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pleasure must Fielding have derived from the instances of strong and lasting attachment displayed towards his memory by his surviving friends!
The "innocent family," for whose welfare he had breathed, on the verge of the grave, so many anxious prayers, found a generous protector in Mr. Ralph Allen, his constant benefactor. The kindness of this most benevolent man to Fielding has been mentioned more than once in these pages. It has been said that whilst engaged in the composition of "Tom Jones," he lived for a considerable time at Tiverton, in the neighbourhood of Prior Park, and dined every day at Allen's table. Be this as it
(1) The description of Mr. Allworthy's house in "Tom Jones" is said to have been intended for Prior Park:-"The Gothic style of building could produce nothing nobler than Mr. Allworthy's house. There was an air of grandeur in it that struck you with awe, and rivalled the beauties of the best Grecian architecture; and it was as commodious within as venerable without.
It was now the middle of May, and the morning was remarkably serene, when Mr. Allworthy walked forth on the terrace, when the dawn opened every minute that lovely prospect we have before described to his eye. And now, having sent forth streams of light, which ascended the blue firmament before him, as harbingers preceding his pomp, in the full blaze of his majesty up rose the sun; than which one object alone in this lower creation could be more glorious, and that Mr. Allworthy himself presented-a human being replete with benevolence, meditating in what manner he might render himself most acceptable to his Creator, by doing most good to his creatures."-Tom Jones, book i. c. 4.
Joseph Andrews also thus refers to the good deeds and celebrated mansion of Allen:-"Some gentlemen of our cloth report charitable actions done by their lords and masters; and I have heard Squire Pope, the great poet, at my lady's table, tell stories of a man that lived at a place called Ross, and another at the Bath, one Al-, Al-; I forget his name, but it is in the book of verses. This gentleman hath built up a stately house, too, which the squire likes very well; but his charity is seen further than his house, though it stands on a hill; ay, and brings him more honour too."-Joseph Andrews, book iii. c. 6.
Reference has been already made to Pope's intimacy with Allen; but it should be here stated that Warburton-certainly one of the most remarkable men of the age-was also often a guest at Prior Park, and ultimately marrying Miss Tucker, Allen's niece, became possessed of the mansion described in "Tom Jones." In November, 1745, Warburton published a "Sermon, occasioned by the present unnatural rebellion, preached in Mr. Allen's chapel, Prior Park." It is a circumstance of some interest, that the Bible used in Prior Park, on this and other occasions, was that presented to Pope by Atterbury, at their last interview in the Tower.-(Johnson's Lives of the Poets.) The personal appearance of Mr. Allen and his wife are thus described by Derrick, a con
may, it is certain that he frequently received assistance from him in his difficulties, and when death deprived his widow and children of their protector, the generous patron became "a father to the fatherless," superintended the education of the children, and at his decease (which occurred just ten years after the novelist left England) bequeathed to the family an annuity of £100 a year.
Fielding's eldest son, William, was called to the Bar, and became ultimately a police magistrate. police magistrate. Once, it is said, when he appeared in the Court of King's Bench, Lord Mansfield,—displaying a kind and generous sense of the father's genius,-in his blandest tone and urbanest manner called on him to support a rule in these words, "Well, Tom Jones, what have you to say to this?" His second son entered the Church, and resided at Canterbury.
Mrs. Sarah Fielding, the authoress of "David Simple," survived her brother many years. During the latter part of her life she lived at Bath, much respected for her distinguished literary attainments. She translated Xenophon's Memorabilia," and is the reputed authoress of "The Cry," a dramatic novel in three volumes. Her good sense and amiable manners, no less than her acquirements (which were in those days considered most remarkable for a woman), caused her society to be much sought and esteemed; and Dr. Hoadley has celebrated her perfections in the following eulogistic lines:
"Her unaffected manners, candid mind,
Her heart benevolent, and soul resigned;
Were more her praise than all she knew or thought,
She died on the 6th of April, 1768, and was buried at
temporary:-"I have had an opportunity of visiting Mr. Allen. He is a very grave, well-looking old man, plain in his dress, resembling that of a Quaker, and courteous in his behaviour. I suppose he cannot be much under seventy. His wife is low, with grey hair, of a very pleasing address, that prejudices you much in her favour." "Les pleurs."
(1) In the "Biographie Universelle," it is quoted as
Charlecombe, near Bath. Dr. Hoadley erected a monument to her memory, which bears, or bore, the following inscription:"Esteemed and loved, near this place lies Mrs. Sarah Fielding. . . . How worthy of a nobler monument! but her name will be written in the Book of Life!" Fielding's half-brother, Sir John, acted as a London police magistrate for many years. He was the author of some works of a professional character,' and the enlightened originator of many projects of public utility. He died at Brompton, in 1780, having been knighted in 1761. In the dedication of "The Fathers" to the Duke of Northumberland, he thus speaks of his lamented brother:-"The author of this play was an upright, useful, and distinguished magistrate for the county of Middlesex; and by his publications laid the foundation of many wholesome laws for the support of good order and subordination in this metropolis, the effects of which have been, and now are, forcibly felt by the public. His social qualities made his company highly entertaining. His genius, so universally admired, has afforded delight and instruction to thousands. The memory of such a man calls for respect; and to have that respect shown him by the great and praiseworthy, must do him the highest honour."
The principal works of the novelist were collected and published, in 1762, by Arthur Murphy, with the Essay on the life and genius of the author prefixed thereto, of which liberal use has been made in these pages. A complete list of Fielding's writings (so far as they can be ascertained) is, however, subjoined in an Appendix.
After the comments and opinions cited in the course of this narrative, it is unnecessary to attempt a summary of Fielding's merits and defects as a writer or a man. As for his human weaknesses, since, however much they might occasion the regret, they never lessened the regard of such
(1) Among the manuscripts in the British Museum, there is also a Report on the state of the Jews in London, by Sir John Fielding.
men as Lyttleton and Allen, it is not too much to expect that they will meet with a lenient consideration at the hands of all good men―
Not so absolute in goodness
As to forget what human frailty is."
As an author, his glorious and genial fictions (still read with delight by living thousands) have given him a permanent place in literature, of which no changes in fashion or feeling or modes of thought are likely to deprive him. Faults they have,—and so had their author. An objection may reasonably be taken to a passage here and there; but, having regard to the whole scope and tenour of their characters and conversation, it may be confidently stated that there were never found on earth honester, healthier, wittier, and more agreeable companions than Tom Jones and HARRY FIELDING.