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JOHN LORD SOMERS,
BARON OF EVESHAM,
MY LORD, I should not act the part of an impartial Spectator, if I dedicated the following papers to one who is not of the most consummate and most acknowledged merit.
None but a person of a finished character can be a proper patron of a work which endeavours to cultivate and polish human life, by promoting virtue and knowledge, and by recommending whatsoever may be either useful or ornamental to society.
I know that the homage I now pay you, is offering a kind of violence to one who is as solicitous to shun applause, as he is assiduous to deserve it. But, my lord, this is perhaps the only particular in which your prudence will be always disappointed.
While justice, candour, equanimity, a zeal for tho good of your country, and the most persuasive eloquence in bringing over others to it, are valuable distinctions ; you are not to expect that the public will so far comply with your inclinations, as to forbear celebrating such extraordinary qualities. It VOL. VI.
is in vain that you have endeavoured to conceal your share of merit in the many national services which you
have effected. Do wliat you will, the present age wili be talking of your virtues, though posterity alone will do them justice.
Other men pass through oppositions and contending interests in the ways of ambition; but your great abilities have been invited to power, and importuned to accept of advancement. Nor is it strange that this should happen to your lordship, who could bring into the service of your sovereign the arts and policies of ancient Greece and Rome; as well as the most exact knowledge of our own constitution in particular, and of the interests of Europe in general; to which I must also add, a certain dignity in yourself, that (to say the least of it) has been always equal to those great honours which have been conferred upon you.
It is very well known how much the church owed to you, in the most dangerous day it ever saw, that of the arraignment of its prelates ; and how far the civil power, in the late and present reign, has been indebted to your counsels and wis, dom.
But to enumerate the great advantages which the public has received from your administration, would be a more proper work for an history, than for an address of this nature,
Your lordship appears as great in your private life, as in the most important offices which you have borne. I would, therefore, rather choose to speak of the pleasure you afford all who are admitted to your conversation, of your elegant taste in all the polite arts of learning, of your great humanity and complacency of manners, and of the surprising infuence which is peculiar to you, in making every one who converses with your lordship prefer you to
himself, without thinking the less meanly of his own. talents. But if I should take notice of all that might be observed in your lordship, I should have nothing new to say upon any other character of distinction. I am,
MY LORD, SIMILITUDE of manners and studies is usually mentioned as one of the strongest motives to affection and esteem ; but the passionate veneration I have for your lordship, I think flows from an admiration of qualities in you, of which, in the whole course of these papers, I have acknowledged myself incapable. While I busy myself as a stranger upon earth, and can pretend to no other than being a looker-on, you are conspicuous in the busy and polite world, both in the world of men, and that of letters. While I am silent and unobserved in public meetings, you are admired by all that approach you, as the life and genius of the conversation. What an happy conjunction of different talents meets in him whose whole discourse is at once animated by the strength and force of reason, and adorned with all the graces
and embellishments of wit! When learning irradiates common life, it is then in its highest use and perfection; and it is to such as your lordship, that the sciences owe the esteem which they have with the active part of mankind. Knowledge of books in recluse men, is like that sort of lantern, which hides him who carries it, and serves only to pass through secret and gloomy paths of his own; but in the possession of a man of business, it is, as a torch in the hand of one who is willing and able to shew those who were bewildered, the way which leads to their prosperity and welfare. A generous concern for your country, and a passion for every thing which is truly great and noble, are what actuate all
life and actions ; and I hope you will forgive me when I have an ambition this book may be placed in the library of so good a judge of what is valuable, in that library where the choice is such, that it will not be a disparagement to be the meanest author in it. Forgive me, my lord, for taking this occasion of telling all the world how ardently I love and honour you ; and that I am, with the utmost gratitude for all your favours,
THE RIGHT HON. HENRY BOYLE*.
1712. As the professed design of this work is to entertain its readers in general, without giving offence to any particular person, it would be difficult to find out so proper a patron for it as yourself, there being none whose merit is more universally acknowledged by all parties, and who has made himself more friends, and fewer enemies. Your great abilities and unquestioned integrity, in those high employments which you have passed through, would not have been able to have raised you this general approbation, had they not been accompanied with that moderation in an high fortune, and that affability of manners, which are so conspicuous through all parts of your life. Your aversion to any ostentatious arts of setting to sbew those great services wiich you have done the public, has not likewise a little contributed to that universal acknowledgment which is paid you by your country.
The consideration of this part of your character, is that which hinders me from enlarging on those extraordinary talents, which have given you so great a figure in the British senate, as well as in that elegance and politeness which
your more retired conversation. I should be unpardonable if,
Youngest son of Charles, Lord Clifford, and afterwards Lord Carleton.