(778) There was some little personal pique in Mr. Walpole’s opinion of Garrick; yet it would be difficult to imagine a more forcible eulogium on that great actor than is here inadvertently pronounced, when, in order to find an equivalent for him, Mr. Walpole is obliged to bring together old Johnson and Colley Cibber, Quin and Clive, Porter and Dumesnil—two nations, two generations, and both sexes.-C.
(779) “In Brute he shone unequalled; all agree Garrick’s not half so great a brute as he.” Rosciad.-E.
(780) A wolf of enormous size, and, in some respects, irregular conformation, which for a long time ravaged the Gevaudan; it was, soon after the date of this letter, killed, and Mr. Walpole saw it in Paris.-C.
Letter 246 To George Montagu, Esq.
Arlington Street, April 5, 1765. (page 384)
I sent you two letters t’other day from your kin, and might as well have written then as now, for I have nothing to tell you. Mr. Chute has quitted his bed to-day the first time for above five weeks, but is still swathed like a mummy. He was near relapsing; for old Mildmay, whose lungs, and memory, and tongue, will never wear out, talked to him t’other night from eight till half an hour after ten, on the Poor-bill; but he has been more comfortable with Lord Dacre and me this evening.
I have read the Siege of Calais, and dislike it extremely, though there are fine lines, but the conduct is woful. The outrageous applause it has received ,it Paris was certainly Political, and intended to stir up their spirit and animosity against us, their good, merciful, and forgiving allies. they will have no occasion for this ardour; they may smite one cheek, and we shall turn t’other.
Though I have little to say, it is worth while to write, only to tell you two bon-mots of Quin, to that turncoat hypocrite infidel, Bishop Warburton. That saucy priest was haranguing at Bath in behalf of prerogative: Quin said, “Pray, my lord, spare me, you are not acquainted with my principles, I am a republican; and perhaps I even think that the execution of Charles the First might be justified.” “Ay!” said Warburton, “by what law?” Quin replied, “By all the laws he had left them.” The Bishop(781) would have got off upon judgments, and bade the player remember, that all the regicides came to violent ends; a lie, but no matter. “I would not advise your lordship,” said Quin, “to make use of that inference; for, if I am not mistaken, that was the case of the twelve apostles.” There was great wit ad hominem in the latter reply, but I think the former equal to any thing I ever heard. It is the sum of the whole controversy couched in eight monosyllables, and comprehends at once the King’s guilt and the justice of punishing it. The more one examines it, the finer it proves. One can say nothing after it: so good night! Yours ever.