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many materials, when he heard I was about writing the life of his uncle; as also to Mr and Mrs Hayes, relations of our poet; and to my very good friend Mr Stevens, who, being an ornament to letters himself, is very ready to assist all the attempts of others.
THERE are some characters that seem formed by nature to take delight in struggling with opposition, and whose most agreeable hours are passed in storms of their own creating. The subject of the present sketch was, perhaps, of all others, the most indefatigable in raising himself enemies, to show his power in subduing them; and was not less employed in improving his superiour talents than in finding objects on which to exercise their activity. His life was spent in a continual conflict of politics; and, as if that was too short for the combat, he has left his memory as a subject of lasting contention.
It is, indeed, no easy matter to preselve an acknowledged impartiality in talking of a man so differently regarded on account of his political, as well as his religious principles. Those whom his politics may please will be sure to condemn him for his religion ; and, on the contrary, those most strongly attached to his theological opinions
are the most likely to decry his politics. On whatever side he is regarded, he is sure to have opposers; and this was perhaps what he most desired, having, from nature, a mind better pleased with the struggle than the victory.
Henry St John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke, was born in the year 1672, at Battersea, in Surrey, at a seat that had been in the possession of his ancestors for ages before. His family was of the first rank, equally conspicuous for its antiquity, dignity, and large possessions. It is found to trace its origin as high as Adam de Port, Baron of Basing, in Hampshire, before the Conquest; and in a succession of ages, to have produced warriors, patriots, and statesmen, some of whom were conspicuous for their loyalty, and others for their defending the rights of the people.
His grandfather, Sir Walter St John, of Battersea, marrying one of the daughters of Lord Chief Justice St John, who, as all know, was strongly attached to the republican party, Henry, the subject of the present memoir, was brought up in his family, and consequently imbibed the first principles of his education amongst the dissenters. At that time, Daniel Burgess, a fanatic of a very peculiar kind, being at once possessed of zeal and humour, and as well known for the archness of his conceits as the furious obstinacy of his principles, was confessor. in the presbyterian way to his grandmother, and was appointed to direct our author's first studies. Nothing is so apt to disgust a feeling mind as mistaken zeal; and, perhaps, the absurdity of the first lectures he received might have given him that contempt for all religions which he might have justly conceived against one. Indeed no task can be more mortifying than what he was condemned to undergo : « I was, obliged,» says he, in one place, “ while: yet a boy,' to read over the commentaries of Dr Manton, whose pride it was to have