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Τ Η Ε
IF F E
OLIVER GOLDSMITH, M. B. *
LIVER GOLDSMITH, son of the Reverend Charles Goldsmith, was born at Elphin, in the county of Roscommon in Ireland, in the year 1729. His father had four fons, of whom Oliver was the third. After being well instructed in the classics, at the school of Mr. Hughes, he was admitted a fizer in Trinity-college, Dublin, on the 11th of June, 1744. While he resided there, he exhibited no specimens of that genius, which, in his maturer years, raised his character so high. On the 27th of February, 1749, 0. S. (two years after the regular time) he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Soon after, he turned his thoughts to the profeffion of Physic; and, after attending some courses of anatomy in Dublin, proceeded to Edinburgh, in the year 1751, where he studied the several branches of medicine under the different professors in that university. His beneficent
la thefe Memoirs, which were published in London, fuon after the death of Dr. Goldsmith, were several minakes, with respect to our author's age, the time of his admiflion into the College of Dublin, &c, which are here corrected from accurate information,
disposition foon involved him in unexpected difficulties; and he was obliged precipitately to leave Scotland, in consequence of having engaged himself to pay a confiderable sum of money for a fellow-student.
A few days after, about the beginning of the year 1754, he arrived at Sunderland, near Newcastle, where he was arrested at the suit of one Barclay, a taylor in Edinburgh, to whom he had given fecurity for his friend. By the friendship of Mr. Laughlin Maclane and Dr. Sleigh, who were then in the college, he was soon delivered out of the hands of the bailiff, and took his passage on board a Dutch Ship to Rotterdam, where, after a short stay, he proceeded to Brussels. He then visited great part of Flanders; and after passing some time at Strasburgh and Louvain, where he obtained a degree of Bachelor in phyfic, he accompanied an English gentleman to Geneva.
It is undoubtedly fact, that this ingenious unfortunate man made most part of his tour on foot.* He had left England with very little money; and, being of a philofophical turn, and at that time poffelling a body capable of sustaining every fatigue, and a heart not easily terrified by danger, he became an enthusiast to the design he had formed of seeing the manners of different countries. He had some knowledge of the French language, and of music; he played tolerably well on the German flute; which, from an amusement, became at some times the means of subsistence. His learning produced him an hofpitable reception at most of the religious houses that he visited ; and his music made him welcome to the peafants of Flanders and Germany.
*« Countries wear different appearances to travellers of different circumstances. A man who is whirled through Europe in a post-chaise, and the pilgrim who walks the grand tour on foot, will form very different conclusions. Hand inexpertus liquor."
Goldsmith's Pre, ent State of Learning in Europe, 1759.
· Whenever I approached a peasant's house towards night-fall,' he used to say, 'I played one of my most merry tunes, and that generally procured me not only a lodging, but fubfiftence for the next day: but in truth (his constant expresfion) • I must own, whenever I attempted to entertain persons of a higher rank, they always thought my performance odious, and never made me any return for
my endeavours to please them.”
On his arrival at Geneva, he was recommended as a proper person for a travelling tutor to a young man, who had been unexpectedly left a considerable suin of money by his uncle Mr. S * *** This youth, who was articled to an attorney, on receipt of his fortune, determined to see the world; and, on his engaging with his preceptor, made a proviso, that he should be permitted to govern himself;
and our traveller foon found his pupil understood the art of directing in noney concerns extremely well, as avarice was his prevailing paffion.
DURING Goldsmith's continuance in Switzerland, he affiduoully cultivated his poetical talent, of which he had given fome striking proofs at the college of Edinburgh. It was from hence he sent the first sketch of his delightful epistle, called the Traveller, to his brother Henry, a clergyman in Ireland.
FROM Geneva Mr. Goldsmith and his pupil proceeded to the south of France, where the young man, upon some disagreement with his preceptor, paid him the small part of his falary which was due, and embarked at Marseilles for England.
Our wanderer was left once more upon the world at large, and passed through a number of difficulties in traversing the greatest part of France. At length his curiosity being gratified, he bent his course towards England, and arrived at Dover, the beginning of the winter, in the year 1758.
His finances were so low on his return to England, that he with difficulty got to the metropolis, his whole ftock of cash amounting to no more than a few halfpence! An entire ftranger in London, his mind was filled with the most gloomy.reflections in consequence of his embarrassed situation. He applied to several apothecaries in hopes of being received in the capacity of a journeyman, but his broad Irish accent, and the uncouthness of his
appearance, occafioned him to meet with insult from moft of the medicinal tribe. The next day, however, a chymist near Fish-ftreet, ftruck with his forlorn condition, and the fimplicity of his manner, took him into his laboratory, where he continued till he discovered that his old friend Dr. Sleigh was in London. That gentleman received him with the warmest affection, and liberally invited him to share his purse till some establishment could be procured for him. Goldsmith, unwilling to be a burden to his friend, a short time after eagerly embraced an offer which was made him to assist the late Rev. Dr. Milner, in instructing the young gentlemen at the Academy at Peckham; and acquitted himself greatly