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Title: Calamities and Quarrels of Authors
Author: Disraeli, Isaac, 1766-1848
Language: English
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  PREFACE                                                            3
      PROPERTY                                                      15
  THE SUFFERINGS OF AUTHORS                                         22
  COWLEY--OF HIS MELANCHOLY                                         35
  THE PAINS OF FASTIDIOUS EGOTISM                                   42
  INFLUENCE OF A BAD TEMPER IN CRITICISM                            51
  THE MALADIES OF AUTHORS                                           70
  LITERARY SCOTCHMEN                                                75
  LABORIOUS AUTHORS                                                 83
  THE DESPAIR OF YOUNG POETS                                        98
  THE LIFE OF AN AUTHORESS                                         106
  THE INDISCRETION OF AN HISTORIAN--CARTE                          110
      SATIRE                                                       114
  UNDUE SEVERITY OF CRITICISM                                      139
  A VOLUMINOUS AUTHOR WITHOUT JUDGMENT                             146
  GENIUS, THE DUPE OF ITS PASSIONS                                 168
  THE REWARDS OF ORIENTAL STUDENTS                                 186
  THE MISERIES OF SUCCESSFUL AUTHORS                               202
  THE ILLUSIONS OF WRITERS IN VERSE                                212

  PREFACE                                                          229
      LITERARY CHARACTER                                           233
  POPE AND HIS MISCELLANEOUS QUARRELS                              278
  POPE AND ADDISON                                                 313
  LINTOT'S ACCOUNT-BOOK                                            328
  POPE'S EARLIEST SATIRE                                           333
  THE ROYAL SOCIETY                                                336
  BOYLE AND BENTLEY                                                377
  PARKER AND MARVELL                                               391
  D'AVENANT AND A CLUB OF WITS                                     403
  THE PAPER-WARS OF THE CIVIL WARS                                 415
      CHARACTER                                                    436
  JONSON AND DECKER                                                474
  CAMDEN AND BROOKE                                                490
  MARTIN MAR-PRELATE                                               501
  SUPPLEMENT TO MARTIN MAR-PRELATE                                 523
  LITERARY QUARRELS FROM PERSONAL MOTIVES                          529

  INDEX                                                            541




  "Such a superiority do the pursuits of Literature possess above
  every other occupation, that even he who attains but a mediocrity
  in them, merits the pre-eminence above those that excel the most
  in the common and vulgar professions."--HUME.


The Calamities of Authors have often excited the attention of the
lovers of literature; and, from the revival of letters to this day,
this class of the community, the most ingenious and the most
enlightened, have, in all the nations of Europe, been the most
honoured, and the least remunerated. Pierius Valerianus, an attendant
in the literary court of Leo X., who twice refused a bishopric that he
might pursue his studies uninterrupted, was a friend of Authors, and
composed a small work, "De Infelicitate Literatorum," which has been
frequently reprinted.[1] It forms a catalogue of several Italian
literati, his contemporaries; a meagre performance, in which the
author shows sometimes a predilection for the marvellous, which
happens so rarely in human affairs; and he is so unphilosophical, that
he places among the misfortunes of literary men those fatal casualties
to which all men are alike liable. Yet even this small volume has its
value: for although the historian confines his narrative to his own
times, he includes a sufficient number of names to convince us that to
devote our life to authorship is not the true means of improving our
happiness or our fortune.

At a later period, a congenial work was composed by Theophilus
Spizelius, a German divine; his four volumes are after the fashion of
his country and his times, which could make even small things
ponderous. In 1680 he first published two volumes, entitled "Infelix
Literatus," and five years afterwards his "Felicissimus Literatus;" he
writes without size, and sermonises without end, and seems to have
been so grave a lover of symmetry, that he shapes his _Felicities_
just with the same measure as his _Infelicities_. These two equalised
bundles of hay might have held in suspense the casuistical ass of
Sterne, till he had died from want of a motive to choose either. Yet
Spizelius is not to be contemned because he is verbose and heavy; he
has reflected more deeply than Valerianus, by opening the moral causes
of those calamities which he describes.[2]

The chief object of the present work is to ascertain some doubtful yet
important points concerning Authors. The title of Author still retains
its seduction among our youth, and is consecrated by ages. Yet what
affectionate parent would consent to see his son devote himself to his
pen as a profession? The studies of a true Author insulate him in
society, exacting daily labours; yet he will receive but little
encouragement, and less remuneration. It will be found that the most
successful Author can obtain no equivalent for the labours of his
life. I have endeavoured to ascertain this fact, to develope the
causes and to paint the variety of evils that naturally result from
the disappointments of genius. Authors themselves never discover this
melancholy truth till they have yielded to an impulse, and adopted a
profession, too late in life to resist the one, or abandon the other.
Whoever labours without hope, a painful state to which Authors are at
length reduced, may surely be placed among the most injured class in
the community. Most Authors close their lives in apathy or despair,
and too many live by means which few of them would not blush to

Besides this perpetual struggle with penury, there are also moral
causes which influence the literary character. I have drawn the
individual characters and feelings of Authors from their own
confessions, or deduced them from the prevalent events of their lives;
and often discovered them in their secret history, as it floats on
tradition, or lies concealed in authentic and original documents. I
would paint what has not been unhappily called the _psychological_

I have limited my inquiries to our own country, and generally to
recent times; for researches more curious, and eras more distant,
would less forcibly act on our sympathy. If, in attempting to avoid
the naked brevity of Valerianus, I have taken a more comprehensive
view of several of our Authors, it has been with the hope that I was
throwing a new light on their characters, or contributing some fresh
materials to our literary history. I feel anxious for the fate of the
opinions and the feelings which have arisen in the progress and
diversity of this work; but whatever their errors may be, it is to
them that my readers at least owe the materials of which it is formed;
these materials will be received with consideration, as the
confessions and statements of genius itself. In mixing them with my
own feelings, let me apply a beautiful apologue of the Hebrews--"The
clusters of grapes sent out of Babylon implore favour for the
exuberant leaves of the vine; for had there been no leaves, you had
lost the grapes."


    [1] A modern writer observes, that "Valeriano is chiefly known to
        the present times by his brief but curious and interesting
        work, _De Literatorum Infelicitate_, which has preserved many
        anecdotes of the principal scholars of the age, not elsewhere
        to be found."--ROSCOE'S _Leo X._ vol. iv. p. 175.

    [2] There is also a bulky collection of this kind, entitled,
        _Analecta de Calamitate Literatorum_, edited by Mencken, the
        author of _Charlataneria Eruditorum_.

    [3] From the Grecian _Psyche_, or the soul, the Germans have
        borrowed this expressive term. They have a _Psychological
        Magazine_. Some of our own recent authors have adopted the
        term peculiarly adapted to the historian of the human mind.



A great author once surprised me by inquiring what I meant by "an
Author by Profession." He seemed offended at the supposition that I
was creating an odious distinction between authors. I was only placing
it among their calamities.

The title of AUTHOR is venerable; and in the ranks of national glory,
authors mingle with its heroes and its patriots. It is indeed by our
authors that foreigners have been taught most to esteem us; and this
remarkably appears in the expression of Gemelli, the Italian traveller
round the world, who wrote about the year 1700; for he told all Europe
that "he could find nothing amongst us but our writings to distinguish
us from the worst of barbarians." But to become an "Author by
Profession," is to have no other means of subsistence than such as are
extracted from the quill; and no one believes these to be so
precarious as they really are, until disappointed, distressed, and
thrown out of every pursuit which can maintain independence, the
noblest mind is cast into the lot of a doomed labourer.

Literature abounds with instances of "Authors by Profession"
accommodating themselves to this condition. By vile artifices of
faction and popularity their moral sense is injured, and the literary
character sits in that study which he ought to dignify, merely, as one
of them sings,

  To keep his mutton twirling at the fire.

Another has said, "He is a fool who is a grain honester than the times
he lives in."

Let it not, therefore, be conceived that I mean to degrade or vilify
the literary character, when I would only separate the Author from
those polluters of the press who have turned a vestal into a
prostitute; a grotesque race of famished buffoons or laughing
assassins; or that populace of unhappy beings, who are driven to
perish in their garrets, unknown and unregarded by all, for illusions
which even their calamities cannot disperse. Poverty, said an ancient,
is a sacred thing--it is, indeed, so sacred, that it creates a
sympathy even for those who have incurred it by their folly, or plead
by it for their crimes.

The history of our Literature is instructive--let us trace the origin
of characters of this sort among us: some of them have happily
disappeared, and, whenever great authors obtain their due rights, the
calamities of literature will be greatly diminished.

As for the phrase of "Authors by Profession," it is said to be of
modern origin; and GUTHRIE, a great dealer in literature, and a
political scribe, is thought to have introduced it, as descriptive of
a class of writers which he wished to distinguish from the general
term. I present the reader with an unpublished letter of Guthrie, in
which the phrase will not only be found, but, what is more important,
which exhibits the character in its degraded form. It was addressed to
a minister.

  _June 3, 1762._

  "My Lord,

  "In the year 1745-6, Mr. Pelham, then First Lord of the Treasury,
  acquainted me, that it was his Majesty's pleasure I should
  receive, till better provided for, which never has happened,
  200_l._ a-year, to be paid by him and his successors in the
  Treasury. I was satisfied with the august name made use of, and
  the appointment has been regularly and quarterly paid me ever
  since. I have been equally punctual in doing the government all
  the services that fell within my abilities or sphere of life,
  especially in those critical situations that call for unanimity in
  the service of the crown.

  "Your Lordship may possibly now suspect that _I am an Author by
  Profession_: you are not deceived; and will be less so, if you
  believe that I am disposed to serve his Majesty under your
  Lordship's _future patronage and protection, with greater zeal, if
  possible, than ever_.

    "I have the honour to be,
      "My Lord, &c.,

Unblushing venality! In one part he shouts like a plundering
hussar who has carried off his prey; and in the other he bows with
the tame suppleness of the "quarterly" Swiss chaffering his halbert
for his price;--"to serve his Majesty" for--"his Lordship's future

Guthrie's notion of "An Author by Profession," entirely derived from
his own character, was twofold; literary taskwork, and political
degradation. He was to be a gentleman convertible into an historian,
at ---- per sheet; and, when he had not time to write histories, he
chose to sell his name to those he never wrote. These are mysteries of
the craft of authorship; in this sense it is only a trade, and a very
bad one! But when in his other capacity, this gentleman comes to hire
himself to one lord as he had to another, no one can doubt that the
stipendiary would change his principles with his livery.[4]

Such have been some of the "Authors by Profession" who have worn the
literary mask; for literature was not the first object of their
designs. They form a race peculiar to our country. They opened their
career in our first great revolution, and flourished during the
eventful period of the civil wars. In the form of newspapers, their
"Mercuries" and "Diurnals" were political pamphlets.[5] Of these, the
Royalists, being the better educated, carried off to their side all
the spirit, and only left the foam and dregs for the Parliamentarians;
otherwise, in lying, they were just like one another; for "the father
of lies" seems to be of no party! Were it desirable to instruct men by
a system of political and moral calumny, the complete art might be
drawn from these archives of political lying, during their flourishing
era. We might discover principles among them which would have humbled
the genius of Machiavel himself, and even have taught Mr. Sheridan's
more popular scribe, Mr. Puff, a sense of his own inferiority.

It is known that, during the administration of Harley and Walpole,
this class of authors swarmed and started up like mustard-seed in a
hot-bed. More than fifty thousand pounds were expended among them!
Faction, with mad and blind passions, can affix a value on the basest
things that serve its purpose.[6] These "Authors by Profession" wrote
more assiduously the better they were paid; but as attacks only
produced replies and rejoinders, to remunerate them was heightening
the fever and feeding the disease. They were all fighting for present
pay, with a view of the promised land before them; but they at length
became so numerous, and so crowded on one another, that the minister
could neither satisfy promised claims nor actual dues. He had not at
last the humblest office to bestow, not a commissionership of wine
licences, as Tacitus Gordon had: not even a collectorship of the
customs in some obscure town, as was the wretched worn-out Oldmixon's
pittance;[7] not a crumb for a mouse!

The captain of this banditti in the administration of Walpole was
Arnall, a young attorney, whose mature genius for scurrilous
party-papers broke forth in his tender nonage. This hireling was "The
Free Briton," and in "The Gazetteer" _Francis Walsingham, Esq._,
abusing the name of a profound statesman. It is said that he received
above ten thousand pounds for his obscure labours; and this patriot
was suffered to retire with all the dignity which a pension could
confer. He not only wrote for hire, but valued himself on it; proud of
the pliancy of his pen and of his principles, he wrote without remorse
what his patron was forced to pay for, but to disavow. It was from a
knowledge of these "Authors by Profession," writers of a faction in
the name of the community, as they have been well described, that our
great statesman Pitt fell into an error which he lived to regret. He
did not distinguish between authors; he confounded the mercenary with
the men of talent and character; and with this contracted view of the
political influence of genius, he must have viewed with awe, perhaps
with surprise, its mighty labour in the volumes of Burke.

But these "Authors by Profession" sometimes found a retribution of
their crimes even from their masters. When the ardent patron was
changed into a cold minister, their pen seemed wonderfully to have
lost its point, and the feather could not any more tickle. They were
flung off, as Shakspeare's striking imagery expresses it, like

  An unregarded bulrush on the stream,
  To rot itself with motion.

Look on the fate and fortune of AMHURST. The life of this "Author by
Profession" points a moral. He flourished about the year 1730. He
passed through a youth of iniquity, and was expelled from his college
for his irregularities: he had exhibited no marks of regeneration when
he assailed the university with the periodical paper of the _Terræ
Filius_; a witty Saturnalian effusion on the manners and Toryism of
Oxford, where the portraits have an extravagant kind of likeness, and
are so false and so true that they were universally relished and
individually understood. Amhurst, having lost his character, hastened
to reform the morals and politics of the nation. For near twenty years
he toiled at "The Craftsman," of which ten thousand are said to have
been sold in one day. Admire this patriot! an expelled collegian
becomes an outrageous zealot for popular reform, and an intrepid Whig
can bend to be yoked to all the drudgery of a faction! Amhurst
succeeded in writing out the minister, and writing in Bolingbroke and
Pulteney. Now came the hour of gratitude and generosity. His patrons
mounted into power--but--they silently dropped the instrument of their
ascension. The political prostitute stood shivering at the gate of
preferment, which his masters had for ever flung against him. He died
broken-hearted, and owed the charity of a grave to his bookseller.

I must add one more striking example of a political author in the case
of Dr. JAMES DRAKE, a man of genius, and an excellent writer. He
resigned an honourable profession, that of medicine, to adopt a very
contrary one, that of becoming an author by profession for a party. As
a Tory writer, he dared every extremity of the law, while he evaded
it by every subtlety of artifice; he sent a masked lady with his MS.
to the printer, who was never discovered, and was once saved by a flaw
in the indictment from the simple change of an _r_ for a _t_, or _nor_
for _not_;--one of those shameful evasions by which the law, to its
perpetual disgrace, so often protects the criminal from punishment.
Dr. Drake had the honour of hearing himself censured from the throne;
of being imprisoned; of seeing his "Memorials of the Church of
England" burned at London, and his "Historia Anglo-Scotica" at
Edinburgh. Having enlisted himself in the pay of the booksellers,
among other works, I suspect, he condescended to practise some
literary impositions. For he has reprinted Father Parson's famous
libel against the Earl of Leicester in Elizabeth's reign, under the
title of "Secret Memoirs of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, 1706,"
8vo, with a preface pretending it was printed from an old MS.

Drake was a lover of literature; he left behind him a version of
Herodotus, and a "System of Anatomy," once the most popular and
curious of its kind. After all this turmoil of his literary life,
neither his masked lady nor the flaws in his indictments availed him.
Government brought a writ of error, severely prosecuted him; and,
abandoned, as usual, by those for whom he had annihilated a genius
which deserved a better fate, his perturbed spirit broke out into a
fever, and he died raving against cruel persecutors, and patrons not
much more humane.

So much for some of those who have been "Authors by Profession" in one
of the twofold capacities which Guthrie designed, that of writing for
a minister; the other, that of writing for the bookseller, though far
more honourable, is sufficiently calamitous.

In commercial times, the hope of profit is always a stimulating, but a
degrading motive; it dims the clearest intellect, it stills the
proudest feelings. Habit and prejudice will soon reconcile even genius
to the work of money, and to avow the motive without a blush. "An
author by profession," at once ingenious and ingenuous, declared that,
"till fame appears to be worth more than money, he would always prefer
money to fame." JOHNSON had a notion that there existed no motive for
writing but money! Yet, crowned heads have sighed with the ambition of
authorship, though this great master of the human mind could suppose
that on this subject men were not actuated either by the love of glory
or of pleasure! FIELDING, an author of great genius and of "the
profession," in one of his "Covent-garden Journals" asserts, that "An
author, in a country where there is no public provision for men of
genius, is not obliged to be a more disinterested patriot than any
other. Why is he whose _livelihood is in his pen_ a greater monster in
using it to serve himself, than he who uses his tongue for the same

But it is a very important question to ask, is this "livelihood in the
pen" really such? Authors drudging on in obscurity, and enduring
miseries which can never close but with their life--shall this be
worth even the humble designation of a "livelihood?" I am not now
combating with them whether their taskwork degrades them, but whether
they are receiving an equivalent for the violation of their genius,
for the weight of the fetters they are wearing, and for the entailed
miseries which form an author's sole legacies to his widow and his
children. Far from me is the wish to degrade literature by the
inquiry; but it will be useful to many a youth of promising talent,
who is impatient to abandon all professions for this one, to consider
well the calamities in which he will most probably participate.

Among "Authors by Profession" who has displayed a more fruitful
genius, and exercised more intense industry, with a loftier sense of
his independence, than SMOLLETT? But look into his life and enter into
his feelings, and you will be shocked at the disparity of his
situation with the genius of the man. His life was a succession of
struggles, vexations, and disappointments, yet of success in his
writings. Smollett, who is a great poet, though he has written little
in verse, and whose rich genius composed the most original pictures of
human life, was compelled by his wants to debase his name by selling
it to voyages and translations, which he never could have read. When
he had worn himself down in the service of the public or the
booksellers, there remained not, of all his slender remunerations, in
the last stage of life, sufficient to convey him to a cheap country
and a restorative air on the Continent. The father may have thought
himself fortunate, that the daughter whom he loved with more than
common affection was no more to share in his wants; but the husband
had by his side the faithful companion of his life, left without a
wreck of fortune. Smollett, gradually perishing in a foreign land,[8]
neglected by an admiring public, and without fresh resources from the
booksellers, who were receiving the income of his works, threw out his
injured feelings in the character of _Bramble_; the warm generosity of
his temper, but not his genius, seemed fleeting with his breath. In a
foreign land his widow marked by a plain monument the spot of his
burial, and she perished in solitude! Yet Smollett dead--soon an
ornamented column is raised at the place of his birth,[9] while the
grave of the author seemed to multiply the editions of his works.
There are indeed grateful feelings in the public at large for a
favourite author; but the awful testimony of those feelings, by its
gradual progress, must appear beyond the grave! They visit the column
consecrated by his name, and his features are most loved, most
venerated, in the bust.

Smollett himself shall be the historian of his own heart; this most
successful "Author by Profession," who, for his subsistence, composed
masterworks of genius, and drudged in the toils of slavery, shall
himself tell us what happened, and describe that state between life
and death, partaking of both, which obscured his faculties and
sickened his lofty spirit.

"Had some of those who were pleased to call themselves my friends been
at any pains to deserve the character, and told me ingenuously what I
had to expect in _the capacity of an author, when I first professed
myself of that venerable fraternity_, I should in all probability have
spared myself the _incredible labour and chagrin I have since

As a relief from literary labour, Smollett once went to revisit his
family, and to embrace the mother he loved; but such was the
irritation of his mind and the infirmity of his health, exhausted by
the hard labours of authorship, that he never passed a more weary
summer, nor ever found himself so incapable of indulging the warmest
emotions of his heart. On his return, in a letter, he gave this
melancholy narrative of himself:--"Between friends, I am now convinced
that _my brain was in some measure affected_; for I had a kind of
_Coma Vigil_ upon me from April to November, without intermission. In
consideration of this circumstance, I know you will forgive all my
peevishness and discontent; tell Mrs. Moore that with regard to me,
she has as yet seen nothing but the wrong side of the tapestry." Thus
it happens in the life of authors, that they whose comic genius
diffuses cheerfulness, create a pleasure which they cannot themselves

The _Coma Vigil_ may be described by a verse of Shakspeare:--

  Still-waking sleep! that is not what it is!

Of praise and censure, says Smollett, in a letter to Dr. Moore,
"Indeed I am sick of both, and wish to God my circumstances would
allow me to consign my pen to oblivion." A wish, as fervently repeated
by many "Authors by Profession," who are not so fully entitled as was
Smollett to write when he chose, or to have lived in quiet for what he
had written. An author's life is therefore too often deprived of all
social comfort whether he be the writer for a minister, or a
bookseller--but their case requires to be stated.


    [4] It has been lately disclosed that HOME, the author of "Douglas,"
        was pensioned by Lord Bute to answer all the papers and
        pamphlets of the Government, and to be a vigilant defender of
        the measures of Government.

    [5] I have elsewhere portrayed the personal characters of the
        hireling chiefs of these paper wars: the versatile and
        unprincipled Marchmont Needham, the Cobbett of his day; the
        factious Sir Roger L'Estrange; and the bantering and
        profligate Sir John Birkenhead.

    [6] An ample view of these lucubrations is exhibited in the early
        volumes of the _Gentleman's Magazine_.

    [7] It was said of this man that "he had submitted to labour at the
        press, like a horse in a mill, till he became as blind and as
        wretched." To show the extent of the conscience of this class
        of writers, and to what lengths mere party-writers can
        proceed, when duly encouraged, Oldmixon, who was a Whig
        historian, if a violent party-writer ought ever to be
        dignified by so venerable a title, unmercifully rigid to all
        other historians, was himself guilty of the crimes with which
        he so loudly accused others. He charged three eminent persons
        with interpolating Lord Clarendon's History; this charge was
        afterwards disproved by the passages being produced in his
        Lordship's own handwriting, which had been fortunately
        preserved; and yet this accuser of interpolation, when
        employed by Bishop Kennett to publish his collection of our
        historians, made no scruple of falsifying numerous passages in
        Daniel's Chronicle, which makes the first edition of that
        collection of no value.

    [8] Smollett died in a small abode in the neighbourhood of Leghorn,
        where he had resided some time in the hope of recovering his
        shattered health; and where he wrote his "Humphrey Clinker."
        His friends had tried in vain to procure for him the
        appointment of consul to any one of the ports of the
        Mediterranean. He is buried in the English cemetery at

    [9] It stands opposite Dalquhurn House, where he was born, near the
        village of Renton, Dumbartonshire. Had Smollett lived a few
        more years, he would have been entitled to an estate of about
        1000_l._ a year. There is also a cenotaph to his memory on the
        banks of Leven-water, which he has consecrated in one of his
        best poems.--ED.



JOHNSON has dignified the booksellers as "the patrons of literature,"
which was generous in that great author, who had written well and
lived but ill all his life on that patronage. Eminent booksellers, in
their constant intercourse with the most enlightened class of the
community, that is, with the best authors and the best readers,
partake of the intelligence around them; their great capitals, too,
are productive of good and evil in literature; useful when they carry
on great works, and pernicious when they sanction indifferent ones.
Yet are they but commercial men. A trader can never be deemed a
patron, for it would be romantic to purchase what is not saleable; and
where no favour is conferred, there is no patronage.

Authors continue poor, and booksellers become opulent; an extraordinary
result! Booksellers are not agents for authors, but proprietors of
their works; so that the perpetual revenues of literature are solely
in the possession of the trade.

Is it then wonderful that even successful authors are indigent? They
are heirs to fortunes, but by a strange singularity they are
disinherited at their birth; for, on the publication of their works,
these cease to be their own property. Let that natural property be
secured, and a good book would be an inheritance, a leasehold or a
freehold, as you choose it; it might at least last out a generation,
and descend to the author's blood, were they permitted to live on
their father's glory, as in all other property they do on his
industry.[10] Something of this nature has been instituted in France,
where the descendants of Corneille and Molière retain a claim on the
theatres whenever the dramas of their great ancestors are performed.
In that country, literature has ever received peculiar honours--it was
there decreed, in the affair of Crebillon, that literary productions
are not seizable by creditors.[11]

The history of literary property in this country might form as
ludicrous a narrative as Lucian's "true history." It was a long while
doubtful whether any such thing existed, at the very time when
booksellers were assigning over the perpetual copyrights of books, and
making them the subject of family settlements for the provision of
their wives and children! When Tonson, in 1739, obtained an injunction
to restrain another bookseller from printing Milton's "Paradise
Lost," he brought into court as a proof of his title an assignment of
the original copyright, made over by the sublime poet in 1667, which
was read. Milton received for this assignment the sum which we all
know--Tonson and all his family and assignees rode in their carriages
with the profits of the five-pound epic.[12]

The verbal and tasteless lawyers, not many years past, with legal
metaphysics, wrangled like the schoolmen, inquiring of each other,
"whether the _style_ and _ideas_ of an author were tangible things; or
if these were a _property_, how is _possession_ to be taken, or any
act of _occupancy_ made on mere intellectual _ideas_." Nothing, said
they, can be an object of property but which has a corporeal
substance; the air and the light, to which they compared an author's
ideas, are common to all; ideas in the MS. state were compared to
birds in a cage; while the author confines them in his own dominion,
none but he has a right to let them fly; but the moment he allows the
bird to escape from his hand, it is no violation of property in any
one to make it his own. And to prove that there existed no property
after publication, they found an analogy in the gathering of acorns,
or in seizing on a vacant piece of ground; and thus degrading that
most refined piece of art formed in the highest state of society, a
literary production, they brought us back to a state of nature; and
seem to have concluded that literary property was purely ideal; a
phantom which, as its author could neither grasp nor confine to
himself, he must entirely depend on the public benevolence for his

The Ideas, that is, the work of an author, are "tangible things."
"There are works," to quote the words of a near and dear relative,
"which require great learning, great industry, great labour, and great
capital, in their preparation. They assume a palpable form. You may
fill warehouses with them, and freight ships; and the tenure by which
they are held is superior to that of all other property, for it is
original. It is tenure which does not exist in a doubtful title; which
does not spring from any adventitious circumstances; it is not
found--it is not purchased--it is not prescriptive--it is original; so
it is the most natural of all titles, because it is the most simple
and least artificial. It is paramount and sovereign, because it is a
tenure by creation."[14]

There were indeed some more generous spirits and better philosophers
fortunately found on the same bench; and the identity of a literary
composition was resolved into its sentiments and language, besides
what was more obviously valuable to some persons, the print and paper.
On this slight principle was issued the profound award which accorded
a certain term of years to any work, however immortal. They could not
diminish the immortality of a book, but only its reward. In all the
litigations respecting literary property, authors were little
considered--except some honourable testimonies due to genius, from the
sense of WILLES, and the eloquence of MANSFIELD. Literary property was
still disputed, like the rights of a parish common. An honest printer,
who could not always write grammar, had the shrewdness to make a bold
effort in this scramble, and perceiving that even by this last
favourable award all literary property would necessarily centre with
the booksellers, now stood forward for his own body--the printers.
This rough advocate observed that "a few persons who call themselves
_booksellers_, about the number of _twenty-five_, have kept the
_monopoly of books and copies_ in their hands, to the entire exclusion
of all others, but more especially the _printers_, whom they have
always held it a rule never to let become purchasers in _copy_." Not a
word for the _authors_! As for them, they were doomed by both parties
as the fat oblation: they indeed sent forth some meek bleatings; but
what were AUTHORS, between judges, booksellers, and printers? the
sacrificed among the sacrificers!

All this was reasoning in a circle. LITERARY PROPERTY in our nation
arose from _a new state of society_. These lawyers could never
develope its nature by wild analogies, nor discover it in any
common-law right; for our common law, composed of immemorial customs,
could never have had in its contemplation an object which could not
have existed in barbarous periods. Literature, in its enlarged spirit,
certainly never entered into the thoughts or attention of our rude
ancestors. All their views were bounded by the necessaries of life;
and as yet they had no conception of the impalpable, invisible, yet
sovereign dominion of the human mind--enough for our rough heroes was
that of the seas! Before the reign of Henry VIII. great authors
composed occasionally a book in Latin, which none but other great
authors cared for, and which the people could not read. In the reign
of Elizabeth, ROGER ASCHAM appeared--one of those men of genius born
to create a new era in the history of their nation. The first English
author who may be regarded as the founder of our _prose style_ was
Roger Ascham, the venerable parent of our _native literature_. At a
time when our scholars affected to contemn the vernacular idiom, and
in their Latin works were losing their better fame, that of being
understood by all their countrymen, Ascham boldly avowed the design of
setting an example, in his own words, TO SPEAK AS THE COMMON PEOPLE,
TO THINK AS WISE MEN. His pristine English is still forcible without
pedantry, and still beautiful without ornament.[15] The illustrious
BACON condescended to follow this new example in the most popular of
his works. This change in our literature was like a revelation; these
men taught us our language in books. We became a reading people; and
then the demand for books naturally produced a new order of authors,
who traded in literature. It was then, so early as in the Elizabethan
age, that _literary property_ may be said to derive its obscure origin
in this nation. It was protected in an indirect manner by the
_licensers_ of the press; for although that was a mere political
institution, only designed to prevent seditious and irreligious
publications, yet, as no book could be printed without a licence,
there was honour enough in the licensers not to allow other
publishers to infringe on the privilege granted to the first
claimant. In Queen Anne's time, when the office of licensers was
extinguished, a more liberal genius was rising in the nation, and
_literary property_ received a more definite and a more powerful
protection. A limited term was granted to every author to reap the
fruits of his labours; and Lord Hardwicke pronounced this statute "a
universal patent for authors." Yet, subsequently, the subject of
_literary property_ involved discussion; even at so late a period as
in 1769 it was still to be litigated. It was then granted that
originally an author had at common law a property in his work, but
that the act of Anne took away all copyright after the expiration of
the terms it permitted.

As the matter now stands, let us address an arithmetical age--but my
pen hesitates to bring down my subject to an argument fitted to "these
coster-monger times."[16] On the present principle of literary
property, it results that an author disposes of a leasehold property
of twenty-eight years, often for less than the price of one year's
purchase! How many living authors are the sad witnesses of this fact,
who, like so many Esaus, have sold their inheritance for a meal! I
leave the whole school of Adam Smith to calm their calculating
emotions concerning "that unprosperous race of men" (sometimes this
master-seer calls them "unproductive") "commonly called _men of
letters_," who are pretty much in the situation which lawyers and
physicians would be in, were these, as he tells us, in that state when
"_a scholar_ and _a beggar_ seem to have been very nearly _synonymous
terms_"--and this melancholy fact that man of genius discovered,
without the feather of his pen brushing away a tear from his
lid--without one spontaneous and indignant groan!

Authors may exclaim, "we ask for justice, not charity." They would
not need to require any favour, nor claim any other than that
protection which an enlightened government, in its wisdom and its
justice, must bestow. They would leave to the public disposition the
sole appreciation of their works; their book must make its own
fortune; a bad work may be cried up, and a good work may be cried
down; but Faction will soon lose its voice, and Truth acquire one.
The cause we are pleading is not the calamities of indifferent
writers, but of those whose utility or whose genius long survives
that limited term which has been so hardly wrenched from the
penurious hand of verbal lawyers. Every lover of literature, and
every votary of humanity has long felt indignant at that sordid
state and all those secret sorrows to which men of the finest
genius, or of sublime industry, are reduced and degraded in
society. Johnson himself, who rejected that perpetuity of literary
property which some enthusiasts seemed to claim at the time the
subject was undergoing the discussion of the judges, is, however,
for extending the copyright to a _century_. Could authors secure
this, their natural right, literature would acquire a permanent
and a nobler reward; for great authors would then be distinguished
by the very profits they would receive from that obscure multitude
whose common disgraces they frequently participate, notwithstanding
the superiority of their own genius. Johnson himself will serve as
a proof of the incompetent remuneration of literary property. He
undertook and he performed an Herculean labour, which employed him
so many years that the price he obtained was exhausted before the
work was concluded--the wages did not even last as long as the
labour! Where, then, is the author to look forward, when such works
are undertaken, for a provision for his family, or for his future
existence? It would naturally arise from the work itself, were
authors not the most ill-treated and oppressed class of the
community. The daughter of MILTON need not have craved the alms of
the admirers of her father, if the right of authors had been better
protected; his own "Paradise Lost" had then been her better portion
and her most honourable inheritance. The children of BURNS would have
required no subscriptions; that annual tribute which the public pay
to the genius of their parent was their due, and would have been their

Authors now submit to have a shorter life than their own celebrity.
While the book markets of Europe are supplied with the writings of
English authors, and they have a wider diffusion in America than at
home, it seems a national ingratitude to limit the existence of works
for their authors to a short number of years, and then to seize on
their possession for ever.


   [10] The following facts will show the value of _literary property_;
        immense profits and cheap purchases! The manuscript of
        "Robinson Crusoe" ran through the whole trade, and no one
        would print it; the bookseller who did purchase it, who, it is
        said, was not remarkable for his discernment, but for a
        speculative turn, got a thousand guineas by it. How many have
        the booksellers since accumulated? Burn's "Justice" was
        disposed of by its author for a trifle, as well as Buchan's
        "Domestic Medicine;" these works yield annual incomes.
        Goldsmith's "Vicar of Wakefield" was sold in the hour of
        distress, with little distinction from any other work in that
        class of composition; and "Evelina" produced five guineas from
        the niggardly trader. Dr. Johnson fixed the price of his
        "Biography of the Poets" at two hundred guineas; and Mr.
        Malone observes, the booksellers in the course of twenty-five
        years have probably got five thousand. I could add a great
        number of facts of this nature which relate to living writers;
        the profits of their own works for two or three years would
        rescue them from the horrors and humiliation of pauperism. It
        is, perhaps, useful to record, that, while the compositions of
        genius are but slightly remunerated, though sometimes as
        productive as "the household stuff" of literature, the latter
        is rewarded with princely magnificence. At the sale of the
        Robinsons, the copyright of "Vyse's Spelling-book" was sold at
        the enormous price of 2200_l._, with an _annuity_ of fifty
        guineas to the author!

   [11] The circumstance, with the poet's dignified petition, and the
        King's honourable decree, are preserved in "Curiosities of
        Literature," vol. i. p. 406.

   [12] The elder Tonson's portrait represents him in his gown and cap,
        holding in his right hand a volume lettered "Paradise
        Lost"--such a favourite object was Milton and copyright! Jacob
        Tonson was the founder of a race who long honoured literature.
        His rise in life is curious. He was at first unable to pay
        twenty pounds for a play by Dryden, and joined with another
        bookseller to advance that sum; the play sold, and Tonson was
        afterwards enabled to purchase the succeeding ones. He and his
        nephew died worth two hundred thousand pounds.--Much old
        Tonson owed to his own industry; but he was a mere trader. He
        and Dryden had frequent bickerings; he insisted on receiving
        10,000 verses for two hundred and sixty-eight pounds, and poor
        Dryden threw in the finest Ode in the language towards the
        number. He would pay in the base coin which was then current;
        which was a loss to the poet. Tonson once complained to
        Dryden, that he had only received 1446 lines of his
        translation of Ovid for his Miscellany for fifty guineas, when
        he had calculated at the rate of 1518 lines for forty guineas;
        he gives the poet a piece of critical reasoning, that he
        considered he had a better bargain with "Juvenal," which is
        reckoned "not so easy to translate as Ovid." In these times
        such a mere trader in literature has disappeared.

   [13] Sir James Burrows' Reports on the question concerning Literary
        Property, 4to. London, 1773.

   [14] Mirror of Parliament, 3529.

   [15] See "Amenities of Literature" for an account of this author.

   [16] A coster-monger, or Costard-monger, is a dealer in apples, which
        are so called because they are shaped like a _costard_, _i.e._
        a man's head. _Steevens._--Johnson explains the phrase
        eloquently: "In these times when the prevalence of trade has
        produced that meanness, that rates the merit of everything by


_The natural rights and properties of AUTHORS_ not having been
sufficiently protected, they are defrauded, not indeed of their fame,
though they may not always live to witness it, but of their
_uninterrupted profits_, which might save them from their frequent
degradation in society. That act of Anne which confers on them some
right of property, acknowledges that works of learned men have been
carried on "too often to the ruin of them and their families."

Hence we trace a literary calamity which the public endure in those
"Authors by Profession," who, finding often too late in life that it
is the worst profession, are not scrupulous to live by some means or
other. "I must live," cried one of the brotherhood, shrugging his
shoulders in his misery, and almost blushing for a libel he had just
printed--"I do not see the necessity," was the dignified reply. Trade
was certainly not the origin of authorship. Most of our great authors
have written from a more impetuous impulse than that of a mechanic;
urged by a loftier motive than that of humouring the popular taste,
they have not lowered themselves by writing down to the public, but
have raised the public to them. Untasked, they composed at propitious
intervals; and feeling, not labour, was in their last, as in their
first page.

When we became a reading people, books were to be suited to popular
tastes, and then that trade was opened that leads to the workhouse. A
new race sprang up, that, like Ascham, "spoke as the common people;"
but would not, like Ascham, "think as wise men." The founders of
"Authors by Profession" appear as far back as in the Elizabethan age.
Then there were some roguish wits, who, taking advantage of the public
humour, and yielding their principle to their pen, lived to write, and
wrote to live; loose livers and loose writers!--like Autolycus, they
ran to the fair, with baskets of hasty manufactures, fit for clowns
and maidens.[17]

Even then flourished the craft of authorship, and the mysteries of
bookselling. ROBERT GREENE, the master-wit, wrote "The Art of
Coney-catching," or Cheatery, in which he was an adept; he died of a
surfeit of Rhenish and pickled herrings, at a fatal banquet of
authors;--and left as his legacy among the "Authors by Profession" "A
Groatsworth of Wit, bought with a Million of Repentance." One died of
another kind of surfeit. Another was assassinated in a brothel. But
the list of the calamities of all these worthies have as great variety
as those of the Seven Champions.[18] Nor were the _stationers_, or
_book-venders_, as the publishers of books were first designated, at a
fault in the mysteries of "coney-catching." Deceptive and vaunting
title-pages were practised to such excess, that TOM NASH, an "Author
by Profession," never fastidiously modest, blushed at the title of his
"Pierce Pennilesse," which the publisher had flourished in the first
edition, like "a tedious mountebank." The booksellers forged great
names to recommend their works, and passed off in currency their base
metal stamped with a royal head. "It was an usual thing in those
days," says honest Anthony Wood, "to set a great name to a book or
books, by the sharking booksellers or snivelling writers, to get

Such authors as these are unfortunate, before they are criminal; they
often tire out their youth before they discover that "Author by
Profession" is a denomination ridiculously assumed, for it is none!
The first efforts of men of genius are usually honourable ones; but
too often they suffer that genius to be debased. Many who would have
composed history have turned voluminous party-writers; many a noble
satirist has become a hungry libeller. Men who are starved in
society, hold to it but loosely. They are the children of Nemesis!
they avenge themselves--and with the Satan of MILTON they exclaim,

  Evil, be thou my good!

Never were their feelings more vehemently echoed than by this
Nash--the creature of genius, of famine, and despair. He lived indeed
in the age of Elizabeth, but writes as if he had lived in our own. He
proclaimed himself to the world as _Pierce Pennilesse_, and on a
retrospect of his _literary life_, observes that he had "sat up late
and rose early, contended with the cold, and conversed with
scarcitie;" he says, "all my labours turned to losse,--I was despised
and neglected, my paines not regarded, or slightly rewarded, and I
myself, in prime of my best wit, laid open to povertie. Whereupon I
accused my fortune, railed on my patrons, bit my pen, rent my papers,
and raged."--And then comes the after-reflection, which so frequently
provokes the anger of genius: "How many base men that wanted those
parts I had, enjoyed content at will, and had wealth at command! I
called to mind a cobbler that was worth five hundred pounds; an
hostler that had built a goodly inn; a carman in a leather pilche that
had whipt a thousand pound out of his horse's tail--and have I more
than these? thought I to myself; am I better born? am I better brought
up? yea, and better favoured! and yet am I a beggar? How am I crost,
or whence is this curse? Even from hence, the men that should employ
such as I am, are enamoured of their own wits, though they be never so
scurvie; that a scrivener is better paid than a scholar; and men of
art must seek to live among cormorants, or be kept under by dunces,
who count it policy to keep them bare to follow their books the
better." And then, Nash thus utters the cries of--

                   A DESPAIRING AUTHOR!

  Why is't damnation to despair and die
    When life is my true happiness' disease?
  My soul! my soul! thy safety makes me fly
    _The faulty means_ that might my pain appease;
  Divines and dying men may talk of hell;
  But in my heart her several torments dwell.

  Ah worthless wit, to train me to this woe!
    Deceitful arts that nourish discontent!
  Ill thrive the folly that bewitch'd me so!
    Vain thoughts, adieu! for now I will repent;
  And yet my wants persuade me to proceed,
  Since none take pity of a scholar's need!--

  Forgive me, God, although I curse my birth,
    And ban the air wherein I breathe a wretch!
  For misery hath daunted all my mirth--
  Without redress complains my careless verse,
    And Midas' ears relent not at my moan!
  In some far land will I my griefs rehearse,
    'Mongst them that will be moved when I shall groan!
  England, adieu! the soil that brought me forth!
  Adieu, unkinde! where skill is nothing worth!

Such was the miserable cry of an "Author by Profession" in the reign
of Elizabeth. Nash not only renounces his country in his despair--and
hesitates on "the faulty means" which have appeased the pangs of many
of his unhappy brothers, but he proves also the weakness of the moral
principle among these men of genius; for he promises, if any Mæcenas
will bind him by his bounty, he will do him "as much honour as any
poet of my beardless years in England--but," he adds, "if he be sent
away with a flea in his ear, let him look that I will rail on him
soundly; not for an hour or a day, while the injury is fresh in my
memory, but in some elaborate polished poem, which I will leave to the
world when I am dead, to be a living image to times to come of his
beggarly parsimony." Poets might imagine that CHATTERTON had written
all this, about the time he struck a balance of his profit and loss by
the death of Beckford the Lord Mayor, in which he concludes with "I am
glad he is dead by 3_l._ 13_s._ 6_d._"[19]


   [17] An abundance of these amusing tracts eagerly bought up in their
        day, but which came in the following generation to the
        ballad-stalls, are in the present enshrined in the cabinets of
        the curious. Such are the revolutions of literature! [It is by
        no means uncommon to find them realise sums at the rate of a
        guinea a page; but it is to be solely attributed to their
        extreme rarity; for in many instances the reprints of such
        tracts are worthless.]

   [18] Poverty and the gaol alternated with tavern carouses or the
        place of honour among the wild young gallants at the
        playhouses. They were gentlemen or beggars as daily
        circumstances ordained. When this was the case with such
        authors as Greene, Peele, and Massinger, we need not wonder at
        finding "a whole knot" of writers in infinitely worse plight,
        who lived (or starved) by writing ballads and pamphlets on
        temporary subjects. In a brief tract, called "The Downfall of
        Temporising Poets," published 1641, they are said to be "an
        indifferent strong corporation, twenty-three of you sufficient
        writers, besides Martin Parker," who was the great ballad and
        pamphlet writer of the day. The shifts they were put to, and
        the difficulties of their living, is denoted in the reply of
        one of the characters in this tract, who on being asked if he
        has money, replies "Money? I wonder where you ever see poets
        have money two days together; I sold a copy last night, and
        have spent the money; and now have another copy to sell, but
        nobody will buy it."--ED.

   [19] Chatterton had written a political essay for "The North Briton,"
        which opened with the preluding flourish of "A spirited people
        freeing themselves from insupportable slavery:" it was,
        however, though accepted, not printed, on account of the Lord
        Mayor's death. The patriot thus calculated the death of his
        great patron!

                                                      £  s.   d.
          Lost by his death in this Essay             1  11   6
          Gained in Elegies                  £2  2
          ---- in Essays                      3  3
                                              ----    5   5   0
          Am glad he is dead by                      £3  13   6



It must be confessed, that before "Authors by Profession" had
fallen into the hands of the booksellers, they endured peculiar
grievances. They were pitiable retainers of some great family.
The miseries of such an author, and the insolence and penuriousness of
his patrons, who would not return the poetry they liked and would not
pay for, may be traced in the eventful life of THOMAS CHURCHYARD, a
poet of the age of Elizabeth, one of those unfortunate men who have
written poetry all their days, and lived a long life to complete
the misfortune. His muse was so fertile, that his works pass all
enumeration. He courted numerous patrons, who valued the poetry,
while they left the poet to his own miserable contemplations. In a
long catalogue of his works, which this poet has himself given, he
adds a few memoranda, as he proceeds, a little ludicrous, but very
melancholy. He wrote a book which he could never afterwards
recover from one of his patrons, and adds, "all which book was in as
good verse as ever I made; an honourable knight dwelling in the
Black Friers can witness the same, because I read it unto him."
Another accorded him the same remuneration--on which he adds, "An
infinite number of other songs and sonnets given where they cannot
be recovered, nor purchase any favour when they are craved." Still,
however, he announces "Twelve long Tales for Christmas, dedicated to
twelve honourable lords." Well might Churchyard write his own sad
life, under the title of "The Tragicall Discourse of the Haplesse
Man's Life."[20]

It will not be easy to parallel this pathetic description of the
wretched age of a poor neglected poet mourning over a youth vainly

  High time it is to haste my carcase hence:
  Youth stole away and felt no kind of joy,
  And age he left in travail ever since;
  The wanton days that made me nice and coy
  Were but a dream, a shadow, and a toy--

  I look in glass, and find my cheeks so lean
  That every hour I do but wish me dead;
  Now back bends down, and forwards falls the head,
  And hollow eyes in wrinkled brow doth shroud
  As though two stars were creeping under cloud.

  The lips wax cold, and look both pale and thin,
  The teeth fall out as nutts forsook the shell,
  The bare bald head but shows where hair hath been,
  The lively joints wax weary, stiff, and still,
  The ready tongue now falters in his tale;
  The courage quails as strength decays and goes....

  The thatcher hath a cottage poor you see:
  The shepherd knows where he shall sleep at night;
  The daily drudge from cares can quiet be:
  Thus fortune sends some rest to every wight;
  And I was born to house and land by right....

  Well, ere my breath my body do forsake
  My spirit I bequeath to God above;
  My books, my scrawls, and songs that I did make,
  I leave with friends that freely did me love....

  Now, friends, shake hands, I must be gone, my boys!
  Our mirth takes end, our triumph all is done;
  Our tickling talk, our sports and merry toys
  Do glide away like shadow of the sun.
  Another comes when I my race have run,
  Shall pass the time with you in better plight,
  And find good cause of greater things to write.

Yet Churchyard was no contemptible bard; he composed a national poem,
"The Worthiness of Wales," which has been reprinted, and will be still
dear to his "Fatherland," as the Hollanders expressively denote their
natal spot. He wrote in the "Mirrour of Magistrates," the Life of
Wolsey, which has parts of great dignity; and the Life of Jane Shore,
which was much noticed in his day, for a severe critic of the times

  Hath not Shore's wife, although a light-skirt she,
  Given him a chaste, long, lasting memorie?

Churchyard, and the miseries of his poetical life, are alluded to by
Spenser. He is old Palemon in "Colin Clout's come Home again." Spenser
is supposed to describe this laborious writer for half a century,
whose melancholy pipe, in his old age, may make the reader "rew:"

  Yet he himself may rewed be more right,
  That sung so long untill quite hoarse he grew.

His epitaph, preserved by Camden, is extremely instructive to all
poets, could epitaphs instruct them:--

  _Poverty_ and _poetry_ his tomb doth inclose;
  Wherefore, good neighbours, be merry in _prose_.

It appears also by a confession of Tom Nash, that an author would
then, pressed by the _res angusta domi_, when "the bottom of his purse
was turned upward," submit to compose pieces for gentlemen who aspired
to authorship. He tells us on some occasion, that he was then in the
country composing poetry for some country squire;--and says, "I am
faine to let my plow stand still in the midst of a furrow, to follow
these Senior Fantasticos, to whose amorous _villanellas_[21] I
prostitute my pen," and this, too, "twice or thrice in a month;" and
he complains that it is "poverty which alone maketh me so unconstant
to my determined studies, trudging from place to place to and fro, and
prosecuting the means to keep me from idlenesse." An author was then
much like a vagrant.

Even at a later period, in the reign of the literary James, great
authors were reduced to a state of mendicity, and lived on alms,
although their lives and their fortunes had been consumed in
forming national labours. The antiquary STOWE exhibits a striking
example of the rewards conferred on such valued authors. Stowe had
devoted his life, and exhausted his patrimony, in the study of
English antiquities; he had travelled on foot throughout the kingdom,
inspecting all monuments of antiquity, and rescuing what he could
from the dispersed libraries of the monasteries. His stupendous
collections, in his own handwriting, still exist, to provoke the
feeble industry of literary loiterers. He felt through life the
enthusiasm of study; and seated in his monkish library, living with
the dead more than with the living, he was still a student of taste:
for Spenser the poet visited the library of Stowe; and the first
good edition of Chaucer was made so chiefly by the labours of our
author. Late in life, worn-out with study and the cares of poverty,
neglected by that proud metropolis of which he had been the historian,
his good-humour did not desert him; for being afflicted with sharp
pains in his aged feet, he observed that "his affliction lay in that
part which formerly he had made so much use of." Many a mile had he
wandered and much had he expended, for those treasures of antiquities
which had exhausted his fortune, and with which he had formed works
of great public utility. It was in his eightieth year that Stowe at
length received a public acknowledgment of his services, which will
appear to us of a very extraordinary nature. He was so reduced in his
circumstances that he petitioned James I. for a _licence to collect
alms_ for himself! "as a recompense for his labours and travel of
_forty-five years_, in setting forth the _Chronicles of England_,
and _eight years_ taken up in the _Survey of the Cities of London
and Westminster_, towards his relief now in his old age; having left
his former means of living, and only employing himself for the
service and good of his country." Letters-patent under the great
seal were granted. After no penurious commendations of Stowe's
labours, he is permitted "to gather the benevolence of well-disposed
people within this realm of England; to ask, gather, and take the
alms of all our loving subjects." These letters-patent were to be
published by the clergy from their pulpits; they produced so
little, that they were renewed for another twelvemonth: one entire
parish in the city contributed seven shillings and sixpence! Such,
then, was the patronage received by Stowe, to be a licensed beggar
throughout the kingdom for one twelvemonth! Such was the public
remuneration of a man who had been useful to his nation, but not to

Such was the first age of _Patronage_, which branched out in the last
century into an age of _Subscriptions_, when an author levied
contributions before his work appeared; a mode which inundated our
literature with a great portion of its worthless volumes: of these the
most remarkable are the splendid publications of Richard Blome; they
may be called fictitious works; for they are only mutilated
transcripts from Camden and Speed, but richly ornamented, and
pompously printed, which this literary adventurer, said to have been a
gentleman, loaded the world with, by the aid of his subscribers.
Another age was that of _Dedications_,[22] when the author was to
lift his tiny patron to the skies, in an inverse ratio as he lowered
himself, in this public exhibition. Sometimes the party haggled about
the price;[23] or the statue, while stepping into his niche, would
turn round on the author to assist his invention. A patron of Peter
Motteux, dissatisfied with Peter's colder temperament, composed the
superlative dedication to himself, and completed the misery of the
author by subscribing it with Motteux's name![24] Worse fared it when
authors were the unlucky hawkers of their own works; of which I shall
give a remarkable instance in MYLES DAVIES, a learned man maddened by
want and indignation.

The subject before us exhibits one of the most singular spectacles in
these volumes; that of a scholar of extensive erudition, whose life
seems to have passed in the study of languages and the sciences, while
his faculties appear to have been disordered from the simplicity of
his nature, and driven to madness by indigence and insult. He formed
the wild resolution of becoming a mendicant author, the hawker of his
own works; and by this mode endured all the aggravated sufferings, the
great and the petty insults of all ranks of society, and even
sometimes from men of learning themselves, who denied a mendicant
author the sympathy of a brother.

MYLES DAVIES and his works are imperfectly known to the most curious
of our literary collectors. His name has scarcely reached a few; the
author and his works are equally extraordinary, and claim a right to
be preserved in this treatise on the "Calamities of Authors."

Our author commenced printing a work, difficult, from its miscellaneous
character, to describe; of which the volumes appeared at different
periods. The early and the most valuable volumes were the first and
second; they are a kind of bibliographical, biographical, and critical
work, on English Authors. They all bear a general title of "Athenæ

Collectors have sometimes met with a very curious volume, entitled
"Icon Libellorum," and sometimes the same book, under another
title--"A Critical History of Pamphlets." This rare book forms the
first volume of the "Athenæ Britannicæ." The author was Myles Davies,
whose biography is quite unknown: he may now be his own biographer. He
was a Welsh clergyman, a vehement foe to Popery, Arianism, and
Socinianism, of the most fervent loyalty to George I. and the
Hanoverian succession; a scholar, skilled in Greek and Latin, and in
all the modern languages. Quitting his native spot with political
disgust, he changed his character in the metropolis, for he subscribes
himself "Counsellor-at-Law." In an evil hour he commenced author, not
only surrounded by his books, but with the more urgent companions of a
wife and family; and with that childlike simplicity which sometimes
marks the mind of a retired scholar, we perceive him imagining that
his immense reading would prove a source, not easily exhausted, for
their subsistence.

From the first volumes of his series much curious literary history may
be extracted, amidst the loose and wandering elements of this literary
chaos. In his dedication to the Prince he professes "to represent
writers and writings in a catoptrick view."

The preface to the second volume opens his plan; and nothing as yet
indicates those rambling humours which his subsequent labours

As he proceeded in forming these volumes, I suspect, either that his
mind became a little disordered, or that he discovered that mere
literature found but penurious patrons in "the Few;" for, attempting
to gain over all classes of society, he varied his investigations, and
courted attention, by writing on law, physic, divinity, as well as
literary topics. By his account--

"The avarice of booksellers, and the stinginess of hard-hearted
patrons, had driven him into a cursed company of door-keeping herds,
to meet the irrational brutality of those uneducated mischievous
animals called footmen, house-porters, poetasters, mumpers,
apothecaries, attorneys, and such like beasts of prey," who were, like
himself, sometimes barred up for hours in the menagerie of a great
man's antechamber. In his addresses to Drs. Mead and Freind, he
declares--"My misfortunes drive me to publish my writings for a poor
livelihood; and nothing but the utmost necessity could make any man in
his senses to endeavour at it, in a method so burthensome to the
modesty and education of a scholar."

In French he dedicates to George I.; and in the Harleian MSS. I
discovered a long letter to the Earl of Oxford, by our author, in
French, with a Latin ode. Never was more innocent bribery proffered to
a minister! He composed what he calls _Stricturæ Pindaricæ_ on the
"Mughouses," then political clubs;[26] celebrates English authors in
the same odes, and inserts a political Latin drama, called "Pallas
Anglicana." Mævius and Bavius were never more indefatigable! The
author's intellect gradually discovers its confusion amidst the loud
cries of penury and despair.

To paint the distresses of an author soliciting alms for a book which
he presents--and which, whatever may be its value, comes at least as
an evidence that the suppliant is a learned man--is a case so
uncommon, that the invention of the novelist seems necessary to fill
up the picture. But Myles Davies is an artist in his own simple

Our author has given the names of several of his unwilling customers:--

"Those squeeze-farthing and hoard-penny ignoramus doctors, with
several great personages who formed excuses for not accepting my
books; or they would receive them, but give nothing for them; or else
deny they had them, or remembered anything of them; and so gave me
nothing for my last present of books, though they kept them _gratis et

"But his Grace of the Dutch extraction in Holland (said to be akin to
Mynheer Vander B--nck) had a peculiar grace in receiving my present of
books and odes, which, being bundled up together with a letter and ode
upon his Graceship, and carried in by his porter, I was bid to call
for an answer five years hence. I asked the porter what he meant by
that? I suppose, said he, four or five days hence; but it proved five
or six months after, before I could get any answer, though I had writ
five or six letters in French with fresh odes upon his Graceship, and
an account where I lived, and what noblemen had accepted of my
present. I attended about the door three or four times a week all that
time constantly from twelve to four or five o'clock in the evening;
and walking under the fore windows of the parlours, once that time his
and her Grace came after dinner to stare at me, with open windows and
shut mouths, but filled with fair water, which they spouted with so
much dexterity that they twisted the water through their teeth and
mouth-skrew, to flash near my face, and yet just to miss me, though my
nose could not well miss the natural flavour of the orange-water
showering so very near me. Her Grace began the water-work, but not
very gracefully, especially for an English lady of her description,
airs, and qualities, to make a stranger her spitting-post, who had
been guilty of no other offence than to offer her husband some
writings.--His Grace followed, yet first stood looking so wistfully
towards me, that I verily thought he had a mind to throw me a guinea
or two for all these indignities, and two or three months' then
sleeveless waiting upon him--and accordingly I advanced to address his
Grace to remember the poor author; but, instead of an answer, he
immediately undams his mouth, out fly whole showers of lymphatic
rockets, which had like to have put out my mortal eyes."

Still he was not disheartened, and still applied for his bundle of
books, which were returned to him at length unopened, with "half a
guinea upon top of the cargo," and "with a desire to receive no more.
I plucked up courage, murmuring within myself--

  'Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.'"

He sarcastically observes,

"As I was still jogging on homewards, I thought that a great many were
called _their Graces_, not for any grace or favour they had truly
deserved with God or man, but for the same reason of contraries, that
the _Parcæ_ or Destinies, were so called, because they spared none, or
were not truly the _Parcæ, quia non parcebant_."

Our indigent and indignant author, by the faithfulness of his
representations, mingles with his anger some ludicrous scenes of
literary mendicity.

"I can't choose (now I am upon the fatal subject) but make one
observation or two more upon the various rencontres and adventures I
met withall, in presenting my books to those who were likely to accept
of them for their own information, or for that of helping a poor
scholar, or for their own vanity or ostentation.

"Some parsons would hollow to raise the whole house and posse of the
domestics to raise a poor _crown_; at last all that flutter ends in
sending Jack or Tom out to change a guinea, and then 'tis reckoned
over half-a-dozen times before the fatal crown can be picked out,
which must be taken as it is given, with all the parade of almsgiving,
and so to be received with all the active and passive ceremonial of
mendication and alms-receiving--as if the books, printing and paper,
were worth nothing at all, and as if it were the greatest charity for
them to touch them or let them be in the house; 'For I shall never
read them,' says one of the five-shilling-piece chaps; 'I have no time
to look in them,' says another; ''Tis so much money lost,' says a
grave dean; 'My eyes being so bad,' said a bishop, 'that I can scarce
read at all.' 'What do you want with me?' said another; 'Sir, I
presented you the other day with my _Athenæ Britannicæ_, being the
last part published.' 'I don't want books, take them again; I don't
understand what they mean.' 'The title is very plain,' said I, 'and
they are writ mostly in English.' 'I'll give you a crown for both the
volumes.' 'They stand me, sir, in more than that, and 'tis for a bare
subsistence I present or sell them; how shall I live?' 'I care not a
farthing for that; live or die, 'tis all one to me.' 'Damn my master!'
said Jack, ''twas but last night he was commending your books and your
learning to the skies; and now he would not care if you were starving
before his eyes; nay, he often makes game at your clothes, though he
thinks you the greatest scholar in England.'"

Such was the life of a learned mendicant author! The scenes which are
here exhibited appear to have disordered an intellect which had never
been firm; in vain our author attempted to adapt his talents to all
orders of men, still "To the crazy ship all winds are contrary."


   [20] This author, now little known but to the student of our rarer
        early poets, was a native of Shrewsbury, and had served in the
        army. He wrote a large number of poetical pieces, all now of
        the greatest rarity; their names have been preserved by that
        industrious antiquary Joseph Ritson, in his _Bibliographia
        Poetica_. The principal one was termed "The Worthiness of
        Wales," and is written in laudation of the Principality. He
        was frequently employed to supply verses for Court Masques and
        Pageantry. He composed "all the devises, pastimes, and plays
        at Norwich" when Queen Elizabeth was entertained there; as
        well as gratulatory verses to her at Woodstock. He speaks of
        his mind as "never free from studie," and his body "seldom
        void of toyle"--"and yet both of them neither brought greate
        benefits to the life, nor blessing to the soule" he adds, in
        the words of a man whose hope deferred has made his heart

   [21] _Villanellas_, or rather "_Villanescas_, are properly country
        rustic songs, but commonly taken for ingenious ones made in
        imitation of them."--PINEDA.

   [22] This practice of dedications had indeed flourished before; for
        authors had even prefixed numerous dedications to the same
        work, or dedicated to different patrons the separate
        divisions. Fuller's "Church History" is disgraced by the
        introduction of twelve title-pages, besides the general one;
        with as many particular dedications, and no less than fifty or
        sixty inscriptions, addressed to benefactors; for which he is
        severely censured by Heylin. It was an expedient to procure
        dedication fees; for publishing books by _subscription_ was an
        art not then discovered.

   [23] The price of the dedication of a play was even fixed, from five
        to ten guineas, from the Revolution to the time of George I.,
        when it rose to twenty--but sometimes a bargain was to be
        struck--when the author and the play were alike indifferent.
        Even on these terms could vanity be gratified with the coarse
        luxury of panegyric, of which every one knew the price.

   [24] This circumstance was so notorious at the time, that it
        occasioned a poetical satire in a dialogue between Motteux and
        his patron Henningham--preserved in that vast flower-bed or
        dunghill, for it is both, of "Poems on Affairs of State," vol.
        ii. 251. The patron, in his zeal to omit no possible
        distinction that could attach to him, had given one
        circumstance which no one but himself could have known, and
        which he thus regrets:


          I must confess I was to blame
          That one particular to name;
          The rest could never have been known,
          _I made the style so like thy own_.


          I beg your pardon, Sir, for that!


          Why d----e what would you be at?
          _I writ below myself_, you sot!
          Avoiding figures, tropes, what not;
          For fear I should my fancy _raise
          Above the level of thy plays_!"

   [25] "_Athenæ Britannicæ_, or a Critical History of the Oxford and
        Cambridge Writers and Writings, with those of the Dissenters
        and Romanists, as well as other Authors and Worthies, both
        Domestic and Foreign, both Ancient and Modern. Together with
        an occasional freedom of thought, in criticising and comparing
        the parallel qualifications of the most eminent authors and
        their performances, both in MS. and print, both at home and
        abroad. By M. D. London, 1716." On the first volume of this
        series, Dr. Farmer, a bloodhound of unfailing scent in curious
        and obscure English books, has written on the leaf "This is
        the only copy I have met with." Even the great bibliographer,
        Baker, of Cambridge, never met but with three volumes (the
        edition at the British Museum is in seven), sent him as a
        great curiosity by the Earl of Oxford, and now deposited in
        his collection at St. John's College. Baker has written this
        memorandum in the first volume: "Few copies were printed, so
        the work has become scarce, and for that reason will be
        valued. The book in the greatest part is borrowed from modern
        historians, but yet contains some things more uncommon, and
        not easily to be met with." How superlatively rare must be the
        English volumes which the eyes of Farmer and Baker never
        lighted on!

   [26] These clubs are described in Macky's "Journey through England,"
        1724. He says they were formed to uphold the Royalist party
        on the accession of King George I. "This induced a set of
        gentlemen to establish _Mughouses_ in all the corners of
        this great city, for well-affected tradesmen to meet and keep
        up the spirit of loyalty to the Protestant succession," and
        to be ready to join their forces for the suppression of the
        other party. "Many an encounter they had, till at last the
        Parliament was obliged by a law to put an end to this city
        strife, which had this good effect, that upon the pulling
        down of the Mughouse in Salisbury Court, for which some boys
        were hanged on this act, the city has not been troubled with
        them since." It was the custom in these houses to allow no
        other drink but ale to be consumed, which was brought in mugs
        of earthenware; a chairman was elected, and he called on the
        members of the company for songs, which were generally party
        ballads of a strongly-worded kind, as may be seen in the
        small collection printed in 1716, entitled "A Collection of
        State Songs, Poems, &c., published since the Rebellion, and
        sung in the several Mughouses in the cities of London and



The mind of COWLEY was beautiful, but a querulous tenderness in his
nature breathes not only through his works, but influenced his habits
and his views of human affairs. His temper and his genius would have
opened to us, had not the strange decision of Sprat and Clifford
withdrawn that full correspondence of his heart which he had carried
on many years. These letters were suppressed because, as Bishop Sprat
acknowledges, "in this kind of prose Mr. Cowley was excellent! They
had a domestical plainness, and a peculiar kind of familiarity." And
then the florid writer runs off, that, "in letters, where the souls of
men should appear undressed, in that negligent habit they may be fit
to be seen by one or two in a chamber, but not to go abroad into the
streets." A false criticism: which not only has proved to be so since
their time by Mason's "Memoirs of Gray," but which these friends of
Cowley might have themselves perceived, if they had recollected that
the Letters of Cicero to Atticus form the most delightful chronicles
of the heart--and the most authentic memorials of the man. Peck
obtained one letter of Cowley's, preserved by Johnson, and it exhibits
a remarkable picture of the miseries of his poetical solitude. It is,
perhaps, not too late to inquire whether this correspondence was
destroyed as well as suppressed? Would Sprat and Clifford have burned
what they have told us they so much admired?[27]

Fortunately for our literary sympathy, the fatal error of these
fastidious critics has been in some degree repaired by the admirable
genius himself whom they have injured. When Cowley retreated from
society, he determined to draw up an apology for his conduct, and to
have dedicated it to his patron, Lord St. Albans. His death
interrupted the entire design; but his Essays, which Pope so finely
calls "the language of his heart," are evidently parts of these
precious Confessions. All of Cowley's tenderest and undisguised
feelings have therefore not perished. These Essays now form a species
of composition in our language, a mixture of prose and verse--the man
with the poet--the self-painter has sat to himself, and, with the
utmost simplicity, has copied out the image of his soul.

Why has this poet twice called himself _the melancholy Cowley_? He
employed no poetical _cheville_[28] for the metre of a verse which his
own feelings inspired.

Cowley, at the beginning of the Civil War, joined the Royalists at
Oxford; followed the queen to Paris; yielded his days and his nights
to an employment of the highest confidence, that of deciphering the
royal correspondence; he transacted their business, and, almost
divorcing himself from his neglected muse, he yielded up for them the
tranquillity so necessary to the existence of a poet. From his
earliest days he tells us how the poetic affections had stamped
themselves on his heart, "like letters cut into the bark of a young
tree, which, with the tree, will grow proportionably."

He describes his feelings at the court:--

"I saw plainly all the paint of that kind of life the nearer I came to
it--that beauty which I did not fall in love with when, for aught I
knew, it was real, was not like to bewitch or entice me when I saw it
was adulterate. I met with several great persons whom I liked very
well, but could not perceive that any part of their greatness was to
be liked or desired. I was in a crowd of good company, in business of
great and honourable trust; I eat at the best table, and enjoyed the
best conveniences that ought to be desired by a man of my condition;
yet I could not abstain from renewing my old schoolboy's wish, in a
copy of verses to the same effect:--

  Well then! I now do plainly see,
  This busie world and I shall ne'er agree!"

After several years' absence from his native country, at a most
critical period, he was sent over to mix with that trusty band of
loyalists, who, in secrecy and in silence, were devoting themselves to
the royal cause. Cowley was seized on by the ruling powers. At this
moment he published a preface to his works, which some of his party
interpreted as a relaxation of his loyalty. He has been fully
defended. Cowley, with all his delicacy of temper, wished sincerely to
retire from all parties; and saw enough among the fiery zealots of his
own, to grow disgusted even with Royalists.

His wish for retirement has been half censured as cowardice by
Johnson; but there was a tenderness of feeling which had ill-formed
Cowley for the cunning of party intriguers, and the company of little
villains. About this time he might have truly distinguished himself as
"The melancholy Cowley."

I am only tracing his literary history for the purpose of this work:
but I cannot pass without noticing the fact, that this abused man,
whom his enemies were calumniating, was at this moment, under the
disguise of a doctor of physic, occupied by the novel studies of
botany and medicine; and as all science in the mind of the poet
naturally becomes poetry, he composed his books on plants in Latin

At length came the Restoration, which the poet zealously celebrated in
his "Ode" on that occasion. Both Charles the First and Second had
promised to reward his fidelity with the mastership of the Savoy; but,
Wood says, "he lost it by certain persons enemies of the muses." Wood
has said no more; and none of Cowley's biographers have thrown any
light on the circumstance: perhaps we may discover this literary

That Cowley caught no warmth from that promised sunshine which the
new monarch was to scatter in prodigal gaiety, has been distinctly
told by the poet himself; his muse, in "The Complaint," having
reproached him thus:--

  Thou young prodigal, who didst so loosely waste
  Of all thy youthful years, the good estate--
  Thou changeling then, bewitch'd with noise and show,
  Wouldst into courts and cities from me go--
  Go, renegado, cast up thy account--
  Behold the public storm is spent at last;
  The sovereign is toss'd at sea no more,
  And thou, with all the noble company,
    Art got at last to shore--
  But whilst thy fellow-voyagers I see,
  All march'd up to possess the promis'd land;
  Thou still alone (alas!) dost gaping stand
  Upon the naked beach, upon the barren sand.

But neglect was not all Cowley had to endure; the royal party seemed
disposed to calumniate him. When Cowley was young he had hastily
composed the comedy of "The Guardian;" a piece which served the cause
of loyalty. After the Restoration, he rewrote it under the title of
"Cutter of Coleman Street;" a comedy which may still be read with
equal curiosity and interest: a spirited picture of the peculiar
characters which appeared at the Revolution. It was not only ill
received by a faction, but by those vermin of a new court, who,
without merit themselves, put in their claims, by crying down those
who, with great merit, are not in favour. All these to a man accused
the author of having written a satire against the king's party. And
this wretched party prevailed, too long for the author's repose, but
not for his fame.[29] Many years afterwards this comedy became
popular. Dryden, who was present at the representation, tells us that
Cowley "received the news of his ill success not with so much firmness
as might have been expected from so great a man." Cowley was in truth
a great man, and a greatly injured man. His sensibility and delicacy
of temper were of another texture than Dryden's. What at that moment
did Cowley experience, when he beheld himself neglected, calumniated,
and, in his last appeal to public favour, found himself still a victim
to a vile faction, who, to court their common master, were trampling
on their honest brother?

We shall find an unbroken chain of evidence, clearly demonstrating the
agony of his literary feelings. The cynical Wood tells us that, "not
finding that preferment he expected, while others for their money
carried away most places, he retired discontented into Surrey." And
his panegyrist, Sprat, describes him as "weary of the vexations and
formalities of an active condition--he had been perplexed with a long
compliance with foreign manners. He was satiated with the arts of a
court, which sort of life, though his virtue made it innocent to him,
yet nothing could make it quiet. These were the reasons that moved him
to follow the violent inclination of his own mind," &c. I doubt if
either the sarcastic antiquary or the rhetorical panegyrist have
developed the simple truth of Cowley's "violent inclination of his own
mind." He does it himself more openly in that beautiful picture of an
injured poet, in "The Complaint," an ode warm with individual feeling,
but which Johnson coldly passes over, by telling us that "it met the
usual fortune of complaints, and seems to have excited more contempt
than pity."

Thus the biographers of Cowley have told us nothing, and the poet
himself has probably not told us all. To these calumnies respecting
Cowley's comedy, raised up by those whom Wood designates as "enemies
of the muses," it would appear that others were added of a deeper dye,
and in malignant whispers distilled into the ear of royalty. Cowley,
in an ode, had commemorated the genius of Brutus, with all the
enthusiasm of a votary of liberty. After the king's return, when
Cowley solicited some reward for his sufferings and services in the
royal cause, the chancellor is said to have turned on him with a
severe countenance, saying, "Mr. Cowley, your pardon is your reward!"
It seems that ode was then considered to be of a dangerous tendency
among half the nation; Brutus would be the model of enthusiasts, who
were sullenly bending their neck under the yoke of royalty. Charles
II. feared the attempt of desperate men; and he might have forgiven
Rochester a loose pasquinade, but not Cowley a solemn invocation. This
fact, then, is said to have been the true cause of the despondency so
prevalent in the latter poetry of "the melancholy Cowley." And hence
the indiscretion of the muse, in a single flight, condemned her to a
painful, rather than a voluntary solitude; and made the poet complain
of "barren praise" and "neglected verse."[30]

While this anecdote harmonises with better known facts, it throws some
light on the outcry raised against the comedy, which seems to have
been but an echo of some preceding one. Cowley retreated into
solitude, where he found none of the agrestic charms of the landscapes
of his muse. When in the world, Sprat says, "he had never wanted for
constant health and strength of body;" but, thrown into solitude, he
carried with him a wounded spirit--the Ode of Brutus and the
condemnation of his comedy were the dark spirits that haunted his
cottage. Ill health soon succeeded low spirits--he pined in dejection,
and perished a victim of the finest and most injured feelings.

But before we leave _the melancholy Cowley_, he shall speak the
feelings, which here are not exaggerated. In this Chronicle of
Literary Calamity no passage ought to be more memorable than the
solemn confession of one of the most amiable of men and poets.

Thus he expresses himself in the preface to his "Cutter of Coleman

"We are therefore wonderful wise men, and have a fine business of it;
we, who spend our time in poetry. I do sometimes laugh, and am often
angry with myself, when I think on it; and if I had a son inclined by
nature to the same folly, I believe I should bind him from it by the
strictest conjurations of a paternal blessing. For what can be more
ridiculous than to labour to give men delight, whilst they labour, on
their part, most earnestly to take offence?"

And thus he closes the preface, in all the solemn expression of
injured feelings:--"This I do affirm, that _from all which I have
written, +I never+ received the least benefit or the least advantage;
but, on the contrary, have felt sometimes the effects of malice and

Cowley's ashes were deposited between those of Chaucer and Spenser; a
marble monument was erected by a duke; and his eulogy was pronounced,
on the day of his death, from the lips of royalty. The learned wrote,
and the tuneful wept: well might the neglected bard, in his
retirement, compose an epitaph on himself, living there "entombed,
though not dead."

To this ambiguous state of existence he applies a conceit, not
inelegant, from the tenderness of its imagery:

  Hic sparge flores, sparge breves rosas,
    Nam vita gaudet mortua floribus;
  Herbisque odoratis corona
    Vatis adhuc cinerem calentem.


  Here scatter flowers and short-lived roses bring.
  For life, though dead, enjoys the flowers of spring;
  With breathing wreaths of fragrant herbs adorn
  The yet warm embers in the poet's urn.


   [27] My researches could never obtain more than one letter of
        Cowley's--it is but an elegant trifle--returning thanks to his
        friend Evelyn for some seeds and plants. "The Garden" of
        Evelyn is immortalised in a delightful Ode of Cowley's, as
        well as by Evelyn himself. Even in this small note we may
        discover the touch of Cowley. The original is in Astle's


          "_Barn Elms, March 23, 1663._

          "SIR,--There is nothing more pleasant than to see kindness
          in a person for whom we have great esteem and respect: no,
          not the sight of your garden in May, or even the having
          such an one; which makes me more obliged to return you my
          most humble thanks for the testimonies I have lately
          received of you, both by your letter and your presents. I
          have already sowed such of your seeds as I thought most
          proper upon a hot-bed; but cannot find in all my books a
          catalogue of these plants which require that culture, nor
          of such as must be set in pots; which defects, and all
          others, I hope shortly to see supplied, as I hope shortly
          to see your work of Horticulture finished and published;
          and long to be in all things your disciple, as I am in all
          things now,

            "Sir, your most humble and most obedient Servant,
              "A. COWLEY."

        [Barn Elms, from whence this letter is dated, was the first
        country residence of Cowley. It lies low on the banks of the
        Thames, and here the poet was first seized with a fever, which
        obliged him to remove; but he chose an equally improper
        locality for a man of his temperament, in Chertsey, where he
        died from the effects of a severe cold.]

        Such were the ordinary letters which passed between two men
        whom it would be difficult to parallel for their elegant
        tastes and gentle dispositions. Evelyn's beautiful retreat at
        Sayes Court, at Deptford, is described by a contemporary as
        "a garden exquisite and most boscaresque, and, as it were,
        an exemplar of his book of Forest-trees." It was the
        entertainment and wonder of the greatest men of those times,
        and inspired the following lines of Cowley, to Evelyn and
        his lady, who excelled in the arts her husband loved; for she
        designed the frontispiece to his version of Lucretius--

          "In books and gardens thou hast placed aright
            (Things well which thou dost understand,
          And both dost make with thy laborious hand)
            Thy noble innocent delight;
          And in thy virtuous wife, where thou again dost meet
            Both pleasures more refined and sweet;
            The fairest garden in her looks,
            And in her mind the wisest books."

   [28] A term the French apply to those _botches_ which bad poets use
        to make out their metre.

   [29] This comedy was first presented very hurriedly for the amusement
        of Prince Charles as he passed through Cambridge to York.
        Cowley himself describes it, then, as "neither _made_ nor
        _acted_, but _rough-drawn_ by him, and _repeated_ by his
        scholars" for this temporary purpose. After the Restoration he
        endeavoured to do more justice to his juvenile work, by
        remodelling it, and producing it at the Duke of York's
        theatre. But as many of the characters necessarily retained
        the features of the older play, and times had changed; it was
        easy to affix a false stigma to the poet's pictures of the old
        Cavaliers; and the play was universally condemned as a satire
        on the Royalists. It was reproduced with success at the
        theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, as long afterwards as the
        year 1730.--ED.

   [30] The anecdote, probably little known, may be found in "The
        Judgment of Dr. Prideaux in Condemning the Murder of
        Julius Cæsar by the Conspirators as a most villanous act,
        maintained," 1721, p. 41.


I must place the author of "The Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors,"
who himself now ornaments that roll, among those who have participated
in the misfortunes of literature.

HORACE WALPOLE was the inheritor of a name the most popular in
Europe;[31] he moved in the higher circles of society; and fortune had
never denied him the ample gratification of his lively tastes in the
elegant arts, and in curious knowledge. These were particular
advantages. But Horace Walpole panted with a secret desire for
literary celebrity; a full sense of his distinguished rank long
suppressed the desire of venturing the name he bore to the uncertain
fame of an author, and the caprice of vulgar critics. At length he
pretended to shun authors, and to slight the honours of authorship.
The cause of this contempt has been attributed to the perpetual
consideration of his rank. But was this bitter contempt of so early a
date? Was Horace Walpole a Socrates before his time? was he born that
prodigy of indifference, to despise the secret object he languished to
possess? His early associates were not only noblemen, but literary
noblemen; and need he have been so petulantly fastidious at bearing
the venerable title of author, when he saw Lyttleton, Chesterfield,
and other peers, proud of wearing the blue riband of literature? No!
it was after he had become an author that he contemned authorship: and
it was not the precocity of his sagacity, but the maturity of his
experience, that made him willing enough to undervalue literary
honours, which were not sufficient to satisfy his desires.

Let us estimate the genius of Horace Walpole by analysing his talents,
and inquiring into the nature of his works.

His taste was highly polished; his vivacity attained to brilliancy;[32]
and his picturesque fancy, easily excited, was soon extinguished; his
playful wit and keen irony were perpetually exercised in his
observations on life, and his memory was stored with the most
amusing knowledge, but much too lively to be accurate; for his
studies were but his sports. But other qualities of genius must
distinguish the great author, and even him who would occupy that
leading rank in the literary republic our author aspired to fill. He
lived too much in that class of society which is little favourable to
genius; he exerted neither profound thinking, nor profound feeling;
and too volatile to attain to the pathetic, that higher quality of
genius, he was so imbued with the petty elegancies of society that
every impression of grandeur in the human character was deadened in
the breast of the polished cynic.

Horace Walpole was not a man of genius,--his most pleasing, if not his
great talent, lay in letter-writing; here he was without a rival;[33]
but he probably divined, when he condescended to become an author,
that something more was required than the talents he exactly
possessed. In his latter days he felt this more sensibly, which will
appear in those confessions which I have extracted from an unpublished

Conscious of possessing the talent which amuses, yet feeling his
deficient energies, he resolved to provide various substitutes for
genius itself; and to acquire reputation, if he could not grasp at
celebrity. He raised a printing-press at his Gothic castle, by which
means he rendered small editions of his works valuable from their
rarity, and much talked of, because seldom seen. That this is true,
appears from the following extract from his unpublished correspondence
with a literary friend. It alludes to his "Anecdotes of Painting in
England," of which the first edition only consisted of 300 copies.

"Of my new fourth volume I printed 600; but, as they can be had, I
believe not a third part is sold. This is a very plain lesson to me,
that my editions sell for their curiosity, and not for any merit in
them--and so they would if I printed Mother Goose's Tales, and but a
few. If I am humbled as an author, I may be vain as a printer; and
when one has nothing else to be vain of, it is certainly very little
worth while to be proud of that."

There is a distinction between the author of great connexions and the
mere author. In the one case, the man may give a temporary existence
to his books; but in the other, it is the book which gives existence
to the man.

Walpole's writings seem to be constructed on a certain principle, by
which he gave them a sudden, rather than a lasting existence. In
historical research our adventurer startled the world by maintaining
paradoxes which attacked the opinions, or changed the characters,
established for centuries. Singularity of opinion, vivacity of
ridicule, and polished epigrams in prose, were the means by which
Horace Walpole sought distinction.

In his works of imagination, he felt he could not trust to himself--the
natural pathetic was utterly denied him. But he had fancy and
ingenuity; he had recourse to the _marvellous_ in imagination on the
principle he had adopted the _paradoxical_ in history. Thus, "The
Castle of Otranto," and "The Mysterious Mother," are the productions
of ingenuity rather than genius; and display the miracles of art,
rather than the spontaneous creations of nature.

All his literary works, like the ornamented edifice he inhabited,
were constructed on the same artificial principle; an old paper
lodging-house, converted by the magician of taste into a Gothic
castle, full of scenic effects.[34]

"A Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors" was itself a classification
which only an idle amateur could have projected, and only the most
agreeable narrator of anecdotes could have seasoned. These splendid
scribblers are for the greater part no authors at all.[35]

His attack on our peerless Sidney, whose fame was more mature than
his life, was formed on the same principle as his "Historic Doubts" on
Richard III. Horace Walpole was as willing to vilify the truly great,
as to beautify deformity; when he imagined that the fame he was
destroying or conferring, reflected back on himself. All these works
were plants of sickly delicacy, which could never endure the open air,
and only lived in the artificial atmosphere of a private collection.
Yet at times the flowers, and the planter of the flowers, were roughly
shaken by an uncivil breeze.

His "Anecdotes of Painting in England" is a most entertaining
catalogue. He gives the feelings of the distinct eras with regard to
the arts; yet his pride was never gratified when he reflected that he
had been writing the work of Vertue, who had collected the materials,
but could not have given the philosophy. His great age and his good
sense opened his eyes on himself; and Horace Walpole seems to have
judged too contemptuously of Horace Walpole. The truth is, he was
mortified he had not and never could obtain a literary peerage; and he
never respected the commoner's seat. At these moments, too frequent in
his life, he contemns authors, and returns to sink back into all the
self-complacency of aristocratic indifference.

This cold unfeeling disposition for literary men, this disguised malice
of envy, and this eternal vexation at his own disappointments,--break
forth in his correspondence with one of those literary characters
with whom he kept on terms while they were kneeling to him in the
humility of worship, or moved about to fetch or to carry his little
quests of curiosity in town or country.[36]

The following literary confessions illustrate this character:--

  "_June, 1778._

  "I have taken a thorough dislike to being an author; and, if it
  would not look like begging you to compliment one by contradicting
  me, I would tell you what I am most seriously convinced of, that I
  find what small share of parts I had grown dulled. And when I
  perceive it myself, I may well believe that others would not be
  less sharp-sighted. _It is very natural_; mine were _spirits_
  rather than _parts_; and as time has rebated the one, it must
  surely destroy _their resemblance_ to the other."

In another letter:--

  "I set very little value on myself; as a man, I am a very faulty
  one; and _as an author, a very middling one_, which _whoever
  thinks a comfortable rank, is not at all of my opinion_. Pray
  convince me that you think I mean sincerely, by not answering me
  with a compliment. It is very weak to be pleased with flattery;
  the stupidest of all delusions to beg it. From you I should take
  it ill. We have known one another almost forty years."

There were times when Horace Walpole's natural taste for his studies
returned with all the vigour of passion--but his volatility and his
desultory life perpetually scattered his firmest resolutions into air.
This conflict appears beautifully described when the view of King's
College, Cambridge, throws his mind into meditation; and the passion
for study and seclusion instantly kindled his emotions, lasting,
perhaps, as long as the letter which describes them occupied in

  "_May 22, 1777._

  "The beauty of King's College, Cambridge, now it is restored,
  penetrated me with a visionary longing to be a monk in it. Though
  my life has been passed in turbulent scenes, in pleasures or other
  pastimes, and in much fashionable dissipation, still, books,
  antiquity, and virtue kept hold of a corner of my heart: and since
  necessity has forced me of late years to be a man of business, my
  disposition tends to be a recluse for what remains--but it will
  not be my lot; and though there is some excuse for the young doing
  what they like, I doubt an old man should do nothing but what he
  ought, and I hope doing one's duty is the best preparation for
  death. Sitting with one's arms folded to think about it, is a very
  long way for preparing for it. If Charles V. had resolved to make
  some amends for his abominable ambition by doing good (his duty
  as a king), there would have been infinitely more merit than going
  to doze in a convent. One may avoid actual guilt in a sequestered
  life, but the virtue of it is merely negative; the innocence is

There had been moments when Horace Walpole even expressed the
tenderest feelings for fame; and the following passage, written prior
to the preceding ones, gives no indication of that contempt for
literary fame, of which the close of this character will exhibit an
extraordinary instance.

This letter relates an affecting event--he had just returned from
seeing General Conway attacked by a paralytic stroke. Shocked by his
appearance, he writes--

  "It is, perhaps, to vent my concern that I write. It has operated
  such a revolution on my mind, as no time, at _my age_, can efface.
  It has at once damped every pursuit which my spirits had even now
  prevented me from being weaned from, I mean of virtu. It is like a
  mortal distemper in myself; for can amusements amuse, if there is
  but a glimpse, a vision of outliving one's friends? _I have had
  dreams in which I thought I wished for fame--it was not certainly
  posthumous fame at any distance; I feel, I feel it was confined to
  the memory of those I love._ It seems to me impossible for a man
  who has no friends to do anything for fame--and to me the first
  position in friendship is, to intend one's friends should survive
  one--but it is not reasonable to oppress you, who are suffering
  gout, with my melancholy ideas. What I have said will tell you,
  what I hope so many years have told you, that I am very constant
  and sincere to friends of above forty years."

In a letter of a later date there is a remarkable confession, which
harmonises with those already given.

  "My pursuits have always been light, trifling, and tended to
  nothing but my casual amusement. I will not say, without a little
  vain ambition of showing some parts, but never with industry
  sufficient to make me apply to anything solid. My studies, if they
  could be called so, and my productions, were alike desultory. In
  my latter age I discovered the futility both of my objects and
  writings--I felt how insignificant is the reputation of an author
  of mediocrity; and that, being no genius, I only added one name
  more to a list of writers; but had told the world nothing but what
  it could as well be without. These reflections were the best
  proofs of my sense; and when I could see through my own vanity,
  there is less wonder in my discovering that such talents as I
  might have had are impaired at seventy-two."

Thus humbled was Horace Walpole to himself!--there is an intellectual
dignity, which this man of wit and sense was incapable of reaching--and
it seems a retribution that the scorner of true greatness should at
length feel the poisoned chalice return to his own lips. He who had
contemned the eminent men of former times, and quarrelled with and
ridiculed every contemporary genius; who had affected to laugh at
the literary fame he could not obtain,--at length came to scorn himself!
and endured "the penal fires" of an author's hell, in undervaluing his
own works, the productions of a long life!

The chagrin and disappointment of such an author were never less
carelessly concealed than in the following extraordinary letter:--


  "_Arlington Street, April 27, 1773._

  "Mr. Gough wants to be introduced to me! Indeed! I would see him,
  as he has been midwife to Masters; but he is so dull that he
  would only be troublesome--and besides, you know I shun
  authors, and would never have been one myself, if it obliged me to
  keep such bad company. They are always in earnest, and think
  their profession serious, and dwell upon trifles, and reverence
  learning. I laugh at all these things, and write only to laugh
  at them and divert myself. None of us are authors of any
  consequence, and it is the most ridiculous of all vanities to be
  vain of being _mediocre_. A page in a great author humbles me to
  the dust, and the conversation of those that are not superior
  to myself reminds me of what will be thought of myself. I blush
  to flatter them, or to be flattered by them; and should dread
  letters being published some time or other, in which they would
  relate our interviews, and we should appear like those puny
  conceited witlings in Shenstone's and Hughes's correspondence,
  who give themselves airs from being in possession of the soil
  of Parnassus for the time being; as peers are proud because they
  enjoy the estates of great men who went before them. Mr. Gough is
  very welcome to see Strawberry-hill, or I would help him to
  any scraps in my possession that would assist his publications,
  though he is one of those industrious who are only re-burying the
  dead--but I cannot be acquainted with him; it is contrary to
  my system and my humour; and besides I know nothing of barrows
  and Danish entrenchments, and Saxon barbarisms and Phœnician
  characters--in short, I know nothing of those ages that knew
  nothing--then how should I be of use to modern literati? All the
  Scotch metaphysicians have sent me their works. I did not read one
  of them, because I do not understand what is not understood by
  those that write about it; and I did not get acquainted with
  one of the writers. I should like to be intimate with Mr.
  Anstey, even though he wrote Lord Buckhorse, or with the author
  of the Heroic Epistle--I have no thirst to know the rest of my
  contemporaries, from the absurd bombast of Dr. Johnson down to
  the silly Dr. Goldsmith, though the latter changeling has had
  bright gleams of parts, and the former had sense, till he
  changed it for words, and sold it for a pension. Don't think me
  scornful. Recollect that I have seen Pope, and lived with

Such a letter seems not to have been written by a literary man--it is
the babble of a thoughtless wit and a man of the world. But it is
worthy of him whose contracted heart could never open to patronage or
friendship. From such we might expect the unfeeling observation in the
"Anecdotes of Painting," that "want of patronage is the apology for
want of genius. Milton and La Fontaine did not write in the bask of
court favour. A poet or a painter may want an equipage or a villa, by
wanting protection; they can always afford to buy ink and paper,
colours and pencil. Mr. Hogarth has received no honours, but universal
admiration." Patronage, indeed, cannot convert dull men into men of
genius, but it may preserve men of genius from becoming dull men. It
might have afforded Dryden that studious leisure which he ever wanted,
and which would have given us not imperfect tragedies, and uncorrected
poems, but the regulated flights of a noble genius. It might have
animated Gainsborough to have created an English school in landscape,
which I have heard from those who knew him was his favourite yet
neglected pursuit. But Walpole could insult that genius, which he
wanted the generosity to protect!

The whole spirit of this man was penury. Enjoying an affluent
income he only appeared to patronise the arts which amused his
tastes,--employing the meanest artists, at reduced prices, to
ornament his own works, an economy which he bitterly reprehends in
others who were compelled to practise it. He gratified his avarice
at the expense of his vanity; the strongest passion must prevail.
It was the simplicity of childhood in Chatterton to imagine Horace
Walpole could be a patron--but it is melancholy to record that a
slight protection might have saved such a youth. Gray abandoned
this man of birth and rank in the midst of their journey through
Europe; Mason broke with him; even his humble correspondent Cole,
this "friend of forty years," was often sent away in dudgeon; and
he quarrelled with all the authors and artists he had ever been
acquainted with. The Gothic castle at Strawberry-hill was rarely
graced with living genius--there the greatest was Horace Walpole
himself; but he had been too long waiting to see realised a
magical vision of his hopes, which resembled the prophetic fiction of
his own romance, that "the owner should grow too large for his
house." After many years, having discovered that he still retained his
mediocrity, he could never pardon the presence of that preternatural
being whom the world considered a GREAT MAN.--Such was the feeling
which dictated the close of the above letter; Johnson and Goldsmith
were to be "scorned," since Pope and Gray were no more within the
reach of his envy and his fear.


   [31] He was the youngest son of the celebrated minister, Sir Robert

   [32] In his letters there are uncommon instances of vivacity,
        whenever pointed against authors. The following have not yet
        met the public eye. What can be more maliciously pungent
        than this on Spence? "As I know Mr. J. Spence, I do not
        think I should have been so much delighted as Dr. Kippis with
        reading his letters. He was a good-natured harmless little
        soul, but more like a silver penny than a genius. It was a
        neat fiddle-faddle bit of sterling, that had read good books,
        and kept good company; but was too trifling for use, and only
        fit to please a child."--On Dr. Nash's first volume of
        'Worcestershire': "It is a folio of prodigious corpulence, and
        yet dry enough; but it is finely dressed with many heads and
        views." He characterises Pennant; "_He_ is not one of our
        plodders (alluding to Gough); rather the other extreme;
        his _corporal_ spirits (for I cannot call them _animal_) do
        not allow him to digest anything. He gave a round jump
        from ornithology to antiquity, and, as if they had any
        relation, thought he understood everything that lay between
        them. The report of his being disordered is not true; he has
        been with me, and at least is as composed as ever I saw him."
        His literary correspondence with his friend Cole abounds
        with this easy satirical criticism--he delighted to
        ridicule authors!--as well as to starve the miserable artists
        he so grudgingly paid. In the very volumes he celebrated the
        arts, he disgraced them by his penuriousness; so that he
        loved to indulge his avarice at the expense of his vanity!

   [33] This opinion on Walpole's talent for letter-writing was
        published in 1812, many years before the public had the
        present collection of his letters; my prediction has been
        amply verified. He wrote a great number to Bentley, the son
        of Dr. Bentley, who ornamented Gray's works with some
        extraordinary designs. Walpole, who was always proud and
        capricious, observes his friend Cole, broke with Bentley
        because he would bring his wife with him to Strawberry-hill.
        He then asked Bentley for all his letters back, but he
        would not in return give Bentley's own.

        This whole correspondence abounded with literature, criticism,
        and wit of the most original and brilliant composition. This
        is the opinion of no friend, but an admirer, and a good judge;
        for it was Bentley's own.

   [34] This is the renowned Strawberry-hill, a villa still standing on
        the banks of the Thames, between Teddington and Twickenham,
        but now despoiled of the large collection of pictures,
        curiosities, and articles of _vertu_ so assiduously collected
        by Walpole during a long life. The ground on which it stands
        was originally partially occupied by a small cottage, built by
        a nobleman's coachman for a lodging-house, and occupied by a
        toy-woman of the name of Chevenix. Hence Walpole says of it,
        in a letter to General Conway, "it is a little plaything house
        that I got out of Mrs. Chevenix's shop, and is the prettiest
        bauble you ever saw."--ED.

   [35] Walpole's characters are not often to be relied on, witness his
        injustice to Hogarth as a painter, and his insolent calumny of
        Charles I. His literary opinions of James I. and of Sidney
        might have been written without any acquaintance with the
        works he has so maliciously criticised. In his account of
        Sidney he had silently passed over the "Defence of Poetry;"
        and in his second edition has written this avowal, that "he
        had forgotten it; a proof that I at least did not think it
        sufficient foundation for so high a character as he acquired."
        How heartless was the polished cynicism which could dare to
        hazard this false criticism! Nothing can be more imposing than
        his volatile and caustic criticisms on the works of James I.,
        yet he had probably never opened that folio he so poignantly
        ridicules. He doubts whether two pieces, "The Prince's
        Cabala," and "The Duty of a King in his Royal Office," were
        genuine productions of James I. The truth is that both these
        works are nothing more than extracts printed with those
        separate titles and drawn from the king's "Basilicon Doron."
        He had probably neither read the extracts nor the original.

   [36] It was such a person as Cole of Milton, his correspondent of
        forty years, who lived at a distance, and obsequious to his
        wishes, always looking up to him, though never with a
        parallel glance--with whom he did not quarrel, though if
        Walpole could have read the private notes Cole made in his
        MSS. at the time he was often writing the civilest letters of
        admiration,--even Cole would have been cashiered from his
        correspondence. Walpole could not endure equality in literary
        men.--Bentley observed to Cole, that Walpole's pride and
        hauteur were excessive; which betrayed themselves in the
        treatment of Gray who had himself too much pride and
        spirit _to forgive it_ when matters were made up between them,
        and Walpole invited Gray to Strawberry-hill. When Gray came,
        he, without any ceremony, told Walpole that though he
        waited on him as civility required, yet by _no means would he
        ever be there on the terms of their former friendship,
        which he had totally cancelled_.--From COLE'S MSS.


Unfriendly to the literary character, some have imputed the
brutality of certain authors to their literary habits, when it may
be more truly said that they derived their literature from their
brutality. The spirit was envenomed before it entered into the
fierceness of literary controversy, and the insanity was in the
evil temper of the man before he roused our notice by his ravings.
RITSON, the late antiquary of poetry (not to call him poetical),
amazed the world by his vituperative railing at two authors of the
finest taste in poetry, Warton and Percy; he carried criticism, as
the discerning few had first surmised, to insanity itself; the
character before us only approached it.

DENNIS attained to the ambiguous honour of being distinguished as
"The Critic," and he may yet instruct us how the moral influences the
literary character, and how a certain talent that can never mature
itself into genius, like the pale fruit that hangs in the shade,
ripens only into sourness.

As a critic in his own day, party for some time kept him alive; the
art of criticism was a novelty at that period of our literature. He
flattered some great men, and he abused three of the greatest; this
was one mode of securing popularity; because, by this contrivance, he
divided the town into two parties; and the irascibility and satire of
Pope and Swift were not less serviceable to him than the partial
panegyrics of Dryden and Congreve. Johnson revived him, for his minute
attack on Addison; and Kippis, feebly voluminous, and with the cold
affectation of candour, allows him to occupy a place in our literary
history too large in the eye of Truth and Taste.

Let us say all the good we can of him, that we may not be interrupted
in a more important inquiry. Dennis once urged fair pretensions to the
office of critic. Some of his "Original Letters," and particularly the
"Remarks on Prince Arthur," written in his vigour, attain even to
classical criticism.[37] Aristotle and Bossu lay open before him, and
he developes and sometimes illustrates their principles with close
reasoning. Passion had not yet blinded the young critic with rage; and
in that happy moment, Virgil occupied his attention even more than

The prominent feature in his literary character was good sense; but in
literature, though not in life, good sense is a penurious virtue.
Dennis could not be carried beyond the cold line of a precedent, and
before he ventured to be pleased, he was compelled to look into
Aristotle. His learning was the bigotry of literature. It was ever
Aristotle explained by Dennis. But in the explanation of the obscure
text of his master, he was led into such frivolous distinctions, and
tasteless propositions, that his works deserve inspection, as examples
of the manner of a true mechanical critic.

This blunted feeling of the mechanical critic was at first concealed
from the world in the pomp of critical erudition; but when he trusted
to himself, and, destitute of taste and imagination, became a poet and
a dramatist, the secret of the Royal Midas was revealed. As his evil
temper prevailed, he forgot his learning, and lost the moderate sense
which he seemed once to have possessed. Rage, malice, and dulness,
were the heavy residuum; and now he much resembled that congenial soul
whom the ever-witty South compared to the tailor's goose, which is at
once hot and heavy.

Dennis was sent to Cambridge by his father, a saddler, who imagined a
genius had been born in the family. He travelled in France and Italy,
and on his return held in contempt every pursuit but poetry and
criticism. He haunted the literary coteries, and dropped into a galaxy
of wits and noblemen. At a time when our literature, like our
politics, was divided into two factions, Dennis enlisted himself under
Dryden and Congreve;[38] and, as legitimate criticism was then an
awful novelty in the nation, the young critic, recent from the
Stagirite, soon became an important, and even a tremendous spirit.
Pope is said to have regarded his judgment; and Mallet, when young,
tremblingly submitted a poem, to live or die by his breath. One would
have imagined that the elegant studies he was cultivating, the views
of life which had opened on him, and the polished circle around, would
have influenced the grossness which was the natural growth of the
soil. But ungracious Nature kept fast hold of the mind of Dennis!

His personal manners were characterised by their abrupt violence. Once
dining with Lord Halifax he became so impatient of contradiction, that
he rushed out of the room, overthrowing the sideboard. Inquiring on
the next day how he had behaved, Moyle observed, "You went away like
the devil, taking one corner of the house with you." The wits,
perhaps, then began to suspect their young Zoilus's dogmatism.

The actors refused to perform one of his tragedies to empty houses,
but they retained some excellent thunder which Dennis had invented;
it rolled one night when Dennis was in the pit, and it was applauded!
Suddenly starting up, he cried to the audience, "By G--, they wont act
my tragedy, but they steal my thunder!" Thus, when reading Pope's
"Essay on Criticism," he came to the character of Appius, he suddenly
flung down the new poem, exclaiming, "By G--, he means me!" He is
painted to the life.

  _Lo!_ _Appius reddens_ at each word you speak,
  And stares tremendous with a threatening eye,
  Like some fierce tyrant in old tapestry.

I complete this picture of Dennis with a very extraordinary
caricature, which Steele, in one of his papers of "The Theatre," has
given of Dennis. I shall, however, disentangle the threads, and pick
out what I consider not to be caricature, but resemblance.

"His motion is quick and sudden, turning on all sides, with a
suspicion of every object, as if he had done or feared some
extraordinary mischief. You see wickedness in his meaning, but folly
of countenance, that betrays him to be unfit for the execution of it.
He starts, stares, and looks round him. This constant shuffle of haste
without speed, makes the man thought a little touched; but the vacant
look of his two eyes gives you to understand that he could never run
out of his wits, which seemed not so much to be lost, as to want
employment; they are not so much astray, as they are a wool-gathering.
He has the face and surliness of a mastiff, which has often saved him
from being treated like a cur, till some more sagacious than ordinary
found his nature, and used him accordingly. Unhappy being! terrible
without, fearful within! Not a wolf in sheep's clothing, but a sheep
in a wolf's."[39]

However anger may have a little coloured this portrait, its truth may
be confirmed from a variety of sources. If Sallust, with his
accustomed penetration in characterising the violent emotions of
Catiline's restless mind, did not forget its indication in "his walk
now quick and now slow," it maybe allowed to think that the character
of Dennis was alike to be detected in his habitual surliness.

