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A L E T T E R.
NOBLE LOR D',
ON OCCASION OF SOME LIBELS WRITTEN AND PRO
PAGATED AT COURT, IN THE YEAR 1732-3.
Nov. 30, 1733 Your Lordship’s o epistle has been published some
days, but I had not the pleasure and pain of seeing it till yesterday: Pain, to think your Lordship should attack me at all ; Pleasure, to find that
* This Letter (which was first printed in the Year 1733) bears the same place in our Author's prose that the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot does in his poetry. They are both Apologetical, repelling the libellous slanders on his Reputation : with this difference, that the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, his friend, was chiefly directed against Grub-street Writers, and this Letter to the Noble Lord, his enemy, against Court Scribblers. For the rest, they are both Master-pieces in their kinds ;, That in verse, more grave, moral, and sublime ; This in profe, more lively, critical, and pointed ; but equally conducive to what he had most at heart, the vindication of his moral Character: the only thing he thought worth his care in literary altercations; and the first thing he would expect from the good offices of a surviving Friend. WARBURTON.
• Lord Hervey, who, together with Lady M. W. Montagu, had written fome severe lines on him, but certainly after provocation on
his part. Lord Hervey is satirized by him under the name of Lord Fanny, and Sporus. He was certainly affected. In one of his Letters from Bath, he says, “ The Duchess of
you can attack me so weakly. As I want not the humility, to think myself in every way but one your inferior, it seems but reasonable that I should take the only method either of self-defence or retaliation, that is left me against a person of your quality and power.
Marlborough, Congreve, and Lady Rich, are the only people whofe faces I know, whose names I ever heard, or who, I believe, have any names belonging to them.
The rest are swarm of wretched beings, some with half-limbs, fome with none, the ingredients of Pandora's Box PERSONIFIED," &c. Again, “ I do not meet a creature without saying to myself, as Lady
did of her femme de chambre; • Regardez cet animal, confiderez ce neant, voila un bel ame pour etre immortel !”
He was also very effeminate in person, and used paint. His speeches in Parliament prove he had more than " florid impotence." He was Vice-Chamberlain and Privy-Seal to George II. There was an excellent caricature-print published of the combatants, when he fought with Pulteney. Sir Robert Walpole was drawn standing as Lord Hervey's Second. For further particulars of this Nobleman, I must refer to Mr. Coxe's Memoirs.
Intitled, An Epislle to a Doktor of Divinity from a Nobleman at Hampton-Court, Aug. 28, 1733, and printed the November following for J. Roberts. Fol.
The following advertisement appeared in the Papers, 1733, respecting this Letter :
“ Whereas a great demand hath been made for an Answer to
a certain fcurrilous Epistle from a Nobleman to Dr. Sh-r-n; " this is to acquaint the Public, that it hath been hitherto hin“ dered by what seemed a denial of that Epistle by the Noble “ Lord, in the Daily Courant of Nov. 22., affirming that no such “ Epistle was written by him. But whereas that declaration hath “ since been undeclared by the Courant ; this is to certify, that to unless the said Noble Lord shall this next week, in a manner as “ public as the injury, deny the said Poem to be his, or contra“ dict the afperfions therein contained, there will with all speed be “ published, a moft proper reply to the same.
And as by your choice of this weapon, your pen, you generously (and modestly too, no doubt) meant to put yourself upon a level with me; I will as soon believe that your Lordship would give a wound to a man unarmed, as that you would deny me the use of it in my own defence.
I presume you will allow me to take the same liberty in my answer to so candid, polite, and ingenious a Nobleman, which your Lordship took in yours, to so grave, religious, and respectable a clergymand: As you answered his Latin in English, permit me to answer your Verse in Proje. And though your Lordship’s reasons for not writing in Latin, might be stronger than mine for not writing in Verse, yet I may plead Two good ones, for this conduct :-the one that I want the talent of spinning a thousand lines in a Dayo, (which, I think, is as much Time as this subject deserves,) and the other, that I take your Lordship’s Verfe to be as much Profe as this letter. But no doubt it was your choice, in writing to a friend, to renounce all the pomp of Poetry, and give us this excellent model of the familiar.
When I consider the great difference betwixt the rank your Lordship holds in the World, and the rank which your writings are like to hold in the learned world, I presume that distinction of style is but
4 Dr. S.
And Pope, with justice, of such lines may fay,
Epift. p. 6.
necessary, which you will see observed through this letter. When I speak of you, my Lord, it will be with all the deference due to the inequality which Fortune has made between you and myself: but when I speak of your writings, my Lord, I must, I can do nothing but trifle.
I should be obliged indeed to lessen this Respect, if all the Nobility (and especially the elder brothers) are but so many hereditary fools', if the privilege of Lords be to want brains s, if noblemen can hardly write or read", if all their business is but to dress and vote, and all their employment in court, to tell lies, flatter in public, slander in private, be false to each other, and follow nothing but felf-interest k. Biefs me, my Lord, what an account is this you give of them ? and what would have been said of me, had I immolated, in this manner, the whole body of the Nobility, at the stall of a well-fed Prebendary?
Were it the mere Excess of your Lordship’s Wit, that carried you thus triumphantly over all the bounds
of * That to good blood by old prescriptive rules,
Gives right hereditary to be Fools.
For England's sake with all could do the same. i Whilft all our business is to dress and vote.
Epift. p. 6. * Courts are only larger families, The growth of each, few truths, and many lies :
in private satyrize, in public flatter. Few to each other, all to one point true ; Which one I san't, nor need explain. “Adieu.
of decency, I might consider your Lordship on your Pegasus, as a sprightly hunter on a mettled horse ; and while you were trampling down all our works, patiently suffer the injury, in pure admiration of the Noble Sport. But should the case be quite otherwise, should your Lordship be only like a Boy that is run away with ; and run away with by a Very Foal ; really common charity, as well as respect for a noble family, would oblige me to stop your career, and to help you down from this Pegasus.
Surely the little praise of a Writer should be a thing below your
ambition : You, who were no sooner born, but in the lap of the Graces; no sooner at school, but in the arms of the Muses; no sooner in the World, but you practised all the skill of it; no sooner in the Court, but you poffeffed all the art of it! Unrivald as you are, in making a figure, and in making a speech, methinks, my Lord, you may well give up the poor talent of turning a Distich. And why this fondness for Poetry? Prose admits of the two excellencies you most admire, Diction and Fiction : It admits of the talents you chiefly possess, a most fertile invention, and most florid expression; it is with prose, nay the plainest prose, that you best could teach our nobility to vote, which you justly observe, is half at least of their business!: And give me leave to prophesy, it is to your talent in prose, and not in verse,
! All their bus'ness is, to dress, and vote.