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He was the younger son to a gentleman of good birth, but small estate; and his father dying, he was driven to London to seek his fortune: he got into orders, and became reader in a parish church at twenty pounds a year; was carried by an Oxford friend to Will's coffeehouse, frequented in those days by men of wit, wherein some time he had the bad luck to be distinguished. His scanty salary compelled him to run deep in debt for a new gown and cassock, and now and then forced him to write some paper of wit or humour, or preach a sermon for ten shillings, to supply his necessities. He was a thousand times recommended by his poetical friends to great persons, as a young man of excellent parts, who deserved encouragement, and received a thousand promises; but his modesty, and a generous spirit, which disdained the slavery of continual application and attendance, always disappointed him, making room for vigilant dunces, who were sure to be never out of sight.
He had an excellent faculty in preaching, if he were not sometimes a little too refined, and apt to trust too much to his own way of thinking and reasoning
When, upon the vacancy of preferment, he was hardly drawn to attend upon some promising lord, he received the usual answer, “That he came too Jate, for it had been given to another the very day before.” And he had only this comfort left, that every body said, " it was a thousand pities something could not be done for poor Mr Eugenio."
The remainder of his story will be dispatched in a few words: wearied with weak hopes, and weaker pursuits, he accepted a curacy in Derbyshire, of thirty pounds a year, and when he was five and forty, had the great felicity to be preferred by a friend of his father's to a vicarage worth annually sixty pounds, in the most desert parts of Lincolnshire; where, his spirit quite sunk with those reflections that solitude and disappointments bring, he married a farmer's widow, and is still alive, utterly undistinguished and forgotten; only some of the neighbours have accidentally heard, that he had been a notable man in his youth.
AGAINST THE CLERGY.
May 24, 1736,
I have been long considering and conjecturing, what could be the causes of that great disgust, of late, against the clergy of both kingdoms, beyond what was ever known, till that monster and tyrant, Henry VIII., who took away from them, against law, reason, and justice, at least two-thirds of their legal possessions; and whose successors (except queen Mary) went on with their rapine, till the accession of king James I. That detestable tyrant Henry VIII., although he abolished the pope's power in England, as universal bishop, yet what he did in that article, however just it were in itself, was the mere effect of his irregular appetite, to divorce himself from a wife he was weary of, for a younger and more beautiful woman, whom he afterward beheaded. But, at the same time, he was an entire defender of all the popish doctrines, even those which were the most
absurd. And while he put the people to death for denying him to be head of the church, he burned every offender against the doctrines of the Roman faith; and cut off the head of sir Thomas More, a person of the greatest virtue this kingdom ever produced, for not directly owning him to be head of the church. Among all the princes who ever reigned in the world, there was never so infernal a beast as Henry VIII., in every vice of the most odious kind, without any one appearance of virtue: but cruelty, lust, rapine, and atheism, were his peculiar talents. He rejected the power of the pope for no other reason than to give his full swing to commit sacrilege, in which no tyrant, since Christianity became national, did ever equal him by many degrees. The abbeys, endowed with lands by the mistaken notion of well-disposed men, were indeed too numerous, and hurtful to the kingdom; and therefore the legislature might, after the Reformation, have justly applied them to some pious or public uses.
In a very few centuries after Christianity became national in most parts of Europe, although the church of Rome had already introduced many corruptions in religion; yet the piety of early Christians, as well as the new converts, was so great, and particularly princes, as well as noblemen and other wealthy persons, that they built many religious houses for those who were inclined to live in a recluse or solitary manner, endowing those monasteries with land. It is true, we read of monks some ages before, who dwelt in caves and cells, in desert places. But when public edilices were erected and endowed, they began gradually to degenerate into idleness, ignorance, avarice, ambition, and luxury, after the usual fate of all human institutions. The popes, who had