Mottley, John, Esq.

, a dramatic and miscellaneous writer, was the son of colonel Mottley, who was a great favourite with king James II. and followed the fortunes of that prince into France. James, not being able himself to provide for him so well as he desired, procured for him, by his interest, the command of a regiment in the service of Louis XIV. at the head of which he lost his life in the battle of Turin, in 1706. The colonel married a daughter of John Guise, esq. of Abload’s Court, in Gloucestershire, with whom, by the death of a brother, who left her his whole estate, he had a very considerable fortune. The family of the Guises, however, being of principles diametrically opposite to those of the colonel, and zealous friends to the revolution, Mrs. Mottley, notwithstanding the tenderest affection for her husband, and repeated invitations from the king and queen, then at St. Germains, preferred living at home on the scanty remains of what he had left behind. The colonel was sent over to England three or four years after the revolution, on a secret commission from king James; and during his stay our author was born, | in 1692. Mr. Mottley received the first rudiments of his education at St. Martin’s library-school, founded by archbishop Tenison; but was placed in the excise-office at sixteen years of age, under the comptroller, lord viscount Howe, whose brother and sister were both related by marriage to his mother. This situation he retained till 1720, when, in consequence of an unhappy contract he had made, probably in pursuit of some of the bubbles of that infatuated year, he was obliged to resign it. Soon after the accession of George I. Mr. Mottley had been promised by the lord Halifax, at that time first lord of the treasury, the place of one of the commissioners of the wine-licence office; but when the day came that his name should have been inserted in the patent, a more powerful interest, to his great surprize, had stepped in between him and the preferment, of which he had so positive a promise. This, however, was not the only disappointment of that kind which this gentleman met with; for, at the period above mentioned, when he parted with his place in the excise, he had one in the exchequer absolutely given to him by sir Robert Walpole, to whom he lay under many other obligations j but in this case as well as the preceding, he found that the minister had made a prior promise of it to another, and he was obliged to relinquish it. Other domestic embarrassments induced him to employ his pen, which had hitherto been only his amusement, for the means of immediate support; and he wrote his first play, “The Imperial Captives,” which met witU tolerable success. From that time he depended chiefly on his literary abilities for a maintenance, and wrote five dramatic pieces, with various success. He had also a hand in the composition of that many-fathered piece, “The Devil to Pay.” He published in 1739 a “Life of the great Czar Peter,” 3 vols. 8vo, by subscription, in which he met with the I sanction of some of the royal family, and great numbers of the nobility and gentry; and, on occasion of one of his benefits, which happened Nov. 3, queen Caroline, on the 30th of the preceding month (being the prince of Wales’s birth-day), did the author the singular honour of disposing of a great number of his tickets, with her own hand, in the drawing-room, most of which were paid for in gold, into the hands of colonel Schutz, his royal highness’s privypurse, from whom Mr. Mottley received it, with the addition of a very liberal present from the prince himself. Jn | 1744 he published in 2 vols. 8vo, “The History of the Life and Reign of the empress Catherine of Russia.” Both this and the preceding are compilations from the journals and annals of the day, but are now valuable from the scarcity of those authorities. He died Oct. 30, 1750. It has been surmised, with some appearance of reason, that Mr. Mottley was the compiler of the lives of the dramatic writers, published at the end of Whincop’s “Scanderbeg.” It is certain that the life of Mr. Mottley, in that work, is rendered one of the most important in it, and is particularized by such a number of various incidents, as it seems improbable should be known by any but either himself or some one nearly related to him. Among others he relates the following humourous anecdote. When colonel Mottley, our author’s father, came over, as has been before related, on a secret commission from the abdicated monarch, the government, who had by some means intelligence of it, were very diligent in their endeavours to have him seized. The colonel, however, was happy enough to elude their search; but several other persons were, at different times, seized through mistake for him. Among the rest, it being very well known that he frequently supped at the Blue Posts tavern, in the Hay-Market, with one Mr. Tredenhatn, a Cornish gentleman, particular directions were given for searching that house. Colonel Mottley, however, happening not to be there, the messengers found Mr. Tredenham alone, and with a heap of papers before him, which being a suspicious circumstance, they immediately seized, and carried him before the earl of Nottingham, then secretary of state. His lordship, who, however, could not avoid knowing him, as he was a member of the House of Commons, and nephew to the famous sir Edward Seymour, asked him what all those papers contained. Mr. Tredenham made answer, that they were only the several scenes of a play, which he had been scribbling for the amusement of a few leisure-hours. Lord Nottingham then only desired leave just to look over them, which having done for some little time, he returned them again to the author, assuring him that he was perfectly satisfied; “for, upon my word,” said he, “I can find no plot in them,1