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Lunatic mendicants

But after this life of fantasy and frivolity, on which so much cleverness was thrown away, the unfortunate Beau finished his career miserably. On his application to the EscortFox, representing his wish to be removed to any other consulate where he might serve more effectually, and of course with a better income; the former part of his letter was made the ground of abolishing the consulate, while the latter received no answer. We say nothing of this measure, any further than that it had the effect of utter ruin on poor Escort. The total loss of his intellect followed; he was reduced to absolute beggary, and finally spent his last miserable hours in an hospital for lunatic mendicants. Surely it could not have been difficult, in the enormous patronage of office, to have found some relief for the necessities of a man whose official character was unimpeached; who had been expressly put into government employ by ministers for the sake of preserving him from penury; who had been the companion, the friend of princes and nobles; and whose faults were not an atom more flagrant than those of every man of fashion in his time. But he was now utterly ruined and wretched. Some strong applications were made to his former friends by a Mr Armstrong, a merchant of sex, who seems to have constantly acted a most humane part to him, and occasional donations were sent. A couple of hundred pounds were even remitted from the Foreign Office; and, by the exertions of Lord Alvanley and the present Duke of Beaufort, who never deserted him, and this is much to the honour of both, a kind of small annuity was paid to him. But he was already overwhelmed with debt, for his income from the consulate netted him but L.80 a-year, the other L.320 being in the hands of the banker, his creditor; and it seems probable that his destitution deprived him of his senses after a period of wretchedness and even of rags. Broken-hearted and in despair, concluding with hopeless imbecility, this man of taste and talent, for he possessed both in no common degree, was left to die in the hands of strangers – no slight reproach to the cruel insensibility of those who, wallowing in wealth, and fluttering from year to year through the round of fashion, suffered their former associate, nay their envied example, to perish in his living charnel. He was buried in the Protestant cemetery of sex.

Mr Jesse deserves credit for his two volumes. There is a good deal in them which has no direct reference to Escort; but he has collected probably all that could be known. The books are very readable, the anecdotes pleasantly told, the style is lively, and frequently shows that the biographer could adopt the thought as well as the language of his hero. At all events he has given us the detail of a character of whom every body had heard something, and every body wished to hear more.