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15. Letter to Mr. Dodsley, in refutation of certain misrepresentations contained in the historical part of the Annual Register for 1788, 8vo. 1791.
16. Letter to Philip Francis, Esq., 8vo. 1791.
17. Two Letters to George Hardinge, Esq., M.P., 8vo. 1791.
18. Letter to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Svo. 1791.
19. Observations on Belsham's Memoirs of the Reign of George III., 8vo. 1796.
20. Observations on the Present State of the East India Company, 4th edition, 8vo. 1808.
21. Reply to a Letter addressed to John Scott Waring, Esq., in refutation of the illiberal and unjust observations of the anonymous writer, 8vo. 1808.
22. A Letter to the Reverend John Owen, in reply to his Strictures on the Observations of the Present State of the East India Company, 8vo. 1808.
23. Remarks on two Sermons preached before the University of Oxford, on the probability of converting the natives of India to Christianity, 8vo. 1808.
24. Letter addressed to the Editor of the Edinburgh Review, in reply to the Critique on Lord Lauderdale's View of the East India Company, 8vo. 1810.
25. Supplement to the above Letter, 8vo. 1810.
26. Remarks on the Reverend Doctor Buchanan's Christian Researches in Asia, 8vo. 1812.
27. Remarks on Mr. Weyland's Letter to Mr. Hugh Inglis, on the State of Religion in India, 8vo. 1813.
It has been frequently remarked, with more point, perhaps, than propriety, “ that the best account of authors is to be found in their works.” This, even as a general proposition, is inaccurate in no common degree, and in the present instance would prove fallacious in the extreme. The life of the subject of the present memoir is interesting on many accounts. It has been varied by incident, distinguished by poetical success, and chequered with both good and ill fortune. Unlike those men of letters, who seclude themselves from society, and scarcely ever wander beyond the precincts of their native village, or the snburbs of a great capital, he became acquainted with the world at an early period; and, not content with the limits of provincial practice, actually went abroad in search of fortune and adventures.
On his return to England, after a residence of some years in tropical climates, London became the theatre of his literary labours; and he soon rendered his borrowed name celebrated by a new species of poetry, while he connected his real one with the progress and history of the fine arts. Happily, too, almost every particular of his life is known to his friends; he himself, also, has left ample memorials behind him; so that public curiosity cannot fail to be amply gratified in this respect. The greater part, indeed, of what follows is the immediate result either of oral communication, or authentic documents; so that little or nothing is hazarded either by vague speculation or loose suggestions.
It appears from a letter written with his own hand, and now lying before the writer of the present article, to whom it was addressed, that Dr. John Wolcot was born at a village in the hundred of Coleridge, and county of Devon, which he terms Dodbrook, in express opposition, both to geographers and natives, who usually terminate the name with a * vowel.
* This may appear a trivial remark; but, lest the birth-place of Peter Pindar should be hereafter disputed, as was the case with that of Homer of old, it may be proper to ascertain the precise spot, and thus set future conjecture at defiance. Nor ought it to be forgotten, that at the time this little obscure hamlet had the honour to produce our bard, it did not contain above twenty or thirty houses. Of the fertility of the surrounding country he was accustomed to boast, and would frequently term it the garden of England.
It is evident from the Parochial Register to that he was christened May 9, 1738, O. S. His father, Mr. Alexander
* Dodbrooke. It appears, from the last survey, now to contain 84 houses and 608 inhabitants ; a considerable increase both in respect to population and tenements having lately taken place. The distance from London is 207 miles ; and before the epoch alluded to above, this retired village was only known to fame by the excellence of its white veer, for which the Rector orice claimed tithe!
" In 1738, May 9, John Wolcot, son of Alexander and Mary." This, like every other name in the kingdom, not even excepting the illustrious one of Sidney
Wolcot, appears to have been a substantial yeoman, who possessed and lived on a little freehold of his own, consisting of a small house or homestead, a barn, and some fields, which afterwards descended to the subject of this memoir by inherit
His family consisted of a son and two daughters, both of whom were lately alive.
John received the rudiments of his education at Kingsbridge, a market town, situate on an inlet of the English Channel called Solcomb River, and connected with the hamlet of Dodbrooke by a bridge, along which he passed daily for the laudable purpose just mentioned. The Free-School of Kingsbridge had at that time for its master a person originally bred a Quaker. Mr. Morris, to whom we allude, possessed the reputation of being a good scholar: in addition to this, he was a man of amiable manners and benevolent disposition. Accordingly, he was always mentioned by his pupil with respect, and was 'undoubtedly deserving of it. Had it been otherwise, he would have been often subjected to the keenness of the poet's satire, who would most readily have detailed, and perhaps exaggerated all the bad qualities, concealed under primitive manners, and a decorous simplicity of dress. This must have furnished a rich harvest for the exercise of that vis comica, in which he stood unrivalled !
After having learned all, or nearly all, that the quondam disciple of Fox, Barclay, and Penn, was capable of teaching, John Wolcot was next sent to the seminary of a Mr. Heyden, at Liskeard, to complete his studies. Thence, however, he removed once more, with the same view, to the academy of the Reverend Mr. Fisher, at Bodmin, which, like the former, is also in the county of Cornwall.
Having now concluded the usual course of a provincial education, it was determined by a near relation, who appears to have acted with all the zeal and kindness of a father, that he
(Siday, Sydny, or Sydney), has been spelt different ways, at different times, in deeds, instruments, &c., viz. Woolcot, Wolcott, Woolacot, Walcot, and Wolcot, the last of which appears to have been uniformly adopted both by the father and son.
should repair to the Continent, with a view of acquiring a certain polish, by learning the language and imitating the manners of a people, at that period deemed the politest in all Europe. He accordingly took his departure for Normandy, where he remained about a year; and if he did not imbibe a relish for elegant demeanour and graceful attitudes, he at least acquired a knowledge of the vernacular tongue of that country, which proved highly serviceable to him through life.
On his return, “ Jack," as he was familiarly termed, immediately proceeded to the house of his kind uncle, at Fowey in Cornwall ; and as it was now absolutely necessary to make choice of some profession, that of a practitioner in medicine was determined upon. This gentleman, then a respectable surgeon and apothecary, had already borne the chief, if not the whole expenses of his education; and having been fortunate in his pursuits, was, of course, anxious to bring up this young man under his own immediate auspices. He had already adopted his nephew as his heir; and he was now bound to him in the usual manner, as an apprentice, for seven years, with a view of making him, first, his assistant, and then his
The following are some ludicrous directions, addressed to the pupils of country apothecaries, supposed to have been written about this period :
Keep the shop clean, and watch it like a porter;
Learn to boil clysters; nay to give them too,
If blinking nurses can't the business do;
Before the boys can rise to master tanners,
Despising pride, whose wish it is to wreck 'em :
From street to street, rich lumps of album græcum.
At what precise period the Muse first visited our youthful bard, or in what particular guise, it is difficult now to deter