« PreviousContinue »
lustrated, and many mistakes rectified. The capital object of the excellent Author was to establish the authority of the facred records, by a comparison of the testimonies respectively borne to them by the heretics. The secondary end of this history is to rescue the names of these heretics from that infamy which the zeal of orthodoxy had unjustly thrown on them, and to place their tenets and characters in such a light as candour and truth would equally justify:
Art. X. Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, Efu. F. R. and A.S. S. 4to,
2 Vols. 41. 4 s. Boards.' Cadell. 1780. HE singularity of Mr. Hollis's character might alone
it was not merely a peculiarity in that respect that discriminated him from the rest of mankind : his virtues were as fingular as his personal character was uncommon.
Few men, poflefled of such an affluent fortune as he had, would have devoted not only that, but their whole time, thoughts, and attention, to the fervice of their country. But this, great as it is, forms but part of Mr. Hollis's praise : actuated by a spirit of universal philan. thropy, his liberality was extended beyond the narrow bounds of his native foil. Foreign nations, as well as his own, will have reason to venerate the memory of this excellent person. We are not to wonder that a man, whose principles and practice were so much at variance with the manners of the world, should, either through malignity or ignorance, have the motives of his conduct so frequently misrepresented or mistaken.
. Among other causes,' as the compilers of these Memoirs inform us, · which prevented the justice due to the character of Mr. Hollis from having its free course, is the political fashion of the times. A subscriber to Lord Molesworth's political creed is not to ex, pect applause in an age when the present doctrines of the majority are so loudly echoed through the land, and when the Joyalty of the day is chiefly distinguished by execrations on the principles of Milton, Sidney, Locke, and other patriot writers of past times. In vain did Mr. Hollis profess the warmeft affection for the princes of the house of Hanover; in vain was he ftudious and active in promoting their true honour and dig, nity.'
But whatever offence Mr. Hollis might give by the free declaration of his political creed, with respect to his religious opinions, his offence is of a very different kind; having on na occasion declared what those opinions were, he has been very uncharitably branded with the want of religion itself. How groundless and unjust was the imputation will appear, if fucb evidence were wanting, from the Memoirs now before us.
From these Memoirs we learn, that Mr. Hollis was born in London, April 14, 1720. Thomas, his great-grandfather, was of Rotheram, in the county of York, a whitesmith by trade, and the founder of the hospital at Sheffield, for the maintenance of fixteen poor cutlers widows; an excellent charity, confiderably improved by his descendants. During the civil wars, he left Yorkshire, and fettled with his family in London ; and in the year 1679 took a lease for 99 years of Pinner's-hall, formerly the place of meeting of the principal Independents, Oliver Cromwell and others. He was of the Baptist persuafion, and died in London, in the year 1718, at the advanced age of 84, leaving three fons, Thomas, Nathaniel, and John, and one daughter, Mary.
Thomas, his eldest fon (a considerable merchant in London), added to the Sheffield charity, and the truft for Pinner's-hall; but is chiefly memorable for his benefactions to New England, particularly to Havard College in Cambridge, in which he founded a profefforship for the mathematics and natural philosophy, and ten scholarships for students in those and other sciences, with other benefactions, to the amount of little less than 5,000l. His brothers (John and Nathaniel) were joint contributors in many of his gifts, particularly the former, to the Sheffield Truft, and the Baptist and independent Societies. It should be remembered, to the honour of these worthy men, that their donations to Havard College, were conferred without any exclufive conditions relative to religious fects or denominations, though their own opinions were different from those of the curators of that respectable seminary ; in which they have been most nobly followed by their descendant, the late Mr. Hollis.
Nathaniel, the second brother, had one fon, Thomas, who died in the year 1735 (three years before his father), leaving an only ton, Thomas, to whose memory these papers are dedicated ; and who, of course, inherited the fortune of his father, and of his great uncle Thomas, the latter dying in the year 1730, without issue.
Of Mr. Hollis's descent on the female fide, we only know that his mother was the daughter of Mr. Scott of Wolverhampton, in whole family Mr. Hollis was nurtured in his infancy, till he was four or five years of age.
• To give a more circumitantial account of this respectable family in this piace would, as the authors of this work properly observe, be deviating too far from the purpose of these Memoirs ; but these particulars it was thought proper, and, in some meafure, neceflary to mention ; partly for the sake of observing what was the truth, that Mr. Hollis, far from valuing himself upon what he used to call the parchment honours of ancestry, chose rather to adopt and pursue the truly noble plan of his
predeceffors, by laying out his fortune in promoting the public honour and reputation of his country, and in constant exertions of his benevolence to the neceffitous and the worthy at home and abroad, with the most impartial and disinterested liberality."
From Wolverhampton Mr. Hollis was brought to London, where he caught the small-pox, and soon after his recovery he was sent to the great free-school at Newport in Shropshire, under the care of Dr.
where he staid till he was about eight or nine years old. From hence he was removed to St, Albans, and put under the care of Mr. Wood. In his 13th or 14th year he was sent to Amsterdam to learn the Dutch and French languages, writing, arithmetic, and accounts, and after a stay of about 15 months returned to London to his Father, with whom he continued till his death, in the year 1735, his son being then in the 16th year of his age. After this, he was some years in the house of his cousin Timothy Hollis, Esq; a moft worthy person, still living. Mr. Hollis being left by his father to the guardianship of Mr. John Hollister, then Treasurer of Guy's Hospital, there seems to have been some doubt among his friends, whether the young gentleman should not be bred in the mercantile way ; but it was soon determined that he should have another sort of education, suitable to the ample fortune he was to inherit. For this purpose, he was put under the care of the learned Dr. John Ward, Professor of Rhetoric in Gresham College, where he studied the languages, chiefly Latin, and went through a course of logic, rhetoric, history, and other branches of learning, in agreement with the liberal plan laid down for him as above.
' In February 1739-40, he went to chambers in Lincoln's Inn, being admitted as a law student, and probably with some view of following the profession, but though he lived there till the year 1748, when he went abroad the firit time, it does not appear that he applied himself professedly to the study of the law; nor, on the other hand, did he waste this interval in idle amusements or diffipation. He appears to have formed his conduct very early on the benevolent and public-spirited model of his worthy predeceffors, improved by his own good fenfe and accurate observation of the principles, manners, and pursuits of his cotemporaries, and the tendencies and effects of them, with respect to the public welfare.'
On July 19, 1748, he set out on his travels for the first time. Of this cour he has left a curious and copious journal, to which he prefixed this motto, “ La curiofité, aimable passion, la pre. miere apres l'amour, qui ait poli, civilizé les hommes ;" taken from Les Meurs of Toussaints, a book burnt at Paris by the liangman, and the author struck off the list of Advocates. It appears from this Journal, that very little escaped Mr. Hollis,
where he could have proper information, relating to arts and fciences, public roads, manufactures, trade, antiquities, and what is called virtù, of which he became an able connoiffeur and a generous encourager, fo far' (as he says in a letter to a friend) as it might be ufeful to learning, and no farther.'
From this and the Journal of his second travels are given, in the work before us, such extra&s as may serve to illustrate some Striking features in his character. We are promised at some future time Mr. Hollis's Journals entire. And we agree with bis historians, that they will be an acceptable present to the Public.
In his first tour he passed through Holland, Austrian and French Flanders, part of France, to Switzerland, Savoy, part of Italy, and returned through Provence, Brittany, &c. to Paris. In his second tour, he visited the principal cities of the North and East fide of Germany, some parts of Italy (which he had neglected to fee in his former tour), Sicily and Malta.
Upon his return home, which seems to have been fome time in the year 1754, ' finding he could not get into Parliament in the manner he wished (viz. without using the common means of influencing elections), he began his collections of books and medals, for the purpose of upholding liberty, and preserving the memory of its champions ; to render tyranny and its abettors odious; to extend science and art, to keep alive the honour and eftimation of their patrons and protectors; and to make the whole as useful as poffible; abhorring all monopoly; and “ if fuch should be the fitness of things, to propagate the same benevolent spirit to posterity."
That part of Mr. Hollis's history which more particularly distinguishes him from the rest of the world, may be said to commence from this period. Were it not that the good deeds of this fingular and excellent man are too many and various to admit either of abridgment or epitome within the compass of the present Article, we could entertain our Readers with many anecdotes of this extraordinary Patriot, which could not fail to impress them with the deepest veneration for his character. But for these we must refer to the Work itself.
In the year 1770, Mr. Hollis retired into the country, but did not many years enjoy that retirement, which the active exertions of his former life might entitle him to; for on January the first, 1974, as he was walking in his fields at Corscombe, and giving directions to his workmen, he dropped down in a fit, and immediately expired.
Mr. Hollis seemed on every occasion to avoid, and even to be offended at, the least personal notice or distinction with respect to himself: he carried this fingularity fo far as to order his body to be deposited in one of the fields near his house, in a grave
ten feet deep, and that the ground fhould be immediately ploughed up, so that no trace of his burial-place might remain. But Mr. Brand, to whom he bequeathed his fortune, and who has taken his name, has made every monumental remembrance of him unnecessary, by patronizing and being at the expence of this magnificent memorial of him which is now before us.
This work was originally compiled for Mr. Brand's private use, and to distribute amongst his particular friends. At the solicitation of many who wilhed to be poffesfed of it, Mr. Brand has at length permitted it to be fold, at a price which, great as it is, we are informed, is much inferior to the original cost of the impression. These circumstances being considered, candour will oblige us to pass over its imperfections with a more indulgent eye than we possibly might have done, had it been profell edly written for the Public. We cannot but, however, oba" serve, that in the general execution of the work there is an inequality, which, indeed, is in some measure accounted for in the Preface. In the arrangement and selection of the materials trilling and extraneous matter is too frequently admitted ; and, much as we admire and applaud that honest and ardent zeal for liberty and truth which fames out in almost every page, we cannot but condemn the bitterness and acrimony with which the compilers so liberally treat those whom on any occafion they differ from, and this too in matters oftentimes of very small moment.
The engravings and etchings with which this publication is embellished, and which are upwards of twenty, have very confiderable merit--they are principally executed by Cipriani and Bartolozzi. Most of them are well known, having been engraved for Mr. Hollis in his life-time, and by him bounteouly distributed among his friends.
ART. XI. Travels through Spain, with a view to illustrate the Na
tural History and Physical Geography of that Kingdom, &c. &c. Interspersed with Historical Anecdotes, &c. &c. By John Talbot Dillon, Knight and Baron of the Sacred Roman Empire. 4to. ul. I s. Boards. Robinson. 1780. N two former numbers of our Review ( Append. to Vols. 59
Bowles into Spain ; as translated from the original Spanish into French, by the Viscount de Flavigny. The Author of the present treatise, who has made three voyages into that country, in the last of which, in 1778, he traversed the whole kingdom, having met with Mr. Bowles's performance at Madrid, judged that a work of so much merit could not fail to meet with the approbation of an English reader. With a view to give his countrymen the best information respecting a country so little