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according to the will. I suspect that the Vanhomrighs were a thoughtless, extravagant family, who had already run themselves into difficulties, and this sale of the father's property was a necessity. We soon after get sight of the surviving son Bartholomew. Prior, writing to Swift from Paris, April 8, 1713, says, “I cannot find Vanhomrigh since he brought me your letter ;” and again, Pyth of August, 1713,
( Vanhomrigh has been terribly here in debt, and being in durance, has sent to his mother upon pecuniary concerns. This Bartholomew died at Rathcormick, county of Cork, and his will was proved 6th of July, 1715. Mrs. Vanhomrigh, the mother, died in London in 1714. Mary, the second daughter, died in 1721. Hester (Vanessa) at Cellbridge in 1723.
SWIFT BAITED BY BETTESWORTH.-(Page 66.) The following scene of exquisite banter is from a letter written in Dublin, in 1733, by Mr. J. Wainwright, afterwards an Irish judge, early in the reign of George II. The original letter was in a volume with several others, in the possession of Mr. Richardson, the printer, at Derby, in 1828.
Nothing ever went so hard with the Dean of St. Patrick's as an affair which lately happened. I will relate it, as I hear from his friends. He tells it, and I had it from the other actor's own mouth. Serjeant Bettesworth is a lawyer of some business, a Member of Parliament, a man of fire and valour, a great talker, no ill speaker in the House, has a torrent of language and imagination, is always in buskins or upon a prancing horse, has a great deal of humour, and a small estate. A satirical poem came out, (I choose to begin with the Serjeant's part first,) and he went to the Dean's house. Being told there, he was gone to one Worralls in the neighbourhood, he followed him thither, and was shown into a parlour, where the Dean was, alone.
Sir,” says the Serjeant, (always keeping between the Dean and the door,) “I am come to assert that superiority which you have given me over you as a gentleman and a Christian.
“Dean. Sir, I understand you, facinus quos inquinate æquat, you and I are much of a sort. “ Be'lesworth. No, sir, I thank God, we are not.
I am your superior, for he that, unprovoked, puts it in another's power to punish or forgive, raises the injured person above him. Did you write the verses in this paper ?
“ D. I, sir, never wrote your name, or a letter of your name, as I know, in my life. Why do you say they are mine?
“B. For these plain reasons. A hundred people have them in their hands, and every one of them says they are yours.
“D. I deny them.
“B. So did you that atheistical book, the Tale of a Tub; that scandalous poem, Cadenus and Vanessa, though the world was to believe your sweet self had made a conquest, and triumphed over a poor lady in her grave—she in love with a satyr! (leading him to the glass, ) look at the figure that could excite the passion. So did you deny that inhospitable poem (I have forgot the name,) and that filthy excrement of your brain, the Toilette ; and in numberless other instances. Like one of your poor Yahoos, you get into a tree, lie perched upon a bough, and befoul all that come near you.
“D. Sir, I vow to God I don't know you. I never saw you. “B. You lie. But did you say true, your case is the worse, and I take it upon that; and as a man you neither ever saw or knew, come for reparation, inasmuch as you have taken from me, as far as in you lies, reputation, dearer than life, from myself, and bread from my family.
“D. A pretty period this ! Is this a gentleman-an orator? [Worrall was then come into the room.] You durst not have used me thus, sir, were not my gown your protection.
“ B. You lie again. Othat you were as you deserve, uncased, what a heap of bones I should have to pay for !
“D. You will wear out Christian patience.
“B. Out upon it. You a Christian ! you have put yourself out of that community, out of your own order, out of the very society of the human race; yours is the hand from which the javelin is delivered, that flies in the dark. You are the lurking villain that stands in the thievish corner, to stab, rob, and destroy. You are he that scatters poison, arrows, and death, and says, Am I not in sport? But your Christian patience must be further tried. You're chafed-you begin to drip ; what's an ounce of your sweat worth now? You say you are not the author of these verses ?
