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which the general voice of the publick has exclaimed, or which their own incongruity immediately condemns, and which, I fuppole the authour himself would defire to be forgotten. Of the relt, 10 part I have given the highest approbation, by inserting the offered reading in the text; part I have left to the judgment of the reader, as doubtful, though specious ; and part I have censured without reserve, but I am sure without bitterness of malice, and, I hope, without wantonness of insult.' : The prefacer does several other annotators on Shakespeare the honour of mentioning them, particularly the authors of the Canons of Criticism, Mr. Upton and Dr. Grey, but with different degrees of approbation and censure. He dismisses them, nevertheless, with the following general and apparently-ingenuous re- : flections:
I can say with great sincerity of all my predecessors, what I hope will hereafter be said of me, that not.one has left Shakespeare without improvement, nor is there one to whom I have not been indebted for aslistance aud information. Whatever I have taken from them it was my intention to refer to its original authour, and it is certain, that what I have not given to another, I believed when I wrote it to be my own. In some perhaps I have been anticipated; but if I am ever found to encroach upon the remarks of any other commentator, I am willing that the honour, be it more or less, should be transferred to the first claimant, for his right, and his alone, ftands above dirpute; the second can prove his pretensions only to himself, nor can himself always distinguish invention, with sufficient cer, tainty, from recollection.'
Our Editor proceeds next to give an account of what he hath done, or attempted to do himself, and to apologize for what he hath not done, or confessedly found himself unable to do. We cannot help being somewhat apprehenive, however, that the readers of this part of Dr. Johnson's preface, will be apt to think he hath, in more places than one, betrayed a confciousness of the want of application in his pretended endeavours, as well as of the ill success attending them. There runs, indeed, through the whole of this preface, such a mixed and inconsistent vein of praise and censure respecting others; and of boasting and excuse regarding himself, that we think we discover it to be the production of a wavering pen, directed by a hand equally wearied and disgusted with a talk, injudiciously undertaken, and as indolently pursued. We shall take our leave of it therefore with one more quotation, which may serve farther to confirm what is here advanced :
"Perhaps I may not be more censured for doing wrong, than for doing little ; for raising in the publick expectations, which at last I have not answered. The expectation of ignorance is : , :. . n ... ... . . . indefinite
indefinite, and that of knowledge is often tyrannical. It is hard to satisfy those who know not what to demand, or those who demand by design what they think impossible to be done. I have indeed disappointed no opinion more than my own; yet I have endeavoured to perform my talk with no sight solicitude. Not a single passage in the whole work has appeared to me corrupt, which I have not attempted to restore; or obscure, which I have not endeavoured to illustrate. In many I have failed like others; and from many, after all my efforts, I have retreated, and confessed the repulse. I have not passed over, with affected superiority, what is equally difficult to the reader and to myself, but where I could not instruct him, have owned my ignorance. I might easily have accumulated a mass of seeming learning upon easy scenes; but it ought not to be imputed to negligence, that, where nothing was necessary, nothing has been done, or that, where others have said enough, I have said no more,'
As to the work itself; the present Editor hath prefixed the several préfaces of Pope, Theobald, Hanmer and Warburton, as also the dedication and preface of Heminge and Condell, and Shakespeare's life by Mr. Rowe. Of Mr. Pope's notes the Editor ha:h retained the whole; in order, as he says, that no fragment of so great a writer may be lost With Dr. Johnson's Jeave, however, as Mr. Pope's attempts on Shakespeare do so little honour to his memory, a future editor who affected to Tevere that memory ought io have suppressed them; at least those of them which were the most exceptionable.-Of Theobald's notes, the weak, ignorant, mean, faithless, petulant, oftentasicus Theobald, the present Editor hath generally retained those which he retained himself in his second edition, and there, we must acquaint our Readers, are not a few nor unimportant.Of Sir Thomas Hanmer's notes, Dr. Jobníon professes, and we find no reason to disbelieve him, that he hath inserted them all. -To Dr. Warburton he is still more obliged than to any of the preceeding commentators, at least in point of quantity, To the author of the Canons of Criticism he is also equally obliged in point of quality ; but we know not to what cause we must impute it, that the Editor is so extremely sparing of confefling his obligations, from this quarter.
As to the Editor's own notes, it possibly will not be expected they should be so numerous, or so important, as those he had an opportunity of borrowing from his predecessors: the Reader will meet with some of them, however, here and there interspersed among the rest, and like the rest, bona quædam, mala, mediocrą. If the Reader should complain that these are too few and insignificant, we can only impute their paucity and want of imporLance to a notion entertained by the Editor (the most unfortunate sure that ever entered into the head of a commentator !) that the
Reader is more, and better pleased with what he finds out hiinself, than with what the most sagacious scholiast can point out to him. But this plea, if admitted, would of course be urged too far, and even superfede the task of any commentator at all. Indeed Dr. Johnson seems full as little solicitous about the fuccess of his annotations, as he could possibly be about the composing them; it is to be wished, however, for the sake of his own reputation, that he had always treated the poet with the fame candour as he professes to have observed toward his brother commentators.
A Letter to the Right Reverend Author of the Divine Legation of
Mojes demonstrated; in Answer to the Appendix to the fifth Vo
lume of thai 1Kork : with an Appendix, containing a former lite· rary Correspondence. By a late Professor in the University of
Oxford. "Octavo. Iš od. Millar and Dodsley.
Oxford," spondence with an Appendice Appendia
TIHEN a person of gentle and amiable manners, of un- :
V blemished character, and eminent abilities, is calumniated, and treated in the most injurious manner by a haughty and over-bearing Colofius, it must give pleasure to every generous mind, to see such a person vindicating himself with manly freedom, resenting the insult with proper spirit, attacking the imperious aggressor in his turn, and taking ample vengeance for the injury done him. Such is the pleasure which every impartial Reader, every true republican in Literature, will receive from the perusal of the Letter now before us.
It can be no secret to any of our Readers, that the Author of the Divine Legation of Mofes has, for many years, treated men of the most respectable character, in the most illiberal and contemptuous manner; nay, often, with the most wanton infolence; that he has to borrow the language of the elegant and spirited Author of this Letter) assumed the high office of Inquisitor General and Supreme Judge of the opinions of the Learned, and exercised it with a ferocity and a despotism without example in the republic of letters, and hardly to be paralelled among the disciples of Dominic; exacting their opinions to the standard of his infallibility, and prosecuting with implacable hatred every one that presumes to differ from him.
In the appendix to the fifth volume of the Divine Logation *, the Bishop of Glocester severely attacked the learned and ingenious Dr. LOWTH; who now steps forth to do himself juftice, to defend his opinions and his character, and to expose the '* sophistry, buffoonry and fcurrility of his antagonist. How får
See Review for Sept, laßt.
