Page images
PDF
EPUB

A Letter to the Rev. Dr. Thomas Leland, Fellow of Trinity Colleges

Dublin. In which his late Dissertation on the Principles of human Eloquence is criticized; and the Bishop of Gloucester's Idea of the Nature and Character of an inspired Language, as delisvered in his Lordship's Doctrine of Grace, is vindicated from all the Objections of the learned Author of the Disertation. 8vo. IS. 6d. Wilkie.

T

HIS Letter-Writer sets out thus. I have read your

Dissertation on the principles of human Eloquence, and thall very readily, I dare say, be indulged in the liberty I am going to take, of giving you my free thoughts upon it. I shall do it with all the regard that is due from one Scholar to another ; and even with all the civility which may be required of ONË, who hath his seasons for addressing you, in this public manner, without a name.'

Upon reading this, we were naturally led to expect a liberal, candid, and polite Letter, such as becomes one Gentleman to write to another ; but we foon found that this Letter-Writer is either entirely ignorant of what is due from one Scholar to anos ther, or never intended to keep his promise. A spirit of insolence breathes through the whole Letter, with an academical pertness, unworthy of a polite Scholar, and, in an anonymous Writer, extremely mean and cowardly.

Whatever advantage this Author, or his admirers, may imagine he has over Dr. Leland in point of argument and critical acumen, he is certainly much inferior to him in good breeding. In regard to the merit of his defence of the Bishop of Gloua cester, we shall only fay, that it is specious and plausible, but far from being solid and satisfactory. It would be to no purpose to detain our Readers with a particular account of what he has advanced; such of them as have read the learned Prelate's work, and are Judges of the subjeet, must have formed their opinion of it long before now.

It is incumbent upon us, however, to give a specimen of our Author's manner of writing, in order to vindicate the character we have given of it. We ihall, therefore, lay before our Readers the conclusion of this Letter, leaving them to determine whether it is or is not agreeable to the beginning of it.

• I will not deny, says he, that the mere Justice due to a great character, whom I found somewhat freely, not to say injuriously, treated by you, was one motive with me to hazard this address to you. If I add another, it is such as I need not disown, and Rev. Oct. 1764.

x

which

which you, of all men, will be the last to object to, I mean motive of Charity towards yourself.

· I am much a stranger to your person, and, what it may pethaps be searce decent for me to profess to you, even to your writings. All I know of yourself is, what your book tells me, that you are distinguished by an honourable place and office in the university of Dublin: and what I have heard of your writings, makes me think favourably of a private Scholar, who, they say, employs himself in such works of learning and taste, as are proper to instill a reverence into young minds for the best models of ancient eloquence. While you are thus creditably farioned, and thus ulefully employed, I could not but feel some concern for the hurt you were likely to do yourself, by engaging in fo warm and so unnecessary an opposition to a Writer, as you characterize him, of diflinguished eminence. Time was, when even with us on this fide the water, the novelty of this Writer's positions, and the envy, which ever attends superior merit, dispored some warm persons to open, and prosecute with many hard words, the unpopular cry against him, of his being a bold and paradoxical Writer. But reflection and experience have quieted ihis alarm. Men of sense and judgment now confider his paradoxes as very harmlefs, nay ay very fober and certain truths; and even vie with each other in their zeal of building upon them, as the fureft basis on which a juft and rational vindication of our common religion can be railed. This is the present state of things with us, and especially, they say, in the universities of this kingdomn.

• It was, therefore, not without some surprize, and, as I faid, with much real concern, that I found a Gentleman of learning and education revive, at such a juncture, that stale and worn-out topic, and disgrace himself by propagating this clamour, cf I know not what paradoxical boldness, now long out of date, in the much-approved writings of this great Prelate. Nor was the dishonour to yourself the only circumstance to be lamented. You were striving, with all your might, to infuse prejudices into the minds of many ingenious and virtuous young men; whom you would surely be sorry to miflcad; and who would owe you little thanks for prepoffefling them with unfavourable fentiments of such a man and Writer as the Bishop of Gloucefier, they will find, is generally esteemed to be.

• These, then, were the co:siderations which induced me to (fploy an hour or two of leisure in giving your book a free examination. I have done it in as few words as possible, and in a manner which no reasonable and candid man, I persuade myself, Wild di approve. I know what apologies may be requisite to the enough if

learned

learned Bishop for a Stranger's engaging in this officious task But to you, Sir, I make none: it is

any

benefits to yourself or others may be derived from it.'

Such is the regard which this Writer thinks is due from one Scholar to another. In what school he has learned his good breeding, few of our Readers need be told : that he is an apt Scholar, and zealous for the honour of his Master, is abundantly evident.We can by no means, however, see the justice of treating poor Dr. Leland in this unmerciful manner. It is very poslible, or rather, highly probable, he never heard that all men of sense and judgment on this side the water had acknowleged the Bishop of Gloucester as their only rightful literary Sovereign, and vied with cach other in their zeal of building upon his paradoxes, as the surest basis, on which a just and rational vindication of our common religion can be raised.' Nay, supposing the Doctor to have heard this, ard even suppoling it to be true, we cannot see any obligation the university of Dublin, or the Gentlemen of Ireland, are under to acknow. lege the learned Prelate's authority; they deserve rather, it should seem, to be highly commended for their noble independent spirit, in refusing to call any man on earth, MASTER.

