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yet exists among his papers a letter upón Toleration, which appears to be an early sketch from which Locke's Essay upon the same subject was afterwards filled up. The abuse which was lavished upon him by the court writers, he seems to have treated with the most philosophical and provoking disregard. Dryden, himself a renegade both in politics and religion, could never draw from him a reply. The foolish liberality towards this poet, which has been attributed to him, is indeed disproved; but we never find that Shaftesbury betrayed resentment for the cutting satires with which the laureat lashed him. Shaftesbury's indifference was a fortunate circumstance for Dryden, since the conventional law of libel was at that time so summary that he had received a very severe cudgelling through the agency of the Earl of Rochester, only because his lordship chose (erroneously) to suspect him to be the author of a lampoon that appeared against him. Had the ex-chancellor been equally susceptible or vindictive, Dryden could seldom have returned home at night from his coffeehouse in safety.
Literature owes much to Shaftesbury for the studious care which he took of the education of
his grandson. We are told that, while he was yet an infant, he was taken by his grandfather, and placed under the care of a lady of such rare acquirements, that from his cradle the future author of the Characteristics imbibed an acquaintance with the ancient languages, and spoke them indifferently with his mother-tongue before he was old enough to distinguish them. It is, doubtless, owing to the example and exertions of this great man, that the pursuit of literature and the promotion of it in others, seemed to be for several generations hereditary in his descendants.
He appears himself to have possessed considerable ability for light and sketchy composition; and those pamphlets which are attributed to him are by no means destitute of vigour. They are however now read only by the historian, as they possess but few of those graces of style for which the political papers of the next age are so preeminent. The merit of the lighter productions of his pen we can only guess at by the specimen which has escaped to the public, and has been already inserted.*
As an orator, Shaftesbury holds a very high
* Vol. i. p. 306.
station ; his friends have claimed for him, and his enemies have conceded, this excellence. By far the best specimen which has descended to us of his powers as a speaker, is his speech against Cromwell's upper house: this is indeed a masterly production. The others, which were so rapidly printed and circulated throughout the nation, are evidently but abridgments of what he really said. The fame of an orator must be read in the effects of his eloquence: in the most accurate report of the most brilliant speech we miss the presence and energy of the speaker: the mere words give us no idea of his power. The history of the period shows that Shaftesbury's voice was not raised in vain ; and that those speeches, which in their abridged state we read with listlessness, were heard with enthusiasm and roused an entire nation into action.
In this work the religious opinions of Shaftesbury are vindicated as orthodox; his contemporaries certainly considered him as inclined to deism. Burnet's opinion upon this subject has already been cited, and speaker Onslow in a note upon this passage, published in the recent editions, relates an anecdote somewhat corroborating the bishop's account. Shaftesbury was one day con
LIFE OF THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY.
versing in a whisper with a friend, while a lady related to him was in another part of the room. As the conversation proceeded, the earl became less conscious of the lady's presence, and at last observed loud enough to be heard: “Men of sense are all of one religion.” " And what religion is that?" unexpectedly inquired the lady. The earl turning round and bowing replied, That, madam, men of sense never tell.”
There is philosophy in this reply. Whatever Shaftesbury's opinions were, he never sought to disseminate them during his life, and he left no record of them to be published after his death. The testimony of his contemporaries is indeed so nearly unanimous upon this point, that it is difficult to disbelieve them without some more specific proof than is here adduced; but if such were his sentiments, he had at least a merit exceedingly rare among those who think with him. His opinions, though noxious, he confined to his own breast; and as he thus kept them from inficting any injury upon society, they form no ground for influencing the judgment of posterity.]
IN D E X.
Argyle, Marquis of, promises made
him by Charles II. i. 161 ; notice
Armyne, Sir William, one of the com-
Scotland, i. 130 n.; one of the com-
mislays the indictment against Fitz- religion, i. 298; his influence in
the expulsion of Sir William Co-
the two last Parliaments,” tract so tion with the king, 389; his con-
duct in the intrigues with France,
sign the treaty for the sale of Dun- of the Cabal administration, 396 ;
king, 423; a member of the council
peace with the French, 48; op-
Jansenist party, 66; impeached
a Friend in the Country,” ii. 161 n. self, 104 n.; complaint of, 291; Jus-
to his friend in the Country,"i. 14n. Arundel of Wardour, Lord, his con-
to his Friend, about Abhorrers and one of the party of Jesuits, ii. 66 ;
his advice to the king, 72 ; his dis-
lords in the conferences between 131.
of Trerice, Lord, movement
Ashley, Sir Anthony, Bart. father-
Anglesey,) refused entrance into the i. 35.
Sir Francis, his schemes to
sell part of the Earl of Shaftesbury's
Shaftesbury,” pernicious pamphlet Lord, succeeds to the Earl of
Shaftesbury's estate, ii. 333 ; au-
his education, 376.