Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

References to the Plan.

A. Entrance to the grotto opening to the east.

B. Pilaster whose moulding is formed of a gola rovescia, somewhat broken, as represented in the engraving.

C. Column, of the diameter of two palms four inches; height, comprehending the capital, eight spans seven inches.

D. Column, of the diameter of two palms six inches; height, comprehending the capital, seven spans three and a half inches.

These columns rest on the earth without any base: they are of peperino, rather broken, with capitals of unequal heights, the lower column having the higher capital, and vice-versa.

E. Perhaps somewhere about this spot there might have been another column, which falling may have occasioned the ruin of the first story of the vault. Among the rubbish is a block of peperino hewn regularly, perhaps the capital of the column.

F. A sepulchral subterraneous way, of most ancient Etruscan form. It is partly blocked, and it is necessary to pass through it crawling on the hands and knees.

There is reason to think that it is full of the remains of interments. The water which penetrates it and the rubbish have prevented its being explored further than the point G.

H. A place, now filled up, which, probably, is a sepulchral chamber of later date than the subterranean way, perhaps of the time when the Etruscans deposited their dead on funeral beds, or when they collected them in urns.

MR. URBAN, Greenwich, Sept. 16.

A SECOND part of the New General Biographical Dictionary was published on the 30th August-about a month after its announcement. Ac-. tuated by the motives before described, and endeavouring to divest myself of every unfavourable presentiment which the first part was so much adapted to produce, I have critically examined its contents; and request your acceptance of a portion of my notes.

I forbore to comment on the imita tive title of the work, and on the misconceptions to which the name of the late learned, eloquent, and amiable

Principal Rose might lead-on account of the abundance of other censurable matter. As the same reason still exists, I may at once enter in medias nes-preserving, for the sake of comparison, the order of my former communication.

To the anonymous nature of the work, I must repeat my objections. The biographer has to collect materials from various and recondite sources to appreciate opposite evidence-to pass sentence on men of all sects, of all parties, and of all ranks. It is fit, therefore, that the public should have some clue to his character, which the name would afford. To name the contributors might also promote the object of the proprietors, for an anonymous work is seldom read with confidence, or quoted as an authority.

The references are more frequent, especially to the Biographie Universelle; but we miss Bp. Tanner, and the Biographia Britannica! Now, 1 affirm that Tanner has been consulted; and that numerous articles have been translated from continental publications without acknowledgment.

Ex. gr.

"AGLIONBIE [Edvardus] in schola Etonensi absolutis liberalium artium tyrociniis, scholaris collegii regalis Cantabr. factus MDXXXVI, dein collegii ejusdem socius, magister artium, tandem armiger et justitiarius in comit. Warwic. Scripsit Genealogiam regina Elizabethæ. {ob quam ei dedit regina quinque libras per annum in perpetuum. Hatcher MS. Inett.] Carmen Latinum xx distich. in obitum duorum Suffolciensium fratrum. Pr. Cum Deus iratus justa excandesceret ira.' Extat inter Epigrammata collecta per Th. Wilsonum, Lond. MDLII. 4to."

-

[ocr errors]

-Tanner.

at

"Aglionby, (Edward,) educated Eton, and elected to King's college, Cambridge, 1536, where he distinguished himself, and became a fellow and M.A. He was afterwards justice of peace in Warwickshire; wrote the genealogy of queen Elizabeth, and was presented by her with an annual pension of five pounds. He was author of a Latin poem, which is printed in Wilson's Epigrammata, 1552. 4to."-N. G. B. D.

"AGIS I. fils d'Eurysthènes, roi de Sparte, vers l'an 980 av. J.-C. Les Lacédémoniens envoyèrent plusieurs colonies sous son règne. Ses actions ne sont point connues. On prétend qu'il soumit

[blocks in formation]

66

Agis I. son of Eurysthenes, king of Sparta, reigned about 980 B.C. It is conjectured that he was the first who brought the inhabitants of Helos under the yoke, and it is known that the Spartans sent out many colonies in his time. He was succeeded by his son Echestratus, and the kings of his family assumed the name of Agiades."-N. G. B. D.

The articles АHMED Вen Fares and AHMED Ben Mohammed appear to be chiefly translated from De Rossi. The articles Ætius, the heretic-AffichardM. Afflitto-Agapetus-AgatharcusAgathocles-St. Agathon - Agay Agazzari-Agelet-Agezio-Agiles &c. are translations, literal or garbled, from the Biographie Universelle.

[ocr errors]

We are promised many hundred names not to be found elsewhere" as separate articles of biography. From the subjoined and similar specimens, I am rather disposed to admit that the promise may be performed.

"ALCOCK, (John,) an English Jesuit, whose real name was Gage, born in 1651. After studying at St. Omer, he became a novitiate of the society Sept. 7, 1670. He died in England, Dec. 29, 1703."

"ALANSON. Another of the name of Alanson was a member of the same society, [the Jesuits,] but nothing more is known of him."

[blocks in formation]

Alcock and Alanson, I presume, are copied from a certain catalogue of English Jesuits, by the Rev. G. Oliver of Exeter. The other scraps are detached from a short article by M. Villenave. John ALARY has two articles: I affirm that the advocate wrote the works ascribed to the pretended physician. While one person is made to appear in two perfectly dissimilar shapes, and various persons recorded only because they were born and died, others of considerable eminence are omitted. I may instance, William Aglionby, M.D. F.R.S.-Edmund Aikin, the architect.-Eleazer Albin, the naturalist.

[blocks in formation]

In the bibliography of the articles, an entire reformation is required. Art. ÆSCHYLUS, we have no description of the EDITIO PRINCEPS-no date to either of the annotated editions-no mention of the translation by Potter. Art. ALAMANNI, we are not informed when and where La Coltivazione was printed, viz. Parigi, R. Stefano, 1546, 4to. Art. H. C. ALBERT, we have Essays on Shakspeare, Inquiries on the English Constitution, &c. It is not said where he was born-but I find elsewhere that he wrote in German! Art. AFFONSO DE ALBUQUERQUE, we have no mention of the celebrated Commentarios-nor is there an article for his son, who wrote the Memoirs, a History of the family, and Poems. Barbosa gives a short narrative of his life and works. He died in 1580.

The relative extent of the articles is not sufficiently studied. Alaric I. and Alberoni occupy a twelfth part of the space which is allotted to about 420 names. Without more editorial exertion, and due pliancy on the part of the contributors, we shall never have

[ocr errors]

one harmonious whole." Every writer has his favourite themes-but disquisitions should be very sparingly introduced in a biographical work of proposed moderate limits.

The arrangement of the articles remains the same. The groups are not so formidable; but they should be dispersed by authority. The proems have more sobriety-nevertheless, it may require an encyclopedia of wit to avoid future tautology. I observe that Lord Fortescue is recorded as J. F. ALAND, which was not even the family name-but the Duke of Alba is classed under his title.

I shall pass from general censures to the critical examination of half-adozen articles C. J. Agricola, Affo, Agard, Aggas, Aikin, and Akenside.

The article Cnæius Julius AGRICOLA requires a short observation. In the Biographie Universelle, the accounts of Agricola and M. Vipsanius Agrippa occupy the same space precisely. In: Chalmers we have an article on Agricola-but not on Agrippa. In the. New Biographical Dictionary, Agricola obtains only about an eighth part of the space which is appropriated to Agrippa! The reason assigned for this treatment of Agricola is, that Tacitus is in the hands of every body. Now, I maintain that the admission of such a principle of construction would destroy the character of a gene-. ral biography. It would cease to be an account of the most eminent persons; the comparatively obscure would become the most conspicuous.

The account of Ireneus AFFO is a mutilated translation of an anonymous article in the Biographie Universelle. It is scarcely possible to conceive a more imperfect specimen of biography. We have neither the date of the birth of Ireneo Affò, nor the dates of his public appointments, nor of such of his works as are cited, nor the date of his death!

66

:

I must justify my censure by further specimens. It is said that Affò "died at the age of 60:" he was born at Busseto the 10th December 1741, and died there the 14th May 1797. It is said that he left a MS. history of P. L. Farnese he did so, but it was printed at Milan in 1821. Five only of his works are enumerated: he wrote more than fifty! One of the works cited is called Ihis Memoirs :" it contains memoirs of above two hundred and fifty Parmesan writers! Gamba, Cicognara, or Brunet, would have furnished our sagacious biographer with some valuable hints on Father Affò; besides, for twice-seven years, the public has been in possession of a very ample account of his life and writings by his successor in the bibliothecal chair at Parma, Signor Angelo Pez

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

unexceptionable; but, without research, how can the point be ascertained?

The article Arthur AGARD is an antiquarian curiosity. Campbell wrote a life of Agard, which Kippis afterwards annotated; but the article before us is borrowed, without acknowledgment, from Chalmers. The new biographer states that Agard was appointed Deputy Chamberlain of the Exchequer in 1570. I conceive that Wood has misled both Campbell and Chalmers: Sir Francis Palgrave has printed a copy of his appointment anno primo Jacobi I. He afterwards remarks, casting two of the periods of Chalmers into one, that Agard numbered among his coadjutors and friends all the most eminent and learned men of his age; and when, in 1572, the first society of antiquarians was formed by Archbishop Parker, his name appeared at the head of the list of distinguished members." Why, this is a most infelicitous attempt at the philosophy of biography; for, as it happens, the list was alphabetical! Chalmers and the new biographer shall now appear in juxta-position :

[ocr errors]

"In this society, Agard read these essays, which have since been published by Hearne, in his Collection of Curious Discourses,' 1720 and 1775, 2 vols.”— A. C.

"In this society he read three essays, published by Hearne in his collection of Curious Discourses, 1720 and 1725,

2 vols."-N. G. B. D.

The new biographer converts these essays into three essays, and immediately enumerates six. Only five of those enumerated were published by Hearne; but fifteen other essays, to which no reference whatever is made, appear in the edition of 1775. He points out a MS. of Agard in the Cotton Library, Vitellius No. 9. This reference has stood the test of about one hundred and fifty years; but it should be, Vitellius, C. IX. The MS. has been printed in the Registrum Honoris de Richmond. He reports that Agard compiled a Catalogue of the Treasury Records; but omits to add that he was assisted in it by Sir Walter Cope and Sir Robert Cotton; and that it is preserved among the Lansdowne MSS. 1 pass over various debatable points, and consign Arthur Agard to better hands.

Ralph AGGAS, the surveyor and engraver, receives the tribute of twenty lines. On some points we are rather at variance. I contend, 1. That his name should be written Radolph Agas: so he wrote it in 1596. 2. That the plan of London was re-engraved by Vertue in 1737, not in 1748. 3. That the plan of Cambridge was published: Ames declares that he had seen it. 4. That the plan of Dunwich, which the new biographer transforms into Dulwich, was not published: it was a drawing on vellum, shewn to the Society of Antiquaries in 1745. 5. That Agas wrote no work entitled A Treatise on Surveying he wrote A preparative to platting of Landes, &c. 6. That we should have been favoured with the dates of the above works, viz. The plan of London, 1560?; the plans of Oxford and Cambridge, about 1578; the plan of Dunwich, 1589; and the Preparative, 1596.

[ocr errors]

Of Master Radolph Agas I shall produce some detached anecdotes. He was practised in suruey more than forty yeeres." Lord Burleigh was sensible of his merit, and has preserved two of his notes, which are written with peculiar neatness. He chiefly resided at Stoke in Suffolk, but came to London in term time to obtain orders. He used a twenty-inch theodolite and steel wire in one foot links. Advertising, in the present mode, was unknown; and Master Agas therefore recommended himself in flying papers; but because they would not "abide the pasting to poasts," wrote "A Preparative to platting of Landes and Tenements for Surueigh. London, T. Scarlet, 1596," sm. 4to. pp. 20. This is merely an admonitory essay; but he projected a technical treatise. He does not mention his engravings. “At mine entrie hereinto," says he, "I doubted of the shortnes of my store, for so straighted an argument, but or I wist, I had exceeded the forme of a bill, and was almost come to the fashion of a booke." We see above the origin of the phrase posting bills. Ames never saw this rare piece; and Herbert had only an imperfect copy, which misled him in his description of it. It concludes thus :

"From my lodging at the Flower de Luce, ouer against the Sunne without Fleetbridge. Ferenda est fortuna quæ culpa vacat. Radolph Agas."

