performances. In 1743 appeared his ‘Critical History of the Administration of Sir Robert Walpole, by a Gentleman of the Middle Temple,’ a criticism not only of Walpole, but of his immediate successors in office. Although Horace Walpole (Memoirs of George II, iii. 345) says that Ralph's pen had been rejected by Sir Robert Walpole, Pope, in the edition of the ‘Dunciad’ (bk. i. line 215), printed in his works in 1743, reintroduced Ralph as having deserted Walpole immediately after his fall in 1742:
And see! the very Gazetteers give o'er;
Even Ralph repents, and Henley writes no more.
In 1744 was published Ralph's ‘Use and Abuse of Parliaments.’ The first part, ‘A General View of Government in Europe,’ was a reprint of a dissertation by Algernon Sydney, and ‘A. Sidney’ appears on the title-page as the author of the whole work. Ralph's second part, ‘A Detection of the Parliaments of England,’ which was inspired by Dodington and one of his political allies, represents parliamentary government to be a failure (Walpole, Letters, i. 306). In 1744 appeared vol. i. of Ralph's chief work, ‘The History of England during the Reigns of King William, Queen Anne, and King George I. With an Introductory Review of the Reigns of the Royal Brothers Charles and James. By a Lover of Truth and Liberty.’ The second and concluding volume was published in 1746, bringing the narrative to the death of William III. Ralph, in his preface, professed that his object was ‘to eradicate if possible the evil of parties,’ and censured impartially James II and William III. Ralph's massive double-columned folios were creditable to his diligence, and contained many things not to be found in the work of his immediate predecessor, Rapin. In the introduction (p. xxii) to his ‘History of the Early Part of the Reign of James II,’ Charles James Fox says, in a letter to Malcolm Laing, ‘I have found the place in Ralph, and a great deal more important matter relative to the transactions of those times which is but slightly touched by other historians. I am every day more and more surprised that Ralph should have had so much less reputation as an historian than he seems to deserve.’ In his ‘Constitutional History’ (ii. 575) Hallam calls Ralph ‘the most diligent historian we possess for the time of Charles II’ (see also Edinburgh Review, liii. 13).
Ralph's history was begun under Dodington's patronage, but before the second volume was issued Dodington was no longer in opposition, having accepted office in Pelham's administration. The history appears, however, to have found favour with Bolingbroke, then one of the chiefs of the opposition party of which the Prince of Wales was the head. In this way probably the conduct of the ‘Remembrancer, by George Cadwallader, Gent.,’ started in 1748 as the organ of the prince's party, was entrusted to Ralph. Horace Walpole, who contributed to it (Letters, lxvi. 8), speaks of ‘The Remembrancer’ as the Craftsman of the new generation, and as having among its contributors Lord Egmont, the prince's right-hand man (ib. ii. 168). In Hogarth's ‘March to Finchley’ one of the figures is reading ‘The Remembrancer.’ Ralph was admitted to frequent intercourse with the prince, and conducted the negotiations which resulted in the renewal of Dodington's alliance with Prince Frederick, and his resignation of office. Dodington, in consideration of Ralph's services, promised to make him his secretary should he himself receive the seals on the demise of George II. These hopes were disappointed by the death of the Prince of Wales in 1751.
Ralph's services as a journalist were next secured by the Duke of Bedford, William Beckford, and their allies in opposition. The result was ‘The Protester, by Issachar Barebone, one of the people,’ 2 June–10 Nov. 1753. But Ralph was soon ‘bought off’ by the Pelham government (Walpole, Memoirs, i. 346). In a letter to the Duke of Bedford (Bedford Correspondence, ii. 135) Ralph informs him that, in consequence of a threatened prosecution of ‘The Protester,’ he had ‘laid down the pen,’ and returned to Beckford 150l. of the 200l. paid him ‘on account.’ In point of fact Ralph had made his peace with the Pelham ministry, partly through the good offices of Garrick, who had befriended him in some of his dramatic enterprises. He received from the government 200l. down to repay the advance made to him, as already mentioned, and an allowance of 300l. a year. Pelham himself was adverse to the transaction, but was overborne by his brother, the Duke of Newcastle (Dodington, p. 222). The allowances appear to have been given less to enlist Ralph's pen in the service of the government than to prevent him from attacking it. Ralph's career as a journalist seems now to have ended. In the ‘Newcastle Correspondence’ in the British Museum (Addit. MSS. 32737–923) there are a number of letters to the Duke of Newcastle from Ralph, almost all of them announcing visits to Newcastle House to receive his pension. This, at the instance of the duke, was continued after the death of George II.
The only known production of Ralph's pen during his later years is ‘The Case of Author