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B. Possible Attributions

Below is a list of twenty titles I believe more or less likely to be Barbauld's for reasons given in each case, but which I attribute with less confidence than I do the thirteen above. The differences between those thirteen and these twenty consist sometimes of counter-indications (as in the first entry below) and often simply of quantity: reasons in favor of attribution, although of the same kind as reasons for the first group, are simply fewer in number.

I list these titles in the hope that further evidence one way or the other may surface. In the present state of my knowledge I would probably exclude them from a collected works, albeit in several instances reluctantly.

B1. "To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle." [Letter rebutting Ministerial allegations that Dissenters have been intimidated by the Birmingham Riots.] Signed "A DISSENTER." Morning Chronicle, 28 July 1791. Reprinted in An Authentic Account of the Riots in Birmingham (1791), pp. 58–63; and as a pamphlet (ESTC T220698).

Besides bearing the same signature as Barbauld's Address to the Opposers, a signature seemingly little used in the 1780s and 90s,39 this essay takes the same tone of dignified expostulation, rebuts the charge that Dissenters are discouraged by defeat (cf. Address, in SPP, p. 276), answers the charge that Dissenters talk sedition by noting that the government does not outlaw such talk (it would do so a year later), and predicts that even if Dissenters were banished from the nation, men asserting the same principles would "start up, out of the bosom of the Church of England" (cf. Address, in SPP, pp. 274–276, where Barbauld cites defections from the Church of England by thinking men). On the other hand, the writer quotes a Roman historian, just as the author of Reasons for National Penitence does; the writer could, once again, be Barbauld's pupil Charles Marsh, at age 17 emulating his teacher.

B2. ["Meditations on a General Election."] Monthly Magazine, I (June 1796): 379–380. Signed "C." and dated "June 8, 1796."

An ironic comment on the professions of humility and desire to serve the public made in newspaper ads by candidates for Parliament; the writer pretends to take them seriously and to be deeply moved by the Christian virtues they display. The essay makes medical allusions; also, its exposition opens with "And, first," a phrase Barbauld uses in the same way in "Thoughts on the Devotional Taste": "And, in the first place" (SPP, p. 213).

B3. ["On the Characteristics of Poetry."] Monthly Magazine, 2 (August 1796): 532–534. Signed "Philo-Rhythmus" and dated 8 August 1796.


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Responds to a Monthly essay, "Is Verse essential to Poetry?" (MM, 2:453–456). The writer quotes Pope; mentions historians Rapin, Tindal, Tacitus and Hume; deprecates "as spurious" attempts to write poetical prose such as Macpherson's; and criticizes blank verse as "scarcely" distinct from prose. These views are consistent with those in the "Defence of Rhyme" by "Cosmo" that I attribute to Barbauld (A8) and with her preface to the poems of Collins (1797). Against attribution is the fact that Barbauld had published an imitation of Macpherson herself in Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose. However, she had also written blank verse, and continued to write it even after repudiating it in her Collins preface; inconsistency between precept and act need not discredit an attribution.

B4. ["Similitude of Domestic and National Politics."] Monthly Magazine, 4 (October 1797): 274–275, signed "C.C.C." and dated "Oct. 10."

Argues that lessons of political wisdom can be learned in the government of families. The politics urged here are egalitarian, consistently with the politics urged in Sins of Government and Civic Sermons. The writer urges that laws be few and easily understood (cf. Remarks on Public Worship in Works, 2:463) and uses two phrases used by Barbauld: "And, first" (cf. above, "Meditations on a General Election") and "For this plain reason" (cf. Civic Sermon II). But "C.C.C." could stand for "Corpus Christi College"; the writer could be a student or fellow there.

B5. ["Rhapsody on Newspapers."] Monthly Magazine, 5 (January 1798): 5–7. Signed "Rhapsodicus." Reprinted in The Spirit of the Public Journals for 1798, without attribution.

