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by such palpable pillage of Pope and Dryden. Still the boy remains a prodigy, by whatever means he procured or produced the edifice erected—and still it will be found inexplicable how he found time or materials for operating such miracles. # + * * #
I am as impatient and in as much hurry as you was, dear sir, to clear myself from the slightest intention of censuring your politics. I know the sincerity and disinterested goodness of your heart, and when I must be convinced how little certain we all are of what is truth, it would be very presumptuous to condemn the opinions of any good man, and still less an old and unalterable friend, as I have ever found you. The destruction that violent arbitrary principles have drawn on this blinded country has moved my indignation. We never were a great and happy country till the Revolution. The system of these days tended to overturn and has overturned that establishment, and brought on the disgraces that ever attended the foolish and wicked councils of the house of Stuart. If man is a rational being, he has a right to make use of his reason, and to enjoy his liberty. We, we alone almost had a constitution, that every other nation upon earth envied or ought to envy. This is all I contend for. I will give you up whatever descriptions of men you please; that is, the leaders of parties, not the principles. These cannot change, those generally do, when power falls into the hands of them or their party, because men are cor
ruptible, which truth is not. But the more the leaders of a party dedicated to liberty are apt to change, the more I adore the principle, because it shows that extent of power is not to be trusted even with those that are the most sensible of the value of liberty. Man is a domineering animal; and it has not only been my principle, but my practice too, to quit every body at the gate of the palace. # * # * * I think you take in no newspapers, nor I believe condescend to read any more modern than the Paris à la Main at the time of the Ligue—consequently you have not seen a new scandal on my father, which, you will not wonder offends me. You cannot be interested in his defence; but, as it comprehends some very curious anecdotes, you will not grudge my indulging myself to a friend in vindicating a name so dear to me. In the accounts of lady Chesterfield’s death and fortune, it is said that the late king, at the instigation of sir R. W. burnt his father’s will, which contained a large legacy to that his supposed daughter, and I believe his real
one, for she was very like him, as
her brother, general Schulembourg, is in black to the late king. The fact of suppressing the will is indubitably true, the instigator most false, as I can make a speech to the privy council. Sir Robert asked the king who he will please to have draw the speech, which was, in fact, asking, who was to be prime minister; to which his majesty replied—Sir Spencer Compton. It is a wonderful anecdote, and but little known, that the new premier, a very dull man, could not draw the speech, and the person to whom he applied was the deposed premier. The queen, who favoured my father, observed how unfit a man was for successor, who was reduced to beg assistance of his predecessor. The council met as soon as possible, the next morning at latest. There archbishop Wake, with whom one copy of the will had been deposited (as another was, I think, with the duke of Wolfenbuttle, who had a pension for sacrificing it, which, I know, the late duke of Newcastle transactj} advanced, and delivered the will to the king, who put it into his pocket, and went out of council without opening it, the archbishop not having courage or presence of mind to desire it to be read, as he ought to have done. These circumstances, which I solemnly assure you are strictly true, prove that my father neither advised, nor was consulted; nor is it credible that the king in one might’s time should have passed from the intention of disgracing him, to make him his bosom confident on so delicate an affair. I was once talking to the late lady Suffolk, the former mistress, on that extraordinary event. She said, “I cannot justify the deed to the legatees, but towards his
demonstrate thus:When the news arrived of the death of George 1st, my father carried the account from lord Townshend to the then prince of Wales. One of the first acts of royalty is for the new monarch to make
father the late king was justifiable; for George the first had burnt two wills made in favour of George the 2nd.” I suppose they were the testaments of the duke and duchess of Zell, parents of George the first’s wife, whose treatment of her they always resented. I said, I know the transaction of the duke of N. The late lord Waldegrave showed me a letter from that duke to the first earl of Waldegrave, then ambassador at Paris, with directions about that transaction, or, at least, about payment of the pension, I forget which. I have somewhere, but cannot turn to it now, a memorandum of that affair, and who the prince was, whom I may mistake in calling duke of Wolfenbuttle. There was a third copy of the will, I likewise forget with whom deposited. The newspaper says, which is true, that lord Chesterfield filed a bill in chancery against the late king to oblige him to produce the will, and was silenced, I think, by payment of 20,000l. There was another legacy to his own daughter, the queen of Prussia, which has at times been, and, I believe, is still claimed by the king of Prussia. Do not mention any part of this story, but it is worth preserving, as I am sure you are satisfied with my scrupulous veracity. It may perhaps be authenticated hereafter by collateral evidence that may come out. If ever true history does come to light, my father's character will have just honour paid to it. Lord Chesterfield, one of his sharpest enemies, has not, with all his pre- judices, judices, left a very unfavourable account of him, and it would alone be raised by a comparison of their two characters. Think of one who calls sir Robert the corrupter of youth, leaving a system of education to poison them from their nurseryl Chesterfield, Pulteney and Bolingbroke were the saints that reviled my father
BIOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNT OF SAMUEL LYSONS, ESQ. Of the Inner Temple, F. R. S. and F. A. S. Keeper of his Majesty's Records in the Tower of London.
This gentleman was born on May 17th, 1763, at Rodmarton, near Cirencester, of which parish his father was rector. He received the rudiments of his education under private tuition, and finished his classical studies at the grammar-school of Bath. Being designed for the profession of the law, he was placed in the office of Mr. Jeffries, an eminent solicitor of that city, where the peculiar energy of his mind, and his various talents, acquired him the attention and esteem of many of the persons then occasionally residing at Bath.
In October, 1784, he came to London, having been previously entered at the Inner Temple, and he commenced the study of the law under Mr. Walton. He then practised for several years as a special pleader, which was a reason why he was not called to the bar till June, 1798.
Though he had acquired a com
jects of his researches became
the history and antiquity of his native country; and few persons have contributed so much valuable information upon these topics as those which Mr. Lysons has collected and made public. In July, 1796, he was introduced by sir Joseph Banks at Kew to their majesties and the royal family, who from that time continued to honour him bv. their frequent notice. In the following. year he was elected a member of the Royal Society, and was nominated vice-president and treasurer of that body in the year 1810. He became a member of the Society of Antiquaries in 1786, and continued to fill the office of director down to the year 1809. In 1803 he was honoured by his majesty, upon the death of Mr. Astle, by the appointment to the office of keeper of the records in the Tower of London; and under his direction this office soon became one of a very important and interesting nature. Many interesting documents, connected with the history as well as the property of the country, have been discovered among confused heaps of unknown records, which had lain mouldering for ages; and these have been carefully examined, sorted, and arranged in complete order. In the year 1818, when the honorary office of antiquary profesSor sor was revived in the Royal Academy of Arts, Mr. Lysons was requested, with the approbation of the prince regent, to accept the appointment. The works he has published are remarkable for the industry and accuracy of information with which they have been compiled. The principal of these are—The Antiquities of Gloucestershire; the Roman Remains discovered by him at Woodchester; a Collection of the Roman Antiquities discovered in various parts of Great Britain. The last and great topographical work, upon which he had for many years employed, in conjunction with his brother, the rev. Daniel Lysons, will probably now be discontinued, It is worthy of remark, that the whole of the plates in the voluminous work on the Gloucestershire Antiquities, were etched by himself from his own drawings; as were also a very large proportion of the others. His drawings were made with much spirit as well as accuracy. To his extensive knowledge of British antiquities, Mr. Lysons united great classical learning; and the comprehensive powers of his memory, which enabled him to retain accurately and recall readily, whatever he had heard or read, materially assisted him in his learned labours. He was never married ; but in the several qualities which distinguish a man as a son, brother, and friend, it is impossible to do justice to his amiable and most affectionate disposition. . He died on the 29th of June, at Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF MR. PROFESSOR PLAYE AIR.
Mr. Professor Playfair was the eldest son of the rev. James Playfair, a much-respected clergyman of the church of Scotland, who died in 1772. He was born in 1749, at the manse or parsonage-house of Bervie, a small village a few miles west from Dundee, and was educated under the tuition of his father till his fourteenth year, when he was sent to the University of St. Andrew's. Here it soon became evident that he gave a decided preference to mathematical pursuits; and at the age of eighteen he became the friend and companion of Dr. Wilkie, then professor of that science. When Mr. Playfair's studies were finished at St. Andrew's, he obtained a licence to preach, and occasionally assisted his father. At Edinburgh, which he sometimes visited, he became a member of the Speculative Society, where most of the studious young men in that capital first exercised their talents in argument and investigation. His father, when he died, left five sons and two daughters, three of them under the age of fifteen. John Playfair succeeded to his father's living of Bervie, and was thus enabled to maintain the family. He instructed his brothers with great care and affection, particularly in mathematics; and when in straitened circumstances, he made great efforts to fit them for their intended professions. His mother and two sisters reo - Wit
with him at Bervie till 1782, when he became tutor to Mr. Ferguson's two sons, which gave Mr. Playfair the opportunity of residing at Edinburgh. About that
time professor Ferguson resigned.
the chair of moral philosophy to Dugald Stewart, who then held the mathematical class, and Mr. Playfair became successor to professor Stewart. When the . Royal Society of Edinburgh was established, he was appointed secretary. His literary labours were incessant; and he was a constant contributor to the Transactions of the Edinburgh Royal Society, in which many of his papers are to be found. He also contributed occasionally to the Edinburgh Review. He was also the author of a Life of Professor Robison, and a Preface to the second part of the Supplement to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. All the works of Mr. Playfair show him as no less a pure and eloquent writer, than he was a profound and comprehensive thinker; and he was at the same time the most agreeable of companions, and the most sincere of friends. His great reputation as a lecturer arose principally from his manner, which attracted the students in an uncommon degree, and made him at once affable and impressive. As, while yet a young man, he had to support his father's family, he never entered into the state of matrimony, but lived with his mother and two sisters till 1805, when his mother died, at about the age of eighty. One of his brothers died in 1794, leaving a young family, which the professor took immediately
under his protection; and the liberal and kind manner in which he behaved to them, and to all who depended upon him, is above all praise. Three years ago he went t visit the Alps and Italy, when his principal object was, geological observation. Soon after his return, his health began to give way. He had for many years been occasionally afflicted with a strangury, which returned in an alarming manner in the end of last June, from which time he continued in great pain. In July he caused his sisters and nephews to be called, and repeated to them every thing which appeared necessary relative to his affairs. On the following day, he almost insensibly breathed his last. His funeral took place in Edinburgh on July 26, when the ceremony presented a mournful spectacle; at which the Royal Medical Society and a numerous train of friends and acquaintances marched in procession. A character of professor Playfair, ascribed to the pen of Mr. Jeffrey, has been published. It chiefly dwells upon his anxiety to do something to gratify a natural impatience, of which the ingenious writer acknowledged himself but slenderly qualified to judge, but in which he says, that he hazards nothing in declaring him among the most learned mathematicians of his age. The principal matter, however, of Mr. Jeffrey’s writing, may be admitted to be the following:— . . “His habits of composition, as we have understood, were not, perhaps, exactly what might have been expected from their reno e