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women of the bed-chamber! Hence Memoirs, Secret Histories, Political Papers, &c. are not to be despised; always allowing sufficiently for the prejudice of party, and believing them no farther than they are supported by collateral evidence.

European Magazine, June, 1791.



To Isaac Reed, Esq.

Eman. Coll. Camb. June 28, 1794, BEFORE I had the favour of your letter by Mr. Pugh, I had accidentally fallen upon the life of John Dennis in the new volume of the Biographia; and smiled a little at the passage where the Author (I suppose, Dr. Kippis) has argued us so triumphantly out of a matter of fact.-Let him speak for himself.

Art. John Dennis.-Biogr. Br. by Dr. Kippis.

"In the eighteenth year of his age he was removed from Harrow School to the University of Cambridge, where he was entered of Caius on the 13th of January, 1675. At this college Mr. Dennis continued till he took his Bachelor's degree, which was in 1679; after which he became a member of Trinity Hall, where, in 1683, he was admitted to the degree of Master of Arts. It is related by the author of the Biographia Dramatica, that he was expelled from college, for literally attempting to stab a person in the dark; but this we cannot help regarding as a story entirely destitute of foundation; for not to mention that we have met with no traces of it in all the severe things we have read concerning Mr. Dennis, the fact is absolutely inconsistent with his being a member of the University for more than seven years, and then quitting it with a Master's degree."

You say truly, that I am answerable for this story of Expulsion; for, from my Pamphlet you had it! Indeed, I wonder that the Doctor did not rather fall on the original inventor, as he quotes me soon afterwards, even somewhat to the disparagement of the old Critic himself.*

*I do not feel myself much honoured by this preference. Dennis indeed argued against the learning of Shakespeare, but entirely upon false principles; and he at last admits a fact, which totally ruins his argument.

"If he was familiarly conversant with the Grecian and Roman authors, VOL. IV.

But let us see whether the story be, as the Doctor says, entirely destitute of foundation.

I might plead, in the first place, that were it not true, I gave it only as I received it from the late Master of the college, Sir James Burrough, to whose accuracy in a thousand anecdotes, every one who knew him will be a willing witness; and I add the testimony of Dr. Smith, the present Master, who declares it to have been a well-remembered tradition when he first knew the college above sixty years ago.

So far well. But you yourself hesitate, and justly think it strange, that our Critic should be afterwards admitted into another college, and become a Master of Arts; and that possibly he has been confounded in the List of Graduates with some other person of the same name.

Had you turned, however, to Giles Jacob's Lives, you would have seen, that Dennis expressly says (for it appears in the Supplement that the account was sent by the GENTLEMAN himself), "he removed from Harrow to Caius college in Cambridge, where he took the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Arts." He does not mention his second college, and I suspect him to be purposely ambiguous. The truth is, it was formerly by no means uncommon for a man, after the severest censures of his own college (were he not actually expelled the University), to gain admission into another, from interest or from party, or perhaps sometimes from the little emoluments he brought to his new society. This at length produced the grace of the Senate in 1732, which put an end to this infamous traffic:

"De migrantibus ab uno collegio in aliud.

"PLACEAT vobis, ut si quisquam scholaris infra gradum magistri in artibus transtulerit se ab alio collegio in aliud, nisi prius impetratis literis sub chirographo magistri collegii, decani, et prælectoris, testantibus de honesta sua et laudabili conversatione, persolvere teneatur quinque libras col

how comes it to pass that he wants art? How comes he to have introduced some characters into his plays so unlike what they are to be found in history? Menenius was an eloquent person, Shakespeare has made him a downright buffoon. Had he read either Sallust or Cicero, how could he have made so very little of the first and greatest of men, Cæsar? How comes it that he has given us no proofs of his familiar acquaintance with the ancients but an imitation of the Menechmi, and a version of two epistles of Ovid?" But enough of such criticism. However, to do him justice, he afterwards supposes it not improbable that a Translation of the Menechmi might be extant in the time of Shakespeare, which has since proved to be the case.

legio à quo secesserit, et quinque libras communi cistæ


Yet we have not proved that Dennis was expelled from Caius, his original college; but this matter is soon settled; though the tradition more fully expresses the cause of it.

On turning to their Gesta Book, under the head "Sir* Dennis sent away," appears this entry :

"Mar. 4. 1680. At a meeting of the Master and Fellows, Sir Dennis mulcted £3. his scholarship taken away, and he sent out of College, for assaulting and wounding Sir Glenham with a sword."

I am, dear Sir, yours, &c. European Magazine, June, 1794.


III. Character of Mrs. JONES, of Nayland.


(See p. 452.)

Hanwell Rectory, April 12, 1799.

