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the authors of the Monthly Review' were enemies to the Church. This the King said he was sorry to hear.” Impartiality from the very commencement of popular reviews would have been a very doubtful guarantee of success. They necessarily dealt with party subjects, and adopted the tone of partisans. And yet Johnson in 1776 said, talking of the Reviews, “I think them very impartial.” This is certainly inconsistent with his statement that the Monthly Reviewers are for pulling down all establishments, and the Critical Reviewers are for supporting the Constitution in Church and State. Their different modes of accomplishing these feats may certainly appear very curious to the uninitiated, but we have had, and still have, many felicitous followers of the earlier masters of the reviewing art. “The Critical Reviewers, I believe, often review without reading the books through; but lay hold of a topic, and write chiefly from their own minds. The Monthly Reviewers are duller men, and are glad to read the books through.”
The first of the magazines still lives, “a prosperous Gentleman,” in the most select society. The • Monthly Review' dwindled into the grave as recently as 1829. The Critical completed its shorter term of life in 1817. When Reynolds wondered that so much good writing was employed in them, as the authors were to remain unknown, Johnson had his true commercial answer, “ Nay, Sir, those who write in them write well, in order to be paid well.”
N one of his forgotten Poems, this literary
Bookseller apostrophizes the famous district in which he was born
“O, native Sherwood I happy were thy bard,
It was not for him, he says, without “the lore of Greece or Rome,” to cherish such“ vain presumption.”
Robert Dodsley, born at Mansfield in 1703, is supposed to have been the son of a humble schoolmaster of that town, and to have received his only education under his father, who kept the Free-school. His early history is very imperfectly known. He • was probably learning more out of doors than in his dreary school - tasks. His poem of Agriculture,' written in his fiftieth year, has some pleasing descriptions, which manifest a poetical acquaintance with rural life. His farce of The King and the Miller of Mansfield' was founded upon the traditionary ballad with which his boyhood was familiar,
before Percy and Ritson had unlocked the blackletter lore which showed how “merry Sherwood” was peopled in the good old lawless days, when honest yeomen made bold with the king's deer. Boswell said that Robert Dodsley's life should be written, “ as he had been so much connected with the wits of the time, and by his literary merits had raised himself from the station of a footman.” The author of The Muse in Livery'-a poem in some respects autobiographical—might have begun earlier in the history of his struggle upward, and have told something like the same tale which William Hutton has told of the miseries of an apprentice to a stocking weaver. But Dodsley had evidently more advantages of education than the prosperous stationer of Birmingham. His subsequent career was not unfavourable to the literary culture of a youth of observation and discretion. To Boswell's remark that Dodsley's life should be written, Johnson replied that his brother James would not thank a man for such a performance; but he added, “ Dodsley himself was not unwilling that his original low condition should be recollected. When Lord Lyttelton's ‘Dialogues of the Dead' came out, one of which is between Apicius, an ancient epicure, and Dartineuf, a modern epicure, Dodsley said to me, “I knew Dartineuf well, for I was once his footman."" Dartineuf died in 1737. In 1732 Dodsley's “Muse in Livery' was published by subscription. Let me view the Shadow of Robert in plush breeches (not yellow plush) as sketched by himself. I would place him behind the chair of the modern epicure, the reputed son of Charles II.,—“the man who knows everything, and whom everybody knows,”—were not the footman's life which he describes more in accordance with his position as servant to the Hon. Mrs. Lowther. To that lady he dedicates · The Muse in Livery.'
The emblematic frontispiece to this poem represents a young man with a handcuff of concentric rings, labelled “ Poverty” and “Ignorance.” He has wrenched the other hand out of its fetters, and points to the sun as typical of his poetical aspirations. It must be confessed that the pair of wings, which ornament the liberated hand, would scarcely seem formed for very high flights, if we may judge from the strains in which he describes the first duties of the morning, which are “cleaning glasses, knives, and plate.” He neglects not his own person
“I clean my buckles, black my shoes,
Powder my wig, and brush my clothes.”
Robert was certainly not in such a genteel service as Fielding has described, in his survey of the ‘Picture of Dependence,' like a kind of ladder:—“Early in the morning comes the postilion, or some other boy, which great families, no more than great ships, are without, and falls to brushing the clothes of John the footman; who, being dressed himself, applies his hands to the same labour for Mr. Second-hand, the squire's gentleman.” I shall not attempt to follow the author of The Muse in Livery’through his labour of parading before his lady's chair with a lighted flambeau, nor in the diversions of the servants’-hall, which are so distasteful to him.
One part of his daily duty appears to have been congenial to the reflective footman; the waiting at dinner :
“This is the only pleasant hour,
Robert was thus completing his education, and he applied his talents to better purpose than following the advice of Swift to the footman:-“Learn all the new-fashion words, and oaths, and songs, and scraps of plays that your memory can hold. Thus you will become the delight of nine ladies in ten, and the envy of ninety-nine beaux in a hundred.” He was not destined to “ the highest of all indignities,” according to the great satirist, “to grow old in the office of a footman.” He did not escape from this fate, by obtaining a “place at court,” or “a command in the army,” or “ by going upon the road.” He had the footman's opportunities of frequenting the playhouse, and he could listen to the wit of the dinnertable, when Dartineuf was host and Pope the guest. He wrote The Toy Shop.' From the time when Pope was induced to read the footman's dramatic satire, and procured the lively piece to be acted, Dodsley's fortune was changed. The great poet gave him a more substantial patronage. “He assisted Dodsley with a hundred pounds that he might open