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concerning his life and actions deserve study. Except in part 1, his devotion to the church of his adoption may be said to colour the whole narrative and to absorb all political principles and moral convictions he brings into play; an example of this may be found in his judgment of Clarendon, to whose religious policy he attributes a large share in his later troubles. The Memoirs, with the same restriction, can hardly at any time have amounted to a connected narrative, or have risen to the level of a history intended to serve the cause of objective truth.

A place of his own among the political writers of the close of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth century must be assigned to Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun. Though his public life was entirely associated with Scotland and its affairs, his political speculations took a wider range, and exhibit that cosmopolitanism which has for centuries been a distinctive mark of his nationality. Of his training, in his early years, at the hand of Burnet, mention has already been made; after this he travelled and acquired a knowledge of French, as well as of Italian so far as to compose and publish a treatise in that tongue. In 1678, he was sent as one of the members for his native Haddingtonshire to the convention of estates summoned for the purpose of supplying money for the maintenance of the soldiery employed for the suppression of presbyterian conventicles; but he joined the opposition to this and other ecclesiastical measures of the government, incurring thereby the implacable enmity of James duke of York. In the end he made his way to Holland, and, though he accompanied Monmouth to England in 1685, did not return to Scotland till the time of the revolution. The second chapter in his political career culminated in the Darien expedition, of which he was a primary promoter; and it was about this time (1698) that he first appeared as a political writer. A Discourse of Government with relation to Militias, published at Edinburgh in 16981, is thoroughly characteristic of the writer, who, plunging into the midst of the war of pamphlets on the question of standing armies which raged after the peace of Ryswyk, was ready with a complete plan for rendering unnecessary the dangerous expedient of a standing mercenary force. The people must be trained to the use of arms on a carefully planned system but for the purpose of defence only; for the sea is the only empire naturally belonging to Britain. In the same year-clearly in the autumn-Fletcher 1 Reprinted in 1755, as well as in the several editions of The Political Works of Andrew Fletcher, 1732 etc.

wrote Two Discourses on the affairs of Scotland, shortly after (2nd of July) the Darien expedition had failed. On the fostering of the new colony, the writer declares, depended the whole future of Scotland, cruelly impoverished partly through her own fault, and partly because of the removal of the seat of her government to London. After provision has been made for the colony, thought must be taken of the stricken country at home; and it is in the second of these Discourses that Fletcher prescribes the drastic remedy of domestic slavery-especially for the population of the Highlands, for which, it must be observed, he entertained great contempt. A little earlier in the same year was written his Italian discourse on Spanish affairs, apparently suggested by the first Partition Treaty1. The Speech upon the State of the Nation (1701)—which was probably never delivered-deals with the second of these treatises, as completing the establishment of Bourbon ascendancy-it 'is like an alarum bell rung over all Europe. Pray God it may not prove to you a passing-bell.' In the heated debates of the Scottish parliament of 1703 Fletcher took a leading part, preparing a bill of Security which would have very narrowly limited the royal authority in Scotland, and, when this was dropped, joining in the refusal of supplies. At least one speech and one pamphlet of this period attributed to him are spurious; but he completed, at the end of 1703, a short piece called An Account of a Conversation concerning a Right Regulation of Government for the Common Good of Mankind, which reports, with much vivacity and aptness, 'from London' to the marquis of Montrose and other Scots lords a dialogue on the relations between England and Scotland, held in the earl of Cromartie's lodgings at Whitehall. Scene, personalities and subject are treated very attractively; the conclusion is that, not an incorporating union, but a federal union is the desideratum for keeping the three kingdoms together. The style of this letter is admirable, and approaches the best English prose style of the age at a time when there was little of performance or even of pretension in Scottish prose2. Here is to be found 'the famous saying,' attributed to ‘a very wise man,' that, ‘if a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation.'

1 Discorso delle cose di Spagna, scritto nel mese de Luglio 1698, Naples, 1698.

2 As to the Scottish prose literature of the age, see chap. XIII post and its bibliography.

CHAPTER VIII

HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL WRITERS

II

BOLINGBROKE

THE historical and political writings of Henry St John, from 1712 Viscount Bolingbroke, to which we must mainly confine ourselves in the present chapter, were, nearly all of them, composed in the latter, and slightly longer, half of his life which followed on the great collapse of his party at the close of the reign of queen Anne. As to his contributions to philosophical literature, something will be said in the next volume of the present work; in the chief collections of his letters, the public and pragmatic element, for the most part, is so copiously mixed up with the private and personal, that they can hardly be subjected to a literary judgment. This is especially the case with Parke's edition of his Letters and Correspondence, which extends over the last four years of the reign of queen Anne and ends with a despondent reference to her death. These letters, on Bolingbroke's sudden flight to France, were secured by the exertions of his under-secretary Thomas Hare, and thus escaped being brought before the House of Commons at his trial in 1715, like some extracts from his correspondence. They are addressed to a large variety of correspondents, of whom lords Strafford (Raby), Orrery, Dartmouth and Shrewsbury, and Matthew Prior, are among the most frequent recipients of letters written in English, and the marquis de Torcy of the much smaller number written in French. They are, of course, invaluable to a student of the peace negotiations and of Bolingbroke's direct share in them; and in those which adopt a more intimate tone, like the 'long scrawl which is only from

Bolingbroke's Earlier Life. The Examiner 217

Harry to Matt., not from the Secretary to the Minister1,' there is often a fair amount of malicious wit. Of Bolingbroke's private letters, however, the most pleasing are to be found in the series addressed to his half-sister Henrietta, which are generally written in a natural vein, without a superfluity of the epigrammatic infusion in which the letters of this age abound. Even these, however, on occasion, exhibit Bolingbroke's fatal propensity, when telling the truth, to conceal part of it.

St John's earliest withdrawal from public life to the consolations of philosophy and literature belongs to the early part of 1708, when he followed Harley out of office. His retirement was carried out with so much pompousness, and so little interfered with his habits of self-indulgence, that it exposed him to much ridicule on the part of his friends, including brutal sarcasm from Swift; and it is not known to have been productive of any compositions in prose or in verse, After his return to public life in 1710, not many weeks before he received the seals as secretary of state (September 1710), he had, not for the last time in his career, inspired the foundation by the tories of a journal to support them in a vigorous campaign against the whig government. Among the early contributors were Swift, Prior and Robert Freind.

This was The Examiner (to be distinguished from other periodicals of that name), of which between thirty and forty numbers appear to have been published up to the spring of 1712. According to the general account, Bolingbroke's first and most important contribution to this journal appeared in no. X, and contained an attack on Marlborough's conduct of the war, with a fierce attack on the duchess. This description, however, does not apply to the number in question; but elsewhere1 is reprinted what is called 'St John's Letter to The Examiner,' which inveighs against the whigs, their clubs, their journals, and their literary champions such as 'the Hector of Sarum' (Burnet), and speaks of the subjection of the queen 'to an arbitrary junto, and

1 Vol. 1, p. 41. The replies of Prior (Henrico colendissimo Matthaeus) are at least equally vivacious.

2 See the correspondence, chiefly from manuscript originals, appended to Sichel, W., Bolingbroke and his Times. The Sequel, 1902. (Henrietta St John married Robert Knight, member for Sudbury, afterwards Lord Luxborough. She is also known as the friend and correspondent of Shenstone.) There is no need for referring here to Grimoard's collection, which consists of letters in French, partly originals, partly translations.

3 See Macknight, T., The Life of Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke, pp. 158—9. 4 In Somers' Tracts, vol. xIII, p. 71; also in The History of His Own Time, by Matthew Prior (ed. Drift, A.), 1740, pp. 306 ff. This letter was answered by A Letter to Isaac Bickerstaffe, Esq., by earl Cooper,' 1710.

to the caprice of an insolent woman.' No. XVII of this Examiner, it may be added, contains a letter which attacks the duke under the thin disguise of 'Crassus,' but makes no special attack upon the duchess.

But the five years of office which ensued, the labours, including a journey to France, which resulted in the conclusion of the peace of Utrecht, and the intrigues by which Bolingbroke in vain endeavoured to turn the approaching crisis of the succession to the advantage of the tories left him little time for composition; by the close of March 1715, he found himself an exile, and, in the following July, in the service of the pretender. It was not till this fatal phase of his career was at an end that he made his first elaborate contribution to political literature. A few months, however, before he wrote the celebrated Letter to Sir William Wyndham-the disciple whom he had left at home behind himhe had composed his Reflections on Exile, published before the close of 1716, when his hopes of pardon and return had again receded. This effort, founded on Seneca's Consolatio ad Helviam, is stuffed with additional quotations from classical and one or two modern sources, and reads almost like a parody of the classicising essay of the period. Although its style has been held to be Ciceronian rather than Senecan1, the writer inveighs against 'Tully' for unphilosophically lamenting his exile, though, with a characteristic sneer, it is allowed that 'his separation from Terentia, whom he repudiated not long afterwards, was perhaps an affliction to him at the time.'

A Letter to Sir William Wyndham seems to have been directly provoked by a Jacobite pamphlet entitled A Letter from Avignon2, which, in its turn, was a product of the rupture between Bolingbroke and the pretender early in 1716, and was written in the following year. Its main purpose was to demonstrate, for the benefit of the tories and from the writer's own experience, the suicidal folly of an alliance between them and the Jacobites. But, though the logic of this demonstration is incontrovertible, the historical process by which the experience on which it rests was gained is audaciously misrepresented, and the circumstances in which Bolingbroke offered his services to the pretender are falsified, as are his relations to the tory party and its policy after his fall. It was, not improbably, his knowledge, not only of the truth, but of what others knew of the truth, which prevented him

1 Sichel, W., u.s., p. 82.

2 See Collins, J. Churton, Bolingbroke etc. p. 132.

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