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another, it is an utter and heartless want of principle. From the commencement of his career down to the day of his death, personal ambition, or the spleen of the moment, was the mainspring of his actions. Signalizing his entrance upon public life by a desertion of the princi. ples in which he had been educated, — voluntarily becoming the most active persecutor of his earliest friends and connections,-professing, to forward his own ambitious views, devoted attachment to a religion whose ministers he insulted, and whose altars he despised,- intriguing with a favourite, and corresponding with an exiled tyrant to supplant his colleague,olemnly protesting his adherence to the Hanoverian succession, at the very time that he was filling his projected cabinet with zealous Jacobites,-cringing to the minister by whom he had been impeached and exiled,-assuring that minister of his friendship and support until he had obtained all the favours that could be granted, and then with shameless ingratitude organizing against him the most deadly opposition,-inveighing against parties, and himself the ringleader of the bitterest of factions, lauding the prerogative to flatter a sovereign, and declaiming for a liberty bordering upon licentiousness, to embarrass a ministry,-are traits in the character of “this ingrate and cankered Bolingbroke," which it would be cant and not candour, weakness and not wisdom, to forget or to forgive. Nothing can be more ludicrously inconsistent than his professions of adherence to a family which had been driven from the throne for its attacks on popular rights, contrasied with the fiery vehemence of his tirades against the whigs for attempting to enslave the nation. We defy any one to point out writings more deeply imbued with whig principles, or more opposed to all the political principles of Mr St John, than the letters in the Craftsman,' those on the · History of England,' and the · Dissertation on Parties of my Lord Bolingbroke. Yet, in spite of this want of consistency, Bolingbroke never fell into the contempt which overtook his colleague and rival, Harley, and which seldom fails to overtake all those who embark on the voyage of life without the ballast of honesty. Perhaps no two men actuated in the main by similar motives, and presenting certain general points of resemblance, ever differed more widely than Harley and Bolingbroke. Each was actuated chiefly by a love of power,—each was ready to stoop to any device for the increase or preservation of that power,-each acknowledged no ties of gratitude, and no laws of honour; but Harley was a cold formal trifler,-characterized by no vice in private, and no virtue in public life,-ever making fair professions, and never fulfilling them,—“one of those gentle ones that would use the devil himself with courtesy,”—and seeming to love power only for the sake of its empty splendours; Bolingbroke was of a fiery energetic temper,—scorning to gild his actions so long as he had authority to bear him through,—-stained by every private immorality,—constantly urging on with a reckless haste the most decisive counsels, and valuing power chiefly for the opportunity of exercising it. The former was the least erect, the latter the fiercest and the strongest spirit that animated the scene.
The great features of Bolingbroke's character are an unrivalled selfconfidence and thirst for distinction. Hence it was that he constantly aimed at the first place in all things, and believed himself equal to it. In the earlier part of his career it was his aim to combine the attributes of the most brilliant wit,—the most accomplished litteraleur,--the ablest statesman,—the most eloquent orator,—the most fashionable beau,— and the most reckless debauchee of the age. The idle compliment and commonplace of fashionable life was mingled with abstruse reflections on themes of mysterious import, and the gay badinage of the salcon was succeeded, at no long interval, by the grave deliberations of the council-chamber. The evening which was commenced by advocating in the senate persecution as a method of propagating true religion, was not unfrequently concluded in heating and exhausting his fine imagination to deify the prostitute of the night, and in devastating his constitution by bacchanalian revelry. To be pre-eminent alike in the solemn pageantries of a court and the deep counsels of a senate,–in the world of fashion and the world of letters,-in pleasure and in business--in the intrigues of a libertine and the intrigues of a politician,—was the aim of this Alcibiades of modern times. And it must be coộfessed, that few men have performed so many different parts with equal success. In after life, when his attainder prevented him from taking any active part in politics, and the fulness of enjoyment had brought a satiety of pleasure, he carried the same proud spirit into pbilosophy. Not only aspiring at the possession of universal knowledge, but also to be the sole arbiter and lord-paramount in every department of literature on which his pen was exercised, he attempts to exact from mankind a homage which would be refused to abilities far greater than his, employed for a life-time on a tithe of the vast domain over which he ranges. To use Tillotson's fine language, it was his purpose, “ by a vast and imperious mind, and a heart as large as the sands on the sea-shore, to command all the knowledge of nature and art, of words and things; to attain to a mastery in all languages, and sound the depths of all arts and sciences,—measure the earth and the heavens, and tell the stars, and declare their orders and motions,—to discourse of the interest of all states, the intrigues of all courts, the reason of all civil laws and constitutions, and to give an account of the history of
Thus arrogant,--thus vast in his aspirations,—and, with a heart unteachable by the sweet uses of adversity, it is not a matter of surprise, that he met the common fate of those who have not taken due measure of their own capacity ; that, of the multifarious projects in which he engaged, not one came to perfection, with the solitary exception of the treaty of Utrecht,—that his whole life was a series of fruitless struggles,—and that his proud heart, after so many mortifications, became corroded with all malevolence, and a prey to its own passions. He stands, for the instruction of posterity, a monument of blighted ambition,-vast in dimensions, and stately in the framework, but scathed and blasted by deep scars of thunder.
Having now spoken of Bolingbroke's moral qualifications, it only remains for us to offer a few observations on the quæstio vexata of his mental character. No man in ancient or modern times received a larger measure of applause from his contempories, whether friends or enemies. The theme of Swift's warmest panegyrics,-the god of Pope's idolatry,—and esteemed the miracle of an age not undistinguished by great names, it might have been anticipated that his remains would have
• Sermon ‘On the wisdom of being religious.'
been greedily sought after by posterity, and perused with an almost reverential admiration. Yet so much do succeeding generations differ in their opinion, that scarcely one man in ten knows him to have been any thing more than a statesman, and not one in a hundred has made himself acquainted with his writings. Perhaps it is not very difficult to assign the cause of this apparent anomaly. Bolingbroke's abilities were exactly of that stamp which astonish and fascinate those who come into personal contact with their possessor,—more brilliant than solid,-more showy than substantial. His mind was not a profound one; but what it wanted in this respect was atoned for by its readiness and acuteness. He seemed to grasp every thing by intuition, and no sooner had he made himself master of a proposition or an argument, than his astonishing memory enabled him to bring forth vast stores of information and illustration at a moment's warning. Endowed with a brilliant imagination,-a prodigious flow of words,—a style which fascinates the reader by the incomparable beauty of the language and the bounding elasticity of the sentences,—and an extraordinary power of presenting his conceptions in the clearest possible light-his contemporaries looked upon him as one of those rare beings who seem to be endowed with a nature superior to that of common mortality, and who stoop down to the world only to evince their mastery of all its lore, and their superiority to its inhabitants. But, dazzled as they were by the vast surface of the stream, they forgot to inquire into its depth. We, in modern times, who know nothing of the artificial splendour with which a “ form excelling human," -a manner that seemed given to sway mankind,-and a most dazzling style of conversation, invested the name of Bolingbroke, are perhaps inclined, by the exaggeration of the praise once lavished on him, to do him but scanty justice. Nevertheless, it must strike the reader of his works, that he nowhere exhibits a power of carrying on a continuous train of thought; that he never fairly grapples with any subject, but contents himself with pointing out its weaknesses and illustrating its minor features; that no lofty thought or original reflection escapes from him; that he is an acute observer, but a shallow thinker,-a clever rhetorician, but an illogical reasoner. His political writings are indeed occasionally distinguished by a vigorous and well-conducted style of argumentation ; but we know not more tame and impotent specimens of deduction than his Philosophical Es. says.' The boasted First Philosophy is founded on a congeries of confuted fallacies and shallow sophistries, on which it would be impossible to build any edifice more substantial than a limbo of vanity. The unabashed assurance with which he pronounces his dictum on the merits of his predecessors and contemporaries,--the tacit assumption which he makes of his own superiority,—the various character and prodigious extent of his erudition, superficial as it unquestionably was the variety and happiness of his illustrations,—the brilliancy of his metaphors,—and, above all, the inimitable graces of his style, combining with the form of an essay the spirit and fire of an oration, have inposed upon the vulgar; but those who can look beneath the surface will discover, without much difficulty, that the inside of the cup and the platter is scarcely answerable to the splendour of the external show.
