« PreviousContinue »
Upon recollecting all these circumstances, Mr. Lintot was entirely of opinion, that he had been mad for some time, and I doubt not, but this whole narrative must sufficiently convince the world of the excess of his frenzy. It now remains, that I give the reasons which obliged me, in my own vindication, to publish this whole unfortunate transaction.
In the first place, Mr. John Dennis had in. dustriously caused to be reported, that I entered into his room, vi et armis, either out of a design to deprive him of his life, or of a new play called Coriolanus, which he has had ready for the stage these four years.
Secondly, He hath given out, about Fleet-street and the Temple, that I was an accomplice with his bookseller, who visited him with an intent to take away divers valuable manuscripts, without paying him copy-money.
Thirdly, He hath told others, that I am no graduate physician, and that he had seen me upon a mountebank stage in Moorfields, when he had lodgings in the college there.
Fourthly, Knowing that I had much practice in the city, he reported at the Royal Exchange, Custom-house, and other places adjacent, that I was a foreign spy, employed by the French King to convey him into France; that I bound him hand and foot ; and that, if his friend had not burst from his confinement to his relief, he had been at this hour in the Bastile.
All which several assertions of his are so very ex. travagant, as well as inconsistent, that I appeal to all mankind, whether this person be not out of his senses. I shall not decline giving and producing further proofs of this truth in open court, if he drives the matter so far. In the mean time I heartily forgive him, and pray that the Lord may restore him to the full enjoyment of his understanding : so wisheth, as becometh a Christian,
A full and true Account of a horrid and bar: barous REVENGE BY Poison, on the Body
of Mr. EDMUND CURLL, Bookseller.
With a faithful copy of his Last Will and Testament.
HISTORY furnisheth us with examples of many
satirical authors who have fallen sacrifices to revenge, but not of any booksellers, that I know of, except the 'unfortunate subject of the following paper ; I mean Mr. Edmund Curll, at the Bible and Dial in Fleet-street, who was yesterday poisoned by Mr. Pope, after having lived many years an instance of the mild temper of the British nation,
Every body knows, that the said Mr. Edmund Curll, on Monday the 26th instant, published a sati. rical piece, intitled, Court-poems, in the preface whereof they were attributed to a lady of quality, Mr. Pope, or Gay ; by which indiscreet method, though he had escaped one revenge, there were still two behind in reserve.
Now, on the Wednesday ensuing, between the hours of ten and eleven, Mr. Lintot, a neighbouring bookseller, desired a conference with Mr. Curll, about settling a title-page, inviting him at the same time to take a whet together. Mr. Pope, who is not the only instance how persons of bright parts may be carried away by the instigation of the devil, found means to convey himself into the same room, under pretence of business with Mr. Lintot, who, it seems, is the printer of his Homer. This gentleman, with a seeming coolness, reprimanded Mr. Curll for wrongfully
ascribing to him the aforesaid poems : he excused himself by declaring, that one of his authors (Mr. Oldmixon by name) gave the copies to the press, and wrote the preface. Upon this Mr. Pope, being to all appearance reconciled, very civilly drank a glass of sack to Mr. Curll, which he as civilly pledged ; and though the liquor, in colour and taste, differed not from common sack, yet was it plain, by the pangs this unhappy stationer felt soon after, that some poisonous drug had been secretly infused therein.
About eleven o'clock he went home, where his wife observing his colour changed, said, “ Are you not sick, my dear ?” He replied, “ Bloody sick ;" and incontinently fell a vomiting and straining in an uncommon and unnatural manner, the contents of his vomiting being as green as grass. His wife had been just reading a book of her husband's printing concerning Jane Wenham, the famous witch of Hertford, and her mind misgave her, that he was bewitched; but he soon let her know, that he suspected poison, and recounted to her, between the intervals of his yawnings and retchings, every circumstance of his interview with Mr. Pope.
Mr. Lintot in the mean time coming in, was extremely affrighted at the sudden alteration he observed in him : “ Brother Curll, says he, I fear you have got the vomiting distemper; which, I have heard, kills in half an hour. This comes from your not following my advice, to drink old hock in a morn. ing, as I do, and abstain from sack.” Mr. Curll replied in a moving tone, “ Your auuhor's sack, I fear, has done my business.” “ Z-ds, says Mr. Lintot, my author !Why did you not drink old hock?" Notwithstanding which rough remonstrance, he did in the most friendly manner press him to take warm water ; but Mr. Curll did with great obstinacy refuse it; which made Mr. Lintot infer, that he chose to die, as thinking to recover greater damages.
· All this time the symptoms increased violently, with acute pains in the lower belly. - Brother Lintot, says he, I perceive my last hour approaching ; do me the friendly office to call my partner, Mr. Pemberton, that we may settle our worldly affairs.” Mr. Lintot, like a kind neighbour, was hastening out of the room, while Mr. Curll raved aloud in this manner, “ If I survive this, I will be revenged on Tonson ; it was he first detected me as the printer of these poems, and I will reprint these very poems in his name.” His wife admonished him not to think of revenge, but to take care of his stock and his soul : and in the same instant Mr. Lintot, whose goodness can never be enough applauded, returned with Mr. Pemberton. After some tears jointly shed by these humane booksellers, Mr. Curll being, as he said, in his perfect senses, though in 'great bodily pain, immediately proceeded to make a verbal will, Mrs. Curll having first put on his night-cap, in the following manner :
GENTLEMEN, in the first place, I do sincerely pray forgiveness for those indirect methods I have pursued in inventing new titles to old books, putting authors' names to things they never saw, publishing private quarrels for public entertainment ; all which I hope will be pardoned, as being done to get an honest livelihood.
I do also heartily beg pardon of all persons of honour, lords spiritual and temporal, gentry, burgesses, and commonalty, to whose abuse I have any or every way contributed by my publications ; particularly, I hope it will be considered, that if I have vilified His Grace the Duke of Marlborough, I have likewise aspersed the late Duke of Ormond; if I have abused the Honourable Mr. Walpole, I have also libelled the Lord Bolingbroke: so that I have preserved that equality and impartiality, which becomes an honest man in times of faction and division.