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there must be something put to the account of gratitude. And how large a debt of this nature must be due, from any one, to him that was the best of brothers and the best of friends, the whole world must be sensible. How well the writer has succeeded in his attempt to discharge it, must be left to the determination of those who shall peruse this work.
And the same arguments ought to be no less prevalent with me towards the sending it abroad into the world, and preferring my request unto your lordship, that it may have leave to pass under your protection. For as my father thought it his duty to leave behind him these papers, not only for the sake of truth but, to make some return for the benefits heaped upon him by this illustrious ancestor of your Lordship's, and his best brother; so I think myself bound to make them publick, for the former reason, and to beg they may be honoured with your Lordship's name in the front, as a publick acknowledgement of the many favours your Lordship has conferred upon
IT may not be improper to acquaint the
Reader, in fome fort, with what is to be found in the following sheets; the design of which is to make fome apology for an officious, I might fay unqualified, undertaking to be a life-writer, and, as fuch, to dress up my remembrances of three honourable brothers and friends, the late Lord Keeper North, Sir Dudley North, and Dr. John North. They were all perfons of celebrated worth and ability in their several profeffions; and whose behaviour upon the public stage, as well as in their retirements, was virtuous, wife, and exemplary. But now, if they are not quite forgot, that little, which is whispered of them, inclines to the finifter, and is wider from truth, than the distance which we are now at from the time when they flourished: and, if we look out
for their names in hiftory, all is the fame. There is a two-handed one (Mr. Echard) in folio, whofe excellency is coming after a worse. The author, among his eulogies, could not find room to drop a good word of any of thefe, though he hath condescended to adorn the characters of departed quacks, poets, fanaticks, and almanack-makers. When he could fay no ill of them, it was prudent malice to fay nothing. Better to forego the very marrow of history than do right to any of thefe. And if the confideration of common good, which always flows from the bright examples of good men, were not inducement enough, yet the usage of fuch poor-fpirited writers, that hunt counter to that good, is a fufficient call to this undertaking; whereby I hope to rescue the memories of these distinguished perfons from a malevolent intent to oppress them, and, for that end, bring their names and characters above-board, that all people may judge of them as they fhall appear to deserve. I have reason to be concerned, left my tenuity of ftyle and language, not meeting with candid interpretation may, in some fort,
diminish the worth that belongs to them. But I have no means of improvement in that affair; and must lay aside that scruple; for it is an office, devolved upon me, which I cannot decline. There is no person, now living, who can, or at least will, do any thing towards it. Therefore, hoping for indulgence, I march on, and endeavour to rectify want of art by copia of matter, and that, upon honour, punctually true. But I am not at all concerned least frequent eulogies (which, by way of avant propos, I must here declare will advance themselves) fhould make me appear as partial to my fubject. For who is partial that fays what he knows, and fincerely thinks? I would not, as fome, to feem impartial, do no right to any. When actions are honourable, the honour is as much the history as the fact; and fo for infamy. It is justice, as well historical as civil, to give to every one his due. And whoever engageth in such designs as these, and governs himself by other measures, may be a chronographer, but a very imperfect, or rather infipid, hiftorian.
I must here just mention fome things which
concern all these three brothers in common; and that is their parentele and family relation: and then proceed to the lives, beginning with the eldest the Lord Guilford, lord keeper of the great feal of England, then the second, Sir Dudley North, and come at laft to Dr. John North, master of Trinity College, Cambridge.
Sir Dudley North, knight of the Bath, and Lord North, baron of Kirtling (vulgo Catlidge) in Cambridgshire, was their father. His father was Dudley alfo, and had three other children. First, a fon named John, who had three wives, of whom the first beft deferves to be remembered; for she left him an estate in St. John's-Court by Smithfield, upon the ground where the chief house and garden was placed; and now a fet of fair houses are built, making three fides of a square, and is called North's-Court. He furvived all his wives, and died without iffue. The old lord had also two daughters, of whom one died fingle, the other, Dorothy, married the Lord Dacres of the fouth, and, by that match, had a fon and a daughter; the fon married the Irish Lord Loftus's