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William King was bom in London, in 1663; | which only he could find delight. His reputation the son of Ezekiel King, a gentleman. He was as a civilian was yet maintained by his judg. allied to the family of Clarendon.
ments in the courts of delegates, and raised
very From Westminster-school, where he was a high by the address and knowledge which he scholar on the foundation under the care of Dr. discovered in 1700, when he defended the Farl Busby, he was at eighteen elected to Christ- of Anglesea against his lady, afterwards Dutchchurch, in 1681; where he is said to have pro- ess of Buckinghamshire, who sued for a divorce, secuted his studies with so much intenseness and obtained it. and activity, that before he was eight years The expense of his pleasures and neglect of standing he had read over, and made remarks business had now lessened his revenues; and he upon, twenty-two thousand odd hundred books was willing to accept of a settlement in Ireland, and manuscripts.* The books were certainly where, about 1702, he was made judge of the not very long, the manuscripts not very diffi- Admiralıy, commissioner of the prizes, keeper cult, nor the remarks very large ; for the calcu- of the records in Birmingham's tower, and vicarlator will find that he despatched seven a day general to Dr. Marsh, the primate. for every day of his eight years; with a rem But it is vain to put wealth within the reach nant that more than satisfies most other stu- of him who will not stretch out his hand to dents. He took his degree in the most expen- take it. King soon found a friend, as idle and sive manner, as a grand compuunder ; whence thoughtless as himself, in Upton, one of the it is inferred that he inherited a considerable judges, who had a pleasant house called Mounfortune.
town, near Dublin, to which King frequently In 1638, the same year in which he was made retired ; delighting to neglect his interest, forget master of arts, he published a confutation of his cares, and desert his duty. Varillas's account of Wickliffe; and engaging Here he wrote “Mully of Mountown," a in the study of the civil law, became doctor in poem; by which, though fanciful readers in the 1692, and was admitted advocate at Doctors' pride of sagacity have given it a political interCommons.
pretation, was meant originally no more than He had already made some translations from it expressed, as it was dictated only by the the French, and written some humorous and sa- Author's delight in the quiet of Mountown. tirical pieces; when, in 1694, Molesworth pub
In 1708, when Lord Wharton was sent to lished his “Account of Denmark,” in which he govern Ireland, King returned to London with treats the Danes and their monarch with great his poverty, his idleness, and his wit, and pubcontempt; and takes the opportunity of insinu- lished some essays, called “Useful Transacating those wild principles, by which he sup- tions.”. His Voyage to the Island of Cajaposes liberty to be established, and by which mai” is particularly commended. He then his adversaries suspect that alí subordination wrote “The Art of Love," a poem remarkable, and government is endangered.
notwithstanding its title, for purity of sentiment; This book offended Prince George; and the and in 1709 imitated Horace in an “Art of Danish minister presented a memorial against Cookery,” which he published, with some letit. The principles of its author did not please ters to Dr. Lister. Dr. King; and therefore he undertook to con In 1710, he appeared as a lover of the church, fute part, and laugh at the rest. The contro on the side of Sacheverell; and was supposed versy is now forgotten; and books of this kind to have concurred at least in the projection of seldom live long, when interest and resentment " The Examiner.” His eyes were open to all have ceased.
the operations of whiggism; and he bestowed In 1697, he mingled in the controversey be some strictures upon Dr. Kennet's adulatory tween Boyle and Bentley; and was one of those sermon at the funeral of the Duke of Devonshire. who tried what wit could perform in opposition “'The History of the Heathen Gods," a book to learning, on a question which learning only composed for schools, was written by him in could decide.
1710. The work is useful, but might have been In 1699, was published by him “A Journey produced without the powers of King. The to London,", after the method of Dr. Martin next year, he published" Rufinus,” an historiLister, who had published “A Journey to Pa- cal essay; and a poem, intended to dispose the ris.” And in 1700 he satirised the Royal Soci- nation to think as he thought of the Duke of ety, at least Sir Hans Sloane, their president, in Marlborough and his adherents. two dialogues, entitled “The Transactioner.” In 1711, competence, if not plenty, was again
Though he was a regular advocate in the put into his power. He was, without the trouble courts of civil and canon law, he did not love of attendance, or the mortification of a request, his profession, nor indeed any kind of business made gazetteer. Swift, Freind, Prior, and other which interrupted his voluntary dreams, or men of the same party, brought him the key of forced him to rouse from that 'indulgence in the gazetteer's office. He was now again placed
in a profitable employment, and again threw the This appears by his "Adversaria,” printed in his benefit away: An act of insolvency made his works, edit. 1770, 3 vols.-C.
