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tedious here to investigate. One ostensible reason was, that Peterborough's parts were of too lively and mercurial a quality, and that his letters showed more wit than became a general; a common-place objection, raised by the dull malignity of common-place minds against those whom they see discharging with ease and indifference the tasks which they themselves execute (if at all) with the sweat of their brow, and in the heaviness of their heart. It is no uncommon error of judgment to maintain à priori, that a thing cannot possibly be well done, which has taken less time in doing than the person passing sentence had anticipated. There is also a certain hypocrisy in business, whether civil or military, as well as in religion, which they will do well to observe, who, not satisfied with discharging their duty, desire also the good report of men. Το the want of that grave, serious, business-like deportment, which admits of no levity in the exercise of its office; but especially to the envy excited by his success, Britain owed the recall of the earl of Peterborough from Spain, during the full career of his victories. The command of the troops devolved on the earl of Galway; a thorough-bred soldier, as he was called; a sound-headed, steady, solid general, who proceeded, with all decency, decorum, and formal attention to the discipline of war, to lose the battle of Almanza, and to ruin the whole expedition to Spain.
In June 1710-11, the thanks of the House of Peers were returned to the earl of Peterborough for his services in Spain; and the chancellor used these remarkable words in expressing them:-"Had your lordship's
wise counsels, particularly your advice at the council of war in Valencia, been pursued in the following campaign, the fatal battle of Almanza, and our greatest misfortunes which have since happened in Spain, had been prevented, and the design upon Toulon might have happily succeeded."
In the years 1710 and 1711, the earl was employed in embassies to Turin, and other courts of Italy, and finally at Vienna. He returned from the German capital with such expedition, that none of his servants were able to keep up with him, but remained scattered in the different towns where he had severally outstripped them. He outrode, upon this same occasion, several expresses which he had himself despatched to announce his motions. Swift at this time received a letter from him, dated Hanover, and desiring an answer to be sent to him at his country-house in Enggland d. Indeed, Peterborough's characteristic rapidity of travelling was about this time celebrated by the dean, in a little poem inscribed to him :
Mordanto fills the trump of fame,
The Christian world his deeds proclaim,
In journeys he outrides the post,
Knows every prince in Europe's face,
d Swift's Journal to Stella, 24th June, 1711.
Peterborough's haste was, in 1711, probably stimulated by the interest he took in the great public discussions on the policy of continuing the war with France. He argued in the affirmative with great ability, but without success. Although a strenuous Whig in principle, he was disliked by most of his own party, and greatly caressed in consequence by the Tories. After his return to England, he obtained the regiment of royal horse guards, and the honours of the garter, being installed 4th August, 1713. In November following, we find the earl British plenipotentiary to the king of Sicily and other Italian potentates; and in March, 1713-14, he was appointed governor of the island of Minorca.
Under George I. and George II. the earl of Peterborough was general of the marine forces in Great Britain.
In October, 1735, he found it necessary to set sail for Lisbon for recovery of his health; no body," to use Pope's expression, "being so much wasted, no soul being more alive." He was cut in the bladder for a suppression of urine; immediately after which cruel operation, he took coach, and travelled no less a journey than from Bristol to Southampton, "like a man," says the same poet, "determined neither to live nor die like any other mortal." He died on his to Lisbon, 25th October, 1735, aged seventy-seven. The earl of Peterborough was twice married, and left two sons and a daughter by his first wife.
To all the talents of a general and negotiator, this wonderful man added those belonging to a literary
character. He associated with all the wits of queen Anne's reign, was a lively poet, and his familiar letters are read to advantage amongst those of Gay, Arbuthnot, Swift, and Pope. He lived in great intimacy with the last, who boasts, that,
He, whose lightning pierced the Iberian lines,
Now forms my quincunx, and now ranks my vines;
To Pope, Peterborough bequeathed on his deathbed his watch, a present from the king of Sardinia, that, as he expressed it, his friend might have something to put him every day in mind of him.
The frame, in which were lodged such comprehensive talents, was thin, short, spare, and well calculated to endure the eternal fatigue imposed by the restless tenant within. The famous lines of Dryden might be happily applied to the earl of Peterborough :
A fiery soul, which, working out its way,
And o'er informed the tenement of clay.
His face, judging from the print in Dr. Birch's Lives, was thin; his eye lively and penetrating.
Such was Charles, earl of Peterborough, one of those phenomena whom nature produces once in the revolution of centuries, to show to ordinary men what she can do in a mood of prodigality.
To this short sketch of the principal character in these Memoirs, the publishers would willingly have