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We are now (says he) arrived at that celebrated year, in which the Church of England was tried in the person of Dr. Sacheverel'. I had ever the interest of our High-Church at heart, neither would I at any season mingle myself in the Societies of Fanatics, whom I from my infancy abhorred, more than the Heathen or Gentile. It was in these days I bethought myself that much profit might accrue unto our Parish, and even unto the nation, could there be assembled togethe a number of chosen men of the right spirit, who might argue, refine, and, define, upon high and great matters. Unto this pur-, pose, I did institute a weekly Assembly of divers worthy men at the Rose and Crown Alehouse, over whom myself (though unworthy) did preside. Yea, I did read unto them the Post-boy of Mr. Roper, and the written letter of Mr. Dyer, upon which we communed afterward among ourselves. Our society was composed of the following persons: Robert Jenkins, Farrier; Amos Turner, Collar-maker; George Pilcocks, late Exciseman; Thomas White, Wheelwright; and myself. First, of the first, Robert Jenkins.
He was a man of bright parts and shrewd con
7 Bolingbroke, speaking of Sacheverel, in his Dedication to Sir Robert Walpole, says, "You had a Sermon to condemn, and a Parson to roast; for that I think was the decent language of the time; and, to carry on the allegory, you roasted him at so fierce a fire, that you burnt yourselves; your arguments being confined to the propositions this Preacher had advanced, you may seem rather to have justified resistance, or the means employed to bring about the Revolution, than the Revolution itself."
ceit, for he never shoed a horse of a Whig or a Fanatic, but he lamed him sorely.
Amos Turner, a worthy person, rightly esteemed among us for his sufferings, in that he had been honoured in the stocks for wearing an Oaken bough.
George Pilcocks, a sufferer also; of zealous and laudable freedom of Speech, insomuch that his occupation had been taken from him.
Thomas White, of good repute likewise, for that his uncle, by the Mother's side, had, formerly, been servitor at Maudlin-college, where the glorious Sacheverel was educated.
Now were the eyes of all the parish upon these our weekly councils. In a short space the Minister came among us; he spake concerning us and our councils to a multitude of other Ministers at the Visitation, and they spake thereof unto the Ministers at London, so that even the Bishops heard and marvelled thereat. Moreover Sir Thomas, member of Parliament, spake thereof unto the Peers of the Realm. Lo! thus did our councils enter into the hearts of our Generals and our Lawgivers; and from henceforth, even as we devised, thus did they.
After this, the whole book is turned on a sudden from his own Life, to a History of all the public Transactions of Europe, compiled from the Newspapers of those times. I could not comprehend the meaning of this, till I perceived at last (to my no small astonishment) that all the Measures of the four
last years of the Queen, together with the peace at Utrecht, which have been usually attributed to the E- of O-,D—of O—, Lords H— and B—, and other great men; do here most plainly appear to have been wholly owing to Robert Jenkins, Amos Turner, George Pilcocks, Thomas White, but above all to P. P.
The reader may be sure I was very inquisitive after this extraordinary writer, whose work I have here abstracted. I took a journey into the Country on purpose; but could not find the least trace of him: till by accident I met an old Clergyman, who said he could not be positive, but thought it might be one Paul Philips, who had been dead about twelve years. And upon inquiry, all that he could learn of that person from the neighbourhood, was, That he had been taken notice of for swallowing Loaches, and remembered by some people by a black and white Cur with one Ear, that constantly followed him,
to In the Churchyard, I read his Epitaph, said to be written by himself.
NOVEMBER 19, 1729.
THE time of the election of a Poet Laureat being now at hand, it may be proper to give some account of the rites and ceremonies anciently used at that solemnity, and only discontinued through the neglect and degeneracy of later times. These we extracted from an historian of undoubted credit, a reverend bishop, the learned Paulus Jovius; and
• A much more entertaining account may be drawn from a discourse and research into the history of Poets-Laureat, of M. L'Abbé Resnel, the same who translated the Essay on Man, inserted in the 15th vol. of the Memoirs of the French Academy, p. 234. He observes, from a passage in Villani, that Dante seems to have been the first modern poet that received this honour, who, in 1325, was interred with great ceremony and pomp, and in the habit of a poet, in Habito di Poeta, which Habito he thinks was the laurel crown. The next he mentions is Albertino Mussato, a native of Padua, who, many years before Petrarch, for he died in exile 1329, wrote Latin Poetry with elegance, and produced an Heroic Poem on the Siege of Padua, many Eclogues and Elegies, and above all two Latin Tragedies, entitled Eccerenis & Achilles, in the style and manner of Seneca; the very first regular dramas that are to be found since the barbarous ages. Petrarch was the next Poet that received the laurel crown. His
joy on the occasion, his journey from Vaucluse, and voyage to Naples, to visit Robert king of Naples, his reception by that learned Prince, who himself accompanied him to Virgil's tomb, his conversations with him on many subjects of literature, his