The Profane Virtues

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Four Studies of the Eighteenth Century. Biography of James Boswell; Edward Gibbon; Laurence Sterne; John Wilkes.

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THE PROFANE VIRTUES

ALSO BY PETER QUENNELLBiography

BYRON

IN ITALY

BYRON: THE YEARS

OF FAME

CAROLINE OF ENGLAND: AN AUGUSTANFiction

PORTRAIT

THE PHOENIX-KIND

THE PROFANE VIRTUESFour Studies of theEighteenth Century

NEW TORK

THE VIKING PRESS1945

COPYRIGHT 1945 BY PETER QUENNELL

PUBLISHED BY THE VIKING PRESS IN JUNE 1945PUBLISHED ON THE SAME DAY IN THE DOMINION OF CANADA BY

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANADA LIMITED

Published in England under the

title

Four

Portraits

PRINTED IN

U.S.A.

BY THE VAIL-BALLOU PRESS

To ANN O'NEILL

Foreword

Amongtraits, I

owe a special debt to

books consulted during the preparation of these porthe eighteen volumes of the Private

Papers of James Boswell from Malahide Castle, edited by thelate Geoffrey Scott

and Professor

Pottle of Yale,

and

privately

York more than a decade ago; the Letters of edited by C. B. Tinker; G. M. Young s excellent James Boswell,printed inshort life of Gibbon; Gibbon's Journal, edited by D.

New

M. Low,

by R. E. Prothero; W. L. Cross's admirable biography, The Life and Times of Laurence Sterne; and two recent studies of Wilkes, That Devil Wilkes by Ray-

and

his Private Letters, edited

mond

Postgate

and

A

Life of John Wilkes by O. A. Sherrard.

I

wish also to express my gratitude to Mr. Cyril Connolly for permission to reprint certain passages that have appeared under hiseditorship in the pages of Horizon; to Mr. Leslie Hore-Belisha, who has allowed me to photograph a bust of Laurence Sterne

in his collection; and to Sirpatience, has helped

Edward Marsh, who, with exemplary

me

correct the proofs.P. Q.

CONTENTSJAMES BOSWELL1

EDWARD GIBBONLAURENCE STERNE

65

119 173

JOHN WILKES

ILLUSTRATIONS

JAMES BOSWELL IN

1793Dance

PRECEDING PAGE

]

After a drawing by George

"THE TIMES"Acaricature of

FACING PAGE

*

1762 by William Hogarth

SAMUEL JOHNSON

IN

OLD AGE

52

Engraving by Arthur Smith, from a portrait by James Barry

JAMES BOSWELLFrom asketch by Sir

60

Thomas Lawrence

EDWARD GIBBONFroma painting by Sir Jodiua Reynolds

92

LAURENCE STERNEAbust by Joseph Nollekens, from the collection of theHore-Belisha, M.P.Rt.

124Hon. Leslie

"THE BRUISERAcaricature

C.

CHURCHILL"

196

by William Hogarth

JOHN WILKES IN

1763

212

Engraving by William Hogarth

.

/

JAMES BOSWELL INAfter a drawing by George

1793Dance

JAMES BOS WELL

INFranceseries of

1763 the war of colonial aggrandisement, waged betweei and England since 1756, jolted to an abrupt anc

(many Englishmen considered) a somewhat ignominious close England had conquered widely and plundered largely. After th