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Summer Friend. Also, the secret History of the Weekly Writers, in a distinct Challenge to each of them. Printed, and are to be sold by B. Bragg, at the Black Raven in Paternoster-row. 1706.'
9. “The Bull-baiting: or, Sacheverell dressed up in Fireworks. Lately brought over from Beargarden in Southwark; and exposed, for the Diversion of the Citizens of London, at Six-pence a-piece. By John Dunton, Author of the Answer to Dr. Kennett, intituled “The Hazurd of a Death-bed Repentance." Being Remarks on a scandalous Sermon bellowed out at St. Paul's on the fifth of November last, before the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, and Court of Aldermen, by Dr. Sacheverell. Printed for the Author, and are to be sold by John Morphew, near Stationers-hall; and take notice whatever of these Books are published, not having Mr. Morphew's name to them (or that are sold at a lower price than 6d.) are a wrong to the Author, and a cheat to the Buyers ; all such stolen and imperfect Books not containing the fourth part of Mr. Dunton's original Copies. 1709."
11. The latest of his publications that I have seen * is intituled, “ Athenianism; or, the new Projects of Mr. John Dunton, Author of the Essay intituled, · The Hazard of a Death-bed Repentance; being,
* Dunton is honoured with an incidental notice in the Dunciad, II. 144; on which Warburton remarks, that “ he was a auction bookseller, and an abusive scribler. He wrote Neck or Nothing, a violent satire on some Ministers of State; a libel on the Duke of Devonshire and the Bishop of Peterborough, &c.” “ I am informed,” says Swift in the Tale of a Tub,
« that worthy Citizen and Bookseller Mr. John Dunton has made a faithful and painful Collection, which he shortly designs to publish in tuelve volumes in folio, illustrated with copper-plates ; a work useful and curious, and altogether worthy of such a hand.” --In his “Public Spirit of the Whigs," Swift says, “Among the present Writers on that side I can recollect but three of any great distinction, which are the Flying Post, Mr. Dunton, and the author of the Crisis. The first of these seems to have been much sunk in reputation, since the sudden retreat of the only true genuine original author, Mr. Ridpath, who is celebrated by the
sir hundred* distinct Treatises (in Prose and Verse) written with his own Hand; and is an entire Colection of all his Writings, both in Manuscript and such as were formerly printed. To which is added, Dunton's Farewell to Printing, in some serious Thoughts on those Words of Solomon, ‘Of making many Books there is no End; and much Study is a Weariness of the Flesh.' With the Author's Effigies, to distinguish the original and true Copies from such as are false and imperfect. Take care also of being cheated by Wooden Cuts: the right is that which is drawn and 'graved by those two celebrated Artists, Knight and Vander Gucht. To this work is prefixed an Heroick Poem upon Dunton's Projects, written by the Athenian Society; with an Alphabetical Table of the several Projects, Questions, Novelties, Poems, and Characters in
Dutch Gazetteer as one of the best pens in England. Mr. Dunton hath been longer and more conversant in books than any
of the three, as well as more voluminous in his productions : however, having employed his studies in so great a variety of other subjects, he hath, I think, but lately turned his genius to politicks. His famous tract, intituled Neck or Nothing, must be allowed to be the shrewdest piece, and written with the must spirit, of any which hath appeared from that side since the Jehange of the Ministry: it is indeed a most cutting satire upon the Lord Treasurer and Lord Bolingbroke; and I wonder none of our friends ever undertook to answer it. I confess, I was, at first of the same opinion with several good judges, who from the style and manner suppose it to have issued from the sharp pen the Earl of Nottingham; and I am still apt to think it might receive his Lordship's last hand.”
Dunton was certainly a most voluminous writer, as he seems to have had his pen always ready, and never to have been at a Loss for a subject to exercise it upon. Though he generally put his name to what he wrote, it would be a difficult task to get together a complete collection of his various publications. As containing notices of many persons and things not to be found elsewhere, they certainly have their use; and his accounts are often entertaining.
* This dipper into a thousand books formed ten thousand projects, six hundred of which he appears to have thought he had completely methodized. His mind seemed to be like some tables, where the victuals have been ill-sorted, and worse dressed.
serted in this Volume. Printed by Tho. Darrack; and sold by John Morphew. 1710.”
In the Preface to this volume, which breathes all the pride of self-consequence, he informs his readers, that he does not write to flatter, or for hire.
As a specimen of the better parts of this performancef, take the characters of three eminent Divines, of whom some memoirs have been given already *.
“Wise as the best, will the learn'd Stanhopeseem, But in St. Lawrence' pulpit picture him; For, Dunton, there you 'll find the Seraphim. Devotion is the imprese in his breast, Learning and Zeal below divide the rest ; He loaths the fools that c':re to preach in jest. His temper is harmonious as the spheres, Copious his wit, yet sparkling as the stars. Athens and Rome, when Learning flourish'd most, Could never such a famous Preacher boast; Whose matchless beauties in the English tongue Have even rival'd the fam'd Tillotson. Judgment does some to reputation raise, And for Invention others wear the bays: Stanhope has both, with such a talent still As shews not only force of wit, but skill: So faultless are his works, 'tis hard to know, If he does more to Art or Nature owe.
* Other subjects are, 1. “The Funeral of Mankind, a paradox, proving we are all dead and buried." 2. “The Spiritual Hedgehog; or, a new and surprising Thought.” 3. “ The Double Life, or a new way to redeem Time, by living over to-morrow before it comes.” 4.“ Dunton preaching to himself; or every man his own Parson." 5. His “Creed, or the Religion of a Bookseller,” in imitation of Browne's Religio Medici, has some humour and merit. This he dedicated to the Stationers Company.
† As a Satirist, he appears to most advantage in his Poems, intituled, “The Beggar mounted;" “ The Dissenting Doctors;" “Parnassus hoa! or Frolics in verse;" “ Dunton's Shadow, or the character of a Summer Friend." Throughout the whole of his writings, however, he is exceedingly prolix and tedious, and sometimes obscure. His « Case is altered, or Dunton's Remarriage to his own Wife," has some singular notions, but very little merit in the composition.
Read where you will, he's musick all along,
“ Let pious Hoadly next his station find,
* " He lately published a Sermon upon that subject."
'Tis neither Art nor Nature can amend him,
“ If these famod Preachers have thy' art refin’d,
This volume, on the whole, is a strange mixture of sense and folly; containing some good articles in prose and verse, a few of a licentious turn, and some deeply tinctured with insanity; a misfortune under which Dunton appears to have long laboured.
12. Dunton published, after this, “An Appeal to Her Majesty, with a List of his Political Pamphlets ;" of which a copy is in the British Museum.
* Dr. Moss was Preacher at Gray's Inn. See vol. IV. p. 223. + Ezekiel ii. 19.
In like manner he describes “the most eminent Conformists" of his age; and, after some advice to the Clergy, adds,
“ These preaching rules will make you grave and neat;