In a malignant epistle from Curll, the bookseller, to Pope, in 1737, Mr. Spence is introduced as an early patron of Dodsley:
'Tis kind indeed a Livery Muse to aid,
Who scribbles farces to augment his trade:
Where You and Spence and Glover drive the nail,
The devil's in it if the plot should fail.
The Rev. Joseph Spence, M.A. was fellow of New college, Oxford. In 1742 he was made professor of modern history, and presented to the rectory of Great Horwood, in Buckinghamshire, and in 1754 prebendary of Durham. He wrote An Essay on Pope's Odyssey, and a work entitled Polymetis, or an enquiry concerning the agreement between the works of the Roman poets and the remains of the ancient artists, being an attempt to illustrate them from each other. This ornament of polite literature was unfortunately drowned in a canal in his garden at Byfleet, in Surry, August 28, 1768.