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PARTICULARLY THE BRITISH AND IRISH ;
Their remarkable Actions: aud. SUFFERINGS,
Their Virtues, Parts and LEARNING,
ARE ACCURATELY DISPLAYED.
With a CATALOGUE of their LITERARY PRODUCTIONS.
A NEW EDITION, IN FIFTEEN VOLUMES,
GREATLY ENLARGED AND IMPROVED.
LO N D ON:
G. Nicol, E, NEWBERY, Hookuam and CARPENTER,
and Hurst, and J. White,
NEW AND GENERAL
ENNIS (John), a celebrated critic, was born in London
in 1657; his father being a fadler and an eminent citizen. He was educated under Dr. Horn at Harrow on the Hill, and thence removed to Carlos-college, Cambridge, in 1675. He took the degree of B. A. and was expelled the college for literally attempting to stab a person in the dark, after which he travelled through France and Italy At «his return, he fet up for a wit and a fine gentleman, and having some fortune, which was left him by an urielt, held every attainment in contempt, that did not relate to poetry and taste. Though it is now become fashionable to speak slightly of him, he had then qualities enough to recommend him to the acquaintance of some of the most eminent personages for birth, wit, and learning ; such as the duke of Buckinghamshire, the earls of Halifax and Pembroke, Walter Moyle, esq. Dryden, Wycherley, Congreve, Southern, Garth, who really had an opinion of his talents : but the black passions were so predominant in him, and his pride, envy, jealousy, and suspicion, hurried him into so many abfurd and ridiculous meafures, that his life appears to have been nothing but a mixture of folly and madness. Upon his first introduction to the earl of Halifax, he had the misfortune to get intoxicated with some very fine wines, which he had not been used to. These had a strange effect upon him, and made him so very impatient of contradiction, that, rising on a sudden, he rushed out of the room, and overturned the lide-board of plate and glasses as he went. The next morning seeing Mr. Moyle, who was one of the company, he told him he had quite forgot every thing that Vol. V.
happened, for he was much in liquor, and desired he would tell hini in what maner he went away: “ Why,” said Moyle, “ you went away like the devil, and took one corner of the house with
He began to be a writer as early as 1690, if not earlier, and so continued to the time of his death, which happened 1733, in his 77th year. He was always making attacks upon somebody or other, and thereby became embroiled in quarrels, in which he generally had the worst of it. In 1692 he wrote a pindaric ode on king William, occafioned by the victory at the battle of Aghrim; and in 1695 a pindatic poem, called “The court of Death,” dedicated to the memory of queen Mary. Upon the death of king William, he published another poem, called “ The Monument:" after which he wrote fome pieces in profe; amongst which, in 1702, was, “ Priesterast dangerous to religion and the government,” in answer to a piece of Sacheverell's, intituled, “ The political Union;" the design of which was to fhew, that the church was necessary to support the state. He wrote two poems on the battles of Blenheim and Ramilies; for the first of which he had a present of 100l. from the duke of Marlborough, and soon after, through his interest, a finecure in the customs of about 120l. per ann.
In 1704 came out his favourite tragedy," Liberty afferted," in which are so mnjay: levere strokes upon the french nation, that he thought they were never to be forgiven. He really perfuaded himfelf, as it is related of hạm, that the king of France would never make peace with England, unless the author of “ Liberty aflerted” was.delivered up to him: and upon this full persuasion of his own importance; is said to have waited on his patron, the duke of Marlborough, when the congress was held at Utrecht for a treaty of peace, to delire “ that no such article might be ftipulated, as his being given up.” The duke told him, that “ he was forry he could not serve him, for he really had no interest with any of the ministers of that time;" but' faid, that “ he fancied his case was not fo desperate as he imagined ; that he had indeed made no such provision for himself, yer could not help thinking, that he had done the French almost as much damage as even Mr. Dennis himfelf.” Another story rea lating to this affair is, that walking near the beach of the sea, when he was at a gentleman's house on the coast of Suffex, he faw a fhip failing, as he imagined, towards him. Upon this he suspected himself betrayed, and therefore made the best of his way to London, without taking any leave of his hoft, but proclaiming him a traitor, who, he said, had decoyed him down to his house, that he might give him up to the French; who had certainly carried him off, it he had not escaped as he did. It would be endless to recite the stories which are told of this