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A full and true Account of a horrid and
barbarous REVENGE BY Poison, on the body of Mr EDMUND Curlu, bookseller.
With a faithful copy of his last will and teftament.
LIftory furnisheth us with examples of many fa
tirical authors who have fallen facrifices to revenge, but not of any booksellers, that I know of, except the unfortunate subject of the following paper; I mean Mr Edmund Curll, at the Bible and Dial in Fleetftreet, who was yesterday poisoned by Mr Pope, after having lived many years an instance of the mild temper of the British nation.
Every body knows, that the said Mr Edmund Curll, on Monday the 26th instant, published a satirical piece, intitled, Court-poems, in the preface wherof they were attributed to a lady of quality, Mr Pope, or Gay; by which indiscreet method, though he had escaped one revenge, there were still two behind in reserve.
Now, on the Wednesday ensuing, between the hours of ten and eleven, Mr Lintot, a neighbouring bookseller, desired a conference with Mr Curll, about fettling a titlepage, inviting him at the same time to take a whet together. Mi Pope, who is not the only instance how perfons of bright parts may be carried away by the inftigation of the devil, found means to convey himself into the fames
room, under pretence of business with Mr Lintot, who, it seems, is the printer of his Homer. This gentleman, with a seeming coolness, reprimanded Mr Curll for wrongfully ascribing to him the aforesaid poems: he excused himself by declaring, that one of his authors (Mr Oldmixon by name) gave the copies to the press, and wrote the preface. Upon this Mr Pope, being to all appearance reconciled, very civilly drank a glass of sack to Mr Curll, which he as civilly pledged; and though the liquor, in colour and taste, differed not from common
fack, yet was it plain, by the pangs this unhappy ftationer felt soon after, that some poisonous drug had been fecretly infused therein.
About eleven a-clock he went home, where his wife observing his colour changed, said, “ Are you not fick, “ my dear ?" He replied, Bloody fick ;” and incontinently fell a vomiting and straining in an uncommon and unnatural manner, the contents of his vomiting being as green as grass. His wife had been just reading a book of her husband's printing concerning Jane Wenhamn, the famous witch of Hertford, and her mind misgave her, that he was bewitched; but he foon let her know, that he fufpected poison, and recounted to her, between the intervals of his yawnings and retchings, every circumstance of his interview with Mr Pope.
Mr Lintot in the mean time coming in, was extremely affrighted at the sudden alteration he observed in him: “ Brother Curll, Says be, I fear you have got the vo“ miting distemper; which, I have heard, kiils in half
an hour. This comes from your not following my " advice, to drink old hock in a morning, as I do, and « abstain from fack.” Mr Curll replied in a moving tone, “ Your author's fack, I fear, has done r.y business.” “ Z-ds, says Mr Lintot, my author ! - Why did not
you drink old hock ?" Notwithstanding which rough remonftrance, he did in the most friendly manner press him to take warm water ; but Mr Curll did with great obstinacy refuse it; which made Mr Lintot infer, that he chose to die, as thinking to recover greater damages.
All this time the symptoms increased violently, with acute pains in the lower belly. “ Brother Lintot, says" “he, I perceive my last hour approaching; do me " the friendly office to call my partier, Mr Pemberton, " that we may fettle our worldly affairs.” Mr Lintot, like a kind neighbour, was hastening out of the room, while Mr Curli raved aloud in this manner: « If I sur"vive this, I will be revenged on Toníon ; it was he “ first detected me as the printer of these poems,
and I “will reprint these very poems in his name." His wife admonished him not to think of revenge, but to take care of his stock and his soul: and in the same instant Mr LinDd 3
tot, whose goodness can never be enough applauded, returned with Mr Pemberton. After some tears jointly shed by these humane booksellers, Mr Curll being, as he faid, in his perfect fenfes, though in great bodily pain, iminediately proceeded to make a verbal will, Mrs Curli having first put on his night-cap, in the following manper;
in . forgiveness for those indirect methods I have purfied in inventing new titles to old books, putting authors names to things they never saw, publishing private quarrels for public entertainment; all which I hope will be pardoned, as being done to get an honcf livelihood.
I do also heartily beg pardon of all persons of honour, lords fpiritual and temporal, gentry, burgesies, and commonalty, to whose abuse I have any or every way contributed by my publications; particularly, I hope it will be considered, that if I have vilified his Grace the Duke of Marlborough, I have likewise aspersed the late Duke of Ormond ; if I have abused the Honourable Mr Walpole, I have allo libelled the Lord Boling broke: so that I have preserved that equality and impartiality, which becomes an honest man in times of faction and division.
I call my conscience to witness, that many of these things, which may seem malicious, were done out of charity; I having made it wholly my business to print for poor disconfolate authors, whom all other booksellers refuse. Only God bless Sir Richard Blackmore! you know he takes no copy-money.
The second collection of poems, which I groundlessly called Mr Prior's, will fell for nothing, and hath not yet paid the charge of the advertisements, which I was obliged to publish against him : therefore you may as well fuppress the edition, and beg that gentleman's pardon in the name of a dying Christian.
The French Cato, with the criticism shewing how superior it is to Mr Addison's, (which I wickedly ascribed to Madam Dacier), may be suppressed at a reasonable rate, being damnably translated.
I proteft I have no animosity to Mr Rowe, having printed part of Callipædia, and an incorrect edition of
his poems without his leave in quarto. Mr Gildon's Rebearsal, or Bays the younger, did more harm to me than to Mr Rowe; though, upon the faith of an honest man, I paid him double for abusing both him and Mr Pope.
Heaven pardon me for publishing the Trials of som domy, in an Elzevir letter! but I humbly hope, my printing Sir Richard Blackmore's Eljays will atone for them. I beg that
you will take what remains of these laft, (which is near the whole impression, presents excepted), and let my poor widow have in exchange the fole property
of the copy of Madam Mafcranny.
[Here Mr Pemberton interrupted, and would by no means consent to this article; about which fome dispute might have arifen unbecoming a dying person, if Mr Lintot had not interposed, and Mr Curll vomited.]
What this poor unfortunate man spoke afterwards, was so indistinct, and in such broken accents, (being perpetualby interrupted by vomitings), that the reader is intreated 30 excuse the confusion and imperfe&ion of this account.
Dear Mr Pemberton, I beg you to beware of the indictment at Hicks's-hall for publishing Rochester's bawdy poems; that copy will otherwise be my best legacy to my dear wife, and helpless child.
The case of impotence was my best support all the last long vacation.
[In this last paragraph Mr Curll's voice grew more free, for his vomitings abated upon his dejections, and he Spoke what follows from his close-ftool.]
For the copies of noblemens and bishops las wills and teftaments, I folemnly declare, I printed them not with any purpose of defamation; but merely as I thought those copies lawfully purchased from Doctors Commons, at one Shilling apiece. Our trade in wills turning to small account, we may divide them blindfold.
For Mr Manwaring's Life, I ask Mrs Oldfield's para don: neither his nor my Lord Hallifax's lives, though they were of service to their country, were of any to me; but I was resolved, since I could not print their works while they lived, to print their lives after they were dead.
While he was speaking these words, Mr Oldmixon entered. “ Ah! Mr Oldmixon, said poor Mr Curll
, to “ what a condition have your works reduced me! I “ die a martyr to that unlucky preface. However, in “ these my last moments I will be just to all men ; you “ shall have your third share of the Court-poems, as was “ stipulated. When I am dead, where will you find “ another bookseller? Your Protestant packet might have “ fupported you, had you writ a little less fcurrilously; w there is a mean in all things."
Here Mr Lintot interrupted. Why not find another bookseller, Brother Curll ? and then took Mr Oldmixon aside and whispered him: “ Sir, as soon as Curll is dead, “ I Mall be glad to talk with you over a pint at the « Devil.”
Mr Curll now turning to Mr Pemberton, told him, he had several taking title-pages, that only wanted treatises to be wrote to them; and earnestly desired, that when they were written, his heirs might have some share of the profit of them.
After he had said this, he fell into horrible gripings, upon which Mr Lintot advised him to repeat the Lord's prayer. He desired his wife to step into the shop for a Common prayer book, and read it by the help of a candle without hesitation. He closed the book, fetched a groan, and recommended to Mrs Curll to give forty shillings to the poor of the parish of St Dunitan’s, and a week's wages advance to each of his gentlemen-authors, with some small gratuity in particular to Mrs Centlivre.
The poor man continued for some hours with all his disconfolate family about him in tears, expecting his final dissolution ; when of a sudden he was surprisingly relieved by a plentiful foetid ftool, which obliged them all to retire out of the room. Notwithstanding, it is judged by Sir Richard Blackmore, that the poison is still latent in his body, and will infallibly destroy him by flow degrees in less than a month. It is to be hoped, the other enemies of this wretched ftationer will not further pursue their revenge, or shorten this short period of his miferable life.