ment of each other unbecoming gentlemen! Both sides in this dispute had their abettors; and to say which had the most truth and reason, non nostrum est tantas componere lites ; perhaps both parties might be too fond of their own schemes. They should have left them to people to choose which they liked best.” A candid politician is our Massey, and a philosophical historian too; for he winds

up the whole story of this civil war by describing its result, which happened as all such great controversies have ever closed. “Who nowa-days takes those Standard Rules, either one or the other, for their guide in writing ?" This is the finest lesson ever offered to the furious heads of parties, and to all their men ; let them me. ditate on the nothingness of their “ standard rules”-by the fate of Mr. SNELL!

It was to be expected when once these writingmasters imagined that they were artists, that they would be infected with those plague-spots of genius, envy, detraction, and all the jalousie du metier. And such to this hour we find them! An extraordinary scene of this nature has long been exhibited in my neighbourhood, where two doughty champions of the quill have been posting up libels in their windows respecting the inventor of a new art of writing, the Carstairian or the Lewisian? When the great German philosopher asserted that he had discovered the method of fluxions before Sir Isaac, and when the dispute grew so violent that even the calm Newton sent a formal defiance in set terms, and got even George the Second to try to arbitrate, (who would rather have undertaken a campaign,) the method of fluxions was no more cleared up, than the present affair between our two heroes of the quill.

A recent instance of one of these egregious caligraphers may be told of the late Tomkins, This vainest of writing-masters dreamed through life that penmanship was one of the fine arts, and that a writing-master should be seated with his peers in the Academy! He bequeathed to the British Museum his opus magnum; a copy of Macklin's Bible, profusely embellished with the most beautiful and varied decorations of his

pen; and as he conceived that both the workman and the work would alike be darling objects with posterity, he left something immortal with the legacy, his fine bust by Chantry! unaccompanied by which they were not to receive the unparalleled

gift. When TOMKINS applied to have his bust, our great sculptor abated the usual price, and courteously kind to the feelings of the man, said that he considered Tomkins as an ARTIST! It was the proudest day of the life of our writingmaster!

But an eminent artist and wit now living, once looking on this fine bust of Tomkins, declared, that

“ this man had died for want of a dinner !” -a fate, however, not so lamentable as it appeared! Our penman had long felt that he stood degraded in the scale of genius by not being received at the Academy, at least among the class of engravers ; the next approach to academic honour he conceived would be that of appearing as a guest at their annual dinner. These invitations are as limited as they are select, and all the Academy persisted in considering Tomkins as a writing-master! Many a year passed, every intrigue was practised, every remonstrance was urged, every stratagem of courtesy was tried ; but never ceasing to deplore the failure of his hopes, it preyed on his spirits, and the luckless caligrapher went down to his grave—without dining at the Academy! This authentic anecVOL. II. (New Series.)


dote has been considered as “ satire improperly directed"— by some friend of Mr. Tomkins—but the criticism is much too grave! The foible of Mr. Tomkins as a writing master, presents a striking illustration of the class of men here delineated. I am a mere historian—and am only responsible for the veracity of this fact. That “ Mr. Tomkins lived in familiar intercourse with the Royal Academicians of his day, and was a frequent guest at their private tables,” and moreover was a most worthy man,

I believe-but is it less true that he was ridiculously mortified by being never invited to the Academic dinner, on account of his caligraphy ? He had some reason to consider that his art was of the exalted class; to which he aspired to raise it, when this friend concludes his eulogy of this writing-master thus—“ Mr. Tomkins, as an artist, stood foremost in his own profession, and his name will be handed down to posterity with the Heroes and Statesmen, whose excellencies his penmanship has contributed to illustrate and to commemorate.” I always give the Pour and the Contre !

Such men about such things have produced public contests, combats à l'outrance, where much ink was spilt by the knights in a joust of

goosequills; these solemn trials have often occurred in the history of writing-masters, which is enlivened by public defiances, proclamations, and judicial trials by umpires! The prize was usually a golden pen of some value. One as late as in the reign of Anne took place between Mr. GERMAN and Mr. More: GERMAN having courteously insisted that Mr. More should set the copy, he thus set it, ingeniously quaint !

As more, and More, our understanding clears,

So more and more our ignorance appears. The result of this pen-combat was really lamentable; they displayed such an equality of excellence that the umpires refused to decide, till one of them espied that Mr. German had omitted the tittle of an i! But Mr. More was evidently a man of genius, not only by his couplet, but in his “ Essay on the Invention of Writing,” where occurs this noble passage: “ Art with me is of no party. A noble emulation I would cherish, while it proceeded neither from, nor to malevolence: Bales had his Johnson, Norman his Mason, Ayres his Matlock and his Shelley ; yet

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