Letters to Sir William Windham and Mr Pope

Lord Bolingbroke
Letters to Sir William Windham
and Mr Pope

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Mr. Pope
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Title: Letters to Sir William Windham and Mr. Pope
Author: Lord Bolingbroke
Release Date: February, 2004 [EBook #5132] [Yes, we are more than

one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on May 7, 2002]
[Most recently updated: May 7, 2002]
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Language: English
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Contents Introduction By Henry Morley Letter To Sir William
Windham Letter To Alexander Pope


Henry St. John, who became Viscount Bolingbroke in 1712, was born
on the 1st of October, 1678, at the family manor of Battersea, then a
country village. His grandfather, Sir Walter St. John, lived there with
his wife Johanna,--daughter to Cromwell's Chief Justice, Oliver St.
John,--in one home with the child's father, Henry St. John, who was
married to the second daughter of Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick. The
child's grandfather, a man of high character, lived to the age of
eighty-seven; and his father, more a man of what is miscalled pleasure,
to the age of ninety. It was chiefly by his grandfather and grandmother
that the education of young Henry St. John was cared for. Simon
Patrick, afterwards Bishop of Ely, was for some years a chaplain in
their home. By his grandfather and grandmother the child's religious
education may have been too formally cared for. A passage in
Bolingbroke's letter to Pope shows that he was required as a child to

read works of a divine who "made a hundred and nineteen sermons on
the hundred and nineteenth Psalm."
After education at Eton and Christchurch, Henry St. John travelled
abroad, and in the year 1700 he married, at the age of twenty-two,
Frances, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Henry Winchescomb, a
Berkshire baronet. She had much property, and more in prospect.
In the year 1701, Henry St. John entered Parliament as member for
Wotton Bassett, the family borough. He acted with the Tories, and
became intimate with their leader, Robert Harley. He soon became
distinguished as the ablest and most vigorous of the young supporters
of the Tory party. He was a handsome man and a brilliant speaker,
delighted in by politicians who, according to his own image in the
Letter to Windham, "grow, like hounds, fond of the man who shows
them game." He was active in the impeachment of Somers, Montague,
the Duke of Portland, and the Earl of Oxford for their negotiation of the
Partition Treaties. In later years he said he had acted here in ignorance,
and justified those treaties.
James II. died at St. Germains, a pensioner of France, aged sixty- eight,
on the 6th of September, 1701.
His pretensions to the English throne passed to the son, who had been
born on the 10th of June, 1688, and whose birth had hastened on the
Revolution. That son, James Francis Edward Stuart, who was only
thirteen years old at his father's death, is known sometimes in history as
the Old Pretender; the Young Pretender being his son Charles Edward,
whose defeat at Culloden in 1746 destroyed the last faint hope of a
restoration of the Stuarts. It is with the young heir to the pretensions of
James II. that the story of the life of Bolingbroke becomes concerned.
King William III. died on the 8th of March, 1702, and was succeeded
by James II.'s daughter Anne, who was then thirty-eight years old, and
had been married when in her nineteenth year to Prince George of
Denmark. She was a good wife and a good, simple-minded woman; a
much-troubled mother, who had lost five children in their
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