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interlaced arches by way of ornament to a flat vacant space; only so much of it as lies between the legs of the two neighbouring arches, where they cross each other, is pierced through the fabric, and forms a little range of long pointed windows. It is of King Stephen's time.

“ P. 43. As Mr, B. has thought it proper to make a compliment to the present set of Governors in their respective churches; it were to be wished he would insert a little reffection on the rage of repairing, beautifying, whitewashing, painting, and gilding, and above all, the mixture of Greek (or Roman) ornaments in Gothic edifices. This well-meant fury has been and will be little less fatal to our ancient magnificent edifices, than the Reformation and the Civil Wars.

" Mr. G. would wish to be told (at Mr. Bentham's leisure); whether over the great pointed arches, on which the western tower at Ely rises, any thing like a semicircular curve appears in the stone work? and whether the screen (or roodloft) with some part of the south-cross, may not possibly be a part of the more ancient church built by Abbot Simeon and Fitz-Gilbert ?"

P. S. The foregoing letter is without date; but that will appear from the circumstances above related.

Yours, &c.

1784, April.


LXXVIII. Anecdotes of Literature, by Dr. Johnson.


Dec. 26. No apology. will be necessary either to yourself or to your learned readers, for introducing to their notice the following very curious anecdote in literary history, authenticated as it is by the introductory letter of my most respected and respectable friend Dr. Johnson. I will only, observe, that it confirms (what, as far as it went, appears now very evident to be authentic) a memorandum which I communicated in your volume for 1781, whence it appears that the proposals for the Ancient Universal History were published Oct. 6, 1729; and that the authors of the first seven volumes were the gentlemen whose names

appear below*. The MS. of Mr. Swinton shall be presented to the curators of the Museum.

Yours, &c.


P.S. Dec. 14. The date to the above billet, and to Dr. Johnson's letter, will shew that, amidst the pangs of illness, , the love of truth, and an attachment to the interests of literature, were still predominant. His letter, I may add, appears in public, not only by his permission, but by his express

desire. And it may be matter of some exultation to Mr. Urban, whom Dr. Johnson always acknowledged to have been one of his earliest patrons, that the Gentleman's Magazines should have been by him selected as the repository of perhaps the last scrap he ever dictated for the

That he had a considerable share in compiling the * Parliamentary Debates” in your early yolumes, is well known, and will ever be an honour to his memory. Yet such was the goodness of his heart, that no longer ago than Tuesday last, the 7th of December, he declared to the writer of these lines, “ that those debates were the only parts of his writings which then gave him any compunction; ; but that at the time he wrote them he had no conception he was imposing upon the world, though they were frequently written from very slender materials, and often from none at all, the mere coinage of his own imagination. never," the good man added, “wrote any part of his work with equal velocity. Three columns of the Magazine in an hour,” he said, “ was no uncommon effort, which was faster than most persons could have transcribed that quantity. In one day, in particular, and that not a very long one, he wrote twelve pages, more in quantity than ever he wrote at any other time, except in the life of Savage, of which 48 pages in octavo were the production of one long day, including a part of the night.”. Of his friend Cave, he always spoke with great affection; yet, says he, “Cave (who never looked out of his window but with a view to the

66 He

* Vol. I. Mr. Sale, translator of the Koran.

II. George Psalmanaazer.
Ill. George Psalmanaazer.

Archibald Bower.
Captain Shelvocke.
Dr. Campbell.

IV. The same as Vol. III.

V. Mr. Bower.
VI. Mr. Bower.

Rev. John Swinton,
VII. Mr. Swinton,

Mr. Bower.

Gentleman's. Magazine) was a penurious paymaster*; he would contract for lines by the hundred, and expect the long hundred; but he was a good man, and always delighted to have his friends at his table.”

To Mr. Nichols. The late learned Mr. Swinton of Oxford having one day remarked that one man, meaning, I suppose, no man but himself, could assign all the parts of the Ancient Universal History to their proper authors; at the request of Sir Robert Chambers, or of myself, gave the account which I now transmit to you in his own hand, being willing that of so great a work the history should be known, and that each writer should receive his due proportion of praise from posterity. I recommend to

to you to preserve this scrap of literary intelligence in Mr. Swinton's own hand, or to deposit it in the Museum, that the veracity of this account may never be doubted.

I am, Sir,

Your most humble servant, Dec. 6, 1784.


Mr. Sn.
The History of the Carthaginians.

Melano Gætulians.
The Regio Syrtica.
Turks, Tartars, and Moguls.

* It appears, however, from an account now before us, under his own hand, that he received from Mr. Cave by different payments, from Aug. 2, 1738, to April 21, 1739, 47 guineas, “ in relation to a Version of Father Paul, begun Aug. 2, 1738." Of this version, which was intended to have been published by subscription, six sheets were actually printed: but another translation being at the same time announced under the patronage of Dr. (afterwardsBishop) Pearce, the designs of both proved abortive.

The History of the Dissertation on the Peopling of America.

on the Independency of the Arabs. The Cosmogony, and a small part of the History imme

diately following. By Mr. Sale. To the Birth of Abraham. Chiefly by Mr. Shelvock. History of the Jews, Gauls, and Spaniards. By Mr. Psal

manaazar. Xenophon's Retreat. By the same. History of the Persians, and the Constantinopolitan Ens

pire. By Dr. Campbell. History of the Romans. By Mr. Bower. 1784, Dec.

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LXXIX. Remarks on Webb's “Inquiry into the Beauties of

Painting,” &c.*



MR. URBAN, THE author of the following Remarks has been so highly delighted in the perusal of Mr. Webb's book, in which there appears so much learning, so much good sense, so fine a taste, and so many excellent observations, that it is not without some reluctance that he finds himself obliged to differ, in some few particulars, from this ingenious writer; but the opinion he has of Rubens (perhaps partiality for him) is such, that he hopes to be excused in endeavouring to vindicate that painter's character.

Page 13, 14. “ The first affections of the eye are always ill-placed; it is enamoured with the splendid impositions of Rubens.&c.--Why impositions, by way of reproach, when in a proper sense, it would be the highest praise; for the very business of painting is to impose, and he who does it most effectually is the greatest artist.

It may justly be said of Rubens, that, in many respects, he has had no equal; and particularly in colouring, not only as to the truth of the local colours, but in all the effects produced by colours; in the chiaro oscuro, or general light and shadow, in the keeping or degradation, in the arrangement or distribution of the parts, so as to produce a great and beautiful whole, or tout ensemble, as the French express

* By Mr. Highmore.

it. And, as to drawing, in which he has been thought by some to be deficient, who have dwelt too much on a few negligences, owing merely to the rapidity of his pencil,--in drawing, or designing, he seems as much superior as in any of the other essentials, especially after some allowance made for the style of his first manner; which kind of allowance, or indulgence, is never refused to any other master, not even to Raphael, who stands in as much need of it to the full, as Rubens. His best works discover great knowledge of anatomy, a correctness of outline, a certain truth of character, an ease of action or motion, a force and spirit beyond what is to be seen in any other pictures whatsoever; and such an apparent facility in the execution, as at once convinces the spectator of the readiness of his apprehension, and the certainty of his principles.

When his anatomical knowledge is mentioned, he will probably be compared with Michael Angelo, who is generally allowed the inost knowing of all in this part. Michael Angelo, it is true, has marked the muscles in their places, perhaps, with the greatest justness, but Rubens, oniy, seems to have known their use, and the different appearances they exhibit in action and at rest; insomuch that one sees their energy collected (as it were) to a point, in certain movements; and hence it follows, that his figures appear more animated than those of other painters. Many of their laboured figures seem motionless, though intended to represent immediate action.

To confirm and corroborate these observations on the genius, penetration, and spirit of Rubens, it may be added, that he alone has succeeded in subjects that require the most quick and lively conceptions, and where nothing more could be obtained of the originals than what could be cauglit by the glance of an eye ; such as animals of every kind, and particularly the most savage, wild, and indocil." He alone has represented lions, tygers, &c. in all their various passions and actions, and as correctly as if they had waited the execution of his pencil, so perfectly has he been able to seize and to retain the idea; whereas, with many other painters of no small note, the representations of animals, compared with his, appear little better than such as are to be seen in the compartments of heraldry.

It has been objected, that his figures are too short and too fleshy; that is, too much of the Fleinish cast. This is justly observed with respect to many of his pictures, especially of his first manner, as above observed; but then it must also be acknowledged, that, in many others, his


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