« AnteriorContinuar »
day, and intended to borrow money somewhere or other. So there was the QUEEN'S MINISTER intrusted in affairs of the greatest importance, without a shilling in his pocket to pay a coach." He died Feb. 14, 1712-13. He was professedly Editor of the Spurious Tatler hereafter mentioned. Dr. BIRCH, in a note on his letter to SWIFT, has confounded him with THOMAS HARRISON, M. A. M. A. of Queen's College *.
The very humorous genealogy of the family of Bickerstaff in No. 11, is ascribed by STEELE in his "Preface to the Octavo Edition, 1710," to "Mr. TwISDEN, who died at the battle of Mons, and has a monument in Westminster Abbey, suitable to the respect which is due to his wit and his valour.” HENEAGE TWISDEN was the seventh son of Şir WILLIAM TWISDEN, Bart. of Roydon Hall, East Peckham, Kent; and a youth of great expectations. At the time of his death (1709, aged 29,) he was a captain of foot in Sir RICHARD TEMPLE'S regiment, and Aidde-Camp to JOHN DUKE of ARGYLL, who commanded the right wing of the Confederate Army. Near his monument in the North aile of the Abbey, are two other small ones to the memory of his brothers JOSIAH and JOHN.
* NICHOLS Select Collection of Poems, Vol. IV. p. 181. In this Collection are all the poems that can be traced to Mr. HARRISON, except "Woodstock Park," which is in DoDSLEY'S Collection.
JOSIAH was a captain of foot at the siege of Agremont, near Lisle in Flanders, and was killed by a cannon-ball, in 1708, in the 23d year of his age. John was a Lieutenant in the Admiral's ship, under Sir CLOUDESLEY SHOVEL, and perished with him in 1707, in the 24th year of his age.
The character of Aspasia, in No. 42, was written by CONGREVE. The person meant was Lady ELIZABETH HASTINGS, the daughter of Theophilus, the seventh Earl of Huntingdon, a lady celebrated as a pattern of munificence and piety. By her historical character drawn up by THOMAS BARNARD, M. A. and published in 1742, it appears that she was indeed "little lower than the angels." It does honour to CONGREVE that he could relish the beauties of such a character.
An excellent paper on gluttony, No. 205, is ascribed by STEELE, in the "Theatre, No. 26," to a Mr. FULLER, with this encomium: "The mind usually exerts itself in all its faculties, with an equal pace towards maturity and this gentleman, who at the age of sixteen, could form such pleasant pictures of the false and little ambitions of low spirits, as Mr. FULLER did, to whom, when a boy, we owe, with several other excellent pieces, The Vain-glorious Glutton, when a secret correspondent of the Tatler; I say, such a one might easily, as he proceeded in human life, arrive at this superior strength of mind at four and twenty." Of this young writer, and of
his other pieces, I have not been able to ob tain any account.
The letter on language, education, &c. in No. 234, was written by Mr. JAMES GREENWOOD, author of an Essay towards a practical English Grammar," and teacher of a boarding-school at Woodford in Essex. In 1717, he published under the title of "The Virgin Muse," a collection of poems from our most celebrated English poets. He was also the author of "The London Vocabulary, English and Latin, &c." It appears that at one time of his life he was Sur-master of St. Paul's School *.'
These are the names of all the contributors whose writings can be ascertained with any degree of probability. When their contributions are deducted, it will be seen that the continual supply of the work rested chiefly on STEELE. That he had some unknown correspondents whose favours he admitted is certain, and not less so that there were many whose communications he thought proper to reject. In No. 619, of the SPECTATOR, written most probably by STEELE, a design is announced of publishing these rejected contributions. "I have often thought," says the writer of that paper, "that if the several letters which are written to me under the character of SPECTATOR, and which I have not made use of, were published in a volume, they
* Tatler, cr. oct. Vol. VI. p. 152.
would not be an unentertaining collection. The variety of the subjects, styles, sentiments, and informations, which are transmitted to me, would lead a very curious, or very idle, reader, insensibly along through a great many pages. I know some authors who would pick up a secret history out of such materials, and make a bookseller an alderman by the copy. I shall therefore carefully preserve the original papers in a room set apart for that purpose, to the end that they may be of service to posterity."
Such a work actually appeared in 1725, entitled "Original and Genuine Letters sent to the TATLER and SPECTATOR, during the time these works were publishing: none of which have been before printed;" 2 vols. oct. The design of this work, however, is here attributed to CHARLES LILLIE, the perfumer, who probably took the hint from the above passage in the SPECTATOR, and obtained the manuscripts from STEELE. The latter, in a short letter prefixed to the first volume, says, "I have a great deal of business, and very ill health, therefore must desire you to excuse me from looking over them; but if you take care that no person or family is offended at any of them, or any thing in them published. contrary to religion or good manners, you have my leave to do what you please with them."
This sanction being obtained, Mr. LILLIE returned the compliment in as handsome a
dedication as he could frame: and, in a long preface written with equal ability, endeavours to recommend these rejected wares. A short specimen of this may, perhaps, amuse the reader. "Here are near three hundred letters wrote by as many different writers, no two of which, though very near in their way of thinking, 'tis probable, so much as knew or ever saw each other: from which observation, I think, the whole may claim the title of the dictates of nature. Here is religion and morality for the upright and the just; here is manners for the rude, and a whip for the incorrigible; here is sobriety for the drunkard, and temperance for the epicure. For the droles and laughers, here is odd mirth, and an account of whims, not yet heard or hardly thought of. Here is dress and fashion for the gay, and just satire for the pretenders and insipid. If the avaricious wants gold, here it is. If any man wants to buy or sell a wife, here he may find his trader. Is any one jealous?— let him or her read, mind, and coolly digest, No. 87, 119, in the first volume, and No. 25 in the second."
The whole is, however, a most wretched farrago of dulness and insipidity, such as the most contemptible of our modern periodical publications would not admit; but LILLIE had the wisdom to secure a very copious list of subscribers, whose curiosity was probably excited by the singular and not very modest attempt to sell dross at the price of pure metal.