Page images
PDF
EPUB

Preface to Hudibras. But a literary warfare commenced soon after between the two learned Cri

only of making a greater sum of money by it. Upon this he flew into a great rage, and there is an end of the story; with which I have thought it best to make you acquainted, that, as you mention the working of his friends, you may judge the better of what you see and hear from them, and may make what use you please of the truth of facts, which I have now laid before you. -As to my own particular, Í have no aim to pursue in this affuir : I propose neither honour, reward, or thanks, and should be very well pleased to have the books continue upon their shelf, in my own private closet. If it is thought they may be of use or pleasure to the publick, I am willing to part with them out of my hands, and to add, for the honour of Shakspeare, some decorations and embellishments at my own expence. It will be an unexpected pleasure to me, if they can be made in any degree profitable to the University, to which I shall always retain a gratitude, a regard, and reverence; but, that I may end as I began, I beg the favour of you, if, upon more mature consideration among yourselves, you see reason to discourage you from proceeding in this affair, that you will give it over, and not look upon yourselves to be the more obliged to prosecute it from any steps already taken with, Sir,

“Your most humble and obedient servant, Tho. Hanmer." [The following letter, on the same subject, now first printed froin the original, is addressed to Dr. Zachary Grey. Sir,

Grosvenor-street, London, Dec. 30, 1742. “ Having written a letter to you before I left Milden-hall, I wish to know if that came safe to your hand, and whether it satisfied you upon the passage in King Lear where you suspected Edmund the Bastard of speaking nonsense. I must now ac.' quaint you that the books are gone out of my hands, and lodged with the University of Oxford, which hath been willing to accept of them as a present from me. They intend to print them forthwith, in a fair impression adorned with sculptures; but it will be so ordered that it will be the cheapest book that ever was exposed to sale. shall desire you to accept one from me when it comes out ; but if you have any friends or neighbours who are desirous to secure a copy to themselves, perbaps it would not be amiss you should let me know who they are; for none are to go into the hands of booksellers, and I believe it is not intended to print a great many of them. I wish you a happy new year; and am, Sir,

Your very humble servant, Tho. HANMER."] Dr. Warburton's indignant strictures (which were written in 1761, after he was Bishop of Gloucester, and were designed to be printed in the Biographia Britannica, if the sheet had not been cancelled) were as follows: “Sir Thomas Hanmer's letter from Milden-hall to Oxford, Oct. 28, 1742, is one continued falsehood from beginning to end. It is false that my acquaintance with him began upon an application from me to him. It began on an application of the present Bishop of London to me,

ticks; of which a full account has been already given in a former volume *.

in behalf of Sir T. Hanmer; and, as I understood, at Sir T. Han.' mer's desire. The thing speaks itself. It was publicly known that I had written Notes on Shakspeare, because part of them were printed. Few people knew that Sir T. Hanmer had : I cere tainly did not know; nor, indeed, whether he was living or dead. --The falsehood is still viler (because it sculks only under an insinuation) that I made a journey to him to Milden-hall, without invitation; whereas it was at his earnest and repeated request, as appears by his Letters, which I have still by me. It is false that the views of interest began to shew themselves in me to this disinterested gentleman. My resentment at Sir Thomas H.'s behaviour began on the following occasion : A bookseller in London, of the best reputation, had wrote me word, that Sir Thomas Hanmer had been with him, to propose his printing an edition of Shakspeare on the following conditions ; of its being pompously printed with cuts (as it afterwards was at Oxford) at the expence of the said bookseller; who, besides, should pay one hundred guineas, or some such sum, to a friend of his (Sir T. Hanmer's), who had transcribed the glossary for him. But the bookseller, understanding that he made use of many of my notes, and that I knew nothing of the project, thought fit to send me this account. On which I wrote to Sir Th. Hanmer, upbraiding him with his behaviour, and demanding out of his hands all the Letters I had written to him on the subject; which he unwillingly complied with, after cavilling about the right of property in those Letters, for which he had (he said) paid the postage.-When the bookseller would not deal with him on these terms, he applied to the University of Oxford, and was at the expence of his purse, in procuring cuts for his edition; and at the expence of his reputation, in employing a number of my emendations on the text, without my knowledge or consent; and this behaviour was what occasioned Mr. Pope's perpetuating the memory of the Oxford edition of Shakspeare in the Dunciad. This is a true and exact account of the whole affair, which I never thought worth while afterwards to complain of, but to the Bishop of London, at whose desire I lent Sir Thomas Hanmer my assistance; nor should ever have revived it, but for the publication of this scandalous Letter, sent from Oxford to this Philip Nichols, to be inserted in the Biographia Britannica. W. Gloucester."

