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porphyrion; the whole race was destroyed by women, because they discovered the infidelity of wives to their husbands. The merops, too, is now nowhere to be found; the only bird that flew backwards by the tail. But say, canst thou inform me what dialect of the Greek is spoken by the birds of Diomede's island ; for it is from them only we can learn the true pronunciation of that ancient language? Mr. Randal made no satisfactory answer to these demands, but harangued chiefly upon modern monsters, and seemed willing to confine his instances to the animals of his own collection, pointing to each of them, in order, with his rod.”
How much Dr. Arbuthnot was interested in forwarding the designs of the Scriblerus Club, may be partially collected from his correspondence. In a letter to Swift, dated the 26th June, 1714, (Scott's Swift, xvi. 151) and addressed to the Dean during his temporary secession at Letcombe, from the toils and vexations of a political life, he says :
“ Pray remember Martin, who is an innocent fellow, and will not disturb your solitude. The ridicule of medicine is so copious a subject that I must only here and there touch it. I have made him study physic from the apothecaries' bills, where there is a good plentiful field for a satire upon the present practice. One of his projects was, by a stamp upon blistering plaisters and melilot, by the yard, to raise money for the government, and to give it to Ratcliffe and others to farm. But there was likely to be a petition from the inhabitants of London and Westminster, who had no mind to be flead. There was a problem about the doses of purging medicines published about four years ago, showing that they ought to be in proportion to the bulk of the patient. From thence Martin endeavours to determine the question, about the weight of the ancient men, by the doses of physic that were given them."
Some more drollery of the same nature follows, from the style of which we should be inclined to believe, that the Life and Adventures of Don Bilioso de l’Estomac, in the first, and the Essay upon an Apothecary, in the second volume of his works, are properly attributed to the pen of Dr. Arbuthnot. Again, in another letter to Swift, dated 17th July, 1714, (Scott's Swift, xvi. p. 177) the writer says:
“ Whiston has at last published his project of the longitude; the most ridiculous thing that ever was thought on. But he has spoiled one of my papers of Scriblerus, which was a proposal for the longitude, not very unlike his; to this purpose: that since there was no pole for east and west, that all the princes of Europe should join and build two prodigious poles, upon high mountains, with a vast light-house to serve for a pole-star. I was thinking of a calculation of the time, charges, and dimensions. Now you must understand his project is by lighthouses, and explosions of bombs at a certain hour.”
These humorous projects in favour of rational science, were soon interrupted by the turbulence of those political scenes, in which Arbuthnot was, as we have seen, no inconsiderable actor. Like Swift, his efforts had been vainly directed to a reconciliation of the two rival ministers, Harley and Bolingbroke; and he appears to have incurred some ill-will by these conciliatory attempts. In a letter of July 24, 1714, to Dean Swift, he thus writes :
“ I was told to my face, that I did not care if the great person's affairs went to entire ruin, so I could support the interests of the dragon (Harley). * * * Come up to town, and I can tell you more. I have been but indifferently treated myself, by somebody at court, in small concerns. I cannot tell who it is; but mum, for that.” (Scott's Swift, xvi. 189.)
The prospects of the Tories, darkened by the dissensions of their leaders, and the desperate state of the queen's health, were now drawing rapidly to a close ; and Arbuthnot appears, at this time, to have felt all that anxiety for the fate of himself and his friends, which such a situation of affairs was calculated to excite. On the 27th of July, Harley resigned the treasurer's staff, and Bolingbroke for a moment rejoiced in his successful intrigues; but the disease of the queen, doubtless aggravated by the vexations she had endured, was making a fearful progress, and notwithstanding all the efforts of her physicians, Arbuthnot and Mead, she died on the 1st of August. This was the finishing blow to the hopes of the Tories. Fuimus Tories! said Arbuthnot, with a wit, which neither grief nor anxiety could repress. Never was the dispersion of a party more complete.' The kind heart and generous feelings of Arbuthnot were shocked at the scene he was now compelled
August, full of the warmest affection towards his friend, he thus expresses himself:
“My dear mistress's days were numbered, even in my imagination. * * * I believe sleep was never more welcome to a weary traveller, than death was to her. * * * I have figured to myself all this melancholy scene; and even, if it be possible, worse than it has happened, twenty times,-so that I was prepared for it. My case is not half so deplorable as poor Lady Masham's, and several of the queen's servants, some of whom have no chance for their bread, but the generosity of his present majesty, which several people that know him very much commend."
The treatment which Arbuthnot experienced at this adverse term of his fortunes, appears to have made a deep impression upon his feelings':
« I have an opportunity (says he, in the letter from which we have just cited) calmly and philosophically to consider that treasure of vileness and baseness that I always believed to be in the heart of man, and to behold them exert their insolence and baseness; every new instance, instead of surprising and grieving me, as it does some of my friends, really diverts me, — and, in a manner, proves my theory.”
In a subsequent letter, dated October 19, (Scott's Swift, xvi. 246), a still more deplorable account is given of the misfortunes in which the queen's death had involved her courtiers. “ The queen's poor servants are like so many poor orphans exposed in the very streets.” Arbuthnot himself was compelled to quit his establishment in St. James's palace, and to take a house in Dover-street, where he endeavoured to forget his political anxieties in literary occupation. His spirits appear to have suffered considerably at this time, for, in a letter to Pope, on the 7th September, 1714, (Scott's Swift, xvi. 241) he says :
“ I am extremely obliged to you for taking notice of a poor, old, distressed courtier, commonly the most despicable thing in the world. This blow has so roused Scriblerus, that he has recovered his senses, and thinks and talks like other men. From being frolicksome and gay, he is turned grave and morose. * * * Martin's office is now the second door on the left hand in Dover-street, where he will be glad to see Dr. Parnell, Mr. Pope, and his old friends, to whom he can still afford a half-pint of claret.”
In this letter is contained that admirable picture of Dean Swift's state of mind, after the defeat of his party:
“ I have seen a letter from Dean Swift: he keeps up his noble spirit; and though like a man knocked down, you may behold him still with a stern countenance, and aiming a blow at his adversaries.”.
Arbuthnot also, though depressed for a time, soon resumed his humorous pen; and, true to the interests of his party, produced, early in the following year, another political pasquinade.
At the conclusion of the first volume of the Miscellaneous Works, we find a curious article, entitled, Notes and Memorandums of the six days preceding the Death of a Right Reverend containing many remarkable passages, with an Inscription designed for his Monument. Printed in 1715. That this satire on Bishop Burnet is the composition of Arbuthnot, rests entirely on the credit of the editor of the present collection, and on its internal evidence; but from its comic and cutting humour, it seems to be attributed to its proper author. If, indeed, it was published at the time of the bishop's death, which happened on the 17th of March, 1715, it would certainly seem to detract somewhat from Arbuthnot's well-merited reputation for humanity and kind feeling. Among all the political opponents of the tory faction, none appear to have incurred greater odium than Burnet, whose honest relation of the history of his own times excited at once the fear and the spleen of his enemies. To ridicule that valuable work, even before its publication, all the literary talents of the tories were put into requisition; and while Arbuthnot performed his share of the task in the present Notes and Memorandums, Pope gave to the world the Memoirs of P. P. Clerk of this Parish. It appears from the Testimonies of Authors, prefixed to the Dunciad, (Warton's Pope, v.33.) that a Mr. James Moore Smith, wishing to satirise the Bishop of Sarum, " pressed Dr. Arbuthnot and Mr. Pope to assist him therein;" but it also appears from the same authority, that this gentleman, “ having more mind than ability," was unable to accomplish his purpose. To the hint thus given, may, perhaps, be owing the Memoirs of P. P., and the present satire. Dean Swift very probably assisted in the composition of the Memoirs of P. P., and contributed his share towards irritating and injuring the bishop, by an ironical preface to the introduction to the third volume of the History of the Reformation. He there represents Burnet, who had produced å pamphlet as a precursor to his folio, as “armed only with a pocket pistol, before his great blunderbuss could be got ready, his old rusty breastplate scoured, and his cracked head-piece mended.-(Scott's Swift, iv. 314.) Burnet took a silent revenge upon the dean, and totally omitted any mention of him in his history. In the short remarks by Swift upon Bishop Burnet's history, (Scott's Swift, x. 252,) the dean has, indeed, done justice to his adversary's sincerity. “ He is,” says he, “ thể most partial of all writers that ever pretended so much to impartiality, and yet I, who knew him well, am convinced that he is as impartial as he could possibly find in his heart: I am sure more than I ever expected from him, particularly in his account of the papists and fanatic plots. * * * After all he was a man of generosity and good-nature, and very communicative; but in his last ten years was absolutely party-mad, and fancied he saw popery under every bush." of the attacks thus made upon the honest bishop, Pope's, perhaps, displays most wit and ingenuity, and Arbuthnot's the most comic humour. The personal vanity and egotism of Burnet are unmercifully ridiculed.
“Sunday.” * * Resolve to see nobody to-day. Resolve to drink three quarts of water-gruel instead of my tea. Sick, very sick: call for my man. Order him to bring the folio in MS. of my own life and
his sme to his turnet, whe Historical prefacwards
Burmet cracked and ready, big ben pistol, be pure
times. Consider what a great name I shall leave behind me. Dr. Wellwood stole his memoirs from my conversation. He has gained a great reputation. I shall certainly : better than Thuanus. Man brings the book. Begin to read. An excellent preface : very
mistresses, French money, more money, slavery, popery, arbitrary power, liberty, plots, Italy, Geneva, Rome, Titus Oates, Dangerfield, money again, peace, war, war, peace, more money. Lay down the book, reflect how I came to know all this. * * * Drink a glass of wine. Try to go to sleep in my easy chair. Nod a little. Wake better. Return to my book. Read and drink tea till night. Much about myself. Vacancies of places. Bishopricks, deaneries, livings. New oaths. Clergy obstinate. Sherlock alone: South and Sherlock : Fenwick, Collier. Parliament against us.: Tories prevail. Miserable times. Preach against them. Interrupted. Friend comes in by Jonathan's mistake. Good news however. All of our side; public justice; no security like it. Talk of indifferent matters. Pity -d Thomas's son. It must be dissolved. Afflictions fall to the righteous. Sons are strange giddy things. Think of my Tom.* Read a page of my book to a friend. He is in raptures; I am much better. Talk cheerfully. Drink some sack. Clock strikes nine. He goes. Walk about a little. Feet weak. Giddiness in the head. Call for my quilted cap. Look in the glass. Cap falls over mine eyes. Sad token; new fears. Mem. To send for a physician in the morning. Human means necessary. Man must co-operate. Grow worse. Go to bed. Forget that it was Sunday.”
The scene of the good bishop preaching an extempore sermon to his family in his chamber, is inimitable..
.“ Order the family to come up stairs at seven. Resolved to preach before them extempore. Not much matter what the text is; easy to run off from the subject and talk of the times. * * Bid my man get the great chair ready. Family comes up. Survey them with delight. The damsel Jane has a wicked eye. Robin seems to meet her glances. Unsanctified vessels! children of wrath! * * * Look again at Jane. A tear of penitence in her eye. Sweet drops ! Grace triumphs ! Sin lies dead! Wish Tom were present. He might be reformed. Consider how many sermons it is probable Tom hears in one year. Afraid not one. Alas the Temple ! Alas the Temple! The law eats up divinity; it corrupts manners, raises contentions amongst the faithful ; feeds upon poor vicarages, and devours widows' houses, without making long prayers. Alas the Temple ! Never liked that place since it harboured Sacheverell. He certainly spread an infection there. A swimming of my head. Seem to hear the noise of tumults, riots, seditions. Fresh noises of high
* Thomas Burnet, educated to the bar, and afterwards Mr. Justice Burnet.