« ZurückWeiter »
for the press, Mallet was employed to prefix a Life, which he has written with elegance, perhaps with some affectation; but with so much more knowledge of history than of science, that when he afterwards undertook the Life of Marlborough, Warburton remarked that he might perhaps forget that Marlborough was a general, as he had forgotten that Bacon was a philosopher 2.
When the Prince of Wales was driven from the palace 3, and, setting himself at the head of the opposition, kept a separate Court, he endeavoured to increase his popularity by the patronage of literature, and made Mallet his under-secretary, with a salary of two hundred pounds a year. Thomson likewise had a pension; and they were associated in the composition of the masque of Alfred, which in its original state was played at Cliefden in 17405; it was afterwards almost wholly changed by Mallet, and brought upon the stage at Drury-Lane in 1751, but with no great success.
Mallet, in a familiar conversation with Garrick, discoursing of the diligence which he was then exerting upon the Life of Marl
Fielding, in Joseph Andrews (1742), says to the Muse who presides over biography :-'Thou who hast carefully guided the judgment, whilst thou hast exalted the nervous manly style of thy Mallet.' Bk. iii. ch. 6.
Gibbon, in 1762, referring to this Life, speaks of the vigorous sense of Mallet.' Memoirs, p. 146. Nearly thirty years later he said the Life had rated above its value.' Autos. p. 300 n.
Warburton, in the cancelled note [ante, MALLET, 10 n. 3], says of Margret's Ghost:-' Written by one Malloch. Since risen by due degrees from a maker of Ballads to a maker of Lives. He made L. B.'s life, and by ill-hap forgot he was a Philosopher; he is now about making the D. of M.'s. Be not surprised, therefore, gentle reader, if he should forget that his Grace was a General!' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iii. 534.
In July, 1737, the Prince, 'who considered himself a state prisoner in the palace of his father,' under the plea of the Princess being seized with
the pangs of child-birth, hurried her from Hampton Court, where the Royal Family was staying, to St. James's. The King ordered him to leave that palace with his family, as soon as it was safe for her to move. He also forbade all persons who paid court to them to be admitted into his presence. The correspondence that passed was published by his order. Coxe's Walpole, i. 533, 543.
For the Duchess of Marlborough's defence of the Princess see Walpole's Letters, Preface, p. 149. See also ante, POPE, 217; THOMSON, 28; post, LYTTELTON, 6.
Ante, THOMSON, 28.
Ante, THOMSON, 33. In the list of books in Gent. Mag. March, 1745, p. 168, is Alfred, An Opera altered from the play. By Mr. Thomson and Mr. Mallet. Price is.'
Garrick, who played the part of Alfred, thought that by his acting, the splendid scenery and fine music, 'the play would have been crowned with brilliant success. He was much disappointed.' Murphy's Garrick,
borough, let him know that in the series of great men, quickly to be exhibited, he should find a nich' for the hero of the theatre. Garrick professed to wonder by what artifice he could be introduced, but Mallet let him know that, by a dexterous anticipation, he should fix him in a conspicuous place. 'Mr. Mallet,' says Garrick in his gratitude of exultation, 'have you left off to write for the stage?' Mallet then confessed that he had a drama in his hands. Garrick promised to act it; and Alfred was produced '.
The long retardation of the Life of the Duke of Marlborough 14 shews, with strong conviction, how little confidence can be placed in posthumous renown. When he died it was soon determined that his story should be delivered to posterity; and the papers supposed to contain the necessary information were delivered to the lord Molesworth 2, who had been his favourite in Flanders. When Molesworth died the same papers were transferred with the same design to Sir Richard Steele, who in some of his exigences put them in pawn. They then remained with the old dutchess, who in her will assigned the task to Glover3 and Mallet, with a reward of a thousand pounds, and a prohibition to insert any verses. Glover rejected, I suppose, with disdain the legacy 5, and devolved the whole work upon Mallet, who had from the late duke of Marlborough a pension to promote his industry, and who talked of the discoveries which he made; but left not, when he died, any historical labours behind him.
Davies, in his Garrick, ii. 57, tells this story of Mallet's Elvira. Post, MALLET, 20.
2 Richard Molesworth, third Viscount. He saved the Duke's life at Ramillies. He died in 1758. Dict. Nat. Biog. Johnson seems to confuse him with Robert Molesworth, first Viscount, who died in 1725, to whom Swift addressed the fifth Drapier's Letter. Works, vi. 467. See also ante, KING, 4.
