Biographical Catalogue of the Portraits at Panshanger, the Seat of Earl Cowper,


‘A true delineation, even of the smallest man, and his scene of pilgrimage through life, is capable of interesting the greatest man; for all men are to an unspeakable degree brothers, each man’s life a strange emblem of every man’s, and human portraits faithfully drawn are, of all pictures, the welcomest on human walls.’ Carlyle.

The Light of her Home,
Michaelmas 1885.

In the Biographical Sketches contained in this volume, I have pursued the same system as in my two former Catalogues, of the Galleries of Hinchingbrook and Longleat,—devoting especial attention to the immediate members, or to personages in any way connected with the family in question. In the historical characters, I have purposely made the details of public and official life (which are elsewhere recorded) subservient to those of a private and IXdomestic nature, although it is obvious that in some cases the two cannot be disentangled. In fact, I have preferred painting my portraits in the costume worn at home, rather than in robes of office and suits of armour. I have refrained from mentioning the innumerable authorities to which I have had recourse, in the British Museum and other Public and Private Libraries, from a dread of adding to the weight of a volume already, I fear, too bulky. For help in my labours, I am indebted to the noble owner of Panshanger himself, for the able papers on Charles James Fox, Lord Melbourne, and the brothers De Witt,—while the author of that delightful memoir, ‘Fifty Years of my Life,’ so well known to the reading public, contributed the interesting sketch of his ancestor, the first Earl of Albemarle.

The good services of Mr. Elliot Stock procured Xme the assistance of Monsieur Charles Rueles, the learned Keeper of Manuscripts in the Royal Library at Brussels, when at a loss for information regarding the Marquez de Leganes, a commander little spoken of by English writers. On the kindness of friends my impaired sight has compelled me to rely for details of dress and descriptions of many of the portraits, and, on this account, my especial thanks are due to a fair member of the Cowper family. In other respects, the work, it may be ‘a poor thing, is mine own,’ and, although in some respects arduous and difficult, I have found it on the whole an undoubted labour of love.

M. L. B.
Michaelmas 1885.


No. 1.

Equestrian Portrait, full size. Mounted on a dappled charger. Buff jerkin. Ruff. Embroidered sleeves. White scarf. Plumed hat.

By Rembrandt.

E was the second son of the Duke de Bouillon, by Elizabeth of Nassau, daughter of William the Silent and Charlotte de Montpensier. De Bouillon was attached in early life to Henry the Fourth, King of France and Navarre, who spoke of him as ‘my lieutenant, my friend, and comrade.’ The Duke was a soldier, diplomat, politician, and man of letters; and, moreover, founder of the Academy at Sedan, which became the resort of all the youthful nobility and chivalry of Europe.

The Duke was one of the chief leaders of the Calvinistic party, and in their tenets he brought up his two sons, the Prince de Sedan and the Vicomte de Turenne. When the education of the elder was completed, he went to Holland to learn the art of war, under his uncle Maurice, Prince of Orange, while Henry continued his studies at home. In early childhood 4his constitution was far from robust, which inclined the Duke to destine him for some civil employment; but the little Vicomte had set his whole heart on being a soldier, and he was resolved to prove to his father that the decision he had come to was ill-founded. He took, in consequence, rather an ingenious method of manifesting his health and strength. One evening the boy contrived to elude the vigilance of his governor, who spent hours of anxious search, and never discovered the truant till the next morning, on the ramparts of the town. On the carriage of a cannon, where he had passed the whole night, lay the little fellow, smiling in his calm sleep over the dreams which had visited his iron pillow,—visions, in all probability, of the daring exploits of some of his beloved heroes of antiquity, or some brilliant foretaste of his own future glory. But a still more characteristic anecdote is told of Turenne’s boyhood. He took great delight in lecturing, as it were, to a group of admiring listeners, on the merits of his favourite historian, Quintus Curtius, or the mighty deeds of Alexander the Great. In such moments his eye would kindle, his whole face brighten, and he would overcome that hesitation of speech under which he laboured in calmer moments. One eventful day an officer (of mature years), who was in the company, ventured to speak disparagingly of Henry’s favourite historian, and even to question his veracity! This was too much for the impetuous boy; he waxed wroth, and answered the attack with indignation, to the infinite amusement of his mother, who was present. She made a sign to the officer to prosecute the argument, till the Vicomte de Turenne, with all the offended dignity of his ten years, left the room in a towering passion, and the same evening challenged the officer to mortal combat. The ‘cartel’ was carried to the Duchess, who was much delighted with this early development of her son’s military ardour. The challenge was of course accepted, the place of rendezvous settled, and thither 5the small hero hastened the next morning, ‘his soul in arms, and eager for the fray.’ To his surprise he found his mother on the ground, and the officer by her side, while on the green turf at their feet was spread a goodly banquet. The Duchess advanced with a smile, and embracing her son told him she had come to act as second to his antagonist, but that they must first breakfast, upon which the three sat down, together with the gentlemen of the hunt, who were also there assembled, and during the repast, as may easily be believed, peace was concluded, the honour of the young firebrand appeased, and an exhilarating gallop put an end to all discord.

Henry was only twelve when his father died; he remained a year longer at home, during which time he showed a far greater taste for athletic and military exercises than for sedentary studies; above all, he delighted in horsemanship, and the more unmanageable the steed, the more willingly would Henry mount it. Hearing that the Comte de Roussy (afterwards his brother-in-law) had brought a charger from Paris that was considered wild and vicious, he never rested till he had it saddled, and leaped on its back, in spite of the expostulations of the whole household. In a short time the juvenile Alexander returned from his triumphant ride, having tamed the modern Bucephalus! When thirteen, the Duchess sent him to join his brother at the Court of the Stadtholder; Maurice received him graciously, but insisted on his entering the army as a private soldier. The Prince died a very short time after Turenne’s arrival in Holland, but the youth had already imbibed those lessons of military tactics, and that reverence for discipline, which, added to his own talents and aptitude for the service, stood him in good stead his life long. Henry Frederic, Maurice’s successor as Stadtholder and commander-in-chief, continued his protection to Turenne, and gave him the command of a regiment of infantry, which soon became a model of discipline. Under his uncle’s auspices, the 6young soldier now commenced active service; in 1629 he distinguished himself more especially at the siege of Bois-le-Duc, a fortress known as La Pucelle de Brabant.

It is not our intention to make a list of the military exploits of this great man, whose campaigns in Lorraine, Italy, Germany, etc., would fill many volumes, and indeed form part of the history of France, or rather of Europe. While his brilliant victories, his skilful retreats, and, for the most part, his successful diplomatic negotiations, established his lasting fame, we shall only enumerate those which are necessary to a narrative of this nature. In the early days of which we are now speaking, Turenne’s valour and thirst for enterprise were so remarkable that Prince Henry Frederic deemed it advisable to reprimand the young soldier for his rashness, with (it may be conceived) but ill-concealed admiration for his prowess. The Prince said one day to some officers who were standing near him, ‘If I mistake not, Turenne will one day rival our greatest captains in fame and glory.’ Turenne remained five years in the service of Holland, when his mother, who had been engaged in political negotiations with France, sent him to that country, where the King and his Prime Minister, Cardinal Richelieu, received him most graciously, and gave him the command of a regiment of foot in the French army. At the siege of La Motte he mounted the walls in person, and carried the bastion, for which he was rewarded with the bâton of a field-marshal—a grade only second to that of Marshal of France,—being an honour almost unheard of for a young man of three-and-twenty. His humanity was equal to his valour. During the privations and hardships of the retreat from Mayence in 1635, the Marshal exerted himself to the utmost to alleviate suffering. He caused many of the valuable contents of his own baggage-wagons to be thrown away, in order to provide room for the weary and wounded; he shared his own provisions with the common soldiers, consoling and helping all those who were in 7need, without distinction of rank or nationality. Never slackening for one moment in his military duties, which he pursued with untiring zeal, at the siege of Saverne, foremost, as usual, in mounting the breach, his arm was struck by a musket-ball, and for some time it was believed amputation must ensue. The recovery was slow and tedious, but long before it was complete the Marshal had resumed his duties.

In 1638 he became a lieutenant-general, on being sent to the relief of Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, with whom an alliance had been formed by France. In 1646 he returned to Paris, to the Court, where the Prime Minister, Cardinal Mazarin, whose recognition of his great services had hitherto been but lukewarm, was loud in his commendation, and offered him the Duchy of Château Thierry, and the hand of one of his beautiful and well-dowered nieces; but Turenne refused all these offers, from the conviction that some of the conditions therein involved would prove prejudicial to the interests of his brother, the Duke de Bouillon, to whom he was warmly attached. He was defeated by the Comte de Mercy, in command of the Bavarians at Mariendal, but made a most skilful retreat, and by the side of the Prince de Condé took his revenge at the battle of Nordlingen, where Mercy was routed, and received his death-wound. This brave general was buried near the place where he fell, and his tomb bore this inscription: Sta, Viator, Heroem Calcas. Turenne then marched to join the Swedish General Wrangel, the friend and comrade of the great Gustavus Adolphus, in Hesse, and was preparing for fresh warfare when the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia gave peace to Central Europe, concluding the Thirty Years War. A most flattering letter to the Vicomte de Turenne was written by the Elector of Mayence, the Duke of Würtemberg, and many other Princes and Ambassadors, attributing this happy event as much to his military exploits as to the efforts of the Plenipotentiaries.

8France did not long enjoy the blessings of peace for civil war was now about to shed its baneful influence over the land. Anne of Austria, the Queen-Mother and Regent (during Louis the Fourteenth’s minority), was almost entirely under the influence of her Prime Minister, Cardinal Mazarin, who was very unpopular with the Parliament and the greater part of the French nation. The successes of the English Parliamentarian troops over those of the Royalists, and the downfall of the Monarchy, had given a strong impetus to the anti-Court party in France, and a faction was formed, well known in history as the ‘Fronde.’

This nickname was given to the party who were opposed to the policy of the Queen-Regent, Anne of Austria, and her favourite and adviser, Cardinal de Mazarin, whose measures they condemned as unjust and oppressive. One of the principal adherents was the Cardinal de Retz, or Coadjutor, as he was called, a turbulent and intriguing spirit; but it soon numbered among its members the most important and noble names in France. The designation of Frondeurs was given by a contemporary writer, from the word Fronde,—Anglicè, a sling. He likened the malcontents to boys who went about the streets slinging stones, till put to flight by the appearance of any officer of the law. By degrees the faction assumed a much more imposing form, and though the name remained, it had certainly lost its significance. Discontent increased every day, the people clamoured for redress of grievances, and deputations flocked to Parliament to entreat the interference of the members against the oppressions of the Court. The Parliament was divided into three different factions,—the Frondeurs aforesaid, the Mazarinists, who supported the Cardinal, and the Modérés, who blamed the ultra views of both parties. Three members in particular rose up as champions of the oppressed, and so incensed the Queen by their seditious language, that she caused them to be 9arrested. This was the signal for open revolt: shops were closed, streets blocked, barricades formed, and the liberty of ‘the fathers of the people,’ as they were called, loudly and insolently demanded. Anne of Austria showed courage and determination, arguing that compliance would be a fatal admission of weakness; but the Duke of Orleans and the Cardinal, alarmed for their own safety and property, overruled her decision. The captives were released, and the Court departed hastily to St. Germains, a step which was designated as ‘l’enlèvement du Roi.’ The popular party was triumphant, and the Cardinal de Retz, considering it a favourable opportunity, exerted himself to gain proselytes, and the malcontents soon numbered among their adherents such men as the Dukes de Bouillon, de Lorraine, de Beaufort, de Longueville, de la Rochefoucauld, and the Prince de Conti, brother of the great Condé, with many others. They were also rich in noble female partisans, ‘les héroines de la Fronde.’ Beauty, birth, and talent swelled the list of the fair conspirators,—Mademoiselle de Montpensier, ‘la grande demoiselle,’ as she was called,—the Duchesses de Chevreuse and de Bouillon, the Princess Palatine, and last, but least in no sense of the word, the Duchesse de Longueville. When Anne of Austria deserted her post at Paris, a rival in power, a superior in youth and beauty, reigned for a time paramount in her stead,—the charming despot of an elective monarchy.

Anne Généviève de Bourbon was at one time so nearly connected with the fortunes of Turenne that we are tempted to give some details respecting her eventful life. Her father was Henry, Prince de Condé (or ‘Monsieur le Prince,’ as the head of that illustrious house was always called), her mother the beautiful Charlotte de Montmorency, daughter of the Grand Connétable of that name. They were both imprisoned in the Château de Vincennes, where their daughter was born in 10the year 1618. Mademoiselle de Bourbon was educated at the Convent of the Carmelites, where she showed a decided bias towards the vocation of a recluse, and a corresponding aversion to the idea of a life at Court, or in the great world. A very short experience, however, of admiration and success entirely changed her views, and she became one of the most lovely précieuses of the Hôtel Rambouillet. The cynosure of all eyes, a crowd of suitors clustered round her, none of whom found favour in the sight of her parents, till the Duc de Longueville presented himself. He was her senior by many years, and still under the influence of a former mistress, the Duchesse de Montbazon; but he came of an illustrious family, and was not far removed from the rank of a prince of the blood-royal; and Mademoiselle de Bourbon had the paternal commands laid upon her to receive him as her bridegroom. At first she showed the greatest possible repugnance to the marriage, but there was no alternative; and she walked to the altar, radiant in beauty, and gorgeously attired, assuming a cheerfulness of demeanour which belied the feelings of her heart. From that time forward the young Duchess gave herself up to a system of cold-blooded coquetry, which had most disastrous results. We quote an eloquent description from the pages of her biographer, Ville Flore: ‘Un an s’était à peine écoulé, que la blanche robe de la jeune mariée avait déjà des táches de sang, et que sans même avoir donné son cœur elle faisait naître involontairement la plus tragique querelle, oû Coligny perissait à la fleur de l’âge par la main d’un de ces Guises, auquel elle avoit été un moment destinée. Prélude sinistre des orages qui l’attendaient.’ Adorers crowded round her, poets sang her praises, novels were written of which she was the peerless heroine, and still Généviève de Longueville proceeded on her triumphal march, careless and fancy-free, making conquest after conquest, creating cabals and jealousies that became political feuds,—the Court now taking part 11against, now with, the beautiful syren. ‘Mais on ne badine pas éternellement avec l’amour.’

M. de Masillac (or as we will call him by his better-known title, the Duc de la Rochefoucauld, to which he shortly succeeded), who had once been loved, and was now hated, by Anne of Austria, laid siege to the fortress which had held out so long, and carried the heart of the Duchesse de Longueville by storm. Witty, handsome, cynical, reserved, and self-contained, with a reputation already established for valour and intellect, La Rochefoucauld soon gained a complete ascendency over this daughter of the proud house of Condé.

He was a man who, for the most part, practised what he preached and expounded in his world-famed ‘Maxims,’ and whose character, drawn by his own pen, showed how the head preponderated over the heart in his composition. That he admired the Duchess there can be no doubt:—

‘Pour mériter son cœur,
Pour plaire à ses beaux yeux,
J’ai fait la guerre aux rois,
Je l’aurais fait aux dieux.’
But his first advances were unquestionably made in cold blood, and it was in the hope of gaining proselytes to the cause of the Fronde that he desired the alliance and co-operation of this beautiful woman. Touched and flattered by the simulated passion of so remarkable a man, the Duchess gave herself up, heart and soul, to her lover, obedient to his every wish, submissive to his every direction. She forgot her pride of birth and position, her marriage vows, and the tender affection which had hitherto bound her to her elder brother. Let us hear how the man for whom she made such sacrifices speaks of her in the early days of their liaison: ‘Ses belles qualités étaient moins brillantes à cause d’une tâche qui ne s’est jamais vue en une princesse de ce mérite, qui est, que 12bien loin de donner la loi à ceux qui avaient une particulière adoration pour elle, elle se transformait si fort dans leurs sentimens qu’elle ne reconnaissait point les siens propres.’ And so he despised the very quality for which he had wooed her,—a palpable moral!

Madame de Motteville testifies that ambition had little part in Madame de Longueville’s proceedings. She was only ambitious for her lover,—‘qui étoit peut-être plus intéressé qu’il n’était tendre.’ Among her proselytes she gained over her younger brother to the cause; her husband also was nothing loath to join the Fronde. But La Rochefoucauld, when he thought to win the great Condé through the medium of his sister, had reckoned without his host. Madame de Longueville used all her powers of persuasion, vainly appealing to the tender memories of home and childhood, but Condé was implacable. He upbraided his sister with her dishonour, expressed his aversion to La Rochefoucauld, and joined the Court at St. Germains, where he assumed the command of the troops that had remained faithful to the King, and shortly afterwards marched upon Paris to attack the Frondeurs, who had named his brother, the Prince de Conti, their ‘Generalissimo.’ Now the Duchesse de Longueville had excused herself from joining her mother, the Princesse de Condé, who was at St. Germains in attendance on the Queen, on the plea of her approaching confinement. But the delicacy of her situation did not prevent her acting under the orders of her despotic lover. She shared all the perils and hardships of her friends the Frondeurs, assisted at the parades and reviews of the troops and the civic guard, took part in all the military discussions, and in fact transformed the Hôtel de Longueville into a barrack.

In this state of strife and discord both sides concurred in the advisability of gaining over Marshal Turenne to their interests, and he, being now in command of the French army in Germany, received the most flattering letters from the 13Queen and her Minister. Mazarin was profuse in his offers of civil and military aggrandisement; renewing the proposal of an alliance with his richly-dowered niece at the same time that he complained to Turenne of the disloyalty of his brother, the Duc de Bouillon.

The Marshal’s answer was manly and straightforward to all these flattering advances. He wrote respectfully indeed, but said this was not a moment for men to think of their own personal advancement. He regretted the disaffection of his brother, and deeply deplored the troubles that reigned in France; he stigmatised the blockade of Paris as a most dangerous step, declined with courteous thanks the offer of the matrimonial alliance on the score of difference of religion, and told his Eminence plainly that, if he continued to oppress the people, he (Turenne) could no longer hold out to him the hand of friendship; moreover, that on his return to France, at the head of his troops (according to orders from headquarters), he was resolved neither to favour the revolt of Parliament nor the injustice of the Minister. It was reserved for the seductive arts of a syren to lead the hero astray from the straight path he had chalked out for himself.

The Duchesse de Longueville had already made a deep impression on the proverbially susceptible heart of the Vicomte de Turenne. About the time of the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia, when she joined her husband at Münster, the hero had on that occasion held a review of all the troops under his command to do honour to the beautiful sister of his former brother in arms, the Prince de Condé.

But to return to the time of which we are treating: the Marshal assembled his soldiers, and made them a formal address, in which he expressed his regret at the state of affairs in France, and assured them that on their return he would use all his influence to persuade the King to go back to Paris, and to take measures for checking the maladministration of the Cardinal. He would also use his best endeavours to 14obtain the pay (with considerable arrears) that was owing to the troops, both French and auxiliary; and, not content with spoken words, he published a manifesto to the same effect. The Regency, indignant at Turenne’s independent manner of proceeding, and confident that they could not reckon on his co-operation, caused him to be superseded in his command; and to reconcile the soldiers (with whom he was very popular) to this step, they sent them out considerable sums of money. Turenne calmly resigned his post, exhorted the men to loyalty and obedience, and repaired with some friends and followers to Holland, there to await more peaceful times. Before long the Court and the malcontents came to terms by what was called the Peace of Ruel. Deputies from both sides met and negotiated, an amnesty was proclaimed, posts and governments were offered to the chief Frondeurs, and concessions of all kinds served out, as sops to the disaffected.

The wily Cardinal knew his world. Turenne had little ambition, in the common acceptation of the word, no greed of gold or worldly advancement, as to office, or the like; but his pride of birth was a ruling passion, and dearly did he love anything that tended to the glorification of his family.

To his brother, as head of the house, he paid a species of obedience, as to a suzerain,—a line of conduct he pursued towards his nephew, though still a youth, on succeeding to the title. All these things considered, it is not to be wondered at that Turenne was delighted when he received the news that patents had been granted to himself and his brother (with other concessions to the elder), entitling them and their descendants to the dignities and privileges of Princes of the blood-royal. He hastened back to Paris, and was received by the Cardinal with outward signs of welcome. But breakers were ahead. The peace was a hollow one, leaving both parties in much the same condition: the Cardinal and the Parliament each preserving authority as before,—the one over 15the Court, the other over the people. The Prince de Condé was always at issue with the Minister, whom he treated with ill-concealed contempt; and his Eminence, wearied and perplexed by the exigencies and requirements of the great man, and maddened by his sarcasms, plotted his ruin.

The Duchesse de Longueville, who watched all passing events with vigilance, chose this opportunity to renew her overtures of reconciliation to her brother; and she not only succeeded in so doing, but persuaded Monsieur le Prince to give in a half-and-half adhesion to the cause of the Fronde, in which party he had many friends, and perhaps more enemies.

Among the most inveterate of the latter was the Cardinal de Retz, at this moment on friendly terms with the Court; and it was by the joint arrangement of the two Churchmen that a step was taken which rekindled the torch of public discord. The Queen-Regent had also lately been much incensed against the Prince de Condé, who had shown himself wanting in respect and deference to her Majesty; and petty intrigues of all kinds were at work against him.

On the 18th of January 1650, as the Princes of Condé, Conti, and the Duc de Longueville entered the Royal Council-chamber, they were arrested, and sent off without a moment’s delay to the Château de Vincennes. This step caused a panic among their friends, who dispersed in all directions. The Duchesse de Longueville left Paris by night with a large escort, headed by her adorer, the Duc de la Rochefoucauld, and repaired to Normandy, to raise the inhabitants of the province against the King, in which undertaking, however, she was unsuccessful. Turenne took his way to Stenai, a stronghold belonging to the Prince de Condé, and openly avowed his indignation at the imprisonment of the Princes.

‘On prétend’—we again quote his Mémoires—‘que l’amour pour la sœur eût autant de part aux fausses démarches du vicomte que l’amitié pour le frère.’ Be this as it may, he 16was soon joined by the Duchess; and in answer to all the flattering missives sent him by the Cardinal, and the offers of high military commands and the like, he declared his determination not to return to his allegiance until the Princes were set at liberty. He also wrote to the Queen, expostulating with her on the step she had taken, and pointing out that such a man as the great Condé was far more worthy her confidence, on account of his birth and character, and the military services he had rendered his Sovereign, than the Cardinal, who was an object of aversion to the country at large,—arguments which had no effect on the Royal mind. It appears that the Duchess was not as grateful to Turenne as he had hoped, her liaison with the Duc de la Rochefoucauld interfering with the Marshal’s claim; but so great an adept in the arts of coquetry doubtless knew how to keep her most valuable ally betwixt hope and despair for some time. He had certainly transferred his loyalty from Queen Anne to Queen Généviève, for the Duchess gave herself all the airs of a sovereign—levying an army, publishing manifestoes, and even concluding treaties. She sold her diamonds, an example which was followed by the obedient Marshal, who disposed of his splendid silver plate in order to raise troops. He collected together all those who adhered sufficiently to the Princes to serve in their behalf, together with those over whom he exercised a personal influence,—some of whom he received into the citadel, and others he stationed round the walls of Stenai. These were soon dispersed by the Royal troops, and Turenne, finding himself reduced to straits, listened once more to the suggestions of his evil genius, and under her auspices concluded a treaty with the Spaniards, in order to obtain money and auxiliaries to assist in the deliverance of the captives. The Marshal did not take a step so foreign to his nature without regret, and indeed remorse, and the treaty was concluded with many stringent conditions.

17He again wrote to the Queen, pointing out to her the horrors of a war which would be cruel, for that her son would be opposed to his subjects on the one hand, and to her own brother on the other; but she paid no heed to his advice. He therefore placed himself at the head of the Spaniards, and commenced a march which was for a while successful, besieging and carrying many places of importance.

But his foreign troops caused him great trouble and annoyance, refusing to obey his commands, or to march on Vincennes. He was defeated with great loss at the battle of Rhetel, in spite of his personal valour, which never failed, and he felt this disaster acutely. It is related of him that, some time afterwards, being asked by a flippant young officer how it chanced that he lost the battles of Mariendal and Rhetel, he replied with calm dignity, ‘By my own fault.’

Still bent on the deliverance of the Princes, Turenne was about to proceed to Vincennes without the assistance of the Spaniards; but the prisoners had been already removed elsewhere.

Hopes of peace began to dawn on the distracted country. The Ducs de la Rochefoucauld and de Bouillon, the Princesse de Condé and her young son, who had been leagued together against the Court, now tendered their submission, and repaired to the Royal camp at Bourg in person, pledging themselves in future not to take arms against the King. These proud spirits carried their newly-born loyalty so far, that, on entering the presence of their Majesties, they knelt down to solicit pardon.

‘La reine les reçut avec bonté, et le Cardinal Mazarin leur donna à dîner.’ But the release of the Princes was not to be effected without cabals and intrigues of all kinds. The Queen was hardly pressed on the subject, and at length she was compelled to dismiss her Minister, and to promise pardon to the captives. The Marshal de Grammont was named as the 18bearer of the good tidings to Condé and his companions, but the Cardinal stole a march on him, and contrived to appropriate all the honour of the transaction, by forestalling De Grammont’s journey.

He repaired to Havre, where the Princes were now imprisoned, entered their presence, and, offering them the hand of friendship, announced to them that they were at liberty. They then dined together (for it seemed a hobby of Mazarin’s to cement a reconciliation at the banqueting-table), after which his Eminence departed for Cologne, while the Princes took their way to Paris. Here they were received with acclamations, and bonfires were lighted in honour of their release,—a similar demonstration having been made the year before to commemorate their imprisonment!

The Duke of Orleans, the Duc de Beaufort, the Cardinal de Retz himself, were all loud in their professions of welcome and friendship, and there was much embracing on the occasion. Turenne, on learning the news, returned to Stenai, whence he wrote to the Prince de Condé, begging him to use his newly-regained influence with the Court to bring about an honourable peace with Spain.

Condé’s answer was eloquent of gratitude and friendship, and, in accordance with the Marshal’s wish, a Parliamentary counsellor was sent to Stenai with powers to negotiate. He was also bearer of a letter from the King to the Vicomte de Turenne, wherein Louis offered a free pardon to the Marshal, and all those who had taken arms with him against the Crown, on condition they returned to their allegiance. The letter concluded with these words: ‘J’ai la bonne volonté pour ce qui regarde votre personne, et les intérêts de votre maison, et je prie Dieu, mon cousin, qu’il vous ait en sa sainte et digne garde.—Louis.’

This was followed by the exchange that had so long been talked of,—the town of Sedan for places of far greater importance, 19and many advantageous concessions to the house of De Bouillon.

Turenne failed in his mediation between France and Spain, and having found the King of the last-named country unreasonable in his demands, he gave up the attempt and returned to Paris.

Discovering that it was the intention of the Princes to give him a public reception, Turenne defeated their intentions by arriving a day sooner than was expected, for he considered that it would be incongruous to make a triumphal entry into the capital of the kingdom when he had so lately been in arms against the Sovereign.

No sooner had he arrived than Condé made him overtures and propositions of all kinds, and did all in his power to induce the Marshal to enter into his political views, which were of a most ambitious character. Turenne answered him firmly. He was now perfectly satisfied, he said, and he only required, from the gratitude of Condé, that the troops who had fought in his behalf should have good and healthy quarters for the winter; for he never forgot to plead the cause of his soldiers. The brothers Condé and Conti were soon again at issue with the Court, and engaged in seditious warfare, while Cardinal Mazarin re-entered France at the head of an armed force, upon which the Duke of Orleans once more revolted from his allegiance. Turenne joined the King and Queen at Saumur, where he was offered (and did not refuse, as many in his place would have done) the command of the army, in conjunction with a Marshal of very short standing, D’Hocquincourt. One of the Vicomte’s most daring exploits took place at Gergeau, then in possession of the rebel forces, the taking of which was owing to his own personal skill and courage, and was reckoned so important, that, on his return, the Queen, in the presence of the assembled Court, acknowledged that he had saved the Monarchy! Every tongue was 20loud in his praise; and yet, in speaking of the matter in a letter to his sister, the only allusion he makes to the whole affair is in these words: ‘Il s’est passé quelque chose à Gergeau qui n’est pas de grande considération.’ Later on, when the Prince de Condé was approaching Gien (where the King held Court) with rapid strides, after gaining considerable advantages over the Marshal D’Hocquincourt, Turenne made head against him with a force vastly inferior in numbers.

It was a moment of imminent peril for the Court: Cardinal Mazarin, who had once more joined the King and Queen, watched the movements of the two armies with great anxiety, constantly despatching couriers to learn the last tidings; but Anne of Austria manifested her usual calm, ‘tranquille à sa toilette et à son dîner elle ne donnoit aucune marque de crainte, quoique on avoit déjà commencé à défendre son appartement.’

Then came the welcome news that Turenne was victorious, and the Prince de Condé in retreat. Another enthusiastic welcome awaited the Vicomte, and again the Queen thanked him for having once more replaced the crown on the head of her son.

Cardinal Mazarin wrote an elaborate account of the proceedings of the memorable day, in which he blamed the Marshal D’Hocquincourt for having withstood the advice of his noble colleague; but the generous-hearted Turenne insisted on the passage being erased, ‘for,’ said he, ‘I am most unwilling that any fresh mortification should be heaped on the man who was already sufficiently distressed by several failures.’

Henrietta, Queen of England, was now residing in France, where she had taken refuge during the Protectorate, and was joined by her sons, King Charles and James, Duke of York, who, in those early days of his career, was a soldier at heart. He had a profound admiration for Marshal Turenne, whose camp he joined, and was present at many of the engagements which took place at that time between the Royal and the rebel army, 21Turenne always treating the exiled Prince with the utmost consideration and kindness; and the Duke of York was more than once employed as a mediator between the opposing armies. Turenne pursued the Prince de Condé on his march towards Paris, coming up with him in the Faubourg St. Antoine, close to the capital. The Cardinal was so persistent in his desire that Turenne should here attack Monsieur le Prince, and that the Royal troops should commence the attack, that he overruled the Marshal’s wish to await the arrival of reinforcements. And so it chanced that, from a neighbouring height, as from an amphitheatre, the King, his Minister, and the whole Court, became spectators of one of the bloodiest encounters that ever cursed a civil war.

‘Jamais,’ says the biographer of Turenne, ‘action ne fut disputée avec une valeur plus continuée, et plus opiniâtre. Les deux généraux, tout couverts de sang, et toujours exposés aux feux des mousquetaires, qui tiroient de maison à droite et à gauche, combattirent souvent vis à vis l’un d’autre, à la portée du pistolet. La fureur martiale de l’un, et le sangfroid de l’autre, faisoient un contraste, dont le spectacle excitoit l’admiration et la terreur.’

After many fluctuations on one part and the other, the Prince de Condé’s army was hemmed in, and must have been cut to pieces had not the Parisians, seeing his danger, opened the gates, and received the rebels within their walls, while the cannon began playing on the Royal army, by command of the King’s own cousin, Mademoiselle de Montpensier. So hot was the fire, and so close the quarters, that Turenne was obliged to abandon his desire of pursuing the enemy within the walls. Disorder and tumult reigned in Paris, and a terrible massacre took place at the Hôtel de Ville.

The Court, by the Marshal’s advice, repaired to Pontoise, and he himself to Compiègne; and it was chiefly through his instrumentality that the Spanish troops were at length 22obliged to evacuate France, and retreat to Flanders. A sad affliction was in store for the hero about this time, in the death of his brother, the Duc de Bouillon, to whom he was fondly attached. But he was not a man to allow sorrow to interfere with duty. The ill feeling that was still rife against the Cardinal Minister continued to be used as a pretext for revolt and rebellion of all kinds. Turenne went in person one day, and had a long and confidential conversation with Mazarin, in which he pointed out, in the most emphatic manner, that it was incumbent upon him (the Minister) to make at least a temporary sacrifice for the good of the King, his master, and the country in general. This, urged the Marshal, would be effected by his absenting himself, for a time at least. His arguments prevailed. Mazarin consented to leave France, but in so doing he made his own conditions. The King (who was directed to say he ‘only gave in to the plan of dismissing his faithful Minister in order to pacify his people’) received a paper from the Cardinal, in which directions were drawn up for his own conduct; and His Majesty was further instructed to place two of his Eminence’s most devoted adherents at the head of affairs. After this was done, Mazarin, strong in the conviction that the Queen would soon recall him, took his way to Bouillon. But Condé and the Duc de Lorraine still continued to harass the kingdom, and peace seemed still far off; it was again by Turenne’s advice that the Court was induced to proceed once more to Paris, where the Marshal assured Louis that the Parisians, being wearied by the unsettled state of affairs, would gladly welcome him. Accordingly the Court set out; but as the cortége approached the Bois de Boulogne, they were met by a deputation, the members of which pointed out in the most formidable colours the danger which his Majesty would incur in entering Paris, where those arch-rebels, the Duke of Orleans, and Mademoiselle de Montpensier, his daughter, were 23caballing to incite the people against him. The royal coach came to a stand-still, and Anne of Austria, with her accustomed energy and promptness, made the ladies who were inside alight, and summoning the Vicomte de Turenne, the Marshals De Villeroi, Du Plessis, and others, she held an open-air council. Every one, with the exception of Turenne, was of opinion that they had better retrace their steps. The noble soldier spoke, as he always did, with firmness and judgment. He did not believe, he said, in the friendship of men who could give such pusillanimous advice; that the return of the Court would make them despicable in the eyes of all, and would discourage the loyal, and give fresh impetus to the plans of the disaffected. The Queen approved and seconded him on every point, and the procession moved on once more. The young King, at the head of his guards, rode in amid loud cries of ‘Vive le Roi!’ and the acclamations of a huge concourse that accompanied him to the gates of the Louvre. The next day the Duke of Orleans and his daughter thought it advisable to leave Paris, and amicable relations were entered into between the King and his Parliament. ‘L’ordre fût bientôt rétabli dans la ville, et le calme qui succeda fit oublier les troubles de la Fronde.’ The Prince de Condé alone refused to comply with the conditions of the amnesty which was proclaimed, preferring, he said, to suffer any loss rather than live in the same country with the Cardinal, whose return was, of course, a matter of certainty; and he chose the alternative of making a league with the Spaniards. Turenne remained in Paris until he considered Louis to be safely reinstated on the throne, and then he went again into the field at a time of year when troops generally go into winter quarters. On parting from the King, he promised to drive Condé and his allies out of France before the expiration of the winter; and he redeemed his pledge.

The Prince de Condé was compelled to leave the country, 24and comparative peace was restored in the interior of the kingdom; but peril, hardship, and scarcity still pursued the Royal army, and exposed their noble commander to dreadful straits, which were much aggravated by the jealousy of his colleague, the Marshal de la Ferté. At the end of the year 1652, the troops were ordered into winter quarters; and in the commencement of the ensuing year the Vicomte de Turenne espoused a lady, whose name, possessions, titles, and good qualities engross a large space in the pages of the Marshal’s biography. Her merits are best summed up in this one sentence: ‘She was worthy to be the wife of the hero.’ Charlotte de Caumont was the daughter and heiress of Armand Nompar de Caumont, Duc de la Force, Pair et Maréchal de France,—beautiful, modest, rich, well educated, and, in short, possessed of all those qualities which are generally the attributes of a bride-elect.

The newly-married pair were not long allowed to enjoy their spell of happiness, for the month of June once more saw the Marshal in the field, and the old warfare recommenced between the King’s army and Condé and his Spanish allies. The marches, counter-marches, attacks, sieges, and retreats belong to the military annals of the time. Mazarin continued to make fruitless overtures to Condé, who entangled himself more and more with the Spaniards; but fell out with his other ally, the Duke of Lorraine, whom he was instrumental in causing to be arrested and imprisoned. The Prince de Conti did not follow his brother’s example, and finding he reaped no advantage from being at variance with the Court, he became reconciled to the King and the Cardinal Minister, whose niece, Anna Maria de Martinozzi, he shortly afterwards married. Turenne’s attack on the Spanish lines and Condé’s troops added so much to his military fame that complimentary messages and letters from German princes and European generals poured in on all sides. A characteristic trait is told 25of the hero about this time, characteristic also of the spite and jealousy of the Marshal de la Ferté. This general, finding one of Turenne’s guards outside the camp, caused him to be severely beaten. The man, covered with blood, sought the presence of his commanding officer, and complained of his usage.

Turenne sent him back, under the escort of a lieutenant of the Guards, with a message to De la Ferté, apologising for any want of respect the man may have shown, as it must have been something very reprehensible to cause so severe a punishment. The message was given in the presence of the whole staff of officers, who were acquainted with the real state of the case, and De la Ferté was betrayed into exclaiming aloud, ‘Cet homme sera-t-il toujours sage, et moi toujours fou?’

In the month of August the Marshals D’Hocquincourt and De la Ferté joined the King, and the Vicomte de Turenne remained in the undivided command of the army. Towards the end of September he went back to Paris, where he was again serviceable in negotiating affairs between the King and the Parliament, but soon returned to active service. The Frondeurs were dispersed or pardoned; the Duke of Orleans reconciled to his brother; Cardinal de Retz, who had been imprisoned and escaped, had sought refuge in Rome; but Turenne still pursued his path of glory and of peril, gaining fresh laurels, even when unsuccessful in the literal sense of the word. His despatches and private communications were invariably marked by that modesty which is the true attribute of greatness. After the famous siege of Dunkirk, he wrote to his wife: ‘Les ennemis sont venus, ils out été battus, Dieu soit loué; j’ai été un peu fatigué toute la journée; je vous donne le bon soir, et je vais me coucher.’

This taking of Dunkirk was an affair of such importance, that it is said Cardinal Mazarin wished to take the glory on 26himself of projecting and planning the enterprise; and it is further stated that he endeavoured to bribe the great general into bearing witness to the Minister’s share in the matter, by a written document. It was wonderful that the Cardinal should not by this time have learned better to understand the character of the man with whom he had to deal. Turenne replied that Mazarin might pride himself as much as he pleased on his knowledge of military tactics, but for himself he would never bear testimony to a falsehood.

At the end of the year 1658 Turenne brought back his army to France, and returned to Court, having routed the Spaniards, taken twelve towns of importance, subdued large tracts of country, and garrisoned the places he had annexed. The reverses of the Spanish arms inclined Philip IV. to listen to terms, while Anne of Austria represented to the Cardinal that peace would be a fit thank-offering to Heaven for the recovery of the King, who had been dangerously ill. Mazarin himself was also in favour of a treaty, as during all these campaigns he had never quite abandoned a darling scheme for uniting the interests of the two nations by the marriage of King Louis with Maria Theresa, Infanta of Spain. The moment seemed propitious in every way,—Cromwell was dead, and England treating with her exiled King for his return. Both Charles and his brother, the Duke of York, were personally attached to France, and the latter, as we have seen, had served in the French army under the great Turenne.

In November 1659 the Treaty of the Pyrenees was made, which had for its basis the marriage of Louis with his cousin, Maria Theresa, and contained numerous conditions, stipulations, exchanges of territory, and the like, which were very advantageous to France. Cardinal Mazarin was unsuccessful in his endeavours to make peace between Spain and Portugal, which he desired; otherwise, matters were arranged to his satisfaction, and the marriage fixed for the 27spring or early summer of the ensuing year. Louis XIV., anxious to bestow some mark of special favour on Marshal Turenne, offered to revive in his honour the dormant title of Grand Connétable, the highest dignity which was in the power of the Crown to bestow. But the acceptance of the office entailed a renunciation of the Protestant religion, and Turenne was not the man to sacrifice his faith to his worldly interest. The King, on hearing the decision, invented a new title, ‘Henri de la Tour d’Auvergne, fût intitulé Maréchal Général, des Camps, et des armées du Roi.’

In the month of June, the Kings of France and Spain, attended by a brilliant assemblage of princes, nobles, and officers, met on the Ile des Faisans, formed by the river Bidassoa, which separates the two kingdoms,—a small and insignificant place, suddenly transformed into a theatre for the display of the magnificence and luxury in which the Courts of both nations delighted. The young King of France, in the flower of his age, handsome in form and features, and majestic in bearing, the venerable King Philip IV., and Anne of Austria, sumptuous in dress and imposing in manner. The brother and sister, who had not met for nearly half a century, fell on each other’s neck and shed tears of joy, though the tender affection thus manifested had not prevented them from engaging for so long a space of time in bloody warfare. Perhaps the most distinguished member of the French King’s Court was the Marshal Turenne, who kept as much as was possible in the background, until singled out by the King of Spain, who desired that he should be presented. Gazing with eager scrutiny at the world-renowned soldier, ‘That is the man,’ he said, ‘who has caused me so many sleepless nights.’ The Treaty of the Pyrenees produced a temporary lull in European hostilities; but Spain and Portugal were still at issue, and France involved in their quarrels.

In March 1661 died Cardinal Mazarin, who had been 28Prime Minister for sixteen years, and the King assumed the reins of government, retaining the heads of the Administration in office, but constantly consulting his faithful friend, the Vicomte, on matters political as well as military; and war being declared between England and Holland, France sided with the latter country. The Vicomtesse de Turenne died the same year, to the great sorrow of her husband. His biographer speaks of the noble lady in high terms, ‘casting but one slur on her memory,—she clung to the prejudices of her childhood, even though she had the advantage of lengthened conferences with the most eminent divines of the Church of Rome;’ Anglicè, she had remained steadfast in the Protestant faith.

Anne of Austria was no sooner dead than Louis XIV. once more declared war with Spain and the Emperor of Germany, at the same time, strengthening himself by fresh alliances with England, Holland, Sweden, and other powers. He then announced to Turenne his intention to place himself at the head of his army, and learn the art of war under the auspices of that great commander. The rapid successful advances of the French arms alarmed both England and Holland, and caused them to form a defensive league with Sweden, under the name of The Triple Alliance, the object of which was to arrest the encroachments of France.

A treaty between Spain and Portugal, by which the independence of the last-named country was established, was shortly followed by the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, which compelled Louis to come to terms with Spain. The enumeration of these diplomatic relations is essential to the details of our biography.

Turenne had now leisure, although it did not last long, to turn his thoughts seriously to a subject which for some time past had occupied his mind. He had often, in his letters to his wife, expressed doubts and scruples on points 29of religious faith, and it is supposed that he would have embraced the Roman Catholic creed earlier, had he not feared, by so doing, to afflict and distress the wife whom he loved so dearly. Be this as it may, he now saw and conferred with the eloquent and learned Abbé de Bossuet, afterwards Bishop of Meaux, and the result was that he abjured the faith for which his house had fought and bled, and was received into the Church of Rome. Unable as we are to join in the exultation of the Marshal’s biographer on this point, we still coincide with him in the belief that no hope of worldly advancement had any part in Turenne’s change of creed. We are told that he became from that time more rigid in his morals, more circumspect in his life, and, at all events, the answer he made to his confessor deserves to be recorded. The priest asked him whether he had fallen back into a fault, of which he had repented. ‘Je n’ai jamais manqué de parole aux hommes, en manquerais-je à Dieu?’

He went very little into society, and even showed an inclination towards a monastic life, having a great desire to give himself up to the study of theology; but the King, alarmed at the prospect of losing services invaluable to the State, interfered to prevent him from taking this step. Turenne now resided in Paris, surrounded by a small circle of friends, keeping a frugal table, ‘where the conversation was far more remarkable than the fare.’

About this time occurred an episode in his life which occasioned him lasting regret. Louis XIV., feeling himself bound and crippled by the conditions of the Triple Alliance, consulted with his Prime Minister Louvois, and his faithful friend the Vicomte de Turenne, on the possibility of detaching the King of England from his share in the Treaty. Turenne was a constant visitor at the Court of the Duchess of Orleans, sister of Charles II., and he now turned his thoughts towards influencing that Princess to persuade her 30brother to secede from the Alliance. Now Madame had a young and very beautiful lady-in-waiting, the Marquise de Coëtquen, daughter of the Duke of Rohan-Chabot, who was a great favourite with her royal mistress. Turenne thought it would serve his purpose to win the confidence of the Duchess through the medium of her lady, and, feeling a security in the disparity of years, paid Madame de Coëtquen the most marked attention; while she, on her part, seemed to ignore the difference of age, being highly flattered by the devotion of so great a personage. A hero’s heart is proverbially susceptible (we have already seen that Turenne was not exempt from such amiable weaknesses); and he was accepted as a lover. The two were inseparable, and the liaison attracted the attention of the Duke of Orleans. Jealous of his wife’s favour at Court, he imagined that some political intrigue was being carried on, in which the Marquise and the Marshal were implicated. He accordingly directed his favourite, the fascinating Chevalier de Lorraine, to devote himself to Madame de Coëtquen, and extract the secret from her. In order to please her younger adorer, the lady wrung from the Marshal the details of the King’s conversation, which she immediately imparted to the Chevalier.

The Duke of Orleans in a fury sought the Royal presence, and complained to the King that every one was trusted with State secrets except himself; but that he had ascertained without doubt that steps were being taken to annul the Triple Alliance.

The King, indignant at the betrayal of his confidence, summoned Turenne to his presence, and burst into violent complaints against Louvois, ‘For,’ said his Majesty, ‘you and he were the only persons to whom I mentioned the subject.’ The Minister had always shown himself inimical to Turenne, and never lost an opportunity of endeavouring to lower or supplant him in the Royal favour, a circumstance of which the Marshal was well aware; but he was in no way tempted to 31swerve from his unwavering veracity. He exonerated the Minister, by taking the whole blame on himself, and confessed that, in a moment of weakness, he had divulged the King’s secret to Madame de Coëtquen.

‘A fellow-feeling makes one (sometimes) wondrous kind:’ the King, perhaps reflecting he might have acted in the same manner in a similar position, forgave his friend; but Turenne never forgave himself or the lady, whom he never saw again. For himself, many years afterwards, when the Chevalier de Lorraine jestingly inquired some particulars of the affair, the Vicomte replied, ‘Commençons par éteindre les bougies.’

The Duchess of Orleans, as is well known, did undertake the mission to her brother, in which she was successful; and shortly after her return to France, she retired to St. Cloud, accompanied by several nobles; among others the Vicomte de Turenne and the Duc de la Rochefoucauld. Her sudden and mysterious death, generally believed to be the effect of poison, in the bloom of life and beauty, threw a deep gloom over the whole nation. Turenne, in particular, was profoundly affected by the event, and again contemplated the idea of retirement from the world; but France could not spare him, and he was soon once more in the field, gaining fresh laurels. His last campaign was the crowning-point in his glory, and in the beginning of the year 1675 he returned to Versailles, his whole route one triumphal procession, flowers strewing his path, acclamations and blessings attending him wherever he appeared. In the whole of France no enemy was left, with the exception of such as were prisoners; on his arrival at Versailles, he was embraced by the King, and congratulated and made much of by all classes.

In the early summer of 1675, Turenne, at the head of the French army, and the Count de Montecuculi, in command of the Imperialists, were pitted against each other. Few periods in European history could have been richer in names 32of distinguished military commanders,—the King of France himself, the Prince of Orange, the Prince de Condé, the Elector of Brandenburg, the Swedish General Wrangel, and above all, the two heroes, Marshal Turenne and the Count de Montecuculi, who now disputed with each other the passage of the Rhine. A paragraph in the life of the former, from which we have so freely quoted, in speaking of the rival generals, draws so good a parallel that we are tempted to transcribe it verbatim:—

‘Les yeux de toute l’Europe furent fixés sur ces deux grands capitaines, tous deux à peu près du même âge, qui avoient eu la même éducation, formés par deux oncles rivaux, le Prince Maurice, et le Comte Ernest, ils avoient porté le mousquet, avant que de parvenir à aucune grade, et acquis par cinquante années de combats une expérience consommée dans toutes les parties de l’art militaire. L’un et l’autre avoit reçu du ciel un esprit supérieur, un jugement solide, et un sangfroid, qui dans un général n’est pas moins nécessaire, que la prévoyance et la valeur. Capitaines par étude, ils combattoient par principes, et ne donnoient presque rien à la fortune. Adorés du soldat, l’amour pour le général plutôt que l’obéissance due au souverain, paroissoit animer l’une et l’autre armée. Ces deux généraux se connoissoient, s’estimoient, et se craignoient mutuellement, ni l’un ni l’autre n’osoit attendre la victoire des fautes de son ennemi, il falloit l’emporter, à force de génie, et de science militaire.’

This last campaign was pronounced by an unquestionable authority to be the chef d’œuvre alike of Turenne and Montecuculi.

Their marches, countermarches, attacks and retreats, were worthy of themselves and of each other; but Turenne was stronger and more active than his rival, who often suffered from gout, which prevented his being as much on horseback as he desired.

33On the 27th of July the two armies drew up in order of battle not far from the village of Salzbach, and the position seemed so advantageous for the French troops that Turenne, contrary to his custom, expressed himself most confidently as to the result. That morning, after hearing Mass and partaking of the Holy Communion, the Marshal mounted his horse and carefully reconnoitred the ground.

‘C’en est fait, je les tiens,’ he said to some by-standing officers. ‘Ils ne pourroient plus m’échapper; je vais recueillir les fruits d’une si pénible campagne.’ The hero was indeed about to rest from his labours, but not in the manner he anticipated. Observing a movement in the enemy’s infantry, which he imagined denoted an intention to retreat, he alighted from his charger, and sat down to rest under a large tree and eat his breakfast; after which he again mounted, and rode up a small eminence, forbidding his officers to follow him, and speaking with well-simulated severity to his nephew, the Duc d’Elbeuf, ‘Pray do not stick so close to me,’ he said; ‘you will cause me to be recognised.’ The youth’s life was very dear to him. The English general, Hamilton, now came up, and begged him not to ‘ride up there, for they are firing in that direction.’ Turenne smiled, and said, ‘Oh, I must not be killed to-day,’ and passed on his way. He then met General St. Hilaire, who asked his opinion of the spot at which he had stationed a battery. Turenne reined back his horse a few paces in order to judge, when a stray shot shattered St. Hilaire’s arm, and lodged in the middle of the Marshal’s body. His favourite charger, ‘La Pie,’ wheeled round, and galloped back to the point where he had left his company, then, halting suddenly, the lifeless body of Henri de la Tour d’Auvergne fell into the arms of his weeping soldiers. Twice he opened his eyes and moved his lips, but never spoke again; while St. Hilaire thus addressed his son, who was lamenting over his father’s sufferings: ‘Keep your tears,’ he said, ‘for 34the great man whom we have this day lost.’ The consternation of the spectators of this sad scene was indescribable; no one appeared to have retained his presence of mind. Hamilton ordered a cloak to be thrown over the body, and desired that the Marshal’s death should be kept secret as long as possible, foreseeing the panic which would ensue in the French army. But the news soon spread, and infused fresh vigour into the enemy’s troops. The gallant and generous Montecuculi, on hearing his great rival was no more, was much affected, and uttered these memorable words (no insignificant or inappropriate epitaph), ‘Il est mort! un homme qui faisoit honneur à l’homme.’ The intelligence spread from rank to rank, and was at first received in dead silence, broken after a few moments by sobs, and the loud cry, ‘Our father is dead, and we are lost!’ Then they rushed in crowds to gaze on his dead body, and called on their officers to lead them on to revenge his death. But no one seemed willing to take the command. There was delay and deliberation, till the soldiers again burst forth angrily, ‘Lâchez la Pie, elle nous conduira.’

The Marshal’s death changed and reversed the plans of both armies. The French began to retire, the Imperialists to advance, and on the 29th a desperate battle took place, with considerable loss on both sides, after which the French crossed the Rhine in retreat. So strong was their belief, even to superstition, in the ruling star of Turenne, that some soldiers were overheard to say, ‘If our father had been alive we should not have been wounded.’

On their march to Paris, the troops paid funeral honours to their beloved commander,—his nephews and brother officers with crape-bound arms, the soldiers with muskets reversed, the voice of the officiating priest often inaudible from the sobs and lamentations of the mourners. The King was deeply affected, as we learn from Madame de Sévigné’s 35touching letter to her daughter, and all the more so, that he received a despatch from the Marshal, full of the most sanguine anticipations of coming victory simultaneously with the account of his death. So deep a sensation was produced at Court, that, marvellous to relate, a projected fête that was to have taken place at Versailles was postponed, and a courtier was on the point of fainting!

When the hero’s body reached Paris, the King ordered it to be placed in the Chapel of St. Denis, usually allotted to the Royal family. It was not only in the French capital that people of all classes came to swell the funeral procession, artisans leaving their work unfinished for that purpose, but all the way along the road from the Rhine country, marks of honour and respect were paid, alike by friend and foe. The Court, the Parliament, the University, the Municipality, all attended the Marshal’s funeral, and the most celebrated divines vied with one another in eulogising him from the pulpit. Père Mascaron, in his funeral oration, says, ‘Au milieu du tumulte et du bruit des armes, les sentimens du chrétien, accompagnoient, animoient, et perfectionnoient, en lui, ceux du heros.’

In emergencies his decisions were prompt; where the matter did not press he took time to consider. His military skill needs no encomium; to that his whole life bore testimony. His early education had taught him to revere discipline, and he consequently submitted willingly to those in authority, except—as in the case of the Prime Minister Louvois, who presumed to dictate to him on military tactics—when they interfered in matters with which they were not competent to deal. The love his soldiers bore him bordered upon worship, and he returned their affection. Although a strict disciplinarian, he always tempered justice with mercy; he shared the hardships of the men, and ministered to their comforts, frequently paying out of his own privy purse the arrears which he could not wring from the Government. His compassion to his prisoners 36made him esteemed among his enemies; and he was most severe in the prohibition of pillage. In one of his campaigns (we allude to it with deep regret), his own troops, driven to terrible straits in the matter of provisions, and burning with the desire to take reprisals for cruelties practised on their countrymen, Turenne not only sanctioned, but enforced, devastation and destruction in the Palatinate; so much so, that the Elector wrote him a furious letter, terminating with a challenge. His love of truth was proverbial; his simple word outweighed the oaths of other men, and his own memoirs vouch for his modesty of speech. When he alluded to a defeat, he used to say, ‘The battle I lost;’ when to a victory, ‘The battle we gained.’ He was moral and religious; he hated excess of any kind, and, with the exception of occasional attacks of gout, his health was good to the end. In appearance, Turenne was about the middle height, broad shoulders, bushy eyebrows, and rather heavy features; simple but decent in dress.

In youth he had loved athletic exercises and military studies too well to give his thoughts to other branches of learning; but as years passed on, he became aware how necessary is general knowledge to a commander, and he gave his mind to the study of history, geography, languages, etc. He was not carried away by impulse, but calm in adversity as in prosperity, unmoved by abuse or praise, he went like an arrow straight to the mark. His pride was that of birth; his glory was in the honour of his house, never in his own. He treated his brother as a sovereign, and even yielded the pas to his nephew, while he, the latter, was still a child.

Numerous anecdotes are told of Turenne, which redound to his advantage. An officer, wishing to ingratiate himself with the general, showed him a way to obtain a large sum of money, and ‘no one be the wiser.’ ‘Thank you,’ said Turenne coldly; ‘I have had plenty of such chances before now, without taking advantage of them.’

37Another time, the inhabitants of a certain town came to offer him a considerable bribe if he would not pass through their district. ‘Keep your money,’ was the reply; ‘you do not lie in my line of march.’

Walking one evening on the ramparts of a town, he was attacked by several robbers, who insisted on his giving them a ring he habitually wore. The Marshal calmly began to parley with them. ‘See, my friends,’ he said, ‘we will come to terms. If you will leave me in possession of that trinket, I will promise you a hundred louis, which is considerably above its value. I have not the money on my person, but if one of you will come and claim it to-morrow, I will guarantee your safety.’

No one ever doubted the Marshal’s given word. The next morning, surrounded by his staff, Turenne received the robbers’ messenger, and giving him the money, dismissed him with courtesy, much to the surprise and amusement of his officers, when made acquainted with the facts of the case.

One day a servant of his household, coming behind him so quickly as not to recognise the Marshal, dealt him a heavy blow; overcome with confusion, the man apologised in the humblest terms, offering as an excuse that he thought it was a fellow-servant. ‘Well,’ said his master, smiling good-naturedly, though still smarting from the blow, ‘even if it had been George, you need not have hit so hard.’

Turenne was mourned, not only by his countrymen and his allies, but his very enemies showed the greatest respect for his memory. The spot where he fell was left untouched, and the tree under which he had reposed shortly before his death was held sacred by the peasants, and pointed out by them to passers-by. Neither did it perish through decay, but was carried off branch by branch as trophies, by soldiers of all nations. In 1781 the Cardinal de Rohan erected a monument to his memory at Salzbach, which was repaired by Moreau 38in 1801, and about thirty years afterwards a large pyramid of granite was raised on the spot.

Many and strange were the vicissitudes which befell the body of this great man. It was placed (as we have said) in the Royal Chapel of St. Denis, by order of Louis XIV., and when the tombs of the royal family were desecrated in the Revolution of 1793, Turenne’s embalmed body was so well preserved as to be an object of desire to the owner of a Museum of Natural History. He gained permission to place it there, and it was exhibited among the skeletons and fossils of animals for some time, and then removed to an antiquarian museum for the edification of its members. Buonaparte, who had a profound admiration for the memory of the great soldier, caused the remains to be carried with much solemnity to the Church of the Invalides, and there deposited, while the Marshal’s heart, which had been placed in the Abbey of Cluny, was restored to his family.

This splendid picture is said to be the only equestrian portrait extant by Rembrandt. Its date has been given 1649-1650, when it is said in a Life of the painter that Turenne passed a month in Holland, and this picture was most probably painted. It was bought in 1740 by the Earl of Grantham (father-in-law to the second Earl Cowper) from a private collection at Amsterdam.

39No. 2.

White quilted frocks. One child holds a bird. One is in a cradle with a blue coverlet.

By Titian.
No. 3.

Seated writing at a table, with striped cover. Black dress and cap.

BORN 1488, DIED 1530.
By Himself.

E was the son of a tailor in Florence; and this trade, which is so often (for one reason or another) spoken of derisively in England, has surely gained to Italian ears a species of glorification, from the sobriquet attached to this illustrious painter. When only seven years old, the little Andrea was taken from the school where he received instruction in reading and writing, and placed with a goldsmith in the city. Even at that tender age his predilection for drawing, and even designing, showed itself, and, in like manner, his aversion to handling the mechanical instruments used in the handicraft. Indeed, the boy’s drawings were so clever as to attract the attention of one Gian Barile, a Florentine painter; so much so, that he did not rest until he 40had secured Andrea for his own studio; and as old Vasari quaintly says, ‘No sooner did the boy begin to exercise himself in the art of painting than he acknowledged that Nature had created him for that employment.’ In a very short space of time, Andrea, or Del Sarto, as he was called, produced such excellent pieces of colour as to excite the admiration of his master and all the artists in Florence, more especially Piero Cosimo, whose works were much esteemed in the city, and who proceeded to engage Andrea as his pupil. Nothing could be more diligent than the young man proved himself, studying and copying the cartoons of Michel Angelo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc., which were allotted the scholars as models; and he surpassed all his fellow-workers in the studio and academy, with one of whom, Francia Bigio, he soon formed an intimate friendship. One day, working, as was their custom, side by side, the two young men began to compare notes, with respect to the manner in which they were treated by their respective masters; they had each complaints to make; they were each discontented with their lot. After some little discussion, they resolved to set up house, or rather to take a room, together, which they accordingly did, in the Piazza del Grano. Here they laboured diligently, painting chiefly sacred subjects for galleries, churches, etc., both in oil and in fresco. There was at that time a confraternity, ‘Detto del Scalzo,’ whose meetings were held in the Via Larga. They were formed for the most part of the artificers of the city, but included men of all classes, who met for charitable and religious purposes; although not essentially a religious order, they took the name of The Scalzo, from the fact that when they met in prayer, or to walk in procession, they went barefoot. This company was most desirous that Andrea del Sarto should adorn the walls of their court with paintings from the life of their patron saint, St. John the Baptist. The company was not very wealthy, neither 41was our painter grasping, whatever may have been said of him later on, when subjected to a bad influence. He cheerfully undertook the work for a small remuneration, and reaped his reward, for these frescoes added so considerably to his fame that innumerable orders came in from all sides. He now moved to better quarters (in company with Francia Bigio), from the Piazza del Grano to a house situated in the neighbourhood of the Annunziata, where he made acquaintance with Jacopo Tatti, better known as the celebrated Sansovino, in whose society and conversation Andrea took so much delight that the two young enthusiasts in art became almost inseparable. Del Sarto was now gaining a good income, and might have been happy in the company of his friends, and the pursuit of his beloved art, but for a false step which involved his whole life in ruin and disaster. In the Via San Gallo lived a certain hatter, who had married Lucrezia Bartolommeo de Fede, the daughter of indigent and ill-conditioned parents. She was a young woman of exceeding beauty, violent and arrogant by nature, exercising a tyrannical influence over her many admirers, of whom Andrea was one of the most infatuated. Unfortunately for our painter, the husband died suddenly, and nothing would content Del Sarto but he would immediately espouse his inamorata. From the very beginning of their married life she possessed such a mastery over him that he was her slave in everything, and spent all his time and money on her and her relations, neglecting, in consequence, his own aged parents, whom he had hitherto supported. His friends shunned his society, his servants quitted his service, so ungenial and unamiable was the behaviour of Lucrezia.

The fame of Del Sarto’s great talent had reached the ears of Francis I., King of France, who gave him orders for pictures, and invited him to Paris—a proposition which smiled upon Andrea; but he was detained in Florence to assist in the splendid decorations of the city, in which all 42the painters, sculptors, and architects were employed, to celebrate the triumphal entry of Pope Leo X., of the house of Medici; and the beautiful works of Andrea on this occasion inspired his Holiness with unqualified admiration. The unworthy woman to whom he was united interfered with his advancement in every way; although unable to throw off the spell by which she bound him, he began to find her tyranny irksome, and he listened to the advice of a friend, who bade him separate from her for a season, and assert his independence. This was in 1518, when Francis I., having renewed his invitation to our painter to enter his service, Del Sarto gladly accepted the money which had been sent him for the journey, and proceeded to Paris, where the King received him with every mark of distinction, and gave him a settled salary, together with gifts and garments of most costly description. Caressed and admired by the monarch and his whole Court, Andrea set to work in high spirits, and began, as it were, a new life. Amongst other pictures, he painted one of the King’s infant son, in rich swaddling-clothes, which so delighted Francis that he gave the artist on the spot three hundred dollars. This was a happy period in Andrea’s life; he painted numerous portraits and historical and sacred pictures for the King and his courtiers, and was much esteemed by all. These halcyon days were not destined to be of long duration. He was occupied in finishing a St. Jerome for the Queen-Mother when he received a letter from his evil genius; in this epistle Lucrezia appealed to his affection, his compassion, his duty as a husband, coaxing, menacing, exciting his easily roused feelings, and working on them so strongly as to make him seek the Royal presence and ask leave of absence, promising to return shortly with his wife, and to bring with him some fine works of painting and sculpture. He pledged his solemn word to this effect, and the generous-hearted King furnished him with fresh funds for the journey and the commission.

43On his arrival in Florence, once more under the sway of his unworthy wife, Andrea gave in to her every wish, and with the money that he had made, and, it is also to be feared, the sums intrusted to him by the French King, he built a house, and lavished large sums on Lucrezia and her family, still to the detriment of his own parents. When the time of his leave had expired, he made a feeble attempt to return to his duty, but he could not withstand the prayers, tears, and expostulations of his wife, and thus broke his plighted word, and relinquished his hopes of honourable advancement in France. The King, exasperated at such conduct, expressed himself in most indignant terms, and vowed he would never harbour another painter from Florence. Thus was Andrea hurled from a high and honourable estate by the wicked woman he had made his wife,—the model for almost every picture he painted, sacred or secular, and whose lineaments were so vividly impressed on his memory that he often involuntarily reproduced them on canvas.

Leo X. had given a commission for the ornamentation and decoration of the dome of the great hall at Poggi a Cajano, one of the Medicean villas near Florence, to be executed in stucco and frescoes by the best Florentine artists, and Andrea’s contribution on that occasion is described in glowing terms by his admirer Vasari. It represented Cæsar receiving the present of innumerable animals of every description, the delineation of which, in their truth and variety, could not be surpassed. He interspersed the birds and beasts with Oriental natives in picturesque costume, and we quote Vasari’s words, ‘Altre belle fantasie, lavorate in fresco divinissimamente.’ The choice of this subject was supposed to convey an allusion to the menagerie of animals which had been sent to Lorenzo the Magnificent some years before by an Eastern potentate.

The works at Poggi a Cajano were stopped in consequence 44of the death of Pope Leo, and Andrea’s fresco was afterwards finished by Bronzino. He began bitterly to repent his ingratitude to the French King, and if he had had the slightest hope of obtaining pardon, he would have risked going to Paris. Several times he resolved to send some of his best pictures to the French capital, with the chance of their meeting the King’s eye, but the idea was relinquished. In 1523 the beautiful city of Florence and its environs were visited by the plague, which caused a terrible mortality; but in that country everything that happens seems to tend to picturesque and poetical results, and all the world knows how Boccaccio glorified that affliction by the production of his Decameron.

Andrea, with his wife and daughter-in-law, her sister, and a child, desirous of escaping from the infected neighbourhood, and at the same time to continue his labours, gladly accepted an order from the nuns of San Pier de Luco, of the Order of Camaldoli, to paint for them a Pieta in their convent at Mugello. In consequence of these holy women caressing and making much of the painter, his wife, and the whole ‘troop,’ he determined to stay on for some time in that place, and set himself to work with great zeal and delight. Vasari’s descriptions of the beauty and pathos of these paintings are most eloquent in their old-world style of expression; we regret we have no space for extracts. On his return to Florence, Del Sarto resumed his labours, and executed orders without number, chiefly on sacred subjects. He was as skilful in his copying as in his original paintings, and a curious anecdote is given in illustration of this fact.

Frederick, the second Duke of Mantua, in his passage through Florence to do homage to Pope Clement VII., saw the celebrated portrait of Pope Leo X., with two Cardinals, the work of the immortal Raphael d’Urbino, with which he was so much struck, as to excite in him an inordinate desire to 45possess that splendid picture; and he made so urgent a request to his Holiness that Clement knew not how to refuse him, but sent Ottaviano de Medici, his kinsman, an order to send the painting to Mantua.

This command was received with dismay at Florence,—for was not that portrait one of the glories of the city? In this strait Ottaviano sent for Andrea, took counsel with him, and it was arranged between them that Del Sarto should make an exact copy of this capo d’ opera of Raphael, which he executed with such skill in every respect,—not only as regarded the excellence of the drawing and colouring, but also the reproduction of certain little marks and after-touches and other details,—so much so that, when completed, Ottaviano himself confessed he could scarcely detect the original. The two conspirators were delighted with the success of their scheme, and the Duke was in like manner delighted with the picture when it was unpacked at Mantua. Giulio Romano, Raphael’s disciple and own familiar friend, who was there at the time, never doubted its authenticity for a moment. But there was a small bird of the air that carried the matter, and this was young Giorgio Vasari, who had been brought up in the household of the Medici, and who, when asked by Giulio Romano if he did not think the portrait in question a splendid work of Raphael, replied that it was indeed splendid, although not the work of Raphael, but of Andrea del Sarto. ‘As if it were likely,’ said Giulio, ‘that I should not recognise the painting! Why, I can see the very touches I myself added to it.’ ‘For all that,’ persisted the youth, ‘this picture is from the hands of Del Sarto, and I saw him working at it with my own eyes; and I will prove it to you. If you will look at the back, you will see a mark which shows that it was executed in Florence.’ Giulio Romano turned the picture, and finding the mark which confirmed Vasari’s words, he could only shrug his shoulders and acknowledge the wonderful 46talent of the painter, who had made a perfect facsimile of one of Raphael’s masterpieces.

Yet one more anecdote, to illustrate the admiration which Andrea’s works inspired, and we have done.

At the siege of Florence, in 1529, the infuriated soldiery were sacking the town, especially the sacred buildings. They had already destroyed the church and belfry of San Salvi, and rushing into the convent, undisciplined as they were, their attention was arrested by the fresco of Andrea del Sarto’s Last Supper, by some esteemed the rival of Leonardo’s Cenacolo at Milan. This divine painting had such an effect on the minds of those rude men, excited as they were, that, after gazing on it for a short time in reverence, they left the room in silence, thus sparing that incomparable work for the wonder and reverence of upwards of three centuries. After the siege was over, Andrea still cherished a hope of some day regaining the favour of Francis I., and kept revolving in his mind how to do so, when he was taken suddenly ill. Some soldiers who had returned to Florence were said to have brought back the plague, and food was supposed to have become infected. Whether or not Andrea’s sickness were of this nature, it is certain he took to his bed, and gave himself up for lost. His worthless wife fled in terror, leaving him to die alone, without help or comfort. The brethren Del Scalzo, for whom he had worked so assiduously, gave him burial, though with great haste and little ceremony, and a monument was raised to him in the Annunziata by one of his pupils, with a Latin epitaph, most eulogistic. Lucrezia del Fede survived Andrea many years, and received payment after his death for the works of that husband whose life she had helped to make miserable. Her death took place in 1570.

47No. 4.

By Andrea del Sarto.
No. 5.

By Andrea del Sarto.
No. 6.

Nearly the same dress and attitude as the former Portrait.
By Himself.
No. 7.

Bright scarlet suit. Black cap.

ON of Ser Giovanni Simone, da Castello di San Giovanni, in Val d’Arno. From his earliest years he cared for nothing but art. Nature designed him for a painter, and no other amusement or occupation had any charms for Tommaso. He cared not for money, he did not study his appearance as is the way with most youths, and from a certain recklessness and lack of interest in his surroundings, he acquired for himself the 48epithet of Masaccio,—most assuredly not from any bad quality that could be discovered in him, for he was goodness itself. His masters were Masolino de Panicale in painting, Ghiberti and Donatello in sculpture, and Brunelleschi in perspective. Could the young aspirant have had more illustrious teachers?

He worked assiduously, and received many commissions, chiefly for the decoration of churches, both in Florence and Pisa, the excellence of which gained him the friendship and patronage of Cosimo de Medici, who was always ready to encourage merit in any branch, more especially in the fine arts. When dark days fell on Florence, and Cosimo was exiled, Masaccio determined to go to Rome and study the antique. The Pope gave him many orders, and his paintings in Santa Maria Maggiore gained him lasting fame, and called forth enthusiastic expressions of admiration from Michel Angelo many years later. Masaccio was very fond of introducing portraits into his pictures and frescoes, and in this church he painted Pope Martin and the Emperor Sigismund II. He was busied over the façade of San Giovanni, when, hearing his friend Cosimo had been recalled to Florence, he lost no time in joining him. Cosimo gave him orders innumerable, and the facility with which Masaccio executed them was only equalled by their excellence. The notice which was taken of him in high places, and the superiority of his talents, caused great jealousy among his fellow-artists, but he worked on. In the church of the Carmine he painted a procession of citizens repairing to the consecration of the sacred building, introducing therein innumerable portraits, amongst others his masters, Masolino, Brunelleschi, Donatello, etc.,—all marvellous, says Vasari, in their truth and beauty. Later on, in a painting of St. Peter paying tribute, he depicted his own likeness, taken from the reflection in a looking-glass, which is described as to the very life.

49He was attacked by sudden illness in the midst of his successful career, under which he soon succumbed, and was buried in the church of the Carmine without an epitaph on the stone, but Annibal Caro wrote the following in later years:—

‘Pinsi, e la mia Pittura, al ver, fu pari;
L’ atteggiai, l’ avvivai, le diedi il moto
Le diedi affetto. Insegni il Bonarroto
A tutti gli altri, e da me solo impari.’
No. 8.

Black dress. White collar. Blue ribbon.
BORN 1602, DIED 1668.
By Vandyck.

HE third son of Henry Percy, ninth Earl of Northumberland, by Dorothy, daughter of Walter Devereux, Earl of Sussex. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, under Robert Hughes, the celebrated mathematician, and in 1616 was one of the youthful Knights of the Bath at the creation of Charles, Prince of Wales.

On the accession of that Prince to the Throne, he was called by writ to the House of Peers (his father being then alive) as Baron Percy.

He afterwards, as Privy Councillor, attended the King to Scotland for his coronation, having by that time succeeded to his father’s titles and estates.

50In 1636 he had the command of a noble fleet,—the largest, says Lodge, since the death of Queen Elizabeth.

Lord Northumberland was much commended for his services in the expedition against the Dutch fishery, making advantageous terms for the King of England, after which he turned his time and thoughts to reforming many abuses then prevalent in the Navy.

In 1637 he was named Lord High Admiral, and in 1639 commander of the troops marching against the Scots, but was prevented—so he pleaded—from joining the army by illness, when the real command devolved on the Earl of Stafford. Clarendon says, ‘Lord Northumberland was chosen for ornament.’ It appears by a letter to his brother-in-law (Lord Leicester) that he had most gloomy forebodings as to the result of the enterprise, which ‘it grieves my soul to be involved in.’ An incident occurred shortly afterwards, which does not redound to the credit of the Earl of Northumberland.

We will give an abridged account of Lord Clarendon’s version. Henry Percy, a zealous Royalist, brother to the Earl of Northumberland, was on his way to France, on the King’s service, just at the time that the Commons had petitioned Charles to prohibit any of his servants leaving England. Striving to embark, he was attacked and wounded by the people of the Sussex coast, and narrowly escaped with his life to a place of concealment, whence he wrote to his brother in a private and confidential manner. Northumberland carried the letter to the House of Commons (which had already voted an impeachment of high treason against Henry Percy), and laid the document upon the table. Clarendon makes but a lame defence for his conduct on the part of the elder brother, who was, he said, ‘in great trouble how to send Henry in safety beyond seas, when his wound was cured, he having taken shelter at Northumberland House.’

But the end of the matter was, that Henry did escape from 51England, and there was enmity between the brethren from that day forth. This was the first time in which Northumberland ‘showed his defection from the King’s cause, and Charles had been a good friend to him, and laden him with bounties.’

He acted in direct opposition to the King’s commands, when he obeyed those of the Parliament, to equip the Royal Navy, and to appoint the Earl of Warwick Admiral of the Fleet.

In 1642 he resigned his commission of Lord High Admiral, and openly abandoned his allegiance, siding with the Parliamentarians; and though their faith was rather shaken in him on one occasion, he was too valuable an ally to quarrel with.

Northumberland was appointed head of the Commissioners employed to negotiate with the King, in the several treaties of Oxford, Uxbridge, etc., and was intrusted with the custody of the Royal children, which he retained until the King’s death. It would appear that he had at least the grace to facilitate their interviews with their unhappy and loving father, and that he cared for the wellbeing of his Royal wards. They were subsequently committed to the guardianship of his sister, the Countess of Leicester, and were removed to her Lord’s house of Penshurst in Kent.

Words, in truth, Lord Northumberland used to prevent the execution of the King, but his deeds had hastened the catastrophe. We are told he ‘detested the murder.’ Immediately after Charles’s death Northumberland repaired to his seat at Petworth, in Sussex, where he remained until 1660, when he joined Monck in his exertions to bring about the Restoration. He held no public office under Charles II., excepting the Lord-Lieutenancies of Sussex and Northumberland. Clarendon, in a long character of him, says: ‘His temper and reservedness in discourse got him the reputation of a wise man. In his own family no one was ever more absolutely 52obeyed, or had fewer idle words to answer for;’ and, alluding to his defection from the Royal cause, ‘After he was first prevailed upon not to do that which in honour and gratitude he was obliged to, he was with the more facility led to concur in what in duty and fidelity he ought not to have done, and so he concurred in all the counsels which produced the Rebellion, and stayed with them to support it.’

He took great delight in his gardens and plantations at Petworth, where he resided in the summer, but in the winter he was much in town, attending to his Parliamentary duties. He had two wives: the first was Lady Anne Cecil, daughter to Thomas, second Earl of Salisbury. On her death we hear Lord Northumberland ‘is a very sad man, and his sister (Lady Leicester) has gone to comfort him.’ By Lady Anne he had five daughters. His second wife was the second daughter of Theophilus Howard, second Earl of Suffolk, who brought him in Northumberland House in London, originally called Northampton House. Sion House had been granted by the Crown to the ninth Earl. Evelyn went to see it, and thought it ‘pretty, but the garden more celebrated than it deserved.’

By Lady Elizabeth Howard, who long survived her husband, he had an only son and heir, and a daughter, who died unmarried. Algernon, Earl of Northumberland, was buried at Petworth, in Sussex.

53No. 9.

Black dress. White collar.
BORN 1599, DIED 1641.
A Head by Himself.

NATIVE of Antwerp, his father, a merchant in silk and woollen stuffs, was himself a painter in glass, whose first wife, Cornelia Kerseboom, dying without children, he married again one Maria Cuypers, by whom he had a large family, Anthony being the seventh, a proverbially magic number. The Vandycks were strenuous adherents of the Church of Rome, and two of our painter’s sisters became nuns, while one of his brothers took Holy Orders. Maria Vandyck was a skilful artist in embroidery, her works being much admired, and she encouraged her boy’s taste for drawing, in the rudiments of which he received instruction from his father. When about ten years of age he was placed under the tuition of Henry van Balen, a much-esteemed painter, who had studied in Italy. Here young Vandyck remained some time, but he had fixed his heart on becoming the pupil of his already famous fellow-citizen, Peter Paul Rubens; and that desire was fulfilled. His remarkable talent and his untiring industry made him a favourite both with master and scholars, when an incident happened which brought the youth into prominent notice. It so chanced that one afternoon, when Rubens was absent, that the students invaded the sanctity of the private studio, and in the exuberance of animal spirits began to indulge in some rough play. An unfinished Holy Family stood on the easel, the colours not yet dry, and in the course of the ‘bear-fight’ one of his 54companions pushed Van Diepenbeke so heavily against the precious canvas that the arm of the Magdalene and the head of the Virgin were nearly effaced, and the colours all smudged. The general consternation may be easily conceived; a council of war was held, and the decision arrived at that the most skilful among the students should endeavour to repair the mischief as best he could. Jan van Hoeck proposed Vandyck for the work, and the choice was unanimously approved, for in such a case there was no room for rivalry. Anthony set to work in right earnest; there was not a moment to be lost. He had but a few hours of daylight to complete his task, but he accomplished it before nightfall. Early next morning the dreaded moment arrived. Rubens entered his studio in order to examine the work of the preceding evening, when he pronounced the memorable words, which seemed to bestow a diploma on his young disciple,—‘Why, this looks better than it did yesterday!’ Then, approaching nearer, he detected the traces of a strange hand. Investigation and explanation followed, and Vandyck came in for great praise from the lips of his loved master.

