1831 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Huggins

John Wilson Croker, Note in Boswell, Life of Johnson, ed. Croker (1831) 1:371n.



Huggins, the translator of Ariosto. His enmity to Baretti and Johnson will be explained by the following extract from a MS. letter of Dr. Warton to his brother, dated Winslade, 28th April, 1755.

"He (Huggins) abuses Baretti infernally, and says that he run off with a gold watch (you remember the present); that he one day lent Baretti the watch to know when to return from a walk to dinner, and could never get it afterwards; that he applied to him in London; that after many excuses Baretti skulked, and then got Johnson to write to Mr. Huggins a suppliant letter; that this letter stopped Huggins awhile, while Baretti got a protection from the Sardinian ambassador; that then Johnson had the assurance to write him, Huggins, a sneering letter, defying his power to touch Baretti; that then Huggins applied to Sir Thomas Robinson, secretary of state, to get the ambassador to revoke his protection, which he did; and that, at last, with great difficulty, the watch was got from a pawnbroker's, to whom Baretti had sold it.

"What a strange story, and how difficult to be believed, especially considering who it comes from! Huggins wanted to get an approbation of his translation from Johnson; but Johnson would not, though Huggins says 'twas only to get money from him. To crown all, he says that Baretti wanted to poison Croker. This makes the whole improbable, but crowns the story. Are not these rich anecdotes? I told Jones, and commissioned him to tell St. John the whole truth. Dr. Brown, —'s neighbour, got Arisoto for Queen's. By some means or other, Johnson must know this story of Huggins. How infamous is it, if it should be false!" Baretti had been employed by Huggins to revise his translation.

The person whom Huggins accused Baretti of an attempt to poison was the Rev. Temple Henry Croker, the author of several works, and amongst others of a translation of Ariosto's Orlando, published in 1755, and of his Satires, in 1759.