I WAS about to request a place in your Obituary for the character of my late excellent friend, Mrs. Jones, of Nayland, imperfectly delineated as it would have been by my pen; but, as I am in possession by means of an honoured relation and friend of a much more accurate and faithful portrait than it could have been in my power to have transmitted you, I feel a peculiar pleasure in having obtained permission to give it the perpetuity it deserves in your valuable page. I remain your faithful friend and servant,


Feb. 10, 1799.

"MY DEAR FRIEND, "THOUGH I am in a very low and sorrowful state, from the pressure of a troublesome memory upon a broken heart, I am not insensible to the expressions of your kind consolatory letter; for which I heartily thank you, and pray that the effect of it may remain with me. The prospect which has been before me for several weeks past has kept my mind (too weak and soft upon all tender occasions), under continual, and, as I feared, insupportable agitation; till, after a painful struggle, no relief could be found but by bowing my head with silent submission to the will of

[* This title was formerly prefixed to the surnames of Bachelors of Arts in our Universities. E.]

God; which came to pass but a few days before the fatal stroke. I have found it pleasant in time past to do the work of God; to demonstrate his wisdom, and to defend his truth, to the hazard of my quiet and my reputation; but, O my dear friend! I never knew till now what it was to suffer the will of God; although my life has never been long free from great trials and troubles. Neither was I sensible of the evil of Adam's transgressions till it took effect upon the life of my blessed companion, of whom neither I nor the world was worthy. If I could judge of this case as an indifferent person, I should see great reason to give thanks and glory to God for his mercies. We had every preparatory comfort; and death at last came in such a form as to seem disarmed of his sting. A Christian clergyman of this neighbourhood, who is my good friend, administered the communion to her in her bed-chamber while she was well enough to kneel by the side of him; and he declared to me afterwards that he was charmed and edified by the sight; for, that the peace of Heaven was visible in her countenance. I saw the same; and I would have given my life if that look could have been taken and preserved; it would have been a sermon to the end of the world. On the last evening, she sate with me in the parlour where I am now writing; and I read the lessons of the day to her as usual, in the first of which there was this remarkable passage-" and the time drew nigh that Israel must die." Of this I felt the effects; but made no remarks. On her last morning, we expected her below stairs; but, at eleven o'clock, as I was going out to church to join with the congregation in praying for her, an alarming drowsiness had seized upon her, and she seemed as a person literally falling asleep; till, at the point of noon, it appeared that she was gone; but the article of her dying could not be distinguished; it was more like a translation.

I have reason to remember, with great thankfulness, that her life was preserved a year longer than I expected; in consequence of which I had the blessing of her attendance to help and comfort me under a tedious illness of the last summer, under which I should probably have sunk if she had been taken away sooner. It so pleased God that when she grew worse I became better, and able to attend her with all the zeal the tenderest affection could inspire. But how different were our services! She, though with the weakness of a woman, and in her seventy-fifth year, had the fortitude of a man, I mean a Christian-and all her conversation tended to lessen the evils of life, while it in

spired hope and patience under them. The support which she administered was of such a sort as might have been expected from an angel; while I, when my turn came, was too much overwhelmed with the affliction of a weak mortal.

My loss comprehends every thing that was most valuable to me upon earth. I have lost the manager, whose vigilant attention to my worldly affairs, and exact method in ordering my family, preserved my mind at liberty to pursue my studies without loss of time, or distraction of thought. I have lost my almoner, who knew and understood the wants of the poor better than I did; and was always ready to supply them to the best of our ability. I have lost my counsellor, who generally knew what was best to be done in difficult cases, and to whom I always found it of some advantage to submit my compositions; and whose mind, being little disturbed with passions, was always inclined to peaceable and Christian measures. I have lost my example, who always observed a strict method of daily devotion, from which nothing could divert her, and whose patience, under every kind of trial, seemed invincible. She was blessed with the rare gift of an equal cheerful temper; and preserved it, under a long course of ill-health, I may say for forty years. To have reached her age would to her have been impossible without that quiet humble spirit which never admitted of murmuring and complaining either in herself or others; and patient quiet sufferers were the favourite objects of her private charities. It might be of use to some good people to know, that she had formed her mind after the rules of the excellent Bishop Taylor, in his Holy Living and Dying; an author of whom she was a great admirer in common with her dear friend Bishop Horne. I have lost my companion, whose conversation was sufficient of itself, if the world was absent-to the surprize of some of my neighbours, who remarked how much of our time we spent in solitude, and wondered what we could find to converse about. But her mind was so well furnished, and her objects so well selected, that there were few great subjects in which we had not a common interest. I have lost my best friend, who, regardless of herself, studied my ease and advantage in every thing. These things may be small to others, but they are great to me; and, though they are gone as a vision of the night, the memory of them will always be upon my mind during the remainder of my journey, which I must now travel alone. Nevertheless, if the Word of God be my companion, and his Holy Spirit my guide, I need not be solitary-till I shall once more join my

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