In selecting the careers of certain celebrated women who have flung themselves with ardour into the vortex of politics, the author’s choice has not been so much an arbitrary one as it might seem, but rather guided by instances in which the adventurous game has not been restricted to the commonplace contentions of the public platform, or the private salon, but played on the grandest scale and on the most conspicuous arena; when Peace and War, crowns and dynasties, have trembled in the balance, and even the fate of a nation has been at stake.
oirs which describe their Courts. But, fortunately for England, neither Walpole nor his royal master were men of refined taste. It would have been hard for a monarch like Charles the Second, or a minister like Lord Bolingbroke, to resist the charms of those beautiful and sprightly girls who sparkle like diamonds in all the memoirs of that time. Their political influence was but small. George the First and his successor pursued their unwieldy loves and enjoyed their boorish romps in a style not seductive to English gentlemen. Politics were surrendered to Walpole; and the consequence was that, although there was plenty of immorality under those gracious Sovereigns, yet the feminine element of Court life had no longer that connection with public policy which once for a brief space it had possessed; and the resemblance to French manners in this respect grew less and less, till it disappeared altogether with the accession of George the Third.
During the reign of that domesticated paterfamilias a sl
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