Imagens das páginas

and, upon an impartial survey, Dr. Glover 8 stands highest in my estimation. He was Goldsmith's intimate friend, a companion in many of his literary pursuits, and his enthusiastic admirėr! What such a writer says, as far as relates to facts, must be listened to with more pleasure than mere work of fiction, however elaborate, or splendidly set off. It gives me pleasure to acknowledge the obligations I lie under to this ingenious and excellent companion, for ma:.y particulars relative to Dr. Goldsmith. I shall give his account entire, marked with double commas,

OLIVER GOLDSMITH was born at Roscommon, in Ireland, in the year 1731, His father, who possessed a small estate in that country, had nine sons, of which Oliver was the third. He was criginally intended for the church; and with that view, after being well instructed in the classics, was, with his brother the Rev. Henry Goldsmith, placed in Trinity college, Dublin, about the latter end of the year 1749. In this seminary of learning he continued a few years, when he took a Bachelor's degree; but his brother not being able to obtain any preferment after he left the college, Oliver, by the advice of Dean Goldsmith, of Cork, turned his thoughts to the profession of physic, and after attending some courses of anatomy in Dublin, proceeded to Edinburgh in the year, 1751, where he studied the several branches of media

cine under the different Professors in that univer. sity, which was deservedly ranked among the first schools of physic in Europe. His beneficent disposition soon involved him in unexpected difficulties, and he was obliged precipitately to leave Scotland, in consequence of engaging himself to pay a considerable sum of money for a fellow-student.

"A few days after, about the beginning of the year 1754, he arrived at Sunderland, near Newcastle, where he was arrested at the suit of one Barclay, a taylor in Edinburgh, to whom he had given security for his friend. By the good graces of Taughlin Maclane, Esq. and Dr. Steigh, who were then in the college, he was soon delivered out of the hands of the bailiff, and took his passage on board a Dutch ship to Rotterdam, whence, after a short stay, he proceeded to Brussels. He then visited a great part of Flanders, and, after passing some time at Strasbourg and Lovain, where he obtained a degree of Bachelor in Physic, he accompanied an Eng. lish gentleman to Geneva.

“ It is undoubtedly fact, that this ingenious, "unfortunate man, made most part of his tour on foot! He had left England with very little money; and, being of a philosophical turn, and at that time possessing a body capable of sustaining every fatigue, and a heart not easily terrified at danger he became an enthusiast to the design he had formed of seeing the manners of different countries. He had some knowledge of the Princh language, and of music; he played tolerably well on the German flute; which, from an amusement, became at some times the means of subsistence, His learning produced him an hospitable reception at most of the religious houses, and his music made him welcome to the peasants of Flanders and Germany.

· Whenever I approached a peasant's house towards night-fall," he used to say, 'I played one of my most merry tunes, and that generally procured me not only a lodging, but subsistence for the next day; but in truth,', (his constant expression) 'I must own, whenever I attempted to entertain persons of a higher rank, they always thought my performanoe odious, and never made me any return for my endeavours to please them.'

« On his arrival at Geneva, he was recommended as a proper person for a travelling tutor to a young man, who had been unexpected. ly left a considerable sum of money by his uncle, Mr. Sc. This youth, who was articled to an attorney, on receipt of his fortune, detetmined to: see the world; and, on his engaging with his preceptor, made a proviso, that he should be permitted to govern himself; and our traveller soon found his pupil understood the art of directing in money concerns extremely well, as avarice was his prevailing passion.

“During Goldsmith's continuance in Switzer. land, he assiduously cultivated his poetical ta.

lent, of which he had given some striking proofs at the college of Edinburgh. It was from hence he sent the first sketch of his delightful epistle, called The Traveller, to his brother, the clergyman, „in Ireland, who, giving up fame and fortune, had retired, with an amiable wife, to happiness and obscurity, on an income of only 401. a year.

“From Geneva, Mr. Goldsmith and his pupil visited the south of France, where the young man, upon some disagreement with his preceptor, paid him the small part of his salary which was due and embarked at Marseilles for England. Our wanderer was left once more upon the world at large, and passed through a number of difficulties in traversing the greatest part of France, at length, his curiosity being gratified, he bent his course towards England, and arrived at Dover, the beginning of the winter, in the

year 1758.

“ His finances were so low on his return to England, that he with difficulty got to the metropolis, his whole stock of cash amounting to no more than a few halfpence! An entire stranger in London, his mind was filled with the most gloomy reflections, in consequence of his embarrassed situation! He applied to several apothecaa ries, in hopes of being received in the capacity of a journeyman; but his broad Irish accent, and the uncouthness of his appearance, occasioned him to meet with insult fram most of the medi

cal tribe. The next day, however, a chymist near Lish-Street, struck with his forlorn condi. tion, and the simplicity of his manner, took him into his laboratory, where he continued till he discovered his old friend Dr. Sleigh was in Lon. don. This gentleman received him with the warmest affection, and liberally invited him to share his purse till some establishment could be procured for him. Goldsmith, unwilling to be a burthen to his friend, a short time after eagera ly embraced an offer which was made him, to assist the late Rev. Dr. Milner, in instructing the young gentlemen at the academy at Peckham; and acquitted himself greatly to the Doc. tor's satisfaction for a short time; but, having obtained some reputation by the criticisms he had written in the Monthly Review, Mr. Griffiths, the principal proprietor, engaged him in the compilation of it; and, resolving to pursue the profession of writing, he returned to London, as the mart where abilities of every kind were sure of meeting distinction and reward. Here he de. termined to adopt a plan of the strictest economy, took lodgings in Green-Arbour Court, in the Old Bailey, where he wrote several ingenious pieces. The late Mr. Newbery, who at that time gave great encouragement to men of literary abilities, became a kind of patron to our young author, and introduced him as one of the first writers in the Public Ledger, in which his Citizen of the World originally appeared, under the title of Chinese Letters.'

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »