People, Society & Culture of Tunbridge Wells in the 18th Century & later.

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Royal Tunbridge Wells
that if Derrick's Letters had been written by one of a more established name, they would have been thought very pretty letters." Thus the Doctor expressed himself to Boswell, who knew Derrick passing well, that worthy having been his first cicerone in London. But if Johnson did not think highly of Derrick as a man of letters, at least he said to his companion, " You are to consider that his being a liter­ary man has got for him all that he has. It has made him King of Bath. Sir, he has nothing to say for himself, but that he is a writer. Had he not been a writer, he must have been sweeping the crossings in the streets, and asking halfpence from everybody that passed." Which statement may give pause to those who assert that literary men in the mid-eighteenth century were almost invariably looked down upon, not only indi­vidually, but also as a class. Derrick's tenure of his dual office at Bath and Tunbridge Wells did not pass off without disturbance. The wits made a butt of him because of his diminutive stature. Smollett makes one of the characters in Humphrey Clinker allude to him as " Tom Thumb "—and Garrick poked fun at him for his want of firmness. 160
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