William Tooke.

A new and general biographical dictionary; containing an historical and critical account of the lives and writings of the most eminent persons in every nation; particularly the British and Irish; from the earliest accounts of time to the present period .. (Volume 9) online

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Online LibraryWilliam TookeA new and general biographical dictionary; containing an historical and critical account of the lives and writings of the most eminent persons in every nation; particularly the British and Irish; from the earliest accounts of time to the present period .. (Volume 9) → online text (page 35 of 48)
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leveral treutiies of abp. Tillotfon. He alfo left behind him
a manufcript icfutation of feme prejudices again ft the Re-
formation. There can be no doubt but the example and cares
cf fo learned and thoughtful a father had no inconfideiable
influence on the early turn which Leffing (hewed for literature.
When, in his fixth year ? his father chofe to have his picture
drawn, in which he was to be reprefented fitting under a tree
playing with a bird, young Leiling (hewed his utter dillike
to the plan, and faid, " if I .m to be painted, let me be drawn
with a cjreat heaa of bocks about me, plherwife I had rather

O * '

a Book, intituled, '* Anguis flagellatus,

or a Switch for the Snake heinp; the
laft part of the Snake in the Grafs,
1702," 8vo. 7. " Primitive Herefy
revived in the Faith and Pra<5tice of the
Quakers, 1698," 410. 8. " The pre-
fent State of Quakerifm in England,
1701." 9. " Etfay concerning the Di-
vine Right of Tythes, i/co," gvo.

II. Againfl the Preibyterians:
10. "A Difcourfe, (hewing who they
are that are now qualified to adminilier
Baptifm," &c. n. "The Hiftory of
Sin and Herefy, &c. 1698," 8vo.

III. Againft the Deifts: 12 " A
(hoi t and eafy Method with the Deifts,
&c. 1694," 8vo. 13. " A Vindication
of the fhort and eafy Method." 14.
"TheTrnth of Chriftianty demonftrated,
in a Dialogue between a Chrillian and
a Deift, 1711," 8vo.

IV. Againit the Jews: 15. "A fhort
and eafy Method with the Jews." This
dated at the end, lt Gnoc-Friday,
1689;" and the fourth edition was
published in 1715.

V. Againft the Socinians: 16. "The
Socinian Controverfy difcuffed, &c.
1608." 17. " An Anfwer to Remarks
on the firft Dialogue againft the Soci-
nians." 18. "A Reply to the Vin-
dication of the Remarks." 19. " An
Anfwer to the Examination of the laft
Dialogue," &c. ao. " A Supplement

in Anfwer to Mr, Clendon's * Traflatu*
philofophica theologicus de Perfona,"
&c. 2i. "The Charge of Socinianifna
againft Dr. Tiilotfon confidered, &c.
by a true Son of the Church."

VI. Againft the Papifts: 22. "Of
private judgement and Authority in
Matters of Faith." 23. " The Cafe
ftated between the Church of Rome and
the Church of England, &c. 1713."
2<t. " The true Notion of the Catholic
Church, in Anfwer to the Bifhop of
Meanx's Letter to Mr. Nelfon," &c.

BefiJes thefe, he publifhed the four
following tracts. 25. " A Sermon
preached in Chefler, ngairaft Marriages
in different Communions. 1702," 8vo.
This fermon occafioned Mr. Dod well's
difcourle upon tlie fame fubjeft. 26.
*' A Differtation cqnccrning the Ufe and
Authority of ecdlefiaftical Hiitory.""
27. " The Cafe of the Regal and the
Pontificate." 28- " A Supplement, in
Anfwer to a Book, intituled, u The
regal Supremacy in ecclefiafticai Affairs
aliened, &c." Thefe two laft pieces
were occafioned by 'he difpute about
the rights of convocation, between
Wake, &c. on one lide, and Atterbury
and his friends, among whom was
Leflie, on the other. All his theological
piece?, except that againft Tillotfon^
were colletfled and publifhed by himfelf
in two volumes, folio, 172.1.


304 L E S S I N G.

not be painted at all i" which was accordingly done. Lefilng
pa/Ted five entire years at the high-fchool at Meiffen, and has
been repeatedly heard to declare that he was indebted to it
alone for whatever learning and folidity of thinking he pof-
/efied. Though the Latin poetry belongs to the cffidis perfrft-s
of a fcholar in this academy, and the German poetry to the
imper f cell :^ yet he purfued the latter much more than the
former, and celebrated the battle of KeiTeltiorf in German
verfe, at the requeft of his father; Profeflbr Klemm particu-
larly encouraged him to ihe ftudy of mathematics and philo-
fophy ; while Grabner, the re&or of the academy, wrote to
his father concerning them: " He is a colt thac requires a
double allowance of provender. The leflons that are found
too difficult for others, are but child's play to hi in. We
fhall hardly be fufHcient for him much longer." Being
removed to Leipfic, he foon difplayed his inclination to
write for the flage. Here he likewife made great proficiency
in the bodily exercifes of horfemanlhip, fencing, dancing, and
leaping. Mr. W.eifle was his firfl and principal friend at this
place; and their friendfnip was only diffolved by death. Lef-
iing frequented the colleae-exercifes but little, and that irregu-
larly: none of the profeilbrs gave him fatisfa&ion, excepting
Ernefti, whole lectures he fcmetimes attended. So much
the more did he read and ftudv for himfelf, efpecially the
writings of Wolff in German. He kept up a great intimacy
with Naumann, the author of Nimrod, on account of his
pofleffing many fingular qualities, which were always more
agreeable to Le fling, than the common dull monotony of
character, even though mingled with fome weakneffes and
defecfo. Under Kaftner he exercifed himfelf in difputation ;
and here began his ciofe connection with iVlylius, whole works
he afterwards publifhed. His intercourfe with this fuppofcd
free-thinker, and with the company of comedians, at that
place, brought upon him much calumny, together with the
difpleafure of his patents. His firft literary productions
appeared in a Hamburgh nt-wfpaper. In company with M.
Weiffe, hetranllated Hannibal, the only tragedy of Marivaux,
into rhyming Alexandrines. His comedy of the " Young
Scholar," which he had begun while a fchool-bov, was finiflied

O j '

at Ltipiic, from an actual event that happened to a youog
fcholar difappoirucd in his hopes of the prize from the academy-
at Berlin. His father hid him home for a time, in order to
wean him from the bad company he was thought to frequent.
In this interval, heeompofed a number of anacreontics on love
and wine. One day, his pioui lifter coming into his room,
in his abfence, law thefe fonnets, read them over, and, not a
little angry that her brother could fo employ his precious-


L E S S I N G. 305

moments, threw them into the fire. His little brother be-
trayed the tranfaftion, on his miffing the papers. A trifling
burft of refentment was all he felt on the occafion. He took
a handful of mow, and threw it into her bofom, in order to
cool her holy zeal. He now went back to Leipzig ; which
place he foon after quitted, going by Wittenberg to Berlin.
This gave his father frefh uneafinefs ; and produced thofe
juftificatory letters of his fon, which are very remarkable in
their kind, and do fo much honour to the franknefs of his
character. At Berlin, in conjun&ion with Mylius, he com-
piled the celebrated contributions to the hiftory and fuccefs of
the theatre. The father of a certain magifter, who had been
fharply criticized in thefe contributions, made complaint of it
to Leffmg's father. To this perfon he wrote in anfwer : " The
critique is mine, and I only lament that 1 did not make it
more fevere. Should Gr. complain of the injulbce of my
judgment, I give him full liberty to retaliate as he pleafes on
my works." One of his firft acquaintances in Berlin was a
certain Richier de Louvain, who, in 2750, from a French
teacher, was become fecretary to Voltaire, with whom he
brought our author acquainted. From Berlin he went to
Wittenberg, where he plied his ftudies with great diligence,
and took the degree of magifter, but remained only one year,
and then returned to Benin. At Berlin he undertook the
literary article for the periodical publication of Vofs, in which
employment he both wrote and tranilated a great variety of
pieces, and formed feveral plans which were never executed.
Among others, he agreed with Mendelfohn to write a journal,
under the title of " The bed from bad Books :" with the
motto taken from St. Ambrofe: " Legimus aliqua nelegantur."
In the year 1755, he went back to Leipzig, and thence
fet out upon a journey, in company with a young man of the
name of W inkier : but this was foon interrupted, and brought
on a law-fuit, in which Lefling came off conqueror. He now,
which we fhould not have expecled, in order to pl-afe his
godly filler, fet about tranllating a book of devotion, namely,
" Law's. ferious Exhortation to all Chriitians to lead a pious
and holy Life." This tranflation was finiihed and publifhed
bv Mr. Weiffe. At the beginning of 1759, Leffmg went
again to Berlin. Mendelfohn was cited before the general
fiical, on account of the letters on literature, which had been
for fome time prohibited. He appeared ; and jultified himfelf
in nearly the following manner: " He who writes verfes may
be faid to play at bowls ; and whoever plays at bowls, be he
whom he will, king or peafant, muft be content to hear the
waiter declare how he plays.' 1 The comparifon pieafed, and
the literary letters regained their cuilomary fuccefs. Leffmg's
Vol. IX, X propenfity