Idle tales have been told of the jealousy subsisting between these two great painters, while, on the contrary, every recorded instance seems to prove how close was their friendship. Rubens was most desirous that his talented pupil should proceed to Italy to study the works of the great masters, and extend his connection with the world, but in the meantime Vandyck received an invitation to England. The first visit he paid to our country was short and unsatisfactory; and there are so many discrepancies in the accounts given of the work done at that period, and his reasons for leaving somewhat abruptly, that we refrain from entering on the subject. From England he proceeded to the Hague, where he painted portraits of every class and denomination of person, commencing with the whole family and Court of the Stadtholder, 55Henry Frederic, including every member of the illustrious house of Nassau. Nobles, warriors, statesmen, burghers, all vied for the honour of sitting to him.

In 1622 the news of his father’s illness recalled him to Antwerp. He arrived just in time to receive that father’s last farewell, and listen to his last injunctions. Franz Vandyck made his son promise to paint an altar-piece for the chapel of the Dominican Sisters, who had nursed him tenderly during his illness,—a pledge nobly redeemed by Anthony, though the execution was postponed for a time. He then took leave of his master, to whom he presented, at parting, three pictures, one of which was the likeness of Rubens’s first wife.

Our painter now set his face towards Italy, but he did not get far on his road without a hindrance. The story of the little episode we are about to relate is so differently given, that we only pretend to offer the most likely version.

At Brussels, where Vandyck tarried, the Infanta Isabella gave him a commission to paint the mistress of her Highness’s favourite hounds, a beautiful girl, by the name of Anna von Orphen. We are not told why a maiden of lowly origin was chosen for a place, though not very exalted, about Court, unless it were on account of her loveliness. But the portrait was executed, and Anna appeared, surrounded by her pack, each dog having its name duly inscribed on the canvas.

The picture is mentioned as being at the castle of Tervueren, near Brussels, in 1763. Vandyck speedily fell a victim to the charms of the lovely villager of Saventheim, and at her cottage he whiled away some months, to the great indignation of Rubens, who continued to write and expostulate with his former pupil, pointing out to him the value and importance of the time he was losing. Vandyck, however, was not wholly idle while at Saventheim; he painted (it is said at the instigation of his mistress) two pictures: one a Holy Family, in which he introduced likenesses of Anna and her 56family, and the other a St. Martin, being his own portrait, riding a horse which Rubens had given him. The last-mentioned painting was held in such high estimation by the inhabitants of Saventheim, that on three separate occasions, at the interval of many years, the peasantry rose en masse to prevent the treasure from being carried away, either by fraud or purchase.

At length Rubens hit on an expedient to extricate his friend from the spells of his rustic Armida. He sent the Chevalier Nanni, who was en route for Italy, to urge on Vandyck the expediency of accompanying him thither. The arguments chosen were successful; the lovers parted with mutual regret. Poor Anna was left disconsolate, and Vandyck set forth on a journey which was destined to be a triumphal progress. We have no space to detail his residence at Venice, where he studied Titian and Veronese, or his still longer sojourn at Genoa, where he became the favourite guest of the proudest nobles of the proud city, in which almost every palace is enriched by the works of the great Fleming, chiefly consisting of portraits, with a sprinkling of sacred subjects. This was the period when, as Vandyck afterwards confessed, he painted for fame, and not alone for money. At Rome, where he remained several years, the first order he undertook was the world-renowned portrait of Cardinal Bentivoglio, which, when once seen, attracted crowds of sitters to the studio, as at Genoa, including not only the nobility of the city, but most of the visitors sojourning there at the time. A most curious portrait of that period may now be seen at Petworth, representing Sir Robert Shirley, who had come from the East on a mission to his Holiness, representing him and his Persian wife both in Oriental costume. In the Duke of Buccleuch’s invaluable collection of miniatures there is a most eccentric effigy of this same lady, in the dress—or shall we say undress?—of her country.

57On leaving Rome, many writers say driven thence by the jealousy of fellow-artists, especially among his own countrymen, Vandyck proceeded via Florence to visit the more northern cities of Italy, and after paying a second visit to his favourite Genoa, he sailed with his friend, the Chevalier Nanni, for Sicily, whither he had been invited by Prince Philibert of Savoy, who sat to him, as did also the famous painter Sofonisba Angusciola, celebrated alike for her talents and her romantic adventures. This remarkable woman was in her ninety-second year, and quite blind, but her mind was clear, and her love of art as keen as ever; and Vandyck said he had learned more from the conversation of this blind old lady than from all his former studies.

There is a charming portrait of her by her own hand, when young and handsome, in the collection of Earl Spencer at Althorp. Vandyck was driven from Sicily by the breaking out of the plague, and he once more set out for Antwerp, which he reached about the end of 1626. In his native city he at first shared the proverbial fate of the prophet in his own country; he found few patrons, and many cavilled at the prices, which were less than had been gladly paid him in Italy. Rubens came to his rescue by buying every completed picture in his studio, and, departing from Antwerp on diplomatic missions (from the Archduchess Isabella) to Portugal and England, left his friend Vandyck the undisputed master of the field.

His hands were now full. Orders from numerous religious fraternities in the city and neighbourhood, anxious to enrich their several churches and chapels, poured in on all sides, and the candidates for the honour of sitting to the great painter were incalculable. Yet Vandyck’s cup was mingled with gall, through the envy and jealousy of his fellow-artists, who attacked and traduced him on all occasions. He paid another short visit to England, where the Earl of Northumberland was his 58chief patron and employer, and afterwards to Paris; but it was not till 1632 that he listened to the persuasions of the Earl of Arundel (who many years before had admired the early promise of Vandyck’s talent), and once more went over to England. In consequence of the death of Buckingham, who literally ‘brooked no rival near the throne,’ Lord Arundel was in high favour with his Royal master, and King and subject were alike enthusiastic worshippers of art.

Vandyck was received at Court with every mark of distinction. Charles I. provided apartments for him, and in all respects treated him as a personal friend, taking the greatest delight in his society. It was supposed that his Majesty had even entertained the idea of building a house expressly for his guest, since among the State papers, in the handwriting of one of the officials, there is an entry, ‘Things to be done: to speak with Inigo Jones concerning a house for Vandike.’

The painter was however well lodged at Blackfriars, and a pleasant summer residence at Eltham was also allotted him. Indeed, wherever he went, Anthony Vandyck was the centre of attraction, the cynosure of all eyes. Pre-eminently handsome, brilliant in conversation, a good linguist, an enlightened traveller, even without the crowning quality of his splendid talent, the painter must assuredly have proved a shining light in the refined and aristocratic circles of the English capital. Courted in society, foremost in art, crowds resorted to his studio. The King himself was not only his constant sitter, but often dropped down the river in his royal barge as far as Blackfriars, to pass a pleasant hour, and gossip of art and artists with his newly-created knight, Sir Anthony Vandyck, to whom he had presented a valuable miniature of himself, splendidly set with diamonds. Neither of their Majesties ever appeared wearied of sitting for their portraits to their ‘Painter in Ordinary,’ and few records of a sad life can be more touching than the three heads (at Windsor Castle) of Henrietta Maria, 59in which Vandyck so truthfully delineated the mental and physical changes wrought by grief and misfortune.

Amongst Vandyck’s closest and most intimate friends may be reckoned the Earl of Strafford, whose noble and characteristic countenance gazes intently at us from the walls of so many dwelling-houses, and who was said to have sat oftener to his artist friend than any one in England, with the exception of Charles I. and his Queen. Sir Kenelm Digby was another of Sir Anthony’s chosen companions, and the portraits of the learned knight and his beautiful wife, Venetia Stanley, have become familiar to us by the magic touches of Vandyck’s brush. On the sudden and mysterious death of the ‘divine Venetia,’ her widower summoned the great painter to portray, for the last time, that lovely countenance in ‘a calm unbroken sleep, that hath no awakening,’—a beautiful and touching picture, which forms one of the gems of Lord Spencer’s collection. Notwithstanding the number of his sitters, and the large sums (by comparison) paid for his paintings, Sir Anthony was invariably in pecuniary difficulties. Luxurious in his manner of living, splendid even to ostentation in his dress and equipages, his hospitality was boundless, his generosity to struggling members of his own profession proverbial. Added to all his other expenses, there was invariably a Margaret Lemon, or one of her class, ever ready to drain his purse. On the subject of his monetary troubles, the noble knight was candid and outspoken. One day the King and Lord Arundel were sitting in intimate conversation with the painter in his studio at Blackfriars, when Charles began a sorrowful dissertation on his own lack of money. Turning to Sir Anthony, he said with a smile, ‘And you, Sir Knight, has it ever happened to you to be at a loss where to turn for one or two thousand pounds?’ ‘Sire,’ was the reply, ‘when a painter keeps an open house for his friends, and an open purse for his mistresses, he is not unlikely to have empty coffers.’ It was doubtless on account 60of these pecuniary difficulties that Vandyck in his latter days painted in so hurried and slovenly a manner, as might well have gained him the name of ‘Fa Presto.’ He got into the habit of intrusting many of the details of his paintings to the numerous scholars in his studio, and the similarity of the shape and character of the hands in his portraits, which has so often been remarked and marvelled at, may surely be accounted for by the fact that he usually painted the hands from those of models of both sexes retained by him for that purpose. Yet there were exceptions to this rule, for Vandyck, who had beautifully formed hands of his own, was a great admirer of that particular personal charm; and an amusing anecdote is told of him, when he had a no less noble sitter than Margaret de Bourbon, daughter to Henry IV. of France. The Royal lady, after watching Vandyck for some time, ventured the question, why he gave so much more attention to the painting of her hands than of her head, or indeed any other detail of the picture. ‘It is, Madam,’ replied Sir Anthony, with a sly smile, ‘that I anticipate a rich compensation from those beautiful white hands.’

It would not have been difficult, by all accounts, for Vandyck to have selected a bride from the noblest and most wealthy in the land, so generally admired was he by the fair sex; but his friends, the King and the Duke of Buckingham, had already arranged a suitable match, desirable in every way, excepting that the lady was poor, a fact which seemed an oversight in the circumstances, or rather in Vandyck’s circumstances.

Mary Ruthven was the granddaughter of the unfortunate Earl of Gowrie. Her father, suspected of complicity in the so-called conspiracy, had in consequence not only been imprisoned, but his property confiscated; therefore the winsome lady’s dower consisted of goodness, beauty, and gentle birth, but tocher the lassie had none, excepting a small portion 61given her as Lady of the Queen’s Household. She was much esteemed at Court. During his residence in England Vandyck had paid flying visits to his native country, and we hear of him, in 1634, serving as Dean of the Guild of St. Luke’s at Antwerp, which, be it remarked, is the date of the magnificent portrait, in this same gallery of Panshanger, of John of Nassau Siegen, and his family.

After his marriage he proceeded once more with his bride to his native city, where they were received with every possible demonstration of respect and affection. Sir Anthony, then, hearing that Louis XIII. intended to have the walls of the Louvre adorned with paintings, after the fashion of those by Rubens in the Luxembourg, went to Paris in hopes of obtaining the order, but in this design he was frustrated, and, disappointed and depressed, he returned to England. It was a dreary time. His Royal and private friends were all involved in trouble and perplexity, through the gathering of heavy clouds on the political horizon. His friend Lord Strafford had perished on the scaffold; the King was absent from London; the Queen had sought safety in France. Vandyck’s spirits sank, and he gave himself up to a fatal and visionary consolation.

In the pursuit of the philosopher’s stone, he became a professed alchemist, and, as it was well said, ‘the gold he had gained by his labours fast melted away in the crucible.’

He would stand for hours over a hot fire, which conduced not a little to undermine his failing health; he grew haggard and wrinkled while still in the prime of life. The King, on his return to England, hearing of his friend’s illness, sent his own physician to minister to the patient, holding out, it was said, a large sum of money in the event of a cure. But human aid was unavailing; a severe attack of gout, combined with other maladies, proved fatal, and on the 9th December 1641, the man who by many has been esteemed the chief of 62the world’s portrait-painters breathed his last. Followed by a large retinue of friends, he was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was but eight days before he died that a daughter was born to him, and on the very date of his death there was an entry in the register of St. Anne’s, Blackfriars, ‘Justiniana, daughter of Sir Anthony Vandyck and his lady, baptized 9th December 1641.’

Whatever ignorance or mismanagement of money matters the great painter had shown during his life, his last will was most praiseworthy and considerate in all points, and he had waited until the birth of his child to complete the same. There was not much to leave, but no one he loved or esteemed was forgotten; wife, child, sisters, servants, were all remembered; even the poor in the two parishes—that of his residence and that of his burial—had a small sum dealt out to them. Sir Anthony Vandyck’s widow married a Welsh baronet, Sir Robert Pryse, as his second wife, but they had no children. Justiniana married Sir John Stepney of Prendergast, Pembroke (their grandson was George Stepney, the poet), and her second husband was Martin de Carbonell. She received a pension from King Charles II.

63No. 10.

Green, red, and white slashed dress. Black cloak. White collar and cuffs. He is sitting.
BORN 1594, DIED 1646.
By Nicholas Poussin.

NATIVE of Brussels, his father was his first master, and while quite young he found a generous patron in the Archduke Albert of Austria. This Prince gave the youth a pension to enable him to go to Rome, and study the art of sculpture, for which he evinced a considerable talent. But the Duke dying when Fiammingo (as he was called at Rome) was only twenty-five, the young artist found himself in great poverty, and obliged to work very hard to keep the wolf from the door. In the same straits was at that moment the afterwards celebrated painter Nicholas Poussin, and the two students became friends and companions, sharing a scanty but common purse. The painter and the sculptor sympathised in their love of art, but differed in their taste of subjects. Poussin’s tendency was for the severe, Fiammingo’s for the tender; his admiration for the works of Albano led him to the execution of childish forms in every imaginable attitude of grace and beauty; these were seldom of large dimension, but he modelled the ‘Putti’ for the high altar in St. Peter’s, the Santa Susanna in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto, near the Trajan Column, and a colossal St. Andrew, also in St. Peter’s. Bernini, who was evidently jealous of Fiammingo’s talent and popularity, said he was incapable of executing anything more than a gigantic 64boy, but the admirers of pure art gave the palm to Fiammingo far and away before the mannerist Bernini. Added to his ability, the Flemish sculptor was a conscientious and indefatigable workman. He not only produced statues, but made careful studies in detail of the human figure, the hands and feet in particular; but in spite of his industry he never extricated himself from poverty. In 1646 he meditated going to France, where doubtless his faithful friend, Nicholas Poussin, would have befriended him, but a cruel death awaited him in Rome. He was poisoned by his own brother, Jerome Duquesnoy, himself a sculptor, who was jealous of Fiammingo’s increasing fame. But the murderer did not escape vengeance; found guilty of many crimes, he was (according to the barbarous practice of the age) burned alive at Ghent. Of a gentle, amiable disposition and winning manners, Fiammingo was much esteemed and respected. Poussin and Albano were among his closest friends.

No. 11.

Red dress. Brown cap. Holds a scroll and an olive branch.
By Carlo Dolce.

HIS painter was born in 1616, and died 1686. His heads of Madonnas, female saints, and Herodias, are, for the most part, portraits of his wife or daughter. Of the latter there is a head in a Florentine palace, crowned with bay leaves, representing Poetry, which has more depth of colouring and expression than is generally observable in the works of this master.

65No. 12.

Blue and pink cap. White dress. Red drapery. Pearl necklace. Chain and pendant.
BORN 1537, DIED 1581.
By Pierin del Vaga.

HE was the sister of Alfonso d’Este, the second Duke of Ferrara, but is immortalised in history and fiction, prose and verse, as the object of Torquato Tasso’s unfortunate passion. The story of his residence at her a brother’s Court, and at that of Urbino, where her elder sister, Lucrezia, was Duchess, has so often been told, and the details of his relations with the two Princesses so ill authenticated and so variously narrated, that we do no more than allude to the fact of the affection which subsisted between them, although by many writers it is questioned which of the two Princesses reigned supreme in the heart of the Laureate, who was never wearied of singing the praises of both these noble ladies.

This picture was bought in Italy by Emily, wife of the fifth Earl Cowper, and given by her to her husband at the time he was occupied in building the new picture gallery at Panshanger.


No. 1.

Brown Coat. White Cravat. Powder.
BORN 1729 N.S., DIED 1797.
By Jackson after Reynolds.

ORN at Dublin, the eldest of three sons, his father a solicitor in good practice, his mother a Miss Nagle, of County Cork, a Roman Catholic, whose family had been zealous adherents of James the Second. Edmund and his brothers were brought up as Protestants, their father’s faith; his only sister was educated according to her mother’s religion. Young Burke went to school at Ballitore, about thirty miles from Dublin, under the tutelage of one Shackleton, a Quaker, and native of Yorkshire, a good man, and a good teacher, who endeared himself to his pupils, and of whom Burke spoke in the highest terms of gratitude and affection, ‘who had,’ he said, ‘not only educated his mind, but also his heart.’ While still a schoolboy, Edmund had formed a close friendship with young Shackleton, his master’s son, and continued to correspond with him for many years on all subjects, classical, social, religious. 70In 1743 he went to Trinity College, Dublin, where, he confesses, his studies were very desultory. ‘They proceeded more from sallies of passion than preference for sound reason, and, like all natural appetites that are violent for a season, soon cooled.’ He thought it a humorous consideration to reflect into how many madnesses he had fallen during the last two years. First, the furor Mathematicus, then the furor Classicus, the furor Historicus, the furor Poeticus; later on he would have added to his list the furor Politicus.

Richard Shackleton, from whom he had parted with tears at Ballitore, urges him, with tender admonitions, ‘to live according to the rules of the Gospel.’ ‘I am desirous of doing so,’ was the answer to the friendly little sermon, ‘but it is far easier to do so in the country than in a town, especially in Trinity College, Dublin.’ Burke sends Richard a poetical description of the manner in which he spends his day: how he rises with the dawn and careers through fragrant gardens and meads, ‘mid the promise of May, till hunger drives him home to breakfast; how he goes down to the beach in the afternoon to sit upon the sea-wall and watch the shipping, and the varying colours of the ocean in the glowing sunset; and amid it all, how his thoughts travel back to the sparkling river and pretty fir-woods of dear old Ballitore. He finds time, however, almost every day, to spend at least three hours in the public library, among the books, ‘the best way in the world for killing thought.’ Assuredly far better than most methods used for that purpose. ‘I have read some history,’ he says, ‘and am endeavouring to make myself acquainted in some degree with that of our own poor country.’

During his whole life Burke loved and compassionated and endeavoured to serve his own unhappy island. His only contemporary of note at College was the Sizar, Oliver Goldsmith, but they do not appear to have been acquainted. In 1750, having taken his degree, Edmund went to London to study 71the law in the Middle Temple; but that species of study did not suit his taste, although he expresses his high respect for the same. He was never called to the Bar; he preferred literature, courted the society of authors, frequented the debating club in Covent Garden, and was a great lover of the theatres.

His father, who was a hard man, and had never shown him much tenderness, was very angry at Edmund’s neglect of legal studies, and either withdrew, or curtailed, his son’s allowance so much as to make it difficult for him to subsist in London. He was very fond of the country, however, and used to go on walking expeditions, and spend a great part of his summer in picturesque villages, reading and writing all the time, in the companionship of William Burke, his friend and namesake. He mentions his love for wandering in a letter to Richard Shackleton, when, after apologising for a long silence, he says, ‘I may have broken all rules, neglected all decorums, but I have never forgot a friend whose good head and heart have made me esteem and love him.’ It was about the year 1756 that Edmund Burke’s marriage took place, with the daughter of Dr. Nugent, an Irish Roman Catholic, who had settled at Bath. We hear that she was a gentle, amiable, and well-bred woman, and a Presbyterian by creed. In this year Burke published A Vindication of Natural Society, and his immortal essay on the Sublime and the Beautiful. The Vindication was written in the form of a letter to a noble Lord by a late noble writer. It was intended to simulate the style of Lord Bolingbroke, and was pronounced in that respect eminently successful, so far as to deceive many expert critics. It was a satire on the opinions of Lord Bolingbroke, lately deceased, whose posthumous works were now attracting great attention in the literary world. Boswell is said to have asked Johnson in after years whether 72he thought the Vindication would be damaging to Burke in his political career. ‘No, sir,’ replied the Doctor; ‘though it might perhaps be mentioned at an election.’

Burke himself appears to have had the same misgivings as Boswell, for, on the eve of standing for Parliament, he thought it advisable to print a second edition of the Vindication, with a preface, in which he explained that the design of the work was ironical. When in London he was not slow in forming friendships with all the eminent men of the day, and amongst those with whom he became most intimate were Reynolds, Garrick, and Samuel Johnson. He was one of the original members (as was his father-in-law, Dr. Nugent) of the Literary Club; and so popular was he at the Turk’s Head, that Sir John Hawkins, ‘that most unclubbable man,’ was actually expelled from the chosen circle on account of an attack he had made on Burke.

In 1758 he conceived the scheme of the Annual Register, and proposed it to Dodsley, the great publisher of the day, who was so much pleased with the notion that he immediately embarked in the undertaking, and gave Burke £100 a year to contribute the ‘Survey of Events,’ which he continued for many years. About the same time, the young author was introduced to the man who is known to posterity as ‘Single-speech Hamilton,’ on account of the brilliant success of his maiden speech, which threw into the shade such orators as Pitt (afterwards Lord Chatham), Grenville, and Fox, who all spoke on the same occasion. Horace Walpole met Burke at Hamilton’s house in company with Garrick, and says of him, ‘A young Irishman who wrote a book in the style of Bolingbroke, which has been much admired. He is a sensible man, but has not worn off his authorism, and thinks there is nothing so charming in the world as writers, and to be one. He will know better some day.’

73Mr. Hamilton went to Ireland, as private secretary to the Viceroy, Lord Halifax, and Burke accompanied him. While there he busied himself in inquiring into the grievances and causes of discontent, especially among the Roman Catholic portion of the community. It was owing to his liberal-minded views on the subject of Catholic Emancipation that a false rumour was spread that Edmund Burke had gone over to his mother’s creed, with many other reports equally untrue. Hamilton obtained for his companion a pension of £300 a year from the Irish Treasury, which was at first received with gratitude, but Burke would not accept the salary unconditionally; he must have some of his time to himself for literary labours; in fact, he could not barter his freedom. Hamilton was offended. He wished to bind down the noble spirit for life to his own personal service, or, as the writer himself expresses it, ‘to circumscribe my hopes, to give up even the possibility of liberty, to annihilate myself for ever.’ So the pension was given up, the connection with Hamilton at an end, and Burke returned to England.

In 1765 Lord Rockingham replaced George Grenville as Prime Minister, and appointed Edmund Burke his private secretary. This nomination caused much surprise and displeasure in some quarters. The Duke of Newcastle expostulated with the Premier, and denounced Burke as an Irish adventurer, a Papist, a disguised Jesuit, with a false name, and what not. Lord Rockingham put his secretary in possession of the charges brought against him, all of which Burke denied, and answered indignantly he would instantly vacate the post, as no possible consideration would induce him to continue in relation with any man whose trust in him was not entire. But Lord Rockingham had implicit trust in his noble-hearted secretary, and would not accept his resignation; and for seventeen years, that is, till Rockingham’s death, the friendship between these two distinguished men was unbroken, the 74confidence unlimited. In December, this same year, Burke was returned Member for the borough of Wendover. His maiden speech, a few days after the opening of the session in 1766, on American affairs, produced the profoundest sensation, and Pitt (the elder) not only complimented the young Member himself, but congratulated the Ministry on their acquisition. Dr. Johnson said, ‘No man had ever gained more reputation on his first appearance.’ The second and third speeches were even more successful, and it was universally admitted that Burke’s eloquence carried the repeal of the American Stamp Act, which measure was supported by Pitt, although in Opposition. The Rockingham Ministry did not stand above twelve months, and made way for what was termed the Grafton Administration, the Duke being, for a time at least, nominal, and Lord Chatham real leader of the party. Burke describes this Government as a piece of joinery, curiously indented and whimsically dove-tailed; a piece of tesselated pavement, without cement, unsafe to touch, insecure to stand on.

In 1769 he became the possessor of The Gregories, in the parishes of Penn and Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire. He thus speaks of it to Shackleton: ‘I have made a push with all I could collect, and the aid of my friends, to cast a little root in this country. I have bought a house, with an estate of about 600 acres, twenty-four miles from London: it is very pleasant, and I propose, God willing, to become a farmer in good earnest.’ He is sure his friend will approve of the acquisition, when he knows it was once the property of Waller the poet. There is always a large portion of the community who consider it incumbent on them to inquire into, and animadvert upon, their neighbours’ affairs, more especially their finances. The world was much exercised over the chances of Burke’s ability to defray such an expense as the purchase of an estate; but there seems little doubt that Lord Rockingham assisted him materially, and at his death 75that kind friend desired that all Edmund Burke’s bonds should be destroyed.

The Irishman did not belie his nationality with regard to money; it must be confessed he was lavish, and it is said that from the day, in 1769, when he applied to Garrick for the loan of £1000, till 1794, when he received a pension from the Crown, he was never out of debt. But Burke’s extravagance was far removed from selfishness; he never closed his ear or his purse against the appeals of struggling talent or deserving poverty, and was generous and compassionate in every relation of life. In 1773, his only child, his ‘darling Dick,’ having left Westminster, was entered student at Christchurch, Oxford, but he being considered too young for College life, his father determined to send him to Auxerre to study the French language. The youth was lodged in the house of the Bishop of the diocese, a good prelate, who treated him with the utmost kindness, which Richard’s father amply repaid, when, in after years, the Bishop visited England as an exile and a pauper. Edmund Burke went to Paris at the same time, not merely for the pleasure of making acquaintance with the agreeable and distinguished members of society, but for the purpose of investigating the causes of the revolutionary movement, which was beginning by degrees to convulse the French nation. He was presented to the Duchesse de Luxembourg, and to Madame du Deffand, who laments that ‘the Englishman speaks French so badly, in spite of which everybody likes him, and thinks he would be most agreeable, if he could make himself understood’! What a strange position for Edmund Burke; he was able, however, to follow French perfectly as a listener, and was much delighted with hearing La Harpe’s tragedy of Les Barmecides read at the Duchess’s house. He became acquainted with the Count de Broglie, one of the King’s confidential Ministers, and Caraccioli, the Neapolitan Envoy, and many members of the haute noblesse. 76Bent on weighing the balance of political opinion in Paris, Burke did not confine his visits to the salons of one faction or another; he was a frequent guest at the house of Mademoiselle d’Espinasse, the well-known writer of love-letters so ardent, that it was feared they would consume the paper on which they were written! And here he saw the man who inspired those tender epistles,—one Guibert, a colonel in the Corsican Legion, who had lately written a book, which had made a great noise in Paris, all the more that it had been suppressed by the Government. Burke studied the men and their works, and drew his own conclusions; he also, in common with all foreigners, went to Versailles, and saw the old King, Louis Quinze, at Mass, in a pew, just above Madame du Barry, and the Dauphin and his young bride dine in public with great pomp: Marie Antoinette, who, ‘glittering like the morning star, full of life, and joy, and splendour,’—that vision of beauty, indelibly stamped on his memory, which suggested many ‘words that burn,’ and inspired many an enthusiastic and eloquent appeal in behalf of the unfortunate French Sovereigns. Madame du Deffand flattered herself that Burke had gone home enamoured with the nation at large, but she was mistaken; he was never blinded, as were so many of his countrymen, especially his own party, by theoretical benefits of the French Revolution, but foresaw, in all their terrible distinctness, the horrors and excesses of the impending Reign of Terror. On his return to London, he renewed his acquaintance with all the eminent men of the day. His friendship with Johnson and Reynolds lasted till the death of both those loved companions; and Johnson, whose opinions, especially on politics, were usually opposed to those of Burke, used to say he did not grudge Edmund being the first man in the House of Commons, for was not Edmund the first man everywhere? ‘Indeed, he is a man, sir, that if you met him, for the first time, in the street, 77when, overtaken by a drove of oxen, you both stepped aside for five minutes’ shelter, from whom you could not part without saying, “What an extraordinary man!”’

So extraordinary was Burke’s fame for eloquence, ability, and the liberality of his views, that the important city of Bristol chose him for their Member unsolicited. During the time he represented them, the Bristolians, for the most part, were very proud of their brilliant M.P., but his popularity began to wane when he opposed war, and advocated, not only Irish free-trade, but the Catholic Relief Bill. It would appear that constituents, for the most part, aspire to a despotic rule over the speeches and votes of their representatives, in proportion to the democracy of their own opinions. Now Edmund Burke was in reality what most politicians are in name only, independent, and some words of his that bear on this subject deserve to be engraved in golden letters: ‘He who sits in Parliament should speak the language of truth and sincerity, should never be ready to take up or lay down any great political question for the convenience of the hour; his duty is to support the public good, not to form his opinions in order to get into, or remain in, Parliament.’ He therefore sacrificed his seat at Bristol to his love of independence; for although his constituents, after attacking and maligning him, offered to re-elect him, Burke went down in person to decline the honour, in a speech, the eloquence of which could only be equalled by its dignity. He was then elected for Malton, the borough for which Lord Rockingham had originally destined him, and for which he sat until the close of his Parliamentary career. The Gordon Riots broke out this year, and Burke’s house was one of the first doomed to destruction, for ‘was he not the patron and promoter of Popery?’ The authorities provided him with a garrison of sixteen soldiers, thus saving his dwelling in Charles Street, St. James’s, from sharing the fate of Sir George Savile’s 78(who had brought in the Catholic Relief Bill),—his house being gutted, and the whole of the furniture converted into a bonfire. Savile was a neighbour of Sir Joshua Reynolds.

In 1782 Lord Rockingham once more resumed the head of affairs, on the resignation of Lord North, and Edmund Burke was appointed Paymaster of the Forces. This had hitherto been a place of great emolument, but Burke was not one to advocate reform in every department but his own—he who had so lately urged economical reform in high places. He considered the office overpaid, and cut it down, salary and profits, to the tune of some thousands. His ‘dear Dick’ was made his father’s deputy, with a stipend of £500 a year, and was shortly afterwards promoted to a better post under Government. The death of Lord Rockingham broke up the party. Burke resigned when Lord Shelburne came in, but resumed office under the Coalition Ministry—Duke of Portland, Premier. In 1784, ‘the pilot that weathered the storm,’ William Pitt, took the helm, and Burke retired from official life for good; but he never slackened in his Parliamentary labours, taking a lead in all the important business of the day, and, above all, displaying the liveliest interest in Indian affairs. His name is indissolubly connected with that of Warren Hastings, of whose impeachment he was the principal mover; and during the weary prolongation of the trial, he never rested from his attack on the Governor-General, either by speech or writing. Suffice it to say, that, on the opening of the trial, Edmund Burke made a speech which lasted four days, and, at the conclusion of the proceedings, one which occupied nine days, and was indeed a wonder, though it did not influence the sentence, as Warren Hastings was acquitted.

In the meantime all Burke’s preconceived notions of displeasure at the progress of the Revolution in France were more and more increased and confirmed by the rapid strides which were being made towards the anarchy he had foretold. 79One memorable day he rose in the House to speak on the subject which absorbed and agitated his mind. He was worked up to a pitch of excitement; he commented, with vehemence, on the encouragement which Fox’s eulogiums had afforded the French Revolution, and went on to say that, in speaking his mind, he was well aware he should this day provoke enemies, and incur the loss of friends.

‘No! no!’ cried Fox, ‘there will be no loss of friends.’

Burke knew better; he knew what was in store for him. ‘But if my firm and steady adherence to the British Constitution place me in such a dilemma, I am ready to incur the risk, and my last words shall be, “Fly from the French Constitution!” I have done my duty at the price of my friend; our friendship is at an end.’

He was right in his prognostications; not only was there a breach between him and Fox, who had been one of his most intimate friends, and whom he henceforth met as a stranger, but the whole party kept aloof from Burke. They accused him of having deserted his principles, and the Whig newspapers were most violent in their abuse. He was annoyed and grieved by these charges, but they did not influence his opinions or his conduct. He sent his son to Coblenz, to communicate with the Royalist exiles, but the mission was productive of no good. He published his celebrated Reflections on the French Revolution, which converted some readers to his way of thinking, and exasperated others; and he continued to write pamphlet upon pamphlet on the same subject, waxing warmer and warmer as he wrote, and urging interference on the English Government. Miss Burney, who met him about this time, writes that ‘he is not well, and much tormented by the state of political affairs. I wish you could see this remarkable man when he is easy, happy, and with those whom he cordially likes; but politics, even on his own side, must be carefully excluded: on that 80theme his irritability is so terrible that it gives immediately to his face the expression of a man who is defending himself against murderers.’ The news of the French King’s execution produced a profound sensation in England, and turned the current of feeling, for the most part, in the direction to which Burke had so long, and vainly, endeavoured to direct it.

We must not omit to record a strange episode in his Parliamentary life that occurred on the bringing in of the Alien Bill, which imposed certain pains and restrictions on foreigners coming to this country. Fox had already spoken, when Edmund Burke rose to address the House, and it was easy to perceive he was, if possible, more excited than usual. He thrust his hand into his bosom, and drew forth a dagger with a tragic gesture which would have done honour to his friend David Garrick; and flinging the shining weapon on the floor of the House, called on all present to keep all French principles from their heads, all French daggers from their hearts;… to beware of the intrigues of murderous atheists, and so forth; and he concluded by adjuring his audience to listen to his warning, by all the blessings of time and the hopes of eternity! This extraordinary proceeding, which is remembered in history as ‘the dagger scene,’ produced, as may be imagined, different effects on different hearers; there were some on whom it made a deep impression, while there were others who accused the speaker of having imagined and rehearsed a bit of melodrame. Rehearsal there was none. The facts were these: Burke, on his way to the House of Commons, had been shown the dagger in question, which had been sent over from France as a pattern for a large order to be executed in this country.

He had announced his intention of retiring from public life as soon as the trial of Warren Hastings should be brought to a conclusion; and when at length it was so, he applied for the Chiltern Hundreds, and his son Richard was elected for his vacant seat.

81Pitt proposed to confer a peerage on the man, for whom he had, in spite of many opposite ways of thinking, a profound admiration, by the title of Lord Beaconsfield; but a storm was fast gathering, which darkened the remnant of Burke’s life, and hastened his end.

His only child, his idolised Richard, was attacked with sudden illness, to which he succumbed. This young man’s handsome face, familiar to us from the portraits by his father’s friend Reynolds, bore a sullen and somewhat defiant expression, which inclines us to believe the general verdict, that he was a man of ungovernable disposition. Two years before his death he had been sent to Ireland on business by the Catholic Committee, and while there, as also on his return to London, he had proved himself totally unfit for the trust reposed in him. The character given of Richard Burke by one who knew him well was as follows: ‘He is by far the most impudent and opinionative fellow I have ever met.’ Yet in his parents’ fond eyes he was faultless, and few things are more pathetic than the father’s allusion to his heavy loss. ‘The storm has gone over me,’ he says; ‘I lie like one of those old oaks that the late hurricane has scattered round me; I am torn up by the roots; I am alone, I have none to meet my enemies in the gate. I live in an inverted order: those who should have been to me as posterity are in the place of my ancestors.’

Both the King and Pitt (the Premier) were anxious to provide for the great statesman’s declining days, and a considerable grant was assigned him by the Crown. Acceptable as the relief from financial anxiety must have been to the man, now advancing in years and bowed down by sorrow, Burke was much disturbed that the question of the pension had not been brought before Parliament. The sequel proved that his scruples were well founded, for the Duke of Bedford and Lord Lauderdale made this stipend a plea for attacking 82the Government, to which they were in opposition. But Edmund Burke, says one of his latest biographers, ‘was not slow to reply, and, in his letter to a noble Lord, made one of the most splendid repartees in the English language.’

The ex-statesman in his retirement continued to write political tracts, some of which were not published till after his death. He found his best and truest consolation in the exercise of that charity and benevolence in which his soul had ever delighted. He had established at Beaconsfield a school for the orphans of those who had perished in the French Revolution, or the children of poor emigrants; sixty boys in number; and it is pleasant to learn how, in the society of the little ones he was befriending, his cheerfulness returned; how the great man, the distinguished orator, would join in their childish sports, roll with them on the green turf, and convulse them with laughter by his ‘wretched puns.’ The visits of some faithful friends at The Gregories gave him also unfeigned pleasure, and he loved to speak with, or of, his old associates. Alluding one day to Fox, he said, ‘Ah, that is a man made to be loved!’ When he felt his end approaching he sent affectionate messages to his absent friends, gave calm directions respecting his worldly affairs, and enlarged sorrowfully on the melancholy state of the country. Fox was much affected when he heard of the death of his former friend, and proposed that he should be buried in Westminster Abbey. But the will provided otherwise: ‘A small tablet or flagstone, in Beaconsfield Churchyard, with a short and simple inscription. I say this, because I know the partiality of some of my friends; but I have had too much of noise and compliment in my life.’

Burke left all he possessed to his ‘entirely loved, faithful, and affectionate wife, with whom I have lived so happily for many years.’ After mentioning several noblemen and gentlemen, whose friendship he highly valued, and who all followed 83him to the grave, he adds, ‘If the intimacy I have had with others has been broken off by political difference on great questions, I hope they will forgive whatever of general human frailty, or of my own particular infirmity, has entered into that consideration; I heartily entreat their forgiveness.’

We insert this short extract, because we think this last of Burke’s writings gives the best notion of his character, and because we consider that the feelings which dictated these words are sublime, and their expression beautiful. He does not forget to recommend his little emigrants to the continued generosity and patronage of William Pitt and other influential personages. Edmund Burke was very popular with women, ‘even,’ says the biographer from whom we have already quoted, ‘those who were angry at his sympathy with American rebels, his unkind words about the King (this was on the subject of economical reform), and his cruel persecution of poor Warren Hastings.’ Meantime he contrived to captivate such different characters as Hannah More, Elizabeth Carter, and Fanny Burney, who met him at Sir Joshua Reynolds’s on Richmond Hill, and could not find terms for her admiration of his noble air, commanding address, clear, penetrating, sonorous voice, powerful, eloquent, copious language; at home on every subject, she had never seen a more delightful man. His features are familiar to us from the portraits of Sir Joshua and Romney, who also painted him.

84No. 2.

Blue coat. Buff waistcoat. Powder.
BORN 1749, DIED 1806.
By Jackson after Reynolds.

HARLES JAMES FOX, third son of the first Lord Holland, was born in 1749.

Lord Holland was the most able and unprincipled of the able and unprincipled statesmen of the school of Walpole. In private life he seems to have had something of the generous and sweet-tempered disposition of his son Charles, towards whom he exhibited a boundless, but not very judicious, affection. He spoilt him as a child. He gave him so much money at Eton, as by example to inaugurate a new state of things at that school, and he was constantly taking him away from his studies at Oxford to indulge him prematurely in the dissipations of fashionable life. He brought him into Parliament before he was of age, and encouraged him from the first to take part in every important debate.

Such were the early circumstances of Charles Fox. His abilities at once showed themselves to be of the very highest order, and exactly fitted for the field in which they were to be displayed.

A power of close and rapid reasoning, combined with a strength and passion which would have made even mere declamation effective, a slight hesitation indeed in his cooler moments, but when he was excited a flow of language almost too rapid and too copious, and altogether inexhaustible, a miraculous quickness in perceiving at a glance the weak points 85in the speech of an opponent, and a matchless dexterity in taking advantage of them: these were the characteristics of his extraordinary eloquence. In no age and no country could he have found an audience more capable of appreciating his particular gifts than the House of Commons of that period. On the other hand, no audience could have been more ready to forgive the total absence of preparation, the occasional repetition, the want of arrangement and the want of finish, which were his faults, and which would have seemed very serious faults in the Athenian Assembly or the Roman Senate.

His private life at the outset, and long afterwards, was stained by dissipation of every kind. He entered Parliament with no fixed principles. He was to the last unduly carried away by the spirit of faction. But there was a goodness as well as a manliness in his nature, and a justness in his judgment, which were apparent from the very first, and which more and more asserted themselves till they threw his faults entirely into the shade. He grew steadily in character and estimation, till, at the time of his death, he was regarded by a large circle with an idolatrous attachment, which no other statesman has ever inspired. More than twenty years after there were people who could not mention his name without tears in their eyes.

Fox at once took a prominent part in public life. He vehemently defended the unconstitutional action of the Government against Wilkes, accepted office, was turned out soon afterwards for speaking against the Ministry, struck right and left for some time in an irregular manner, and finally, at the age of six-and-twenty, settled down into steady and vigorous Opposition to the war with our American colonists, which then broke out.

This threw him into association with Burke, and with the Whigs, and his stupendous Parliamentary abilities made him, before the end of the war, virtually the leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons.

86In 1782 Lord Rockingham came in on the question of acknowledging the independence of America. Fox and Lord Shelburne were the Secretaries of State. Jealousies and disputes arose between the two last, and when, in a few months, Lord Rockingham died, open enmity was declared between them. The King sent for Shelburne. Fox and his supporters formed a coalition with the old war party, under Lord North. Shelburne had to resign, and Fox, much to the disgust of the King, became master of the situation, and with the Duke of Portland for nominal Prime Minister, exercised complete power. All this seems to us who live in these days very unprincipled, and though the politicians of that depraved period do not seem to have been much shocked, the general public took a different view, as was very shortly made evident.

At first Fox and North seemed to carry everything before them; but retribution was at hand. The first great measure which they brought forward was caused by the cruel and unprincipled conduct of the servants of the East India Company. It was no less a scheme than to vest the whole Government of India for four years in the hands of a Commission appointed by Parliament, or, in other words, by the Ministers who happened at the moment to be in power. A Bill to this effect passed the House of Commons almost without opposition, but by the personal influence of the King it was thrown out in the House of Lords, and Fox and the other Ministers, though they commanded an immense majority in the House of Commons, were immediately dismissed.

They must speedily have been restored to power, if the House of Commons had really represented the feelings of the people; but this was not the case, for public opinion, as I have said, had been thoroughly scandalised by the unnatural coalition between two such completely opposite parties as those of Fox and North. But in spite even of this state of public opinion, it is very doubtful if the unexampled and absolute 87personal ascendency which Fox had established in Parliament would not have ensured his speedy return, if another most extraordinary man had not appeared upon the scene.

This was William Pitt, at this time only twenty-three years of age. Pitt had shortly before burst forth upon the world as a full-fledged orator of the very highest order. He now assumed the lead of the Government in the House of Commons; fought battle after battle, still defeated, but steadily increasing his numbers, till he at last succeeded in arriving within one of a majority. Then, and not till then, did he dissolve Parliament, with so overwhelming a result, that he remained for many a long year in complete though not unchallenged possession of supreme power.

Fox now entered upon what was destined to be a long career of opposition. He was the acknowledged leader of the Whig party in the House of Commons. Supported by Burke and Sheridan and Windham, he waged ceaseless and desperate war against the young Prime Minister. Never, perhaps, in the whole course of our Parliamentary history was there a brighter display of eloquence than at this period, though the speakers were few in number, for this simple reason, that none but the very best speakers could obtain a hearing. Pitt and Fox towered conspicuously above these brilliant few.

This sketch would be far too long if I were to attempt to give any account, however brief, of the subjects of discussion during the next few years, nor will I pretend to say which of these great men was oftenest in the right or in the wrong. Fox, however, certainly seems to lay himself open to the charge that whatever Pitt brought forward he steadily and systematically opposed.

I will now come to the beginning of the French Revolution. This tremendous occurrence so completely filled the minds of all parties in England as to cause every other subject to be forgotten. The first news of the destruction of the Bastile 88seems to have been received on the whole with satisfaction, for the tyranny and corruption of the ancien régime were well known, and justly reprobated in this country. But as things went on, the upper classes began to become seriously alarmed. The Tories, of course, led the way; and the brilliant and forcible pen of Burke, the most richly gifted and learned statesman, though not the most successful Parliamentary orator, among the Whigs, expressed and inflamed the rising passion of the people. The execution of the King, and still more that of the Queen, were received with an outburst of horror and indignation. Then came the Reign of Terror. By this time there was a wild panic among owners of property. The just hatred of the cruelty which was daily being perpetrated rose to frenzy. The old national animosity against France intensified the public fury. In short, the tide of English feeling ran with such overwhelming force against everything connected with the French Revolution, as to sweep away from power and popularity every man who had in the smallest degree identified himself with any of its principles. Fox had done this. At the outset he had expressed his exultation, in his usual vehement manner, and afterwards, when others had begun to stand aghast, he in the main adhered to his opinion. Nobody inveighed more strongly against the Royal murders, and the other atrocities, but he still clung to the belief that the ultimate result would be good. He strongly opposed the interference of Europe, and particularly of England, with the internal concerns of France. He denied that there was any necessity for our going to war, and during the war he continued on every possible occasion to urge the Government to make peace. The opinion of later generations has, I think, on the whole, decided that he was right, though people are still divided upon the subject. But, be this as it may, it is impossible not to admire his conduct during these years. His once 89proud and powerful party was scattered to the winds. His ‘darling popularity,’ as Burke had formerly called it, altogether disappeared. Friends of long standing became estranged, and he was one who felt acutely the dissolution of friendship. Still, however, he remained firm to his principles. Session after session, though he stood almost alone, he continued to advocate his views with such masterly ability as to extort the applause even of his enemies. But at last, so hopeless did he find it to contend any more against the stream, that, though he retained his seat, he almost ceased to attend Parliament.

Fox now retired to his house at St. Ann’s Hill. He had become the most domestic of men, and in company of the only woman he ever really loved, and whom he soon afterwards married, he gave himself up to all the pleasures of literary ease. In spite of the dissipation of his youth, and the activity of his maturity, he had contrived to acquire a large amount of information, and such was the constitution of his mind, that whatever he learned he learned thoroughly. He was an accomplished and accurate classical scholar, well acquainted with modern languages, and well versed in the history and the poetry of all countries and all times. His letters at this period to his nephew, Lord Holland, throw a very pleasing light upon his pursuits and character, and enable us to a certain extent to realise the fascination which he possessed in his middle age for those who were just entering upon manhood. Every subject is treated of in turn in the easiest and most spontaneous manner; Greek and Latin authors are critically examined, and their corresponding passages compared, or a canto of Ariosto is discussed, or a couplet from one of Dryden’s plays is pointed out as capable of being happily quoted in a speech on current politics. Nor are the deeper lessons of history forgotten, nor the public events of the moment; and all this in the simple and familiar 90language of a man of the world, frequently illustrated by similes drawn from racing or other sport. So far is there from being any touch of pedantry or condescension, that it seems as if he was asking his nephew’s advice upon all these matters, rather than giving any opinion of his own. It was at this time he wrote his book upon the reign of James II. These years in which, as a public man, he was almost totally eclipsed, were perhaps the happiest in his life. On the rare occasions when he was persuaded by his few remaining political friends to appear in Parliament, and to make a speech, he left home with the most intense reluctance, and returned there with all the pleasure of a schoolboy at the end of the half.

After the Peace of Amiens he went to Holland and France, and was received everywhere with respect and admiration.

On the renewal of the war, his Parliamentary attendances became more frequent. He gathered round him a gradually increasing body of devoted personal adherents, drawn largely from the new generation. In his vigorous denunciation of the manner in which the war was conducted, he frequently found himself supported by the most extreme members of the war party. Many of these, like Windham, had originally been Whigs, and the remembrance of old friendship assisted in cementing the new alliance. There seems also to have been at this time a growing feeling that one who divided with Pitt, and with Pitt alone, the reputation of being the ablest and most illustrious statesman of the day, should no longer be excluded from the service of the State. On the death, therefore, of his great rival, in 1806, when Lord Grenville became Prime Minister, Fox was at once, and with general applause, made Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

His efforts were immediately directed towards carrying out what had long been his wish,—the making of an honourable peace. But he found that this was no easy matter. It had 91suited the purpose of his political opponents to represent him as being deficient in patriotism, and this charge has been since repeated. There is nothing in his public speeches to justify this odious accusation, and those passages in his private letters which seem to lend some colour to it exult, it is quite true, in the victories of the French arms, but only over the Austrians and the Prussians. He writes with all the feelings of an Englishman at the news of the battle of Trafalgar, though he cannot help lamenting that one of the effects of that brilliant victory will be to confirm the Government in what he considers a mistaken policy. But the chief answer to the charge which I have mentioned may be found in his conduct, now that for the first time he was installed in a responsible position. Notwithstanding his ardent and avowed desire for peace, the French soon discovered that they had to deal with a man who could be as tenacious as Pitt himself, when the real interests and the honour of his country were concerned. Negotiations were protracted, and he was not destined to effect his object.

But we are within sight of the end. Fox was still in what we should now call middle age. He had long renounced the vices and excesses of his youth. The factiousness and the ambition of later years were also extinct. His intellect, without losing the smallest portion of its power, had acquired a calm serenity. Never did he stand higher with the public, and never was a statesman surrounded by a more faithful and admiring band of supporters. It seemed as if at last his mighty talents were to have free scope, and that his renown as an orator was to be equalled by his success as a ruler of men. But it was not to be. Nature cannot be overstrained with impunity, and he had tried his constitution very severely in his earlier days. He was in bad health when he took office, he was soon found to be suffering from dropsy, and he sank rapidly. He died in September 1806, attended 92by his wife, his nephew, and his niece, with all the affection due to such a man.

His vigorous mind was still unclouded, and he retained his high courage and his sweet temper to the last.

No. 3.

Cardinal’s robes. Red skull-cap.
BORN 1614, DIED 1679.
By Le Brun.

EAN FRANÇOIS PAUL DE GONDI was born at Montmirail en Brie. His father, Emmanuel de Gondi, served as General under Louis XIII., and subsequently became a recluse at the Oratory of Notre Dame. The family was originally Florentine, and the first who settled in France was Albert Gondi, son of a Tuscan banker, who was Marshal of France under Catherine of Medicis. It was easy to trace his Southern descent in the warm blood that raced through the veins of Jean François de Gondi. Two members of the family had already sat on the Archiepiscopal throne of Paris; Emmanuel destined his son to be the third, and with that view he caused him to be educated as a priest, under the auspices of Vincent de Paul, the pious confessor of Anne of Austria. Assuredly the pupil did not follow in the master’s footsteps. It was said of the two men by a contemporary, ‘Il en fit un saint, comme les Jésuites firent de Voltaire un dévot.’ No vocation 93in the world could have been less fitted for the wild, worldly, and ambitious spirit of the young acolyte,—a fact which he vainly endeavoured to force on his father’s mind by the irregularities of his conduct. He not only indulged in every excess, but gloried in making his behaviour known to the world: a duellist, he had already had two hostile meetings, he spoke openly of his affaires d’honneur; a man of gallantry, he boasted of his affaires de cœur,—indeed, among many others, he relates how at one time he was on the point of carrying off his beautiful cousin, Mademoiselle de Retz; a conspirator, he had gone so far as to plot against the life of Richelieu. He had contrived to incur the enmity of the Minister by crossing his path, both in love and friendship, and they hated each other cordially. When only eighteen, De Retz had shown his predilection for secret conspiracy by writing a panegyric on the Genoese Fiesco. But with all these warring and tumultuous propensities, he could not shuffle off the clerical habit which weighed so heavily on his young shoulders. He took an abrupt resolution, made a virtue of necessity, preached brilliant sermons, wrote fervent homilies, became remarkable for his deeds of charity, and paid court to the higher members of the Church,—and, crowning glory, he invited a learned Protestant to a polemical conference, and brought him home safely into the fold of Mother Church. This conversion made such a noise in Paris as to reach the ears of the old King, Louis XIII., then on his deathbed, who immediately named Gondi Coadjutor to his kinsman, the Archbishop of Paris, a post that was usually a stepping-stone to the Archiepiscopal See itself. Gondi now preached sermons, the eloquence of which made him the theme of conversation, more especially the very flowery discourse which he delivered on his first appearance at Court; but his growing popularity among the citizens of Paris, during this time of strife between the Parliament and the Regency, made him an 94object of suspicion to the Queen. He lavished enormous sums of money in largesses to the lower classes in Paris, which caused him to become too popular with one party not to excite the fears of the other. Being one day reproached for his prodigality, Gondi, who always took the ancient Romans as his models, said flippantly, ‘Why should I not be in debt?—Cæsar at my age owed six times as much as I do.’ In the growing struggle between the popular party and the Court, he temporised and coquetted with both. He refused to join the cabal of ‘Les Importans’ against Mazarin, the Prime Minister, whom he much disliked, and on the breaking out of the revolt, on the day of the first barricades he exerted himself to protect the Queen and her surroundings. Habited in full pontificals, the Coadjutor mixed with the crowd, exhorted them to respect the building of the Palais-Royal, and exposed himself so far as to be thrown down and bruised by a stone, which was hurled at him. Yet, when in the course of the evening he sought the Royal presence, in the expectation of receiving thanks for his conduct, Anne’s reception was cold and haughty. ‘Allez-vous reposer, Monsieur,’ she said, ‘vous avez beaucoup travaillé.’

The slights put upon him by the Court, and a further offence given him by the Queen, determined Gondi to co-operate with the opposite faction. We have given a full account of the history of the Fronde in the notice of Marshal Turenne, and shall therefore only allude to the personal actions of Gondi, who became, if not at first the nominal leader, assuredly the moving spirit, of the malcontents. He had expressed his opinion some time before, that it required higher qualities to be leader of a party faction than to be emperor of the universe, and he now resolved to show his qualifications for that position. ‘Before noon to-morrow,’ he said, ‘I will be master of Paris.’

Now began that epoch of internal warfare in France, when 95the men of action and strong will rose to the surface, without reference to the honesty or morality of their characters. ‘Les troubles civils,’ says one of the historians of the Fronde, ‘sont le règne des oiseaux de proie.’ The Regent and her Minister well knew how much they had to fear throughout the wars of the Fronde, throughout the ups and downs of popularity and hatred from such men as Gondi, who became in time both Archbishop of Paris and Cardinal, and maintained for the most part his political ascendency until the conclusion of the civil war in 1652, when the Court returned to Paris. He was offered to go to Rome as Ambassador, but hesitated and demurred and procrastinated, till Anne of Austria’s old hatred broke out afresh, and he was arrested and conveyed, without any resistance on the part of his good Parisians, to the Château de Vincennes. Here he was treated with much severity, and could only gain the favour of being transported to the ancient Castle of Nantes at the price of some concessions in ecclesiastical matters. He contrived to escape, through an ingenious contrivance, and to evade the vigilance of the guards during one of his daily promenades on the ramparts, though he ran great risks while dangling to a rope, which had been thrown over the wall for his descent. Two young pages saw him, and cried loudly to the soldiers above, but as the Cardinal’s good star would have it, there was a great tumult going on below on the banks of the river. A bather was drowning, and people were shouting and calling for help in all directions, so that the boys’ feeble voices were unheard, or confounded with the general uproar. The Cardinal had friends awaiting his descent with horses, and they set forth at a furious pace, intending to make their way to Paris. But the Cardinal’s horse was scared by the report of a pistol which De Retz himself had fired on a supposed pursuer, and the rider fell to the ground, dislocated his shoulder, and had to ride for many leagues in tortures of pain. After passing several nights in misery and 96apprehension, hiding in barns and outhouses, under piles of hay, half suffocated, the fugitive contrived to reach the Spanish frontier, whence after a short sojourn he repaired to Rome. He had a very good reception, despite the rancour of the French Cardinals, and made himself conspicuous at the Conclave by his eloquence, which was instrumental in securing the election of Alexander VII. This smoothed the way for his return to France, where the King received him well; but the firm spirit of De Retz was not broken, and he withstood to the uttermost the endeavours, both of Louis and Mazarin, to make him resign his Archbishopric. However, he was at length persuaded to exchange it for the Abbey of St. Denis. The rest of his life, we are told by some of his biographers, was passed in retirement, piety, and charitable deeds. By some we are also told that his humility was so great that he offered to resign the Scarlet Hat, of which he was unworthy; but other writers are sceptical enough to doubt his good faith in this transaction, and to whisper that while he tendered his resignation to the King, he sent secret petitions to the Pope to refuse this offer. One thing is certain: the Cardinal became economical, and paid to the uttermost farthing the enormous debts which he had contracted. In his latter days he found amusement in the compilation of his own memoirs, which are characterised by extreme candour; and he found consolation in the society and friendship of Madame de Sévigné. In her charming Letters this admirable writer praises the tired man of the world for his charming conversation, his elevation of character, and his mild and peaceable disposition. Surely it must be acknowledged that our Frondeur had reformed! She speaks of his constant visits. ‘Nous tâchons,’ she says, ‘d’amuser notre bon Cardinal; Corneille lui a lu une pièce qui sera jouée dans quelque temps, et qui fait souvenir des anciennes. Molière lui lira, samedi Trissotin, qui est une fort plaisante 97chose. Despréaux lui donnera son lutrin, et sa poétique. Voilà tout ce qu’on peut faire pour son service.’ He died in Paris at the Hôtel Lesdiguierés in 1679. Madame de Sévigné, writing on the subject to her daughter, says, ‘Cette mort est encore plus funeste, que tu ne saurais le penser.’ ‘These ambiguous words,’ observes a French writer, ‘were considered very mysterious at the time, but the easy solution appears to be that the Cardinal had, unknown to Madame de Grignan herself, stated or hinted at the fact that he intended to make that lady his heir, a circumstance of which her mother was cognisant.’

De Retz at one time not only aimed at superseding his enemy, Cardinal de Mazarin, in his post at the Councils, but also in the affections of the Queen-Regent, a project in which he was utterly foiled. Voltaire, speaking of his Autobiography, says it is written with an air of grandeur, an impetuosity, and an inequality of genius, which form a perfect portrait of the man; it might be added,—with an audacious candour, from which many writers of their own memoirs would have shrunk.

98No. 4.

Black gown. Grizzly hair.
BORN 1588, DIED 1679.

ORN at Westport, an outlying parish of Malmesbury, of which his father was the Vicar,—‘a man who cared not for learning, having never, as Aubrey tells us, ‘tasted the sweetness of it.’ Thomas Hobbes’s advent into the world was premature, in consequence of his mother’s terror, caused by the rumours of the impending invasion of the Spanish Armada.

One of his biographers truly remarks, ‘The philosopher was not in such a hurry to leave as to enter the world, since he lived to attain his ninety-second year.’ In a Latin poem, written when he was past eighty, he terms himself, ‘Fear’s twin,’ alluding to his mother’s fright, and says, ‘That is the reason, methinks, why I so detest my country’s foes, being a lover of the Muses, and of peace, and pleasant friends.’

He began authorship while still a schoolboy at Malmesbury, by translating the Medea of Euripides into Latin verse.

He is described as a playful boy enough, but with a spice of contemplative melancholy, ‘who would get himself into a corner, and learn his lessons presently.’ His chief amusements consisted in ‘catching jackdaws with cunningly-devised traps, and strolling into booksellers’ and stationers’ shops, in order to gape at maps or charts.’

A generous uncle sent him to Oxford, where he was regular in his studies and in his habits, at a time when, as he tells us in the Leviathan, drinking, smoking, and gambling were the order of the day at Oxford.

99The Principal of his College, Magdalen Hall, recommended the young student to the notice of Lord Cavendish of Hardwicke (afterwards the first Earl of Devonshire), who appointed him tutor to his eldest son; and thus began a friendship with that noble family which endured for upwards of seventy years, even to the end of Hobbes’s long life. Tutor and pupil were of the same age, nineteen years, and together they made the grand tour of France, Germany, and Italy, reaping great advantages from the opportunities thus afforded them. As to Hobbes, he cultivated the society and conversation of all the men of eminence in the countries through which they passed, ‘at a time,’ says a recent writer, ‘when the spirit of inquiry was rife in Western Europe.’ He mastered modern languages, and laid the foundation of friendships which stood him in good stead in after life. On his return he devoted himself more than ever to the study of the Classics, translating and commenting on the Greek and Latin poets of antiquity, so that his works began to attract considerable attention. He resided with the Cavendish family, both in the country and in London, and greatly utilised the resources of the library at Chatsworth; while in London he frequented the society of such men as Lord Bacon, Ben Jonson, Lord Falkland, Herbert of Cherbury, and others.

King James I., who was a match-maker, brought about a marriage between young Lord Cavendish (Hobbes’s pupil) and the only daughter of his favourite, Lord Bruce of Kinloss, in Scotland. The King gave her a good portion, and induced Lord Devonshire to make a handsome settlement on her; but the excellent qualities of this remarkable woman would have made Christian Bruce a desirable alliance for any family in England, even had she not been so well endowed. She was a competent and superior lady, as her after life proved. But heavy clouds were gathering over the house of Cavendish. In 1626 died William, first Earl of Devonshire, son of the 100celebrated Bess of Hardwicke, and in 1628 his son, the second Earl. Hobbes mourned them both sincerely, but especially the last mentioned, his dear lord, friend, and pupil; in a letter to whose son and successor, after speaking in the highest terms of the deceased, and enumerating his many virtues and endowments, he goes on to say, ‘What he took in by study, he by judgment digested, and turned into wisdom and ability, wherewith to benefit his country.’

This was in every respect a severe loss to Hobbes. The establishment at Chatsworth was broken up, and the widowed Countess was left in great pecuniary difficulties. Her son (who was of tender age) had his estates charged with thirty lawsuits, ‘which, by the cunning of her adversaries, were made as perplexed as possible; yet she so managed, with diligence and resolution, as to go through them all with satisfaction.’

One day King Charles said jestingly to her, ‘Madam, you have all my judges at your disposal.’

In 1628, Hobbes published his translation of Thucydides, which attracted great attention, and brought down on the author many severe attacks. In an opening dissertation on the life and works of the Greek historian, Hobbes endeavoured, by the example of the Athenian, to warn his countrymen against the evils of democracy, at a moment when political strife was raging and the Monarchy in danger. For Hobbes was a zealous Royalist, and believed that the cause of the King was in essentials the cause of law and order. Thrown for a while on his own resources, he accepted the post of travelling tutor to the son of a country gentleman, with whom he went on the Continent, residing chiefly at Paris, where he took up mathematics as a new study. It was not long, however, before the widowed Countess of Devonshire recalled the friend of her father-in-law, the tutor of her husband, to occupy the same position in the family, and superintend the education of her sons, the young Earl and her beloved Charles, 101the gallant soldier who closed his short and noble career by dying for his King on the field of Gainsborough.

In 1634 old memories were recalled and old habits resumed by Hobbes taking his youthful charge over very much the same ground as he had travelled with his first pupil some years before, ‘making the longest stay in Paris for all the politer parts of breeding,’ having during his sojourn in Italy inspired the admiration and gained the friendship of Cosimo de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and paid a visit at Pisa to the illustrious Galileo,—‘for I also,’ says Hobbes of himself, ‘am now numbered among the philosophers.’

In Paris, where Richelieu was in the zenith of his power, and had just founded the Academy, Hobbes fraternised, as was his wont, with all the learned men, and was on the most intimate terms with every one in any way remarkable for culture, whether in literature, science, or philosophy. In 1637 Lord Devonshire with his governor went back to England, where he found that his mother had taken advantage of his absence to restore order into his estates, which she now gave up to him, free and unencumbered of debt, and his beautiful homes well furnished to receive him.

England was in a most perturbed state on the travellers’ return. Hampden’s trial, the insurrection of the Scots, the violence of Parliament, all presaged the impending downfall of the Monarchy. Hobbes’s natural bias, as we have already said in a former page, was in favour of the Royal cause, a sentiment which was naturally fostered by the Cavendishes, who were one and all zealous Royalists; their hearts, lives, and fortunes, were ever at the service of the Throne. And so it came to pass that our philosopher raised his voice and wielded his pen in support of the King, until, as the saying goes, the country was too hot to hold him, and he fled. He thus speaks of his own reasons for taking this step:—

102‘On the meeting of the second Parliament, when they proceeded fiercely against those who had written or preached in defence of regal power, Mr. Hobbes, doubting how they would use him, went over into France, the first of all that fled, and there continued eleven years.’ Here he made a short friendship and quicker quarrel with the celebrated Des Cartes; here, when once brought to the brink of the grave, whatever his religious opinions were, he resisted the endeavours of an Italian friend to gain him over to the Roman Catholic faith; here, his health re-established, he published manifold works,—philosophical, theological, and polemical,—which attracted great attention, and his fame spread so far and wide that it was said people came from great distances even to gaze on the portrait of Mr. Thomas Hobbes.

Public favour was very much divided, and some of those who could not deny his eloquence and brilliancy of style inveighed against the heterodoxy of his tenets. While in Paris, he gave instructions in different branches of learning, especially mathematics, to the Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles II., who was then in exile; and his intercourse with the Prince, and the intimacy which he formed with many of the English Royalists then residing in Paris, helped to foster Hobbes’s hatred of the popular party in England.

John Evelyn, in his Diary, says, ‘I went to see Mr. Hobbes, the great philosopher of Malmesbury, at Paris, with whom I had been much acquainted. From his window we saw the whole procession and glorious cavalcade of the young French monarch, Lewis XIV., passing to Parliament, when first he took the kingly government upon him, he being fourteen years of age, and out of the Queen’s pupilage. The King’s aydes, the Queen-Mother, and the King’s light horse all in rich habits, with trumpets, in blue velvet and gold; the Swiss in black velvet toques, headed by two gallant cavaliers in habits of scarlet satin, after their country fashion, which is very fantastick.

103The Kinge himself looked like a young Apollo. He was mounted on an Isabella barb, with a houssing of crosses of the Order of the Holy Ghost, and semée fleurs-de-lys, stiffly covered with rich embroidery. He went almost the whole way with his hat in his hand, saluting the ladys and acclamators, who had filled the windows with their beauty, and the aire with “Vive le Roy!”’

In 1651 Hobbes wrote the book so indissolubly connected with his name, Leviathan. When this work was first circulated in Paris, he found himself the object of aversion to every class. To readers of every way of thinking, there were passages at which to cavil and take objection. Indeed, Hobbes was warned that from the priesthood his life was in danger; and he once more sought safety in flight. He returned to England, where he published the obnoxious volume, and took up his abode in London for some time, in Fetter Lane, made his submission to the Council of State, and busied himself with literary labours, English and Latin. The winter of 1659 he spent with his friends at Chatsworth, and in 1660 came up to London with them to Little Salisbury House. One day, soon after the Restoration, the King was passing through the Strand, when he perceived his old master standing at the gate of Lord Devonshire’s house. The Royal coach was stopped, Charles doffed his hat most graciously, and inquired after Mr. Hobbes’s health, who was summoned to the Palace before a week was over, and found himself sitting for his portrait by Royal command. We are told that the king of limners, Mr. Cooper, was much delighted with Mr. Hobbes’s pleasant conversation, and that his Majesty delighted in his wit and repartees. The Merry Monarch’s courtiers would ‘bayte’ Mr. Hobbes, so much so that when he appeared the King would often cry, ‘Here comes the bear to be bayted.’ But the philosopher knew how to take his own part, and his 104answers were always full of wit and drollery, but usually evasive, from fear of giving offence. The King granted him an annual pension of £100 a year, but refused his petition of a grant of land to found a free school at Malmesbury.

He continued his controversial writings, which brought down upon him attacks from all quarters. The publication of his works was prohibited in England, which determined him to bring out a complete edition of them at Amsterdam. The cry against him continued, and an undergraduate at Cambridge venturing to support some of his most daring theories, was summarily expelled the University, while Adam Hood, who had affixed a panegyric on the philosopher to the commencement of the Antiquities of Oxford, was compelled to suppress half his compliments. Hobbes retired into the country, translated Homer into English, wrote the Philosophical Decameron, and the Civil Wars in England, which he dedicated to the King, with a petition to be allowed to publish it.

Charles was much displeased with the book, and gave him a flat denial. During the panic which was caused by the plague and fire of London, a Bill was brought into Parliament for the suppression of all atheistical writings, and a committee formed to inquire into any work suspected of promulgating such doctrines. Public attention was directed towards Leviathan, and many people believed that the greater number of the Bishops would willingly have roasted the old philosopher alive; at all events, Hobbes was much alarmed, being in terror of the whole Bench, more especially of the Bishop of Ely, whom he had offended. He accordingly burned a great portion of his papers, and took his departure for Chatsworth.

It was well for Hobbes, that, disappointed and thwarted in many ways, he had so peaceful and beautiful a haven wherein to anchor. Lord Devonshire allowed his old tutor to live under his roof in ease and plenty, claiming no service of any kind in return for so much hospitality. Neither the Earl nor 105his wife subscribed in any way to Hobbes’s opinions, but often expressed their abhorrence of his principles, both in politics and religion, sometimes avoiding mention of his name, or excusing him in some measure by saying he was a humorist, and there was no accounting for him.

But they were uniformly kind to the old man, in spite of it all. Hobbes divided his time and thoughts between attention to his health and to his studies. The morning he dedicated to the first consideration—climbing the nearest hill as soon as he got up; or, if the weather were bad, taking hard exercise in the house as soon as he had finished his breakfast,—after which meal he would make a circuit of the apartments, and visit my lord, my lady, the children, and any distinguished strangers that might be there, conversing for a short time with all of them.

Towards the end of his life he read few books, preferring, he said, ‘to digest what he had already fed upon;’ ‘besides,’ he remarked, laughing, ‘if I were to read as much as most men do, I should be as ignorant as they.’ In company he was free in discourse, but could not brook contradiction, then he was short and peevish; indeed it was usual, on admitting strangers, to warn them not to vex the old man by differing from him in argument. Hobbes, by his own testimony, was of a timid nature. Kennet, the biographer of the Cavendishes, from whose amusing volume we have drawn largely, says, ‘It is not trampling on the ashes of the late Mr. Hobbes to say he was a coward. He was constantly under apprehension of messengers to arrest him, and that they would enter Chatsworth or Hardwicke by force, and compel Lord Devonshire to give him up.’

Under the pressure of these fears he wrote an Apology for himself and his writings, in which he affirmed that the doctrines at which exception had been taken were not so much his opinions as his suppositions, a delicate distinction enough. 106In his latter days Hobbes made an open profession of religion, and frequented service in the chapel, often partaking of the Holy Communion. If any one in conversation questioned his belief, he would invariably allude to these practices, and refer the speaker to the chaplain, who would bear testimony to his orthodoxy. Some people thought this chapel-going was the result of his wish to conform to the rules of the household, as he never went to a parish church, and always turned his back on the sermon, ‘for,’ said he, ‘they can teach me nothing that I do not know.’ He had a perfect terror of being left to himself in an empty house, and would always accompany the family from Chatsworth to Hardwicke and back, however weak and ill he might be. On the last occasion he journeyed to Hardwicke on a feather bed in a coach, and the exertion at so advanced an age hastened his death. He could not endure the thought of dying, and had a new coat made when on his deathbed, which, he hoped, would last him three years, and then he would have another. He questioned the physician at last whether his disease were curable, and on being told he might hope for alleviation, but no cure—a fact which his science and philosophy might surely have told him at ninety-two years of age—he said, ‘Then I hope I shall find a hole to creep out of the world.’

They were his last words, and were somewhat ambiguous, as ‘Hardwicke Hall, more glass than wall,’ could not well be described as a ‘hole,’ with its lordly gallery, its noble staircase, and its historical memories of Mary Queen of Scots, and Arabella Stuart. Many of Hobbes’s most remarkable writings are preserved there in manuscript.

Our philosopher upheld the expediency of making use of an evil instrument in an emergency, and said, ‘If I had fallen into a well, and the devil let down his leg, I would willingly lay hold of his cloven foot to haul myself up by.’ He amused himself by making his friends write 107provisional epitaphs for him, only one of which satisfied him,—‘This is the true philosopher’s stone.’ Hobbes continued studying and translating to the end of his life; but Pope considered his rendering of the Iliad and Odyssey ‘too mean for criticism.’ Although not very strong in youth, Hobbes enjoyed excellent health on gaining middle age. He was six feet high, of a fresh and ruddy complexion, yellowish moustache, which turned up naturally after the Cavalier fashion; with a tip, or ‘King Charles,’ under his lip, being otherwise close shaven. He did not affect to look severe, considering ‘heaviness of countenance no sign of God’s favour, and a cheerful, charitable, upright behaviour a better sign of religion than the zealous maintaining of controverted opinions.’ He had always a book of ‘Prick Songs’ lying on the table, and at night, when every one in the house was asleep, he would sing aloud,—not because he had a good voice, but for the benefit of his lungs. Thomas Hobbes appears to have been too much of a philosopher to have fallen at any time under the spell of beauty; at least we can find no mention in his Memoirs of even a passing subjugation to female charms. Lord Clarendon speaks of him as ‘one of the most ancient acquaintance I have in the world, whom I have ever esteemed, not only for his eminent parts of learning, but as a man of probity, and one whose life has been free from scandal.’

108No. 5.

Dark dress, long flowing hair.
BORN 1618, DIED 1667.
By Mrs. Beale.

HE posthumous son of a small London tradesman, his mother, although in straitened circumstances, resolved to give her boy the best education in her power; and she was rewarded by living to see him rise to eminence and distinction. Little Abraham one day, sitting in the window seat in his mother’s home, found a volume of Spenser’s Faëry Queen lying there. He opened the book, and was soon absorbed in the contents, ‘sucking the sweet honey of those inspired lines.’ He read, and re-read, and, as Dr. Johnson tersely expresses it, became ‘irrecoverably a poet.’

His mother contrived to get him a nomination on the foundation at Westminster School, where he soon became remarkable for his powers of versification. At ten years old he wrote the Tragical History of Pyramus and Thisbe, and soon afterwards Constantia and Philetus, and before he was fifteen a volume of his poems was actually published. In 1636 he went to the University of Cambridge, where, without neglecting his studies, he continued his poetical pursuits, and wrote a play called Love’s Riddle, which he dedicated to Sir Kenelm Digby (the fashionable patron of the day), as also a Latin comedy, inscribed to the Master of his College. 109Cowley was expelled from Cambridge on account of his adherence to the King’s party, and took shelter at St. John’s College, Oxford. A satire which he wrote about this time, entitled The Puritan and the Papist, gained him the favour of the Royalists, and especially of Lord Falkland, who made him known and welcomed at Court. When Queen Henrietta Maria went to France, Cowley followed her fortunes, and, becoming Secretary to Lord Jermyn, was employed in correspondence of the most confidential nature, such as communications between the Royalists in England and those in France, and private letters between King Charles I. and his Queen. He was indefatigable in his labours, and would cipher and decipher far into the night, yet finding time for poetical compositions in the midst of such arduous work. He produced an amorous drama, entitled The Mistress, for he considered that no man was worthy of the name of poet till he had paid his tribute to Love.

In 1656 he went over on a mission to England, to inquire and report on the political state of affairs; but the Parliamentarians were on his track, and he was thrown into prison, and only set free on the payment of a considerable ransom, which was generously advanced by a friend. He became a Doctor of Medicine at Oxford, but does not appear to have practised in that capacity, though in the early days of the Royal Society, just founded at Oxford, and not yet translated to London, the poet figured as ‘Dr. Cowley.’ He made a pilgrimage to Kent, and in the fair fields of ‘England’s garden’ he studied botany, and gathered materials which led to the composition of several Latin poems treating of trees, herbs, and flowers, and their peculiar qualities.

Cowley was destined to great mortification and disappointment at the Restoration, being scarcely noticed by the King. It is supposed that a faction had been formed against him, by which his hopes of obtaining the Mastership of the Savoy, 110that had been promised him both by Charles II. and his father before him, were frustrated. The ill success of his comedy, The Guardian, when put upon the stage, was another source of mortification. There was a spiteful rumour set about, that the drama was intended as a satire on the Royalists, and the author was so discomfited, hearing of its failure, that Dryden said he did not receive the news with the calmness becoming so great a man. He wrote an Ode, in which he designated himself as the ‘melancholy Cowley,’ and this production brought down upon him a host of squibs and lampoons, on the dejected ‘Savoy-missing Cowley,’ and the like. Disgusted with the outer world, our poet languished for the retirement of a country life, and settled at Chertsey, in Surrey. His friends the Earls of Arlington and St. Albans (whom he had served when Lord Jermyn) procured him an office which brought in a certain salary, ‘but,’ says Johnson, ‘he did not live long to enjoy the pleasure, or suffer the weariness, of solitude.’

He died at Chertsey in 1667. He was the author of numerous works, which are little read at the present day, although the name of Abraham Cowley ranks high in literature. He was at the University with Milton, but the two poets differed as much in the quality of their writings as in the bias of their political views. The Duke of Buckingham, on hearing the news of Cowley’s death, said he had not left behind him as honest a man in England. He erected a monument to the poet’s memory in Westminster Abbey. We find in John Evelyn’s Diary: ‘I heard the sad news of the death of Abraham Cowley, that incomparable poet and virtuous man, Aug. 1667.—Went to Cowley’s funerall, whose corpse lay at Wallingford House, and was thence conveyed to Westminster Abbey in a hearse with six horses, and all decency. Neere a hundred coaches of noblemen and persons of qualitie following; among these all the witts of the towne, divers 111bishops and cleargymen. He was interred neere Geoffrey Chaucer and Spenser. A goodly monument is since erected to his memorie.’ Sir William Cowper was much attached to Cowley, and had his portrait painted especially for his own gallery.

No. 6.

Dark dress. White hair.
BORN 1746, DIED 1831.
By Himself.

HE son of a watchmaker, he was born at Plymouth, and, like his illustrious fellow-townsman, showed an early enthusiasm for art, and a distaste for any other occupation. But his father was prudent, and bound his son apprentice to himself, allowing him no money, and discouraging in every possible manner the boy’s artistic tendencies. They were too strong to be repressed. Young James gave all his spare time to the study of drawing, and, having scraped together five guineas, he doubled the sum by the sale of a print of the new assembly rooms and bathing-place at Plymouth, from one of his own Indian ink sketches. Armed with this large fortune, he plotted a secret journey to London with his elder brother Samuel; his only confidants being Dr. Mudge and a Mr. Tolcher, both Plymouth men, and friends of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the newly-elected President 112of the Royal Academy, to whom they gave James letters of introduction. The brothers set forth on their pilgrimage one fine May morning, being Whit-Sunday; and the younger tells us that when they arrived on the hill and looked homewards, Samuel felt some regret—James nothing but satisfaction.

The travellers performed the whole of the journey on foot, with a rare lift on the top of a stage-coach; sleeping wherever they could: in small ale-houses, by the wayside, sometimes in haylofts, and even under hedgerows. The new President received the young aspirant with the greatest kindness, and installed him in his own house. Samuel Northcote soon returned home, but James wrote to a friend in Devonshire, in raptures with his new domicile. ‘The house,’ he says, ‘is to me a paradise; all the family behave with the greatest kindness, especially Sir Joshua’s two pupils. Miss Reynolds has promised to show me her paintings, for she paints very fine, both history and portraits. Sir Joshua is so much occupied that I seldom see him; but, when I find him at liberty, I will ask his advice for future guidance, and whether there will be any chance of my eventually gaining a subsistence in London, by portrait-painting.’ The master soon found out that his new pupil was earnest and industrious, and it was arranged that Northcote should remain in the President’s service for five years. The hall in which he worked was adjacent to his master’s sitting-room, and he was both amused and edified by overhearing the conversations of such men as Burke, Johnson, Garrick, etc. He worked diligently, copying Sir Joshua’s pictures, studying the human form—drapery, etc.,—persuading the housemaids to sit to him, and working as a student at the Academy. He tells an amusing incident of Reynolds’s favourite macaw, which had a violent hatred for one of the maid-servants in the house, whom Northcote had painted. It flew furiously at the portrait, pecking the face with its 113beak. We might be inclined to suspect the artist of inventing this implied compliment to his own handiwork, were we not also assured that Sir Joshua tried the experiment of putting the portrait in view of the bird, who invariably swooped down on the painted enemy. The maid’s crime, we believe, consisted in cleaning out the cage.

Northcote began to exhibit on his own account in 1774, and became eventually A.R.A. and R.A. Samuel Northcote met Sir Joshua on one of his visits to Plymouth, at the house of their common friend, Dr. Mudge, and writes to his brother to tell him the President had spoken of him in very satisfactory terms. When the five years’ apprenticeship was nearly over, Northcote took leave of his master. He gives rather a tedious account of the interview, in which he announced his determination, but ends the paragraph by saying ‘it was of course impossible to leave a house, where he had received so much kindness, without regret; it is a melancholy reflection, even at this moment, when one considers the ravages a few short years have made in that unparalleled society which shone at his table, now all gone.’

On leaving London, our painter went into Devonshire, made some money by his portraits, and then proceeded to Italy alone, ignorant, as he was, of one word of the language. He spent his time in copying the Italian masters, more especially the works of Titian; returned from Rome to England via Flanders, and again had recourse to portrait-painting, first in his native county, and afterwards in London, where he settled. About this time the scheme for the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery was started, making a great sensation, and Northcote gained much κυδος for his contributions to that work, more especially ‘The Princes in the Tower,’ which furnished Chantry with the idea for his beautiful and touching monument in Lichfield Cathedral. Northcote took great delight in this work, as his bias had always led him to 114historical and fancy subjects. His sacred pictures were not much admired, and his plagiarism of Hogarth, which was a species of parody on the great works of that great man, gained him no popularity. An answer of his amused Sir Joshua much, on one occasion. When the President asked him how it chanced that the Prince of Wales so often mentioned him, ‘I was not aware you even knew him?’ ‘Well,’ replied James, ‘I know very little of him, or he of me; it is only his bragging way.’

His conversations were sufficiently esteemed to be recorded by Hazlitt, his friend and constant companion. By nature Northcote was intelligent, energetic, and industrious; he triumphed over the disadvantages of an imperfect education, and knew how to benefit by his opportunities. We have never read his Life of Sir Joshua, but by the numerous extracts which Leslie and Taylor give us, it would appear he was scarcely a worthy biographer of so great a man. He resided for nearly half a century in Argyll Street, London, his sister keeping his house, and died there in his eighty-sixth year, leaving a good fortune, the product of his labours.

115No. 7.

Black dress. White collar. Pointed beard. Moustaches.
BORN 1582, DIED 1664.
By Cornelius Jansen.

ESCENDED from Robert Cowper, who, in the reign of Henry V., in consideration of his good services, received the sum of sixpence a day for life out of the King’s rents in the county of North Hants. William Cowper, in the reign of Henry VIII., married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Spencer, of St. Peter’s, Cornhill, and this lady’s maiden name has been perpetuated in the Cowper family to the present day.

Sir William, of whom we are treating, was grandson of the above, and eldest surviving son of John Cowper and Elizabeth Ironside of Lincoln, his wife, who had five sons and four daughters. William succeeded his father, and was seated at Ratling Court, in Kent. He was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia, afterwards of England, and subsequently knighted by King Charles I. at Theobalds. He was also appointed Collector of Imposts on strangers in the Port of London; and when the civil war began, being a zealous Royalist, he was imprisoned in Ely House, Holborn, 116together with his eldest son. But, says Collins, Sir William outlived all his troubles, and went to dwell at his castle at Hertford, where he gained the hearts of his neighbours by the cordiality of his manners and his generous hospitality, while his name was beloved in the country round for the Christian acts of charity and kindness in which he took delight. Neither was it the formal dispensation of alms alone, for Sir William loved to visit and comfort his poorer neighbours in their own dwellings. He married Martha, daughter of John Masters, of East Langdon, county Kent, and sister to Sir Edward Masters, Knight, by whom he had six sons and three daughters. Sir William was buried in the cloister of St. Michael’s, Cornhill, beside his parents, who lie there beneath ‘a goodly monument.’

Cornelius Jansen, who painted Sir William’s portrait, and that of his son John, was a well-known Flemish painter, who resided for many years in London, and afterwards in Kent, near Ratling Court, where many gentlemen in the neighbourhood sat to him.

117No. 8.

Black dress. White shirt. Long brown hair.
By Cornelius Jansen.

E was the eldest son of Sir William Cowper, first Baronet, by the sister of Sir Edward Masters, Knight. He was entered at Lincoln’s Inn as a law student, and married Martha, daughter of John Hewkley of London, merchant, by whom he had one son, William, who succeeded his grandfather, and a daughter, who died young. John Cowper was a staunch Royalist, and shared his father’s captivity on that account. He died during his imprisonment. The following letter, addressed to him, in the year 1634, when on the point of starting for his travels, appears to us worthy of insertion, from the manliness and rectitude of its counsels, enhanced by the quaint diction which marked the period:—

Feb. 25, 1634.—A remembrance to my Son, John Cowper, at his going towards ye Parts beyond ye Seas.

You must remember how, that from your Birth to this day, I have taken care for your Education. And you have hitherto been within my Eye, and under Tutors, and Governours, and that now, You, alone, Launch forth into ye World by your Self, to be steered and governed. Many Storms, and Rubbs, many fair and pleasing Baits, shall you 118meet withal, Company most infectious and dangerous, so that your Cheif Safety must be ye Protection of God Almighty, whom you must daily importune to direct your wayes, as hitherto I doubt not but you have done, Else your Carriage and course of Life had not been so commendable.

If this Golden time of your Youth be spent unprofitably, ye whole Harvest of your Life will be Weeds: if well husbanded, it will yeild you a profitable return in ye whole Course of your Life.

The time you remain there I would have Spent as followeth,—

1. Dayly Praying to Almighty God for his Blessing on you.

2. To endeavour to attain ye French and Italian Tongues.

3. To mend your Writing and learn Arithmetick.

As for Horsemanship, and other qualities of a Gentleman, a smatch would doe well.

And having attained to knowledge, if you doe not alwayes remember, both in discourse and Pashion, not to be transported with hast, But to Think before What you intend to speak, and then treatably to deliver it, with a distinct and Audable Voice, all your labor and pains is Lost. For altho you have indifferently well reformed it, yet it is Defective, and care yet may Perfect you in your speech.

Your Loving Father, careful of your Good,
W. Cowper.
To my Son, John Cowper.

119No. 9.

Light brown coat. White cravat.
By Sir Peter Lely.

HE son of John Cowper, by Martha Hewkley, succeeded to the baronetcy and estates on the death of his grandfather, served in the last two Parliaments of Charles II., as Member for Hertford; and, in 1680, presented reasons (with many other Members of both Houses) for the indictment of James, Duke of York, for not coming to church. After the Revolution, he again sat for Hertford in three different Parliaments. His wife was Sarah, daughter of Sir Samuel Holled, by whom he left two sons,—William, first Earl Cowper, Lord Chancellor, and Spencer.

No. 10.

Tawny coat. Loose cravat.
DIED 1728.

E was the second son of Sir William Cowper, second Baronet, by the daughter of Sir Samuel Holled, consequently the brother of William, afterwards the first Lord Cowper; and we have alluded, in the life of the Chancellor, to the deep attachment which subsisted between these two brothers. They were educated at the same 120school, selected the same profession, and, when travelling the same Circuit, almost invariably inhabited the same lodgings.

Sir William Cowper and his eldest son and namesake had both been returned in 1695 for Hertford, after a sharp contest, for the Tory element, though in the minority, was strong in that borough. Among the most zealous of their supporters was one Stout, a Quaker by creed, a maltster by trade; and he had been most instrumental in furthering the election of father and son. At all events, so thought Sir William, who did not discontinue his friendly relations with the widow and only daughter of Samuel Stout after the good Quaker’s death. The two ladies were frequently invited to Sir William’s London house in Hatton Garden, and the visit occasionally returned at Mrs. Stout’s residence in the town of Hertford. Moreover, Mistress Sarah, to whom her father had left a good fortune, employed Spencer Cowper as her man of business, and consulted him in all her financial concerns. Unfortunately it soon became painfully evident to all concerned that this beautiful, imaginative, and essentially excitable girl had formed a deep attachment for the young lawyer, already the husband of another woman.

‘But he, like an honest man,’ says Lord Macaulay, ‘took no advantage of her unhappy state of mind.’ A frightful catastrophe, however, was impending. On the 14th March 1699, the day after the opening of the Spring Assizes, the town and neighbourhood of Hertford were thrown into a state of excitement and consternation by the news that the body of Sarah Stout had been found in the waters of the Priory river, which flows through that town. Suspicion fell on Spencer Cowper, on the poor plea that he was the last reported to have been in her company; but his defence was so clear and satisfactory on the inquest, that a verdict of suicide while in a state of temporary insanity was recorded. William Cowper was not attending the Assizes, his Parliamentary duties 121detaining him in London, but Spencer finished the Circuit, in company with the judges, heavy-hearted indeed at the sad fate of his pretty friend, but with no misgiving on his own account. He little dreamed of the mischief which was hatching by the political adversaries of the Cowper interest. A rumour was carefully promulgated that Spencer had presumed on his intimacy with the fair Quaker, and that Sarah had drowned herself to conceal her disgrace. But this charge was proved to be unfounded. The next step taken by those who wished to render the name of Cowper obnoxious in Hertford, was to revive the cry of ‘Murder’ against Spencer, on the plea that the position in which the body had been found precluded the possibility of the girl having thrown herself into the water. Two ‘accomplices’ were carefully ferreted out, in the persons of two attorneys, who had come down to Hertford the day before the sad event; but these gentlemen were left at large on bail, while the man, whose father and brother at that moment represented Hertford, was thrown into prison for months, to await the Summer Assizes.

The distress of his parents, and of the brother who dearly loved him, may be well imagined, more especially as they were keenly alive to all the adverse influences which were at work. When the eventful day of the trial at length arrived, the town of Hertford—it might wellnigh be said the whole of England,—was divided in favour of the Cowpers and the Stouts; for so unwilling were the Quakers to let the imputation of suicide rest on the memory of one of their members, that they most earnestly desired to shift the blame on the young barrister, or, as he afterwards said at his trial, to risk bringing three innocent men to the gallows. We have good authority for affirming that the most ignorant and densest of judges, Baron Hatsel by name, sat on the bench that day, and that the prosecution was remarkable for the malignity with which it was conducted. Their winning card, 122as they believed, was the statement that the position in which the corpse had been found floating, proved that the girl must have been murdered before she had been thrown into the water. Medical evidence was brought forward by the prosecution in support of this theory, as also that of two or three sailors, who were put into the box. On the side of the defendant appeared names which still live in medical annals,—William Cowper (although no kinsman of his namesake), the most celebrated anatomist then in England, and Samuel Garth, the great London physician and rival of Hans Sloane. After what Macaulay terms ‘the superstitious testimony of the forecastle,’ Baron Hatsel asked Dr. Garth what he could say in reply. ‘My Lord,’ answered the physician drily, ‘I say they are mistaken. I could find seamen in abundance who would swear that they have known whistling raise the wind.’

This charge was disposed of; the body had drifted down to the mill-dam, where it was discovered entangled and supported by stakes, only a portion of the petticoat being visible. But the evidence of a maid-servant of Mistress Stout produced great excitement in Court. She told how the young barrister had arrived at the house of her mistress the night before the poor girl’s death; of how he had dined with the two ladies; how she had gone upstairs to prepare his bed, as he was invited to sleep, leaving the young people together, her mistress having retired early; how, when upstairs, she heard the house-door slam, and, going down to the parlour, found it empty. At first she was not alarmed, thinking Mistress Sarah had gone out for a stroll with Mr. Cowper, and would soon be back; but as time went on, she became very uneasy, and went and told her mistress. The two women sat up all night watching and listening, but had not liked to take any further steps, out of regard for Sarah’s reputation. They never saw her again till she was brought up from the river drowned. Then followed the ridiculous investigation of Cowper’s ‘accomplices,’ as they 123were termed—two attorneys and a scrivener, who had come down from London under very suspicious circumstances, i.e. to attend the Assizes; how they were all in a room together shortly after eleven o’clock, very wet, and in a great perspiration, and had been overheard to say, ‘Mistress Stout had behaved ill to her lover, but her courting days would soon be over,’ to which communication was added the astounding fact, that a piece of rope had been found in a cupboard adjoining the sitting-room.

It was fortunate for Spencer Cowper, who was not allowed the assistance of counsel, that his legal education, joined to a sense of conscious innocence, made his defence comparatively easy to him; but the task, on all accounts, must have been most distasteful and repugnant to a man of his character and position. He rose with dignity, and evinced great skill and decision of purpose in the manner in which he cross-examined the witnesses, and exposed the motives of sectarian and political animosity, which had been employed to weaken the interest of Sir William Cowper and his eldest son. So far his arguments were unhesitating,—he was now to be put to a harder test. He assured the Court that he deeply deplored the course he was compelled to take, but four lives were at stake, and he must, however reluctantly, violate the confidence of the dead. He brought many witnesses to substantiate the fact of the young Quaker having cherished a fatal passion for him, although she knew him to be married. When last in London, she had written to announce her intention of visiting him at his chambers in the Temple, to prevent which William Cowper had purposely said in her hearing that Spencer had gone into the country on business. Disappointed of this opportunity, Sarah wrote to invite him to stay at her mother’s house at Hertford during the Spring Assizes, which invitation he declined, having secured lodgings in the town. He also produced letters in which the poor girl said, ‘I am glad you have not quite forgotten there 124is such a person as myself,’ and, after hinting at what seemed unkindness, she begs him ‘so to order your affairs as to be here as soon as you can, which cannot be sooner than you are welcome.’

In another and later letter she was less ambiguous in her expressions: ‘Come life, come death,’ she says desperately, ‘I am resolved never to desert you.’ He further asserted that the continual rebuffs she received threw her into a state of melancholy, and that she often spoke of her intention to destroy herself. The prisoner continued, that on the first day of the Assizes he went first to his lodgings, but, unwilling to mortify Sarah, afterwards to her mother’s house, and stayed dinner; went out, and returned to supper; but when the maid had gone upstairs, and he was alone with the girl, although he declined detailing the conversation which ensued between them, he gave the judge and jury to understand that it was from consideration for her character that he left the house, which he did alone, and returned to his lodgings in the Market Place.

The next morning the news of the terrible event reached him. His brother William and his wife both testified to the state of despondency into which Sarah had lately fallen, and her frequent allusions to approaching death. As regarded ‘the accomplices,’ they gave good reasons for their coming to Hertford, and, for himself, he had never had any communication with them. The judge summed up in a vacillating and illogical manner, confessing that he was rather faint, and was sensible he had omitted many things, but could repeat no more of the evidence. The half-hour which it took the jury to deliberate must have seemed interminable to those members of Cowper’s family, already nearly maddened by suspense—above all, to the brother who sat near him, and followed the details of the trial with breathless interest. The jury returned, and, when the foreman answered the awful 125question, the prisoner was the one individual in Court who manifested the least emotion as the words ‘Not guilty’ echoed through the building, and all but the enemies and slanderers acknowledged the justice of the verdict. A feeble attempt was made to bring all the four accused men to a fresh trial, by what was then called an ‘appeal to murder,’ and there were various hearings on the subject by men of the highest standing in the law, William Cowper, on these occasions, being counsel for his brother. The proceedings, however, were quashed. Some scurrilous writings were published, in hopes of setting the tide of public opinion against Spencer, but they were soon forgotten. He pursued his profession, in which he rose to eminence; but it may easily be conjectured that, when presiding at a trial for murder, Judge Cowper must have felt, even more than the generality of his colleagues, the responsibility of his position, from an intimate and personal sympathy with the feelings of an accused prisoner; and he was remarked for his merciful tendencies. On the accession of George I., he was named Attorney-General to the Prince of Wales, was one of the managers on the trial of Dr. Sacheverell for high treason, and successively Chief-Justice of Chester, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Serjeant-at-Law, and Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He also sat in Parliament for Truro, and his sister-in-law, Lady Cowper, tells us that in 1714 the King gave M. Robethon (one of his favourite German Ministers) the grant of Clerk of the Parliament after the death of Mr. Johnson, who then held it, for any one he liked to name. ‘M. Robethon let my brother Cowper have it in reversion for his sons for £1800.’

By his wife, Pennington, daughter of John Goodere, Esq., Spencer had three sons,—William, John, and Ashley. The official appointments above alluded to were held in succession by the family for several years. He had also a daughter, Judith, known as a poetess, married to Lieut.-Colonel 126Madan. Spencer Cowper died at his chambers in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, in 1728, and was buried at Hertingfordbury, where an elaborate monument is erected to his memory. He was grandfather to William Cowper the poet.

No. 11.

Full length. In Chancellor’s robes. Flowing wig. Chair.
BORN 1664, DIED 1723.
By Richardson.

E was the eldest son of Sir William Cowper, the second Baronet, by Sarah, daughter of Sir Samuel Holled, merchant, of London, and was born at Hertford Castle. He went to school at St. Albans, and seems to have been of a most docile disposition, to judge by a letter written to his mother when only eight years old. He says: ‘I thank you for my bow and arrows, which I shall never use but when my master gives us leave to play. I shall hereafter take more care of my spelling and writing, even without ruled lines.’

His childish letters were written in a fair hand, giving promise of the beautiful writing for which the future Lord Chancellor was famed, and were addressed with much punctilio, ‘These for my ever honoured mother, the Lady Cowper, at her house in the Charter-House Yard, London.’

The boy took great pains, not only with his writing, but with his style, so much so as to cause a suspicion in his 127mother’s mind that one of the epistles was dictated by an usher, an insinuation which the young student repelled with some asperity. It seems doubtful whether he ever went to a public school, and certainly he never entered a University; but at eighteen he became a Templar, giving himself up rather to pleasure than study in these first years of a London life. He formed a connection with a Miss Culling of Hertingfordbury, by whom he had two children. This liaison was much talked of, and by many it was reported he had married her, a circumstance which caused him much annoyance at a later period. In 1686 he became attached to one Mistress Judith Booth, wise and beautiful, but poor withal, in consequence of which his family opposed the marriage. His father was in the prime of life, and had other children to provide for; but, in spite of all opposition, the wedding took place, and the young husband became studious and steady from the pressure of domestic responsibility. He writes an amusing letter to his wife, describing his maiden motion in the Court of King’s Bench, and tells her that he was blamed for not interweaving enough ‘May it please your Lordships’ and the like urbanities in his speech, adding, ‘but I will amend in future, and you shall find me begin to practise extraordinary civilities on your sweet self.’

The precepts and example of Sir William Cowper had instilled principles of political liberality in the young lawyer’s mind which made him regard with disapprobation and anger many of Charles II.’s (public) proceedings, towards the latter part of his reign, and still more so those of his successor, added to which considerations the Cowper family were rigid Protestants; and thus it came about that when the Prince of Orange landed in England, the brothers William and Spencer hastily raised a small body of volunteers, and set forth, with more than a score of young gentlemen of the same political tendencies, to join William.

128In a diary he sent to his wife, Cowper gives an amusing description of how he fell in with the Prince at Wallingford, at a small inn, where he saw him ‘dine with a great variety of meats, sauces, and sweetmeats, which, it seems, is part of the fatigue we admire so much in great generals!’

He travelled with the Prince to Windsor, where they were received with unfeigned pleasure; and he speaks of the new face of the Court, ‘where there is nothing of the usual affectation of terror, but extreme civility to all sorts of people, and country women admitted to see the Prince dine.’ He does not mention a circumstance which befell in this journey; but his daughter, Lady Sarah, who had the particulars from her uncle Spencer, proudly records an instance of her father’s gallantry:—On the bridge at Oxford, the small regiment of Hertfordshire volunteers found one of the arches broken down, and an officer, with three files of musketeers, who presented arms, and asked who they were for. There was a silence, as the volunteers did not know to which side their questioners belonged. ‘But my father,’ says Lady Sarah, ‘was quite unconcerned, and, spurring his horse forward, he flung up his hat, crying, “The Prince of Orange,” which was answered by a shout, for they were all of the same mind.’

When the new King no longer required his services, Cowper resumed his profession with diligence and zeal. He writes to his wife to express his regret at not being able to stay with her in the country; but, had he done so, he would throw himself out of the little business he had.

Another time he writes from Kingston, giving an account of his having achieved a journey through the Sussex ways (which are ruinous beyond imagination) without hurt. ‘I vow ’tis a melancholy consideration that mankind should inhabit such a heap of dirt.’

Lord Campbell tells us, writing from Abinger Hall in 1845, ‘that it is a still common expression in that part of Surrey, 129that those who live on the south side of Leith Hill are in the dirt.’ Cowper contrasts the damp undrained tracts of Sussex with the fine champaign country of Surrey, dry and dusty, ‘as if you had shifted in a few hours from winter to mid-summer.’

The lawyer was rising gradually to great estimation in his profession, and his friend Lord Chancellor Som̅ers suggested to him to go into Parliament, believing he would be most serviceable to the Whig party. When the elections took place in 1695, the Whigs were in the ascendant, and both Sir William Cowper and his eldest son were returned for Hertford, the Quakers being their chief supporters.

Young Cowper’s maiden speech gave promise (afterwards well fulfilled) of his qualifications as a debater. He was in great favour at Court, and, being raised to the rank of King’s Counsel, distinguished himself by his eloquence in the prosecution of more than one State prisoner. During the trial of Lord Mohun, for the murder of Richard Coote, Cowper received a tribute for the clearness and excellence of his voice, a quality for which, in after times, he became proverbial. Several of the Lords, whose patience was being sorely tried by the confused, indistinct tones in which the Solicitor-General summed up, moved that some one with a good voice, ‘particularly Mr. Cowper,’ should be heard,—a great compliment to the gentleman, although the motion was overruled. The Cowper family, and Sir William’s eldest son in particular, seemed in the good graces of fortune, until the untoward event occurred which threw all those who bore the name into distress and perplexity, being, namely, the charge of murder against Spencer Cowper, as already recorded in our notice of his life. He and his brother were much attached, were members of the same profession, and travelled the same Circuit—in fact, were almost inseparable companions.

130The justice of Spencer Cowper’s acquittal was unquestionable, yet the popular feeling ran so high in the town and neighbourhood, especially among the community of which the unfortunate girl was a member, that it was clear to every one that no candidate bearing the name of Cowper would be successful at the next election. Sir William indeed retired from Parliamentary life altogether, and his eldest son having failed in his canvass for Totness, in Devon (for which place he had stood by the wish and advice of his friend and patron, Lord Som̅ers), he was fain to take refuge in the close borough of Berealstone, which he represented until intrusted with the Great Seal. William III. died, and Queen Anne reigned in his stead, ascending the throne with feelings most inimical to the Whig party. Affairs did not look promising for William Cowper, all the more so as Lord Som̅ers had fallen into great disfavour; but he weathered the storm, and when the general election in 1705 resulted in a majority for the Whigs, the Great Seal of England was transferred from the hands of Sir Nathan Wright to those of William Cowper. He had for some time been looked upon as leader in the House of Commons, where his agreeable manners and graceful address had made him personally popular. As in the case of his brother, slander had been busy with his name, and the report that he had married two wives (of which circumstance hereafter) had been widely circulated. But he had powerful friends at Court in the Duchess of Marlborough and Lord Treasurer Godolphin; and her Majesty listened to their recommendations and her own bias in his favour, and William Cowper kissed hands at Kensington Palace on his appointment as Lord Keeper of the Great Seal.

‘The youngest Lord Keeper,’ says his daughter, Lady Sarah (he was in his forty-first year), ‘on record.’ ‘He looked very young, and wearing his own hair made him appear more so, which the Queen observing, obliged him to cut it 131off, remarking, it would be said she had given the Seals to a boy.’

It was about this time he contracted his second marriage; he had sorely mourned for the death of his wife Judith, and her child, but the charms of a fair client had made a deep impression on his heart. Mary, daughter of John Clavering, Esq. of Chopwell, county Durham (a gentleman of Tory principles), was handsome, as we see from Kneller’s portrait—sensible, and intelligent, as we gather from her charming diary.

The marriage was at first kept secret, which seems unaccountable, as the lady was well born, well bred, and of great personal charms. But she herself gives us a clue to the mystery. The Lord Keeper was still young, very handsome, in a high position, with every prospect of advancement, and the eyes of many a Court beauty were turned on him as a desirable match. We have enlarged on all the intrigues that were carried on to prevent his union with his ‘dear rogue’ (as he fondly calls her in one of his letters) in the notice of Lady Cowper; suffice it to say that the sequel proved how excellent had been his choice. But he did not allow domestic happiness to interfere with official duties. He set himself, with the advice of Lord Som̅ers, to bring about reforms on many points in the Court of Chancery, and, above all, he took a step which met with the highest approbation among all but the few, who aspired to the dignity he had already attained; he abolished the custom of New Year’s gifts. For many years it had been expected of every person connected with the Court of Chancery to present the Lord Keeper or Lord Chancellor with gifts of provisions and wine. But latterly money had been substituted for these minor donations, and hundreds, and sometimes thousands, had been presented to the great official on the 1st of January.

132Lady Cowper tells us a laughable story of Lord Chancellor Nottingham (who spoke with a lisp). He used to stand by his table on New Year’s Day, for the better reception of the moneys, and every time he laid a fresh sum on the table he cried aloud, ‘O tyrant cuthtom!’

But before the advent of the year 1706, the Lord Keeper had it intimated to all those whom it might concern that the practice was abolished, having first, as (he considered) in duty bound, apprised the Prime Minister, Lord Godolphin, of his intention. In spite of his prohibition, some gifts appeared on the day in question, which were refused. He says in his Diary: ‘New Year’s gifts turned back. I pray God it do me more good than hurt.’

Now Lord Campbell, while praising the Lord Keeper’s magnanimity, accuses him of wanting the courage of his opinions; and, finding he had raised a storm amongst all the heads of all the departments that had benefited by this ‘tyrant custom’ of present-giving, implied he had done it in part unintentionally. If this be so, we know at least, and that from his wife’s diary, that on his second assumption of office, he adhered to his determination; for,—as to the people who presented these gifts, ‘it looked like insinuating themselves into the favour of the Court; and if it was not bribery, it looked too like it.’

Of the Lord Keeper’s disinterestedness in money matters, and his liberality, especially where men of talent were concerned, there can be no doubt. Colley Cibber tells us that when Sir Richard Steele’s patent as Governor of the Theatre Royal passed the Great Seal, Lord Cowper steadily refused all fees.

‘Cowper managed the Court of Chancery with impartial justice and great despatch, and was very useful in the House of Lords in the promotion of business.’ So far Burnet’s testimony. He was chosen one of the Lords Commissioners 133for England on the occasion of the Union with Scotland, and, being next in rank to the Archbishop of Canterbury (who did not attend), he occupied a most prominent post at the daily conferences. Lord Campbell tells us that, by his insight into character, and his conciliatory manners, he succeeded wonderfully in soothing Caledonian pride and in quieting Presbyterian jealousy. He regained his seat at Hertford in spite (as he thought, at least) of Lord Harley’s machinations; for between him and that Minister there was no love lost, although Harley had an exalted opinion of the Lord Keeper’s abilities. He was at this time in the Queen’s confidence, who sent for him one day to her closet, in order to consult him on the choice of a Chief Baron for Ireland. ‘I observed it was difficult to find a fit man; but it was obviously the interest of England to send over as many magistrates as it was possible from hence, being the best means to preserve the dependency of that country on England.’ The Queen said she understood that they had a mind to be independent if they could, but that they should not. Verily ‘l’histoire se rêpête de jour en jour.’ He was now raised to the peerage as Baron Cowper of Wingham, county Kent, and was deputed to offer the thanks of Parliament to his friend, the Duke of Marlborough, for his late victory at Ramilies.

The Act of Union appointed there should be one Great Seal for the United Kingdom, although a Seal should still be kept in Scotland for things appertaining to private right, and Lord Cowper was declared by the Queen in Council to be the first Lord Chancellor of Great Britain.

This was in May 1707. In the general election of 1708 the Whigs gained a decided majority, and Cowper’s enemy, Harley, retired; while his friend, Lord Som̅ers, was made President of the Council. Shortly after the famous trial of Dr. Sacheverell, at which the Lord Chancellor presided, the 134Whig Ministry resigned, and the Tories returned to power. Every endeavour was made by Harley and the Queen herself to induce Lord Cowper to retain office. He was subjected to the greatest importunity, in spite of his repeated refusals, and his repugnance ‘to survive his colleagues.’

He was actually followed down to Cole Green, ‘my place in Hertfordshire (where I had gone to visit my wife, who had lately lain in),’ by emissaries of the new Minister, and when he waited on her Majesty to resign the Seal in person, the Queen persisted in her refusal to receive it, and forced Lord Cowper to ‘take it away and think the matter over till the morrow.’ He returned unaltered in his decision, and Lord Campbell, from whom we quote so largely, says ‘he withdrew from her presence, carrying with him, what was far more precious than this badge of office, the consciousness of having acted honourably.’ Lord Cowper now sought quiet in his country house, but even here he was assailed by Swift’s abuse, and subjected to stormy visits from the Duchess of Marlborough, who came there more especially to vent her spleen by abuse of Queen Anne. Now Lord Cowper had opposed the Duke of Marlborough on more than one point when he considered his ambition overweening, but he was sincerely attached both to him and to his wife, and when the Duke and Duchess were attacked, their faithful friend raised his voice and pen in behalf of these ex-favourites. Lord Som̅ers was growing infirm, and Lord Cowper now led the Opposition in the House of Lords, where the Queen said she hoped he would still serve her. He replied he would act in the same manner as he would have done had he continued in the same office, to which her kindness had appointed him; and he kept his word.

He strove hard to deter his Royal mistress from what many in that day considered an unconstitutional proceeding, namely the creation of Peers for the special purpose of carrying a measure or strengthening a party—at least, so we gather from 135the Queen’s remark, ‘He was pleased to say to me he considered the House of Lords full enough!’ in spite of which remark twelve new peers of Tory tendencies took their seats a few days afterwards, who were facetiously asked if they would vote by their foreman. Lord Cowper never let an opportunity pass of paying a tribute to his aged friend, Lord Som̅ers; and we find a well-timed and two-sided compliment to Sir Isaac Newton, appointed by that nobleman to the Mastership of the Mint. Lord Cowper thanked the great philosopher for one of his scientific works written in Latin, and goes on to say, ‘I find you have taken occasion to do justice to that truly great man, my Lord Som̅ers, but give me leave to say the other parts of the book which do not appear to concern him are a lasting instance, among many others, to his clear judgment in recommending the fittest man in the whole kingdom to that employment.’ It was about this time that the feud between Oxford (Harley) and Bolingbroke (St. John) was at its height, the former still continuing his overtures to Cowper to coalesce, when the Gordian knot was cut asunder by the shears of Atropos. The Queen’s dangerous illness was announced, and the Treasurer’s staff wrested from Oxford’s grasp, and consigned by the dying sovereign into the hands of the Duke of Shrewsbury, who burst into the Cabinet while sitting, accompanied by the Duke of Argyll, with the important news that Oxford was dismissed, and Bolingbroke called upon to form a Ministry. Great confusion prevailed; all Privy Councillors were summoned to attend, and Lords Cowper and Som̅ers (both fast friends to the Hanoverian succession) repaired to Kensington Palace to make preparations for the reception of the new monarch—for Queen Anne had breathed her last.

On the accession of George I. Lords Justices were appointed by the Regency Act for the administration of the Government till the arrival of the King. The Whig Lords 136outnumbered the Tories, and Cowper was their guiding spirit. Their first measure was to name Joseph Addison secretary, and respecting this appointment a laughable story is told. Being directed to draw up an official statement of the death of Queen Anne, the great author was so deeply impressed with the responsibility of his situation, and so overwhelmed by a choice of words, that the Lords Justices lost all patience, and directed a common clerk to do the business. No change took place in the Government offices till the arrival of George from Hanover, with the exception of Lord Bolingbroke, ‘the Pretender’s friend,’ who was summarily dismissed. Lord Cowper, being one of those intrusted with this duty, and the recently appointed Treasurer, found the very doors of his office locked against him.

No sooner did George I. arrive from Hanover than the Whigs returned to power. Lord Cowper was summoned to the Royal presence, and the Great Seal once more intrusted to that worthy keeping.

‘The King was pleased to say he was satisfied with the character he had heard of me, and so I replied that I accepted the post with the utmost gratitude, and would serve his Majesty faithfully, and, as far as my health would allow, industriously.’

The Prince of Wales was in the outer room, and very cordial in his manner to the new Lord Chancellor.

On the 20th October 1714, the King was crowned, and Lord and Lady Cowper were both present. The lady had translated for the King’s benefit (seeing he knew no English) a memorial written by her lord, and entitled An Impartial History of Parties, decidedly in favour of Whig principles, which strengthened his Majesty’s predilection for his Chancellor; and indeed both husband and wife stood in high favour at Court, Lady Cowper having just been named Lady of the Bedchamber to the Princess of Wales. Now the King, although 137he had long looked forward to the possession of the English Crown, had never given himself the trouble to learn English, while Cowper had neither French nor German,—a circumstance which was productive of some difficulties in the new Parliament. The King’s ignorance and natural awkwardness were all the more distasteful to those who had been accustomed (we quote Lord Campbell’s words) ‘to the late Queen’s graceful delivery, scarcely excelled by what we ourselves so warmly admire.’

But could the voice of the last Queen-Regnant, though ‘it charmed all ears,’ rival for one moment those tones—to be heard, alas! so seldom now—which used to ring, clear and distinct as a silver bell, from one end of the House to the other, where the loud overstrained accents of angry men are so often inaudible?

In 1715 the Lord Chancellor acted as High Steward on the trial of the Jacobite Lords, ‘much,’ says Lady Cowper, ‘to my husband’s vexation and mine.’

Lord Winton, one of the prisoners, tried the Lord Steward’s patience so sorely by frivolous delays and impediments to the despatch of business, that Cowper, forgetting his usual equanimity, answered with some harshness, upon which Winton cried out, ‘I hope, my Lords, we are not to have what in my country is called Cowper Justice; that is, hang a man first, and try him afterwards.’ The Lord Steward was too dignified to vouchsafe an answer, but the sally caused some unseemly merriment in Court, and the saying ‘Cowper Justice’ was often quoted in after days by his enemies. He presided on several State trials, that of the ex-Minister Harley, Earl of Oxford, and others. About this period of his career a charge was brought against him of unfairness in the appointment and dismissal of magistrates, but his faithful secretary and expounder, Mary Cowper, came once more to his aid by translating his vindication for the King’s perusal. He writes to her on the subject—

138‘My dear, here is the postscript which I hope may soon be turned into French. I am glad to hear that you are well, which upon tryall I find myself too. Dear Rogue, yours ever and always.’

The proceedings were stopped, but the days of Cowper’s public life were numbered. Many intrigues had been at work among his political opponents, to induce, worry, or persuade the Lord Chancellor to vacate the Woolsack, but his wife’s diary lets us completely behind the scenes. She says, ‘My Lord fell ill again, which occasioned a report that he was about to resign; some said he had not health to keep in, others that the Lords of the Cabinet Council were jealous of his great reputation, which was true, for they had resolved to put Chief-Justice Parkes in his place.’ The lady goes on to say that her ‘disputes and arguments were the chief reason of his staying in,’ and how she ‘took three weeks to prevail on her Lord to remain.’ But the friendship that existed between the Prince and Princess of Wales and Lord and Lady Cowper was very disadvantageous to the latter pair, as regarded the favour of the Sovereign, for at this juncture the Royal father and son were at daggers drawn, so that it was difficult for any one to keep friends with both sides. Doubtless worry and perplexity of all kinds tended to increase the indisposition of the Lord Chancellor, for his wife now gave up all idea of pressing him to remain in office. She told him ‘that if it were any pleasure to him she would retire into the country, and never repent the greatest sacrifice she could make.’ And unquestionably it appeared that it would have been a sacrifice, for Mary Cowper was eminently fitted for a Court life, although her patience and forbearance were often sorely tried, as we gather from her diary. It is almost impossible to avoid occasional repetition, as the notices of husband and wife are naturally interwoven, though we have endeavoured to disentangle them.

The Chancellor was beset with importunities to exchange 139his post for that of President of the Council. He replied he would resign if they found a better man to fill his place, but he would never change the duties of which he could acquit himself with honour for such as he could not perform at all—a resolution we strongly recommend to the consideration of more modern statesmen.

Lady Cowper’s Diary.—‘The Prince says, there is no one in whom he has any confidence but my husband, and the King says Lord Cowper and the Duke of Devonshire are the only two men he has found trustworthy in the kingdom!’ But for all that, there seems little doubt that his Majesty, to whose ear birds of the air carried every matter, was not best pleased with the constant allusions made in conversation between the Prince of Wales and the Lord Chancellor to a future time, and all that was then to be done, when another head would wear the crown. Lord Cowper, writing to his wife from Hertfordshire, excuses himself for not attending Court, ‘as my vacations are so short, and the children require the presence of one parent at least; your sister is prudent, but they do not stand in awe of her, and there was no living till the birch was planted in my room.’—September 1716. The opposition which Lord Cowper offered to a proposed Bill, the passing of which would have made the Prince dependent on his father for income, put the finishing touch to his unpopularity with George I., although the Lord Chancellor wrote a letter (in Latin, the only language they understood in common) to his Majesty, to explain his views.

On the 15th April 1718, Lord Cowper resigned the Great Seal at the same time that he kissed hands on his elevation to an earldom. We cannot resist inserting in this place a tribute which was paid the Minister, though it was not published till after his death: ‘His resignation was a great grief to the well affected, and to dispassionate men of both parties, who knew that by his wisdom and moderation he had gained abundance 140of friends for the King; brought the clergy into better temper, and hindered hot, over-zealous spirits from running things into dangerous extremes.’ This, be it remembered, was written of one who had gone to his account, of no living patron who could benefit the writer. He now retired to his house at Cole Green, and busied himself in improving and beautifying his gardens and pleasure-grounds. Here he received many congratulations on being (as a protégé of his, one Hughes, a poet, expresses it) ‘eased of the fatigue and burthen of office.’

But, though Lord Cowper had felt the strife and contention of parties to be most irksome, yet he was so accustomed to official life, that he continued to take a deep interest in all the measures that were brought before the country. He strenuously supported the Test and Corporation Acts, and as vigorously opposed Lord Sunderland’s famous Peerage Bill, which proposed that the existing number of English Peers should never be increased, with exception in favour of Princes of the blood-royal, that for every extinction there should be a new creation; and, instead of sixteen elective Scotch Peers, the King should name twenty-five to be hereditary. A glance at the works of Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster King-at-Arms, and his collaborateurs, will be the best proof that Sunderland’s Bill was thrown out. Amongst those who were the most violent in the denunciation of this measure, were the wives and daughters of members in the House of Commons, who were supposed to have been instrumental (as we may believe from more recent experience) in influencing the votes of their relatives. We mention this circumstance as bearing in some degree on our subject. In the beginning of 1722 an incident occurred which was differently construed by the admirers and detractors of the ex-Chancellor.

On the 3d February, the House of Lords having assembled, the absence of the reigning Lord Chancellor, as likewise that of the Lord Chief-Justice, was remarked, and much difficulty 141arose as to the proceeding of the House. Lord Cowper, most indignant at the defalcation of his successor, moved that the Duke of Somerset, the peer of highest rank present, should occupy the Woolsack, and, on his refusal, further proposed that course to the Duke of Kingston and Lord Lechmere; but the discussion was put an end to by the arrival of the Chancellor, in most undignified and hot haste, full of excuses of having been detained by his Majesty, and of apologies to their Lordships for having kept them waiting. Lord Cowper, and several of his way of thinking, were not so easily appeased, and one of them moved that the House, to show its indignation, should adjourn till Monday next without transacting any further business. The motion was negatived, but Lord Cowper and his friends signed a protest, which went to say, that the excuses which had been alleged seemed inadequate to justify the indignity offered to the House,—‘undoubtedly the greatest council in the kingdom, to which all other councils should give way, and therefore no other business ought to have detained the Chancellor,’ etc.; ‘also, we venture to say, the dignity of this House has not of late years been increasing, so we are unwilling that anything that we consider to be a gross neglect of it should pass without some note on our records.’ We cannot help alluding to this curious circumstance, as it bears so strongly on the state of party feeling at the time, and of Lord Cowper’s individual feelings in particular.

The exiled Royal family had on several occasions applied to him for his support and assistance, and, although he had treated the communications with neglect and refusal, yet his enemies were industrious in setting rumours abroad prejudicial to the ex-Chancellor’s loyalty to the house of Hanover. Layer (afterwards executed for conspiracy) had brought in his name when examined before a Committee of the House of Commons, which was, for the most part, only too ready to listen to any slander against the ex-Minister.

142Lord Cowper entered a protest in the Parliamentary Journal, that the charges brought against him in this matter were false, ‘upon his honour,’ the usual oath of a Peer. He manfully opposed the Bill for the banishment of Bishop Atterbury, who was voted guilty of high treason without a hearing. ‘The alleged culprit,’ he says, ‘stands at your bar, and has never attempted to fly from justice. If there be legal evidence against him, let him be legally convicted; without legal evidence he must be wrongly condemned.’

After much more in the same forcible strain, he continues, ‘I can guess at no other advantage that the Church can derive from this Bill, except that it will cause a vacancy in the Deanery of Westminster and the See of Rochester.’

Lord Campbell quotes a saying of Lord Bathurst on the same debate, which is worth recording. He ‘could not account for the inveterate malice which some people bore to the learned and ingenious Bishop, unless possessed of the infatuation of the wild Indians, who believe they will not only inherit the spoils but also the abilities of the enemy they kill.’ But, in spite of eloquence and sarcasm, Bishop Atterbury was banished. Cowper’s last public act was to vote against Sir Robert Walpole’s Bill for the imposition of a heavy tax on the estates of the Roman Catholics. This proposed injustice he strenuously opposed, one of his chief arguments being as follows: ‘I beg your Lordships to reflect if you are not yourselves injuring the Protestant cause, for Protestants might have severe hardships inflicted on them abroad, by reason of our persecution of Roman Catholics at home.’

The remainder of his life was passed between Cole Green and London. As we have before observed, he superintended the management of his estate, presided over the education of his children, and enjoyed the society of his friends; but his letters go to prove that the interest he still took in public affairs preponderated over that he felt in the pursuits of a country 143life. He was too often deprived of the consolation of his wife’s presence in his Hertfordshire home, in consequence of her close attendance on the Princess of Wales. He writes to her most affectionately, and gives her excellent advice, such as, ‘If you discern that any at your Court are sowing seeds that will raise strife, I hope you will do your best to root ‘em out; and when you have so done your duty, you will have more reason to be unconcerned at the event, if it should be unfortunate. Though, when you have done so well, I would not have you so much as hope that there are not some who will represent you as an intolerable mischief-maker. I thank you for your endearing and, I depend, very sincere expressions; but, considering all things, I think it is but reasonable that you should find something more satisfactory in a Court than you can in the home of a retired Minister—who, you know, is always a peevish creature—and so solitary a place. The Attorney-General puts me in mind of the choice by which they generally try idiots: it is to see if they will choose an apple before a piece of gold. It is cruel to tantalise a poor country man with the life of state and pleasure you describe. I could be content as I am if I did not hear of such fine doings.’

He thinks the best way, ‘since we neither beat nor fine our servants, is to make them so content that they will fear being turned away. John’s drunkenness seems a tertian, having one sober day between two drunken ones. On Friday it proved quotidian.’ He finds ‘the country pleasant,’ but it dulls him, and he takes an aversion to all but the little ones of the place. The last letter he ever wrote to his wife was dated from London, she being at Cole Green, one week before his death—the fine handwriting, much impaired. He complains to his dearest Mary, ‘that man and wife cannot correspond with innocent and proper freedom, without its being a diversion to a third person,’ and he signs himself, 144after promising to be with her soon, ‘yours with perfect affection.’ He returned home on the day appointed, but he had caught cold on his journey thither, and was seized with an alarming illness. Happily his wife was by his bedside to minister to his necessities, with all the tenderness of devoted affection; his children, too, whom he so much loved, were with him. When told that he had not long to live, Lord Cowper listened calmly, and his death was composed and peaceful. He was buried in the parish church of Hertingfordbury, but no tablet marks the last resting-place of William, Earl Cowper, first Lord Chancellor of Great Britain.

Lord Campbell, in the interesting Life from which we have so largely quoted, speaks of those who praised him and those who maligned him. Swift, who had no call to be severe in matters of morality, and his friend Mrs. Manley, had been very instrumental in promulgating the slander respecting a clandestine marriage between Cowper and the young lady of whom he was guardian,—a charge which was so often repeated that it gained credit among some of his political enemies, at least, who gave him the nickname of ‘Will Bigamy.’

The great Voltaire, in his Philosophical Dictionary, does not disdain to assure his readers that the English Lord Chancellor not only practised, but wrote a pamphlet in favour of, polygamy! ‘Il est public en Angleterre, et on voudroit le nier en vain, que le Chancellier Cowper, épousa deux femmes, qui vécurent ensemble dans sa maison, avec une concorde singulière, qui fit honneur à tous les trois.’ This was one of the observations made by the great French philosopher, when he was so obliging as to come over for the purpose of studying our manners and customs; but Lord Cowper was rich in panegyrists both in prose and verse—the latter effusions, to our taste, too stilted and artificial, for the most part, to be worthy of insertion; but a passage 145from a paper in the Spectator is a graceful and characteristic tribute to his many gifts:—

‘It is Lord Cowper’s good fortune ever to please and to be pleased; wherever he comes, to be admired, or is absent, to be lamented. His merit fares like the pictures of Raphael, which are seen with admiration, or at least no one dare own he has no taste for a composition which has received so universal an applause. It is below him to catch the sight by any care of dress; he is always the principal figure in the room. He first engages your sight, as if there were stronger light ‘upon him than on any other person. Nothing can equal the pleasure of hearing him speak but the satisfaction one receives in the civility and attention he pays to the discourse of others.’ So far the Spectator: his character, drawn in the Historical Register, speaks in the most glowing terms of his eminence as a lawyer, civilian, and statesman, and winds up with these words: ‘a manly and flowing eloquence, a clear, sonorous voice, a gracious aspect, and an easy address; in a word, all that is necessary to form a complete orator.’

The Duke Wharton, speaking of him in his official capacity, says, ‘He had scarcely presided in that high station for one year before the scales became even, with the universal approbation of both parties.’ Lord Chesterfield, although there was a little sting mixed with the praise, records ‘his purity of style, his charm of elocution, and gracefulness of action. The ears and eyes gave him up the hearts and understandings of his audience.’ We would merely add that if to any reader of these pages such praise should appear in any way exaggerated, we must remind them they were all written after there was no more to be hoped from the gratified vanity of Lord Cowper. His trust and humility as a Christian are testified by an entry in his Diary, on his appointment as Lord Keeper: ‘During these great honours done me, I often reflected on the uncertainty of them, and even of life itself. I searched my 146heart, and found no pride and self-conceit in it; and I begged God that He would preserve my mind from relying on the transient vanity of the world, and teach me to depend only on His providence, that I should not be lifted up by present success, or dejected when the reverse should happen. And verily, I believe, I was helped by His Holy Spirit.’

When the reverse did come, he added, ‘Glory be to God, who has sustained me in adversity, and carried me through the malice of my enemies, so that all designed for my hurt turned to my advantage.’ It is evident that Lord Cowper, although he loved the exercise of those public offices for which he was so well fitted, knew how to retire into private life with dignity and composure. One short anecdote, and we have done. It so happened that Richard Cromwell, in his old age, had to undergo an examination in Westminster Hall, at a moment when the name of the ex-Protector’s family was execrated through the kingdom. The Lord Chancellor treated the fallen dignitary with more than common respect, and courteously ordered a chair to be placed for him,—treatment which contrasted with that experienced by Richard when driven from the door of the House of Lords with insults as one of the common mob, exclaiming as he went, ‘The last time I was here I sat upon the throne!’

Lord Cowper had gained the good fortune he deserved; he built a house at Cole Green, and made a collection of pictures which forms part of the splendid gallery now at Panshanger. His London houses were situated in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and Great George Street. He had also a lodging at Kensington,—‘the roads about that distant spot being,’ we are assured, ‘so secure, that there was no danger in travelling thence to London at night.’

147No. 12.

Blue coat. Red waistcoat.
BORN 1709, DIED 1764.

ARRIED in 1732 Lady Henrietta, daughter and co-heir of Henry de Nassau d’Auverquerque (Overkirche), Earl of Grantham. She was the sole surviving descendant of the legitimised offspring of Maurice, Prince of Orange, Stadtholder. In 1733 Earl Cowper was appointed Lord of the Bedchamber, a post he afterwards resigned; subsequently Lord Lieutenant, and Custos Rotulorum of the county of Hertford. He assumed the prefix of Clavering to that of Cowper, in pursuance of his uncle’s will. By his first wife Lord Cowper had one son, and one daughter; by his second wife, Caroline Georgiana, daughter of the Earl Granville, widow of the Honourable John Spencer, he had no children. He was buried at Hertingfordbury, and succeeded by his only son.

148No. 13.

Red dress. Light-coloured cap.
BORN 1738, DIED 1789.
By Raphael Mengs (?).

LDEST son of the second Earl Cowper by Lady Henrietta, youngest daughter and co-heir of Henry d’Auverquerque, Earl of Grantham. King George II., the Duke of Grafton, and Princess Amelia stood in person as sponsors at his baptism. In 1754 he came into a large fortune on the death of the aforesaid Earl of Grantham, and in 1759 was elected M.P. for the town of Hertford. While his father was yet alive, Lord Fordwich (as he then was) went on his travels, and, arriving at Florence, fell in love with that beautiful city, and with one of its beautiful citizens, the Princess Corsi. The lady was married, or the young lord would doubtless have carried her to England as his wife, and thus escaped the blame, cast upon him by Horace Walpole, of disobeying the summons of his dying father in 1764. So delighted was George, Lord Cowper, with his sojourn in Florence, which he had originally visited with the intention of passing a short time there, that he remained within its charmed walls for upwards of thirty years. He outlived his infatuation for the fair Florentine, and married, in 1775, Anna, daughter of Charles Gore, a gentleman at that time residing in Florence with his family, who was said to have been the original of Goethe’s travelled Englishman in Wilhelm Meister. Lord Cowper was most desirous of obtaining 149permission to add the royal surname of Nassau to his own patronymic, on the plea that he was one of the representatives of the Earl of Grantham (an extinct title); but there were many difficulties in the way, and while the matter was pending he received a high mark of distinction from the Emperor of Austria, through the instrumentality of his Imperial Majesty’s brother, Peter Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, at whose Court Lord and Lady Cowper (but especially the latter) stood in high favour. This was the grant of a patent to Lord Cowper, which bestowed on him the rank of a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire. That arch-gossip, but most amusing letter-writer, Horace Walpole, in his correspondence with his friend Sir Horace Mann, British Envoy at Florence, takes a most unaccountable interest in the private concerns and aspirations of Lord Cowper, and thus animadverts on the subject of his foreign names and titles: ‘There is another hitch in the great Nassau question. The objection is now started, that he must not bear that name with the title of Prince. The Emperor thought he had hit on a clever compromise for his protégé, by giving up the name of Nassau, and substituting that of Auverquerque. But my Lord’s cousins object to that also, so now he is reduced to plain Prince Cowper, for which honour he has to pay £500.’

Again: ‘I do not think either the Emperor or Lord Cowper knows what he is about. Surely an English peer, with substantial dignity in his own country, is more dignified than a man residing in another country, and endowed with a nominal principality in a third!’

Again: ‘I believe both Emperor and Prince begin to regret the step. The Imperial diploma dubs him Highness, but he himself will not allow any one to address him in any other way than Lord Cowper.’

It was not very long after their marriage that Horace Walpole glances at the report of a possible separation between 150Lord and Lady Cowper, but without assigning any reason. There can be little doubt that the union was not a happy one, for, whatever other ground of complaint the husband might have had, Lady Cowper was of a quarrelsome and unconciliatory disposition, and her sister, who lived with the family at Florence, seems, by all accounts, to have been far the more amiable of the two. Miss Berry alludes to a visit she paid her compatriots at Lord Cowper’s house in Florence, ‘where you have the best of society, both native and foreign, and where all the English (in particular) are desirous of obtaining an introduction.’ She goes on to describe the house as ‘fitted up in a peculiar manner: one room as a museum, another as a laboratory, a third a workshop; in fact, too many to enumerate.’ He was evidently a man of very versatile tastes, and one who had many irons in the fire at the same moment. In 1781 Horace Walpole, alluding to the fact that the three Cowper boys had been sent over to England for their education, says, ‘It is astonishing that neither parent nor child can bring your principal Earl from that specific spot,—but we are a lunatic nation.’ Another letter speaks of a vacant green ribbon, and the possibility it might be given to Lord Cowper, if he were on the spot; ‘but he won’t come. I do allow him a place in the Tribune at Florence. An English earl, who has never seen his earldom, and takes root and has fruit at Florence, and is proud of his pinchbeck principality in a third country, is as great a curiosity as any in the Tuscan Collection.’

Lord Cowper did go to England at last, and Walpole owns to his going to a concert at Mrs. Cosway’s—‘out of curiosity, not to hear an Italian singer sing one song, at the extravagant sum of £10—the same whom I have heard half a dozen times at the opera-house for as many shillings—but to see an English earl, who had passed thirty years at Florence, and thought so much of his silly title, and his order from Würtemberg! You know, he really imagined he was to 151take precedence of all the English dukes, and now he has tumbled down into a tinsel titularity. I only meant to amuse my eyes, but Mr. Durens brought the personage up, and presented us to each other. He answered very well, to my idea, for I should have taken his Highness for a Doge of Genoa. He has the awkward dignity of a temporary representative of a nominal power. I wonder his Highness does not desire the Pope to make one of his sons a bishop in partibus infidelium, and that Miss Anne Pitt does not request his Holiness to create her Principessa Fossani.’

It is inconsistent with the character of Horace Walpole, who did not disdain rank or titles, and who was by no means insensible to the charm of decorations—whether of walls or button-holes—to inveigh so harshly against a dignity which entitles the owner to the privilege, dear in heraldic eyes, of bearing his paternal coat on the breast of the Imperial Eagle.

England could not long detain Lord Cowper from the country of his adoption. He returned to Florence, where he died in 1789. The greater part of the Italian pictures in this beautiful collection was purchased by the third Lord Cowper, who was a true lover of art, and who was reduced to great difficulties, on more than one occasion, in conveying his pictures out of Florence, the inhabitants of that city being averse to parting with such treasures. One of the most valuable is said to have been concealed in the lining of his travelling carriage, when he went to England.

152No. 14.

Peer’s Parliamentary robes. Powder.
BORN 1776, DIED 1799.
By Jackson.

ORN at Florence, Sir Horace Mann stood proxy as godfather for the King of England at the boy’s baptism, and Sir Horace Walpole writes to the Minister giving him information on some especial points of etiquette to be observed on the occasion. Lord Cowper died suddenly. He was unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother, Peter Leopold.

No. 15.

In Peer’s Parliamentary robes
BORN 1778, DIED 1837.
By Northcote.

E was the second son of the third Earl, born at Florence, godson to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, married, in 1805, Emily, only daughter of Peniston Lamb, first Viscount Melbourne (afterwards Viscountess Palmerston), by whom he had three sons,—George, his successor, William, and Spencer, and two daughters, the Countess of Shaftesbury and Viscountess Jocelyn. He succeeded 153his brother. Lord Campbell, in his Lives of the Chancellors, concludes his notice of the first Earl Cowper with a sincere tribute of admiration to Peter Leopold, the fifth earl:—

‘He had too much delicacy of sentiment to take a leading part in public life, but to the most exquisitely pleasing manners he joined a manly understanding and a playful wit. From him I received kind and encouraging notice when I was poor and obscure; and his benevolent and exhilarating smile is one of the most delightful images in my memory of pleasures to return no more.’

No. 16.

The Count and Countess are seated side by side in a large vestibule; he is richly dressed, and wears the collar of the Golden Fleece; a dog at his feet. On the lap of the Countess lies a small spaniel, and at her side leans her son, in a red dress. Three daughters, in different-coloured frocks, stand together; the eldest holds a rose.

BORN 1583, DIED 1638.
By Vandyck.

E was surnamed the Junior, son of Count John of Nassau Siegen by his wife, Margaret de Waldeck. He began public life in the service of the Archbishop of Cologne, and afterwards entered that of the United Provinces, in which he fought against Spain. But the Count considered that he was slighted, and his merits not duly appreciated by the Government, and in 154disgust he renounced the Protestant faith in 1609 (or 1613), at the Hague, where he published an explanation of the motives which led him to embrace the tenets of the Church of Rome. He moreover transferred his military services to the Emperor of Germany, Ferdinand II., the sworn enemy of the Protestants, the adversary of the unfortunate King of Bohemia, of Gustavus Adolphus, and all the heroes of the Reformed religion in the early part of the Thirty Years’ War. In 1620, when the Stadtholder, Frederic Henry, was besieging Bois-le-Duc, the Count of Nassau Siegen (his kinsman) invaded Holland at the head of eight or ten thousand men, and took the town of Amersfoort. The following year, in command of a small army, he encamped in the neighbourhood of Rynberg, and did all in his power to prevent his brother William from crossing the Rhine between Broek and Orsoy. In this attempt he was defeated, wounded, and carried prisoner to Wesel, where, we are told, his brother frequently visited him during his captivity. When his wounds were cured, Count John purchased his freedom with the sum of ten thousand rixdollars; but he narrowly escaped being taken prisoner a second time, in a naval engagement with the Spaniards. This was at Mosselkreek (the Creek of Mussels), where his vessels were stranded, and he lost a considerable number of men. The Dutch on this occasion gave him the derisive title of Mussulman. In 1637 he made an unsuccessful attempt to surprise Rynberg; and in 1638 death put an end to his adventurous, but by no means blameless, career.

It is impossible to look on Vandyck’s splendid picture without experiencing a feeling of profound regret that a brave and able soldier, a man of so imposing a presence, and so noble a bearing, should have renounced the faith for which numerous members of his family had fought and bled, and drawn his sword against his native land in the service of an 155alien sovereign. The proud order of the Golden Fleece which hangs round his neck seems but a poor distinction when we remember the circumstances by which it was obtained. In 1618 he had married Ernestine, daughter of Lamoral, Prince de Ligne, by whom he had one son and three daughters:—

John Francis Desideratus, Prince of Nassau Siegen, Knight of the Golden Fleece, and Spanish Governor of Guelderland in 1688. He had three wives: first, Johanna Claudia, daughter of John, Count of Köningseck, who died in 1664; second, Eleanor Sophia, daughter of Hermann Fortunatus, Margrave of Baden, who died in 1668; third, Isabella Clara Eugenia de la Serre, alias de Montant, ‘a noble lady.’ She died in 1714. Prince John of Nassau Siegen had eleven children. He died in 1690.

The three daughters represented in this family group were—

1. Ernestine, married to the Prince Maurice Henry, Hadawar.

2. Clara Mary, married first Albert Henry, Prince de Ligne, and afterwards Claudius Lamoral, his brother.

3. Lamberta Alberta, who died unmarried.



No. 1.

In armour, holding a truncheon. The other arm akimbo. Curtain.
BORN 1607, DIED 1676.

ORN at Flushing, of which town his father was a burgher. As a mere child Michael de Ruyter was determined to be a sailor, and gained the paternal consent that he should go to sea as cabin-boy when only eleven years of age. He rose quickly in his profession, was made a pilot when still very young for the post, and passed through the intermediate grades, till he gained the command of a vessel. In 1635 he made several campaigns in the East Indies, and in 1645 was sent as Vice-Admiral in command of a Dutch fleet to assist the Portuguese against the Spaniards. After two years’ retirement from service, De Ruyter engaged the Algerine corsairs off Sarley, and gained a complete victory. The Moors, who were spectators of the conflict, insisted on his entering the town in triumph, on a richly caparisoned horse, followed by a long retinue, including many of the captive pirates.

160These ‘plagues of the ocean,’ as they were justly termed, continued to give De Ruyter much annoyance, but he was usually successful in his encounters with them, and in one fierce combat he seized and hanged one of the most notoriously cruel and rapacious of these ‘buccaneer sea-dogs.’ In 1659 he was sent, by order of the States-General, to the assistance of Denmark against Sweden, an enterprise in which he distinguished himself greatly, and gained the gratitude of the King of Denmark, who complimented him highly, and granted him a pension. On his return home De Ruyter was received with great honour, and promoted. He then proceeded to the coast of Africa, to look after some Dutch colonies, of which England had taken possession. England and the United Provinces were now in constant collision, and the Dutch Admiral found a noble and well-matched foe in the gallant commander Prince Rupert, soldier, sailor, and artist. De Ruyter was afterwards joined in command with Van Tromp, a worthy colleague, but of no friendly spirit. During the time that negotiations were pending for peace with England, at Breda, De Ruyter resolved, so to speak, to hasten his opportunities; he therefore bore down on Sheerness, burned all the available shipping, and, continuing his work of destruction up the river Thames, approached too near London to be agreeable to the more peaceable portion of the citizens.

In 1671 he had sole command of his country’s fleet, against the combined forces of England (under the Duke of York) and France (under the Comte D’Estrées), and it is but just to record that he was frequently successful, but invariably brave. Indeed, the French Admiral wrote to Colbert, the Minister, at home, ‘I would lay down my life for the glory that De Ruyter has gained.’ In 1675 the Spaniards had recourse to their old enemies, the Dutch, to ask assistance for the inhabitants of Messina, against 161the French, and De Ruyter was despatched to Sicily for that purpose. A terrible sea-fight ensued, the French being commanded by Duquesne, a brave and efficient officer; many vessels were sunk and destroyed on both sides, and the carnage was terrible.

At the commencement of the action the gallant De Ruyter had his left foot carried away, and a few moments afterwards his right leg was shattered by a shell. Writhing with pain, and covered with blood, the brave sailor remained on deck, and issued his orders, even to the bitter end of the battle. It was only when he became aware that five of his vessels, including his own, were about to fall into the hands of the enemy, that he could be prevailed upon to give the word for retreat. Favoured by the approaching darkness, he made the port of Syracuse, and in that town he died of his wounds. His heart was carried to Amsterdam, where the States-General caused a noble mausoleum to be erected to the memory of this brave and patriotic commander. His name is still venerated in his native country.

The King of Spain sent De Ruyter the title of Duke, but the patent did not arrive till after his death, and his children wisely refrained from pressing any claim to rank, which would have been incongruous in a Republic; and they were more proud of their father’s simple name than of any foreign and alien dignity. Louis XIV. expressed his regret for the death of this brave commander in public, and when reminded that he had lost a dangerous enemy, he replied generously, ‘I always mourn the death of a great and brave man.’ A medal was struck in honour of Admiral de Ruyter, and the following distich was written on his name:—

‘Terruit Hispanos Ruyter, ter terruit Anglos,
Ter ruit Gallos, territus ipse ruit.’
It will not be necessary that the reader should be a scholar 162to enable her to perceive the anagrammatic and punning nature of these lines, but we subjoin a very ingenious rendering of the same, done into English by a friend in what he terms ‘a free-and-easy translation’—

‘Ruyter thrice the Spaniards routed,
Daunted thrice the British foe,
Thrice o’ercame the Gallic squadrons,
Struck his flag, and went below.’
No. 2.

In armour. His hand resting on a black and white dog. Helmet lying on the table.
DIED 1702.
By Wissing.

E was the son of William of Nassau, Prince of Orange (and grandson of Henry Frederic, the Stadtholder), by Princess Mary, daughter of Charles I. of England. He married, in 1677, Mary, daughter of James II., and in 1688 came over to England, and ascended the throne as King Consort. He left no children.


Fawn-coloured Chancellor’s robes. Wig. Sitting in an arm-chair.
BORN 1621, DIED 1683.
By Greenhill.

ON of Sir John Cooper of Rockbourne, county Hants, by Anne, daughter and sole heir of Sir Anthony Ashley, Bart., of Wimborne St. Giles, county Dorset, where the future Chancellor was born.

In his Autobiography he describes his mother of ‘low stature,’ as was also the aforesaid Sir Anthony, ‘a large mind, but his person of the lowest,’ while his own father was ‘lovely and graceful in mind and person, neither too high nor too low,’ therefore the pigmy body of which Dryden speaks must have been inherited from the maternal side.

Sir Anthony was delighted with his grandson; and although at the time of the infant’s birth the septuagenarian was on the point of espousing a young wife, his affection was in nowise diminished for his daughter, or her boy.

Lady Cooper and her father died within six months of each other. Sir John married again, a daughter of Sir Charles Morrison, of Cassiobury, county Herts, by whom he had several children. He died in 1631, leaving the little Anthony bereft of both parents, with large but much-encumbered estates, and lawsuits pending.

164Many of his own relations being most inimical to his interests, Anthony went with his brother and sister to reside with Sir Daniel Norton, one of his trustees, who—we once more quote the Autobiography—‘took me to London, thinking my presence might work some compassion on those who ought to have been my friends.’

He refers to the suit in which they were now engaged. The boy must have had a winning way with him (as the old saying goes), for, when only thirteen, he went of his own accord to Noy, the Solicitor-General, and entreated his assistance as the friend of his grandfather. Noy was deeply touched, took up the case warmly, and gained one suit in the Court of Wards, stoutly refusing to take any fee whatever.

After Sir Daniel Norton’s death, Anthony went to live with an uncle, Mr. Tooker, near Salisbury, though it was supposed Lady Norton would gladly have kept him under her roof, with a view to a match with one of her daughters. He says himself: ‘Had it not been for the state of my litigious fortune, the young lady’s sweet disposition had made me look no farther for a wife.’

In 1637 he went to Exeter College, Oxford, where he ‘made such rapid strides in learning as to be accounted the most prodigious youth in the whole University.’ By his own showing, he was popular with his companions and well satisfied with himself,—indeed, a general spirit of self-complacency pervades these pages. In little more than a year he went to Lincoln’s Inn, where he appears to have found the theatres, fencing galleries, and the like, more to his taste than the study of the law.

An astrologer who was in old Sir Anthony’s house at the time of the grandson’s birth cast the horoscope, and to the fulfilment of these predictions may probably be attributed young Anthony’s own predilection for the study of astrology in later days. The horoscope in question foreboded feuds 165and trouble at an early age; and some years afterwards the same magician, foreseeing through the medium of the planets that a certain Miss Roberts (a neighbour without any apparent prospect of wealth) would become a great heiress, he endeavoured to persuade his pupil to marry her. The lady did eventually come into a considerable fortune; but Mr. Tooker, who was not over-credulous, had other views at the time for his nephew; and accordingly, at eighteen, Ashley Cooper became the husband of Margaret, the daughter of my Lord Keeper Coventry, ‘a woman of excellent beauty and incomparable gifts.’

The young couple resided with the bride’s father in London, Sir Anthony, as he now was, paying flying visits to Dorsetshire. He was subject to fits, but even this infirmity redounded to his advantage, according to his own version; how that being in Gloucestershire on one occasion, and taken suddenly ill, ‘the women admired his courage and patience under suffering,’ and he contrived to ingratiate himself with the electors of Tewkesbury to some purpose.

He gives us an amusing and characteristic description of how he won the favour of the electors and bailiffs of this town by his conduct at a public dinner, where he and a certain Sir Henry Spiller were guests, and sat opposite each other. The knight, a crafty, perverse, rich man, a Privy Councillor, had rendered himself very obnoxious in the hunting-field, and, at the banquet aforementioned, began the dinner with all the affronts and dislikes he could possibly put on the bailiffs and their entertainment, which enraged and disgusted them, and this rough raillery he continued. ‘At length I thought it my duty to defend the cause of those whose bread I was eating, which I did with so good success, sparing not the bitterest retorts, that I had a complete victory. This gained the townsmen’s hearts, and their wives’ to boot. I was made free of the town, and at the next Parliament (though absent at the 166time), was chosen burgess by an unanimous vote, and that without a penny charge.’

Sir Anthony had strange humours: he loved a frolic dearly. He had a confidential servant who resembled him so much that, when dressed in his master’s left-offs, the lackey was often mistaken for his better. This worthy was a clever man-milliner, and had many small accomplishments which made him popular in country houses, and his master confesses that he often listened to the valet’s gossip, and made use of it, in the exercise of palmistry and fortune-telling, which produced great jollity, and ‘of which I did not make so bad a use as many would have done.’ With this account he finishes the record of his youth. A time of business followed, ‘and the rest of my life is not without great mixture of public concerns, and intermingled with the history of the times.’

Sir Anthony sat for Tewkesbury in 1639, but that Parliament was hastily dissolved. He raised a regiment of horse for the King’s service, and occupied places of trust in his own county; but, believing himself unjustly treated and slighted by the Court, he listened to the overtures of the Parliament, and returned to Dorsetshire as colonel of a regiment in their army.

In 1649 he lost the wife he dearly loved, to whose memory he pays a most touching tribute in his Diary. But she left no living child, and before the expiration of the year the widower had espoused Lady Frances Cecil, daughter of the Earl of Exeter, a Royalist.

The friendship of the Protector and Sir Anthony was of a most fitful and spasmodic nature,—now fast allies, now at daggers drawn. Some writers affirm that, on the death of his second wife, he asked the hand of one of Cromwell’s daughters; others, that he advised the Protector to assume the Crown, who offered it to him in turn!

He held many appointments under the reigning Government, 167and continued to sit in Parliament; but having, with many other Members, withstood the encroachments of the great man, Oliver endeavoured to prevent his return, and, not being able to do so, forbade him to enter the House of Commons. (See the history of the times.) The Members, with Ashley Cooper at their head, insisted on re-admittance. Again ousted, again admitted; nothing but quarrels and reconciliations. The fact was, that Sir Anthony was too great a card to lose hold of entirely. He had still a commission in the Parliamentary army, and a seat at the Privy Council, circumstances that in nowise prevented him carrying on a correspondence with the King ‘over the water.’ Indeed, he was accused of levying men for the Royal service; arrested, acquitted; sat again in Parliament under Richard Cromwell, joined the Presbyterian party to bring back Charles, and when the Parliament declared for the King, Sir Anthony was one of the twelve Members sent over to Breda to invite his return. While in Holland, Ashley Cooper had a fall from his carriage, and a narrow escape of being killed. Clarendon (there was no love lost between them) says it was hoped that by his alliance (as his third wife) with a daughter of Lord Spencer of Wormleighton, a niece of the Earl of Southampton, ‘his slippery humour would be restrained by his uncle.’

He now took a leading part in politics, was appointed one of the Judges of the Regicides, created Baron Ashley at the Coronation, and afterwards became Chancellor of the Exchequer, Under-Treasurer, and further high offices, and in 1672 Lord Cooper of Pawlett, county Somerset, and Earl of Shaftesbury; and so quickly did honours rain on him, that the same year saw him Lord High Chancellor of England. He appears to have given great umbrage to many of the law officers by his haughty bearing. We are told ‘he was the gloriousest man alive; he said he would teach the bar that a man of sense was above all their forms; and that he was 168impatient to show them he was a superior judge to all who had ever sat before on the marble chair.’

He maddened the gentlemen of the long robe by his vagaries and innovations, and defiance of precedents. He wore an ash-coloured gown instead of the regulation black, assigning as his reason that black was distinctive of the barrister-at-law, and he had never been called to the bar.

He went to keep Hilary term ‘on a horse richly caparisoned, his grooms walking beside him,’ all his officers ordered to ride on horseback, ‘as in the olden time.’

No doubt the good Dorsetshire country gentleman, the lover of sport and of horse-flesh, who had been accused of regaling his four-footed favourites on wine and cheese-cakes, had a mischievous pleasure in seeing the uneasy and scared looks of his worshipful brethren, some of whom perhaps had never sat on a saddle till that day.

At all events, poor Judge Twisden was laid in the dust, and he swore roundly no Lord Chancellor should ever reduce him to such a plight again. Shaftesbury lived at this time in great pomp at Exeter House, in the Strand, and was in high favour with his Royal master, who visited him at Wimborne St. Giles during the Plague, when the Court was at Salisbury.

At Oxford, when Parliament sat, he made acquaintance with the celebrated John Locke, who afterwards became an inmate of his patron’s house, his tried friend, and medical adviser.

The situations of public employment which Shaftesbury obtained for this eminent man were, unfortunately, in the end, the source of difficulty and distress rather than advantage. The history of the Cabal, of which he was the mainspring, and of which he formed the fourth letter (Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, Lauderdale), would suffice for his biography during the five years of its life. But it must never 169be forgotten that to Shaftesbury England owes the passing of the Habeas Corpus Bill, as likewise one for making judges independent of the Crown.

The reader must seek elsewhere, and elect for himself, whether Shaftesbury was or was not guilty of all the plots and conspiracies against King and country of which he has been accused. To the Duke of York he made himself most obnoxious. He was instrumental in establishing the Test Act, which made Roman Catholics ineligible for public offices; he was, moreover, the champion of the Exclusion Bill, and opposed James’s marriage with Mary of Modena; and there is little doubt that the Duke did all to undermine Shaftesbury’s favour with the King.

There was always an element of humour mixed up with his doings, even when fortune frowned on him. Finding that the King meant to unseat him from the Woolsack, and that his successor was already named, he sought the Royal presence. The King was about to proceed to chapel. The fallen favourite told Charles he knew what his Majesty’s intentions were, but he trusted he was not to be dismissed with contempt. ‘Cod’s fish, my lord,’ replied the easy-going monarch, ‘I will not do it with any circumstances that may look like a slight,’ upon which the ex-Minister asked permission to carry the Great Seals of Office for the last time before the King into chapel, and then to his own house till the evening.

Granted permission, Shaftesbury, with a smiling countenance, entered the sacred building, and spoiled the devotions of all his enemies, during that service at least. Lord Keeper Finch, who was to succeed him, was at his wit’s end, believing Shaftesbury reinstated, and all (and there were many) who wished his downfall were in despair.

The whole account is most amusing and characteristic, including the manner in which the Seals were actually resigned, but we have not space to say more. Shaftesbury was indeed 170now ‘out of suits with fortune.’ In 1677 he, with other noblemen, was committed to the Tower for contempt of the authority of Parliament, and although other prisoners were soon liberated, he was kept in confinement thirteen months. On regaining his freedom he was made Lord President of the Council, but, opposing the Duke of York’s succession, was dismissed from that post in a few months. In 1681 he was again apprehended, on false testimony, and once more sent to the Tower on charge of treason, and that without a trial.

His papers were searched, but nothing could be found against him except one document, ‘neither writ nor signed by his hand.’ The jurors brought in the bill ‘Ignoramus,’ which pleased the Protestant portion of the community, who believed the Earl suffered in the cause of religion.

Bonfires were kindled in his honour; one of the witnesses against him narrowly escaped from the fury of the mob; a medal was struck to commemorate his enlargement. Hence the poem of that name from the pen of Dryden, suggested by the King. On regaining his liberty, Shaftesbury went to reside at his house in Aldersgate Street, when, finding his enemies were still working against him, he took the friendly advice of Lord Mordaunt, and after lying perdu in another part of London for a night or two, he set off for Harwich, en route for Holland, with a young relative, both disguised as Presbyterian ministers, with long black perukes. Adverse winds detained them at a small inn, when one day the landlady entered the elder gentleman’s room, and, carefully shutting the door, told him that the chambermaid had just been into his companion’s apartment, and instead of a swarthy, sour-faced dominie, had found a beautiful fair-haired youth. ‘Be assured, sir,’ said the good woman, ‘that I will neither ask questions, nor tell tales, but I cannot answer for a young girl’s discretion.’

The man who had been so hunted of late was touched, 171thanked the good soul, and bade his handsome young friend make love to the maid, till the wind changed.

The fugitives, however, had an extra run for it, as it was, for the hounds were on their track. Fortunately the capture of one of Shaftesbury’s servants, dressed like his master, gave them time to embark.

They arrived at Amsterdam after a stormy passage, where Shaftesbury hired a large house, with the intention of remaining some time, and all the more that he found himself treated with great respect by all the principal inhabitants. But misfortune pursued him. He was seized with gout in the stomach, and expired on the 1st of January 1683. His body was conveyed to England, and landed at Poole, whither the gentlemen of his native county flocked, uninvited, to pay a tribute to his memory, by attending the remains to Wimborne St. Giles.

