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seller, being admitted a freeman of the Stationers' Company on the 20th of December, 1677. His brother, Richard, engaged in the same business in the preceding year.
From the letters which passed between Tonson and Dryden, we find that they had occasionally some slight bickerings; which, however, do not seem to have produced any lasting ill will on either side. Booksellers, as the subordinate agents of literature, might be expected to possess some of that softness of manners which letters generally impart to those who cultivate the liberal arts; but by him who is to live by the sale of books, I fear, a book is considered merely as an article of trade; and the most learned or ingenious treatise ever written, when viewed in a commercial light, too often appears only a volume consisting of a certain number of sheets of paper, by the sale of which a profit is to be made. I may. add, that the conduct of traders in general, in the last century, was less liberal, and their manners more rugged, than at present; and hence we find Dryden sometimes speaking of Tonson with a degree of asperity that confirms an anecdote communicated to Dr. Johnson by Dr. King of Oxford ; to whom Lord Bolingbroke related, “that one day, when he visited Dryden, they heard, as they were conversing,
• Lord Bolingbrokc had early commenced a poct; having, in 1697, when he was Mr. St. John, furnished Granville with a Prologue to his HEROICK Love. In the same year he wrote some encomiastick verses on Dryden, which werc prcfixed to his translation of Virgil:
another person entering the house.' "This,' said Dryden, “is Tonson: you will take care not to depart before he gocs away : for I have not completed the sheet which I promised him; and if you Icave me unprotected, I shall suffer all the rudc. ness to which his resentment can prompt his tongue."
On another occasion, Tonson having refused to advance him a sum of money for a work on which he was employed, he sent a second messenger to the bookseller, with a very satirical triplet ; adding, “ Tell the dog, that he who wrote these lines, can write more.” These descriptive verses, which had the desired effect, by some means got abroad in manuscript; and, not long after Dryden's death, were inserted in Faction DISPLAYED, a satirical poem, supposed to have been written by William Shippen, (whom Pope has transmitted to posterity under the appellation of-downright Shippen,) which, from its virulent abuse of the opposite party, was extremely popular among the Tories. About the year 1700 was formed the KIT-KAT CLUB, which'scems to have grown out of another
and soon afterwards he published a long Ode of little merit, entitled ALMAHIDE.
o This Socicly is said to have first met at an obscure house in Shire-Lanc, and consisted of thirty-nine dis. tinguished noblemen and gentlemen, zcalously attached to the protestant succession in the House of Hanover : among whom were the Dukes of Somerset, Richmond, . Grafton, Devonshirc, and Marlborough, and (after the VOL. I. .
convivial society called Tho KNIGHTS OB, THE Toast, of whom some account will be given in a subsequent page.? Tonson being Secretary to the Kit-Kat Club, which was entirely composed of accession of Gcorge I.) the Duke of Newcastle; the Earls of Dorset, Sunderland, Manchester, Wharton, and King. ston; Lords Halifax and Somers; Sir Robert Walpole, Vanbrugh, Congreve, Granville, Addison, Garth, Mayn. waring, Stepney, and Walshi The Club is supposed to have derived its name from Christopher Kalt, a pastrycook, who kept the house where they dined, and excelled in making mutton-pyes, which always formed a part of their bill of fare. In the SPECTATOR, No. 9, they are said to have derived their title, not from the maker of the pye, but the pye itself. The fact is, that on account of its excellence, it was called a Kit. Kal, as we now say sma Sandwich. So, in the Prologue to the REFORMED WIFE, a comedy, 1700: ::.
“Often, for change, the meanest things are good: 2 "Thus, though the town all delicates afford, “ A Kit Kat is a supper for a lord." ". · The custom of toasting ladies in regular succession after dinner, had commenced not long before. On the toast, ing-glasses of this Club verses were inscribed, written in 1703, by Lord Halifax, Congrevc, Granville, Addison, Garth, and other members, in praise of the most admired beautics of that day; many of which are preserved in Dryden's Miscellanies, (vol. v. edit. 1716.) and in other collections. This circumstance gave rise to an Epigram, the author of which, (perhaps Arbuthnot,) not having quite so much respect for the ladies thus celcbrated as their panegyrists, rejected the etymology already men. tioned, and that given by Edward Ward--that the so: ciety derived its appellation from a person of the Christian
the most distinguished Whigs, could not escape the notice of a Tory Satirist, who gave vent' to his spleen against him in the following lines; by which he has preserved a description that Dryden probably never intended to be transmitted to posterity: .
“ Now the Assembly to adjourn prepar'd,
name of Christopher, who lived at the sign of the Cat and Fiddle,) and has chosen to suggest another origin, not less ludicrous than that furnished by the facetious historian of the Clubs of London :
" Whence deathless Kit-Cat took its name,
" Few criticks can unriddle ;
" And some, from Cat and Fiddle.
** Gray Statesmen, or green Wits ; : .
“Of old Cals and young Kits." . Dr. King, however, in his Art of Cookery, has this line : : “ Immortal made, as Kit Kat by his pyes ;" . . and the younger Tonson, in his Will, mentioning this Club, writes it Kitt-Kalt; which, as the learned Martinus Scriblerus observes in the sixth volume of his Hallu. CINATIONES ETYMOLOGICÆ, strongly corroborates the more polite account of its origin given in the former part of this note. Martin, indccd, cxpresseth very serious doubts, whether libations were ever made to the healths of any ancient ladies, (here denominated old Cats,) in this gay symposium.
? See Dryden's Letter, dated Feb, 23, 1699-1700; and the Nore.
.." With leering looks, bull.faced, and freckled fairni si
With two left legs,' and Judas-colour'd hair;
• Sweating and puffing for a while he stood, ..; 1." And then brokc forth in this insulting mood : il.. .I am the touchstone of all modern wit ; ... “ Without my stamp in vain your pocts write :*:*
" Those only purchase ever-living fame, ..? - " That in my MISCELLANY plant their name... i ...
I suppose, by this epithet Dryden meant, that Tonson was as awkward in the movement of his legs, as he is, who accidentally uses his left hand instead of his right. . So also Pope, in the late editions of the Dunciad:
“ And left-leggʻd Jacob scems to emulate." :. . On which linc he has this singular notc: “ Milton of the motion of the swan;
rows His [Her state with oary feet and Dryden of another's (motion).-with two left legs." Who could suppose, that this other was the very person mentioned in Popc's text?-But the fact is, that this pas. sage reccived various changes in the different editions, and the epithet left-legg'd was not inserted till after old Jacob Tonson's death. In the original edition of 1728, without notcs, the lines run thus :
“ Swift as a bard thc bailiff leaves behind,.pin'.?