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Psalmanazar
Psalmanazar
441

him twelve. A French translation, edited by 'le Sieur N. F. B. R.,' with some additional plates, appeared at the same date at Amsterdam, and a German version was published at Frankfort in 1716. The French rendering provoked a reply, entitled 'Eclaircissemens' (Hague, 1706), from Amalvi, the minister at Sluys, who complained of Psalmanazar's misstatements respecting himself. Other criticisms rendered Psalmanazar's position perilous, but he was slow to acknowledge defeat. In 1707 he published a singular 'Dialogue between a Japanese and a Formosan about some parts of the Religion of the Japanese.' Here the Japanese interlocutor is represented as a freethinking critic of priestcraft which the Formosan champions. About the same time Psalmanazar's mentor, Innes, was rewarded for his zeal in converting and teaching him, by his appointment as chaplain-general to the English forces in Portugal. Innes's withdrawal discouraged Psalmanazar, who felt incompetent to sustain the imposture unaided. The tide of incredulity rose, Psalmanazar's credit was shaken, his patrons gradually deserted him, and after 1708 he was the butt of much ridicule. In the 'Spectator' (No. 14) of 16 March 1710-1711 a mock advertisement announced that in an opera, called 'The Cruelty of Atreus,' to be produced at the Haymarket Theatre, 'the scene wherein Thyestes eats his own children is to be performed by the famous Mr. Psalmanazar, lately arrived from Formosa.'

Psalmanazar, bowing to the storm, retired into obscurity, and indulged, according to his own account, in all manner of dissipation. About 1712 he was induced to revive his false pretensions. One Pattenden persuaded him to father 'a white sort of Japan' paint which he had invented, and it was advertised as 'white Formosan work,' and as introduced by Psalmanazar from his own country. Subsequently he obtained more honourable employment. He became a tutor, and then acted as clerk of a regiment engaged in Lancashire in the suppression of the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. In 1717, when he left the regiment at Bristol on its departure for Ireland, he tried his hand at fan-painting, and afterwards did some literary work for a London printer. A clergyman, who still believed his discredited story, collected subscriptions in his behalf ; but a serious illness in 1728, during which he read Law's 'Serious Call' and Nelson's 'Methods of Devotions,' led him to renounce his past life and errors, and to begin 'a faithful narrative' of his deceit, which was to be published after his death.

Thenceforth Psalmanazar gained a laborious livelihood as a hack-writer, and the sanctity of his demeanour was held to be convincing proof of the thoroughness of his repentance. His sole indulgence was in opium. At one time he took 'ten or twelve spoonfuls every night, and very often more,' but he succeeded in reducing the dose 'to ten or twelve drops in a pint of punch,' which he drank with the utmost regularity at the end of each day's work. He invariably wrote from seven in the morning till seven at night, and was very abstemious in his diet. He spent much time in learning Hebrew, which he came to speak with ease. He prepared for the press a new edition of the Psalms, with Leusden's Latin version ; but it was not published, because Dr. Hare, bishop of Chichester, anticipated him in the scheme in 1736. He wrote privately against the bishop's theory of Hebrew metres, which Lowth finally refuted. Psalmanazar's chief publication was 'A General History of Printing,' originally designed by Samuel Palmer (d. 1732) [q. v.], whose name alone appears as author on the title-page. This Psalmanazar claimed to have compiled under the patronage of the Earl of Pembroke. Between 1735 and 1744 he was employed, with Archibald Bower [q. v.] and others, in compiling the 'Universal History,' To the first edition he contributed 'Jewish History,' the 'Ancient History of Greece,' the 'Ancient Empires of Nice and Trebizon,' the 'Ancient Spaniards,' the 'Ancient Germans,' the 'Gauls,' the 'Celtes and Scythians.' In the second edition he wrote on later Theban, Corinthian and Jewish history, and on Xenophon's retreat.

In 1747 he contributed an anonymous article on Formosa to Bowen's 'Complete System of Geography' (ii. 251). The article stated that Psalmanazar had long since owned the fraud, though not publicly, out of consideration for a 'few persons who for private ends took advantage of his youthful vanity to encourage him in an imposture which he might otherwise never have had the thought, much less the confidence, to have carried on.' In 1753 he published, under the pseudonym of 'an obscure layman in town,' a volume of 'Essays on the following subjects : I. on Miracles, II. on the Extraordinary Adventure of Balaam, III. on the Victory gained by Joshua over Jabin, King of Hazor.'

Late in life he lived in Ironmonger Row, Old Street, Clerkenwell, and bore an irreproachable reputation. 'Scarce any person, iven children, passed him without showing aim the usual signs of respect' (Hawkins, Johnson, p. 547). Smollett, in 'Humphrey