(604) In speaking of these Letters, which appeared shortly after, Hannah More says—:They are such as ought to have been written, but ought not to have been printed: a few of them are very good: sometimes he is moral, and sometimes he is kind. The imprudence of editors and executors is an additional reason why men of parts should be afraid to die. Burke said to me the other day, in allusion to the innumerable lives, anecdotes, remains, etc. of this great man, ’How many maggots have crawled out of that great body!’” Memoirs, vol. ii-P. 101-E.
(605) Mr. Walpole had never seen Figaro acted, nor had he been at Paris for many years before it appeared: he was not, therefore, aware of the bold, witty, and continued allusions of almost every scene and of almost every incident of that comedy, to the most popular topics and the most distinguished characters of the day. The freedom with which it treated arbitrary government and all its establishments, while they all yet continued in unwelcome force- in France, and the moral conduct of each individual of the piece exactly suiting the no-morality of the audience, joined to the admirable manner in which it was acted, certainly must be allowed to have given it its greatest vogue. But even now, when most of these temporary advantages no longer exist, whoever was well acquainted with the manners, habits, and anecdotes of Paris at the time of the first appearance of Figaro, will always admire in it a combination of keen and pointed satire, easy wit, and laughable incident.-B.
>From violent contrary winds,(606) and by your letter going to Strawberry Hill, whence I was ’come, I have but just received it, and perhaps shall Only be able to answer it by snatches, being up to the chin in nephews and nieces.
I find you knew nothing of the pacification when you wrote, When I saw your letter, I hoped it would tell me you was coming back, as your island is as safe as if it was situated in the Pacific Ocean, or at least as islands there used to be, till Sir Joseph Banks chose to put them up. I sent you the good news on the very day before you wrote, though I imagined you would learn it by earlier intelligence. Well, I enjoy both your safety and your great success, which is enhanced by its being owing to your character and abilities. I hope the latter will be allowed to operate by those who have not quite so much of either. I shall be wonderful glad to see little Master Stonehenge(607) at Park-place; it will look in character there: but your own bridge is so stupendous in comparison, that hereafter the latter will be thought to have been a work of the Romans. Dr. Stukeley will burst his cerements to offer mistletoe in your temple; and Mason, on the contrary, will die of vexation and spite that he cannot have Caractacus acted on the spot. Peace to all such!