he hath succeeded in this attempt, under all these heads, it is not for us to determine; but, on the whole, he hath acquitted himself in so masterly and satisfactory a manner, that we do not remember ever to have received equal entertainment from the perusal of any work of this kind. But to the Letter itself:
. I cannot but think myself, says the Doctor, much obliged to your Lordship, for the distinguished honour which you have done me, in making me the subject of an Appendix to your great work of The Divine Legation of Moses Demonstrated: an . honour, which you have hitherto conferred on no one, except a late noble lord and myself. I heard indeed from every quar ter, that you had taken it into your head, that I had affronted you; and that this imagined affront lay rankling at your heart. You expressed your indignation, with much vehemence and loud menaces, to almost every one whom you met : except to myself; whom you, at the same time, received with fair words and a smooth countenance : insomuch that I was then really persuaded, that what I had heard of your resentment was all an idle and groundless report. However, I did not imagine, either that the subject on which we differed was so important in itself, or the person who differed from you so considerable in your eftimation, as to merit so formal a process, and fo solemn a chastisement. I thought you might possibly whip me at the cart's tail in a Note to Divine Legation, the ordinary place of your literary executions : or pillory me in the Dunciad, another engine, which, as legal proprietor, you have very ingeniously and judiciously applied to the same purpose: or perhaps have ordered me a kind of Bridewell correction by one of your Beadles, in a pamphlet. I never flattered myself with the expectation of being exhibited on a scaffold, erected on purpose for me, and in so conspicuous a place. I can do no less therefore than make my acknowledgments to your Lordship upon the occasion ; as Sir John Owen did to my Lord President Bradfhaw, of infolent and brutal memory : having, together with several peers, received sentence of condemnation in the High Court of Justice, the honest Knight made a low reverence to his mock Lordship, and gave him humble thanks for the great honour done him inbeing condemned to lose his head like a noble Lord; for, being but a poor Gentleman of Wales, he swore he was afraid he fhould have been hanged.'
Having thus paid his respects and due acknowledgments to his Lordlhip, our Author proceeds, without farther compliments, and with all proper freedom, to enquire into the grounds of bis refentment, and the merits of the question in dispute. 'He itates the case, with great clearness and openness, as it lies before the Public; and reminds his Lordship of what formerly passed between them in private, in regard to the book of Job. According to
the Doctor's account, the truth of which we are not to question, there seems great want of fairness and openness in his Lordship'. conduct: it appears that he drew the Doctor into a conference, a pretended treaty of peace; while he knew that his · Cherokees and Iroquois, (as our Auchor styles the Bishop's under-writers) were falling at that very time upon his back.' But for the particulars of this affair, we must refer our Readers to the pamphlet.
• This, says Dr. Lowth, is a true state of my particular case. But indeed, my Lord, it is matter of common complaint, and a real hardship upon us free subjects of the Republic of Letters in general ; that we cannot go on quietly and peaceably in the public road, upon the ordinary business of our calling, without meeting at every turn a fturdy bravo, who disputes our passage, claims the highway as his own, and falls upon us with his cudgel, if we do not keep just to the track in which he ora ders us to walk. You give yourself out as Demonftrator of the Divine Legation of Moses: this subject you look upon as your exclusive property; by what title, I cannot say : surely not as forft Occupier; for the Divine Legation of Moses had been often demonstrated before, and it would be no presumption even in a young Student in Theology to undertake to give a better, that is, a more fatisfactory and irrefragable Demonstration of it in five pages, than you have done in five volumesa However, in quality of Demonstrator General of the Divine Legation of Mofes, you lay in a further claim as Lord Paramount in all the realms of science. For the Divine Lee gation of Mofes, it seems, contains, in it all knowledge divine and human, antient and modern: it treats, as of its proper fubject, de omni fcibili, &. de qualibet ente; it is a perfect Encyclopedia; it includes in itself all History, Chronology, Criticism, Divinity, Law, Politics, from the Law of Moses down to the late Jew-Bill, and from Egyprian Hieroglyphics to modern Rebus-writing; and to it we are to have recourse, as to an infallible oracle, for the resolution of every question in Literature. It is like Lord. Peter's brown loaf: it is mutton, ani* it is beef ; it is fish, and it is flesh; it is meat, and it is drink: in it are contained inclufivè all the necessaries of life ; and a dreadful ana. thema hangs over the head of the unbeliever and gainsayer. For whatever it may pretend in theory; it admits in fact of no toJerance, no intercommunity of various sentiments, not the least difference of opinion : to diffent, is a capital offence; to be filent, is a criminal reserve ; even to praise, unless in such high ftrains of Panegyric as fhall come up to the full standard of the great Proprietor's extravagant felf-estimation, argues a malignant parfimony, a disrespect, and an indignity: the charge has been openly avowed, and a smart correction has been publicly inflicted on the offender. The Demonstrator of the Divine Le