« PreviousContinue »
New Bond-street, Dec. 10, 1782. I HAVE read, and am still reading, when my numerous avocations will permit me, your “Anecdotes of Mr. Bowyer.” Your candour and impartiality throughout the whole I admire; but in the account of a valuable old Friend of my own, you seem to have a little deviated from it. The Life I allude to, is that of Mr. George Edwards, the Father of all Ornithologists. His Life, such as it is, was written by your humble servant, from anecdotes occasionally communicated to me at our different meet
nor-square, by whom he had a numerous family. His eldest son, James, unhappily lost his life, at the age of 20 years, by a fall from his horse, while on a visit to his uncle at Sebergham; an affliction to his father which Time, the balm of sorrow, had never healed. An elegant and affectionate poetical tribute to this youth's memory, by Mr. Jerningham, is preserved in Gent. Mag. vol. LV. p. 439. His second son, George, was educated at Queen's College, Oxford, the leading members at that time being his father's particular friends. Here he took the regular degrees; and, entering into holy orders, became domestic chaplain to Dr. Horsley, a Prelate whose warm benevolence was only exceeded by his undaunted integrity and profound extent of learning. By his Lordship, when Bishop of Rochester, he was presented to the rectory of Snodland, in Kent, 1799; and afterwards, when Bishop of St. Asaph, to a prebend of that cathedral, and the vicarage of Chirke. Mr. Robson had also five daughters; the marriage of one of whom is mentioned in Gent. Mag. vol. LXXIII. p. 691, and LXXIV. p.573; and of another in vol. LXXIX. p. 579; the other three are single.--Mr. Robson was the re-builder, and sole proprietor of Trinity-chapel in Conduitstreet, now inherited by his son (which, though locally situated in the parish of St. George, Hanover-square, is a chapel of ease to St. Martin's). After the death of his eldest son, whom he had intended to succeed him, Mr. Robson gradually withdrew himself from business; and was appointed, about the year 1797, by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, high bailiff of the city and liberty; but resigned it some time before his death. He was also in the commission of the peace for the county of Middlesex, in which he had considerable property.- In 1788, accompanied by his friend James Edwards, esq. of Pall Mall, Mr. Robson undertook a journey to Venice, on purpose to examine the far-famed Pinelli Library, the Catalogue of which made six octavo volumes. This library, by a bold and successful speculation, he secured, by offering a price for it which the executors and trustees found it their interest to accept; and during the severe winter which followed, the books were, not without much hazard from the sea, brought safely to London; and sold by auction, in the following year, at
ings and conversation. Every man has, or ought to have, a little pride in appearing in good company; I could only have wished, therefore, that
you had told the publick, that the whole property of his Works he assigned to me solely, and that he addressed a Letter to the publick upon the occasion. I would not have presumed to have pointed out to your notice and attention such trivial circumstances, only I frequently observe respectful mention made of the names of many of my friends and contemporaries on similar occasions: In another edition, perhaps these trifling remarks may be regarded. "I flatter myself it will answer two purposes to me, without lessening in the least the credit of your publication: The first is but a piece of vanity, that my name will be enrolled amongst the
the great room in Conduit-street. Mr. Robson's principal amusement, when relaxing from the tumult of the world, was that which delighted Isaac Walton; and the records of Hampton and Sunbury proclaim his skill and patience as an Angler; where, associated with the late Rev. Richard Harrison, his friendly and skilful medical friend Mr. Woodd, and a few other select companions, he occasionally whiled away the early dawn and evening shade in harmless sport. His conversation was mild, cheerful, intelligent, communicative, but never obtrusives and, as he had imbibed in his early education a familiar acquaintance with the Latin poets, was frequently illustrated by apt quotations. Though very far removed from the character of a bon. vivant, he was a member of a monthly dining-club at the Shakspeare tavern; a society which the writer of this article can scarcely mention without emotions of the tenderest concern, as it brings to mind the many rational hours of relaxation it has afforded him, when congenial spirits, warmed not heated with the genuine juice of the grape, have unreservedly poured out their whole souls in Attic wit and repartee. But of this friendly band, after an association of about 35 years, Mr. Robson was nearly the last survivor! The late Mr. Alderman Cadell, with Messrs. James Dodsley, Lockyer Davis, Thomas Longman, Peter Elmsly, honest Tom Payne of the Mews-gate, and Thomas Evans of the Strand, were members of this society; from which originated the germ of many a valuable publication. Under their auspices, Mr. Thomas Davies (who was himself a pleasant member of the club) produced his “ Dramatic Miscellanies," and his “Life of Garrick ;” and here first were suggested the ideas which led to the publication of Dr. Johnson invaluable " Lives of the most eminent English Poets.”
Worthies of the age; and the next, it may recommend the sale of the Works of
deceased Friend, I beg pardon for taking up so much of your time and attention ; and request your acceptance of this assurance, that I am always, dear Sir, your very obedient humble servant,
BRYAN FAIRFAX, esq. (a younger son of Thomas the first lord Fairfax * of Cameron) was appointed a commissioner of the Customs in 1723; and, dying Jan/9, 1749, bequeathed a very considerable fortune to his nephew, the Hon. Robert Fairfax, of Leeds Castle, Kent, afterwards Lord Fairfax.
Mr. Fairfax's collection of Greek, Roman, and English coins and medals, was sold by auction, April 24, 25, and 26, 1751. Among other curiosities, hepossessed one part of the famous HeracleanTablet
* Whose great-uncle was the memorable General, Sir Thomas Fairfax, who conducted the Parliament Arny, in the time of Oliver Cromwell, against Charles the First; and who, with General Monk, assisted in restoring his son Charles the Second to the throne. - Thomas Lord Fairfax died, at his proprietary in Virginia, unmarried, in 1781, at the age of 89; and was succeeded by his younger brother, Robert, M. P. for Maidstone 1739 and 1747, and for Kent 1754 and 1761. The last lord was twice married; but died without issue, July 15, 1793, aged 87; and the title was afterwards claimed by, and confirmed in 1800 to, Bryan Fairfax, the present Lord, who is in holy orders, and is lineally descended from Henry, the fourth lord Fairfax.
+ In 1732 two large tables of copper were discovered near Heraclea, in the bay of Tarentum, in Magna Græcia; the first and most important of them, which was broken into two, containing, on one side, a Greek inscription relating to lands sacred to Bacchus ; on the other, a Latin inscription, being part of a pandect or digest of Roman municipal laws. Both these inscriptions were given to the world, in 1736, by Mr. Maittaire, as already mentioned in vol. II. p. 83. The second table, engraved on one side only, contained a Greek inscription relating to lands belonging to the temple of Minerva, nearly of the same antiquity with the first; but the inscription imperfect, the table being broken off at the lower end. The first part of the first table, soon after the discovery, was carried to Rome, and purchased there at a great price by Francisco Ficoroni, a celebrated antiquary. In 1735 it was brought by an Italian into England, where it was purchased by Mr. Fairfax; and at one of the public sales of his collection was bought for 42l. by Philip Carteret Webb, esq.
In his very valuable library was the Bible printed by Fust, on vellum, 1462, and Cicero's Offices by the same printer, also on vellum, 1466. The whole library, being 2343 lots, was intended to have been sold by auction, on April 26, 1756, and the 17 following days; but, after being advertised, was privately sold for 200cl. to his kinsman Francis Child *, esq .and the printed catalogues, except 20, were suppressed. Mr. Child sent the library to his seat at Osterley, Middlesex, where, in 1782, it remained in the
possession of his younger brother and heir, Robert Child, esq. and made part of the superb and magnificently bound library t, of which a catalogue was drawn up, and only twenty-five copies printed, in 1771, in a handsome quarto. This latter catalogue was drawn up by Dr. Morell *; assisted by the preceding labours of the Rev. Dr. Winchester, who had been tutor to those gentlemen, and collected many books for the eldest of them.
Mr. Fairfax's pictures, statues, urns, and other antiquities, were sold by auction, April 6 and 7, and the prints and drawings, May 4-8, 1756.
who in 1760 obliged the world with a curious account of it, read by him before the Society of Antiquaries, Dec. 13, V759. Mr. Webb presented the table, March 12, 1760, to the King of Spain, by the hands of the Neopolitan minister in London, to be depositod in the royal collection of antiquities at Naples; where the other half and the second table had been placed by purchase, in 1748. The Commentaries of Mazochius on these tables, in 600 folio pages, were published at Naples in 1758. In return for the table, Mr. Webb received from bis Sicilian Majesty, by the hand of the Neapolitan minister, in November 1760, a present of a diamond ring worth 3001.
* The first wife of the Hon. Robert Fairfax was Martha Collins, niece to Sir Francis Child, bart.
+ In Mr. West's catalogue, No. 1920 (made up of old titlepages of early printed books, &c.) contained a MS list of “Books in Mr. Child's library at Osterley, printed before the year 1500;" and another such list, “ before the year 1551.”
I“ Bibliotheca hæc olim fuit honorabilis viri Bryani Fairfax, cujus ab hæredibus pretio 2000 librarum redemit eam Samuel Child, armiger, de Osterley Park. Catalogum curavit Thomas Morell, S. T. P. cujus viginti quinque exemplaria in suum et amicorum usum imprimenda voluit dignissimus possessor, 1771." Note by Dr. Lort, in his own Copy of the Catalogue; which was purchased by Mr. Gough, and has since been consigned to the Bodleian Library.
Richard FRANK, of Campsal, esq. F.R.S. recorder of Pontefract and Doncaster, was a polite scholar, and a lover of antiquities. He died æt. 60, May 22, 1762. His valuable collections, including those of Dr. Johnston * (which came into his hands
* Dr. Nathaniel Johnston, physician at Pontefract, made large collections from Dodsworth's papers and other quarters, and communicated many particulars to bishop Gibson. Mr. Drake tells us, the Doctor's MSS. are in such an awkward scrawl as to be scarce legible, and that a subscription was proposed some few years since to lodge them in the Castle library, which might have made them more useful than they can be now. The Doctor gave out, he had spent thirty years in amassing materials, and proposed to write the antiquities of the county after Dugdale's, and the natural History after Plott's manner. Wood was informed he grew weary of the work Nicolson has left this censure on his labours, that “only death prevented the pub.ication of what its readers would have been weary of.” The Proposals for printing thein (published in 1722 by his grandson) are preserved in Mr. Bowyer's Miscellaneous Tracts. He had written a history of the Talbot family from their Norman ancestor Richard Talbot to Edward Talbot, last Earl of Shrewsbury of the house of Sheffield ; an historical account of the reign of Charles I. after the breaking out of the civil war; and a short account of Stephen's reign. The first of these was in Mr. Gough's possession. His historical account of the family of Bruce is in the Harleian library, No. 3879. He had a copy of Domesday for Yorkshire, transcribed by himself, in a common hand. Dr. Burton (Pref. to his Monasticon) informs us, he had the use of above one hundred folio volumes relating to this county, collected by this indefatigable antiquary, and then in the hands of Richard Frank, esq. who had purchased as many as could be found, amounting to 97 volumes in folio, and some bundles in 4to, after the death of the author's grandson, Henry Johnston. A catalogue of them, and others in the Doctor's possession, was published in the Cat. MSS. Angl. tom. ii. p. 99. Among the rest is mentioned a large volume of Prospects of York, and other towns and castles, draughts of Roman and Saxon camps, and views of churches, abbevs, and seats: others contain arms, tombs, and monumental inscriptions, before the civil war. Dr. Ducarel informed the Society of Antiquaries, 1756, that Dr. Johnston's MSS. amounted only to ninety-seven volumes,-and some quarto bundles, though in the Cat. MSS. Ang. they are a hundred and thirty-five; the rest were carried off by an amanuensis employed to copy such as related to the Darcy family, which, together with the originals, were burnt by an accidental fire in Lord Holderness's house; but no volumes had been carried into Suffolk, and used as waste paper, as some of the members had reported: that the two volumes of drawings were brought by the amanuensis into that county, where they were pasted on the walls of the