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nature ; it might be humour; but it was of his works was published in 1798, of a kind which could not interest him." containing, besides those already menHe professed humility, and deference tioned, his letters to a variety of cor. to the public taste, but no man was respondents, written with much wit. more solicitous of obtaining its applause, Sir Walter Scott speaks very highly of or more impatient of its disapproba- this part of Walpole's performances, tion. In his habits he was somewhat and there are some critics who prefer effeminate and luxurious; when his his epistolary productions even to those friends used to smile at the care he of Warburton. His Anecdotes of Painttook of his person, he would say, ing, and Catalogue of Royal and “My back is the same with my face, Noble Authors, are the works on which and my neck is like my nose.' He his reputation chiefly rests; they are was, however, totally free from in useful and curious of their class, but temperance ; and coffee and ice-water do not entitle the author to a place in are said to have been his favourite, and the foremost ranks of literature. almost his only, beverage. An edition
Hugh BLAIR, descended from Ro of lectures on composition, and debert Blair, chaplain to Charles the First, livered them with such success, that the and son of a merchant, who lost the university instituted a rhetorical class greater part of his fortune in the South under his direction; and the king Sea scheme, was born at Edinburgh founded a professorship of rhetoric and on the 7th of April, 1718. After having, belles letters, in 1762, when Dr. Blair gone through a course of education was appointed to the chair, with a at the high school, he, in 1730, entered salary of £70. About the same time the University of Edinburgh, where he he gave to the public his Dissertation spent eleven years in the study of on ihe Poems of Ossian ; in which, in literature, philosophy and divinity. In one of the finest specimens of criticisms the logic class he particularly excelled ; ever produced, he zealously advocated and bis Essay on the Beautiful, a sub their authenticity. In 1773, the first ject proposed by the professor, was uniform edition of the works of the highly applauded, and appointed to be British poets was published under his publicly read. Having graduated A.M. superintendence, and he also engaged in 1739, he was, on the 23rd of October, in a new edition of the works of Shaks. 1741, licensed to preach by the pres. peare. In 1777, appeared the first bytery; and, in the September of the volume of his Sermons, which Strahan following year, he was presented to the purchased for £100, on the recomliving of Colessie, in Fifeshire. In July, mendation of Dr. Johnson. They were 1743, he was elected minister of the succeeded by three additional volumes, Canongate Church at Edinburgh, from for which he received £1,500, and he which he was translated, in 1754, in was further rewarded, at the request of consequence of a call from the town Queen Charlotte, with a pension of council, to Lady Yester's Church, in the £200 per annum. In 1783, he resigned same city; and, in 1758, to the first his professorship, and published his charge in the high church, being the Lectures on Composition, which contain most honourable clerical situation in an accurate analysis of the principles of Scotland. In 1757, the University of literary composition, in every species of St. Andrew created him D.D.; at which writing, and an able digest of ihe rules time he had obtained great reputation of eloquence, as applicable to the oraas a preacher, but, as an author, had tory of the pulpit, the bar, and of popular written nothing besides two sermons, asscmblies. On the death of Dr. Robertand a few articles in the Edinburgh son, in 1793, it was expected that Dr. Review. In 1759, he prepared a course Blair would have succeeded him, as
principal of the university, according to than sermons. They were, however, the wish of the former; and Blair is the first regular didactic orations that said to have felt the oversight keenly at had been heard in Scotland, and have seeing the appointinent given to another. been justly described as occupying a In his seventy-ninth year he freached middle place between the dry metathe annual sermon for the benefit of the physical discussions of one class of sons of the clergy; bis last, but by no preachers, and the loose, incoherent demeans least forcible effort, in the pulpit. clamation of another; and as blending
In the summer of 1800, he began to together, in the happiest manner, the prepare an additional volume of his light of argument with the warmth of Serinons for the press, but did not live exhortation. The private character of to publish them, his death taking place Dr. Blair was, in every respect, that of in the December of the same year. He the divine and the philanthropist: with had married, in 1748, his cousin, Miss eminent talents and inflexible integrity, Bannatine, by whom he had a son and he possessed a mind of the most unsusa daughter, borh of whom he survived, peciing simplicity; "which," says his together with his wife.
biographer, Dr. Finlayson, " while it The Lectures and Sermons of Dr. secured to the last his own relish of life, Blair still continue to hold a high rank was wonderfully calculated to endear in public estimation, though the latter, him to his friends, and to render him an from their general want of profundity, invaluable member of every society to have been considered rather as treatises which he belonged."
WILLIAM ROBERTSON, the son of author went to London to arrange for a clergyman, was born at Borthwick, in the publication of his History of ScotMid Lothian, Scotland, in the year 1721, i land, which appeared in the February and received the rudiments of education of the following year, and was received at the school of Dalkeith. In 1733, he with the highest approbation. It quickly joined his family, which had removed to reached a second edition, and produced Edinburgh, where he studied for the complimentary letters from Horace church, of which he was admitted a Walpole, Garrick, Sir Gilbert Elliott, member in 1741; and, in 1743, he was and David Hume, who, in one of his presented, by the Earl of Hopetown, epistles to Robertson, says that every with the living of Gladsmuir, in East ear is fatigued "by noiiy and endless, Lothian. Not long afterwards he lost and repeated praises of the History of both his parents, when, although his in- Scotland," and concludes, “ I believe come did not exceed £100 per annum, there is scarce another instance of a first he undertook the care and education of performance being so near persection." his six sisters and a younger brother. In Robertson reaped no less profit than 1751, he married his cousin, Miss Mary fame by the publication of this work, and Nisbet; at this time he had obtained had the satisfaction of seeing it reach a great populariiy as a preacher, and was fourteenth edition previous to his death. also one of the most eloquent speakers Preferments now crowded upon him : in the general assembly of the church of in the year last-mentioned, he was apScotland. In 1754, he became a member pointed chaplain of Stirling Castle ; in of the Select Society in Edinburgh, and 1761, one of his majesty's chaplains in was one of those who, in 1757, most ordinary for Scotland ; in 1762, prineloquemily defended Mr. Home, for cipal of the University of Edinburgh; writing the tragedy of Douglas, the and two years afterwards he was chosen merits of which were not considered | king's histriographer, for Scotland, an sufficient to atone for the author's de office which was revived in his favour parture from the austerity expected in with a salary of £200 per annum. He à presbyterian divine. În 1758, our had long medicated a History of Eng.
land, and was encouraged by the British to be expected from the author of the government to proceed in the work, History of Scotland, and of the Age of which, it seems, he had only hitherto Charles the Fifth." It is, upon the deferred in consequence of his determi- whole, perhaps, the most praiseworthy nation to throw no impediment in the and objectionable of his works : out of success of Mr. Hume's publication on materials shapeless and disjointed, he the same subject. Having, however, has produced a symmetrical whole, admade some progress in his History of mirably arranged, and his delineation of Charles the Fifth, his health, on the savage manners, and comparison of a completion of that work, in 1769, says barbarian with a civilized state of society, his biographer, Dugald Stewart, “ was is skiltul and masterly. An ineffaceable too much impaired, and his life too far blemish, however, upon his reputation advanced, to allow him to think of an as a historian, will be perpetuated by undertaking so vast in itself, and which this work, in his disposition to veil or to Mr. Hume had already executed with palliate the enormities of the Spaniards so splendid and merited a reputation.” in their American conquests. On this
His History of Charles the Fifth was point, none of his biographers have published in three octavo volumes, and attempted to defend him; and Mr. the very high expectations that had been Bryan Edwards justly characterizes it formed respecting it, were not disap
" as one of those melancholy passages pointed. Hume, who had discouraged in the history of human nature, where him at the outset of the work, by a benevolent mind, shrinking from telling him it required a knowledge the contemplation of facts, wishes to which it would be the work of half a resist conviction, and to relieve itself by life to acquire, was the first, and most incredulity;" li is supposed that the zealous in its prai:e; he said that it had assistance he received in the way of few equals in nobleness, dignity, and communication from the Spanish cort, elegance of composition, and owned seduced him to "the temperate spirit,'' that it excelled “in a sensible degree,” as Mr. Gibbon expresses it,
" with his History of Scotland. The eulogium which he had related this portion of of Voltaire should not be omitted : "Il their story;" and this suspicion was y a quatre jours," he writes in a letter, confirmed, by his election into the Royal from the Chateau de Ferney, “que j'ai Academy of History at Madrid, in testireçu le bean présent dont vous m'avez mony of their approbation of the inhonoré. Je le lis malgré les Auxions dustry and care with which he had horrible qui me font craindre de perdre applied to the study of Spanish history. entièrement les yeux. Il me fait oublier Dr. Robertson's last performance aptous mes maux. C'est à vous et à M. peared in 1791, under the title of in Hume qu'il appartient d'écrire l'His- Historical Disquisition concerning the toire. Vous êtes éloquent, savant, et knowledge which the Ancients had of impartial. Je me joins à l'Europe pour India, and the Progress of Trade with vous estimer." The introductory vo that country prior to the discovery of lume, in which is traced the progress of the Cape of Good Hope. It was begun society in Europe, from the subversion in the sixty-eighth year of his age, and of the Roman empire to the beginning of in twelve months brought to a the sixteenth century, exhibited marks clusion; exhibiting, nevertheless, says of Robertson's extensive and various Dugald Stewart, “ in every part, a reading, digested with the soundest diligence in research, a soundness of judgment, and met with particular ap- judgment, and a perspicuity of method, probation. The whole work was trans not inferior to those which distinguish lated into French, and besides gaining his other performances." After the the author a high degree of populariiv publication of this work, his health among foreign men of letters, so gratified began apparently to decline, and upon the Empress of Russia, that she sent an attack of the jaundice, he retired to him a valuable diamond snuff-box. a country-house in the neighbourhood
In 1777, appeared his History of of Edinburgh, where he died, on the America, in which, to use the words of 11th of June, 1793. Burke to the author, “ Every thing In person, Dr. Robertson was rather has been done which was so naturally above the middle size; and his form,
though it did not convey the idea of nistration. The academical reputation much activity, announced vigour of of Edinburgh was materially extended body, and a healthful constitution. He by the improvements and reforins which appeared, says Mr. Stewart,“ to greater he introduced into the university; "and advantage in his clerical dress; and was if," says Dugald Stewart, “ as a seat of more remarkable for gravity and dig. | learning, Edinburgh has of late more nity in discharging the functions of his than formerly attracted the notice of public stations, than for ease or grace the world, much must be ascribed to in private society. His moral character the influence of his example, and to the was unimpeachable, and both in public lustre of his name." His merits as a and private lite, his conduct was amiable preacher were of no mean order, as and exemplary, “ He enjoyed," says
may be seen from his Sermon on the Dr. Erskine," the bounties of Provi- situation of the world at the time of dence without running into riot; was Christ's appearance, the only one he temperate without austerity; conde- ever published. It reached five editions, scending and affable without meanness; and obtained great celebrity on the and in expense neither sordid nor pro continent, through a German transladigal. He could feel an injury, and yet tion, by Ebeling. His merits as a hisbridle his passion ; was grave, not torian have been ably delineated by his sulien ; steady, not obstinate ; friendly, talented biographers, and the testimonies not officious; prudent and cautious, to them, of Hume, Gibbon, Burke, not timid.” As a member of the gene Horace Walpole, and, in fact, of all the ral assembly of the church of Scotland, eminent men of letters of his time, are he distinguished himself by his elo too well known to need recapitulation. quence in support of the laws of patron. | In accuracy of facts, and the art of narage; and of an impartial exercise of ration, he has no equal; his style is not the judicial power of the church. In always so simple as could be wished, the former of these respects, his exer but it is totally free from Scotticisms; tions are supposed not only to have and his diction, at once Aowing and produced in the ecclesiastical establish- | majestic, harmonious beyond that of ment a tranquillity unknown in former most English writers. His chief fault, times, but to have contributed, in no perhaps, is a caution, bordering on small degree, to the peace and good coldness, in his expression of moral order of the country. Such, indeed, and political feelings, but this is comwas his influence in this assembly, that pensated for by an absence of prejudice the period from his appointment as prin- and passion, and a pervading tone of cipal of the university, till his retire calm sagacity, not always preserved in ment from public life, was distinguished the compositions of a less phlegmatic by the name of Dr. Robertson's Admi or more enthusiastic writer.
TOBIAS GEORGE SMOLLETT.
This humorous writer, the youngest apprenticed to a surgeon, and attended son of a gentleman of good family, was the university lectures on medicine born at Dalqıhurn, in Dumbartonshire, and anatomy. Literary pursuits, howin the year 1721. Even in his child ever, were not unattended to ; a perusal hood, he discovered indications of a of Buchanan's History of Scotland so lively wit and vigorous understanding, captivated him with the Latin lanand on being sent to school at Dum- guage, that he devoted himself to the barton, he not only excelled in his cultivation of it with great ardour ; studies, but gave proofs of a poetical and in his eighteenth year, he had genius, in some verses to the memory completed a tragedy, which he afterof Wallace, and some satires upon his wards published under the title of the schoolle!lois. On leaving school, he | Regicide, an extraordinary production removed to Glasgow, where he was at so early a period of his life.
Smollett, having lost his father in Gil Blas, and to the humour and enterhis infancy, had been hitherto sup- tainment of which he was indebted for ported by his grandfather, Sir James an inmediate accession of fame and Smollett; but his death taking place fortune. Lady Wortly Montagu made about this period, our author was left certain that the work was by Fielding, wholly dependent upon his own exer- and in a letter to her daughter, thus tions for his subsistence. Accordingly, unconsciously compliments the real on the termination of his apprentice author; “ Fielding has a fund of true ship, in his nineteenth year, he pro- humour. I guessed R. Random to be ceeded to London, and after having his, though without his name." This in vain attempted to bring out his novel, which had some allusion to his tragedy, he accepted the situation of a own history, and contained several surgeon's maie in the navy, and in scenes actually drawn from life, was this capacity acted at the .unfortunate succeeded, in 1749, by his Regicide, expedition to Carthagena in 1741, of which he published by subscription. In which he drew up an account, display- the summer of 1750" he visited Paris, ing great powers of observation and
for the purpose of enlarging his knowdepth of reflection. On his arrival in ledge of the world, and the characthe West Indies, he quitted the navy ters he became acquainted with during in disgust, and after residing some time his residence abroad, were portrayed in Jamaica, returned to England in to the public in his Adventures of 1746, with that knowledge of the lan- Peregrine Pickle, which appeared in guage and manners of sailors, which 1751. It was read with avidity, and he has so amusingly displayed in his soon reached a second edition ; in the novels. About this time, the accounts preface to which he says he has " encirculated of the severities which had deavoured to render it less unworthy of followed the battle of Culloden, roused the public acceptance, by retrenching the indignation of our author, and led the superfluities of the first, reforming to the composition of his poem, en- its manners, and correcting its exprestitled The Tears of Scotland. Its pub- sion; and flatters himself that he has lication placed him high in the rank expunged every adventure, phrase, and of minor poets, but gave uneasiness to insinuation, that could be construed by his friends, whose advice for its sup- the most delicate reader into a trespass pression he was so far from following upon the rules of decorum." In this ihat he republished it with an additional novel he seems to have exerted all his stanza, expressing his feelings in still powers of humorous invention, and stronger terms. His poem was followed his success was proportionate, though by iwo satires, entitled Advice, and it must be confessed that he often Reproof, in which he lashes, with amuses his reader at the expense of unmerciful acrimony, the vices of the delicacy and morality: He adopted powerful; and in the latter he attacks the same plan that he observed in managers and players, in consequence Roderick Random, of inserting many of a quarrel with Rich, for whom he real characters and incidents; and the had written an opera, entitled Alceste, anecdotes respecting Lady Vane, the but which, in consequence of a disputé materials of which she herself' fur between the manager and the author, nished, contributed not a litle to the was never produced.
popularity of the work. About 1747, he married a Miss Las- About this period, Smollett having celles, with whom he had become ac- obtained, probably from a foreign uniquainted in Jamaica ; a lady of beauty versily, his degree of M. D. endeaand accomplishments, and from whom voured to attract notice in his medical he expected a fortune, of which, how- character, by the publication of an ever, he received so little, that his Essay on the Use of the Bath Waters. style of living soon brought him into His unaccommodating temper, howpecuniary difficulties. To relieve them, ever, want of experience, and disdain he again had recourse to his pen, and of the petty arts of fawning and finesse, in 1748, he produced his celebrated joined to the reputation, which his pubnovel of Roderick Random, a work lications bad acquired for him, of a founded upon the plan of Le Sage's general satirist and censor of manners,