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Endued with much natural sagacity, and an attentive observation of life, Mr. Strahan owed his rise to that station of opulence and respect which he attained, rather to his own talents and exertion, than to any accidental occurrence of favourable or fortunate circumstances. His mind, though not deeply tinctured with learning, was not uninformed by letters. From a habit of attention to style, he had acquired a considerable portion of critical acuteness in the discernment of its beauties and defects. in one branch of writing himself excelled, I mean the epistolary, in which he not only showed the precision and clearness of business, but possessed a neatness as well as fluency of expression which I have known few letter-writers to surpass. Letter. writing was one of his favourite amusements; and among his correspondents were men of such emi. nence and talents as well repaid his endeavours to entertain them. One of these, as we have beforementioned, was the justly celebrated Dr. Franklin, originally a printer like Mr. Strahan, and his fellowworkman in early life in a printing-house in London, whose friendship and correspondence he continued to enjoy, notwithstanding the difference of their sentiments in political matters, which often afforded pleasantry, but never mixed any thing acrimonious in their letters. One of the latest he received from his illustrious and venerable friend, contained a humorous allegory of the state of politics in Britain, drawn from the profession of printing, of which, though the Doctor had quitted the exercise, he had not forgotten the terms.

There are stations of acquired greatness which make men proud to recall the lowness of that from which they rose. The native eminence of Franklin's mind was above concealing the humbleness of his origin. Those only who possess no intrinsic elevation are afraid to sully the honours to which accident has raised them, by the recollection of that obscurity whence they sprung.

Of this recollection Mr. Strahan was rather proud than ashamed ; and I have heard those who were disposed to censure him, blame it as a kind of ostentation in which he was weak enough to indulge. But methinks ''tis to consider too curiously, to consider it so. There is a kind of reputation which we may laudably desire, and justly enjoy; and he who is sincere enough to forego the pride of ancestry and of birth, may, without much imputation of vanity, assume the merit of his own elevation.

In that elevation, he neither triumphed over the inferiority of those he had left below him, nor forgot the equality in which they had formerly stood. Of their inferiority he did not even remind them, by the ostentation of grandeur, or the parade of wealth. In his house there was none of that saucy train, none of that state or finery, with which the illiberal delight to confound and to dazzle those who may have formerly seen them in less enviable circumstances. No man was more mindful of, or more solicitous to oblige, the acquaintance or companions of his early days. The advice which his experience, or the assistance which his purse could afford, he was ready to communicate ; and at his table in London every gentleman found an easy introduction, and every old acquaintance a cordial welcome. This was not merely a virtue of hospitality, or a duty of benevolence with him : he felt it warmly as a sentiment ; and that paper in the Mirror of which I mentioned him as the author, the letter from London in the ninety-fourth number, was, I ampersuaded, a genuine picture of his feelings on the recollection of those scenes in which his youth had been spent, and of those companions with which it had been associated.

VOL. XXX.

R

themselves as men of letters, who never read a number of it while it was going on.

“ But although in this and in many other respects the Lounger may possess advantages over the Mirror, there is one particular in which I am apt to believe, that we the members of the Mirror Club possessed advantage over the author of the LOUNGER. You, Sir, if I mistake not, conduct your work single and alone, unconnected with any person whatever. We, Sir, were a society, consisting of a few friends closely united by long habits of intimacy. Not only, therefore, is your task much more arduous than ours, but, in the way

of amusement, we certainly had the advantage of you. I can never forget the pleasure we enjoyed in meeting to read our papers in the Club. They were criticised with perfect freedom, but with the greatest good-humour. When any of us produced a paper, which, either from the style or manner of it, or from the nature of the subject seemed inadmissible, it was condemned without hesitation, and the author, putting it in his pocket, drank a bumper to its manes. We had stated meetings to receive the communications with which we were honoured, which afforded another source of amusement. This pleasure, however, was not without alloy. We were often, from particular circumstances, obliged to reject compositions of real merit; and what perhaps was equally distressing, we were sometimes obliged to abridge or to alter the papers which we published. Might I presume to give you an advice, it would be, to use this liberty as rarely as possible. We authors know, that there is a certain complacency, not to call it vanity, which a man feels for his own compositions, which makes him unwilling to submit them to the correction of he does not know whom, or to acquiesce in an alteration made he does not know why.

In justice, however, to our correspondents, I must add, that they continued to honour us with their favours, notwithstanding the liberties we took with their compositions, and although it was not in our power to explain the reasons which induced us to take those liberties.

“ But, Sir, one never ceasing fund of amusement to us, was communicating the observations we had occasion to hear, in different societies and different companies, upon the Mirror, and its supposed authors. The supercilious, who despised the paper because they did not know by whom it was written, talked of it as a catchpenny performance, carried on by a set of needy and obscure scribblers. Those who entertained a more favourable opinion of it, were apt to fall into an opposite mistake, and to suppose that the Mirror was the production of all the men of letters in Scotland. This last opinion is not yet entirely exploded, and perhaps has rather gained ground from the favourable reception of the Mirror since its publication in volumes. The last time I was in London I happened to step into Mr. Cadell's shop, and while I was amusing myself in turning over the prints in Cook's last voyage, Lord B- came in, and taking up a volume of the Mirror, asked Mr. Cadell, who were the authors of it. Cadell, who did not suspect that I knew any more of the matter than the Great Mogul, answered, that he could not really mention particular names ; but he believed that all the literati of Scotland were concerned in it. Lord B walked off, satisfied that this was truly the case; and about a week after I heard him

-'s levee, that he was well assured the Mirror was the joint production of all the men of letters in Scotland.

“I will now, Sir, tell you in confidence, that, one of our number excepted, whose writings have long been

say at Lord M

themselves as men of letters, who never read a number of it while it was going on.

“But although in this and in many other respects the Lounger may possess advantages over the Mirror, there is one particular in which I am apt to believe, that we the members of the Mirror Club possessed an advantage over the author of the LOUNGER. You, Sir, if I mistake not, conduct your work single and alone, unconnected with any person whatever. We, Sir, were a society, consisting of a few friends closely united by long habits of intimacy. Not only, therefore, is your task much more arduous than ours, but, in the way of amusement, we certainly had the advantage of you. I can never forget the pleasure we enjoyed in meeting to read our papers in the Club. They were criticised with perfect freedom, but with the greatest good-humour. When any of us produced a paper, which, either from the style or manner of it, or from the nature of the subject seemed inadmissible, it was condemned without hesitation, and the author, putting it in his pocket, drank a bumper to its manes. We had stated meetings to receive the communications with which we were honoured, which afforded another source of amusement. This pleasure, however, was not without alloy. We were often, from particular circumstances, obliged to reject compositions of real merit; and what perhaps was equally distressing, we were sometimes obliged to abridge or to alter the papers which we published. Might I presume to give you an advice, it would be, to use this liberty as rarely as possible. We authors know, that there is a certain complacency, not to call it vanity, which a man feels for his own compositions, which makes him unwilling to submit them to the correction of he does not know whom, or to acquiesce in an alteration made he does not know why.

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