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patches of Sir Richard Fanshaw, Sir William Godolphin, Lord Arlington, and many other ministers of state, are all of them, with respect to diction, manly, bold, and nervous. Sir William Temple, though a man of no learning, had great knowledge and experience. He wrote always like a man of sense and a gentleman; and his style is the model by which the best prose writers in the reign of Queen Anne formed theirs.* The beauties of Mr. Locke's style, though not so much celebrated, are as striking as that of his understanding. He never says more nor less than he ought, and never makes use of a word that he could have changed for a better. The same observation holds good of Dr. Samuel Clarke.

Mr. Locke was a philosopher; his antagonist Stillingfleet, bishop of Worcester, was a man of learning, and therefore the contest between them was unequal. The clearness of Mr. Locke's head renders his language perspicuous; the learning of Stillingfleet's clouds his. This is an instance of the superiority of good Bense over learning, towards the improvement of every language,

There is nothing peculiar to the language of archbishop Tillotson, but his manner of writing is inimitable ; for one who reads him wonders why he himself did not think and speak in that very manner. The turn of his periods is agreeable, though artless, and every thing he says seems to flow spontaneously from inward conviction.t Barrow, though greatly his superior in learning, falls short of him in other respects.

. [“ Sir William Temple was the first writer who gave cadence to English prose. Before his time they were careless of arrangement, and did not mind shether a sentence ended with an important word or an insignificant word, elp with what part of speech it was concluded.”—JOHNSON, Life, vol. vii. 91.)

+ [" I should not advise a preacher at this day to imitate Tillotson's style ; though I don't know; I should be cautious of objecting to what has been applauded by so many suffrages." -JOHNSON Life, vol. vii. p. 78.]

The time seems to be at hand, when justice will be done to Mr. Cowley's prose, as well as poetical writings; and though his friend, Dr. Sprat, bishop of Rochester, in his diction, falls far short of the abilities for which he has been celebrated ; yet, there is sometimes a happy flow in his periods, something that looks like eloquence. The style of his successor Atterbury has been much commended by his friends, which always happens when a man distinguishes himself in party, but there is in it nothing extraordinary. Even the speech which he made for himself at the bar of the house of Lords, before he was sent into exile, is void of eloquence; though it has been cried up by his friends to such a degree, that his enemies have suffered it to pass uncensured.

The philosophical manner of Lord Shaftesbury's writing is nearer to that of Cicero than any English author has yet arrived at; but perhaps had Cicero written in English, his composition would have greatly exceeded that of our countryman. The diction of the latter is beautiful, but such beauty, as upon nearer inspection carries with it evident symptoms of affectation. has been attended with very disagreeable consequences. Nothing is so easy to copy as affectation, and his lordship's rank and fame have procured him more imitators in Britain than any other writer I know; all faithfully preserving his blemishes, but, unhappily, not one of his beauties.

Mr. Trenchard and Dr. Davenantt were political writers of great abilities in diction, and their pamphlets are now standards in that way of writing. They were followed by Dean Swift; who, though in other respects far their superior, never could arise to that manliness and clearness of diction in political writing, for which they were so justly famous.

* (Author of a 'Short History of Standing Armies,' •Considerations on Public Debts,' &c. He died in 1723.]

+ (Eldest son of Sir William Davenant, author of • Essays on the Balance of Power,' &c. His Essays on Trade were published in 1771, in five vols. 8vo., by Sir Charles Whitworth. He died in 1714.]

They were all of them exceeded by the late Lord Boling broke, whose strength lay in that province; for as a philosopher and a critic he was ill qualified, being destitute of virtue for the one, and of learning for the other. His writings against Sir Robert Walpole are incomparably the best part of his works. The personal and perpetual antipathy he had for that family, to whose places he thought his own abilities had a right, gave a glow to his style, and an edge to his manner, that never yet have been equalled in political writing. His misfortunes and disappointments gave his mind a turn, which his friends mistook for philosophy; and at one time of his life he had the art to impose the same belief upon some of his enemies. His “Idea of a Patriot King,' which I reckon (as indeed it was) amongst his writings against Sir Robert Walpole, is a masterpiece of diction. Even in his other works his style is excellent; but where a man either does not, or will not understand the subject he writes on, there must always be a deficiency. In politics he was generally master of what he undertook; in morals never.

