Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

the affiftance" of Smollet in procuring his release. Smollet made interest through Mr. Wilkes; and he was discharged without any wish of his own, in the latter end of 1759, and returned to his master's fer

vice.

In 1760, he wrote the "Addrefs of the Painters to George III. on his acceffion;" an "Introduction" to the proceedings of the Committee for Clothing the French Prifoners; the "Dedication" for Mr. Baretti, of his " Italian and English Dictionary," to the Marquis of Abreu, the Spanish ambassador; and an Account of Mr. Tytler's Vindication of Mary Queen of Scots, in the Gentleman's Magazine for October.

This year Mr. Murphy having thought himself ill treated by Dr. Franklin, in his "Differtation on Tragedy," published an indignant vindication in "A Poetical Epistle to Samuel Johnfon, A. M." in which he complimented Johnfon in a just and

5

elegant manner. This epiftle has been reprinted, with confiderable alterations and additions, in the collection of his works, in 7 vols, 8vo, 1786. As an ingenious, an elegant, and moral writer, Mr. Murphy is entitled to rank in a fuperior class. In collecting his works, it is to be regretted that he should have taken fo much pains to rescue from oblivion this epiftle, written during the violence of literary diffention, and which bears evident marks of an exasperated mind. The expulfion of the refpectable names of Dr. Warton and Mr. Mafon from their former places, cannot easily be defended upon any other ground than caprice, or perfonal dislike.

An acquaintance firft commenced between Johnson and Mr. Murphy in the following manner: During the publication of his " Gray's-Inn Journal,” Mr. Murphy happened to be in the country

with Foote, and having mentioned that he was obliged to go to London to get ready for the prefs one of the numbers, Foote faid to him, You need not go on

that account: Here is a French magazine, in which you will find a very pretty oriental tale; tranflate that, and fend it to your printer." Mr. Murphy having read the tale, was highly pleased with it, and followed Foote's advice. When he returned to town, this tale was pointed out to him in the Rambler, from whence it had been tranflated into the French Magazine. Mr. Murphy then waited upon Johnfon, to explain this curious incident; and a friendship was formed, that continued without interruption till the death of Johnson.

In 1761, he wrote for the bookfellers the Preface" to Rolt's Dictionary of

66

Trade and Commerce; which difplays a

clear and comprehensive knowledge of the fubject, though he "never (as he faid) faw the man, and never read the book." He also corrected a pamphlet written by Mr. Gwyn, intituled, "Thoughts on the Coronation of George III.," and wrote for Mr. Newbery the Introduction to a Collection of Voyages and Travels published by him, under the title of "The World Displayed," which contains, in a pleasing ftyle, the hiftory of navigation, and the discovery of America and the Islands of the Weft Indies.

" De

In 1762, he wrote for Dr. Kennedy, in a ftrain of very courtly elegance, A Dedication to the King, of his "Complete Syftem of Aftronomical Chronology," dication" for Mrs. Lenox, to the Earl of Middlefex, of her "Female Quixotte," and the " Preface" to the " Catalogue

of the Artift's Exhibition."

In this year, Fortune, who had hitherto left him to struggle with the inconveniences of a precarious fubfiftence, arifing entirely from his own labours, gave him that independence which his talents and virtues long before ought to have obtained for him. In the month of July he was graced with a penfion of 300l. per annum, by the King, as a recompence for the honour which the excellence of his writings, and the benefit which their moral tendency had been of to these kingdoms. He obtained it by the interference of Lord Bute, then firft Lord Commiffioner of the Treasury, upon the fuggeftion of Mr. Wedderburn, now Lord Loughborough, at the inftance of Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Murphy. For this independence he paid the ufual tax. Envy and refentment foon made him the mark to fhoot their arrows at. Some appeared to think themselves more entitled to royal favour, and others recollected his

I

« ElőzőTovább »