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whom he was forced to support for many years. Instead of breeding up his daughters to housewifery and plain clothes, he got them, at a great expense, to be clad like ladies who had plentiful fortunes; made them only learn to sing and dance, to draw and design, to give them rich silks and other fopperies; and his two eldest were married, without his consent, to young lads who had nothing to settle on them. However, he had one son, whom the doctor sent to Westminster school, although he could ill afford it. The boy was there immediately taken notice of, upon examination : although a mere stranger, he was, by pure merit, elected a king's scholar. It is true, their maintenance falls something short; the doctor was then so poor, that he could not add fourteen pounds to enable the boy to finish the year; which if he had done, he would have been removed to a higher class, and, in another year, would have been sped off (that is the phrase) to a fellowship in Oxford or Cambridge: but the doctor was forced to recall him to Dublin, and had friends in our university to send him there, where he has been chosen of the foundation ; and I think has gotten an exhibition, and designs to stand for a fellowship.'
The doctor had a good church living, in the south parts of Ireland, given him by lord Carteret; who, being very learned himself, encourages it in others. A friend of the doctor's prevailed on his excellency to grant it. The living was well worth 1501. per annum. He changed it very soon for that of Dunboyn; which, by the knavery of the farmers, and power of the gentlemen, fell so very low that he could never get 801. He then changed that living for the free-school of Cavan, where he might have lived well in so cheap a country on 801. salary per annum, besides his scholars; but the air, he said, was too moist and unwholesome, and he could not bear the company of some persons in that neighborhood. Upon this he sold the school for about 4001., spent the money, grew into disease, and died.
It would be very honorable, as well as just, in those many persons of quality and fortune who had the advantage of being educated under Dr. Sheridan, if they would please to erect some decent monument over his body, in the church where it is deposited.
* Thomas Sheridan, an actor of celebrity, who also distinguished himself by Lectures on Elocution, and an excellent life of Swift. He was the father of the celebrated and highly-gifted Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
THE HISTORY OF THE SECOND SOLOMON.
[DR. SHERIDAN.] 1725.
After the affectionate manner in which the dean had treated the memory of Dr. Sheridan in the preceding character, there can be no need of any apology for the jeu d'esprit here preserved. It was originally published in 1775, by dean Swift.
He became acquainted with a person distinguished for poetical and other writings, and in an eminent station, who treated him with great kindness on all occasions, and he became familiar in this person's house. [Dean Swift.] In three months' time, Solomon, without the least provocation, writ a long poem, describing that person's muse to be dead, and making a funeral solemnity with asses, owls, &c., and gave the copy among all his acquaintance.
Solomon became acquainted with a most deserving lady, an intimate friend of the above person [Stella], who entertained him also as she would a brother; and, upon giving him a little good advice in the most decent manner,
with relation to his wife, he told her, “She was like other women, as bad as she was; and that they were all alike.”
Solomon has no ill design upon any person but himself, and he is the greatest deceiver of himself on all occasions.
His thoughts are sudden, and the most unreasonable always comes uppermost; and he constantly resolves and acts upon his first thoughts, and then asks advice, but never once before.
The person above mentioned, whom he lam pooyed in three months after their acquaintance, procured him a good preferment from the lord-lieutenant [lord Carteret]: upon going down to take possession, Solomon preached, at Cork, a sermon on king George's birth-day, on this text, “Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof." Solomon having been famous for a high Tory, and suspected as a Jacobite, it was a most difficult thing to get anything for him: but that person, being an old friend of lord Carteret, prevailed against all Solomon's enemies, and got him made likewise one of his excellency's chaplains. But, upon this sermon, he was struck out of the list, and forbid the castle, until that same person brought him again to the lieutenant, and made them friends.
A fancy sprung in Solomon's head, that a house near Dublin would be commodious for him and his boarders to lodge in on Saturdays and Sundays; immediately, without consulting with any creature, he takes a lease of a rotten house at Rathfarnham, the worst air in Ireland, for nine hundred and ninety-nine years, at twelve pounds a-year; the land, which was only a strip of ground, not being worth twenty shillings a-year. When the same person whom he lampooned heard the thing, he begged Solomon to get a clause to surrender, and at last prevailed to have it done after twenty-one years; because it was a madness to pay eleven pounds a-year, for a thousand years, for a house that could not last twenty. But Solomon made an agreement with his landlady, that he should be at liberty to surrender his lease in seven years; and if he did not do it at that time, should be obliged to keep it for nine hundred and ninety-nine years. In the mean time, he expends about one hundred pounds on the house and garden-wall; and in less than three years, contracts such a hatred to the house, that he lets it run to ruin : so that, when the seven years were expired, he must either take it for the remainder of the nine hundred and ninety-nine years, or be sued for waste, and lose all the money he laid out: and now he
pays twelve pounds a year for a place he never sees.
Solomon has an estate of about 351. per annum, in the county of Cavan ; upon which, instead of ever receiving one penny rent, he hath expended above thirty pounds per annum in buildings and plantations, which are all gone to ruin.
Solomon is under-tenant to a bishop's lease; he is bound by articles to his lordship to renew and pay a fine whenever the bishop renews with his landlord, and to raise his rent as the landlord shall raise it to the bishop. Seven years expire: Solomon's landlord deinands a fine, which he readily pays; then asks for a lease: the
may have it at any time.” He never gets it. Another seven years elapse : Solomon's landlord demands another fine, and an additional rent: Solomon pays both, asks to have his lease renewed: the steward answers, “He will speak to his master.” Seventeen years have elapsed; the landlord sends Solomon word, “That his lease is forfeited, because he hath not renewed and paid his fines according to articles;" and now they are at law upon this admirable case.
It is Solomon's great happiness, that, when he acts in the common concerns of life against common sense and reason, he values himself thereupon, as if it were the mark of great genius, above little regards or arts, and that his thoughts are too exalted to descend into the knowledge of vulgar management; and you cannot make him a
greater compliment than by telling instances to the company, before his face, how careless he was in any affair that related to his interest and fortune.
He is extremely proud and captious, apt to resent as an affront and indignity what was never intended for either.
He is allured as easily by every new acquaintance, especially among women, as a child is by a new plaything; and is led at will by them to suspect and quarrel with his best friends, of whom he hath lost the greatest part, for want of that indulgence which they ought to allow for his failings.
He is a generous, honest, good-natured man; but his perpetual want of judgment and discretion makes him act as if he were neither generous, honest, nor good-natured.
The person above-mentioned, whom he lampooned, and to whom he owes preferment, being in the country and out of order, Solomon had appointed to come for him with a chaise, and bring him to town. Solomon sent him word that he was to set out on Monday, and did accordingly, but to another part of the kingdom, thirty miles wide of the place appointed, in compliment to a lady who was going that way; there stayed with her and her family a month; then sent the chaise, in the midst of winter, to bring the said person where Solomon would meet him, declaring he could not venture himself for fear of the frost: and upon the said person's refusing to go in the chaise alone, or to trust to Solomon's appointment, and being in ill health, Solomon fell into a formal quarrel with that person, and foully misrepresented the whole affair, to justify himself.
Solomon had published a humorous ballad, called “ Ballyspellin," whither he had gone to drink the waters, with a new favorite lady. The ballad was in the manner of Mr. Gray's on Molly Mogg, pretending to contain all the rhymes of Ballyspellin. His friend, the person so often mentioned, being at a gentleman's house in the neighborhood, and merry ovet Solomon's ballad, they agreed to make another, in dispraise of Ballyspellin Wells, which Solomon had celebrated, and with all new rhymes not made use of in Solomon’s. The thing was done, and all in a mere jest and innocent merriment. Yet Solomon was prevailed upon by the lady he went with, to resent this as an affront on her and himself; which he did accordingly, against all the rules of reason, taste, good-nature, judgment, gratitude, or common manners.
He will invite six or more people of condition to dine with him on a certain day, some of them living five or six miles from town.
On the day appointed, he will be absent, and know nothing of the matter, and they all go back disappointed : when he is told of this, be is pleased because it shows him to be a genius and a man of learning.
Having lain many years under the obloquy of a high Tory and Jacobite, upon the present queen's birth-day he writ a song, to be performed before the government and those who attended them, in praise of the queen and kiny, on the common topics of her beauty, wit, family, love of England, and all other virtues, wherein the king and the royal children were sharers. It was very hard to avoid the common topics. A young collegian who had done the same job the year before, got some reputation on account of his wit. Solomon would needs vie with him, by which he lost all the esteem of his old friends the Tories, and got not the least interest with the Whigs; for they are now too strong to want advocates of that kind; and therefore one of the lords justices, reading the verses in some company, said, “Ah, doctor! this shall not do." His name was at length in the title-page; and he did this without the knowledge or advice of one living soul, as he himself confesseth.
His full conviction of having acted wrong in an hundred instances, leaves him as positive in the next instance, as if he had never been mistaken in his life; and if you go to him the next day, and find him convinced in the last, he hath another instance ready, wherein he is as positive as he was the day before.
A SERIOUS AND USEFUL SCHEME TO MAKE AN HOSPITAL FOR INCURABLES.
OF UNIVERSAL BENEFIT TO ALL HIS MAJESTY'S SUBJECTS.
Humbly addressed to the right honorable Lord * * *, the right honorable sir * * *, and to the right honorable * * *.
Focunda culpæ secula. - HoR.
THERE is not anything which contributes more to the reputation of particular persons, or to the honor of a nation in general, than erecting and endowing proper edifices for the reception of those who labor under different kinds of distress. The diseased and unfortunate are thereby delivered from the misery of wanting assistance, and others are delivered from the misery of beholding them.