The account of John AIKIN, M.D. betrays carelessness. It wants the preciseness of information which is desirable in this species of composition-and was due to so estimable a writer. It may be impossible, in a general dictionary, to record all the works of a prolific author; and care should therefore be exercised in forming a selection. The biographer should notice, and accurately describe, those works which were once held in esteem, or still merit popularity. This obvious rule has not been sufficiently attended to by the new biographer of Dr. Aikin-which is all that I design to prove. Harwood remarks that Aikin had favoured the world with many specimens of his erudition. I believe we owe to him: Selecta ex C. Plinii Secundi Historia Naturali, 1776, sm. 8vo. dedicated to Pennant; Statii Thebais, 1778, 2 vols. C. C. Taciti Opera, 1781, 2 vols. &c. I proceed to notice other valuable works omitted, or imperfectly described. 1. Works omitted. The Calendar of Nature, which was the basis of that popular work, The Natural History of the Year.-The Woodland Companion, 1802, sm. 8vo. with 28 plates. A very useful and attractive volume.-Letters to a young Lady on a Course of English Poetry, 1804, 12mo. which abound in judicious criticism.-Geographical Delineations, 1806, sm. 8vo. 2 vols. A meritorious work, but obsolescent from the very nature of it, &c.-2. Works imperfectly described. The Letters from a Father to his Son, the date of

[ocr errors]

which is omitted, are said to relate to literature and science: they were published in 1793-1800, sm. 8vo. 2 vols. and relate, as the title states, to literature and the conduct of life. It is described as a work of reputation in its day" its reputation has not faded-for it was reprinted last year! We are informed that Dr. Aikin commenced his General Biography in 1796-that he was engaged on it near twenty years-and that it extends to 10 4to. vols. Perhaps it would have been too precise to mention the date of the publication, viz. 1799-1815.*** I am called away to a consultation with another M. D.-and I have only time to characterise the General Biography in the words of M. Lefebvre-Cauchy: "Les divers collabora

teurs, Aikin, Enfield, &c. ont puisé leurs materiaux à de bonnes sources, et presenté les faits avec candeur et simplicité. Leur ouvrage a fourni d'utiles documents aux auteurs de la Biographie, Universelle."

Mark AKENSIDE receives an extended notice. It commences thus : "Akenside, (Mark, M.D. F.R.S., 1721-1769.) This distinguished poet and physician entered as a pupil at Edinburgh when in his nineteenth year,”

This notable exordium suggests four questions, to which the narrative provides no answer. 1. Where was Akenside born? 2. What was his father? 3. Where did he receive his early education? 4. When was he elected a F.R.S.? We should have been informed that he was born at Newcastleupon-Tyne-that his father was a butcher-that he became a pupil of the celebrated Dawes at Newcastle-and that he was elected a F.R.S. the 8th February 1753. I have also to observe that the date of his birth is stated imperfectly-and of his death, erroneously. He was born the 9th November 1721, and died the 23rd June 1770. The facts which are suited to a Medical Portrait Gallery may be out of place in general biography. The celebrity of Akenside chiefly rests on his poetry-yet three-fourths of the narrative before us relate to him as a physician! The other part, which is all that 1 propose to notice, is very defective. We might have been informed, in very small compass, that the principal poem appeared in 1744-that Pope declared the author to be " no every day writer"-that he lived to see at least seven editions of the poemthat a splendid edition of his poems was printed by Bowyer and Nichols, 1772, 4to.-that it was edited by Mr. Dyson-that a valuable edition of his works in verse and prose appeared at New Brunswick in 1808-that the best edition of his poetical works is contained in the "Aldine edition of the British Poets "-and that he wrote three essays on subjects peculiarly interesting to the biographer of a poet, viz. On Correctness, the Balance of Poets, and the Table of Modern Fame.

I have finally to remark that this new scribe cites Mr. Dyson,

« PreviousContinue »