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A LETTE R
A NOBLE L OR D',
ON OCCASION OF SOME LIBELS WRITTEN AND PROPAGATED AT COURT, IN THE YEAR 1732-3.
Nov. 30, 1733.
YOUR Lordship's epiftle has been published some days, but I had not the pleasure and pain of feeing it till yesterday: Pain, to think your Lordship should attack me at all; Pleasure, to find that
This Letter (which was firft printed in the Year 1733) bears the fame place in our Author's profe that the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot does in his poetry. They are both Apologetical, repelling the libellous flanders on his Reputation: with this difference, that the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, his friend, was chiefly directed against Grub-ftreet Writers, and this Letter to the Noble Lord, his enemy, against Court Scribblers. For the reft, they are both Master-pieces in their kinds; That in verse, more grave, moral, and fublime; This in profe, more lively, critical, and pointed; but equally conducive to what he had most at heart, the vindication of his moral Character: the only thing he thought worth his care in literary altercations; and the first thing he would expect from the good offices of a furviving Friend. WARBURTON. Lord Hervey, who, together with Lady M. W. Montagu, had written fome fevere lines on him, but certainly after provocation on his part. Lord Hervey is fatirized by him under the name of Lord Fanny, and Sporus. He was certainly affected. In one of his Letters from Bath, he fays, "The Duchess of
you can attack me fo weakly. As I want not the humility, to think myself in every way but one your inferior, it seems but reasonable that I should take the only method either of self-defence or retaliation, that is left me against a person of your quality and power.
Marlborough, Congreve, and Lady Rich, are the only people whofe faces I know, whofe names I ever heard, or who, I believe, have any names belonging to them. The rest are a fwarm of wretched beings, fome with half-limbs, fome with none, the ingredients of Pandora's Box PERSONIFIED," &c. Again, "I do not meet a creature without faying to myself, as Lady - did of her femme de chambre, Regardez cet animal, confiderez ce neant, voila un bel ame pour etre immortel !”
He was also very effeminate in perfon, and ufed paint. His speeches in Parliament prove he had more than "florid impotence.” He was Vice-Chamberlain and Privy-Seal to George II. was an excellent caricature-print published of the combatants, when he fought with Pulteney. Sir Robert Walpole was drawn ftanding as Lord Hervey's Second. For further particulars of this Nobleman, I must refer to Mr. Coxe's Memoirs.
Intitled, An Epifle to a Doctor of Divinity from a Nobleman at Hampton-Court, Aug. 28, 1733, and printed the November following for J. Roberts. Fol.,
The following advertisement appeared in the Papers, 1733, respecting this Letter:
"Whereas a great demand hath been made for an Answer to a certain fcurrilous Epifle from a Nobleman to Dr. Sh-r-n; "this is to acquaint the Public, that it hath been hitherto hin"dered by what feemed a denial of that Epistle by the Noble "Lord, in the Daily Courant of Nov. 22., affirming that no such "Epiftle was written by him. But whereas that declaration hath "fince been undeclared by the Courant; this is to certify, that "unlefs the faid Noble Lord fhall this next week, in a manner as
public as the injury, deny the said Poem to be his, or contra"dict the afperfions therein contained, there will with all speed be
published, a moft proper reply to the fame.
And as by your choice of this weapon, your pen, you generously (and modeftly too, no doubt) meant to put yourself upon a level with me; I will as foon believe that your Lordship would give a wound to a man unarmed, as that you would deny me the use of it in my own defence.
I prefume you will allow me to take the fame liberty in my answer to fo candid, polite, and ingenious a Nobleman, which your Lordship took in yours, to fo grave, religious, and refpectable a clergyman: As you answered his Latin in English, permit me to anfwer your Verfe in Profe. And though your Lordfhip's reasons for not writing in Latin, might be stronger than mine for not writing in Verse, yet I may plead Two good ones, for this conduct :-the one that I want the talent of fpinning a thousand lines in a Day, (which, I think, is as much Time as this fubject deferves,) and the other, that I take your Lordhip's Verse to be as much Profe as this letter. But no doubt it was your choice, in writing to a friend, to renounce all the pomp of Poetry, and give us this excellent model of the familiar.
When I confider the great difference betwixt the rank your Lordship holds in the World, and the rank which your writings are like to hold in the learned world, I prefume that diftinction of style is but neceffary,
And Pope, with juftice, of fuch lines may fay,
Epift. p. 6.
neceffary, which you will see observed through this letter. When I speak of you, my Lord, it will be with all the deference due to the inequality which Fortune has made between you and myself: but when I fpeak of your writings, my Lord, I muft, I can do nothing but trifle.
I should be obliged indeed to leffen this Respect, if all the Nobility (and especially the elder brothers) are but fo many hereditary fools, if the privilege of Lords be to want brains 3, if noblemen can hardly write or read, if all their business is but to drefs and vote, and all their employment in court, to tell lies, flatter in public, flander in private, be false to each other, and follow nothing but felf-interest *. Biefs me, my Lord, what an account is this you give of them? and what would have been said of me, had I immolated, in this manner, the whole body of the Nobility, at the stall of a well-fed Prebendary?
Were it the mere Excefs of your Lordship's Wit, that carried you thus triumphantly over all the bounds
£ That to good blood by old prescriptive rules, Gives right hereditary to be Fools.
• Nor wonder that my Brain no more affords, But recollect the privilege of Lords.
▲ And when you see me fairly write my name ; For England's fake with all could do the fame.
• Whilft all our butinefs is to drefs and vote.
* Courts are only larger families,
The growth of each, few truths, and many lies:
Few to each other, all to one point true ;
Epift. p. 6.