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small part, and that, after an expensive lawsuit. Being obliged therefore to have recourse to his pen for his support, he, in 1748, published his Roderick Random, the most popular of all the novels on which his high reputation rests. Three years elapsed before the appearance of Peregrine Pickle. In the interval he had visited Paris, where his biographer, Dr. Moore, who knew him there, says that he indulged in the common prejudices of the English against the French nation, and never attained the language so perfectly as to be able to mix familiarly with the inhabitants. When we look to the rich traits of comic effect, which his English characters derive from transferring the scene to France, we can neither regard his journey as of slight utility to his
powers of amusement, nor regret that he attended more to the follies of his countrymen than to French manners and phraseology. After the publication of Peregrine Pickle he attempted to establish himself at Bath as a physician, but was not successful. His failure has been attributed to the haughtiness of his manners. ' It is not very apparent, however, whát claims to medical estimation he could advance; and the celebrity for aggravating and exposing personal follies, which he had acquired by his novels, was rather too formidable to recommend him as a confidential visitant to the sick chambers of fashion. To a sensitive valetudinarian many diseases would be less alarming than a doctor, who might slay the character by his ridicule, and might not save the body by his prescriptions.
Returning disappointed from Bath, he fixed his residence at Chelsea, and supported himself during the rest of his life by his literary employments. The manner in which he lived at Chelsea, and the hospitality which he afforded to many of his poorer brethren of the tribe of literature, have been somewhat ostentatiously described by his own pen; but Dr. Moore assures us, that the account of his liberality is not overcharged. In 1753 he produced his novel of “ Count Fathom ;" and three years afterwards, whilst confined in prison, for a libel on Admiral Knowles, amused himself with writing the “ Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves.” In the following year he attempted the stage, in a faree, entitled the “ Reprisals," which, though of no great value, met with temporary success. Prolific as his pen was, he seems from this period to have felt that he could depend for subsistence more securely upon works of industry than originality; and he engaged in voluminous drudgeries, which added nothing to his fame, whilst they made inroads on his health and equanimity. His conduct of the Critical Review, in particular, embroiled him in rancorous personali ties, and brought forward the least agreeable parts of his character. He supported the ministry of Lord Bute with his pen, but missed the reward which he expected. Though he had realized large sums by several of his works, he saw the evening of his life approach, with no provision in prospect, but what he could receive from severe and continued labours; and with him, that evening might be said to approach prematurely, for his constitution seems to have began to break down when he was not much turned of forty. The death of his only daughter obliged him to seek relief from sickness and melancholy by travelling abroad for two years; and the Account of his Travels in France and Italy, which he published on his return, afforded a dreary picture of the state of his mind. Soon after his return from the continent, his health still decaying, he made a journey to Scotland, and renewed his attachment to his friends and relations. His constitution again requiring a more genial climate, and as he could ill support the expense of travelling, his friends tried, in vain, to obtain for him from ministers, the situation of consul at Nice, Naples, or Leghorn. Smollett had written both for and against ministers, perhaps not always from independent motives ; but to find the man, whose genius has given exhilaration to millions, thus reduced to beg, and to be refused the means that might have smoothed the pillow of his death-bed in a foreign country, is a circumstance which fills the mind rather too strongly with the recollection of Cervantes. He set out, however, for Italy in 1770, and, though debilitated in body, was able to compose his novel of " Humphrey Clinker." After a few months residence in the
neighbourhood of Leghorn, he expired there, in his fifty-first year.
The few poems which he has left have a portion of delicacy which is not to be found in his novels; but they have not, like those prose fictions, the strength of a master's hand. Were he to live over again, we might wish him to write more poetry, in the belief that his poetical talent would improve by exercise ; but we should be glad to have more of his novels just as they are.
MOURN, hapless Caledonia, mourn
The wretched owner sees afar
of war ; Bethinks him of his babes and wife, Then smites his breast, and curses lise. Thy swains are famish'd on the rocks, Where once they fed their wanton flocks:
Thy ravish'd virgins shriek in vain ;
What boots it then, in every clime,
The rural pipe and merry lay
O baneful cause, oh fatal morn,
shed his children's blood.
Devouring flames, and murd'ring steel! VOL. V.