Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

of citations, not worked, nor cemented the book, there is such a sprightliness, together, mere fand without lime; and wit in his manner of confuting and who would meddle with such dry, pis antagonist, that entertains, while mouldring stuff, that with the best it convinces. handling can never take a polish? To On the fifth of November, 1715, produce a good reply, the first writer Dr. Eentley preached a fermon* upon must contribute fomething: if he is Popery, before the Univertity. This quite low and fiat, his antagonist can- deep discourse is replete with e:udinot rise high; if he is barren and je- tion, and was calculated for the learned june, the other cannot flourish; if he body before whom it was delivered. is obscure and dark, the other can ne It, however, afforded an opportunity ver fine,"

of beginning a new assault to some of Such is the description which Bent- his enemies; who foon after publey gives of his fituation, when he lished some remarks on the sermon. wrote these remarks. Yet this second This was one of the few attacks which part is equal to the former, in point Bentley did not bear in filence. When of critical fagacity, and sarcastic ridi- these petty fcribblers criticised his cule. Nor is it in any degree inferior, claffical erudition, he felt consciods of with respect to learning, as far as Col- his fuperiority. This pamphlet, howlins gave scope for a display of his ever, was too scurrilous not to provoke wonderful erudition.

notice, and in 1717 he published an These two parts were universally answer, intituled:“ Reflections on the read and admired. Even his enemies scandalous afperfions caft on the Clergy, were silent. No caviller dared to at- by the Author of the Remarks on Dr. tack this admirable performance. Col- Bentley's Sermon on Popery, &c." lins forfeited his reputation for learn In the year before this, 1716, two ing and abilities, and his book, which letters were addressed to him, respecting had been held up as a model, sunk into an edition of the Greek Testament, for obscurity. Eight editions of these which he had long been collecting maRemarks have been published, and he terials. These were published with the began a third part, at the desire of Doctor's answers, in which the public Queen Caroline, when she was Prin- were informed, that the Doctor did not cels of Wales. Of this only two half propose using any manuscript in this sheets were printed, and not much edition which was not a thousand years more was written; for Bentley wrote old; and at the same time added, that he his remarks sheet by sheet, as the copy had twenty of this age in his library. was wanted by the printer. During The following year produced a new his difpute with the University, in antagonist. Mr. Johnfon, a school1717, he gave up this design of finish- maiter, at Nottingham, attacked with ing his observations; nor could he ever great virulence, and considerable abibe persuaded to resume the subject. lity, Dr. Bentley's edition of Horacet. Ai the same time he declared, with This publication was delayed by grcat indignation, that those in whole Johnson's illness, but however out of favour he wrote, were as bad as those date it might appear, he tells us in a he wrote against.

long preface, that he was determined The few pages which are published to publish it, because the authors of of this third part contain ' remarks the former remarks on the Doctor's upon some passages from Lucan, which Horace had not mentioned the most Collins had quoted, about Cato. It is glaring errors. much to be lamented, that he never At the end of the preface, he has finithed this piece of criticisin, for collected Bentley's egotijms, or the pashowever trilling was the value of the fages in which he has mentioned him

felf: * This sermon was afterwards published, with his ixth edition of Boyle's Lectures, at Cambridge, 1735

† This is the title of his critique, “ Aristarchus Arti-Bentleianus quadrazinta sex Bentleii errores fuper Q. Horatii Flacci odarum libto primo ipitos, connullos, el erubescendos: item per irtas Unsverfas in Latinicate, laplus tædislimos nonaginta vikundens.

acute.

self; and after them his reflections on race refers to an inedited epigram of other writers. Among the former, Philodemus. Abore forty years after, be has inserted several which have no the epigram was published by Reitke, title to a place in such a collection; in the Authology of Cephalas, and and inny of the latter are as just as confirmed his conjecture. Toup doubts, they are fevere.

whether the Roman poet conceived the To follow this writer through all meaning of the epigrammatist; be, his animadversions would neither be however, gives the lines, with our cri. useful nor entertaining. Like moft ticis emendation, which affords a splenOther commentators, he appears to be did instance of his acumen, that sometimes riglit, and frequently wrong, can never be praised too highly, or in his criticisms on ilorace. He was too frequently I But let us proceed. a good scholar, but an exccrable critic. Some of Johnson's remarks on the He had not tatte enough to discover Latinity of Bentley's notes are juft and the value of many of Bentley's con They display great knowiedge jeciural corrections, though his exten- of the language, and insight into the five reading enabled him to point out modes of exprefion adopted by the several of the great critic's errors. beit Roman authors. But let it not be

