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The old court suburb : or Memorials of Kensington regal, critical, & anecdotical (Volume 2) online

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CHAPTER FIFTEEN. Holland House continued
Addison's Life and Death there Questions respect-
ing his Marriage, his Last Moments, and his Con-
duct towards Gay His Interview with the Daughter
of Milton First Proposer of a Winter Garden . i

CHAPTER SIXTEEN. Holland House continued Family
of the Foxes Sir Stephen Fox Henry Fox, first
Lord Holland Fox and Pitt His Lordship's Jovial
Career and Melancholy Decline His Kingsgate
Villa Curious Story of Lady Caroline Lennox's
Determination to marry Him The Rose in the
Fox's Mouth Lady Sarah Lennox, the " Lass of
Richmond Hill" Lady Susan Fox or Strangeways,
and Perils of Private Theatricals Her Marriage
with an Actor 9

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN. Holland House concluded
Stephen, second Lord Holland Charles James Fox,
the Statesman His Career and Character Henry
Richard, third Lord Holland His Elegant Litera-
ture, Hospitality, Protests in the House of Lords, etc. 22

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN. Little Holland House Mrs
Inchbald Hon. Miss Fox Bentham and Sidney
Smith Addison Road General and Lady Mary Fox
'Homer Villas' and 'Cato Cottages 'Addison
Terrace Lee's Nursery Kensington Gravel-pits
Swift The Callcotts Sheffield, Duke of Bucking-
hamshire Campden Grove Newton House and Sir
Isaac Newton Campden House Strange History
of the Little Duke of Gloucester, Son of Princess
(afterwards Queen) Anne ' Duke upon Duke,' or
Lechmere and Guise Romantic Tower 33

CHAPTER NINETEEN. Kensington Palace and Gardens
Their Origin and Growth Character of the Palace
as a Building the Finch Family Inmates of the
Palace Its Want of Gardens to Itself Heneage
Finch and his Sons, the Earls of Nottingham-
William and Mary, their Court and Characters
Queen Anne and her Court The Duchess of




Marlborough Pope's Banter on the Horticulture of
those Days 58

CHAPTER TWENTY. Kensington Palace and Gardens
continued Maids of Honour Proposed History of
them by Swift and Arbuthnot Queen Anne's Hunt-
ing Rise of the Kensington Garden Promenades
in the Time of George the First Fairy Story in
Tickell's Poem on the Gardens Princess of Wales,
afterwards Queen Caroline Miss Hobart Miss
Howe The Miss Bellendens Miss Lepell Miss
Pitt Other Promenaders of both Sexes Addison,
Steele, and Garth Voltaire and Watteau . . 82

CHAPTER TWENTY- ONE. Palace and Gardens continued
George the Second and Queen Caroline Series
of Reigning Belles Mason and Richardson Phases
of Male and Female Costume ' Philosophy ' of the
Hoop Its Praises by Thomson Praise of Patches,
by Allan Ramsay A Squadron of Hoops in the
Great Kensington Roadstead 105

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO. Palace continued Domes-
ticities of George the Second and Queen Caroline
Lord Hervey's Memoirs Question between Him
and Pope The King listening in a Closet His
Brusqueries in the Family Circle His Son
Frederick, Prince of Wales 121

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE. Palace continued A Court
Drama Supposed Death of Lord Hervey Talk at
the Queen's Breakfast-Table Divine Service Court
Dra wing-Room Hervey Self-Condemned Death of
George the Second . . . . . . .129

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR. Kensington Palace ignored
by George III., George IV., and William IV. The
Dukes of Kent and Sussex there Queen Victoria
Born and Bred there Promenades in the Gardens
till the Time of the Regency, with Glances at the
Promenaders The Band of Music in Summer-Time
The Flower - Garden, the Fountain, the Trees,
Birds, Serpentine, and Basin The Gardens in
General and their Frequenters Concluding
Reflections 163




Holland House from Gardens

Figure of a Man reading

Headpiece to Chapter XV.

North Front, Holland House

A Peep at Holland House

William Pitt

The Holland Arms

East Front, Holland House

Charles James Fox

Entrance Front, Holland House

The Terrace

Headpiece to Chapter XVIII., Little

Holland House
Jeremy Bentham as a Boy
Little Holland House
The Gravel-pits
Jonathan Swift
Newton House
Bullingham House
Sir Isaac Newton
' Charles 1 1. went one night to sup

with him '

Herbert Railton
C. A. Shepperson

page x

Herbert Railton to face page 4

page 1 1


to face page 20

page 23

to face page 26


E.J, Sullivan
Herbert Railton


E.J. Sullivan
Herbert Railton


E.J. Sullivan 35

Herbert Railton to face page 36

P& 39

E.J. Sullivan 41

Herbert Railton to face page 44

/** 45

E.J. Sullivan 47

C A. Shepperson to face page 49



The Old Garden Wall to Campden

House Herbert Railton

Campden House

Gables and Dormers, Little Campden


Quadrangle, Kensington Palace

'The reigns that flourished here

. . . were all tea-drinking reigns ' C. A. Shepperson
William III. as a Boy E.J. Sullivan

' We are all Czars here ' C. A. Shepperson

' Up and down the long gallery till

his playfellow was satisfied '

Sir Richard Steele E. J. Sullivan

Queen Anne j,

Headpiece to Chapter XX., Initials

of Queen Anne, from Kensington

Palace Herbert Railton

George I. E. J. Sullivan

Gate Pier, Kensington Palace Herbert Railton

f With other names by me not to be

Much loved in private, not in public

famed' E.J. Sullivan


George II.

' So issued the Wortley Montagues,

the Coventrys, and the Harveys

out of their sedans '

page 51

to face page 52

page 57

to face page 60

page 65

to face page 68


to face page 100

page 1 02

I0 9


'A dozen sail of the line (of beauty)' C. A. Shepperson to face page 119

Conduit built by Henry VIII. Herbert Railton page 120

The Belfry, Kensington Palace 128

Headpiece C. A. Shepperson 131

George III. E.J. Sullivan 164

Queen Caroline x ^7

George IV. l6 9

Duke of Kent *7i
The Room in which Queen Victoria

was born Herbert Railton i?5

Kensington Palace to face page 176

Queen Victoria E.J. Sullivan page 179

'Admired as well as admiring' to face page 181

'About the year 1770' >> l8 4

' And in the winter . . . happy skaters' l8 9
'We are to comfort ourselves with

hoping that the nurserymaid

is laughing at the venerable

Adonis' ,, 19

Tailpiece C. A. Shepperson page 194


ADDISON, notwithstanding the popularity of the
Foxes, is still the greatest celebrity of Holland
House. His death in it is its greatest event. Places
in the vicinity are named after him ; and the
favourite record of its library is the tradition, before
mentioned, of the bottle of wine at each end of it,
by which he is said to have refreshed his moralities,
while concocting their sentences to and fro. It is
added, unfortunately, that he drank the more because
he was unhappily married.

The question upon this point is still discussed, and
will probably never be settled. The received opinion
is, that Addison's marriage with the Countess of
Warwick originated in his being tutor to her son ;
that the Countess became ashamed of it as a de-
scension from her rank ; and that their lives were
rendered unhappy in consequence. The prevalence
of this opinion appears to have been owing to


Johnson's Lives of the Poets, in which the case is
stated with so evident a willingness to believe it,
that people in general, who are ready enough to
fall in with such an inclination, have overlooked
the manifest assumptions on which it is founded,
and the ' saids ' and ' perhapses,' with which it is
qualified. Setting aside higher points of view on
such questions, there is, in fact, no proof that
Addison was tutor to the young Earl, or that the
Countess felt any regret for the marriage on the
score of rank. Tutorship, had he been a tutor, need
not have hindered him from making a pleasant
husband. Tutors have married highly, before and
since, and become lords and archbishops ; and though
the lady was a countess by marriage, her birth was
but that of a baronet's daughter, which put no such
vast difference between her and the son of a dean
(for such was the father of Addison). The truth
of the matter we take to have been, that the match
was unsuitable on very ordinary grounds. The lady
was well and merry ; the gentleman fit only to muse.
Addison died at the end of three years. And hence
(as Johnson would have been the first to say, had
anybody provoked him to differ with the other
opinion) hence all this mighty fuss, Sir, about a
tutor, and a countess, and the punctilios of rank.

