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For Mr. PETER DES MAIZEAUX. DEAR SIR, Newarke, May 22, 1736. Along with this you receive the Emendations on Paterculus, which I beg the favour of you to get inserted in the Bibliotheque Britannique. I hope they may be inserted all together in one part, for I think they will not make above 40 pages. I have inscribed them to the Bishop of Chichester*, to whom I have great obligations.
Inclosed you will find the bit of French gold, which I beg you will be so good as to accept as a small mark of my esteem and friendship for you.
Dear Sir, if you will do me the favour to let me hear from you now and then, at your leisure, the state of your health, and what news is stirring in the literary world, believe me no greater pleasure or honour can be done to, dear Sir, your most affectionate and most obliged humble servant,
For Mr. PETER DES MAIZEAUX.
August 16, 1736. I received the Bibliotheques Britanniques by Mr. Giles, which you was so good as to procure for me. It is but an ill way, I confess, of making my apology for the trouble I gave you, by putting you
to more; but I should be much obliged to you, for letting me know the price of Montfaucon's Cata
* Dr. Francis Hare, under the abbreviation of F. E. C. by whom he had been recommended to Queen Caroline. They were inserted accordingly, in the seventh volume of that work, for July, August, and September, 1736, and occupy the pages from No. 256 to 294.
logue of MSS. if it be yet published, because I would buy it.
Not having had the honour of hearing from you otherwise than by Mr. Gyles, and knowing how much you are afflicted with the rheumatism, I was much apprehensive for your health : there being no one who more truly esteems and honours you, than,
Dear Sir, your most obedient and most obliged humble servant,
For Mr. Peter Des MAIZEAUX.
Newarke, Sept. 16, 1738. I had the pleasure of hearing of your health by Mr. Gyles, in a letter I lately received from him. I find I am indebted to you for the favour of the last Bibliotheque Britannique, which he tells me you was so good as to leave at his shop for me. I hope he sent you one of my Sermons which I published this summer, and that it met with your approbation.
Pray what news is there in the learned world : Will you favour us with a Supplement to Bayle, of the English Learned? That news would be a great pleasure to me. What think you of our new set of Fanatics, called the Methodists? I have seen Whitefield's Journal; and he appears to me to be as mad as ever George Fox the Quaker was. These are very fit Missionaries, you will say, to propagate the Christian faith among Infidels. There is another of them, one Wesley, who came over from the same mission. He told a friend of mine, that he had lived most deliciously the last summer in Georgia, sleeping under trees, and feeding on boiled maize, sauced with the ashes of oak leaves ; that he will return thither, and then will cast off his English dress, and wear a dried skin, like the savages, the better to
ingratiate himself with them. It would be well for Virtue and Religion, if this humour would lay hold ġenerally of our overheated bigots, and send them to cool themselves in the Indian Marshes.
I fancy that Venn and Webster would make a very entertaining as well as proper figure in a couple of bear-skins, and marching in this terror of equipage like the Pagan priests of Hercules of old:
Jamque Sacerdotes primusque Politius ibant,
Pellibus in morem cincti, flammasque ferebant. Dear Sir, do me the favour to believe that nothing can be more agreeable than the hearing of you, but the hearing from you; and that I am your very affectionate and obliged humble servant,
*** The Collection of Letters to Mr. Des Maizeaux, from which those of Mr. Warburton are extracted, principally written by persons of considerable literary eminence, fills nine large volumes; (see Ayscough's Catalogue, 4281–4289). - A Letter or two from Mr. Des Maizeaux to Mr. Birch will be found in a future page of this volume.
ORIGINAL LETTERS FROM WARBURTON
TO THE Rev. THOMAS BIRCH *.
To the Rev. Mr. Thomas Birch, in St. John's
Lane, Clerkenwell, London.
Newarke, Aug. 4, 1736. I RECEIVED the very agreeable favour of yours of the 15th past, which I should have acknowledged much sooner, had not a journey of ten days, from which I am just now returned, prevented me.
You may freely command me in any thing you may imagine me capable of serving you, towards the perfecting the very useful work you are engaged in t. What I could supply you with in any
* Of these Letters (the Originals of which are preserved in the British Museum, Birch MSS. 4320.) several Extracts were given by the late Rev. H. P. Maty in his “ New Review," and thence transplanted into various parts of the “Literary Anecdotes.” But the entire Letters of Bp. Warburton, whose habit it was to speak boldly of men and things, and not to spare even his most intimate friends, should not be withheld from the world, They disclose many particulars in the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century at present unknown ; and the persons to whom he alludes are too far removed from the present scene of action to be affected either by his censure or applause.
+ This “ useful work," the first of any consequence in which Mr. Birch engaged, was, “ The General Dictionary, Historical and Critical ;” wherein a new translation of that of the celebrated Mr. Bayle was included ; and which was interspersed with several thousand lives never before published. It was on the 29th of April, 1734, that Mr. Birch, in conjunction with the Rev. Mr. John Peter Bernard, and Mr. Jobn Lockman, agreed with the Booksellers to carry on this important undertaking ; and Mr. George Sale was employed to draw up the articles relating
article would rather relate to the character of the man as a Writer, and of his Writings, than to any particulars of his Life.
As to Ben Jonson, I take it to be as you say, that his Life is very defectively and inconsistently told; but, not having any of his Historians by me, it is impossible for me to say any thing on that head much to your purpose. And I conceive that neither in that article, nor any other, could I be of use to you, unless I had the article as you have drawn it up to peruse, or your particular queries on what sticks with you, to answer. And this the rather, because not having had an opportunity to see the numbers of your Work as they came out, I can but imperfectly judge, from the extreme few articles I can see, and which I highly approve, of the taste in which you carry them on; whether you confine yourself in an Historical manner to the text after the way of Mr. Des Maizeaux in his Lives of Chillingworth and Hobbes: or whether, in the cast of Bayle, you give a loose to any moral, philosophic, or philologic reflection, that can be started out of the circumstances of the text.
I beg you, dear Sir, to believe that I esteem your correspondence as a great honour; and shall be always proud of your commands, and of using every opportunity of shewing how much I am, dear Sir, Your very affectionate and most obedient humble servant,
to Oriental History. The whole design was completed in ten volumes, folio; the first of which appeared in 1734, and the last in 1741. It is universally allowed, that this work contains a very extensive and useful body of biographical knowledge. We are not told what were the particular articles written by Mr. Birch ; but there is no doubt of his having executed a great part of the Dictionary: neither is it any disparagement to his co-adjutors, to say, that he was superior to thein in abilities and reputation, with the exception of Mr. Sale, who was, without controversy, peculiarly qualified for the department he had undertaken. See p. 19.