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towards Blagdon; and presently an Expostulatory Letter, in all the excellence of writing, ascribed to a man of rank and fortune, and another, from a man also of rank and excellence, were published, which at once gave celebrity to the dispute, and, in the end, re-instated the Curate, the license which was given to a disciple of the elect lady being recalled. A short time before this, Mr. Bere had published his Appeal to the Public, in answer to Sir Abraham, on which the Baronet and his book disappeared. Sir A. is returned, but the pamphlet is buried in oblivion.
The wickedness of the object proposed to themselves in this persecution of an innocent man, by Sir A. and H. More, only because he presumed to censure the conduct of the schoolmaster, is al most incredible. He was to be turned out of the curacy, then tried as denying the Trinity, and to be deprived of his living and stripped of his gown. They declared they had evidence sufficient for this proceeding; and if the public voice had not execrated their conduct, they would have accomplished their design.
Immediately on his re-instatement by Dr. Moss, dispatched to Bath from his father the Bishop, the signatures of nine clergymen were procured by the industry of Mrs. More and her party, who always work secretly and under ground, to contradict the Curate in some facts advanced ; and defeated in her original and flagrantly wicked purpose, she now stoops to the mean drudgery of, by
. private influence with her friends and acquaintances, to procure advertisements, with as many signatures as possible, to destroy the veracity of Mr. Bere, and to protract animosity in the neighbourhood, attended with the disgusting and shocking circumstances of men, who ought to be respectable, soliciting people to sign backwards and forwards in the same cause! All this while H. More, pretending to be ill, and reported by her friends to be dying, because she was ashamed, on the publication of Mr. Bere's Address to her, to come out and publicly shew herself, is busily engaged, with some help, in preparing “ Animadversions on the Curate's Three Publica« tions."
Of Mrs. More's “ Animadversions” on the Curate's three books, I promised here to take some notice. That will be but short, and of its brevity my reader will have little reason to complain. The book was chiefly written by Hannah, here she is not altogether a “ Miss Moon," and the other parts by a “ damned poet.” The mother of this book is a woman of imagination, but she imagines mischief, and fabricates and publishes falsehoods of really honest and good men, with the same moral non-chalance and contempt of the evangelical golden rule, with which she would conceive and bring forth a dramatic character in a play. The foster-father has also been sipping and even licking up some drops of the heavenly spring, which have been left as dregs in the cup
of the learned; but having no natural imagination, if all the paper in the King's printing-office were made into kites, it would not buoy him up one hundred yards the Parnassian hill. His paperkite always comes down with him, and he breaks a leg or an arm, and is sure every time to “be “ damned.” The luckless wight must now try his hand at prose, in hopes of “ working out his “ salvation" among the non-descripts, and by a strange intellectual imbecility in what ought to be a work of facts, truths, demonstration and reasoning, he employs on prose more imagination than ever he could muster before, in the delineation of the characters of a “ damned play.”. Reader! what beauty or comeliness, what natural graces can you suppose the offspring produced from the commerce of such minds to possess ? In plain English, it is a fạrrago of falsehood throughout, unworthy of a more particular criticism, unnoticed by every liberal person, from which all turn away 'with disgust, delivered gratis to, but rejected by, the public, the production of the forlorn paroxysm of defeated malignity, and hostility to the church and rational religion, which has reduced H. More, and her party, to the disgraceful necessity of defending many falsehoods by many others. As she has thus succeeded in getting this minor poet, this praise-God-bare-bones, by madly making a work of argument and fact a work of fiction, and by so doing damn himself in prose, now “ twice ! damned;" it is not improbable but she may pre
vail with Sir A. Elton; already damned in prose, to break out into poetry, that he also may be “ damned in verse." So the devil always misleads his tools. .
Instead of candidly acknowledging, her error, as became a good, an ingenuous or great mind, or contriving some method of conciliation by the intervention of friends and neighbours; submitting the dispute to the arbitration of proper persons, as the only way to preserve any degree of reputation, she employs herself in tempting the Curate to lose sight of the main question, by involving him in personal contradictions with her disciples, or in meditating and executing some scheme of vengeance against those who had courage to despise her and Sir A's. system of terror, and with firmness defended the cause of the established church, in supporting the interests of the cruelly treated Mr. Bere. In all these paltry and detestable means, similar to her accusations against Mrs. Yearsley, she affects a consequential superiority; which only renders her contemptible, to which she is entitled neither by birth, merit, excellence, or i rank in society. In God's name, who is H. More, who arrogates so much, takes the liberty to insult; to injure, and retires into her room, and dares not or cannot vindicate her conduct? She is the daughter of J. More, first a menial servant to Mr. Berkeley, then a teacher of a charity school, at 251. à year; then herself and sisters keep a school, which they open on the produce of a subscription ; then
a play-wright, &c. &c. &c. But all this is no disgracę to Mrs. More, more than it would have been to Mr. Bere to have been (if what she says were true) the son of a publican. It is the ma, licious disposition of her heart to calumniate, to injure and ruin others, under a robe of religious sanctity, that disgraceth her. Her genealogy is a fact in biography proper to be recorded, but would not have been repeated in this page, had it not been for the foolish, mean, malevolent purpose, with which in her and the “ damned “ poet's” “ Animadversions," she laid a false account of Mr. Bere before the public, as I am well assured. Malevolence rankles in her heart.. I weep for her. She is incurable. She did triumph over poor Mrs. Yearsley, and hoped for a victory over the church; but she has been defeated with irremediable disgrace, and, therefore, she and her sorry defenders are now become desperate. It is very remarkable, that there has not yet been any thing published on her side, excellent in argument, or decent of temper.
Respecting the true character of H. More, the world, till lately, has been ignorant. In the course of my remarks on her writings, or writings ascribed to her, I have had occasion at times to notice the complexion of her heart, as well as her literary talents. Let me then, here, briefly re-capitulate her character as a writer, and as a woman.