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Catherine-hall, Cambridge, where he took the degree of M. A. and succeeded to one of the college livings; being, in 1669, presented to the rectory of Theydonboye in Essex, which he resigned the same year, for, it is said, the rectory of Leyton; but this does not appear to be correct: it was for the vicarage, which was of very small value, and being vacant in the year 1669, the patron suffered the inhabitants to make choice of whomsoever they deemed the most worthy. Mr Strype was consequently elected, and the same year the parishioners signed an instrument, by which they pledged themselves to subscribe certain sums annually for his support. The subscription of Sir Michael Hicks, who seems, in this laudable and voluntary assessment, to have taken the lead, was eight pounds per annum,—in those days a considerable sum. In 1674 Mr Strype was licensed by the bishop of London as priest and curate, to officiate during the period that the vicarage remained in abeyance; by virtue of this license, and the superior virtue of his character, he remained unmolested in its profits till his death. Three years after he was licensed he expended £140 of his own money, in addition to the contributions of the parishioners, in rebuilding the vicarage-house at Leyton, which the parliamentary surveyors had, seventeen years before, declared to be in a ruinous state. He was chosen lecturer of St John's, Hackney, where he died on the 11th of December, 1737, having attained the very great age of ninety-four years. Of his multifarious works it is—as they were, we are told, in number concomitant to the length of his existence —impossible to speak with accuracy; but his principal works may be nearly comprised in the following list, viz. 'Annals of the Reformation:' 'Ecclesiastical Memoirs, including the lives of Sir Thomas Smith, secretary of state to Edward VI.; Sir John Cheke, first tutor, and afterwards secretary to the same prince; Bishop Aylmer; the Archbishops Parker, Grindall, Whitgift, Cranmer, &c.:' 'Additions to Stow's Survey of London:' several sermons, &c.
BoRN A. D. 1685. DIED A. D. 1737.
This ingenious writer, the relation and friend of Addison, was the son of Gilbert Budgell, D. D. of St Thomas, near Exeter, and was born in 1685. His mother was the only daughter of Dr Gulston, bishop 01 Bristol.
He was sent at an early period to Christ-church, Oxford. After a residence of some years at the university, he entered of the Inner Temple, in obedience to his father's wish. The serious profession of the law, however, was by no means agreeable to the young and gay collegian, whose chief ambition was to figure as the associate and compeer of the leading wits of the day. His acquaintance with Addison procured him the wished-for introduction to the best literary society of the metropolis; and when his friend went to Ireland, as secretary to Lord Wharton, Budgell accompanied him as one of his clerks. He was at this time about twenty-five years of age.
During his first visit to Dublin, Budgell contributed some papers to the Tatler; he also rendered material assistance to Addison in conducting the Spectator. All the papers in the first seven volumes of that work which are marked X, being twenty-eight in number, were written by him; besides which, the eighth volume was conducted by Addison and himself, without the assistance of Sir Richard Steele. Our author's speculations, which are easy and elegant, met with general approbation: they are much in Addison's manner, but not equally close and strong. They have the appearance of Addison in undress. While Budgell was concerned in the Spectator, he wrote a humorous epilogue to Ambrose Phillips's 'Distressed Mother;' which was received with such uncommon applause, that it was called for by the audience during the whole run of that tragedy, and continued to be spoken many years after at the representation of the same play. The propriety of this epilogue, and of epilogues of the like kind, was attacked by a writer in the Spectator; and the defence of it was undertaken, in the same paper, by Budgell himself, who was by no means sparing in the praises of his own production. Indeed he was-not ashamed, during the representation of the ' Distressed Mother,' to sit in the pit and call for the epilogue. About this period he also wrote several epigrams and songs, which ranked him among the wits of the time, and, in conjunction with Addison's known affection for him, occasioned him to be generally noticed and caressed.
In 1711 he succeeded, by the death of his father, to £950 a-year. Notwithstanding this accession of fortune, he did not alter his mode of living; he adhered closely to business, and gave general satisfaction in the discharge of his office. Nor did the literary engagements of our author interfere with his official duties. He rose gradually in his office, till, upon the appointment of Addison, in 1714, to be principal secretary to the earl of Sunderland, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, Budgell was promoted to be under-secretary. He was also made chief-secretary to the lords-justices of Ireland, and deputy clerk of the council. These preferments, of which he took possession in the latter end of the year 1714, brought him into such notice that he was elected a member of the Irish parliament, where he became an able speaker. When he first entered on the secretary's place, he received considerable annoyance from the obstinacy of some tory clerks in the office, who refused to serve under him, secreted the books, and endeavoured to throw every thing into confusion. But he surmounted these embarrassments with a resolution, assiduity, and ability, which gained him much honour and credit. When Addison, in 1717, became one of the principal secretaries of state, he procured for Budgell the place of accomptant and comptroller-general of Ireland. There were some thoughts, at that time, of making him under-secretary to his relation and friend; but it was ultimately deemed more expedient for his majesty's service, that he should continue to be employed in the Irish affairs.
Hitherto Budgell's career had been equally fortunate and honourable. It was now destined to a sad reverse. The nomination of the duke of Bolton to the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland, in April, 1718, was the crisis of our author's fate. "When his grace," says Dr Kippis, "went over to that kingdom, he carried with him a Mr Edward Webster, who had been an under-clerk in the treasury in England, and made him a privy-counsellor and his principal secretary. This gentleman, it is said, insisted upon quartering a friend upon the under-secretary, who had too high an opinion of his own talents and importance to bear with patience such unworthy treatment. He not only positively declared, that he would never submit to any such condition, but treated Mr Webster himself, his family, education, and abilities, with the utmost contempt. Nay, Mr Budgell was so indiscreet as to write a lampoon, in which the lord-lieutenant was not spared; and completed his indiscretion by suffering it to be published, in opposition to Mr Addison's opinion, who urged that it would be prejudicial both to his interest and reputation. The discontents and quarrels at length rose to such a height, that the duke of Bolton, in support of his secretary, superseded Mr Budgell, and soon after got him removed from the place of accomptant-general."
Budgell instantly returned to England with the intention of laying his case before the public in that country. Addison, who well knew the hopelessness of his friend's intention, endeavoured to dissuade him from making any public appeal; but he reasoned with a deaf man. Budgell published his case, and the public took such an interest in it, that no less than eleven hundred copies of the pamphlet were sold in one day. He soon after lost his best friend, in the death of Addison; and deeply offended his political patron, the earl of Sunderland, by a pamphlet on the peerage bill.
In 1720 Budgell was led away with many others, by the South sea scheme. He deeply engaged in that delusive undertaking, and speedily lost by it upwards of £20,000. The duke of Portland would now have taken him as his secretary to Jamaica, but government interfered, and forbade the appointment. This act of the ministry irritated Budgell to the last degree; his resentment knew no bounds; he now spent his time in writing virulent pamphlets against Sir Robert Walpole, and his money in attempting to get into parliament, where he might more effectually annoy his enemies.
Towards the close of the year 1732, Budgell began a weekly pamphlet, called 'The Bee,' which was extracted, in a great measure, from the newspapers; and comprehended likewise the purposes of a magazine. This was carried on till it amounted to about a hundred numbers.1 But, at length, in consequence of quarrelling with his booksellers, and filling the pamphlet with his own personal disputes and concerns, he was obliged to drop the undertaking. During the progress of this work, Dr Matthew Tindal died, and left by will £2100 to Budgell. A bequest so extraordinary,—so disproportionate to Dr Tindal'a circumstances, and injurious to his nephew,5—and so contrary to his known intentions and conduct,—surprised all, and excited a suspicion that there had been some unfair dealing in the matter. In the contest that ensued between Mr Nicholas Tindal and our author, many suspicious circumstances were elicited; and, in the end, the will was set aside. It is thought that Budgell had had some concern in publishing Dr Tindal's 'Christianity as old as the Creation;' and it was the doctor's request, in his last testament, that the second part of that performance, and his other pieces, collected into a volume, should be given to the public by our author. This he frequently spoke of doing, and
1 [t is usually bound up in eight volumes octavo.
* The Rev. Mr Nicholas Tindal, the translator of Rapin.
of adding a life of his deceased friend; but he never carried his designs into execution. It was reported that Dr Conybeare was rewarded with the deanery of Christ-cburch, for answering the first part of * Christianity as old as the Creation.' Budgell used to say, that he hoped the dean would live a little while longer, that he might have the pleasure, by the publication of the second part, of making him a bishop. An attempt so nefarious as this met with the castigation which it merited in the papers and journals of the day. Pope, who had been very fiercelyattacked in one of the ' Bees,' alludes to this foul stain on the character of his adversary, in these two lines of the prologue to his satires:
"Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on my quill,
Budgell, now equally ruined in character and in fortune, and totally unsupported by the consolations of religion, at length came to the dreadful resolution of annihilating at once his earthly miseries and existence, —a resolution which he effected by throwing himself into the Thames, while shooting London bridge. On his bureau the unhappy man had left the following sentence written on a slip of paper, and intended as a vindication of the rash act he was about to commit:
"What Cato did, and Addison appro>ed,
It is hardly necessary to observe that this insinuation, that Addison gave his approbation to self-murder, is wholly groundless.
"The style of Budgell," says Dr Drake, " is in many of these essays, a very happy imitation of the Addisonian manner; if it possess not all the mellowness and sweetness of his original, it is neat, unaffected, and clear; and, in general, more correct and rounded than the diction of Steele. The assertion of Dr Johnson, however, should not here be forgotten; who declared, that 'Addison wrote Budgell's papers, at least mended them so much, that he made them almost his own.' Yet the doctor's authority, it must be recollected, is merely that of tradition; nor is it likely that Addison would take such elaborate trouble with these papers, or that Budgell would submit to a castigation so complete as to warrant the imputation.
"To have entered with perfect accuracy into the conception and keeping of a character so original as that of Sir Roger de Coverley, is the still greater merit of Budgell. In this respect he is certainly superior to Steele; and his description of the Hunt in No. 116, in which the knight makes so delightful and appropriate a figure, is a picture that one would not exchange for volumes of mediocrity.
"The humour and wit of Budgell appears to advantage in several of his communications; especially in his observations on Beards, on Country Wakes; in his relation of Will Honeycomb's Amours, and in his detail of the effects of the Month of May on Female Chastity. On this last subject he has copied the graceful composition and sly humour of Addison with peculiar felicity; and his admonitions to the fair sex, during this soft and seductive season, combine such a mixture of pleasing imagery, moral precept, and ludicrous association, as to render the essays which convey them some of the most interesting in the Spectator. They recall forcibly to my recollection some lines of exquisite beauty and feeling, which the amiable Thomson, on a similar topic, addresses to his lovely country-women:
Flush'd by the spirit of the genial year,
Sprirtgt ver. 960 to 9H0.
DIED A. D. ] 738.
John Asgill was born about the middle of the 17th century, and educated in Lincolns-Inn under Mr Eyre, a very eminent lawyer. He possessed a whimsical vein of humour, which displayed itself in several publications, in which there was a strange mixture of gravity and mirth. In 1698 he published 'Several Assertions proved, in order to create another Species of Money than Gold and Silver,' and 'An Essay on a Registry for Titles of Lands.' These were in the year 1700 followed by a most fanciful and enthusiastic work, entitled ' An Argument proving, that, according to the Covenant of eternal life, revealed in the Scriptures, man may be translated from hence without passing through Death,' &c. This performance raised a general outcry against the author as an infidel and blasphemer; and after Asgill had passed two years in Ireland, practising the law with so much success, that he was enabled to purchase an estate, and obtain a seat in the Irish parliament, he had the mortification to be expelled from the house, as a person whose blasphemous writings rendered him unworthy to be one of the representatives of a Christian people. On his return to England, however, he found means to obtain a return to the British parliament in 1705, from the borough of Bramber in Sussex, and enjoyed his seat two years. A neglect and contempt of economy, which was one of the prominent features of his character, now involved him in extreme embarrassment; and, during an interval of privilege, his person was seized for debt, and committed to the Fleet prison. On the opening of the next session of parliament, in 1707, he was demanded out of custody by the sergeant-at-arms, and resumed his seat. But many persons,
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