“D. I give you my word.
“B. Neither I nor you value it either as verbum sacerdotis, or of an honest man. I must have more ; it must be in writing under your hand.
“D. When I wrote some pamphlets in the Queen's time, I asked two of the most eminent lawyers, I think Lord Somers was one, what I should do. They advised me never to own anything, and I hence followed that rule. Many paltry pieces are imputed to me every day, which I know nothing of, and I disown this.
“B. This won't do. I must have more, or by the Eternal God[feeling in his pocket for a large sharp knife which he had brought with him.] “D. If I write you a letter to that purpose, will that do ?
B. Yes, you promise ? “D. I do.
“B. Then you have saved your ears. For as I hope to see the face of God at the resurrection, I would have cut them both off, if you had owned this scurrility. As bad a lawyer as you take me to be, I have this much knowledge, that the Coventry Act does not take place in this kingdom : and as to any damages you might have recovered, I should have ventured them. But now the letter being always supposed the basis of our alliance, I give you full leave to write against me in priut. Set your name freely, do it once a week, advertise against ine, and upon my honour, never yet forfeited, I will take no advantage of you at law, or by privilege in Parliament; but will answer you week by week, day by day, you upon my character, I upon yours ; take all the advantages of wit and spleen, I'll encounter you with the materials your life and conversation afford.”
So, after an hour's imprisonment, B. half opened the door; the D. shot through, and made the best of his way to the Deanery.
This seems to me one of the most difficult circumstances of the Dean's life. He tells the story short, leaving out all or most of the Serjeant's part—he can't well bear any attack. He was used, upon such occasions, when he was ruffled, to cry Bears, Bears, and leave the room. That could not be done : he was in the paw of a rough, resolute, impetuous creature, who always will have his speech out; and speaks and acts in such a manner, that I must say, as Æschines did of Demosthenes, what I have expressed of him is nothing to what it would be, if you heard him, himself, bellowing it with a fierce black aspect, a wig of coal, an action and gesture more than theatrical ; a profusion of sublimated expressions, and a memory retaining the most minute circumstances. Mr. Dodington knows him well.
The promised letter is sent, and is to this effect :
“Sir,—The rage and barbarity with which you used me, upon a base and groundless suspicion of knowing my style, determine me to have no further correspondence with you. You will know whom this came from, without setting any name.
This letter is not in the Dean's hand, but as it came yesterday, since the time the Serjeant told the story, it so far verifies the truth of his relation.
J. WAINWRIGHT. Dublin, Dec. 20th, 1733.
POPE'S LAST LETTER TO SWIFT.-(Page 70.)
A severe shock was given to Pope's most cherished feelings, by the publication in Dublin of his Correspondence with Swift, said to have been printed by the Dean's consent and direction. Swift was influenced in this step by the secret workings of vanity and ambition, now more prominent as his understanding declined. He had thrice requested Pope to inscribe to him one of those Epistles by which the poet conferred honour and immortality on his friends. Pope unaccountably resisted these repeated appeals, though he promised compliance. Perhaps he found it difficult to add to the elegance of the complimentary lines addressed to Swift at the commencement of the Dunciad, and the allusions to him in his Epistles and Imitations ; but Swift was fed with strong flatteries by his Irish friends, and, no doubt, he was mortified by Pope's neglect on a point so tender and so strictly personal. This thirst for posthumous fame, co-operating with the interested wishes and solicitations of persons surrounding him, may have prompted Swift to sanction the publication of his Correspondence. His love of fame was stronger than his misanthropy! Pope's last letter to his friend, written after this injury to his feelings and his fortune, is the best proof of the sincerity of his friendship and of his warm affection for Swift. It is dated from Duke-street, Westminster, (where he had called on Lord Orrery,) March 22, 1740:
My dear Friend, -When the heart is full of tenderness, it must be full of concern at the absolute impotency of all words to come up to it. You are the only man now in the world who costs me a sigh every day of my life, and the man that troubles me most, although I most wish to write to. Death has used me worse in separating from me for ever poor Gay, Arbuthnot, &c., than disease and absence in separating you so many years. But nothing shall make me forget you, and I am persuaded you will as little forget me; and most things in this world one may afford to forget, if we remember, and are remembered, by our friends. I value and enjoy more the memory of the pleasures and endearing obligations I have formerly received from you, than the perfect possession of any other. I am less anxious every day I live for present enjoyments of any sort, and my temper of mind is calmer as to worldly disappointments and accidents, except the loss of friends by death, the only way (I thank God) that I ever lost any. Think it not possible that any affection can cease but with my last breath. If I could think yours was alienated, I should grieve, but not reproach you. If I felt myself even hurt by you, I should be confident you knew not the blow you gave, but had your hand guided by another. If I never more had a kind word from you, I should feel my heart the same it has ever been towards you.
I must confess a late incident has given me some pain ; but I am satisfied you were persuaded it would not bave given me any. And whatever unpleasant circumstances the printing our letters might be attended with, there was one that pleased me—that the strict friendship
have borne each other so long is thus made known to all mankind. As far as it was your will, I cannot be angry at what in all other respects I am quite uneasy under. Had you asked me before you gave them away, I think I could have proposed some better monument for our friendship, or at least of better materials ; and you must allow me to say, this was not my erecting, but yours. My part of them is far too mean, and how inferior in what you have ever in your works set up to me! And can I see these without shame when I reflect on the many beautiful, pathetic, and amiable lines of yours, which carry to posterity the name of a man who, if he had not every good quality which you so kindly ascribe to him, would be so proud of none as the constancy and the justice of his esteem for you ? Adieu ! While I can write, speak, remember, or think, I am yours,
A. POPE. Swift could not have read this letter without strong emotion; but disease had by this time incapacitated him from correspondence. His memory was almost gone, and in the following year he was pronounced unable to manage his own affairs, and guardians were appointed to take care of
him. Loss of speech followed loss of memory, and all the faculties of his soul were suspended. The last scene in the mortal career of this extraordinary man-speechless and alone
Still as the silence round about his lair, seenis to us more awful, more pathetic, than any creation in fiction !-Selected and abridged from Carruthers's Life of Pope.
STEELE IN PARLIAMENT.—(Page 147.) Steele, in alluding to Sir Thomas Hanmer's opposition to the Commercial Treaty in 1714, in the House of Commons, said, “I rise to do him honour," on which many members who had before tried to interrupt him, called out “ Tatler, Tatler,” and as he went down the House, several said, “It is not so easy a thing to speak in the House;'
;” “He fancies because he can scribble, &c.” Slight circumstances, indeed, (adds Lord John Russell, in his work on the Affairs of Europe from the Peace of Utrecht), but which at once show the indisposition of the House to the Whig party, and the natural envy of mankind, long ago remarked by Cicero, towards all who attempt to gain more than one kind of preeminence.
To Swift's story, at page 145, may be added the anecdote of Steele, in one of his canvasses at Stockbridge, presenting the wife of an elector with an apple stuck with guineas, to induce her to secure her husband's vote in his favour.
There was within memory an old house at Poplar, which had a large hanging garden, and a building at the bottom : this, tradition reported, had been the laboratory of Sir Richard Steele during his dreams of alchemy.
There is an odd note of one of Steele's descendants in Moore's Diary, vol. iii. p. 190. In 1821, Sir Richard Steele, the high sheriff
, dispersed a meeting in Dublin by the military ; upon which Moore wrote some lines, commencing with
Though sprung from the clever Sir Richard Steele this man be,
THE KIT-KAT CLUB.—(Page 151.) Some five-and-forty years since, when Sir Richard Phillips took his Morning's Walk from London to Kew, he visited