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not that in his instance it was a new one, not to receive as a diplomatic agent for doing business with him, and in this way on a footing savouring of equality, any subject of his own: the same maxim prevented, I remember, another old friend of mine from being received in form as agent from the free city of Hamburgh. As an expedient for producing the substance without the form, a Pole, of the name of Bukati, was sent by the King with the concurrence of the Senate, if that was necessary, in the character of resident to reside in this Court, in which character he continued to reside for a considerable number of years, and I believe as long as he lived. I knew something of him; I used every now and then to see him; I remember dining with him on a summer's day, at a comfortable and pleasant apartment he had in a spacious mansion, occupied as a boarding-school, by Johnson's friend, Elphinston, who published a book in such English as you see employed in French Grammars, for the purpose of teaching Frenchmen how to pronounce English, written for the purpose of demonstrating, that it is an Englishman's bounden duty to write English exactly as he speaks it.” But Elphiniston was not Bukati, nor in intellect would he have gained much by being so; not that he was at all the worse for this, but the better. It was for the express purpose of officiating in the character of a cypher, that he was sent to this country and retained in it. In every thing but bulk, in which
* [James Elphinston was a miscellaneous writer and schoolmaster, was born at Edinburgh Dec. 6, 1721, died Oct. 8, 1809. “In 1751, he married, and leaving Scotland, fixed his abode near London, first at Brompton, and afterwards at
Kensington, where for many years he kept a school in a large and elegant house opposite to the royal gardens, and had considerable reputation ; his scholars always retaining a very grateful sense of his skill as a teacher, and his kindness as a friend.” “About 1753, he composed an English Grammar for the use of his school, which he afterwards enlarged and published in 2 vols. 12mo.” (“The Analysis of the French and * English Languages, with their Roots and Idioms. Lond. 1756. ‘2 vols. 12mo. 5s. Principles of the English Language Di‘gested, Lond. 1765. 2 vols. 12mo. Abridged, Lond. 1765. ‘8vo. 3s. Animadversions upon ELEMENTs of CRiticism, cal“culated equally for the Benefit of that celebrated Work, and “ the Improvement of English Style; with an Appendix on * Scotticisms. Lond. 1771. 8vo. 2s. 6d.' Dr. Watt's Bibl. Brit) “The late Mr. John Walker, a very competent judge, spoke highly of this work. In the year 1763, Mr. Elphinston published a poem called Education; but his taste was ill-adapted to poetry, of which unfortunately he never could be persuaded ; and this erroneous estimate of his talents led him to translate Martial, for which he issued proposals about 1778, and was at least fortunate in the number of his subscribers. Previous to this he had, for what reason we are not told, given up his school, and in 1778, removed altogether from Kensington, where in the same year his wife died. He then visited Scotland, and while in that city there was a design started of establishing a Professorship of Modern Languages in the University of Edinburgh, with a view that Mr. Elphinston should
he reminded one of a fat ox; he was a puppet, and Lind it was that moved the wires. Every now and then I used to see a letter from the King to his faithful, intelligent, and zealous agent. Once I remember, at my friend's desire, in consequence of a sudden and imperative call to other occupations, I held the pen in his stead: the function was a flattering one to my young ambition. A pun I remember letting off, gives some indication as to the time. The Cabinet-squabbles, produced by the collision of two such hard and rough characters, as Minister Pitt and Chancellor Thurlow, were matter of notoriety, and formed part and parcel of the history of the day. The account I gave of them, was expressed by three words, Le chancellier chancele, and the truth of the intelligence was not long after demonstrated by the event.
fill the chair; but, although this never took place, he gave a course of Lectures on the English language, both at Edinburgh and Glasgow. After his return to London, he published his Translation of Martial, in 1782, 4to, which exhibited most wonderful proofs of a total want of judgment, both in the Translation and Notes. In the latter he gives some specimens of his new mode of spelling, which he explained more at large in 1786, in a work entitled Propriety Ascertained in her Picture, 2 vols. 4to. In this he endeavoured to establish a system of spelling according to pronunciation, and although he stood entirely alone in his opinion of its value, he persisted in his endeavours, and followed it up by English Orthography Epitomized, and Propriety's Pocket-Dictionary. In 1794,” (1791,) “ he published in 6 vols. 12mo, a selection of his Letters to his friends, with their answers,” (Forty Years' Correspondence between Geniusses ov boath Seres, and James Elphinston, in six Pocket-Vollumes, foar ov Oridginal Letters, two’ ov Poetry; two other volumes were published in 1794, with this corrected title, Fifty Years' Correspondence, Inglish, French, and Lattin, in Proze and Verse, between Geniusses of boath Seres and James Elphinston, in 8 Pocket-Wollumes, including an Appendix Miscellaneous. Dhe Oridginal Letters, to be seen in dhe Hands ov dhe Edditory “entirely spelt in his new way; the appearance of which was so unnatural, and the reading so difficult and tiresome, that by this, as well as his other works on the same subject, he must have been a considerable loser,” (but the eight volumes are printed on very
Vol. II. C
At the above-mentioned residence, economical as was necessarily the style of it, Lind was occasionally visited by foreign Ministers, and
common paper.) “As an author, indeed, Mr. Elphinston was peculiarly unfortunate, having scarcely published any thing, in which he did not afford the critics many opportunities to exemplify his total want of taste and judgment." Chalmers's Biographical Dictionary. In a note Mr. C. quotes the following passage from a Letter addressed by Dr. Beattie to Sir Wm. Forbes, and inserted in the Life of the former :—“Elphinston's Martial is just come to hand. It is truly an unique. The specimens formerly published did very well to laugh at ; but a whole quarto of nonsense and gibberish is too much. It is strange that a man not wholly illiterate, should have lived so long in England, without learning the language.” Mr. C. adds :—“These remarks may be extended to more of Elphinston's publications than we have enumerated."
These quotations abundantly illustrate and confirm the observation of Mr. Jeremy Bentham. E. H. B.]
other persons of distinction. The only ones, that I now recollect, were the late Baron Masères, the public-spirited constitutionalist, and one of the honestest lawyers England ever saw, and Lord Chancellor Rosslyn, at that time Solicitor-General, both at the same time, on the same evening. The deep bass voice and cold gravity of the crown-lawyer still dwell on my ear and memory. Some little conversation with him fell to my share. Not to any such honour as that of being present at his table: according to what I used to hear from those, who had, my loss was not very considerable. The deportment, of the master of the house used to be, according to those reports, more suitable to a funeral than a dinner: ice waited not for the desert: it encompassed every course. Favour me with a little salt, said somebody on one of these occasions to his neighbour, or, as Mr. Godwin would have informed us, might have said: as for the Attic, it will enter, let us hope, with the bottles.
This pre-eminent lawyer happened to furnish, within my observation, two exhibitions as strongly contrasted, perhaps, as ever were furnished by the same person in so short a space of time. The first time I saw him, he was in black, with a sword stuck by his side, holding up the train of the then Chancellor; but this is not one of the two I mean. Not long after this, attending in the Court of