Even in his old age--for our chain must not drop a link--his native
brutality never forsook him. Thomson and Pope charitably supported the
veteran Zoilus at a benefit play; and Savage, who had nothing but a
verse to give, returned them very poetical thanks in the name of
Dennis. He was then blind and old, but his critical ferocity had no
old age; his surliness overcame every grateful sense, and he swore as
usual, "They could be no one's but that _fool_ Savage's"--an evidence
of his sagacity and brutality![40] This was, perhaps, the last peevish
snuff shaken from the dismal link of criticism; for, a few days after,
was the redoubted Dennis numbered with the mighty dead.

He carried the same fierceness into his style, and commits the same
ludicrous extravagances in literary composition as in his manners. Was
Pope really sore at the Zoilian style? He has himself spared me the
trouble of exhibiting Dennis's gross personalities, by having
collected them at the close of the Dunciad--specimens which show how
low false wit and malignity can get to by hard pains. I will throw
into the note a curious illustration of the anti-poetical notions of a
mechanical critic, who has no wing to dip into the hues of the

In life and in literature we meet with men who seem endowed with an
obliquity of understanding, yet active and busy spirits; but, as
activity is only valuable in proportion to the capacity that puts all
in motion, so, when ill directed, the intellect, warped by nature,
only becomes more crooked and fantastical. A kind of frantic
enthusiasm breaks forth in their actions and their language, and often
they seem ferocious when they are only foolish. We may thus account
for the manners and style of Dennis, pushed almost to the verge of
insanity, and acting on him very much like insanity itself--a
circumstance which the quick vengeance of wit seized on, in the
humorous "Narrative of Dr. Robert Norris, concerning the Frenzy of Mr.
John Dennis, an officer of the Custom-house."[42]

It is curious to observe that Dennis, in the definition of genius,
describes himself; he says--"Genius is caused by a _furious joy_ and
_pride of soul_ on the conception of an extraordinary hint. Many men
have their _hints_ without their motions of _fury and pride of soul_,
because they want fire enough to agitate their spirits; and these we
call cold writers. Others, who have a great deal of fire, but have not
excellent organs, feel the fore-mentioned _motions_, without the
extraordinary _hints_; and these we call fustian writers." His
_motions_ and his _hints_, as he describes them, in regard to cold or
fustian writers, seem to include the extreme points of his own

Another feature strongly marks the race of the Dennises. With a
half-consciousness of deficient genius, they usually idolize some
chimera, by adopting some extravagant principle; and they consider
themselves as original when they are only absurd.

Dennis had ever some misshapen idol of the mind, which he was
perpetually caressing with the zeal of perverted judgment or monstrous
taste. Once his frenzy ran against the Italian Opera; and in his
"Essay on Public Spirit," he ascribes its decline to its unmanly
warblings. I have seen a long letter by Dennis to the Earl of Oxford,
written to congratulate his lordship on his accession to power, and
the high hopes of the nation; but the greater part of the letter runs
on the Italian Opera, while Dennis instructs the Minister that the
national prosperity can never be effected while this general
corruption of the three kingdoms lies open!

Dennis has more than once recorded two material circumstances in the
life of a true critic; these are his _ill-nature_ and the _public

"I make no doubt," says he, "that upon the perusal of the critical
part of these letters, the _old accusation_ will be brought against
me, and there will be a _fresh outcry_ among thoughtless people that I
am _an ill-natured man_."

He entertained exalted opinions of his own powers, and he deeply felt
their public neglect.

"While others," he says in his tracts, "have been _too much
encouraged_, I have been _too much neglected_"--his favourite system,
that religion gives principally to great poetry its spirit and
enthusiasm, was an important point, which, he says, "has been left to
be treated by _a person who has the honour of being your lordship's
countryman_--your lordship knows that persons _so much and so long
oppressed as I have been_ have been always allowed to _say things
concerning themselves_ which in others might be offensive."

His vanity, we see, was equal to his vexation, and as he grew old he
became more enraged; and, writing too often without Aristotle or Locke
by his side, he gave the town pure Dennis, and almost ceased to be
read. "The oppression" of which he complains might not be less
imaginary than his alarm, while a treaty was pending with France, that
he should be delivered up to the Grand Monarque for having written a
tragedy, which no one could read, against his majesty.

It is melancholy, but it is useful, to record the mortifications of
such authors. Dennis had, no doubt, laboured with zeal which could
never meet a reward; and, perhaps, amid his critical labours, he
turned often with an aching heart from their barren contemplation to
that of the tranquillity he might have derived from an humbler

It was not literature, then, that made the mind coarse, brutalising
the habits and inflaming the style of Dennis. He had thrown himself
among the walks of genius, and aspired to fix himself on a throne to
which Nature had refused him a legitimate claim. What a lasting source
of vexation and rage, even for a long-lived patriarch of criticism!

Accustomed to suspend the scourge over the heads of the first authors
of the age, he could not sit at a table or enter a coffee-house
without exerting the despotism of a literary dictator. How could the
mind that had devoted itself to the contemplation of masterpieces,
only to reward its industry by detailing to the public their human
frailties, experience one hour of amenity, one idea of grace, one
generous impulse of sensibility?

But the poor critic himself at length fell, really more the victim of
his criticisms than the genius he had insulted. Having incurred the
public neglect, the blind and helpless Cacus in his den sunk fast into
contempt, dragged on a life of misery, and in his last days, scarcely
vomiting his fire and smoke, became the most pitiable creature,
receiving the alms he craved from triumphant genius.


   [37] It is curious to observe that Kippis, who classifies with the
        pomp of enumeration his heap of pamphlets, imagines that, as
        Blackmore's Epic is consigned to oblivion, so likewise must be
        the criticism, which, however, he confesses he could never
        meet with. An odd fate attends Dennis's works: his criticism
        on a bad work ought to survive it, as good works have survived
        his criticisms.

   [38] See in Dennis's "Original Letters" one to Tonson, entitled, "On
        the conspiracy against the reputation of Mr. Dryden." It was
        in favour of _folly_ against _wisdom_, _weakness_ against
        _power_, &c.; _Pope_ against _Dryden_. He closes with a
        well-turned period. "Wherever genius runs through a work, I
        forgive its faults; and wherever that is wanting, no beauties
        can touch me. Being struck by Mr. Dryden's genius, I have no
        eyes for his errors; and I have no eyes for his enemies'
        beauties, because I am not struck by their genius."

   [39] In the narrative of his frenzy (quoted p. 56), his _personnel_
        is thus given. "His aspect was furious, his eyes were rather
        fiery than lively, which he rolled about in an uncommon
        manner. He often opened his mouth as if he would have uttered
        some matter of importance, but the sound seemed lost inwardly.
        His beard was grown, which they told me he would not suffer to
        be shaved, believing the modern dramatic poets had corrupted
        all the barbers of the town to take the first opportunity of
        cutting his throat. His eyebrows were grey, long, and grown
        together, which he knit with indignation when anything was
        spoken, insomuch that he seemed not to have smoothed his
        forehead for many years."--ED.

   [40] There is an epigram on Dennis by Savage, which Johnson has
        preserved in his Life; and I feel it to be a very correct
        likeness, although Johnson censures Savage for writing an
        epigram against Dennis, while he was living in great
        familiarity with the critic. Perhaps that was the happiest
        moment to write the epigram. The anecdote in the text
        doubtless prompted "the fool" to take this fair revenge and
        just chastisement. Savage has brought out the features
        strongly, in these touches--

          "Say what revenge on Dennis can be had,
          Too dull for laughter, for reply too mad.
          On one so poor you cannot take the law,
          On one so old your sword you scorn to draw.
          Uncaged then, let the harmless monster rage,
          Secure in dulness, madness, want, and age!"

   [41] Dennis points his heavy cannon of criticism and thus
        bombards that aerial edifice, the "Rape of the Lock." He is
        inquiring into the nature of _poetical machinery_, which, he
        oracularly pronounces, should be religious, or allegorical,
        or political; asserting the "Lutrin" of Boileau to be a
        trifle only in appearance, covering the deep political
        design of reforming the Popish Church!--With the yard of
        criticism he takes measure of the slender graces and tiny
        elegance of Pope's aerial machines, as "less considerable
        than the _human persons_, which is _without precedent_.
        Nothing can be so contemptible as the _persons_ or so
        foolish as the understandings of these _hobgoblins_.
        Ariel's speech is one continued impertinence. After he has
        talked to them of black omens and dire disasters that
        threaten his heroine, those bugbears dwindle to the breaking
        a piece of china, to staining a petticoat, the losing a
        fan, or a bottle of sal volatile--and what makes Ariel's
        speech more ridiculous is the _place_ where it is spoken, on
        the sails and cordage of Belinda's barge." And then he
        compares the Sylphs to the Discord of Homer, whose feet are
        upon the earth, and head in the skies. "They are, indeed,
        beings so diminutive that they bear the same proportion to
        the rest of the intellectual that _Eels in vinegar_ do to
        the rest of the material world; the latter are only to be seen
        through microscopes, and the former only through the false
        optics of a Rosicrucian understanding." And finally, he
        decides that "these diminutive beings are only _Sawney_
        (that is, Alexander Pope), taking the change; for it is
        he, a little lump of flesh, that talks, instead of a little
        spirit." Dennis's profound gravity contributes an additional
        feature of the burlesque to these heroi-comic poems
        themselves, only that Dennis cannot be playful, and will
        not be good-humoured.

        On the same tasteless principle he decides on the improbability
        of that incident in the "Conscious Lovers" of Steele, raised
        by Bevil, who, having received great obligations from his
        father, has promised not to marry without his consent. On this
        Dennis, who rarely in his critical progress will stir a foot
        without authority, quotes four formidable pages from Locke's
        "Essay on Government," to prove that, at the age of
        discretion, a man is free to dispose of his own actions! One
        would imagine that Dennis was arguing like a special pleader,
        rather than developing the involved action of an affecting
        drama. Are there critics who would pronounce Dennis to be a
        very _sensible_ brother? It is here too he calls Steele "a
        twopenny author," alluding to the price of the "Tatlers"--but
        this cost Dennis dear!

   [42] "The narrative of the frenzy of Mr. John Dennis," published in
        the Miscellanies of Pope, Swift, and Arbuthnot, and said to
        have been written by Pope, is a grave banter on his usual
        violence. It professes to be the account of the physician who
        attended him at the request of a servant, who describes the
        first attack of his madness coming on when "a poor simple
        child came to him from the printers; the boy had no sooner
        entered the room, but he cried out 'the devil was come!'" The
        constant idiosyncrasy he had that his writings against France
        and the Pope might endanger his liberty, is amusingly hit off;
        "he perpetually starts and runs to the window when any one
        knocks, crying out ''Sdeath! a messenger from the French King;
        I shall die in the Bastile!'"--ED.



How the moral and literary character are reciprocally influenced, may
be traced in the character of a personage peculiarly apposite to these
inquiries. This worthy of literature is ORATOR HENLEY, who is rather
known traditionally than historically.[43] He is so overwhelmed with
the echoed satire of Pope, and his own extravagant conduct for many
years, that I should not care to extricate him, had I not discovered a
feature in the character of Henley not yet drawn, and constituting no
inferior calamity among authors.

Henley stands in his "gilt tub" in the Dunciad; and a portrait of him
hangs in the picture-gallery of the Commentary. Pope's verse and
Warburton's notes are the pickle and the bandages for any Egyptian
mummy of dulness, who will last as long as the pyramid that encloses
him. I shall transcribe, for the reader's convenience, the lines of

  Embrown'd with native bronze, lo! Henley stands,
  Tuning his voice, and balancing his hands;
  How fluent nonsense trickles from his tongue!
  How sweet the periods, neither said nor sung!
  Still break the benches, Henley, with thy strain,
  While Sherlock, Hare, and Gibson, preach in vain.
  Oh! great restorer of the good old stage,
  Preacher at once, and Zany of thy age![44]

It will surprise when I declare that this buffoon was an indefatigable
student, a proficient in all the learned languages, an elegant poet,
and, withal, a wit of no inferior class. It remains to discover why
"the Preacher" became "the Zany."

Henley was of St. John's College, Cambridge, and was distinguished for
the ardour and pertinacity of his studies; he gave evident marks of
genius. There is a letter of his to the "Spectator," signed _Peter de
Quir_, which abounds with local wit and quaint humour.[45] He had not
attained his twenty-second year when he published a poem, entitled
"Esther, Queen of Persia,"[46] written amid graver studies; for three
years after, Henley, being M.A., published his "Complete Linguist,"
consisting of grammars of ten languages.

The poem itself must not be passed by in silent notice. It is preceded
by a learned preface, in which the poet discovers his intimate
knowledge of oriental studies, with some etymologies from the Persic,
the Hebrew, and the Greek, concerning the name and person of
Ahasuerus, whom he makes to be Xerxes. The close of this preface gives
another unexpected feature in the character of him who, the poet tells
us, was "embrowned with _native_ bronze"--an unaffected modesty!
Henley, alluding to a Greek paraphrase of Barnes, censures his faults
with acrimony, and even apologises for them, by thus gracefully
closing the preface: "These can only be alleviated by one plea, the
youth of the author, which is a circumstance I hope the candid will
consider in favour of the present writer!"

The poem is not destitute of imagination and harmony.

The pomp of the feast of Ahasuerus has all the luxuriance of Asiatic
splendour; and the circumstances are selected with some fancy.

  The higher guests approach a room of state,
  Where tissued couches all around were set
  Labour'd with art; o'er ivory tables thrown,
  Embroider'd carpets fell in folds adown.
  The bowers and gardens of the court were near,
  And open lights indulged the breathing air.

    Pillars of marble bore a silken sky,
  While cords of purple and fine linen tie
  In silver rings, the azure canopy.
  Distinct with diamond stars the blue was seen,
  And earth and seas were feign'd in emerald green;
  A globe of gold, ray'd with a pointed crown,
  Form'd in the midst almost a real sun.

Nor is Henley less skilful in the elegance of his sentiments, and in
his development of the human character. When Esther is raised to the
throne, the poet says--

  And Esther, though in robes, is Esther still.

And then sublimely exclaims--

  The heroic soul, amidst its bliss or woe,
  Is never swell'd too high, nor sunk too low;
  Stands, like its origin above the skies,
  Ever the same great self, sedately wise;
  Collected and prepared in every stage
  To scorn a courting world, or bear its rage.

But wit which the "Spectator" has sent down to posterity, and poetry
which gave the promise of excellence, did not bound the noble ambition
of Henley; ardent in more important labours, he was perfecting himself
in the learned languages, and carrying on a correspondence with
eminent scholars.

He officiated as the master of the free-school at his native town in
Leicestershire, then in a declining state; but he introduced many
original improvements. He established a class for public elocution,
recitations of the classics, orations, &c.; and arranged a method of
enabling every scholar to give an account of his studies without the
necessity of consulting others, or of being examined by particular
questions. These miracles are indeed a little apocryphal; for they are
drawn from that pseudo-gospel of his life, of which I am inclined to
think he himself was the evangelist. His grammar of ten languages was
now finished; and his genius felt that obscure spot too circumscribed
for his ambition. He parted from the inhabitants with their regrets,
and came to the metropolis with thirty recommendatory letters.

Henley probably had formed those warm conceptions of patronage in
which youthful genius cradles its hopes. Till 1724 he appears,
however, to have obtained only a small living, and to have existed by
translating and writing. Thus, after persevering studies, many
successful literary efforts, and much heavy taskwork, Henley found he
was but a hireling author for the booksellers, and a salaried
"Hyp-doctor" for the minister; for he received a stipend for this
periodical paper, which was to cheer the spirits of the people by
ridiculing the gloomy forebodings of Amhurst's "Craftsman." About this
time the complete metamorphosis of the studious and ingenious John
Henley began to branch out into its grotesque figure; and a curiosity
in human nature was now about to be opened to public inspection. "The
Preacher" was to personate "The Zany." His temper had become brutal,
and he had gradually contracted a ferocity and grossness in his
manners, which seem by no means to have been indicated in his purer
days. His youth was disgraced by no irregularities--it was studious
and honourable. But he was now quick at vilifying the greatest
characters; and having a perfect contempt for all mankind, was
resolved to live by making one half of the world laugh at the other.
Such is the direction which disappointed genius has too often given to
its talents.

He first affected oratory, and something of a theatrical attitude in
his sermons, which greatly attracted the populace; and he startled
those preachers who had so long dozed over their own sermons, and who
now finding themselves with but few slumberers about them, envied
their Ciceronian brothers.

  Tuning his voice, and balancing his hands.

It was alleged against Henley, that "he drew the people too much from
their parish churches, and was not so proper for a London divine as a
rural pastor." He was offered a rustication, on a better living; but
Henley did not come from the country to return to it.

There is a narrative of the life of Henley, which, subscribed by another
person's name, he himself inserted in his "Oratory Transactions."[47]
As he had to publish himself this highly seasoned biographical
morsel, and as his face was then beginning to be "embrowned with
bronze," he thus very impudently and very ingeniously apologises for
the panegyric:--

"If any remark of the writer appears favourable to myself, and be
judged apocryphal, it may, however, weigh in the opposite scale to
some things less obligingly said of me; false praise being as
pardonable as false reproach."[48]

In this narrative we are told, that when at college--

"He began to be uneasy that he had not the liberty of thinking,
without incurring the scandal of heterodoxy; he was impatient that
systems of all sorts were put into his hands ready carved out for him;
it shocked him to find that he was commanded to believe against his
judgment, and resolved some time or other to enter his protest against
any person being bred like a slave, who is born an Englishman."

This is all very decorous, and nothing can be objected to the first
cry of this reforming patriot but a reasonable suspicion of its truth.
If these sentiments were really in his mind at college, he deserves at
least the praise of retention: for fifteen years were suffered to pass
quietly without the patriotic volcano giving even a distant rumbling
of the sulphurous matter concealed beneath. All that time had passed
in the contemplation of church preferment, with the aerial perspective
lighted by a visionary mitre. But Henley grew indignant at his
disappointments, and suddenly resolved to reform "the gross impostures
and faults that have long prevailed in the received _institutions_ and
_establishments_ of _knowledge_ and _religion_"--simply meaning that
he wished to pull down the _Church_ and the _University_!

But he was prudent before he was patriotic; he at first grafted
himself on Whiston, adopting his opinions, and sent some queries by
which it appears that Henley, previous to breaking with the church,
was anxious to learn the power it had to punish him. The Arian Whiston
was himself, from pure motives, suffering expulsion from Cambridge,
for refusing his subscription to the Athanasian Creed; he was a pious
man, and no buffoon, but a little crazed. Whiston afterwards
discovered the character of his correspondent, he then requested the
Bishop of London.

"To summon Mr. Henley, the orator, whose vile history I knew so well,
to come and tell it to the church. But the bishop said he could do
nothing; since which time Mr. Henley has gone on for about twenty
years without control every week, as an ecclesiastical mountebank, to
abuse religion."

The most extraordinary project was now formed by Henley; he was to
teach mankind universal knowledge from his lectures, and primitive
Christianity from his sermons. He took apartments in Newport market,
and opened his "Oratory." He declared,

"He would teach more in one year than schools and universities did in
five, and write and study twelve hours a-day, and yet appear as
untouched by the yoke, as if he never bore it."

In his "Idea of what is intended to be taught in the _Week-days'
Universal Academy_," we may admire the fertility, and sometimes the
grandeur of his views. His lectures and orations[49] are of a very
different nature from what they are imagined to be; literary topics
are treated with perspicuity and with erudition, and there is
something original in the manner. They were, no doubt, larded and
stuffed with many high-seasoned jokes, which Henley did not send to
the printer.

Henley was a charlatan and a knave; but in all his charlatanerie and
his knavery he indulged the reveries of genius; many of which have
been realised since; and, if we continue to laugh at Henley, it will
indeed be cruel, for we shall be laughing at ourselves! Among the
objects which Henley discriminates in his general design, were, to
supply the want of a university, or universal school, in this capital,
for persons of all ranks, professions, and capacities;--to encourage a
literary correspondence with great men and learned bodies; the
communication of all discoveries and experiments in science and the
arts; to form an amicable society for the encouragement of learning,
"in order to cultivate, adorn, and exalt the genius of Britain;" to
lay a foundation for an English Academy; to give a standard to our
language, and a digest to our history; to revise the ancient schools
of philosophy and elocution, which last has been reckoned by
Pancirollus among the _artes perditæ_. All these were "to bring all
the parts of knowledge into the narrowest compass, placing them in the
clearest light, and fixing them to the utmost certainty." The religion
of the Oratory was to be that of the primitive church in the first
ages of the four first general councils, approved by parliament in the
first year of the reign of Elizabeth. "The Church of England is really
with us; we appeal to her own principles, and we shall not deviate
from her, unless she deviates from herself." Yet his "Primitive
Christianity" had all the sumptuous pomp of popery; his creeds and
doxologies are printed in the red letter, and his liturgies in the
black; his pulpit blazed in gold and velvet (Pope's "gilt tub"); while
his "Primitive Eucharist" was to be distributed with all the ancient
forms of celebrating the sacrifice of the altar, which he says, "are
so noble, so just, sublime, and perfectly harmonious, that the change
has been made to an unspeakable disadvantage." It was restoring the
decorations and the mummery of the mass! He assumed even a higher
tone, and dispersed medals, like those of Louis XIV., with the device
of a sun near the meridian, and a motto, _Ad summa_, with an
inscription expressive of the genius of this new adventurer, _Inveniam
viam aut faciam_! There was a snake in the grass; it is obvious that
Henley, in improving literature and philosophy, had a deeper
design--to set up a new sect! He called himself "a Rationalist," and
on his death-bed repeatedly cried out, "Let my notorious enemies know
I die a Rational."[50]

His address to the town[51] excited public curiosity to the utmost;
and the floating crowds were repulsed by their own violence from
this new paradise, where "The Tree of Knowledge" was said to be
planted. At the succeeding meeting "the Restorer of Ancient
Eloquence" informed "persons in chairs that they must come sooner."
He first commenced by subscriptions to be raised from "persons
eminent in Arts and Literature," who, it seems, were lured by the
seductive promise, that, "if they had been virtuous or penitents, they
should be commemorated;" an oblique hint at a panegyrical puff. In the
decline of his popularity he permitted his door-keeper, whom he
dignifies with the title of _Ostiary_, to take a shilling! But he
seems to have been popular for many years; even when his auditors
were but few, they were of the better order;[52] and in notes
respecting him which I have seen, by a contemporary, he is called
"the reverend and learned." His favourite character was that of a
Restorer of Eloquence; and he was not destitute of the qualifications
of a fine orator, a good voice, graceful gesture, and forcible
elocution. Warburton justly remarked, "Sometimes he broke jests,
and sometimes that bread which he called the Primitive Eucharist." He
would degenerate into buffoonery on solemn occasions. His address to
the Deity was at first awful, and seemingly devout; but, once
expatiating on the several sects who would certainly be damned, he
prayed that the Dutch might be _undamm'd_! He undertook to show the
ancient use of the petticoat, by quoting the Scriptures where the
mother of Samuel is said to have made him "_a little coat_," ergo, a
PETTI-_coat_![53] His advertisements were mysterious ribaldry to
attract curiosity, while his own good sense would frequently
chastise those who could not resist it; his auditors came in
folly, but they departed in good-humour.[54] These advertisements
were usually preceded by a sort of motto, generally a sarcastic
allusion to some public transaction of the preceding week.[55]
Henley pretended to great impartiality; and when two preachers had
animadverted on him, he issued an advertisement, announcing "A
Lecture that will be a challenge to the Rev. Mr. Batty and the Rev.
Mr. Albert. Letters are sent to them on this head, and _a free
standing-place_ is there to be had _gratis_." Once Henley offered
to admit of a disputation, and that he would impartially determine
the merits of the contest. It happened that Henley this time was
overmatched; for two Oxonians, supported by a strong party to awe his
"marrow-boners," as the butchers were called, said to be in the
Orator's pay, entered the list; the one to defend the _ignorance_,
the other the _impudence_, of the Restorer of Eloquence himself. As
there was a door behind the rostrum, which led to his house, the
Orator silently dropped out, postponing the award to some happier

This age of lecturers may find their model in Henley's "Universal
Academy," and if any should aspire to bring themselves down to his
genius, I furnish them with hints of anomalous topics. In the second
number of "The Oratory Transactions," is a diary from July 1726, to
August 1728. It forms, perhaps, an unparalleled chronicle of the
vagaries of the human mind. These archives of cunning, of folly, and
of literature, are divided into two diaries; the one "The Theological
or Lord's days' subjects of the Oratory;" the other, "The Academical
or Week-days' subjects." I can only note a few. It is easy to pick out
ludicrous specimens; for he had a quaint humour peculiar to himself;
but among these numerous topics are many curious for their knowledge
and ingenuity.

"The last Wills and Testaments of the Patriarchs."

"An Argument to the Jews, with a proof that they ought to be
Christians, for the same reason which they ought to be Jews."

"St. Paul's Cloak, Books, and Parchments, left at Troas."

"The tears of Magdalen, and the joy of angels."

"New Converts in Religion." After pointing out the names of "Courayer
and others, the D---- of W----n, the Protestantism of the P----, the
conversion of the Rev. Mr. B----e, and Mr. Har----y," he closes with
"Origen's opinion of Satan's conversion; with the choice and balance
of Religion in all countries."

There is one remarkable entry:--

"Feb. 11. This week all Mr. Henley's writings were seized, to be
examined by the State. _Vide Magnam Chartam_, and _Eng Lib._"

It is evident by what follows that the _personalities_ he made use of
were one means of attracting auditors.

"On the action of Cicero, and the beauty of Eloquence, and on living
characters; of action in the Senate, at the Bar, and in the Pulpit--of
the Theatrical in all men. The manner of my Lord ----, Sir ----, Dr.
----, the B. of ----, being a proof how all life is playing something,
but with different action."

In a Lecture on the History of Bookcraft, an account was given

"Of the plenty of books, and dearth of sense; the advantages of the
Oratory to the booksellers, in advertising for them; and to their
customers, in making books useless; with all the learning, reason, and
wit more than are proper for one advertisement."

Amid these eccentricities it is remarkable that "the Zany" never
forsook his studies; and the amazing multiplicity of the MSS. he left
behind him confirm this extraordinary fact. "These," he says, "are six
thousand more or less, that I value at one guinea apiece; with 150
volumes of commonplaces of wit, memoranda," &c. They were sold for
much less than one hundred pounds; I have looked over many; they are
written with great care. Every leaf has an opposite blank page,
probably left for additions or corrections, so that if his nonsense
were spontaneous, his sense was the fruit of study and correction.

Such was "Orator Henley!" A scholar of great acquirements, and of no
mean genius; hardy and inventive, eloquent and witty; he might have
been an ornament to literature, which he made ridiculous; and the
pride of the pulpit, which he so egregiously disgraced; but, having
blunted and worn out that interior feeling, which is the instinct of
the good man, and the wisdom of the wise, there was no balance in his
passions, and the decorum of life was sacrificed to its selfishness.
He condescended to live on the follies of the people, and his sordid
nature had changed him till he crept, "licking the dust with the


   [43] So little is known of this singular man, that Mr. Dibdin, in his
        very curious "Bibliomania," was not able to recollect any
        other details than those he transcribed from Warburton's
        "Commentary on the Dunciad." In Mr. Nichols' "History of
        Leicestershire" a more copious account of Henley may be found;
        to their facts something is here added. It was, however,
        difficult to glean after so excellent a harvest-home. To the
        author of the "Life of Bowyer," and other works devoted to our
        authors, our literary history is more indebted, than to the
        labours of any other contemporary. He is the Prosper Marchand
        of English literature.

   [44] It is, perhaps, unnecessary to point out this allusion of Pope
        to our ancient _mysteries_, where the _Clergy_ were the
        _actors_; among which, the _Vice_ or _Punch_ was introduced.
        (See "Curiosities of Literature.")

   [45] Specimens of Henley's style may be most easily referred to in
        the "Spectator," Nos. 94 and 518. The communication on
        punning, in the first; and that of judging character by
        exteriors, in the last; are both attributed to Henley.--ED.

   [46] The title is, "Esther, Queen of Persia, an historical Poem, in
        four books; by John Henley, B.A. of St. John's College,
        Cambridge. 1714."

   [47] Many of the rough drafts of his famed discourses delivered at
        the Oratory are preserved in the library of the Guildhall,
        London. The advertisements he drew up for the papers,
        announcing their subject, are generally exceedingly whimsical,
        and calculated to attract popular attention.--ED.

   [48] This narrative is subscribed A. Welstede. Warburton maliciously
        quotes it as a life of Henley, written by Welsted--doubtless
        designed to lower the writer of that name, and one of the
        heroes of the Dunciad. The public have long been deceived by
        this artifice; the effect, I believe, of Warburton's

   [49] Every lecture is dedicated to some branch of the royal family.
        Among them one is on "University Learning," an attack.--"On
        the English History and Historians," extremely curious.--"On
        the Languages, Ancient and Modern," full of erudition.--"On
        the English Tongue," a valuable criticism at that moment when
        our style was receiving a new polish from Addison and Prior.
        Henley, acknowledging that these writers had raised
        _correctness_ of expression to its utmost height, adds,
        though, "if I mistake not, something to the detriment of that
        _force_ and _freedom_ that ought, with the most concealed art,
        to be a perfect copy of nature in all compositions." This is
        among the first notices of that artificial style which has
        vitiated our native idiom, substituting for its purity an
        affected delicacy, and for its vigour profuse ornament. Henley
        observes that, "to be perspicuous, pure, elegant, copious, and
        harmonious, are the chief good qualities of writing the
        English tongue; they are attained by study and practice, and
        lost by the contrary: but _imitation_ is to be avoided; they
        cannot be made our own but by keeping the force of our
        understandings superior to our models; by _rendering our
        thoughts the original, and our words the copy_."--"On Wit and
        Imagination," abounding with excellent criticism.--"On grave
        conundrums and serious buffoons, in defence of burlesque
        discourses, from the most weighty authorities."--"A
        Dissertation upon Nonsense." At the close he has a fling at
        his friend Pope; it was after the publication of the Dunciad.
        "Of Nonsense there are celebrated professors; Mr. Pope grows
        witty like Bays in the 'Rehearsal,' by selling bargains (his
        subscriptions for Homer), praising himself, laughing at his
        joke, and making his own works the test of any man's
        criticism; but he seems to be in some jeopardy; for the ghost
        of Homer has lately spoke to him in Greek, and Shakspeare
        resolves to bring him, as he has brought Shakspeare, to a
        tragical conclusion. Mr. Pope suggests the last choice of a
        subject for writing a book, by making the _Nonsense_ of others
        his argument; while his own puts it out of any writer's power
        to confute him." In another fling at Pope, he gives the reason
        why Mr. Pope adds the dirty dialect to that of the water, and
        is in love with the Nymphs of Fleet ditch; and in a lecture on
        the spleen he announced "an anatomical discovery, that Mr.
        Pope's spleen is bigger than his head!"

   [50] Thus he anticipated the term, since become so notorious among
        German theologians.

   [51] It is preserved in the "Historical Register," vol. xi. for 1726.
        It is curious and well written.

   [52] "Gentleman's Magazine," vol. lvii. p. 876.

   [53] His "Defence of the Oratory" is a curious performance. He
        pretends to derive his own from great authority. "St. Paul
        is related, Acts 28, to have dwelt _two whole years in his
        own hired house_, and to have received all that came in
        unto him, teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus
        Christ with all confidence, no man forbidding him. This
        was at _Rome_, and doubtless was his practice in his other
        travels, there being the same reason in the thing to produce
        elsewhere the like circumstances." He proceeds to show
        "the calumnies and reproaches, and the novelty and impiety,
        with which Christianity, at its first setting out, was
        charged, as a mean, abject institution, not only useless
        and unserviceable, but pernicious to the public and its
        professors, as the refuse of the world."--Of the false
        accusations raised against Jesus--all this he applies to
        himself and his oratory--and he concludes, that "Bringing
        men to think rightly will always be reckoned a depraving
        of their minds by those who are desirous to keep them in a
        mistake, and who measure all truth by the standard of their
        own narrow opinions, views, and passions. The principles of
        this institution are those of right reason: the first ages
        of Christianity; true facts, clear criticism, and polite
        literature--if these corrupt the mind, to find a place where
        the mind will not be corrupted will be impracticable."
        Thus speciously could "the Orator" reason, raising himself to
        the height of apostolical purity. And when he was accused
        that he _did all for lucre_, he retorted, that "some _do
        nothing_ for it;" and that "he preached more charity sermons
        than any clergyman in the kingdom."

   [54] He once advertised an oration on marriage, which drew together
        an overflowing assembly of females, at which, solemnly shaking
        his head, he told the ladies, that "he was afraid, that
        oftentimes, as well as now, they came to church in hopes to
        get husbands, rather than be instructed by the preacher;" to
        which he added a piece of wit not quite decent. He congregated
        the trade of shoemakers, by offering to show the most
        expeditious method of making shoes: he held out a boot, and
        cut off the leg part. He gave a lecture, which he advertised
        was "for the instruction of those who do not like it; it was
        on the philosophy, history, and great use of _Nonsense_ to the
        learned, political, and polite world, who excel in it."

   [55] Dr. Cobden, one of George the Second's chaplains, having, in
        1748, preached a sermon at St. James's from these words, "Take
        away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be
        established in righteousness," it gave so much displeasure,
        that the doctor was struck out of the list of chaplains; and
        the next Saturday the following parody of his text appeared as
        a motto to Henley's advertisement:

          "Away with the wicked before the king,
          And away with the wicked behind him;
            His throne it will bless
            With righteousness,
          And we shall know where to find him."
               CHALMER'S "Biographical Dictionary."

   [56] The history of the closing years of Henley's life is thus given
        in "The History of the Robin Hood Society," 1764, a political
        club, whose debates he occasionally enlivened:--"The Orator,
        with various success, still kept up his _Oratory_, _King
        George's_, or _Charles's Chapel_, as he differently termed it,
        till the year 1759, when he died. At its first establishment
        it was amazingly crowded, and money flowed in upon him apace;
        and between whiles it languished and drooped: but for some
        years before its author's death it dwindled away so much, and
        fell into such an hectic state, that the few friends of it
        feared its decease was very near. The doctor, indeed, kept it
        up to the last, determined it should live as long as he did,
        and actually exhibited many evenings to empty benches. Finding
        no one at length would attend, he admitted the acquaintances
        of his door-keeper, runner, mouth-piece, and some other of his
        followers, gratis. On the 13th of October, however, the doctor
        died, and the Oratory ceased; no one having iniquity or
        impudence sufficient to continue it on."--ED.

   [57] Hogarth has preserved his features in the parson who figures so
        conspicuously in his "Modern Midnight Conversation." His
        off-hand style of discourse is given in the _Gray's-Inn
        Journal_, 1753 (No. 18), in an imaginary meeting of the
        political Robin Hood Society, where he figures as Orator Bronze,
        and exclaims:--"I am pleased to see this assembly--you're a
        twig from me; a chip of the old block at Clare Market;--I am
        the old block, invincible; _coup de grace_ as yet unanswered.
        We are brother rationalists; logicians upon fundamentals! I
        love ye all--I love mankind in general--give me some of that


The practice of every art subjects the artist to some particular
inconvenience, usually inflicting some malady on that member which has
been over-wrought by excess: nature abused, pursues man into his most
secret corners, and avenges herself. In the athletic exercises of the
ancient Gymnasium, the pugilists were observed to become lean from
their hips downwards, while the superior parts of their bodies, which
they over-exercised, were prodigiously swollen; on the contrary, the
racers were meagre upwards, while their feet acquired an unnatural
dimension. The secret source of life seems to be carried forwards to
those parts which are making the most continued efforts.

In all sedentary labours, some particular malady is contracted by
every worker, derived from particular postures of the body and
peculiar habits. Thus the weaver, the tailor, the painter, and the
glass-blower, have all their respective maladies. The diamond-cutter,
with a furnace before him, may be said almost to live in one; the
slightest air must be shut out of the apartment, lest it scatter away
the precious dust--a breath would ruin him!

The analogy is obvious;[58] and the author must participate in the
common fate of all sedentary occupations. But his maladies, from the
very nature of the delicate organ of thinking, intensely exercised,
are more terrible than those of any other profession; they are more
complicated, more hidden in their causes, and the mysterious union
and secret influence of the faculties of the soul over those of the
body, are visible, yet still incomprehensible; they frequently produce
a perturbation in the faculties, a state of acute irritability, and
many sorrows and infirmities, which are not likely to create much
sympathy from those around the author, who, at a glance, could have
discovered where the pugilist or the racer became meagre or monstrous:
the intellectual malady eludes even the tenderness of friendship.

The more obvious maladies engendered by the life of a student arise
from over-study. These have furnished a curious volume to Tissot, in
his treatise "On the Health of Men of Letters;" a book, however, which
chills and terrifies more than it does good.

The unnatural fixed postures, the perpetual activity of the mind, and
the inaction of the body; the brain exhausted with assiduous toil
deranging the nerves, vitiating the digestive powers, disordering its
own machinery, and breaking the calm of sleep by that previous state
of excitement which study throws us into, are some of the calamities
of a studious life: for like the ocean when its swell is subsiding,
the waves of the mind too still heave and beat; hence all the small
feverish symptoms, and the whole train of hypochondriac affections, as
well as some acute ones.[59]

Among the correspondents of the poets Hughes and Thomson, there is a
pathetic letter from a student. Alexander Bayne, to prepare his
lectures, studied fourteen hours a-day for eight months successively,
and wrote 1,600 sheets. Such intense application, which, however, not
greatly exceeds that of many authors, brought on the bodily complaints
he has minutely described, with "all the dispiriting symptoms of a
nervous illness, commonly called vapours, or lowness of spirits."
Bayne, who was of an athletic temperament, imagined he had not paid
attention to his diet, to the lowness of his desk, and his habit of
sitting with a particular compression of the body; in future all these
were to be avoided. He prolonged his life for five years, and,
perhaps, was still flattering his hopes of sharing one day in the
literary celebrity of his friends, when, to use his words, "the same
illness made a fierce attack upon me again, and has kept me in a very
bad state of inactivity and disrelish of all my ordinary amusements:"
those _amusements_ were his serious _studies_. There is a fascination
in literary labour: the student feeds on magical drugs; to withdraw
him from them requires nothing less than that greater magic which
could break his own spells. A few months after this letter was written
Bayne died on the way to Bath, a martyr to his studies.

The excessive labour on a voluminous work, which occupies a long life,
leaves the student with a broken constitution, and his sight decayed
or lost. The most admirable observer of mankind, and the truest
painter of the human heart, declares, "The corruptible body presseth
down the soul, and the earthy tabernacle weigheth down the _mind that
museth on many things_." Of this class was old Randle Cotgrave, the
curious collector of the most copious dictionary of old French and old
English words and phrases. The work is the only treasury of our
genuine idiom. Even this labour of the lexicographer, so copious and
so elaborate, must have been projected with rapture, and pursued with
pleasure, till, in the progress, "the mind was musing on many things."
Then came the melancholy doubt, that drops mildew from its enveloping
wings over the voluminous labour of a laborious author, whether he be
wisely consuming his days, and not perpetually neglecting some higher
duties or some happier amusements. Still the enchanted delver sighs,
and strikes on in the glimmering mine of hope. If he live to complete
the great labour, it is, perhaps, reserved for the applause of the
next age; for, as our great lexicographer exclaimed, "In this gloom of
solitude I have protracted my work, till those whom I wished to please
have sunk into the grave, and success and miscarriage are empty
sounds;" but, if it be applauded in his own, that praise has come too
late for him whose literary labour has stolen away his sight. Cotgrave
had grown blind over his dictionary, and was doubtful whether this
work of his laborious days and nightly vigils was not a superfluous
labour, and nothing, after all, but a "poor bundle of words." The
reader may listen to the gray-headed martyr addressing his patron,
Lord Burghley:

"I present to your lordship an account of the _expense of many hours_,
which, in your service, and to mine own benefit, _might have been
otherwise employed_. My desires have aimed at more substantial marks;
but _mine eyes_ failed them, and forced me to _spend out their vigour
in this bundle of words_, which may be unworthy of your lordship's
great patience, and, perhaps, _ill-suited to the expectation of

A great number of young authors have died of over-study. An
intellectual enthusiasm, accompanied by constitutional delicacy, has
swept away half the rising genius of the age. Curious calculators have
affected to discover the average number of infants who die under the
age of five years: had they investigated those of the children of
genius who perish before their thirtieth year, we should not be
less amazed at this waste of man. There are few scenes more
afflicting, nor which more deeply engage our sympathy, than that
of a youth, glowing with the devotion of study, and resolute to
distinguish his name among his countrymen, while death is stealing on
him, touching with premature age, before he strikes the last blow.
The author perishes on the very pages which give a charm to his
existence. The fine taste and tender melancholy of Headley, the
fervid genius of Henry Kirke White, will not easily pass away; but
how many youths as noble-minded have not had the fortune of Kirke
White to be commemorated by genius, and have perished without their
fame! Henry Wharton is a name well known to the student of English
literature; he published historical criticisms of high value; and he
left, as some of the fruits of his studies, sixteen volumes of
MS., preserved in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth. These
great labours were pursued with the ardour that only could have
produced them; the author had not exceeded his thirtieth year when
he sank under his continued studies, and perished a martyr to
literature. Our literary history abounds with instances of the sad
effects of an over indulgence in study: that agreeable writer,
Howel, had nearly lost his life by an excess of this nature,
studying through long nights in the depth of winter. This severe study
occasioned an imposthume in his head; he was eighteen days without
sleep; and the illness was attended with many other afflicting
symptoms. The eager diligence of Blackmore, protracting his studies
through the night, broke his health, and obliged him to fly to a
country retreat. Harris, the historian, died of a consumption by
midnight studies, as his friend Hollis mentions. I shall add a
recent instance, which I myself witnessed: it is that of John
Macdiarmid. He was one of those Scotch students whom the golden
fame of Hume and Robertson attracted to the metropolis. He mounted the
first steps of literary adventure with credit; and passed through
the probation of editor and reviewer, till he strove for more
heroic adventures. He published some volumes, whose subjects
display the aspirings of his genius: "An Inquiry into the Nature of
Civil and Military Subordination;" another into "the System of
Military Defence." It was during these labours I beheld this
inquirer, of a tender frame, emaciated, and study-worn, with
hollow eyes, where the mind dimly shone like a lamp in a tomb. With
keen ardour he opened a new plan of biographical politics. When, by
one who wished the author was in better condition, the dangers of
excess in study were brought to his recollection, he smiled, and,
with something of a mysterious air, talked of unalterable confidence
in the powers of his mind; of the indefinite improvement in our
faculties: and, with this enfeebled frame, considered himself
capable of continuous labour. His whole life, indeed, was one
melancholy trial. Often the day cheerfully passed without its meal,
but never without its page. The new system of political biography
was advancing, when our young author felt a paralytic stroke. He
afterwards resumed his pen; and a second one proved fatal. He lived
just to pass through the press his "Lives of British Statesmen," a
splendid quarto, whose publication he owed to the generous temper
of a friend, who, when the author could not readily procure a
publisher, would not see the dying author's last hope disappointed.
Some research and reflection are combined in this literary and
civil history of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; but it
was written with the blood of the author, for Macdiarmid died of
over-study and exhaustion.

Among the maladies of poor authors, who procure a precarious existence
by their pen, one, not the least considerable, is their old age; their
flower and maturity of life were shed for no human comforts; and old
age is the withered root. The late THOMAS MORTIMER, the compiler,
among other things, of that useful work, "The Student's Pocket
Dictionary," felt this severely--he himself experienced no abatement
of his ardour, nor deficiency in his intellectual powers, at near the
age of eighty;--but he then would complain "of the paucity of literary
employment, and the preference given to young adventurers." Such is
the _youth_, and such the _old age_ of ordinary authors!


   [58] Hawkesworth, in the second paper of the "Adventurer," has
        composed, from his own feelings, an elegant description of
        intellectual and corporeal labour, and the sufferings of an
        author, with the uncertainty of his labour and his reward.

   [59] Dr. Fuller's "Medicina Gymnastica, or, a treatise concerning the
        power of Exercise, with respect to the Animal OEconomy, fifth
        edition, 1718," is useful to remind the student of what he is
        apt to forget; for the object of this volume is to _substitute
        exercise for medicine_. He wrote the book before he became a
        physician. He considers horse-riding as the best and noblest
        of all exercises, it being "a mixed exercise, partly active
        and partly passive, while other sorts, such as walking,
        running, stooping, or the like, require some labour and more
        strength for their performance." Cheyne, in his well-known
        treatise of "The English Malady," published about twenty years
        after Fuller's work, acknowledges that riding on horseback is
        the best of all exercises, for which he details his reasons.
        "Walking," he says, "though it will answer the same end, yet
        is it more laborious and tiresome;" but amusement ought always
        to be combined with the exercise of a student; the mind will
        receive no refreshment by a solitary walk or ride, unless it
        be agreeably withdrawn from all thoughtfulness and anxiety; if
        it continue studying in its recreations, it is the sure means
        of obtaining neither of its objects--a friend, not an author,
        will at such a moment be the better companion.

        The last chapter in Fuller's work contains much curious
        reading on the ancient physicians, and their gymnastic
        courses, which Asclepiades, the pleasantest of all the ancient
        physicians, greatly studied; he was most fortunate in the
        invention of exercises to supply the place of much physic, and
        (says Fuller) no man in any age ever had the happiness to
        obtain so general an applause; Pliny calls him the delight of
        mankind. Admirable physician, who had so many ways, it
        appears, to make physic agreeable! He invented the _lecti
        pensiles_, or hanging beds, that the sick might be rocked to
        sleep; which took so much at that time, that they became a
        great luxury among the Romans.

        Fuller judiciously does not recommend the gymnastic courses,
        because horse-riding, for persons of delicate constitutions,
        is preferable; he discovers too the reason why the ancients
        did not introduce this mode of exercise--it arose from the
        simple circumstance of their not knowing the use of stirrups,
        which was a later invention. Riding with the ancients was,
        therefore, only an exercise for the healthy and the robust; a
        horse without stirrups was a formidable animal for a


What literary emigrations from the North of young men of genius,
seduced by a romantic passion for literary fame, and lured by the
golden prospects which the happier genius of some of their own
countrymen opened on them. A volume might be written on literary
Scotchmen, who have perished immaturely in this metropolis; little
known, and slightly connected, they have dropped away among us, and
scarcely left a vestige in the wrecks of their genius. Among them some
authors may be discovered who might have ranked, perhaps, in the first
classes of our literature. I shall select four out of as many hundred,
who were not entirely unknown to me; a romantic youth--a man of
genius--a brilliant prose writer--and a labourer in literature.

ISSAC RITSON (not the poetical antiquary) was a young man of genius,
who perished immaturely in this metropolis by attempting to exist by
the efforts of his pen.

In early youth he roved among his native mountains, with the battles
of Homer in his head, and his bow and arrow in his hand; in calmer
hours, he nearly completed a spirited version of Hesiod, which
constantly occupied his after-studies; yet our minstrel-archer did not
less love the severer sciences.

Selected at length to rise to the eminent station of the Village
Schoolmaster,--from the thankless office of pouring cold rudiments
into heedless ears, RITSON took a poetical flight. It was among the
mountains and wild scenery of Scotland that our young Homer, picking
up fragments of heroic songs, and composing some fine ballad poetry,
would, in his wanderings, recite them with such passionate expression,
that he never failed of auditors; and found even the poor generous,
when their better passions were moved. Thus he lived, like some old
troubadour, by his rhymes, and his chants, and his virelays; and,
after a year's absence, our bard returned in the triumph of verse.
This was the most seducing moment of life; RITSON felt himself a
laureated Petrarch; but he had now quitted his untutored but feeling
admirers, and the child of fancy was to mix with the everyday business
of life.

At Edinburgh he studied medicine, lived by writing theses for the
idle and the incompetent, and composed a poem on Medicine, till at
length his hopes and his ambition conducted him to London. But the
golden age of the imagination soon deserted him in his obscure
apartment in the glittering metropolis. He attended the hospitals,
but these were crowded by students who, if they relished the
science less, loved the trade more: he published a hasty version
of Homer's Hymn to Venus, which was good enough to be praised, but
not to sell; at length his fertile imagination, withering over the
taskwork of literature, he resigned fame for bread; wrote the preface
to Clarke's Survey of the Lakes, compiled medical articles for the
Monthly Review; and, wasting fast his ebbing spirits, he retreated to
an obscure lodging at Islington, where death relieved a hopeless
author, in the twenty-seventh year of his life.

The following unpolished lines were struck off at a heat in trying his
pen on the back of a letter; he wrote the names of the Sister Fates,
Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos--the sudden recollection of his own fate
rushed on him--and thus the rhapsodist broke out:--

    I wonder much, as yet ye're spinning, Fates!
  What threads yet twisted out for me, old jades!
  Ah, Atropos! perhaps for me thou spinn'st
  Neglect, contempt, and penury and woe;
  Be't so; whilst that foul fiend, the spleen,
  And moping melancholy spare me, all the rest
  I'll bear, as should a man; 'twill do me good,
  And teach me what no better fortune could,
  Humility, and sympathy with others' ills.
  --------------Ye destinies,
  I love you much; ye flatter not my pride.
  Your mien, 'tis true, is wrinkled, hard, and sour;
  Your words are harsh and stern; and sterner still
  Your purposes to me. Yet I forgive
  Whatever you have done, or mean to do.
  Beneath some baleful planet born, I've found,
  In all this world, no friend with fostering hand
  To lead me on to science, which I love
  Beyond all else the world could give; yet still
  Your rigour I forgive; ye are not yet my foes;
  My own untutor'd will's my only curse.
  We grasp asphaltic apples; blooming poison!
  We love what we should hate; how kind, ye Fates,
  To thwart our wishes! O you're kind to scourge!
  And flay us to the bone to make us feel!--

Thus deeply he enters into his own feelings, and abjures his errors,
as he paints the utter desolation of the soul while falling into the
grave opening at his feet.

The town was once amused almost every morning by a series of humorous
or burlesque poems by a writer under the assumed name of _Matthew
Bramble_--he was at that very moment one of the most moving spectacles
of human melancholy I have ever witnessed.

It was one evening I saw a tall, famished, melancholy man enter a
bookseller's shop, his hat flapped over his eyes, and his whole
frame evidently feeble from exhaustion and utter misery. The
bookseller inquired how he proceeded in his new tragedy. "Do not talk
to me about my tragedy! Do not talk to me about my tragedy! I have
indeed more tragedy than I can bear at home!" was the reply, and
the voice faltered as he spoke. This man was Matthew Bramble, or
rather--M'DONALD, the author of the tragedy of Vimonda, at that moment
the writer of comic poetry--his tragedy was indeed a domestic one,
in which he himself was the greatest actor amid his disconsolate
family; he shortly afterwards perished. M'Donald had walked from
Scotland with no other fortune than the novel of "The Independent"
in one pocket, and the tragedy of "Vimonda" in the other. Yet he
lived some time in all the bloom and flush of poetical confidence.
Vimonda was even performed several nights, but not with the
success the romantic poet, among his native rocks, had conceived was
to crown his anxious labours--the theatre disappointed him--and
afterwards, to his feelings, all the world!

LOGAN had the dispositions of a poetic spirit, not cast in a
common mould; with fancy he combined learning, and with eloquence

His claims on our sympathy arise from those circumstances in his life
which open the secret sources of the calamities of authors; of those
minds of finer temper, who, having tamed the heat of their youth by
the patient severity of study, from causes not always difficult to
discover, find their favourite objects and their fondest hopes barren
and neglected. It is then that the thoughtful melancholy, which
constitutes so large a portion of their genius, absorbs and consumes
the very faculties to which it gave birth.

Logan studied at the University of Edinburgh, was ordained in the
Church of Scotland--and early distinguished as a poet by the
simplicity and the tenderness of his verses, yet the philosophy of
history had as deeply interested his studies. He gave two courses of
lectures. I have heard from his pupils their admiration, after the
lapse of many years; so striking were those lectures for having
successfully applied the science of moral philosophy to the history of
nations. All wished that Logan should obtain the chair of the
Professorship of Universal History--but from some point of etiquette
he failed in obtaining that distinguished office.

This was his first disappointment in life, yet then perhaps but
lightly felt; for the public had approved of his poems, and a
successful poet is easily consoled. Poetry to such a gentle being
seems a universal specific for all the evils of life; it acts at the
moment, exhausting and destroying too often the constitution it seems
to restore.

He had finished the tragedy of "Runnymede;" it was accepted at
Covent-garden, but interdicted by the Lord Chamberlain, from some
suspicion that its lofty sentiments contained allusions to the
politics of the day. The Barons-in-arms who met John were conceived to
be deeper politicians than the poet himself was aware of. This was the
second disappointment in the life of this man of genius.

The third calamity was the natural consequence of a tragic poet being
also a Scotch clergyman. Logan had inflicted a wound on the
Presbytery, heirs of the genius of old Prynne, whose puritanic
fanaticism had never forgiven Home for his "Douglas," and now groaned
to detect genius still lurking among them.[60] Logan, it is certain,
expressed his contempt for them; they their hatred of him: folly and
pride in a poet, to beard Presbyters in a land of Presbyterians![61]

He gladly abandoned them, retiring on a small annuity. They had,
however, hurt his temper--they had irritated the nervous system of a
man too susceptible of all impressions, gentle or unkind--his
character had all those unequal habitudes which genius contracts in
its boldness and its tremors; he was now vivacious and indignant, and
now fretted and melancholy. He flew to the metropolis, occupied
himself in literature, and was a frequent contributor to the "English
Review." He published "A Review of the Principal Charges against Mr.
Hastings." Logan wrestled with the genius of Burke and Sheridan; the
House of Commons ordered the publisher Stockdale to be prosecuted, but
the author did not live to rejoice in the victory obtained by his

This elegant philosopher has impressed on all his works the seal of
genius; and his posthumous compositions became even popular; he who
had with difficulty escaped excommunication by Presbyters, left the
world after his death two volumes of sermons, which breathe all that
piety, morality, and eloquence admire. His unrevised lectures,
published under the name of a person, one Rutherford, who had
purchased the MS., were given to the world in "A View of Ancient
History." But one highly-finished composition he had himself
published; it is a philosophical review of Despotism: had the name of
Gibbon been affixed to the title-page, its authenticity had not been

From one of his executors, Mr. Donald Grant, who wrote the life
prefixed to his poems, I heard of the state of his numerous MSS.; the
scattered, yet warm embers of the unhappy bard. Several tragedies, and
one on Mary Queen of Scots, abounding with all that domestic
tenderness and poetic sensibility which formed the soft and natural
feature of his muse; these, with minor poems, thirty lectures on the
Roman History, and portions of a periodical paper, were the wrecks of
genius! He resided here, little known out of a very private circle,
and perished in his fortieth year, not of penury, but of a broken
heart. Such noble and well-founded expectations of fortune and fame,
all the plans of literary ambition overturned: his genius, with all
its delicacy, its spirit, and its elegance, became a prey to that
melancholy which constituted so large a portion of it.

Logan, in his "Ode to a Man of Letters," had formed this lofty
conception of a great author:--

  Won from neglected wastes of time,
  Apollo hails his fairest clime,
    The provinces of mind;
  An Egypt with eternal towers;[63]
  See Montesquieu redeem the hours
    From Louis to mankind.

  No tame remission genius knows,
  No interval of dark repose,
    To quench the ethereal flame;
  From Thebes to Troy, the victor hies,
  And Homer with his hero vies,
    In varied paths to Fame.

Our children will long repeat his "Ode to the Cuckoo," one of the most
lovely poems in our language; magical stanzas of picture, melody, and

These authors were undoubtedly men of finer feelings, who all perished
immaturely, victims in the higher department of literature! But this
article would not be complete without furnishing the reader with a
picture of the fate of one who, with a pertinacity of industry not
common, having undergone regular studies, not very injudiciously
deemed that the life of a man of letters could provide for the simple
wants of a philosopher.

This man was the late ROBERT HERON, who, in the following letter,
transcribed from the original, stated his history to the Literary
Fund. It was written in a moment of extreme bodily suffering and
mental agony in the house to which he had been hurried for debt. At
such a moment he found eloquence in a narrative, pathetic from its
simplicity, and valuable for its genuineness, as giving the results of
a life of literary industry, productive of great infelicity and
disgrace; one would imagine that the author had been a criminal rather
than a man of letters.

"_The Case of a Man of Letters, of regular education, living by honest
literary industry._

"Ever since I was eleven years of age I have mingled with my studies
the labour of teaching or of writing, to support and educate myself.

"During about twenty years, while I was in constant or occasional
attendance at the University of Edinburgh, I taught and assisted young
persons, at all periods, in the course of education; from the Alphabet
to the highest branches of Science and Literature.

"I read a course of Lectures on the Law of Nature, the Law of Nations;
the Jewish, the Grecian, the Roman, and the Canon Law; and then on the
Feudal Law; and on the several forms of Municipal Jurisprudence
established in Modern Europe. I printed a Syllabus of these Lectures,
which was approved. They were intended as introductory to the
professional study of Law, and to assist gentlemen who did not study
it professionally, in the understanding of History.

"I translated 'Fourcroy's Chemistry' twice, from both the second and
the third editions of the original; 'Fourcroy's Philosophy of
Chemistry;' 'Savary's Travels in Greece;' 'Dumourier's Letters;'
'Gessner's Idylls' in part; an abstract of 'Zimmerman on Solitude,'
and a great diversity of smaller pieces.

"I wrote a 'Journey through the Western Parts of Scotland,' which has
passed through two editions; a 'History of Scotland,' in six volumes
8vo; a 'Topographical Account of Scotland,' which has been several
times reprinted; a number of communications in the 'Edinburgh
Magazine;' many Prefaces and Critiques; a 'Memoir of the Life of Burns
the Poet,' which suggested and promoted the subscription for his
family--has been many times reprinted, and formed the basis of Dr.
Currie's Life of him, as I learned by a letter from the doctor to one
of his friends; a variety of _Jeux d'Esprit_ in verse and prose; and
many abridgments of large works.

"In the beginning of 1799 I was encouraged to come to London. Here I
have written a great multiplicity of articles in almost every branch of
science and literature; my education at Edinburgh having comprehended
them all. The 'London Review,' the 'Agricultural Magazine,' the
'Anti-Jacobin Review,' the 'Monthly Magazine,' the 'Universal
Magazine,' the 'Public Characters,' the 'Annual Necrology,' with
several other periodical works, contain many of my communications. In
such of those publications as have been reviewed, I can show that my
anonymous pieces have been distinguished with very high praise. I
have written also a short system of Chemistry, in one volume 8vo; and I
published a few weeks since a small work called 'Comforts of Life,'[65]
of which the first edition was sold in one week, and the second
edition is now in rapid sale.

"In the Newspapers--the _Oracle_, the _Porcupine_ when it existed, the
_General Evening Post_, the _Morning Post_, the _British Press_, the
_Courier_, &c., I have published many Reports of Debates in
Parliament, and, I believe, a greater variety of light fugitive pieces
than I know to have been written by any one other person.

"I have written also a variety of compositions in the Latin and the
French languages, in favour of which I have been honoured with the
testimonies of liberal approbation.

"I have invariably written to serve the cause of religion, morality,
pious christian education, and good order, in the most direct manner.
I have considered what I have written as mere trifles; and have
incessantly studied to qualify myself for something better. I can
prove that I have, for many years, read and written, one day with
another, from twelve to sixteen hours a day. As a human being, I have
not been free from follies and errors. But the tenor of my life has
been temperate, laborious, humble, quiet, and, to the utmost of my
power, beneficent. I can prove the general tenor of my writings to
have been candid, and ever adapted to exhibit the most favourable
views of the abilities, dispositions, and exertions of others.

"For these last ten months I have been brought to the very extremity
of bodily and pecuniary distress.

"I shudder at the thought of perishing in a gaol.

"_92, Chancery-lane, Feb. 2, 1807._

"(In confinement)."

The physicians reported that Robert Heron's health was such "as
rendered him totally incapable of extricating himself from the
difficulties in which he was involved, by the _indiscreet exertion of
his mind, in protracted and incessant literary labours_."

About three months after, Heron sunk under a fever, and perished amid
the walls of Newgate. We are disgusted with this horrid state of
pauperism; we are indignant at beholding an author, not a contemptible
one, in this last stage of human wretchedness! after early and late
studies--after having read and written from twelve to sixteen hours a
day! O, ye populace of scribblers! before ye are driven to a garret,
and your eyes are filled with constant tears, pause--recollect that
few of you possess the learning or the abilities of Heron.

The fate of Heron is the fate of hundreds of authors by profession in
the present day--of men of some literary talent, who can never
extricate themselves from a degrading state of poverty.


   [60] Home was at the time when he wrote "Douglas" a clergyman in the
        Scottish Church; the theatre was then looked upon by the
        religious Scotsmen with the most perfect abhorrence. Many
        means were taken to deter the performance of the play; and as
        they did not succeed, others were tried to annoy the author,
        until their persevering efforts induced him to withdraw
        himself entirely from the clerical profession.--ED.

   [61] The objection to his tragedy was made chiefly by his
        parishioners at South Leith, who were strongly opposed to
        their minister being in any way connected with the theatre. He
        therefore resigned his appointment, and settled in London,
        which he never afterwards abandoned, dying there in

   [62] This admirable little work is entitled "A Dissertation on the
        Governments, Manners, and Spirit of Asia; Murray, 1787." It is
        anonymous; but the publisher informed me it was written by
        Logan. His "Elements of the Philosophy of History" are
        valuable. His "Sermons" have been republished.

   [63] The finest provinces of Egypt gained from a neglected waste.

   [64] An attempt has been made to deprive Logan of the authorship of
        this poem. He had edited (very badly) the poems of a deceased
        friend, Michael Bruce; and the friends of the latter claimed
        this poem as one of them. In the words of one who has examined
        the evidence it may be sufficient to say, "his claim is not
        only supported by internal evidence, but the charge was never
        advanced against him while he was alive to repel it."--ED.

   [65] "The Comforts of Life" were written in prison; "The Miseries"
        (by Jas. Beresford) necessarily in a drawing-room. The works
        of authors are often in contrast with themselves; melancholy
        authors are the most jocular, and the most humorous the most


This is one of the groans of old BURTON over his laborious work, when
he is anticipating the reception it is like to meet with, and
personates his objectors. He says:--

"This is a thinge of meere industrie--a collection without wit or
invention--a very toy! So men are valued!--their labours vilified by
fellowes of no worth themselves, as things of nought; who could not
have done as much."

There is, indeed, a class of authors who are liable to forfeit all
claims to genius, whatever their genius may be--these are the
laborious writers of voluminous works; but they are farther subject
to heavier grievances--to be undervalued or neglected by the apathy or
the ingratitude of the public.

Industry is often conceived to betray the absence of intellectual
exertion, and the magnitude of a work is imagined necessarily to shut
out all genius. Yet a laborious work has often had an original growth
and raciness in it, requiring a genius whose peculiar feeling, like
invisible vitality, is spread through the mighty body. Feeble
imitations of such laborious works have proved the master's mind that
is in the original. There is a talent in industry which every
industrious man does not possess; and even taste and imagination may
lead to the deepest studies of antiquities, as well as mere
undiscerning curiosity and plodding dulness.

But there are other more striking characteristics of intellectual
feeling in authors of this class. The fortitude of mind which
enables them to complete labours of which, in many instances, they
are conscious that the real value will only be appreciated by
dispassionate posterity, themselves rarely living to witness the fame
of their own work established, while they endure the captiousness
of malicious cavillers. It is said that the Optics of NEWTON had
no character or credit here till noticed in France. It would not be
the only instance of an author writing above his own age, and
anticipating its more advanced genius. How many works of erudition
might be adduced to show their author's disappointments! PRIDEAUX'S
learned work of the "Connexion of the Old and New Testament," and
SHUCKFORD'S similar one, were both a long while before they could
obtain a publisher, and much longer before they found readers. It is
said Sir WALTER RALEIGH burned the second volume of his History, from
the ill success the first had met with. PRINCE'S "Worthies of
Devon" was so unfavourably received by the public, that the
laborious and patriotic author was so discouraged as not to print the
second volume, which is said to have been prepared for the press.
FARNEWORTH'S elaborate Translation, with notes and dissertations,
of Machiavel's works, was hawked about the town; and the poor
author discovered that he understood Machiavel better than the
public. After other labours of this kind, he left his family in
distressed circumstances. Observe, this excellent book now bears a
high price! The fate of the "Biographia Britannica," in its first
edition, must be noticed: the spirit and acuteness of CAMPBELL,
the curious industry of OLDYS, and the united labours of very able
writers, could not secure public favour; this treasure of our
literary history was on the point of being suspended, when a poem by
Gilbert West drew the public attention to that elaborate work,
which, however, still languished, and was hastily concluded. GRANGER
says of his admirable work, in one of his letters--"On a fair state
of my account, it would appear that my labours in the improvement
of my work do not amount to _half the pay of a scavenger_!" He
received only one hundred pounds to the times of Charles I., and
the rest to depend on public favour for the continuation. The sale
was sluggish; even Walpole seemed doubtful of its success, though he
probably secretly envied the skill of our portrait-painter. It was
too philosophical for the mere collector, and it took near ten years
before it reached the hands of philosophers; the author derived
little profit, and never lived to see its popularity established!
We have had many highly valuable works suspended for their want of
public patronage, to the utter disappointment, and sometimes the
ruin of their authors; such are OLDYS'S "British Librarian," MORGAN'S
"Phœnix Britannicus," Dr. BERKENHOUT'S "Biographia Literaria,"
Professor MARTYN'S and Dr. LETTICE'S "Antiquities of Herculaneum:"
all these are _first_ volumes, there are no _seconds_! They are
now rare, curious, and high priced! Ungrateful public! Unhappy

That noble enthusiasm which so strongly characterises genius, in
productions whose originality is of a less ambiguous nature, has been
experienced by some of these laborious authors, who have sacrificed
their lives and fortunes to their beloved studies. The enthusiasm of
literature has often been that of heroism, and many have not shrunk
from the forlorn hope.

RUSHWORTH and RYMER, to whose collections our history stands so deeply
indebted, must have strongly felt this literary ardour, for they
passed their lives in forming them; till Rymer, in the utmost
distress, was obliged to sell his books and his fifty volumes of MS.
which he could not get printed; and Rushworth died in the King's Bench
of a broken heart. Many of his papers still remain unpublished. His
ruling passion was amassing state matters, and he voluntarily
neglected great opportunities of acquiring a large fortune for this
entire devotion of his life. The same fate has awaited the similar
labours of many authors to whom the history of our country lies under
deep obligations. ARTHUR COLLINS, the historiographer of our Peerage,
and the curious collector of the valuable "Sydney Papers," and other
collections, passed his life in reselling these works of antiquity, in
giving authenticity to our history, or contributing fresh materials to
it; but his midnight vigils were cheered by no patronage, nor his
labours valued, till the eye that pored on the mutilated MS. was for
ever closed. Of all those curious works of the late Mr. STRUTT, which
are now bearing such high prices, all were produced by extensive
reading, and illustrated by his own drawings, from the manuscripts of
different epochs in our history. What was the result to that ingenious
artist and author, who, under the plain simplicity of an antiquary,
concealed a fine poetical mind, and an enthusiasm for his beloved
pursuits to which only we are indebted for them? Strutt, living in the
greatest obscurity, and voluntarily sacrificing all the ordinary views
of life, and the trade of his _burin_, solely attached to national
antiquities, and charmed by calling them into a fresh existence under
his pencil, I have witnessed at the British Museum, forgetting for
whole days his miseries, in sedulous research and delightful labour;
at times even doubtful whether he could get his works printed; for
some of which he was not regaled even with the Roman supper of "a
radish and an egg." How he left his domestic affairs, his son can
tell; how his works have tripled their value, the booksellers. In
writing on the calamities attending the love of literary labour, Mr.
JOHN NICHOLS, the modest annalist of the literary history of the last
century, and the friend of half the departed genius of our country,
cannot but occur to me. He zealously published more than fifty works,
illustrating the literature and the antiquities of the country;
labours not given to the world without great sacrifices. Bishop Hurd,
with friendly solicitude, writes to Mr. Nichols on some of his own
publications, "While you are enriching the Antiquarian world" (and, by
the Life of Bowyer, may be added the Literary), "I hope you do not
forget yourself. _The profession of an author, I know from experience,
is not a lucrative one._--I only mention this because I see a large
catalogue of your publications." At another time the Bishop writes,
"You are very good to excuse my freedom with you; but, as times go,
almost any trade is better than that of an author," &c. On these notes
Mr. Nichols confesses, "I have had some occasion to regret that I did
not attend to the judicious suggestions." We owe to the late THOMAS
DAVIES, the author of "Garrick's Life," and other literary works,
beautiful editions of some of our elder poets, which are now eagerly
sought after, yet, though all his publications were of the best kinds,
and are now of increasing value, the taste of Tom Davies twice ended
in bankruptcy. It is to be lamented for the cause of literature, that
even a bookseller may have too refined a taste for his trade; it must
always be his interest to float on the current of public taste,
whatever that may be; should he have an ambition to _create_ it, he
will be anticipating a more cultivated curiosity by half a century;
thus the business of a bookseller rarely accords with the design of
advancing our literature.

The works of literature, it is then but too evident, receive no
equivalent; let this be recollected by him who would draw his
existence from them. A young writer often resembles that imaginary
author whom Johnson, in a humorous letter in "The Idler" (No. 55),
represents as having composed a work "of universal curiosity, computed
that it would call for many editions of his book, and that in five
years he should gain fifteen thousand pounds by the sale of thirty
thousand copies." There are, indeed, some who have been dazzled by the
good fortune of GIBBON, ROBERTSON, and HUME; we are to consider these
favourites, not merely as authors, but as possessing, by their
situation in life, a certain independence which preserved them from
the vexations of the authors I have noticed. Observe, however, that
the uncommon sum Gibbon received for copyright, though it excited the
astonishment of the philosopher himself, was for the continued labour
of a _whole life_, and probably the _library_ he had purchased for his
work equalled at least in cost the produce of his _pen_; the tools
cost the workman as much as he obtained for his work. Six thousand
pounds gained on these terms will keep an author indigent.

Many great labours have been designed by their authors even to be
posthumous, prompted only by their love of study and a patriotic
zeal. Bishop KENNETT'S stupendous "Register and Chronicle," volume I.,
is one of those astonishing labours which could only have been
produced by the pleasure of study urged by the strong love of
posterity.[66] It is a diary in which the bishop, one of our most
studious and active authors, has recorded every matter of fact,
"delivered in the words of the most authentic books, papers, and
records." The design was to preserve our literary history from the
Restoration. This silent labour he had been pursuing all his life,
and published the first volume in his sixty-eighth year, the very
year he died. But he was so sensible of the coyness of the public
taste for what he calls, in a letter to a literary friend, "a tedious
heavy book," that he gave it away to the publisher. "The volume,
too large, brings me no profit. In good truth, the scheme was laid
for conscience' sake, to restore a good old principle that history
should be purely matter of fact, that every reader, by examining and
comparing, may make out a history by his own judgment. I have
collections transcribed for another volume, if the bookseller will
run the hazard of printing." This volume has never appeared, and the
bookseller probably lost a considerable sum by the one published,
which valuable volume is now procured with difficulty.[67]

These laborious authors have commenced their literary life with a
glowing ardour, though the feelings of genius have been obstructed by
those numerous causes which occur too frequently in the life of a
literary man.

Let us listen to STRUTT, whom we have just noticed, and let us learn
what he proposed doing in the first age of fancy.

Having obtained the first gold medal ever given at the Royal Academy,
he writes to his mother, and thus thanks her and his friends for their
deep interest in his success:--

"I will at least strive to the utmost to give my benefactors no reason
to think their pains thrown away. If I should not be able to abound
in riches, yet, by God's help, I will strive to pluck that palm which
the greatest artists of foregoing ages have done before me; _I will
strive to leave my name behind me in the world, if not in the
splendour that some have, at least with +some marks+ of assiduity and
study_; which, I can assure you, shall never be wanting in me. Who can
bear to hear the names of Raphael, Titian, Michael Angelo, &c., the
most famous of the Italian masters, in the mouth of every one, and not
wish to be like them? And to be like them, we must study as they have
done, take such pains, and labour continually like them; the which
shall not be wanting on my side, I dare affirm; so that, should I not
succeed, I may rest contented, and say I have done my utmost. God has
blessed me with a mind to undertake. You, dear madam, will excuse my
vanity; you know me, from my childish days, to have been a vain boy,
always desirous to execute something to gain me praises from every
one; always scheming and imitating whatever I saw done by anybody."

And when Strutt settled in the metropolis, and studied at the British
Museum, amid all the stores of knowledge and art, his imagination
delighted to expatiate in its future prospects. In a letter to a
friend he has thus chronicled his feelings:

"I would not only be a great antiquary, but a refined thinker; I would
not only discover antiquities, but would, by explaining their use,
render them useful. Such vast funds of knowledge lie hid in the
antiquated remains of the earlier ages; these I would bring forth, and
set in their true light."

Poor Strutt, at the close of life, was returning to his own first and
natural energies, in producing a work of the imagination. He had made
considerable progress in one, and the early parts which he had
finished bear the stamp of genius; it is entitled "Queenhoo-hall, a
Romance of ancient times," full of the picturesque manners, and
costume, and characters of the age, in which he was so conversant;
with many lyrical pieces, which often are full of poetic feeling--but
he was called off from the work to prepare a more laborious one.
"Queenhoo-hall" remained a heap of fragments at his death; except the
first volume, and was filled up by a stranger hand. The stranger was
Sir Walter Scott, and "Queenhoo-hall" was the origin of that glorious
series of romances where antiquarianism has taken the shape of

Writing on the calamities attached to literature, I must notice one of
a more recondite nature, yet perhaps few literary agonies are more
keenly felt. I would not excite an undue sympathy for a class of
writers who are usually considered as drudges; but the present case
claims our sympathy.

There are men of letters, who, early in life, have formed some
favourite plan of literary labour, which they have unremittingly
pursued, till, sometimes near the close of life, they either discover
their inability to terminate it, or begin to depreciate their own
constant labour. The literary architect has grown gray over his
edifice; and, as if the black wand of enchantment had waved over it,
the colonnades become interminable, the pillars seem to want a
foundation, and all the rich materials he had collected together, lie
before him in all the disorder of ruins. It may be urged that the
reward of literary labour, like the consolations of virtue, must be
drawn with all their sweetness from itself; or, that if the author be
incompetent, he must pay the price of his incapacity. This may be
Stoicism, but it is not humanity. The truth is, there is always a
latent love of fame, that prompts to this strong devotion of labour;
and he who has given a long life to that which he has so much desired,
and can never enjoy, might well be excused receiving our insults, if
he cannot extort our pity.

A remarkable instance occurs in the fate of the late Rev. WILLIAM
COLE;[68] he was the college friend of Walpole, Mason, and Gray; a
striking proof how dissimilar habits and opposite tastes and feelings
can associate in literary friendship; for Cole, indeed, the public had
informed him that his friends were poets and men of wit; and for them,
Cole's patient and curious turn was useful, and, by its extravagant
trifling, must have been very amusing. He had a gossip's ear, and a
tatler's pen--and, among better things, wrote down every grain of
literary scandal his insatiable and minute curiosity could lick up; as
patient and voracious as an ant-eater, he stretched out his tongue
till it was covered by the tiny creatures, and drew them all in at one
digestion. All these tales were registered with the utmost simplicity,
as the reporter received them; but, being but tales, the exactness of
his truth made them still more dangerous lies, by being perpetuated;
in his reflections he spared neither friend nor foe; yet, still
anxious after truth, and usually telling lies, it is very amusing to
observe, that, as he proceeds, he very laudably contradicts, or
explains away in subsequent memoranda what he had before registered.
Walpole, in a correspondence of forty years, he was perpetually
flattering, though he must imperfectly have relished his fine taste,
while he abhorred his more liberal principles, to which sometimes he
addressed a submissive remonstrance. He has at times written a letter
coolly, and, at the same moment, chronicled his suppressed feelings in
his diary, with all the flame and sputter of his strong prejudices. He
was expressly nicknamed Cardinal Cole. These scandalous chronicles,
which only show the violence of his prejudices, without the force of
genius, or the acuteness of penetration, were ordered not to be opened
till twenty years after his decease; he wished to do as little
mischief as he could, but loved to do some. I well remember the cruel
anxiety which prevailed in the nineteenth year of these inclosures; it
spoiled the digestions of several of our literati who had had the
misfortune of Cole's intimate friendship, or enmity. One of these was
the writer of the Life of Thomas Baker, the Cambridge Antiquary, who
prognosticated all the evil he among others was to endure; and,
writhing in fancy under the whip not yet untwisted, justly enough
exclaims in his agony, "The attempt to keep these characters from the
public till the subjects of them shall be no more, seems to be
peculiarly cruel and ungenerous, since it is precluding them from
vindicating themselves from such injurious aspersions, as their
friends, perhaps however willing, may at that distance of time be
incapable of removing." With this author, Mr. Masters, Cole had
quarrelled so often, that Masters writes, "I am well acquainted with
the fickleness of his disposition for more than forty years past."

When the lid was removed from this Pandora's box, it happened that
some of his intimate friends were alive to perceive in what strange
figures they were exhibited by their quondam admirer!

COLE, however, bequeathed to the nation, among his unpublished works,
a vast mass of antiquities and historical collections, and one
valuable legacy of literary materials. When I turned over the papers
of this literary antiquary, I found the recorded cries of a literary

COLE had passed a long life in the pertinacious labour of forming an
"Athenæ Cantabrigienses," and other literary collections--designed as
a companion to the work of Anthony Wood. These mighty labours exist in
more than fifty folio volumes in his own writing. He began these
collections about the year 1745; in a fly-leaf of 1777 I found the
following melancholy state of his feelings and a literary confession,
as forcibly expressed as it is painful to read, when we consider that
they are the wailings of a most zealous votary:

"In good truth, whoever undertakes this drudgery of an 'Athenæ
Cantabrigienses' must be contented with no prospect of credit and
reputation to himself, and with the mortifying reflection that after
all his pains and study, through life, he must be looked upon in a
humble light, and only as a journeyman to Anthony Wood, whose
excellent book of the same sort will ever preclude any other, who
shall follow him in the same track, from all hopes of fame; and will
only represent him as an imitator of so original a pattern. For, at
this time of day, all great characters, both Cantabrigians and
Oxonians, are already published to the world, either in his book, or
various others; so that the collection, unless the same characters are
reprinted here, must be made up of second-rate persons, and the refuse
of authorship.--However, as I have begun, and made so large a progress
in this undertaking, _it is death to think of leaving it off_, though,
from the former considerations, so little credit is to be expected
from it."

Such were the fruits, and such the agonies, of nearly half a century
of assiduous and zealous literary labour! Cole urges a strong claim to
be noticed among our literary calamities. Another of his miseries was
his uncertainty in what manner he should dispose of his collections:
and he has put down this _naïve_ memorandum--"I have long wavered how
to dispose of all my MS. volumes; to give them to _King's College_,
would be to throw them into a _horsepond_; and I had as lieve do one
as the other; they are generally so _conceited of their Latin and
Greek, that all other studies are barbarism_."[69]

The dread of incompleteness has attended the life-labours (if the
expression may be allowed) of several other authors who have never
published their works. Such was the learned Bishop LLOYD, and the Rev.
THOMAS BAKER, who was first engaged in the same pursuit as Cole, and
carried it on to the extent of about forty volumes in folio. Lloyd is
described by Burnet as having "many volumes of materials upon all
subjects, so that he could, with very little labour, write on any of
them, with more life in his imagination, and a truer judgment, than
may seem consistent with such a laborious course of study; but he did
not lay out his learning with the same diligence as he laid it in." It
is mortifying to learn, in the words of Johnson, that "he was always
hesitating and inquiring, raising objections, and removing them, and
waiting for clearer light and fuller discovery." Many of the labours
of this learned bishop were at length consumed in the kitchen of his
descendant. "Baker (says Johnson), after many years passed in
biography, left his manuscripts to be buried in a library, because
that was imperfect which could never be perfected." And to complete
the absurdity, or to heighten the calamity which the want of these
useful labours makes every literary man feel, half of the collections
of Baker sleep in their dust in a turret of the University; while the
other, deposited in our national library at the British Museum, and
frequently used, are rendered imperfect by this unnatural divorce.

I will illustrate the character of a laborious author by that of

WOOD'S "Athenæ Oxonienses" is a history of near a thousand of our
native authors; he paints their characters, and enters into the spirit
of their writings. But authors of this complexion, and works of this
nature, are liable to be slighted; for the fastidious are petulant,
the volatile inexperienced, and those who cultivate a single province
in literature are disposed, too often, to lay all others under a state
of interdiction.

WARBURTON, in a work thrown out in the heat of unchastised youth, and
afterwards withdrawn from public inquiry, has said of the "Athenæ

"Of all those writings given us by the learned Oxford antiquary, there
is not one that is not a disgrace to letters; most of them are so to
common sense, and some even to human nature. Yet how set out! how
tricked! how adorned! how extolled!"[70]

The whole tenor of Wood's life testifies, as he himself tells us,
that "books and MSS. formed his Elysium, and he wished to be dead to
the world." This sovereign passion marked him early in life, and the
image of death could not disturb it. When young, "he walked mostly
alone, was given much to thinking and melancholy." The _deliciæ_ of
his life were the more liberal studies of painting and music,
intermixed with those of antiquity; nor could his family; who
checked such unproductive studies, ever check his love of them. With
what a firm and noble spirit he says--

"When he came to full years, he perceived it was his natural genie,
and he could not avoid them--they crowded on him--he could never give
a reason why he should delight in those studies, more than in others,
so prevalent was nature, mixed with a generosity of mind, and a hatred
to all that was servile, sneaking, or advantageous for lucre-sake."

These are not the roundings of a period, but the pure expressions
of a man who had all the simplicity of childhood in his feelings.
Could such vehement emotions have been excited in the unanimated
breast of a clod of literature? Thus early Anthony Wood betrayed the
characteristics of genius; nor did the literary passion desert him
in his last moments. With his dying hands he still grasped his
beloved papers, and his last mortal thoughts dwelt on his _Athenæ

It is no common occurrence to view an author speechless in the hour of
death, yet fervently occupied by his posthumous fame. Two friends went
into his study to sort that vast multitude of papers, notes,
letters--his more private ones he had ordered not to be opened for
seven years; about two bushels full were ordered for the fire, which
they had lighted for the occasion. "As he was expiring, he expressed
both his knowledge and approbation of what was done by throwing out
his hands."

Turn over his Herculean labour; do not admire less his fearlessness of
danger, than his indefatigable pursuit of truth. He wrote of his
contemporaries as if he felt a right to judge of them, and as if he
were living in the succeeding age; courtier, fanatic, or papist, were
much alike to honest Anthony; for he professes himself "such an
universal lover of all mankind, that he wished there might be no cheat
put upon readers and writers in the business of commendations. And
(says he) since every one will have a double balance, one for his own
party, and another for his adversary, all he could do is to amass
together what every side thinks will make best weight for themselves.
Let posterity hold the scales."

Anthony might have added, "I have held them." This uninterrupted
activity of his spirits was the action of a sage, not the bustle of
one intent merely on heaping up a book.

"He never wrote in post, with his body and thoughts in a hurry, but in
a fixed abode, and with a deliberate pen. And he never concealed an
ungrateful truth, nor flourished over a weak place, but in sincerity
of meaning and expression."

Anthony Wood cloistered an athletic mind, a hermit critic abstracted from
the world, existing more with posterity than amid his contemporaries. His
prejudices were the keener from the very energies of the mind that
produced them; but, as he practises no deception on his reader, we know
the causes of his anger or his love. And, as an original thinker creates
a style for himself, from the circumstance of not attending to style at
all, but to feeling, so Anthony Wood's has all the peculiarity of the
writer. Critics of short views have attempted to screen it from ridicule,
attributing his uncouth style to the age he lived in. But not one in his
own time nor since, has composed in the same style. The austerity and
the quickness of his feelings vigorously stamped all their roughness and
vivacity on every sentence. He describes his own style as "an honest,
plain English dress, without flourishes or affectation of style, as best
becomes a history of truth and matters of fact. It is the first (work)
of its nature that has ever been printed in our own, or in any other

It is, indeed, an honest Montaigne-like simplicity. Acrimonious and
cynical, he is always sincere, and never dull. Old Anthony to me is an
admirable character-painter, for anger and love are often picturesque.
And among our literary historians he might be compared, for the effect
he produces, to Albert Durer, whose kind of antique rudeness has a
sharp outline, neither beautiful nor flowing; and, without a genius
for the magic of light and shade, he is too close a copier of Nature
to affect us by ideal forms.

The independence of his mind nerved his ample volumes, his fortitude
he displayed in the contest with the University itself, and his
firmness in censuring Lord Clarendon, the head of his own party. Could
such a work, and such an original manner, have proceeded from an
ordinary intellect? Wit may sparkle, and sarcasm may bite; but the
cause of literature is injured when the industry of such a mind is
ranked with that of "the hewers of wood, and drawers of water:"
ponderous compilers of creeping commentators. Such a work as the
"Athenæ Oxonienses" involved in its pursuits some of the higher
qualities of the intellect; a voluntary devotion of life, a sacrifice
of personal enjoyments, a noble design combining many views, some
present and some prescient, a clear vigorous spirit equally diffused
over a vast surface. But it is the hard fate of authors of this class
to be levelled with their inferiors!

Let us exhibit one more picture of the calamities of a laborious
author, in the character of JOSHUA BARNES, editor of Homer, Euripides,
and Anacreon, and the writer of a vast number of miscellaneous
compositions in history and poetry. Besides the works he published, he
left behind him nearly fifty unfinished ones; many were epic poems,
all intended to be in twelve books, and some had reached their eighth!
His folio volume of "The History of Edward III." is a labour of
valuable research. He wrote with equal facility in Greek, Latin, and
his own language, and he wrote all his days; and, in a word, having
little or nothing but his Greek professorship, not exceeding forty
pounds a year, Barnes, who had a great memory, a little imagination,
and no judgment, saw the close of a life, devoted to the studies of
humanity, settle around him in gloom and despair. The great idol of
his mind was the edition of his Homer, which seems to have completed
his ruin; he was haunted all his days with a notion that he was
persecuted by envy, and much undervalued in the world; the sad
consolation of the secondary and third-rate authors, who often die
persuaded of the existence of ideal enemies. To be enabled to publish
his Homer at an enormous charge, he wrote a poem, the design of which
is to prove that Solomon was the author of the Iliad; and it has been
said that this was done to interest his wife, who had some property,
to lend her aid towards the publication of so divine a work. This
happy pun was applied for his epitaph:--

               JOSHUA BARNES,
    Felicis memoriæ, judicium expectans.
                _Here lieth_
               JOSHUA BARNES,
    Of happy memory, awaiting judgment!

The year before he died he addressed the following letter to the Earl
of Oxford, which I transcribe from the original. It is curious to
observe how the veteran and unhappy scribbler, after his vows of
retirement from the world of letters, thoroughly disgusted with "all
human learning," gently hints to his patron, that he has ready for the
press, a singular variety of contrasted works; yet even then he did
not venture to disclose one-tenth part of his concealed treasures!


  _Oct. 16, 1711._


  "This, not in any doubt of your goodness and high respect to
  learning, for I have fresh instances of it every day; but because
  I am prevented in my design of waiting personally on you, being
  called away by my business for Cambridge, to read Greek lectures
  this term; and my circumstances are pressing, being, through the
  combination of booksellers, and the meaner arts of others, too
  much prejudiced in the sale. I am not neither sufficiently
  ascertained whether my Homer and letters came to your honour;
  surely the vast charges of that edition has almost broke my
  courage, there being much more trouble in putting off the
  impression, and contending with a subtle and unkind world, than
  in all the study and management of the press.

  "Others, my lord, are younger, and their hopes and helps are
  fresher; I have done as much in the way of learning as any man
  living, but have received less encouragement than any, having
  nothing but my Greek professorship, which is but forty pounds per
  annum, that I can call my own, and more than half of that is taken
  up by my expenses of lodging and diet in terme time at Cambridge.

  "I was obliged to take up three hundred and fifty pounds on
  interest towards this last work, whereof I still owe two hundred
  pounds, and two hundred more for the printing; the whole expense
  arising to about one thousand pounds. I have lived in the
  university above thirty years, fellow of a college now above forty
  years' standing, and fifty-eight years of age; am bachelor of
  divinity, and have preached before kings; but am now your honour's
  suppliant, and would fain retire from the study of humane
  learning, which has been so little beneficial to me, if I might
  have a little prebend, or sufficient anchor to lay hold on; only I
  have two or three matters ready for the press--an ecclesiastical
  history, Latin; an heroic poem of the Black Prince, Latin; another
  of Queen Anne, English, finished; a treatise of Columnes, Latin;
  and an accurate treatise about Homer, Greek, Latin, &c. I would
  fain be permitted the honour to make use of your name in some one,
  or most of these, and to be, &c.,

      "JOSHUA BARNES."[72]

He died nine months afterwards. Homer did not improve in sale; and the
sweets of patronage were not even tasted. This, then, is the history
of a man of great learning, of the most pertinacious industry, but
somewhat allied to the family of the _Scribleri_.


   [66] Kennett was characterised throughout life by a strong party
        feeling, which he took care to display on every occasion. He
        was born at Dover in 1660, and his first publication, at the
        age of twenty, gave great offence to the Whig party; it was in
        the form of a letter from a Student at Oxford to a friend in
        the country, concerning the approaching parliament. He
        scarcely ever published a sermon without so far mixing party
        matters in it as to obtain replies and rejoinders; the rector
        of Whitechapel employed an artist to place his head on Judas's
        shoulders in the picture of the Last Supper done for that
        church, and to make the figure unmistakeable, placed the
        _patch_ on the forehead which Kennett wore, to conceal a scar
        he got by the bursting of a gun. His diligence and application
        through life was extraordinary. He assisted Anthony Wood in
        collecting materials for his "Athenæ Oxonienses;" and, like
        Oldys, was continually employed in noting books, or in forming
        manuscript collections on various subjects, all of which were
        purchased by the Earl of Shelburne, afterwards Marquis of
        Lansdowne, and were sold with the rest of his manuscripts to
        the British Museum. He died in 1714, of a fever he had
        contracted in a journey to Italy.--ED.

   [67] See Bishop Kennett's Letter in Nichols's "Life of Bowyer," vol.
        i, 383.

   [68] The best account of the Rev. Wm. Cole is to be found in
        Nichols's "Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century," vol.
        i. His life was eventless, and passed in studious drudgery. He
        had all that power of continuous application which will
        readily form immense manuscript collections. In this way his
        life was passed, occasionally aiding from his enormous stores
        the labours of others. He was an early and intimate
        acquaintance of Horace Walpole's, and they visited France
        together in 1765. Browne Willis, the antiquary, gave him the
        rectory of Blecheley, in Buckinghamshire, and he was
        afterwards presented to the vicarage of Burnham, near Eton. He
        died in 1782, in the 68th year of his age, having chiefly
        employed a long life in noting on all subjects, until his
        manuscripts became a small library of themselves, which he
        bequeathed to the British Museum, with an order that they
        should not be opened for twenty years. They are correctly
        characterised by Nichols: he says, "many of the volumes
        exhibit striking traits of Mr. Cole's own character; and a man
        of sufficient leisure might pick out of them abundance of
        curious matter." He left a diary behind him which for
        puerility could not be exceeded, and of which Nichols gives
        several ridiculous specimens. If his parrot died, or his
        man-servant was bled; if he sent a loin of pork to a friend,
        and got a quarter of lamb in return; "drank coffee with Mrs.
        Willis," or "sent two French wigs to a London barber," all is
        faithfully recorded. It is a true picture of a lover of
        labour, whose constant energy must be employed, and will write
        even if the labour be worthless.--ED.

   [69] Cole's collection, ultimately bequeathed by him to the British
        Museum, is comprised in 92 volumes, and is arranged among the
        additional manuscripts there, of which it forms Nos. 5798 to

   [70] In his "Critical and Philosophical Enquiry into the Causes of

   [71] This, his most valuable work, has been most carefully edited,
        with numerous additions by Dr. Bliss, and is the great
        authority for Lives of Oxford men. Its author, born at Oxford
        in 1632, died there in 1695, having devoted his life strictly
        to study.--ED.

   [72] Harleian MSS. 7523.


WILLIAM PATTISON was a young poet who perished in his twentieth year;
his character and his fate resemble those of Chatterton. He was one
more child of that family of genius, whose passions, like the torch,
kindle but to consume themselves.

The youth of Pattison was that of a poet. Many become irrecoverably
poets by local influence; and Beattie could hardly have thrown his
"Minstrel" into a more poetical solitude than the singular spot which
was haunted by our young bard. His first misfortune was that of having
an anti-poetical parent; his next was that of having discovered a spot
which confirmed his poetical habits, inspiring all the melancholy and
sensibility he loved to indulge. This spot, which in his fancy
resembled some favourite description in Cowley, he called "Cowley's
Walk." Some friend, who was himself no common painter of fancy, has
delineated the whole scenery with minute touches, and a freshness of
colouring, warm with reality. Such a poetical habitation becomes a
part of the poet himself, reflecting his character, and even
descriptive of his manners.

"On one side of 'Cowley's Walk' is a huge rock, grown over with moss
and ivy climbing on its sides, and in some parts small trees spring
out of the crevices of the rock; at the bottom are a wild plantation
of irregular trees, in every part looking aged and venerable. Among
these cavities, one larger than the rest was the cave he loved to sit
in: arched like a canopy, its rustic borders were edged with ivy
hanging down, overshadowing the place, and hence he called it (for
poets must give a name to every object they love) 'Hederinda,' bearing
ivy. At the foot of this grotto a stream of water ran along the walk,
so that its level path had trees and water on one side, and a wild
rough precipice on the other. In winter, this spot looked full of
horror--the naked trees, the dark rock, and the desolate waste; but in
the spring, the singing of the birds, the fragrancy of the flowers,
and the murmuring of the stream, blended all their enchantment."

Here, in the heat of the day, he escaped into the "Hederinda," and
shared with friends his rapture and his solitude; and here through
summer nights, in the light of the moon, he meditated and melodised
his verses by the gentle fall of the waters. Thus was Pattison fixed
and bound up in the strongest spell the demon of poetry ever drew
around a susceptible and careless youth.

He was now a decided poet. At Sidney College, in Cambridge, he was
greatly loved; till, on a quarrel with a rigid tutor, he rashly cut
his name out of the college book, and quitted it for ever in utter
thoughtlessness and gaiety, leaving his gown behind, as his _locum
tenens_, to make his apology, by pinning on it a satirical farewell.

  Whoever gives himself the pains to stoop,
  And take my venerable tatters up,
  To his presuming inquisition I,
  In _loco Pattisoni_, thus reply:
  "Tired with the senseless jargon of the gown,
  My master left the college for the town,
  And scorns his precious minutes to regale
  With wretched college-wit and college-ale."

He flew to the metropolis to take up the trade of a poet.

A translation of Ovid's "Epistles" had engaged his attention during
two years; his own genius seemed inexhaustible; and pleasure and
fame were awaiting the poetical emigrant. He resisted all kind
importunities to return to college; he could not endure submission,
and declares "his spirit cannot bear control." One friend "fears the
innumerable temptations to which one of his complexion is liable in
such a populous place." Pattison was much loved; he had all the
generous impetuosity of youthful genius; but he had resolved on
running the perilous career of literary glory, and he added one
more to the countless thousands who perish in obscurity.

His first letters are written with the same spirit that distinguishes
Chatterton's; all he hopes he seems to realise. He mixes among the
wits, dates from Button's, and drinks with Concanen healths to
college friends, till they lose their own; more dangerous Muses
condescend to exhibit themselves to the young poet in the park; and
he was to be introduced to Pope. All is exultation! Miserable
youth! The first thought of prudence appears in a resolution of
soliciting subscriptions from all persons, for a volume of poems.

His young friends at college exerted their warm patronage; those in
his native North condemn him, and save their crowns; Pope admits of no
interview, but lends his name, and bestows half-a-crown for a volume
of poetry, which he did not want; the poet wearies kindness, and would
extort charity even from brother-poets; petitions lords and ladies;
and, as his wants grow on him, his shame decreases.

How the scene has changed in a few months! He acknowledges to a
friend, that "his heart was broke through the misfortunes he had
fallen under;" he declares "he feels himself near the borders of
death." In moments like these he probably composed the following
lines, awfully addressed,

                     AD CŒLUM!
  Good heaven! this mystery of life explain,
  Nor let me think I bear the load in vain;
  Lest, with the tedious passage cheerless grown,
  Urged by despair, I throw the burden down.

But the torture of genius, when all its passions are strained on the
rack, was never more pathetically expressed than in the following

  "SIR,--If you was ever touched with a sense of humanity, consider
  my condition: what _I am_, my proposals will inform you; what _I
  have been_, Sidney College, in Cambridge, can witness; but what _I
  shall be_ some few hours hence, I tremble to think! Spare my
  blushes!--I have not enjoyed the common necessaries of life for
  these two days, and can hardly hold to subscribe myself,

    "Yours, &c."

The picture is finished--it admits not of another stroke. Such was the
complete misery which Savage, Boyse, Chatterton, and more innocent
spirits devoted to literature, have endured--but not long--for they
must perish in their youth!

HENRY CAREY was one of our most popular poets; he, indeed, has
unluckily met with only dictionary critics, or what is as fatal to
genius, the cold and undistinguishing commendation of grave men on
subjects of humour, wit, and the lighter poetry. The works of Carey do
not appear in any of our great collections, where Walsh, Duke, and
Yalden slumber on the shelf.

Yet Carey was a true son of the Muses, and the most successful writer
in our language. He is the author of several little national poems. In
early life he successfully burlesqued the affected versification of
Ambrose Philips, in his baby poems, to which he gave the fortunate
appellation of "_Namby Pamby_, a panegyric on the new versification;"
a term descriptive in sound of those chiming follies, and now become a
technical term in modern criticism. Carey's "Namby Pamby" was at first
considered by Swift as the satirical effusion of Pope, and by Pope as
the humorous ridicule of Swift. His ballad of "Sally in our Alley" was
more than once commended for its nature by Addison, and is sung to
this day. Of the national song, "God save the King," it is supposed he
was the author both of the words and of the music.[73] He was very
successful on the stage, and wrote admirable burlesques of the Italian
Opera, in "The Dragon of Wantley," and "The Dragoness;" and the mock
tragedy of "Chrononhotonthologos" is not forgotten. Among his Poems
lie still concealed several original pieces; those which have a
political turn are particularly good, for the politics of Carey were
those of a poet and a patriot. I refer the politician who has any
taste for poetry and humour to "The Grumbletonians, or the Dogs
without doors, a Fable," very instructive to those grown-up folks,
"The Ins and the Outs." "Carey's Wish" is in this class; and, as the
purity of election remains still among the desiderata of every true
Briton, a poem on that subject by the patriotic author of our national
hymn of "God save the King" may be acceptable.

                  CAREY'S WISH.

  Cursed be the wretch that's bought and sold,
  And barters liberty for gold;
  For when election is not free,
  In vain we boast of liberty:
  And he who sells his single right,
  Would sell his country, if he might.

  When liberty is put to sale
  For wine, for money, or for ale,
  The sellers must be abject slaves,
  The buyers vile designing knaves;
  A proverb it has been of old,
  The devil's bought but to be sold.

  This maxim in the statesman's school
  Is always taught, _divide and rule_.
  All parties are to him a joke:
  While zealots foam, he fits the yoke.
  Let men their reason once resume;
  'Tis then the statesman's turn to fume.

  Learn, learn, ye Britons, to unite;
  Leave off the old exploded bite;
  Henceforth let Whig and Tory cease,
  And turn all party rage to peace;
  Rouse and revive your ancient glory;
  Unite, and drive the world before you.

To the ballad of "Sally in our Alley" Carey has prefixed an argument
so full of nature, that the song may hereafter derive an additional
interest from its simple origin. The author assures the reader that
the popular notion that the subject of his ballad had been the noted
Sally Salisbury, is perfectly erroneous, he being a stranger to her
name at the time the song was composed.

"As innocence and virtue were ever the boundaries of his Muse, so in
this little poem he had no other view than to set forth the beauty of
a chaste and disinterested passion, even in the lowest class of human
life. The real occasion was this: A shoemaker's 'prentice, making
holiday with his sweetheart, treated her with a sight of Bedlam, the
puppet-shows, the flying-chairs, and all the elegancies of Moorfields;
from whence, proceeding to the Farthing Pye-house, he gave her a
collation of buns, cheesecakes, gammon of bacon, stuffed beef, and
bottled ale; through all which scenes the author dodged them (charmed
with the simplicity of their courtship), from whence he drew this
little sketch of Nature; but, being then young and obscure, he was
very much ridiculed for this performance; which, nevertheless, made
its way into the polite world, and amply recompensed him by the
applause of the divine Addison, who was pleased (more than once) to
mention it with approbation."

In "The Poet's Resentment" poor Carey had once forsworn "the harlot

  Far, far away then chase the harlot Muse,
  Nor let her thus thy noon of life abuse;
  Mix with the common crowd, unheard, unseen,
  And if again thou tempt'st the vulgar praise,
  Mayst thou be crown'd with birch instead of bays!

Poets make such oaths in sincerity, and break them in rapture.

At the time that this poet could neither walk the streets nor be
seated at the convivial board, without listening to his own songs and
his own music--for, in truth, the whole nation was echoing his verse,
and crowded theatres were applauding his wit and humour--while this
very man himself, urged by his strong humanity, founded a "Fund for
decayed Musicians"--he was so broken-hearted, and his own common
comforts so utterly neglected, that in despair, not waiting for nature
to relieve him from the burden of existence, he laid violent hands on
himself; and when found dead, had only a halfpenny in his pocket! Such
was the fate of the author of some of the most popular pieces in our
language. He left a son, who inherited his misery, and a gleam of his


   [73] The late Richard Clark, of the Chapel Royal and Westminster
        Abbey, published in 1823 "An Account of the National Anthem,
        entitled God save the King," in which he satisfactorily proves
        "that Carey neither had, nor could have had, any claim at all
        to this composition," which he traces back to the celebrated
        composer, Dr. John Bull, who he believes composed it for the
        entertainment given by the Merchant Taylors Company to King
        James I., in 1607. Ward, in his "Lives of the Gresham
        Professors," gives a list of Bull's compositions, then in the
        possession of Dr. Pepusch (who arranged the music for the
        _Beggar's Opera_), and Art. 56 is "God save the King." At the
        Doctor's death, his manuscripts, amounting to two cartloads,
        were scattered or sold for waste-paper, and this was one of
        the number. Clark ultimately recovered this MS.--ED.


DR. ZACHARY GREY, the editor of "Hudibras," is the father of our
modern commentators.[74] His case is rather peculiar; I know not
whether the father, by an odd anticipation, was doomed to suffer
for the sins of his children, or whether his own have been visited
on the third generation; it is certain that never was an author
more overpowered by the attacks he received from the light and
indiscriminating shafts of ignorant wits. He was ridiculed and abused
for having assisted us to comprehend the wit of an author, which,
without that aid, at this day would have been nearly lost to us; and
whose singular subject involved persons and events which required the
very thing he gave,--historical and explanatory notes.

A first thought, and all the danger of an original invention, which is
always imperfectly understood by the superficial, was poor Dr. Grey's
merit. He was modest and laborious, and he had the sagacity to
discover what Butler wanted, and what the public required. His project
was a happy thought, to commentate on a singular work which has
scarcely a parallel in modern literature, if we except the "Satyre
Ménippée" of the French, which is, in prose, the exact counterpart of
"Hudibras" in rhyme; for our rivals have had the same state
revolution, in which the same dramatic personages passed over their
national stage, with the same incidents, in the civil wars of the
ambitious Guises, and the citizen-reformers. They, too, found a
Butler, though in prose, a Grey in Duchat, and, as well as they could,
a Hogarth. An edition, which appeared in 1711, might have served as
the model of Grey's Hudibras.

It was, however, a happy thought in our commentator, to turn over the
contemporary writers to collect the events and discover the personages
alluded to by Butler; to read what the poet read, to observe what the
poet observed. This was at once throwing himself and the reader back
into an age, of which even the likeness had disappeared, and
familiarising us with distant objects, which had been lost to us in
the haze and mists of time. For this, not only a new mode of
travelling, but a new road was to be opened; the secret history, the
fugitive pamphlet, the obsolete satire, the ancient comedy--such were
the many curious volumes whose dust was to be cleared away, to cast a
new radiance on the fading colours of a moveable picture of manners;
the wittiest ever exhibited to mankind. This new mode of research,
even at this moment, is imperfectly comprehended, still ridiculed even
by those who could never have understood a writer who will only be
immortal in the degree he is comprehended--and whose wit could not
have been felt but for the laborious curiosity of him whose "reading"
has been too often aspersed for "such reading"

  As was never read.

Grey was outrageously attacked by all the wits, first by Warburton, in
his preface to Shakspeare, who declares that "he hardly thinks there
ever appeared so execrable a heap of nonsense under the name of
commentaries, as hath been lately given us on a certain satyric poet
of the last age." It is odd enough, Warburton had himself contributed
towards these very notes, but, for some cause which has not been
discovered, had quarrelled with Dr. Grey. I will venture a conjecture
on this great conjectural critic. Warburton was always meditating to
give an edition of his own of our old writers, and the sins he
committed against Shakspeare he longed to practise on Butler, whose
times were, indeed, a favourite period of his researches. Grey had
anticipated him, and though Warburton had half reluctantly yielded the
few notes he had prepared, his proud heart sickened when he beheld
the amazing subscription Grey obtained for his first edition of
"Hudibras;" he received for that work 1500_l._[75]--a proof that this
publication was felt as a want by the public.

Such, however, is one of those blunt, dogmatic censures in which
Warburton abounds, to impress his readers with the weight of his
opinions; this great man wrote more for effect than any other of our
authors, as appears by his own or some friend's confession, that if
his edition of Shakspeare did no honour to that bard, this was not the
design of the commentator--which was only to do honour to himself by a
display of his own exuberant erudition.

The poignant Fielding, in his preface to his "Journey to Lisbon," has
a fling at the gravity of our doctor. "The laborious, much-read Dr. Z.
Grey, of whose redundant notes on 'Hudibras' I shall only say that it
is, I am confident, the single book extant in which above 500 authors
are quoted, not one of which could be found in the collection of the
late Dr. Mead." Mrs. Montague, in her letters, severely characterises
the miserable father of English commentators; she wrote in youth and
spirits, with no knowledge of books, and _before_ even the unlucky
commentator had published his work, but wit is the bolder by
anticipation. She observes that "his dulness may be a proper ballast
for doggrel; and it is better that his stupidity should make jest dull
than serious and sacred things ridiculous;" alluding to his numerous
theological tracts.

Such then are the hard returns which some authors are doomed to
receive as the rewards of useful labours from those who do not even
comprehend their nature; a wit should not be admitted as a critic till
he has first proved by his gravity, or his dulness if he chooses, that
he has some knowledge; for it is the privilege and nature of wit to
write fastest and best on what it least understands. Knowledge only
encumbers and confines its flights.


   [74] Dr. Zachary Grey was throughout a long life a busy contributor
        to literature. The mere list of his productions, in
        divinity and history, occupy some pages of our biographical
        dictionaries. He was born 1687, and died at Ampthill, in
        Bedfordshire, in 1766. In private he was noted for mild and
        pleasing manners. His "Hudibras," which was first published
        in 1744, in two octavo volumes, is now the standard

   [75] Cole's MSS.


Of all the sorrows in which the female character may participate,
there are few more affecting than those of an authoress;--often
insulated and unprotected in society--with all the sensibility of the
sex, encountering miseries which break the spirits of men; with the
repugnance arising from that delicacy which trembles when it quits its

My acquaintance with an unfortunate lady of the name of ELIZA RYVES,
was casual and interrupted; yet I witnessed the bitterness of "hope
deferred, which maketh the heart sick." She sunk, by the slow wastings
of grief, into a grave which probably does not record the name of its
martyr of literature.

She was descended from a family of distinction in Ireland; but as she
expressed it, "she had been deprived of her birthright by the
chicanery of law." In her former hours of tranquillity she had
published some elegant odes, had written a tragedy and comedies--all
which remained in MS. In her distress she looked up to her pen as a
source of existence; and an elegant genius and a woman of polished
manners commenced the life of a female trader in literature.

Conceive the repulses of a modest and delicate woman in her attempts
to appreciate the value of a manuscript with its purchaser. She has
frequently returned from the booksellers to her dreadful solitude to
hasten to her bed--in all the bodily pains of misery, she has sought
in uneasy slumbers a temporary forgetfulness of griefs which were to
recur on the morrow. Elegant literature is always of doubtful
acceptance with the public, and Eliza Ryves came at length to try the
most masculine exertions of the pen. She wrote for one newspaper much
political matter; but the proprietor was too great a politician for
the writer of politics, for he only praised the labour he never paid;
much poetry for another, in which, being one of the correspondents of
Della Crusca, in payment of her verses she got nothing but verses; the
most astonishing exertion for a female pen was the entire composition
of the historical and political portion of some Annual Register. So
little profitable were all these laborious and original efforts, that
every day did not bring its "daily bread." Yet even in her poverty her
native benevolence could make her generous; for she has deprived
herself of her meal to provide with one an unhappy family dwelling
under the same roof.

Advised to adopt the mode of translation, and being ignorant of the
French language, she retired to an obscure lodging at Islington, which
she never quitted till she had produced a good version of Rousseau's
"Social Compact," Raynal's "Letter to the National Assembly," and
finally translated De la Croix's "Review of the Constitutions of the
principal States in Europe," in two large volumes with intelligent
notes. All these works, so much at variance with her taste, left her
with her health much broken, and a mind which might be said to have
nearly survived the body.

Yet even at a moment so unfavourable, her ardent spirit engaged in a
translation of Froissart. At the British Museum I have seen her
conning over the magnificent and voluminous MS. of the old chronicler,
and by its side Lord Berners' version, printed in the reign of Henry
VIII. It was evident that his lordship was employed as a spy on
Froissart, to inform her of what was going forward in the French camp;
and she soon perceived, for her taste was delicate, that it required
an ancient lord and knight, with all his antiquity of phrase, to break
a lance with the still more ancient chivalric Frenchman. The familiar
elegance of modern style failed to preserve the picturesque touches
and the _naïve_ graces of the chronicler, who wrote as the mailed
knight combated--roughly or gracefully, as suited the tilt or the
field. She vailed to Lord Berners; while she felt it was here
necessary to understand old French, and then to write it in old
English.[76] During these profitless labours hope seemed to be
whispering in her lonely study. Her comedies had been in possession of
the managers of the theatres during several years. They had too much
merit to be rejected, perhaps too little to be acted. Year passed over
year, and the last still repeated the treacherous promise of its
brother. The mysterious arts of procrastination are by no one so well
systematised as by the theatrical manager, nor its secret sorrows so
deeply felt as by the dramatist. One of her comedies, _The Debt of
Honour_, had been warmly approved at both theatres--where probably a
copy of it may still be found. To the honour of one of the managers,
he presented her with a hundred pounds on his acceptance of it. Could
she avoid then flattering herself with an annual harvest?

But even this generous gift, which involved in it such golden
promises, could not for ten years preserve its delusion. "I feel,"
said Eliza Ryves, "the necessity of some powerful patronage, to bring
my comedies forward to the world with _éclat_, and secure them an
admiration which, should it even be deserved, is seldom bestowed,
unless some leading judge of literary merit gives the sanction of his
applause; and then the world will chime in with his opinion, without
taking the trouble to inform themselves whether it be founded in
justice or partiality." She never suspected that her comedies were not
comic!--but who dare hold an argument with an ingenious mind, when it
reasons from a right principle, with a wrong application to itself? It
is true that a writer's connexions have often done a great deal for a
small author, and enabled some favourites of literary fashion to enjoy
a usurped reputation; but it is not so evident that Eliza Ryves was a
comic writer, although, doubtless, she appeared another Menander to
herself. And thus an author dies in a delusion of self-flattery!

The character of Eliza Ryves was rather tender and melancholy, than
brilliant and gay; and like the bruised perfume--breathing sweetness
when broken into pieces. She traced her sorrows in a work of fancy,
where her feelings were at least as active as her imagination. It is a
small volume, entitled "The Hermit of Snowden." Albert, opulent and
fashionable, feels a passion for Lavinia, and meets the kindest
return; but, having imbibed an ill opinion of women from his
licentious connexions, he conceived they were slaves of passion, or of
avarice. He wrongs the generous nature of Lavinia, by suspecting her
of mercenary views; hence arise the perplexities of the hearts of
both. Albert affects to be ruined, and spreads the report of an
advantageous match. Lavinia feels all the delicacy of her situation;
she loves, but "she never told her love." She seeks for her existence
in her literary labours, and perishes in want.

In the character of Lavinia, our authoress, with all the melancholy
sagacity of genius, foresaw and has described her own death!--the
dreadful solitude to which she was latterly condemned, when in the
last stage of her poverty; her frugal mode of life; her acute
sensibility; her defrauded hopes; and her exalted fortitude. She has
here formed a register of all that occurred in her solitary existence.
I will give one scene--to me it is pathetic--for it is like a scene at
which I was present:--

"Lavinia's lodgings were about two miles from town, in an obscure
situation. I was showed up to a mean apartment, where Lavinia was
sitting at work, and in a dress which indicated the greatest economy.
I inquired what success she had met with in her dramatic pursuits. She
waved her head, and, with a melancholy smile, replied, 'that her
hopes of ever bringing any piece on the stage were now entirely over;
for she found that more interest was necessary for the purpose than
she could command, and that she had for that reason laid aside her
comedy for ever!' While she was talking, came in a favourite dog of
Lavinia's, which I had used to caress. The creature sprang to my arms,
and I received him with my usual fondness. Lavinia endeavoured to
conceal a tear which trickled down her cheek. Afterwards she said,
'Now that I live entirely alone, I show Juno more attention than I had
used to do formerly. _The heart wants something to be kind to_; and it
consoles us for the loss of society, to see even an animal derive
happiness from the endearments we bestow upon it.'"

Such was Eliza Ryves! not beautiful nor interesting in her person, but
with a mind of fortitude, susceptible of all the delicacy of feminine
softness, and virtuous amid her despair.[77]


   [76] This version of Lord Berners has been reprinted.

   [77] Those who desire to further investigate the utter misery of
        female authorship may be referred to Whyte's vivid description
        of an interview with Mrs. Clarke (the daughter of Colley
        Cibber), about the purchase of a novel. It is appended to an
        edition of his own poems, printed at Dublin, 1792; and has
        been reproduced in Hone's "Table Book," vol. i.--ED.



"CARTE," says Mr. Hallam, "is the most exact historian we have;" and
Daines Barrington prefers his authority to that of any other, and many
other writers confirm this opinion. Yet had this historian been an
ordinary compiler, he could not have incurred a more mortifying fate;
for he was compelled to retail in shilling numbers that invaluable
history which we have only learned of late times to appreciate, and
which was the laborious fruits of self-devotion.

Carte was the first of our historians who had the sagacity and the
fortitude to ascertain where the true sources of our history lie. He
discovered a new world beyond the old one of our research, and not
satisfied in gleaning the _res historica_ from its original writers--a
merit which has not always been possessed by some of our popular
historians--Carte opened those subterraneous veins of secret history
from whence even the original writers of our history, had they
possessed them, might have drawn fresh knowledge and more ample
views. Our domestic or civil history was scarcely attempted till Carte
planned it; while all his laborious days and his literary travels on
the Continent were absorbed in the creation of a _History of England_
and of a _Public Library_ in the metropolis, for we possessed neither.
A diligent foreigner, Rapin, had compiled our history, and had
opportunely found in the vast collection of Rymer's "Fœdera" a rich
accession of knowledge; but a foreigner could not sympathise with the
feelings, or even understand the language, of the domestic story of
our nation; our rolls and records, our state-letters, the journals of
parliament, and those of the privy-council; an abundant source of
private memoirs; and the hidden treasures in the state-paper office,
the Cottonian and Harleian libraries; all these, and much besides, the
sagacity of Carte contemplated. He had further been taught--by his own
examination of the true documents of history, which he found preserved
among the ancient families of France, who with a warm patriotic
spirit, worthy of imitation, "often carefully preserved in their
families the acts of their ancestors;" and the _trésor des chartes_
and the _dépôt pour les affaires étrangères_ (the state-paper office
of France),--that the history of our country is interwoven with that
of its neighbours, as well as with that of our own countrymen.[78]

Carte, with these enlarged views, and firm with diligence which never
paused, was aware that such labours--both for the expense and
assistance they demand--exceeded the powers of a private individual;
but "what a single man cannot do," he said, "may be easily done by a
society, and the value of an opera subscription would be sufficient to
patronise a History of England." His valuable "History of the Duke of
Ormond" had sufficiently announced the sort of man who solicited this
necessary aid; nor was the moment unpropitious to his fondest hopes,
for a _Society for the Encouragement of Learning_ had been formed, and
this impulse of public spirit, however weak, had, it would seem,
roused into action some unexpected quarters. When Carte's project was
made known, a large subscription was raised to defray the expense of
transcripts, and afford a sufficient independence to the historian;
many of the nobility and the gentry subscribed ten or twenty guineas
annually, and several of the corporate bodies in the city honourably
appeared as the public patrons of the literature of their nation. He
had, perhaps, nearly a thousand a year subscribed, which he employed
on the History. Thus everything promised fair both for the history and
for the historian of our fatherland, and about this time he zealously
published another proposal for the erection of a public library in the
Mansion-house. "There is not," observed Carte, "a great city in Europe
so ill-provided with public libraries as London." He enters into a
very interesting and minute narrative of the public libraries of
Paris.[79] He then also suggested the purchase of ten thousand
manuscripts of the Earl of Oxford, which the nation now possess in the
Harleian collection.

Though Carte failed to persuade our opulent citizens to purchase this
costly honour, it is probably to his suggestion that the nation owes
the British Museum. The ideas of the literary man are never thrown
away, however vain at the moment, or however profitless to himself.
Time preserves without injuring the image of his mind, and a following
age often performs what the preceding failed to comprehend.

It was in 1743 that this work was projected, in 1747 the first volume
appeared. One single act of indiscretion, an unlucky accident rather
than a premeditated design, overturned in a moment this monument of
history;--for it proved that our Carte, however enlarged were his
views of what history ought to consist, and however experienced in
collecting its most authentic materials, and accurate in their
statement, was infected by a superstitious jacobitism, which seemed
likely to spread itself through his extensive history. Carte indeed
was no philosopher, but a very faithful historian.

Having unhappily occasion to discuss whether the King of England had,
from the time of Edward the Confessor, the power of healing inherent
in him before his unction, or whether the gift was conveyed by
ecclesiastical hands, to show the efficacy of the royal touch, he
added an idle story, which had come under his own observation, of a
person who appeared to have been so healed. Carte said of this unlucky
personage, so unworthily introduced five hundred years before he was
born, that he had been sent to Paris to be touched by "the eldest
lineal descendant of a race of kings who had indeed for a long
succession of ages cured that distemper by the royal touch." The
insinuation was unquestionably in favour of the Pretender, although
the name of the prince was not avowed, and was a sort of promulgation
of the right divine to the English throne.

The first news our author heard of his elaborate history was the
discovery of this unforeseen calamity; the public indignation was
roused, and subscribers, public and private, hastened to withdraw
their names. The historian was left forlorn and abandoned amid his
extensive collections, and Truth, which was about to be drawn out of
her well by this robust labourer, was no longer imagined to lie
concealed at the bottom of the waters.

Thunderstruck at this dreadful reverse to all his hopes, and
witnessing the unrequited labour of more than thirty years withered
in an hour, the unhappy Carte drew up a faint appeal, rendered still
more weak by a long and improbable tale, that the objectionable
illustration had been merely a private note which by mistake had
been printed, and only designed to show that the person who had been
healed improperly attributed his cure to the sanative virtue of the
regal unction; since the prince in question had never been anointed.
But this was plunging from Scylla into Charybdis, for it inferred
that the Stuarts inherited the heavenly-gifted touch by descent. This
could not avail; yet heavy was the calamity! for now an historian of
the utmost probity and exactness, and whose labours were never
equalled for their scope and extent, was ruined for an absurd but
not peculiar opinion, and an indiscretion which was more ludicrous
than dishonest.

This shock of public opinion was met with a fortitude which only
strong minds experience; Carte was the true votary of study,--by
habit, by devotion, and by pleasure, he persevered in producing an
invaluable folio every two years; but from three thousand copies he
was reduced to seven hundred and fifty, and the obscure patronage of
the few who knew how to appreciate them. Death only arrested the
historian's pen--in the fourth volume. We have lost the important
period of the reign of the second Charles, of which Carte declared
that he had read "a series of memoirs from the beginning to the end of
that reign which would have laid open all those secret intrigues which
Burnet with all his genius for conjecture does not pretend to account

So precious were the MS. collections Carte left behind him, that the
proprietor valued them at 1500_l._; Philip Earl of Hardwicke paid
200_l._ only for the perusal, and Macpherson a larger sum for their
use; and Hume, without Carte, would scarcely have any authorities.
Such was the calamitous result of Carte's historical labours, who has
left others of a more philosophical cast, and of a finer taste in
composition, to reap the harvest whose soil had been broken by his


   [78] It is much to the honour of Carte, that the French acknowledge
        that his publication of the "Rolles Gascognes" gave to them
        the first idea of their learned work, the "Notice des

   [79] This paper, which is a great literary curiosity, is preserved by
        Mr. Nichols in his "Literary History," vol. ii.



RIDICULE may be considered as a species of eloquence; it has all its
vehemence, all its exaggeration, all its power of diminution; it is
irresistible! Its business is not with truth, but with its appearance;
and it is this similitude, in perpetual comparison with the original,
which, raising contempt, produces the ridiculous.

There is nothing real in ridicule; the more exquisite, the more it
borrows from the imagination. When directed towards an individual, by
preserving a unity of character in all its parts, it produces a
fictitious personage, so modelled on the prototype, that we know not
to distinguish the true one from the false. Even with an intimate
knowledge of the real object, the ambiguous image slides into our
mind, for we are at least as much influenced in our opinions by our
imagination as by our judgment. Hence some great characters have come
down to us spotted with the taints of indelible wit; and a satirist of
this class, sporting with distant resemblances and fanciful analogies,
has made the fictitious accompany for ever the real character. Piqued
with Akenside for some reflections against Scotland, Smollett has
exhibited a man of great genius and virtue as a most ludicrous
personage; and who can discriminate, in the ridiculous physician in
"Peregrine Pickle," what is real from what is fictitious?[80]

The banterers and ridiculers possess this provoking advantage over
sturdy honesty or nervous sensibility--their amusing fictions affect
the world more than the plain tale that would put them down. They
excite our risible emotions, while they are reducing their adversary
to contempt--otherwise they would not be distinguished from gross
slanderers. When the wit has gained over the laughers on his side, he
has struck a blow which puts his adversary _hors de combat_. A grave
reply can never wound ridicule, which, assuming all forms, has really
none. Witty calumny and licentious raillery are airy nothings that
float about us, invulnerable from their very nature, like those
chimeras of hell which the sword of Æneas could not pierce--yet these
shadows of truth, these false images, these fictitious realities, have
made heroism tremble, turned the eloquence of wisdom into folly, and
bowed down the spirit of honour itself.

Not that the legitimate use of RIDICULE is denied: the wisest men have
been some of the most exquisite ridiculers; from Socrates to the
Fathers, and from the Fathers to Erasmus, and from Erasmus to Butler
and Swift. Ridicule is more efficacious than argument; when that keen
instrument cuts what cannot be untied. "The Rehearsal" wrote down the
unnatural taste for the rhyming heroic tragedies, and brought the
nation back from sound to sense, from rant to passion. More important
events may be traced in the history of Ridicule. When a certain set of
intemperate Puritans, in the reign of Elizabeth, the ridiculous
reformists of abuses in Church and State, congregated themselves under
the literary _nom de guerre_ of _Martin Mar-prelate_, a stream of
libels ran throughout the nation. The grave discourses of the
archbishop and the prelates could never silence the hardy and
concealed libellers. They employed a moveable printing-press, and the
publishers perpetually shifting their place, long escaped detection.
They declared their works were "printed in Europe, not far from some
of the bouncing priests;" or they were "printed over sea, in Europe,
within two furlongs of a bouncing priest, at the cost and charges of
Martin Mar-prelate, gent." It was then that TOM NASH, whom I am about
to introduce to the reader's more familiar acquaintance, the most
exquisite banterer of that age of genius, turned on them their own
weapons, and annihilated them into silence when they found themselves
paid in their own base coin. He rebounded their popular ribaldry on
themselves, with such replies as "Pap with a hatchet, or a fig for my
godson; or, crack me this nut. To be sold, at the sign of the
Crab-tree Cudgel, in Thwack-coat lane."[81] Not less biting was his
"Almond for a Parrot, or an Alms for Martin." Nash first silenced
_Martin Mar-prelate_, and the government afterwards hanged him; Nash
might be vain of the greater honour. A ridiculer then is the best
champion to meet another ridiculer; their scurrilities magically undo
each other.

But the abuse of ridicule is not one of the least calamities of
literature, when it withers genius, and gibbets whom it ought to
enshrine. Never let us forget that Socrates before his judges asserted
that "his persecution originated in the licensed raillery of
Aristophanes, which had so unduly influenced the popular mind during
_several years_!" And thus a fictitious Socrates, not the great
moralist, was condemned. Armed with the most licentious ridicule, the
Aretine of our own country and times has proved that its chief
magistrate was not protected by the shield of domestic and public
virtues; a false and distorted image of an intelligent monarch could
cozen the gross many, and aid the purposes of the subtle few.

There is a plague-spot in ridicule, and the man who is touched with
it can be sent forth as the jest of his country.

The literary reign of Elizabeth, so fertile in every kind of genius,
exhibits a remarkable instance, in the controversy between the witty
Tom Nash and the learned Gabriel Harvey. It will illustrate the nature
of _the fictions of ridicule_, expose the materials of which its
shafts are composed, and the secret arts by which ridicule can level a
character which seems to be placed above it.

GABRIEL HARVEY was an author of considerable rank, but with two
learned brothers, as Wood tells us, "had the ill luck to fall into the
hands of that noted and restless buffoon, Tom Nash."

Harvey is not unknown to the lover of poetry, from his connexion with
Spenser, who loved and revered him. He is the Hobynol whose poem is
prefixed to the "Faery Queen," who introduced Spenser to Sir Philip
Sidney: and, besides his intimacy with the literary characters of his
times, he was a Doctor of Laws, an erudite scholar, and distinguished
as a poet. Such a man could hardly be contemptible; and yet, when some
little peculiarities become aggravated, and his works are touched by
the caustic of the most adroit banterer of that age of wit, no
character has descended to us with such grotesque deformity, exhibited
in so ludicrous an attitude.

Harvey was a pedant, but pedantry was part of the erudition of an age
when our national literature was passing from its infancy; he
introduced hexameter verses into our language, and pompously laid
claim to an invention which, designed for the reformation of English
verse, was practised till it was found sufficiently ridiculous. His
style was infected with his pedantic taste; and the hard outline of
his satirical humour betrays the scholastic cynic, not the airy and
fluent wit. He had, perhaps, the foibles of a man who was clearing
himself from obscurity; he prided himself on his family alliances,
while he fastidiously looked askance on the trade of his father--a

He was somewhat rich in his apparel, according to the rank in society
he held; and, hungering after the notice of his friends, they fed him
on soft sonnet and relishing dedication, till Harvey ventured to
publish a collection of panegyrics on himself--and thus gravely
stepped into a niche erected to Vanity. At length he and his two
brothers--one a divine and the other a physician--became students of
astronomy; then an astronomer usually ended in an almanac-maker, and
above all, in an astrologer--an avocation which tempted a man to
become a prophet. Their "sharp and learned judgment on earthquakes"
drove the people out of their senses (says Wood); but when nothing
happened of their predictions, the brothers received a severe
castigation from those great enemies of prophets, the wits. The
buffoon, Tarleton, celebrated for his extempore humour, jested on them
at the theatre;[82] Elderton, a drunken ballad-maker, "consumed his
ale-crammed nose to nothing in bear-bating them with bundles of
ballads."[83] One on the earthquake commenced with "Quake! quake!
quake!" They made the people laugh at their false terrors, or, as Nash
humorously describes their fanciful panic, "when they sweated and were
not a haire the worse." Thus were the three learned brothers beset by
all the town-wits; Gabriel had the hardihood, with all undue gravity,
to charge pell-mell among the whole knighthood of drollery; a
circumstance probably alluded to by Spenser, in a sonnet addressed to

    "Harvey, the happy above happier men,
  I read; that sitting like a looker-on
  Of this worlde's stage, dost note with _critique pen_
  The sharp dislikes of each condition;
  And, as one carelesse of suspition,
  Ne fawnest for the favour of the great;
  _Ne fearest foolish reprehension
  Of faulty men, which daunger to thee threat_,
  But freely doest of what thee list, entreat,
  Like a great lord of peerlesse liberty.--"

The "foolish reprehension of faulty men, threatening Harvey with
danger," describes that gregarious herd of town-wits in the age of
Elizabeth--Kit Marlow, Robert Greene, Dekker, Nash, &c.--men of no
moral principle, of high passions, and the most pregnant Lucianic
wits who ever flourished at one period.[84] Unfortunately for the
learned Harvey, his "critique pen," which is strange in so polished
a mind and so curious a student, indulged a sharpness of invective
which would have been peculiar to himself, had his adversary, Nash,
not quite outdone him. Their pamphlets foamed against each other,
till Nash, in his vehement invective, involved the whole generation
of the Harveys, made one brother more ridiculous than the other, and
even attainted the fair name of Gabriel's respectable sister.
Gabriel, indeed, after the death of Robert Greene, the crony of Nash,
sitting like a vampyre on his grave, sucked blood from his corpse,
in a memorable narrative of the debaucheries and miseries of this
town-wit. I throw into the note the most awful satirical address I
ever read.[85] It became necessary to dry up the floodgates of
these rival ink-horns, by an order of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The order is a remarkable fragment of our literary history, and is
thus expressed:--"That all Nashe's bookes and Dr. Harvey's bookes be
taken wheresoever they may be found, and that none of the said bookes
be ever printed hereafter."

This extraordinary circumstance accounts for the excessive rarity of
Harvey's "Foure Letters, 1592," and that literary scourge of Nash's,
"Have with you to Saffron-Walden (Harvey's residence), or Gabriel
Harvey's Hunt is vp, 1596;" pamphlets now as costly as if they
consisted of leaves of gold.[87]

Nash, who, in his other works, writes in a style as flowing as
Addison's, with hardly an obsolete vestige, has rather injured this
literary invective by the evident burlesque he affects of Harvey's
pedantic idiom; and for this Mr. Malone has hastily censured him,
without recollecting the aim of this modern Lucian.[88] The delicacy
of irony; the _sous-entendu_, that subtlety of indicating what is not
told; all that poignant satire, which is the keener for its polish,
were not practised by our first vehement satirists; but a bantering
masculine humour, a style stamped in the heat of fancy, with all the
life-touches of strong individuality, characterise these licentious
wits. They wrote then as the old _fabliers_ told their tales, naming
everything by its name; our refinement cannot approve, but it cannot
diminish their real nature, and among our elaborate graces, their
_naïveté_ must be still wanting.

In this literary satire NASH has interwoven a kind of ludicrous
biography of Harvey; and seems to have anticipated the character of
Martinus Scriblerus. I leave the grosser parts of this invective
untouched; for my business is not with _slander_, but with _ridicule_.

Nash opens as a skilful lampooner; he knew well that ridicule, without
the appearance of truth, was letting fly an arrow upwards, touching no
one. Nash accounts for his protracted silence by adroitly declaring
that he had taken these two or three years to get perfect intelligence
of Harvey's "Life and conversation; one true point whereof well sat
downe will more excruciate him than _knocking him about the ears with
his own style_ in a hundred sheets of paper."

And with great humour says--

"As long as it is since he writ against me, so long have I given him a
lease of his life, and he hath only held it by my mercy; and now let
him thank his friends for this heavy load of disgrace I lay upon him,
since I do it but to show my sufficiency; and they urging what a
triumph he had over me, hath made me ransack my standish more than I

In the history of such a literary hero as Gabriel, the birth has ever
been attended by portents. Gabriel's mother "dreamt a dream," that she
was delivered "of an immense elder gun that can shoot nothing but
pellets of chewed paper; and thought, instead of a boy, she was
brought to bed of one of those kistrell birds called a wind-sucker."
At the moment of his birth came into the world "a calf with a double
tongue, and eares longer than any ass's, with his feet turned
backwards." Facetious analogies of Gabriel's literary genius!

He then paints to the life the grotesque portrait of Harvey; so that
the man himself stands alive before us. "He was of an adust swarth
choleric dye, like restie bacon, or a dried scate-fish; his skin
riddled and crumpled like a piece of burnt parchment, with channels
and creases in his face, and wrinkles and frets of old age." Nash
dexterously attributes this premature old age to his own talents;
exulting humorously--

"I have brought him low, and shrewdly broken him; look on his head,
and you shall find a gray haire for euerie line I have writ against
him; and you shall haue all his beard white too by the time he hath
read ouer this booke."

To give a finishing to the portrait, and to reach the climax of
personal contempt, he paints the sordid misery in which he lived at
Saffron-Walden:--"Enduring more hardness than a camell, who will liue
four dayes without water, and feedes on nothing but thistles and
wormwood, as he feeds on his estate on trotters, sheep porknells, and
buttered rootes, in an hexameter meditation."

In his Venetian velvet and pantofles of pride, we are told--

"He looks, indeed, like a case of tooth-pickes, or a lute-pin stuck in
a suit of apparell. An Vsher of a dancing-schoole, he is such a _basia
de vmbra de vmbra de los pedes_; a kisser of the shadow of your feetes
shadow he is!"

This is, doubtless, a portrait resembling the original, with its
Cervantic touches; Nash would not have risked what the eyes of his
readers would instantly have proved to be fictitious; and, in fact,
though the _Grangerites_ know of no portrait of Gabriel Harvey, they
will find a woodcut of him by the side of this description; it is,
indeed, in a most pitiable attitude, expressing that gripe of
criticism which seized on Gabriel "upon the news of the going in hand
of my booke."

The ponderosity and prolixity of Gabriel's "period of a mile," are
described with a facetious extravagance, which may be given as a
specimen of the eloquence of ridicule. Harvey entitled his various
pamphlets "Letters."

"More letters yet from the doctor? Out upon it, here's a packet of
epistling, as bigge as a packe of woollen cloth, or a stack of salt
fish. Carrier, didst thou bring it by wayne, or by horsebacke? By
wayne, sir, and it hath crackt me three axle-trees.--_Heavie_ newes!
Take them again! I will never open them.--My cart (quoth he,
deep-sighing,) hath cryde creake under them fortie times euerie
furlong; wherefore if you be a good man rather make mud-walls with
them, mend highways, or damme up quagmires with them.

"When I came to unrip and unbumbast[89] this _Gargantuan_ bag pudding,
and found nothing in it but dogs tripes, swines livers, oxe galls, and
sheepes guts, I was in a bitterer chafe than anie cooke at a long
sermon, when his meat burnes.

"O 'tis an vnsconscionable vast gor-bellied volume, bigger bulkt than
a Dutch hoy, and more cumbersome than a payre of Switzer's galeaze

And in the same ludicrous style he writes--

"One epistle thereof to John Wolfe (Harvey's printer) I took and
weighed in an ironmonger's scale, and it counter poyseth a cade[91] of
herrings with three Holland cheeses. It was rumoured about the Court
that the guard meant to trie masteries with it before the Queene, and
instead of throwing the sledge, or the hammer, to hurle it foorth at
the armes end for a wager.

"Sixe and thirtie sheets it comprehendeth, which with him is but sixe
and thirtie full points (periods); for he makes no more difference
'twixt a sheet of paper and a full pointe, than there is 'twixt two
black puddings for a pennie, and a pennie for a pair of black
puddings. Yet these are but the shortest prouerbes of his wit, for he
never bids a man good morrow, but he makes a speech as long as a
proclamation, nor drinkes to anie, but he reads a lecture of three
howers long, _de Arte bibendi_. O 'tis a precious apothegmatical

It was the foible of Harvey to wish to conceal the humble avocation of
his father: this forms a perpetual source of the bitterness or the
pleasantry of Nash, who, indeed, calls his pamphlet "a full answer to
the eldest son of the halter maker," which, he says, "is death to
Gabriel to remember; wherefore from time to time he doth nothing but
turmoile his thoughts how to invent new pedigrees, and what great
nobleman's bastard he was likely to be, not whose sonne he is reputed
to be. Yet he would not have a shoo to put on his foote if his father
had not traffiqued with the hangman.--Harvey nor his brothers cannot
bear to be called the sonnes of a rope-maker, which, by his private
confession to some of my friends, was the only thing that most set him
afire against me. Turne over his two bookes he hath published against
me, wherein he hath clapt paper God's plentie, if that could press a
man to death, and see if, in the waye of answer, or otherwise, he once
mentioned _the word rope-maker_, or come within forty foot of it;
except in one place of his first booke, where he nameth it not
neither, but goes thus cleanly to worke:--'and may not a good sonne
have a reprobate for his father?' a periphrase of a rope-maker, which,
if I should shryue myself, I never heard before." According to Nash,
Gabriel took his oath before a justice, that his father was an honest
man, and kept his sons at the Universities a long time. "I confirmed
it, and added, Ay! which is more, three proud sonnes, that when they
met the hangman, their father's best customer, would not put off their
hats to him--"

Such repeated raillery on this foible of Harvey touched him more to
the quick, and more raised the public laugh, than any other point
of attack; for it was merited. Another foible was, perhaps, the
finical richness of Harvey's dress, adopting the Italian fashions on
his return from Italy, "when he made no bones of taking the wall
of Sir Philip Sidney, in his black Venetian velvet."[92] On this the
fertile invention of Nash raises a scandalous anecdote concerning
Gabriel's wardrobe; "a tale of his hobby-horse reuelling and
domineering at Audley-end, when the Queen was there; to which place
Gabriel came ruffling it out, hufty tufty, in his suit of veluet--"
which he had "untrussed, and pelted the outside from the lining of
an old velvet saddle he had borrowed!" "The rotten mould of that
worm-eaten relique, he means, when he dies, to hang over his tomb for
a monument."[93] Harvey was proud of his refined skill in "Tuscan
authors," and too fond of their worse conceits. Nash alludes to
his travels in Italy, "to fetch him twopenny worth of Tuscanism,
quite renouncing his natural English accents and gestures, wrested
himself wholly to the Italian punctilios, painting himself like a
courtezan, till the Queen declared, 'he looked something like an
Italian!' At which he roused his plumes, pricked his ears, and run
away with the bridle betwixt his teeth." These were malicious
tales, to make his adversary contemptible, whenever the merry wits at
court were willing to sharpen themselves on him.

One of the most difficult points of attack was to break through that
bastion of sonnets and panegyrics with which Harvey had fortified
himself by the aid of his friends, against the assaults of Nash.
Harvey had been commended by the learned and the ingenious. Our
Lucian, with his usual adroitness, since he could not deny Harvey's
intimacy with Spenser and Sidney, gets rid of their suffrages by this
malicious sarcasm: "It is a miserable thing for a man to be said to
have had friends, and now to have neer a one left!" As for the others,
whom Harvey calls "his gentle and liberall friends," Nash boldly
caricatures the grotesque crew, as "tender itchie brained infants,
that cared not what they did, so they might come in print; worthless
whippets, and jack-straws, who meeter it in his commendation, whom he
would compare with the highest." The works of these young writers he
describes by an image exquisitely ludicrous and satirical:--

"These mushrumpes, who pester the world with their pamphlets, are like
those barbarous people in the hot countries, who, when they have bread
to make, doe no more than clap the dowe upon a post on the outside of
their houses, and there leave it to the sun to bake; so their
indigested conceipts, far rawer than anie dowe, at all adventures upon
the post they clap, pluck them off who will, and think they have made
as good a batch of poetrie as may be."

Of Harvey's list of friends he observes:--

"To a bead-roll of learned men and lords, he appeals, whether he be an
asse or no?"

Harvey had said, "Thomas Nash, from the top of his wit looking down
upon simple creatures, calleth Gabriel Harvey a dunce, a foole, an
ideot, a dolt, a goose cap, an asse, and so forth; for some of the
residue is not to be spoken but with his owne mannerly mouth; but he
should have shewed particularlie which wordes in my letters were the
wordes of a dunce; which sentences the sentences of a foole; which
arguments the arguments of an ideot; which opinions the opinions of a
dolt; which judgments the judgments of a goose-cap; which conclusions
the conclusions of an asse."[94]

Thus Harvey reasons, till he becomes unreasonable; one would have
imagined that the literary satires of our English Lucian had been
voluminous enough, without the mathematical demonstration. The
banterers seem to have put poor Harvey nearly out of his wits; he and
his friends felt their blows too profoundly; they were much too
thin-skinned, and the solemn air of Harvey in his graver moments at
their menaces is extremely ludicrous. They frequently called him
_Gabrielissime Gabriel_, which quintessence of himself seems to have
mightily affected him. They threatened to confute his letters till
eternity--which seems to have put him in despair. The following
passage, descriptive of Gabriel's distresses, may excite a smile.

"This grand confuter of my letters says, 'Gabriel, if there be any wit
or industrie in thee, now I will dare it to the vttermost; write of
what thou wilt, in what language thou wilt, and I will confute it, and
answere it. Take Truth's part, and I will proouve truth to be no
truth, marching ovt of thy dung-voiding mouth.' He will never leave me
as long as he is able to lift a pen, _ad infinitum_; if I reply, he
has a rejoinder; and for my brief _triplication_, he is prouided with
a _quadruplication_, and so he mangles my sentences, hacks my
arguments, wrenches my words, chops and changes my phrases, even to
the disjoyning and dislocation of my whole meaning."

Poor Harvey! he knew not that there was _nothing real_ in ridicule,
_no end_ to its merry malice!

Harvey's taste for hexameter verses, which he so unnaturally forced
into our language, is admirably ridiculed. Harvey had shown his taste
for these metres by a variety of poems, to whose subjects Nash thus
sarcastically alludes:--

"It had grown with him into such a dictionary custom, that no may-pole
in the street, no wether-cocke on anie church-steeple, no arbour, no
lawrell, no yewe-tree, he would ouerskip, without hayling in this
manner. After supper, if he chancst to play at cards with a queen of
harts in his hands, he would run upon men's and women's hearts all the

And he happily introduces here one of the miserable hexameter conceits
of Harvey--

  Stout hart and sweet hart, yet stoutest hart to be stooped.

Harvey's "Encomium Lauri" thus ridiculously commences,

  What might I call this tree? A lawrell? O bonny lawrell,
  Needes to thy bowes will I bow this knee, and vayle my bonetto;

which Nash most happily burlesques by describing Harvey under a
yew-tree at Trinity-hall, composing verses on the weathercock of
Allhallows in Cambridge:--

  O thou wether-cocke that stands on the top of Allhallows,
  Come thy wales down, if thou darst, for thy crowne, and take the
        wall on us.

"The hexameter verse (says Nash) I graunt to be a gentleman of an
auncient house (so is many an English beggar), yet this clyme of our's
hee cannot thrive in; our speech is too craggy for him to set his
plough in; hee goes twitching and hopping in our language, like a man
running vpon quagmires, vp the hill in one syllable and down the dale
in another, retaining no part of that stately smooth gate which he
vaunts himself with amongst the Greeks and Latins."

The most humorous part in this Scribleriad, is a ludicrous narrative
of Harvey's expedition to the metropolis, for the sole purpose of
writing his "Pierce Supererogation," pitted against Nash's "Pierce's
Pennilesse." The facetious Nash describes the torpor and pertinacity
of his genius, by telling us he had kept Harvey at work--

"For seaven and thirtie weekes space while he lay at his printer's,
Wolfe, never stirring out of doors, or being churched all that
while--and that in the deadest season that might bee, hee lying in the
ragingest furie of the last plague where there dyde above 1600 a weeke
in London, ink-squittring and saracenically printing against mee.
Three quarters of a year thus immured hee remained, with his spirits
yearning empassionment, and agonised fury, thirst of revenge,
neglecting soul and bodies health to compasse it--sweating and dealing
upon it most intentively."[95]

The narrative proceeds with the many perils which Harvey's printer
encountered, by expense of diet, and printing for this bright genius
and his friends, whose works "would rust and iron-spot paper to have
their names breathed over it;" and that Wolfe designed "to get a
privilege betimes, forbidding of all others to sell waste-paper but
himselfe." The climax of the narrative, after many misfortunes, ends
with Harvey being arrested by the printer, and confined to Newgate,
where his sword is taken from him, to his perpetual disgrace. So much
did Gabriel endure for having written a book against Tom Nash!

But Harvey might deny some of these ludicrous facts.--Will he deny?
cries Nash--and here he has woven every tale the most watchful malice
could collect, varnished for their full effect. Then he adds,

"You see I have brought the doctor out of request at court; and it
shall cost me a fall, but I will get him howted out of the Vniuersitie
too, ere I giue him ouer." He tells us Harvey was brought on the stage
at Trinity-college, in "the exquisite comedie of Pedantius," where,
under "the finical fine schoolmaster, the just manner of his phrase,
they stufft his mouth with; and the whole buffianisme throughout his
bookes, they bolstered out his part with--euen to the carrying of his
gowne, his nice gate in his pantofles, or the affected accent of his
speech--Let him deny that there was a shewe made at Clarehall of him
and his brothers, called Tarrarantantara turba tumultuosa Trigonum
Tri-Harveyorum Tri-harmonia; and another shewe of the little minnow
his brother, at Peter-house, called Duns furens, Dick Harvey in a
frensie." The sequel is thus told:--"Whereupon Dick came and broke the
college glass windows, and Dr. Perne caused him to be set in the
stockes till the shewe was ended."

This "Duns furens, Dick Harvey in a frensie," was not only the
brother of one who ranked high in society and literature, but himself
a learned professor. Nash brings him down to "Pigmey Dick, that lookes
like a pound of goldsmith's candles, who had like to commit folly last
year with a milk-maid, as a friend of his very soberly informed me.
Little and little-wittied Dick, that hath vowed to live and die in
defence of Brutus and his Trojans."[96] An Herculean feat of this
"Duns furens," Nash tells us, was his setting Aristotle with his heels
upwards on the school-gates at Cambridge, and putting ass's ears on
his head, which Tom here records in _perpetuam rei memoriam_. But
Wood, our grave and keen literary antiquary, observes--

"To let pass other matters these vain men (the wits) report of Richard
Harvey, his works show him quite another person than what they make
him to be."

Nash then forms a ludicrous contrast between "witless Gabriel and
ruffling Richard." The astronomer Richard was continually baiting the
great bear in the firmament, and in his lectures set up atheistical
questions, which Nash maliciously adds, "as I am afraid the earth
would swallow me if I should but rehearse." And at his close, Nash
bitterly regrets he has no more room; "else I should make Gabriel a
fugitive out of England, being the rauenousest slouen that ever lapt
porridge in noblemen's houses, where he has had already, out of two,
his mittimus of Ye may be gone! for he was a sower of seditious
paradoxes amongst kitchen-boys." Nash seems to have considered himself
as terrible as an Archilochus, whose satires were so fatal as to
induce the satirised, after having read them, to hang themselves.

How ill poor Harvey passed through these wit-duels, and how profoundly
the wounds inflicted on him and his brothers were felt, appears by his
own confessions. In his "Foure Letters," after some curious
observations on invectives and satires, from those of Archilochus,
Lucian, and Aretine, to Skelton and Scoggin, and "the whole venomous
and viperous brood of old and new raylers," he proceeds to blame even
his beloved friend the gentle Spenser, for the severity of his "Mother
Hubbard's Tale," a satire on the court. "I must needes say, Mother
Hubbard in heat of choller, forgetting the pure sanguine of her
Sweete Feary Queene, artfully ouershott her malcontent-selfe; as
elsewhere I have specified at large, with the good leaue of vnspotted
friendship.--Sallust and Clodius learned of Tully to frame artificiall
declamations and patheticall invectives against Tully himselfe; if
Mother Hubbard, in the vaine of Chawcer, happen to tel one canicular
tale, father Elderton and his son Greene, in the vaine of Skelton or
Scoggin, will counterfeit an hundred dogged fables, libles, slaunders,
lies, for the whetstone. But many will sooner lose their liues than
the least jott of their reputation. What mortal feudes, what cruel
bloodshed, what terrible slaughterdome have been committed for the
point of honour and some few courtly ceremonies."

The incidents so plentifully narrated in this Lucianic biography, the
very nature of this species of satire throws into doubt; yet they
still seem shadowed out from some truths; but the truths who can
unravel from the fictions? And thus a narrative is consigned to
posterity which involves illustrious characters in an inextricable
network of calumny and genius.

Writers of this class alienate themselves from human kind, they break
the golden bond which holds them to society; and they live among us
like a polished banditti. In these copious extracts, I have not
noticed the more criminal insinuations against the Harveys; I have
left the grosser slanders untouched. My object has been only to trace
the effects of ridicule, and to detect its artifices, by which the
most dignified characters may be deeply injured at the pleasure of a
Ridiculer. The wild mirth of ridicule, aggravating and taunting real
imperfections, and fastening imaginary ones on the victim in idle
sport or ill-humour, strikes at the most brittle thing in the world, a
man's good reputation, for delicate matters which are not under the
protection of the law, but in which so much of personal happiness is


   [80] Of AKENSIDE few particulars have been recorded, for the friend
        who best knew him was of so cold a temper with regard to
        public opinion, that he has not, in his account, revealed a
        solitary feature in the character of the poet. Yet Akenside's
        mind and manners were of a fine romantic cast, drawn from the
        moulds of classical antiquity. Such was the charm of his
        converse, that he even heated the cold and sluggish mind of
        Sir John Hawkins, who has, with unusual vivacity, described a
        day spent with him in the country. As I have mentioned the
        fictitious physician in "Peregrine Pickle," let the same page
        show the real one. I shall transcribe Sir John's forgotten
        words--omitting his "neat and elegant dinner:"--"Akenside's
        conversation was of the most delightful kind, learned,
        instructive, and, without any affectation of wit, cheerful and
        entertaining. One of the pleasantest days of my life I passed
        with him, Mr. Dyson, and another friend, at Putney--where the
        enlivening sunshine of a summer's day, and the view of an
        unclouded sky, were the least of our gratifications. In
        perfect good-humour with himself and all about him, he seemed
        to feel a joy that he lived, and poured out his gratulations
        to the great Dispenser of all felicity in expressions that
        Plato himself might have uttered on such an occasion. In
        conversations with select friends, and those whose studies had
        been nearly the same with his own, it was a usual thing with
        him, in libations to the memory of eminent men among the
        ancients, to bring their characters into view, and expatiate
        on those particulars of their lives that had rendered them
        famous." Observe the arts of the ridiculer! he seized on the
        romantic enthusiasm of Akenside, and turned it to _the cookery
        of the ancients_!

   [81] This pamphlet has been ascribed to John Lilly, but it must be
        confessed that its native vigour strangely contrasts with the
        famous _Euphuism_ of that refined writer. [There can, however,
        be little doubt that he was the author of this tract, as he is
        alluded to more than once as such by Harvey in his "Pierce's
        Supererogation;"--"would that Lilly had alwaies been _Euphues_
        and never _Pap-hatchet_."--ED.]

   [82] Tarleton appears to have had considerable power of extemporising
        satirical rhymes on the fleeting events of his own day. A
        collection of his Jests was published in 1611; the following
        is a favourable specimen:--"There was a nobleman asked
        Tarleton what he thought of soldiers in time of peace. Marry,
        quoth he, they are like chimneys in summer."--ED.

   [83] A long list of Elderton's popular rhymes is given by Ritson in
        his "Bibliographia Poetica." One of them, on the "King of
        Scots and Andrew Browne," is published in Percy's "Reliques,"
        who speaks of him as "a facetious fuddling companion, whose
        tippling and whose rhymes rendered him famous among his
        contemporaries." Ritson is more condensed and less civil in
        his analysis; he simply describes him as "a ballad-maker by
        profession, and drunkard by habit."--ED.

   [84] Harvey, in the title-page of his "Pierce's Supererogation," has
        placed an emblematic woodcut, expressive of his own
        confidence, and his contempt of the wits. It is a lofty
        palm-tree, with its durable and impenetrable trunk; at its
        feet lie a heap of serpents, darting their tongues, and filthy
        toads, in vain attempting to pierce or to pollute it. The
        Italian motto, wreathed among the branches of the palm,
        declares, _Il vostro malignare non giova nulla_: Your
        malignity avails nothing.

   [85] Among those Sonnets, in Harvey's "Foure Letters, and certaine
        Sonnets, especially touching Robert Greene and other parties
        by him abused, 1592," there is one, which, with great
        originality of conception, has an equal vigour of style, and
        causticity of satire, on Robert Greene's death. John Harvey
        the physician, who was then dead, is thus made to address the
        town-wit, and the libeller of himself and his family. If
        Gabriel was the writer of this singular Sonnet, as he
        undoubtedly is of the verses to Spenser, subscribed Hobynol,
        it must be confessed he is a Poet, which he never appears in
        his English hexameters:--

            JOHN HARVEY the Physician's Welcome to ROBERT GREENE!

          "Come, fellow Greene, come to thy gaping grave,
            Bid vanity and foolery farewell,
          That ouerlong hast plaid the mad-brained knaue,
            And ouerloud hast rung the bawdy bell.
          Vermine to vermine must repair at last;
            No fitter house for busie folke to dwell;
          Thy conny-catching pageants are past[86],
            Some other must those arrant stories tell;
          These hungry wormes thinke long for their repast;
            Come on; I pardon thy offence to me;
          It was thy living; be not so aghast!
            A fool and a physitian may agree!
            And for my brothers never vex thyself;
            They are not to disease a buried elfe."

   [86] Greene had written "The Art of Coney-catching." He was a great
        adept in the arts of a town-life.

   [87] Sir Egerton Brydges in his reprint of "Greene's Groatsworth of
        Wit," has given the only passage from "The Quip for an Upstart
        Courtier," which at all alludes to Harvey's father. He says
        with great justice, "there seems nothing in it sufficiently
        offensive to account for the violence of Harvey's anger." The
        Rev. A. Dyce, so well known from his varied researches in our
        dramatic literature, is of opinion that the offensive passage
        has been removed from the editions which have come down to us.
        Without some such key it is impossible to comprehend Harvey's
        implacable hatred, or the words of himself and friends when
        they describe Greene as an "impudent railer in an odious and
        desperate mood," or his satire as "spiteful and villanous
        abuse." The occasion of the quarrel was an attack by Richard
        Harvey, who had the folly to "mis-term all our poets and
        writers about London, _piperly make-plays_ and _make-bates_,"
        as Nash informs us; "hence Greene being chief agent to the
        company, for he writ more than four other, took occasion to
        canvass him a little,--about some seven or eight lines, which
        hath plucked on an invective of so many leaves."--ED.

   [88] Nash was a great favourite with the wits of his day. One calls
        him "our true English Aretine," another, "Sweet satyric Nash,"
        a third describes his Muse as "armed with a gag-tooth (a
        tusk), and his pen possessed with Hercules's furies." He is
        well characterised in "The Return from Parnassus."

          "His style was witty, tho' he had some gall;
          Something he might have mended, so may all;
          Yet this I say, that for _a mother's wit_,
          Few men have ever seen the like of it."

        Nash abounds with "Mother-wit;" but he was also educated at
        the University, with every advantage of classical studies.

   [89] _Bombast_ was the tailors' term in the Elizabethan era for the
        stuffing of horsehair or wool used for the large breeches then
        in fashion; hence the term was applied to high-sounding
        phrases--"all sound and fury, signifying nothing."--ED.

   [90] These were the loose heavy breeches so constantly worn by Swiss
        soldiers as to become a national costume, and which has been
        handed down to us by the artists of the day in a variety of
        forms. They obtained the name of _galeaze_, from their
        supposed resemblance to the broad-bottomed ship called a

   [91] A cade is 500 herrings; a great quantity of an article of no

   [92] Harvey's love of dress, and desire to indulge it cheaply, is
        satirically alluded to by Nash, in confuting Harvey's
        assertion that Greene's wardrobe at his death was not worth
        more than three shillings--"I know a broker in a spruce
        leather jerkin shall give you thirty shillings for the doublet
        alone, if you can help him to it. Hark in your ear! he had a
        very fair cloak, with sleeves of a goose green, it would serve
        you as fine as may be. No more words; if you be wise, play the
        good husband, and listen after it, you may buy it ten
        shillings better cheap than it cost him. By St. Silver, it is
        good to be circumspect in casting for the world; there's a
        great many _ropes_ go to ten shillings? If you want a greasy
        pair of silk stockings to shew yourself in the court, they are
        there to be had too, amongst his moveables."--ED.

   [93] This unlucky Venetian velvet coat of Harvey had also produced a
        "Quippe for an Vpstart Courtier, or a quaint dispute between
        Veluet-breeches and Cloth-breeches," which poor Harvey
        declares was "one of the most licentious and intolerable
        invectives." This blow had been struck by Greene on the
        "Italianated" Courtier.

   [94] "Pierce's Supererogation, or a new praise of the Old Asse,"

   [95] Harvey's opponents were much nimbler penmen, and could strike
        off these lampoons with all the facility of writers for the
        stage. Thus Nash declares, in his "Have with you to Saffron
        Walden," that he leaves Lilly, who was also attacked, to
        defend himself, because "in as much time as he spends in
        taking tobacco one week, he can compile that would make
        Gabriell repent himself all his life after."--ED.

   [96] He had written an antiquarian work on the descent of Brutus on
        our island.--The party also who at the University attacked the
        opinions of Aristotle were nicknamed the _Trojans_, as
        determined enemies of the _Greeks_.



In the peaceful walks of literature we are startled at discovering
genius with the mind, and, if we conceive the instrument it guides to
be a stiletto, with the hand of an assassin--irascible, vindictive,
armed with indiscriminate satire, never pardoning the merit of rival
genius, but fastening on it throughout life, till, in the moral
retribution of human nature, these very passions, by their ungratified
cravings, have tended to annihilate the being who fostered them. These
passions among literary men are with none more inextinguishable than
among _provincial writers_.--Their bad feelings are concentrated by
their local contraction. The proximity of men of genius seems to
produce a familiarity which excites hatred or contempt; while he who
is afflicted with disordered passions imagines that he is urging his
own claims to genius by denying them to their possessor. A whole life
passed in harassing the industry or the genius which he has not
equalled; and instead of running the open career as a competitor, only
skulking as an assassin by their side, is presented in the object now
before us.

Dr. GILBERT STUART seems early in life to have devoted himself to
literature; but his habits were irregular, and his passions fierce.
The celebrity of Robertson, Blair, and Henry, with other Scottish
brothers, diseased his mind with a most envious rancour. He confined
all his literary efforts to the pitiable motive of destroying theirs;
he was prompted to every one of his historical works by the mere
desire of discrediting some work of Robertson; and his numerous
critical labours were all directed to annihilate the genius of his
country. How he converted his life into its own scourge, how wasted
talents he might have cultivated into perfection, lost every trace of
humanity, and finally perished, devoured by his own fiend-like
passions,--shall be illustrated by the following narrative, collected
from a correspondence now lying before me, which the author carried on
with his publisher in London. I shall copy out at some length the
hopes and disappointments of the literary adventurer--the colours are
not mine; I am dipping my pencil in the palette of the artist

In June, 1773, was projected in the Scottish capital "The Edinburgh
Magazine and Review." Stuart's letters breathe the spirit of rapturous
confidence. He had combined the sedulous attention of the intelligent
Smellie, who was to be the printer, with some very honourable critics;
Professor Baron, Dr. Blacklock, and Professor Richardson; and the
first numbers were executed with more talent than periodical
publications had then exhibited. But the hardiness of Stuart's
opinions, his personal attacks, and the acrimony of his literary
libels, presented a new feature in Scottish literature, of such
ugliness and horror, that every honourable man soon averted his face
from this _boutefeu_.

He designed to ornament his first number with--

"A print of my Lord Monboddo in his quadruped form. I must, therefore,
most earnestly beg that you will purchase for me a copy of it in some
of the Macaroni print shops. It is not to be procured at Edinburgh.
They are afraid to vend it here. We are to take it on the footing of a
figure of an animal, not yet described; and are to give a grave, yet
satirical account of it, in the manner of Buffon. It would not be
proper to allude to his lordship but in a very distant manner."

It was not, however, ventured on; and the nondescript animal was still
confined to the windows of "the Macaroni print shops." It was,
however, the bloom of the author's fancy, and promised all the mellow
fruits it afterwards produced.

In September this ardour did not abate:--

"The proposals are issued; the subscriptions in the booksellers' shops
astonish; correspondents flock in; and, what will surprise you, the
timid proprietors of the 'Scots' Magazine' have come to the resolution
of dropping their work. You stare at all this, and so do I too."

Thus he flatters himself he is to annihilate his rival, without even
striking the first blow. The appearance of his first number is to be
the moment when their last is to come forth. Authors, like the
discoverers of mines, are the most sanguine creatures in the world:
Gilbert Stuart afterwards flattered himself Dr. Henry was lying at the
point of death from the scalping of his tomahawk pen; but of this

On the publication of the first number, in November, 1773, all is
exultation; and an account is facetiously expected that "a thousand
copies had emigrated from the Row and Fleet-street."

There is a serious composure in the letter of December, which seems to
be occasioned by the tempered answer of his London correspondent. The
work was more suited to the meridian of Edinburgh; and from causes
sufficiently obvious, its personality and causticity. Stuart, however,
assures his friend that "the second number you will find better than
the first, and the third better than the second."

The next letter is dated March 4, 1774, in which I find our author
still in good spirits:--

"The Magazine rises, and promises much, in this quarter. Our artillery
has silenced all opposition. The rogues of the 'uplifted hands'
decline the combat." These rogues are the clergy, and some others, who
had "uplifted hands" from the vituperative nature of their adversary;
for he tells us that, "now the clergy are silent, the town-council
have had the presumption to oppose us; and have threatened Creech (the
publisher in Edinburgh) with the terror of making him a constable for
his insolence. A pamphlet on the abuses of Heriot's Hospital,
including a direct proof of perjury in the provost, was the punishment
inflicted in return. And new papers are forging to chastise them, in
regard to the poors' rate, which is again started; the improper choice
of professors; and violent stretches of the impost. The _liberty of
the press_, in its fullest extent, is to be employed against them."

Such is the language of reform, and the spirit of a reformist! A
little private malignity thus ferments a good deal of public spirit;
but patriotism must be independent to be pure. If the "Edinburgh
Review" continues to succeed in its sale, as Stuart fancies,
Edinburgh itself may be in some danger. His perfect contempt of
his contemporaries is amusing:--

"Monboddo's second volume is published, and, with Kaimes, will appear
in our next; the former is a childish performance; the latter rather
better. We are to treat them with a good deal of freedom. I observe an
amazing falling off in the English Reviews. We beat them hollow. I
fancy they have no assistance but from the Dissenters,--a dull body of
men. The Monthly will not easily recover the death of Hawkesworth; and
I suspect that Langhorne has forsaken them; for I see no longer his

We are now hastening to the sudden and the moral catastrophe of our
tale. The thousand copies which had emigrated to London remained
there, little disturbed by public inquiry; and in Scotland, the
personal animosity against almost every literary character there,
which had inflamed the sale, became naturally the latent cause of its
extinction; for its life was but a feverish existence, and its florid
complexion carried with it the seeds of its dissolution. Stuart at
length quarrelled with his coadjutor, Smellie, for altering his
reviews. Smellie's prudential dexterity was such, that, in an article
designed to level Lord Kaimes with Lord Monboddo, the whole libel was
completely metamorphosed into a panegyric. They were involved in a
lawsuit about "a blasphemous paper." And now the enraged Zoilus
complains of "his hours of peevishness and dissatisfaction." He
acknowledges that "a circumstance had happened which had broke his
peace and ease altogether for some weeks." And now he resolves that
this great work shall quietly sink into a mere compilation from the
London periodical works. Such, then, is the progress of malignant
genius! The author, like him who invented the brazen bull of Phalaris,
is writhing in that machine of tortures he had contrived for others.

We now come to a very remarkable passage: it is the frenzied language
of disappointed wickedness.

  "_17 June, 1774._

  "It is an infinite disappointment to me that the Magazine does not
  grow in London; I thought the soil had been richer. But it is my
  constant fate to be disappointed in everything I attempt; I do not
  think I ever had a wish that was gratified; and never dreaded an
  event that did not come. With this felicity of fate, I wonder how
  the devil I could turn projector. I am now sorry that I left
  London; and the moment that I have money enough to carry me back
  to it, I shall set off. _I mortally detest and abhor this place,
  and everybody in it._ Never was there a city where there was so
  much pretension to knowledge, and that had so little of it. The
  solemn foppery, and the gross stupidity of the Scottish literati,
  are perfectly insupportable. I shall drop my idea of a Scots
  newspaper. Nothing will do in this country that has common sense
  in it; only cant, hypocrisy, and superstition will flourish here.
  _A curse on the country, and all the men, women, and children of

Again.--"The publication is too good for the country. There are very
few men of taste or erudition on this side of the Tweed. Yet every
idiot one meets with lays claim to both. Yet the success of the
Magazine is in reality greater than we could expect, considering
that we have every clergyman in the kingdom to oppose it, and that
the magistracy of the place are every moment threatening its

And, therefore, this recreant Scot anathematizes the Scottish people
for not applauding blasphemy, calumny, and every species of literary
criminality! Such are the monstrous passions that swell out the
poisonous breast of genius, deprived of every moral restraint; and
such was the demoniac irritability which prompted a wish in Collot
d'Herbois to set fire to the four quarters of the city of Lyons;
while, in his "tender mercies," the kennels of the streets were
running with the blood of its inhabitants--remembering still that the
Lyonese had, when he was a miserable actor, hissed him off the stage!

Stuart curses his country, and retreats to London. Fallen, but not
abject; repulsed, but not altered; degraded, but still haughty. No
change of place could operate any in his heart. He was born in
literary crime, and he perished in it. It was now "The English Review"
was instituted, with his idol Whitaker, the historian of Manchester,
and others. He says, "To Whitaker he assigns the palm of history in
preference to Hume and Robertson." I have heard that he considered
himself higher than Whitaker, and ranked himself with Montesquieu. He
negotiated for Whitaker and himself a Doctor of Laws' degree; and they
were now in the titular possession of all the fame which a dozen
pieces could bestow! In "The English Review" broke forth all the
genius of Stuart in an unnatural warfare of Scotchmen in London
against Scotchmen at Edinburgh. "The bitter herbs," which seasoned it
against Blair, Robertson, Gibbon, and the ablest authors of the age,
at first provoked the public appetite, which afterwards indignantly
rejected the palatable garbage.

But to proceed with our _Literary Conspiracy_, which was conducted by
Stuart with a pertinacity of invention perhaps not to be paralleled in
literary history. That the peace of mind of such an industrious author
as Dr. HENRY was for a considerable time destroyed; that the sale of a
work on which Henry had expended much of his fortune and his life was
stopped; and that, when covered with obloquy and ridicule, in despair
he left Edinburgh for London, still encountering the same hostility;
that all this was the work of the same hand perhaps was never even
known to its victim. The multiplied forms of this Proteus of the
Malevoli were still but one devil; fire or water, or a bull or a lion;
still it was the same Proteus, the same Stuart.

From the correspondence before me I am enabled to collect the
commencement and the end of this literary conspiracy, with all its
intermediate links. It thus commences:--

  "_25 Nov. 1773._

  "We have been attacked from different quarters, and Dr. Henry in
  particular has given a long and a dull defence of his sermon. I
  have replied to it with a degree of spirit altogether unknown in
  this country. The reverend historian was perfectly astonished, and
  has actually invited the Society for Propagating Christian
  Knowledge to arm in his cause! I am about to be persecuted by the
  whole clergy, and I am about to persecute them in my turn. They
  are hot and zealous; I am cool and dispassionate, like a
  determined sceptic; since I have entered the lists, I must fight;
  I must gain the victory, or perish like a man."

  "_13 Dec. 1773._

  "David Hume wants to review Henry; but that task is so precious
  that I will undertake it myself. Moses, were he to ask it as a
  favour, should not have it; yea, not even the man after God's own

  "_4 March, 1774._

  "This month Henry is utterly demolished; his sale is stopped, many
  of his copies are returned; and his old friends have forsaken him;
  pray, in what state is he in London? Henry has delayed his London
  journey; you cannot easily conceive how exceedingly he is

  "I wish I could transport myself to London to review him for the
  Monthly. A fire there, and in the Critical, would perfectly
  annihilate him. Could you do nothing in the latter? To the former
  I suppose David Hume has transcribed the criticism he intended for
  us. It is precious, and would divert you. I keep a proof of it in
  my cabinet for the amusement of friends. This great philosopher
  begins to dote."[98]

Stuart prepares to assail Henry, on his arrival in London, from
various quarters--to lower the value of his history in the estimation
of the purchasers.

  "_21 March, 1774._

  "To-morrow morning Henry sets off for London, with immense hopes
  of selling his history. I wish he had delayed till our last review
  of him had reached your city. But I really suppose that he has
  little probability of getting any gratuity. The trade are too
  sharp to give precious gold for perfect nonsense. I wish sincerely
  that I could enter Holborn the same hour with him. He should have
  a repeated fire to combat with. I entreat that you may be so kind
  as to let him feel some of your thunder. I shall never forget the
  favour. If Whitaker is in London, he could give a blow. Paterson
  will give him a knock. Strike by all means. The wretch will
  tremble, grow pale, and return with a consciousness of his
  debility. I entreat I may hear from you a day or two after you
  have seen him. He will complain grievously of me to Strahan and
  Rose. I shall send you a paper about him--an advertisement from
  Parnassus, in the manner of Boccalini."

  "_March, 1774._

  "Dr. Henry has by this time reached you. I think you ought to pay
  your respects to him in the _Morning Chronicle_. If you would only
  transcribe his jests, it would make him perfectly ridiculous. See,
  for example, what he says of St. Dunstan. A word to the wise."

  "_March 27, 1774._

  "I have a thousand thanks to give you for your insertion of the
  paper in the London _Chronicle_, and for the part you propose to
  act in regard to Henry. I could wish that you knew for certain his
  being in London before you strike the first blow. An inquiry at
  Cadell's will give this. When you have an enemy to attack, I shall
  in return give my best assistance, and aim at him a mortal blow,
  and rush forward to his overthrow, though the flames of hell
  should start up to oppose me.

  "It pleases me, beyond what I can express, that Whitaker has an
  equal contempt for Henry. The idiot threatened, when he left
  Edinburgh, that he would find a method to manage the Reviews, and
  that he would oppose their panegyric to our censure. Hume has
  behaved ill in the affair, and I am preparing to chastise him.
  You may expect a series of papers in the Magazine, pointing out a
  multitude of his errors, and ascertaining his ignorance of English
  history. It was too much for my temper to be assailed both by
  infidels and believers. My pride could not submit to it. I shall
  act in my defence with a spirit which it seems they have not

  "_11 April, 1774._

  "I received with infinite pleasure the annunciation of the great
  man into the capital. It is forcible and excellent; and you have
  my best thanks for it. You improve amazingly. The poor creature
  will be stupified with amazement. Inclosed is a paper for him.
  Boccalini will follow. I shall fall upon a method to let David
  know Henry's transaction about his review. It is mean to the last
  degree. But what could one expect from the most ignorant and the
  most contemptible man alive? Do you ever see Macfarlane? He owes
  me a favour for his history of George III., and would give a fire
  for the packet. The idiot is to be Moderator for the ensuing
  Assembly. It shall not, however, be without opposition.

  "Would the paragraph about him from the inclosed leaf of the
  'Edinburgh Review' be any disgrace to the _Morning Chronicle_?"

  "_20th May, 1774._

  "Boccalini I thought of transmitting, when the reverend historian,
  for whose use it was intended, made his appearance at Edinburgh.
  But it will not be lost. He shall most certainly see it. David's
  critique was most acceptable. It is a curious specimen in one view
  of insolent vanity, and in another of contemptible meanness. The
  old historian begins to dote, and the new one was never out of

  "_3 April, 1775._

  "I see every day that what is written to a man's disparagement is
  never forgot nor forgiven. Poor Henry is on the point of death,
  and his friends declare that I have killed him. I received the
  information as a compliment, and begged they would not do me so
  much honour."

But Henry and his history long survived Stuart and his _critiques_;
and Robertson, Blair, and Kaimes, with others he assailed, have all
taken their due ranks in public esteem. What niche does Stuart occupy?
His historical works possess the show, without the solidity, of
research; hardy paradoxes, and an artificial style of momentary
brilliancy, are none of the lasting materials of history. This shadow
of "Montesquieu," for he conceived him only to be his fit rival,
derived the last consolations of life from an obscure corner of a
Burton ale-house--there, in rival potations, with two or three other
disappointed authors, they regaled themselves on ale they could not
always pay for, and recorded their own literary celebrity, which had
never taken place. Some time before his death, his asperity was almost
softened by melancholy; with a broken spirit, he reviewed himself; a
victim to that unrighteous ambition which sought to build up its
greatness with the ruins of his fellow-countrymen; prematurely wasting
talents which might have been directed to literary eminence. And
Gilbert Stuart died as he had lived, a victim to intemperance,
physical and moral!


   [97] It may be curious to present Stuart's idea of the literary
        talents of Henry. Henry's unhappy turn for humour, and a style
        little accordant with historical dignity, lie fairly open to
        the critic's animadversion. But the research and application
        of the writer, for that day, were considerable, and are still
        appreciated. But we are told that "he neither furnishes
        entertainment nor instruction. Diffuse, vulgar, and
        ungrammatical, he strips history of all her ornaments. As an
        antiquary, he wants accuracy and knowledge; and, as an
        historian, he is destitute of fire, taste, and sentiment. His
        work is a gazette, in which we find actions and events,
        without their causes; and in which we meet with the names,
        without the characters of personages. He has amassed all the
        refuse and lumber of the times he would record." Stuart never
        imagined that the time would arrive when the name of Henry
        would be familiar to English readers, and by many that of
        Stuart would not be recollected.

   [98] The critique on Henry, in the _Monthly Review_, was written by
        Hume--and, because the philosopher was candid, he is here said
        to have doted.



We have witnessed the malignant influence of illiberal criticism, not
only on literary men, but over literature itself, since it is the
actual cause of suppressing works which lie neglected, though
completed by their authors. The arts of literary condemnation, as they
may be practised by men of wit and arrogance, are well known; and it
is much less difficult than it is criminal, to scare the modest man of
learning, and to rack the man of genius, in that bright vision of
authorship sometimes indulged in the calm of their studies--a generous
emotion to inspire a generous purpose! With suppressed indignation,
shrinking from the press, such have condemned themselves to a
Carthusian silence; but the public will gain as little by silent
authors as by a community of lazy monks; or a choir of singers who
insist they have lost their voice. That undue severity of criticism
which diminishes the number of good authors, is a greater calamity
than even that mawkish panegyric which may invite indifferent ones;
for the truth is, a bad book produces no great evil in literature; it
dies soon, and naturally; and the feeble birth only disappoints its
unlucky parent, with a score of idlers who are the dupes of their rage
after novelty. A bad book never sells unless it be addressed to the
passions, and, in that case, the severest criticism will never impede
its circulation; malignity and curiosity being passions so much
stronger and less delicate than taste or truth.

And who are the authors marked out for attack? Scarcely one of the
populace of scribblers; for wit will not lose one silver shaft on game
which, struck, no one would take up. It must level at the Historian,
whose novel researches throw a light in the depths of antiquity; at
the Poet, who, addressing himself to the imagination, perishes if that
sole avenue to the heart be closed on him. Such are those who receive
the criticism which has sent some nervous authors to their graves, and
embittered the life of many whose talents we all regard.[99]

But this species of criticism, though ungenial and nipping at first,
does not always kill the tree which it has frozen over.

In the calamity before us, Time, that great autocrat, who in its
tremendous march destroys authors, also annihilates critics; and
acting in this instance with a new kind of benevolence, takes up some
who have been violently thrown down, and fixes them in their proper
place; and daily enfeebling unjust criticism, has restored an injured
author to his full honours.

It is, however, lamentable enough that authors must participate in
that courage which faces the cannon's mouth, or cease to be authors;
for military enterprise is not the taste of modest, retired, and
timorous characters. The late Mr. Cumberland used to say that authors
must not be thin-skinned, but shelled like the rhinoceros; there are,
however, more delicately tempered animals among them, new-born lambs,
who shudder at a touch, and die under a pressure.

As for those great authors (though the greatest shrink from ridicule)
who still retain public favour, they must be patient, proud, and
fearless--patient of that obloquy which still will stain their honour
from literary echoers; proud, while they are sensible that their
literary offspring is not

  Deformed, unfinished, sent before its time
  Into this breathing world, scarce half made up.

And fearless of all critics, when they recollect the reply of Bentley
to one who threatened to write him down, "that no author was ever
written down but by himself."

An author must consider himself as an arrow shot into the world; his
impulse must be stronger than the current of air that carries him
on--else he fall!

The character I had proposed to illustrate this calamity was the
caustic Dr. KENRICK, who, once during several years, was, in his
"London Review," one of the great disturbers of literary repose. The
turn of his criticism; the airiness, or the asperity of his sarcasm;
the arrogance with which he treated some of our great authors, would
prove very amusing, and serve to display a certain talent of
criticism. The life of Kenrick, too, would have afforded some
wholesome instruction concerning the morality of a critic. But the
rich materials are not at hand! He was a man of talents, who ran a
race with the press; could criticise all the genius of the age faster
than it could be produced; could make his own malignity look like wit,
and turn the wit of others into absurdity, by placing it topsy-turvy.
As thus, when he attacked "The Traveller" of Goldsmith, which he
called "a flimsy poem," he discussed the subject as a grave political
pamphlet, condemning the whole system, as raised on false principles.
"The Deserted Village" was sneeringly pronounced to be "pretty;" but
then it had "neither fancy, dignity, genius, or fire." When he
reviewed Johnson's "Tour to the Hebrides," he decrees that the whole
book was written "by one who had seen but little," and therefore could
not be very interesting. His virulent attack on Johnson's Shakspeare
may be preserved for its total want of literary decency; and his "Love
in the Suds, a Town Eclogue," where he has placed Garrick with an
infamous character, may be useful to show how far witty malignity will
advance in the violation of moral decency. He libelled all the genius
of the age, and was proud of doing it.[100] Johnson and Akenside
preserved a stern silence: but poor Goldsmith, the child of Nature,
could not resist attempting to execute martial law, by caning the
critic; for which being blamed, he published a defence of himself in
the papers. I shall transcribe his feelings on Kenrick's excessive and
illiberal criticism.

"The law gives us no protection against this injury. The insults we
receive before the public, by being more open, are the more
distressing; by treating them with silent contempt, we do not pay a
sufficient deference to the opinion of the world. By recurring to
legal redress, we too often expose the weakness of the law, which only
serves to increase our mortification by failing to relieve us. In
short, every man should singly consider himself as a guardian of the
liberty of the press, and, as far as his influence can extend, should
endeavour to prevent its licentiousness becoming at last the grave of
its freedom."[101]

Here then is another calamity arising from the calamity of undue
severity of criticism, which authors bring on themselves by their
excessive anxiety, which throws them into some extremely ridiculous
attitudes; and surprisingly influences even authors of good sense and
temper. SCOTT, of Amwell, the Quaker and Poet, was, doubtless, a
modest and amiable man, for Johnson declared "he loved him." When his
poems were collected, they were reviewed in the "Critical Review" very
offensively to the poet; for the critic, alluding to the numerous
embellishments of the volume, observed that

"There is a profusion of ornaments and finery about this book not
quite suitable to the plainness and simplicity of the Barclean system;
but Mr. Scott is fond of the Muses, and wishes, we suppose, like
Captain Macheath, to see his ladies well dressed."

Such was the cold affected witticism of the critic, whom I intimately
knew--and I believe he meant little harm! His friends imagined even
that this was the solitary attempt at wit he had ever made in his
life; for after a lapse of years, he would still recur to it as an
evidence of the felicity of his fancy, and the keenness of his satire.
The truth is, he was a physician, whose name is prefixed as the editor
to a great medical compilation, and who never pretended that he had
any taste for poetry. His great art of poetical criticism was always,
as Pope expresses a character, "to dwell in decencies;" his acumen, to
detect that terrible poetic crime false rhymes, and to employ
indefinite terms, which, as they had no precise meaning, were
applicable to all things; to commend, occasionally, a passage not
always the most exquisite; sometimes to hesitate, while, with
delightful candour, he seemed to give up his opinion; to hazard
sometimes a positive condemnation on parts which often unluckily
proved the most favourite with the poet and the reader. Such was this
poetical reviewer, whom no one disturbed in his periodical course,
till the circumstance of a plain Quaker becoming a poet, and
fluttering in the finical ornaments of his book, provoked him from
that calm state of innocent mediocrity, into miserable humour, and
illiberal criticism.

The effect, however, this pert criticism had on poor Scott was indeed
a calamity. It produced an inconsiderate "Letter to the Critical
Reviewers." Scott was justly offended at the stigma of Quakerism,
applied to the author of a literary composition; but too gravely
accuses the critic of his scurrilous allusion to Macheath, as
comparing him to a highwayman; he seems, however, more provoked at the
odd account of his poems; he says, "You rank all my poems together as
_bad_, then discriminate some as _good_, and, to complete all,
recommend the volume as _an agreeable and amusing collection_." Had
the poet been personally acquainted with this tantalizing critic, he
would have comprehended the nature of the criticism--and certainly
would never have replied to it.

The critic, employing one of his indefinite terms, had said of
"Amwell," and some of the early "Elegies," that "they had their share
of poetical merit;" he does not venture to assign the proportion of
that share, but "the Amœbean and oriental eclogues, odes, epistles,
&c., now added, are _of a much weaker feature, and many of them

Here Scott loses all his dignity as a Quaker and a poet--he asks what
the critic means by the affected phrase _much weaker feature_; the
style, he says, was designed to be somewhat less elevated, and thus
addresses the critic:--

"You may, however, be safely defied to pronounce them, with truth,
deficient either in strength or melody of versification! They
were designed to be, like Virgil's, descriptive of Nature, simple
and correct. Had you been disposed to do me justice, you might
have observed that in these eclogues I had drawn from the great
prototype Nature, much imagery that had escaped the notice of
all my predecessors. You might also have remarked that when I
introduced images that had been already introduced by others,
still the arrangement or combination of those images was my own.
The praise of originality you might at least have allowed me."

As for their _incorrectness_!--Scott points that accusation with a
note of admiration, adding, "with whatever defects my works may be
chargeable, the last is that of _incorrectness_."

We are here involuntarily reminded of Sir Fretful, in _The Critic_:--

"I think the interest rather declines in the fourth act."

"Rises! you mean, my dear friend!"

Perhaps the most extraordinary examples of the irritation of a poet's
mind, and a man of amiable temper, are those parts of this letter in
which the author quotes large portions of his poetry, to refute the
degrading strictures of the reviewer.

This was a fertile principle, admitting of very copious extracts; but
the ludicrous attitude is that of an Adonis inspecting himself at his

That provoking see-saw of criticism, which our learned physician
usually adopted in his critiques, was particularly tantalizing to the
poet of Amwell. The critic condemns, in the gross, a whole set of
eclogues; but immediately asserts of one of them, that "the whole of
it has great poetical merit, and paints its subject in the warmest
colours." When he came to review the odes, he discovers that "he does
not meet with those polished numbers, nor that freedom and spirit,
which that species of poetry requires;" and quotes half a stanza,
which he declares is "abrupt and insipid." "From twenty-seven odes!"
exclaims the writhing poet--"are the whole of my lyric productions to
be stigmatised for four lines which are flatter than those that
preceded them?" But what the critic could not be aware of, the poet
tells us--he designed them to be just what they are. "I knew they were
so when they were first written, but they were thought sufficiently
elevated for the place." And then he enters into an inquiry what the
critic can mean by "polished numbers, freedom, and spirit." The
passage is curious:--

"By your first criticism, _polished numbers_, if you mean melodious
versification, this perhaps the general ear will not deny me. If you
mean classical, chaste diction, free from tautologous repetitions of
the same thoughts in different expressions; free from bad rhymes,
unnecessary epithets, and incongruous metaphors, I believe you may be
safely challenged to produce many instances wherein I have failed.

"By _freedom_, your second criterion, if you mean daring transition,
or arbitrary and desultory disposition of ideas, however this may
be required in the greater ode, it is now, I believe, for the first
time, expected in the lesser ode. If you mean that careless, diffuse
composition, that conversation-verse, or verse loitering into
prose, now so fashionable, this is an excellence which I am not
very ambitious of attaining. But if you mean strong, concise, yet
natural easy expression, I apprehend the general judgment will decide
in my favour. To the general ear, and the general judgment, then, do
I appeal as to an impartial tribunal." Here several odes are
transcribed. "By _spirit_, your third criticism, I know nothing you
can mean but enthusiasm; that which transports us to every scene, and
interests us in every sentiment. Poetry without this cannot subsist;
every species demands its proportion, from the greater ode, of which
it is the principal characteristic, to the lesser, in which a
small portion of it only has hitherto been thought requisite. My
productions, I apprehend, have never before been deemed destitute
of this essential constituent. Whatever I have wrote, I have felt,
and I believe others have felt it also."

On "the Epistles," which had been condemned in the gross, suddenly the
critic turns round courteously to the bard, declaring "they are
written in an easy and familiar style, and seem to flow from a good
and a benevolent heart." But then sneeringly adds, that one of them
being entitled "An Essay on Painting, addressed to a young Artist,
had better have been omitted, because it had been so fully treated in
so masterly a manner by Mr. Hayley." This was letting fall a spark in
a barrel of gunpowder. Scott immediately analyses his brother poet's
poem, to show they have nothing in common; and then compares those
similar passages the subject naturally produced, to show that "his
poem does not suffer greatly in the comparison." "You may," he adds,
after giving copious extracts from both poems, "persist in saying that
Mr. Hayley's are the best. Your business then is to prove it." This,
indeed, had been a very hazardous affair for our medical critic, whose
poetical feelings were so equable, that he acknowledges "Mr. Scott's
poem is just and elegant," but "Mr. Hayley's is likewise just and
elegant;" therefore, if one man has written a piece "just and
elegant," there is no need of another on the same subject "just and

To such an extreme point of egotism was a modest and respectable
author most cruelly driven by the callous playfulness of a poetical
critic, who himself had no sympathy for poetry of any quality or any
species, and whose sole art consisted in turning about the canting
dictionary of criticism. Had Homer been a modern candidate for
poetical honours, from him Homer had not been distinguished, even from
the mediocrity of Scott of Amwell, whose poetical merits are not,
however, slight. In his Amœbean eclogues he may be distinguished as
the poet of botanists.


   [99] So sensible was even the calm Newton to critical attacks, that
        Whiston tells us he lost his favour, which he had enjoyed for
        twenty years, for contradicting Newton in his old age; for
        no man was of "a more fearful temper." Whiston declares that
        he would not have thought proper to have published his work
        against Newton's "Chronology" in his lifetime, "because I
        knew his temper so well, that I should have expected it
        would have killed him; as Dr. Bentley, Bishop Stillingfleet's
        chaplain, told me, that he believed Mr. Locke's thorough
        confutation of the Bishop's metaphysics about the Trinity
        hastened his end." Pope writhed in his chair from the light
        shafts which Cibber darted on him; yet they were not tipped
        with the poison of the Java-tree. Dr. Hawkesworth, _died
        of criticism_.--Singing-birds cannot live in a storm.

  [100] In one of his own publications he quotes, with great
        self-complacency, the following lines on himself:--

          "The wits who drink water and suck sugar-candy,
          Impute the strong spirit of Kenrick to brandy:
          They are not so much out; the matter in short is,
          He sips _aqua-vitæ_ and spits _aqua-fortis_."

  [101] Dr. Kenrick's character and career is thus summed up in the
        "Biographia Dramatica:"--"This author, with singular
        abilities, was neither happy or successful. Few persons were
        ever less respected by the world; still fewer have created so
        many enemies, or dropped into the grave so little regretted by
        their contemporaries. He was seldom without an enemy to attack
        or defend himself from." He was the son of a London citizen,
        and is said to have served an apprenticeship to a brass-rule
        maker. One of his best known literary works was a comedy
        called _Falstaff's Wedding_, which met with considerable
        success upon the stage, although its author ventured on the
        difficult task of adopting Shakespeare's characters, and
        putting new words into the mouth of the immortal Sir John and
        his satellites.--ED.


Vast erudition, without the tact of good sense, in a voluminous
author, what a calamity! for to such a mind no subject can present
itself on which he is unprepared to write, and none at the same time
on which he can ever write reasonably. The name and the works of
WILLIAM PRYNNE have often come under the eye of the reader; but it is
even now difficult to discover his real character; for Prynne stood so
completely insulated amid all parties, that he was ridiculed by his
friends, and execrated by his enemies. The exuberance of his fertile
pen, the strangeness and the manner of his subjects, and his
pertinacity in voluminous publication, are known, and are nearly
unparalleled in literary history.

Could the man himself be separated from the author, Prynne would not
appear ridiculous; but the unlucky author of nearly two hundred
works,[102] and who, as Wood quaintly computes, "must have written a
sheet every day of his life, reckoning from the time that he came to
the use of reason and the state of man," has involved his life in his
authorship; the greatness of his character loses itself in his
voluminous works; and whatever Prynne may have been in his own age,
and remains to posterity, he was fated to endure all the calamities of
an author who has strained learning into absurdity, and abused zealous
industry by chimerical speculation.

Yet his activity, and the firmness and intrepidity of his character
in public life, were as ardent as they were in his study--his soul
was Roman; and Eachard says, that Charles II., who could not but
admire his earnest honesty, his copious learning, and the public
persecutions he suffered, and the ten imprisonments he endured,
inflicted by all parties, dignified him with the title of "the
Cato of the Age;" and one of his own party facetiously described
him as "William the Conqueror," a title he had most hardly earned
by his inflexible and invincible nature. Twice he had been cropped of
his ears; for at the first time the executioner having spared the
two fragments, the inhuman judge on his second trial discovering them
with astonishment, ordered them to be most unmercifully cropped--then
he was burned on his cheek, and ruinously fined and imprisoned in a
remote solitude,[103]--but had they torn him limb by limb, Prynne had
been in his mind a very polypus, which, cut into pieces, still loses
none of its individuality.

His conduct on the last of these occasions, when sentenced to be
stigmatised, and to have his ears cut close, must be noticed. Turning
to the executioner, he calmly invited him to do his duty--"Come,
friend, come, burn me! cut me! I fear not! I have learned to fear the
fire of hell, and not what man can do unto me; come, scar me! scar
me!" In Prynne this was not ferocity, but heroism; Bastwick was
intrepid out of spite, and Burton from fanaticism. The executioner had
been urged not to spare his victims, and he performed his office with
extraordinary severity, cruelly heating his iron twice, and cutting
one of Prynne's ears so close, as to take away a piece of the cheek.
Prynne stirred not in the torture; and when it was done, smiled,
observing, "The more I am beaten down, the more I am lift up." After
this punishment, in going to the Tower by water, he composed the
following verses on the two letters branded on his cheek, S. L., for
schismatical libeller, but which Prynne chose to translate "Stigmata
Laudis," the stigmas of his enemy, the Archbishop Laud.

  Stigmata maxillis referens insignia LAUDIS,
    Exultans remeo, victima grata Deo.

The heroic man, who could endure agony and insult, and even thus
commemorate his sufferings, with no unpoetical conception, almost
degrades his own sublimity when the poetaster sets our teeth on edge
by his verse.

  Bearing Laud's stamps on my cheeks I retire
  Triumphing, God's sweet sacrifice by fire.

The triumph of this unconquered being was, indeed, signal. History
scarcely exhibits so wonderful a reverse of fortune, and so strict a
retribution, as occurred at this eventful period. He who had borne
from the archbishop and the lords in the Star Chamber the most
virulent invectives, wishing them at that instant seriously to
consider that some who sat there on the bench might yet stand
prisoners at the bar, and need the favour they now denied, at length
saw the prediction completely verified. What were the feelings of
Laud, when Prynne, returning from his prison of Mount Orgueil in
triumph, the road strewed with boughs, amid the acclamations of the
people, entered the apartment in the Tower which the venerable Laud
now in his turn occupied. The unsparing Puritan sternly performed the
office of rifling his papers,[104] and persecuted the helpless prelate
till he led him to the block. Prynne, to use his own words, for he
could be eloquent when moved by passion, "had struck proud Canterbury
to the heart; and had undermined all his prelatical designs to advance
the bishops' pomp and power;"[105] Prynne triumphed--but, even this
austere Puritan soon grieved over the calamities he had contributed to
inflict on the nation; and, with a humane feeling, he once wished,
that "when they had cut off his ears, they had cut off his head." He
closed his political existence by becoming an advocate for the
Restoration; but, with his accustomed want of judgment and intemperate
zeal, had nearly injured the cause by his premature activity. At the
Restoration some difficulty occurred to dispose of "busie Mr. Pryn,"
as Whitelocke calls him. It is said he wished to be one of the Barons
of the Exchequer, but he was made the Keeper of the Records in the
Tower, "purposely to employ his head from scribbling against the state
and bishops;" where they put him to clear the Augean stable of our
national antiquities, and see whether they could weary out his
restless vigour. Prynne had, indeed, written till he found no
antagonist would reply; and now he rioted in leafy folios, and proved
himself to be one of the greatest paper-worms which ever crept into
old books and mouldy records.[106]

The literary character of Prynne is described by the happy epithet which
Anthony Wood applies to him, "Voluminous Prynne." His great
characteristic is opposed to that axiom of Hesiod so often quoted, that
"half is better than the whole;" a secret which the matter-of-fact
men rarely discover. Wanting judgment, and the tact of good sense,
these detailers have no power of selection from their stores, to make
one prominent fact represent the hundred minuter ones that may follow
it. Voluminously feeble, they imagine expansion is stronger than
compression; and know not to generalise, while they only can deal in
particulars. Prynne's speeches were just as voluminous as his
writings; always deficient in judgment, and abounding in knowledge--he
was always wearying others, but never could himself. He once made a
speech to the House, to persuade them the king's concessions were
sufficient ground for a treaty; it contains a complete narrative of
all the transactions between the king, the Houses, and the army, from
the beginning of the parliament; it takes up 140 octavo pages, and kept
the house so long together, that the debates lasted from Monday
morning till Tuesday morning!

Prynne's literary character may be illustrated by his singular book,
"Histriomastix,"--where we observe how an author's exuberant learning,
like corn heaped in a granary, grows rank and musty, by a want of
power to ventilate and stir about the heavy mass.

This paper-worm may first be viewed in his study, as painted by the
picturesque Anthony Wood; an artist in the Flemish school:--

"His custom, when he studied, was to put on a long quilted cap, which
came an inch over his eyes, serving as an umbrella to defend them from
too much light, and _seldom eating any dinner_, would be every three
hours maunching a roll of bread, and now and then refresh his
exhausted spirits with ale brought to him by his servant;" a custom to
which Butler alludes,

  Thou that with ale, or viler liquors,
  Didst inspire Withers, Prynne, and Vicars,
  And force them, though it were in spite
  Of nature, and their stars, to write.

The "HISTRIOMASTIX, the Player's Scourge, or Actor's Tragedie," is a
ponderous quarto, ascending to about 1100 pages; a Puritan's invective
against plays and players, accusing them of every kind of crime,
including libels against Church and State;[107] but it is more
remarkable for the incalculable quotations and references foaming over
the margins. Prynne scarcely ventures on the most trivial opinion,
without calling to his aid whatever had been said in all nations and
in all ages; and Cicero, and Master Stubbs, Petrarch and Minutius
Felix, Isaiah and Froissart's Chronicle, oddly associate in the
ravings of erudition. Who, indeed, but the author "who seldom dined,"
could have quoted perhaps a thousand writers in one volume?[108] A wit
of the times remarked of this _Helluo librorum_, that "Nature makes
ever the dullest beasts most laborious, and the greatest feeders;" and
Prynne has been reproached with a weak digestion, for "returning
things unaltered, which is a symptom of a feeble stomach."

When we examine this volume, often alluded to, the birth of the
monster seems prodigious and mysterious; it combines two opposite
qualities; it is so elaborate in its researches among the thousand
authors quoted, that these required years to accumulate, and yet the
matter is often temporary, and levelled at fugitive events and
particular persons; thus the very formation of this mighty volume
seems paradoxical. The secret history of this book is as extraordinary
as the book itself, and is a remarkable evidence how, in a work of
immense erudition, the arts of a wily sage involved himself, and
whoever was concerned in his book, in total ruin. The author was
pilloried, fined, and imprisoned; his publisher condemned in the
penalty of five hundred pounds, and barred for ever from printing and
selling books, and the licenser removed and punished. Such was the
fatality attending the book of a man whose literary voracity produced
one of the most tremendous indigestions, in a malady of writing.

It was on examining Prynne's trial I discovered the secret history of
the "Histriomastix." Prynne was seven years in writing this work, and,
what is almost incredible, it was near four years passing through the
press. During that interval the eternal scribbler was daily gorging
himself with voluminous food, and daily fattening his cooped-up capon.
The temporary sedition and libels were the gradual Mosaic inlayings
through this shapeless mass.

It appears that the volume of 1100 quarto pages originally consisted
of little more than a quire of paper; but Prynne found insuperable
difficulties in procuring a licenser, even for this infant Hercules.
Dr. Goode deposed that--

"About eight years ago Mr. Prynne brought to him a quire of paper to
license, which he refused; and he recollected the circumstance by
having held an argument with Prynne on his severe reprehension on the
unlawfulness of a man to put on women's apparel, which, the
good-humoured doctor asserted was not always unlawful; for suppose Mr.
Prynne yourself, as a Christian, was persecuted by pagans, think you
not if you disguised yourself in your maid's apparel, you did well?
Prynne sternly answered that he thought himself bound rather to yield
to death than to do so."

Another licenser, Dr. Harris, deposed, that about seven years ago--

"Mr. Prynne came to him to license a treatise concerning stage-plays;
but he would not allow of the same;"--and adds, "So this man did
deliver this book when it was young and tender, and would have had it
then printed; but it is since grown seven times bigger, and seven
times worse."

Prynne not being able to procure these licensers, had recourse to
another, Buckner, chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was
usual for the licenser to examine the MS. before it went to the press;
but Prynne either tampered with Buckner, or so confused his intellects
by keeping his multifarious volume in the press for four years; and
sometimes, I suspect, by numbering folios for pages, as appears in the
work, that the examination of the licenser gradually relaxed; and he
declares in his defence that he had only licensed part of it. The
bookseller, Sparks, was indeed a noted publisher of what was then
called "Unlawful and unlicensed books;" and he had declared that it
was "an excellent book, which would be called in, and then sell well."
He confesses the book had been more than three years in the press, and
had cost him three hundred pounds.

The speech of Noy, the Attorney-General, conveys some notion of the
work itself; sufficiently curious as giving the feelings of those
times against the Puritans.

"Who he means by his _modern innovators_ in the church, and by
_cringing and ducking_ to altars, a fit term to bestow on the church;
he learned it of the _canters_, being used among them. The musick in
the church, the charitable term he giveth it, is not to be a noise of
men, but rather a _bleating of brute beasts_; choristers _bellow_ the
tenor, as it were oxen; _bark_ a counterpoint as a kennel of dogs;
_roar_ out a treble like a sort of bulls; _grunt_ out a bass, as it
were a number of hogs. Bishops he calls the _silk and satin divines_;
says Christ was a Puritan, in his Index. He falleth on those things
that have not relation to stage-plays, musick in the church, dancing,
new-years' gifts, &c.,--then upon altars, images, hair of men and
women, bishops and bonfires. Cards and tables do offend him, and
perukes do fall within the compass of his theme. His end is to
persuade the people that we are returning back again to paganism, and
to persuade them to go and serve God in another country, as many are
gone already, and set up new laws and fancies among themselves.
Consider what may come of it!"

The decision of the Lords of the Star Chamber was dictated by passion
as much as justice. Its severity exceeded the crime of having produced
an unreadable volume of indigested erudition; and the learned
scribbler was too hardly used, scarcely escaping with life. Lord
Cottington, amazed at the mighty volume, too bluntly affirmed that
Prynne did not write this book alone; "he either assisted the devil,
or was assisted by the devil." But secretary Cooke delivered a
sensible and temperate speech; remarking on all its false erudition

"By this vast book of Mr. Prynne's, it appeareth that he hath read
more than he hath studied, and studied more than he hath considered.
He calleth his book 'Histriomastix;' but therein he showeth himself
like unto Ajax Anthropomastix, as the Grecians called him, the scourge
of all mankind, that is, the whipper and the whip."

Such is the history of a man whose greatness of character was clouded
over and lost in a fatal passion for scribbling; such is the history
of a voluminous author whose genius was such that he could write a
folio much easier than a page; and "seldom dined" that he might quote
"squadrons of authorities."[109]


  [102] That all these works should not be wanting to posterity,
        Prynne deposited the complete collection in the library of
        Lincoln's-Inn, about forty volumes in folio and quarto.
        Noy, the Attorney-General, Prynne's great adversary, was
        provoked at the society's acceptance of these ponderous
        volumes, and promised to send them the voluminous labours of
        Taylor the water-poet, to place by their side; he judged, as
        Wood says, that "Prynne's books were worth little or
        nothing; that his proofs were no arguments, and his
        affirmations no testimonies." But honest Anthony, in spite
        of his prejudices against Prynne, confesses, that though
        "by the generality of scholars they are looked upon to be
        rather rhapsodical and confused than polite or concise, yet,
        for antiquaries, critics, and sometimes for divines, they are
        useful." Such erudition as Prynne's always retains its
        value--the author who could quote a hundred authors on
        "the unloveliness of love-locks," will always make a good
        literary chest of drawers, well filled, for those who can make
        better use of their contents than himself.

  [103] Prynne seems to have considered being debarred from pen, ink,
        and books as an act more barbarous than the loss of his ears.
        See his curious book of "A New Discovery of the Prelate's
        Tyranny;" it is a complete collection of everything relating
        to Prynne, Bastwick, and Burton; three political fanatics, who
        seem impatiently to have courted the fate of Marsyas. Prynne,
        in his voluminous argument, proving the illegality of the
        sentences he had suffered, in his ninth point thus gives way
        to all the feelings of Martinus Scriblerus:--"Point 9th, that
        the prohibiting of me pen, ink, paper, and books, is against
        law." He employs an argument to prove that the abuse of any
        lawful thing never takes away the use of it; therefore the law
        does not deprive gluttons or drunkards of necessary meat and
        drink; this analogy he applies to his pen, ink, and books, of
        which they could not deprive him, though they might punish him
        for their abuse. He asserts that the popish prelates, in the
        reign of Mary, were the first who invented this new torture of
        depriving a scribbler of pen and ink. He quotes a long passage
        from Ovid's Tristia, to prove that, though exiled to the Isle
        of Pontus for his wanton books of love, pen and ink were not
        denied him to compose new poems; that St. John, banished to
        the Isle of Patmos by the persecuting Domitian, still was
        allowed pen and ink, for there he wrote the Revelation--and he
        proceeds with similar facts. Prynne's books abound with
        uncommon facts on common topics, for he had no discernment;
        and he seems to have written to convince himself, and not the

        But to show the extraordinary perseverance of Prynne in his
        love of scribbling, I transcribe the following title of one of
        his extraordinary works. He published "Comfortable Cordial
        against Discomfortable Fears of Imprisonment, containing some
        Latin verses, sentences and texts of Scripture, _written by
        Mr. Wm. Prynne on his chamber-walls in_ the Tower of London
        during his imprisonment there; translated by him into English
        verse," 1641. Prynne literally verifies Pope's description--

          "Is there who lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls
          With desperate charcoal round his darken'd walls?"

