Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/152

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mended his son to ‘transcribe, imitate, emulate’ them, although the style scarcely redeems the poverty of the subjects. The last letter (22 May 1731) was a defence of Pulteney and himself, which provoked ‘Remarks on the “Craftsman's” Vindication,’ inspired, if not written, by Walpole. Pulteney's reply to the ‘Remarks’ caused his dismissal from the privy council, while Bolingbroke retorted in a ‘Final Answer’ of some biographical interest.

Bolingbroke was now writing the philosophical fragments which were partly versified in Pope's ‘Essay on Man.’ Wyndham still represented his opinions in the House of Commons, especially by attacks upon the standing army, and by speeches in favour of the Pension Bill, first introduced by Sandys in 1730. This bill, disqualifying holders of pensions for the House of Commons, was so far popular that Walpole allowed it to pass more than once, and caused it to be rejected by the House of Lords. Bolingbroke frequently insists upon the topics upon which whigs and Jacobites could agree in opposing the government. The political world, however, was comparatively quiet until the great storm of Walpole's Excise Bill again roused the hopes of the opposition in 1733. Wyndham's speeches in the house were inspired by Bolingbroke, and regarded as the most powerful on the opposition side. The subsequent dismissal by Walpole of Chesterfield and other suspected traitors strengthened the ranks of the opposition by fresh whig deserters. Bolingbroke carried on the assault by a fresh series of letters in the ‘Craftsman’ called ‘A Dissertation on Parties,’ which were collected, with a bitter dedication to Walpole. They have often been considered as the ablest of his writings. In the session of 1734 he suggested an attack upon the Septennial Act. The whigs in opposition had some delicacy in proposing to repeal a measure for which their own party had been responsible. Bolingbroke, however, and the tories prevailed, and a motion for the repeal was proposed on 13 March. Wyndham, in his speech, drew a fancy portrait of Walpole, to which Walpole replied by describing a traitor who spat venom through the mouths of his dupes. The motion was rejected by 247 to 184, and the whigs in opposition appear to have been disgusted with Bolingbroke. Walpole had a majority in the new parliament, which met in January 1735, and Bolingbroke suddenly gave up the game, thoroughly discouraged. Some speculation has been wasted upon his precise motives. His letters to Wyndham at the time (Coxe, ii. 333, &c.) give vague generalities. In a letter written in 1739 he tells Wyndham that Pulteney thought that his presence in England was hurtful (Coxe, iii. 523; see also Marchmont Papers, ii. 179, and iii. 350). It is probable enough that the opposition whigs felt that the suspicions of his influence in the background made them unpopular. An intimation to this effect would be specially annoying to a proud and sensitive man, who, after struggling for years to form an alliance with the whigs, was now told that he was in their way. There were no immediate prospects of victory, and his restoration to the House of Lords was obviously impossible. Pulteney told Swift (22 Nov. 1735) that the cause of Bolingbroke's retreat was want of money. He would not be able to return, said Pulteney, till the death of his father, who was still ‘very hale,’ brought him the family estates. Bolingbroke was always extravagant, and was certainly embarrassed at this time. He was always impulsive and given to hasty decisions; and there seems to be no cause for supposing, as Coxe suggests, that Walpole had discovered intrigues with foreign ministers. It is of course impossible to estimate the importance of Bolingbroke's influence during the preceding period. Hervey (Memoirs, ii. 86) observes that the quiet of the next session (1736) was due in part to his departure. His writings in the ‘Craftsman’ were the most brilliant pieces of journalism between the time of the ‘Examiner’ and Junius. His policy, however, was on the whole a failure, and the attempt to unite irreconcilable elements led to a final collapse.

Bolingbroke now retired to Chanteloup in Touraine, afterwards occupied by the Duc de Choiseul. He endeavoured to dispose of Dawley, which was ultimately sold, after long negotiations, in 1739. Pope tells Swift (17 May 1739) that 26,000l. was paid for it. From 1736 Bolingbroke writes from Argeville (Addit. MS. 34196), a chateau on the Seine between Fontainebleau and Montereau. Bolingbroke, says Pope in the same letter, was still hunting twice a week, and had the whole forest of Fontainebleau at his command. One of his wife's daughters was married to the Baron de Volore, governor of Fontainebleau, and her other daughter was abbess of the convent of Notre-Dame at Sens (Rémusat, i. 408). Lady Bolingbroke spent part of her time at this convent, and Bolingbroke was allowed to occupy a pavillon in a garden belonging to it, where he could pursue his studies (Marchmont Papers, ii. 285). He wrote essays upon history and the ‘Uses of Retirement’ in the form of letters