WEM: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1824.
"WEM, a parish and market town, in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford North, a rectory remaining in charge, in the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield, the deanery of Newport, and archdeaconry of Salop. 10 miles north of Shrewsbury, and 172 miles north-west of London. LAT. 52. 53 N. LONG. 2. 49 W. The town contains 332 houses, 1,555 inhabitants. The parish, 706 houses, 8,608 iahabitants. Market on Thursday. Fairs, First Thursday in March, May 6, Holy Thursday, June 29, Last Thursday in September, and November 22.
Wem is pleasantly situated near the source of the river Roden, from whence Horseley infers, that it is the site of the ancient Rutunium. It consists of one large, open street, with a few smaller ones. The church which has been lately rebuilt, is a handsome structure, with a lofty tower, and a fine chancel. There are also a free school amply endowed, two Independent meeting houses, and one belonging to the Baptists.
When William the Conqueror had deprived the English of their estates, in order to bestow them upon his officers, the greater part of Shropshire falling to the lot of Roger de Montgomery, that leader granted twenty eight towns, or manors, to William Pantulf. Wem being one of the chief of these manors, Pantulf made it his seat, and the head of his barony.
The barony of Wem passed in succession, from the Pantulfs to the Botelers, the Ferrers, the Greystocks, the Dacres, the Howards, the Playters, and to Onslow, Wycherley, the Jeffreyses, and the Newports. The present Lord of the manor is the Earl of Darlington. See Franklin's valuable History of Wem.
SIR THOMAS ADAMS, the founder of the free school at Wem, was born in this town in the year 1586. He was brought up a draper, in London, but received a liberal education at the university of Cambridge. In 1639 Mr. Adams was elected sheriff of London, on which he gave up the business and devoted his time entirely to the duties of his office, and the good, as he conceived, of the Commonwealth. By his great diligence and perseverance be became so thoroughly master of his duty, as a publick citizen, that there were no honours which this great metropolis could confer which he did not receive. As president of St. Thomas's Hospital he exerted himself so effectually as to save that foundation from the ruin in which the injustice and fraud of one of the stewards had nearly involved it. He was often returned a burgess in Parliament, though his unvarying loyalty and the turbulent spirit of the times prevented his ever taking a seat in the great assembly of the nation. In 1645 he was elected Lord Mayor of London, which office he filled with the greatest faithfulness and disinterestedness: he had, however very high notions of prerogative, and on this account acquired the scoffing title of the Prerogative Lord Mayor. Nor did his inflexible integrity to the unfortunate Charles escape the canting censure of the pseudo-saints of his day, who compared him to the wicked Ahaz, for breaking, as they said, his promise; though the author (an author, it must be confessed, not always to be depended upon) of Gangraens asserts that he performed his promise punctually and conscientiously. The enemies of Charles the First, who were then coming into power, thought proper to search his house in pursuit of that unhappy monarch, and finding that Adams was not easily to be moulded in a form exactly suitable to their purposes, sent him to the Tower, where he remained sometime. He however persevered in his attachment to the royal cause, and is said to have carried his zeal so far as to make a remittance of ten thousand pounds to Charles the Second while in exile. On the eve of the restoration he was deputed by the corporation of London to go with General Monk to Breda in Holland, to offer their congratulations to the king and to attend him to England: he was then in his seventy- fourth year. Charles, though by no means noted for gratitude, remembered the services of his old friend and advanced him to the dignity of a baronet, a few days after his inauguration in the kingly functions. His munificence and charity, private as well as publick, were exemplary. Besides establishing the free school at Wem, he founded an Arabick professorship in the university of Cambridge, which afforded a pension to the learned Abraham Wheelock.
At the suggestion of this eminent scholar, who was also a native of Shropshire, Sir Thomas Adams was at the expense of printing the Persian gospels, and of dispersing them into the Eastern countries, with the intent, as he expressed it, 'of throwing a stone at the forehead of Mahomet.' Though the part he had taken in the publick troubles must have considerably impaired his property, yet the open stream of his benevolence flowed as freely as ever. He distributed his wealth with a liberal hand for the support of hospitals and the relief of the poor. Graceful in his person, amiable in his deportment, and eloquent in his discourse, he won the esteem and respect of all who knew him, attracting others to the paths of virtue by the brightness of his own example. His goodness, in the quaint but forcible language of his eulogist, "was not only, at his tongue's, but his fingers' ends." In his last years he was afflicted with that excruciating disorder, the stone, which he bore with a degree of fortitude consistent with his other virtues. He died on the 24th of February 1667, in the eighty- first year of his age.
DR. HENRY ALDRICH, an eminent divine, and polite scholar, was rector of Wem. He was born at Westminster, in 1647, and was educated in the college school, under the famous Busby. In 1662, he was admitted into Christchurch college Oxford, where he continued, in the several situations and with the appropriate commendations of a diligent student, useful tutor, and excellent master, to the day of his death, December 14, 1710. Having passed through the gradations of bachelor of arts in 1666, and master in 1660, be took orders, and became an eminent tutor in his college. In 1681, he was installed canon of Christ church, and in the same year accumulated the degrees of bachelor and doctor in divinity. During the reign of James the second, he bore a conspicuous part in the controversy with the papists, and published several tracts; ranking, according to Bishop Burnet, (Hist. of his own Times,) among those eminent English clergymen, ' who examined all the points of popery, with a solidity of judgment, a clearness of arguing, a depth of learning, and a vivacity of writing, far beyond any thing that had before that time appeared in our language.' Soon after the revolution, viz., in 1689, Dr. Aldrich was installed dean of Christ church, in which high station he behaved in the most worthy and exemplary manner, and exerted himself in promoting learning, virtue,and religion. By his skill in architecture he improved the buildings of the college; and that part of it called Peckwater quadrangle, so deservedly admired, was designed by him. The parish church of All Saints, in Oxford, and the chapel of Trinity College, which be designed, are further specimens of his architectural knowledge. In order to excite and cherish a taste for polite literature, be annually published some piece of an ancient Greek author, as a new year's gift to the students of his house. The works of this kind which he edited were "Xenophontis Memorabilia," Gr. and Lat. Oxon. 1690, 8vo.; Xenophontis Sermo de Agesilao," Gr. and Lat. Oxon. 1691, 8vo.; " Aristeae Historia LXXII. Interpretum," Gr. and Lat. Oxon. 1692, 8vo.; " Xenophontis de re equestri lib." Gr. and Lat. Oxon. 1693, 8vo.; " Epictetus et Theophrastus," Gr. and Lat. Oxon. 1707, 8vo; " Platonis, Xenophontis, Plutarchi, Luciani Symposia," Gr. Oxon. 1711, 8vo. He wrote likewise a system of Logick, intitled " Artis Logicae Compendium," Oxon. 1691, 8vo; and " Elements of Geometry," in Latin, never published. He was also concerned in Gregory's Greek Testament, printed at Oxford in 1703, fol. He wrote notes on Havercamp's edition of Josephus, and in concurrence with bishop Sprat, be revised the MS. of Lord Clarendon's History of the Rebellion. The tracts which he published in the popish controversy were, "A Reply to two discourses, lately printed at Oxford, concerning the Adoration of our Blessed Saviour in the Holy Eucharist," Oxford, 1687, 4to.; and " A Defence of the Oxford Reply, &c." Oxford, 1688, 4to.
Dr. Aldrich amused his academick leisure with musick and poetry. His abilities as a musician rank him, in the opinion of competent judges, among the masters of the science. He composed many services and anthems for the church service, and adapted English words to many of the motets of the Italian masters, some of which are frequently sung in our cathedrals as anthems. He established a musical school in his college, and at his decease bequeathed to it a most capital collection of church musick. Although he chiefly applied himself to sacred musick, yet being of a cheerful temper, and possessing a fund of humour, he occasionally diverted himself by producing pieces of a lighter kind. For the entertainment of smoakers, to which fraternity he belonged,he composed a smoaking catch to be sung by four persons whilst they were smoaking; and he was also the author of the popular catch, " Hark the bonny Christ church bells." As a Latin poet, Aldrich is entitled to some distinction. Two elegant pieces written by him are contained in the " Musae Anglicanae;" one on the accession of William the third, the other on the death of the Duke of Gloucester. The following epigram, intitled, " Causae Bibendi," is also inscribed to him:
"Si bone quid memini, causae, sunt quinque bibendi, Hospitis adventus, praesens sitis, atque future, Aut vini bonitas, aut quaelibet altera cause."
Thus translated: "If on my theme I rightly think, There are five reasons why men drink: Good wine, a friend, because I'm dry, Or lest I should be by and by, Or any other reason why."
The candour of Dr. Aldrich's temper, and the moderation of his principles, may be inferred from his having been appointed by William the third, in 1689, one of the commissioners for preparing matters towards introducing alterations in the service of the church, and accomplishing a comprehension of the dissenters; but the dread of innovation has always prevented the execution of this design. Besides the preferments above recited, Dr. Aldrich possessed the living of Wem, and in 1702 he was chosen prolocutor of the convocation. In 1710, he died at his college, leaving an order to be buried, without any memorial, in the cathedral.
'His modesty and humility, his easy pleasantry, his attention to academick business, and to the credit of his college, his exertions for the encouragement of learning, and the proofs which his memoirs afford of reputable talents, various accomplishments. and amiable qualities, unite to transmit his name with honour to posterity.'
JOHN ASTLEY, ESQ. This artist, from the peculiarity of his good fortune, rather than by his exertions as an artist, has obtained a memorial in the Biographical History, which appears to have been written by one who was well acquainted with him. [By Michael Adams, published by Hogg, in Paternoster row. No date.]
He was born at Wem, and received his early education in the country. His father was in the medical line. When of age to assume a profession, he was sent to London, and placed as a pupil under the care of Mr. Hudson. It is not known how long he staid with his master, but when be left him he visited Rome, and was there at the same time as Sir Joshua Reynolds.
After his return to England, he resided some months at a friend's house in London, and thence went to Dublin, where be practised as a painter for about three years, and in that time acquired three thousand pounds by his pencil.
His next adventure may be narrated in the words of the writer to whom we have alluded: "As he was painting his way back to London, in his own post chaise, with an outrider, he loitered with a little pardonable vanity, in his native neighbourhood, and visiting Knutsford assembly, with another gentleman, Lady Daniel, a widow then present, was at once so won by his appearance, that she contrived to sit to him for her portrait, and then made him the offer of her hand," a boon which he did not think it prudent to refuse.
The lady, by marriage articles, reserved her fortune to herself, but Astley's behaviour was so satisfactory to her, that she soon gave him a portion of her property, and dying shortly after, settled the whole of the Duckenfield estate (estimated at five thousand per annum) upon him, after the death of her daughter by Sir William Daniel. Astley, after the death of his lady, who was his senior, lived not in the most economical manner, and in a few years, he found his fortune diminished, when, unexpectedly the daughter of lady Daniel died, while he was in treaty for a post obit of "the whole in succession to her life."
"The news of this event reached Astley at midnight, who hurried instantly into Cheshire, and going through all forms, took possession of the estate, and returned to town before his wife's relations knew what had happened, or could take the measures they proposed to counteract his claim."
After this increase of fortune, be bought the house in Pall-mall, of which Mr. Pennant, in his account of London, speaks in the following manner:
"In Pall-mall, the Duke of Schomberg had his house; it was in my time possessed by Astley, the painter, who divided it into three, and most whimsically fited up the centre for "his own use."
He continued a widower for several years, until far advanced in life, when he married a third wife, a young lady, by whom he left three daughters and two sons.
In the decline of his life, he appeared to be disturbed by reflections upon the dissipated conduct of his early days, and, when near his end, was not without apprehensions of being reduced to indigence and want. He died at his house, Duckenfield Lodge, Cheshire, November 13, 1787, and was buried at the Church of that village.
This gentleman's talents, as an artist, were by no means of aa inferior class, "as the author can assert from his own knowledge, having seen a half-length portrait of a Mr. Payne, painted by Astley, about the year 1756, to which very few of his cotemporary artists could then have produced an equal; but he was not one of those who delighted in the art." Unlike Gainsborough, and Sir Joshua, he estimated his profession only by his genius, and having obtained a fortune, treated all future study with contemptuous neglect: however, be gave some proofs of good taste in architectural arrangements, both at his house in Pall-mall, in a villa on the terrace at Barnes, in Surry, and also at his seat, Duckenfield Lodge, all of which have been mentioned with much applause, as being excellent specimens of elegant domestick architecture.
It is not our intention to enter into a more minute investigation of the character of this favourite of fortune; we will therefore refer those who seek for more, to the examination of the work to which we have alluded; the writer of which concludes, by observing, that Astley "owed his fortune to his form; his follies to his fortune."
He had a brother, a surgeon of eminence, who resided at Putney, and who was unfortunately run over by a waggon, and killed upon Putney common: his fortune, which was not inconsiderable devolved on his brother John.
MR. JOHN IRELAND, was born at or near Wem. His father was a farmer, who, during the whole of a long life, was highly respected by all who knew him, for the probity of his mind, and the simplicity of his manners. His mother was daughter of the Rev. Thomas Holland, [This excellent man was more than thirty years minister of a dissenting congregation at Wem, in Shropshire. He was a younger brother, and had little or no support except from the income of his ministry, which (exclusive of presents from his congregation, who considered him as a father) did not amount to forty pounds a year. He sometimes boasted that he had educated ten children, three of them at Dr. Doddridge's academy, in a manner that qualified them to fill respectable stations in a respectable manner; that he had always a place at his table for any friend that called upon him; that a beggar never left his door without some sort of relief; and that he never had a dun at his gate, for he paid ready money for every article he purchased, except his milk score, which was discharged every Saturday night.] and great grand-daughter of the Rev. Philip Henry. [The first time Mr. Ireland was introduced to Doctor Johnson he was stated to be a descendant of Mr. Philip Henry, on which this great and good man remarked, in his emphatick manner, " Sir, you are descended from a man, whose genuine simplicity and unaffected piety would have done honour to any sect of Christians, and as a scholar he must have had uncommon acquirements, when Busby boasted of having been his tutor."]
The first circumstance that we learn concerning Mr. Ireland is, that during his childhood, a lady of considerable fortune, of the name of Shrimpton, was so partial to him, that she told his father he might consider his son John as provided for, as she would adopt him, and take care of his future fortunes. The reader will believe this lady was not very young, when he is informed that her first husband was the Mr. Wycherley of whom we have given an account, (p. 86.) As she always passed her summers at the house of Mr. Ireland's father, she insisted, on returning from one of these visits, on taking her favourite to her own house in Fludyer-street, Westminster, to which place he accompanied her before be was ten years of age. The airy hopes and flattering prospects this incident created soon vanished, for the lady not long after died without a will.
He was, soon after this, sent for a short time to his mother's brother, the Rev. Philip Holland, an accomplished and elegant scholar, and many years minister of a dissenting congregation at Bolton, in Lancashire. This gentleman undertook to teach a limited number of pupils, and it was intended his nephew should have been included in the list for a time sufficient to have qualified him for the ministry; but, for what reason we know not, his destination was afterwards changed.
Mr. John Holland, who about the year 1750 published two volumes of sermons, remarkable for their elegance, was his near relation, and we believe be was also descended from the translating Philemon Holland, of whom contemporary epigrammatist writes,
" Philemon with translations doth so fill us, He will not let Suetoniva be Tranquillus."
For parents to discover from the disposition of tho boy what will be the bias of the man, is not easy; and if it is found, it is not always acted upon: Mr. Ireland, at that early period, discovered a strong predeliction to letters and painting, but his friends thought be had also a turn for mechanicks, and therefore determined to make him a watchmaker, and to that business be was accordingly devoted.
While yet very young, be married an amiable and estimable woman, of a turn and temper exactly congenial with his own, and, with every prospect of success, engaged in an extensive business. In this, though his connections were numerous, and his knowledge of his art indisputable, he was not successful.
This has been ascribed to his having placed too great a confidence in some persons whom he entrusted in business, and this perhaps might be the immediate cause: but it is highly probable that his not being fortunate as a trader may be traced to other sources. Mr. Ireland appears to have had a stronger bias to the fine arts than to those denominated mechanical. For pictures and prints he had an enthusiastick fondness, and in each class, especially in the works of Mortimer and Hogarth, had well selected collections; and of books, a well chosen library. A collection of pictures and prints may sometimes engross more time than is compatible with the strict attention which business imperiously demands. The same reasoning will apply with still greater force to a collection of books, especially if the possessor reads the works he has purchased, which it has been said Mr. Ireland did, and that in an evening, Henderson and he alternately read to each other, and remarked- reasoned- differed- agreed- laughed- or wept, as they were incited by Sterne, Swift, Cervantes, or Shakspeare.
Added to this, the company Mr. Ireland kept were better calculated to inform his mind than improve his circumstances. Noscitur a socio is as applicable as noscitur a libris; he at that time lived on terms of the most unreserved intimacy with many men who were eminent in the arts, at the bar, and in the church; and at his table were to be met Mortimer, Gainsborough, and Henderson, with many other characters highly distinguished for talents and taste, most of whom have long since "Shook hands with death, and called the worm their kinsman."
Of Mortimer, Mr. Ireland has inserted the following account in his life of Henderson, where, after giving a list of the books which most attracted this actor's attention, and enumerating many that contained relations of barbarities at which almost every other man would have shuddered, he adds the following note:-
" If it should be inferred from hence that his disposition was cruel, the inference would be unjust. Mortimer, the historical painter, in whom were united the savage grandeur of Salvator Rosa, and the terrifick graces of Spagnolette; who joined to a sublimity of idea, and accuracy of delineation, not exceeded by Michael Angelo, a delicacy of pencil equal to Teniers; was most happy, and, I think, most successful, in painting objects from which the common eye withdrew."
" From hints in Fox's Book of Martyrs he made a number of most spirited sketches, in which are represented the sufferings of men, women and children, the executioners scorching their hands with lighted tapers, burning their eyes out with hot irons, and the whole exhibition of the mode of those powerful engines of argument, the whips, hooks, racks, but above all the thumb vice, by which unbelievers are screwed up to the proper faith.
" Yet with this disposition for contemplating and displaying such objects, Mortimer had a soul open as day to melting charity, a tear for pity, and a heart the most susceptible of tender impressions. He made the kindest allowances for the errors of others, and would not have trod upon the poor beetle. When be erred,- and who shall dare to name any man as faultless?- his errors had their root in virtues which the generous warmth of his heart carried to excess. Added to this, be had an hilarity that brightened every eye, and gladdened every heart. I knew his mind well, but that knowledge should have deterred me from attempting to describe it, had I considered that Sterne has so exactly delineated the leading features by which it was actuated, in the benevolence and seasibility of character which distinguished his uncle Toby.
" In the society of Mortimer I passed some of the happiest years of my life, and the remembrance of the very intimate, brotherly, and unbroken friendship with which we were united until his death, affords me one of those melancholy pleasures which may be felt, but cannot be described;- a tear drops at the recollection. The loss of such a friend leaves a chasm in one's life and happiness which is very rarely filled
With Gainsborough he was upon the most friendly terms, and that admirable artist presented to him an excellent portrait of Henderson, of whom Mr. Ireland was the first protector; for in his house this popular actor resided many years, as a friend and a brother, before he could be admitted to try his strength on the stage, though aided by every recommendation which Mr. Ireland or any of his connections could afford him. When Mr. Garrick afterwards recommended him to try his fortune oa the Bath stage, Mr Ireland took down a large party to give some sanction and support to the new performer on the first night of his appearance. Indeed, by all we have heard, he seems to have been full as much interested in Henderson's success as be was in his own, which, by these pursuits, was not likely to be much forwarded. But as this and the preceding conclusions are drawn from conjecture, as conjectures we request they may be received. Be the cause what it might, Mr. Ireland was thus thrown into a new walk, which, though it was neither paved with gold, nor strewed with roses, was, we believe much more congenial to his taste, and consonant to his talents, than that which he had quitted.
The Life and Letters of Henderson, which were published in 1786, are stated in the preface to have been the first book he had written: but this is probably meant to be understood, with some limitations, as intimating it to be the first book to which be prefixed his name; for previously to that time, it is thought he had written, or had been a party in writing, other volumes; as we also believe that many articles in some of the Reviews, and critiques and essays on the arts and other subjects, in prose and verse, which have appeared in the periodical prints, &c., are the productions of his pen.
The next publication with his name prefixed, was "Hogarth illustrated," in two volumes. For the works of Hogarth, we have already said, be had an early predeliction, so that we can readily conceive he engaged in their illustration, con amore. From his partiality to the arts, his eager enquiry into every circumstance that was connected with this eminent artist or his prints, and also from the numbers of eminent painters, &c., with whom he lived in habits of intimacy, the admirers of Hogarth,- and who are not his admirers?- had a right to expect that Mr. Ireland's Illustration should contain something worth their attention; and it is fair to conclude, that they were not disappointed: for a large impression was disposed of in less than three months. A second edition was printed soon afterwards.
In this performance Mr. Ireland, who was a warm, and it is thought, a successful advocate for the moral tendency of Hogarth's works, seems conscious that he may sometimes be thought too partial to his hero, and thus concludes the account of his life:-
' His character, and the illustrations I have attempted, are built upon a diligent investigation of his prints; if in any case it should be thought that they have biassed my judgment, I can truly say that they have informed it. From them I have learnt much which I should not otherwise have known, and to inspecting them I owe many very happy hours. Considering their originality, variety, and truth, if we take from the artist all that be is said to have wanted, he will have more left than has been often the portion of man.'
The book abounds with anecdotes, which the author's long connections with men conversant with such subjects enabled him to supply. These are generally told in an easy and agreeable style, and if not always precisely appropriate to the print described, have a general relation to the subject. For such of the prints as had not an inscription engraved under them, he has sometimes given a quotation, but more generally has written a motto himself. Some of these, particularly those of the Strollers, Evening, and the Stage Coach, are easy in the versification, and pointed in the allusion.
The next publication with Mr. Ireland's name, was the supplementary volume, compiled from Hogarth's papers. To this was prefixed the following advertisement:-
' The manuscripts from which the principal parts of this volume are compiled were written by the late Mr. Hogarth; had he lived a little longer, he would have methodised and published them. On his decease they devolved to his widow, who kept them sacred and entire until her death, when they became the property of Mrs. Lewis, of Chiswick, by whose kindness and friendship they are now in my possession. * They comprehend Hogarth's life and course of study, correspondence, political quarrels, &c.; the manuscript of the Analysis of Beauty, corrected by the author, with many remarks omitted in the printed copy; sundry memoranda relative to the subjects of his satire in many of his prints, &c.'
* [Of the following dedication which Hogarth intended for this work, Mr. Ireland gave a fac simile, copied from his hand writing.
THE NO DEDICATION.
Not dedicated to any Prince in Christendom, for fear it might be thought an idle piece of arrogance. Not dedicated to any man of quality, for fear it might be thought too assuming. Not dedicated to any learned body of men, as either of the Universities, or the Royal Society, for fear it might be thought an uncommon piece of vanity. Not dedicated to any one particular friend, for fear of offending another.
Therefore, dedicated to nobody; but if for once we may suppose nobody to be every body, as every body is often said to be nobody, then is this work dedicated to every body,
By their most humble and devoted W. HOGARTH]
This volume is of a size similar to the two which preceded it, but the engravings are on a large scale. It contains many curious particulars relative to the arts and other circumstances, and Hogarth has related them in a style that we did not think he could have written; it proves, that though a pen was not his proper instrument, he knew how to use it in a manner that expressed his ideas with clearness and precision: indeed we have always thought that where a man of a strong mind is perfect master of his subject, appropriate words will offer themselves. One little specimen of his versification we cannot resist transcribing. It is thus stated in the volume:
"His line of beauty drew him into so many disputes, that he at length determined to write a book, explain his system, and silence his adversaries. When his intentions were known, those who acknowledged his claim to superiority as an artist, were apprehensive that by thus wandering out of his sphere, and commencing author, he would lessen his reputation; those who ridiculed his system, presumed that he would overturn it, and the few who envied and hated the man, rejoiced in sure and certain hope that he would write himself into disgrace. All this he laughed at; and in the following epigram, whimsically enough describes his own feelings:-
What! a book, and by Hogarth !- Then twenty to ten, All he's gain'd by the pencil he'll lose by the pen. Perhaps it may be so- howe'er, miss or hit, He will publish- here goes- it's double or quit."
From being of the same name, he was very frequently mistaken for the late Mr. Samuel Ireland, to whom he was related. To prevent future misapprehension, the following advertisement was prefixed to this volume:
" It may be proper to state, that neither the two volumes published in 1791, nor this supplement, have any connexion with the Graphick Illustrations, which being written by Mr. Samuel Ireland, proprietor of the Shakspeare Papers, have given rise to many strange mistakes, and have been erroneously ascribed to John Ireland."
Mr. Ireland's adherence to his favourite artist was not confined to explaining his prints; he also published a spirited copy from a very interesting engraving of Hogarth's, which is in his own possession. It is entitled, "Enthusiasm Delineated," and the artist, after taking off two impressions, altered his copper-plate to "The Medley." The object of the satire is thus described in Hogarth's hand writing, under the original print:
" The intention of this print is to give a lineal representation of the strange effects resulting from literal and low conception of sacred beings, as also of the idolatrous tendency of pictures in churches, aad prints in religious books."
The author's portrait, engraved from a picture painted by his friend Mortimer, and prefixed to his first volume of Hogarth, is a striking resemblance. If we were to describe the original in the manner of Mr. Ames, and some other illustrators of portraits, we should add; that he was tall, thin, pale-faced, and sickly in his appearance; and indeed, his health, for the last two or three years of his life had been in so precarious a state as to induce him to remove from Poet's Corner, to Hans Place, Knightsbridge, from whence he removed to the vicinity of Birmingham, where he died in the year 1806."
" ASTON, a township in the parish of Wem, and in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford North. 1 mile east of Wem. 51 houses, 262 inhabitants."
" COTTON, a township in the parish of Wem, and in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford North. 75 houses, 458 inhabitants. 8 miles north of Wem."
" EDSTASTON, a township in the parish of Wem, and in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford North. A chapel to Wem, in the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield, the deanery of Newport, and archdeaconry of Salop. 2 miles north of Wem."
" HORTON, a township in the parish of Wem, and in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford North. 1½ mile north- west of Wem."
" LACON, a township in the parish of Wem, and in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford North. 4 houses, 45 inhabitants. 1½ mile north-east of Wem.
Part of Lacon is said to have belonged to one Bannister, who was steward to the unfortunate Duke of Buckingham, in the reign of Richard the third. The memory of Bannister is rendered infamous by his base treachery to his master.
It was chiefly through the counsels and the efforts of the Duke of Buckingham that Richard had been enabled to usurp the royal authority; but confederacies in crime are seldom long lived, and frequently end in the destruction of both the guilty parties. The cause of the rupture between the Duke and Richard is uncertain. Whether the Duke considered himself not sufficiently rewarded for his services, or the King thought his crown far from secure while this nobleman remained so powerful, or that when Richard through his means had attained to the crown, he became an object of envy to the person who had been the cause of his exaltation,- certain it is that the Duke endeavoured to excuse himself from being present at the coronation, and was induced at last to give his attendance, only by a peremptory message from the King. Immediately after the performance of the ceremony, the Duke retired to his own castle at Brecknock, where he bad the bishop of Ely in custody. Here he often conversed with that prelate, whose ready wit and solid judgment, so captivated the Duke that their conferences became daily longer and more frequent. It happened one day that the Dnke had opened his mind more freely than usual upon the present state of the kingdom, when the prelate who had observed the Duke's temper replied, 'you know my Lord that I was warmly attached to King Henry the sixth, and if I could have prevailed, his son, and not King Edward, should have inherited the crown, but finding that it was the will of God that Edward should reign, I was not so mad as to strive in favour of a dead man against the living. I therefore attached myself to King Edward, whose faithful servant I was during his life, and would have been glad that his son should have succeeded him. Since however the judgment of God has determined otherwise, I feel no disposition to set up that which God pulls down, and as for my Lord Protector, now King,'- here the bishop made a full pause, and shortly after added- ' but I have already meddled too much with the world, and for the future, will employ myself only with my books and my beads.' The Duke's curiosity being greatly excited, he entreated the bishop to proceed, and to speak boldly all he thought, assuring him, that what he said should not be turned to his prejudice, and might be really beneficial to him. He added, I have long wished to ask your advice, which is the reason why I desired the King to give you into my custody. The prelate receiving this encouragement, proceeded,- ' In truth my Lord, I like not to talk much of princes, for however harmless may be my expressions, they are liable to misconstruction. I always think of the fable of Esop, that when the lion had caused proclamation to be made that no horned beast should remain in a certain wood, on pain of death, an animal that had a callous tumour on its forehead, was observed to fly at a rapid pace. A fox that saw him running, asked whither he made that haste. Faith said he, I neither know nor care, if I were once out of this wood, in which I dare stay no longer, because of the late proclamation. Why, fool, said the fox, thou mayest stay safely enough, the lion meant not thee, for that is no horn on thy head. No, replied the other, I know that well enough, but what if he call it a horn, where am I then ?' The Duke laughed heartily at the fable, and said 'My Lord, I give you my word that neither the lion nor the boar, shall take offence at any thing you say, for it shall never come to their ears.' In faith Sir,' replied the bishop, 'if it did, what I was going to say, if it were taken as before God I mean it, would only deserve thanks, but, taken, as I fear it would be taken, it would do me little good, and you still less.' Upon this, the Duke was still more desirous to hear what it was. The bishop proceeded - my Lord, as for the late protector, now that he is King, I mean not to dispute his title, but for the good of this realm, I could wish he possessed those excellent virtues with which God has endowed your Grace,'- and there stopped again. 'My Lord,' said the Duke, 'I cannot help noticing your sudden passes, - you seem unwilling to declare in plain terms either your feelings towards the King, or your disposition towards me. I entreat you to lay aside all this obscurity, and open your mind fully, and I, upon my honour, promise to observe the most profound secrecy.' The bishop, upon the faith of this promise assumed greater confidence, and continued,- ' My Lord, I plainly perceive that the kingdom, under such a monarch as we have at present, cannot prosper, but must necessarily be brought into confusion, One hope I have,- when I consider your Grace's noble person, your justice, your ardent love for your country, and on the other hand, the great affection which the country bears towards you, I cannot but regard the kingdom as fortunate, in having a prince, so fit for government, in prospect.' And then, having accused the King of many cruelties and oppressions, he concluded by saying,- ' And now my Lord, if you love either God, your lineage, or your country, you must either take upon yourself the sovereign power, or devise some way in which the kingdom may again enjoy the advantages of good government; and if you could either set up again, the line of Lancaster, or match the eldest daughter of King Edward to some powerful prince, the newly crowned King would not long possess his ill acquired dignity, all civil war would cease, and our country be once more prosperous.' When the bishop had concluded, the Duke sighed and remained silent,- and the prelate fearing he had gone too far, changed colour, which the Duke perceiving, said 'Be not afraid my Lord, my promise shall be inviolably kept;' and then withdrew.
The next day the Duke sent for the bishop, and alluding to their last conversation, 'My Lord of Ely,' said he, I am persuaded of your sincere affection to me, and I will now disclose to you, all that has passed within my own mind. After I had discovered the dissimulation and falsehood of King Richard, and particnlarly when I was informed of the murder of the two young princes, to which (God be my judge,) I never consented, I so much abhorred his sight, and much more his company, that I could no longer remain in his court, but making an excuse for my departure I returned hither, full of schemes to deprive this unnatural and bloody butcher of his crown. I remembered that Edmund, Dnke of Somerset, my grandfather, was with King Henry the sixth, within two or three degrees of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and certainly concluded that my mother being the eldest daughter of the duke of Somerset, I was the next heir of the house of Lancaster to King Henry the sixth. But as I travelled between Worcester and Bridgnorth, I met with Margaret, countess of Richmond, (now married to Lord Stanley) who is the daughter and sole heir of John Duke of Somerset, my grandfather's elder brother. This I had forgotten, as entirely as if I had never seen her. I now saw that she and her son, the earl of Richmond, have both of them, title preferable to mine, and accordingly determined to relinquish all claim to the crown, in my own person. I perceived that there could be no better way to settle the kingdom, than that the earl of Richmond, the true heir of the house of Lancaster, should marry the lady Elizabeth, the heiress of the house of York, and thus unite the two roses in one. ' And now,' said the Duke, ' I have told you my mind.' When the Duke had concluded, the bishop overjoyed to find his Grace's sentiments coincide so entirely with his own, replied, since then your Grace proposes this match, we have to consider in the first place to whom it may be adviseable to confide our intention. Indeed, said the Duke, I believe we had better begin with the countess of Richmond, the earl's mother, who can inform us whether her son is a prisoner at large in Brittany. Accordingly one Reynold Bray was employed by the bishop to go to the countess of Richmond, who sent her physician, Dr. Lewis, to the lady Elizabeth, and despatched Hugh Conway, and Thomas Rame, to the earl of Richmond, to inform them of the intended plot, and to procure their promises to the proposed marriage, which it was no difficult matter to obtain. Sir Giles Daubeny, Sir John Cheyney, the bishop of Exeter, and others, were soon drawn into the confederacy. The earl of Richmond acquainted the duke of Brittany with his designs, who, though he had been strongly solicited through Hutton, King Richard's ambassador, to detain the earl in prison, readily promised both advice and assistance.
But though the affairs of the confederates were conducted with the utmost caution, and an oath of secrecy was exacted from all who entered into the plot, Richard soon received information of their intentions. Dissembling, however, his knoweledge of it, he sent for the duke of Buckingham, who alter he had formed many pretended excuses, was at length commanded, upon his allegiance, to present himself at court. To this preemptory requisition his Grace answered, ' that he owed no allegiance to such a perjured, inhuman butcher,' and immediately prepared to defend himself by arms. His Grace had raised a considerable number of Welchmen, the marquess of Dorset was levying forces in Yorkshire, the two Courtney, (the bishop of Exeter and his brother) in Devonshire and Cornwall; and Rame, and Guildford, in Kent. King Richard set forward with his army, and the duke of Buckingham advanced to meet him, intending to pass the Severn at Gloucester, and join the two Courtney; but about that time there fell so great an abundance of rain that the river was rendered impassable. The Welch troops regarding this as an unfavourable omen, deserted so rapidly that the duke was soon left alone; and without so much as even a page to attend him, repaired to the house of Humphrey Bannister. In this man who had been raised from a low station by the duke and his father, he placed unbounded confidence; but the perfidious wretch hearing of Richard's proclamation, offering a thousand pounds for the apprehension of Buckingham, discovered him to John Mytton, High Sheriff of Shropshire, who apprehended him while be was walking in an orchard behind the house. The duke was hurried to Shrewsbury, and without any legal proceeding, was beheaded in the market place. The divine vengeance, it is said, appears to have followed his betrayer; the eldest daughter of Bannister was struck with a leprosy, his eldest son destroyed himself in a fit of lunacy, and his youngest was drowned in a shallow stream."
" LOWE and DITCHES, a township in the parish of Wem, and in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford North. 13 houses, 93 inhabitants. Lowe, 1 mile north-west, Ditches, 1 mile north-west by west of Wem."
" NEWTOWN, a township in the parish of Wem, and in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford North. 14 houses, 72 inhabitants. 4 miles north-west of Wem."
" NORTHWOOD, a township in the parish of Wem, and in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford North. 38 houses, 182 inhabitants. 4 miles north-west of Wem."
" SLEAP, a township partly in the parish of Wem, and partly in the parish of Middle, partly in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford North, partly in the Ellesmere division of the hundred of Pimhill. 2½ miles south-west of Wem."
" SOULTON (or SOWTON), a township in the parish of Wem, and in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford; North. 3 houses, 30 inhabitants. 2 miles northeast of Wem.
" TILLEY, a township in the parish of Wem, and in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford North. 71 houses, 348 inhabitants. ½ mile south-west of Wem."
" WOLVERLEY, a township in the parish of Wem, and in the Whitchurch division of the hundred of Bradford North. 9 houses, 67 inhabitants. 3 miles north-west of Wem."
[Transcribed information from A Gazetteer of Shropshire - T Gregory - 1824](unless otherwise stated)
[Description(s) transcribed by Mel Lockie ©2015]