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tance of nearly two years after, would which will more than double that sum. be the highest degree of injustice and Occasional essays for the daily papers absurdity.
would more than support me.
What a Our author now entered into politics; glorious prospect !" His engagements, and, in March, 1770, composed a satirical in fact, appear to have been numerous poem of one thousand three hundred and profitable; but we are cautioned, lines, entitled Kew Gardens, in which by Dr. Gregory inst giving implicit he abused the Princess-dowager of credence to every part of Chatterton's Wales and Lord Bute, together with letters, written at this time, relative to the partisans of ministry at Bristol, not his literary and political friends in the excepting Mr. Catcott, and other of his metropolis. It seems, however, that he friends and patrons. His character, had been introduced to Mr. Beckford, also, in other respects, began to de then lord mayor, and had fornied high. velope itself in an unfavourable light; expectations of patronage from the but the assertion that he plunged into opposition party, which he at first profligacy at this period, is contradicted espoused; but the death of Beckford, by unexceptionable testimony. The at which he is said to have gone almost most prominent feature in his conduct frantic, and the scarcity of money which was his continued and open avowal of he found on the opposition side, altered infidelity, and of his intention to commit his intentions. He observed to a friend, suicide as soon as life should become that "he was a poor author, who could burthensome to him. He had also write on both sides ;” and it appears grown thoroughly disgusted with his that he actually did so, as two essays profession; and purposely, it is sup were found after his death, one euloposed, leaving upon his desk a paper, gizing, and the other abusing, the adentitled his Last Will, in which he ministration, for rejecting the city reavowed his determination to destroy monstrance. On the latter, addressed himself on Easter Sunday, he gladly to Mr. Beckford, is this indorsement : received his dismissal from Mr. Lambert, into whose hands the document
Accepted by Bingley-set for, and thrown out had fallen. He now determined to re
of The North Britain, 21st of June, on pair to London; and on being ques
account of the lord mayor's death tioned by Mr. Thistlethwaite concern Lost by his death on this essay ...... €1 1 6
Gained in elegies .......... €2 2 ing his plan of life, returned this re
in essays .......... markable answer : “My first attempt," said he, “ shall be in the literary way;
Am glad he
dead by .. the promises I have received are sufficient to dispel doubt; but should I, contrary to expectation, find myself de His hopes of obtaining eminence as ceived, I will, in that case, turn me a political writer now became extrathodist preacher. Credulity is as potent vagantly sanguine, and he already a deity as ever, and a new sect may seems to have considered himself a man easily be devised. But if that, too, should of considerable public importance. “My fail me, my last and final resource is a company," he says, in a letter to his pistol." Such was the language of one sister, “is courted every where; and not much beyond seventeen years of could I humble myself to go into a age; certainly, as Dr. Aikin observes, compter, could have had twenty places not that of a simple, ingenious youth, before now; but I must be among the " smit with the love of sacred song," great; state matters suit me better than a Beattie's minstrel, as some of Chat- commercial." These bright prospects, terton's admirers have chosen to paint about July, appear to have been sudhim.
denly clouded; and, after a short career At the end of April, he arrived in of dissipation, which kept pace with his the metropolis; and, on the 6th of May, hopes, 'he found that he had nothing writes to his mother that he is in such to expect from the patronage of the a settlement as he could desire. “I get," great; and, to escape the scene of his he adds, “ four guineas a month by mortification, made an unsuccessful atone magazine; shall engage to write a tempt to obtain the post of surgeon'shistory of England, and other pieces, mate to the coast of Africa. It is less
5 5 0
3 13 6
certain to what extent he was now em writers ; the British muse has paid ployed by the booksellers, than that he some of her most beautiful tributes to felt the idea of dependence upon them the genius and memory of Chatterton. insupportable, and soon fell into such The poems of Rowley, as published by a state of indigence, as to be reduced to Dean Milles, consist of pieces of all the the want of necessary food. Such was principal classes of poetical composition: his pride, however, that when, after a tragedies, lyric, and heroic poems, pasfast of three days, his landlady invited torals, epistles, ballads, &c. Sublimity him to dinner, he refused the invitation and beauty pervade many of them; as an insult, assuring her he was not and they display wonderful powers of hungry. This is the last act recorded of imagination and facility of composition; his life; a few hours afterwards, he swal- yet, says Dr. Aikin, there is also much lowed a dose of arsenic, and was found of the common-place flatness and exdead the next morning, August the 25th, travagance, that might be expected from 1770, surrounded by fragments of nu a juvenile writer, whose fertility was merous manuscripts, which he appear greater than his judgment, and who ed to have destroyed. His suicide took had fed his mind upon stores collected place in Brook Street, Holborn, and he with more avidity than choice. The was interred in a shell, in the burying. | haste and ardour, with which he purground of Shoe Lane work house. This sued his various literary designs, was in melancholy catastrophe is heightened by accordance with his favourite maxim, the fact, that Dr. Fry, head of St. John's " that God had sent His creatures into College, Oxford, had just gone to Bris- the world with arms long enough to tol, for the purpose of assisting Chat- reach any thing, if they would be at terton, when he was there informed of the trouble of extending them.” his death.
In 1778, a miscellaneous volume of The controversy respecting the au- the avowed writings of Chatterton was thenticity of the poems attributed to published; and, in 1803, an edition of Rowley, is now at an end; though there his works appeared, in three volumes, are still a few, perhaps, who may side octavo, with an account of his life, by with Dean Milles and others, against Dr. Gregory, from whom we have bethe host of writers, including Gibbon, fore quoted. The general character of Johnson, and the two Wartons, who his productions has been well appre. ascribe the entire authorship to Chat. ciated by Lord Orford, who, after exterton. The latter have, perhaps, come patiating upon his quick intuition, his to a conclusion, which is not likely to humour, his vein of satire, the rapidity be again disputed, viz. that however with which he seized all the topics of extraordinary it was for Chatterton to conversation, whether of politics, literaproduce them in the eighteenth century, ture, or fashion, remarks, “ Nothing in it was impossible that Rowley could Chatterton can be separated from Chathave written them in the fifteenth. But, terton. His noblest flight, his sweetest whether Chatterton was or was not the strain, his grossest ribaldry, and his author of the poems ascribed to Rowley, most common-place imitations of the his transcendent genius must ever be productions of magazines, were all the the subject of wonder and admiration. effervescences of the same ungovernable The eulogy of his friends, and the opi- | impulse, which, cameleon-like, imbibed nions of the controversialists respecting the colours of all it looked on.
It was him, are certainly too extravagant. Ossian, or a Saxon monk, or Gray, or Dean Milles prefers Rowley to Homer, Smollett, or Junius; and if it failed Virgil, Spenser, and Shakspeare; Mr. most in what it most affected to be, a Malone " believes Chatterton to have poet of the fifteenth century, it was bebeen the greatest genius that England cause it could not imitate what had not has produced since the days of Shaks. existed.” In person, Chatterton is said peare ;” and Mr. Croft, the author of to have been, like his genius, premaLove and Madness, asserts, that "no ture; he had, says his biographer, a such human being, at any period of life, manliness and dignity beyond his years, has ever been known, or possibly ever and there was a something about him will be known.” This enthusiastic uncommonly prepossessing. His most praise is not confined to the critical remarkable feature
which, though grey, were uncommonly to himself; he grew wild, abstracted, piercing; when he was warmed in and incoherent, and a settled gloominess · argument, or otherwise, they sparkled at length took possession of his counwith fire; and one eye, it is said, was tenance, which was a presage of his still more remarkable than the other. fatal resolution. He has been accused
The character of Chatterton has been of libertinism, but there are no proofs sufficiently developed in the course of of this during his residence either at the preceding memoir; his ruling pas London or Bristol ; though many of his sion, we have seen, was literary fame; productions show a laxity of principle, and it is doubtful whether his death which might justify the supposition. was not rather occasioned through fear The best qualities in his character were of losing the reputation he had already the negative ones of temperance and acquired, than despair of being able to affection for his family, to whom he obtain a future subsistence. This is sent small presents out of his first gains, rendered at least plausible, by the fact and always spoke of their welfare as of his having received pecuniary as one of the principal ends of his exsistance from Mr. Hamilton, senior, the ertions. But what deeper affliction proprietor of The Critical Review, not could he have brought upon them than long before his death, with a promise that caused by the last act of his life? of more; that he was employed by his His sister says, that "he was a lover of literary friends, almost to the last hour truth from the earliest dawn of reason;" of his existence; and that he was aware yet his life was one continued career of of the suspicions existing that himself deception. He is to be pitied for his and Rowley were the same. Though misfortunes, and admired for his genius; he neither confessed nor denied this, it but, with Kirke White in our rememwas evident that his conduct was in brance, we could wish to forget all else fluenced by some mystery, known only that belonged to Chatterton.
WILLIAM ROSCOE, the son of a tributed to Dr. Enfield's Speaker an tavern-keeper, was born at Liverpool, Elegy to Pity, and an Ode to Educa. on the 18th of March, 1752, and after tion, containing some strong remarks having studied little more than reading, against the slave trade, on which subwriting, and arithmetic, was, at the age ject he wrote several tracts; and, in of sixteen, articled to Mr. Eyes, an at 1788, a poem in two parts, entitled torney, in his native town. A passion for The Wrongs of Africa. “On the occathe classics now took possession of him ; sion of the French revolution, he comand, without neglecting his professional | posed the songs of Millions, be Free! duties, he, in a short space of time, The Vine-covered Hills, &c., which made himself master of the French, became popular both at home and Latin, and Italian languages, besides abroad. developing no mean talent for poetical In 1790, he joined Dr. Currie in a composition. At the expiration of his series of essays, in the Weekly Liver. articles, he was taken into partnership pool Herald, under the title of The with Mr. Aspinall; but his attention to Recluse; and, in the same year, he his clients did not hinder him from began to compose his Lorenzo de paying his repects to the muses. In Medici, which was published, in 1796, 1773, he recited, before the society in two volumes, quarto. It soon went formed at Liverpool for the encourage through three editions, and has been ment of drawing, painting, &c., an ode, translated into Italian by the Chevalier which was afterwards published with Mecherini, and into German by ProMount Pleasant, bis first poetical pro- fessor Sprenyel. In 1805, appeared his duction, which was written in his six- Life of Leo ihe Tenth, which was also teenth year, He subsequently con translated into French and German,
and added considerably to the already
The creditors, however, had so established reputation of the author. much confidence in his integrity, that
Mr. Roscoe had, some years ago, time was given for the firm to recover ceased to practise as an attorney, and from its embarrassments; and he, on entered himself a member of Gray's first entering the bank after accommoInn, with a view of studying for the dation, was loudly greeted by the bar; but it does not appear that he was populace." His difficulties, however, ever called, and he finally chose the were so great, that he was under the business of a banker in his native town, necessity of parting with the whole of in partnership with Messrs. Clarke.
his property, a
circumstance which While in this capacity, the general gave him great pain, as may be seen election of 1806 took place; and as from his sonnet on parting with his many of the Liverpool inhabitants were library. It was, probably, after these anxious for an anti-slavery member, pecuniary misfortunes, that the council they put in nomination our author, with of the Royal Society of Literature an understanding that he should be elected him one of the ten individuals returned free of expense ; for which from the honorary associates to receive purpose, a subscription of £5,000 was the allowance of £100 per annum. collected in one day. The attempt was Mr. Roscoe's declining years are successful; but, in consequence of the solaced by the affectionate attentions of outrages which had occurred during the justly and sincerely attached relations ; progress of the last election, he declined and he is no less respected by the inà contest, after the dissolution of parlia- habitants of his native town, which ment in 1807.
owes many of its public institutions to In 1808, he published his Considera- his exertions. He is described as a tions on the Causes, Objects, and Con- man of the most benevolent heart, insequences of the Present War, which, dependent spirit, and generous disposays the reviewer in The Monthly sition; and his conversation is said to Repository of Literature, &c., " is a be characteristic of his chaste and valuable offering to the shrine of peace classic turn of thought. To name his and justice.” In 1809, he procured the friends and admirers, would be to reliberation of nine black slaves, who had capitulate the élite of the noble, scienbeen thrown into prison by a Portuguese tific, patriotic, and literary world. captain for a false debt, for the purpose During his days of prosperity, his house of preventing them from obtaining their was the resort of all the distinguished freedom; and, in the same year, he was characters of the day, both foreign and elected a corresponding member of the native. Among his visitors were the Amsterdam Royal Institution, though Dukes of Sussex and Gloucester, many we were then at war with the Dutch. noblemen eminent for their talents as About this period, appeared his Review well as stations, and several of the of the Speeches of the late Mr. Canning; highest literary characters of the age. and, in 1811, was published his Letter His faculties are still in their vigour; to Henry Brougham, Esq., on a Reform and the same may be said of his geof the Representation of the People in nerous love of liberty, and his ardent, Parliament.
unceasing benevolence. In 1817, he published a discourse In addition to the works already delivered on the opening of the Royal mentioned, Mr. Roscoe was the author Institution of Liverpool, on the Origin of The Nurse, a poem from the Italian; and Vicissitudes of Literature, Science, Occasional Tracts relative to the War and Arts; and, in 1824, he edited a between Great Britain and France; An new edition of the works of Pope, to Address delivered before the Prowhich he prefixed a life of that poet. prietors of the Botanic Garden at “While Mr. Roscoe's mind was chiefly | Liverpool ; and three communications occupied with his literary and political to the Transactions of the Linnæan studies," observes one of his bio- Society. It appears, from a memoir of graphers, “ a series of unforeseen cir- | Mr. Roscoe's life, in the National Porcumstances, particularly several other trait Gallery, that he was strongly atfailures, obliged the banking-house, in tached to botanical and agricultural which he was engaged, to suspend pay- studies; and that he, some years since,
undertook the improvement of a large place among the most eminent writers tract of waste moss land in the vicinity of the present age; and his Life of of Manchester. To this, Mrs. Barbauld Lorenzo de Medici and of Leo the Tenth refers in her poem, entitled One Thou have raised him to the very first rank sand Eight Hundred and Eleven : of English classical historians. Both When Roscoe, to whose patriot breast belong
of these performances are distinguished The Roman virtue and the Tuscan song,
by a style at once energetic and eleLed Ceres to the black and barren moor, gant, by profound thought, and a truly Where Ceres never gained a wreath before.
philosophical spirit. As an author, Mr. Roscoe takes his
George CRABBE was born at he took Crabbe into his house, and inAldborough, in Suffolk, on the 24th of troduced him to Fox; and, under their December, 1754, where his father and united auspices, appeared his poem of grandfather were officers of the cus The Library, in 1781. In the same toms. He received his education at a year, he was ordained deacon, and, in neighbouring school, where he gained the following one, priest, and, for a a prize for one of his poems, and left it short time, acted as curate at Ald. with sufficient knowledge to qualify borough. About the same period, he him for an apprentice to a surgeon and entered his name at Trinity Hall, Camapothecary in his native town. His poet- bridge, but withdrew it without graical taste is said to have been assisted duating, although he was subsequently in developing itself by a perusal of all presented with the degree of B. C. L. the scraps of verses which his father used After residing for some time at Belvoir to tear off from different newspapers, Castle, as chaplain to the Duke of and which young Crabbe collected to Rutland, by the recommendation of gether, and got most of them by heart. Mr. Burke, our author was introduced The attractions of the muse had pro to Lord-chancellor Thurlow, who bebably overcome those of Æsculapius, stowed upon him, successively, the for, on the completion of his apprentice- living of Frome St. Quintin, in Dorsetship, giving up all hope of succeeding shire, and the rectories of Muston and in his profession, he determined at once West Allington, in the diocese of Linto quit it, and to depend for support coln. In the meantime, in 1785, he upon his literary abilities. Accordingly, published The Newspaper, a poem; in 1778, he came to London with little followed by a complete edition of his more in his pocket than a bundle of his works, in 1807, which were received best poems, and took a lodging in the with marked and universal approcity, where he read and composed, but bation. could prevail upon no bookseller to In 1810, appeared his admirable puclish. At length, in 1780, he ven poem of The Borough; in 1812, he tured to print, at his own expense, a published his Tales in Verse; and, in poem, entitled The Candidate, which 1819, his celebrated Tales of the Hall, was favourably noticed in The Monthly with which he concluded his known Review, to the editor of whieh it was poetical labours. He had, in the inaddressed. Finding, however, that he terim, been presented to the rectory of stood no chance of success or popu- Trowbridge, with the smaller benefice larity whilst he remained personally of Croxton Kerryel, in Leicestershire, unknown, he is said to have introduced where he still resides. His only prose himself to Edmund Burke, who re- publications are a funeral sermon on ceived him with great kindness, and one of his early noble patrons, Charles, read his productions with approbation. Duke of Rutland, preached in the chaOur author fortunately found in this pel of Belvoir Castle, in 1789; and An gentleman both a friend and a patron; | Essay on the Natural History of the