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To conclude.--My Countrymen are fond of Novelties : They love every Thing that is strange and unnatural : I have therefore a just Right to their Favours : and if they are not blinded by that na.. tional Partiality to Foreigners, I don't doubt but I fall easily convince them, that the Moft Amazing and Sagacious English Dog far exceeds the Famous French Chien Savant; at least, let the old Proverb affist me, which tells us, “ Every Dog has

his Day.'

THE THE LIFE OF

HENRY ST. JOHN,

Lord Viscount BOLINGBROKE.

:

By Dr. GOLDSMITH,

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WHERE are some Characters that seem formed

by Nature to take Delight in struggling with Opposition, and whose most agreeable Hours are passed in Storms of their own creating. The Subject of the present Sketch was perhaps of all others the most indefatigable in raising himself Enemies, to fhew his Power in subduing them; and was not less employed in improving his superior Talents, than in finding Objects on which to exercise their Activity. His Life was spent in a continued Confict of Politics; and, as if that was too short for the Combat, he has left his Memory as a Subject of lasting Contention.

It is indeed no easy Matter to preserve an acknowledged Imparciality, in talking of a Man, so differently regarded on Account of his Political, as well as his Religious Principles. · Those whom his Poli. tics may please, will be sure to condemn him for his Religion; and, on the contrary, those most strongly attached to his Theological Opinions, are the most likely to decry bis Politics. On whatever Side he is regarded, he is sure to have Opposers, and this was

perhaps

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perhaps what he most defired, having from Nature à Mind better pleased with the Struggle than the Victory.

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Henry St. John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke, was born in the Year 1672, at Battersea in Surry, at a Seat that had been in the Possession of his Ancestors for Ages before. His Family was of the first Rank, equally conspicuous for its Antiquity, Dignity, and large. Possessions. It is found to trace its Original as high as Adam de Port, Baron of Basing in HampShire, before the Conqueft; and in a Succeffion of Ages to have produced Warriors, Patriots, and Statesmen, some of whom were conspicuous for their Loyalty, and others for their defending the Rights of the People. His Grandfather Sir Walter St. John, of Battersea, marrying one of the Daughters of Lord Chief Justice St. John, who as all know was strongly attached to the Republican Party, Henry, the Sub. ject of the present Memoir, was brought up in his Family, and consequently imbibed the first Princi. ples of his Education amongst the Diffenters. At that Time Daniel Burgess, a Fanatic of a very peculiar Kind, being at once poffeffed of Zeal and Humour, and as well known for the Archness of his Conceits as the furious Obstinacy of his Principles, was Confessor in the Prefbyterian Way to his Grandmother, and was appointed to direct our Author's first Studies. Nothing is so apt to disgust a feeling Mind as mistaken Zeal; and perhaps the Absurdity of the first Lectures he received, might have given him that Contempt for all Religions, which he might have justly conceived against one. Indeed no Talk can be more mortifying than that he was condemned to undergo : I was obliged,' says he in one. Place, while yet a Boy, to read over the Com• mentaries of Dr. Manton, whose Pride it was to « have made an hundred and nineteen Sermons on

6 the

the hundred and nineteenth Pfalm.' Dr. Manton and his Sermons were not likely to prevail much on one, who was, perhaps, the most Tharp-fighted in the World at discovering the Absurdities of others, however he might have been guilty of establishing many of his own.

But these dreary Institutions were of no very long Continuance; as soon as it was fit to take him out of the Hands of the Women, he was sent to Eaton School, and removed thence to Christ Church College in Oxford. His Genius and Understanding were feen and admired in both these Seminaries; but his Love of Pleasure had so much the Ascendency, that he seemed contented rather with the Consciousness of his own great Powers, than their Exertion. However his Friends, and those who knew him most intimately, were thoroughly sensible of the Extent of his Mind; and when he left the University, he was considered as one who had the fairest Opportunity of making a shining Figure in active Life.

Nature seemed not less kind to him in her external Embellishments, than in adorning his Mind. With the Graces of an handsome Person, and a Face in which Dignity was happily blended with Sweetness, he had a Manner of Address that was very engaging. His Vivacity was always awake, his , Apprehension was quick, his Wit refined, and his Memory amazing: His Subtilty in Thinking and Reasoning were profound, and all these Talents were adorned with an Elocution that was irresistible.

To the Assemblage of so many Gifts from Nature, it was expected that Art would soon give her finishing Hand, and that a Youth begun in Excellence would soon arrive at Perfection : But such is the Perverseness of human Nature, that an Age which should have been employed in the Acquisition of Knowledge, was diffipated in Pleafure ; and inAtead of aiming to excel in praise-worthy Pursuits, Bo

lingbroke

lingbroke seemed more ambitious of being thought the greatest Rake about Town. This Period might have been compared to that of Fermentation in Liquors, which grow muddy before they brighten ; but it must also be confeft, that those Liquors which never ferment are seldom clear. In this State of Disorder he was not without his lucid Intervals ; and even while he was noted for keeping Miss Gumley, the most expenfive Prostitute in the Kingdom, and bearing the greatest Quantity of Wine without Intoxication, he even then despised his paltry Ambition. · The Love of Study,' says he, . and Desire • of Knowledge, were what I felt all my Life; and ' though my Genius, unlike the Dämon of Socrates,

whispered fo softly, that very often I heard him not in the Hurry of these Paffions, with which I

was transported, yet some calmer Hours there were, 6 and in them I hearkened to him. These secret Admonitions were indeed very few, fince his Exceffes are remembered to this very Day. I have fpoke to an old Man, who assured me that he saw him and another of his Companions run naked through the Park, in a Fit of Intoxication; but then it was at a Time when public Decency might be transgressed with less Danger than at present.

During this Period, as all his Attachments were to Pleasure, fo his Studies only seemed to lean that Way. His first Attempts were in Poetry, in which he discovers more Wit than Taste, more Labour than Harmony in his Verfification.

We have a Copy of his Verses prefixed to Dryden's Virgil, complimenting the Poet, and praising his Translation. We have another not so well known, prefixed to a French Work, published in Holland, by. the Chevalier de St. Hyacinth, intituled, Le Chef de Oeuvre d’ui Inconnu. This Performance is an humorous Piece of Criticism upon a miserable old Ballad; and Bolingbroke’s Compliment, tho' written

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