Page images
PDF
EPUB

In 1759 Dr. Warburton obtained the Royal Licence for the sole printing and vending the Works of the late Alexander Pope, esq.

At the latter end of this year Dr. Warburton received the honour, so justly due to his merit, of being dignified with the mitre*. He was promoted, from the Roman emperors proceeded not from any peculiar disapprobation of their tenets, but from a jealousy entertained of their nocturnal assemblies. In expressing this opinion, Taylor did not mention, and perhaps did not even think of Warburton; but, as the latter in his Divine Legation had derived these persecutions from another source, the absurdities of Pagan religion and the iniquities of Pagan politicks, the holding, and much more the publishing, of a contrary notion, by any contemporary, was too great an offence for that haughty dogmatist to pass by with impunity. His prefaces and notes were, as was wittily observed of him, the established places of execution for the punishment of all who did not implicitly adopt his sentiments ;-and having occasion soon after (in 1759) to publish a new edition of that celebrated work, he seized that opportunity to chastise Taylor, with all the virulence, wit, and ingenuity of distortion, which he could command. - An attack so insolent and unprovoked could not injure the established character of Dr. Taylor, or ruffle his temper. He was sensible that it could be detrimental only to its author, and wisely abstained from taking any notice of it. There appeared, however, in defence of our Author, in August 1759, a pamphlet entitled, “Impartial Remarks upon the Preface of Dr. Warburton, in which he has taken uncommon Liberties with the Character of Dr. Taylor, Chancellor of Lincoln ;" but it is a very poor performance, the only information which it contains being the anecdote above given as to the real origin of the dispute." This Note is literally copied from a well-written Life of Dr. Taylor, in Some Account of the antient and present State of Shrewsbury, 1810," pp. 388-391.

* The first notice that occurs of this preferinent in the printed Letters to Mr. Hurd is, Feb. 19, 1760. “My wife has been at Gloucester ; but did not like the condition of one half of the goods, nor the price of the other; so that she chose to new furnish it, and only lay out with Mrs. Johnson about 50l for what she calls fixtures; but what they are I know not. You will see what she says of your sagacity in the inclosed scrap. But you won't forgive her silver shoulder-knot for all that." Mr. Hurd answers, March 4, “Mrs. Warburton is always extremely kind; from a letter, she did me the favour to write to me after her interview with Mrs. Johnson, I find she is intent on dignifying all your Lordship's domesticks, as well as your footmen; for whereas the chaplains of other bishops, and even Lambeth chaplains, are usually thrust, with the other lumber of the family, into any blind corner, she invites me to repose in

state,

*

Dec. 22, to the bishoprick of Gloucester *; conse- crated on the 20th of January 1760; and on the 30th of the same month preached before the House of Lords of on the occasion of that Anniversary *. state, in the Abbot's apartment at Gloucester. You will judge, after this, if I can have the heart to say one word against the' shoulder-knots."—How little the new Bishop cared for the trappings of dignity is apparent through the whole of his correspondence : I brought," he says, Feb. 20, 1767, “as usual, a bad cold with me to town; and, this being the first day I ventured out of doors, it was employed, as in duty bound, at Court, it being a leveeday. A Buffoon Lord in waiting (you may guess whom I mean) was very busy marshaling the circle ; and he said to me, without ceremony—“Move forward; you clog up the door-way."I replied, with as little, “ Did nobody clog up the King's doorstead more than I, there would be room for all honest men." This brought the man to himself. When the King came up to me, he asked, “ why I did not come to town before?” I said, “I understood there was no business going forward in the House, in which I could be of service to His Majesty." He replied, He supposed the severe storm of snow would have brought me up." I replied, “I was under cover of a very warm house.". You see, by all this, how unfit I am for Courts."

“ When Divines, eminent for literature, industrious in their profession, conspicuous as pre’ichers, illustrious as authors, are advanced to the first stations in the Church, it is not only a security to religion, but an encouragement to learning, and a strong incitement to others to prosecute the same studies, and to excel in the same useful arts.” Dr. Newton's Sermon at the Consecration of William Warburton, D.D. Lord Bishop of Gloucester, Jan. 20, 1760, p. 25.

