Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/151

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trusted 50,000l. to Sir Matthew Decker [q. v.] New family arrangements upon the marriage of a daughter made it desirable to obtain the repayment of this money. Decker made difficulties, on the ground that, as she was now Bolingbroke's wife, he might be responsible to parliament for the money. It was decided that she should go to England, with a recommendation from the Duke of Bourbon, to get the matter settled. The ministers approved, and a present of 11,000l. to the Duchess of Kendal brought the business to a successful end. Lady Bolingbroke with this influence obtained also a promise of parliamentary action in the next session (Coxe, ii. 325–32, 344). An act was accordingly passed, though with some opposition, in 1725 enabling Bolingbroke to inherit and acquire real estate, though still leaving him excluded from the House of Lords. Coxe states, on the authority of unpublished papers (Life of Lord Walpole, ch. vi.), that Walpole only agreed to the measure when ‘threatened with dismission’ by the king and the duchess, and then compromised by refusing a complete restoration. Bolingbroke therefore owed him no gratitude, and renewed his old enmity.

Bolingbroke now settled at Dawley, near Uxbridge. He was within a moderate distance of Pope's villa at Twickenham, and soon became the object of Pope's reverence and the inspirer of much of his poetry. Swift, during his visits to England in 1726 and 1727, renewed his personal acquaintance with Bolingbroke. Voltaire when in England at this time had his letters directed to Bolingbroke's house, and had some intercourse with him and his literary friends. It does not appear, however, that they really saw much of each other, and Bolingbroke evidently suspected Voltaire's sincerity (Churton Collins, Voltaire in England). Voltaire had talked of dedicating the ‘Henriade’ to Bolingbroke (Grimoard, iii. 269, 274), and, as Bolingbroke thought, tried to make a ‘dupe’ of him by ‘verbiage.’ Afterwards, however, Voltaire dedicated to him the ‘Brutus’ (first played in December 1730), in language hardly warmer than that of the early letter to Thiériot. Bolingbroke acted the part of country gentleman and farmer with great spirit, and had his hall painted with rakes and spades, says Pope (to Swift, 28 June 1728), ‘to countenance his calling it a farm.’

Meanwhile he was again taking an important though obscure part in politics. Pulteney's formal rupture with Walpole took place in the spring of 1726 [see under Pulteney, William, Earl of Bath], and he was ready to accept the alliance of Bolingbroke and Bolingbroke's disciple, Wyndham. The first indication was the appearance of the ‘Craftsman’ in December 1726. Bolingbroke contributed in the beginning of 1726–7 three papers, by an ‘Occasional Writer,’ bitterly attacking the Walpoles. He proposed to Swift to follow up the discussion (to Swift, 18 May and August 1727). He made a more dangerous move by sending a paper through the Duchess of Kendal to the king. The king handed it to Walpole, who thereupon insisted, for fear of being charged with keeping the thing to himself, that Bolingbroke should be admitted to an audience. The audience was granted; but the king only laughed, and told Walpole that Bolingbroke had merely talked bagatelles. Walpole, however, was greatly alarmed, thinking that in time the duchess's influence would be irresistible (Coxe ii. 344, 571). The king's death (9 June 1727) put an end to these intrigues; and Bolingbroke remained at Dawley, amusing himself with farming and in the literary warfare of Pope, whose ‘Dunciad’ appeared at this time. At the end of 1728 he again attacked the foreign policy of the government in the ‘Craftsman.’ His letters, signed ‘John Trot,’ brought him into conflict with Bishop Hoadly, and with a writer in the ‘London Journal’ who signed himself ‘Publicola,’ and was supposed to be Walpole. The illness of his wife took him to Aix-la-Chapelle in 1729. He returned to Dawley in October, while she remained abroad till the end of 1730. Bolingbroke now made it his great end to bring about a combination between the opposition whigs who followed Pulteney and the tories led by his old pupil, Sir W. Wyndham. His knowledge of foreign politics enabled him to speak with authority upon the complicated series of transactions which Walpole and his brother were carrying on, and upon which he could write dignified letters in the ‘Craftsman.’ His leading principle was that whatever the Walpoles did was wicked, corrupt, and blundering. He sent his private secretary, Brinsden, to Dunkirk to examine the state of the fortifications. Sir W. Wyndham made a motion in the house upon the subject, and asserted that the demolition was not properly enforced. Bolingbroke was bitterly denounced by Walpole and Pelham, who, according to Horace Walpole (Coxe, ii. 669), roused the warmest indignation against their enemy in the house. After the session Bolingbroke began a series of letters in the ‘Craftsman’ called ‘Remarks on the History of England, by Humphry Oldcastle.’ Chesterfield recom-