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it will be sufficient to look into that I have just mentioned, and there is none more implicitly believed. " What every body says must be true.”I have seen many instances to disprove this; I will recur to one only, which is uppermost in my memory. A young gentleman of my particular acquaintance, has for some time been deserted by his old companions, and branded as a man of unsteady principles, whose heart I know to abound with all those sensibilities which hurried him into the vortex of liberality, till he has become an object of liberality himself. He has those glowing feelings and sentiments which do at once honour and service to human nature: notwithstanding which, embar. rassments have beset him, and the world sets him down as an undone man. The world gets hold of a prejudice, and then it is called Vox Dei. The Vox Populi, is given as the sentiment of every body, and thus many reputations are mistaken and misrepresented, which deserve a better fate. There are various persons likewise particularly reprobated for a few indelicate concessions to which necessity may, in violence of their better judgments, have constrained them to yield, who, had they possessed happier circumstances, would have made a much more respectable figure than those who now mark them with infamy.
There is one cruelty in the Vox Pupuli, which is certainly against every notion of the Vox Dei. 'Tis the custom to abandon the weakest part of our scecies to that ruin which the artifices of our sex have perpetrated ; nor can any future repentance remove the sense of their error, or restore them to the bosoms of more fortunate women :
« They set like stars to rise no more.” I had a wife with whom I mourned many years. She died of a broken heart. We had an only child
taken from us-robbed of her by a man we held near our hearts. It was my incessant business for five years to recover our darling—but in vain. My wife fell into a deep and rapid consumption-she grew weaker every hour. We received, by a special messenger, a packet-from our beloved-misguided-repenting wanderer! She had thrown the pathetic parts of her story into poetry. * We received, at the same time, an attested account that our child was under the protection of that institution which offers an asylum to insulted penitence. My wife had only power to press the paper, trembling, to her bosom. She feebly lifted her eyes to heayen-and died !
" LIBERAL OPINIONS,"
OF THE LATE MRS. ROBINSON, MIRCUMSTANCES that cast an accidental C lustre over a life, are to be taken by the biographer rather as a fortunate assistance to his labour, than any part of the intrinsic merit of the subject of his work. The life of Mrs. Robinson, a sketch of which we now present to our readers, was not wanting in such circumstances; but there are only two which we shall select, and which may reasonably be allowed to bę objects of our predilection. Mrs. Robinson was collaterally descended from the ornament of our country, Mr. John Locke ; and she had the felicity to receive the earliest and therefore the most important part of her education, from the justly celebrated Hannah More.
The family of Mrs. Robinson was respectable on the side of each of her parents. On the mo
• * See the Parnassian Garland in the prescit Number.
ther's side it was that she claimed relationship to Mr. Locke. Her father, Mr. Darby, who died in the naval service of Russia, in which he command. ed a ship of 74 guns, was descended from an an. cient Irish family. Her brother is an eminent mer. chant at Leghorn, in Italy. Mrs. Robinson was born in the College Green, Bristol. After receiv. ing part of her education at Miss More's school, she was sent to a boarding-school near London, Her father lost a considerable fortune in some commercial speculation; and this probably occasioned her removal from his immediate care. Mr. Robinson, the younger brother of Commodore Robinson, late in the Right Hon. East India Company's service, who was serving his clerkship to an attorney in the metropolis, by some accident was introduced to Miss Darby; and, that he became violently enamoured of her, will not be surprising to those who have seen her even since calamity and disease had robbed her of part of her exquisite beauty. Miss Darby, with a loveliness of form and features that perhaps never was surpassed, possessed a lively humour and a sweetness of temper, that made her personal charms only a secondary object to sensibility.
When we consider the fine genius of Mrs. Robinson, and the literary excellence that she afterwards attained, under a thousand disadvantages, we may well pause at this eventful moment of her life; and may be allowed to lament her early, hasty, it may be called rash, marriage. She was only fifteen when she married Mr. Robinson. Very soon after, her husband, from some family disappointments, fell into a succession of embarrassments. Mr. Robinson's affairs having been partially propped by usurers, declined, from the very weight of that circumstance, into a worse condition; and he was at length imprisoned by one of his creditors, who had been his school-fellow, and to this hour professes to be his friend. · We should not touch on this fact, but for the share Mrs. Robinson took in her husband's misfortunes. She lived fifteen months with Mr. Robinson in'a prison; the threshold of which she never passed but once or twice, when she visited the Duchess of De. vonshire, who generously patronized an attempt Mrs. Robinson made with her pen, to relieve their wants in prison. In this melancholy situation, her muse made its earliest efforts, and she published a small volume of poems, which are now scarcely known, there being at the time, we believe, only a few copies printed for the persons who took them at the recommendation of her noble patroness. But an accumulation of difficulties induced Mrs. Robinson to think of something less temporary and casual, as a resource from absolute penury. She cast her eyes towards the stage, and, on receiving some encouragement from Mr. Garrick, she turned her thoughts more immediately to the subject. Under the patronage of the Duchess of Devonshire, she made her first appearance at Drury-Lane, on the roth of December, 1776, in the character of Juliet; and, in the course of three following'sea. sons, performed, with general applause, the characters of Lady Macbeth, Imogen, Rosalind, Cor-' delia, Ophelia, Viola, Palmira, the Irish Widow, Perdita (in The Winter's Tale), &c. &c.
In the character of Perdita, in the last of the two seasons during which she was on the stage, her uncommon beauty captivated the heart of the heir apparent of a throne. It is not for us to apologise for the engagements of Mrs. Robinson with that prince. The circumstances that would extenuate the error, whether of attraction in the rank and personal accomplishments of that illustrious personage, or of disgust in the indiscretions of a hus
band, and the deserted state of the wife, or any thing beside that can be added to them, are not of weight to excuse the fault; while, on the other hand, they will not be overlooked in the estimate made by the most rigid, of this transaction. Mrs. Robinson herself, at leisure, repented of the of fence; and we may close this part of her life by observing that, during the short period of her favour with the prince, which was little more than two years, Mrs. Robinson's house and table were distinguished for the talents even more than the rank of her visitors; and that she was less the object of envy in that delicate situation, than of universal esteem. The name of the great orator and statesman who stood between Mrs. Robinson and the Prince, when a provision for her was pro-. posed by the latter, is in itself a proof in what honourable regard Mrs. Robinson was held ; and the noble manner in which she cancelled a bond for 20,000l. from his highness, previous to that settlement, and even without any stipulation for an equi. valent, will be witnessed by that great character we have alluded to, now that his evidence in her behalf has ceased to be, what it was, one of the sources of her sincerest pleasures.
The prince settled sool. per annum on Mrs. Robinson, for her life; and 2ool. per annum on her daughter for life, to commence at the decease of Mrs. Robinson. This yonng lady, who is still living, is the. daughter of Mr. Robinson; but the noble minded person already alluded to, who was in fact the sole arbiter of this matter, was quick to perceive what would be the helpless condition of Miss Robinson, if she should survive her mother, without provision from his highness, and it is to the honour of all the parties that this arrangement was adopted, but most of all to the arbiter with whom it originated.