Abbildungen der Seite

habit of intoxication; his health and mental faculties were soon irretrievably injured by the practice; and he expired on the 27th of September, 1730, in his rectory at Conningsby, in Lincolnshire.

That several compositions by our author were admitted into the Spectator, is clear from the acknowledgment of Steele in N° 555, which closes the seventh volume. Only two letters, however, have been hitherto pointed out by the annotators; one in N° 54, descriptive of the University Loungers, and one in N° 87 on Idols; not much importance can be attached to either of them; and it is, therefore, probable, that by far the greater part of the Laureat's contributions to this paper remains unknown.

In the Guardian three communications are attributed to him; the first is a letter in N° 124, under the title of More Roarings of the Lion, and which possesses a considerable portion of Addisonian humour; the second consists of a version of The Court of Venus, from Claudian, in N° 127; and the third occupies N° 164, which contains likewise a translation from the same poet of The Speech of Pluto to Proserpine.

Though the whole of N° 164 has been ascribed

* A few poems by Eusden may be found in Nichols's Select Collection.

to Mr. Eusden, it would seem, from the nature of the prefatory matter, which terminates with a high compliment to the translator, that it must have been the production of another hand. Were we to acquiesce in the common attribution, the modesty of Mr. Eusden would appear indeed to be of a very peculiar kind. The versions of Claudian are tolerably faithful; the diction is occasionally happy, and the versification is, in general, correct.

16. HENRY MARTYN. Of this gentleman the only account extant is in Ward's Lives of the Professors of Gresham College. He was, according to his biographer, the eldest son " of Edward Martyn of Upham, in the parish of Alborn, in Wiltshire, Esq. and Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. William Eyre, master of arts of Magdalen-hall in Oxford, and sometime minister of St. Edmund's church in Salisbury; but silenced, in 1662, for nonconformity. He afterwards retired to Milksham, in Wilts, where he had purchased an estate, and died there in the month of January, 1669.Mr. Martyn had by his wife four sons, Henry, Edward, (afterwards Professor of Rhetoric in Gresham College) Richard, and William; as also two daughters, whose names were Mary and Elizabeth.

[ocr errors]


Henry was bred to the bar, and was both an excellent scholar and an able lawyer; but his infirm state of health would not permit him to attend the courts. He was the author of many of those ingenious papers which in the years 1711 and 1712 were published weekly in the SPECTATOR, and by their agreeable mixture of the utile dulci afforded no less instruction than entertainment to the public. And the high opinion which the editor, Mr. Steele, afterwards Sir Richard, had of his abilities, is evident, from the particular compliment he pays him among his other correspondents, when he gives us their names. The first,' says he, I am going to name can hardly be mentioned in a list, wherein he would not deserve the precedence*;' and then he begins with Mr. Henry Martyn. In 1713, when the greatest endeavours were used to get the treaty of commerce, which had been made with France at the peace of Utrecht, ratified by parliament, he was principally concerned in writing the paper against it, called the British Merchant, or Commerce Preserved; in answer to the Mercator, or Commerce Retrieved, published in its favour by Daniel De Foe. As the rejecting that treaty, so destructive to the British trade, was very much owing to the success of this paper,

* Spectator, vol. vii. No 555.

nothing could have been of greater service to the nation at that time. And the singular merit of the author was afterwards taken notice of, and rewarded by the government, in making him inspector general of the exports and imports of the customs *. He died at Blackheath, March the 25th, 1721, and left one son, named Bendal, who is now (1740) a fellow of King's College in Cambridge, and secretary to the commissioners of the excise t."

[ocr errors]

Steele appears to have entertained a very sincere esteem for Mr. Martyn; and he has sketched the outlines of his character, which was peculiarly amiable, under the appellation of Cottilus, in N° 143 of the Spectator. "Poor Cottilus," says he, among so many real evils, a chronical distemper and a narrow fortune, is never heard to complain. That equal spirit of his, which any man may have, that, like him, will conquer pride, vanity, and affectation, and follow nature, is not to be broken, because it has no points to contend for. To be anxious for no

*See the Preface to the British Merchant, published in 3 vols. 1721, octavo.

Ward's Lives, page 332 and 333, folio, 1740. London. The annotators conjecture, that Mr. Henry Martyn had a little habitation called his cot at Blackheath, and that this circumstance suggested the name.

thing but what nature demands as necessary, if it is not the way to an estate, is the way to what men aim at by getting an estate. This temper will preserve health in the body as well as tranquillity in the mind. Cottilus sees the world in a hurry, with the same scorn that a sober person sees a man drunk."

It is probable, from the assertion of Ward, and from the intimacy which subsisted between Sir Richard Steele and Mr. Martyn, that the latter was the author of many papers in the Spectator. Of these, however, only one, N° 180, has hitherto been ascribed to him on certain grounds. This is occupied by some ingenious and convincing calculations, which are intended to prove the vanity and destructive tendency of all conquests, and especially of those which were achieved by the arms of Louis the XIVth of France. As N° 200 is on a subject very similar, and has a reference to N° 180, the annotators think themselves warranted in attributing it to the same writer; an ascription which is supported by the circumstance of Mr. Martyn being celebrated for his skill in political arithmetic*.

17. FULLER, MR. This gentleman was a contributor to the Tatler at the early age of sixteen. * Vide Spectator, vol. iii. p. 177, Note.

« ZurückWeiter »