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letters of advice to his son when the child was only five years old. When this boy reached the age of twenty-four, another Philip Stanhope was born and to him Chesterfield wrote letters for many years. Evidently he did not intend that they should be made public.
“You and I must now write to each other as friends and without the least reserve, there will for the future be a thousand things in my letters which I would not have any mortal living but yourself see or know.” The letters, written in English, Latin, and French, contain a large amount of valuable information on history, geography, and on many subjects. They insist that nothing is too small for attentive consideration, that concentration upon one subject at a time is essential. They urge the need of honor and morality, they recommend the principle of good breeding, they enjoin respect for the feelings of others and sympathy with them; the young man is told never to be ashamed of doing what is right.
Fanny Burney, who became Madame d’Arblay by her marriage to a French émigré, was appointed second keeper of the robes to Queen Charlotte. Here is more about the larger literary and political world, including the great event of the Hastings Treaty. A most interesting feature of these diaries and letters are the clear-cut portraits of the people whom the writer knew.
Thomas Gray was one of the greatest scholars of his time. As an invaluable index to his whole character, his letters are the only trustworthy records for his biographers. Although the letters of Walpole are important for the history of the social life, they contain nothing comparable to the depth and pathos of Gray's more tender memories and friendships. Moreover, they are an excellent guide to the survey of contemporary continental literature. They show an intimate knowledge of old French chronicles and classical literature. They glow with original comments on the seasons, the crops, and the flowers.
Among authors famous for their correspondence Lady Mary Wortley Montagu holds a conspicuous place. She wrote many letters to Pope, but the greater portion were written to her husband, to her sister, Lady Mar, and to her daughter, Countess of Bute. She was shrewd enough to know their value. “Keep my letters,” she wrote, “they will be as good as Madame de Sevigné's forty years hence," and they are.
She was a prominent figure in the literature of the period, but left nothing of permanent value except her letters. She will be remembered for her courage in introducing into England inoculation for smallpox, three quarters of a century before Jenner discovered a more excellent way.
William Cowper, the most important poet in England between Pope and Wordsworth, the author of some of the most famous hymns in our language, is one of the best letterwriters, not only of the eighteenth century but of any, century. His was a sad life, filled with morbidness and insanity, but his charming letters reveal the source of his poetic endowment, his gentle mischievousness, the familiarity which despises nothing as too humble and too little. No one in his letters ever gave a more pleasing and more truthful picture of the simple country life in his day, idyllic, without work or worry.
The series of seventy letters signed Junius first appeared in the Public Advertiser between January 21, 1769, and January 21, 1772. They attracted the universal attention of English politicians, owing to the writer's familiarity with current politics and prominent personages and his boldness in commenting upon them. Discussion of the authorship of these letters has begot a literature to itself, bristling with technicalities and expert opinions, equal to that of any discussion for centuries. Many persons at the time thought Burke was the author; today all that seems certain is that the author was one of a clique of Whigs, of which Sir Philip Francis was a prominent member.
card, stabbed Mr. Harley. Guiscard was
taken up by Mr. Secretary St. John's From JOURNAL TO STELLA
warrant for high treason, and brought MARCH 7, 1710-11. ... And so you before the Lords to be examined; there say that Stella is a pretty girl; and so he stabbed Mr. Harley. I have told all she be, an methinks I see her just now the particulars already to the Archbishop. as handsome as the day is long. Do I have now, at nine, sent again, and they you know what? when I am writing in tell me he is in a fair way. Pray pardon our language, I make up my mouth just my distraction; I now think of all his as if I was speaking it. I caught myself kindness to me. - The poor creature now at it just now. And I suppose Dingley lies stabbed in his bed by a desperate is so fair and so fresh as a lass in May, French Popish villain. Good-night, and and has her health, and no spleen. God preserve you both, and pity me; In your account you sent do you reckon I want it. as usual from the 1st of November was Mar. 9. Morning ; seven, in bed. Pattwelvemonth? Poor Stella, will not rick is just come from Mr. Harley's. He Dingley leave her a little daylight to write slept well till four; the surgeon sat up with to Presto? Well, well, we'll have daylight him; he is asleep again: he felt a pain shortly, spite of her teeth; and zoo must in his wound when he waked: they apcly Lele and Hele, and Hele aden. Must prehend him in no danger. This account loo mimitate Pdfr, pay? Iss, and so la the surgeon left with the porter, to tell shall. And so lele's fol ee rettle. Dood- people that send. Pray God preserve mollow. — At night, Mrs. Barton sent him. I am rising, and going to Mr. Secthis morning to invite me to dinner; retary St. John. They say Guiscard will and there I dined, just in that genteel die with the wounds Mr. St. John and manner that MD used when they would the rest gave him. I shall tell you more treat some better sort of body than usual. at night. — Night. Mr. Harley still con
Mar. 8. O dear MD, my heart is almost tinues on the mending hand; but he broken. You will hear the thing before rested ill last night, and felt pain. I was this comes to you. I writ a full account early with the Secretary this morning, and of it this night to the Archbishop of Dub- I dined with him, and he told me several lin; and the Dean
par- particularities of this accident, too long ticulars from the Archbishop. I was in a
to relate now. Mr. Harley is still mendsorry way to write, but thought it mighting this evening, but not at all out of be proper to send a true account of the danger; and till then I can have no fact; for you will hear a thousand lying peace. Good-night, etc., and pity Presto. circumstances. It is of Mr. Harley's being stabbed this afternoon, at three
Mar. 16. I have made but little progo'clock, at a Committee of the Council. I was playing Lady Catharine Morris's
ress in this letter for so many days, thanks
to Guiscard and Mr. Harley; and it cards, where I dined, when young Arundel
would be endless to tell you all the parcame in with the story. I ran away
ticulars of that odious fact. I do not yet immediately to the Secretary which
hear that Guiscard is dead, but they say was in my way: no one was at home.
'tis impossible he should recover. I I met Mrs. St. John in her chair; she had
walked too much yesterday for a man heard it imperfectly. I took a chair to
with a broken shin; to-day I rested, and Mr. Harley, who was asleep, and they
went no farther than Mrs. Vanhomrigh's, hope in no danger; but he had been out of order, and was so when he came abroad to-day, and it may put him in a fever:
1 Mrs. Vanhomrigh was the mother of Esther I am in mortal pain for him. That des
Vanhomrigh, “Vanessa," the heroine of Swift's perate French villain, Marquis de Guis
poem Cadenus and Vanessa.
where I dined; and Lady Betty Butler much company always meet at the great coming in about six, I was forced in good tables. Lord Treasurer told at Court manners to sit with her till nine; then what I said to Mr. Secretary on this I came home, and Mr. Ford came in to occasion. The Secretary showed me his visit my shin, and sat with me till eleven: bill of fare, to encourage me to dine with so I have been very idle and naughty. It him. “Poh,” said I, “show me a bill vexes me to the pluck that I should lose of company, for I value not your dinner.” walking this delicious day. Have you See how this is all blotted, I can write no seen the Spectator yet, a paper that comes more here, but to tell you I love MD out every day? 'Tis written by Mr. dearly, and God bless them. Steele, who seems to have gathered new Windsor, Sept. 23, 1711. The Secretary life, and have a new fund of wit; it is the did not come last night, but at three this same nature as his Tatlers, and they have afternoon. I have not seen him yet, but all of them had something pretty. I I verily think they are contriving a peace believe Addison and he club. I never as fast as they can, without which it will see them; and I plainly told Mr. Harley be impossible to subsist. The Queen and Mr. St. John, ten days ago, before was at church to-day, but was carried in my Lord Keeper and Lord Rivers, that a chair. I and Mr. Lewis dined privately I had been foolish enough to spend my with Mr. Lowman, Clerk of the Kitchen. credit with them in favour of Addison I was to see Lord Keeper this morning, and Steele; but that I would engage and and told him the jest of the maids of promise never to say one word in their honour; and Lord Treasurer had it last behalf, having been used so ill for what night. That rogue Arbuthnotl puts it I had already done. So, now I am got all upon me. The Court was very full into the way of prating again, there will be to-day. I expected Lord Treasurer would
, no quiet for me.
have invited me to supper ; but he only
bowed to me; and we had no discourse When Presto begins to prate, Give him a rap upon the pate.
in the drawing-room. It is now seven at
night, and I am at home; and I hope O Lord, how I blot! it is time to leave Lord Treasurer will not send for me to off, etc.
supper: if he does not, I will reproach Windsor, July 29, 1711. I was at him; and he will pretend to chide me Court and church to-day, as I was this for not coming. — So farewell till I go day se'ennight: I generally am acquainted to bed, for I am going to be busy. with about thirty in the drawing-room, It is now past ten, and I went down to and I am so proud I make all the lords ask the servants about Mr. Secretary: come up to me: one passes half an hour they tell me the Queen is yet at the Counpleasant enough. We had a dunce to cil, and that she went to supper, and preach before the Queen to-day, which came out to the Council afterwards. It often happens. Windsor is a delicious is certain they are managing a peace. I situation, but the town is scoundrel. I will go to bed, and there is an end. It have this morning got the Gazette for Ben is now eleven, and a messenger is come Tooke and one Barber a printer; it will from Lord Treasurer to sup with them; be about three hundred pounds a year but I have excused myself, and am glad between them. The other fellow was I am in bed; for else I should sit up till printer of the Examiner, which is now two, and drink till I was hot. Now I'll laid down. I dined with the Secretary:
go sleep. we were a dozen in all, three Scotch lords, London, Nov. 15, 1712. Before this and Lord Peterborow. The Duke of comes to your hands, you will have heard Hamilton would needs be witty, and hold of the most terrible accident that hath up my train as I walked upstairs. It
1 Dr. John Arbuthnot, Physician in Ordinary to is an ill circumstance that on Sundays Queen Anne.
almost ever happened. This morning, told a thousand lies of it; but at last we at eight, my man brought me word that gave them a true account of it at length, the Duke of Hamilton had fought with printed in the evening; only I would not Lord Mohun, and killed him, and was suffer them to name me, having been so brought home wounded. I immediately often named before, and teased to death sent him to the Duke's house, in St. with questions. I wonder how I came to James's Square; but the porter could have so much presence of mind, which hardly answer for tears, and a great rabble is usually not my talent; but so it pleased was about the house. In short, they God, and I saved myself and him ; for fought at seven this morning. The dog there was a bullet apiece. A gentleman Mohun was killed on the spot; and while told me that if I had been killed, the Whigs the Duke was over him, Mohun shorten- would have called it a judgment, because ing his sword, stabbed him in at the the barrels were of inkhorns, with which shoulder to the heart. The Duke was I had done them so much mischief. There helped toward the cake-house by the was a pure Grub Street of it, full of lies Ring in Hyde Park (where they fought), and inconsistencies. I do not like these and died on the grass, before he could things at all, and I wish myself more and reach the house; and was brought home more among my willows. There is a in his coach by eight, while the poor devilish spirit among people, and the Duchess was asleep. Maccartney, and Ministry must exert themselves, or sink. one Hamilton, were the seconds, who Nite dee sollahs, I'll go seep. fought likewise, and are both fled. I am told that a footman of Lord Mohun's
EDWARD GIBBON stabbed the Duke of Hamilton; and
From AUTOBIOGRAPHY some say Maccartney did so too. Mohun gave the affront, and yet sent the chal
June, 1765. lenge. I am infinitely concerned for The pilgrimage to Italy, which I now the poor Duke, who was a frank, honest, accomplished, had long been the object good-natured man. I loved him very
of my curious devotion. The passage well, and I think he loved me better. of Mount Cenis, the regular streets of He had the greatest mind in the world Turin, the Gothic cathedral of Milan, to have me go with him to France, but the scenery of the Boromean Islands, durst not tell it me; and those he did, the marble palaces of Genoa, the beauties said I could not be spared, which was of Florence, the wonders of Rome, the true. They have removed the poor Duch- curiosities of Naples, the galleries of ess to a lodging in the neighbourhood, Bologna, the singular aspect of Venice, where I have been with her two hours, the amphitheatre of Verona, and the and am just come away. I never saw so
Palladian architecture of Vicenza, are melancholy a scene; for indeed all reasons still present to my imagination. I read for real grief belong to her; nor is it the Tuscan writers on the banks of the possible for anybody to be a greater loser Arno; but my conversation was with in all regards. She has moved my very
the dead rather than the living, and the soul. The lodging was inconvenient, and whole College of Cardinals was of less they would have removed her to another; value in my eyes than the transfiguration but I would not suffer it, because it had of Raphael, the Apollo of the Vatican, or no room backward, and she must have the massy greatness of the Coliseum. been tortured with the noise of the Grub It was at Rome, on the fifteenth of OctoStreet screamers mentioning her hus- ber, 1764, as I sat musing amidst the band's murder to her ears.
ruins of the capitol, while the barefooted I believe you have heard the story of friars were singing vespers in the temple my escape, in opening the bandbox sent of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the to Lord Treasurer. The prints have decline and fall of the City first started to my mind. After Rome has kindled as would have curdled the blood, and and satisfied the enthusiasm of the Classic have made the sense of hearing a perpetual pilgrim, his curiosity for all meaner ob- inconvenience, I do not know that we jects insensibly subsides.
should have had a right to complain.
But now the fields, the woods, the gardens, September, 18, 1784.
have each their concert, and the ear of . . My greenhouse is never so pleas- man is forever regaled by creatures who ant as when we are just upon the point seem only to please themselves. Even of being turned out of it. . I sit with the ears that are deaf to the Gospel are all the windows and the door wide open, continually entertained, though without and am regaled with the scent of every knowing it, by sounds for which they flower in a garden as full of flowers as I are solely indebted to its Author. There have known how to make it. We keep is somewhere in infinite space a world no bees, but if I lived in a hive I should that does not roll within the precincts of hardly hear more of their music. All mercy, and as it is reasonable, and even the bees in the neighbourhood resort to a scriptural, to suppose that there is music bed of mignonette opposite to the window, in heaven, in those dismal regions perand pay me for the honey they get out haps the reverse of it is found, tones of it by a hum which, though rather so dismal as to make woe itself more inmonotonous, is as agreeable to my ear as supportable, and to acuminate even dethe whistling of my linnets. All the spair. sounds that nature utters are delightful,
at least in this country. I should not, FRANCES BURNEY (MADAME perhaps, find the roaring of lions in Africa,
D'ARBLAY) or of bears in Russia, very pleasing; but I know no beast in England whose voice
TO DR. JOHNSON I do not account musical, save and except always the braying of an ass. The notes
August 3, 1778. of all our birds and fowls please me, with
WHEN were summoned to out one exception. I should not, indeed, dinner, Mrs. Thrale made my father and think of keeping a goose in a cage, that me sit on each side of her. I said that I might hang him up in the parlour for the I hoped I did not take Dr. Johnson's sake of his melody; but a goose upon a place, — for he had not yet appeared. common, or in a farm-yard, is no bad "No," answered Mrs. Thrale," he performer. And as to insects, if the
will sit by you, which I am sure will give black beetle, and beetles indeed of all him great pleasure." hues, will keep out of my way, I have no Soon after we were seated, this great objection to any of the rest;
man entered. I have so true a veneracontrary, in whatever key they sing, tion for him that the very sight of him from the gnat's fine treble to the bass inspires me with delight and reverence, of the humble bee, I admire them all. notwithstanding the cruel infirmities to Seriously, however, it strikes me as a which he is subject; for he has almost very observable instance of providential perpetual convulsive movements, either kindness to man, that such an exact ac- of his hands, lips, feet, or knees, and cord has been contrived between his ear sometimes of all together. and the sounds with which - at least Mrs. Thrale introduced me to him, and in a rural situation - it is almost every
he took his place. We had a noble moment visited. All the world is sensible dinner, and a most elegant dessert. Dr. of the uncomfortable effect that certain Johnson, in the middle of dinner, asked sounds have upon the nerves, and con- Mrs. Thrale what was in some little sequently upon the spirits; and if a pies that were near him. sinful world had been filled with such "Mutton," answered she, “so I don't