        We have also a catalogue of printed books written by Wm.
        Prynne, of Lincoln's-Inn, Esq., in these classes--

          Before }
          During } his imprisonment, with the motto _Jucundi acti
                    labores_. 1643.
          Since  }

  [104] The interesting particulars of this interview have been
        preserved by the Archbishop himself--and it is curious to
        observe how Laud could now utter the same tones of murmur and
        grief to which Prynne himself had recently given way. Studied
        insult in these cases accompanies power in the hands of a
        faction. I collect these particulars from "The History of the
        Troubles and Tryal of Archbishop Laud," and refer to Vicars's
        "God in the Mount, or a Parliamentarie Chronicle," p. 344, for
        the Puritanic triumphs.

        "My implacable enemy, Mr. Pryn, was picked out as a man
        whose malice might be trusted to make the search upon me, and
        he did it exactly. The manner of the search upon me was
        thus: Mr. Pryn came into the Tower so soon as the gates
        were open--commanded the Warder to open my door--he came into
        my chamber, and found me in bed--Mr. Pryn seeing me safe
        in bed, falls first to my pockets to rifle them--it was
        expressed in the warrant that he should search my pockets.
        Did they remember, when they gave this warrant, how odious it
        was to Parliaments, and some of themselves, to have the
        pockets of men searched? I rose, got my gown upon my
        shoulders, and he held me in the search till past nine in the
        morning (he had come in betimes in the morning in the month
        of May). He took from me twenty-one bundles of papers which
        I had prepared for my defence, &c., a little book or diary,
        containing all the occurrences of my life, and my book of
        private devotions; both written with my own hand. Nor could
        I get him to leave this last; he must needs see what passed
        between God and me. The last place he rifled was a trunk
        which stood by my bedside; in that he found nothing but about
        forty pounds in money, for my necessary expenses, which he
        meddled not with, and a bundle of some gloves. This bundle he
        was so careful to open, as that he caused each glove to be
        looked into; upon this I tendered him one pair of the gloves,
        which he refusing, I told him he might take them, and fear no
        bribe, for he had already done me all the mischief he could,
        and I asked no favour of him; so he thanked me, took the
        gloves, and bound up my papers, and went his way."--Prynne
        had a good deal of _cunning_ in his character, as well as
        fortitude. He had all the subterfuges and quirks which,
        perhaps, form too strong a feature in the character of "an
        utter Barrister of Lincoln's Inn." His great artifice was
        secretly printing extracts from the diary of Laud, and
        placing a copy in the hands of every member of the House,
        which was a sudden stroke on the Archbishop, when at the
        bar, that at the moment overcame him. Once when Prynne was
        printing one of his libels, he attempted to deny being the
        author, and ran to the printing-house to distribute the forms,
        but it was proved he had corrected the proof and the
        revise. Another time, when he had written a libellous
        letter to the Archbishop, Noy, the Attorney-General, sent
        for Prynne from his prison, and demanded of him whether the
        letter was of his own handwriting. Prynne said he must see
        and read the letter before he could determine; and when Noy
        gave it to him, Prynne tore it to pieces, and threw the
        fragments out of the window, that it might not be brought in
        evidence against him. Noy had preserved a copy, but that
        did not avail him, as Prynne well knew that the misdemeanour
        was in the letter itself; and Noy gave up the prosecution,
        as there was now no remedy.

  [105] Breviate of the Bishop's intolerable usurpations, p. 35.

  [106] While Keeper of the Records, he set all the great energies of
        his nature to work upon the national archives. The result
        appeared in three folio volumes of the greatest value to the
        historian. They were published irregularly, and at intervals
        of time--thus the second volume was issued in 1665; the first
        in 1666; and the third in 1670. The first two volumes are of
        the utmost rarity, nearly all the copies having been destroyed
        in the great fire of London.--ED.

  [107] Hume, in his History, has given some account of this enormous
        quarto; to which I refer the reader, vol. vi. chap. lii.

  [108] Milton admirably characterises Prynne's absurd learning, as well
        as his character, in his treatise on "The likeliest means to
        remove hirelings out of the Church," as "a late hot querist
        for tythes, whom ye may know by _his wits lying ever beside
        him in the margin, to be ever beside his wits in the text_. A
        fierce Reformer once; now rankled with a contrary heat."

  [109] The very expression Prynne himself uses, see p. 668 of the
        Histriomastix; where having gone through "three squadrons," he
        commences a fresh chapter thus: "The fourth squadron of
        authorities is the venerable troope of 70 several renowned
        ancient fathers;" and he throws in more than he promised, all
        which are quoted volume and page, as so many "play-confounding
        arguments." He has quoted perhaps from three to four hundred
        authors on a single point.


The name of TOLAND is more familiar than his character, yet his
literary portrait has great singularity; he must be classed among the
"Authors by Profession," an honour secured by near fifty publications;
and we shall discover that he aimed to combine with the literary
character one peculiarly his own.[110] With higher talents and more
learning than have been conceded to him, there ran in his mind an
original vein of thinking. Yet his whole life exhibits in how small a
degree great intellectual powers, when scattered through all the forms
which Vanity suggests, will contribute to an author's social comforts,
or raise him in public esteem. Toland was fruitful in his productions,
and still more so in his projects; yet it is mortifying to estimate
the result of all the intense activity of the life of an author of
genius, which terminates in being placed among these Calamities.

Toland's birth was probably illegitimate; a circumstance which
influenced the formation of his character. Baptised in ridicule, he
had nearly fallen a victim to Mr. Shandy's system of Christian names,
for he bore the strange ones of _Janus Junius_, which, when the
school-roll was called over every morning, afforded perpetual
merriment, till the master blessed him with plain _John_, which the
boy adopted, and lived in quiet. I must say something on the names
themselves, perhaps as ridiculous! May they not have influenced the
character of Toland, since they certainly describe it? He had all the
shiftings of the double-faced _Janus_, and the revolutionary politics
of the ancient _Junius_. His godfathers sent him into the world in
cruel mockery, thus to remind their Irish boy of the fortunes that
await the desperately bold: nor did Toland forget the strong-marked
designations; for to his most objectionable work, the Latin tract
entitled _Pantheisticon_, descriptive of what some have considered as
an atheistical society, he subscribes these appropriate names, which
at the time were imagined to be fictitious.

Toland ran away from school and Popery. When in after-life he was
reproached with native obscurity, he ostentatiously produced a
testimonial of his birth and family, hatched up at a convent of Irish
Franciscans in Germany, where the good Fathers subscribed, with their
ink tinged with their Rhenish, to his most ancient descent, referring
to the Irish history! which they considered as a parish register, fit
for the suspected son of an Irish Priest!

Toland, from early life, was therefore dependent on patrons; but
illegitimate birth creates strong and determined characters, and
Toland had all the force and originality of self-independence. He was
a seed thrown by chance, to grow of itself wherever it falls.

This child of fortune studied at four Universities; at Glasgow,
Edinburgh, and Leyden; from the latter he passed to Oxford, and, in
the Bodleian Library, collected the materials for his after-studies.

He loved study, and even at a later period declares that "no
employment or condition of life shall make me disrelish the lasting
entertainment of books." In his "Description of Epsom," he observes
that the taste for retirement, reading, and contemplation, promotes
the true relish for select company, and says,

"Thus I remove at pleasure, as I grow weary of the country or the
town, as I avoid a crowd or seek company.--Here, then, let me have
_books and bread_ enough without dependence; a bottle of hermitage and
a plate of olives for a select friend; with an early rose to present a
young lady as an emblem of discretion no less than of beauty."

At Oxford appeared that predilection for paradoxes and over-curious
speculations, which formed afterwards the marking feature of his
literary character. He has been unjustly contemned as a sciolist; he
was the correspondent of Leibnitz, Le Clerc, and Bayle, and was a
learned author when scarcely a man. He first published a Dissertation
on the strange tragical death of Regulus, and proved it a Roman
legend. A greater paradox might have been his projected speculation on
Job, to demonstrate that only the dialogue was genuine; the rest being
the work of some idle Rabbin, who had invented a monstrous story to
account for the extraordinary afflictions of that model of a divine
mind. Speculations of so much learning and ingenuity are uncommon in a
young man; but Toland was so unfortunate as to value his own merits
before those who did not care to hear of them.

Hardy vanity was to recompense him, perhaps he thought, for that want
of fortune and connexions, which raised duller spirits above him.
Vain, loquacious, inconsiderate, and daring, he assumed the
dictatorship of a coffee-house, and obtained easy conquests, which he
mistook for glorious ones, over the graver fellows, who had for many a
year awfully petrified their own colleges. He gave more violent
offence by his new opinions on religion. An anonymous person addressed
two letters to this new Heresiarch, solemn and monitory.[111] Toland's
answer is as honourable as that of his monitor's. This passage is
forcibly conceived:--

"To what purpose should I study here or elsewhere, were I an _atheist_
or _deist_, for one of the two you take me to be? What a condition to
mention virtue, if I believed there was no God, or one so impotent
that could not, or so malicious that would not, reveal himself! Nay,
though I granted a Deity, yet, if nothing of me subsisted after death,
what laws could bind, what incentives could move me to common honesty?
Annihilation would be a sanctuary for all my sins, and put an end to
my crimes with myself. Believe me I am not so indifferent to the evils
of the present life, but, without the expectation of a better, I
should soon suspend the mechanism of my body, and resolve into
inconscious atoms."

This early moment of his life proved to be its crisis, and the first
step he took decided his after-progress. His first great work of
"Christianity not Mysterious," produced immense consequences. Toland
persevered in denying that it was designed as any attack on
Christianity, but only on those subtractions, additions, and other
alterations, which have corrupted that pure institution. The work, at
least, like its title, is "Mysterious."[112] Toland passed over to
Ireland, but his book having got there before him, the author beheld
himself anathematized; the pulpits thundered, and it was dangerous to
be seen conversing with him. A jury who confessed they could not
comprehend a page of his book, condemned it to be burned. Toland now
felt a tenderness for his person; and the humane Molyneux, the friend
of Locke, while he censures the imprudent vanity of our author, gladly
witnessed the flight of "the poor gentleman." But South, indignant at
our English moderation in his own controversy with Sherlock on some
doctrinal points of the Trinity, congratulates the Archbishop of
Dublin on the Irish persecution; and equally witty and intolerant, he
writes on Toland, "Your Parliament presently sent him packing, and
without the help of a _fagot_, soon made the kingdom _too hot_ for

Toland was accused of an intention to found a sect, as South
calls them, of "Mahometan-Christians." Many were stigmatised as
_Tolandists_; but the disciples of a man who never procured for
their prophet a bit of dinner or a new wig, for he was frequently
wanting both, were not to be feared as enthusiasts. The persecution
from the church only rankled in the breast of Toland, and excited
unextinguishable revenge.

He now breathed awhile from the bonfire of theology; and our _Janus_
turned his political face. He edited Milton's voluminous politics, and
Harrington's fantastical "Oceana," and, as his "Christianity not
Mysterious" had stamped his religion with something worse than heresy,
so in politics he was branded as a Commonwealth's-man. Toland had
evidently strong nerves; for him opposition produced controversy,
which he loved, and controversy produced books, by which he lived.

But let it not be imagined that Toland affected to be considered as no
Christian, or avowed himself as a Republican. "Civil and religious
toleration" (he says) "have been the two main objects of all my
writings." He declares himself to be only a primitive Christian, and a
pure Whig. But an author must not be permitted to understand himself
so much more clearly than he has enabled his readers to do. His
mysterious conduct may be detected in his want of moral integrity.

He had the art of explaining away his own words, as in his first
controversy about the word _mystery_ in religion, and he exults in his
artifice; for, in a letter, where he is soliciting the minister for
employment, he says:--"The church is much exasperated against me; yet
as that is the heaviest article, so it is undoubtedly the easiest
conquered, and I know _the infallible method of doing it_." And, in a
letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, he promises to _reform his
religion to that prelate's liking_! He took the sacrament as an
opening for the negotiation.

What can be more explicit than his recantation at the close of his
_Vindicius Liberius_? After telling us that he had withdrawn from
sale, after the second edition, his "'Christianity not Mysterious,'
when I perceived what real or pretended offence it had given," he
concludes thus:--"Being now arrived to years that will not wholly
excuse inconsiderateness in resolving, or precipitance in acting, I
firmly hope that my _persuasion_ and _practice_ will show me _to be a
true Christian_; that my due _conformity_ to the _public worship_ may
prove me to be _a good Churchman_; and that my untainted loyalty to
King William will argue me to be a staunch Commonwealth's-man. That I
shall continue all my life a friend to religion, an enemy to
superstition, a supporter of good kings, and a deposer of tyrants."

Observe, this _Vindicius Liberius_ was published on his return from
one of his political tours in Germany. His views were then of a very
different nature from those of controversial divinity; but it was
absolutely necessary to allay the storm the church had raised against
him. We begin now to understand a little better the character of
Toland. These literary adventurers, with heroic pretensions, can
practise the meanest artifices, and shrink themselves into nothing to
creep out of a hole. How does this recantation agree with the
"Nazarenus," and the other theological works which Toland was
publishing all his life? Posterity only can judge of men's characters;
it takes in at a glance the whole of a life; but contemporaries only
view a part, often apparently unconnected and at variance, when in
fact it is neither. This recantation is full of the spirit of _Janus
Junius_ Toland.

But we are concerned chiefly with Toland's literary character. He was
so confirmed an author, that he never published one book without
promising another. He refers to others in MS.; and some of his most
curious works are posthumous. He was a great artificer of title-pages,
covering them with a promising luxuriance; and in this way recommended
his works to the booksellers. He had an odd taste for running
inscriptions of whimsical crabbed terms; the gold-dust of erudition to
gild over a title; such as "Tetradymus, Hodegus, Clidopharus;"
"Adeisidaemon, or the Unsuperstitious." He pretends these affected
titles indicated their several subjects; but the genius of Toland
could descend to literary quackery.

He had the art of propagating books; his small Life of Milton produced
several; besides the complacency he felt in extracting long passages
from Milton against the bishops. In this Life, his attack on the
authenticity of the _Eikon Basilike_ of Charles I. branched into
another on supposititious writings; and this included the spurious
gospels. Association of ideas is a nursing mother to the fertility of
authorship. The spurious gospels opened a fresh theological campaign,
and produced his "Amyntor." There was no end in provoking an author,
who, in writing the life of a poet, could contrive to put the
authenticity of the Testament to the proof.

Amid his philosophical labours, his _vanity_ induced him to seize on
all temporary topics to which his facility and ingenuity gave
currency. The choice of his subjects forms an amusing catalogue; for
he had "Remarks" and "Projects" as fast as events were passing. He
wrote on the "Art of Governing by Parties," on "Anglia Liberia,"
"Reasons for Naturalising the Jews," on "The Art of Canvassing at
Elections," "On raising a National Bank without Capital," "The State
Anatomy," "Dunkirk or Dover," &c. &c. These, and many like these, set
off with catching titles, proved to the author that a man of genius
may be capable of writing on all topics at all times, and make the
country his debtor without benefiting his own creditors.[113]

There was a moment in Toland's life when he felt, or thought he felt,
fortune in his grasp. He was then floating on the ideal waves of the
South Sea bubble. The poor author, elated with a notion that he was
rich enough to print at his own cost, dispersed copies of his absurd
"Pantheisticon." He describes a society of Pantheists, who worship the
universe as God; a mystery much greater than those he attacked in
Christianity. Their prayers are passages from Cicero and Seneca, and
they chant long poems instead of psalms; so that in their zeal they
endured a little tediousness. The next objectionable circumstance in
this wild ebullition of philosophical wantonness is the apparent
burlesque of some liturgies; and a wag having inserted in some copies
an impious prayer to Bacchus, Toland suffered for the folly of others
as well as his own.[114] With the South Sea bubble vanished Toland's
desire of printing books at his own risk; and thus relieved the world
from the weight of more _Pantheisticons_!

With all this bustle of authorship, amidst temporary publications
which required such prompt ingenuity, and elaborate works which
matured the fruits of early studies, Toland was still not a sedentary
writer. I find that he often travelled on the continent; but how could
a guinealess author so easily transport himself from Flanders to
Germany, and appear at home in the courts of Berlin, Dresden, and
Hanover? Perhaps we may discover a concealed feature in the character
of our ambiguous philosopher.

In the only Life we have of Toland, by Des Maiseaux, prefixed to his
posthumous works, he tells us, that Toland was at the court of Berlin,
but "an incident, _too ludicrous to be mentioned_, obliged him to
leave that place sooner than he expected." Here is an incident in a
narrative clearly marked out, but never to be supplied! Whatever this
incident was, it had this important result, that it sent Toland away
in haste; but _why_ was he there? Our chronological biographer,[115]
"good easy man," suspects nothing more extraordinary when he tells us
Toland was at Berlin or Hanover, than when he finds him at Epsom;
imagines Toland only went to the Electoral Princess Sophia, and the
Queen of Prussia, who were "ladies of sublime genius," to entertain
them by vexing some grave German divines, with philosophical
conferences, and paradoxical conundrums; all the ravings of Toland's

This secret history of Toland can only be picked out by fine threads.
He professed to be a literary character--he had opened a periodical
"literary correspondence," as he terms it, with Prince Eugene; such as
we have witnessed in our days by Grimm and La Harpe, addressed to some
northern princes. He was a favourite with the Electoral Princess
Sophia and the Queen of Prussia, to whom he addressed his "Letters to
Serena." Was he a political agent? Yet how was it that Toland was
often driven home by distressed circumstances? He seems not to have
been a practical politician, for he managed his own affairs very ill.
Was the political intriguer rather a suspected than a confidential
servant of all his masters and mistresses? for it is evident no one
cared for him! The absence of moral integrity was probably never
disguised by the loquacious vanity of this literary adventurer.

In his posthumous works are several "Memorials" for the Earl of
Oxford, which throw a new light over a union of political _espionage_
with the literary character, which finally concluded in producing that
extraordinary one which the political imagination of Toland created in
all the obscurity and heat of his reveries.

In one of these "Memorials," forcibly written and full of curiosity,
Toland remonstrates with the minister for his marked neglect of him;
opens the scheme of a political tour, where, like Guthrie, he would be
content with his _quarterage_. He defines his character; for the
independent Whig affects to spurn at the office, though he might not
shrink at the duties of a spy.

"Whether such a person, sir, who is _neither minister nor spy_, and as
a _lover of learning will be welcome everywhere_, may not prove of
extraordinary use to my Lord Treasurer, as well as to his predecessor
Burleigh, who employed such, I leave his lordship and you to

Still _this character_, whatever title may designate it, is inferior
in dignity and importance to that which Toland afterwards projected,
and which portrays him where his life-writer has not given a touch
from his brush; it is a political curiosity.

"I laid an honester scheme of serving my country, your lordship, and
myself; for, seeing it was neither convenient for you, nor a thing at
all desired by me, that _I should appear in any public post_, I
sincerely proposed, as occasions should offer, to communicate to your
lordship my observations on _the temper of the ministry, the
dispositions of the people, the condition of our enemies or allies
abroad_, and what I might think _most expedient in every conjuncture_;
which advice you were to follow in whole, or in part, or not at all,
as your own superior wisdom should direct. My general acquaintance,
the several languages I speak, the experience I have acquired in
foreign affairs, and being engaged in no interest at home, besides
that of the public, should qualify me in some measure for this
much as I thought myself fit, or was thought so by others, for such
general observations, so much have I ever abhorred, my lord, _those
particular observers we call SPIES_; but I despise the calumny no less
than I detest the thing. Of such general observations, you should have
perused a far greater number than I thought fit to present hitherto,
had I discovered, by due effects, that they were acceptable from _me_;
for they must unavoidably be received from _somebody_, unless a
minister were omniscient--yet I soon had good reason to believe I was
not designed for the man, whatever the original sin could be that made
me incapable of such a trust, and which I now begin to suspect.
Without direct answers to my proposals, how could I know whether I
helped my friends elsewhere, or betrayed them contrary to my
intentions! and accordingly I have for some time been very cautious
and reserved. But if your lordship will enter into any measures with
me to procure _the good of my country_, I shall be more ready to
_serve_ your lordship in this, or in some becoming capacity, than any
other minister. They who confided to my management affairs of a higher
nature have found me exact as well as secret. My impenetrable
negociation at Vienna (hid under the pretence of curiosity) was not
only applauded by the prince that employed me, but also proportionably
rewarded. And here, my lord, give me leave to say that I have found
England miserably served abroad since this change; and our ministers
at home are sometimes as great strangers to the genius as to the
persons of those with whom they have to do. At ---- you have placed
the most unacceptable man in the world--one that lived in a scandalous
misunderstanding with the minister of the States at another court--one
that has been the laughing-stock of all courts, for his senseless
haughtiness and most ridiculous airs--and one that can never judge
aright, unless by accident, in anything."

The discarded, or the suspected _private monitor of the Minister_
warms into the tenderest language of political amour, and mourns their
rupture but as the quarrels of lovers.

"I cannot, from all these considerations, but in the nature of a
lover, complain of your present neglect, and be solicitous for your
future care." And again, "I have made use of the simile of a lover,
and as such, indeed, I thought fit, once for all, to come to a
thorough explanation, resolved, if my affection be not killed by your
unkindness, to become indissolubly yours."

Such is the nice artifice which colours, with a pretended love of his
country, the sordidness of the political intriguer, giving clean names
to filthy things. But this view of the political face of our _Janus_
is not complete till we discover the levity he could carry into
politics when not disguised by more pompous pretensions. I shall give
two extracts from letters composed in a different spirit.

"I am bound for Germany, though first for Flanders, and next for
Holland. I believe I shall be pretty well accommodated for this
voyage, which I expect will be very short. Lord! how near was _my old
woman_ being a queen! and your humble servant being _at his ease_."

His _old woman_ was the Electoral Princess Sophia; and _his ease_ is
what patriots distinguish as _the love of their country_! Again--

"The October Club,[117] if rightly managed, will be rare stuff _to
work the ends of any party_. I sent such an account of these wights to
an _old gentlewoman_ of my acquaintance, as in the midst of fears (the
change of ministry) will make her laugh."

After all his voluminous literature, and his refined politics, Toland
lived and died the life of an Author by Profession, in an obscure
lodging at a country carpenter's, in great distress. He had still one
patron left, who was himself poor, Lord Molesworth, who promised him,
if he lived,

"Bare necessaries. These are but cold comfort to a man of your spirit
and desert; but 'tis all I dare promise! 'Tis an ungrateful age, and
we must bear with it the best we may till we can mend it."

And his lordship tells of his unsuccessful application to some Whig
lord for Toland; and concludes,

"'Tis a sad monster of a man, and not worthy of further notice."

I have observed that Toland had strong nerves; he neither feared
controversies, nor that which closes all. Having examined his
manuscripts, I can sketch a minute picture of the last days of our
"author by profession." At the carpenter's lodgings he drew up a list
of all his books--they were piled on four chairs, to the amount of
155--most of them works which evince the most erudite studies; and as
Toland's learning has been very lightly esteemed, it may be worth
notice that some of his MSS. were transcribed in Greek.[118] To this
list he adds--"I need not recite those in the closet with the unbound
books and pamphlets; nor my trunk, wherein are all my papers and MSS."
I perceive he circulated his MSS. among his friends, for there is a
list by him as he lent them, among which are ladies as well as
gentlemen, _esprits forts_!

Never has author died more in character than Toland; he may be said to
have died with a busy pen in his hand. Having suffered from an
unskilful physician, he avenged himself in his own way; for there was
found on his table an "Essay on Physic without Physicians." The dying
patriot-trader was also writing a preface for a political pamphlet on
_the danger of mercenary Parliaments_; and the philosopher was
composing his own epitaph--one more proof of the ruling passion
predominating in death; but why should a _Pantheist_ be solicitous to
perpetuate his genius and his fame! I shall transcribe a few lines;
surely they are no evidence of Atheism!

         Omnium Literarum excultor,
      ac linguarum plus decem sciens;
           Veritatis propugnator,
            Libertatis assertor;
     nullus autem sectator aut cliens,
     nec minis, nec malis est inflexus,
     quin quam elegit, viam perageret;
         utili honestum anteferens.
        Spiritus cum æthereo patre,
      à quo prodiit olim, conjungitur;
        corpus item, Naturæ cedens,
        in materno gremio reponitur.
  Ipse vero æternum est resurrecturus,
  at idem futurus TOLANDUS nunquam.[119]

One would have imagined that the writer of his own panegyrical epitaph
would have been careful to have transmitted to posterity a copy of his
features; but I know of no portrait of Toland. His patrons seem never
to have been generous, nor his disciples grateful; they mortified
rather than indulged the egotism of his genius. There appeared,
indeed, an elegy, shortly after the death of Toland, so ingeniously
contrived, that it is not clear whether he is eulogised or ridiculed.
Amid its solemnity these lines betray the sneer. "Has," exclaimed the
eulogist of the ambiguous philosopher,

  Each jarring element gone angry home?
  And _Master Toland_ a _Non-ens_ become?

LOCKE, with all the prescient sagacity of that clear understanding
which penetrated under the secret folds of the human heart,
anticipated the life of Toland at its commencement. He admired the
genius of the man; but, while he valued his parts and learning, he
dreaded their result. In a letter I find these passages, which were
then so prophetic, and are now so instructive:--

"If his exceeding great value of himself do not deprive the world of
that usefulness that his parts, if rightly conducted, might be of, I
shall be very glad.--The hopes young men give of what use they will
make of their parts is, to me, the encouragement of being concerned
for them; but, _if vanity increases with age, I always fear whither it
will lead a man_."


  [110] Toland was born in Ireland, in 1669, of Roman Catholic parents,
        but became a zealous opponent of that faith before he was
        sixteen; after which he finished his education at Glasgow and
        Edinburgh; he retired to study at Leyden, where he formed the
        acquaintance of Leibnitz and other learned men. His first
        book, published in 1696, and entitled "Christianity not
        Mysterious," was met by the strongest denunciation from the
        pulpit, was "presented" by the grand jury of Middlesex, and
        ordered to be burnt by the common hangman by the Parliament of
        Ireland. He was henceforth driven for employ to literature;
        and in 1699 was engaged by the Duke of Newcastle to edit the
        "Memoirs of Denzil, Lord Hollis;" and afterwards by the Earl
        of Oxford on a new edition of Harrington's "Oceana." He then
        visited the Courts of Berlin and Hanover. He published many
        works on politics and religion, the latter all remarkable for
        their deistical tendencies, and died in March, 1722, at the
        age of 53.--ED.

  [111] These letters will interest every religious person; they may be
        found in Toland's posthumous works, vol. ii. p. 295.

  [112] Toland pretends to prove that "there is nothing in the Christian
        Religion, not only which is contrary to reason, but even
        which is above it."--He made use of some arguments (says
        Le Clerc) that were drawn from Locke's Treatise on the
        Human Understanding. I have seen in MS. a finished treatise by
        Locke on Religion, addressed to Lady Shaftesbury; Locke
        gives it as a translation from the French. I regret my
        account is so imperfect; but the possessor may, perhaps, be
        induced to give it to the public. The French philosophers have
        drawn their first waters from English authors; and Toland,
        Tindale, and Woolston, with Shaftesbury, Bolingbroke, and
        Locke, were among their earliest acquisitions.

  [113] In examining the original papers of Toland, which are preserved,
        I found some of his agreements with booksellers. For his
        description of Epsom he was to receive only four guineas in
        case 1000 were sold. He received ten guineas for his pamphlet
        on Naturalising the Jews, and ten guineas more in case Bernard
        Lintott sold 2000. The words of this agreement run thus:
        "Whenever Mr. Toland calls for ten guineas, after the first of
        February next, I promise to pay them, if I _cannot show_ that
        200 of the copies remain unsold." What a sublime person is an
        author! What a misery is authorship! The great philosopher who
        creates systems that are to alter the face of his country,
        must stand at the counter to count out 200 unsold copies!

  [114] Des Maiseaux frees Toland from this calumny, and hints at his
        own personal knowledge of the author--but he does not know
        what a foreign writer authenticates, that this blasphemous
        address to Bacchus is a parody of a prayer in the Roman
        ritual, written two centuries before by a very proper society
        of _Pantheists_, a club of drunkards!

  [115] Warburton has well described Des Maiseaux: "All the Life-writers
        we have had are, indeed, strange insipid creatures. The
        verbose tasteless Frenchman seems to lay it down as a
        principle that every life must be a book, and what is worse,
        it proves a book without a life; for what do we know of
        Boileau, after all his tedious stuff?"

  [116] One of these philosophical conferences has been preserved by
        Beausobre, who was indeed the party concerned. He inserted it
        in the "Bibliothèque Germanique," a curious literary journal,
        in 50 volumes, written by L'Enfant, Beausobre, and Formey. It
        is very copious, and very curious, and is preserved in the
        General Dictionary, art. Toland. The parties, after a warm
        contest, were very wisely interrupted by the Queen, when she
        discovered they had exhausted their learning, and were
        beginning to rail at each other.

  [117] A political society which obtained its name from the malt
        liquors consumed at its meetings, and which was popularly
        termed October from the month when it was usually brewed. This
        club advocated the claims of the House of Hanover, and may
        have originated the Mughouses noted in p. 32.--ED.

  [118] I subjoin, for the gratification of the curious, the titles of a
        few of these books. "Spanhemii Opera;" "Clerici Pentateuchus;"
        "Constantini Lexicon Græco-Latinum;" "Fabricii Codex
        Apocryphus Vet. et Nov. Test.;" "Synesius de Regno;" "Historia
        Imaginum Coelestium Gosselini," 16 volumes; "Caryophili
        Dissertationes;" "Vonde Hardt Ephemerides Philologicæ;"
        "Trismegisti Opera;" "Recoldus, et alia Mahomedica;" all the
        Works of Buxtorf; "Salviani Opera;" "Reland de Relig.
        Mahomedica;" "Galli Opuscula Mythologica;" "Apollodori
        Bibliotheca;" "Palingenius;" "Apuleius;" and every classical
        author of antiquity. As he was then employed in his curious
        history of the Druids, of which only a specimen is preserved,
        we may trace his researches in the following books: "Luydii
        Archæologia Britannica;" "Old Irish Testament," &c.;
        "Maccurtin's History of Ireland;" "O'Flaherty's Ogygia;"
        "Epistolarum Hibernicarum;" "Usher's Religion of the ancient
        Irish;" "Brand's Isles of Orkney and Zetland;" "Pezron's
        Antiquités des Celtes."

        There are some singular papers among these fragments. One
        title of a work is "Priesthood without Priestcraft; or
        Superstition distinguished from Religion, Dominion from Order,
        and Bigotry from Reason, in the most principal Controversies
        about Church government, which at present divide and deform
        Christianity." He has composed "A Psalm before Sermon in
        praise of Asinity." There are other singular titles and works
        in the mass of his papers.


                    A lover of all literature,
               and knowing more than ten languages;
                       a champion for truth,
                      an assertor of liberty,
             but the follower or dependant of no man;
              nor could menaces nor fortune bend him;
                 the way he had chosen he pursued,
                preferring honesty to his interest.
          His spirit is joined with its ethereal father
                from whom it originally proceeded;
              his body likewise, yielding to Nature,
              is again laid in the lap of its mother:
            but he is about to rise again in eternity,
               yet never to be the same TOLAND more.


POPE said that STEELE, though he led a careless and vicious life, had
nevertheless a love and reverence for virtue. The life of Steele was
not that of a retired scholar; hence his moral character becomes more
instructive. He was one of those whose hearts are the dupes of their
imaginations, and who are hurried through life by the most despotic
volition. He always preferred his caprices to his interests; or,
according to his own notion, very ingenious, but not a little absurd,
"he was always of the humour of preferring the state of his mind to
that of his fortune." The result of this principle of moral conduct
was, that a man of the most admirable abilities was perpetually acting
like a fool, and, with a warm attachment to virtue, was the frailest
of human beings.

In the first act of his life we find the seed that developed itself in
the succeeding ones. His uncle could not endure a hero for his heir:
but Steele had seen a marching regiment; a sufficient reason with him
to enlist as a private in the horse-guards: cocking his hat, and
putting on a broad-sword, jack-boots, and shoulder-belt, with the most
generous feelings he forfeited a very good estate.--At length Ensign
Steele's frank temper and wit conciliated esteem, and extorted
admiration, and the ensign became a favourite leader in all the
dissipations of the town. All these were the ebullitions of genius,
which had not yet received a legitimate direction. Amid these orgies,
however, it was often pensive, and forming itself; for it was in the
height of these irregularities that Steele composed his "Christian
Hero," a moral and religious treatise, which the contritions of every
morning dictated, and to which the disorders of every evening added
another penitential page. Perhaps the genius of Steele was never so
ardent and so pure as at this period; and in his elegant letter to his
commander, the celebrated Lord Cutts, he gives an interesting account
of the origin of this production, which none but one deeply imbued
with its feelings could have so forcibly described.

  "_Tower Guard, March 23, 1701._

  "MY LORD,--The address of the following papers is so very much due
  to your lordship, that they are but a mere report of what has
  passed upon my guard to my commander; for they were writ upon
  duty, when the mind was perfectly disengaged, and at leisure, in
  the silent watch of the night, to run over the busy dream of the
  day; and the vigilance which obliges us to suppose an enemy always
  near us, has awakened a sense that there is a restless and subtle
  one which constantly attends our steps, and meditates our

To this solemn and monitory work he prefixed his name, from this
honourable motive, that it might serve as "a standing testimony
against himself, and make him ashamed of understanding, and seeming to
feel what was virtuous, and living so quite contrary a life." Do we
not think that no one less than a saint is speaking to us? And yet he
is still nothing more than Ensign Steele! He tells us that this grave
work made him considered, who had been no undelightful companion, as a
disagreeable fellow--and "The Christian Hero," by his own words,
appears to have fought off several fool-hardy geniuses who were for
"trying their valour on him," supposing a saint was necessarily a
poltroon. Thus "The Christian Hero," finding himself slighted by his
loose companions, sat down and composed a most laughable comedy, "The
Funeral;" and with all the frankness of a man who cares not to hide
his motives, he tells us, that after his religious work he wrote the
comedy because "nothing can make the town so fond of a man as a
successful play."[121] The historian who had to record such strange
events, following close on each other, as an author publishing a book
of piety, and then a farce, could never have discovered the secret
motive of the versatile writer, had not that writer possessed the most
honest frankness.

Steele was now at once a man of the town and its censor, and wrote
lively essays on the follies of the day in an enormous black peruke
which cost him fifty guineas! He built an elegant villa, but, as he
was always inculcating economy, he dates from "The Hovel." He detected
the fallacy of the South Sea scheme, while he himself invented
projects, neither inferior in magnificence nor in misery. He even
turned alchemist, and wanted to coin gold, merely to distribute it.
The most striking incident in the life of this man of volition, was
his sudden marriage with a young lady who attended his first wife's
funeral--struck by her angelical beauty, if we trust to his raptures.
Yet this sage, who would have written so well on the choice of a wife,
united himself to a character the most uncongenial to his own; cold,
reserved, and most anxiously prudent in her attention to money, she
was of a temper which every day grew worse by the perpetual imprudence
and thoughtlessness of his own. He calls her "Prue" in fondness and
reproach; she was Prudery itself! His adoration was permanent, and so
were his complaints; and they never parted but with bickerings--yet he
could not suffer her absence, for he was writing to her three or four
passionate notes in a day, which are dated from his office, or his
bookseller's, or from some friend's house--he has risen in the midst
of dinner to despatch a line to "Prue," to assure her of his affection
since noon.[122]--Her presence or her absence was equally painful to

Yet Steele, gifted at all times with the susceptibility of genius, was
exercising the finest feelings of the heart; the same generosity of
temper which deluded his judgment, and invigorated his passions,
rendered him a tender and pathetic dramatist; a most fertile essayist;
a patriot without private views; an enemy whose resentment died away
in raillery; and a friend, who could warmly press the hand that
chastised him. Whether in administration, or expelled the House;
whether affluent, or flying from his creditors; in the fulness of his
heart he, perhaps, secured his own happiness, and lived on, like some
wits, extempore. But such men, with all their virtues and all their
genius, live only for themselves.

Steele, in the waste of his splendid talents, had raised sudden
enmities and transient friendships. The world uses such men as Eastern
travellers do fountains; they drink their waters, and when their
thirst is appeased, turn their hacks on them. Steele lived to be
forgotten. He opened his career with folly; he hurried through it in a
tumult of existence; and he closed it by an involuntary exile, amid
the wrecks of his fortune and his mind.

Steele, in one of his numerous periodical works, the twelfth number of
the "Theatre," has drawn an exquisite contrast between himself and
his friend Addison: it is a cabinet picture. Steele's careful pieces,
when warm with his subject, had a higher spirit, a richer flavour,
than the equable softness of Addison, who is only beautiful.

"There never was a more strict friendship than between these
gentlemen; nor had they ever any difference but what proceeded from
their different way of pursuing the same thing: the one, with
patience, foresight, and temperate address, always waited and stemmed
the torrent; while the other often plunged himself into it, and was as
often taken out by the temper of him who stood weeping on the bank for
his safety, whom he could not dissuade from leaping into it. Thus
these two men lived for some years last past, shunning each other, but
still preserving the most passionate concern for their mutual welfare.
But when they met, they were as unreserved as boys; and talked of the
greatest affairs, upon which they saw where they differed, without
pressing (what they knew impossible) to convert each other."

If Steele had the honour of the invention of those periodical papers
which first enlightened the national genius by their popular
instruction, he is himself a remarkable example of the moral and the
literary character perpetually contending in the man of volition.


  [120] Mr. Nichols's "Epistolary Correspondence of Sir Richard Steele,"
        vol. i. p. 77.

  [121] Steele has given a delightful piece of self-biography towards
        the end of his "Apology for Himself and his Writings," p. 80,

  [122] In the "Epistolary Correspondence of Sir Richard Steele," edition
        of 1809, are preserved these extraordinary love-despatches;
        "Prue" used poor Steele at times very ill; indeed Steele
        seems to have conceived that his warm affections were all she
        required, for Lady Steele was usually left whole days in
        solitude, and frequently in want of a guinea, when Steele
        could not raise one. He, however, sometimes remonstrates with
        her very feelingly. The following note is an instance:--

          "DEAR WIFE,--I have been in great pain of body and mind
          since I came out. You are extremely cruel to a generous
          nature, which has a tenderness for you that renders your
          least _dishumour_ insupportably afflicting. After short
          starts of passion, not to be inclined to reconciliation,
          is what is against all rules of Christianity and justice.
          When I come home, I beg to be kindly received; or this
          will have as ill an effect upon my fortune, as on my mind
          and body."

        In a postscript to another billet, he thus "sneers at Lady
        Steele's excessive attention to money":--

          "Your man Sam owes me threepence, which must be deducted
          in the account between you and me; therefore, pray take
          care to get it in, or stop it."

        Such despatches as the following were sent off three or four
        times in a day:--

          "I beg of you not to be impatient, though it be an hour
          before you see

            "Your obliged husband,
              R. STEELE."

          "DEAR PRUE,--Don't be displeased that I do not come home
          till eleven o'clock.

            Yours, ever."

          "DEAR PRUE,--Forgive me dining abroad, and let Will carry
          the papers to Buckley's.

            Your fond devoted
              R. S."

          "DEAR PRUE,--I am very sleepy and tired, but could not
          think of closing my eyes till I had told you I am, dearest
          creature, your most affectionate, faithful husband,

            R. STEELE.

          "From the Press, One in the morning."

        It would seem by the following note that this hourly account
        of himself was in consequence of the connubial mandate of his
        fair despot:--

          "DEAR PRUE,--It is a strange thing, because you are
          handsome, that you will not behave yourself with the
          obedience that people of worse features do--but that I
          must be always giving you an account of every trifle and
          minute of my time. I send this to tell you I am waiting to
          be sent for again when my Lord Wharton is stirring."



This awful calamity may be traced in the fate of LELAND and COLLINS:
the one exhausted the finer faculties of his mind in the grandest
views, and sunk under gigantic tasks; the other enthusiast sacrificed
his reason and his happiness to his imagination.

LELAND, the father of our antiquaries, was an accomplished scholar,
and his ample mind had embraced the languages of antiquity, those of
his own age, and the ancient ones of his own country: thus he held all
human learning by its three vast chains. He travelled abroad; and he
cultivated poetry with the ardour he could even feel for the
acquisition of words. On his return home, among other royal favours,
he was appointed by Henry VIII. the king's antiquary, a title
honourably created for Leland; for with him it became extinct. By this
office he was empowered to search after English antiquities; to
review the libraries of all the religious institutions, and to bring
the records of antiquity "out of deadly darkness into lively light."
This extensive power fed a passion already formed by the study of our
old rude historians; his elegant taste perceived that they wanted
those graces which he could lend them.

Six years were occupied, by uninterrupted travel and study, to survey
our national antiquities; to note down everything observable for the
history of the country and the honour of the nation. What a
magnificent view has he sketched of this learned journey! In search of
knowledge, Leland wandered on the sea-coasts and in the midland;
surveyed towns and cities, and rivers, castles, cathedrals, and
monasteries; tumuli, coins, and inscriptions; collected authors;
transcribed MSS. If antiquarianism pored, genius too meditated in this
sublime industry.

Another six years were devoted to shape and to polish the immense
collections he had amassed. All this untired labour and continued
study were rewarded by Henry VIII. It is delightful, from its rarity,
to record the gratitude of a patron: Henry was worthy of Leland; and
the genius of the author was magnificent as that of the monarch who
had created it.

Nor was the gratitude of Leland silent: he seems to have been in the
habit of perpetuating his spontaneous emotions in elegant Latin verse.
Our author has fancifully expressed his gratitude to the king:--

"Sooner," he says, "shall the seas float without their silent
inhabitants; the thorny hedges cease to hide the birds; the oak to
spread its boughs; and Flora to paint the meadows with flowers;"

  Quàm Rex dive, tuum labatur pectore nostro
    Nomen, quod studiis portus et aura meis.

  Than thou, great King, my bosom cease to hail,
  Who o'er my studies breath'st a favouring gale.

Leland was, indeed, alive to the kindness of his royal patron; and
among his numerous literary projects, was one of writing a history of
all the palaces of Henry, in imitation of Procopius, who described
those of the Emperor Justinian. He had already delighted the royal ear
in a beautiful effusion of fancy and antiquarianism, in his _Cygnea
Cantio_, the Song of the Swans. The swan of Leland, melodiously
floating down the Thames, from Oxford to Greenwich, chants, as she
passes along, the ancient names and honours of the towns, the castles,
and the villages.

Leland presented his "Strena, or a New Year's Gift," to the king.--It
consists of an account of his studies; and sketches, with a fervid and
vast imagination, his magnificent labour, which he had already
inscribed with the title _De Antiquitate Britannica_, and which was to
be divided into as many books as there were shires. All parts of this
address of the King's Antiquary to the king bear the stamp of his
imagination and his taste. He opens his intention of improving, by the
classical graces of composition, the rude labours of our ancestors;

"Except Truth be delicately clothed in purpure, her written verytees
can scant find a reader."

Our old writers, he tells his sovereign, had, indeed,

"From time to time preserved the acts of your predecessors, and the
fortunes of your realm, with great diligence, and no less faith; would
to God with like eloquence!"

An exclamation of fine taste, when taste was yet a stranger in the
country. And when he alludes to the knowledge of British affairs
scattered among the Roman, as well as our own writers, his fervid
fancy breaks forth with an image at once simple and sublime:--

"I trust," says Leland, "so to open the window, that the light shall
be seen so long, that is to say, by the space of a whole thousand
years stopped up, and the old glory of your Britain to re-flourish
through the world."[123]

And he pathetically concludes--

"Should I live to perform those things that are already begun, I trust
that your realm shall so well be known, once painted with its native
colours, that it shall give place to the glory of no other region."

The grandeur of this design was a constituent part of the genius of
Leland, but not less, too, was that presaging melancholy which even
here betrays itself, and even more frequently in his verses.
Everything about Leland was marked by his own greatness; his country
and his countrymen were ever present; and, by the excitement of his
feelings, even his humbler pursuits were elevated into patriotism.
Henry died the year after he received the "New Year's Gift." From that
moment, in losing the greatest patron for the greatest work, Leland
appears to have felt the staff which he had used to turn at pleasure
for his stay, break in his hands.

He had new patrons to court, while engaged in labours for which a
single life had been too short. The melancholy that cherishes genius
may also destroy it. Leland, brooding over his voluminous labours,
seemed to love and to dread them; sometimes to pursue them with
rapture, and sometimes to shrink from them with despair. His generous
temper had once shot forwards to posterity; but he now calms his
struggling hopes and doubts, and confines his literary ambition to his
own country and his own age.


  Posteritatis amor mihi perblanditur, et ultro
    Premittit libris secula multa meis.
  At non tam facile est oculato imponere, nosco
    Quàm non sim tali dignus honore frui.
  Græcia magniloquos vates desiderat ipsa,
    Roma suos etiam disperiisse dolet.
  Exemplis quum sim claris edoctus ab istis,
    Quî sperem Musas vivere posse meas?
  Certè mî sat erit præsenti scribere sæclo,
    Auribus et patriæ complacuisse meæ.


  Posterity, thy soothing love I feel,
  That o'er my volumes many an age may steal:
  But hard it is the well-clear'd eye to cheat
  With honours undeserved, too fond deceit!
  Greece, greatly eloquent, and full of fame,
  Sighs for the want of many a perish'd name;
  And Rome o'er her illustrious children mourns,
  Their fame departing with their mouldering urns.
  How can I hope, by such examples shown,
  More than a transient day, a passing sun?
  Enough for me to win the present age,
  And please a brother with a brother's page.

By other verses, addressed to Cranmer, it would appear that Leland was
experiencing anxieties to which he had not been accustomed,--and one
may suspect, by the opening image of his "Supellex," that his pension
was irregular, and that he began, as authors do in these hard cases,
to value "the furniture" of his mind above that of his house.


  Est congesta mihi domi Supellex
  Ingens, aurea, nobilis, venusta,
  Quâ totus studeo Britanniarum
  Vero reddere gloriam nitori.
  Sed Fortuna meis noverca cœptis
  Jam felicibus invidet maligna.
  Quare, ne pereant brevi vel horâ
  Multarum mihi noctium labores
  Omnes, et patriæ simul decora
  Ornamenta cadant, &c. &c.


  The furnitures that fill my house,
  The vast and beautiful disclose,
  All noble, and the store is gold;
  Our ancient glory here unroll'd.
  But fortune checks my daring claim,
  A step-mother severe to fame.
  A smile malignantly she throws
  Just at the story's prosperous close.
  And thus must the unfinish'd tale,
  And all my many vigils fail,
  And must my country's honour fall;
  In one brief hour must perish all?

But, conscious of the greatness of his labours, he would obtain the
favour of the Archbishop, by promising a share of his own fame--

  ----pretium sequetur amplum--
  Sic nomen tibi litteræ elegantes
  Rectè perpetuum dabunt, suosque
  Partim vel titulos tibi receptos
  Concedet memori Britannus ore:
  Sic te posteritas amabit omnis,
  Et famâ super æthera innotesces.


  But take the ample glorious meed,
  To letter'd elegance decreed,
  When Britain's mindful voice shall bend,
  And with her own thy honours blend,
  As she from thy kind hands receives
  Her titles drawn on Glory's leaves,
  And back reflects them on thy name,
  Till time shall love thy mounting fame.

Thus was Leland, like the melancholic, withdrawn entirely into the
world of his own ideas; his imagination delighting in reveries, while
his industry was exhausting itself in labour. His manners were not
free from haughtiness,--his meagre and expressive physiognomy
indicates the melancholy and the majesty of his mind; it was not old
age, but the premature wrinkles of those nightly labours he has
himself recorded. All these characteristics are so strongly marked in
the bust of Leland, that Lavater had triumphed had he studied

Labour had been long felt as voluptuousness by Leland; and this is
among the Calamities of Literature, and it is so with all those
studies which deeply busy the intellect and the fancy. There is a
poignant delight in study, often subversive of human happiness. Men of
genius, from their ideal state, drop into the cold formalities of
society, to encounter its evils, its disappointments, its neglect, and
perhaps its persecutions. When such minds discover the world will only
become a friend on its own terms, then the cup of their wrath
overflows; the learned grow morose, and the witty sarcastic; but more
indelible emotions in a highly-excited imagination often produce those
delusions, which Darwin calls hallucinations, and which sometimes
terminate in mania. The haughtiness, the melancholy, and the aspiring
genius of Leland, were tending to a disordered intellect. Incipient
insanity is a mote floating in the understanding, escaping all
observation, when the mind is capable of observing itself, but seems a
constituent part of the mind itself when that is completely covered
with its cloud.

Leland did not reach even the maturity of life, the period at which
his stupendous works were to be executed. He was seized by frenzy. The
causes of his insanity were never known. The Papists declared he went
mad because he had embraced the new religion; his malicious rival
Polydore Vergil, because he had promised what he could not perform;
duller prosaists because his poetical turn had made him conceited. The
grief and melancholy of a fine genius, and perhaps an irregular
pension, his enemies have not noticed.

The ruins of Leland's mind were viewed in his library; volumes on
volumes stupendously heaped together, and masses of notes scattered
here and there; all the vestiges of his genius, and its distraction.
His collections were seized on by honest and dishonest hands; many
were treasured, but some were stolen. Hearne zealously arranged a
series of volumes from the fragments; but the "Britannia" of Camden,
the "London" of Stowe, and the "Chronicles" of Holinshed, are only a
few of those public works whose waters silently welled from the spring
of Leland's genius; and that nothing might be wanting to preserve some
relic of that fine imagination which was always working in his poetic
soul, his own description of his learned journey over the kingdom was
a spark, which, falling into the inflammable mind of a poet, produced
the singular and patriotic poem of the "Polyolbion" of Drayton. Thus
the genius of Leland has come to us diffused through a variety of
other men's; and what he intended to produce it has required many to

A singular inscription, in which Leland speaks of himself, in the
style he was accustomed to use, and which Weever tells us was affixed
to his monument, as he had heard by tradition, was probably a relic
snatched from his general wreck--for it could not with propriety have
been composed after his death.[125]

  Quantùm Rhenano debet Germania docto
    Tantùm debebit terra Britanna mihi.
  Ille suæ gentis ritus et nomina prisca
    Æstivo fecit lucidiora die.
  Ipse antiquarum rerum quoque magnus amator
    Ornabo patriæ lumina clara meæ.
  Quæ cum prodierint niveis inscripta tabellis,
    Tum testes nostræ sedulitatis erunt.


  What Germany to learn'd Rhenanus owes,
  That for my Britain shall my toil unclose;
  His volumes mark their customs, names, and climes,
  And brighten, with a summer's light, old times.
  I also, touch'd by the same love, will write,
  To ornament my country's splendid light,
  Which shall, inscribed on snowy tablets, be
  Full many a witness of my industry.

Another example of literary disappointment disordering the intellect
may be contemplated in the fate of the poet COLLINS.

Several interesting incidents may be supplied to Johnson's narrative
of the short and obscure life of this poet, who, more than any other
of our martyrs to the lyre, has thrown over all his images and his
thoughts a tenderness of mind, and breathed a freshness over the
pictures of poetry, which the mighty Milton has not exceeded, and the
laborious Gray has not attained. But he immolated happiness, and at
length reason, to his imagination! The incidents most interesting in
the life of Collins would be those events which elude the ordinary
biographer; that invisible train of emotions which were gradually
passing in his mind; those passions which first moulded his genius,
and which afterwards broke it! But who could record the vacillations
of a poetic temper, its early hope and its late despair, its wild
gaiety and its settled frenzy, but the poet himself? Yet Collins has
left behind no memorial of the wanderings of his alienated mind but
the errors of his life!

At college he published his "Persian Eclogues," as they were first
called, to which, when he thought they were not distinctly Persian, he
gave the more general title of "Oriental." The publication was
attended with no success; but the first misfortune a poet meets will
rarely deter him from incurring more. He suddenly quitted the
university, and has been censured for not having consulted his friends
when he rashly resolved to live by the pen. But he had no friends! His
father had died in embarrassed circumstances; and Collins was residing
at the university on the stipend allowed him by his uncle, Colonel
Martin, who was abroad. He was indignant at a repulse he met with at
college; and alive to the name of author and poet, the ardent and
simple youth imagined that a nobler field of action opened on him in
the metropolis than was presented by the flat uniformity of a
collegiate life. To whatever spot the youthful poet flies, that spot
seems Parnassus, as applause seems patronage. He hurried to town, and
presented himself before the cousin who paid his small allowance from
his uncle in a fashionable dress with a feather in his hat. The graver
gentleman did not succeed in his attempt at sending him back, with all
the terror of his information, that Collins had not a single guinea of
his own, and was dressed in a coat he could never pay for. The young
bard turned from his obdurate cousin as "a dull fellow;" a usual
phrase with him to describe those who did not think as he would have

That moment was now come, so much desired, and scarcely yet dreaded,
which was to produce those effusions of fancy and learning, for which
Collins had prepared himself by previous studies. About this time
Johnson[126] has given a finer picture of the intellectual powers and
the literary attainments of Collins than in the life he afterwards
composed. "Collins was acquainted not only with the learned tongues,
but with the Italian, French, and Spanish languages; full of hopes and
full of projects, versed in many languages, high in fancy, and strong
in retention." Such was the language of Johnson, when, warmed by his
own imagination, he could write like Longinus; at that after-period,
when assuming the austerity of critical discussion for the lives of
poets, even in the coldness of his recollections, he describes Collins
as "a man of extensive literature, and of vigorous faculties."

A chasm of several years remains to be filled. He was projecting works
of labour, and creating productions of taste; and he has been
reproached for irresolution, and even for indolence. Let us catch his
feelings from the facts as they rise together, and learn whether
Collins must endure censure or excite sympathy.

When he was living loosely about town, he occasionally wrote many
short poems in the house of a friend, who witnesses that he burned as
rapidly as he composed. His odes were purchased by Millar, yet though
but a slight pamphlet, all the interest of that great bookseller could
never introduce them into notice. Not an idle compliment is recorded
to have been sent to the poet. When we now consider that among these
odes was one the most popular in the language, with some of the most
exquisitely poetical, it reminds us of the difficulty a young writer
without connexions experiences in obtaining the public ear; and of the
languor of poetical connoisseurs who sometimes suffer poems, that have
not yet grown up to authority, to be buried on the shelf. What the
outraged feelings of the poet were, appeared when some time afterwards
he became rich enough to express them. Having obtained some fortune by
the death of his uncle, he made good to the publisher the deficiency
of the unsold odes, and, in his haughty resentment at the public
taste, consigned the impression to the flames!

Who shall now paint the feverish and delicate feelings of a young poet
such as Collins, who had twice addressed the public, and twice had
been repulsed? He whose poetic temper Johnson has finely painted, at
the happy moment when he felt its influence, as "delighting to rove
through the meadows of enchantment, to gaze on the magnificence of
golden palaces, and repose by the waterfalls of Elysian gardens!"

It cannot be doubted, and the recorded facts will demonstrate it, that
the poetical disappointments of Collins were secretly preying on his
spirit, and repressing his firmest exertions. With a mind richly
stored with literature, and a soul alive to the impulses of nature and
study, he projected a "History of the Revival of Learning," and a
translation of "Aristotle's Poetics," to be illustrated by a large

But "his great fault," says Johnson, "was his _irresolution_; or the
frequent calls of _immediate necessity_ broke his schemes, and
suffered him to pursue no settled purpose." Collins was, however, not
idle, though without application; for, when reproached with idleness
by a friend, he showed instantly several sheets of his version of
Aristotle, and many embryos of some lives he had engaged to compose
for the "Biographia Britannica;" he never brought either to
perfection! What then was this _irresolution_ but the vacillations of
a mind broken and confounded? He had exercised too constantly the
highest faculties of fiction, and he had precipitated himself into the
dreariness of real life. None but a poet can conceive, for none but a
poet can experience, the secret wounds inflicted on a mind of romantic
fancy and tenderness of emotion, which has staked its happiness on its
imagination; for such neglect is felt as ordinary men would feel the
sensation of being let down into a sepulchre, and buried alive. The
mind of Tasso, a brother in fancy to Collins, became disordered by the
opposition of the critics, but perpetual neglect injures it not less.
The HOPE of the ancients was represented holding some flowers, the
promise of the spring, or some spikes of corn, indicative of
approaching harvest--but the HOPE of Collins had scattered its seed,
and they remained buried in the earth.

The oblivion which covered our poet's works appeared to him eternal,
as those works now seem to us immortal. He had created HOPE with deep
and enthusiastic feeling!--

                     With eyes so fair--
      Whispering promised pleasure,
  And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail;
  And Hope, enchanted, smiled, and waved her golden hair!

The few years Collins passed in the metropolis he was subsisting with
or upon his friends; and, being a pleasing companion, he obtained many
literary acquaintances. It was at this period that Johnson knew him,
and thus describes him:--"His appearance was decent, and his
knowledge considerable; his views extensive, and his conversation
elegant." He was a constant frequenter at the literary resorts of the
Bedford and Slaughter's; and Armstrong, Hill, Garrick, and Foote,
frequently consulted him on their pieces before they appeared in
public. From his intimacy with Garrick he obtained a free admission
into the green-room; and probably it was at this period, among his
other projects, that he planned several tragedies, which, however, as
Johnson observes, "he only planned." There is a feature in Collins's
character which requires attention. He is represented as a man of
cheerful dispositions; and it has been my study to detect only a
melancholy, which was preying on the very source of life itself.
Collins was, indeed, born to charm his friends; for fancy and elegance
were never absent from his susceptible mind, rich in its stores, and
versatile in its emotions. He himself indicates his own character, in
his address to "Home:"--

  Go! nor, regardless while these numbers boast
  My short-lived bliss, forget my social name.

Johnson has told us of his cheerful dispositions; and one who knew him
well observes, that "in the green-room he made diverting observations
on the vanity and false consequence of that class of people, and his
manner of relating them to his particular friends was extremely
entertaining:" but the same friend acknowledges that "some letters
which he received from Collins, though chiefly on business, have in
them some flights which strongly mark his character, and for which
reason I have preserved them." We cannot decide of the temper of a man
viewed only in a circle of friends, who listen to the ebullitions of
wit or fancy; the social warmth for a moment throws into forgetfulness
his secret sorrow. The most melancholy man is frequently the most
delightful companion, and peculiarly endowed with the talent of
satirical playfulness and vivacity of humour.[127] But what was the
true life of Collins, separated from its adventitious circumstances?
It was a life of want, never chequered by hope, that was striving to
elude its own observation by hurrying into some temporary dissipation.
But the hours of melancholy and solitude were sure to return; these
were marked on the dial of his life, and, when they struck, the gay
and lively Collins, like one of his own enchanted beings, as surely
relapsed into his natural shape. To the perpetual recollection of his
poetical disappointments are we to attribute this unsettled state of
his mind, and the perplexity of his studies. To these he was
perpetually reverting, which he showed when after a lapse of several
years, he could not rest till he had burned his ill-fated odes. And
what was the result of his literary life? He returned to his native
city of Chichester in a state almost of nakedness, destitute,
diseased, and wild in despair, to hide himself in the arms of a

The cloud had long been gathering over his convulsed intellect; and
the fortune he acquired on the death of his uncle served only for
personal indulgences, which rather accelerated his disorder. There
were, at times, some awful pauses in the alienation of his mind--but
he had withdrawn it from study. It was in one of these intervals that
Thomas Warton told Johnson that when he met Collins travelling, he
took up a book the poet carried with him, from curiosity, to see what
companion a man of letters had chosen--it was an English Testament. "I
have but one book," said Collins, "but that is the best." This
circumstance is recorded on his tomb.

  He join'd pure faith to strong poetic powers,
  And in reviving reason's lucid hours,
  Sought on one book his troubled mind to rest,
  And rightly deem'd the book of God the best.

At Chichester, tradition has preserved some striking and affecting
occurrences of his last days; he would haunt the aisles and cloisters
of the cathedral, roving days and nights together, loving their

  Dim religious light.

And, when the choristers chanted their anthem, the listening and
bewildered poet, carried out of himself by the solemn strains, and his
own too susceptible imagination, moaned and shrieked, and awoke a
sadness and a terror most affecting amid religious emotions; their
friend, their kinsman, and their poet, was before them, an awful image
of human misery and ruined genius!

This interesting circumstance is thus alluded to on his monument:--

  Ye walls that echoed to his frantic moan,
  Guard the due record of this grateful stone:
  Strangers to him, enamour'd of his lays,
  This fond memorial of his talents raise.

A voluntary subscription raised the monument to Collins. The genius of
Flaxman has thrown out on the eloquent marble all that fancy would
consecrate; the tomb is itself a poem.

There Collins is represented as sitting in a reclining posture, during
a lucid interval of his afflicting malady, with a calm and benign
aspect, as if seeking refuge from his misfortunes in the consolations
of the Gospel, which lie open before him, whilst his lyre, and "The
Ode on the Passions," as a scroll, are thrown together neglected on
the ground. Upon the pediment on the tablet are placed in relief two
female figures of LOVE and PITY, entwined each in the arms of the
other; the proper emblems of the genius of his poetry.

Langhorne, who gave an edition of Collins's poems with all the fervour
of a votary, made an observation not perfectly correct:--"It is
observable," he says, "that none of his poems bear the marks of an
amorous disposition; and that he is one of those few poets who have
sailed to Delphi without touching at Cythera. In the 'Ode to the
Passions,' _Love_ has been omitted." There, indeed, Love does not form
an important personage; yet, at the close, _Love_ makes his transient
appearance with _Joy_ and _Mirth_--"a gay fantastic round."

  And, amidst his frolic play,
  As if he would the charming air repay,
  Shook thousand odours from his dewy wings.

It is certain, however, that Collins considered the amatory passion as
unfriendly to poetic originality; for he alludes to the whole race of
the Provençal poets, by accusing them of only employing

  Love, only love, her forceless numbers mean.

Collins affected to slight the urchin; for he himself had been once in
love, and his wit has preserved the history of his passion; he was
attached to a young lady who was born the day before him, and who
seems not to have been very poetically tempered, for she did not
return his ardour. On that occasion he said "that he came into the
world _a day after the fair_."

Langhorne composed two sonnets, which seem only preserved in the
"Monthly Review," in which he was a writer, and where he probably
inserted them; they bear a particular reference to the misfortunes of
our poet. In one he represents Wisdom, in the form of Addison,
reclining in "the old and honoured shade of Magdalen," and thus

  The poor shade of Collins, wandering by;
  The tear stood trembling in his gentle eye,
  With modest grief reluctant, while he said--
  "Sweet bard, belov'd by every muse in vain!
  With pow'rs, whose fineness wrought their own decay;
  Ah! wherefore, thoughtless, didst thou yield the rein
    To fancy's will, and chase the meteor ray?
  Ah! why forget thy own Hyblæan strain,
  Peace rules the breast, where Reason rules the day."

The last line is most happily applied; it is a verse by the
unfortunate bard himself, which heightens the contrast with his
forlorn state! Langhorne has feelingly painted the fatal indulgences
of such a character as Collins.

  Of fancy's too prevailing power beware!
    Oft has she bright on life's fair morning shone;
    Oft seated Hope on Reason's sovereign throne,
  Then closed the scene, in darkness and despair.
  Of all her gifts, of all her powers possest,
    Let not her flattery win thy youthful ear,
  Nor vow long faith to such a various guest,
    False at the last, tho' now perchance full dear;
  The casual lover with her charms is blest,
    But woe to them her magic bands that wear!

The criticism of Johnson on the poetry of Collins, that "as men are
often esteemed who cannot be loved, so the poetry of Collins may
sometimes extort praise when it gives little pleasure," might
almost have been furnished by the lumbering pen of old Dennis. But
Collins from the poetical never _extorts_ praise, for it is given
_spontaneously_; he is much _more loved_ than _esteemed_, for he
does not give _little pleasure_. Johnson, too, describes his
"lines as of slow motion, clogged and impeded with clusters of
consonants." Even this verbal criticism, though it appeals to the
eye, and not to the ear, is false criticism, since Collins is
certainly the most musical of poets. How could that lyrist be harsh
in his diction, who almost draws tears from our eyes, while his
melodious lines and picturing epithets are remembered by his readers?
He is devoured with as much enthusiasm by one party as he is
imperfectly relished by the other.

Johnson has given two characters of this poet; the one composed at a
period when that great critic was still susceptible of the seduction
of the imagination; but even in this portrait, though some features of
the poet are impressively drawn, the likeness is incomplete, for there
is not even a slight indication of the chief feature in Collins's
genius, his tenderness and delicacy of emotion, and his fresh and
picturesque creative strokes. Nature had denied to Johnson's robust
intellect the perception of these poetic qualities. He was but a
stately ox in the fields of Parnassus, not the animal of nature. Many
years afterwards, during his poetical biography, that long Lent of
criticism, in which he mortified our poetical feeling by accommodating
his to the populace of critics--so faint were former recollections,
and so imperfect were even those feelings which once he seemed to have
possessed--that he could then do nothing but write on Collins with
much less warmth than he has written on Blackmore. Johnson is, indeed,
the first of critics, when his powerful logic investigates objects
submitted to reason; but great sense is not always combined with
delicacy of taste; and there is in poetry a province which Aristotle
himself may never have entered.


  [123] Leland, in his magnificent plan, included several curious
        departments. Jealous of the literary glory of the Italians,
        whom he compares to the Greeks for accounting all nations
        barbarous and unlettered, he had composed four books "De Viris
        Illustribus", on English Authors, to force them to acknowledge
        the illustrious genius, and the great men of Britain. Three
        books "De Nobilitate Britannica" were to be "as an ornament
        and a right comely garland."

  [124] What reason is there to suppose with Granger that his bust, so
        admirably engraven by Grignion, is supposititious? Probably
        struck by the premature old age of a man who died in his
        fortieth year, he condemned it by its appearance; but not with
        the eye of the physiognomist.

  [125] Ancient Funerall Monuments, p. 692.

  [126] In a letter to Joseph Warton.

  [127] Burton, the author of "The Anatomy of Melancholy," offers a
        striking instance. Bishop Kennett, in his curious "Register
        and Chronicle," has preserved the following particulars of
        this author. "In an interval of vapours _he would be extremely
        pleasant, and raise laughter in any company_. Yet I have heard
        that nothing at last could make him laugh but going down to
        the Bridge-foot at Oxford, and hearing the bargemen scold and
        storm and swear at one another; at which he would set his
        hands to his sides, and laugh most profusely; yet in his
        chamber so mute and mopish, that he was suspected to be _felo
        de se_." With what a fine strain of poetic feeling has a
        modern bard touched this subject!--

          "As a beam o'er the face of the waters may glow,
          While the tide runs in darkness and coldness below,
          So the cheek may be tinged with a warm sunny smile,
          Though the cold heart to ruin runs darkly the while."
                                          MOORE'S "Irish Melodies."


At a time when oriental studies were in their infancy in this country,
SIMON OCKLEY, animated by the illustrious example of Pococke and the
laborious diligence of Prideaux, devoted his life and his fortune to
these novel researches, which necessarily involved both. With that
enthusiasm which the ancient votary experienced, and with that patient
suffering the modern martyr has endured, he pursued, till he
accomplished, the useful object of his labours. He, perhaps, was the
first who exhibited to us other heroes than those of Rome and Greece;
sages as contemplative, and a people more magnificent even than the
iron masters of the world. Among other oriental productions, his most
considerable is "The History of the Saracens." The first volume
appeared in 1708, and the second ten years afterwards. In the preface
to the last volume, the oriental student pathetically counts over his
sorrows, and triumphs over his disappointments; the most remarkable
part is the date of the place from whence this preface was written--he
triumphantly closes his labours in the confinement of Cambridge Castle
for debt!

Ockley, lamenting his small proficiency in the Persian studies,
resolves to attain to them--

"How often have I endeavoured to perfect myself in that language, but
my malignant and envious stars still frustrated my attempts; but they
shall sooner alter their courses than extinguish my resolution of
quenching that thirst which the little I have had of it hath already

And he states the deficiencies of his history with the most natural

"Had I not been forced to snatch everything that I have, as it were,
out of the fire, our Saracen history should have been ushered into the
world after a different manner." He is fearful that something would be
ascribed to his indolence or negligence, that "ought more justly to be
attributed to the influence of inexorable necessity, could I have been
master of my own time and circumstances."

Shame on those pretended patrons who, appointing "a professor of the
oriental languages," counteract the purpose of the professorship by
their utter neglect of the professor, whose stipend cannot keep him on
the spot where only he ought to dwell. And Ockley complains also of
that hypocritical curiosity which pretends to take an interest in
things it cares little about; perpetually inquiring, as soon as a work
is announced, when it is to come out. But these Pharisees of
literature, who can only build sepulchres to ancient prophets, never
believe in a living one. Some of these Ockley met with on the
publication of his first volume: they run it down as the strangest
story they had ever heard; they had never met with such folks as the
Arabians! "A reverend dignitary asked me if, when I wrote that book, I
had not lately been reading the history of Oliver Cromwell?" Such was
the plaudit the oriental student received, and returned to grow pale
over his MSS. But when Petis de la Croix, observes Ockley, was
pursuing the same track of study, in the patronage of Louis XIV., he
found books, leisure, and encouragement; and when the great Colbert
desired him to compose the life of Genkis Chan, he considered a period
of ten years not too much to be allowed the author. And then Ockley

"But my unhappy condition hath always been widely different from
anything that could admit of such an exactness. Fortune seems only to
have given me a taste of it out of spite, on purpose that I might
regret the loss of it."

He describes his two journeys to Oxford, for his first volume; but in
his second, matters fared worse with him--

"Either my domestic affairs were grown much worse, or I less able to
bear them; or what is more probable, both."

Ingenuous confession! fruits of a life devoted in its struggles to
important literature! and we murmur when genius is irritable, and
erudition is morose! But let us proceed with Ockley:--

"I was forced to take the advantage of the slumber of my cares, that
never slept when I was awake; and if they did not incessantly
interrupt my studies, were sure to succeed them with no less constancy
than night doth the day."

This is the cry of agony. He who reads this without sympathy, ought to
reject these volumes as the idlest he ever read, and honour me with
his contempt. The close of Ockley's preface shows a love-like
tenderness for his studies; although he must quit life without
bringing them to perfection, he opens his soul to posterity and tells
them, in the language of prophecy, that if they will bestow
encouragement on our youth, the misfortunes he has described will be
remedied. He, indeed, was aware that these students--

"Will hardly come in upon the prospect of finding leisure, in a
prison, to transcribe those papers for the press which they have
collected with indefatigable labour, and oftentimes at the expense of
their rest, and all the other conveniences of life, for the service of
the public."

Yet the exulting martyr of literature, at the moment he is fast bound
to the stake, does not consider a prison so dreadful a reward for
literary labours--

"I can assure them, from my own experience, that I have enjoyed more
true liberty, more happy leisure, and more solid repose in six months
here, than in thrice the same number of years before. Evil is the
condition of that historian who undertakes to write the lives of
others before he knows how to live himself. Yet I have no just reason
to be angry with the world; I never stood in need of its assistance in
my life, but I found it always very liberal of its advice; for which I
am so much the more beholden to it, by how much the more I did always
in my judgment give the possession of wisdom the preference to that of

Poor Ockley, always a student, and rarely what is called a man of the
world, once encountered a literary calamity which frequently occurs
when an author finds himself among the vapid triflers and the polished
cynics of the fashionable circle. Something like a patron he found in
Harley, the Earl of Oxford, and once had the unlucky honour of dining
at the table of my Lord Treasurer. It is probable that Ockley, from
retired habits and severe studies, was not at all accomplished in the
_suaviter in modo_, of which greater geniuses than Ockley have so
surlily despaired. How he behaved I cannot narrate: probably he
delivered himself with as great simplicity at the table of the Lord
Treasurer as on the wrong side of Cambridge Castle gate. The
embarrassment this simplicity drew him into is very fully stated in
the following copious apology he addressed to the Earl of Oxford,
which I have transcribed from the original; perhaps it may be a useful
memorial to some men of letters as little polished as the learned

  "_Cambridge, July 15, 1714._

  "MY LORD,--I was so struck with horror and amazement two days ago,
  that I cannot possibly express it. A friend of mine showed me a
  letter, part of the contents of which were, 'That Professor Ockley
  had given such extreme offence by some uncourtly answers to some
  gentlemen at my Lord Treasurer's table that it would be in vain to
  make any further application to him.'

  "My Lord, it is impossible for me to recollect, at this distance
  of time. All that I can say is this: that, as on the one side for
  a man to come to his patron's table with a design to affront
  either him or his friends supposes him a perfect natural, a mere
  idiot; so on the other side it would be extreme severe, if a
  person whose education was far distant from the politeness of a
  court, should, upon the account of an unguarded expression, or
  some little inadvertency in his behaviour, suffer a capital

  "Which is my case, if I have forfeited your Lordship's favour;
  which God forbid! That man is involved in double ruin that is not
  only forsaken by his friend, but, which is the unavoidable
  consequence, exposed to the malice and contempt not only of
  enemies, but, what is still more grievous, of all sorts of fools.

  "It is not the talent of every well-meaning man to converse with
  his superiors with due decorum; for, either when he reflects upon
  the vast distance of their station above his own, he is struck
  dumb and almost insensible; or else their condescension and
  courtly behaviour encourages him to be too familiar. To steer
  exactly between these two extremes requires not only a good
  intention, but presence of mind, and long custom.

  "Another article in my friend's letter was, 'That somebody had
  informed your Lordship that I was a very sot.' When first I had
  the honour to be known to your Lordship, I could easily foresee
  that there would be persons enough that would envy me upon that
  account, and do what in them lay to traduce me. Let Haman enjoy
  never so much himself, it is all nothing, it does him no good,
  till poor Mordecai is hanged out of his way.

  "But I never feared the being censured upon that account. Here in
  the University I converse with none but persons of the most
  distinguished reputations both for learning and virtue, and
  receive from them daily as great marks of respect and esteem,
  which I should not have if that imputation were true. It is most
  certain that I do indulge myself the freedom of drinking a
  cheerful cup, at proper seasons, among my friends; but no
  otherwise than is done by thousands of honest men, who never
  forfeit their character by it. And whoever doth no more than so,
  deserves no more to be called a sot, than a man that eats a hearty
  meal would be willing to be called a glutton.

  "As for those detractors, if I have but the least assurance of
  your Lordship's favour, I can very easily despise them. They are
  _Nati consumere fruges_. They need not trouble themselves about
  what other people do; for whatever they eat and drink, it is only
  robbing the poor. Resigning myself entirely to your Lordship's
  goodness and pardon, I conclude this necessary apology with like
  provocation. That _I would be content he should take my character
  from any person that had a good one of his own_.

    "I am, with all submission, My Lord,
      "Your Lordship's most obedient, &c.,
        "SIMON OCKLEY."

To the honour of the Earl of Oxford, this unlucky piece of awkwardness
at table, in giving "uncourtly answers," did not interrupt his regard
for the poor oriental student; for several years afterwards the
correspondence of Ockley was still acceptable to the Earl.

If the letters of the widows and children of many of our eminent
authors were collected, they would demonstrate the great fact, that
the man who is a husband or a father ought not to be an author. They
might weary with a monotonous cry, and usually would be dated from the
gaol or the garret. I have seen an original letter from the widow of
Ockley to the Earl of Oxford, in which she lays before him the
deplorable situation of her affairs; the debts of the Professor being
beyond what his effects amounted to, the severity of the creditors
would not even suffer the executor to make the best of his effects;
the widow remained destitute of necessaries, incapable of assisting
her children.[129]

Thus students have devoted their days to studies worthy of a student.
They are public benefactors, yet find no friend in the public, who
cannot yet appreciate their value--Ministers of State know it, though
they have rarely protected them. Ockley, by letters I have seen, was
frequently employed by Bolingbroke to translate letters from the
Sovereign of Morocco to our court; yet all the debts for which he was
imprisoned in Cambridge Castle did not exceed two hundred pounds. The
public interest is concerned in stimulating such enthusiasts; they are
men who cannot be salaried, who cannot be created by letters-patent;
for they are men who infuse their soul into their studies, and breathe
their fondness for them in their last agonies. Yet such are doomed to
feel their life pass away like a painful dream!

Those who know the value of LIGHTFOOT'S Hebraic studies, may be
startled at the impediments which seem to have annihilated them. In
the following effusion he confides his secret agitation to his friend
Buxtorf: "A few years since I prepared a little commentary on the
First Epistle to the Corinthians, in the same style and manner as I
had done that on Matthew. But it laid by me two years or more, nor can
I now publish it, but at my own charges, and to my great damage, which
I felt enough and too much in the edition of my book upon Mark. Some
progress I have made in the gospel of St. Luke, but I can print
nothing but at my own cost: thereupon I wholly give myself to reading,
scarce thinking of writing more; for booksellers and printers have
dulled my edge, who will print no book, especially Latin, unless they
have an assured and considerable gain."

These writings and even the fragments have been justly appreciated by
posterity, and a recent edition of all Lightfoot's works in many
volumes have received honours which their despairing author never


  [128] Dr. Edmund Castell offers a remarkable instance to illustrate
        our present investigation. He more than devoted his life to
        his "Lexicon Heptaglotton." It is not possible, if there are
        tears that are to be bestowed on the afflictions of learned
        men, to read his pathetic address to Charles II., and forbear.
        He laments the seventeen years of incredible pains, during
        which he thought himself idle when he had not devoted sixteen
        or eighteen hours a day to this labour; that he had expended
        all his inheritance (it is said more than twelve thousand
        pounds); that it had broken his constitution, and left him
        blind as well as poor. When this invaluable Polyglott was
        published, the copies remained unsold in his hands; for the
        learned Castell had anticipated the curiosity and knowledge of
        the public by a full century. He had so completely devoted
        himself to oriental studies, that they had a very remarkable
        consequence, for he had totally forgotten his own language,
        and could scarcely spell a single word. This appears in some
        of his English Letters, preserved by Mr. Nichols in his
        valuable "Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century," vol.
        iv. Five hundred of these Lexicons, unsold at the time of his
        death, were placed by Dr. Castell's niece in a room so little
        regarded, that scarcely one complete copy escaped the rats,
        and "the whole load of learned rags sold only for seven
        pounds." The work at this moment would find purchasers, I
        believe, at forty or fifty pounds.--The learned SALE, who
        first gave the world a genuine version of the Koran, and who
        had so zealously laboured in forming that "Universal History"
        which was the pride of our country, pursued his studies
        through a life of want--and this great orientalist (I grieve
        to degrade the memoirs of a man of learning by such
        mortifications), when he quitted his studies too often wanted
        a change of linen, and often wandered in the streets in search
        of some compassionate friend who would supply him with the
        meal of the day!

  [129] The following are extracts from Ockley's letters to the Earl of
        Oxford, which I copy from the originals:--

          "_Cambridge Castle, May 2, 1717._

          "I am here in the prison for debt, which must needs be an
          unavoidable consequence of the distractions in my family.
          I enjoy more repose, indeed, here, than I have tasted
          these many years, but the circumstance of a family obliges
          me to go out as soon as I can."

          "_Cambridge, Sept. 7, 1717._

          "I have at last found leisure in my confinement to finish
          my Saracen history, which I might have hoped for in vain
          in my perplexed circumstances."


An author occupies a critical situation, for, while he is presenting
the world with the result of his profound studies and his honest
inquiries, it may prove pernicious to himself. By it he may incur the
risk of offending the higher powers, and witnessing his own days
embittered. Liable, by his moderation or his discoveries, by his
scruples or his assertions, by his adherence to truth, or by the
curiosity of his speculations, to be persecuted by two opposite
parties, even when the accusations of the one necessarily nullify the
other; such an author will be fortunate to be permitted to retire out
of the circle of the bad passions; but he crushes in silence and
voluntary obscurity all future efforts--and thus the nation loses a
valued author.

This case is exemplified by the history of Dr. COWEL'S curious work
"The Interpreter." The book itself is a treasure of our antiquities,
illustrating our national manners. The author was devoted to his
studies, and the merits of his work recommended him to the Archbishop
of Canterbury; in the Ecclesiastical Court he practised as a civilian,
and became there eminent as a judge.[130]

Cowel gave his work with all the modesty of true learning; for who
knows his deficiencies so well in the subject on which he has written
as that author who knows most? It is delightful to listen to the
simplicity and force with which an author in the reign of our first
James opens himself without reserve.

"My true end is the advancement of knowledge; and therefore have I
published this poor work, not only to impart the good thereof to those
young ones that want it, but also to draw from the learned the supply
of my defects. Whosoever will charge these my travels [labours] with
many oversights, he shall need no solemn pains to prove them. And upon
the view taken of this book sithence the impression, I dare assure
them that shall observe most faults therein, that I, by gleaning after
him, will gather as many omitted by him, as he shall show committed by
me. What a man saith well is not, however, to be rejected because he
hath some errors; reprehend who will, in God's name, that is, with
sweetness and without reproach. So shall he reap hearty thanks at my
hands, and thus more soundly help in a few months, than I, by tossing
and tumbling my books at home, could possibly have done in many

This extract discovers Cowel's amiable character as an author. But he
was not fated to receive "sweetness without reproach."

Cowel encountered an unrelenting enemy in Sir Edward Coke, the famous
Attorney-General of James I., the commentator of Littleton. As a man,
his name ought to arouse our indignation, for his licentious tongue,
his fierce brutality, and his cold and tasteless genius. He whose
vileness could even ruffle the great spirit of Rawleigh, was the
shameless persecutor of the learned Cowel.

Coke was the oracle of the common law, and Cowel of the civil; but
Cowel practised at Westminster Hall as well as at Doctors' Commons.
Coke turned away with hatred from an advocate who, with the skill of a
great lawyer, exerted all the courage. The Attorney-General sought
every occasion to degrade him, and, with puerile derision, attempted
to fasten on Dr. Cowel the nickname of _Dr. Cowheel_. Coke, after
having written in his "Reports" whatever he could against our author,
with no effect, started a new project. Coke well knew his master's
jealousy on the question of his prerogative; and he touched the King
on that nerve. The Attorney-General suggested to James that Cowel had
discussed "too nicely the mysteries of his monarchy, in some points
derogatory to the supreme power of his crown; asserting that the royal
prerogative was in some cases limited." So subtly the serpent
whispered to the feminine ear of a monarch, whom this vanity of
royalty startled with all the fears of a woman. This suggestion had
nearly occasioned the ruin of Cowel--it verged on treason; and if the
conspiracy of Coke now failed, it was through the mediation of the
archbishop, who influenced the King; but it succeeded in alienating
the royal favour from Cowel.

When Coke found he could not hang Cowel for treason, it was only a
small disappointment, for he had hopes to secure his prey by involving
him in felony. As physicians in desperate cases sometimes reverse
their mode of treatment, so Coke now operated on an opposite
principle. He procured a party in the Commons to declare that Cowel
was a betrayer of the rights and liberties of the people; that he had
asserted the King was independent of Parliament, and that it was a
favour to admit the consent of his subjects in giving of subsidies,
&c.; and, in a word, that he drew his arguments from the Roman
Imperial Code, and would make the laws and customs of Rome and
Constantinople those of London and York. Passages were wrested to
Coke's design. The prefacer of Cowel's book very happily expresses
himself when he says, "When a suspected book is brought to the
torture, it often confesseth all, and more than it knows."

The Commons proceeded criminally against Cowel; and it is said his
life was required, had not the king interposed. The author was
imprisoned, and the book was burnt.

On this occasion was issued "a proclamation touching Dr. Cowel's book
called 'The Interpreter.'" It may be classed among the most curious
documents of our literary history. I do not hesitate to consider this
proclamation as the composition of James I.

I will preserve some passages from this proclamation, not merely for
their majestic composition, which may still be admired, and the
singularity of the ideas, which may still be applied--but for the
literary event to which it gave birth in the appointment of a royal
licenser for the press. Proclamations and burning of books are the
strong efforts of a weak government, exciting rather than suppressing
public attention.

"This later age and times of the world wherein we are fallen is so
much given to verbal profession, as well of religion as of all
commendable royal virtues, but wanting the actions and deeds agreeable
to so specious a profession; as it hath bred such an unsatiable
curiosity in many men's spirits, and such an itching in the tongues
and pens of most men, as nothing is left unsearched to the bottom both
in talking and writing. For from the very highest mysteries in the
Godhead and the most inscrutable counsels in the Trinity, to the very
lowest pit of hell and the confused actions of the devils there, there
is nothing now unsearched into by the curiosity of men's brains. Men,
not being contented with the knowledge of so much of the will of God
as it hath pleased him to reveal, but they will needs sit with him in
his most private closet, and become privy of his most inscrutable
counsels. And, therefore, it is no wonder that men in these our days
do not spare to wade in all the deepest mysteries that belong to the
persons or state of kings and princes, that are gods upon earth; since
we see (as we have already said) that they spare not God himself. And
this licence, which every talker or writer now assumeth to himself, is
come to this abuse; that many Phormios will give counsel to Hannibal,
and many men that never went of the compass of cloysters or colleges,
will freely wade, by their writings, in the deepest mysteries of
monarchy and politick government. Whereupon it cannot otherwise fall
out but that when men go out of their element and meddle with things
above their capacity, themselves shall not only go astray and stumble
in darkness, but will mislead also divers others with themselves into
many mistakings and errors; the proof whereof we have lately had by a
book written by Dr. Cowel, called 'The Interpreter.'"

The royal reviewer then in a summary way shows how Cowel had, "by
meddling in matters beyond his reach, fallen into many things to
mistake and deceive himself." The book is therefore "prohibited; the
buying, uttering, or reading it;" and those "who have any copies are
to deliver the same presently upon this publication to the Mayor of
London," &c., and the proclamation concludes with instituting
licensers of the press:--

"Because that there shall be better oversight of books of all sorts
before they come to the press, we have resolved to make choice of
commissioners, that shall look more narrowly into the nature of all
those things that shall be put to the press, and from whom a more
strict account shall be yielded unto us, than hath been used

What were the feelings of our injured author, whose integrity was so
firm, and whose love of study was so warm, when he reaped for his
reward the displeasure of his sovereign, and the indignation of his
countrymen--accused at once of contradictory crimes, he could not be
a betrayer of the rights of the people, and at the same time limit the
sovereign power. Cowel retreated to his college, and, like a wise man,
abstained from the press; he pursued his private studies, while his
inoffensive life was a comment on Coke's inhumanity more honourable to
Cowel than any of Coke's on Littleton.

Thus Cowel saw, in his own life, its richest labour thrown aside; and
when the author and his adversary were no more, it became a treasure
valued by posterity! It was printed in the reign of Charles I., under
the administration of Cromwell, and again after the Restoration. It
received the honour of a foreign edition. Its value is still
permanent. Such is the history of a book, which occasioned the
disgrace of its author, and embittered his life.

A similar calamity was the fate of honest STOWE, the Chronicler. After
a long life of labour, and having exhausted his patrimony in the study
of English antiquities, from a reverential love to his country, poor
Stowe was ridiculed, calumniated, neglected, and persecuted. One
cannot read without indignation and pity what Howes, his continuator,
tells us in his dedication. Howes had observed that--

"No man would lend a helping hand to the late aged painful Chronicler,
nor, after his death, prosecute his work. He applied himself to
several persons of dignity and learning, whose names had got forth
among the public as likely to be the continuators of Stowe; but every
one persisted in denying this, and some imagined that their secret
enemies had mentioned their names with a view of injuring them, by
incurring the displeasure of their superiors and risking their own
quiet. One said, 'I will _not flatter_, to scandalise my posterity;'
another, 'I cannot see how a man should spend his labour and money
worse than in that which acquires no regard nor reward except
_backbiting_ and _detraction_.' One swore a great oath and said, 'I
thank God that I am not yet so mad to waste my time, spend two hundred
pounds a-year, trouble myself and all my friends, only to give
assurance of endless reproach, loss of liberty, and bring all my days
in question.'"

Unhappy authors! are such then the terrors which silence eloquence,
and such the dangers which environ truth? Posterity has many
discoveries to make, or many deceptions to endure! But we are treading
on hot embers.

Such too was the fate of REGINALD SCOT, who, in an elaborate and
curious volume,[131] if he could not stop the torrent of the popular
superstitions of witchcraft, was the first, at least, to break and
scatter the waves. It is a work which forms an epoch in the history of
the human mind in our country; but the author had anticipated a very
remote period of its enlargement. Scot, the apostle of humanity, and
the legislator of reason, lived in retirement, yet persecuted by
religious credulity and legal cruelty.

SELDEN, perhaps the most learned of our antiquaries, was often led, in
his curious investigations, to disturb his own peace, by giving the
result of his inquiries. James I. and the Court party were willing
enough to extol his profound authorities and reasonings on topics
which did not interfere with their system of arbitrary power; but they
harassed and persecuted the author whom they would at other times
eagerly quote as their advocate. Selden, in his "History of Tithes,"
had alarmed the clergy by the intricacy of his inquiries. He pretends,
however, to have only collected the opposite opinions of others,
without delivering his own. The book was not only suppressed, but the
great author was further disgraced by subscribing a gross recantation
of all his learned investigations--and was compelled to receive in
silence the insults of Courtly scholars, who had the hardihood to
accuse him of plagiarism, and other literary treasons, which more
sensibly hurt Selden than the recantation extorted from his hand by
"the Lords of the High Commission Court." James I. would not suffer
him to reply to them. When the king desired Selden to show the right
of the British Crown to the dominion of the sea, this learned author
having made proper collections, Selden, angried at an imprisonment he
had undergone, refused to publish the work. A great author like Selden
degrades himself when any personal feeling, in literary disputes,
places him on an equality with any king; the duty was to his
country.--But Selden, alive to the call of rival genius, when Grotius
published, in Holland, his _Mare liberum_, gave the world his _Mare
clausum_; when Selden had to encounter Grotius, and to proclaim to the
universe "the Sovereignty of the Seas," how contemptible to him
appeared the mean persecutions of a crowned head, and how little his
own meaner resentment!

To this subject the fate of Dr. HAWKESWORTH is somewhat allied. It is
well known that this author, having distinguished himself by his
pleasing compositions in the "Adventurer," was chosen to draw up the
narrative of Cook's discoveries in the South Seas. The pictures of a
new world, the description of new manners in an original state of
society, and the incidents arising from an adventure which could find
no parallel in the annals of mankind, but under the solitary genius of
Columbus--all these were conceived to offer a history, to which the
moral and contemplative powers of Hawkesworth only were equal. Our
author's fate, and that of his work, are known: he incurred all the
danger of giving the result of his inquiries; he indulged his
imagination till it burst into pruriency, and discussed moral theorems
till he ceased to be moral. The shock it gave to the feelings of our
author was fatal; and the error of a mind, intent on inquiries which,
perhaps, he thought innocent, and which the world condemned as
criminal, terminated in death itself. Hawkesworth was a vain man, and
proud of having raised himself by his literary talents from his native
obscurity: of no learning, he drew all his science from the
Cyclopædia; and, I have heard, could not always have construed the
Latin mottos of his own paper, which were furnished by Johnson; but
his sensibility was abundant--and ere his work was given to the world,
he felt those tremblings and those doubts which anticipated his fate.
That he was in a state of mental agony respecting the reception of his
opinions, and some other parts of his work, will, I think, be
discovered in the following letter, hitherto unpublished. It was
addressed, with his MSS., to a peer, to be examined before they were
sent to the press--an occupation probably rather too serious for the
noble critic:--

  "_London, March 2, 1761._

  "I think myself happy to be permitted to put _my MSS. into your
  Lordship's hands_, because, though it increases my anxiety and my
  fears, yet it will at least secure me from what I should think _a
  far greater misfortune_ than any other that can attend my
  performance, _the danger of addressing to the King any sentiment,
  allusion, or opinion_, that could make such an address _improper_.
  I have now the honour to submit the _work_ to your Lordship, with
  the dedication; from which the duty I owe to his Majesty, and, if
  I may be permitted to add anything to that, the duty I owe to
  myself, have concurred to exclude the servile, extravagant, and
  indiscriminate adulation which has so often disgraced alike those
  by whom it has been given and received.

    "I remain, &c. &c."

This elegant epistle justly describes that delicacy in style which has
been so rarely practised by an indiscriminate dedicator; and it not
less feelingly touches on that "far greater misfortune than any
other," which finally overwhelmed the fortitude and intellect of this
unhappy author!


  [130] Cowel's book, "The Interpreter," though professedly a mere
        explanation of law terms, was believed to contain allusions or
        interpretations of law entirely adapted to party feeling.
        Cowel was blamed by both parties, and his book declared to
        infringe the royal prerogative or the liberties of the
        subject. It was made one of the articles against Laud at his
        trial, that he had sanctioned a new edition of this work to
        countenance King Charles in his measures. Cowel had died long
        before this (October, 1611); he had retired again to
        collegiate life as soon as he got free of his political

  [131] "The Discoverie of Witchcraft, necessary to be known for the
        undeceiving of Judges, Justices, and Juries, and for the
        Preservation of Poor People." Third edition, 1665. This was
        about the time that, according to Arnot's Scots Trials, the
        expenses of burning a witch amounted to ninety-two pounds,
        fourteen shillings, Scots. The unfortunate old woman cost two
        trees, and employed two men to watch her closely for thirty
        days! One ought to recollect the past follies of humanity, to
        detect, perhaps, some existing ones.


The author who is now before us is DE LOLME!

I shall consider as an English author that foreigner, who flew to our
country as the asylum of Europe, who composed a noble work on our
Constitution, and, having imbibed its spirit, acquired even the
language of a free country.

I do not know an example in our literary history that so loudly
accuses our tardy and phlegmatic feeling respecting authors, as the
treatment De Lolme experienced in this country. His book on our
Constitution still enters into the studies of an English patriot, and
is not the worse for flattering and elevating the imagination,
painting everything beautiful, to encourage our love as well as our
reverence for the most perfect system of governments. It was a noble
as well as ingenious effort in a foreigner--it claimed national
attention--but could not obtain even individual patronage. The fact is
mortifying to record, that the author who wanted every aid, received
less encouragement than if he had solicited subscriptions for a raving
novel, or an idle poem. De Lolme was compelled to traffic with
booksellers for this work; and, as he was a theoretical rather than a
practical politician, he was a bad trader, and acquired the smallest
remuneration. He lived, in the country to which he had rendered a
national service, in extreme obscurity and decay; and the walls of the
Fleet too often enclosed the English Montesquieu. He never appears to
have received a solitary attention,[132] and became so disgusted with
authorship, that he preferred silently to endure its poverty rather
than its other vexations. He ceased almost to write. Of De Lolme I
have heard little recorded but his high-mindedness; a strong sense
that he stood degraded beneath that rank in society which his book
entitled him to enjoy. The cloud of poverty that covered him only
veiled without concealing its object; with the manners and dress of a
decayed gentleman, he still showed the few who met him that he
cherished a spirit perpetually at variance with the adversity of his

Our author, in a narrative prefixed to his work, is the proud
historian of his own injured feelings; he smiled in bitterness on his
contemporaries, confident it was a tale reserved for posterity.

After having written the work whose systematic principles refuted
those political notions which prevailed at the era of the American
revolution,--and whose truth has been so fatally demonstrated in our
own times, in two great revolutions, which have shown all the defects
and all the mischief of nations rushing into a state of freedom before
they are worthy of it,--the author candidly acknowledges he counted on
some sort of encouragement, and little expected to find the mere
publication had drawn him into great inconvenience.

"When my enlarged English edition was ready for the press, had I
acquainted ministers that I was preparing to boil my tea-kettle with
it, for want of being able to afford the expenses of printing it;"
ministers, it seems, would not have considered that he was lighting
his fire with "myrrh, and cassia, and precious ointment."

In the want of encouragement from great men, and even from booksellers,
De Lolme had recourse to a subscription; and his account of the manner
he was received, and the indignities he endured, all which are
narrated with great simplicity, show that whatever his knowledge of
our Constitution might be, "his knowledge of the country was, at that
time, very incomplete." At length, when he shared the profits of his
work with the booksellers, they were "but scanty and slow." After
all, our author sarcastically congratulates himself, that he--

"Was allowed to carry on the above business of selling my book,
without any objection being formed against me, from my not having
served a regular apprenticeship, and without being molested by the

And further he adds--

"Several authors have chosen to relate, in writings published after
death, the personal advantages by which their performances had been
followed; as for me, I have thought otherwise--and I will see it
printed while I am yet living."

This, indeed, is the language of irritation! and De Lolme degrades
himself in the loudness of his complaint. But if the philosopher
lost his temper, that misfortune will not take away the dishonour of
the occasion that produced it. The country's shame is not lessened
because the author who had raised its glory throughout Europe, and
instructed the nation in its best lesson, grew indignant at the
ingratitude of his pupil. De Lolme ought not to have congratulated
himself that he had been allowed the liberty of the press unharassed
by an inquisition: this sarcasm is senseless! or his book is a
mere fiction!


  [132] Except by the hand of literary charity; he was more than once
        relieved by the Literary Fund. Such are the authors only whom
        it is wise to patronise.


HUME is an author so celebrated, a philosopher so serene, and a man so
extremely amiable, if not fortunate, that we may be surprised to meet
his name inscribed in a catalogue of literary calamities. Look into
his literary life, and you will discover that the greater portion was
mortified and angried; and that the stoic so lost his temper, that had
not circumstances intervened which did not depend on himself, Hume had
abandoned his country and changed his name!

"The first success of most of my writings was not such as to be an
object of vanity." His "Treatise of Human Nature" fell dead-born from
the press. It was cast anew with another title, and was at first
little more successful. The following letter to Des Maiseaux, which I
believe is now first published, gives us the feelings of the youthful
and modest philosopher:--


  "SIR,--Whenever you see my name, you'll readily imagine the
  subject of my letter. A young author can scarce forbear
  speaking of his performance to all the world; but when he
  meets with one that is a good judge, and whose instruction and
  advice he depends on, there ought some indulgence to be given
  him. You were so good as to promise me, that if you could find
  leisure from your other occupations, you would look over my
  system of philosophy, and at the same time ask the opinion of
  such of your acquaintance as you thought proper judges. Have you
  found it sufficiently intelligible? Does it appear true to you?
  Do the style and language seem tolerable? These three questions
  comprehend everything; and I beg of you to answer them with the
  utmost freedom and sincerity. I know 'tis a custom to flatter
  poets on their performances, but I hope philosophers may be
  exempted; and the more so that their cases are by no means alike.
  When we do not approve of anything in a poet we commonly can give
  no reason for our dislikes but our particular taste; which not
  being convincing, we think it better to conceal our sentiments
  altogether. But every error in philosophy can be distinctly
  markt and proved to be such; and this is a favour I flatter
  myself you'll indulge me in with regard to the performance I put
  into your hands. I am, indeed, afraid that it would be too great
  a trouble for you to mark all the errors you have observed; I
  shall only insist upon being informed of the most material of
  them, and you may assure yourself will consider it as a singular
  favour. I am, with great esteem

    "Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
      "_Aprile 6, 1739._
        "DAVID HUME.

  "Please direct to me at Ninewells, near Berwick-upon-Tweed."

Hume's own favourite "Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals"
came unnoticed and unobserved in the world. When he published the
first portion of his "History," which made even Hume himself sanguine
in his expectations, he tells his own tale:--

"I thought that I was the only historian that had at once neglected
present power, interest, and authority, and the cry of popular
prejudices; and, as the subject was suited to every capacity, I
expected proportional applause. But miserable was my disappointment!
All classes of men and readers united in their rage against him who
had presumed to shed a generous tear for the fate of Charles I. and
the Earl of Strafford." "What was still more mortifying, the book
seemed to sink into oblivion, and in a twelvemonth not more than
forty-five copies were sold."

Even Hume, a stoic hitherto in his literary character, was struck
down, and dismayed--he lost all courage to proceed--and, had the war
not prevented him, "he had resolved to change his name, and never more
to have returned to his native country."

But an author, though born to suffer martyrdom, does not always
expire; he may be flayed like St. Bartholomew, and yet he can breathe
without a skin; stoned, like St. Stephen, and yet write on with a
broken head; and he has been even known to survive the flames,
notwithstanding the most precious part of an author, which is
obviously his book, has been burnt in an _auto da fe_. Hume once
more tried the press in "The Natural History of Religion." It proved
but another martyrdom! Still was the _fall_ (as he terms it) of
the first volume of his History haunting his nervous imagination,
when he found himself yet strong enough to hold a pen in his hand,
and ventured to produce a second, which "helped to buoy up its
unfortunate brother." But the third part, containing the reign of
Elizabeth, was particularly obnoxious, and he was doubtful whether he
was again to be led to the stake. But Hume, a little hardened by a
little success, grew, to use his own words, "callous against the
impressions of public folly," and completed his History, which was
now received "with tolerable, and but tolerable, success."

At length, in the sixty-fifth year of his age, our author began, a
year or two before he died, as he writes, to see "many _symptoms_ of
my literary reputation breaking out _at last_ with additional lustre,
though I know that I can have but few years to enjoy it." What a
provoking consolation for a philosopher, who, according to the result
of his own system, was close upon a state of annihilation!

To Hume, let us add the illustrious name of DRYDEN.

