qualities which must do it: 'tis true, as I've shown, they may fail; but still all is not lost, for if we conquer not the world, in the very attempts to do it we shall at least conquer ourselves, and lay the foundation of our peace (where it ought to be) within our own hearts.Sermons.




HORACE WALPOLE, the son of Sir Robert Walpole, the powerful minister of George I, was born in London in 1717, and educated at Eton, where his acquaintance with the poet Gray commenced. In 1734 he went to King's College, Cambridge, and careless of any literary distinction beyond the indulgence of his own tastes, left it without taking a degree. In 1739, after he had obtained by his father's patronage several lucrative appointments, which he retained through life, he went abroad, and travelled, for the most part in company with Gray, through France and Italy. On his return to England in 1741, he entered Parliament, and sat as member for Callington, Castle Rising, and lastly for Lynn; but though he remained in Parliament till 1768, he appears, after the personal interests attaching to his father's administration had passed away, to have been rather a spectator than an actor in politics, and seldom took any part in debate.

For many years he devoted much of his time to the building and embellishment of his Gothic villa at Strawberry Hill, where he accumulated a large collection of pictures, curiosities, and objets de vertu. Here also he established a private printing press, from which most of his own writings and many literary and artistic works by other authors issued. In 1791 he succeeded his nephew as Earl of Orford, but never took his seat in the House of Lords. He died in 1797, in his 80th year.

Horace Walpole's name is found in several departments of literature; to be a novelist, dramatist, historian, connoisseur was

among his aims; but in all things, and above all things, as has been justly said, he was an amateur.

Horace Walpole was the author of The Castle of Otranto, a very successful and popular romance,-of a tragedy-The Mysterious Mother, and of various pamphlets and Essays which appeared in the periodicals of the day, as well as of several important catalogues of artists and artistic works; but it is by his Letters that he is best known to a later generation. In them he appears as a man of the world, witty, ingenious, entertaining, and always graceful; but though he amuses us by liveliness of diction, and felicity in anecdote, his style is artificial, his sentiments are destitute of elevation and tenderness, and are for the most part frivolous, and often spiteful.

1. The Rebel Lords at their Trial.

I AM this moment come from the conclusion of the greatest and most melancholy scene I ever yet saw! you will easily guess it was the trials of the rebel Lords. As it was the most interesting sight, it was the most solemn and fine: a coronation is a puppet-show, and all the splendour of it, idle; but this sight at once feasted one's eyes and engaged all one's passions. It began last Monday; three-parts of Westminster-hall were inclosed with galleries, and hung with scarlet; and the whole ceremony was conducted with the most awful solemnity and decency, except in the one point of leaving the prisoners at the bar, amidst the idle curiosity of some crowd, and even with the witnesses who had sworn against them, while the Lords adjourned to their own house to consult. No part of the Royal Family was there, which was a proper regard to the unhappy men, who were become their victims. One hundred and thirtynine Lords were present, and made a noble sight on their benches frequent and full! The Chancellor was Lord

law of England, whose

High Steward; but though a most comely personage with a fine voice, his behaviour was mean, curiously searching for occasion to bow to the Minister that is no peer, and consequently applying to the other Ministers, in a manner, for their orders; and not even ready at the ceremonial. To the prisoners he was peevish; and instead of keeping up to the humane dignity of the character it is to point out favour to the criminal, he crossed them, and almost scolded at any offer they made towards defence. I had armed myself with all the resolution I could, with the thought of their crimes and of the danger past, and was assisted by the sight of the Marquis of Lothian in weepers for his son, who fell at Culloden--but the first appearance of the prisoners shocked me! their behaviour melted me! Lord Kilmarnock and Lord Cromartie are both past forty, but look younger. Lord Kilmarnock is tall and slender, with an extreme fine person: his behaviour a most just mixture between dignity and submission; if in anything to be reprehended, a little affected, and his hair too exactly dressed for a man in his situation; but when I say this, it is not to find fault with him, but to show how little fault there was to be found. indifferent figure, appeared much sullen he dropped a few tears the as soon as he got back to his cell. For Lord Balmerino, he is the most natural brave old fellow I ever saw: the highest intrepidity, even to indifference. At the bar he behaved like a soldier and a man; in the intervals of form, with carelessness and humour. He pressed extremely to have his wife, his pretty Peggy, with him in the Tower. Lady Cromartie only sees her husband through the grate, not choosing to be shut up with him, as she thinks she can serve him better by her intercession without. When

Lord Cromartie is an dejected, and rather first day, and swooned

they were to be brought from the Tower in separate coaches, there was some dispute in which the axe must go-old Balmerino cried, 'Come, come, put it with me.' At the bar, he plays with his fingers upon the axe, while he talks to the gentleman-gaoler; and one day somebody coming up to listen, he took the blade and held it like a fan between their faces. During the trial, a little boy was near him, but not tall enough to see; he made room for the child and placed him near himself.

When the Peers were going to vote, Lord Foley withdrew, as too well a wisher; Lord Moray, as nephew of Lord Balmerino-and Lord Stair-as, I believe, uncle to his great grandfather. Lord Windsor, very affectedly, said, 'I am sorry I must say, guilty upon my honour.' Lord Stamford would not answer to the name of Henry, having been christened Harry-what a great way of thinking on such an occasion! I was diverted too with old Norsa, an old Jew that kept a tavern; my brother, as Auditor of the Exchequer, has a gallery along one whole side of the court; I said, 'I really feel for the prisoners!' old Issachar replied, 'Feel for them! pray, if they had succeeded, what would have become of all us?' When my Lady Townshend heard her husband vote, she said, 'I always knew my Lord was guilty, but I never thought he would own it upon his honour.' Lord Balmerino said, that one of his reasons for pleading not guilty, was, that so many ladies might not be disappointed of their show.-Letters and Correspondence.

2. Letter to Sir Horace Mann.

I MUST answer for your brother a paragraph that he showed me in one of your letters: 'Mr. W.'s letters are full of wit; don't they adore him in England?' Not at all—and

« VorigeDoorgaan »