Page images
[ocr errors]

former is positively the easier course of there may be leisure for the pursuits of the existence. The two habits suit very ill to understanding ; but there is a want of imgether; and, in some individuals, there is pulse. The mind is apt to fanguish in the an utter incompatibility betwixt them. But midst of a wilderness, where, surrounded should the alternative be presented of adopt- perhaps by uncongenial spirits, it stagnates ing the one habit or the other singly, the and gathers the rust of decay, by its mere position is unquestionable, that it were bet- distance from sympathy and example, and ter for the ease, and the health, and the ge- the animating converse of men who possess neral tone of comfort and cheerfulness, that a kindred taste, and are actuated by a kina man should lend out his person to all the dred ambition. Transport the possessor of variety of demands for attendance, and of such a mind to a town, and he there meets demands for ordinary business, which are with much to arouse him out of all this dor. brought to bear upon him, than that he mancy. He will find his way to men, whose should give up his mind to the labours of a views and pursuits are in harmony with his strenuous and sustained thoughtfulness own—and he will be refreshed for action, Now, just calculate the force of the tempta- by the encouragement of their society and tion to abandon study, and to abandon scho- he will feel himself more linked with the larship, when personal comfort and the pub- great literary public, by his personal approxlic voice, both unite to lure him away from imation to some of its most distinguished them when the popular smile would insi. members - and communications from the nuate him into such a path of employment, eminent, in all parts of the country, will as, if he once enter, he must bid adieu to all now pour upon him in greater abundancethe stern exercises of a contemplative soli. and above all, in the improved facilities of tude; and the popular frown glares upon authorship, and from his actual position that retirement, in which he might conse- within the limits of a theatre, where his tacrate his best powers to the best interests of lents are no sooner put forth into exercise, a sadly misled and miscalculating generation than the fruits of them may be brought out -when the hosannahs of the multitude into exhibition in all this, we say, there is cheer him on to what may be comparatively a power and a vivacity of excitement, which termed a life of amusement; and the con- may set most actively agoing the whole ma. demnation, both of unlettered wealth and chinery of his genius, and turn to its right unlettered poverty, is made to rest upon his account those faculties which, else, had with, name, should he refuse to let down the pain- ered in slothfulness, and, under the bleak ful discipline of his mind, by frittering it all influences of an uncheered and unstimulated away amongst those lighter varieties of ma- solitude, might finally have expired. nagement, and of exertion, which, by the “ This applies, in all its parts, to the li. practice of our cities, are habitually laid up- terature of theology, and gives us to see how on him. Such a temptation must come, in much the cities of our land might do for the time, to be irresistible; and, just in propor- advancement of its interests. They might tion as it is yielded to, must there be a por- cast a wakeful eye over the face of the countion of talent withdrawn from the literature try-and single out all the splendour and of theology. There must be the desertion superiority of talent which they see in our of all that is fine, and exquisite, and lofty, establishment and cause it to emerge out in its contemplations. There must be a re- of its surrounding obscurity-and deliver it lapse from the science and the industry of a

from the chill and langour of an uncongenial former generation. There must be a decline situation—and transplant it into a kindlier of theological attainments, and theological region, where, shielded from all that is adauthorship. There must be a yearly process verse to the play or exercise of mind, and of decay and of deterioration, in this branch encouraged to exertion by an approving and of our national literature. There must be intelligent piety, it may give its undivided a descending movement towards the tame, labour to things sacred, and have its soli. and the feeble, and the common-place. And tude for meditation on these things, varied thus, for the wretched eclat of getting clergy only by such spiritual exercises out of doors, to do, with their hands, what thousands can as might have for their single object the indo as well as they, may our cities come, at crease of Christian worth and knowledge alength, to barter away the labour of their mongst the population. minds, and give such a blow to theology, This is what cities might do for Theology. that, amongst men of scholarship and gene- But what is it that they in fact do for it ? ral cultivation, it will pass for the most lan. The two essential elements for literary ex, guishing of the sciences.

