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once the offer of a thousand pounds to suppress it. Hazlitt said, that Moore ought not to have published Lalla Rookh, which he thought was a public disappointment, for three thousand pounds, "for his fame was worth more than that." If Moore's reputation has so high a pecuniary value, Pope's was certainly not inferior even in that respect, and he ought and would not, have suppressed a master-piece of satire for her Grace's bribe, however he might have been influenced by other considerations. If he bartered his poetical fame for gold he would not have taken less to suppress than Moore took to publish. The former had quite as lofty an opinion of his own genius as the latter can entertain of his. But it is worse than idle to talk in this mercantile manner about poetical productions, and I do not mean, in alluding to Hazlitt's remark, to imply any agreement with his opinion respecting the merits of Lalla Rookh. The public generally were at least as much delighted with it as they expected to be. But to return to the point in question. Considering then that Pope valued poetical fame more than money, and was peculiarly punctilious on the score of his personal independence, and remarkably prudent and far-sighted on most worldly occasions, we may fairly conclude, even as a matter of mere policy, he would have rejected the supposed bribe, and not have placed himself in the power of so garrulous, violent and fickle a woman as the Duchess of Marlborough. It is pretty evident that Pope must be brought in guilty of ingratitude towards h r grace, but not on account of a pecuniary favor, which forms the darker feature of the charge. Perhaps even ingratitude is too strong a term to be used in this case, for the old lady on the whole probably gave him a good deal more annoyance than pleasure with her wavering humours, and was as much indebted to Pope as Pope was to her. But even if we must eventually admit that the Poet's conduct was not wholly irreproachable, it may be easily shown that his accusers have not proved him to be so truly corrupt and contemptible as their stories would imply. On a hasty perusal
of the letters of Bolingbroke (who was described by the poet himself as his "Guide, Philosopher and Friend") I confess, I was not a little startled. I began to think Horace Walpole might be right after all, and Campbell, Roscoe and Bowles in a pleasing error. For a moment the case seemed decided. On a second consideration, however, I feel by no means disposed to place implicit confidence in the testimony of Bolingbroke, though coincident with that of Walpole. I shall explain some of those particulars which in addition to what has been already advanced, make me question the veracity of these two writers. In the first place then they were neither of them disinterested witnesses. On the contrary, Bolingbroke was actuated by what Johnson emphatically calls his "thirst of vengeance," and Horace Walpole was jealous of every author in existence, and was never on very cordial terms with Pope, though some little compliments may have passed between them. It was Walpole*, who said of Addison that "he died drunk ;" and for the pleasure of saying something new and
In the letter of Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann, published by Lord Dover in 1833, Walpole tells his correspondent that Pope had suppressed in his edition of the Patriot King, a panegyric on Lord Lyttleton; and that he gives this fact on the authority of Lord Chesterfield and Lord Lyttleton, "the latter of whom went to Bolingbroke to ask how he had forfeited his good opinion." To show what Walpole's spiteful tittle-tattle is worth, we have only to turn to a letter of Bolingbroke's to Hugh Earl of Marchmont in the Marchmont Papers, wherein he clearly states that the panegyric on Lyttleton was omitted, at that nobleman's own request. Bolingbroke's words are:-The publication you mention" (the Patriot King) "has brought no trouble upon me, though it has given occasion to many libels against me. They are of the lowest form, and seem to be held in the contempt they deserve. There I leave them, nor suffer a nest of hornets to disturb the quiet of my retreat. If these letters of mine come to your hands, your Lordship will find that I have left out all that was said of our friend Lyttleton in one of them. He desired it might be so, and I had the double mortification of concealing the good I had said of one friend and of revealing the turpitude of another." Lord Dover in a note to one of Walpole's letters asserts very erroneously, that Bolingbroke discovered what Pope had done during his (Pope's) life time, and never forgave him for it. Bolingbroke might have known it before Pope's death, but if so we may conclude that he had no objection to it then, as he was not the man to smother his passions.
