1825 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Hawkesworth

Joseph Cradock, 1825 ca.; Literary and Miscellaneous Memoirs (1828) 4:184-87.



I became intimate with Dr. Hawkesworth at Lord Sandwich's table at the Admiralty, where I constantly met him about the time of his publishing Cook's Voyages. After this publication, my friend Johnny Ludlam, (who did not like Lord Sandwich) and who was exceedingly sarcastical, rallied me in company, on the improvement made in Hawkesworth's principles by attending at that table, and how well he had suited his opinions to those of the company. I replied with truth, "that there was no public table in London, where any opinions, either indecent or irreligious, could be so little circulated. Lord Sandwich rarely conversed; as soon as dinner was done, the catches and glee book were brought. After coffee there were cards sometimes in winter; but in the country Lord Sandwich considered all as lost time, that was not given up to some manual exercise for the benefit of his health; however, at Leicester I kept all secret from Lord Sandwich, and, as Ludlam was musical, I introduced him whenever it was in my power.

Dr. Hawkesworth was a most agreeable companion; but he became careless and luxurious; hurt his constitution by high living; and was consequently very unhappy. His excellent and intelligent wife was always discreet; and had the management of his great work, the "Voyages," been left entirely with her, nothing either immoral or offensive would ever have appeared before the public. I never knew, till lately, how much merit, in former publications, was due to her. She was an unassuming woman, of very superior talent. The Doctor never "sinned" but against himself. He was quite finical in his dress, by which he sometimes rendered himself subject to ridicule, though a favourite with all. When Lord Sandwich was about to embark at Portsmouth, with Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Solander, and a very large party of friends, the Doctor was invited to accompany them, and was not a little gratified by the compliment that was paid him; but when his Lordship mentioned something of a cork-wig, the Doctor was all astonishment. "A cork-wig! my Lord; I never heard of such a thing." "Oh, yes," says Lord Sandwich, "always on these little water excursions we put on our cork-wigs, and I have ordered one to be prepared for you." The Doctor paused, looked very grave, and at last recollected an engagement that would absolutely prevent him from having the honour of attending his Lordship. However, finding that no excuse would be accepted, he at last submitted to the punishment. The Doctor, however, finding the laugh to run against him, was resolved to retaliate. When on board, and at leisure, he tried to turn the tables upon them, if possible. The Esquimaux Indians had lately been in England, and he determined to write a ludicrous voyage in character of one of them. This proved to be very witty, and was most highly relished and complimented by Lord Sandwich and all the party. I returned a manuscript copy of it to Mr. Bates, for it was never printed, and I have never seen any part of it since. I recollect something that Lord Sandwich quoted as highly characteristic. They had endeavoured to give the Esquimaux some idea of feminine beauty, by shewing him a Gallery of English Beauties, and wished to know which he preferred. He saw no beauty in any of them; but at Portsmouth, near the Sally-port, he suddenly called them all out from dinner, to see a perfect specimen. It was the Sun painted in full splendour, and of great magnitude, on a sign-post. The whole of what I read appeared to me to possess much merit.