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209 The Inspector...
„Moderator, March 15th, 214.....Spy, April 4th,
From the above Table it appears that, between the Tatler and the Rambler, a period of forty-one years, one hundred and six periodical papers were printed; and that, between the Rambler and April 1809, a period of fifty-nine years, exactly a like number has been published; consequently, however prolific we may conceive the present age to be in works of this description, it must evidently yield, in point of rapidity and fertility of production, to the prior half of the last century.
Α Ρ Ρ Ε Ν DI X
SINCE the preceding volume has been sent to the press, I have been solicitous to discover, what, in a work of such extent, must almost necessarily occur, the papers which previous research had failed to detect. The result has been an addition of seven to the catalogue; and of these I shall now proceed to give a brief account.
215. PEREGRINATIONS OF THE MIND. Of the author of this small collection of essays, I believe the only record extant is to be found in the Biographical Dictionary of Mr. Stephen Jones : a little work of great value, for the accuracy of its dates, and for the neatness and precision of its style.
“ William Baker," relates Mr. Jones, “ a learned printer in Fenchurch-street, born at Reading, 1744, was the son of an eminent schoolmaster in that town. From his youth he was greatly addicted to study, and his friends favoured his inclinations by making him a printer. His modesty was equal to his learning, and he was truly Gray's “ flower born to blush unseen.” His diffidence prevented his appearing much before the public as a writer; and his only publications are, “ Peregrinations of the Mind," a series of
essays in the manner of the Rambler; and “ Theses Græce et Latinæ Selectæ.” He died in London, Sept. 29, 1785, in the 44th year of hi age; and an elegant Latin epitaph to his memory is placed on the tomb of his family, in the church-yard of St. Mary, Reading.”
The Peregrinations consist of twenty-three essays; which, as the title-page asserts, are on subjects that are “ usually agitated in Life.” They are written with considerable ingenuity, and occasionally with much force of argument.
216. PERIODICAL ESSAYS. are, with the exception of No 10, the production of the Rev. Robert Nares, Archdeacon of Stafford. They were published weekly, on a Saturday, for
ten weeks; the first number being dated December 2, 1780; and the tenth, and last, February 3, 1781. It was the intention of the author to have indulged himself in “
greater excursions into the regions of pure Philosophy and Religion," than have usually been practised by periodical writers; and from the few specimens with which he has favoured us, it is to be regretted that the plan was so prematurely resigned. The style of Mr. Nares is, as might be expected, elegant and chaste; and were I to particularize any one of his effusions as pre-eminently pleasing, I should fix upon No 7, on the true cause of the delight so generally experienced from the representation of Tragedy, and which concludes with a highly poetical Ode to the Tragic Muse. These essays have just been republished with other Occasional Compositions of the author, in two volumes octavo.
217. The FEMALE MENTOR. This work consists of forty-four numbers; which, though under the adjunctive title of “ Select Conversations," partake of nearly all the requisites necessary to the formation of the periodical essay. The first appearance of the Female Mentor was in 1793; it reached a second edition in two volumes 12mo, in 1798; and may be characterized as a work of considerable merit; highly instructive in its tendency, interesting from choice of subject, and conveyed in language generally easy, flowing, and correct.
218. The GhoST. A paper published twice a week at Edinburgh, in the year 1796, under the assumed name of Felix Phantom. Each paper is dated from Fairyland ; and my copy, a thin folio, contains forty-six numbers; the first appeared on April 25, 1796, and the last on November 16, 1796. Neither in manner nor matter is the Ghost entitled to much attention.
219. The TRIFLER. That a periodical essay, , under this title, was published at Edinburgh, in the year 1796, we learn from the pages of the Ghost, who, in Nos. 11 and 15, bas condescended, and apparently not without reason, to ridicule the style of his brother essayist. · From the same source we are likewise informed, that another ephemeral work, in this fertile branch of literature, had started up, during the above period, in Glasgow; namely,
220. THE SYBIL; which Mr. Phantom, in