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of them-is really to destroy historical evidence, both as to individual character and national manners. His rule has been to suppress, but not to conceal.' We are to take it for granted, then, that wherever we see Editorial asterisks or brackets there was heinous offensiveness for the text, as we have it, is still written with great freedom' in every sense of that word. We doubt not Mr. Croker's discretion; but there is no small risk, especially in these days of blue-stocking activity, that the scruples of delicacy may be indulged to the serious damage of historical testimony-and we venture to suggest that among all our bookclubs there might well be one to perpetuate unmutilated copies of private memoirs and correspondence. The plan of limited impressions, kept exclusively for a small circle, might in this case be serviceable to purposes of real value.
These Memoirs extend over the first ten years of George the Second's reign (1727-1737), during seven of which the author was domesticated in the palace. Of his personal history before they commence, and after their conclusion, we have even now rather slender information; but Mr. Croker has probably given us all that the world will ever have. He has certainly added a good deal to what we formerly possessed, and, we think, enough to prepare us very tolerably for the appreciation of Hervey's posthumous narrative, as well as to render intelligible not a few hitherto dark allusions in the prose and the verse of his friend Lady Mary Wortley, and their common enemy, Pope.
John Hervey, the second son of the first Lord Bristol, was born in 1696. His father, the representative of an ancient and wealthy family, was one of the leading Whig commoners at the revolution, created a peer by Queen Anne in 1703 through the influence of Marlborough, and rewarded for his Hanoverian zeal by the earldom on the accession of George I.: a man of powerful talents, elegant accomplishments, and unspotted worth in every relation of life, but not without a harmless share in that hereditary eccentricity of character which suggested Lady Mary Wortley's division of the human race into Men, Women, and Herveys. After his elevation in 1714 he appears to have lived constantly at his noble seat of Ickworth, in Suffolk, where he divided his active hours between his books, his farm, and his country sports, and solaced his leisure with eternal grumblings. The peerage--the earldom-sufficed not; he would fain have had political office, and since this was not tendered him, he would take no further share in the business of Parliament. His wife was a Lady of the Bedchamber to Caroline both as Princess of Wales and as Queen of England, and four of his sons, as they grew up, were provided for by royal favour, two of them with places in the household; 2 1 2
but still he grumbled; and though the most distinguished of his progeny inherited few or none of his virtues, he imitated and exaggerated all the good man's foibles.
Lord Bristol's eldest son, Carr Lord Hervey, was early attached to the household of the Prince of Wales (George II.), and is said by Walpole to have been endowed with abilities even superior to those of his brother John. He died young and unmarried ; but his short life had been very profligate. According to Lady Louisa Stuart (in the Anecdotes prefixed to the late Lord Wharncliffe's edition of Lady Mary Wortley's works), it was generally believed that Carr was the real father of Horace Walpole, and besides various circumstances stated by Lady Louisa in corroboration of that story, it derives new support from the sketches of Sir Robert Walpole's interior life in the Memoirs now before us, but still more, perhaps, from the literary execution of the Memoirs themselves, and the peculiar kind of talent, taste, and temper which they evince. If the virtuoso of Strawberry Hill was not entitled to a place in Lady Mary's third class, he at least bore a most striking resemblance to those of that class with whom she was best acquainted; and certainly no man or woman-or Herveyever bore less likeness than he did, physically, morally, or intellectually, to the pater quem nuptiæ demonstrabant.
John Hervey, on leaving Cambridge in 1715, travelled for some little time on the Continent, and then, not immediately succeeding in his application for a commission in the Guards, attached himself to the young court'at Richmond, where the Prince and Princess had his mother and brother already in their household. Caroline was then a little turned of thirty, comely, high in health and spirits, and, besides the Chesterfields, Scarboroughs, Bathursts, the Howards, Bellendens, and Lepells of her proper circle, had also in her neighbourhood and confidence Pope and the minor literati of his little brotherhood. Lady Mary Wortley, too, occupied a villa at Twickenham. To all this brilliant society John Hervey found ready access, and he soon became one of its acknowledged lights; his person was eminently handsome, though in too effeminate a style—his wit piquant—his literature, considering his station and opportunities, very remarkable — his rhymes above par-his ambition eager-his presumption and volubility boundless—his address and manners, however, most polished and captivating. He by and by stood very high in the favour of the Princess and, perhaps, for a season, in the fancy of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Pope received and cultivated him with inost flattering attention, but in what bitter hostility that connexion ended is known to everybody-although it is not to this hour clear in how far the change in Pope's feelings towards
Hervey was caused or quickened by a change in the relations between Lady Mary and
• Tuneful Alexis, by the Thames' fair side,
The ladies' plaything and the Muses' pride.' In 1720 John Hervey married the flower of the maids of honour, Miss Lepell, and, Carr dying in 1723, they became Lord and Lady Hervey. In 1725 he was returned for Bury, and, following the lead of the young court,' joined Pulteney in the Opposition to Walpole. No early speeches are recorded, but it appears from a letter included in these Memoirs, that Sir Robert soon conceived a respect for his ability and a desire to convert him. In 1727 George I. died, and, the new king speedily adopting the minister whom he had as Prince abhorred, Lord Hervey naturally took a similar course. He received a pension of 10001. a-year, deserted Pulteney, and supported Sir Robert in the House of Commons, but still more efficiently by a series of pamphlets against Pulteney, Boling broke, and the other wits of the Craftsman:' but his father not having been converted, the change in the son's politics cost him fresh grumblings, and by-and-bye the son himself grumbled audibly. No difference in politics, nor in still more weighty matters, ever disturbed the affectionate confidence between them. Lord Hervey talked of giving up his pension unless Walpole would give him place. Quite right,' said the Earl of Bristol ; and added generously, * whenever you choose to drop it I will give you an equivalent myself. However, the grumbling never took the shape of resignation, and at last, shortly after a foolish duel with Pulteney, Hervey received the key of Vice-Chamberlain, at wbich point (1730) the peculiar interest of these Memoirs begins.
That office in those days implied constant residence in the Palace, and, of course, as his wife had ceased on her marriage to have any post in the household, something very like a virtual separation à mensâ et thoro. Such conditions would have seemed hard enough in 1720 :
• For Venus had never seen bedded
So handsome a beau and a belle,
To the beautiful Molly Lepell'— and they were then as fond as graceful; but by 1730 there seems to have been no particular difficulty. Hervey indeed had spent the year 1729 in Italy en garçon-an excursion which left such traces in his tastes that several years later Lady Mary Wortley calls him, for shortness, ' Italy Lady Louisa Stuart (Anecdotes, p. 66) says, 'that dessous des cartes, which Madame de Sévigné advises us to peep at, would have betrayed that Lord
and Lady Hervey lived together on very amicable terms—as wellbred as if not married at all, according to the demands of Mrs. Millamant in the play; but without any strong sympathies, and more like a French couple than an English one.' On this Mr.
Croker says :
• As Lady Hervey was going out of the world as Lady Louisa came into it, she could not have spoken from any personal knowledge; and one or two slight touches of her grandmother's satirical gossiping peu are too slight to affect a character so generally respected as Lady Hervey's.'- vol. i. p. xvii. But in this instance, as in several others, our editor is perhaps too ingenious. It is true that Lady Mary died in 1762, when Lady Louisa was in the nursery; but Lady Mary's daughter, the Countess of Bute, survived till 1794—and who can doubt that it was to her mother and her mother's coeval friends that Lady Louisa Stuart owed her peeps at the dessous des cartes of the Court of George II.? Mr. Croker proceeds to say :
“On the other hand, it is only too clear from some passages in the following Memoirs, that the gentleman's conjugal principles and practice were very loose, and that his lady, if she had not had an innate sense of propriety, might have pleaded the example and the provocation of her husband's infidelity. And here it may be as well to state that this laxity of morals was accompanied, if not originally produced, by bis worse than scepticism. How a son so dutiful and affectionate, and resembling a singularly pious father in so many other points, was led into such opposite courses both in morals and religion, we have no distinct trace; but about the time that he exchanged the paternal converse of Ickworth for the society of London and the free-thinking Court of the Prince, Tindal, Toland, and Woolston were in high vogue, and it is too certain that Lord Hervey adopted all their anti-Christian opinions, and, by a natural consequence, a peculiar antipathy to the Church and Churchmen.'- p. xviii. All this is very true ; but we are sorry to say we think it is quite as plain, from Lady Hervey's Letters to the Rev. Mr. Morris, that, if she never had any occasion to plead the example and provocation of her husband's infidelity,' her 'innate sense of propriety' could have derived little support from religious principle. (See Letters, pp. 98 and 251.)
Lady Louisa says >
"By the attractions she retained in age she must have been singularly captivating when young, gay, and handsome, and never was there so perfect a model of the finely polished, highly bred, genuine woman of fashion. Her manners had a foreign tinge which some called affected, but they ere gentle, easy, dignified, and altogether exquisitely pleasing: '-Anecdotes, p. 66. The Lepells were proprietors of the Island of Sark, wbere the
people are more than half French, and her partiality for French society and manners was such that she seems never in her later days to have been so happy as in Paris; nay, her correspondents, whenever any battle has occurred between the nations, drop hints that she cannot be expected to sympathise heartily with the English side. We may add from Lady Louisa a singular circumstance, which Mr. Croker has overlooked or rejected. This maid of honour to Caroline, Princess of Wales-this wife of George II.'s Vice-Chamberlain, and mother of three servants of that government—was nevertheless through life in her private sentiments a warm partisan of the exiled Stuarts. We may
also observe, though we are far from insinuating that Lady Hervey received Voltaire's personal flattery as readily as we are afraid she did his sceptical philosophy, that this French-English lady had the rare distinction of being the subject of English verses by the author of Zaire :
* Hervey! would you know the passion
silence see the lover-
your own.' Lady Hervey was a woman of both solid and brilliant talents (we think the editor of her Letters speaks less highly of them than they deserve), and no one doubts that she had many most amiable qualities. She was an excellent mother to a large and troublesome family, and the correspondence of her widowhood expresses both respect and tenderness for her husband's memory. To all these circumstances Mr. Croker will naturally point in support of himself against Lady Louisa's dessous des cartes. We have no wish to prolong the controversy—but she and her lord certainly lived together on a footing of confidence more French than English.' To her he left the care of these Memoirs. In them he expatiates on some infidelities of his own, earlier and later, interrupted and renewed, with a perfect tranquillity of selfsatisfaction; and he quite as coolly recites that both Pulteney and Walpole had made love to his wife, explaining in a tone of the most serene indifference that, though she admired their talents, she did not like either of their persons, and that they were both unsuccessful; and clearly implying, which indeed the course of his history rendered superfluous, that such liberties never at all disturbed his cordiality of intercourse with either the first or the second of his political captains.