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table where he sat to write, by the frequent rubbing and wearing of his elbows.-Gutta cavat lapidem, &c.

His tomb is thus inscribed:

H. S. E.

Quod mortale fuit

ABRAHAMI SHARP, Stirpe Antiqua prognati,
Et archiepiscopo ejus nominis Eboracensi
Sanguinis vinculo conjuncti;
Qui inter peritissimos

Sui temporis Mathematicos merito numeratus,
Cum viris eâdem laude celeberrimis,
Flamsteedio præsertim et illustrissimo

Perpetuam coluit amicitiam;
Quorum prioris Historian Cœlestem
In Tabulis accuratissimè delineavit.
Varia item scripta et instrumenta a se confecta,
Suppresso tamen nomine, in lucem emisit.
Cum vitam autem hisce studiis
Placidam et utilem cœlebs peregerat,
In Deum pietate, in pauperes benignitate,
In omnes benevolentiâ insignis,

Anno demum ætatis nonagesimo primo,
Rerum humanarum satur in cœlum demigravit
xv kalend. August. 1742.

1781, Oct.

XX. Character of Dean SWIFT.

From the MSS. of a Gentleman lately deceased, at Dublin.

I WAS intimate with the Dean in the younger part of his life-our acquaintance continued to the end of it. I had a friendship for the man, and a fondness for his wit; but still think no author has given his character fairly. His wit was certainly unbounded: in his writings he had a natural propensity to humour; but no man was ever more deficient in good humour. His imagination was quick, but not warm; there was uncommon vivacity in his conceits, but they were, for the most part, cynical and eccentric. In every thing he said, and every thing he wrote, his pride constantly preponderated. He was not content to acquire admiration, but was arbitrary, and would command it. His fondness

for satire was so prevalent a passion, that no man who knew him could escape it. The modest and the assuming were attacked with equal asperity; though not so much with a view to shew the weakness of his friends, as to assert the superiority of his own talents. In correcting the ignorant, he was unmerciful; in censuring the works of his contemporaries, he was ungenerous, and unkind. He expected every man should consult his humour, while he consulted no man's in return. If he was silent in company, he looked for their patience till he spoke; if communicative, he laid claim to an undivided attention. His knowledge of men was general; it was not, however, deep, nor perfect. He was by no means master of first causes, of original principles of action, but rather observed the result, and reported with an appearance of consummate judgment. His poetry, in the main, with all its beauties, is prostituted to the most trifling subjects; his politics were factious in the extreme. He never could forgive the Ministry who superseded his friends, because they were not equally inclined to gratify his unbounded ambition: hence arose his violent opposition to government, and all the rancorous effusions of a party spirit, by which he inflamed the spirits of the vulgar. He affected a contempt for the great, though no man was ever more gratified by their attention. His writings to his friends have an incomparable beauty of style; but all his epistles to people in a higher sphere were unnatural and laboured.

From the whole survey of the man, I am inclined to think, that, like Rembrandt's figures, he would have been lost in the shadows of his character, if the strength of the lights had not relieved him,

1782, Oct.

XXI. Anecdotes of GILBERT WEST, Bishop BURNET, Bishop
and Mr. JAMes Hervey.


ONE of the strangest accidents imaginable has put into my hands a large parcel of MSS. in the hand-writing of the ingenious Mr. Jones, once curate to Dr. Young, at Welwyn, afterwards vicar of Hitchin, and well known by the active share he took in the "Free and Candid Disquisitions."

They were folded by him in a paper, indorsed, "Various little Anecdotes, Memorials, and other the like Notices,perhaps none of them of much significance; yet not to be destroyed in too much haste." It may stamp some additional authenticity to observe, that, after Mr. Jones's death, they were preserved by the late Dr. Dawson, of Hackney. From this ample source, Mr. Urban, you receive some striking particulars in the life of Mr. West, "one of the few poets to whom the grave ought to be without its terrors;" and some traits in the characters of Bishop Burnet, Bishop Atterbury, Archbishop Herring, Doctor Doddridge, and Mr. Hervey; and, as inquiries of this laudable nature seem to have been one great inducement to the enlarging of your Magazine, you shall hear often on this subject from your old correspondent,

Gilbert West, Esq.


A gentleman to whose memory I owe all the returns of gratitude and esteem that I can possibly make, after so much friendly correspondence, freedom in conversation, and many other instances of his favour and regard, with which he was pleased to honour me to his death, and of which I might probably have made a far more advantageous use, in regard to temporal provisions, than I did. Let his memory be ever dear to me, and ever sacred to the friends of Christianity, in all succeeding ages.

I shall touch but upon a very few articles, such as transiently occur to my memory; but my account, though short, shall be just.

Mr. West was a person of great discernment, and of a very quick apprehension, and readily saw into men and things. He was lively and agreeable in conversation, and very much of a gentleman in all his behaviour.

I have heard him say, that in his younger days he had gone over into the quarters of Infidelity. His uncle, the late Lord Cobham,† did all in his power to instil such principles into his mind, and that of his cousin Lyttelton, when they paid their visits to him. But the latter, he said,

* It will be no disparagement to these particulars of Mr. West, to observe that they have already furnished some useful hints to Dr. Johnson, in the new edition of his Lives. E.

That nobleman left him (even after the publication of his Observations) a legacy of 10001.

happily stood his ground, and made little or no progress in those perverse principles.

When Mr. West's Treatise on the Resurrection of our Lord was first advertised in the public papers, the point in the title-page being left in medio, and determining nothing, numbers of those who had conceived an opinion of his continuing a staunch unbeliever, sent for it to his bookseller, hoping to find their own disbelief therein confirmed. But, finding themselves disappointed, some of them were pleased afterwards to rank him in the class even of Methodists, &c. Prejudice to the last degree! Others ranked him amongst the Socinians: directly contrary to the former. How easy to invent names!-But his true character, to my certain knowledge, was a Christian, a Scholar, and a Gentleman. And one may justly apply to him what one of the ancients said of himself "My name is Catholic, my surname is Christian."

He was very regular and exemplary in family religion: offered up prayers (those of the public liturgy) every day when well, at eleven in the morning; and then, when the weather was fair, rode out for his health. On Sundays he went to church (not to that of his own parish, but to St. James's, Dr. Clarke's church); and at evening ordered his servants to come into the parlour, where he read to them the late Dr. Clarke's sermons, and then went to prayers. He read them always himself.

One thing was somewhat singular: he always said grace himself at his table, though a clergyman happened to be present. He gave me his reasons of his own accord, and I did not disapprove them.

He had an elegant little seat, in view of the great metropolis; and all about it was neat. Lyttelton's epigram to him, in 1740, contains a just character both of the master and of his habitation.

He bore his last illness in a very exemplary manner; very patient, and entirely resigned to the divine will, &c.

*To Mr. WEST, at Wickham.

Fair Nature's sweet simplicity,

With elegance refin'd,

Well, in thy seat, my friend, I see

But better in thy mind.

To both, from courts and all their state,

Eager I fly, to prove

Joys far above a courtier's fate,

Tranquillity and love.

He had formed an excellent design of proving the authenticity of the New Testament, from many observations that had occurred to him from time to time, which he had begun to note down; and I remember he shewed me some valuable hints that had been communicated to him by Dr. Doddridge, particularly drawn from the concessions of Celsus, and others amongst the more early opposers of Christianity. He seemed to delight in that subject, and to be fully resolved to pursue it, if God should give him opportunities. I have heard him expatiate upon it in conversation with great clearness of judgment and strength of argument. What became of his preparatory papers upon it, since his decease, I know not; but have reason to believe, from what I have heard, that they were soon after destroyed, with many others, and perhaps all that he had left remaining upon any topics of theology, &c.

Bishop Burnet.

I remember, that the learned Mr. Baker, of Cambridge, expressed great esteem for his memory, when he lent me the third volume of the "History of the Reformation," which he said was a present to him from the Bishop himself.

Mr. Baker particularly acknowledged the great condescension and ingenuity of this great man, in the regard he paid to the animadversions which he had offered to his lordship upon some parts of that valuable history, and the favour of several very civil letters, wherewith the learned prelate had honoured him.

Bishop Atterbury.

His famous sermon at the funeral of Bennet raised a curiosity to inquire into the man's [private] character: and it was found in some instances to be none of the best. Dr. Young says, he was an admirable orator, both in the pulpit and in the House of Lords, &c. one of the best he ever heard.

Doctor Herring, Preacher at Lincoln's Inn (afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury).

He was generally admired for his excellent manner of preaching in that chapel, which, by the way, he had learned from Bishop Fleetwood, whose domestic chaplain he had been.

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