Oldmixon, John

, ridiculed in the Taller by the name of Mr. Omicron, “the Unborn Poet,” descended from an ancient family of the name, originally seated at Oldmixon, near Bridgewater, in Somersetshire, and was born in 1673. Where he was educated is not known. He appears to have been early a writer for the stage; his first production was “Amyntas,” a pastoral, and his second, in 1700, an opera, neither of much merit or success. He Soon, however, became a violent party-writer, and a severe and malevolent critic. In the former light he was a strong opponent of the Stuart family, whom he has, on every occasion, endeavoured to vilify without any regard to that impartiality which ought ever to be the essential characteristic of an historian. As a critic he was perpetually attacking, with evident tokens of envy and malevolence, his several contemporaries; particularly Addison, Eusden, and Pope. The last of these, however, whom he had attacked in different letters which he wrote in “The Flying Post,” and repeatedly reflected on in his “Prose essays on Criticism,” and in his “Art of Logic and Rhetoric,” written in imitation of Bouhours, has introduced him into his “Dunciad,” with some very distinguishing marks of eminence among the devotees of dulness. In the second book of that severe poem, where the dunces are | contending for the prize of dulness, by diving in the mud of Fleet-ditch, he represents our author as mounting the sides of a lighter, in order to enable him to take a more efficacious plunge. Oldmixon’s malevolence of abuse entitled him to the above-mentioned honour; and, to the disgrace of the statesmen of that time, his zeal as a virulent party-writer procured him the place of collector of the customs at the port of Bridgewater, but he died at his house in Great Pulteney-street, aged sixty-nine, July 9, 1742. He left a daughter, who died in 1789, at Newiand in Gloucestershire, aged eighty-four. Another of his daughters sung at Hickford’s rooms in 1746. He lies buried in Ealing church.

Mr. Oldmixon, though rigid to others, is far from unblameable himself, in the very particulars concerning which he is so free in his accusations, and that sometimes even without the least regard to truth; one remarkable instance of this kind was his infamous attempt to charge three eminent persons with interpolation in Lord Clarendon’s “History.” This, however, was fully and satisfactorily disproved by bp. Atterbury, the only survivor of them; and the pretended interpolation, after a space of almost ninety years, was produced in his lordship’s own hand-writing. Yet, notwithstanding Oldmixon’s indignation against this pretended crime, it is a fact that when employed by bishop Kennet in publishing the historians in his “Collection,” he made no scruple to pervert “Daniel’s Chronicle” in numberless places, which renders Rennet’s first edition of little value. His principal works were, the “History of the Stuarts,” folio, and “the Critical History of England;” besides which he wrote, 1. “Reflections on Dr. Swift’s Letter to the Earl of Oxford about the English Language,1712, 8vo. 2. “A volume of Poems,1714. 3. “The Life of Arthur Maynwaring, esq.” whose “Posthumous Works” were collected by Mr. Oldmixon in 1715, and whom he had considerably assisted in “The Medley.” 4. “The Life of Queen Anne.” 5. “A Review of Dr. Grey’s Defence of our ancient and modern Historians.” He wrote also a tragedy, an opera, and two pastorals; and his name is to one of Curll’s infamous publications, called “Court tales, or a History of the Amours of the present Nobility,” of which a second edition was published in 1731. 1


Cibber's Lives. Biog. Dram. Swift and Pope’s Works; se^ Indexes, ­Lysons’s Environs, vol. II.