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sense, so as to comprehend all the explorers of the surface of the world; those who conduct voyages of discovery, those who travel inland, and those who engage in stationary topo. graphy? A vast mass of British merit has been employed in making the world known to its inhabitants; and the employment extends with commerce, with empire, and with science. By separating into one biographicon this peculiar class of lives, a philanthropic emulation would be excited, a debt of social gratitude would be discharged, a trophy to patriotism would be erected, and an instructive knowlege of the present state of nations and the gradual concatenation of intercourse would be diffused. Literature should rear altars to the missionaries of human civilization.
ART. III. Letters written by eminent Persons in the 17th and 1816
Centuries. To which are added, Hearne's Journeys to Reading, and to Whaddon-hall, the Seat of Browne Willis, Esq. and Lives of eminent Men, by John Aubrey, Esq. The whole now first published from the Originals in the Bodleian Library and Ashmo
lean Museum, with Biographical and Literary Illustrations. 3 Volse • 8vo. pp. 300. in each. Il. 115. 68. Boards. Longman and
Co. 1813. A Taste for personal archaiology, (if we may use the term,) A for inspecting the coffins of long-buried eminence, and for recovering from the mould of oblivion their hoarded tokens or their keep-sakes of friendship, should be revived at the beginning of every century, in order that men may look round for the deficiencies or the suppressions of cotemporary intelligence, and complete, while documents remain, the biographical memorials of the illustrious. Many interesting and characteristic anecdotes, which circulate in conversation, may not be recorded immediately, because they involve some personality that is of. fensive to the living : but, after the lapse of a generation, such motives for reticency usually expire. It must be acknowleged, however, that the memory of the celebrated rather loses than gains by this scrutinizing industry. No inconvenience arises from promulgating immediately the good deeds, or the panegyrical speeches, of deceased rank:- it is the scandalous anecdote, or the satirical saying, which it was found expedient to keep back. He who peeps behind a curtain will discover what the curtain was drawn to conceal, and will usually perceive at best the spoils of the shattern, and perhaps the wrapper of the libertine. * - * Care, however, has been taken, in the selection before us, to omit that wbie
too gross (p. iv.) for publication.
Still, if something of depretiation be incurred, much of definition is acquired, by these posthumous investigations. A man's knowlege is often over-rated by his one chief book: but in correspondence he betrays his ignorance of other topics; and a circumscription of his acquirement is thus obtained. Genius and intellect, on the contrary, display themselves unfettered in private letters ; they have their decorations to fling, and their inferences to draw, about little as well as about great matters. Knowlege, again, is versatile in its hoards. One age values the cabinet which is filled with specimens of classical, and another venerates that which is occupied by black-letter, erudition, The mass of critical readers, the audience of appeal, is somc times in a cue to turn over volumes of poetry, sometimes those of theology, and sometimes those of history. The taste of every age includes little things among its toys, or objects of curiosity: but every generation alters its selection of little things about which it is to be interested. Hence the correspondence of men of erudition decays in interest with the lapse of time, and sounds like learned trifling: whereas the corre. spondence of men of talents retains all its original attraction.
The present work consists of three volumes of literary reliques, transcribed from the principal manuscript-treasures of the University of Oxford. In the first volume are contained one hundred and ten private letters from Hickes, Wallis, Creech, Arburthnot, Gale, Carte, and other eminent men who flourished about the period of the Revolution. Some light is thrown on James the Second's visit to Oxford, respecting which we lately spoke in noticing the life of Bishop Hough ; (Rev. for October 1812.) but, in general, the correspondence is disappointingly uninteresting and provokingly uninstructive. The table of contents induces us to read here and to read there, and at length to cut open almost every leaf , and at the end of the task we regret a frivolous loss of time, and an inane lack of amusement. That we may not wholly decide for our readers, we will extract the hundredth letter, p.270.:
Dr. Turner to Dr. CHARLETT.
« On the learned Taylor of Norwich. Good Master,
• Norwich, Mørch 4. 1714. • It was very pleasing to me to read in your last letter of that tegard paid to the merit and industry of Mr. Hearne by the majority of the University in their choice of him to be Superior Beadle of Law and Architypographus. Which places he will be a credit to, and they will afford him brave encouragement, and a good deal of time for his studies. I don't doubt but Dr. Hudson has long since been supplied with a Janitor for the Library, or else the Dean and I should have rentured to have recommended from hence a person who is a surprising
instance of the power of application to books. A taylor * of this town of about 30 years of age, who has within seven years mastered seven languages, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldea, Syriac, Arabic, and Persic. Mr. Professor Ockley being here since Christmas has examined him, and given him an ample testimonial in writing of his skill in the Oriental languages. Our Dean also thinks him very extraordinary. But he is very poor, and his landlord lately seized a Polyglot Bible (which he had made shift to purchase) for rent. But there is care taken to clear his debts; and if a way could be thought of to make him useful, I believe we could get a subscription towards part of his maintenance.'
In the second volume, are contained fifty-two letters from the Bodleian Library and eight from the Ashmolean Museum. These last" are mostly of olier date, but are again very dull, and include fewer eminent names than those in the first volume. The most curious of them is the clixth, from T. Carte to G. Ballard, on the death of Henry VI. Under the inspection of an editor of taste, the entire collection of letters would have been included in a single volume, and have formed a separate work; to which might have been attached, as an appendix, the journies of Hearne to Whaddon-hall, to Reading, and to Silchester. This is the Thomas Hearne on whom Swift wrote the well-known lively epigram.
The more valuable part of this publication begins at p. 200. of the second volume, and consists of a series of short biographies drawn up by John Aubrey. They awaken many anecdotes of celebrated men which have hitherto slumbered, We exhibit as a specimen the life of Bacun.
• Sir FRANCIS Bacon, Kt. • Baron of Verulam, Viscount of St. Alban's, and Lord High
. Chancellor of England. • In his Lordship's prosperity, S'. Fulke Grevil, Lord Brooke, was his great friend and acquaintance, but when he was in disgrace and want, he was so unworthy as to forbid his butler to let him have any more small beer, which he had often sent for, his stomach being nice, and the small beere of Grayes Inne not liking his pallet. This has donne his memorie more dishonour than S. Ph. Sydney's friend. ship engraven on his monument hath donne him honour.
te of Bace hithertowaken in
* His name was Henry Wild. See some account of him in the Gent. Mag. for March 1755. The Memoir of his Life is very dèficient in point of dates; but it appears that he went to Oxford, and on the recommendation of Dr. Prideaux, Dean of Norwich, was employed in the Bodleian Library, in translating, or making extracta from, the Oriental MSS. He removed from Oxford to London, about the year 1720, and lived there under the patronage of Dr. Mead. Int 1734, was published his translation from the Arabic of “ Mahomet's Journey to Heaven," a posthumous work, and the only one of his that was ever printed.'
Richard Earle of Dorset was a great admirer and friend of the L'. Ch. Bacon, and was wont to have Sr. Tho. Billingsley along with him, to remember and to putt down in writing my Lord's sayinges at table. Mr. Ben Jonson was one of his friends and acquaintance, as doeth appeare by his excellent verses on his Lop's birth day, in his ad vol. and in his Vnderwoods, where he gives him a character, and concludes, That about his time, and within his view, were borne all the witts that could honour a nation or help studie. He came often to St. John Danvers at Chelsey. Sir John told me that when his LOP. had wrote the Hist. of Hen. 3. he sent the manuscript copie to him to desire his opinion of it before 'twas printed. Qd. Sir John, Your Lordship knowes that I ain no schollar. 'Tis no matter, said my Lord, I know what a schollar can say; I would know what you can say. Sir John read it, and gave his opinion what he misliked (wch I am sorry I have forgott) wčh my Ld. acknowledged to be true, and mended it. “ Why," said he, “a schollar would never have told me this."
• Mr. Tho. Hobbes (Malmesburiensis) was beloved by his Lo?, who was wont to have him walke with him in his delicate groves, when he did meditate ; and when a notion darted into his mind, Mr. Hobbes was presently to write it downe, and his LOP, was wont to say that he did it better than any one els about him ; for that many times, when he read their notes he scarce understood what they writt, because they understood it not clearly themselves. In short, all that were great and good loved & honoured him. Sir Edward Coke, Ld. Chiefe Justice, alwayes envyed him, and would be undervalueing his lawe. I knew old lawyers that remembred it.
• He was Lord Protector during King James's progresse into Scotland, and gave audience in great state to Ambassadors in the banquetting house at Whitehall. His LOP, would many times have musique in the next roome where he meditated. The Aviary at Yorke house was built by his LOP.; it did cost 300 lib. Every meale, according to the season of the yeare, he had his table strewed with sweet herbes and flowers, which he sayd did refresh his spirits and memorie. When his LOP. was at his country house at Gorhambery, St. Alban's seemed as if the court had been there, so nobly did he live. His servants had liveries with his crest ; his watermen were more imployed by gentlemen than even the king's.
King James sent a buck to him, and he gave the keeper fifty pounds.
• He was wont to say to his servant, Hunt, (who was a notable thrifty man, and loved this world, and the oniy servant he had that he could never gett to become bound for him,) “ The world was made for man (Hunt), and not man for the world.” Hunt left an estate of 1000 lib. per ann. in Somerset.
• None of his servants durst appeare before him without Spanish leather bootes : for he would smell the neates leather, which offended him. **** The East India merchants presented his Lop, with a cabinet of jewells, which his page, Mr. Cockaine, received, and deceived his Lord. REV. AUG, 2814. Bb
· His • His Lordship was a good Poet, but conceal'd, as appeares by his Letters. See excellent verses of his Lop.'s which Mr. Farnaby translated into Greeke, and printed both in his Avgoroyt«, sc. • The world's a bubble, and the life of man,
Less than a span, &c.'
6. Apothegmata. • His Lordship being in Yorke house garden looking on Fishers, as they were throwing their nett, asked them what they would take for their draught; they answered so much : his Lop, would offer them no more but so much. They drew up their nett, and it were only 2 or 3 little fishes, his Lop, then told them, it had been better for them to have taken his offer. They replied, they hoped to have had a better draught; but, said his Lop. “Hope is a good breakfast, but an ill supper."
"When his LOP, was in disfavour, his neighbours hearing how much he was indebted, came to him with a motion to buy Oake-wood of him. His LoP. told them, “ He would not sell his Featbers."
« The Earle of Manchester being removed from his place of Lord . Chiefe Justice of the Comon Pleas to be Lord President of the
Councell, told my Lord (upon his fall) that he was sorry to see him made such an example. Lord Bacon replied, It did not trouble him, since he was made a President.
The Bishop of London did cutt downe a noble cloud of trees at Fulham. The Lord Chancellor told him that he was a good expounder of darke places.
• Upon his being in disfavour, his servants suddenly went away, he compared them to the fiying of the vermin when the house was filling.
One told his Lordship it was now time to look about him. He replyed, « I doe not looke aboni me, I looke above me.”
Sir Julius Caesar, (Master of the Rolles,) sent to his Lol. in his necessity a hundred pounds for a present. His Lordship would often drinke a good draught of strong beer (March beer) to-bed-wards, to lay his working fancy asleep : which otherwise would keepe him from sleeping great part of the night. I remember Sir John Danvers told me, that his Lop. much delighted in his curious garden at Chelsey, and as he was walking there one time, he fell downe in a sowne. My Lady Danvers rubbed his face, temples, &c. and gave him cordiall water: as soon as he came to himselfe, seyd he, “ Madam, I am no good featnak."
Three of his Lordship's servants + kept their coaches, and some kept racharses
i..... His Favourites tooke bribes, but bis Lop. alwayes gare judgement som eam & bat. His Decrees in Chancery stand frases, there are fewer of his decreas reverst, than of any other
• Most of these informations I bare from St John Danvers'
Sor The Meautys Nr.... Basha, M. ... Idney.'