Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

congregational form of church gov. amply detailed by Dr. Chandler,
ernment. In the prosecution of and include many traits, which
his studies, he very soon began to must afford interest and amuse.
doubt the validity of presbyterian ment to the lovers of ecclesiastical
ordination, avowed his perfect con- history.
version to episcopacy, and declar- In the month of February, 1729,
ed that he could find no way of re- Dr. Berkeley, then dean of Derry
conciling his conscience, while he in Ireland, arrived in America, and
neglected the practices of the an- , resided two years and an half in
cient church. He accordingly Rhode-Island. “ As his coming
took an affectionate farewel of his to America, (says Dr. Chandler)
people at West-Haven, and pro- had an important effect upon the
ceeded to Boston, in company with religion and learning of the coun-
Messrs. Cutler and Brown, the try; and as Dr. Johnson always
former president, and the latter considered the period in which
tutor, of New-Haven college ; both bishop Berkeley resided in this
of whom had also been converted to country as one of the most ter-
episcopacy,proposing to embark foresting periods of his life, it may
England to obtain holy orders in not be amiss to give a more par-
the church, where they arrived on ticular account of that extraordin-
the 15th of December, 1722 ; ary person, and of the business
whence they immediately proceed that brought him hither, than has
ed to London, and were politely probably been laid before the As
received by Dr. Robinson, the merican reader in one view."
bishop of London, and the society

On comparing the sketch of the for propagating the gospel. Mr. life of Bishop Berkeley in the work Cutler was ordained to take charge before us, with the life m Dr. Aiof the new church in Boston, and kin's general biography, we find it Mr. Johnson to take care of the

to be generally correct, though the church at Stratford in Connecticut. latter is more full and satisfactory ; The former also received from but wherever we are made acthe colleges of Oxford and Cam- quainted with the life of this celbridge the honours of a degree of ebrated gentleman and scholar, we Dr. in divinity, and Mr. Johnson

are most profoundly impressed of master of arts. Having taken with the highest admiration of the leave of their friends, they em- disinterestedness of his character, barked for America in July, 1723, of his learning, his christian charand Mr. Johnson arrived at Strat- ity,his discernment, and patriotism. ford to take charge of his little At the period of Mr. Johnson's flock, consisting of about twenty conversion to episcopacy, the families, by whom he was joyfully church of England had scarcely received.

any existence in Connecticut. There Mr. Johnson's conversion to the were thirty families at Stratford, episcopal church; the particular chiefly from England, under the books which be read, which assist

care of Mr. Pigot, the mtimate ed to promote that conversion ; friend of Dr. Johnson, and who no the commotion that in consequence doubt was very instrumental in was excited in the colony of Con- producing his conversion. Mr. necticut ; the conference with the Johnson, while minister at Strattrustees of the college, and Gov- ford, frequently made excursions ernour Saltonstall, &c. &c. are all into the neighboring towns, and

[ocr errors]

preached with peculiar success ; excited in the province and legísa the episcopal church making very lature of New-York; the vigorous visible progress in Connecticut ; exertions made by Mr. Johnson to and in the year 1736, upon inqui- promote the interests of the semry, there were found to be no less inary ; the benefactions it receivthan seven hundred families in the ed, &c. &c. we refer our readers to colony. Great acquisitions were the work itself. afterwards made to the church by In 1763 Dr. Johnson resigned the wild enthusiasm introduced by the office of president, and went to Mr. Whitfield, and propagated by his peaceful retreat at Stratford, his followers. Mr. Johnson pub- where he passed the remainder lished tracts, in defence of the of his days ; not however in inchurch, which involved him in glorious ease. He resumed the much controversy,particularly with charge of his old mission, and was Mr. Dickenson of Elizabethtown, again kindly received by the peoin New-Jersey, and Mr. Foxcroft ple of Stratford in character of of Boston. These controversies their minister, in 1764, upwards reach down to 1736, and are de- of forty years after he had first entailed at much length by Dr. tered into this relation with them. Chandler. These publications He entered into the controversy were much approved of in Eng- between the Rev. Mr. Apthorp and land, and obtained for Mr. John- Dr. Mayhew, on the subject of an son, in 1743, from the university of American episcopate, and wrote a 0 Ford a degree of Doctor in die short vindication of the society for vinity.

propagating the gospel. « On the

« Dr. Johnson had two sons, who morning of January 6, 1722, the were educated at Yale college, for most glorious epiphany he ever whom he composed a compendi- beheld, he coriversed with his famum of logick, including metaphys. ily on the subject of his own death, icks, and another of ethicks, for with the greatest cheerfulness and their better instruction in these serenity. He expressed his wishstudies ; which were printed to- es that he might resemble, in the gether, in an octavo volume by manner of his death, his good Dr. Franklin, for the use of the friend the bishop Berkeley, whom college in that city, then about to he had greatly loved, and whose be erected, and of which Mr. exit he had ever esteemed happy. Franklin was one of the most ac- Heaven granted his wish; for soon tive promoters.

after he had uttered these words, In 1754 the trustees of New- like the good bishop, he instanYork college unanimously elected taneously expired in his chair, withDr. Johnson president, who accept- out the least struggle or groan ; ed, but with great reluctance. For so that he may rather be said to the history of the establishment of have been changed or translated, the college, in the city of New- than to have died." Two days afYork, whose charter was granted ter, his remains were interred in in October, 1754 ; the violent op- the chancel of Christ church, Stratposition which arose among the ford, where a handsome monutrustees, respecting what denom- ment has been erected to his memination of christians should pre- ory. dominate in the government and Thus lived, and thus died, a immediate direction of the college ; man, the narrative of whose life the violent clamour in consequence involves much interesting anec,

dote; who was respectable for his
understanding and his learning,
and still more pre-eminent for su-
avity of manners, and the benevo-
lence of his heart. The great Ra-
cine, the father of the French dra-
ma, after having exalted the glory
of his genius to the utmost limits
allotted to humanity, regretted, at
the age of thirty-eight years, that
he had done every thing for the
world, and nothing for his God.
Cesar, at the same age, lamented,
on the tomb of Alexander, that he
had yet done nothing to secure to
himself durable renown. This
passion for human glory conduct-
ed the conqueror of Pompey to ac-
tions which should be disdained by
a noble heart, and it was, on the
contrary, at an advanced age, by
contempt of glory, that the author
of Andromaque elevated Racine a-
bove himself. Very different from
these men was the character of
Dr. Johnson. His whole life was
active, vigilant, and efficient in the
service of his Maker; in magni-
fying the holy office of a clergy-
man; in reclaiming the vicious;
in quickening, to a sense of their
duty, the negligent and careless;
in influencing the ignorant; in
strengthening and confirming the
serious and religious; in visiting
the sick, feeding the hungry, and
cloathing the naked. Private vir-
tues are the more sublime, as they
do not aspire to the approbation of
others, but only to the testimony
of one's own conscience; and the
conscience of a good man is of
more value to himself, than the
praises of the universe.

While the Dean refided at Rhode-Island, he compofed his Alciphron, or Minute Phi lofopher; written by way of dialogue, in the manner of PLATO. The design of it was to vindicate the Chriftian religion, in answer to the various objections and cavils of atheifts, libertines, enthusiasts, scorners, criticks, metaphyficians, fatalists, and fepticks. In the advertisement prefixed to thefe dialogues, the author affirms, thas he was "well affured one of the most no ted writers against Christianity had de clared, he had found out a demonftration against the being of a God." JOHNSON, in one of his vifits to the

Mr.

As we have already protracted our review to an immoderate length, we will only give the following extract from our author as a favourable specimen of his style

and manner.

Vol. III. No. 3. N

Dean, converfing with him on the subject

of the work then in hand, was more particularly informed by him-that he himfelf (the Dean) had heard this strange declaration, while he was prefent in one of the deiftical clubs, in the pretended character of a learner--that COLLINS was the man who made it and that the demonftration was what he afterwards published, in an attempt to prove that every action is the effect of fate and neceffity, in his book entitled, A Philofophical Inquiry concerning Human Liberty. And, indeed, could the point be once eftablished, that every thing is produced by fate and neceffity, it would naturally follow, that there is no God, or that he is a very useless and infignificant being, which amounts to the fame thing. As this ftrange anecdote deserves to be more generally known, a place is given it in this memoir.

When the Dean was about leaving America, Mr. JOHNSON made him his final vifit. As he retained a strong affection for Yale College, the feminary in which he was educated, and with which he had been otherwife connected, he took the liberty, on this occafion, to recommend it to the Dean's notice; hoping that he might think proper to fend it fome books, and not expecting, or aiming as any thing further. But within two years from that time, Dr. BERKELEY, affifted by feveral gentlemen who had fubfcribed money for his intended college at Bermuda, fent over a valuable collection of books, as a prefent to Yale College. It amounted, including what he had given before, to near one thousand volumes, of which two hundred and fixty were in folio, and very large. The coft of this collection could have been little less than five hundred pounds ferling. At or about the fame time he

tranfmitted to Mr. JOHNSON a deed, in which he conveyed to that college hi

farm in Rhode-Island, confifting of ninety fix acres.

The annual intereft of it was to be divided between three bachelors of arts, who, upon examination by the rector of the college, and a minifter of the Church of England, fhould appear to be the best claffical Scholars; provided they would refide at college the three years

between their bachelor's and mafter's degrees, in the prosecution of their studies; and the forfeitures, in cafe of non-refidence, were to be given in premiums of books, to those that performed the best exercises.

[ocr errors]

book, Mr. Davis* refers his read How far he is indebted to them, ers to Smith, Purchas, and others. not only for incidents, but for par agraphs and pages, we cannot assert; but by the evidences of plagiarism, which we will adduce, we cannot repress the suspicion, that it is greater than we can prove. We will present our readers with a few extracts from the life of Smith, in Belknap's "American Biography," and direct them to the pages of "The first settlers of Virginia," in which they are generally copied verbatim.

[ocr errors]

Proceeding up the river, another company of Indians appeared in arms. Their chief, Apamatica, holding in one hand his bow and arrow, and in the other a pipe of tobacco, demanded the cause of their coming; they made figns of Amer. Biog. p. 255.--Firft Settlers. p. 19. peace, and were hofpitably received."

ART. 6.

The first settlers of Virginia, an historical novel, exhihiting a view of the rise and progress of the colony at James Town, a picture of Indian manners, the countenance of the country, and its natural productions. The second edition, considerably enlarged. New-York. Printed for I. Riley & Co. 1806. pp. 284.

NOVELS, which are founded on historical incidents, are little adapted to interest the attention and affect the imagination, from the recollection, which will intrude into the mind, of the real extent of the facts, and the consequent conviction, which will be induced, that the rest is fiction. But any one, who is acquainted with the early history of Virginia, will not only feel this embarrassment, while reading the novel before us, but will often be disappointed by the recollection of having before read the same events, narrated in precisely the same language.

In a historical novel we look for historical facts, as the basis of the story; but we know not by what right an author avails himself of

The paragraph following this in the novel is a little varied from the Biography.

Kecoughtan, where the natives, know"They proceeded down the river to ing the needy state of the colony, treated them with contempt, offering an ear of corn in exchange for a musket, or a fword." Amer. Biog. p. 261.-First Setthers, p. 21.

The five paragraphs which succed this in the novel, are a little varied from the Biography...

Compare p. 265 of the Biography, "The Indians astonished," &c. with pages 26, and 27 of the novel.

"Powhatan then fet fuch a price on his corn, that not more than four bufhels could be procured; and the neceffary fupplies could not have been had, if Smith's genius, ever ready at invention, had not hit on an artifice which proved

fuccefsful. We had fecreted fome trifles,

and among them a parcel of blue beads,

the labours of others in this more
than in any other kind of compo-
sition, without acknowledging his
obligations. Near the close of his Axed to the novel

....

We learn the name of the author from the extracts from reviews, and from the letters pre

which, feemingly in a careless way, he glansed in the eyes of Powhatan. The bait caught him, and he earnestly defired to purchase them. Smith, in his turn, raised the value of them, extolling them as the most precious jewels, refembling the colour of the sky, and proper only for the noblest fovereigns of the univerfe. Powhatan's imagination was all on fire; he made large offers. Smith infifted on more, and at length fuffered himself to be perfuaded to take between two and three hundred bushels of corn, for about two pounds of blue beads."— Amer. Biog. pp. 274-5. Firft Settlers. pp.

62-3.

"Having finished the neceffary bufinefs of the season, and dispatched the fhip, another voyage of difcovery was undertaken by Capt. Smith and fourteen others. They went down the river in an open barge, in company with the fhip, and having parted with her at Cape Henry, they croffed the mouth of the bay, and fell in with a cluster of iflands without Cape Charles, to which they gave the name of Smith's Ifles, which they still bear." Biog. p. 277. Firf Settlers, p. 63.

"Smith having ftuck his fword into a ftingray, the fish raised its tail, and with its fharp indented thorn, wounded him in the arm. The wound was extremely painful, and he prefently fwelled to that degree, that they expected him to die, and he himself gave them orders to bury him on a neighbouring ifland. But the furgeon fo allayed the anguifh and fwelling, that Smith was able to eat part of the fish for his fupper. From this occurrence, the place was diftinguished by the name of Stingray-Point, which it ftill bears." Biog. pp. 279-80. Firft Settlers,

.65.

"All things being prepared for the ceremony of coronation, the present was brought from the boats; the bafon and ewer were depofited, the bed and chair were fet up, the fcarlet fuit and cloak were put on, though not till Namontae had affured him that these habiliments

would do him no harm; but they had great difficulty in perfuading him to receive the crown, nor would he bend his knee, or incline his head in the leaft degree. After many attempts, and with actual preffing on his fhoulders, they at Jaft made him ftoop a little, and put it on. Inftantly, a signal being given, the men in the boats fired a volley, at which the monarch farted with horrour, im

#

agining that a design was forming to deftroy him in the fummit of his glory; but being affured that it was meant as a compliment, his fear fubfided, and in return for the baubles of royalty received from King James, he defired Newport to prefent him his old fur mantle and deer fkin fhoes." Biog. pp. 286-7. Firft Settiers, pp. 74–5.

"The fupplies procured by trading being infufficient, and hunger very preffing, Smith ventured on the dangerous project of furprising Powhatan, and carrying off his whole ftock of provisions. This Indian prince had formed a fimilar defign refpecting Smith; and for the purpose of betraying him, had invited him to his feat, promifing that if he would feud men to build him a house, after the English mode, and give him fome guns and fwords, copper and beads, he would load his boat with corn.' Biog. p. 292. Firft Settlers, p. 77.

19

But excepting the sentiments excited by observing so many unaccountable instances of unacknowledged transcription, we confess that we have perused this novel with pleasure. Many parts of it, for which we are exclusively indebted to Mr. Davis, are highly ingenious; and if he had added a few prefatory remarks expressing his frequent obligations to others, not only for incidents, but for many of the paragraphs, in which they are narrated, we might, with the exception of a few passages, have given it our entire approbation.

To the novel is affixed a pompous "memoir of the author," the perusal of which has probably fur nished to him far higher gratification, than it will give to any of its readers.

We cannot quote any part of the story, but in justice to Mr. Davis, and to give our readers a specimen of his style, we will subjoin a few extracts, which will lose nothing in being detached from the work.

The party encamped at evening, round a cypress, which invited them to

« ForrigeFortsæt »