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LETTER XIV.

Dr. Bradley's Report. Doctor BRADLEY says, that he had compared Mr. Williams's tables with the best observations; that, in some cases, they agreed pretty exactly, but, in others, the difference amounted to ten, fifteen, or twenty degrees; that Mr. Williams shewed him a magnetical instrument, by which, as he supposed, the tables were constructed; that Mr. Williams concealed the principles upon which it was made, nor would allow him to see the internal construction of it; that, upon the whole, as his tables can only be proved by comparing them with observations, and in several cases the difference was so very great, he did not think that the instrument, in its present state, could be relied upon at sea.

1787, Sept. and Dec.

LXI. Letters from Cowley and Dryden to Dr. Busby.

MR. URBAN, FROM a collection of letters to Dr. Busby, which I lately purchased, you receive one written by Cowley, undoubtedly original. It is undated; but probably accompanied a present of his two first books of Plants in 1662, 'For the next month, you shall have two letters from Dryden, and one from Dryden's wife. Yours, &c.

J. N.

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SIR,

“ I should have made you this mean present before, but that I have been out of town; and as some things are too great, soe this is too little to bee sent farre. If I were not well acquainted with your candour, and your particular favour to mee, it would be madnes to venture this criminal in the presence of soe great and soe long-practised a judge of these matters. It may be a fitter entertainment for some of your schollars than for yourself, and is a more proportionable

companion for the hysop than the cedars of Lebanon. I ask, therefore, your pardon for this liberty, and am, with great respect, Sir, your most humble and most faithful servant,

A. COWLEY."

MR. URBAN, The three letters herewith sent you are autographs, the first from the wife of Dryden, the other two from that great poet himself. They are addressed (in 1682 and 1683) to the famous Dr. Busby.

Yours, &c.

EUGENIO.

“ HONNORED SIR,

Ascension-day, 1682. “ I HOPE I need use noe other argument to you in excuse of my sonn for not coming to church to Westminster then this, that he now lies at home, and therefore cannot esilly goe soe farr backwards and forwards. His father and I will take care that he shall duely goe to church heare, both on holydayes and Sundays, till he comes to be more nearly under your care in the college. In the mean time, will you pleas to give me leave to accuse you of forgeting your prommis conserning my eldest sonn, who, as you once assured me, was to have one night in a weeke alowed him to lie at home, in considirasion both of his health and cleanliness; you know, Sir, that prommises mayd to women, and espiceally mothers, will never faill to be cald upon; and thearfore I will add noe more but that I am, at this time your remembrancer, and allwayes, honnard Sir, your bumble servant,

E. DRYDEN."

“ HONOURD SIR, Wednesday Morning, (1682.] “ We have, with much ado, recovered my younger sonn, who came home extreamly sick with a violent cold, and, as he thinks himselfe, a chine-cough. The truth is, his constitution is very tender; yet his desire of learning, I hope, will ivable him to brush through the college. He is allwayes gratefully acknowledging yowr fatherly kindnesse to him ; and very willing, to his poore power, to do all things which may continue it. I have no more to add, but only to wish

k +

the eldest may also deserve some part of your good opinion, for I believe him to be of vertuous and pious inclinations; and for both, I dare assure you, that they can promise to themselves no farther share of my indulgence then while they carry themselves with that reverence to you, and that honesty to all others, as becomes them. I am, honourd Sir, your most obedient servant and scholar.

John DRYDEN."

SIR,

[1683.] “If I could have found in myselfe a fitting temper to have waited upon you, I had done it the day you dismissed my sonn from the college; for he did the message; and, by what I find from Mr. Meredith, as it was delivered by you to him; namely, that you desired to see me, and had somewhat to say to me concerning him. I observ'd likewise somewhat of kindnesse in it, that you sent him away that you might not have occasion to correct him. I exam in’d the business, and found it concern'd his haveing been Custos foure or five dayes together. But if he admonished, and was not believed, because other boys combined to discredit him with false witnesseing, and to save themselves, perlaps his crime is not so great. Another fault it seems he made, which was going into one Hawkes his house, with some others; which you hapning to see, sent your servant to know who they were, and he onely returned you my sonn's name: so the rest escaped. I have no fault to find with my sonn's punishment, for that is, and ought to be, reserv'd to any master, much more to you who have been his father's* "But your man was certainly to blame to name him onely; and 'tis onely my respect to you that I do not take notice of it to him. My first rash resolutions were, to have brought things past any composure, by immediately sending for my sonn's things out of the college; but upon recollection, I find I have a double tye upon me not to do it: one, my obligations to you for my education; another, my great tendernesse of doeing any thing offensive to my Lord Bishop of Rochestert, as cheife governour of the

* Our poet, John, was clected from Westminster-school to Trin. Coll. Cambridge, in 1650; his cousin, Jonathan, in 1056. Of the “{wo sons" mentioned in this letter, Charles admitted to the school in 1680, went oil to Christ Church in 1689; Jolin, admitted in 1682, to Trin. Coll. in 1685. J. N.

+ Dr. John Dolben.

college. It does not consist with the honour I beare him and you to go so precipitately to worke; no, not so much as to have any difference with you, if it can possibly be avoyded. Yet, as my sonn stands now, I cannot see with what credit he can be elected: for, being but sixth, and (as you are pleased to judge) not deserving that neither, I know not whether he may not go immediately to Cambridge, as well as one of his own election went to Oxford this yeare by youre consent. I will say nothing of my second sonn, but that, after you had been pleased to advise me to waite on my Lord Bishop for his favour, I found he might have had the first place if you had not opposed it; and I likewise found at the election, that, by the pains you had taken with him, he in some sort deserved it. I hope, Sir, when you have given yourselfe the trouble to read thus farr, you, who are a prudent man, will consider, that none complaine, but they desire to be reconciled at the same time; there is no mild expostulation at least, which does not intimate a kindness and respect in him who makes it, Be pleased, if there be Do inerit on my side, to make it

your own act of

grace

to be what you were formerly to my sonn. I have done something, so farr to conquer my own spirit as to ask it: and, indeed, I know not with what face to go to my Lord Bishop, and to tell him I am takeing away both my sonns ; for, though I shall tell him no occasion, it will looke like a disrespect to my old Master, of which I will not be guilty if it be possible. I shall add no more, but hope I shall be so satisfyed with a favourable answer from you, which I promise to myselfe from your goodnesse and moderation, that I shall still have occasion to continue, Sir, your most obliged

humble servant,

1787, Oct. and Nov.

JOHN DRYDEN."

LXII. Extracts of Letters from Dr. Arbuthnot to Mr. Watkins.

London, Sept. 30, 1721. PRIOR has had a narrow escape by dying; for, if he had lised, he had married a brimstone bitch, one Bessy Cox, that keeps an alehouse in Long-acre. Her husband died about a month ago; and Prior has left his estate between his serrant Jonathan Drift and Bessy Cox. Lewis got drunk with punch with Bess night before last. Do not say where

you had this news of Prior. I hope all my mistress's ministers will not behave themselves so.

London, Oct. 10, 1721. There is great care taken, now it is too late, to keep Prior's will secret, for it is thought not to be too reputable for Lord Harley to execute this will. Be so kind as to say nothing whence you had your intelligence. We are to bave a bowl of punch at Bessy Cox's. She would fain have put it upon Lewis that she was his Emma; she owned, Flanders Jane was his Chloe. I know no security from these dotages in bachelors, but to repent of their mis-spent time and marry with all speed.

Pray tell your fellow traveller so.

1787, Dec.

LXIII. Letters from Richard Savage*, a few weeks before his

death.

LETTER I.

MR. STRONG,

Bristol, June 19, 1743. I AM heartily glad all things are safe with you as to your place.

I received yours, dated June 6, ten days after date. I wish I knew whether this was owing to the fault of Mr. Pyne. You delayed writing so long, that I began to imagine I should never hear of you, or at least from you, again. Mr. Dagget was near a fortnight in London. He tells me you sent to him at his inn (by which I knew you had received ing letter,) to know when he could be at leisure to see you. He sent you a kind invitation by your messenger: but never saw or beard from you, to his great surprize, afterwards. He would have been very glad to have seen you. Mrs. Harris is at London, in Newgate. There has happened so great a quarrel between her and Mr. Dagge, that she called him murderer,

* They were addressed “to Mr. Strong, at the General Post-Off:ce;" the friend, of whose name Dr. Johnson has given only the initial, in the letter to Mr. Care, which he has preserved in the Life of Savage." N.

+ “The tender gaoler,” to whose “ humanity" Dr. Johnson bore“ public attestation.” N.

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