Page:The house of Cecil.djvu/269

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James Cecil, the fifth Earl (1691-1728), was a good-natured nonentity, addicted to low pleasures. He was ruled by his capable wife, Anne Tufton, daughter and co-heir of the Earl of Thanet, and herself a descendant of Lord Burghley.[1] Their son, the sixth Earl (1713- 1780), inherited his father's evil proclivities, and though he is said to have been unmercifully beaten by his mother in his youth,[2] this discipline proved ineffectual, and he brought ridicule and contempt, if not disgrace, on the name of Cecil. Deserting Hatfield, he took up his residence at Quickswood, near Baldock, where he was able to indulge in the congenial society of his inferiors.

One of his exploits was to drive the Hatfield coach, a proceeding which excited considerable scandal. Pope alludes to him in the Dunciad :[3]

From stage to stage the licensed Earl may run, Paired with his fellow-charioteer the Sun.

And Hogarth, in his picture of " Night," commemorates the upset of the " Salisbury Flying Coach " said to have been a not unusual incident when his lordship was driving. In 1744 he further shocked society by marrying Elizabeth Keet, a lady of inferior rank, whose brother became Rector of Hatfield. Mrs. Delany makes

  1. Her great grandmother was Frances Cecil, daughter of the first Earl of Exeter. Through this marriage the dormant Barony of Ogle came into the family.
  2. J. J. Antrobus, Hatfield : Some Memories of its Past, p. 86
  3. Book IV., lines 588, 589 ; and see note thereon in elwin and Courthope's edition.