1751 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Charles Hanbury Williams

Horace Walpole, 1751; in Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of King George II (1847) 1:205-06.



Sir Charles Hanbury Williams had been attached to Mr. Winnington, and was the particular friend of Fox. Towards the end of Sir Robert Walpole's power, they, Lord Hervey and Lord Rochester, had forced the last into the Secretaryship of the Treasury, against the inclination of the Minister; an instance at that time unparalleled; much copied since, as the Government has fallen into weaker hands. Sir Charles remained a steady friend to Walpole, and persecuted his rival, Lord Bath, in a succession of satiric odes, that did more execution in six months, than the Craftsman had done in twice the number of years; for the Minister only lost his power, but the patriot his character. If Sir Charles had many superiors in poetry, he had none in the wit of his poetry. In conversation he was less natural, and overbearing: hated with the greatest good-nature, and the most disinterested generosity; for fools dreaded his satire — few forgave his vanity. He had thrown up his place on some disgusts; the loss of Mr. Winnington, and a quarrel with the Irish, occasioned by an ode he wrote on the Duchess of Manchester and Mr. Hussey, fomented by Lord Bath and his enemies, and supported with too little spirit, had driven him to shelter his discontents in a Foreign Embassy, where he displayed great talents for negotiation, and pleased as much by his letters, as he had formerly by his poetry.