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rious general received, after his return from the most glorious expedition; having conquered some great kingdom, brought the king himself
, his family, and nobles, to adorn the triumph, in chains; and made the kingdom, either a Roman province, or, at best, a poor depending state, in humble alliance to that empire. Now, of all these rewards, I find but two which were of real profit to the general; the laurel crown, made and sent him at the charge of the public, and the embroidered garment; but I cannot find whether this last was paid for by the senate or the general: however, we will take the more favourable opinion; and in all the rest admit the whole expense, as if it were ready money in the general's pocket. Now, according to these computations on both sides, we will draw up two fair accounts; the one of Roman gratitude, and the other of British ingratitude, and set them together in balance.
A BILL OF ROMAN GRATITUDE.
to burn it in
coach Casual charges at the triumph
This is an account of the visible profits on both sides; and if the Roman general had any private perquisites, they may be easily discounted, and by more probable computations; and differ yet more upon the balance, if we consider that all the gold and silver for safeguards and contributions, also all valuable prizes taken in the war, were openly exposed in the triumph, and then lodged in the Capitol for the public service. *
So that, upon the whole, we are not yet quite so bad at worst, as the Romans were at best. And I doubt, those who raise the bideous cry of ingratitude, may be mightily mistaken in the consequence they propose from such complaints. I remember a saying of Seneca, Multos ingratos invenimus, plures facimus ; we find many ungrateful persons in the world, but we make more, by setting too high a rate upon our pretensions, and undervaluing the
* The paper called the Medley, No. 19, contrasted this account-current with the following statement of debit and credit between Marlborough and his country
Debtor to Great Britain. Creditor on the other side. By grants.
[Which part of the account our Employments.
Examiner forgot.] Pictures bought or given by fo- By the battles of Schellenberg reigners.
and Blenheim. Jewels the same.
Forcing the French lines twice. Mildenheim by the Emperor.. Ramilies, Oudenarde, Mons,
&c. And by twenty-seven towns ta.
ken, which being reckoned at £.300,000 a town, (the price that Dunkirk was sold at before it was fortified) amounts in all, throwing in the battles
and the fortifications, Amounting in all to £.540,000.
£.8,100,000. Balance on the credit side, €.7,560,000.
rewards we receive. When unreasonable bills are brought in, they ought to be taxed, or cut off in the middle. Where there have been long accounts between two persons, I have known one of them perpetually making large demands, and pressing for payment; who, when the accounts were cast up on both sides, was found to be debtor for some hundreds. I am thinking, if a proclamation were issued out for every man to send in his bill of merits, and the lowest price he set them at, what a pretty sum it would amount to, and how many such islands as this, must be sold to pay them. I form my judgment from the practice of those who sometimes happen to pay themselves, and, I dare affirm, would not be so unjust as to take a farthing more than they think is due to their deserts. I will instance only in one article: a lady of my acquaintance appropriated twenty-six pounds a-year out of her allowance, for certain uses, which her woman received, and was to pay to the lady, or her order, as it was called for. *
But, after eight years, it ap
* This alludes to an anecdote, which, as told by the Duchess of Marlborough herself, does her more discredit than she seems to be aware of. “ 'These,” she says, after a pretty handsome enumeration of royal favours, the only grants I ever had from the queen, except one, which occasioned the witty comparison that was made between me and the lady’s-woman, who, out of her mistress's pin-money of 261., put twenty-two into her own pocket. The matter was this : At the queen's accession to the government, she used to lament to me, that, the crown being impoverished by former grants, she wanted the power her predecessors had enjoyed to reward faithful servants; and she desired me to take out of the privy purse 2000l. a-year, in order to purchase for
my advantage. I made my grateful acknowledgments to her majesty, but at the same time said, that, as her majesty was so good to provide for my children, and as the offices I enjoyed by her favour brought me in more than I wanted, I could not think it reasonable to accept her offer, and I absolutely refused it. I
peared, upon the strictest calculation, that the woman had paid but four pounds a-year, and sunk twoand-twenty for her own pocket. It is but supposing, instead of twenty-six pounds, twenty-six thousand; and by that you may judge what the pretensions of modern merit are, where it happens to be its own paymaster.
constantly declined it till the time that, notwithstanding the uncommon regard I had shewn to her majesty's interest and honour, in the execution of my trusts, she was pleased to dismiss me from her service; then, indeed, it was thought I had no longer the same reason to be scrupulous on this head. By the advice of my friends, I sent the queen one of her own letters, in which she had pressed me to take the 20001. a-year; and I wrote at the same time to ask her majesty, whether she would allow me to charge in the privy purse accounts, which I was to send her, that yearly sum from the time of the offer, amounting to 18,000l. Her majesty was pleased to answer, I might charge it. This, therefore, I did.”-Account of the Conduct of the Dowager Duchess of Marlborough.
It were to be wished that the Duchess had favoured us with a statement of the reasons which convinced her, that, having absolutely refused to receive this annuity as a gratuity from her sovereign while in favour, in consideration of 50001. given in portion to each of her daughters, and the lucrative offices vested in her own person, she was nevertheless entitled to levy the same annuity, with all its arrears, by way of fine, when dismissed from the queen's service. As it is, we must be contented with the reason announced in a parallel case by Dr Ratcliffe, who, during a long attendance in the family of a particular friend, regularly refused the fee pressed upon him at each visit. At length, when the cure was performed, and the doctor about to give up attendance, the convalescent patient again proffered him a purse containing the fees for every day's visit. The doctor eyed it some time in silence, and at length extended his hand, exclaiming, “Singly I could haye refused them for ever ; but altogether, they are irresistible.”