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of £80,000, which is scarcely consistent with Lord Hervey's statement. That Pope aimed at Miss Skerrett and Lady Mary, under the names of Phryne and Sappho, has never been doubted. Warburton admitted it to Spence. Lady Mary's gambling and speculating propensities are well known, and her "dear Molly Skerrett " may have occasionally joined her. They were, like the poet himself, engaged in the South Sea scheme. The "conceit" of a general Excise, which Pope, in his note, insinuates Miss Skerrett might have had some intimation of from Walpole, was a very general delusion. Lord Hervey describes the panic in lively colours :
"This project, which, in reality, was nothing more than a mutation of two taxes from Customs to Excise, with an addition of only 126 officers in all England for the collection of it, was so represented to the whole country, and so understood by the multitude, that there was hardly a town in England, great or small, where nine parts in ten of the inhabitants did not believe that this project was to establish a general excise! and that everything they eat or wore was to be taxed; that a colony of excise officers was to be settled in every village in the kingdom, and that they were to have a power to enter all houses at all hours; that every place and person was to be liable to their search; and that such immense sums of money were to be raised by this project, that the crown would no longer be under the necessity of calling parlia ments for annual grants to support the government, but be able to provide for itself, for the most part; and whenever it wanted any extraordinary supplies, that the excise officers, by their power, would be able at any time to choose just such a parliament as the crown should nominate and direct.
"The effect these suggestions, inculcated and believed, must have on the minds of a people jealous of their liberties, susceptible of impressions, and prone to clamour, is easy to conceive. Every alarm sounded from the faction in London came reverberated by a thousand echoes from every part of the country: the whole nation was in a flame, and fresh fuel was constantly supplied by those who first kindled it, to keep it blazing.
"Sir Robert Walpole delayed as long as he could bringing the proposal into parliament, in hopes the clamour might subside, and the members consequently be less intimidated by the remonstrances of their constituents. Pamphlets were written, too, during this delay, on the side of Government, and sent all over England by the Administration, to show the people they had been imposed upon, blown up by false insinuations, and that the project was nothing more than a scheme to correct frauds committed in these two branches of the revenue, tobacco and wine, by which means it was proposed to raise the revenue enough to continue the reduction of the land-tax at one shilling in the pound, without imposing any new tax on the subject, and without increasing any tax already laid; but merely by this alteration in the method of collecting two duties already granted, which the consumer and fair trader now paid, and of which the public was defrauded by the evaders of the laws and the illicit dealers in these commodities. But all the reasoning was to no purpose; the people would neither hear arguments, examine facts, nor believe demonstration; and the universal cry of the kingdom was, No slavery, no excise, no wooden shoes!"
Walpole had to bow to the storm. The Excise bill was withdrawn, and the Minister was mobbed and burnt in effigy in the city, along with the effigy of a "fat woman," meant for the Queen.
Ver. 123. Wise Peter sees the world's respect for gold.] Peter Walter, of Stalbridge, Dorsetshire, was doubly honoured-first as the object of Pope's satire, and secondly as the original of that inimitable pompous personage, Peter Pounce, in "Joseph Andrews." The poet had picked up Peter's history in the course of his visits to Lord Digby, at Sherborne, and Fielding at one time resided within a few miles of Stalbridge. "Wise Peter" was agent for the Duke of Newcastle and others, and was a noted money scrivener. He was reputed to be worth £300,000, most of which he left at his death (January 19, 1746) to his grandson, of the same name, Member of Parliament for Shaftesbury. Walter himself had at one time sat in the House of Commons as representative for Bridport. He was Clerk of the Peace for Middlesex. Mr. Bowles relates some particulars of this managing and money-making scrivener. "He had been assisted in making a purchase by a dependent, who consequently expected a compensation. Mr. W. refused making any at his own expense, but promised to reward him at the expense of some other person. He accordingly prevailed on a neighbouring baronet to lease him a part of his demesne lands, on terms so unusually advantageous, that they could not escape observation; the taxes and parochial imposts being charged on the occupier of the adjoining farm. The estate is still (1806) possessed by a daughter of the lessee, with all the advantages attached to it. A characteristic scene was described by a son of his bailiff, who, when a boy, attended his father in an evening on business at the Manor-house. They found its possessor sitting without light in a small room communicating with the kitchen. On their approach he applied a raspberry stick to his fire, and lighted a small candle which stood on the table before him; but finding, on inquiry, that the present business required no light, he extinguished the candle and continued the conversation in the dark. Notwithstanding his rigid parsimony, he exacted the respect paid to opulence, for observing that the youth had continued his hat on, supposing no extraordinary deference due to the great man's appearance, he rated him violently for his rusticity and inattention. The story of the miser and candle is not uncommon, but I have this account from undoubted authority. The other anecdote shows the propriety of Pope's epithet,' Wise Peter."
MR. GAGE AND LADY MARY HERBERT.
Ver. 127. The crown of Poland, venal twice an age,
But nobler scenes Maria's dreams unfold.
In addition to Pope's note on this passage, we have some interesting particulars communicated to Warton from MS. notes of Mr. Bowyer:
"The names of these two persons were Mr. Gage and Lady Mary Herbert, daughter of William, Marquis of Powis, who dying October, 1745, left in the hands of his executors and trustees an annuity of £200 a-year to be paid to the use of this daughter, not for the payment of her many debts which she had contracted, but to keep her from wanting necessaries. William, Marquis of Powis, son of the former, litigated the said will, but died while the suit was pending in the Ecclesiastical Court, leaving the residue of the lands and profits of his estates, after his debts should be paid, in the hands of trustees for the use of the Right Hon. Henry Arthur, then Lord Herbert, afterwards Earl of Powis, with whom he had no relation, friendship, or acquaintance; which Arthur afterwards married Barbara Herbert, niece and heir-at-law of the latter Earl Powis. This man, by fair promises and threats, got the trustees of the first earl to agree in obtaining administration with the will and codicil of the marquis the father, annexed in May, 1749, and then repented paying the annuity of £200 to Mary Herbert, daughter of the said marquis. As she now resided in France, she had obtained a promise of being made Dame of Honour to the Queen of France, which Lord Herbert hearing of, went out of England to dissuade her from accepting it, as being a disgrace to her and her family, and promised he would pay her all the arrears of the annuity of £200 due by her father's will, and would give her, over and above, £200 more. This he never performed till after several suits of law: the cause was brought to the House of Lords, who decreed both her annuities to be paid, with all arrears due in the year 1766. Throughout a long life, so little difference has this lady found between dreams and realities." Wakefield has pointed out that the phrase "hereditary realms," in the dreams of Mary Herbert, must have been an allusion by Pope to the circumstance that her mother was a natural daughter of James II.
DUKE OF NEWCASTLE.
Ver. 177. Old Cotta shamed his birth.] Spence says, " Cotta and his heir were supposed by some to have been the late and present Duke of Newcastle, 'foe to the Dryads of his father's groves.' Mr. Pope did not confirm it outright when I mentioned it to him, but spoke of their characters in a manner that seemed not at all to disown it."
The old Duke of Newcastle, John Holles, was reputed one of the richest nobles in England. He died in consequence of a fall from his horse, 13th July, 1711. He was succeeded by his nephew, Thomas Pelham Holles,
whom he had adopted as his heir. The career of this minister, who rose to the highest office in the state, is well known. Walpole, Smollett, and others have caricatured his weaknesses and absurdities-his constant hurry, restlessness of place, borrowed importance, and real insignificance. A dull man, Lord Wilmington, said very happily, that "the Duke of Newcastle always loses half an hour in the morning, which he is running after the rest of the day, without being able to overtake it." Notwithstanding his long political career, and the favour of the crown, it appeared, after his death in 1768, that the duke had greatly diminished the fortune he had inherited.
THE MAN OF ROSS.
Ver. 250. Rise, honest Muse, and sing the Man of Ross.] To Pope's account of the benevolent John Kyrle, various additions have been made, all confirming the general correctness of his beautiful description. The shady walk of a
mile and a-half in length, the waterworks for supplying the town of Ross, the new causeway, the public seats, the church spire, the convenient marketplace, and the liberal benefactions, were all realities, and all the work of John Kyrle. The only abatement from the picture is the fact that, though Kyrle had but £500 a-year, he was assisted by other parties, to whom he was pleased to act as almoner. The substantial benefit was conferred by him, and to him belongs the honour. It appears from letters published by Spence, and
written by Stephen Duck and Mr. Wheeler, that Kyrle kept two public days in the week, the market-day and Sunday. On the former, the neighbouring gentlemen and farmers dined with him; and if they had any differences or disputes, they appealed to the Man of Ross to decide and settle them, and his decisions were generally final. On Sunday he dined the poor people of the parish at his house, and often sent them away with broken meat and jugs of ale. In his planting and other works he chiefly employed very old men, such as were unable from their age or infirmities to perform the regular hard work on a farm. With these aged persons he would frequently work with a spade himself, pay them amply for their labour, and feed them sometimes at
his own table. He died a bachelor, and left his estate to a Mr. V. Kyrle, who was bred a confectioner in London. This new Man of Ross was extravagant and debauched, and the property became embarrassed, in consequence of which Mr. Kyrle's house was for some time kept as an inn. This is no longer the case. The reproach urged by the poet, that no memorial had been raised to John Kyrle, was removed in the year 1776 by the erection of a handsome monument over his remains in the chancel of Ross church. Funds for this purpose were left by the Viscountess Dupplin, a relative of the family by marriage. It may be mentioned, that the great age to which Mr. Kyrle attained, was favourable to his carrying out so many local improvements. He