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Memoir of Francis Hodgson
James Hodgson to Francis Hodgson, 16 May 1810

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II. 1794-1807.
Chapter III. 1807-1808.
Chapter IV. 1808.
Chapter V. 1808-1809.
Chapter VI. 1810.
Chapter VII. 1811.
Chapter VIII. 1811.
Chapter IX. 1811.
Chapter X. 1811-12.
Chapter XI. 1812.
Chapter XII. 1812-13.
Chapter XIII. 1813-14.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chapter XIV. 1815-16.
Chapter XV. 1816-18.
Chapter XVI. 1815-22.
Chapter XVII. 1820.
Chapter XVIII. 1824-27.
Chapter XIX. 1827-1830
Chapter XX. 1830-36.
Chapter XXI. 1837-40.
Chapter XXII. 1840-47.
Chapter XXIII. 1840-52.
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Produced by CATH
Barwick: May 16, 1810.

My dear Frank,—Only six days you will please to take notice from the date of your last, for which habeo gratias. Certainly Terence, if he did not write better plays than Plautus, &c., wrote his own language with greater purity and elegance. I know he was called ‘dimidiate Menander,’ but a nick-name may imply excellence as well as defect.

I have not, indeed, been engaged in reviewing essays upon Plato, but I have been re-reviewing certain manuscripts that once a week are submitted to our village critics. This morning, indeed, I have

1 Editor of the Monthly.

been deep in the ‘
Monthly,’ and much pleased with the first article, Maurice’s translation of the ‘Iliad.’ The critic1 seems to be no ordinary hand, and to be well acquainted with the different merits of rhyme and blank verse. I was glad to perceive he had a good opinion of Cowper’s talents in general, though no admirer of his ‘Homer.’ But I do not agree as to the pompous inanity of the author of the ‘Task.’ Crabbe I have not read, and for the present feel satisfied with the copious extracts in the ‘Review.’ I had almost let slip Homer’s astronomical simile, of the correctness of which I once was convinced by the remark of a countryman, a carpenter I believe. ‘Mrs. Plunkett’ I shall certainly not cut, if uncut; and if cut, I shall not open. Marsh’s letter I have sent for. He cannot exercise the lash too severely on a set of scoundrels who set no bounds to their imposture. I agree with you entirely as to the absurdity of our very learned Doctors shooting over the heads of their readers and hearers. But stripped of their fine dress, I suspect they would lose some of their admirers. But what is so useful or so attractive as plain sense in plain language! Warburton I have read, and thought him, when intelligible, a very superior writer.

1 This was Francis Hodgson.

There was an excellent critique on the correspondence between him and
Bishop Hurd in one of the last Quarterly Reviews. ‘Hyloe’ was the name of one of Bishop Berkeley’s dialogues on the non-existence of matter out of the mind. Such reasonings are not substantial enough for me. Dr. Burney’s edition of Pearson seems to be like spoiling a pudding by taking the plums out of it.

The political ferment of the last month is, from the proper firmness of the Ministry, beginning to subside. The extreme party seem at last to be aware of the mischief that must arise from indiscriminate abuse. Wardle and Waithman would never have taken such liberties, had not Windham and Whitbread set them the example. Mr. Ponsonby, the vir pietate gravis ac meritis, hath amply redeemed all past perverseness by his admirable speech. As for Sir Francis,1 yet a little while and he will be forgotten. His tutor blames, it is said, his late conduct. But this I much doubt. Deportation will probably be the fate of some of these worthies, if they renew their machinations. The thieves I committed to York, and who are now lying in the hulks, are to be sent off to South Wales2 by the first conveyance. This is the last

1 Burdett. 2 New South Wales.

favour I could show them for expressing publicly their wish to return to Barwick, for no other purpose than that of murdering me and two or three others. But are these men so bad as Burdett and Company?

We all join in wishing you health and happiness.

James Hodgson.