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· These last exertions seem to have been fatal to his exhausted frame, which suffered at once under dropsy, and jaundice, and asthma. The Bath waters were tried in vain, and various modes of cure or alleviation were resorted to, of which tapping only appears to have succeeded to a certain extent. The medical attendants gave their last sad advice in recommending a milder climate. Of his departure for Lisbon, in conformity with their opinion, he has himself left the following melancholy record, painting the man and his situation a thousand times better than any other pen could achieve. .“ On this day, Wednesday, June 26, 1754,"1 he says, “the most melancholy sun I had ever beheld arose, and found me awake at my house at Fordhook. By the light of this sun, I was, in my own opinion, last to behold and take leave of some of those creatures on whom I doated with a mother-like fondness, guided by nature and passion, and uncured and unbardened by all the doctrine of that philosophical school, where I had learned to bear pains, and to despise death. In this situation, as I could not conquer nature, I submitted entirely to her, and she made as great a fool of me, as she had ever done of any woman whatsoever; under pretence of giving me leave to enjoy, she drew me in to suffer, the company of my little ones, during eight hours; and I doubt not whether, in that time, I did not undergo more than in all my distemper. At twelve precisely my coach was at the door, which was no sooner told me, than I kissed my children round, and went into it with some little resolution. My wife, who behaved more like a heroine and philosopher, though at the same time the tenderest mother in the world, and my eldest daughter, followed me. Some friends went with us, and others here took their leave; and I heard my behaviour applauded, with many murmurs and praises, to which I well knew I had no title.”
This affecting passage makes a part of his Journey to Lisbon, a work which he commenced during
1 Voyage to Lisbon.
the voyage, with a hand trembling in almost its latest hour. It remains a singular example of Fielding's natural strength of mind, that while struggling hard at once with the depression and with the irritability of disease, he could still exhibit a few flashes of that bright wit, which once set the “world” in a roar. His perception of character, and power of describing it, had not forsaken him in those sad moments ; for the master of the ship in which he sailed, the scolding landlady of the Isle of Wight, the military coxcomb who visits their vessel, are all portraits, marked with the master-hand which traced Parson Adams and Squire Western.
The Journey to Lisbon was abridged by fate. Fielding reached that city, indeed, alive, and remained there two months; but he was unable to continue his proposed literary labours. The hand of death was upon him, and seized upon its prey in the beginning of October, 1754. He died in the forty-eighth year of his life, leaving behind him a widow, and four children, one of whom died soon afterwards. His brother, Sir John Fielding, well known as a magistrate, aided by the bounty of Mr Allen, made suitable provision for the survivors ; but of their fate we are ignorant.
Thus lived, and thus died, at a period of life when the world might have expected continued delight from his matured powers, the celebrated Henry Fielding, father of the English Novel ; and in his powers of strong and national humour, and forcible yet natural exhibition of character, unap
proached as yet, even by his most successful fol. lowers.
Abbotsford, October 25, 1820.
i [“ Fielding, the prose Homer of human nature.”_BYRON Life, vol. v., p. 55.]
The Life of SMOLLETT, whose genius has raised an imperishable monument to his fame, has been written, with spirit and elegance, by his friend and contemporary, the celebrated Dr Moore, and more lately by Dr Robert Anderson of Edinburgh, with a careful research, which leaves to us little except the task of selection and abridgement.
Our author was descended from an ancient and honourable family; an advantage to which, from various passages in his writings, he seems to have attached considerable weight, and the consciousness of which seems to have contributed its share in forming some of the peculiarities of his character.
Sir James Smollett of Bonhill, the grandfather of the celebrated author, was bred to the bar, became one of the Commissaries (i. e. Consistorial Judges) of Edinburgh, represented the burgh of Dumbarton in the Scottish Parliament, and lent his aid to dissolve that representative body for ever, being one of the Commissioners for framing the Union with England. By his lady, a daughter of Sir Aulay MacAulay of Ardincaple, Sir James Smollett had four sons, of whom Archibald, the youngest, was father of the poet.
It appears that Archibald Smollett followed no $ profession, and that, without his father's consent, he married an amiable woman, Barbara, daughter of Mr Cunningham of Gilbertfield. The disunion betwixt the son and father, to which this act of imprudence gave rise, did not prevent Sir James Smollett from assigning to him, for his support, the house and farm of Dalquhurn, near his own mansion of Bonhill. Archibald Smollett died early, leaving two sons and a daughter wholly dependent on the kindness of his grandfather. The eldest soni embraced the military life, and perished by the shipwreck of a transport. The daughter, Jane, married Mr Telfer of Leadhills, and her descendant, Captain John Smollett, R.N., now represents the family, and possesses the estate of Bonhill. The second son of Archibald Smollett is the subject of this Memoir.
TOBIAS SMOLLETT (baptized Tobias George) was born in 1721, in the old house of Dalquhurn, in the valley of Leven, in perhaps the most beautiful district in Britain. Its distinguished native has celebrated the vale of Leven, not only in the beautiful Ode addressed to his parent stream, but in the Expedition of Humphry Clinker, where he mentions the home of his forefathers in the following enthusiastic, yet not exaggerated terms :
“ A very little above the source of the Leven, on the lake, stands the house of Cameron, belonging to Mr Smollett,' so embosomed in an oak wood, that we did not see it till we were within fifty yards of the door. The lake approaches on one side to within six or seven yards of the window. It might have been placed in a higher situation, which would have afforded a more extensive prospect, and a drier atmosphere; but this imperfection is not chargeable on the present proprietor, who purchased it ready built, rather than be at the
I The late Commissary Smollett.