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a spirit so restless and elastic could not exist. Secret plans, expresses with letters, messengers on distant journeys, orders for goods, succour and relief afforded to the poor and oppressed-these were the aliments of her active and benevolent mind. No one was secure of eating his meals uninterruptedly; her bell was constantly ringing, and the most trifling order would keep a servant on his legs, sometimes a whole hour, before her, undergoing every now and then a cross-examination worse than that of a Garrow.'-vol. i. pp. 128, 129.
The doctor's estimate both of her faculties and of the importance of her occupations, is perhaps excessive; but he thus paints her:
In the same day I have frequently known her to dictate, with the most enlarged political views, papers that concerned the welfare of a pashalik, and the next moment she would descend, with wondrous facility, to some trivial details about the composition of a house-paint, the making of butter, the drenching of a sick horse, the choosing lambs, or the cutting-out of a maid's apron. She had a finger in everything, and in everything was an adept. Her intelligence really seemed to have no limits; the recesses of the universe, if one might venture to say so, absolutely seemed thrown open to her gaze. In the same manner that she frustrated the intrigues and braved the menaces of hostile emirs and pashas, did she penetrate and expose the tricks and cunning of servants and peasants, who were ever plotting to pilfer her. It was curious to see what pains she would take in developing and bringing to light a conspiracy of the vile wretches, who, from time to time, laid their deep schemes of plunder-schemes of which European establishments have no parallel, and machinations which Satan himself could hardly have counteracted. She used to say, "there are half a dozen of them whom I could hang if I chose ;" but she was forbearing towards culprits when she once had them in her power, although unwearied and unflinching in her pursuit of them.'-vol. i. pp. 129, 130.
Her tyrannical spirit is seen both in such passages as the following, and in various traits and anecdotes throughout the whole work:
'No soul in her household was suffered to utter a suggestion on the most trivial matter-even on the driving-in of a nail in a bit of wood: none were permitted to exercise any discretion of their own, but strictly and solely to fulfil their orders. Nothing was allowed to be given out by any servant without her express directions. Her dragoman or secretary was enjoined to place on her table each day an account of every person's employment during the preceding twenty-four hours, and the names and business of all goers and comers. Her despotic humour would vent itself in such phrases as these. The maid one day entered with a message "The gardener, my lady, is come to say that the piece of ground in the bottom is weeded and dug, and he says that it is only fit for lettuce, beans, or selk [a kind of lettuce], and such vegetables." "Tell the gardener," she answered vehemently, "that, when I order him to dig, he is to dig, and not to give his opinion what the ground is
Memoirs of Lady Hester Stanhope.
fit for. It may be for his grave that he digs, it may be for mine. He must know nothing until I send my orders, and so bid him go about his business."-vol. i. pp. 130, 131,
Her conversation, however rich, eloquent and various, must have been from its excess a sore infliction. We question if Sicilian tyrants' ever invented a more severe suffering than the following passages describe :
'In the latter years of her life social and unrestrained conversation was out of the question-it was difficult to unbend before her to spend a couple of hours with her was to go to school. She was unceasingly employed in laying bare the weaknesses of our common nature. Mercy, in the sense of tenderness for people's foibles, she had none; but, to her honour be it said, although she was constantly drawing a line between the high and low born, good qualities in the most menial person bore as high an estimation in her mind, as if she had discovered them in princes.
'It was wonderful how long she would hold a person in conversation, listening to her anecdotes and remarks on human life; she seemed entirely to forget that the listener could possibly require a respite, or even a temporary relief. It may be alleged that nothing was more easy than to find excuses for breaking up a conversation; but it was not sofor her words ran on in such an uninterrupted stream that one never could seize a moment to make a pause. I have sat more than eight, ten-nay, twelve and thirteen hours, at a time! Lady Hester Stanhope told me herself that Mr. Way remained one day from three in the afternoon until break of day next morning, tête-à-tête with her; and Miss Williams once assured me that Lady Hester kept Mr. N. (an English gentleman, who was her doctor some time) so long in discourse that he fainted away. Her ladyship's readiness in exigencies may be exemplified by what occurred on that occasion. When she had rung the bell, and servants had come to her assistance, she said very quietly to them that in listening to the state of disgrace to which England was reduced by the conduct of the ministers (this was in 1818-19), his feelings of shame and grief had so overpowered him that he had fainted. Mr. N., however, declared to Miss W. that it was no such thing, but that he absolutely swooned away from fatigue and constraint.
'Her conversation was generally familiar and colloquial, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes rising to eloquence, so noble and dignified, that, like an overflowing river, it bore down everything before it. Her illustrations were drawn from every sensible or abstract thing, and were always most felicitous. Her reasoning was so plain as to be comprehended and followed by the most illiterate person, at the same time that it was strictly logical, and always full of strength and energy. She had read all subjects without books, and was learned without lore; and, to sum up all, if she was mad, as many people believed, she was, like the cracked Portland vase, more valuable, though damaged, than most perfect vessels.'-vol. i. pp. 136-138.
ligious, Her opinions were of the most extraordinary cast; she was re
ligious, constantly meditating on the Deity, and endeavouring to walk purely before Him both as to her conduct and as to her boundless charities. She believed in the Scriptures, and read scarce anything but the Bible; but she firmly expected the second coming of the Messiah as close at hand, kept two horses always ready, one for his use, the other for her own to attend him, and never suffered any one to ride either of them. Then in the influence of stars and of the evil eye, she as firmly believed as any of the most unenlightened Orientals; and in dæmonology she placed such implicit faith that she conceived the air to be at all times peopled by pure and invisible spirits, with whom she not only held an imaginary converse, acknowledging their influence, but such was the mixture of the natural with the spiritual in her notions of their nature, that she considered a person ought to move carefully, to shut the doors or windows with caution, and to handle the furniture with circumspection, lest he might chance to injure their delicate frames.
