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M. B.



OLIVER GOLDSMITH was the third son of the Rev. Charles Goldsmith, a divine of great respectability, though but in narrow circumstances. He was born at Elphin, in the county of Roscommon, in the kingdom of Ireland, in the year 1729, and was instructed in the classicks, at the school of Mr. Hughes. On the 11th of June, 1744, he was admitted a Sizer of Trinity College, Dublin, under the tuition of Dr. Radcliffe, where he was contemporary with Mr. Edmund Burke. At college he exhibited no specimens of that genius which distinguished him in his maturer years. According to his own whimsical account of himself, "though he made no great figure in mathematicks, which was a study much in repute there, he could turn an ode of Horace into English better than any of them." On the 27th of February, 1749, O. S. (two years after the regular time,) he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Arts. At this


period of his life he turned his thoughts to the profession of physick; and after attending some courses of anatomy in Dublin, he proceeded to Edinburgh, in the year 1751, where he pursued the study of the several branches of medicine, under the different professors in that university. At this period of his life, the same want of thought and circumspection, and the same heedless beneficence operated, that in his latter years continued to involve him in difficulties. He, imprudently engaging to pay a considerable sum of money for a fellow student, who failed to exonerate him from the demand, found himself under the necessity of hastily quitting Scotland, to avoid the horrours of a jail.

Sunderland was the place in which he took refuge, and there he arrived in the beginning of the year 1754. His sudden flight had left him no means of providing for his present wants, and he was driven to the greatest extremity. It was at this period, it is imagined, that he was reduced to an embarassment which will be best related in the words of the person who originally gave the anecdote to the publick. Upon his first going to England he was in such distress, that he would have gladly become an usher to a country school; but so destitute was he of friends to recommend him, that he could not without


difficulty obtain even this low department. The master of the school scrupled to employ him, without some testimonial of his past life. Goldsmith referred him to his tutor at college for a character; but all this while he went under a feigned name. From this resource, therefore, one would think that little in his favour could be even hoped for: but he only wanted to serve a present exigency-an ushership was not his object.

"In this strait he writes a letter to Dr. Radcliffe, imploring him, as he tendered the welfare of an old pupil, not to answer a letter which he would probably receive the same post with his own, from the schoolmaster. He added, that he had good reasons for concealing, both from him and the rest of the world, his name, and the real state of his case; every circumstance of which he promised to communicate upon some future occasion. His tutor, embarassed enough before to know what answer he should give, resolved at last to give none. And thus was poor Goldsmith snatched from between the horns of his present dilemma, and suffered to drag on a miserable life for a few probationary months.

"It was not till after his return to London, from his rambles over great part of the world, and after having got some sure footing on this slippery globe,

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