1810 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Whaley

George Hardinge, 1810 ca.; Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the XVIII Century (1817-58) 1:502-03.



At the same Eton school [Sneyd Davies] formed an acquaintance with Mr. Dodd, afterwards of Swallow-field-place in Berkshire, and a Member of Parliament for the Borough of Reading. — They continued their acquaintance at King's, where Mr. Dodd was a Gentleman Commoner.

To this gentleman was attached Whaley, of the same College, his tutor.

The pupil was no scholar; but he was a favourite of many ingenious, and clever men, as well as of others, who were exemplary in worth, and were of high rank. Lord Fane described him as a fine horse ill broke-in. He was generous, open-hearted, and convivial, — friendly, and hospitable to a fault.

Whaley was of a more dissipated, and wild character. He died in distress; and his Kingsland friend, whom nothing else could have seduced from his diffidence, for he had a modesty unexampled in the estimate of his own powers, gave to him some of his poetry, to be inserted in his Collection of Poetical Miscellanies, published for bread. — But his name was to he concealed — as it was.

From this Collection some of the Poems, written by DAVIES, and judiciously selected, found their way into Dodsley's Collection, but were still anonymous.

In one of DAVIES'S Letters there is an allusion to the difficulties of his friend; and, as it is most honourable to his feelings, it shall be copied in its place.

It is not, upon the first view, easy to account for what is called friendship, in the union of three such characters. — But friendships, made at school, or even at College, are seldom permanent. We are therefore so pleased when they are, that we readily forgive, and almost admire, the amiable prejudice of a persevering attachment, where merit on one side has no claim, or, at the best, an equivocal one, to the honour, and sanction of the intercourse on the other.

But, amongst the Manuscripts preserved at Kingsland, there is a very short note from Whaley to DAVIES, and countersigned by Dodd, which is curious, because it marks what gave the first impression of Lord Camden's promising fame at the Bar; and the fact is the more pleasing, because it arose from the zeal of his professional exertions for Mr. Dodd, his personal friend.

He was Counsel for him, and victorious, in a contested Election for the Borough of Reading, in 1740.