Page images

rature have been retailed in a thousand shapes; and he must, in order to do credit to himself and justice to his readers, supply them with fresh matter from deep and well-selected reading, either from rare books or unpublished documents.

Mr. Jesse begins his work, as Mr. Smith's also commences, with Hyde Park and Piccadilly, and here we find there is much information in common.

At No. 9, Berkeley Street, leading from Piccadilly into Berkeley Square, close to his friend Lord Burlington, was the residence of Pope. Mr. Jesse says, “I am assured that in the lease of the house, the name of Mr. Alexander Pope occurs as a former occupant. From the poet it passed into the hands of General Bulkeley, who died about the year 1815, at an extreme old age. The present occupant informs me, that he well remembers that whenever the general visited his family, it was invariably his habit to observe with an air of respectful interest, this is the house Mr. Alexander Pope lived in.'”. Unfortunately this house has been rebuilt, and looks very neat and new and fine, and brings no associations with Pope.

“ Nearly opposite to the Albany is St. James's Church, built by Sir Christopher Wren in the reign of James the Second. (?) The interior is as beautiful as the exterior is unseemly; but, even if it possessed no other object of beauty and interest, the exquisite marble font, the work of Grinlin Gibbons, would alone render it worthy of a visit.”

Mr. Jesse has not mentioned the interesting portraits in the vestry of the rectors of the church. The font is finely carved, but the shape is far from classical or elegant. The three interesting portraits are those of Tenyson, Clarke, and Secker.

“ Either in Golden Square, or in the immediate neighbourhood, at the house of her father, who was a painter, lived the beautiful singer Anastasia Robinson."

Unless something more definite than the neighbourhood of a street could be given, we think little satisfaction is to be derived from the mention ; but in this instance we are able to say that Mrs. A. Robinson did live in the square, and the lady who lately resided in the house has mentioned to us the remains of the furniture still existing, placed there by its former owner.

“ Alluding to the well-known effeminate appearance and habits of Lord Hervey, Pulteney speaks of his opponent as a thing half-man and halfwoman, and dwells malignantly on those personal infirmities produced by suffering and disease, which Pope afterwards introduced with no less acrimony,” &c.

Lord Hervey's infirmity was a tendency to epilepsy; but it is not generally known that his brothers and the family had the same effeminate appearance and weakly constitution as himself. An estimate of Lord Hervey must not be formed from Pope alone ; read the counter-statement in Conyers Middleton's dedication to him of his admirable Life of Cicero. Horace Walpolé intended to have written a sketch of Lord Hervey's life and character ; but proceeded no further than in giving a very full and accurate list of his various publications, pamphlets, poetry, &c.;* and here we may mention that, often as the name of Horace Walpole has been before the public of late years, and examined and criticised as his life, character, and talents have been, no one has mentioned the early eulogy written of him by

* Horace Walpole's name was Horatio, not Horace, and his early book plates with arms bear that name. He afterwards altered it, thinking it too poetical. -Rev.

1848.] Jesse's Literary and Historical Memorials of London.

7 Conyers Middleton in his elegant and interesting Latinity when Walpole was at Rome ; as it is buried in a large and learned work which is seldom opened, we shall deserve the thanks of our readers by extracting it for their gratification :-*

“Ex his autem agri Romani divitiis, neminem profecto de peregrinationibus nostris, thesaurum inde deportasse credo, et rerum delectu, et pretio magis æstimabilem, ac quem amicus meus nobilis Horatius Walpole, in Angliam nuper advexit. Juvenis non tam generis nobilitate, ac paterni hominis gloriâ, quam ingenio, doctrinâ, et virtute propriâ illustris. Ille vero haud citius fere in patriam reversus est, quam de studiis meis ut consuerat, familiariter


quærens, mihi ultro de copia sua, quicquid ad argumenti mei rationem, aut libelli ornamentum pertineret, pro arbitrio meo utendum obtulit. Quam quidem ejus liberalitatem libenter admodum amplexus essem, ni operis hujus jam prope absoluti, fastidio quodam correptus, atque ad alia festinans, intra terminos ei ab initio destinatos illud continere statuissem. Attamen preclaram istam musei Walpolianit suppellectilem ab interprete aliquo peritiore propediem explicandam edendamque esse confido.”—C. Middletoni Præfationem ad Germana quædam Antiquitatis Monumenta, &c. p. vi.

