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1726; in which year, Aug. 29, Sir John Clerk thus wrote to Mr. Gale, “Mr. Gordon is expected here, with his head full of a project to make a communication between Clyde and Forth by a canal; when I see it is probable he will be less fond of it, for his project has been thought of a good many years ago, but it has been judged the profits would not answer the charge.” In reply, Mr. Gale observes, “I told Mr.Gordon my thoughts of his project to cut through the Northern isthmus very freely. I could not see what manner of commerce could be so promoted by this new passage, as to repay the immense expence it would require to perfect it; at the same time the publick is so poor here, and so many necessary demands upon it, that I am sure it will be impossible to obtain the least sum for such experiments; and I believe your Treasury in Scotland is not much richer: he has, however, communicated it to some great men. My Lord Ilay treated it, as I hear, with great contempt; and if Sir Robert Walpole gave it a more favourable reception; it proceeded from the recommendation of Secretary Johnson, and from his usual affability and desire to dismiss every body that applies to him as well pleased as he
Mr. Gordon made trial of all the ways by which a man could get an honest livelihood. He set about the study of Greek; but is said to have been so ill furnished with Latin, as to have translated in one of his publications the concluding sentence of Herodotus' first book *
erodotus' first book *, where horses
inyself on your account, as I have already done; which is all from, Sir, your most humble servant, ALESA: DEF GORDOX. P.S. With the evening tide I go for Richinond to Sir Andrew
Fountain ; then to Twitnam, with Brigadier Bisset's books; next to Hampton Court, about a particular atlair; so wlien I return I shall be very willing to lay the aflair before Mr. Colvill and Mr. Richardson, your two friends; and I hope thereby exonerate myselfand conduct in any affair betwixt you and me."
*“Your quotation from ilerodotus, with regard to the mistake, is nothing without the Greek being quoted at full length: wala TW2 Tinaniw our is so little hey knew of Astronomy, and so . little did. Mr. Blackwell kaow of either Greek or Latin. By the
bye, you see your Deo pernicissimo is quite out of the question. I had this circumstance from Dr. Taylor, er ore." Jir. E. (Harke.
are said to be sacrificed to the sun, as deo pernicissimo, the most pernicious deity.
Mr.Gordon is frequently noticed in the “Reliquiæ Galeanæ *."
In 1730 Mr. Maurice Johnson thanks
* It appears by this work (p. 226) that the first intimacy between Mr. Roger Gale and Sir John Clerk arose through the medium of Mr. Gordon; whose “ Itinerarium” they both very freely censure, pp. 226. 232; and, in p. 237, Sir John Clerk says, “I had acknowledged your favour of the 26th of April, but delayed giving myself that pleasure till I should see Mr. Gordon's book. I have now seen it; and because the last part concerns me most, I cannot help regretting to you that Mr. Gordon has not at all answered my expectations and the promise he made me. in hopes he only would have made use of the contents of my letters as his own; but in place of this I find them not only inserted at length, but in a most incorrect way. I foresaw that this would happen, amongst other inconveniences; so pressed him over and over again not to meddle with them. I cannot now help what is done, but have caused the errata to be printed after the appendix in as many copies as are to be sold here. I likewise ordered the printer to send them to Mr. Gordon, that they might likewise be inserted in other copies. No new thing has been added, except where I speak of the linum asbestinum, I say, it could not resist the force of the vehement fire. The Bishop of Hadria's letter obliged me to this caution, though not very necessary; for, by the very way that the honest Bishop tells his story, it appears that the cloth he saw had never been in a rogus, otherwise all the cineres had been collected, and not a part of them. If he had made a trial, as he says, of its combustible quality, it was only in an Italian fire, and not on a heap of wood exposed to the wind, and sufficient to melt iron itself I shall only add, by the bye, that all le proves is that this cloth could resist humidity, and after a decent manner in a tomb or an urn preserve the cineres of the dead. To return to Mr. Gordon; though he had done me a great kindness not to put me so much in his records, yet I am obliged to forgive him, for I dare say he had my credit no less in view than his own.
As to the errata, I must impute them to my own bad band and way of writing, with which I doubt you are scarcely acquainted as yet. As to the rest of Mr. Gordon's book, it is really a book above my expectation, and might have pleased every body had he been less precipitate in publishing it. I was not wanting in giving him Horace's aclvice.
Nonumque prematur in annum.
Quod non edideris ; nescit vor missa rererti. But possibly he has done better, if he has acquired by it new and able friends to get him put in a new way of living. I cannot omit making some apology for him in relation to what he says of the speech of Galgacus, p. 136. I once endeavoured to
Mr. Gale for his “ agreeable donation to the Spalding Library of Mr. Gordon's Translation of the
persuade him that it was only a fiction of Tacitus, conformable to a liberty among historians, and that there was no reasoning from any thing contained in it to the advantage either of Galgacus or his Caledonians : but Mr. Gordon's high respect for his country hath carried him too far, and made him coinmit a sort of laudable fault. There are other instances of this infirmity in p. 137; but his business as an Antiquary will atone for all : the best that could have been said for the Caledonians was, that though they had been conquered, yet the Romans could not retain their conquests. I am, I confess, of the opinion of some learned men, that it is a reproach to a nation to have resisted the humanity which the Romans laboured to introduce. As to the rest of Mr. Gordon's book,
Ubi plura nitent—non ego paucis offendar maculis. “I return you many thanks for the account you sent me of the Society (of Antiquaries). I wish it were still under a greater encouragement. A little of the Royal bounty and favour would be of singular use to it, but it will be hard persuading a true Courtier that there is any thing in the study of Antiquities above other trifling studies; and yet it may be demonstrated that nothing will tend more to promote true British spirits in the love of this country, liberty, and glory. One must be of a very abject frame of soul who cannot receive any impressions of this kind from the sentiments or valiant actions of the Greeks and Romans. We see what use the learned Bishop of Cambray made of bis knowledge of the antients to form the mind of a prince. What are the heroes of antiquity but so many models by which we may square our lives and actions ?"— Mr. Gale answers, “ By what Mr. Gordon had said to me, I concluded he had your free leave to publish your letters; otherwise should by no means have parted with them to him, much less have suffered my crude and hasty answers to have attended them into the world, had not the printing of yours indispensably required it. The errors you complain of must be wholly imputed to the stupidity and perverseness of the printers. I corrected the sheets myself with all the care I could; and finding, when the book was finished, most of their faults still left, I persuaded Mr. Gordon to stop the publication of it for a week, whilst those sheets might be once more corrected and re-printed, which he did ; but then returning from the press with some of the old errata set right and new ones added in their room, stop them again he could not, having engaged a second time in the public prints to deliver them at a certain day to his subscribers; which promise having broke, upon pretence the map was not ready (though the delay in reality was only to re-print the afore-mentioned sheets), he thought he could by no means excuse another non-performance of his engagements. I offered him to peruse every sheet of the whole book as it came out of the press; for which he seemed very
Marquis Maffei's History of Amphitheatres *;" and in 1735 Mr. Gordon gave to the Spalding Society an impression from a Persian or Armenian intag lio, stamped on paper; with his description and draught of the same, and some conjectures thereupon. His observations on Capt. Lethieullier's and Dr. Mead's mummies were given him by Mr. Roger Gale and Dr. Mead. He was grand-master of the Society of Free Masons; and in 1736 was ap
thankful, but never sent me one except those of the Appendix containing our letters. I wish it was not his, being persuaded that he was perfectly right in all his notions which occasioned it, though you see as well as myself that he is not clear of mistakes; to which I must add, an impatience of getting the work abroad, upon the prospect of getting a little inoney by it, his circumstances, as I believe, requiring and prompting him to it. I hope also that it has been a recommendation to him to some of our great men here, who, as he tells me, have given him some reason to expect they will do something for him. He may urge in his defence that strong plea of Res angusta domi for his hasty publication; as he may that other of Vincit amor Patriæ, where his zeal for the honour of his country has sometimes caused him to enforce his arguments too far."-—" I never saw Mr. Gordon's Supplement till within these eight days: he had done well either not to have printed at all, or done it with less precipitation. His dispute with Dr. Hunter [of Durham) is amazing; for both what he and the Doctor says, about the time of erecting the Basilica, may be true. I was out of all patience, when I found him making remarks on some of your observations, which, I believe, were never printed; but, it seems, he is one of those that would rather lose their friend than their jest, and a little more learning would make him a complete modern critic. I have been scrry often to observe such weaknesses; but I was so much obliged to him for the happiness he introduced me to of your acquaintance, that I could overlook many faults in him. I beg it of you not to discountenanee him altogether; but continue to give him your good advice, though he may be very little capable of benefiting by it. I see he has helped of some of his errata in the Itinerarium :' but has taken no notice of some ridiculous things be made me say; wherefore I have sent him a few corrections, if there be place for them in his Latin edition."
* Mr. Johnson adds, “Our Society is augmented lately by the adınission of Mr. Pegge, an ingenious member of St. John's College, Cambridge, I think a fellow, and studious of antiquities; a merchant, and a surgeon of this town; and we have every week full meetings. Our library increases, so that we are about making two larger classes for our books,” &c.
pointed pointed Secretary to the Society for Encouragement of Learning *, with an annual salary of 50l.; and which he resigned in 1739. In 1736 also he succeeded Dr. Stukeley as Secretary to the Society of Antiquaries; which office he resigned in 1741 to Mr. Joseph Ames; and was afterwards for a short time secretary to the Egyptian Club, composed of gentlemen who had visited Egypt (viz. Lord Sandwich, Dr. Shaw, Dr. Pococke, &c.) “ This Society was begun under the presidentship of Lord Sandwich. The purpose of it was, to enquire into Egyptian Antiquities; Lord Sandwich was met by Dr. Pococke, Dr. Perry, and Capt. Norden the Swedish gentleman, all having been in Egypt: they nominated Mr. Martin Folkes, Mr. Charles Stanhope, Dr. Stukeley, Dr. Milles, Mr. Dampier , Mr. Mitchell *, associates, and with them founders of the Society. The Dukes of Montagu and Richmond, Lord Stanhope, Mr. Dayrolles , and some others, were nominated candidates. A sistrum was laid before the President as the insigne of office. At one of these meetings, Jan. 22, 1742, the Duke of Montagu was pleased to ask me the purport of that so celebrated instrument. I spoke of it to the satisfaction of those present, but particularly of the Duke, and he requested me afterward to give it him in writing (l.”
Mr. Gordon went in 1741 to Carolina with Governor Glen **; where he purchased the office of registrar of the province, obtained a considerable
* In June 1739 Mr. Alexander Blackwell was a candidate to succeed him. See vol. II. p. 93.
+ Q. the late master of Eton school.
§ Solomon Dayrolles, esq. the friend and correspondent of Lord Chesterfield.
|| Dr. Stukeley's Preface to Carausius, p. vi; and Reliquiæ Galeanæ, pp. 102. 316, where it appears that the meetings were held at the Lebeck's Head in Chandos-street.
** “On this occasion his place of Secretary to the Antiquarian Society became vacant, his holding which was urged, among other reasons, by Dr. Rawlinson, for not leaving his papers to that learned body, because their secretary was a Scotchman."
Mr. Gough, MS.