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“ 'Throughout the whole of it, I have avoided entering into any controversy with the crowd of writers who have published remarks on my former pamphlet. I am, however, unwilling to overlook them entirely; and therefore, shall in this place, once for all, settle my accounts with them.
" In the first place. Those friends (all unknown to me) who have published vindications of me, whether in separate pamphlets, or in any of the periodical publications, will, I hope, accept my gratitude; aud believe, that, though I have been filent, I have not been inattentive to their arguments, or insensible of their candour. ." Secondly, Those writers of opposite sentiments, who have an. swered me without abuse or rancour, will also, I hope, accept my ai. knowledgements, -lo this number I rank the writers of the pieces enumerated below*.-Thefe pieces contain, I believe, all of most importance which has been urged against me in the way of argument; and I leave every one who has read them, or fhall read them, to decide for himself how far they have succeeded; only defiring the justice may be done me, not to receive too easily any of the representations made in them of my sentiments. I have had, in this respect, some reason to complain of the fairest of my adversaries.
- Thirdly. I must farther acknowledge myself indebted to those writers, who, under the name of Answers, have published virulent in. · vectives against me. It has been some gratification to me to observe,
the aların these writers have taken, and the folly they have discovered, by suffering themselves to forget, that abuse and fcurrility always deteat their own ends, and hurt the cause they are employed to serve. I will not attempt to give any list of them. They are without number. But there is one who, being the ableft, it is proper I should men. tion. I mean, the author of the three Letters to Dr. Price, published for Mr. Payne. This writer is likewise the author of the Letters on the Present State of Poland; and of the Remarks on the Asts of the thir. seenth Parliament of Great Britain; but he has been lately more known as a writer in the news papers, under the fignature' of Attilius; and also, as the supposed author of the Anfwer to the American Declaration of Independence. The following particulars will enable those, who may not yet know him sufficiently, to judge of his principles and temper.
Civil liberty, he insists, is nothing positive. It is, an Absence. The absence of coercion; or of constraint and restraint.-Not from civil governors, (they are omnipotent, and there can be no liberty + against
* Experience preferable to Theory, printed for Payne.- Remarks on a pamphlet lately published, in a Letter from a Gentleman in the Country to a Member of Parliament. Mr. Goodricke's Observations, &c. and Mr. Hey's; all printed for Mr. Cadell.-Alfo Mr. Wesley's and Mr. Fletcher's Answers.
There may, perhaps, be some other Answers of the fame kind; but they have not happened to fall into iny hands.
+ Their power is, however, acknowledged to be a Trust; but not from the people. It must then be a trust from God; like the power of the proprietor of an estate over his tenants and cattle-Charming doctrine this for Ruffia and Turkey! And yet such is the doctrine, which this good Barrister, Mr. Wejley, Dr. Cooper, and others, are now propagating in this country. See Thrie Letters, page 66,&c. See likewife page 23 and 3r, of the follow, ing tract.
them.)—But from such little despots and plunderers as common pickpockets, thieves, house-breakers, &c.
" Again. Having had occafion, in my Obfervations on Civil Liberly, page 42, to take some notice of him, I ftudied to mention him with respect. In return for this civility he has, in his three letters just mentioned, made me the object of an abuse, which would have been inexcufable had I offered him the grofleit atfront.
“ Further. Such is the rage into which he has been thrown, that, imagining my notions of liberty and government have been drawn from the writings of the philosophers of antient Greece and Rome, he faa ments" that the Goths and Vandals, sparing their vases and urns,
did not deftroy all their books of philosophy and politics *."-I am much niftaken it he does not with likewise, that all such writinys were destroyed as those of Sidney, Locke, Montesquieu, Blackstone, &c.
“ I have only to add, that I am truly ashamed of having, in this introduction, had occafion to say so much about myself. But, I hope, candid allowances will be made for it, when it is considered how much, for some time, has been faid and writ about me. I now leave an Open field to all who shall please to take any farther notice of me. Wishing them the fame satisfaction that I have felt in meaning to promote peace and justice, and looking higher than this world of itrife and tumul-I withdraw from politics.
In this manner it is that Dr. Price settles his accounts with his numerous opponents; with what credit to himself we leave our readers to judge : fincerely wishing that the good doctor had always acted as becoming his character, in “ looking higher than this world of strife and politics,” and that he had never laid himself under the mortifying necessity of conseffing, that he had reason to be truly ashamed of speaking of himself on any occasion whatever.
Sir Thomas Overbury: a Tragedy. Altered from the litte Mr.
Richard Savage. As now performing at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden. 8vo. 19. 6. Newberry.
In the advertisement prefixed to this play, we are told the ' following story.
- Doctor Johnfon, in his Life of Richard Savage, gives a circumftantial account of the Tragedy of Sir Thomas Overbury; and tells us, that some years after Mr. Savage had written one play upon the subject (which, from its own inequality, and the imperfect and feeble State of its representation, was rather unsuccessful) he resolved to write a second. The following scenes are the produce of that resolution.
“ The manuscript of the Author was some time since put into the hands of the Editor ; who, on perusing it, discovered a great many beauties, surrounded by almost as many defects. The Tragedy was not finished; and, from the difpofition of the scenes, and conduct of
* Three Letters, p. 48. Vol. V.
the catastrophe, it appeared altogether unfit for the stage. In this rude state the Editor prelented it to the Manager of Covent-Garden Theatre, who received it with candour, and at a convenient opportunity read the play with him, and agreed to bring it on the stage, when the necessary alterations, to fit it for the scene, should be made. In confequence of this agreement, the Editor consulted his literary friends, under whose advice, and by whose assistance, he has been enabled to give it to the world in its present form.
“ He is aware that, as the 'Tragedy now stands, it is still liable to critical objections. He is confident, however, that every reader of taste will find infinitely more room for praise than censure. The alterarions have been made with the greatest deference to the Manuscript of the Author; additions were avoided as much as possible, and it has been the chief aim of the Editor, by necessary transpositions and abridgments, to make Savage mend himself.
" The approbation Sir Thomas Overbury has received in the Theatre, is the best proof that the Editor and his friends were not mittaken when they thought the Tragedy bore strong marks of genius."
That this tragedy bears the marks of genius, we do not deny; but we cannot help conceiving that those marks are horribly marred by our Editor and his literary friends. It would have been foune satisfaction to us, also, in being thus positively assured, that this play is written by Sarage, to know by whoin, and on what authority, this assurance is made ; the author of the above advertisement, as well as the Editor, being here haineless. It is true, that in the dedication to Mr. Colinan, this fame anonymous editor rejoices at having an opportunity to boast a circumstance fo flattering to his vanity, as the honour of his, the said Mr. Colman's, friendship. It is an aukward way of complimenting a patron, however, for a man to boast his friendship, while he conceals his own name. It looks as if the poet was either ashamed of the patron, or the patron of the poet. But be this as it will, we conceive the public have a right to farther satisfaction in this point; the authority of Mr. Colman's Thame-faced friends not beifig fufficient, with tis, to stigmatize the memory of Savage with luch a milerable mutilation of his first play. • This inodest Editor is « confident, however, that every reader of tafte will find infinitely more room for praise chan censure." But if this be the case, we must give up all our pretensions to taffe, as we find it quite otherwile. Not that we think Savage spoiled his own play; but we conceive, that our Editor and his literary friends (the more cooks the worse brotlı!) have, by their alterations, transpositions, and abridgements, totally failed in endeavouring to make him, as they say, mend himfelf. Such a botching, cobbling piece of work, indeed, we kardiy resember to have inet with, except in Colman's alte
sation of King Lear; in which he has attempted, in like manner, 'to make Shakespear mend himself. The present Editor, indeed, is just as little able to draw the bow of Savage, as his patrön that of our immortal dramatist. !
Savage, it is true, was not the greatest play-wright of his time; he had however some dramatic genius, and his ftile was animated and poetical. Of this there are many beautiful and spirited instances in the play of Sir Thomas Overbury, printed in Savage's works; whereas, in the piece before us, most of thosc poetical allusions are omitted, while the lines retained or substituted are mean, flat, and prosaic.
Of the business of the piece we say little, as its effect is beft judged of from the theatrical representation. Some scenes of the former play, however, are rejected, and some tranfpofitions made, which to us appear improper and unartful; but whether these things are to be imputed to Savage or his menders, we cannot say. Our readers will probably smile at a specimen or two of the mending of these theatrical botchers.
In the third act of Savage's first play, Overbury, in his
Were with aitraction arm'?— ill, from your breaft,
Or flow'd away in streams of soft repentance.
“ Oh! that my words were with attraction arm’d,
Som Repent it, taid you?
For I have wrong'd thy friendship and undone thee.
Repent it, said you?
And fill then I lütferous of my breath, will unds that ach at air.
To wrath, rebuke, to distance, to distrust;
To hate, revenge, or worse-to just contempt. At the close of Somerset's conference with Northampton, in the third act, on the approach of Overbury, Somerset, in Savage's play, makes the following short soliloquy:
• Som. 'Tis death to meet him !-yet I cannot itir.
Behold how his poetical Emendators have mended or havo made him mend himself here : “ Somn, folus. My angry breast, like wounds that ach at air,
Sore-shrinking at his lightest breath, will fmart;
'Till then I suffer what I mean, his doom, And feel, telt-punish'd, all the pangs he merits. And yet the Emendators could leave out the following beautiful simile, borrowed from Dryden, in the countess of Somerset's reprehension of Northampton :
" Tbus—while a lover talk'd my Somerset,
The character of Overbury is, in Savage, thus concilely and masterly delineated by Soinerset : " Som. Greatly you wrong him! I have found him tender,
As first-made mothers to their erring infarts.
This delineation of character is feebly spun out in a nuinber of flimzy lines, in the following dialogue in the new play:
* To my Overbury's breast, my soul
And ininiiters to every care a comfort.
but rather, I suspect that one like him,
Roinantic schemes, but in the State, bewilder.
Their felhíh int'reits from the gen'ral good.