This tribute of approbation of Horace Walpole's character and studies is given by no common or undistinguishing hand. The single praise of such a man as Conyers Middleton is worth a thousand eulogies by common writers.

Mr. Jesse mentions that

“The lonely situation of Hyde Park ren- had any notion of it; and the hurt did dered it still the frequent scene of high- not deserve mentioning.' Walpole, it way robbery and murder. Horace Wal- seems, was passing through Hyde Park, pole wrote to Sir Horace Mann, on the when he was stopped by one M‘Lean, a i7th November, 1749; Gibberne says highwayman of formidable reputation, you will be frightened at a lamentable his. whose pistol accidentally going off, not tory that you will read of me in the pa. only stunned him, but grazed the skin from pers; but pray don't be frightened : the his cheek bone.' danger, great as it was, was over before I

We have Walpole's manuscript account of this adventure before us, and it is singular that he spells Hyde Park, High Park ; probably it was then pronounced in that careless way, as people of the last generation, even the aristocratic portion, used to say Lunnun for London. We do not recollect that Walpole says he was stunned, but he mentions that the bullet went out of the top of the carriage.

“ Chesterfield House, from which Ches. in London, except that at Northumberterfield Street takes its name, was built land House,) was brought from the magby the celebrated Earl of Chesterfield in nificent seat of the Duke of Chandos at the reign of George the Second. The Canons." staircase (the only marble one, we believe,

Conyers Middleton when at Rome formed a choice collection of ancient bronzes ; these be described in a book called Antiquitatis Monumenta, &c. with plates. He sold them, whilst the book was in the press, to Horace Walpole, and Mr. Bentley is in possession of his receipt for the sum given for them. These were sold and dispersed at the sale of Strawberry Hill.—Rev.

+ Middleton alludes chiefly to the rich collection of bronzes which Walpole purchased of him ; but Walpole also bought largely of the dealers in Rome; their bills and the accounts of the articles sold to him, in pictures, marbles, gems, &c. we have had an opportunity of seeing. His companion, Mr. Gray, appears to have confined his purchases (his means being slender) to engravings and books of antiquities.-Rev.

This marble staircase is well known—we have seen it: but it is not as well known that each step is formed of one single slab of marble, we think twelve feet in length. It did not belong to the house originally, but was added when it was repaired. But there is a marble staircase at Buckingham Palace also.

“ Cavendish Square was built about the year 1718. Here Lady Mary. Wortley Montagu held her court, composed of youth, rank, and beauty, before her long absence from England,” &c. We think in another edition the author will somewhat abate the strength of his expression about “ Lady Mary's court of youth, rank, and beauty, before she left England.” Some persons we have heard asking why she left, and why she remained so long in exile ;

and have considered that her husband must have had some secret and powerful control over her to keep her away. But the fact was, she by her intrigues, scandal, calumnies, and general conduct, had completely destroyed her own character, forfeited her rank in society, lost all her lovers of rank, and had taken up with lower people ; “she was abused by the men and shunned by the women ;"—she is described by one who knew her well at that time, as a mixture of “intrigue, avarice, and dirt." We could give some extraordinary particulars of this celebrated woman, but they are better thrown in the shade.

In the mention of Cavendish Square it might be added that the Duke of Chandos intended to have occupied the whole of the north side from the Princess Amelia's house to the opposite corner in Chandos Street with his magnificent mansion, and to have made an avenue of ten or twelve miles extent to his house at Canons. This magnificent plan was stopped for want of funds to carry it into execution. The Duke embarked in the South Sea scheme, and at one time might have sold out with the gain of 200,0007. He consulted the minister of the day—we forget whether Sir R. Walpole or Lord Carteret—who strongly advised him to sell ; however, the love of gain predominated; he expected to make double ; he kept, and shared the fate of those who were holders when the bubble broke. At his death everything was broken up and sold. The equestrian statue in Leicester Square came from Canons.

“ Oxford House, the ancient manor house of Mary-le-bone, the residence, at a later period, of the Harleys, Earls of Oxford, and the receptacle of the great Harleian library, before its transfer to the British Museum." The Harleian library was never transferred to the British Museum, but was bought by a bookseller (Osborne we think) for 14,0001. and Dr. Johnson superintended the making of the catalogue. The Harleian manuscripts alone went to the Museum.

From Bond Street “I find Gilbert West, the poet, dating many of his letters to Gray." We presume Mr. Jesse means Richard West, a very different person, who died young, and is buried in Hatfield Church. He literally died of a broken heart occasioned by his mother's conduct ; but the tale is too dark and melancholy to tell. We possess many of his unpublished poems. His genius and acquirements were of the first order, and at the time of his death he had displayed powers equal to those of Gray.

As regards the monument (which is a head-stone only) of Sterne in St. George's burying-ground, Mr. Jesse has not mentioned that the verses on it were by Garrick. 'In this street (Cork Street), also, the well-known General Wade had 1848.] Jesse's Literary and Historical Memorials oj London. 9 a house which was designed by Lord Burlington. It was wittily said of it, that it was too small to live in and too large to append to a watch ribbon.” This is altogether wrong. The saying is Lord Hervey's, the house, Chiswick, before the addition of the wings, when it was very small, having only one window on each side of the portico. Lord Hervey's saying has been preserved and authenticated by Horace Walpole, though not in Mr. Jesse's words ; for it is, “ too small to live in, and too large to hang on your watch chain."

“ The portraits of several nembers of the Carlton (Dilettanti) Club, more than one of them the work of Sir Joshua, are still preserved in the present Thatched House Tavern in St. James's Street.” On the principle that each succeeding book should be an improvement on its predecessor, we may remark that an accurate list of these interesting portraits is printed in Smith's Streets of London, vol. I. p. 52, published in 1846, and which should have been referred to. In fact these two works go over the same ground in many places, as in the commencement, detailing the same facts.

“ According to Wraxall, Gay introduced this scene into the · Beggar's Opera,' where Walpole and Townshend are represented as Peachum and Lockit." Perhaps it is not generally known that a great portion of the songs in the Beggar's Opera was written by Lord Chesterfield.

“ No. 15 [of St. James's Square] was formerly occupied by Sir Philip Francis, the reputed, and I believe indisputable, author of Junius." The reputed certainly; we hesitate as to the indisputable. But, without entering into a question far too long and difficult to be opened on the present occasion, we may observe that it is curious that when Junius appeared Sir Philip Francis's name was not mentioned, but the whole tide of public opinion flowed towards Burke, so much so that Dr. Markham (afterwards' the Archishop) thought it incumbent on Burke to give him such a positive denial as he might show to the world ; and after much delay, and some apparent evasion, Burke gave one. See a most curious correspondence on this subject in the Letters published lately by Earl Fitzwilliam, and reviewed in our Number for last February. It is very curious that to the last Mr. W. Windham persisted in a very improbable opinion he formed that they were written by Gibbon--an opinion his particular friend Mr. Elliott always and justly opposed.

