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OLIVER GOLDSMITH, M. B.
Our Author was the third son of the Rev. Charles Gold. smith, and was born at Elphin, in the county of Roscommon, in Ireland, in the year 1729. After being well instructed in the classics, he was admitted a fizer in Trinity College, Dublin, on the 11th of June 1744. While he resided there, he exhibited no specimens of that genius, which, in his maturer years, raised his character so high. On the 27th of February 1749, O.S. (two years after the regular time) he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Soon after, he turned his thoughts to the profession of physic; and, after attending some courses of anatomy in Dublin, proceeded to Edinburgh, in the year 1751, where he studied the several branches of medicine under the different professors in that university. His beneficent disposition soon involved him in unexpected difficulties; and he was obliged precipitately to leave Scotland, in consequence of having engaged himself to pay a considerable sum of money for a fellow-student.
A few days after, about the beginning of the year 1954, he arrived at Sunderland, near Newcastle, where he was arrested at the suit of one Barclay, a taylor in Edinburgh, to whom he had given security for his friend. By the friendship of Mr. Laughlin Maclane and Dr. Sleigh, who were then in the college, he was soon delivered out of the hands of the bailiff, and took his passage on board a Dutch ship to Rotterdam, whence, after a short stay, he
proceeded to Brussels. He then visited great part of Flanders; and, after passing some time at Strasbourg and Louvain, where he obtained a degree of Bachelor in Physic, he accompanied an English gentleman to Geneva.
It is undoubtedly a fact, that this ingenious, unfortu. nate man, made most part of his tour on foot. He had left England with very little money; and, being of a philosophical turn, and at that time posiessing a body capable of sustaining every fatigue, and a heart not easily terrified by danger, he became an enthusiast to the design he had formed of feeing the manners of different countries. He had some knowledge of the French language, and of music: he played tolerably well on the German flute; which, from an amusement, became at some times the means of subsistence. His learning produced him an hospitable reception at most of the religious houses that he visited; and his music made him welcome to the peafants of Flanders and Germany. “Whenever I approached
a peasant’s hc : towards night-fall,” he used to say, " I played one of my most merry tunes, and that gene“ rally procured me not only a lodging, but subsistence " for the next day: but, IN TRUTH” (his constant expression) " I must own, whenever I attempted to entertain " persons of a higher rank, they always thought my " performance odious, and never made me any return 6 for my endeavours to please them.”
On his arrival at Geneva, he was recommended as a proper person for a travelling tutor to a young man, who had been unexpectedly left a considerable sum of money by his uncle, Mr. S---- This youth, who was articled to an attorney, on receipt of his fortune determined to see the world; and, on his engaging with his preceptor, made a proviso, that he should be permitted to govern mimself—and our traveller soon found his pupil understood
the art of directing in money concerns extremely well, as avarice was his prevailing passion.
During Goldsmith's continuance in Switzerland, he as. siduously cultivated his poetical talent-of which he had given some striking proofs at the college of Edinburgh; and it was from hence he sent the first sketch of his delightful epistle, called The Traveller, to his brother Henry, a clergyman in Ireland.
From Geneva, Mr. Goldsmith and his pupil proceeded to the south of France, where the young man, upon some disagreement with his preceptor, paid him the small part of his salary which was due, and embarked at Marseilles for England. Our wanderer was left once more upon the world at large, and passed through a number of difficulties in traversing the greatest part of France. At length his curiosity being gratified, he bent his course towards England, and arrived at ver, the beginning of the winter, in the year 1758.
His finances were so low on his return to England, that he with difficulty got to the metropolis, his whole stock of cash amounting to no more than a few halfpence. An entire stranger in London, his mind was filled with the most gloomy reflections in consequence of his embarrassed situation. He applied to several apothecaries, in hopes of being received in the capacity of a journeyman; but his broad Irish accent, and the uncouthness of his appearance, occasioned him to meet with insult from most of the medicinal tribe. The next day, however, a chymist near Fish-street-hill, struck with his forlorn condition, and the simplicity of his manner, took him into his laboratory, where he continued till he discovered that his old friend Dr. Sleigh was in London. That gentleman received him with the warmeft affection, and liberally invited him to share his purse till some establishment