ertion, are excitement and leisure. The “ And here I cannot but advert to the first is ministered in abundance out of all those observation of Hume, who, be his authority diversities of taste and understanding which in religion what it may, must be admitted run along the scale of a mighty population. to have very high authority in all matters of The second element, if we give way much mere literary experience. He tells us, in longer to the system which prevails among the history of his own life, that a great city you—if we lay no check upon your exeris the only fit residence for a man of letters ; tions, and make no stand against the vaand his assertion is founded on a true dis- riety of your inconsiderate demands upon cernment of our nature. In the country, us--if we resign our own right of judgment upon our own habits and our own conveni- ployments of literature. They would leave ences, and follow the impulse of a public, not one moment of time or of tranquillity who, without experience on the matter, can for the pursuits of literature. They would feel no sympathy and have no just calcula- consume by a thousand preposterous servition about the peculiarities of clerical em- lities all those energies of the inner man, ployment--then should we be robbed of which might, every one of them, be consethis second element altogether. We should crated with effect, to the advancement of lie under the malignity of an Egyptian bon. literature. In one word, they would dedage-bricks are required of us, and we throne the guardians of this sacred cause have no straw. The public would like to from the natural eminency of their office see all the solidities of argument, and all altogether ;-and, weighing them down with the graces of persuasion, associated with the the burden of other services, they would cause of sacred literature. But then they vulgarise them out of all their taste and all would desolate the sanctuaries of literature. their generous aspirings after literature.”, They would drag away mind froin the em


No V.

The Life and Errors of John Dunton.* Though at the end of the “ Short England at the beginning of the last Memoir of the Author” we observe the century. The period in which the initials, J. B. N., yet we have no doubt Livery of London could name John that we owe this, which is beyond all Dunton among its members, was incomparison the most amusing reprint deed a very remarkable one; and its: we have been called upon to notice, to history, civil, political, military, ecclethe excellent and venerable Mr Ni- siastic, and even literary, may in gechols, whose genuine love for liter- neral be conceived to be pretty well ary history has already been so well known. In the midst, however, of all displayed in the productions which the innumerable treatises which have have issued from his press. The pub-' preserved for us so much minute infor-, lisher of the Gentleman's Magazine, mation concerning all the great perand the compiler of the Literary Anec- sonages of that age, from Queen Anne dotes, could not possibly have amused and George I. up to Swift, Addison, a portion of his old age with any occu- and Steele, it is not to be denied that pation more congenial to his own taste there still remain many, very many than with the superintendence of this points, in regard to which a common new edition of the Autobiography of reader is left to complete for himself the once celebrated, or at least noto- the unfinished picture that has come rious, though now forgotten, John down to us. Those who take the Dunton. Neither, unless we are much trouble to peruse the two comely octamistaken, could he easily have drawn vos which have now been given to us out from the neglected mines of our by Mr Nichols, will perhaps have little minor literature, any thing more likely difficulty in confessing that a certain to find favour in the eyes of those read- part of the vacuum has been supplied ers who are penetrated with some por- by the indefatigable self-love of the tion of the love of antiquarianism. Nay, institutor of the “ Athenian Club," we might go much farther than this; and the author of“ the Dublin Scuffle." for those who enjoy, gossip, scandal, We would fain hope that the example slander, quaintness, humour, and ex- of this eminent individual may not be travagant self-conceit,—all will find altogether thrown away on his sucabundant gratification in their depart- cessors,-our own contemporary bibed bibliopole's delineation of himself, liopoles ; and should have much pleahis friends, his enemies--and above sure could we imagine that our comall, in his solemn commemoration of mendations of him and his works “all the spurns his patient merit took” might add any additional stimulus to from the government and the people of excite some among their number to

[ocr errors]


• The Life and Errors of John Dunton, citizen of London, with the Lives and Characters of more than a thousand contemporary Divines, and other persons of literary emi. nence; to which are added, Dunton's Conversations in Ireland-Selectior:s from his other genuine Works—and a faithful portrait of the author. 2 vols 8vo. Nichols, Son, and Bentley, London. 1818.