In addition to the emendations supposed that our critic is the only which we have already transcribed *, modern who deserves censure, on we must add one or two more!

this account. Scioppius wrote a book Horat. Ars Poer. 121.

againit the Latinity of Strada, and the Honoratum fi forte reponis Achillem, learned H. Stephens another of uncomImpiger, iracundus, &c.

mcn excellence on that of the great For konorat51.2, Bentley, with a critical Lipsius. Markland, in more modern fagacity which has been rarely equal. times, is not always equaily correct in led, proposes to read Homereum, which his annetations; and it would be found Hurd has admitted into the text, in that erin the great Toup, who is the his edition, as' indeed he has alıroit Corypricies of Grecian literature, in the all the readings of our Britilh Ariftar- present age, if his preface 10 Longinus chus. “ If you insert the character were examined by a rigid grammarian., of Achilles, as it is drawn by Homer, can sometimes, as well as critics of ininto your work, let him be

ferior rank, write inattentively, and " Impiger, iracundus, inexorabili,, aces,

adopt Jura neget libi nata, nihil non il oget armis."

a ftrie The son of Peleus, indeed, was dread

“ So Latii., yet so English all the while." ed on account of his courage, but if Why does he use the ambiguous if we consider his story, we do not find not inclaflical phrase of Longinum ux that honours were often showered down uno in loco refiimus, which may mean upon him. On the contrary, Aga- 1.0t cuce, as well as more than one. In memnon takes away his mifirefs, Bu another place he says, non femel. PAorkz x2*2!?:p , or, as Horace ftiles blicate is used by Pliny, in the sense hier, Briseis niieo colore; and though of publijhing a bcok, but, we believe, he had plundered so many cities, yet not by the writers of the Augustan age. did the commardis in cive always carry ddecre often begins a sentence, bus off the richett speil, and enjoy the not adeo ut, which requires a subj. treasures which were acquired by his mood after it. Toup is wrong, when labours :

he puts an Indic. Cicero says: -ce Telipe o reuors?o, odzreevent. funditus amifimus, adeo ut Coto adolefcers

In Serm. II. Lib. 2, 7. 120, Bent- nullius confili-wvix virus effugeret." ley corrects the punctuation of a paf- âd Q. frat, et alibi. In page 4.1km sage, in which he supposes that How should be vocavit, as the other ver's

in * Sorlat Magazine. + Sce Pendey's rate on the palage. Horat. P. 674. Ed. Amft.

The author of the preface tu i? Oriciú edition of Cephalas, in a note, incations this partage, Fui uves not secin taucoughly to come ive he force of Bingley's correction. There is an account bivut this cuiebrated pallige in Fisies vs. Alients, which the cunous redder may conlult.

[ocr errors]

in the sentence are in the perfect tense. style of his Commentaries is beneath Ut erat fhould be ut effet.-Johnson cen criticism, at once vulgar and pedantic. sures Bentley’s alliteratio, what would Those who have read his book, withhe have said to Toup's in textum*, and out any knowledge of the time in to some other flips, which may be which he lived, will scarcely believe discovered in this preface. Do not, that he was contemporary with Addihowever, let it be suspected, that we

fon, and lived in the Augustan age of mean to detract from Toup's fplendid English literature. abilities, as a critic. He has few rea In 1716 or 17172 Bentley was elected ders who look up to him with higher Regius Profeffor of Divinity at amveneration, or who would praise him bridge, and soon after preached before with more fincerity; but we were wil. his Majesty. The fermon was published. ling that his Herculean shoulders should The attack on it, and the answer we bear some portion of the load which have already mentioned. But this and has been placed on those of Bentley. Johnson's Aristarchus Anti-Bentleianus

To return to Johnson. While he were not the only source of uneasiness was censuring another writer for ego- which opened upon him in the year tisms, he should have excluded them 1717. He found himself involved in more carefully from his preface, in a dispute with the University, about the which the de se ditia are infinitely too fees which are usually paid by Doctors numerous.

of Divinity, on their creation. He At the end of the first part of these was likewise accused of contempt toremarks, for he afterwards continued wards the Vice-Chancellor. them, though in a less elaborate man This difpute originated in O&tober, ner, through the rest of Horace's on the day after his Majesty's visit to works, he published a itanza of an old the University, when several Doctors English ballad, with English annota- in Divinity, who had been named by tions, in the stile of Bentley. There' the royal mandate, attended at the is some droliery in these remarks, but fenate house to receive tlieir degrees. they never can diminish the value of Dr. Bentley, on creation, demanded kis criticisms. Mr. Addison's tragedy four guineas from each, besides the of Cato was once burlesquedt, and broad piece, which was the usual preGray's Elegy in a Country Church- fent on such occasions. A warm difYard has been frequently parodied. pute ensued, but on his absclutely reHomer and Virgil have been travestied: fusing to create those who would not yet surely no reader ever perused these give the extraordinary fee, Dr. Midauthors with less pleasure on this ac

dleton and fome otheis agreed to pay count. The test of truth I will never the money, upon condition that the be found in ridicule.

Professor ihould return it, whenever it These remarks were highly extolled was declared by the king, or by any by Bentley's enemies, and acquired authority delegated from him,' that their author fome reputation. He had demand was illegal. Those who realready introduced himself to the learn- futed to acquieice to this propoful le ed world by his “ Grammatical Com- would not create doctors. mentaries,” which were notes on Lil Dr. Grigg, the Vice-Chancellor, was ly's Grammar, published in 1706, in present during this dispute: he imme. English. He was a very accurate gram- diately ordered that some other doctor marian, and investigated authorities thould fupply his place, and Dr. Fither, with uncommon perleverance. As a the maler of Sydney College, performed critic, he was able to judge with ac the ceremony for the usual gratuity. curacy of the Latinity of a phrase, but The afair was laid before the Duke of he was very deficient in taite, that rare Somerset, who was Chancellor of the qualification, which is fo effential in University, and promised to take cogthe formation of a sound critic. The nizance of the affair, if it was not foon LOND. Mag. Dec. 1783.

3 Y

fettled * Used by Am. Marcell. but not in the Augustan age, for the text of a buck.

+ See Wilkes's History of the Slage. See Johnson's lives.

fettled. Dr. Bentley, however, ftill his proctor. Dr. Middleton obtained infifted upon his claim, but at laft was permission of the court to appoint ano. contented with a promissory note from ther proctor for himself, who accused several of them, by which they engaged the Professor of contempt, for not apto pay the fee, if the dispute was de- pearing. The beadle who went with termined in his favour, and even with the firit decree was examined, and a out money or bond he submitted to complaint was made out of his illcreate one of the King's doctors. usage, at Trinity Lodge. Among

In this situation the affair rested for other things it appeared that the above a twelvemonth. The illegality Doctor had faid: “I will not be conof his claim, indeed, was constantly cluded by what the Vice-Chancellor urged, and his right to the four gui- and two or three of his friends shall neas was continually debated. The determine over a bottle.” demand was certainly great, and vin His words were accounted criminal, dicated by no ftatuté. Let it be re- and Dr. Bentley was suspended by the membered, however, that fome of the Vice-Chancellor from all his degrees, fees claimed by the Vice-Chancellor, without citation, without hearing, and by the Chancellor's secretary, and without notice, who declared that he by other officers of the University, are would vacate the Divinity Profesiornot ordered by the book of statutes. ship in a few days, if he did not make

The Professor of Divinity also, it humble fubmifion. fhould seem, has a right to confer de Never, perhaps, was fo daring and grees only, because he is a doctor, for arbitrary an act committed, The the Chancellor ordered the ceremony Doctor's non-attendance could not be to be performed by any other doctor: made a plea, as the statutes of the fo that he feems to be at full liberty to University, as well as the laws of refuse, as the University does not ap- England, determine that the debtor, pear to have any power to oblige him, if he does not appear, shall forfeit his at a fixed rate, or even at all, to per- bail-bond. An action fordebt was conform the ceremony:

founded with a process for crimes and As the Chancellor had declared misdemeanors, If any contempt was against this new fee, and as Dr. Bent- hown, it was to the first writ, which ley had created fome Doctors, without was acknowledged to be invalid, eren either fee or note, Dr. Middleton by the Vice-Chancellor himself, when thought himself intitled to demand the he granted the second, which Bentley return of his four guineas, although obeyed. neither the sentiments of the King nor The University, and, indeed, the of his lawyers had pronounced the Pro- whole kingdom, were astonished at this fesor's claim unjuft.

bold exertion of power. Even the Beniley refufed to give back the mo lawyers who attended the trial were ney, Dr. Middleton sent, and then called: surprised at it, although the Vicebut the message and the visit proved Chancellor publickly declared, that Dr. equally fruitless. He next obtained a Bentley's great contempt of the authority decree from the Vice-Chancellor, anda and juridiction of the University had known enemy of the Professor was rendered such a proceeding neceffary. sent on September 23d to arreft his The heads of colleges who were then perfon: either through mistake or de- present gave their consent to the fuffign, lowever, the decree was left at pension. Trinity Lodge, and the orders of the Three days were allowed for the Vice-Chancellor were not executed. submillion, the feventh, the ninth, and On Wednesday, the first of October, the fifteenth of October. On the two another beadle arrefted him, and the first, his name was not mentioned, and Doctor, though he refused to obey it on the third, the Vice-Chancellor was at tutt, put in bail, and the following reminded of it by his brother the Dean Friday was appointed for the day of trial of Chicheiter, before he required the Di. Bentley did not appear, but fent Profeslor to submir, and own himself

juus

[ocr errors]

justly suspended. For to this purpose firft ftarted into public notice, as the was the summons issued. No vindi- action " which he commenced for the cation was allowed. A crime was to recovery of his money gave the first be confessed, which had not been com motion to this famous proceeding." mitted. A sentence was to be allowed An account of an old complaint of juft, which was without precedent or Laughton's, while he was proctor, parallel.

against Middleton, and several other The only remedy which was now relpectable characters who were fupleft Bentley was, an appeal to the de- ping at a tavern with Mr. Annesley, legates of the University, and this was afterwards Earl of Anglesey, while he arbitrarily refused. On October 15th stood candidate to represent the Unia congregation was called, and the versity in parliament, in the year 1710, Vice-Chancellor reported, that he had was now printed, in order to lessen received no answer to his requisitions, Middleton's reputation. He immediwhich he ordered to be registered; ately, however, answered the charge, and at a future meeting, though not and rather gained than loft any advanwithout several irregularities, the great tage by the publication. Bentley was deprived of all his honours During these disputes, he also enand degrees, by a vote of the heads of deavoured to re-kindle the half extinthe University, by a majority of an guished fames, which had threatened hundred and two voices to fifty. All and almost destroyed the peace of 'Trithe steady friends of government were nity-College some years before, by among the latter.

publifning an anonymous pamphlet, inWe forbear comments.

The suf- tituled “ A true Account of the prepension was at once illegal, arbitrary, fent State of Trinity-College, under and unftatutable. Dr. Bentley now the oppressive Government of their presented a petition to the King, to Master, Richard Bentley, late D. D. intreat his protection as supreme visi- 1720. 8vo.” tor of the University. Upon this, the Some improper representations in Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Gooch, was or this account induced Bentley to comdered to attend his Majesty in council, mence a profecution against a person, on Thursday, Nov. 6, 1718. The whom he suspected to be the author, cafe between Bentley and the Univer- till Dr. Middleton publicly owned it, fity was heard, and referred to a com and attempted to justify his allertions. mitree of council. The ministry, how- We are informed, however, by the inever, appeared unwilling to interpose genious author of British Topography, their authority, and the bufiness was that he was soon afterwards compelled referred in a judicial way to the Court to ask pardon, if not to pay a fine, for of King's Bench.

an expression in the dedication to his For several

years the affair remained “ Eibliothecæ ordinandæ methodus." in this situation. During this time During this fufpepse, it might be feveral pamphlets were published. Of fupposed, that Bentley, degraded from those againit the Profesor, Dr. Mid- his honours, would have lost his relish dleton, who must have felt the most for his classical pursuits, and have found unbounded exultation on the degra- his fpirits damped and courage funk. dation of his enemy Dr. Bentley, was But this was far from being the case: the principal author*.

These are

lre gare no opportunity to lis enemies sprightly and well written, but facts to exclaim, are obftinate antagonists. The names of " Qualis erat! Quantum mutatus ab illo!" the writers who ansivered him, and He ceased to be Doctor of Divinity, took the opposite side, we have neyer indeed, but he never ceased to be hcard, though one of them is pointed Bentley! The University stripped him out by Middleton, who began his li- of his degrees, but they could not tear terary career in this disputeř and now from him that conscious dignity of

3 Y 2

character, For a list of them see Gough's British Topography, Vol. I. p. 244. Thirlby also wrote againt Eente...

+ In one of his påmphlets he styles himielf an aurior not used to the pros.

« ElőzőTovább »