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Spanhemium, et Gisbertum Cuperum; quos merito suspicit Europa, et quos suæ mansuetudinis, modestiæque, quamvis injuriis interdum provocatos, nondum pænitere non temerè adfirmamus.
“ Ergo optimos quosque viros, et qui bonas artes, ut cum Gellio loquar, sinceriter cupiunt adpetuntque, hos quam maximè humanissimos esse oportet, operamque dare, ne, vitiis suis, innoxiis litteris contemptum apud imperitos creent. —Silv. Philologic. cap. 1, pag. 139.
I have great pleasure in communicating the following addition:
Dionys. Petavius, qui modum nullum servavit in exagitando Scaligero, apud suos dicere solebat, eum, etiam cum erraret, docere: quod nobis aperuit sodalis ejus et amicus Francisc. Vavassor." P. 141.
Dr. Johnson, I remember, made a similar remark on Dr. Bentley, when he and I were conversing about Bentley's Notes on Horace, and the Strictures written upon them, by Johnson of Nottingham and Alexander Cunningham.
Remarks, relative to the Character of Mr.
WAKEFIELD, by a Clergyman of the Church of England.
In general the character of a man is most satisfactorily displayed in his actions and his works. Yet to this maxim there are exceptions; and there is scarcely to be found one more striking than in the instance of Mr. Wakefield. As a man, his motives and principles were frequently misunderstood; as a writer, from various causes, the occasions were few in which he did justice to his own talents.
If the strictest and most inflexible integrity can give estimation and lustre to a character, there are not many that can come in competition with Gilbert Wakefield. It was the leading feature of his life and the stone of stumbling in the way of his promotion. The principal troubles and anxieties which he had to encounter were produced by his steady adherence to what he considered as
the right. From the just reputation which he had acquired at the university, and the advantageous connexions he had formed, there cannot be a doubt that the road to ecclesiastical preferment lay open before him; he had only to pursue
way to arrive at emolument and distinction. He was even more fortunately circumstanced than the generality of churchmen; his proficiency in classical erudition was such as must have rendered him a desirable acquisition in the capacity of a tutor even to the first families and interests in the nation. He could make himself eminently useful, and therefore could, in some measure, have commanded fortune. To discuss the foundation of his religious scruples is not necessary in this place. It is sufficient that they were most conscientiously entertained; and of this the strongest proof was the regret which he so commonly expressed that the career of his honest ambition was interrupted, and his sphere of usefulness proportionably circumscribed, by the continual opposition between his duty and his interest.
This tenaciousness of his integrity, this strict adherence to the dictates of conscience was not confined in a solitary instance, nor to
* Justum et tenacem propositi virum,
one walk of life, it was visible in every tran. saction whatever, and was carried, as some would think, to an extreme, if there can be an extreme of rectitude and honesty. Some things, which in Mr. Wakefield were too generally regarded as the faults of temper, are to be attributed to this source;—to a feeling exquisitely delicate of the just and upright in human dealings. To this he cheerfully sacrificed every other consideration, and “counted all things but loss” for the performance of his duty. If his zeal for what he regarded as the right carried him on some occasions beyond the strict boundary of prudence, still let not those who may differ in opinion from him mistake the motive. It was pure as that of a martyr, and as it was pure it was respectable.
It may appear somewhat extraordinary, that though of a very fervid spirit, he never in private seemed desirous of making proselytes to his religious opinions. The writer of this character (who was particularly honoured with the intimate acquaintance of Mr. Wakefield for a longer series of years than, perhaps, any man now in existence out of his own family, and who yet essentially differed from him on the most important points) can testify, that he never made the slightest attempt to
gain over his friend to his own opinions. He seldom indeed introduced them in conversation, unless he was attacked upon them. He professed himself in general a friend to free inquiry, and recommended a perusal of the scriptures to every one, rather with a view to the exploring of the truth than to confirm or establish any particular doctrines, whether his own, or those of any other sectary.
If Mr. Wakefield erred, it was in the severe, and, perhaps, sometimes uncharitable, manner in which he treated his literary and political adversaries. Yet even in this—the most vulnerable part of his character-it may with truth be affirmed, that he was directed more by principle than by passion. It was that nice sensibility to every deviation from moral principle, so characteristic of his own conduct, that rendered him severe towards those who seemed to trifle with their duty. Besides this, he had imbibed an opinion that every literary controversy should be strenuously conducted, or not entered into at all; and this he thought justified the violence of the parties, especially when truth was the object. His controversial writings are, therefore, in some instances, defaced by intemperance of language, by personalities, and even by rude