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were in mean circumstances, that great part of the money which he a different times received from the court of France, might have been expended in useful donations to support bis credit and his influence with his partizans: but fuppofe it was really pocketed for his owo use and emolument, there is sufficient macter in the apology written by him felf, and published after his death, to juttify bim fully on this point. After relating feveral attempts which had been made to affarfinate him in bis exile, Sidney proceeds as follows: “ The asperity of this perfecution obliged me to feek the protection of fome foreign prioce, and being then in the vigour of my age, I had reputatioq enough to have gained honourable employments; but all my designs vere broken by messages and letters from this court, fo as none dorit entertain me; and when ļ copid not comprehend the grounds of dealing with me in fuck a way, when I knew that maoy others who had been my companions, and given, as I thought, more just causes of hatred again them than I bad done, were received into favour, or suffered to live quietly, a man of quality, who well knew the tem per of the court, explained the mytery to me, by lecting me know that I was distinguished from the reft, because it was known that I could not be corrupied." If a Fabricius hould arise from the dead, and make any objection to Sidney's having condescended to accept, in these circumitances of persecution, a decent support from the bounty of a liberal monarch, we should attend with gravity to his Scruples, and endeavour to remove them by entering into the naturę and exigencies of modern life: we should affert, that it was a juft and competent knowledge of the value of external advantages, which gave the samp of virtue to acts of forbearance: we lhould argue, that a total indifference to a state of poverty or affluence, as it in a manner annihilates all temptations to every species of venal corruption, it in a great measure weakens the merit of public and private integrity; and that a man's reje&ing, with a becoming contempt, every external advantage which would naturally follow a deviation from prisciple, did not lay him under any obligation to refuse advantages which were in no manner connected with any such derogatory çira cumstances ; and that those noble sentiments which led great minds to despise the wages of iniquity, could be no rational bar to the re. ceiving emoluments and favours from the liberality, the oftentasion, or the personal affection of an individual, who did not require any sacrifice of the nicest rules of honour, or the stricteft dictates of prin. ciple. Arguments like these might, in all probability, have convinced the Roman conful, that the regard which Sidney paid to the alleviating his necessities, when such an alleviation could be obraided without any deviation from principle or honour, rather heightens than decreases the merit of his acts of for bearance: but with what face of serious argument can we encounter the overftrained delicacy of an age, who, on all occasions where the detraction of an illustrious character is not in question, acknowledge such a neceflity in the article of money as to aotborise every species of venality, although attended with the most deftru&ive con lequences, and aggravated with the additional crimes of deception, treachery, and the breach of pri: yale and public truft,
$ This ridiculous charge of corruption, though it has been the loudest, has not been the only attack which has been made on ebe moral character of the illallsious patriot, whose persecutions and fola ferings we have just narrated. Mr. Hume, whose partiality on the Gide of the court in this part of his history, is a greater disgrace to his admirable genius and profeund sagacity than any other page of his hisorical wsitings, accuses Sidney of ingratitude, in having obtained a pardon of the King, and then entering into measures to disturb his government. In all my researches on this subject, I have not found this pardon co be ascertained; and as I have before observed, I can. not discern any occafon for such a particular pardon. The bruta! Jeffries only reproached the prisoner with the grace he bad received in the general act of indemnity, and in the letters of thanks which Sidney, wrote to the Freach minister, who transacted this business of his return to England, there is only mention made of a paffport from the King: but provided that Sidney's having received a pardon was a proved fact, whoever reads in his Apology the face of the case, will find that all the ingratitude and baseness lay on the fide of the King, who, with the arm of jajaftiee and oppreffion, persecuted to death the man from whom his family had received in their distress persooal obligations, and to whose interposition he owed the prefer: vation of his life.'
They who are desirous of having an intimate knowledge of our constitutional history, within the periods of 1660 and 1683, will meet with every gratification they can reasonably hope for in the volumes before us. And though they are evidently written manu inimica tyrannis, the Historian has avoided the extreme of advancing principles that are not fairly deducible from the nature of true government, and of the English Constitution, of which she is so Itrenuous an assertor. If, in the conclusions that are drawn from the several facts here related, the differ from some of the more popular historians that have preceded her, she fails not, however, to state the facts themselves with preci. Lion and candour.
It were to be wilhed, that there had been more frequent references to the sources from whence her materials are selected, We are far from thinking, that even in those instances in which the fountains of her intelligence are not immediately obvious to recollection, that her integrity will, by the candid and impara tial part of her readers, be called into question. But it is to be remembered, that all readers are not candid and imparcial. The deficiency we have noted might in some measure be fupplied by a faithful catalogue of the books that have been made use of in this very important work-- it would form a valuable Appendix to the concluding volume,
The style of this performance, though in general it be animated and nervous, is not always uniform. It is too apt to take a tincture from that of the Authors immediately consulted ; and though it may be observed that our Historian pd 4
adopts not the very words, yet she not uncommonly imbibes the manner of those from whom her facts are selected. With respect to the flighter inaccuracies that might be pointed out, we consign them to the word-catchers, being of opinion with Mr, Hayley, that
Tho' critic censures on her work may shower,
Like faith, her freedom has a saving power. 67 An Advertisement, at the end of Vol. VII. informs us, that the Eighth Volume is in the press, and will speedily be published ;which, with the preceding ones, and the Historical Letters, will form a complete period of time, from the Acceffion of James the First, to the year 1741.
