Page images
PDF
EPUB

This was followed, next year, by “Remarks on, several Occasional 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;" 8vo. Both these answers are couched in those high terms of confident superiority which marked almost every performance that feil 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 ple 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 most 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-r Swn (which likewise furnished stone for the whole house), by crious 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 ostentatious 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.

inscripa

[ocr errors]

Mr. Allen, became from that time his principal residence, and ultimately his own property.

At this juncture the Kingdom was under a great alarm, occasioned by the Rebellion breaking out in Scotland. Those who wished well to the then established Government found it necessary to exert every effort which could be used against the invading enemy. The Clergy were not wanting on their part; and no one did more service than Mr. Warburton, who printed three very excellent and seasonable Sermons at this important crisis.

1. “A faithful Portrait of Popery *, by which it is seen to be the Reverse of Christianity, as it is the Destruction of Morality, Piety, and Civil Liberty. A Sermon preached at St. James's Church, Westminster, October 1745,” 8vo.

2. “A Sermon occasioned by the present unnatural Rebellion, &c. preached in Mr. Allen's chapel, at Prior Park, near Bath, November 1745, and published at his Request,” 8vo.

3. “The Nature of National Offences truly stated. A Sermon preached on the General Fast-Day, December 18, 1745," Svo.

On account of the last of these Sermons, he was again involved in a controversy with his former antagonist, Dr. Stebbing of; which occasioned “An Apologetical Dedication to the Rev. Dr. Henry Stebbing, in Answer to his Censure and Misrepresentations of the Sermon preached on the General Fast-day to be observed Dec. 18, 1745."

Notwithstanding his great connexions, his acknowledged abilities, and his established reputation,

inscription on the tablet of a tower near the Park is emphatically expressive of his character:

"Memoriæ optimi viri, Radulphi Allen, positum. Qui virtutem veram simplicemque colis, venerare hoc saxum."

Collinson's History of Somersetshire, rol. I. p. 168. * " The Romish Saints, a Poem," from the learned Mr. Warburton's Faithful Portrait, was printed in Gent. Mag. 1746, p. 101.

f. See in Gent. Mag. 1746, p. 433, some verses addressed to the Rev. Mr. Edwards, on his officious interference in the “ State of the Case between Stebbing and Warburton.'-Q. Was this Joseph Edwards (vol. II. p. 198); or Timothy (ibid. p. 237)?

a re

a reputation founded on the durable basis of Learning, and upheld by the decent and attentive performance of every duty incident to his station ; yet we do not find that he received any addition to the rectory of Brand Broughton, given him in 1728 by Sir Robert Sutton (except the chaplainship to the Prince of Wales), till April 1746, when, by the particular recommendation of Mr. Murray, then Solicitor-general, he was unanimously called by the Society of Lincoln's-Inn to be their Preacher.

His next publication was, “A Sermon preached on the Thanksgiving appointed to be observed the gth of October, for the Suppression of the late unnatural Rebellion, 1746," 8vo.

In 1747 his famous edition of Shakspeare was issued from the press*; a work for which Mr. Tonson

* This edition has met with a very singular fate; it has been extravaganty praised (see Bishop Newton's Preface to his edition of Milton), and as much censured (see the Canons of Criticismi, Upton on Shakspeare, Heath's Revisal of Shakspeare's Text, Grey's Notes on Shakspeare, &c.). The true estimate of its merit, however, lies between his panegyrists and his foes; and few will refuse their assent to Dr. Johnson's opinion, that “his notes exhibit sometimes perverse interpretations, and sometimes improbable conjectures; he at one time gives the author more profundity of meaning than the sentence admits; and at another discovers absurdities where the sense is plain to every reader. Bui his emendations are likewise often happy and just; and his interpretation of obscure passages learned and sagacious.”

When Johnson published his “ Remarks on Macbeth," he bestowed some just commendations on the critical talents of Warburton; who returned the compliment in the Preface to his Edition of Sbakspeare. But, when Johnson's edition of the great Dramatic Bard appeared, the Bishop's opinion was altered. “Of this Johnson," he says to Dr. Hurd, “you and I, I believe, think alike."--In a letter to another friend, speaking of Johnson's edition, Dr. Warburton says, “ The remarks he makes in every page on my Commentaries are full of insolence and malignant reflections, which, had they not in them as much foily as malignity, I should have reason to be offended with. AS it is, I think myself obliged to him, in thus setting before the publick so many of iny notes, with his remarks upon them; for though I have no great opinion of that trifling part of the publick, which pretends to judge of this part of Literature, in which boys and girls decide, yet I think nobody can be mistaken in this comparison ; though I think their thoughts have never yet exQA2

tended

paid him 500l.; but which, he says, “ the publick at this time of day had never been troubled with, but for the conduct of the two last editors (Theobald and Hanmer, see p. 588], and the persuasion of dear Mr. Pope; whose memory and name 55

semper acerbum, Semper honoratum (sic Di voluistis) habebo. He was desirous I should give a new edition of this Poet, as he thought it might contribute to put a stop to a prevailing folly of altering the text of celebrated Authors, without talents or judgment*.

tended thus far as to reflect, that to discover the corruption in an author's text, and by a happy sagacity to restore it to sense, is no easy task: but when the discovery is made, then to cavil at the conjecture, to propose an equivalent, and defend nonsense, by producing out of the thick darkness it occasions, a weak and faint glimmering of sense (which has been the business of this Editor throughout) is the easiest, as well as dullest of all literary efforts." :* Mr. Benjamin Victor, in a letter to Mr. Garrick in March 1771, enumerates the then principal Commentators on Shakspeare; beginning with Mr. Rowe, “whose attempts as an editor were so trifling, as not to require the least notice." — Then followed Mr. Pope, when in the zenith of his reputation; to whom the late Mr. Tonson (the proprietor of Shakspeare's Workis) gave five hundred pounds for his name, as the Editor of a new edition, then much wanted. Any one, by looking over the impression, may see how little was done by that gentleman, besides a Preface. Soon after him appeared Mr. Theobald (called by Pope the Word-catcher), who triumphed so much about his conquest of Pope as an Editor, that he got himself crowned, in the first edition of the Dunciad, sovereign of the Dunces, by the name of King Log. He was, however, from his learning, and laborious application, better qualified for the office of an editor than ang of his predecessors. The next was Sir Thomas Hanmer, baronet, who published a very pompous edition, with his name as the Editor, and without a fee! But it was the general opinion, that, if his corrections and emendations were to be carefully examined, the majority of readers would find more wrong than rightThe fifth and last adventurer, was the Rev. Mr. Warburtor, to whom Theobald acknowledged so many obligations for his useful discoveries ; but the reverend Critic, not content with such paltry praise, gave us an Edition, which was to be an improve inent upon all: but that gentleman's vanity led him to take such liberties with his author, that he provoked Upton's Critical Remarks; Edwards's Canons of Criticism; and I remember but This sum is erroneous. See p. 597.

one

And he was willing that his edition should be melted down into mine, as it would, he said, afford him (so great is the modestý of an ingenuous temper) a fit opportunity of confessing his mistakes." “This edition,” says his Biographer, “awakened a spirit of criticism, which haunted him in every shape of dull ridicule and solemn confutation *."

one passage in any of the capital plays, where the emendation seems to be bold and useful, and that is in the fine soliloquy that opens the fifth act of Othello. - The five editions of Shakspeare (as they are all in the possession of some curious men of fortune) make, of themselves, a tolerable library; and yet we have been long promised another, from an abler hand [Dr. Johnson): but it is expected (from the known abilities of that author) his corrections and emendations will be so various and 80 useful, that this sixth edition will be the last, not only for this, but the ensuing century."

«At the sale of the effects of Mr. Jacob Tonson, bookseller, in 1767, one hundred and forty copies of Mr. Pope's edition of Shakspeare, in six volumes 4to (for which the original subscribers paid six guineas) were disposed of at sixteen shillings (only) per sett. Seven hundred and fifty of that edition had then been printed. On the contrary, Sir Thomas Hanmer's Edition, printed in 1744, which was first sold for three guineas, had arisen to ten before it was re-printed !

“ The prices, which the London Booksellers have paid to the different Editors of Shakspeare, are not generally known, but prove that the Poet has enriched those who have impoverished him,

£. $. d.
Mr. Rowe was paid - - - - - - - 36 10 0
Mr. Hughes - - - - - - - - - 28 sty 0 :
Mr. Pope - - - - - - - - - - 217 12 0
Mr. Fenton - - - - - - - - - - 30 14 0 .
Mr. Gay - - - - - - - - - - - 35 17 6
Mr. Whalley - - - - - - - - - 12 0 0 .
Mr. Theobald . - - - - - - - 652 10 0
Mr. Warburton - - - - - - - - 500 0 0
Mr. Capel - - - - - - - - - - 300 0 0
Dr. Johnson, for first edition - - - - 375 0 0

for second edition - - - 100 0 0

[ocr errors]

Total, 2,288 10 6 Besides very considerable sums to Critics without criticism, and Commentators without a name.” Gent. Mag. col. LVII. p.76.

* Amongst other attacks on this edition was, 1. “A Supplement to Mr. Warburton's Edition of Shakspeare," of which two edi. tions were rapidly called for in 1747; and a third, in 1748, under the new title of “Canons of Criticism (see vol. II. pp. 198. 203).- The origin of that publication is thus given by a Corre

spondent

« PreviousContinue »