Sanders, Robert

, an English writer, whose history may not be unuseful, was a native of Scotland, and born in, or near, Breadalbane, about 1727. He was by business a comb-maker; but not being successful in trade, and having some talents, some education, and a good memory, he commenced a hackney writer, and in that capacity produced some works which have been relished by the lower class of readers. When he came to London is uncertain; but, having travelled over most of the northern parts of these kingdoms, he compiled, from his own survey and the information of books, an itinerary, entitled “The Complete English Traveller,” folio. It was published in numbers, with the fictitious name of Spencer, professedly on the plan of Fuller’s Worthies, with biographical notices of the most eminent men of each county. As the dealers in this kind of publications thought it too good a thing to be lost, it has been republished, depriving Mr. Spencer of his rights, and giving them to three fictitious gentlemen, Mr. Burlington for England, Mr. Murray for Scotland, and Mr. Llewellyn for Wales. He also compiled, about 1764, a work in 5 or 6 vols. 8vo, with cuts, entitled “The Newgate Calendar, or Memoirs of those unfortunate culprits | who fall a sacrifice to the injured laws of their country, and thereby make their exit at Tyburn.” He was some time engaged with lord Lyttelton, in assisting his lordship to compile his “History of Henry II.;” and Dr. Johnson, in his life of that poetical nobleman, introduces this circumstance in no very honourable manner. “When time,” says he, “brought the history to a third edition, Reid (the former corrector) was either dead or discharged; and the superintendence of typography and punctuation was committed to a man originally a conjb-maker, but then known by the style of Doctor Sanders. Something uncommon was probably expected, and something uncommon was at last done; for to the doctor’s edition is appended, what the world had hardly seen before, a list of errors of nineteen pages. 7 ' His most considerable work was his” Gaffer Greybeard,“an illiberal piece, in 4 vols. 12mo, in which the characters of the most eminent dissenting divines, his contemporaries, are very freely handled. He had, perhaps suffered either by the contempt or the reproof of some of that persuasion, and therefore endeavoured to revenge himself on the whole, ridiculing, in particular, Dr. Gill under the name of Dr. Half-pint, and Dr. Gibbons under that of Dr. Hymn-maker. He was also the author of the notes to a Bible published weekly under the name of the rev. Henry Southwell: for this he received about twentyfive or twenty-six shillings per week, while Dr. Southwell, the pseudo-commentator, received one hundred guineas for the use of his name, he having no other recommendation to the public, by which he might merit a posthumous memory, than his livings.*


Dr. Henry Southwell, who died in 1779, was of a good family in Cambridgeshire, was educated at Magdalen college, Cambridge, and had the rectory of Asterby in Lincolnshire, but no one that knew him ever suspected him of writing a book.

Dr. Sanders also compiled” Letter-writers,“” Histories of England,“and other works of the paste and scissors kind but his” Roman History," written in a series of letters from a nobleman to his son, in 2 vols. 12mo, has some merit. Towards the latter end of his days he projected a general chronology of all nations, and had already printed some sheets of the work, under the patronage of lord Hawke, when a disorder upon his lungs put a period to his existence, March 19, 1783. He was much indebted to the munificence of Mr. Granville | Sharp. More particulars of this man’s history and of the secrets of Bible-making may be seen in our authority. 1