306 L E S S I N G.

propensity to play, which has been fo often exaggerated and
inifreprefented, naturally arofe from his fituation at Breflaw,
xvhere he was in the feven years war for fome time in quality
of fecretary to general Tauenzien. Even the care for his
health was conducive to it. " Were [ able to play calmly,"
faid he, " I would not play at all ; but it is not without reafon
that I play with eagernefs. The vehement agitation fets my
clogged machine in motion, by forcing the fluids into circula-
tion ; it frees me from a bodily torment, to which I am often
fu bj eft." His intimate friends among the learned at Breflaw
were Arletius and Klofe. Leffmg's literary labours were in-
deed at that time almoft entirely fufpended ; and Mendel fohn
had the following epiftle, dedicatory to a lingular perfonage,
prefixed to the copy that was fent to- him : " Authors, who
prefent their fupplications to the public, are wo rut to complain
that they wor/hip a deaf divinity ; they may bekech and in-
voke him; they may call upon his name from morning even
until noon ; but there is no voice, nor any that anfwers. I
lav my pages at the feet of an idol,- who has the bad quality
of being equally hard of hearing. I have called, and he
anfwereth me not. I now bring my complaint of him before
that deaf judge, the public, which often paffes righteous
judgment, without hearing the cafe. The mockers fay :
*" Cry aloud: for he is a god : either he is talking, or he is
purfuing, or he is bufy, or he is in a journey ; or, perad-
ventnre, he fleepeth, and mud be awaked ! O no ! he can
talk, but alas he will not ; he might travel, but that he cannot.
For fleeping, his fpirit is too lively; and for bufmcfs, he is too
lazy, Otherwife his gravity would be the oracle of the wife,
and his derifion a rod for the back of fools ; but now that
oracle is mute, and fools irrut about unchaftifed. He has
re/igned his fcotirge to other hands ; but they flrike too
gently ; for they are frightened at the fight of blood,"
And he,

When he nor hears, nor fpeaks, nor feels,
Nor fees \ what does he then ? He plays.

In Breflaw M. LefTmg was attacked by a violent fever.
Though he fuffered much from the difeafe ; yel he declared
that his greater! torment arofe from the conventions of his
phylician, old Dr. Morgenbeflfer, which he could fcarcely en-
tfure when he was well. When the fever was at its height,
he lay perfeftly quiet, with great iignificance in his looks.
This fo much ftruck his friend {landing by the bed, that he
familiarly alked him what he was thinking of? " I am curious
to kuow what will pafs in. my mind when I am in the aft of


L' E S T R A N G E,

dying." Being told that was impoflible, he abruptly replied :
" You want to cheat me." On the day of his reception into
the order of free-mafons at Hamburgh, one of his friends, a
zealous free-mafon, took him aiide into an adjoining room,
and afked him, "Is it not true, now, that you find nothing
among us againft the government, religion, or morals?'
<c Yes, anfwered Leflmg," with great vivacity, " would to
heaven I had ! 1 mould then at Icaft have found fometbing ! n
The extent of his genius muft be gathered from his numerous
writings. What Mendelibhn faid of him in a letter to his
brother, mortly after his death, is flridtly true : that he was
advanced at lead a century before the age in which he

