Nugent, Robert-Craggs, Earl

, a nobleman of poetical celebrity, was a descendant from the Nugents of Carlanstown, in the county of Westmeath, and was a younger son of Michael Nugent, by Mary, daughter of Robert lord Trimleston. He was chosen M. P. for St. Mawes, in Cornwall, in 1741; appointed comptroller of the household of Frederick, prince of Wales, in 1747; a lord of the treasury in 1754; one of the vice-treasurers of Ireland in 1759; and a lord of trade in 1766. In 1767 he was created baron Nugent and viscount Clare, and in 1776 earl Nugent, with remainder to his son-in-law, the late marquis of Buckingham. His lordship was thrice married; his second wife was Anne, sister and heiress to secretary Craggs, the friend of Pope and Addison, by whom he acquired a large fortune. She was at the time of her marriage to him, in 1736, in her second widowhood, having

been first the wife of- Newsham,esq. of Chadshiint, in

Warwickshire, and secondly of John Knight, esq. of Bellowes, or Belhouse, or Gosfield-hall, in Essex. Much of Pope’s correspondence with this lady is inserted in the supplementary volume of the last edition of that poet’s works. Earl Nugent died Oct. 13, 1788.

Earl Nugent cultivated literature not unsuccessfully, had agreeable talents for poetry, but never rose to great eminence as a politician. Yet he was a steady friend to | his country (Ireland), and always a powerful pleader for her interests. This he evinced rather whimsically on one occasion in 1775, by addressing “Verses to the Queen, with a New Year’s Gift of Irish Manufacture,” a 4to poem, accompanied by a present of Irish grogram. The wits of the time asserted that her majesty was graciously pleased to thank the noble author for both his pieces of stuff. Lord Orford says that Earl Nugent “was one of those men of parts whose dawn was the brightest moment of a long life; and who, though possessed of different talents, employed them in depreciating his own fame, and destroying all opinion of his judgment, except in the point of raising bimself to honours. He was first known by the noble ode on his own conversion from popery; yet, strong as was the energy and reasoning in it, his arguments operated but temporary conviction on himself, for he died a member of the church he had exposed so severely.” So much was this ode admired that, as he was known to associate with the wits of Pope’s circle, and those who adorned the court of Frederick prince of Wales, he was supposed to have been assisted by some of them; but for this there seems no reasonable ground. Many of his poetical productions are good, and he was certainly known to be capable of the best of them, while he could at the same time descend to the worst, inconscious of their inferiority. A volume of his poems was published anonymously by Dodsley, and entitled “Odes and Epistles,” Lond. 1739, 8vo, 2d. edit. This contains the ode above mentioned on his religion, which is addressed to William Pulteney, esq. There are also other pieces by him in Dodsley’s collection, and the *' New Foundling Hospital for Wit.“His” Verses to the Queen,“and hisFaith, a poem," were the only ones published separately, the latter in 1774, and the former in 1775. The latter was a strange attempt to overturn the Epicurean doctrine by that of the Trinity, and was certainly one of those productions by which, as lord Orford observes, he depreciated his own fame. 1

1 Walpole’s Royal and Noble Authors in his Wo^^ Park’s edition of ditto. Swift’s Works, vol. XVI1J.- Bowles’s Pope’s Works, vol. X.