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only remembered. This infamous propensity soon made him an object of suspicion and disgust. He was publicly caned in Ranelagh Gardens by an Irish gentleman whom he had libelled; and though he appeared at the fashionable routs in magnificent apparel, it was a point of honour amongst persons of quality to take no notice of him. The Royal Society also refused to admit him as a member-a refusal which he revenged in a long series of abusive attacks. Notwithstanding the indignities heaped upon him, and his thoroughly contemptible character, Dr. Hill prospered in worldly circumstances. His activity and industry were indeed marvellous. Though he spent so much of his time in the amusements of the gay world, and in frequenting places of entertainment, his pen was never idle. Pamphlets, treatises, and novels, were issued forth by him in quick succession, and in 1751 he commenced a series of daily essays, called "The Inspector," originally published in a newspaper. In these essays he attacked many of his contemporaries with unparalleled scurrility; and Fielding, in commencing his "Covent Garden Journal," undoubtedly regarded him as a nuisance which ought to be abated.
Accordingly, in the second number of that periodical the "Journal of the War" is continued; and in describing the disposition of the contending forces, the following attack is made upon Dr. Hill, in the strain of coarse jocularity then so much in vogue:-"We marched," says the general, “into Covent Garden, and presently ordered a part of our army to file off to the right, and to sit down before the Bedford Coffee-house. We doubt not but we have many good friends in the garrison, and who are very desirous to admit our forces; but as yet they dare not declare themselves, being kept in awe by a strange mixed monster, not much unlike the famous Chimera of old; for while some of our reconnoiterers tell us that this monster
has the appearance of a lion,' others assure us that his ears are much longer than those of that generous beast. Be this as it will, as we are not yet prepared for an attack, yesterday, about six in the evening, we blockheaded up the said coffee-house."
To this banter Hill immediately replied in "The Inspector," and thus artfully attempted to injure Fielding's reputation as a man of honour and sincerity: "The author of 'Amelia,"" he said, "whom I have only once seen, told me, at that accidental meeting, he held the present set of writers in the utmost contempt, and that, in his character of Drawcansir, he should treat them in a most unmerciful manner. He assured me, with great civility, that he had always excepted me from the general censure; and after honouring me with several encomiums, which as I neither desired nor deserved I shall not repeat, told me he hoped we should always be on good terms. He proceeded to mention a conduct which would be, he said, useful to both. This was the amusing our readers with a mock fight; giving blows that would not hurt, and sharing the advantage in silence. I hold the public in too great respect to trifle with it in so disingenuous a manner, and hope I shall always retain a better sense of the obligations I have to it, than to return them with such an insolent deceit. I told him that had he published his paper ever so long without mentioning mine, it would never have appeared from me that any such thing had an existence; but, as he has made what he imagines a very formidable attack upon me in his last paper, it may be understood as a concession
(1) Alluding to Hill's letter-box at the Bedford. "In July, 1713, a lion's head, a proper emblem of knowledge and action, being all head and paws,' was set up at Button's, in imitation of the celebrated lion at Venice, to receive letters and papers for 'The Guardian.'. . . . The lion's head was removed to the Shakspere Tavern, under the Piazza, and in 1751 was placed in the Bedford Coffee-house adjoining, as the letter-box of The Inspector."-Timbs' Curiosities of London.
if I am silent. Whom I slighted as an associate,' he adds, with characteristic insolence, "I cannot fear as an adversary;" and he thus rather cleverly retorts on Fielding's clumsy pun: "As to my head-quarters at the Bedford, since it is his own legions that have invested the place, I cannot quarrel with his particular orthography of the word blockade."
The editor of "The Covent Garden Journal" was ready with his rejoinder, and continuing "The Journal of the War" in the same strain of coarse badinage, thus contemptuously assails his adversary: "It being reported to the general that a hill must be levelled before the Bedford Coffee-house could be taken, orders were given accordingly; but this was afterwards found to be a mistake, a second express assuring us that this HILL was only a little paltry dunghill, and had long before been levelled with the dust." In the same strain the satirist exposes the doctor's intentional misrepresentation of the conversation referred to in "The Inspector;" and it is obvious that Fielding must have been not only an indiscreet, but a most reckless personage, if he had made use of the language ascribed to him by Hill at a mere casual meeting, when he well knew the character of the man, and the use he would be likely to make of any idle expression.1
It is stated in "The Gentleman's Magazine" for January, 1752, that "since this skirmish 'The Inspector' has totally neglected his adversary, who has been opposed in 'The Drury Lane Journal,' &c. . . . . and in a narra
(1) Fielding's skirmishes with Hill are noticed in Disraeli's "Quarrels of Authors," vol. ii.
(2) "Have at you all; or, the Drury Lane Journal. By Madam Roxana Termagant. Address'd to Sir Alexander Drawcansir, author of 'The Covent Garden Journal,' continued every Thursday." This production was from the pen of Bonnell Thornton. In the first number "Sir Alexander" is coarsely abused, and described "as an old dealer in this sort of merchandize." Amongst the contents of No. 5, there is "a new chapter in 'Amelia,' more witty than the rest, if the reader has but sense enough to find out the humour." The drift of the satire is to ridicule the domestic economy of the prudent Amelia, who,
tive concerning Habbakuk Hilding, supposed to be written by the author of 'Peregrine Pickle,' and some other pieces, in which he is treated with the utmost wantonness of contempt; and as these productions," continues Mr. Urban, "have had a quick sale, it may be inferred that the laugh of the public is turned against him." These comments furnish an instance, amongst many others, of the ungenerous way in which Fielding was treated as a public writer by this periodical. Cave's literary journeymen regarded him undoubtedly with little favour; for it is matter of observation that he never belonged to a clique or côterie. He was a thoroughly independent writer, and never took the trouble to conciliate an adversary, or to ingratiate himself with the mob of scribblers who constituted the literary fraternity of the age.
The pamphlet here ascribed to Smollett, is a very discreditable compound of scurrility and indecency. Its full title is as follows::- "A Faithful Narrative of the Base and Inhuman Arts that were lately practised upon the Brain of Habbakuk Hilding, Justice, Dealer, and Chapman, who now lies at his House in Covent Garden in a deplorable state of Lunacy; a dreadful Monument of False Friendship and Delusion. By Drawcansir Alexander, Fencing Master and Philomath. 1752." In this pamphlet Lyttleton and Fielding are attacked in the coarsest strain of personal abuse. The greater portion of it, even were it of any intrinsic interest, would be unfit for reproduction. But the following brief extract will convey some notion of its style, and also of the line of attack adopted by the pamphleteer:-"First, then," says Drawcansir
whilst sitting up with her children, is distressed by the return of Booth in a state of intoxication, and with "his high-arched Roman nose, that heretofore resembled the bridge of a fiddle" beaten to pieces. The allusion to the most prominent feature in Fielding's face is very obvious. Several papers, called "The Covent Garden Journal extraordinary," are included in this discreditable production, in which, for some reason or other, the author of "Tom Jones" is treated with most unmerited contumely.
Alexander, "it will be necessary to premise that I have for some time past lived on fast and friendly intercourse with the above-named Hilding, being thereunto moved by the report of divers substantial housekeepers in the neighbourhood, who assured me that he had quitted all the vicious and abandoned courses of his former life, and now behaved in every respect like a sober subject and vigilant magistrate; and although, during the term of our acquaintance, I have known him break out into sundry irregularities, both in life and conversation, I cannot help owning that he was on the whole more calm and moderate than one could well expect of a person so long accustomed to riot, outrage, and all manner of profligacy."
It is a strange as well as a humiliating circumstance, that Smollett should have ever written or spoken disparagingly of Fielding. Such men ought not to have been divided by any petty jealousy or party feeling. But it is plain that Smollett's animosity towards his great contemporary delineator of English life arose from Fielding's intimacy with Lyttleton and Garrick, both of whom were objects of peculiar antipathy to the hot-headed Scotchman. His aspirations after dramatic fame had been foiled, as he believed, by the prejudices of the latter; whilst the former eminent personage had disappointed him in his expectations of patronage, and thus unwittingly converted him into a personal enemy.1 In the first edition of Peregrine Pickle" (published in 1751), he inserted a coarse and offensive caricature of Lyttleton, under the
(1) In the preface to the tragedy of "The Regicide," Smollett says, that " as early as the year 1739, his tragedy was taken into the protection of one of those little fellows who are sometimes called great men, and, like other orphans, it was neglected accordingly." He afterwards adds, that "he actually discarded his patron." This patron is understood to have been Lyttleton. And in the pamphlet on "Habbakuk Hilding," that personage is represented as thus addressing Sir Gosling:-"Pray am not I the person who, in defiance to his own conscience, hath been an humble and assiduous minister to your vanity and selfconceit? Have I not been your bully in private conversations, representing you as a mighty orator, profound statesman, immense scholar, critic, and wit?"