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1787.]

SIR JOHN HAWKINS'S CONCEIT.

applied; p. 19, from Erasmus's Colloquies,' to prove that dutiful children wait upon their parents; p. 312, from Archbishop Peccham; p. 347, a new quotation from Ovid; p. 470, we are informed, to our unspeakable comfort, that to appose means to put questions; and this is cleared up beyond a doubt by seven lines from Ingulphus. Besides these damning proofs, the work abounds in such flowers as these: Temp. Car. I. Temp. Car. II. Dictamen. Verbatim et literatim. Sui generis. Notanda. Vide supra in Not. Ex relatione Peter Flood. Exemplars. Quoad the person. Evidentia rei. Ex cathedrâ. Testamentary dispositions in extremis. Inops consilii. I should be glad, after this, to see the wretch that will dispute Sir John's Latin. As for his Greek, the proofs are not indeed so many, but equally strong;

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And when one's proofs are aptly chosen,
Three are as valid as three dozen.

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p. 318, 562, myops, or near-sighted persons. Seized with a paralysis; p. 461, Nù§ yàp eρxεTal. The meaning is, says Sir John, for the night cometh. And so it is, Mr. Urban."

Hawkins gives a description of a watch which Johnson bought for seventeen guineas. Porson affects to find the history of the watch broken off abruptly, and to have accidentally picked up a leaf which appears to have originally filled the chasm of which every reader must be sensible.

Fragment.

"And here, touching this watch, already by me mentioned, I insert a notable instance of the craft and selfishness of the Doctor's negro servant. A few days after that whereon Dr. Johnson died, this artful fellow came to me, and surrendered the watch, saying, at the same time, that his master had delivered it to him a day or two before his demise, with such demeanour and gestures, that he did verily

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believe that it was his intention that he, namely Frank, should keep the same. Myself knowing that no sort of credit was due to a black domestic and favourite servant, and withal considering that the wearing thereof would be more proper for myself, and that I had got nothing by my trust of executor save sundry old books, and coach hire for journeys during the discharge of the said office; and further reflecting on what I have occasion elsewhere to mention, viz., that since the abolishing general warrants, temp. Geo. III., no good articles in this branch can be had any longer in England, I took the watch from him, intending to have it appraised by my own jeweller, a very honest and expert artificer, and, in so doing, to have bought it as cheap as I could for myself, let it cost what it would. Upon my signifying this my intention to Frank, the impudent negro said, 'he plainly saw there was no good intended for him,' and in anger left me. He then posted to my colleagues, the other executors; and there being in the people of this country a general propensity to humanity, notwithstanding all my exertions to counteract the same both in writing and otherwise, this being the case, I say, he had found means to prepossess them so entirely in his favour, that they snubbed me, and insisted with me that I should make restitution. Finally, though perhaps I should not have been amenable to any known judicature by keeping the watch, I consented, being compelled thereto, to let this worthless fellow retain that testimony of his master's ill-directed benevolence in extremis."

This is an excellent imitation, with scarcely a tinge of caricature, of Sir John's style. But all the three letters are equally effective throughout. They were written at the house of Dr. Burney of Greenwich, with whom he had now become acquainted.

On the publications of Boswell, Mrs. Thrale, and Sir John Hawkins, concerning Johnson, Porson wrote these lines:

1789.]

HEYNE'S APPLICATION FOR BENTLEY'S MSS.

Lexiphanem fatis functum, quà femina, quà vir
Certant indignis dedecorare modis:
Hic quantum in Scotos fuerit testatus amorem
Enarrat, fatuos vendidit illa sales.
Fabellas, Eques, ede tuas, seu musice mavis,
Si famæ Herois vis superesse nihil.

Thus Englished, as we believe, by Beloe:

At Johnson's death both sexes join
His character to undermine,
Proclaim his courtesy to Scots,

And print his stupid anecdotes.
'Tis now thy turn, musician knight :
Publish, and damn his fame outright.*

53

In January 1789, he published a notice in the "Monthly Review" of the Rev. J. Robertson's "Dissertation on the Parian Chronicle," defending it against the suspicions which Robertson expressed of its authenticity. He observes that though Mr. Robertson appears at first in the modest character of a doubter, he at length assumes too much of the dogmatist, and that the marble may very well be allowed to be genuine till arguments more probable than his are brought against it. He, however, praises Mr. Robertson's taste, learning, and candour, and says that his book may be read with much pleasure even by those who are adverse to his notions.

In 1789, Professor Heyne, who was making preparations for his edition of Homer, wrote to Cambridge for the loan of such of Bentley's papers as contained remarks on Homer. When the authorities came to take this request into consideration, they felt desirous to

Sexagenarian, vol. ii. p. 306.

know, before they granted it, whether Porson was disposed to make use of the papers, and commissioned Professor Hailstone, it appears, to ascertain Porson's inclinations regarding the matter. Porson replied to Hailstone thus:

Eton, Nov. 1789.

"DEAR HAILSTONE,

"I have received yours, and, after desiring you to thank the Seniors for the honour they have done me, shall answer you with all possible conciseness, that I have no design of making any use of Bentley's papers respecting Homer, and that, generally speaking, I think there will be no harm in letting Professor Heyne have a copy of his notes and emendations; for that, I should imagine, to be more proper than to let the manuscript travel so far. But there is another question which perhaps ought to be asked, whether these notes, as being hasty and negligent, written principally for private use, &c. &c., always answer to the known character of their author, and whether for that reason they ought to be published at all? I must confess myself unable to solve this question, having only had a cursory and superficial view of the papers, though I recollect approving very much of some things in them. But as I make no doubt that there are many of less or no value, if it should be thought advisable to grant the Professor's request, it ought perhaps to be made a condition that he should preserve and publish nothing of Bentley's but what was agreeable to his known abilities and worthy of his acumen. And this irresolute resolution is all that I am able to resolve upon at present.

"R. PORSON."

1789.]

DECLINES TO ENTER THE CHURCH.

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CHAP. V.

PORSON RESOLVES NOT TO ENTER THE CHURCH.-
OBLIGED ΤΟ RESIGN HIS FELLOWSHIP.

72

LETTERS TO

LETTERS TO GIBBON ON 1 JOHN V. 7.' PORSON'S TRAVIS" IN THE 66 GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE."

VIEW OF THE CONTROVERSY.-EDITIONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT BY ERASMUS, ROBERT STEPHENS, BEZA, AND OTHERS.-LUTHER AND THE REFORMERS.—HOW PORSON'S THOUGHTS WERE TURNED TO THE SUBJECT.-TRAVIS'S SHOW OF ARGUMENTS.-REPLIES TO THEM.-T -TERTULLIAN, CYPRIAN, JEROME. - THE VULGATE. JEROME'S PROLOGUE ΤΟ THE CANONICAL EPISTLES."-LAURENTIUS VALLA'S MANUSCRIPTS.-MODERN VERSIONS. -ORIGIN OF THE TEXT; PROBABLY FROM ST. AUGUSTINE.-PORSON'S CONCLUSION.—GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE STYLE OF THE LETTERS.

66

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55

IN CONSEQUENCE IS

MEETS WITH TRAVIS'S

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PORSON'S fellowship was held under the obligation of resigning it at the end of ten years, unless he should enter into Orders. He in consequence devoted himself, according to his biographer in the "Gentleman's Magazine," to a large course of theological reading, that he might ascertain whether he could, with satisfaction to himself, subscribe to the Articles of the Church. He did not come to a determination on the subject, we are told, without many painful days and months of study. "His heart and mind," says the writer, "were deeply penetrated by the purest sentiments of religion; and it was a memorable and most estimable feature of his character, that in no moment the most unguarded, in that ardour of discussion which alone drew him into indulgence, was he ever known to utter a single expression of discontent at the Establishment, of derision

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