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Dr. WARTon has given him this praise, but has, among other instances, quoted No. 2, which was written by STEELE.
The papers claimed for Addison are in number two hundred and seventy-four. About two hundred and thirty-six are given to STEELE on the authority of his signature T.; but with the restrictions mentioned before.* The unknown correspondents were certainly numerous, and STEELE made a free use of such letters as contained hints, or were thought worthy of insertion in their original state, From negligence, or want of matter, or want of leisure, for he was a man of many projects, he was frequently unprepared, and on this account it is on record, that the press has been sometimes stopped; but when he determined to exert himself, he could do it to advantage. The series of papers from No. 151 to 157 inclusive, which are his composition, rank among the best of the grave kind.f
Of the value of his and of Addison's papers we become the more sensible as we descend to examine the contributions of contemporary wits, who from interest or inclination were induced to lend their aid to the general purpose of the work.
The first of these, if we respect the quantity merely of his assistance, was EUSTACE BUDGELL, a writer of some note in the days of the SPECTATOR. He was born about the year 1685. His father, GILBERT BUDGELL, D. D. of St. Thomas, near Exeter, appears to have been a man of pro
Pref. Hist. and Biog. to the TATLER. + Steele's signature was R. and T.; the former, it has been supposed, when he wrote the whole of the paper, the latter when he composed or compiled from the letter-box; but this does not appear to be the universal rule, and the annotators imagine that T. sometimes means TickeLL.
perty, as he sent his son as a gentleman-commoner to Christ-church, Oxford, and thence to the Inner Temple, to study law, with a provision suitable to his rank and necessities. In the study of the law, however, EUSTACE made little progress, being diverted from it by a taste for polite literature, and the company of such men as that taste easily procures. In 1710, Addison, to whom he was nearly related, took him to Ireland as one of his clerks, when himself secretary to LORD WHARTon. In this employment, such was BUDGELL'S attention to business, that in 1714 he was promoted to the office of chief secretary to the lords justices of Ireland, and deputy clerk of the council, and his talents were already so distinguished as to procure him a seat in the Irish parliament, where he was considered as an able speaker.
During the rebellion, in 1715, he discharged the service hitherto intrusted to a field-officer, of transporting the troops from Ireland to Scotland, with great ability and integrity. In 1717, he was promoted by Addison, then secretary of state, to the place of accountant and comptroller general ; and as he had some time before succeeded to the family estate, valued at 9501. per annum, though somewhat encumbered by his father's prodigality, he was exempted from the cares of wealth, if not wholly from those of ambition. He bad now commenced a prosperous career as a statesman, and was ill prepared for the fatal reverse which was at hand, and which, although there were other precipitating circumstances, may be dated from the tiine the DUKE of Bolton was appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland, in the year last mentioned. The Duke insisted on quartering upon him a friend of one WEBSTER, whoin he had made his secretary and a privy counsellor. This was either an insult or an injury, and with lofty spirits the distinction is rarely admitted, which BUDGELL resented with asperity, and was therefore deprived of his place of accountant. He then came to England, contrary to the advice of Addison, and probably of every other friend, and farther irritated his powerful enemies by publishing his case. This irritation was the more keen, as they were unprepared to defend their treatment of a man who had been a very faithful and useful servant to the public. In 1719 he made another enemy in the EARL of SUNDERLAND, by publishing a very popular pamphlet against the famous peerage bill : but his declension was chiefly hastened by the loss of twenty thousand pounds, which he had embarked in the South-sea scheme, and by his subsequent disappointment in not being able to accompany
the Duke of PORTLAND, who was appointed governor of Jamaica, as his grace's secretary. He had made arrangements for this new office, and was about to sail, when a secretary of state was sent to the duke, to acquaint him," that he might take any man in England for his secretary, excepting Mr. BUDGELL, but that he must not take him*."
After this event, his life appears to have been wasted in a fruitless struggle to regain consequence, and recruit his finances. Among other expedients, the Duchess of MARLBOROUGH endeavoured to procure him a seat in parliament, where she hoped his disappointments would render him an useful opposition member, but this did not succeed. About the year 1732, on the cleath of Dr. MATTHEW TINDALL, a bequest to BUDGELL appeared in his will, accompanied by cir
* Biog. Brit. new cdit. vol. ii. 1780.
cumstances so suspicious, that in consequence of a legal inquiry the will was set aside. His supposed share in this transaction is alluded to by POPE.
“Let Budorli charge low Grub-street on my,quill, “And write whate'er lie please, except my will."
Yet BUDGELL's situation at this time must have been low, for the sum to which he thus sacrificed his peace and his character, did not much exceed two thousand pounds.
From this unhappy period his mind appears to have been absorbed in gloomy reflections on the loss of reputation, friends, and fortune, unul it at last contracted that inexplicable delirium which presents to a disordered imagination the advantages of suicide. On May 4, 1737, he drowned himself in the Thames, by jumping out of a boat at London Bridge, and had evidently made deliberate preparations for this catastrophe : besides intimating to his servant, when he went out, that he should return no more, his pocket was filled with stones, and in his escrutoire was a short scrap of a will, written a day or two before, importing that he left all his personal estate to his natural daughter, ANNE BUDGELL, then about eleven years of age. This last circumstance is not very consistent with the report that he had previously endeavoured to persuade his daughter to accompany him. He left also on his bureau a slip of paper, on which was written,
“ What Cato did, and ADDISON approv'd,
“ Cannot be wrong," This daughter afterwards became an actress : in 1743 we find her on the stage with CARRICK and Mrs. Cieber, in the character of Tancred and Sigismunda. DAVIES, the Biographer of GARUICK, adds, that she was an actress of considerable powers, and died at Bath about the year 1755.
A conclusion which it would be unfair to draw from the circumstances of Cato's scenic death. Why this unhappy man, who, according to his biographers, had shewn many symptoms of mental derangement, should not have been more carefully watched is needless to inquire, since, in many similar
cases, it is a question to which even the courts of justice cannot extort an answer.
BUDGELL's character appears to have been a compound of great vanity and ungovernable passions ; failings which in prosperity are not always hurtful, because they may be gratified by applause and submission, but which, on a reverse of for. tune, generally undermine all moral principle, and bring the strongest minds to a level with the weakest. In his civil employments, he was not only indefatigable, but conscientious in a very high degree*, and a sense of the services he had rendered to the public, may have no doubt aggravated the insult which he received from the ministry, and which certainly cannot be palliated.
His first appearance as an author is said by CIBBER, (or rather SHIELLS) to have been in the TATLER, but no inquiry has been able to trace his pen in that work. In the SPECTATOR, he wrote twenty-eight papers, with the signature letter Xt,
* His conduct in the embarkation of the troops, &c. to be sent from Ireland to Scotland, during the rebellion in 1715, was “singularly disinterested; for he took no extraordinary service-money, and would not receive any gratuity or fees for the commissions which passed through his office for the colonels and officers of millçiả then raising in Ireland. The lords justices were desirous that a handsome present should be made him for his distinguished zeal and labour in this affair but he generously and firmly refused to draw up a warrant for that purpose. Bing. Brit. new edit.
+ No. 232 was marked X in the folio edit. but Z in the first Svo. ; the annotators think it was the composition of Mr. A Martyn, but more probably the alteration of the signa