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1713, May 10. * * Brother Sim is here, very well and hearty. He tells me, you have rescued Cato from Whigism. I have spoke to Lord Chamberlain concerning Booth, and I believe we may procure any encouragement for him that is reasonable. Note, Cato means Addison, who, though by party a Whig, associated with the principal men on the Tory side. The day on which the account of the peace arrived, he dined with Bolingbroke.
1713, Sept.—Poor Dick Skelton dines sometimes, I think, in York Buildings. He has done so these three years, but colic, spleen, and disappointment, sour people's digestion. Pray persist in your good opinion of him, my Lord, for he really deserves it from you. I have likewise engaged the Duke of Shrewsbury to put in a kind word in his behalf; for what, in God's name, do we translate our odes, and write our little stuff, but to be able to do our friends some good 4 And why is a man, who may be useful to the public, and whose heart is with us, to lie fallow till either we have not the power to do him service, or till he wants health to enjoy our friendly offices 4 I wish I had a word from Lord Treasurer; but wishes are vain, and sighs cannot obtain, as Sir Car Scroop most elegantly expresses it. * * *
1713. * * Adieu, my dear Lord; if at my return I may help you any way in your drudgery, the youngest clerk you have is not more at your command: and if at the old hour of midnight after your drudgery, a cold bladebone of mutton in Duke Street will go down sicut olim, it, with all that belongs to the master of the house (except Nanny) is entirely yours. Adieu. May God bless you, men respect you, and women love you.
1714, Jan, 18.-The very apprehensions I felt from what you said of the Queen's being ill, though you added the news of her being recovered, gave my carcase a very ugly shock: so much do my own fears naturally outweigh my joys, or plainer, so much am I rather a coward than a hero. Good God what a thousand things have I thought, since I received your letter, if that should happen, which one hates even to think of what is to become of us? What sort or set of men are to be our taskmasters ? and what sluices are we provided with, to save Great Britain from being overflowed 2 after what would become of us all? the thought, I grant you, is very mean, what would become of me? But humanity is frail and querulous. If the prospect, therefore, of this evil, though, I hope, far removed, be dreadful to the masters of Mortimer Castle, Hinton St. George, Stanton Harcourt, or Bucklebury, what must it be to friend Matt, qui oppressus inimicis et invidia, acrumnis et paupertate, morbis et annis, or, as it is upon the tombstone, since goods, sine lands, sine riches 2 Why wont Lord Treasurer think of this one half hour, since we may do it at any half hour, since he intends to do it, I believe: and possibly, half an hour too late, will be as sorry as myself that it was not done 3 But if the Queen is well, hang all the rest. Gaultier had alarmed this court; upon your letter I was glad to convince them that there was no ground for their apprehensions, your Lordship's letter giving so good an account of her majesty's indisposition being so happily past. And accordingly I continued the appointment and invitation I had made to some of our friends to dine with me yesterday. Monsieur could not, as he promised, come, the king hav. ing appointed him to wait on his majesty at Monti. But I had women, Croissy, Torcy, Bouzolles, and (as Madame Croissy had invited her Lady Jersey) men, Card. Polignac, Abbé Pompone, Count Croissy, and that gang. Albergetti to sing accompagnement de musique, and every thing a l'honneur de l’Angleterre. But under this mask of mirth—premit alto corde dolorem—till I hear from England more particularly, that the Queen's health is confirmed, &c.
1714, April.—By what I have sent you inclosed, I hope, my dear Lord Bolingbroke, I shall hear no more of sluices “till Shiloh comes.” What are ye all doing in England, and (as these people ask me) who are the government 3 For my own part, I hear nothing from that merry island, but that you, I, and all our friends are called rogues and rascals all the day long, and in every coffee-house. Quousque tandem 3 &c.