We leave the sentence to be pronounced on the first Earl of Shaftesbury to wiser heads than ours, but one remark we feel authorised to make,—that we are not called on to believe him as black as Dryden has painted him, since we cannot but question the justice of the pen that described Charles II. as the God-like David, in the far-famed poem of ‘Absalom (the Duke of Monmouth) and Achitophel’ (Shaftesbury), which loads the latter with invective:—

‘A name to all succeeding ages curst,
For close designs and crooked counsels fit,
Sagacious, bold, and turbulent of wit,
Restless, unfixed in principles and place,
In power unpleased, impatient of disgrace;
A fiery soul, which working out its way,
Fretted the pigmy body to decay….
Great wits are sure to madness close allied;…
Oh! had he been content to serve the Crown
With virtues only proper to the gown,’ etc. etc.
There spoke the Laureate, and woe indeed to the man 172who had such a poet as Dryden for his censor! Yet for all this abuse, which he had written to order, Dryden could not help bearing testimony as follows:—

‘Yet fame deserved no enemy can grudge,
The Statesman we abhor, but praise the Judge;
In Israel’s courts ne’er sate an Abbethdin
With more discerning eyes or hands more clean,
Unbribed, unsought, the wretched to redress,
Swift of despatch, and easy of access.’
Lord Shaftesbury was kind and charitable to the poor in his neighbourhood, and was very hospitable. In 1669 Cosimo de’ Medici, being in England, went to St. Giles’s, and was so much pleased with his reception, that he kept up a correspondence with his English friend, and sent him annually a present of Tuscan wine. It has been adduced by some, in evidence of his immorality, that on one occasion, while still in favour with Charles, the King said to him, ‘I believe, Shaftesbury, you are the greatest profligate in England.’ The Earl bowed low, and replied, ‘For a subject, sire, I believe I am.’ It would be hard to condemn a man on the testimony of a repartee.

173No. 4.

In Chancellor’s robes.
BORN 1664, DIED 1723.
By Sir Godfrey Kneller.
No. 5.

Violet velvet coat. Lace cravat. Fall wig.
BORN 1652, DIED 1716.
By Sir Godfrey Kneller.

HE fine old cathedral city of Worcester is so justly proud of its noble citizen, the first Lord Som̅ers, that different districts have contested the honour of his birthplace; but the best evidence goes to prove that he was born at his father’s estate of Whiteladies, which at that period was not included in the precincts of the city.

The house was a dissolved Carthusian nunnery, and had been granted to the Som̅ers family at the time of the Reformation.

For two generations before the birth of Lord Som̅ers, the name was spelled without the final s, which probably gave rise to the supposition that it had a common origin with that of Van Somer, the famous Flemish painter. On the other hand, 174some writers contend that the name was derived from a St. Omer, as in the case of St. Maur, St. Leger, and the like.

Be this as it may, they undoubtedly claimed kinship with the gallant admiral, Sir George Somers, who rediscovered the island (or rather the cluster of islands) of Bermuda, so called after one Juan Bermudez, ‘who was driven thereon by force of tempest.’ The place did not enjoy a good reputation; it was termed ‘the island of divelles,’ or the ‘enchanted isle,’ and was supposed to harbour sea-monsters, mermen, and ‘such cattle,’ from which legend doubtless sprang Setebos and Caliban. Admiral Somers was also wrecked here, and thus rediscovered the whereabouts which had been lost; and he was most desirous it should bear his name, and so it is still called Bermuda or Somers’ (erroneously Summer’s) island.

Purchas, in his Pilgrimage, gives a long description of the abundance of sea-fowl, on which the shipwrecked mariners feasted, and of the wonderful tameness of the birds,—for Somers might have said with Alexander Selkirk:—

‘They are so unaccustomed to man,
Their tameness is shocking to me.’
Purchas goes on to say, ‘Notwithstanding the wonted danger, you may now touch at Bermuda, for danger hath made it not so dangerous:’ after the fashion of many another peril that calls for precautionary measures.

Waller, in his didactic poem on the beauties of this region, forgets to do honour to the gallant old ‘salt,’ who was as well known for his daring rejoinder to King James I. as for his nautical adventures; it was when subjected to one of the tyrant’s manifold acts of injustice. ‘I hope I may be the last of sacrifices in your time. When from private appetite it is resolved that a creature shall be sacrificed, it is easy to pick up sticks enough from any thicket, whither it has strayed, to make a fire to offer it with.’

175The immediate ancestors of the Lord Chancellor had been settled for some time on a small estate in Gloucestershire, called Stoke Severne, and they also owned the ‘Whiteladies,’ then a suburb of Worcester. Here, in 1585, the family entertained Queen Elizabeth, in her progress through Worcestershire, and although the Som̅erses afterwards imbibed republican principles, the bed in which good Queen Bess lay, and the cup out of which she drank, were long preserved as precious relics in the family.

Queen Elizabeth was much pleased with her reception at the Whiteladies, and indeed at Worcester altogether. More especially was her Grace’s fancy taken by a conceit of Master Som̅ers, who caused a splendid pear-tree, loaded with fruit, to be transplanted from his own garden to the market-place in the town, as a decoration, at the time of the Queen’s public reception,—in remembrance of which Elizabeth granted an augmentation to the arms of the city, in the shape of three pears, as may be seen to this day.

Master Som̅ers, the father of the future Peer, had been bred up to the law, and practised as an attorney, but, when the civil war broke out, in opposition to the majority of his fellow-citizens, he took part with the Roundheads, and raised a troop of horse to serve under Cromwell. He was for some time quartered at Upton, near his own estate of Stoke Severne, the parish church of which he frequented.

Now the Rector was a Royalist, and a firm upholder of Divine right, and he was very apt to mix political with theological arguments in his sermons. Captain Som̅ers had constantly warned him against so doing, but in vain; and one Sunday the good parson indulged in so much abuse of the Cromwell men as to raise the ire of the Parliamentarian officer, who, drawing forth a loaded pistol, lodged a shot in the sounding-board above his reverence’s head.

In spite of all this, King Charles passed the night previous 176to the battle of Worcester, and that following, at the Whiteladies, where, after ‘shifting himself’ into a disguise, he left his trunk hose, his garters, and two pairs of fringed gloves, to be added to the Royal Elizabethan relics. Lord Campbell remarks that a species of sanctity had been attached to the Whiteladies by both parties, since the building was spared, when almost every other edifice was destroyed; but Nash, the county historian, accounts for the circumstance by saying that the soldiers spared the house on account of its being a strong building, capable of holding 500 men with safety.

Not many days after the King’s flight, Captain Som̅ers brought his wife, Mistress Catherine (whose maiden name was Ceaverne, a native of Shropshire), to this stronghold, she being at the time in an interesting condition for the second time, having already presented her husband with a daughter; and there, to the best of our belief, was born, a few months afterwards, the future Lord Chancellor of England, and the first Peer of the name. Few good stories are told of his boyhood, excepting one which was probably very much prized in the home archives, and is remembered till this day, as an omen of his future greatness. He was on a visit to his aunt, Mistress Bluron, the wife of a Presbyterian minister, with whom he was walking hand-in-hand amid the glories of her poultry-yard, when a beautiful roost-cock lighted on the little fellow’s curly head, and crowed three distinct times while perched thereon. No less honour than the Woolsack could surely be prognosticated by so splendid an augury! When, in modern times, could there have been such literal avium garritus?

The boy went to the College School at Worcester, where he became the favourite model pupil of the master, Dr. Bright, a distinguished classical scholar. He is described as weakly in health, wearing a little black cap, but the ‘brightest boy in the whole school, so studious and contemplative that he did not 177care for the sports of his companions, and was usually seen musing alone with a book in his hand during the hours of recreation.’ He appears to have gone to more than one other school, and at intervals to have learned the business of an attorney in his father’s office, the elder Som̅ers having by this time resumed the profession to which he was bred before he joined Cromwell’s army.

At the time of the Restoration he had solicited, and obtained, a pardon, under the Great Seal, for his former disaffection to the Crown, but, ‘being a lawyer,’ says Lord Campbell, ‘he perhaps remembered Sir Edward Coke’s wise observation, that “good men will never refuse pardon from God or the King, because every man doth often offend both.”’ In 1667 young Som̅ers matriculated, and was entered at Trinity College, Oxford, but apparently only remained there a short time, and did not take his degree. While at the University he showed more predilection for the study of the belles lettres than for that of law, in spite of which his father insisted on his becoming his clerk at Whiteladies. The picturesque old place was now not only inhabited by Som̅ers, the well-to-do solicitor, and his wife and children, but it had been converted into a species of colony, and was peopled by several families connected, for the most part, with the owner, either by blood or marriage. Some of the occupants were engaged in the cultivation of the large farm adjoining, others in producing all kinds and colours for dyeing materials, or manufacturing cloth, which trade was at that time in a flourishing condition in Worcester; and, above all, in making bricks and tiles for rebuilding the ruined city and suburbs. The latter calling gave rise to the epithet by which the scurrilous libellers of later days thought (vainly) to lower the pride of the great Lord Som̅ers, by calling him the brickmaker’s son! When the multifarious labours of the day were at an end, the various inhabitants, occasionally augmented by outside guests, met, to the number 178of twenty or thirty, round the table, in the old refectory of the nunnery, where the produce of the farm and gardens afforded them a plentiful and inexpensive banquet. John Som̅ers, senior, had great influence in electioneering matters, and also received and entertained at his house many persons of weight and influence,—among others, Sir Francis Winnington, a rising lawyer, and Member for the city, afterwards Solicitor-General. The good knight was much impressed by young John’s talents, and recommended that he should pursue the study of the law, in which profession, he remarked, many Worcestershire men had risen to eminence. It took some time to persuade the father to send his son away from the establishment, which was growing more lucrative every day, but at length he yielded to the wish of Sir Francis, and entered his son as student of the Middle Temple, 1669. The youth returned, however, and read law at Whiteladies for a year before settling in the Temple, and, both at Worcester and in London, he benefited by the friendship and tuition of his good friend Sir Francis. His circle of acquaintance in London was, at first, limited almost exclusively to lawyers, and amongst his intimates was Sir Joseph Jekyll, afterwards his brother-in-law.

But the young Templar returned for his vacations to Worcester (although the society did not much suit his taste) until the year 1672, when he met a genial spirit at Whiteladies. His father was agent for the estates of several noblemen, and, among others, of the young Earl of Shrewsbury, son to the unfortunate Peer who had been killed in a duel with the Duke of Buckingham,—his shameless wife, at least so goes the tradition, holding her lover’s horse while he murdered her husband.

Grafton, the estate of the Shrewsburys, was at that time out of repair, and the young Earl gladly accepted an invitation to Whiteladies, and no sooner did our Templar come down from London for his usual visit, than the two youths formed a 179friendship which proved lifelong. They became inseparable companions, both in their studies and their recreations, and the intimacy continued when they returned to London. Lord Shrewsbury took a delight in introducing Som̅ers to the most distinguished men of his acquaintance, whether remarkable for birth or learning. John Som̅ers, becoming aware of his own deficiency in education, resolved to return to the University, where he made the Classics his more especial study, without neglecting his legal pursuits, or giving up his visits to home. It speaks well for the liberality both of father and son, that John was able and willing to contribute five pounds (a large sum for a student in those days) towards the reparation of the chapel; and in after years and better circumstances he gave a larger donation for the same purpose, as a proof of his attachment to his old College. We are told rather a laughable story, which shows in what high repute he was held by his father, who, in his frequent visits to London, used to leave his horse at the George Inn at Acton, and in conversing with the landlord seldom omitted a panegyric on ‘young John,’—so much so, that mine host’s curiosity was inflamed, and he requested to be allowed some day to see this prodigy. Mr. Som̅ers, in consequence, asked his son one time to escort him on his way as far as Acton, and on entering the inn, he took the landlord aside, and whispered, ‘I have brought him, Cobbett, but you must not talk to him as you do to me, for he will not suffer such fellows as you in his company.’

John Som̅ers, junior, was called to the bar in 1666, but did not practise much till five years afterwards; and it was on the occasion of the famous trial of the seven Bishops that he first made his mark. Macaulay, in his eloquent account of the transaction, does honour to the rising barrister. He gives an animated description of the progress of these stout-hearted Prelates on their committal to the Tower, to await their trial, of which we give a short extract: ‘The river was alive with 180wherries when they came forth under a guard to embark, and the emotion of the people broke through all restraint. Thousands fell on their knees and prayed for the men who had emulated the Christian courage of Ridley and Latimer; many dashed into the water up to their waists, and cried on the holy fathers to bless them. All down the stream, from Whitehall to London Bridge, the royal barge passed between lines of boats, whence arose a shout of “God bless your Lordships!”’

John Som̅ers had been chosen as junior counsel for the Bishops on the trial. He had not yet had much opportunity of distinguishing himself in public, ‘but his genius, industry, his great and various accomplishments, were well known to a small circle of friends, and in spite of his Whig opinions, his pertinent and lucid mode of arguing, and the constant propriety of his demeanour, had already secured to him the ear of the Court of King’s Bench, and it was said of him beforehand that no man in Westminster Hall was so well qualified to treat an historical and constitutional question.’

Even while endeavouring to keep within our prescribed limits, we feel it is but simple justice to the future Chancellor to quote the great historian’s own words: ‘Som̅ers rose last. He spoke little more than five minutes, but every word was full of weighty matter, and when he sat down his reputation as an orator and a constitutional lawyer was established. The jury were long in coming to a decision, but when they did return, and the foreman pronounced the verdict—“Not guilty”—amid deathless silence, a tempest of rejoicing arose. Lord Halifax threw up his hat, and ten thousand people who crowded the Hall made the oaken roof crack with shouts, which, echoed by the throng outside, resounded as far as Temple Bar, and were caught up and sent back by all the boatmen on the river. The acquittal was mainly attributed to Som̅ers’s speech, the effect of which upon the jury was greatly heightened by the modesty and grace with which it was delivered. He now, 181and ever, merited the praise that his pleading at the bar was masculine and persuasive, free from everything that was trivial and affected.’

Amid the solemn details of this most important trial, the comic element cropped up in a speech of one of the jurymen, a Nonconformist, who was brewer to the Court. The story goes that he complained bitterly of the dilemma in which he was placed. ‘What am I to do?’ he asked piteously; ‘if I say Not guilty, I shall brew no more for the Court; if I say Guilty, I shall brew no more for anybody else.’ On the same day that the Bishops were acquitted, a paper was drawn up, entitled ‘The Association,’ censuring the Government of King James II., and calling on William, Prince of Orange, to come over to England, and deliver the country from Popery and despotism. The name of Som̅ers did not appear, but by many it was believed that the wording of the document emanated from him. It was signed by all his political friends, and Lord Shrewsbury immediately afterwards went to the Hague, laden with large supplies of money, to urge on the Prince the advisability of his coming over without delay. William answered by a ‘Declaration,’ announcing his readiness (as the husband of the Princess Mary) to accede to the wishes of the nation, and promised to proceed to England, ‘in order to have a free and lawful Parliament assembled for the maintenance of liberty and the Protestant religion, and by the decision of that Parliament he would abide.’

This document also was ascribed to Som̅ers, or at all events it was said to have been supervised by him, for he had by this time, to quote the words of Lord Sunderland, become the ‘very soul and spirit of his party.’ No sooner had King James left the country than Som̅ers was returned for his native city, having refused to sit in the former Parliaments under the two last Kings.

This was in the so-called ‘Convention Parliament;’ and we 182give Macaulay’s notice of the new Member’s first appearance in the House of Commons. After enumerating the names of many political veterans, he says: ‘But they were speedily thrown into shade by two young Whigs, who, on this great day, took their seats for the first time, and soon rose to the highest honours of the State, who weathered the fiercest storms of faction together, and, having been long and widely renowned as statesmen, as orators, and as munificent patrons of genius and learning, died within a few months of each other. These were Charles Montagu and John Som̅ers.’

The latter led the debate in the Lower House, and in his maiden speech, which was considered a model of eloquence, he maintained that James, by his flight and abdication, had forfeited all claim to allegiance, and he drew up a manifesto to that effect, declaring the throne of England to be vacant.

He was thus most instrumental in the passing of the Exclusion Bill, which precluded the succession of a Popish Prince to the Crown of England. In all the differences of opinion which now ensued between the two Houses, John Som̅ers zealously supported the claims of William and Mary. He also gained lasting renown by the declaration that he drew up for classing under general heads ‘such things as were necessary for the better security of our religion, laws, and liberties.’ Hence sprang the world-famed Bill of Rights, with which the name of John Som̅ers is indissolubly connected. William and Mary were proclaimed King and Queen; Lord Shrewsbury made his friend, and that friend’s merits, known to the new Sovereigns; and Sir John Som̅ers, Knight, was appointed Solicitor-General. He now took a prominent part in every public question of importance, evincing the utmost consistency in his opinions and principles; and his biographer and earnest admirer, Lord Campbell, appears never to have found fault with his administration of justice, excepting in one instance, namely, the course he pursued with regard to a Bill for regulating 183high treason—a question we leave to judicial minds. But the same pen awards him great praise for the manner in which he conducted prosecutions before Courts of Justice, which he designates as ‘mild, candid, and merciful.’ Speaking of the trial of Lord Preston and others for high treason (the first State trial of the reign), in which his moderation and humanity were universally extolled, Som̅ers himself said: ‘I did never think that it was the part of any, who were counsel for the King in cases of this nature, to aggravate the crime of the prisoners, or to put false colours on the evidence.’

Indeed, the manner in which these trials were conducted formed an epoch in legal annals, contrasting brilliantly with the injustice and cruelty which had characterised former tribunals. Lord Preston, though found guilty, and sentenced to death, owed his respite and subsequent pardon to the recommendation of Sir John Som̅ers.

When war was declared with France, it was the Solicitor-General who drew up the declaration; and in 1692 he was promoted to the office of Attorney-General, and shortly afterwards chosen counsel for the plaintiff in the first trial for criminal conversation, i.e. the Duke of Norfolk versus Sir John Germaine. But the divorce was not granted till after Som̅ers became Chancellor. In 1693 he was again returned for Worcester, and a few days afterwards the Great Seal of England was intrusted to his keeping, and he took his seat at the Council Board. Evelyn thus records the event: ‘The Attorney-General Som̅ers made Lord Keeper, a young lawyer of extraordinary merit.’

The appointment (with the exception, naturally, of adverse politicians) was generally popular. Burnet says: ‘Som̅ers is very learned in his own profession, with a great deal more learning in other professions,—divinity, philosophy, and history.’

He had great capacity for business, a fair and gentle 184temper, having all the patience and softness, as well as the justice and equity, becoming a great magistrate. He had always agreed in his notions with the Whigs, and had striven to bring them to better thoughts of the King, and greater confidence in him. During the seven years he presided in the Court of Chancery he won golden opinions, having most important judicial duties to perform, and acting on several occasions as Lord Steward in State trials. A close friendship now existed between the King and Som̅ers, but the latter knew how to uphold both his personal and official dignity, which he proved in a most remarkable manner at the beginning of this reign, in a passage of arms that occurred between his Royal master and himself. During the time that the Seal was in commission, his Majesty had exercised unlimited judicial patronage, and conceived the idea of continuing to do so, unquestioned. He was on the eve of embarking for Flanders at the time of Som̅ers’s appointment, and he sent Lord Nottingham to the new Minister, with orders to make out patents for the Chief Baron of the Exchequer, the Chief-Justice of Chester, and for the Attorney-General. This cavalier manner of proceeding did not suit Sir John Som̅ers, and as the King was still detained at Harwich, waiting for favourable winds, he wrote a respectful but resolute letter to his Majesty on the subject, pointing out, in clear, distinct terms, that, under the conditions imposed on him, he must tender his resignation—Anglicè, he would not accept a post shorn of all judicial patronage. The King responded nobly to this straightforward appeal, declined the resignation, paid the Lord Keeper the highest tribute as to ability and fitness for the great office, announced his intention of non-interference for the future, but ended by the hope that Som̅ers would take the names of the candidates already mentioned into consideration.

In fact, this short misunderstanding increased and cemented the cordiality between King and Minister. The three men 185William had named were continued, but the office of Attorney-General soon after falling vacant, was filled up by a nominee of Som̅ers’s own selection. Although he declined the offer of a Peerage, he sat in the House of Lords as Speaker, and exercised a weighty influence over William’s opinions. On the subject of ‘unlicensed printing,’ the liberal King and the liberal Minister were agreed, and the Bill was passed by which, says Macaulay, ‘English literature was emancipated for ever.’

It was strange how little excitement was caused by so great an event. Neither Evelyn nor Luttrell allude to it in their Diaries, and the Dutch Minister forgot to mention it in his despatches.

However, from this time forth, the liberty of the Press was assured; and ‘now we have only to be watchful,’ Lord Campbell sapiently remarks, ‘lest the Press itself be not turned into an engine of tyranny.’

In 1690 Queen Mary was attacked with small-pox, and to the inexpressible grief of her husband, shared by the greater part of the nation, she died after a very short illness. Friendly messages had been exchanged between her and her sister, but Mary’s state was too critical to allow of her being exposed to the excitement of an interview. When the last scene was over, and the last duties paid to the beloved Queen and consort, the attempt at reconciling the Princess of Denmark and her brother-in-law was renewed, and Lord Sunderland, the Duke of Marlborough, and Sir John Som̅ers, joined to promote the wished-for result. Anne had been persuaded to write to the King, who, stunned by grief, showed little inclination to respond to her advances. Som̅ers therefore, bent on carrying out his object, made his way into the Royal presence at Kensington, where he found William absorbed in speechless grief. He waited for some time in respectful sympathy, hoping that the King would break the painful silence, but was at length compelled to take the initiative.

186With the gentle delicacy that characterised him, the Lord Keeper broached the subject, pointing out how essential it was, on public as well as private grounds, that the enmity between his Majesty and his wife’s sister should cease. ‘Do as you will,’ replied the unhappy widower, ‘I can think of no business.’ An interview was accordingly arranged. Anne was graciously received, apartments assigned her in St. James’s Palace, and due honour paid her as heir-presumptive to the Crown. William once more pressed a Peerage on Sir John (through his friend, now Duke of Shrewsbury), but it was again declined. He was placed virtually at the head of the Regency (the Archbishop of Canterbury presiding only in name), when the King again left England for a foreign campaign.

He took a prominent part in the great measure for the reformation of the coinage, and drew up and strongly advocated a plan by which clipping money could be prevented; but this was not carried into effect. Lord Macaulay praises him highly for the appointments he made of such eminent men as Sir Isaac Newton and John Locke, for the respective posts of Warden of the Mint and a Lordship of Trade.

In 1697 Sir John resigned the Seals, only to have them returned to him, with the title of Lord Chancellor and Baron Som̅ers of Evesham, county Worcester, as also grants of the manors of Reigate and Howleigh in Surrey, with a yearly income to enable him to keep up the same. On the retirement of Lord Godolphin, the Ministry became wholly Whig,—Montagu, Russell, Som̅ers, and Wharton forming ‘the Junto.’ In the same year the Peace of Ryswick was signed, by which France made great concessions, and acknowledged William as King of England, and Anne as his successor, a circumstance which gave rise to much rejoicing. But serious differences took place between the King and his Parliament, which required the disbanding of the troops that had done such good 187service in foreign campaigns. The most stormy discussions ensued, and the press, in all the wild ardour of recent emancipation, thundered with controversy. To Lord Som̅ers was attributed (indeed Macaulay speaks of the authorship as a certainty) a treatise, called ‘The Balancing Letter,’ which made a great noise at the time, weighing, as it did, the arguments for and against the momentous question, but undoubtedly leaning towards the advisability of maintaining a small standing army. In spite of William’s vehement opposition, he found himself compelled to ship off his beloved Dutch Guards, and to diminish the English forces.

Until this time the life of John Som̅ers had been uninterrupted in its prosperity and advancement; but a change in his fortunes was now impending. Henceforward he had both public and private trials to encounter, added to which, his health had become much impaired. In July 1698, Parliament being dissolved, and the King gone to Holland, Lord Som̅ers gladly availed himself of the opportunity to recruit his bodily powers, by drinking the waters in the pleasant retirement of Tunbridge Wells. The question of the Spanish succession (Charles II., king of that country, being at the time in a dying state) belongs rather to the political history of Europe than to the biography of an individual, yet Lord Som̅ers was so intimately connected with the so-called ‘Tradition Treaties,’ that we cannot altogether keep silence on the matter. Before the King’s departure for Holland, William had already consulted Som̅ers on the subject, and, on arriving at the Loo, he wrote, authorising him to consult with any of his colleagues, on whose discretion and secrecy he could rely, and asking for opinions on the arrangement proposed, which his Majesty detailed at full length. Now such a treaty could not be concluded without the appendage of the Great Seal and the signature of one Secretary of State. The Lord Chancellor was therefore directed to send full powers to the Loo, sealed, but 188with blanks left for the names of the Plenipotentiaries; and it was strongly urged that the clerks whose duty it was to draw up the documents should be kept in profound ignorance of the subject, and the importance of the work they were performing. The Royal missive found ‘Som̅ers at a distance from his political friends, his delicate frame enfeebled by the labours and vigils of many months, and his aching head giddy with the first draughts of the chalybeate spring.’ But he lost no time, and communicated promptly with all the leading statesmen, who agreed with the King in wishing to see the question of the Spanish succession settled without delay. Som̅ers, however, delicately hinted to his master that he and his colleagues had misgivings on many points of the treaty, although the Royal wishes had been complied with.

The powers were sent off, the enjoined secrecy observed, the blanks left for the names of two Commissioners, who, the Lord Chancellor suggested, should be English, either by birth or naturalisation, and consequently responsible to Parliament.

A second Partition Treaty was shortly afterwards drawn up and signed, with fresh clauses and allotments to the different European powers, with the same secrecy; and when the terms of these treaties became known in England, a great outcry was raised against the Whigs, and strenuous efforts made to overthrow the Administration. The Lord Chancellor, in particular, became the mark for attacks of different kinds, such as his misconduct in the appointment and dismissal of magistrates, while a novel charge for the dignitary of the Woolsack was adduced against John Lord Som̅ers, namely that of piracy on the high seas,—not in person, indeed, but by proxy. Thus it came about: he, in common with other Ministers, had subscribed a sum of several hundreds towards the fitting out of a ship called The Adventure Galley, for the purpose of ridding the Indian seas of pirates. The command was given 189to Captain William Kid, a naval officer, who had hitherto borne a high character for honour as well as courage.

As may easily be believed, Lord Som̅ers knew nothing of the matter further than that he thought it became the post he occupied to assist in such a public service; and a grant was made to all the undertakers of the scheme that they should become possessed of any booty taken from the pirates by their ship. Captain Kid was armed with full powers to sink, burn, and destroy the pirates, but on breathing the air of the buccaneering seas, he turned pirate himself, and became a dangerous foe to honest traders of all nations, till, after a sharp encounter with an English frigate, he was taken, and brought home in irons. A motion was now brought forward by his (Som̅ers’s) political adversaries, that the Lord Chancellor should be made responsible for all the outrages committed by Kid, with whom, they affirmed, he had intended to go shares for the purpose of swelling his own coffers,—‘Such black constructions,’ says Burnet, ‘are men apt to put on the actions of those whom they intend to disgrace.’ The charge, being preposterous, was rejected by a large majority.

A Bill was now brought in to resume the Irish forfeited estates, which the King had bestowed on his Dutch favourites, and Lord Som̅ers incurred both the Royal displeasure and that of the Opposition in Parliament for his absence during the debates, although he pleaded the excuse of bad health. William expected assistance from the Chancellor in opposing this measure, but the public opinion was so strong that Som̅ers did not consider it advisable to support his Majesty. His enemies had now become persistent in their attacks; and a motion was made in the House of Commons to the effect that ‘the King should be advised to remove the present Lord Chancellor from his councils for ever,’ in common with other leading Ministers.

He had been absent from his duties for some time, in 190consequence of failing health, in spite of which the Opposition did all in their power to induce him to coalesce in the formation of a new Government; and in answering the overtures made him by Lord Sunderland, Som̅ers replied that he considered such a step would be inconsistent with honour.

The refusal naturally increased the bitterness of his adversaries, and Harley especially, who rose in arms against him.

William, with all his predilection for the Chancellor, was at length persuaded of the expediency of removing him, and Lord Som̅ers received a hint to that effect, ‘which determined him to wait on his Majesty at Kensington, in order to know his real mind.’ The King told him plainly that the time had come when it was necessary for the Seals to pass into other hands, at the same time expressing a wish that Som̅ers himself would resign.

The Chancellor begged his Majesty’s pardon for following the advice of numerous friends, who had warned him against such a step, which would be ascribed to guilt or fear; adding that he well knew the designs of his enemies; that the Great Seal was his greatest crime, and if permitted to keep it, in spite of their malice, he would do so, being well aware what a bad use they would make of it. He had no fear of them, but he would be firm to his friends, with more in that style; but the King only shook his head, and said, ‘It must be so.’ And thus was Lord Som̅ers discharged from the great office which he had held for so many years, ‘with the highest reputation for capacity, integrity, and diligence.’

Strangely enough, this ever-coveted post was offered to and refused by several men ‘high in the law,’ possibly from the fear of comparison with such an illustrious predecessor. The Seals were at length delivered to Sir Nathan Wright, ‘in whom,’ says Burnet, ‘there was nothing equal to the post, much less to the man who had lately filled it.’

191Wright represented a dark shadow between two such shining lights as Som̅ers and Cowper.

After a short residence at Tunbridge Wells for the benefit of the waters, the ex-Chancellor retired to his villa, and, resuming his literary pursuits, strove to forget all the mortification and humiliation to which he had lately been exposed. Louis XIV., breaking through the conditions imposed by the Tradition Treaty, took advantage of a will made by the Spanish king on his deathbed, in which the imbecile Charles had been made to bequeath his dominions to the French king’s grandson, Philip of Anjou; and the young prince was despatched to Madrid with a splendid and exulting Court. A violent outcry ensued in England against the Whigs, and Lord Som̅ers in particular, to whom this public catastrophe was in a great measure attributed. Parliament was dissolved, and on the reassembling of the new House, the Commons proposed to impeach the ex-Chancellor for the part he had taken in concluding these treaties, and for other high crimes and misdemeanours. Prior thus alludes to the circumstance in writing to the Duke of Manchester: ‘I congratulate you on being out of this noise and tumult, where we are tearing and destroying every man his neighbour. To-morrow is the great day, when we expect my Lord Chancellor to be fallen upon, though God knows of what crime he is guilty, but that of being a great man and an upright judge.’ Som̅ers begged to be heard in his own defence, and his demeanour was so dignified, and his explanation so clear, as to enlist many members on his side, notably Robert Walpole, a young senator, afterwards Prime Minister, who took the warmest interest in Lord Som̅ers’s cause, and voted in his behalf. Notwithstanding, the motion for the impeachment (with that of four other noblemen) was carried in the House of Commons—a measure which caused tremendous indignation in the Upper House, ‘at the infringement of their privileges;’ 192while the King’s reply to the Lower House conveyed a rebuke (though couched in mild terms) for the irregularity of their proceedings. In spite of King and Peers the impeachment commenced, and fourteen articles were exhibited against Lord Som̅ers. The six first concerned his share in carrying out the Partition Treaties; the next five accused him of passing illegal grants of Crown property in his own favour; the thirteenth, of giving a commission to William Kid, pirate; ‘while the last,’ says Lord Campbell, ‘was a frivolous charge of judicial delinquency.’

A violent altercation now took place between the two Houses of Parliament regarding the time and manner of the trial, the Whig element at that time being paramount among the Lords, while the Tories preponderated in the Commons. So it came to pass, when the Peers were seated in great state in Westminster Hall, and Lord Som̅ers placed within the bar, the Commons were summoned to make good their indictment, but in vain. A long pause ensued, but not one member appeared, and after another solemn procession to and from their own House, their Lordships decided the question by themselves.

John Lord Som̅ers was acquitted by a majority of his peers, and the impeachment dismissed. ‘The following comparison between his demeanour and that of a former Chancellor, Lord Verulam, on a similar occasion, is thus drawn by Joseph Addison: ‘The conduct of these extraordinary persons under the same circumstances was vastly different. One, as he had given just occasion for his impeachment, sank under it, and was reduced to such abject submission as diminished the lustre of so exalted a character. But Lord Som̅ers was too well fortified in his integrity to fear the impotence of an attack on his reputation, and though his accusers would gladly have dropped their impeachment, he was instant for the prosecution, and would not let the matter rest till it was brought to an issue.’

193The two Houses fell to fighting once more, and fierce and bitter hatred was fostered by the late proceedings. The Duke of Shrewsbury, Som̅ers’s early and faithful friend, alluding to these squabbles, thus writes to him from Rome: ‘I cannot help referring to my old opinion, and wonder that a man can be found in England, who has bread, that will be concerned in public business. Had I a son I would sooner breed him a cobbler than a courtier, and a hangman than a statesman.’

In 1701 James II. died, and Louis XIV. astonished Europe in general, and England in particular, by recognising the Pretender as King of England,—a step which even incensed the Jacobites, jealous of foreign interference, and set the Whig party in a flame. A reaction now took place in favour of the latter faction: the King dismissed his Tory Ministers, and it was confidently believed that in the formation of a new Cabinet Lord Som̅ers would resume office. But William’s days were numbered. His health had long been a source of anxiety to his friends and the nation at large, when a fatal accident hurried the crisis. He had not yet relinquished his favourite exercise of riding, and even occasionally hunted, but neither his seat nor his hand was what it had been. Riding one day through his favourite haunt of the Home Park at Hampton Court, mounted on ‘Grey Sorrel,’ the horse, having just broken into a gentle canter, stumbled at a molehill, and fell on his knees, throwing his rider, who broke his collar-bone, and otherwise injured himself. The bone was set; William proceeded in his coach to Kensington, but he never rallied. ‘His last days,’ says his enthusiastic admirer Macaulay, ‘were worthy of his life.’ He transacted business calmly, took an affectionate leave of his friends, joined in prayer with the two Bishops who attended him, and breathed his last. Round his neck was found, suspended to a black riband, the locket which contained the hair of his beloved wife.

In William III. Lord Som̅ers lost a sincere and admiring 194friend, and far different was the treatment he met with from the new Sovereign. In a combined Ministry of Whigs and Tories, not only had he no post assigned him, but he was not allowed to renew the oaths of a Privy Councillor. His name was struck out of the Commission of the Peace in every county in England, and it was intimated to him that her Majesty would not admit him to the Royal presence. Anne condescended to the mean spite of suspending the pension granted to Addison, whose only crime was that Lord Som̅ers esteemed and protected him. Such petty conduct on the part of the Queen called forth no reprisals from the man who had his country’s welfare at heart. Finding that Godolphin and Marlborough considered it expedient to adopt the home and foreign policy which he advocated, Som̅ers gave his support to the Government, and was a diligent attendant in the House of Lords. Indeed, he now divided his time between his Parliamentary duties and the enjoyment of literary and scientific pursuits. President of the Royal Society, he continued his friendship with Addison, and exerted himself unwearyingly in his behalf. Although an ex-Minister, and slighted by the Court, he still carried great weight in public measures, especially in the famous case of the Aylesbury election trial. This was an action brought against the returning officer by a man who accused him of not recording his vote, and the case coming by appeal before the Lords, the Commons declared it a breach of privilege. The warfare between the two Houses was now resumed, and waged for some time as fiercely as that between France and England. In 1706 Lord Som̅ers was most instrumental in negotiating the Union with Scotland, as, in the fluctuating state of parties, the constant coalitions and mosaic Governments which were formed, his great talents were generally recognised in an emergency. The death of Prince George of Denmark in 1708 brought about further changes, and the presidency of the Council becoming 195vacant, Lord Som̅ers succeeded to the post. The appointment gave general satisfaction, for, says Burnet, ‘it was expected that propositions for a general peace would shortly be made, and so they reckoned that the management of that upon which not only the safety of the nation, but all Europe, depended, would be in sure hands. Som̅ers was a man of inflexible integrity, on whom neither ill practices nor false colours were like to make any impression.’

He remained President of the Council until the famous trial of Dr. Sacheverell. Impeached by the Whigs for preaching against them and the Government, Sacheverell escaped with a light sentence, but the proceedings were followed by the downfall of the Administration, which was replaced by one composed entirely of Tories,—Harley, St. John, etc.

When the news of the Queen’s dangerous illness became known, Som̅ers put himself into communication with the Elector of Hanover, but the curious scene which took place at the last Privy Council held in this reign is given in our notice of Lord Chancellor Cowper, between whom and Lord Som̅ers a warm friendship had long existed. On the morning of Sunday, the 1st of August 1714, Queen Anne expired, and a meeting of the Lords Justices was immediately held. Lord Som̅ers was not present, on account of his infirm health, but he attended the Privy Council, and took the oaths of allegiance to George I. On the arrival of that monarch in England, and the reinstatement of the Whigs in office, Som̅ers would inevitably have joined the Ministry in his former capacity of Chancellor, but his increasing indisposition determined him to decline any public post, even the comparatively light duties of President of the Council having become irksome to him; but he promised to attend the meetings of the Privy Council as often as it was possible for him to do so, and he received an additional pension as a mark of public gratitude. He made a point of being present at the first council, which was held 196in George I.’s reign, but his infirmities gained upon him, and a paralytic affection incapacitated him from the exertion consequent on public business. He became torpid and inactive in mind and body; when a sudden fit of the gout roused him for a time from his lethargy. This happened at the moment that the Septennial Bill, a measure in which he had always taken the deepest interest, was pending. His mind brightened up, his intellect was re-sharpened, and he took to conversing with his well-named physician, Dr. Friend, on passing affairs, with all the clearness and vigour of former times. The good doctor hurried off with the good news to Lord Townshend, one of the chief promoters of the Bill, who instantly flew to his ancient colleague to consult him on the subject. On entering the room, the dying statesman embraced his old friend, cordially congratulated him on the work in which he was employed (having, he said, never approved of the Triennial Bill), and ended by assuring him of ‘my hearty approbation in the business, for I believe it will be the greatest support possible to the liberty of the country.’

When the gout subsided, Lord Som̅ers fell back into a state of torpor and helplessness, from which he was released by death on the 26th of April 1716, the very day the Bill in question was passed. He died of apoplexy at his villa in Hertfordshire, and was buried in the parish church of North Mymms, where a plain monument bears this modest inscription:—

The Right Honourable JOHN LORD SOM̅ERS,
Baron of Evesham,
197The sister who loved and admired him so ardently felt doubtless that eulogium would be misplaced, and that all who read the name would recall the virtues, talents, and patriotism of her noble-hearted brother. Lord John Russell does him ample justice when he says, ‘Som̅ers is a bright example of a statesman who could live in times of revolution without rancour, who could hold the highest posts in a Court without meanness, who could unite mildness and charity to his opponents with the firmest attachment to the great principles of liberty, civil and religious, which he had early espoused, long promoted, and never abandoned;’ while Mackintosh says, ‘Som̅ers seems to have nearly realised the perfect model of a wise statesman in a free community.’ Notwithstanding the accumulation of professional and public business which fell to his share, from the day he arrived in London, he not only found time (as we have observed before) for literary studies and compositions, but for indulging in the society and correspondence of distinguished men of letters—foreigners as well as English. He held the poet Vincenzo Filicaja in high estimation, which was indeed reciprocal, as a Latin ode written in honour of ‘My Lord Giovanni Som̅ers, Cancelliere di Gran Brettagna,’ testifies.

Steele, Prior, and Congreve were among his associates. Newton, Locke, Addison, and Swift were marked out by him for preferment. He was a noble patron, and rewarded merit wherever he found it, and had it in his power. Lord Som̅ers was an exemplary son, and his mother (who survived her husband many years) had the satisfaction of seeing ‘little Johnnie’ rise to the highest honours of the State. Addison vouches for the religious faith of his benefactor, and tells us how unremitting he was in the performance of his devotional services, both in public and in his own family. Som̅ers never married, although in early life he wooed and won the affections of one Mistress Rawdon, the daughter of a rich Alderman, who 198broke off the match on the plea of the insufficiency of marriage settlements. We feel an inward conviction that in later days Sir John Rawdon must have repented his arbitrary decision. The title became extinct at Lord Som̅ers’s death, his property being shared by his two sisters, of whom the elder married Charles Cocks, Esquire of Castleditch, and the younger Sir John Jekyll, Master of the Rolls, an early friend and fellow-lawyer of her brother. From Mrs. Cocks descended the late Earl Som̅ers, to whom the present imperfect sketch of his ancestor was submitted in manuscript, but who has not, alas! lived to read it in the completed form.

He was indeed a worthy descendant of a great man, and by his death society at large, and a band of admiring and loving friends, have sustained an irreparable loss; while on the domestic hearth that light has been quenched which shed so radiant a glow on all those who clustered fondly round it. A scholar, an artist, a traveller, a linguist, the versatility of his information could only be equalled by the graceful refinement of his wit and the tenderness of his sympathy. He was one of those rarely gifted men, on whom the mantle of moral and intellectual qualities sit so easily, that in his genial company no feeling of inferiority was imposed on others. On the contrary—as the writer of these lines can testify, from grateful experience,—those who had the privilege of conversing with him partook for the moment, in some slight degree, of the brightness and intelligence of his rich nature.

199No. 6.

In armour, holding a truncheon. Wig. Table in the background.
By Sir Godfrey Kneller.

E was the third son of Lewis de Nassau, Lord of Leek, Odyke, Auverquerque, and Beverwaart, by Elizabeth, daughter of the Count de Horn. He formed part of William of Orange’s suite when that Prince came over to England in 1670, and on the occasion of a visit to Oxford, De Nassau had the degree of D.C.L. conferred upon him. In the campaigns which ensued in Flanders, he was brother-in-arms to his cousin and Royal master, and gained general approbation for his courage and patriotism. When William III. ascended the throne of England, Auverquerque was appointed Master of the Horse, and allowed to retain his post of Captain of the Dutch Guards who had come over to this country. He was also naturalised by Act of Parliament. Macaulay speaks of this ‘gallant soldier as uniting the blood of Nassau with that of Horn. He wore with just pride a costly sword, presented to him by the States-General, for having, on the bloody day of St. Denis, saved the life of William of Orange by interposing himself between his Highness and a French soldier, whom he killed on the spot.’ Auverquerque likewise received a brace of pistols, richly mounted in gold, and a pair of horse-buckles of the same precious metal.

200In 1690 he was with the army that embarked for Ireland, headed by the King in person; fought with his Royal master at the battle of the Boyne, and was afterwards sent to Dublin (hastily evacuated by James II. and his adherents) to take possession of the city and keep the peace. He was also with William at the unsuccessful siege of Limerick, and subsequently served with great distinction in the campaigns in Flanders against the French.

But it was at the battle of Steinkirk, in 1692, that Auverquerque immortalised himself by his gallantry. The French army, commanded by the brave and eccentric Duke of Luxembourg, was encamped at Steinkirk, six miles from the King of England’s headquarters. Luxembourg was one of the most extraordinary compounds of physical and moral incongruities. Macaulay describes him as a valetudinarian and a voluptuary, whose camp was of the most luxurious, who usually selected his quarters with a view to his culinary department, and whose thoughts were almost as much taken up with his batterie de cuisine as with his batteries in the field,—a little ugly hump-backed gnome, who was accredited with powers of witchcraft, and had the spirit of a lion. On his camp William made a night surprise, but Luxembourg was one of those spirits who, in the literal meaning of the word, cannot be surprised. He was the king of emergencies; ‘his mind’—we again borrow the language of Macaulay—‘nay, even his sickly and distorted body, seemed to derive health and vigour from disaster and dismay.’

In his army were the flower of the French chivalry. The noble historian, whom we are never tired of quoting, describes the appearance of the young Princes of the blood-royal of France,—‘brave not only in valour, but in the splendour of their brilliant uniforms, hastily donned and half fastened.’ They had orders to charge the English: ‘No firing was the word; sword in hand, do it with cold steel.’

201In the order of battle, the division which was to lead the van was that of General Mackay (the brave soldier who had done such good service in Scotland, Ireland, and elsewhere). They first encountered the Swiss, and drove them back with fearful slaughter, after so close a fight that the muzzles of the muskets crossed.

But the English were borne down, after a noble resistance, by the French troopers. They never ceased to repeat that, if Count Solmes, who commanded them, had done his duty, they would have been successful; but he forbade his infantry to stir; he would not send them, he said, to be slaughtered. The Duke of Ormonde wished to advance to the assistance of his countrymen, but was not permitted to do so.

Mackay sent to say if he were not reinforced, his men were doomed to destruction. It was of no avail; ‘God’s will be done,’ said the brave veteran with his latest breath, and ‘he died as he had lived, a good Christian.’ Five regiments were entirely cut to pieces. It was at this juncture that Auverquerque came to the rescue with two fresh battalions, and the splendid manner in which he brought off the remains of Mackay’s division was long remembered and gratefully acknowledged by the English. In the debates which ensued in the House of Commons, when the events of the war by land and sea were discussed, there was much difference of opinion, and the question of the disadvantages of English troops being commanded by aliens was mooted. The conduct of Solmes was almost universally reprehended. Four or five of the colonels, who had been present at Steinkirk, took part in the debate, and, amid many warring opinions, full justice was done to the valour and conduct of Auverquerque.

On the other hand, the exultation of the French over this dashing victory was unspeakable; and it was commemorated by the votaries of fashion in all sorts of ‘modes à la Steinkirk,’ the most captivating of which, we are told, was the loosely 202arranged and scarcely knotted cravats of white lace, worn round the fair necks of Parisian beauties, in imitation of the hasty toilettes of the young princes and nobles of the King’s household troops.

In Macaulay’s pathetic account of the last days of William III., he tells us ‘there were in the crowd surrounding the Monarch’s dying bed those who felt as no Englishman could feel, friends of his youth, who had been true to him, and to whom he had been true, through all vicissitudes of fortune, who had served him with unalterable fidelity (when his Secretaries of State, of his Treasury, and his Admiralty had betrayed him), who had never on any field of battle, or in an atmosphere tainted with loathsome and deadly disease, shrunk from placing their own lives in jeopardy to save his, and whose truth he had, at the cost of his own popularity, rewarded with bounteous munificence.’

Amid the group of his countrymen, the nearest to him was Auverquerque, to whom he stretched out a feeble hand, thanking him for the affectionate and loyal service of thirty years.

After the King’s death Auverquerque felt no inclination to remain in England, but returned to his native land, and once more engaged in the war which was still waging against France; and the States-General, in acknowledgment of his services, bestowed on him the highest military honours, by making him Field-Marshal of the whole army. He closed his noble career by dying (as he had always desired) on the field. The gallant Marshal had for some time suffered from bad health, which he never allowed to interfere with his duties. He died in the camp at Rouselaer, on the 17th day of October 1708, after the battle of Lille. Collins gives a detailed account of the funeral, with more than common military honours, even for an officer of such exalted rank. The funeral car was escorted by squadrons of life guards, horse guards, and dragoons, the colours of the regiments, as 203well as the men, being in mourning, two battalions of foot guards, with arms reversed, etc. The body was followed for a quarter of a league by a band of mourners, consisting of the Marshal’s sons and most of the generals, headed by the Duke of Marlborough. The troops were then drawn up, and saluted, after which there was a triple discharge of cannon; the generals returned to the camp, and the melancholy cortége passed on towards the place of interment at Auverquerque.

The Marshal married Isabella van Arsens, daughter of Cornelius, Lord of Sommerdyke and Placata (who survived him), by whom he had five sons and two daughters. The eldest surviving son, Henry, was made an English peer in 1698, by the title of Earl of Grantham, Viscount Boston, and Baron Alford. He had to wife his cousin, Lady Henrietta Butler, daughter of the celebrated Earl of Ossory (son to the first Duke of Ormonde), by whom he had two sons and three daughters. The youngest, Lady Henrietta Auverquerque, married William, third Earl Cowper, and through this union the present noble owner of Panshanger boasts a lineal descent from the hero, William the Silent, and Maurice, Princes of Orange, whose portraits Lady Henrietta brought into the Cowper family, together with the splendid Vandyck of John of Nassau—purchased by Lord Grantham at the Hague, in 1741, for the sum of 5000 florins, from the Van Swieten collection,—also several other Dutch pictures, which may be found in this Gallery. From the aforesaid lady the present Lord Cowper derives his title of Dingwall, though only called out of abeyance so recently as 1880.

Lord Albemarle, in his delightful volume entitled Fifty Years of My Life, speaks in the highest terms of the valour and generalship of Field-Marshal d’Auverquerque, and says the history of the War of Succession best attests his merits as General, and the Marlborough despatches best show the estimation in which he was held by that consummate commander. 204The titles of Earl Grantham and Baron Alford were bestowed upon him for his services, but he never assumed these honours.

No. 7.

In a leather jerkin. Holding a truncheon. The other arm akimbo.
Ship blowing up in the background.
BORN 1629, DIED 1691.
By Sir Peter Lely.

NATIVE of Rotterdam, the son of Martin Van Tromp, who, at the age of eleven years, stood by his father when he was shot down in action, the boy crying wildly to his messmates, ‘Comrades, will you not revenge my father’s death?’

Martin’s father before him had also been killed on the deck of his own vessel, in an engagement with the English, and Cornelius proved himself worthy of his brave progenitors. At the age of twenty-one he had attained the rank of post-captain, and was employed against the Emperor of Morocco, whom he compelled to make advantageous terms with the Dutch. In 1652 he fought the English at Porto Longone, and captured one of their finest vessels, the Sampson, which he boarded, his own ship being disabled; but, to the great mortification of Van Tromp, the Sampson was recaptured by the enemy. The following year, in a fresh encounter with the English, he made a violent effort to regain possession of 205his former prize, but the Sampson was blown up. The Dutch were victorious on this occasion, but they lost their Admiral, and Van Tromp was promoted to the vacant post. In 1656, in connection with Oldham and De Ruyter, he distinguished himself on the high seas, and then retired for a while from public life, and did not go afloat till 1662, when he fought the Algerine pirates in the Mediterranean. He also performed an arduous task in convoying several richly freighted Dutch merchantmen from the East Indies safely into port, in spite of numerous enemies who were on the look-out for such valuable prizes. Van Tromp was constantly opposed to the English, and in one engagement he gained universal praise for the manner in which he defended his disabled and shattered ship, when the Dutch were defeated, and sad havoc made in their fleet. New ships had to be constructed in all haste, and the States-General were placed in a dilemma as to the appointment of the command of the naval forces. Popular De Ruyter was absent, battling with other foes, and although Van Tromp’s knowledge and skill were almost universally acknowledged, there was a very powerful faction against him, led by the brothers De Witt, then in the plenitude of their power. The head and front of the gallant seaman’s offending seemed to consist in his unswerving loyalty to the House of Orange. There was, however, no alternative, and the command of the fleet was grudgingly bestowed on Cornelius Van Tromp, who had many hard conditions, to which his patriotism alone induced him to submit. He had not the sole command, but was joined therein by De Witt and others, who received instructions to watch over and supervise all his movements. Worse treatment was in store for him; no sooner had he hoisted his flag, than the sudden return of De Ruyter changed the whole aspect of affairs; Van Tromp’s appointments were cancelled, and De Ruyter ordered to supersede him. We can imagine with 206what feelings of wrathful indignation Van Tromp went on shore, proudly refusing to serve under the man who had supplanted him. In the ensuing year, spite of much bitterness of feeling, he who had been so unjustly treated was induced (partly by the bribe, perhaps, of a splendid ship) to join De Ruyter in an attack on the English, when, after a fierce struggle, of several days’ duration, the Dutch were victorious. Hostilities continuing between the two nations, in another engagement Van Tromp defeated the British Admiral Smith, but De Ruyter was worsted; and on their return violent recriminations passed between them. De Ruyter complained that his colleague had acted quite independently, had afforded him no support whatsoever, and, in fact, had left him and his portion of the fleet completely in the lurch, while Van Tromp retaliated with counter-charges. The States-General, as usual, espoused the cause of De Ruyter, deprived Van Tromp of his commission, forbade him to hold any communication with the fleet, and placed him under provisory arrest at the Hague. It was at this moment, while smarting beneath the ingratitude and injustice of the country which he had so nobly served, that tempting offers were made to the gallant seaman to enter the service of France, but these overtures were answered with becoming indignation. He now gained permission to leave the Hague, and repair to a country house which he possessed near Gravensand, called Trompenburg, and built in the fanciful form of a man-of-war. But being in the Hague at the time of the murder of the De Witt brothers, there were slanderous rumours set abroad that he encouraged the assassins. This arose doubtless from the fact that some voices in the crowd on the day of the murder called out, ‘Down with the De Witts! Long live Van Tromp!’

The Admiral remained for some time in retreat, but in 1673 he was reinstated in all his dignities by the Prince of Orange (afterwards William III.). A formal reconciliation took 207place between him and De Ruyter, and they once more agreed to make common cause against the enemies of their country. In an engagement with the combined forces of France and England, Van Tromp was sorely pressed, compelled to change his ship three times, and three times he was rescued by the gallantry of De Ruyter. The war continued, and they were both in constant service, and, whether successful or not, both famed alike for their patriotism and courage.

In 1675, the Dutch being then at peace with England, Charles II. invited Van Tromp to visit London, where he welcomed him with great honour, and gave him the title of Baron. The citizens also crowded to see the man whose name, as well as that of his father, had long been used with them as a bugbear to frighten naughty children (as was the case with ‘Boney’ in later days), and whose advent on the shores of England had at one time been so much dreaded that prayers had actually been printed against such a calamity.

Next year the Admiral was despatched to the assistance of Denmark against Sweden, and the King of that country also did him great honour, creating him a Count, and decorating him with the Order of the Elephant. On his return, the death of De Ruyter had made a vacancy in the highest naval command which it was in the power of the States-General to bestow, and it was conferred on Van Tromp. His last expedition was to accompany the Prince of Orange in his attack of St. Omer, and in 1691, William (then King of England) proposed to him to hoist his flag on the new fleet equipping against France, but Van Tromp died before he could undertake the trust. He expired at Amsterdam, and was buried with great solemnity in the paternal mausoleum at Delft.

Cornelius Van Tromp, with many great qualities, had something of a braggadocio in his nature. Witness his vain boast, 208when, after some successful encounter with the English, he attached a broom to his main mast, at a time when our superiority as a naval power was almost universally admitted.

Van Tromp had one brother, and an only sister, who had been christened by her father (in commemoration of one of his victories, at the time of her birth) by the following names, ‘Anna Maria Victoria Hardensis Trompensis-Dunensis.’ We sincerely hope, for the sake of her playmates, that the young lady had at least one nickname.




No. 1.

Red gown. Black and white cloak.
BORN 1733, DIED 1773.
By Sir Joshua Reynolds.

HE only daughter of William, second Earl Cowper, by Lady Henrietta Auverquerque, daughter of the Earl of Grantham. Married in 1753 to Henry Seymour, Esq. of Sherborne, Redland Court, and Northbrook, nephew to the Duke of Somerset. They had two daughters,—Caroline, wife to Mr. Danby of Swinton Park, county York (who bequeathed this picture to Lord Cowper), and Georgiana, married to the Comte de Durfort, Ambassador at Venice.

212No. 2.

Green gown, with short sleeves. Holding a basket.
A Study by Opie.

ISS JANE COWING married in 1793 Samuel Reynolds, who became identified with his great namesake, Sir Joshua, by his beautiful and delicate engraving of the works of that master, and of many other celebrated painters. His son and daughter were also artists in oil and miniature, and his grandchildren still keep up the character of the family for the love and practice of art. Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds were intimate friends and constant guests of Lord and Lady John Townshend at Balls Park, Hertford, where the agreeable and versatile talents of the former, and the gentle and kindly disposition of the latter, ensured them a cordial welcome. They were also occasional visitors to Panshanger, and it is easy to imagine how fully the treasures of this noble gallery must have been appreciated by the practised eye and refined taste of Samuel Reynolds.

213No. 3.

Red coat. Fur collar. No spectacles.
BORN 1723, DIED 1792.
By Himself.

ORN at Plymouth, where his father, Samuel, was master of the Grammar-School. His mother was Theophila Potter, of Bishops Plympton, South Molton, who had many children. Samuel Reynolds was a good man, and sensible withal; yet we are told, on the authority of a maid who lived in the family, that he was given to astrology, and would go out on the house-top to consult the stars; moreover, that he once cast the horoscope of a little daughter, for whom he predicted a violent death,—a prophecy which was, unfortunately, fulfilled, as the child fell out of a window, and was killed. When only eight years old, Joshua had benefited so much by studying Richardson’s treatise on Perspective, that he was enabled to draw the schoolhouse according to rule, a feat which much delighted his father. The boy also busied himself in copying all the engravings he could lay hands on, more especially a volume of Catt’s Emblems, which his grandmother had brought with her from Holland. His sisters had all a turn for drawing, and the little band of artists used to decorate the whitewashed walls of the passages with designs in charcoal, whereof the least admired were the brother’s handiworks. Indeed, in those days Joshua was not considered a prophet by his sisters, who had nicknamed him ‘The clown,’—a sobriquet certainly not applicable to him in after life. Mrs. Parker, a friend and neighbour of 214the Reynolds family, sent the children a present of pencils,—a gift which the great painter lived to pay back with interest, for the walls of Saltram are rich in his paintings. When about twelve years of age, Joshua is said to have made his first essay in oils under considerable difficulties,—the portrait of Richard (afterwards Lord) Edgecumbe,—in the boat-house on Cremel Beach, below Mount Edgecumbe. This work was executed on the rough canvas of a boat-sail, with the common paints used by shipwrights!

After much consultation with friends and relations, and many pecuniary obstacles, Joshua proceeded to London as an apprentice to Hudson, the fashionable portrait-painter of the day, son-in-law to Richardson, whose writings on Art had been so useful to the young beginner. Shortly after his departure, his father writes to a friend that no one could be more delighted than the dear fellow with his new life, his master, his employment,—indeed, he was in the seventh heaven.

Joshua was an enthusiast in all things, and a characteristic anecdote is told of him when he first went to London. Hudson sent him to a picture sale, on a commission to make a purchase, when a whisper ran through the crowded room—‘Mr. Pope! Mr. Pope!’ A passage was instantly made for the great man, and Joshua, in a fever of excitement, stretched out his hand under the arm of the person who stood before him, desirous even to touch the hem of the poet’s garment. To his delight, his hand was warmly shaken by the man whose homely but expressive features, and poetical creations, he was destined to portray in later days.

Reynolds left Hudson’s studio before his apprenticeship had expired, for which step many reasons were assigned at the time by those who, perhaps, were not in possession of the truth. Some said his master was unkind to him, from a feeling of jealousy; but as both father and son (Reynolds) remained on friendly terms with the painter, this does not appear probable. 215Joshua went down to Plymouth, and painted all the remarkable people in the neighbourhood, including the greatest dignitary of all,—the Commissioner of the dockyard!

In 1746 his father died, and when the household broke up, he went to live with his two unmarried sisters at Plymouth. It was here he made the acquaintance of Commodore Keppel, whose portrait is so well known and so justly admired. This gallant sailor had been appointed to the command of the Mediterranean Fleet, and intrusted with a diplomatic mission, before he had completed his twenty-fourth year. He met Joshua at Mount Edgecumbe, and proposed to take him for a cruise, an offer that was gladly accepted. After visiting Portugal, the Balearic Isles, and different portions of the Italian coast, the young painter took leave of the Commodore, and proceeded on a prolonged tour through all the principal towns of Italy, carefully admiring, studying, copying, and writing essays on all the treasures of art in his progress. His long and patient worship of Raphael, in the chambers of the Vatican, cost him one of his senses, for the extreme cold of those vast apartments brought on a chill, which deprived him of hearing, even at that early age. Returning to London, he established himself in St. Martin’s Lane, in a house formerly occupied by Sir James Thornhill, immediately behind which stood the school for drawing and design. He now wrote to his sister Frances to come up from Devonshire, and keep house for him,—a proceeding which, judging from the character given of that lady by Madame D’Arblay (whose testimony we are always inclined to take cum grano), appeared to be of questionable advantage, for Miss Fanny, though a person of worth and understanding, lived in a perpetual state of irresolution of mind and perplexity of conduct,—what in these days we should call a chronic fuss; added to which, she insisted on being an artist, and her admiration for her brother’s works induced her to make what she called ‘copies,’ and Joshua ‘caricatures.’ 216‘Indeed,’ said he wofully, ‘Fanny’s copies make me cry, and other people laugh.’ She had also a knack of taking offence on the slightest provocation, and one day, being displeased with her brother for some imaginary slight put upon her, she deputed Samuel Johnson to compose an expostulatory letter for her to write to Joshua. Dr. Johnson was a warm admirer of Miss Fanny and her talent for tea-making,—to which he did full justice,—and could deny her nothing; but when the copy of the letter was read and discussed, the style was so unmistakably masculine and Johnsonian, that it was deemed advisable not to send it.

Our painter’s hands were now full. Men and women of all classes, denominations, and reputations, thronged his studio; his pocket-book was a perfect record of all the illustrious and celebrated names of the period. He determined to change his quarters, first to Newport Street, and finally to far more commodious apartments in Leicester Square. He raised his prices, charging twelve guineas for a head, and forty-eight for a full-length. He set up a magnificent coach, which caused a great sensation. Northcote flippantly describes it as an advertisement; but it would appear more likely that Reynolds wished to do Catton a good turn. Catton had begun life as a decorator, and ended as an R.A. The vehicle was splendid in colour and gorgeous in gilding, and Catton soon received orders to paint royal and municipal carriages. Joshua was far too busy to take the air in his new equipage, and it was in vain he entreated Miss Fanny to do so. She was much too shy, she said, to attract the eyes of the whole town.

We do not require to be told that Sir Joshua was a friend and playfellow of children. None but a lover could have painted in all their winning varieties, not merely the comeliness, but the roguish grace, the dimpled smiles, the ‘beautifully shy’ glances, of childhood. It is easy to picture him paying court to these juvenile charmers, and entering into delightful 217small flirtations. But the history of one of these tender passages will suffice to give an idea of the course he usually pursued. The parents of the beautiful little Miss Bowles, with whose sweet face we are all familiar, had settled that their darling should sit to Romney. But Sir George Beaumont recommended Reynolds for the privilege. The little lady was shy and coy. ‘Invite him to dinner,’ said Sir George. The President came, and sat at table by the daughter of the house. He paid her the most assiduous court; no end of stories; no end of tricks; her plate was juggled away and brought back from unexpected quarters. Her senses were dazzled; the conquest was complete; she thought him the most captivating of men, and was only too ready to be taken to his house next day. There, seated on the floor in an ecstasy of expectation and delight, she gave herself up to Sir Joshua’s fascinations. He seized his opportunity, caught the radiant expression, fastened it on the canvas, and made his little friend immortal! No one gloried more in the success of the young painter than Samuel Johnson, for between these two great men, so essentially different in pursuits, in character, intellect, and appearance, a tender friendship had sprung up. Reynolds’s heart, home, and purse were always at the service of the Doctor, who was often in pecuniary difficulties, and who wrote Rasselas under the pressure of great sorrow, paying the expenses of his mother’s funeral out of the proceeds of the book. He puts these touching words into the mouth of Imlac: ‘I have neither mother to delight in the reputation of her son, or wife to share in the honours of her husband.’

Many a delightful summer excursion did Johnson and Reynolds make together, where the eccentricities and caustic humour of the former made him as welcome a guest at the country houses they visited as the refined qualities and polished manners of the latter.

If the peculiarities, the sayings, and doings of the great ‘leviathan of literature’ have been made familiar to us by the 218pen of Boswell, surely the pencil of Reynolds has stamped his image on our minds, as if the living Samuel had ever stood before us. Boswell recognised the Doctor when he saw him first through a glass door in Tom Davies’s coffee-house from his exact resemblance to the portrait which the painter afterwards gave the biographer, who had it engraved for one of the first editions of Johnson’s Life. What can be more charming than ‘The Infant Johnson,’ one of the chief glories of the Bowood collection? Was ever a joke so wonderfully delineated?

The question being raised one evening at a convivial meeting, Could the Doctor ever have been a baby? ‘No doubt about it,’ said Reynolds; ‘I know exactly what he looked like, and I will show you some day.’

The painter was a great admirer of Johnson’s powers of conversation, and it was chiefly at his instigation that the Literary Club was formed, with a view ‘of giving the Doctor the opportunity of talking, and us, his friends, of listening.’ The meetings were held in Gerrard Street, Soho, and were at first confined to twelve members, but ere long included all the wit and literature of the town.

Sir Joshua liked cards, masquerades, and theatres. Neither did he disdain the illegitimate drama, for we find him accompanying the sapient Samuel and the rollicking Oliver (Goldsmith) to a performance of the Italian Fantoccini; and, still more surprising, we have the account of the supper which crowned this convivial evening, when Goldsmith and the Doctor jumped over sticks, in imitation of the frolics of the wooden puppets, and the latter nearly broke his leg in these elephantine gambols!

In 1769 the Royal Academy was founded. Joshua did not join the deputation that waited on the King; in fact, he kept aloof from the whole undertaking, interested as he was at heart in the cause; but the slights put upon him at Court formed a sufficient reason for his non-appearance. From the 219moment that he found himself elected President by the unanimous voice of his brother artists, his zeal never slackened, and knew no bounds. He drew up Regulations, wrote and revised the Catalogue, and began a regular course of lectures, which gained him as much literary, as his paintings had secured for him pictorial, fame. As long as Reynolds could hold a brush he contributed his most splendid portraits to the Exhibitions. As in duty bound, he went to the levee, where the King knighted him. ‘His very name,’ says his friend Edmund Burke, an undoubted master of euphony, ‘seemed made for knightly honours.’

George III. sat to him for the presentation picture to the Royal Academy. Sir Joshua had not as much time now as formerly for his summer excursions, whether in England or abroad. He spent most of the day in his painting-room, or in attending to his numerous duties as P.R.A. In the evening he gave himself up more or less to social enjoyment, dining out constantly at clubs or private houses, or presiding at his own table at those convivial banquets, where oftentimes half a dozen guests were expected and a dozen appeared, and where verily the feast of reason and the flow of soul made up for the scarcity of the servants, knives, forks, plates, and such minor details.

In that dining-room were gathered all the intellect and wit of the town; and its noble master presided calmly, taking an interest in all that came within the range of his ear-trumpet. Leicester Square was in the centre of the disturbed district at the time of the Gordon Riots, and the noise and hubbub were painfully audible to the painter’s impaired hearing, and for a time interfered with the visits of his fair sitters. On St. George’s Day 1770, Sir Joshua presided at the first Royal Academy banquet, a festivity which was spoiled for many of the guests by the announcement that the boy-poet Chatterton had committed suicide.

In the ensuing year Reynolds was summoned to Windsor 220Castle to witness the installation of nine Knights of the Garter, all of whom (with the exception of two foreign Princes) had been immortalised by his pencil. Northcote tells us that on this occasion Sir Joshua lost his laced hat and gold watch in the crowd close to the Royal precincts,—a circumstance which excited little astonishment in days when a boat containing ladies and gentlemen from Vauxhall was boarded by masked highwaymen!

A delightful addition was made in 1771 to the Leicester Square household, in the person of his pretty niece, Theophila Palmer; and two years later she was joined by her sister, Mary, adding that element of youth, beauty, and good spirits which were most acceptable to Sir Joshua himself and to all his guests. A sad blow was in store for him in the death of his valued friend David Garrick, who was taken ill when on a visit to Lord Spencer at Althorp, and only returned to London to die. The whole Faculty put forth their skill to save this darling of the public, this cherished member of private society; but in vain. Garrick’s humour never forsook him; when almost at the point of death, he drew a friend near him, and, pointing to the crowd of doctors in the room, whispered these words from the ‘Fair Penitent’—

‘Another and another still succeeds,
And the last fool is welcome as the former.’
David Garrick’s funeral was a pageant. The procession included every name remarkable for talent, rank, celebrity of all kinds and classes. But amidst that crowd of mourners few could have grieved more deeply than the actor’s fast friend, Joshua Reynolds.

He was indeed a good friend, and was much interested in the unhappy Angelica Kauffmann, whom he assisted in the dissolution of her marriage with her first husband, a swindler and an impostor. We find by his pocket-book that 221she sat twice to him, and in exchange she afterwards painted the P.R.A. for Mr. Parker of Saltram. There was a rumour that the painter’s heart was touched by the charms of the paintress. But Joshua was evidently not very susceptible; he was an inveterate club man, and was immensely popular, from the geniality and cordiality of his manners, as also (it was whispered) from the badness of his whist-playing. He was elected for the Dilettanti Club in 1766, and his picture of the assembled members was greatly admired, and added considerably to his fame.

In 1782 the great painter had a paralytic seizure, though of a mild nature, and he soon recovered sufficient energy to continue his labours, with, if possible, increased diligence, finishing and exhibiting some of his noblest works after this premonitory warning. In 1784 Samuel Johnson was stricken down by the same terrible disease, but in a much more aggravated form, leaving little hope of his recovery. He had lost the power of speech for a time, and his first efforts at returning articulation were to repeat the Lord’s Prayer, and an earnest supplication that his intellect might be spared to the last, together with a summons to his dear Joshua,—the loved companion of so many pleasant excursions, of so many jovial and intellectual gatherings,—of whom he took a tender farewell. The dying man made three requests in that solemn moment: that Reynolds would paint no more on Sundays; that he would invariably read his Bible on that day, and other days besides; and that he would cancel the debt of £30 which he (Johnson) owed him.

The relations between Gainsborough and Reynolds had never been very friendly; but when the first-mentioned painter was on his deathbed, he also sent for Sir Joshua, who says: ‘In those solemn moments all little jealousies were forgotten, and he recognised in me one whose tastes and pursuits were in common with his own, and of whose works he approved.’ 222It should be remembered that when Gainsborough heard some one disparaging Sir Joshua’s talent, he spoke up gallantly, and said, ‘For myself, I consider his worst pictures superior to the best of any other painter;’ and words nearly to the same effect, on the same subject, are recorded of Romney. Reynolds himself, being attacked on the score of his portraits fading, laughed, and said good-humouredly, ‘Well, you must confess at all events that I have come off with flying colours.’ On the death of Ramsay, the Court painter, the post was offered to Sir Joshua, but it required the united persuasions of his friends to induce him to accept the office.

Reynolds had a great deal to contend with in these latter days. He had entirely lost the sight of one eye, and was under grave apprehensions for the safety of the other; while the conduct of many of the Royal Academicians towards their noble President was such as to determine him to resign his post. The King (who had just recovered from an attack of insanity) exerted himself to persuade Reynolds to take back his resignation. But it was not until he had received a deputation from the Council, accompanied by apologies from some of the offenders, that Sir Joshua consented to resume the Chair. In December 1790 he delivered his last discourse at the Royal Academy, which he commenced by alluding slightly and delicately to the causes which had nearly prevented his ever occupying that place again, and assuring his hearers that he should always remember with pride, affection, and gratitude the support with which he had almost uniformly been honoured since the commencement of their intercourse. He enjoined, for the last time, the enforcement of those rules which he considered conducive to the wellbeing of the institution.

Every eye was fixed on the speaker, every ear open to his charming, when suddenly a loud crash plunged the whole assembly (with the exception of the President) into alarm and confusion. There was a general rush to the door, but when 223order was restored, and assurance of safety believed, it was ascertained that a beam, which helped to support the flooring, had given way.

Alas for the omen! The greatest prop to the grandeur of the Royal Academy was soon to fall away in truth.

Sir Joshua remained calm and unmoved during the perturbation, and concluded by these words: ‘I reflect, not without vanity, that these discourses bear testimony to my admiration of a truly divine man, and I desire that the last words I pronounce in this Academy should be the name of Michael Angelo.’

As Reynolds descended from the Chair, Edmund Burke stepped forward, and, taking his hand, addressed him in the words of Milton:—

‘The angel ended, and in Adam’s ear
So charming left his voice, that he a while
Thought him still speaking, and stood fixed to hear.’
‘Such a tribute, from such a man,’ says Leslie, ‘was a fitting close to the life-work of Joshua Reynolds.’

Neither his impaired sight, his deficient hearing, or his increasing weakness, could entirely damp the warmth of his social affections. The last time he wielded his brush was at the request of some schoolboys, who entreated him to paint them a flag for ‘breaking up.’

Reynolds had that love for children and domestic pets which seems inseparable from great and good natures. He would pay the most assiduous court, and make the most gallant advances, to some of the exquisite little models who sat to him, till they became spellbound. And one day, his canary having escaped from its cage, nothing would content the P.R.A. but he must go out into the glaring sunshine, with his weak eyes, and the green shade over them, to spend hours in seeking and whistling for his lost favourite.

224The end was approaching. His spirits became depressed, his appetite failed, and on the evening of February 23, 1792, he concluded a blameless life by a calm and peaceful end. The manuscript of Burke’s obituary notice still exists, blotted with the writer’s tears. It was written in the very house where the friends had spent so many happy hours together. Beautiful in its touching eloquence, we regret we have only space for a short extract:—

‘From the beginning Sir Joshua contemplated his dissolution with a composure which nothing but the innocence, integrity, and usefulness of his life, and his entire submission to the will of Providence, could bestow. In the full affluence of foreign and domestic fame, admired by the expert in art, by the learned in science, caressed by sovereign powers, and celebrated by distinguished poets, his native humility, modesty, and candour never forsook him. He had too much merit ever to excite jealousy, too much innocence ever to provoke enmity. The loss of no man of his time can be felt with so much sincere, general, and unmixed sorrow.’ And these words were confirmed by the crowds of every calling, position, and class which followed him to the grave.

The body lay in state at Somerset House. There were ninety-one carriages followed, so that, before the first in the line had reached St. Paul’s, the last was still at the entrance of Somerset House. The Annual Register for that year gives a detailed account of the funeral. The pall-bearers were ten Peers, Reynolds’s personal friends, the greater part of whom had been his sitters. And the procession included three Knights of the Garter, two of St. Patrick, and one of the Thistle; three Dukes and four Lords-Lieutenant of Ireland; the whole body of Academicians, painters, authors, actors,—every name distinguished for literature, art, and science. Sir Joshua left numerous legacies; many of his finest pictures were bequeathed to private friends.

225He left the bulk of his fortune, for her life, to his sister, Frances Reynolds, with reversion to his niece, Mary Palmer, afterwards Lady Thomond, together with a large collection of his paintings, which were sold and dispersed at her death.

The number of his paintings seems miraculous when the list is read. He was a large contributor to the Exhibitions of the Royal Academy. At the first of these he sent four; at the last (as far as he was concerned, in 1790) he sent but six, only two years before his death. But in the interim his pictures often numbered fourteen, sixteen, and, on one occasion, seventeen, for his talent was only equalled by his industry, and he was a workman as well as an artist, to which fact all his contemporaries bear witness.

No. 4.

Sitting. White gown. Blue sash. Hair falling on her shoulders.
By Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A.

E give a sketch of both sisters, not being quite certain as to the identity of the portrait. They were the daughters of Mrs. Palmer, who was sister of Sir Joshua Reynolds, and wife of John Palmer of Torrington, county Devon. Theophila, their youngest daughter, had been residing some time with her uncle in Leicester Square, but came home for change of air; and when she returned 226to London in 1779, her elder sister, Mary, accompanied her. Miss Burney tells us that the two sisters ‘added to the charm of the President’s table and his evening parties by their pleasing manners and the beauty of their persons.’

They both served as occasional models. Mary appears to have been the more staid and demure of the two. She had the keenest admiration and appreciation of her uncle’s talent, and never tired of describing his works to her frequent correspondent and cousin, William Johnson, at Calcutta. In 1786 she says: ‘Uncle seems more than ever bewitched by his palette and pencil. He paints from morning till night, and, truth to say, each picture appears better than the last. The Empress of Russia has ordered an historical painting; his choice is still undecided.’

This was the ‘Infant Hercules,’ which made such a noise at the time, and the merits of which were the subject of so much controversy. Romney’s verdict was ‘that, whatever fault might be found with it, no other painter in Europe could have produced that picture.’ Sir Joshua was one of those who did not disdain criticism, even from young lips. He had painted a captivating portrait of Mary’s little niece, Polly Gwatkin, and when Miss Palmer saw it she told the President boldly that the little fingers, which were clasped on the child’s lap, with their very red tips, suggested the idea of a dish of prawns! Sir Joshua, no ways offended, laughed, and set to work immediately, turning the prawns into roseate buds, which he placed in the little chubby hand. Mary was at Torrington when she heard of her uncle’s sudden failure of sight and loss of one eye. She hastened back to his side, to read, to write, to minister to him in every possible way, for he was not allowed to read, or write, or paint for some time. ‘You may believe,’ Mary writes, ‘what the loss of an eye is to him. But his serenity never forsook him. One of his early axioms was not to fuss about trifles,—if the loss of an eye could be considered 227as such. ‘The ruling passion continues. He amuses himself by mending or cleaning a picture. In the meantime he enjoys company as much as ever, and loves a game at cards.’

Mary Palmer lived with her uncle till his death. He left her a considerable fortune and a large collection of his pictures, which were sold by auction at her death, in 1821. The same year that Sir Joshua died she married Murrough, first Marquis of Thomond, as his second wife. She made a present of one of his historical paintings to George IV. Theophila, or Offy, as her uncle usually called her, was his favourite, although much attached to both sisters. She was only thirteen when she first went to live in Leicester Square. She was very pretty, and full of fun and playful spirits. She frequently sat to the President, especially for his arch and sprightly models,—his ‘Strawberry Girl,’ his ‘Mouse Girl,’ and ‘Reflections on reading Clarissa Harlowe.’ But Miss Offy’s dignity was much hurt on the exhibition of the last-named picture, because it was entered into the Catalogue as ‘A Girl reading:’ ‘You might have put “a young lady,” uncle’! Another time the President was scolded because he made the portrait look too young, when the original was nearly fourteen! But for all these differences, the great man and the little lady were the dearest friends, and we find in one of his long letters that he will not tell her how much he loves her lest she should grow saucy over it; and again he says he has two presents for her and Mary,—a ring, and a bracelet of his hair. She is to have her choice, but she is not to let her sister know of this mark of preference.

