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Bolingbroke seems to have thought with Johnson, CHAP. that Warburton's heart was only warm with his legacy. It was certainly injudicious in him to contribute to the publicity of the affair. The proceeding was honourable to neither party. duct could not be defended, and in attacking his accuser his advocate only increased the notoriety of the fault.
Death of the Viscount St. John.-Bolingbroke returns to England.-Fall of Walpole.-Bolingbroke revisits France, and returns to England.-Death of Pope.-Bolingbroke employs himself in the correction of his Works.
THE "Idea of a Patriot King" was the last of XVII. Bolingbroke's productions while he remained at A.D. 1742 Chantelou. The preparation of the materials for to 1752. his History occupied the remainder of his leisure :
but what advance he made in this work we know not, as he destroyed all the papers when he abandoned the design.*
In the year 1742, his father the Viscount St. John died at the age of ninety, and Bolingbroke became possessed of the family estate which the act of par
*I cannot think with the Editor of the Marchmont Papers, that these materials were suppressed by Mallet. What interest could he have for so doing? this was the sole motive of Mallet's conduct. That Bolingbroke intended to write several essays upon this subject, and to comprehend in
them several of the memorials, anecdotes, and other miscellaneous pieces, which he had prepared for his larger design appears from his letter of 30th Oct. 1742. But although he intimates that Pope saw one of these essays, it is by no means certain that he ever completed any more.
liament had enabled him to inherit.
This event CHAP.
occurred while he remained at Chantelou, and neces
sarily occasioned his return to England. The intercourse between Bolingbroke and his father never appears to have been very strict or confidential. We have already given some proof of the violence of the baron's temper; and from a hint conveyed in one of Swift's letters, we may infer that the absence of cordiality was not solely the fault of the son.
The same year that Bolingbroke returned to England, Walpole ceased to be prime minister; and his fall was in no slight degree attributable to the efforts of the man he had persecuted. Bolingbroke had wisely struck at his popularity, and the effects of his labours were now apparent. The session of 1741 terminated the existence of the parliament which had served the minister so faithfully, and the temper of the public mind forbade him to hope for another equally servile. The dissatisfaction which Bolingbroke had so successfully disseminated among the people was seen in the elections. At the meeting of the new parliament, after a few indecisive divisions, Walpole discovered that the majorities against him were daily increasing, and he made haste to retire while he could yet do so with safety. An earldom and a pension of 4,000l. a-year rewarded his services, and Bolingbroke beheld the hour of triumph for which he had laboured. Walpole's biographer attributes his downfal to the state of false security into which Sir William Windham's death and Boling
CHAP. broke's retirement into France had lulled him: it XVII. may be more reasonably accounted for by the shameA. D. 1742 lessness with which he departed from the principles he had in early life avowed,-by the undisguised corruption of his government, and his servile submission to the mischievous prejudices of his master. That that master esteemed him only as a ready instrument of his will, sufficiently appears from the fact that the King and his minister spoke no language in common. The little conversation that passed between them was with difficulty carried on in broken Latin. Such a minister could have effected little by persuasion.*
But although Bolingbroke's revenge was gratified by his rival's fall, he gained little personally by the change. The ministry which succeeded was nominally a coalition, but in reality a Whig ministry. The people were disappointed. Because Walpole had governed by corruption, they imagined that those who arraigned his conduct must be themselves examples of the purity they lauded: they were not a little surprised therefore when Pulteney, suddenly raised to the upper house by the title of Earl of Bath, abandoned all the lofty topics of declamation which had been so useful to him in opposition, and addressed himself to conciliate many of those whose measures he had so vehemently denounced. So entirely did this conduct ruin him in the popular * "Mentiris impudentissime" conversation in the presence of is a specimen of his style of his sovereign.-Coxe's Walpole.
estimation, that Walpole, when they met in the CHAP. upper house as the Earl of Orford and the Earl of Bath, could say to him, with some justice as far as Pulteney was concerned, "My lord of Bath, you and I are now the two most insignificant men in the kingdom."
Bolingbroke however, although he felt little cordiality for the new ministry, and hoped for no favour at their hands, did not behold it with such decided hostility as he had its predecessor. His prime enemy was politically dead; and perhaps he began to feel that it was time for him also to retire.
Attached to the family estate was an ancient seat at Battersea, which had been for many generations the residence of the St. Johns. Here, in the home of his fathers, Bolingbroke now resolved to spend the remainder of his days. He was not exempt from the common lot of humanity; his infirmities increased with his years; and even his fervid spirit was brought to wish that a life of continual turmoil and excitement should conclude in privacy and ease.
Bolingbroke's retirement was not however yet without interruption. A few months after his return, his infirmities drove him again to France. In July 1743, we find him dating from Argeville, and telling his friend the Earl of Marchmont that he was learning for the amusement of his solitude to play backgammon.*
* Marchmont Papers.