1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Brown

Thomas Davies, in Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick (1780) 1:204-06.



It appears, that Dr. Browne was of a very warm temper and a haughty spirit. His friendship for Mr. Garrick not having any rivalship from literary spleen, continued uninterrupted to his death. But Dr. Warburton exacted more condescension to his will, more implicit resignation to his dictates, and a firmer reliance on the certainty of his opinions, than Dr. Browne was willing to pay. About a year before his death, he was drawn into a public expostulation with Dr. Lowth, who, in his letter to Bp. Warburton, intimated that Dr. Browne was the bishop's "creature of obsequious deputy." He resented this attack with much honest warmth, but with great good manners. Dr. Lowth answered him with great civility, and cleared himself from any intention to derogate from his character. I was sorry to observe in Dr. Browne's letter to Dr. Lowth, some expressions which seemed to contradict his general language in conversation, respecting the bishop of Gloucester.

In his letter to Dr. Lowth he asserts, that he had frequently, (not only in his writings but in conversation) contradicted particular notions of the bishop; and that notwithstanding this freedom which he had used with this great man, their friendship was as unbroken as ever. In short, he seems to insinuate, that Warburton was of too generous and noble a mind to exact that mean submission to his will which Dr. Lowth had accused Dr. Browne of paying him. How this declaration can be reconciled to Dr. Browne's constant complaint among his friends, of bishop Warburton's overbearing temper and tyrannical behaviour, I cannot see.

Dr. Hurd's pliability and suppleness of disposition he made no scruple to talk of in very plain terms. I cannot bring myself, said Browne, to give up the freedom of my mind to Warburton, and therefore we do not agree, "but Dr. Hurd will never quarrel with him" — intimating very plainly, that this learned divine had no opinion of his own, in contradiction to that of his right reverend friend and patron.

Dr. Browne had a soul full of gratitude: his honour and integrity were unquestioned by all who knew him.