3 For the poet, Richard Glover, 'Leonidas' Glover, see Boswell's Johnson, v. 116.
In Gent. Mag. 1744, p. 588, is an abstract of her will. 'She desires that no part of the history be in verse, and that it may begin only from the Revolution. Before it is printed it shall have the approbation of Lord
While he was in the Prince's service he published Mustapha, with a Prologue by Thomson, not mean, but far inferior to that which he had received from Mallet for Agamemnon'. The Epilogue, said to be written by a friend, was composed in haste by Mallet, in the place of one promised, which was never given. This tragedy was dedicated to the Prince his master. It was acted at Drury-Lane in 1739, and was well received, but was never revived.
16 In 1740 he produced, as has been already mentioned, the masque of Alfred, in conjunction with Thomson 3.
17 For some time afterwards he lay at rest. After a long interval his next work was Amyntor and Theodora (1747), a long story in blank verse; in which it cannot be denied that there is copiousness and elegance of language, vigour of sentiment, and imagery well adapted to take possession of the fancy 5. But it is blank verse. This he sold to Vaillant for one hundred and twenty pounds. The first sale was not great, and it is now lost in forgetfulness.
case he was not culpable in taking the pension.' Boswell's Johnson, v. 175.
Johnson perhaps had in mind his own treatment of the subscribers to his Shakespeare. Ib. i. 319, 496. He added: Mallet groped for materials, and thought of it, till he had exhausted his mind. Thus it sometimes happens that men entangle themselves in their own schemes.' Ib. iii. 386. See post, GRAY, 19.
Hume wrote to Millar, the bookseller, on April 21, 1763:—'Mr. Mallet complains much of a report that I was writing the English History since the Revolution; which, he says, he cannot believe, because it would be a very invidious task to him. I answered him that I had not wrote a line; that as he was near twenty years advanced before me, it was ridiculous to fear that I could overtake him.' Burton's Hume, ii. 143. On Mallet's death the Marlborough papers were offered to Hume, with the view of his continuing his own History. Ib. p. 392.
In 1762 Mallet had the impudence, in a Dedication to the third Duke, to hold out hopes of a speedy publication. Eng. Poets, lxiii. 131.
1 Ib. lxiii. 24; ante, THOMSON, 29.
The Epilogue, with the Dedication, is given in Gent. Mag. Feb. 1739, p. 95. The play was printed in the same month. Ib. p. 108. Pope wrote to Mallet :-'I heartily rejoice in the success you so justly merit, and so fortunately have met with, considering what a stage, and what a people you have to do with.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), x. 93. See also Aaron Hill's Works, ii. 67. Ante, THOMSON, 33.
Eng. Poets, lxiii. 77. It is in the May list of books in Gent. Mag. 1747, p. 252, quarto, price 3s. 6d. Mallet's Poems apparently were worth pirating, for there is added to the advertisement the following most rare announcement:- This poem is entered in the hall-book of the company of stationers, and whoever pirates it will be prosecuted.'
5 Of this poem Dr. Warton wrote in 1756: The nauseous affectation of expressing everything pompously and poetically is nowhere more visible than in a poem lately published, entitled Amyntor and Theodora. Essay on Pope, i. 145.
6 This sentence is not in the first
Mallet, by address or accident, perhaps by his dependance on 18 the Prince, found his way to Bolingbroke; a man whose pride and petulance made his kindness difficult to gain or keep', and whom Mallet was content to court by an act which, I hope, was unwillingly performed. When it was found that Pope had clandestinely printed an unauthorised number of the pamphlet called The Patriot King, Bolingbroke, in a fit of useless fury, resolved to blast his memory, and employed Mallet (1747)3 as the executioner of his vengeance. Mallet had not virtue, or had not spirit, to refuse the office; and was rewarded, not long after, with the legacy of lord Bolingbroke's works*.
Many of the political pieces had been written during the 19 opposition to Walpole, and given to Franklin, as he supposed, in perpetuity. These, among the rest, were claimed by the will. The question was referred to arbitrators; but when they decided against Mallet he refused to yield to the award, and by the help of Millar the bookseller' published all that he
edition. According to Nichols he received 120 guineas. Swift's Works, 1803, xviii. 320.
For his boast that he was faithful in his friendships see ante, POPE, 252 n.
2 Mallet wrote two days after Pope's death:-'His person I loved, his worth I know, and shall ever cherish his memory with all the regard of esteem, with all the tenderness of friendship.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), viii. 522.
'Mallet had many obligations to Pope, no disobligations to him, and was one of his grossest flatterers.' WALPOLE, Letters, ii. 160.
3 It was in 1749 that the attack on Pope's memory was made. Ante,
POPE, 250 n.
