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Teftament; that the Jewish Chriftians only received as authentic a Gospel of Matthew which did not contain the two first chapters; that the introductions to Matthew and Luke contain improbable and incompatible circumstances, particularly the account of the genealogies, the vifit of the wife men, and the cenfus; that no fatisfactory reafon can be given why Chrift should not have been born of two human parents; that, had this narrative been true, he must have been, from the time of his birth, generally known as the Meffiah; that it is improbable that Mark and John would have taken no notice of fo fingular a fact; that the Jewish Chriftians in general, the early Gnoftics, and many Gentile Chriftians, difbelieved it; that Symmachus wrote against it; and that, if Jefus were not the fon of Jofeph, there is no evidence of his being defcended from David.
Such is the outline of this work, which the Author has drawn up from materials immediately collected from original writers, and which he particularly addreffes to the learned. With great tranquillity and fatisfaction he commits it to his friends, and to his enemies: he is far from wishing that it may escape the most rigorous examination; being confident, that, though those who come after him may find fome things to correct in him, all his overfights will not invalidate any pofition of confequence in the whole work.
How far this confidence is well-grounded, we leave to be determined by thofe, who have more leifure for fuch enquiries than ourselves.
ART. III. The Tatler, with Illuftrations, and Notes, hiftorical, biographical, and critical. 8vo. 6 Vols. 11. 11s. 6d. bound. Buckland, &c. 1786.
HESE celebrated Effays, which originally made their appearance at the beginning of the prefent century (a point of time whence fome have dated the era of polite literature), are now reprinted, in an elegant manner, and with that degree of correctnefs which performances of fuch established reputation demand.
In that pleafing fpecies of compofition (periodical effay-writing) the Tatler, we believe, led the way; and he has been followed by a numerous train of imitators, fome of whom have trodden invariably in the fteps of their mafter, and difputed with him the palm to which, from his originality, he has poffibly the faireft claim. Let it be remembered, however, that three or four of the number are indifputably writers of merit, and that they have not unfrequently attained to an equal degree of excellence with, and in many inftances furpaffed, their very juftly admired prototype:-of which the Spectator, who has been properly. ftyled the Arbiter elegantiarum of his time, is a fufficient proof.
If, however, the Papers now before us are not abfolutely firft in point of merit, they must undoubtedly be confidered as of "the very first clafs"-and confequently entitled to confiderable praife. When we reflect, indeed, on the bright conftellation which at the period in queftion was feen in our literary hemifphere; when we confider, likewife, that our Author was the contemporary and friend of Addifon, from whofe elegant pen he occafionally received affiffance, there is little caufe to wonder at his having been fo generally fuccefsful in the execution of his work.
It is to the care and affiduity of Dr. Percy, Bishop of Dromore, that we are indebted for the very curious anecdotes, and literary information, which are to be found in the notes to the feveral Eflays, that have so long been in the hands of the Public as the lucubrations of Mr. Ifaac Bickerftaff. But with respect to the defign and nature of the undertaking, the publisher shall fpeak for himfelf.
The Editor of thefe volumes claims no other merit than that of introducing them to the Public. Neither the plan, nor much of the execution of it, is his own.
It is now about five and twenty years fince the outlines of the undertaking were sketched, in conjunction with the late Mr. Tonfon, by a writer of diftinguished tafte and talents; who was prevented from purfuing it, by avocations of a far different and more important nature. It has been confiderably altered, and carried much farther than was at firft intended; but all the information which was obtained by the active zeal and well-directed inquiries, which that gentleman made among men of the first eminence in the world of letters, though fometimes fuperfeded on indubitable authorities, has been faithfully preferved, and is distinguished by a fignature, in the accumulated collection, which the Reader has now before him..
In all cafes where the writers could be afcertained, their names are mentioned, and memoirs of them are now in preparation, which will either be published in a separate work, or interwoven with the illuftrations of the Spectator and Guardian almost ready for publication, and principally with-held, in hopes of their being benefited and enlarged, by expected communications from aged and literary people, friends to this undertaking.
Thefe admirable Effays, at their first publication generally clear, might be in lefs need of comment; but as they frequently allude to facts which no longer exift, notes become now indifpenfibly neceffary. This part of the work has been the more difficult to execute, because the paffages that moft require explanation, contain allufions to popular fashions, modes, and follies, feldom recorded in common books, nor very minutely in fuch as are uncommon, being chiefly to
Though Steele at all times ftood forward as the oftenfible author of the Tatler, many excellent Papers are to be found in it, the production of other pens.
be learnt from perfonal information. To obtain this, neither trouble nor expence has been fpared; nor will they be with-held or regretted, if this part of the work fhould be fo fortunate as to meet with the approbation of the Public, and become the means of enticing people to a better acquaintance with ufeful papers, which, for fome time back, have been, perhaps, more generally bought than
Steele, Swift, and Addifon, formed, at this time, the grand triumvirate of wits, and were the principal writers in the Tatler. Of these there is little to fay in addition to what is already known. We fhall, however, felect an anecdote or two of each of them, which cannot but be acceptable to our Readers, fince it is from fuch particulars that we should judge of the characters and difpofitions of men; and not, as fome are too apt to imagine, from their writings, or literary courfe in life.
Steele's want of economy in the management of his private affairs, is pretty generally known: the following ftory, however, related of Addifon and his friend, do honour to both.
Steele built, and inhabited for a few years, an elegant houfe adjoining to the Palace at Hampton, and which he diftinguished by the name of the Hovel at Hampton-wick. Being embarraffed in his circumftances, he borrowed a thousand pounds of Addison on this houfe and furniture, giving bond and judgment for the repayment of the money at the end of twelve months. On the forfeiture of the bond, Addifon's attorney proceeded to execution-the house and furniture were fold: the furplus Addifon remitted to Steele, with a genteel letter, ftating the friendly reafon of this extraordinary procedure, viz. to awaken him, if poffible, from a lethargy that muft inevitably end in his ruin. Steele received the letter with his wonted compofure and gaiety, met his friend as ufual, faid he confidered this itep as meant to do him fervice"-and the friendship fubfifted to the end of Addifon's life, with a few little bickerings (fays Dr. Birch) on æconomical occafions.
Steele's expence in his periodical publications (fays his Annotator) was certainly very confiderable. In the procefs of his very laborious and beneficial publications, he might have been eafed a little, fometimes by whole Papers, and at other times by fhort hints from unknown hands, all which would cost him nothing but the trouble of digefting, and tranfcribing. But laudable as Steele's views certainly were, and though his publications were visibly serviceable, his auxiliaries, in general, did not affift him gratis. Of this expence, from which Steele's genius might well have exempted him, and to which his indolence only, and his fashionable life fubjected him, it is not now poffible to state with precision, or any kind of accuracy, the full amount. It may, however, enable the curious to form fome eftimate, to inform them, and on filial authority, that the celebrated Bishop Berkeley had one guinea and a dinner with Steele, for every Paper of his compofing, published in the Guardian, in the interval between the 7th and 8th volumes of the Spectator.
Steele (in 1725) on a principle of doing juftice to his creditors, relinquished, in their behalf, all his lucrative places, grants, and
employments; and having fettled every thing to their entire fatif faction, retired from public life.'
But enough of Addifon and Steele-we meet with little elfe that is new to us refpecting the focial virtues of either. The Dean of St. Patrick's is next to be confidered.
The rancour and enmity which Swift at all times manifefted toward Lord Wharton is fuppofed to have arifen from the fol lowing circumftance, which is related on the authority of Dr. Samuel Salter, late Mafter of the Charter-house:
Lord Somers recommended Swift at his own very earnest request to Lord Wharton, when that Earl went Lieutenant to Ireland in 1708, but without fuccefs; and the answer Wharton is faid to have given, was never forgotten or forgiven by Swift-Oh, my Lord, we must not prefer or countenance thefe fellows; we have not character enough OURSELVES.
