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the exports and imports; a place which he soon after exchanged for that of usher of the exchequer. To these were added the post of comptroller of the pipe and clerk of the estreats; all which be held unto his death.
Finding himself disinclined to enter so early into the business of parliament, he prevailed on his father to permit him to go abroad, and Mr. Gray consented to accompany him in his travels. They left England on the 29th of March, 1739, and took their route by the way of France to Italy, viewing whatever was remarkable in the several places they visited, and at some of them, particularly Florence, residing several months. About July 1741 the two friends came to a rupture, and parted at Reggio, each pursuing his journey homewards separately. Of this quarrel, the circumstances, as we have remarked in Mr. Gray's article, are not clearly known; but Mr. Walpole enjoined Mr. Mason to charge him with the chief blame, confessing, that more attention, complaisance, and deference, to a warm friendship, and superior judgment and prudence, might have prevented a rupture which gave much uneasiness to them both, and a lasting concern to the survivor. A reconciliation is said to have been effected between them by a lady who wished well to both parties; but the cordiality which had subsisted between them never wholly returned, as Mr. Walpole was entirely unnoticed by Mr. Gray in his last will. Mr. Walpole, however, was the first person to whom, in 1750, Mr. Gray communicated his celebrated “Elegy in a Country Church-yard,” and by him it was communicated to several persons of distinction. In 1758, also, Walpole employed Mr. Bentley to orna. ment an edition of his friend's poems with beautiful designs and engravings, and printed it at his own press at Strawberry-hill.
On Mr. Walpole's return to England, he was chosen member for Callington, in the parliament which met in June 1741, and had soon an opportunity of evincing, that he was not likely to become either a silent or inactive member. On the 23d of March 1741-2, on a motion being made for an inquiry into the conduct of sir Robert Walpole for the preceding ten years, he opposed the proposition in a speech of some length, with great spirit, and greatly to the credit of his filial piety. He was not, however, a fre. quent speaker, and had no great relish for parliamentary duties. In 1747, he was chosen for the borough of Castle Rising, and for King's Lynn, in 1754 and 1761.
The tenor of his life was not much varied by accident or adventure; though about 1749 he narrowly escaped the pistol of a highwaymar), the relation of which we shall give in his own words, in one of his " Worlds.” “An acquaintance of mine was robbed a few years ago, and very near shot through the head by the going-off of the pistol of the accomplished Mr. Maclean; yet the whole affair was conducted with the greatest good-breeding on both sides. The robber, who had only taken a purse this way because he had that morning been disappointed of marrying a great fortune, no sooner returned to his lodgings, than he sent, the gentleman two letters of excuses, which with less, wit than the epistles of Voiture, bad ten times more natural and easy politeness in the turn of their expression. In the postscript he appointed a meeting at Tyburn at twelve at night, where the gentleman might purchase again any trifles he had lost; and my friend has been blamed for not accepting the rendezvous, as it seemed liable to be construed by ill-natured people into a doubt of the honour of a man who had given him all the satisfaction in his power. for having unluckily been near shooting him through the head."
“ The World” was a well-kpown periodical paper, in which he assisted the editor Mr. Moore, by writing Nos. 6, 8, 10, 14, 28, 103, 168, 195, and the concluding “ World Extraordinary,” containing the character of Henry Fox, then secretary at war, afterwards lord Holland.
In 1752, his first publication (except some Poems in Dodsley's collection, and a jeu d'esprit in the “ Museum”) appeared, entitled “ Ædes Walpoliana,” describing his father's magnificent palace at Houghton, in Norfolk, and the noble collection of pictures it contained, which the pecuniary embarrassments of the late earl of Orford (Mr. Walpole's nephew) obliged him to dispose of to the empreșs of Russia. It is remarkable that Mr. Walpole, as appears by one of his letters in the British Museum, with all his family-partiality and taste for the arts, thought the value of this collection greatly over-rated.
In 1757 he published " A Letter from Xo-Ho, a Chinese philosopher at London, to his friend Lien-Chi, at Pekin : a spirited and elegant performance, chiefly on the politics of the day. It went through five editions in a fortnight.
This year he set up a printing-press at Strawberry-hill,
press of thephew) obliged of the late earlined, which ind
at which most of his own performances, and some curious works of other authors were printed. Its first production was Gray's Odes, and tbis was followed by the edition and translation of part of Hentzner's Travels, lord Whitworth's account of Russia, Life of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, &c. By limiting the number of copies of each work, and parting with them only as presents, he created a species of fame and curiosity after the productions of his press, which was then quite new, and unquestionably very gratifying to himself. We need not analyze this kind of reputation, as it is now better known in ours than in his days. In this way, in 1761, he printed at Strawberry-hill two volumes of his “ Anecdotes of Painting in England," compiled from the papers of Mr. George Vertue, purchased at the sale of the effects of that industrious antiquary. It will be al. lowed, that the remains of Mr. Vertue could not have fallen into better hands. In 1763, another volume was added, and also the Catalogue of Engravers; and, in 1771, the whole was completed in a fourth volume, to which was added “ The History of the Modern Taste in Gardening." In 1764, on the dismission of general (afterward marshal) Conway from the army for a vote given in parliament, he defended his friend's conduct in a pamphlet, entitled " A Counter Address to the Public, on the late dismission of a general officer,” 8vo.
In the succeeding year, he published “ The Castle of Otranto," a gothic story, which in the title-page was asserted to be a translation from the Italian by William Marshal, gent. In the same year, however, a second edition appeared, with the initials of the real author, Mr. Walpole. In 1766 he is supposed to have indulged his vein of humour in " An account of the Giants lately discovered, in a letter to a friend in the country.”
In 1766, happened the famous quarrel between David Hume and John Jacques Rousseau, in which the former appears to have acted with the most distinguished generosity, friendship, and delicacy; and the latter, with his usual suspicion, wildness, and eccentricity. On this occasion, Mr. Walpole wrote a pretended letter from the king of Prussia to Rousseau, which found its way into the public prints, and contributed to widen the breach between the two contending philosophers. As a jeu d'esprit this composition did honour to his wit; but it has been delicately said that had he suppressed it, his reputation for a conciliatory disposition, and true benevolence of inind, would have lost nothing of its lustre.
Previously to the dissolution of parliament, in 1768, Mr. Walpole had determined to retire from public business; and, accordingly, in a very handsome letter to the mayor of Lynn, declined the honour of representing his constituents any longer.
The same year, Mr. Walpole published his “ Historic Doubts of the Life and Reign of King Richard III.” 4to. This performance endeavours to establish the favourable idea given of this monarch by sir George Buck, the historian; but this defence did not receive universal assent: it was controverted in various quarters, and generally con. sidered as more ingevious than solid. It was apswered by Frederick Guy Dickens, esq. in a 4to volume; and the evidence from the wardrobe-roll was controverted by Dr. Milles and Mr. Masters, in papers read before the Society of Antiquaries ; and now it was discovered that Mr. Walpole, who affected the utmost humility as an author, and most politely deferred to the opinion of others, .could not bear the least contradiction, and one or both of these latter pieces gave bim so inuch disgust, that he ordered his name to be struck out of the list of members, and renounced the honour annexed to it from his connection with the body of antiquaries. Yet in this plausible work, the character of Richard is in some measure cleared from many of the enormities charged upon him by historians and poets; and, particularly, the absurdity of representing him as a mass of personal deformity, is justly exposed.
It was about this time that the transaction took place for which he has suffered the greatest censure, though, when every circunistance is duly weighed, perhaps but little blame will attach to bis memory. We allude to the affair of Chatterton, whose fate was attributed by many to the neglect and supercilious behaviour of Mr. Walpole. How justly, we have already given our opinion. (See CHATTRRTON, p. 183-4), and from that opinion we are not disposed to depart, although, from subsequent information, it may be allowed that Walpole had in scarcely any instance in his life displayed the liberality of patronage, and in very few, the steadiness of friendship.
In 1768, Mr. Walpole printed fifty copies of his tragedy of the “Mysterious Motber,” which, as usual, were distributed among his particular friends, but with injunc
tions of secrecy. The horrible story on which it is founded he professed to have heard when young, and that it hap. pened in archbishop's Tillotson's time: but he soon discovered that it had appeared in bishop Hall's works, and that it had actually been twice dramatised, however unfit such a shocking case of incest is to be presented to the public eye. Of this indeed the author was aware; “ The subject,” he says, “is so horrid, that I thought it would shock rather than give satisfaction to an audience. Still I found it so truly tragic in the two essential springs of terror and pity, that I could not resist the impulse of adapting it to the scene, though it should never be prac. ticable to produce it there. I saw too that it would admit of great situations of lofty characters, and of those sudden and unforeseen strokes which have singular effect in operating a revolution in the passions, and in interesting the spectator. It was capable of furnishing not only a contrast of characters, but a contrast of vice and virtue in the same character: and by laying the scene in what age and country I pleased, pictures of ancient manners might be drawn, and many allusions to historic events introduced to bring the action nearer to the imagination of the spectator. The moral resulting from the calamities attendant on unbounded passion, even to the destruction of the criminal person's race, was obviously suited to the purpose and object of tragedy." This tragedy, however, remained for some years tolerably concealed from the public at large, until about 1783, when some person, possessed of a copy, began to give extracts from it in Woodfall's Public Advertiser, which produced the following private letter from the author, dated Berkeley-square, Nov. 8, 1783.
" Mr. H. Walpole sends his compliments to Mr. Wood. fall, and does intreat him to print no more of the Myste. rious Mother, which it is a little hard on the author to see retailed without his consent. Mr. Walpole is willing to make Mr. Woodfall amends for any imaginary benefit he might receive from the impression, though as copies of the play have been spread, there can be little novelty in it; and at this time the public must be curious to see more interesting articles than scenes of an old tragedy on a disgusting subject, which the author thinks so little worthy of being published, that after the first small impression, he has endeavoured to suppress it as much as lies in his power; and which he assures Mr. Woodfall he would not suffer to