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SHEFFIELD.

1649—1720-21.

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When war

Birth and self-education Summoned to Parliament — Serves at sea

against the Dutch — Made Colonel of the Grenadiers and K.G. - His conduct at the Revolution Favours Lord Oxford's Administration His three wives — Death and burial in Westminster Abbey — Works

and Character. John SHEFFIELD, descended from a long series of illustrious ancestors, was born in 1649, the son of Edmund [second] Earl of Mulgrave, who died 1658. The young Lord was put into the hands of a tutor with whom he was so little satisfied, that he got rid of him in a short time, and at an age not exceeding twelve years resolved to educate himself. formed at such an age, and successfully prosecuted, delights as it is strange, and instructs as it is real.

His literary acquisitions are more wonderful, as those years in which they are commonly made were spent by him in the tumult of a military life, or the gaiety of a court. was declared against the Dutch, he went at seventeen on board the ship in which Prince Rupert and the Duke of Albemarle sailed, with the command of the fleet; but by contrariety of winds they were restrained from action. His zeal for the King's service was recompensed by the command of one of the independent troops of horse, then raised to protect the coast. Next year

he received a summons to Parliament, which, as he was then but eighteen years old, the Earl of Northumberland censured as at least indecent, and his objection was allowed. He had a quarrel with the Earl of Rochester, which he has perhaps too ostentatiously related, as Rochester's surviving

| The poet was the great-grandson of the first Earl of Mulgrave, K.G., who distinguished himself at sea against the Spanish Armada, and dying October, 1646, in his eighty.third year, was buried at Hammersmith, where a monument erected to his memory by his widow is still to be seen. The mother of the poet was Elizabeth Cranfield, daughter of Lionel Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex, by his first wife. The mother of Charles, Earl of Dorset, the poet, was Frances Cranfield, daughter of the same nobleman by a second wife.

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daughter, the Lady Sandwich, is said to have told him with very sharp reproaches.

When another Dutch war (1672) broke out, he went again a volunteer in the ship which the celebrated Lord Ossory commanded, and there made, as he relates, two curious remarks:

“I have observed two things, which I dare affirm, though not generally believed. One was, that the wind of a cannon bullet, though flying never so near, is incapable of doing the least harm; and indeed, were it otherwise, no man above deck

1 would escape. The other was, that a great shot may be some

. times avoided, even as it flies, by changing one's ground a little ; for, when the wind sometimes blew away the smoke, it was so clear a sunshiny day, that we could easily perceive the bullets (that were hatf-spent) fall into the water, and from thence bound up again among us, which gives sufficient time for making a step or two on any side ; though, in so swift a motion, 'tis hard to judge well in what line the bullet comes, which, if mistaken, may by removing cost a man his life, instead of saving it.”

His behaviour was so favourably represented by Lord Ossory, that he was advanced to the command of the Katherine, the best second-rate ship in the navy.

He afterwards raised a regiment of foot, and commanded it as colonel. The land-forces were sent ashore by Prince Rupert ; and he lived in the camp very familiarly with Schombery. He was then appointed colonel of the old Holland regiment, together with his own, and had the promise of a Garter, which he obtained [23 April, 1674] in his twenty-fifth year. likewise made gentleman of the bed-chamber.

He afterwards went into the French service, to learn the art of war under Turenne, but stayed only a short time. Being by the Duke of Monmouth opposed in his pretensions to the first troop of foot 3 guards, he, in return, made Monmouth suspected by the Duke of York. He was not long after, when the unlucky Monmouth fell into disgrace, recompensed with the lieutenancy of Yorkshire and the government of Hull.

He was

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? In every edition of these · Lives' it is sister.

3 Johnson had written horse-guards; but it was Colonel Russell's regiment (now the Grenadiers) which Sheffield sought.

1649–1720-21.

HIS CONDUCT AT THE REVOLUTION.

193

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Thus rapidly did he make his way both to military and civil honours and employments; yet, busy as he was, he did not neglect his studies, but at least cultivated poetry; in which he must have been early considered as uncommonly skilful, if it be true which is reported, that, when he was yet not twenty years old, his recommendation advanced Dryden to the laurel.*

The Moors having besieged Tangier, he was sent (13 June, 1680) with two thousand men to its relief. A strange story is told of danger to which he was intentionally exposed in a leaky ship, to gratify some resentful jealousy of the King, whose health he therefore would never permit at his table till he saw himself in a safer place. His voyage was prosperously performed in three weeks, and the Moors without a contest retired before him.

In this voyage he composed the · Vision ;' a licentious poem, such as was fashionable in those times, with little power of invention or propriety of sentiment.

At his return he found the King kind, who perhaps had never been angry; and he continued a wit and a courtier as before.

At the succession of King James, to whom he was intimately known and by whom he thought himself beloved, he naturally expected still brighter sun-shine ; but all know how soon that reign began to gather clouds. His expectations were not disappointed; he was immediately admitted into the privy-council, and made Lord Chamberlain. He accepted a place in the High Commission, without knowledge, as he declared after the Revolution, of its illegality. Having few religious scruples, he attended the King to mass, and kneeled with the rest ; but had no disposition to receive the Romish faith, or to force it upon others; for when the priests, encouraged by his appearances of compliance, attempted to convert him, he told them, as Burnet has recorded, that he was willing to receive instruction, and that he had taken much pains to believe in God who made the world and all men in it; but that he should not be easily persuaded that man was quits, and made God again.:

* Malone supposes, and with reason, that the Lord Treasurer Clifford was Dryden's patron on this occasion--not Sheffield.

s ‘Burnet's Own Times,' iii. 115, ed. 18:23.

VOL. II.

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A pointed sentence is bestowed by successive transmission on the last whom it will fit; this censure of transubstantiation, whatever be its value, was uttered long ago by Anne Askew, one of the first sufferers for the Protestant religion, who in the time of Henry VIII. was tortured in the Tower; concerning which there is reason to wonder that it was not known to the historian of the Reformation.

In the Revolution he acquiesced, though he did not promote it. There was once a design of associating him in the invitation of the Prince of Orange; but the Earl of Shrewsbury discouraged the attempt, by declaring that Mulgrave would never concur. This King William afterwards told him, and asked what he would have done if the proposal had been made ? “Sir,” said he, “I would have discovered it to the king whom I then served.” To which King William replied, “I cannot

blame you."

Finding King James irremediably excluded, he voted for the conjunctive sovereignty, upon this principle, that he thought the titles of the Prince and his consort equal, and it would please the Prince their protector to have a share in the sovereignty. This vote gratified King William; yet, either by the King's distrust, or his own discontent, he lived some years without employment. He looked on the King with malevolence, and, if his verses or his prose may be credited, with contempt. He was, notwithstanding this aversion or indifference, made Marquis of Normanby (1694), but still opposed the Court on some important questions; yet at last he was received into the cabinet council, with a pension of three thousand pounds.

At the accession of Queen Anne, whom he is said to have courted when they were both young, he was highly favoured. Before her coronation (1702) she made him Lord Privy Seal, and soon after Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire. He was then named Commissioner for treating with the Scots about the Union; and was made next year, first, Duke of Normanby, and then of Buckinghamshire, there being suspected to be somewhere a latent claim to the title of Buckingham.

Soon after, becoming jealous of the Duke of Marlborough, he resigned the Privy Seal, and joined the discontented Tories

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