The whole history of this curious transaction is contained in a folio pamphlet, intituled, “ The Castrated Letter of Sir Thomas Hanmer, in the sixth Volume of Biographia Britannica; wherein is discovered the first Rise of the present Bishop of Gloucester's Quarrel with that Baronet, about his Edition of Shakspeare's Plays. To which is prefixed an impardal Account of the extraordinary means used to suppress this remarkable Letter. By a Proprietor of that Work. [Philip Nichols.] The second Edi: tion, corrected and augmented. London, 1763." * See vol. II. p. 169.

«The

“The Divine Legation of Moses" had now been published some time; and various answers and objections to it having started up from different quarters, Mr. Warburton, in 1744, turned his attention to these attacks on his favourite work ; and defended himself in a manner which, if it did not prove him to be possessed of much humility or diffidence, at least demonstrated that he knew how to wield the weapons of controversy with the hand of a master *

His first defence appeared, under the title of Remarks on several Occasional Reflections ; * The following lines were addressed to him in 1744:

"Bold Genius! born in these dull Gothic days,
Thy worth is such, it far transcends our praise.
In thee each science, and each art conspire,
And all the tuneful Nine thy breast inspire.
In vulgar paths, you scorn to gain a name;
And nobly dare to deviate into fame;
Trusting our guides, in vain for truth we sought,
And blindly follow'd what our fathers taught';
Till you arose with kind, auspicious light;
And purg'd those errors, which obscur'd our sight.
While you Antiquity's great depths explore,
Raptur'd we seem to live past ages o'er.
Columbus like, in Learning's world you shine,
And shew at once the Classick and Divine.
What Servius ne'er could reach with all his pains,
Thy page the mighty Maro's works explains.
Thy comment on the text new grace bestows,
And much the Poet to the Critick owes.
By thee, great Job his native habit wears,
Nor more his blundring commentators fears :
Justly the piece our fixt attention draws,
And the great drama merits our applause.

Proceed, our nation's glory, still to write,
In spite of dulness, and in Envy's spite:
Tho' hostile pens are drawn, yet boldly dare,
Singly to stand against the paper war.
Posterity thy works with praise will crown,

And each age use thee better than thy own." + See vol. II. p. 165. The Preface to these “ Remarks" produced "An Epistle to the Rev.Mr.Warburton, occasioned by his Treatment of the Author of The Pleasures of Imagination, 1744;" an anony. mous pamphlet, the production of Jeremiah Dyson, esq. Clerk of the House of Commons, and the confidential friend of Dr. Akena side; who says, “Notwithstanding the pains you have taken to discourage men from entering into any controversy with you; and

in answer to the Rev. Dr. Middleton, Dr. Pococke*, the Master of the Charter-House t, Dr. Richard Grey, and others; serving to explain and justify divers Passages in the Divine Legation objected to by those learned Writers. To which is added, A general Review of the Argument of the Divine Legation, as far as it is yet advanced : wherein is considered the Relation the several Parts bear to each other, and the whole. Together with an Appendix, in Answer to a late Pamphlet, intituled, An Examination of Mr. Warburton's Second Proposition,” 8vo.

