« ZurückWeiter »
Dr. N. FORSTER to Mr. BIRCH *.
C. C. C. Feb. 1, 1753. In answer to the favour of yours, I have to desire you to present my respects to Mr. Yorke; and to acquaint him that I shall with great pleasure endeavour to execute the commissions with which he has honoured me, to the best of my power.
There is, as far as I can yet learn, but one MS. of Pliny in Oxford, viz. in Baliol College Library.
The Letter, which I apprehend Mr. Yorke would have transcribed, is one from the Hague, dated the 3d of August 1615, to King James, containing the answer of the States to a proposition made by the King, and an account of the causes of the delay of the treaty, and of a project formed by Sir Henry himself for settling the affair of Juliers, &c. But, as I would willingly leave no room for mistake in the affair, a line from you in answer to this question will oblige, Sir, your most obedient and humble servant,
N. FORSTER. P.S. The chief thing that occasions my doubt is, that there is no appearance of a vindication of himself in that Letter. There is indeed another, relating to the surprize of Wesel, in which he vindicates himself from some aspersions relating to it.
To Dr. N. FORSTER.
Feb. 3, 1753 Mr. Yorke thinks himself highly obliged for your kindness to comply with his requests; and would now beg that you would procure copies of both the Letters of Sir Henry Wotton mentioned by you : for, though that relating to the surprize of Wesel was that he meant, yet, as that of the 3d of August 1615, will probably give light to the other, he is desirous of both. With his and my own compliments, I am, &c.
T. BIRCH. * Birch MSS. 4307.
EXTRACTS OF ORIGINAL LETTERS *
FROM MR. WARBURTON TO MR. JORTIN.
[1749.] You tell me you have had reasons to decline a City Living. I can conceive no good one, but that
* Originally printed by Mr. Maty in his “ New Review;" but, from obvious reasons, the name of Dr. Jortin was then studiously concealed. Mr. Maty's sister was the wife of Dr. Jortin's son. This led to the communication; which Mr. Maty thus introduces : “ A Friend, who was pleased with my last Extracts from the Correspondence between Bp. Warburton and Dr. Birch, having been kind enough to communicate to me some more Manuscript Letters of the Bishop, with a desire that I should use them at my discretion ; I have great pleasure in conveying these to the publick; as I am convinced they will do honour to that great man, whose philanthropy, greatness of mind, and true spirit of Christian toleration, will never appear in a more striking light than they do in these private memorials; which, I am persuaded, could he look down from those regions, where,
His tears, his little triumphs o'er,
Save charity that glows beyond the grave, he would not be offended at the publication of them. When I say this, I do not mean to flatter him, or any of his surviving friends, for some of whom I profess great respect. He certainly had his faults; but, besides that none of them appear in my publication (except his openness of speech, and his manly pleasantry about fools, for which I reverence him, may be deemed such), they are such as all the world has long been acquainted with. They are, indeed, so notorious, that, if it had been my intention to depreciate his character in an Ana, I should not have had recourse to private letters, but have compiled it out of his works, or the five hundred stories of him about town. As to the boldness of his judgments about literary characters, and particularly his saying that Sir Isaac Newton did not understand Egyptian Antiquities, that Clarke wanted sagacity, and that Markland and Taylor were no great criticks; what are they more than Voltaire's not liking Shakespeare, Scaliger's prefering the Æneid to the Iliad,
you are going to Court *. If you be, I will give you the saine farewell that Bucholeer, an honest dull German, gave to one of his friends who was making that journey: Fidem Diabolorum tibi commendo, &c.
Bleterie's Life is indeed a very elegant one, and writ with much candour and irnpartiality. He is no deep man in the learning of those times, but bis good sense generally enables him to seize the right. It is no wonder he should be imposed on by when the gross body of our Parsons are his dupes. Butas Trinculo, who wants to carry Caliban into England, observes that any thing there makes a Man, so any thing makes a Divine among our Parsons. Our real Scholars and Divines, the magnanimi heroes, nati melioribus annis, have made our Learning venerated abroad. Our traders in letters have taken advantage of that prejudice, and puff off all their miserable trash as master-pleces, even to that infamous rhapsody called The Universal History. And the deceit was easy. It was impossible for foreigners to suspect that our body of readers are tinkers, coblers, and carmen ; so that when they saw the impatience of this learned publick so great that they would not stay for a whole book, but devour it sheet by sheet and my (who am neither a Scaliger, nor a Warburton, nor yet, thank God, a Voltaire) falling asleep over Don Quixote—which, I publish now to the world, I often do, that it may not be a novelty in my manuscripts! Valeant omnia hæc quantum valere possunt. For what I know, the Bishop may be perfectly in the right in all those assertions ; or, as the French say, there may be from more to less in it; or, if we may not say either of these without risking the reputation of our own critical acumen, it is only saying with Markland (who seeins to have been a very amiable man, whatever kind of Critick he was) in a letter before me about Reiske's atrocious false quantities, ' We differ from him in innumerable things, as every man does from every man!""
* A City Living was offered to bim, in July or Angrist 1749, by Lord Chancellor Hardwicke; but it was so sma!, as at that time not to be worth his acceptance.
from the press, they conceived something very ex:quisite in what was so impatiently snatched at: for
we are under the unavoidable necessity, in our general judgment of things, to estimate of foreign ware according to the sale and demand of it; and if our worst books (as they do) sell best at home, they will be known and read abroad. I believe I could give you a long list of capital English books, that were never heard of on the Continent, farther than their titles to be found in some brave dull German Catalogue.
Have you read the octavo Book, addressed to the Convocation, for mending the Bible and the Liturgy
*? I am much edified by the Christian spirit in which their demands for reformation are made; but a more wretched farrago of ignorance and trifling when they play the critick (which now-a-days is only another word for playing the fool) I never saw.
Perhaps your comparison of Printers to Taylors is more pat than you intended : for why can't you get your cloaths from a rascally Taylor, but because he is working for half a dozen fops in the fashion ? And why can't you get your sheets from the Printer, but because he is working upon Newspapers, Journals, and Magazines, the delight of the town, and the daily bread of town scribblers?
You mention John of Antioch, with two writers contemporary to the fact, Ambrose and Gregory Nazianzen; but I suppose he did not live till the fifth or sixth century. One thing I find recorded of him is, that, like many of our modern Bishops, he was not known or heard of till after his consecration. His modesty does him honour with me; therefore I
“ Free and Candid Disquisitions, 1749."
should be glad to know what this respectable person says about this matter; if he says any thing particular: for, to tell you the truth, I did not find him in my brief, as the Lawyers say ; but I suspect him to be a shag-rag. - Another thing I beg of you is, to transcribe for me (if you can catch him) Ruffinus's testimony. He is such a vagabond, I cannot lay hands on him ; I suppose him skulking in some Bibliotheca Patrum. As for that forlorn hope, Theodoret, Philostorgius, Nicephoras, and Theophanes, I shall put them where they can do no hurt; as to good, little is to be expected from such poltroons, who are ready to run away to the enemy *.
* In nearly the whole of these Letters to Mr. Jortin, as well as those to Dr. Forster, Julian is the leading article of enquiry. In truth, this was one of the most laboured of all his works ; and his anxiety respecting it ceased not even after its publication. In a Letter addressed to Dr. Balguy, Jan. 17, 1751-2, he says, • They tell me there are some remarks published against my Julian. I do not know the nature of them, nor ever shall. That matter interests every Clergyman, that is to say, every Christian, in England, as much as myself
. Besides, I give my sentiments to the publick, and there is an end. If any body will oppose them, he has my leave. If any body will defend them, he has my thanks. I propound them freely: I explain them as clearly, and enforce them as strongly, as I can. I think I owe no more either to myself or truth. I am sure I owe no more to the publick. Besides, I know a little (as you will see by the new edition of the first and second volumes of The Divine Legation) how to correct myself ; so have less needs of this assistance from others ; which you will better understand, when you see that I have not received the least assistance from the united endeavours of that numerous band of answerers, who have spared no free loms in telling me of my faults." — Again, May 12, 1752: “ I think you judge rightly of the effects of Lord Bolingbroke's writings, as well as of their character. As to his Discourse on the Canon of Scripture, I think it below all criticism, though it had mine. He mentions (and I believe, with good faith) that foolish rabbinical tale of Esdras' restoring the whole lost canon by Inspiration : and argues from it. However, the redoubtable pen of Sykes, though now worn to the stump, is drawn upon him; or, at least, threatened to be drawn. He threatened, too, to draw it upon poor Julian. but he left the execution to another. And who do you think that other proves ? Somebody or other, by far more curious than myself, would unearth this vermin: and he is found to be one