Lord Wharton's remarkable words' (fays the Editor) allude, not only to the odium Swift had contracted, as the known or fuppofed author of the "Tale of a Tub," &c. but they feem to point more particularly to a flagrant part of his early criminality at Kilroot, not fo generally known. In confequence of an attempt to ravish one of his parishioners, a farmer's daughter, Swift was carried before a magiftrate of the name of Dobbs (in whofe family the examinations taken on the occafion are faid to be extant at this day), and to avoid the very ferious confequences of this rafh action, he immediately refigned the prebend, and quitted the kingdom. This intelligence was communicated and vouched as a fact well known in the parish even now, by one of Swift's fucceffors in the living, and is refted on the authority of the prefent Prebendary of Kilroot, Feb. 6, 1785.'
Swift fpeaks to the full as acrimonioufly of Walpole, both in his poetic and profaic writings, as he does of Lord Wharton. That this hatred of him was great, may be learnt from the following ftory
"As foon as Dean Swift heard that Lord Orford was difmiffed from power, he awakened with one flash of light from his dreaming of what he once was, and cried, I made a vow, that I would set up a coach when that man was turned out of his places; and having the good fortune to behold that day, long defpaired of, I will shew that I was fincere. Send for a coachmaker. The operator comes, had one almoft ready, it was fent home, horfes were purchafed, and the Dean entered the triumphant double chariot, fupported by two old women and his daily flatterer, to entertain him with the only mufic he hath any ear to hear at this age. They made up the partie quarrée, and with much ado enabled his decrepid reverence to endure the fatigue of travelling twice round our great fquare, by the cordial and amufement of their fulfome commendations, which he calls facetious pleafantry. But the next pacquet brought word (what lying rafcals thefe news-writers are!) that Lord Orford's party revived, &c. Swift funk back in the corner of the coach, his under-jaw fell; he was carried up to his chamber and great chair, and obftinately refused to be lifted into the treacherous venicle any more, till the news-writers at leaft fhall be hanged for deceiving him to imagine that Lord Or
ford was bona fide out of power, though visibly out of place." Lett. figned Th. Derry.
We now proceed to bring our Readers acquainted with fome of the lefs remarkable (though not inconfiderable) perfonages, who have either figured as writers in the work, or whofe characters have been delineated in it under affumed and fictitious
Among the names which are no way familiar to us, we meet with that of Fuller, of whom it is told, that at the age of fixteen he compofed the Vain-glorious glutton, with feveral other excellent pieces; and that he was, while a boy, the fecret correfpondent of the Tatler. Prior, Rowe, Congreve, and Hughes, were alfo contributors to the work. The character of Favonius, Tat. No. 72, was intended for Dr. Smalridge; and that of the Dean, No. 66, for Dr. Atterbury. Anecdotes are given of Sir Chrifto pher Wren, James Duke of Ormond, the great Marlborough, the Earl of Halifax, Diamond Pitt *, &c. &c. We find, moreover, in Note to No. 260, a learned account of the celebrated Taliacotius, the fupplemental Nofe-doctor-a curious hiftory of W. Courten, Efq. the principal collector of the curiofities in the British Mufcum-of Henry Wilby, Efq. a truly fingular character-and likewife fome particulars refpecting Partridge the almanac-maker.
We fhall conclude our account of the work with obferving, that the Editor + (apparently from an over-fondnefs of his fubject) is much too apt to enter into a detail of trifling incidents, and even to give importance to characters which do not feem by any means to deserve it. That the notes are unneceffarily and affectedly multiplied is certain. Was there (for example) any occafion to tell the readers of the Tatler, that automata are mere machines-that glacis (where the writer is fpeaking particularly of the fiege of Tournay) is a term in fortification-that Mercury was the god of thieves-that the fign in the heavens known by the name of Libra, is next to the fign Virgo? &c. &c.? In a word, if the book is defigned for the ufe of children, fuch notes are undoubtedly requifite: in any other cafe they are needlefs and impertinent,
The prefent edition of the Tatler muft certainly be confidered (on account of the biographical anecdotes in it) not only as an entertaining, but a ufeful publication. however, forry to obferve the omiffion of an article fo very material, in a book of this mifcellaneous kink, efpecially, as the Index: an advantage which the former editions poffeffed: and
Not the prefent minifter.
+ Mr. Percy laid it down.
who appears to have taken up the pen, where Dr.