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hand, but since avowed by a person *, who upon fome occasions hath discovered no ill vein of hu
It is a pity any occasion should put him under a necessity of being so hasty in his productions, which otherwise might often be entertaining. But there were other reasons obvious enough for his miscarriage in this : He writ against the conviction of his talent, and entered upon one of the wrongest attempts in nature, to turn into ridicule, by a week's labour, a work, which had cost him so much time, and inet with so much success in ridiculing others. The manner how he handled his subject, I have now forgot ; having just looked it over, when it first came out, as others did, merely for the sake of the title t.
The other answer is from a person of a graver character, and is made up of half invective, and half annotation #; in the latter of which, he hath
Supposed to be Dr William King, the civilian, author of an account of Denmark, a dissertation on famplars and other pieces of burlesque on the Royal Society, and the art of cookery in imitation of Horace's art of poetry, &c. Hawkes.
+ This we cannot recover at present; it being so absolutely forgotten, the oldest bookfellers in trade remember nothing of it. Hiukes.
† Wotton's defence of his reflections upon ancient and modern learning. From the annotations, are selected the notes, signed W. Wotton. Thus, Wotton appears busied to illustrate a work which he laboured to condemn, and adds force to a satire pointed against himself: as captives were bound to the chariot-wheel of the viétor, and compelled to increase the pomp of his triumph, whom they had in vain attempted to defeat. Hawkes:
generally fucceeded well enough. And the project at that time was not amiss to draw in readers to his pamphlet; several having appeared defirous that there might be fome explication of the more difficult paffages. Neither can he be altogether blamed for offering at the invective part ; because it is agreed on all hands, that the author had given him sufficient provocation. The great objection is against his manner of treating it, very unsuitable to one of his function. It was determined by a fair majority, that this answer had, in a way not to be pardoned, drawn his pen against a certain great man then alive, and universally reverenced for every good quality that could poffibly enter into the composition of the most accomplished person. It was observed, how he was pleased, and affected to have that noble writer called his adversary : And it was a point of satire well directed; for I have been told, Sir William Temple was sufficiently mortified at the term. All the men of wit and politeness were immediately up in arms through indignation, which prevailed over their contempt, by the confequences they apprehended from such an example ; and it grew Porsenna's case, idem trecenti juravi
In short, things were ripe for a general insurrection, till my Lord Orrery had a little laid the spirit, and fettled the ferment. But his Lordfhip being principally engaged with another antagonist *, it was thought necessary, in order to
* Bentley, concerning Phalaris and Æsop, Hawkes.
quiet the minds of men, that this opposer should receive a reprimand, which partly occafioned that discourse of the battle of the books; and the author was farther at the pains, to insert one or two remarks on him in the body of the book.
This answerer has been pleased to find fault with about a dozen passages, which the author will not be at the trouble of defending, farther, than by affuring the reader, that, for the greater part, the reflecter is entirely mistaken, and forces interpretations which never once entered into the writer's head, nor will (he is sure) into that of any reader of taste and candour. He allows two or three at most, there produced, to have been delivered unwarily; for which he desires to plead the excuse offered already, of his youth, and frankness of speech, and his papers being out of his power at the time they were published.
But this answerer insists, and says, what he chiefly dislikes, is the design. What that was, I have already told ; and I believe there is not a person in England who can understand that book, that ever imagined it to have been any thing else, but to expose the abuses and corruptions in learning and religion.
But it would be good to know what design this reflecter was serving, when he concludes his pamphlet with a caution to the reader, to beware of thinking the author's wit was entirely his
Surely this must have had some allay of personal animosity, at least mixed with the design R2'
of serving the public by so useful a discovery ; and it indeed touches the author in a tender point; who insists upon it, that through the whole book he has not borrowed one single hint from any writer in the world ; and he thought, of all criticisms, that would never have been one. He conceived, it was never disputed to be an original, whatever faults it might have. However, this answerer produces three instances, to prove this author's wit is not his own in many places. The first is, that the names of Peter, Martin and Jack, are borrowed from a letter of the late Duke of Buckingham *. Whatever wit is contained in those three names, the author is content to give it up, and defires his readers will fubtract as much as they placed upon that account ; at the same time protesting folemnly, that he never once heard of that letter, except in this paffage of the answerer : So that the names were not borrowed as he affirms, though they should happen to be the same; which however is odd enough, and what he hardly believes ; that of Jack being not quite so obvious as the other two. The fecond instance, to shew the author's wit is not bis own, is Peter's banter (as he calls it in his Alsatia phrafe) upon transubftantiation, which is taken from the same Duke's conference with an Irish priest, where a cork is turned into a horse. This the author confeffes to have seen about ten years after his book was written, and a year or
two after it was published. Nay, the answerer overthrows this himself; for he allows the tale was written in 1697 ; and I think, that pamphlet was not printed in many years after. It was neceffary, that corruption should have some allegory as well as the rest; and the author invented the properest he could, without inquiring what other people had written; and the commonest reader will find, there is not the least resemblance between the two stories. The third instance is in these words : I have been assured, that the battle in St James's library, is, mutatis mutandis, taken out of a French book, intituled, Combat des livres, If I misremember not. In which paffage there are two clauses observable : I have been af sured; and, if I misremember not. I defire first to know, whether, if that conjecture proves an utter falsehood, those two clauses will be a fuf. ficient excuse for this worthy critic. The matter is a trifle : But would he venture to pronounce at this rate upon one of greater moment? I know nothing more contemptible in a writer, than the character of a plagiary; which he here fixes at a venture; and this not for a passage, but a whole discourse, taken out from another book, only mutatis mutandis. The author is as much in the dark about this, as the answerer ; and will imitate him by an affirmation at random ; that if there be a word of truth in this reflection, he is a paltry, imitating pedant,--and the answerer is a person of wit, manners, and truth: