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MEMOIRS

OF

LORD BOLINGBROKE.

CHAPTER I.

Causes of Bolingbroke's Disgust with the Pretender.- His Posi

tion with respect to the Tories.-Character of the Pretender.His Address.

I.

The circumstances of being secretary of state to CHAP. two contending parties, and being attainted by both those parties within the short space of twelve months, A.D. 1716. is peculiar to the fortune of Bolingbroke. The first was a substantial misfortune; the second, so immediately following and so similar in form, appears upon the picture of his life as the shadow of the former. The first was the result of an honourable ambition, tarnished by some sacrifice of principle, and perhaps by too reckless a rivalry; but the second was the worthy reward of a slavish fidelity to a party which scrupled not to adopt the most indefensible means to acquire a selfish end : and even this motive was thwarted by the same spirit which, in the

VOL. II.

B

I.

CHAP. British secretary, was ambition, but which, in the

adherent of the Pretender, deserves no higher title A. D. 1716. than jealousy.

There can be no doubt but that the cause of the violent disgust Bolingbroke took for the party of the Pretender was a jealousy he soon began to entertain of the Duke of Ormond. To be second in the cabinet of England, his ambition could scarcely brook; to be second in the tawdry court of a mock prince, stung his proud spirit almost to madness. He had despised the supremacy, had it been undoubtedly his own: he could not endure to see his title disputed to what he thought hardly worthy of his notice. He never forgave himself for having joined the Pretender at all ; and it was certainly a step unworthy of him. Upon his arrival in France, he had given his word to the Earl of Stair that he would enter into no such engagement. When he brake that promise, he committed a breach of faith which it is useless to palliate and impossible to justify. It was certainly made voluntarily, and without any hope of personal reward. It was also made for the purpose of serving his party, and failed of that effect. But neither of these considerations can invalidate an honourable engagement, or excuse the weakness of abandoning a wise resolution.

And what were the men for whom he sacrificed not only all claim to real patriotism, but also his independence, his secret sympathies, and his hopes of present pardon ? With the Tories, as a body, he

I.

had little community of sentiment: he was bound to CHAP. them by no tie save that of party interest; he held in view with them no common object save the attain- A. D. 1716. ment and preservation of power.

While the prize eluded their grasp, they were united in its pursuit ; but past experience showed that, should it ever be obtained, they would quarrel over its division. The strongest outlines of the Tory scheme of government were to Bolingbroke objects of ridicule and derision. The doctrines of an absolute monarchy, which had so lately resounded through the land from the pulpits of the Tory clergy, he rejected with a smile of con. tempt. The very church which inculcated this doctrine, and which was the peculiar object of idolatry with the party, Bolingbroke considered only as a political contrivance ;--not an edifice to stand venerable and intact amid the storms of party controversy; but an engine to be fashioned to the purposes of the statesman, and to be directed to advance the designs of the politician. There was no grand principle in politics upon which he and his party agreed. The desire of peace could not be so considered, since it was suggested by the emergency of immediate circumstances, and recommended by their immediate interest. The persecution of the dissenters cannot be so designated, for it was adopted by him merely to advance a court intrigue ; and he has since declared that no design against them ever existed in the cabinet. * It was ambition therefore,

* Letters upon tne Use and Study of History.

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