1842 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Henry Baker

C. H. Timperley, in Encyclopaedia of Literary and Typographical Anecdote (1842) 2:732.



1774, Nov. 25. Died, HENRY BAKER, F.R.S. &c. an ingenious and eminent naturalist, and author of the Microscope made Easy, Employment for the Microscope, and other learned works. He was born in London, May 8, 1698, and on Feb. 17, 1713, was bound apprentice to Mr. John Parker, a bookseller in Pall Mall, to whom he served an apprenticeship. In April, 1720, be turned his attention to teaching two young ladies, who were born deaf and dumb, to understand and speak the English language, and was so highly successful that he was induced to persevere in the prosecution of his valuable and difficult undertaking, and all his pupils bore the best testimony to the ability and good effect of his instruction. On April 30, 1729 he married Sophia, youngest daughter of Daniel De Foe.

In 1728 Mr. Baker, under the assumed name of Henry Stonecastle, as Steele had before done under that of Isaac Bickerstaff, projected, and for nearly five years, solely conducted the Universal Spectator, a periodical work, published weekly; during that time by far the greater part of the essays were written by him. A selection from these essays has been since published in four volumes, and has passed through several editions. In 1737 he published in two volumes, 8vo. Medulla Poetarum Romanorum, an arranged selection of passages from the Roman poets, with translations in English verse.

Mr. Baker was a poetical writer in the early part of his life. His Invocation to Health got abroad without his knowledge, but was reprinted by himself in his Original Poems serious and humorous, in two parts, published in 1725 and 1726. Among these poems are some tales as witty and as loose as Prior's. He was the author also of the Universe, a poem, intended to restrain the Pride of Man, which has been often reprinted. It has been said of Mr. Baker, that "he was a philosopher in little things."