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to their interest, they endeavoured to raise a faction against it in the college, and found some physicians mean enough to solicit their patronage, by betraying to them the counsels of the college. The greater part, however, enforced by a new edict, in 1694, the former order of 1687, and sent it to the may or and aldermen, who appointed a committee to treat with the college, and settle the mode of administering the charity.
It was desired by the aldermen, that the testimonials of churchwardens and overseers should be admitted; and that all hired servants, and all apprentices to handicraftsmen, should be considered as poor. This likewise was granted by the college.
It was then considered who should distribute the medicines, and who should settle their prices. The physicians procured some apothecaries to undertake the dispensation, and offered that the warden and company of the apothecaries should adjust the price. This offer was rejected; and the apothecaries who had engaged to assist the charity were considered as traitors to the company, threatened with the imposition of troublesome offices, and deterred from the performance of their engagements. The apothecaries ventured upon public opposition, and presented a kind of remonstrance against the design to the committee of the city, which the physicians condescended to confute; and at least the traders seem to have prevailed among the sons of trade ; for the proposal of the college having been considered, a paper of approbation was drawn up, but postponed and forgotten.
The physicians still persisted; and in 1696 a subscription was raised by themselves, according to an agreement prefixed to the Dispensary. The poor were, for a time, supplied with medicines; for how long a time, I know not. The medicinal charity, like others, began with ardour, but soon remitted, and at last died gradually away.
About the time of the subscription begins the action of the Dispensary. The poem, as its subject was present and popular, co-operated with passions and prejudices then prevalent, and, with such auxiliaries to its intrinsic merit, was universally and liberalis applauded. It was on the side of charity against the intrigues of interest, and of regular learning against licentious usurpation of medical authority, and was therefore naturally favoured by those who read and can judge of poetry.
In 1697, Garth spoke that which is now called the Harveian Oration ; which the authors of the Biographia mention with more praise than the passage quoted in their notes will fully justify. Garth, speaking of the mischiefs done by quacks, has thes expressions : “Non tamen telis vulnerat ista agyrtarum colluvies, sed theriacâ quâdan magis perniciosâ, non pyrio, sed pulvere nescio quo cxotico certat, non globulis plumbeis, sed pilulis æque lethalibus interficit." This was certainly thought fine by the author, and is still admired by his biographer. In October 1702, he became one of the censors of the college.
Garth, being an active and zealous Whig, was a member of the Kit-cat club; and, by consequence, familiarly known to all the great men of that denomination. In 1710, whes the government fell into other hands, lie writ to lord Godolphin, on his dismission, : short poem, which was criticised in the Examiner, and so successfully either defended or excused by Mr. Addison, that, for the sake of the vindication, it ought to be preserved
At the accession of the present family his merits were acknowledged and rewarded He was knighted with the sword of his hero, Marlborough; and was made physicia. in ordinary to the king, and pliysician-general to the army.
He thep undertook an edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses, translated by several hands which he recommended by a preface, written with more ostentation than ability ; ta notions are half-formed, and his materials immethodically confused. This was his last work. He died January 18, 1717-18, and was buried at Harrow-on-the-Hill.
His personal character seems to have been social and liberal. He communicated himself through a very wide extent of acquaintance; and though firm in a party, at a time when firmness included virulence, yet he imparted his kindness to those who were not supposed to favour his principles. He was an early encourager of Pope, and was at once the friend of Addison and of Granville. He is accused of voluptuousness and irreligion; and Pope, who says, “ that if ever there was a good Christian, without knowing himself to be so, it was Dr. Garth,” seems not able to deny what he is angry to hear, and loth to confess.
Pope afterwards declared himself convinced, that Garth died in the communion of the church of Rome, having been privately reconciled. It is observed by Lowth, that there is less distance than is thought between scepticism and popery; and that a mind, wearied with perpetual doubt, willingly seeks repose in the bosom of an infallible church
His poetry has been praised at least equally to its merit. In the Dispensary there is a strain of smooth and free versification; but few lines are eminently elegant. No passages fall below mediocrity, and few rise much above it. The plan seems formed without just proportion to the subject; the means and end have no necessary connection. Resnel, in his preface to Pope's Essay, remarks, that Garth exhibits no discrimination of characters; and that what any one says might, with equal propriety, have been said by another. The general design is, perhaps, open to criticism ; but the composition can seldom be charged with inaccuracy or negligence. The author never slumbers in self-indulgence; his full vigour is always exerted; scarcely a line is left unfinished; nor is it easy to find an expression used by constraint, or a thought imperfectly expressed. It was remarked by Pope, that the Dispensary had been corrected in every edition, and that every change was an improvement. It appears, however, to want something of poetical ardour, and something of general delectation ; and therefore, since it has been no longer supported by accidental and intrinsic popularity, it has been scarcely able to support itself,
ANTHONY HENLEY, ESQ. .
A man of your character can no more prevent a dedication, than he would encourage one; for merit, like a virgin's blushes, is still most discovered, when it labours most to be concealed,
It is hard, that to think well of you, should be but justice, and to tell you so, should be an offence: thus, rather than violate your modesty, I must be wanting to your other virtues; and, to gratify one good quality, do wrong to a thousand.
The world generally measures our esteem by the ardour of our pretences; and will scarce believe that so much zeal in the heart, can be consistent with so much faintness in the expression; but when they reflect on your readiness to do good, and your industry to hide it; on your passion to oblige, and your pain to hear it owned; they will conclude that acknowledgments would be ungrateful to a person, who even seems to receive the obligations he confers,
But though I should persuade myself to be silent upon all occasions; those more polite arts, which, till of late, have languished and decayed, would appear under their present advantages, and own you for one of their generous restorers; insomuch, that sculpture now breathes, painting speaks, music ravishes; and as you help to refine our taste, you distinguish your own.
Your approbation of this poem, is the only exception to the opinion the world has of your judgment, that ought to relish nothing so much as what you write yourself: but you are resolved to forget to be a critic, by remembering you are a friend. To say more, would be uneasy to you; and to say less, would be unjust in
Your humble servant.