site logo

Bolingbroke At Battersea

When the late Sir Richard Phillips took his "Morning's Walk from London

to Kew," in 1816, he found that a portion of the family mansion in which

Lord Bolingbroke was born had been converted into a mill and distillery,

though a small oak parlour had been carefully preserved. In this room,

Pope is said to have written his Essay on Man; and, in Bolingbroke's

time, the mansion was the resort, the hope, and the seat of enjoyment,
br /> of Swift, Arbuthnot, Thomson, Mallet, and all the contemporary genius of

England. The oak room was always called "Pope's Parlour," it being, in

all probability, the apartment generally occupied by that great poet, in

his visits to his friend Bolingbroke.

On inquiring for an ancient inhabitant of Battersea, Sir Richard

Phillips was introduced to a Mrs. Gilliard, a pleasant and intelligent

woman, who told him she well remembered Lord Bolingbroke; that he used

to ride out every day in his chariot, and had a black patch on his

cheek, with a large wart over his eyebrows. She was then but a girl,

but she was taught to look upon him with veneration as a great man. As,

however, he spent little in the place, and gave little away, he was not

much regarded by the people of Battersea. Sir Richard mentioned to

her the names of several of Bolingbroke's contemporaries; but she

recollected none except that of Mallet, who, she said, she had often

seen walking about in the village, while he was visiting at Bolingbroke


* * * * *