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thedral there. He afterwards went to London, where he improved himself under eminent masters, and se turned to teach music at the place of his nativity. At length, in 1777, he was appointed organist of Exeter cathedral.
In 1782 he rose at once into literary fame by the publication of “ Thirty Letters on various Subjects," 2 vols. 12mo. These principally consisted of Essays on the Belles Lettres, and evinced taste, learning, vivacity, originality, and even genius.
His celebrity in musical composition had already been widely extended, and he now held a considerable rank amongst authors.
In 1798 he published “ The Four Ages; together with Essays on various subjects. By William Jackson, of Exeter.” 8vo. pp. 454. Printed for Cadell and Davies.
This work consisted of so much instructive, original, and entertaining matter, that it added much to the author's well-earned fame. It contained however some opinions on religion not sufficiently considered, and which gave offence to serious readers.
His account of Gainsborough the painter, will exhibit a characteristic and interesting specimen.
Gainsborough, the painter. “In the early part of my life I became acquainted with Thomas Gainsborough, the painter; and as his character was perhaps better known to me, than to any other person, I will endeavour to divest myself of every partiality, and speak of him, as he really was. I am the rather induced to this, by seeing accounts of
him and his works given" by people, who were unaca quainted with either; and, consequently, have been mistaken in both.
“ Gainsborough's profession was painting, and music was his amusement; yet, there were times when music seemed to be his employment, and painting his diversion. As his skill in music has been celebrated, . 1 will, before I speak of him as a painter, 'mention what degree of merit hé possessed as a musician.
" When I first knew him he lived at Bath, where Giardini had been exhibiting his then unrivalled powers on the violin.' His excellent performance made Gainsborough enamoured of that instrument; and conceiving, like the servant-maid in the Spectator, that the music lay in the fiddle, he was frantic until he possessed the very instrument which had given hini 50 much pleasure; but seemed much surprised that the music of it remained behind with Giardini!
"He had scarcely recovered this shock (for it was a great one to him)'when he heard Abel on the viol-digamba. The violin was hung on the willow-Abel's viol-di-ganiba was purchased, and the house resounded with melodious thirds and fifths from morn to dewy eve!' many an Adagio and many a minuet were begun, but none completed. This was wonderful, as it was Abel's own instrument, and therefore ought to have produced Abel's own music!
Fortunately, my friend's passion had now a fresh object-Fischer’s hautboy—but I do not recollect that . he deprived Fischer of his instrument; and though hè. procured a hautboy, I never heard him make the least. attempt on it. Probably his ear was too delicate to VOL. IV.
bear the disagreeable sounds which necessarily attend the first beginnings on a wind-instrument. He seemed to content himself with what he heard in public, and getting Fischer to play to him in private, not on the hauiboy but the violin; but this was a profound secret, for Fischer knew that his reputation was in danger if he pretended to excel on two instruments.
“ The next time I saw Gainsborough, it was in the character of King David. He had heard a harper at Bath; the performer was soon left harpless; and now Fischer, Abel, and Giardini, were all forgotten; there was nothing like chords and arpeggios! He really stuck to the harp long enough to play several airs with variations, and, in a little time, would nearly have exhausted all the pieces usually performed on an instrument in. capable of modulation, (this was not a pedal-harp) when another visit from Abel brought him back to the viol-di-gamba.
“He now saw the imperfection of sudden sounds that instantly die away. If you wanted a staccato, it was to be had by a proper management of the bow, and you might also have notes as long as you please. The viol-di-gamba is the only instrument, and Abel the prince of musicians.
“ This, and occasionally a little flirtation with the fiddle, continued some years; when, as ill luck would have it, he heard Crossdill; but, by some irregularity of conduct, for which I cannot account, he neither took up, nor bought the violoncello. All his passion for the bass was vented in descriptions of Crosdill's tone and bowing, which was rapturous and enthusiastic to the last degree.' P. 147. See Brit. Crit. XIII. p. 533.
* In this way he frittered away his musical talents ; and though possessed of ear, taste, and genius; he never had application enough to learn his notes. He scorned to take the first step; the second was of course out of his reach; and the gummit became unattainable.”
Mr. Jackson died at Exeter, 12 July, 1803. Thomas Jackson, Esq. now or lately Minister Plenipotentiary to Sardinia, is, I believe, one of his sons.
ART. XIX. CAPT. EDWARD THOMPSON.
Edward Thompson was son of a merchant at Hull, in Yorkshire, where he was born about 1738. He was educated at Beverley, under the Rev Mr. Clarke, and thence removed to Hampstead, under the care of Dr. Cox. He early embraced a maritime life, and in 1750 sailed on a voyage to Greenland. In 1754 he was engaged on board an Indiaman, and became what is called “a Guinea Pig:” though other accounts. say, that he went to the East Indies with Sir Peter Dennis, on board the Dorsetshire, and was in the memorable action off Quiberon Bay. By his “Sailor's Letters," it appears he was at Madras, Ceylon, and Bengal, of which he has given descriptions, that shew the accuracy of his observation, and the cultivation of his talents.
In 1755 he returned to England; where in November we find him on board ihe Sterling-Castle in the Downs. In 1756 he sailed from Portsmouth to New York, and thence to Antigua; and arriving the following year in . P. 154. See Brit. Crit. XIII. P. 533.
England, he was promoted to be a lieutenant, and appointed to the Jason, which was sent over to Embden with Brudenell's Regiment to reinforce the garrison. In 1758 he sailed in the Dorsetshire to Lisbon, and in 1759, cruising between the Bay of Biscay and the chops of the channel, was engaged in Hawke's celebrated battle with Conflans. In 1761 he sailed in the Bellona.
The peace, that ensucd, left his active mind at leisure to cultivate literature. A poem of a temporary nature procured him the acquaintance of Churchill, whose whig principles he strenuously cherished. At this time be lived in a small house in Kew-lane; whence in 1754 he produced a poem called “ The Soldier, which was well received. He then retired for some time to Scotland, where he meditated a professional work, which he never executed.
In 1965, he published " The Courtezan," a poem, 4to. and “The Demirep," a poem, 4to. In 1767, he prodaced his “ Sailor's Letters, written during his Voyages in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, from 1754 to 1759.” In 1769, he commanded the Tartuffe cutter, off the coast of Scotland.
He had during this period written many political and dramatic pieces, which recommended him to the notice of Garrick; and Garrick, through bis intimacy with Sir Edward Hawke, procured him a master and commander's warrant in 1771; and in the following year, Sir Peter Denis, commanding in the Mediterranean, made him post into the Niger.
But before this he had edited “ The Works of Old. ham,” 3 vols. 1771; a collection of fugitive pieces