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Then compromise had place, and scrutiny
Hutton's Circulating Library at Birmingham contributed, probably, little to his accumulation of wealth. But he had a friend, in 1753, who was more valuable to him, in the character of a papermaker, than in that of a writer of popular novels. It was a lucky hour which brought William Hutton acquainted with Robert Bage. There are few of the present generation who ever heard of the once famous novels of Man as he is,' and Man as he is not. I remember to have read them with great interest, but I have not now the slightest recollection of their characters or their plots. Bage commenced his career of authorship in 1781, with ‘Mount Keneth,' a novel. Hutton wrote an account of his friend's life, when he died in 1801. They had known each other sixty years, for Bage was a native of Derbyshire. They had become friends from a time just before their business connexion, when the thriving papermaker proposed to the struggling bookseller that he should devote a portion of his small house to a business of greater returns and more profit than that of secondhand books and a circulating library. Hutton had some ready money, and preferred purchasing paper of the maker to selling it upon commission. He hung out a sign, “ The Paper Warehouse.” He tells us the result in a few words : “ From this small hint I followed the stroke forty years, and acquired an ample fortune."
* The Task,'B. II.
The shadow of William Hutton, as the “old bookseller,” presents itself to me no longer. He was too fond of money to accumulate scarce books with the ardour of a Collector, like some of his bookselling contemporaries, whose enthusiasm has been recorded by Dr. Dibdin. Thomas Miller, of Bungay, for example, in 1755 "set himself up in the character of grocer and bookseller," and mixed the sweets of learning with the fragrance of sugar and spices. I see in Hutton a prosperous tradesman, happily married. I see an important public functionary, exercising with a vigilance and sagacity that a County Court judge might emulate, the duties of a Commissioner of the Birmingham Court of Requests. I see a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, devoting his old age to investigations that might appear to be only possible to be successfully carried through by the vigour of youth. His numerous writings might seem to be the result of the labour of a lifetime, instead of being the productions of one who first took pen in hand, for the purpose of publication, when he was in his fiftyseventh year. Devoting himself to literary pursuits, he had the misfortune to lose a valuable library in the Church and King riots of 1791, and the greater misery of beholding the health of his beloved wife irretrievably shattered, in the alarm she felt during those brutal riots, when his country-house at Bennett's Hill was set on fire and burnt down. In 1792 he wrote to Mr. Nichols : “The late unhappy affair has thrown me off every bias. I had made a considerable progress in the Antiquities of Verulam, and with great pleasure to myself. But the manuscript was
destroyed, and, till matters are settled, I am not certain whether I dare resume it. I long for that tranquil life which I have lost,-a life of still pursuit, that neither injures nor is injured.” But the tranquil life and the tranquil mind soon returned. From early years he had been a dabbler in verse, and continued to write what, by courtesy, were called • Poems. Some of his labours were of more permanent value. His ·History of the Roman Wall' presents a remarkable example of his enthusiasm at an advanced age. In his Introduction to this book
Perhaps I am the first man that ever travelled the whole length of this Wall, and probably the last that ever will attempt it. Who then will say, he has, like me, travelled it twice ? Old people are much inclined to accuse youth of their follies ; but on this head silence will become me, lest I should be asked, What can exceed the folly of that man, who, at seventy-eight, walked six hundred miles to see a shattered Wall!”” Such zeal and perseverance did not show “the folly of the man.” Nor was it folly in him, in his seventy-fifth year, to write his life, which was published by his daughter Catherine, after his death in 1815, at the great age of ninety-two. Of this interesting book I published an abstract in The Penny Magazine' of 1836. This brought to me a present of a silk purse netted by herself, with a letter, which shows how the daughter, at fourscore, preserved the active mind and industrious habits of the father. Several years later this venerable lady edited for me a republication of • The Life of William Hutton, written by himself.'
EDWARD CAVE; RALPH GRIFFITHS.
F Samuel Johnson were the Jupiter of Lite
rature during fifty years of the eighteenth century, the booksellers of that period,
with whom he had familiar intercourse, literary and social, were his satellites. Far « less than Jove,” they had a light of their own, which may guide me a little onward in my voyage through those occasionally obscure regions. The brightest of them are double the number of the attendant stars of the king of planets. There are half a score more of minor lights in the inky way. But I see the great luminary in constant association with his chief satellites ; in their front shops, in their back shops, in their parlours beyond the shop, in their dining-rooms and drawing-rooms, and sometimes receiving homage in his own residence, whether in Gough Square, Staple’s Inn, Gray's Inn, Inner Temple, Johnson Court, or Bolt Court. I shall occasionally glance at their shadows as they fit by me in the pages of the most amusing of biographers. Some of the most eminent of the old booksellers, after the days of Pope to those of Cowper, belong to the period which may be justly called the Johnsonian era.
Early in the eighteenth century there was a boy of marked ability in the endowed grammar-school of Rugby, who was the son of a shoemaker in that town. Edward Cave had probably to endure much contumely from his richer companions. A London shopkeeper had founded Rugby school; but nevertheless the presence of the son of one who mended shoes close by the school-gate-one of the “rude mechanicals who work for bread”—was a blot upon the dignity of the foundation. The clever and diligent boy had of course a nickname. In his prosperous latter years he used to travel on horseback, and had relays of horses at his command. Arriving at the house of an old schoolfellow of county distinction, he desired the servant to say that “Ned Cave, the cobbler, was come to visit him." There is a monument in the churchyard of Rugby, the inscription on which, written by Hawkesworth, records that “Edward Cave, without interest, fortune, or connexion, by the native power of his own genius, assisted only by a classical education, which he received in the grammar-school of this town, planned, executed, and established a literary work, called the Gentleman's Magazine.” In his life, written by Johnson, it is recorded—not much to the honour of the Rev. Mr. Holyock, “ to whose care most of the neighbouring families, even of the highest rank, entrusted their sons,”—that Cave had to bear the burden of the unlucky pranks of boys, “ far above him in rank and expectations ;” and that he was "oppressed with unreasonable tasks, that there might be an opportunity of quarrelling with his failure.”