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except that her Christian name was Charlotte, her maiden name Dyves, and her married name Clayton. Her birth was not mean; she was of an old English gentleman's family: her hus. band was not Robert, but William Clayton; he was not a Clerk in the Treasury, but a Lord of the Treasury; a gentleman of ancient family and fair fortune, who sat in the House of Commons for upwards of thirty years having been in three parliaments returned for Westminster, when Westminster elections had rather more of selection than we have seen in later times.* But the most astonishing of all these blunders is that which flames on the prefixed portrait, on the title-pages, and on every other page of the volumes. The lady so ostentatiously designated as Viscountess SUNDON, MISTRESS OF THE ROBES to Queen Caroline,' never was Viscountess at all, and it seems hardly less certain that she never was even Mistress of the Robes. In May, 1735, William Clayton, Esq., M.P. for Westminster, was created an Irish peer by the title of Barón Sundon of Ardagh, f and his wife was for the five subsequent years of her life known as Lady Sundon—but on what pretext this editor has been pleased to create her a Viscountess we cannot discover. As to her being Mistress of the Robes, there is, no doubt, some excuse for the assertion—for the Magazines of the day, which report her husband's peerage, state also that she was appointed to succeed Lady Suffolk as Mistress of the Robes ;' but we read in subsequent and, we think, better authorities, that the place of Mistress of the Robes remained vacant to the Queen's death; and we know from official documents-1st, that in July, 1736 (more than a year after Lady Suffolk's retirement and her husband's peerage), Lady Sundon still Bed-chamber Woman; and, 2ndly, that her ladyship was after the Queen's death pensioned in the rank of Bedchamber Woman. We suspect the true explanation to be that the Queen designed her Favourite for Mistress of the Robes, and that with a view to that appointment, which could only be held by a peeress, the Sundon peerage was conferred; but even with that accession of rank, it was probably found that the Ladies of the Bedchamber, all Duchesses or Countesses, would not bear to have the new Irish Baroness jumped over their heads, and thus the appointment was never actually made.
It may seem superfluous to proceed with any more criticism on an editor that thus stumbles at the threshold, and shows such
* Mr. Clayton was a confidential friend of the great Duke of Marlborough, and one of his executors, and, before his election for Westminster, sat, by the Duke's influence and that of the old Duchess, for Woodstock and St. Albans. Before he became a Lord of the Treasury (1718) he was Deputy-Auditor of the Exchequer. + See Burke's 'Extinct Peerage,' and Beatson's List of Irish Peers.'
flippant ignorance of the very person whose memoirs she affects to publish; but, since the multitude of blunders may be as portentous a feature as their magnitude, we think it our duty to wade on a little farther.
The second Lord Oxford, in the year 1731, had occasion to write to Mrs. Clayton a couple of insignificant letters about the establishment of Oxford market. This gives the editor occasion to favour us with four or five pages of the personal and political history of Lord Treasurer Oxford, which is thus introduced :
It appears singular, in the following letters, to find the son of the Lord Treasurer Harley declaring himself to be one not " well versed in courts.” But it is well known, that when these epistles were written (1731), the ex-minister had long been regarded with suspicion by George II., and, as it appears from many authorities, not without good reason.'--vol. i. p. 253. Thus it appears that in 1731 the ex-minister' was still, as he had long been, an object of just suspicion to George II.: but the ex-minister had been dead several years before George II, came to the throne; and the editor obviously sees no objection to the *er-minister' and his son being both Earls of Oxford' when these epistles were written.'
Lord Hervey congratulates Mrs. Clayton that their friend the Bishop of Salisbury is about to be promoted to Winchester ; on which the editor remarks :
* These earnest wishes for the promotion of Dr. Sherlock, then Bishop of Salisbury, appear somewhat inconsistent both in Lord Hervey and in Mrs. Clayton ; for Sherlock was the opponent, in controversial writings, of Bishop Hoadly; and was, moreover, a high Tory, and defended the Test and Corporation Acts.'-vol. ii. p. 267. It certainly would have been very inconsistent: but, unluckily for the critic, the Bishop of Salisbury at that moment was not Sherlock, but Hoadly himself; and the mistake is the more remarkable, for Sherlock succeeded Hoadly in Salisbury, and hever was Bishop of Winchester.
The following embroglio is still better. Doctor Alured Clarke, before mentioned, writes a very long letter to explain to her some circumstances relating to the political conduct of Lord Lymington 'whom,' says the Doctor, nothing can divert from the interest of the noble person with whom his Majesty has thought proper to entrust the care of the country'vol. i. p. 219. The noble person' is, a few lines after, called 'the Duke,' and there is some talk of his removal from office, with a hint that he might be replaced by Lord Lymington; and the editor appends a note to inform us that the person meant was the celebrated Duke
of Newcastle. We were not a little surprised at finding the Duke of Newcastle talked of as peculiarly intrusted with the care of the country in 1731, as well as at Lord Lymington's being thought of as his successor in the ministry, but such the editor assures us was the case, and she adds
Thus, even the appointment of the ministry was left to female hands. Well might Sir Robert Walpole pay court to the Queen, and oblige, by every possible accession, her favourite. The letters which were addressed to Mrs. Clayton, were, in fact, addressed to the Queen, for whose perusal they were intended.
'The noblemau thus strongly recommended obtained the notice he sought. His services ultimately received their reward; for in April, 1743, he was raised to the dignity of the Earl of Portsmouth.'—vol. i.
All this is blunder from beginning to end : the Duke whose removal was in question was not the Duke of Newcastle, the Minister of State--but the Duke of Bolton, Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire; the whole letter refers, not to the government of the country (which we believe to be a misreading of the MS.), but to mere county interests and politics: and the alleged reward obtained, by Mrs. Clayton's influence, for Lord Lymington's imaginary services to the Queen and Walpole, was an advancement in the peerage made several years after the deaths of both Lady Sundon and the Queen, and not by Walpole, but by the ministry which had recently turned Walpole out.
Does this editor always read what she prints ? She produces, as 'an instance of the extraordinary confidence with which Lady Sundon was favoured by the Queen,' a letter which—she says
probably refers to the decoration of Queen Caroline's room, when Princess of Wales, at Hampton Court. This, the Duke of Shrewsbury, then Lord Chamberlain, had intended should be done by Sebastian Ricci, but through the interest of the Earl of Halifax, Thornhill was preferred.'-vol. ii. p. 53. And this affords occasion for introducing some observations on Thornbill and his works and prices—St. Paul's and Blenheimand his son-in-law · Hogarth, the real genius of his time.' When we come to read the letter itself, it turns out that this grand affair was the painting of Mrs. Clayton's own staircase ! (ii. 54.)
The following is a fair instance of the defiance of history, chronology, and common sense with which she stitches her scraps together :
• The Whigs were split into two factions, the predominant Ministers being the Earls of Sunderland and Stanhope, who remained with the King. Viscount Townshend and Sir Robert Walpole, brothers-in-law, sided with George II., then Prince of Wales. While Sunderland thus
took a decided line of opposition to the Prince, Lord Stanhope imbibed a hatred of the Princess. Many years afterwards, upon the death of Frederick, Prince of Wales, he wrote contemptuously to Sunderland, "He had the head of his father and the heart of his mother."'--vol. i.
pp. 29, 30.
Sunderland had died in 1722 and Stanhope in 1721-six and thirty years before the death of Frederick Prince of Wales !
The following is superlative :
* Upon the Duke of Grafton, who is mentioned in Lord Hervey's letters, Swift has penned the following Observations :-"Duke of Grafton, grandson to Charles the Second, a very pretty gentleman, has been much abroad in the world, jealous for the constitution of his country; a tall, black man, about twenty-five years
Almost a slobberer, and without one good quality. --vol. ii. p. 228.
Swift's “ Characters of Queen Anne," — Note, ibid. Some readers may wonder what is meant by Swift's Characters of Queen Anne,' but still more at the Dean's inconsistency in describing the Duke in one line as a pretty gentleman,' and in the next as a 'slobberer. The solution of the enigma is easy. The first portion of the · Observations' is an extract, - not from Swift's Characters of Anne,' there being no such work,- but from a book said to be written by one Macky or Mackay in 1703, and published in 1732 under the title of Characters of the Court of Queen Anne;' while the latter portion of the quotation, distinguished by italics, was a note scratched by the sarcastic pen of Swift on the margin of Mackay's printed book. A similar blunder is made in another place:
•Swift's character of the Duke of Bolton seems here confirmed :“Duke of Bolton does not make any figure at Court-nor anywhere else--a great booby.”--Characters of Queen Anne.'--vol. ii. p. 220. That any one-but above all an editor of contemporary memoirs -should mistake Mackay for Swift, and jumble their absolutely contradictory characters into one, seems incredible!—The following is more complicated. Lady Granville writes to Mrs. Clayton :*Common fame says we shall soon have a PRINCESS OF Wales, and my cousin Pendarvis presses me to recommend her to your favour for a Bedchamber Woman in that court.'-vol. i. p. 323. On this Letter some one had indorsed the following Memorandum :
• Mrs. Clayton got her niece, Carteret, Maid of Honour.' Upon which the editor adds
• This Letter was evidently written previous to the marriage of Prince Frederick ; and the niece mentioned in the Memorandum appears to have been the unfortunate Lady Sophia Fermor, who died shortly after
her union with John, second Lord Carteret, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in 1724.'--vol. i. p. 323.
It seems as if the editor supposed that the niece mentioned in the memorandum, and the cousin recommended in the letter, and Lady Sophia Fermor, were all one and the same person. The real state of the case was this:-Old Lady Granville had, by a former solicitation, obtained for her niece, Miss Margaret Carteret, the place of Maid of Honour; she now asked to have her cousin, the Widow Pendarvis, made a Bedchamber Woman; and the Memorandum means to hint that the solicitation for a second favour of the same class was unreasonable. Lady Sophia Fermor (who was not otherwise unfortunate' than in dying young) was not and could not have been in any one's thoughts. Eight years later—years after the deaths of the Queen and Lady Sundon—she became Lady Granville's, not niece, but daughterin-law, by her marriage with Lord Carteret. But if the dates and descriptions had not been enough to open the eyes of any person of the commonest sagacity, was the editor ignorant that a married peeress (which Lady Sophia was as soon as she had any relationship to Lady Granville) could never be a Maid of Honour? Let us be thankful, however, for an escape which we have had! If the editor had known that this Cousin Pendarvis was no other than the celebrated and venerable Mrs. Delany, what chapters and chapters of extraneous biography might it not have afforded her!
We need push this enumeration of blunders no farther : but there is another minor yet still serious defect in the editing these volumes, which, as an explanation of what may seem de. sultory in our remarks, we must notice. We mean the utter disorder in which the matter is scattered, and—which is worse than mere confusion--the audacious anachronism of its pretended arrangements. On the occasion of a series of letters from Lady Pembroke, the editor says
• Many of her letters are unfortunately not dated, an omission very common with her sex, but they are here arranged in the order in which they were written.'- vol. i.
225 which is so far from being the case that it is quite clear, from the internal evidence, that no two are in their right chronological places. It is the same with all the rest. Wherever there is anything like a series, they will be found to stand in the most flagrant and absurd disorder, and in some cases to be absolutely unintelligible from this disarrangement. From having no suspicion that the old style was in use during the first part of the reign of George II., the editor has placed the letters dated in January, February, and March, at the beginning instead of the end of