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realms of science. But fome calumniators having infinuated that he was neither qualified to correct the public tafte, nor govern the commonwealth of letters, as he appeared to be unacquainted with its primary laws and conflitution, he has attempted in the course of this performance to juftify his pretenfions, and convince the world that he is able to make a Speech without a folecism.
The work before us is formed upon the following plan.
Apollo and Mercury having run in debt by their extravagance, form'a fcheme to fatisfy their creditors and replenish their purfes, by catching authors and felling them. In purfuance of this defign, authors of all denominations are collected and expofed to fale, and Mercury, in particular, affects to be extremely witty upon every fubject; yet fays the writer, I would not have any one imagine, that the poor authors are the principal, far lefs the only butt and object of my satire. For, when the dramatic authors are exposed to sale, the ridicule is directed against the managers and frequenters of the theatres; when the authors of real merit are difmiffed without being offered to fale at all, it is levelled against the low and trifling taste of the age in general; when Harris, Hoyle, and Heber are put up, it is aimed against debauchees and gamefters; and when the anonymous authors are fold, many frauds and artifices of the booksellers, or rather book-makers, are de tected and exposed.'
The following extract contains fome of the moft tolerable humour in this dialogue.
Apollo. (Afide to Mercury.) Set up in the next place, the Highlander, the epic poet; I have forgot his name, but he breakfafted on peafe meal and whifky. I fee a good many Scotch people here. Perhaps they'll bid for the honour of their country.
Mercury. Here, gentlemen, is a poet for you. He is the Highland Homer. But far fuperior to the Grecian. Confult
a fweet morfel of criticism*, compofed by one of his own countrymen, and you will foon be convinced of this truth. I fhall only fay, were he as good as he was difficult to catch, a better poet never was brought to market. I hunted him for fix days in the Highland hills, and often I thought I had him, but as often his bufby hair whistling in the wind, he burft from me like the bum of a fong, or, dark, in a blaft, like the vapour of reedy Lego ↑. At laft I catched him as he was abforbed in a poetical extacy. Ladies, he is juft caught upon my honour; his tail is not cut yet. Shall I lift up his fillabeg and shew you?
* See Elem. of Criticism. † See Temora, p. 60, and 72.
Apollo. For fhame, Mercury. Is this talk for ladies ? You make them blush?
• Mercury. I fee a hantell of his ain cuntry fôk here; a hantell braw Scotch laads and bonny Scotch laffies. What, winna ye fubfcribe now, winna ye birle your bawbees for the honour of your ain cuntry, and the gude of your ain cuntryman ?
Scotsmen. Ay, ay, we'll aw fubfcribe, we'll aw fubfcribe.. Mercury. Weel then caft in your placks and bawbees into Apollo's haunds there, and when you've caften in enugh, you may e'en tak him hame wi' ye agen, gin ye like yourfells
M'cn. Na, na, I wad like it mukle better, giff I were to be relegated amang the Cherokees and Chactaws o' North America, whare I cud ftudy the manners of thae fôk; which I'm tald are highly epical, and fae I wad e'en write a new original epic poem.
• Mercury. Weel, weel maun, giff ye dinna like to gang hame agen to your ain cuntry before you fee a little mair o' the warld first, ne'er fawfh your head about the matter; I'll speak a gude word for you to ane you ken fu' weel, a dear friend and great admirer o'yours, a governor of ane o' the new provinces, and fae you may gang o'ur wi' him as a fecretary. Pray, Apollo, how goes the fubfcription on.
Apollo. O wonderfully well. We have got enough by him; more than I expected. You may difmifs him.
O wow, but I am unco fain to hear it. I did nae think you Scotch bodies wad hae parted wi' your filler fae reddily. Now ye may tâk your poet awa wi' ye, but be fure mâke mickle o' him.
Apollo. So much for the honour of Scotland. Now, gentlemen, for the honour of Old England. Mercury, fet up Mr. W
Englishmen. Wand Liberty. Hurra.
Mercury. Ay, gentlemen, well may you huzza him. Here is the champion of Old England, the martyr for Liberty. Here is the celebrated author of the North Briton, who has fo damnably mauled your enemies the Scots, thofe loufy, beggarly rafcallions, that come up in fuch flocks, fcratching themfelves all the way, (Mercury here fpeaks afide to fome Scotsmen near bim, who feem to be out of humour and growing angry, Hout awa laads, ne'er fash yourfells about ony thing that I'm faying. I dinna think as I fpeak, and its only a copy o' my countenance to curry favour wi' thae fat-gutted, thick-headed Engglish pock-puddings, and to fee if I can cheat them out o' fome of their filler.) I fay, gentlemen, thofe ragged, fcabbed, itching oatmeal-eating Scotfmen, that come up to town by whole
waggon loads at a time, like droves of their own cattle, fcratching and fcrubbing themselves at every poft they meet with, in order to take the bread out of your mouths and deftroy your precious liberties. Here, gentlemen, who bids money for W and Liberty. He's a very ugly fellow, indeed, and fquints moft horribly, but we shall not abate one farthing of his price on that account; for the beauty of his genius and the virtues of his patriotic heart, make more than amends for all. 6 Englishmen. W and Liberty, huzza!
• Mercury. Well done, gentlemen, it rejoices me exceedingly to hear you huzza so heartily. That adds greatly to the ftrength of your caufe. But you must do more than that. You must bid money, you must even part with money for W and Liberty: otherwife you'll oblige me to fing the chorus of the new fong. Ah! poor Liberty! What! bid no money for the martyr of Liberty, who was fo lately thrown into the Tower as if he had been a Scotch rebel, for the mereft trifle in the world, only for abufing his fovereign, and giving him the lie publicly, which you know has been the privilege and birthright of all true-born Englishmen time out of mind. Why, it is in Magna Charta.
