Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 52.djvu/13

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Shebbeare
Shebbeare
3

former he 'abused daily in the papers' (Walpole, Last Journals, 19 March 1777).

In 1774, in reflecting on some speeches lately delivered by Thomas Townshend (afterwards Lord Sydney) and Councillor Lee, he took occasion to cast aspersions on the character and reputation of William III, Algernon Sidney, and other whig heroes, as viewed in the light of the recently published 'Memorials' of Sir John Dalrymple (1726-1810) [q. v.] An answer appeared as an appendix to a 'Letter to Dr. Johnson on his late Political Publications,' 1775, by a 'Doctor of Laws' (Hugh Baillie). Despite a protest made by Fox in the House of Commons on 16 Feb. 1774 (Parl. Hist. xvii. 1058), the names of Johnson and Shebbeare were usually coupled in whig pasquinades. It was said that the king had pensioned both a He-bear and a She-bear (Boswell, Johnson, ed. Hill, iv. 113). In 1776 Wilkes spoke of them as the 'two famous doctors' who were 'the state hirelings called pensioners' and whose names 'disgraced the civil list' (Parl. Hist. xix. 118). Mason the poet, writing under the pseudonym 'Malcolm Macgregor,' in 1777 addressed a scathing 'epistle' to Shebbeare, as

  The same abusive, base, abandoned thing
  When pilloried or pensioned by a king

(cf. Walpole, Letters, vi. 453). Nor did Shebbeare's own political friends altogether spare him. His sudden transition from pillory to pension was glanced at in 'Humphry Clinker,' and he is the 'Ferret' of Smollett's 'Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves.' Shebbeare seems to have shared Johnson's dislike to Scotsmen. He criticised adversely Smollet's 'History,' and assailed the 'Scotch gentlemen criticks' of the 'Critical Review,' then conducted by Smollett (see the Occasional Critic, 1757). In the revised edition of the 'History,' however, the passage relating to Shebbeare's prosecution in 1758 is curiously laudatory (Hume and Smollet's Hist. of Engl, 1855, x. 186). Hogarth, also one of George III's pensioners, introduced Shebbeare as one of the figures in his third Election print. Frances Burney met him in 1774 at the house of Catherine Reid, a Scottish portrait-painter, and has recorded a specimen of his conversation in her 'Early Diary.' It was marked by extraordinary coarseness, and consisted chiefly of abuse of women and Scotsmen, whom he declared to be 'the two greatest evils upon earth.' The last production by Shebbeare was 'The Pole Cat, or C. Jennings, the Renegade Schoolmaster ... Detected,' 1788, 8vo. Shebbeare died on 1 Aug. 1788 in Eaton Street, Pimlico. He married young and unhappily. Mrs. Shebbeare died on 25 Nov. 1779. His son John, born in 1737, matriculated at St. Mary Hall, Oxford, on 28 Oct. 1758, and graduated B.C.L. in 1765. After having been incumbent of Gaston, Norfolk, he died rector of East Horndon, Essex, on 7 Feb. 1794 (Foster, Alumni Oxon.) He wrote 'The Ornaments of Churches considered, with particular view to the late Decoration of St. Margaret's, Westminster' (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. viii. 457).

Shebbeare's writings generally are vigorous and well informed, and in scurrility go little, if at all, beyond those of the chief polemical writers of the day. Walpole admitted that his pen was 'not without force,' and Boswell, who was introduced to him by General Oglethorpe, thought 'his knowledge and abilities much above the class of ordinary writers.' Besides the works mentioned, he published: 1. 'A Love Epistle in Verse found at Paris,' 1753, 4to; reissued in 1755. 2. 'Lydia, or Filial Piety: a novel,' 4 vols. 12mo, 1755; 2nd edit. 2 vols. 1769; another edit. 1786. 3. 'Authentic Narrative of the Oppressions of the Islanders of Jersey, to which is prefixed a succinct History of the Military Actions, Constitution, &c., of that Island,' 2 vols. 8vo, 1771. 4. 'Address to the Privy Council pointing out an effectual remedy to the Complaints of the Islanders of Jersey,' 1772, 8vo. 5. 'Tyranny of the Magistrates of Jersey ... demonstrated from Records of their Courts,' 1772, 8vo. 6. 'Answer to the Printed Speech of Edmund Burke, esq. ... in the House of Commons, April 19, 1774,' 1775, 8vo. 7. 'Essay on the Origin, Progress, and Establishment of National Society; in which the principles of Government ... contained in Dr. Price's observations are examined and refuted; together with a justification of the Legislature in reducing America to obedience by force; to which is added an appendix on the excellent and admirable in Mr. Burke's speech of 22 March 1775,' 1776, 8vo.

Also the following medical works: 1. 'The Practice of Physick, founded on principles in Physiology and Pathology hitherto unapplied in Physical Enquiries' (undated). 2. 'Candid Enquiry into the Merits of Dr. Cadogan's Dissertation on the Gout; with appendix containing a certain Cure for Gout,' 1772, 8vo.

The full list given in the 'European Magazine' numbers thirty-five pieces. Wadd ('Nugæ Chirurgicæ') wrongly attributes to Shebbeare Charles Johnstone's 'Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea.' 'The Memoirs of a Lady of Quality' [see Vane, Frances, Viscountess Vane, which Smollett in-