It was after preparing a second edition of Virgil, that the great
Dryden, who had lived, and was to die in harness, found himself still
obliged to seek for daily bread. Scarcely relieved from one heavy
task, he was compelled to hasten to another; and his efforts were now
stimulated by a domestic feeling, the expected return of his son in
ill-health from Rome. In a letter to his bookseller he pathetically
writes--"If it please God that _I must die of over-study_, I cannot
spend my life better than in preserving his." It was on this occasion,
on the verge of his seventieth year, as he describes himself in the
dedication of his Virgil, that, "worn out with study, and oppressed
with fortune," he contracted to supply the bookseller with 10,000
verses at sixpence a line!

What was his entire dramatic life but a series of vexation and
hostility, from his first play to his last? On those very boards
whence Dryden was to have derived the means of his existence and his
fame, he saw his foibles aggravated, and his morals aspersed.
Overwhelmed by the keen ridicule of Buckingham, and maliciously
mortified by the triumph which Settle, his meanest rival, was allowed
to obtain over him, and doomed still to encounter the cool malignant
eye of Langbaine, who read poetry only to detect plagiarism.
Contemporary genius is inspected with too much familiarity to be felt
with reverence; and the angry prefaces of Dryden only excited the
little revenge of the wits. How could such sympathise with injured,
but with lofty feelings? They spread two reports of him, which may not
be true, but which hurt him with the public. It was said that, being
jealous of the success of Creech, for his version of Lucretius, he
advised him to attempt Horace, in which Dryden knew he would fail--and
a contemporary haunter of the theatre, in a curious letter[133] on
_The Winter Diversions_, says of Congreve's angry preface to the
_Double Dealer_, that--

"The critics were severe upon this play, which gave the author
occasion to lash them in his epistle dedicatory--so that 'tis
generally thought _he has done his business and lost himself_; a thing
he owes to Mr. Dryden's _treacherous friendship_, who being _jealous
of the applause_ he had got by his _Old Bachelor deluded him_ into a
foolish imitation of his own way of writing angry prefaces."

This lively critic is still more vivacious on the great Dryden, who
had then produced his _Love Triumphant_, which, the critic says,

"Was damned by the universal cry of the town, _nemine contradicente_
but the _conceited poet_. He says in his prologue that 'this is the
last the town must expect from him;' he had done himself a kindness
had he taken his leave before." He then describes the success of
Southerne's _Fatal Marriage, or the Innocent Adultery_, and
concludes, "This kind usage will encourage desponding minor poets,
and _vex huffing Dryden and Congreve to madness_."

I have quoted thus much of this letter, that we may have before us
a true image of those feelings which contemporaries entertain of the
greater geniuses of their age; how they seek to level them; and in
what manner men of genius are doomed to be treated--slighted,
starved, and abused. Dryden and Congreve! the one the finest genius,
the other the most exquisite wit of our nation, are to be _vexed to
madness_!--their failures are not to excite sympathy, but contempt
or ridicule! How the feelings and the language of contemporaries
differ from that of posterity! And yet let _us_ not exult in our purer
and more dignified feelings--_we_ are, indeed, the _posterity_ of
Dryden and Congreve; but we are the _contemporaries_ of others who
must patiently hope for better treatment from our sons than they
have received from the fathers.

Dryden was no master of the pathetic, yet never were compositions more
pathetic than the Prefaces this great man has transmitted to
posterity! Opening all the feelings of his heart, we live among his
domestic sorrows. Johnson censures Dryden for saying _he has few
thanks to pay his stars that he was born among Englishmen_.[134] We
have just seen that Hume went farther, and sighed to fly to a retreat
beyond that country which knew not to reward genius.--What, if Dryden
felt the dignity of that character he supported, dare we blame his
frankness? If the age be ungenerous, shall contemporaries escape the
scourge of the great author, who feels he is addressing another age
more favourable to him?

Johnson, too, notices his "Self-commendation; his diligence in
reminding the world of his merits, and expressing, with very little
scruple, his high opinion of his own powers." Dryden shall answer in
his own words; with all the simplicity of Montaigne, he expresses
himself with the dignity that would have become Milton or Gray:--

"It is a vanity common to all writers to overvalue their own
productions; and it is better for me to own this failing in myself,
than the world to do it for me. _For what other reason have I spent
my life in such an unprofitable study? Why am I grown old in seeking
so barren a reward as fame?_ The same parts and application which have
made me a poet, might have raised me to any honours of the gown, which
are often given to men of as little learning, and less honesty, than

How feelingly Whitehead paints the situation of Dryden in his old

  Yet lives the man, how wild soe'er his aim,
  Would madly barter fortune's smiles for fame?
  Well pleas'd to shine, through each recording page,
  The hapless Dryden of a shameless age!

    Ill-fated bard! where'er thy name appears,
  The weeping verse a sad memento bears;
  Ah! what avail'd the enormous blaze between
  Thy dawn of glory and thy closing scene!
  When sinking nature asks our kind repairs,
  Unstrung the nerves, and silver'd o'er the hairs;
  When stay'd reflection came uncall'd at last,
  And gray experience counts each folly past!

MICKLE'S version of the Lusiad offers an affecting instance of the
melancholy fears which often accompany the progress of works of
magnitude, undertaken by men of genius. Five years he had buried
himself in a farm-house, devoted to the solitary labour; and he closes
his preface with the fragment of a poem, whose stanzas have
perpetuated all the tremblings and the emotions, whose unhappy
influence the author had experienced through the long work. Thus
pathetically he addresses the Muse:--

  ----Well thy meed repays thy worthless toil;
  Upon thy houseless head pale want descends
  In bitter shower; and taunting scorn still rends
  And wakes thee trembling from thy golden dream:
  In vetchy bed, or loathly dungeon ends
  Thy idled life----

And when, at length, the great and anxious labour was completed, the
author was still more unhappy than under the former influence of his
foreboding terrors. The work is dedicated to the Duke of Buccleugh.
Whether his Grace had been prejudiced against the poetical labour by
Adam Smith, who had as little comprehension of the nature of poetry as
becomes a political economist, or from whatever cause, after
possessing it for six weeks the Duke had never condescended to open
the volume. It is to the honour of Mickle that the Dedication is a
simple respectful inscription, in which the poet had not compromised
his dignity,--and that in the second edition he had the magnanimity
not to withdraw the dedication to this statue-like patron. Neither was
the critical reception of this splendid labour of five devoted years
grateful to the sensibility of the author: he writes to a friend--

"Though my work is well received at Oxford, I will honestly own to
you, some things have hurt me. A few grammatical slips in the
introduction have been mentioned; and some things in the notes about
Virgil, Milton, and Homer, have been called the arrogance of
criticism. But the greatest offence of all is, what I say of blank

He was, indeed, after this great work was given to the public, as
unhappy as at any preceding period of his life; and Mickle, too, like
Hume and Dryden, could feel a wish to forsake his native land! He
still found his "head houseless;" and "the vetchy bed" and "loathly
dungeon" still haunted his dreams. "To write for the booksellers is
what I never will do," exclaimed this man of genius, though struck by
poverty. He projected an edition of his own poems by subscription.

"Desirous of giving an edition of my works, in which I shall bestow
the utmost attention, which, perhaps, will be my final farewell to
that blighted spot (worse than the most bleak mountains of Scotland)
yclept Parnassus; after this labour is finished, if Governor Johnstone
cannot or does not help me to a little independence, _I will certainly
bid adieu to Europe, to unhappy suspense, and perhaps also to the
chagrin of soul which I feel to accompany it_."

Such was the language which cannot now be read without exciting our
sympathy for the author of the version of an epic, which, after a
solemn devotion of no small portion of the most valuable years
of life, had been presented to the world, with not sufficient
remuneration or notice of the author to create even hope in the
sanguine temperament of a poet. Mickle was more honoured at Lisbon
than in his own country. So imperceptible are the gradations of
public favour to the feelings of genius, and so vast an interval
separates that author who does not immediately address the tastes
or the fashions of his age, from the reward or the enjoyment of
his studies.

We cannot account, among the lesser calamities of literature, that of
a man of genius, who, dedicating his days to the composition of a
voluminous and national work, when that labour is accomplished, finds,
on its publication, the hope of fame, and perhaps other hopes as
necessary to reward past toil, and open to future enterprise, all
annihilated. Yet this work neglected or not relished, perhaps even the
sport of witlings, afterwards is placed among the treasures of our
language, when the author is no more! but what is posthumous
gratitude, could it reach even the ear of an angel?

The calamity is unavoidable; but this circumstance does not lessen it.
New works must for a time be submitted to popular favour; but
posterity is the inheritance of genius. The man of genius, however,
who has composed this great work, calculates his vigils, is best
acquainted with its merits, and is not without an anticipation of the
future feeling of his country; he

  But weeps the more, because he weeps in vain.

Such is the fate which has awaited many great works; and the heart of
genius has died away on its own labours. I need not go so far back as
the Elizabethan age to illustrate a calamity which will excite the
sympathy of every man of letters; but the great work of a man of no
ordinary genius presents itself on this occasion.

This great work is "The Polyolbion" of MICHAEL DRAYTON; a poem
unrivalled for its magnitude and its character.[135] The genealogy of
poetry is always suspicious; yet I think it owed its birth to
Leland's magnificent view of his intended work on Britain, and was
probably nourished by the "Britannia" of Camden, who inherited the
mighty industry, with out the poetical spirit, of Leland; Drayton
embraced both. This singular combination of topographical erudition
and poetical fancy constitutes a national work--a union that some may
conceive not fortunate, no more than "the slow length" of its
Alexandrine metre, for the purposes of mere delight. Yet what
theme can be more elevating than a bard chanting to his "Fatherland,"
as the Hollanders called their country? Our tales of ancient glory,
our worthies who must not die, our towns, our rivers, and our
mountains, all glancing before the picturesque eye of the naturalist
and the poet! It is, indeed, a labour of Hercules; but it was not
unaccompanied by the lyre of Apollo.

This national work was ill received; and the great author dejected,
never pardoned his contemporaries, and even lost his temper.[136]
Drayton and his poetical friends beheld indignantly the trifles of the
hour overpowering the neglected Polyolbion.

One poet tells us that

  --------------------they prefer
  The fawning lines of every pamphleter.
                               GEO. WITHERS.

And a contemporary records the utter neglect of this great poet:--

  Why lives Drayton when the times refuse
  Both means to live, and matter for a muse,
  Only without excuse to leave us quite,
  And tell us, durst we act, he durst to write?
                                         W. BROWNE.

Drayton published his Polyolbion first in eighteen parts; and the
second portion afterwards. In this interval we have a letter to
Drummond, dated in 1619:--

"I thank you, my dear sweet Drummond, for your good opinion of
Polyolbion. I have done twelve books more, that is, from the 18th
book, which was Kent (if you note it), all the east parts and north to
the river of Tweed; _but it lieth by me, for the booksellers and I are
in terms_; they are a company of base knaves, whom I scorn and kick

The vengeance of the poet had been more justly wreaked on the buyers
of books than on the sellers, who, though knavery has a strong
connexion with trade, yet, were they knaves, they would be true to
their own interests. Far from impeding a successful author,
booksellers are apt to hurry his labours; for they prefer the crude to
the mature fruit, whenever the public taste can be appeased even by an
unripened dessert.

These "knaves," however, seem to have succeeded in forcing poor
Drayton to observe an abstinence from the press, which must have
convulsed all the feelings of authorship. The second part was not
published till three years after this letter was written; and then
without maps. Its preface is remarkable enough; it is pathetic, till
Drayton loses the dignity of genius in its asperity. In is inscribed,
in no good humour--


"When I first undertook this poem, or, as some have pleased to term
it, this Herculean labour, I was by some virtuous friends persuaded
that I should receive much comfort and encouragement; and for these
reasons: First, it was a new clear way, never before gone by any; that
it contained all the delicacies, delights, and rarities of this
renowned isle, interwoven with the histories of the Britons, Saxons,
Normans, and the later English. And further, that there is scarcely
any of the nobility or gentry of this land, but that he is some way or
other interested therein.

"But it hath fallen out otherwise; for instead of that comfort which
my noble friends proposed as my due, I have met with barbarous
ignorance and base detraction; such a cloud hath the devil drawn over
the world's judgment. Some of the stationers that had the selling of
the first part of this poem, because _it went not so fast away in the
selling_ as some of their beastly and abominable trash (a shame both
to our language and our nation), have despightfully left out the
epistles to the readers, and so have cousened the buyers with
imperfected books, which those that have undertaken the second part
have been forced to amend in the first, for _the small number that are
yet remaining in their hands_.

"And some of our outlandish, unnatural English (I know not how
otherwise to express them) stick not to say that there is nothing in
this island worth studying for, and take a great pride to be ignorant
in anything thereof. As for these cattle, _odi profanum vulgus, et
arceo_; of which I account them, be they never so great."

Yet, as a true poet, whose impulse, like fate, overturns all
opposition, Drayton is not to be thrown out of his avocation; but
intrepidly closes by promising "they shall not deter me from going on
with Scotland, if means and time do not hinder me to perform as much
as I have promised in my first song." Who could have imagined that
such bitterness of style, and such angry emotions, could have been
raised in the breast of a poet of pastoral elegance and fancy?

  Whose bounding muse o'er ev'ry mountain rode,
  And every river warbled as it flow'd.

It is melancholy to reflect that some of the greatest works in our
language have involved their authors in distress and anxiety: and that
many have gone down to their grave insensible of that glory which soon
covered it.


  [133] A letter found among the papers of the late Mr. Windham, which
        Mr. Malone has preserved.

  [134] There is an affecting _remonstrance_ of Dryden to Hyde, Earl of
        Rochester, on the state of his poverty and neglect--in which
        is this remarkable passage:--"It is enough for one age to have
        _neglected_ Mr. Cowley and _starved_ Mr. Butler."

  [135] The author explains the nature of his book in his title-page
        when he calls it "A Chorographicall Description of tracts,
        rivers, mountaines, forests, and other parts of this renowned
        Isle of Great Britaine, with intermixture of the most
        remarquable stories, antiquities, wonders, rarityes,
        pleasures, and commodities of the same; digested in a Poem."
        The maps with which it is illustrated are curious for the
        impersonations of the nymphs of wood and water, the sylvan
        gods, and other characters of the poem; to which the learned
        Selden supplied notes. Ellis calls it "a wonderful work,
        exhibiting at once the learning of an historian, an antiquary,
        a naturalist, and a geographer, and embellished by the
        imagination of a poet."--ED.

  [136] In the dedication of the first part to Prince Henry, the author
        says of his work, "it cannot want envie: for even in the birth
        it alreadie finds that."--ED.


Who would, with the awful severity of Plato, banish poets from the
Republic? But it may be desirable that the Republic should not be
banished from poets, which it seems to be when an inordinate passion
for writing verses drives them from every active pursuit. There is no
greater enemy to domestic quiet than a confirmed versifier; yet are
most of them much to be pitied: it is the _mediocre_ critics they
first meet with who are the real origin of a populace of _mediocre_
poets. A young writer of verses is sure to get flattered by those who
affect to admire what they do not even understand, and by those who,
because they understand, imagine they are likewise endowed with
delicacy of taste and a critical judgment. What sacrifices of social
enjoyments, and all the business of life, are lavished with a
prodigal's ruin in an employment which will be usually discovered to
be a source of early anxiety, and of late disappointment![137] I say
nothing of the ridicule in which it involves some wretched Mævius, but
of the misery that falls so heavily on him, and is often entailed on
his generation. Whitehead has versified an admirable reflection of
Pope's, in the preface to his works:--

  For wanting wit be totally undone,
  And barr'd all arts, for having fail'd in one?

The great mind of BLACKSTONE never showed him more a poet than when he
took, not without affection, "a farewell of the Muse," on his being
called to the bar. DRUMMOND, of Hawthornden, quitted the bar from his
love of poetry; yet he seems to have lamented slighting the profession
which his father wished him to pursue. He perceives his error, he
feels even contrition, but still cherishes it: no man, not in his
senses, ever had a more lucid interval:--

  I changed countries, new delights to find;
    But ah! for pleasure I did find new pain;
  Enchanting pleasure so did reason blind,
    That father's love and words I scorn'd as vain.
  I know that all the Muses' heavenly lays,
    With toil of spirit which are so dearly bought,
    As idle sounds of few or none are sought,
  That there is nothing lighter than vain praise;
    Know what I list, this all cannot me move,
    But that, alas! I both must write and love!

Thus, like all poets, who, as Goldsmith observes, "are fond of
enjoying the present, careless of the future," he talks like a man of
sense, and acts like a fool.

This wonderful susceptibility of praise, to which poets seem more
liable than any other class of authors, is indeed their common food;
and they could not keep life in them without this nourishment. NAT.
LEE, a true poet in all the excesses of poetical feelings--for he was
in such raptures at times as to lose his senses--expresses himself in
very energetic language on the effects of the praise necessary for

"Praise," says Lee, "is the greatest encouragement we chamelions can
pretend to, or rather the manna that keeps soul and body together; we
devour it as if it were angels' food, and vainly think we grow
immortal. There is nothing transports a poet, next to love, like
commending in the right place."

This, no doubt, is a rare enjoyment, and serves to strengthen his
illusions. But the same fervid genius elsewhere confesses, when
reproached for his ungoverned fancy, that it brings with itself its
own punishment:--

"I cannot be," says this great and unfortunate poet, "so ridiculous a
creature to any man as I am to myself; for who should know the house
so well as the good man at home? who, when his neighbour comes to see
him, still sets the best rooms to view; and, if he be not a wilful
ass, keeps the rubbish and lumber in some dark hole, where nobody
comes but himself, to mortify at melancholy hours."

Study the admirable preface of POPE, composed at that matured period
of life when the fever of fame had passed away, and experience had
corrected fancy. It is a calm statement between authors and readers;
there is no imagination that colours by a single metaphor, or conceals
the real feeling which moved the author on that solemn occasion, of
collecting his works for the last time. It is on a full review of the
past that this great poet delivers this remarkable sentence:--

"_I believe, if any one, early in his life, should contemplate the
dangerous fate of AUTHORS, he would scarce be of their number on any
consideration._ The life of a wit is a warfare upon earth; and to
pretend to serve the learned world in any way, one must have the
constancy of a martyr, and a resolution to suffer for its sake."

All this is so true in literary history, that he who affects to
suspect the sincerity of Pope's declaration, may flatter his sagacity,
but will do no credit to his knowledge.

If thus great poets pour their lamentations for having devoted
themselves to their art, some sympathy is due to the querulousness of
a numerous race of _provincial bards_, whose situation is ever at
variance with their feelings. These usually form exaggerated
conceptions of their own genius, from the habit of comparing
themselves with their contracted circle. Restless, with a desire of
poetical celebrity, their heated imagination views in the metropolis
that fame and fortune denied them in their native town; there they
become half-hermits and half-philosophers, darting epigrams which
provoke hatred, or pouring elegies, descriptive of their feelings,
which move derision: their neighbours find it much easier to ascertain
their foibles than comprehend their genius; and both parties live in a
state of mutual persecution. Such, among many, was the fate of the
poet HERRICK; his vein was pastoral, and he lived in the elysium of
the west, which, however, he describes by the sullen epithet, "Dull
Devonshire," where "he is still sad." Strange that such a poet should
have resided near twenty years in one of our most beautiful counties
in a very discontented humour. When he quitted his village of
"Deanbourne," the petulant poet left behind him a severe "farewell,"
which was found still preserved in the parish, after a lapse of more
than a century. Local satire has been often preserved by the very
objects it is directed against, sometimes from the charm of the wit
itself, and sometimes from the covert malice of attacking our
neighbours. Thus he addresses "Deanbourne, a rude river in Devonshire,
by which, sometime, he lived:"--

  Dean-bourn, farewell!
  Thy rockie bottom that doth tear thy streams,
  And makes them frantic, e'en to all extremes.
  Rockie thou art, and rockie we discover
  Thy men,--
  O men! O manners!--
  O people currish, churlish as their seas--

He rejoices he leaves them, never to return till "rocks shall turn to
rivers." When he arrives in London,

  From the dull confines of the drooping west,
  To see the day-spring from the pregnant east,

he, "ravished in spirit," exclaims, on a view of the metropolis--

  O place! O people! manners form'd to please
  All nations, customs, kindreds, languages!

But he fervently entreats not to be banished again:--

  For, rather than I'll to the west return,
  I'll beg of thee first, here to have mine urn.

The Devonians were avenged; for the satirist of the _English Arcadia_
was condemned again to reside by "its rockie side," among "its rockie

Such has been the usual chant of provincial poets; and, if the
"silky-soft Favonian gales" of Devon, with its "Worthies," could not
escape the anger of such a poet as Herrick, what county may hope to be
saved from the invective of querulous and dissatisfied poets?

In this calamity of authors I will show that a great poet felicitated
himself that poetry was not the business of his life; and afterwards I
will bring forward an evidence that the immoderate pursuit of poetry,
with a very moderate genius, creates a perpetual state of illusion;
and pursues grey-headed folly even to the verge of the grave.

Pope imagined that PRIOR was only fit to make verses, and less
qualified for business than Addison himself. Had Prior lived to finish
that history of his own times he was writing, we should have seen how
far the opinion of Pope was right. Prior abandoned the Whigs, who had
been his first patrons, for the Tories, who were now willing to adopt
the political apostate. This versatility for place and pension rather
shows that Prior was a little more "qualified for business than

Johnson tells us "Prior lived at a time when the rage of party
detected all which was any man's interest to hide; and, as little ill
is heard of Prior, it is certain that not much was known:" more,
however, than Johnson supposes. This great man came to the pleasing
task of his poetical biography totally unprepared, except with the
maturity of his genius, as a profound observer of men, and an
invincible dogmatist in taste. In the history of the times, Johnson is
deficient, which has deprived us of that permanent instruction and
delight his intellectual powers had poured around it. The character
and the secret history of Prior are laid open in the "State
Poems;"[138] a bitter Whiggish narrative, too particular to be
entirely fictitious, while it throws a new light on Johnson's
observation of Prior's "propensity to sordid converse, and the low
delights of mean company," which Johnson had imperfectly learned from
some attendant on Prior.

  A vintner's boy, the wretch was first preferr'd
  To wait at Vice's gates, and pimp for bread;
  To hold the candle, and sometimes the door,
  Let in the drunkard, and let out----.
  But, as to villains it has often chanc'd,
  Was for his wit and wickedness advanc'd.
  Let no man think his new behaviour strange,
  No metamorphosis can nature change;
  Effects are chain'd to causes; generally,
  The rascal born will like a rascal die.
    His Prince's favours follow'd him in vain;
  They chang'd the circumstance, but not the man.
  While out of pocket, and his spirits low,
  He'd beg, write panegyrics, cringe, and bow;
  But when good pensions had his labours crown'd,
  His panegyrics into satires turn'd;
  O what assiduous pains does Prior take
  To let great Dorset see he could mistake!
  Dissembling nature false description gave,
  Show'd him the poet, but conceal'd the knave.

To us the poet Prior is better known than the placeman Prior; yet in
his own day the reverse often occurred. Prior was a State Proteus;
Sunderland, the most ambiguous of politicians, was the _Erle Robert_
to whom he addressed his _Mice_; and Prior was now Secretary to the
Embassy at Ryswick and Paris; independent even of the English
ambassador--now a Lord of Trade, and, at length, a Minister
Plenipotentiary to Louis XIV.

Our business is with his poetical feelings.

Prior declares he was chiefly "a poet by accident;" and hints, in
collecting his works, that "some of them, as they came singly from the
first impression, have lain long and quietly in Mr. Tonson's shop."
When his party had their downfall, and he was confined two years in
prison, he composed his "Alma," to while away prison hours; and when,
at length, he obtained his freedom, he had nothing remaining but that
fellowship which, in his exaltation, he had been censured for
retaining, but which he then said he might have to live upon at last.
Prior had great sagacity, and too right a notion of human affairs in
politics, to expect his party would last his time, or in poetry, that
he could ever derive a revenue from rhymes!

I will now show that that rare personage, a sensible poet, in
reviewing his life in that hour of solitude when no passion is
retained but truth, while we are casting up the amount of our past
days scrupulously to ourselves, felicitated himself that the natural
bent of his mind, which inclined to poetry, had been checked, and not
indulged, throughout his whole life. Prior congratulated himself that
he had been only "a poet by accident," not by occupation.

In a manuscript by Prior, consisting of "An Essay on Learning," I find
this curious and interesting passage entirely relating to the poet

"I remember nothing farther in life than that I made verses; I chose
Guy Earl of Warwick for my first hero, and killed Colborne the giant
before I was big enough for Westminster School. But I had two
accidents in youth which hindered me from being quite possessed with
the Muse. I was bred in a college where prose was more in fashion
than verse,--and, as soon as I had taken my first degree, I was sent
the King's Secretary to the Hague; there I had enough to do in
studying French and Dutch, and altering my Terentian and Virgilian
style into that of Articles and Conventions; so that _poetry, which by
the bent of my mind might have become the business of my life, was, by
the happiness of my education, only the amusement of it_; and in this,
too, having the prospect of some little fortune to be made, and
friendships to be cultivated with the great men, I did not launch much
into _satire_, which, however agreeable for the present to the writers
and encouragers of it, does in time do neither of them good;
considering the uncertainty of fortune, and the various changes of
Ministry, and that every man, as he resents, may punish in his turn of
greatness and power."

Such is the wholesome counsel of the Solomon of Bards to an aspirant,
who, in his ardour for poetical honours, becomes careless of their
consequences, if he can but possess them.

I have now to bring forward one of those unhappy men of rhyme, who,
after many painful struggles, and a long querulous life, have died
amid the ravings of their immortality--one of those miserable bards of
mediocrity whom no beadle-critic could ever whip out of the poetical

There is a case in Mr. Haslam's "Observations on Insanity," who
assures us that the patient he describes was insane, which will appear
strange to those who have watched more poets than lunatics!

"This patient, when admitted, was very noisy, and importunately
talkative--reciting passages from the Greek and Roman poets, or
talking of his own literary importance. He became so troublesome to
the other madmen, who were sufficiently occupied with their own
speculations, that they avoided and excluded him from the common room;
so that he was at last reduced to the mortifying situation of being
the sole auditor of his own compositions. He conceived himself very
nearly related to Anacreon, and possessed of the peculiar vein of that

Such is the very accurate case drawn up by a medical writer. I can
conceive nothing in it to warrant the charge of insanity; Mr. Haslam,
not being a poet, seems to have mistaken the common orgasm of poetry
for insanity itself.

Of such poets, one was the late PERCIVAL STOCKDALE, who, with the most
entertaining simplicity, has, in "The Memoirs of his Life and
Writings," presented us with a full-length figure of this class of
poets; those whom the perpetual pursuits of poetry, however
indifferent, involve in a perpetual illusion; they are only discovered
in their profound obscurity by the piteous cries they sometimes utter;
they live on querulously, which is an evil for themselves, and to no
purpose of life, which is an evil to others.

I remember in my youth Percival Stockdale as a condemned poet of the
times, of whom the bookseller Flexney complained that, whenever this
poet came to town, it cost him twenty pounds. Flexney had been the
publisher of Churchill's works; and, never forgetting the time when he
published "The Rosciad," which at first did not sell, and afterwards
became the most popular poem, he was speculating all his life for
another Churchill, and another quarto poem. Stockdale usually brought
him what he wanted--and Flexney found the workman, but never the

Many a year had passed in silence, and Stockdale could hardly be
considered alive, when, to the amazement of some curious observers of
our literature, a venerable man, about his eightieth year, a vivacious
spectre, with a cheerful voice, seemed as if throwing aside his shroud
in gaiety--to come to assure us of the immortality of one of the worst
poets of the time.

To have taken this portrait from the life would have been difficult;
but the artist has painted himself, and manufactured his own colours;
else had our ordinary ones but faintly copied this Chinese grotesque
picture--the glare and the glow must be borrowed from his own

Our self-biographer announces his "Life" with prospective rapture, at
the moment he is turning a sad retrospect on his "Writings;" for this
was the chequered countenance of his character, a smile while he was
writing, a tear when he had published! "I know," he exclaims, "that
this book will live and _escape the havoc that has been made of my
literary fame_." Again--"Before I die, I _think my literary fame may
be fixed on an adamantine foundation_." Our old acquaintance, Blas of
Santillane, at setting out on his travels, conceived himself to be _la
huitième merveille du monde_; but here is one, who, after the
experience of a long life, is writing a large work to prove himself
that very curious thing.

What were these mighty and unknown works? Stockdale confesses that all
his verses have been received with negligence or contempt; yet their
mediocrity, the absolute poverty of his genius, never once occurred to
the poetical patriarch.

I have said that the frequent origin of bad poets is owing to bad
critics; and it was the early friends of Stockdale, who, mistaking his
animal spirits for genius, by directing them into the walks of poetry,
bewildered him for ever. It was their hand that heedlessly fixed the
bias in the rolling bowl of his restless mind.

He tells us that while yet a boy of twelve years old, one day talking
with his father at Branxton, where the battle of Flodden was fought,
the old gentleman said to him with great emphasis--

"You may make that place remarkable for your birth, if you take care
of yourself. My father's understanding was clear and strong, and he
could penetrate human nature. He already saw that _I had natural
advantages above those of common men_."

But it seems that, at some earlier period even than his twelfth year,
some good-natured Pythian had predicted that Stockdale would be "a
poet." This ambiguous oracle was still listened to, after a lapse of
more than half a century, and the decree is still repeated with fond
credulity:--"Notwithstanding," he exclaims, "_all that is past_, O
thou god of my mind! (meaning the aforesaid Pythian) I still hope that
my future fame will decidedly _warrant the prediction_!"

Stockdale had, in truth, an excessive sensibility of temper, without
any control over it--he had all the nervous contortions of the Sybil,
without her inspiration; and shifting, in his many-shaped life,
through all characters and all pursuits, "exalting the olive of
Minerva with the grape of Bacchus," as he phrases it, he was a lover,
a tutor, a recruiting officer, a reviewer, and, at length, a
clergyman; but a poet eternally! His mind was so curved, that nothing
could stand steadily upon it. The accidents of such a life he
describes with such a face of rueful simplicity, and mixes up so much
grave drollery and merry pathos with all he says or does, and his
ubiquity is so wonderful, that he gives an idea of a character, of
whose existence we had previously no conception, that of a sentimental

In the early part of his life, Stockdale undertook many poetical
pilgrimages; he visited the house where Thomson was born; the
coffee-room where Dryden presided among the wits, &c. Recollecting the
influence of these local associations, he breaks forth, "Neither the
unrelenting coldness, nor the repeated insolence of mankind, can
prevent me from thinking that _something like this enthusiastic
devotion may hereafter be paid to ME_."

Perhaps till this appeared it might not be suspected that any unlucky
writer of verse could ever feel such a magical conviction of his
poetical stability. Stockdale, to assist this pilgrimage to his
various shrines, has particularised all the spots where his works were
composed! Posterity has many shrines to visit, and will be glad to
know (for perhaps it may excite a smile) that "'The Philosopher,' a
poem, was written in Warwick Court, Holborn, in 1769,"--"'The Life of
Waller,' in Round Court, in the Strand."--A good deal he wrote in
"May's Buildings, St. Martin's Lane," &c., but

"In my lodgings at Portsmouth, in St. Mary's Street, I wrote my 'Elegy
on the Death of a Lady's Linnet.' It will not be uninteresting to
sensibility, to thinking and elegant minds. It deeply interested me,
and therefore produced not one of my weakest and worst written poems.
It was directly opposite to a noted house, which was distinguished by
the name of _the green rails_; where the riotous orgies of Naxos and
Cythera contrasted with my quiet and purer occupations."

I would not, however, take his own estimate of his own poems; because,
after praising them outrageously, he seems at times to doubt if they
are as exquisite as he thinks them! He has composed no one in which
some poetical excellence does not appear--and yet in each nice
decision he holds with difficulty the trepidations of the scales of
criticism--for he tells us of "An Address to the Supreme Being," that
"it is distinguished throughout with a natural and fervid piety; it is
flowing and poetical; it is not without its pathos." And yet,
notwithstanding all this condiment, the confection is evidently good
for nothing; for he discovers that "this flowing, fervid, and poetical
address" is "not animated with that vigour which gives dignity and
impression to poetry." One feels for such unhappy and infected
authors--they would think of themselves as they wish at the moment
that truth and experience come in upon them and rack them with the
most painful feelings.

Stockdale once wrote a declamatory life of Waller. When Johnson's
appeared, though in his biography, says Stockdale, "he paid a large
tribute to the abilities of Goldsmith and Hawkesworth, yet _he made no
mention of my name_." It is evident that Johnson, who knew him well,
did not care to remember it. When Johnson was busied on the Life of
Pope, Stockdale wrote a pathetic letter to him _earnestly imploring_
"a generous tribute from his authority." Johnson was still obdurately
silent; and Stockdale, who had received many acts of humane kindness
from him, adds with fretful _naïveté_,

"In his sentiments towards me he was divided between a benevolence to
my interests, and a _coldness to my fame_."

Thus, in a moment, in the perverted heart of the scribbler, will ever
be cancelled all human obligation for acts of benevolence, if we are
_cold to his fame_!

And yet let us not too hastily condemn these unhappy men, even for the
violation of the lesser moral feelings--it is often but a fatal effect
from a melancholy cause; that hallucination of the intellect, in
which, if their genius, as they call it, sometimes appears to sparkle
like a painted bubble in the buoyancy of their vanity, they are also
condemned to see it sinking in the dark horrors of a disappointed
author, who has risked his life and his happiness on the miserable
productions of his pen. The agonies of a disappointed author cannot,
indeed, be contemplated without pain. If they can instruct, the
following quotation will have its use.

Among the innumerable productions of Stockdale, was a "History of
Gibraltar," which might have been interesting, from his having resided
there: in a moment of despair, like Medea, he immolated his
unfortunate offspring.

"When I had arrived at within a day's work of its conclusion, in
consequence of some immediate and mortifying accidents, _my literary
adversity_, and all my other misfortunes, took _fast hold of my mind;
oppressed it extremely; and reduced it to a stage of the deepest
dejection and despondency_. In this unhappy view of life, I made a
sudden resolution--_never more to prosecute the profession of an
author_; to retire altogether from the world, and read only for
consolation and amusement. _I committed to the flames my History of
Gibraltar and my translation of Marsollier's Life of Cardinal
Ximenes_; for which the bookseller had refused to pay me the fifty
guineas, according to agreement."

This claims a tear! Never were the agonies of literary disappointment
more pathetically told.

But as it is impossible to have known poor deluded Stockdale, and not
to have laughed at him more than to have wept for him--so the
catastrophe of this author's literary life is as finely in character
as all the acts. That catastrophe, of course, is his last poem.

After many years his poetical demon having been chained from the
world, suddenly broke forth on the reports of a French invasion. The
narrative shall proceed in his own inimitable manner.

"My poetical spirit excited me to write my poem of 'The Invincible
Island.' I never found myself in a happier disposition to compose, nor
ever wrote with more pleasure. I presumed warmly to hope that unless
_inveterate prejudice and malice_ were as invincible as our island
itself, it would have _the diffusive circulation_ which I earnestly

"Flushed with this idea--borne impetuously along _by ambition and by
hope, though they had often deluded me_, I set off in the mail-coach
from Durham for London, on the 9th of December, 1797, at midnight, and
in a severe storm. On my arrival in town my poem was advertised,
printed, and published with great expedition. It was printed for
Clarke in New Bond-street. For several days the sale was very
promising; and my bookseller as well as myself entertained sanguine
hopes; _but the demand for the poem relaxed gradually_! From this last
of many literary misfortunes, I inferred that _prejudice_ and
_malignity_, in my fate as an _author_, seemed, indeed, to be

The catastrophe of the poet is much better told than anything in the
poem, which had not merit enough to support that interest which the
temporary subject had excited.

Let the fate of Stockdale instruct some, and he will not have written
in vain the "Memoirs of his Life and Writings." I have only turned the
literary feature to our eye; it was combined with others, equally
striking, from the same mould in which that was cast. Stockdale
imagined he possessed an intuitive knowledge of human nature. He says,
"everything that constituted my nature, my acquirements, my habits,
and my fortune, conspired to let in upon me a complete knowledge of
human nature." A most striking proof of this knowledge is his
parallel, after the manner of Plutarch, between Charles XII. and
himself! He frankly confesses there were some points in which he and
the Swedish monarch did not exactly resemble each other. He thinks,
for instance, that the King of Sweden had a somewhat more fervid and
original genius than himself, and was likewise a little more robust in
his person--but, subjoins Stockdale,

"Of our reciprocal fortune, achievements, and conduct, some parts will
be to _his_ advantage, and some to _mine_."

Yet in regard to _Fame_, the main object between him and Charles XII.,
Stockdale imagined that his own

"Will not probably take its fixed and immoveable station, and shine
with its expanded and permanent splendour, till it consecrates his
ashes, till it illumines his tomb!"

POPE hesitated at deciding on the durability of his poetry. PRIOR
congratulates himself that he had not devoted all his days to rhymes.
STOCKDALE imagines his fame is to commence at the very point (the
tomb) where genius trembles its own may nearly terminate!

To close this article, I could wish to regale the poetical Stockdales
with a delectable morsel of fraternal biography; such would be the
life, and its memorable close, of ELKANAH SETTLE, who imagined himself
to be a great poet, when he was placed on a level with Dryden by the
town-wits, (gentle spirits!) to vex genius.

Settle's play of _The Empress of Morocco_ was the very first "adorned
with sculptures."[140] However, in due time, the Whigs despising his
rhymes, Settle tried his prose for the Tories; but he was a magician
whose enchantments never charmed. He at length obtained the office of
the city poet, when lord mayors were proud enough to have laureates in
their annual pageants.

When Elkanah Settle published any _party poem_, he sent copies round
to the chiefs of the party, accompanied with addresses, to extort
pecuniary presents. He had latterly one standard _Elegy_ and
_Epithalamium_ printed off with blanks, which, by the ingenious
contrivance of filling up with the names of any considerable person
who died or was married, no one who was going out of life or entering
it _could pass scot-free_ from the _tax levied by his hacknied muse_.
The following letter accompanied his presentation copy to the Duke of
Somerset, of a poem, in Latin and English, on the Hanover succession,
when Elkanah wrote for the Whigs, as he had for the Tories:--

  "SIR,--Nothing but the greatness of the subject could encourage my
  presumption in laying the enclosed Essay at your Grace's feet,
  being, with all profound humility, your Grace's most dutiful

    "E. SETTLE."

In the latter part of his life Settle dropped still lower, and became
the poet of a booth at Bartholomew Fair, and composed drolls, for
which the rival of Dryden, it seems, had a genius!--but it was little
respected--for two great personages, "Mrs. Mynns and her daughter,
Mrs. Leigh," approving of their great poet's happy invention in one of
his own drolls, "St. George for England," of a green dragon, as large
as life, insisted, as the tyrant of old did to the inventor of the
brazen bull, that the first experiment should be made on the artist
himself, and Settle was tried in his own dragon; he crept in with all
his genius, and did "act the dragon, enclosed in a case of green
leather of his own invention." The circumstance is recorded in the
lively verse of Young, in his "Epistle to Pope concerning the authors
of the age."

  Poor Elkanah, all other changes past,
  For bread in Smithfield dragons hiss'd at last,
  Spit streams of fire to make the butchers gape,
  And found his manners suited to his shape;
  Such is the fate of talents misapplied,
  So lived your prototype, and so he died.


  [137] An elegant poet of our times alludes, with due feeling, to these
        personal sacrifices. Addressing Poetry, he exclaims--

          "In devotion to thy heavenly charms,
          I clasp'd thy altar with my infant arms;
          For thee neglected the wide field of wealth;
          The toils of interest, and the sports of health."

        How often may we lament that poets are too apt "to clasp the
        altar with infant arms." Goldsmith was near forty when he
        published his popular poems--and the greater number of the
        most valued poems were produced in mature life. When the poet
        begins in "infancy," he too often contracts a habit of writing
        verses, and sometimes, in all his life, never reaches poetry.

  [138] Vol. ii. p. 355.

  [139] My old favourite cynic, with all his rough honesty and acute
        discrimination, Anthony Wood, engraved a sketch of Stockdale
        when he etched with his aqua-fortis the personage of a
        brother:--"This Edward Waterhouse wrote a rhapsodical,
        indigested, whimsical work; and not in the least to be taken
        into the hand of any sober scholar, unless it be to make him
        laugh or wonder at the simplicity of some people. He was a
        cock-brained man, and afterwards took orders."

  [140] It was published in quarto in 1673, and has engravings of the
        principal scene in each act, and a frontispiece representing
        the Duke's Theatre in Dorset Gardens, where it was first acted
        publicly; it had been played twice at court before this, by
        noble actors, "persons of such birth and honour," says Settle,
        "that they borrowed no greatness from the characters they
        acted." The prologues were written by Lords Mulgrave and
        Rochester, and the utmost _éclat_ given to the five long acts
        of rhyming bombast, which was declared superior to any work of
        Dryden's. As City Poet afterwards Settle composed the
        pageants, speeches, and songs for the Lord Mayor's Shows from
        1691 to 1708. Towards the close of his career he became
        impoverished, and wrote from necessity on all subjects. One of
        his plays, composed for Mrs. Mynns' booth in Bartholomew Fair,
        has been twice printed, though both editions are now
        uncommonly rare. It is called the "Siege of Troy;" and its
        popularity is attested by Hogarth's print of Southwark Fair,
        where outside of Lee and Harper's great theatrical booth is
        exhibited a painting of the Trojan horse, and the announcement
        "The Siege of Troy is here."--ED.




  "The use and end of this Work I do not so much design for
  curiosity, or satisfaction of those that are the lovers of
  learning, but chiefly for a more grave and serious purpose:
  which is, that it will _make learned men wise in the use and
  administration of learning_."--LORD BACON, "Of Learning."


THE QUARRELS OF AUTHORS may be considered as a continuation of the
CALAMITIES OF AUTHORS; and both, as some Memoirs for Literary

These Quarrels of Authors are not designed to wound the Literary
Character, but to expose the secret arts of calumny, the malignity of
witty ridicule, and the evil prepossessions of unjust hatreds.

The present, like the preceding work, includes other subjects than the
one indicated by the title, and indeed they are both subservient to a
higher purpose--that of our Literary History.

There is a French work, entitled "Querelles Littéraires," quoted in
"Curiosities of Literature," many years ago. Whether I derive the idea
of the present from the French source I cannot tell. I could point out
a passage in the great Lord BACON which might have afforded the hint.
But I am inclined to think that what induced me to select this topic
was the interest which JOHNSON has given to the literary quarrels
between _Dryden_ and _Settle_, _Dennis_ and _Addison_, &c.; and which
Sir WALTER SCOTT, who, amid the fresh creations of fancy, could delve
for the buried truths of research, has thrown into his narrative of
the quarrel of _Dryden_ and _Luke Milbourne_.

From the French work I could derive no aid; and my plan is my own. I
have fixed on each literary controversy to illustrate some principle,
to portray some character, and to investigate some topic. Almost every
controversy which occurred opened new views. With the subject, the
character of the author connected itself; and with the character were
associated those events of his life which reciprocally act on each
other. I have always considered an author as a human being, who
possesses at once two sorts of lives, the intellectual and the vulgar:
in his books we trace the history of his mind, and in his actions
those of human nature. It is this combination which interests the
philosopher and the man of feeling; which provides the richest
materials for reflection; and all those original details which spring
from the constituent principles of man. JOHNSON'S passion for literary
history, and his great knowledge of the human heart, inspired at once
the first and the finest model in this class of composition.

The Philosophy of Literary History was indeed the creation of BAYLE.
He was the first who, by attempting a _critical dictionary_, taught us
to think, and to be curious and vast in our researches. He ennobled a
collection of facts by his reasonings, and exhibited them with the
most miscellaneous illustrations; and thus conducting an apparently
humble pursuit with a higher spirit, he gave a new turn to our
studies. It was felt through Europe; and many celebrated authors
studied and repeated BAYLE. This father of a numerous race has an
English as well as a French progeny.

JOHNSON wrote under many disadvantages; but, with scanty means, he
has taught us a great end. Dr. BIRCH was the contemporary of
JOHNSON. He excelled his predecessors; and yet he forms a striking
contrast as a literary historian. BIRCH was no philosopher, and I
adduce him as an instance how a writer, possessing the most ample
knowledge, and the most vigilant curiosity--one practised in all the
secret arts of literary research in public repositories and in
private collections, and eminently skilled in the whole science of
bibliography--may yet fail with the public. The diligence of BIRCH
has perpetuated his memory by a monument of MSS., but his, touch
was mortal to genius! He palsied the character which could never
die; heroes sunk pusillanimously under his hand; and in his torpid
silence, even MILTON seemed suddenly deprived of his genius.

I have freely enlarged in the _notes_ to this work; a practice which
is objectionable to many, but indispensable perhaps in this species of
literary history.

The late Mr. CUMBERLAND, in a conversation I once held with him on
this subject, triumphantly exclaimed, "You will not find a single note
through the whole volume of my 'Life.' I never wrote a note. The
ancients never wrote notes; but they introduced into their text all
which was proper for the reader to know."

I agreed with that elegant writer, that a fine piece of essay-writing,
such as his own "Life," required notes no more than his novels and his
comedies, among which it may be classed. I observed that the ancients
had no literary history; this was the result of the discovery of
printing, the institution of national libraries, the general literary
intercourse of Europe, and some other causes which are the growth
almost of our own times. The ancients have written history without
producing authorities.

Mr. CUMBERLAND was then occupied on a review of Fox's History; and of
CLARENDON, which lay open before him,--he had been complaining,
with all the irritable feelings of a dramatist, of the frequent
suspensions, and the tedious minuteness of his story.

I observed that _notes_ had not then been discovered. Had Lord
CLARENDON known their use, he had preserved the unity of design in his
text. His Lordship has unskilfully filled it with all that historical
furniture his diligence had collected, and with those minute
discussions which his anxiety for truth, and his lawyer-like mode of
scrutinising into facts and substantiating evidence, amassed. Had
these been cast into _notes_, and were it now possible to pass them
over in the present text, how would the story of the noble historian
clear up! The greatness of his genius will appear when disencumbered
of its unwieldy and misplaced accompaniments.

If this observation be just, it will apply with greater force to
literary history itself, which, being often the mere history of the
human mind, has to record opinions as well as events--to discuss as
well as to narrate--to show how accepted truths become suspicious--or
to confirm what has hitherto rested in obscure uncertainty, and to
balance contending opinions and opposite facts with critical nicety.
The multiplied means of our knowledge now opened to us, have only
rendered our curiosity more urgent in its claims, and raised up the
most diversified objects. These, though accessories to the leading one
of our inquiries, can never melt together in the continuity of a text.
It is to prevent all this disorder, and to enjoy all the usefulness
and the pleasure of this various knowledge, which has produced the
invention of _notes_ in literary history. All this forms a sort of
knowledge peculiar to the present more enlarged state of literature.
Writers who delight in curious and rare extracts, and in the discovery
of new facts and new views of things, warmed by a fervour of research
which brings everything nearer to our eye and close to our touch,
study to throw contemporary feelings in their page. Such rare extracts
and such new facts BAYLE eagerly sought, and they delighted JOHNSON;
but all this luxury of literature can only be produced to the public
eye in the variegated forms of _notes_.



  The name of Warburton more familiar to us than his Works--declared
  to be "a Colossus" by a Warburtonian, who afterwards shrinks the
  image into "a human size"--Lowth's caustic retort on his
  Attorneyship--motives for the change to Divinity--his first
  literary mischances--Warburton and his Welsh Prophet--his
  Dedications--his mean flatteries--his taste more struck by the
  monstrous than the beautiful--the effects of his opposite
  studies--the SECRET PRINCIPLE which conducted Warburton through all
  his Works--the _curious_ argument of his Alliance between Church and
  State--the _bold_ paradox of his Divine Legation--the demonstration
  ends in a conjecture--Warburton lost in the labyrinth he had
  ingeniously constructed--confesses the harassed state of his
  mind--attacked by Infidels and Christians--his SECRET PRINCIPLE
  turns the poetical narrative of Æneas into the Eleusinian
  Mysteries--Hurd attacks Jortin; his Attic irony translated into
  plain English--Warburton's paradox on Eloquence; his levity of ideas
  renders his sincerity suspected--Leland refutes the whimsical
  paradox--Hurd attacks Leland--Leland's noble triumph--Warburton's
  SECRET PRINCIPLE operating in Modern Literature: on Pope's Essay on
  Man--Lord Bolingbroke the author of the Essay--Pope received
  Warburton as his tutelary genius--Warburton's systematic treatment
  of his friends and rival editors--his literary artifices and little
  intrigues--his Shakspeare--the whimsical labours of Warburton on
  Shakspeare annihilated by Edwards's "Canons of Criticism"--Warburton
  and Johnson--Edwards and Warburton's mutual attacks--the concealed
  motive of his edition of Shakspeare avowed in his justification--his
  SECRET PRINCIPLE further displayed in Pope's Works--attacks Akenside;
  Dyson's generous defence--correct Ridicule is a test of Truth,
  illustrated by a well-known case--Warburton a literary
  revolutionist; aimed to be a perpetual dictator--the ambiguous
  tendency of his speculations--the Warburtonian School supported by
  the most licentious principles--specimens of its peculiar style--the
  use to which Warburton applied the Dunciad--his party: attentive to
  raise recruits--the active and subtle Hurd--his extreme
  sycophancy--Warburton, to maintain his usurped authority, adopted
  his system of literary quarrels.

The name of WARBURTON is more familiar to us than his works: thus was
it early,[141] thus it continues, and thus it will be with posterity!
The cause may be worth our inquiry. Nor is there, in the whole compass
of our literary history, a character more instructive for its
greatness and its failures; none more adapted to excite our curiosity,
and which can more completely gratify it.

Of great characters, whose actions are well known, and of those who,
whatever claim they may have to distinction, are not so, ARISTOTLE has
delivered a precept with his accustomed sagacity. If _Achilles_, says
the Stagirite, be the subject of our inquiries, since all know what he
has done, we are simply to indicate his actions, without stopping to
detail; but this would not serve for _Critias_; for whatever relates
to him must be fully told, since he is known to few;[142]--a critical
precept, which ought to be frequently applied in the composition of
this work.

The history of Warburton is now well known; the facts lie dispersed in
the chronological biographer;[143] but the secret connexion which
exists between them, if there shall be found to be any, has not yet
been brought out; and it is my business to press these together; hence
to demonstrate principles, or to deduce inferences.

The literary fame of Warburton was a portentous meteor: it seemed
unconnected with the whole planetary system through which it rolled,
and it was imagined to be darting amid new creations, as the tail of
each hypothesis blazed with idle fancies.[144] Such extraordinary
natures cannot be looked on with calm admiration, nor common
hostility; all is the tumult of wonder about such a man; and his
adversaries, as well as his friends, though differently affected, are
often overcome by the same astonishment.

To a Warburtonian, the object of his worship looks indeed of colossal
magnitude, in the glare thrown about that hallowed spot; nor is the
divinity of common stature; but the light which makes him appear so
great, must not be suffered to conceal from us the real standard by
which only his greatness can be determined:[145] even literary
enthusiasm, delightful to all generous tempers, may be too prodigal of
its splendours, wasting itself while it shines; but truth remains
behind! Truth, which, like the asbestos, is still unconsumed and
unaltered amidst these glowing fires.

The genius of Warburton has called forth two remarkable anonymous
criticisms--in one, all that the most splendid eloquence can bring to
bear against this chief and his adherents;[146] and in the other, all
that taste, warmed by a spark of Warburtonian fire, can discriminate
in an impartial decision.[147] Mine is a colder and less grateful
task. I am but a historian! I have to creep along in the darkness of
human events, to lay my hand cautiously on truths so difficult to
touch, and which either the panegyrist or the writer of an invective
cover over, and throw aside into corners.

Much of the moral, and something too of the physical dispositions of
the man enter into the literary character; and, moreover, there are
localities--the place where he resides, the circumstances which arise,
and the habits he contracts; to all these the excellences and the
defects of some of our great literary characters may often be traced.
With this clue we may thread our way through the labyrinth of Genius.

Warburton long resided in an obscure provincial town, the articled
clerk of a country attorney,[148] and then an unsuccessful practising
one. He seems, too, once to have figured as "a wine-merchant in the
Borough," and rose into notice as "the orator of a disputing club;"
but, in all his shapes, still keen in literary pursuits, without
literary connexions; struggling with all the defects of a desultory
and self-taught education, but of a bold aspiring character, he
rejected, either in pride or in despair, his little trades, and took
Deacon's orders--to exchange a profession, unfavourable to continuity
of study, for another more propitious to its indulgence.[149] In a
word, he set off as a literary adventurer, who was to win his way by
earning it from patronage.

His first mischances were not of a nature to call forth that
intrepidity which afterwards hardened into the leading feature of his
character. Few great authors have begun their race with less
auspicious omens, though an extraordinary event in the life of an
author happened to Warburton--he had secured a patron before he was an

The first publication of his which we know, was his "Translations in
Prose and Verse from Roman Poets, Orators, and Historians." 1724. He
was then about twenty-five years of age. The fine forms of classic
beauty could never be cast in so rough a mould as his prose; and his
turgid unmusical verses betrayed qualities of mind incompatible with
the delicacy of poetry. Four years afterwards he repeated another
bolder attempt, in his "Critical and Philosophical Inquiry into the
Causes of Prodigies and Miracles." After this publication, I wonder
Warburton was ever suspected of infidelity or even scepticism.[150] So
radically deficient in Warburton was that fine internal feeling which
we call taste, that through his early writings he acquired not one
solitary charm of diction,[151] and scarcely betrayed, amid his
impurity of taste, that nerve and spirit which afterwards crushed all
rival force. His translations _in imitation of Milton's style_ betray
his utter want of ear and imagination. He attempted to suppress both
these works during his lifetime.

When these unlucky productions were republished by Dr. Parr, the
_Dedications_ were not forgotten; they were both addressed to the same
opulent baronet, not omitting "the virtues" of his lady the Countess
of Sunderland, whose marriage he calls "so divine a union." Warburton
had shown no want of judgment in the choice of his patrons; for they
had more than one living in their gift--and perhaps, knowing his
patrons, none in the dedications themselves. They had, however, this
absurdity, that in freely exposing the servile practices of
dedicators, the writer was himself indulging in that luxurious sin,
which he so forcibly terms "Public Prostitution." This early
management betrays no equivocal symptoms of that traffic in
_Dedications_, of which he has been so severely accused,[152] and of
that paradoxical turn and hardy effrontery which distinguished his
after-life. These dedications led to preferment, and thus hardily was
laid the foundation-stone of his aspiring fortunes.

Till his thirtieth year, Warburton evinced a depraved taste, but a
craving appetite for knowledge. His mind was constituted to be more
struck by the Monstrous than the Beautiful, much like that Sicilian
prince who furnished his villa with the most hideous figures
imaginable:[153] the delight resulting from harmonious and delicate
forms raised emotions of too weak a nature to move his obliquity of
taste; roused, however, by the surprise excited by colossal ugliness.
The discovery of his intellectual tastes, at this obscure period of
his life, besides in those works we have noticed, is confirmed by one
of the most untoward accidents which ever happened to a literary man;
it was the chance-discovery of a letter he had written to one of the
heroes of the Dunciad, forty years before. At the time that letter
was written, his literary connexions were formed with second-rate
authors; he was in strict intimacy with Concanen and Theobald, and
other "ingenious gentlemen who made up our last night's conversation,"
as he expresses himself.[154] This letter is full of the heresies of
taste: one of the most anomalous is the comment on that well-known
passage in Shakspeare, on "the genius and the mortal instruments;"
Warburton's is a miraculous specimen of fantastical sagacity and
critical delirium, or the art of discovering meanings never meant, and
of illustrations the author could never have known. Warburton declares
to "the ingenious gentlemen," (whom afterwards with a Pharaoh's heart
he hanged by dozens to posterity in the "Dunciad,") that "Pope
borrowed for want of genius;" that poet, who, when the day arrived, he
was to comment on as the first of poets! His insulting criticisms on
the popular writings of Addison,--his contempt for what Young calls
"sweet elegant Virgilian prose,"--show how utterly insensible he was
to that classical taste in which Addison had constructed his
materials. But he who could not taste the delicacy of Addison, it may
be imagined might be in raptures with the rant of Lee. There is an
unerring principle in the false sublime: it seems to be governed by
laws, though they are not ours; and we know what it will like, that
is, we know what it will mistake for what ought not to be liked, as
surely as we can anticipate what will delight correct taste. Warburton
has pronounced one of the raving passages of poor Nat "to contain not
only the most sublime, but the most judicious imagery that poetry
could conceive or paint." JOSEPH WARTON, who indignantly rejects it
from his edition of Pope, asserts that "we have not in our language a
more striking example of true turgid expression, and genuine fustian
and bombast."[155] Yet such was the man whom ill-fortune (for the
public at least) had chosen to become the commentator of our greater
poets! Again Churchill throws light on our character:--

  He, with an all-sufficient air
  Places himself in the critic's chair,
  And wrote, to advance his Maker's praise,
  Comments on rhymes, and notes on plays--
  A judge of genius, though, confest,
  With not one spark of genius blest:
  Among the first of critics placed,
  Though free from every taint of taste.

Not encouraged by the reception his first literary efforts received,
but having obtained some preferment from his patron, we now come to a
critical point in his life. He retreated from the world, and, during a
seclusion of near twenty years, persevered in uninterrupted studies.
The force of his character placed him in the first order of thinking
beings. This resolution no more to court the world for literary
favours, but to command it by hardy preparation for mighty labours,
displays a noble retention of the appetite for fame; Warburton scorned
to be a scribbler!

Had this great man journalised his readings, as Gibbon has done, we
should perhaps be more astonished at his miscellaneous pursuits. He
read everything, and, I suspect, with little distinction, and equal
delight.[156] Curiosity, even to its delirium, was his first passion;
which produced those new systems of hypothetical reasoning by which he
startled the world; and his efforts to save his most ingenious
theories from absurdity resembled, to use his own emphatic words
applied to the philosophy of Leibnitz, "a contrivance against
Fatalism," for though his genius has given a value to the wildest
paradoxes, paradoxes they remain.

But if Warburton read so much, it was not to enforce opinions already
furnished to his hands, or with cold scepticism to reject them,
leaving the reader in despair. He read that he might write what no one
else had written, and which at least required to be refuted before it
was condemned. He hit upon a SECRET PRINCIPLE, which prevails through
all his works, and this was INVENTION; a talent, indeed, somewhat
dangerous to introduce in researches where Truth, and not Fancy, was
to be addressed. But even with all this originality he was not free
from imitation, and has even been accused of borrowing largely without
hinting at his obligations. He had certainly one favourite model
before him: Warburton has delineated the portrait of a certain author
with inimitable minuteness, while he caught its general effect; we
feel that the artist, in tracing the resemblance of another, is
inspired by all the flattery of a self-painter--he perceived the
kindred features, and he loved them!

This author was BAYLE! And I am unfolding the character of Warburton,
in copying the very original portrait:--

"Mr. Bayle is of a quite different character from these Italian
sophists: a writer, whose strength and clearness of _reasoning_ can be
equalled only by the gaiety, easiness, and delicacy of his _wit_;
_who, pervading human nature with a glance, STRUCK INTO THE PROVINCE
OF PARADOX, as an exercise for the restless vigour of his mind_: who,
with a soul superior to the sharpest attacks of fortune, and a heart
practised to the best philosophy, had _not yet enough of real
greatness to overcome that last foible of superior geniuses_, the
temptation of honour, which the ACADEMIC EXERCISE OF WIT is conceived
to bring to its professors."[157]

Here, then, we discover the SECRET PRINCIPLE which conducted Warburton
through all his works, although of the most opposite natures. I do not
give this as an opinion to be discussed, but as a fact to be

The faculties so eminent in Bayle were equally so in Warburton. In his
early studies he had particularly applied himself to logic; and was
not only a vigorous reasoner, but one practised in all the _finesse_
of dialectics. He had wit, fertile indeed, rather than delicate; and a
vast body of erudition, collected in the uninterrupted studies of
twenty years. But it was the SECRET PRINCIPLE, or, as he calls it,
"_the Academic exercise of Wit_," on an enlarged system, which carried
him so far in the new world of INVENTION he was creating.

This was a new characteristic of investigation; it led him on to
pursue his profounder inquiries beyond the clouds of antiquity; for
what he could not _discover_, he CONJECTURED and ASSERTED. Objects,
which in the hands of other men were merely matters resting on
authentic researches, now received the stamp and lustre of original
invention. Nothing was to be seen in the state in which others had
viewed it; the hardiest paradoxes served his purpose best, and
this licentious principle produced unlooked-for discoveries. He
humoured his taste, always wild and unchastised, in search of the
monstrous and the extravagant; and, being a wit, he delighted in
finding resemblances in objects which to more regulated minds had no
similarity whatever. _Wit_ may exercise its ingenuity as much in
combining _things_ unconnected with each other, as in its odd
assemblage of _ideas_; and Warburton, as a literary antiquary,
proved to be as witty in his combinations as BUTLER and CONGREVE
in their comic images. As this principle took full possession of
the mind of this man of genius, the practice became so familiar,
that it is possible he might at times have been credulous enough
to have confided in his own reveries. As he forcibly expressed
himself on one of his adversaries, Dr. STEBBING, "Thus it is to
have to do with a head whose _sense is all run to system_." "His
Academic Wit" now sported amid whimsical theories, pursued bold
but inconclusive arguments, marked out subtile distinctions, and
discovered incongruous resemblances; but they were maintained by an
imposing air of conviction, furnished with the most prodigal
erudition, and they struck out many ingenious combinations. The
importance or the curiosity of the topics awed or delighted his
readers; the principle, however licentious, by the surprise it
raised, seduced the lovers of novelties. Father HARDOUIN had
studied as hard as Warburton, rose as early, and retired to rest
as late, and the obliquity of his intellect resembled that of
Warburton--but he was a far inferior genius; he only discovered
that the classical works of antiquity, the finest compositions
of the human mind, in ages of its utmost refinement, had been
composed by the droning monks of the middle ages; a discovery which
only surprised by its tasteless absurdity--but the absurdities
of Warburton had more dignity, were more delightful, and more
dangerous: they existed, as it were, in a state of illusion, but
illusion which required as much genius and learning as his own
to dissipate. His spells were to be disturbed only by a magician,
great as himself. Conducted by this solitary principle, Warburton
undertook, as it were, a magical voyage into antiquity. He passed
over the ocean of time, sailing amid rocks, and half lost on
quicksands; but he never failed to raise up some _terra incognita_;
or point at some scene of the _Fata Morgana_, some earthly spot,
painted in the heaven one knows not how.

In this secret principle of resolving to _invent_ what no other had
before conceived, by means of _conjecture_ and _assertion_, and of
maintaining his theories with all the pride of a sophist, and all the
fierceness of an inquisitor, we have the key to all the contests by
which this great mind so long supported his literary usurpations.

The first step the giant took showed the mightiness of his stride. His
first great work was the famous "Alliance between Church and State."
It surprised the world, who saw the most important subject depending
on a mere _curious_ argument, which, like all political theories, was
liable to be overthrown by writers of opposite principles.[158] The
term "Alliance" seemed to the dissenters to infer that the _Church_
was an independent power, forming a contract with the _State_, and not
acknowledging that it is only an integral part, like that of the
_army_ or the _navy_.[159] Warburton had not probably decided, at that
time, on the principle of ecclesiastical power: whether it was
paramount by its divine origin, as one party asserted; or whether, as
the new philosophers, Hobbes, Selden, and others, insisted, the
spiritual was secondary to the civil power.[160]

The intrepidity of this vast genius appears in the plan of his greater
work. The omission of a future state of reward and punishment, in the
Mosaic writings, was perpetually urged as a proof that the mission was
not of divine origin: the ablest defenders strained at obscure or
figurative passages, to force unsatisfactory inferences; but they were
looking after what could not be found. Warburton at once boldly
acknowledged it was not there; at once adopted all the objections of
the infidels: and roused the curiosity of both parties by the hardy
assertion, that this very _omission_ was a _demonstration_ of its
divine origin.[161]

The first idea of this new project was bold and delightful, and the
plan magnificent. Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity, the three great
religions of mankind, were to be marshalled in all their pomp, and
their awe, and their mystery. But the procession changed to a battle!
To maintain one great paradox, he was branching out into innumerable
ones. This great work was never concluded: the author wearied himself,
without, however, wearying his readers; and, as his volumes appeared,
he was still referring to his argument, "as far as it is yet
advanced." The _demonstration_ appeared in great danger of ending in a
_conjecture_; and this work, always beginning and never ending, proved
to be the glory and misery of his life.[162] In perpetual conflict
with those numerous adversaries it roused, Warburton often shifted
his ground, and broke into so many divisions, that when he cried out,
Victory! his scattered forces seemed rather to be in flight than in

The same SECRET PRINCIPLE led him to turn the poetical narrative of
Æneas in the infernal regions, an episode evidently imitated by Virgil
from his Grecian master, into a minute description of the initiation
into the Eleusinian Mysteries. A notion so perfectly new was at least
worth a commonplace truth. Was it not delightful to have so many
particulars detailed of a secret transaction, which even its
contemporaries of two thousand years ago did not presume to know
anything about? Father Hardouin seems to have opened the way for
Warburton, since he had discovered that the whole Æneid was an
allegorical voyage of St. Peter to Rome! When Jortin, in one of his
"Six Dissertations," modestly illustrated Virgil by an interpretation
inconsistent with Warburton's strange discovery, it produced a
memorable quarrel. Then Hurd, the future shield, scarcely the sword,
of Warburton, made his first sally; a dapper, subtle, and cold-blooded
champion, who could dexterously turn about the polished weapon of
irony.[164] So much our _Railleur_ admired the volume of Jortin, that
he favoured him with "A Seventh Dissertation, addressed to the Author
of the Sixth, on the Delicacy of Friendship," one of the most
malicious, but the keenest pieces of irony. It served as the
foundation of a new School of Criticism, in which the arrogance of the
master was to be supported by the pupil's contempt of men often his
superiors. To interpret Virgil differently from the modern Stagirite,
was, by the aggravating art of the ridiculer, to be considered as the
violation of a moral feeling.[165] Jortin bore the slow torture and
the teasing of Hurd's dissecting-knife in dignified silence.

At length a rising genius demonstrated how Virgil could not have
described the Eleusinian Mysteries in the sixth book of the Æneid. One
blow from the arm of Gibbon shivered the allegorical fairy palace into
glittering fragments.[166]

When the sceptical Middleton, in his "Essay on the Gift of Tongues,"
pretended to think that "an inspired language would be perfect in its
kind, with all the purity of Plato and the eloquence of Cicero," and
then asserted that "the style of the New Testament was utterly rude
and barbarous, and abounding with every fault that can possibly deform
a language," Warburton, as was his custom, instantly acquiesced; but
hardily maintained that "_this very barbarism was one certain mark of
a divine original_."[167]--The curious may follow his subtile argument
in his "Doctrine of Grace;" but, in delivering this paradox, he struck
at the fundamental principles of eloquence: he dilated on all the
abuses of that human art. It was precisely his utter want of taste
which afforded him so copious an argument; for he asserted that the
principles of eloquence were arbitrary and chimerical, and its various
modes "mostly fantastical;" and that, consequently, there was no such
thing as a good taste,[168] except what the _consent of the learned_
had made; an expression borrowed from Quintilian. A plausible and a
consolatory argument for the greater part of mankind! It, however,
roused the indignation of Leland, the eloquent translator of
Demosthenes, and the rhetorical professor at Trinity College, in
Dublin, who has nobly defended the cause of classical taste and
feeling by profounder principles. His classic anger produced his
"Dissertation on the Principles of Human Eloquence;" a volume so much
esteemed that it is still reprinted. Leland refuted the whimsical
paradox, yet complimented Warburton, who, "with the spirit and energy
of an ancient orator, was writing against eloquence," while he showed
that the style of the New Testament was defensible on surer grounds.
Hurd, who had fleshed his polished weapon on poor Jortin, and had been
received into the arms of the hero under whom he now fought,
adventured to cast his javelin at Leland: it was dipped in the cold
poison of contempt and petulance. It struck, but did not canker,
leaves that were immortal.[169] Leland, with the native warmth of his
soil, could not resist the gratification of a reply; but the nobler
part of the triumph was, the assistance he lent to the circulation of
Hurd's letter, by reprinting it with his own reply, to accompany a
new edition of his "Dissertation on Eloquence."[170]

We now pursue the SECRET PRINCIPLE, operating on lighter topics; when,
turning commentator, with the same originality as when an author, his
character as a literary adventurer is still more prominent, extorting
double senses, discovering the most fantastical allusions, and making
men of genius but of confined reading, learned, with all the lumber of
his own unwieldy erudition.

When the German professor CROUSAZ published a rigid examen of the
doctrines in POPE'S "Essay on Man," Warburton volunteered a defence of
Pope. Some years before, it appears that Warburton himself, in a
literary club at Newark, had produced a dissertation against those
very doctrines! where he asserted that "the Essay was collected from
the worst passages of the worst authors." This probably occurred at
the time he declared that Pope had no genius! BOLINGBROKE really WROTE
the "Essay on Man," which Pope _versified_.[171] His principles may be
often objectionable; but those who only read this fine philosophical
poem for its condensed verse, its imagery, and its generous
sentiments, will run no danger from a metaphysical system they will
not care to comprehend.

But this serves not as an apology for Warburton, who now undertook an
elaborate defence of what he had himself condemned, and for which
purpose he has most unjustly depressed Crousaz--an able logician, and
a writer ardent in the cause of religion. This commentary on the
"Essay on Man," then, looks much like the work of a sophist and an
adventurer! Pope, who was now alarmed at the tendency of some of those
principles he had so innocently versified, received Warburton as his
tutelary genius. A mere poet was soon dazzled by the sorcery of
erudition; and he himself, having nothing of that kind of learning,
believed Warburton to be the Scaliger of the age, for his gratitude
far exceeded his knowledge.[172] The poet died in this delusion: he
consigned his immortal works to the mercy of a ridiculous commentary
and a tasteless commentator, whose labours have cost so much pains to
subsequent editors to remove. Yet from this moment we date the worldly
fortunes of Warburton.--Pope presented him with the entire property of
his works; introduced him to a blind and obedient patron, who bestowed
on him a rich wife, by whom he secured a fine mansion; till at
length, the mitre crowned his last ambition. Such was the large
chapter of accidents in Warburton's life!

There appears in Warburton's conduct respecting the editions of the
great poets which he afterwards published, something systematic; he
treated the several editors of those very poets, THEOBALD, HANMER,
and GREY, who were his friends, with the same odd sort of kindness:
when he was unknown to the world, he cheerfully contributed to all
their labours, and afterwards abused them with the liveliest
severity.[173] It is probable that he had himself projected these
editions as a source of profit, but had contributed to the more
advanced labours of his rival editors, merely as specimens of his
talent, that the public might hereafter be thus prepared for his
own more perfect commentaries.

Warburton employed no little art[174] to excite the public curiosity
respecting his future Shakspeare: he liberally presented Dr. BIRCH
with his MS. notes for that great work the "General Dictionary," no
doubt as the prelude of his after-celebrated edition. Birch was here
only a dupe: he escaped, unlike Theobald, Hanmer, and Grey, from being
overwhelmed with ridicule and contempt. When these extraordinary
specimens of emendatory and illustrative criticism appeared in the
"General Dictionary," with general readers they excited all the
astonishment of perfect novelty. It must have occurred to them, that
no one as yet had understood Shakspeare; and, indeed, that it required
no less erudition than that of the new luminary now rising in the
critical horizon to display the amazing erudition of this most
recondite poet. Conjectural criticism not only changed the words but
the thoughts of the author; perverse interpretations of plain matters.
Many a striking passage was wrested into a new meaning: plain words
were subtilised to remove conceits; here one line was rejected, and
there an interpolation, inspired alone by critical sagacity, pretended
to restore a lost one; and finally, a source of knowledge was opened
in the notes, on subjects which no other critic suspected could, by
any ingenuity, stand connected with Shakspeare's text.

At length the memorable edition appeared: all the world knows its
chimeras.[175] One of its most remarkable results was the production
of that work, which annihilated the whimsical labours of Warburton,
Edwards's "Canons of Criticism," one of those successful facetious
criticisms which enliven our literary history. Johnson, awed by the
learning of Warburton, and warmed by a personal feeling for a great
genius who had condescended to encourage his first critical labour,
grudgingly bestows a moderated praise on this exquisite satire, which
he characterises for "its airy petulance, suitable enough to the
levity of the controversy." He compared this attack "to a fly, which
may sting and tease a horse, but yet the horse is the nobler
animal."[176] Among the prejudices of criticism, is one which hinders
us from relishing a masterly performance, when it ridicules a
favourite author; but to us, mere historians, truth will always
prevail over literary favouritism. The work of Edwards effected its
purpose, that of "laughing down Warburton to his proper rank and

Warburton designates himself as "a critic by profession;" and tells
us, he gave this edition "to deter the _unlearned writer_ from
wantonly trifling with an art he is a stranger to, at the expense of
the integrity of the text of established authors." Edwards has placed
a N.B. on this declaration:--"A writer may properly be called
_unlearned_, who, notwithstanding all his other knowledge, does not
understand the subject which he writes upon." But the most dogmatical
absurdity was Warburton's declaration, that it was once his design to
have given "a body of canons for criticism, drawn out in form, with a
glossary;" and further he informs the reader, that though this has not
been done by him, if the reader will take the trouble, he may supply
himself, as these canons of criticism lie scattered in the course of
the notes. This idea was seized on with infinite humour by Edwards,
who, from these very notes, has framed a set of "Canons of Criticism,"
as ridiculous as possible, but every one illustrated by authentic
examples, drawn from the labours of our new Stagirite.[178]

At length, when the public had decided on the fact of Warburton's
edition, it was confessed that the editor's design had never been to
explain Shakspeare! and that he was even conscious he had frequently
imputed to the poet meanings which he never thought! Our critic's
great object was to display his own learning! Warburton wrote for
Warburton, and not for Shakspeare! and the literary imposture almost
rivals the confessions of Lander or Psalmanazar!

The same SECRET PRINCIPLE was pursued in his absurd edition of Pope.
He formed an unbroken Commentary on the "Essay on Criticism," to show
that that admirable collection of precepts had been constructed by a
systematical method, which it is well known the poet never designed;
and the same instruments of torture were here used as in the "Essay on
Man," to reconcile a system of fatalism to the doctrines of
Revelation.[179] Warton had to remove the incumbrance of his
Commentaries on Pope, while a most laborious confederacy zealously
performed the same task to relieve Shakspeare. Thus Warburton pursued
ONE SECRET PRINCIPLE in all his labours; thus he raised edifices which
could not be securely inhabited, and were only impediments in the
roadway; and these works are now known by the labours of those who
have exerted their skill in laying them in ruins.

Warburton was probably aware that the SECRET PRINCIPLE which regulated
his public opinions might lay him open, at numerous points, to the
strokes of ridicule. It is a weapon which every one is willing to use,
but which seems to terrify every one when it is pointed against
themselves. There is no party or sect which have not employed it in
their most serious controversies: the grave part of mankind protest
against it, often at the moment they have been directing it for their
own purpose. And the inquiry, whether ridicule be a test of truth, is
one of the large controversies in our own literature. It was opened by
Lord Shaftesbury, and zealously maintained by his school. Akenside, in
a note to his celebrated poem, asserts the efficacy of ridicule as a
test of truth: Lord Kaimes had just done the same. Warburton levelled
his piece at the lord in the bush-fighting of a note; but came down in
the open field with a full discharge of his artillery on the luckless

Warburton designates Akenside under the sneering appellative of "The
Poet," and alluding to his "sublime account" of the use of ridicule,
insultingly reminds him of "his Master," Shaftesbury, and of that
school which made morality an object of taste, shrewdly hinting that
Akenside was "a man of taste;" a new term, as we are to infer from
Warburton, for "a Deist;" or, as Akenside had alluded to Spinoza, he
might be something worse. The great critic loudly protested against
the practice of ridicule; but, in attacking its advocate, he is
himself an evidence of its efficacy, by keenly ridiculing "the Poet"
and his opinions. Dyson, the patron of Akenside, nobly stepped
forwards to rescue his Eagle, panting in the tremendous gripe of the
critical Lion. His defence of Akenside is an argumentative piece of
criticism on the nature of ridicule, curious, but wanting the graces
of the genius who inspired it.[181]

I shall stop one moment, since it falls into our subject, to record
this great literary battle on the use of ridicule, which has been
fought till both parties, after having shed their ink, divide the
field without victory or defeat, and now stand looking on each other.

The advocates for the use of RIDICULE maintain that it is a natural
sense or feeling, bestowed on us for wise purposes by the Supreme
Being, as are the other feelings of beauty and of sublimity;--the
sense of beauty to detect the deformity, as the sense of ridicule the
absurdity of an object: and they further maintain, that no real
virtues, such as wisdom, honesty, bravery, or generosity, can be

The great Adversary of Ridicule replied that they did not dare to
ridicule the virtues openly; but, by overcharging and distorting them
they could laugh at leisure. "Give them other names," he says, "call
them but Temerity, Prodigality, Simplicity, &c., and your business is
done. Make them ridiculous, and you may go on, in the freedom of wit
and humour (as Shaftesbury distinguishes ridicule), till there be
never a virtue left to laugh out of countenance."

The ridiculers acknowledge that their favourite art may do mischief,
when _dishonest men obtrude circumstances foreign to the object_. But,
they justly urge, that the use of reason itself is full as liable to
the same objection: grant Spinoza his false premises, and his
conclusions will be considered as true. Dyson threw out an ingenious
illustration. "It is so equally in the mathematics; where, in
reasoning about a circle, if we join along with its real properties
others that do not belong to it, our conclusions will certainly be
erroneous. Yet who would infer from hence that _the manner of proof_
is defective or fallacious?"

Warburton urged the strongest _case_ against the use of ridicule, in
that of Socrates and Aristophanes. In his strong and coarse
illustration he shows, that "by clapping a fool's coat on the most
immaculate virtue, it stuck on Socrates like a San Benito, and at last
brought him to his execution: it made the owner resemble his direct
opposite; that character he was most unlike. The consequences are well

Warburton here adopted the popular notion, that the witty buffoon
Aristophanes was the occasion of the death of the philosopher
Socrates. The defence is skilful on the part of Dyson; and we may
easily conceive that on so important a point Akenside had been
consulted. I shall give it in his own words:--

"The Socrates of Aristophanes is as truly ridiculous a character as
ever was drawn; but it is not the character of Socrates himself. The
object was perverted, and the mischief which ensued was owing to
the dishonesty of him who persuaded the people that that was the
real character of Socrates, not from any error in the faculty of
ridicule itself."--Dyson then states the fact as it concerned
Socrates. "The real intention of the contrivers of this ridicule
was not so much to mislead the people, by giving them a bad opinion of
Socrates, as to sound what was at the time the general opinion of him,
that from thence they might judge whether it would be safe to bring
a direct accusation against him. The most effectual way of making
this trial was by ridiculing him; for they knew, if the people saw
his character in its true light, they would be displeased with the
misrepresentation, and not endure the ridicule. On trial this
appeared: the play met with its deserved fate; and, notwithstanding
the exquisiteness of the wit, was absolutely _rejected_. A second
attempt succeeded no better; and the abettors of the poet were so
discouraged from pursuing their design against Socrates, that it was
not till ABOVE TWENTY YEARS after _the publication of the play_ that
they brought their accusation against him! It was not, therefore,
ridicule that did, or could destroy Socrates: he was rather
sacrificed for the right use of it himself, against the Sophists, who
could not bear the test."

Thus, then, stands the argument.--Warburton, reasoning on the abuses
of ridicule, has opened to us all its dangers. Its advocate concedes
that Ridicule, to be a test of Truth, must not impose on us
circumstances which are foreign to the object. No object can be
ridiculed that is not ridiculous. Should this happen, then the
ridicule is false; and, as such, can be proved as much as any piece of
false reasoning. We may therefore conclude, that ridicule is a taste
of congruity and propriety not possessed by every one; a test which
separates truth from imposture; a talent against the exercise of which
most men are interested to protest; but which, being founded on the
constituent principles of the human mind, is often indulged at the
very moment it is decried and complained of.

But we must not leave this great man without some notice of that
peculiar style of controversy which he adopted, and which may be
distinguished among our LITERARY QUARRELS. He has left his name to a
school--a school which the more liberal spirit of the day we live in
would not any longer endure. Who has not heard of THE WARBURTONIANS?

That SECRET PRINCIPLE which directed Warburton in all his works, and
which we have attempted to pursue, could not of itself have been
sufficient to have filled the world with the name of Warburton. Other
scholars have published reveries, and they have passed away, after
showing themselves for a time, leaving no impression; like those
coloured and shifting shadows on a wall, with which children are
amused; but Warburton was a literary Revolutionist, who, to maintain a
new order of things, exercised all the despotism of a perpetual
dictator. The bold unblushing energy which could lay down the most
extravagant positions, was maintained by a fierce dogmatic spirit, and
by a peculiar style of mordacious contempt and intolerant insolence,
beating down his opponents from all quarters with an animating shout
of triumph, to encourage those more serious minds, who, overcome by
his genius, were yet often alarmed by the ambiguous tendency of his

The Warburtonian School was to be supported by the most licentious
principles; by dictatorial arrogance,[183] by gross invective, and by
airy sarcasm;[184] the bitter contempt which, with its many little
artifices, lowers an adversary in the public opinion, was more
peculiarly the talent of one of the aptest scholars, the cool, the
keen, the sophistical Hurd. The lowest arts of confederacy were
connived at by all the disciples,[185] prodigal of praise to
themselves, and retentive of it to all others; the world was to be
divided into two parts, the _Warburtonians_ and the _Anti_.

To establish this new government in the literary world, this great
Revolutionist was favoured by Fortune with two important aids; the one
was a _Machine_, by which he could wield public opinion; and the other
a _Man_, who seemed born to be his minister or his viceroy.

The _machine_ was nothing less than the immortal works of Pope; as
soon as Warburton had obtained a royal patent to secure to himself the
sole property of Pope's works, the public were compelled, under the
disguise of a Commentary on the most classical of our Poets, to be
concerned with all his literary quarrels, and have his libels and
lampoons perpetually before them; all the foul waters of his anger
were deposited here as in a common reservoir.[186]

Fanciful as was the genius of Warburton, it delighted too much in its
eccentric motions, and in its own solitary greatness, amid abstract
and recondite topics, to have strongly attracted the public attention,
had not a party been formed around him, at the head of which stood
the active and subtle Hurd; and amid the gradations of the votive
brotherhood, the profound BALGUY,[187] the spirited BROWN,[188] till
we descend--

  To his tame jackal, parson TOWNE.[189]
       _Verses on Warburton's late Edition._

This Warburtonian party reminds one of an old custom among our elder
poets, who formed a kind of freemasonry among themselves, by adopting
younger poets by the title of their _sons_.--But that was a domestic
society of poets; this, a revival of the Jesuitic order instituted by
its founder, that--

  By him supported with a proper pride,
  They might hold all mankind as fools beside.
  Might, like himself, teach each adopted son,
  'Gainst all the world, to quote a Warburton.[190]
                CHURCHILL'S "Fragment of a Dedication."

The character of a literary sycophant was never more perfectly
exhibited than in Hurd. A Whig in principle, yet he had all a
courtier's arts for Warburton; to him he devoted all his genius,
though that, indeed, was moderate; aided him with all his ingenuity,
which was exquisite; and lent his cause a certain delicacy of taste
and cultivated elegance, which, although too prim and artificial, was
a vein of gold running through his mass of erudition; it was Hurd who
aided the usurpation of Warburton in the province of criticism above
Aristotle and Longinus.[191] Hurd is justly characterised by Warton,
in his Spenser, vol. ii. p. 36, as "the _most sensible_ and
_ingenious_ of modern critics."--He was a lover of his studies; and he
probably was sincere, when he once told a friend of the literary
antiquary Cole, that he would have chosen not to quit the university,
for he loved retirement; and on that principle Cowley was his
favourite poet, which he afterwards showed by his singular edition of
that poet. He was called from the cloistered shades to assume the
honourable dignity of a Royal Tutor. Had he devoted his days to
literature, he would have still enriched its stores. But he had other
more supple and more serviceable qualifications. Most adroit was he in
all the archery of controversy: he had the subtlety that can evade the
aim of the assailant, and the slender dexterity, substituted for
vigour, that struck when least expected. The subaltern genius of Hurd
required to be animated by the heroic energy of Warburton; and the
careless courage of the chief wanted one who could maintain the
unguarded passages he left behind him in his progress.

Such, then, was WARBURTON, and such the quarrels of this great author.
He was, through his literary life, an adventurer, guided by that
secret principle which opened an immediate road to fame. By opposing
the common sentiments of mankind, he awed and he commanded them; and
by giving a new face to all things, he surprised, by the appearances
of discoveries. All this, so pleasing to his egotism, was not,
however, fortunate for his ambition. To sustain an authority which he
had usurped; to substitute for the taste he wanted a curious and
dazzling erudition; and to maintain those reckless decisions which so
often plunged him into perils, Warburton adopted his _system of
Literary Quarrels_. These were the illegitimate means which raised a
sudden celebrity, and which genius kept alive, as long as that genius
lasted; but Warburton suffered that literary calamity, too protracted
a period of human life: he outlived himself and his fame. This great
and original mind sacrificed all his genius to that secret principle
we have endeavoured to develope--it was a self-immolation!

The learned SELDEN, in the curious little volume of his "Table-Talk,"
has delivered to posterity a precept for the learned, which they ought
to wear, like the Jewish phylacteries, as "a frontlet between their
eyes." _No man is the wiser for his learning: it may administer matter
to work in, or objects to work upon; but wit and wisdom are born with
a man._ Sir THOMAS HANMER, who was well acquainted with Warburton,
during their correspondence about Shakspeare, often said of him:--"The
only use he could find in Mr. Warburton was _starting the game_; he
was not to be trusted in _running it down_." A just discrimination!
His fervid curiosity was absolutely creative; but his taste and his
judgment, perpetually stretched out by his system, could not save him
from even inglorious absurdities!

Warburton, it is probable, was not really the character he appears. It
mortifies the lovers of genius to discover how a natural character may
be thrown into a convulsed unnatural state by some adopted system: it
is this system, which, carrying it, as it were, beyond itself,
communicates a more than natural, but a self-destroying energy. All
then becomes reversed! The arrogant and vituperative Warburton was
only such in his assumed character; for in still domestic life he was
the creature of benevolence, touched by generous passions. But in
public life the artificial or the acquired character prevails over the
one which nature designed for us; and by that all public men, as well
as authors, are usually judged by posterity.


  [141] One of his lively adversaries, the author of the "Canons of
        Criticism," observed the difficulty of writing against an
        author whose reputation so much exceeded the knowledge of his
        works. "It is my misfortune," says EDWARDS, "in this
        controversy, to be engaged with a person who is better known
        by his _name_ than his _works_; or, to speak more properly,
        whose _works are more known than read_."--_Preface to the
        Canons of Criticism._

  [142] Aristotle's Rhetoric, B. III. c. 16.

  [143] The materials for a "Life of Warburton" have been arranged by
        Mr. NICHOLS with his accustomed fidelity.--_See his Literary

  [144] It is probable I may have drawn my meteor from our volcanic
        author himself, who had his lucid moments, even in the
        deliriums of his imagination. Warburton has rightly observed,
        in his "Divine Legation," p. 203, that "_Systems_, _Schemes_,
        and _Hypotheses_, all bred of heat, in the warm regions of
        _Controversy_, like meteors in a troubled sky, have each its
        turn to _blaze_ and _fly_ away."

  [145] It seems, even by the confession of a Warburtonian, that his
        master was of "a human size;" for when Bishop LOWTH rallies
        the Warburtonians for their subserviency and credulity to
        their master, he aimed a gentle stroke at Dr. BROWN, who, in
        his "Essays on the Characteristics," had poured forth the most
        vehement panegyric. In his "Estimate of Manners of the
        Times," too, after a long _tirade_ of their badness in regard
        to taste and learning, he thus again eulogizes his mighty
        master:--"Himself is abused, and his friends insulted for his
        sake, by those who never read his writings; or, if they did,
        could neither taste nor comprehend them; while every little
        aspiring or despairing scribbler eyes him as Cassius did
        Cæsar: and whispers to his fellow--

          'Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
          Like a Colossus; and we petty men
          Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
          To find ourselves dishonourable graves.'

        No wonder, then, if the malice of the Lilliputian tribe be
        bent against this dreaded GULLIVER; if they attack him with
        poisoned arrows, whom they cannot subdue by strength."

        On this Lowth observes, that "this Lord Paramount in his
        pretensions _doth bestride the narrow world_ of literature,
        and has cast out his shoe over all the regions of science."
        This leads to a ludicrous comparison of Warburton, with King
        Pichrochole and his three ministers, who, in URQUHART'S
        admirable version of the French wit, are Count Merdaille,
        the Duke of Smalltrash, and the Earl Swashbuckler, who set up
        for universal monarchy, and made an imaginary expedition
        through all the quarters of the world, as Rabelais records,
        and the bishop facetiously quotes. Dr. Brown afterwards
        seemed to repent his panegyric, and contrives to make his
        gigantic hero shrink into a moderate size. "I believe
        still, every little aspiring fellow continues thus to eye
        him. For myself, I have ever considered him as _a man_,
        yet considerable among his species, as the following part of
        the paragraph _clearly demonstrates_. I speak of him here
        as _a Gulliver_ indeed; yet still of _no more than human
        size_, and only apprehended to be of _colossal magnitude_ by
        certain of his Lilliputian enemies." Thus subtilely would poor
        Dr. Brown save appearances! It must be confessed that, in a
        dilemma, never was a giant got rid of so easily!--The plain
        truth, however, was, that Brown was then on the point of
        quarrelling with Warburton; for he laments, in a letter to
        a friend, that "he had not avoided all personal panegyric. I
        had thus saved myself the trouble of setting right a
        character which I far over-painted." A part of this letter
        is quoted in the "Biographia Britannica."

  [146] "Tracts by Warburton and a Warburtonian, not admitted into the
        collections of their respective works," itself a collection
        which our shelves could ill spare, though maliciously
        republished by Dr. PARR. The dedication by Parr stands
        unparalleled for comparative criticism. It is the eruption of
        a volcano; it sparkles, it blazes, and scatters light and
        destruction. How deeply ought we to regret that this Nazarite
        suffered his strength to be shorn by the Delilahs of spurious
        fame. Never did this man, with his gifted strength, grasp the
        pillars of a temple, to shake its atoms over Philistines; but
        pleased the childlike simplicity of his mind by pulling down
        houses over the heads of their unlucky inhabitants. He
        consumed, in local and personal literary quarrels, a genius
        which might have made the next age his own. With all the
        stores of erudition, and all the eloquence of genius, he
        mortified a country parson for his politics, and a London
        accoucheur for certain obstetrical labours performed on
        Horace; and now his collected writings lie before us, volumes
        unsaleable and unread. His insatiate vanity was so little
        delicate, as often to snatch its sweetmeat from a foul plate;
        it now appears, by the secret revelations in Griffith's own
        copy of his "Monthly Review," that the writer of a very
        elaborate article on the works of Dr. Parr, was no less a
        personage than the Doctor himself. His egotism was so
        declamatory, that it unnaturalized a great mind, by the
        distortions of Johnsonian mimicry; his fierceness, which was
        pushed on to brutality on the unresisting, retreated with a
        child's terrors when resisted; and the pomp of petty pride in
        table triumphs and evening circles, ill compensated for the
        lost century he might have made his own!

          Lord o'er the greatest, to the least a slave,
          Half-weak, half-strong, half-timid, and half-brave;
          To take a compliment of too much pride,
          And yet most hurt when praises are denied.
          Thou art so deep discerning, yet so blind,
          So learn'd, so ignorant, cruel, yet so kind;
          So good, so bad, so foolish, and so wise;--
          By turns I love thee, and by turns despise.
                MS. ANON. (said to be by the late Dr. HOMER.)

  [147] The "Quarterly Review," vol. vii. p. 383.--So masterly a piece
        of criticism has rarely surprised the public in the leaves of
        a periodical publication. It comes, indeed, with the feelings
        of another age, and the reminiscences of the old and vigorous
        school. I cannot implicitly adopt all the sentiments of the
        critic, but it exhibits a highly-finished portrait, enamelled
        by the love of the artist.--This article was written by the
        late Dr. Whitaker, the historian of Craven, &c.

  [148] When Warburton, sore at having been refused academical
        honours at Oxford, which were offered to Pope, then his
        fellow-traveller, and who, in consequence of this refusal,
        did himself not accept them--in his controversy with Lowth
        (then the Oxford Professor), gave way to his angry spirit,
        and struck at the University itself, for its political
        jesuitism, being a place where men "were taught to distinguish
        between _de facto_ and _de jure_," caustic was the retort.
        Lowth, by singular felicity of application, touched on
        Warburton's original designation, in a character he hit on in
        Clarendon. After remonstrating with spirit and dignity on
        this petulant attack, which was not merely personal, Lowth
        continues:--"Had I not your lordship's example to justify me,
        I should think it a piece of extreme impertinence to inquire
        where YOU were bred; though one might justly plead, in
        excuse for it, a natural curiosity to know _where_ and _how_
        such a phenomenon was produced. It is commonly said that your
        lordship's education was of that particular kind, concerning
        which it is a remark of that great judge of men and manners,
        Lord Clarendon (on whom you have, therefore, with a wonderful
        happiness of allusion, justness of application, and elegance
        of expression, conferred 'the unrivalled title of the
        Chancellor of Human Nature'), that it peculiarly disposes
        men to be proud, insolent, and pragmatical." Lowth, in a
        note, inserts Clarendon's character of Colonel Harrison: "He
        had been bred up in the place of a clerk, under a lawyer of
        good account in those parts; which kind of education
        introduces men into the language and practice of business;
        and if it be not resisted by the great ingenuity of the
        person, inclines young men to more pride than any other kind
        of breeding, and disposes them to be pragmatical and
        insolent." "Now, my lord (Lowth continues), as you have in
        your whole behaviour, and in all your writings, remarkably
        distinguished yourself by your humility, lenity, meekness,
        forbearance, candour, humanity, civility, decency, good
        manners, good temper, moderation with regard to the
        opinions of others, and a modest diffidence of your own, this
        unpromising circumstance of your education is so far from
        being a disgrace to you, that it highly redounds to your
        praise."--_Lowth's Letter to the Author of the D. L._ p. 63.

        Was ever weapon more polished and keen? This Attic style of
        controversy finely contrasts with the tasteless and fierce
        invective of the Warburtonians, although one of them is
        well known to have managed too adroitly the cutting
        instrument of irony; but the frigid malignancy of Hurd
        diminishes the pleasure we might find in his skill.
        Warburton ill concealed his vexation in the contempt he
        vented in a letter to Hurd on this occasion. "All you say
        about Lowth's pamphlet breathes the purest spirit of
        friendship. His _wit_ and his _reasoning_, God knows, and
        I also, (as a certain critic said once in a matter of the
        like great importance), are much below the qualities that
        deserve those names."--He writes too of "this man's boldness
        in publishing his letters."--"If he expects an answer, he
        will certainly find himself disappointed; though I believe I
        could make _as good sport with this devil of a vice_, for
        the public diversion, as ever was made with him in the old
        Moralities."--But Warburton did reply! Had he ever possessed
        one feeling of taste, never would he have figured the elegant
        Lowth as this grotesque personage. He was, however, at that
        moment sharply stung!

        This circumstance of _Attorneyship_ was not passed over in
        Mallet's "Familiar Epistle to the Most Impudent Man Living."
        Comparing, in the Spirit of "familiarity," Arnall, an impudent
        scribbling attorney and political scribe, with Warburton, he
        says, "You have been an attorney as well as he, but a little
        more impudent than he was; for Arnall never presumed to
        conceal his turpitude under the gown and the scarf." But this
        is mere invective!

  [149] I have given a tempered opinion of his motive for this sudden
        conversion from Attorneyship to Divinity; for it must not be
        concealed, in our inquiry into Warburton's character, that he
        has frequently been accused of a more worldly one. He was so
        fierce an advocate for some important causes he undertook,
        that his sincerity has been liable to suspicion; the pleader,
        in some points, certainly acting the part of a sophist. Were
        we to decide by the early appearances of his conduct, by the
        rapid change of his profession, by his obsequious servility to
        his country squire, and by what have been termed the hazardous
        "fooleries in criticism, and outrages in controversy," which
        he systematically pursued, he looks like one not in earnest;
        and more zealous to maintain the character of his own genius,
        than the cause he had espoused. Leland once exclaimed, "What
        are we to think of the writer and his intentions? Is he really
        sincere in his reasonings?" Certain it is, his paradoxes often
        alarmed his friends, to repeat the words of a great critic, by
        "the absurdity of his criticism, the heterodoxy of his tenets,
        and the brutality of his invectives." Our Juvenal, who,
        whatever might be the vehemence of his declamation, reflected
        always those opinions which floated about him, has drawn a
        full-length figure. He accounts for Warburton's early motive
        in taking the cassock, as being

          "------------thereto drawn
          By some faint omens of the Lawn,
          And on the truly Christian plan,
          To make himself a gentleman:
          A title, in which Form arrayed him,
          Tho' Fate ne'er thought of when she made him.
          To make himself a man of note,
          He in defence of Scripture wrote:
          So long he wrote, and long about it,
          That e'en believers 'gan to doubt it.
          He wrote too of the Holy Ghost;
          Of whom, no more than doth a post,
          He knew; nor, should an angel show him,
          Would he or know, or choose to know him."
                                  CHURCHILL'S "Duellist."

        I would not insinuate that Warburton is to be ranked among the
        class he so loudly denounced, that of "Free-thinkers;" his
        mind, warm with imagination, seemed often tinged with
        credulity. But from his want of sober-mindedness, we cannot
        always prove his earnestness in the cause he advocated. He
        often sports with his fancies; he breaks out into the most
        familiar levity; and maintains, too broadly, subtile and
        refined principles, which evince more of the political than
        the primitive Christian. It is certain his infidelity was
        greatly suspected; and Hurd, to pass over the stigma of
        Warburton's sudden conversion to the Church, insinuates that
        "_an early seriousness of mind_ determined him to the
        ecclesiastical profession."--"It may be so," says the critic
        in the "Quarterly Review," no languid admirer of this great
        man; "but the symptoms of that _seriousness were very
        equivocal afterwards_; and the _certainty of an early
        provision, from a generous patron in the country_, may perhaps
        be considered by those who are disposed to assign human
        conduct to ordinary motives, as quite adequate to the

        Dr. Parr is indignant at such surmises; but the feeling is
        more honourable than the decision! In an admirable character
        of Warburton in the "Westminster Magazine" for 1779, it is
        acknowledged, "at his outset in life he was suspected of
        being inclined to infidelity; and it was not till many
        years had elapsed, that the orthodoxy of his opinions was
        generally assented to." On this Dr. Parr observes, "Why Dr.
        Warburton was _ever_ suspected of secret infidelity I know
        not. What he was _inclined to think_ on subjects of
        religion, before, perhaps, he had leisure or ability to
        examine them, depends only upon obscure surmise, or vague
        report." The words _inclined to think_ seems a periphrase
        for _secret infidelity_. Our critic attributes these reports
        to "an English dunce, whose blunders and calumnies are now
        happily forgotten, and repeated by a French buffoon, whose
        morality is not commensurate with his wit."--_Tracts_ by
        Warburton, &c., p. 186.

        "The English Dunce" I do not recollect; of this sort there are
        so many! Voltaire is "the French buffoon;" who, indeed,
        compares Warburton in his bishopric, to Peachum in the
        Beggar's Opera--who, as Keeper of Newgate, was for hanging all
        his old accomplices!

  [150] Warburton was far more extravagant in a later attempt which he
        made to expound the odd visions of a crack-brained Welshman, a
        prophesying knave; a knave by his own confession, and a
        prophet by Warburton's. This commentary, inserted in Jortin's
        "Remarks on Ecclesiastical History," considerably injured the
        reputation of Jortin. The story of Warburton and his Welsh
        Prophet would of itself be sufficient to detect the shiftings
        and artifices of his genius. RICE or ARISE EVANS! was one of
        the many prophets who rose up in Oliver's fanatical days; and
        Warburton had the hardihood to insert, in Jortin's learned
        work, a strange commentary to prove that Arise Evans, in
        Cromwell's time, in his "Echo from Heaven," had manifestly
        _prophesied the Hanoverian Succession_! The Welshman was a
        knave by his own account in subscribing with his _right_ hand
        the confession he calls his prophecy, before a justice, and
        with his _left_, that which was his recantation, signed before
        the recorder, adding, "I know the bench and the people thought
        I recanted; but, alas! they were deceived;" and this Warburton
        calls "an uncommon fetch of wit," to save the truth of the
        prophecy, though not the honour of the prophet. If Evans meant
        anything, he meant what was then floating in all men's minds,
        the probable restoration of the Stuarts. By this prelude of
        that inventive genius which afterwards commented, in the same
        spirit, on the Æneid of Virgil, and the "Divine Legation,
        itself," and made the same sort of discoveries, he fixed
        himself in this dilemma: either Warburton was a greater
        impostor than Arise Evans, or he was more credulous than even
        any follower of the Welsh prophet, if he really had any. But
        the truth is, that Warburton was always writing for a present
        purpose, and believed, and did not believe, as it happened.
        "Ordinary men believe _one_ side of a contradiction at a time,
        whereas his lordship" (says his admirable antagonist)
        "frequently believes, or at least defends _both_. So that it
        would have been no great wonder if he should maintain that
        Evans was both a real prophet and an impostor." Yet this is
        not the only awkward attitude into which Warburton has here
        thrown himself. To strain the vision of the raving Welshman to
        events of which he could have no notion, Warburton has plunged
        into the most ludicrous difficulties, all which ended, as all
        his discoveries have done, in making the fortune of an
        adversary who, like the Momus of Homer, has raised through the
        skies "inextinguishable laughter," in the amusing tract of
        "Confusion worse Confounded, Rout on Rout, or the Bishop of
        G----'s Commentary on Arise Evans; by Indignatio," 1772. The
        writer was the learned Henry Taylor, the author of Ben
        Mordecai's Apology.

  [151] The correct taste of Lowth with some humour describes the last
        sentence of the "Enquiry on Prodigies" as "the Musa Pedestris
        got on horseback in a high prancing style." He printed it in
        measured lines, without, however, changing the place of a
        single word, and it produced blank verse. Thus it reads--

          "Methinks I see her like the mighty Eagle
          renewing her immortal youth, and purging
          her opening sight at the unobstructed beams
          of our benign meridian Sun," &c.

        Such a glowing metaphor, in the uncouth prose of Warburton,
        startled Lowth's classical ear. It was indeed "the Musa
        Pedestris who had got on horseback in a high prancing style;"
        for as it has since been pointed out, it is a well-known
        passage towards the close of the Areopagitica of Milton, whose
        prose is so often purely poetical. See Birch's Edition of
        Milton's Prose Works, I. 158. Warburton was familiarly
        conversant with our great vernacular writers at a time when
        their names generally were better known than their works, and
        when it was considered safe to pillage their most glorious
        passages. Warburton has been convicted of snatching their
        purple patches, and sewing them into his coarser web, without
        any acknowledgment; he did this in the present remarkable
        instance, and at a later day, in the preface to his "Julian,"
        he laid violent hands on one of Raleigh's splendid metaphors.

  [152] When Warburton was considered as a Colossus of literature,
        RALPH, the political writer, pointed a severe allusion to the
        awkward figure he makes in these Dedications. "The Colossus
        himself creeps between the legs of the late Sir Robert Sutton;
        in what posture, or for what purpose, need not be explained."

        CHURCHILL has not passed by unnoticed Warburton's humility,
        even to weakness, combined with pride which could rise to

          "He was so proud, that should he meet
          The twelve apostles in the street,
          He'd turn his nose up at them all,
          And shove his Saviour from the wall."

        Yet this man

          ----"Fawned through all his life
          For patrons first, then for a wife;
          Wrote _Dedications_, which must make
          The heart of every Christian quake."
                                   _The Duellist._

        It is certain that the proud and supercilious Warburton long
        crouched and fawned. MALLET, at least, well knew all that
        passed between Warburton and Pope. In the "Familiar Epistle"
        he asserts that Warburton was introduced to Pope by his
        "nauseous flattery." A remarkable instance, besides the
        dedications we have noticed, occurred in his correspondence
        with Sir Thomas Hanmer. He did not venture to attack "The
        Oxford Editor," as he sarcastically distinguishes him, without
        first demanding back his letters, which were immediately
        returned, from Sir Thomas's high sense of honour. Warburton
        might otherwise have been shown strangely to contradict
        himself, for in these letters he had been most lavish of his
        flatteries and encomiums on the man whom he covered with
        ridicule in the preface to his Shakspeare. See "An Answer to
        certain Passages in Mr. W.'s Preface to Shakspeare," 1748.

        His dedication to the plain unlettered Ralph Allen of Bath,
        his greatest of patrons, of his "Commentary on Pope's Essay on
        Man," is written in the same spirit as those to Sir Robert
        Sutton; but the former unlucky gentleman was more publicly
        exposed by it. The subject of this dedication turns on "the
        growth and progress of _Fate_, divided into four principal
        branches!" There is an episode about _Free-will_ and _Nature_
        and _Grace_, and "a _contrivance_ of Leibnitz about
        _Fatalism_." Ralph Allen was a good Quaker-like man, but he
        must have lost his temper if he ever read the dedication! Let
        us not, however, imagine that Warburton was at all insensible
        to this violation of literary decorum; he only sacrificed
        _propriety_ to what he considered a more urgent principle--his
        own personal interest. No one had a juster conception of the
        true nature of _dedications_; for he says in the famous one
        "to the Free-thinkers:"--"I could never approve the custom of
        dedicating books to men whose professions made them strangers
        to the subject. A Discourse on the Ten Predicaments to a
        Leader of Armies, or a System of Casuistry to a Minister of
        State, always appeared to me a high absurdity."

        All human characters are mixed--true! yet still we feel
        indignant to discover some of the greatest often combining the
        most opposite qualities; and then they are not so much mixed
        as the parts are naturally joined together. Could one imagine
        that so lofty a character as Warburton could have been liable
        to have incurred even the random stroke of the satirist?
        whether true or false, the events of his life, better known at
        this day than in his own, will show. Churchill says that

          "He could cringe and creep, be civil,
          And hold a stirrup to the devil,
          If, _in a journey to his mind_,
          He'd let him mount, and ride behind."

        The author of the "Canons of Criticism," with all his
        sprightly sarcasm, gives a history of Warburton's later
        Dedications. "The first edition of 'The Alliance' came out
        without a dedication, but was presented to the bishops; and
        when nothing came of that, the second was addressed to both
        the Universities; and when nothing came of that, the third was
        dedicated to a noble Earl, and nothing has yet come of that."
        Appendix to "Canons of Criticism," seventh edit. 261.

  [153] The palace here alluded to is fully described in a volume of
        "Travels through Sicily and Malta," by P. Brydone, F.R.S., in
        1770. He describes it as belonging to "the Prince of Palermo,
        a man of immense fortune, who has devoted his whole life to
        the study of monsters and chimeras, greater and more
        ridiculous than ever entered into the imagination of the
        wildest writers of romance and knight-errantry." He tells us
        this palace was surrounded by an army of statues, "not one
        made to represent any object in nature. He has put the heads
        of men to the bodies of every sort of animal, and the heads of
        every other animal to the bodies of men. Sometimes he makes a
        compound of five or six animals that have no sort of
        resemblance in nature. He puts the head of a lion on the neck
        of a goose, the body of a lizard, the legs of a goat, the tail
        of a fox; on the back of this monster he puts another, if
        possible still more hideous, with five or six heads, and a
        bush of horns. There is no kind of horn in the world he has
        not collected, and his pleasure is to see them all flourishing
        upon the same head." The interior of the house was decorated
        in the same monstrous style, and the description, unique of
        its kind, occupies several pages of Mr. Brydone's book.--ED.

  [154] This letter was written in 1726, and first found by Dr. Knight
        in 1750, in fitting up a house where Concanen had probably
        lodged. It was suppressed, till Akenside, in 1766, printed it
        in a sixpenny pamphlet, entitled "An Ode to Mr. Edwards." He
        preserved the curiosity, with "all its peculiarities of
        grammar, spelling, and punctuation." The insulted poet took a
        deep revenge for the contemptuous treatment he had received
        from the modern Stagirite. The "peculiarities" betray most
        evident marks of the self-taught lawyer; the orthography and
        the double letters were minted in the office. [Thus he speaks
        of Addison as this "exact _Mr._ of propriety," and of his own
        studies of the English poets "to trace them to their sources;
        and observe what _oar_, as well as what slime and gravel they
        brought down with them."] When I looked for the letter in
        _Akenside's Works_, I discovered that it had been silently
        dropped. Some interest, doubtless, had been made to suppress
        it, for Warburton was humbled when reminded of it. Malone,
        fortunately, has preserved it in his Shakspeare, where it may
        be found, in a place not likely to be looked into for it, at
        the close of _Julius Cæsar_: this literary curiosity had
        otherwise been lost for posterity; its whole history is a
        series of wonderful escapes.

        By this document we became acquainted with the astonishing
        fact, that Warburton, early in life, was himself one of those
        very dunces whom he has so unmercifully registered in their
        Doomsday-book; one who admired the genius of his brothers, and
        spoke of Pope with the utmost contempt! [Thus he says,
        "Dryden, I observe, borrows for want of leisure, and Pope for
        want of genius!"]

  [155] Lee introduces Alexander the Great, saying,

          "When Glory, like the dazzling eagle, stood
          Perch'd on my beaver in the Granic flood,
          When Fortune's self my standard trembling bore,
          And the pale Fates stood frighted on the shore;
          When the Immortals on the billows rode,
          And I myself appear'd the leading god!"

        In the province of taste Warburton was always at sea without
        chart or compass, and was as unlucky in his panegyric on
        Milton as on Lee. He calls the "Paradise Regained" "a charming
        poem, _nothing inferior_ in the _poetry_ and the _sentiments_
        to the Paradise Lost." Such extravagance could only have
        proceeded from a critic too little sensible to the essential
        requisites of poetry itself.

  [156] Such opposite studies shot themselves into the most fantastical
        forms in his rocket-writings, whether they streamed in "The
        Divine Legation," or sparkled in "The Origin of Romances," or
        played about in giving double senses to Virgil, Pope, and
        Shakspeare. CHURCHILL, with a good deal of ill-nature and some
        truth, describes them:--

          "A curate first, he read and read,
          And laid in, while he should have fed
          The souls of his neglected flock,
          Of rending, such a mighty stock,
          That he o'ercharged the weary brain
          With more than she could well contain;
          More than she was with spirit fraught
          To turn and methodise to thought;
          And which, _like ill-digested food,
          To humours turn'd, and not to blood_."

        The opinion of BENTLEY, when he saw "The Divine Legation," was
        a sensible one. "This man," said he, "has a monstrous
        appetite, with a very bad digestion."

        The Warburtonians seemed to consider his great work, as the
        Bible by which all literary men were to be sworn. LOWTH
        ridicules their credulity. "'The Divine Legation,' it seems,
        contains in it all knowledge, divine and human, ancient and
        modern: it is a perfect Encyclopædia, including all history,
        criticism, divinity, law, politics, from the law of Moses down
        to the Jew bill, and from Egyptian hieroglyphics to modern
        Rebus-writing, &c."

        "In the 2014 pages of the unfinished 'Divine Legation,'"
        observes the sarcastic GIBBON, "four hundred authors are
        quoted, from St. Austin down to Scarron and Rabelais!"

        Yet, after all that satire and wit have denounced, listen to
        an enlightened votary of Warburton. He asserts that "The
        'Divine Legation' has taken its place at the head, not to say
        of English theology, but almost of English literature. To the
        composition of this prodigious performance, HOOKER and
        STILLINGFLEET could have contributed the erudition,
        CHILLINGWORTH and LOCKE the acuteness, TAYLOR an imagination
        even more wild and copious, SWIFT, and perhaps, EACHARD, the
        sarcastic vein of wit; but what power of understanding, except
        WARBURTON'S, could first have amassed all these materials, and
        then compacted them into a bulky and elaborate work, so
        consistent and harmonious."--_Quarterly Review._ vol. vii.

  [157] "The Divine Legation of Moses Demonstrated," vol. i. sec. iv.
        Observe the remarkable expression, "that last foible of
        superior genius." He had evidently running in his mind
        Milton's line on Fame--

          "That last infirmity of noble minds."

        In such an exalted state was Warburton's mind when he was
        writing this, his own character.

  [158] The author of "The Canons of Criticism" addressed a severe
        sonnet to Warburton; and alludes to the "Alliance":--

          "Reign he sole king in paradoxal land,
          And for Utopia plan his idle schemes
          Of _visionary leagues, alliance vain
          'Twixt_ Will _and_ Warburton--"

        On which he adds this note, humorously stating the grand
        position of the work:--"The whole argument by which the
        _alliance between Church and State_ is established, Mr.
        Warburton founds upon this supposition--'That people,
        considering themselves in a religious capacity, may contract
        with themselves, considered in a civil capacity.' The conceit
        is ingenious, but is not his own. _Scrub_, in the _Beaux
        Stratagem_, had found it out long ago: he considers himself as
        acting the different parts of all the servants in the family;
        and so _Scrub_, the coachman, ploughman, or justice's clerk,
        might contract with _Scrub_, the butler, for such a quantity
        of ale as the other assumed character demanded."--Appendix, p.

  [159] "Monthly Review," vol. xvi. p. 324, the organ of the

  [160] See article HOBBES, for his system. The great Selden was an
        _Erastian_; a distinction extremely obscure. _Erastus_ was a
        Swiss physician of little note, who was for restraining the
        ecclesiastical power from all temporal jurisdiction. Selden
        did him the honour of adopting his principles. Selden wrote
        against the _divine right_ of tithes, but allowed the _legal_
        right, which gave at first great offence to the clergy, who
        afterwards perceived the propriety of his argument, as Wotton
        has fully acknowledged.

  [161] It does not always enter into the design of these volumes to
        examine those great works which produced _literary quarrels_.
        But some may be glad to find here a word on this original

        The grand position of the _Divine Legation_ is, that the
        knowledge of the immortality of the soul, or a future
        state of reward and punishment, is absolutely necessary in
        the moral government of the universe. The author shows how it
        has been inculcated by all good legislators, so that no
        religion could ever exist without it; but the Jewish could,
        from its peculiar government, which was theocracy--a
        government where the presence of God himself was perpetually
        manifested by miracles and new ordinances: and hence
        temporal rewards and punishments were sufficient for that
        people, to whom the unity and power of the Godhead were
        never doubtful. As he proceeded, he would have opened a new
        argument, viz., that the Jewish religion was only the
        _part_ of a revelation, showing the necessity of a further one
        for its _completion_, which produced Christianity.

        When Warburton was in good spirits with his great work (for he
        was not always so), he wrote thus to a friend:--"You judge
        right, that the _next_ volume of the D. L. will not be the
        _last_. I thought I had told you that I had divided the work
        into three parts: the first gives you a view of Paganism; the
        second, of Judaism; and the third, of Christianity. _You will
        wonder_ how this last inquiry can come into _so simple an
        argument_ as that which I undertake to enforce. I have not
        room to tell you more than this--that after I have proved a
        future state not to be, _in fact_ in the Mosaic dispensation,
        I next show that, if Christianity be true, _it could not
        possibly be there_; and this necessitates me to explain the
        nature of Christianity, with which the whole ends. But this
        _inter nos_. If it be known, I should possibly have somebody
        writing against _this part too_ before it appears."--Nichols's
        "Literary Anecdotes," vol. v. p. 551.

        Thus he exults in the true tone, and with all the levity of a
        sophist. It is well that a true feeling of religion does not
        depend on the quirks and quibbles of human reasonings, or,
        what are as fallible, on masses of fanciful erudition.

  [162] Warburton lost himself in the labyrinth he had so ingeniously
        constructed. This work harassed his days and exhausted his
        intellect. Observe the tortures of a mind, even of so great a
        mind as that of Warburton's, when it sacrifices all to the
        perishable vanity of sudden celebrity. Often he flew from his
        task in utter exhaustion and despair. He had quitted the
        smooth and even line of truth, to wind about and split himself
        on all the crookedness of paradoxes. He paints his feelings in
        a letter to Birch. He says--"I was so disgusted with an old
        subject, that I had deferred it from month to month and year
        to year." He had recourse to "an expedient;" which was, "to
        set the press on work, and so oblige himself to supply copy."
        Such is the confession of the author of the "Divine Legation!"
        this "encyclopædia" of all ancient and modern lore--all to
        proceed from "a simple argument!" But when he describes his
        sufferings, hard is the heart of that literary man who cannot
        sympathise with such a giant caught in the toils! I give his
        words:--"Distractions of various kinds, inseparable from human
        life, joined with a naturally melancholy habit, contribute
        greatly to increase my indolence. This makes my reading wild
        and desultory; and I seek refuge from _the uneasiness of
        thought_, from any book, let it be what it will. _By my manner
        of writing upon subjects, you would naturally imagine they
        afford me pleasure, and attach me thoroughly. I will assure
        you_, No!"--Nichols's "Literary Anecdotes," vol. v. p. 562.

        Warburton had not the cares of a family--they were merely
        literary ones. The secret cause of his "melancholy," and his
        "indolence," and that "want of attachment and pleasure to his
        subjects;" which his friends "naturally imagined" afforded him
        so much, was the controversies he had kindled, and the
        polemical battles he had raised about him. However boldly he
        attacked in return, his heart often sickened in privacy; for
        how often must he have beheld his noble and his whimsical
        edifices built on sands, which the waters were perpetually
        eating into!

        At the last interview of Warburton with Pope, the dying poet
        exhorted him to proceed with "The Divine Legation." "Your
        reputation," said he, "as well as your duty, is concerned in
        it. People say you can get no farther in your proof. Nay, Lord
        Bolingbroke himself bids me expect no such thing." This
        anecdote is rather extraordinary; for it appears in "Owen
        Ruffhead's Life of Pope," p. 497, a work written under the eye
        of Warburton himself; and in which I think I could point out
        some strong touches from his own hand on certain important
        occasions, when he would not trust to the creeping dulness of

  [163] His temerity had raised against him not only infidels, but
        Christians. If any pious clergyman now wrote in favour of the
        opinion that God's people believed in the immortality of the
        soul--which can we doubt they did? and which Menasseh Ben
        Israel has written his treatise, "De Resurrectione Mortuorum,"
        to prove--it was a strange sight to behold a bishop seeming to
        deny so rational and religious a creed! Even Dr. Balguy
        confessed to Warburton, that "there was one thing in the
        argument of the 'Divine Legation' that stuck more with candid
        men than all the rest--how a religion without a future state
        could be worthy of God!" This Warburton promised to satisfy,
        by a fresh appendix. His volatile genius, however, was
        condemned to "the pelting of a merciless storm." Lowth told
        him--"You give yourself out as _demonstrator_ of the _divine
        legation_ of Moses; it has been often demonstrated before; a
        young student in theology might undertake to give a
        better--that is, a more satisfactory and irrefragable
        demonstration of it in five pages than you have done in five
        volumes."--Lowth's "Letter to Warburton," p. 12.

  [164] Hurd was the son of a Staffordshire farmer, and was placed by
        him at Rugely, from whence he was removed to Emmanuel College,
        Cambridge. At the age of twenty-six he published a pamphlet
        entitled "Remarks on a late Book entitled 'An Inquiry into the
        Rejection of the Christian Miracles by the Heathens, by
        William Weston,'" which met with considerable attention. In
        1749, on the occasion of publishing a commentary on Horace's
        "Ars Poetica," he complimented Warburton so strongly as to
        ensure his favour. Warburton returned it by a puff for Hurd in
        his edition of Pope, and the two became fast friends. It was a
        profitable connexion to Hurd, for by the intercession of
        Warburton he was appointed one of the Whitehall preachers, a
        preacher at Lincoln's Inn, and Archdeacon of Gloucester. He
        repaid Warburton by constant praises in print, and so far
        succeeded with that vain man, that when he read the dedication
        he made to him of his "Commentary on the Epistle to Augustus,"
        he wrote to him with mock humility--"I will confess to you how
        much satisfaction the groundless part of it, that which
        relates to myself, gave me." When Dr. Jortin very properly
        spoke of Warburton with less of subserviency than the
        overbearing bishop desired, Hurd at once came forward to fight
        for Warburton in print, in a satirical treatise on "The
        Delicacy of Friendship," which highly delighted his patron,
        who at once wrote to Dr. Lowth, stating him to be "a man of
        very superior talents, of genius, learning, and virtue;
        indeed, a principal ornament of the age he lives in." Hurd was
        made Bishop of Lichfield in 1775, and of Winchester in 1779.
        He died in the year 1808.--ED.

  [165] The Attic irony was translated into plain English, in "Remarks
        on Dr. Warburton's Account of the Sentiments of the Early
        Jews," 1757; and the following rules for all who dissented
        from Warburton are deduced:--"You must not write on the same
        subject that he does. You must not glance at his arguments,
        even without naming him or so much as referring to him. If you
        find his reasonings ever so faulty, you must not presume to
        furnish him with better of your own, even though you prove,
        and are desirous to support his conclusions. When you design
        him a compliment, you must express it in full form, and with
        all the circumstance of panegyrical approbation, without
        impertinently qualifying your civilities by assigning a reason
        why you think he deserves them, as this might possibly be
        taken for a hint that you know something of the matter he is
        writing about as well as himself. You must never call any of
        his _discoveries_ by the name of _conjectures_, though you
        allow them their full proportion of elegance, learning, &c.;
        for you ought to know that this capital genius never proposed
        anything to the judgment of the public (though ever so new and
        uncommon) with diffidence in his life. Thus stands the decree
        prescribing our demeanour towards this sovereign in the
        Republic of Letters, as we find it promulged, and bearing date
        at the palace of Lincoln's Inn, Nov. 25, 1755."--From whence
        Hurd's "Seventh Dissertation" was dated.

  [166] Gibbon's "Critical Observations on the Design of the Sixth Book
        of the Æneid." Dr. Parr considers this clear, elegant, and
        decisive work of criticism, as a complete refutation of
        Warburton's discovery.

  [167] It is curious enough to observe that Warburton himself,
        acknowledging this to be a paradox, exultingly exclaims,
        "Which, _like so many others_ I have had the ODD FORTUNE to
        advance, will be seen to be only another name for Truth." This
        has all the levity of a sophist's language! Hence we must
        infer that some of the most important subjects could not be
        understood and defended, but by Warburton's "_odd fortune_!"
        It was this levity of ideas that raised a suspicion that he
        was not always sincere. He writes, in a letter, of "living in
        mere spite, to rub another volume of the 'Divine Legation' in
        the noses of bigots and zealots." He employs the most
        ludicrous images, and the coarsest phrases, on the most solemn
        subjects. In one of his most unlucky paradoxes with Lowth, on
        the age and style of the writings of Job, he accuses that
        elegant scholar of deficient discernment; and, in respect to
        style, as not "distinguishing partridge from horseflesh;" and
        in quoting some of the poetical passages, of "paying with an
        old song," and "giving rhyme for reason." Alluding to some one
        of his adversaries, whom he calls "the weakest, as well as the
        wickedest of all mankind," he employs a striking image--"I
        shall hang him and his fellows, as they do vermin in a warren,
        and leave them to posterity, to stink and blacken in the

  [168] Warburton, in this work (the "Doctrine of Grace,") has a curious
        passage, too long to quote, where he observes, that "The
        Indian and Asiatic eloquence was esteemed hyperbolic and
        puerile by the more phlegmatic inhabitants of Rome and Athens:
        and the Western eloquence, in its turn, frigid or insipid, to
        the hardy and inflamed imaginations of the East. The same
        expression, which in one place had the utmost simplicity, had
        in another the utmost sublime." The jackal, too, echoes the
        roar of the lion; for the polished Hurd, whose taste was far
        more decided than Warburton's, was bold enough to add, in his
        Letter to Leland, "That which is thought supremely _elegant_
        in one country, passes in another for _finical_; while what in
        this country is accepted under the idea of _sublimity_, is
        derided in that other as no better than _bombast_." So
        unsettled were the _no-taste_ of Warburton, and the
        _prim-taste_ of Hurd!

  [169] The Letter to Leland is characterised in the "Critical Review"
        for April, 1765, as the work of "a preferment-hunting
        toad-eater, who, while his patron happened to go out of his
        depth, tells him that he is treading good ground; but at the
        same time offers him the use of a cork-jacket to keep him
        above water."

  [170] Dr. Thomas Leland was born in Dublin in 1722, and was educated
        in Trinity College, in that city. Having obtained a Fellowship
        there, he depended on that alone, and devoted a long life to
        study, and the production of various historical and
        theological works; as well as a "History of Ireland,"
        published in 1773. He died in 1785.--ED.

  [171] In a rough attack on Warburton, respecting Pope's privately
        printing 1500 copies of the "Patriot King" of Bolingbroke,
        which I conceive to have been written by Mallet, I find a
        particular account of the manner in which the "Essay on Man"
        was written, over which Johnson seems to throw great doubts.

        The writer of this angry epistle, in addressing Warburton,
        says: "If you were as intimate with Mr. Pope as you pretend,
        you must know the truth of a fact which several others, as
        well as I, who never had the honour of a personal acquaintance
        with Lord Bolingbroke or Mr. Pope, have heard. The fact was
        related to me by a certain Senior Fellow of one of our
        Universities, who was very intimate with Mr. Pope. He started
        some objections, one day, at Mr. Pope's house, to the doctrine
        contained in the Ethic Epistles: upon which Mr. Pope told him
        that he would soon convince him of the truth of it, by laying
        the argument at large before him; for which purpose he gave
        him _a large prose manuscript_ to peruse, telling him, at the
        same time, the author's name. From this perusal, whatever
        other conviction the doctor might receive, he collected at
        least this: that Mr. Pope had from his friend not only the
        _doctrine_, but even the _finest and strongest ornaments of
        his Ethics_. Now, if this fact be true (as I question not but
        you know it to be so), I believe no man of candour will
        attribute such merit to Mr. Pope as you would insinuate, for
        acknowledging the wisdom and the friendship of the man who was
        his instructor in philosophy; nor consequently that this
        acknowledgment, and the _dedication of his own system, put
        into a poetical dress by Mr. Pope_, laid his lordship under
        the necessity of never resenting any injury done to him by the
        poet afterwards. Mr. Pope told no more than literal truth, in
        calling Lord Bolingbroke his _guide, philosopher, and
        friend_." The existence of this very manuscript volume was
        authenticated by Lord Bathurst, in a conversation with Dr.
        Blair and others, where he said, "he had read the MS. in Lord
        Bolingbroke's handwriting, and was at a loss whether most to
        admire the elegance of Lord Bolingbroke's prose, or the beauty
        of Mr. Pope's verse."--See the letter of Dr. Blair in
        "Boswell's Life of Johnson."

  [172] Of many instances, the following one is the most curious. When
        Jarvis published his "Don Quixote," Warburton, who was prompt
        on whatever subject was started, presented him with "A
        Dissertation on the Origin of the Books of Chivalry." When it
        appeared, it threw Pope, their common friend, into raptures.
        He writes, "I knew you as certainly as the ancients did the
        gods, by the first pace and the very gait." True enough!
        Warburton's strong genius stamped itself on all his works. But
        neither the translating painter, nor the simple poet, could
        imagine the heap of absurdities they were admiring! Whatever
        Warburton here asserted was false, and whatever he conjectured
        was erroneous; but his blunders were quite original.--The good
        sense and knowledge of Tyrwhitt have demolished the whole
        edifice, without leaving a single brick standing. The absurd
        rhapsody has been worth preserving, for the sake of the
        masterly confutation: no uncommon result of Warburton's
        literary labours!

        It forms the concluding note in Shakspeare's _Love's Labour

  [173] Of THEOBALD he was once the companion, and to Sir THOMAS HANMER
        he offered his notes for his edition. [Hanmer's Shakspeare was
        given in 1742 to the University of Oxford, for its benefit,
        and was printed at the University Press, under the management
        of Dr. Smith and Dr. Shippon. Sir Thomas paid the expenses of
        the engravings by Gravelot prefixed to each play. The edition
        was published in 4to. in 1744, it was printed on the "finest
        royal paper," and does not warrant the severity of Pope, whose
        editing was equally faulty.] Sir Thomas says he found
        Warburton's notes "sometimes just, but mostly wild and out of
        the way." Warburton paid a visit to Sir Thomas for a week,
        which he conceived was to assist him in perfecting his darling
        text; but hints were now dropped by Warburton, that _he_ might
        publish the work corrected, by which a greater sum of money
        might be got than could be by that plaything of Sir Thomas,
        which shines in all its splendour in the Dunciad; but this
        project did not suit Hanmer, whose life seemed greatly to
        depend on the magnificent Oxford edition, which "was not to go
        into the hands of booksellers." On this, Warburton, we are
        told by Hanmer, "flew into a great rage, and there is an end
        of the story." With what haughtiness he treats these two
        friends, for once they were such! Had the Dey of Algiers been
        the editor of Shakspeare, he could not have issued his orders
        more peremptorily for the decapitation of his rivals. Of
        Theobald and Hanmer he says, "the one was recommended to me as
        a poor man, the other as a poor critic: and to each of them at
        different times I communicated a great number of observations,
        which they managed, as they saw fit, to the relief of their
        several distresses. Mr. Theobald was naturally turned to
        industry and labour. What he read he could transcribe; but as
        to what he thought, if ever he did think, he could but ill
        express, so he read on: and by that means got a character of
        learning, without risking to every observer the imputation of
        wanting a better talent."--See what it is to enjoy too close
        an intimacy with a man of wit! "As for the Oxford Editor, he
        wanted nothing (alluding to Theobald's want of money) but what
        he might very well be without, the reputation of a critic,"
        &c. &c.--_Warburton's Preface to Shakspeare._

        His conduct to Dr. GREY, the editor of Hudibras, cannot be
        accounted for by any known fact. I have already noticed their
        quarrels in the "Calamities of Authors." Warburton cheerfully
        supplied Grey with various notes on Hudibras, though he said
        he had thought of an edition himself, and they were gratefully
        acknowledged in Grey's Preface; but behold! shortly afterwards
        they are saluted by Warburton as "an execrable heap of
        nonsense;" further, he insulted Dr. Grey for the _number_ of
        his publications! Poor Dr. Grey and his "Coadjutors," as
        Warburton sneeringly called others of his friends, resented
        this by "A Free and Familiar Letter to that Great Preserver of
        Pope and Shakspeare, the Rev. Mr. William Warburton." The
        doctor insisted that Warburton had had sufficient share in
        those very notes to be considered as one of the "Coadjutors."
        "I may venture to say, that whoever was the _fool of the
        company_ before he entered (or _the fool of the piece_, in his
        own diction) he was certainly so after he engaged in that
        work; for, as Ben Jonson observes, 'he that _thinks_ himself
        the _Master-Wit_ is commonly the _Master-Fool_.'"

  [174] Warburton certainly used little intrigues: he trafficked with
        the obscure Reviews of the times. He was a correspondent in
        "The Works of the Learned," where the account of his first
        volume of the Divine Legation, he says, is "a nonsensical
        piece of stuff;" and when Dr. Doddridge offered to draw up
        an article for his second, the favour was accepted, and it
        was sent to the miserable journal, though acknowledged "to be
        too good for it." In the same journal were published all
        his specimens of Shakspeare, some years after they had
        appeared in the "General Dictionary," with a high character of
        these wonderful discoveries.--"The Alliance," when first
        published, was announced in "The Present State of the
        Republic of Letters," to be the work of a gentleman whose
        capacity, judgment, and learning deserve some eminent dignity
        in the Church of England, of which he is "now an inferior
        minister."--One may presume to guess at "the gentleman," a
        little impatient for promotion, who so much cared whether
        Warburton was only "now an inferior minister."

        These are little arts. Another was, that Warburton sometimes
        acted Falstaff's part, and ran his sword through the dead! In
        more instances than one this occurred. Sir Thomas Hanmer was
        dead when Warburton, then a bishop, ventured to assert that
        Sir Thomas's letter concerning their intercourse about
        Shakspeare was "one continued falsehood from beginning to
        end." The honour and veracity of Hanmer must prevail over the
        "liveliness" of Warburton, for Hurd lauds his "_lively_
        preface to his Shakspeare." But the "Biographia Britannica"
        bears marks of Warburton's violence, in a cancelled sheet. See
        the _Index_, art. HANMER; [where we are told "the sheet being
        castrated at the instance of Mr., now Dr. Warburton, Bishop of
        Gloucester, it has been reprinted as an appendix to the work,"
        it consisted in the suppression of one of Hanmer's letters.]
        He did not choose to attack Dr. Middleton in form, during his
        lifetime, but reserved his blow when his antagonist was no
        more. I find in Cole's MSS. this curious passage:--"It was
        thought, at Cambridge, that Dr. Middleton and Dr. Warburton
        did not cordially esteem one another; yet both being keen and
        thorough sportsmen, they were mutually afraid to engage to
        each other, for fear of a fall. If that was the case, the
        bishop judged prudently, however fairly it may be looked upon,
        to stay till it was out of the power of his adversary to make
        any reply, before he gave his answer." Warburton only replied
        to Middleton's "Letter from Rome," in his fourth edition of
        the "Divine Legation," 1765.--When Dyson firmly defended his
        friend Akenside from the rude attacks of Warburton, it is
        observed, that he bore them with "prudent patience:" he never

  [175] These critical _extravaganzas_ are scarcely to be paralleled by
        "Bentley's Notes on Milton." How Warburton turned "an
        allegorical mermaid" into "the Queen of Scots;"--showed how
        Shakspeare, in one word, and with one epithet "the majestic
        world," described the _Orbis Romanus_, alluded to the Olympic
        Games, &c.; yet, after all this discovery, seems rather to
        allude to a story about Alexander, which Warburton happened to
        recollect at that moment;--and how he illustrated Octavia's
        idea of the fatal consequences of a civil war between Cæsar
        and Antony, who said it would "cleave the world," by the story
        of Curtius leaping into the chasm;--how he rejected
        "_allowed_, with absolute power," as not English, and read
        "_hallowed_," on the authority of the Roman Tribuneship being
        called _Sacro-sancta Potestas_; how his emendations often rose
        from puns; as for instance, when, in _Romeo and Juliet_, it is
        said of the Friar, that "the city is much obliged to _him_,"
        our new critic consents to the sound of the word, but not to
        the spelling, and reads _hymn_; that is, to laud, to praise!
        These, and more extraordinary instances of perverting
        ingenuity and abused erudition, would form an uncommon
        specimen of criticism, which may be justly ridiculed, but
        which none, except an exuberant genius, could have produced.
        The most amusing work possible would be a real Warburton's
        Shakspeare, which would contain not a single thought, and
        scarcely an expression, of Shakspeare's!

  [176] Had Johnson known as much as we do of Warburton's opinion of his
        critical powers, it would have gone far to have cured his
        amiable prejudice in favour of Warburton, who really was a
        critic without taste, and who considered literature as some do
        politics, merely as a party business. I shall give a
        remarkable instance. When Johnson published his first critical
        attempt on _Macbeth_, he commended the critical talents of
        Warburton; and Warburton returned the compliment in the
        preface to his Shakspeare, and distinguishes Johnson as "a man
        of parts and genius." But, unluckily, Johnson afterwards
        published his own edition; and, in his editorial capacity, his
        public duty prevailed over his personal feelings: all this
        went against Warburton; and the opinions he now formed of
        Johnson were suddenly those of insolent contempt. In a letter
        to Hurd, he writes: "Of _this Johnson_, you and I, I believe,
        think alike!" And to another friend: "The remarks he makes, in
        every page, on _my Commentaries_, are full of _insolence and
        malignant reflections_, which, had they not in them _as much
        folly as malignity_, I should have reason to be offended
        with." He consoles himself, however, that Johnson's notes,
        accompanying his own, will enable even "the trifling part of
        the public" not to mistake in the comparison.--NICHOLS'S
        "Literary Anecdotes," vol. v. p. 595.

        And what became of Johnson's noble Preface to Shakspeare? Not
        a word on that!--Warburton, who himself had written so many
        spirited ones, perhaps did not like to read one finer than his
        own,--so he passed it by! He travelled through Egypt, but held
        his hands before his eyes at a pyramid!

  [177] Thomas Edwards chiefly led the life of a literary student,
        though he studied for the Bar at Lincoln's-Inn, and was
        fully admitted a member thereof. He died unmarried at the age
        of 58. He descended from a family of lawyers; possessed a
        sufficient private property to ensure independence, and
        died on his own estate of Turrick, in Buckinghamshire. Dr.
        Warton observes, "This attack on Mr. Edwards is not of weight
        sufficient to weaken the effects of his excellent 'Canons of
        Criticism,' all impartial critics allow these remarks to have
        been decisive and judicious, and his book remains unrefuted
        and unanswerable."--ED.

  [178] Some grave dull men, who did not relish the jests, doubtless the
        booksellers, who, to buy the _name of Warburton_, had paid
        down 500_l._ for the edition, loudly complained that Edwards
        had injured both him and them, by stopping the sale! On this
        Edwards expresses his surprise, how "a little twelvepenny
        pamphlet could stop the progress of eight large octavo
        volumes;" and apologises, by applying a humorous story to
        Warburton, for "puffing himself off in the world for what he
        is not, and now being discovered."--"I am just in the case of
        a friend of mine, who, going to visit an acquaintance, upon
        entering his room, met a person going out of it:--'Prythee,
        Jack,' says he, 'what do you do with that fellow?' 'Why, 'tis
        Don Pedro di Mondongo, my Spanish master.'--'Spanish master!'
        replies my friend; 'why, he's an errant Teague; I know the
        fellow well enough: 'tis Rory Gehagan. He may possibly have
        been in Spain; but, depend on't, he will sell you the
        Tipperary brogue for pure Castilian.' Now honest Rory has just
        the same reason of complaint against this gentleman as Mr.
        Warburton has against me, and I suppose abused him as heartily
        for it; but nevertheless the gentleman did both parties

        Some secret history is attached to this publication, so fatal
        to Warburton's critical character in English literature. This
        satire, like too many which have sprung out of literary
        quarrels, arose from _personal motives_! When Edwards, in
        early life, after quitting college, entered the army, he was
        on a visit at Mr. Allen's, at Bath, whose niece Warburton
        afterwards married. Literary subjects formed the usual
        conversation. Warburton, not suspecting the red coat of
        covering any Greek, showed his accustomed dogmatical
        superiority. Once, when the controversy was running high,
        Edwards taking down a Greek author, explained a passage in a
        manner quite contrary to Warburton. He did unluckily something
        more--he showed that Warburton's mistake had arisen from
        having used a French translation!--and all this before Ralph
        Allen and his niece! The doughty critic was at once silenced,
        in sullen indignation and mortal hatred. To this circumstance
        is attributed Edwards's "Canons of Criticism," which were
        followed up by Warburton with incessant attacks; in every new
        edition of Pope, in the "Essay on Criticism," and the Dunciad.
        Warburton asserts that Edwards is a very dull writer (witness
        the pleasantry that carries one through a volume of no small
        size), that he is a libeller (because he ruined the critical
        character of Warburton)--and "a libeller (says Warburton, with
        poignancy), is nothing but a Grub-street critic run to
        seed."--He compares Edwards's wit and learning to his ancestor
        Tom Thimble's, in the _Rehearsal_ (because Edwards read Greek
        authors in their original), and his air of good-nature and
        politeness, to Caliban's in the _Tempest_ (because he had so
        keenly written the "Canons of Criticism").--I once saw a great
        literary curiosity: some _proof-sheets_ of the Dunciad of
        Warburton's edition. I observed that some of the bitterest
        notes were _after-thoughts_, written on those proof-sheets
        after he had prepared the book for the press--one of these
        additions was his note on Edwards. Thus Pope's book afforded
        renewed opportunities for all the personal hostilities of this
        singular genius!

  [179] In the "Richardsoniana," p. 264, the younger Richardson, who was
        admitted to the intimacy of Pope, and collated the press for
        him, gives some curious information about Warburton's
        Commentary, both upon the "Essay on Man" and the "Essay on
        Criticism." "Warburton's discovery of the 'regularity' of
        Pope's 'Essay on Criticism,' and 'the whole scheme' of his
        'Essay on Man,' I happen to _know_ to be mere absurd
        refinement in creating conformities; and this from Pope
        himself, though he thought fit to adopt them afterwards." The
        genius of Warburton might not have found an invincible
        difficulty in proving that the "Essay on Criticism" was in
        fact an Essay on Man, and the reverse. Pope, before he knew
        Warburton, always spoke of his "Essay on Criticism" as "an
        irregular collection of thoughts thrown together as Horace's
        'Art of Poetry' was." "As for the 'Essay on Man,'" says
        Richardson, "I _know_ that he never dreamed of the scheme he
        afterwards adopted; but he had taken terror about the clergy,
        and Warburton himself, at the general alarm of its fatalism
        and deistical tendency, of which my father and I talked with
        him frequently at Twickenham, without his appearing to
        understand it, or ever thinking to alter those passages which
        we suggested."--This extract is to be valued, for the
        information is authentic; and it assists us in throwing some
        light on the subtilty of Warburton's critical impositions.

  [180] The postscript to Warburton's "Dedication to the Freethinkers,"
        is entirely devoted to Akenside; with this bitter opening,
        "The Poet was too full of the subject and of himself."

  [181] "An Epistle to the Rev. Mr. Warburton, occasioned by his
        Treatment of the Author of 'The Pleasures of the Imagination,'"
        1744. While Dyson repels Warburton's accusations against "the
        Poet," he retorts some against the critic himself. Warburton
        often perplexed a controversy by a subtile change of a word;
        or by breaking up a sentence; or by contriving some absurdity in
        the shape of an inference, to get rid of it in a mock
        triumph. These little weapons against the laws of war are
        insidiously practised in the war of words. Warburton never

  [182] The paradoxical title of his great work was evidently designed
        to attract the unwary. "The Divine Legation of Moses
        demonstrated--_from the omission of a future state_!" It
        was long uncertain whether it was "a covert attack on
        Christianity, instead of a defence of it." I have here no
        concern with Warburton's character as a polemical theologist;
        this has been the business of that polished and elegant
        scholar, Bishop Lowth, who has shown what it is to be in
        Hebrew literature "a Quack in Commentatorship, and a
        Mountebank in Criticism." He has fully entered into all the
        absurdity of Warburton's "ill-starred Dissertation on Job."
        It is curious to observe that Warburton in the wild chase of
        originality, often too boldly took the bull by the horns,
        for he often adopted the very reasonings and objections of
        infidels!--for instance, in arguing on the truth of the
        Hebrew text, because the words had no points when a living
        language, he absolutely prefers the Koran for correctness! On
        this Lowth observes: "You have been urging the same
        argument that _Spinoza_ employed, in order to destroy the
        authority of the Hebrew Scriptures, and to introduce
        infidelity and atheism." Lowth shows further, that "this was
        also done by 'a society of gentlemen,' in their 'Sacerdotism
        Displayed,' said to be written by 'a select committee of the
        Deists and Freethinkers of Great Britain,' whose author
        Warburton himself had represented to be 'the forwardest
        devil of the whole legion.'" Lowth, however, concludes that
        all the mischief has arisen only from "your lordship's
        undertaking to treat of a subject with which you appear to
        be very much unacquainted."--LOWTH'S _Letter_, p. 91.

  [183] Lowth remonstrated with Warburton on his "supreme
        authority:"--"I did not care to protest against the
        authoritative manner in which you proceeded, or to question
        _your investiture in the high office of Inquisitor General and
        Supreme Judge of the Opinions of the Learned_, which you had
        long before assumed, and had _exercised with a ferocity and a
        despotism without example in the Republic of Letters, and
        hardly to be paralleled among the disciples of Dominic_;
        exacting their opinions to the standard of your infallibility,
        and prosecuting with implacable hatred every one that presumed
        to differ from you."--LOWTH'S _Letter to W._, p. 9.

  [184] Warburton had the most cutting way of designating his
        adversaries, either by the most vehement abuse or the light
        petulance that expressed his ineffable contempt. He says to
        one, "Though your teeth are short, what you want in teeth you
        have in venom, and know, as all other creatures do, where your
        strength lies." He thus announces in one of the prefaces to
        the "Divine Legation" the name of the author of a work on "A
        Future State of Rewards and Punishments," in which were some
        objections to Warburton's theory:--"I shall, therefore, but do
        what indeed would be justly reckoned the cruellest of all
        things, _tell my reader the name of this miserable_; which we
        find to be J. TILLARD." "Mr. Tillard was first condemned (says
        the author of 'Confusion Worse Confounded,') as a ruffian that
        stabs a man in the dark, because he did _not_ put his name to
        his book against the 'Divine Legation;' and afterwards
        condemned as lost to shame, both as a man and a writer,
        because he _did_ put his name to it." Would not one imagine
        this person to be one of the lowest of miscreants? He was a
        man of fortune and literature. Of this person Warburton says
        in a letter, "This is a man of fortune, and it is well he is
        so, for I have spoiled his trade as a writer; and as he was
        very abusive, free-thinking, and anonymous, I have not spared
        to expose his ignorance and ill faith." But afterwards, having
        discovered that he was a particular friend to Dr. Oliver, he
        makes awkward apologies, and declares he would not have _gone
        so far_ had he known this! He was often so vehement in his
        abuse that I find he confessed it himself, for, in preparing a
        new edition of the "Divine Legation," he tells Dr. Birch that
        he has made "several omissions of passages which were thought
        _vain_, _insolent_, and _ill-natured_."

        It is amusing enough to observe how he designates men as great
        as himself. When he mentions the learned Hyde, he places him
        "at the head of a rabble of lying orientalists." When he
        alludes to Peters, a very learned and ingenious clergyman, he
        passes by him as "The Cornish Critic." A friend of Peters
        observed that "he had given Warburton 'a Cornish hug,' of
        which he might be sore as long as he lived." Dr. Taylor, the
        learned editor of Demosthenes, he selects from "his fellows,"
        that is, other dunces: a delicacy of expression which offended
        scholars. He threatens Dr. Stebbing, who had preserved an
        anonymous character, "to catch this Eel of Controversy, since
        he hides his head by the tail, the only part that sticks out
        of the mud, more dirty indeed than slippery, and still more
        weak than dirty, as passing through a trap where he was forced
        at every step to leave part of his skin--that is, his system."
        Warburton has often true wit. With what provoking contempt he
        calls Sir Thomas Hanmer always "The Oxford Editor!" and in his
        attack on Akenside, never fails to nickname him, in derision,
        "The Poet!" I refer the reader to a postscript of his
        "Dedication to the Freethinkers," for a curious specimen of
        supercilious causticity in his description of Lord Kaimes as a
        critic, and Akenside as "The Poet!" Of this pair he tells us,
        in bitter derision, "they are both men of taste." Hurd
        imitated his master successfully, by using some qualifying
        epithet, or giving an adversary some odd nickname, or
        discreetly dispensing a little mortifying praise. The
        antagonists he encounters were men sometimes his superiors,
        and these he calls "sizeable men." Some are styled "insect
        blasphemers!" The learned Lardner is reduced to "the laborious
        Dr. Lardner;" and "Hume's History" is treated with the
        discreet praise of being "the most readable history we have."
        He carefully hints to Leland that "he had never read his
        works, nor looked into his translations; but what he has
        _heard_ of his writings makes him think favourably of him."
        Thus he teases the rhetorical professor by mentioning the
        "elegant translation which, _they say_, you have made of
        Demosthenes!" And he understands that he is "a scholar, who,
        _they say_, employs himself in works of learning and taste."

        Lowth seems to have discovered this secret art of Warburton;
        for he says, "You have a set of names always at hand, a kind
        of infamous list, or black calendar, where every offender is
        sure to find a niche ready to receive him; nothing so easy as
        the application, and slight provocation is sufficient."

  [185] Sometimes Warburton left his battles to be fought by subaltern
        genius; a circumstance to which Lowth, with keen pleasantry,
        thus alludes:--"Indeed, my lord, I was afterwards much
        surprised, when, having been with great civility dismissed
        from your presence, I found _your footman at your door, armed
        with his master's cane, and falling upon me without mercy_,
        yourself looking on and approving, and having probably put the
        weapon with proper orders into his hands. You think, it seems,
        that I ought to have taken my beating quietly and patiently,
        in respect to the livery which he wore. I was not of so tame a
        disposition: I wrested the weapon from him, and broke it. Your
        lordship, it seems, by an oblique blow, got an unlucky rap on
        the knuckles; though you may thank yourself for it, you lay
        the blame on me."--LOWTH'S _Letter to W._, p. 11.

        Warburton and Hurd frequently concerted together on the manner
        of attack and defence. In one of these letters of Hurd's it is
        very amusing to read--"Taylor is a more creditable dunce than
        Webster. What do you think to do with the Appendix against
        Tillard and Sykes? Why might not Taylor rank with them," &c.
        The Warburtonians had also a system of _espionage_. When Dr.
        Taylor was accused by one of them of having _said_ that
        Warburton was no scholar, the learned Grecian replied that he
        did not recollect ever _saying_ that Dr. Warburton was no
        scholar, but that indeed he had always _thought_ so. Hence a
        tremendous quarrel! Hurd, the Mercury of our Jupiter, cast the
        first light shaft against the doctor, then Chancellor of
        Lincoln, by alluding to the Preface of his work on Civil Law
        as "_a certain thing_ prefatory to a learned work, intituled
        'The Elements of Civil Law:'" but at length Jove himself
        rolled his thunder on the hapless chancellor. The doctor had
        said in his work, that "the Roman emperors persecuted the
        first Christians, not so much from a dislike of their tenets
        as from a jealousy of their nocturnal assemblies." Warburton's
        doctrine was, that "they held nocturnal assemblies because of
        the persecution of their enemies." One was the fact, and the
        other the consequence. But the Chancellor of Lincoln was to be
        outrageously degraded among the dunces! that was the real
        motive; the "nocturnal assemblies" only the ostensible one. A
        pamphleteer, in defence of the chancellor, in reply, thought
        that in "this literary persecution" it might be dangerous "if
        Dr. Taylor should be provoked to _prove in print_ what he only
        _dropped in conversation_." How innocent was this gentleman of
        the arts and stratagems of logomachy, or book-wars! The
        _proof_ would not have altered the cause: Hurd would have
        disputed it tooth and nail; Warburton was running greater
        risks, every day of his life, than any he was likely to
        receive from this flourish in the air. The great purpose was
        to make the Chancellor of Lincoln the butt of his sarcastic
        pleasantry; and this object was secured by Warburton's forty
        pages of preface, in which the chancellor stands to be
        buffeted like an ancient quintain, "a mere lifeless block."
        All this came upon him for only _thinking_ that Warburton was
        no _scholar_!

  [186] See what I have said at the close of the note, pp. 262-3. In a
        collection entitled "Verses occasioned by Mr. Warburton's late
        Edition of Mr. Pope's Works," 1751, are numerous epigrams,
        parodies, and similes on it. I give one:--

          "As on the margin of Thames' silver flood
          Stand little _necessary_ piles of wood,
          So Pope's fair page appears with _notes_ disgraced:
          Put down the nuisances, ye men of taste!"

        Lowth has noticed the use Warburton made of his patent for
        vending Pope. "I thought you might possibly whip me at the
        cart's-tail in a note to the 'Divine Legation,' the ordinary
        place of your literary executions; or _pillory me in the
        Dunciad_, another engine which, as legal proprietor, you have
        very ingeniously and judiciously applied to the same purpose;
        or, perhaps, have ordered me a kind of Bridewell correction,
        by one of your beadles, in a pamphlet."--LOWTH'S _"Letter to
        Warburton,"_ p. 4.

        Warburton carried the licentiousness of the pen in all these
        notes to the _Dunciad_ to a height which can only be
        paralleled in the gross logomachies of Schioppius, Gronovius,
        and Scaliger, and the rest of that snarling crew. But his wit
        exceeded even his grossness. He was accused of not sparing--

          "Round-house wit and Wapping choler."
            [Verses occasioned by Mr. W.'s late Edition of Pope.]

        And one of his most furious assailants thus salutes
        him:--"Whether you are a wrangling Wapping attorney, a
        pedantic pretender to criticism, an impudent paradoxical
        priest, or an animal yet stranger, an heterogeneous medley of
        all three, as your farraginous style seems to confess."--An
        Epistle to the Author of a Libel entitled "A Letter to the
        Editor of Bolingbroke's Works," &c.--See NICHOLS, vol. v. p.

        I have ascertained that Mallet was the author of this
        furious epistle. He would not acknowledge what he dared
        not deny. Warburton treated Mallet, in this instance, as
        he often did his superiors--he never replied! The silence
        seems to have stung this irascible and evil spirit: he
        returned again to the charge, with another poisoned
        weapon. His rage produced "A _Familiar_ Epistle to the Most
        Impudent Man Living," 1749. The style of this second
        letter has been characterised as "bad enough to disgrace
        even gaols and garrets." Its virulence could not well
        exceed its predecessor. The oddness of its title has made
        this worthless thing often inquired after. It is merely
        personal. It is curious to observe Mallet, in this pamphlet,
        treat Pope as an object of pity, and call him "this poor man."
        [David Mallet was the son of an innkeeper, who, by means of
        the party he wrote for, obtained lucrative appointments
        under Government, and died rich. He was unscrupulous in his
        career, and ready as a writer to do the most unworthy
        things. The death of Admiral Byng was hastened by the
        unscrupulous denunciations of Mallet, who was pensioned in
        consequence.] Orator Henley took some pains, on the first
        appearance of this catching title, to assure his friends
        that it did not refer to _him_. The title proved contagious;
        which shows the abuse of Warburton was very agreeable. Dr.
        Z. Grey, under the title of "A Country Curate," published
        "A Free and _Familiar_ Letter to the Great Refiner of Pope and
        Shakspeare," 1750; and in 1753, young Cibber tried also at
        "A _Familiar_ Epistle to Mr. William Warburton, from Mr.
        Theophilus Cibber," prefixed to the "Life of Barton Booth."
        Dr. Z. Grey's "freedom and _familiarity_" are designed to
        show Warburton that he has no wit; but unluckily, the doctor
        having none himself, his arguments against Warburton's are not
        decisive. "The _familiarity_" of Mallet is that of a
        scoundrel, and the _younger_ Cibber's that of an idiot: the
        genius of Warburton was secure. Mallet overcharged his gun
        with the fellest intentions, but found his piece, in
        bursting, annihilated himself. The popgun of the _little_
        Theophilus could never have been heard!

        [Warburton never lost a chance of giving a strong opinion
        against Mallet; and Dr. Johnson says, "When Mallet undertook
        to write the 'Life of Marlborough,' Warburton remarked that he
        might perhaps forget that Marlborough was a general, as he had
        forgotten that Bacon was a philosopher."]

        But Warburton's rage was only a part of his _secret
        principle_; for can anything be more witty than his attack on
        poor COOPER, the author of "The Life of Socrates?" Having
        called his book "a late worthless and now forgotten thing,
        called 'The Life of Socrates,'" he adds, "where the head of
        the author has just made a shift to do the office of a _camera
        obscura_, and represent things in an inverted order, himself
        _above_, and Rollin, Voltaire, and every other author of
        reputation, _below_." When Cooper complained of this, and of
        some severer language, to Warburton, through a friend,
        Warburton replied that Cooper had attacked him, and that he
        had only taken his revenge "with a slight joke." Cooper was
        weak and vain enough to print a pamphlet, to prove that this
        was a serious accusation, and no joke; and if it was a joke,
        he shows it was not a correct one. In fact, Cooper could never
        comprehend how his head was like a _camera obscura_! Cooper
        was of the Shaftesburian school--philosophers who pride
        themselves on "the harmony" of their passions, but are too
        often in discords at a slight disturbance. He equalled the
        virulence of Warburton, but could not attain to the wit. "I
        found," says Cooper, "previous to his pretended witticism
        about the _camera obscura_, such miserable spawn of wretched
        malice, as nothing but the inflamed brain of a rank monk could
        conceive, or the oyster-selling maids near London Bridge could
        utter." One would not suppose all this came from the school of
        Plato, but rather from the tub of Diogenes. Something must be
        allowed for poor Cooper, whose "Life of Socrates" had been so
        positively asserted to be "a late worthless and forgotten
        thing." It is curious enough to observe Cooper declaring,
        after this sally, that Warburton "has very unfortunately used
        the word _impudent_ (which epithet Warburton had applied to
        him), as it naturally reminds every reader that the pamphlet
        published about two years ago, addressed 'to the most impudent
        man living,' was universally acknowledged to be dedicated to
        our commentator." Warburton had always the _Dunciad_ in his
        head when a new quarrel was rising, which produced an odd
        blunder on the side of Edwards, and provoked that wit to be as
        dull as Cooper. Warburton said, in one of his notes on
        Edwards, who had entitled himself "a gentleman of Lincoln's
        Inn,"--"This gentleman, as he is pleased to call himself, is
        in reality a gentleman only of the _Dunciad_, or, to speak him
        better, in the plain language of our honest ancestors to such
        mushrooms, a _gentleman of the last edition_." Edwards
        misunderstood the allusion, and sore at the personal attack
        which followed, of his having "eluded the solicitude of his
        careful father," considered himself "degraded of his
        gentility," that it was "a reflection on his birth," and
        threatened to apply to "Mr. Warburton's Masters of the Bench,
        for degrading a 'barrister of their house.'" This afforded a
        new triumph to Warburton, in a new note, where he explains his
        meaning of these "mushrooms," whom he meant merely as literary
        ones; and assures "Fungoso and his friends, who are all
        gentlemen, that he meant no more than that Edwards had become
        a gentleman _of the last edition of the Dunciad_!" Edwards and
        his fungous friends had understood the phrase as applied to
        new-fangled gentry. One of these wits, in the collection of
        verses cited above, says to Warburton:--

          "This mushroom has made sauce for you.
          He's meat; thou'rt poison--plain enough--
          If he's a _mushroom_, thou'rt a _puff_!"

        Warburton had the full command over the _Dunciad_, even when
        Pope was alive, for it was in consequence of Warburton's being
        refused a degree at Oxford, that the poet, though one had been
        offered to himself, produced the celebrated lines of "Apollo's
        Mayor and Aldermen," in the fourth _Dunciad_. Thus it is that
        the personal likes and dislikes of witty men come down to
        posterity, and are often mistaken as just satire, when, after
        all, they are nothing but LITERARY QUARRELS, seldom founded on
        truth, and very often complete falsehoods!

  [187] Dr. Thomas Balguy was the son of a learned father, at whose
        rectory of Northallerton he was born; he was appointed
        Archdeacon of Salisbury in 1759, and afterwards Archdeacon of
        Winchester. He died at the prebendal house of the latter city
        in 1795, at the age of 74. His writings are few--chiefly on
        church government and authority, which brought him into
        antagonism with Dr. Priestley and others, who objected to the
        high view he took of its position. With Hurd and Warburton he
        was always intimate; his sermon on the consecration of the
        former was one of the sources of adverse attack; the latter
        notes his death as that of "an old and esteemed friend."--ED.

  [188] Dr. Brown was patronised and "pitied" by Warburton for years. He
        used him, but spoke of him disparagingly, as "a helpless
        creature in the ways of the world." Nichols speaks of him as
        an "elegant, ingenious, and unhappy author." His father was a
        native of Scotland; his son was born at Rothbury, in
        Northumberland, educated at Cambridge, made minor canon at
        Carlisle, but resigned it in disgust, living in obscurity in
        that city several years, till the Rebellion of 1745, when he
        acted as a volunteer at the siege of the Castle, and behaved
        with great intrepidity. His publication of an "Essay on
        Satire," on the death of Pope, led to his acquaintance with
        Warburton, who helped him to the rectory of Horksley, near
        Colchester; but he quarrelled with his patron, as he
        afterwards quarrelled with others. He then settled down to the
        vicarage of St. Nicholas, Newcastle, but not for long, as an
        educational scheme of the Empress of Russia offered him
        inducements to leave England; but his health failed him before
        he could carry out his intentions, irritability succeeded, and
        his disappointments, real and imaginary, led him to commit
        suicide in the fifty-first year of his age. He seems to have
        been a continual trouble to Warburton, who often alludes to
        his unsettled habits--and schooled him occasionally after his
        own fashion. Thus he writes in 1777:--"Brown is here; I think
        rather faster than ordinary, but no wiser. You cannot imagine
        the tenderness they all have of his tender places, and with
        how unfeeling a hand I probe them."--ED.

  [189] Towne is so far "unknown to fame" that his career is unrecorded
        by our biographers; he was content to work for, and under the
        guidance of Warburton, as a literary drudge.--ED.

  [190] Warburton, indeed, was always looking about for fresh recruits:
        a circumstance which appears in the curious Memoirs of the
        late Dr. Heathcote, written by himself. Heathcote, when young,
        published anonymously a pamphlet in the Middletonian
        controversy. By the desire of Warburton, the bookseller
        transmitted his compliments to the anonymous author. "I was
        greatly surprised," says Heathcote, "but soon after perceived
        that Warburton's state of authorship being a state of war, _it
        was his custom to be particularly attentive to all young
        authors, in hopes of enlisting them into his service_.
        Warburton was more than civil, when necessary, on these
        occasions, and would procure such adventurers some slight
        patronage."--NICHOLS'S "Literary Anecdotes," vol. v. p. 536.

  [191] We are astonished at the boldness of the minor critic, when,
        even after the fatal edition of Warburton's Shakspeare, he
        should still venture, in the life of his great friend, to
        assert that "this fine edition must ever be highly valued by
        men of sense and taste; a spirit congenial to that of the
        author breathing throughout!"

        Is it possible that the man who wrote this should ever have
        read the "Canons of Criticism?" Yet is it to be supposed that
        he who took so lively an interest in the literary fortunes of
        his friend should _not_ have read them? The Warburtonians
        appear to have adopted one of the principles of the Jesuits in
        their controversies, which was to repeat arguments which had
        been confuted over and over again; to insinuate that they had
        not been so! But this was not too much to risk by him who, in
        his dedication of "Horace's Epistle to Augustus," with a
        Commentary, had hardily and solemnly declared that "Warburton,
        in his _enlarged view of things_, had not only revived the two
        models of Aristotle and Longinus, but had rather struck out _a
        new original plan of criticism_, which should unite the
        virtues of each of them. This experiment was made on the two
        greatest of our own poets--Shakspeare and Pope. Still (he
        adds, addressing Warburton) _you went farther_, by joining to
        those powers a perfect insight into human nature; and so
        ennobling the exercise of literary by the justest moral
        censure, _you have now, at length, advanced criticism to its
        full glory_."

        A perpetual intercourse of mutual adulation animated the
        sovereign and his viceroy, and, by mutual support, each
        obtained the same reward: two mitres crowned the greater and
        the minor critic. This intercourse was humorously detected by
        the lively author of "Confusion Worse Confounded."--"When the
        late Duke of R.," says he, "kept wild beasts, it was a common
        diversion to make two of his bears drunk (not metaphorically
        with flattery, but literally with strong ale), and then daub
        them over with honey. It was excellent sport to see how
        lovingly (like a couple of critics) they would lick and claw
        one another." It is almost amazing to observe how Hurd, who
        naturally was of the most frigid temperament, and the most
        subdued feelings, warmed, heated, and blazed in the
        progressive stages "of that pageantry of praise spread over
        the Rev. Mr. Warburton, when the latter was advancing fast
        towards a bishoprick," to use the words of Dr. Parr, a
        sagacious observer of man. However, notwithstanding the
        despotic mandates of our Pichrocole and his dapper minister,
        there were who did not fear to meet the greater bear of the
        two so facetiously described above. And the author of
        "Confusion Worse Confounded" tells a familiar story, which
        will enliven the history of our great critic. "One of the
        bears mentioned above happened to get loose, and was running
        along the street in which a tinker was gravely walking. The
        people all cried, 'Tinker! tinker! beware of the bear!' Upon
        this Magnano faced about with great composure; and raising his
        staff, knocked down Bruin, then setting his arms a-kimbo,
        walked off very sedately; only saying, 'Let the bear beware of
        the tinker,' which is now become a proverb in those
        parts."--"Confusion Worse Confounded," p. 75.



  POPE adopted a system of literary politics--collected with
  extraordinary care everything relative to his Quarrels--no
  politician ever studied to obtain his purposes by more oblique
  directions and intricate stratagems--some of his manœuvres--his
  systematic hostility not practised with impunity--his claim to his
  own works contested--CIBBER'S facetious description of POPE'S
  feelings, and WELSTED'S elegant satire on his genius--DENNIS'S
  account of POPE'S Introduction to him--his political prudence
  further discovered in the Collection of all the Pieces relative to
  the _Dunciad_, in which he employed SAVAGE--the THEOBALDIANS and
  the POPEIANS; an attack by a Theobaldian--The _Dunciad_
  ingeniously defended, for the grossness of its imagery, and its
  reproach of the poverty of the authors, supposed by POPE himself,
  with some curious specimens of literary personalities--the
  Literary Quarrel between AARON HILL and POPE distinguished for its
  romantic cast--a Narrative of the extraordinary transactions
  respecting the publication of POPE'S Letters; an example of
  Stratagem and Conspiracy, illustrative of his character.

POPE has proudly perpetuated the history of his Literary Quarrels; and
he appears to have been among those authors, surely not forming the
majority, who have delighted in, or have not been averse to provoke,
hostility. He has registered the titles of every book, even to a
single paper, or a copy of verses, in which their authors had
committed treason against his poetical sovereignty.[192] His ambition
seemed gratified in heaping these trophies to his genius, while his
meaner passions could compile one of the most voluminous of the
scandalous chronicles of literature. We are mortified on discovering
so fine a genius in the text humbling itself through all the depravity
of a commentary full of spleen, and not without the fictions of
satire. The unhappy influence his _Literary Quarrels_ had on this
great poet's life remains to be traced. He adopted a system of
literary politics abounding with stratagems, conspiracies, manœuvres,
and factions.

Pope's literary quarrels were the wars of his poetical ambition, more
perhaps than of the petulance and strong irritability of his
character. They were some of the artifices he adopted from the
peculiarity of his situation.

Thrown out of the active classes of society from a variety of causes
sufficiently known,[193] concentrating his passions into a solitary
one, his retired life was passed in the contemplation of his own
literary greatness. Reviewing the past, and anticipating the future,
he felt he was creating a new era in our literature, an event which
does not always occur in a century: but eager to secure present
celebrity, with the victory obtained in the open field, he combined
the intrigues of the cabinet: thus, while he was exerting great means,
he practised little artifices. No politician studied to obtain his
purposes by more oblique directions, or with more intricate
stratagems; and Pope was at once the lion and the fox of Machiavel. A
book might be written on the Stratagems of Literature, as Frontinus
has composed one on War, and among its subtilest heroes we might place
this great poet.

To keep his name alive before the public was one of his early plans.
When he published his "Essay on Criticism," anonymously, the young and
impatient poet was mortified with the inertion of public curiosity: he
was almost in despair.[194] Twice, perhaps oftener, Pope attacked
Pope;[195] and he frequently concealed himself under the names of
others, for some particular design. Not to point out his dark familiar
"Scriblerus," always at hand for all purposes, he made use of the
names of several of his friends. When he employed SAVAGE in "a
collection of all the pieces, in verse and prose, published on
occasion of the _Dunciad_," he subscribed his name to an admirable
dedication to Lord Middlesex, where he minutely relates the whole
history of the _Dunciad_, "and the weekly clubs held to consult of
hostilities against the author;" and, for an express introduction to
that work, he used the name of Cleland, to which is added a note,
expressing surprise that the world did not believe that Cleland was
the writer![196] Wanting a pretext for the publication of his
letters, he delighted CURLL by conveying to him some printed
surreptitious copies, who soon discovered that it was but a fairy
treasure which he could not grasp; and Pope, in his own defence, had
soon ready the authentic edition.[197] Some lady observed that Pope
"hardly drank tea without a stratagem!" The female genius easily
detects its own peculiar faculty, when it is exercised with inferior

But his systematic hostility did not proceed with equal impunity: in
this perpetual war with dulness, he discovered that every one he
called a dunce was not so; nor did he find the dunces themselves
less inconvenient to him; for many successfully substituted, for
their deficiencies in better qualities, the lie that lasts long
enough to vex a man; and the insolence that does not fear him: they
attacked him at all points, and not always in the spirit of
legitimate warfare.[198] They filled up his asterisks, and accused
him of treason. They asserted that the panegyrical verses prefixed
to his works (an obsolete mode of recommendation, which Pope
condescended to practise), were his own composition, and to which
he had affixed the names of some dead or some unknown writers.
They published lists of all whom Pope had attacked; placing at the
head, "God Almighty; the King;" descending to the "lords and
gentlemen."[199] A few suspected his skill in Greek; but every
hound yelped in the halloo against his Homer.[200] Yet the more
extraordinary circumstance was, their hardy disputes with Pope
respecting his claim to his own works, and the difficulty he more
than once found to establish his rights. Sometimes they divided public
opinion by even indicating the real authors; and witnesses from
White's and St. James's were ready to be produced. Among these
literary coteries, several of Pope's productions, in their anonymous,
and even in their MS. state, had been appropriated by several
pseudo authors; and when Pope called for restitution, he seemed to be
claiming nothing less than their lives. One of these gentlemen had
enjoyed a very fair reputation for more than two years on the
"Memoirs of a Parish-Clerk;" another, on "The Messiah!" and there were
many other vague claims. All this was vexatious; but not so much as
the ridiculous attitude in which Pope was sometimes placed by his
enraged adversaries.[201] He must have found himself in a more
perilous situation when he hired a brawny champion, or borrowed the
generous courage of some military friend.[202] To all these troubles
we may add, that Pope has called down on himself more lasting
vengeance; and the good sense of Theobald, the furious but often
acute remarks of Dennis; the good-humoured yet keen remonstrance of
Cibber; the silver shaft, tipped with venom, sent from the injured
but revengeful Lady Mary; and many a random shot, that often struck
him, inflicted on him many a sleepless night.[203] The younger
Richardson has recorded the personal sufferings of Pope when, one
day, in taking up Cibber's letter, while his face was writhing with
agony, he feebly declared that "these things were as good as
hartshorn to him;" but he appeared at that moment rather to want a
little. And it is probably true, what Cibber facetiously says of
Pope, in his second letter:--"Everybody tells me that I have made you
as uneasy as a rat in a hot kettle, for a twelvemonth together."[204]

Pope was pursued through life by the insatiable vengeance of Dennis.
The young poet, who had got introduced to him, among his first
literary acquaintances, could not fail, when the occasion presented
itself, of ridiculing this uncouth son of Aristotle. The blow was
given in the character of Appius, in the "Art of Criticism;" and it is
known Appius was instantaneously recognised by the fierce shriek of
the agonised critic himself. From that moment Dennis resolved to write
down every work of Pope's. How dangerous to offend certain tempers,
verging on madness![205] Dennis, too, called on every one to join him
in the common cause; and once he retaliated on Pope in his own way.
Accused by Pope of being the writer of an account of himself, in
Jacob's "Lives of the Poets," Dennis procured a letter from Jacob,
which he published, and in which it appears that Pope's own character
in this collection, if not written by him, was by him very carefully
corrected on the proof-sheet; so that he stood in the same ridiculous
attitude into which he had thrown Dennis, as his own trumpeter.
Dennis, whose brutal energy remained unsubdued, was a rhinoceros of a
critic, shelled up against the arrows of wit. This monster of
criticism awed the poet; and Dennis proved to be a Python, whom the
golden shaft of Apollo could not pierce.

The political prudence of Pope was further discovered in the
"Collection of all the Pieces relative to the _Dunciad_," on which
he employed Savage: these exemplified the justness of the satire,
or defended it from all attacks. The precursor of the _Dunciad_
was a single chapter in "The Bathos; or, the Art of Sinking in
Poetry;" where the humorous satirist discovers an analogy between
flying-fishes, parrots, tortoises, &c., and certain writers, whose
names are designated by initial letters. In this unlucky alphabet of
dunces, not one of them but was applied to some writer of the day;
and the loud clamours these excited could not be appeased by the
simplicity of our poet's declaration, that the letters were placed at
random: and while his oil could not smooth so turbulent a sea, every
one swore to the flying-fish or the tortoise, as he had described
them. It was still more serious when the _Dunciad_ appeared. Of that
class of authors who depended for a wretched existence on their
wages, several were completely ruined, for no purchasers were to be
found for the works of some authors, after they had been inscribed
in the chronicle of our provoking and inimitable satirist.[206]

It is in this collection by Savage I find the writer's admirable
satire on the class of literary prostitutes. It is entitled "An Author
to be Let, by Iscariot Hackney." It has been ably commended by Johnson
in his "Life of Savage," and on his recommendation Thomas Davies
inserted it in his "Collection of Fugitive Pieces;" but such is the
careless curiosity of modern re-publishers, that often, in preserving
a decayed body, they are apt to drop a limb: this was the case with
Davies; for he has dropped the preface, far more exquisite than the
work itself. A morsel of such poignant relish betrays the hand of the
master who snatched the pen for a moment.

This preface defends Pope from the two great objections justly raised
at the time against the _Dunciad_: one is, the grossness and
filthiness of its imagery; and the other, its reproachful allusions to
the poverty of the authors.

The _indelicacies_ of the _Dunciad_ are thus wittily apologised

"They are suitable to the subject; a subject composed, for the most
part, of authors whose writings are the refuse of wit, and who in
life are the very excrement of Nature. Mr. Pope has, too, used dung;
but he disposes that dung in such a manner that it becomes rich
manure, from which he raises a variety of fine flowers. He deals in
rags; but like an artist, who commits them to a paper-mill, and brings
them out useful sheets. The chemist extracts a fine cordial from the
most nauseous of all dung; and Mr. Pope has drawn a sweet poetical
spirit from the most offensive and unpoetical objects of the
creation--unpoetical, though eternal writers of poetry."

The reflections on the _poverty_ of its heroes are thus ingeniously
defended:--"Poverty, not proceeding from folly, but which may be owing
to virtue, sets a man in an amiable light; but when our wants are of
our own seeking, and prove the motive of every ill action (for the
poverty of bad authors has always a bad heart for its companion), is
it not a vice, and properly the subject of satire?" The preface then
proceeds to show how "all these _said writers_ might have been _good
mechanics_." He illustrates his principles with a most ungracious
account of several of his contemporaries. I shall give a specimen of
what I consider as the polished sarcasm and caustic humour of Pope, on
some favourite subjects.

"Mr. Thomas _Cooke_.--His enemies confess him not without merit. To do
the man justice, he might have made a tolerable figure as a _Tailor_.
'Twere too presumptuous to affirm he could have been a _master_ in any
profession; but, dull as I allow him, he would not have been
despicable for a third or a fourth hand journeyman. Then had his wants
have been avoided; for, he would at least have learnt to _cut his coat
according to his cloth_.

"Why would not Mr. _Theobald_ continue an attorney? Is not _Word-catching_
more serviceable in splitting a cause, than explaining a fine poet?

"When Mrs. _Haywood_ ceased to be a strolling-actress, why might not
the lady (though once a theatrical queen) have subsisted by turning
_washerwoman_? Has not the fall of greatness been a frequent distress
in all ages? She might have caught a beautiful bubble, as it arose
from the suds of her tub, blown it in air, seen it glitter, and then
break! Even in this low condition, she had played with a bubble; and
what more is the vanity of human greatness?

"Had it not been an honester and more decent livelihood for Mr.
_Norton_ (Daniel De Foe's son of love by a lady who vended oysters)
to have dealt in a _fish-market_, than to be dealing out the dialects
of Billingsgate in the Flying-post?

"Had it not been more laudable for Mr. _Roome_, the son of an
_undertaker_, to have borne a link and a mourning-staff, in the long
procession of a funeral--or even been more decent in him to have sung
psalms, according to education, in an Anabaptist meeting, than to have
been altering the _Jovial Crew, or Merry Beggars_, into a _wicked_
imitation of the _Beggar's Opera_?"

This satire seems too exquisite for the touch of Savage, and is quite
in the spirit of the author of the _Dunciad_. There is, in Ruffhead's
"Life of Pope," a work to which Warburton contributed all his care, a
passage which could only have been written by Warburton. The strength
and coarseness of the imagery could never have been produced by the
dull and feeble intellect of Ruffhead: it is the opinion, therefore,
of Warburton himself, on the _Dunciad_. "The _good purpose_ intended
by this satire was, to the _herd_ in general, of less efficacy than
our author hoped; for _scribblers_ have not the common sense of _other
vermin_, who usually abstain from mischief, when they see any of their
kind _gibbeted_ or _nailed up_, as terrible examples."--Warburton
employed the same strong image in one of his threats.

One of Pope's Literary Quarrels must be distinguished for its romantic

In the Treatise on the _Bathos_, the initial letters of the bad
writers occasioned many heartburns; and, among others, Aaron Hill
suspected he was marked out by the letters A. H. This gave rise to a
large correspondence between Hill and Pope. Hill, who was a very
amiable man, was infinitely too susceptible of criticism; and Pope,
who seems to have had a personal regard for him, injured those nice
feelings as little as possible. Hill had published a panegyrical
poem on Peter the Great, under the title of "The Northern Star;" and
the bookseller had conveyed to him a criticism of Pope's, of which
Hill publicly acknowledged he mistook the meaning. When the Treatise
of "The Bathos" appeared, Pope insisted he had again mistaken the
initials A. H.--Hill gently attacked Pope in "a paper of very
pretty verses," as Pope calls them. When the _Dunciad_ appeared,
Hill is said "to have published pieces, in his youth, bordering upon
the bombast." This was as light a stroke as could be inflicted; and
which Pope, with great good-humour, tells Hill, might be equally
applied to himself; for he always acknowledged, that when a boy, he
had written an Epic poem of that description; would often quote absurd
verses from it, for the diversion of his friends; and actually
inserted some of the most extravagant ones in the very Treatise on
"The Bathos." Poor Hill, however, was of the most sickly delicacy,
and produced "The Caveat," another gentle rebuke, where Pope is
represented as "sneakingly to approve, and want the worth to cherish
or befriend men of merit." In the course of this correspondence,
Hill seems to have projected the utmost stretch of his innocent
malice; for he told Pope, that he had almost finished "An Essay on
Propriety and Impropriety in Design, Thought, and Expression,
illustrated by examples in both kinds, from the writings of Mr.
Pope;" but he offers, if this intended work should create the least
pain to Mr. Pope, he was willing, with all his heart, to have it run
thus:--"An Essay on Propriety and Impropriety, &c., illustrated by
Examples of the first, from the writings of Mr. Pope, and of the
rest, from those of the author."--To the romantic generosity of this
extraordinary proposal, Pope replied, "I acknowledge your generous
offer, to give _examples of imperfections_ rather out of _your own
works_ than mine: I consent, with all my heart, to your confining them
to _mine_, for two reasons: the one, that I fear your sensibility
that way is greater than my own: the other is a better; namely,
that I intend to correct the faults you find, if they are such as I
expect from Mr. Hill's cool judgment."[207]

Where, in literary history, can be found the parallel of such an offer
of self-immolation? This was a literary quarrel like that of lovers,
where to hurt each other would have given pain to both parties. Such
skill and desire to strike, with so much tenderness in inflicting a
wound; so much compliment, with so much complaint; have perhaps never
met together, as in the romantic hostility of this literary chivalry.


  [192] Pope collected these numerous literary libels with extraordinary
        care. He had them bound in volumes of all sizes; and a range
        of twelves, octavos, quartos, and folios were marshalled in
        portentous order on his shelves. He wrote the names of the
        writers, with remarks on these _Anonymiana_. He prefixed to
        them this motto, from Job: "Behold, my desire is, that mine
        adversary had written a book: surely I would take it upon my
        shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me." xxxi. 35. Ruffhead,
        who wrote Pope's Life under the eye of Warburton, who revised
        every sheet of the volume, and suffered this mere lawyer and
        singularly wretched critic to write on, with far inferior
        taste to his own--offered "the entire collection to any public
        library or museum, whose search is after _curiosities_, and
        may be desirous of enriching their common treasure with it: it
        will be freely at the service of that which asks first." Did
        no one accept the invitation? As this was written in 1769, it
        is evidently pointed towards the British Museum; but there I
        have not heard of it. This collection must have contained much
        of the Secret Memoirs of Grub-street: it was always a fountain
        whence those "waters of bitterness," the notes in the
        _Dunciad_, were readily supplied. It would be curious to
        discover by what stratagem Pope obtained all that secret
        intelligence about his Dunces, with which he has burthened
        posterity, for his own particular gratification. Arbuthnot, it
        is said, wrote some notes merely literary; but Savage, and
        still humbler agents, served him as his _Espions de Police_.
        He pensioned Savage to his last day, and never deserted him.
        In the account of "the phantom Moore," Scriblerus appeals to
        Savage to authenticate some story. One curious instance of the
        fruits of Savage's researches in this way he has himself
        preserved, in his memoirs of "An Author to be Let, by Iscariot
        Hackney." This portrait of "a perfect Town-Author" is not
        deficient in spirit: the hero was one Roome, a man only
        celebrated in the _Dunciad_ for his "funereal frown." But it
        is uncertain whether this fellow had really so dismal a
        countenance; for the epithet was borrowed from his profession,
        being the son of an undertaker! Such is the nature of some
        satire! Dr. Warton is astonished, or mortified, for he knew
        not which, to see the pains and patience of Pope and his
        friends in compiling the Notes to the _Dunciad_, to trace out
        the lives and works of such paltry and forgotten scribblers.
        "It is like walking through the darkest alleys in the dirtiest
        part of St. Giles's." Very true! But may we not be allowed to
        detect the vanities of human nature at St. Giles's as well as
        St. James's? Authors, however obscure, are always an amusing
        race to authors. The greatest find their own passions in the
        least, though distorted, or cramped in too small a compass.

        It is doubtless from Pope's great anxiety for his own literary
        celebrity that we have been furnished with so complete a
        knowledge of the grotesque groups in the _Dunciad_. "Give me a
        shilling," said Swift, facetiously, "and I will insure you
        that posterity shall never know one single enemy, excepting
        those whose memory you have preserved." A very useful hint for
        a man of genius to leave his wretched assailants to dissolve
        away in their own weakness. But Pope, having written a
        _Dunciad_, by accompanying it with a commentary, took the only
        method to interest posterity. He felt that Boileau's satires
        on bad authors are liked only in the degree the objects
        alluded to are known. But he loved too much the subject for
        its own sake. He abused the powers genius had conferred on
        him, as other imperial sovereigns have done. It is said that
        he kept the whole kingdom in awe of him. In "the frenzy and
        prodigality of vanity," he exclaimed--

          "--------Yes, I am proud to see
          Men, not afraid of God, afraid of me!"

        Tacitus Gordon said of him, that Pope seemed to persuade the
        nation that all genius and ability were confined to him and
        his friends.

  [193] Pope, in his energetic Letter to Lord HERVEY, that "masterpiece
        of invective," says Warton, which Tyers tells us he kept long
        back from publishing, at the desire of Queen Caroline, who was
        fearful her counsellor would become insignificant in the
        public esteem, and at last in her own, such was the power his
        genius exercised;--has pointed out one of these causes. It
        describes himself as "a private person under penal laws, and
        many other disadvantages, not for want of honesty or
        conscience; yet it is by these alone I have hitherto lived
        _excluded from all posts of profit or trust_. I can interfere
        with the views of no man."

  [194] The first publisher of the "Essay on Criticism" must have been
        a Mr. Lewis, a Catholic bookseller in Covent-garden; for,
        from a descendant of this Lewis, I heard that Pope, after
        publication, came every day, persecuting with anxious
        inquiries the cold impenetrable bookseller, who, as the poem
        lay uncalled for, saw nothing but vexatious importunities
        in a troublesome youth. One day, Pope, after nearly a
        month's publication, entered, and in despair tied up a
        number of the poems, which he addressed to several who had a
        reputation in town, as judges of poetry. The scheme
        succeeded, and the poem, having reached its proper circle,
        soon got into request.

  [195] He was the author of "The Key to the Lock," written to show that
        "The Rape of the Lock" was a political poem, designed to
        ridicule the Barrier Treaty; [so called from the arrangement
        made at the Peace of Utrecht between the ministers of Great
        Britain and the States General, as to the towns on the
        frontiers of the Dutch, which were to be permanently
        strengthened as barrier fortresses. Pope, in the mask of
        Esdras Barnivelt, apothecary, thus makes out his poem to be a
        political satire. "Having said that by the _lock_ is meant the
        _Barrier Treaty_--first then I shall discover, that Belinda
        represents Great Britain, or (which is the same thing) her
        late Majesty. This is plainly seen in the description of her,

          "On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore."

        Alluding to the ancient name of Albion, from her white cliffs,
        and to the cross which is the ensign of England. The baron who
        cuts off the lock, or Barrier Treaty, is the Earl of Oxford.
        Clarissa, who lent the scissors, my Lady Masham. Thalestris,
        who provokes Belinda to resent the loss of the lock or treaty,
        the Duchess of Marlborough; and Sir Plume, who is moved by
        Thalestris to re-demand it of Great Britain, Prince Eugene,
        "who came hither for that purpose." He concludes 32 pages of
        similar argument by saying, "I doubt not if the persons most
        concerned would but order Mr. Bernard Lintott, the printer and
        publisher of this dangerous piece, to be taken into custody
        and examined, many further discoveries might be made both of
        this poet's and his abettors secret designs, which are
        doubtless of the utmost importance to Government." Such is a
        specimen of Pope's chicanery.] Its innocent extravagance could
        only have been designed to increase attention to a work, which
        hardly required any such artifice. [In the preface to this
        production, "the uncommon sale of this book" is stated as one
        reason for the publication; "above six thousand of them have
        been already vended."] In the same spirit he composed the
        "Guardian," in which Phillips's Pastorals were insidiously
        preferred to his own. Pope sent this ironical, panegyrical
        criticism on Phillips anonymously to the "Guardian," and
        Steele not perceiving the drift, hesitated to publish it, till
        Pope advised it. Addison detected it. I doubt whether we have
        discovered all the _supercheries_ of this kind. After writing
        the finest works of genius, he was busily employed in
        attracting the public attention to them. In the antithesis of
        his character, he was so great and so little! But he knew
        mankind! and present fame was the great business of his life.

  [196] Cleland was the son of Colonel Cleland, an old friend of Pope;
        he and his son had served in the East Indian army; but the
        latter returned to London, and became a sort of literary
        jackal to Pope, and a hack author for the booksellers. He
        wrote several moral and useful works; but as they did not pay
        well, he wrote an immoral one, for which he obtained a better
        price, and a pension of 100_l._ a-year, on condition that he
        never wrote in that manner again. This was obtained for him by
        Lord Granville, after Cleland had been cited before the Privy
        Council, and pleaded poverty as the reason for such

  [197] The narrative of this dark transaction, which seems to have been
        imperfectly known to Johnson, being too copious for a note,
        will be found at the close of this article.

  [198] A list of all the pamphlets which resulted from the _Dunciad_
        would occupy a large space. Many of them were as grossly
        personal as the celebrated poem. The poet was frequently
        ridiculed under the names of "Pope Alexander" (from his
        dictatorial style), and "Sawney." In "an heroic poem
        occasioned by the _Dunciad_," published in 1728, the poet's
        snug retreat at Twickenham is thus alluded to:--

          "Sawney! a mimic sage of huge renown,
          To Twick'nam bow'rs retir'd, enjoys his wealth,
          His malice and his muse: in grottoes cool,
          And cover'd arbours, dreams his hours away."

        A fragment of Pope's celebrated grotto still remains; the
        house is destroyed. Pope spent all his spare cash over his
        Twickenham villa. "I never save anything," he said once to
        Spence; and the latter has left a detailed account of what he
        meant to do in the further decoration of his garden if he had
        lived. As he gained a sum of money, he regularly spent it in
        this way.--ED.

  [199] Pope is, perhaps, the finest _character-painter_ of all
        satirists. Atterbury, after reading the portrait of Atticus,
        advised him to proceed in a way which his genius had pointed
        out; but Arbuthnot, with his dying breath, conjured him "to
        reform, and not to chastise;" that is, not to spare the vice,
        but the person. It is said, Pope answered, that, to correct
        the world with due effect, they become inseparable; and that,
        deciding by his own experience, he was justified in his
        opinion. Perhaps, at first, he himself wavered; but he strikes
        bolder as he gathers strength. The two first editions of the
        _Dunciad_, now before me, could hardly be intelligible: they
        exhibit lines after lines gaping with an hiatus, or obscured
        with initial letters: in subsequent editions, the names stole
        into their places. We are told, that the personalities in his
        satires quickened the sale: the portraits of Sporus, Bufo,
        Clodius, Timon, and Atossa, were purchased by everybody; but
        when he once declared, respecting the _characters_ of one of
        his best satires, that no real persons were intended, it
        checked public curiosity, which was felt in the sale of that
        edition. Personality in his satires, no doubt, accorded with
        the temper and the talent of Pope; and the malice of mankind
        afforded him all the conviction necessary to indulge it. Yet
        Young could depend solely on abstract characters and pure wit;
        and I believe that his "Love of Fame" was a series of
        admirable satires, which did not obtain less popularity than
        Pope's. Cartwright, one of the poetical sons of Ben Jonson,
        describes, by a beautiful and original image, the office of
        the satirist, though he praises Jonson for exercising a virtue
        he did not always practise; as Swift celebrates Pope with the
        same truth, when he sings:--

          "Yet malice never was his aim;
          He lash'd the vice, but spared the name."

        Cartwright's lines are:--

                       "--------'tis thy skill
          To strike the vice, and spare the person still;
          As he who, when he saw the serpent wreath'd
          About his sleeping son, and as he breathed,
          Drink in his soul, did so the shot contrive,
          To kill the beast, but keep the child alive."

  [200] Cooke, the translator of Hesiod, published a letter in Mist's
        Journal, insisting that Pope had _mistaken the whole character
        of Thersites_, from ignorance of the language. I regret I have
        not drawn some notes from that essay. The subject might be
        made curious by a good Greek scholar, if Pope has really erred
        in the degree Cooke asserts. Theobald, who seems to have been
        a more classical scholar than has been allowed, besides some
        versions from the Greek tragic bards, commenced a translation
        of the _Odyssey_ as soon as Pope's _Iliad_ appeared.

  [201] In one of these situations, Pope issued a very grave, but very
        ludicrous, advertisement. They had the impudence to publish an
        account of Pope having been flagellated by two gentlemen in
        Ham Walks, during his evening promenade. This was avenging
        Dennis for what he had undergone from the narrative of his
        madness. In "The Memoirs of Grub-street," vol. i. p. 96, this
        tingling narrative appears to have been the ingenious forgery
        of Lady Mary! On this occasion, Pope thought it necessary to
        publish the following advertisement in the _Daily Post_, June
        14, 1728:--

        "Whereas, there has been a scandalous paper cried aloud about
        the streets, under the title of 'A Pop upon Pope,' insinuating
        that I was whipped in Ham Walks on Thursday last:--This is to
        give notice, that I did not stir out of my house at Twickenham
        on that day; and the same is a malicious and ill-founded
        report.--A. P."

        [Spence, on the authority of Pope's half-sister, says: "When
        some of the people that he had put into the _Dunciad_ were so
        enraged against him, and threatened him so highly, he loved to
        walk alone to Richmond, only he would take a large faithful
        dog with him, and pistols in his pocket. He used to say to us
        when we talked to him about it, that 'with pistols the least
        man in England was above a match for the largest.'"]

        It seems that Phillips hung up a birchen-rod at Button's.
        Pope, in one of his letters, congratulates himself that he
        never attempted to use it. [His half-sister, Mrs. Rackett,
        testifies to Pope's courage; she says, "My brother never knew
        what fear was."]

  [202] According to the scandalous chronicle of the day, Pope, shortly
        after the publication of the _Dunciad_, had a tall Irishman to
        attend him. Colonel Duckett threatened to cane him, for a
        licentious stroke aimed at him, which Pope recanted. Thomas
        Bentley, nephew to the doctor, for the treatment his uncle had
        received, sent Pope a challenge. The modern, like the ancient
        Horace, was of a nature liable to panic at such critical
        moments. Pope consulted some military friends, who declared
        that his _person_ ought to protect him from any such
        redundance of valour as was thus formally required; however,
        one of them accepted the challenge for him, and gave Bentley
        the option either of fighting or apologising; who, on this
        occasion, proved, what is usual, that the easiest of the two
        was the quickest done.

  [203] I shall preserve one specimen, so classically elegant, that Pope
        himself might have composed it. It is from the pen of that
        Leonard Welsted whose "Aganippe" Pope has so shamefully

          "Flow, Welsted, flow, like thine inspirer, beer!"

        Can the reader credit, after this, that Welsted, who was clerk
        in ordinary at the Ordnance Office, was a man of family and
        independence, of elegant manners and a fine fancy, but who
        considered poetry only as a passing amusement? He has,
        however, left behind, amid the careless productions of his
        muse, some passages wrought up with equal felicity and power.
        There are several original poetical views of nature scattered
        in his works, which have been collected by Mr. Nichols, that
        would admit of a comparison with some of established fame.

        Welsted imagined that the spirit of English poetry was on its
        decline in the age of Pope, and allegorises the state of our
        poetry in a most ingenious comparison. The picture is
        exquisitely wrought, like an ancient gem: one might imagine
        Anacreon was turned critic:--

          "A flask I rear'd whose sluice began to fail,
          And told, from Phærus, this facetious tale:--
            Sabina, very old and very dry,
          Chanced, on a time, an EMPTY FLASK to spy:
          The flask but lately had been thrown aside,
          With the rich grape of Tuscan vineyards dyed;
          But lately, gushing from the slender spout,
          Its life, in purple streams, had issued out.
          _The costly flavour still to sense remain'd_,
          And still its sides the violet colour stain'd:
          A sight so sweet taught wrinkled age to smile;
          Pleased, she imbibes the generous fumes awhile,
          Then, downwards turn'd, the vessel gently props,
          And drains with patient care the lucid drops:
          O balmy spirit of Etruria's vine!
          O fragrant flask, she said, too lately mine!
          _If such delights, THOUGH EMPTY, thou canst yield_,
          What wondrous raptures hadst thou given if filled!"
                _Paloemon to Coelia at Bath, or the Triumvirate._

        "The empty flask" only retaining "the costly flavour," was the
        verse of Pope.

  [204] Pope was made to appear as ridiculous as possible, and often
        nicknamed "Poet Pug," from the frontispiece to an attack in
        reply to his own, termed "Pope Alexander's Supremacy and
        Infallibility examined." It represents Pope as a misshapen
        monkey leaning on a pile of books, in the attitude adopted by
        Jervas in his portrait of the poet.--ED.

  [205] Dennis tells the whole story. "At his first coming to town he
        was importunate with Mr. Cromwell to introduce him to me. The
        recommendation engaged me to be about thrice in company with
        him; after which I went to the country, till I found myself
        most insolently attacked in his very superficial 'Essay on
        Criticism,' by which he endeavoured to destroy the reputation
        of a man who had published pieces of criticism, and to set up
        his own. I was moved with indignation to that degree, that I
        immediately writ remarks on that essay. I also writ upon part
        of his translation of 'Homer,' his 'Windsor Forest,' and his
        infamous 'Temple of Fame.'" In the same pamphlet he
        says:--"Pope writ his 'Windsor Forest' in envy of Sir John
        Denham's 'Cooper's Hill;' his infamous 'Temple of Fame' in
        envy of Chaucer's poem upon the same subject; his 'Ode on St.
        Cecilia's Day,' in envy of Dryden's 'Feast of Alexander.'" In
        reproaching Pope with his peculiar rhythm, that monotonous
        excellence, which soon became mechanical, he has an odd
        attempt at a pun:--"Boileau's Pegasus has all his paces; the
        Pegasus of Pope, like a _Kentish post-horse_, is always upon
        the _Canterbury_."--"Remarks upon several Passages in the
        Preliminaries to the _Dunciad_," 1729.

  [206] Two parties arose in the literary republic, the _Theobaldians_
        and the _Popeians_. The "Grub-street Journal," a kind of
        literary gazette of some campaigns of the time, records the
        skirmishes with tolerable neutrality, though with a strong
        leaning in favour of the prevailing genius.

        The _Popeians_ did not always do honour to their great leader;
        and the _Theobaldians_ proved themselves, at times, worthy of
        being engaged, had fate so ordered it, in the army of their
        renowned enemy. When Young published his "Two Epistles to
        Pope, on the Authors of the Age," there appeared "One Epistle
        to Mr. A. Pope, in Answer to two of Dr. Young's." On this, a
        Popeian defends his master from some extravagant accusations
        in "The Grub-street Memoirs." He insists, as his first
        principle, that all accusations against a man's character
        without an attestor are presumed to be slanders and lies, and
        in this case every gentleman, though "Knight of the Bathos,"
        is merely a liar and scoundrel.

        "You assure us he is not only a bad poet, but a stealer from
        bad poets: if so, you have just cause to complain of invasion
        of property. You assure us he is not even a versifier, but
        steals the _sound_ of his verses; now, to _steal a sound_ is
        as ingenious as to _paint an echo_. You cannot bear
        _gentlemen_ should be treated as vermin and reptiles; now, to
        be impartial, you were compared to _flying-fishes_,
        _didappers_, _tortoises_, and _parrots_, &c., not vermin, but
        curious and beautiful creatures"--alluding to the abuse, in
        this "Epistle," on such authors as Atterbury, Arbuthnot,
        Swift, the Duke of Buckingham, &c. The Popeian concludes:--

        "After all, _your poem_, to comfort you, is more innocent than
        the _Dunciad_; for in the one there's no man abused but is
        very well pleased to be abused in such company; whereas in the
        other there's no man so much as named, but is extremely
        affronted to be ranked with such people as style each other
        the _dullest of men_."

        The publication of the _Dunciad_, however, drove the
        _Theobaldians_ out of the field. Guerillas, such as the "One
        Epistle," sometimes appeared, but their heroes struck and
        skulked away. A _Theobaldian_, in an epigram, compared the
        _Dunciad_ of Pope to the offspring of the celebrated Pope
        Joan. The neatness of his wit is hardly blunted by a pun. He
        who talks of Pope's "stealing a sound," seems to have
        practised that invisible art himself, for the verse is musical
        as Pope's.

                     TO THE AUTHOR OF THE DUNCIAD.

          "With rueful eyes thou view'st thy wretched race,
          The child of guilt, and destined to disgrace.
          Thus when famed Joan usurp'd the Pontiff's chair,
          With terror she beheld her new-born heir:
          Ill-starr'd, ill-favour'd into birth it came;
          In vice begotten, and brought forth with shame!
          In vain it breathes, a lewd abandon'd hope!
          And calls in vain, the unhallow'd father--Pope!"

        The answers to this epigram by the Popeians are too gross. The
        "One Epistle" is attributed to James Moore Smyth, in alliance
        with Welsted and other unfortunate heroes.

  [207] The six Letters are preserved in Ruffhead's Appendix, No. 1.



JOHNSON observes, that "one of the passages of POPE'S life which seems
to deserve some inquiry, was the publication of his letters by CURLL,
the rapacious bookseller."[208] Our great literary biographer has
expended more research on this occasion than his usual penury of
literary history allowed; and yet has only told the close of the
strange transaction--the previous parts are more curious, and the
whole cannot be separated. Joseph Warton has only transcribed
Johnson's narrative. It is a piece of literary history of an uncommon
complexion; and it is worth the pains of telling, if Pope, as I
consider him to be, was the subtile weaver of a plot, whose texture
had been close enough for any political conspiracy. It throws a strong
light on the portrait I have touched of him. He conducted all his
literary transactions with the arts of a Minister of State; and the
genius which he wasted on this literary stratagem, in which he so
completely succeeded, might have been perhaps sufficient to have
organised rebellion.

It is well known that the origin of Pope's first letters given to the
public, arose from the distresses of a cast-off mistress of one of his
old friends (H. Cromwell),[209] who had given her the letters of
Pope, which she knew how to value: these she afterwards sold to Curll,
who preserved the originals in his shop, so that no suspicions could
arise of their authenticity. This very collection is now deposited
among Rawlinson's MSS. at the Bodleian.[210]

This single volume was successful; and when Pope, to do justice to the
memory of Wycherley, which had been injured by a posthumous volume,
printed some of their letters, Curll, who seemed now to consider that
all he could touch was his own property, and that his little volume
might serve as a foundation-stone, immediately announced _a new
edition_ of it, with _Additions_, meaning to include the letters of
Pope and Wycherley. Curll now became so fond of _Pope's Letters_, that
he advertised for any: "no questions to be asked." Curll was willing
to be credulous: having proved to the world he had some originals, he
imagined these would sanction even spurious one. A man who, for a
particular purpose, sought to be imposed on, easily obtained his wish:
they translated letters of Voiture to Mademoiselle Rambouillet, and
despatched them to the eager Bibliopolist to print, as Pope's to Miss
Blount. He went on increasing his collection; and, skilful in catering
for the literary taste of the town, now inflamed their appetite by
dignifying it with "Mr. Pope's Literary Correspondence!"

But what were the feelings of Pope during these successive surreptitious
editions? He had discovered that his genuine letters were liked; the
grand experiment with the public had been made for him, while he was
deprived of the profits; yet for he himself to publish his own
letters, which I shall prove he had prepared, was a thing unheard of in
the nation. All this was vexatious; and to stop the book-jobber and open
the market for himself, was a point to be obtained.

While Curll was proceeding, wind and tide in his favour, a new and
magnificent prospect burst upon him. A certain person, masked by the
initials P. T., understanding Curll was preparing _a Life of Pope_,
offered him "divers Memoirs gratuitously;" hinted that he was well
known to Pope; but the poet had lately "treated him as a stranger."
P. T. desires an answer from E. C. by the _Daily Advertiser_, which
was complied with. There are passages in this letter which, I think,
prove Pope to be the projector of it: his family is here said to be
allied to Lord Downe's; his father is called a merchant. Pope could
not bear the reproach of Lady Mary's line:--

  Hard as thy heart, and as _thy birth obscure_.

He always hinted at noble relatives; but Tyers tells us, from the
information of a relative, that "his father turns out, at last, to
have been a linen-draper in the Strand:" therefore P. T. was at least
telling a story which Pope had no objection should be repeated.

The second letter of P. T., for the first was designed only to break
the ice, offers Curll "a large Collection of Letters from the early
days of Pope to the year 1727." He gives an excellent notion of their
value: "They will open very many scenes new to the world, and make the
most authentic Life and Memoirs that could be." He desires they may be
announced to the world immediately, in Curll's precious style, that he
"might not appear himself to have set the whole thing a-foot, and
afterwards he might plead he had only sent some letters to complete
the Collection." He asks nothing, and the originals were offered to be
deposited with Curll.

Curll, secure of this promised addition, but still craving for more
and more, composed a magnificent announcement, which, with P. T.'s
entire correspondence, he enclosed in a letter to Pope himself. The
letters were now declared to be a "Critical, Philological, and
Historical Correspondence."--His own letter is no bad specimen of his
keen sense; but after what had so often passed, his impudence was
equal to the better quality.

  "SIR,--To convince you of my readiness to oblige you, the inclosed
  is a demonstration. You have, as he says, disobliged a gentleman,
  the initial letters of whose name are P. T. I have some other
  papers in the same hand, relating to your _family_, which I will
  show, if you desire a sight of them. Your letters to Mr. Cromwell
  are out of print; and I intend to print them very beautifully, in
  an octavo volume. I have more to say than is proper to write; and
  if you will give me a meeting, I will wait on you with pleasure,
  and close all differences between you and yours,

    "E. CURLL."

