« AnteriorContinuar »
on his elevation to the see of Armagh, took his former associate with him to Ireland, as bis Secretary, and obtained for him a seat in the House of Commons. In 1726 he was appointed Ser:retary to the Lord Chancellor, and in 1733 he became a Judge of the Prerogative Court. Philips continued in Ireland until 1718, when, desirous of spending the remainder of his days in England, he purchased an annuity of £400, and returned to London. He had just completed a re-publication of his Poems, when he was seized with paralysis, and died June 18, 1749, in his seventy-eighth year. Philips is reported to have been a worthy man, but ludicrously solemn in demeanour, and grandiloquent in his conversation. Of his productions, the “Winter Scene,” above noticed, the “Hymn to Venus," and the “ Fragment of Sappho,” are, perhaps, all that can be considered above mediocrity.
LAURENCE EUSDEN, son of Dr. Eusden, Rector of Spalsworth, Yorkshire, was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took orders, and was appointed Chaplain to Lord Willouglıby de Broke. He gained the patronage of Lord Halifax, by a Latin Version of his Lord ship’s Poem “On the Battle of the Boyne," and he appears to have been anxious to prove himself worthy of it. He contributed to both the “Spectator” and the “Guardian," wrote some verses in commendation of Addison's “ Cato,” and an Epithalamium on the marriage of the Duke of Newcastle with Lady Henrietta Godolphin. This last no doubt procured for him the Laureateship, which the Duke (then Lord Chamberlain) gave him on the death of Rowe, in 1718.
Little has been preserved, concerning Eusden, beyond the numerous satirical allusions to his office, to be found in the writings of the day: with him the title of Poet Laureate began to fall into disesteem ; nor have the unquestionable talents of some who succeeded him tended materially to retrieve it. The eminent man * who at present holds the appointment, has, however, by divesting it of the degrading reiteration of adulatory Birth-day Odes, not only vindicated the independence and dignity of his own literary tame, but has established a foundation for future respectability to his successors.
Eusden died at Coningsby, in Lincolnshire (of which place he was Rector), in September, 1730, bis faculties and health falling a sacrifice to the pernicious habit of intoxication. His poems, a few of which are printed in Nicholls's Collection, are not calculated to arrest attention : his Versions of Claudian, in the “ Spectator,” are his happiest efforts.
WILLIAM FLEETWOOD was born in 1656. He was educated at Eton school, and elected to King's College, Cambridge. Having taken orders, he was appointed Chaplain to King William and Queen Mary, and became Fellow of Eton College, and Rector of St. Austin's. London. He was subsequently chosen Lecturer of St. Dunstan's, Fleet-street, and nominated a Canon of Windsor. Desirous of literary leisure, he resigned his living and lectureship in 1705, and retired to a small rectory near Eton, where he engaged deeply in the study of History and Antiquities. From this he was unexpectedly called, by Queen Anne nominating him to the see of St. Asaph ; and, on the accession of George I., his attachment to the cause of Liberty, and the Protestant Religion, was rewarded by the valuable bishopric of Ely. During his whole career, his labours were unremitted ; forty-two of his publications are noticed in the Biographia Britannica, comprising Antiquities, History, and Theology: in all of which are displayed profound classical learning, judicious and acute criticism, and extensive acquaintance with Historical and Ecclesiastical Antiquities. When his friends, the Whigs, went out of office in 1710, he openly avowed his dislike of the measures of the 'Tories, by publishing a “ Fast Sermon,” containing severe reprobation of their conduct; and in 1712 he published four other sermons, “On the deaths of Queen Mary, the Duke of Gloucester, and King William, and on the Queen's (Anne's) Accession, with a Preface.” The Sermons had been previously preached with much approbation, and were not assailable ; but the Preface was condemned by the House of Commons, to be burnt by the common hangman.
This injudicious proceeding only made the Work more popular : Steele printed the Preface in the “Spectator;" and, is the Bishop remarked, “conveyed about 14,000 of them into
people's hands that would otherwise never have seen or heard of it.” This Preface, with some introductory observations by Steele, form No. 384 :—“ The paper was not published until 12 o'clock, that it might come out precisely at the hour of the Queen's breakfast, and that no time might be left for deliberating about serving it up with that meal as usual.”Bishop Fleetwood died at Tottenham, in 1723, aged 67.
His biographer (Morgan) says, “His various merits entitle him to the character of a great and good man: as a Prelate, he did honour to his station, by his dignified and prudent de. portment: to the poor and necessitous he was a generous benefactor, and was a liberal encourager of every truly charitable design. To the interests of Civil and Religious Liberty he was ardently attached. He was modest, humble, uncensorious, and calm and meek in his temper; but at the same time possessed a degree of cool and sedute courage, which he did not fail to exhibit on proper occasions: and, to crown the whole, he was a bright pattern of innocence of life, integrity of heart, and sanctity of manners.”
JoĦN HENLEY was born in 1692, at Melton Mowbray, of which parish his father was Vicar. Having prosecuted his studies very zealously at Cambridge, he returned to his native town, and became assistant, and afterwards master, of the school there, which he conducted with great credit. Having taken his degree of Master of Arts, and obtained Priests' Orders, he for some time officiated as curate at Melton; until an uncontrolable desire for celebrity induced him to visit the metropolis. In London he published some Translations from Pliny, Vertot, and Montfaucon; and was presented by the Earl of Macclesfield with a Benefice of £80 a year. He also had a Lectureship in the city ; acquired much popularity as a preacher; assisted Dr. Bürscough, afterwards Bishop of Limerick, in his duties; and became Chaplain to Lord Molesworth. Disappointed in some expectations which he had formed of advancement, he threw up his benefice and lectureship, and opened an Oratory in Portsmouth-street, Lincoln's Inn Fields; where, on Sundays (according to his own account) he preached on Theology, and on Wednesdays on all other Sciences; his audience paying one shilling each for admission. His orations soon degenerated into ribaldry, buffoonery, and blasphemy, and he resorted to the meanest and inost fraudulent expedients to obtain a maintenance. On one occasion, it is said, he collected a numerous congregation of Shoe-makers, by advertising that he would shew them how to make a pair of shoes in a few minutes; and this he did by cutting off the tops of a pair of boots. Hogarth caricatured him; and the celebrated George Alexander Steevens was a constant visitor at his chapel for the purpose of giving him annoyance. Pope has “ damned him to everlasting fame” in his “Dunciad:"—
“ linbrown'd with native bronze, lo! Henley stands,
Tuning his voice, and balancing his hands.
A decent Priest, where Monkeys were the Gods." He died October 14, 1756, an object of universal contempt. The promise of his early days quickly faded : while at Melton, he wrote a poem entitled “ Esther,” and commenced what he termed his “Universal Grammar ;” of which he completed ten languages, with a “proper introduction to every tongue.” While at Cambridge he sent two Letters to the “Spectator;" and, towards the close of his career, was author of a political paper of most venal and worthless character, called “The Hyp Doctor.”
James Heywood was a wholesale Linen-draper on Fish-street Hill, and a man of high respectability in the city of London. He paid the customary fine of £500 upon declining the office of Alderman of Aldgate Ward, to which he was elected ; and, having lived in the enjoyment of his faculties and health till his ninetieth year, died at his house in Austin Friars, in July, 1776.
Mr. Heywood was in the early part of his life a great politician, and contracted a habit, singularly inconvenient to persons in discourse with himn, for which he is commemorated with much humour by Steele, in the “ Guardian."
“ There is a silly habit among many of our minor orators, who display their eloquence in the several Coffee-houses, to the no small annoyance of considerable numbers of her Majesty's spruce and loving subjects ; and that is a humour they have got of twisting off your buttons. These ingenious gentlemen are not able to advance three words until they have got fast hold of one of your buttons ; but as soon as they have procured such an excellent handle for discourse, they will indeed proceed with great elocution. I know not how well some may have escaped, but for my part I have often met with them to my cost ; having, I believe, within these three years last past been argued out of several dozens, insomuch that I have for some time ordered my Tailor to bring me home with every suit a dozen, at least, of spare ones, to supply the place of such as from time to time are detached, as an help to discourse, by the vehement gentlemen before mentioned. I remember upon the news of Dunkirk's bejpg delivered into our hands, a brisk little fellow, a politician and an able engineer, had got into the middle of Button's Coffee-house, and was fortifying Graveling for the service of the most Christian King with all imaginable expedition. The work was carried on with such success that, in less than a quarter of an hour's time, he had made it almost impregnable; and, in the opinion of several worthy citizens who had gathered round, full as strong both by sea and land as Dunkirk ever could pretend to be. I happened, however, unadvisedly, to attack some of his outworks, upon which, to shew his great skill likewise in the offensive part, he immediately made an assault upon one of my buttons, and carried it in less than two minutes, notwithstanding I made as handsome a defence as was possible. He had likewise invested a second, and would certainly have been master of that too in a very little time, had he not been diverted from this enterprise by the arrival of a courier, who brought advice that his presence was absolutely necessary in the disposal of a beaver ; upon which he raised the siege, and, indeed, retreated with precipitation."
It was Mr. Heywood Limself, that (having conquered this silly habit), in after years, pointed out his own identity with Steele's Politician.
Isaac Watts was born at Southampton, on July 17, 1674. At a very early age he began to study the Latin and Greek Languages, to which he afterwards added Hebrew; and had acquired a very competent knowledge of them by the time he attained his sixteenth year. In 1690 he was placed at the academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, in London; and in 1693 he joined the communion of the Independents, of which sect his preceptor was a minister. Having completed his studies, he devoted two years under bis father's roof, to preparation for the sacred duties of the pastoral charge: and, at the expiration of that period, he accepted an invitation from Sir John Hartopp, to become the domestic tutor of his son. He lived with Sir John five years, during which he perfected himself in Biblical learning; and in the last year, 1698, preached for the first time, on his birth-day. Shortly after, he was appointed assistant to the Rev. Dr. Chauncey; and on the Doctor's death in 1701-2, became his successor. He had scarcely entered upon his new office, when he was attacked by a severe illness, which incapacitated him for some years. He recovered, however, sufficiently to resume the duties of his charge; in which he evinced the greatest assiduity and solicitude until a second time he was afflicted with a fever so violent that he never entirely overcame the effects of it. At this period be met with a true Samaritan in Sir Thomas Abney, who took him into his house, und exerted himself indefatigably to restore his health. In this he succeeded ; and though Sir Thomas lived but eight years to enjoy the society of his illustrious friend, Dr. Watts became for the remainder of his life the inmate of that hospitable family; where, for thirty-six years, he received every demonstration of affection, esteem, and veneration.
In 1716, Dr. Watts returned to the duties of his ministry, which had been performed during his absence by Mr. Samuel Price, as joint pastor. In 1728 he received, totally unsolicited and unexpected, the degree of Doctor in Divinity, from the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen.