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voice, “I appeal to the king in council, or to the House of Lords.'" • Upon more mature reflection, however, Cruden determined to appeal to a superior tribunal,—the tribunal of public opinion. He accordingly stated his grievances in “ The second Part of the Adventures of Alexander the Corrector.” The pamphlet he deemed so convincing of the justice of his case, that he determinell personally to present it to the king. His presence at St. James's, whither he repaired on sundry levee days, seems to have given no small alarm and annoyance to the retainers of the court, who referred him from one officer to another, till his patience was quite exhausted. In his wrath, he wrote “a smart letter to a person of distinction."-" Those that cause people, in this manner, to come after them from time to time,” says he, “may be called fashionable pickpockets; for they injure the person who comes from home on purpose, postponing other business, as much as if they pick his pocket of his money, by making him lose time.”
One courtier, however, Alexander excepts from the number of those whom he anathematizes as having on this occasion used him ill, namely, Earl Poulet, the lord of the bed-chamber in waiting, who received his pamphlet with great civility; and, on Alexander's waiting on him to his carriage, after his attendance for the day was finished, spoke to him with politeness, “and did not run away from him, as others were afterwards apt to do.” The inerit which is thus attributed to this nobleman is, however, rendered somewhat equivocal, by the accompanying remark of the Corrector, that “ he was somewhat goutish in his feet.”
In his visits to St. James's, of which he has kept an amusing diary, Cruden had an object ulterior to the presentation of his pamphlet, namely, his obtaining the honour of knighthood. Being sensible that his aspiring after this elevation in rank might be laid to the score of ambition, he says, with a mixture of simplicity and cunning, not uncommon in those whose wits are subject to the influence of the moon, “ if it should be asked why the Corrector was so desirous of the honour of being a knight, he answers, that thinking men often seek after titles rather to please others than themselves." : Disappointed of obtaining honours from the king, his aspiring thoughts were directed to the people; and, on the 23rd of April, 1734, he declared himself, by a hand-bill, a candidate for the representation of the city of London in parliament; and at the election, which took place on Thursday, April 30th, he was put in nomination. Though he was so firmly convinced of the validity of his claims, that on the day before he “had some dawning hope that his brother candidates
would regard his uncommon motives, and not have opposed his election," he was obliged to demand a poll; and though he appealed to the electors, “whether there were not just grounds to think that God would be pleased to make him an instrument to reform the nation, and to bring the citizens of London to a more religious temper and conduct, he obtained very few votes, and soon withdrew from the contest. On this occasion the religious candidate was treated with great good humour by the aldermen, and other persons on the hustings; and he consoled himself on his defeat, as many a discomfited aspirant after a seat in parliament has done before and since, by the persuasion that the hearts of the people were with him; and, moreover, to his great comfort, “it was said by Betty Young, a pious young woman, that this affair might be looked upon as only a forerunner of what was to come to pass ;" on which saying of Betty he makes the following moral and philosophical reflection:-“ The Corrector has sometimes thought that persons in low stations, if pious and prudent, think frequently more justly in many things than learned and exalted persons.”
Soon after the election Cruden was induced by reports, no doubt extremely false, of the dissipation prevalent in the University of Oxford, to go down to that venerable seat of learning in his capacity of corrector, in hopes that by his admonitions he should be able to work a reformation of manners among the gownsmen. He accordingly frequented the public walks of the city, and boldly reproved those whom, upon the view, he deemed guilty of levity or indecorum; and particularly admonished whomsoever he found amusing themselves, by walking on the sabbath, to go home, and apply their thoughts to more serious concerns. In the execution of this benevolent design, the usual fate of reformers awaited him. The tuft and the tuft hunters united in treating him with contumely, and the ladies unanimously agreed that he was very impertinent. In a short time, therefore, he shook off the dust of his feet against the city and the university of Oxford, and returned to the metropolis, where he tranquilly resumed his usual occupations. In 1761 he was engaged by Woodfall, as corrector of his celebrated journal, The Public Advertiser. This employment, requiring constant attention, and strictness of method, had a happy effect upon Cruden's mind; and from this period to the time of his death he continued so far in the possession of his mental faculties, that he was an active and an useful member of society. Notwithstanding his daily and nightly avocations, as corrector of a newspaper, he found leisure to revise his Concordance, a new edition of which was published in 1762. To this edition is prefixed a Latin dedication to the Earl of Halifax.
The occasion of this address to his lordship is very creditable to the feelings of Cruden. Happening one day to attend the sessions at the Old Bailey, he heard the trial of one Richard Potter, a seaman, who was arraigned and found guilty of uttering a forged instrument, purporting to be a brother sailor's will. From the demeanour of the culprit, he perceived that he was a very ignorant man, and doubted whether he was at all sensible of the heinousness of the crime which he had committed, and for which he was doomed to forfeit his life. Prompted by the strong feelings of benevolence, which seem to have been inherent in his nature, he visited the wretched prisoner in Newgate, ministered to his bodily and spiritual wants, and, by his instructions and exhortations, so wrought upon him, that he brought him into a state of most humble penitence. He then exerted himself, with his usual perseverance, to procure the unhappy man a pardon; which, notwithstanding the obstacles presented by the peculiar nature of his crime, which is usually, and perhaps necessarily, visited in our courts of law with unrelenting severity, he accomplished by the kind and merciful interposition of Lord Halifax; his petition to whom, on behalf of the culprit, was accompanied by the above-mentioned dedication of the second edition of his Concordance. The particulars of this transaction he recorded in a pamphlet, entitled, “ The History of Richard Potter.”
Encouraged by the success of his efforts in the cause of reformation of morals in the case of Potter, Cruden extended his benevolent attentions to the general body of the prisoners confined in the jail of Newgate, to whom he paid frequent visits, distributing among them religious books, reading and explaining to them the Holy Scriptures, summoning them to the duty of prayer, and strenuously enforcing upon them the great motives to repentance, which are founded on the doctrines of the gospel. Those who are aware what a hell upon earth Newgate was during the greater part of the last century, will not be surprised that he met with so little success, that he soon gave up what he regarded as the hopeless attempt to reclaim the profligate, and amend the vicious, whose mutual association in the miseries of imprisonment only tended to render their hearts more callous and more obdurate. It was reserved for our own times to produce an individual of the gentler sex, prompted by an enthusiasm equal to that of Cruden, but gifted with more good sense than he possessed, to make an impression on the seared consciences of hardened offenders, to reduce the irregular to a sense of the advantages of good order, to melt the obdurate to penitence, and to correct the habits of those who, from their infancy, have been taught to maintain unceasing warfare against the institutions and regulations of society.
Cruden was a devotedly loyal subject of the house of Hanover. In the reign of George the Second he was frequent and loud in his testimony against the false principles and dark designs of the Jacobite Tories, of whom he shrewdly says, in the third part of his Adventures," the Jacobites and disaffected occasion the continuance of taxes, as a parish is obliged to encrease the number of watchmen, the more loose, disorderly persons live in their neighbourhood.” Nor was he less vigilant in guarding the throne when it was attacked by the violence of popular fury. When London and Middlesex were in an unprecedented state of ferment, he launched a spirited pamphlet against that audacious and crafty demagogue John Wilkes; and, with no small danger to himself, he industriously obliterated the signs of John's popularity, by erasing from the walls of the metropolis, with a large sponge, the factious and disloyal inscription of No. 45. Such, indeed, was his delicate attention to the guardianship of public morals, that in his walks through the city he was usually supplied with the implements necessary for the expunction of any writings offensive to modesty, which might appear on the buildings which he passed.
In the year 1769 he visited his native town of Aberdeen. To this journey it should seem that he was impelled, not merely by the interest which mankind usually take in the place of their birth, and the scenes of their early joys and sorrows, but by his zeal for the promotion of the cause of virtue ; for during his temporary residence in Aberdeen, he gave a lecture on reformation in the public hall of the university. It is to be feared, however, that he made no more impression on the plebeians of Marischal College, than he had done on the aristocracy of Oxford; and that he experienced the truth of the adage, that “a prophet hath no honour in his own country.” The extravagance of his principles, or his manner of enforcing them, excited the laughter of his audience, whose demeanour on this occasion put the placidity of his temper to a severe trial. That he possessed the power of turning the tables on those who ridiculed him, he evinced by a practical repartee which he made to one of his quizzers, a conceited young clergyman, to whom he made a present of a little manual, at that time popular in Scotland, entitled, “ The Mother's Catechism, dedicated to the Young and Ignorant."
Cruden remained at Aberdeen about a year, and then returned to London, and took lodgings in Camden-street, Islington. Here, having gone to bed on the preceding night, in apparently perfect health, on the morning of the first of November, he was found dead in his chamber, in the attitude of prayer.
Cruden was a man entirely free from vice, and a strict
economist. At no time of his life was he destitute of the means of support; and he even appears to have had always something to spare for the occasional exigencies of life. He was liberal in his donations to the poor. His law adventures, as he called them, must have been somewhat costly; and when he repaired to St. James's to solicit the honour of knighthood, he was provided with a hundred pounds to pay the customary fees. At his death he was possessed of some property, which he bequeathed to his relations, with the exception of an annuity of five pounds per annum, which he devoted to the establishment of a bursary, or exhibition, at Marischal College,
In the history of Alexander Cruden, we behold at once a striking instance of the infirmity of human nature, and of the efficacy of a good education, and the early imbibing of virtuous principles, in alleviating the greatest calamities to which human nature is subject. For, notwithstanding the occasional alienation of his reason, the purity of his views, and the kindness of his feelings, rendered him unobnoxious to others, and cheerful and happy in himself. In the midst of the disappointments which he experienced, in consequence of the failure of his extravagant projects, he was always devoutly submissive to the divine will, and derived great comfort from an unshaken trust in God. The habits of industry which he had acquired in his youth, no doubt, tended to lengthen the intervals of his sanity, and enabled him, notwithstanding the whimsical nature of his designs, to contribute a respectable share to the general stock of knowledge, both in the useful occupation of a private tutor, and as an editor of the works of antiquity. Amongst the clergy of all denoniinations, his Concordance has long been a standard work; and we have occasionally met with powerful extempore preachers, who have been mainly indebted for their reputation, as being "mighty in the scriptures,” to their study of the references supplied by that work. 'On a review of the incidents of his life, it may admit of a question, whether it were, at any time, expedient to put him into harsh and strict confinement? He never appears to have been dangerous to himself or to others; and the dread of danger from a lunatic is, perhaps, in most cases, the only justifiable reason for subjecting him to the severity of restraint in the professed receptacles for patients of this unhappy description. We are persuaded that many persons, slightly attected by insanity, have been totally lost to society, by being consigned to the duress of the strait-waistcoat, who, by due attention, and by gentle treatment, under the superintendance of their friends, might have had their mental complaints alleviated, if not entirely cured. The chances of recovery, however, depend much upon the early habits of the individual patient. Had Cruden been profligate