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were ip mean circumstances, that great part of the money which he a different times received from the court of France, might have been expended in useful donations to support bis credit and his inftuence with his partizans: but suppose it was really pocketed for his own use and emolument, there is sufficient macter in the apology written by himself, and published after his death, to justify bim fully on this point. After relating several accempts which had been made to asallinate him in bis exile, Sidney proceeds as follows: “ The asperity of this perfecution obliged me to feek the protection of fome foreiga prioce, and being then in the vigour of my age, I had reputation enough to have gained honourable employments; but all my designs were broken by messages and letters from this court, fo as gone dorit entertain me; and when I could not comprehend the grounds of dealing with me in such a way, wben I knew that maoy others who had been my companions, and given, as I thought, more just causes of hatred again it them than I bad done, were received into favour, or suffered to live quietly, a man of quality, who well knew the tem per of the court, explained the mystery to me, by letting me know that I was distinguished from the relt, becagse it was known tha I could not be corrupied." If a Fabricius Thould arise from the dead, and make any objection to Sidney's having condescended to accept, in these circumftances of persecution, a decent support from the bounty of a liberal monarch, we thould attend with gravity to his fcruples, and endeavour to remove them by entering into the nature and exigencies of modern life: we should affert, that it was a juft and competent knowledge of the value of external advantages, which gave tbe lamp of virtue to acts of forbearapce: we thould argue, that a cotal indifference to a state of poverty or affluence, as it in a manner annihilates all temptations to every species of venal. corruption, it in a great measure weakens the merit of public and private in. tegrity; and that a man's rejeding, with a becoming contempt, every external advantage which would naturally follow a deviation from principle, did not lay him under any obligation to refuse advantages which were in no manner connected with any such derogatory çire cumstances; and that those noble sentiments which led great minds to despise the wages of iniquity, could be po rational bar to the receiving emoluments and favours from the liberality, the oftentacion, or the personal affection of an individual, who did not require any sacrifice of the nicest rules of honour, or the stricteft dictates of prin. ciple. Arguments like these might, in all probability, have convinced the Roman consul, that the regard which Sidney paid to the alleviating his necessities, when such an alleviation could be obraioed without any deviation from principle or honour, rather heighteos than decreases the merit of his acts of forbearance : but with what face of serious argument can we encounter the overstrained delicacy of an age, who, on all occasions where the detraction of an illustrious character is not in question, acknowledge such a neceflity in the ar. ticle of money as to autborise every species of venalisy, although altended with the most deftructive conlequences, and aggravated with the additional crimes of deceprion, treachery, and the breach of pri: yale and public trust,
$ This ridiculous charge of corruption, though it has been the loudest, has not been the only attack which has been made on ebe moral character of the illustrious patriot, whose persecutions and fufy ferings we have just narrated. Mr. Hume, whose partialicy on the side of the court in this part of his hiftory, is a greater disgrace to his admirable genius and profound sagacity than any other page of his historical writings, accuses Sidney of ingratitude, in having obtained a pardon of the King, and then entering into measures to disturb his government. In all my researches on this subject, I have not found this pardon to be ascercained; and as I have before observed, I can. not discern any occafion for such a particular pardon. The brutal Jeffries only reproacbed the prisoner wich the grace he had received in the general ad of indemnity, and in the Jercers of thanks which Sidney, wrote to the Freoch minifter, who transacied this business of his return to England, there is only mention made of a paffport fromu the King: but provided that Sidney's baving received a pardon was a proved fact, whoever reads in his Apology the face of the case, will find that all the ingratitude' and baseness lay on the fide of the King, who, with the arm of jajoftice and opprelüon, persecuted to death the man from whom his family had received in their distress persooal obligations, and to whose interposicion he owed the prefer: vation of his life.'