“ [In Jermyn Street] in 1768 lived Thomas Gray the poet.” Gray never lived in Jermyn Street, but he occasionally lodged there at Frisby's, the hosier's--sometimes at Mr. Robertsʼs, the oilman's—when he passed a few weeks in town. Sometimes he dated his letters from London only, without specifying the street; and he once lodged at Mr. Jauncey's, Southampton Row, Bloomsbury. Mr. Jesse says,—“ In a letter from him, dated the 3rd of August in this year, he informs his correspondent, Mr. Nicholls, that the King had conferred upon him the professorship of modern history at Cambridge.” On the 12th of August he wrote to Mason a letter (which is in our possession, and unpublished) on this occasion, from which we quote a few lines. "Where you are I know not, but before this can reach you I guess you will be in residence.

It is only to tell you that I profess modern history and languages in a little shop of mine at Cambridge, if you will recommend me any customers. On Sunday Brocket died of a fall from his horse,—drunk, I believe, and, as some say, returning from Hinchenbroke. On Wednesday the Duke of Grafton wrote me a very

handsome letter, to say that the King offered the vacant place to me, with many more speeches too honourable for me to transcribe. At the levy I kissed Gent. Mag. Vol. XXIX.


his Majesty's hand. What he said I will not tell you, because everybody that has been at court tells what the King said to them ; it was very gracious, however. Remember, you are to say that the cabinet council all approved of the nomination in a particular manner,&c.

We must now confess that we have no great curiosity about these matters, nor do we feel a very intense interest at knowing in what house such a person ever resided or lodged, especially as, in most instances, the house has since that time been altered or rebuilt, as has been the case with both Pope's and Dryden's residences. We have less interest still in hearing that he lived in such a street when the particular house is not known, and absolutely none at all when we are told that he resided somewhere in the neighbourhood. If a man's mind is stamped, as it were, on the place where he lived—if he has imparted to it something of the character of his genius, and adorned it according to his peculiar taste and feeling—then indeed we should be delighted in tracing his departed footsteps, in believing them still recent on the turf we tread, and in fancying that we were listening to the echoes of a voice that had but lately died away. With such feelings we have roamed over the wild scenery of Abbotsford, or reposed on the soft velvet lawns of Twickenham, or mused under the chestnut groves of Olney. We are afraid that our sensibilities will not accompany us with equal pleasure into the “fumum strepitumque Romæ.” Perhaps we might be induced to make one exception, and say, that if it were our misfortune (for such we should deem it) to outlive the author of the Pleasures of Memory, we should never pass without feelings of gratitude and respect that house whose hospitable doors to us have been never closed,—whose walls, glowing with the choicest productions of ancient and modern art, we have so long gazed on with admiration and delight,—and where we have seen one who, having himself attained the highest honours which genius and taste can claim, has always stretched forth a willing and generous hand to assist others who were

commencing the same arduous and honourable career, unprotected and unknown. However, it may be that our readers, or Mr. Jesse's, may have a more active and expansive curiosity on these subjects than ourselves, and we therefore have ventured on making some addition to the catalogue which has been given by him, and in other similar publications, while we were reading his volumes. They are mere casual recollections, brought into light after having been forgotten for half a life; but we observe that these books follow one another too much in the same track, repeating the same names, and telling the same incidents, and quoting from the same authors. We must leave the notices on our paper as deficient in local arrangement as when they reposed in our brain, and, if worth while, some future topographer may reduce them to order.

Mrs. Inchbald's residence should be noticed,—in a public-house, near the top of Oxford Street, where she lodged many years. This was after she left the Strand.-See her Memoirs. She is buried at Kensington, close to the western wall, next to Mr. Canning's son.

Mr. James Wyatt's (the celebrated architect) elegant house, with its ornamented front and Etruscan bas-reliefs, in Foley Place, has been strangely overlooked ; this house he built and inhabited till his death.

The celebrated Governor Penn's—the large house in Queen Anne Street West, near Welbeck Street, on the north side.

Ugo Foscolo.--His Alpha Cottage, at South Bank, Regent's Park, which he had built for himself. When he left this, from inability to live

« PreviousContinue »