Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

LETTER LXXIX.

To the Rev. THOMAS Birch.

Dear Sir,

Bloomsbury-square, Saturday

Morning, Sept. 28, 1754. I return you thanks for the pleasure which I have had in reading these two books.

I see this instant, in the Public Advertiser, that Dr. Warburton is made King's Chaplain, and enters into waiting immediately. Can you tell me whether this be true? If there be any hazard of finding him at Kensington, I shall not chuse to go thither today. I am, your affectionate humble servant,

M. AKENSIDE. first Play was acted), in which his history lies somewhat open ; but within this period he was a Bricklayer, a Player, a Soldier, and forming himself for a Poet. That he was a Soldier, we have authority from his own words. He had disobliged the officers in his character of Captain Tucca, and finding himself obliged to make an apology for it, he did it in an Epigram at the end of his Poetaster, directed to true Soldiers, in which he says, “I swear by your true Friend, my Muse, I love

Your great Profession, which I once did prove;
And did not shame it with my actions then,

No more than I dare now do with my Pen." Decker, likewise, hints in his Histrio-mastix at our Ben's valour; and his being a Man of the Sword. To say the truth, I am in doubt whether this is levelled at his profession of Solo diership; or at a fatal accident which I am afraid befel Ben ; and which perhaps had better been slipped over in silence.

6. What was the sclary of the Poet Laureate at that time? Wood says 1001. per annum?

I am doubtful of Mr. Wood's authority in this point; but dare not be positive upon the question. Perhaps he might mean thus : An hundred marks in salary, which at 13s. 4d, makes 661. 13s. 4d. and a butt of sack, which has always been commuted at 301. In the whole, 961. 135. 4d.-It is certain, ull after James the First's demise, Ben had but a pension of 100 marks annually; for, in his Petition to Charles I. he set it out so, and entreats the King,

to make Of your Grace, for goodness' sake, Those your Father's Marks, your Pounds.

JOHN

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

JOHN COAKLEY LETTSOM, M.D.

This excellent man was an Israelite without guile, and may truly be said to have carried his heart in his hand. From “ his undeviating friendship,” I have, for nearly half a century,

si derived many of the most grateful and rational enjoyments of my life;” and I can truly assert, that, during this long period, Dr. Lettsom was “ an ornament to society; the liberal friend to merit; and an example of beneficence to every avenue of human distress?" His benevolence was unbounded. To thousands, as well as to myself, he was the happy instrument both of“ gladdening, and of lengthening life.” He was invariably a friend to the indigent, and a comfort to all who were so happy as to possess his friendship, or had occasion for his medical skill. He was equally distinguished for public and private benevolence, and for every species of useful exertion, both in the medical profession, and as a member of society at large.

Dr. Lettsom was born, in December 1744, in a small Island in the Atlantic, near Tortola, called Little Van Dyke*; and was one of a twin.

His ancestors on the father's side originated from Letsom (in Domesday called Ledsom), a small village in Cheshire. On the mother's side they were lineally descended from Sir Cæsar Coakley, an Irish baronet, whose family uniformly possessed a seat in the Parliament of Ireland; the last of whom was Sir Vesey Coakley. Different branches of these families, during the government of Ireton in Ireland, went . to Barbados, in favour of the Commonwealth ; and settled afterwards in different Islands among that

* A view of the House which gave him birth, and its surrounding scenery, is given in Gent. Mag. vol. LXXXV. ii. p. 577. VOL. II. VU

large

large cluster known to us by the name of the Leeward and Windward Islands.

When only six years of age, he was sent to England for education. His future destiny seems to have been determined by the accidental circumstance of his landing at a sea-port where Mr. Fothergill, then a celebrated Preacher among the Quakers, and brother to the distinguished Physician of that name, happened to be on a visit; and he was received into the very same house in which the Preacher lived. By the advice of that excellent man, who conceived a parental affection for him, young

Lettsom was sent to school to Mr. Thompson, uncle to Dr. Gilbert Thompson (afterwards an eminent Physician in London), who was then an assistant in the school; between whom and his pupil an inviolable friendship commenced, which continued in advanced life with unabated fervour. Mr. Thompson's school was in the vicinity of Warrington, where Mr. Fothergill lived; and by this means the superintendance of his education was continued till the period when the law admits of a youth choosing his own guardian, which, in consequence of the death of his father some years before, he did, in the person of his friendly protector. The amiable Pastor accepted the important charge; and placed him, with a view to his future profession, with Mr. Abraham (afterwards Dr.) Sutcliff, of Settle, in Yorkshire, intending, when of

proper age and experience, to recommend him to the patronage of his brother, then in the highest line of practice in the great medical sphere of London.

After leaving Dr. Sutcliff, young Lettsom came to town, and assiduously attended at St. Thomas's Hospital as a dresser. After two years' study and prac. tice in that Hospital, he returned to his native soil, to take possession of a property which came to him by the deaths of his father and elder brother; the latter of whom, having contrived to run through an ample fortune in a few years, left very little of the family estate to be inherited by his successor,

1

« ZurückWeiter »