Pope, surprised, as he pretends, at this address, consulted with his
friends; everything evil was suggested against Curll. They conceived
that his real design was "to get Pope to look over the former edition
of his 'Letters to Cromwell,' and then to print it, as _revised_ by
Mr. Pope; as he sent an _obscene book_ to a _Bishop_, and then
advertised it as _corrected_ and _revised_ by him;" or perhaps to
extort money from Pope for suppressing the MS. of P. T., and then
publish it, saying P. T. had kept another copy. Pope thought proper to
answer only by this public advertisement:--

"Whereas A. P. hath received a letter from E. C., bookseller,
pretending that a person, the initials of whose name are P. T., hath
offered the said E. C. to print a large Collection of Mr. P.'s
letters, to which E. C. required an answer: A. P. having never had,
nor intending to have, any private correspondence with the said E. C.,
gives it him in this manner. That he knows no such person as P. T.;
that he believes he hath no such collection; and that he thinks the
whole a forgery, and shall not trouble himself at all about it."

Curll replied, denying he had endeavoured to _correspond_ with Mr.
Pope, and affirms that he had written to him by _direction_.

It is now the plot thickens. P. T. suddenly takes umbrage, accuses
Curll of having "betrayed him to 'Squire Pope,' but you and he both
shall soon be convinced it was no forgery. Since you would not comply
with my proposal to advertise, I have printed them at my own expense."
He offers the books to Curll for sale.

Curll on this has written a letter, which takes a full view of the
entire transaction. He seems to have grown tired of what he calls
"such jealous, groundless, and dark negotiations." P. T. now found it
necessary to produce something more than a shadow--an agent appears,
whom Curll considered to be a clergyman, who assumed the name of R.
Smith. The first proposal was, that P. T.'s letters should be
returned, that he might feel secure from all possibility of detection;
so that P. T. terminates his part in this literary freemasonry as a

Here Johnson's account begins.--"Curll said, that one evening a man in
a clergyman's gown, but with a lawyer's band, brought and offered to
sale a number of printed volumes, which he found to be Pope's
Epistolary Correspondence; that he asked no name, and was told none,
but gave the price demanded, and thought himself authorised to use his
purchase to his own advantage." Smith, the clergyman, left him some
copies, and promised more.

Curll now, in all the elation of possession, rolled his thunder in an
advertisement still higher than ever.--"Mr. Pope's Literary
Correspondence regularly digested, from 1704 to 1734:" to lords,
earls, baronets, doctors, ladies, &c., with their respective answers,
and whose names glittered in the advertisement. The original MSS. were
also announced to be seen at his house.

But at this moment Curll had not received many books, and no MSS. The
advertisement produced the effect designed; it roused public notice,
and it alarmed several in the House of Lords. Pope doubtless
instigated his friends there. The Earl of Jersey moved, that to
publish letters of Lords was a breach of privilege; and Curll was
brought before the House.

This was an unexpected incident; and P. T. once more throws his dark
shadow across the path of Curll to hearten him, had he wanted courage
to face all the lords. P. T. writes to instruct him in his answers to
their examination; but to take the utmost care to conceal P. T.; he
assures him that the lords could not touch a hair of his head if he
behaved firmly; that he should only answer their interrogatories by
declaring he received the letters from different persons; that some
were given, and some were bought. P. T. reminds one, on this occasion,
of Junius's correspondence on a like threat with his publisher.

"Curll appeared at the bar," says Johnson, "and knowing himself in no
great danger, spoke of Pope with very little reverence. 'He has,' said
Curll, 'a knack at versifying; but in prose I think myself a match for
him.' When the Orders of the House were examined, none of them
appeared to have been infringed: Curll went away triumphant, and Pope
was left to seek some other remedy." The fact, not mentioned by
Johnson, is, that though Curll's flourishing advertisement had
announced _letters written by lords_, when the volumes were examined
not one written by a lord appeared.

The letter Curll wrote on the occasion to one of these dark familiars,
the pretended clergyman, marks his spirit and sagacity. It contains a
remarkable passage. Some readers will be curious to have the
productions of so celebrated a personage, who appears to have
exercised considerable talents.

  _15th May, 1735._

  "DEAR SIR,--I am just again going to the Lords to finish Pope. I
  desire you to send me the _sheets_ to _perfect_ the first fifty
  books, and likewise the _remaining three hundred books_; and pray
  be at the Standard Tavern this evening, and I will pay you twenty
  pounds more. My defence is right; I only told the lords I did not
  know from whence the books came, and that my wife received them.
  This was strict truth, and prevented all further inquiry. _The
  lords declared they had been made Pope's tools._ I put myself on
  this single point, and insisted, as there was not any Peer's
  letter in the book, I had not been guilty of any breach of
  privilege. I depend that the _books_ and the _imperfections_ will
  be sent; and believe of P. T. what I hope he believes of me.

  "For the Rev. Mr. SMITH."

The reader observes that Curll talks of a great number of _books not
received_, and of _the few_ which he has received, as _imperfect_. The
fact is, the whole bubble is on the point of breaking. He, masked in
the initial letters, and he, who wore the masquerade dress of a
clergyman's gown with a lawyer's band, suddenly picked a quarrel with
the duped bibliopolist: they now accuse him of a design he had of
betraying them to the Lords!

The tantalized and provoked Curll then addressed the following letter
to "The Rev. Mr. Smith," which, both as a specimen of this celebrated
personage's "prose," in which he thought himself "a match for Pope,"
and exhibiting some traits of his character, will entertain the
curious reader.

  _Friday, 16 May, 1735._

  "SIR,--1st, I am falsely accused. 2. I value not any man's change
  of temper; I will never change my VERACITY for falsehood, in
  owning a fact of which I am innocent. 3. I did not own the books
  came from _across the water_, nor ever _named you_; all I said
  was, that the books came _by water_. 4. When the books were
  seized, I sent my son to convey a letter to you; and as you told
  me everybody knew you in Southwark, I bid him make a strict
  inquiry, as I am sure you would have done in such an exigency. 5.
  Sir, _I have acted justly_ in this affair, and that is what I
  shall always think wisely. 6. I will be kept no longer in the
  dark; P. T. is _Will o' the Wisp_; all the books I have had are
  imperfect; the first fifty had no titles nor prefaces; the last
  five bundles seized by the Lords contained but thirty-eight in
  each bundle, which amounts to one hundred and ninety, and fifty,
  is in all but two hundred and forty books. 7. As to the loss of a
  future copy, I despise it, nor will I be concerned with any more
  such dark suspicious dealers. But now, sir, I'll tell you what I
  will do: when I have the _books perfected_ which I have already
  received, and _the rest of the impression_, I will pay you for
  them. But what do you call this usage? First take a note for a
  month, and then want it to be changed for one of Sir Richard
  Hoare's. My note is as good, for any sum I give it, as the Bank,
  and shall be as punctually paid. I always say, _gold is better
  than paper_. But if this dark converse goes on, I will instantly
  reprint the whole book; and, as a supplement to it, all the
  letters P. T. ever sent me, of which I have exact copies, together
  with all your originals, and give them in upon oath to my Lord
  Chancellor. You talk of _trust_--P. T. has not reposed any in me,
  for he has my money and notes for imperfect books. Let me see,
  sir, either P. T. or yourself, or you'll find the Scots proverb
  verified, _Nemo me impune lacessit_.

    "Your abused humble servant,
      "E. CURLL.

  "P.S. Lord ---- I attend this day. LORD DELAWAR I SUP WITH
  TO-NIGHT. Where _Pope_ has one lord, I have twenty."

After this, Curll announced "Mr. Pope's Literary Correspondence, with
the _initial correspondence_ of P. T., R. S. &c." But the shadowy
correspondents now publicly declared that they could give _no title_
whatever to Mr. Pope's letters, with which they had furnished CURLL,
and never pretended any; that therefore any bookseller had the same
right of printing them: and, in respect to money matters between them,
he had given them notes not negotiable, and had never paid them fully
for the copies, perfect and imperfect, which he had sold.

Thus terminated this dark transaction between Curll and his _initial_
correspondents. He still persisted in printing several editions of the
letters of Pope, which furnished the poet with a modest pretext to
publish an authentic edition--the very point to which the whole of
this dark and intricate plot seems to have been really directed.[211]

Were Pope not concerned in this mysterious transaction, how happened
it that the letters which P. T. actually printed were genuine? To
account for this, Pope promulgated a new fact. Since the first
publication of his letters to his friend Cromwell, wrenched from the
distressed female who possessed them, our poet had been advised to
collect his letters; and these he had preserved by inserting them in
two books; either the originals or the copies. For this purpose an
amanuensis or two were employed by Pope when these books were in the
country, and by the Earl of Oxford when they were in town. Pope
pretended that Curll's letters had been extracted from these two
books, but sometimes imperfectly transcribed, and sometimes
interpolated. Pope, indeed, offered a reward of twenty pounds to
"P. T." and "R. Smith, who passed for a clergyman," if they would come
forward and discover the whole of this affair; or "if they had acted,
as it was reported, by the _direction_ of any other person." They
never appeared. Lintot, the son of the great rival of Curll, told Dr.
Johnson, that his father had been offered the same parcel of printed
books, and that Pope knew better than anybody else how Curll obtained
the copies.

Dr. Johnson, although he appears not to have been aware of the subtle
intricacy of this extraordinary plot, has justly drawn this inference:
"To make the copies perfect was the only purpose of Pope, because the
numbers offered for sale by the private messengers, showed that hope
of gain could not have been the motive of the impression. It seems
that Pope, being desirous of printing his letters, and not knowing how
to do, without imputation of vanity, what has in this country been
done very rarely, contrived an appearance of compulsion; when he could
complain that his letters were surreptitiously printed, he might
decently and defensively publish them himself."

I have observed, how the first letter of P. T. pretending to be
written by one who owed no kindness to Pope, bears the evident
impression of his own hand; for it contains matters not exactly true,
but exactly what Pope wished should appear in his own life. That he
had prepared his letters for publication, appears by the story of the
two MS. books--that the printed ones came by water, would look as if
they had been sent from his house at Twickenham; and, were it not
absurd to pretend to decipher initials, P. T. might be imagined to
indicate the name of the owner, as well as his place of abode.

Worsdale, an indifferent painter, was a man of some humour in
personating a character, for he performed Old Lady Scandal in one of
his own farces. He was also a literary adventurer, for, according to
Mrs. Pilkington's Memoirs, wishing to be a poet as well as a mimic, he
got her and her husband to write all the verses which passed with his
name; such a man was well adapted to be this clergyman with the
lawyer's band, and Worsdale has asserted that he was really employed
by his friend Pope on this occasion.

Such is the intricate narrative of this involved transaction. Pope
completely succeeded, by the most subtile manœuvres imaginable; the
incident which perhaps was not originally expected, of having his
letters brought before the examination at the House of Lords, most
amply gratified his pride, and awakened public curiosity. "He made the
House of Lords," says Curll, "his tools." Greater ingenuity,
perplexity, and secrecy have scarcely been thrown into the conduct of
the writer, or writers, of the Letters of Junius.


  [208] Curll was a bookseller, from whose shop issued many works of an
        immoral class, yet he chose for his sign "The Bible and Dial,"
        which were displayed over his shop in Fleet-street. The satire
        of Pope's Dunciad seems fairly to have been earned, as we may
        judge from the class of books still seen in the libraries of
        curious collectors, and which are certainly unfitted for more
        general circulation. For these publications he was fined by
        the Court of King's Bench, and on one occasion stood in the
        pillory as a punishment. Yet himself and Lintot were the chief
        booksellers of the era, until Tonson arose, and by taking a
        more enlarged view of the trade, laid the foundation of the
        great publishing houses of modern times.--ED.

  [209] Cromwell was one of the gay young men who frequented
        coffee-houses and clubs when Pope, also a young man, did the
        same, and corresponded freely with him for a few years, when
        the intimacy almost entirely ceased. The lady was a Mrs.
        Thomas, who became a sort of literary hack to Curll, and is
        celebrated in the Dunciad under the name of Corinna. Roscoe,
        in his edition of Pope, says, "Of Henry Cromwell little is
        known, further than what is learnt from this correspondence,
        from which he appears to have been a man of respectable
        connections, talents, and education, and to have intermingled
        pretty freely in the gallantries of fashionable life." He
        seems to have been somewhat eccentric, and the correspondence
        of Pope only lasted from 1708 to 1711.--ED.

  [210] Pope, in his conversations with Spence, says, "My letters to
        Cromwell were written with a design that does not generally
        appear: they were not written in sober sadness."--ED.

  [211] Pope's victory over Curll is represented by Hogarth in a print
        ostentatiously hung in the garret of his "Distressed



  POPE attacked CIBBER from personal motives--by dethroning Theobald,
  in the _Dunciad_, to substitute CIBBER, he made the satire not
  apply--CIBBER'S facetious and serious remonstrance--CIBBER'S
  inimitable good-humour--an apology for what has been called his
  "effrontery"--perhaps a modest man, and undoubtedly a man of
  genius--his humorous defence of his deficiency in Tragedy, both
  in acting and writing--Pope more hurt at being exposed as a
  ridiculous lover than as a bad man--an account of "The Egotist, or
  Colley upon Cibber," a kind of supplement to the "Apology for his
  life," in which he has drawn his own character with great freedom
  and spirit.

Pope's quarrel with Cibber may serve to check the haughtiness of
genius; it is a remarkable instance how good-humour can gently draw a
boundary round the arbitrary power, whenever the wantonness of satire
would conceal calumny. But this quarrel will become even more
interesting, should it throw a new light on the character of one whose
originality of genius seems little suspected. Cibber showed a happy
address in a very critical situation, and obtained an honourable
triumph over the malice of a great genius, whom, while he complained
of he admired, and almost loved the cynic.

Pope, after several "flirts," as Cibber calls them, from slight
personal motives, which Cibber has fully opened,[212] at length from
"peevish weakness," as Lord Orford has happily expressed it, closed
his insults by dethroning Theobald, and substituting Cibber; but as he
would not lose what he had already written, this change disturbed the
whole decorum of the satiric fiction. Things of opposite natures,
joined into one, became the poetical chimera of Horace. The hero of
the _Dunciad_ is neither Theobald nor Cibber; Pope forced a dunce to
appear as Cibber; but this was not making Cibber a dunce. This error
in Pope emboldened Cibber in the contest, for he still insisted that
the satire did not apply to him;[213] and humorously compared the
libel "to a purge with a wrong label," and Pope "to an apothecary who
did not mind his business."[214]

Cibber triumphed in the arduous conflict--though sometimes he felt
that, like the Patriarch of old, he was wrestling, not with an
equal, but one of celestial race, "and the hollow of his thigh was
out of joint." Still, however, he triumphed, by that singular
felicity of character, that inimitable _gaieté de cœur_, that
honest simplicity of truth, from which flowed so warm an admiration
of the genius of his adversary; and that exquisite _tact_ in the
characters of men, which carried down this child of airy humour to
the verge of his ninetieth year, with all the enjoyments of strong
animal spirits, and all that innocent egotism which became frequently
a source of his own raillery.[215] He has applied to himself the
epithet "impenetrable," which was probably in the mind of Johnson when
he noticed his "impenetrable impudence." A critic has charged him with
"effrontery."[216] Critics are apt to admit too much of traditional
opinion into their own; it is necessary sometimes to correct the
knowledge we receive. For my part, I can almost believe that
Cibber was a _modest man_![217] as he was most certainly a man of
genius. Cibber had lived a dissipated life, and his philosophical
indifference, with his careless gaiety, was the breastplate which
even the wit of Pope failed to pierce. During twenty years'
persecution for his unlucky Odes, he never lost his temper; he
would read to his friends the best things pointed against them,
with all the spirit the authors could wish; and would himself
write epigrams for the pleasure of hearing them repeated while
sitting in coffee-houses; and whenever they were applauded as
"Palpable hits!"--"Keen!"--"Things with a spirit in them!"--he
enjoyed these attacks on himself by himself.[218] If this be vanity,
it is at least "_Cibberian_."

It was, indeed, the singularity of his personal character which so
long injured his genius, and laid him open to the perpetual attacks of
his contemporaries,[219] who were mean enough to ridicule undisguised
foibles, but dared not be just to the redeeming virtues of his genius.
Yet his genius far exceeded his literary frailties. He knew he was no
poet, yet he would string wretched rhymes, even when not salaried for
them; and once wrote an Essay on Cicero's character, for which his
dotage was scarcely an apology;--so much he preferred amusement to
prudence.[220] Another foible was to act tragedies with a squeaking
voice[221], and to write them with a genius about the same size for
the sublime; but the malice of his contemporaries seemed to forget
that he was creating new dramatic existences in the exquisite
personifications of his comic characters; and was producing some of
our standard comedies, composed with such real genius, that they still
support the reputation of the English stage.

In the "Apology for his Life," Cibber had shown himself a generous
and an ill-treated adversary, and at all times was prodigal of his
eulogiums, even after the death of Pope; but, when remonstrance and
good temper failed to sheathe with their oil the sharp sting of the
wasp, as his weakest talent was not the ludicrous, he resolved to
gain the laughers over, and threw Pope into a very ridiculous
attitude.[222] It was extorted from Cibber by this insulting line
of Pope's:--

  And has not Colley, too, his Lord and w--e?

It seems that Pope had once the same! But a ridiculous story, suited
to the taste of the loungers, nettled Pope more than the keener
remonstrances and the honest truths which Cibber has urged. Those who
write libels, invite imitation.

Besides the two letters addressed by Cibber to Pope, this quarrel
produced a moral trifle, or rather a philosophical curiosity,
respecting Cibber's own character, which is stamped with the full
impression of all its originality.

The title, so expressive of its design, and the whim and good-humour
of the work, which may be considered as a curious supplement to the
"Apology for his Life," could scarcely have been imagined, and most
certainly could not have been executed, but by the genius who dared
it. I give the title in the note.[223] It is a curious exemplification
of what Shaftesbury has so fancifully described as "self-inspection."
This little work is a conversation between "Mr. Frankly and his old
acquaintance, Colley Cibber." Cibber had the spirit of making this Mr.
Frankly speak the bitterest things against himself; and he must have
been an attentive reader of all the keenest reproaches his enemies
ever had thrown out. This caustic censor is not a man of straw, set
up to be easily knocked down. He has as much vivacity and wit as
Cibber himself, and not seldom has the better of the argument. But the
gravity and the levity blended in this little piece form admirable
contrasts: and Cibber, in this varied effusion, acquires all our
esteem for that open simplicity, that unalterable good-humour which
flowed from nature, and that fine spirit that touches everything with
life; yet, as he himself confesses, the main accusation of Mr.
Frankly, that "his philosophical air will come out at last mere vanity
in masquerade," may be true.

I will attempt to collect some specimens of this extraordinary
production, because they harmonise with the design of the present
work, and afford principles, in regard to preserving an equability of
temper, which may guide us in Literary Quarrels.

_Frankly_ observes, on Cibber's declaration that he is not uneasy at
Pope's satire, that "no blockhead is so dull as not to be sore when he
is called so; and (you'll excuse me) if that were to be your own case,
why should we believe you would not be as uneasy at it as another

_Author._ This is pushing me pretty home indeed; but I wont give out.
For as it is not at all inconceivable, that a blockhead of my size may
have a particular knack of doing some useful thing that might puzzle a
wiser man to be master of, will not that blockhead still have
something in him to be conceited of? If so, allow me but the vanity of
supposing I may have had some such possible knack, and you will not
wonder (though in many other points I may still be a blockhead) that I
may, notwithstanding, be contented with my condition.

_Frankly._ Is it not commendable, in a man of parts, to be warmly
concerned for his reputation?

_Author._ In what regards his honesty or honour, I will make some
allowance; but for the reputation of his parts, not one tittle.

_Frankly._ How! not to be concerned for what half the learned world
are in a continual war about.

_Author_. So are another half about religion; but neither Turk or
Pope, swords or anathemas, can alter truth! There it stands! always
visible to reason, self-defended and immovable! Whatever it _was_, or
_is_, it ever _will be_! As no attack can alter, so no defence can add
to its proportion.

_Frankly._ At this rate, you pronounce all controversies in wit to be
either needless or impertinent.

_Author._ When one in a hundred happens _not_ to be so, or to make
amends for being either by its pleasantry, we ought in justice to
allow it a great rarity. A reply to a just satire or criticism will
seldom be thought better of.

_Frankly._ May not a reply be a good one?

_Author._ Yes, but never absolutely necessary; for as your work (or
reputation) must have been good or bad, before it was censured, your
reply to that censure could not alter it: it would still be but what
it was. If it was good, the attack could not hurt it: if bad, the
reply could not mend it.[224]

_Frankly._ But slander is not always so impotent as you seem to
suppose it; men of the best sense may be misled by it, or, by their
not inquiring after truth, may never come at it; and the vulgar, as
they are less apt to be good than ill-natured, often mistake malice
for wit, and have an uncharitable joy in commending it. Now, when this
is the case, is not a tame silence, upon being satirically libelled,
as liable to be thought guilt or stupidity, as to be the result of
innocence or temper?--Self-defence is a very natural and just excuse
for a reply.

_Author._ Be it so! But still that does not always make it necessary;
for though slander, by their not weighing it, may pass upon some few
people of sense for truth, and might draw great numbers of the vulgar
into its party, the mischief can never be of long duration. _A
satirical slander, that has no truth to support it, is only a great
fish upon dry land: it may flounce and fling, and make a fretful
pother, but it wont bite you; you need not knock it on the head; it
will soon lie still, and die quietly of itself._

_Frankly._ The single-sheet critics will find you employment.

_Author._ Indeed they wont. I'm not so mad as to think myself a match
for the invulnerable.

_Frankly._ Have a care; there's Foulwit; though he can't feel, he can

_Author._ Ay, so will bugs and fleas; but that's only for sustenance:
everything must feed, you know; and your creeping critics are a sort
of vermin, that if they could come to a king, would not spare him;
yet, whenever they can persuade others to laugh at their jest upon me,
I will honestly make one of the number; but I must ask their pardon,
if that should be all the reply I can afford them."

This "boy of seventy odd," for such he was when he wrote "The
Egotist," unfolds his character by many lively personal touches. He
declares he could not have "given the world so finished a coxcomb as
Lord Foppington, if he had not found a good deal of the same stuff in
himself to make him with." He addresses "A Postscript, To those few
unfortunate Readers and Writers who may not have more sense than the
Author:" and he closes, in all the fulness of his spirit, with a piece
of consolation for those who are so cruelly attacked by superior

"Let us then, gentlemen, who have the misfortune to lie thus at the
mercy of those whose natural parts happen to be stronger than our
own--let us, I say, make the most of our sterility! Let us double and
treble the ranks of our thickness, that we may form an impregnable
phalanx, and stand every way in front to the enemy! or, would you
still be liable to less hazard, lay but yourselves down, as I do, flat
and quiet upon your faces, when Pride, Malice, Envy, Wit, or Prejudice
let fly their formidable shot at you, what odds is it they don't all
whistle over your head? Thus, too, though we may want the artillery of
missive wit to make reprisals, we may at least in security bid them
kiss the tails we have turned to them. Who knows but, by this our
supine, or rather prone serenity, their disappointed valour may become
their own vexation? Or let us yet, at worst, but solidly stand our
ground, like so many defensive stone-posts, and we may defy the
proudest Jehu of them all to drive over us. Thus, gentlemen, you see
that Insensibility is not without its comforts; and as I give you no
worse advice than I have taken myself, and found my account in, I hope
you will have the hardness to follow it, for your own good and the
glory of

  "Your impenetrable humble servant,
    "C. C."

After all, one may perceive, that though the good-humour of poor
Cibber was real, still the immortal satire of Pope had injured his
higher feelings. He betrays his secret grief at his close, while he
seems to be sporting with his pen; and though he appears to confide in
the falsity of the satire as his best chance for saving him from it,
still he feels that the caustic ink of such a satirist must blister
and spot wherever it falls. The anger of Warburton, and the sternness
of Johnson, who seem always to have considered an actor as an inferior
being among men of genius, have degraded Cibber. They never suspected
that "a blockhead of his size could do what wiser men could not," and,
as a fine comic genius, command a whole province in human nature.


  [212] Johnson says, that though "Pope attacked Cibber with acrimony,
        the provocation is not easily discoverable." But the
        statements of Cibber, which have never been contradicted,
        show sufficient motives to excite the poetic irascibility. It
        was Cibber's "fling" at the unowned and condemned comedy
        of the triumvirate of wits, Pope, Gay, and Arbuthnot,
        _Three Hours after Marriage_, when he performed Bayes in the
        _Rehearsal_, that incurred the immortal odium. There was no
        malice on Cibber's side; for it was then the custom to restore
        the zest of that obsolete dramatic satire, by introducing
        allusions to any recent theatrical event. The plot of this
        ridiculous comedy hinging on the deep contrivance of two
        lovers getting access to the wife of a virtuoso, "one
        curiously swathed up like an Egyptian mummy, and the other
        slily covered in the pasteboard skin of a crocodile," was an
        incident so _extremely natural_, that it seemed congenial
        with the high imagination and the deep plot of a Bayes!
        Poor Cibber, in the gaiety of his _impromptu_, made the
        "fling;" and, unluckily, it was applauded by the audience!
        The irascibility of Pope too strongly authenticated one of
        the three authors. "In the swelling of his heart, after the
        play was over, he came behind the scenes with his lips pale
        and his voice trembling, to call me to account for the insult;
        and accordingly fell upon me with all the foul language that
        a wit out of his senses would be capable of, choked with the
        foam of his passion." Cibber replied with dignity, insisted
        on the privilege of the character, and that he would repeat
        the same jest as long as the public approved of it. Pope
        would have certainly approved of Cibber's manly conduct,
        had he not been the author himself. To this circumstance may
        be added the reception which the town and the court bestowed
        on Cibber's "Nonjuror," a satire on the politics of the
        jacobite faction; Pope appears, under the assumed name of
        _Barnevelt_, to have published "an odd piece of wit,
        proving that the Nonjuror, in its design, its characters, and
        almost every scene of it, was a closely-couched jacobite
        libel against the Government." Cibber says that "this was so
        shrewdly maintained, that I almost liked the jest myself."
        Pope seems to have been fond of this new species of irony;
        for, in the Pastorals of Phillips, he showed the same sort of
        ingenuity, and he repeated the same charge of political
        mystery against his own finest poem; for he proved by many
        "merry inuendoes," that "The Rape of the Lock" was as
        audacious a libel as the pretended Barnevelt had made out the
        Nonjuror to be. See note, p. 280.

  [213] Cibber did not obtrude himself in this contest. Had he been
        merely a poor vain creature, he had not preserved so long
        a silence. His good-temper was without anger, but he
        remonstrates with no little dignity, when he chooses to be
        solemn; though to be playful was more natural to him. "If I
        have lain so long stoically silent, or unmindful of your
        satirical favours, it was not so much for want of a proper
        reply, as that I thought there never needed a public one;
        for all people of sense would know what truth or falsehood
        there was in what you said of me, without my wisely
        pointing it out to them. Nor did I choose to follow your
        example, of being so much a self-tormentor, as to be
        concerned at whatever opinion of me any published invective
        might infuse into people unknown to me. Even the malicious,
        though they may like the libel, don't always believe it."
        His reason for reply is, that his silence should not be
        farther reproached "as a plain confession of my being a
        bankrupt in wit, if I don't immediately answer those bills
        of discredit you have drawn upon me." There is no doubt that
        Cibber perpetually found instigators to encourage these
        attacks; and one forcible argument he says was, that "a
        disgrace, from such a pen, would stick upon me to posterity."
        He seems to be aware that his acquaintance cheer him to the
        lists "for their particular amusement."

  [214] "His edition of Shakspeare proved no better than a foil to set
        off the superiority of Theobald's; and Cibber bore away the
        palm from him in the drama. We have an account of two attempts
        of Pope's, one in each of the two principal branches of this
        species of poetry, and both unsuccessful. The fate of the
        comedy has been already mentioned (in page 300), and the
        tragedy was saved from the like fate by one not less
        ignominious, being condemned and burnt by his own hands. It
        was called _Cleone_, and formed upon the same story as a late
        one wrote and published by Mr. Dodsley with the same title in
        1759. See Dodsley's Preface."--_Biographia Britannica_, 1760.

  [215] Armstrong, who was a keen observer of man, has expressed his
        uncommon delight in the company of Cibber. "Beside his
        abilities as a writer (as a writer of comedies, Armstrong
        means), and the singular variety of his powers as an
        actor, he was to the last one of the most agreeable,
        cheerful, and best-humoured men you would ever wish to
        converse with."--Warton's _Pope_, vol. iv. 160.

        Cibber was one of those rare beings whose dispositions Hume
        describes "as preferable to an inheritance of 10,000_l._ a

  [216] Dr. Aikin, in his Biographical Dictionary, has thus written on
        Cibber: "It cannot be doubted, that, at the time, the contest
        was more painful to Pope than to Cibber. But Pope's satire is
        immortal, whereas Cibber's sarcasms are no longer read.
        _Cibber may therefore be represented to future times with less
        credit for abilities than he really deserves_; for he was
        certainly no dunce, though not, in the higher sense of the
        word, a man of genius. _His effrontery and vanity_ could not
        be easily overcharged, even by a foe. Indeed, they are
        striking features in the portrait drawn by himself." Dr.
        Aikin's political morality often vented its indignation at the
        successful injustice of great power! Why should not the same
        spirit conduct him in the Literary Republic? With the just
        sentiments he has given on Cibber, it was the duty of an
        intrepid critic to raise a moral feeling against the despotism
        of genius, and to have protested against the arbitrary power
        of Pope. It is participating in the injustice to pass it by,
        without even a regret at its effect.

        As for Cibber himself, he declares he was _not impudent_, and
        I am disposed to take his own word, for he _modestly_ asserts
        this, in a remark on Pope's expression,

          "'Cibberian forehead,'

        "by which I find you modestly mean _Cibberian impudence_, as a
        sample of the strongest.--Sir, your humble servant--but pray,
        sir, in your 'Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot' (where, by the way, in
        your ample description of a great Poet, you slily hook in a
        whole hat-full of virtues to your own character) have not you
        this particular line?

          'And thought a _Lie_, in verse or prose, the same--'"

        Cibber laments it is not so, for "any accusation in smooth
        verse will always sound well, though it is not tied down to
        have a tittle of truth in it, when the strongest defence in
        poor humble prose, not having that harmonious advantage, takes
        nobody by the ear--very hard upon an innocent man! For suppose
        in prose, now, I were as confidently to insist that you were
        an _honest_, _good-natured_, _inoffensive creature_, would my
        barely saying so be any proof of it? No sure. Why then, might
        it not be supposed an equal truth, that both our assertions
        were equally false? _Yours_, when you call me _impudent_;
        _mine_, when I call you _modest_, &c. While my superiors
        suffer me occasionally to sit down with them, I hope it will
        be thought that rather the _Papal_ than the _Cibberian_
        forehead ought to be out of countenance." I give this as a
        specimen of Cibber's serious reasonings--they are poor; and
        they had been so from a greater genius; for ridicule and
        satire, being only a mere abuse of eloquence, can never be
        effectually opposed by truisms. Satire must be repelled by
        satire; and Cibber's _sarcasms_ obtained what Cibber's
        _reasonings_ failed in.

  [217] Vain as Cibber has been called, and vain as he affects to be, he
        has spoken of his own merits as a comic writer,--and he was a
        very great one,--with a manly moderation, very surprising
        indeed in a vain man. Pope has sung in his _Dunciad_, most
        harmoniously inhuman,

          "How, with less reading than makes felons scape,
          Less human genius than God gives an ape,
          Small thanks to France, and none to Rome or Greece,
          A patch'd, vamp'd, future, old, revived new piece;
          'Twixt Plautus, Fletcher, Congreve, and Corneille,
          Can make a CIBBER, JOHNSON, and OZELL."

        Blasting as was this criticism, it could not raise the anger
        of the gay and careless Cibber. Yet what could have put it to
        a sharper test? Johnson and Ozell are names which have long
        disappeared from the dramatic annals, and could only have been
        coupled with Cibber to give an idea of what the satirist meant
        by "the human genius of an ape." But listen to the mild, yet
        the firm tone of Cibber--he talks like injured innocence, and
        he triumphs over Pope, in all the dignity of truth.--I appeal
        to Cibber's posterity!

        "And pray, sir, why my name under this scurvy picture? I
        flatter myself, that if you had not put it there, nobody else
        would have thought it like me; nor can I easily believe that
        you yourself do: but perhaps you imagined it would be a
        laughing ornament to your verse, and had a mind to divert
        other people's spleen with it as well as your own. Now let me
        hold up my head a little, and then we shall see how the
        features hit me." He proceeds to relate, how "many of those
        plays have lived the longer for my meddling with them." He
        mentions several, which "had been dead to the stage out of all
        memory, which have since been in a constant course of acting
        above these thirty or forty years." And then he adds: "Do
        those altered plays at all take from the merit of those _more
        successful pieces_, which were _entirely my own_?--When a man
        is abused, he has a right to speak even laudable truths of
        himself, to confront his slanderer. Let me therefore add, that
        my first Comedy of _The Fool in Fashion_ was as much (though
        not so valuable) an original, as any work Mr. Pope himself has
        produced. It is now forty-seven years since its first
        appearance on the stage, where it has kept its station, to
        this very day, without ever lying one winter dormant. Nine
        years after this, I brought on _The Careless Husband_, with
        still greater success; and was that too

          'A patch'd, vamp'd, future, old, revived new piece?'

        Let the many living spectators of these plays, then, judge
        between us, whether the above verses came from the honesty of
        a satirist, who would be thought, like you, the upright censor
        of mankind. Sir, this libel was below you! Satire, without
        truth, recoils upon its author, and must, at other times,
        render him suspected of prejudice, even where he may be just;
        as frauds, in religion, make more atheists than converts; and
        the bad heart, Mr. Pope, that points an injury with verse,
        makes it the more unpardonable, as it is not the result of
        sudden passion, but of an indulged and slowly-meditating
        ill-nature. What a merry mixed mortal has nature made you,
        that can debase that strength and excellence of genius to the
        lowest human weakness, that of offering unprovoked injuries,
        at the hazard of your being ridiculous too, when the venom you
        spit falls short of your aim!" I have quoted largely, to show
        that Cibber was capable of exerting a dignified remonstrance,
        as well as pointing the lightest, yet keenest, shafts of
        sarcastic wit.

  [218] Ayre's "Memoirs of Pope," vol. ii. p. 82.

  [219] Even the "Grub-street Journal" had its jest on his appointment
        to the laureateship. In No. 52 was the following epigram:--

          "Well, said Apollo, still 'tis mine
            To give the real laurel:
          For that my Pope, my son divine,
            Of rivals ends the quarrel.
          But guessing who would have the luck
            To be the birth-day fibber,
          I thought of Dennis, Tibbald, Duck,
            But never dreamt of Cibber!"--ED.

  [220] It may be reasonably doubted, however, if vanity had not
        something to do with this--the vanity of appearing as a
        philosophical writer, and astonishing the friends who had
        considered him only as a good comedian. The volume was
        magnificently printed in quarto on fine paper, "for the
        author," in 1747. It is entitled, "The Character and Conduct
        of Cicero Considered, from the History of his Life by the Rev.
        Dr. Middleton; with occasional Essays and Observations upon
        the most Memorable Facts and Persons during that Period." The
        entire work is a series of somewhat too-familiar notes on the
        various passages of "Cicero's Life and Times," as narrated by
        Middleton. He terms the unsettled state after the death of
        Sylla "an uncomfortable time for those sober citizens who had
        a mind and a right to be quiet." His professional character
        breaks forth when he speaks of Roscius instructing Cicero in
        acting; and in the very commencement of his grave labour he
        rambles back to the theatre to quote a scene from Vanbrugh's
        _Relapse_, as a proof how little fashionable readers _think_
        while they _read_. Colley's well-meaning but free-and-easy
        reflections on the gravities of Roman history, in the progress
        of his work, are remarkable, and have all the author's coarse
        common sense, but very little depth or refinement--ED.

  [221] With what good-humour he retorts a piece of sly malice of
        Pope's; who, in the notes to the _Dunciad_, after quoting
        Jacob's account of Cibber's talents, adds--"Mr. Jacob omitted
        to remark that he is particularly admirable in tragedy." To
        which Cibber rejoins--"Ay, sir, and your remark has omitted,
        too, that (with all his commendations) I can't dance upon the
        rope, or make a saddle, nor play upon the organ. My dear, dear
        Mr. Pope, how could a man of your stinging capacity let so
        tame, so low a reflection escape him? Why, this hardly rises
        above the petty malice of Miss Molly. 'Ay, ay, you may think
        my sister as handsome as you please, but if you were to see
        her legs!' If I have made so many crowded theatres laugh, and
        in the right place, too, for above forty years together, am I
        to make up the number of your dunces, because I have not the
        equal talent of making them cry too? Make it your own case. Is
        what you have excelled in at all the worse for your having so
        dismally dabbled in the farce of _Three Hours after Marriage_?
        What mighty reason will the world have to laugh at my weakness
        in tragedy, more than at yours in comedy?"

        I will preserve one anecdote of that felicity of temper--that
        undisturbed good-humour which never abandoned Cibber in his
        most distressful moments. When he brought out, in 1724, his
        _Cæsar in Egypt_, at a great expense, and "a beggarly account
        of empty boxes" was the result, it raised some altercations
        between the poet and his brother managers, the bard still
        struggling for another and another night. At length he closed
        the quarrel with a pun, which confessed the misfortune, with
        his own good-humour. In a periodical publication of the times
        I find the circumstance recorded in this neat epigram:--

             _On the Sixth Night of CIBBER'S "Cæsar in Egypt."_

          When the pack'd audience from their posts retired,
          And Julius in a general hiss expired;
          Sage Booth to Cibber cried, "Compute our gains!
          These dogs of Egypt, and their dowdy queans,
          But ill requite these habits and these scenes,
          To rob Corneille for such a motley piece:
          His geese were swans; but zounds! thy swans are geese!"
          Rubbing his firm invulnerable brow,
          The bard replied--"The critics must allow
          'Twas ne'er in _Cæsar's destiny_ TO RUN!"
          Wilks bow'd, and bless'd the gay pacific pun.

  [222] A wicked wag of a lord had enticed Pope into a tavern, and laid
        a love-plot against his health. Cibber describes his resolute
        interference by snatching "our little Homer by the heels. This
        was done for the honour of our nation. Homer would have been
        too serious a sacrifice to our evening's amusement." He has
        metamorphosed our Apollo into a "Tom-tit;" but the Ovidian
        warmth, however ludicrous, will not _now_ admit of a
        narrative. This story, by our comic writer, was accompanied by
        a print, that was seen by more persons, probably, than read
        the _Dunciad_. In his second letter, Cibber, alluding to the
        vexation of Pope on this ridiculous story, observes--"To have
        been exposed as _a bad man_, ought to have given thee thrice
        the concern of being shown a _ridiculous lover_." And now that
        he had discovered that he could touch the nerves of Pope, he
        throws out one of the most ludicrous analogies to the figure
        of our bard:--"When crawling in thy dangerous deed of
        darkness, I gently, with a finger and a thumb, picked off thy
        small round body by thy long legs, like a spider making love
        in a cobweb."

  [223] "The EGOTIST, or Colley upon Cibber; being his own picture
        retouched to so _plain_ a likeness that no one _now_ would
        have the face to own it BUT HIMSELF.

          'But one stroke more, and that shall be my last.'

          _London_, 1743.

  [224] How many good authors might pursue their studies in quiet, would
        they never reply to their critics but on matters of fact, in
        which their honour may be involved. I have seen very
        tremendous criticisms on some works of real genius, like
        serpents on marble columns, wind and dart about, and spit
        their froth, but they die away on the pillars that enabled
        them to erect their malignant forms to the public eye. They
        fall in due time; and weak must be the substance of that
        pillar which does not stand, and look as beautiful, when the
        serpents have crawled over it, as before. Dr. Brown, in his
        "Letter to Bishop Lowth," has laid down an axiom in literary
        criticism:--"_A mere literary attack_, however well or
        ill-founded, would not easily have drawn me into a _public
        expostulation_; for every man's true literary character is
        best seen in his own writings. Critics may rail, disguise,
        insinuate, or pervert; yet still the object of their censures
        lies equally open to all the world. Thus the world becomes a
        competent judge of the merits of the work animadverted on.
        Hence, the mere _author_ hath a fair chance for a fair
        decision, at least among the judicious; and it is of no mighty
        consequence what opinions the _injudicious_ form concerning
        mental abilities. For this reason, I have never replied to any
        of those numerous critics who have on different occasions
        honoured me with their regard."


  The quarrel between POPE and ADDISON originated in one of the
  infirmities of genius--a subject of inquiry even after their
  death, by Sir WILLIAM BLACKSTONE--POPE courts ADDISON--suspects
  ADDISON of jealousy--ADDISON'S foible to be considered a great
  poet--interview between the rivals, of which the result was the
  portrait of ATTICUS, for which ADDISON was made to sit.

Among the Literary Quarrels of POPE one acquires dignity and interest
from the characters of both parties. It closed by producing the
severest, but the most masterly portrait of one man of genius,
composed by another, which has ever been hung on the satiric Parnassus
for the contemplation of ages. ADDISON must descend to posterity with
the dark spots of ATTICUS staining a purity of character which had
nearly proved immaculate.

The friendship between Pope and Addison was interrupted by one of
the infirmities of genius. Tempers of watchful delicacy gather up in
silence and darkness motives so shadowy in their origin, and of such
minute growth, that, never breaking out into any open act, they
escape all other eyes but those of the parties themselves. These
causes of enmity are too subtle to bear the touch; they cannot be
inquired after, nor can they be described; and it may be said that
the minds of such men have rather quarrelled than they themselves:
they utter no complaints, but they avoid each other. All the world
perceived that two authors of the finest genius had separated from
motives on which both were silent, but which had evidently operated
with equal force on both. Their admirers were very general, and at a
time when literature divided with politics the public interest, the
best feelings of the nation were engaged in tracking the obscure
commencements and the secret growth of this literary quarrel, in which
the amiable and moral qualities of Addison, and the gratitude and
honour of Pope, were equally involved. The friends of either party
pretended that their chiefs entertained a reciprocal regard for each
other, while the illustrious characters themselves were living in
a state of hostility. Even long after these literary heroes were
departed, the same interest was general among the lovers of
literature; but those obscure motives which had only influenced
two minds--those imperceptible events, which are only events as
they are watched by the jealousy of genius--eluded the most anxious
investigation. Yet so lasting and so powerful was the interest
excited by this literary quarrel, that, within a few years, the
elegant mind of Sir WILLIAM BLACKSTONE withdrew from the severity of
profounder studies to inquire into the causes of a quarrel which was
still exciting the most opposite opinions. Blackstone has judged
and summed up; but though he evidently inclines to favour Addison, by
throwing into the balance some explanation for the silence of
Addison against the audible complaints of Pope; though sometimes he
pleads as well as judges, and infers as well as proves; yet even
Blackstone has not taken on himself to deliver a decision. His happy
genius has only honoured literary history by the masterly force and
luminous arrangement of investigation, to which, since the time of
Bayle, it has been too great a stranger.[225]

At this day, removed from all personal influence and affections, and
furnished with facts which contemporaries could not command, we take
no other concern in this literary quarrel but as far as curiosity and
truth delight us in the study of human nature. We are now of no
party--we are only historians!

Pope was a young writer when introduced to Addison by the intervention
of that generously-minded friend of both, Steele. Addison eulogised
Pope's "Essay on Criticism;" and this fine genius covering with his
wing an unfledged bardling, conferred a favour which, in the
estimation of a poet, claims a life of indelible gratitude.

Pope zealously courted Addison by his poetical aid on several
important occasions; he gave all the dignity that fine poetry could
confer on the science of medals, which Addison had written on, and
wrote the finest prologue in the language for the Whig tragedy of his
friend. Dennis attacked, and Pope defended _Cato_[226]. Addison might
have disapproved both of the manner and the matter of the defence; but
he did more--he insulted Pope by a letter to Dennis, which Dennis
eagerly published as Pope's severest condemnation. An alienation of
friendship must have already taken place, but by no overt act on
Pope's side.

Not that, however, Pope had not found his affections weakened: the
dark hints scattered in his letters show that something was gathering
in his mind. Warburton, from his familiar intercourse with Pope, must
be allowed to have known his literary concerns more than any one; and
when he drew up the narrative,[227] seems to me to have stated
uncouthly, but expressively, the progressive state of Pope's feelings.
According to that narrative, Pope "reflected," that after he had first
published "The Rape of the Lock," then nothing more than a hasty _jeu
d'esprit_, when he communicated to Addison his very original project
of the whole sylphid machinery, Addison chilled the ardent bard with
his coldness, advised him against any alteration, and to leave it as
"a delicious little thing, _merum sal_." It was then, says Warburton,
"Mr. Pope began to _open his eyes_ to Addison's character." But when
afterwards he discovered that Tickell's Homer was opposed to his, and
judged, as Warburton says, "by _laying many odd circumstances_
together," that Addison,[228] and not Tickell, was the author--the
alienation on Pope's side was complete. No open breach indeed had yet
taken place between the rival authors, who, as jealous of dominion as
two princes, would still demonstrate, in their public edicts, their
inviolable regard; while they were only watching the advantageous
moment when they might take arms against each other.

Still Addison publicly bestowed great encomiums on Pope's _Iliad_,
although he had himself composed the rival version, and in private
preferred his own.[229] He did this with the same ease he had
continued its encouragement while Pope was employed on it. We are
astonished to discover such deep politics among literary Machiavels!
Addison had certainly raised up a literary party. Sheridan, who wrote
nearly with the knowledge of a contemporary, in his "Life of Swift,"
would naturally use the language and the feelings of the time; and in
describing Ambrose Phillips, he adds, he was "one of Mr. Addison's
little senate."

But in this narrative I have dropt some material parts. Pope believed
that Addison had employed Gildon to write against him, and had
encouraged Phillips to asperse his character.[230] We cannot, now,
quite demonstrate these alleged facts; but we can show that Pope
believed them, and that Addison does not appear to have refuted
them.[231] Such tales, whether entirely false or partially true, may
be considered in this inquiry of little amount. The greater events
must regulate the lesser ones.[232]

Was Addison, then, jealous of Pope? Addison, in every respect, then,
his superior; of established literary fame when Pope was yet young;
preceding him in age and rank; and fortunate in all the views of human
ambition. But what if Addison's foible was that of being considered a
great poet? His political poetry had raised him to an undue elevation,
and the growing celebrity of Pope began to offend him, not with the
appearance of a meek rival, with whom he might have held divided
empire, but as a master-spirit, that was preparing to reign alone. It
is certain that Addison was the most feeling man alive at the fate of
his poetry. At the representation of his _Cato_, such was his
agitation, that had _Cato_ been condemned, the life of Addison might,
too, have been shortened. When a wit had burlesqued some lines of this
dramatic poem, his uneasiness at the innocent banter was equally
oppressive; nor could he rest, till, by the interposition of a friend,
he prevailed upon the author to burn them.[233]

To the facts already detailed, and to this disposition in Addison's
temper, and to the quick and active suspicions of Pope, irritable, and
ambitious of all the sovereignty of poetry, we may easily conceive
many others of those obscure motives, and invisible events, which none
but Pope, alienated every day more and more from his affections for
Addison, too acutely perceived, too profoundly felt, and too
unmercifully avenged. These are alluded to when the satirist sings--

  Damn with faint praise; assent with civil leer;
  And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
  Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike;
  Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike, &c.

Accusations crowded faster than the pen could write them down. Pope
never composed with more warmth. No one can imagine that Atticus was
an ideal personage, touched as it is with all the features of an
extraordinary individual. In a word, it was recognised instantly by
the individual himself; and it was suppressed by Pope for near twenty
years, before he suffered it to escape to the public.

It was some time during their avowed rupture, for the exact period has
not been given, that their friends promoted a meeting between these
two great men. After a mutual lustration, it was imagined they might
have expiated their error, and have been restored to their original
purity. The interview did take place between the rival wits, and was
productive of some very characteristic ebullitions, strongly
corroborative of the facts as they have been stated here. This
extraordinary interview has been frequently alluded to. There can be
no doubt of the genuineness of the narrative but I know not on what
authority it came into the world.[234]

The interview between Addison and Pope took place in the presence of
Steele and Gay. They met with cold civility. Addison's reserve wore
away, as was usual with him, when wine and conversation imparted some
warmth to his native phlegm. At a moment the generous Steele deemed
auspicious, he requested Addison would perform his promise in renewing
his friendship with Pope. Pope expressed his desire: he said he was
willing to hear his faults, and preferred candour and severity rather
than forms of complaisance; but he spoke in a manner as conceiving
Addison, and not himself, had been the aggressor. So much like their
humblest inferiors do great men act under the influence of common
passions: Addison was overcome with anger, which cost him an effort to
suppress; but, in the formal speech he made, he reproached Pope with
indulging a vanity that far exceeded his merit; that he had not yet
attained to the excellence he imagined; and observed, that his verses
had a different air when Steele and himself corrected them; and, on
this occasion, reminded Pope of a particular line which Steele had
improved in the "Messiah."[235] Addison seems at that moment to have
forgotten that he had trusted, for the last line of his own dramatic
poem, rather to the inspiration of the poet he was so contemptuously
lecturing than to his own.[236] He proceeded with detailing all the
abuse the herd of scribblers had heaped on Pope; and by declaring that
his Homer was "an ill-executed thing," and Tickell's had all the
spirit. We are told, he concluded "in a low hollow voice of feigned
temper," in which he asserted that he had ceased to be solicitous
about his own poetical reputation since he had entered into more
public affairs; but, from friendship for Pope, desired him to be more
humble, if he wished to appear a better man to the world.

When Addison had quite finished schooling his little rebel, Gay, mild
and timid (for it seems, with all his love for Pope, his expectations
from the court, from Addison's side, had tethered his gentle heart),
attempted to say something. But Pope, in a tone far more spirited than
all of them, without reserve told Addison that he appealed from his
judgment, and did not esteem him able to correct his verses; upbraided
him as a pensioner from early youth, directing the learning which had
been obtained by the public money to his own selfish desire of power,
and that he "had always endeavoured to cut down new-fledged merit."
The conversation now became a contest, and was broken up without
ceremony. Such was the notable interview between two rival wits, which
only ended in strengthening their literary quarrel; and sent back the
enraged satirist to his inkstand, where he composed a portrait, for
which Addison was made to sit, with the fine _chiar' oscuro_ of
Horace, and with as awful and vindictive features as the sombre hand
of Juvenal could have designed.


  [225] Sir William Blackstone's Discussion on the Quarrel between
        Addison and Pope was communicated by Dr. Kippis in his
        "Biographia Britannica," vol. i. p. 56. Blackstone is there
        designated as "a gentleman of considerable rank, to whom the
        public is obliged for works of much higher importance."

  [226] Dennis asserts in one of his pamphlets that Pope, fermenting
        with envy at the success of Addison's _Cato_, went to Lintot,
        and persuaded him to engage this redoubted critic to write the
        remarks on _Cato_--that Pope's gratitude to Dennis for having
        complied with his request was the well-known narrative of
        Dennis "being placed as a lunatic in the hands of Dr. Norris,
        a curer of mad people, at his house in Hatton-garden, though
        at the same time I appeared publicly every day, both in the
        park and in the town." Can we suppose that Dennis tells a
        falsehood respecting Pope's desiring Lintot to engage Dennis
        to write down _Cato_? If true, did Pope wish to see Addison
        degraded, and at the same time take an opportunity of
        ridiculing the critic, without, however, answering his
        arguments? The secret history of literature is like that of

        [Dennis took a strong dislike to Addison's _Cato_, and his
        style of criticism is thus alluded to in the humorous account
        of his frenzy written by Pope: "On all sides of his room were
        pinned a great many sheets of a tragedy called _Cato_, with
        notes on the margin by his own hand. The words _absurd_,
        _monstrous_, _execrable_, were everywhere written in such
        large characters, that I could read them without my
        spectacles." Warton says that "Addison highly disapproved of
        this bitter satire on Dennis, and Pope was not a little
        chagrined at this disapprobation; for the narrative was
        intended to court the favour of Addison, by defending his
        _Cato_: in which seeming defence Addison was far from thinking
        our author sincere."]

  [227] In the notes to the Prologue to the Satires.

  [228] Pope's conjecture was perfectly correct. Dr. Warton confirms it
        from a variety of indisputable authorities.--Warton's "Pope,"
        vol. iv. p. 34.

  [229] In the "Freeholder," May, 1716.

  [230] Pope himself thus related the matter to Spence: "Phillips seemed
        to have been encouraged to abuse me in coffee-houses and
        conversations; and Gildon wrote a thing about Wycherly, in
        which he had abused both me and my relations very grossly.
        Lord Warwick himself told me one day that it was in vain for
        me to endeavour to be well with Mr. Addison; that his jealous
        temper would never admit of a settled friendship between us,
        and to convince me of what he had said, assured me that
        Addison had encouraged Gildon to publish those scandals, and
        had given him ten guineas after they were published."--ED.

  [231] The strongest parts of Sir William Blackstone's discussion turn
        on certain inaccurate dates of Ruffhead, in his statements,
        which show them to be inconsistent with the times when they
        are alleged to have happened. These erroneous dates had been
        detected in an able article in the Monthly Review on that
        work, April, 1769. Ruffhead is a tasteless, confused, and
        unskilful writer--Sir William has laid great stress on the
        incredible story of Addison paying Gildon to write against
        Pope, "a man so amiable in his moral character." It is
        possible that the Earl of Warwick, who conveyed the
        information, might have been a malicious, lying youth; but
        then Pope had some knowledge of mankind--he believed the
        story, for he wrote instantly, with honest though heated
        feelings, to Addison, and sent him, at that moment, the first
        sketch of the character of Atticus. Addison used him very
        civilly ever after--but it does not appear that Addison ever
        contradicted the tale of the officious Earl. All these facts,
        which Pope repeated many years after to Spence, Sir William
        was not acquainted with, for they were transcribed from
        Spence's papers by Johnson, after Blackstone had written.
        [This is fully in accordance with his previous conduct, as he
        described it to Spence; on the first notification of the Earl
        of Warwick's news, "the next day when I was heated with what I
        had heard, I wrote a letter to Mr. Addison, to let him know
        that I was not unacquainted with this behaviour of his; that
        if I was to speak severely of him, in return for it, it should
        not be in such a dirty way; and that I should rather tell
        himself freely of his faults, and allow his good qualities;
        and that it should be something in the following manner: I
        then adjoined the first sketch of what has since been called
        my Satire on Addison. Mr. Addison used me very civilly ever
        after, and never did me any injustice that I know of from that
        time to his death, which was about three years after."]

  [232] That Addison did occasionally divert Pope's friends from him,
        appears from the advice which Lady Mary Wortley Montague says
        he gave to her--"Leave him as soon as you can, he will
        certainly play you some devilish trick else: he has an
        appetite to satire." Malone thinks this may have been said
        under the irritation produced by the verses on Addison, which
        Pope sent to him, as described above. Pope's love of satire,
        and unflinching use of it, was as conspicuous as Addison's
        nervous dislike to it.--ED.

  [233] From Lord Egmont's MS. Collections.--See the "Addenda Kippis's
        Biographia Britannica."

  [234] The earliest and most particular narrative of this remarkable
        interview I have hitherto only traced to "Memoirs of the
        Life and Writings of A. Pope, Esq., by William Ayre, Esq.,"
        1745, vol. i. p. 100. This work comes in a very suspicious
        form; it is a huddled compilation, yet contains some
        curious matters; and pretends, in the title-page, to be
        occasionally drawn from "original MSS. and the testimonies
        of persons of honour." He declares, in the preface, that he
        and his friends "had means and some helps which were never
        public." He sometimes appeals to several noble friends of
        Pope as his authorities. But the mode of its publication,
        and that of its execution, are not in its favour. These
        volumes were written within six months of the decease of
        our poet; have no publisher's name; and yet the author,
        whoever he was, took out "a patent, under his majesty's royal
        signet," for securing the copyright. This Ayre is so
        obscure an author, though a translator of Tasso's "Aminta,"
        that he seems to have escaped even the minor chronicles of
        literature. At the time of its publication there appeared
        "Remarks on Squire Ayre's Memoirs of Pope." The writer
        pretends he has discovered him to be only one of the
        renowned Edmund Curll's "squires," who, about that time, had
        created an order of literary squires, ready to tramp at
        the funeral of every great personage with his life. The
        "Remarker" then addresses Curll, and insinuates he speaks
        from personal knowledge of the man:--"You have an adversaria
        of title-pages of your own contrivance, and which your authors
        are to write books to. Among what you call _the occasional,
        or black list_, I have seen Memoirs of Dean Swift, Pope,
        &c." Curll, indeed, was then sending forth many pseudo
        squires, with lives of "Congreve," "Mrs. Oldfield," &c.; all
        which contained some curious particulars, picked up in
        coffee-houses, conversations, or pamphlets of the day. This
        William Ayre I accept as "a squire of low degree," but a real
        personage. As for this interview, Ayre was certainly
        incompetent to the invention of a single stroke of the
        conversations detailed: where he obtained all these
        interesting particulars, I have not discovered. Johnson
        alludes to this interview, states some of its results, but
        refers to no other authority than floating rumours.

  [235] The line stood originally, and nearly literally copied from

          "He wipes the tears for ever from our eyes;"

        which Steele retouched, as it now stands--

          "From every face he wipes off every tear."

        Dr. Warton prefers the rejected verse. The latter, he thinks,
        has too much of modern quaintness. The difficulty of choice
        lies between that naked simplicity which scarcely affects, and
        those strokes of art which are too apparent.

  [236] The last line of Addison's tragedy read originally--

          "And oh! 'twas this that ended Cato's life."

        A very weak line, which was altered at the suggestion of Pope
        as it stands at present:--

          "And robs the guilty world of Cato's life."--ED.


  Lord BOLINGBROKE affects violent resentment for Pope's pretended
  breach of confidence in having printed his "Patriot King"--WARBURTON'S
  apology for POPE'S disinterested intentions--BOLINGBROKE instigates
  MALLET to libel POPE, after the poet's death--The real motive for
  libelling POPE was BOLINGBROKE'S personal hatred of WARBURTON, for the
  ascendancy the latter had obtained over the poet--Some account of
  their rival conflicts--BOLINGBROKE had unsettled POPE'S religious
  opinions, and WARBURTON had confirmed his faith--POPE, however,
  refuses to abjure the Catholic religion--Anecdote of POPE'S anxiety
  respecting a future state--MALLET'S intercourse with POPE: anecdote of
  "The Apollo Vision," where MALLET mistook a sarcasm for a
  compliment--MALLET'S character--Why LEONIDAS GLOVER declined writing
  the Life of Marlborough--BOLINGBROKE'S character hit off--WARBURTON,
  the concealed object of this posthumous quarrel with POPE.

On the death of POPE, 1500 copies of one of Lord BOLINGBROKE'S works,
"The Patriot King," were discovered to have been secretly printed by
Pope, but never published. The honest printer presented the whole to
his lordship, who burned the edition in his gardens at Battersea. The
MS. had been delivered to our poet by his lordship, with a request to
print a few copies for its better preservation, and for the use of a
few friends.

Bolingbroke affected to feel the most lively resentment for what he
chose to stigmatise as "a breach of confidence." "His thirst of
vengeance," said Johnson, "incited him to blast the memory of the man
over whom he had wept in his last struggles; and he employed Mallet,
another friend of Pope, to tell the tale to the public with all its
aggravations. Warburton, whose heart was warm with his legacy, and
tender by the recent separation," apologised for Pope. The irregular
conduct which Bolingbroke stigmatised as a breach of trust, was
attributed to a desire of perpetuating the work of his friend, who
might have capriciously destroyed it. Our poet could have no selfish
motive; he could not gratify his vanity by publishing the work as his
own, nor his avarice by its sale, which could never have taken place
till the death of its author; a circumstance not likely to occur
during Pope's lifetime.[237]

The vindictive rage of Bolingbroke; the bitter invective he permitted
MALLET to publish, as the editor of his works; and the two anonymous
pamphlets of the latter, which I have noticed in the article of
WARBURTON; are effects much too disproportionate to the cause which is
usually assigned. JOHNSON does not develope the secret motives of what
he has energetically termed "Bolingbroke's thirst of vengeance." He
and Mallet carried their secret revenge beyond all bounds: the lordly
stoic and the irritated bardling, under the cloak of anonymous
calumny, have but ill-concealed the malignity of their passions. Let
anonymous calumniators recollect, in the midst of their dark work,
that if they escape the detection of their contemporaries, their
reputation, if they have any to lose, will not probably elude the
researches of the historian;--a fatal witness against them at the
tribunal of posterity.

The preface of Mallet to the "Patriot King" of Bolingbroke, produced a
literary quarrel; and more pamphlets than perhaps I have discovered
were published on this occasion.

Every lover of literature was indignant to observe that the vain and
petulant Mallet, under the protection of Pope's

  Guide, philosopher, and friend!

should have been permitted to have aspersed Pope with the most
degrading language. Pope is here always designated as "This Man." Thus
"_This Man_ was no sooner dead than Lord Bolingbroke received
information that an entire edition of 1500 copies of these papers had
been printed; that this very _Man_ had corrected the press, &c." Could
one imagine that this was the Tully of England, describing our Virgil?
For Mallet was but the mouthpiece of Bolingbroke.

After a careful detection of many facts concerning the parties now
before us, I must attribute the concealed motive of this outrage
on Pope to the election the dying poet made of Warburton as his
editor. A mortal hatred raged between Bolingbroke and Warburton. The
philosophical lord had seen the mighty theologian ravish the prey
from his grasp. Although Pope held in idolatrous veneration the
genius of Bolingbroke, yet had this literary superstition been
gradually enlightened by the energy of Warburton. They were his good
and his evil genii in a dreadful conflict, wrestling to obtain the
entire possession of the soul of the mortal. Bolingbroke and
Warburton one day disputed before Pope, and parted never to meet
again. The will of Pope bears the trace of his divided feelings: he
left his MSS. to Bolingbroke as his executor, but his works to
Warburton as his editor. The secret history of Bolingbroke and
Warburton with Pope is little known: the note will supply it.[238]

But how did the puny Mallet stand connected with these great men? By
the pamphlets published during this literary quarrel he appears to
have enjoyed a more intimate intercourse with them than is known. In
one of them he is characterised "as a fellow who, while Mr. Pope
lived, was as diligent in licking his feet, as he is now in licking
your lordship's; and who, for the sake of giving himself an air of
importance, in being joined with you, and for the vanity of saying
'the Author and I,'--'the Editor and me,'--has sacrificed all his
pretensions to friendship, honour, and humanity."[239] An anecdote in
this pamphlet assigns a sufficient motive to excite some wrath in a
much less irritable animal than the self-important editor of
Bolingbroke's Works. The anecdote may be distinguished as


"The editor (Mallet) being in company with the person to whom Mr. Pope
has consigned the care of his works (Warburton), and who, he thought,
had some intention of writing Mr. Pope's life, told him he had an
anecdote, which he believed nobody knew but himself. I was sitting one
day (said he) with Mr. Pope, in his last illness, who coming suddenly
out of a reverie, which you know he frequently fell into at that time,
and fixing his eyes steadfastly upon me; 'Mr. M. (said he), I have had
an odd kind of vision. Methought I saw my own head open, and Apollo
came out of it; I then saw your head open, and Apollo went into it;
after which our heads closed up again.' The gentleman (Warburton)
could not help smiling at his vanity; and with some humour replied,
'Why, sir, if I had an intention of writing _your_ life, this might
perhaps be a proper anecdote; but I don't see, that in Mr. Pope's it
will be of any consequence at all.'" P. 14.

This exhibits a curious instance of an author's egotism, or rather of
Mallet's conceit, contriving, by some means, to have his name slide
into the projected Life of Pope by Warburton, who appears, however,
always to have treated him with the contempt Pope himself evidently
did.[240] What opinion could the poet have entertained of the taste
of that weak and vain critic, who, when Pope published anonymously
"The Essay on Man," being asked if anything new had appeared, replied
that he had looked over a thing called an "Essay on Man," but,
discovering the utter want of skill and knowledge in the author, had
thrown it aside. Pope mortified him by confiding to him the secret.

"The Apollo Vision" was a stinging anecdote, and it came from
Warburton either directly or indirectly. This was followed up by
"A Letter to the Editor of the Letters on the Spirit of Patriotism,
the Idea of a Patriot King," &c., a dignified remonstrance of
Warburton himself; but "The Impostor Detected and Convicted, or the
Principles and Practices of the Author of the Spirit of Patriotism
(Lord Bolingbroke) set forth in a clear light, in a Letter to a
Member of Parliament in Town, from his Friend in the Country, 1749,"
is a remarkable production. Lord Bolingbroke is the impostor and
the concealed Jacobite. Time, the ablest critic on these party
productions, has verified the predictions of this seer. We discover
here, too, a literary fact, which is necessary to complete our
present history. It seems that there were omissions and corrections
in the edition Pope printed of "The Patriot King," which his caution
or his moderation prompted, and which such a political demagogue as
Bolingbroke never forgave. They are thus alluded to: "Lord B. may
remember" (from a conversation held, at which the writer appears
to have been present), "that a difference in opinion prevailed, and
a few points were urged by that gentleman (Pope) in opposition to some
particular tenets which related to the limitation of the English
monarchy, and to the ideal doctrine of a patriot king. These were Mr.
P.'s reasons for the emendations he made; and which, together with
the consideration that both their lives were at that time in a
declining state, was the true cause, and no other, of his care to
preserve those letters, by handing them to the press, with the
precaution mentioned by the author." Indeed the cry raised against
the _dead man_ by Bolingbroke and Mallet, was an artificial one:
that it should ever have tainted the honour of the bard, or that it
should ever have been excited by his "Philosopher and Friend," are
equally strange; it is possible that the malice of Mallet was more at
work than that of Bolingbroke, who suffered himself to be the dupe
of a man held in contempt by Pope, by Warburton, and by others. But
the pamphlet I have just noticed might have enraged Bolingbroke,
because his true character is ably drawn in it. The writer says that
"a person in an eminent station of life abroad, when Lord B----
was at Paris to transact a certain affair, said, _C'est certainement
un homme d'esprit, mais un coquin sans probité_." This was a very
disagreeable truth!

In one of these pamphlets, too, Bolingbroke was mortified at his
dignity being lessened by the writer, in comparing his lordship with
their late friend Pope.--"I venture to foretell, that the name of Mr.
Pope, in spite of your unmanly endeavours, shall revive and blossom in
the dust, from his own merits; and presume to remind you, that
_yours_, had it not been for _his_ genius, _his_ friendship, _his_
idolatrous veneration for _you_, might, in a short course of years,
have died and been forgotten." Whatever the degree of genius
Bolingbroke may claim, doubtless the verse of Pope has embalmed his
fame. I have never been able to discover the authors of these
pamphlets, who all appear of the first rank, and who seem to have
written under the eye of Warburton. The awful and vindictive
Bolingbroke, and the malignant and petulant Mallet, did not long brood
over their anger: he or they gave it vent on the head of Warburton, in
those two furious pamphlets, which I have noticed in the "Quarrels of
Warburton." All these pamphlets were published in the same year, 1749,
so that it is now difficult to arrange them according to their
priority. Enough has been shown to prove, that the loud outcry of
Bolingbroke and Mallet, in their posthumous attack on Pope, arose from
their unforgiving malice against him, for the preference by which the
poet had distinguished Warburton; and that Warburton, much more than
Pope, was the real object of this masked battery.


  [237] At the time, to season the tale for the babble of Literary
        Tattlers, it was propagated that POPE intended, on the death
        of BOLINGBROKE, to sell this eighteenpenny pamphlet at a
        guinea a copy; which would have produced an addition of as
        many hundreds to the thousands which the poet had honourably
        reaped from his Homer. This was the ridiculous lie of the day,
        which lasted long enough to obtain its purpose, and to cast an
        odium on the shade of Pope. Pope must have been a miserable
        calculator of _survivorships_, if ever he had reckoned on

  [238] Splendid as was the genius of Bolingbroke, the gigantic force of
        Warburton obtained the superiority. Had the contest solely
        depended on the effusions of genius, Bolingbroke might have
        prevailed; but an object more important than human interests
        induced the poet to throw himself into the arms of Warburton.

        The "Essay on Man" had been reformed by the subtle aid of
        Warburton, in opposition to the objectionable principles which
        Bolingbroke had infused into his system of philosophy: this,
        no doubt, had vexed Bolingbroke. But another circumstance
        occurred of a more mortifying nature. When Pope one day showed
        Warburton Bolingbroke's "Letters on the Study and Use of
        History," printed, but not published, and concealing the name
        of the author, Warburton not only made several very free
        strictures on that work, but particularly attacked a
        digression concerning the authenticity of the Old Testament.
        Pope requested him to write his remarks down as they had
        occurred, which he instantly did; and Pope was so satisfied
        with them, that he crossed out the digression in the printed
        book, and sent the animadversions to Lord Bolingbroke, then at
        Paris. The style of the great dogmatist, thrown out in heat,
        must no doubt have contained many fiery particles, all which
        fell into the most inflammable of minds. Pope soon discovered
        his officiousness was received with indignation. Yet when
        Bolingbroke afterwards met Warburton he dissimulated: he used
        the language of compliment, but in a tone which claimed
        homage. The two most arrogant geniuses who ever lived, in vain
        exacted submission from each other: they could allow of no
        divided empire, and they were born to hate each other.
        Bolingbroke suppressed his sore feelings, for at that very
        time he was employed in collecting matter to refute the
        objections; treasuring up his secret vengeance against Pope
        and Warburton, which he threw out immediately on the death of
        Pope. I collect these particulars from Ruffhead, p. 527, and
        whenever, in that volume, Warburton's name is introduced, it
        must be considered as coming from himself.

        The reasonings of Bolingbroke appear at times to have
        disturbed the religious faith of our poet, and he owed much to
        Warburton in having that faith confirmed. But Pope rejected,
        with his characteristic good sense, Warburton's tampering with
        him to abjure the Catholic religion. On the belief of a future
        state, Pope seems often to have meditated with great anxiety;
        and an anecdote is recorded of his latest hours, which shows
        how strongly that important belief affected him. A day or two
        before his death he was at times delirious, and about four
        o'clock in the morning he rose from bed and went to the
        library, where a friend who was watching him found him busily
        writing. He persuaded him to desist, and withdrew the paper he
        had written. The subject of the thoughts of the delirious poet
        was a new theory on the "Immortality of the Soul," in which he
        distinguished between those material objects which tended to
        strengthen his conviction, and those which weakened it. The
        paper which contained these disordered thoughts was shown to
        Warburton, and surely has been preserved.

  [239] "A letter to the Lord Viscount B----ke, occasioned by his
        treatment of a deceased friend." Printed for A. Moore, without
        date. This pamphlet either came from Warburton himself, or
        from one of his intimates. The writer, too, calls Pope his

  [240] We find also the name of Mallet closely connected with another
        person of eminence, the Patriot-Poet, Leonidas Glover. I take
        this opportunity of correcting a surmise of Johnson's in his
        Life of Mallet, respecting Glover, and which also places
        Mallet's character in a true light.

        A minute life of Mallet might exhibit a curious example of
        mediocrity of talent, with but suspicious virtues, brought
        forward by the accident of great connexions, placing a
        bustling intriguer much higher in the scale of society than
        "our philosophy ever dreamt of." Johnson says of Mallet, that
        "It was remarkable of him, that he was the only Scot whom
        Scotchmen did not commend." From having been accidentally
        chosen as private tutor to the Duke of Montrose, he wound
        himself into the favour of the party at Leicester House; he
        wrote tragedies conjointly with Thomson, and was appointed,
        with Glover, to write the Life of the Duke of Marlborough. Yet
        he had already shown to the world his scanty talent for
        biography in his "Life of Lord Bacon," on which Warburton so
        acutely animadverted.

        According to Johnson's account, the Duchess of Marlborough
        assigned the task of writing the Life of the Duke to Glover
        and to Mallet, with a remuneration of a thousand pounds. She
        must, however, have mortified the poets by subjoining the
        sarcastic prohibition that "no verses should be inserted."
        Johnson adds, "Glover, _I suppose, rejected with disdain the
        legacy_, and devolved the whole work upon Mallet."

        The cause why Glover declined this work could not, indeed, be
        known to Johnson: it arose from a far more dignified motive
        than the petty disdain of the legacy, which our great literary
        biographer has surmised. It can now be told in his own words,
        which I derive from a very interesting extract communicated to
        me by my friend Mr. Duppa, from that portion of the MS.
        Memoirs of Glover not yet published.

        I shall first quote the remarkable codicil from the original
        will of her Grace, which Mr. Duppa took the pains to consult.
        She assigns her reasons for the choice of her historians, and
        discriminates between the two authors. After bequeathing the
        thousand pounds for them, she adds: "I believe Mr. Glover is a
        very honest man, who wishes, as I do, all the good that can
        happen, to preserve the liberties and laws of England. Mr.
        Mallet was recommended to me by the late Duke of Montrose,
        whom I admired extremely for his great steadiness and
        behaviour in all things that related to the preservation of
        our laws and the public good."--Thus her Grace has expressed a
        personal knowledge and confidence in Glover, distinctly marked
        from her "recommended" acquaintance Mallet.

        Glover refused the office of historian, not from "disdain of
        the legacy," nor for any deficient zeal for the hero whom he
        admired. He refused it with sorrowful disappointment; for,
        besides the fantastical restrictions of "not writing any
        verses;" and the cruel one of yoking such a patriot with the
        servile Mallet, there was one which placed the revision of the
        work in the hands of the Earl of Chesterfield: this was the
        _circumstance_ at which the dignified genius of Glover
        revolted. Chesterfield's mean political character had excited
        his indignation; and he has drawn a lively picture of this
        polished nobleman's "eager prostitution," in his printed
        Memoirs, recently published under the title of "Memoirs of a
        celebrated Literary and Political Character," p. 24.

        In the following passage, this great-minded man, for such he
        was, "unburthens his heart in a melancholy digression from his
        plain narrative."

        "Composing such a narrative (alluding to his own Memoirs)
        and endeavouring to establish such a temper of mind, I
        cannot at intervals refrain from regret that the _capricious
        restrictions_ in the Duchess of Marlborough's will,
        appointing me to write the life of her illustrious husband,
        compelled me to reject the undertaking. There, conduct,
        valour, and success abroad; prudence, perseverance,
        learning, and science, at home; would have shed some portion
        of their graces on their historian's page: a mediocrity of
        talent would have felt an unwonted elevation in the bare
        attempt of transmitting so splendid a period to succeeding
        ages." Such was the dignified regret of Glover!

        Doubtless, he disdained, too, his colleague; but Mallet reaped
        the whole legacy, and still more, a pension: pretending to be
        always occupied on the Life of Marlborough, and every day
        talking of the great discoveries he had made, he contrived to
        make this nonentity serve his own purposes. Once hinting to
        Garrick, that, in spite of chronology, by some secret device
        of anticipation, he had reserved a niche in this great work
        for the Roscius of his own times, the gratitude of Garrick was
        instant. He recollected that Mallet was a tragedy-writer; and
        it also appeared that our dramatic bardling had one ready. As
        for the pretended Life of Marlborough, not a line appears ever
        to have been written!

        Such was the end of the ardent solicitude and caprice of the
        Duchess of Marlborough, exemplified in the last solemn act of
        life, where she betrayed the same warmth of passion, and the
        same arrogant caprice she had always indulged, at the cost of
        her judgment, in what Pope emphatically terms "the trade of
        the world." She was

          "The wisest fool much time has ever made."

        Even in this darling project of her last ambition, to
        immortalise her name, she had incumbered it with such arrogant
        injunctions, mixed up such contrary elements, that they were
        certain to undo their own purpose. Such was the barren harvest
        she gathered through a life of passion, regulated by no
        principle of conduct. One of the most finished portraits of
        Pope is the Atossa, in his "Epistle on Woman." How admirably
        he shows what the present instant proves, that she was one
        who, always possessing the _means_, was sure to lose the


An odd sort of a literary curiosity has fallen in my way. It throws
some light on the history of the heroes of the _Dunciad_; but such
_minutiæ literariæ_ are only for my bibliographical readers.

It is a book of accounts, which belonged to the renowned BERNARD
LINTOT, the bookseller, whose character has been so humorously
preserved by Pope, in a dialogue which the poet has given as having
passed between them in Windsor Forest. The book is entitled "_Copies,
when Purchased_." The power of genius is exemplified in the ledger of
the bookseller as much as in any other book; and while I here
discover, that the moneys received even by such men of genius as Gay,
Farquhar, Cibber, and Dr. King, amount to small sums, and such authors
as Dennis, Theobald, Ozell, and Toland, scarcely amount to anything,
that of Pope much exceeds 4000_l._

I am not in all cases confident of the nature of these "Copies
purchased;" those works which were originally published by Lintot may
be considered as purchased at the sums specified: some few might have
been subsequent to their first edition. The guinea, at that time,
passing for twenty-one shillings and sixpence, has occasioned the

I transcribe Pope's account. Here it appears that he sold "The Key to
the Lock" and "Parnell's Poems." The poem entitled, "To the Author of
a Poem called _Successio_," appears to have been written by Pope, and
has escaped the researches of his editors. The smaller poems were
contributed to a volume of Poetical Miscellanies, published by


                                                        £   s.  d.
    _19 Feb. 1711-12._
  Statius, First Book                              }   16   2   6
  Vertumnus and Pomona                             }

    _21 March, 1711-12._
  First Edition Rape                                    7   0   0

    _9 April, 1712._
  To a Lady presenting Voiture                     }
  Upon Silence                                     }    3  16   6
  To the Author of a Poem called _Successio_       }

    _23 Feb. 1712-13._
  Windsor Forest                                       32   5   0

    _23 July, 1713._
  Ode on St. Cecilia's day                             15   0   0

    _20th Feb. 1713-14._
  Additions to the Rape                                15   0   0

    _1 Feb. 1714-15._
  Temple of Fame                                       32   5   0

    _30 April, 1715._
  Key to the Lock                                      10  15   0

    _17 July, 1716._
  Essay on Criticism[242]                              15   0   0

    _13 Dec. 1721._
  Parnell's Poems                                      15   0   0

    _23 March, 1713._
  Homer, vol. i.                                      215   0   0
      650 books on royal paper                        176   0   0

    _9 Feb. 1715-16._
  Homer, vol. ii.                                     215   0   0

    _7 May, 1716._
      650 royal paper                                 150   0   0
    This article is repeated to the sixth volume of
      of Homer. To which is to be added another sum
      of 840_l._, paid for an assignment of all
      the copies. The whole of this part of the
      account amounting to                           3203   4   0

  Copy-moneys for the Odyssey, vols. i. ii. iii.,
  and 750 of each vol. royal paper, 4to.              615   6   0

  Ditto for the vols. iv. v. and 750 do.              425  18  7-1/2
                                                    £4244   8  7-1/2


                                                        £   s.  d.
    _12 May, 1713._
  Wife of Bath                                         25   0   0

    _11 Nov. 1714._
  Letter to a Lady                                      5   7   6

    _14 Feb. 1714._
  The What d'ye call it?                               16   2   6

    _22 Dec. 1715._
  Trivia                                               43   0   0
  Epistle to the Earl of Burlington                    10  15   0

    _4 May, 1717._
  Battle of the Frogs                                  16   2   6

    _8 Jan. 1717._
  Three Hours after Marriage                           43   2   6
  The Mohocks, a Farce, 2_l._ 10_s._
    (Sold the Mohocks to him again.[243])
  Revival of the Wife of Bath                          75   0   0
                                                     £234  10   0


                                                        £   s.  d.
    _Feb. 24, 1703-4._
  Liberty Asserted, one half share[245]                 7   3   0

    _10 Nov. 1708._
  Appius and Virginia                                  21  10   0

    _25 April, 1711._
  Essay on Public Spirit                                2  12   6

    _6 Jan. 1711._
  Remarks on Pope's Essay                               2  12   6

Dennis must have sold himself to criticism from ill-nature, and not
for pay. One is surprised that his two tragedies should have been
worth a great deal more than his criticism. Criticism was then worth
no more than too frequently it deserves; Dr. Sewel, for his
"Observations on the Tragedy of _Jane Shore_," received only a

I had suggested a doubt whether Theobald attempted to translate from
the original Greek: one would suppose he did by the following entry,
which has a line drawn through it, as if the agreement had not been
executed. Perhaps Lintot submitted to pay Theobald for _not doing_ the
Odyssey when Pope undertook it.


                                                        £   s.  d.
    _23 May, 1713._
  Plato's Phædon                                        5   7   6
  For _Æsculus's_ Trag.                                 1   1   6
      being part of Ten Guineas.

    _12 June, 1714._
  La Motte's Homer                                      3   4   6

  _April_ 21, 1714. Articles signed by Mr. Theobald, to translate
  for B. Lintot the 24 books of Homer's Odyssey into English blank
  verse. Also the four Tragedies of Sophocles, called Œdipus
  Tyrannus, Œdipus Coloneus, Trachiniæ, and Philoctetes, into
  English blank verse, with Explanatory Notes to the twenty-four
  Books of the Odyssey, and to the four Tragedies. To receive, for
  translating every 450 Greek verses, with Explanatory Notes
  thereon, the sum of 2_l._ 10_s._

  To translate likewise the Satires and Epistles of Horace into
  English rhyme. For every 120 Latin lines so translated, the sum of
  1_l._ 1_s._ 6_d._

  These Articles to be performed, according to the time specified,
  under the penalty of fifty pounds, payable by either party's
  default in performance.

  Paid in hand, 2_l._ 10_s._

It appears that Toland never got above 5_l._, 10_l._, or 20_l._, for
his publications. See his article in "Calamities of Authors," p.
155. I discovered the humiliating conditions that attended his
publications, from an examination of his original papers. All this
author seems to have reaped from a life devoted to literary
enterprise, and philosophy, and patriotism, appears not to have
exceeded 200_l._

Here, too, we find that the facetious Dr. King threw away all his
sterling wit for five miserable pounds, though "The Art of Cookery,"
and that of "Love," obtained a more honourable price. But a mere
school-book probably inspired our lively genius with more real
facetiousness than any of those works which communicate so much to


                                                        £   s.  d.
    _18 Feb. 1707-8._
  Paid for Art of Cookery                              32   5   0

    _16 Feb. 1708-9._
  Paid for the First Part of Transactions               5   0   0
  Paid for his Art of Love                             32   5   0

    _23 June, 1709._
  Paid for the Second Part of the Transactions[246]     5   0   0

    _4 March, 1709-10._
  Paid for the History of Cajamai                       5   0   0

    _10 Nov. 1710._
  Paid for King's Gods                                 50   0   0

    _1 July, 1712._
  Useful Miscellany, Part I                             1   1   6
  Paid for the Useful Miscellany                        3   0   0

Lintot utters a groan over "The Duke of Buckingham's Works"
(Sheffield), for "having been _jockeyed_ of them by Alderman Barber
and Tonson." Who can ensure literary celebrity? No bookseller would
_now_ regret being _jockeyed_ out of his Grace's works!

The history of plays appears here somewhat curious:--tragedies, then
the fashionable dramas, obtained a considerable price; for though
Dennis's luckier one reached only to 21_l._, Dr. Young's _Busiris_
acquired 84_l._ Smith's _Phædra and Hippolytus_, 50_l._; Rowe's _Jane
Shore_, 50_l._ 15_s._; and _Jane Gray_, 75_l._ 5_s._ Cibber's
_Nonjuror_ obtained 105_l._ for the copyright.

Is it not a little mortifying to observe, that among all these
customers of genius whose names enrich the ledger of the bookseller,
Jacob, that "blunderbuss of law," while his law-books occupy in space
as much as Mr. Pope's works, the amount of his account stands next in
value, far beyond many a name which has immortalised itself!


  [241] "Miscellaneous Poems and Translations, by several Hands,"
        1712.--The second edition appeared in 1714; and in the
        title-page are enumerated the poems mentioned in this account,
        and Pope's name affixed, as if he were the actual editor--an
        idea which Mr. Nichols thought he affected to discountenance.
        It is probable that Pope was the editor. We see, by this
        account, that he was paid for his contributions.

  [242] This was a new edition, published conjointly by Lintot and
        Lewis, the Catholic bookseller and early friend of Pope, of
        whom, and of the first edition, 1711, I have preserved an
        anecdote, p. 280.

  [243] The late Isaac Reed, in the Biog. Dramatica, was uncertain
        whether Gay was the author of this unacted drama. It is a
        satire on the inhuman frolics of the bucks and bloods of
        those days, who imitated the savageness of the Indians
        whose name they assumed.[244] Why Gay repurchased "The
        Mohocks," remains to be discovered. Was it another joint
        production with Pope?--The literary co-partnership between
        Pope and Gay has never been opened to the curious. It is
        probable that Pope was consulted, if not concerned, in
        writing "The What d'ye call it?" which, Jacob says in his
        "Poetical Register," "exposes several of our eminent
        poets." Jacob published while Gay was living, and seems to
        allude to this literary co-partnership; for, speaking of
        Gay, he says: "that having an inclination to poetry, by the
        strength of his own genius, and the _conversation_ of Mr.
        Pope, he has made some progress in poetical writings."

        This tragi-comical farce of "The Mohocks" is satirically
        dedicated to Dennis, "as a _horrid_ and _tremendous_ piece,
        formed on the model of his own 'Appius and Virginia.'" This
        touch seems to come from the finger of Pope. It is a
        mock-tragedy, for the Mohocks themselves rant in blank verse;
        a feeble performance, far inferior to its happier predecessor,
        "The What d'ye call it?"

  [244] The brutal amusements of these "Mohocks," and the helpless
        terror of London, is scarcely credible in modern days. Wild
        bands of drunken men nightly infested the streets, attacking
        and ill-using every passer-by. A favourite pastime was to
        surround their victim with drawn swords, pricking him on every
        side as he endeavoured to escape. Many persons were maimed and
        dangerously wounded. Gay, in his _Trivia_, has noted some of
        their more innocent practical jokes; and asks--

          "Who has not trembled at the Mohock's name?
          Was there a watchman took his hourly rounds,
          Safe from their blows or new invented wounds?"

        Swift, in his notes to Stella, has expressed his dread, while
        in London, of being maimed, or perhaps killed, by them.--ED.

  [245] Bought of Mr. George Strahan, bookseller.

  [246] For an account of these humorous pieces, see the following
        article on "The Royal Society."


We find by the first edition of Lintot's "Miscellaneous Poems," that
the anonymous lines "To the Author of a Poem called _Successio_," was
a literary satire by Pope, written when he had scarcely attained his
fourteenth year. This satire, the first probably he wrote for the
press, and in which he has succeeded so well, that it might have
induced him to pursue the bent of his genius, merits preservation. The
juvenile composition bears the marks of his future excellences: it has
the tune of his verse, and the images of his wit. Thirty years
afterwards, when occupied by the _Dunciad_, he transplanted and pruned
again some of the original images.

The hero of this satire is Elkanah Settle. The subject is one of those
Whig poems, designed to celebrate the happiness of an uninterrupted
"Succession" in the Crown, at the time the Act of Settlement passed,
which transferred it to the Hanoverian line. The rhymer and his theme
were equally contemptible to the juvenile Jacobite poet.

The hoarse and voluminous Codrus of Juvenal aptly designates this
eternal verse-maker;--one who has written with such constant
copiousness, that no bibliographer has presumed to form a complete
list of his works.[247]

When Settle had outlived his temporary rivalship with Dryden, and was
reduced to mere Settle, he published party-poems, in folio, composed
in Latin, accompanied by his own translations. These folio poems,
uniformly bound, except that the arms of his patrons, or rather his
purchasers, richly gilt, emblazon the black morocco, may still be
found. These presentation-copies were sent round to the chiefs of the
party, with a mendicant's petition, of which some still exist. To have
a clear conception of the _present views_ of some politicians, it is
necessary to read their history backwards. In 1702, when Settle
published "Successio," he must have been a Whig. In 1685 he was a
Tory, commemorating, by a heroic poem, the coronation of James II.,
and writing periodically against the Whigs. In 1680 he had left the
Tories for the Whigs, and conducted the whole management of burning
the Pope, then a very solemn national ceremony.[248] A Whig, a
pope-burner, and a Codrus, afforded a full draught of inspiration to
the nascent genius of our youthful satirist.

Settle, in his latter state of wretchedness, had one standard _elegy_
and _epithalamium_ printed off with _blanks_. By the ingenious
contrivance of inserting the name of any considerable person who died
or was married, no one who had gone out of the world or was entering
into it but was equally welcome to this dinnerless livery-man of the
draggled-tailed Muses. I have elsewhere noticed his last exit from
this state of poetry and of pauperism, when, leaping into a green
dragon which his own creative genius had invented, in a theatrical
booth, Codrus, in hissing flames and terrifying-morocco folds,
discovered "the fate of talents misapplied!"


  Begone, ye critics, and restrain your spite;
  Codrus writes on, and will for ever write.
  The heaviest Muse the swiftest course has gone,
  As clocks run fastest when most lead is on.[249]
  What though no bees around your cradle flew,
  Nor on your lips distill'd their golden dew;
  Yet have we oft discover'd in their stead,
  A swarm of drones that buzz'd about your head.
  When you, like Orpheus, strike the warbling lyre,
  Attentive blocks stand round you, and admire.
  Wit past through thee no longer is the same,
  As meat digested takes a different name;[250]
  But sense must sure thy safest plunder be,
  Since no reprisals can be made on thee.
  Thus thou mayst rise, and in thy daring flight
  (Though ne'er so weighty) reach a wondrous height:
  So, forced from engines, lead itself can fly,
  And pond'rous slugs move nimbly through the sky.[251]
  Sure Bavius copied Mævius to the full,
  And CHÆRILUS[252] taught CODRUS to be dull;
  Therefore, dear friend, at my advice give o'er
  This needless labour, and contend no more
  To prove a _dull Succession_ to be true,
  Since 'tis enough we find it so in you.


  [247] The fullest account we have of Settle, a busy scribe in his day,
        is in Mr. Nichols's "Literary Anecdotes," vol. i. p. 41.

  [248] It was the custom when party feeling ran high on the subject of
        papacy, towards the close of the reign of Charles the Second,
        to get up these solemn mock-processions of the Pope and
        Cardinals, accompanied with figures to represent Sir
        Edmundbury Godfrey, and other subjects well adapted to heat
        popular feelings, and parade them through the streets of
        London. The day chosen for this was the anniversary of the
        Coronation of Queen Elizabeth (Nov. 17), and when the
        procession reached Temple-bar, the figure of the Pope was
        tossed from his chair by one dressed as the Devil into a great
        bonfire made opposite the statue of Queen Elizabeth, on the
        city side of Temple-bar. Two rare tracts describe these
        "solemn mock-processions," as they are termed, in 1679 and
        1680. Prints were also published depicting the whole
        proceedings, and descriptive pamphlets from the pen of Settle,
        who arranged these shows.--ED.

  [249] Thus altered in the _Dunciad_, book i., ver. 183--

          "As clocks to weight their nimble motions owe,
          The wheels above urged by the load below."

  [250] This original image a late caustic wit (Horne Tooke), who
        probably had never read this poem, employed on a certain
        occasion. Godwin, who had then distinguished himself by his
        genius and by some hardy paradoxes, was pleading for them as
        hardily, by showing that they did not originate in him--that
        they were to be found in Helvetius, in Rousseau, and in other
        modern philosophers. "Ay," retorted the cynical wit; "so you
        eat at my table venison and turtle, but from you the same
        things come quite changed!" The original, after all, is in
        Donne, long afterwards versified by our poet. See Warton's
        edition, vol. iv. p. 257. Pope must have been an early reader
        of Donne.

  [251] Thus altered in the _Dunciad_, book i. ver. 181--

          "As, forced from wind-guns, lead itself can fly,
          And pond'rous slugs cut swiftly through the sky."

  [252] Perhaps, by _Chærilus_, the juvenile satirist designated
        _Flecknoe_, or _Shadwell_, who had received their immortality
        of dulness from his master, catholic in poetry and opinions,


  THE ROYAL SOCIETY at first opposed from various quarters--their
  Experimental Philosophy supplants the Aristotelian methods--suspected
  of being the concealed Advocates of Popery, Arbitrary Power, and
  Atheism--disappointments incurred by their promises--the simplicity
  of the early Inquirers--ridiculed by the Wits and others--Narrative
  of a quarrel between a Member of the Royal Society and an
  Aristotelian--Glanvill writes his "Plus Ultra," to show the
  Improvements of Modern Knowledge--Character of Stubbe of
  Warwick--his Apology, from himself--opposes the "Plus Ultra" by the
  "Plus Ultra reduced to a Nonplus"--his "Campanella revived"--the
  Political Projects of Campanella--Stubbe persecuted, and menaced
  to be publicly whipped; his Roman spirit--his "Legends no
  Histories"--his "Censure on some Passages of the History of the
  Royal Society"--Harvey's ambition to be considered the Discoverer of
  the Circulation of the Blood, which he demonstrates--Stubbe describes
  the Philosophy of Science--attacks Sprat's Dedication to the
  King--The Philosophical Transactions published by Sir Hans Sloane
  ridiculed by Dr. King--his new Species of Literary Burlesque--King's
  character--these attacks not ineffectually renewed by Sir John Hill.

The Royal Society, on its first establishment, at the era of the
Restoration, encountered fierce hostilities; nor, even at later
periods, has it escaped many wanton attacks. A great revolution in the
human mind was opening with that establishment; for the spirit which
had appeared in the recent political concussion, and which had given
freedom to opinion, and a bolder scope to enterprise, had now reached
the literary and philosophical world; but causes of the most opposite
natures operated against this institution of infant science.

In the first place, the new experimental philosophy, full of
inventions and operations, proposed to supplant the old scholastic
philosophy, which still retained an obscure jargon of terms, the most
frivolous subtilties, and all those empty and artificial methods by
which it pretended to decide on all topics. Too long it had filled the
ear with airy speculation, while it starved the mind that languished
for sense and knowledge. But this emancipation menaced the power of
the followers of Aristotle, who were still slumbering in their
undisputed authority, enthroned in our Universities. For centuries
the world had been taught that the philosopher of Stagira had thought
on every subject: Aristotle was quoted as equal authority with St.
Paul, and his very image has been profanely looked on with the
reverence paid to Christ. BACON had fixed a new light in Europe, and
others were kindling their torches at his flame. When the great
usurper of the human understanding was once fairly opposed to Nature,
he betrayed too many symptoms of mere humanity. Yet this great triumph
was not obtained without severe contention; and upon the Continent
even blood has been shed in the cause of words. In our country, the
University of Cambridge was divided by a party who called themselves
_Trojans_, from their antipathy to the _Greeks_, or the Aristotelians;
and once the learned Richard Harvey, the brother of Gabriel, the
friend of Spenser, stung to madness by the predominant powers, to
their utter dismay set up their idol on the school-gates, with his
heels upwards, and ass's ears on his head. But at this later period,
when the Royal Society was established, the war was more open, and
both parties more inveterate. Now the world seemed to think, so
violent is the reaction of public opinion, that they could reason
better without Aristotle than with him: that he had often taught them
nothing more than self-evident propositions, or had promoted that
dangerous idleness of maintaining paradoxes, by quibbles and other
captious subtilties. The days had closed of the "illuminated," the
"profound," and the "irrefragable," titles, which the scholastic
heroes had obtained; and the Aristotelian four modes, by which all
things in nature must exist, of _materialiter_, _formaliter_,
_fundamentaliter_, and _eminenter_, were now considered as nothing
more than the noisy rattles, or chains of cherry-stones, which had too
long detained us in the nursery of the human mind.[253] The world had
been cheated with words instead of things; and the new experimental
philosophy insisted that men should be less loquacious, but more

Some there were, in that unsettled state of politics and religion, in
whose breasts the embers of the late Revolution were still hot: they
were panic-struck that the advocates of popery and arbitrary power
were returning on them, disguised as natural philosophers. This new
terror had a very ludicrous origin:--it arose from some casual
expressions, in which the Royal Society at first delighted, and by
which an air of mystery was thrown over its secret movements: such was
that "Universal Correspondence" which it affected to boast of; and the
vaunt to foreigners of its "Ten Secretaries," when, in truth, all
these magnificent declarations were only objects of their wishes.
Another fond but singular expression, which the illustrious BOYLE had
frequently applied to it in its earliest state, when only composed of
a few friends, calling it "The Invisible College," all concurred to
make the Royal Society wear the appearance of a conspiracy against
the political freedom of the nation. At a time, too, when, according
to the historian of the Royal Society, "almost every family was widely
disagreed among themselves on matters of religion," they believed that
this "new experimental philosophy was subversive of the Christian
faith!"[254] and many mortally hated the newly-invented optical
glasses, the telescope and the microscope, as atheistical inventions,
which perverted our sight, and made everything appear in a new and
false light! Sprat wrote his celebrated "History of the Royal
Society," to show that experimental philosophy was neither designed
for the extinction of the Universities, nor of the Christian religion,
which were really imagined to be in danger.

Others, again, were impatient for romantic discoveries; miracles were
required, some were hinted at, while some were promised. In the
ecstasy of imagination, they lost their soberness, forgetting that
they were but the historians of nature, and not her prophets.[255] But
amid these dreams of hope and fancy, the creeping experimentalist was
still left boasting of improvements, so slow that they were not
perceived, and of novelties so absurd that they too often raised the
laugh against their grave and unlucky discoverers. The philosophers
themselves seemed to have been fretted into the impatient humour which
they attempted to correct; and the amiable Evelyn becomes an irritated
satirist, when he attempts to reply to the repeated question of that
day, "What have they done?"[256]

But a source of the ridicule which was perpetually flowing against the
Royal Society, was the almost infantine simplicity of its earliest
members, led on by their honest zeal; and the absence of all
discernment in many trifling and ludicrous researches, which called
down the malice of the wits;[257] there was, too, much of that unjust
contempt between the parties, which students of opposite pursuits and
tastes so liberally bestow on each other. The researches of the
Antiquarian Society were sneered at by the Royal, and the antiquaries
avenged themselves by their obstinate incredulity at the prodigies of
the naturalists; the student of classical literature was equally
slighted by the new philosophers; who, leaving the study of words and
the elegancies of rhetoric for the study merely of things, declared as
the cynical ancient did of metaphors, "Poterimus vivere sine
illis"--We can do very well without them! The ever-witty South, in his
oration at Oxford, made this poignant reflection on the Royal
Society--"Mirantur nihil nisi pulices, pediculos, et seipsos." They
can admire nothing except fleas, lice, and themselves! And even Hobbes
so little comprehended the utility of these new pursuits, that he
considered the Royal Society merely as so many labourers, who, when
they had washed their hands after their work, should leave to others
the polishing of their discourses. He classed them, in the way they
were proceeding, with apothecaries, and gardeners, and mechanics, who
might now "all put in for, and get the prize." Even at a later period,
Sir William Temple imagined the virtuosi to be only so many Sir
Nicholas Gimcracks; and contemptuously called them, from the place of
their first meeting, "the Men of Gresham!" doubtless considering them
as wise as "the Men of Gotham!" Even now, men of other tempers and
other studies are too apt to refuse the palm of philosophy to the
patient race of naturalists.[258] Wotton, who wrote so zealously at
the commencement of the last century in favour of modern knowledge, is
alarmed lest the effusions of wit, in his time, should "deaden the
industry of the philosophers of the next age; for," he adds, "nothing
wounds so effectually as a jest; and when men once become ridiculous,
their labours will be slighted, and they will find few imitators." The
alarm shows his zeal, but not his discernment: since curiosity in
hidden causes is a passion which endures with human nature. "The
philosophers of the next age" have shown themselves as persevering as
their predecessors, and the wits as malicious. The contest between men
of meditation and men of experiment, is a very ancient quarrel; and
the "divine" Socrates was no friend to, and even a ridiculer of, those
very pursuits for which the Royal Society was established.[259]

In founding this infant empire of knowledge, a memorable literary war
broke out between Glanvill, the author of the treatise on "Witches,"
&c., and Stubbe, a physician, a man of great genius. It is the
privilege of genius that its controversies enter into the history of
the human mind; what is but temporary among the vulgar of mankind,
with the curious and the intelligent become monuments of lasting
interest. The present contest, though the spark of contention flew out
of a private quarrel, at length blazed into a public controversy.

The obscure individual who commenced the fray, is forgotten in the
boasted achievements of his more potent ally; he was a clergyman
named Cross, the Vicar of Great Chew, in Somersetshire, a stanch

Glanvill, a member of the Royal Society, and an enthusiast for the new
philosophy, had kindled the anger of the peripatetic, who was his
neighbour, and who had the reputation of being the invincible
disputant of his county.[260] Some, who had in vain contended with
Glanvill, now contrived to inveigle the modern philosopher into an
interview with this redoubted champion.

When Glanvill entered the house, he perceived that he was to begin an
acquaintance in a quarrel, which was not the happiest way to preserve
it. The Vicar of Great Chew sat amid his congregated admirers. The
peripatetic had promised them the annihilation of the new-fashioned
virtuoso, and, like an angry boar, had already been preluding by
whetting his tusks. Scarcely had the first cold civilities passed,
when Glanvill found himself involved in single combat with an
assailant armed with the ten categories of Aristotle. Cross, with his
_Quodam modo_, and his _Modo quodam_, with his _Ubi_ and his _Quando_,
scattered the ideas of the simple experimentalist, who, confining
himself to a simple recital of _facts_ and a description of _things_,
was referring, not to the logic of Aristotle, but to the works of
nature. The imperative Aristotelian was wielding weapons, which, says
Glanvill, "were nothing more than like those of a cudgel-player, or

The last blow was still reserved, when Cross asserted that Aristotle
had more opportunities to acquire knowledge than the Royal Society, or
all the present age had, or could have, for this definitive reason,
"because Aristotle did, _totam peragrare Asiam_." Besides, in the Chew
philosophy, where novelty was treason, improvements or discoveries
could never exist. Here the Aristotelian made his stand; and at
length, gently hooking Glanvill between the horns of a dilemma, the
entrapped virtuoso threw himself into an unguarded affirmation; at
which the Vicar of Great Chew, shouting in triumph, with a sardonic
grin, declared that Glanvill and his Royal Society had now avowed
themselves to be atheistical! This made an end of the interview, and a
beginning of the quarrel.[262]

Glanvill addressed an expostulatory letter to the inhuman Aristotelian,
who only replied by calling it a recantation, asserting that the affair
had finished with the conviction.