do for their age what Dunton has done “ In this condition,” he continues, for his. To say the truth, we are not “ and long before I had any articulate acquainted with any class of men whose use of my tongue, I gave the world sufopportunities are more favourable for ficientevidence of a child of Adam, and the collecting of valuable materials of the certain tokens of corrupt nature anecdote, than the worthy “ fathers and passion were more and more ap: of the Row.”. There are no traffickers, parent as I made advances in age and with whose minutest and most pecu, strength."-We cannot pretend to offer liar objects of interest so large a portion any conjecture what sinful symptoms of readers must at all times be found these might be, that typified at so early to sympathize. The autobiography a period the after offences of John of any other tradesman or merchant Dunton's life and conversation--the would attract few but those of his own disturbance he created among his own particular calling ; but we venture to family and relations by the fretfulness say, that few books of that species of his dispositions and the many sheets would present a more agreeable amuse, which his future Cacoethes scribendi ment to many great masses of the read- was destined to cover with its impurities. ing public, in the year 1919, than a The incidents of the tender years of Sketch of the Life and Errors of Wil- our hero are not in general, however; liam Blackwood, or Archibald Con- of a very extraordinary nature. We stable, or John Ballantyne, citizens of shall only take notice of one or two reEdinburgh,

,-or of William Davies, or markable persecutions which the "non John Murray, citizens of London,- sine diis animosus infans” experienced. written in true Duntonian fulness and -He once fell into the water, and had freedom, by any one of these intelli- like to be drowned ; “ but, as Provigent heads of the profession.

dence would have it, my cousin John But, to begin from the beginning, Reading was lying on the bank, and as our author himself has done.—John saved me."-Another time he swalDunton, the hero of this his own long lowed a leaden bullet, and just when story, was born at Graffham, in Hunt- the family have given up all hopes of ingdonshire, the 14th of May, 1659; him," behold! up it bolted;"_" and of which place his father, the

Rev. Mr here," he goes on, “ that I may not John Dunton, was rector. The parti- prove ungrateful to a preventing Merculars of his birth are detailed by theau, cy, I shall add a third danger that my tobiographer as minutely as if he could childish curiosity exposed me to." He have accurately remembered every was amusing himself, it seems, with thing that occurred; for, as he saga- chewing a bearded ear of corn, when ciously insinuates, there is nothing so it stuck in his throat, and he could small in itself which it is not interest- not get rid of it. In this extremity, ing to know concerning a great man.

some of my relations, viz. Who is not delighted to read in Plu- Malmesey of Chesham, aunt Reading, tarch how the bees clustered around her daughter Anne, Mrs Mary Gossam, the cradle of Alexander ? Who does Sarah Randal, &c. &c. who were walknot sympathize with the distress of the ing in the fields, found me, speechless midwife, who at first thought that and gasping, and with much difficulty John Dunton had come a dead man- set me to rights again.” John conchild into the world,--and her joy fesses, notwithstanding of all these when the infant Worthy began, at the events, that he still continued to be a sprinkling of a little cold water, to ex- true child of Adam. He has no diffihibit some symptoms of that vigour dence in owning, that it was more easy which was destined in after days to for him to utter a lie than a truth, and keep Paternoster-Row in a ferment? remarks, that he has reason to be thank“ The first appearance I made,” says ful to Providence for having made him our candid historian, was very mean a coward—but for which circumstance, and contemptible; and, as if Nature he owns, he would have been the forehad designed me to take up only some most in all pranks of petty pilfering. insignificant and obscure corner in the When the boys of the school robbed universe, I was so diminutive a crea- an orchard, John Dunton was always ture that a quart pot could contain the placed sentinel at a considerable diswhole of me with ease.”

tance, till on one occasion his fears for “ From such beginnings mighty things arise; himself got the better of his sense of So small a star can brighten all the skies.” duty, and by a too precipitate flight Vol. VI.



says he, "


[ocr errors]




he left all his associates in the lurch. “ I was strangely surprised,” says he,“ at After this, John had no apples to roast this Billet-doux, and more in regard the lady at night, and grew very sulky with had all the little and the charming pretti.