MY DEAR LoRD AND FRIEND, May 1, 1714. MATTHEw had never so great an occasion to write a word to Henry as now ; it is noised here that I am soon to return. The question that I wish I could answer to the many that ask, and to our friend Colbert de Torcy (to whom I made your compliments in the manner you commanded) is, what is done for me, and to what I am recalled 3 It may look like a bagatelle, what is to become of a philosopher like me: but it is not such, what is to become of a person who had the honour to be chosen and sent hither, as intrusted in the midst of a war, with what the queen designed should make the peace. Returning with the Lord Bolingbroke, one of the greatest men in England, and one of the finest heads in Europe (as they say here, if true or not, n'importe) having been left by him in the greatest character, that of her majesty's plenipotentiary, exercising that power conjointly with the Duke of Shrewsbury, and solely after his departure. Having here received more distinguished honour than any minister, except an ambassador, ever did ; and some which were never given to any, but who had that character; having had all the success that could be expected, having (God be thanked) spared no pains at a time, when the peace at home is voted safe and honourable, at a time when the Earl of Oxford is lord treasurer, and Lord Bolingbroke first secretary of state; this unfortunate person, I say, meglected, forgot, unnamed to any thing that may speak the queen satisfied with his services, or his friends concerned as to his fortune. Monsieur de Torcy put me quite out of countenance the other day, by a pity that wounded me deeper than ever did the cruelty of the late Lord Godolphin. He said he would write to Robin and IIarry about me. God forbid, my lord, that I should need any foreign intercession, or owe the least to any Frenchman living, besides decency of behaviour, and the returns of common civility. Some say I am to go to Baden, others, that I am to be added to the commissioners for settling the commerce. In all cases, I am ready, but in the mean time— dic aliquid de tribus capillis. Neither of these two are, I presume, honours or rewards, neither of them (let me say to my dear Lord Bolingbroke, and let him not be angry with me) are what Drift 1 may aspire to, and what Mr. Whitworth, who was his fellow-clerk, has or may possess. I am far from desiring to lessen the great merit of the gentleman I named, for I heartily esteem and love him. But in this trade of ours, my lord, in which you are the general, as in that of the soldiery, there is a certain right acquired by time and long service. You would do any thing for your queen's service, but you would not be contented to descend and be degraded to a charge no way proportioned to that of secretary of state, any more than Mr. Ross, though he would charge a party with a halberd in his hand, would be content all his life after to be a servant. Was my Lord Dartmouth, from secretary returned again to be commissioner of trade, or from secretary of war, would Frank Gwin think himself kindly used to be returned again to be commissioner. In short,
my lord, you have put me above myself, and if I am to return to myself. I shall return to something very discontented and uneasy I am sure, my lord, you will make the best up you can of this hint for my good. If I am to have any thing, it will certainly be for her majesty's service, and the credit of my friends in the ministry, that it be done before I am recalled from hence, lest the world may think either that I have merited to be disgraced, or that you dare not stand by me: if nothing is to be done Jiat voluntas Dei. I have writ to Lord Treasurer on this subject, and having implored your kind intercession, I promise you, it is the last remonstrance of the kind I will ever make. Adieu ! my Lord! all honour, health
and pleasure to you. Yours ever, MATT.
MY DEAR LORD, 1714, Aug. 7. I should be wanting in my duty and friendship to you, if I were silent upon a point, which for me, of all men, it is most dangerous to touch: you will easily guess it is the differences, and as they are represented here, the open quarrels between my masters at Whitehall. Who is in the wrong, or who is in the right, is not in my power at this distance to determine; but this thing, every one sees at this court, from Torcy to Courtenvaux, as I believe they do in yours, from my Lord Chancellor to Miramont, that the honour of our nation daily diminishes, and the credit of the ministers most particularly suffers. I would expatiate upon this topic, if I did not write to a man of your superior sense, and I need make no excuse for touching upon it, because, I am sure, I write to a man who loves me and knows I love him. I have one reason to wish an end to these misunderstandings, more than any man else, which is, that I foresee my own ruin inevitably fixed in their continuance; but be all that as it will, my Lord Bolingbroke shall never be ashamed of