notwithstanding the severe example you have just been making of one, who, as you fancied, had presumed to call you to account ; you must still be content to be accountable for your writings, and must once more bear the mortification of being actually called to account for them. It is the Preface to your late Remarks, that you are now called upon to justify: in which you have thought fit to treat upon a mighty free footing (as you style it, but in the apprehension of most people, upon a very injurious one) the ingenious and worthy Author of the Poem intituled “The Pleasures of Imagination. The favourable reception and applause that performance has met with, render it unnecessary, and indeed impertinent, for me to enlarge in its praise; especially as you, Sir, have not condescended to enter into a particular censure of the Poem. However, by some general hints scattered up and down, as well as by the affectation of perpetually stiling the Author our Poet, you may have let us see how you stand affected towards it. Whether it be inckeed that dull, trivial, useless thing you seem to represent it, I shall not dispute with you; but am content to leave, as to this point, Mr. Warburton's judge ment staked against the general reputation of the Poem. The point I am immediately concerned with, is your unbecoming treatment of the Author; which, as it is so interwoven through the whole course of your Preface as to be sufficiently evident without the allegation of repeated passages, so we shall find there are not wanting repeated instances of direct and notorious ill-usage; such usage as, though the provocation had been ever so just, and the imagined attack upon you ever so real, would yet have been unwarrantable; and which, therefore, cannot aclmit of the least shadow of an excuse, when it shall appear, that

you had really no provocation at all." * The learned Bishop of Meath, of whom see vol. II. p. 157 ; and whose account of Hieroglyphics, and the relation they had to language, given in his Observations on Egypt, differed from what is advanced on that subject in “ The Divine Legation." † Nicholas Mann, esq.; of whom see some memoirs, vol. II. p. 165,

Part

This was followed, next year, by “Remarks on several Oecasional Reflections; in Answer to the Rev. Doctors Stebbing and Sykes *; serving to explain and justify the two Dissertations in The Divine Legation, concerning the Command to Abraham to offer up his Son, and the Nature of the Jewish Theocracy, objected to by those learned Writers. Part II. and last;" Svo. Both these answers are couched in those high terms of confident superiority which marked almost every performance that fell from his pen during the remainder of his life.

Sept. 5, 1745, Mr. Warburton more closely cemented his friendship with Mr. Allen, by a marriage with his favourite niece Miss Gertrude Tucker; and Prior Park *, the splendid seat of

* See vol. II. p. 176.
+ See what he says on this subject in vol. II. p. 190.

| “This magnificent building stands on a terrace about one hundred feet below the summit of Combe-down, and four hundred feet above the city of Bath, from which it is a mile and a half distant to the South-east. It consists of, a house in the centre, two pavilions, and two wings of offices, all united by arcades, and making one continued line of building, between twelve and thirteen hundred feet in front, of which the house occupies one hundred and fifty. It is built in the Corinthian style, upon a rustic basement, and crowned with a ballustrade. The centre part, projecting from the plane, forms one of the niost correct and noble porticoes in the kingdom, supported by six large, lofty, and superb columns. The apartments are very spacious, elegant, and warm, free from damp, and healthy. At the bottom of the lawn before the house is a piece of water, and over it a Palladian bridge, built with stone conveyed hither from the large quarries on Combe-down (which likewise furnished stone for the whole house), by curious carts or sledges, invented by Mr. Padmore, a very ingenious artist and mechanick. The house is acknowledged to command perhaps the finest view in the kingdom; and, from its lofty situation, the magnificence of its portico, and its general appearance, affords a splendid object to the city of Bath and its environs. It was begun about fifty years ago, and finished about the year 1743, by that public character Ralph Allen, esq. of whom it will be no ostentativus encomium to observe, that he was one of the best, and most benevolent of men. His memory will ever be revered by the city and neighbourhood of Bath, to both which he dispensed a variety of acts of liberality; and his name is eternized in the memorials of that noble charitable foundation the Hospital, to which he was a most munificent benefactor. The following Vol. V. ge

inscrip

« PreviousContinue »