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wanting to make you equal to the best,—a friend for any one to be proud of?" In another letter, dated from Oates, September 11th, 1704, Locke writes thus: "He that has any thing to do with you, must own that friendship is the natural product of your constitution; and your soul, a noble soil, is enriched with the two most valuable qualities of human nature, truth and friendship. What a treasure have I then in such a friend, with whom I can converse, and be enlightened about the highest speculationsI" These extracts evince, that, at that time, Collins appeared to Locke in the light of an impartial, disinterested, inquirer after truth.
In 1707 Collins published an 'Essay concerning the use of Reason on Propositions, the evidence whereof depends upon Human Testimony.' In the same year he engaged in the controversy between Dodwell and Clarke, on ' The natural Immortality of the Soul.'1 Collins's contribution to this controversy consisted of five successive pieces. We must pass these over in silence with several other minor pieces. In 1713 appeared his famous 'Discourse of Free-thinking,' which created a prodigious sensation ; the object of the writer evidently being to bring discredit not upon superstition merely, but upon Christianity itself. Whiston, Hoadly, Bentley, Hare, Swift, and a host of other assailants, rushed into the field against the free-thinker, and fully exposed his ingenious but sophistical argumentation. In 1715 he published 'A Philosophical Enquiry concerning Human Liberty,' to which Dr Samuel Clarke replied. In 1724, he attacked the twentieth article of the church of England in an elaborate essay, of which the reader will find a very full notice in 'Collier's Ecclesiastical History.' His discourse on the Christian religion appeared in the same year. Its title at length is: 'A Discourse of the Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion, in two Parts: The first containing some Considerations on the Quotations made from the Old in the New Testament, and particularly on the Prophecies, cited from the former, and said to be fulfilled in the latter: The second containing an Examination of the Scheme advanced by Mr Whiston, in his Essay towards restoring the true Text of the Old Testament, and for vindicating the Citations thence made in the New Testament. To which is prefixed, An Apology for free Debate and Liberty of Writing.' The drift of this discourse is to show, that Christianity is founded on Judaism, or the New Testament on the Old; that the apostles prove Christianity from the Old Testament; that if the proofs fetched from thence are valid, Christianity is firmly established on its true foundation, but if invalid, Christianity is false; and that those proofs are typical or allegorical.
Whiston, Chandler bishop of Litchfield, Dr Samuel Clarke, Ashley Sykes, Sherlock, and many other writers of inferior name, replied to 'The Discourse of the Grounds,' &c. The reader will find a complete catalogue of the pieces written in reply to this work at the end of the preface to Collins's next work, namely, 'The Scheme of Literal Prophecy considered,' which was as promptly replied to as its predecessors had been.
Collins died in 1729. It is difficult fairly to estimate the character of this man. That he was an acute and original thinker, none will de
1 See notice of Dr Samuel Clarke in this work.
ny ; yet it is marvellous how such a man, while professmg to be in search of truth alone, should have resisted the unanswerable reasonings by which such men as Clarke, lientley, and Sherlock met and confuted his dcistical notions. In private life, Collins's character was altogether unimpeachable. The following notice of his death appeared in the public prints a few days after his decease: "On Saturday last, died at his house in Harley-square, Anthony Collins, Esq. He was remarkably the active, upright, impartial magistrate, the tender husband, the kind parent, the good master, and the true friend. He was a great promoter of literature in all its branches; and an immoveable asserter of universal liberty in all civil and religious matters. Whatever his sentiments were in certain points, this is what he declared at the time of his death, viz. that as he had always endeavoured, to the best of his ability, to serve God, his king, and his country, so he was persuaded he was going to that place which God hath prepared for them that love him: and presently afterwards he said, the catholic religion is to love God aud to love man. He was an eminent example of temperance and sobriety, and one that had the true art of living. His worst enemies could never charge him with any vice or immorality."
BORN A. D. 1G71. DIED A. D. 1730.
This laborious writer was the son of a clergyman in the church of England. He was born at Cassam, near Beccles, in Suffolk, about the year 1671, and educated at Cambridge, where he took the degree of M. A. in 1695. He entered into holy orders, and was presented to the livings of Welton and Elkinton in Lincolnshire, where he spent above twenty years of his life, durmg which period he published a variety of woiks of considerable research.
One of his first publications was entitled, ' The Roman History, from the building of the City to the perfect settlement of the Empire by Augustus Caesar.' This was extremely well received, so that the fourth edition, in one volume, 8vo, was published in 1699. He also published 'The History of Rome, from the Settlement of the Empire by Augustus Caesar, to the Removal of the Imperial Seat of Constantine the Great.' This was said in the title to be "for the use of his highness the duke of Gloucester," to whom it was dedicated; the second edition, in 8vo, was printed in 1699. Two continuations of this work, one of which was revised by Mr Echard, were afterwards published in three volumes, Svo. In 1702 our author published in folio, with a dedication to Queen Anne, ' A General Ecclesiastical History, from the Nativity of our blessed Saviour, to the first establishment of Christianity by human laws, under the emperor Constantine the Great; containing the space of about 313 years; with so much of the Jewish and Roman history as is necessary and convenient to illustrate the work; to which is added a large Chronological Table of all the Roman and ecclesiastical affairs, included in the same period of time.' This work was so well received, that the sixth edition of it was published in two volumes, 8vo, in 1722. Prideaux says that "the Ecclesiastical History of Mr Laurence Echard is the best of its kind in the English tongue." In 1707, when he was become prebendary of Lincoln, and chaplain to the bishop of that diocese, he published, in one volume, folio, 'The History of England, from the first entrance of Julius Caesar and the Romans, to the end of the reign of King James the First.' He dedicated this work to the duke of Ormond; and observes, in the dedication, that he was excited to engage in the undertaking by that nobleman. In his preface he gives some account of the materials and authors from which his work was collected. He particularly enumerates the Roman, Saxon, English, and monkish historians; together with Hall, Grafton, Polydore Virgil, Holinshed, Stow, Speed, Baker, Brady, and Tyrell; and among the writers of particular lives and reigns, he mentions Barnes, Howard, Goodwin, Camden, Bacon, Herbert, and Habington. "From all these several writers," says he, "and many others, I have collected and formed this present history, always taking the liberty either to copy or to imitate any parts of them, if 1 found them really conducing to the usefulness or the ornament of my work. And, from all these, I have compiled a history as full, comprehensive, and complete, as I could bring into the compass of the proposed size and bigness. And that nothing might be wanting, I have all the way enriched it with the best and wisest sayings of great men that I could find in larger volumes, and likewise with such short moral reflections, and such proper characters of men, as might give life as well as add instruction to the history." In 1712 Mr Echard was installed archdeacon of Stowe, and in 1718 he published the second and third volumes of his history of England, which brings it down to the Revolution. To these volumes he prefixed a dedication to George the First. Dr Calamy found it necessary to answer some of Echard's statements, particularly his misrepresentations of the nonconformists. Oldmixon too, in his ' Critical History,' exposes not a few of the archdeacon's historical blunders. There is a miscalled epigram in the first volume of Dodsley's ' Collection of Poems,' on the respective histories of Echard and Burnet, which may amuse our readers, though it has more of truth than point or poetry in it:—
"Gil's history appears to me
The reader will probably be satisfied with one specimen of Echard's qualifications for the writing of history. After gravely relating, on the testimony of one Lindsey, a story about Cromwell's conference and
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contract with the devil, on the morning of the battle of Worcester, he adds: "how far Lindsey is to be believed, and how far the story is to be accounted incredible, is left to the reader's faith and judgment, and not to any determination of our own." Echard's 'faith and judgment' were unfortunately too narrow to permit him fairly to swallow such a delightful anecdote of the republican general; but it was far too good a thing to be lost sight of, and so he offers it to all his readers, in the hope that some might be found sufficiently credulous to receive it fo' good and authenticated history.
BonN A. D. 1676. DIED A. D. 1732.
To one of those apparently incidental circumstances in the vicissitudes of human affairs, England stands indebted for the productions of this great master in the art of historical painting. He was the son of a gentleman claiming descent from an ancient family in Dorsetshire, and was born in that county in the year 1676. His father enjoyed a competent landed estate; but by ill-management and dissipation, involved himself in such difficulties that he was obliged to sell it. This situation of domestic affairs obliged the son to think of applying himself to some profession, by which he might be enabled to support himself in a manner suitable to his birth, and to the expectations he had formed before his father's misfortunes. An early taste for drawing suggested to him the idea of studying the art of painting, and with this view he went to London, where he was protected and encouraged by his uncle, Dr Sydenham. At this period there were no very famous masters of the pictorial art in England: Sydenham was therefore obliged to place his nephew under the direction of a painter of so little eminence, that not even the merit of having had such a pupil as Thornhill has preserved his name from oblivion. The genius of our young artist supplied the defects of the instructor; being left to his own taste and application, the force of his imagination was called forth by this very circumstance; and his industry keeping pace with his ingenuity, he made rapid progress, and gradually rose to the highest reputation.
His generous patron, as soon as he found him capable to form a judgment of the works of the great masters of the Flemish and Italian schools, enabled him to travel through Holland, Flanders, and France. Unfortunately, he did not pursue his travels; for great as his merit was, had he studied at Rome and Venice only a short time, he would certainly have acquired greater correctness at the one, and a more exact knowledge of the perfection of colouring at the other, than he possessed. As it was, he excelled in historical and allegorical compositions, and in perspective and architecture. He had a fertile invention; he sketched his designs with great ease and spirit, and executed them with a free and firm pencil.
His merit in his own country was unrivalled, and soon attracted the attention of the patrons of the fine arts, who were indeed but few in number in his time. Queen Anne set the example by appointing him to be state-painter, and employing him to paint the history of St Paul, in the dome of St Paul's cathedral. It is executed on eight pannels, in two colours, relieved with gold. He afterwards executed several other works, particularly at Hampton-court palace, where he painted an apartment, in which the queen and her consort, Prince George of Denmark, are represented in allegorical figures on the ceiling. The same subject is executed in another style on the wall. The other paintings in this palace were done by Antonio Verrio, a Neapolitan.
These great works having established his reputation, he soon acquired a fortune sufficient to enable him to repurchase the family-estate; and both wealth and honours were the fruit of his happy genius. He was chosen knight of the shire for Dorsetshire, and in that capacity sat several years in parliament. The queen likewise conferred on him the honour of knighthood. His last great undertaking of a public nature, and which is esteemed his master-piece, was the painting in the refectory and saloon of Greenwich hospital,—a work which is still the daily subject of admiration to the numerous visitors of that magnificent building.
The passage to the refectory is through a vestibule, where Sir James has represented, on the cupola, the four winds; on the walls are boys supporting pannels with inscriptions of the names of the benefactors to the hospital. From this you ascend by a flight of steps to the refectory, a very noble gallery, in the middle of which King William and Queen Mary are represented allegorically, attended by the emblems of Love and the Virtues, who support the sceptre; the monarch appears to be giving peace to Europe. The twelve signs of the zodiac surround the great oval in which he is painted; the four seasons of the year, and Apollo in the chariot of the sun, drawn by four horses, making his tour through the zodiac, are seen above. The painter has represented the four elements in the angles; and colossal figures support the balustrade, where the portraits of Tycho Brahe, Copernicus, and Newton, are finely painted. The ceiling is all by Sir James's own hand; but he employed a Polander to assist him in painting the walls, which are adorned with representations of the Virtues, expressive of the design of the institution, such as Liberality, Hospitality, and Charity. All the paintings were executed from designs made by Sir James, but it is to be lamented that they were not all finished by him, for the inferior hand of his assistant is instantly discovered by connoisseurs, who also complain that the figures are too much crowded.
Sir James Thornhill enjoyed the honour and emoluments of historical painter to the court under George I. and a few years after the accession of George II.; but taking part in the political disputes of the times, he was dismissed from this post in 1731. This undeserved disgrace, it is said, sat heavy at his heart, and contributed to hasten his death, which happened in 1732, at the place of his nativity, after a year's illness. In his person and disposition, Sir James Thornhill was equally happy; and his engaging manners, joined with his integrity and sobriety, gained him the esteem of all who knew him.