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Letters & Parts of Papers.
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THE BRITISH ESSAYISTS.
OF THE SUCCESSIVE VOLUMES.
TO LORD JOHN SOMERS,
BARON OF EVESHAM.
I SHOULD not act the part of an impartial Spectator, if I dedicated the following papers to one who is not of the most consummate and acknowledged merit.
None but a person of a finished character can be a proper patron of a work which endeavours to cultivate and polish human life, by promoting virtue and knowledge, and by recommending whatsoever may be either useful or ornamental to society.
I know that the homage I now pay you, is offering a kind of violence to one who is as solicitous to shun applause, as he is assiduous to deserve it. But, my Lord, this is perhaps the only particular in which your prudence will be always disappointed.
While justice, candour, equanimity, a zeal for the good of your country, and the most persuasive eloquence in bringing over others to it, are valuable distinctions: you are not to expect that the public will so far comply with your inclinations, as to forbear celebrating such extraordinary qualities. It is in vain that you have endeavoured to conceal your share of merit in the many national services which you have effected. Do what you will, the present age will be talking of your virtues, though posterity alone will do them justice.
Other men pass through oppositions and contending interests in the ways of ambition; but your great abilities have been invited to power, and importuned to accept of advancement. Nor is it strange that this should happen to your Lordship, who could bring into the service of your sovereign the arts and policies of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as the most exact knowledge of our own constitution in particular, and of the interests of Europe in general; to which I must also add, a certain dignity in your self, that (to say the least of it) has been always equal to those great honours which have been conferred upon you.
It is very well known how much the church owed to you, in the most dangerous day it ever saw, that of the arraignment of its prelates; and how far the SPECTATOR-Nos. 1 & 2.
civil power, in the late and present reign, has been indebted to your counsels and wisdom.
But to enumerate the great advantages which the public has received from your administration, would be a more proper work for a history, than for an address of this nature.
Your Lordship appears as great in your private life, as in the most important offices which you have borne. I would, therefore, rather choose to speak of the pleasure you afford all who are admitted to your conversation, of your elegant taste in all the polite arts of learning, of your great humanity and complacency of manners, and of the surprising influence which is peculiar to you, in making every one who converses with your Lordship prefer you to himself, without thinking the less meanly of his own talents. But if I should take notice of all that might be observed in your Lordship, I should have nothing new to say upon any other character of distinction. I am, my Lord,
Your Lordship's most devoted,
TO CHARLES LORD HALIFAX. MY LORD, SIMILITUDE of manners and studies is usually mentioned as one of the strongest motives to affection and esteem; but the passionate veneration I have for your Lordship, I think flows from an admiration of qualities in you, of which, in the whole course of these papers, I have acknowledged myself incapable. While I busy myself as a stranger upon earth, and can pretend to no other than being a looker-on, you are conspicuous in the busy and polite worldboth in the world of men, and that of letters. While I am silent and unobserved in public meetings, you are admired by all that approach you, as the life and genius of the conversation. What a happy conjunction of different talents meets in him whose whole discourse is at once animated by the strength and force of reason, and adorned with all the graces and embellishments of wit! When learning irradiates common life, it is then in its highest use and perfec
tion; and it is to such as your Lordship, that the
My Lord, your Lordship's most obliged,
TO THE RIGHT HON. HENRY BOYLE.*
most sublime pens; but if I could convey you to posterity in your private character, and describe the stature, the behaviour, and aspect, of the Duke of Marlborough, I question not but it would fill the reader with more agreeable images, and give him a more delightful entertainment, than what can be found in the following, or any other book.
One cannot indeed without offence to yourself observe, that you excel the rest of mankind in the least, as well as the greatest endowments. Nor were it a circumstance to be mentioned, if the graces and attractions of your person were not the only pre-eminence you have above others, which is left almost unobserved by greater writers.
Yet how pleasing would it be to those who shall read the surprising revolutions in your story, to be made acquainted with your ordinary life and deportment! How pleasing would it be to hear that the same man who carried fire and sword into the countries of all that had opposed the cause of liberty, and struck a terror into the armies of France, had, in the midst of his high station, a behaviour as gentle as is usual in the first steps towards greatness! And if it were possible to express that easy grandeur, which did at once persuade and command; it would appear as clearly to those to come, as it does to his contemporaries, that all the great events which SIR, As the professed design of this work is to enter-governed a spirit, were the blessings of heaven upon were brought to pass under the conduct of so welltain its readers in general, without giving offence to wisdom and valour; and all which seem adverse fell out any particular person, it would be difficult to find out so proper a patron for it as yourself, there being by divine permission, which we are not to search into. none whose merit is more universally acknowledged most able and fortunate captain, before your time, You have passed that year of life wherein the by all parties, and who has made himself more declared he had lived long enough both to nature friends, and fewer enemies. Your great abilities and to glory; and your Grace may make that reand unquestioned integrity in those high employ-flection with much more justice. He spoke of it ments which you have passed through, would not have been able to have raised you this general approbation, had they not been accompanied with that moderation in a high fortune, and that affability of manners, which are so conspicuous through all parts of your life. Your aversion to any ostentatious arts of setting to shew those great services which you have done the public, has not likewise a little contributed to that universal acknowledgment which is paid you by your country.
The consideration of this part of your character, is that which hinders me from enlarging on those extraordinary talents, which have given you so great a figure in the British senate, as well as on that elegance and politeness which appear in your more retired conversation. I should be unpardonable if, after what I have said, I should longer detain you with an address of this nature: I cannot, however, conclude it, without acknowledging those great obligations which you have laid upon,
Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
after he had arrived at empire by a usurpation upon those whom he had enslaved; but the Prince of Mindelheim may rejoice in a sovereignty which was the gift of him whose dominions he had preserved.
of honourable designs and actions, is not subject to Glory established upon the uninterrupted success diminution; nor can any attempt prevail against it, but in the proportion which the narrow circuit of
rumour bears to the unlimited extent of fame.
We may congratulate your Grace not only upon your high achievements, but likewise upon the happy expiration of your command, by which your glory is put out of the power of fortune: and when your person shall be so too, that the Author and Disposer of all things may place you in that higher mansion of bliss and immortality which is prepared for good princes, lawgivers, and heroes, when he in his due time removes them from the envy of mankind, is the hearty prayer of,
My Lord, your Grace's most obedient,
TO MR. METHUEN.*
parts of human life, that it is impossible for the least misrepresentation of them to escape your no- SIR, tice. It is your Lordship's particular distinction Ir is with great pleasure I take an opportunity of that you are master of the whole compass of busi-publishing the gratitude I owe you for the place you ness, and have signalised yourself in all the different allow me in your friendship and familiarity. I will scenes of it. We admire some for the dignity, not acknowledge to you that I have often had you in others for the popularity of their behaviour; some my thoughts, when I have endeavoured to draw, in for their clearness of judgment, others for their hap some parts of these discourses, the character of a piness of expression; some for the laying of schemes, good-natured, honest, and accomplished gentleman. and others for the putting of them into execution. But such representations give my readers an idea of It is your Lordship only who enjoys these several a person blameless only, or only laudable for such talents united, and that too in as great perfection as perfections as extend no farther than to his own others possess them singly. Your enemies acknow- private advantage and reputation. ledge this great extent in your Lordship's character, at the same time that they use their utmost industry and invention to derogate from it. But it is for your honour that those who are now your enemies were always so. You have acted in so much consistency with yourself, and promoted the interests of your country in so uniform a manner, that those who would misrepresent your generous designs for the public good cannot but approve the steadiness and intrepidity with which you pursue them. It is a most sensible pleasure to me that I have this opportunity of professing myself one of your great admirers, and, in a very particular manner, My Lord, your Lordship's most obliged,
And most obedient, humble servant,
But when I speak of you, I celebrate one who has had the happiness of possessing also those qualities which make a man useful to society, and of having had opportunities of exerting them in the most conspicuous manner.
The great part you had, as British ambassador, in procuring and cultivating the advantageous commerce between the courts of England and Portugal, has purchased you the lasting esteem of all who understand the business of either nation.
Those personal excellences which are overrated by the ordinary world, and too much neglected by wise men, you have applied with the justest skill and judgment. The most graceful address in horsemanship, in the use of the sword, and in dancing, has been used by you as lower arts; and as they have occasionally served to cover or introduce the talents of a skilful minister.
he recovered his capital. As far as it regards personal qualities, you attained, in that one hour, the highest military reputation. The behaviour of our minister in the action, and the good offices done the vanquished in the name of the Queen of England, gave both the conqueror and the captive the most lively examples of the courage and generosity of the nation he represented.
TO THE EARL OF SUNDERLAND. MY LORD, But your abilities have not appeared only in one VERY many favours and civilities (received from nation. When it was your province to act as her you in a private capacity) which I have no other Majesty's minister at the court of Savoy, at that time way to acknowledge, will, I hope, excuse this pre- encamped, you accompanied that gallant prince sumption; but the justice I, as a Spectator, owe through all the vicissitudes of his fortune, and shared your character, places me above the want of an ex-by his side the dangers of that glorious day in which cuse. Candour and openness of heart, which shine in all your words and actions, exact the highest esteem from all who have the honour to know you; and a winning condescension to all subordinate to you, made business a pleasure to those who executed it under you, at the same time that it heightened her Majesty's favour to all those who had the happiness of having it conveyed through your hands. A secretary of state, in the interest of mankind joined with that of his fellow-subjects, accomplished with a great facility and elegance in all the modern as well as ancient languages, was a happy and proper member of a ministry, by whose services your sovereign is in so high and flourishing a condition, as makes all other princes and potentates powerful or inconsiderable in Europe, as they are friends or enemies to Great Britain. The importance of those great events which happened during that administration in which your Lordship bore so important a charge, will be acknowledged as long as time shall endure. I shall not therefore attempt to rehearse those illustrious passages, but give this application a more private and particular turn, in desiring your Lordship would continue your favour and patronage to me, as you are a gentleman of the most polite literature, and perfectly accomplished in the knowledge of books and men, which makes it necessary to beseech your indulgence to the follow. ing leaves, and the author of them; who is, with the greatest truth and respect,
My Lord, your Lordship's obliged,
THE SPECTATOR. • His lordship was the founder of the splendid and truly valuable library at Althorp.
Your friends and companions in your absence frequently talk these things of you; and you cannot hide from us (by the most discreet silence in any thing which regards yourself) that the frank entertainment we have at your table, your easy condescension in little incidents of mirth and diversion, and general complacency of manners, are far from being the greatest obligations we have to you. I do assure you, there is not one of your friends has a greater sense of your merit in general, and of the favours you every day do us, than, Sir,
Your most obedient and most humble servant,
TO WILLIAM HONEYCOMBE, ESQ.† THE seven former volumes of the Spectator having been dedicated to some of the most celebrated persons of the age, I take leave to inscribe this eighth
* Afterwards Sir Paul Methuen, Knight of the Bath. This very ingenious gentleman, whilst ambassador at the court of Portugal, concluded the famous commercial treaty which bears his name; and in the same capacity, at the court of Savoy, exerted himself nobly as a military hero.
↑ Generally supposed to be Colonel Cleland.
This dedication is supposed to have been written by Eustace Budgell, who might have better dedicated it to Will Wimble.