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snuff to-day, admirable good. I wish DD had it, and Ppt too, if she likes it. It cost me a quarter of an hour of his politics, which I was forced to hear. Lady Orkney is making me a writing-table of her own contrivance, and a bed nightgown. She is perfectly kind, like a mother. I think the devil was in it the other day, that I should talk to her of an ugly squinting cousin of hers, and the poor lady herself, you know, squints like a dragon. The other day we had a long discourse with her about love ; and she told us a saying of her sister Fitzharding, which I thought excellent, that in men, desire begets love, and in women, love begets desire. We have abundance of our old criers still hereabouts. I hear every morning your women with the old satin and taffata, &c. the fellow with old coats, suits or cloaks. Our weather is abominable of late. We have not two tolerable days in twenty. I have lost money again at ombre, with Lord Orkney and others; yet, after all, this year I have lost but threeand-twenty shillings; so that considering card money, I am no loser.
Our society hath not yet renewed their meetings. I hope we shall continue to do some good this winter ; and lord-treasurer promises the academy for reforming our language shall soon go forward. I must now go hunt those dry letters for materials. You will see something very notable, I hope. So much for that. God Almighty bless you.
London, Nov. 15, 1712. * BEFORE this comes to your hands, you will have heard of the most terrible accident that hath almost ever happened. This morning at eight, my man brought me word that Duke Hamilton had fought with Lord Mohun, and killed him, and was brought home wounded. I immediately sent him to the Duke's house, in St James's-square; but the porter could hardly answer for tears, and a great rabble was about the house. In short, they fought at seven this morning. The dog Mohun was killed on the spot; and, while the Duke was over him, Mohun shortened his sword, stabbed him in at the shoulder to the heart. The Duke was helped toward the cake-house by the ring in Hyde Park, (where they fought,) and died on the grass, before he could reach the house ; and was brought home in his coach by eight, while the poor Duchess was asleep. Macartney, and one Hamilton, were the seconds, who fought likewise, and are both fled. I am told, that a footman of Lord Mohun's stabbed Duke Hamilton ; and some say Macartney did so too. † Mohun gave the affront, and yet sent the
* Endorsed, “ Received Nov. 26, just come from Portraine.”
+ Various accounts were given of this affair. The quarrel seemed to be forced on the Duke, but there is great room to doubt the prevailing report, that he received foul play. Both the report of the coroner's inquest, and the surgeon's examination, tend to prove, that he died by the wound received from Lord Mohun. And although Colonel Hamilton deposed, that as he went to raise the Duke from the ground, he saw Macartney make a thrust at him, yet, as he neither mentioned this at the time, nor endeavoured to detain Macartney, his testimony did not receive general credit. See Colonel Hamilton's trial in the State Trials. The Tories insisted, that this was a party duel; the Whigs, that it was entirely a private quarrel. It probably partook of the nature of both.
challenge. I am infinitely concerned for the poor Duke, who was a frank, honest, good-natured
I loved him very well, and I think he loved me better. He had the greatest mind in the world to have me go with him to France, but durst not tell it me; and those he did tell, said I could not be spared, which was true. † They have removed the poor Duchess to a lodging in the neighbourhood, where I have been with her two hours, and am just come away. I never saw so melancholy a scene ; for indeed all reasons for real grief belong to her; nor is it possible for any body to be a greater loser in all regards. She has moved my
The lodging was inconvenient, and they would have removed her to another ; but I would not suffer it, because it had no room backward, and she must have been tortured with the noise of the Grub-street screamers mentioning her husband's murder in her ears.
At a meeting concerning a law-suit which had long depended between them, the Duke, speaking of one of Lord Mohun's witnesses, said, “He had neither truth nor justice in him;" to which Lord Mohun replied, “He had as much truth and justice as his Grace.” Now, although upon these words there might have been some ground for the Duke challenging Mohun, it is certainly difficult to conceive why the challenge should have come as it did from the other side.
+ The Duke of Hamilton was about to be sent ambassador to France; hence Parnel's beautiful lines on his death :
Half. peopled Gaul, whom num'rous ills destroy,
I believe you have heard the story of my escape, in opening the band-box sent to the lord-treasurer. * The prints have told a thousand lies of it; but at last we gave them a true account of it at length, printed in " the Evening;" only I would not suffer them to name me, having been so often named before, and teased to death with questions. I wonder how I came to have so much presence of mind, which is usually not my talent; but so it pleased God, and I saved myself and him; for there was a bullet piece. A gentleman told me, that if I had been killed, the Whigs would have called it a judgment, because the barrels were of inkhorns, with which I had done them so much' mischief. There was a pure Grub-street of it, full of lies and inconsistencies. I do not like these things at all, and I wish myself more and more among my willows. There is a devilish spirit among people, and the ministry must exert themselves, or sink. Night, dearest sirrahs, l'll go to sleep.
For this prepares the Duke ah, sadly slain !
Verses on the Peace.
*" A report was spread of a strange conspiracy against the lord-treasurer, by sending him on that very day a band-box, with three pistols charged and cocked, whose triggers being tied to a pack-thread fastened to the cover, the pistols would have gone off, and done execution at the opening of the box, had not the same been miraculously prevented by Dr Jonathan Swift, who, being then in the room, while his lordship was shaving, suspected something, and opened the box in such a manner that no mischief was done. This was the first story that was whispered about; but the belief of such an extravagant plot was soon exploded, when it was found that the three pistols were no more than a steel, set' on a pistol-stock to strike fire, and two inkhorns or squibs ; so that the lucky discoverer, Dr Swift, was by many suspected to have been the ingenious contriver of this political machine."---Rapin's History of England, IV. 297.
It seems very difficult to understand this affair. To suppose it a trick of Swift, is not only utterly inconsistent with his character, but with common sense; for why should he not have placed real pistols in the box, since he was to open it with such precaution ? yet it is not easy to conceive what the Whigs should have hoped from so imperfect an engine. Swift here calls the contents a bullet-piece, and a few
says, the fellow to the pistol was found in Hyde Park. Yet, at the same time, he mentions the barrels being made of inkhorn, meaning the iron cases used for holding ink and pens. Perhaps the contriver had chosen so ludicrous an implement, that the plot might be ridiculed if it should prove unsuccessful.
16. I thought to have finished this yesterday ; but was too much disturbed. I sent a letter early this morning to Lady Masham, to beg ber to write some comforting words to the poor Duchess. I dined to-day with Lady Masham at Kensington, where she is expecting these two months to lie in. She has promised me to get the queen to write to the Duchess kindly on this occasion; and to-morrow I will beg lord-treasurer to visit and comfort her. I have been with her two hours again, and find her worse. Her violences not so frequent, but her melancholy more formal and settled. She has abundance of wit and spirit; about thirty-three years old ; handsome and airy, and seldom spared any body that gave her the least provocation ; by which she had many enemies, and few friends. Lady Orkney, her sister-in-law, is come to town on this occasion, and has been to see her, and behaved herself with great humanity. They have been always very ill together, and the poor Duchess could not have patience when people told her I went often to Lady Orkney's. But I am resolved to make them friends; for the Duchess is now no more the