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Having completed his course of study, he travelled through Italy, where he attained considerable skill in medals, and a perfect mastery of the language. He did not return to England till the restoration he was favourably received by king Charles II., and made captain of the band of pensioners.
His intercourse with the dissolute court of Charles was productive of a hurtful effect upon his morals, and he abandoned himself for a time to excesses from which not many recover. He injured his estate by gambling, and is said to have fought many duels.
Some questions having arisen about a part of his property, he was compelled to visit Ireland, and resigned his post at court. The duke of Ormonde, soon after his arrival, made him captain of the guards. This post he soon resigned under the following circumstances, as he was one night returning home from a gaming-house, he was suddenly set upon by three men, who, it is said, were hired for the purpose. He slew one of them, and a gentleman who was passing at the instant came to his assistance and disarmed another, on which the third ran away. The gentleman who thus seasonably had come to his aid, was a disbanded officer of excellent reputation, but in a condition of utter want. The earl, entertaining a strong sense of the important service to which he probably owed his life, determined to resign his own post in his favour, and solicited the duke for his permission. The duke consented, and the gentleman was appointed captain in his place.
He returned to England as soon as the arrangement of his affairs permitted. There he was appointed master of the horse to the duchess of York. He soon after married a daughter of lord Burlington.
From the time of his marriage he gave himself to literature, and became, as the reader is probably aware, one of the distinguished poets of that time. He was associated with all that was gifted and brilliant among the wits and poets of the town and court, and was joined with Dryden in a project for fixing the standard of the English tongue. The growing interruption of those ecclesiastical disturbances which had begun to disturb the peace of the kingdom, and, doubtless, brought serious alarm to a generation which yet retained the memory of the preaching soldiers of Cromwell-damped the ardour of literary projects, and made his lordship doubt the safety of England. He resolved to pass the remainder of his life in Rome, and told his friends, that “it would be best to sit next to the chimney when it smoked.” Dr Johnson has observed that the meaning of the sentence is obscure. We do not think many of our readers will join in this opinion: if any one should, he has but to call to mind the religious opinions of the king and his brother, and the projects which the duke was then well known to entertain for the restoration of the pope's supremacy in England and Ireland.
The earl's departure was obstructed by a fit of the gout. In his anxiety to travel, he employed some quack, who drove the disorder into some vital part; and his lordship died in January, 1684. He was interred in Westminster Abbey.
The poetry of the earl of Roscommon is no longer known. He seems, however, to have been the first who conceived any idea of that correct versification, and that precise and neatly turned line which was
brought afterwards to a state of perfection by Pope and his followers. As Johnson has justly said, “ He is elegant, but not great; he never labours after exquisite beauties; and he seldom falls into gross faults. His versification is smooth, but rarely vigorous; and his rhymes are remarkablyexact. He improved taste, if he did not enlarge knowledge, and may be remembered among the benefactors to English literature.” He is also said, by the same great authority, to have been “the only correct writer of verse before Addison;" and cites a couplet from Pope, which pays him the higher tribute of having been the only moral writer in the licentious court of Charles. His great work was a Metrical Essay on Translated Verse. He also translated the Arte Poetica, from Horace. His translation of Dies Iræ, is among the happiest attempts which have been made upon that untranslatable hymn. Many of his lesser productions have been mentioned with applause.
AMONG those to whom Ireland is indebted for the collection and preservation of the most authentic materials for her history, no name can be placed above that of Ware. And we have to express regret that we are not more fully informed in the history of his life.
He was born 26th November, 1594, in Castle Street, in the city of Dublin. His father was auditor-general, with reversion to his son. At the age of sixteen he entered as a fellow-commoner in the university of Dublin: and took bachelor's and master's degrees at the usual times. The distinction which he maintained among his fellow-students, and, above all, the taste he early began to show for the study of antiquities, attracted the notice, and gained the friendship, of Usher, who was at the time professor of divinity in the university. Ware had early commenced his collections, and Usher's collection and library were open to him; as also that of Daniel Molyneux, Ulster kingat-arms.
In 1626, he went to London, and was introduced, by Usher, to Sir Robert Cotton, who opened to him his valuable and extensive col. lections and library. He also made laborious researches in the Tower and other state-paper offices and repositories, from all of which he obtained large treasures of original and important records—from which he made copious extracts and copies.
On his return home, he commenced those valuable labours, by which he is now best known; and published the first parts of the History of the Irish Bishops.
His second visit to London was in 1628, when his acquaintance with Seldon, and other eminent antiquarians, enabled him to enlarge his collections very considerably. In 1629, on his return to Ireland, he was knighted by the lords justices. In 1632, his father died, and he succeeded him as auditor-general. From the lord lieutenant, Wentworth, he obtained a seat in the privy council.
Though attentive to his public duties, Sir James Ware was not
remiss in the pursuit of his favourite studies. He soon after published 6 Spenser's View of the State of Ireland.” He was at this time engaged in collecting accounts of the “ Writers of Ireland.” His well-known work under that title, came out in 1639.
In the troubled period which commenced in 1641, his conduct was, in the highest degree, praiseworthy. The following is the valuable testimony of the marquess of Ormonde. “Even when his majesty's affairs were most neglected, and when it was not safe for any man to show himself for them, he then appeared most zealously and stoutly for them."
In 1644, he was sent over to Oxford, as the fittest person to give the king an account of the state of Ireland, ayd to receive his commands on the negotiation then in progress. He availed himself of the occasion for his favourite pursuit. He was honoured by the university with a degree of doctor of laws. When returning, with despatches from the king, the packet in which he sailed was taken by a parliament ship. He was sent prisoner to London, and there committed to the Tower, where he remained for ten months after which he was exchanged. He continued, in Dublin, to take a prominent part in the king's affairs, and was high in the confidence of the marquess of Ormonde. At the surrender of Dublin to the parliamentary commanders, in 1647, he was demanded as one of the hostages, and, as such, taken to London. On his return to Dublin his office was, of course, at an end, and he lived as a private person, until governor Jones banished him, by an order, to any place beyond seas except England. Sir James went over to France, where he resided successively at Caen and in Paris, still occupied with his antiquarian studies.
In 165), his private affairs required his presence in England, whither he came, by parliamentary license; and, after a couple of years, went over to Ireland, to visit his estate.
During the whole of this interval, he was busy in the publication of his works, which were printed in England. The “ Antiquities” came out in 1654; and four years after he published a second and improved edition.
On the Restoration, he was, at once, reinstated in his office of auditor-general, by Charles, to whom he had given a large sum of money in his necessity. At the election of parliament, he was chosen member for the university. He was, soon after, appointed one of the four commissioners for appeal in excise cases; and a commissioner for the settlement under the king's declaration.
He refused the king's offer of a title; but, according to Harris, obtained baronetcies for two of his friends.
His “ Annals” were published next; and in 1665, the “ History of the Irish Bishops" came out entire. But death cut short his projects of literature. He died on the 3d December, 1666, and was buried in his family vault in St Werburgh's church.
Several miscellaneous statements are given by Harris and others, of his uprightness, benevolence, and justice. He always refused his official fees from widows, the clergy, and their sons. He lived in a season of great distress, and exerted hiinself to the utmost for its relief. His house and table were a known refuge for the victims of reverse and spoliation; and when he was given possession of some houses and tenements, forfeited for rebellion, he instantly sent for the widow and children of the forfeitee, and made a legal conveyance of the premises in their favour.
His works are known. They have a distinguished place in every library which has its shelf for the History of Ireland. They are valu. able for their brief accuracy, and comprehensive extent-supplying the place of a guide and faithful sign-post to the student in a vast chaos of undigested literature. There are few of any real importance on the subject, of which the main outline will not be found among Ware's writings, with a happy freedom from theories, for which he had too little genius, yet too much common sense.
DODWELL was born in Dublin in 1641. He was educated in Trinity college, where he obtained a fellowship. He is to be commemorated for his extraordinary erudition, of which Gibbon has observed, “ Dodwell's learning was immense. In this part of history, especially, nothing could escape him; and his skill in employing them is equal to his learning." From this most authoritative opinion, it might be inferred that his writings must have been important for their learning and extent of research: and such was the fact. He wrote several important dissertations on chronology. He was a party in the celebrated dispute on the epistles of Phalaris, and wrote “Two Dissertations on the Age of Phalaris and Pythagoras;" with many other works of great industry and research, which have not now. sufficient importance for any distinct enumeration. He was, like many other great scholars, not equally gifted with the higher intellectual endowments: his opinions were eccentric, and his reasonings perplexed and inconclusive. Tillotson, whom he consulted on some of his theological writings, advised him against their publication, telling him, “such particulars are so perfectly false, that I wonder you do not perceive the absurdity of them.” On the theology of such a thinker and reasoner it is unnecessary to dwell. A sufficient estimate of his character as a speculative writer, may, perhaps, not unfairly be formed from the title of one of his works: “ An Epistolary Discourse, proving, from the Scripture and from the First Fathers, that the Soul is a Principle naturally mortal; but immortalized actually by the Pleasure of God, to Punishment or Reward, by its Union with the Divine Baptismal Spirit: Wherein it is proved that None have the Power of giving this Divine Immortalizing Spirit since the Apostles, but only the Bishops.” Prefixed to this was a Dissertation to prove that “ Sacerdotal Absolution is necessary for the Remission of Sins, even of those who are truly penitent.” Such propositions were sure to draw forth abundance of refutation, and Dodwell was assailed from many a quarter. He defended himself in numerous tracts, and amply illustrated the saying of the Preacher, that “in many books there is much folly”—where the student happens to have no wisdom of his own. Such writers as Dodwell are, indeed, chiefly to be commemorated, as manifesting by instances, the otherwise very attainable inference, that there is a very broad distinction between the talents which are available to accumulate, and those which can add anything to human knowledge. The eminence of Dodwell demands no discussion of his tenets. He was, however, conscientious and zealous both in conduct and feeling, and carried sincerity so far as to sustain the trials to which he was exposed by his principles. His fellowship was resigned, because he scrupled to enter into holy orders, as prescribed by the statutes of the college. He was appointed Camden professor of history in the university of Oxford; but was deprived, in 1691, on refusing to take the oaths to the new government,—a fact the more remarkable, as he was, for some time, chaplain in Holland to the princess of Orange, on the recommendation of Dr Lloyd, afterwards bishop of Worcester.
After the loss of his professorship, Dodwell retired to the country, and married at the age of fifty-two. In his retirement, he continued his literary labours, and produced the most useful and creditable of his writings, chiefly on the chronology of Roman authors and history.
He died at Shottsbrooke, in his seventieth year, in 1711.
The life of Toland derives its entire importance from the perversion of considerable ingenuity and shrewdness for the most pernicious ends: an eminence which would, nevertheless, not be considered of itself a sufficient claim to our notice, were he not recommended as one of the earliest of the modern deists. In this, as in all cases where the vindication of the first principles of philosophy, social order, or religious truth, become inextricably connected with the history of an individual, otherwise obscure, we shall hold ourselves exempt from the necessity of entering into superfluous details respecting his life, and direct our main consideration to the full statement and examination of his opinions.
The following are the main incidents of John Toland's life. He was born in 1669, at Inis Eogan, in the north of Ireland. His parents were of the church of Rome. He studied in Glasgow; but, in 1690, he took the degree of master of arts in Edinburgh. Having changed from the religion of his early life, he became a dissenter; and, travelling into England, his talent soon attracted the favourable notice of the dissenters, and he was recommended by some of their principal divines, as a fit person to become a teacher among them. With this view he was sent abroad, at the expense of the body which thus adopted him, to study theology at Leyden. After two years he returned, having devoted himself, with exemplary diligence, to his studies, and obtained some reputation for knowledge and ability. He soon retired to live in Oxford, where he could obtain access to books with facility, and there entered on the composition of his known work, “ Christianity