surprising, and the gratification of his literary envy, he was not very scrupulous in adhering to the truth, when retailing his anecdotes of men of letters. The world would never have believed the story of the Atossa bribe on his authority alone, and even Bolingbroke's support will not save it from the eventual incredulity of mankind. It would have been as well, however, if the Editor of the Marchmont Papers had been discreet enough to omit the two letters, for they will leave a stain somewhere, and if we save Pope, Bolingbroke must be sacrificed. Lord Bolingbroke was during the life of the Poet, one of the most faithful and affectionate friends, and he wept over him in his helpless state of decay, with a passion almost feminine. It is, indeed, melancholy to reflect upon what trivial chances the warmest human friendship may be wrecked, and how suddenly its flame may be extinguished. Pope was scarcely cold in his grave before the man who had loved and mourned him like a brother, became inspired with an implacable hatred, and endeavoured to blast his memory with the malice of a demon. It appears, that on discovering that Pope had left his printed works to Warburton, whom Bolingbroke hated almost to madness, the latter was so stung with anger and jealousy, that he experienced a sudden revulsion of feeling, and thought only how he might revenge himself on the dead poet, as well as the living Churchman. Warburton had gained the affections of Pope by his subtle defence of The Essay on Man, and the poet's orthodoxy, which was more than questioned on account of the arguments and illustrations which Bolingbroke had insidiously contrived should be introduced into the poem. The theologian, though he defended the poem in public, seems to have opened the poet's eyes to the nature of the philosophy into which Bolingbroke had inveigled him, and Pope made several subsequent alterations in accordance with the views of Warburton. This was of course gall and wormwood to the philosophical Lord, and the theologian added fuel to his passion,
by making various manuscript strictures of a very free and ungentle nature, on a copy of Bolingbroke's "Letters on the Study and Use of History." These strictures Pope shewed to Bolingbroke, who received them, it is said, with irrepressible indignation. Pope, however, passionately loved Bolingbroke to the last*, and must have little expected, that his leaving him only his MSS., and assigning his printed works to Warburton, as his Editor, would have kindled such fierce and unrelenting anger, and stirred up such deadly strife. To give some reasonable colour to his enmity towards his deceased friend, Bolingbroke pretended to be enraged at a breach of trust on the part of Pope. The circumstances attending this transaction, were as follows:
Lord Bolingbroke's political tract of The Patriot King had been put into the hands of Pope, that he might procure the impression of a few copies, to be distributed amongst his Lordship's friends; which was accordingly done; but after the death of Pope, it appeared, that a much greater number (amounting it is said, to 1,500) had been taken off and left in the hands of the printer, who after Pope's death delivered them up to his Lordship.
Pope, indeed, idolized him: when in company with him, he appeared with all the deference and submission of an affectionate scholar. He used to speak of him as a being of a superior order, that had condescended to visit this lower world; in particular, when the last comet appeared, and approached near the earth, he told some of his acquaintance, it was sent only to convey Lord Bolingbroke HOME AGAIN; just as a stage-coach stops at your door to take up a passenger. A graceful person, a flow of nervous eloquence, a vivid imagination, were the lot of this accomplished nobleman; but his ambitious views being frustrated in the early part of his life, his disappointments embittered his temper, and he seems to have been disgusted with all religions, and all governments. I have been informed from an eye-witness of one of his last interviews with Pope, who was then given over by the physicians, that Bolingbroke, standing behind Pope's chair, looked earnestly down upon him, and repeated several times, interrupted with sobs, “O, great God, what is man! I never knew a person that had so tender a heart for his particular friends, or a warmer benevolence for all mankind." It is to be hoped that Bolingbroke profited by those remarkable words that Pope spoke in his last illness to the same gentleman who communicated the foregoing anecdote; "I am so certain of the soul's being immortal, that I seem even to feel it within me, as it were by intuition."-Warton.
Bolingbroke affected to be outrageously indignant at this "breach of trust," and employed Mallet, a mean and unprincipled scribbler of all work, to exaggerate and mis-represent the facts, and to hold up Pope to the execration of the world*. It was absurdly insinuated, that it was Pope's intention, had he survived Bolingbroke, to have sold the book on his own account, and at a large price. Pope, as D'Israeli observes, must have been a miserable calculator of survivorships, if he had built his hopes of profit, on such a foundation as thist. Warburton, "whose heart," Johnson says, was yet warm with his legacy, and tender by the recent separation," apologised for Pope. His conduct was attributed to a desire of perpetuating the esteemed work of a friend, who might have capriciously destroyed it. The poet, it was said, could have no selfish motive; he could not gratify his vanity by publishing it as his own, nor his avarice by its sale, which could never have taken place before the death of its author, a circumstance, as was just intimated, not likely to occur during Pope's lifetime. The last Earl of Marchmont's account of this matter, as given to the honourable George Rose‡, makes it still more improbable that Pope should have been actuated by any unworthy motive. This account was published by Mr. A. Chalmers in the Biographical Dictionary. According to this statement, it appears, that some copies of The Patriot King, were
Mallet (who is but the mouthpiece of his patron) objects that "scraps and fragments of these papers had been employed to swell a monthly Magazine." But is it likely that Pope would send parts of the work to a Magazine, and yet expect that they could be so used without a chance of the circumstance coming to the knowledge of Bolingbroke? If he did send fragments of the work to a Magazine, it is clear that he must have thought himself justified in so doing. It was not a secret act, and no one pretends that it was his object to provoke the hostility of Bolingbroke.
+ Pope's death was a very slow one, and fully expected by himself. Had he been conscious of any impropriety with respect to the printing of The Patriot King, he might very easily and secretly have destroyed the entire impression.
The father of the Editor of the Marchmont Papers.