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the inefficacy and folly of it; for the most plaufible and beft fabricated tale, if properly examined, will crumble to pieces, like "the labour'd mole," loofened from its foundation by the continued force of the ocean; while fimple and honeft truth, firm and self-dependent, will ever maintain its ground against all affailants,

"As rocks refift the billows and the sky."

MALONE.

"AND flies the javelin fwifter to its mark, "Launch'd from the vigour of a Roman arm?" If fo, in compliance with example, and fuppofing Mr. Malone's motto to point at Mr. Macklin, I shall venture a reply in his name, and from Virgil

too:

Stat gravis Entellus, nifuque immotus eodem.

Though the letter [See Vol. II. p. 502, &c. n. 2. which gave rise to the preceding ftrictures (as Dr. Farmer long ago remarked) may not be entitled to implicit confidence, I am unwilling to regard this publication as a confirmed forgery by Mr. Macklin. In my opinion, he could as readily have fupplied a deficient chorus in a Greek tragedy, as the poem afcribed to Endymion Porter. A vein of broad humour, and a rugged force of style, distinguish the performances of our truly respectable drama

6 Addifon's Cato.

tick veteran; but where, among all his numerous works, fhall we find fuch eafe and elegance as decorate the ftanzas in commendation of Ford?

7

It would be difficult to account for Mr. Macklin's conception of the fpecies of fraud fo ftrenuously imputed to him. Unacquainted with ancient and licensed polemick weapons, he would fcarce have invented new and unfair ones. Before the year 1748 no fuccefsful impofitions, whether grave or ludicrous, had led the way to fuch an attempt. No Lauder, by a kindred procefs, had queftioned the originality of Milton; no Rowleian epicks, or Hardicnutian tablets had been applied as touchftones to antiquarian fagacity. If Mr. Macklin was really the fabricator of these disputed authorities, he must be confidered as the parent of literary impostures in England. He must have planned his work without the advantage of a model; and, refpecting the poetry of Endymion Porter, must be allowed to have executed a task of elegance, without oftenfible requifites for his undertaking. When I communicated thefe ftanzas to Dr. Johnson, he read them with indications of pleasure, and inftantly exclaimed-" The lines, fir, are evidently the product of a man of fashion: Were our friend Beauclerk engaged to furnish a poetick trifle, he would write juft fuch verfes as thefe."

--

That no pamphlet, however, with the title already mentioned by Mr. Malone, has ever appeared, is too much to be granted without fome

7 See the Gentleman's and European Magazine for March and April, 1790.

8 Such undoubtedly was the character of Endymion Porter, who was a Gentleman of his Majesty's Bedchamber.

degree of hefitation. Muft no ancient fatirical and poetical pieces be allowed to exift, except fuch as he and I have unkennelled by industry or advertisement? Till the earliest Taming of a Shrew was met with, Mr. Pope's quotations from it were fufpected; for fome of the lines, as printed by him, difplayed more than a fingle deviation from the established phrafeology of their age; and yet, on the whole, we are bound to acknowledge the genuineness of his extracts from the rude original of Shakspeare's comedy."

The rarity of particular books as well as pamphlets, has been occafioned by obvious circumftances. Sometimes a fire has almoft deftroyed an unpublished work. At other times, a threat has fuppreffed an invective, or a bribe has ftifled an accufation. It were no tafk of difficulty to enumerate tracts, of each of which but a fingle copy has been difcovered.

"I know not from what cause it has arifen, but I think I have obferved a more than common degree of inaccuracy in facts and dates relative to the ftage, as often as they become objects for the memory to exercise itfelf upon. No conclufive arguments, I am fure, can be drawn from the falfehoods or miftakes in the piece under confideration, to prove the non-existence of it. Immediately on the death of Mr. Quin in 1766, a pamphlet was published profeffing to be an account of his Life, in which the fact of his having killed a brother actor was related; but fo related, that no one circumftance belonging to it could be depended on, except that a man was killed. Neither the time when the accident happened, the place where, the caufe of the quarrel, the progrefs of it, or even the name or identity of the perfon, were ftated agreeable to truth; and all these fables were impofed on the publick at a time when many people were living, who could have contradicted them from their own perfonal knowledge. To apply this to the present case: fuppofe at the diftance of more than a century, one fingle copy only of this Life (no improbable fuppofition) fhould remain, and after being quoted fhould be loft; the facts which it contains might be demonftrated to be untrue, but the non-exiftence of the work referred to, furely would not thereby be established. REED.

I readily allow, and in their utmost extent, fuch departures from the acknowledged truth of dramatick history, as are pointed out by Mr. Malone with his accustomed accuracy and precifion. But he has not proved that thofe very defects might not have originated from the pamphlet fuppofed to have furnished Mr. Macklin with materials for his letter. Does it follow that the pamphleteer himself must have been qualified for his task? Might he not rather have been fome inaccurate hireling, who tacked together, for purposes now unknown, the disjointed and fallacious fcraps of literary intelligence which every theatre usually fupplies?

Let us likewife inquire, whether fuch extracts from an antiquated pamphlet as are haftily made by a perfon unfkilled in argument and compofition, may not exhibit blunders and contradictions which had no place in the work from whence his notitiæ were derived. By injudicious retrenchments, therefore, of the intelligence Mr. Macklin adopted, and a heterogeneous mixture of his own conceptions, he may have perplexed his narrative so effectually, that, without reference to his original document, the truths in queftion must escape the reach of human inquiry:

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"Doth all the noble fubftance often dout."

In justice to Mr. Macklin and myself, I must add, that in 1777 when he first related the history of his loft pamphlet, he fubjoined the following remarkable circumftance, which could not well have been invented on a fudden for the purposes of deceit." The want of this publication (fays he) I do not fo much lament, as the lofs of a fpeech

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(with feveral other tracts printed about the fame time,) was in the fame quarto volume."-Every collector of fugitive publications must know how ufual it is for coeval articles, however mifcellaneous, to be bound together. This circumftance, in my judgement, adds no fmall probability to the narrative in which Mr. Macklin ftill perfifts; for the speech to which he alluded, must have been published in or about the very year that produced "Old Ben's Light Heart" &c. provided a pamphlet bearing that title was ever iffued from the prefs.

Mr.

It has been by no means my defire to controvert the fentiments of Mr. Malone, any further than was needful toward my own apology as the first republisher of Mr. Macklin's production. Malone's ingenuity in fupport of his pofition, demands an acknowledgement which is cheerfully bestowed; and yet, confidering the labour he has expended on fo flight a fubject, I cannot help comparing him to one who brings a fledge hammer for the demolition of a houfe of cards.

STEEVENS.

THE END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.

Y

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