† “ I shall be obliged to print my 30th of January Sermon. But don't fancy I shall think it worth while to send you one; buy it, and welcome; you may have it for a groat; and the London Chronicle, which I esteem rather my inferior in politicks, will cost you three pence.” Letter to Mr. Hurd, Feb. 19.

# The character of the Monarch is thus admirably delineated by the Bishop in this excellent Sermon : “ The King had many virtues, but all of so unsociable a turn as to do him neither service nor credit. His religion, in which he was sincerely zealous, was over-run with scruples, and the simplicity if not the purity of his morals was debased by casuistry. His natural affections (a rare virtue in that high situation) were so excessive, as to render him a slave to all his kin; and his social so moderate, as only to enable him to lament, not to preserve, his friends and servants. His knowledge was extensive, though not exact; and his courage clear, though not keen; yet his modesty far surpassed his magnanimity: his knowledge only made him obnoxious to the doubts of his more ignorant ministers, and his caurage to the irresolutions of his less adventurous generals. In a. word, his princely qualities were neither great enough nor bad

enough

A suspicion having arisen that Mr. Sterne had an intention, in the continuation of Tristram Shandy, of making Bp. Warburton the Tutor of his Hero, occasioned some compliments to the learned Prelate in a letter to Mr. Garrick, in April 1760, transscribed below*, in which such a design is disclaimed.

enough to succeed in that most difficult of all attempts, the enslaving a free and jealous people." * « Dear Sir,

Thursday, 10 oʻclock-Night. or 'Twas for all the world like a cut across my finger with a sharp pen-knife. I saw the blood-gave it a suck-wrapt it up

and thought no more about it. But there is more goes to the healing of a wound than this comes toma wound (unless it is a wound not worth talking of, but by the bye mine is) must give you some pain after. Nature will take her own way with it-it must ferment-it must digest. - The story you told me of Tristram's pretended Tutor, this morning. My letter by right should have set out with this sentence, and then the simile would not have kept you a moment in suspense. This vile story, I say—though I then saw both how, and where it wounded -I felt little from it at first-or, to speak more honestly (though it ruins my simile), I felt a great deal of pain from it, but affected an air usual on such accidents, of less feeling than I had. I have now got home to my lodgings, since the play (you astonish me in it), and have been unwrapping this self-same wound of mine, and shaking my head over it, this half-hour.- What the Devil! is there no one learned blockhead throughout the many schools of misapplied science in the Christian world, to make a tutor of for my Tristram ? Ex quovis ligno non fit. Are we so run out of stock, that there is no one lumber-headed, muddleheaded, monster-headed, pudding-headed chap amongst our doctors ? Is there no one single wight of much reading and no learning, amongst the many children in my mother's nursery, who bid high for this charge-but I must disable my judgment by choosing a Warburton ? Vengeance! have I so little concern for the honour of my hero! am I wretch so void of sense, so bereft of feeling for the figure he is to make in story, that I should choose a preceptor to rob him of all the immortality I intended him? O! dear Mr. Garrick, malice is ingenious--unless where the excess of it outwits itself. I have two comforts in this stroke of it: the first is, that this one is partly of this kind; and secondly, that it is one of the number of those which so unfairly brought poor Yorick to his grave. The report might draw blood of the Author of Tristram Shandy—but could not harm such a man as the Author of the Divine Legation. God bless him! though (by the bye, and according to the natural course of descents) the blessing should come from him to me. Pray have you no interest, lateral or collateral, to get me introduced to his Lordship? Why do you ask? My dear Sir, I have

no

Mr. Sterne soon after addressed a letter to the Bishop*, accompanied by a present of his Sermons.

no claim to such an honour, but what arises from the honour and respect which, in the progress of my work, will be shewn the world I owe to so great a man. Whilst I am talking of owing-1 wish, my dear Sir, that any body would tell you how much I am indebted to you. I am determined never to do it myself, or say more upon the subject than this, that I am, Yours,

L. STERNB." * " My LORD,

York, June 9, 1760. “Not knowing where to send two sets of my Sermons, I could think of no better expedient than to order them into Mr. Berrenger's hands, who has promised me that he will wait upon your Lordship with them, the first moment he hears you are in town. The truest and humblest thanks I return to your Lordship, for the generosity of your protection, and advice to me; by making a good use of the one, I will hope to deserve the other. I wish your Lordship all the health and happiness in this world; for I am, your Lordship's most obliged, and most grateful servant,

L. STERNE. “P.S. I am just sitting down to go on with Tristram, &c. The seribblers use me ill, but they have used my betters much worse; for which may God forgive them.” The present was thus acknowledged : « Rev. Sir,

Prior Park, June 15, 1760. “ I have your favour of the 9th instant, and am glad to understand you are got safe home, and employed again in your proper studies and amusements. You have it in your power to make that, which is an amusement to yourself and others, use. ful to both: at least, you should above all things beware of its becoming hurtful to either, by any violations of decency and good manners : but I have already taken such repeated liberties of advising you on that head, that to say more would be needless, or perhaps unacceptable. Whoever is, in any way, well received by the publick, is sure to be annoyed by that pest of the publick, profligate scribblers. This is the common lot of successful adventurers; but such have often a worse evil to struggle with, I mean the over-officiousness of their indiscreet friends. There are two Odes, as they are called, printed by Dodsley; whoever was the author, he appears to be a monster of impiety and lewdness—yet such is the malignity of the scribblers, some have given them to your friend Hall; and others, which is more impossible, to yourself; though the first Ode has the insolence to place you both in a mean and a ridiculous light. But this might arise from a tale equally groundless and malignant, that you had shewn them to your acquaintances in MS. before they were given to the publick. Nor was their being printed by Dodsley the likeliest means of discrediting the calumny.- About this time another, under the mask of friendship, pretended to draw your character, which was since published

In 1761 Bp. Warburton printed “A Rational Account of the Nature and End of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper *," 12mo.

in a Female Magazine (for Dulness, who often has as great a hand as the Devil in deforming God's works of the creation, has made then, it seems, male and female), and from thence it was transformed into a Chronicle 1. Pray have you read it, or do you know the author ? — But of all these things, I dare say, Mr. Garrick, whose prudence is equal to his honesty or his talents, has remonstrated to you with the freedom of a friend. He knows the inconstancy of what is called the Publick towards all, even the best intentioned, of those who contribute to its pleasure or amusement. He (as every man of honour and discretion would) has availed himself of the public favour to regulate the taste, and, in his proper station, to reform the manners of the fashionable world; while, by a well-judged oeconomy, he has provided against the temptations of a mean and servile dependency on the follies and vices of the great.

“ In a word, be assured, there is no one more sincerely wishes your welfare and happiness than, Rev. Sir, &c. W. G."

"Sterne has published his fifth and sixth volumes of Tristram. They are wrote pretty much like the first and second; but whether they will restore his reputation as a writer with the publick, is another question. - The fellow himself is an irrecoverable scoundrel." Letter to Mr. Hurd, Dec. 27, 1761.

* In transcribing the following note from the MSS. of the Rev. John Jones, I think it proper to disclaim the most distant idea of detracting from the transcendant merits of Bp. Warburton, It is merely given as an instance, among many others that might be produced, of his singularity. The note, it may be observed, was written by a well-meaning, learned, and conscientious Divine :

It deserves some notice, and also regret, that this learned person, who wrote a treatise upon the Lord's Supper (in mere opposition, as is said, to much better treatise) should himself pay so little regard to that sacred institution. A gentleman of eminence in the Church assured me, that a daughter of his, being in the same pew with Warburton, then a Bishop, in a certain great church in London, both on a Good-Friday and on the Easter-day next following, on both which days the Holy Communion was there administered, observed with concern the Prelate's leaving the church, both times, when that solemn act of worship was coming on, and not joining in it, This was his then parish-church. · [But perhaps he received, os administered, the Communion, in some other church, at that solemn season :-of this I know nothing, nor have heard more.) A worthy Dignitary of the Church observed, with equal concern, the same omission, or neglect, in the Abbey Church at Bath. The Right Reverend went out, to the surprize of the congregaSee “ The London Chronicle" May 6, 1760.

« PreviousContinue »