« ForrigeFortsett »
To the five letters are subjoined Sir Edward's desires concerning his papers, and his laft will and profesion ;' and all of them thew that, however mistaken he might be in bis political opinions, he had acted from the dictates of confcicnce and a sense of duty:
Some of the best friends to Lord Clarendon's memory have acknowledged, that his religious policy, when he came to be chief minister of this country, was narrow and illiberal. From the present work, and especially from two or three letters to Lord Hopton, it appears that Sir Edward Hyde was always bigotted in his notions of church government.
The series of papers in this volume is carried on to the year 1651; ending with the account of King Charles the Second's escape after the battle of Worcester. Many of the letters and memorials relate to foreign as well as to domestic affairs; and to the state of Ireland, as well as to England. Among other things, we find here a very compleat detail of difpatches, including Lord Cottington's and Sir Edward Hyde's embassy to Spain.
We have only to add, that this is a noble and valuable collection, and that we are persuaded it will prove of great importance to the elucidation of our national history. We shall expect, with impatience, the remaining papers, as we have reason given us to believe that they will be found still more momentous and interesting than those which have been already published.
Art. XI. The Works of Dr. Jobn Eachard, late Mafter of Catherine
Hall, Cambridge. Consisting of the Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy; his Dialogues on the Writings of Mr. Hobbs; and other Tracts. A new Edition ; with a Second Dia. logue on the Writings of Mr. Hobbs, not printed in any former Edition ; and some Account of the Life and Writings of the Au. thot. 12moi 3 Vols. 75. 6 d. sewed. Davies. R. John Eachard, so well known from his witty detail of
the causes of the Contempt of the Clergy, was the pleasantest controversial writer of the last age. His present Editor prefers him to Swift, for the following reasons :
• The celebrated Dean of St. Patrick's, says he, turns his pen too frequently into a scalping-knife, and makes his wit the executioner to his ill-nature. Not content, to overcome his antagonist by the strength of his abilities and the force of his argument, Swift treats him, as if he were not only the dållett, but the vileit of mankind. It is not enough for him to conquer, unless he tramples too upon his enemy: he frequently selects the most opprobrious terms and shocking expressions he can find in the English language ; and throws them about at random on persons in the most exalted as well as the lowest ftations : on princes and stockjobbers ; chancellors and prin. ters ; dutchesses and coiners; ftatesmen and news-writers; bishops and usurers; fine ladies and lewd rakes.
• Eachard contents himself with hunting down the argument of his opponent, and rarely meddles with the man: he thinks it fuffi. cient, if he can prove him a dull and affected, a foppish and pedan: tic, an ignorant and a foolish reasoner. He wilhes pot to render him hateful to the populace, or obnoxious to the government. He laughs in his antagonilt's face at the very time he disarms him ; then helps him to his fword again, and humourously rallies him for not knowing how to ufe it. In short, Eachard's discussion of an argument or confutation of a book, divested of that severity and acrimony, with which theological disputes are too often maintained, resembles a feast, where easy wit, sprightly humour, good-nature, and good sense form the molt agreeable part of the entertainment.'
This learned and merry divine * was educated at Cambridge ; where he took his degree of Master of Arts in 1660. In 1670 he published his celebrated work above-mentioned. He afterward attacked the philosophy of Hobbs, with all the powers of his wit, humour, raillery, and reason; so that, as his pretent Editor observes, . all the serious and systematical books, written by the most eminent and learned of our divines, could never have rendered the philosophy of Hobbs fo contemptible as the incomparable dialogues of Eachard, which contain the most ju dicious arguments, united with the most spirited satire, and the livelieft mirch..
• Dr. Eachard died in 1697, and was succeeded in the Mastership of Catharine.hall, by Sir William Dawes.
Eachard's works, we have reason to believe, were for a long time, the favourite companion both of divines and laymen. Swift Speaks of them with respect. He seems indeed to have read oor Author with attention, and to have greatly profited by him. An ingenious gentleman assured me, that some outlines of the Tale of a Tub, might be traced in the writings of Eachard.' This I am afraid is going too far. Certain it is, that this Writer was endowed with a very large share of wit, which he employed to the best and nobleit purposes, to the defence of religion and morality when attacked by a philosopher, who laid claim to the reputation of a great scholar, and a profound mathematician. Eachard had besides a vein of humour peculiar to himself, much useful learning, a strong manner of reasoning, without the appearance of it, and above all an uncommon kill in turning an adversary into ridicule ; in which no writer has fince exceeded, nor perhaps equalled him. Let us not forget too, that he poffeffed an inexhaustible fund of good-nature, with che most easy and laughing pleasantry: qualities, which the haughty and fplenetic Swift could never enjoy.'
The elegant inscription on his tomb is thus very properly introduced by the author of the memoirs prefixed to this edition :
• The famous Laurence Eachard, the historian, appears to have been nephew, or some other near relation, to this John Eachard ; but there was no affinity of genius between them.
$ The • The inscription on Dr. Eachard's tomb, will shew his character in a new light. A wic is supposed by some people to be a worse member of society in proportion to the hare he possesses of that dangerous quality, which as often excites our hatred as our admiration. This amiable man was as respectable for the benevolence of his mind, as the extent of his capacity. He execated the trust reposed in him of Master of his college, with the utmost care and fidelity, to the general fatisfa&tion of the Fellows, and with the approbation of the whole university. He was extremely anxious to rebuild the greateft part, if not the whole, of Catharine-hall, which had fallen into decay: but unhappily for the college, he died before he could accomplith his generous design. However, he lived long enough to give that beautiful front, which the inscription fo juftly celebrates : and this he effected by the most painful assiduity in procuring liberal con
tributions from his learned friends, and considerable largefles from his rich acquaintance, who could not resist the power of his persuafive eloquence; and lastly, by bestowing the little all he was master of.
• He lies buried in the chapel of Catharine-hall : over his tomb is the following infcription, which will be a lasting monument of Dr. Eachard's worth, and of the gratitude of the learned society to which he belonged :
Tibi habeat, Catherina, hoc mortale depofitum
Viri vere magni
Tenues hasce exuvias :
Jobannem Eachard S. T. P.
De utraque optime meritum,
Quam pulchra ex ruinis affurgit !
Pollet vocare fuum.
Vel fuadela (quâ plurimum pollebat)
Et fi diutius fata pepercillent
Quod fordidum, ruinofum
Ætatis LXI, Eachard's works here collected, are, 1. The Enquiry into the Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy. 2. Obfervations on an answer to the Enquiry, 3 Hobbs's State of Nature confidered; in a dialogue between Timothy and Pkilautus. 4. Five Letters in Defence of the Enquiry, against Dr. Owen, and others. 5. A S¢cond Dialogue between Timothy and Philautus, on the Writings of Hobbs. This last tract, which was originally published in 1673, is now first added to the collection of Eachard's works; of which, it seems, there have been no fewer than twelve editions, before this of 1774. G.
Art. XII. Shakespeare's Plays, as they are now performed at the Thea
tres Royal in London ; regulated from the Prompt Books of each House, by Permission. With Notes critical and illustrative. By the Authors of the Dramatic Cenfor. 8vo. Vols.
15 s. fewed.
“ In every Work regard the Writer's End,
Since none can compass more than they intend.”
which is not set in competition with any other edition, because it is executed on a different plan, and intended to answer a different purpose. The great aim of former editors has been to give us Shakespeare reflored; the professed design of this, perhaps more popular work, is to present the less critical * reader with Shakespeare as altered and accommodated to the taste of an age more refined than that in which the Author lived and wrote, more capable of tasting his beauties, and less apt to relish or even tolerate his defects. Those beauties, it muft, to the honour of the stage, be allowed, are judiciously retained in the plays of this great poet, as acted at either theatre; and the deformities are, for the most part, with equal choice and discerna ment, expunged i
“ The rhiming clowns that gladded Shakespear's age,
• • Though this edition is not meant for the profoundly learned, nor the deeply Audious, who love to find out and chace their own critical game; yet we flatter ourselves both parties may perceive fresh ideas started for speculation and reflection.'
Editor's Pref, Advertisement.
With undoubted propriety, therefore, have the present Editors observed, that the moft enthusiastic admirers of Shaker peate those who worship bim as the god of their idolatry, Scruple not to admit that even his most regular pieces produce some scenes and passages, highly derogatory to his incomparable merit; that he frequently trifles, is now and then obscure, and some. times, to gratify a vitiated age, indelicate. It is further, with equal truth remarked, by way of apology for the faults of this wonderful genius, that they may justly be attributed to the loose, quibbling, licentious taste of his time ;' and that he, 'no doubt, on many occafions, wrote wildly *, merely to gratify the public; as Dryden wrote bombastically, and Congreve ob scenely, to indulge the humours, and engage the favour of their audiences.'
• Why then,' our Editor asks, ' should not the noble monuments he has left us, be restored to due proportion and natusal luftre, by sweeping off those cobwebs, and that dust of des praved opinion, which Shakespeare was unfortunately forced to throw on them; forced, we fay, for it is no strain of imai gination to suppose that the Goths and Vandals of criticism, who frequented the theatre in his days, would, like those who over-ran the Roman empire, have deftroyed and configned to barbarous oblivion the sublime beauties which they could not relish; and it is matter of great question with us, whether the Fool in King Lear was not a more general favorite, than the old monarch himself.'
The above confiderations, we are told, first suggested the idea which hath produced the present edition ; and among the peculiar uses of a printed copy of Shakespeare's plays, with the text regulated according to the Prompters books, the Éditors have observed, that those who take books to the theatre, will not be puzzled to accompany the speaker, nor over apt to condema the performers for being imperfect, when they pass over what is designedly omitted. Here, however, it is obferved, that as some passages, of great merit for the closet, are never spoken, fuch, though omitted in the text, are here carefully preserved in the notes.
And with regard to the critical part of this undertaking, which is not by any means held forth as its greatest merit, the Editors profess, that having been long convinced that multiplying conjectural verbal criticisms, tends tather to perplex thani inform the reader, they have given those readings which to them appeared molt consonant to the Author's manner and meaning, without obtruding one capricious opinion on another.'
• s. One glaring chaos, and wild heap of wit.' Rev. Feb. 1774