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“ Dear Sir, “ I am ashamed to have appeared so negligent in answering your kind remembrance of me, by a letter so long ago as the fifth of February: but it has pleased God to visit me so sorely since, that I have had no leisure to think of any thing
my sorrows, and the consequent troubles in which they have involved me. Presently after receiving your letter, I went to spend a few days in London, in the Temple, from whence I returned very ill, and three days brought on the gout. My son went ill out of London the day before I did, and, during his illness, my own confinement would not permit me to see him. About eleven days carried off as hopeful a young clergyman as an affectionate father could wish his son to be.
“ So generous a heart, such an intimate knowledge of the powers and workings of nature, so serious and earnest a desire to serve God and mankind, with a cheerful spirit and address in conveying his instructions, make his loss as great to the world as it is to me. Some specimens he has left behind him, in the humorous papers of the Schemer; and he lived just long enough to finish a monthly work, in which he engaged a year before his death, publishing his last number of the Tales of the Genii the first of February, in which month he died."
Beside the “Tales of the Genü;" a work which possesses great powers of imagination, and a considerable command of language, he was the author of a novel entitled “ The History of James Lovegrove, Esq."
The Schemer was originally published in the London Chronicle, at various periods, for more than two years ; and in 1763 it was reprinted in one volume 12mo, with the following title-page: “ The Schemer, or Universal Satirist; by that great Philosopher Helter Van Scelter.” The author, in his Address to the Public, has thus declared the motives which induced him to undertake a work of so singular a cast. “ The celebrated, though trifling Letter of Maupertuis," he remarks, “'to the king of Prussia, justly raised the indignation of every true friend to arts and sciences who perused it. It was to' ridicule his motley performance, that a Letter to Jacob Henriques from a Dutch philosopher, on the possibility of impossibilities, was inserted in the London Chronicle, the plan of which Letter was an imitation of Maupertuis. Many ridiculous projects were planned for the purpose, each having some relation to those offered by the German philosopher; but these arose so very fast, that the author found it necessary to enlarge his plan, and therefore endeavoured to drop the title of a Letter, (as in that case a greater connection was requisite) and substitute that of a Periodical Paper, called The Schemer."
Three Letters, therefore, all that were written on the first plan, were prefixed to the Schemer, when republished ; and the first number of the periodical design commences at page 38, and is dated May 13th, 1760; while the thirty-third, and last, bears the date of December 28th, 1762; and is succeeded by an Appendix, containing the original Letter of Maupertuis. The object of the Schemer is, to ridicule the glaring follies of mankind, in the various departments of Literature, Philosophy, and Politics : he is peculiarly severe upon the political essayists; and though the work is rather coarse in its imagery and diction, it displays much genuine wit, and forcibly excites the risible emotions.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE PERIODICAL PAPERS
WHICH HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED BETWEEN THE CLOSE OF THE IDLER AND THE PRE
So numerous have been the periodical påpers from the year 1760, to the beginning of the nineteenth century, that, in order to include an account of them in this and the subsequent essay, it will be necessary to drop all biographical detail, and confine our notices, in a great degree, to historical and critical memoranda relative to each work.
At the commencement of the present reign, the public was inundated with a swarm of political essayists, for and against the measures of Lord Bute, who, in 1762, was generally supposed to hold the reins of government. On these papers, which are now capable of exciting little interest,
we shall be very brief in our remarks; the first that claims our attention is
1. The AudiTOR, a paper written by Arthur Murphy, Esq. who, in concert with Dr. Smollett, undertook the defence of Lord Bute's administration; it was begun in 1762, and, like most of the productions of Mr. Murphy, is conducted with ability.
2. The Briton, the offspring of Dr. Smollett, supported the same party; it first appeared on the 29th of May, 1762, and was continued until February 12th, 1763; in point of composition it is inferior to the Auditor,
3. THE NORTH BRITON. This once celebrated paper issued from the press immediately after the publication of the first number of the Briton, and taking the opposite side in politics, annihilated a friendship which had existed for many years between the author, Mr. Wilkes, and Smollett. To No 45 of this collection, we are indebted for the verdict which pronounced the illegality of general warrants; a result that elevated Wilkes, for some time, to the highest pitch of popularity. When Wilkes was compelled to relinquish the direction of the North Briton, it