Art. II. Johnson's Biograpbical Prefaces, CONTINUED.
of Swift, Gay, Broome, Pitt, Parnel, A. Philips, and Watts. As it furnishes little that is new, we shall pass on to the subsequent volume, which opens with that well-known specimen of elegant Biography, the life of Savage.
The only variation from the former copies of this work that we have noted, is in the following passage. In the publicae tion of this performance (the Tragedy of Sir Thomas Overbury) he was more successful, for the rays of genius that glimmered in it, that glimmered through all the mists which poverty and Cibber had spread over it, procured him the notice and esteem of many persons,' &c, To foist in a ftigma upon a man so many years after he has lain peaceably in his grave, has the appearance of something fingularly disingenuous and unmanly. Indeed, whenever Dr. Johnson has occasion to speak of Cibber, it is with an acrimony that, in any other man, we fhould suspect must have proceeded from personal resentment,
dulness has been so long the butt of ridicule with every pretender to wit, that we are surprised any writer, who affects originality of sentiment, should condescend to divert himself and his readers with so ftale a topic. There is no pleasure, as Dr. Johnson elsewhere observes, in chacing a school-boy to his common-places.
In characterizing Thomson's merit as a poet, his Biographer nearly coincides with the general opinion. As a man, however, the representation of his character is not so favourable. In the early part of life, while friendless and indigent, he is represented as foliciting kindness by servile adulation, and when afterwards he had the means of gratification, it is infinuated, that he was grossly sensual. What authorities there are for the former part of this character appear pot: the latter, in opposi
tion to the suffrages of the moft respectable of his cotemporaries, rests solely on the testimony of the unprincipled and profligate Savage.
We are told that. Thomson, in his travels on the continent, found or fancied so many evils arising from the tyranny of other governments, that he resolved to write a very long poem, in five parts, upon Liberty. In this passage the Biographer seems to have brought himself into a dilemma : either there are no evils arising from the tyranny of arbitrary governments ; or Thomson was a man of no observation. To which will Dr. Johnson subscribe!
Of Hammond, he says, though he be well remembered as a man esteemed and carefled by the elegant and great, I was at first able to obtain no other memorials than such as are supplied by a book called Cibber's Lives of the Poets; of which I take this opportunity to testify that it was not written, nor, I believe, ever seen, by either of the Cibbers; but was the work of Robert Shiells, a native of Scotland, a man of very acute understanding, though with little scholastic education, who, not long after the publication of his work, died in London of a consumption. His life was virtuous, and his end was pious. The-, ophilus Cibber, then a prisoner for debt, imparted, as I was told, his name for ten guineas. The manuscript of Shiells is now in my poffeffion.' « His life was virtuous (De mortuis nil nisi verum, says the Doctor's able coadjutor, Mr. Crofts), &c.”
In the above passage the Doctor has advanced more than he knew to be true. Cibber's receipt, which we are informed is still extant, is for twenty guineas, in consideration of which he engaged to “ revise, correct, and improve" the work, and also to affix his name to the title-page. Cibber very punctually revised every sheet; he made numerous corrections, and added many improvements, particularly in those lives which came down to his own times, and brought him within the circle of his own and his father's numerous literary acquaintance, especially in the dramatic line, Besides inserting paragraphs, notes, anecdotes and remarks, in those lives that were written by Shiells and others (for the best pieces of Biography in that collection were not written by Shiels, but by superior hands), some of the lives, if we are not greatly mistaken, were solely of his own composition. The engagement of Cibber, or some other Englilaman, to superintend and correct what Shiells in particular Thould offer, was a measure absolutely necessary, not only to guard against his Scotticisms, and other defects of expression, but (what was worse) his virulent Jacobitism, which inclined him to abuse every one who held principles different from his own. But enough of Cibber and Shiells, Hammond's Elegies are thus characterized
· The Elegies were published after his death; and while the writer's name was remembered with fondness, they were read with a resolution to admire them. The recommendatory Preface of the editor, who was then believed, and is now affirmed by Dr. Maty, to be the Earl of Chesterfield, raised strong prejudices in their favour,
• But of the prefacer, whoever he was, it may be reasonably
Dr. Johnson appears not to have recollected that Hammond's
• To save the Reader, who may wish to fatisfy himself on this
Stanhope, in wisdom as in wit divine,