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the style; that he affects the use of French words, as well as some turns of expression peculiar to that language.
I believe, those who make the former criticism do not well consider the nature of memoirs : it is to the French (if I mistake not) we chiefly owe that manner of writing: and sir William Temple is not only the first, but I think the only Englishman (at least of any consequence) who ever attempted it. The best French memoirs are writ by such persons as were the principal actors in those transactions they pretend to relate, whether of wars or negociations. Those of sir William Temple are of the same nature; and therefore, in my judgment, the publisher * (who sent them into the world without the author's privity) gave them a wrong title, when he called them "Memoirs of what passed in Christendom, &c.” whereas it should rather have been “ Memoirs of the Treaty at Nimeguen,” which was plainly the sense of the author, who in the epistle tells his son, that" in compliance with his desire, he will leave him some memoirs of what passed in his public employments abroad;" and in the book itself, when he deduces an account of the state of war in Christendom, he says, it is only to prepare the reader for a relation of that famous treaty; where he and sir Lionel Jenkins were the only mediators that continued any considerable time; and as the author was first in commission, so in point of abilities or credit, either abroad or at home, there was no sort of comparison between the two persons. Those memoirs, therefore, are properly a relation
They were first published in 1689, by R. Chiswell, whose advertisement is preserved in Temple's Works, vol. II. p. 242. VOL. IX.
of a general treaty of peace, wherein the author had the principal as well as the most honourable part in quality of mediator; so that the frequent mention of himself seems not only excusable but
The same may be offered in defence of the following papers; because, during the greatest part of the period they treat of, the author was in chief confidence with the king his master. To which may be added, that, in the few preliminary lines at the head of the first
the author professes he writ those papers " for the satisfaction of his friends hereafter, upon the grounds of his retirement, and his resolution never to meddle again with public affairs.” · As to the objection against the style of the former Memoirs, that it abounds in French words and turns of expression; it is to be considered, that at the treaty of Nimeguen, all business, either by writing or discourse, passed in the French tongue; and the author having lived so many years abroad, in that and foreign embassies, where all business, as well as conversation, ran in that language, it was hardly possible for him to write upon public affairs without some tincture of it in his style, though in his other writings there be little or nothing of it to be observed ; and as he has often assured
it was a thing he never affected; so, upon the objections made to his former Memoirs, he blotted out some French words in these, and placed English in their stead, though perhaps not so significant
There is one thing proper to inform the reader, why these Memoirs are called the Third Part, there having never been published but one part befose, where, in the beginning, the author mentions a former part, and in the conclusion promises a third. The subject of the first part was
chiefly the triple alliance, during the negociation of which my lord Arlington was secretary of state and chief minister. Sir William Temple often assured me, he had burnt those Memoirs; and for that reason was content his letters during his embassies at the Hague and Aix-la-Chapelle, should be printed after his death, in some manner to supply that loss.
What it was that moved sir William Temple to burn those first Memoirs, may perhaps be conjec-. tured from some passages in the second part, formerly printed. In one place, the author has these words: “My lord Arlington, who made so great a figure in the former part of these Memoirs, was now grown out of all credit,” &c. In other parts, he tells us, “ That lord was of the ministry which broke the triple league ; advised the Dutch war and French alliance; and, in short, was the bottom of all those ruinous measures which the court of England was then taking ;" so that, as I have been told from a good hand, and as it seems very probable, he could not think that lord a person fit to be celebrated for his part in forwarding that famous league while he was secretary of state, who had made such counterpaces to destroy it. At the end I have subjoined an Appendix, containing, beside one or two other particulars, a speech of sir William Temple's in the house of commons; and an answer of the king's to an address of that house relating to the bill of exclusion; both which are mentioned in these Memoirs.
I have only farther to inform the reader, that although these papers were corrected by the author, yet he had once intended to insert some additions in several places, as appeared by certain hints or memorandums in the margin; but whether
they were omitted out of forgetfulness, neglect, or want of health, I cannot determine ; one passage relating to Sir William Jones he was pleased to tell me, and I have added it in the Appendix. * The rest I know nothing of; but the thread of the story is entire without them.
* Sir William Jones was reputed one of the best speakers in the House, and was very zealous in his endeavours for promoting the bill of exclusion (in 1679.] He was a person of great piety and virtue ; and having taken an affection to sir William Temple, was sorry to see him employed in the delivery of so unacceptable a message to the House. The substance of what he said to the author upon it was, that, “ for himself, he was old and infirm, and expected to die soon : but you," said he, “ will, in all probability, live to see the whole kingdom lament the consequences of this message you have now brought us from the king." Swift, Appendix to Temple's Memoirs, 8vo. vol. II. p. 565. .