Slike strani

mission having heard the said report, unanimously approved thereof, and did, and hereby do, recommend accordingly.

Extracted by


A Letter from the learned Mr. Abraham Gronovius, Secretary to

the University of Leyden, to Mr. Lauder, concerning the Ada

mus Exsul of Grotius. Clarissimo Viro, Wilhelmo Laudero, Abrahamus Gronc

vius, S. P. D. PosTQUAM binæ literæ tuæ ad me perlatæ fuerunt, duas editiones carminum H. Grotii, viri vere summi, excussi ; verum ab utraque tragoediam, quam Adamum Exsulem inscripsit 'O NANY, abesse deprehendi; neque ullum ejusdem exemplar, quamvis tres editiones exstare adnotaveram, ullibi offendere potui, adeo ut spe, quam vorabam desiderio tuo satisfaciendi, me prorsus excidisse existimarem.

Verum nuperrime forte contigit, ut primam tragoediæ Grotianæ editionem, Hagæ, an. 1601. publicatam, beneficio amicissimi mihi viri nactus fuerim, ejusque decem priores paginas, quibus, præter chorum, actus primus comprehenditur, a Jacobo meo, optimæ spei adolescente, transcriptas nunc ad te mitto. Vale, vir doctissime, meque, ut facis, amare perge. Dabam Lugd. Bat. A. D. iv. Id. Sept. A. D. MDCCXLVI.

^ This honourable gentleman is now his Majesty's Advocate for Scotland.

• Though Gronovius here mentions only three editions of this noble and curious performance, the Adamus Exsul of Grotius; yet it appears from the catalogue of his works, that no fewer than four have been printed, two in quarto, and two in octavo, in the years 1601, 1608, and 1635 ; two having been made, one in quarto, the other in octavo, anno 1601.

A second Letter from the same gentleman to Mr. Lauder, on

the same subject. Clarissime atque eruditissime vir, PosteAQUAM, tandem Jacobus meus residuam partem, quam desiderabas, tragoediæ Grotianæ transcripserat, ut ea diutius careres, committere nolui: quod autem citius illam ad finem perducere non potuerit, obstiterunt variæ occupationes, quibus districtus fuit. Nam, præter scholastica studia, quibus strenue incubuit, ipsi componenda erat oratio, qua rudimenta linguæ Græcæ Latinæque deponeret, eamque, quod vehementer lætor, venuste, et quidem stilo ligato, composuit, et in magna auditorum corona pronuntiavit. Quod autem ad exemplar ipsum, quo Adamus Exsul comprehenditur, spectat, id lubens, si meum foret, ad te perferri curarem, verum illud a clarissimo possessore tanti æstimatur, ut persuasum habeam me istud minime ab ipso impetraturum : et sane sacra carmina Grotii adeo raro obvia sunt, ut eorundem exemplar apud ipsos remonstrantium ecclesiastas frustra quæsiverim.

Opus ipsum inscriptum est HENRICO BORBONIO, PRINCIPI CONDÆ0; et forma libri est in quarto, ut nullo pacto literis includi possit. Ceterum, pro splendidissima et Magnæ Britanniæ principe, cui merito dicata est, digna editione Psalmorum, ex versione metrica omnium fere poetarum principis JONSTONI maximas tibi grates habet agitqne Jacobus. Utinam illustrissimus Bensonus in usum serenissimi principis, atque ingeniorum in altiora surgentium, eadem forma, iisdemque typis exarari juberet divinos illos Ciceronis de Officiis libros, dignos sane, quos diurna nocturnaque manu versaret princeps, a quo aliquando Britannici regni majestas et populi salus pendebunt ! Interim tibi, eruditissime vir, atque etiam politissimo D. Caveo, pro muneribus literariis, quæ per nobilissimum Lawsonium P ad me curastis, magno opere me obstrictum agnosco, eademqne, summa cum voluptate, a me perlecta sunt.

p The person here meant was the learned and worthy Dr. Isaac Lawson, late physician to the English army in Flanders ; by whom Mr. Gronovius did me the honour to transmit to me two or three acts of the Adamus Exsul of

Filius meus te plurimum salutat.

Vale, doctissime vir, meisque verbis D. Caveum saluta, atque amare perge,


ABRAHAMUM GRONOVIUM. Dabam Leidis, A. D. xiv. Kal.


POSTSCRIPT. AND now my character is placed above all suspicion of fraud by authentick documents, I will make bold, at last, to pull off the mask, and declare sincerely the true motive that induced me to interpolate a few lines into some of the authors quoted by me in my Essay on Milton, which was this : Knowing the prepossession in favour of Milton, how deeply it was rooted in many, I was willing to make trial, if the partial admirers of that author would admit a translation of his own words to pass for his sense, or exhibit his meaning ; which I thought they would not: nor was I mistaken in my conjecture, forasmuch as several gentlemen, seemingly persons of judgment and learning, assured me, they humbly conceived I had not proved my point, and that Milton might have written as he has done, supposing he had never seen these authors, or they had never existed. Such is the force of prejudice! This exactly confirms the judicious observation of the excellent moralist

and poet :

Pravo favore labi mortales solent;
Et pro judicio dum stant erroris sui,

Ad pænitendum rebus manifestis agi. For, had I designed, as the vindicator of Milton supposes, Grotius, transcribed by his son, Mr. James. The truth of this particular consists perfectly well with the knowledge of the Doctor's brother, John Lawson, esq. counsellor at law; who also had the same thing lately confirmed to him by Mr. Gronovius himself in Holland.

to impose a trick on the publick, and procure credit to my assertions by an imposture, I would never have drawn lines from Hog's translation of Milton, a book common at every sale, I had almost said, at every stall, nor ascribed them to authors so easily attained : I would have gone another way to work, by translating forty or fifty lines, and assigning them to an author, whose works possibly might not be found till the world expire at the general conflagration. My imposing, therefore, on the publick in general, instead of a few obstinate persons, for whose sake alone the stratagem was designed, is the only thing culpable in my conduct, for which again I most humbly ask pardon: and that this, and this only, was, as no other could be, my design, no one, I think, can doubt, from the account I have just now given; and whether that was so criminal, as it has been represented, I shall leave every impartial mind to determine




It is well known to seamen and philosophers, that, after the numerous improvements produced by the extensive commerce of the later ages, the great defect in the art of sailing is ignorance of longitude, or of the distance to which the ship has passed eastward or westward, from any given meridian,

That navigation might be at length set free from this uncertainty, the legislative power of this kingdom incited the industry of searchers into nature, by a large reward proposed to him who should show a practicable method of finding the longitude at sea; and proportionable recompenses to those, who, though they should not fully attain this great end, might yet make such advances and discoveries as should facilitate the work to those that might succeed them.

By the splendour of this golden encouragement many eyes were dazzled, which nature never intended to pry into her secrets, By the hope of sudden riches many understandings were set on work very little proportioned to their strength, among whom whether mine shall be numbered, must be left to the candour of posterity: for I, among others, laid aside the business of my profession, to apply myself to the study of the longitude, not, indeed, in expectation of the reward due to a complete discovery; yet, not without hopes that I might be considered as an

9 An account of an attempt to ascertain the longitude at sea, by an exact theory of the variation of the magnetical needle; with a table of variations at the most remarkable cities in Europe, from the year 1660 to 1860. By Za. chariah Williams.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »