« PreviousContinue »
scheme was so artfully contrived, that for the security of himself and his family the Bishop filed a bill in Chancery against Fournier; and after a long trial it was decreed, " That the note set up by the defendant appeared to be, and was, a gross fraud.' By this decree, however, Fournier was not deterred, or abashed. He had the effrontery to outbrave conviction; upon which his Lordship, finding that he continued to be troublesome, and to enjoy at the same time the countenance of his old patron (Mr. Chevallier, a gentleman of character) judged it necessary to print a detail of the proceedings, and his reasonings upon them. This he did, in 1758, in
A Letter from the Bishop of Winchester to Clement Chevallier, Esq.' in which he gave a spirited account of this complicated and wicked contrivance : expressing his amazement that Mr. Chevallier, a person of unblemished integrity, should patronise Fournier after such indubitable proofs of his guilt ; noticing, with great tenderness, some inconsistencies and contradictions in that gentleman's.conduct; and assuring him in conclusion, with a truly Christian temper, that · he forgave him as fully and as sincerely as it was his duty to do. The admirable accuracy, with which his Lordship’s narrative was drawn up,
promissory note for the sum above-mentioned. In a pamphlet, which he subsequently published, he declared that the Bishop gave the note to him in a fit of intoxication !' To this calumny his Lordship made a vehement reply, in which he solemnly avowed that he had never been drunk during his whole life.' The world cordially received his defence, and he had the happiness to find himself perfectly acquitted even of any suspicion of the justice of the charge. What aggravated the matter was, that the Bishop had, a little time before, been kind to the neces: sities of his miscreant accuser.
full testimony to the vigour of his mental powers. It was, indeed, an astonishing performance for a divine upward of eighty one years of age; and he received many compliments on the occasion, both by visits and letters, from several of the greatest lawyers of
He died at the advanced age of eighty five, at his palace at Chelsea, April 17, 1761,* In private life he was naturally facetious, easy, and complying ; fond of company, yet frequently leaving it for the purposes of study or devotion. Every where happy, particularly in his own family, he took all opportunities of instructing it by his influence as well as by his example. He was twice married, and in both instances eminently happy. By his first lady, Sarah Curtis, he had five children. His eldest son Benjamin was a physician, and beside two or three professional works, produced the celebrated comedy entitled, “The Suspicious Husband.'+ John became Chancellor of the
* A monument, executed by Mr. Wilton, with decorations contrary to his own prohibition was erected to his memory, by his brother, in the cathedral of Winchester. Of these decorations one, the pastoral staff (not an unusual insigne on a Bishop's tomb) is invidiously called, by the Catholic Dr. Milner,' a democratic pike!' But from the imputation of democratic principles it cannot, now, be necessary to defend him. A Whig upon the true and solid principles of the Revolution, he loved liberty ; but he loved it, as connected with monarchy: and it was for his attachment to monarchy in the Protestant line, and his having contributed more than any other writer to undermine the sandy foundations of the Church of Rome, that he has incurred the hostility of Popish writers. : + By a gross blunder of the above-mentioned Dr. Milner, the historian of Winchester, this play is ascribed to the Bishop, and made the foundation of a most illiberal and unjustifiable sneer. That he could, however, occasionally indulge in innocent plea.
diocese of Winchester; and published a complete edition of his father's works in three volumes folio, in 1773, including detached parts of his Lordship’s correspondence with the prudent and amiable Lady Sundon, *
santry, is proved by the following fact: In the summer of 1718, he made a visit of some days with Dr. Samuel Clarke and Sir Richard Steele at Blenheim, where he found the ladies and gentlemen of the family and neighbourhood had got up Dryden's tragedy of All for Love,' to entertain the Duke of Marlborough, already slightly affected by the paralysis which finally brought on his decay and his dissolution. Lady Bateman, daughter of the Countess of Sunderland, the Cleopatra of the drama, had in vain applied to Steele for a prologue, and appeared much chagrined at the disappointment. At night, when the party broke up, the Bishop asked for pen, ink, and paper, and the next morning at breakfast presented to her Ladyship a copy of verses, which she spoke in the evening, the Duke shedding tears at the unexpected compliment from a favourite grandchild. His son, Dr. John Hoadly, long preserved this composition in manuscript as unique, but it has since been printed. It has not much literary merit, indeed; but what it wants in splendor of execution, the hurry and the benevolence with which it was written will abundantly excuse and compensate.
• Upon Lady Sundon's application to him, he allowed Dr. R. Freind, Master of Westminster School, to resign Witney to his son (afterward Dean of Canterbury), though that gentleman had little reason to expect such a favour. His laconic reply to her Ladyship, better known by the name of Mrs. Clayton (the bedchamber-woman and intimate friend of Queen Caroline, and for a considerable time the principal arbitress of church-preferments) was—“ If Dr. Freind can ask it, I can.grant it;" and, in a letter to her upon the subject, he adds: “ If you and I continue upon this dirty planet, you yourself shall be satisfied of the truth of what I have said to you; and I say this the rather because, if you are not satisfied in what I do, I am very sure I shall not be so myself. You have done more in two or three words, when you tell me, you shall esteem it as done to yourself, to move and engage me (if I had not been already engaged to it) than all the oratory of all others could have done. And if that case should happen which you once put, in which may be observed the most intimate sensibility of real friendship, and the unreserved intercourse of minds truly virtuous and confident in each other. His second wife was Mary, the daughter of Dr. John Newey, Dean of Chichester.
As a writer, he possessed great talents ; but his sentences were often characterised by a dragging prolixity: hence Pope records
• Swift for closer stile, And Hoadly for a period of a mile.' In his religious opinions taking great liberty himself, he was ready to indulge it to others. This perhaps, in some degree, accounts for his tolerant and liberal character. His doctrine, that “sincerity alone is required for acceptance, certainly favours such indulgence; but it demands great qualifications, to reconcile it with the genuine principles of Christianity.* He was, of course, in high favour with all, who wished to mould religion according to their own imaginations.
put, but which my heart will not suffer me to repeat, Friendship and Honour shall most certainly act a part, which if your spirit could then look out and see, it would say, “ This is exactly as it would have been, had I been still there."
The Athenian Society, in an heroic poem upon Dunton's
• His looks are in the mother's beauty drest,
I should but wrong him, if I should commend him.'
SAMUEL RICHARDSON, the son (as it is said) of a joiner in Derbyshire, was born in 1689. The precise place of his birth, from some reason or other, he always avoided mentioning. His father, ingenious in his profession and respectable in his character, had flourished in London, and was much noticed by the Duke of Monmouth; but, upon the defeat and death of that nobleman, he thought it expedient to retire into the country. There, a numerous family and declining circumstances constrained him to withhold from his son, fond as he was of literature, the benefits of a classical education. He was acquainted with no language except his own, not even the French. His deficiences, in this respect, he often lamented; and it is certain his stile is as remote as possible from that of a scholar, possessing neither the precision nor the elegance, which generally result from an early familiarity with the best models. Some anecdotes are preserved in his · Correspondence, which show very
* AUTHORITIES. New and general Biographical Dictionary, Nichols’ Biographical and Literary Anecdotes of Bowyer, Aaron Hill's Works, and Mrs. Barbauld's Life of Richardson, in her Edition of the British Novelists.' VOL. VI.