Mighty versions are often given to things that
have quite another significancy. It has been ques-
tioned of late under what real impulse another cir-


cumstance occurred, which is connected with Addison
and Holland House. We allude to the famous
words which he is said to have addressed in his
last moments to the young Earl of Warwick ; ' See
in what peace a Christian can die.' The story
originated with Young, who said he had it from
Tickell ; adding, that the Earl led an irregular life,
which Addison wished to reclaim. But, according
to Malone, who was a scrupulous inquirer, there is
no evidence of the Earl's having led any such life ;
and Walpole, in one of his letters that were published
not long ago, startled we should rather say, shocked
the world, by telling them that Addison ' died of
brandy.' It is acknowledged by his best friends,
that the gentle moralist, whose bodily temperament
was as sorry a one as his mind was otherwise, had
gradually been tempted to stimulate it with wine,
till he became intemperate in the indulgence. It
is impossible to say what other stimulants might
not gradually have crept in ; nor is it improbable
that, during the patient's last hours, the physician
himself might have ordered them. Sustainments
of that kind, in dying moments, are frequently, and
except in the opinion of superstition, very properly
administered ; generally, out of pure humanity ; often,
in order to enable the sufferer to speak his last
words, which may be of great importance. He may
take the stimulant without knowing what it is ; may
suppose it to be one of those divine medicines with


which God has been pleased to endow herb and
mineral, sometimes even poison ; and, indeed, there
is no poison, nor dangerous distillation of anything,
which is not a divine medicine, if used, instead of
abused. Addison, therefore, may have had the
stimulus given him, whatever it was, not because
it was a habit which he could not leave off, and so
'died of it,' but because, like many a sober man
before him, he had not strength enough to speak
without it. Again, he might or might not have
known anything of the nature of the draught, yet
still have regarded his peace of mind as a thing
apart from the composure of his nerves, and justly
founded on what had been a conviction of his life.
Nay, supposing him even to have died as Walpole
asserts, he might still have regarded that conviction
as a thing triumphant over the nerves themselves,
and over the very inefficacy of the draught ; he might
have said to himself, ' Nothing can compose me
longer, but my belief in my religion. Let me show
in this last trial, how tranquillising it can be.' It is
in vain that we fancy the light spirit of Walpole
laughing at us for these considerations saying to
us, ' Oh, what need of words ? He died drunk and
maudlin, and there's an end.' We cannot thus
consent to think the worst, instead of best, of a
man who has given the world so much instruction
and entertainment, and whose Christianity, at all
events, was of a kind superior to vulgar intolerances,

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and disposed to think the best of most things. No :
if Addison spoke the words, which it is very likely
he did, his mistake was (for we still think he com-
mitted a mistake) in rendering his religious conviction
liable to the charge of egotism, and countenancing
the assumption, that no others could enable a man
to die as peaceably as himself. For to assume this,
involves an imputation against the divine govern-
ment, and the death-beds of good men in all regions
of the world. Besides, good men with tender con-
sciences, may sometimes die less peaceably than men
who are not so good ; so that on every account it
is best, upon the whole, that all such exhibitions of
self-complacency be avoided, and the pious mortal,
whatever be his particular mode of faith, be content
to die in that spirit of resignation to heaven, and
interchange of comfort with those about him, which
is common to good people of all faiths.

Good words are good things ; yet good deeds are
better. Addison, we doubt not, had his rights of
comfort from both ; yet there is one thing which we
could have preferred his doing in his last hours to
anything which he may have said. It is the amends
which, for some mysterious reason or other, he said
he would have made to Gay, ' if he lived.' The
story, as related by Pope, is that, ' a fortnight before
Addison's death, Lord Warwick came to Gay, and
pressed him, in a very particular manner, to go
and see Mr Addison, which he had not done for a


great while. Gay went, and found Addison in a
very weak way. Addison received him in the kind-
est manner, and told him that he had desired this
visit to beg his pardon ; that he had injured him
greatly ; but that, if he lived, he should find that
he would make it up to him. Gay, on his going to
Hanover, had great reasons to hope for some good
preferment ; but all those views came to nothing.
It is not impossible but that Mr Addison might
prevent them, from his thinking Gay too well with
some of the former Ministry. He did not at all
explain himself in what he had injured him ; and
Gay could not guess at anything else in which he
could have injured him so considerably.' Now it
surely would have been better, if instead of stopping
at Gay's pardon of him, which of course the good-
natured poet heartily gave (we fancy we see him
coming out of Holland House with the tears in
his eyes), Addison had followed it up with making
the amends while he could ; or, better still, had he
secured the amends beforehand, in order to warrant
his asking the pardon. It may be said, that he
might have been unable. He might so. But
still he might have given proofs that he had done
his best.

Addison, it must be owned, did not shine during
his occupation of Holland House. He married, and
was not happy : he was made Secretary of State, and
was not a good one ; he was in Parliament, and


could not speak in it ; he quarrelled with, and even
treated contemptuously, his old friend and associate,
Steele, who declined to return the injury. Yet there,
in Holland House, he lived and wrote, nevertheless,
with a literary glory about his name which never can
desert the place ; and to Holland House, while he
resided in it, must have come all the distinguished
men of the day ; for though a Whig, he was per-
sonally ' well in,' as the phrase is, with the majority
of all parties. He was in communication with Swift,
who was a Tory, and with Pope, who was neither
Tory nor Whig. It was now that the house and its
owners began to appear in verse. Rowe addressed
stanzas to Addison's bride ; and Tickell after his
death touchingly apostrophises the place :

' Thou hill, whose brow the antique structures grace,
Rear"d by bold chiefs of Warwick's noble race ;
Why, once so loved, whene'er thy bower appears,
O'er my dim eyeballs glance the sudden tears?'

(That is a good and true line.)

' How sweet were once thy prospects, fresh and fair,
Thy sloping walks and unpolluted air !
How sweet the gloom beneath thy aged trees ! '

It seems to have been in Holland House (for he
died shortly afterwards) that Addison was visited
by Milton's daughter, when he requested her to bring
him some evidences of her birth. The moment he
beheld her, he exclaimed, ' Madam, you need no


other voucher ; your face is a sufficient testimonial
whose daughter you are.' It must have been very
pleasing to Addison to befriend Milton's daughter ;
for he had been the first to popularise the great
poet by his critiques on ' Paradise Lost,' in the
' Spectator.'

Besides Holland House, Addison possessed a
mansion of his own at Bilton, in Warwickshire,
which was afterwards occupied by his daughter,
who lived to a great age. He deserved to possess
a good house and grounds ; for he understood the
elegancies of such things, and the tranquil pleasures
of the country. The illustrious inhabitant of Ken-
sington watched with interest the improvement of
the royal grounds, and was the first to propose that
' Winter Garden,' to horticulturists in general, which
we trust to see realised, with such a world of other
desirables, in the new Crystal Palace.




HOLLAND HOUSE, after Addison's death, remained
in possession of the Warwick family and of their
heir, Lord Kensington, who came of the family of
Edwardes, till it was purchased of his Lordship by
Henry Fox, who subsequently became a lord him-
self, and took his title from the mansion. This was
about a hundred years ago, in the beginning of the
reign of George the Third.

Henry Fox, the first Lord Holland of the new
race, was the younger son of that marvellous old
gentleman, Sir Stephen Fox, who, after having had a
numerous offspring by one wife, married another at
the age of seventy-six, and had three more children,
two of whom founded the noble families of Holland
and Ilchester. It was reported that he had been a
singing-boy in a cathedral ; Walpole says he was
a footman ; and the late Lord Holland, who was a
man of too noble a nature to affect ignorance ofjsuch
traditions, candidly owns that he was a man of ' very
humble origin.' Noble families must begin with
somebody ; and with whom could the new one have


better begun than with this stout and large-hearted
gentleman, who, after doing real service to the courts
in which he rose, and founding institutions for the
benefit of his native place, closed a life full of health,
activity, and success, in the eighty-ninth year of his

Henry Fox was as full of vitality as his father,
and he carried the stock higher ; but, though very
knowing, he was not so wise, and did not end so
happily. With him began the first parliamentary
emulation between a Fox and a Pitt, which so
curiously descended to their sons. Many persons
now living remember the second rivalry. The first
was so like it, that Walpole, in one of his happy
comprehensive dashes, describes the House of Com-
mons, for a certain period, as consisting of a ' dialogue
between Pitt and Fox.' The oratory, in the high
sense of the word, was on the Pitt side ; but Fox,
though an unequal speaker, partly fluent and partly
hesitating, had acuteness, argument, and a natural
manner ; and it was a rare honour, even for the
short time in which he did so, to divide the honours
of emulation with the man who has been since styled
the 'great Earl of Chatham. 1 Fox had begun life
as a partisan of Sir Robert Walpole ; and in the
course of his career, held lucrative offices under
Government that of Paymaster of the Forces, for
one in which he enriched himself to a degree which
incurred a great deal of suspicion. He was latterly



denounced, in a city address, as the 'defaulter of
unaccounted millions.' Public accounts, in those
times, were strangely neglected ; and the family
have said, that his were in no worse condition than
those of others ; but they do not deny that he was
a jobber. Fox, however, for a long time, did not
care. The joyousness of his temperament, together
with some very lax notions of morality, enabled him
to be at ease with himself, as long as his blood spun
so well. He jobbed and prospered ; ran away with
a duke's daughter ; contrived to reconcile himself
with the family (that of Richmond) ; got his wife
made a baroness ; was made a Lord himself, Baron
Holland of Foxley ; was a husband, notwithstanding
his jobbing, loving and beloved ; was an indulgent
father ; a gay and social friend in short, had as
happy a life of it as health and spirits could make,
till, unfortunately, health and spirits failed ; and then
there seems to have been a remnant of his father's
better portion within him, which did not allow him
to be so well satisfied with himself in his decline.
Out-tricked and got rid of by the flighty Lord
Shelburne, and forsaken by the selfish friends with
whom he had jobbed and made merry and laughed
at principle, he not only experienced the last morti-
fications of a man of the world, but had retained at
least enough belief in the social virtues to be made
seriously unhappy by the conduct of his worthless
companions, particularly by that of Rigby, the most


worthless of them all. His Lordship had a talent
for vers de socittt, and tried to console himself with
a Lament, in which the name of Rigby, now un-
known out of the pale of party recollections, comes
in, like an involuntary burlesque :

' White-liveiM Grenville and self-loving Gower
Shall never cause one peevish moment more ;
Not that their spite required I should repair
To southern climates and a warmer air,
Slight was the pain they gave, and short its date ;
I found I could not both despise and hate ;
But, Rigby, what did I for thee endure ? '

The noble lord tried to divert his melancholy with
building a villa near Margate, in a style equally
expensive and fantastic, from which he made visits
across? the Channel to France and Italy. He also
endeavoured to get some comfort out of a few other
worthless persons, such as George Selwyn and Lord
March, afterwards ' Old Q.' (Duke of Queensberry),
gentlemen who, not being in want of places, had
abided by him. But all would not do. He returned
home and died at Holland House, twenty years
younger than his father ; and he was followed in
less than a month by his wife. Gray's bitter lines
on the house at Kingsgate are so well known, and
the owner of it, upon the whole, was so good-natured
a man, probably sinning no worse than the com-
panions whose desertion he so lamented, that we
are not sorry to omit them. It is said, that a day


or two before his death, George Selwyn, who had a
passion for seeing dead bodies, sent to ask how he
was, and whether a visit would be welcome.

'Oh, by all means,' said Lord Holland. ' If I am
alive, I shall be delighted to see George ; and I know
that, if I am dead, he will be delighted to see me.'

A curious story is told of the elopement of the
Duke of Richmond's daughter, Lady Caroline Lennox,
who thus speedily followed her husband to the grave.
The Duke was a grandson of King Charles the
Second ; and both he and the Duchess had declined
to favour the suit of Mr Fox, the son of the equivocal
Sir Stephen. They reckoned on her marrying
another man ; and an evening was appointed on
which the gentleman was to be formally introduced
as her suitor. Lady Caroline, whose affections the
dashing statesman had secretly engaged, was at her
wit's end to know how to baffle this interview. She
had evaded the choice of the family as long as
possible, but this appointment looked like a crisis.
The gentleman is to come in the evening ; the lady
is to prepare for his reception by a more than ordinary
attention to her toilet. This gives her the cue to
what is to be done. The more than ordinary atten-
tion is paid ; but it is in a way that renders the
interview impossible. She has cut off her eyebrows.
How can she be seen by anybody in such a trim ?
The indignation of the Duke and Duchess is great ;
but the thing is manifestly impossible. She is


accordingly left to herself for the night ; she has
perfected her plan, in expectation of the result ; and
the consequence is, that when next her parents
inquire for her, she has gone. Nobody can find her.
She is off for Mr Fox.

At the corner of Holland House Lane the one
that is now shut up is a public-house, the Holland
Arms, the sign of which is the family scutcheon.
The supporters of the shield are a couple of foxes,
and in this emblazonment of it for the arms in the
peerage have no such device one of the foxes holds

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