Pulteney’s Attack on Lord Hervey
I have hitherto declined taking any Notice of those pretty Declamations, with which you have been lately pleased to oblige the Public; and look’d upon them only as little Flights or Exercitations of a Genius, which had a Mind to try its Strength in Politics. I compar’d them to the Disputations of Undergraduates in the University, or the Mootings of young Students at the Temple. [p. 3] . . .
I was afterwards inform’d that They were the Samplar-works of a forward, little, Boarding-School Miss; who was ambitous of becoming, one Time or other, a Maid of Honour; and indeed some dainty, virgin Expressions in those Performances, (as the same Writer observes) render’d it far from being improbable.
But at last I was told, in great Confidence, that They were the Productions of prety Mr. Fainlove; but let me beg of you, Mr. D’Anvers, said He, not to treat the young Gentleman with too much Severity! Look at his Youth and Innocence! He is not made for such rough Encounters. O, by no Means, Sir, said I! What hurt Mr. Fainlove! What would the Ladies say? Nay, you know that He is a Lady Himself; or at least such a nice Composition of the two Sexes, that it is difficult to distinguish which is most praedominant. My Friend Horace hath described Him much better than I can.
Quem si Puellarum insereres Choro,
Miré sagaces falleret Hospites
Discrimen obscurum, solutis
Crinibus, ambiguoque vultu.
Ovid and Ausonius have likewise described such a pretty Medley of the masculine and feminine Gender in the following Verses.
Talis erat Cultu Facies, quam dicere verè
Virgineam in Puero, puerilem in Virginie posses.
Dum dubitat Natura Marem, saceretnè Puellam,
Factus es, O pulcher, paene Puella, Puer.
AUS. [p. 5]
But though it would be barbarous to handle such a delicate Hermophrodite, such a pretty, little, Master-Miss, in too rough a Manner; yet you must give me Leave, my Dear, to give you a little, gentle Correction, for your own good. You have carry’d the Jest a little too far in your last Performance, and talk in the Stile of a dirty Blackguard Boy. O, fye! Master, you should never call Names in a Declamation, nor foul your pretty Mouth with such paw Words as Traytor and Villain. The Dialect of Billingsgate is very unbecoming a Court-Education, and will destroy all Pretentious to the Character of a fine Gentleman, which you have taken so much Pains to acquire, and which you would, I dare say, be almost as loth to lose as your Place, or even another Tooth. [p. 6]
. . .
But the most surprizing Charge of all is our Accusation of Corruption and not attempting the Proof of it in the present Situation of the Minster; but your see, pretty Sir, to take the Word Corruption in a limited Sense and confine it to the Corrupter Give me Leave to illustrate This by a parallel Case There is a certain, unnatural, reigning Vice (indecent and almost shocking to mention) which hath, of late, been severely punish’d in a neighbouring Nation. It is well known that there must be two Parties in this Crime; the Pathick and the Agent; both equally guilty. I need not explain These any farther. The Proof of the Crime hath been generally made by the Pathick; but I believe that Evidence will not be obtained quite so easily [p. 27] in the Case of Corruption, when a Man enjoys every Moment the Fruits of his Guilt. [p. 28] . . .
SOURCE: [William Pulteney], A Proper Reply To a late Scurrilous Libel; intitled, Sedition and Defamation display’d, by Caleb D’Anvers, London: Printed for R. Francklin, in Russel-street, Covent-Garden, 1731. The book is internally dated 20 January 1731.
SEE ALSO: John, Lord Hervey: The Third Sex.
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Pulteney's Attack on Lord Hervey, 1731",
Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 12 April 2003