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trived to explain to his readers, by annexing to his volume for 1738, feigned proposals for printing a work, to be called Anagrammata Rediviva. This list, and others from different years, we give in the present edition, though we have rejected the barbarous jargon from the speeches themselves. A contemporary publication, the LONDON MagaZINE, feigned to give the debates of the Roman senate, and adapted Roman titles to the several speakers. This expedient, as well as Cave's contrivance, sufficed to protect its ingenious authors from parliamentary resentment; as the resolution of the commons was never enforced.
The debates contained in the following volumes, commence with the 19th November, 1740, and terminate with the 230 February, 1742-3. The animated attempts that were made to remove sir Robert Walpole from administration, seemed, in Cave's opinion, to call for an abler reporter than Guthrie. Johnson was selected for the task; and his execution of it may well justify the admiration which we have so often avowed for those wonderful powers of mind, which, apparently, bade defiance to all impediments of external fortune.
He was only thirty-two years of age, little acquainted with the world; had never, perhaps, been in either house, and certainly had never conversed with the men whose style and sentiments he took upon himself to imitate. But so well and skilfully did he assume, not merely the sedate and stately dignity of the lords, and the undaunted freedom of the commons, but also the tone of the respective parties, that the public imagined they recognised the individual manner of the different speakers. Voltaire, and other foreigners of distinction, compared British with Greek and Roman eloquence; and ludicrous instances are detailed by Johnson's biographers, of praises awarded to Pulteney or to Pitt, in the presence of the unsuspected author of
the orations which had excited such regard"! For Johnson confessed, that he composed many of the speeches entirely from his own imagination, and all of them from very scanty materials.
This confession he undoubtedly made from his love of truth, and not for the gratification of vanity. When he heard that Smollett was preparing his History of England, he warned him against relying on the debates as authentic; and, on his death-bed, he professed that the recollection of having been engaged in an imposture was painful to him. That this was a refined scrupulosity the most rigid moralist must allow; but, nevertheless, it is matter for congratulation, that the liberality of parliament no longer subjects its reporters to the subterfuges which we have thus briefly attempted to describe. And a comparison of this age and its privileges with the restrictions of former times, may not be without its use, if, by reminding us that we were not always free, it teaches us political contentment, suggests to us the policy of moderation, and enables us to love liberty, and yet be wise.
OXFORD, NOVEMBER, 1825.
See Boswell, and sir John Hawkins.
The List of fictitious Terms used by Cave to disguise the real
Names that occur in his Debates.
Abingdon, Ld... Adonbing or Plef
Eugene, Prince.. Eunege
Lymerick, Lord.. Lyromick
Sandys, Mr... Snadsy Scarborough, Lord.. Sarkbrugh Scroop, Mr... Screop Sidney, Lord.. Sedyin Selwin, Mr... Slenwy Shaftsbury, Lord..Shyftasbrug Shippen, Mr... Skeiphen Sloper.. Slerop Somers.. Sosrem Somerset.. Sosermet Southwell.. Suthewoll Strafford.. Stordraff Stair.. Stari Stanislaus.. Stasinlaus Sundon.. Snodun Talbot.. Toblat Thomas.. Tsahom Thomson, Mr... Thosmon Tracey.. Tryace Trenchard.. Trachnerd Trevor, Mr... Tervor Turner.. Truron Tweedale, Marquis of.. Tewelade Tyrconnel, Lord.. Trinocleng Vernon, Admiral.. Venron Vyner, Mr... Vynre or Venry Wade.. Weda Wager, Admiral.. Werga Wakefield.. Wafekeild Waller, Mr... Welral Walpole, Sir Robert.. Walelop Walpole, Mr... Walelop Walter, Mr... Gusbret Watkins, Mr... Waknits Wendover.. Wednevro Westmoreland.. Westromland William.. Wimgul Willimot, Mr... Guillitom Winchelsea, Lord.. Wichensale Winnington, Mr... Wintinnong Wortley, Mr... Wolresyt or Werotyl Wyndham..Gumdahm Wynn..Ooyn Yonge.. Yegon
The List of fictitious Characters used by Cave to disguise the
Places that occur in his Debates.
Blenheim.. Blehneim or Blenhem