Зображення сторінки
[ocr errors]

against the happiness and quiet of your Majesty's government, been concerned in publishing a panıphlet, called, “Sir R. Gwynn's * Letter,” &c. That your Petitioner up has had a liberal edu.

cation * their consent to the proposed invitation of the Princess Sophia “ into England. The Cominons, on the eighth of March, voted * Gwynn's Letter a scandalous, false, and malicious libel. The * Lords concurred with them in an address, upon this occasion, to “ the Queen ; who replied, “that, being fully fenfible of the per* nicious tendency of the paper which they had censured, the “ would comply with their request, and give orders to prosecute " the printer and author.” Hift. of Great-Britain, sub ann. 1705.,

* Sir Rowland Gwynn had been one of the representatives for Beeralston in two parliaments during the reign of King Wil. liam III.

+ Charles Gildon was born and educated at Gillingham, near Shaftesbury, Dorsetshire. Richard, his father, who was of the Society of Gray's Inn, and a zealous Roman Catholic, dying when his son was but nine years old, Charles was sent by his relations to the English college at Douay, in order to be made a priest; but, quitting the superstitions of the church of Rome (from conviction, as he himself said, on reading a Discourse by Dr. Tillotson on Transubstantiation), ran into the extremes of Infidelity and Deism. He was author of several dramatic pieces, most of which were unsuccessful; and of some poetical and other performances. He has been ranked among the Deistical Writers, from having ushered into the world “ The Oracles of Reason," written by Charles Blount, esq. and published by Mr. Gildon in 1693, after that author's unhappy end, with a pompous elogium, and a preface in defence of self-murder. He was afterward, as Dr. Leland candidly observes (View of Deistical Writers, vol. I. p. 43), “ convinced of his error ; of which he

gave a remarkable proof in a.good book, which he publihed " in 1705, intituled, “ The Deist's Manual;' the greatest part “ of which is taken up in vindicating the doctrines of the ex ift

ence and attributes of God, his providence and government of “the world, the immortality of the foul, and a future state.”'-W are told, in the notes on the Dunciad, that “ he signalized him

« felf

cation and fortune, and expects this term a sentence worse than death * for the same :

That he is under the greatest sorrow and contrition for this his high offence against so good and gracious a Queen; and shall hereafter abhor and avoid all licence in speech and writing unbefitting a quiet, huinble, and peaceable sub. ject.

Your Petitioner, therefore, most humbly

prays, &c.

[ocr errors]


[undated 11: Y a letter I had from Cousin Betty Scurlock, I find you are resolved to winter in

Wales, “self as a critic, having written fome very bad plays ; abused “ Mr. Pope very scandalously in an anonymous pamphlet of the “ Life of Mr. Wycherley, printed by Curll; in another, called “ The New Rehearsal ;' in a third, intituled, · The Complete “ Art of English Poetry,' in two volumes; and others." He died January 12, 1723-4.

* He had been tried at Guildhall, Feb. 14, 1706-7, and found guilty; and received sentence, May 17, to pay 100l. fine.

+ This petition, and the seven following articles, were commu, nicated too late to come into their proper order of time.

# From circumstances it must have been written on or about Aug. 16, 1707. It is addressed, “This-For Mrs. Scurlock, at her “ Lodgings in Carmarthen, South Wales.”—It cannot have escaped the notice of an attentive reader, that Mrs. Mary Scurlock soon made up her own mind on the subject of marrying Steele; and it does not appear that. her determination was lefs peremptory for having been expeditious. To facilitate her fixed purpose,


Wales, which is the cause of this speed in my writing, having kept a secret from you, through fear that a letter might (by the usual impertinent curiosity of people) make a discovery of what is proper for your own ear only, and not to divert any in that tattling place where that wretched impudence H. O. resorts, who left we thould think God had not wholly forsaken him), had the boldness to send me a letter, which I had the very last post. I tore it without once reading it, he being beneath my scornful laugh.

But the matter in hand is this. Your frequent declarations of your earnest wishes that I might happily please you in obliging myself by my choice of a companion for life, has emboldened me, now fate has put it in my power, to give fo far encouragement as to promise speedy marriage upon condition of your consent, which I do not question having, when I tell you I not only make use of the most weighing confideration I am mistress of, but also hope my inclina. tion is the direction of Providence, whose guidance, in every particular of this nice affair more particularly, I cease not to implore continually. I cannot recommend the person to you as having a great estate, title, &c. which are generally and frustrate all opposition, she seems to have substituted this letter instead of the letters written by STEELE, containing the statement of his circumstances, &c. published pp. 17 and 24 ; and, having actually married in the mean while, the waited patienıly for her mother's confent.

a parent's

a parent's chief care; but he has a competency in worldly goods to make easy, with a mind fo richly adorned as to exceed an equivalent to the greatest estate in the world, in my opinion : in short, his person is what I like; his temper is what I am sure will make you, as well as myself, perfectly happy, if the respect of a lover, with the tender fondness of a dutiful fon, can make you so; and, for his understanding and morals, I refer you to his “ Christian Hero *," which I remember you seemed to approve. By this I believe you know his name; but, left memory may not befriend me, it is the survivor of the person ufo to whose funeral I went in my illness. Enquiries about him, any farther than I have made, are altogether needless, for I am fully fatisfied, and do not question but you will be so when business will permit you to be an eye-witness and partaker of my happiness. In the mean time, what I defire is, your consent and blessing to my putting it out of my power to delay, and so perhaps to lose, iny first and only inclination; for I shall never meet with a prospect of happiness if this should vanish. You doubtlefs wonder at the assurance of my style, for really I do myself; but then, if you consider the necessity of it, it will palliate the boldness. For, first, the

* See p. 279

+ We no where find the name of Steele's first wife, nor the time of her marriage. 2


of days;

distance between us is so great, that the speediest answer to a letter terminates an age then the constant visits, in the form fit for a lover, make a mighty noise in an idle, prying neighbourhood; so will cause the uneasiness of an endless nine days wonder, as they call it. Buť the main matter of all, since Fate I believe has ordained him mine, is the neglect of his business, which his coming in the manner he does must cause. These confiderations, with several more when known, though now too tedious to write, will, I hope, lefsen the censure this comprehenfive letter may at first sight cause.

There is nothing I should more defire than your presence at the giving my hand, with that part of my heart you can spare : but the misfortune of your lameness, if you were here, would deny me that happiness, unless public doings were intended, which is what I abhor; insomuch, if you consent to my changing the name of lover for husband, it shall not be in the power of the town to more than guess there may be such a thing, until your affairs will permit you to come and be a witness to our manner of living and appearing in the world, which God Almighty direct us in the way of, and also *

this letter to your dutiful Molly;

there being no rooni for long confideration understood

* The original is here accidentally torn.


[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »