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ing salary, profits of the farce called the apprentice, and a generous support of my friends, on my benefit night, I cleared within a trifle of 8001. I had now, after paying off all my debts, about 400%. in my pocket; and with that sum I determined to quit the dramatic line: this was in the summer of 1756.
In the beginning of 1757, I offered to enter myself a student of the Middle Temple ? but the benchers of that society thought fit to object to me, assigning as their reason, that I had appeared in the profession of an actor. This kindled in my breast a degree of indignation, and I was free enough to speak my mind on the occasion. I was obliged, however, to sit down under the affront; and being at the time employed in a weekly paper, called The Test, my thoughts were fixed entirely on that work. It was an undertaking in favour of Mr. Fox, afterwards Lord Holland. The Newcastle administration was overturned by the resignation of Mr. Fox, then Secretary of State; and an interval of four or five months ensued without any regular ministry; when the Duke of Devonshire, to fill a post absolutely necessary, agreed to be, during that time, First Lord of the Treasury. The contention for fixing a ministry lay between Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox; and, during that time, the Test went on in favour of the latter: but, at length, the city of London declared, in a most open manner, in favour of Pitt and Legge, made them both free of the city, and invited them to a sumptuous entertainment at Guildhall. From this time, the contest between the rivals ceased; Mr. Legge was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Pitt Secretary of State, and Mr. Fox paymaster of the Forces.
My weekly lucubrations of course terminated: nor, during their publication I had ever seen Mr. Fox: at length, in August 1757, I was invited to dine at Holland House. The company were, Horace Walpole, Mr. Calcraft, and Peter Taylor, who was soon after made Deputy Paymaster of the Forces, and went to the army then commanded by Prince Ferdinand. Mr. Fox was a consummate master of polite manners, and possessed a brilliant share of wit. It happened, after dinner, that the present Charles Fox, then about thirteen years old, came home from Eton School. His father was delighted to see him; and, “ Well, Charles," said he, "do you bring any news from Eton?"News! None at all! Hold! I have some news. I went up to Windsor to pay a fruit woman seven shillings that I owed her; the woman stared; and said, are you son to that there Fox that is member for our town? Yes, I am his son. Po, I won't believe it if you were his son, I never should receive this money." Mr. Fox laughed heartily; " And, here Charles; here's a glass of wine for your story." Mr. Charles Fox seemed, on that day, to promise those great abilities which have since blazed out with so much lustre.
The contemptuous treatment I had met with at the Temple ⚫ccurred to Mr. Fox, and he spoke of it in terms of strong disapprobation. In about a week after, he desired to see me at Holland House, and then told me, that he had seen Lord Mansfield, who expressed his disapprobation of the benchers of the Temple, in a style of liberality and elegant sentiment which was peculiar to that refined genius. Lord Mansfield accordingly desired me to offer myself as a student to the Society of Lincoln's Inn, where I might be sure of a genteel reception. I obeyed this direction without delay; and I now feel, with gratitude the polite behaviour I met with from that Society. This was in the year 1757. I now attended to the law; at the same time I followed Lord Coke's advice, who says, Quod sapiunt ultro sacris legis in camanis. The consequence was, that in the beginning of 1758, I produced the farce of The Upholsterer, which owed its prodigious success to the acting of Garrick, Yates, Woodward, and Mrs. Clive. In the course of this year, 1758, I parted with my brother: he sailed in the month of August 1758, for the Island of Jamaica, where he went to practise at the Bar. In the month of November following I received a letter from him, dated at ; and the next account was, to me, most melancholy; as it informed me of his death within a month after he landed. A trunk, containing his papers and letters, was all the property he had to leave, and that came to my hands. Before the end of this year, I finished The Orphan of China, of which I need not say any thing, as I have given a full account of it in the life of Garrick. The muse still kept possession of me, and early in 1760 I produced The Desert Island, and The Way to keep Him, in three acts; which, in the following season 1761, I enlarged to a comedy of five acts. The season at Drury-lane play-house closed in the beginning of June, and then the celebrated Sam Foote proposed a plan for taking Drury-lane theatre during the summer months. Of this an account is also given in the Life of Garrick, and therefore may be passed by here, without a word more; except, that in the course of that summer I produced the comedy of All in the Wrong, The Citizen and the Old Maid. I now dedicated my whole time to the study of the law, and continued so to do till the end of Trinity term 1762, when I was called to the bar. Some little interruption, however, I must acknowledge, from my engagement in The Auditor in defence of Lord Bute against The North Briton, the pro
duction of Mr. Wilkes.
In the summer, 1763, I went the Norfolk circuit, induced by the advice of my good friend Mr. Serjeant Whitaker, a man of infinite wit and humour, and of the highest honour. Being my first adventure, I could not expect to glean much; in fact, I re
turned to town with an empty purse. My friend Mr. Foote, who never spared his joke, said on the occasion, "Murphy went the circuit in the stage coach, and came home in the basket." In Trinity term, 1764, I made my first effort at the bar, in the cause entitled Menaton and Athawes. I was counsel on the part of the plaintiff, and Mr. Dunning was counsel for the defendant. The court divided with me: and Lord Mansfield, in his elegant speech on the occasion, gave me the most flattering encouragement. Accordingly, I applied with diligence, and attended the King's Bench with great regularity; but the muse still had hold of me, and occasionally stole me away from Coke upon Littleton. Accordingly. I produced the farce, called, Three Weeks after Marriage, and in the year 1768 the tragedy of Zenobia, in which Barry and Mrs. Barry, who were then engaged at Drury-lane theatre, made a most distinguished figure. I went on with tolerable success at the bar: but I followed Lord Coke's advice.
In the year 1772, I produced the tragedy of The Grecian Daughter, in which Mrs. Barry acquired immortal honour. the following year, my friend Mr. Harris prevailed on me to give the tragedy of Alzuma to Convent-garden theatre; and in 1777, Garrick having abdicated, the same gentleman obtained from me the comedy of Know your own mind. This is the last piece I brought on the stage.
The law now entirely engaged my time till the year 1780, when Lord George Gordon's mob set fire to Lord Mansfield's house in Bloomsbury square. The Noble Lord, in a kind of disguise, made his escape before the flames blazed out. His Lordship was astonished at the violent rage of the incendiaries: he never imagined that they would set fire to the house of the Chief Justice of England.-From that time his spirit began to droop; and it was to me the greatest mortification, to see that exalted genius sinking every day, till I saw him, who stood above all competition, dwindle into inferiority, and become no more than a mere common judge.
From that time I had no kind of pleasure in attending at the bar: I still, however, continued to go the Norfolk circuit, when the death of Mr. Serjeant Whitaker, and two or three more, advanced me to the station of senior counsel. In that employment I remained till 1787, when, on the last day of Trinity term, to my great astonishment, the Chancellor took into his carriage a junior to me on the circuit to St. James's-to kiss his Majesty's hand as king's counsel. This was done with the greatest secrecy; not a word transpiring till the very day on which it was completed. The effect this had on my mind was the more felt by me, as from former connexion with Lord Thurlow I had reason to expect a very different kind of treatment. I accord
ingly resolved, without a moment's hesitation, to go the circuit no more; as I was determined not to be an opening counsel under a person who had been four years my junior. Mr. Partridge was the person thus suddenly advanced over my head: I had no particular objection to him; for in fact he was a man of amiable manners. In a few days, he sent me a card of invitation to dinner; but I declined it with all due civility. Soon after Mr. Partridge called upon me, at my chambers in Lincoln's-Inn, and pressed me to go the circuit; but I told him, I was determined to quit it entirely. He still continued to urge his request; I told him he must excuse the manner in which I should give my final answer, which was as follows;-As he was a little man, not much higher than my shoulder, I observed to him, that there had been exhibited as a spectacle the Tall Irishman, and at the same time the Norfolk Dwarf; now, said I, the Tall Irishman will not travel with the Norfolk Dwarf. He affected to laugh, and thus ended our connexion. I kept my word, and in the month of July 1788, sold my chambers in Lincoln's-Inn, and retired altogether from the bar.
I now bought a house in Hammersmith town, and there prepared my translation of Tacitus for the press, which was published in July 1793. I ventured to print it on my own account; and George Robinson, of Paternoster-Row, was the publisher. I shall not here state an account of the treatment I met with from that man, nor shall I mention the like behaviour from the late Thomas Cadell; they are both dead, and peace be to their ashes. From that time I continued to amuse myself with literary matters the tragedy of Arminias; the Force of Conscience, being an imitation of the 13th Satire of Juvenal, with the Life of Garrick, were the productions of three or four years. Besides those pieces, a Latin translation of Addison's Epistle to Lord Halifax from Italy, with an ode prefixed to Lord Loughborough, now Lord Rosslyn, served to fill up my time. If I shall have health enough, my intention is to write the Life of Samuel Foote : a man, to whose company I owed some of the greatest pleasures of my life, and whose memory I now esteem and value. That, if I should be able to accomplish it, will end my literary career. The polite attention of Lord Loughborough (then Chancellor) has made the deepest impression on my mind: such was the friendship of that noble Lord, with whom I was intimately acquainted from the year 1757, when he was called to the bar, that he wrote a letter to me, desiring that he might appoint me a commissioner of bankrupts. My answer to his Lordship was, that I felt it very awkward to receive again what I had voluntarily resigned in 1780; so the matter rested for six months, when I took the liberty to request a favour of his Lordship :—his answer was, 'that what
I asked was not in his department;' but, said his Lordship, Why not let me make you a commissioner of bankrupts ; I know why you resigned, but you will never have those reasons as long as I hold the great seal.' His Lordship added, ‘that a gentleman who then held the office, would resign it, as soon as I should be ready to accept it.' Upon this all my scruples vanished, and from that time I attended the business at Guildhall, till my declining health obliged me a second time to resign the office; which I did, to Lord Eldon, who, after a most kind remonstrance on the occasion, which I am proud to mention, did me the honour to receive it.
I have now gone through the several particulars of my life, and I have stated every thing with the strictest truth. I know that it is of no kind of importance; but if I am to be mentioned hereafter, I am desirous that it should be with exact conformity to the real state of the case. When I look back, I can see, that in many instances I was too careless, and did not sufficiently attend to my own interest; but the fact is, I never set a great value on money: if I had enough to carry me through, I was con. tent; but though I can accuse myself of neglect of my own interest, I thank God I cannot fix on any action inconsistent with moral rectitude.
I have lately found in the hands of one of my parishioners, an original docu ment, issued by the Pope, in the year 1758, against a professional man of this place, for having renounced the errors of the church of Rome. As many of your readers may never have met with so horrid a specimen of papal excommunication, I will subjoin a copy for insertion in the Christian Observer, if you think it worth observing. I am, yours,
Hampreston, Dec. 1811.
The Pope's Curse, Bell, Book, and Candle, on a Heretic, at Hampreston.
BY the authority of the blessed Virgin Mary, of St. Peter and Paul, and of the holy saints, we excommunicate, we utterly curse and ban, commit, and deliver to the devil of hell, Henry Goldney, of Hampreston, in the county of Dorset, as an infamous heretic, that hath, in spite of God, and of St. Peter, whose church this is, in spite of all holy saints, and in spite of our holy father the Pope (God's vicar here on earth), and of the reverend and worshipful the canons, masters, priests, jesuits, and clerks of our holy church, committed the heinous crimes of sacrilege with the images of our holy saints, and forsaken our most holy religion, and continues in heresy, blasphemy, and corrupt lust. Excom