Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

are joined with him by any close connexion ; exposed to every malig, nant fufpicion which arises in his own mind, and to every unjuft sugo geition which the malice of others may insinuate against them. That fore of poison which is collected within him frequently throws out its venom on all who are within its reach. As a companion, he will be severe and satisical; as a friend, captious and dangerous; in his domestic sphere, harih, jealous and irafcible; in his civil capacity, feditious and turbulent, prone to impute the conduct of his superi. curs to improper motives, and upon loose information to condema their conduct.

• The contrary of all this may be expected from a candid temper. Whatever is amiable in manners, or useful in society, naturally and easily ingrafts itself upon it. Gentleness, humanity and compafton flow from it, as their native spring. Open and cheerful in itself, it diffuses cheerfulness and good-humour over all who are under its infuence. It is the chief ground of mutual confidence and union among men. Il prevents those animosities from arising which are the offspring of groundless prejudice; or, by its benign interpofition, allays them when arisen. In the magistrate, it cempers justice with Jenity. Among subjects, it promotes good order and fubmision. It connects humanity with piery. For he who is not given to thiok evil of bis fellow-creatures, will not be ready to censure the dispensations of his Creator. Whereas the same turn of mind wbich renders one jealous and unjust towards men, will incline him to be querulous and impious towards God.

* In the second place, as a suspicious, uncharitable spirit is inconfiftent with all social virtue and happiness, so, in itself, it is unrea. fonable and unjust. In order to form found opinions concerning characters and actions, two things are especially requisite, informa. tion and impartiality. But such as are most forward to decide unfavourably, are commonly defitute of both. Instead of possessing, or even requiring, full information, the grounds on which they proceed are frequently the most flight and frivolous. A tale, perhaps, which the idle bave invented, the inquisitive have lifened to, and the credulous have propagated; or a real incident which rumour, in carry. ing it along, has exaggerated and disguised, supplies them with materials of confident affertion, and decisive judgment. From an action they presently look into the heart, and in fer the motive. This fupposed motive, they conclude to be the ruling principle; and pronource at once concerning the whole character.

• Nothing can be more contrary both to equity and to sound reafon, than luch precipitate judgments. Any man who attends to what passes within himself, may eally difcero what a complicated system the human character is, and what a variety of circumstances mufi be taken into the account, in order to estimate it truly. No single instance of conduct whatever, is sufficient to determine it. As from one worthy action, it were credulity, not charity, to conclude a person to be free from all vice; so from one which is censure able, it is perfect y unjutt to infer that the author of it is without conscience, and without merit. Did you know all the attending circumliances, it might appear in an excusable light; nay, perhaps, under a commendable form. The motives of the actor may have been entirely different from shose which you ascribe to him ; and where you suppose him impelled by bad design, be may have been prompted by conscience and mistaken principle. Admitting the a&ion to have been in every view criminal, he may have been hurried into it through inadvertency and surprise. He may have sincerely repented; and the virtuous principle may have now regained its full vigour. Perhaps this was the corner of frailty; the quarter on which he lay open to the incursions of temptation ; while the other avenues of his heart were firmly guarded by conscience..

becn

• No error is more palpable than to look for uniformity from human nature; though it is commonly on this supposition tbat our general conclusions concerning character are formed. Mankind are consistent neither in good, nor in evil. In the present ftate of frailty, all is mixed and blended. The Itrongest contrarieties of piety and hypocrisy, of generosity and avarice, of truth and duplicity, often meet in one character. The purest human virtue is consistent with some vice; and in the midst of much vice and disorder, amiable, nay respectable, qualities may be found. There are few cases in which we have ground to conclude that all goodness is lost. At the bottom of the chara&ter there may lie some sparks of piety and virtue, fuppressed, but not extinguished; which kept alive by the breach of heaven, and gathering trength in secret from reflection, may, on the firit favourable opening which is afforded them, be ready to break forth with splendour and force. -Placed, then, in a situation of so much uncertainty and darkness, where our knowledge of the hearts and characters of men is so limited, and our judgments concerning them are so apt to err, what a continual call do we receive either to fufpend our judgment, or to give it on the favourable fide especial. ly when we consider that, as through imperfect information we are unqualified for deciding soundly, so through want of impartiality we are often tempted to decide wrong.'

We could with pleasure extend this article to a much greater length, and present our readers with many beautiful and striking pallages from this volume of Dr. Blair's Sermons; but the extracts here given, are sufficient, we are persuaded, to justify our character of the discourses contained in it.

The subjects of the fermons not yet mentioned are, -the proper Estimate of Human Life-the Happiness of a Future State -Death-the Character of Joseph-the Character of Hazael the Benefits to be derived from the House of Mourning-the Divine Government of the Passions of Men—and the Importance of religious Knowledge to Mankind,

ART. VI. The History of the Town of Thetford, in the Counties of

Norfolk and Suffolk, from the earliest Accounts to the present Time. By the late Mr. Thomas Martin, of Palgrave, Suffolk, F. A. S. 40. 11. 45. sewed. Payne, 1779.

ONEST Tom Martin, of Palgrave”—by which de

nomination he was distinguished by his friends, as well as in the list of subscribers to Grey's Hudibras in 1744-did

not

“HO

1

not owe that appellation merely to his love of good fellowship, and contempt of money; but likewise to his moral conduct, as an honest attorney :—a profession to which he was reluctantly brought up, under the care of an elder brother. Some of his objections to this employment, contained in a paper written when he was about the age of nineteen, are worth transcribing, as marking his character at that early period of his life.

OBJECTION S. '1. First, my mind and inclinations are wholly to Cambridge, having already found by experience, that I can never settle to my present employment.

3. I always wilhed that I might lead a private retired life, which can never happen if I be an attorney. I must have the care and concern of several people’s business besides mine own, &c.

65. It was always counted ruination for young persons to be brought up at home, and I am sure there's no worse town under the fun for breeding or conversation than this.

6. Though I thould serve my time out with my brother, I should never fancy the study of the law; having got a taste of a more noble and pleasant study.--I have staid thus long, thinking continual use might have made it easy to me; but the longer I stay, the worse I like it.'

The more noble and pleasant study, to which he alludes above, was undoubtedly that of antiquities, to hich he fhewed an early predilection; appearing among the contributors to Mr. Le Neve's Monumenta Anglicana, when he was only twenty-two years of age. His taste for ancient lore muft have been increased as well as gratified by the consequences following the death of Peter le Neve, Norroy king at arms; whofe widow, as well as his valuable collection of British topographical antiquities, came into his possession.

We are sorry to close this short account of his life and character by adding, that his distresses obliged him to dispose of many

of his books a short time before his death ; and that his very large collection of antiquities, as well as scarce books, deeds, drawings, prints, and other curiosities, appears, from a relation here given, to have been in a regular course of dispersion, by various sales that have taken place, from the time of his death in 1771, to that of the sale of Mr. Ives's collection in 1777 ; who had been a principal purchaser at all the preceding fales.

Few of our readers would be gratified by a transcript of any pallages that we could select from this history of a particular town ;-though a fenced and royal city, from the unfortunate overthrow of Boadicea, till the establishment of the heptarchy;'

and

and afterwards the metropolis of the East Angles; it will be sufficient to observe, that our topographical Historian has here collected together all that time has spared of its uneventful history, during the successive governments of the Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans, in this island. He then proceeds to give a minute historical account of the various ecclefiaftical and civil establishments that have anciently been formed, or still subfift, in this place; particularly the bishopric, the various churches, priories, hospitals, manors, together with an account of Writers that have been natives of this town, ancient coins, natural history, &c. Under this last head, very little occurs, if we except a latin Thesis on a mineral water at this place, published in 1746 by the late Dr. Manning.

In an Appendix, are subjoined copies of various original papers relating to this borough, thirty-nine in number. We inall only extract a few particulars from the twenty-third; which contains the account of John le Forrester, Mayor of the borough, in the tenth year of Edward III, A. 1336. It is so far curious, as it exhibits an authentic account of the value of many articles at that time; being a bill, inserted in the townbook, of the expences attending the sending two light horsemen from Thetford, to the army which was to march against the Scots that year.

1. d. « To two men chosen to go into the army against Scotland

0 0 . For cloth, and to the taylor for making it into two gowns

06 II For two pair of gloves, and a stick or staff « For two horses

( 15 0 . For shoeing these horses For two pair of boots for the light horsemen

8 • Paid to a lad for going with the Mayor' (to Lenn) " to take care of the horses *

0 0 3 To a boy for a letter at Lenn.' (viz. carrying it thither)

3 Expences for the horses of two light horsemen for four days before they departed.

ΟΙ Ο

I

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

4

* The distance between Thetford and Lynn is about 33 miles.

ART.

Art. VII. An Esay towards attaining a true State of the Character

and Reign of King Charles the First, and the Causes of the Civil War. Extracted from and delivered in the very Words of some of the most authentic and celebrated Historians; viz. Clarendon, Whire. lock, Burnet, Coke, Echard, Rapin, Tindal, Neal, &c. Printed for W. Parker, Printer of the General Advertiser. 8vo. 3 s. 6 d. 1780.

WHIS Essay was certainly written many years since; and, is now introduced to the world as a performance entirely new, To us indeed it is new : and if it should chance to be an old thing, we hope the candid Reader will put down our total ige norance of it to its true account.

This performance is almost wholly made up of extracts from the histories of the several writers quoted in the title-page, and of others whose names can throw no great luftre on quotation, and will give but little authority to affertion.

In the Preface, the Collector gives a short account of the principal authors from whom he professes to derive his information respecting the character and reign of King Charles. Lord Clarendon, with great propriety, takes the lead : but in the account of this noble historian, our Essayist, either from great ignorance, or great malice, hath attempted to revive a calumny, long since refuted, respecting the authenticity of the History of the Rebellion. "This celebrated history, says the present Writer, lies under strong suspicion, if not evident proof, of being further softened and garbled in favour of that cause (viz. the royal cause) by many gross interpolations and alterations of the Editors. One of them, the learned * Mr. Smith of Christ Church, Oxon, acknowledged upon his death-bed, that hims self had been concerned in it. " There was (laid he-and they were some of his last words, of whose truth there can be no doubt) a fine history written by Lord Clarendon ; but what was published under his name was only patch-work, and might as properly be called the History of --- and and for to his knowledge it was altered; nay, that he himself was employed by them to interpolate and alter the original."

This infamous flander, thrown on the characters of three very distinguished churchmen (viz. Dean Aldrich, Bihop Smaldridge, and Bishop Atterbury) fo haftily caught at by the writer of the present Effay, was first published to the world by Oldmixon in his Preface to the History of the Stuarts. The letter which relates this precious anecdote is without a name : though

Commonly called Rag Smith, or Captain Rag, on account of his forenliness, owing to sottishness. Rev.

« AnteriorContinuar »