« AnteriorContinuar »
met, they too often part without any conclusion. He has copied
Fénelon more than Fontenelle'. 17 When they were first published they were kindly commended
by the Critical Reviewers', and poor Lyttelton · with humble gratitude returned, in a note which I have read, acknowledgements which can never be proper, since they must be paid either
for flattery or for justice *. 18 When, in the latter part of the last reign, the inauspicious
commencement of the war made the dissolution of the ministry unavoidable, Sir George Lyttelton, losing with the rest his employment, was recompensed with a peerage 5 ; and rested from
political turbulence in the House of Lords. 19 His last literary production was his History of Henry the
• Lyttelton mentions both writers Walpole wrote in 1781: _"“Poor in his Preface. Fontenelle's Dialogues Lyttelton” were the words of offence. des Morts was published in 1683 and Mrs. Vesey sounded the trumpet. It Fénelon's in 1712. In Dialogue xiv. has not, I believe, produced any first ed. p. 134, Lyttelton wrote of altercation, but at a blue-stocking Voltaire : -Even his exile, I fear, meeting held by Lady Lucan, Mrs. has not taught him enough to curb Montagu and Dr. Johnson kept at the excesses of his wit.' Voltaire different ends of the chamber, and wrote a letter to him complaining of set up altar against altar there.' this and other statements, and signed Letters, viii. 16. himself :-'Gentleman of the King's W. W. Pepys, writing to Mrs. Chamber. At my Castle of Ferney, Montagu, lamented that our dear and in Burgundy. Éuvres, l. 543. For respectable friend should be handed Horace Walpole's ridicule of this down to succeeding generations under subscription see his Letters, iii. 380. the appellation of poor Lyttelton.' Lyttelton published Voltaire's letter John. Misc. ii. 417. in Gent. Mag. 1761, p. 54. For his In the first edition, 'returned his own answer see Rebecca Warner's acknowledgements in a note which I Original Letters, p. 282.
have read; acknowledgements either . The writers in The Critical Re- for flattery or justice.' view. They are for supporting the For Boswell's defence of the pracconstitution both in Church and tice see Boswell's Johnson, iv. 57, State,' said Johnson. Boswell's John and for Macaulay's breaking through son, iii. 32." See also ib. ii. 39. The Johnson's rule see his Life, 1877, ii. scope of the Review was to decry any 124. work that appeared favourable to the 5.Nov. 13, 1756. Mr. Legge reprinciples of the Revolution.' HORACE turns to be Chancellor of the ExWALPOLE, Memoirs of the Reign of chequer, and Sir George Lyttelton is George II, iii. 260. Lyttelton, a Whig, indemnified with a peerage.' H. dreaded a hostile criticism. Smollett WALPOLE, Letters, iii. 44. moreover was the editor, who had On Nov. 25 Lyttelton wrote to his grossly libelled him. The reviewer brother :-'My good friends were says that 'the hand of a master is pleased to say they would annihilate visible in every page.' Critical Re. me; but my annihilation is a Peerview, May, 1760, p. 390.
age given me by the King, with the 3 See ante, DRYDEN, 40, for 'poor most gracious expressions of favour.' Dryden,' and post, LYTTELTON, Ap- Phillimore, ii. 537. See ante, West, pendix BB.
Second', elaborated by the searches and deliberations of twenty years, and published with such anxiety as only vanity can dictate
The story of this publication is remarkable. The whole work 20 was printed twice over, a great part of it three times, and many sheets four or five times. The booksellers paid for the first impression ; but the charges and repeated operations of the press were at the expence of the author, whose ambitious accuracy is known to have cost him at least a thousand pounds.
He began to print in 1755. Three volumes appeared in 1764 }, a second edition of them in 1767, a third edition in 1768, and the conclusion in 1771
Andrew Reid', a man not without considerable abilities, and 21 not unacquainted with letters or with life, undertook to persuade Lyttelton, as he had persuaded himself, that he was master of the secret of punctuation"; and, as fear begets credulity, he was
' Lyttelton, as he told Doddridge passions than Burn's Justice of Peace. in 1747, wrote the History 'to expose WALPOLE, Letters, viii. 16. a false religion which is every day 2 The Critical Review, 1767, i. 81, gaining ground in this kingdom; ... spoke highly of it. 'Mr. Murphy by the account of that reign in which said he understood it was kept back the spirit of Popery discovers itself in several years for fear of Smollett.' all its deformity.' Phillimore, i. 381. Boswell's Johnson, iii. 33.
BOSWELL. I rather think, Sir, * Lyttelton was equally in dread of that Toryism prevails in this reign. present and future critics, which made JOHNSON. I know not why you his works so insipid that he had better should think so, Sir. You see your not have written them at all,' WALfriend Lord Lyttelton, a nobleman, is POLE, Letters, v. 500. obliged in his History to write the 3 The first notice of them is in most vulgar Whiggism.' Boswell's 1767, both in Gent. Mag. p. 319, and Johnson, ii. 221. See also ib. ii. 37 Ann. Reg. ii. 266. 1767, not 1764, for Johnson's talk with George III was the year of publication. about the book.
Walpole wrote of it on Dec. 14, Hume wrote to Adam Smith on 1771:_ It is so crowded with clouds July 14, 1767 :
—Have you read Lord of words, and they are so uninterestLyttelton? Do you not admire his ing, that I think one may dispute, as Whiggery and his Piety; Qualities metaphysicians do, whether all the so useful both for this World and the space is a plenum or a vacuum.' next?' Hume MSS. in the Royal Letters, v. 356. Society, Edinburgh.
5 He edited The Present State of 'For the first article [in Mémoires the Republick of Letters (ante, POPE, littéraires de la Grande Bretagne), 189 n. 1) from 1728–36. Brit. Níus. Lyttelton's History of Henry 11, I Cata, must own myself responsible; but Johnson said 'that Lyttelton emthe public has ratified my judgment ployed a man to point his History for of that voluminous work, in which him; as if (laughing) another man sense and learning are not illuminated could point his sense better than by a ray of genius.' GIBBON, Me- himself. Boswell's Johnson, iii. 32. moirs, p. 173.
Byron wrote to John Murray :His Henry II raises no 'Do you know any one who can stop--
employed, I know not at what price, to point the pages of Henry the Second. The book was at last pointed and printed, and sent into the world. Lyttelton took money for his copy', of which, when he had paid the Pointer, he probably gave the rest
away; for he was very liberal to the indigent. 22 When time brought the History to a third edition, Reid was
either dead or discarded ; and the superintendence of typography and punctuation was committed to a man originally a combmaker, but then known by the style of Doctor Something uncommon was probably expected, and something uncommon was at last done ; for to the Doctor's edition is appended, what the
world had hardly seen before, a list of errors in nineteen pages 3. 23 But to politicks and literature there must be an end. Lord
Lyttelton had never the appearance of a strong or of a healthy man; he had a slender uncompacted frame, and a meagre face * : he lasted, however, sixty years, and was then seized with his last illness. Of his death a very affecting and instructive account has been given by his physicians, which will spare me the task of his moral character 6
I mean point-commas and so forth? his person so ill-made, and his carriage for I am, I hear, a sad hand at your so awkward, that every feature was a punctuation.' Byron's Works, Letters blemish, every limb an encumbrance, and Journals, ed. R. E. Prothero, and every motion a disgrace; but as 1898, ii. 252.
disagreeable as was his figure, his For Jeffrey's 'attending to the very voice was still more so.' LORD commas and colons' in the proof- HERVEY, Memoirs, i. 433. sheets of Macaulay's England see In the lines beneath a caricature Cockburn's Jeffrey, i. 402.
he is described as 'so long, so lank, 1 Wilkes wrote on June 22, 1767:- so lean, and bony. Boswell's John'I hear that he has received £3,000 son, v. 285 n. for his History, which is in two small s The physician was Dr. James quartos.
Wilkes's Corres. 1805, iii. Johnstone, of Kidderminster, father of 150.
Dr. John Johnstone, of Birmingham, · In the first edition,'Dr. Saunders.' editor of Parr's Works. The letter,
For an instance of these errors dated May 26, 1773, was written to see Boswell's Johnson, iii. 33 n. Mrs. Montagu. Rebecca Warner's
The intrusion or omission of a Original Letters, p. 276. It was first comma was sufficient to discompose published (with omissions and errors Mr. Savage. Ante, SAVAGE, 127. followed by Johnson) in Gent. Mag.
* He, not Johnson, was the 1773 Dr. Johnson, in his Life of spectable Hottentot' of Chesterfield's Letters. Boswell's Johnson, i. 267 n. Lyttelton, suppressed an anecdote Chesterfield wrote of him :- His which would have made his memory head, always hanging upon one or ridiculous. He was a man rather other of his shoulders, seems to have melancholy in his disposition, and received the first stroke upon a block.' used to declare to his friends, that Letters, 1774, ii. 219.
when he went to Vauxhall he always 'He was, in his figure, extremely supposed pleasure to be in the next tall and thin; his face was so ugly,
box to his."' European Mag. 1798,
'On Sunday evening (morning] the symptoms of his lordship's 24 disorder, which for a week past had alarmed us, put on a fatal appearance, and his lordship believed himself to be a dying man. From this time he suffered by restlessness rather than pain; though his nerves were apparently much futtered, his mental faculties never seemed stronger, when he was thoroughly awake.
'His lordship's bilious and hepatick complaints' seemed alone 25 not equal to the expected mournful event: his long want of sleep, whether the consequence of the irritation in the bowels, or, which is more probable, of causes of a different kind, accounts for his loss of strength and for his death very sufficiently.
'Though his lordship wished his approaching dissolution not 26 to be lingering, he waited for it with resignation. He said, “ It is a folly, a keeping me in misery, now to attempt to prolong life”; yet he was easily persuaded, for the satisfaction of others, to do or take any thing thought proper for him. On Saturday he had been remarkably better, and we were not without some hopes of
‘On Sunday, about eleven in the forenoon, his lordship sent 27 for me, and said he felt a great hurry, and wished to have a little conversation with me in order to divert it.
He then proceeded to open the fountain of that heart from whence goodness had so long flowed as from a copious spring. “Doctor," said he, " you shall be my confessor: when I first set out in the world, I had friends who endeavoured to shake my belief in the Christian religion? I saw difficulties which staggered me; but I kept my mind open to conviction. The evidences and doctrines of Christianity, studied with attention, made me a most firm and persuaded believer of the Christian religion. I have made it the rule of my life, and it is the ground of my future hopes. I have erred and sinned; but have repented, and never indulged any vicious habit. In politicks and publick life I have made publick good the rule of my conduct 3. I never gave counsels which I did not at the time think the best. I have seen that I was sometimes in the wrong, but I did not err designedly. p. 376. E. FitzGerald attributes this
at meals.' saying to Sir C. H. Williams. More Works, p. 676. Letters, p. 157
Chesterfield described him * Poyntz, English ambassador at "wrapped up like a Laputan in inthe Congress of Soissons in 1728, tense thought. . . . He throws anywhom Lyttelton in his youth visited where but down his throat whatever at Paris, wrote to his father:- His he means to drink, and only mangles health is liable to frequent interrup- what he means to carve.
Letters, tions. They seem to proceed chiefly ii. 219, iii. 129. from an ill digestion, which may ? Ante, LYTTELTON, 12. sometimes be occasioned by the viva- It was not for the public good city of his imagination's pursuing that a man unable to understand some agreeable thought too intensely, figures held the office of Chancellor of and diverting the spirits from their the Exchequer. Ante, LYTTELTON, 14.
I have endeavoured in private life to do all the good in my power, and never for a moment could indulge malicious or unjust
designs upon any person whatsoever ?." 28 *At another time he said, “I must leave my soul in the same
state it was in before this illness; I find this a very inconvenient
time for solicitude about any thing." 29 'In the evening, when the symptoms of death came on, he
said, “I shall die ; but it will not be your fault.” When lord and lady Valentia’ came to see his lordship, he gave them his solemn benediction, and said, “Be good, be virtuous, my lord; you must come to this." Thus he continued giving his dying benediction to all around him. On Monday morning a lucid interval 3 gave some small hopes, but these vanished in the evening; and he continued dying, but with very little uneasiness, till Tuesday morning, August 22, when between seven and eight o'clock he
expired, almost without a groan.' 30 His lordship was buried at Hagley; and the following inscription is cut on the side of his lady's monument:
This unadorned stone was placed here
By the particular desire and express
GEORGE LORD LYTTELTON,
Who died August 22, 1773, aged 64.' 31 Lord Lyttelton's poems are the works of a man of literature
and judgement, devoting part of his time to versification”. They have nothing to be despised, and little to be admired. Of his Progress of Love it is sufficient blame to say that it is pastoral". His blank verse in Blenheim 6 has neither much force nor much elegance. His little performances, whether Songs or Epigrams, are sometimes spritely and sometimes insipid?. His epistolary * Fielding, in the Dedication to Duke hunts; but my
malicious stars Tom Jones, says of him and Ralph have so contrived it that I am no Allen (ante, POPE, 218, 254) If more a sportsman than a gamester. there be in this work, as some have There are no men of learning in the been pleased to say, a stronger picture whole country; on the contrary, it is of a truly benevolent mind than is to a character they despise. A man of be found in any other, who that knows quality caught me the other day readyou, and a particular acquaintance of ing a Latin author, and asked me, yours, will doubt whence that bene- with an air of contempt, whether I volence hath been copied ?'
was designed for the Church. All * She was his daughter. Burke's this would be tolerable if I was not Peerage.
condemned to converse with a set of 3 For 'lucid interval' see John. English who are still more ignorant Letters, ii. 377; Gibbon's Memoirs, than the French. Works, p. 645. p. 34.
5 Ante, LYTTELTON, 3. 4 On his tour he wrote from Lune- Ante, LYTTELTON, 2. ville in 1728 :~'In the morning the Gray wrote to Walpole in 1748: