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and Dr. Nathanael Angelo, many of them on curious subjects,” &c. These were printed from the originals, communicated by Mr. Robert Marsden, archdeacon of Nottingham, and Mr. John Worthington,
The next year, 1740, produced from him two volumes * in 4to; the first, inscribed to Auditor Benson as “a professed admirer of Milton," is intituled, “Memoirs of the Life and Actions of Oliver Cromwell, as delivered in Three Panegyrics of him, written in Latin; the first, as said by Don Juan Roderiguez de Saa Meneses, Conde de Penaguiao, the Portugal Ambassador; the second, as affirmed by a certain Jesuit, the Lord Ambassador's Chaplain ; yet both, it is thought, composed by Mr. John Milton (Latin secretary to Cromwell), as was the third: with an English Version of each. The whole illustrated with a large Historical Preface; many similar Passages from the Paradise Lost, and other Works of Mr. John Milton, and Notes from the best Historians. To all which is added, a Collection of divers curious historical Pieces relating to Cromwell, and a great number of other remarkable Persons yfir (after the Manner of Desiderata Curiosa, Vol. I. and II.)” Among these is, “A Discourse on Local Proverbs, in a Letter, written by himself, to a Brother Antiquary."
The second volume, which is dedicated to Arthur Onslow, Esq. Speaker of the House of Commons *, has the title of “ New Memoirs of
* “Whilst these two volumes were in the press, and now almost finished, I lost my dear friend, that truly learned and most accomplished gentlenian, William Cowper, esy. late Clerk of the Parliaments; who was the delight of all that knew him, and, to my infinite regret, died Feb. 14, 1739.” F. P.
+ A portrait of Hampden, “de pictå Tabella apud virum illustrem Richardum Ellys, Baronettum,"is inserted in vol. I. ; which Mr. Peck notices as “ a present from that learned and obliging Baronet."
“ The translation of the Baptistes having originally had the sanction of the House of Commons," says Mr. Peck to the Speaker, “ may now, not improperly, appear under the protection of yourself."
the Life and Poetical Works of Mr. John Milton; with, first, An Examination of Milton's Style; and secondly, Explanatory and Critical Notes on divers Passages in Milton and Shakespeare, by the Editor. Thirdly, Baptistes; a sacred dramatic Poem in defence of Liberty, as written in Latin by Mr. George Buchanan, translated into English by Mr. John Milton, and first published in 1641, by order of the House of Commons. Fourthly, The Parallel ; or Archbishop Laud and Cardinal Wolsey compared; a Vision, by Milton. Fifthly, The Legend of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, knt. Chief Butler of England *, who died of Poison, anno 1570, an historical Poem, by his Nephew Sir Thomas Throckmorton, knt. Sixthly, Herod the Great, by the Editor of Seventhly, The Resurrection, a Poein, in imitation of Milton, by a Friend. And, eighthly, A Discourse on the Harinony of the Spheres, by Milton ; with Prefaces and Notes."
Mr. Peck's “ Explanatory and Critical Notes on divers Passages of Shakespeare," at a period when that species of Criticism had not arrived to the perfection it has since attained by the united labours and genius of several successive and learned Commentators, deserve particular commendation. He seems indeed to have first pointed out the mode, which has since been successfully pursued, first by Dr. Farmer, then by Mr. Steevens. and since by Mr. Malone, Mr. Reed, and many other persons, of illustrating one passage by another *.
* Of which see Gent. Mag. vol. LXIII. pp. 911. 1089; in an, swer to enquiries after it, ibid. p. 787.
+ These two poems were inscribed, “ To the very reverend and learned John Newcomb, S. T. P. Master of St. John's college, Cambridge, in acknowledgement of his favours."
I“When I sat down," he says,“to read Milton's poetical works, I often thought, as I went along, that he had Shakespeare in his eye; I therefore read him next. And, in reading him, I noted every thing which I imagined would be of use to explain Milton; and again (as I was then naturally led to do so) every thing which arose in my own mind, and, I conceived, would help to
In 1741, Mr. Peck communicated to Mr. Wotton the Bookseller, for a Baronetage then printing, the curious article on the family of Wyche..
explain Shakespeare. The few I now publish are also a small specimen of a much larger number of that sort ; and, as they were written thus accidentally, are sent abroad with those on Milion (to which they owe their rise) not with any design to disparage what others have written on Shakespeare, but purely to do justice to that great genius, and to shew, that (after all the pains which several gentlemen have so industriously taken to clear up that poet) there is yet room for abundant observations of the like sort, whenever any good critic in these matters shall think fit to bestow his farther labours upon him." Memoirs of Milton, p. V.
He took also‘much useful pains in arranging “ A new Catalogue of the several Editions of Shakespeare's Writings (whether single Plays or Poems printed separately, or Copies of his whole Works printed collectively), ranged in an order of Time, accord. ing to the several Impressions; with Remarks."
In the preface to the second volume he makes “ grateful acknowledgements to the honourable Cuthbert Constable, (qu. father of William Constable, esq. of that place, who died, in his 78th year, April 1791;) of Burton Constable, in com. Ebor. 684. who generously gave him the plate of Milton prefixed to that volume, and for his other favours."
“The picture here spoken of,” Mr. Peck says, “was a half length, drawn when he was about five and twenty. The origihal was once the property of Sir John Meres, of Kirkby-Beler, in com. Leic. knt, but is now mine; and you have a good print of the head prefixed to this work. However, as the plate exhibits the head only, and as no engraving can express the colouring of the complexion and drapery, and perhaps something of the features, I shall here add a short description of the whole. Milton is here drawn sitting in a red velvet chair, in a russet-coloured night-gown, lined with blue. His hair, a dark brown ; parted on the crown, and some locks hanging (as the fashion of the times then was) pretty much over his forehead; his eyes, inclining to black ; his nose large and strait, his mouth and all his features handsome and very agreeable; his lip and whiskers (an essay towards a beard) of a thick, lightish, down; his complexion fair and florid; yet, through the mellowness of the paint, a little, and but a little, inclining to brown; his shirt open at the neck, but tied at the wrists with great bow-knots of black rib band; his right hand resting in his lap, and holding the verge of his night gown between his thumb and fore-finger; his left hand lying over an open book, on a table covered with a loose red velvet table-cloth. The open dexter leaf of the book numbered page 30. And on the edge of the book, a label, inscribed PARADICE Lost,
In 1742, he published his last work, “ Four Discourses; viz. 1. Of Grace, and how to excite it? 2. Jesus Christ the true Messiah, proved from a consideration of his Miracles, in general : 3. Jesus Christ the true Messiah, proved from a consideration of his Resurrection, in particular; 4. The Necessity and Advantage of good Laws and good Magistrates : as delivered in two Visitation * and two Assize Ser
with a c not an 8; as he often wrote it. By the way, the Paradise Lost, here alluded to, is not the Paradise Lost of X or XII Books, but the Dramatic Poem of that name; and which, in part, he wrote early." Ibid. p. 103.
As Mr. Peck appears to have plumed himself on possessing this original picture, it is painful to conclude this account of it with the opinion of Mr. Granger: “ The print is much like the portrait from which it is taken ; but it is evidently not genuine. It was in the possession of Mr. Peck's widow." Granger, vol. IV. P. 36.
In the same volume are four plans of those “poetical projects," on which, Dr. Johnson observes, Milton“ had digested his thoughts into one of those wild Dramas which were antiently called Mysteries ;” and refers to them as being in MS. in a Library at Cambridge. The original is at Trinity College. “Three of these plans stand the three first in our Author's own MS copy of his many intended dramatic pieces. Which observation, and that of his being drawn (when he was but twenty-four or twenty-five years of age) with his hand on a book intitled Paradice Lost, amounts almost to a demonstration that he had begun and made some progress in a dramatic poem of that name, when he was even so very young ; a wonderful instance this of his forward parts, and most early ripeness of judgment." F. P.
From the second volume Dr. Johnson has reprinted a letter of Cowley, when retired from the hum of men. « By the lover of virtue and of wit,” says the Doctor, “it will be solicitously asked, if he now was happy. Let them peruse one of his letters acci. dentally preserved by Peck, which I recommend to the consideration of all that may hereafter pant for solitude."
* The Visitation Sermons (one, preached at Melton Mowbray, April 17, 1725, at the Visitation of Archdeacon Trimnell; the other, at the same church, July 11, 1739, at the Triennial Visitation of Bishop Reynolds) are inscribed “to the right reverend and learned Richard Lord Bishop of Lincoln, his honoured Lord and Benefactor ;" and the Assize Sermons (one, before Mr. Justice Parker, at St. Martin's, Leicester, March 29, 1741, being Easter-day; the other, before Chief Baron Probyn and Mr. Justice Page, at St. Mary's, Leicester, July 30, 1741), to his “ very good Friend and Neighbour, Peter Wyche, of Godeby Maure
mons. By Francis Peck, M. A. Rector of Godeby Maureward, and Prebendary of Marston S. Lawrence in the church of Lincoln.”
At this period Mr. Peck had in contemplation no less than nine different publications * ; but whether he
ward, esq. High-sheriff of Leicestershire;" to whom he was Chaplain for the year.
* Of two of these we are able to state the progress; and as the materials for the others may still exist, and some of them be worthy the public attention, the proposed titles are here given.
1. “ The Natural History and Antiquities of Leicestershire." The whole of Mr. Peck's MSS. relative to this work (which des volved to his widow in 1749 on the death of their son) were purchased, in 1754, for ten guineas, by Sir Thomas Cave, who had himself been many years engaged in a similar pursuit. [Whilst I cannot but lament that, by the death of that worthy and intelligent Baronet in 1778, the task of Historian of Leicestershire de volved to one so inferior in abilities; I am proud to acknowledge the liberality of the last Sir Thomas, who handsonely presented me with the whole of the collections which had been formed by his grandfather. To the late respectable Baronet also, the Rev. Sir Charles Cave, I was indebted for a friendly introduction to his nephew, for many of his own very useful notes and observations, and still more for the politeness with which the favour was conferred.]—The progress which Mr. Peck had made was considerable, particularly in the Hundred of Framland, in which he resided; and for the greater part of the County he had abstracted the Clause and Patent Rolls, the Escheat Rolls, and Inquisitiones post mortem, from the Records in the Tower, and other public offices; but had not fully prepared one single parish for the press, His copy of Burton's History, in which he had made several remarks, and noted down many useful references, I purchased (1793) from Mr. Adams, bookseller, of Loughborough, after it had lain many years in the library of the Rev. John Alleynet, B.D.
This copy is a striking proof of the patient industry of Mr. Peck, who has transcribed fourteen complete pages that were torn out when the book came into his possession, which he thus prefaces; “ Chasmata in hoc exemplari supplevit, propriâque dextrâ tran. scripsit, Franciscus Peck, A. M. Antiquarius Stanfordiensis, 10° die mensis Aug. 1797".
+ Mr. Alleyne, the son of an attorney at Loughborough, was born there in 1731; and was entered of University College, Oxford, where he took the degree of M. A. 1755; B. D. 1777; and became regularly a Fellow; and continued to hold his Fellowship, with the office of Steward of Magialen College, which he retained till his presentation, in 1780, to the rectory of North Cerne in Gloucestershire. He died, after one day's illness Nov, 1, 1792; and his library was purchased by Mr. Adams, of Loughborough, who dispersed it in 1793 by a priced Catalogue.