The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,055 pages of information about The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4.

(336) Now first printed.  David Stewart Erskine, eleventh Earl of Buchan.  He was intended for public life, but shortly after succeeding to the family honours, in 1767, he retired to Scotland, and devoted himself to literature.  His principal works were, an Essay on the lives of Fletcher of Saltoun and the Poet Thomson, and a Life of Napier of Merchiston.  He died at Dryburgh Abbey in 1829 at the age of eighty-seven.-E.

(337) James the First married, in 1590, Anne, daughter of Frederick King of Denmark.-E.

Letter 155 To Edward Gibbon, Esq.(338) [1778.] (page 210)

Dear Sir, I have gone through your Inquisitor’s attack(339) and am far from being clear that it deserves your giving yourself the trouble of an answer, as neither the detail nor the result affects your argument.  So far from it, many of his reproofs are levelled at your having quoted a wrong page; he confessing often that what you have cited is in the author, referred to, but not precisely in the individual spot.  If St. Peter is attended by a corrector of the press, you will certainly never be admitted where he is a porter.  I send you my copy, because I scribbled my remarks.  I do not send them with the impertinent presumption of suggesting a hint to you, but to prove I did not grudge the trouble of going through such a book when you desired it, and to show how little struck me as of any weight.

I have set down nothing on your imputed plagiarisms; for, if they are so, no argument that has ever been employed must be used again, even where the passage necessary is applied to a different purpose.  An author is not allowed to be master of his own works; but, by Davis’s new law, the first person that cites him would be so.  You probably looked into Middleton, Dodwell, etc.; had the same reflections on the same circumstances, or conceived them so as to recollect them, without remembering what suggested them.  Is this plagiarism?  If it is, Davis and such cavillers might go a short step further, and insist that an author should peruse every work antecedently written on every subject at all collateral to his own.-not to assist him, but to be sure to avoid every material touched by his predecessors.  I will make but one remark on such divine champions.  Davis and his prototypes tell you Middleton, etc. have used the same objections, and they have been confuted:  answering, in the theologic dictionary, signifying confuting; no matter whether there is sense, argument, truth, in the answer or not.

Upon the whole I think ridicule is the only answer such a work is entitled to.’  The ablest, answer which you can make (which would be the ablest answer that could be made) would never have any authority with the cabal, yet would allow a sort of dignity to the author.  His patrons will always maintain that he vanquished you, unless u made him too ridiculous for them to dare to revive his name.  You might divert yourself, too, with Alma Mater, the church, employing a goviat to defend the citadel, while the generals repose in their tents.  If irenaeus, St. Augustine, etc. did not set apprentices and proselytes to combat Celsus and the adversaries of the new religion—–­but early bishops had not five or six thousand pounds a-year.

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The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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