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writes little Flams (as Lord Leicester call'd those sort of verses) on Miss Carteret. A Dublin Blacksmith, a great Poet, hath imitated his manner in a poem to the fame Miss. Philips is a complainer, and on this occasion I told Lord. Carteret, that Complainers never succeeded at Court, though Railers do.
Are you altogether a country gentleman ? that I must address to you out of London, to the hazard of your lofing this precious letter, which I will now conclude altho' so much paper is left. I have an ill Name, and therefore shall not subscribe it, but you will guess it comes from one who esteems and loves you about half as much as you deserve, I mean as much as he can.
I am in great concern, at what I am just told is in some of the news-papers, that Lord Bolingbroke is much hurt by a fall in hunting. I am glad he has so much Youth and vigour left (of which he hath not been thrifty) but I wonder he has no more Discretion.
LET TER XII.
Oat. 15, 1725 am wonderfully pleas’d with the suddenness of your
kind answer, It makes me hope you are coming towards us, and that you incline more and more to your old friends, in proportion as you draw nearer to them; and are getting into our Vortex. Here is one, who was once a powerful planet, but has now (after long experience of all that comes of shining) learned to be content, with returning to his first point; without the thought or ambition of shining at all. Here is Another, who thinks one of the greatest glories of his Father was to have distin,
guished and loved you, and who loves you hereditarily. Here is Arbuthnot, recovered from the jaws of death, and more pleas’d with the hope of seeing you again, than of reviewing a world every part of which
he has long despis'd, but what is made up of a few men like yourself. He goes abroad again, and is more chearful than even health can make a man, for he has a good conscience into the bargain (which is the most Catholic of all remedies, tho' not the most Universal.) I knew it would be a pleasure to you to hear this, and in truth that made me write so
soon to you.
I'm sorry poor P. is not promoted in this age; for certainly if his reward be of the next, he is of all Poets the most miserable. I'm also sorry for another reason; if they don't promote him, they'll spoil the conclusion of one of my Satires, where, having endeavoured to correct the Taste of the town in wit and criticism, I end thus,
But what avails to lay down rules for sense?
When Ambrose Philips was preferr’d for Wit! Our friend Gay is used as the friends of Tories are by Whigs (and generally by Tories too.) Because he had humour, he was supposed to have dealt with Dr. Swift; in like manner as when any one had learning formerly, he was thought to have dealt with the Devil. He puts his whole trust at Court in that Lady whom I described to you, and whom you take to be an allegorical creature of fancy: I wish she really were Riches for his fake; though as for your's, I question whether (if you knew her) you would change her for the other ?
Lord Bolingbroke had not the least harm by his fall, I wish he had receiv'd no more by his other fall ; Lord Oxford had none by his. - But Lord Bolingbroke is the most improved Mind since you saw him, that ever was improved without shifting into a
discover his contempt of 'those who would be meri of importance out of their sphere. Besides, to say the truth, although I have known many great Ministers ready enough to hear Opinions, yet I have hardly seen one that would ever descend to take Advice; and this pedantry ariseth from a Maxim themselves do not believe at the same time they practise by it, that there is something profound in Politics, which men of plain honest sense cannot arrive to.
I only wish my endeavours had succeeded better in the great point I had at heart, which was that of reconciling the Ministers to each other. This might have been done, if others, who had more concern and more influence, would have acted their parts; and, if this had succeeded, the public intereft both of Church and State would not have been the worse, nor the Protestant Succession endangered.
But, whatever opportunities a constant attendance of four years might have given me for endeavouring to do good offices to particular persons, , I deserve at least to find tolerable quarter from those of the other Party ; for many of which I was a constant advocate with the Earl of Oxford, and for this I appeal to his Lordship: He knows how often I pressed him in favour of Mr. Addison, Mr. Congreve, Mr. Row, and Mr. Steel; although I freely confess that his Lordship's kind ness to them was altogether owing to his generous notions, and the esteem he had for their wit and parts, of which I could only pretend to be a remembrancer. For I can never forget the answer he gave to the late Lord Hallifax, who upon the first change of the Ministry interceded with him to spare Mr. Congreve : It was by repeating these two lines of Virgil,
Non obtusa adeo geftamus pectora Pceni, -- Nec tam aversus equos Tyria Sol jungit ab urbe.
Pursuant to which, he always treated Mr. Congreve with the greatest personal civilities, assuring him of his constant favour and protection, and adding that he would study to do something better for him,
I remember it was in those times a usual subject of raillery towards me among the Ministers, that I never came to them without a Whig in my sleeve; which I do not say with any view towards making my Court: For, the new Principles * fixed to those of that denomination, I did then, and do now from my heart abhor, detest, and abjure, as wholly degenerate from their predecessors. I have converfed in some freedom with more Ministers of State of all parties than usually happens to men of my level, and, I confess, in their capacity as MiniIters, I look upon them as a race of people whose acquaintance no man would court, otherwise than upon the score of Vanity or Ambition. The first quickly wears off (and is the Vice of low minds, for a man of spirit is too proud to be vain) and the other was not my case. Besides, having never received more than one small favour, I was under no necessity of being a slave to men in power, but chose my friends by their personal merit, without examining how far their notions agreed with the politics then in vogue. I frequently conversed with Mr. Addison, and the others I named (except Mr. Steel) during all my Lord Oxford's Ministry, and Mr. Addison's friendship to me continued inviolable, with as much kindness as when we used to
* He means particularly the principle at that time charged upon chem, by their Enemies, of an intention to proscribe the Teries.
meet at my Lord Sommers * or Hallifax, who were leaders of the opposite Party.
I would infer from all this, that it is with great injustice I have these many years been pelted by your Pamphleteers, merely upon account of some regard which the Queen's last Ministers were pleased to have for me: and
conscience I think I am a partaker in every ill design they had against the Protestant Succession, or the Liberties and Religion of their Country; and can say with Cicero, « that I should be proud to be included with them
in all their actions tanquam in equo Trojano.” But if I have never discovered by my words, writings, or actions, any Party virulence t, or dangerous designs against the present powers ; if my friendship and conversation were equally shewn among those who liked or disapproved the proceedings then at Court, and that I was known to be a common Friend of all deserving persons of the latter fort, when they were in distress; I cannot but think it hard, that I am not suffered to run quietly among the common herd of people, whose opinions unfortunately differ from those which lead to Favour and Preferment
I ought to let you know, that the Thing we called a Whig in England is a creature altogether different from those of the fame denomination here; at least it was so during the reign of her late Majesty. Whether those on your side have changed or no I, it hath not been my business to enquire. I remember my excellent friend Mr. Addison, when he first came over hither Secretary to the Earl of
* Lord Sommers had very warmly recommended Dr. Swift to the favour of Lord Wharton when he went the Queen's Lieutenant into Ireland, in the year 1709.
+ The Examiners, I suppose, were not then publishod amongst the Dean's works. # He lays before, that they had changed.