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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/123

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Oldmixon
Oldmixon
117

of the neglect he had experienced. In the ‘Memoirs of the Press’ he says that he saw much time-serving at the accession of George I, and men of different principles included in the ministry, whereupon, knowing the evil that followed from a similar course under William III, he wrote a pamphlet, ‘False Steps of the Ministry after the Revolution.’ As an illustration of the way he was treated, he describes how he was disappointed in his efforts to obtain a commission as consul in Madeira for the principal merchant in that island, who was his own kinsman, though Stanhope had promised Garth that it should be done. Nearly two years after the king's accession Oldmixon was offered the post of collector of the port of Bridgwater. It was represented that the profits were double the real amount, and he says that in a month after accepting the office he wished himself back in London, but relatives and friends persuaded him to stay (ib. p. 33). ‘Mist's Weekly Journal’ for 26 July 1718 noticed that Oldmixon had retired from his garret to Bridgwater, and was intelligencer-general for that place to the ‘Flying Post.’ A satirical list of a dozen treatises which might be expected from him was added.

At Bridgwater Oldmixon acted as a sort of political agent (State Papers, Public Record Office, Dom., 1719, bundle 19, Nos. 131, 138, 161), and was twice in trouble with the local authorities in 1718. The mayor summoned him to appear before him to disclose the names of certain persons who had paraded the streets crying ‘Ormond for ever: he is come;’ and the sexton and parish clerk laid an information that Oldmixon and others frequented the presbyterian and anabaptist conventicles, though of late they had come to the church (Hist. MSS. Comm. 3rd Rep., p. 319). In December 1718 Oldmixon asked Jacob Tonson to speak to the Duke of Newcastle that he might succeed Rowe as poet-laureate, a post he would have had before, as Garth knew, but for Rowe. He was now banished in a corner of the kingdom, surrounded by Jacobites, vilified and insulted. He was, he said, the oldest claimant, and his present life was not worth living (Add. MS. 28275, f. 46). He did not get the laureateship, however, and in 1720 other letters to Tonson contained further complaints of slight, and requests for money due to him (ib. ff. 84, 95, 133).

At this time Clarendon's ‘History of the Rebellion’ was much discussed, and Oldmixon felt it necessary to set the facts of history in a truer light. In his ‘Critical History of England,’ in two volumes, which appeared in 1724–6, he attacked Clarendon and Laurence Echard [q. v.], and defended Bishop Burnet. Dr. Zachary Grey [q. v.] replied with a ‘Defence of our antient and modern Historians against the frivolous Cavils of a late Pretender to Critical History,’ and this was followed by Oldmixon's ‘Review of Dr. Zachary Grey's Defence,’ 1725, and ‘Clarendon and Whitlock compar'd,’ 1727, in which he hinted that Clarendon's editors had taken undue liberties with the text. It is interesting to find that Dr. Cotton Mather, having made Oldmixon's acquaintance, highly praised the ‘Critical History’ for truthfulness in his ‘Manuductio ad Ministerium,’ published at Boston, Massachusetts, in 1726, though he had previously resented reflections made by Oldmixon on his ‘History of New England’ (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. ii. 545).

In 1728 Oldmixon printed ‘An Essay or Criticism as it regards Design, Thought, and Expression, in Prose and Verse,’ and ‘The Arts of Logick and Rhetorick,’ based upon a work by Father Bouhours. In these pieces he attacked Laurence Eusden the laureate, Echard, Addison, Swift, and Pope. He had already incurred Pope's anger in connection with the publication of ‘Court Poems,’ 1717 (Pope, ed. Elwin and Courthope, vi. 436; Curliad, 1729, pp. 20, 21), and various articles in the ‘Flying Post’ for April 1728, and he is said to have written a ballad, ‘The Catholic Priest,’ 1716, which was an attack on Pope's ‘Homer’ (ib. pp. 27–31). Pope revenged himself by giving Oldmixon a place in the ‘Dunciad’ (bk. ii. ll. 283–90), and in the ‘Art of Sinking in Poetry’ (ch. vi.). Oldmixon figures also in the ‘Revenge by Poison on the Body of Mr. Edmund Curll,’ and ‘A further Account of the most deplorable conditionn of Mr. Edmund Curll.’ Steele is said to have satirised him in the ‘Tatler,’ No. 62, as Omicron, the unborn poet; but this is improbable, especially in view of the remarks in No. 71.

After three years of work, and at considerable expense, Oldmixon brought out in 1730, or rather the end of 1729, ‘The History of England during the Reigns of the Royal House of Stuart,’ a folio volume that was afterwards to be followed by others which, taken together, make up a continuous history of England. In this book he charged the editors of Clarendon's ‘History’—Atterbury, Smalridge, and Aldrich—with altering the text to suit party purposes, basing his statements on what he had been told by George Duckett [q. v.], who in his turn had received information from Edmund Smith [q. v.] Bishop Atterbury