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XXVII. On hard-words. Affected use of them censured
-In abstract speculations-In voyage-writers
- In the pulpit-In essays, and other familiar
XXIX. On the vanity of Authors. Different reception
and fate of these essays. Mr. Town's compa.
THIS justly celebrated character was son to an eminent apothecary in Maiden-Lane, Covent-Garden, and born in the year 1724. The first of gifts, to form the gentleman and the man of the world, was bestowed on our youth at that most liberal of English foundations Westminster school, from whence so many ornaments of this country have issued forth, to the benefit of society at large, and to the admiration of the learned and refined in the more elevated circles of polished manners and superior endowments.
From Westminster Mr. Thornton went to Oxford, to complete his studies at Christ-Church-College.... Here he exhibited those traits of a brilliant and mars king mind, which afterwards shone forth with that splendor, which attracted the notice of the first characters of his day.
At College Mr. Thornton remained thirteen years, and in conjunction with Mr. Smart, and other young men of genius, published a work entitled The Student ; which nius given to the public in monthly portions. influei
earnest wish of his father, that he should study'aculties: and he accordingly took out his degree at Oa polish, E close application was his aversion..... And
nnot with-hold relating a circumstance
given to us by a gentleman, who was a witness to the truth of it. Young Thornton had formed a pleasant party, with whom he repaired to Drury-lane Theatre to see a favourite play ; as ill luck would have it, he was led to a box, the next to that in which was seated.....his father! The old gentleman, after eying him for some time, stepped from his seat, and addressed him in terms strongly experssive of his disapprobation, in thus neglecting the object he wished bim to attend to, and which he had so much at heart.... Knowing the temper of his parent, and seeing no better means to extricate himself from so embarrassing a situation, he with a bow of well assumed gravity, assured his father that he was mistaken! Finding this assertion fail of its desired effect, in his turn he put on the appearance of anger; and looking towards his party, expressed his indignation against Old Wigsby, for his impertinence in mistaking him for his son, and his obstinacy in persisting in it. He, however, took care to retire from the theatre, and without loss of time hired a post-chaise, and got to Oxford early enough to appear at the chapel at seven the next morning. It may well be supposed his father would not be long behind him; but, however, the young Oxonian proved the swifter racer of the two; and was enabled, by his management, to receive the every way deluded gentleman in his study. There he found our hero in the last scene of his successful farce; in his morning gown, overwhelmed with medical books, and employed in penning a dissertation on the CRAMP. Doubts yet remaining, which even appearances could not wholly dissipate ; his father waited on the dean of Christ-church, and on hearing from that reverend man, that on the very morning his son h tually been at chapel, he concluded in future ta: wice, before he would believe once ; rewarded '; ton for his industry, and left him in pri
In about the thirty-second year of his age, he united with Mr. Colman the elder, in that very excellent work entitled The Connoisseur. This celebrated paper commenced in the year 1754. It was published at stated periods, under the fictitious name of Mr. Town; and never was a work read 'with more satisfaction, or purchased with greater avidity, by those who know how to set a just and critical value on the effusions of thought and genius, displaying the light and shade of human life through all its varieties of incident and character.
In April A. D. 1750, our author had conferred upon him the degree of M. A. and B. M. in May 1754 ; but notwithstanding the wish of his father, and his having taken the first degree in physic, his cir. cumstances were so easy, and his mind so free, as to determine him on obeying its dictates, which revolted at restraint.
" To catch the manners living as they rise,"
Was what he delighted in, which could not be effected in the still and silent study, nor be attained by watching the midnight taper, glimmering over volumes of scientific lore; the treasures of its learned and indefatigable members.
In the Public Advertiser, then sought after by the curious of every description, as the receptacle where * men of letters deposited many a rarity for the inquisitive and cultivated mind, several literary gems of peculiar lustre are to be met with written by Mr. Thornton, and which raised the reputation of that public print, to a height of respectability before or since unequalled. Indeed in that day the full blaze of genius illumined the lettered world : its invigorating influence rendered men more correct, their mental faculties were improved, and their manners receiv. ed a polish, by perusing the numerous and varied