Imágenes de página

"To the united munificence of
and other numerous Benefactors:

when a calamitous Fire, Jan. 30, 1712-13,
had in one night destroyed the effects
repaired the loss with unparalleled humanity :
WILLIAM, his only surviving Son,

being continued Printer of the Votes of the House of Commons, by his father's merits,

and the indulgence of three Honourable Speakers; and appointed to print the Journals of the House of Lords, at near LXX years of age,

by the patronage of a noble Peer*;

struggling with a debt of gratitude which could not be repaid †, left this Tablet to suggest

what worn-out Nature could not express.



*The Earl of Marchmont; see vol. II. p. 614. vol. III. p. † After this line Mr. Bowyer had originally written as follows: "With an attachment to Literature which could not be indulged; with delusive hopes from a College interest or reputation; experienced the conflicts of two opposite passions, resignation and ambition."

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]


Early in 1778, on the suggestion of Mr. Pegge*, some short Biographical Memoirs of Mr. Bowyer, the "little brochure" of 52 pages mentioned by Mr. Colé, was printed as a present to his parti


Whittington, Nov. 24, 1777. "I am truly sorry for the death of my old friend Mr. Bowyer; though, in regard to him, I presume it may be rather an happy event. I doubt you are too full of business to give us some memorials concerning him and his Father, both eminent in their way; but, as this last Gentleman was an excellent Scholar, engaged in much business and very considerable Publications, and extended his life to a long stretch, a sketch of his Life would be highly acceptable to the publick.-You, I apprehend, are now sole at his press. I am much obliged to you for your share of trouble about my Archæologia, which I have just now received; and I thank you much for your kind present of the copies of my Paper on St. George. I pray God send you the enjoyment of better health, and am, Sir, your truly affectionate, and most obliged servant, SAM. PEGGE."

+ See vol. I. p. 565. Of this pamphlet only 20 copies were printed; one of which was sent to St. John's College, Cambridge, and the others to particular Friends of Mr. Bowyer. Some of them are accounted for by the following notes :

[ocr errors]

Sept. 5, 1778. Dr. Ducarel thanks Mr. Nichols for his kind present of two of Mr. Bowyer's Lives (wishes to know whether Mr. Tutet might be favoured with one) will put the other in the Lambeth Library as soon as the Archbishop comes to town."- "Sir John Pringle returns Mr. Nichols many thanks for his late publication, which he was so good as to make a present of to him. Sir John Pringle wishes that Mr. Nichols may to the end of his life find all his friends as grateful to him as he has been to his benefactor; and that, when he has finished his course, his heirs may be as studious to do justice to his memory, as he has been to honour Mr. Bowyer's. Pall Mall, Sept. 10, 1778.- Sept. 11. "Mr. Tutet presents his compliments and thanks to Mr. Nichols for his kind present of the Anecdotes of Mr. Bowy'er. The plague and distraction of a house full of workmen has prevented Mr. Tutet from returning sooner his thanks." Sept. 11. I am much obliged to Mr. Nichols for his Memoirs of Mr. Bowyer; and only wish he had such materials for those of Mr. Clarke and Mr. Markland. R. GOUGH.”—“ I am ordered by the Standing Committee of the Trustees of the British Museum, to signify to you, that they have received the present of a pamphlet, intituled 'Anecdotes Biographical and Literary of the late Mr. William Bowyer, Printer,' which you were pleased


cular friends; and, at the request of my friend Mr. David Henry, with whom I had in that year become an associate in the management of the Gentleman's Magazine, the Article was there given at large, in vol. XLVIII. pp. 409 & seqq.

In March 1782 (as has been noticed in p. 113) a new and enlarged Edition was published, in quarto, of Mr. Bowyer's "Conjectures on the New Testa


lately to make them, and to return you their thanks for the same. Jos. PLANTA, Secretary. British Museum, Sept. 11, 1778." -"Mr. Astle's best compliments attend Mr. Nichols, and the Charters, &c. relating to the Abbey of Bec, are very much at his service. Mr. Astle finds only part of a Seal of Bec. Mr. Astle is truly obliged to Mr. Nichols for his Anecdotes relating to the late Mr. Bowyer. Sept. 25."'—"I am obliged to you for your civility in sending me Dr. King's Works and Mr. Bowyer's Memoirs; which have given me much amusement. If, at any time hereafter, it comes within my sphere to assist you in any undertaking, I shall do it with great pleasure; and am, Sir, your most humble servant, JOHN BRADLEY. Lincoln, Jan. 31, 1779." "Harley-street, Feb. 11, 1779. If I had known, to whom I was obliged for the anonymous Memoirs of Mr. Bowyer's Life, I should have returned more early acknowledgments to you for that favour. I was much pleased, in the perusal, to see the literary merit of your Friend pointed out by such respectable testimonies, from those who were of no small fame in the Republick of Letters; amongst whom every line of Mr. Clarke's will please a reader, whilst it does honour to his subject. His Will shows how much he wished to improve the press by the abilities of the persons to be employed in it; and I am glad to find that worthy objects have been found to receive the benefit of his appointment. I doubt not of your endeavours to keep up the cre dit of his house and business; and am, Sir, Your very humble servant, JER. MILLES."

*The "Conjectures" had been translated into the German language, and re-printed, by John Christopher Frederick Schulz, Professor of Divinity, of the Oriental and Greek Languages, and Antiquities, Leipsic, 1774, Svo.

A Fourth Edition of the "Conjectures" will be published early in 1812, corrected; enriched with some valuable additions by Bishop Barrington, Dr. Owen, Mr. Stephen Weston, Professor Schulz, &c. &c.

• "Conjectural criticism, particularly when it is exercised on the Sacred Writings, is peculiarly delicate and hazardous. It requires great sagacity and great caution. Of blind and bold adventurers the list is numerous:-of those whose vanity tempted them to strike out of the beaten path in quest of something


.ment" and in the middle of that year the "little brochure" had extended itself into a large and closely printed quarto volume; the reception of which by the publick at large, and the liberal criticism* it received, have encouraged the Author to

new; or of those whose bigoted attachment to some darling system hath given every conjecture, that tended to support it, the credit of truth. This Publication presents us with many of each class. We have Arians conjecturing in spite of the Trinity; and the Socinian in bold defiance of the Atonement. We have Athanasians making reprisals on the one, and Calvinists on the other; while the Infidel, standing aloof from the dubious strife, is indifferent who wins, so long as Religion loses the day! That there should be much futile criticism, and many idle and improbable conjectures, in so large a Work as the present, is not to be wondered at. However, the wonder would have been greater if, from so learned a Collector, the curious Reader had not met with an ample recompence. Of the first edition of this valuable work we gave some account at its original publication....."-"We observed in the beginning of this Article, that conjectural criticism is too hazardous to be ventured on without great caution, and without a distinguished share of natural acuteness and acquired knowledge. Infidels will avail themselves of this licence, when rashly exercised by Critics and Commentators on the Sacred Scriptures; and will question the whole from the freedom taken with a part. It is difficult to draw the line between a blind and bigoted attachment to the present state of the Greek text, and a temerarious and wanton departure from it. It betrays weakness to a high degree, to object to every emendation, however well authenticated by antient MSS. or antient versions; and, on the other hand, when a person, without such authorities, alters the sacred text at pleasure, to serve a system, or to get rid of a difficulty, he betrays an irreverence for the Divine Oracles; and, instead of removing, only increases the cavils of infidelity, and gives some colour to the cautionary pleas of Popery. Nevertheless, Mr. Bowyer's Work, particularly in the present very improved edition of it, hath its utility in many respects: for, on the whole, it may be considered as a very valuable repository of hints for emendation and illustration, which the judicious student of the New Testament may avail himself of, and derive improvement and information from; and in this view it merits our recommendation."

Monthly Review, vol. LXVII. p. 113–123. * Dr. Johnson's opinion of the Work may be seen in vol. II. p. 552; and Mr. Reed's in vol. III. p. 228,

Mr. D'Israeli, in one of his earliest publications, observes, "Mr. Nichols, in his Life of Bowyer, has made a most valuable accession of contemporary anecdote."

Mr. Maty, in the First Volume of his "New Review," thus


[ocr errors]

continue, from time to time, the pleasing task of enlargement, and, he hopes, improvement.

mentions the "Anecdotes:" "Frobenius scattering flowers over the grave of Aldus, and taking the opportunity at the same time of paying literary honours to Erasmus, and the Worthies who made his learned press sweat under them; -in plainer words, an account of a very distinguished and very worthy Printer, who repaid Literature what he had received from it, by that clause in his Will which makes provision for the maintenance of a learned Compositor of the press. Together with the account are given Anecdotes, some longer, some shorter, of the Writers who printed at Mr. Bowyer's press: the Warburtons, the Sherlocks, the Marklands, the Jortins, the Taylors, the De Missys, the Gales, the Stukeleys, &c. &c. &c. The use of this Work, which will grow more precious the older it grows, is, that several memorials of Works and Authors will hereby be preserved, which otherwise would have sunk in oblivion; and that even he who has not time enough to consult the whole may at any time satisfy himself of a literary date, or controverted fact, by recurring to the Index, which will easily lead him to what he wants."

The Rev. John Duncombe, in the Gentleman's Magazine, observes, "A vast, an accumulated debt of gratitude, a rare production in this degenerate age, has produced this bulky volume, which, if it be not more the history of Mr. Bowyer than of his Literary Contemporaries, is certainly a collection of many valuable Anecdotes, illustrating the State of Literature among us for 80 years. The Compiler (which is no mean praise) unites the characters of Author, Historian, Biographer, Antiquary, Critie, and Printera very Frobenius, Aldus, Stephens; and, to speak more like an Englishman, the Caxton, W. de Worde, and Pinson, of the eighteenth century; a grateful scholar and a worthy successor of W. Bowyer...... After having announced this very singular publication, we purposely withheld both commendation and extract, lest they might have been supposed to arise from partiality to a literary Coadjutor: but the concurring voice of every respectable Reviewer coinciding with our opinion, a longer silence would be unjust. To trace the progress by which the volume has grown to its present bulk, would be an amusing enquiry. Our readers may recollect the outlines of it in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1778: and four years have since been employed on it at the press, in which period many new and unexpected informations' have added to the store, and furnished Mr. Nichols with an equitable excuse for occasional anachronisms. The perpetual enquiries of our Correspondents after anecdotes of eminent writers may be fairly mentioned as a proof of the utility of such a book as that before us, as well as of the extreme difficulty of obtaining satisfactory information. Let the Reader recollect the name of any single Author whose writ

« AnteriorContinuar »