Such was the life and character of Lord Viscount Bolingbroke,--a man of whom it may be truly said that he performed nothing to entitle
him to the gratitude of his coevals, and that he has bequeathed to posterity little save an example to be shunned. There were about him some elements of a noble nature,—something that seemed,
“ For dignity composed, and high exploit :" but so marred by vices, that his evil genius never lost its ascendancy. There was, however, something magnificent in the indomitable energy of his nature,—in the invincible spirit which supported him under long years of exile and disgrace,—in the vast aspirations after dominion over the wide fields of intellect and universal supremacy which tempts us to exclaim,
“ This should have been a noble creature! He
Hath all the energy which would have made
His works were published in 5 vols., 4to, by Mallet; London, 1755. Works, with his life, by Goldsmith, in 8 vols., 8vo.; London, 1809. His Letters and Correspondence, public and private, during the time of his secretaryship to Queen Anne, were published by G. Parke, in 2 vols., 4to ; London, 1798.
BORN A. D. 1630.—DIED A.D. 1694.
This eminent divine, one of the brightest ornaments of the church of England, was descended from a family anciently of the name of Tilston, in Cheshire. His father was Robert Tillotson, a considerable clothier of Sowerby, in the parish of Halifax in Yorkshire. Both his parents were nonconformists.
After he had passed through the grammar-schools, and attained a skill in the learned languages superior to his years, young Tillotson was sent to Cambridge in 1647, and admitted a pensioner of Clare-hall. He commenced bachelor of arts in 1650, and master of arts in 1654 ; having been chosen fellow of this college in 1651. He left college in 1656 or 1657, according to Dr Hickes, who informs us that he was invited by Edmund Prideaux, Esq. of Ford-Abbey, in Devonshire, to instruct his son. This gentleman had been commissioner of the great seal under the long parliament, and was then attorney-general to Oliver Cromwell. How long Mr Tillotson lived with Mr Prideaux, or whether till that gentleman's death, which happened in 1659, does not appear. He was in London at the time of the protector's death.
The date of Tillotson's entering into holy orders, and by whom he was ordained, are facts unascertained; but his first published sermon was preached at the morning-exercise at Cripplegate. At the time of preaching this sermon he was among the presbyterians, whose commissioners he attended—though as an auditor only—in the Savoy, in 1661; but he submitted to the act of uniformity on St Bartholomew's day in the year ensuing.
The first office in the episcopalian church in which we find him employed after the restoration, was that of curate at Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, in the years 1661 and 1662. In December, 1662, he was elected minister of the parish of St Mary, Aldermanbury, by the parishioners, in whom the right of choice is vested. He declined the acceptance of that living, but did not continue long without the offer of another benefice, which he accepted, being presented in June, 1663, to the rectory of Ketton, or Keddington, in the county of Suffolk. Shortly after, he was called to London by the society of Lincoln's-inn, to be their preacher. The reputation which his preaching gained him in so conspicuous a station as that of Lincoln's-inn, recommended him, the year following, to the trustees of the Tuesday's lecture at St Law. rence, Jewry, founded by Elizabeth, Viscountess Camden. Here he was commonly attended by a numerous audience, and a great concourse of the clergy, who followed him for improvement. He particularly distinguished himself by opposing the growing evils of Charles the Second's reign,-atheism and popery. In the year 1664, one Smith, having deserted the church of England for the Romish communion, published a book, called 'Sure Footing in Christianity; or Rational Discourses on the Rule of Faith.' This being extolled by the abettors of popery as an unanswerable performance, Tillotson refuted it in a piece intituled, * Rule of Faith,' which was printed in 1666, and inscribed to Dr Stillingfleet. Smith-who assumed the name of Sergeant as a disguise-re. plied to this ; and in another piece, attacked a passage in Tillotson's sermon. On the wisdom of being religious,' which sermon, as well as his · Rule of Faith,' Tillotson defended in the preface to the first volume of his sermons, printed in 1671, in a manner which established his reputation as a controversial writer.
In 1666 he took the degree of D. D. Upon the promotion of Dr Peter Gunning to the bishopric of Chichester, in 1670, Tillotson was collated to the prebend of the second stall in the cathedral of Canterbury, which had been held by the new bishop. He kept this prebend till he was advanced to the deanery of that church in 1672. In 1675, he was presented to the prebend of Ealdland, in St Paul's, London, which he resigned for that of Oxgate, and a residentiaryship in the same church in 1678. This last preferment was obtained for him by the interest of his friend, Dr Sharp, afterwards archbishop of York. Dean Tillotson had been for some years on the list of chaplains to King Charles II., but his majesty, according to Burnet, had little kindness for him. He therefore contented himself with his deanery, the duties of which he faithfully discharged; and upon several occasions he showed the moderation of his views, particularly in 1674, when he engaged in the revival of a scheme, which had miscarried in 1668, to compre