1851 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Garden

Robert Pearse Gillies, in Memoirs of a Literary Veteran (1851) 1:56-58.



Truly his pursuits were both harmless and praiseworthy, though, from their manner, almost as ridiculous as the wildest vagaries of Monboddo; yet I rather think Gardenstone was looked upon as a shrewd sagacious man, who, at all events, thoroughly understood what is called "the main chance." In his declining years, when his heath became somewhat impaired, he appeared as an author by giving to the world two volumes, entitled, Travelling Memoranda, bearing for motto on the title page,—

Crowns in my purse I have, and goods at home,

And so am come abroad to see the world.

It would be charitable, or perhaps it is only just to suppose that the author intended nothing better in these memoranda than mere twaddle, for anything less edifying or amusing than his "itineraire" can hardly be imagined. He went to "see the world," this learned judge, but the harvest of his observation was indeed woefully meagre. He seems to have beheld little else than the reflection of his own unalterable dignity, and the gradual diminution of the siller crowns in his own purse, for many pages of his book are occupied exclusively with accurate copies of post-masters' and wine-merchants' bills. "Chablis," he observes, "suited him tolerably well for small-beer during dinner;" but by proper management, he did not fail to obtain the more generous and reanimating wines of Burgundy, Hermitage, Cote-roti, and Chateauneuf, of which the moderate prices are faithfully communicated, in order that the reader, when he went abroad, might do the like and avoid being cheated. If Lord Gardenstone had written an autobiography, would not his thoughts probably have run into similar channels? Should we not have been initiated into the deep mysteries of profit and loss on the various items of farming and housekeeping? But this he did not try, and his printed works, which fall within small compass, are, like those of his neigbour Monboddo, utterly forgotten now.