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invitation to the Prince of Orange, and sat in the convention. He about the same time married the countess dowager of Manchester, and intended to have taken orders; but afterwards altering his purpose, he purchased for 1500l. the place of one of the clerks of the council.
After he had written his epistle on the victory of the Boyne, his patron Dorset introduced him to king William, with this expression: “ Sir, I have brought a “ Mouse to wait on your Majesty.” To which the king is said to have replied, “ You do well to put me in the
way of making a Man of him ;” and ordered him a pension of five hundred pounds. This story, however current, seems to have been made after the event. The king's answer implies a greater acquaintance with our proverbial and familiar diction than king William could possibly have attained.
In 1691, being member of the house of commons, he argued warmly in favour of a law to grant the assistance of counsel in trials for high treason; and, in the midst of his speech, falling into some confusion, was for a while silent; but, recovering himself, observed, " how reasonable it was to allow counsel to men called
as criminals before a court of justice, when it appear“ed how much the presence of that assembly could si disconcert one of their own body.”
After this he rose fast into honours and employments, being made one of the com issioners of the treasury, and called to the privy-council. In 1694, he became chancellor of the exchequer; and the next year engaged in the great attempt of the re-coinage, which was in two years happily completed. In 1696, he projected the general
fund, and raised the credit of the Exchequer ; and, after inquiry concerning a grant of Irish Crownlands, it was determined by a vote of the commons, that Charles Montague, esquire, had deserved his Majesty's favour. In 1698, being advanced to the first commission of the treasury, he was appointed one of
in the king's absence: the next year he was made auditor of the exchequer, and the year
after created baron Halifax. He was, however, impeached
by the Commons; but the articles were dismissed by the Lords.
At the accession of Queen Anne he was dismissed from the council: and in the first parliament of her reign was again attacked by the Commons, and again escaped by the protection of the Lords. In 1704, he wrote an answer to Bromley's speech against occasional conformity. He headed the Inquiry into the danger of the Church. In 1706, he proposed and negociated the Union with Scotland, and when the elector of Hanover had received the garter, after the act had passed for securing the Protestant Succession, he was appointed to carry the ensigns of the order to the electoral court. He sat as one of the judges of Sacheverell; but voted for a mild sentence. Being now no longer in favour, he contrived to obtain a writ for summoning the electoral prince to parliament as Duke of Cambridge.
At the queen’s death he was appointed one of the regents; and at the accession of George the First was made earl of Halifax, knight of the garter, and first commissioner of the treasury, with a grant to his nephew of the reversion of the auditorship of the exchequer. More was not to be had, and this he kept but a little while ; for, on the 19th of May, 1715, he died of an inflammation of his lungs.
Of him, who from a poet became a patron of poets, it will be readily believed that the works would not miss of celebration. Addison began to praise him early, and was followed or accompanied by other poets; perhaps by almost all, except Swift and Pope, who forbore to flatter him in his life, and after his death spoke of him, Swift with slight censure, and Pope in the character of Bufo with acrimonious contempt.
He was, as Pope says, “ fed with dedications;" for Tickell affirms that no dedication was unrewarded. To charge all unmerited praise with the guilt of flattery, and to suppose that the encomiast always knows and feels the falsehoods of his assertions, is surely to discover great ignorance of human nature and human life. In determinations depending not on rules, but on exa perience and comparison, judgment is always in some
degree subject to affection. Very near to admiration is the wish to admire.
Every man willingly gives value to the praise which he receives, and considers the sentence passed in his favour as the sentence of discernment. We admire in a friend that understanding which selected us for confidence; we admire more, in a patron, that judgment which, instead of scattering bounty indiscriminately, directed it to us; and, if the patron be an author, those performances which gratitude forbids us to blame, affection will easily dispose us to exalt.
To these prejudices, hardly culpable, interest adds a power always operating, though not always, because not willingly, perceived. The modesty of praise wears gradually away; and perhaps the pride of patronage may be in time so increased, that modest praise will no longer please.
Many a blandishment was practised upon Halifax, which he would never have known, had he no other attractions than those of his poetry, of which a short time has withered the beauties. It would now be esteemed no honour, by a contributor to the monthly bundles of verses, to be told, that, in strains either familiar or solemn, he sings like Montague.
The Life of Dr. PARNELL is a task which I should very willingly decline, since it has been lately written by Goldsmith, a man of such variety of powers, and such felicity of performance, that he always seemed to do best that which he was doing; a man who had the art of being minute without tediousness, and general without confusion; whose language was copious without exuberance, exact without constraint, and easy
What such an author has told, who would tell again? I have made an abstract from his larger narrative; and have this gratification from my attempt, that it gives me an opportunity of paying due tribute to the memo. ry of Goldsmith.
Το γας γέρας έςι θανόνων. .
THOMAS PARNELL was the son of a common-wealths. man of the same name, who at the restoration, left Congleton in Cheshire, where the family had been established for several centuries, and, settling in Ireland, purchased an estate, which, with his lands in Cheshire, descended to the poet, who was born in Dublin in 1679; and, after the usual education at a grammarschool, was, at the age of thirteen, admitted into the College, where in 1700, he became master of arts; and was the same year ordained a deacon, though under the canonical age, by a dispensation from the Bishop of Derry.
About three years afterwards he was made a priest; and in 1705 Dr. Ashe, the bishop of Clogher, conferred upon him the archdeaconry of Clogher. About the same time he married Mrs. Anne Minchin, an amiable lady, by whom he had two sons, who died young, and a daughter who long survive nim.
At the ejection of the Whigs, in the end of Queen Anne's reign, Parnell was persuaded to change his
party, not without much censure from those whom he forsook, and was received by the new ministry as a va« Juable reinforcement. When the Earl of Oxford was told that Dr. Parnell waited among the crowd in the outer room, he went, by the persuasion of Swift, with his treasurer's staff in his hand, to inquire for him, and to bid him welcome; and, as may be inferred from Pope's dedication, admitted him as a favourite companion to his convivial hours, but, as it seems often to have happened in those times to the favourites of the Great, without attention to his fortune, which, however, was in no great need of improvement.
Parnell, who did not want ambition or vanity, was desirous to make himself conspicuous, and to shew how worthy he was of high preferment. As he thought himself qualified to become a popular preacher, he displayed his elocution with great success in the pulpits of London; but the Queen's death putting an end to his expectations, abated his diligence; and Pope represents him as falling from that time into intemperance of wine. That in his latter life he was too much a lover of the bottle, is not denied; but I have heard it imputed to a cause more likely to obtain forgiveness from mankind, the untimely death of a darling son; or, as others tell, the loss of his wife, who died (1712) in the midst of his expectations.
He was now to derive every future addition to his preferments from his personal interest with his private friends, and he was not long unregarded. He was warmly recommended by Swift to Archbishop King, who gave him a prebend in 1713; and in May, 1716, presented him to the vicarage of Finglass, in the diocese of Dublin, worth four hundred pounds a year. Such notice from such a man inclines me to believe, that the vice of which he has been accused was not gross, or not notorious.
But his prosperity did not last long. His end, whatever was its cause, was now approaching. He enjoyed his preferment little more than a year; for in July, 1717, in his thirty-eithth year, he died at Chester on his way
to Ireland. Vol. VI.