Taking rise from debates in Parliament whether or not to tax newspapers, the writer argues, ironically, that newspapers are articles of necessity, and describes the habits of their readers. The writer quotes one of Barbauld's favorite passages, Bacon's "come home to men's business and bosoms"; also a line from Shakespeare, "Confirmations strong / As proofs of holy writ" (Othello, III.iii.323). The writer takes the same view of war as Barbauld does in Sins of Government and elsewhere. In her Selections from The Spectator Barbauld reprinted No. 452, by Addison, on newspapers.

B6. ["Evils from a Prize in the Lottery."] Monthly Magazine, 5 (March 1798): 162–165, signed "David Dip. Whitechapel High-street, March 10, 1798." Reprinted in The Spirit of the Public Journals for 1798, without attribution; and in The British Prose Miscellany (Huddersfield, 1799?), as by "David Dip."

As in "Letter of John Bull," the writer complains of a wife's bad behavior: she won a lottery, and then insisted that the Dip family live "like people of fashion." Written in the supposed voice of a shopkeeper, the essay drops a few unsophisticated platitudes similar to those uttered by the mother cat in Barbauld's "Letter from Grimalkin to Selima": "But happiness will have an end. There are many ups and downs in life" (cf. in "Grimalkin": "Honesty you will find is the best policy" [SPP, p. 357]). In opposing lotteries, the writer opposes the government lottery designed to raise money for the war. Barbauld included a "Story of a Lottery


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Ticket" from Spectator No. 242 in her 1804 Selections; in it, a husband mistreats his wife over a ticket.

B7. ["Evils of Modern Matrimony."] Monthly Magazine, 5 (May 1798): 322–324. Signed "C.C."

Responds to a rash of divorce scandals ("crim. cons.," as they were called) by advocating (ironically) that wives be locked up to prevent their infidelity. "It is in vain to think that people will not abuse liberty, if they have it." Pretends to long for the good old days when women had to be courted by stealth, at the risk of the lover's life. The essay quotes Bacon's "comes home to men's bosoms and business" and introduces its arguments with "And first," as Barbauld does in "Thoughts on the Devotional Taste."

B8. ["On the Tie of Relationship."] Monthly Magazine, 5 (June 1798): 410–411. Signed "Aristippus" and dated 2 June 1798.

A serious essay on the relative duties that attend different degrees of human relations. "Tie" is a favorite Barbauld word (cf., most famously, "the sacred tie that binds" in "Hymn VI"). The writer shares Barbauld's Hutchesonian belief that human relations begin with one's kin and "ultimately" reach "to all who participate in the same common nature" (cf. Hymn VIII in Hymns in Prose). The writer quotes Francis Bacon, but not Barbauld's usual Bacon phrase, and in Latin, not English.

B9. ["On Parental Tyranny."] Monthly Magazine, 5 (June 1798): 421–422. Signed "'O." and dated May 8, "1797. "

The writer has read a memoir of Johann Georg Zimmermann in which Zimmermann is said to have lamented the death of a beloved daughter whose desire to marry the man of her choice Zimmermann thwarted. Zimmermann's suffering over his daughter's decline is mentioned in The Life of J. G. Zimmermann, Counsellor of State.... Translatedfrom the French of M. Tissot (London, 1797), but Zimmermann's own more detailed—and paternalist—account of his daughter's character and death appears in his Solitude considered, in Regard to its Influence upon the Mind and the Heart (London and Edinburgh, 1797), pp. 99–103. He does not state outright that her decline resulted from thwarted desire; the author of "On Parental Tyranny" assumes it, and argues thence that the true parental tyranny is exerted out of love and that the child submits to it from unwillingness to defy a beloved parent. The essay is thus a critique of paternalism. The idea of a daughter's love being thought unsuitable was close to Barbauld's heart, for, having defied her parents' wishes in marrying Rochemont, she came to suffer remorse for doing so.

B10. ["Environs of Bristol Described."] Monthly Magazine, 7 (July 1799): 448–451. Signed "A.B." and dated June 4.

Barbauld visited Bristol in June 1799, but unless she had knowledge from previous visits the 4th seems too early for her to have written a paper about it. In 1812 she wrote admiringly of Bristol to Sarah Carr (ALBVE, p. 397), mentioning St Vincent's Rocks, as this writer does. This writer quotes more Latin


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than I would expect from Barbauld and is almost pedantic in describing local geology and flora, but Barbauld did notice rocks in a cave at Bridgend (ALBVE, pp. 398 and 645n24) and attended to trees in describing the island of Corsica ("Corsica").

B11. ["Pizarro the Universal Topic!"]. Monthly Magazine, 8 (August 1799): 514–516. Signed "A Lover of Variety."

The writer complains that current conversation is monopolized by Sheridan's Pizarro, satirically exaggerates public monomania over the play, and hopes to return to discussing current events (the war, specifically General Suwarrow, an allusion to the invasion of Switzerland deplored by Barbauld and her family). This could be backhanded praise of the kind Barbauld gives to Roscoe's Lorenzo (A3). However, she was away from London during much of the run of the play. Pizarro opened at Drury Lane on 23 May and was repeated 31 times before 1 July (Ben Ross Schneider, Index to The London Stage, 1660–1800 [Carbondale, IL, 1979]).

B12. ["Origin of Nerves Inquired after."] Monthly Magazine, 9 (February 1800): 105–107. Signed "Neurologus" and dated "Feb. 10, 1800."

A teasing treatment of the fashion for "nerves" among the genteel urban classes. The writer pretends to ask if nerves were imported from abroad (an allusion to German plays) or are of native growth or invention. In "Comparison of Manners" Barbauld notes that "it is as difficult to ascertain the origin of a new folly, as of a new invention" (p. 9).

B13. ["Lunatics out of Hospitals."] Monthly Magazine, II (March 1801): 202205. Signed "Ol. Oldstile. Opposite Moorfields, March 1801."

Proposes that compulsive gamblers, speculators, worldly preachers, and parents who spoil their children be considered madmen. The writer flirts with medical terminology and the jargon of the stock exchange, and quotes Isaiah 5:7–8 ("woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field"). The writer is "a spectator of men and things" and has intended for a year to write on this subject, but has lacked "leisure" to do it. The writer's attention to compulsive behavior could result from living with Rochemont (also Rochemont's Chancery suit involved speculation in real estate, or "joining house to house"); so could the distractions that kept the writer from writing. Against attribution: the name "Oliver Oldstyle" occurs as signature to a piece "On the Affectation of Inferiority" in the Sentimental Magazine (reprinted in The Spirit of the Public Journals for 1801 [London, 1802], 288–294); and to a piece, "Ducking Chairs," published in The Oracle (reprinted ibid., 354–356); ALB is not known to have published in either periodical.

Note on Barbauld's contributions to the Monthly Magazine. If one maps onto a list of the magazine's monthly issues Barbauld's known contributions in prose and verse in one column, and these conjectured contributions in an adjoining column, a definite or conjectural Barbauld piece appears in twenty-five of the forty-nine numbers between February 1796 (her "Cosmogunia" dialogue) and February 1800 ("On Prejudice"). Taken together with her reported intention to contribute to the new magazine (see above), the number suggests that she meant


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to send her brother something at least every other month. If the reasoning were not circular, this inference might be taken as further evidence in support of the conjectural attributions.

B14. "Conversation Revived." Athenaeum, 2 (August 1807): 113–114. Signed "One of the BAS TON" and dated 11 June 1807.

Pretends to report the re-appearance in fashion of conversation, personified as a returned exile who has been victimized by "Folly" and, earlier, "Fashion." Quotes Othello ("trifles light as air"), Paradise Lost ("faithful among the faithless found"), and Pope ("The feast of Reason, and the flow of soul"). In "Comparison of Manners" (A17), Barbauld criticized a new superciliousness among the rich that inhibited conversation (quoted in ALBVE, p. 422).

B15. "What Constitutes Country." Athenaeum, 2 (August 1807): 128-130. Signed "A REMONSTRANT."

Moved by a passage in Dutensiana (1806) about the persecution of Protestants in France, the writer reflects on the treatment of Dissenters in England. The writer likens England to "a partial step-mother," as Barbauld does in Address to the Opposers; and charges "the system of toleration" with insulting Dissenters, as Barbauld does in the second edition of her Address. A nation that "will not amend ... must expect to be taught wisdom by some very severe lesson" (cf. the closing paragraph of Barbauld's "What Is Education?"). Although these sentiments all run parallel with Barbauld's, they could be John Aikin's also; she, however, would be more likely than he to be conscious of French Protestants, having married a man of Huguenot ancestry.

B16. "Remarks on Versification." Athenaeum, 2 (September 1807): 229–231 Signed "Candidus."

Argues that the effects of versification are culturally relative and depend on the associations readers have formed with them. Defends anapestics, both in French and English, from the charge that they are ludicrous. Instances lines from Rowe, Montgomery's Ocean, and Beattie's Hermit. Barbauld argued for the power of association, most notably in the preface to Hymns in Prose, and she admired Montgomery's Ocean. However, Montgomery was a favorite with her brother and niece as well: John Aikin quoted Ocean in the Athenaeum in April 1807 (1:351).

B17. "A Complainant." Athenaeum, 3 (June 1808): 537–538. Signed "The Public."

"The Public" complains of "the petty injuries and vexations which I experience in the ordinary course of life," such as being relegated to the worst seats in theaters, having to stand through church services, and being barred from using country foot-paths. Quotes Coleridge's "Frost at Midnight," which Barbauld is believed to have reviewed in the Analytical in 1798.40


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B18. "A Topic of Consolation." Athenaeum, 4 (October 18ü8): 297–299. Signed "Mentor."

Argues that the motto, Fortune "has taken away, but she first gave," suggests "matter of consolation under the loss of friends, or other deprivations." Addresses mainly the premature deaths of beloved children, but generalizes to "every blessing bestowed upon us by Providence ... with the purpose that we should make the best of it." Quotes Cymbeline, IV.ii.258–261, a passage perhaps alluded to in Barbauld's lines on Rochemont's death a month or more later (PALB, p. 305). The argument for attributing this piece to Barbauld would be mainly biographical. In October 1808 she and Rochemont were living apart, separated apparently for good, and she was grieving intensely over her loss (see ALBVE, pp. 439–440); the essay would be an attempt to console herself.

B19. "Maxims of Frugality Vindicated." Athenaeum, 5 (March 1809): 207208. Signed "Priscus."

Takes issue with "a late publication" (not identified) in which the maxims of Poor Richard are censured; argues in defense of Poor Richard and of frugality as "the foundation of every thing honourable and manly in social and political life." Cites the spendthrift Harrell in Burney's Cecilia, a novel Barbauld admired and included in The British Novelists, on which she was working at this time.

B20. "On the Necessity of preaching against Political Immoralities." Monthly Repository, 8 (June 1813): 379–383. Signed "A Lay Dissenter."

The writer argues that Christian ministers are obliged by their allegiance to the Bible to denounce evils committed by government, and that the obligation is politically impartial. The chief example of the kind of evils to be denounced is the government's treatment of an unnamed "political writer" who censured the vices of "a personage of high rank and great influence in the state" (the Prince Regent) and was prosecuted for libel. The writer quotes a line from Cowper as epigraph and a passage from Guardian No. 80 on political use of the Church "for managing the loves and hatreds of mankind." Barbauld admired Cowper and included papers from the Guardian in her 1804 Addison-Steele collection, but not No. 80.


A search of the online Burney Collection of British Newspapers turned up only six instances of "A Dissenter" as a signature between 1 Jan. 1787 and 31 Dec. 1793. The search engine is not trustworthy, however, for it failed to turn up the very piece here in question.


40. Analytical Review, 28 (Dec. 1798): 590–592, signed "D.M.S." and attributed by Derek Roper, Reviewing before the "Edinburgh," 1788–1802 (Newark, DE, 1978), p. 283n76.