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recommended personal exertion as the surest method of obtaining relief, and set his petitioner down to draw up a description of China, with details of the manners of the people, for which a bookseller had proposed to him a sum too inadequate to be induced to take much trouble with it himself. When completed and sent to the printer without his having looked over the manuscript, he was astonished on its coming from the press, to find the Emperor of China made a Mahometan, and India supposed to stand between China and Japan. A few sheets were obliged to be cancelled at his expense, but the event afforded an opportunity of dismissing his new ally in disgrace.
An instance of what at first view seems more reprehensible than mere carelessness in treating such books as he possessed, is related by Sir John Hawkins.
“ While I was writing the History of Music,” says that gentleman, “ he, at the club, communicated to me some curious matter; I desired he would reduce it to writing ; he promised me he would, and desired to see me at his chambers: I called on him there; he stepped into a closet and tore out of a printed book six leaves that contained what he had mentioned to me."
The fact here stated is probably true, at least the locality is correctly given, as the closet to which allusion is made formed a central apartment between his principal rooms; but the colouring intended to be given to it partakes of the severity of judgment in which that writer was too prone to indulge. * The book thus spoliated is not named, which Sir John could have done, as readily as inform us of the specific number of leaves taken out, had it suited his design so to do; and we are therefore unable to judge of the real extent of the supposed crime of the offender. For it must be remembered that as a professed compiler on many subjects, he purchased books often of little value in order to pull to pieces for immediate objects, or to save the trouble of transcription, and these when the purpose was served, were no longer
We may therefore as justly believe that the book was of little or no value, an old magazine for instance, as the reverse.
Truth however requires that all his alleged offences originating in indolence or negligence should be stated without reserve; the following instance comes from another acquaintance, and having also been mentioned by Bishop Percy in conversation, is, if it can really form a charge against him, true.
“ I particularly recollect that when Goldsmith was near completing his Natural History, he sent to Doctor Percy and me to state, that he wished
* Sir John Hawkins seems to have been, from whatever cause, probably an unhappy temper, extremely unpopular. In the St. James's Chronicle for 1773, and in other years, are several
his “ dire malevolence,” “ hatred of all mankind,” spirit of “dark revenge,” and “harsh discord of mind.”
not to return to town from Windsor for I think a fortnight, if we would only complete a proof that lay on his table in the Temple. It was concerning birds, and many books lay open that he had occasionally consulted for his own materials. We met by appointment, and Doctor Percy smilingly said, . Do you know any thing about birds ?' *Not an atom’ was my reply, 'do you?' Not I,' said he; 'I scarcely know a goose from a swan ; however let us try what we can do.' We set to work and our task was not very difficult. Some time after the work appeared we compared notes, but could not either of us recognise his own share.”*
This excursion to Windsor was undertaken in company with some ladies, one of whom had written some pieces under the signature of Melissa, and likewise Mr. Purefoy, whose name has appeared in a preceding page, and who afterwards communicated some of the particulars to the late Mr. Pennick of the British Museum. It was literally by the account given by that gentleman, a party of pleasure, where enjoyment was pursued with no ordinary zest.
A second edition of the History of England being likely to be called for soon, he was now occupied in the revision of the first; the error of making Naseby situated in Yorkshire was still overlooked. The following notes written about this
* Mr. Cradock, in his Memoirs. -Yet even by this anecdote it appears
that Goldsmith afterwards altered or threw out what his friends supplied.
time relate to his employment; it be neces. sary to notice in explanation of their being addressed to Mr. Cadell, that Davies having sold part of his interest in the work, the former had become the purchaser.
“ Doctor Goldsmith's compliments to Mr. Cadell, and desires a set of the History of England for correction, if interleaved the better."
“ Mr. Goldsmith's compliments to Mr. Cadell, begs for an hour or two, the use of Millot's History by Mrs. Brooke.
“ Mr. Cadell, Strand.”
At what period the following letter was written does not appear, being without date, but probably about this time when exulting at the success of his last play. Another similar production as we see, in which it is doubtful whether he had made any progress, is held up to Garrick in prospect, who would appear by the proposed draught upon him to have been made occasionally available in pecuniary advances. The reference to Newbery appears to relate also to money transactions which had been productive of disagreement.
“ To David Garrick, Esq. “ MY DEAR FRIEND, “ I THANK you! I wish I could do something to serve you. I shall have a comedy for you in a season or two at farthest that I believe will be worth your acceptance, for I fancy I will make it a fine thing. You shall have the refusal. I wish you would not take up Newbery’s note but let Waller teize him, without however coming to extremities; let him haggle after him and he will get it. I will draw upon you one month after date for sixty pound and your acceptance will be ready money, part of which I want to go down to Barton with. May God preserve my honest little man, for he has my heart.
“ OLIVER GOLDSMITH.”*
To one of his visits to a favourite resort with Sir Joshua Reynolds, the following allusion occurs in a letter of Mr. Thomas Fitzmaurice, a relative of a noble Irish family, addressed to Garrick, dated August 4. 1773.+
“ I shall dine at Twickenham to-morrow, and if I should not hear from you to the contrary, I shall set out from thence towards Hampton in my phaeton on Friday morning at nine o'clock ; and if I should meet you or her Majesty on the Common shall be happy to take up one or both in my vehicle, or shall be glad to descend and accompany you on foot to Hampton. I am just going with Sir Joshua and Doctor Goldsmith to Vauxhall, which will be my first exit from home this day.
* In the collection of William Upcott, Esq.
| Mrs. Garrick.