« السابقةمتابعة »
at the end, is the following authority in his handwriting, which may be added to the preceding, if any addition be wanted, “ The papers marked T, were written by Mr. S. Johnson.”
The paper, No. 90, which shows more acquaintance with literary history and criticism than we usually find in young men, was written by Mr. Colman, afterwards the principal author of the Connoisseur. It was no trifling merit to have written such a paper at the early age of twenty.
: The beautiful lines in No. 37, have been usually attributed to the pious Gilbert West ; and Hawkesworth believed this, when he announced that they were communicated to him " by a gentleman, who is not only eminent for taste, literature, and virtue, but for his zeal in defence of that religion which most strongly inculcates compassion to inferior natures," which is the subject of the paper. Dr. Johnson supposes that Mr. West gave it to Hawkesworth without naming the author. It was afterwards discovered to have been the production of the Rev. Richard Jago, a poet of a very pleasing cast, who has several other pieces in Dodsley's collection, and whose works were published together by his friend Mr. Hilton.
The very interesting story of Fidelia, in Nos. 77, 78, 79, was written by Mrs. Chapone, a lady who has already been noticed as the writer of four billets in No. 10, of the Rambler. She was the daughter of Thomas Mulso, esq. of Twywell, in North Hants, was born October 27, 1727,
and at a very early age exhibited proofs of a lively imagination and superior understanding. It is said that at nine years of age she composed a romance, entitled, The Loves of Amoret and Melissa, which, we are told, exhibited “ fertility of invention, and extraordinary specimens of genius.”
Her mother was a beauty, with all the vanity of her sex; and fearing that her daughter's understanding might become a more attractive object than the personal charms on which she valued herself, took no pleasure in the progress which Hester seemed to make; and if she did not obstruct, took at least no extraordinary pains in promoting her education.
This mother, however, died when her daughter was yet young; and a circumstance which otherwise might have been of serious consequence, seemed to strengthen the inclination Miss Mulso had shown to cultivate her mind. She studied the French and Italian languages, and made some progress in the Latin. She read the best authors, especially those who treat of morals and philosophy. To these she added a critical perusal of the Holy Scriptures; but history, we are told, made no part of her studies until the latter part of her life.
Her acquaintance with Richardson, whose novels were the favourites of her sex, introduced her to Mr. Chapone, a young gentleman then practising law in the Temple. Their attachment was mutual, but not hasty or imprudent. She obtained her father's consent, and a social
intimacy continued for a considerable period, before it ended in marriage.
In the mean time, Miss Mulso became acquainted with the celebrated Miss Carter; a correspondence took place between them, which increased their mutual esteem, and a friendship was thus cemented, which lasted during a course of more than fifty years.
Miss Mulso's first production appears to have been the Ode to Peace, and that addressed to Miss Carter on her intended publication of the translation of Epictetus. About the same time she wrote the story of Fidelia, which Miss Carter and her other friends who had read it, persuaded her to send to the editor of the Adventurer.
In 1760, she was married to Mr. Chapone, removed to London, and for some time lived with her husband in lodgings in Carey Street, and afterwards in Arundel Street. She enjoyed every degree of happiness which mutual attachment could confer, but it was of short duration. In less than ten months after they were married, Mr. Chapone was seized with a fever which terminated his life, after about a week's illness. At first, Mrs. Chapone seemed to bear this calamity with fortitude, but it preyed on her health, and for some time her life was despaired of. She recovered, however, gradually, and resigned herself to a state of life in which she yet found many friends and many consolations.
Most of her time was passed in London, or in occasional visits to her friends, among whom she had the happiness to number many distinguished charactersof both sexes, Lord Lyttleton, Mrs. Montague, and the circle who usually visited her house. In 1770, she accompanied Mrs. Montague into Scotland.
In 1773, she published her Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, originally intended for the use of her niece, but given to the world at the request of Mrs. Montague, and her other literary friends. As this was her first avowed publication, it made her name more generally known, and increased the number of her admirers. This work was followed by a Volume of Miscellanies.
The latter years of her life were imbittered by the loss of the greater part of the friends of her youth ; and after the death of her brother in 1799, as London had no more charms for her, she determined to settle at Winchester, where her favourite niece was married to the Rev. Ben. Jeffreys; but the death of her niece in childbed made her relinquish this design, and remain in her cheerless lodgings in London. So many privations had now begun to affect her mind, when her sympathizing friends persuaded her to remove to Hadley, where she died Dec. 25, 1801, in the 74th year of her age *.
Such are the few particulars we have been able to collect relative to the history of the Adventurer f. Its pleasing variety rendered it at
This sketch is taken from her Memoirs lately published, 2 vols. 12mo.
† Dr. Johnson asserted, that the Hon. Hamilton Boyle wrote in the Adventurer; probably one of the few papers which remain without assignment. Boswell's Journal, p. 240,
xlviii HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE. once more popular than the Rambler. The sale in numbers was considerable, and four large editions in volumes were published in less than nine years. The elegance, indeed, of the composition; the charms of the narrative part, and its evident tendency to promote piety and virtue, are recommendations which, it is hoped, can never lose their effect.