Offy was married in her twentieth year, from her mother’s house at Torrington, to Richard Lovell Gwatkin, a man of fortune, and of a good Cornish family. Her uncle writes her a most affectionate letter of congratulation, with a postscript by Edmund Burke, who came in at the moment, wishing her every possible happiness. The wish was fulfilled. There never was a happier wife or mother than little Offy. She 228came to London and sat for a conjugal picture to Sir Joshua, who also painted her little daughter, as we have said before. Mrs. Gwatkin lived to be ninety years of age, surrounded by her children’s children.

No. 5.

Dark green gown, open at the throat. Shady hat. Landscape in background.
By Sir Joshua Reynolds.
No. 6.

Red gown. Diamond necklace.
By Poynter.

ATRINE CECILIA COMPTON, eldest daughter of the fourth Marquis of Northampton, by Eliza, second daughter of Admiral the Honourable Sir George Elliot, K.C.B.

She married in 1870 the present and seventh Earl Cowper.

229No. 7.

Loose gown, trimmed with fur. White cap. Table with books and papers.
BORN 1731, DIED 1800.
By Jackson, after a Chalk Drawing from Life.

HE grandson of Spencer Cowper, Attorney-General, and great-nephew of Lord Chancellor Cowper, the first peer of the name. His father was Dr. John Cowper, chaplain to King George II., who married the daughter of Roger Donne, of Lidham Hall, county Norfolk. William, the eldest of two sons, was born at his father’s rectory of Great Berkhamstead.

Mrs. Cowper died in giving birth to a second son. She was an amiable and pretty woman, and much more deserving of the flattering epitaph (by her niece, Lady Walsingham) than most objects of elegiac praise, in the days when it might well be asked ‘where all the naughty people were buried.’

Even in these times when ‘The Task’ and the Homer lie unopened on the table, few readers of poetry are surely unacquainted with the ‘Address to my Mother’s Picture,’ written half a century after her death. The portrait was a present to William Cowper, from his cousin, Mrs. Bodham, and he writes her an enthusiastic letter of thanks ‘for the most acceptable gift the world could offer;’ sending her at the same time the lines to which we have alluded. ‘I have placed the painting so as to meet my eye the first thing in the morning, and the last at night, and I often get up from my bed to kiss it.’

But we must not anticipate by so many years. When only 230six, William went to a large school at Markgate Street, where he had to undergo a fierce ordeal. Many a stout-hearted boy, possessing the germs of future heroism, might have quailed before the bully who marked the little sensitive, tender-hearted Willie (ready to burst into tears at the first harsh word) as his victim. He tells us himself that he scarcely ever dared to lift his eyes above the level of his tyrant’s shoe-buckle; and, alluding to those days in later life, he said he could not dwell on the cruelty practised on him, but he hoped God would forgive his tormentor, and that they might meet in heaven.

‘Wretch even then, life’s journey just begun.’
It is easy to see how the memory of those days suggested his ‘Tyrocinium.’ Mr. Cowper, finding that the boy was suffering from inflammation of the eyes, sent him to board with an oculist in London, and afterwards to Westminster School, where William improved in health, and took bodily exercise, cricket and football, which proved beneficial to him in more ways than one, making him popular in the school.

He was diligent in his study of the Classics, and wrote good Latin verses. Warren Hastings was his contemporary and friend, and Cowper would never listen in after days to a word against his old school-fellow.

On leaving Westminster, he became articled clerk to an attorney, in obedience to his father’s wishes, he himself disliking the profession of the law. He confesses that at this period he spent most of his time ‘in giggling and making giggle’ his two favourite cousins, Theodora and Harriet, daughters of Ashley Cowper. He ‘feared some day that worthy gentleman would be picked up for a mushroom, being a diminutive man, nearly hidden under the shadow of a white broad-brimmed hat, lined with yellow.’ His fellow-clerk and ally in these giggling matches was the afterwards famous Lord Thurlow, of whom it was said, ‘No man could 231possibly be as wise as Lord Thurlow looked.’ At all events he was wise enough at this period to combine legal study with flirtation. Cowper prophesied he would one day sit on the Woolsack, and Thurlow promised to do something handsome for his friend whenever that time should come. He redeemed his pledge by the gift of a few strictures and criticisms on the poet’s translation of Homer.

Cowper removed from the attorney’s office to chambers in the Temple, where he studied literature rather than law, and became a member of the Nonsense Club, which was the resort of authors, journalists, editors, and the like. Here he formed many friendships which lasted through life, became a contributor to several periodicals, kept up his classical reading, translated many amatory and sentimental poems, and wrote odes to Delia of a very tender character,—Delia otherwise Theodora Cowper.

The cousins had fallen in love, but the lady’s father would not hear of the marriage, which was a bitter disappointment. The lady remained faithful to her first love, and Cowper, as we know, never married.

A cousin of William’s, Major Cowper, had the patronage of the Clerkship of Journals in the House of Lords; and the future poet, whose finances were very low at the time, one day expressed a hope that the holder of the office might die, in order to make way for him. This uttered wish was afterwards the subject of due remorse to this sensitive spirit: ‘God gave me my heart’s desire, and sent leanness withal into my soul.’ The man died, the office was offered to, and accepted by, Cowper. ‘I was so dazzled,’ he said, ‘by the idea, that I did not reflect on my incapacity for the appointment;’ but as he answered in the affirmative, he felt ‘a dagger strike at his heart.’ He fell a prey to nervous fears and terrors of all kinds, and, even while preparing himself for the duties of his office, began to contemplate with horror the prospect of being 232examined as to his proficiency at the bar of the House of Lords.

By degrees he became quite mad, and in that state meditated self-destruction. He bought laudanum, he drove to the river-side to drown himself, he pointed a knife at his throat; but his courage always failed him, or, as he thought, some particular interposition saved his life. Twice he suspended himself by the neck long enough to occasion insensibility, but so insecurely as to fall each time, the shock bringing back consciousness. After this last incident he sent for a relative, to whom he confessed everything, and who, comprehending the state of the case, returned the nomination to Major Cowper.

Several of his friends, unacquainted with these sad circumstances, called upon him on the day appointed for his appearance at the House of Lords, but one and all acquiesced in the sad decision that he must be placed under restraint. The asylum chosen was that of Dr. Cotton, a religious and well-educated man, who was of much service to the sufferer by his judicious treatment. William laboured under terrible despondency, fear of eternal punishment, and the deepest feelings of remorse. By the gentle, friendly care of Dr. Cotton, the patient gradually regained his health, both mental and bodily, and took much comfort in reading the Bible,—the very book which, in his fits of madness, he would dash to the ground. One morning, studying the third chapter of Romans, he experienced ‘comfort and strength to believe, feeling the full beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining on me, and relying on the full justification by faith in the blood of Jesus. In a moment I believed, and received the Gospel.’

The seeds of religion, which bore fruit in Cowper’s after life, had been in some measure sown by the hand of the good physician Dr. Cotton, and, after eleven months’ sojourn at St. Albans, William Cowper went forth in his right mind.

233After much consultation between the brothers, an abode was fixed upon for William Cowper at what one of his biographers designates as ‘dull, fenny Huntingdon,’ which appeared an Elysium to one who had just recovered his senses and his liberty. He had not been there long before an incident occurred which changed the whole tenor of his after life. Leaving church one morning, he began pacing up and down under the shade of the trees, before returning to his solitary lodging, when he was accosted by a young man of prepossessing appearance, who craved pardon for addressing ‘a perfect stranger,’ and asked leave to accompany him in his walk. Such an unconventional proceeding was doubtless calculated to please a man of so imaginative a turn of mind, and Cowper warmly responded. The young man announced himself as William Unwin, a student of Cambridge, the son of the Rev. Mr. Unwin, who lived in the town, and boarded pupils for the Huntingdon school. Young Unwin went on to confess that, for some time past, he had been attracted by Cowper’s appearance, and longed to speak to him, but to-day he could no longer resist doing so. He ended by requesting his new friend to accompany him home, that he might make acquaintance with his parents. No time was lost, the visit was paid; the liking proved reciprocal, and it was not long before William Cowper left his lonely apartments to occupy a room, lately vacated, under the roof of the Rev. Mr. Unwin. Thus began that lifelong friendship, the annals of which are indissolubly connected with the poet’s history. ‘Verily there is One who setteth the solitary in families.’ Writing to his dear cousin and constant correspondent, Lady Hesketh (the sister of Theodora), he described ‘the most comfortable and sociable folk he had ever met,—the son, destined for the Church, most frank and unreserved; the girl pretty, bashful, taciturn; the father a kind of Parson Adams, and the mother.’ Mrs. Unwin was some years younger than 234her husband, comely in appearance, strongly imbued with evangelical views in religion, well read, particularly in the English poets, with a vein of cheerfulness and humour tempering the strictness of her religious tenets, and an invaluable critic. Cowper describes a two hours’ walk and conversation with her, which did him ‘more good than an audience with a prince could have done. Her society is a real blessing to me.’ The manner of life in the Unwin establishment proved most congenial to Cowper’s tastes, for he both contemned and condemned ‘the frivolous gaieties, the balls, routs, and card-parties of the Huntingdon beau monde.’ ‘After early breakfast,’ he says, ‘we occupy ourselves in reading passages from Scripture, or the works of some favourite preacher; at eleven, Divine service, which is performed twice a day; a solitary ride, walk, or reading; and after dinner a sociable walk in the garden with mother or son, the conversation usually of a religious character.’ Mrs. Unwin was a good walker, and the friends often rambled beyond the home precincts, and did not return till tea-time; at night, reading or singing hymns till supper; family prayers concluded the order of the day. This was the description by William Cowper of a day of perfect cheerfulness. With all our admiration for the man who was thus spiritually minded, it is almost a relief to find him confessing to some slight shade of human weakness in a letter to his cousin, Mrs. Cowper. He had given young Unwin an introduction to ‘the Park,’ and—after a lengthened rhapsody of self-accusation, not without a spice of humour, as of one who is laughing at himself,—he allows that ‘it was not alone friendship for the youth which prompted the introduction, but a desire that Unwin should receive some convincing proof of “my sponsibility,” by visiting one of my most splendid connections, so that, when next he hears me called “that fellow Cowper” (which has happened before now), he may be able to bear witness to my gentlemanhood.’

235About this time he seems to have revolved in his mind the idea of taking orders, which he wisely abandoned. He had spent but two peaceful years under his friends’ roof, when the home was broken up by the death of Mr. Unwin, who fell from his horse and fractured his skull, riding home after church. ‘This event necessitates a change of residence,’ Cowper remarks. But the possibility of a separation from Mrs. Unwin never appears to have struck either of them; they merely commenced making inquiries and taking advice as to whither they should flit. The poet’s biographers are at variance respecting this epoch in his life, some asserting, others denying, that the friends ever contemplated marriage. There must have been some rumour to this effect, as, in a postscript to one of his letters he says laconically, ‘I am not married.’ He frequently remarked that the affection Mrs. Unwin bore him was that of a mother for a son; nevertheless, the lady was only his senior by seven years.

To the eye of watchful affection, it was evident that Cowper’s mental recovery would not prove permanent, and such a consideration doubtless weighed in the devoted woman’s resolution to remain at her friend’s side. Her son, a religious and high-principled man, offered no objection; her daughter was married; and so William Cowper and Mary Unwin took up their abode together in the melancholy little town of Olney, in Buckinghamshire. They were attracted to this unpromising locality by one of those hasty friendships to which they were both prone. The Rev. Mr. Newton, at that time esteemed a shining light in Methodist circles—well known by his Cardiphonia and many evangelical works, and still better, perhaps, by his collection of ‘Olney Hymns’—had visited the Unwins at Huntingdon, and had held discussions with them on religious matters, in a strain much appreciated by the whole household. He was now curate at Olney, and invited his new friends to settle near him. This remarkable 236man had passed a stormy and eventful youth. He had been a sailor in all parts of the world; had endured shipwreck, slavery, imprisonment, and perils of all kinds, by land and by sea. He had become a minister of the Gospel, and was one of those enthusiasts who, after a sudden conversion (generally brought about by a lightning flash of conviction), take delight in reviling their former selves, painting their own portraits in colours so black as to bring out in stronger relief the subsequent brightness. He was a zealot, and had the reputation of ‘preaching people mad.’ Alas! such a man, however conscientious and well-intentioned, was one of the worst influences that could have crossed Cowper’s path. But so it was. Mr. Newton hired a house for the new-comers next door to the Vicarage where he lived,—damp, dark, and dreary; even the easily-contented and far from luxurious poet described it as a ‘well’ and an ‘abyss.’ Then the life prescribed by this spiritual pastor and master,—prayer-meetings at all hours of the day and evening; rigid self-examinations and upbraidings; scarcely any leisure allowed for wholesome exercise or cheerful correspondence.

Mrs. Unwin, usually watchful and judicious, was herself so completely under Newton’s influence, that she did not interfere to arrest the progress of a system which was helping to hurry her poor friend back into his former miserable state. Before the malady returned in its most aggravated form, Cowper used to take violent fancies, and one day suddenly insisted on leaving his own house and removing to the Vicarage,—a most inconvenient resolution, as far as the curate was concerned. John Cowper’s death, about this time, helped to agitate his brother’s mind, and ere long he was again insane.

When the dark hour came, the devoted woman and the benevolent though mistaken friend were unremitting in their care; and it was in allusion to the tenderness with which 237his gentle-hearted nurse ministered to him on this and subsequent occasions that Cowper wrote:—

‘There is a book
By seraphs writ in beams of heavenly light,
On which the eyes of God not rarely look;
A chronicle of actions just and bright.
Here all thy deeds, my faithful Mary, shine,
And since thou own’st that praise, I spare thee mine.’
Mr. Newton was soon to leave Olney, which he did under circumstances that appear, at this time of writing, rather comic. He had a great dread of fire, and strictly prohibited every species of bonfire, illumination, or firework in the locality on Gunpowder Plot Day. Such an inroad on a time-honoured institution could not be tolerated. The parish rose en masse, and his reverence narrowly escaped with his life. Disgusted by the ingratitude and rebellion of his flock, the curate removed to London.

Cowper had before this returned to his own house, and gradually his bodily health improved and his mind regained its equilibrium; he now began to resume out-of-doors pursuits, walking and gardening, and the like. He was much addicted to reading out of doors, and said that external objects fixed the subject of his lecture on his memory. He wrote to William Unwin about this time, requesting him to procure a diamond for cutting glass, and expatiating at length on the joys of a glazier’s trade. He hardly knows a business in which a gentleman might more successfully employ himself. ‘Possibly the happy time may come,’ he goes on to say, ‘when I may be seen trudging off to the neighbouring towns, with a shelf of glass hanging at my back. A Chinese of ten times my fortune would avail himself of such an opportunity,—and why not I, who want money as much as any mandarin in China?’ He recommends the notion to his clerical friend, who, by mending the church windows, might increase his 238income, and his popularity in the parish into the bargain. How acceptable must these jocose passages in his letters have been to those who loved him, after the terrible period of gloomy hallucinations; but a bright vein of humour was generally interwoven with the darkest threads of Cowper’s life. He had always evinced a passion for animals, and had a fancy for pets; and besides the hares (whose lives and deaths, if we may be permitted a Hibernianism, he has rendered immortal), Cowper was the proprietor of a flock of pigeons, which perched every morning on the garden wall, awaiting the moment when their gentle master should appear to give them breakfast. Still writing to Unwin, he says: ‘If your wish should ever be fulfilled, and you obtain the wings of a dove, I shall assuredly find you some fine morning among my flock; but, in that case, pray announce yourself, as I am convinced your crop will require something better than tares to feed upon.’

There is something very refreshing in his outburst of indignation at the manner in which Dr. Johnson handles Milton, ‘plucking the brightest feathers’ (or at least so Cowper thought) ‘from the Muse’s wing, and trampling them under his great foot. I should like to thrash his old jacket till his pension jingled in his pockets.’ He gives a most amusing description of an unwelcome visitor at Olney, in which he carefully draws the line between a ‘travelled man’ and a ‘travelled gentleman.’ He speaks of the intruder’s long and voluble talk, which set their favourite robins twittering through rivalry, neither the birds nor the talker inclining to give in; but, ‘I am thankful to say the robins survived it, and so did we.’

A delightful ray of human sunshine crossed the monotonous path of Cowper’s life about this time, and for a period cheered and relieved its grey and sombre colouring. Looking out of the window one afternoon, he saw Mrs. Jones (the wife of a neighbouring clergyman) entering the opposite shop, in 239company with a being (no other word could be applicable), whose appearance riveted him to the spot. He summoned Mrs. Unwin to his side, and requested she would ask both ladies to tea. The stranger proved to be Mrs. Jones’s sister, a widow, Lady Austen by name, lately returned from a lengthened sojourn in France, where she appeared, by all accounts, to have become imbued with a large portion of French vivacity, without losing any of those sterling qualities or earnestness of purpose, for which we (at least) give our fair countrywomen credit. The sisters accepted the invitation, and, as they entered the room, Cowper, with his characteristic timidity, made his escape at the other door. But the attraction was too great; he soon stole back to the tea-table, plunged headlong into conversation, and, when the ladies rose to take leave, craved permission to accompany them part of the way home. In fact, he had fallen in (Platonic) love at first sight. Lady Austen was soon in the receipt of poems and letters, addressed to ‘Sister Anna.’ Mrs. Jones having gone to join her husband in London, Lady Austen, finding herself lonely, and surrounded, she said, by burglars, was easily persuaded to settle at Olney, and at first under the same roof as Cowper and Mrs. Unwin. It was a large rambling house. ‘She has taken that part of the building formerly occupied by Dick Coleman, his wife, child, and a thousand rats.’

We confess to sharing the opinion of the author of a charming sketch of Cowper’s life, lately published, when he says, ‘That a woman of fashion, accustomed to French salons, should choose such an abode, with a couple of Puritans for her only society, surely proves that one of the Puritans, at least, possessed some great attraction for her.’

The Vicarage was too large for the requirements of Mr. Scott (Newton’s successor), whose sermons Lady Austen admired, though it was said he scolded rather than preached 240the Gospel; and so it was settled she should take rooms in his house, and the door of communication between the Scott and Cowper gardens was opened. Cowper writes to Unwin on the subject of the charming widow, and expatiates on the delightful change wrought in their daily life by her advent. ‘Our society,’ he says, ‘is not much increased, but the presence of one individual has made the whole difference. Lady Austen and we pass the day alternately at each other’s château. In the morning I walk with one or other of the ladies; in the evening I wind thread;—so did Hercules, and so, I opine, did Samson! Were either of these heroes living, I should not fear challenging them to a trial of skill.’

Lady Austen became as watchful as his older associate in marking the different phases of Cowper’s moods, and as assiduous in her endeavours to cheer and amuse him. She would sit by his side for hours, and tax her memory for anecdotes of foreign life, and the chequered scenes through which she had passed; and while Mrs. Unwin set him to work on moral satires, on ‘The Progress of Error,’ ‘Table-Talk,’ and, if we may so express it, sermons in verse, his younger companion suggested more lively themes for his Muse. One eventful evening, bent on cheering the drooping spirits of the invalid, Lady Austen related to him the wonderful adventures of John Gilpin. The poet laughed, laughed immoderately, went to bed, woke in the night and laughed again and again; and the next morning at breakfast he produced the immortal poem. How many generations, how many children of all ages have laughed since! how many artists have striven to portray their conception of that famous ride, till it was reserved for the pencil of Caldecott to embody (who can doubt it?) the very ideal of the poet’s fancy! Gilpin became widely known, even while the author continued unknown. Henderson, the popular actor, recited the ballad on the stage, and far and near it was read and re-read with delight. 241Cowper now frequently turned to Lady Austen for subjects, and followed her injunctions to the letter when she playfully bade him ‘sing the sofa,’ on which she sat. This poem swelled into ‘The Task’ and ‘The Task’ it was that made Cowper famous. There is no doubt that the first stone of his future fame was laid by the fair hand of that friend from whom he was so soon to be separated. ‘The Task,’ while inculcating piety and morality (the absence of which ingredients would have been impossible in any of Cowper’s lengthened writings), abounded in exquisite descriptions of life at home and abroad, paintings of Nature, of the quiet, homely, lovely, loveable nature of his own native land, some passages of which can scarcely be surpassed for calm beauty and musical rhythm. Let those readers unacquainted with ‘The Task’ turn to the lines where the poet stands, with the friend ‘whose arm has been close locked in his for twenty years,’ on the eminence, when their ‘pace had slackened to a pause,’ and judge for themselves of Cowper’s talents as a landscape painter. His interiors are as perfect in their way. How irresistible is the invitation to

‘Stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, draw the sofa round’!
We feel, as we read, a glow of comfort and snugness, and would gladly make a fourth beside the table, on which stand the cups that cheer without inebriating.

The success of ‘The Task’ was immediate and complete; the author suddenly found himself famous and popular. The postmaster at the little office at Olney had double work: acquaintances who had neglected him for years now boasted of their intimacy with the lion of the day; visitors arrived at Olney to stare at him; anonymous letters and presents poured in on all sides. An amusing incident occurred one day, when the clerk of All Saints’ Church, Northampton, was ushered into 242Cowper’s presence. He had come, he said, with a petition to the new poet: Would he consent to contribute the mortuary verses, annually appended to the bills of mortality, in the capital of England’s most midland county?

Cowper advised the messenger to apply to Mr. Cox, a statuary in the town, who wrote verses. ‘Alas!’ replied the clerk, ‘I have already got help from him; but he is a gentleman of so much reading that our townspeople cannot understand him.’ The very doubtful compliment thus implied amused our poet into compliance, and he became a contributor to the lugubrious periodical.

It was characteristic of William Cowper that, a few years later, he forbade Lady Hesketh to apply in his behalf for the office of Poet-Laureate to the Court, yet he willingly accepted the office thus proposed to him by the clerk of Northampton!

We are now approaching one of the many sad episodes in Cowper’s sad life; we allude to his estrangement from Lady Austen,—she who had been for some time a vision of delight to his eye, and heart. Not long before he had written some most unprophetic lines to his ‘dear Anna.’ We do not quote them from any admiration for the verses, but because they bear painfully on the subject:—

‘Mysterious are His ways, whose power
Brings forth that unexpected hour,
When minds that never met before
Shall meet, unite, and part no more.’
Further on, after describing the suddenness of their friendship, he says:—

‘And placed it in our power to prove,
By long fidelity and love,
That Solomon has wisely spoken,
A threefold cord cannot be broken!’
It appears that even the wisdom of Solomon is sometimes at fault, for it was but a few weeks after that the threefold cord 243was rudely snapped asunder. ‘I enclose,’ writes Cowper to Mr. Unwin, ‘a letter from Lady Austen, which pray return. We are reconciled. She seized the first opportunity to embrace your mother, with tears of the tenderest affection, and I, of course, am satisfied.’

Lady Austen went away for a time; and later on, Cowper again writes to Unwin, under the seal of profound secrecy: ‘When persons for whom I have felt a friendship disappoint and mortify me, by their conduct, or act unjustly by me, although I no longer esteem them, I feel that tenderness for their character that I would conceal the blemish if I could.’ Then, naming the lady to whom he alluded, he goes on: ‘Nothing could be more promising, however sudden in its commencement, than our friendship. She treated us with as much unreserve as if we had been brought up together. At her departure she proposed a correspondence with me, as writing does not agree with your mother.’

He then proceeds to tell how, after a short time, he perceived, by the tenor of Lady Austen’s letters that he had unintentionally offended her, and, having apologised, the wound seemed healed; but finding, on repeated occasions, that she expressed ‘a romantic idea of our merits, and built such expectations of felicity on our friendship, as we were sure that nothing human could possibly answer, I wrote to remind her that we were mortal, and to recommend her not to think too highly of us, intimating that, when we embellish a creature with colours taken from our own fancy, and extol it above its merits, we make it an idol,’ etc.

The reader, even if he be no poet, can supply the rest of this homily; and if he be of our way of thinking, he will smile at the frequent use of the plural pronoun. Neither will he be surprised to hear that the letter in question ‘gave mortal offence,’ even though the writer had read it aloud, before posting it, ‘to Mrs. Unwin, who had honoured it with her 244warmest approbation.’ We still quote the correspondence with William Unwin. ‘If you go to Bristol, you may possibly fall in with a lady who was here very lately. If you should meet, remember that we found the connection on some accounts an inconvenient one, and we do not wish to renew it; so pray conduct yourself accordingly. A character with which we spend all our time should be made on purpose for us, and in this case the dissimilitude was felt continually, and consequently made our intercourse unpleasant.’ Now the strain of this letter helps us to understand that the one written not long before to Lady Austen was no sooner read than she flung it indignantly into the fire.

But so it was, and, for our part, we are loath to see the bright vision, which had cast a halo over dull little Olney, vanish from the horizon. Cowper’s biographers are all at issue as to the cause of this estrangement, ‘it is so difficult to solve the mystery.’ To us the only difficulty appears in the choice of solutions. Hayley, who handles the matter with delicacy and discretion, says, ‘Those acquainted with the poet’s innocence and sportive piety would agree that the verses inscribed to Anna might assuredly have been inspired by a real sister.’ To him they appeared ‘the effusions of a gay and tender gallantry, quite distinct from any amorous attachment.’ At the same time, he sees the possibility of a lady, only called by that endearing name, mistaking all the attentions lavished upon her, as ‘a mere prelude to a closer alliance.’

The good-hearted, high-flown Hayley concludes by expressing his sympathy with Cowper, as being ‘perplexed by an abundance of affection in a female associate‘—surely he should have said a couple!

The Rev. Mr. Scott, for some time Lady Austen’s landlord at Olney, is reported to have said: ‘Who can wonder that two women, who were continually in the society of one man, should quarrel, sooner or later?’

245Southey (an evident partisan of Mrs. Unwin’s), while acquitting Lady Austen of any ‘matrimonial designs,’ urges that it would be impossible for a woman of threescore to feel any jealousy in the matter of Cowper’s affections. Now it strikes us that the woman of threescore could herself have had no ‘matrimonial intentions,’ or she would have carried them out long before. But is it likely that Cowper’s ‘Mary’ would have tolerated a wife under the same roof, or tamely given the pas to an ‘Anna’? Cowper indeed called Mrs. Unwin his mother, and Lady Austen his sister; but the former lady may have distrusted the ambiguity of the latter elective relationship, knowing how frequently the appellation of brother and sister has been used as a refuge from the impending danger, of a nearer tie.

Southey goes on to observe, in contradistinction, we suppose, to Mr. Scott’s remark, that two women were shortly afterwards living constantly in the society of the identical man, without one shade of jealousy. Now Lady Austen and Lady Hesketh differed in all respects—in age, in character, in discipline of mind. The former had been Cowper’s early friend, and the confidante of his love for her sister Theodora; they had corresponded with each other for years; and in one of his letters he says: ‘It seems wonderful, that, loving you as much as I do, I should never have fallen in love with you. I am so glad I never did, for it would have been most inconvenient,’ etc.

Lady Hesketh now returned from a lengthened residence on the Continent, her husband was dead, and the intercourse of old days was renewed, in all its happy freedom, between the cousins. A few more words respecting poor Lady Austen, and then her name shall be heard no more. Cowper writes to Lady Hesketh a long letter on the subject, in which he describes the rise, decline, and fall of the friendship, and goes on in this strain: ‘At first I used to pay my devoirs 246to her ladyship every morning at eleven. Custom soon became law. When I began “The Task,” I felt the inconvenience of this daily attendance; long usage had made that which was at first optional, a point of good manners. I was compelled to neglect “The Task,” for the Muse that had inspired it.’

Hayley speaks in most flattering terms of Lady Austen, in his Life of Cowper, and wrote one of the long-winded epitaphs of the day on her death, which took place before he had completed the poet’s biography, in the compilation of which she had given him much assistance. After her estrangement from the Olney household, Lady Austen married a Frenchman, one Monsieur de Tardif, who wrote verses to her in his own language; she accompanied her husband to Paris in 1802, where she died.

As regards Cowper, one thing is certain: he did not subscribe to the common error, that ‘two is company, and three none,’ but rather to the German proverb, ‘Alle gute ding, sind drey;’ for he now summons Lady Hesketh to his side. He entreats her to come and reside under his roof, painting, in the most glowing colours, the happiness that her society will afford them. He addresses her in the most tender, the most affectionate terms—‘Dearly beloved cousin,’ ‘Dearest, dearest,’—and often in the middle of his epistles he breaks forth again into similar endearing epithets. Southey assures us that Mrs. Unwin never felt a shade of jealousy for Lady Hesketh; but no one tells us if such letters as these were read aloud to Mary, or ‘honoured by her warmest approbation. Among the anonymous presents which Cowper was now in the habit of receiving, was one more acceptable than all others, and that not only because it enclosed a cheque for fifty pounds, with a promise that the donation should be annual, as he writes to Lady Hesketh (whom he appoints his ‘Thanks Receiver-General,’ ‘seeing it is so painful to have 247no one to thank’), but because the letter was accompanied by ‘the most elegant gift, and the most elegant compliment, that ever poet was honoured with,’—a beautiful tortoise-shell snuff-box, with a miniature on the lid, representing a landscape, with the three hares frolicking in the foreground; above and below two inscriptions, ‘Bess, Puss, Tiny,’ and ‘The Peasant’s Nest.’ Southey had no doubt (neither would it appear had Cowper himself, though he thinks it dishonourable to pry into the incognito) that ‘Anonymous’ and Theodora were synonymous. He was now hard at work translating Homer, and he longed to read what he had done to Lady Hesketh, as well as to Mrs. Unwin. ‘The latter,’ he says, ‘has hitherto been my touchstone, and I have never printed a line without reference to her. With one of you at each elbow, I shall be the happiest of poets.’

To the same: ‘I am impatient to tell you how impatient I am to see you. But you must not come till the fine weather, when the greenhouse, the only pleasant room in the house, will be ready to receive us, for when the plants go out, we go in. There you shall sit, my dear, with a bed of mignionette by your side, and a hedge of roses, honeysuckle, and jasmine, and I will make you a bouquet of myrtle every day. Come, come then, my beloved cousin, for I am resolved, whatever king may reign, you shall be vicar of Olney.’ He hopes their friendship will be perpetuated for ever; ‘For I should not love you half so well if I did not believe you would be my friend to all eternity. There is not room for friendship to unfold itself in full bloom, in such a nook of life as this; therefore I am, and must, and always will be yours for ever.—W. Cowper.’

In another letter he prepares her for the aspect of his peculiar abode: ‘The entrance hall: opposite you, stands a cupboard, once a dove-cot, and a paralytic table, both the work of the same author. Then you come to the parlour door, 248which we will open, and I will present you to Mrs. Unwin; and we shall be as happy as the day is long.’

Lady Hesketh preferred separate lodgings, and, following in the footsteps of Lady Austen, became a tenant of the Vicarage, and inhabited the rooms so lately vacated by her predecessor. ‘All is settled, dear cousin, and now I only wish for June; and June, believe me, was never so much wished for, since it was first made. To meet again, after so long a separation, will be like a resurrection; but there is no one in the other world whose reappearance would cause me so much pleasure.’ He prepares her for the possible recurrence of his fits of dejection, but is sure he will be cheerful when she comes. In a letter to Unwin, speaking of the long-looked-for arrival, he says: ‘I have always loved the sound of church bells; but none ever seemed to me so musical, as those which rang my sweet cousin into her new habitation.’ Lady Hesketh, writing a description of Mrs. Unwin, says she ‘is a very remarkable woman. She is far from being always grave; on the contrary, she laughs de bon cœur on the smallest provocation. When she speaks on grave subjects, it is in a Puritanical tone, and she makes use of Puritanical expressions; but otherwise she has a fund of gaiety; indeed, but for that, she could not have gone through all she has done. I do not like to say she idolises William, for she would disapprove of the word; but she certainly has no will but his. It is wonderful to think how she has supported the constant attendance and responsibility for so many years.’ She goes on to describe the calm, quiet, dignified old lady, sitting knitting stockings for her poet, beside his chair, with ‘the finest needles imaginable.’

Cowper used to work in a little summer-house (which is still standing, or was a few years since) of his own construction, where there were two chairs indeed, but Lady Hesketh did not often intrude. He says of himself about this time, 249that he was happier than he had been for years. But there are some excellent people in the world, who consider peace unwholesome, and like to throw stones into their neighbours’ lakes, as schoolboys do, for the pleasure of ruffling the surface. Cowper writes to William Unwin: ‘Your mother has received a letter from Mr. Newton, which she has not answered, and is not likely to answer. It gave us both much concern; but it vexed her more than me, because I am so much occupied with my work that I have less leisure to browse on the wormwood. It contains an implied accusation, that she and I have deviated into forbidden paths, and lead a life unbecoming the Gospel; that many of our friends in London are grieved; that many of our poor neighbours are shocked; in short, I converse with people of the world, and take pleasure therein. Mr. Newton reminds us that there is still intercourse between Olney and London, implying that he hears of our doings. We do not doubt it; there never was a lie hatched in Olney that waited long for a bearer. We do not wonder at the lies; we only wonder he believes them. That your mother should be suspected (and by Mr. Newton, of all people) of irregularities is indeed wonderful.’

The extent of their crimes, the head and front of their offending, were drives with Lady Hesketh in her carriage, and visits to the Throckmortons. We suspect that was an unpardonable offence (on account of their being Roman Catholics) in Mr. Newton’s eyes.

‘Sometimes, not often, we go as far as Gayhurst, or to the turnpike and back; we have been known to reach as far as the cabinetmaker’s at Newport!’ And, O crowning horror! Cowper confesses to having once or twice taken a Sunday walk in the fields with his cousin, for Mrs. Unwin had never been led so far into temptation. Speaking of Lady Hesketh, who came in for her share of censure, he says: ‘Her only crime in Olney has been to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and 250nurse the sick.’ The letters to Mr. Newton were in the same strain, but modified in their expressions; for it was evident Cowper feared his spiritual adviser, and, like some of our Roman Catholic friends, subscribed to the infallibility of his Pope, even while harbouring some secret misgivings on the subject. He ventures to observe: ‘As to the opinion of our poorer neighbours, uneducated people are seldom well employed when judging one another, but when they undertake to scan the motives, and estimate the behaviour, of those whom Providence has placed a little above them, they are utterly out of their depth.’

Gentle-hearted, generous-hearted Cowper; he not only forgave, but continued his friendship and intercourse with his severe censor. Mr. and Mrs. Newton were his guests after he had left Olney, and was settled in his new house; and though the correspondence between the two men slackened in some measure, and lost some of its unreserved character, it was not discontinued. Neither did the poet refer to the difference which had arisen, unless we accept such a passage as this, as an allusion to Mr. Newton’s censoriousness. Speaking of the narrow escape which Mrs. Unwin had run of being burned to death, he says: ‘Had I been bereft of her, I should have had nothing left to lean on, for all my other spiritual props have long since broken down under me.’ It did indeed seem strange and cruel, that the only hand found to throw a stone at the marble shrine of Cowper, and his Mary, should be that of his own familiar friend.

When Lady Hesketh came to investigate the resources of Olney, she decided in her own mind that it was a most unfit place for her cousin to inhabit,—cold, damp, and dreary; and she was not long in arranging that her two friends should change their abode for a pretty little house called Weston, belonging to Sir John Throckmorton, and standing in a picturesque neighbourhood on the skirts of his park. Lady Hesketh took all 251the trouble and expense of the removal on herself; furnished and embellished the little house; and on the day she left Olney for London, Cowper and Mrs. Unwin drove over to settle at Weston. But they had not been there above a fortnight, before a sad blow fell upon them both. News came that William Unwin was no more,—‘the only son of his mother, and she was a widow;’ the dearly loved friend and constant correspondent of Cowper. William Unwin was travelling with a friend, whom he nursed to recovery through a dangerous attack of typhus; but, catching the disease himself, he died in the hotel at Winchester. The mother bore her irreparable loss, ‘with her accustomed submission to the Divine will.’ Cowper dared not give way to emotion, but the shock was none the less severe. His letters began to show signs of returning illness and dejection; he marks down for his intimate friends all the variations of the mental barometer. Alas! the storm signal was already hoisted, and the tempest was at hand. He complained of sleeplessness: ‘It is impossible, dear cousin,’ he writes, after explaining how heavily the task of translation (he was busy on Homer) weighed on his mind, ‘for a man who cannot sleep, to fight Homer’s battles.’ Religious despondency once more took possession of his distracted mind. Speaking of a visit to his old home at Olney, he says: ‘Dreary, dark, cold, empty—it seemed a fit emblem of a God-forgotten, God-forsaken creature.’ Insanity returned in all its distressing symptoms; he again attempted self-destruction. Poor Mrs. Unwin came into the room one day, just in time to cut him down. He would scarcely let her out of his sight for a moment, and would allow no other person to enter his presence.

It is not our intention to dwell longer than necessary on these dark passages in the sufferer’s life; suffice it to say, that, as on a former occasion, the cure was instantaneous; and, after an interval of several months, he once more took up the thread 252of his work and correspondence. He tells Lady Hesketh he is mending in health and spirits, speaks enthusiastically of the Throckmortons’ kindness, and says that he has promised them she will soon be at Weston. ‘Come then; thou art always welcome; all that is here is thine, together with the hearts of those who dwell here.’ Alluding to her father’s declining health, he ‘is happy not to have grown old before his time. Trouble and anguish do that for some, which longevity alone does for others. A few months ago I was older than he is now; and though I have lately recovered, as Falstaff says, “some snatch of my youth,” I have but little confidence, and expect, when I least expect it, to wither again.’ In the midst of some melancholy reflections he breaks out with: ‘Oh how I wish you could see the gambols of my kitten! They are indescribable; but time, that spoils all, will, I fear, sooner or later, make a cat of her.’ Then he relates, for his cousin’s amusement, how a lady in Hampshire had invited him to her house, bribing him with the promise of erecting a temple in her grounds ‘to the best man in the world.’ Not only that, but, would she believe it, a Welsh attorney has sent him his verses to revise and criticise! a lady had stolen his poem of

‘A rose had been washed, just washed by a shower,
Which Mary (Mrs. Unwin) to Anna (Lady Austen) conveyed.’
‘You must excuse it, if you find me a little vain, for the poet whose works are stolen, and who can charm an attorney, and a Welsh one into the bargain, must be an Orpheus, if not something greater.’ He was at work again on Homer, and, when urged not to overtax his mind in so doing, says he considers employment essential to his wellbeing. But writing was irksome to him, and he found innumerable volunteers for the office of secretary,—Lady Hesketh, Mrs. Throckmorton, young Mr. Rose—a new but true friend,—and his favourite kinsman John, or Johnny, Johnson, of Norfolk.

253Cowper and Mrs. Unwin had a succession of guests at The Hermitage, as he sometimes called Weston; among others, Mr. Rose, an agreeable young man, a great admirer of the poet’s, who writes his sister an account of their life, and speaks of Lady Hesketh, ‘A pleasant and agreeable woman, polite without ceremony;’ of Mrs. Unwin, ‘A kind angel;’ of their amusing breakfasts, ‘which take an hour or more, to satisfy the sentiment, not the appetite, for we talk, O heavens! how we talk!’

Cowper was much attached to Rose. Speaking of his departure: ‘When a friend leaves me, I always feel at my heart a possibility that perhaps we have met for the last time, and that before the return of summer, robins may be whistling over the grave of one of us.’

Our poet was very fond of mere rhyming, and did not despise doggerel, for we can call the Lines to his ‘dearest Coz,’ after the manner of Shenstone, by no other name,—being an inventory of all his goods and chattels, including the cap, so thoroughly identified with his image in our minds. It was the fashion of the day, more especially for literary men, to lay aside the heavy periwig, and don this most unbecoming but, we imagine, more comfortable head-gear.

‘The cap which so stately appears,
With ribbon-bound tassel, on high,’
was the gift of his Harriet, and so were the bookshelves, the chairs, tables,—all enumerated in verse—‘endearing his abode,’ by recalling the memory of her, from whom he daily expects a visit, only she is in attendance on

‘The oldest and dearest of friends,
Whose dial-plate points to eleven,…
And who waits but a passage to heaven.’
And the hour struck very shortly after, for Lady Hesketh’s father, Ashley Cowper.

254In the sylvan glades of Yardley Chase, rich in fine old timber, stood an ancient oak, the frequent goal of the poet’s rambles, to which he wrote an address. The tree still bears his name, and ‘Cowper’s Oak’ is the meeting-place of two packs of hounds. Many a bright morning since our poet’s time have the woods of old Yardley echoed to the sound of the huntsman’s horn and the baying of the deep-mouthed ‘beauties.’

One of his letters contains a most graphic description of how he and Mrs. Unwin, returning from a ramble, fell in with the hounds, and, climbing the broad stump of an elm in order to have a better view of the proceedings, were actually in ‘at the death.’ It is delightful to think of the poet and his Mary in such unexpected circumstances, for they seem both to have been much excited. ‘And thus, dear cousin,’ as Virgil says, ‘what none of the gods would have ventured to promise me, time, of its own accord, has presented me with.’

A letter to his friend Mr. Hill proves how much pleasure a visit from the Dowager Lady Spencer had afforded him. This remarkable woman, the daughter of Stephen Poyntz, a distinguished diplomate, was the widow of the first Earl Spencer, and mother of the beautiful Duchess of Devonshire. She had made a long détour to call on the poet, whose works she much admired. And he says: ‘She is one of the first women in the world; I mean in point of character and accomplishments. If my translation prove successful, I may perhaps receive some honours hereafter, but none I shall esteem more highly than her approbation. She is indeed worthy to whom I should dedicate, and may my Odyssey prove as worthy of her.’

At length the happy hour arrived: Homer was translated and ready for the press. The Iliad was dedicated to his young relative, Earl Cowper, and the Odyssey to the Dowager Countess Spencer.

He expressed himself well satisfied with his publisher, 255Johnson. ‘I verily believe that, though a bookseller, he has the soul of a gentleman! Such strange combinations sometimes happen.’ We give an extract from a letter which he wrote on the conclusion of his Homeric labours to his amanuensis, Johnny Johnson: ‘Dearest Johnny: now I can give you rest and joy,—joy of your resting from all your labours, in my service. But I can foretell that, if you go on serving your friends at this rate, your life will indeed be one of labour. Yet persevere; your rest will be all the sweeter hereafter; in the meantime I wish you (whenever you need him) just such a friend as you have been to me.’

He was very much attached to Johnny, and it was in allusion to his young kinsman that he said: ‘I agree with Lavater, “Looks are as legible as books, take less time to peruse, and are less likely to deceive.”’ Johnny did the poet a good turn, for it was he who suggested to his aunt, Mrs. Bodham, what a welcome present it would be if she sent Cowper his mother’s picture,—a subject to which we have already alluded.

When Homer was concluded, Mrs. Unwin was most anxious that he should undertake some new work, which would occupy his thoughts for some considerable time. She dreaded the effect of idleness, or of the mere desultory composition of occasional poems. And therefore she rejoices that he has been prevailed upon to edit a magnificent edition of Milton, to translate all his Latin and Italian poems, to select the best notes of former commentators, and to add annotations of his own. It was a wholesome task, though occasionally, under the pressure of nervous dejection, Cowper cavilled at what he called the ‘Miltonic trap.’ Mrs. Unwin, who had lately become enfeebled, had had a bad fall, but fortunately escaped with some bruises, when one day she was seized with giddiness, and would have again fallen to the ground, had not Cowper saved her. There could be little 256doubt the attack was of a paralytic nature, though her companion would not allow himself to utter the fearful word. In this hour of utmost need an invaluable friend was raised up in the person of William Hayley, whom Southey designates as one of the most generous of men. We will let him speak for himself, by giving an extract of his first letter to Cowper, enclosing some complimentary lines. ‘Although I resisted the idea of professing my friendship and admiration, from a fear of intrusion, I cannot resist that of disclaiming an idea which I have heard has been imputed to me, of considering myself your antagonist. Allow me to say, I was solicited to write a Life of Milton before I had the least idea that you and Mr. Fuseli were engaged on a similar project.’ He concludes a most amiable letter to the man ‘whose poems have so often delighted him,’ by saying, ‘If, in the course of your work, I have any opportunity of serving and obliging you, I shall seize it with that friendly spirit which has impelled me, both in prose and rhyme, to assure you that I am your most cordial admirer.’ And thus, out of what might have proved a misunderstanding, began that intercourse which lasted Cowper’s life, and soothed his latter days.

Speaking of Hayley’s visit to Weston, he says: ‘Everybody here has fallen in love with him—and everybody must. We have formed a friendship which will, I hope, last for life, and prove an edifying example to all future poets.’ Hayley, on his part, writing to his friend Romney, the painter, describes at length the welcome he had received at Weston, his delight in Cowper’s society; and then as to the grand article of females,—‘for what is a scene without a woman in it? Here is a Muse of seventy, whom I perfectly adore; the woman who, for so many years, has devoted her time and fortune to the service of this tender and sublime genius. Not many days after this letter was written, the two authors were returning from a morning ramble, when the news met them 257that Mrs. Unwin had had a second paralytic stroke. Cowper rushed forward into the house, and returned in such a state of agitation as made Hayley tremble for his reason; ‘but, by the blessing of God, I was able to quiet him in a great measure, and from that moment he rested on my friendship, and regards me as providentially sent to support him in a season of deepest affliction.’

Cowper will not accept his cousin’s proposal to come to Weston; for he wishes his dear Harriet’s visits thither to be made for pleasure. Mrs. Unwin’s health improved. ‘It is a blessing to us both, that, poor feeble thing as she is, she has an invincible courage. She always tells me she is better, and probably will die saying so; and then it will be true, for then she will be best of all.’ Hayley, before, and since leaving Weston, had urged Cowper to pay him a visit at what his friends called his ‘little paradise’ at Eartham, on the south coast, as soon as Mrs. Unwin’s state would allow her to travel. It must have seemed a tremendous undertaking for those who had not strayed further than a thirteen miles’ drive for upwards of thirteen years! But Cowper believed the change of air might benefit his invalid; and that determined him.

In the interim he writes to his friend, Mr. Bull: ‘How do you think I have been occupied the last few days? In sitting, not on cockatrice’s eggs, but for my picture. Cousin Johnny has an aunt who is seized with a desire to have my portrait, and so the said Johnny has brought down an artist.’

To Hayley he writes:—

‘Abbot is painting me so true,
That, trust me, you would stare,
And hardly know, at the first view,
If I were here, or there!’
It was much to be regretted that, with no lack of kind 258and judicious friends—and Hayley in particular, with his good sense and true affection,—Cowper should have fallen about this time under the baneful influence of a fanatic, one Teedon, a schoolmaster, who had long been a pensioner on his and Mrs. Unwin’s bounty, at Olney. Cowper constantly spoke of him in his letters to William Unwin and others as foolish Mr. Teedon’s ridiculous vanity and strange delusions, who prided himself on the immediate answers to any prayer he might consider it advisable to put up, as also on wonderful spiritual and audible communications. This empty-headed man became an object of reverence rather than contempt in the eyes of Cowper, and of poor Mrs. Unwin herself, in her debilitated state of health. Cowper began to believe in Teedon, and to bend beneath his influence. Had Mr. Newton not strained the spiritual curb too tightly, he would, in all probability, have retained his hold over the minds of his two friends, and not exposed them to the subjugation of one uneducated as Samuel Teedon. But enough of this contemptible man. The friends now began to prepare for the great enterprise, and we are not surprised to hear Cowper say, ‘A thousand lions, monsters, and giants, are in the way; but I suppose they will vanish if I have the courage to face them. Mrs. Unwin, whose weakness might justify such fears, has none.’ A coach, with four steeds, is ordered from London to convey them on their desperate way; the journey is to be a species of royal progress. ‘General Cowper, who lives at Ham—is Ham near Kingston?—is to meet me on the road, ditto my friend Carwardine and others. When other men leave home, they make no disturbance; when I travel, houses are turned upside down, people turned out of their beds at unearthly hours, and every imaginable trouble given. All the counties through which I pass appear to be in an uproar. What a change for a man who has seen no bustle, and made none for twenty years together!’ He is scrupulous 259respecting the numbers that will accompany him,—‘for Johnny of Norfolk, who is with us, would be broken-hearted if left behind.’ It would be the same with his dog Beau, who paid a wonderful tribute to Abbot’s portrait of his master, by going up to it, and wagging his tail furiously; while Sam, the gardener’s boy, made a low bow to the same effigy.

The travellers reached Eartham at last, Hayley’s home, about six miles from Chichester, and five from Arundel. ‘Here,’ writes Cowper on his arrival, ‘we are as happy as it is possible for terrestrial good to make us.’ He looked from the library window on a fine landscape, bounded by the sea, a deep-wooded valley, and hills which we should call mountains in Buckinghamshire. Hayley and Cowper were both very busy with their several works in the morning, and Johnny, as usual, was his cousin’s transcriber. The kind host, thinking to do honour to his guest, invited the ex-Chancellor Thurlow to meet his old acquaintance, but his Lordship would not come. There were, however, pleasant visitors at Eartham, with whom Cowper fraternised,—Charlotte Smith the novelist, and Romney the admirable painter. ‘Hayley has given me a picture of himself by this charming artist, who is making an excellent portrait of me in pastel.’

‘Mrs. Unwin,’ he says, ‘has benefited much by the change, and has many young friends, who all volunteer to drag her chair round the pretty grounds.’ In spite of all these pleasant surroundings, the two friends became home-sick, and returned to Weston, where they found (after the manner of less gifted mortals) that chaos had reigned in their absence. Cowper resumed his Miltonic labours, and began preparing Homer for a new edition. ‘I play at push-pin with Homer every morning before breakfast, furbishing and polishing, as Paris did his armour.’ Speaking of his assurance in having undertaken works of such importance, he quotes Ranger’s observation in the Suspicious Husband: ‘There is a degree of 260assurance in your modest men, which we impudent fellows never arrive at.’

Poor Cowper! He was again gradually sinking back into despondency, though he combated the advances of the enemy as far as in him lay. ‘I am cheerful on paper sometimes when I am actually the most dejected of creatures. I keep melancholy out of my letters as much as I can, that I may, if possible, by assuming a less gloomy air, deceive myself, and improve fiction into reality.’ He is to sit for his portrait once more to Lawrence, and he only wishes his face were moveable, to take off and on at pleasure, so that he might pack it in a box, and send it to the artist. On Hayley’s second visit to Weston, he found Cowper tolerably well in appearance. Young Mr. Rose was there, the bearer of an invitation from Lord Spencer, who wished Cowper to meet Gibbon. ‘We did all we could to make him accept, urging the benefit he would derive from such genial society, and the delight he would experience from revelling in the treasures of the magnificent library. But our arguments were all in vain; Cowper was unequal to the exertion.’ So Rose and Hayley were his ambassadors to Althorp, laden with his excuses. It is our intention to dwell as briefly as is consistent with the narrative on the sad scenes now enacting at Weston. A fearful relapse had befallen Cowper; Mrs. Unwin’s state bordered on imbecility; and Lady Hesketh, who had lately taken up her abode with her two afflicted friends, seemed powerless to cheer them, and Hayley, whom she summoned to their aid, was shocked to find that Cowper scarcely recognised him, and manifested no pleasure in his society. It was with the greatest difficulty that he could now be induced to taste food, and this system of course increased his malady, by reducing his strength. One morning a letter arrived from Lord Spencer, announcing that the long-looked-for pension had at length been granted,—a circumstance which 261was a great relief to his friends, but, alas! brought no satisfaction to the sufferer’s bewildered mind. Change of air and scene were recommended. Lady Hesketh, whose own health was greatly impaired, went to London, and Cowper and Mrs. Unwin were conveyed into Norfolk under the kind charge of ‘Johnny’ Johnson. They went first to a village called Tuddenham, and afterwards to Mundsley, on the coast. Johnson accompanied Cowper in all his rambles, and one day, calling on Mrs. Bodham, their cousin, to whom we have already alluded, Cowper saw the portrait of himself painted by Abbot; he looked at it for some time, and then, wringing his hands, uttered a vehement wish that he were now as happy as when he sat for that picture.

He had always been very fond of coast scenery; and in one of his early letters to William Unwin he speaks of his astonishment at the number of people who can look on the sea without emotion, or, indeed, reflection of any kind. ‘In all its various forms, it is an object of all others most calculated to affect us with lasting impressions of that awful Power which created and controls it. Before I gave my mind to religion, the waves used to preach to me, and I always listened. One of Shakespeare’s characters, Lorenzo, says: “I am never merry when I hear sweet music.” The sight and the sound of the ocean, produces the same effect on me that harmony did on Jessica.’ He began to write again to Lady Hesketh, but his letters were most gloomy, and must have been painful in the extreme for the recipient.

In the first he thus expresses himself: ‘The most forlorn of beings, I tread the shore, under the burthen of infinite despair, which I once trod all cheerfulness and joy.’ He fancies the vessels he sees in the offing were coming to seize him; he shrinks from the precipice of the cliff on which he walks, though, perhaps, it would be better for him to be dashed to pieces. A solitary pillar of rock seems an emblem of himself: 262‘Torn from my natural connections, I stand alone, in expectation of the storm that shall displace me;’ and so on in the same terrible strain. He begins to suspect his faithful friend Johnson (whom he no longer calls ‘Johnny’) of wishing to control him, and writes to Lady Hesketh, as if compelled to do so by stealth: ‘Dear Weston! I shall never see Weston again, or you either. I have been tossed like a ball to a far country, from which there is no rebound for me.’ Johnson now moved his patients to a new residence, Dunham Lodge, in the neighbourhood of Swaffham, and never slackened in his attendance on his kinsman,—reading aloud to him for hours a series of works of fiction, on which Cowper never made any comment, though they appeared to rivet his attention. He tells Lady Hesketh, notwithstanding, that he loses every other sentence, from the inevitable wanderings of his mind. ‘My thoughts are like loose and dry sand, which slips the sooner away the closer it is grasped.’ Cowper could not bear now to be left alone, and if he were so for a short time, he would watch on the hall door steps for the barking of dogs at a distance, to announce his kinsman’s return. Mrs. Powley, Mrs. Unwin’s daughter, came with her husband to visit her mother, and was much touched by the affection which Cowper still manifested for his Mary, even in moments of the deepest dejection. By degrees he was induced to listen composedly, both to the reading of the Bible, and also to family prayers, which at first his companions feared might excite instead of soothing him. Johnson laid a kind trap in order to coax the invalid into a renewal of his literary occupations. One day he designedly mentioned in Cowper’s hearing, that, in the new edition of Pope’s Homer, by Wakefield, there were some passages in which the two translations were compared. The next morning he placed all the volumes of the work in a large unfrequented room, through which Cowper always passed on his way from his morning visit to Mrs. Unwin; and the next day Johnson found, to 263his great satisfaction, that his kinsman had examined the books, and made some corrections and revisions, an occupation which Cowper continued for some little time with apparent interest. But this improvement did not last long: the melancholy household moved again to Mundsley, and then to Johnson’s own home, at Dereham, which was considered less dreary than the house of Dunham Lodge. It was there that, on the 17th of December, Mrs. Unwin, Cowper’s faithful and devoted Mary, passed away from earth calmly and peacefully. In the morning of that day, when the maid opened the shutters, Cowper asked, ‘Is there still life upstairs?’ She died in the afternoon, and he went up with Mr. Johnson to take a farewell look; and, after silently gazing on the lifeless form for some time, he burst into a paroxysm of tears, left the room, ‘and never,’ says Hayley, ‘spoke of her more.’

Mrs. Unwin was buried by torchlight in the north aisle of Dereham Church, where a marble tablet was placed to her memory.

After this event there was little improvement, though some fluctuations, in Cowper’s state. His friends, Lady Spencer, Sir John Throckmorton, and others, came to visit him, but he showed no pleasure in seeing them. He occasionally wrote short verses, especially Latin, suggested to him by Johnson, made revisions and corrections, and a longer poem, embodying the most gloomy thoughts, ‘The Castaway,’ from an incident in one of Anson’s voyages, the last and saddest of his works.

‘For misery still delights to trace
Its semblance in another’s case.’
The end was drawing near. Lady Hesketh was too unwell to go to him; Hayley was in attendance on his dying son; Mr. Rose went to bid him farewell, and Cowper, who had evinced no pleasure at his arrival, mourned his departure.

Johnson thought it now incumbent on him to prepare his 264friend’s mind for the impending danger, to which Cowper listened patiently. But when his kinsman thought to soothe him by speaking of the blessed change from earthly sorrow to the joys of heaven, the unhappy listener broke forth into wild entreaties that he would desist from such topics.

On the 25th of April 1800, William Cowper expired, so quietly that not one of the five persons who stood at his bedside was aware of the exact moment. ‘From that time till he was hidden from our sight,’ says his faithful and untiring watcher, Johnson, ‘his countenance was that of calmness and composure, mingled, as it were, with a holy surprise,’—words of deepest pathos, indissolubly connected with the poet’s memory. They inspired Charles Tennyson Turner, our Laureate’s worthy brother, with one of his most beautiful sonnets,—‘On Cowper’s Death-smile’—

‘That orphan smile, born since our mourner died,
A lovely prelude of immortal peace.’
Cowper lies buried in the church at Dereham, where his cousin Harriet placed a monument to his memory.

No. 8.

In a tawny gown and white cap.
By Sir Joshua Reynolds.
265No. 9.

Yellowish-green gown. Pearl necklace. Floating scarf. Arms crossed.
She is holding a white hat and feathers. Background, a stormy sky.
BORN 1787, DIED 1869.
By Hoppner and Jackson.

HE only daughter and youngest child of the first Viscount Melbourne, by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Ralph Milbanke. When only eighteen she became the wife of Peter Leopold, fifth Lord Cowper, in the same year that her brother William married Lady Caroline Ponsonby. We are confident we cannot do better than quote some passages from an article, published on Lady Palmerston’s death, by an eminent writer, who was her personal friend: ‘On her marriage, Lady Cowper immediately took her place amid that brilliant galaxy of beautiful and accomplished women who continued to form the chief ornament of the British Court, through successive reigns, till they were gradually replaced (not outshone) by a younger race.’ He goes on to describe how Lady Cowper was admired and distinguished in the brilliant seasons of 1814 and 1815, on the occasion of the Royal and Imperial visits to England. While speaking of later years, after her second marriage, he says at that time coteries, cliques, and, above all, party exclusiveness in politics, prevailed. But at Cambridge House there were no such limitations. All classes—political, diplomatic, literary, scientific, artistic—found a welcome, even 266the proverbially dull ‘country cousin,’ who had any claim on Lady Palmerston’s notice; they were all received with a gracious smile and a kind word by the amiable hostess. Her country houses bore the same character for hospitality and variety of attraction as the London dwelling, and foreigners, in particular, were never tired of recording the delights of Panshanger, Brocket (to which she succeeded on her brother’s death), and Broadlands. The same biographer says of Lady Palmerston that she never forgot a friend, or remembered an injury; and, speaking of her devotion to her husband: ‘She was most jealous of his reputation, and proud of his distinction as a Minister. Every night she sat up for him until his return from the House of Commons, and her many anxieties on his account were often hurtful to her health.’ After his death, her circle was almost entirely restricted to her own family and connections.

Lady Palmerston was esteemed a most excellent ‘man of business,’ managing her vast property and large households with consummate skill. She died in her eighty-second year.

London in her time was especially rich in courtly beauties, the fame of whose charms still survives: the Duchess of Rutland, Ladies Jersey and Tankerville, Charlotte Campbell, and many other names, well known to those who read the memoirs of the period. Among such formidable competitors Lady Cowper held her own for grace and beauty, while she far surpassed most of her contemporaries in intellectual gifts. She was much attached to her brother, whose upward career was a source of pride and satisfaction to her. But in early life she evinced no personal interest in politics.

Lord Cowper died in 1837; his widow married, in 1839, Lord Palmerston, and from that moment she became immersed in political life, watching with the keenest interest the public events which were passing around her.

Her brother, Lord Melbourne, was at this period at the 267head of the Government, and ere long her husband was destined to occupy the same position. Lady Palmerston now formed a salon, which continued for the lapse of many years to constitute one of the greatest attractions of London society. We use the word salon advisedly, for these assemblies bore a nearer resemblance, in character and quality, to the salons of Paris, than most congregations of guests to be met with in a London drawing-room.

This picture was begun by Hoppner, and finished after his death by Jackson.

No. 10.

In a dark grey coat. Buff waistcoat. White cravat.
By Sir Joshua Reynolds.
No. 11.

Brown gown. White muslin handkerchief. Large straw hat. Basket on her arm. She is seated.
By Hoppner.


No. 1.

Black and gold dress. Ruff. Gold chain. Sword.
BORN 1584, DIED 1647.
By Mytens.

HE youngest child of William the Silent, Prince of Orange. Born at Delft, christened with great rejoicings, and named after his two godfathers, the kings of Denmark and Navarre. His mother, Louisa de Coligny, had been early marked out for misfortune; her father, the brave Gaspard de Chatillon, High Admiral of France, and her first husband, the Sieur de Teligny, were both victims of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. So sad a fate has surely befallen few women, to see a beloved parent and two husbands fall by the hands of cruel assassins. When she was first left a widow, Louisa de Coligny escaped into Switzerland, and after a time became the fourth wife of William the Silent, Prince of Orange. During their short 272union, she endeared herself to her husband and the whole country by the tender care she bestowed on her step-children. At the time of William’s murder, Frederic Henry was but an infant. ‘I am left,’ says the unhappy widow, ‘with a six-months’ child, sole pledge of my dead lord, my only pleasure and consolation.’

A letter to England gives a most pathetic account of a visit paid to her a short time after the Prince’s murder. ‘I found the Princess,’ says the writer, ‘in a most dark, melancholy little chamber; and it was a twice sorrowful sight to behold her heaviness and apparel, augmented by the wofulness of the place; and truly the perplexity I found her in was not only for the consideration for things past, but for that which might follow hereafter. The Princess de Chimay was with her, herself a dolorous lady.’

The widow’s grief had been insulted by the discourse of an unfeeling preacher at Leyden, who, alluding to the murder of the Prince, attributed it to the vengeance of God on the ‘French marriage,’ and the wicked pomp with which the child’s christening had been solemnised.

Motley’s portrait of Louisa deserves to be transcribed: ‘A small, well-formed woman, with delicate features, exquisite complexion, and very beautiful dark eyes, that seemed in after years, as they looked from beneath her coif, to be dim with unshed tears; remarkable powers of mind, sweetness of disposition, a winning manner, and a gentle voice.’

Such a woman soon became dear to the honest Hollanders, and was indeed a good monitress, not only to her own child, but to Prince Maurice, who loved and honoured her, and was inclined on most occasions to listen to her counsels.

She devoted herself in the first years of her widowhood to superintending the education of Frederic Henry or Henry Frederic, as he is called by different historians. The Stadtholder, Maurice, seems to have been much attached to 273his half-brother, who, while still a child, proved his apt and willing scholar in the art of warfare. The boy stood under fire for the first time when only thirteen, and was with the army when the siege of Nieuport was projected. Now, this enterprise was considered so hazardous, that Maurice determined his brother should remain in a place of safety, on whom, in the event of his own death, the hopes of the nation would be centred. But this decision was most repugnant to the brave boy’s inclinations, and he besought the General, with clasped hands and urgent prayers, to allow him to share in the glory and danger of the day. There was too much sympathy between those two noble spirits that Maurice should find it in his heart to withstand the young soldier’s persistent supplication. He sent for a new suit of armour, in which Frederic, bravely equipped, side by side with his young kinsman, De Coligny, participated in the honours of that memorable victory.

In the early days of his government, Maurice had pledged himself to his stepmother to remain unmarried, by which means her son would succeed as Stadtholder; but it was supposed that he went further, and whispered to her that Frederic should inherit a kingly crown if the Princess would assist him in obtaining the sovereignty, which he (Maurice) so ardently desired.

In 1605 the young Prince was in command of a body of veterans in an attack on the Spaniards, at Mühlheim, by the Rhine, when Maurice, riding up on the opposite shore, perceived with dismay that a panic had seized the usually steady and valiant troops. He saw his brother fighting manfully in the thickest of the fray, his gilded armour and waving orange plumes making him the aim of every marksman. On that occasion, at all events, Maurice did not ‘keep silence.’ He tore up and down the bank, taunting and cursing the soldiers who were deserting their brave young commander, and his 274loud and angry expostulations rallied the fugitives, and saved his brother’s life.

When the exiled King and Queen of Bohemia arrived at the Hague, to ask shelter and protection from the House of Orange, Elizabeth brought in her train the faithful and favourite Amelia de Solms, a young lady whose intelligence and beauty made a deep impression on the heart of Prince Frederic. There is some little difficulty in reconciling the different accounts, as the Queen speaks of the lovers’ entire devotion; yet we are told that Maurice threatened Frederic that, if he did not make up his mind to marry the German lady, he would himself espouse a Mademoiselle de Merck, by whom he had already had more than one child, who would in that case be accepted by the law of that land as legitimate.

The Queen of Bohemia, in writing to an English correspondent, says: ‘I am sure you heere already of the Prince of Orange’s marriage with one of my women, the daughter of Count de Solms, who served the King in Heidelberg. She is verie handsome and goode. She has no money, but he has enough for both.’

To return to more public matters. A short time after Maurice’s death the stronghold of Breda was taken by Spinola. This general had besieged the place for so long, and had been so much disheartened by plausible reports of the enemy’s resources, that he asked permission of the Spanish King to raise the siege. The answer was laconic and peremptory, ‘Marquez, sumais Breda. Yo el Rei.‘ There was no questioning such a command, and Spinola prosecuted the attack with redoubled energy. In the meantime, the garrison was suffering from hunger and privations of all kinds; and a mutinous spirit was spreading so fast as to induce the brave governor, Justin of Nassau (an illegitimate son of William the Silent), to ask the Prince to allow him to capitulate.

275Frederic replied that he considered it advisable to do so, remarking at the same time that if Spinola did but know the real state of the case, he would not be likely to grant very honourable terms. This letter fell into the hands of the enemy, but the writer misjudged his generous-hearted foe. With the true ‘garbatezza italiana,’ Spinola (undeterred by the indignant opposition of most of his officers) gave orders that the Dutch troops should march out with colours flying, drums beating, and all the honours of war. He also granted them leave to carry away many valuables, more especially all the personal property of the late Prince Maurice. Still further to prove his respect for the courage displayed by the garrison, he watched them as they sallied forth, lifting his hat with graceful courtesy, and exchanging salutations with his noble adversaries.

When the King of Bohemia died, he recommended his widow and children in the most urgent terms to the protection of the States-General and the Stadtholder, to whom Elizabeth also drew up a memorial, in which, after speaking of her profound grief, she goes on to say: ‘My first great resource is in Heaven; next to that Divine trust, I confide in you; nor will I doubt that to me and my children will be continued that friendship so long manifested to my lamented consort. It is for you to shelter those who suffer for truth and righteousness’ sake.’

The Royal petitioner was liberally dealt with, and the generous allowance which Maurice (whom she called her second father) had allotted her, was continued.

Frederic, on succeeding to the government, had found the country in a ferment of religious and political discord; and he endeavoured to exercise a tranquillising influence both at home and abroad. He would gladly have made peace with Spain if he could have done so with honour, but this was impossible; and he took the field fired with all 276the military ardour which had ever distinguished the House of Orange.

In his successive campaigns against the Spaniards, he achieved, for the most part, brilliant victories, possessing himself, one after another, of places of the greatest importance. But although distasteful to himself and the country at large, yet, from motives of policy, he was induced to enter into an alliance with France, and maintained a frequent correspondence with the Minister, Cardinal Richelieu. On the surface of things they were friends, but Richelieu hated the Stadtholder, and was said to have employed Frederic’s own valet as a spy on his master’s actions. In 1637 the all-powerful Cardinal, anxious to propitiate Holland, sent the Count de Charnacé as ambassador to the Hague, who, in the presence of the assembled States, addressed Frederic as ‘Prince’ and ‘Highness,’ instead of Excellency, the title he had hitherto borne. The Stadtholder was not insensible to the distinction, more particularly as the example set by France was followed by all the Royal houses in Europe.

He further added to the dignity and importance of his family by uniting his son with the Princess Mary, daughter to Charles I. of England, a marriage which afforded general satisfaction. There were great festivities at the Hague on the occasion, and we are told that ‘the Queen of Bohemia and her fair daughters contributed not a little to enhance the grace and beauty of the Court pageants.’ The Dutch continued their victories both by sea and land, their naval engagements in particular being most brilliant. Henry Frederic’s last feat of arms was to complete the frontier line, which his skill and valour had helped to ensure to his country; and the Spaniards were at length compelled to acknowledge the independence of those Provinces already united. The Stadtholder was not permitted long to enjoy the improved aspect of affairs. He died in March 1647, during the session 277of the Congress of Münster, and was buried with great splendour at the Hague. He left one son, William, and four daughters, by Amelia de Solms, who survived him several years, residing at the Hague, where she had built a fine palace, and amassed a large fortune. Henry Frederic was of a noble presence, well formed, and robust; his disposition was modest and temperate, and his manners gracious and conciliating. He was a scholar, as well as a soldier, and dictated to one of his officers memoirs of his principal campaigns, which were much esteemed. He had none of Maurice’s personal ambition, and never aspired to the sovereignty. But ‘if it were a sin to covet honour, he was the most offending soul alive.’ His son succeeded him as Stadtholder, but died at the early age of twenty-four, leaving his young widow with child, of a Prince, afterwards William III., King of England.

No. 2.

Black dress. Black skull-cap. White ruff and cuffs. Sitting in an
By Willebort.
278No. 3.

In armour[1], Holding a truncheon. The other hand rests on a table
beside his helmet. Orange plume and sash.
BORN 1567, DIED 1625.
By Miereveldt.
1. ERRATUM: for “In armour” read “In fuller dress than usual.”

HE second son of William, Prince of Orange, surnamed ‘the Silent’ by Anne of Saxony, who was repudiated on account of her misconduct. Maurice was born at the Castle of Dillenbourg; his elder brother, Philip, had been kidnapped from school, and carried to Spain, where he became (says Motley) so completely Hispaniolised, both in appearance and inclinations, as to lose all feeling of patriotism. But his filial love was never eradicated, and on one occasion, when a Spanish officer presumed to speak slightly of his illustrious father, Philip flung the offender headlong from the window of the palace, and killed him on the spot. It was on the 10th of July 1584 that the hand of a hired assassin cut short the career of one of the greatest and best men that had ever illuminated the page of history; Maurice was at that time pursuing his education at Leyden; and the boy’s tutors had received strict orders not to allow him to stray by the sea-shore, lest his brother’s fate should befall him, as it was from that place Philip had been stolen. William had died deeply in debt; he had spent his revenues in the service of his beloved country, and at his death there was no ready money for his widow (Louisa de Coligny), the 279step-children to whom she was fondly attached, or her own infant son. The Prince’s effects were sold for the good of his creditors,—plate, furniture, tapestries, his very clothes; but this done, the States-General came forward liberally, and settled a good allowance on the Princess and her charges. For Maurice (whom they selected as his father’s successor) they provided most generously, and, impressed by his promising qualities, and the earnestness and decision of purpose which he early evinced, they offered to place him at the head of the States Council, a provisional executive board, for the government of those Provinces comprised in the union. He was doubtless a remarkable youth. A letter to Queen Elizabeth extols ‘this flaxen-haired, gentle boy of seventeen years, his towardness, good presence, courage, singular wit, and learning,’ while another account describes ‘his chiselled features, full red lips, dark blue eyes (elsewhere they are called hazel) with a concentration above his years.’ He was universally pronounced to resemble his maternal grandfather, the celebrated Maurice of Saxony, both in appearance and character, and in nowise to favour his mother, who had been pale and deformed. When offered the important post Maurice took two days to consider; but he was not one to shrink from responsibility, and his acceptance was dignified and modest. He had already selected a device and motto, and nobly did he redeem the pledge in its wider sense: a fallen oak, with a young sapling springing from it, ‘Tandem fit surculus arbor.’ And verily the twig soon became a tree, and a noble one.

The country so lately, and now only partially, emancipated from the detested yoke of Spain, looked anxiously round for alliance with some foreign power, to assist in opposing King Philip and his formidable generals.

Negotiations were commenced, and carried on at great length, with France, to whose king the sovereignty of the Provinces was offered. Against this measure Maurice made a 280most spirited and eloquent appeal to the Council: he dwelt on all the evils which would accrue from such a step, reminding his hearers of the services which his family had rendered, and the misfortunes they had undergone in the cause of patriotism; furthermore, how nearly they had bestowed the sovereignty on his late father,—beseeching them not to forget the interests of the house of Nassau; and he concluded by assuring them, that, young and inexperienced as he was, he trusted that his zeal and devotion might be of some avail to his country. His speech was much applauded for its eloquence; but the negotiations with France were not discontinued, although after a time they were transferred to England. It seems certain that the youthful ruler indulged in early hopes of securing the title of King for himself, but, in default of this, he appears to have leaned to the notion of the government of Elizabeth, in preference to that of any other alien. She had always been a staunch upholder of Protestantism, had been generous to his family in financial matters, and had always expressed herself in friendly terms towards the house of Orange; besides, England was a powerful and desirable ally. Notwithstanding all these considerations, Maurice did not, as he pithily expressed himself, ‘wish to be strangled in the great Queen’s embrace.’

Bess was a coquette in politics as well as love, and for a time seemed inclined to listen to the overtures made her by the States-General, but she finally refused. Desirous, however, of exercising some influence in the country, she sent over her prime favourite, the Earl of Leicester (with his gallant nephew, Sir Philip Sidney), at the head of a large contingent of British troops. He had stringent rules laid down for his conduct, most of which he infringed. Not long after his arrival he was inaugurated in the post of Governor-General of the United Provinces, with supreme military command by land and sea, and authority in matters civil and political. In 281these capacities the States proffered him an oath of fidelity, a step in which Maurice himself was reluctantly compelled to join. Leicester’s whole conduct in the Netherlands was actuated by overweening ambition and the basest covetousness; while in accepting such high-sounding titles he incurred the Queen’s anger,—‘acting in direct opposition,’ says Motley, ‘to the commands of the most imperious woman in the world.’

A courtier at home, no way friendly to the arrogant favourite, told Elizabeth how Leicester’s head was turned by the honours heaped on him, and how he had sent over to England to bid his Countess join him, with a suite, and all appliances, in order to form a Court equal in splendour to her own. ‘Indeed!’ was the angry reply; ‘we will teach the upstarts that there is but one Queen, and her name is Elizabeth; and they shall have no other Court but hers!’

To return to Maurice: John Barneveldt (who had constituted himself the youth’s political guardian), although opposed to the idea of his elevation to a throne, stoutly advocated his nomination to the post of Stadtholder, a measure that was carried after a severe struggle. It was by the side of this trusty friend that the young Prince first went into action; but his first military achievement was planned and carried into execution jointly with Sir Philip Sidney, namely, the taking of Axel, an important stronghold, which they carried without the loss of a single man in the combined forces of the English and Dutch troops.

A close friendship existed between Maurice of Nassau and our gallant countryman, in spite of the latter’s near relationship to the obnoxious Leicester, who had warned his nephew to be prudent in his dealings with Maurice. ‘I find no treachery in the young man,’ was the reply, ‘only a bold and intelligent love of adventure.’ The two brave soldiers maintained their brotherhood in arms, until the fatal day when 282Sir Philip received his death-wound at the battle of Zutphen. His undaunted courage and proverbial humanity gained him the love and admiration of his allies and countrymen, and the respect of his enemies.

In 1587 Leicester was recalled by the Queen, and compelled to return to England. He was detested by the majority of the Dutch nation, who had by this time discovered his plots and treacherous schemes, and his departure cleared the way for the further display of Maurice’s political and military talents. He was nominated Governor Commander-in-chief of five out of the seven United Provinces which formed the Confederacy: and no one could surely have been better fitted for such responsible posts. In the early days of his government he was inclined to leave the reins in the hands of Barneveldt, while he devoted himself theoretically, as well as practically, to the study of war. His leisure hours were passed in forming combinations and executing manœuvres with pewter soldiers; in building up and battering down, in storming and carrying wooden blocks of mimic citadels; in fact, in arranging systems of attack, pursuit, retreat, and defence on his table, all of which he afterwards most effectually carried out on the field of actual warfare; while for hours together he would pore over the works of classical authors in the art of strategy.

Maurice introduced the strictest discipline into the army, but he was the friend and comrade of his soldiers, sharing their privations, and exacting for them, from the hands of the Government, the pay which had of late been but too irregularly disbursed. His clemency to his prisoners formed a brilliant contrast to the cruelties practised by most of the Generals of his time, barring one or two occasions, when driven to take reprisals. This he did, indeed, as a warning to the Spaniards not to deal hardly with the Dutch who had fallen into their hands. He was most severe on his own 283soldiers for disobedience of orders; and with his own hand he shot one of his men, who had been convicted of plundering a peasant.

The campaigns of 1590-92 against the Spanish troops were for the most part as successful as they were brilliant, and in 1596 an alliance, offensive and defensive, was concluded with France and England.

Maurice’s victories on the Rhine were so important as to induce the Spanish king to offer him most flattering terms, which were refused, and the war continued. We have neither space nor inclination to enter on the history of Maurice’s campaigns. How could we do so in our limited space, or attempt the military memoirs of a general who was said to have won three pitched battles, to have taken thirty-eight strong towns and forty-five castles, and to cause the enemy to raise twelve sieges—the great general of the age, ‘the chief captain of Christendom,’ as Queen Elizabeth called him—the rival in arms of the formidable Spinola?

Yet we cannot resist the temptation of alluding to one or two passages in his military life which have a picturesque or characteristic side to the occurrence.

The taking of Zutphen was one of those ingenious ruses de guerre in which Maurice delighted. One bright morning five or six peasants, with their wives, made their appearance under the walls of the town, laden with baskets of provisions,—no uncommon, yet a tempting sight. They sat down on the grass, and had not long to wait before several soldiers of the garrison came out, and began bartering for the contents of the said baskets. Suddenly a woman drew a pistol from under her petticoat, and shot the man dead who was haggling over the price of her eggs.

In a moment, the peasants, transformed into soldiers, sprang on the guard, overpowered, bound them, and took possession of the gate; while a large body of men, who had been 284lying in ambush, rushed to their assistance, and, following up the advantage, carried the place without the loss of a single man on their side.

Maurice of Orange, unlike the first Napoleon, was a great economiser of life, although so unchary of his own, that he was reprimanded in his youth by the States for rashly exposing himself to danger.

The Spaniards thought to depreciate his strategical talents by saying, ‘Qu’il ne sçavoit, que le méstier des taupes, de se tapir en terre;’ but he was as successful in open warfare as he was ingenious in stratagem. The taking of Nieuport, which for some time seemed a forlorn hope, was one of his most memorable victories. It resulted in the precipitate flight of the Archduke Albert (the governor of that portion of the Netherlands still under Spanish rule), and the entire rout of his army; and this at the very moment that the Infanta Isabella (Albert’s wife), reckoning without her host, was expecting to see the Prince of Orange brought into her presence—a prisoner. More than once during the battle the fortunes of the patriots seemed to tremble in the balance; but Maurice’s calmness never forsook him, and his devoted soldiery emulated their General in courage and determination. When assured that the day was gained, the hero, who had been unmoved in danger, was overcome by emotion. He leaped from his saddle, and, kneeling in the sand, raised his streaming eyes to heaven, exclaiming, ‘O God, what are we human creatures, to whom Thou hast brought such honour, and vouchsafed such a victory?’

So total was the discomfiture of the Spaniards, so hasty their retreat, that they left a precious booty for the Dutch, in the shape of ammunition, treasure, and baggage. Amongst other personal property of the Archduke, his favourite charger fell to the share of an officer in the Stadtholder’s army, who had often heard the Prince express great admiration for the horse in 285question. He therefore lost no time in presenting his prize to the General. Now, in the possession of Lord Powerscourt, there is an exquisitely finished cabinet portrait of the great captain, in gorgeous armour, mounted on a milk-white barb, with a wondrous luxuriance of mane and tail, which nearly sweep the ground. We often hear of a horse who seems to take pride in carrying his master; but here the case is obviously reversed. The rider is proud of his horse. The Prince evinces an undoubted pride in the milk-white steed he mounts, and he called upon his favourite painter, Miereveldt, to immortalise his treasure. With such strong circumstantial evidence, we may surely take it for granted that Lord Powerscourt’s gem illustrates our anecdote of the victory of Nieuport.

One more example of our hero’s strategical powers, and we have done. The taking of Breda was so ingeniously conceived, so bravely executed, that we cannot pass it over in silence. The grand and strongly fortified castle which dominated the town of Breda had once been the residence of the Nassau family, and was indeed, by law, the property of Prince Maurice. It was in the hands of the enemy, garrisoned by a large band of Italian soldiers, under the command of the Duke of Parma, who was however absent at the time of which we are speaking, the Duke having left a young compatriot in command, Lanza Vecchia by name. One night, when quartered at the Castle of Voorn, in Zeeland, Maurice received a mysterious nocturnal visit from a certain boatman called Adrian, who had once been a servant in the Nassau family, and was now employed in carrying turf for fuel into the Castle of Breda. Adrian offered his boat and his services to the Prince, assuring him that the little vessel could enter the water-gate without suspicion. The notion was after Maurice’s own heart. He took counsel with Barneveldt, and it was arranged that the boatman should be at a certain ferry the next night at twelve o’clock. The carrying out of this daring scheme was, by 286Barneveldt’s advice, intrusted to one Heraugière, a man of undoubted valour, who having fallen into temporary disgrace, would be most willing (urged his advocate) to redeem his character with the General. Sixty-eight men were selected from different regiments, with three officers as his comrades in the hazardous enterprise, who all proceeded to the rendezvous at the appointed hour. Adrian himself did not appear. His heart failed him, and he sent two nephews in his stead, whom he designated as ‘dare-devils.’ It was certainly no undertaking for faint hearts to embark in. The devoted little band went on board the boat, and stowed themselves away as best they might under the piles of turf with which the bark was ostensibly laden. Everything seemed leagued against them: fog, sleet, large blocks of ice, impeded their progress, while the weather proved most tempestuous, and the wind contrary.

From Monday night till Thursday morning seventy men lay huddled together almost suffocated, enduring hunger, thirst, and intense cold without a murmur, without regret at having undertaken so perilous a duty. At one time they were compelled to creep out and steal to a neighbouring castle, in order to procure some refreshment, and it was not till Saturday morning that they entered the last sluice, and all possibility of retreat was at an end,—that handful of men, half frozen with cold, half crippled by confinement to so small a space, to cope with a whole garrison of vigorous and well-fed soldiers! An officer came on board to inspect the fuel, of which he said they stood sorely in need, and went into the little cabin, where the hidden men could see him plainly, and hear every word he uttered. No sooner had he gone on shore than the keel struck against some obstruction. The vessel sprang a leak, and began to fill.

All was surely now lost, and the men who came to unload the boat made her safe, close under the guard-house, and proceeded with their work. To add to the soldiers’ danger, 287the damp and cold had brought on fits of sneezing and coughing, which it was most difficult to resist. One of these gallant men, who well deserved his name of ‘Held,’[2] feeling his cough impossible to control, drew his dagger and besought the soldier next him to stab him to the heart, lest he should cause the failure of the enterprise and the destruction of his comrades. But thanks to the ingenuity of the skipper, this noble fellow lived to glory in the success of the undertaking, and his name still lives in the hearts and memory of his countrymen. The dare-devil came to the rescue; he set the pumps going, which deadened every other sound, and there he stood, worthy of the sobriquet his uncle had given him, exchanging jokes with the labourers and the purchasers, and at length dismissing them all with a few stivers for ‘drink-geld,’ saying it was much too late to unload any more turf that night.

2. Hero.

So they all departed, excepting the servant of the captain of the guard, who was most difficult to get rid of, chattering and gossiping, and complaining of delay.

‘Be content,’ said the skipper, one of those men who must have his joke, even in moments when life and death are at stake; ‘the best part of the cargo is at the bottom, and it is reserved for your master. He is sure to get enough of it to-morrow.’

The dare-devil’s words were verified to the letter; a little before midnight the Dutch entered the town, killed every man in the guard-room, and took possession of the arsenal. The garrison fled in all directions, and the burghers followed their example, young Lanza Vecchia, although himself wounded, striving in vain to rally his men.

Count Hohenloe, brother-in-law to Maurice, was the first to enter the town at the head of large reinforcements, shortly followed by the Prince himself. The despatch sent to Barneveldt was as follows: ‘The castle and town of Breda 288are ours. We have not lost a single man. The garrison made no resistance, but fled distracted out of the town.’

How reluctantly we turn the page whereon Maurice’s golden deeds are inscribed, and come to a new episode in his life, on which a dark shadow rests! Little by little the differences of opinion which had long existed between the Stadtholder and the Advocate Barneveldt ripened into open enmity. The latter was at the head of the peace party, while Maurice declared for continuous warfare, in spite of which a general truce of several years was concluded, beneath which the Prince’s restless spirit chafed and fretted.

There could also be little doubt that Maurice aimed at a crown, while Barneveldt was a staunch republican. A more deadly cause of enmity was now springing up, for the torch of religious discord was aflame in Holland, between two opposing sects, the Gomarites and the Arminians. The former accused the latter of being more lax than the Papists, while the Arminians loudly declared the Gomarites to be cruel and intolerant, and the God they worshipped unjust and merciless.

For the most part, the clergy, with many of the upper classes, headed by Maurice and his family, favoured the Gomarites; while Barneveldt, with the municipal body, upheld the Arminian doctrines. Political and religious differences waxed fiercer each day that passed, and Maurice forgot all he owed to the guardian of his youth.

Barneveldt’s star was setting; slander and calumny of all kinds were busy with the name of this single-minded, large-hearted old man, whom the Stadtholder did not disdain in his anger to accuse of secret negotiations with Spain. In a letter to the Prince, Barneveldt bewails their estrangement, for which he had ‘given no cause, having always been your faithful servant, and with God’s blessing, so will I remain.’

He went on to say he had done good service to the State for upwards of forty years, and as far as religious opinions 289went, he had never changed. But neither his public nor private appeals stood him in good stead: he was denounced as a traitor and a sceptic; libellous pamphlets, shameful and absurd accusations, were disseminated against him. One great bone of contention between the two sects was the convening of a Synod, on which the Stadtholder and the States had determined. To dissuade the Prince from this step, the Advocate asked an interview, which was granted. Here is the picture, drawn by a master hand: The Advocate, an imposing magisterial figure, wrapped in a long black velvet cloak, leaning on his staff, tall, but bent with age and anxiety, haggard and pale, with long grey beard, and stern blue eyes. What a contrast to the florid, plethoric Prince!—in big russet boots, shabby felt hat encircled by a string of diamonds, his hand clutching his sword-hilt, and his eyes full of angry menace,—the very type of the high-born, imperious soldier. Thus they stood and surveyed each other for a time, those two men, once fast friends, between whom a gulf was now fixed. Expostulations, recriminations, passed, Barneveldt strongly deprecating the idea of the Synod, which he was well assured would only lead to more ill feeling rather than to any adjustment of differences; in answer to which Maurice curtly announced that the measure was decided on, and then opposed a stubborn silence (as was his wont when thwarted) to all the arguments and eloquence of the Advocate. That meeting was their last on earth.

Not long after this interview, as Barneveldt was one day sitting in his garden, he was visited by two friends, of authority in the State, who had come to warn him of the plan that had been formed for his arrest. He received the intelligence calmly, remarking he knew well ‘there were wicked men about;’ then, lifting his hat courteously, he added, ‘I thank you, gentlemen, for your warning.’ He continued his steady course as heretofore, and was accordingly shortly afterwards arrested on his way to the Session, and lodged in prison; his intimate 290friend, the learned Grotius, and several other leading members of the Arminian community, were imprisoned at the same time. The treatment which Barneveldt was subjected to in his captivity was most inconsiderate and severe; indeed, the only mercy vouchsafed to him was the attendance of his faithful body-servant; he was not allowed communication with the outer world, although, on more than one occasion, he contrived to elude the vigilance of his keepers by means of a few words concealed in a quill or the centre of a fruit. His books and papers were taken from him; he was denied the assistance of a lawyer or a secretary to prepare his defence, or even pen and ink for his own use; and when he asked for a list of the charges which were to be brought against him, he was refused.

In spite of all these hindrances, when summoned before a ‘packed’ tribunal, his defence was noble, eloquent, and manly, although his enemies insultingly called it a confession. He was accused of troubling the Church of God, sowing dissension in the Provinces, and calumniating his Excellency, and—crowning injustice—was declared a traitor to his native country. John Olden de Barneveldt!—was there any one in that Assembly whose love was so profound for his God, his country, and his Prince? He was not present when the final sentence was passed, namely, that he should suffer death by the sword, and that all his goods should be confiscate; but when the news was brought, the prisoner received it with the calm dignity which always characterised him.

From ‘my chamber of sorrow’ he wrote a touching farewell (pen and ink being grudgingly accorded him) to his family, which he signed ‘from your loving husband, father, grandfather, and father-in-law.’ In all these relations of life Barneveldt had been dearly loved, and his home had been the scene of ‘domestic bliss;’ the only paradise that has survived the fall.

291He intrusted the clergyman who ministered to him with a message to the Prince of Orange, assuring him that he had always loved and served him as far as it was consistent with his duty to the State, and his principles. He craved forgiveness if he had ever failed towards him in any point, and concluded by earnestly recommending his children to the care of his Excellency.

Maurice received the messenger with tears in his eyes, on his part declaring that he had always had a sincere affection for Barneveldt, though there were one or two things he found it hard to forgive, such as the accusation, which the Advocate brought against him, of aspiring to the sovereignty; but he did forgive all, and as regarded the children, he would befriend them as long as they continued to deserve it. With these poor crumbs of comfort the clergyman went back to the prison.

It must not be supposed that no efforts were made to save De Barneveldt: the French Ambassador used all his persuasions and all his eloquence, the widowed Princess of Orange wrote to her stepson to entreat him to save his father’s friend, and the friend of his boyhood and early life; but for the first time Maurice was deaf to the appeal of Louisa de Coligny, and excused himself from seeing her on frivolous pretences. Some surprise was expressed that the wife and family of De Barneveldt did not petition the Stadtholder, and it was even whispered that if either the wife or daughter-in-law (both women distinguished by noble birth and noble hearts) had sought an interview with Prince Maurice, it might have been granted; but they relied on a promise, perhaps, that no harm should come to the prisoner, even as our Strafford did, a few years later. The venerable captive prepared for death, declining an interview with his relations, lest the sight of those dear ones should unnerve him, and destroy the composure which it was so essential to maintain, while it was carefully 292withheld from him how earnestly his family had desired to see him once more.

The night previous to the execution his good servant took up his post at the head of his master’s bed to receive his last instructions, but was warned off by one of the sentinels.

However, no sooner did the surly fellow fall asleep than this faithful friend, by dint of bribes and persuasions, prevailed on his comrade to let him return to the bedside. Barneveldt evinced great anxiety respecting his beloved friend Grotius,[3] fearing he might share the same fate. He sent tender messages to his family, recommending the bearer to their protection, and expressed his regret, if, stung by indignation at the loathsome slanders published against him, he had at any time spoken too fiercely and vehemently.

3. Grotius was imprisoned for two years, and finally escaped in a case of books, through the medium of his wife.

The next morning he rose quietly. ‘Come and help me, good John,’ said he; ‘it is the last time that I shall require your services.’ When the clergyman entered and asked if he had slept, he said he had not, but was much soothed and strengthened by the beautiful passages he had been reading in a French version of the Psalms. Why linger over these sad details?

In the great hall where the judges were assembled, the prisoner listened wearily to the long rambling sentence, and demurred several times at its flagrant injustice. When the clerk had concluded, he said, ‘I thought, my Lords, the States-General would have had enough of my life, and blood, without depriving my wife and children of their property. Is this my recompense for forty-three years of service to the Provinces?’

The President rose with this cruel reply on his lips: ‘You have heard the sentence—away, away! that is enough.’

The old man obeyed, leaning on his staff, and, followed by his faithful John and the guard, he passed on to death on 293the scaffold, and, looking down, addressed the mob: ‘Men,’ he said, ‘do not believe that I am a traitor; I have lived as a patriot, and as a patriot I will die.’

He himself drew the cap over his eyes, ejaculating, ‘Christ shall be my guide; O Lord, my Heavenly Father, receive my spirit.’ Then kneeling down, as he desired, with his face directed towards his home, he begged the executioner to use all despatch; the heavy sword was swung, the noble head was struck off at a blow, and the soul of John Olden de Barneveldt took flight for a land where ingratitude and injustice are alike unknown.

We are told that the Stadtholder sat in his cabinet with closed doors, and forbade any one wearing his livery to go abroad, or be seen in the streets during the execution of the Advocate; nay, it is further recorded that he evinced some emotion on hearing that all was over. But sadly did he neglect an opportunity that presented itself, not very long afterwards, of showing some spark of that generosity which once characterised him.

Barneveldt had left two sons, both high in position, and in affluent circumstances, until their father’s sentence reduced them to poverty and obscurity. The younger son, Governor of Bergen-op-Zoom, was a wild, turbulent spirit, and had given his family much uneasiness. Stung to the quick by his father’s wrongs, he laid a plot for the assassination of the Stadtholder; with some difficulty he prevailed on his more timid brother to enlist in the same cause, and as Maurice’s popularity was already on the wane, he found several conspirators not unwilling to join. The scheme was discovered or betrayed, and all implicated therein, who had the means of escape, fled; the younger De Barneveldt was conveyed in a case to the house of a friend at Rotterdam, whence he started for Brussels, and reached the Court of the Archduchess Isabella, who took him under her protection. He afterwards entered 294his native country with alien troops as a traitor and a renegade. His less fortunate, less blameable brother, wandered about from place to place a miserable fugitive, and was at last taken in the island of Flieland.

On hearing of his capture, his mother’s anguish knew no bounds; she remained for days tearless, speechless, immoveable; but at length she roused herself, and, accompanied by her daughter-in-law and infant grandchild, she went her way to the Stadtholder’s palace.

Bowing the lofty spirit which had hitherto upheld her in all her misfortunes, she cast herself on her knees, and with all the wild eloquence of maternal sorrow, she implored mercy for her son.

Maurice received her with cold courtesy, and asked why she had never raised her voice in behalf of the prisoner’s father. The answer was worthy the widow of the great patriot:—

‘My husband,’ she said, ‘was innocent; my son is guilty.’

The Prince was unmoved, and coldly replied that it was out of his power to interfere with the course of justice. The two unhappy women and the little one, who was so soon to be an orphan, passed out of the room, and all hope of mercy was at an end. The only clemency shown the son of Olden de Barneveldt was exemption from the ignominy and anguish of torture which was inflicted on his fellow-conspirators. The deportment of this weak-minded man at his trial formed a sad contrast to that of his illustrious father. When sentence of death had been passed, he had a last interview with his mother and wife. The latter, amid all the agony of her grief, exhorted her husband to die as became his father’s memory and the noble name he bore. These loving commands were strictly obeyed. The prisoner was calm and composed on the scaffold, and in a few words he addressed to the people, 295told them that evil counsel and the desire for vengeance had brought him to so sad an end. His last audible word was ‘Patience.’

The days of Maurice of Nassau were also numbered. For a short time the flame of popularity flickered; but his reputation had suffered, not only by his injustice, but by his severity to the widow and family of a man to whose memory his very opponents in religion and politics were now beginning to render tardy justice. On one occasion the Stadtholder was deeply mortified, when, crossing the public square of a large town, amid a concourse of citizens, he was allowed to do so without the slightest sign of recognition, without the lifting of a single hat, or the raising of one shout in his honour. No man said, ‘God bless him;’—he who was wont to ride down the streets amid deafening cries of ‘Long live Prince Maurice!’

He was thwarted and opposed in many of his favourite measures by the very party he had so strenuously upheld. He was more especially mortified when they refused the subsidies he asked for the prolongation of the war with Spain, and, though successful in his attempt on Bergen-op-Zoom, he failed before Antwerp, while the reverses of the Protestant army in Germany weighed heavily on his mind. He received the exiled King and Queen of Bohemia at the Hague with generous hospitality, and sympathised truly in their misfortunes; but the successes of his great rival, the Marquis Spinola, which he was now powerless to withstand, seemed the culminating point to his distress. His last days were embittered by the knowledge that his beloved stronghold of Breda, on the recovery of which he had expended so much ingenuity, and run such enormous risks, thirty-four years before, was now hotly besieged by the great Italian general, and he himself unable to lift a finger in its defence. Maurice of Nassau became thin and haggard, and fits of sleeplessness 296reduced his strength,—he who his life long had slept so heavily that two gentlemen were stationed in his bedchamber to awake him in any case of emergency. He died in the spring of the year 1625.

Maurice, Prince of Orange, had announced his intention early in life never to marry, a resolution to which he adhered; but he was a man of pleasure, and not very refined in his tastes. He left several natural children, of whom one, M. de Beverweert by name, was distinguished, and held a high office under Government. Maurice’s chief pastime was chess, at which (singular as it may appear) he was not very skilful. His customary antagonist was a captain of the guard, one De la Caze, greatly his superior in the game; but as the Prince hated defeat, and would burst forth into fits of fury when worsted, his prudent adversary was frequently induced to allow his Excellency to be victorious in their trials of skill. On these propitious occasions the Prince’s good-humour knew no bounds, conducting the officer to the outer door, and bidding the attendants light, and even accompany him home. The captain, whose income depended chiefly on his skill at games of chance, was sorely put to it in the choice of winning and losing, of times and of seasons.

Maurice merited the name of ‘the Silent’ more than his father; and when he did speak, says La Houssaye (whose Memoirs throw great light on the history of the time), ‘Il se servoit toujours, de petites fraizes gauderonnées.’

He was of a dry and caustic humour, and showed especial contempt for what he considered coxcombry in dress. He used to rally the French gentlemen in particular on the lightness of their apparel, observing they would rather catch cold than conceal their figures. He depreciated the use of tight riding-boots, which prevented the horseman from vaulting into his saddle, and set an example of simplicity, sometimes amounting to shabbiness, in his own attire.

297We have given elsewhere the description of his usual dress. La Houssaye says, ‘Je l’ai toujours vu habillé de la même sorte, de la même couleur, ce qui étoit brune, couleur de musc.’ He blamed the Italian mode of horsemanship, with all their curvetings and caracolings, which, he said, were dangerous, and lost no end of time. Maurice left behind him a glorious reputation, but a heavy blot rests on his escutcheon.

No. 4.

Black suit and ruff. Black cap.
BORN 1512, DIED 1588.
By Himself.

E was a native of Utrecht, and a disciple of John Schoorel, who was distinguished not only as a painter, being a pupil of Mabuse, but as a poet and orator. Moro travelled in Italy, and studied the great masters. He painted historical and sacred subjects, but excelled in portraits, and followed the style of Holbein. Cardinal Granvelle recommended him to Charles V., for whom he painted Prince Philip, afterwards Philip II. of Spain. The Emperor gave Moro a commission to the Court of Portugal, to execute the portraits of King John III., his wife, Catherine of Austria, and the Infanta Mary, afterwards Queen of Spain. Sir William Stirling, in his delightful work on Spanish painters, says, ‘Moro’s pencil made that marrying monarch, Philip II., 298acquainted with the forms and features of his two first wives, the Maries of Portugal and England.’ For the three Portuguese pictures the painter received six hundred ducats, besides a costly gold chain, presented to him by the nobles of the country, and other gifts. But when he went to England to take sittings of Queen Mary (the betrothed of Philip of Spain), Antonio was remunerated still more magnificently. He received one hundred pounds (then esteemed a large sum) for the Queen’s likeness, and a splendid chain of gold, with a pension of one hundred pounds a quarter on his appointment as painter to the Court. He remained in England during the whole of Mary’s reign, and both the Queen and her husband sat to him several times. He also painted numbers of the courtiers and nobility, but, from omitting to annex the names, the identity of many of his characteristic portraits is lost. Horace Walpole regrets this neglect in his notice of Moro, and says truly, ‘The poorest performer may add merit to his works by identifying the subjects, and this would be a reparation to the curious world, though it would rob many families of imaginary ancestors.’

When Queen Mary died, Moro, or More, as he was called in England, followed King Philip to Spain, where he remained for some time in high favour. He left the country suddenly, and the cause of his departure has been differently accounted for by different writers. The version of the story most currently believed is as follows:—King Philip frequented the artist’s studio, and one day, as he was standing beside the easel, his Majesty familiarly placed his hand on Moro’s shoulder. The painter turned round abruptly, and smeared the Royal hand with carmine. The attendants stood aghast at this breach of etiquette; but the King appeared to treat the matter as a jest. It was not long, however, before Moro received a warning from his patron that the officers of the Inquisition were on his track, and that 299he was in imminent danger of arrest on the plea of having ‘bewitched the King.’

One thing was certain, that the fact of an alien standing so high in Philip’s favour had aroused a feeling of ill-will and jealousy among the courtiers, who would probably lay hold of any pretext to effect the favourite’s ruin. Moro fled to Brussels, where he was warmly welcomed by the Duke of Alva, then Governor of the Low Countries; here he painted the portrait of the brave but cruel commander, and of one or two of his mistresses. It was rumoured that Philip invited him to return to Spain, and that Alva intercepted the letters, being unwilling to part with the great artist. Be this as it may, Moro never again put himself in the power of the Inquisition, but passed the remainder of his days in ease, and even opulence. He had amassed a good fortune by his works in all parts of Europe, and the Duke of Alva made him receiver of the revenues of West Flanders, an appointment which is said to have so elated Moro that he burned his easel and destroyed his painting tools; but we are not bound to believe a story so unlikely.

He died at Antwerp, while engaged in painting the Circumcision for the Cathedral of that city. Sir Antonio was remarkable for the refinement of his manners and the dignity of his bearing. He painted several portraits of himself, one of which represents him as a tall stately man, with a frank open countenance, red hair and beard, dressed in a dark doublet, with slashed sleeves, a massive chain round his throat, and a brindled wolf-hound by his side.



No. 1.

Nude child playing with a wolf.
By Mrs. Cosway.
No. 2.

Black coat. White waistcoat. Loose cloak.
BORN 1806, DIED 1856.
By Lucas.

HE eldest son of the fifth Earl, by Emily, only daughter of the first Viscount Melbourne. He went from a preparatory school at Mitcham to Eton, and thence to Trinity College, Cambridge. On leaving the University, he entered the Royal Horse Guards, Blue, and became M.P. for Canterbury. In Lord Palmerston’s first 304Administration Lord Fordwich was appointed Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,—an office the arduous duties and grave responsibility of which proved too much for his health, which was never very strong, and he accordingly sent in his resignation at the end of a few months. In 1833 he married Lady Anne Florence, Baroness Lucas, eldest daughter of Earl de Grey, and two years after he retired from public life altogether. He succeeded his father in 1837. Lord Cowper was a staunch Whig, and always supported his party in the House, otherwise he took no leading part in politics; he was extremely popular, in spite of a certain diffidence which never wore off in his contact with public and official life, or general society. Perhaps it might be said (in the case of a man of his great wealth and exalted position) to have enhanced the charm of his refined and engaging manners and proverbially musical voice. He enjoyed society, of which he was a cheerful and agreeable member, and few houses were more celebrated for their delightful reunions than Panshanger, near Hertford.

The circumstances attending Lord Cowper’s death were most unexpected and painful. He was Lord-Lieutenant of the county of Kent, a post that was in some measure irksome to him, as it entailed frequent residence in a neighbourhood where he had few acquaintances,—with the exception of Lord Sydney, one of his most valued and intimate friends. These two noblemen had arranged to go down together to Maidstone at the time of the Sessions, on the occasion of the reorganisation of the militia. But at the eleventh hour Lord Sydney was prevented accompanying his friend, as his presence was required in London in his capacity of Lord Chamberlain.

The Lord-Lieutenant therefore went down alone, and while transacting business in court he was taken suddenly ill, removed to the governor’s residence in the gaol, and died the same evening, apparently unaware of his danger.

305Lady Cowper had some friends dining with her in St. James’s Square, when she was summoned in all haste to Maidstone. She started immediately, accompanied by her brother-in-law, William Cowper (the present Lord Mount Temple), and the family physician, Dr. Ferguson. But, alas! they arrived too late, for all was over.

The death of a man so much esteemed in public, so tenderly beloved in private life, caused a profound sensation; and, says the friend to whom we are indebted for these particulars, ‘few men have ever been more widely and deeply lamented.’ Lord Cowper left two sons and three daughters:—

The present Earl; the Honourable Henry Cowper, M.P. for Hertford; Lady Florence, married to the Honourable Auberon Herbert, brother of the Earl of Carnarvon; Adine, married to the Honourable Julian Fane, fifth son of the eleventh Earl of Westmoreland, both deceased; and Amabel, married to Lord Walter Kerr, second son of the seventh Marquis of Lothian.

306No. 3.

As the infant Bacchus. A nude child.
BORN 1784. DIED 1834.
By Mrs. Cosway.

E was the fourth and youngest son of the first Viscount Melbourne, by Elizabeth Milbanke. Educated at Eton and Cambridge. Called to the bar, and went the Northern Circuit for a short time; but the law was not to his taste: he preferred the pursuit of literature, and took great interest in the drama. He became an active member of the Committee of Management of Drury Lane Theatre, with Lords Essex and Byron, and the Honourable Douglas Kinnaird, for colleagues. He was the author of some operatic pieces and fugitive poems, and he also published a translation of Catullus. In the year 1819 George Lamb stood for Westminster, on the Whig interest, against the Radicals; the contest lasted fifteen days, and Lady Melbourne, a keen politician, exerted herself in the canvass, and was much pleased at her son’s return by a large majority. At the general election in 1820 he had to relinquish his seat, but in 1826 he was returned for Dungarvan (through the interest of the Duke of Devonshire), which borough he represented in four Parliaments. In Lord Grey’s Administration Mr. Lamb was appointed Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department. In 1809 he married Mademoiselle Caroline Rosalie Adelaide de St. Jules, who was reputed to be a natural daughter of the Duke of Devonshire. George Lamb died at Whitehall in 1834; his two elder brothers, Lords Melbourne and Beauvale, survived him. He left no children.

307No. 4.

In widow’s weeds.
BORN 1806, DIED 1880.
By Frederick Leighton, R.A., afterwards P.R.A.

HE was the eldest daughter and co-heir of Thomas Philip, Earl de Grey, K.G., by Lady Henriette Cole, daughter of the first Earl of Enniskillen. She married in 1833 George Augustus, sixth Earl Cowper, and was left a widow, in 1856, by the sudden and unexpected death of her husband. We cannot do better than transcribe the moral portraiture of the late Lady Cowper, sketched by the hand of one who knew her well, appreciated her highly, and who, moreover, bore a strong resemblance to her in many moral and intellectual gifts:—

‘I think I can sum up Lady Cowper’s leading attributes in three words—wit, wisdom, and goodness. In the relationship of daughter, wife, and mother she left nothing to be desired; as a hostess she was pre-eminently agreeable, being a most delightful companion; she had lived with all that was politically and socially distinguished in her day, and had read all that was worth reading in modern literature. She derived keen enjoyment from “the give and take” of discussion; her opinions were decided, and their expression fresh and spontaneous: into whatever well it was lowered, the bucket invariably came up full!’

‘In her latter days, even under the pressure of failing health, her conversational powers never flagged; she was most brilliant in the freshness of morning, and shone conspicuously 308at the breakfast-table, thereby rendering that repast far more animated than is usually the case. Her sallies, though never ill-natured, were often unexpected and startling, which added a zest to her discourse, and gained for her the title of ‘The Queen of Paradox.’

Her loss was deeply felt and mourned, not only in her own family, but in the wider range of what is termed social life.

No. 5.

George, third Earl Cowper; in a green coat, pink waistcoat, and breeches. Mr. Gore, playing on the violoncello; dark blue coat, yellow breeches. Countess Cowper, pale pink gown. Mrs. Gore, grey gown; one daughter in blue, the other in white brocade. Miss Emily Gore at the harpsichord.

By Zoffany.

OUNTESS COWPER was the daughter of Charles Gore, Esquire, of Southampton. Her parents took her to Italy for her health, where the family resided for a long time. Mr. Gore is supposed to have been the original of Goethe’s ‘travelled Englishman’ in Wilhelm Meister. Mrs. Delany, in one of her amusing letters, mentions the meeting of Lord Cowper and Miss Gore at Florence, ‘when little Cupid straightway bent his bow.’

They were married at Florence, and on that occasion Horace Walpole condoles with Sir Horace Mann on the prospect, as he would lose so much of the society of his great friend, Lord Cowper. Both Lady Cowper and her husband were in high favour at the Grand-Ducal Court of Tuscany, and the former 309was a great ornament of the brilliant (but by no means straight-laced) society of the day. Miss Berry speaks in very high terms of Miss Gore, who resided with her married sister. Three sons were born to the Cowpers in Florence. In her later days the Countess took up her abode at a villa a little way out of the city. She survived her husband many years, and was said to have been plundered by her servants. Indeed, this most interesting picture is supposed to have been stolen at the time of her death. It was purchased in 1845 by the Honourable Spencer Cowper (for the trifling sum of £20), who made it a present to his brother, the sixth Earl.

No. 6.

Dark red velvet gown.
By Edward Clofford.
The eldest daughter of William, present and fourth Marquis of Northampton. Married in 1870 to the present and seventh Earl Cowper.

310No. 7.

As a youth. Black coat trimmed with fur.
BORN 1779, DIED 1848.
By Sir Thomas Lawrence.

ILLIAM, second Lord Melbourne, was born March 15, 1779. His father and mother were friends of the Prince of Wales, and lived in that brilliant Whig circle of which Fox and Sheridan were the political ornaments, and the Duchess of Devonshire the Queen of Beauty. It is difficult now to realise the spirit of that society, in which dissipation and intellectual refinement were so singularly combined. Drunkenness among the men was too frequent to be considered disgraceful, and even those who passed for being sober took their two or three bottles a day. Conversation was habitually interlarded with oaths; gambling, to such an extent as to cripple the largest fortunes, was the common amusement of both sexes; and morality in other respects was in a low state. But joined with this there was that high sense of personal honour, which in England, and still oftener in France, has, at other times, been united with similar manners. There was more than this. There was a spirit of justice and generosity—even of tenderness—and in some cases a delicacy of feeling which we are accustomed now to associate only with temperance and purity. There was also a very cultivated taste, derived from a far more extensive 311knowledge of the Classics than is to be found in these days; a love of poetry and history; and, above all, an enthusiastic worship of liberty.

How came this strange worship of liberty among this exclusive and luxurious aristocracy? Originally, perhaps, as the result of faction. Excluded from power and deprived of popularity by misfortunes and mistakes, which it would take too long to mention, the Whigs had been driven in their adversity to fall back upon their original principles. The debating instinct of their great Parliamentary leader seized upon the cry of liberty as a weapon of warfare in the House of Commons, and the cause which he advocated was so congenial to his frank and generous nature that he embraced it enthusiastically and imparted his enthusiasm to his friends. I must not pursue these thoughts further, but the circumstances of a man’s early life have such influence in moulding his character that, even in such a slight sketch as this, it may not have been out of place to call attention to the state of that society, with its vices and its redeeming qualities, in the midst of which William Lamb grew up.

He went to Eton in 1790, and to Cambridge in 1796. In 1797 he was entered at Lincoln’s Inn, but without leaving Cambridge. In 1798 he won a prize by the oration on ‘The Progressive Improvement of Mankind,’ which was alluded to by Fox in the House of Commons.

In 1799 he went to Glasgow to Professor Millar’s, from whose house he wrote during this and the following year several letters to his mother, which still exist. They show the keenest interest in politics, and an enthusiastic admiration for the French; and they are not entirely free from a slight taint of that apparent want of patriotism which infected the Liberal party at that time, and which did it such irreparable damage. It is only fair to say that there is an entry written in a notebook a few years later showing how keenly he appreciated and 312lamented this political error, and throughout the whole course of the Peninsular War he expresses the warmest wishes for the success of the British arms, and for those of our allies in Germany.

His career at the bar was brief and uneventful, and by the death of his elder brother he shortly became heir-apparent to his father’s title and property.

We now come to a most important event—important to all men—in his case particularly so, and attended with almost unmitigated evil.

On June 3, 1805, was solemnised the marriage of William Lamb and Lady Caroline Ponsonby. It is heartless, unnecessary, and altogether wrong to expose the dreariness, the pain, and the ridicule of an ill-assorted marriage. Too many particulars of this unhappy union have already found their way into print. Lady Caroline was a woman of ability, and, I suppose, a certain amount of charm; but nobody who reads her works, or her letters, or the accounts of her conduct, can doubt that she was partially insane. Of her husband it is enough to say that whatever his faults may have been of over-indulgence at certain times—and perhaps an occasional outbreak of passionate temper at others—he was, on the whole, singularly tender, kind, and considerate. He was always honourable and gentlemanlike, and he bore his burden with a brave and manly spirit. But for twenty years his life was embittered, his ability depressed, and even his credit with the world temporarily impaired.

I have said that the evil which attended his marriage was almost unmitigated; but there was one compensation. He was driven into seclusion. Whole days were passed in his library, and it was during these years that he acquired habits of reading which were never afterwards abandoned, and that he accumulated much of that vast store of learning—that large knowledge of all subjects, ancient and modern, sacred and 313profane—which formed a continual subject of astonishment to those who knew him in later life.

After endless quarrels and reconciliations, they were regularly separated in 1825; but he occasionally visited her, and was with her at her deathbed two years later, when they were finally reconciled, to quarrel no more.

Though he was member of the House of Commons for many years, and occasionally spoke, he cannot be said to have acquired any distinction in that assembly; but his abilities had always been recognised by leading men, as is shown by the fact that he twice refused office during that period.

His public career began in 1827, when he accepted, in Canning’s Administration, the post of Chief Secretary in Ireland.

It is difficult to form a just opinion of him as he appeared to his contemporaries at this time. Mr. M’Culloch Torrens has done justice to his high character, his clear intellect, and his broad, sound, and sensible views of men and things. Lord Melbourne’s relations must always feel grateful to Mr. Torrens for so clearly bringing forward this side of his nature, and perhaps also for not attempting to delineate those characteristics which require to be touched with a more delicate hand. The uncontrolled flow of humour, of originality and mischief, might easily have been perverted in the description into buffoonery or jauntiness, from which no man was ever more free. The paradoxes might have appeared as an ambitious effort to astonish and to draw attention, when considered separately from the simple and spontaneous manner in which they were uttered. They were saved from this, as all good paradoxes are, not only by the manner, but by each one of them containing some portion of the truth, which is generally overlooked, and which was then, for the first time, presented to the mind in a striking and unexpected way.

But though any attempt to describe the charm of Lord 314Melbourne’s society would probably lead to disastrous failure, and must not, therefore, be attempted, it is important to bear in mind that this extraordinary charm was the one great feature that remained impressed upon the minds of all who had communication with him.

Sparkling originality, keen insight into character, a rich store of information on every subject always at hand to strengthen and illustrate conversation, exuberant vitality, and, above all, the most transparent simplicity of nature, these, from what I have heard, must have been his principal characteristics. I am bound to add that he often shocked fastidious people. He seldom spoke without swearing, and he was often very coarse in his remarks. There was, indeed, in his language and in his whole character, not only a wayward recklessness which was natural to him, but a touch of cynical bitterness that contrasted strangely with the nobleness and generosity of the original man. The nobleness and generosity were, I say, original. The scenes which surrounded him in his early years, and still more, that unhappy married life to which I have already alluded, may account for the remainder.

I must add that this charm of manner and conversation was set forth to the utmost advantage by a beautiful voice and a prepossessing personal appearance. He was tall, strong, and of vigorous constitution, brilliantly handsome, even in old age, with a play of countenance to which no picture, and certainly not this very indifferent one by Hayter, does the smallest justice.

It may easily be believed that with such a people as the Irish a man like this immediately became extremely popular; and the solid abilities of a genuine statesman were speedily recognised by his colleagues.

Even at this period, with Lord Wellesley as Viceroy, the principal business in Ireland was transacted by the Chief Secretary, though this Minister was not then, as he has frequently 315been since, in the Cabinet. Lord Wellesley, accustomed to a far different position in India, was occasionally somewhat sore at the false relation in which he stood to his nominal subordinate, though this was made as endurable as possible by the tact and fine feeling of William Lamb, who was constantly reminding the Ministers in England of the consideration due to a veteran statesman, whom fate had placed in so disagreeable an office, and offering to send back despatches to be rewritten.

The short Administrations of Canning and Goderich were uneventful in Ireland, and early in that of the Duke of Wellington, Lamb resigned. He came away with an increased reputation. His extreme facility of access, and his delight in talking openly with people of all parties, had made him much liked—and even his very indiscretions seem to have told in his favour.

On July 22, 1828, he became Lord Melbourne by the death of his father.

In Lord Grey’s Administration of 1830 he was made Home Secretary. His appointment to so important an office without any public reputation as a man of business, and without any Parliamentary distinction, show conclusively what a high opinion had been formed of his abilities by those in authority. But by the world at large he seems to have been still looked upon as an indolent man, and to have caused some surprise by the vigour and ability which he displayed in dealing with the very serious disturbances which at this time broke out in many parts of the country. This unexpected vigour, joined with the calmness and good sense which he was already known to possess, made his reign at the Home Office very successful; and he had an opportunity of particularly distinguishing himself by his firmness and discretion in dealing with a monster deputation from the Trade Unions shortly before he was called to fill a still higher position.

316In 1834, on the resignation of Lord Grey, he was sent for by the King. He formed a Government from his existing colleagues, and from that period, with the exception of a short interval, he remained Prime Minister of England for seven years.

The political history of these seven years has been written over and over again. It was a history to which the Liberal party cannot look back with much satisfaction, and the memory of the Prime Minister suffers unjustly in consequence. It was one of those strange periods of reaction which are so familiar to the student of English political life, when the country was becoming daily more Conservative in its views and feelings. Then, as at other similar periods, the Liberals were obstinately unwilling to believe the fact. While the bulk of the electors were ever more and more anxious for repose, ardent politicians were racking their brains for new stimulants, and seeking what reforms they could propose, and what institutions they could attack, in order to rouse the flagging energies of their supporters. They mistook a real wish to be left quiet for a disgust at not being led forward, and as the activity of Lord Melbourne in his Cabinet was chiefly displayed in restraining the restlessness of the more impetuous of his colleagues, he became responsible, in the eyes of some, for the want of progress; while the nation at large accused him, in common with the rest of his Government, of continually taking up, without serious consideration or depth of conviction, any policy which might be likely to bring a momentary popularity to the Ministry.

In regard to this last accusation, we must remember that Lord Melbourne was only one of the governing committee of the country—primus inter pares. It is a very strong and very popular Prime Minister alone who can be more than this. His influence, as I have said, is believed to have been a restraining one. We know the mistakes to which he was a party, but we shall never know how many he may have prevented.

317After all said against it, this period of seven years was neither unfruitful in wise legislation nor inglorious to the country. Without endangering peace, we maintained the high position of England in Europe; and though many measures were prematurely introduced, and hastily abandoned, a long list may be made of very useful ones which were passed.

What were Lord Melbourne’s real political convictions? Some have said that he was in his heart a Conservative. He was undoubtedly less advanced in his opinions than many of his colleagues, and he sometimes exhibited a half-laughing, half-sorrowful disbelief in the result expected by others from constitutional changes. This, coupled with a love of mischief and a delight in startling people, made him appear less advanced than he was—as when he said about Catholic Emancipation, that all the wise men in the country had been on one side of the question, and all the fools on the other, and that the fools had turned out to be right after all; when he told some ardent reformers that the men who originated the Reform Bill ought to be hung on a gallows forty feet high; and when he remarked to Lord John Russell that he did not see that there was much use in education. These remarks, however, did not express his real convictions. His was essentially that kind of mind which sees clearly both sides of a question. His position would naturally have been very near the border-line which divides the two parties, and on which it is impossible for any public man in England permanently to stand, but it would have been, under any circumstances, on the Liberal side of that line.

As leader of the House of Lords he was, on the whole, successful—certainly not the reverse. But he had the misfortune to be opposed and most bitterly attacked, during a great part of his Administration, by the two greatest orators of the day, and he received little support from his own side. Of his speaking it has been said that if it had been a little better, 318it would have been quite first-rate. He never prepared a speech, and he hesitated a good deal, except when under the influence of excitement. But at his worst he was always plain, unpretending, and sensible; and his voice and appearance were of themselves sufficient to command attention. When roused he could be forcible, and even eloquent for a few minutes, and he always gave the impression that he only wanted rousing to become so. The most powerful of his opponents never could feel sure that he might not at any moment receive a sudden knock-down blow, and both Brougham and Lyndhurst more than once experienced this.

On the accession of the Queen in 1837, Lord Melbourne found himself suddenly placed in a most trying and most responsible position. This is the part of his career which is best known, and in which his conduct has been most appreciated; and I do not think there is any other instance on record of the confidential and affectionate relations subsisting between a Sovereign and a Minister so interesting to dwell upon. It is difficult to say to which of the two these relations were productive of the greatest benefit. Her Majesty was indeed fortunate in finding such a counsellor; his large-minded fairness, his impartial appreciation of the motives and feelings of all parties in the State—that philosophical power of seeing both sides of a question, to which I have alluded, and which perhaps stood in his way as a party leader,—were, under present circumstances, of unmixed advantage. His vast political and historical knowledge supplied him with ready information on every subject, which I need hardly say he imparted in the most agreeable manner; and his judgment, stimulated by the gravity of the situation, enabled him to give sound advice, at least on all the deeper and more important matters which properly belonged to his position. To the Minister himself this new stimulant was invaluable. His life had never quite recovered from the blight cast upon it in his early manhood. 319He had long suffered from want of an object for which he really cared; his thoughtful temperament too much inclined him in his serious moments to realise the vanity of all things; but he now found a new interest which animated his remaining years of activity, and which afterwards solaced him in illness, in depression, and intellectual decay.

Nobly did the Queen repay this chivalrous devotion and this unselfish solicitude for her welfare. Her clear intellect readily assimilated his wisdom, and her truthful and just nature responded sympathetically to his enlightened and generous views. And there was no ingratitude or subsequent neglect to mar the harmony of the picture, for to the last hour of his existence her kindness and attention were without a break. Her Majesty has been fortunate in many of her advisers—fortunate more particularly in her illustrious husband,—but such is the force of early impression, that, perhaps, no small part of the sagacity and the virtue which have signalised her reign may be traced to the influence of Lord Melbourne.

This little biographical notice must now be concluded. In 1841 his Administration came to an end. In the autumn of 1842 he had a paralytic stroke. He recovered, and lived till 1848, and was able to take his place in the House of Lords, and to appear in society. But his sweet temper was soured, and his spirits became unequal; his bright intellect was dimmed, and his peculiarities assumed an exaggerated form. He had been so famous in earlier days for the brilliancy of his conversation, that even after his illness people remembered and repeated what he said. This has done his reputation some injury, and the stories told about him do not always convey a correct impression of his ability or his charm.

The life which I have attempted to sketch was an eventful one, and Lord Melbourne took no small share in the movements of his time. But it seems to have been the impression 320of all who met him, that he might have done much more than he ever did, and that he was a far abler and greater man than many who have filled a larger space in history.

No. 8.

Pale violet gown.
By Romney.
No. 9.

Tawny coat. White cravat. Powder.
BORN 1770, DIED 1805.
By Romney.

E was the eldest child of the first Lord Melbourne, and his birth was a source of great joy to both his parents. But from his earliest years Peniston was the idol of his father, whom he resembled in many points, both moral and physical; indeed, it was said no flattery was sweeter to Lord Melbourne’s ear than to be assured of this resemblance. The mother was very fond 321of her first-born; but as he grew on in years, and his tastes developed, Lady Melbourne was mortified to find that Peniston evinced no predilection for politics or public life; and, finding in her second son William’s tastes more congenial with her own, it was plain to see that William was the mother’s darling. Peniston showed no jealousy; he was gentle-hearted and engaging; every tenant on the estate, every servant in the house, every dog and horse in the stable, loved him. He was a capital shot, and rode well to hounds, while quite a little fellow; and Lord Melbourne was never tired of telling how ‘Pen’ had led the field, or put his pony at the stiffest bullfinch. His brothers were among his most devoted worshippers; and in their happy romping days at Brocket, Peniston was never tired of joining in their frolics, though with a certain dignity becoming a senior. How exquisitely is this characteristic demeanour portrayed in the beautiful picture of the three boys by Sir Joshua Reynolds, which he named ‘The Affectionate Brothers,’ described in a late page.

In 1793 Lord Melbourne vacated his seat in Parliament, and Peniston represented Newport, and afterwards Hertfordshire county, in the House. He had never been very strong, and being suddenly attacked by an illness, for which the physicians could in no way account, he expired, to the despair of his father, the grief of his whole family, and the deep regret of the county. Reynolds, Romney, Mrs. Cosway, and Stubbs, were all called on to perpetuate the handsome form and features of this darling of the household.

322No. 10.

White frocks. Pink sashes. Harriet has a cap on her head.
By Sir Thomas Lawrence.

ARRIET died young. Emily was successively the wife of Lord Cowper and Lord Palmerston. In later days she remembered perfectly romping on the floor with her little sister, who had just snatched her cap off her head, when the door opened, and their mother came in accompanied by a gentleman in black, who was very kind, and said, ‘Nothing can be better than that;’ and he painted the little girls just as he had found them. Lawrence, then a very young man, was on a visit at Brocket.

No. 11.

In a small carriage, drawn by grey ponies. She wears a white cloak and hat. Her father, Sir Ralph Milbanke, in the centre; grey coat, blue and yellow waistcoat. Her brother, John Milbanke; grey horse; pale blue coat, buff waistcoat, breeches, and top-boots. Lord Melbourne on a brown horse; dark blue coat, yellow breeches. All the gentlemen wear tri-corne hats.

By Stubbs.
323No. 12.

White muslin dress. Blue bow.
By Hoppner.
No. 13.

Peer’s Parliamentary robes.
By Sir Thomas Lawrence.
No. 14.

White dress. Coral necklace.
By Sir Thomas Lawrence.
324No. 15.

With his horse Assassin, and his dog Tanner. Dismounted. Dark coat,
leathers, and top-boots. Brown horse, stretching towards a small black-and-tan
By Stubbs.
No. 16.

Dark blue coat. Scarlet waistcoat and breeches. Shoes with buckles.
By Raphael Mengs.
No. 17.

Black coat. White cravat.
DIED 1825 (?).
By Jackson.

RANDSON to Spencer Cowper (the celebrated Judge), and Deputy-Clerk of the Parliaments for many years. There is an entry in Mary Countess Cowper’s diary (wife of the Chancellor) in December 1714: ‘Monsieur Robethon received the grant of the King of Clerk of the Parliament after Mr. Johnson’s 325death for anybody he would name. He let our brother Spencer Cowper have it in reversion after Mr. Johnson’s death for his two sons for £1800.’ It was held in succession by the family for several years. The reader of the poet Cowper’s life will remember the tragical incident connected with this particular appointment.

No. 18.

Brown coat trimmed with fur. White waistcoat. Black cloak.
BORN 1786, DIED 1859.
After Robinson.

E was the eldest son of Thomas Robinson, second Lord Grantham (of that name), by Lady Mary Yorke, second daughter of the second Earl of Hardwicke. Succeeded to the barony of Grantham on the death of his father, and to the earldom of De Grey on the death of his maternal aunt (who was Countess De Grey in her own right), and at the same time he assumed the surname of De Grey, in lieu of that of Robinson. In 1805 he married the beautiful Lady Henrietta Cole, fifth daughter of the first Earl of Enniskillen. He was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, and Privy Councillor during Sir Robert Peel’s Administration of 1834 and 1835, and on the return of Peel to power in 1841 Lord De Grey went to Ireland as Viceroy. Here he made himself remarkable by his extreme hospitality and the splendour of his establishment, while he discharged the more essential and difficult duties of his office with zeal and ability. His departure 326in 1844 (when he resigned on account of his health) was much regretted, while Lady De Grey left a name which was long remembered in Dublin, not only for the charm of her manners and the beauty of her person, but for the encouragement which she afforded to native talent and manufactures. On leaving Ireland Lord De Grey retired from official life, and contented himself with voting in Parliament as a Liberal Conservative. He became Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Knight of the Garter, and aide-de-camp to the Queen. He was a member of many scientific and industrial institutions, Fellow of the Royal Society, and of the Society of Antiquarians, etc. He had several children, of whom only two daughters survived,—Anne Florence, who married the sixth Earl Cowper, and Mary, married to Captain Henry Vyner. Lord De Grey died in 1859, when the barony of Lucas devolved on his eldest daughter, and his other titles on his nephew, now Marquis of Ripon. He was a man of undoubted talent, and occupied himself in carrying out designs as an architect, decorator, and landscape gardener. When he inherited the houses of Wrest, in Bedfordshire, and the fine mansion in St. James’s Square, on the death of his aunt, the Countess De Grey, he pulled down the former, and rebuilt it, according to his own designs, in the style of a French château. The pictures which adorn the walls were painted expressly for him; the tapestry, which lends so rich a colouring to the interior of Wrest, was woven under Lord De Grey’s immediate direction in the ateliers of the Gobelins; while the rich gilding, cornices, and ceilings were all executed under his supervision, and do the greatest credit to his taste and ingenuity. He also supplemented the plans, and enlarged the ornamentation of the already beautiful gardens and pleasure-grounds which surround the house.

327No. 19.

Red coat. Grey hat and feathers lying on the table. Caressing a dog.
No. 20.

Blue coat. White jabot.
BORN 1782, DIED 1853.
By Chandler.

E was the third son of the first Viscount Melbourne, by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Ralph Milbanke. He entered the diplomatic service at an early age, was successively attached to the British Legation at Palermo, and the Embassy at Vienna, where in the year 1813 he became Minister Plenipotentiary, ad interim, until the arrival of Lord Stewart, afterwards Marquis of Londonderry. From September 1815 he was Envoy to Munich until 1820, and two years later he was appointed Privy Councillor, and subsequently G.C.B. (civil), in consideration of his diplomatic services. He was successively Minister to Madrid and Ambassador at Vienna, and retired on a pension in 1841, having previously been elevated to the Peerage by the title of 328Baron Beauvale. On the death of his brother William in 1848 (some time First Lord of the Treasury), the Viscountcy of Melbourne devolved on him. Lord Beauvale married at Vienna in 1841 the daughter of Count Maltzahn, the Prussian Minister at the Austrian Court. He had no children, and his large property was inherited by his only sister, Viscountess Palmerston. He died at his country house, Brocket Hall, in Hertfordshire, in 1853.




Francis Thomas de Grey Cowper, Earl Cowper, Viscount Fordwich, County Kent, Baron Cowper of Wingham, Kent, in the Peerage of Great Britain; Baron Butler of Moore Park, Herts, and Baron Lucas of Crudwell, Wilts, in the Peerage of England; Baron of Dingwall, County Ross, Peerage of Scotland; Privy Councillor, Knight of the Garter, and Prince and Count of the Holy Roman Expire; Lord-Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of Bedfordshire; Colonel of the First Herts Rifle Volunteers, etc.

By George F. Watts, R.A.

HE eldest son of the sixth Earl Cowper by the eldest daughter and coheiress of Earl De Grey. He was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, where he was first class in Law and Modern History. From 1871 till 1873, Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms; from 1880 till 1882 he was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. Having married in 1870 Mary Katrine Compton, eldest daughter to 332the fourth Marquis of Northampton. In 1871 Lord Cowper established his claim to the baronies of Butler and Dingwall, obtaining an Act of Parliament for the reversal of the attainder of those titles. Few Englishmen can boast among their ancestry names more celebrated on the pages of history,—the names of men who, differing in class, country, and characteristics, have each swayed the destiny of nations,—the Patriot Stadtholder of Holland, the Royalist Viceroy of Ireland, and the Protector of England, the late Lady Cowper being a lineal descendant of one of Cromwell’s daughters.


No. 1.

Canonicals. White bands.
BORN 1712, DIED 1774.

E was the second son of the Lord Chancellor Cowper by his second wife, who mentions ‘our little Spencer,’ with great affection, in her Diary, when sick of some infantine complaint. He married, in 1743, Dorothy, daughter of Charles, second Viscount Townshend, by whom he had no children. He was buried in the Cathedral at Durham.

334No. 2.

Black coat. White cravat.
BORN 1779, DIED 1823.

HE third son of George, third Earl Cowper; born at Florence; came over to England for his education with his two elder brothers. Resided at Digswell, county Herts; represented Hertford in Parliament. Married, in 1808, Catherine, youngest daughter of Thomas March Philipps of Garendon Park, county Leicester. His widow married again the Rev. D. C. A. Hamilton.

No 3.

Crimson velvet coat, lined with blue silk. White cravat.

E was brother to Mary, Countess Cowper, wife of the Chancellor, who makes frequent mention of him in her Diary. At his death his nephew Earl Cowper annexed the name of Clavering to his own patronymic, and inherited the fortune and estates of his maternal uncle.

335No. 4.

Slashed sleeves. Brown mantle.
No. 5.

Yellow satin gown. Holding a book. Fountain in the background.
BORN 1635, DIED 1724.
By Sir Godfrey Kneller.

HE daughter of John Clavering, Esquire of Chopwell, county Durham, a younger branch of an ancient Northumbrian family, all Jacobite in their tendencies. Mary Clavering and William Cowper became acquainted in consequence of some law transactions, on which she had occasion to consult him at his chambers. Their marriage took place shortly after he was appointed Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. ‘The wooing was not long a-doing;’ but it was far from being calm or uninterrupted in its progress; and though Lady Cowper’s Diary, from which most of our materials are taken, does not commence till 1714, when she began her Court life, yet she goes back several years to tell us how many adverse influences were at work to prevent the union, which proved so well assorted. How my Lord, 336being a widower when the Queen gave him the Seals, it was no wonder (particularly as he was still young and very handsome) that the young women laid out all their snares to catch him. Lady Harriet de Vere especially marked him as her prey. This lady, daughter of the last Earl of Oxford of that family, was very poor, and of a damaged reputation. She had made several advances to my Lord through her kinswoman, Mrs. Morley, but finding nothing come of it, set a spy on his actions, and dogged his steps to find out the cause of this coldness, which turned out to be no other than pretty Mistress Mary Clavering; upon which a clandestine correspondence was begun,—letters purporting to be from some great personage, and threatening him with the ruin of his official prospects if he married the lady in question. The first letter came the day before the marriage; but as the union was kept a secret, the plotters still continued to prosecute their schemes. ‘And so for months my Lord had a letter of whole sheets every day to tell him I was a mean wretch and a coquette, and the like, and how that one night the Lord Wharton (a noted profligate) had said to my Lord Dorchester at the theatre, “Now let us go and hear Molly Clavering sing the opera all over again.” Which was a lie, for I never did play in any public company, but only at home when visitors asked me.’ Some time afterwards the Lord Keeper agreed to accompany one Mrs. Weedon (who said she had a fine lady to recommend to him), in order to discover who his clandestine correspondents were, and found his suspicions confirmed, for Lady Harriet de Vere and Mistress Kirke were the very ladies who waylaid and ogled him whenever he came out of chapel. Lady Harriet was full of ‘airs and graces,’ which were of no avail. She told Lord Cowper that the Queen was very anxious she should be married, and had promised to give her a dowry of £100,000, upon which the gentleman replied, on that score he durst not presume to marry her, as he had 337not an estate to make a settlement answerable to so large a fortune. At length they pressed him so hard, he was forced to confess he was already married, and that, in spite of all their abuse, he could only find one fault in his wife, and that was that she played the harpsichord better than any other woman in England. Now Lady Cowper says she never would have told this story had she not thought it incumbent upon her to do so, when the Duchess of St. Albans (Lady Harriet de Vere’s sister) recommended Mrs. Kirke as a fit person to be bedchamber woman to the Princess of Wales. For some reason, public or private, perhaps a combination, the Lord Keeper kept his marriage a secret at first. In one of his letters to his wife (with whom he kept up a brisk and affectionate correspondence) he says: ‘December, 1706. I am going to visit my mother, and shall begin to prepare her for what I hope she must know in a little time.’ In another letter he gives an account of a cold, dark journey, and how his only consolation was to think her journey was shorter, and by day-light, so that he was not in fear for what he was most concerned for.

In answer to her declaring she disliked grand speeches, he agrees, and thinks the truest love and highest esteem are able to give undeniable proofs of themselves; therefore he shall depend for ever on making love to her that way. A little later he writes playfully about the lady he has carried into the country (presumed to be a fat old housekeeper); and hopes that the picture of his ‘dear life’ may soon be finished, so as to console him in some measure in his next banishment. He begs her not to imagine from anything that may look a little trifling or cheerful in his letters, that his mind is constantly in that tune: ‘’Tis only when I enjoy this half conversation with you, who, I assure you, are the only satisfaction that I propose to my hopes in this life.’ Again, he cannot go to rest without expressing his concern and amazement at her 338collecting ‘so much disquiet from so harmless a passage,—’tis my want of skill, if it was not the language of a lover.’ He writes at great length to dispel his dear love’s ‘melancholy fancy,’ and values no prospect in life as the continuance of her favour, and the unspeakable satisfaction he shall ever derive from doing her all the good in his power; and so on.

The Diary of Mary, Lady Cowper, was published from private documents at Panshanger in 1864, and, though fragmentary, is very interesting. It commences with the accession of George I.; and the writer tells us she had been for some years past (apparently through the medium of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough) in correspondence with Caroline of Anspach, Princess of Wales, who had written to her most kindly. Lord and Lady Cowper were both strongly in favour of the Hanoverian succession, the wife having embraced her husband’s political opinions in contradistinction to those of her father. On the arrival of the Royal Family, Lady Cowper was kindly received, but the offer of her services was evasively answered by the Princess, so much so that she took it for granted ‘Her Royal Highness had had so many applications on the subject that she could not take me into her service. I therefore resolved not to add to the number of her tormentors, and never mentioned the thing any more.’ She was confirmed in her opinion when she heard that two ladies had been already appointed, and she well knew ‘that the necessity of affairs often forces Princes to act contrary to their inclinations.’ The coronation took place in October 1714, and thither Lady Cowper went with Lady Bristol (herself a candidate for a post in the Princess’s household), who told her companion she well knew that she (Lady Cowper) was to get an appointment. The two ladies found the peeresses’ places so full that they had to seek accommodation elsewhere, and Lady Cowper settled herself next the pulpit stairs, when Lady Northampton 339and Lady Nottingham came hand in hand; and the latter ‘took my place from me, and I was forced to mount the pulpit stairs. I thought this rude; but her ill-breeding got me the best place in the Abbey, for I saw all the ceremony, which few besides did, and never was so affected with joy in my life.’ Here follows an amusing account of how Lady Nottingham broke from her place, and kneeled down in front, which nobody else did, facing the King, and repeating the Litany. ‘Everybody stared, and thought she had overdone the High Church part. The Lords over against me, seeing me thus mounted, said to my Lord “that they hoped I would preach,” upon which he answered “that he believed I had zeal enough for it,” whereupon Lord Nottingham made some malicious remark, said with such an air, that, joined with what Lady Nottingham had done that day, and some other little passages that had happened, opened my eyes, and showed me how that family maligned me.’ She takes occasion to mention that the ladies not walking in procession had no gold medals. Lady Dorchester stood next to her—Catherine Sedley, whom James II. made a peeress, and who was reported to have said, ‘I wonder for what quality the King chooses his mistresses; we are none of us handsome, and if we have wit, he has not enough to find it out.’[4] And when the Archbishop went round asking the consent of the people, she turned and said: ‘Does the old fool think that anybody here will say no to his question, where there are so many drawn swords?’

4. Charles II. said his brother’s mistresses were imposed upon him by his confessor as a penance.

The Princess asked Lady Cowper if Lady Essex Robartes had delivered a message, and, being answered in the negative, ‘Her Royal Highness went on to tell me I had made a conquest, and seeing me blush, continued, “It is M. Bernstorff, who never was in love in his life before, and it is so considerable 340a conquest that you ought to be proud of it; and I, to please him, have ordered him to make you a compliment from me.”’

Baron Bernstorff was indeed a good friend to have at Court, being at that time German Minister and prime favourite of George I., who consulted him on every appointment of every kind. He waited on Lady Cowper the same evening, and told her she was appointed ‘Dame du Palais,’ and was to kiss hands next day.

A friendship was formed, which withstood many a change and chance, and more than one misunderstanding. On the Baron taking leave, the lady intrusted him with her lord’s treatise, An Impartial View of the State of Parties, which she herself had translated into French, and transcribed for his Majesty’s perusal, who was no English scholar. ‘Great discussion whether the Princess, on going into the city, was to kiss the Lady Mayoress (and quoting of precedents); but as her late Majesty had not done so, it was arranged neither should the Princess.’ The new Lady-in-Waiting was in attendance when Her Royal Highness went to the Lord Mayor’s Show. ‘Poor Lady Humphrys made a sad figure in her black velvet, bawling to her page to hold up her train, being loath to lose the privilege of her Mayoralty. But the greatest jest of all was that the King and Prince had been told that the Lord Mayor had borrowed her for that day only. I had much ado to convince them of the contrary, though he by marriage is a sort of relation of my Lord’s first wife.’ Query, was that a sequiter? ‘They agreed’ (Lady Cowper is quite right to record any occasion on which the King and his son were of the same mind) ‘that if he had borrowed a wife, it would have been a different one from what she was.’

October 30th (Diary).—‘The Prince’s birthday: the Court splendid; the ball opened by him and the Princess. She 341danced in slippers (heelless shoes) very well; but he better than any one.’

Lord and Lady Cowper, from their relative positions, had often to keep company that cannot have been very palatable to so well-conducted a pair. ‘Supped at the Lord Chamberlain’s (the Duke of Shrewsbury); Lord and Lady Wharton and Madame Kielmansegge to wait on the King. Another evening; I was mightily amused; but I could not but feel uneasy at some words I overheard the Duchess of Bolton say in French, which led me to believe the two foreign ladies were no better than they should be.’ This remark alludes to Madame Kielmansegge, the daughter of the Countess Platen (who had been mistress to the Elector, George I.’s father), and wife of General Kielmansegge, after whose death she was created Countess of Darlington by the King. Horace Walpole paints a frightful picture of ‘the Ogress,’ whose appearance terrified him when a boy. The Duchess of Shrewsbury was an Italian lady, of wit and talent, whom Lady Cowper found it impossible to dislike as much as her lord, for she was very entertaining, though she would sometimes exceed the bounds of decency. Many members of the Princess’s own household were themselves of very doubtful reputation, and we find the name of Mademoiselle de Schulenberg of frequent recurrence in the Diary, a lady who had been maid of honour to the Electress Sophia, the King’s mother, and was afterwards created Duchess of Munster and Duchess of Kendal.

November 8th (Diary).—‘My birthday [she was twenty-nine]. God grant that the rest of my life may be passed according to his will, and in his service.’ High play was the order of the day at both Courts, and the Princess and her ladies sat down every night to stake more than they possessed, while the King was often very angry with those who would not gamble. ‘I played at basset as low as I could, for which I was rallied; but I told my mistress I only played out of duty, and nobody 342could think ill of me if, for the sake of my four children, I desired to save.’

From numerous entries in the Diary, it would appear that Lady Cowper was averse to spreading slanderous reports, which were daily poured into her ear, from party feeling, respecting many ladies of whom she had no reason to think ill; but the quarrels and cabals at Court were endless, and daily increasing; and she was sometimes drawn into a dispute from feelings of just indignation, such as when my Lady Nottingham accused Dr. Clarke (the famous controversialist, whom Voltaire called un moulin à raisonnement) of being a heretic. But on being pressed to quote the passage on which she founded so heavy a charge, her ladyship threw up her head and replied, she never had, nor did she ever intend, to look into his writings. Then said Lady Cowper, ‘What, madam! do you undertake to condemn anybody as a heretic, or to decide upon a controversy, without knowing what it is they maintain or believe? I would not venture to do so for all the world. All this happened before the Princess, and was not likely to advance Lady Nottingham’s wish to be governess to the young Princesses.’ Taking leave of her Royal mistress at the end of her week of waiting, she says: ‘I am so charmed with her good qualities, that I feel I never can do enough for her. I am come to Court with the fixed determination never to tell a lie, and she places more confidence in what I say than in any one else on that account.’ This was in the first year of Lady Cowper’s service. Unfortunately her enthusiasm in this quarter was destined to be modified. It was evidently always a pleasure to her to bring the name of any one in whom she was interested before the Royal notice. She told the Prince of Wales that she never failed to drink his health at dinner, ‘which made him smile and say, He did not wonder at the rude health he had enjoyed since he came to England; but I told him I and my children had constantly pledged him 343before his arrival, by the name of “Young Hanover, Brave!” which was the title Mr. Congreve (the poet) had given him in a ballad. The Prince, however, was not learned in English literature, and asked who Mr. Congreve was, which gave me an opportunity of saying all the good of him that he deserved.’ She also bestirred herself to get places under Government for her relations, who were for the most part very ungrateful; so much so, that she could not help answering rather pettishly, ‘that the next time they might get places for themselves, for I would meddle no more.’ And her lord was so angry with them, he was for depriving the offender of a commissionership he had himself bestowed at Lady Cowper’s instigation; ‘but I soothed him, and told him after all I did them good for conscience’ sake.’ The Lady-in-Waiting and her Royal mistress had many a laugh together in these early days over some of the eccentricities of Court life. Such, for instance, as when Madame Kielmansegge came to complain to the Princess that the Prince had said she had a very bad reputation at Hanover. The Princess did not think it likely—the Prince seldom said such things; but Madame cried, and declared people despised her in consequence, and she drew from her pocket a certificate, written and signed by her husband, General Kielmansegge, to say she was a faithful wife, and he had never had any reason to suspect her. The Princess smiled, and said she did not doubt it, but that it was a very bad reputation that wanted such a supporter. Another specimen was Madame Tron, the Venetian ambassadress, ‘who says, now she is come into a free country, she will live and go about like other people. But the Italian husband is more jealous than the German, and often beats his wife, which she is grown used to, and does not care about, unless he spoils her beauty. So she goes by the name of “La Beauté, sans Souci.” But she has been heard to exclaim, when he is chastising her, with a very Italian accent, 344“Oh prenez garde à mon visage!”’ ‘Lady Essex Robartes (daughter of Lord Nottingham) is just beginning her long journey to Cornwall, which she does with great fear.’

We cannot refrain from quoting Lady Cowper on the drama, when the Princess consulted her respecting the propriety of being present at the representation of ‘The Wanton Wife,’ or, as it was afterwards called, ‘The Amorous Widow,’ written by Betterton,—the Duchess of Roxburghe having given her opinion that nobody could see it with a good reputation. ‘I had seen it once, and few I believe had seen it so seldom; but it used to be a favourite play, and often bespoke by the ladies. I went with my mistress, who said she liked it as well as any play she had ever seen; and it certainly is not more obscene than all comedies are. It were to be wished our stage were chaster, and I hope, now it is under Mr. Steele’s direction, that it will mend;’ from which observation we may conclude that, at least in the particular of morals, our English stage has not deteriorated. It was evident the Lady-in-Waiting’s influence was high at this moment, since the Duchess of Roxburghe begged her to try and prevent Sir Henry St. John from being made a peer. It was he of whom the anecdote is told, that when his son was created Lord Bolingbroke, he said to him: ‘Ah, Harry, I always thought you would be hanged, and now I find you will be beheaded.’

Lady Cowper was apparently overpowered not only with solicitations to procure places for friends and acquaintances, but sometimes intrusted by her husband with messages of public importance to the Prince and Princess, or that still greater personage, Baron Bernstorff; and she seems to have carried out her mission with much discretion on more than one occasion, as we before remarked. The fair lady and her friend, the German baron, came to high words. He told her sharply one day, ‘“My Lord est beaucoup trop vif, et vous 345êtes beaucoup trop vive de votre côté. Les ministres se plaignent beaucoup de my Lord Cowper. Ils disent qu’il leur reproche trop souvent, les fautes qu’ils ont pu commettre.” The wife replied, “Notre seul but est de bien servir de roi.” He repeated his words, and then said with great violence, “Croyez moi, vous êtes trop vifs, tous les deux, cela ne vaut rien, cela tourne en ruine.” I believe it was the first time that an English lady, who had bread to put into her mouth, had been so treated. I knew whence all this storm came; and plainly saw our enemies had got the better.’

This was the time to which we have alluded in the notice of the Lord Chancellor. Now, although more especially at this time Lady Cowper was very desirous that her husband should retain office, for she ‘would rather live with him in a garret up three pair of stairs, than see him suffer,’ yet she always answered with spirit when the subject of his resignation was discussed. ‘Mrs. Clayton came in and told me it was reported that Lord Cowper was going to lay down. I answered, They say he is to be turned out, and they need not have given themselves the trouble; if they had but hinted to my Lord they were weary of him, he would have laid down. They know he has done it already, which is more than ever will be said of them.’ Though a courtier in the literal sense of the word, Lady Cowper disdained to trim and truckle, as most of her colleagues did.

She had carried herself towards the mighty baron with distant dignity, since the passage of arms to which we have alluded. He made his niece, Mademoiselle Schütz, his ambassador, to complain of having been treated distantly and coldly, never being allowed to see Lady Cowper alone of late, and so forth. When permitted to renew his visit, he expostulated with her on her believing that he was willing to oust her husband; and upon her saying she understood it was so destined by the Ministry, the baron made a world of asseverations of how he 346was incapable of injuring the Lord Chancellor, that the King had the greatest possible kindness for him, and that none could take his place from him but God alone, and so forth. Upon which Lady Cowper tossed her head and observed, ‘One must be fond of a place before you fear to lose it, and it was too painful a place to be fond of.’ Then the baron retorted that Lord Cowper was peevish and difficult, and so thought the King, and he begged her ladyship would use her best arguments to soften and make him more compliable;—which she certainly did, though she did not let Bernstorff into the secret, for, at least at this time of day, she was most unwilling to see her husband vacate the Woolsack.

The Mademoiselle Schütz to whom an allusion has been made, is thus described: ‘She was a pretty woman, and had good qualities, but was withal so assuming that she was mightily hated at Court. The Prince disliked her most especially, but I saw her very often.’ Too often, as it proved in the sequel, for the Fraülein made herself most obnoxious after a bit, coming at all hours, when not wanted, to the Cowpers’ house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and ‘writing at every turn, which is very troublesome. I wish she had as many occupations as I have. I had a letter from her to offer to come and stay with me; I thank her for nothing. I had enough of her impertinence last night.’ Another time she insists on the loan of a costly pearl necklace, which the Lady-in-Waiting wanted to wear herself (not being overstocked with jewels), at the birthday; now it is a ‘lace head’ to go to Court in; now she wishes for a set of gold ribbons as a gift. ‘Commend me to a modest assurance. It lifts one out of many a pinch, I find. Lady William Powlett complained of her too, “she is very importunate, and always on the spunge.” I fell a-laughing, and said, “I was very glad it had come to anybody’s share besides mine.”

347On the 5th of December in this year (1715), the Diary records the entrance into London of the Jacobite prisoners who had been taken at the battle of Preston,—their arms tied, and their horses led by soldiers. The mob insulted them, carrying a warming-pan before them in ridicule of the Pretender, and saying many spiteful things, which some of the prisoners returned with spirit. ‘The chief of my father’s family was among them, Clavering of Callalee, who is above seventy years old. I did not see them come into town, nor let any of my children do so. I thought it would be insulting to several relations I had there, though almost everybody else went to see them. I forgot to say M. Bernstorff made me a strange offer, through his niece, to let my cousin Tom Forster escape on the road, if I had a mind to it.’ This gentleman was knight of the shire for Northumberland, and was a general in the Jacobites’ army; he had proclaimed the Pretender at Warkworth. He was imprisoned in Newgate, but eventually escaped.

Lord Widdrington, who was impeached at the same time as Lord Derwentwater, was also a connection of hers; and she gives this as a reason she could not go to the State trials, although her Lord presided as Lord High Steward, an appointment which vexed her much. She gives the order of procession, with many servants, and coaches, one with six horses, Garter King at Arms, Usher of the Black Rod, etc. etc. Lady Cowper did not seem to take the same delight in the melancholy pageant as most of the fine world did, for she says, ‘I was told it was customary to have fine liveries on such an occasion, but had them all plain. I think it very wrong to make a parade on such an occasion as putting to death one’s fellow-creatures. The Princess came home much touched with compassion. What a pity that such cruelties should be necessary! My Lord’s speech on pronouncing sentence was commended by every one, but I esteem no one’s 348commendation like Dr. Clarke’s, who says, “’tis superlatively good, and that it is not possible to add or diminish one letter without hurting it.”’

Many entries in the Diary now speak of Lord Cowper’s continued illness, and how he had again a mind to quit office. His wife, who in spite of all the squabbles and ‘unpleasantness’ she describes, was still in high favour with the Prince and Princess, and was not insensible to the splendour and amusements of a Court life, loved her Lord above all such considerations, and told him she ‘would never oppose anything he had a mind to do,’ and, ‘after arguing calmly on the matter, I offered, if it would be any pleasure done him, to retire with him into the country, and what was more, never to repine at doing so, though it was the greatest sacrifice that could be made him. I believe he will accept.’ But a little while after she says, ‘My Lord is better, and not so much talk of retiring, though I laid it fairly in his way.’

The troublesome Fraülein Schütz seemed to have chosen this time of anxiety to be more importunate than ever about loans of jewels and finery: ‘When she asked me for my diamonds, saying she had less scruple in doing so because I look best in a state of nature, and jewels do not become me! Commend me to the assurance of these foreigners!’

On a similar occasion Lady Cowper makes some very moral reflections, slightly tempered by a dash of pardonable vanity. After an excuse for wearing an emerald necklace, which had been lent her lest she should disoblige her friend, she meant also to wear her own pearls in her hair, though she don’t care one brass farthing for making herself fine, and hopes always to make it her study rather to adorn her mind than to set off a vile body of dust and ashes!

The advice given to Mrs. Collingwood, the wife of one of the Jacobite prisoners, must have shocked the feelings of so loving a wife as Mary Cowper. Mr. Collingwood, a Northumberland 349gentleman, was under sentence of death, when his wife wrote to an influential friend to intercede in his behalf. Here is the answer: ‘I think you are mad when you talk of saving your husband’s life. Don’t you know you will have £500 a year jointure if he’s hanged, and not a groat if he’s saved? Consider, and let me know. I shall do nothing till then.’ There was no answer to the letter, and Collingwood was executed.

About this time great exertions were made to induce the King to reprieve some (at least) of the prisoners, and Lady Cowper was evidently instrumental in gaining that of Lord Carnwath, who would otherwise have suffered with Lords Kenmure and Derwentwater. She gave a letter from the imprisoned nobleman to the Princess, who wept on reading it, and sent word in answer that if Lord Carnwath would confess, she would give him her honour he should be saved, but that was the only way. Now, though the King was not over partial to ‘cette Diablesse de Princesse,’ as he often called her, yet the violent language and opinions she sometimes held were not altogether without their influence on the Royal mind. Lord Nithisdale escaped by the connivance of his devoted wife, and Lord Carnwath was reprieved. ‘God grant us peace to heal all our divisions, and to take away the rancour that is among us.’ ‘Lord Nithisdale’s escape confirmed; I hope he’ll get clear off; I never was better pleased at anything in my life, and I believe everybody is the same.’

March 1.—The Princess of Wales’s birthday. ‘I am ill, but must go to wish her many years of health and happiness, which I unfeignedly do, for she’s a most charming delightful friend as well as mistress.’ Her Royal Highness said M. Bernstorff had been urging the Prince to agree to Lord Cowper being made President of the Council, which the Prince refused to do, unless assured that Lord Cowper wished it. 350‘I said Lord Cowper was ready to quit, if they found anybody better to put in his room, but would never change that of which he could acquit himself with honour, for that he could not perform at all.’

Party ran so high in this year (1716), that even a meteorological phenomenon—‘a light so great that from my windows I could see people walk across Lincoln’s Inn Fields though there was no moon’—was pressed by Whigs and Tories into their interests,—the former saying it was God’s judgment on the horrid rebellion, the latter that it was a mark of vengeance on the Whigs for the late executions. Mr. Gibson, the antiquary, says it has ever since been spoken of as ‘Lord Derwentwater’s lights.’ Lady Cowper was coming home in her chair on the night in question, and her bearers were so frightened that she was forced to let her glass down and preach to them all the way to comfort them. She observes that if anybody had overheard the dialogue they could not have helped laughing.

Lady Cowper’s chairmen were apparently not very efficient altogether; she twice complains of the shifts she was put to in consequence of their drunkenness, and her having to come home in the first hackney she could find. Another time she lost her servants altogether, and had to borrow the Duchess of Shrewsbury’s chair. The bickerings and altercations between the Court ladies were interminable, more especially between the German and English; and no wonder, when the Germans talked as one of their great ladies did, saying that ‘English ladies did not look like women of quality, but pitiful and sneaking, holding their heads down, and always seeming in a fright, whereas foreigners hold up their heads and hold out their bosoms, and look grand and stately;’ upon which Lady Deloraine replies, ‘We show our quality, madam, by our birth and titles, not by sticking out our bosoms.’

The Diary tells us that on May the 29th, those who disliked 351the reigning family wore green boughs, and on June the 10th (the Pretender’s birthday) white roses. Nothing now but cabal and intrigue, petty Court jealousies, bitter hatred and enmity among the political parties, the ins and the outs, and unseemly quarrels between the two highest in rank in the country.

It was settled that the King was to go to Hanover for at least six months, the question of the Regency during his absence being the worst bone of contention of all. But we have treated this subject more at large in the notice of Lord Cowper, who was constantly peacemaking and pouring good counsel into the ears of the Prince of Wales.

Diary.—‘For my part, I thought it so absolute a necessity to the public good to keep all things quiet, that I did heartily and successfully endeavour to conceal everything that tended to disunion, little thinking at the time it could ever be called a crime to keep things quiet.’

It was finally settled that the King was to go to Hanover, to which His Majesty looked forward with pleasure, greatly alloyed by the necessity of making his son Regent. Always jealous of him, he could not bear the idea of the Prince of Wales playing at King. When it was arranged that the Prince should be appointed to the Regency during His Majesty’s absence, there were as many restrictions put upon him as possible. In this summer (1716) the Court went to reside, with much splendour, at Hampton Court Palace, and the Diary leads us to believe there was some little enjoyment to be derived from that comparative retirement. But even here the spirit of unrest followed them: Lord Townshend, who came down frequently on public business, treated the Princess with so little respect, and paid such court to Mrs. Howard (to curry favour with the Prince) that both Lord and Lady Cowper expostulated with him, so effectually indeed as to prevail on the Minister to change his demeanour, ‘which brought the 352Princess into perfect tranquillity.’ Not for long, however, for when Lord Sunderland arrived to take leave, before joining the King at Hanover, he fell out with the Princess walking in the long gallery which looks on the gardens; and he talked so loud that Her Royal Highness desired him to speak lower, for the people in the garden would overhear him. ‘Let them hear,’ cries my Lord. The Princess answered, ‘Well, if you have a mind, let ‘em, only you shall walk next to the window, for in the humour we are both in, one of us must jump out, and I am resolved it sha’n’t be me.’ But for such stormy interludes, and the constant disquietude which the presence of Mrs. Howard (nor of her alone), must have occasioned the Princess, the time passed pleasantly enough, in Wolsey’s picturesque old palace, so lately increased in magnitude by the additions of Sir Christopher Wren. The gardens and pleasances too had been much improved and enlarged, for Queen Mary’s delectation, and the Princess, who was a great walker, spent many hours under the leafy shades of the lime grove, and wandering among the dark yews and evergreens.

Diary.—‘The Prince and Princess dined every day in public in Her Royal Highness’s apartments. The Lady-in-Waiting served at table, but my ill-health prevented me doing that service. In the afternoon my Royal mistress saw company, and read or writ till evening, when she walked in the garden for two or three hours together, and would go to the pavilion at the end of the bowling-green (which runs parallel with the river) to play there, but after the Countess of Buckenburgh fell and put her foot out, the Princess went there no more, but played in the green gallery. The Duchess of Monmouth was often with us, and the Princess loved her mightily, and, certainly, no woman of her years ever deserved it so well. She had all the fire and life of youth, and it was marvellous to see that the many afflictions she had suffered had not touched her wit and good-nature, but at upwards of threescore 353she had both in their full perfection.’ We cannot resist inserting this generous testimony to one who was distinguished by Royal favour at a time when petty jealousies and intense rivalry were at their height. Their Royal Highnesses left Hampton Court with part of their retinue by water, and as they glided along in a Royal barge, Lady Cowper thought ‘nothing in the world could be pleasanter than the passage, or give one a better idea of the richness and happiness of the kingdom.’ A break now occurs in the Diary, which began 1714, and which we have followed up to October 1716. That portion which concerned the next four years is not forthcoming, and the editor gives us a clue to the reason. In a memorandum by the Chancellor’s daughter, Lady Sarah, she copies a letter written to the postmaster at Hertford: ‘It is reported that at the time of the trial of the Bishop of Rochester Lord Cowper offered to be bail for him, which was so resented by a certain person of distinction that he moved for a warrant to search his Lordship’s house. News of this was sent to Lady Cowper, and though the report was to be despised, yet my mother had so many hints and intimations sent her by different people of a design to attack my father and try to involve his character in the examination then on foot, relating to Layer’s plot, that she took fright for some papers she had drawn up by way of diary, also some letters belonging to the Prince and Princess, which she had in her hands, relating to the quarrel in the Royal Family, that, not being able to place them in safety, in a hurry she burned such as she thought likely to do most harm.’ This is a reasonable explanation of the disappearance of the records of 1717, 1718,and 1719. In 1718 Lord Cowper resigned office, to the great regret of all well-thinking persons of whatever party, the details of which will be found in the Chancellor’s life. The feuds in the Royal Family had augmented in frequency and violence during these four years, and Lady Cowper resumes her narrative at a time when the 354scandal of these quarrels was so great as to render a reconciliation imperative on public grounds. Lord Cowper himself had lost much of the King’s favour by his adherence to the Prince, and the fair Lady-in-Waiting herself had to undergo many cold looks, and, what must have been more trying to such a steadfast nature as hers, the caprice and wayward moods of the mistress she still loved and served most loyally. New influences were at work, and new favourites on the scene. As to the reconciliation, though made a subject of public rejoicing, it was hollow enough. The King lost few opportunities of slighting his son and daughter-in-law, and he plagued her much, particularly on the vexed question of the custody of her children, who had been removed from her care. But we are anticipating. The Diary re-opens with a visit from Mr. Secretary Walpole (afterwards Sir Robert) to the Princess of Wales, with offers of reconciliation from the King, April 9, 1720. The Princess referred him to Lord Cowper, who lost no time in hastening to the Royal presence to discuss the matter.

The conditions were most unpalatable to the Prince and Princess, who were ‘in great anguish.’ They both asked the advice of Lord and Lady Cowper, and took that of Mr. Secretary Walpole. Among many leading men of the day, whom the Lady-in-Waiting had no reason to love, were that Minister and Lord Townshend in particular, and she did not approve of Walpole’s confession to my Lord, that he did almost everything through the medium of the Duchess of Kendal, who was ‘virtually Queen of England.’ Lady Cowper also complains that her mistress has been taught to suspect her all the winter, and that the Prince scarcely looks at her, and she marvels how Walpole has got such a hold of them that they only see through his eyes, and no longer recognise their real friends. Would not the leafy shades of Cole Green form a pleasant contrast to this vortex of antagonism?—so at least 355thought Lord Cowper, ‘who is sick of the whole affair, and goes out of town to hear no more of it, and it is more than odds, if he is not pleased with his treatment, that he will carry me with him.’

Grand rejoicings in honour of this reconciliation. Lady Cowper goes to congratulate the Prince and Princess: ‘The square full of coaches, the guards before the door, everything gay and laughing, everybody kissing, and wishing of joy. When I wished the Prince joy he embraced me, with all his old heartiness, five or six times, and the Princess burst into a loud laugh, and said: “Sir, I do think you two always kiss on great occasions.” All the town feignedly or unfeignedly happy. I kissed Lord Cowper on coming home, and said: “Well, I thank God your head is your own, and that is more than could be said six months ago.”’ And then she alludes to all the intrigues that were being carried on, and says: ‘There was not a rogue in the town but was engaged in some scheme and project to undo his country.’

The King still very distant to his son and daughter-in-law (with occasional variations of humour), and speaking of the pending change of Ministry, asked angrily if the Whigs could not come back, without the Prince of Wales. We have mentioned in Lord Cowper’s life how many overtures were made to him to return and resume office on the return of the Whigs to power. He came to his wife’s bedside one Sunday morning to let his ‘dear girl’ into his secrets,—how that he had thought with her to take service again, and that he had always considered a reconciliation so necessary, that it would help to make everything in its own condition again. And ‘I did think to accept of that offer made me, of my friend Kingston’s place, who has behaved himself so shamefully to me, that it would be a piece of justice upon him.’ But that, on further consideration, all his reasons for quitting office subsisted still. ‘I am old and infirm, and rich enough, and am 356resolved not to enslave myself to any power upon earth. At five-and-fifty it is time to think of making life easy. My infirmities will not let me struggle with knaves and fools. My tranquillity will content me more than all they can give me, under their power and influence.’ His wife said all she could to dissuade him from this decision, and he agreed with some of her arguments, but declared he thought any reproach better than the loss of his tranquillity, and that his resolution was taken. But to show he was not out of humour, he would ask for the key which had been promised Lady Cowper, and that he would accept a place in the Cabinet, but neither place nor pension, for he was resolved to live a freeman and an Englishman.

We have inserted this characteristic speech of Lord Cowper’s here, rather than in the notice appropriated to him, because it was made in private to his wife, and is recorded in her Diary. No wonder that after such a conversation, Lady Cowper was often tempted to answer the Princess and others with some degree of asperity when they insinuated that her lord was a place-hunter. The day before the new Ministry came in, she was in attendance on the Princess, and the new Lord Chancellor was there. ‘I dare say, Lady Cowper,’ said Her Royal Highness, laughing, ‘you are glad to see the purse in that hand.’ ‘Yes, truly,’ she replied; ‘I am right glad, and hope it will remain there until that hand is as weary of it as ours was.’

Diary.—‘Lord Cowper invited to the ministerial dinner; does not mean to go. Great hugging and kissing between the two old and the two new Ministers. They walk all four with their arms round one another to show they are all one.’ Now, though Lord Cowper could not be persuaded to change his resolution as regarded himself, he was most desirous to obtain the post of Mistress of the Robes for his wife, to whom the Princess had promised it, and who seemed best fitted by 357position, politics, and character, in all the Court. But the King wished the Duchess of St. Albans to remain, and that lady had ‘locked up the key in her cabinet, and did not intend to resign, unless compelled to do so.’ Lord Cowper waited several times on the Princess with the intention of urging his wife’s claim, but Her Royal Highness gave him no opportunity, and the lady was sorely aggrieved. ‘The Princess not willing to give me the key, yet she promised it. And when the King asked for some one else, she said: “Remember the obligations I am under to Lady Cowper, no one else can have it.” But now, she says, “Lady D. [Deloraine?] will be disobliged.” What claim has she?—is it for flying all over Richmond with the Prince?’

‘A new clamour for the Duchess of St. Albans. I am quite sick of this usage. Why did the Princess promise me the key, if she had not the power to give it? To what purpose such dissimulation? Sure she thought me a tame fool, who was to be easily imposed on, and who had not her interest at heart. The Germans used to call her, “Une grande comédienne:” I say no; if actors played their parts in such a manner they would be hissed off the stage, and must starve. She has disobliged the two best friends she ever had.’ Here follows a little bit of natural petulance. ‘There is indeed a great advantage in going to the drawing-room to be used as ill as Lord Sunderland pleases; he has undoubtedly taken care to betray his master for at least thirty pieces of silver; it were well if he would follow out the whole example, and go and hang himself.’ Alas for the change in Mary Cowper’s opinion of Caroline of Anspach, and her surroundings! She gives us a sarcastic speech made by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Wake), showing to the Princess his opinion of the state of public matters and public men at that crisis, which we therefore insert:—

‘Madam, we must now wish ourselves and the world joy. 358First of this happy reconciliation, and next of the honour, integrity, and disinterestedness of the Ministers, as well as their wisdom and virtue. They would be matchless were they not equalled by the two great governors of this Court, Townshend and Walpole. What glorious things must we not expect from the conduct of the first in the Ministry and the two last here? What happiness for the people to be under such directors! and what a glorious figure we must make all the world over when we are influenced by such counsels!’

‘No, sure, my Lord,’ answered the Princess, somewhat meekly; ‘those men are not our only advisers—what do you make of Lord Cowper?’

‘Oh! madam,’ replied the Archbishop, ‘he is not fit to be put on a level with such great men.’ Then the Archbishop asked her plainly if the Duchess of St. Albans was to have the key?

‘No, never!’ she said; ‘though she is always tormenting me about it.’

‘My Lord into the country for good; leaves me to get everything ready. Busy packing all day. The Princess asks why Lord Cowper leaves London; and answer, “To avoid importunity, and be quiet.” “And what makes you go so soon?” “Because he commands me, madam, and I have nothing to do but to obey.”’

The Cowpers still kept up their friendship with Baron Bernstorff, who was himself subject to the most capricious treatment in high places, and the German Baron, and the Lady-in-Waiting had many long discussions on political matters.

They were agreed on many subjects, and above all in abhorrence of the South Sea Scheme, which was then the great topic of the day. ‘Go into the country, nothing material there.’ But she ‘came back to go to the birthday of our most gracious King.’ ‘Waited on the Princess to Court, where was one of 359the greatest crowds I ever saw; it being greatly increased by our new Lords and Masters of the South Sea, who had more court made to them than the Ministers themselves.’

As a climax to the confusion that reigned between the rival Courts, the Lord Chamberlain, the Duke of Newcastle, chose to celebrate His Majesty’s birthday-night by getting drunk, in consequence of which the ladies of the Princess’s household had no places, but ‘stood in the heat and crowd all night.’ The Duchess of Shrewsbury scolded aloud, which only elicited insulting answers from the great official, and so indignant were the Princess’s ladies, that they all went home, with the exception of my Lady Dorset.

Here is another mention of the Chamberlain: ‘Newcastle stood before me both day and night. If I had not seen his face I should have known who it was, it being his peculiarity to turn his back upon those he has any obligations to.’ Another incident in Lady Cowper’s Court life shows the Princess of Wales could be flippant as well as capricious, but her attendant was a match for her. ‘She had a mind to be out of humour with me, and put on a frown. The King turned his back to me who was playing. But a sudden curiosity took him, and he turned his face round, and had his eyes fixed on me all night so intently, without being angry, that it was talked about. The Princess said to me next morning, that the King could not help liking me as well as ever; and that she saw plainly by his manner that I could do what I pleased, and that it was my own fault if I did not rule them all. I answered, for the thing itself I did not believe it at all, and, supposing it were true, power was too dear bought when one was to do such dishonourable work for it.’

July 5.—‘My waiting concluded without my having had any opportunity of saying one word to the Princess alone, without the door being open;’—her Royal mistress, whom she so much loved, and by whom, but a short time ago, she had 360been trusted, and consulted on every subject, public or private. It is probable Lady Cowper found much truth in a passage in one of the Duchess of Marlborough’s letters to her, though, as far as one could tell, her Grace’s taste did not always incline to private life! ‘I don’t wonder that you find it melancholy to be away from your Lord and children, for though the Princess is very easy and obliging,’—this was as early as 1716,—‘I think any one who has common sense or honesty must needs be weary of everything one meets with at Court. I have seen a good many, and lived in them many years, but I protest I was never pleased but when I was a child; and after I had been a maid of honour some time at fourteen I wished myself out of the Court as much as I wished to come into it before I knew what it was.’

We have been tempted step by step into lengthening our record of Mary, the first Countess Cowper, not only because we have authentic records of herself, and the Court she adorned, from her own pen, but because in those records we find so much nature and simplicity of style, so many evidences of her sterling qualities, her many accomplishments and excellent judgment, the whole tempered by playful sallies and pardonable petulance. A modest and well-conducted woman in a vicious Court, and uncontaminated by the immorality of those with whom she was compelled to associate; the worthy wife of a good and great man, whose loss she could not endure. She closed his eyes, and four months afterwards she once more lay by his side in their last resting-place.

Lord Cowper died in October 1723, and ‘in the latter end of December,’ says Lady Sarah Cowper, ‘my mother grew much weaker, and extremely ill. She lost her appetite, and at times her memory, so that she would speak of my father as if living, ask for him, and expect him home. When she recollected his death, it was with so lively a grief as if it had just happened. In short, she had really what is so often talked of, 361so seldom seen, a broken heart. She died on the 5th of February 1724.’

She expected him home; he did not come, and so she went to join him in ‘the Court of Heaven.’

No. 6.

Blue velvet coat. White cravat. Powder.
No. 7.

White flowered brocade. Lace cap.
She was the wife of Charles Gore, Esq. Her daughter married George, third Earl Cowper, whose acquaintance they made at Florence, where Mr. Gore and his family were residing.

362No. 8.

Grey gown. Blue bows.
BORN 1716, DIED 1780.

HE was the younger daughter of John Lord Carteret, afterwards Earl Granville. Her sponsors were King George II. and his Queen, hence her baptismal names. In 1733-4 a contemporary paper announces her marriage:—‘The bride, a beautiful young lady, with a portion of £30,000, to the Hon. John Spencer, brother to the Duke of Marlborough, and grandson to Sarah, Duchess Dowager of Marlborough.’ John, or ‘Jack,’ as he was familiarly called, was one of those reckless spirits, who, in the days of which we are speaking, went by the name of ‘Rattlebrains,’ being very wilful, merry, extravagant, and the best company in the world! Better to laugh, talk, or drink, than to transact any business with. By this description it will be seen that between him and his aged grandmother there were many points of resemblance, and in consequence the Duchess was very partial to her scapegrace grandson. They fell out, it must be confessed, over and over again, but Jack always contrived to coax, cajole, or joke himself back into favour. On one festive occasion, when Sarah was presiding at the head of her own table at Althorp, supported by a crowd of daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, and what not, in the pride of wealth, relationship, and splendid surroundings, she said aloud, ‘Here am I, the root, encircled by my branches.’

363‘True,’ says mischievous Jack, at the bottom of the table, in a whisper to his neighbour; ‘pity that the root should not be in its proper place, under ground.’ The young man to whom the sally was addressed was thrown into such convulsions of laughter that the Duchess’s curiosity was aroused, and she insisted on knowing the cause of so much mirth. Few people dared to gainsay the aged virago, and certainly not this timid youth; thus questioned, he had neither the courage nor the imagination for a false or evasive answer, and he blurted out the bare truth. The Duchess rose in a fury. ‘Leave the room, Jack,’ said she; ‘leave the house, and never darken my doors again.’ The culprit obeyed with an air of mock submission, and on reaching the door he turned, and with a profound salutation, quitted the apartment. But in another moment his head appeared above the sill of the window, which was open. He cleared it at a bound, vaulted into the room, and knelt at his grandmother’s feet. It was the window, not the door! A perfect reconciliation ensued; and so completely was Jack forgiven, that the Duchess settled a considerable annuity on him, pending the large fortune and estates he would inherit by her will, in addition to those left in trust for him by his grandfather the Duke.

Mrs. Delany, in her amusing diaries and letters, published of late years by Lady Llanover, to whom many thanks are due for the same, speaks constantly of her cousin Georgiana Granville, with an obvious pride in the relationship. She says, in writing to her sister, ‘You will expect to hear some account of our cousin Spencer. The marriage took place between eight and nine o’clock at night. The guests were very distinguished,—the Dukes and Duchesses of Marlborough and Bedford, Sir Robert and Lady Worsley, the bride’s grandparents, and numerous members of their family, Lord Morpeth, Colonel Montagu, etc. etc. After they were married, they played a pool of commerce, then retired between twelve and 364one, and went next day to Windsor Lodge. They are to return on Monday, to what was Mr. Percival’s lodging in Conduit Street. Georgiana was dressed in white satin, embroidered in silver, her laces very fine, and the jewels the Duchess of Marlborough gave her, magnificent. Frequent allusions are made by the writers of the day to these famous jewels in which Mrs. Spencer ‘sparkled.’ Then follows a catalogue of the bride’s wedding bravery, of laces and linen very fine, and flowered silks, such as would rouse the envy of many a lover of old brocade in modern times; a pink and silver poudesoy, a blue damask night-gown, and rich brocades, all stiff with embroidery.

John Spencer dying, his widow contracted a second marriage with Lord Cowper, and Mrs. Delany speaks of the union as being a very happy one, for ‘Georgiana is much attached to her new Lord and his children, and it is warmly reciprocated.’ Horace Walpole, in describing the gorgeous sight which the coronation of George III. and his Queen presented, gives an amusing account of the preparations for the same among the ladies: how several were dressed overnight, and reposed in armchairs, with watchers beside them to wake up the sleepers when in danger of ruffling their garments or tumbling their headdresses. Walpole conveyed Ladies Townshend, Hervey, Hertford, and Anne Conolly, with Mrs. Clive, to see the show in his deputy’s house at the gate of Westminster Hall. Says Lady Townshend, ‘I should like to go to a coronation, for I have never seen one.’ ‘Why,’ remarked Horace, ‘you walked at the last.’ ‘Yes, child,’ was the candid reply, ‘but I saw nothing; I only looked to see who was looking at me.’ There seemed to have been a great stir among the Countesses, who all objected to associate with Lady Macclesfield. Horace again: ‘My heraldry was much more offended with the ladies who did walk, than with those who walked out of place, but I was not so furiously angry as my Lady Cowper. She flatly 365refused at first to set a foot with my Lady Macclesfield, and when at last compelled to do so she set out at a round trot’ (to distance her companion?), ‘as if she designed to prove the antiquity of her family by walking as lustily as a maid of honour of Queen Guinevere.’ Mrs. Delany writes later on, ‘Lady Cowper is very much pleased at her son being made an Earl, and all the more as the honour was entirely unsolicited.’ Lord Spencer was a generous and dutiful son, and when his mother once more became a widow, he gave her a charming house at Richmond, fully furnished, where she was very hospitable to Mrs. Delany and that branch of her family, as well as to the relations and connections of both her husbands. Here her ‘cousin’ frequently mentions meeting Lady Spencer and her mother, Mrs. Poyntz, Anne Maria Mordaunt, who had been maid of honour to Queen Caroline, and governess to the Duke of Cumberland. Lady Cowper’s letters are lively and genial. In one, dated New Year’s Day, she says, ‘Last evening came Lord Montagu (only son of the Earl of Cardigan, created Baron Montagu). He spent most of the evening alone with me, and I played on the guitar, and sang to him. I hope we may not be talked about, for he is quite alive, I assure you, although he is fourscore struck, as the Duchess of Marlborough used to say.’ Georgiana retained her good looks to a very advanced age, for Mrs. Delany says, not long before her death, ‘I saw Lady Cowper yesterday. She is still the Glastonbury Rose.’ During her last illness, which was of some duration, her daughter-in-law, Lady Spencer, was unremitting in her attentions, driving over daily from her home at Wimbledon to Richmond, sometimes twice in the twenty-four hours, and often passing the night by the sufferer’s bedside.

366No. 9.

Black gown. Pink ribbons.
DIED 1758.

HE daughter of the first Earl, Lord Chancellor Cowper, by his second wife, Mary Clavering. Mrs. Delany in her lively and good-natured gossip makes frequent mention of Lady Sarah, with whom she became well acquainted, her ‘cousin Carteret’ being Lady Sarah’s sister-in-law. This was Georgiana Carteret, Lady Cowper, of whom we have just given a notice.

‘I envy you, says Mrs. Delany, writing to a friend, ‘for living in the neighbourhood. There is quite a happy nest of brothers and sisters. Lady Sarah has taken a little cottage to be near Lord Cowper, to whom she is tenderly attached. We had a delightful day when we drank tea at Panshanger, and we walked through a beautiful wood, Mrs. Poyntz and her daughter being of the party. Her daughter had married Lord Spencer, Lady Cowper’s son by her first husband. Lord and Lady Cowper took us to Cole Green, a good large house, with nothing in it except, oh! such a picture!’ This is an allusion to the magnificent portrait, by Vandyck, of Count John of Nassau Siegen and his family. Lady Sarah did not long enjoy the facilities which her little cottage afforded of constant intercourse with her relatives. She fell into bad health, which entailed great suffering, and died in 1758, making a sad gap in the happy family circle.

367No. 10.

Low black gown. White sleeves.
Daughter of the second Earl Cowper by his first wife. Married to Henry Seymour, Esq.

No. 11.

Dark coat. Blue tie.
By Partridge.
Head in pastel.
BORN 1745, DIED 1828.

E was the son of Sir Matthew Lamb of Brocket Hall, county Hertford (originally in the possession of the Winnington family), by Charlotte, daughter of the Right Honourable Thomas Coke, and sister and heir of Charles Coke, who died suddenly at Geneva, leaving a very large fortune. Sir Peniston Lamb, besides inheriting 368half a million at his father’s death, came in for a considerable sum, the savings of his uncle, the Bishop of Peterborough, and to his accumulated wealth he added considerably by his alliance with the beautiful heiress, Miss Milbanke, in 1769.

He was a member of the House of Commons for many years; and in 1770 he was created an Irish Peer by the title of Baron Melbourne of Kilmore, county Cavan; in 1780 he was made a Viscount. He was handsome, gentlemanlike, genial, fond of the country and of sport, but had no love for study. On the contrary, he was illiterate for a man in his position; and one or two of his early love-letters to the celebrated actress, Mrs. Baddeley, have been quoted as examples of bad grammar and spelling. He was very popular in society, both in London and the country. But, for his own taste, he preferred his shooting or hunting parties to the brilliant reunions of Melbourne House, and was the idol of the neighbourhood round Brocket. He sat in the House of Commons for many years, but when his eldest son was old enough, he willingly made way for ‘Pen.’ He was one of the most indulgent of husbands, as we have said in Lady Melbourne’s Life, and used to declare he had given his wife her dowry back in diamonds. He was a most tender father, his health being much affected at the time by his son Peniston’s untimely death. The Prince of Wales prevailed on him to turn part of his park into a race-course, for he was easily persuaded to comply with the wishes of others, and was very kind to his eccentric daughter, Lady Caroline Lamb, who was fond of him in her own peculiar way. Lord Melbourne survived his wife some years, and died peacefully; carefully and tenderly nursed by his son William, and his daughter, Lady Cowper.



No. 1.

No. 2.

Black suit and cap. White ruff.
By Ferdinand Bol.
No. 3.

Black and white dress. White ruff. Coat of arms in corner.
By Porbus the Elder.
372No. 4.

Fawn-coloured frock. Large straw hat lying on the ground.
By William Jackson, R.A.

HE was the daughter of the artist, who was born in 1730 at Exeter, where his father was a tradesman. Began life as a musician and teacher of music, but took to painting, and became a Royal Academician. He at first tried his hand at landscapes, but preferring portraiture, became a skilful copyist, being especially successful in the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Gainsborough, who was very friendly to him. Jackson died in 1803.

No. 5.

Black dress braided with gold. White bow. Stand-up ruff.
No. 6.


HE was the daughter of Charles Gore, who resided with his wife and family at Florence, where Lord Cowper (the third Earl) made her acquaintance, and married her. Mrs. Delany mentions her cousin, Lady Cowper, having received a commission from the betrothed lover to buy jewels for his intended; at the same time he sends his stepmother a portrait in water-colours of 373Miss Gore, as a Savoyard peasant. ‘Pretty enough, but I should think it cannot do her justice, as it certainly does not answer to her reputation for great beauty.’ She became one of the leaders of the brilliant society at Florence, where she was very much admired, particularly at the Grand-Ducal Court. She survived her husband many years, living for the most part in a villa outside the walls, where she died at an advanced age. Lady Cowper was said to have been much imposed upon, and even robbed by her dependants in her latter days.

No. 7.

The eldest, who is standing, is dressed in a red frock and white skirt. The two younger children, who are sitting, are in pink, with white pinafores.

No. 8.

Black suit, trimmed with ermine.
He was ancestor of Lady Henrietta Auverquerque, first wife of the second Earl Cowper.

No. 9.

Black and white dress. Cap.
374No. 10.

Black and white gown. Ruff. Peaked cap. Gold chain.
She was the daughter of Jarich Van Botnia, and wife of Louve Van Walta.

No. 11.

BORN 1618, DIED 1685.
By Sir Peter Lely.

HE family was settled in Berkshire, when, towards the close of the sixteenth century, two brothers Bennet went to London, and respectively made their fortunes by successful commercial undertakings. From the elder descended a certain Sir John Bennet, living at Dawley, county Middlesex, who married Dorothy, daughter of Sir John Crofts of Saxham, county Norfolk. The subject of this notice was their second son. He was educated under the paternal roof till he went to Oxford, and was entered a student at Christ Church, where he took his degree as B.A. and M.A., and was much esteemed both as scholar and poet. He remained some time at the University, where he was still a resident when the Court arrived in 1644.

He was presented to King Charles, and soon after entered the army as a volunteer. Lord Digby, then Secretary of State, took a fancy to young Bennet, and appointed him Under-Secretary. But this post did not interfere with his 375military duties; he was ever in the field ‘when honour called,’ and was so severely wounded at Andover, in an engagement near that town, as to be invalided for a long time. He was indeed dangerously ill, and there is little doubt that it was in one of these encounters that he received the scar by which he is so well known in all his portraits.

Deeply attached to the Royal cause, on the termination of the war Bennet went to France, and on into Germany and Italy, never losing sight of the hope of once more joining and serving the house of Stuart. In 1649 he was summoned to Paris by James Duke of York, to fill the post of private secretary.

King Charles, writing to his brother, says: ‘You must be very kind to Harry Bennet, and communicate freely with him, for as you are sure that he is full of duty and integrity to you, so I must tell you that I shall trust him more than any about you, and cause him to be instructed in those businesses of mine, when I cannot write to you myself.’

In 1658 Sir Henry Bennet, Knight, was sent as Ambassador to Madrid. Clarendon says it was at the instigation of Lord Bristol, but at this time there was strife between the new ambassador and his former patron. Henry Bennet, with all the zeal that usually characterises a recent convert to Catholicism, was very anxious that his Royal master should make his profession to the same faith, whereas Digby, or rather the Earl of Bristol (as he had become), though himself a Roman Catholic, considered that such a step would be ruinous to Charles’s interests. Great bitterness in consequence existed between Bristol and Bennet, increased by the jealousy excited in the mind of the former with regard to the latter’s mission, being under the impression that he himself was far better fitted for the post.

Sir Henry, however, seems to have pleased most parties in his diplomatic capacity; and at the Restoration the King 376gave him the office of Privy Purse, and made him his constant companion. Bennet was well calculated to suit the taste of the Merry Monarch. Burnet tells us he had the art of observing the King’s humour, and hitting it off, beyond all the men of his time; and Clarendon gives us a clue to one of the reasons, when he mentions that ‘Bennet filled a principal place, to all intents and purposes, at the nightly meetings’ (alluding to the King’s jovial suppers in Lady Castlemaine’s apartments), ‘added to which, he was most lively and sparkling in conversation.’

In 1662 Charles bribed Sir Edward Nicholas to resign his Secretaryship of State (and that with a considerable sum), that he might bestow the vacant post on his favourite. The contrast between Bennet’s entire submission to the Royal will, and the honest rectitude of the Chancellor (Clarendon), increased the King’s dislike to that worthy servant of the Crown, on whose downfall Bennet rose still higher.

In 1663 he was raised to the Peerage as Lord Arlington, whereupon Clarendon threw some ridicule on the choice of the title, taken from an obscure village in Middlesex, which had once belonged to Bennet’s father, but was now in the possession of another family.

While at the head of public affairs, no measures of any importance were undertaken, with the exception of the first Dutch war.

In 1670 was formed the famous Cabal Ministry (spoken of more fully in our notice of Lord Shaftesbury) which Arlington consented to join, and of which his title formed one of the initials.

So notoriously now did he consult the King’s wishes rather than the public good, that he was rewarded in 1672 by the dignity of Baron Thetford and Earl of Arlington, and later invested with the Garter. He was sent on an embassy to Utrecht, in company with the Duke of Buckingham and Lord 377Halifax (which was productive of no good results), and afterwards turned his attention to the overthrow of the Cabal, in the breaking up of which he was most instrumental. He however fell into great disrepute with both Catholics and Protestants about this time, the Duke of York (on the passing of the Test Act) loading him with every kind of abuse, while the opposite side charged him with endeavouring to introduce Popery.

The Duke of Buckingham was loud in censure of Lord Arlington, who was impeached, and, after making a long defence, acquitted by a small majority. He held office for some time longer, and advocated a treaty of peace with the Dutch, but soon after resigned office, having received (it was said) a douceur from his successor of several thousands.

In 1674 he was named Chamberlain of the Household, in recompense (so ran the Royal declaration) ‘of his long and faithful services, and particularly of his having discharged the office of principal Secretary of State to his Majesty’s entire satisfaction.’

Lord Arlington’s wish to be again employed in public affairs was not gratified till 1675, when he once more went on a diplomatic mission to Holland, in company with the Earl of Ossory. Lady Arlington and Lady Ossory were sisters, and members of the house of Nassau. This was his last appearance in public life. Burnet says that ‘Arlington entirely mistook the character of William, Prince of Orange,’ with whom he had to deal, speaking to him in a dictatorial manner, which was not at all agreeable to that Prince, although he was then young in years. Arlington still held a place in the Royal household, but he had fallen into disgrace, and the King encouraged and enjoyed any jest, or ridicule, at the expense of his former boon companion. Nothing delighted Charles more than to see some of his courtiers put a black patch upon 378their noses, and strut about with a long white staff, in imitation of ‘Harry Bennet.’

James II. did not remove him from his post in the household, but he only survived the new accession a few months, dying in July 1685.

Lord Arlington was buried at Euston, in Suffolk; his wife was the daughter of Lewis de Nassau, Count of Beverwoort and Auverquerque (a natural son of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange), by Elizabeth, Countess Horn. She had two sisters, Mauritia, married to Colin, Earl of Balcarres, and the second to the gallant Earl of Ossory. An only child was born to Lord and Lady Arlington,—Isabella, who married in 1672 Henry Fitzroy, natural son of Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, afterwards created Earl of Euston and Duke of Grafton.



All the pictures in this room are full-length portraits by Vandyck.
No. 1.

Black dress. White sleeves. Gold-coloured scarf. Curls. Standing
by a table near a window. Dark red curtain.
By Vandyck.

HE was the only daughter of William, second Earl of Devonshire, by his wife, Lady Christian Bruce, renowned alike for her loyalty, her wisdom, and her wealth. Lady Anne Cavendish married Robert, Lord Rich, son and heir to Robert, Earl of Warwick.

382No. 2.

Red doublet embroidered with gold. Dark red breeches. Yellow boots. Hat under his arm. Holds a stick. Red curtain and garden in the background.

BORN 1613.
By Vandyck.

HE family of Wharton derive the name from a ‘fair lordship’ on the river Eden, county Westmoreland.

Grainger, in speaking of this picture in the Wrest collection, says of Lord Wharton that he was in the service of the Parliament during the civil war in the reign of Charles I., but that courage was undoubtedly not his shining point. ‘Like his grandson Duke Wharton, he could better exercise his tongue than his sword.’

Walker says of him, that at the battle of Edgehill, where he was the colonel of a regiment of Roundheads, his Lordship was found hidden in a ditch, but we are bound to take such testimonies cum grano. He was the fourth Baron, of decidedly puritanical views, and, whether a good soldier or not, he was constantly with the army, and his political life was an eventful one. He sat in Parliament for many years, and was summoned to attend the treaty of Ripon, together with several other Peers, among those who were the least obnoxious at that time to the popular party. Lord Wharton was also one of the so-called Commissioners who went to Edinburgh at the meeting of the Scotch Parliament. After the Restoration he was sent to the Tower, together with the Duke of Buckingham and Lords Salisbury and Shaftesbury, ‘charged with contempt 383of the authority, and being, of Parliament,’ for having called in question the Parliament meeting after a very long prorogation. In this case the Duke of Buckingham petitioned the King, and the captive Peers were soon set at liberty, with the exception of Lord Shaftesbury. But Lord Wharton’s chief characteristic seems to have been his high esteem of the matrimonial state, since he married three times. His first wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Richard Wandesford, Knight, in the county of York, by whom he had an only daughter, married to Robert Bertie, Lord Willoughby d’Eresby, afterwards Earl of Lindsay. His second wife was Jane, daughter and heir to Arthur Goodwin, upper Winchenden, county Bucks, by whom he had six children. His third spouse was the daughter of William Carre, Groom of the Bedchamber to James I., who was widow of Edward Popham. By her he had one son, William, killed in a duel.

No. 3.

Tawny-coloured gown. White sleeves with lace. Pearl necklace. Fair curls. Standing by a table. Garden in the background.
By Vandyck.

HE was one of the dressers to Queen Henrietta Maria,—‘a situation for which she competed with Mistress Neville,’ says Grainger, and gained the preference. When King Charles I. left Hampton Court, he desired Colonel Whalley to give Mistress Kirke a picture of the Queen, which appeared to betoken she had been faithful to their Majesties in times of trouble.

384No. 4.

Dressed in black.
By Vandyck.
No. 5.

They are standing on a flight of steps between two columns, feeding a bird. The eldest wears a red and gold doublet, red stockings, white collar and cuffs, holding a black hat. The second boy in a black and gold suit, holds his youngest brother by the hand, who is dressed in a white and gold frock.

By Vandyck.

HIS charming picture was bought by the grandfather of the present Lord Cowper, Lord de Grey, but we are unable to identify the children, or the date at which it was painted, doubtless during one of Vandyck’s visits to Genoa; neither have we any authority for the supposition, but it appears more than probable that the beautiful Marchesa Balbi, in Mr. Holford’s splendid collection at Dorchester House, is the mother or sister-in-law of these noble boys.

385No. 6.

Black dress. White collar. Order.
By Vandyck.

E was the son of Diego Mesia de Obando, by Elizabeth, daughter of the Count D’Olvares. From early youth he showed an aptitude for military and diplomatic affairs; and in 1626 he was created Marquez de Leganes, and sent by Philip IV. in command of the Spanish forces in the Netherlands; and the ensuing year the King further employed him in negotiations respecting the proposed annexation to Spain of some of the disputed Provinces. Leganes was a companion in arms of the celebrated Cardinal Infant, Ferdinand, son of Philip III., by whose side he fought at Nordlingen, and contributed not a little to that decisive victory gained by the Imperialists over the Swedes and Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar. It was in allusion to this battle that the pious Canon Antonio Calderon, in his funeral oration on the Cardinal, after extolling the virtues and valour of this warlike prelate, reminded his hearers that Nordlingen was the place ‘where the heretic Luther preached his most pestilential doctrines.’ On the death of the Archduchess Clara Eugenia, Ferdinand succeeded to the Government of the Spanish Netherlands, and thither Leganes followed him, but was summoned to Milan in 1636, on his appointment as Governor of that city. Northern Italy was at that time the theatre of constant warfare, and Leganes distinguished himself in frequent encounters 386with the French, the Piedmontese, and the Savoyards. The Valteline especially was torn by internal discord, the result of religious differences between the Protestants and the Catholics; while the position of the country made it an object of desire and contention among foreign powers. Leganes had his hands full in that direction, both as regarded military operations and negotiations with the French, who disputed the territory. On the death of the Duke of Savoy, the Emperor Ferdinand employed the Milanese Governor to oppose the election of the widowed Duchess as Regent for her son’s dominions; after which Leganes invaded Piedmont, took Vercelli, Asti, Crescentine, and some smaller towns; marched on Turin, where he was unsuccessful; and then attacked Casale, a stronghold of much importance, where he was beaten back with great loss by the French, under Comte Simon d’Harcourt. This failure was a source of terrible mortification to the Spanish General; but the future had consolation in store for him. His Italian campaign at an end; he marched into Catalonia, and there had his revenge on his old enemies, and the Comte d’Harcourt himself, by wresting from them the town of Lerida, which had been some time in the occupation of the French. While thus engaged in active service, intrigues were being carried on at the Court of Spain against Leganes, and imputations were cast on his military conduct, from which he had great difficulty in defending himself. In spite, however, of the machinations of his enemies, he was named Generalissimo of the Forces, and despatched against the Portuguese in 1646. His death took place in 1655. He had to wife Philippina, daughter of the famous commander, Ambrogio Spinola, who had done such gallant service for the Spaniards in the Netherlands and elsewhere. In the wars of Northern Italy he had been less successful; and the mortification he experienced from several discomfitures, combined with the slights put upon him by the 387reigning King of Spain, from whose predecessor he had received the highest marks of favour, was said to have accelerated the death of the great commander.

In the collection of the engraved portraits by Vandyck there is a spirited likeness of the Marquis de Leganes, with a Latin inscription enumerating his many titles. In addition to those already mentioned, he was Lord of the Bedchamber to the King of Spain, Grand Commander of the Order of the Lion, Privy Councillor of State and War, President of the Council in Flanders, and Captain-General of Artillery.

No. 7.

White satin gown. Blue scarf. Pearl necklace. Fair hair. Landscape seen through window in the background.
By Vandyck.

HE was the daughter of John Vernon of Hodnet, county Salop, and married Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton, brother in arms of Robert, Earl of Essex, under whom he served in his foreign campaigns; and in one engagement in which he had distinguished himself, Lord Southampton was knighted by his general’s hand on the field, ‘before he could sheathe his sword, or wipe the sweat from his brow.’ His adhesion to Lord Essex, when that nobleman fell under her Majesty’s displeasure, nearly cost Lord Southampton his life; but he was more prudent than his friend, for he made submission, and 388asked mercy of Elizabeth, while Essex, who disdained to follow a similar course in his own case, interceded with the Queen for his former comrade. Southampton’s life was spared; but he was kept a close prisoner in the Tower till the accession of King James, when he was set at liberty.

Lord Southampton had two sons, the eldest of whom accompanied him to the Low Countries on military service, where they were both attacked by fever. Young Lord Wriothesley died, to the inexpressible grief of his father, who, travelling home with the loved remains ere he was fit to move, was delayed by a relapse, and expired at Bergen-op-Zoom.

Lady Southampton survived her Lord many years. We hear of her, 1647, giving shelter to King Charles on his escape from Hampton Court. She was staying at her son’s country house, at Titchfield, in Hampshire, where the King, who was riding for his life, thought best to take refuge, while he sent messengers to Portsmouth to inquire for a ship that ought to have been in waiting there, but which failed him. Lord Southampton, a zealous loyalist, and devoted personal friend of Charles’s, was absent from home, but his mother, the aged Countess, was a woman of courage and fidelity, and as deeply attached to the Royal cause as her son. To her the King felt no hesitation in declaring himself, and claiming her protection; and in that safe custody he remained several days, before proceeding to the Isle of Wight, where he was retaken by the rebels.

389No. 8.

One boy has long curling auburn hair. He wears a white satin vest, and hose, silk stockings, and buff shoes. Blue mantle over one shoulder; his foot is on the base of a pedestal. The other brother wears a crimson dress, with a tawny yellow mantle over his left arm. Dark buff boots.

OTH killed in action, within a few years of each other. Esmé Stuart, Duke of Richmond and Lennox, had seven sons, all of whom he survived, and, on his death, the title merging in the person of his Royal kinsman, Charles II., his Majesty bestowed it on his natural son, by Louise de la Querquaille, Duchess of Portsmouth, ancestor of the present Duke.

Lord John Stuart was the eldest son of Duke Esmé. Grainger, in his description of the portrait in question, speaks most highly of his noble disposition and courage, which ‘he carried indeed to rashness.’ A devoted loyalist, at the battle of Cheriton Down he was charging up-hill in command of a troop of light horse to attack Sir William Waller’s army, when he fell into an ambuscade, having had two horses killed under him. He lay, pierced by innumerable wounds, amidst hundreds of his own men; he was, however, carried off the field while still living (as was Sir John Smith, brother to Lord Carrington), and conveyed first to Reading, and the next day still further on the road, in order to be within help of skilful surgeons. But the gallant youth did not survive the second dressing of his wounds. He was buried at Christchurch, Oxford, as was a younger brother, killed at the battle of Edgehill. Lord Clarendon, speaking of Lord John, says that he 390was early bent on a military career, being ‘of a tough and choleric disposition,’ and caring little for the ‘softnesses of social life.’ Yet he must have been of a loveable nature, for his death was deeply regretted. Lord Bernard was the youngest son of Duke Esmé. He commanded the gallant troop known as the King’s Bodyguard, consisting of the most eminent Royalists in both Houses of Parliament, and, indeed, in all England. Their servants formed another troop under Sir William Killigrew, and invariably followed their lords and masters to the field. At the battle of Cropedy Bridge, where the King commanded in person, Lord Bernard secured the safety of his Majesty, who was in imminent peril, by charging two bodies of the Roundhead horse, and bearing the brunt of the enemy’s cannon, by remaining stationary in an open field, to cover the free passage of the King. He also distinguished himself greatly at the battle of Naseby, among other engagements, and in consideration of his services was created Earl of Lichfield, an honour he did not long enjoy. He was killed at the battle of Rowton Heath, near Chester, having once more come to the assistance of his Royal master and kinsman. Young Lord Lichfield was deeply regretted. The Duke of Richmond’s seven gallant sons all served in the King’s army, and three of them died, like gallant Cavaliers, on the field of battle.

391No. 9.

She is seated in the clouds, habited in blue floating drapery. In her right hand she holds a wand; her left rests on a sphere. A skull lies at her feet.

By Vandyck.

ER father, the Marquis de Ruvigny, came of a noble Huguenot family in France, and her brother was at one time head of the Protestant party in that country. But in spite of his religious opinions, he was much in favour, not only with Louis XIV., but also with Cardinal Mazarin. He eventually went to England on a diplomatic mission, where he settled with his family. One of his sons was killed at the battle of the Boyne, the other was created Earl of Galway by William III. We do not know the date of Rachel de Ruvigny’s marriage, but take it for granted that young Wriothesley made her acquaintance on his first visit to France. His elder brother dying of fever, Thomas, the second son, succeeded to the earldom of Southampton on the death of his father. His wife bore him two sons, who both died v. p., and three daughters, the second being Rachel, the faithful and devoted wife of William, Lord Russel, who was beheaded.



No. 1.

Violet coat. Wig.
BORN 1677, DIED 1720.
By Sir Godfrey Kneller.

E was born at Marlborough, in Wiltshire, but went to London, where his father resided, when quite young; and, being of a delicate constitution, received his education at private schools. He showed an early predilection for the gentle arts of poetry, music, and drawing, yet, when he came to man’s estate, these tastes, which never left him, did not prevent his filling the posts he held under Government with credit, and proving himself a good man of business. He had an appointment in the Ordnance Office, and was secretary to several Commissions for the purchase of lands for the better securing of the Royal Docks and Yards of Portsmouth, Chatham, and Harwich. He found leisure in the midst of his public duties to devote a considerable time to the acquisition of modern languages, 396with which he supplemented his previous knowledge of Greek and Latin. His first poetic effusion was inspired by the Treaty of Ryswick, and was very popular. He wrote many translations and imitations of classical authors, together with such productions as ‘The Court of Neptune,’—an ode on the return of King William from Holland; and many monodies, elegies, and panegyrics, chiefly in honour of royal personages, which would now be considered but dreary reading. For all that he was much esteemed by the literati of the time, being intimate with Addison, Pope, Rowe, etc.; and Johnson tells us that Addison consulted with him, and even at one time asked his co-operation, in the matter of his tragedy of Cato, which, it appears, was finished, and put on the stage at the instigation of John Hughes. He was also much favoured by men of high standing and position, and when Lord Wharton was made Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, he offered our author an appointment in the sister country. Hughes declined, although at the time in very poor circumstances; but he had another true friend and patron,—the Lord Chancellor Cowper, in whose family he had been tutor. Lord Cowper not only made Hughes secretary for the Commission of the Peace, but, on his own removal from office, recommended him to the notice of his successor. Hughes was now in comparatively affluent circumstances, but his failing health prevented his enjoyment of life. He had consumptive tendencies, and grew gradually weaker. His last work was a drama entitled ‘The Siege of Damascus,’ which set the fashion of sieges innumerable. He completed it a short time before his death, with a dedication to Lord Cowper; but he had no strength to attend the rehearsals, or energy to resist the emendations, alterations, and innovations thrust upon him by the worshipful company of players. The first night of his tragedy’s representation was the last of the author’s life; they brought him word that ‘The Siege’ was progressing satisfactorily; but by that time his 397thoughts were fixed on the new life which was opening before him, and he made no remark, but passed silently away. Many of his works were published during his life; many more after his death. He was a constant contributor to the Spectator, the Guardian, and similar periodicals; and Steele wrote an eulogistic paper on his death. Two letters which passed between Swift and Pope may perhaps help to enable us (if we accept their testimony) in assigning Hughes a place as an author. The Dean writes: ‘A month ago a friend sent me over the works of John Hughes in prose and verse. I never heard of the man in my life, yet I find your name as a subscriber. He is far too grave a poet for me, and I think among the mediocrists in prose, as well as verse.’ Pope replies: ‘To answer your question about Hughes: what he wanted in genius he made up in honesty; but he was of the class you think him.’

Only a few weeks before his death he sent Lord Cowper the picture of which we are now treating, having been painted for him by Sir Godfrey Kneller,—a very favourable specimen of the artist’s handiwork. Lord Cowper acknowledges the gift in these words:—

‘Sir, I thank you for your most acceptable present of your picture, and assure you that none of this age can set a higher value on it than I do, and shall, while I live,—though I am sensible posterity will outdo me in that particular. I am, with the greatest esteem and sincerity, sir, your most affectionate and obliged humble servant,

‘January 24th, 1720.‘

398No. 2.

Sitting in a garden. Red dress, trimmed with lace. Holding her scarf.
By Sir Godfrey Kneller.
No. 3.

Red dress, Blue scarf. White sleeves.

HE was the daughter of Sir Samuel Holled, Knight, merchant of London, wife of Sir William Cowper, second baronet, and mother of the Lord Chancellor. She was an eccentric woman, ill favoured and ill tempered, in constant collision with her husband, her sons, and her servants,—in fact, to a certain extent, the terror of the household. She wrote a voluminous diary, still in the possession of her descendant, the present Lord Cowper,—a strange mixture of pious reflections, together with anecdotes more remarkable for breadth than point. Towards the end of her life she became more placable in disposition. She had two sons,—William, the first Earl, and Spencer, the celebrated judge.

No. 4.

Brown velvet suit. Blue cravat. Black cloak, trimmed with fur.
Leans against a column, holding his hat.
By Partridge.
399No. 5.

In complete armour. Wig, Holding a baton. Blue riband.
BORN 1674, DIED 1718.
By Sir Godfrey Kneller.

HE subject of this notice derived his origin from one ‘Walter,’ a knight who flourished in the year 1179. He was one of the seven imperial vassals of Guelderland, who exercised sovereign rights, each in his several domain.

Surnames were not known in the middle of the twelfth century. Walter Van Keppel was probably among the first who made the addition to his baptismal appellation. Towards the close of the century it became customary for each knight to call himself after the spot of ground on which his principal castle was situated. Accordingly, our Walter assumed the name of an islet on the river Issel, on which he created his Hoofdslot, which Hoofdslot is now occupied by the descendants of a female branch of the family. Passing over a long line of ancestors, we arrive at Oswald Van Keppel, Lord of the Voorst, who (the genealogists show) bore sixteen quarterings of nobility on his escutcheon. Oswald dying in 1685, his son, Arnold (whose portrait is under consideration) succeeded to the lordship of Voorst. He was now thirteen years of age, Page of Honour to William of Orange, Stadtholder, and the youngest, liveliest, and handsomest of the five 400Dutch noblemen who landed with their illustrious countryman at Torbay on the memorable 5th of November 1688. On his accession to the English throne, William III. raised his page to the confidential post of amanuensis, and from that time never slackened in his partiality and friendship. In 1695, on Keppel’s attaining his majority, he was created Earl of Albemarle, Viscount Bury, and Baron Ashford, and, shortly afterwards, Knight of the Garter. Mackay, in his Characters, describes the new Peer as ‘King William’s constant companion in all his diversions and pleasures,’ and as being after a time intrusted with affairs of the greatest importance. He was beautiful in person, open and free in conversation, and very expensive in his manner of living. ‘About this time,’ says Bishop Burnet, ‘the King set up a new favourite, Keppel, a gentleman of Guelder, who was raised from a page to the highest degree of favour that any person had ever obtained about the King. By a quick and unaccountable progress he engrossed the Royal favour so entirely that he disposed of everything in the King’s power. He was a cheerful young man, that had the art to please, but was so much given to his own pleasure, that he could scarce subject himself to the attendance and drudgery that were necessary to maintain his post; he had not, however, yet distinguished himself in anything. He was not cold or dry, as the Earl of Portland was thought to be, who seemed to have the art of creating enemies to himself, and not one friend; but the Earl of Albemarle had all the arts of Court, and was civil to all.’ If this spoiled child of nature and fortune counted his Court duties as drudgery, the same could not be said of his military avocations. He studied the art of war under his Royal patron, one of the most consummate captains of the day. So satisfied was the teacher with the capacity of his pupil, that he not only initiated him into the secrets of his strategy, but imparted to him no small share in the execution of his projects,—a 401confidence which, although placed in so young a man, the King never had reason to repent.

In the year of his elevation to the Peerage, Albemarle accompanied the King on the memorable campaign which ended in the surrender of Namur to William III., who left his friend behind for the transaction of some necessary business in that town, whilst he proceeded to his Palace of the Loo, before returning to England. Here the news of Albemarle’s sudden and alarming illness so distressed the King that he sent his own physician, the eminent Dr. John Radcliffe, to the sufferer’s assistance. Albemarle soon recovered under the good doctor’s skilful care; and so delighted was the King to have his favourite restored to health, that he acknowledged Radcliffe’s services in the most munificent manner. In addition to his travelling expenses, the Doctor received £400 and a magnificent diamond ring; Radcliffe was also offered a baronetcy, but he declined, on the plea of having no son to inherit the title. In 1698 Lord Albemarle received a grant of 100,000 confiscated acres in Ireland, which grant, however (as in the case of Lord Athlone and others), the Commons of England very properly refused to ratify. The following year the King sent some of the most skilful British artificers to Holland to decorate and beautify the house and grounds of the Voorst, at a cost of £50,000. What this large sum would represent in these days, the writer does not feel competent to hazard an opinion.

In 1701 Lord Albemarle married Gertrude, daughter of Adam van der Duen, Lord of Gravemoor, whose descent is traced by the genealogists of Guelderland to Alphert, ninth Lord of Bridesden, and through him to Siegfried, son of Arnulf, Count of Holland, who died in 999.

The Treaty of Ryswick, in 1697, had procured for Europe a few years’ suspension of hostilities; but in 1702 broke out the Spanish War of Succession, when Albemarle was sent on 402a mission to Holland by Royal command, but was soon recalled in hot haste to England to his dying master’s bedside.

‘The King,’ says Macaulay, ‘was sinking fast.’ Albemarle arrived at Kensington exhausted by hasty travel, and William bade him rest for some hours. He then summoned him to make his report. It was in all respects satisfactory: the States-General were in the best temper; the troops, the provisions, the magazines were all in good order; everything was in readiness for an early campaign. William received the intelligence with the calmness of a man whose work is done; he was in no illusion as to his danger. ‘I am fast advancing,’ he said, ‘to my end.’

To Albemarle he gave the keys of his closet and private drawers. It was now about seven in the morning. The Bishop knelt down and said the customary prayer: when it was ended, the King was no more. By a codicil to the Royal will, Albemarle came into possession of the lordship of the Breevervoorst and 200,000 guelders.

In June 1702 an heir was born to the house of Keppel, who was named William, after the child’s patron, and Anne, after the reigning sovereign, who stood godmother in person. Shortly after the birth of this son, Lord Albemarle returned to his native country, where he passed the greater part of his time, and took his place as a member of the Assembly of the States-General.

We have not space to do more than glance at his military career. Suffice it to say that he served with distinction successively under four of the greatest commanders of their day,—William III., Marshal Auverquerque, the Duke of Marlborough, and Prince Eugène of Savoy; all of whom in turn bore public testimony to his merits as a soldier.

In 1712 he was, on the recommendation of the Duke of Marlborough, appointed to the command of the Dutch forces, 403and on the death of Queen Anne he was sent by the States-General to congratulate George I. on his accession to the British throne. The new monarch, accompanied by his son, the Duke of Gloucester (afterwards George II.), was Lord Albemarle’s guest at the Voorst on his first day’s journey towards his new kingdom. In 1717 Albemarle was nominated by the nobles of Holland to compliment Peter the Great on his visit to their country, and he accompanied the Czar in great state to the city, which his Imperial Majesty had first entered as a journeyman carpenter! Arnold Keppel, first Earl of Albemarle, died the following year, and was succeeded by his son, William Anne, Viscount Bury. The portrait of which we are now speaking is a replica of one in the possession of the original’s great-great-grandson, the present bearer of the title. There are several other likenesses in England of this distinguished man, among which may be noted one at Woburn Abbey, that came into the Russell family in consequence of the marriage of Lady Elizabeth Keppel (daughter of the second Earl of Albemarle) with the Marquess of Tavistock in 1764.

No. 6.

Black coat. Hand resting on a table.
By Sir George Hayter, R.A.
404No. 7.

Blue velvet coat. Blue and gold waistcoat, and breeches. Sword. Stick in one hand, Holds his hat in the other above his head, as if in the act of saluting. Landscape in background.

By Zoffany.
He was the first Prince of the Holy Roman Empire in the Cowper family.

No. 8.

In the robes of the Garter. A wand in his hand.
BORN 1610, DIED 1688.
By Sir Peter Lely.

HE biographer of the second Duke thus alludes to the antiquity of the family:—‘It is sufficient for the honour of the house of Ormonde that its original is too ancient to be traced, and that its first descents, even after it became considerable for its possession, power, and alliances, cannot be ascertained.’

According to the above-quoted author, the immediate ancestor of the family, Theobald Walter, accompanied King Henry II. to Ireland about the year 1171, when Roderick, King of Connaught, and many other petty Princes, yielded up their sovereignty to the English monarch. Theobald Walter did Henry good service in the new country, and received as a reward such extensive grants of lands, as determined him to 405take up his residence in Ireland; and from that time forth the fortunes of the family have been bound up with those of the sister island. The post of Chief Butler (hereditary) was also assigned him, with a further grant of what was called ‘the prisage of wine,’ which entitled Theobald and his descendants to one tun of wine out of nine brought by any ship into Irish ports. In 1315 Edmund le Botillier (it is an open question if the name were derived from the office) was created Earl of Carrick, as a recompense for his loyal services to Edward II. He was Guardian and Governor of the kingdom of Ireland; and henceforth his descendants in the succeeding reigns were almost invariably connected with the government of that country, whether as Lords-Deputy, Lords-Justices, or Lords-Lieutenant.

Lord Carrick’s son married the King’s cousin, and was in 1322 created Earl of Ormonde. He had also the rights of a Palatine in the county of Tipperary conferred on him,—rights which were taken away and restored again and again in the troubled times of that ever troubled country. Few families in any part of the world have been more remarkable for the vicissitudes of fortune than the Butlers. The seventh Earl of Ormonde died without sons, and left his two daughters very large fortunes; the youngest married Sir William Boleyn, and was grandmother to Queen Anne of that name.

Sir Piers Butler, a distant relative, became heir to the Irish estates, but King Henry VIII., at the instigation of his father-in-law, Sir Thomas Boleyn, prevailed upon him (chiefly, it is said, by conferring on him the title of Ossory) to relinquish the earldom of Ormonde in favour of the said Sir Thomas, on whose death, however, a few years afterwards, the rightful Earl of Ormonde resumed his title. We are induced to give these details in consequence of the strange coincidences which befell the heads of this family in different reigns.

Thomas, the tenth Earl, a man of undaunted courage, 406who began his military career at an early age, was a great favourite with Queen Elizabeth, and for a time with King James I. ‘His courage in the field and his spirit in private occurrences were remarkable. He always held the Earl of Leicester at defiance, and did not scruple to charge him to the Queen as a knave and coward.’ There is an amusing anecdote told of the two noblemen meeting one day at Court, in the antechamber. After the usual exchange of civilities, says Lord Leicester, ‘My Lord Ormonde, I dreamed of you last night.’ ‘What could you dream of me?’ inquired the other. ‘That I gave you a box on the ear,’ was the rejoinder. ‘Oh,’ exclaimed Lord Ormonde; ‘do you not know that dreams are always interpreted by contraries?’ and with that he bestowed a hearty cuff on the Royal favourite. This one-sided satisfaction entailed on Ormonde a visit to the Tower; but he was soon released. The Queen had a great fancy for him, in spite of Lord Leicester’s enmity, and used to call him her ‘black husband.’ His dark complexion had gained for him in Ireland the nickname of ‘Dhuiv,’ or ‘the Black.’ He was three times married: first to Elizabeth, daughter and heiress to Thomas, Lord Berkeley; secondly to Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Sheffield; and thirdly to Ellen, daughter of Lord Barry and widow of Lord Poer, whom he married when he was old and blind. He had children by his second wife only,—a son, who died in boyhood, and a daughter, Elizabeth. This young lady married, by her father’s wish, her cousin, Lord Tulleophelim, who died very shortly afterwards without children. King James I. obliged the aged Earl of Ormonde, much against his will, to bestow the hand of his widowed daughter on one of his own Scotch favourites, Sir Richard Preston, whom he first created Baron Dingwall, and afterwards, in (what his Majesty was pleased to call) right of his wife, Earl of Desmond, an act which caused universal dissatisfaction in Ireland,—so time-honoured a title to be bestowed on an 407alien. Not content with this deed of injustice, James ordained that Preston should become possessed of the bulk of the Irish property which Thomas, Earl of Ormonde, had bequeathed to his successors in the title. At his death in 1614, the King used every endeavour to persuade Sir Walter Butler (who became eleventh Earl) to yield up his rights in favour of Lord Desmond, but, with the true spirit of his race, he showed a bold front to the tyrant, in consequence of which he was thrown into the Fleet prison, where he remained in captivity for eight years. His eldest son, Lord Thurles, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Poyntz, of Iron Acton, county Gloucester, by whom he had James, first Duke of Ormonde, and several other children.

The subject of our notice was born in 1610 at Newcastle House, in Clerkenwell, belonging to the Duke of that title, but inhabited at the time by Lady Thurles’s father, Sir John Poyntz. The infant was nursed by a carpenter’s wife at Hatfield, and remained in her charge, when his parents returned to Ireland, till he was three years old, when they sent for him; and the Duke used in after years to relate that he could call to mind, even at that tender age, how he had been carried in arms through the streets of Bristol, and what he then noticed on the bridge. He appears to have had a most retentive memory, for he also recollected being taken to visit Thomas, the aged Earl of Ormonde, who was living at his estate of Carrick-upon-Suir, and who felt a great interest in the child, not only as his future heir, but on account of his former friendship with Sir John Poyntz. The Duke often spoke in his later life of the impression his kinsman had made on him: a grand old man, with sightless eyes and long white beard, wearing his George round his neck, which he never laid aside, whether sitting in his chair or lying on his bed. He would take the boy on his knees and caress him, this last year of his life, for Earl 408Thomas died in 1614. James lived on in Ireland with his father and mother, till the unfortunate death of the former, who was drowned off the Skerries on his voyage to England in 1619, v.p.

The little Lord Thurles accompanied his mother to London the following year, and went to school at Finchley, under a Roman Catholic priest, who educated him in his own creed,—the actual Earl of Ormonde and all the younger branches of the family adhering to the Church of Rome. But Thurles was a ward of the Crown, and the King removed him from Finchley, and transferred him to Lambeth Palace, to be brought up as a Protestant, under Abbott, Archbishop of Canterbury. The Primate troubled himself very little as regarded the youth’s education, probably because he received no allowance whatever, even for the maintenance of his pupil. To the young Lord himself James only doled out the paltry sum of forty pounds a year for all expenses. The biographer of the second Duke, in alluding to these circumstances, says that ‘intelligence found means to supply the want of education.’ Even after his marriage Lord Thurles studied Latin, from his uncle’s domestic chaplain, when on a visit to Iron Acton. He also acquired a knowledge of the Irish language, which he found of the greatest service to him during his government, enabling him to communicate personally with the Irish chiefs. He became, indeed, in every way a most accomplished gentleman; his grandfather, the stout-hearted Earl of Ormonde, had endured imprisonment and hardship of all kinds rather than submit to the unjust demands of the King, or surrender his lawful rights, but at the expiration of eight years he was released, and a great portion of his estates restored to him,—upon which he hired a house in Drury Lane, and sent for his grandson from Lambeth Palace to come and reside with him. Lord Thurles was delighted with his emancipation from the dull atmosphere of 409the Primate’s roof. He mixed in all the gaieties of the town, and took especial pleasure in theatrical representations and in the society of the leading members of the profession. He was also a frequent attendant at Court, by the express wish of Lord Ormonde, who left him in London to make his way in the world, while he returned to Ireland to look after the property, which had been long neglected. The circumstances attending the marriage and courtship of Lord Thurles were of so romantic a nature, that we are induced to give them in detail, although reluctant to record a stumble on the threshold of so noble a career. It was at Court that he first saw his cousin, Lady Elizabeth Preston, daughter to Lord Dingwall and Desmond, already mentioned, by Lady Elizabeth Butler. She was a ward of the King’s, who had placed her under the care of Henry, Earl of Holland, who held an office at Court. Though very young, she had a perfect knowledge of all the family disputes, and had been much influenced in Lord Thurles’s favour by the advice of her kinsman, Lord Mountgarret, who not only highly commended the young man, but pointed out to the heiress that their union would be a means of reconciling all former difficulties. When the cousins met at Court, Elizabeth ‘liked the person of the young Lord, which was very handsome, his mien and manner witty, insinuating; and the vivacity of his parts, with the sprightly turn of his wit, made the conversation most pleasing to her.’ This was remarked on, and the King admonished Lord Thurles not to meddle with his ward. The secret of this was that the Duke of Buckingham had arranged with Lord Desmond that his nephew, Lord Feilding, should espouse Lady Elizabeth Preston, with a remainder to their heirs of her father’s titles. The said Earl of Desmond had also received from the King the power over the wardship and marriage of Lord Thurles, so that there seemed but little hope of the union on which the cousins had set their hearts. But 410Elizabeth had the spirit of her race. Her affections were irrevocably fixed, and she was in a humour to say with the beautiful bride of Van Artevelde:—

‘Me shall no earthly potentate or prince
Toss, like a morsel of his broken meat,
To any suppliant: be they advised
I am in wardship to the King of kings,
God and my heart alone dispose of me.’
Now Lord Holland was inclined to further Lord Thurles’s suit, actuated thereto, it was said, by pecuniary inducements; but the Royal commands were not to be disobeyed, openly at least. There was one in the house, however, who was in a position to assist the lovers, and that was Lady Isabella Rich, Lord Holland’s daughter, Elizabeth’s chosen friend, and sister in all but name,—a lovely, sharp-witted girl of her own age. She admitted Lord Thurles every day, at all hours, in a clandestine manner; nor did her parents object or interfere, but allowed her to make a feint of herself receiving the young man’s addresses; and implicit trust was placed by all parties in Isabella’s rectitude.

Alas for the compact! which we must believe was begun in good faith. Lord Thurles, as we have said, was young, handsome, agreeable,—captivating, in fact, and the rôle of confidante is proverbially dangerous. In an evil hour he forgot his loyalty to his betrothed, and Isabella forgot her friend, herself, her duty, and all but her infatuation for the man who was playing a double part by the two girls. Few romances can outdo this real history in sensational incident. Lord Desmond was drowned about the same time as his wife died, and the latter left as her last injunction that Elizabeth should marry her cousin, and thus restore the property to the rightful branch,—for Lady Desmond had never been easy in her mind over these unlawful acquisitions. Buckingham was assassinated, and King Charles I. gave the Royal consent to 411the union of the cousins; ‘and so,’ says the biographer of the great Duke of Ormonde (who, by the way, makes very light of this episode), ‘the marriage was joyously celebrated, and everybody content.’ We are not informed how the unfortunate Lady Isabella fared on the occasion; her content could not have been great; but the dénouement remains to be told, and though, as a matter of dates, it should come much later, we think it advisable to finish the concluding acts of the drama in this place.

Several years afterwards, when Lord Ormonde was in Paris, he went to the Academy to visit a handsome and intelligent youth, whom he had sent thither for his education; whereupon he sat down, and wrote a long description of the boy to Lady Isabella (then the wife of Sir James Thynne of Longleat), being a subject in which they had a common interest. As ill-luck would have it, he at the same time indited a letter to his wife, and misdirected the covers. While Lady Ormonde was making the discovery that she had been cruelly deceived and betrayed by the two people she at that time loved best in the world, Lady Isabella came in, and found her reading the fatal letter.

Tears, sobs, caresses—an agitating scene—ensued. Isabella humbled herself before the woman she had so grievously injured, and sought by every means of fascination that she possessed, to soften her just resentment. Lady Ormonde, generous and high-minded, almost beyond belief, raised the suppliant, who was kneeling at her feet, with the promise not only of forgiveness, but of unchanging friendship,—a promise nobly kept, as we shall see later. Scarcely more marvellous is the fact, for we cannot doubt the evidence, that Lady Ormonde not only never upbraided her husband, but from that day kept a profound silence on the subject. Nor was this all. Some time afterwards, when Lady Ormonde was residing with her children at Caen, she received a letter from 412Lady Isabella, who had again got herself into hot water, recalling her promise of unchanging friendship, and asking for shelter. The generous-hearted exile not only welcomed her old companion to share her small house and straitened means, but allowed her to remain for nearly two years under her roof, during which time Lord Ormonde was a constant visitor. The destinies of the two women, who had been early friends, but whose characters were diametrically opposed, were strangely entangled,—Lady Isabella, being described in a contemporary journal as ‘one of those rattle-brained ladies,’ was most eccentric, to say the least of it, and full of ‘strange vagaries;’ while Lady Ormonde was remarkable for sound sense and judgment, and for her dignified and stately deportment. We make an extract bearing on this subject from the Life of Roger Boyle, Lord Broghill, afterwards Earl of Orrery. This nobleman, who, like his father and his brothers, was a zealous Royalist, was surprised one day at receiving a summons from the Protector, who bluntly offered him a high command in the army in Ireland under Government. Broghill gave for answer that nothing should induce him to take arms against the King, his master. ‘No one asked you to do so,’ was the angry retort; ‘I offer you the alternative of serving England against the Irish insurgents, or proceeding without delay to the Tower of London.’

The first choice was the most palatable, and Broghill returned to Ireland, where he continued to give proofs of his courage and martial skill. Between him and Lord Ormonde there had been some disagreement, but they were reconciled, and Broghill ever afterwards remained the fast friend of both husband and wife, and, standing high in the Protector’s favour, in consequence of his military services, more than one opportunity presented itself of being useful to them. He had come over from Ireland, when the Protector sent for him, and thus 413addressed him: ‘If you are still interested in my Lord Ormonde’s safety, you had better advise him to leave London. We know all about him, where he is, what he is doing, and he had best absent himself.’

The hint was given and taken, and Lord Ormonde left England accordingly. A short time elapsed, when one day Lady Ormonde was much distressed at receiving a domiciliary visit from one of Cromwell’s functionaries, who ransacked the house, and carried away every paper he could find. She immediately sent for her faithful friend, and besought him to intercede once more in her behalf. Broghill lost no time; he hurried off to Whitehall, and found the autocrat in a towering passion. ‘You have undertaken, indeed,’ he said, ‘for the quietness of a fine person. I have allowed my Lady Ormonde £2000 a year out of her husband’s estates, because they were sufferers in Ireland. But I find she is a wicked woman, and I promise you she shall pay for it.’ It was some time before Lord Broghill could gain a hearing, but when he was permitted to speak, he asked what proof could be adduced of Lady Ormonde’s guilt, upon which Cromwell threw him a letter, that certainly left no doubt of the writer’s Royalist tendencies and disaffection to the existing Government. ‘This was found,’ said the Protector, ‘in searching the escritoire at Lord Ormonde’s house.’ Lord Broghill could not help laughing. ‘But this,’ he observed, ‘is not the writing of my Lady Ormonde.’ ‘Indeed,’ rejoined Cromwell angrily, ‘and pray who wrote these lines?’ Bent on saving his friends, Lord Broghill not only explained the letter was from Lady Isabella Thynne (between whom and Lord Ormonde there had been undoubted love passages), but he produced some other letters from the same lady to identify the handwriting, and further proceeded to relate several anecdotes of a most lively nature respecting her, which turned all Cromwell’s wrath into merriment, and he 414laughed immoderately. Broghill’s judicious conduct had gained his friends’ cause.

We have forestalled events in order to finish the romance of which Lady Isabella Thynne was the heroine, and we must now turn back to the year 1629, being that of the marriage. Lord Thurles took his bride to the house of his maternal uncle, in Gloucestershire, where they remained a year, and then proceeded to Carrick, in Ireland, where his grandfather lived, and where he began his military career by purchasing a troop of horse. He went to Scotland, and then to England, and succeeding to the title of Ormonde on Earl Walter’s death, returned to Ireland in 1633. There he began a life of activity, which never ceased from that time forward. Many passages in Carte’s Life of the ‘great Duke’ tend to confirm our previous remark, that Irish history, more than that of any other nation, verifies the saying, ‘Que l’histoire se répète.’

Great were the expectations raised all over the kingdom, in 1623, of important matters to be done on the coming over of a new Lord-Deputy, endowed with a larger measure of authority, etc. This was Lord Wentworth, who arrived in Dublin in July 1633. Lord Ormonde did not delay to repair thither, in order to pay his respects to my Lord Wentworth, who, chancing to observe him from a window, as he was crossing the Castle-yard, observed to the standers-by, ‘If I possess any skill in physiognomy, that young man will be the chief of his family.’

At the outset of their acquaintance, an incident occurred which threatened to make a breach between these two high spirits, but, instead thereof, cemented a friendship, which was only terminated by the untimely death of Lord Strafford. During the session of the Irish Parliament, the Lord-Deputy had found it advisable to prohibit the Lords wearing their swords, lest, in the heat of argument, they might have recourse 415to sharper weapons than those of eloquence. The order was obeyed in every instance, save that of my Lord Ormonde, who, when the Usher of the Black Rod insisted on his disarming, replied angrily, marching on in a stately manner, and taking his seat in the House, ‘You shall have no sword of mine, except through your body.’ On being summoned before the Lord-Deputy for this open act of insubordination, he proudly drew forth the King’s warrant for his admission to the Privy Council. The Lord-Deputy was satisfied, and the two noblemen became fast friends. When evil days fell on Strafford, and the Irish Parliament joined the English in hastening his downfall, Lord Ormonde pleaded his cause in the Upper House with so much reason and eloquence as to bias a considerable party in Strafford’s favour, at least for a time. The letters which passed between them during the latter’s imprisonment were couched in the most affectionate terms. Writing from the Tower, the captive tells his friend that he has recommended him to the King for the Lord-Deputyship of Ireland; and later he writes: ‘There is so little rest given to me, my noble Lord, that I have scarce time to eat my bread. Your Lordship’s favours to me in my afflictions are such as have and shall level my heart at your foot so long as I live.’

On the eve of his execution, Strafford intrusted Archbishop Usher with some last requests to the King, amongst which was the earnest hope that the Earl of Ormonde should have his vacant Garter. The offer was made; but Lord Ormonde declined, saying that his loyalty needed no such stimulus, and that the honour might be more advantageously bestowed for the King’s service.

At the breaking out of the Irish rebellion, the King wished to appoint him Lord-Deputy, but was overruled by the Parliament, which had resolved on Lord Leicester. He was however selected by the Lords-Justices in Ireland 416for the chief command of the forces in that country. The appointment was an excellent one. He was successful against the rebels for a considerable period, and his services were (for a time) duly appreciated by the English Commons, who voted a large sum of money to purchase him a jewel of great value. They also recommended him to the King for the Garter, an honour that was bestowed later on a most deserving knight. Ormonde was indeed as chivalrous as he was brave, keeping good faith with his savage adversaries; and a noble answer given by him is worthy to be recorded here. One of the native chiefs threatened to take reprisals on Lady Ormonde and his family. ‘My wife and dear ones,’ said the General, ‘are in your power; but for myself, I should never be dastardly enough to revenge any offence they received on the women and children of my enemies.’

After a while his popularity began to wane, and he became a mark for jealousy and calumny on both sides of St. George’s Channel. The Lords-Justices thwarted him in his campaigns, and stinted him in supplies, and the Lord-Deputy Leicester never let slip an opportunity of doing him an evil turn, both in public and private. The King, however, remained his staunch friend, and wrote him a most flattering letter, renewing his command of the army, and raising him to the grade of a Marquis. The account of the Irish rebellion would, and indeed has, filled many a large volume, and concerns history rather than biography. We cannot do more than glance at events, in which Lord Ormonde himself bore so distinguished a part. After giving the most striking proofs of valour, patriotism, and loyalty in his encounters with the insurgents, under difficulties of almost unparalleled hardship, want of supplies, provisions, and the like, he found himself compelled to agree to a cessation of arms for twelve months. The news of this treaty was received with much disapprobation in England, and was represented by the enemies of Ormonde 417and of the King, as ‘an unseasonable and unnecessary concession;’ but Charles was duly impressed with the honour and ability of his faithful servant, and resolved to make him Lord-Lieutenant in the stead of Lord Leicester. The gallant General was unwilling to accept the post, but was persuaded to do so, ‘without much hope, indeed, of serving the Crown, or remedying many of the disorders.’

During his tenure of office, political and religious factions were at their height in this most unhappy country, and intrigues on both sides of St. George’s Channel were carried on against the Lord-Lieutenant, paralysing his efforts, till he had no choice but to conclude a peace,—a peace that was no peace. Conspiracies of all kinds were hatched,—and one in particular was discovered, the aim of which was to seize the person of Lord Ormonde in his own castle of Kilkenny, whence he escaped with much difficulty to Dublin, where he was besieged by the insurgents. He held out till all his supplies were exhausted, and he had lost every hope of redress. The King was a prisoner in the hands of the Roundheads, who had sent over Commissioners to Ireland; there was no choice left for Ormonde but to surrender to the Irish, or English rebels. He chose the latter alternative, and, delivering up the keys to the Commissioners, embarked for England, followed by the prayers and good wishes of the well-affected among the citizens, but more especially of the poorer clergy, whose wives and children had been saved from starvation by his bounty and that of his excellent wife. He reached England, went first to Iron Acton, gained a pass from General Fairfax which gave him access to the King (then a prisoner in his own palace of Hampton Court), and hired a lodging at Kingston-on-Thames, in order to remain in the vicinity. He had frequent intercourse with his Royal master, who fully appreciated all his devoted friend and subject had dared and done for his service, and reiterated his opinion that no one else was qualified to fill the post of 418Viceroy of Ireland. But this view of the case did not fall in with the notions of those in authority, and Ormonde received intimation to the effect that it would be advisable for him to leave England, which he accordingly did, and, crossing to Dieppe, proceeded to Paris, to join the Queen, Henrietta Maria, and the Prince of Wales.

While residing in the French capital, Lord Ormonde kept up a continuous correspondence with the loyalists in Scotland, and more especially with the influential leaders in Ireland. There had existed a feud between the Lords Ormonde and Inchiquin and Lord Broghill, General of the Horse, but it was not difficult to bring about a reconciliation between three devoted servants of the Crown. Lord Ormonde was at length prevailed on by the wishes of the Queen and Prince, as also by the earnest solicitations of the Royalists in Ireland, to return to that country, and resume his post as Lord-Lieutenant. He had, during his stay in Paris, entered into communication with many leading members of the Roman Catholic religion, with a view to a pacification between the two opposing creeds on his return, and had also endeavoured to raise at the French Court a sufficient sum to insure him proper supplies; but in this respect he was wofully disappointed, and he landed in Cork with the miserable sum of thirty French pistoles in his military chest.

Everything was against him in Dublin,—the hands of the Parliamentarians, Cromwell’s emissaries spread far and wide over the country, while Prince Rupert, who commanded a Royalist fleet on the coast, was less assistance than detriment to the cause, from his unceasing jealousy and rivalry of other officials. The news of the King’s execution was received with consternation by his partisans in Scotland and Ireland, and with profound grief by Lord Ormonde, who caused the Prince of Wales to be instantly proclaimed, and wrote off to him urging the advisability of his coming over in person,—a 419scheme which was not carried out. The Lord-Lieutenant was now engaged in negotiations of a pacific nature with the so-called ‘old Irish party’ (headed by Phelim O’Neill, and other leading Roman Catholics), and he concentrated all his energies on gaining possession of Dublin. But the death of O’Neill, the arrival of Cromwell with a large body of troops, and the number of desertions, all conduced to render his position untenable. He only waited for the King’s sanction to leave Ireland, and once more embarked for France, where, after a most tempestuous voyage, he joined his wife and children at Caen, and passed many months between that temporary home and Paris, where he finally joined the king, as a regular attendant, after Charles’s escape from the battle of Worcester.

Ormonde was now reduced to the greatest straits, having but one pistole a week for his board, and being obliged ‘to go afoot, which is not considered reputable in Paris;’ added to which, his wife found it impossible to live on at Caen, even in the modest style to which she had lately been accustomed; and the King had nothing to spare out of his scanty pittance to assist his friends. In these trying circumstances, it was arranged that Lady Ormonde should go to England in person, and endeavour to gain some redress from Parliament. It was no agreeable errand, but the lady was well qualified to act with spirit and determination, tempered by tact; and she did not shrink from the undertaking.

Her dignity of demeanour and her courage were proverbial. It had been said of her that she had the spirit of old Earl Thomas; and she knew how to inspire Cromwell with respect. In her interviews he always treated her with the greatest consideration, and accompanied her downstairs to her coach or chair, although she was kept long in suspense about her financial demands, and the great man often answered her arguments by a shrug of the shoulders. It may not come into 420the proper place, as far as dates are concerned, but, speaking of her relations with the Protector, we must allude to an audience she had of him later. Cromwell was very jealous of the growing power and popularity of Lord Ossory, and although he had already granted him a pass to travel beyond seas, he suddenly thought it safer to have him seized, and sent to the Tower. His mother immediately proceeded to Whitehall, or wherever Cromwell was holding his reception at the time, and asked her son’s freedom, saying she knew not who were his accusers, or of what crime they accused him, but that she would answer with her life for her son’s innocence. Cromwell begged to be excused giving her an answer, but observed he had much more reason to be afraid of her than of anybody else.

‘I desire no favour,’ said the noble petitioner aloud, before the hundreds who were present on the occasion, ‘but do consider it strange that I, who have never been implicated in any plot, and never said a word against the Protector, should be considered so terrible a person!’

‘No, madam, that is not exactly the case,’ replied Oliver; ‘but your worth has gained you so great an influence over all the commanders of our party, and we know so well your power over the other side, that it is in your Ladyship’s breast to act what you please.’

The incident speaks well for both parties, and Oliver, with all his faults, had learned to respect a noble woman when he encountered one, being blest as he was in his wife and mother. After many delays and heartburnings, the Parliament authorised Lady Ormonde to receive from the Irish Commissioners a yearly income for herself and children of £2000 out of her own inheritance, together with the house of Donnemore, near Kilkenny, for their residence.

Here she took up her abode, and never saw her Lord again till the Restoration. The treaty which was concluded 421between the Protector and the Court of France rendered it imperative on the English King to leave Paris, and, accordingly, accompanied by Ormonde, he proceeded to Spa (to meet his sister, the Princess of Orange), and afterwards to Aix-la-Chapelle and Cologne.

From the latter place he despatched Lord Ormonde to Paris on an errand of trust and difficulty. The young Duke of Gloucester had been sent to the French capital with a hardly-wrung permission from Oliver to pursue his education under the auspices of his mother, who had pledged her word to the King not to tamper with the boy’s religion,—an oath which Henrietta Maria evidently thought ‘more honoured in the breach than the observance.’

She accordingly separated the Duke from his Protestant tutor, and placed him under the care of a Jesuit priest, where she frequently visited him, and by alternate coaxing and threatening strove to bring her child over to her own creed. The boy stood firm, and declared he would never disobey his father’s last injunctions, but the Queen’s menace of never seeing his face again grieved his affectionate nature so much as to injure his health. Ormonde arrived in Paris, armed with the King’s authority to convey the Duke of Gloucester to Cologne, but the necessary funds for travelling expenses were not forthcoming, so the Duke went to reside for a time in Paris with Lord Hatton, a firm Royalist and faithful Protestant. Lord Ormonde was not one to be baffled in any undertaking in which he was engaged: he pawned his Garter, and the jewel which the Parliament had given him, to defray the cost of the journey; and he set out with his young charge, travelling for safety via Antwerp, where he was like to have died of a fever. At length, however, he placed the youth under the protection of the King, his brother, and they remained together till the Restoration took them to England.

So temperately and judiciously had Lord Ormonde conducted 422this affair, that the King was deeply grateful to him, and he still kept a tolerable hold on the good graces of the Queen, and was, indeed, afterwards instrumental in bringing about a reconciliation between mother and son. He was now employed in several diplomatic missions of importance, especially with the Court of Spain, and he ventured into England, at the risk of life and freedom, in order to communicate with the Royalists at home. He landed on the coast of Essex in disguise, and went to London, where he lay perdu, only venturing out at nightfall, and running the gauntlet of many dangers and adventures, which were not without some charm for a man of his spirit.

We cannot refrain from alluding to an incident, which, though in reality trivial, has a laughable side, and there has been little that is laughable to record in the life of Lord Ormonde. He often changed his lodgings, and was constantly reconnoitring the premises with a view to escape, changing his clothes, generally lying down dressed. He had an aversion to wearing a periwig, so a friend gave him a dye to turn his own hair black, but the lotion was badly mixed, and the ingredients deleterious, so that poor Lord Ormonde’s head was not only scalded, but his hair came out in party-coloured patches of every variegated hue, more likely to attract than elude observation.

He returned to Paris, having proved, what was already undoubted, his courage and zeal to the King’s service, but with no other good result. His presence in the French capital was almost as dangerous as it had been in London, for Cromwell had set a price upon his head, and the Cardinal Mazarin, who was then Prime Minister, was by no means insensible to the charms of money.

The liberality of Lord Ormonde, even in his straitened circumstances, had like on one occasion to have been productive of unfortunate results, and the incident teaches a 423lesson of the necessity of studying the peculiar manners and customs of foreign countries in contradistinction to our own. Lord Ormonde was much respected and courted by the French nobility, to one of whom he paid a visit near St. Germains, and on his departure, according to the well-known English fashion of ‘vails’ or parting gifts, he presented the maître d’hôtel with ten pistoles, being the whole contents of his purse.

Riding onward, as we may imagine rather disconsolately, the Marquis was startled by the sound of wheels driving furiously; and, looking back, perceived his late host’s coach gaining on him. He reined in his steed, sprang from the saddle, and embraced his friend, who alighted at the same moment. Lord Ormonde was surprised at a decided coldness in the Frenchman’s manner and tone of voice, as he said, ‘After you left the château, I heard a great disturbance among the servants of my household, and, inquiring into the cause, found them all quarrelling over their share of the money which your Lordship, for some inexplicable motive, had given to my maître d’hôtel. I am come to ask if you found any fault with your treatment in my house?’

‘On the contrary,’ warmly responded Lord Ormonde.

‘Then why did you treat it as an inn? I pay my servants well to wait on me and my guests. I do not know, my Lord, if this be the custom in your country, but assuredly it is not so with us. Here are the ten pistoles, which I have rescued from my servants’ grasp; you must either take them back at my hands, or else your Lordship must give me on the spot that satisfaction which no gentleman can refuse another.’

We may believe the affair turned into one of laughter rather than of ‘honour,’ when Lord Ormonde explained that in his country such amenities were invariably practised by guests at leave-taking.

The King of England was now at Brussels, hampered and 424entangled by fruitless negotiations with foreign powers, and he sent for his right hand, Lord Ormonde.

Short cuts are proverbially dangerous, and so thought the Marquis, who, taking horse, rode from Paris, via Lyons and Geneva, through the Palatinate to Brussels, where he joined the King, who, failing in his Spanish views, had formed an idea of marrying the daughter of Frederic Henry, the Stadtholder. But the Dowager Princess of Orange, who was very powerful at her son’s Court, opposed the design so strongly that the match was prevented.

Meanwhile Lord Ormonde’s eldest son, the Earl of Ossory, fell in love with Emilia, daughter of Louis de Nassau, Lord of Auverquerque, a natural son of Maurice, Prince of Orange. Louis was much esteemed, both for character and position, and had considerable weight in the Assembly of the States. At first he was persistent in his demands that Lord Ormonde should come forward with good settlements, but, being made to understand the state of Irish affairs, he was content to accept what Lord Ossory’s mother (who could deny nothing to her first-born) contrived to spare out of her hardly gained pittance. Moreover, he found the young couple were devotedly attached, and that Ossory had refused a more advantageous marriage with the daughter of the Earl of Southampton, in consequence of his preference for Emilia; and so the marriage was arranged, Lord Ormonde himself nothing loath that his son’s happiness should be assured by a connection which he hoped might also prove beneficial to the King’s interests. One of Lord Ossory’s daughters married Auverquerque, Earl of Grantham, and their daughter, Henrietta (eventually sole heiress to her grandfather), married the second Lord Cowper. From this lady the present Earl lays claim, not only to titles and estates, but to a lineal descent from the illustrious patriot, William the Silent.

Better times were in store, of however short duration. The Restoration was at hand, and Ormonde, as may have been 425expected, was one of those faithful friends whom the King ‘delighted to honour.’ He was made Lord Steward of the Household, Duke of Ormonde in the peerage of Ireland, Earl of Brecknock and Baron Lantony in that of England, and all his estates, dignities, and privileges in the sister country of which he had been deprived, restored to him, though, as far as emolument went, some were scarcely more than nominal. He walked at the coronation as Lord Steward, and carried St. Edward’s crown. The Viceroyalty of Ireland, having been offered to and declined by the Duke of Albemarle, was next proffered to the Duke of Ormonde, who undertook the thankless task with eyes sharpened by long experience; and in so doing he remarked to a friend: ‘Besides many other disadvantages, there are two proper to me—one of the contending parties believing that I owe them more kindness and protection than I find myself chargeable with, and the other suspecting I entertain that prejudice to them from which I am free. This temper will be attended undeniably in them with clamour and scandal upon my most equal and wary deportment,’—a prophecy which was too soon and too exactly fulfilled. The Lord-Lieutenant was received with great pomp and splendour, and a sum of several thousands voted to facilitate his acceptance of the dignity; but a year had not elapsed before a deeply-laid plot was discovered to seize the Castle of Dublin and the person of his Excellency; and though the principal conspirators were arrested, and some executed, the arch-traitor Blood, who was one of them, escaped, with a vow of vengeance in his heart against the Duke, as will be seen hereafter.

Once more in straits for troops for the King’s service, and money to pay them, Ormonde wrote to the Duke of Albemarle, asking for five hundred men, to which request he got the unsatisfactory reply, that Monk himself had not that number in his whole army upon whose fidelity he could 426rely. Ormonde, however, was not discouraged, as we shall see by an extract from the author already quoted, speaking of all the difficulties with which the Lord-Lieutenant had to contend. ‘He was not less indefatigable and prudent than his enemies were indefatigable, industrious, and artful, but turned his whole thoughts to raising the distressed kingdom of Ireland, both in character and circumstances. He gave the greatest encouragement to learning, fostered trade, and revived the linen manufacture, which had been founded by Lord Strafford.’ It seems strange that the Irish, who are among the best and most skilful artificers of any nation, should scarcely ever have persisted in any manufacture, among the many that have been set on foot at different times, with the exception of this branch, in which they have for so many years been paramount. The Duke also advocated for Ireland the advantages of free trade to all foreign nations, in peace and war; for no ingratitude on the part of his countrymen ever induced Ormonde to neglect their interests in matters ecclesiastical, civil, or military. Added to which, he made the most liberal sacrifices of his own personal property to advance the interests of the King and the country he ruled; yet notwithstanding, he was made the mark for calumny and persecution, in England as well as in Ireland, and the Duke of Buckingham hated and envied him, and meditated an impeachment, while Lords Arlington and Shaftesbury were most inimical to him, neither was he a favourite with the Queen-Mother, in spite of all the services he had rendered her.

Another formidable adversary was Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine, afterwards Duchess of Cleveland, the rapacious mistress of Charles II., who had given her the Lodge in Phœnix Park, Dublin. The Lord-Lieutenant refused to confirm the grant, stopped the warrant, declaring that it was the proper summer quarter for himself and his successors in 427office. Barbara, as may be expected, never forgave this interference. Meeting the Duke one day while he was in London, in the precincts of the Court, she fell on him with abusive and insulting words, and concluded by saying she devoutly wished she might live to see him hanged. His Grace listened with a calm, imperturbable smile to these ravings, and said he was not in such hot haste to put an end to her Ladyship’s existence; he should be quite content to live long enough to see her old and ugly. Neither did the faithful friendship which existed between the Duke and the Earl of Clarendon, whose star was now waning, redound to the worldly advantage of the former.

He made more than one journey to England to give an account of his stewardship to the King, as also to look after his own interests, well knowing what numbers were plotting against him. Burnet, Pepys, Evelyn, all pay their tribute to the Duke during his residence in London at this time, when Charles, who esteemed him in his heart, was too weak to uphold him against his arrogant favourite and his other slanderers. Pepys says: ‘I do hear that my Lord of Ormonde shall not hold his government of Ireland any longer, which shows the power of Buckingham and the poor spirit of the King, and the little hold that any man can have of him.’ Again: ‘This day I do hear that my Lord Ormonde is to be declared in Council no more Lord-Deputy of Ireland; his time of commission having expired, the King is prevailed with to take it out of his hands, which people do mightily admire’ (how many meanings may lie in the same word!), ‘saying he is the greatest subject of any Prince in Christendom, and hath done more for his Prince than any ever yet did, but he must down, it seems: the Duke of Buckingham carries all before him;’ and so forth. But the machinations of his enemies succeeded. Lord Robartes reigned in his stead, while the Duchess went over to Dublin to break up the establishment, 428and received an ovation from the people there. Oxford, of which University the Duke had been made Chancellor, came forward to show him all the respect he deserved, but no longer received, at the hands of the weak-spirited Charles, whom he continued to serve so faithfully. Archbishop Sheldon, speaking of the Duke’s firmness and temper, which he showed in the melancholy occasion of his disfavour at Court, says it insured the admiration of all bystanders beyond everything he had ever done before,—indeed it was the most glorious part of his life. One of the principal causes of the King’s coldness was the resolution Ormonde had formed, and from which he never swerved: he would not truckle to those female harpies who were ruining the King not only in his pocket, but in the estimation of his people. So dignified was Ormonde’s demeanour that Buckingham asked Charles, ‘Will your Majesty answer me one question: Is it the Duke who is out of favour with the King, or the King with the Duke? for, upon my word, it is your Majesty who looks most out of countenance when you are together.’

People who were not cognisant of the real state of affairs at Court would sometimes ask him to intercede for some favour, which caused him to reply: ‘I have no longer the power to help, only to hurt.’ One day Carey Dillon, afterwards Lord Roscommon, came and requested the Duke to assist him with the King in some private affair, saying, ‘I have no friends but God and yourself.’ ‘Alas!’ said Ormonde, ‘poor Carey, I pity thee; thou couldst not have two friends who have less interest at Court or less respect shown them there.’

The Prince of Orange being over in England, the Duke had been in attendance on his Highness at a banquet given by the City of London, and was returning to Clarendon House, where he then lived, in his coach, which was so large that he had caused iron spikes to be placed at the back, lest 429his footmen should get up, and make it too heavy for the horses; so six of them walked by the side; but, in spite of this escort, the coach was stopped by the notorious Blood and several accomplices, who had been on the watch in St. James’s Street. They dragged out the Duke, and placed him behind a horseman, tightly bound by a rope, with orders that the prisoner should be conveyed to Tyburn, while Blood galloped on in front to prepare the gallows, with his own hands, for the execution of the man he detested. But Ormonde made a stalwart resistance; he struggled so violently as to impede the progress of the horseman, and at length, getting his foot under the stirrup, upset his captor, and they both rolled off together on the pavement. Meantime the coachman had hastened home, alarmed the servants, with whom he tore off in pursuit, and by the light (not of the stars of heaven, but) of the star which the Duke wore, and which glittered in the flicker of the lamps, they found the struggling pair, and, rescuing their beloved master, conveyed him home almost senseless. It was naturally supposed that Blood would suffer condign punishment; but to the surprise of all—saving, perhaps, the Duke of Buckingham and the Duchess of Cleveland—the King not only pardoned him, but gave him later on an estate in Ireland! It was currently believed at Court that Buckingham had a hand in this attempt on Ormonde’s life, and Lord Ossory taxed him with it one day at Court.

‘I give you warning,’ said the eager young man, ‘that if my father comes to a violent death by the hand of a ruffian, or by secret way of poison, I shall not be at a loss to know who is the author, but consider you the assassin, and whenever I meet you will pistol you, though it be behind the King’s chair. And I tell you this in his Majesty’s presence, that you may know I will keep my word,’—a threat which the blustering Duke seems to have found himself obliged to put up with; at all events, it was said that when Blood was tried 430for stealing the Regalia, he accused Buckingham on this count; and the King, whose unreasonable clemency with respect to the villain has always remained a mystery, sent to beg Ormonde’s forgiveness for Blood. The Duke replied to the messenger: ‘If the King can forgive him for stealing his crown, I may easily forgive him for attempting my life.’

In order to be near his service at Court, the Duke had taken a house near Windsor, and, being in great favour with the Queen and the Duchess of York, was often summoned to play at basset with them. One Sunday, the card-table being brought out, the Queen invited him to play.

‘I hope your Majesty will excuse me,’ he said.

‘You surely can have no scruples,’ observed the Queen, not best pleased; ‘nobody else has any.’

‘I beg your Majesty’s pardon,’ was the reply; ‘Christian, and even Jewish, laws, set apart one day in seven for the service of God, and cessation from business.’

Undoubtedly at this Court card-playing was a business, and one in no way profitable to the impoverished state of the Duke’s fortune. We do not know if it were at Windsor or in London, but, after having been slighted for so long by the King, Ormonde frequently asked leave to retire from Court. He one day received the astounding intelligence that his Majesty would sup with his Grace. The cause of this sudden step was to announce the Royal intention of reinstating the Duke of Ormonde in the viceregal power in Ireland, Charles being thereto instigated, it was said, by the Duke of York, who feared the post might be offered to the Duke of Monmouth. We are inclined to believe that it was on this occasion that the Duchess prepared so sumptuous a repast as to call forth a lengthened description in Carte’s life of her husband: ‘If she had a fault, ‘twas the height of her spirit, which put her upon doing everything in a magnificent manner, without regard for expense.’ Bent on giving his Majesty a noble entertainment, 431the Duchess consulted her steward, who expostulated, as in duty bound, and counselled greater economy; but her Grace drew herself up, and observed with much dignity: ‘You must allow me to be a better judge of what is fitting for my own sphere;’ and so the banquet cost over £2000!—if we may trust the biographer so often quoted. The Duke, who loved her dearly, never interfered with her financial arrangements, though he must often have had reason to regret them.

He was once betrayed into a melancholy jest on this subject. The Duchess had built Dunmore Castle for her jointure-house, at a large cost, and one day, as the Duke was walking with a friend on the leads of Kilkenny Castle, which commanded a fine view of the surrounding country, the new castle and grounds forming a conspicuous object in the landscape,—‘Your Grace,’ observed his companion, smiling, ‘has done a great deal here; but yonder you have done more.’

‘Alas!’ replied the Duke, ‘my wife has done so much, that she has undone me.’

The history of his return to power was but a repetition of all that had gone before. Fresh plots against his authority and his life, fresh outbreaks of religious strife between Catholics and Protestants, continued undermining of his interests in England; but no public trouble could be compared with the crushing sorrow occasioned by the death of his eldest son, Lord Ossory, in the prime of life, in the zenith of his reputation. We have no space to enlarge on the merits of this noble son of a noble father; he has been immortalised in the pages of that father’s faithful friend, Lord Clarendon. Suffice it to say, that all England and Ireland sympathised with the afflicted parents. The Duchess appears never to have entirely rallied, for though her death did not occur till some years later, her health began to fail, and she went over to Bath for the benefit of the waters. In 1684, of 432fever and weakness, this most remarkable woman, the ‘best helpmate man ever was blessed with,’ died, at the age of sixty-nine, having married when only fourteen.

Her guardian, Lord Holland, had so far neglected her education, that she had never even learned to write, but she taught herself by copying print, which was the reason her letters were never joined together. In appearance she was tall and well made, but not a beauty; an excellent capacity for business, good sense and judgment, and, as we have said before, an undaunted spirit, which fitted her for all the vicissitudes of her eventful life. Irreproachable in her own conduct, she avoided the society of the King’s favourites, and ‘would never wait on the Duchess of Cleveland,’ who was her enemy in consequence. The Duchess of Portsmouth would take no denial, and when the Ormondes lived near Windsor would always be calling, and once she sent word she was coming to dine. The Duchess, on receiving this semi-royal intimation, despatched her granddaughters, who were staying with her, to London, and when ‘La Quérouaille’ arrived she found no one to sit with her at table, with the exception of the Duke and Duchess, and their domestic chaplain; whereas, when the Duke of York married Lady Anne Hyde, and few were found to pay her court, the Duchess of Ormonde waited on the bride, and, kneeling, kissed her hand, as to a Princess of the blood. Queen Catherine esteemed the Duchess of Ormonde highly, none the less, doubtless, for the slights she put upon ‘The Castlemaine,’ and made her a present of her own and the King’s portraits, set in large diamonds, which their Majesties had exchanged at the Royal marriage. This jewel was given by the Duke to his grandson’s wife, Lady Mary Somerset, who was compelled to sell it for subsistence at the Revolution, when her husband’s estates passed away from him.

The Duke was in England when his wife died, and was inconsolable; 433‘indeed, when alone at night, he was almost distracted.’ The only solace he found was in constant work, and he hurried over to Dublin to resume his duties; in the meantime, Charles II., who had lately made him an English Duke, was besieged, as before, with applications once more to deprive his faithful servant of the Lord-Lieutenancy. For a while he stood firm, saying he had one of his kingdoms in good hands, and was resolved to keep it so; and another time, being asked by my Lord Arlington if the report were true that the Duke was to be recalled, his Majesty replied with much anger, ‘It is a damned lie!’ But no one could trust in the steadfastness of the ‘Merry Monarch.’ Ormonde’s enemy, Colonel Talbot, made a report on Irish affairs, which Charles took hold of as a plea for the Duke’s recall. Sir Robert Southwell wrote to Dublin to give him warning of the King’s decision.

‘They begin early,’ was the reply, ‘to find fault with my conduct, before I am warm in my post here, or my head recovered from the agitation of the sea.’

Charles II. died suddenly, but James lost no time in carrying out his brother’s intention; Ormonde was superseded by Lord Clarendon, the King’s father-in-law, and he had in turn to make way for Ormonde’s bitter enemy, Colonel Talbot, who, in 1687, was made Earl of Tyrconnell and Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. His Majesty paid the Duke the scanty compliment of asking him to remain in his post at Court, which he did, and again carried the Crown at the Coronation.

In February 1686 he went to stay a while at Cornbury, a beautifully situated forest lodge in Oxfordshire, lent him by his friend, Lord Clarendon, whence he waited on the King at Bristol; and, being afterwards laid up with gout and rheumatism at Badminton, James visited him twice in person, and condescended to request him to continue his place at Court, though unable to attend. The Duke then proceeded 434to Kingston Hall, a country house he had hired in Dorsetshire, where he died.

The constant society of his faithful friends, Sir Robert Southwell, and the Bishop of Worcester, who had been his domestic chaplain, cheered his last days, and he took much delight in seeing little Lord Thurles, his great-grandson, playing about the room, or in taking the child on his knee to caress him. One day, appearing more than usually downcast, he was asked the reason. ‘This is the anniversary of the saddest day of my life,’ replied the Duke,—‘the day on which I lost my beloved wife.’

He had always been of a religious turn of mind, never entering on any new duty, or assuming any responsibility, without writing for himself special prayers to be used on the occasion. He attended family prayers twice a day up to the very last, received the Sacrament, selecting his fellow-communicants, and took a tender leave of his servants, thanking them for their fidelity, and regretting he had nothing to leave them, beyond a recommendation in his will to his successor. His attendants were lifting him from one side of the bed to the other when his noble spirit passed away, gently, silently, without a groan or struggle.

He had eight sons, all of whom he survived, and two daughters: of his sons, five died very young, and one under peculiar (we are tempted to say national) circumstances. The boy was taking an airing in the Phœnix Park, when the horses took fright and ran away, and the Irish nurse, anxious to save the life of her little charge, flung him headlong from the window!

In appearance the first Duke of Ormonde was tall, well-shaped, and inclined to embonpoint; his complexion was fair, which gained for him the nickname among the Irish of Bawn. He was plain, but elegant, in his dress, especially at Court, when people began to be slovenly; he 435wore his hat without a button, uncocked, as it came from the block, after the fashion of his Majesty. But he was given to pomp on state occasions; the service of the Viceregal Court was simply splendid,—numbers of coaches, horses, and retainers. In travelling he always carried his staff of office with him, and when they came to a town, his gentleman (bareheaded) bore it through the streets, before his Grace’s coach. He used often to revert in after days to an incident which might well ‘point a moral’ on the danger of that offence, so frequently considered venial,—a white lie. One time, when Lord Ormonde was in France, it was deemed necessary he should go over suddenly and secretly to Ireland for the King’s service, and he accordingly embarked in a small boat, on a stormy day. ‘The master came up to his noble passenger during the voyage, and inquired the hour, and Lord Ormonde, being very anxious to make as quick a passage as possible, told the man an hour later than the real time. The consequence was, that the skipper miscalculated the time of the tide and the boat was wrecked, split in two on the rocks, and Lord Ormonde had to take to the cock-boat, and, finally, to be carried ashore on the shoulders of the seamen. There was no help at hand, for the good people of Havre were all at church, it being a festival. Thus, in consequence of a white lie, told with an excellent motive, the whole crew were nearly drowned, and the delay so great as to endanger the success of the undertaking in which Lord Ormonde was engaged.

We will end a notice, which has had little that is cheerful or exhilarating in its pages, with a repartee which the Duke made to a friend of the family, one Mr. Cottington, who lived near Dublin, and had a pretty house on the sea-shore. The Duke’s third son, Lord Gowran, a most genial and popular member of society, who had given his father much anxiety on account of the laxity of his morals, had presented Mr. Cottington 436with a set of the Ten Commandments to place over the altar in his new chapel at his marine villa. Much delighted, and doubtless edified, by so appropriate a donation, Mr. Cottington expressed his gratification to the Duke, who thus answered him: ‘I think I can guess at the nature of my son’s generosity; he can easily part with things he does not intend to keep!’

No. 9.

Black velvet suit. Battle-axe and armour beside him. His hand rests on a table. Landscape in background.
No. 10.

Black dress. White ruff and cap. Standing by a table, on which
she rests her hand.
No. 11.

Dress of white and gold brocade. Dark bodice. Small ruff. Her hands are clasped.
BORN 1516, SUCCEEDED 1553, DIED 1558.
437No. 12.

In Cardinal’s robes. Sitting in an arm-chair.
BORN 1728, DIED 1784.
By Tintoretto.

IEROME Trento came of a noble family in Padua, and, at the age of eighteen, entered the Order of the Jesuits at Bologna. He was zealous and pious in his calling, and unambitious by nature, although he attained to the honours of the Cardinalate. He died in the performance of his duty, while concluding one of the Lent services in the church of San Leone, at Venice. His posthumous works, treating of religion and morality, were published almost immediately after his death.

No. 13.

He married the daughter of Jarich van Botnia, who was ancestor to Lady Henrietta Auverquerque, daughter of the Earl of Grantham, and first wife to the second Earl Cowper.



No. 1.

In a garden, the eldest in dark satin coat and velvet breeches. His arm round the youngest child, who is standing on a boulder in a white frock. He is also supported by the second brother, dressed in a light-coloured suit. A hat and feathers lying on the ground.

By Sir Joshua Reynolds.

HIS picture was painted for Lord Melbourne, to whom it did not give satisfaction, and he returned it to Sir Joshua. It was engraved by the title of ‘The Affectionate Brothers.’ Peter Leopold, fifth Lord Cowper, bought it from the painter’s executors for £800.

No. 2.

Black suit.
By Bol.
442No. 3.

No. 4.

In armour.
No. 5.

Greenish coat. Red collar. Own hair.
BORN 1728, DIED 1779.
By Himself.

ORN at Aussig, in Bohemia, the second son of Ismael Mengs, a native of Copenhagen, miniature painter to Augustus the Strong, King of Poland. Ismael brought up his boys as painters; he gave them, when quite children, nothing but pencils for playthings, keeping them at work sometimes for sixteen hours a day. After a while the eldest son rebelled against this close application, and made his escape from home, taking refuge with the Jesuits at Prague; but Raphael inherited his father’s love of art, and laboured diligently.

In 1740 Ismael took him to Rome, where the same rigid course of study was enforced; the youth was constantly locked up in the Vatican with his work cut out for him,—to 443copy Raphael, Michael Angelo, or the antique the whole day long, with a loaf of bread and a pitcher of water. On the days passed at home, the father kept his son a prisoner in the same manner, and would go out for hours on his own concerns, with the key of the room in his pocket. These early lessons of industry and application bore ample fruit in the future life of this indefatigable painter. Returning to Dresden, the young man’s miniature copies of Raphael, and some excellent portraits in pastel, pleased King Augustus so much that he appointed Raphael Mengs his Painter-in-Ordinary, with a considerable salary. To his Majesty’s surprise, and the great displeasure of Count Brühl, Raphael declined, on the plea that he was too young for such a post. Rome had great attractions for him, and thither he returned. He painted a ‘Holy Family,’ which gained him much credit, the original of Our Lady being a beautiful girl, Margaret Guazzi by name, the child of poor parents, and as good as she was beautiful. The young painter became a proselyte to the Roman Catholic faith, and married his lovely model, nor had ever cause to repent his choice. He remained at Rome several years, painting assiduously, and studying in the Hospital of San Spirito; it was in obedience to his father’s wishes that he returned to Dresden, with much regret, and was obliged by so doing to forfeit many advantageous commissions. Old Ismael, whose nature was violent and cruel, repaid his son’s devotion by turning him, his wife, and infant child into the streets on some trifling disagreement. The story came to the King’s ears, and he once more offered the rejected post to young Mengs, with an increased salary, a house, and carriage. This time the Royal bounty was accepted with gratitude, for Raphael was now a husband and a father. The King was at that time employed in building the Catholic church at Dresden, where the Royal Family still carry on their separate worship,—it being one of the few (is it not the only?) 444capitals where the Court and the subjects profess a different creed. Raphael Mengs painted the lateral altars, and had a commission for the high altar-piece; but the longing was upon him, in no way singular, to return to Rome, and he pleaded that he would execute the order far better in Italy. He repaired thither, and, after making a copy of the school of Athens for the Earl of Northumberland, he began his altar-piece for Dresden. ‘The Seven Years’ War now broke out, and Augustus was deprived of his electorate, and found himself unable to continue Mengs’s salary. The failure of this income, added to his own improvidence, plunged our artist into poverty; he was obliged to take any orders that offered, and accept any terms proposed, in order to keep the wolf from the door. The fresco which he executed for the monks in the Church of Sant’ Eusebio brought him little pay indeed, but great increase of popularity. He did not carry out a commission he had received from King Augustus to go to Naples and paint the Royal Family, supposing the order to be cancelled; but the Duke of Censano, Neapolitan Minister to the Papacy, urged him to fulfil it, and wrote to Naples, specifying the prices which the now popular painter had received in Saxony. Just as he was starting for Naples, rumours were set afloat which troubled Mengs exceedingly; he was assured that a picture which had been ordered for the Chapel-Royal at Caserta was not required, and that the King and Queen declined to sit to him on account of his prices being reckoned exorbitant. He was perplexed how to act, when the arrival of the Polish Minister from Naples set his mind at rest. Count Lagnasco assured him that the altar-piece for Caserta was daily expected, and that the King and Queen had never demurred at the prices, but were only displeased at the delay. He therefore hastened to Naples, but, on his arrival, found the King and Queen on the eve of embarkation for their new kingdom of Spain, and too much engrossed by their preparations 445to give him sittings. They, however, commanded a portrait of their son Ferdinand, about to ascend the vacant throne of Naples. The jealousy of his brother artists made the fair city insupportable to Mengs, and he again took his way to Rome, where he was very popular, and had plenty of work. He adorned the beautiful Villa Albani with classical frescoes, and painted numerous pictures, chiefly for English and Neapolitan patrons. Charles III., King of Spain, hearing him highly spoken of, now proposed to Raphael Mengs to enter his service, with a large salary, a house, and carriage, and all materials for painting provided; also a free passage for himself and family on a Spanish vessel sailing from Naples.

Mengs accepted, and was kindly received by the King, but soon found he had to encounter the bitter hatred of all the artists in the Spanish capital. Giaquinto, an Italian, who had hitherto enjoyed the Royal favour, was so disgusted at the success of Mengs, that he abandoned the field, and, leaving Spain in dudgeon, returned to his own country. Mengs was now employed in the decoration of the new palace, and painted the Gods of Olympus in the bedchamber of the King, Aurora in that of the Queen, and Morning, Noon, Evening, and Night in the apartments of the Infanta, besides numerous easel pictures.

He was also appointed honorary member of the Academy of St. Ferdinand, where, being desirous of instituting new regulations and bringing about reforms, he provoked much ill-will, and being himself of a hot and hasty temper, bickerings and disagreements ensued without number. Altogether, Raphael Mengs was far from happy during his sojourn at Madrid; the climate was most injurious to his health, which declined daily, yet he never slackened in his toil, but worked unremittingly from dawn till dusk, and often far into the night. He had already despatched his wife and family to Rome, and now asked permission to join them. 446Suffering and melancholy, he proceeded on his solitary way, and was delayed some time at Monaco by increased illness; at length he arrived in his beloved Rome, where the affection of his dear ones and the warmth of the climate partially revived him. He now turned his attention chiefly to sacred subjects, and in loving memory of his favourite Notte di Coreggio in the Dresden Gallery, executed a Nativity on the same plan, where all the light emanated from the Holy Child; introducing his own portrait as one of the adoring shepherds. Pope Clement XIV. gave Mengs a labour of love to perform, and in that light he considered it, for he stipulated that he should receive no payment: this was to decorate the walls of the hall destined for the reception of the papyrus rolls in the Vatican. To work beneath the same roof which his illustrious namesake had sanctified, was indeed a glory!

Although enfeebled in health, Mengs was comparatively content, both in the matter of his residence and his work; but he received a warning from Madrid that his leave of absence had been too long exceeded, and it required all the kind intercession of Don Joseph de Azara, Spanish Envoy at Rome, and Mengs’s great friend, to intercede with the King on this score. At last there was a compromise, Mengs agreeing to go to Naples to paint the portraits of the reigning King and Queen for the gallery at Madrid. But his industry seemed on this occasion to forsake him; when in Naples he was very dilatory over his commission, and spent his time in buying coins and vases to add to his collection; and on his return to Rome he had only finished the heads. Then he had to conclude his work in the Vatican, and take leave of the Pope, who gave him a rosary of lapis-lazuli and a set of medals struck during his Pontificate. So little was Mengs in haste to reach Spain that he stopped by the way at Florence to paint the Grand Duke and Duchess, with many other portraits.

He arrived at Madrid, and recommenced his labours in the 447palace, to the great satisfaction of King Charles; went to Aranjuez, where he worked both in the palaces and the churches; but relapsed into bad health, and became so ill that the kind-hearted monarch would no longer detain him, and sent him back to Rome,—‘with,’ says Sir William Stirling, ‘a stipend far beyond his requirements, and a fame far beyond his merits.’ Charles also settled dowries on the daughters of Raphael Mengs; but alas! he had not been long at home before his good and beautiful wife died; and he strove to console himself by working harder than ever.

The winter was unusually severe, his studio was overheated, and the bad air increased his malady. His frame became emaciated, and his features so ghastly as to attract the notice of every one. One of his pictures, purchased by an Englishman, met with a strange fate: despatched to England by sea, the vessel was taken by a French cruiser, and the picture sent to Paris. Eventually Louis XVI. sent it as a present to the Empress Catherine of Russia.

In spite of the expostulations of his children, Mengs now put himself into the hands of a German quack, and, to follow his directions without opposition, took a lodging by himself, first in Via Condotti, and then in the Gregoriana.

A nun at Narni had lately gained great popularity by selling a decoction of holy jessamines, by which she worked miraculous cures. To a strong dose of this medicine the quack doctor added a still more efficacious dose of antimony, and thus indeed relieved the poor painter from all further suffering, physical or mental. He worked to the last, and died in June 1779, being buried at San Michele, on the Janiculan Hill, followed by the Professors of the Academy of St. Luke. Don Joseph de Azara, knowing his friend’s tastes, erected a cenotaph to his memory, adorned with a bronze portrait, close to the monument of his illustrious namesake and idol, the divine Raphael. By nature Mengs was choleric and melancholy, more 448prone to be ruffled by the petty ills of life than satisfied by his success, which is generally allowed to have been far above his deserts. He was self-willed even to arrogance in his opinions. Finding fault with some Venetian pictures Pope Clement had bought, his Holiness remarked they had been much admired by other artists. ‘Ah,’ replied Mengs, ‘they praise what is above their powers; I despise what is below mine.’

He was severe on other Art writers, and especially on the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds; Azara said he was very truthful, and tells how on one occasion Mengs declared he had never taken a pinch of snuff, though in so doing he would have redeemed a collection of valuable snuff-boxes, the presents of many grandees, from the clutches of the Custom-House officers, who seized them as merchandise. Yet he practised a hoax on his friend Winckelman, and allowed him to publish in his book the description of a ‘Ganymede’ by Mengs, which the painter had passed off on the Professor as an antique. He was a faithful and affectionate husband, a tender and loving father, and gave his children a good education,—but little beside, for, with all the riches he had acquired, he was both extravagant and improvident, and at his death he only left his collections of coins and casts, bequeathed to the King of Spain, and a number of engravings, which were bought by the Empress of Russia. Mengs’s eldest daughter, Anna Maria, was a successful portrait-painter; married to Manuel Salvador Camoni, a member of the Academy of San Fernando, she died at Madrid in 1798. He would not allow his sons to become painters, ‘for,’ said he, ‘if they were inferior to me, I should despise them; if superior, I should be jealous of them.’ One of his sons became a soldier in the service of Spain. Mengs wrote much on the subject of Art, had great command of language, and was a good linguist.

This picture was painted expressly for the third Earl Cowper.

449No. 6.

Dark coat. White cravat.
By Hoppner.
No. 7.

Dark coat. White hair. Red curtain.
By his Son.

OTWITHSTANDING that he exercised the modest trade of a watchmaker in his native town of Plymouth, Northcote boasted of a long pedigree, and maintained that his family was of very good standing in the county. But his pride did not prevent his wishing his son James to follow the same trade, while the young man had set his heart on being a painter. In the notice of the future Royal Academician’s life, we shall find every particular connected with James’s rise to eminence. Among his numerous works, he painted the portrait in question of the father who had done all in his power to thwart his son’s artistic proclivities.

This picture was bought at Northcote’s sale by the fifth Earl Cowper.

450No. 8.

Red gown, bordered with white fur.
BORN 1658, DIED 1744.
By Sir Godfrey Kneller.

HE youngest daughter of Richard Jennings, Esq. of Sundridge, near St. Albans, by the daughter and heir of Sir Gifford Hornhurst. When quite young she went to Court, where her sister Frances (afterwards Lady Tyrconnell) was already remarkable, as much for the laxity of her conduct as for her beauty. Sarah’s features may not have been as regular as those of her sister, but her countenance was most expressive, her complexion beautiful, and the profusion of her fair hair, formed a most attractive combination. Amidst her crowd of adorers, the young, handsome, and insinuating Colonel Churchill stood pre-eminent; he was poor, and by many accused of avarice already, yet he preferred the portionless girl to a rich heiress with a plain face, when the match was suggested to him.

Sarah Jennings was a woman of inordinate ambition and iron will, and she made use of her close friendship with the Princess (afterwards Queen) Anne to rise in the world and push her husband’s fortunes, even before his own distinguished talents had insured his eminence. The tyranny which the high-spirited, hot-tempered Lady of the Bedchamber exercised over her Royal mistress for many years are matters too well known to be here recapitulated. The romantic correspondence between ‘Mrs. Morley’ and ‘Mrs. Freeman,’ showing the 451manner in which Queen Anne, even after her marriage, gave herself up to the dominion of her favourite, until the self-imposed yoke became intolerable, and was suddenly and completely severed, are historical facts bound up with public events. The Duchess of Marlborough was supplanted by her own protégée, Mrs. Masham, and peremptorily dismissed, in spite of ‘rages, prayers, and scenes.’ Voltaire says: ‘Quelques paires de gants qu’elle refusa à la Reine, un verre d’eau qu’elle laissa tomber sur la robe de Madame Masham, changèrent la face de Europe!’—alluding to the political changes which followed the downfall of Sarah. In her latter days her temper became ungovernable; she quarrelled with her husband, her son-in-law, her grandchildren; and on one occasion, when the Duke, wishing to pacify her rage, complimented her on her long fair hair, which was still luxuriant, the furious lady cut it off, and flung it in her husband’s face! At his death a long coil of golden tresses was found in the Duke’s drawer. Sarah survived her husband twenty years, and, in spite of her age (it must be remembered she was very rich), had many suitors, amongst them the Duke of Somerset and Lord Coningsby. To the latter, after reminding him she was sixty-three, she replied: ‘Were I only thirty, and you could lay the world at my feet, I would never bestow on you the heart and hand which belonged exclusively to John, Duke of Marlborough.’

Lady Cowper (the Chancellor’s wife) saw a great deal of the Duchess at Court; they exchanged constant visits, and corresponded, but Lady Cowper had no opinion of her Grace; she describes her trying to make mischief by repeating ill-natured speeches, and goes on to say: ‘She is certainly an ill woman, and does not care what she says of anybody, to wreak her malice or revenge.’

452No. 9.

Peeress’s robes.

HE was the only daughter of Sir Matthew Lamb, and sister to Peniston, first Viscount Melbourne. Married in 1766 Henry Belasyse, second Earl Fauconberg, a Lord of the Bedchamber, and Lord-Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire. They had four daughters, co-heiresses; but the title is extinct.

No. 10.

Man in blue velvet coat, braided.
No. 11.

Dark coat. White cravat.
453No. 12.

Black and gold dress.
BORN 1661, DIED 1724.

TUDIED under the famous Dr. Birch (who boasted of the number of statesmen he had educated), and showed great promise. In 1688 he raised a troop of horse for the service of William of Orange, whom he joined, but who showed him no particular favour. Harley sat in Parliament, but waited for office till 1704, when Queen Anne gave him a seat in the Council, and made him Secretary of State. He was much opposed to Godolphin and Marlborough, and made common cause with the Queen’s new favourite, Mrs. Masham, to overthrow the power of the Whigs.

The Ministers insisted on his dismissal, but Anne stood by him as long as she could; when Harley was compelled to resign, the Queen said to him: ‘You see the unfortunate condition of monarchs,—they are obliged to give up their friends to please their enemies;’ but so high was Anne’s opinion of Harley, that she constantly consulted him on public affairs, when out of office.

On the downfall of the Whig Administration, he was made Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Treasurer.

He was much censured, even by his own party, for some of his financial measures, by which, however, he enriched the Royal coffers. In March 1711, an event happened that made a great noise, and rendered Harley the hero of the day. 454A French adventurer, called Bourlie, or the Marquis de Guiscard and Langalleve, was a shifty individual, who acted first as a spy of England against France, and then of France against England, being in the pay of both. His intrigues were discovered, and he was brought before the Privy Council. Believing that Harley had been instrumental in his detection, he resolved to be revenged. While waiting his turn for examination, he found means to secrete about his person a penknife which was lying on the table, among some papers. No sooner was he brought forward than he rushed in a fury upon Harley, and stabbed him several times, the Minister falling senseless on the ground, covered with blood. A scene of confusion ensued, and the Duke of Buckingham, drawing his sword, wounded the assassin, who was conveyed to Newgate, where he died in a few days, either from the effect of the sword-thrusts, or by his own hand.

The event seemed to have revived Harley’s popularity: both Houses presented an address to the Queen, assuring her that Harley’s loyalty had brought this attack upon him, etc. etc., and when he reappeared in the House, a brilliant reception awaited him; and a Bill was passed making an attempt on the life of a Privy Councillor a felony which deprived the offender of benefit of clergy. In the same year, Robert Harley, being then Lord High Treasurer, was created Baron Wigmore, and Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, and next year he received the Garter, and became Prime Minister of England.

Lords Oxford and Bolingbroke at first worked together to withstand the power of the Opposition, and to bring about the pacification of Europe; and the Peace of Utrecht added to the popularity of the ministerial party. But dissensions arose between Bolingbroke and the Premier, and recriminations and fresh intrigues, in which Mrs. Masham was implicated, all of which belong to England’s political history.

Oxford was deprived of all his offices, and accused of plotting 455in favour of the Pretender. The Queen died, and in 1715 he was sent to the Tower, on an accusation of high treason. He was imprisoned for two years, and on his release gave himself up to the enjoyment of art and literature; he formed a magnificent library, which cost him a fortune, not only from the splendour of the works themselves, but on account of their sumptuous binding. His collection of MSS., called after him the Harleian MSS., which was afterwards greatly increased by his son, is now one of the glories of the British Museum; it was purchased by the Government after the second Lord Oxford’s death.

Few men have been more eulogised on the one hand, and reviled on the other, but he has been unanimously described as a kind patron of men of letters.

It was Harley who brought into operation the measure known to posterity as ‘The South Sea Bubble,’ which entailed ruin on numbers; and in spite of much opposition he also established State lotteries.

Lord Oxford was twice married: first to Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Foley, of Whitley Court, county Worcester, by whom he had one son and two daughters; and secondly, to Sarah, daughter of Thomas Myddleton, Esq., who was childless.

No. 13.

Father of the first Earl of Grantham, grandfather of
Henrietta, wife to the second Earl Cowper.
456No. 14.

Blue gown, trimmed with white lace.
DIED 1740.
By Sir Godfrey Kneller.

HE was the second daughter of the first Earl Cowper, by his second wife, Mary Clavering. She married, in 1731, James Colleton, Esq. of Haynes Hill, county Berks, grandson of Sir James Colleton, Bart.

No. 15.

White gown. Holding a pink scarf.
She was the daughter and heir of John Hedworth, Esq., M.P., wife of Sir Ralph Milbanke, of Halnaby, M.P., and mother of the first Viscountess Melbourne.

457No. 16.

Light-coloured gown. White veil. Scarf. Coaxing her baby, who is seated on a cradle beside her.
DIED 1818.
By Sir Joshua Reynolds.
She was the only daughter of Sir Ralph Milbanke, of Halnaby Hall, county York. In 1769 she married Sir Peniston Lamb, Bart., M.P., who was created Viscount Melbourne in 1770. She was a beautiful young woman of twenty when she first went to London, and took the town by storm. She was as much admired for her vivacity as her beauty, and Sir Joshua Reynolds speaks of her as figuring at one of the fashionable masquerades of the day in domino and tricorne hat, as ‘a pretty fellow’ or maccaroni, with the Duchess of Ancaster and Lady Fordyce, and a charming portrait, in possession of Lord Southampton, represents her in this costume. Lady Melbourne persuaded her husband to buy a house in Piccadilly from Mr. Fox (father of Charles James), who had been a friend of Sir Matthew Lamb, next door to Burlington House, which cost a large sum. Lady Melbourne called it after her husband’s title, and took the greatest delight in furnishing and adorning the interior, on which work she employed Cipriani, Wheatley, the humorous designer Rebecca, and all the best decorative artists of the day. The society was as 458brilliant as the walls which encircled them; and Royalty, fashion, beauty, and talent flocked to the receptions at Melbourne House, whose master, bent on pleasing his beautiful wife, threw open his gates with lavish hospitality. Sir Joshua was an intimate, as well as a general guest, and thus had many opportunities of studying the form and features which he afterwards immortalised in the picture that heads this notice. It was painted in 1770, just after Sir Peniston Lamb’s elevation to the peerage and the birth of his eldest son.

No sooner was the London house completed, than Lady Melbourne turned her attention to the embellishment of her husband’s country seat in Hertfordshire, where, in company with her chosen friend, Mrs. Damer (alike charming as a woman and an artist), she planned and arranged the internal decorations of Brocket Hall. Wheatley was again called in, and, with the assistance of Mortimer, painted the ceilings with allegorical subjects. The two ladies were also much addicted to the pastime of private theatricals, as was their mutual friend, the beautiful Duchess of Devonshire; while such names as Sheridan, Fox, Horace Walpole, and other celebrities, figured as actors and authors in Lady Melbourne’s company. It was here, doubtless, that Lord Egremont (then a youth) imbibed that love of art, and that taste for the society of artists, which made him so noble and munificent a patron, to the end of a long life. He was a great friend of the Melbournes, and loved to see his ‘three young lambs’ gambolling over the greensward in his spacious park at Petworth.

Lady Melbourne was very popular with the Royal Family, and one day the Duke of York called on her, and in the course of conversation became very enthusiastic in his admiration of Melbourne House. He confessed he was weary of his own at Whitehall, and would gladly move 459into her neighbourhood. The lady laughed, and said, for her part, she often wished to exchange the chimes of St. James’s Church for those of Westminster Abbey; and they talked on, half jestingly, half in earnest, till the possibility of an exchange of residence was mooted. It appeared strange, but perhaps the amateur house-decorator was lured by the prospect of new walls to beautify, fresh fields to conquer. Before the Duke took his leave, he had gained her Ladyship’s promise to discuss the subject with her husband: ‘For you know, dear Lady Melbourne, you always have your way with everybody, especially with my Lord.’

His Royal Highness was right: if Lord Melbourne raised any objection at first, it was soon overcome; the consent of the Crown was gained, the bargain was struck, the house at Whitehall became Melbourne House, and the residence in Piccadilly, York House, afterwards changed to the Albany, where, in the oldest portion and principal apartments of that paradise of bachelors, the decorations of Cipriani and his colleagues may still be admired.

All contemporary writers speak of Lady Melbourne as a leader of fashion and an ornament of society; Horace Walpole, in particular, alludes to her frequently, ‘in wonderful good looks,’ at the Prince of Wales’s birthday ball at Carlton House, and again at the French Ambassador’s, where it was so hot he was nearly stewed, but ‘the quadrilles were surprisingly pretty, especially that one in which Lady Melbourne, Lady Sefton, and Princess Czartorisky figured, in blue satin and gold, with collars mounted à la reine Elizabeth.

In 1805 her eldest son died; but the mother seems to have been consoled by the promise of future greatness shown by her second son, William, who early evinced a taste for public life, which harmonised with Lady Melbourne’s views. She took a great interest in political affairs, was a staunch Whig, and at the time of Charles Fox’s famous election, she displayed as 460much zeal and enthusiasm as her rival beauty, the Duchess of Devonshire. William Lamb’s marriage with the daughter of Lord Bessborough, which enlarged his connection with all the principal Whig families, was a source of great pleasure to Lady Melbourne. It was a pity, with her political predilections, she did not survive to see her favourite son and her daughter’s second husband each rise to the coveted position of Prime Minister of England.

We have no authority for stating in what light Lady Melbourne viewed her daughter-in-law’s infatuation for Lord Byron; but we know, from his own letters, that he entertained a great admiration for herself. He had never met with so charming a woman. ‘If she had only been some years younger, what a fool she would have made of me!’ With her he kept up unvarying friendly relations during all the vicissitudes of his love and hate passages with Lady Caroline. One day he called on Lady Melbourne, and asked her advice and sympathy. She was a model confidante, and had once given it as her opinion, that few men could be trusted with their neighbours’ secrets, and scarcely any woman with her own. Byron assured her he was wearied with his way of life, that he wished to marry and reform, and settle down at Newstead, and asked if she would assist him in his choice of a wife. Lady Melbourne smiled, and said she thought she knew of the very woman to suit him—her near kinswoman, Miss Milbanke, daughter of Sir Noel Milbanke, heiress to a large fortune, and a peerage in her own right, as Lady Wentworth,—no great beauty, but not uncomely, well brought up, well educated, and amiable. Byron was quite satisfied, but, as may be expected, when Lady Caroline heard of it, she was furious. ‘The girl has a bad figure, is given to statistics, and goes regularly to church,—a pretty wife for a poet!’ The lady refused the man, of whose moral character she had heard a sorry account; but he persisted, and the marriage took place 461in 1816,—an ill-fated union, as might have been expected, a fact but too well known. Lady Melbourne’s health began to fail; she drooped gradually, till one day the sentence was pronounced in her hearing—she had but a short time to live. She heard the announcement with calmness, took an affectionate leave of those she loved, and addressed some parting admonitions to her beloved William, which he never forgot. Lady Melbourne died on the 6th April 1818, at Whitehall, and was buried at Hatfield Church. Her son Frederick was absent from England at the time.

This portrait was brought from Brocket, where it once hung at the end of the ball-room. It was engraved by the title of ‘Maternal Affection.’

No. 17.

White gown. Blue bows. Crop of fair hair.
BORN 1788, DIED 1828.
By Hoppner.

HE was the only daughter of the first Earl of Bessborough, by Lady Henrietta Spencer, daughter of the first Earl Spencer. She was in Italy when a child, with her mother, but, on their return to England, Lady Bessborough being in very delicate health, Lady Caroline was intrusted for a time to the care of her aunt, the beautiful Duchess of Devonshire. Throughout her life she kept a diary, and she gives a detailed record of her early days at Devonshire 462House. The children saw very little of their elders, and were brought up with a strange mixture of luxury and laxity. The nursery table was covered with dainties, and served with goodly plate, but the young lords and ladies were allowed to run wild backwards and forwards between the servants’ apartments in search of sweetmeats and ‘goodies.’ Caroline’s education was little cared for, her knowledge circumscribed, and she only believed in two classes of society,—aristocrats and beggars. At ten years old she could scarcely write, and could not spell at all; but she composed verses, ‘which were pronounced splendid in the family, and everybody petted me, especially my cousin Hartington (afterwards Duke of Devonshire), who was my constant companion. My chief delight consisted in polishing my specimens of Derbyshire spar, washing my dog, and breaking in a pony.’ Caroline was transferred from Devonshire to Spencer House, to live with her grandmother, and the change did not suit her small ladyship. ‘How well I remember the grand housekeeper, in a hoop and ruffles, who presided over seventy servants.’ Under Lady Spencer’s roof, of whom the poet Cowper speaks so highly, and to whom Horace Walpole, with his usual sneer, alludes as ‘the goddess of wisdom,’ it may be imagined the girl was subjected to a discipline which was so different from the liberty of Devonshire House that she soon broke out into open rebellion. ‘I was indeed very naughty, and used to give way to such paroxysms of rage that a physician was called in. Dr. Warren forbade all study, and desired that my brain should lie fallow. I believe he feared for my reason. I was very fond of music, and cried when I had to give it up. My governess was too severe, my relations too indulgent.’ It was not until Lady Caroline was fifteen that she tried to make up for lost time. As regarded her education, she showed great aptitude for languages,—French, Italian, Latin, ‘and I had even mastered enough Greek to enable me to enjoy a classical play, when 463taken to speech-day at Harrow, where my brother was at school.’ She could recite an ode of Sappho to admiring listeners at Devonshire or Spencer House, and was much praised and petted. She piqued herself on her unconventionality, and would plunge into intimacy, or manifest her aversion in the most unequivocal manner. Among the frequent guests at Spencer House was William Lamb, the second son of Lord Melbourne. It would seem strange that the vigilance of the young lady’s relations should not have been awakened by the growing intimacy between her and the captivating younger son. Well bred, well born, with a ringing laugh and an inexpressible charm, which never forsook him in advanced life amid the turmoil of politics, William Lamb had everything to recommend him but a birthright,—and had it not been settled in the family that Caroline was to make a brilliant marriage? Lady Caroline, who loved to record her own adventures, writes to her friend and confidante, Lady Morgan, not very long before her death, recalling her past life: ‘I fell in love, when only twelve years old, with a friend of Charles Fox,—a friend of liberty, whose poems I had read, whose self I had never seen, and, when I did see him, at thirteen, could I change? I was more attached than ever. William Lamb was beautiful, and far the cleverest person then about, the most daring in his opinions, in his love of liberty and independence. He thought of me but as a child; yet he liked me much. Afterwards he wished to marry me, and I refused him because of my temper.’ In another letter she says: ‘I was a fury. He asked me a second time, and this time he was not refused, for I adored him.’ The lady’s relations were reconciled to the match, possibly influenced in some slight degree by the consideration that William Lamb had become heir to a large fortune and a peerage, in consequence of the death of his elder brother.

Marriages never come single in a family. Lamb’s sister 464Emily was already engaged, and in the year 1805, within a month of each other, the brother was united to Lady Caroline Ponsonby, and the sister to Lord Cowper. Mr. Lamb and his wife passed the early days of their married life between Brocket (Lord Melbourne’s) and Panshanger (Lord Cowper’s) Houses in Hertfordshire; and when the London season began, Lady Caroline contributed not a little to the former attractions of Melbourne House, where she and her husband took up their abode. Society was at variance as to the bride’s merits; her eccentricities amused many of the guests, and affronted others,—for some people are indignant when merely called upon to stare at what is said to them. The Prince of Wales, an habitué of Melbourne House, was one of those who encouraged Lady Caroline in her wayward and wilful moods; her startling speeches, her flighty coquetry, her sudden quarrels, and as sudden reconciliations, whether with her husband or any other member of the community, were a great source of amusement to his Royal Highness. Miss Berry speaks of meeting the Prince at Lady Caroline Lamb’s in the year 1808. She says in her Diary: ‘It was an immense assembly. We came away at half-past twelve, and had to walk beyond the Admiralty to our carriage. Many of the company did not leave till past three; the Prince of Wales had supped below, in Lady Melbourne’s apartments, and remained till past six. Sheridan was there, and quite drunk.’ It would appear by these remarks that Lady Melbourne had vacated a suite of apartments in favour of her daughter-in-law, who received on her own account, as in another passage in Miss Berry’s correspondence there is mention, ‘I am going to Lady Caroline Lamb’s to-night. She gives a party, to be convenient for hearing what is going on, about this famous motion in the House of Peers.’ But Lady Caroline was of too romantic a turn of mind to be absorbed by politics; she had always some small flirtation on hand, and her admirers were frequently 465under age. We read in the Life of the late Lord Lytton some very early passages between him and this mature object of his adoration,—assignations entered into, notes passing clandestinely, engagements to dance broken off and renewed with playful inconstancy. Excitement, even on so small a scale, seemed necessary to the lady’s existence; she would have been bored to death without it. The novelist admired his goddess enough to put her in print, and describes the compassion she displayed one day, when, finding a beggar who had met with an accident, she insisted on his being lifted, rags and all, into the carriage beside her, when she drove the cripple to his destination.

But a luminary was about to appear on the horizon, which was destined to eclipse all lesser lights. Here is her own account of her first acquaintance with Lord Byron: ‘Rogers, who was one of my adorers, and extolled me up to the skies, said to me one evening, “You must know the new poet.” He offered to lend me the proofs of Childe Harold to read. That was enough for me. Rogers said, “He has a club foot, and bites his nails.” I said, “If he were as ugly as Æsop I must know him.” Lady Westmoreland had met Byron in Italy; she undertook to present him. I looked earnestly at him, and turned on my heel,’—conduct which the poet afterwards reproached her with. London had gone mad about him. All the ladies were pulling caps for him. He said once ostentatiously: ‘The women positively suffocate me.’ That night the entry in Lady Caroline’s Diary was—‘Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.’ She declared at first she had no intention of attracting him, but she confesses how she had come in from riding one windy, rainy day, all muddy and dishevelled, and had been conversing with Moore and Rogers in that plight, when Byron was announced, and she flew out of the room to beautify herself. ‘Lord Byron wished to come and see me at eight o’clock, when I was alone. That was my 466dinner-hour. I said he might. From that moment, for many months, he almost lived at Melbourne House.’

Lord Hartington, Lady Caroline’s favourite cousin, expressed a wish to have some dancing of an evening at Whitehall, as his stepmother (Lady Elizabeth Foster) objected to anything of the kind at Devonshire House, and accordingly for a time the drawing-room at Melbourne House was turned into a ball-room. But as Lord Byron’s lameness cut him off from the quadrilles and waltzes, this arrangement did not suit him, and his word being law with Lady Caroline, the dancing was soon discontinued. It was a strange flirtation between the poet and the poetaster. The lady would lie awake half the night composing verses, which she would repeat the next day to the great man, in the fond hope of a few crumbs of praise, a commodity of which Byron was very sparing, he being a great deal more taken up with giving utterance to his own effusions. Lady Caroline was often mortified, Lord Byron often wearied,—at least so it would appear. Lord Holland came up to them one evening as they were sitting side by side as usual, with a silver censer in his hand. ‘I am come,’ he said, ‘Lady Caroline, to offer you your due.’ ‘By no means,’ she returned in a tone of pique; ‘pray give it all to Lord Byron. He is so accustomed to incense that he cannot exist without it.’

A recent biography describes the situation well when it says: ‘He grew moody, and she fretful, when their mutual egotisms jarred.’ William Lamb’s wife was certainly not formed to make home happy. One day she extolled his generosity and lack of jealousy; another, she accused him of apathy and indifference with regard to her flirtations. Her conduct was marked by alternate tenderness and ill-temper: there could be no doubt of her affection for her invalid boy, yet her treatment of him was spasmodic and fitful,—now devoted, now neglectful. More than once a separation had 467been agreed upon, and Mr. Lamb had even gone so far as to forbid his wife the house, and believed she was gone. He went to his own room, locked himself in, and sat brooding over his troubles. It was growing late, when he was attracted by the well-known sound of scratching at the door, and he rose to let in his favourite dog. But lo! the intruder was no other than his wife, who, crouching on the floor, had made use of this stratagem to gain admittance. Half indignant, half amused, he did not long resist the glamour which this eccentric woman knew how to throw around him. Peace was restored for a short time, but not for long; another explosion, a violent domestic quarrel, occurred one night in London. Lady Caroline went out, called a hackney coach, and in her evening dress—a white muslin frock, blue sash, and diamond necklace—drove to the house of a physician, whom she scarcely knew. She describes with great unction the surprise and admiration of the assembled guests, ‘who took me for a child, and were surprised at my fine jewels.’

It was her cherished vanity to be taken for a young unmarried girl. Her relations were much alarmed at her disappearance. Lady Spencer sent to Lord Byron’s house, who disclaimed all knowledge of the truant. After creating a great excitement in the good doctor’s drawing-room, the lady returned home, to enjoy another scene and another reconciliation. Her mother, Lady Bessborough, who was in very delicate health, was deeply concerned at her daughter’s conduct, the conjugal quarrels, and the intimacy with Lord Byron, which was so much talked of in the world. ‘Poor dear mamma was miserable; she prevailed on me at length to go to Ireland with her and papa.’ On their departure, Lord Byron wrote to his dearest Caroline a most peculiar letter, abounding, indeed, in high-flown protestations, assuring her he was hers only, hers entirely; that he would with pleasure give up everything for her, both here and beyond the grave; 468that he was ready to fly with her, when and whenever she might appoint, etc.; at the same time reminding her of her duty to her husband and her mother—a most wonderful mixture of false sentiment and shallow feeling, which could only have deceived one so blinded as the recipient. ‘Byron continued to write to me while I was in Ireland. His letters were tender and amusing. We had arrived at Dublin, on our way home, when my mother brought me a letter from him,—such a letter!—I have published it in Glenarvon. It was sealed with a coronet, but neither the coronet nor the initials were his; they were Lady Oxford’s.’ Lady Caroline was beside herself with rage and jealousy; she fell ill. They were detained at ‘a horrid little inn’ at Rock. She arrived in England in the most excited frame of mind. Byron complains of her proceedings, which were of a most melodramatic nature; she went to see him, dressed as a page; she vowed she would stab herself, and wished some one would kill him;—‘in short,’ says the poet, ‘the Agnus is furious; you can have no idea what things she says and does, ever since the time that I (really from the best motives) withdrew my homage. She actually writes me letters threatening my life.’ We have no reference at hand to note when these lines were written, but we believe after his marriage:—

‘They’ll tell thee, Clara, I have seemed
Of late another’s charms to woo,
Nor sighed nor frowned as if I deemed
That thou wert vanished from my view.
Clara, this struggle to undo
What thou hast done too well for me,
This mask before the babbling crowd,
This treachery, is truth to thee,’—
a peculiar and ambiguous form of reasoning, by which it appeared Lady Caroline was not convinced.

Byron’s well-known stanzas, ‘Farewell! if ever fondest 469prayer,’ were said to have been addressed to Lady Caroline when he left England for ever, having quarrelled with his wife as well as with his friend. The poem was not calculated to conciliate the lady, and it was not long before she heard from a third person that Byron had spoken slightingly of her to Madame de Staël and others. She accordingly sat down, and wrote him a long account of the childish revenge she had taken, by burning his effigy in a bonfire, with her own hands.

In her Diary she gives a touching account of her useless endeavours to pique or persuade her poor boy into cheerfulness, and how, when he saw her look of disappointment, he would come and sit beside her, take her hand, and look wistfully into her face. She had consulted many physicians, she said, and now she would consult a metaphysician. Some time ago she had met Godwin, the author, and taken one of her sudden fancies for him. She now sat down and asked him to come and pay her a visit at Brocket; she wished to have some conversation with him about her son, and indeed about her own unsettled and discontented state of mind. ‘When I saw you last under painful circumstances, you said it rested with myself to be happy. I fear you can only think of me with contempt. My mind is overpowered with trifles. Would you dislike paying me a little visit? I hold out no allurements; if you come, it can only be from friendship. I have no longer the excuse of youth and inexperience for being foolish, yet I remain so. I want a few wise words of advice. No one is more sensible of kindness from a person of high intellect. I have such an over-abundance of activity, and nothing to do. I feel as if I had lived five hundred years, and am neither better nor worse than when I began. I conduce to no one’s happiness; on the contrary, I am in the way of many. All my beliefs and opinions are shaken as with small shocks of moral earthquake; it is as if I were in a boat without chart or compass.’ Surely she was not wise in her selection of a navigator.

470Godwin obeyed the summons, but, as might have been expected, brought no consolation in his train. Lady Caroline would often in her correspondence eulogise her husband in very high terms, and call him her guardian angel, and there is no doubt she was proud of him; but his very forbearance and good-humour were often a source of irritation, and she would upbraid him with treating her as a child, though, in reality, nothing flattered her more than to be so considered, and in some of her early caricatures (for she often amused herself in that way) she represents herself carried about in Mr. Lamb’s arms as a little girl. Her father-in-law, easy-going as he was, blamed her for her extravagance, and called her ‘her laviship.’ ‘Indeed I think I am a good housewife,’ she writes to Lady Morgan, ‘and have saved William money; but he says, “What is the use of saving with one hand if you scatter with the other?” What is the use—that is what I am always saying—what is the use of existing at all?’

This unwholesome excitement tended to increase the natural irascibility of her character. In her Diary she records petty quarrels with her servants and other inmates of the house. She at length took to authorship as a consolation, and gives an odd account of the manner in which her literary labours were carried on. She had a companion, who began by acting as her amanuensis, but after a time she decided on having an expert copyist. Even so commonplace an arrangement must be carried out in a melodramatic manner. She wrote the book, unknown to all, except to Miss Welsh, in the middle of the night. ‘I sent for old Woodhead to Melbourne House. I dressed Miss Welsh elegantly, and placed her at my harp, while I sat at the writing-table, disguised in the page’s clothes. The copyist naturally took Miss Welsh for Lady Caroline, and expressed his astonishment that a schoolboy of that age (I looked about fourteen) could be the author of Glenarvon. Next time he came I received him in my 471own clothes, and told him William Ormond, the young author, was dead. When the book was finished, I sent it to ‘William, who was delighted.’ (Query.) Glenarvon disappointed the public, not so much on account of its literary shortcomings, which might have been anticipated, but from its lack of sufficient allusions to the separation of Lord and Lady Byron, though there was no scarcity of abuse of the hero. The story was too feeble and vapid to cause much sensation, yet the authoress found publishers willing to accept further works from the same pen, and Graham Hamilton and Ada Reis followed.

Lord Byron, writing from Venice, speaking of Glenarvon, says: ‘I have seen nothing of the book but the motto from my “Corsair”:—

“He left a name to all succeeding times
Linked with one virtue and a thousand crimes.”
If such be the posy, what must the ring be?—the generous moment selected for the publication! I have not a guess at the contents.’ A little while after, Madame de Staël lent him the book, when he went to see her at Coppet. ‘It seems to me that if the author had told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, the romance would not only have been more romantic, but more interesting. The likeness is not good; I did not sit long enough.’

Besides her novels, Lady Caroline sent contributions to Annuals and Magazines, breathing eternal love and dire remorse:—

“Weep for what thou’st lost, love,
Weep for what thou’st won,
Weep for what thou didst not do,
And more for what thou’st done.”
She often amused herself by setting her own compositions to music very prettily.

We are not told in what manner Lady Caroline received 472the tidings of Byron’s death, but we have a detailed account of her driving one summer’s day on the Great North Road, not far from Brocket, in an open carriage, accompanied by her husband, when, at a turn in the road, they came upon a long and melancholy procession. It proved to be the funeral of a peer, from the fact that the hearse was preceded by a horseman bearing a coronet on a cushion. The lady stopped her carriage and asked the question whose funeral it was. ‘We are taking Lord Byron to Newstead to be buried,’ was the reply. The shock was terrible. Lady Caroline reached home, more dead than alive, and fell into a species of trance, from which the waking was slow and tedious. She would sit for hours with her hands clasped on her lap, silent and listless; and it was long before she could be prevailed on to resume her usual occupations, or busy herself with her books, music, or drawing. When the invalid was a little better, change of air and scene was prescribed, and she was sent abroad. She wrote from Paris to Lady Morgan, asking her to look in a cabinet, in a certain room at Melbourne House, where she would find a miniature[5] of Lord Byron: ‘Pray send it me without delay.’ Coming back to England, she again took up her abode at Brocket, where her husband often visited her, although his official and Parliamentary duties were a sufficient reason for his residing mostly in London. When he went over to Ireland as Chief Secretary, he kept up a regular correspondence with his wife (now a confirmed invalid), and with those to whose care she was consigned. In Dublin he was a frequent visitor at the house of Lady Morgan, who was much attached to Lady Caroline, to give her news of his wife’s health, or show her some of the letters he received from Brocket,—such, for instance, as, ‘My dearest William,—Since I wrote last I have been a great 473sufferer. Tapping is a dreadful sensation, it turns me so deadly cold and sick…. But everybody is so good to me. All the members of both our families, Emily, and Caroline have been to see me, and the whole county has called to inquire. My dear brother, too, has been with me, and is coming again. He reads to me, which is so soothing; but what pleased me most of all was your dear letter, in which you said you loved me and forgave me.’

5. Lady Caroline Lamb bequeathed this portrait to Lady Morgan, at whose death it was sold by auction.

In proportion as her bodily health failed, so did the sufferer become more and more gentle, patient, and grateful for kindness. The evil spirit had been cast out. She grew so much worse that it was deemed advisable to remove her to London for the benefit of medical advice. On the 26th of January 1828, Lady Morgan received a letter from Mr. William Ponsonby (afterwards Lord De Mauley), to announce his sister’s death. ‘From the beginning of her illness,’ he says, ‘she had no expectation of recovery, and only felt anxious to live long enough to see Mr. Lamb once again. In this she was gratified, and was still able to converse with him, and enjoy his society. But for the past three days it was apparent that her strength was rapidly declining, and on Sunday night, at about nine o’clock, she expired without a struggle. A kinder or more tender heart never ceased to beat, and it was a great consolation to her and to us that her mind was fully prepared and reconciled to the awful change. She viewed the near approach of death with calmness, and during her long and severe sufferings her patience never forsook her, or her affectionate consideration for those around her. Mr. Lamb has felt and acted as I knew he would on this sad occasion.’

The friendship of the brothers-in-law had never been interrupted. Although fully prepared for a great change in his wife’s appearance, William Lamb was more shocked than he expected to be. The short time that intervened between his return and her death was marked by tenderness on his 474part and affection on hers; and in after years the widower always spoke of ‘Caroline’ with gentleness and forbearance.

Lady Morgan thus describes her friend’s appearance: ‘A slight tall figure, dark lustrous eyes, with fair hair and complexion; a charming voice, sweet, low, caressing, which exercised a wonderful influence over most people. She was eloquent also, but had only one subject—herself. She was the slave of imagination and of impulse.’

No. 18.

Brown coat. White cravat.
He was a man of letters, a friend of Lord Chancellor Cowper.

No. 19.

Two in armour. One in a velvet coat.
By Anne Seymour Dawson Damer.

N the notice of Lady Melbourne we have alluded to that lady’s taste for private theatricals, tableaux vivants, and other dramatic entertainments, and to the merry meetings on those festive occasions. This sketch is an interesting record of one such. Lady Melbourne knew where to select talent and beauty: the Duchess of Devonshire, daughter of the first Earl Spencer, by Georgina, daughter of Stephen Poyntz, Esq. of Midgham, near Newbury, was a beauty, a wit, and, above all, a politician. A tribute was once paid to her charms, to our mind, better worth remembering than the widespread story, so often told, so often delineated, in the caricatures of the day, of how her Grace bartered a kiss to a butcher, in exchange for his vote in favour of the fair Whig’s political idol, Charles James Fox. The anecdote to which we give the preference is as follows: One day, when proceeding to the poll, the crowd was so dense, and the mob pressed so heavily against the coach panels, that her Grace, usually so fearless, became 476alarmed, and, stretching out her fair head, she requested a rough and shabby member of the community to keep back a little, and induce the others to do the same. The man, an undoubted Irishman, stared at the charming vision for a moment, with his short pipe suspended between his fingers, and then burst forth, ‘God bless yer, and that I shall, and anything else in life, so as I may light my pipe at your eyes.’

Lady Melbourne was also a beauty, as her many portraits show, without the testimony of posthumous fame, and her features were decidedly more regular than those of her captivating friend. Mrs. Damer was also much admired, and in such circumstances we can easily imagine what prettily turned compliments were paid, what flattering contrasts drawn, between these three bewitching witches, who met, and met again, not on a ‘blasted heath,’ but in the sylvan shades of Brocket, and the midnight hags whom Shakespeare drew, ‘so wizen, and so wild in their attire’!

The artist, Anne Seymour, was the daughter of the Hon. Hugh Seymour Conway, brother of the Marquis of Hertford. She married, in 1767, the Hon. John Damer, eldest son of the first Lord Milton. The union was far from happy, and in 1776 the eccentric and restless-minded husband shot himself. Mrs. Damer, who had no children to engross her time and thoughts, now gave herself up to the study and enjoyment of art, for which purpose she travelled in Italy, France, and Spain, mastering the languages of the countries through which she passed; and, benefiting by the treasures of painting and sculpture which they afforded her, she became a proficient with her brush and her chisel, and executed many admirable works, too numerous to be mentioned, being a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy. In politics Mrs. Damer emulated her friends, Lady Melbourne and the Duchess of Devonshire, being a staunch Whig, while on the boards of Brocket and White Hall she displayed much talent as an 477actress. When her cousin and friend, Lord Orford, died, he bequeathed Strawberry Hill to her, with a handsome annual sum for its maintenance, and there she lived for some years. In 1828 she died at her house in Upper Brook Street, and, by her own desire, was buried at Sundridge. Her sculptor’s tools and apron, together with the ashes of a favourite dog, were placed with her in her coffin.