Englishmen. Wand Liberty. Hurra.
Mercury. Still huzzaing, gentlemen, and no more! No money!
Ab! poor Liberty!
(Mercury fings this in a very melancholy tone.)
• Wilkes. You are in the right, gentlemen. Liberty is not to be bought. It is only to be fought for, and wrote for, and drank for, and huzza'd for. Nor am I, a freeborn Englishman, to be fold. But as I have fuffered greatly by this illegal step of the administration, you may fubfcribe. I am now printing at my own houfe in Great George Street, a full account of all the proceedings of the adminiftration against me. The price is one guinea, to be paid at fubfcribing.
Mercury. Ay, ay. Subfcribe by all means. That will do as well, and now I think on't much better. Apollo has opened the fubfcription, gentlemen, and is ready to receive your money. Wand Liberty for a guinea! a great penn'orth. In the mean time we shall put up to fale, Mr. W— -'s great affociate and fellow labourer in the caufe of Liberty. I mean the reverend Mr. Ch-ll. Waiter, bring forth Mr. Ch―ll, provided he has drank out his pot of porter, and fet him on the table with Mr. W. Now, gentlemen, there's a brace
of patriots for you, coupled together like a pair of rabbits, a fat one and a lean one. Apollo, whilst you are taking in subscriptions for the one, I shall put the other up to auction if you please.-Come, Mr. Ch-ll, exhibit a Specimen of your powers from the Prophecy of Famine, or any of your other fublime compofitions. But let it be fomething very bitter against the Scotch.".
Anonymous authors, presumptuous pedants, and dirty ragamuffins, are terms of reproach which this author has bestowed upon others with great profufion.-But pray, Mr. Imitator of Lucian, are not you of the first denomination? And if in this metropolis there is a club of the last, your delicacy and ingenuity in describing scenes of lewdness, drunkennefs, and low life, and your opprobrious expreffions when you speak of Dr. J- -n and others, will entitle you to the chair.
VIII. The Confeffional: or, a full and free Inquiry into the Right, Utility, Edification, and Success, of eftablishing fyftematical Con-. feffions of Faith and Doctrine in Proteftant Churches. The 2d Edition, enlarged with Corrections and an additional Preface, in Anfwer to Dr. Rutherforth's Charge. 8vo. Pr. 6s. Bladon.
S we profefs ourselves the advocates of civil and religious. liberty, it gives us pleasure to obferve, that in this nation, all free enquiries, if conducted in a proper manner, meet with general approbation. Thanks be to heaven, we have no indices expurgatorii, no inquifitors of heretical pravity. Subjects of every kind are difcuffed with freedom, and the authors are only answerable for their opinions at the bar of reason.
Under a different conftitution the author of the Confeffional would have incurred fome public animadverfion. Even at pre-. fent we fuppofe there are bigots, who deem this performance an insufferable infult upon the church. But what perfon of liberal fentiments would wish to see it fuppreffed? If the author's reafoning is inconclufive, let it be fairly expofed. If it is irrefragable, let it be honeftly admitted. Refpect, we confefs, is due to the church, but fuperior deference, to reason, truth, and liberty.
The author, however, has no occafion to complain for as he obferves, The favourable reception the Confeffional hath met with from the Public, though it will not be admitted as an argument of the merit of the book, is undeniably an argument of fomething of much more confequence. It is an argument, that the love of RELIGIOUS LIBERTY is ftill warm and vigorous in the hearts of a confiderable number of the good people of England, notwithstanding the various endeavours of VOL. XXIV. July, 1767.
interested and irreligious men, in thefe latter as well as in former times, to check and difcourage it; and notwithitanding the defponding apprehenfions of fome good men, that these ftiflers had well nigh fucceeded in their unrighteous attempts.
1 It now appears, that a little plain reasoning, illuftrated by a few indisputable facts, in favour of this invaluable legacy of our Proteftant ancestors, hath been fufficient to engage the attention of many well-wishers to its preservation and perpetuity, who, perhaps, might not otherwife have been aware of the prefent importance of fuch a difquifition; but who, by having their obfervation turned upon the artful and indirect methods that have been taken by fome of its infidious adverfa➡ ries, under the mask of friendship, to diminish its estimation, may, by the bleifing of God, be excited to a greater degree of vigilance, that this fountain of all true piety and evangelical virtue may never more be choaked up, by the rubbish of traditional formalities.'
In allufion to a pamphlet which has appeared in answer to his book, the author fays, The Confeffional hath likewise had the good fortune to make another valuable discovery; namely, that encroachments on religious liberty in Proteftant communities, by whatever fpecious pretences they are introduced, can never be defended upon Proteftant principles.
A Divine, of good learning and character, who occupies, with reputation, one of the firft theological chairs in Europe, hath tried his ftrength upon this fatherless production of the prefs, without forefeeing, I dare fay, that he would fo fuddenly meet with a more able opponent from another quarter; who hath fhewn, in a masterly manner, how little definitions and diftinctions, which pafs, perhaps with applaufe, in the fchools for found and fcientific, are to be depended upon, when confronted by Scripture and common sense *.
In this excellent and decifive little tract, the author of the Confeffional thought he had so far found his account, that he determined, when a fecond edition of his book was called for, to pass over, in the revisal of it, the learned profeffor's Vindication in profound filence, and to leave it in that ftate of ineffici ency to which the author of the Examination had reduced it.
But fome of his friends, by whofe fuperior judgment he hath greatly profited on other occafions, obferving to him, that fome of Dr. Rutherforth's ftri&tures might be understood to affect the Confeffional in particular, apart from his general argument, it was thought neceffary, that particular answers should
* Examination of Dr. Rutherforth's argument. See Vol. xxii. p. 317..