L'E STRANGE (Sir ROGER) was defcended from an
ancient and reputable family, feated at Hunftanton-hall,
Norfolk; where he was born Dec. 17, 1616. He was the
youngeft fon of Sir Hamond L'Eftrange, bart. a zealous
royalift during the difputes between king Charles and his par-
liament; who, having his eftate fequeftered, retired to Lynn,
of which town he was made Governor. The fon had a
liberal education, which was completed probably at Cam-
bridge ; and followed his father's principles with extraordinary
eagerneis. He was about two-and-twenty, when king Charles
entered upon his expedition to Scotland in 1639 ; and he at-
tended his majefty on that occafion. This was the leading
ftep to the enfuing troubles ; and he ever afterwards {luck fail
to the royal caufe, for which he was a remarkable fufterer,
and once in imminent danger of loimg his life. This hap-
pened in 1664; when, according to his own account, he was
betrayed by a brace of villans (Leman and Hager^ upon a
treaty to furprize Lynn-Regis ; the former of whom had been
at Oxford, and there obtained a promife of command at fea ;
and both of them were bound by an oath of fecrecv and
fidelity, as ftrong as words could make it. Upon this fcheme
Sir Roger received a commiflion from the king, conitituting
him governor of the town m cafe of fuccels : but, being feized,
snd his majeily's commifTion found tipon him, he was carried
firft to Lynn, thence to London, and there tranftnitted to the
city court-martial for his trial ; where, after fuirering all
manner of indignities, he was, as Whitlocke fays, con-
demned to die as a fpy, coming from the king's quarters
without drum, trumpet, or pafs.

His fentence being pafled, he was call into Newgate j
whence he difpatched a petitionary appeal to the lords, the
time appointed for his execution being the Thurfday following ;
but with great difficulty he got a reprieve for fourteen days,
after that, a prolongation for a taither heating. In this

X a condition


condition of expectation he lay almofl four years a prisoner,
with only an order between him and the gallows ; publifhing,
in the mean time, " An Appeal from the Court-martial to the
Parliament :" but, about the time of the Kentiih infurrection,
in 1648, he flipt out of the prifon, with the keeper's privity,
and went into Kent. He retired into the houfe of Mr.
Hales> a young gentleman, heir to a great eftate in that
county, and fpirited him to undertake an infurrection ; which
niifcarrying, L'Efirange with much difficulty got beyond fea.
Here he continued till 1653 ; when, upon the long parlia-
ment's being outed by Cromwell, he returned into England,
and prefently difpatched a paper to the council at Whitehall
to this effect ; " that, finding himfelf within the act of in-
demnity, he thought it convenient to give them notices of his
return." Soon after this notice, he was fummoned to that
board, which he attended ; and from this time matters began
to look a little in his favour. Being told by one of the com-
miffioners, that his cafe was not comprehended in the act of
indemnity, he concluded his beft courfe would be to fpeak to
Cromwell himfelf, as he did at Jail in the Cockpit [oj ; and,
fhortly after, he received his difcharge by the following order,
dated October 31, 1653: "Ordered, that Mr. Roger L'Ef-
trange be difmiiTed from his farther attendance upon the
council, he giving in two thoufand pounds fecurity to appear
when he (hall be fummoned fo to do, and to act nothing
prejudicial to the commonwealth. Ex. John Thurloe, fecre-

This appearance at the court of Cromwell was much ob-
jected to him, after the reiteration, by fome of the cavaliers ;
who, haying heard of his once playing in a concert where the
ufurper was prefent, nick-named him " Oliver's Fidler." He
was charged alfo with having bribed fome of the protector's
people, but utterly difavows it ; averring, he never fpoke to
Thurloe but once in his life about his difcharge; and that,
though during the dependency of that affair he might well be
feen at Whitehall, yet he never fpoke to Cromwell on any
other bufmefs,. or had the leaft commerce of any kind with
l\\m. After His difcharge, to the refloration, he feems to have
lived free from any difhirbance from the then governing powers ;
and was taken little notice of by Charles If. or his miniftry,
on that prince's recovering his throne. This ufage was
greatly refented by him, as is evident from his warm expoftu-
|ation to the earl of Clarendon, in the dedication to that mi-

