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MY LORD, IN whatever light I consider myself, whether as an Englishman, a merchant, or a poet, I would willingly believe that an address of this sort to your Lordship, has the sanction of a peculiar propriety.
As an Englishman, and a lover of my country, where could I find a more amiable patron? For, on your Lord ship's very entrance into public life, the early promise you gave of a steady zeal and disinterested virtue, inspired a general hope, an unbounded esteem, among all ranks of people. And time, the maturer of all things) ripening your glory with your years, hath made your Lordship an allowed ornament to society, and a blessing to your country. Give me leave particularly lo congratulate you, my Lord, on the enjoyment of one happiness, often wanting to the best of men, which is an universal good
report. For however licentious the voice of slander is grown, especially with respect to persons of eminent character, no shasi of malice hath ever been aimed at your Lordship: a striking proof that your worth has either prevented even the worst of men from becoming your foes, or convinced them that the worst of all practices would be impotently exerted against you.
As a merchant, I naturally look for countenance to that honourable Board, at which your Lordship, with such distinguished goodness and abilities, presides : honourable it is in the strongest sense, as being (by means of your Lordship's direction) the most useful board to the public. Trade is the acknowledged source of national wealth ; and industry, the best nurse of virtue. By these Britain is become mighty ; and consequently to her, above all the kingdoms upon earth, the care and culture of come merce is of the last importance, as the only means that can give power and splendor to her throne, and plenty and happiness to her people. It is, therefore, with singular satisfaction that all good men behold in an employment of such extensive consequence, a person of your Lordship's shining abilities, applica. tion and integrity. As an interesting proof of what those qualities give us room 10 expect, give me leave to congratulate your Lordship and the public, on the happy prosecution of that wise scheme so
steadily pursued by your Lordship; I mean the establishment of a civil government in Nova Scotia. An undertaking, which, if well accomplished, must be productive of great and numberless blessings; and as a truly patriot work, will heighten the reverence due from the present age to your Lordship, and make your memory precious to latest posterity.
As a poet, I must naturally aspire to the honour of addressing your Lordship in this public manner, not only as you are the inheritor of his titles who was the great Maecenas of the last age, but also from stronger inducements ; for, besides the very high respect that all men bear lowards your Lordship, I have hereby the honour of introducing to you a hero of your own illustrious family; my brave Earl of Salisbury (whom I have endeavoured strongly to mark with that rough greatness which so gloriously distinguished our old patricians) was a noble Monlague! a name, that, from the Conquest, fills our annals with the most shining characters of judges, warriors, statesmen and patriots, patrons and professors of all sublime sciences, protectors and encouragers of every useful art! Yet, eminent and dignified through a long succession of ages as your ancestors have been, I should fear to point at the retrospect, if I was not convinced, that neither (heir vices could reflect shame, nor their virtues reproach to your Lordship.
Accept, my Lord, in token of a sincere veneration, this humble tribute of an honest heart: I have delivered my sentiments (such as they are) with an entire neglect of art, for truth requires none, and Providence has placed me in a region so distant from your Lordship, that I cannot, I think, be suspected of complimenting for favour. Prostitule praises are justly despicable; they can delight none but the weakest, and be offered by none but the basest of mankind. But our sincere and just acknowledgments for blessings received, our candid and impartial testimonies in behalf of real worth and goodness, may, and ought to be, acceptable to noble minds; since such tribute (we are told) is graleful even to Heaven itself.
· May your Lordship’s life be long and happy, and all your undertakings crowned with success. And (as the best external blessing I can wish you on earth) may your country's affection keep pace with your merits; and tongues and pens, disinterested as mine, be never wanting to celebrate your praise.
I am, my Lord,
WILLIAM SHIRLEY. Lisbon, Nov. joth, 1749.