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Poverty Of The Learned
by [?]

Le Sage resided in a little cottage while he supplied the world with their most agreeable novels, and appears to have derived the sources of his existence in his old age from the filial exertions of an excellent son, who was an actor of some genius. I wish, however, that every man of letters could apply to himself the epitaph of this delightful writer:–

Sous ce tombeau git LE SAGE, abattu Par le ciseau de la Parque importune; S’il ne fut pas ami de la fortune, Il fut toujours ami de la vertu.”

Many years after this article had been written, I published “Calamities of Authors,” confining myself to those of our own country; the catalogue is incomplete, but far too numerous.


[Footnote 1: For some time previous to his death he was in so abject a state of poverty as to be dependent for subsistence upon the exertions of his faithful servant Antonio, a native of Java, whom he had brought with him from India, and who was accustomed to beg by night for the bread which was to save his unhappy master from perishing by want the next day. Camoeens, when death at last put an end to a life which misfortune and neglect had rendered insupportable, was denied the solace of having his faithful Antonio to close his eyes. He was aged only fifty-five when he breathed his last in the hospital. This event occurred in 1579, but so little regard was paid to the memory of this great man that the day or month on which he expired remains unknown.–Adamson’s Memoirs of Camoeens, 1820.]

[Footnote 2: This melancholy event happened in 1788, fifteen years after the original projector of the Literary Fund, Mr. David Williams, had endeavoured to establish it. It appears that Mr. Floyer Sydenham was arrested “for a small debt; he never spoke after being arrested, and sunk under the pressure of his calamity.” This is the published record of the event by the officers of the present fund; and these simple words are sufficiently indicative of the harrowing nature of the catastrophe; it was strongly felt that Mr. Williams’ hopeful plan of preventing a second act so fatal should be encouraged. A small literary club took the initiative, and subscribed a few guineas to pay for such advertisements as were necessary to keep the intended objects of the founder before the public, and solicit its aid. Two years afterwards a committee was formed; another two years saw it take position among the established institutions of the country. In 1818 it obtained a royal charter. In its career it has relieved upwards of 1300 applicants, and devoted to that purpose 47,725l.]