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L E T T E R S
E E T T E R I.
TO MY FRIEND AT PARIS.
UT why will you not come to
London ? I am anxious to repay you the civilities you fhewed me at Paris. You hate England, but you love the English: I love France as little as you do England ; ' but I assure you I most
sincerely sincerely esteem a number of your countrymen, and none of them more sincerely than yourself.... You will not come, you say, 'till the peace is made. I hope, for your fake, we shall beat you; for if we do, you will be better received.
As Le Roi, is the grand idea that fills your mind at home, so I take it for granted our King is the first object that will engage your attention here. I think I can tell pretty nearly what you of him on your return, as well as of our capital. You will let me know after if I have guessed right.
You will say then, that he represents majesty better than any Sovereign you have seen except the Pope. Thus far only you can judge for yourself. The
rest of your judgements must be collected from the opinions of the different classes of his subjects. The people here don't flatter ; but always give their worst of thoughts the worst of words. You may trust their account of him implicitly ; and it is indeed a very flattering account for. him. They will tell you that he has all manner of good qualities, and no bad ones; that he is humane and pious ; that he loves his Queen, his children, and his people ; that he is very benevolent, and never did nor said an ill-natured thing; to which they add, that he has no capricious expences, and that he is very temperate in his manner of living. Thus far the people. Men of letters and artists praise him because he
encourages genius, and rewards with royal munificence every species of superior merit. Persons of rank, who see him nearer, say, that his manners are obliging; his understanding, folid ; his tafte, good; and that he is pofseffed of very extenfive knowledge.
To all this they add but one shade ; they fay he is obftinate. Obstinacy, in the language of courtiers, you know, is fteadiness. Where one ends, and the other begins, is not perhaps fo easy to determine. The excess of a virtue is generally a fault; and as the people, who have nothing to hope or fear, and who really love the King, fay he is obstinate, you will probably be rather inclined to believe them than the cour, tiers.
Upon the whole, you will find him a great and amiable Prince ; and
will regret, as I did, that he had not a friend in the No-popery mob to burn St. James's (1) palace, for he is, without exception, the worst-lodged Sovereign in Europe.
After le Roi you will no doubt think of la Reine. Our Queen is neither a Wit nor a Beauty. She is prudent, well-informed, has an excellent understanding, and is very charitable. I spent three months in the country where she
(1) It is doing great violence to language to call this building a palace : it looks like the offices to Marlborough-palace.