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days of his dissolution, and walked on foot twelve miles but a fortnight before he died.
The first symptoms of more immediate decay, was his inability to enjoy his rest at night. Frequently would he be heard at midnight
as if struggling with some one in his chamber, and crying out : "I will keep my money, I will; nobody shall rob me of my pro.
perty.” On any one of the family going into his room, he would · start from this fever of anxiety, and, as if waking from a troubled
dream, again hurry into bed, and seem unconscious of what had happened.
At other times, when perfectly awake, he would walk to the spot where he had hidden his money, to see if it was safe. One night, while in his waking state, he missed his treasure-that great sum of five guineas and a half, and half a crown! That great sum which he carried down into Berkshire as his last, dearest pleasure! That great sum, which at times solaced and distracted the last moments of a man, whose property, nearly reaching to a million, extended itself almost through every county in England.
The circumstances of the loss were these :
Mr. Partis, who was then with him in Berkshire, was waked one morning about two o'clock by the noise of a naked foot, seemingly walking about his bed-chamber with great caution. Somewhat alarmed at the circumstance, he naturally asked « Who is there !” on which a person coming up towards the bed, said with great civility -“Sir, my name is Elwes; I have been unfortunate enough to be robbed in this house, which I believe is mine, of all the money I have in the world of five guineas and a half, and half a crown!" “ Dear Sir,” replied Mr. Partis, “ I hope you are mistaken; do not make yourself uneasy."--"O! no, no," rejoined the old gentleman, “it's all true: and really, Mr. Partis, with such a sum-I should have liked to have seen the end of it.”
This unfortunate sum was found a few days after in a corner behind the window-shutter.
It was now the autumn of the year 1789, and the progress of each day took something away from his understanding. His memory was gone entirely : his perception of things was decreasing very rapidly; and as the mind became unsettled, gusts of the most violent passion usurped the place of his former command of temper. That courtesy, once so amiable in his manners and his address, was now conspicuous no longer; and there appeared no particle of his mental qualities that did not seem to have survived themselves. For six weeks previous to his death, he had got a custom of VOL. XXV.
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going to rest in his clothes, as perfectly dressed as during the day. He was one morning found fast asleep betwixt the sheets, with his shoes on his feet, his stick in his hand, and an old torn hat on his head.
On this circumstance being discovered, a servant was set to watch, and take care that he undressed himself; yet, so desirous was he of continuing this custom, that he told the servant, with his usual providence about money, that if he would not take any notice of him, he would leave him something in his will.
On the 18th day of November 1789, Mr. Elwes discovered signs of that utter and total weakness, which, in eight days, carried him to his grave. On the evening of the first day he was conveyed to bed-from which he rose no more. His appetite was gone he had but a faint recollection of any thing about him; and his last coherent words were addressed to his son, Mr. John Elwes, in hoping “ he had left him what he wished.” On the morning of the 26th of November, he expired without a sigh !with the ease with which an infant goes to sleep on the breast of its mother, worn out with “ the rattles and the toys” of a long day!
One strange circumstance I cannot here omit to mention : some days previous to the death of his father, Mr. John Elwes was returning from an estate he had just purchased, in Gloucestershire, with a clergyman, to whom he had given the living. On his journey a strange presentiment came across his mind, that he should see his father, but once again. The idea was so strongly impressed on his thoughts, that he sat out in the middle of the night to reach Marcham : he did reach it, and was in time to be witness of that sight which most afflicts a good son, on the subject of a father-he beheld him expire.
Thus died Mr. Elwes, fortunate in escaping from a world he had lived in too long for his own peace!
I have now fulfilled my promise to the public I have presented before their view the portraiture of that extraordinary man, whose life will not hastily be forgotten in this country. In saying this, I should indeed blush, could I take to myself any merit in the detail of it.-No; I am free to say it has not the smallest claim of that sort; but it is worthy some attention with the public, as being the faithful and accurate transcript of a man the most singular this country ever produced, long and intimately known to me; and whose manners, spite of some defects, I shall ever reverence and respect. For, it will happen, that the purest characters are not always those which are loved the most. A Toughness of manner, and a temper that is imperious, will for ever prevent affection, however highly we may think of integrity or
I have heir view the be forgotten itake to many the
virtue. In the mildness of Mr. Elwes's manners, and in the finished politeness of his address, there was more than a counterbalance for all his singularities : you esteemed him, perhaps, more than you ought; and even his faults seemed to spring from an infirmity that you pitied, more than abhorred.
In giving his character, I have entered into the minutiæ, and all the little anecdotes of private life-for there, and there only, can the real character be seen.-Life when « full dressed,” is always alike. It resembles the soldier on the parade, habited in one uniform, and acting with a uniformity that is equal to his habit.
The sentiment which, doubtless, will arise in the minds of those who have perused this account, will, perhaps, thus close with me, the result of all I have said. .
Mr. Elwes, as one of the commons of England, in three successive parliaments, maintained a conduct which purer times might have been glad to boast, and which later times may be proud to follow. The minister that influenced him was—his conscience. He obeyed no mandate, but his opinion. He gave that opinion as he held it to be right.
In one word, his public conduct lives after him, pure, and without a stain !
In private life, he was chiefly an enemy to himself. To others he lent much-to himself he denied every thing. But in the pursuit of his property, or the recovery of it, I have not, in my remembrance, one unkind thing that was ever done by him.
But that great object which rises highest to the view out of the prospect of his varied life-let me again enforce on this page. That object is, the insufficiency of wealth alone to confer happiness. For who, after the perusal of the life of Mr. Elwes shall say-I am rich and therefore I shall be happy ?
Every circumstance of the memoirs here written, proves the fallacy of this hope. But still has such a life had its purpose. For if it should add one circumstance consolatory to povertywhile it enforces the extreme and perfect vanity of wealth-then has such a life, as that of Mr. Elwes, not been in vain.
Such be the wreath that my humble hand now strews over his grave ! a wreath where flattery has not furnished one single flower :-but not wholly unadorned is it, for it is the tribute of truth ! As such, I give it to his memory; and at a moment when praise or blame can affect him no more.
Supplementary to the above, I subjoin the following most beautiful inscription, as one of the very few literary compositions to which Mr. Elwes ever paid attention; and it is to the credit of his literary taste. It was communicated to me by Mr. Ruggles,
the pursuitrance, one unkinidh rises highest, enforce
ha Such be the wrewhere Aattery bas is it, for i
204 whore Hallo humbles
a very able and well informed magistrate for the county of Essex, who had it from Mr. Elwes himself; and the lines in italics were marked by the pen of Mr. Elwes, as being peculiarly beautiful.
They were written by the first Lord Hervey, a brother of the lady to whose memory they were inscribed.
TO THE MEMORY OF
LADY E. MANSELL,
NIECE TO THE MOTHER OB SIR HERVEY ELWES.
Vive pius, moriere pius cole sacra! colentem
BENEATH the covering of this little stone,
RIGHT HON. W. HUSKISSON, M. P.
PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE,
A. B. GRANVILLE, M.D., F.R.S., F.L.S., M.R.I., ONE OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE DUKE OF CLARENCE'S PHYSICIANS SN ORDINARY, LICENTIATE OF THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS
OF LONDON, &c. &c.