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General Alexander Gordon Commander-in-Chief of all his
forces in Scotland, he embarked at Montrose with the Earl
of Mar on board a French vessel, and arrived at Gravelines
on February the loth. The insurrection in Scotland was
rapidly suppressed, and before the beginning of May order
was restored, and the Jacobite movements, which never had
any " national significance," ceased to interfere with the
material progress of the country.

The return of the Pretender to France was followed by
his dismissal of Bolingbroke from his service. Bolingbroke
had made increasing efforts to secure the assistance of the
Regent Orleans in furthering the Jacobite cause. He fully
realized that without French help the rising in Scotland
had no chance of success. In spite of Bolingbroke's untir-
ing industry on behalf of the Jacobite cause, James Edward,
shortly after his arrival in France, listened to the accusa-
tions of the rabble of St. Germain's, and dismissed him, his
ablest supporter, from his post as Secretary. The blow to
the Jacobite cause which James Edward thus inflicted was
followed by another from the Regent Orleans the following
month. The latter was already realizing that his position
would be greatly strengthened by the establishment of good
relations with England and Holland. His intimation to
James Edward that his presence in France was inadvisable
led the latter to leave Paris for Commercy on March the 7th,
1 716, and to settle for a time at Avignon about April the ist.

The reasons of James Edward's dismissal of Bolingbroke
were various. The disappointment caused by the failure of

1 Stuart Papers. Vol. I. Pp. 493, 494.


the expedition was no doubt the chief cause, for BoHngbroke
refuted later the vague charges which were made against
him of neglecting his duties. Berwick, at any rate, realized
that his brother (the Pretender) had made an "enormous
blunder in dismissing the only Englishman he had able to
manage his affairs,"^ and he expressed his appreciation of
the value of Bolingbroke's services to the Jacobite cause : —

"I was, in fact, a witness," he wrote, "how Bolingbroke acted for
King James whilst he managed his affairs, and I owe him the justice to say
that he left nothing undone, of what he could do ; he moved heaven and
earth to obtain supplies, but was always put off by the Court of France."

Lord Stair, writing to Horace Walpole, uses sarcastic
language with regard to the Jacobite followers of the
Pretender : —

"And so poor Harry is turned out from being Secretary of State, and
the seals are given to Mar ; and they use poor Harry most unmercifully and
call him knave and traitor, and God knows what. I believe all poor Harry's
fault was that he could not play his part with a grave enough face ; he
could not help laughing now and then at such kings and queens."

Bolingbroke was thus sacrificed to the jealousy of the
crowd of miserable adventurers who surrounded the
Chevalier; and Berwick, the only other able man in James'
service, recognized the real merit of the English statesman.
His connection with the Jacobites was ended, and he
attempted, through Lord Stair, to make terms with the
English Government and to return to England. The news
of his dismissal from the Pretender's service soon reached
the Ministers, and it was not improbable that, in return for
information about the strength and plans of the Jacobites,
a pardon might be granted to the exiled statesman. In
March, 1716, Stanhope, the Secretary-of -State, wrote to
Stair, authorizing him to give Bolingbroke " all suitable
hope and encouragement." In an interview with the Am-

1 See Leadam, The Political History of Englatid, 1702- 1760. P. 263.
London : Longmans.


bassador, Bolingbroke engaged to act loyally in the services
of George I. and of England, to use all his efforts to induce
those Tories who had embraced the Pretender's cause to
return to their duty, but refused to turn informer. " To
consent to betray private persons," he said, " or reveal
secrets which may have been confided to me, would be to
dishonour me for ever." Stair strongly advised the Ministers
to restore Bolingbroke, and George declared himself favour-
able to his restoration, but the animosity of the Whigs,
increased, perhaps, by his honourable refusal to damage his
reputation by informing against individual Jacobites, resulted
in a delay of some seven years.

In England, his father, Sir Henry St. John, was in 1716
created Baron of Battersea and Viscount St. John, and his
wife was making vain attempts to regain her estate which
had been confiscated when her husband was attainted.
Though unable for state reasons to grant her request,
George I. was certainly very favourably inclined towards
Bolingbroke, and allowed his wife to retain a portion of the
confiscated property. Bolingbroke himself wrote in Sep-
tember, 1716, a private letter to Wyndham, which was
shown to Townshend, and in which the exiled statesman
clearly demonstrated that he was cured of all Jacobite pre-
dilections. While he was kept in suspense, he returned to
his literary studies ; at the close of 1716 he wrote his Re/lec-
tions on Exile, a close imitation of Seneca; in 1717 he dic-
tated his celebrated Letter to Sir William Wytidham, describ-
ing the state of the Tory party during the last four years of
Anne's reign, and his connection with the Jacobites in 1715.
His object in writing it was partly to throw ridicule on the
Jacobite cause, from which he was now dissevered, partly
to point out to the English Tories the folly and uselessness
of an alliance with the Jacobites. The immediate cause of
this letter was the publication of a Letter from Avignon
(written evidently with the Pretender's sanction), which


had lately appeared, containing a reassertion of the charges
of treachery and incapacity against Bolingbroke. Though,
as Bolingbroke himself says, a medley of false facts, false
arguments, and false eloquence, it had considerable effect,
and required an answer. And in his overwhelming expo-
sure of the Jacobites, in his amusing description of the
St. Germain's rabble, and in his telling account of the char-
acteristics of James, Bolingbroke ably defended his own
conduct, and carried the war into the enemy's camp. This
letter, which as a literary composition has been pronounced
by a competent judge to be almost faultless, is, on the
whole, fairly trustworthy. His account of the motives
which induced him to join the Pretender is perhaps the only
portion in which it is obviously impossible to place any con-
fidence. This valuable addition to the secret history of the
time was not published till 1753.

In 1717 Oxford was acquitted; in the next year Lady
Bolingbroke died, and Bucklersbury passed to the repre-
sentatives of her younger sister. From 1720 to 1723 he
passed the greater part of his time on the small estate of
La Source, which he had bought with some money he had
made in the early days of the Great Mississippi Scheme.
La Source was situated near Orleans, and took its name
from the sudden rise of the Loiret in the grounds. Pope,
in a letter to Bolingbroke, enclosed the following lines :

' ' What pleasing frenzy steals away my soul ?

Through thy blest shades, La Source, I seem to rove ;
I see thy fountains fall, thy waters roll,

And breathe the zephyrs that refresh thy grove ;
I hear whatever can delight inspire,
Villette's soft voice and St. John's silver lyre.''

In this quiet retreat he devoted himself, as he had done
at Bucklersbury, between the years 1708 and 1710, to his-
torical and philosophical studies, which led him to write the
Letters to M. de Pouilly. He corresponded with Swift, and


in July, 1721, tried in vain to induce him to visit France.
Among his visitors was Voltaire, who at the end of 1721
began a friendship with Bolingbroke which was to have
important results on France and Europe. Voltaire was
delighted with his visit.

" I have found," he wrote to a friend, " in this eminent Englishman all
the learning of his country and all the politeness of ours. . . . This man,
who has been all his life immersed in pleasure and business, has, however,
found time for learning everything and retaining everything. He is as well
acquainted with the history of the ancient Egyptians as with that of
England. He knows Virgil as well as Milton. He loves the poetry of
England, France, and Italy ; but he loves them differently, because he
discerns perfectly the difference of their genius."

In 1722 Bolingbroke's marriage with Marie Claire, Mar-
quise de Villette, a niece of Madame de Maintenon, took
place at Aix-la-Chapelle. Since 1717 they had met both in
Paris and at her mansion of Marcilly. Her devotion to
Bolingbroke continued till her death, and though her deli-
cate constitution resented the English climate, she paid
frequent visits to England. Her death in 1751 was prob-
ably the most serious blow that he ever sustained. At the
time of his second marriage Bolingbroke was far from being
contented with his retired life He longed to be in England.
He begged Orleans and Dubois to advocate his cause with
the English Government ; he applied directly and frequently
to the English Ministers. Polwarth and Stair interested
themselves in his behalf, and Townshend and Carteret used
their influence with the King. At last, early in 1723, his
pardon passed the Great Seal, though the Act of Attainder
still remained in force.

In June he paid a short visit to London, meeting Atter-
bury, who had just been banished, at Dover. That prelate,
who was no longer on good terms with Bolingbroke, is
reported to have exclaimed, " I am exchanged !"

