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Majesty, who approved of it so highly, upon perusal, that he granted him a privy seal for 4001. out of the custom of paper. Indeed, it must be allowed that it has the merit of great research and solid reasoning. In January 1679 he was so unfortunate as to lose his noble library together with a vast collection of coins, seals, charters, and other antiquities, by a fire which consumed his chambers in the temple. His manuscripts and his valuable gold medals were happily preserved, having been removed some time before to his house at Lambeth. These with many other curiosities he presented to the University of Oxford ; and at his death, which took place in 1692, he further bequeathed to the same learned body the whole of his library and manuscripts. This collection, much to the honour of the university, has ever since been carefully preserved under the name of the “ Ashmolean Museum."
George Smallridge, an English prelate and very elegant wri. ler, was born here in 1666. He was educated at Westminster school, and while very young distinguished himself by bis classical acquirements. In 1682 he became a student in Christ church college Oxford, where he in due time took the several degrees in arts and divinity. At the age of 21 he made his debut, as an author, by publishing a work intituled “ Animadversions on a Piece upon Church Government.” In 1689 appeared a Latin poem, “ Auctio Davisiana Oxonii habita per Gul. Cooper et Edw. Millington Bibliopolas Londinenses.” Shortly after this period he went into orders, and having passed through several inferior stations in the church, kissed hands as bishop of Bristol in 1714. Upon the accession of the house of Brunswick to the throne, he was lord Almoner to the king, but lost that situation for refusing, in conjunction with bishop Atterbury, to sign the declaration of the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops near London, against the rebellion in 1715. From his correspondence with the celebrated Whiston he became so suspected of Arianism, as to render it necessary for him to address a letter to the bishop of Winchester, vindicating himself
from Biographia Britannica. Gen. Biog. Dict.
from the charge. His other publications, besides those already mentioned, were some volumes of sermons, many of which are written in a pure and chaste style. This prelate died on the 17th day of September 1719.*
THOMAS NEWTON, bishop of Bristol, was born in 1703, and received the early part of bis education at the Free School. When thirteen years of age he removed to Westminster, and became a king's scholar the year following. In 1723 he was elected to Trinity college Cambridge, where having taken the several degrees in arts, he was chosen fellow, and went into orders, soon after which event he set out for London, and was appointed curate at St. George's, Hanover Square. After passing through some inferior gradations, Mr. Newton arrived at the dignity of rector of St. Mary le Bow, by the interest of the earl of Bath, in whose family he was first chaplain. This bappened in 1744; and, a few months subsequent, he took his degree of doctor of divinity. During the period of the rebellion be greatly distinguished himself by the spirited loyalty of his sermons; and on that account had many threatening letters sent to him, which, by the advice of lord Bath, he transmitted to the Secretary of state. In 1747 he was chosen lecturer at St. George's, Hanover Square, where he preached a sermon on the death of Frederick prince of Wales, so highly acceptable to the princess dowager that she named him her chaplain. About three years after he was made chaplain to the king, prebendary of Westminster, and precentor of York, and in 1761 was elevated by his majesty to the bishopric of Bristol, to which was annexed a residentiaryship of St. Paul's, exchanged for the deanery in 1768. His lordship was twice married, and died in 1782 in the 79th year of his age.
He was a man of considerable learning, and great piety. His principal work, intituled “ Dissertations on the Prophecies," is thought to possess great merit and ability by the orthodox churchmen. But the most eminent character and greatest writer to which Fff 2
• Gen. Biog. Dict.
