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being in the country, that he first became acquainted with Mrs. Wells. The gallantry peculiar to the manners of the old court, led him to be very attentive and very ceremonious to her: and to the last moment of his life, she remembered the civilities which at times so distinguished him, and paid him every attention to the latest day in which she saw him. . As was natural, he would frequently talk to her about theatres; and she as naturally made mention of those present talents which adorn the drama of our day. She concluded he had seen Mrs. Siddons ? No.--Mrs. Jordan? No.-Perhaps Mr. Kemble? No; none of them. It was probable then that he must have seen the stage of his own times—and remembered Mr. Garrick ? No: he had never seen him. In short, he had never been at a theatre at all! Thus not amongst the least extraordinary parts of his character, had this extraordinary man let go by, and pass without his notice, all that had been most gratifying to the national taste; all that a whole country had crowded to see; all that had been distinguished by public fame and honor; and all that must live while taste has a name amongst us!
And strong as may be supposed the desire must have been to see some part of this, not once in the course of nearly eighty years had the inclination been forcible enough to make him pay one crown for the sight! And Mr. Garrick, Mrs. Siddons, Mrs. Jordan, and Mr. Kemble, all sunk before-five shillings! Is there in Great Britain one man able to have seen these things, and living in the same town, of whom the same can be said ?..Loe
Thus, in every trait of his character, came forth the evil genius of money, and spread its influence over all. In the close of that life to which I am hastening-well will it be, if the passion which undermined all the happiness of Mr. Elwes, prove but the means of destroying such a second passion in others !
IT IS HOE Meijut little ered
It is the lot of some men to outlive themselves; and such was the lot of Mr. Elwes. When he first visited Suffolk, his peculiarities were but little known; and when he came to reside there, his fox-hounds « covered a multitude of sins.” In leaving that country to become a member of parliament, his public conduct they could not but praise ; and, in his private character, that which they did not see, they could not blame. But when he returned again into Suffolk, and exposed to continued observationi, all, his penury
when his tenants saw in his appearance or style of living every thing that was inferior to their own when his neighbors, at
best, could but smile at his infirmities and his very servants grew ashamed of the meanness of their master-all that approached respect formerly was now gone. And a gentleman, one day, enquiring which was the house of Mr. Elwes, was told, somewhat facetiously, by one of the tenants" the poor-house of the parish !"
The scene of mortification at which Mr. Elwes was now arrived, was all, but a denial of the common necessaries of life: and indeed it might have admitted a doubt, whether or not, if his manors, his fish-ponds, and some grounds in his own hands, had not furnished a subsistence, where he had not any thing actually to buy, he would not, rather than have bought any thing, have starved ;- strange as this may appear, it is not exaggerated. He, one day, during this period, dined on the remaining part of a moor-hen, which had been brought out of the river by a rat! and at another, eat an undigested part of a pike, which the larger one had swallowed, but had not finished, and which were taken in this state in a net. At the time this last circumstance happened, he discovered a strange kind of satisfaction, for he said to me-"Aye! this was killing two birds with one stone !” In the room of all comment-of all moral-lét me say, that, at this time, Mr. Elwes was perhaps worth nearly eight hundred thousand pounds! and, at this period, he had not made his will, of course was not saving from any sentiment of affection for any person. • As Mr. Elwes now vested the enormous savings of his property in the funds, he felt no diminution of it. He had given up the passion of lending money entirely; for the last folly he was guilty of in this way was an offer of lending it to me; and, I must confess, he experienced an act of unkindness to which he had not been accustomed—I did not take it. The manner in which he offered it was not less singular: I was one day sitting reading in the room with him, and he was at a desk amongst his papers, which he left suddenly, and coming up to me, said " Pray, Sir, would you wish to borrow a sum of money? it is very much at your service, if you choose it.”-On my declining it, he looked astonished, and said —". Well, now, I will never lend any money again !”—and, I believe, he was faithful to his word.
The spring of 1786, Mr. Elwes passed alone, at his solitary house at Stoke ; and, had it not been for some little daily scheme of avarice, would have passed it without one consolatory moment. His temper began to give way apace : his thoughts unceasingly ran on money! money! money!-and he saw no one, but whom he imagined was deceiving and defrauding him. .
As in the day he would now allow himself no fire, he went to bed as soon as day closed to save candle, and had began to deny himself even the pleasure of sleeping in sheets.' In short, he had
now nearly brought to a climax the moral of his whole life-the perfect vanity of wealth!
. On removing from Stoke, he went to his farm-house at Thaydon Hall; a scene of more ruin and desolation, if possible, than either his houses in Suffolk or Berkshire. It stood alone, on the borders of Epping Forest; and an old man and woman, his tenants, were the only persons with whom he could hold any converse. Here he fell ill; and as he would have no assistance, and had not even a servant, he lay, unattended and almost forgotten, for nearly a fortnight-indulging, even in death, that avariče, which malady could not subdue. It was at this period he began to think of making his will—feeling, perhaps, that his sons would not be entitled, by law, to any part of his property, should he die intestate-and, on coming to London, he made his last will and testament, of which the following is an attested copy :
THE WILL OF THE LATE JOHN ELWES, ESQ.
EXTRACTED FROM THE REGISTRY OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT
« In the name of God, Amen.-1, John Elwes, of Stoke, in the county of Suffolk, Esq. do make and declare this writing to be my last will and testament, in manner following: (that is to say) In the first place, I direct that all my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses be paid as soon as conveniently may be after my decease. And I do give, devise, and bequeath, all and every my real estates, messuages or tenements, farms, lands, tithes and hereditaments, situate, standing, lying, and being in the several parishes or places of Stoke, Thaydon, and Marcham, in the counties of Suffolk, Essex, and Berks, with all and every the barns, stables, outhouses, buildings, and appurtenances thereunto belonging; and all other my real estates whatsoever and wheresoever situate, standing, lying, or being, with their and every of their rights, members, and appurtenances; and also all and every my personal estate, goods, chattels, and effects whatsoever, and of what nature, kind, or quality soever, or wheresover the same may be, unto my son, George Elwes, now living and residing at my mansion-house at Marcham, in the county of Berks, and my son, John Elwes, late a lieutenant in his Majesty's second troop of horse-guards, and usually residing at my mansion-house at Stoke, in the county of Suffolk, equally to be divided between them, share and share alike; to have and to hold all and every my said real and personal estates whatsoever and wheresoever, with the rights, privileges, and appurtenances thereunto belonging or appertaining, unto them my said sons, George Elwes and John Elwes, and their heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns for evermore, equally to be divided between them as tenants in common. And I do hereby direct, that the executors of this my will do and shall, as soon as conveniently may be after my death, pay all and every such legacies or bequests as I may think fit to give to any person whomsoever, by any codicil or paper.writing in the nature of a codicil or testamentary schedule, to be written or signed by me, whether the same shall or shall not be attested by any subscribing witnesses. And I do nominate, constitute, and appoint-my said sons, George Elwes and John Elwes, executors of this my last will and testament, and hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made, do make and declare this writing only as and for my last will and testament. In witness whereof, I the said John Elwes have to this writing, contained in two sheets of paper, which I declare as and for my last will and testament, set my hand and seal, (that is to say) my hand to each of the said sheets, and my hand and seal to this last sheet, and to the label by which they are affixed together, the sixth day of August, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six.
.: John Elwes.” « Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the said John Elwes, as, and for his last will and testament, in the presence of us, who in his presence, and in the presence of each other, and at his request, have subscribed our names as witnesses to the execution thereof.
THOMAS INGRAHAM.” · « November 27, 1789.-On which day appeared personally George Elwes, of Marcham, in the county of Berks, Esq. and John Elwes, of Stoke, in the county of Suffolk, Esq. and made oath, that they are the sons and executors named in the last will and testament of John Elwes, late of Stoke, in the county of Suffolk, but at Marcham, in the county of Berks, Esq. deceased, who departed this life on the 26th instant. ito And these deponents further depose, that since the death of the said deceased, they have carefully and diligently searched amongst the said deceased's papers of moment and concern, for a codicil or other testamentary paper, which might be made and executed by him, the deceased, and referred to by him in his last will and testament hereunto annexed, and that they have not been
able to find any paper-writing whatever of a testamentary nature, save and except the said last will and testament of the said deceased, hereunto annexed as aforesaid, bearing date the sixth day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand, seven hundred and eighty-six.
is: GEORGE Elwes,
John Elwes." « The same day, the said George Elwes and John Elwes, Esquires, were duly sworn to the truth of this affidavit, before me,
GEORGE HARRIS, Surr. Pres.
JAMES HESELTINE, Not. Pub." . s « Proved at London, the 27th of November, 1789, before the Worshipful George Harris, Doctor of Laws and Surrogate, by the oaths of George Elwes and John Elwes, Esquires, the sons and executors, to whom administration was granted, having been first sworn duly to administer.
· The property here, disposed of may amount, perhaps, to five hundred thousand pounds. The entailed estates fall: to Mr. Timms, son of the late Richard Timms, lieutenant-colonel of the second troop of horse-guards.
The sons named by Mr. Elwes in the will above, were his natural children, by Élizabeth Moren, formerly his housekeeper at Marcham in Berkshire. • In mentioning these gentlemen as “ his natural children,” my respect for them I am sure will not be diminished: and a ring of no small value lately sent to me by George Elwes, Esq. in memory of their father, tells me I hold some place in their esteem, On the subject of natural children, what the facetious Dick Beck. ford once said so well, no man need be ashamed to repeat « when so many unnatural children are abroad, I never shall blush to be called the natural child of my father.” ; ; in' ..
A sentiment like this will not misbecome the sons of Mr; Elwes: and, as from the large property which has fallen to their share, some rank in society must be theirs also, that property will only be a benefit, or otherwise, as it is or is not well employed! In the person of their father, they have seen how small may be the advantage of enormous wealth; how little the happiness it confers, when confined; and that given to us for good or pleasurable