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cular friends; and, at the request of my friend Mr. David Henry, with whom I had in that year become an associate in the management of the Gentleman's Magazine, the Article was there given at large, in vol. XLVIII. pp. 409 & seqq.
In March 1782 (as has been noticed in p. 113) a new and enlarged Edition was published, in quarto, of Mr. Bowyer's "Conjectures on the New Testa
lately to make them, and to return you their thanks for the same. Jos. PLANTA, Secretary. British Museum, Sept. 11, 1778." -"Mr. Astle's best compliments attend Mr. Nichols, and the Charters, &c. relating to the Abbey of Bec, are very much at his service. Mr. Astle finds only part of a Seal of Bec. Mr. Astle is truly obliged to Mr. Nichols for his Anecdotes relating to the late Mr. Bowyer. Sept. 25."-"I am obliged to you for your civility in sending me Dr. King's Works and Mr. Bowyer's Memoirs; which have given me much amusement. If, at any time hereafter, it comes within my sphere to assist you in any undertaking, I shall do it with great pleasure; and am, Sir, your most humble servant, JOHN BRADLEY. Lincoln, Jan. 31, 1779.". "Harley-street, Feb. 11, 1779. If I had known to whom I was obliged for the anonymous Memoirs of Mr. Bowyer's Life, I should have returned more early acknowledgments to you for that favour. I was much pleased, in the perusal, to see the literary merit of your Friend pointed out by such respectable testimonies, from those who were of no small fame in the Republick of Letters; amongst whom every line of Mr. Clarke's will please a reader, whilst it does honour to his subject. His Will shews how much he wished to improve the press by the abilities of the persons to be employed in it; and I am glad to find that worthy objects have been found to receive the benefit of his appointment. I doubt not of your endeavours to keep up the credit of his house and business; and am, Sir, Your very humble servant, JER. MILLES."
*The "Conjectures" had been translated into the German language, and re-printed, by John Christopher Frederick Schulz, Professor of Divinity, of the Oriental and Greek Languages, and Antiquities, Leipsic, 1774, Svo.
A Fourth Edition of the "Conjectures" will be published early in 1812, corrected; enriched with some valuable additions by Bishop Barrington, Dr. Owen, Mr. Stephen Weston, Professor Schulz, &c. &c.
"Conjectural criticism, particularly when it is exercised on the Sacred Writings, is peculiarly delicate and hazardous. It requires great sagacity and great caution. Of blind and bold adventurers the list is numerous:-of those whose vanity tempted them to strike out of the beaten path in quest of something
ment;" and in the middle of that year the "little brochure" had extended itself into a large and closely printed quarto volume; the reception of which by the publick at large, and the liberal criticism * it received, have encouraged the Author to
new; or of those whose bigoted attachment to some darling system hath given every conjecture, that tended to support it, the credit of truth. This Publication presents us with many of each class. We have Arians conjecturing in spite of the Trinity; and the Socinian in bold defiance of the Atonement. We have Athanasians making reprisals on the one, and Calvinists on the other; while the Infidel, standing aloof from the dubious strife, is indifferent who wins, so long as Religion loses the day! That there should be much futile criticism, and many idle and improbable conjectures, in so large a Work as the present, is not to be wondered at. However, the wonder would have been greater if, from so learned a Collector, the curious Reader had not met with an ample recompence. Of the first edition of this valuable work we gave some account at its original publication....."-" We observed in the beginning of this Article, that conjectural criticism is too hazardous to be ventured on without great caution, and without a distinguished share of natural acuteness and acquired knowledge. Infidels will avail themselves of this licence, when rashly exercised by Critics and Commentators on the Sacred Scriptures; and will question the whole from the freedom taken with a part. It is difficult to draw the line between a blind and bigoted attachment to the present state of the Greek text, and a temerarious and wanton departure from it. It betrays weakness to a high degree, to object to every emendation, however well authenticated by antient MSS. or antient versions; and, on the other hand, when a person, without such authorities, alters the sacred text at pleasure, to serve a system, or to get rid of a difficulty, he betrays an irreverence for the Divine Oracles; and, instead of removing, only increases the avils of infidelity, and gives some colour to the cautionary pleas of Popery. Nevertheless, Mr. Bowyer's Work, particularly in the present very improved edition of it, hath its utility in many respects: for, on the whole, it may be considered as a very valuable repository of hints for emendation and illustration, which the judicious student of the New Testament may avail himself of, and derive improvement and information from; and in this view it merits our recommendation." Monthly Review, vol. LXVII. p. 113-123. * Dr. Johnson's opinion of the Work may be seen in vol. II. p. 552; and Mr. Reed's in vol. III. p. 228.
Mr. D'Israeli, in one of his earliest publications, observes, "Mr. Nichols, in his Life of Bowyer, has made a most valuable accession of contemporary anecdote."
Mr. Maty, in the First Volume of his "New Review," thus
continue, from time to time, the pleasing task of enlargement, and, he hopes, improvement.
mentions the "Anecdotes:" "Frobenius scattering flowers over the grave of Aldus, and taking the opportunity at the same time of paying literary honours to Erasmus, and the Worthies who made his learned press sweat under them;-in plainer words, an account of a very distinguished and very worthy Printer, who repaid Literature what he had received from it, by that clause in his Will which makes provision for the maintenance of a learned Compositor of the press. Together with the account are given Anecdotes, some longer, some shorter, of the Writers who printed at Mr. Bowyer's press: the Warburtons, the Sherlocks, the Marklands, the Jortins, the Taylors, the De Missys, the Gales, the Stukeleys, &c. &c. &c. The use of this Work, which will grow more precious the older it grows, is, that several memorials of Works and Authors will hereby be preserved, which otherwise would have sunk in oblivion; and that even he who has not time enough to consult the whole may at any time satisfy himself of a literary date, or controverted fact, by recurring to the Index, which will easily lead him to what he wants.'
The Rev. John Duncombe, in the Gentleman's Magazine, observes, "A vast, an accumulated debt of gratitude, a rare production in this degenerate age, has produced this bulky volume, which, if it be not more the history of Mr. Bowyer than of his Literary Contemporaries, is certainly a collection of many valuable Anecdotes, illustrating the State of Literature among us for 80 years. The Compiler (which is no mean praise) unites the characters of Author, Historian, Biographer, Antiquary, Critic, and Printera very Frobenius, Aldus, Stephens; and, to speak more like an Englishman, the Caxton, W. de Worde, and Pinson, of the eighteenth century; a grateful scholar and a worthy successor of W. Bowyer...... After having announced this very singular publication, we purposely withheld both commendation and extract, lest they might have been supposed to arise from partiality to a literary Coadjutor: but the concurring voice of every respectable Reviewer coinciding with our opinion, a longer silence would be unjust. To trace the progress by which the volume has grown to its present bulk, would be an amusing enquiry. Our readers may recollect the outlines of it in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1778: and four years have since been employed on it at the press, in which period many new and unexpected informations' have added to the store, and furnished Mr. Nichols with an equitable excuse for occasional anachronisms. The perpetual enquiries of our Correspondents after anecdotes of eminent writers may be fairly mentioned as a proof of the utility of such a book as that before us, as well as of the extreme difficulty of obtaining satisfactory information. Let the Reader recollect the name of any single Author whose writ
In 1783, Mr. Nichols had the satisfaction of presenting to the publick (what Mr. Bowyer had long
ings have delighted him, with whom he has ever been acquainted, but of whom no life has hitherto been written. Let him minute down the result of his recollection; and he will immediately perceive how deficient the narrative will appear in facts and dates. He may apply to some common acquaintance, who will add a single circumstance; a second will suggest that an enquiry of some third person, who lives, perhaps, at the extremity of the kingdom, may lead to information. Here some light appears to dawn; but, when an answer comes, the distant correspondent recollects nothing with certainty; and is perhaps of fended at being troubled with what he considers as an impertinent enquiry. After much difficulty, the Biographer learns where the deceased Author was buried, and dispatches a request to the minister of the parish, for the date of his interment, and a copy of the monumental inscription. When this can be obtained, it is a great acquisition. But now the labour of research begins again. Discovering by the epitaph, that the man of eminence was born in such a town, and was educated at such a college, recourse must be had to the place of his nativity, for the history of his birth, family, and early habits; and to Oxford or Cambridge, for the dates of his admission, his degrees, &c.; when a new enquiry arises, after ecclesiastical or civil preferments; and another, more useful, but not quite so difficult, after the various books he has published. This is not an imaginary process. By such kind of laborious perseverance only can a work like the Anecdotes of Mr. Bowyer' be compiled. And we wish any gentleman, who may doubt this assertion, to try the experiment with some of the lives that have been enquired after in our Magazine; for example, with that of Mr. Martin, the celebrated Optician and Lecturer, whom every body knew, who has published an infinity of curious treatises, and who died so lately as within the present year" [1782.]
Should these be suspected to have been somewhat biassed by friendship, let us turn to the remarks of other Critics, to whom I was then an utter stranger. A Writer in the "Critical Review," (the Rev. Joseph Robertson, as I afterwards accidentally discovered), says, "We have now before us a Work of a singular kind, the Memoirs of an eminent Printer, accompanied with a biographical account of almost all the learned men who were connected with him, either by friendship, or the casual intercourse of business in his profession. In the Text, the Compiler has chiefly confined himself to the Life of Mr. Bowyer, and a chronological detail of the Works of others, which he printed. In the Notes, he has inserted all the authentic Anecdotes, which could be collected by a long, diligent, and expensive enquiry, relative to every author, and every person of note, whom he had occasion to mention in the course of the
wished to see accomplished) a handsome volume in quarto, under the title of "Novum Testamentum
narrative." -On the passage relating to Layer's head (vol. V. p. 497) Mr. Robertson remarks, "Imagine this venerable Antiquary and his companion awaking out of their slumber, how would the former be amazed and mortified on his perceiving, that he had been taking to his bosom, not the head of a counsellor, but the worthless pate of some strolling mendicant, some footpad, or some superannuated harlot! There is a memorable story of the same kind, relating to the bones of Livy. In the year 1413, the citizens of Padua, in digging for the foundation of a chapel, found a sort of coffin, on which was inscribed, "T. Livius," &c. The whole city, imagining that it contained the remains of the celebrated Historian of that name, was, on this event, a scene of universal exultation; and these supposed illustrious relicks were removed with great pomp and solemnity to the most conspicuous and honourable situation in the city, where a statue was erected to the memory of Livy, with a suitable inscription. In 1451, Alphonsus V. king of Arragon, hearing of this wonderful discovery, employed an ambassador to request that the Magistrates of Padua would send him, upon any terms, the bone of that arm with which their famous countryman had written his history. Upon obtaining this favour, he caused the bone to be conveyed to Naples with the greatest ceremony, and preserved as a most valuable relick. But many years afterwards the celebrated Gudius, on an accurate examination of the inscription which was originally placed over the body, incontestably demonstrated, that the bones which had been preserved with so much veneration, were nothing more than the remains of one Halys, who had been a slave, and on receiving his freedom, had, as usual, annexed to his own the name of his master, T. Livius, which had belonged to many persons at Padua, besides the celebrated Historian. Yet, notwithstanding the detection of this gross mistake, several modern writers have gravely told us, that the bones of Livy were discovered at Padua in the year 1413! Such deceptions should put Antiquaries on their guard against a weak and ridiculous credulity..... The limits of our Review oblige us to conclude this Article, though we could extend it much farther with pleasure to ourselves and advantage to our readers; for it is but justice to the accurate and ingenious Author to declare, that this Work contains a copious treasure of biographical information; and may be said to form a valuable history of the progress and advancement of Literature in this kingdom, from the beginning of the eighteenth century to the end of the year 1777."
The Compiler of the article on "Domestic Literature" in the "New Annual Register for 1782," p. 328, says, The lovers and the writers of Biography are under no small obligation to Mr. Nichols for his Biographical and Literary Anecdotes of William Bowyer, Printer, and of many of his learned Friends.' This