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He staid not long at Oxford, for in 1728 he began his travels, 4 and saw France and Italy'. When he returned he obtained a seat in parliament', and soon distinguished himself among the most eager opponents of Sir Robert Walpole, though his father, who was Commissioner of the Admiralty, always voted with the Court.
For many years the name of George Lyttelton was seen in every 5 account of every debate in the House of Commons'. He opposed the standing army 5; he opposed the excise ; he supported the motion for petitioning the King to remove Walpole?. His zeal was considered by the courtiers not only as violent, but as acrimonious and malignant 8; and when Walpole was at last hunted from his places, every effort was made by his friends, and many friends he had, to exclude Lyttelton from the Secret Committee to.
The Prince of Wales, being (1737) driven from St. James's, 6 kept a separate court, and opened his arms to the opponents of the ministry". Mr. Lyttelton became his secretary ", and was
his intention not to reprint these Letters see Warton's Essay on Pope, ii. 386.
i For his letters on his tour see Works, p. 639.
* In 1735, as member for Okehampton. Parl. Hist. ix. 619.
3 His father was member for Camel. ford. The list of the division on March 8, 1738-9, on the Convention with Spain is given in Gent. Mag. June, 1739, where it is stated (pp. 306, 309) that the father, with a salary of '£1,300, with lodging, and fire and candle,' voted for the ministers, and the son, with a salary of £,866 as Secretary to the Prince, voted against them. See also Coxe's Walpole, i. 603.
Walpole, in 1747, mentions his making the finest oration imaginable.' Letters, ii. 81.
'He had a great flow of words, that were always uttered in a lulling monotony, and the little meaning they had to boast of was generally borrowed from the common-place maxims and sentiments of moralists.' LORD HERVEY, Memoirs, i. 433.
s On Feb. 3, 1737-8, and on Feb. 14, 1738–9. Parl. Hist. X. 405, 1345.
The Excise Bill was brought in on April 4, 1733, two years before he entered Parliament. 1o, ix. I.
? On Feb. 13, 1741. Ib. xi. 1370. His reported speech was written by Johnson. Gent. Mag. 1743, p. 172.
On the opening lines of this paragraph Macaulay seems to have modelled one part of his style.
8 'There was nobody more violent in the Opposition, nor anybody a more declared enemy to Sir Robert Walpole than Mr. Lyttelton.' LORD HERVEY, Memoirs, ii. 481.
9 In the first edition, driven.' The same word comes four lines lower down.
Appointed on March 29, 1742, 'to inquire into the conduct of the Earl of Orford (Walpole).' Lyttelton was excluded. Parl. Hist. xii. 587.
Ante, POPE, 217 ; THOMSON, 28; MALLET, 12.
12 In Aug. 1737. Works, p. 701. Mrs. Delany (Auto. 2nd Ser. iii. 179) told of 'Lyttelton sending a letter on business of a secret nature to the post, without any direction, about the Prince's affairs, and it came into the hands of Mr. Pelham (the Prime Minister).'
supposed to have great influence in the direction of his conduct ! He persuaded his master, whose business it was now to be popular, that he would advance his character by patronage?. Mallet was made under-secretary with 2001., and Thomson had a pension of 100l. a year". For Thomson Lyttelton always retained his
kindness, and was able at last to place him at ease 5. 7 Moore courted his favour by an apologetical poem, called The
Trial of Selim', for which he was paid with kind words, which, as is common, raised great hopes, that at last were dis
appointed? 8 Lyttelton now stood in the first rank of opposition; and Pope,
who was incited, it is not easy to say how, to increase the clamour against the ministry, commended him among the other
· Lyttelton endorsed the draft of a 'Lyttelton set up The World letter written by him to the Prince [Boswell's Johnson, i. 257); Moore before 1734:-'Ñ.B. He then advised was to enjoy the full profits of it, with me in all his affairs, for I was whether the numbers were written his chief favourite.' Phillimore's by himself or not.' Phillimore's Lyttelton, i. 51.
Lyttelton, i. 329. In 1738 Pope wrote (Epil. Sat. i. Horace Walpole wrote on May 18, 45):
1754 :—You will laugh when I teli ask you, “ Who's the man so you that I am employed to reconcile
Sir George and Moore; the latter His Prince, that writes in verse, and has been very flippant, say imperti. has his ear?”
nent, on the former's giving a little Why, answer Lyttelton, and I'll place to Bower in preference to him.' engage
Letters, ii. 386. The 'little place' The worthy youth shall ne'er be in was 'Clerk to the Bucks warrants.' a rage.'
Phillimore, i. 334. Swift, in 1739, asked Lyttelton to Smollett, writing of Lyttelton in Pere let the Prince know the profound grine Pickle, 1751, iv. 122 (Appendix respect, honour, esteem and venera- CC), says:— Let a scribbler creep tion I bear towards his princely vir- into his notice by the most abject tues.' Swift's Works, xix. 205. veneration, ... receive and read his
* For Bute's patronage of literary emendations with pretended extasy, men see Boswell's Johnson, i. 372. ... bawl for him upon all occasions Ante, MALLET, 12.
in common conversation, prose and Ante, THOMSON, 28. These rhyme, . . . feed him with the soft pap amounts are not given in the first of dedication, ... the friendship of edition.
Mr. Scrag will be sooner or later s Ante, THOMSON, 35. Thomson manifested in some warm sinecure.' introduces him in The Castle of Smollett also scoffed at him in Indolence, i. 65.
