Joseph Cooper Walker

Anonymous, Memoir in Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the XVIII Century (1817-58) 7:681-88.

The Memoirs of Alessandro Tassoni had been finished by Mr. J. C. Walker a short time previous to his decease, and were afterwards published in 1815 by his brother S. Walker, Esq. M.R.I.A. In the editor's Preface he reprints the preceding Memoir of his brother from the Gentleman's Magazine; and adds several letters to himself from his brother's friends, — Dr. Robert Anderson, Miss Anderson, the Rev. John Black, author of the Life of Tasso, Sir Richard Clayton, of Adlington, and Robert Watson Wade, Esq. of London. All these letters are highly honourable to the character of Mr. Walker. Dr. Anderson observes: "Of Joseph Cooper Walker it may justly be said, that he was known to no one by whom his death has not been lamented; endeared as he was to me by his virtues, and the interchange of reciprocal amities, and much as I respected his attainments as a classical and polite scholar, I never desire to part with the remembrance of his loss. It is a satisfaction to me to think that the friend and brother of his heart is the faithful guardian and executor of his literary fame."

A Poem to the memory of Mr. Walker by his friend the Rev. H. Boyd, consisting of 24 stanzas, is also printed in the editor's Preface; and this is followed by an extract from a Letter from Mr. Hayley to Mr. S. Walker, dated 28th May 1810. "I feel a melancholy delight in what you tell me of your fraternal intention to preserve the rural retreat and library of your amiable brother, as monuments sacred to his memory; and I shall feel particularly gratified, if the few hasty lines which arose spontaneously from my heart on the perusal of your letter, have any power to soothe the anguish of recent sorrow, that must press very heavily on the near and affectionate relatives of my departed friend! Forgive their imperfection. and receive them as a sincere though petty mark of my sympathy in your loss, and of the regard with which I am, dear Sir, yours, &c. W. H."

Of gentle manners, and a generous mind,
Friendly to Science, and to Nature kind:
Zealous to make the worth of others known,
Yet often apt to underrate his own!
Such WALKER liv'd, enjoying mental wealth,
Tho' to retirement doom'd by failing health!
Ye bards of Italy, and Erin, praise
The liberal herald of your various lays!
Endear'd to many, tho' he liv'd apart,
So widely spread the virtues of his heart;
Affection grew from letters that he penn'd,
Those who ne'er saw the Man revere the Friend;
And yet to meet him in those regions trust
Where God appoints the union of the just.
W. H.

This epitaph is inscribed upon an urn in the library of St. Valeri; in which library it was Mr. S. Walker's intention to preserve religiously all his brother's collection of books. He then enumerates his literary friends, as follow: W. Hayley, Esq., Dr. John Black, Lord Woodhouselee, W. Marsden, Esq. F.R.S., T. Johnes, Esq., W. Roscoe, Esq., T. Pennant, Esq., J. Ritson, Rev. H. J. Todd, Dr. R. Anderson, Dr. David Irving, Mrs. C. Smith, J. Penn, Esq., Miss A. Bannerman, Eyles Irwin, Esq., W. Preston, Esq., Rev. E. Berwick, Rev. H. Boyd, T. J. Mathias, Esq., Rev. Dr. T. Zouch, Sir R. Clayton, Bart., Mrs. H. Tighe, Rev. W. Parr Greswell, Rev. W. Shepherd, Isaac Ambroke Eccles, E. Malone, Di Lingi Angeloni, Sig. Gaetano Polidori, Abate Melchior Cesarotti, Sig. Tomasano de Ocheda, Miss Susannah Watts, Miss Clara Reeve, Bp. Percy, J. Balfour, Esq., Rev. E. Ledwich, Gen. Vallancey, Miss Charlotte Brooke, Earl of Charlemont, Dr. Young, Bishop of Clonfert, R. Kirwan, Esq., Rev. Dr. Beaufort, Dr. Mervyn Archdall, Isaac Weld, Esq., Sir W. Ouseley, Horace Walpole, Dr. J. Aikin, Miss A. Plumtree, Rev. C. Dunster, Mr. Burrowes, Dr. C. Burney, Rt. Hon. W. B. Conyngham, F. Hardy, Esq., and J. Pinkerton. And more particularly two eminent noblemen, Philip Earl of Hardwicke and the Earl of Carlisle.

On the 14th of April, 1810, Mr. Walker was buried in the churchyard of St. Mary, Dublin, where the following epitaph was placed on his tomb:

"Under this stone (and adjoining the grave of his revered father and mother) are deposited the mortal remains of JOSEPH COOPER WALKER, Esq. who departed this life at St. Valeri, Co. Wicklow, on 12th April, 1810, in the 49th year of his age.

"The gentleness of his manners and the purity of his heart endeared him to all who knew him. His accomplished mind placed him high in society; but his literary works are the best monument of his mental powers. His long-tried patience, under the affliction of sickness, was supported by Christian piety and confidence in his Creator. The sincere sorrow of a numerous circle of attached friends bespeaks the amiable qualities of his heart; and this humble memorial (placed on his grave by his afflicted brother and sister) attests their grateful recollection of his fraternal affection, and of his many virtues. M.DCCC.XII. S. W. J. W."

The following are the principal works of Mr. Walker:

1. Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards. 4to. 1787.

2. Historical Essay on the Dress of the ancient and modern Irish. To which is subjoined, a Memoir on the Armour and Weapons of the Irish. 4to. 1788.

3. Historical Memoir on Italian Tragedy.

4. Historical and Critical Essay on the Revival of the Drama in Italy.

5. Memoirs of Tassoni. 12mo, published after his death by his brother Mr. S. Walker.

Several of his letters were published by Mr. Dawson Turner, in the Pinkerton Correspondence; some extracts of which, illustrative of Mr. Walker's own works, are reprinted in this collection. Some of Mr. Walker's letters are also to be found in the Correspondence of the celebrated Abate Cesarotti.