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

Bp. Thomas Percy

Joseph Cradock, in Literary and Miscellaneous Memoirs (1828) 4:292-93.



Dr. Percy was frequently a visitor to Dr. Farmer at Emanuel College, who, as well as Dr. Johnson, was not a little instrumental to the publishing of the "Ancient Ballads," but likewise adapting the title and name of the author to the meridian of Northumberland House; however, the Doctor always asserted that he never did make any such change of his original name, as publicly alluded to.

Dr. Percy, when in good mood, was one of the most entertaining companions I ever met with. After breakfast, when we lived in Dean-street, my first visit was generally to him; indeed, he was particularly attentive to me, and frequently took me with him to Dr. Johnson. My wife was not less intimate with the amiable Mrs. Percy, when she was wet-nurse at Buckingham House to the infant Prince Edward, afterwards Duke of Kent.

Dr. Percy not unfrequently introduced me at the Chaplain's table at St. James's, where I met with some of the first literary characters of the age. I must own, though some compensation was made, I have always regretted the loss of that table: each chaplain for his month admitted his select friends; the company was miscellaneous, but always instructive; and I never was witness to any altercation in that lettered society. Dr. Percy introduced Mr. Hume, and all the company were highly gratified with his conversation.

As to the cause of quarrel of Percy with my Emanuel friends, I can only speak as follows: Dr. Percy was so bright himself, that he was never satisfied with the progress of his son at Westminster; Mrs. Percy frequently lamented, and acted in this as I believe in every occurrence in life. When in town I would have done any thing to have kept peace between the father and son. The latter was lost in London; Oldershaw and others at last found him; but the young man soon died. Percy blamed Farmer and all at Emanuel for placing his son in a damp apartment, and would attribute his death to that. I was chiefly resident in Leicestershire, and miserable to find such a schism amongst my best friends. Johnson questioned me about it, and I found he strongly leaned to the Emanuel party: nothing was ever wrong in his eyes, I believe, with either Bennet, Oldershaw, or Farmer. To the last hour, from respect to Johnson's sincerity, with all his occasional roughness, we all bowed down before him.