[<jj Cromwell then talked to him peaceable intentions ;" and adding, that

<of th'e reftlefihefs of bis party; telling * f rigour was not at all his inclination, but

|iim, " that they would do well to give that he was but one man, and could do

teftimony of fheir quiet and little by himfelfo"


L> E S T R A N G E. 309

niilcr of his "Memento," publifhed in 1662 ; where he joins
himfelf with other negle6led cavaliers, who had fuftered
for their attachment to the royal family during the civil wars
and the fucceeding ufurpation. In fetting forth their com-
plaints, he made ufc of the prefs : but his writings feem to
have produced no great effe6t to himfelf then, though after-
wards he was made licenfef of the piefs , a profitable p0ft,
which he enioved till the eve of the revolution. This, how-
ever, was all the recompence he ever received, except being in
the commiflion of the peace ; after more than twenty years,
as he fays, fpcnt in ferving the roval caufe, near rlx of them
in gaols, and almoft four under a fentence of death in New-
gate. It is true, he hints at greater things promifed him from
lord Clarendon; and, in thefe hopes, exerted his talents, on
behalf of the crown, in publishing feveral pieces. In 1663,
fora farther fupport, he fet up a paper, called " The Public
Intelligencer, and the News ;" the firflof which came out the
I ft of Auguft, and continued to be publifhed twice a week,
till January 19, 1665; when he laid it down, on the defign
then concerted of publi filing the " London Gazette," the nrft
of which papers made its appearance on Saturday Feb. 4 [R].

After the dirlolution of Charles's fecond parliament, in 1679,
he fet up a paper, called " The Obfervator ;" the defign of
which was to vindicate the meafures of the court^ and the
character of the king, from the charge of being popifhly
afFe&ed. With the fame fpirit he exerted himfelf in 1681, in
ridiculing the popiih plot; which he did with fuch vehemence,
that it raifed him many enemies, who endeavoured, notwith-
Handing his known loyalty, to render him obnoxious to the
government. But he appeared with no lefs vehemence againft
the fanatic plot in 1682 ; and, in 1683, was particularly em-
ployed by the court to publifh Dr. Tillotfon's papers exhort-
ing lord Ruffe! to avow the dotrine of non-refiftance, a little
before his execution. So that he weathered all the ftorms
raifed againft him during that reign, and, in the next, was
rewarded with the honour of knighthood, accompanied with
this declaration, " that it was in connderation of his eminent
fervices and unfhaken loyalty to the crown, in all extremities;

[R] This paper fucceeded " The Par- court, being then at Oxford ; but, upon

liamentaiyIuteiligencer"and"Mercurius the removal of the court to London,

Publicus/' publilhed in defence of the they were called " The London Ga-

government, againlt the " Mercurius zette," the fiift of which was publilhed

Politicus." L'Eftrange defined, be- in February following, on a Saturday,

caufe, in November preceding, the the Oxford one having been pu'nlifheti on

Oxford Gazette began to be publifhed a Tuefday ; and thefe have been the

twice a week, in a folio half-lheet ; days of publifhing that paper ever fince.

thefirft of which came out November Heath's Chronicle, and, Attvm, Oxon.
7, 1665, the kipg and <iueen, with the


3 io L' E S T R A N G E.

and as a mark of the fingular fatisfa&ion of his majefty, in
prefent as well as his paft fervices." In 1687, he was obliged
to lay down his " Obfervator," now fwelled to three volumes ;
as he could not agree with the toleration propofed by his
majefty, though, in all other refpefts, he had gone the utmofl
lengths. He had even written ftrenuoufly in defence of the
difpenfing power, claimed by tl^^/in fat mated prince ; and this
was probably one reafon, why fome accufed him of having
become a profelyte to the church of Rome. However that be,
it is certain the accufation 'gave him much uneafinefs, which
was heightened by his daughter's defection to that church ;
and therefore, to clear himielf from this afperfion, he drew
lip a formal declaration, directed to his kinfman, Sir Nicolas
I/Eftrange, on the truth of which he received the facrament
at the time of pubiiihing the fame, which is fuppofed to be in
1690 [T]. By this declaration we find he was married ; but
who his lady was, or what iffue he had by her, befides the juft-
mentioned daughter, has not come to our knowledge. After
the Revolution, he feems to have been left out of the corn-
mi flion of the peace ; and, itisfaid, queen Mary fhewed her
contempt of him by the following anagram ihe made upon his
name, " Lying-Strange Roger :' : it is certain he met with
fome trouble, for the remainder of his life, on account of his
being a difaffecled perfon.

He died Sept. n, 1704, wanting only five days of eighty-
eight, and having in a manner furvived his intellectuals. His
corpfe was interred in the church of St. Giles in the Fields, in
the county of Middlefex, where there is an infcription to his
memory. He was author of many political tracts, and tranf*
lated feveral things from the Greek, Latin, and Spanih, which
are as follow : '* Roger L'Eurange's Apology ;" *' Truth and
Loyalty vindicated, <kc." " The Memento ;" " The Re-
formed Catholic ;" " The free-born Subject;" " Anfwer to
the Appeal/' etc. " Seafonable Memorial;" " Cit and Bum-
kin," in two parts ; " Farther Diicovery ;" " Cafe put /'
" Narrative of the Plot ;" " Holy Cheat/' Toleration dif-

[T] The letter runs in thefe terms : with God's afliftance, to continue in the

" Sir, the late departure of my daughter, fame to my life's end. Now, in cafe

from the church of England to t 1 e it fhnuld pleafe God in his providence to

church of Rome, wounds the very heart fuffer this i'candal to be revived upon my

of me ; for I do folemnly proteft, as in memory when I am dead and gone,

prefence of God Almighty, thatl knew make uie, I befeech you, of this paper

nothing of it: and, for your farther in my jul\ification, which I deliver as

fatisfaction, I take the liberty to aflltre a facred truth. So help me God.

you, upon the faith of a man of honour *< Roger L'Ellrange.

?nd confcience, that as I was born and " Signed in the prefence of u ,

brought up in the communion of the {< |ohn L'Eflrange,

church of England, fo I have been true " Richard Sure.

to it ever fmce, with a firm refolutian, t( To Sir Nicholas L'EItrange, bart/

cuffed /'

L' E S T Px A N G E. 311

cuffed ;" " Difcovery on Difcovcry ;" " L'Eftrange's Appeal,"
&c. " Colle&ions in Defence of the King;" " F el a pied
Apoftate ;" "Apology for Proteftants ;" "Richard againft
Baxter;" " Tyranny and Popery ;" " Growth of Knavery ;"
" L'Eftrange no Papift,'' &c. " The Shammer {hammed ;"
" Account cleared ;" 4< Reformation reformed ;" " Diflenters
Sayings," two parts ; " Notes on College, i. e. Stephen
College ;" " The Proteflant Joiner ;" " Zekiel and Ephraim ;"
Papift in Mafquerade ;" " Anfwer to the Second Character
of a Popilh Succeffor;" " Confiderations on Lord Ruffel's
Speech." All jhefe were printed in 4to." " Hiftory of the
Plot ;" " Caveat to the Cavaliers ;" " Plea for the Caveat and
its Author." Thefe were in folio. His tranflations were,
" Jofephus's Works;" " Cicero's Offices;" t; Seneca's
Morals;'* " Erafmus's Colloquies;" " yEfop's Fables;"
" Quevedo's Vifions ;" " Bona's Guide to Eternity;" and
" Five Letters from a Nun to a Cavalier." Befides thefe,
he wrote feveral news-papers, and occaiional pieces.

The character of his wit and language is variouily cen-
fured ; but Mr. Gordon, the author of the " Independent
Whig," has, upon the whole, given the trueft account of
them. This writer, having obferved that eafy writing had

Online LibraryWilliam TookeA new and general biographical dictionary; containing an historical and critical account of the lives and writings of the most eminent persons in every nation; particularly the British and Irish; from the earliest accounts of time to the present period .. (Volume 9) → online text (page 35 of 48)