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an honest but a pious man, dedicated his work to the earl of Wharton. He judged skilfully enough of his own interest; for Wharton, when he went lord lieutenant to Ireland, offered to take Hughes with him, and establish him; but Hughes, having hopes or promises from another man in power, of some provifion more suitable to his inclination, declined Wharton's offer, and obtained nothing from the other.
He transated the Mifer of Moliere ; which he never offered to the Stage; and occasionally amused himself with making versions of favourite scenes in other plays.
Being now received as a wit among the wits, he paid his contributions to literary undertakings, and asfifted both the Tatler, Speciator, and Guardian. In 1712 he translated Vertot’s History of the Revolution of Portugal; produced an Ode 10 the Creator of the World, from the Fragments of Orpheus ; and brought upon the Stage an opera called Calypso and Telemachus, intended to fhew that the English language might be very happily adapted to musick.' This was impudently opposed by those who were employed in the Italian opéra; and, what cannot be told without indignation, the intruders had such interest with the duke of Shrewsbury, then lord chamberlain, who had married an Italian, as to obtain an obstruction of the profits, though not an inhibition of the performance.
There was at this time a project formed by Tonfon for a translation of the Pharjalia, by several hands; and Hughes englished the tenth book. But this defign, as- must often happen where the concurrence of
many is necessary, fell to the ground; and the whole work was afterwards perforined by Rowe.
His acquaintance with the great writers of his time appears to have been very general; but of his intimacy with Addison there is a remarkable proof. It is told, on good authority, that Cato was finished and played by his persuasion. It had long wanted the last act, which he was desired by Addison to supply. If the request was fincere, it proceeded from an opinion, whatever it was, that did not last long; for when Hughes came in a week to shew him his first attempt, he found half an act written by Addison himself.
He afterwards published the works of Spenser, with his Life, a Glossary, and a Discourse on Allegorical Poetry; a work for which he was well qualified, as a judge of the beauties of writing, but perhaps wanted an antiquary's knowledge of the obsolete words. He did not much revive the curiosity of the publick; for near thirty years elapsed before his edition was reprinted. The same year produced his Apollo and Daphne, of which the success was very earnestly promoted by Steele, who, when the rage of party did not misguide him, seems to have been a man of boundless benevolence.
Hughes had hitherto suffered the mortifications of a narrow fortune; but in 1717 the lord chancellor Cowper fet him at case, by making him fecretary to the Commissions of the Peace; in which he afterwards, by a particular request, desired his successor lord Parker to continue him. He had now afluence; but such is human life, that he had it when his declining health could neither allow him long possession nor quick enjoyment.
His laft work was his tragedy, The Siege of Damalcus; after which a Siege became a popular title. This play, which still continues on the Stage, and of which it is unnecessary to add a private voice to such continuance of approbation, is not acted or printed according to the author's original draught, or his settled intention. He had made Phocyas apostatize from his religion; after which the abhorrence of Fudocia would have been reafonable, his mifery would have been just, and the horrors of his repentance exemplary. The players, however, required that the guilt of Phocyas should terminate in desertion to the enemy; and Hughes, una willing that his relations should lose the benefit of his work, complied with the alteration *.
He was now weak with a lingering consumption, and not able to attend the rehearsal; yer was so vigorous in his faculties, that only ten days before his death he wrote the dedication to his patron lord Cowper. On February 17, 1719-20, the play was represented, and the author died. He lived to hear that it was well received; but paid no regard to the intelligence, being then wholly employed in the meditations of a departing Christian.
A man of his character was undoubtedly regretted; and Steele devoted an essay, in the paper called The Theatre, to the memory of his virtues. His life is written in the Biographia with some degree of favourable parțiality; and an account of him is prefixed to
* In his enumeration of Mr. Hughes's writings. Dr. Johnson has forgot the preface to the complete hittory of England, called Dr. Kennet's because he wrote the third volume. This is laid by the author of Mr. Hughes's life, in the Biographia Britannica, to be an admirable preface, and on its publication to have been much clieemned. I
his works, by his relation the late Mr. Duncombe, a man whose blameless elegance deserved the same respect.
The character of his genius I shall transcribe from the correspondence of Swift and Pope.
“ A month ago,” says Swift, “ was sent me over, " by a friend of mine, the works of John Hughes, “ Esquire. They are in prose and verse.
I never “ heard of the man in my life, yet I find your name as “ a subscriber. He is too grave a poet for me; and I “think among the mediocrists, in prose as well as verse."
To this Pope returns: “ To answer your question
as to Mr. Hughes; what he wanted in genius, he “ made up as an honest man; but he was of the class
you think him.”
In Spence's Collections Pope is made to speak of him with still less respect, as having no claim to poetical reputation but from his tragedy,
*** Mr. Hughes was a lover of music, and a performer in concert on the violin. He was used to frequent the concert of Britton the fmall-coal man, of whom an account may be seen in the " General “ History of the Science and Practice of Mufie," vol. V. p. 70, and wrote the lines under one of the prints of him, beginning“ Though
mean thy rank.” Many of his friends, namely, Dr. Pepusch, Mr, Needler, and Mr. Woollaston the painter, were also mine : they were used to speak of him in terms of great respect, and described him to me as remarkable for the easiness and gentleness of his mana ners. They always called him Mr. Jobr Hughes.
OHN SHEFFIELD, descended from a
long series of illustrious ancestors, was born in 1649, the son of Edmund earl of Mulgrave, who died 1658. The young lord was put into the hands of a tutor, with whom he was so little satisfied, that he got rid of him in a short time, and, at an age not exceeding twelve years, resolved to educate himself. Such a pur-' pose, formed at such an age, and successfully prosecuted, delights as it is strange, and instructs as it is real.
His literary acquisitions are more wonderful, as those years in which they are commonly made were spent by him in the tumult of a military life, or the gaiety of
When war was declared against the Dutch, he went at seventeen on board the ship in which prince Rupert and the duke of Albemarle failed, with the command of the fleet; but by contrariety of winds 14