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tempt of the clergy, numbers of tho!e answerers immediately started up, whose memory if he had not kept alive by his replies, it would now be utterly unknown, that he were ever answered at all. There is indeed an exception, when any great genius thinks it worth his while to expose a foolish piece. So we still read Marvel's answer to Parker * with pleasure, though the book it answers be funk long ago ; so the Earl of Orrery's remarks will be read with delight, when the dissertation he exposes will neither be fought nor found to But these are no enterprises for common hands, nor to be hoped for above once or twice în an age. Men would be more cautious of Boling their time in fuch an undertaking, if they did but consider, that to answer a book effe&tually, requires more pains and skill, mure wit, learning, and judgment, than were employed in the writing it. And the author assures those gentlemen who have given themselves that trouble with him, that his discourle is the product of the study, the observation, and the invention of several years; that he often blotted out much more than he left; and if his papers had not been a long time out of his possession, they must have still undergone more severe corrections, And do they think such a building is to be battered with dirt-pellets, however invenomed the mouths may
be that discharge them? He hath fèen the productions but of two answerers; one of which at first appeared as from an una known hand, but since avowed by a person I, who upa on fome occasions hath discovered no ill vein of hu.
It is a pity any occasion should put him under a necellity of being so hasty in his productions, which otherwise might often be entertaining. But there were
* Parker, afterwards Bishop of Oxford, wrote many treatises against the dissenters, with insolence, and contempt, says Burnet, that enraged them beyond measure ; for which he was chastised by Andrew Marvel, under-secretary to Milton, in, a little book called, The Rehearsal transprosed. Hawkes.
+ Boyle's remarks upon Bentley's differtation on the epistles of Phalaris. Hawkef.
#Supposed to be Dr. William King, the civilian, author of an account of Denmark, a dissertation on samplars, and other pieces of burlesque on the Royal Society, and the art of cookery, in imitation of Horace's art of poetry, &c. Hawkes.
other reasons obvious enough for his miscarriage in this: he writ against the conviction of his talent, and entered upon ond of the wrongest attempts in nature, to turn into ridicule, by a week's labour, a' work, which had cost so much time, and met with so much success in ridin culing others. The manner how he handled his subject, I have now forgot ; having just looked it over, when it first came out, as others did, merely for the sake of the
The other anfwer is from a person of a graver character, and is made up of half invective, and half annotation t; in the latter of which he hath generally fucceeded well enough. And the project, at that time, was: not amiss to draw in readers to his pamphlet; several ha*ving appeared desirous, that there might he fome explication of the more difficult passages. Neither can he be altogether blamed for offering at the invective part ; because it is agreed on all hands, that the author had given him sufficient provocation. The great objection is against his manner of treating it, very unsuitable to: one of his function. It was determined by a fair majority, that this answerer had, in a way not to be pardon-ed, drawn his pen against a certain great man then alive, and universally reverenced for every good quality that could poslibly enter into the composition of the most accomplished person. It was observed, how he was pleafed, and affected, to have that noble writer called his adversary ; and it was a point of satire well directed ;; for I have been told, Sir William Temple was sufficienta ly mortified at the term. All the men of wit and pow. liteness were immediately up in arms through indigna
* This we cannot recover at present, it being fo abfolutely forgotten, the oldest booksellers in trade remember nothing of it. Hawkes.
+ Wotton's defence of his refletions upon ancient and mo-dern learning. From the annotations are selected the notes: figned, w. Wotton. Thus Wotton appears busied to illustrate a work, which he laboured to condemnn, and adds fórce to a. satire pointed against himself : as captives were bound to the chariot.wheel of the victor, and compelled to increase the pomp of his triumph, whom they had in vain attempted to defcat.. Hawkes,
tion, which prevailed over their contempt, by the con. sequences they apprehended from such an example; and it grew Porsenna's case ; idem trecenti juravimus. In Thort, things were ripe for a general insurrection, till my Lord Orrery had a little laid the spirit, and settled the ferment. But, his Lordship being principally engaged with another antagonist *, it was thought necessary, in order to quiet the minds of men, that this opposer should receive a reprimand, which partly occa. fioned that discourse of the Battle of the books; and the author was farther at the pains to insert one or two remarks on him in the body of the book.
This answerer has been pleased to find fault with about a dozen passages, which the author will not be at the trouble of defending, farther than by assuring the reader, that, for the greater part, the reflecter is entirely mistaken, and forces interpretations which never once entered into the writer's head, nor will (he is fure) into that of any reader of taste and candour. He allows two or three at most, there produced, to have been deliver. ed unwarily; for which he desires to plead the excuse offered already, of his youth, and frankness of speech, and his papers being out of his power at the time they were published.
But this answerer infifts, and says, what he chiefly dislikes, is the design. What that was, I have already told ; and I believe there is not a person in England who can understand that book, that ever imagined it to have been any thing else, but to expose the abuses and core ruptions in learning and religion. :
But it would be good to know what design this reflecte er was serving, when he concludes his pamphlet with a caution to the reader, to beware of thinking the author's wit was entirely his own. Surely this must have had some allay of personal animosity, at least mixed with the design of serving the public by so useful a dis; covery ; and it indeed touches the author in a tender point; who insists upon it, that, through the whole book, he has not borrowed one single hint from any writer in the world; and he thought, of all criticisms; Bentley, concerning Phalaris and Æfop. Hawkes.
that would never have been one. , He conceived, it was never disputed to be an original, whatever faults it might have. However, this answerer produces three instances to prove this author's wit is not his own in many pla
The first is, that the names of Peter, Martin, and Jack, are borrowed from a letter of the late Duke of Buckingham *. Whatever wit is contained in those three names, the author is content to give it up, and desires his readers will subtract as much as they placed upon that account; at the same time protesting folemnly, that he never once heard of that letter, except in this passage of the answerer :. fo that the names were not borrowed, as he affirms, though they should happen to be the fame ; which, however, is odd enough, and what he hardly believes that of Jack being not quite So obvious as the other two. The second instance to thew the author's wit is not his own, is Peter's banter (as he calls it in his Alfatia phrase) upon- transubstantiation, which is taken from the same Duke's conference with an Irish priest, where a cork is turned into a horse. This the author confesses to have seen about ten years after his book was written, and a year or two after it was published. Nay, the answerer overthrows this himfelf; for hè allows the tale was written in 1697; and, I think, that pamphlet was not printed in many years after. It was neceffary, that corruption should have some allegory as well as the rest; and the author invented the propereft he could, without enquiring what other people had written ; and the commonelt reader will find, there is not the leaft resemblance between the two stories. The third instance is in these words : I I have been assured, that the battle in St. James's library is, mutatis mutandis, taken out of a French book, intitled Combat des livres, if I mifremember not. In which para sage there are two clauses observable : I have been afsu. red; and, if I misremember not.
I desire first to know, whether, if that conjecture proves an utter falsehood, those two clauses will be a fufficient excuse for this wor. thy critic. The matter is a trifle : but would he venture to pronounce at this rate upon one of greater mo. ment? I know nothing more contemptible in a writer, Villers..
than the character of a plagiary ;' which he here fixes as a venture ; and this not for a passage, but a whole dif: course, taken out from another book, only mutatis mutandis. The author is as much in the dark about this, as the answerer; and will imitate him by an afirmation at random ; that if there be a word of truth in this reflection, he is a paultry, imitating pedant, and the anfwerer is a person of wit, manners, and truth. He takes his boldness, from never having seen any such treatise in his life, nor heard of it before ; and he is sure it is impossible for two writers of different times and countries, to agree in their thoughts after such a manner, that two continued discourses shall be the same, only mutas tis mutandisi Neither will he infilt upon the mistake in the title. But let the answerer and his friend produce any book they please, he defies them to thew one single particular, where the judicious reader will affirm he has been obliged for the smallest hint; giving only allowance for the accidental encountering of a single thought, which he knows may sometimes happen ; though he has never yet found it in that discourse, nor has heard it objected
So that, if ever any design was unfortunately executed, it must be that of this answerer; who, when he would have it observed, that the author's wit is none of his own, is able to produce but three instances, two of them mere trifles, and all three manifestly false. If this be the way these gentlemen deal with the world in those criticisms where we have not leisure to defeat them, their readers had need be cautious, how they rely upon their credit; and whether this proceeding can be reconciled to humanity or truth, let those who think it worth their while, determine.
It is agreed, this answerer would have succeeded much better, if he had stuck wholly to his business, as a commentator upon the Tale of a tub, wherein it can not be denied, that he hath been of some service to the public; and hath given very fair conjectures towards clearing up some difficult paffages. But it is the frequent error of those men, (otherwise ver comniendable for their labours), to make excursions beyond their talent and their office, by pretending to point out the beauties
by any body else.