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patriots. This drew upon him the reproaches of Fox, who, in the house, imputed to him as a crime his intimacy with a lampooner so unjust and licentious. Lyttelton supported his friend, and replied that he thought it an honour to be received into the familiarity of so great a poet 2.
While he was thus conspicuous he married (1741)3 Miss Lucy 9 Fortescue of Devonshire, by whom he had a son, the late lord Lyttelton, and two daughters, and with whom he appears to have lived in the highest degree of connubial felicity: but human pleasures are short; she died in childbed about five years afterwards, and he solaced his grief by writing a long poem to her memory".
He did not, however, condemn himself to perpetual solitude 10 and sorrow, for after a while he was content to seek happiness again by a second marriage with the daughter of Sir Robert Rich; but the experiment was unsuccessful'.
At length, after a long struggle, Walpole gave way, and honour 11 and profit were distributed among his conquerors. Lyttelton was made (1744) one of the Lords of the Treasury; and from that time was engaged in supporting the schemes of the ministry.
Politicks did not, however, so much engage him as to withhold 12 his thoughts from things of more importance. He had, in the
'Her own great imprudence, it is thought, occasioned her death.' MRS. DELANY, Auto. ii. 451.
"See Appendix CC.
7 July 10, 1749. Geo. Lyttelton, Esq., a Lord of the Treasury, to Miss Rich, daughter of Sir Rob. Rich, Bart., with £20,000.' Gent. Mag. 1749, p. 331. 'Her conduct at last made a separation inevitable.' Phillimore, i. 335. For the verses she and Horace Walpole exchanged in 1784 see his Letters, viii. 528.
8 Walpole resigned on Feb. 9, 1741-2. Ib. i. Preface, p. 63.
Lyttelton came in with the coalition known as 'The Broad Bottom,' when the Pelhams forced Granville to resign. Smollett's Hist. iii. 144. Horace Walpole, mentioning the appointment on Dec. 24, 1744, adds:The Prince has turned out Lyttelton, who was his Secretary.' Letters, i. 335. See ante, THOMSON, 35.
Imit. Hor., Epis. i. 1. 27. 2 Ante, POPE, 219. According to Walpole, in the privately printed Patriot King (ante, POPE, 250), 'where Bolingbroke had strongly flattered their common friend, Lyttelton, Pope suppressed the panegyric. .... Lyttelton asked Bolingbroke how he had forfeited his good opinion.' Walpole's Letters, ii. 159.
3 In June, 1742. Phillimore's Lyttelton, i. 213. Ante, WEST, 6 n.
The wicked Lord Lyttelton.' Boswell's Johnson, iv. 298 n.
5 She gave birth to a daughter on Jan. 1, 1746-7, and died on Jan. 19. Gent. Mag. 1747, pp. 47-8.
LIVES OF POETS. III
pride of juvenile confidence, with the help of corrupt conversation, entertained doubts of the truth of Christianity'; but he thought the time now come when it was no longer fit to doubt or believe by chance, and applied himself seriously to the great question. His studies, being honest, ended in conviction. He found that religion was true, and what he had learned he endeavoured to teach (1747) by Observations on the Conversion of St. Paul, a treatise to which infidelity has never been able to fabricate a specious answer. This book his father had the happiness of seeing, and expressed his pleasure in a letter which deserves to be inserted:
'I have read your religious treatise with infinite pleasure and satisfaction. The style is fine and clear, the arguments close, cogent, and irresistible. May the King of kings, whose glorious cause you have so well defended, reward your pious labours, and grant that I may be found worthy, through the merits of Jesus Christ, to be an eye-witness of that happiness which I don't doubt he will bountifully bestow upon you. In the mean time, I shall never cease glorifying God, for having endowed you with such useful talents, and giving me so good a son.
'Your affectionate father,
A few years afterwards (1751), by the death of his father, he inherited a baronet's title with a large estate, which, though perhaps he did not augment, he was careful to adorn, by a house of great elegance and expences and by much attention to the decoration of his park".
14 As he continued his activity in parliament, he was gradually
x Post, LYTTELTON, 27. Horace Walpole wrote from Paris on Oct. 19, 1765: For Lord Lyttelton, if he would come hither and turn freethinker once more, he would be reckoned the most agreeable man in France.' Letters, iv. 426.
"Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul, price Is. 6d. Gent. Mag. 1747, p. 252; Works, p. 251; ante, WEST, 6.
3 Horace Walpole wrote of the Methodists in 1749:-'This sect increases as fast as almost ever any religious nonsense did. Lady Fanny Shirley has chosen this way of bestowing the dregs of her beauty, and Mr. Lyttelton is very near making the same sacrifice of the dregs of all those
various characters that he has worn.' Letters, ii. 154.
The same year Fielding dedicated to him Tom Jones. From the name,' he wrote, of my patron indeed, I hope my reader will be convinced at his very entrance on this work that he will find in the whole course of it ... nothing which can offend even the chastest ear in the perusal.'
He died on Sept. 14, 1751. Gent. Mag. 1751, p. 427.
5The house,' wrote Walpole in 1753, 'is immeasurably bad and old.' Letters, ii. 352. For Johnson's description of the new house see Boswell's Johnson, v. 456.
"Thomson, in 1728, celebrated the park in Spring, ll. 901-59. Walpole
advancing his claim to profit and preferment, and accordingly was made in time (1754) cofferer1 and privy counsellor : this place he exchanged next year for the great office of chancellor of the Exchequer; an office, however, that required some qualifications which he soon perceived himself to want 2.
The year after his curiosity led him into Wales; of which he 15 has given an account, perhaps rather with too much affectation of delight, to Archibald Bower, a man of whom he had conceived an opinion more favourable than he seems to have deserved, and whom, having once espoused his interest and fame, he never was persuaded to disown. Bower, whatever was his moral character, did not want abilities: attacked as he was by an universal outcry, and that outcry, as it seems, the echo of truth, he kept his ground; at last, when his defences began to fail him, he sallied out upon his adversaries, and his adversaries retreated 3.
About this time Lyttelton published his Dialogues of the 16 Dead', which were very eagerly read, though the production rather, as it seems, of leisure than of study, rather effusions than compositions. The names of his persons too often enable the reader to anticipate their conversation; and when they have
wrote in 1753:-'There is a scene of a small lake, with cascades falling down such a Parnassus!' Letters, ii. 352. Johnson wrote in 1774:"The park wants water; there is however one temporary cascade.' Boswell's Johnson, v. 456.
Gent. Mag. March, 1754, p. 143. Johnson defines Cofferer as a 'principal officer of his Majesty's Court, next under the Comptroller.' The salary was £500. Millan's Universal Register, 1756, p. 71.
Walpole mentions the appointment on Nov. 25, 1755. Letters, ii. 489. On Jan. 24, 1756, he wrote that Lyttelton opened the Budget; well enough in general, but was strangely bewildered in the figures; he stumbled over millions, and dwelt pompously upon farthings.' Ib. p. 500. See also ib. p. 511. When he was succeeded by Dowdeswell, Warburton said :—
The one (Lyttelton) never in his life could learn that two and two made four, while the other knew nothing
Prior's Malone, p. 443. 3 See Appendix DD.
* Works, p. 313; Gent. Mag. 1760, p. 251.
Walpole, on May 24, 1760, described it as 'a work paltry enough; the style a mixture of bombast, poetry and vulgarisms.' Letters, iii. 314.
Wesley quoting from it:- Martin has spawned a strange brood of fellows called Methodists, Moravians, Hutchinsonians, who are madder than Jack was in his worst days,' continues:-'I would ask any one who knows what good breeding means, is this language for a nobleman or a porter? Journal, 1827, iii. 398.
Johnson first wrote:- The production rather of a mind that means well than thinks vigorously.' Boswell's Johnson, iv. 58. Speaking of it he said:-'That man sat down to write a book to tell the world what the world had all his life been telling him.' Ib. ii. 126.
met, they too often part without any conclusion. He has copied Fénelon more than Fontenelle '.
When they were first published they were kindly commended by the Critical Reviewers, and poor Lyttelton 3 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.
His last literary production was his History of Henry the
1 Lyttelton mentions both writers in his Preface. Fontenelle's Dialogues des Morts was published in 1683 and Fénelon's in 1712. In Dialogue xiv. first ed. p. 134, Lyttelton wrote of Voltaire:-'Even his exile, I fear, has not taught him enough to curb the excesses of his wit.' Voltaire wrote a letter to him complaining of this and other statements, and signed himself:Gentleman of the King's Chamber. At my Castle of Ferney, in Burgundy.' Euvres, 1. 543. For Horace Walpole's ridicule of this subscription see his Letters, iii. 380. Lyttelton published Voltaire's letter in Gent. Mag. 1761, p. 54. For his own answer see Rebecca Warner's Original Letters, p. 282.
The writers in The Critical Review. They are for supporting the constitution both in Church and State,' said Johnson. Boswell's Johnson, iii. 32. See also ib. ii. 39. The scope of the Review was to decry any work that appeared favourable to the principles of the Revolution.' HORACE WALPOLE, Memoirs of the Reign of George II, iii. 260. Lyttelton, a Whig, dreaded a hostile criticism. Smollett moreover was the editor, who had grossly libelled him. The reviewer says that 'the hand of a master is visible in every page.' Critical Review, May, 1760, p. 390.
3 See ante, DRYDEN, 40, for 'poor Dryden,' and post, LYTTELTON, Appendix BB.
Walpole wrote in 1781:-"Poor Lyttelton" were the words of offence. Mrs. Vesey sounded the trumpet. It has not, I believe, produced any altercation, but at a blue-stocking meeting held by Lady Lucan, Mrs. Montagu and Dr. Johnson kept at different ends of the chamber, and set up altar against altar there.' Letters, viii. 16.
W. W. Pepys, writing to Mrs. Montagu, lamented that 'our dear and respectable friend should be handed down to succeeding generations under the appellation of poor Lyttelton.' John. Misc. ii. 417.
In the first edition, 'returned his acknowledgements in a note which I have read; acknowledgements either for flattery or justice.'
For Boswell's defence of the practice see Boswell's Johnson, iv. 57, and for Macaulay's breaking through Johnson's rule see his Life, 1877, ii.
Second, elaborated by the searches and deliberations of twenty years, and published with such anxiety as only vanity can dictate 2.
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 3, 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
passions than Burn's Justice of Peace. WALPOLE, Letters, viii. 16.
2 The Critical Review, 1767, i. 81, spoke highly of it. spoke highly of it. Mr. Murphy said he understood it was kept back several years for fear of Smollett.' Boswell's Johnson, iii. 33.
'Lyttelton was equally in dread of present and future critics, which made his works so insipid that he had better not have written them at all.' WALPOLE, Letters, v. 500.
3 The first notice of them is in 1767, both in Gent. Mag. p. 319, and Ann. Reg. ii. 266. 1767, not 1764, was the year of publication.
Walpole wrote of it on Dec. 14, 1771: It is so crowded with clouds of words, and they are so uninteresting, that I think one may dispute, as metaphysicians do, whether all the space is a plenum or a vacuum.' Letters, v. 356.
5 He edited The Present State of the Republick of Letters (ante, POPE, 189 n. 1) from 1728-36. Brit. Mus. Cata.
"Johnson said 'that Lyttelton employed a man to point his History for him; as if (laughing) another man could point his sense better than himself.' Boswell's Johnson, iii. 32.
Byron wrote to John Murray :'Do you know any one who can stop