The Social and Political Ideas of Some English Thinkers of the Augustan Age, A. D. 1650-1750: A Series of Lectures Delivered at King's College, University of London, during the Session 1927-28

By F. J. C. Hearnshaw | Go to book overview

IX
HENRY ST JOHN, VISCOUNT BOLINGBROKE

OF all the political thinkers of the Augustan Age none was so eminent or so highly applauded during his life, none so profoundly despised or generally rejected after his death, as Henry St John, the Lord Viscount Bolingbroke. To his contemporaries, in the days of his magnificent prime, he seemed to be the embodiment of all that was splendid and effective among men. High in rank, handsome in person, stately in deportment, polished in manners, cultivated in mind, quick in wit, fascinating in conversation, unrivalled in oratorical power, a scholar, a linguist, a bold and original speculator, a capable administrator, a skilled diplomatist, a dæmonic actor, a finished courtier and man of the world--he appeared to be almost superhuman in his gifts and graces, or, at the very least, "not one, but all mankind's epitome." Jonathan Swift, who was not too well disposed toward the human race at large, said of him when he was still youthful (in a letter to Stella, November 3, 1711) that he was the greatest young man he ever knew, marked by wit, capacity, beauty, quickness of apprehension, good learning, and excellent taste; the best orator in the House of Commons, admirable conversation, good nature and good manners, generous, and a despiser of money. A quarter of a century later Alexander Pope, also inclined to general misanthropy, writing to Swift, said ( March 25, 1736):

I have lately seen some writings of Lord B's, since he went to France. Nothing can depress his genius. Whatever befalls him, he will still be the greatest man in the world, either in his own time, or with posterity.

Shortly afterward, in a letter to Bolingbroke himself ( September 3, 1740) he exclaimed, with an amusing play upon his own name, "I would, if I were Pope, canonize you, what-

-210-

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The Social and Political Ideas of Some English Thinkers of the Augustan Age, A. D. 1650-1750: A Series of Lectures Delivered at King's College, University of London, during the Session 1927-28
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Uniform with this Volume 2
  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 5
  • Contents 9
  • The Social and Political Ideas Of Some English Thinkers Of The Augustan Age 11
  • II- Sir Robert Filmer 27
  • III- George Savile, Marquis of Halifax 47
  • IV- John Locke 69
  • V- Jacobites and Non-Jurors 97
  • VI- Benjamin Hoadly, Bishop of Bangor 112
  • VII- Daniel Defoe 157
  • VIII- Jonathan Swift 189
  • IX- Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke 210
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