nesses both of wit and beauty that might every body about him. John was a bad scholar--the natu- easily have gained her as many conquests

as she pleased ; in short, so licentious and ral difficulties of the Greek tongue, extravagant was my folly, that I gave her and “ what worse," says he,“ silent

a billet the same day, in which I made an passion for a virgin in my father's appointment to meet her in Grocers' Garhouse quite unhinged all my resolu- den the next evening, where we both attions of study.”. His father, however, tended ; but so soon as I revealed the ocwas determined still to give him a

casion, she told me she was ignorant of it. chance of « some affinity to the However, this romantic courtship gave muses :” so at the age of fifteen years making a timely discovery of it, sent the

both of us a real passion ; but my Master, he was bound apprentice to Mr Tho- lady into the country; and absence cooled mas Packhurst, bookseller in London,

our passions for us, and by little and little a religious and just man.” Here, as we both of us regained our liberty.” he says, he might at least have the

At the expiration of the apprenticeopportunity of becoming skilled in ship, which was spent in this manner, ** the outside of erudition—the shell John gave an entertainment to no less and casks of learning.” The confine- than a hundred apprentices, to celement of the shop sickened him at first, brate the funeral. It must be oband being quizzed by the other ap- served, however, that John was no prentices, he once fairly ran off to ordinary apprentice when he his father in the country. But there guilty of this piece of extravagance. the gravity of paternal admonition, He ħad made himself conspicuous as and John's own good sense soon re- a principal leader on the part of the stored him to his right mind—and he whigs; i. e. the whig apprentices returned to Mr Packhurst, after an

when they on one occasion made an absence of a few days, with a settled address to Sir Patience Ward, Lord purpose, which was soon changed into Mayor of London. John having been a settled love of application; nor from one of the first in the procession

which this time does it appear that he ever carried this address, was of course one had any doubt for a moment that the of the first who heard the Lord highest, as well as the most delightful Mayor's excellent advice in reply, of all human occupations is that of a “ Go home and mind your business, bookseller. Henceforth, Piso seemed boys,”—but he could not help regardin his eyes a greater man than twenty ing himself already as a party-man of Horaces—and Pope himself was scarce

some consequence—and, indeed, in a ly regarded as anything better petition to George II. written a great than a piece of the furniture of Lin- many years after, we find him still tot's shop. The only interruption to returning to the whiggery of his apwhich his professional avocations were prenticeship, as one of his greatest now exposed, arose out of his old merits. However, he now became a tendre for La Belle Passion. The bookseller on his own account, but to origin of his first apprentice flame is avoid too large a rent he took only somewhat whimsical-although very half a shop, a warehouse, and a famuch we can believe in the course of shionable chamber. apprentice life. One of his fellow ap

“ PRINTING was now the uppermost in prentices forged a love-letter to him,

my thoughts, and Hackney Authors began in the name of a certain “



to ply me with “ Specimens," as earnestly, gin,” then a boarder with Mr Pack- and with as much passion and concern, as hurst-as follows:

the Watermen do Passengers with Oars

and Scullers. “ DEAR SIR,We have lived some time together in the same family, and your dis

I had some acquaintance with this Getant conversation has given me a little im

neration in my Apprenticeship, and had

never any warm affection for them ; in repatience to be better acquainted with you, gard I always thought their great concern I hope your good nature will not put any lay more in how much a Sheet, than in any constructions upon this innocent address to my disadvantage; and should you disco generous respect they bore to the Commons

wealth of Learning ; and, indeed, the ver it, it would certainly expose yourself at Learning itself of these Gentlemen lies very the expence of your

often in as little room as their Honesty; “ SUSANNAH SING." though they will pretend to have studied ther person,


you six or seven years in the Bodleian Li. Book on the Sacrament, you know, has brary, to have turned over the Fathers, and sold to the twentieth edition, which would to have read and digested the whole com- have been an estate for a Bookseller.' pass both of Human and Ecclesiastic His. This design was quite lost in the novelty of tory-when, alas! they have never been another ; and Sam Crook being too fortu. able to understand a single page of Saint nate a Rival, I would not so much as atCyprian, and cannot tell you whether the tempt the matter." Fathers lived before or after Christ. And At last, however, John's time was as for their Honesty, it is very remarkable : they will either persuade you to go upon « One Lord's-day (and I am very sensianother man's Copy, to steal his Thought, ble of the sin) I was strolling about just as or to abridge his Book, which should have my fancy led me; and stepping into Dr. got him bread for his life-time. When

Annesley's Meeting-place, where, instead you have engaged them upon some Project of engaging my attention to what the or other, they will write you oft three or

Doctor said, I suffered both my mind and four sheets perhaps ; take up three or four my eyes to run at random (and it is very rare pounds upon an urgent occasion ; and you but Satan can throw in a temptation when shall never hear of them more. I have the sinner lies open for it), I soon singled offered thus much, as a character of these

out a young lady that almost charmed me Scribblers, that may give the caution to

dead ; but having made my inquiries, I Booksellers, and take off a most wretched found to my sorrow she was pre-engaged. scandal from the trade in general. How. However, my friends, to keep up the huever, though I have met with temptations mour I was in, advised me to make an exenough of this nature, to grow rich by periment upon her elder Sister (they both knavery, and a learned kind of theft ; yet being the Daughters of the Reverend Dr. this I can say for myself (and I neither

Annesley); and the hint they gave me, as have, nor shall be too lavish in my own Providence would have it, made a deeper praise,) that I never printed another's Copy, impression upon me than all the recom. went upon his Project, nor stole so much as

mendations they had given me before. I his Title-page, or his Thought."

disposed all matters to carry on the design His views of the profession on which with all possible dispatch. But I steered he had now entered, are sufficiently by another compass than I had done in all amusing.

my former amours. And was resolved, in “ A man should be well furnished with regard the Reverend Dr. Annesley was a

man of so much sincerity and religious pru. an honest policy, if he intends to set out in the world now-a-days. And this is no less dence, to mention the matter first of all to necessary in a Bookseller than in any other him; and taking Mr. Isaac Brinly along Tradesman ! for in that way there are plots cond the proposal, the Doctor sent for Mr.

with me, and Mr. Obadiah Mariat to seand counterplots, and a whole army of Hackney Authors that keep their grinders Packhurst

, who gave me a character that moving by the travail of their pens. These

was favourable enough ; so that, having Gormandizers will eat you the very life out

received all reasonable satisfaction of that

I had his of a Copy so soon as ever it appears ; for, nature, the Doctor told me, as the times go, Original and Abridgement Daughter for her’s ; which was more than

free consent, if I could prevail upon his are almost reckoned as necessary as man and wife ; so that I am really afraid that a

Mr. Cockeril (deceased) could ever obtain, Bookseller and a good conscience will shortly after a long courtship.' grow some strange thing in the earth. I

The modest Bibliopole seems never shall not carry the reflection any farther,

to have been troubled with any misbut only make this single remark, that he who designs to be the best Christian, must givings in regard to his own qualificadip himself the least in business.”

tions for gaining the affections of Miss The moment he had opened his Annesley, on whom and himself

, from shop, and made a little money by pub- he bestows the Arcadian names of

the commencement of their flirtation, lishing " the Reverend Mr Doolittle's

Iris and Philaret. After a few months Sufferings of Christ”-his elderly female acquaintances seem all to have of delay, during which it seems to very busily set about providing him have been Dunton's custom to sup with a wife. One Mrs Seaton recom

every evening at the doctor's the fair mended Miss Sarah Day of Green- the happiest of men—they were mar

Iris at length consented to make him wich-Sarah Doolittle was the next, ried on the 3d of August, 1682, in and apparently a more tempting pro- All-hallow's church, by Dr Willian posal. 6 • There is Sarah Doolittle,” says ano

Lewis-having listened the samemorn“ will make a better wife for ing to a preparatory sermon preachyou by ten degrees, and then you will have ed by the bride's father. We cannot her Father's Copies for nothing; and his afford-room for Mr Dunton's abstract



« PreviousContinue »