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10. I have been visiting Lady Worsley and Mrs Barton to-day, and dined soberly with my friend Lewis. The dauphin is dead of an apoplexy; I wish he had lived till the finishing of this letter, that it might be news to you. Duncomb, the rich alderman, died to-day, and I hear has left the Duke of Argyle, who married his niece, two hundred thousand pounds; I hope it is true, for I love that duke mightily. * I writ this evening to the Archbishop of Dublin about what I told you; and then went to take leave of poor Mrs St John, who gave me strict charge to take care of the secretary in her absence; said she had none to trust but me; and the poor creature's tears came fresh into her eyes. Before we took leave I was drawn in by the other ladies and Sir John Stanley to raffle for a fan, with a pox; it was four guineas, and we put in seven shillings a piece, several raffled for absent people; but I lost, and so missed an opportunity of showing my gallantry to Mrs St John, whom I designed to have presented it to, if I had won. Is Dilly † gone to the Bath? His face will whiz in the water; I suppose he will write to us from thence, and will take London in his way back.-The rabble will say, There goes a drunken parson, and which is worse, they will say true. O, but you must know, I carried Ford to dine with Mr St John last Sunday, that he may brag, when he goes back, of dining with a secretary of state. The secretary and I went away early, and left him drinking with the rest, and he told me that two or three of them were drunk. They talk of great promotions to be made; that Mr Harley is to be lord-treasurer, and
* They quarrelled, however, mightily afterwards.
+ The Reverend Dillon Ashe.
Lord Poulet master of the horse, &c. but they are only conjecture. The speaker is to make Mr Harley a compliment the first time he comes into the House, which I hope will be in a week. He has had an ill surgeon, by the caprice of that puppy Dr Radcliffe; which has kept him back so long; and yesterday he got a cold, but is better to-day.-What! I think I am stark mad to write so much in one day to little saucy MD; here's a deal of stuff, indeed; can't you bid those dear little rogues good night, and let them go sleep, Mr Presto ? When your tongue runs there's no ho with you, pray.
11. Again at the lobby, like a lobcock, of the House of Commons, about your Irish yarn, and again put off till Friday; and I and Patrick went into the city by water, where I dined, and then I went to the auction of Charles Bernard's books, but the good ones were so monstrous dear, I could not reach them, so I laid out one pound seven shillings but very indifferently, and came away, and will go there no more. Henley would fain engage me to go with Steele and Rowe, &c. to an invitation at Sir William Read's. * Surely you have heard of him. He has been a mountebank, and is the queen's oculist; he makes admirable punch, and treats you in gold vessels. But I am engaged, and wont go, neither indeed am I fond of the jaunt. So good night, and go sleep.
12. I went about noon to the secretary, who is very ill with a cold, and sometimes of the gravel, with his Champagne, &c. I scolded him like a dog, and he promises faithfully more care for the future. To-day my Lord
* He was an advertising quack of the time, and is mentioned in the Spectator and Tatler.
Anglesea, and Sir Thomas Hanmer, and Prior and I dined, by appointment, with Lieutenant-General Webb. My lord and I staid till ten o'clock, but we drank soberly, and I always with water. There was with us one Mr Campain, one of the October Club, if you know what that is; a club of country members, who think the ministers are too backward in punishing and turning out the Whigs. I found my lord and the rest thought I had more credit with the ministry than I pretend to have, and would have engaged me to put them upon something that would satisfy their desires, and indeed I think they have some reason to complain; however, I will not burn my fingers. I'll remember Stella's chiding : What had you to do with what did not belong to you? &c. However, you will give me leave to tell the ministry my thoughts when they ask them, and other people's thoughts sometimes when they do not ask; so thinks Dingley.
13. I called this morning at Mrs Vedeau's again, who has employed a friend to get the money; it will be done in a fortnight, and then she will deliver me up the parchment. I went then to see Mr Harley, who I hope will be out in a few days; he was in excellent good humour, only complained to me of the neglect of Guiscard's cure, how glad he would have been to have had him live. Mr Secretary came in to us, and we were very merry till Lord Chamberlain (Duke of Shrewsbury) came up; then Colonel Masham and I went off, after I had been presented to the duke, and that we made two or three silly compliments suitable to the occasion. Then I attended at the House of Commons about your yarn, and 'tis again put off. Then Ford drew me to dine at a tavern, it happened to be the day and the house where the Oc
tober Club dine. After we had dined, coming down, we called to inquire, whether our yarn business had been over that day, and I sent into the room for Sir George Beaumont. But I had like to be drawn into a difficulty; for in two minutes out comes Mr Finch, Lord Guernsey's son, to let me know, that my Lord Compton, the steward of this feast, desired, in the name of the club, that I would do them the honour to dine with them. I sent my excuses, adorned with about thirty compliments, and got off as fast as I could. It would have been a most improper thing for me to dine there, considering my friendship for the ministry. The club is about a hundred and fifty, and near eighty of them were then going to dinner at two long tables in a great ground room. * At evening I went to the auction of
* The mode in which the Lord Treasurer managed these hotheaded Tories is thus detailed in a vindication of his conduct, called “ The History of the White Staff," published soon after he lost his office, and written, it has been said, by Daniel De Foe.
“The other party who acted in concurrence with the White Staff were a set of high, hot, out of temper politicians, whose view was within themselves, and who, acting upon principles of absolute government, pushed at establishing their party in a power or capacity of governing by the severity of the law; to say no farther.
"These found the White Staff a great deal of trouble; an account whereof, and of its beginning, will make our secret history complete.
“ These men, in the beginning of the change, of which an account is given above, began to show themselves, and pushed hard at the White Staff, to introduce the tyrannical part, which they always professed, into his administration, and to show that they were able to influence things by their numbers, and to oblige him to it, if they could not otherwise prevail; to this purpose they separated themselves early from the new men set up for themselves, obtained a title by way of dignity, as well as distinction, of the Oc
Bernard's books, and laid out three pounds three shillings, but I'll go there no more; and so I said once before, but now I'll keep to it. I forgot to tell, that when I dined at Webb's with Lord Anglesea, I spoke to him of Clements, as one recommended for a very honest gentleman, and good officer, and hoped he would keep him : he said he had no thoughts otherwise, and that he should certainly hold his place, while he continued to deserve it ; and I could not find there had been any intentions from his lordship against him. But I tell you, hunny, the impropriety of this. A great man will do a favour for me, or for my friend; but why should he do it for my friend's friend? Recommendations should stop before they come to that. Let any friend of mine recommend one of his to me for a thing in my power, I will do it for his sake; but to speak to another for my friend's friend, is against all reason; and I desire you will understand this, and discourage any such troubles given me. -I hope this may do some good to Clements, it can do no hurt; and I find by Mrs Pratt, that her husband is
tober Club, and pretended to act upon schemes of their own; but the White Staff, who knew that these precipitations tended to ruin, not the constitution only, but themselves, soon found out methods to untie this knot, and by silent, quiet steps, in a little time, he so effectually separated these gentlemen, that in less than six months, the name of October Club was forgotten in the world, as if such a thing had never been heard of; nay, with so much address was this attempt overthrown, that he lost not the men, though he put them by their design, but united them again, in prosecuting the measures which he had laid down, and giving up their own this was a victory of great moment to the White Staff, and without which he had lost the day to the displaced party in the other engagements, of which mention is made before."-Secret History of the White Staff. London, 1714, p. 15.