In England Walpole had risen on the ruins of Sunder-
land's commercial policy, and in 1721 that famous Ministry


which was to reconcile the English nation to the Hanoverian
dynasty had taken office. Walpole and Townshend, though
supreme in Parliament, found their position already im-
perilled by the influence of their colleague Carteret, whose
knowledge of German, and sympathy with the Hanoverian
policy seemed likely to make him a great favourite with
George. It was impossible for the Ministry to contain both
Walpole and Carteret. It appeared as though the Court
with Carteret would be pitted against Walpole and the
Parliament. Here, then, was a splendid field for Boling-
broke, whose object in returning to England was to secure
the reversal of the attainder, and his complete restoration to
political life. It was soon evident to him that Carteret's
star was waning, and that Walpole's ascendancy was assured.
He therefore opened negotiations for an alliance between
the Whigs and the Hanoverian Tories, promising that the
latter, now weary of opposition, would heartily support the
Government. He saw that in such a union, bringing with
it reconciliation with Walpole, lay his only chance of pro-
curing his complete restoration. But the Whigs had already
declared plainly they would have nothing to say to a union
with the Tories. They viewed with great displeasure
Bolingbroke's pardon. " I am sorry," wrote Townshend
to Walpole in July, 1723, "to find Lord Bolingbroke's
affair continues to make ill blood among our friends." The
attitude of the Whig party only confirmed the Ministers in
their determination to refuse all offers of a Tory alliance,
and Walpole promptly declined to consider Bolingbroke's
overtures for a Coalition, and told him he had done a most
imprudent thing in negotiating to bring in a set of Tories
when his salvation depended on a Whig Parliament.

Though he had failed to attain the main object of his
visit, Bolingbroke had the pleasure of seeing his old friends,
Wyndham and Harcourt, and of making some new ones in
Lord Finch and the Earl of Berkeley, the former being the


son of Lord Nottingham. Until his attainder was reversed
there was no reason for a long stay in England, and in Sep-
tember he set out for Aix-la-Chapelle. His ill health was
the ostensible object of this journey, but there is little doubt
that he hoped to procure an interview with George I. at
Herrenhausen and to plead his cause in person. Receiving
no invitation to go to Hanover, he returned to Paris, and
found the diplomatic struggle between Townshend and
Carteret at its height. The position of the Ministry was
as yet far from being assured. While in Hanover with
George I. in 1723 Townshend was busily engaged in com-
bating the influence of Carteret. The latter had, in fact,
staked all upon his success in procuring a Dukedom for this
father of a young French count, who was about to marry a
daughter of Madame de Platen, sister to the King's mistress,
the Countess of Darlington. Hitherto Carteret's influence in
Paris had been great : the Regent and Dubois were his friends,
Sir Luke Schaub, the English Ambassador, was his nominee.
But on Bolingbroke's arrival at Paris at the beginning of
the winter of 1723-4 he found important changes had taken
place. Dubois and Orleans were both dead. The Duke
of Bourbon had become First Minister, and Horace Wal-
pole, the nominee of Townshend and Walpole, had practic-
ally superseded Schaub. It was clear that, if Carteret failed,
his influence was gone. To Townshend it was all-impor-
tant he should fail. Into this struggle, occurring, as it did,
at a moment when the relations between England and
France consequent on the death of Orleans were uncertain,
Bolingbroke threw himself; he supported Horace Walpole,
and undertook to influence Bourbon to reject Carteret's
demand. It was a matter of no little difficulty for Horace
Walpole, who, however, made considerable use of Boling-
broke's information to prevent the latter from taking the
complete lead in the diplomatic intrigue. In this afl"air
Bolingbroke worked with all his old energy and as hard as


in the days when he was Secretary of State. But, beyond
irritating Carteret, his labours had no immediate reward,
though Townshend in 1723 had assured him of George I.'s
goodwill. After remaining some time at Paris, and con-
sorting frequently with the French philosophers at the
Entresol Club, established by the Abbe Alari, and supported
by such men as Count d'Argenson and the Abbe Charles
St. Pierre, Bolingbroke was in the summer of 1724 again at
La Source and still under the Act of Attainder. In May
Lady Bolingbroke went to England for a second time, and
strengthened her husband's chances by sending to the
Duchess of Kendal a large bribe. Many friends, such as
the Abbe Alari, Finch, and more especially Harcourt,
exerted themselves on his behalf, but it was not till May,
1725, partly owing to the efforts of Sir Philip Yorke, the
Attorney-General, who, though a member of the Govern-
ment, spoke in favour of the measure, ^ that a Bill passed
enabling Bolingbroke to enjoy his family estates, and to
inherit landed property in England. The other provisions
of the Act of Attainder remained in force, preventing him
rom sitting in either House of Parliament and from hold-
ing any place of trust under the Crown. His exile was now
over, and he was at liberty to return to England, and live
on his property. He was, as he wrote somewhat sarcastic-
ally from London to Swift, —

"tired with suspense, the only insupportable misfortune of life, and with
nine years of autumnal promises and vernal excuses. . . . Here I am,
then," he continued, "two-thirds restored, my person safe (unless I meet
hereafter with harder treatment than even that of Sir Walter Raleigh), and
my estate, with all the other property I have acquired or may acquire,
secured to me. But the attainder is kept carefully and prudently in force,
lest so corrupt a member should come again into the House of Lords, and
his bad leaven should sour that sweet, untainted mass."

^ Life and Correspondence of Philip Yorke, Earl of Hardwicke, Lord
High Chancellor of Great Britain, by Philip Yorke, Vol. I., p. 97.
Cambridge : at the University Press, 191 3.



Bolingbroke settles at Dawley — State of politics on his return — Strong
position of Walpole and Townshend — Character of Walpole's policy —
The Whig plan of Government — Its good and bad points — Bolingbroke
fails to undermine Walpole's influence with George I. — He joins
Pulteney in the management of The Craftsman — Character of Pulteney
and of his brother — The various sections which opposed Walpole —
Bolingbroke unites them into a powerful Opposition — The Craftsman —
Bolingbroke's first contribution to The Craftsvian — His Letters on the
History of Athens — His Remarks on the History of England — No. 51 —
The Norfolk Lanthorn — Attacks on Walpole's foreign policy — The
danger to Gibraltar — The Defences of Dunkirk — The Treaties of Seville
and of Vienna — The Occasional Writer — The Excise Scheme — Popular
clamour — The Scheme withdrawn — Bolingbroke's attitude towards it —
His Dissertation on Parties — The Election of 1734 — Whig majority —
Bolingbroke's political connection with Pulteney ends — He leaves
England, 1735 — His objects in forming the Opposition to Walpole —
His comparative failure — Attitude of the malcontent Whigs towards
him after 1735 — Reasons of Bolingbroke's retirement to France — The
True Use of Retirement and Study — Letters on History — The Spirit oj
Patriotism — His return to England in 1738 — Norfolk House and
Frederic, Prince of Wales — Bolingbroke writes his Ldea of a Patriot
King — Growing unpopularity of Walpole — Secession of Tories from the
House of Commons — Death of Wyndham, 1740 — Conduct of Tories
and Jacobites, 174 1 — P^all of Walpole, 1742 — Death of Bolingbroke's
father — Whigs continue in power under Wilmington — Bolingbroke and
the Tories " dished" by the Whigs — Bolingbroke declares he had long
ago estimated his Whig allies at their true value.

On his return to England, Bolingbroke lived partly on an
estate called Dawley, near Uxbridge, which he had bought
from Lord Tankerville, partly in his house in Pall Mall.
At Dawley he again became the centre of a brilliant literary



society ; when in London, he threw himself heart and soul
into the midst of one of the most exciting political struggles
ever seen in this country. He had been absent from England
some nine years. During those years the Whig party had
experienced strange vicissitudes. The accession of George
found the Whigs a united minority ; the suppression of the
rebellion of 171 5 strengthened their position incalculably.
Till 1745 the stigma of Jacobitism lay on the Tories, and
all the efforts of Bolingbroke failed to assure the King and
people that a Tory Government w^ould not lead to the sub-
version of the dynasty. Ministerial influence at elections,
combined with Tory apathy and the Septennial Act, all
helped to place the W^hig party in an almost impregnable
position. In carrying out their policy, the exile of Boling-
broke had been of the utmost importance to the Whigs.
He, and he alone, could have reconciled the great Tory
party to the Hanoverian dynasty. His absence enabled
the Whigs to establish firmly their power on a secure basis,
and to govern England till 1760. Their immediate objects
were to estabUsh firmly the Hanoverian dynasty on the
throne, to destroy all chance of another Jacobite rebellion,
and to advance the interests of the commercial classes.
Peace with France became the keystone of their policy, for
no Jacobite rebellion had any chance of success without
French aid. Hence the Treaty of Utrecht, followed by the
Triple Alliance of 171 7, were of enormous value to the
Whig party. They were enabled to consolidate their own
power, to increase the wealth and prosperity of all classes,
and to reconcile the nation to the new dynasty so thoroughly,
that, when hostilities between England and France were
renewed in the war of The Austrian Succession, the Jacobite
Rising of '45 never for a moment endangered the throne of
George H. The Whig Schism of 1717, and the collapse
of the South Sea Scheme in no way impaired the real
strength of the Whig party ; and in 1725 Bolingbroke found


the Toritis reduced to complete powerlessness through the
imputation of Jacobitism, and a united Whig Ministry in
office under Walpole and Townshend. He Avas under no
obhgation whatever to Walpole, and seeing that many
Whigs were hostile to him on personal grounds, he joined
with Pulteney in 1726 in a celebrated attack on the Whig
Government. Till 1735 Bolingbroke was the mainspring
of a powerful Opposition to W^alpole. To comprehend the
real meaning of his political writings and the importance
and objects of this Opposition, which he was mainly in-
strumental in forming, it is necessary to realize the position
of Walpole, and the true tendency of his policy.

It will be remembered that Bolingbroke's aim during the
four last years of Anne's troubled reign was to restore the
Church and the Tory landed interest to the position they
occupied in the Government of England before the Revo-
lution. He wished, in fact, to undo in great part the
Revolution Settlement, and by means of a system of
thorough party consolidation to establish Toryism on a
firm basis. Oxford's love of compromise and his hatred of
a poHcy of " thorough," together with Anne's death, ruined
Bolingbroke's plan. With the accession of George, the
Revolution Settlement was assured, the Parliamentary
triumphed over the Monarchical system, and it became the
policy of the Whigs to prevent all chance of a return to
the Tory principles of Anne's reign. Their Government,
resting on the support of the Nonconformists and of the
middle and commercial class — that *' moneyed interest,"
which was so unpopular with the Tory country gentlemen
— aimed at overthrowing the influence and power of the
Church and the Tories. The immense effect of the Sach-
everell episode on the elections of 1710 and 1713 had not
been forgotten. " The Church in Danger " was a cry
which the Whigs had good reason to dread. Before Wal-
pole had been many years in office, the blighting influence


of the Whig oligarchy had fallen heavily on the Church.
Convocation had been suppressed for many years, and in
1717 all ecclesiastical appointments were given to staunch
Whigs. Walpole and his party were directly answerable
for the lifeless Christianity which prevailed during two-
thirds of the eighteenth century, for the absence of Church
development and for the rapid deterioration in the whole
tone of Churchmen, and that at a time when the increasing
interest in commercial pursuits, and the growth of popula-
tion at home and in our colonies, rendered the extension of
Church organization of paramount importance. By means
of bribery and patronage, Walpole succeeded in carrying
out a policy which, if openly advocated, would have been
vehemently resisted.

The specious attack on the Church by the Whigs had
inflicted a severe blow at the political principles of the
Tories ; party organization, which Bolingbroke had so
earnestly tried to establish, completed their overthrow.
Walpole's policy throughout was to secure the Govern-
ment of the country in the hands of a body of artisto-
cratic statesmen by means of " an extended system of
Parliamentary influence," and during his long tenure of
power he succeeded in this policy. The Church and the
Tory landed interest — these two features of the old con-
stitution which had under Bolingbroke so nearly regained
their former predominance — were suppressed, and the
whole government answerable to the Prime Minister,
became vested in the hands of the Revolution families,
who were, generally speaking, independent alike of the
King and of the people. According to the Whig view, the
Government of England should be in the hands of
Parliament ; while Parliament, in which was collected all
men of wealth, position, and intelligence, should be strong
enough to resist the influence of the Crown and the
violence of the people. The nation, it was thought, would


readily acquiesce, seeing that the Whigs secured for them
civil and religious liberty, free Parliamentary institutions,
and commercial advantages, and at the same time defended

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Online LibraryArthur HassallLife of Viscount Bolingbroke → online text (page 11 of 20)