Lichfield has given birth was Dr. Samuel Jonsson, who was born on the seventh of September 1709. His father, who was a bookseller by trade, perceiving strong marks of genius in his son at a very early period, gave him every opportunity he could afford of improving his mind. After passing some time at the free school in this city, he went for a year to the school of Mr. Wentworth at Stourbridge in Worcestershire. He entered as a commoner at Pembroke college, Oxford, in 1728, being then, according to the learned Dr. Adams, the best qualified young man that he ever remenibered to have seen admitted. During his stay at the university he composed a Latin version of Pope's Messiah, of which the poet is reported to have said that the author would leave it a question for posterity which poem had been the original. Unfortunately the low state of his finances obliged him to quit Oxford before he was enabled to complete his studies, upon which he returned to Lichfield. Shortly after this event he lost his father, and found, on the division of his effects, that his own share amounted to only twenty pounds. When thus destitute of support, the place of usher to a school at Bosworth was offered to him; but, upon trial, he found it impossible to retain the situation owing to the tyrannical conduct of his patron, and consequently removed to Birmingham, where he commenced his career of authorship by publishing a translation of « Lobo." In 1734 he issued proposals for the works of Politian; but, not meeting with encouragement, the plan was abandoned. Somewhat more than a year from this period he married Mrs. Porter, a widow of Birmingham, who possessed a fortune of 8001. with which he fitted op a house for a school at Edial in the neighbourhood of his native city. The want of encouragement was again fatal to his views, he having only obtained three scholars, one of whom was the celebrated David Garrick. Giving up this
pursuit, he formed the intention of setting off to London, and was accompanied on his journey by bis afterwards distinguished pupil. . His first literary connection here was with Mr. Cave,
the editor of the Gentleman's Magazine, who employed him to furnish succinct reports of the Parliamentary debates. The tragedy of Irene, which he had been engaged in composing for several years, was now offered to Mr. Fleetwood the manager of Drury Lane theatre; but, probably for want of some proper recommendation, was rejected. At this time Johnson became intimate with the unfortunate Savage, whose life he afterwards wrote. He likewise about the same period published his poem of * London," which gained him considerable celebrity, and passed through a second edition in the course of a week.
Notwithstanding this success, for which he was in some measure indebted to the approbation of Pope, he does not seem to have found his pecuniary circumstances likely to be improved by pursuing the career of authorship; for not many months after this period he made every effort in his power to obtain the mastership of a free school in Leicestershire. The want of a degree ia arts occasioned his failure in this object, though he was warmly recommended by lord Gower. His application for admission at Doctors Commons was rejected also because he had not a degree in civil law. Thus baffled in all his projects of obtaining some fixed profession, he was compelled to continue the hazardous and laborious one, in which he had already engaged. Accordingly in 1739 he published his " Marmor Norfolciense," an anonymous attack upon the ministry and the house of Hanover. From this period till the year 1744, when his life of Savage was reprinted, he appears to have confined his attention solely to the furnishing of memoirs of eminent men for the Gentleman's Magazine; at least, if he wrote any other works, none of them ever came before the public. In 1747 he began his edition of Shakespeare, and about the same time published the plan of his Dictionary. Two years subsequent, bis tragedy of Irene, so often presented in vain, was brought forward by his friend Garrick; but the decision of the public was so far from being favourable that our Ff 3
author resolved to decline all further attempts as a dramatic writer.
As a sort of recreation from the fatigue and labour of bis Dictionary, he commenced his Rambler, on the 20th of March 1750, and continued to produce two essays weekly till the 17th of March 1752, when this admirable work was closed. About this time he lost his wife, whom he seems to have loved with the most ardent affection. In 1755 the Dictionary made its appearance, and was received with merited approbation, not only by the English, but by the foreign, literati. Previous to this time he had been honoured with a degree in arts.
Notwithstanding these great labours, and the reputation which he had acquired in the republic of letters, he was not yet. able to emerge from the miseries of pecuniary want. The whole profits of his dictionary, and his subscriptions for the edition of Shakespeare, seem to have been expended before March 1756, when we find him arrested for a debt of five guineas, and liberated by the aid of the celebrated Richardson. The Idler was begun in April 1758, and finished in 1760. A few months prior to this time he wrote his Rasselas, with the pious view of defraying the expenses of his mother's funeral. In this manner did this great man continue to derive a scanty subsistence from occasional publications till the year 1762, when his Majesty, through the influence of lord Loughborough, granted him a pension of 3001. as the express reward of his literary exertions. In 1765 the University of Dublin conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, “Ob egregiam Scriptorum elegantiam et Utilitatem,” as the diploma expresses it. His edition of Shakespeare was published in the same year. From this time till 1771 he was chiefly engaged in writing political pamphlets, some of which gained him the highest celebrity as a politician.
In 1773 he made his tour to Scotland, an account of which he published upon his return uniler the title of a “ Journey to the Hebrides.” This work accidentally involved him in a 7