Horace Walpole.

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I hope you will proceed to expofe \ and I do

* This paper is afequel to N° 193, vjritten by
J.T. Efq;


[ i5i 3
not doubt but you will be as famous for rooting
out what, may I be allowed to call, ftngle co?n-
batj or the humour of fighting with one's felf,
as your predeceflbr The Tatler was for exploding
the ridiculous cuftom of duels. The pleafantry
of your eiTay on the reigning mode of voluntary
deaths has preferved to a little neighbourhood
a very hofpitable gentleman, to the poor a good
friend, to a very deferving foil and daughter a
tender parent, and has faved the perfon himfelf
from a very foolifh exit. This character, Sir,
which perhaps from a natural partiality I may
have drawn a little too amiably, I take to be my
own ; and not to trouble you with the hiftory
of a man who has nothing remarkable belong-
ing to him, I will only let you into what is fo
far neceffary, as that I am a gentleman of about
fifty, have a moderate eftatc in very good con-
dition, have feen a great deal of the world, and
without being weary of it, live chiefly in the
country with children whom I love. You will
be curious to know what could drive my thoughts
to fo defperate a refolution, when I tell you far-
ther, that I hate gaming, have buried my wife,
and have no one illnefs. But alas ! Sir, I am


[ *52 ']
extremely well-born : Pedigree is my diltemper ;
and having obferved how much the mode of
felf-murder prevails among people of rank, I
grew to think that there was no living without
killing one's (e\t. I reflected how many of my
great anceftors had fallen in battle, by the axe,
or in duels, according as the turn of the feveral
ages in which they lived, difpofed of the no-
bility ; and I thought the defcendant of fo many
heroes muft contrive to perifh by means as vio-
lent and illuftrious. What a difgrace, thought
I, for the great grandfon of Mowbrays, Veres
and Beauchamps to die in a good old age of a
fever ! I blufhed whenever I caft my eyes on our

genealogy in the little parlour 1 determined

to fhoot myfelf. It is true, no man ever had
more reluctance to leave the world ; and when
I went to clean my piitols, every drop of Mow-
bray blood in my veins ran as cold as ice. As
my conftitution is good and hearty, I thought
it would be time enough to die fuddcnly twenty
or thirty years hence ; but happening about a
month ago to be near choaked by a fifli bone,
I was alarmed for the honour of my family^ and
have been ever fince preparing for death. The


[ m ]

letter to be left on my table (which indeed coft
me fome trouble to compofe, as I had no rea-
fon to give for my fudden refolution) was written
out fair, when I read your paper ; and from
that minute I have changed my mind ; and
though it mould be ever fo great a difgrace to
my family, I am refolved to live as long and as
happily as I can.

You will no doubt, good Sir, be encouraged
from this example to purfue the reformation of
this contagious crime. Even in the fmall dis-
trict where I live, I am not the only inftance of
a propenilty to fuch a cataftrophe. The lord of
the manor, whofe fortune indeed is much fu-
perior to mine, though there is no comparifon
in the antiquity of our families, has had the
very fame thought. He is turned of fixty-feven,
and is devoured by the ftone 2nd gout. In a
dreadful fit of the former, as his phyfician was
fitting by his bedfide, on a fudden his lordfhip
ceafed roaring, and commanded his relations
and chaplain to withdraw, with a compofure
unufual to him even in his beft health ; and
putting on the greateft appearance of philofo-
X phy,

[ *54 3
phy, or what, if the chaplain had flaid, would
have been called refignation, he commanded the
doctor to tell him, if his cafe was really defpe-
rate. The phyfician, with a flow profufion of
latinized evafions, endeavoured to elude the
queftion, and to give him fome glimmerings of
hope, " That there might be a chance that the
" extremity of the pain would occafion a de-
" gree of fever, that might not be mortal in
" itfelf, but which, if things did not come to a
f* crifis foon, might help to carry his lordfhip

« off." « I underftand you by G~d," fays

his lordftiip, with great tranquility and a few
more oaths > " Yes, d— - n you, you want ta
" kill me with fome of your confounded diftem-
4C pers ; but I'll tell you what, I only afked
4< you, becaufe if I can't poflibly live, I am de-
" termined to kill myfelf; for rot me! if it
" fhall ever be faid that a man of my quality
" died of a curfed natural death. There, tell
<c Boman * to give you your fee, and bid him
c< bring me my piftols." However, the fit a-
bated, and the neighbourhood is ftill waiting

* The name of Lord Cbalkft one's gentleman in


[ '55 1

with great impatience to be furprlzed with an
account of his lordfhip's having mot himfelf.

However, Mr. Fitz-Adam, extenfive as the
fervice is which you may render to the commu-
nity by abolifhing this heathenifh practice, I
think in fome refpects it is to be treated with
tendernefs ; in one cafe always to be tolerated.
National courage is certainly not at high-water
mark : What if the notion of the dignity of
felf-murder fhould be indulged till the end of
the war ? A man who has refolution enough to
kill himfelf, will certainly never dread being
killed by any body elfe. It is the privilege of a
free-dying Englijhman> to chufe his death : If
any of our high-fpirited notions are cramped,
it may leaven our whole fund of valour ; and
while we are likely to have occafion for all we
can exert, I mould humbly be of opinion, that
you permitted felf-murder till the peace, upon
this condition, that it fhould be difhonourable
for any man to kill himfelf, till he had found
that no Frenchman was brave enough to perform
that fervice for him,

X 2 Indeed

C 156]

Indeed the very celebration of this myftcry
has been tranfadted hitherto in a manner fome-
what mean, and unworthy people of fafhion.
No tradefman could hang himfelf more feloni-
oufly than our very nobles do. There is none
of that open defiance of the laws of their coun-
try, none of that contempt for what the world
may think of them, which they fo properly wear
on other occafions. They fteal out of the
world from their own clofets, or before their
fervants are up in a morning. They leave a
miferable apology behind them, inftead of fit-
ting up all night drinking, till the morning
comes for difpatching themfelves : Unlike their
great originals, the Romans, who had reduced
felf- murder to a fyftem of good-breeding, and
ufed to fend cards to their acquaintance to notify
their intention. Part of the duty of the week
in Rome * was to leave one's name at the doors of
fuch as were ftarving themfelves. Particular
friends were let in \ and if very intimate, it was
even expected that they fhould ufe fome com-
mon-place phrafes of difluafion. I can conceive
no foundation for our fhabby way of bolting
into t'other world, but that obfolctC law which

* Vide Pliny's epijlles. inflict

C *57 1

inflicts a crofs-road and a flake on felf-exeeu-
tioners : A moft abfurd flatute ; nor can 1 ima-
gine any penalty that would be effectual, unlefs
one could condemn a man who had killed him-
felf, to be brought to life again. Somewhere
indeed 1 have read of a fuccefsful law for re-
{training this crime. In fome of the Grecian
flates the women of fafhion incurred the anger

of Venus 1 quite forget upon what occafion ;

perhaps for little or none : Goddefles in thofe
days were fcarce lefs whimfical than their fair

votaries Whatever the caufe was, fhe in-

fpired them with a fury of felf-murder. The
legislature of the country, it feems, thought
the refentment of the deity a little arbitrary ;
and to put a flop to the practice, devifed an ex-
pedient, which one mould have thought would
have been very inadequate to the evil. They
ordered the beauteous bodies of the lovely de-
linquents to be hung up naked by one foot in
the public fquares. How the fair offenders came
to think this attitude unbecoming, or why they
imagined any pofition that discovered all their
charms, could be fo, is not mentioned by his-
torians j nor, at this tiiflance of time, is it pof-


V I5« ]

fible for us moderns to gucfs: Certain it is>
that the penalty put a flop to the barbarous

But what fliall one fay to thofe countries,
which not only allow this crime, but encour-
age it even in that part of the fpecies, whole
foftnefs demands all protection, and feems moft
abhorrent from every thing fanguinary and fierce ?
We know there are nations, where the magis-
trate gravely gives permiflion to the ladies to
accompany their hufbands into the other world,
and where it is reckoned the greateft profligacy
for a widow not to demand leave to burn her-
felf alive. Were this fafhion once to take here,
1 tremble to think what havock it would occa-
fion. Between the natural propenfity to fuicide,
and the violence of conjugal engagements, one
mould not fee fuch a thing as a lozenge, or a
widow. Adieu, jointures ! adieu, thofe foft re-
fources of the brave and neceflitous ! What un-
fortunate relict but would prefer being buried
alive to the odious embraces of a fecond paflion ?
Indeed, Mr. Fitz-Adam, you muft keep a Ariel*
eye on our fair country-women. I know one
or two, who already wear pocket piftols ; which,


£ 159 3

confidering the tendernefs of their natures, can
only be intended againft their own perfons.
And this article leads me naturally to the only
cafe, in which, as I hinted above, I think felf-
murder always to be allowed. The moft admir-
ed death in hiftory is that of the incomparable
Lucretia, the pattern of her fex, and the even-
tual fbundrefs of Roman liberty. As there
never has been a lady fince that time, in her
circumftances, but what has imitated her ex-
ample, I think, Sir, I may pronounce the cafe
immutably to be excepted : And when Mr. Fitz-
Adam, with that fuccefs and glory which al-
ways has and muft attend his labours, has de-
cried the favage practice in vogue, I am per-
fuaded he will declare that {he is not only ex-
cufable, but that it is impoflible any womaij.
fhould live after having been ravifhed.

I am, Sir,

Tour truly obliged
bumble fervant,

and admirer^

H. M.

I 160 ]




* The following paper having been trans-
mitted to Mr. Fitz-Adam's bookfel-
ler on the very day of that gentleman's
misfortune, he takes the liberty to
offer it to the public juft as it came to
his hand.

To Mr, Fitz-Adam.

AS the contagion of politics has been fo pre-
valent of late, that it has even (I won't
fay, infeded, but at leaft) infufed itfelf into the
J papers of the impartial Mr. Fitz-Adam, per-

* It was publifljed after The World had ceafed>
on the fuppofed death of the imaginary author,

% This alludes /<?N C 207, which under borrowed
eharafttrs defcribed a revolution in the Minijhy\
very favourably to the D.ofN. and not at allfo to
Mr. F. and Mr. P.


[ x6i ]

haps I may not make him an unacceptable pre-
fent in the following piece, which will humour
the bent of his diforder (for I muft confider po-
litical writings as a diftemper) and at the fame
time will cool, not increafe, any fharpnefs in
his blood.

Though the author of this little efTay is re-
tired from the bufier fcenes of life, he has not
buried himfelf in fuch indifference to his coun-
try, as to defpife, or not attend to, what is
paflino- even in thofe fcenes he has quitted ; and
having withdrawn from inclination, not from
difguft, he preferves the fame attachments that
he formerly made, though contracted even then
from efteem, not from intereft. He fees with
a feeling concern the diflreffes and diffractions
of his country ; he forefees with anxiety the
confequences of both. He laments the difcord
that divides thofe * men of fuperior genius,
whofe union, with all their abilities, were per^
haps inadequate to the crifis of our affairs. He
does not prefume to difcufs the grounds of their
diffentions, which he wifhes themfelves to over-
look ; and he would be one of the laft men in

* Mr.F. and Mr. P.

Y England

[ ite J

England to foment divifion, where his intereft
as a Briton, and his private inclinations as a
man, bid him hope for coalition. Yet he
would not be a man, he might be a ftoic, if
even thefe inclinations were equally balanced :
His admiration may be fufpended, his heart will
be partial. From thefe fenfations he has been
naturally led to lament and condemn the late
torrent of perfonalities : He fees with grief the
. greateft characters treated with the greateft li-
centioufnefs : His friendfliip has been touched
at finding one of the moft refpectable afperfed
in the moft injurious manner. He holds That
perfon's fame as much fuperior to reproach, as
he thinks himfelf inferior to That perfon's de-
fence ; and yet he cannot help giving his tefti-
mony to the reputation of a man, with whofe
friendfhip he has long been honoured. This
ambition, Sir, has occafioned my troubling you
with the following portrait, written eight years
ago; defigned then as private incenfe to an
honoured name ; and ever fince preferved by the
author only, and in the fair hands to which it
was originally addrefled. I will detain you no
longer than to fay, that if this little piece fhould


[ i<*3 J

be accufed of flattery, let it be remembered, 1
that it was written when the fubjecl: of it was
no minifter of ftate, and that it is publifhed
now (and fhould not elfe have been publifhed)
when he is no minifter at all.
/ am , Sir,

Tour humble fervant,
H. M.

To the Right Honourable

Lady Caroline Fox.


I Have been attempting to draw a picture of
one of your friends, and think I have in
fome degree fucceeded; but as I fear natural
partiality may make me flatter myfelf, I choofe
to fubmit to your ladyship's judgment, whofe
prepofTeflion for the perfon reprefented is likely
to balance what fondnefs I may have for my
own performances. As I believe you love the
perfon in queftion, as much as ever other people
love themfelves, the medium between the faults
Y 2 yoii

[ i6+]

you (hall find, and the juft refemblance that I
fee m the following portrait, is likely to be an
exacl image.

The gentleman I am drawing is about * three
and forty : As you fee all the fondnefs and deli-
cacy and attention of a lover in him, perhaps
your ladyfhip may take him to be but three
and twenty : But I, whofe talent is not flattery,
and who from his judgment and experience and
authority, mould at firft fet him down for three-
fcore, upon the ftri&eft enquiry can only allow
him to be in the vigour of his age and under-
ftanding. His perfon decides rather on my fide,
for though he has all the eafe and amiablenefs
of youth, yet your ladyfhip muft allow that it
has a dignity, which youth might aim at in
vain, and for which it will fcarce ever be ex-
changed. If I were like common painters, I
fhouid give him a ruddy healthful complexion,
and light up his countenance with infipid fmiles
and unmeaning benignity : But this would not
be a faithful portrait : A florid bloom w r ould no
more give an idea of him, than his bended brow
at firft lets one into the vaft humanity of his

* This was written in the year 1 748.

temper j

[ m i

temper ; or than an undiftinguifhing fmile would
fupply the place of his manly curiofity and pene-
tration. To paint him with a chearful open
countenance would be a poor return of com-
pliment for the flattery that his approbation be-
flows, which, by not being promifed, doubly
fatisfies one's felf-love. The merit of others is
degrading to their friends ; the gentleman I
mean makes his worth open upon you, by per-
fuading you that he difcovers fome in you.

He has that true chara&eriftic of a great
man, that he is fuperior to others in his pri-
vate, focial^ unbended hours. I am far from
meaning by this fuperiority, that he exerts the
force of his genius unneceflarily : On the con-
trary, you only perceive his preheminence in
thofe moments by his being more agreably
goodnatured, and idle with more eafe, than
other people. He feems inquiiitive, as if his
only bufinefs were to learn ; and is unreferved,
as if he were only to inform ; and is equally in-
capable of myftery in pretending to know what
he does not, or in concealing what he does.

In the houfe of commons he was for fome.
time an ungraceful and unpopular fpeaker, the


[ i66 ]

abundance of his matter overflowing his elocu-
tion : But the force of his reafoning has pre-
vailed both over his own defects and thofe of
his audience. He fpeaks with a flxength and
perfpicuity of argument that commands the ad-
miration of an age apt to be more cheaply
pleafed. But his vanity cannot fatisfy itfelf on
the terms it could fatisfy others - y nor would he
thank any man for his approbation, unlefs he
were confcious of deferving it. But he carries
this delicacy ftill farther, and has been at the
idle labour of making himfelf fame and honours
by purfuing a regular and fteady plan, when art
and eloquence would have carried him to an
equal height, and made thcfe fear him, who

now only love him if a party can love a

man who they fee is only connected with them
by principles, not by prejudices.

In another light one may difcover another lit-
tlenefs in his conduct : In the affairs of his office f
he is as minute and as full of application as if
he were always to remain in the fame poft ; and
as exact and knowing as if he always had been
in it. He is as attentive to the follicitation and
interefts of others in his province, as if he were

t Secretary of war. making

C 167 ]

making their fortune, not his own ; and to the
great detriment of the miniftry, has turned one
of the beft fine cures under the goverument into
one of the moft laborious employments, at the
fame time imagining that the eafe with which he
executes it, will prevent a difcovery of the inno-
vation. He receives all officers who addrefs
to him with as little pride as if he were fecurc
of innate nobility ; yet this defect of illuftrious
birth is a blemifh, which fome of the greateft
men have wanted to make them compleatly great :
Tully had it ; had the happinefs and glory of
raifing himfelf from a private > condition ; but
boafting of it, might as well have been noble :
He degraded himfelf by ufurping that preroga-
tive of nobility j pride of what one can neither
caufe nor prevent.

I fay nothing of his integrity, becaufe I know
nothing of it, but that it has never been breath-
ed upon even by fufpicion : It will be time enough
to vindicate it, when it has been impeached. He
is as well-bred as thofe who colour over timidity
with gentlenefs of manners, and as bravely fincere
as thofe who take, or would have brutality taken
for honefty 5 but though his greateft freedom is


[ i68 J

polite, his greateft condefcenfion is dignified
with fpirit ; and he can no more court his ene-
mies, than relax in kindnefs to his friends. Yet
though he has more fpirit than almoft any man
living, it is never looked upon as flowing from
his paflions, by the intimate connection that it
always preferves with his understanding. Yet
his paflions are very ftrong : He loves play, wo-
men more, and one woman more than all. The
amiablenefs of his behaviour to her, is only

equalled by hers to him But as your ladyfhip

would not know a picture of this charming wo-
man, when drawn with all her proper graceful
virtues ; and as that engaging ignorance might
lead you even into an uncertainty about the por-
trait of the gentleman, I (hall lay down my
pencil, and am,


Tour Ladyship'*
?nofi obedient

humble fervant,


The W O R L D*.

By Adam Fitz-Adam.

<6 I cannot but think we Jhould have more Learnings
" if iVe had fewer books"

Preface to Baker's Reflections,

THE lovers of Litterature, whofe pafliofi
for books, is at leaft as great as it is
laudable, lament the lofs of the Alexandrian
library, which is faid to have contained {even
hundred thoufand volumes. Immeafurable as
this lofs was, time and induftry have prodi-
gioufly repaired it ; and if I might efcape being
thought an abfolute Goth, I fliould humbly be
of opinion, that the deftruclion of that library
was rather a blefling than a detriment to the

* The two following papers were not publijhed,
the plan not having been complcated.

Z Common-

C 170 ]

Common-wealth of Letters. What mav we
fuppofe thofe fo many thoufand volumes contain-
ed ? Were feven hundred thoufand volumes all
worth reading ? If they were, who would have
leifure to read them ? If they were not, at leaf!
as many as were good for nothing, have happily
met with a proper fate r Thefe books, we- may
fuppofe, contained great treafures of Philofophy,
Aftronomy, Geography, Hiflory, Poetry, Ora-
tory, Mathematics, &c. mighty entertaining
novels, and a wonderful mafs of knowledge re-
lating to, and explanatory of, or perhaps more
beautifully perplexing, the theory of Egyptian
divinity and hieroglyphics. One can hardly be-
lieve, though it contained greater quantities of
ancient fcience and eloquence than what have
reached our days, that this library was replenifh-
ed with authors of fuperior knowledge, or with
greater difcoveries, than we have received from
our other venerable predeceflbrs. And do we
wifh for more fabulous hiftory, for more fantaf-
tic philofbphy, for more imperfect aftronomy,
for more blundering geography, than we already
pofl'efs under ancient names ? I fpeak not in de-
rogation of the Ancients > but as their difcove*


[ fp 1

rles were very incomplete, and their traditions
very inaccurate, why do we wifh they were
multiplied ? When we reflect, that half our pre-
sent knowledge has fprung from difcovering the:
errors of what had formerly heen called by that
name, we -may comfort ourfel-ves that the in-
veftigation of Truth is at leaft as eafy without
fo many falfe lights to mifguide us, as if we
knew how many more wrong conjectures had
freen made by our forefathers.

Not to mention how enormouily this library
would have procreated other libraries ! What
tranflations, commentaries, explanations, fcho-

liaa, various readings, paraphrafes nay, what

controverfies would have been engendered by
almoft every volume in this capacious repofitory !
Ariftotle alone, whofe works, or at leaft fuch
as are called his, are happily extant, was in fo
great repute about two centuries ago, that no
lefs than twelve thoufand authors are computed
to have commented or written upon his works :
And though the Alexandrian authors might none
of them have founded fuch numerous fects, yet
confidcring the veneration paid to whatever is
Z 2 ancient

C 172 ]

ancient, or to whatever is called Learning,
there can be no doubt but the exiftence of that
departed library would have multiplied books to
a degree, which even the hardeft ftudents might
have beheld with regret ; as few are matters of
fuch ftrength of eyes and conftitution, or of fuch
extended lives as to be able to fatiate their cu-
riofity in fuch an ocean of litterature, let in
upon the already immenfe deluge of fcience.
Some men indeed have been fuch giants in ftudy,
as to conquer Greece, Rome, Arabia, Perfia,
and even thofe impracticable ftrangers, the
Cophti : Some are renowned for reading fixteen
or eighteen hours a day j and one great Hero of
the republic of letters boafted that he had fo en-
tirely exhaufted all knowledge, that he was now
reduced to read the hiftory of the Highwaymen.
But few are there now, alas, of fuch vigour !
Few refemble the great Accurfius, who boafted
that he had corrected feven hundred errors in
Claudian as he rode port through Germany.

To fay the truth, we have not only enough
of ancient books, but are far overftocked with
both ancient and modern, confidering either
how little is read, or how impoflible it is to read


[ »73 ]

all that has already been written. In the Litter
refpecl:, modern authors are far more excufable <
than modern readers. The authors write for the
prefent hour, becaufe they are not fure that to- :
morrow they fhall be read : But as to readers,
who are continually demanding new books, -I
Ihould humbly fuggeiT, that all books, however,
long ago they were written, are to all intents
and purpofes, new books to fuch as never read
them. People do not generally know what re-"

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