But we shall conclude this article with a fair challenge to this Letter-Writer, as the only way of answering his arrogant and presumptuous assertions : if he will condescend to produce a list of those men of sense and judgment, who vye with each other in building upon the Bishop's paradoxes, we will engage to produce a list of men of sense and judgment, who are in very different sentiments; and appeal to the impartial public, which of the two lifts is the most respectable.

The Modern Part of an Universal History, from the earliest Account

of Time. Compiled from original Writers. By the Authors of the ancient Part. Vol. XLII. 8vo. 55. Olborne, &c.

H

AVING at length quitted the American quarter of the

globe, our indefatigable and perfevering Compilers are now returned to Europe, and have given us, in their usual fugitive manner, the History of Hungary, and of the modern (or as it is still called, the Roman, tho' in fact the German) Empire; the latter being branched out into the History of the Imperial Cities, of the kingdom of Bohemia, the Electorates of Saxony, Bavaria, Palatine, Hanover, Brandenburgh, the Arch-dutchy of Austria, and the Dutchics of Mecklenburgh. To these are added, the Sequel to the Histories of Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Sweden, and Turkey; continued down to the present times. porting him againft his Nobility. His complaints were far from being ill founded; for it is certain, that Peter had led him into

We have so frequently given our fentiments of this work, with ample specimens from various parts of it, that we might readily be excused from troubling ourselves, or the public, with any farther extracts; but having, in turning over the present volume, met with the following particulars relating to the succellion, and various claims, to the Russian empire, we imagine they may afford some information to many of our Readers.

Charles-Leopold, Duke of Mecklenburgh-Schwerin, being desirous of strengthening himself by an alliance with Peter the Great, Czar of Muscovy, obtained in marriage Catherine, the niece of that Prince; she being daughter to the Czar John, Peter's elder brother. The Duke hoped, by the aid of his new ally, to gain the ascendancy over his subjects, with whom he was unhappily involved in the most fatal discord: but his views were entirely frustrated, and the match proved by no means anfwerable to his wishes. The Czar had lent him 3000 Russian troops, which he quartered upon his Nobility; and this, together with the league into which the Duke entered with Ruffia and Sweden, (hut which was entirely overturned by the death of his Swedish Majesty) had rendered him excessively unpopu: lar in the eyes of all the German Princes, who could never forgive his calling foreign troops into the Empire.

· The King * of Great Britain was his professed enemy, as being a Member of the Lower Saxony, and the Regent of France was connected with George. The new government of Sweden adopted a plan entirely different from that of the late King; and the Czar, notwithstanding his recent family connection with the Duke, became very cold in his cause. To compleat his misfortunes, the Emperor took upon him finally to decide the long-depending cause between the Duke and his Nobility, in favour of the latter, and committed the execution of his sentence to the King of Great Bricain, as Elector of Hano

At the same time, Christian-Lewis, the younger brother of Duke Charles-Leopold, was made Administrator of the dutchy, a scanty part of its revenues being allotted for the maintenance of Duke Charles-Leopold. This Prince had a spirit too great to submit to his fortune, which was thus, perhaps, unjustly depressed. Unhappily for him, his resentment was now chiefly directed against his wife's uncle, Peter the Great of Mufcovy, who he thought had betrayed him, by not sufficiently fup

[blocks in formation]

those measures that rendered all the empire his enemies, and then withdrew from his affistance. The Duke could not bring his spirit to submit so far as even to crave his protection, or aid, to recover his dominions; but he loudly accused Peter, for having most scandalously with-held from him the portion which had been ftipulated for his wife when he married her; and which eter ungenerously alleged he had already paid, by the affiftance he had afforded him against his subjects. These altercations with a Prince of Peter's power, served but the more to depress Leopold', who being now, in a manner, an exile from his own dominions, lived with a splendor little suitable to his income, sometimes at Dantzic, and sometimes at Wisinar. In the mean while, his brother, the Administrator, was supported by the Hanoverian troops, who acted as an army of execution; and the Duke, Toured by his repeated misfortunes, comprehended even his wife in the averfion he had conceived for the Russians, by openly mal-treating and abusing her. Upon the death of Peter II. of Ruffia, great doubts arose concerning the succession to that empire.

« The eldest daughter of the Empress Catharine, by Czar Peter the Great, was Dutchess of Holstein; and had the fucceffion been limited, for the satisfaction of the Russians, to the pofterity of Peter, she had, undoubtedly, the prior right of succefsion; but she was then dead, and her son no more than ten years of age : a circumstance which rendered his government incompatible with the good of Russia, and therefore he was, for that time, set aside, and the Ruslian Nobility threw their eyes back towards the posterity of Czar John, Peter's elder brother. It is evident, that, upon this occasion, the Rullians had not the smallest regard to hereditary right, provided they were governed by any one of the Inaperial blood. Some of them were for forming their empire into a republic, but all of them agreed in setting aside the fucceflion of the Dutchess of Mecklenburgh, though she was the eldest daughter of Czar John, and railing to their throne her younger sister Anne Iwanowna, Dutchess of Courland. Their true reason for this was, the averfion they had to all foreign connections, and their dread of being involved in the Duke of Mecklenburgh's affairs in Germany. To colour the injustice done to the Dutchess of Mecklenburgh, it was given out, that the late Emperor, Peter II. who was invested with the power of nominating his own fucceffor, had passed by the Duts chess of Mecklenburgh, in favour of her younger sister.

· The Dutchess of Mecklenburgh, though she was sensible of, and protested against, the wrong that was done her, was de

X 3

stitute

« PreviousContinue »