business at that time particularly troublesome;
and he would not wait till hurry should be at an mas-day. Though his life had not been without end, but impatiently resigned it, and returned to irregularity, his principles were pure and orthohis wonted indigence and amusements.
dox, and his death was pious. One of his amusements at Lambeth, where he After this relation, it will be naturally supposed resided, was to mortify Dr. Tenison, the arch- that his poems were rather the amusements of bishop, by a public festivity on the surrender of idleness than the efforts of study; that he endeaDunkirk to Hill; an event with which Teni- voured rather to divert than astonish; that his son's political bigotry did not suffer him to be thoughts seldom aspired to sublimity; and that, delighted. King was resolved to counteract if his verse was easy and his images familiar, his sullenness, and at the expense of a few bar- he attained what he desired. His purpose is to rels of ale filled the neighbourhood with honest be merry; but, perhaps, to enjoy his mirth, it merriment.
may be sometimes necessary to think well of his In the autumn of 1712, his health declined; opinions. * he grew weaker by degrees, and died on Christ
Thomas Sprat was born in 1636, at Talla- | few books which selection of sentiment and ton, in Devonshire, the son of a clergyman; and elegance of diction have been able to prehaving been educated, as he tells of himself, not serve, though written upon a subject flux and at Westminster or Eton, but at a little school by transitory. “The history of the Royal Sothe churchyard side, became a commoner of ciety,” is now read, not with the wish to know Wadham College, in Oxford, in 1651; and, be- what they were then doing, but how their transing chosen scholar next year, proceeded through actions are exhibited by Sprat. the usual academical course; and, in 1657, be In the next year he published “ Observations came master of arts. He obtained a fellowship, on Sorbiere's Voyage into England, in a Letter and commenced poet.
to Mr. Wren." "This is a work not ill performIn 1649, his poem on the death of Oliver was ed; but perhaps rewarded with at least its full published, with those of Dryden and Waller. proportion of praise. In his dedication to Dr. Wilkins, he appears a In 1669, he published Cowley's Latin poems, very willing and liberal encomiast, both of the and prefixed in Latin the Life of the Author, living and the dead. He implores his patron's which he afterwards amplified, and placed beexcuse of his verses, both as falling "so infi- fore Cowley's English works, which were by nitely below the full and sublime genius of that will committed to his care. excellent poet who made this way of writing
Ecclesiastical benefices now fell fast upon free of our nation,” and being “so little equal him. In 1668, he became a prebendary of and proportioned to the renown of a prince on Westminster, and had afterwards the church of whom they were written; such great actions St. Margaret, adjoining to the Abbey. He was, and lives deserving to be the subject of the in 1680, made canon of Windsor ; in 1683, dean noblest pens and most divine phansies.” He of Westminster; and in 1684, bishop of Roproceeds: “Having so long experienced your chester. care and indulgence, and been formed, as it were, The court having thus a claim to his diligence by your own hands, not to entitle you to any and gratitude, he was required to write the histhing which my meanness produces would be tory of the Rye-house Plot; and in 1685, pubnot only injustice, but sacrilege.”
lished " A true Account and Declaration of the He published, the same year, a poem on the horrid Conspiracy against the late King, his “Plague of Athens;" a subject of which it is present Majesty, and the present Government ;" not easy to say what could recommend it. To a performance which he thought convenient, these he added afterwards a poem on Mr. Cow- after the Revolution, to extenuate and excuse. ley's death.
The same year, being clerk of the closet to the After the restoration he took orders, and by King, he was made dean of the chapel-royal ; Cowley's recommendation was made chaplain and, the year afterwards, received the last proof to the Duke of Buckingham, whom he is said of his master's confidence, by being appointed to have helped in writing “ The Rehearsal.” one of the commissioners for ecclesiastical affairs. He was likewise chaplain to the King.
On the critical day when the Declaration disAs he was the favourite of Wilkins, at whose tinguished the true sons of the church of Eng. house began those philosophical conferences and land, he stood neuter, and permitted it to be inquiries which in time produced the Royal So- read at Westminster; bat pressed none to viociety, he was consequenily engaged in the same studies, and became one of the fellows; and * Dr. Johnson appears to have made but little use of when, after their incorporation, something seem the life of Dr. King, prefixed to his “Works, in 3 vols." ed necessary to reconcile the public to the new
1776, to which it may not be impertinent to refer the institution, he undertook to write its history, the highest terms. In that at least he yielded to none of
reader. His talent for humour ought to be praised in which he published in 1667. This is one of the his contemporaries.-C.
late his conscience; and when the Bishop of | Bishop's innocence, who, with great prudence London was brought before them, gave his voice and diligence, traced the progress and detected in his favour.
the characters of the two informers, and pube Thus far he suffered interest or obedience to lished an account of his own examination and carry him; but further he refused to go. When deliverance; which made such an impression he found that the powers of the ecclesiastical upon him, that he commemorated it through life commission were to be exercised against those by a yearly day of thanksgiving. who had refused the Declaration, he wrote to With what hope, or what interest, the villains the lords, and other commissioners, a formal had contrived an accusation which they must profession of his unwillingness to exercise that know themselves utterly unable to prove, was authority any longer, and withdrew himself never discovered. from them. After they had read his letter, they After this, he passed his days in the quiet exadjourned for six months, and scarcely ever met ercise of his function. When the cause of Saafterwards.
cheverell put the public in commotion, he hoWhen King James was frighted away, and nestly appeared among the friends of the church. a new government was to be settled, Sprat was He lived to his seventy-ninth year, and died one of those who considered, in a conference, May 20, 1713. the great question, whether the crown was va Burnet is not very favourable to his memory ; cant, and manfully spoke in favour of his old but he and Burnet were old rivals. On some
public occasion they both preached before the He complied, however, with the new esta - House of Commons. There prevailed in those blishment, and was left unmolested; but, in 1692, days an indecent custom; when the preacher a strange attack was made upon him by one touched any favourable topic in a manner that. Robert Young and Stephen Blackhead, both delighted bis audience, their approbation was men convicted of infamous crimes, and both, expressed by a loud hum, continued in proportion when the scheme was laid, prisoners in New to their zeal or pleasure. When Burnet preachgate. These men drew up an association, in ed, part of his congregation hummed so loudly which they whose names were subscribed de- and so long, that he sat down to enjoy it, and clared their resolution to restore King James, rubbed his face with his hankerchief.' When to seize the Princess of Orange, dead or alive, Sprat preached, he likewise was honoured with and to be ready with thirty thousand men to the like animating hum ; but he stretched out meet King James when he should land. To his hand to the congregation, and cried, “Peace, this they put the names of Sancroft, Sprat, Marl
. peace, I pray you peace.” borough, Salisbury, and others. The copy of This I was told in my youth by my father, Dr. Spral's name was obtained by a fictitious re
who had been no careless observer quest, to which an answer in his own hand was of the passages of those times. desired. His hand was copied so well, that he Bumet's sermon, says Salmon, was remarkconfessed it might have deceived himself. Black-able for sedition, and Sprat's for loyalty. Burhead, who had carried the letter, being sent again net had the thanks of the house; Sprat had no with a plausible message, was very curious to thanks, but a good living from the King, which, see the house, and particularly importunate to he said, was of as much value as the thanks of be let into the study; where, as is supposed, he the Commons. designed to leave the association. This, how The works of Sprat, besides his few poems, ever, was denied him; and he dropped it in a are, “The History of the Royal Society," " The flower-pot in the parlour.
Life of Cowley,” “The Answer to Sorbiere,” Young now laid an information before the “The History of the Rye-house Plot,” “The privy-council; and, May 7, 1692, the Bishop Relation of his own Examination,” and a volume was arrested, and kept at a messenger's under a of sermons. I have heard it observed, with great strict guard eleven days. His house was search- justness, that every book is of a different kind, ed, and directions were given that the flower. and that each has its distinct and characterispois should be inspected. The messengers, how-tical excellence. ever, missed the room in which the paper was My business is only with his poems. He left. Blackhead went therefore a third time; considered Cowley as a model ; and supposed and, finding his paper where he had left it, that, as he was imitated, perfection was apbrought it away:
proached. Nothing, therefore, but Pindaric The Bishop, having been enlarged, was, on liberty was to be expected. There is in his few June the 10th and 13th, examined again before productions no want of such conceits as he the.privy-council, and confronted with his ac- Thought excellent: and of those our judgment cusers. Young persisted with the most obdu- may be settled by the first that appears in his rate impudence, against the strongest evidence; praise of Cromwell, where he says, that Crombut the resolution of Blackhead by degrees gave well's “fame, like man, will grow white as it way. There remained at last no doubt of the grows old.”
The Life of the Earl of Halifax was pro- grant the assistance of counsel in trials for high perly that of an artful and active statesman, em-treason; and, in the midst of his speech, falling ployed in balancing parties, contriving expedi- into some confusion, was for a while silent; but, ents, and combating opposition, and exposed to recovering himself, observed, “how reasonable the vicissitudes of advancement and degrada- it was to allow counsel to men called as crimition; but in this collection, poetical merit is the nals before a court of justice, when it appeared claim to attention; and the account which is how much the presence of that assembly could here to be expected may properly be proportion- disconcert one of their own body.” ed not to his influence in the state, but to his After this he rose fast into honours and emrank among the writers of verse.
ployments, being made one of the commissioners
of the Treasury, and called to the privy-council. Charles Montague was born April 16, 1661, In 1694, he became chancellor of the Exchequer ; at Horton, in Northamptonshire, the son of and the next year engaged in the great attempt Mr. George Montague, a younger son of the of the recoinage, which was in two years hapEarl of Manchester. He was educated first in pily completed. In 1696, he projected the gene, the country, and then removed to Westminster, ral
fund, and raised the credit of the Exchequer; where, in 1677, he was chosen a king's scholar, and, after inquiry concerning a grant of Irish and recommended himself to Busby by his feli- crown-lands, it was determined by a vote of the city in extemporary epigrams. He contracted Commons, that Charles Montague, Esq. had a very intimate friendship with Mr. Stepney ; deserved his Majesty's favour. În 1698, being and, in 1682, when Stepney was elected at advanced to the first commission of the Treasury, Cambridge, the election of Montague being not he was appointed one of the regency in the to proceed till the year following, he was afraid King's absence; the next year he was made lesi by being placed at Oxford he might be sepa- auditor of the Exchequer, and the year after rated from his companion, and therefore solicited created Baron Halifax. He was, however, imto be removed to Cambridge, without waiting peached by the Commons; but the articles were for the advantages of another year.
dismissed by the Lords. It seems indeed time to wish for a removal; At the accession of Queen Anne he was dis, for he was already a school-boy of one-and- missed from the council; and in the first parliatwenty.
ment of her reign was again attacked by the His relation, Dr. Montague, was then master Commons, and again escaped by the protection of the college in which he was placed a fellow- of the Lords. In 1704, he wrote an answer to commo er, and took him under his particular Bromley's speech against occasional conformity. care. Here he commenced an acquaintance with He headed'the inquiry into the danger of the the great Newton, which continued through his church. In 1706, he proposed and negotiated life, and was at last attested by a legacy. the Union with Scotland, and when the Elec
In 1635, his verses on the death of King tor of Hanover had received the garter, after the
a grant to his nephew of the reversion of the
of * Mr. Reed observes that this anecdote is related by making a man of him ;” and ordered him a pen- Authors, of the Earl of Shaftesbury, author ofthe “Cha;
Mr. Walpole, in his “ Catalogue of Royal and Noble sion of five hundred pounds. This story, how- racteristics ;" but it appears to me to be a mistake, if ever current, seems to have been made after the we are to understand that the words were spoken by event. The King's answer implies a greater House of Commons; nor did the bill pass at this time,
Shaftesbury at this time, when he had no seat in the acquaintance with our proverbial and familiar being thrown out by the House of Lords. It became a diction than King William could possibly have law in the 7th William, when Halifax and Shaftesbury attained.
In 1691, being member of the House of Com- nica”, adopted Mr. Walpole's story, but they are not inons, he argued warmly in favour of a law to Life of Lord Halilax, published in 1715.-C
speaking of this period. The story first appeared in the
Of him, who from a poet became a patron of passed in his favour as the sentence of discernpoets, it will be readily believed that the works ment. We admire in a friend that understandwould not miss of celebration. Addison began ing which selected us for confidence ; we admire to praise him early, and was followed or accom- more, in a patron, that judgment which, instead panied by other poets; perhaps by almost all, of scattering bounty indiscriminately, directed except Swift and Pope, who forebore to flatter it to us; and, if the patron be an author, those him in his life, and after his death spoke of him; performances which gratitude forbids' us to Swift with slight censure, and Pope, in the cha- blame, affection will easily dispose us to exalt. racter of Bufo, with acrimonious contempt. To these prejudices, hardly culpable, interest
He was, as Pope says, “ fed with dedica- adds a power always operating, though not tions ;" for Tickell affirms that no dedication always, because not willingly, perceived. The was unrewarded. To charge all unmerited modesty of praise wears gradually away; and perpraise with the guilt of flattery, and to suppose haps the pride of patronage may be in time so inihat the encomiast always knows and feels the creased, that modest praise will no longer please. falsehoods of his assertions, is surely to discover Many a blandishment was practised upon great ignorance of human nature and human Halifax, which he would never have known, life. In determinations depending not on rules, had he no other attractions than those of his but on experience and comparison, judgment is poetry, of which a short time has withered the always, in some degree, subject to affection. beauties. It would now be esteemed no honour, Very near to admiration is the wish to admire. by a contributor to the monthly bundles of
Every man willingly gives value to the praise verses, to be told, that in strains either familiar which he receives, and considers the sentence l or solemn, he sings like Montague.
The Life of Dr. Parnell is a task which I change his party, not without much censure from should very willingly decline, since it has been those whom he forsook, and was received by lately written by Goldsmith, a man of such the new ministry as a valuable reinforcement. variety of powers, and such felicity of perform- When the Earl of Oxford was told that Dr. Parance, that he always seemed to do best that nell waited among the crowd in the outer room, which he was doing'; a man who had the art of he went, by the persuasion of Swift, with his being minute without tediousness, and general treasurer's staff in his hand, to inquire for him, without confusion; whose language was copious and to bid him welcome ; and, as may be inwithout exuberance, exact without constraint, ferred from Pope's dedication, admitted him as and easy without weakness.
a favourite companion to his convivial hours ; What such an author has told, who would tell but, as it seems often to have happened in those again? I have made an abstract from his larger times to the favourites of the great, without atnarrative ; and have this gratification from my tention to his fortune, which, however, was in attempt, that it gives me an opportunity of pay- no great need of improvement. ing due tribute to the memory of Goldsmith. Parnell, who did not want ambition or vanity, Το γαρ γέρας έστι θανόντων. .
was desirous to make himself conspicuous, and
to show how worthy he was of high prefermente Thomas Parnell was the son of a common. As he thought himself qualified to become a wealthsman of the same name, who, at the Re- popular preacher, he displayed bis elocution storation, left Congleton, in Cheshire, where with great success in the pulpits of London; but the family had been established for several cen- the Queen's death putting an end to his expecturies, and settling in Ireland, purchased an estations, abated his diligence; and Pope repretate, which, with his lands in Cheshire, descended sents him as falling from that time into intemto the poet, who was born in Dublin, in 1679; perance of wine. That in his latter life he was and, after the usual education at a grammar- too much a lover of the bottle, is not denied; school, was, at the age of thirteen, admitted into but I have heard it imputed to a cause more the College, where, in 1700, he became master likely to obtain forgiveness from mankind-the of arts; and was the same year ordained a dea- untimely death of a darling son ; or, as others. con, though under the canonical age, by a dis- tell, the loss of his wife, who died (1712) in the pensation from the Bishop of Derry.
midst of his expectations. About three years afterwards he was made a He was now to derive every future addition to priest; and in 1705, Dr. Ashe, the Bishop of his preferments from his personal interest with Clogher, conferred upon him the archdeaconry his private friends, and he was not long unreof Clogher. About the same year he married garded. He was warmly recommended by Mrs. Anne Minchin, an amiable lady, by whom Swift to Archbishop King, who gave him a he had two sons, who died young, and a daugh- prebend in 1713; and in May, 1716, presented ter who long survived him.
him to the vicarage of Finglass, in the diocess At the ejection of the whigs, in the end of Dublin, worth four hundred pounds Queen Anne's reign, Parnell was persuaded to Such notice, from such a man, inclines me to