Слике страница

The editor of the Monthly Review should be cautious how he suffe s his writers to sport with men's characters; for himself, as publisher, is answerable for it. He may not be a judge in matters of literature, and therefore he may be deceived by recommendations, and by persons who give themselves airs as men of deep learning; but every man may see what kind of reflections affect moral character, and all know that this is a sacred thing. Mr. Griffiths * may not have much knowledge of Greek, and therefore would never suspect, that he who with so much insolence treated my Vindicatort with the appellation of “ Iste Græculus,” I should make the mistake that he has done with respect to Greek; but having some knowledge of me, he should not have inserted such reflections as the present Review contains, at least without consulting other persons besides a professed opponent. He will hardly be able to justify himself to the public, not for employing a man so unqualified as Mr. Badcock is, (I mean with respect to the subject of the present controversy, in which I do not find that his reading has extended much farther than Bishop Bull,) but for suffering such gross abuse of a person that he must know could not deserve it.

As to what he promises with respect to my future publications, I presume that no person, about whose good opinion I can ever be solicitous, will take a character of any performance of mine, or of any thing that relates to me, from a professed adversary. Dr. Horsley's Charge, a work full of the highest orthodoxy, (such as certainly would not have passed without censure in this Review some years ago,) has been recommended with unqualified applause, and a careful selection has been made from it of alınost every thing in it that is specious in itself, or contemptuous with respect to me. For this, I am pretty confident, Dr. Horsley will not now thank them; as by this time, I doubt not, he is himself ashamed of the passages they have quoted. My friend Mr. Lindsey has, in several publications, largely insisted upon the Unitarianism of the primitive Christian Church, (the very same thing that has roused all the rage of the present Reviewer,) without the least note of disapprobation from his predecessors.

Ralph Griffiths, a native of Shropshire, who became a bookseller in London. In 1749, in concert with Dr. Rose, he commenced the Monthly Review, of which he was for many years proprietor and editor. He was created LL.D. by an. American College, and died in 1803, aged 83. Dr. Kippis was a very large contributor to the earlier volumes of this Review,

If Dr. Griffiths were more tenacious of pecuniary profit than of moral reputation, he probably had his reward, from the curiosity attracted to this controversy. The Number for January, 1784, now before me, containing the Review of the Letters, but no other article peculiarly attractive, is a second edition ; a circumstance, I apprehend, very unusual. + See supra, p. 45.

| Mon. Rev. LXIX. p. 247, Note t. Ibid. p. 402.

I am now expecting Dr. Horsley's reply,* and I shall be much disappointed if it be not more guarded and temperate

than his last work; so that I hope we shall proceed in a calm discussion of the serious question that is before the public. I also earnestly wish to engage some learned Arian in this discussion, as I am desirous to write with the fullest information, and with the greatest impartiality on the subject.

At present I am well aware that a great majority of learned men are against me; but I already perceive that the minority is increasing, and in time I doubt not the majority will be with me.

Not that I can ever promise myself to satisfy every body. Many persons, much superior to myself, will remain unconvinced; as indeed many yet do with respect to Transubstantiation. But the time will certainly come, when all prejudice will give way to the evidence of truth.

I have much new evidence to produce, as well as many confirmations of that which I have already laid before the public, and I wish to have every part of it thoroughly and publicly discussed. Mr. Badcock calls me “a mortified and disappointed author.”+ How a man really feels, is best perceived by the temper with which he writes, and not by his own declarations, or those of others for him; and it is much too soon to use any language of this kind. The controversy is but just opened, and will probably continue a long time; and we may then see who are the mortified and disappointed writers.

When I read the various modes of self-complacent exultation, in which Mr. Badcock, and Dr. Horsley also, insult over me, as over a man whom they have completely confuted and silenced, I fancy myself to be in the case of the Irishman who talked of hearing his own funeral sermon. But I would advise these two antagonists of mine to take a lesson from Æsop, and not to sell the skin of the bear, till they have

Which appeared in June 1784. See Bishop Horsley's Tracts, pp. 83–295. + Mon. Rev. LXX. p. 57.

dispatched him, and indeed not till they have the evidence of other eyes than their own that he is actually dead. I am not, like Partridge, so unreasonable as to expect to be an evidence for my own existence; but let it be decided by a a fair jury, whether I be alive or dead.

For my part, I shall steadily pursue my purpose, and I have experience enough in these matters to be able to confide in my own temper so as to avail myself of all the new light that shall be thrown upon the subject, and to correct my own observations, as far as I shall see reason so to do. I may be deceived myself; but I believe that even my adversaries (except Mr. Badcock) will not think I shall knowingly contribute to deceive others.

There are not many persons, I hope, who will think of me as Mr. Badcock does : “ Though it may be possible for any man to make a mistake (especially when he rapidly glances over a passage) yet to persevere in it after it has been pointed out, seems reserved to be the distinguishing characteristic of Dr. Priestley.”* He should not, however, have said this in the same publication in which he acknowledges that he himself had done the same thing, and that he did not see his mistake till it had been pointed out to him a third time. +

Mr. Badcock might have animadverted upon my mistakes, real or supposed, with as much severity as he had pleased; I should not have been much affected by his censures, perhaps should not have taken any farther notice of them ; certainly should not have called upon him by name, as I now do, if he had not represented me as a dishonest man, wilfully perverting the meaning of the authors I quote, and “determined to keep up” this controversy, as he says, per fas et nefas.”I do not, however, think so ill of him as not to hope, that, upon cooler reflection, he will be ashamed of accusations so violent and so ill-founded. Be this as it will, I trust that in this controversy, and in all my writings, as well as in my whole conduct, I have respect to a higher tribunal than either that of the Monthly Review or that of the Public.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

When I wrote the preceding Pamphlet, I really imagined that I must have omitted to insert the sentence in Justin

Món. Rev. LXX. p. 63. (P.) 1 Mon. Rev. LXX. p. 61.

† See supra, p. 136,

which Mr. Badcock has introduced with so much emphasis, whereas a friend has just observed to me, that it is entire, and in its proper place, in my Letters to Dr. Horsley.* I am, therefore, at a loss how to express my contempt for the whole of this accusation, or to apologize to the public for troubling them with any defence at all. I did not pretend to translate the whole of the passage, but only abridged it in the text, giving it at full length in the margin, for the sake of the learned, whose attention I must have wished to draw to it. Little did I foresee that it would be criticized by a person so unlearned, both with respect to the subject of which Justin was treating, or the language in which he wrote, as Mr. Badcock appears to be. How could he imagine that any man, in his senses, should intend to deceive upon this plan. I must have been as silly as the bird that is said to endeavour to escape by hiding its head, while its whole body was exposed.

I need give no other proof of the wanton and persevering rancour of my quondam very great admirer, Mr. Badcock, and likewise of the actual effect of bis specious and imposing representations, than the extract which he himself has given from a letter of Mr. Wise, in the article of Correspondence, in the Review for February last. After replying to some objection which this Gentleman appears to have made to his translation of the passage in Justin Martyr, he adds, “We join very sincerely with our correspondent, in the following exclaination : · Pity it is that

and writers that possess the confidence of the public, should be so astonishingly unskilful as they are for men of reputation ; and so shamefully disingenuous in conveying to the public the sentiments of the ancients.””+

Now what occasion was there to quote the latter part of this letter, which, I dare say, was not intended for publication, when the review of my work was closed ? In this manner, by means of Correspondence, real or pretended, Mr. Badcock may go on to exhibit me as an example of ignorance and disingenuous conduct, as far as the Review circulates, and as long as he himself shall

think proper.

I wish, however, that this Mr. Wise would not be quite so hasty in deciding against a character, which, by his own account, has hitherto been fair and irreproachable. Great

• See supra, p. 65.

+ Mon. Rev. 1784, LXX. p. 167.

ignorance (or great inattention) is certainly chargeable to one of us; but let us both have a full hearing, and especially Mr. Badcock himself in reply to this, * before it be absolutely decided with which of us it lies. I shall be glad if he be able to make a better apology for himself than I can yet see to be possible.

Birmingham, Feb. 6, 1785.1

* Mr. Badcock does not appear to have taken any notice of the Remarks, unless he were the author of an anonymous “ Letter to Dr. Priestley," 1784, “ purposely written, as we understand," (say the Reviewers,) " in vindication of the Monthly Review." See Mon. Rev. 1784, LXXI. p. 78. This Letter " was concluded to be of Mr. Badcock's composition," by a writer in New Ann. Reg. 1784, V. p. [219].

† These four paragraphs were printed as an Appendix to the Remarks, and distributed some months after their publication. The date 1784, I have corrected, as it must have been an error. See p. 141, the account of Correspondence, February, 1784, which was not published till March.

« ПретходнаНастави »