Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/150

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Exile,’ in imitation of Seneca. The Jacobites were meanwhile denouncing him as a spy and a traitor. He determined to clear himself and do service to the English government by writing an ‘apologia,’ and in April 1717 began the letter to Sir W. Wyndham, which is his most interesting autobiographical document. It gives full details of his conduct as the Pretender's minister, and appears to be a frank statement of his position. The letter, however, was not published till after Bolingbroke's death. Macknight suggests that he wished before publishing to receive some more definite pledge. The letter, however, goes into details which might well be thought unfit for publication, and Bolingbroke seems always to have been singularly shy of publishing anything under his own name. For some time he was left in a painful state of suspense. In 1717 he had formed an intimacy with Marie Claire Deschamps de Marcilly, who had in 1695 become the second wife of the Marquis de Villette, a cousin of Mme. de Maintenon. He died in 1707, and his widow was now forty-two (Grimoard, i. 145). She had a house in Paris and a family mansion at Marcilly, near Nogent-sur-Seine, where Bolingbroke spent much time, amusing himself with hunting, and superintending buildings. Lady Bolingbroke died in November 1718, when Bucklebury went to the heirs of her sister. She had left nothing to Bolingbroke, and had probably been alienated by the accounts of his relations with Mme. de Villette. Arbuthnot mentions a rumour of Bolingbroke's marriage to Mme. de Villette in a letter to Swift of 11 Dec. 1718. Bolingbroke had some rivals, but the marriage ultimately took place at Aix-la-Chapelle in May 1720. His wife joined the church of England on the occasion. According to an anecdote told by Grimoard, Bolingbroke's morals were not at once reformed, but he seems to have always lived on very affectionate terms with his second wife. Bolingbroke had invested some money in the Mississippi scheme, and sold some of the shares to buy, at the time of his marriage, a small estate near Orleans. His letters seem to imply, though the contrary has been said, that his speculation was the reverse of profitable (ib. iii. 63, 68). The estate was called La Source, from what Bolingbroke describes as ‘the biggest and clearest spring perhaps in Europe’ (to Swift, 28 July 1721). He rebuilt the house and ornamented the grounds. A description given in Robert Plumer Ward's novel, ‘De Vere’ (1827, iii. 186–200), applies to this, as is shown by the inscriptions quoted, not to a later house, as Lord Stanhope says. He here began philosophical studies, under the guidance of Lévêque de Pouilly, and discussed the chronology of the bible. He formed also a friendship with Brook Taylor [q. v.], the eminent mathematician, who stayed at La Source in 1720, and had himself a turn for philosophical discussion. Bolingbroke afterwards showed him much kindness (see Taylor's Contemplatio Philosophica, 1793). He was also visited here by Voltaire, who speaks with enthusiasm of his politeness, learning, and complete command of French. Bolingbroke, moreover, and his wife appreciated the ‘Henriade,’ then in manuscript (Voltaire to Thiériot, 2 Jan. 1722). In 1722 Bolingbroke met at Paris Lord Polwarth (Marchmont Papers, ii. 187 n.), who was on his way to the congress of Cambray, and complained of the delay in his pardon. Polwarth gave him a promise from Lord Carteret, who, as secretary of state, was then struggling in the cabinet against Walpole and Townshend. Bolingbroke, thus encouraged, applied to the king and to the other ministers. His pardon passed the great seal in May 1723. He went to London in June, and wrote to Townshend, thanking him warmly and sending acknowledgments to the king and the Duchess of Kendal [see Schulenberg, Ehrengard Melusina, von der]. They sent gracious messages in return, though pointing out that his full restitution would depend upon parliament. Bolingbroke now took the side of Walpole. He proposed to bring over some of his tory friends to Walpole's support (Coxe, ii. 264). Walpole warned him that such a scheme, if known, would be fatal to his hopes from a whig parliament. Bolingbroke returned to France, and there endeavoured in the winter to make himself useful to the Walpoles. Horace Walpole was sent there to oppose Sir Luke Schaub, Carteret's agent, in various intrigues which followed the death of the regent (2 Dec. 1723). Bolingbroke gave information as to the state of politics in France. He offered to use his influence with the Duke of Bourbon, the new prime minister, with whose friendship he had been ‘honoured these many years’ (to Harcourt, 28 Dec. 1723). Horace Walpole made use of Bolingbroke's information, but was on his guard against allowing Bolingbroke to get the negotiation into his own hands (Horace Walpole's letter in Coxe's Lord Walpole, chap. vi., gives the fullest account of these transactions). Although Bolingbroke was thus prevented from establishing so strong a claim as he desired, he had made himself useful, and more might be expected from him, as Horace Walpole observes. Mme. de Villette had en-