On this, Glanvill produced his "Plus Ultra,"[263] on the modern
improvements of knowledge. The quaint title referred to that Asian
argument which placed the boundaries of knowledge at the ancient
limits fixed by Aristotle, like the pillars of Hercules, on which was
inscribed _Ne plus ultra_, to mark the extremity of the world. But
Glanvill asserted we might advance still further--_plus ultra_! To
this book the Aristotelian replied with such rancour, that he could
not obtain a licence for the invective either at Oxford or London.
Glanvill contrived to get some extracts, and printed a small number of
copies for his friends, under the sarcastic title of "The Chew
Gazette,"--a curiosity, we are told, of literary scolding, and which
might now, among literary trinkets, fetch a Roxburgh prize.

Cross, maddened that he could not get his bundle of peripatetic
ribaldries printed, wrote ballads, which he got sung as it chanced.
But suppressed invectives and eking rhymes could but ill appease so
fierce a mastiff: he set on the poor F.R.S. an animal as rabid, but
more vigorous than himself--both of them strangely prejudiced against
the modern improvements of knowledge; so that, like mastiffs in the
dark, they were only the fiercer.

This was Dr. Henry Stubbe, a physician of Warwick--one of those ardent
and versatile characters, strangely made up of defects as strongly
marked as their excellences. He was one of those authors who, among
their numerous remains, leave little of permanent value; for their
busy spirits too keenly delight in temporary controversy, and they
waste the efforts of a mind on their own age, which else had made the
next their own. Careless of worldly opinions, these extraordinary men,
with the simplicity of children, are mere beings of sensation;
perpetually precipitated by their feelings, with slight powers of
reflection, and just as sincere when they act in contradiction to
themselves, as when they act in contradiction to others. In their
moral habits, therefore, we are often struck with strange contrasts;
their whole life is a jumble of actions; and we are apt to condemn
their versatility of principles as arising from dishonest motives; yet
their temper has often proved more generous, and their integrity
purer, than those who have crept up in one unvarying progress to an
eminence which they quietly possess, without any of the ardour of
these original, perhaps whimsical, minds. The most tremendous menace
to a man of this class would be to threaten to write the history of
his life and opinions. When Stubbe attacked the Royal Society, this
threat was held out against him. But menaces never startled his
intrepid genius; he roved in all his wild greatness; and, always
occupied more by present views than interested by the past events of
his life, he cared little for his consistency in the high spirit of
his independence.

The extraordinary character of Stubbe produced as uncommon a
history. Stubbe had originally been a child of fortune, picked up
at Westminster school by Sir Henry Vane the younger, who sent him
to Oxford; where this effervescent genius was, says Wood, "kicked,
and beaten, and whipped."[264] But if these little circumstances
marked the irritability and boldness of his youth, it was equally
distinguished by an entire devotion to his studies. Perhaps one of
the most anomalous of human characters was that of his patron, Sir
Henry Vane the younger (whom Milton has immortalised in one of the
noblest of sonnets), the head of the Independents, who combined with
the darkest spirit of fanaticism the clear views of the most sagacious
politician. The gratitude of Stubbe lasted through all the changeful
fortunes of the chief of a faction--a long date in the records of
human affection! Stubbe had written against monarchy, the church, the
university, &c.; for which, after the Restoration, he was accused
by his antagonists. He exults in the reproach; he replies with all
that frankness of simplicity, so beautiful amid our artificial
manners. He denies not the charge; he never trims, nor glosses over,
nor would veil, a single part of his conduct. He wrote to serve his
patrons, but never himself. I preserve the whole of this noble
passage in the note.[265] Wood bears witness to his perfect
disinterestedness. He never partook of the prosperity of his patron,
nor mixed with any parties, loving the retirement of his private
studies; and if he scorned and hated one party, the Presbyterians, it
was, says Wood, because his high generous nature detested men "void
of generous souls, sneaking, snivelling, &c." Stubbe appears to have
carried this philosophical indifference towards objects of a higher
interest than those of mere profit; for, at the Restoration, he found
no difficulty in conforming to the Church[266] and to the Government.
The king bestowed on him the title of his physician; yet, for the
sake of making philosophical experiments, Stubbe went to Jamaica,
and intended to have proceeded to Mexico and Peru, pursuing his
profession, but still an adventurer. At length Stubbe returned
home; established himself as a physician at Warwick, where, though he
died early, he left a name celebrated.[267] The fertility of his pen
appears in a great number of philosophical, political, and medical
publications. But all his great learning, the facility of his genius,
his poignant wit, his high professional character, his lofty
independence, his scorn of practising the little mysterious arts of
life, availed nothing; for while he was making himself popular
among his auditors, he was eagerly depreciated by those who would
not willingly allow merit to a man who owned no master, and who
feared no rival.

Literary coteries were then held at coffee-houses;[268] and there
presided the voluble Stubbe, with "a big and magisterial voice, while
his mind was equal to it," says the characterising Wood; but his
attenuated frame seemed too delicate to hold long so unbroken a
spirit. It was an accident, however, which closed this life of toil
and hurry and petulant genius. Going to a patient at night, Stubbe was
drowned in a very shallow river, "his head (adds our cynic, who had
generously paid the tribute of his just admiration with his strong
peculiarity of style) being then intoxicated with bibbing, but more
with talking and snuffing of powder."

Such was the adversary of the Royal Society! It is quite in character
that, under the government of Cromwell, he himself should have spread
a taste for what was then called "The New Philosophy" among our youth
and gentlemen, with the view of rendering the clergy contemptible; or,
as he says, "to make them appear egregious fools in matters of common
discourse." He had always a motive for his actions, however opposite
they were; pretending that he was never moved by caprice, but guided
by principle. One of his adversaries, however, has reason to say, that
judging him by his "printed papers, he was a man of excellent
contradictory parts." After the Restoration, he furnished as odd, but
as forcible a reason, for opposing the Royal Society. At that time the
nation, recent from republican ardours, was often panic-struck by
papistical conspiracies, and projects of arbitrary power; and it was
on this principle that he took part against the Society. Influenced by
Dr. Fell and others, he suffered them to infuse these extravagant
opinions into his mind. No private ends appear to have influenced his
changeable conduct; and in the present instance he was sacrificing his
personal feelings to his public principles; for Stubbe was then in the
most friendly correspondence with the illustrious Boyle, the father of
the Royal Society, who admired the ardour of Stubbe, till he found its

Stubbe opened his formidable attacks, for they form a series, by
replying to the "Plus Ultra" of Glanvill, with a title as quaint,
"The _Plus Ultra_ reduced to a _Non-plus_, in animadversions on
Mr. Glanvill and the Virtuosi." For a pretence for this violent
attack, he strained a passage in Glanvill; insisting that the honour
of the whole faculty of which he was a member was deeply concerned
to refute Glanvill's assertion, that "the ancient physicians could not
cure a cut finger."--This Glanvill denied he had ever affirmed or
thought;[270] but war once resolved on, a pretext as slight as the
present serves the purpose; and so that an odium be raised against
the enemy, the end is obtained before the injustice is acknowledged.
This is indeed the history of other wars than those of words. The
present was protracted with an hostility unsubduing and unsubdued.
At length the malicious ingenuity, or the heated fancy, of Stubbe,
hardly sketched a political conspiracy, accusing the ROYAL SOCIETY of
having adopted the monstrous projects of CAMPANELLA;--an anomalous
genius, who was confined by the Inquisition the greater part of his
life, and who, among some political reveries, projected the
establishment of a universal empire, though he was for shaking off
the yoke of authority in the philosophical world. He was for one
government and one religion throughout Europe, but in other respects
he desired to leave the minds of men quite free. Campanella was one
of the new lights of the age; and his hardy, though wild genius
much more resembled our Stubbe, who denounced his extravagancies,
than any of the Royal Society, to whom he was so artfully compared.

This tremendous attack appeared in Stubbe's "Campanella Revived, or an
Enquiry into the History of the Royal Society; whether the Virtuosi
there do not pursue the projects of Campanella, for reducing England
into Popery; relating the quarrel betwixt H. S. and the R. S., &c.

Such was the dread which his reiterated attacks caused the Royal
Society, that they employed against him all the petty persecutions of
power and intrigue. "Thirty legions," says Stubbe, alluding to the
famous reply of the philosopher, who would not dispute with a crowned
head, "were to be called to aid you against a young country physician,
who had so long discontinued studies of this nature." However, he
announces that he has finished three more works against the Royal
Society, and has a fourth nearly ready, if it be necessary to prove
that the rhetorical history of the Society by Sprat must be bad,
because "no eloquence can be complete if the subject-matter be
foolish!" His adversaries not only threatened to write his life,[272]
but they represented him to the king as a libeller, who ought to be
whipped at a cart's tail; a circumstance which Stubbe records with the
indignation of a Roman spirit.[273] They stopped his work several
times, and by some stratagem they hindered him from correcting the
press; but nothing could impede the career of his fearless genius. He
treated with infinite ridicule their trivial or their marvellous
discoveries in his "Legends no Histories," and his "Censure on some
Passages of the History of the Royal Society." But while he ridiculed,
he could instruct them; often contributing new knowledge, which the
Royal Society had certainly been proud to have registered in their
history. In his determination of depreciating the novelties of his
day, he disputes even the honour of HARVEY to the discovery of the
circulation of the blood: he attributes it to ANDREAS CÆSALPINUS, who
not only discovered it, but had given it the name of _Circulatio

Stubbe was not only himself a man of science, but a caustic satirist,
who blends much pleasantry with his bitterness. In the first ardour
of philosophical discovery, the Society, delighted by the acquisition
of new facts, which, however, rarely proved to be important, and were
often ludicrous in their detail, appear to have too much neglected the
arts of reasoning; they did not even practise common discernment, or
what we might term philosophy, in its more enlarged sense.[275]
Stubbe, with no respect for "a Society," though dignified by the
addition of "Royal," says, "a cabinet of virtuosi are but pitiful
reasoners. Ignorance is infectious; and 'tis possible for men to grow
fools by contact. I will speak to the virtuosi in the language of the
Romish Saint Francis (who, in the wilderness, so humbly addressed his
only friends,) '_Salvete, fratres asini! Salvete, fratres lupi!_'" As
for their Transactions and their History, he thinks "they purpose to
grow famous, as the Turks do to gain Paradise, _by treasuring up all
the waste paper they meet with_." He rallies them on some ridiculous
attempts, such as "An Art of Flying;" an art, says Stubbe, in which
they have not so much as effected the most facile part of the attempt,
which is to break their necks!

Sprat, in his dedication to the king, had said that "the establishment
of the Royal Society was an enterprise equal to the most renowned
actions of the best princes." One would imagine that the notion of a
monarch founding a society for the cultivation of the sciences could
hardly be made objectionable; but, in literary controversy, genius
has the power of wresting all things to its purpose by its own
peculiar force, and the art of placing every object in the light it
chooses, and can thus obtain our attention in spite of our conviction.
I will add the curious animadversion of Stubbe on Sprat's compliment
to the king:--

"Never Prince acquired the fame of great and good by any knickknacks--but
by actions of political wisdom, courage, justice," &c.

Stubbe shows how Dionysius and Nero had been depraved by these
_mechanic philosophers_--that

"An Aristotelian would never pardon himself if he compared _this_
heroical enterprise with the actions of our Black Prince or Henry V.;
or with Henry VIII. in demolishing abbeys and rejecting the papal
authority; or Queen Elizabeth's exploits against Spain; or her
restoring the Protestant religion, putting the Bible into English, and
supporting the Protestants beyond sea. But the reason he (Sprat) gives
why the establishment of the Royal Society of experimentators equals
the most renowned actions of the best princes, is such a pitiful one
as Guzman de Alfarache never met with in the whole extent of the
_Hospital of Fools_--'To increase the power, by new arts, of conquered
nations!' These consequences are twisted like the _cordage of Ocnus_,
the God of Sloth, in hell, which are fit for nothing but _to fodder
asses with_. If our historian means by _every little invention to
increase the powers of mankind_, as an enterprise of such renown, he
is deceived; this glory is not due to such as go about with a dog and
a hoop, nor to the practicers of legerdemain, or upon the high or low
rope; not to every mountebank and his man Andrew; all which, with many
other mechanical and experimental philosophers, do in some sort
increase the powers of mankind, and differ no more from some of the
virtuosi, than _a cat in a hole_ doth from _a cat out of a hole_;
betwixt which that inquisitive person ASDRYASDUST TOSSOFFACAN found a
very great resemblance. 'Tis not the increasing of the _powers of
mankind_ by a pendulum watch, nor spectacles whereby divers may see
under water, nor the new ingenuity of apple-roasters, nor every petty
discovery or instrument, must be put in comparison, much less
preferred, before _the protection and enlargement of empires_."[276]

Had Stubbe's death not occurred, this warfare had probably continued.
He insisted on a complete victory. He had forced the Royal Society to
disclaim their own works, by an announcement that they were not
answerable, as a body, for the various contributions which they gave
the world: an advertisement which has been more than once found
necessary to be renewed. As for their historian Sprat, our intrepid
Stubbe very unexpectedly offered to manifest to the parliament that
this courtly adulator, by his book, was chargeable with high treason;
if they believed that the Royal Society were really engaged so deeply
as he averred in the portentous Cæsarean Popery of Campanella.
Glanvill, who had "insulted all university learning," had been
immolated at the pedestal of Aristotle. "I have done enough," he adds,
"since my animadversions contain more than they all knew; and that
these have shown that the _virtuosi_ are very great impostors, or men
of little reading;" alluding to the various discoveries which they
promulgated as novelties, but which Stubbe had asserted were known to
the ancients and others of a later period. This forms a perpetual
accusation against the inventors and discoverers, who may often
exclaim, "Perish those who have done our good works before us!" "The
Discoveries of the Ancients and Moderns" by Dutens, had this book been
then published, might have assisted our keen investigator; but our
combatant ever proudly met his adversaries single-handed.

The "Philosophical Transactions" were afterwards accused of another
kind of high treason, against grammar and common sense. It was long
before the collectors of facts practised the art of writing on them;
still later before they could philosophise, as well as observe: Bacon
and Boyle were at first only imitated in their patient industry. When
Sir HANS SLOANE was the secretary of the Royal Society, he, and most
of his correspondents, wrote in the most confused manner imaginable. A
wit of a very original cast, the facetious Dr. KING,[277] took
advantage of their perplexed and often unintelligible descriptions;
of the meanness of their style, which humbled even the great objects
of nature; of their credulity that heaped up marvels, and their vanity
that prided itself on petty discoveries, and invented a new species of
satire. SLOANE, a name endeared to posterity, whose life was that of
an enthusiast of science, and who was the founder of a national
collection; and his numerous friends, many of whose names have
descended with the regard due to the votaries of knowledge, fell the
victims. Wit is an unsparing leveller.

The new species of literary burlesque which King seems to have
invented, consists in selecting the very expressions and absurd
passages from the original he ridiculed, and framing out of them a
droll dialogue or a grotesque narrative, he adroitly inserted his own
remarks, replete with the keenest irony, or the driest sarcasm.[278]
Our arch wag says, "The bulls and blunders which Sloane and his
friends so naturally pour forth cannot be misrepresented, so careful
I am in producing them." King still moves the risible muscles of his
readers. "The Voyage to Cajamai," a travestie of Sloane's valuable
"History of Jamaica," is still a peculiar piece of humour; and it has
been rightly distinguished as "one of the severest and merriest
satires that was ever written in prose."[279] The author might indeed
have blushed at the labour bestowed on these drolleries; he might have
dreaded that humour so voluminous might grow tedious; but King, often
with a LUCIANIC spirit, with flashes of RABELAIS, and not seldom with
the causticity of his friend Swift, dissipated life in literary
idleness, with parodies and travesties on most of his contemporaries;
and he made these little things often more exquisite at the cost of
consuming on them a genius capable of better. A parodist or a
burlesquer is a wit who is perpetually on the watch to catch up or to
disguise an author's words, to swell out his defects, and pick up his
blunders--to amuse the public! King was a wit, who lived on the
highway of literature, appropriating, for his own purpose, the
property of the most eminent passengers, by a dextrous mode no other
had hit on. What an important lesson the labours of King offer to real
genius! Their temporary humour lost with their prototypes becomes like
a paralytic limb, which, refusing to do its office, impedes the action
of the vital members.

WOTTON, in summing up his "Reflections upon Ancient and Modern
Learning," was doubtful whether knowledge would improve in the next
age proportionably as it had done in his own. "The humour of the age
is visibly altered," he says, "from what it had been thirty years ago.
Though the Royal Society has weathered the rude attacks of Stubbe,"
yet "the sly insinuations of the _Men of Wit_," with "the _public
ridiculing_ of all who spend their time and fortunes in scientific or
curious researches, have so taken off the edge of those who have
opulent fortunes and a love to learning, that these studies begin to
be contracted amongst physicians and mechanics."--He treats King with
good-humour. "A man is got but a very little way (in philosophy) that
is concerned as often as such a merry gentleman as Dr. King shall
think fit to make himself sport."[280]


  [253] Some may be curious to have these monkish terms defined.
        _Causes_ are distinguished by Aristotle into four kinds:--The
        material cause, _ex qua_, out of which things are made;
        the formal cause, _per quam_, by which a thing is that
        which it is, and nothing else; the efficient cause, _a qua_,
        by the agency of which anything is produced; and the final
        cause, _propter quam_, the end for which it is produced. Such
        are his notions in his Phys. 1. ii. c. iii., referred to by
        Brucker and Formey in their Histories of Philosophy. Of the
        Scholastic Metaphysics, _Sprat_, the historian of the Royal
        Society, observes, "that the lovers of that cloudy knowledge
        boast that it is an excellent instrument to refine and
        make subtle the minds of men. But there may be _a greater
        excess in the subtlety of men's wits_ than in their
        _thickness_; as we see those threads, which are of too fine
        a spinning, are found to be more useless than those which are
        homespun and gross."--_History of the Royal Society_, p. 326.

        In the history of human folly, often so closely connected with
        that of human knowledge, some of the schoolmen (the
        commentators on Aquinas and others) prided themselves, and
        were even admired for their impenetrable obscurity! One of
        them, and our countryman, is singularly commended by Cardan,
        for that "only one of his arguments was enough to puzzle all
        posterity; and that, when he had grown old, he wept because he
        could not understand his own books." Baker, in his Reflections
        upon Learning, who had examined this schoolman, declares that
        his obscurity is such, as if he never meant to be understood.
        The extravagances of the schoolmen are, however, not always
        those of Aristotle. Pope, and the wits of that day, like these
        early members of the Royal Society, decried Aristotle, who did
        not probably fall in the way of their studies. His great
        imperfections are in natural philosophy; but he still
        preserves his eminence for his noble treatises of Ethics, and
        Politics, and Poetics, notwithstanding the imperfect state in
        which these have reached us. Dr. Copleston and Dr. Gillies
        have given an energetic testimony to their perpetual value.
        Pope, in satirising the University as a nest of dunces,
        considered the followers of Aristotle as so many stalled oxen,
        "_fat bulls of Basan_."

          "A hundred head of Aristotle's friends."

        Swift has drawn an allegorical personage of Aristotle, by
        which he describes the nature of his works. "He stooped much,
        and made use of a staff; his visage was meagre, his hair lank
        and thin, and his voice hollow;" descriptive of his abrupt
        conciseness, his harsh style, the obscurities of his
        dilapidated text, and the deficiency of feeling, which his
        studied compression, his deep sagacity, and his analytical
        genius, so frequently exhibit.

  [254] Sprat makes an ingenious observation on the notion of those who
        declared that "_the most learned ages are still the most
        atheistical, and the ignorant the most devout_." He says this
        had become almost proverbial, but he shows that piety is
        little beholden to those who make this distinction. "The
        Jewish law forbids us to offer up to God a sacrifice that has
        a blemish; but these men bestow the most excellent of men on
        the devil, and only assign to religion those men and those
        times which have the greatest blemish of human nature, even a
        defect in their knowledge and understanding."--_History of the
        Royal Society_, p. 356.

  [255] Science, at its birth, is as much the child of imagination as
        curiosity; and, in rapture at the new instrument it has
        discovered, it impatiently magnifies its power. To the
        infant, all improvements are wonders; it chronicles even its
        dreams, and has often described what it never has seen,
        delightfully deceived; the cold insults of the cynics, the
        wits, the dull, and the idle, maliciously mortify the
        infant in its sports, till it returns to slow labour and
        patient observation. It is rather curious, however, that
        when science obtains a certain state of maturity, it is
        liable to be attacked by the same fits of the marvellous
        which affected its infancy;--and the following extract from
        one of the enthusiastic _Virtuosi_ in the infancy of science,
        rivals the visions of "the perfectibility of man" of which we
        hear so much at this late period. Some, perhaps, may consider
        these strong tendencies of the imagination, breaking out at
        these different periods in the history of science, to
        indicate results, of which the mind feels a consciousness,
        which the philosopher should neither indulge nor check.

        "Should these heroes go on (the Royal Society) as they
        have happily begun, they will fill the world with wonders;
        and posterity will find many things that are now but
        _rumours_, verified into practical _realities_. It may be,
        some ages hence, a _voyage_ to the southern unknown tracts,
        yea, possibly the _Moon_, will not be more strange than one
        to America. To them that come after us, it may be as
        ordinary to _buy a pair of wings_ to fly into remotest
        regions, as now _a pair of boots_ to ride a journey. And to
        confer at the distance of the Indies, by _sympathetic
        conveyances_, may be as usual to future times, as to us in a
        literary correspondence. The restoration of _grey hairs to
        juvenility_, and renewing the _exhausted marrow_, may at
        length, be effected without a miracle; and the turning the
        now-comparative _desert world_ into a _paradise_, may not
        improbably be expected from late _agriculture_.

        "Those that judge by the narrowness of former principles and
        successes, will smile at these paradoxical expectations. But
        the great inventions of latter ages, which altered the face of
        all things, in their naked proposals and mere suppositions,
        were to former times as ridiculous. To have talked of a new
        earth to have been discovered, had been a romance to
        antiquity; and to sail without sight of stars or shores, by
        the guidance of a mineral, a story more absurd than the
        flight of Dædalus. That men should speak after their tongues
        were ashes, or communicate with each other in differing
        hemispheres, before the invention of letters, could not but
        have been thought a fiction. Antiquity would not have
        believed the almost incredible force of our cannons, and
        would as coldly have entertained the wonders of the
        telescope."--GLANVILL, _Scepsis Scientifica_, p. 133.

  [256] Evelyn, whose elegant mind, one would have imagined, had been
        little susceptible of such vehement anger, in the preface
        to his "Sylva," scolds at no common rate: "Well-meaning
        people are led away by the noise of a few ignorant and
        comical buffoons, who, with an insolence suitable to their
        understanding, are still crying out, _What have the Society
        done?_" He attributes all the opposition and ridicule the
        Society encountered to a personage not usual to be introduced
        into a philosophical controversy--"The Enemy of Mankind." But
        it was well to denounce the devil himself, as the Society had
        nearly lost the credit of fearing him. Evelyn insists that
        "next to the propagation of our most holy faith," that of the
        new philosophy was desirable both for the king and the
        nation; "for," he adds, "it will survive the triumphs of
        the proudest conquerors; since, when all their pomp and
        noise is ended, they are those _little things in black_, whom
        now in scorn they term philosophers and fops, to whom they
        must be obliged for making their names outlast the pyramids,
        whose founders are as unknown as the heads of the Nile." Why
        Evelyn designates the philosophers as _little things in
        black_, requires explanation. Did they affect a dress of
        this colour in the reign of Charles II., or does he allude
        to the dingy appearance of the chemists?

  [257] It is not easy to credit the simplicity of these early
        inquirers. In a Memorial in Sprat's History, entitled,
        "Answers returned by Sir Philliberto Vernatti to certain
        Inquiries sent by order of the Royal Society;" among some of
        the most extraordinary questions and descriptions of
        nonentities, which must have fatigued Sir Philliberto, who
        then resided in Batavia, I find the present:--"Qy. 8. What
        ground there may be for that relation concerning _horns
        taking root, and growing about Goa_?" It seems the question
        might as well have been asked at London, and answered by
        some of the members themselves; for Sir Philliberto
        gravely replied--"Inquiring about this, a friend laughed,
        and told me it was a jeer put upon the Portuguese, because
        the women of Goa are counted none of the chastest." Inquiries
        of this nature, and often the most trivial objects set off
        with a singular minuteness of description, tempted the laugh
        of the scoffers. Their great adversary, Stubbe, ridiculing
        their mode of giving instructions for inquiries, regrets
        that the paper he received from them had been lost, otherwise
        he would have published it. "The great Mr. Boyle, when he
        brought it, tendered it with blushing and disorder," at the
        simplicity of the Royal Society! And indeed the royal founder
        himself, who, if he was something of a philosopher, was much
        more of a wit, set the example. The Royal Society, on the day
        of its creation, was the whetstone of the wit of their
        patron. When Charles II. dined with the members on the
        occasion of constituting them a Royal Society, towards the
        close of the evening he expressed his satisfaction in being
        the first English monarch who had laid a foundation for a
        society who proposed that their sole studies should be
        directed to the investigation of the arcana of nature; and
        added with that peculiar gravity of countenance he usually
        wore on such occasions, that among such learned men he now
        hoped for a solution to a question which had long perplexed
        him. The case he thus stated:--"Suppose two pails of water
        were fixed in two different scales that were equally
        poised, and which weighed equally alike, and that two live
        bream, or small fish, were put into either of these pails, he
        wanted to know the reason why that pail, with such addition,
        should not weigh more than the other pail which stood
        against it." Every one was ready to set at quiet the royal
        curiosity; but it appeared that every one was giving a
        different opinion. One, at length, offered so ridiculous a
        solution, that another of the members could not refrain from
        a loud laugh; when the King, turning to him, insisted that he
        should give his sentiments as well as the rest. This he did
        without hesitation, and told his majesty, in plain terms, that
        he denied the fact! On which the King, in high mirth,
        exclaimed--"Odds fish, brother, you are in the right!" The
        jest was not ill designed. The story was often useful, to cool
        the enthusiasm of the scientific visionary, who is apt
        often to account for what never has existed.

  [258] Pope was severe in his last book of the _Dunciad_ on the
        students of insects, flowers, &c.; and R.O. Cambridge followed
        out the idea of a mad virtuoso in his "Scribleriad," which he
        has made up from the absurd or trifling parts of natural
        history and philosophy. His hero is--

          "A much-enduring man, whose curious soul
          Bore him with ceaseless toil from pole to pole;
          Insatiate endless knowledge to obtain,
          Thro' woes by land, thro' dangers on the main."

        He collects curiosities from all parts of the world; studies
        occult and natural sciences; and is at last beatified by
        electrical glories at a meeting of hermetical philosophers.
        This poem is elucidated by notes, which point the allusions to
        the works or doings of the old philosophers.--ED.

  [259] Evelyn, who could himself be a wit occasionally, was, however,
        much annoyed by the scorners. He applies to these wits a
        passage in Nehemiah ii. 19, which describes those who laughed
        at the _builders of Jerusalem_. "These are the Sanballats,
        the Horonites, who disturb our men upon the wall; but _let
        us rise up and build_!" He describes these Horonites of wit as
        "magnificent fops, whose talents reach but to the adjusting of
        their perukes." But the Royal Society was attacked from other
        quarters, which ought to have assisted them. Evelyn, in his
        valuable treatise on forest-trees, had inserted a new
        project for making cider; and Stubbe insisted, that in
        consequence "much cider had been spoiled within these three
        years, by following the directions published by the
        commands of the Royal Society." They afterwards announced
        that they never considered themselves as answerable for
        their own memoirs, which gave Stubbe occasion to boast that
        he had forced them to deny what they had written. A passage
        in Hobbes's "Considerations upon his Reputation, &c.," is as
        remarkable for the force of its style as for that of sense,
        and may be applicable to _some_ at this day, notwithstanding
        the progress of science, and the importance attached to
        their busy idleness.

        "Every man that hath spare money can get furnaces, and buy
        coals. Every man that hath spare money can be at the charge of
        making great moulds, &c., and so may have the best and
        greatest telescopes. They can get engines made, recipients
        made, and try conclusions; but they are never the more
        philosophers for all this. 'Tis laudable to bestow money on
        curious or useful delights, but that is none of the praises of
        a philosopher." p. 53.

  [260] Glanvill was a learned man, but evidently superstitious,
        particularly in all that related to witchcraft and apparitions;
        the reality of both being insisted on by him in a series of
        books which he published at various periods of his life, and
        which he continually worked upon with new arguments and
        instances, in spite of all criticism or opposition. He was a
        member of the Royal Society, prebend of Worcester, and rector
        of Bath, where he died, October 4, 1680.--ED.

  [261] The ninth chapter in the "Plus Ultra," entitled "The Credit of
        Optic Glasses vindicated against a disputing man, who is
        afraid to believe his eyes against Aristotle," gives one of
        the ludicrous incidents of this philosophical visit. The
        disputer raised a whimsical objection against the science of
        optics, insisting that the newly-invented glasses, the
        telescope, the microscope, &c., were all deceitful and
        fallacious; for, said the Aristotelian, "take two spectacles,
        use them at the same time, and you will not see so well as
        with one singly--_ergo_, your microscopes and telescopes are
        impostors." How this was forced into a syllogism does not
        appear; but still the conclusion ran, "We can see better
        through one pair than two, therefore all perspectives are

          One proposition for sense,
          And t'other for convenience,

        will make a tolerable syllogism for a logician in despair. The
        Aristotelian was, however, somewhat puzzled by a problem which
        he had himself raised--"Why we cannot see with two pair of
        spectacles better than with one singly?" for the man of axioms
        observed, "_Vis unita fortior_," "United strength _is
        stronger_." It is curious enough, in the present day, to
        observe the sturdy Aristotelian denying these discoveries, and
        the praises of optics, and "the new glasses," by Glanvill. "If
        this philosopher," says the member of the Royal Society, "had
        spared some of those thoughts to the profitable doctrine of
        optics which he hath spent upon _genus_ and _species_, we had
        never heard of this objection." And he replies to the paradox
        which the Aristotelian had raised by "Why cannot he write
        better with _two pens_ than with a _single one_, since _Vis
        unita fortior_? When he hath answered this _Quære_, he hath
        resolved his own. The reason he gave why it should be so, is
        the reason why 'tis not." Such are the squabbles of infantine
        science, which cannot as yet discover causes, although it has
        ascertained effects.

  [262] This appears in chap. xviii. of the "Plus Ultra." With great
        simplicity Glanvill relates:--"At this period of the
        conference, the disputer lost all patience, and with sufficient
        spite and rage told me 'that I was an atheist!--that he had
        indeed desired my acquaintance, but would have no more on't,'
        and so turned his back and went away, giving me time only to
        answer that 'I had no great reason to lament the loss of an
        acquaintance that could be so easily forfeited.'" The
        following chapter vindicates the Royal Society from the
        charge of atheism! to assure the world they were not to be
        ranked "among the black conspirators against Heaven!" We see
        the same objections again occurring in the modern system of

  [263] This book was so scarce in 1757, that the writer in the
        "Biographia Britannica" observes that this "small but elegant
        treatise is still very much esteemed by the curious, being
        become so scarce as not to be met with in other hands." Oldys,
        in 1738, had, in his "British Librarian," selected this work
        among the scarce and valuable books of which he has presented
        us with so many useful analyses.

        The history of books is often curious. At one period a book is
        scarce and valuable, and at another is neither one nor the
        other. This does not always depend on the caprice of the
        public, or what may be called literary fashions. Glanvill's
        "Plus Ultra" is probably now of easy occurrence; like a
        prophecy fully completed, the uncertain event being verified,
        the prophet has ceased to be remembered.

  [264] His early history is given by Wood in his usual style. His
        father had been a Lincolnshire parson, who was obliged to
        leave his poor curacy because "anabaptistically inclined," and
        fled to Ireland, whence his mother and her children were
        obliged to return on the breaking out of the rebellion of
        1641, and landed at Liverpool; afterward, says Wood, "they all
        beated it on the hoof thence to London, where she, gaining a
        comfortable subsistence by her needle, sent her son Henry,
        being then ten years of age, to the collegiate school at
        Westminster. At that time Mr. Richard Busbie was the chief
        master, who finding the boy have pregnant parts to a miracle,
        did much favour and encourage him. At length Sir Henry Vane,
        junior (the same who was beheaded on Tower Hill, 1662), coming
        casually into the school with Dr. Lambert Osbaldiston, he did,
        at the master's motion, take a kindness to the said boy, and
        gave him the liberty to resort to his house, and to fill that
        belly which otherwise had no sustenance but what one penny
        could purchase for his dinner: and as for his breakfast, he
        had none, except he got it by making somebody's exercise. Soon
        after, Sir Henry got him to be a king's scholar; and his
        master perceiving him to be beyond his years in proficiency,
        he gave him money to buy books, clothes, and his teaching for
        nothing." Such was the humble beginning of a learned man, who
        lived to be a formidable opponent to the whole body of the
        Royal Society.--ED.

  [265] When Sprat and Glanvill, and others, had threatened to write his
        life, Stubbe draws this apology for it, while he shows how
        much, in a time of revolutions, the Royal Society might want
        one for themselves.

        "I was so far from being daunted at those rumours and threats,
        that I enlarged much this book thereupon, and resolved to
        charge the enemy home when I saw how weak a resistance I
        should meet with. I knew that recriminations were no answers.
        I understood well that the passages of a life like mine, spent
        in different places with much privacy and obscurity, was
        unknown to them; that even those actions they would fix their
        greatest calumnies upon, were such as that they understood not
        the grounds, nor had they learning enough and skill to
        condemn. I was at Westminster School when the late king was
        beheaded. I never took covenant nor engagement. In sum, _I
        served my patron_. I endeavoured to express my _gratitude_ to
        him who had relieved me, being a _child_, and in great poverty
        (the rebellion in Ireland having deprived my parents of all
        means wherewith to educate me); who made me a king's scholar;
        preferred me to Christchurch College, Oxon.; and who often
        supplied me with money when my tender years gave him little
        hopes of any return; and who protected me amidst the
        _Presbyterians_, and _Independents_, and other _sects_. With
        none thereof did I contract any relation or acquaintance; my
        familiarity never engaged me with ten of that party; and my
        genius and humour inclined me to fewer. I neither enriched,
        nor otherwise advanced myself, during the late troubles; and
        shared the common _odium_ and _dangers_, not _prosperity_,
        with my _benefactor_. I believe no generous man, who hath the
        least sense of bravery, will condemn me; and I profess I am
        ashamed rather to have done so little, than that I have done
        so much, for him that so frankly obliged a _stranger_ and a
        _child_. When Gracchus was put to death for sedition, that
        faithful friend and accomplice of his was dismissed, and
        mentioned with honour by all posterity, who, when he was
        impeached, _justified his treason_ by the avowing a
        _friendship_ so great that, whatever Gracchus had commanded
        him, he would not have declined it. And being further
        questioned, whether he would have burned the capitol at his
        bidding? he replied again, that he should have done it; but
        Gracchus would not bid such a thing. They that knew me
        heretofore, know I have a thousand times thus apologised for
        myself; adding, that in _vassals_ and _slaves_, and persons
        _transcendently obliged_, their fidelity exempted them from
        all ignominy, though the principal _lords_, _masters_, and
        _patrons_, might be accounted _traitors_. My youth and other
        circumstances incapacitated me from rendering him any great
        services; but _all that I did_, and _all that I writ_, had no
        other aim than _his interest_; nor do I care how much any man
        can inodiate my former writings, as long as they were
        subservient to him.

        "Having made this declaration, let them (or more able men
        than they) write the life of a man who hath some virtues of
        the most celebrated times, and hath preserved himself free
        from the vices of these. My reply shall be a scornful
        silence."--Preface to Stubbe's "Legends no Histories," 1670.

  [266] His reasons for conformity on these important objects are given
        with his usual simplicity. "I have at length removed all the
        umbrages I ever lay under. I have joined myself to the Church
        of England, not only upon account of its being _publicly
        imposed_ (which in _things indifferent_ is no small
        consideration, as I learned from the Scottish transactions at
        Perth), but because it is _the least defining_, and
        consequently _the most comprehensive and fitting to be

  [267] He died at Bath in 1676, where he had gone in attendance upon
        several of his patients from the neighbourhood of Warwick,
        where he for a long time practised as a physician. His old
        antagonist Glanvill was at that time rector of the Abbey
        Church in which he was buried, and so became the preacher of
        his funeral sermon. Wood says he "said no great matter of

  [268] Pope said to Spence, "It was Dryden who made Will's coffee-house
        the great resort for the wits of his time. After his death
        Addison transferred it to Button's, who had been a servant of
        his." Will's coffee-house was at the corner of Bow-street,
        Covent-garden, and Button's close by in Russell-street.--ED.

  [269] "Some years after the king's restoration he took pet against the
        Royal Society, (for which before he had a great veneration,)
        and being encouraged by Dr. Jo. Fell, no admirer of that
        society, became in his writings an inveterate enemy against it
        for several pretended reasons: among which were, first, that
        the members thereof intended to bring a contempt upon ancient
        and solid learning, upon Aristotle, to undermine the
        universities, and reduce them to nothing, or at least to be
        very inconsiderable. Secondly, that at long running to destroy
        the established religion, and involve the nation in popery,
        and I know not what, &c. So dexterous was his pen, whether
        _pro_ or _con_, that few or none could equal, answer, or come
        near him. He was a person of most admirable parts, had a most
        prodigious memory, though his enemies would not acknowledge
        it, but said he read indexes; was the most noted Latinist and
        Grecian of his age; and after he had been put upon it, was so
        great an enemy to the _virtuosi_ of his time, I mean those of
        the Royal Society, that, as he saith, they alarmed him with
        dangers and troubles even to the hazard of his life and

  [270] The aspersed passage in Glanvill is this: "The philosophers of
        elder times, though their wits were excellent, yet the way
        they took was not like to bring much advantage to knowledge,
        or any of the uses of human life, being, for the most part,
        that of _Notion_ and _Dispute_, which still runs round in a
        labyrinth of talk, but advanceth nothing. _These methods_, in
        so many centuries, _never brought the world so much practical
        beneficial knowledge as could help towards the cure of a cut
        finger_." Plus Ultra, p. 7.--Stubbe, with all the malice of a
        wit, drew his inference, and turned the point unfairly against
        his adversary!

        I shall here observe how much some have to answer, in a
        literary court of conscience, when they unfairly depreciate
        the works of a contemporary; and how idly the literary
        historian performs his task, whenever he adopts the character
        of a writer from another who is his adversary. This may be
        particularly shown in the present instance.

        MORHOFF, in his _Polyhistor Litteraria_, censures the _Plus
        Ultra_ of Glanvill, conceiving that he had treated with
        contempt all ages and nations but his own. The German
        bibliographer had never seen the book, but took its character
        from Stubbe and Meric Casaubon. The design of the _Plus
        Ultra_, however, differs little from the other works of
        Glanvill, which Morhoff had seen, and has highly commended.

  [271] The political reverie of Campanella was even suspected to cover
        very opposite designs to those he seemed to be proposing to
        the world. He attempted to turn men's minds from all inquiries
        into politics and religion, to mere philosophical ones. He
        wished that the passions of mankind might be so directed, as
        to spend their force in philosophical discussions, and in
        improvements in science. He therefore insisted on a uniformity
        on those great subjects which have so long agitated modern
        Europe; for the ancients seem to have had no wars merely for
        religion, and perhaps none for modes of government. One may
        discover an enlightened principle in the project; but the
        character of Campanella was a jumble of sense, subtlety, and
        wildness. He probably masked his real intentions. He appears
        an advocate for the firm establishment of the papal despotism;
        yet he aims to give an enlightened principle to regulate the
        actions of mankind. The intentions of a visionary are
        difficult to define. If he were really an advocate for
        despotism, what occasioned an imprisonment for the greater
        part of his days? Did he lay his project much deeper than the
        surface of things? Did Campanella imagine that, if men were
        allowed to philosophise with the utmost freedom, the despotism
        of religion and politics would dissolve away in the weakness
        of its quiescent state?

        The project is a chimera--but, according to the projector, the
        political and religious freedom of _England_ formed its
        greatest obstacle. Part of his plan, therefore, includes the
        means of weakening the Insular heretics by intestine
        divisions--a mode not seldom practised by the continental
        powers of France and Spain.

        The political project of this fervid genius was, that his
        "Prince," the Spanish king, should be the mightiest sovereign
        in Europe. For this, he was first to prohibit all theological
        controversies from the Transalpine schools, those of Germany,
        &c. "A controversy," he observes, "always shows a kind of
        victory, and may serve as an authority to a bad cause." He
        would therefore admit of no commentaries on the Bible, to
        prevent all diversity of opinion. He would have revived the
        ancient philosophical sects, instead of the modern religious

        The _Greek_ and the _Hebrew_ languages were not to be taught!
        for the republican freedom of the ancient Jews and Grecians
        had often proved destructive of monarchy. Hobbes, in the bold
        scheme of his _Leviathan_, seems to have been aware of this
        fatality. Campanella would substitute for these ancient
        languages the study of the _Arabic_ tongue! The troublesome
        Transalpine wits might then employ themselves in confuting the
        Turks, rather than in vexing the Catholics; so closely did
        sagacity and extravagance associate in the mind of this wild
        genius. But _Mathematical_ and _Astronomical_ schools, and
        other institutions for the encouragement of the _mechanical
        arts_, and particularly those to which the northern genius is
        most apt, as navigation, &c., were to occupy the studies of
        the people, divert them from exciting fresh troubles, and
        withdraw them from theological factions. Campanella thus would
        make men great in science, having first made them slaves in
        politics; a philosophical people were to be the subjects of
        despots--not an impossible event!

        His plan, remarkable enough, of _weakening the English_, I
        give in his words:--"No better way can possibly be found than
        by causing divisions and dissensions among them, and by
        continually keeping up the same; which will furnish the
        Spaniard and the French with advantageous opportunities. As
        for their religion, which is a moderated Calvinism, that
        cannot be so easily extinguished and rooted out there, unless
        there were some schools set up in Flanders, where the English
        have great commerce, by means of which there may be scattered
        abroad the seeds of schism and division. These people being of
        a nature which is still desirous of novelties and change, they
        are easily wrought over to anything." These _schools_ were
        tried at Douay in Flanders, and at Valladolid in Spain, and
        other places. They became nests of rebellion for the English
        Catholics; or for any one, who, being discontented with
        government, was easily converted to any religion which aimed
        to overturn the British Constitution. The _secret history_ of
        the Roman Catholics in England remains yet to be told: they
        indeed had their martyrs and their heroes; but the _public
        effects_ appear in the frequent executions which occurred in
        the reigns of Elizabeth and James.

        Stubbe appears to have imagined that the ROYAL SOCIETY was
        really formed on the principle of Campanella; to withdraw the
        people from intermeddling with _politics_ and _religion_, by
        engaging them merely in philosophical pursuits.--The reaction
        of the public mind is an object not always sufficiently
        indicated by historians. The vile hypocrisy and mutual
        persecutions of the numerous fanatics occasioned very relaxed
        and tolerant principles of religion at the Restoration; as,
        the democratic fury having spent itself, too great an
        indulgence was now allowed to monarchy. Stubbe was alarmed
        that, should Popery be established, the crown of England would
        become feudatory to foreign power, and embroil the nation in
        the restitution of all the abbey lands, of which, at the
        Reformation, the Church had so zealously been plundered. He
        was still further alarmed that the _virtuosi_ would influence
        the education of our youth to these purposes; "an evil," says
        he, "which has been guarded against by our ancestors in
        founding _free-schools_, by uniformity of instruction
        cementing men's minds." We now smile at these terrors; perhaps
        they were sometimes real. The absolute necessity of strict
        conformity to the prevalent religion of Europe was avowed in
        that unrivalled scheme of despotism, which menaced to efface
        every trace of popular freedom, and the independence of
        nations, under the dominion of Napoleon.

  [272] To this threat of writing his life, we have already noticed the
        noble apology he has drawn up for the versatility of his
        opinions. See p. 347. At the moment of the Restoration it
        was unwise for any of the parties to reproach another for
        their opinions or their actions. In a national revolution,
        most men are implicated in the general reproach; and Stubbe
        said, on this occasion, that "he had observed worse faces in
        the society than his own." Waller, and Sprat, and Cowley had
        equally commemorated the protectorship of Cromwell and the
        restoration of Charles. Our satirist insidiously congratulates
        himself that "_he_ had never compared Oliver the regicide to
        Moses, or his son to Joshua;" nor that he had ever written any
        Pindaric ode, "dedicated to the happy memory of the most
        renowned Prince Oliver, Lord Protector:" nothing to recommend
        "the sacred urn" of that blessed spirit to the veneration of
        posterity; as if

          "His _fame_, like men, the elder it doth grow,
          Will of itself turn _whiter_ too,
          Without what needless art can do."

        These lines were, I think, taken from Sprat himself! Stubbe
        adds, it would be "imprudent in them to look beyond the act of
        indemnity and oblivion, which was more necessary to the Royal
        Society than to me, who joined with no party, &c."--_Preface
        to "Legends no Histories."_

  [273] He has described this intercourse of his enemies at court with
        the king, where, when this punishment was suggested, "a
        generous personage, altogether unknown to me, being present,
        bravely and frankly interposed, saying, that 'whatever I was,
        I was a Roman; that Englishmen were not so precipitously to be
        condemned to so exemplary a punishment; that representing that
        book to be a libel against the king was too remote a
        consequence to be admitted of in a nation free-born, and
        governed by laws, and tender of ill precedents.'" It was a
        noble speech, in the relaxed politics of the court of Charles
        II. He who made it deserved to have had his name more
        explicitly told: he is designated as "that excellent
        Englishman, the great ornament of this age, nation, and House
        of Commons; he whose single worth balanceth much of the
        debaucheries, follies, and impertinences of the kingdom."--_A
        Reply unto the Letter written to Mr. Henry Stubbe, Oxford,
        1671_, p. 20.

  [274] Stubbe gives some curious information on this subject. Harvey
        published his Treatise at Frankfort, 1628, but Cæsalpinus's
        work had appeared in 1593. Harvey adopted the notion, and more
        fully and perspicuously proved it. I shall give what Stubbe
        says. "Harvey, in his two Answers to Riolan, nowhere asserts
        the invention so to himself, as to deny that he had the
        intimation or notion from Cæsalpinus; and his silence I take
        for a tacit confession. His _ambition of glory_ made him
        _willing to be thought the author of a paradox_ he had so
        illustrated, and brought upon the stage, where _it lay
        unregarded_, and in all probability buried in oblivion; yet
        such was his modesty, as not to vindicate it to himself by
        telling a lie."--STUBBE'S _Censure_, &c., p. 112.

        I give this literary anecdote, as it enters into the history
        of most discoveries, of which the _improvers_, rather than the
        _inventors_, are usually the most known to the world. Bayle,
        who wrote much later than Stubbe, asserts the same, and has
        preserved the entire passage, art. _Cæsalpinus_. It is said
        Harvey is more expressly indebted to a passage in Servetus,
        which Wotton has given in the preface to his "Reflections on
        Ancient and Modern Learning," edition 1725. The notion was
        probably then afloat, and each alike contributed to its
        development. Thus it was disputed with Copernicus, whether his
        great discovery of a fixed sun, and the earth wheeling round
        that star, was his own; others had certainly observed it; yet
        the invention was still Copernican: for that great genius
        alone corrected, extended, and gave perfection to a hint, till
        it expanded to a system.

        So gradual have often been the great inventions of genius.
        What others _conjectured_, and some _discovered_, Harvey
        _demonstrated_. The fate of Harvey's discovery is a curious
        instance of that patience and fortitude which genius must too
        often exert in respect to itself. Though Harvey lived to his
        eightieth year, he hardly witnessed his great discovery
        established before he died; and it has been said, that he was
        the only one of his contemporaries who lived to see it in some
        repute. No physician adopted it; and when it got into vogue,
        they then disputed whether he was the inventor! Sir William
        Temple denied not only the discovery, but the doctrine of the
        Circulation of the Blood. "Sense can hardly allow it; which,"
        says he, "in this dispute must be satisfied as well as reason,
        before mankind will concur."

  [275] Stubbe has an eloquent passage, which describes the philosophy
        of science. The new Experimental School had perhaps too wholly
        rejected some virtues of the old one; the cultivation of the
        human understanding, as well as the mere observation on the
        facts that they collected; an error which has not been
        entirely removed.

        "That art of reasoning by which the prudent are discriminated
        from fools, which methodiseth and facilitates our discourses,
        which informs us of the validity of consequences and the
        probability of arguments, and manifests the fallacies of
        impostors; that art which gives life to solid eloquence, and
        which renders Statesmen, Divines, Physicians, and Lawyers
        accomplished; how is this cried down and vilified by the
        ignoramuses of these days! What contempt is there raised upon
        the disputative Ethics of Aristotle and the Stoics; and those
        moral instructions, which have produced the Alexanders and the
        Ptolemies, the Pompeys and the Ciceroes, are now slighted in
        comparison of _day-labouring_! Did we live at Sparta, where
        the daily employments were the exercises of substantial virtue
        and gallantry, and _men_, like _setting dogs_, were rather
        _bred up_ unto, than _taught_ reason and worth, it were a more
        tolerable proposal (though the different policy of these times
        would not admit of it); but this _working_, so recommended, is
        but the _feeding of carp in the air_, &c. As for the study of
        Politics, and all critical learning, these are either
        pedantical, or tedious, to those who have _a shorter way of
        studying men_."--_Preface to "Legends no Histories."_

  [276] "Legends no Histories," p. 5.

  [277] Dr. King was allied to the families of Clarendon and Rochester;
        he took a degree as Doctor of Civil Law, and soon got into
        great practice. "He afterwards went with the Earl of Pembroke,
        Lord-Lieutenant, to Ireland, where he became Judge Advocate,
        Sole Commissioner of the Prizes, Keeper of the Records,
        Vicar-General to the Lord Primate of Ireland; was countenanced
        by persons of the highest rank, and might have made a fortune.
        But so far was he from heaping up riches, that he returned to
        England with no other treasure than a few merry poems and
        humorous essays, and returned to his student's place in Christ
        Church."--_Enc. Brit._ He was assisted by Bolingbroke; but
        when his patronage failed, Swift procured him the situation of
        editor to "Barber's Gazette." He ultimately took to drinking;
        Lintot the bookseller, told Pope, "I remember Dr. King could
        write verses in a tavern three hours after he could not
        speak." His last patron was Lord Clarendon, and he died in
        apartments he had provided for him in London, Dec. 25, 1712,
        and was buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey at the
        expense of his lordship.--ED.

  [278] Sloane describes Clark, the famous posture-master, "Phil.
        Trans." No. 242, certainly with the wildest grammar, but with
        many curious particulars; the gentleman in one of Dr. King's
        Dialogues inquires the secretary's opinion of the causes of
        this man's wonderful pliability of limbs; a question which
        Sloane had thus solved, with colloquial ease: it depended upon
        "bringing the body to it, by using himself to it."

        In giving an account of "a child born without a brain"--"Had
        it lived long enough," said King, "it would have made an
        excellent publisher of Philosophical Transactions!"

        Sloane presented the Royal Society with "a figure of a
        Chinese, representing one of that nation using an ear-picker,
        and expressing great satisfaction therein."--"Whatever
        pleasure," said that learned physician, "the Chinese may take
        in thus picking their ears, I am certain most people in these
        parts, who have had their hearing impaired, have had such
        misfortune first come to them by picking their ears too
        much."--He is so _curious_, says King, that the secretary took
        as much satisfaction in looking upon the ear-picker, as the
        Chinese could do in picking their ears!

        But "What drowning is"--that "Hanging is only apoplexy!" that
        "Men cannot swallow when they are dead!" that "No fish die of
        fevers!" that "Hogs s--t soap, and cows s--t fire!" that the
        secretary had "Shells, called _Blackmoor's-teeth_, I suppose
        from their _whiteness_!" and the learned RAY'S, that grave
        naturalist, incredible description of "a very curious little
        instrument!" I leave to the reader and Dr. King.

  [279] Sir Hans Sloane was unhappily not insensible to these ludicrous
        assaults, and in the preface to his "History of Jamaica,"
        1707, a work so highly prized for its botanical researches,
        absolutely anticipated this fatal facetiousness, for thus he
        delivers himself:--"Those who strive to make ridiculous
        anything of this kind, and think themselves great wits, but
        are very ignorant, and understand nothing of the argument,
        these, if one were afraid of them, and consulted his own ease,
        might possibly hinder the publication of any such work, the
        efforts to be expected from them, making possibly some
        impression upon persons of equal dispositions; but considering
        that I have the approbation of others, whose judgment,
        knowledge, &c., I have great reason to value; and considering
        that these sorts of men have been in all ages ready to do the
        like, not only to ordinary persons and their equals, but even
        to abuse their prince and blaspheme their Maker, I shall, as I
        have ever since I seriously considered this matter, think of
        and treat them with the greatest contempt."

  [280] Dr. King's dispersed works have fortunately been collected by
        Mr. Nichols, with ample illustrations, in three vols. 8vo,
        1776. The "Useful Transactions in Philosophy and other sorts
        of Learning," form a collection of ludicrous dissertations
        of Antiquarianism, Natural Philosophy, Criticism, &c., where
        his own peculiar humour combines with his curious reading. [In
        this he burlesqued the proceedings of the Royal and
        Antiquarian Societies with some degree of spirit and humour.
        By turning vulgar lines into Greek, Latin, and Anglo-Saxon,
        a learned air is given to some papers on childish subjects.
        One learned doctor communicates to another "an Essay proving,
        by arguments philosophical, that millers, falsely so reputed,
        are not thieves, with an interesting argument that taylors
        likewise are not so." A Welsh schoolmaster sends some
        "natural observations" made in Wales, in direct imitation of
        the "Philosophical Transactions" for 1707, and with humorous
        love for genealogy, reckons that in his school, "since the
        flood, there have been 466, and I am the 467th master: before
        the flood, they living long, there were but two--Rice ap Evan
        Dha the good, and Davie ap Shones Gonnah the naught, in
        whose time the flood came." The first paper of the collection
        is an evident jest on John Bagford and his gatherings for
        the history of printing, now preserved among the manuscripts
        of the British Museum. It purports to be "an Essay on the
        invention of samplers, communicated by Mrs. Judith Bagford,
        with an account of her collections for the same:" and
        written in burlesque of a paper in the "Philosophical
        Transactions" for April, 1697. It is a most elaborate
        performance, deducing with mock-seriousness the origin of
        samplers from the ancient tales of Arachne, who "set forth
        the whole story of her wrongs in needlework, and sent it to
        her sister;" and our author adds, with much humour, "it is
        very remarkable that the memory of this story does at present
        continue, for there are no samplers, which proceed in any
        measure beyond the first rudiments, but have a tree and a
        nightingale sitting on it." Such were the jests of the day
        against the Royal philosophers.] He also invented _satirical
        and humorous indexes_, not the least facetious parts of
        his volumes. King had made notes on more than 20,000 books
        and MSS., and his _Adversaria_, of which a portion has been
        preserved, is not inferior in curiosity to the literary
        journals of Gibbon, though it wants the investigating spirit
        of the modern philosopher.



  A Parallel between Orator HENLEY and Sir JOHN HILL--his love of the
  Science of Botany, with the fate of his "Vegetable System"--ridicules
  scientific Collectors; his "Dissertation on Royal Societies," and his
  "Review of the Works of the Royal Society"--compliments himself
  that he is NOT a Member--successful in his attacks on the
  Experimentalists, but loses his spirit in encountering the
  Wits--"The Inspector"--a paper war with FIELDING--a literary
  stratagem--battles with SMART and WOODWARD--HILL appeals to the
  Nation for the Office of Keeper of the Sloane Collection--closes
  his life by turning Empiric--Some Epigrams on HILL--his
  Miscellaneous Writings.

In the history of literature we discover some who have opened their
career with noble designs, and with no deficient powers, yet unblest
with stoic virtues, having missed, in their honourable labours, those
rewards they had anticipated, they have exhibited a sudden transition
of character, and have left only a name proverbial for its disgrace.

Our own literature exhibits two extraordinary characters, indelibly
marked by the same traditional odium. The wit and acuteness of Orator
HENLEY, and the science and vivacity of the versatile Sir JOHN HILL,
must separate them from those who plead the same motives for abjuring
all moral restraint, without having ever furnished the world with a
single instance that they were capable of forming nobler views.

This _orator_ and this _knight_ would admit of a close parallel;[281]
both as modest in their youth as afterwards remarkable for their
effrontery. Their youth witnessed the same devotedness to study, with
the same inventive and enterprising genius. Hill projected and pursued
a plan of botanical travels, to form a collection of rare plants: the
patronage he received was too limited, and he suffered the misfortune
of having anticipated the national taste for the science of botany by
half a century. Our young philosopher's valuable "Treatise on Gems,"
from Theophrastus, procured for him the warm friendship of the eminent
members of the Royal Society. To this critical period of the lives of
Henley and of Hill, their resemblance is striking; nor is it less from
the moment the surprising revolution in their characters occurred.

Pressed by the wants of life, they lost its decencies. Henley
attempted to poise himself against the University; Hill against the
Royal Society. Rejected by these learned bodies, both these Cains of
literature, amid their luxuriant ridicule of eminent men, still evince
some claims to rank among them. The one prostituted his genius in his
"Lectures;" the other, in his "Inspectors." Never two authors were
more constantly pelted with epigrams, or buffeted in literary
quarrels. They have met with the same fate; covered with the same
odium. Yet Sir John Hill, this despised man, after all the fertile
absurdities of his literary life, performed more for the improvement
of the "Philosophical Transactions," and was the cause of diffusing a
more general taste for the science of botany, than any other
contemporary. His real ability extorts that regard which his
misdirected ingenuity, instigated by vanity, and often by more
worthless motives, had lost for him in the world.[282]

At the time that Hill was engaged in several large compilations for
the booksellers, his employers were desirous that the honours of an
F.R.S. should ornament his title-page. This versatile genius, however,
during these graver works, had suddenly emerged from his learned
garret, and, in the shape of a fashionable lounger, rolled in his
chariot from the Bedford to Ranelagh; was visible at routs; and
sate at the theatre a tremendous arbiter of taste, raising about him
tumults and divisions;[283] and in his "Inspectors," a periodical
paper which he published in the _London Daily Advertiser_, retailed
all the great matters relating to himself, and all the little
matters he collected in his rounds relating to others. Among other
personalities, he indulged his satirical fluency on the scientific
collectors. The Antiquarian Society were twitted as medal-scrapers and
antediluvian knife-grinders; conchologists were turned into
cockleshell merchants; and the naturalists were made to record
pompous histories of stickle-hacks and cockchafers. Cautioned by
Martin Folkes, President of the Royal Society,[284] not to attempt
his election, our enraged comic philosopher, who had preferred
his jests to his friends, now discovered that he had lost three
hundred at once. Hill could not obtain three signatures to his
recommendation. Such was the real, but, as usual, not the ostensible,
motive of his formidable attack on the Royal Society. He produced his
"Dissertation on Royal Societies, in a letter from a Sclavonian
nobleman to his friend," 1751; a humorous prose satire, exhibiting a
ludicrous description of a tumultuous meeting at the Royal Society,
contrasted with the decorum observed in the French Academy; and
moreover, he added a _conversazione_ in a coffee-house between some
of the members.

Such was the declaration of war, in a first act of hostility; but the
pitched-battle was fought in "A Review of the Works of the Royal
Society, in eight parts," 1751. This literary satire is nothing less
than a quarto volume, resembling, in its form and manner, the
Philosophical Transactions themselves; printed as if for the
convenience of members to enable them to bind the "Review" with the
work reviewed. Voluminous pleasantry incurs the censure of that
tedious trifling which it designs to expose. In this literary facetia,
however, no inconsiderable knowledge is interspersed with the
ridicule. Perhaps Hill might have recollected the successful attempts
of Stubbe on the Royal Society, who contributed that curious knowledge
which he pretended the Royal Society wanted; and with this knowledge
he attempted to combine the humour of Dr. King.[285]

Hill's rejection from the Royal Society, to another man would have
been a puddle to step over; but he tells a story, and cleanly passes
on, with impudent adroitness.[286]

Hill, however, though he used all the freedom of a satirist, by
exposing many ridiculous papers, taught the Royal Society a more
cautious selection. It could, however, obtain no forgiveness from the
parties it offended; and while the respectable men whom Hill had the
audacity to attack, Martin Folkes, the friend and successor of Newton,
and Henry Baker, the naturalist, were above his censure,--his own
reputation remained in the hands of his enemies. While Hill was
gaining over the laughers on his side, that volatile populace soon
discovered that the fittest object to be laughed at was our literary
Proteus himself.

The most egregious egotism alone could have induced this versatile
being, engaged in laborious works, to venture to give the town the
daily paper of _The Inspector_, which he supported for about two
years. It was a light scandalous chronicle all the week, with a
seventh-day sermon. His utter contempt for the genius of his
contemporaries, and the bold conceit of his own, often rendered the
motley pages amusing. _The Inspector_ became, indeed, the instrument
of his own martyrdom; but his impudence looked like magnanimity; for
he endured, with undiminished spirit, the most biting satires, the
most wounding epigrams, and more palpable castigations.[287] His vein
of pleasantry ran more freely in his attacks on the Royal Society than
in his other literary quarrels. When Hill had not to banter ridiculous
experimentalists, but to encounter wits, his reluctant spirit soon
bowed its head. Suddenly even his pertness loses its vivacity; he
becomes drowsy with dulness, and, conscious of the dubiousness of his
own cause, he skulks away terrified: he felt that the mask of quackery
and impudence which he usually wore was to be pulled off by the hands
now extended against him.

A humorous warfare of wit opened between Fielding, in his _Covent-Garden
Journal_, and Hill, in his _Inspector_. _The Inspector_ had made the
famous lion's head, at the Bedford, which the genius of Addison and
Steele had once animated, the receptacle of his wit; and the wits
asserted, of this now _inutile lignum_, that it was reduced to a mere
state of _blockheadism_. Fielding occasionally gave a facetious
narrative of a paper war between the forces of Sir Alexander Drawcansir,
the literary hero of the _Covent-Garden Journal_, and the army of
Grub-street; it formed an occasional literary satire. Hill's lion, no
longer Addison's or Steele's, is not described without humour.
Drawcansir's "troops are kept in awe by a strange mixed monster, not
much unlike the famous chimera of old. For while some of our
Reconnoiterers tell us that this monster has the appearance of a lion,
others assure us that his ears are much longer than those of that
generous beast."

Hill ventured to notice this attack on his "blockhead;" and, as was
usual with him, had some secret history to season his defence with.

"The author of 'Amelia,' whom I have only once seen, told me, at that
accidental meeting, he held the present set of writers in the
utmost contempt; and that, in his character of Sir Alexander
Drawcansir, he should treat them in the most unmerciful manner. He
assured me he had always excepted me; and after honouring me with
some encomiums, he proceeded to mention a conduct which would be,
he said, useful to both; this was, the amusing our readers with a
mock fight; giving blows that would not hurt, and sharing the
advantage in silence."[288]

Thus, by reversing the fact, Hill contrived to turn aside the frequent
stories against him by a momentary artifice, arresting or dividing
public opinion. The truth was, more probably, as Fielding relates it,
and the story, as we shall see, then becomes quite a different affair.
At all events, Hill incurred the censure of the traitor who violates a
confidential intercourse.

  And if he lies not, must at least betray.

Fielding lost no time in reply. To have brought down the _Inspector_
from his fastnesses into the open field, was what our new General only
wanted: a battle was sure to be a victory. Our critical Drawcansir has
performed his part, with his indifferent puns, but his natural

"It being reported to the General that a _hill_ must be levelled,
before the Bedford coffee-house could be taken, orders were given; but
this was afterwards found to be a mistake; for this _hill_ was only a
little paltry _dunghill_, and had long before been levelled with the
dirt. The General was then informed of a report which had been spread
by his _lowness_, the Prince of Billingsgate, in the Grub-street army,
that his Excellency had proposed, by a _secret treaty_ with that
Prince, to carry on the war only in appearance, and so to betray the
common cause; upon which his Excellency said with a smile:--'If the
betrayer of a private treaty could ever deserve the least credit, yet
his Lowness here must proclaim himself either a liar or a fool. None
can doubt but that he is the former, if he hath feigned this treaty;
and I think few would scruple to call him the latter, if he had
rejected it.' The General then declared the fact stood thus:--'His
Lowness came to my tent on an affair of his own. I treated him, though
a commander in the enemy's camp, with civility, and even kindness. I
told him, with the utmost good-humour, I should attack his Lion; and
that he might, if he pleased, in the same manner defend him; from
which, said I, no great loss can happen on either side--'"

_The Inspector_ slunk away, and never returned to the challenge.

During his inspectorship, he invented a whimsical literary stratagem,
which ended in his receiving a castigation more lasting than the
honours performed on him at Ranelagh by the cane of a warm Hibernian.
Hill seems to have been desirous of abusing certain friends whom he
had praised in the _Inspectors_; so volatile, like the loves of
coquettes, are the literary friendships of the "Scribleri." As this
could not be done with any propriety there, he published the first
number of a new paper, entitled _The Impertinent_. Having thus
relieved his private feelings, he announced the cessation of this new
enterprise in his _Inspectors_, and congratulated the public on the
ill reception it had given to the _Impertinent_, applauding them for
their having shown by this that "their indignation was superior to
their curiosity." With impudence all his own, he adds--"It will not be
easy to say too much in favour of the candour of the town, which has
despised a piece that cruelly and unjustly attacked Mr. Smart the
poet." What innocent soul could have imagined that _The Impertinent_
and _The Inspector_ were the same individual? The style is a specimen
of _persiflage_; the thin sparkling thought; the pert vivacity, that
looks like wit without wit; the glittering bubble, that rises in
emptiness;--even its author tells us, in _The Inspector_, it is "the
most pert, the most pretending," &c.[289]

Smart, in return for our Janus-faced critic's treatment, balanced the
amount of debtor and creditor with a pungent Dunciad _The Hilliad_.
Hill, who had heard of the rod in pickle, anticipated the blow, to
break its strength; and, according to his adopted system, introduced
himself and Smart, with a story of his having recommended the bard to
his bookseller, "who took him into salary on my approbation. I
betrayed him into the profession, and having starved upon it, he has a
right to abuse me." This story was formally denied by an advertisement
from Newbery, the bookseller.

"The Hilliad" is a polished and pointed satire. The hero is thus
exhibited on earth, and in heaven.

On earth, "a tawny sibyl," with "an old striped curtain--"

  And tatter'd tapestry o'er her shoulders hung--
  Her loins with patchwork cincture were begirt,
  That more than spoke diversity of dirt.
  Twain were her teeth, and single was her eye--
  Cold palsy shook her head----

with "moon-struck madness," awards him all the wealth and fame she
could afford him for sixpence; and closes her orgasm with the sage

  The chequer'd world's before thee; go, farewell!
  Beware of Irishmen; and learn to spell!

But in heaven, among the immortals, never was an unfortunate hero of
the vindicative Muses so reduced into nothingness! Jove, disturbed at
the noise of this thing of wit, exclaims, that nature had never proved
productive in vain before, but now,

  On mere privation she bestow'd a frame,
  And dignified a nothing with a name;
  A wretch devoid of use, of sense, of grace,
  The insolvent tenant of incumber'd space!

Pallas hits off the style of Hill, as

  The neutral nonsense, neither false nor true--
  Should Jove himself, in calculation mad,
  Still negatives to blank negations add;
  How could the barren ciphers ever breed;
  But nothing still from nothing would proceed.
  Raise, or depress, or magnify, or blame,
  Inanity will ever be the same.

But Phœbus shows there may still be something produced from inanity.

  E'en blank privation has its use and end--
  From emptiness, how sweetest music flows!
  How absence, to possession adds a grace,
  And modest vacancy, to all gives place.
  So from Hillario, some effect may spring;
  E'en him--that slight penumbra of a thing!

The careless style of the fluent Inspectors, beside their audacity,
brought Hill into many scrapes. He called Woodward, the celebrated
harlequin, "the meanest of all characters." This Woodward resented in
a pamphlet-battle, in which Hill was beaten at all points.[290] But
Hill, or the Monthly Reviewer, who might be the same person, for that
journal writes with the tenderness of a brother of whatever relates to
our hero, pretends that the Inspector only meant, that "the character
of Harlequin (if a thing so unnatural and ridiculous ought to be
called a character) was the _meanest_ on the stage!"[291]

I will here notice a characteristic incident in Hill's literary life,
of which the boldness and the egotism is scarcely paralleled, even by
Orator Henley. At the time the Sloane Collection of Natural History
was purchased, to form a part of our grand national establishment, the
British Museum, Hill offered himself, by public advertisement, in one
of his _Inspectors_, as the properest person to be placed at its head.
The world will condemn him for his impudence. The most reasonable
objection against his mode of proceeding would be, that the thing
undid itself; and that the very appearance, by public advertisement,
was one motive why so confident an offer should be rejected. Perhaps,
after all, Hill only wanted to _advertise himself_.

But suppose that Hill was the man he represents himself to be, and he
fairly challenges the test, his conduct only appears eccentric,
according to routine. Unpatronised and unfriended men are depressed,
among other calamities, with their quiescent modesty; but there is a
rare spirit in him who dares to claim favours, which he thinks his
right, in the most public manner. I preserve, in the note, the most
striking passages of this extraordinary appeal.[292]

At length, after all these literary quarrels, Hill survived his
literary character. He had written himself down to so low a degree,
that whenever he had a work for publication, his employers stipulated,
in their contracts, that the author should conceal his name; a
circumstance not new among a certain race of writers.[293] But the
genius of Hill was not annihilated by being thrown down so violently
on his mother earth; like Anthæus, it rose still fresh; and like
Proteus, it assumed new forms.[294] Lady Hill and the young Hills were
claimants on his industry far louder than the evanescent epigrams
which darted around him: these latter, however, were more numerous
than ever dogged an author in his road to literary celebrity.[295] His
science, his ingenuity, and his impudence once more practised on the
credulity of the public, with the innocent quackery of attributing all
medicinal virtues to British herbs. He made many walk out, who were
too sedentary; they were delighted to cure headaches by feverfew tea;
hectic fevers by the daisy; colics by the leaves of camomile, and
agues by its flowers. All these were accompanied by plates of the
plants, with the Linnæan names.[296] This was preparatory to the
_Essences_ of Sage, _Balsams_ of Honey, and _Tinctures_ of Valerian.
Simple persons imagined they were scientific botanists in their walks,
with Hill's plates in their hands. But one of the newly-discovered
virtues of British herbs was, undoubtedly, that of placing the
discoverer in a chariot.

In an Apology for the character of Sir John Hill, published after his
death, where he is painted with much beauty of colouring, and elegance
of form, the eruptions and excrescences of his motley physiognomy,
while they are indicated--for they were too visible to be entirely
omitted in anything pretending to a resemblance--are melted down, and
even touched into a grace. The Apology is not unskilful, but the real
purpose appears in the last page; where we are informed that Lady
Hill, fortunately for the world, possesses all his valuable recipes
and herbal remedies!


  [281] The moral and literary character of Henley has been developed in
        "Calamities of Authors."

  [282] The twenty-six folios of his "Vegetable System," with many
        others, testify his love and his labour. It contains 1600
        plates, representing 26,000 different figures of plants _from
        nature only_. This publication ruined the author, whose widow
        (the sister of Lord Ranelagh) published "An Address to the
        Public, by the Hon. Lady Hill, setting forth the consequences
        of the late Sir John Hill's acquaintance with the Earl of
        Bute," 1787. I should have noticed it in the "Calamities of
        Authors." It offers a sad and mortifying lesson to the votary
        of science who aspires to a noble enterprise. Lady Hill
        complains of the _patron_; but a patron, however great, cannot
        always raise the public taste to the degree required to afford
        the only true patronage which can animate and reward an
        author. Her detail is impressive:--

        "Sir John Hill had just wrote a book of great elegance--I
        think it was called 'Exotic Botany'--which he wished to have
        presented to the king, and therefore named it to Lord Bute.
        His lordship waived that, saying that 'he had a greater object
        to propose;' and shortly after laid before him a plan of the
        most voluminous, magnificent, and costly work that ever man
        attempted. I tremble when I name its title--because I think
        the severe application which it required killed him; and I am
        sure the expense ruined his fortune--'The Vegetable System.'
        This work was to consist of twenty-six volumes folio,
        containing sixteen hundred copper-plates, the engraving of
        each cost four guineas; the paper was of the most expensive
        kind; the drawings by the first hands. The printing was also a
        very weighty concern; and many other articles, with which I am
        unacquainted. Lord Bute said that 'the expense had been
        considered, and that Sir John Hill might rest assured his
        circumstances should not be injured.' Thus he entered upon and
        finished his destruction. The sale bore no proportion to the
        expense. After 'The Vegetable System' was completed, Lord Bute
        proposed another volume to be added, which Sir John
        strenuously opposed; but his lordship repeating his desire,
        Sir John complied, lest his lordship should find a pretext to
        cast aside repeated promises of ample provision for himself
        and family. But this was the crisis of his fate--he died."
        Lady Hill adds:--"He was a character on which every virtue was
        impressed." The domestic partiality of the widow cannot alter
        the truth of the narrative of "The Vegetable System," and its
        twenty-six tomes.

  [283] His apologist forms this excuse for one then affecting to be a
        student and a rake:--"Though engaged in works which required
        the attention of a whole life, he was so exact an economist of
        his time that he scarcely ever missed a public amusement for
        many years; and this, as he somewhere observes, was of no
        small service to him; as, without indulging in these respects,
        he could not have undergone the fatigue and study inseparable
        from the execution of his vast designs."--Short Account of the
        "Life, Writings, and Character of the late Sir John Hill,
        M.D." Edinburgh: 1779.

  [284] Hogarth has painted a portrait of Folkes, which is still hanging
        in the rooms of the Royal Society. He was nominated
        vice-president by the great Sir Isaac Newton, and succeeded
        him as president. He wrote a work on the "English Silver
        Coinage," and died at the age of sixty-four, 1754.--ED.

  [285] Hill planned his Review with good sense. He says:--"If I am
        merry in some places, it ought to be considered that the
        subjects are too ridiculous for serious criticism. That the
        work, however, might not be without its _real use_, an _Error_
        is nowhere exposed without establishing a _Truth_ in its
        place." He has incidentally thrown out much curious
        knowledge--such as his plan for forming a _Hortus Siccus_, &c.
        The Review itself may still be considered both as curious and

  [286] In exposing their deficiencies, as well as their redundancies,
        Hill only wishes, as he tells us, that the Society may by this
        means become ashamed of what it has been, and that the world
        may know that _he is NOT a member of it till it is an honour
        to a man to be so_! This was telling the world, with some
        ingenuity, and with no little impudence, that the Royal
        Society would not admit him as a member. He pretends to give a
        secret anecdote to explain the cause of this rejection. Hill,
        in every critical conjuncture of his affairs, and they were
        frequent ones, had always a story to tell, or an evasion,
        which served its momentary purpose. When caned by an Irish
        gentleman at Ranelagh, and his personal courage, rather than
        his stoicism, was suspected, he published a story of _his_
        having once caned a person whom he called Mario; on which a
        wag, considering Hill as a Prometheus, wrote--

          "To beat one man great Hill was fated.
          What man?--a man whom he created!"

        We shall see the story he turned to his purpose, when pressed
        hard by Fielding. In the present instance, in a letter to a
        foreign correspondent, who had observed his name on the list
        of the _Correspondents_ of the Royal Society, Hill said--"You
        are to know that _I have the honour NOT to be a member of the
        Royal Society of London_."--This letter lay open on his table
        when a member, upon his accustomed visit, came in, and in his
        absence read it. "And we are not to wonder," says Hill, "that
        he who could obtain intelligence in this manner could also
        divulge it. _Hinc illæ lachrymæ!_ Hence all the animosities
        that have since disturbed this philosophic world." While Hill
        insolently congratulates himself that he is _not_ a member of
        the Royal Society, he has most evidently shown that he had no
        objection to be the member of any society which would enrol
        his name among them. He obtained his medical degree from no
        honourable source; and another title, which he affected, he
        mysteriously contracted into barbaric dissonance. Hill
        entitled himself--

          _Acad. Reg. Scient. Burd. &c. Soc._

        To which Smart, in the "Hilliad," alludes--

          "While _Jargon_ gave his titles on a _block_,
          And styled him M.D. Acad. Budig. Soc."

        His personal attacks on Martin Folkes, the president, are
        caustic, but they may not be true; and on Baker, celebrated
        for his microscopical discoveries, are keen. He reproaches
        Folkes, in his severe dedication of the work, in all the
        dignity of solemn invective.--"The manner in which you
        represented me to a noble friend, while to myself you made me
        much more than I deserved; the ease with which you had
        excused yourself, and the solemnity with which, in the
        face of Almighty God, you excused yourself again; when we
        remember that the whole was done within the compass of a day;
        these are surely virtues in a patron that I, of all men,
        ought not to pass over in silence." Baker, in his early
        days, had unluckily published a volume of lusory poems. Some
        imitations of Prior's loose tales Hill makes use of to
        illustrate _his_ "Philosophical Transactions." All is food for
        the malicious digestion of Wit!

        His anecdote of Mr. Baker's _Louse_ is a piece of secret
        scientific history sufficiently ludicrous.

        "The Duke of Montague was famous for his love to the whole
        animal creation, and for his being able to keep a very grave
        face when not in the most serious earnest. Mr. Baker, a
        distinguished member of the Royal Society, had one day
        entertained this nobleman and several other persons with the
        sight of the peristaltic motion of the bowels in a louse, by
        the microscope. When the observation was over, he was going
        to throw the creature away; but the Duke, with a face that
        made him believe he was perfectly in earnest, told him it
        would be not only cruel, but ungrateful, in return for the
        entertainment that creature had given them, to destroy it.
        He ordered the boy to be brought in from whom it was procured,
        and after praising the smallness and delicacy of Mr. Baker's
        fingers, persuaded him carefully to replace the animal in its
        former territories, and to give the boy a shilling not to
        disturb it for a fortnight."--"A Review of the Works of the
        Royal Society," by John Hill, M.D., p. 5.

  [287] These papers had appeared in the London _Daily Advertiser_,
        1754. At their close he gleaned the best, and has preserved
        them in two volumes. But as Hill will never rank as a
        classic, the original nonsense will be considered as most
        proper for the purposes of a true collector. Woodward, the
        comedian, in his lively attack on Hill, has given "a mock
        Inspector," an exquisite piece of literary ridicule, in
        which he has hit off the egotisms and slovenly ease of the
        real ones. Never, like "The Inspector," flamed such a
        provoking prodigy in the cloudy skies of Grub-street; and
        Hill seems studiously to have mortified his luckless rivals
        by a perpetual embroidery of his adventures in the "Walks
        at Marybone," the "Rotunda at Ranelagh," spangled over with
        "my domestics," and "my equipage." [One of his adventures
        at Ranelagh was sufficiently unfortunate to obtain for him the
        unenviable notoriety of a caricature print representing him
        enduring a castigation at the Rotunda gate from an Irish
        gentleman named Brown, with whose character he had made
        far too free in one of his "Inspectors." Hill showed much
        pusillanimity in the affair, took to his bed, and gave out
        that the whole thing was a conspiracy to murder him. This
        occasioned the publication of another print, in which he
        is represented in bed, surrounded by medical men, who treat
        him with very little respect. One insists on his fee, because
        Hill has never been acknowledged as one of themselves; and
        another, to his plea of want of money, responds, "Sell your
        sword, it is only an encumbrance."]

  [288] It is useful to remind the public that they are often played
        upon in this manner by the artifices of _political writers_.
        We have observed symptoms of this deception practised at
        present. It is an old trick of the craft, and was greatly used
        at a time when the nation seemed maddened with political
        factions. In a pamphlet of "A View of London and Westminster,
        or the Town-spy," 1725, I find this account:--"The _seeming
        quarrel_, formerly, between _Mist's Journal_ and the _Flying
        Post_ was _secretly concerted_ between themselves, in order to
        decoy the eyes of all the parties on both their papers; and
        the project succeeded beyond all expectation; for I have been
        told that the former narrowly missed getting an estate by
        it."--p. 32.

  [289] Isaac Reed, in his "Repository of Fugitive Pieces of Wit and
        Humour," vol. iv., in republishing "The Hilliad," has
        judiciously preserved the offending "Impertinent" and the
        abjuring "Inspector." The style of "The Impertinent" is
        volatile and poignant. His four classes of authors are not
        without humour. "There are men who write because they have
        wit; there are those who write because they are hungry; there
        are some of the modern authors who have a constant fund of
        both these causes; and there are who will write, although they
        are not instigated either by the one or by the other. The
        first are all spirit; the second are all earth; the third
        disclose more life, or more vapidity, as the one or the other
        cause prevails; and for the last, having neither the one nor
        the other principle for the cause, they show neither the one
        nor the other character in the effect; but begin, continue,
        and end, as if they had neither begun, continued, nor ended at
        all." The first class he instances by Fielding; the second by
        Smart. Of the third he says:--"The mingled wreath belongs to
        Hill," that is himself; and the fourth he illustrates by the
        absurd Sir William Browne.

        "Those of the first rank are the most capricious and lazy of
        all animals. The monkey genius would rarely exert itself, if
        even idleness innate did not give way to the superior love of
        mischief. The ass (that is Smart), which characters the
        second, is as laborious as he is empty; he wears a ridiculous
        comicalness of aspect (which was, indeed, the physiognomy of
        the poor poet), that makes people smile when they see him at a
        distance. His mouth opens, because he must be fed, while we
        laugh at the insensibility and obstinacy that make him prick
        his lips with thistles."

  [290] Woodward humorously attributes Hill's attack on him to his
        _jealousy_ of his successful performance of _Harlequin_, and
        opens some of the secret history of Hill, by which it appears
        that early in life he trod the theatrical boards. He tells us
        of the extraordinary pains the prompter had taken with Hill,
        in the part of Oroonoko; though, "if he had not quite
        forgotten it, to very little purpose." He reminds Hill of a
        dramatic anecdote, which he no doubt had forgotten. It seems
        he once belonged to a strolling company at May-fair, where, in
        the scene between Altamont and Lothario, the polite audience
        of that place all chorused, and agreed with him, when dying he
        exclaimed, "Oh, Altamont, thy genius is the stronger." He then
        shows him off as the starved apothecary in _Romeo and Juliet_,
        in one of his botanic peregrinations to Chelsea Garden; from
        whence, it is said, he was expelled for "culling too many rare

          "I do remember an apothecary,
          Culling of simples----."

        Hill, who was often so brisk in his attack on the wits, had no
        power of retort; so that he was always buffeting and always

  [291] He was also satirised in a poem termed "The Pasquinade,"
        published in 1752, in which the goddesses of Pertness and
        Dulness join to praise him as their favourite reflex.

          "Pertness saw her form distinctly shine
          In none, immortal Hill! so full as thine."

        Dulness speaks of him thus rapturously:--

          "See where my son, who gratefully repays
          Whate'er I lavish'd on his younger days;
          Whom still my arm protects to brave the town
          Secure from Fielding, Machiavel, or Brown;
          Whom rage nor sword e'er mortally shall hurt,
          Chief of a hundred chiefs o'er all the pert!
          Rescued an orphan babe from common sense,
          I gave his mother's milk to Confidence;
          She with her own ambrosia bronz'd his face,
          And changed his skin to monumental brass.
          Whom rage nor sword e'er mortally shall hurt,
          Chief of a hundred chiefs o'er all the pert!
          Rescued an orphan babe from common sense,
          I gave his mother's milk to Confidence;
          She with her own ambrosia bronz'd his face,
          And changed his skin to monumental brass."

  [292] Hill addresses the Lord Chancellor, Archbishop of Canterbury,
        and the Speaker, on Sir Hans Sloane's Collection of Natural
        History, proposing himself as a candidate for nomination in
        the principal office, by whatever name that shall be
        called:--"I deliver myself with humility; but conscious also
        that I possess the liberties of a British subject, I shall
        speak with freedom." He says that the only means left for a
        Briton is to address his sovereign and the public. "That
        foreigners will resort to this collection is certain, for it
        is the most considerable in the world; and that our own people
        will often visit it is as sure, because it may be made the
        means of much useful as well as curious knowledge. One and the
        other will expect a person in that office who has sufficient
        knowledge: he must be able to give account of every article,
        freely and fluently, not only in his own, but in the Latin and
        French languages.

        "This the world, and none in it better than your lordship,
        sees is not a place that any one can execute: it requires
        knowledge in a peculiar and uncommon kind of study--knowledge
        which very few possess; and in which, my lord, the bitterest
        of my enemies (and I have thousands, although neither myself
        nor they know why) will not say I am deficient----.

        "My lord, the eyes of all Europe are upon this transaction.
        What title I have to your lordship's favour, those books which
        I have published, and with which (pardon the necessary boast)
        all Europe is acquainted, declare. Many may dispute by
        interest with me; but if there be one who would prefer
        himself, by his abilities, I beg the matter may be brought to
        trial. The collection is at hand; and I request, my lord, such
        person and myself may be examined by that test, together. It
        is an amazing store of knowledge; and he has most, in this
        way, who shall show himself most acquainted with it.

        "What are my own abilities it very ill becomes me thus to
        boast; but did they not qualify me for the trust, my lord, I
        would not ask it. As to those of any other, unless a man be
        conjured from the dead, I shall not fear to say there is not
        any one whoever that is able so much as to call the parts of
        the collection by their names.

        "I know I shall be accused of ostentation in giving to myself
        this preference; and I am sorry for it: but those who have
        candour will know it could not be avoided.

        "Many excel, my lord, in other studies: it is my chance to
        have bestowed the labour of my life on this: those labours may
        be of some use to others. This appears the only instance in
        which it is possible that they should be rewarded----."

        In a subsequent _Inspector_, he treated on the improvement of
        botany by raising plants, and reading lectures on them at the
        British Museum, with the living plants before the lecturer and
        his auditors. Poor Sir John! he was born half a century too
        early!--He would, in this day, have made his lectures
        fashionable; and might have secured at the opera every night
        an elegant audience for the next morning in the gardens of the

  [293] It would be difficult to form a list of his anonymous works or
        compilations, among which many are curious. Tradition has
        preserved his name as the writer of Mrs. Glasse's Cookery, and
        of several novels. There is a very curious work, entitled
        "Travels in the East," 2 vols. 8vo, of which the author has
        been frequently and in vain inquired after. These travels are
        attributed to a noble lord; but it now appears that they are a
        very entertaining narrative manufactured by Hill. Whiston, the
        bookseller, had placed this work in his MS. catalogue of
        Hill's books.

        There is still another production of considerable merit,
        entitled "Observations on the Greek and Roman Classics," 1753.
        A learned friend recollects, when young, that this critical
        work was said to be written by Hill. It excels Blackwell and
        Fenton; and aspires to the numerous composition of prose. The
        sentimental critic enters into the feelings of the great
        authors whom he describes with spirit, delicacy of taste, and
        sometimes with beautiful illustration. It only wants a
        chastening hand to become a manual for the young classical
        student, by which he might acquire those vivid emotions, which
        many college tutors may not be capable of communicating.

        I suspect, too, he is the author of this work, from a passage
        which Smart quotes, as a specimen of Hill's puffing himself,
        and of those smart short periods which look like wit, without
        being witty. In a letter to himself, as we are told, Hill
        writes:--"You have discovered many of the beauties of the
        ancients--they are obliged to you; we are obliged to you: were
        they alive, they would thank you; we who are alive do thank
        you." If Hill could discriminate the most hidden beauties of
        the ancients, the _tact_ must have been formed at his
        leisure--in his busy hours he never copied them; but when had
        he leisure?

        Two other works, of the most contrasted character, display the
        versatility and dispositions of this singular genius, at
        different eras. When "The Inspector" was rolling in his
        chariot about the town, appeared "Letters from the Inspector
        to a Lady," 1752. It is a pamphlet, containing the amorous
        correspondence of Hill with a reigning beauty, whom he first
        saw at Ranelagh. On his first ardent professions he is
        contemptuously rejected; he perseveres in high passion, and is
        coldly encouraged; at length he triumphs; and this proud and
        sullen beauty, in her turn, presents a horrid picture of the
        passions. Hill then becomes the reverse of what he was; weary
        of her jealousy, sated with the intercourse, he studiously
        avoids, and at length rejects her; assigning for his final
        argument his approaching marriage. The work may produce a
        moral effect, while it exhibits a striking picture of all the
        misery of illicit connexions: but the scenes are coloured with
        Ovidian warmth. The original letters were shown at the
        bookseller's: Hill's were in his own handwriting, and the
        lady's in a female hand. But whether Hill was the publisher,
        as an attempt at notoriety--or the lady admired her own
        correspondence, which is often exquisitely wrought, is not

        Hill, in his serious hours, published a large quarto volume,
        entitled "Thoughts Concerning God and Nature," 1755. This
        work, the result of his scientific knowledge and his moral
        reasoning, was never undertaken for the purpose of profit. He
        printed it with the certainty of a considerable loss, from its
        abstract topics, not obvious to general readers; at a time,
        too, when a guinea quarto was a very hazardous enterprise. He
        published it purely from conscientious and religious motives;
        a circumstance mentioned in that Apology of his Life which we
        have noticed. The more closely the character of Hill is
        scrutinised, the more extraordinary appears this man, so often
        justly contemned, and so often unjustly depreciated.

  [294] Through the influence of Lord Bute he became connected with the
        Royal Gardens at Kew; and his lordship also assisted him in
        publishing his botanical works. See note, p. 363.

  [295] It would occupy pages to transcribe epigrams on Hill. One of
        them alludes to his philosophical as well as his literary

          "Hill puffs himself; forbear to chide!
            An insect vile and mean
          Must first, he knows, be magnified
            Before it can be seen."

        Garrick's happy lines are well known on his farces:--

          "For physic and farces his equal there scarce is--
          His farces are physic, his physic a farce is."

        Another said--

          "The worse that we wish thee, for all thy vile crimes,
          Is to take thy own physic, and read thy own rhymes."

        The rejoinder would reverse the wish--

          "For, if he takes his physic first,
          He'll never read his rhymes."

  [296] Hill says, in his pamphlet on the "Virtues of British
        Herbs":--"It will be happy if, by the same means, the
        knowledge of plants also becomes more general. The study of
        them is pleasant, and the exercise of it healthful. He who
        seeks the herb for its cure, will find it half effected by the
        walk; and when he is acquainted with the useful kinds, he may
        be more people's, besides his own, physician."


  A Faction of Wits at Oxford the concealed movers of this
  Controversy--Sir WILLIAM TEMPLE'S opinions the ostensible cause;
  Editions of classical Authors by young Students at Oxford the
  probable one--BOYLE'S first attack in the Preface to his
  "Phalaris"--BENTLEY, after a silence of three years, betrays his
  feelings on the literary calumny of BOYLE--BOYLE replies by the
  "Examination of Bentley's Dissertation"--BENTLEY rejoins by
  enlarging it--the effects of a contradictory Narrative at a
  distant time--BENTLEY'S suspicions of the origin of the
  "Phalaris," and "The Examination," proved by subsequent
  facts--BENTLEY'S dignity when stung at the ridicule of Dr.
  KING--applies a classical pun, and nicknames his facetious and
  caustic Adversary--KING invents an extraordinary Index to dissect
  the character of BENTLEY--specimens of the Controversy; BOYLE'S
  menace, anathema, and ludicrous humour--BENTLEY'S sarcastic reply
  not inferior to that of the Wits.

The splendid controversy between BOYLE and BENTLEY was at times a
strife of gladiators, and has been regretted as the opprobrium of our
literature; but it should be perpetuated to its honour; for it may be
considered, on one side at least, as a noble contest of heroism.

The ostensible cause of the present quarrel was inconsiderable; the
concealed motive lies deeper; and the party feelings of the haughty
Aristarchus of Cambridge, and a faction of wits at Oxford, under the
secret influence of Dean Aldrich, provoked this fierce and glorious

Wit, ridicule, and invective, by cabal and stratagem, obtained a
seeming triumph over a single individual, but who, like the Farnesian
Hercules, personified the force and resistance of incomparable
strength. "The Bees of Christchurch," as this conspiracy of wits has
been called, so musical and so angry, rushed in a dark swarm about
him, but only left their fine stings in the flesh they could not
wound. He only put out his hand in contempt, never in rage. The
Christchurch men, as if doubtful whether wit could prevail against
learning, had recourse to the maliciousness of personal satire. They
amused an idle public, who could even relish sense and Greek, seasoned
as they were with wit and satire, while Boyle was showing how Bentley
wanted wit, and Bentley was proving how Boyle wanted learning.

To detect the origin of the controversy, we must find the seed-plot
of Bentley's volume in Sir William Temple's "Essay upon Ancient and
Modern Learning," which he inscribed to his alma mater, the
University of Cambridge. Sir William, who had caught the contagion
of the prevalent literary controversy of the times, in which the
finest geniuses in Europe had entered the lists, imagined that the
ancients possessed a greater force of genius, with some peculiar
advantages--that the human mind was in a state of decay--and that
our knowledge was nothing more than scattered fragments saved out of
the general shipwreck. He writes with a premeditated design to dispute
the improvements or undervalue the inventions of his own age. Wotton,
the friend of Bentley, replied by his curious volume of "Reflections
on Ancient and Modern Learning." But Sir William, in his ardour, had
thrown out an unguarded opinion, which excited the hostile contempt of
Bentley. "The oldest books," he says, "we have, are still in their
kind the best; the two most ancient that I know of, in prose, are
'Æsop's Fables' and 'Phalaris's Epistles.'"--The "Epistles," he
insists, exhibit every excellence of "a statesman, a soldier, a wit,
and a scholar." That ancient author, who Bentley afterwards asserted
was only "some dreaming pedant, with his elbow on his desk."

Bentley, bristled over with Greek, perhaps then considered that to
notice a vernacular and volatile writer ill assorted with the critic's
_Fastus_. But about this time Dean Aldrich had set an example to the
students of Christchurch of publishing editions of classical authors.
Such juvenile editorships served as an easy admission into the
fashionable literature of Oxford. Alsop had published the "Æsop;" and
Boyle, among other "young gentlemen," easily obtained the favour of
the dean, "to _desire_ him to undertake an edition of the 'Epistles of
Phalaris.'" Such are the modest terms Boyle employs in his reply to
Bentley, after he had discovered the unlucky choice he had made of an

For this edition of "Phalaris" it was necessary to collate a MS. in
the king's library; and Bentley, about this time, had become the royal
librarian. Boyle did not apply directly to Bentley, but circuitously,
by his bookseller, with whom the doctor was not on terms. Some act of
civility, or a Mercury more "formose," to use one of his latinisms,
was probably expected. The MS. was granted, but the collator was
negligent; in six days Bentley reclaimed it, "four hours" had been
sufficient for the purpose of collation.

When Boyle's "Phalaris" appeared, he made this charge in the preface,
that having ordered the Epistles to be collated with the MS. in the
king's library, the collator was prevented perfecting the collation by
the _singular humanity_ of the library-keeper, who refused any further
use of the MS.; _pro singulari suâ humanitate negavit_: an expression
that sharply hit a man marked by the haughtiness of his manners.[297]

Bentley, on this insult, informed Boyle of what had passed. He
expected that Boyle would have civilly cancelled the page; though he
tells us he did not require this, because, "to have insisted on
the cancel, might have been forcing a gentleman to too low a
submission;"--a stroke of delicacy which will surprise some to
discover in the strong character of Bentley. But he was also too
haughty to ask a favour, and too conscious of his superiority to
betray a feeling of injury. Boyle replied, that the bookseller's
account was quite different from the doctor's, who had spoken
slightingly of him. Bentley said no more.

Three years had nearly elapsed, when Bentley, in a new edition of his
friend Wotton's book, published "A Dissertation on the Epistles of the
Ancients;" where, reprehending the false criticism of Sir William
Temple, he asserted that the "Fables of Æsop" and the "Epistles of
Phalaris" were alike spurious. The blow was levelled at Christchurch,
and all "the bees" were brushed down in the warmth of their

It is remarkable that Bentley kept so long a silence; indeed, he had
considered the affair so trivial, that he had preserved no part of the
correspondence with Boyle, whom no doubt he slighted as the young
editor of a spurious author. But Boyle's edition came forth, as
Bentley expresses it, "with a sting in its mouth." This, at first,
was like a cut finger--he breathed on it, and would have forgotten it;
but the nerve was touched, and the pain raged long after the stroke.
Even the great mind of Bentley began to shrink at the touch of
literary calumny, so different from the vulgar kind, in its extent and
its duration. He betrays the soreness he would wish to conceal, when
he complains that "the false story has been spread all over England."

The statement of Bentley produced, in reply, the famous book of
Boyle's "Examination of Bentley's Dissertation." It opens with an
imposing narrative, highly polished, of the whole transaction, with the
extraordinary furniture of documents, which had never before entered
into a literary controversy--depositions--certificates--affidavits--and
private letters. Bentley now rejoined by his enlarged "Dissertation on
Phalaris," a volume of perpetual value to the lovers of ancient
literature, and the memorable preface of which, itself a volume,
exhibits another Narrative, entirely differing from Boyle's. These
produced new replies and new rejoinders. The whole controversy became
so perplexed, that it has frightened away all who have attempted to
adjust the particulars. With unanimous consent they give up the
cause, as one in which both parties studied only to contradict each
other. Such was the fate of a Narrative, which was made out of the
recollections of the parties, with all their passions at work, after
an interval of three years. In each, the memory seemed only retentive
of those passages which best suited their own purpose, and which were
precisely those the other party was most likely to have forgotten.
What was forgotten, was denied; what was admitted, was made to refer to
something else; dialogues were given which appear never to have been
spoken; and incidents described which are declared never to have taken
place; and all this, perhaps, without any purposed violation of
truth. Such were the dangers and misunderstandings which attended a
Narrative framed out of the broken or passionate recollections of the
parties on the watch to confound one another.[298]

Bentley's Narrative is a most vigorous production: it heaves with the
workings of a master-spirit; still reasoning with such force, and
still applying with such happiness the stores of his copious
literature, had it not been for this literary quarrel, the mere
English reader had lost this single opportunity of surveying that
commanding intellect.

Boyle's edition of "Phalaris" was a work of parade, designed to confer
on a young man, who bore an eminent name, some distinction in the
literary world. But Bentley seems to have been well-informed of the
secret transactions at Christchurch. In his first attack he mentions
Boyle as "the young gentleman of great hopes, whose name is set to the
edition;" and asserts that the editor, no more than his own
"Phalaris," has written what was ascribed to him. He persists in
making a plurality of a pretended unity, by multiplying Boyle into a
variety of little personages, of "new editors," our "annotators," our
"great geniuses."[299] Boyle, touched at these reflections, declared
"they were levelled at a learned society, in which I had the happiness
to be educated; as if 'Phalaris' had been made up by contributions
from several hands." Pressed by Bentley to acknowledge the assistance
of Dr. John Freind, Boyle confers on him the ambiguous title of "The
Director of Studies." Bentley links the Bees together--Dr. Freind and
Dr. Alsop. "The Director of Studies, who has lately set out Ovid's
'Metamorphoses,' with a paraphrase and notes, is of the same size for
learning with the late editor of the Æsopian Fables. They bring the
nation into contempt abroad, and themselves into it at home;" and adds
to this magisterial style, the mortification of his criticism on
Freind's Ovid, as on Alsop's Æsop.

But Boyle assuming the honours of an edition of "Phalaris," was but a
venial offence, compared with that committed by the celebrated volume
published in its defence.

If Bentley's suspicions were not far from the truth, that "the
'Phalaris' had been _made up by contributions_," they approached still
closer when they attacked "The Examination of his Dissertation." Such
was the assistance which Boyle received from all "the Bees," that
scarcely a few ears of that rich sheaf fall to his portion. His
efforts hardly reach to the mere narrative of his transactions with
Bentley. All the varied erudition, all the Attic graces, all the
inexhaustible wit, are claimed by others; so that Boyle was not
materially concerned either in his "Phalaris," or in the more
memorable work.[300]

The Christchurch party now formed a literary conspiracy against the
great critic; and as treason is infectious when the faction is strong,
they were secretly engaging new associates; Whenever any of the party
published anything themselves, they had sworn to have always "a fling
at Bentley," and intrigued with their friends to do the same.

They procured Keil, the professor of astronomy, in so grave a work as
"The Theory of the Earth," to have a fling at Bentley's boasted
sagacity in conjectural criticism. Wotton, in a dignified reproof,
administered a spirited correction to the party-spirit; while his love
of science induced him generously to commend Keil, and intimate the
advantages the world may derive from his studies, "as he grows older."
Even Garth and Pope struck in with the alliance, and condescended to
pour out rhymes more lasting than even the prose of "the Bees."

But of all the rabid wits who, fastening on their prey, never drew
their fangs from the noble animal, the facetious Dr. King seems to
have been the only one who excited Bentley's anger. Persevering
malice, in the teasing shape of caustic banter, seems to have affected
the spirit even of Bentley.

At one of those conferences which passed between Bentley and the
bookseller, King happened to be present; and being called on by Boyle
to bear his part in the drama, he performed it quite to the taste of
"the Bees." He addressed a letter to Dean Aldrich, in which he gave
one particular: and, to make up a sufficient dose, dropped some
corrosives. He closes his letter thus:--"That scorn and contempt which
I have naturally for pride and insolence, makes me remember that which
otherwise I might have