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ship of the great body of the Christians to be idolatrous. The Vice-Chancellor, after some deliberation, consented to proceed against Frend, and cited him before his court, consisting of himself and ten assessors, among whom were Farmer, the writer on Shakspeare, and Postlethwaite, Porson's old enemy. Kipling was promoter or prosecutor, and Frend was accused under the statute De Concionibus, made for the protection of the established religion. One of the strongest passages of the pamphlet brought against him was a paragraph in which he recommended the Dissenters to wait for a change of religion for relief from persecution, adding, "The most improbable tales were in early times invented of the Christians; their meetings were burnt down, and their persons were assaulted. Is it to be wondered at that the same practices should, by the enlightened infidel, the interested churchman, and the ignorant populace, be in our days both repeated and applauded? The same passions will everywhere produce on certain minds the same effect; and the priest, in every age, whether he celebrates the orgies of Bacchus or solemnises the Eucharist, will, should either his victims or his allowance fail, oppose in either case every truth which threatens to undermine his altars or weaken his sacerdotal authority." Another was a passage in which he expressed objections to all ecclesiastical courts, dignities, and vestments, as contrary to the spirit of Christianity, observing that the laity sat tamely, "like brute beasts," under clerical usurpation; that a man could not pledge his faith to a woman without the interference of the priest; that his offspring must be sprinkled by priestly hands; and that he could not
be carried to his long home without " a spiritual incantation;" practices which were highly advantageous to the clerical community, but of no benefit to the morals of the public.
The trial lasted eight days, much time being lost in proving the pamphlet to be Frend's; a point which, as his name was in the title-page, it would have been but ingenuous in him to have admitted. But, observing that there was a volume of sermons in circulation which had Dr. White's name, of Oxford, on the title-page, but which were "in reality the production of a dissenting minister, and a member of Cambridge University," he threw on his adversaries the burden of proving the pamphlet to be his, and took advantage of the delay and discussion to annoy them, especially Kipling, with unpleasant remarks.
Kipling, unhappily for his peace, was extremely vulnerable. He had printed, some years before, a selection from Smith's Optics, with a preface, in which was this ridiculous passage: "The following treatise contains many inaccuracies, and even some errors, of which the editor was fully sensible before he sent it to the press, but was restrained from correcting them by the dread of reprehension." Surely Surely he would not have been blamed for correcting errors, whether Smith's or his own, where accuracy was so necessary. He had also published, just before Frend's trial, a fac-simile of the Cambridge manuscript of the New Testament called Beza's, Codex (as he called it) Theodori Beza Cantabrigiensis; an undertaking which Porson thought utterly useless, as the manuscript was in no respect valuable, and a chapter or two of it would have amply satisfied
KIPLING'S PROSECUTION OF FREND.
the curious as a specimen; and, while the work was in progress, he had made, in a letter to the "Gentleman's Magazine," the following uncomplimentary remarks on the editor: "I must own that if I could once perceive the use of such a work, I should readily grant that the University has pitched upon the fittest person in the world to be the editor. Dr. Kipling (quem honoris causâ nomino) is, without any question, furnished with every accomplishment to get honour for the University, and money for himself. He has, from his earliest youth, applied himself diligently to all sorts of critical learning, but most diligently to sacred criticism, and, from a long acquaintance with manuscripts, aided by natural sagacity, has become such an adept in Greek palæography as few know, and few would believe. It does not come within the plan of my present letter to say anything of his professorial and oratorical talents; but I may venture to affirm without flattery (for I abhor it), that I never yet heard Dr. Kipling in the schools. or the senate-house, that I had not the most lively remembrance of his principal, Dr. Watson." Kipling had frequently acted as deputy of Dr. Watson when Regius Professor.
The ambiguity in the title of the Codex was a favourite object of attack with all who were adverse to Kipling; an ambiguity which did not escape Porson when he reviewed it in the "British Critic." "I do not pretend," said Frend in his defence before the ViceChancellor, "to a deep knowledge of the Latin language, but I have been told by better critics than
* Oct. 1788, p. 876.
myself that it should be interpreted The book of Theodore Beza, a Cambridge man; but if any twenty-seven members of the University should take a dislike to any passage in the book, and cite Beza before the court as a Cambridge man, the return would be non est inventus.' There was also in the preface some bad Latinity, and Frend in consequence charged Kipling with "inability to speak or write a single sentence of pure Latin." One blunder was paginibus, on which somebody, perhaps Porson, made this epigram, in the style of the Epistolæ obscurorum Virorum :
Paginibus nostris dicitis mihi menda quod insunt;
Nam, primum, jurat (cetera ut testimonia omitto)
Milnerus, quod sum doctus ego et sapiens.
Classicus haud es, aiunt. Quid si non sum? in sacrosanctâ
The last two words in italics exemplify some of the Doctor's other inaccuracies. Kipling had "the paginibus sheet," as it was called, reprinted in the copies that had not been issued, but in a large number the blunder necessarily remained. The publication cost the University nearly two thousand pounds, and Kipling is supposed to have cleared at least six hundred guineas.
As to the observations regarding the clergy in Frend's pamphlet, Frend sought to justify them by saying that he designed them to bear chiefly, not on the Church of England, but on the papists; and declared that all he had said would have been thought innocent, but that one of the twenty-seven, "a gentleman famous for his eloquence," happened to light upon the words "Orgies
LETTERS OF "MYTHOLOGUS."
of Bacchus," when, like the man in Gil Blas, who was written down a Jew on all kinds of frivolous pretences, the author was marked as guilty of impiety.
The event of the trial was, that, as Frend refused to admit that he had offended against the statute, and to retract, he was sentenced to be expelled from the University. He appealed; and a court of five delegates, of whom two were Dr. Barlow Seale and Dr. John Hey, were appointed to reconsider the proceedings; but the result was that the Vice-Chancellor's sentence was confirmed.*
It was while the public press was making observations on these proceedings that Porson published his Orgies of Bacchus" in the "Morning Chronicle," in three letters addressed to the editor, and signed "Mythologus." The object of these jesting effusions is to remark how many points of resemblance may be found, if any one is disposed to find them, between the actions of Bacchus, as related by poets and mythologists, and those of the Messiah. Porson draws a picture, and leaves the reader to consider whether he has not seen another picture containing objects similarly disposed; and the reader, struck with the comparison, will, according to his feeling or judgment, either tolerate or condemn. Mr. Maltby, whose opinion however we need not adopt, pronounced that the letters could do nobody any harm. We shall offer a few specimens of them, leaving those who wish to see the whole to consult "The Spirit of the Public Journals" for 1797.
* Trial of Frend, by J. Beverley, Camb. 1793; Account of the Proceedings against the Author of a Pamphlet, &c., Camb. 1793; Sequel, Lond. 1795; Spirit of the Public Journals for 1797, p. 274.