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speaks of the voluminous Chapter-book :-"A most unworthy rabble have gained a passport to the Temple of Fame, much after the following ridiculous predicament, so well described on a very different occasion by Mr. Burke, whose words we may literally apply. "He put together a piece of joinery so closely indented and whimsically dovetailed; a cabinet so variously inlaid ; such a piece of diversified mosaic, such a tessellated pavement, without cement-here a bit of black stone, and there a bit of white--that it was a very curious show, but utterly unsafe to touch, and unsure to stand on; the colleagues whom he had assorted at the same board, stared at each other, and were obliged to ask, “Sir, your name !"" Amongst those, I think, who would have been foremost to object, was THOMAS EVANS (mentioned in the preceding chapter). In the very year of the coffee-house meeting, he had edited and published his Old Ballads, collected from rare Copies and MSS.' His son, in his advertisement to a new edition, says :-" The repeated perusal of Percy's * Reliques of Ancient Poetry' first suggested to the late editor the idea of the present work. The genius and taste which pervade that beautiful compilation fascinated his attention and excited his curiosity; he regretted that the Doctor had confined his work to the scanty limits of three volumes, and he resolved to collect the scattered ballads, which were yet to be found dispersed through various libraries, in hopes they might furnish the same entertainment to others that he had himself derived from them,” Mr. John Forster has pointed out that the Thomas Evans who, in 1772, for publishing a libel was beaten by Goldsmith, and returned the blow with interest, "must not be confounded with a worthy bookseller of the same name, who first collected Goldsmith's writings.” Mr. Evans, of Pall Mall, whose Shadow I present, had, says Mr. Nichols, “naturally a taste and a love for literature; and, as far as prudence would permit, endeavoured to render his private propensity the source of public advantage and public ornament.”
If Thomas Evans had gained a reputation amongst the judicious few by the republication of some writers that had fallen into neglect, THOMAS PAYNE, of the Mews-gate, was the medium, for forty years, of making all books, new and old, English and foreign, extensively known by the circulation of his annual catalogues. His little shop acquired the name of a Literary Coffee-house ; for there, rummaging over his shelves, or glancing at the books upon his counters, were to be found a succession of scholars always eager to purchase at the very moderate prices at which “honest Tom Payne” marked his books. Mathias (if he, indeed, be the author of the *Pursuits of Literature') describes him as “that Trypho emeritus, Mr. Thomas Payne, one of the honestest men living, to whom, as a bookseller, learning is under considerable obligations." The character which Roger North gives of Robert Scot of Little Britain may be applied to Thomas Payne of the Mews-gate. “He was not only an expert bookseller, but a very conscientious, good man.” I cannot continue the quotation as applied to Mr. Payne : “When he threw up his trade, Europe had no small loss of him.” He had a worthy successor in his eldest son, to whom he resigned his business in 1790. Thomas Payne of Pall Mall carried the reputation of his father into a grander place of business than the original little shop in the shape of an L.
The dynasty of LONGMAN, in Paternoster Row, seems to have endured for almost as many generations as the House of Brunswick. The surname is to be found on the same title-pages as the names of Jacob Tonson and Thomas Osborne, and the baptismal name of Thomas has descended in the firm as regularly as that of the four Georges. Nearly a century and a half of uninterrupted prosperity and reputation has crowned the labours of very few mercantile houses. The first Thomas Longman was succeeded by his nephew, whom we have seen honourably associated with Dodsley and Millar in the project of Johnson's Dictionary.' It is he of the booksellers' club whose shadow I now trace at the Chapter Coffee-house. Another member of that club was ROBERT BALDWIN, whose name is legion in the annals of bookselling. Whether the Baldwins of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries can be traced back to the William Bauldwyn, or Baldwin, of the time of Edward VI. and Elizabeth I cannot affirm or deny. If their ancestor were the printer who wrote a metrical version of Solomon's Song, and to whom Thomas Sackville recommended a completion of his "Mirrour for Magistrates, the Robert Baldwin of 1777 might well have been stimulated to contend for the claim of some of the early poets to appear in the Booksellers' Collection, instead of being, as it was,
“ The Monument of banish'd Mindes.” I must complete in another chapter my shadows of this parliament of old booksellers.
THE CHAPTER COFFEE-HOUSE (Concluded).
OHN RIVINGTON and Sons hold their
state under the Bible and Crown, in St. Paul's Churchyard, as did their prede
cessor Charles very early in the century. His name is associated, in 1725, with Lindsay's translation of Mason's Vindication of the Church of England.' Was the old bookseller incautiously sliding into dissent when he published one of the earliest works of George Whitefield, The Nature and Necessity of a New Birth in Christ, a Sermon preached at Bristol, in September, 1737'? The young student of Oxford, who, with his coadjutor Wesley, had, in 1736, to bear with being called Bible-moth and Methodist, had gone forth to preach in the fields to the most ignorant and debased. But Whitefield was not then separated from the Church, in which he had been ordained Deacon by Dr. Benson, Bishop of Gloucester. After the publication, by Rivington, of his earliest printed sermon, he went to America, where he widely diffused the tenets of Methodism. But he still belonged to the English Church, in which he was ordained Priest in 1739.
Foote, in his little comedy of . The Author,' which appeared in 1757, makes a bookseller say to a candi