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me flatter myself you will give shelter to a new edition of this. I need not say much as to the judicious performance of it; you will easily perceive the observations the has made upon the humours of the Spaniard to be very just; the dress she has put them in, elegant and neat; and her expression familiar, easy, and clear.
The former impressions of this book have been very well received in the world; and I doubt not but this will meet with a better reception than any yet have done, by coming into it under your protection. Whatever you espouse comes sufficiently recommended, and, with those that know you, will be taken for a convincing argument of its own merit I cannot persuale myself filently to pass over one motive which swayed very niuch with me to make you this address; and that is, a desire I have long entertained for an opportunity to declare the veneration and esteem I have for you as a gentleman, a scholar, and a patriot. The two first characters you enjoy undisturbed ; and, to make good the last, you have the applauses of all true Britons, for the vigorous efforts you made against the late attacks upon the liberties of your country, by exposing the false reasonings of those men, who would have deluded us into a fatal security, till Popery and tyranny had come down upon us like a mighty torrent, and overwhelmed us. I am, Sir, your most obedi. ent, humble servant.
From Mrs. MANLEY † to Sir RichARD STEELE.
HEN men cast their eyes upon epistles of this kind, from the name of the per
* Prefixed to “Lucius, a Tragedy, 1717;" being the dedication already referred to in p. 275.
+ Daughter of Sir Robert Manley, a zealous Royalist. Early in life she was cheated into marriage with a near relation, of her own name, who had at the same time'a former wife living. Deserted by her husband, she was patronistd by the Duchess of Cleveland, who growing tired of Mıs. Manley in fix months, discharged her, on pretence that the intrigued with her son. Retiring into folitude, he wrote her first Tragedy, “ The Royal Mischief.” This play being acted in 1696, with great success, she received such unbounded incense from admirers, that her apartment was crowded with men of wit and gaiety, which, in the end, proved fatal to her virtue. In the same year she also published “ The s lost Lover, or, jealous Husband," a Comedy. In her retired hours the wrote “ The Atalantis;" for which, lhe having made free in it with several characters, her printer was apprehended, by a warrant from the Secretary's office. Mrs. Manley, unwilling an innocent person should suffer, presented herself before the Court of King's Bench as the author. Lord Sunderland, then Secretary of State, being curious to know from whom she got information of several particulars which were supposed above her own intelligence, the replied, with great humility, “ that the “ had no design in writing further than her own amusement and “ diversion in the country, without intending particular reflec6 tions and characters; and did assure them, that nobody was 66.concerned with her.” When this was not believed, and the contrary urged against her by several circumstances, she said, “ then it must be by infpiration; because, knowing her own in“ nocence, she could account for it no other way.” Whether those in power were ashamed to bring a woman to trial for a few amorous trifles, or whether (her characters being under feigned
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acted in 1917.
son who makes the address, and of him who receives it, they usually have reason to expect ap
plauses Dames) the laws did not actually reach her, she was discharged after several public examinations. On the change of the Miniftry the lived in reputation and gaiety, and amused herself in writing Poems and Letters, and converfing with the Wits. A second edition of a volume of her Letters was published in 1713. “Lucius," a well-received Tragedy, was written by her, and
It was dedicated, as above, to Sir R. Steele, who was then on such friendly terms with her, that he wrote the prologue to this play, as Mr. Prior did the epilogue. She died July 11, 1724.-The welfare of society being not at all affected by the misdeeds of those who have acquired any degree of eminence being known; on the contrary, when it is seen that, in spite of considerable talents, poverty and contempt (as in the present instance) generally accompany any deviations from the rule of right, it will tend to promote the practice of virtue, and be at. tended with consequences beneficial to the community; the fol. lowing well-authenticated anecdote of Mrs. Manley is here preserved. In 1705 she was concerned with one Mrs. Mary Thompfon, a young woman who had been kept by a gentleman of the name of Pheasant, of Upwood, in Huntingdonshire, and then deceased, in prosecuting a suit in Doctors Commons, on the part of Mrs. Thompson, as the widow of Mr. Pheasant; the object of the suit being to establish her right of dower out of Mr. Pheasaņr's estates, which were about 1500l. a year. It appears, on the evidence, which is recorded in Doctors Commons, that Mrs. Manley and Mrs. Thompson were jointly concerned in the prosecution, and that she was to have had 100l. per annum for life, if it had succeeded. They had procured one Edmund Smith, a very infamous fellow, and then a prisoner in :he Fleet, to forge a marriage entry in the register at a church in Aldersgate Street, which was supported by Smith's swearing himfelf to have procured the parson who performed the ceremony; and that he and a Mr. Abson were present at the wedding. The parfon fixed on was one Dr. Cleaver, who appears, from the evidence, to have been a low and scandalous priest, and, it is believed, the man who married at the Fleet. Cleaver and Abson were both dead
plauses improper either to be given or accepted by the parties concerned. I fear it will, at first fight, be much more so in this address than any other which has at any time appeared; but while common dedications are stuffed with painful panegyricks, the plain and honest business of this is, only to do an act of justice, and to end a former misunderstanding between the Author, and him whom she here makes her
patron. In consideration that one knows not how far what we have said of each other may affect our characters in the world, I take it for an act of howhen Smith was examined. 'The cause was supported by fome weak collateral evidence, and was overthrown by the strongest evidence to the wickedness of Smith's character, and by proof that the entry, which Smith swore to have been entered by Mr. * Pheasant himself, was not Mr. Pheasant's hand-writing ; who lived with Mrs. Thompson as his mistress, and not as his wife. Upon the whole, Mrs. Manley's conduct in this affair fhews her to have been a base and wicked woman, capable of suborning perjury and forgery for gain. It is to be noted, that this was in the year 1705. In the latter part of Queen Anne's reign the was in high favour with the Tories, as a party-writer, and was noticed by Dr. Swift, whom she affifted in the Examiner. Whether he knew her real character is perhaps uncertain. She passed the remainder of her life with Swift's very good friend, John Barber, alderman and printer, as his mistress. She must have been fortunate if her baseness was not known; if it was, Dr. Swift's friends at least are not much credited by their connexions with her. It is not likely that Mrs. Manley's conduct was a fe. cret, as she was known as a writer before 1705; and Smith, in his evidence, swears, that he first heard of the cause being inftituted at a coffee-house accidentally, where Mrs. beafant's cauic was talked of, and Mr. Peere Williams, then an eminent counsel, was examined as a witness, so that the matter was certainly of public notoriety.
nour to declare, on my part, that I have not known a greater mortification than when I have reflected upon the severities which have flowed from a pen, which is now, you fee, disposed as much to celebrate and commend you. On your part, your fincerc endeavour to promote the reputation and success of this Tragedy, are infallible testimonies of the candour and friendship you retain for me. I rejoice in this public retribution, and with pleasure acknowledge, that I find by experience, that some useful notices which I had the good fortune to give you for your conduct in former life, with some hazard to myself, were not to be blotted out of your memory by any hardships that followed them.
I know you so well, that I am assured you already think I have, on this subject, said too much ; and I am confident you believe of me, that, did I not conceal much more, I should not say so much. Be then the very memory of disagreeable things forgotten for ever, and give me leave to thank you for your kindness to this Play, and, in return, to shew towards your merit the same good-will. But when my heart is full, and my pen ready to express the kindest sentiments to your advantage, I reflect upon what I have formerly heard you say, that the fame of a gentleman, like the credit of a merchant, must flow from his own intrinsic value ; and that all means to enlarge it, which do not arise naturally