They who are desirous of having an intimate knowledge of our constitutional history, within the periods of 1660 and 1683, will meet with every gratification they can reasonably hope for in the volumes before us. And though they are evidently written manu inimica tyrannis, the Historian has avoided the extreme of advancing principles that are not fairly deducible from the nature of true government, and of the Englila Constitution, of which she is so strenuous an allertor. If, in the conclusions that are drawn from the several facts here related, lhe differ from some of the more popular historians that have preceded her, she fails not, however, to state the facts themselves with preci. Gion and candour.
It were to be wilhed, that there had been more frequent references to the sources from whence her materials are selected. We are far from thinking, that even in those instances in which the fountains of her intelligence are not immediately obvious to recollection, that her integrity will, by the candid and impara tial part of her readers, be called into question. But it is to be remembered, that all readers are not candid and impartial. The deficiency we have noted might in some measure be supplied by a faithful catalogue of the books that have been made use of in this very important work-it would form a valuable Appendix to the concluding volume.
The style of this performance, though in general it be animated and nervous, is not always uniform. It is too apt to take a tincture from that of the Authors immediately con(ulted ; and though it may be observed that our Historian • pd 4
adopts not the very words, yet the not uncommonly imbibes the manner of those from whom her facts are selected. With respect to the flighter inaccuracies that might be pointed out, we conlign them to the word-catchers, being of opinion with Mr, Hayley, that
Tho' critic censures on her work may shower,
Like faith, her freedom has a saving power. 7 An Advertisement, at the end of Vol. VII. informs us, that the Eighth Volume is in the prefs, and will speedily be published ;-which, with the preceding ones, and the Historical Letters, will form a complete period of time, from the Accession of James the First, to the year 1741.
The onlyegant Biographich opens wie
Art. II. Johnson's Biograpbical Prefaces, CONTINUED, See
our laft. THE eighth volume of this amusing work contains the Lives
i of Swift, Gay, Broome, Pitt, Parnel, A. Philips, and Watts. As it furnishes little that is new, we shall pass on to the subsequent volume, which opens with that well-known specimen of elegant Biography, the life of Savage.
The only variation from the former copies of this work that we have noted, is in the following passage. In the publicae tion of this performance (the Tragedy of Sir Thomas Overbury) he was more successful, for the rays of genius that glimmered in it, that glimmered through all the mists which poverty and Cibber had spread over it, procured him the notice and esteem of many persons,' &c, To foist in a ftigma upon a man so many years after he has lain peaceably in his grave, bas the appearance of something singularly disingenuous and unmanly. Indeed, whenever Dr. Johnson has occasion to speak of Cibber, it is with an acrimony that, in any other man, we fhould suspect must have proceeded from personal resentment, Cibber's dulness has been so long the butt of ridicule with every pretender to wit, that we are surprised any writer, who affects originality of sentiment, should condescend to divert himself and his readers with so stale a topic. There is no pleasure, as Dr. Johnson elsewhere observes, in chacing a school-boy to his common-places.
In characterizing Thomson's merit as a poet, his Biographer nearly coincides with the general opinion. As a man, however, the representation of his character is not so favourable. In the early part of life, while friendless and indigent, he is represented as foliciting kindness by servile adulation, and when afterwards he had the means of gratification, it is insinuated, that he was grossly sensual. What authorities there are for the former part of this character appear por: the latter, in opposi
tion to the suffrages of the most respectable of his cotemporaries, rests solely on the testimony of the unprincipled and profligate Savage.
We are told that • Thomson, in his travels on the continent, found or fancied so many evils arising from the tyranny of other governments, that he resolved to write a very long poem, in five parts, upon Liberty.' In this passage the Biographer seems to have brought himself into a dilemma: either there are no evils arising from the tyranny of arbitrary governments; or Thomson was a man of no observation. To which will Dr. Johnson subscribe ? :
Of Hammond, he says, though he be well remembered as a man esteemed and carefled by the elegant and great, I was at first able to obtain no other memorials than such as are supplied by a book called Cibber's Lives of the Poets; of which I take this opportunity to testify that it was not written, nor, I believe, ever seen, by either of the Cibbers; but was the work of Robert Shiells, a native of Scotland, a man of very acute understanding, though with little scholastic education, who, not long after the publication of his work, died in London of a consumption. His life was virtuous, and his end was pious. Theophilus Cibber, then a prisoner for debt, imparted, as I was told, his name for ten guineas. The manuscript of Shiells is now in my possession.' “ His life was virtuous (De mortuis nil nisi verum, says the Doctor's able coadjutor, Mr. Crofts), &c.”
In the above passage the Doctor has advanced more than he knew to be true. Cibber's receipt, which we are informed is still extant, is for twenty guineas, in consideration of which he engaged to “ revise, correct, and improve” the work, and also to affix his name to the title-page, Cibber very punctually revised every sheet; he made numerous corrections, and added many improvements, particularly in those lives which came down to his own cimes, and brought him within the circle of his own and his father's numerous literary acquaintance, especially in the dramatic line, Besides inserting paragraphs, notes, anecdotes and remarks, in those lives that were written by Shiells and others (for the best pieces of Biography in that collection were not written by Shiels, but by superior hands), some of the lives, if we are not greatly mistaken, were solely of his own .composition. The engagement of Cibber, or some other Englilaman, to superintend and correct what Shiells in particular should offer, was a measure absolutely necessary, not only to guard against bis Scotticisms, and other defects of expression, but (what was worse) his virulent Jacobitism, which inclined him to abuse every one who held principles different from his own. But enough of Cibber and Shiells, Hammond's Elegies are thus characterized
till extanco e revisco che tielec
ngagedamot is for treibber's roce
· The Elegies were published after bis death; and while the writer's name was remembered with fondness, they were read with a resolution to admire them. The recommendatory Preface of the editor, who was then believed, and is now affirmed by Dr. Maty, to be the Earl of Chesterfield, raised strong prejudices in their favour,
But of the prefacer, whoever he was, it may be reasonably suspected that he never read the poems; for he professes to value them for a very high species of excellence, and recommends them as tbe genuine esfusions of the mind, which express a real passion in the language of nature, But the truth is, these ele. gies have neither passion, nature, nor manners. Where there is hi&tion, there is no pasion; he that describes himself as a thepherd, and his Neæra or Delia as a shepherders, and talks of goats and lambs, feels no passion. He that courts his mistress with Roman imagery deserves to lose her; for the may with good reason suspect bis fincerity. Hammond has few fentiments drawn from nature, and few images from modern life. He produces nothing but frigid pedantry. It would be hard to find in all bis productions three kanzas that deserve to be remembered.'
Dr. Johnson appears not to have recollected that Hammond's Elegies, the two laft excepted, are taken almost literally from Tibullus *. Confidered merely in the light of tranflations they
• To save the Reader, who may with to farisfy himself on this head, the trouble of searching for the correspondent passages in Tibullus, they are as follow: Hammond's firit Elegy is taken from Tib. B. 2. E. 4. to the 38th line; his second from B. 2. E. 6.; bis 3d from B. 2. E. 4. L. 38th to the soch; his 4th from B. 3. E. s.; his gth from B. 1. E. 2. ; his 6th from B. 2. E. 7. ; bis 7th from B. 2. E. 3.; his 8ch from B. 3. E. 3. ; bis gth from B. 3. E. 2. ; his joth from B. 4. E. 5:; his rith from B. 1. E. 11.; his rzch from B. 3. E. 7.; his 13th from B. 1. E. 1. Mr. Hammond has not, however, confined himself to a servile translation ; there is scarcely an elegy but contains some fianzas, or sentiments at least, that are ori. ginal. Sometimes he interweaves a passage from a different elegy from that which he is immediately copying, as in the following instance, in the 13th elegy, which is taken from the first of Tibul lus, he iatroduces a compliment to the late Lord Chesterfield :
Stanhope, in wisdom as in wit divine,