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supposed will attend such a law as this would be. The whole tenor of it is very unfortunately put together, if any thing but an additional power to the Peers is intended by it. R. STEELE.
L E T T E R CCCCLIV *.
To the Duke of NEWCASTLE.
My most honoured Lord and Patron, Villars-street, York-buildings, Jan. 15, 1719-20. your
Grace believes that it is as great to undo as to make a man, I am the unhappy instrument in both kinds; and, if it is a gratification to you, I have some consolation in the wretched distinction of being the only man the Duke of Newcastle ever injured. My high ob. ligations to you temper my spirit; and, after some tumult of foul, and agony of the worst paffions in it, I behold you in the pleasing light you have heretofore appeared to me t. I make you allowance for the disadvantage of youth
* Originally printed in the eighth number of “ The Theatre,” with this introduction :-"Sir, Your last Paper having descend. “ ed to the case of particular men, who are concerned in the (s theatre, I hope you will allow me the advantage of being re“ présented to the town by your means, and of conveying my “ thoughts to a noble person, who has forbid me, without any “ fault of mine, ever to approach him, either speech or writ. “ ing, as long as we live ; but you will understand me better by “ reading what I know not how to convey to him, unless you so will please to print it." + See p. 442. Letter CCCCXLIV.
and prosperity, and my benefactor covers my oppressor. As this last word must needs give offence to a noble nature, it stands upon me to make out my complaint, and thew all the world, for all the world will be curious in this case, as obscure as I am, for I have ceased to be so since I have been distinguished by your Grace's difpleasure. The patent which I have from his Majesty inakes me the sole Governor of a company of comedians for my life, and that fran. chise is to fubfift in those who claim under me three
my death ; there is nothing in it, as to the bestowing part from the Crown, but what are mere transcripts of the patent given by King Charles to Sir William Davenant; and, though I might have had it to niyself as well as he, I made a conscience and scruple of asking for my heirs, an office that required a very particular turn and capacity to execute. It is not, my Lord, very common in courts, for a man to ask less, when he knows he
may the very night I received it, I participated the power and use of it, with relation to the profits that thould arise from it, between the gentlemen who invited me into the licence upon his Majesty's happy accession to the throne; and it has flourished in all manner of respects to a degree unknown in any former time. When your Grace came to be Chamberlain, from a genesous design of making every office and authority
the better for your wearing, your Grace was induced to send for me, and the other sharers, and in an absolute manner offered us a licence, and demanded a resignation of the patent, which I presumed as absolutely to refuse. This refufal I made in writing, and petitioned the King for his protection in the grant which he had given me. This matter rested; thus for
many months ; and the next molestation we received was. by an order, signed by your Grace, to dismiss Mr. Cibber. The actors obeyed; but I presumed to write to your Grace against it, and expressed my forrow that you would give me no better occasion of thewing my duty but by bearing oppression froin you. This freedoın produced a message by your kinsman and secretary, whom I treated with as much deference and respect as any man living could do the Duke of Newcastle coming from the King. This message was,
Grace's name, to forbid me ever to write, speak, or visit you more... The gentleman, I dare say, has told you, that I answered him almost in these very words:
“ Sir, I beg of you to take notice of my
manner, my voice, and my gesture, when I * answer to this severe message; and let the “Duke of Newcastle know, that with the most
profound submission and humility I received “ it, and protested to you, that I could have no “ meffage from any family, except the Royal
onè, that could give me half this mortifica. « tion. If I have not fallen into phrases that “ speak me truly forrowful and humble, use
any you yourself can think of which are
more fo, and you will then best express my $ meaning. At the same time you may very “ truly say, that if any other man were Cham“ berlain, and should send me such a message,
my reply should be as haughty as it is now « humble."
He left me with a farther declaration, that my patent should be prosecuted according to law. I refted as well satisfied as one who had lost so powerful a friend could, from a security in a still greater power, that of the laws of the land; but I was soon after awakened out of this llum. ber, which was far from being an easy onę, by hearing that your Grace had sent for Mr. Booth, and threatened a signed manual, which must necessarily disable 'me, as to my defence, before you would proceed against me according to law. I did your Grace the justice to think it impoffible for you to be prevailed upon to do that. I assure your Grace, the great name on the top of the Paper did not give me more terror than the pame at the bottom did forrow. The Minister who subscribeş, is answerable for what the King writes. Our laws make our Prince author of nothing but favour to his subjects.
My patent cannot be hurt, except it can be proved it was
obtained per deceptionem, as, according to my duty, I am to believe this order, for it does, by an artificial method in its effect, destroy by his figned manual, what is granted by his great feal, which had been impossible to be brought about, had the matter been fairly represented. All I could do, was to represent it by petition, which I delivered in your Grace's presence on Friday night, the prayer of which was : “ Votre “ fuppliant donc prie très humblement vôtre “ Majesté, qu'il ne reçoive aucune molestation,
que par la loyé en juste forme de procès;"> your petitioner therefore most humbly prays, he may not be any way molested but by due course of law. I know not by what accident it happened that my petition was never read, but the next news I heard was the order of revocation. But I must take the liberty to say, that his Majesty must grant the ruffians, mentioned in the last proclamation, which is denied unhappy me, a trial by due course of law. The revocation came on the Saturday ; your Grace was so good as not to break the Sabbath upon me; but the sufficient evil of this day, being Monday, is an order of filence. Your Grace will please to read them both over again, which are to this effect :
Whereas by our Royal Licence, bearing 1 date the 18th day of October, 1714, We did “ give and grant unto Richard Steele, Esq. now $* Sir Richard Steele, Knt. Mr. Robert Wilks,