Roderick Random, 1748, ch. 63, in the • The Trial of Selim the Persian character of Earl Sheerwit, 'a Mae. for Divers High Crimes and Mis- cenas in the nation.' See Scott's demeanours. In Gent. Mag. 1748, Works, 1834, iii. 128. p. 240, it is entered under Law. 8 "He had been won over by the Selim was the name of the supposed attentions of the Prince of Wales.' author of the Persian Letters. For Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), Moore see ante, POPE, 358.
vii. 406 n.; ante, POPE, 217.
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 poeta.
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 5, 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 8. 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
''Sometimes a patriot, active in de- 'Her own great imprudence, it is bate,
thought, occasioned her death.' MRS. Mix with the world, and battle for DELANY, Auto. ii. 451.
6 See Appendix CC. Free as young Lyttelton her cause July 10, 1749. Geo. Lyttelton, pursue,
Esq., a Lord of the Treasury, to Miss Still true to virtue, and as warm Rich, daughter of Sir Rob. Rich, as true.'
Bart., with £20,000. Gent. Mag. Imit. Hor., Epis. i. 1. 27. 1749, p. 331. 'Her conduct at last Ante, POPE, 219. According to made a separation inevitable.' PhilliWalpole, in the privately printed more, i. 335. For the verses she and Patriot King (ante, POPE, 250), Horace Walpole exchanged in 1784 "where Bolingbroke had strongly see his Letters, viii. 528. flattered their common friend, Lyttel- 8 Walpole resigned on Feb. 9, ton, Pope suppressed the panegyric. 1741-2. Ib. i. Preface, p. 63.
Lyttelton asked Bolingbroke how Lyttelton came in with the coalihe had forfeited his good opinion.' tion known as 'The Broad Bottom,' Walpole's Letters, ii. 159.
when the Pelhams forced Granville 3 In June, 1742.
Phillimore's to resign. Smollett's Hist. iii. 144. Lyttelton, i. 213. Ante, WEST, 6 n. Horace Walpole, mentioning the ap
* 'The wicked Lord Lyttelton. pointment on Dec. 24, 1744, adds :Boswell's Johnson, iv. 298 n.
* The Prince has turned out Lyttelton, 5 She gave birth to a daughter on who was his Secretary.' Letters, i. Jan. 1, 1746–7, and died on Jan. 19. 335. See ante, THOMSON, 35. 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,
THOMAS LYTTELTON 3! 13
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 6. 14 As he continued his activity in parliament, he was gradually
* Post, LYTTELTON, 27. Horace various characters that he has worn.' Walpole wrote from Paris on Oct. 19, Letters, ii. 154. 1765:-'For Lord Lyttelton, if he The same year Fielding dedicated would come hither and turn free- to him Tom Jones. "From the name,' thinker once more, he would be he wrote, "of my patron indeed, I reckoned the most agreeable man in hope my reader will be convinced at France. Letters, iv. 426.
his very entrance on this work that 3. Observations on the Conversion he will find in the whole course of it and Apostleship of St. Paul, price .. nothing which can offend even Is. 6d. Gent. Mag. 1747, p. 252;
the chastest ear in the perusal.' Works, p. 251 ; ante, WEST, 6.
* He died on Sept. 14, 1751. Gent. 3 Horace Walpole wrote of the Mag. 1751, p. 427. Methodists in 1749:- This sect in- 5**The house,' wrote Walpole in creases as fast as almost ever any 1753, ‘is immeasurably bad and old.' religious nonsense did. Lady Fanny Letters, ii. 352. For Johnson's de. Shirley has chosen this
of bestow- scription of the new house see Bosing the dregs of her beauty, and Mr. well's Johnson, v. 456. Lyttelton is very near making the 6 Thomson, in 1728, celebrated the same sacrifice of the dregs of all those park in Spring, 11. 901-59. Walpole
advancing his claim to profit and preferment, and accordingly was made in time (1754) cofferer' 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?.
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 studys, 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 else.' Prior's Malone, p. 443. a small lake, with cascades falling 3 See Appendix DD. down such a Parnassus !' Letters, * Works, p. 313; Gent. Mag. 1760, ii. 352. Johnson wrote in 1774:— p. 251. “The park wants water; there is how- Walpole, on May 24, 1760, deever one temporary cascade.' Bos- scribed it as 'a work paltry enough; well's Johnson, v. 456.
the style a mixture of bombast, poetry Gent. Mag. March, 1754, p. 143.
and vulgarisms.' Letters, iii. 314. Johnson defines Cofferer as a 'prin- Wesley quoting from it :-Martin cipal officer of his Majesty's Court, has spawned a strange brood of next under the Comptroller.' The fellows called Methodists, Moravians, salary was £500. Millan's Universal Hutchinsonians, who are madder than Register, 1756, p. 71.
Jack was in his worst days,' conWalpole mentions the appoint- tinues :- I would ask any one who ment on Nov. 25, 1755. Letters, ii. knows what good breeding means, is 489. On Jan. 24, 1756, he wrote that this language for a nobleman or a
Lyttelton opened the Budget; well porter?' Journal, 1827, iii. 398. enough in general, but was strangely Johnson first wrote :- The probewildered in the figures; he stumbled duction rather of a mind that means over millions, and dwelt pompously well than thinks vigorously.' Bosupon farthings.' Ib. p. 500. See also well's Johnson, iv. 58. Speaking of ib. p. 511. When he was succeeded it he said :-That man sat down to by Dowdeswell, Warburton said :- write a book to tell the world what
The one (Lyttelton) never in his life the world had all his life been telling could learn that two and two made him. Ib. ii. 126. four, while the other knew nothing