4 Ante, POPE, 94. Johnson said of Bolingbroke and his legacy :'Sir, he was a scoundrel and a coward; a scoundrel for charging a blunderbuss against religion and morality; a coward, because he had not resolution to fire it off himself, but left half a crown to a beggarly Scotchman to draw the trigger after his death.' Boswell's Johnson, i. 268. See ante, A. PHILIPS, 4 n. 2.
5 In Gent. Mag. 1754, p. 247, is advertised A short state of the case
relating to a claim made by Richard Franklin on David Mallet, on account of some copies which are inserted in the works of the late Lord Bolingbroke, published by Mallet, and which were originally printed by Franklyn [sic].
Bolingbroke says in his will:—' I have not assigned to any person whatsoever the copy of the said books.' Works, 1809, Preface, p. 219..
'Mallet said there was no occasion for bonds of arbitration, as he hoped they were both men of honour, and, as such, declared he would abide by the decision.' Gent. Mag. 1754, p. 247.
7 The Maecenas of the age,' as Johnson called him. Boswell's Johnson, i. 287 n. Hume writing to him on May 20, 1757, about a report that 'the stop in the sale of my History proceeded from some strokes of irreligion, which had raised the cry of the clergy against me,' continues:-'The cause assigned could never have produced that effect; it was rather likely to increase the sale. ... You had offered (as I heard) a large sum for Bolingbroke's Works, trusting to this consequence.' Burton's Hume, ii. 24.
could find, but with success very much below his expectation'.
In 1753 his masque of Britannia' was acted at Drury-Lane, and his tragedy of Elvira in 17633; in which year he was appointed keeper of the book of Entries for ships in the port of London *.
In the beginning of the last war, when the nation was exasperated by ill success, he was employed to turn the publick vengeance upon Byng, and wrote a letter of accusation under the character of 'A Plain Man". The paper was with great industry circulated and dispersed; and he, for his seasonable intervention, had a considerable pension bestowed upon him, which he retained to his death 6.
In the March list of books in Gent. Mag. 1754, P. 144, are 'The Works of Lord Bolingbroke, 5 vols. 4to, price 3/. 15s. sheets,' and in the June list, p. 295, Bolingbroke's Philosophical Works, 5 vols. 8vo.'
Dr. Warton says in a passage printed about 1762, though not published till 1782:-'No writings that raised so mighty an expectation in the public as those of Bolingbroke ever perished so soon and sunk into oblivion.' Essay on Pope, ii. 179.
'Who now reads Bolingbroke?' asked Burke in 1790. 'Who ever read him through?' Burke's Works, 1808, v. 172.
The dreary pages of Bolingbroke's disquisitions,' wrote Mark Pattison. Essays, 1889, ii. 353.
For Garrick's verses on 'St. John's fell genius' see Boswell's Johnson, i. 269.
* On May 1, 1755. Genest's Hist. of the Stage, iv. 411. "The Prologue, in the character of a drunken sailor reading a play-bill, by Mallet and Garrick, and spoken by Garrick, was called for by the audience many nights when the piece itself was not performed.' Biog. Dram. ii. 68. For the Prologue see Eng. Poets, lxiii. 186.
3 This being looked upon by many as a ministerial play, and the rather as it was brought on at the critical time when our political pack were in full cry, hunting down the Scotch peace, as they called it, it was beheld
in a very unpopular light.' Biog. Dram. ii. 191.
Boswell and two Scotch friends 'wrote a pamphlet, entitled Critical Strictures, against it.' Boswell's Johnson, i. 408.
Gibbon, who was starting for Italy says:- My last act in town was to applaud Mallet's new tragedy of Elvira: Memoirs, p. 148. On Jan. 19, 1763, he recorded:-'My father and I went to the Rose, in the passage of the play-house, where we found Mallet, with about thirty friends. We dined together, and went thence into the pit, where we took our places in a body, ready to silence all opposition. However, we had no occasion to exert ourselves. Notwithstanding the malice of party, Mallet's nation, connections, and indeed imprudence, we heard nothing but applause. I think it was deserved.' A few days later there was a riot in the theatre-a protest against the abolition of half-price at the end of the third act. The benches were torn up and the glass lustres were broken.' The play did not run many nights longer. 16. p. 304.
Gent. Mag. Feb. 1763, p. 98. 5 Observations on the Twelfth Article of War, &c. By a Plain Man. London, 8vo. 1757. Byng was shot on March 14, 1757. The pamphlet is dated March 27. It was written to justify the execution. 'Johnson said Mallet was ready for any dirty job; that he had wrote