Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

was the son of the Rev. SIMON HENLEY, vicar of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, and was born there on the 3d of August, 1692. Mr. Henley graduated at Cambridge, and went into the church ; but he obtained a momentary professional celebrity, only to disgrace it. He threw off his gown, and set up an Oratory in Clare-market, where he lectured to the butchers, and id genus omne, in language worthier of a mountebank at Bartholomew Fair, than a divine of the established church*. He drew a considerable income from the lowest orders of society, alternately practising extortion and expedient, and living upon the fruits of blasphemy, buffoonery, and libel. His literary abilities in after life did not realize the promise of his youth.

The letterin No. 288, recommending the writer's wares to public notice, bears the real signature of a French tradesman- PETER ANTHONY MotTeux, a native of Rouen in Normandy, who transferred his fortunes to this country, on the revocation of the edict of Nantes. He spoke and wrote English like a native, and acquired great celebrity by his translations of Rabelais and Don Quixote, the last of which has been pronounced by Mr. . *These discourses soon degenerated into ribaldry and abuse, and at length into downright blasphemy and buffoonery. His auditors paid a shilling each ; and as they chiefly consisted of ignorant mechanics, and sometimes of the very refuse of society, he had occasionally recourse to expedients of a very singular cast in order to replenish his finances. He once, it is said, collected an amazing number of shoemakers, by promising to teach them the art of making a pair of excellent shoes in a few minutes ; when behold ! this wonderful abridgment of labour was effected by cutting off the tops of ready-made boots!'-DRAKE's Essays, vol. iii. p. 304.

TYTLER, one of the most perfect specimens of the art of translation.' MOTTEUX wrote, besides, various prologues and epilogues, and several of his translated plays were acted with no small popularity. He married a beautiful and amiable woman, by whom he had a large family, and lived in the world respectable and respected : but on his fifty-eighth birthday a licentious habit, which he had hitherto successfully concealed, suddenly cost him his character and his life. He was found dead in a brothel near Temple-bar, on the 19th of February, 1718, under circumstances which induce a strong suspicion that he was murdered : but a reward of fifty pounds, which was offered in the next gazette, did not lead to any

discovery.

For a letter signed Parthenia, in No. 140, and another subscribed Leonora, in No. 163, we are indebted to Miss SHEPHEARD; and to her sister, Mrs. Perry, for the short letter in No. 92, on the subject of a select library for ladies. Of these fair correspondents, we merely know that they descended collaterally from Sir FLEETWOOD SHEPHEARD.

Mr. ROBERT HARPER, an entinent conveyancer of Lincoln's Inn, is the reputed author of a letter signed M. D. in No. 480: but, short as it is , it is said to have been almost entirely remodelled by STEELE.

No. 572, a keen satire on quacks and quackery, and No. 633, on the advantages to be derived to elocution from Christianity, are the productions of Dr. ZACHARY PEARCE,, late bishop of Rochester. He was the son of a rich distiller in Holborn, and was born in 1690. While he was studying at Cambridge, he dedicated an edition of · Cicero de Oratore' to the Lord Chief Justice PARKER, afterwards Earl of MACCLESFIELD, to whom he was a perfect stranger; and as dedicatory compliment was more valuable then than it has become since, it obtained for Pearce the lasting protection, patronage, and friendship of the Judge. Under such auspices, having embraced holy orders in 1717, he passed rapidly through the different outposts of ecclesiastical preferment, and in six years beheld himself a wealthy pluralist,-rector of Stapleford Abbotts, in Essex,-rector of St. Bartholomew, behind the Royal Exchange,-and rector of St. Martin's in the Fields. Nevertheless, he completed his fifty-eighth year before he became a bishop. He was made dean of Winchester in 1739, bishop of Bangor in 1748, and translated to the see of Rochester in 1756, changing at the same time from the deanery of Winchester, to that of Westminster. He died at Little Ealing on the 29th of June, 1774, leaving behind him a reputation of singular purity, innocence, and virtue. Eleven years previous to his death, when the infirmities of age first began to interfere with his duties, he petitioned the king to allow him to resign both his see and deauery; alleging, that he could not bear to make a sinecure of his preferments. His majesty would not suffer him to vacate the see, but five years afterwards acquiesced in the lesser resignation.

No. 250, a paper of exquisite sweetness and sensibility, was written by Mr. FRANCHAM of Norwich, on the death of his own wife. It is replete with the most touching tenderness, and cannot be read without regret that it is an only specimen.

The Dream, in No. 524, is the joint production of Mr. DuNLOP, Greek Professor at the University of Glasgow, and Mr. MONTGOMERY, a merchant. It is related of the latter, that he fell in love with Queen CHRISTINA, and was compelled to quit Sweden very abruptly. The Dreain had been erroneously ascribed to Professor SIMPSon of Glasgow, but the name of Simpson is pot among our contributors.

A letter complimenting the editor on the characteristic morality of his paper, and a metrical version of the 114th Psalm, will be found in No. 461. They are by the celebrated Dr. ISAAC Watts, not better known as a divine, than as a philosopher and a poet. He was born at Southampton on the 17th of July, 1674, and brought up at the Free-School of that town under the tuition of the Rev. Dr. PINHORN. He manjfested an early partiality for the Hebrew, which, as well as the classics, he rapidly acquired; but joining at sixteen the ranks of the Dissenters, he finished his education under the care of the Rev. THOMAS Rowe, of London, a minister of the sect called Independents. He died a painless death under the roof of Lady ABNEY, on the 25th of November, 1748, aged seventy-four. His long life was entirely spent in learning, philosophy, and religious teaching. In 1728, the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen, voluntarily and without his knowledge, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor in Divinity, as a tribute to his exalted personal character and great acquirements. His Logic is a standard book at the Universities, and his Improvement of the Mind has received the highest eulogia from the pen of Johnson. As a writer of Hymns and Sacred Poetry, he has left behind him no competitor.

Mr. Richard INCE of Gray's Inn, is mentioned, with a handsome compliment, by Steele, in No. 555, as having enriched the SPECTATOR. with several excellent sentiments and agreeable pieces ;' but no inquiry has enabled us to identify his communications. Mr. WESTERN, also, of Rivenhall in Essex, and the Rev. JOHN LLOYD, M. A. who wrote a poem entitled “God,' have been named among the unknown contributors. But the names of many correspondents, who furnished the work with detached hints, and even entire single papers, are now irretrievably lost. No less than fifty-three Numbers of the SPECTATOR are in this predicament, as the annexed table will shew.

The papers by Addison in the SpecTATOR are distinguished by some one of the letters, in the word Clio, of which various interpretations have been given, but all more ingenious than verisimilar. There is no referential meaning in the name of the muse, which has no doubt been since accidentally anagrammatized. STEELE's designatory letters, used to all appearance capriciously, are T. and R.; but a late conjecture, that T. implies the Number to have been merely transcribed, savours of great probability. This will, also, best explain the unscrupulousness with

« PředchozíPokračovat »