Her imagination so mastered her reason that, notwithstanding her knowledge of mankind, her eminently suspicious nature, and her boasted power of seeing through characters, she was the easy dupe of impostors. Thus projectors were ever obtaining money from her; some man, designated as X. in these volumes, but whose real name should be made known, pretended to bear a message from the Dukes of Sussex and Bedford to her with offers of pecuniary assistance to liquidate her debts, and obtained entire possession of her confidence, which of course he must have turned to his own profit and to her loss. The rumour of a Colonel Needham having left his property in Ireland to Mr. Pitt, who predeceased him by a few days, made her never doubt that his heir-at-law, Lord Kilmorey, must make over the estates to her, at least after his own decease; and she is for years in expectation of a favourable answer on this head from Sir Francis Burdett, to whom she had written as her negotiator, but who no doubt considered the whole affair as some Irish joke or Syrian dream.
After all, however, her embarrassments appear clearly to have resulted from her boundless charities and her noble munificence to those she protected. Her country and her countrymen reaped largely the benefits of all her expenditure, into which nothing mean, or paltry, or selfish, or calculating, entered; and we must say that we feel truly disgusted at the return she received from the British ministry for all her generosity-a return which appears, if not illegal, yet to approach the very limits of the law. Some money-lender complained that she was in debt to him, whereupon Lord Palmerston thought proper to issue his orders to the consuls in the Levant that they should refuse to sign any certificate
certificate of her being alive, which ceremony was necessary in order to give her the right to draw her pension quarterly! The consequence was that, on a mere statement by one party, she was deprived for the last two years of a pension as much her right as his lordship's rent, perhaps as well earned as his lordship's salary. We verily believe this instance of official oppression is without an example, and we are curious to hear by what law it was justified, and what use Lord Palmerston or his colleagues could by law make of the Parliamentary pension which they thus stopped. The statement is plainly made; it is placed before the public in the most distinct terms. There can
be no denial of the fact, because the letters of the consuls are given in the book: there must, therefore, be some explanation given-why the signature was refused to Lady Hester, which operated as a stoppage of the pension, merely because some one claimed a debt from her, of which the noble ex-secretary had no official knowledge; and there must be some account rendered of the arrears which thus accrued, not one penny of which the government had any right to apply in payment of Lady Hester's debts, be they ever so clearly due, any more than in payment of Lord Palmerston's own. This explanation and this account we shall hope to see.
ART. VI.-The Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield; including numerous Letters now first published from the original MSS. Edited, with Notes, by Lord Mahon, in 4 vols., 8vo. London. 1845.
WO scions of the old knightly house of Stanhope were raised
to the peerage by James I. The elder (and only surviving) branch was advanced to the earldom of Chesterfield by Charles I., in whose cause its zeal and sufferings were conspicuous. Two of its cadets earned early in the next century by great public services the separate earldoms of Stanhope and Harrington; and in the former of these junior lines the succession of remarkable abilities has ever since been uninterrupted-a circumstance perhaps unique. We believe, taking the blood all together, not one race in Great Britain has produced within the last two hundred and fifty years so many persons of real and deserved eminence; but still for the brilliant variety of his talents and attainments, the general splendour of his career, influence, and fame, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield remains the facilè princeps of his house and name. Either as statesman, or diplomatist, or orator. he stood
VOL. LXXVI. NO. CLII.
below no contemporary who never held the prime management of a great party, and below but two of those who ruled the Empire. As the ornament and oracle of the world of fashion, the model of taste and wit, and all personal graces and accomplishments, his supremacy was undisputed; but it is to his connexion with the literature and literary men of his age that he owes mainly the permanence as well as the prominence of his celebrity. He survives among us, and will survive, by reason of his connexion with Pope, Gay, Atterbury, Arbuthnot, Swift, Voltaire, Johnson; and (though we are far from undervaluing others of his writings) because his Letters on the Education of his son are in point of style a finished and classical work, contain instructions for the conduct of life that will never be obsolete, and constitute some of our most curious materials for estimating the moral tone of aristocratic society during a long and important period of English history.
These famous Letters were published the year after his death, and have since gone through many editions; but it cannot be said that until now they had received even a decent measure of editorial care. Lord Mahon has (with a few trivial and proper omissions in the earlier part of the series) reproduced them entire, and for the first time filled up names left in blank, and explained hints and allusions which the lapse of another generation would have condemned to hopeless obscurity. As the original editrix was actuated solely by motives of pecuniary interest, no addition to the text could be expected-she, we may be sure, printed every scrap that had been preserved. They are now, however, incorporated with a more general correspondence which had been originally dealt with in a widely different manner. Bishop Chenevix and Mr. Dayrolles were friends of Chesterfield, and men of character and honour. In whatever they communicated to the public they had a just regard for the claims both of the dead and the living if they erred at all, it was on the side of over-delicacy: accordingly, the mutilations were severe; and as respects this, the larger share of his materials, when we compare Lord Mahon's copy with what we had had before, it is hardly too much to say that he has given us a new work, Whatever could wound anybody's feelings had been omitted; in other words, a very large proportion of whatever could throw light on the secret history of parties and public men in Lord Chesterfield's time- very many letters entirely-the most striking paragraphs of half the rest. The lacunæ are now filled up as far as was possible—and the whole illustrated by notes, which we recommend to the study of all who may be tempted to undertake tasks of this description;