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tural nurseries for unfledged authors; in these they try the strength of their wing before engaging in more arduous flights. Some make the experiment for amusement, some for improvement, some to circulate a favourite opinion, and some who are nevertheless not at all dependant on such small and casual supplies, to be enabled by the produce to add to their libraries.*
Why there should be any slight attached to the idea of profiting in a pecuniary way by literary labour, it is difficult to conceive. To accept the reward, is not necessarily to be in want of it, or to be under obligation by receiving it. “ He who writes otherwise than for money,” said Dr. Johnson, “ is a fool.” So thought Mr. Burke; so said Darwin; so say, and so think, most others whose writings are in request by the world, or who know the solitary toil by which alone a good work can be produced, and who in other respects care nothing for money. No man in any station of life ; no statesman, no lawyer, no physician, no clergyman, no soldier, gives his labours, mental or bodily, to society, without hire. Why then should not the author also have his hire without slight or reproach ? He who writes gratuitously for a bookseller, works for a man probably richer than himself. This species of charity is therefore misapplied. If a writer can afford to be generous, let it be to those who are really in want; for the fruits of his ingenuity, whether diurnal, monthly, or quarterly, if not necessary to himself, may be advantageously applied to purposes of private benevolence.
* A young author, perfectly independent of literature as a trade, lately received from the conductor of a periodical work a few pounds for some of his essays, which he directly laid out in books. “ This money,” said he, “ gives me more pleasure than ten times the sum arising from any other
I take pride in it, because by the labour of my own mind I am enabled to make myself more extensively acquainted with the minds of others."
Some few years ago, when a member of the House of Commons, of the party of Mr. Fox, under the influence of erroneous information, had been throwing some slight upon the memory of Mr. Burke, as having been obliged to write in the periodical publications for subsistence previously to coming into parliament, Mrs. Burke, who saw the statement in the newspapers, ran her pen through it in the presence of some friends, observing, “ Mr. Burke himself would not take the trouble to contradict this, nor indeed any thing else they say of him, but really I have no patience with such reports; I declare them from my own knowledge gross and unfounded falsehoods; that he received money for his publications is true, but the amount was very small —not worth mentioning as a means of support.'
Abridgment of English History.-Annual Register.-Ac
quaintance with Dr. Johnson, Mrs. Ann Pitt, Hume, Lord Charlemont, Gerrard Hamilton, Barry, Goldsmith.
THE reputation of the Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful being quickly diffused through the literary world by the trading critics, as well as the most eminent private judges of the day, immediately stamped the author's fame as a man of uncommon ingenuity and very profound philosophical powers; though some of his theories did not, as might be expected in investigating matters of taste, receive universal assent.
In 1757 a new edition was called for, to which was prefixed, for the first time, the introductory chapter on taste. To his father, who had not been well pleased with his desertion of the law, a copy was sent, which produced in return a present of 1001. as a testimony of paternal admiration. Another copy he despatched to his friend Shackleton, and on one of the blank leaves wrote, as expressive of his affectionate and unceasing regard
Accipe et hæc manuum tibi quæ monumenta meorum
and all his future political works, especially the Thoughts on the Discontents, the Reflections on the French Revolution, the Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs, were transmitted to the same friend. · In the letter accompanying the Essay, dated from Battersea, August 10, 1757, he says, in jocular allusion to his matrimonial adventure, “ I am now a married man myself, and therefore claim some respect from the married fraternity; at least for your own sakes you will not pretend to consider me the worse man.” And in another part of this letter he apologizes for a long silence by his “manner of life, chequered with various designs, sometimes in London, sometimes in remote parts of the country, sometimes in France, and shortly, please God, to be in America."
The design expressed in the latter part of this sentence never took effect; neither is the object of it clearly known; some believing it to have been the offer of a small situation under government; others the invitation of an old fellow-collegian settled in Philadelphia, who thought the sphere of the new world offered a less crowded area for the display of his talents. Whatever may have been the inducement, fortunately he did not persevere in his purpose ; genius might have lost one of her most favoured offspring, and England one of her greatest ornaments. But the fact is curious in itself, as expressive of the same vague idea of expatriation which prevailed among many of the extraordinary political characters of the preceding century, and with some of the men of genius, as Goldsmith, Burns, and others, of our own.
In January 1758, his domestic circle received an addition by the birth of that favourite son, who through life was beloved with even more than pa. rental fondness, and whose death, at the early age of 35, tended to hasten his own. Another son, named Edmund, born about two years afterwards, died in infancy. The wants of an increasing family proved an irresistible stimulus to industry by all the means within his power, and his pen at this time was actively employed on a variety of subjects, some of which, never published, as well as others of an earlier date, though pretty well ascertained to be in existence, have not been recovered by his executors.
One of those which remained in his own possession, was an “ Essay towards an Abridgment of English History," which he had intimated to his Ballitore friends some time previously, it was his intention to write at length.
Eight sheets of this work were printed for Dodsley in 1757, but it was then discontinued, probably from hearing that Hume was engaged in treating of the same period of time, and perhaps from being unable to satisfy his own taste, which, on an historical subject, was fastidious. It displays, however, a spirit of close research into the earlier history of our island, not exceeded, perhaps not equalled, by works of much greater pretension; and that portion devoted to the aboriginal people, to the Druids, to the settlement of the Saxons, and to the details relative to their laws and institutions, contains some information new to the