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might, if report speaks truly of its merit, have been a public object of acquirement :-an addition to the wealth of a great and opulent nation.
When genius bows its head under the pressure of distress, which has been occasioned by imprudence, or by indiscreet prodigality, we drop a sympathising tear over the errors of humanity. When the vivid and active mind is seduced by vicious indulgence from the paths of rectitude, indignation is added to the regret which we undergo. But neither imprudence of conduct, nor licentiousness of self-indulgence, were ever imputable to Proctor. He felt the divine spark of genius in his breast: he looked to his country to nourish and reward it. Devoted to the more elevated branches of art, he was unfitted for the mechanism of the graphic manufactories of the metropolis; and he fell a victim to the desire of intellectual excellence, in a city, where its value is, in all other objects of acquirement, best understood.--If no fu
ture instance should ever hereafter occur, of British genius and talent condemned to indigence and neglect, the object of this detail, and the great and primary object of the BritishINSTITUTION,will be fully obtained. Had that Institution existed in the time of Proctor, had the walls of her gallery been then opened, at one part of the year as a school for the instruction of the artist, and at the other as a free and liberal mart for the sale of his productions, the spirit of our sculptor would not have been broken. He would not have undergone that sickness of the heart, which results from deferred and disappointed hope : he would have appealed with confidence and certainty to the judgment of an enlightened public,
To that judgment let me now appeal, on behalf of the artists, who are receiving benefit from the British Institution. Let me request and solicit Englishmen to foster and encourage English genius; and to reject the visionary and interested theories of those, who, while
Englishmen can excel in every branch of science and literature, attempt to disqualify them from the possession of any talent in the fine arts. Let Italy, -let any region of Europe (antient Greece excepted) shew any thing superior to the Achilles of Banks, or to the Ixion of Proctor, and the point of superiority may be admitted. But until that is done, until the superior excellence of foreigners is fairly and unequivocally established, let us honour and encourage our own artists:—let us supply them with the means of instruction, and the motives to exertion; and let us be confident that England will be as superior in the fine arts, as she is in every other object of attainment.
After the sale of Mr. Bridges's books, no event occurred in the bibliographical world, worthy of notice, till the sale of the famous
HARLEIAN LIBRARY * ; or the books once in the possession of the celebrated Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford.
Tus nobleman was not less distinguished in the political, than in the literary, world; and was a remarkable instance of the fickleness of popular opinion, and the danger of being removed from the lower to the upper house of parliament fi' He was born in the year 1661, was summoned to the house of
* This collection consisted both of manuscripts and · books; the former were purchased by Government, for £.10,000, and are now deposited in the British Museum. A very valuable catalogue of them is extant, in two volumes, folio, 1759, composed by Mr. Wanley, Mr. Casley, and Mr. Hocker; but chiefly by the former.
+ Noble's Continuation of Granger, Vol. ii. 23.
lords, by the titles of Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, in 1711 ; declared minister and lord high treasurer, in the same year; resigned, and was impeached in the year 1715 *; acquitted, without being brought to a trial, in 1717; and
• In this-same year were published two small pamphlets, both supposed to be written by Harley : the former was called, 'An Account of the Conduct of Robert, Earl of Oxford ;' the latter, 'A short State of the War and the Peace'. The following is the conclusion of the first pamphlet. “The Treasurer, (viz. Lord Oxford) not doubting the justice of those, whom the laws of this nation have made judges of these things, APPEARS, and manifests thereby his readiness to cast his life, his honour, and his fortunes, upon the honour and impartiality of the peerage of Great Britain ; as being assured, that nothing shall be there laid upon him, which cannot be fixed by testimony of good witnesses ; and that he shall not be censured by their lordships for those transactions, which have been the work of other hands; and that he shall not only have full scope given him for clearing up his innocence, in all the points charged against him, but likewise liberty to bring to open view the steps which have been taken by his enemies, not only towards the ruin of their country, but also towards vindicating themselves, by laying their own crimes at his door, &c.'