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come acquainted, we have but a trifling notice, and even the greatest portion of that is taken up with an analysis of that distinguished author's last work—his “Essay on the Origin and Prospects of Man,” a composition which fell, and deserved to fall, still born from the press. The most remarkable feature in the life of the Earl of Dundonald, the father of Lord Cochrane, is that he exhausted his fortune in speculations which have become profitable only to others, and that, in the latter part of his life, he was the object of the charity of the Literary Fund Society. In the latter respect, we find him, as it were, in company with poor Carrington, the author of “Dartmoor,” « The Banks of Tamar," and other poems, which have been noticed with well deserved praise in this journal from time to time. It seems that he was, in early life, bound apprentice to a shipwright, but not liking the occupation, he ran away, and entered himself as a seaman on board a ship of war. Upon his return to his native town, Plymouth, he took up the business of a schoolmaster, in consequence of his predilection for literature, but he struggled with adversity, and with disease, to the last moment of his existence. We have another striking instance of literary misfortune, in the memoir of the late Mr. Roscoe. We hope that the detailed life of their father, which is said to be in course of preparation by one of his sons, will be soon given to the public. For the present, we shall content ourselves with a short extract from the imperfect account before us.
• While Mr. Roscoe's mind was chiefly occupied with his literary and political studies, a series of unforeseen circumstances, particularly several other failures, obliged the banking-house in which he was engaged to suspend payment. The creditors, however, had so much confidence in Mr. Roscoe's integrity, that time was given for the firm to recover from its embarrassments; and Mr. Roscoe, on first entering the bank after this accommodation, was loudly greeted by the populace. The difficulties, however, in which the bank was placed, rendered it impossible for the proprietors to make good their engagements. Mr. Roscoe did all that could be expected from an honest man; he gave up the whole of his property to satisfy his creditors. His library, which was very extensive, and consisted principally of Italian works, was the greatest sacrifice. The books were sold (at Liverpool) for 51501., the prints for 18801., and the drawings for 7381. A portrait of Leo X. was purchased for 5001, by Mr. Coke, of Holkham.
* Yet, upon the whole, Mr. Roscoe can scarcely be termed unfortunate. Distinguished through life by the friendship of the gifted and noble, his days were passed in a free intercourse with kindred minds, and his declining years were solaced by the affectionate attentions of justly and sincerely aitached relations. He was regarded as the head of the literary and scientific circles of his native town; and much of his time was spent in the promotion of many noble public institutions which he had contributed to establish. The reflection that by his means no citizen of Athens had ever assumed a mourning garment, afforded satisfaction to the dying moments of the statesman of old : as concise a comment has been supplied on the
tenour of Mr. Roscoe's life, in the assertion that he has not left behind him a single enemy. “Such,” it has been observed, the charm of his manner,—of his unaffected cheerfulness—of his conciliating disposition-of his playful humour-of his natural eloquence-of his open and candid dealing-of his evident and unceasing kindness of heart and universal benevolence—such his domestic virtues, and such his various and brilliant talents—that he was every where, at home and abroad, loved and admired; and he died, as he lived, without an enemy.”
• The death of this amiable and highly gifted man took place in the eightieth year of his age, at Toxteth Park, Liverpool, on the 30th of June, 1831 ; after a short illness, partaking somewhat of the nature of cholera. His funeral was attended by committees of the Royal Institution, the Philosophical Society, and the Athenæum; and by nearly two hundred gentlemen on foot, besides those in carriages.'-pp. 312—314.
The name of Mr. Strahan, the king's printer, has long been familiar to our literature. Like his father, he acquired great infuence in the republic of letters, by his purchases, frequently in connexion with the late Alderman Cadell, of the copyrights of the most celebrated authors of his time, amongst whom were Hume, Warburton, Hurd, Blackstone, Robertson, and Gibhon. He was remarkable for the liberality and perfect integrity of all his dealings, and for the admirable correctness of his typography, a point upon which he especially prided himself. Though possessed of great wealth, his mode of living was quite unostentatious; he was a decided tory in his politics, and a man, in every respect, of the old school of rich traders, living to his last moment in the house in which he was born. We feel much pleasure in quoting the simple and interesting description of his habits and character, which the author of the memoir before us has given.
• That Mr. Strahan should be attached to the house in which he was born and died, is not remarkable. It was consistent with the plan of life in which he had been educated. The house was, in truth, classic ground, not a room in it that was not dear to his remembrance. In that hospitable mansion he had, from his earliest years, enjoyed the conversation of the eminent literary characters above mentioned ; and it was there that he entertained their successors, up to the present period. Some years, indeed, before his death, he had purchased a house and grounds at Ashted, Surrey, to which he retired in the summer months, when bis health permitted, and in which he took great pleasure ; but this retirement was seldom of long duration, as the enlargement of his business and extensive offices required his frequent attention. His life, indeed, was more laborious, and required greater strength of mind than can be readily conceived by those who have not attained the same eminence, and whose opinions have not been in equal demand by their contemporaries.
• From the age to which he had arrived, and the company to which he had been accustomed, joined to the happiest powers of memory and recollection, his conversaiton was replete with literary anecdote, which he related in a manner that had all the charms of good-humour, and all the security of the strictest veracity. In the latter quality he was a genuine
pupil of Dr. Johnson. Whatever he related might be depended on. Nearly forty years ago, the writer of the present article, happening to relate an incident, with some mistake in names as well as date, next morning received from Mr. Straban, a kind letter, rectifying his mistakes, and placing the little narrative on authentic proofs.
• In all bis intercourse with his friends and professional brethren, he evinced an uncommon vigour of mind; which, indeed, he retained to the lasi. Long experience always directed him to that which was most salutary. In cases of professional difficulty, no man could see bis way more clearly. It was wise, therefore, as well as common, for his brethren to solicit bis advice, which, whether he was himself interested or not, was always given with ready kindness, and never without effect. The peculiarities of his temper were of the most amiable kind; and, of the numerous friends and connections who have outlived him, there are none who have not a pensive recollection of many instances of his kindness.
· Benevolence was a striking feature in his character. In 1822, he presented 1,000l. three per cents. to the Literary Fund. It has been stated in the public journals, that he bequeathed, by his will, 1,000l. each, to six other charitable institutions ; but these form but a part of the large sums periodically bestowed, -although, as already noticed, with a secrecy which is not often observed in such transactions, and which was not violated by him, even when, in some few cases, he had not met with the most grateful return. Much was given to those who had been the companions of his early life ; and to many be contributed that assistance which afterwards rendered them independent.
• During Mr. Strahan's long and active life, he filled various offices and relations; and in all his conduct was exemplary, although his career was not without difficulties and vicissitudes. In 1797, he was elecied representative for Newport, in Hampshire; in 1802 and 1806, for Wareham; in 1807, for Carlow; in 1812, for Aldeburgh ; and sat in Parliament until 1818, when he retired from public life, in consequence of his advanced age (seventy-one). In 1804, he was elected on the Court of Assistants of the Stationers' Company; but, as he was beginning to experience some of the infirmities of age, he declined the honourable degrees of office. In 1815, Mr. Strahan informed the Company, that, being desirous of treading in the steps of his respected father (who bad bequeathed 1,000l. for the benefit of poor printers), he had transferred to the Company 1,2251. four per cents. for the same charitable uses." He also presented to the Company a portrait of his father,— an excellent likeness,---copied by Sir William Beechey, from an original by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Their Court-room is also decorated by a portrait of himself, by the late William Owen, Esq., R.A., placed there at the expense of the Company, about the time he became a benefactor.
It was not until February, 1830, that Mr. Strahan showed symptoms of decay. He had for some years become very corpulent, and seldom weut abroad but in his carriage. But, after the period mentioned, his health visibly declined ; yet, such were the changes in his disorder, that bis friends were frequently Hattered by its favourable appearances. He was often enabled to take an airing in his carriage; and was much inte rested in the wonderful changes which have taken place in the western part of the metropolis, as well as in its environs. A very few days before VOL. I. (1832) NO. II.
his death, he was able to take one of these pleasant rides ; and it was only the day before that event that symptoms of dissolution were visible. Yet, up to the last, his mind seemed to retain its powers; and, except in some moments of lethargy, he conversed with his usual acuteness on any subject that happened to occur.'-pp. 327—330.
Mr. Strahan's death took place at his house in New-street, near Fleet-street, on the 25th of August last, when he was in the eighty-third year of his age. Almost about the same period died another octogenarian, who was justly celebrated in his day-James Northcote, 'the last link which connected us with the memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds. He was born at Plymouth in the year 1746, where he lived until the age of manhood. His father, who was a watch-maker, endeavoured to bring him up to his own trade, but the force of nature, which seems to prevail over artists with particular power, impelled him to prefer the palette to the mechanical business of watch-making, and in his twenty-fifth year he became one of Sir Joshua's pupils. His career has been already amply described in Hazlitt's Conversations, of which we gave a full account at the time that very entertaining book was published. The following anecdote will perhaps be new to some of our readers.
· A certain Royal Duke was at the head of those who chaperoned Master Betty, the Young Roscius, at the period when the furor of fashion made all the beau monde consider it an enviable honour to be admitted within throne-distance of the boy-actor. Amongst others who obtained the privilege of making a portrait of this chosen favourite of Fortune, was Mr. Northcote.
'The Royal Duke to whom we allude was in the habit of taking Master Betty to Argyll Place in his own carriage; and there were usually three or four ladies and gentlemen of rank, who either accompanied his Royal Highness, or met him at the studio of the artist.
Northcote, nothing awed by the splendid coteries thus assembled, maintained his opinions upon all subjects that were discussed, -and his independence obtained for him general respect, though one pronounced him a cynic-another an eccentric-another a humourist another a freethinker—and the prince, with manly taste, in the nautical phrase, dubbed him a dd honest, independent, little old fellow.
One day, however, the Royal Duke, being left with only Lady - the Young Roscius, and the painter, and his patience being, perhaps, worn a little with the tedium of an unusually long sitting, thought to beguile an idle minute by quizzing the personal appearance of the Royal Academician, Northcote, at no period of life, was either a buck, a blood, a fop, or a maccaroni; he soon dispatched the business of dressing when a young man; and, as he advanced to a later period, he certainly could not be called a dandy. The loose gown in which he painted was principally composed of shreds and patches, and might, perchance, be half a century old; his white hair was sparingly bestowed on each side, and his cranium was entirely bald. The royal visitor, standing behind him whilst he painted, first gently lifted, or rather twitched the collar of the gown, which Mr. Northcote resented, by suddenly turning and expressing his displeasure by a frown. Nothing daunted, his Royal Highness presently, with his finger,
touched the professor's grey locks, observing, “ You do not devote much time to the toilette, I presume-pray how long?"
Northcote instantly replied, “Sir, I never allow any one to take personal liberties with me;—you are the first who ever presumed to do so, and I beg your Royal Highness to recollect that I am in my own house." He then resumed his painting.
* The Prince, whatever he thought or felt, kept it to himself; and, remaiping silent for some minutes, Mr. Northcote addressed his conversation to the lady, when the Royal Duke gently opening the door of the studio, shut it after him, and walked away.
• Nothcote did not quit his post, but proceeded with the picture. It happened that the royal carriage was not ordered until five o'clock;—it was now not four. Presently the Royal Duke returned, re-opened the door, and said, “ Mr. Northcote, it rains; pray lend me an umbrella.” Northcote, without emotion, rang the bell; the servant attended; and he desired her to bring her mistress's umbrella, that being the best in the house, and sufficiently handsome. The Royal Duke patiently waited for it in the back drawing-room, the studio door still open ; when, having received it, he again walked down stairs, attended by the female servant. On her opening the street door, his Royal Highness thanked her, and spreading the umbrella, departed.
Surely his Royal Highness is not gone, “I wish you would allow me to ask,” said Lady “ Certainly his Royal Highness is gone,” replied Northcote ; " but I will inquire at your instance.” The bell was rung again, and the servant confirmed the assertion.
«« Dear Mr. Northcote,” said Lady "I fear you have highly offended bis Royal Highness.”—“Madam,” replied the painter, “ I am the offended party." Lady — made no remark, except wishing that her carriage had arrived. When it came, Mr. Northcote courteously attended her down to the hall: he bowed, she curtsied, and, stepping into her carriage, set off with the Young Roscius.
• The next day, about noon, Mr. Northcote happening to be alone, a gentle tap was heard, and the studio door being opened, in walked his Royal Highness.
" " Mr. Northcote,” said he, “ I am come to return your sister's umbrella, which she was so good as to lend me yesterday." The painter bowed, received it, and placed it in a corner.
““ I brought it myself, Mr. Northcote, that I might have the opportunity of saying that I yesterday thoughtlessly took a very unbecoming liberty with you, and you properly resented it. I really am angry with myself, and hope you will forgive me, and think no more of it.”
*“ And what did you say?" inquired the first friend to whom Northcote related the circumstance. Say! Gude God! what would ’e have me have said ? Why, nothing; I only bowed, and he might see what I felt. I could, at the instant, have sacrificed my life for him!—such a Prince is worthy to be a King!". The venerable painter had the gratification to live to see him a King. May he long remain so!'
His personal property was sworn to be under 25,0001. It is a curious precaution in his will, that he directs his body to be kept uninterred as long as it can be suffered, “ to prevent the possibility of being buried alive.”