

It is not that a vulture crew

Of bigots, hovering in the rear, Their purpled talons now imbrue

In all to me that once was dearWho, while they tear each mangled part, Must rend the life-strings of my heart.

VII.

or among the great, and must have a footman as necessarily as a coat on his back or a sword by his side. He never was nice and expensive in his own eating, and less now than ever ; for this winter he has quite lost the relish of French claret, the most expensive article in London. He is to travel without a servant, for whom he knows not any sort of use on the road, and only has a post-boy, whom he must have, had he twenty servants of his own; and so he travelled last year.

Strange indeed were the social extremes between which this journey lay. At the one end we see the brilliant assemblages of the most brilliant age of English fashion. The rays of the wax-lights glitter back from stars and sword-hilts, diamond buttons and spangles. Velvet coats, huge laced waistcoats, abundant hoops, spread forth their luxurious wealth-the air is rich and thick with perfumed powder—the highest in rank, and wealth, and influence are there, so are the first in genius and learning. Reverse the picture, and take the northern end of the journey. In an old dark stone house, at the end of a dismal alley, Lovat's ragged banditti throttle a shrieking woman—a guilty cavalcade passes hurriedly at night across the dark heath-next opens a dreary dungeon in a deserted feudal fortalice-a boat tosses on the bosom of the restless Atlantic—and the victim is consigned to the dreary rock, where year follows year, bringing no change with it but increasing age. The contrast is startling. Yet, when we read Lady Grange's diary and Lady Mary Wortley's letters together, they leave one doubtful whether most to shudder at the savage lawlessness of one end of the island, or the artificial vices that were growing out of a putrid civilization in the other.

'T is not for this my tears are shed

This could not so my spirit rive ; For, Rome, I could not think thee dead,

And with the thought consent to live! Eternal Rome, my tearful eye May see thee droop, but never die!

VIII.

For though, to Gallic Brennus bowed,

She seem to close her high career, Hope beckons through yon threatening cloud,

And sheds an Iris bright and clear, Foreshadowing, with auspicious ray, The glories of some future day.

IX.

Then why these tears ? Ah! ask not why

I bid the streams of sorrow start; For hope deferred will dim the eye,

And wring with doubt the sickening heart. Oh, Rome! my spirit aches for thee Oh! when shall I behold thee free?

LAMENT OF A ROMAN PATRIOT.

1.

X.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »