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Chief Justice Parker; through whose recommendation of him to Dr. Bentley, the Master of Trinity College, he obtained a fellowship.
Pearce entered into Holy Orders in 1717, and became Lord Parker's chaplain ; two years after he was appointed to the rectory of Stapleford Abbots, in Essex, and in 1720 to that of St. Bartholomew, by the Royal Exchange, London. Through the interest of his patron (then Earl of Macclesfield) he was presented to St. Martin's in the Fields, in 1723, and received the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1724. In 1739 he was made Dean of Winchester; in 1748 Bishop of Bangor; and in 1756 Bishop of Rochester, and Dean of Westminster. He had held these dignities about seven years, when the pressure of age and infirmity induced him to solicit permission to resign them; but his application having been made through Lord Bath, the jealousy of the ministers, who apprehended his Lordship had a successor ready to be nominated, embarrassed the King, and prevented him from allowing the see to be vacated. Five years afterwards he was permitted to resign the Deanery. In 1773 he lost his wife, after an union of fifty-two years : he survived her but a short time, dying on January 29, 1774, aged eighty-four.
Besides his edition of “Cicero de Oratore,” he published “An Account of Trinity College, Cambridge;" a “Letter to the Clergy of the Church of England, on the occasion of the Bishop of Rochester's commitment to the Tower ;' an edition of “Longinus ;” an “ Essay on the Origin and progress of Temples,” printed with a “Sermon preached at the Consecration of St. Martin's Church ;" the “Miracles of Jesus vindicated,” in answer to Woolston; and “Two Letters against Dr. Conyers Middleton, relating to his attack on Waterland.” He also, in 1733, rescued the text of Milton from the absurdities of Bentley, in his “ Review of the Text of Paradise Lost," which Dr. Newton characterises as “a pattern to all future critics; and in 1745 he published an edition of “Cicero de Officiis.”
It is remarkable that Dr. Pearce is the only person from whom Johnson acknowledges having received any assistance in the compilation of his Dictionary; this assistance, however, extended only to about twenty etymologies, which Pearce sent to him anonymously. The Posthumous Works of Pearce were edited, in 1777, in two volumes 4to., by the Rev. Mr. Derby, and dedicated to the King. The Dedication was written by Johnson, who retained a respectful and grateful remembrance of the obligation, though a slight one, which Pearce had conferred upon him. These volumes consist of “A Commentary, with notes, on the four Evangelists, and the Acts of the Apostles,” and “A New Translation of St. Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians, and a paraphrase and notes.” Dr. Pearce was a profound scholar, an acute and judicious critic, an amiable man, and a sincere christian: he lived respected and beloved ; and his life was as useful and as honourable as it was protracted.
Henry MARTYN was the son of Edward Martyn, Esq., of Melksham, Wilts. He was bred to the Bar, but bad health prevented his prosecuting his professional duties. In 1713 he took a prominent part in writing "The British Merchant, or Commerce preserved,” a paper opposing the ratification of the Treaty of Commerce made with France at the Peace of Utrecht; being an answer to Daniel De Foe's “Mercator, or Commerce Retrieved.” The Treaty was rejected ; and Martyn was rewarded by being made Inspector General of the Customs. He died at Blackheath, March 25, 1721, leaving one son, who was afterwards Secretary to the Commissioners of Excise.
It is probable that Martyn contributed many papers to the “Spectator," although now only one is directly ascribed in him. Steele (Spectator, No. 555) places bim at the head of his correspondents
, and pays him this very marked compliment. “The first I am going to name can hardly be mentioned in a list wherein he would not deserve the precedence.” We have no further record of Martyn, except the interesting portrait drawn of him by Steele in No. 143, of the “Spectator.”_"Poor Cottilus (so named, it has been supposed, from his house at Blackheath, which he terined his “Cot'), among so many real evils, a chronical distemper, and a narrow fortune, is never heard to complain. That equal spirit of his, which any man may have, that, like him, will conquer pride, vanity, and affectation, and follow nature, is not to be broken, because it has no points to contend for. To be anxious for nothing but what
nature demands as necessary, if it is not the way to an estate, is the way to what men aim at by getting an estate. This temper will preserve health in the body as well as tranquillity in the mind. Cottilus sees the world in a hurry with the same scorn that a sober person sees a man drunk."
John Byrom was the younger son of a Linen-draper at Kersall, near Manchester, and was born in 1691. He was sent to Merchant Taylors' School, in London; and, at the age of sixteen, being found qualified for the University, he was admitted a pensioner of Trinity College, Cainbridge. He took his degree of Master of Arts, and in 1714 was elected Fellow, and became a great favourite with the master, Dr. Bentley.
It was in this year that he began his contributions to the “Spectator;" all compositions of decided merit: the most celebrated of thein is the pastoral poem of “Colin to Phæbe,” written, it is said, in compliment to Joanna, daughter of Dr. Bentley, which has maintained its popularity to the present day. Its effect is, however, somewhat marred by the ludicrous air of some passages, which detract from the simplicity and elegance of the whole. In 1716 he went to Montpelier for the benefit of his health, and resided there some time. On his return he began to practise as a physician in London; but he took no degree, and soon abandoned the scheme, in consequence of his forming a strong attachment to his cousin, Elizabeth Byrom, who, with her sister, had come up from Manchester on some business of their father, Mr. Joseph Byrom. Byrom followed the lady on her return home, and married her, in opposition to the will of her parents, who objected to the union on account of his straitened circumstances
His uncle utterly discarded him: and Byrom, having expended all his little store, was thrown entirely upon his own exertions for subsistence. He had, while at Cambridge, invented a new system of Short Hand; and this he now began to teach in Manchester, with signal success. Re-visiting London, he also there met with great encouragement; and (having obtained a decided victory over a rival professor, named Weston, who had challenged him to a trial of skill,) he soon was enabled to derive a very handsome income from his numerous pupils; amongst whom was the celebrated Earl of Chesterfield, and many other persons of rank and eminence. For several years he regularly pursued his avocations; in London during the winter months, and during the summer in Manchester, where his wife and family continued to reside. In 1723 he was admitted into the Royal Society as a Fellow; and No. 488 of the Transactions contains a paper of his writing, On the Elements of Short Hand.
His elder brother dying about this time, without issue, Býrom succeeded to the family estate, and was at once placed in ease and affluence. He fixed his residence in the country; and, from occasionally amusing himself in writing verses, the babit seems to have grown upon him almost to a degree of mania: every subject he took in hand, whether tragic, comic, religious, antiquarian, controversial, moral, or literary, was dealt with in rhyme; the general quality of which may be estimated by Mr. Pegge's remark upon Byron's Metrical Challenge, respecting the identity of St. George of Cappadocia with the patron of the Order of the Garter. “My late worthy friend, Mr. Byrom, has delivered his sentiments on this subject in a metrical garb; for, I presume, we can scarcely call it a poetical one.”
Of his pieces, the best are his poems on “ Enthusiasm," and on the “Immortality of the Soul ;" his “Careless Content," and the popular tale of “ The Three Black Crows." He died September 28th, 1763, in the 72nd year of his age, having lived in general estimation as a man of respectable talents, and great industry: humane, virtuous, and devout.
JONATHAN SWIFT (the posthumous son of Jonathan Swift, an Attorney, and Steward to the Society of King's Inns, Dublin,) was born in that city on November 30, 1667. His grandfather, the Rev. Thomas Swift, Vicar of Goodrich, in Herefordshire, had suffered severely in his fortune by his adherence to Charles I., and left a family of twelve or thirteen children very slenderly provided for. Four of his sons settled in Ireland; the eldest of whom, Godwin (Attorney General for the Palatinate of Tipperary), for some years supplied the means of subsistence to the widow and orphan children of his brother. It is supposed, however, that this was not done very graciously; for Swift seems to have entertained little respect for his memory : while, on the contrary, he always spoke in terms of reverence and affection of his uncle Dryden Swift; who, after Godwin's death, took upon himself the maintenance of the destitute family.
When six years old, Swift was sent to the school of Kilkenny; and, when fourteen, was admitted a Pensioner into Trinity College, Dublin. His studies and pursuits were not of a kind suited to forward his views of advancement in this seat of learning; he had conceived a strong dislike to Logic, and entirely disregarded it, although it was at that time deemed of paramount importance : and this, together with his irregularities and insubordination, threw great difficulty in the way of his obtaining a Bachelor's degree, which was at last conferred by a Special Grace. The disgrace he had thus incurred seems to have only tended to exasperate and render him callous : for, in March, 1686, he was publicly admonished for notorious neglect of his duties, and in November, 1688, he was suspended for insolent conduct to the Junior Dean, and for exciting dissension in the College.
In 1688 he quitted Dublin ; and, coming over to England, visited his mother, who was then residing in Leicestershire. By her advice he addressed himself to Sir William Temple (whose wife was related to the family), and succeeded in obtaining his patronage; the immediate advantage of which was the opportunity it afforded him of prosecuting his studies upon a scale which he seems to have adopted as a penance for his previous dereliction of duty. His application now was most intense and severe, and the extensive knowledge he thus acquired soon raised him in the estimation, and gained him the confidence, of his patron. He was admitted to the private interviews of King William and Temple, when the former honoured Moor Park with his presence; and frequently, when Sir William happened to be confined by the gout, was deputed to attend his Majesty in his walks about the grounds. It was on these occasions that the King taught Swift the Dutch method of cutting asparagus, and (Swift, probably, having hinted at his precarions circumstances,) offered to make him a Captain of Horse. Swift's hopes and expectations, however, were fixed upon Church preferment; and in 1692 he went to Oxford to take his degree of Master of Arts, and met with a reception there which highly gratified him.
It is possible that Sir William Temple, anxious to retain Swift about him, thought to accomplish his aim by keeping him in a state of dependence: but it is certain that Swift became impatient, and when, after frequent application and remonstrance, he was at last offered a situation in the Irish Rolls of about £100 a year, he rejected it with disdain, and immediately quitted Moor Park for Ireland, with the intention of taking Holy Orders. To this end, a reference to Temple, as to his conduct, was necessary; and it has been thought that Sir Wil. liam, feeling that he had dealt ungenerously by him, in addition to the usual testimonial, forwarded some direct recommendations; for Swift obtained Deacons' Orders in October, 1694, Priests' Orders in January, 1695, and, immediately afterwards, the Prebend of Kilroot, worth about £100 a year. He was scarcely settled, when he received an invitation from Temple to return to him : he did return ; and was thenceforth treated, not as the needy dependent, but as the respected and confidential friend. Four years passed in an uninterrupted intercourse of esteem and friendship between them, when the death of Temple, in January, 1698-9, threw Swift upon the worla, to gain by his own energies the provision which patronage had failed to bestow on him. He edited the literary remains of Temple, and dedicated them to the King, reminding him at the same time, by a petition, of a promise he had made him of a Prebend at Canterbury or Westminster: but his efforts were unavailing, and he relinquished his attendance upon the Court in disgust. Further disappointments awaited him: Lord Berkeley (one of the Lords Justices of Ireland) had invited bim to become his Secretary and Chaplain, and he had accepted the invitation ; but was quickly superseded in the former office by a Mr. Bushe, who procured it for himself. Lord Berkeley, by way of amends, promised him the first living of value that should be at his disposal; but, when the Deanery of Derry became vacant, Swift found that Mr. Bushe had again forestalled him, and that he could only obtain it by the payment of £1000 to Bushe. His anger towards both the Judge and his Secretary was extreme: he instantly threw up his Chaplainship, and took his leave of thein in these words: “God confound you both for a couple of scoundrels.” Lord Berkeley soon became apprehensive of the consequences which might arise from the hatred and scorn of a man like Swift, who, from time to time, continued to attack him with all the bitterness of satire ; and he endeavoured to pacify him by presenting him with the Rectory of Agher, and the Vicarages of Laracor and Rathbiggan. In 1700 the Prebend of Dunlavin was added to these, and the whole produced an income of £400 per annum. Having taken possession of his living at Laracor, he was at great pains in repairing and improving the Vicarage house and grounds; he added nineteen acres to the Glebe, and purchased the Tithes of Effernock, with which he endowed the living. But Swift was not long to remain in inactive obscurity : the impeachment of Lords Somers, Oxford, and others, on account of the Partition Treaty, induced him to come forward as a political writer, in “ A Discourse upon the Dissensions between the Nobles and Commons in Athens and Rome.” The pamphlet excited much attention; and Somers, Halifax, and Sunderland took him at once into familiarity and confidence. He now made frequent journeys to London, associated with the Wits at Button's Coffee-house, and formed an intimacy and friendship with several of them, more particularly with Addison, Steele, and Arbuthnot. His celebrity was greatly enhanced by the publication, in 1694, of the “ Tale of a Tub;" which, although he never openly acknowledged it, was by general consent attributed to him.
In the summer of 1709, wearied with attendance upon the Ministry, having been alternately flattered by the prospect of promotion, and irritated and disgusted by neglect and disappointment, he quitted London, and resumed his retirement at Laracor. In 1710 he was united with the Bishops of Ossory and Killaloe, in a Commission from the Prelates of Ireland, to prosecute their suit for a remission of the first-fruits and twentieths. · On this visit he separated entirely from the Whigs, and manifested in the strongest manner his contempt and hatred of their leaders, Somers and Godolphin, for having insolently considered his services sufficiently reqnited by mere civilities. By his own avowal, he had been a Whig in general politics only; in what related to the dignity and influence of the Church, the points nearest his heart, he had always sided with the Tories : and now, aggravated as he was by the neglect and ingratitude of the opposite party, it is not surprising that he at once threw himself into their arms. Hariey, who, smarting under similar ill-treatment, had made head against the Whigs, and succeeded in driving them from power, was aware of the value of such an adherent as Swift: he and his colleague, Bolingbroke, received him most cordially, and he at once became their associate and counsellor. Swift, already in much esteem as a political writer, brought into action the whole artillery of his eloquence, wit, and sarcasm, in aid of his new patrons : he wrote a large portion of the “Examiner” (of which he undertook the Editorship), and pnbblished numerous poems, papers, and pamphlets. The most remarkable of these last were the “ Conduct of the Allies” (of which 11,000 copies were sold in less than a month), and the “Public Spirit of the Whigs,” which gave such offence to the Scotch that, through the interference of the Lords, a proclamation was issued, offering £300 reward, for the discovery of the author. Notwithstanding his important and influential position, Swift received no recompense until April, 1713, when he was promoted to the Deanery of St. Patrick's, Dublin.
He had scarcely taken possession of his new dignity, when he was re-called from Ireland, for the purpose of allaying the dissensions which had arisen between Harley and Bolingbroke; his efforts to effect a reconciliation failed ; and he retired into Berkshire, where he wrote “Some Free Thoughts upon the present State of Affairs ;” and shortly after, the death of Queen Anne deprived his friends of their power, and him of his political influence. He immediately quitted England ; and, during six years, continued in retirement and comparative obscurity.
In 1720 he published “A Proposal for the universal Use of Irish Manufactures,” in which be sought to persuade bis countrymen to reject English manufactures, and to wear none but their own. The pamphlet created a great sensation, and the Printer was prosecuted : the Jury having declared him Not Guilty, were detained eleven hours, and sent out of court to re-consider their verdict nine times; and at last left the question undecided by giving a Special Verdict. The further trial, after repeated delays, was set asiile by a Noli Prosequi ; and Swift may be said to have obtained a complete victory. This he followed up by persecuting