Mr. Addison, for a happy and natural style, will be always an honor to British literature, His diction, indeed, wants strength, but it is equal to all the subjects he undertakes to handle; as he never (at least in his finished works) attempts any thing either in the argumentative or demonstrative way.

Though Sir Richard Steele's reputation as a public writer was owing to his connections with Mr. Addison, yet, after their intimacy was formed, Steele sunk in his merit as an author. This was not owing so much to the evident superiority on the part of Addison, as to the unnatural efforts which Steele made to equal or eclipse him. This emulation destroyed that genuine flow of diction which is di:coverable in all his former compositions.

Whilst their writings engaged attention and the favor of the public, reiterated but unsuccessful endeavors were made towards forming a grammar of the English language. The authors of those efforts went upon wrong principles. Instead of endeavoring to retrench the absurdities of our language, and bringing it to a certain criterion, their grammars were no other than a collection of rules attempting to naturalize those absurdities, and bring them under a regular system.*

Somewhat effectual, however, might have been done towards fixing the standard of the English language, had it not been for the spirit of party. For both Whigs and Tories being ambitious to stand at the head of so great a design, the Queen's death happened before any plan of an academy could be resolved on.

Meanwhile, the necessity of such an institution became every day more apparent. The periodical and political writers who then swarmed, adopted the very worst manner of L'Estrange, till not only all decency, but all propriety of language, was lost in the nation. Leslie, a pert writer, with some wit and learning, insulted the government every week with the grossest abuse. His style and manner, both of which were illiberal, was imitated

[See Swift's • Proposal for correcting, improving, and ascertaining the English Tongue,' in a Letter to the Earl of Oxford and Mortimer. " It was Swift's object,” says Sir Walter Scott, “to limit and fix the English tongue by a general standard, to be ascertained by a society resembling the French Academy. Various answers were published to his proposal, all tending to impugn the authority of the institution, ere it was yet embodied, and several intimating, with the usual candor of disputants, that the chief purpose of the author was to create for himself an office of power and of profit. Meanwhile the Lord Treasurer gave fair promises, but nothing more: and thus fell to the ground a proposat in which, as in many other cases, an inadequate remedy is proposed for an evil, which, if indeed it be a real one, is inherent in the progressive state of society.”—Prose Works, vol. ii. p. 133 )

+ [Charles (second son of John Leslie, fifty years bishop of Clogher), author of the Short Method with the Deists,' & He died in 1722.)

by Ridpath,* De Foe, Danton,t and others of the opposite party; and Tolandt pleaded the cause of atheism and immorality in much the same strain; his subject seemed to debase his diction, and he ever failed most in one, when he grew most licentious in the other.

Towards the end of Queen Anne's reign, some of the greatest men in England devoted their time to party, and then a much better manner obtained in political writing. Mr. Walpole, Mr. Addison, Mr. Mainwaring, Mr. Steele, and many members of both houses of parliament, drew their pens for the Whigs; but they seem to have been overmatched, though not in argument yet in writing, by Bolingbroke, Prior, Swift, Arbuthnot, and the other friends of the opposite party. They who oppose a ministry, have always a better field for ridicule and reproof, than they who defend it.

Since that period, our writers have either been encouraged above their merits or below them. Some who were possessed of the meanest abilities acquired the highest preferments, while others who seemed born to reflect a lustre upon their age, perished by want and neglect. More, Savage, and Amhurst, I were possessed of great abilities; yet they were suffered to feel

(Author of a Whig journal, called the · Flying Post,'

4 'Tis the same rope at different ends they twist;

To Dulness Ridpath is as dear as Mist.”—Pope.] + [John Dunton, bookseller and miscellaneous writer. He projected the * Athenian Mercury,' and wrote his own Life and Errors,' a work which was reprinted in 1818, by Mr. Nichols.]

+ ["Toland and Tindal, prompt at priests to jeer,

Yet silent bow'd to Christ's no Kingdom here.'"-POPE. Toland was author of Pantheisticon,' and other deistical works.]

$(James More, author of the · Rival Modes,' a periodical paper entitled the • Inquisitor,' and one of the heroes of the Dunciad.]

|| (Nicholas Amhurst, author of Terræ Filius,' and a contributor to the Craftsman.' He died in 1742.]

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