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LETTER

CCCCXXXIV *.

To the Countess of BURLINGTON t.

I

MADAM,

July 21, 1714. HUMBLY desire your Ladyship would for

give the presumption I am now guilty of in presenting you with this book. I do it from the high 'honour and veneration I have for your great merit and virtue. It cannot, I know, furnish your Ladyship with new refections; and the Ladies of whom you are the happy mother have an example before them more prevalent to form them to every thing praise worthy than any precepts they can find in the works of the best writers. But as there is much curiosity in these papers, and great strength and force in the reasonings of them; give me leave to offer this collection for the use of female life as a testimony of the respect which I, with all who are honoured with the least acquaintance with you, must pay to your Ladyship, for the eminent example you have given the world in the im. portant characters of a wife and a mother.

To coinmand with the mien of making a request, to oblige with the aspect of receiving fa

* Prefixed to the first volume of “The Ladies Library."

+ Juliana, daughter and fole heiress to Henry Noel, second son of Edward Viscount Campden ; she was married to Charles the second Earl of Burlington, who left her a widow in 1703.4; and was mother to Richard the third and laft Earl of Burlington.

vours, and to win affection without other design than making all people happy who converse with her, or depend upon her, are excellencies peculiar to my Lady Burlington. But as there is a complaisance which, like fincere friendship, speaks our good opinion in our ordinary looks and actions, more than any language can do it, I here shall go no farther than just to declare myself, with great deference, among the admirers of your great goodness and virtue; and beg of your Ladyship to forgive my saying thus inuch, for the forbearance of saying more, on a subject of which I am so very fond, as that of expreffing myself, Madam, your Ladyship's most devoted, most obedient, and most humble seryant,

RICHARD STEELE.

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L E T T E R CCCCXXXV *.

To Mrs. BOVEY I.
MADAM,

July 21, 1714. T is an undisputed privilege writers are posfessed of, to produce examples to the pre

cepts * Prefixed to the second volume of “ The Ladies Library,"

+ On a splendid monument in Westminster-abbey, under that of Lord Viscount Howe, and next to Bp. Pearce, is a bust of the Lady on a small medallion, placed between two large emblematic figures, designed by Gibbs, with the following infcription :

“ To the memory of Mrs. KATHARINA BOVEY, whose person and understanding would have become the highest rank in female life, and whose vivacity would have recommended her in the best conversation ; but, by judgement, as well as inclination,

the

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cepts they would enforce from the living characters of their contemporaries. You cannot, the chose such a retirement as gave her great opportunities for reading and reflection, which she made use of to the wiseft purposes of improvement in knowledge and religion. Upon other fubjects, le ventured far out of the common way of thinking; but in religious matters, she made the Holy Scriptures, in which the was well skilled, the rule and guide of her faith and actions; esteeming it more safe to rely upon the plain Word of God, than to run into any freedoms of thought upon revealed truths. The great fare of time allowed to the closet was not perceived in her ceconomy, for the had always a well-ordered and well-instructed family, from the happy influence as well of her temper and conduct, as of her uniform and exemplary Christian life. It pleased God to bless her with a considerable estate, which, with a liberal hand, guided by wisdom and piety, the employed to his glory, and the good of her neighbours. Her domestic expences were managed with a decency and dignity suitable to her for. tune, but with a frugality that made her income abound to all proper objects of charity, to the relief of the necessitous, the epcouragement of the industrious, and the instruction of the ignorant. She distributed not only with chearfulness, but with joy, which upon fome occasions of raising and refreshing the spirit of the afflicted, she could not refrain from breaking forth into tears, flowing from a heart thoroughly affected with compassion and benevolence. Thus did many of her good works, while she lived, go up as a memorial before God; and some fhe left to follow her. “She died January 21, 1926, in the 57th year of her

age, Flaxley, her feat in Gloucestershire, and was buried there, where her name will be long remembered, and where several of her benefactions at thac place, as well as others, are more particu. Jarly recorded.”

At the cop of the monument are the family arms; and at the bottom these lines:

“ This monument was erected with the utmost respect ro

her memory, and justice to her character, by ber executrix, Mrs. MARY Pope, who tived with her near forty years in perfect friendship, and never once interrupted cillher much lamented death."

therefore,

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therefore, expect for ever to be doing laudable things, and for ever to escape applause. It is in vain, you find, that you have always concealed greater excellencies than others industriously present to view ; for the world will know that your beauty, though in the highest degree of dignity and sweetness, is but a faint imáge of the spirit which inhabits the amiable form which Heaven has bestowed on you. It is ob. served, by all who know you, that, though you have an aspect and mien which draw the attention and expectation of all who converse with you, and a wit and good sense which surmount the great conceptions your person raises in your beholders, those perfections are enjoyed by you like gifts of common acceptation; that lovely and affable air expresses only the humility of a great and generous heart; and the most shining accomplishments, used by others to attract vulgar admiration, are serviceable to you only as they adorn piety and charity.

Though your person and fortune equally raise the admiration and ambition of our whole sex to move your attention to their importunities; your equal spirit entertains itself with ideas of a very different kind, and is folicitous to search for imperfections where it were the utmost injustice for any other to imagine any, and applauses only awaken you to an inquisition

for errors.

It is with this turn of mind that, instead of afsemblies and conversations, books and solitude have been your choice, and you have gone on in the study of what you should be, rather than attended to the celebration of what you are. Thus, with the charnis of the fairest of

your own sex, and knowledge not inferior to the more learned of ours, a closet, a bower, or some beauteous scene of rural nature, has constantly robbed the world of a Lady's appearance, who never was beheld but with gladness to her visitants, nor ever admired but with pain to herself.

But a constant distribution of large charities, a search for objects of new bounty, and a skil. ful choice of modeft merit, or suffering virtue, touch the souls of those who partake your goodness too deeply to be borne without enquiring for, and celebrating their benefactress. I should be loth to offend your tenderness in this particular; but I know, when I say this, the fatherless and the widow, the neglected man of merit, the wretch on the fick bed, in a word, the distressed under all forms, will from this hint learn to trace the kind hand which has fo often, as from Heaven, conveyed to them what they have asked in the anguish of foul, when none could hear, but He who has blessed you with so ample a fortune, and given you a soul to employ it in his service.

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