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public-house at Islington, but as we here lose the aid of her narrative, her movements at this epoch are uncertain. She finally had recourse to her pen for subsistence, and began the publication of her memoirs. Her next production was a novel, and a graphic picture has been given of her home at this period. When the publisher with a friend called for the purpose of purchasing her manuscript, she was living in a wretched hut near the Clerkenwell prison. The furniture consisted of a dresser extremely clean, ornamented with a few plates; and a fractured pitcher stood underneath it. A gaunt domestic guarded the establishment, while on a broken chair by the grate sat the mistress in her strange attire. A monkey was perched on one hob, a cat on the other, at her feet lay a half-starved cur, and a magpie chattered from her chair. The remains of a pair of bellows laid upon her knees served as a desk, her inkstand was a broken teacup, and her solitary pen was worn to the stump. On her visitors seating themselves on a rough deal board, for there was not a second chair in the room, she began with her beautiful, clear voice to read from the manuscript before her, and asked thirty guineas for the copyright. The grim handmaiden stared aghast at the enormity of the demand. The iron-hearted publisher proposed five pounds, but finally doubled the sum, and offered in addition fifty copies of the work. The bargain was struck, and the authoress was left in temporary affluence. From this time Mrs. Charlotte Charke disappears from our view, and she died shortly afterwards on the 6th of April, 1760.

So strange a story could hardly be paralelled from the wildest pages of romance. Through an infinite variety of endeavours, success never once shone upon her path, and old age found her in a state of the most abject penury. After so fitful a fever, how welcome must have been the advent of repose.


To those who are giving to contemporaries some mention of an age that is past, and of names well-nigh forgotten, it is a hard task to judge how much it may be worth a struggle to save from the wreck of oblivion. If heroes have perished, because no song of poet hymned their daring deeds, has not the fame of poets themselves been oftentimes perilled by their biographers? William Mason, the author of "Caractacus," wrote a memoir of his friend Whitehead, which has been condemned by Boswell as a mere dry narrative of facts. The world has been content to forget the book and its subject; and but for the brief biographical notice of Mr. Campbell, how few would know anything of Colley Cibber's immediate successor. And yet the author of "The Roman Father," and of "Creusa" has much in his writings more worthy of perusal, much in his literary history more deserving of record, than many of the poetasters whose names the genius of Johnson has saved from that silent sentence of forgetfulness which time so sternly passes upon mediocrity.

It is as difficult not to regret, as it is easy to account

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for, this general ignorance of all save our greatest writers. The history of our literature is biographical. Its annals teach by examples. And so we speak of the age of Dryden, and of Pope, and of Johnson, as if the literature of each of the eras was represented by these men alone, and there was no work for others to do in it. The long line of light is shed through the dark centuries by the great stars. Where they shine at distant intervals the heaven is blacker, but need we close our eyes to the twinklings of those lesser fires, without whose ray the interspace were darkness?

W. Whitehead was born in the parish of St. Botolph's, in the town of Cambridge. He was the son of a baker, whose notoriety for worldly waste and mismanagement has been perpetuated by the nickname of "Whitehead's Folly" being given to a few acres of land, on which he expended large sums of money "in ornamenting rather than cultivating." Mr. Mason has penned an elaborate apology for the poet's humble parentage, and Mr. Campbell has ridiculed Mr. Mason for a defence so needless. William was the second son; his elder brother John was educated for the Church, and, by the interest of Lord Montfort, obtained the living of Penshore in the diocese of Worcester. The baker's taste for model farming so involved him, that he died considerably in debt; and the subject of this memoir, from the profits of his theatrical writings, most honourably discharged the claims of his creditors. Mr. Mason speaks of this conduct of his friend with exultation, and for once indulges a facetious vein in terming it "a rare instance of poetical justice.'

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Whitehead was at first sent to a school in Cambridge, and thence removed to Winchester. Mr. Mason quotes an account given of him by Dr. Balguy, who, as Canon of Winchester Cathedral, had enjoyed opportunities of procuring some information in reference to Whitehead's

school career. He very early showed his taste for poetry, and is said to have written a comedy at sixteen. Through life he was a good reader and reciter of poetry, and early evinced some histrionic talent; for in the winter of 1732, he took a female part in the "Andrea" of Terence, and also gained much applause by his impersonation of Marcia in "Cato."

Some proof of his early poetical powers is given by an anecdote told of a visit of Pope to the school in 1733. The veteran satirist was staying at the Earl of Peterborough's, near Southampton, and was taken by his Lordship to Winchester to see the College. The Earl gave on the occasion ten guineas, to be disposed of in prizes to the boys, and Pope set as a subject for English verse "Peterborough." Whitehead was one of six who gained prizes.

His successful essays in verse were confined to his mother-tongue; for in Latin epigrams and verses he was deficient. We are told, however, that he was employed to translate into Latin the first epistle of the

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Essay on Man." Next to his poetical and histrionic tastes, his school-days have been chiefly mentioned as the time when he formed some of those friendships with the great which were ultimately of much advantage to him. At Winchester he was the associate of Lord Drumlanrig, Sir Charles Douglas, Sir Robert Burdett, Sir Bryan Broughton, and other boys of patrician birth. For this, and his long residence in the house of Lord and Lady Jersey, he has not escaped the charge of toadyism. Mr. Macaulay has called him "the most successful tuft-hunter of his day." One of his biographers suggests that his delicacy of mind and body may have led him to such companions, in preference to boys of coarser habits. The apology is more amiable than sagacious. Though he may possibly have preferred such


society, on grounds less culpable and more disinterested, there was doubtless a mixture of prudence and vanity in his selection of his friends. A boy of his parentage was flattered by the friendship of the great. And he lived in days when, unless a poor man had transcendent parts, he could not prosper without patronage.


Principibus placiusse viris haud ultima laus est,"

was a line in those days much quoted, and very freely translated; and though Whitehead lived in what has been called called the transition age, from the protection of patrons to that of the public, many men will be found in that era, and later too, who, in dedications and elsewhere, have laid themselves open to the charge of toadyism, as much as ever he did. We should also remember, that a boy of such humble birth would scarcely have been received as an equal by the sons of gentlemen ; and if he was to be a dependent at all, he doubtless preferred being so among the greatest.

In September, 1735, he stood among the candidates for New College, but was placed so low on the roll that he was not sent up. Being superannuated, he was compelled to leave Winchester. He returned to his mother at Cambridge, and now derived more advantage from his humble extraction, than from his own abilities, or his aristocratic school-friendships. Mr. Thomas Pyke, a baker at Cambridge, had founded some scholarships at Clare Hall. Whitehead's claim, as the orphan son of a man of the founder's vocation, was admitted, and he entered as a sizar. His career as an author commenced at the University; for as a student little is known of him, except that he was industrious and economical, and enjoyed the friendship of Hurd, Stebbing, Ogden, and other distinguished contemporaries. He wrote some verses in 1736, as did many other young men at both

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