1775 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Brown

Elizabeth Carter to Elizabeth Montagu, 31 October 1775; Letters to Mrs. Montagu, ed. Montagu Pennington (1817) 2:339-40.



By what I have seen of Dr. Brown's writings, he appeared to me to have considerable talents, and to have applied them to the service of virtue, and I think, he was by no means regarded in the manner which his merit as an author deserved. The world, which shows great lenity to open and profligate wickedness, never gives a favorable turn to a doubtful conduct. Wilkes and Churchill were read and admired, for what reason no unprejudiced person can guess, unless they run all lengths of a party; Dr. Brown was abused and neglected, principally, I imagine, because he found the measures and persons whom he had too hastily approved, less deserving than he had thought them. I think it is very probable that the cruel sarcasms which were so often thrown out against him in the papers, might exasperate the sufferings of a distempered mind, and drove his disorder to its last terrible violence. It plainly appears by his letter to Dr. Lowth, that he was extremely sensible to the treatment which he had received from the world.