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DR PARR AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES.
How peculiarly painful is it to all Sam Parr ! we love you; we said parties-judges and juries, govern- so once before.
But perstringing, ment, the public in general, the cul- which was a favoured word of your prit, and his friends in particular- own, was a no less favoured act. when a literary man falls under the You also in your life time perstrinlash of the law! How irritating to ged many people ; some of whom himself and others that he should be perstringed you, Sam, smartly in retransported—how disgusting that he turn; some kissed the rod; and some should be hanged! Such fates, how- disdained it in silence. Complaint ever, befell some of Dr Parr's dear therefore on your behalf would be est connexions; he lived to see his unreasonable ; that same parresia, most valued pupil expatriated, in which in your lifetime furnished a company with felons, to “the Great ground for so many thousand disBotanic Bay ;” and he lived to ac- charges of the same Grecian pun on company another friend (who also your own name, (each duly delivered by one biographer is described as a by its elated author as the original pupil) to the foot of the gallows. explosion,) obliges us to deal frankly
We mention not these things by with your too frequent errors, even way of reproach to Dr Parr's me- when we are most impressed by the mory. The sufferings of his un spectacle of your truly Christian behappy friends, after they came into nignity. Indeed, the greater your trouble, called out none but the good benignity, the better is our title to qualities of his nature. Never, in- tax those errors which so often dedeed, was Samuel Parr seen to feated it. For why, let us ask of greater advantage, than when ani. Dr Parr's friends, should he choose mating the hopes, supporting the to testify his friendship to men, fortitude, or ministering to the com- in standing by them, and giving forts of the poor dejected prisoner his countenance to their affliction, in his gloomy cell, at a time when rather than in the wiser course-so self-reproaches had united with the suitable to his sacred calling—of infrowns of the world to make the terposing his gentler counsels beconsolations of friendship somewhat tween their frantic designs and the more than usually trying to the giver, dire extremities which naturally conand a thousand times more valuable ducted to that affliction? In Gerrald's to the receiver. When all others case, he certainly had counselled and forsook the wretched, and fled, Dr warned him of the precipice on which Parr did not ; his ear was open to he stood, in due season. But to him, the supplications of all who sate in as to the chamois hunter of the Alps, darkness and sorrow; and wherever danger was a temptation even for its the distress was real, remembering own sake: he hungered and thirsted that he himself also was a poor after political martyrdom. And it is frailty-laden human creature, he did possible, that in that case Dr Parr not think it became him too severely found no grounds of self-reproach. to examine in what degrees guilt or Possible, we say; even here we speak indiscretion had concurred to that doubtingly, because if Dr Parr apeffect. Sam Parr ! these things will plied sedatives to his fiery nature in make the earth lie light upon your 1794, he had in 1790-2 applied stimulast abode; flowers will nourish on Jants; if, finally, when Mr Pitt and its verdant roof; and gleams of such the French Reign of Terror shewed remembrances extort an occasional that no trifling could be allowed, he twinge of compunction even from pulled vainly at the curb-rein (as us-at the very moment when we his letters remain to shew)-originare borrowing old Sir Christopher's ally, it is beyond all doubt that he gentler knout (No.3—his scutica, not used the spur. Violence and inhis flagellum) gently to “perstringe” temperance, it is true, in Mr Gerrald your errors.
were constitutional ; yet there can
be little doubt that, for the republi- amongst creditable writers, the most can direction which they took, his insolent theomachist and ruffian inindiscreet tutor was nearly altoge- fidel of ancient or modern times ? ther answerable.
If Dr Parr's friends acted upon Mr Joseph Gerrald was a man of great Paine's principles, propagated Mr talents : his defence upon his trial Paine's principles, and suffered in shews it: and we have the assurance public estimation, even to the extent of an able critic, who was himself of martyrdom, as champions of those present at its delivery, in March 1794, principles—nobody can suppose that that no piece of forensic eloquence in selecting and professing a faith so on record better deserved the pro- full of peril, they could be other than found attention with which it was re- greatly influenced by the knowledge ceived: “ you might,” as he assured that a learned doctor in the Church us, " during the whole time, have of England, guide and tutor to themheard a pin drop.” Under happier selves, had publicly spoken of that auspices* than Dr Parr's, how dis- Mr Paine as an authority not altotinguished a citizen might this man gether without his claims to consihave become! As to Mr Oliver, it is deration. Dr Parr's own statement of the case, But we have insensibly wandered (a statement which, at this day, we into political considerations at a presume, few persons will be found point of our review, where the proto believe,) that he was condemned per object before us was—Dr Parr and executed for drinking Mr Fox's as a man of letters. For this we health, and reading Tom Paine's wri- have some excuse, considering that tings; in short, for being a Jacobin. politics and literature so naturally The little trifling circumstance that blended in Dr Parr's practice of he was also a murderer, with Dr authorship, that perhaps not one of Parr weighs nothing at all. Take his most scholar]ike performances, then his own representation : who but is richly interveined with politiwas it that countenanced the reading cal allusions and sarcasms, nor one of Tom Paine, criticizing his infa- of those most professedly political, mous books as counterpoises to those which did not often turn aside to of Burke, and as useful in bringing gather flowers from the fields of the out a neutral product? Who was it muses, or herbs “ of med'cinable that gave to Warwickshire, (Mr Oli- power" from the gardens of philover's
part of the country,) nay, to all sophy. The truth is, the Doctor England, the one sole example of a wrote as he lived ; bending to mo
budge doctor,” arrayed in the mentary gusts of passion ; recovering scarlet robes of the English univer- himself by glimpses to a higher sities, and a public instructor of the standard of professional duty ; reyoung English aristocracy, speaking membering by fits that he was officautiously and respectfully of this cially a teacher, spiritual and intelshallow dogmatist, who, according lectual; forgetting himself too often to his power, laid the axe to all civil into a partisan and a zealot. government throughout the world ? However, as we shall consider Dr Who, but one man, clothed in the Parr's politics under a separate and character of a Christian minister, peculiar head, we will, for the precould have been blinded by party sent, confine ourselves more rigorviolence to the extent of praising ously to his literary character, diffiin a qualified manner, and naming cult as we really find it to observe a
* And perhaps in candour it should be added, under happier fortunes and more prudence in his liaisons with the other sex. He was in some degree a dissolute man ; but perhaps he might bave been otherwise under more noble treatment from the woman of his heart. Ilis unhappiness, on this point, latterly, was great ; and there is reason to think that he secretly wished to lay down bis life, and resorted to politics as the best means of doing so with reputation. He had a passionate love for an unworthy woman, whom he had strong reasons for thinking unfaithful to him. And at all events, like too many of her sex, she had the baseness to trifle with his apparent misery.
line of strict separation, which the Sir W. Jones.* Some day or other good doctor himself is for ever we shall make a great article on tempting or provoking us to forget. this subject; and we shall then il
As a man of letters, then, what was lustrate largely: for without illusit—what power, what accomplish- tration, such a discussion is as empty ment, what art, that Dr Parr could and aerial as a feast of the Barme emblazon upon his shield of pre- cide. tence, as characteristically his own? Meantime, whatsoever the meLatin ; Latin quoad knowledge; chanic hounds may say who now Latin quoad practical skill. “ Read- give the tone to education, the art of ing,” said he, “reflection, the office writing Latin finely is a noble accomof a teacher, and much practice in plishment; and one, we will take composition, have given me a com upon us to say, which none but a man mand over the Latin sufficient for of distinguished talent will succeed the ordinary purposes of a scholar." in. All the scholarship in the world This was his own estimate of him- will not avail to fight up against the self: and it was a modest one-too tyranny of modern idioms and momodest : and possibly he would not dern fashions of thought—the whole have made it had he been addressing composition will continue to be redoany body but a Whig lord, taught lent of lamps not fed with Attic oil, from his earliest youth to take his but with gas-base gas—unless in the valuation of Dr Parr from a party hands of a man vigorous and agile who regarded him as their champion enough to throw off the yoke of verand martyr. Yet again, it is not im- nacular custon, possible that he was sincere : for “ Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life.” the insincere will make a general No custom cramps and masters a profession of humility in the ab- man's freedom so effectually as the stract, and yet revolt from the test of household diction which he hears individual comparisons: they confess from all around him. And that man, how much they fall short of their own who succeeds (like Dr Parr) in ideal; but as to John, Thomas, or throwing his thoughts into ancient William, they would spurn a claim of moulds, does a greater feat than he superiority for them. Now, Dr Parr that turned the Euphrates into a new sometimes goes so far in his humi- channel for the service of his army. lity as to “name names :" Sir Wil This difficulty is in itself a suffiliam Jones, Sir George Baker cient justification of modern Latinthese we are sure of, and we think coupled, as it is, with so useful an Bishop Lowth, were amongst the activity of thought. But, apart from masters of Latinity, to whom he that, will any man contend that the somewhere concedes the palm for establishment of a great commonthis accomplishment, on a question wealth can be complete without of comparison with himself. We artists in Latinity ?—Even rogues, must profess our own hearty dissent swindlers, hangmen, are essential to from such a graduation of the ho- the proper mounting of a great me
Sir George Baker, from his tropolis : a murderer or two perhaps, subjects, is less generally known. in the complete subdivision of emHe was an Etonian, and wrote at ployments, would not be amiss in least with facility : but to speak of casting the parts for a full performthe other two, who are within every ance of civil life. Not that we apbody's reach, we contend that, prove of murder for murder's sake : maugre their reputation, they do not far from it! It is scandalous, and write good Latin. The kind of Latin what every good man must decidedly they affect is in bad taste : too florid, condemn and pointedly discourage. too rotund, too little idiomatic: its But still, if murders are to be, and structure is vicious, and evidences an murders will be, and murders must English origin. Of Lowth we say be, then of course we might as well this even more determinately than of have them executed in an artist-like
It is remarkable, however, that Sir William's Greek is far better than Parr's. Jones's has all the air of the genuine antique : Parr's is villainous.
manner, as in the horrid bungling The
emperor's billet fell upon Merstyle so offensive in rude countries ton College; and in acknowledgment to the eye of delicate taste, and the of the hospitality there shewn, some mind of sensibility. Assuredly, it time afterwards he sent to the warcannot be denied, that all sorts of den and fellows, through Count Lievillains, knaves, prigs, and so forth, ven, bis ambassador to the court of are essential parts in the equipage of London, a magnificent vase of Sibesocial life. Else why do we regard rian jasper. a This vase wanted an police as so indispensable a function inscription- Latin inscription of of organized society ? for without
This inscription was to be corresponding objects in the way of worked in Russia, and the workmen scoundrels, sharks, crimps, pimps, stood resting upon their tools until ring-droppers, &c.,— police officers this should come out from England. would be idle superfluities, and Now, under these circumstances, liable to general disgust.
John Bull! conceive the shame and But, waving the question as stretch- the scandal-if Oxford, the golden ed to this extent, for artists who seat of classical erudition, under the work in Latin we may plead more very eyes of the Czar and his ambasreasons than Mr Blackwood is like- sador, had been obliged to resort to ly to allow us scope for in one ar some coxcomb on the continent for ticle,—we shall press but one ar the small quantity of Latin required? gument, and that applied to our What would Mrs Grundy have said ? just national pride. Is it not truly What would the Hetman have said ? shameful that a great nation should And Woronzoff, and Kutuzoff, and have occasion to go abroad for any Doctoroff, and Tchitchzakoff? Inodd bit of Latin that it may chance deed we cannot think it altogether to want in the way of inscription for becoming to Oxford, that Cambridge a triumphal monument, for a tomb, should have furnished the artistfor a memorial pillar, for a public or for Dr Parr it was who undertook official gift? Conceding (as, under and executed the inscription, which, the terrors of Mr Blackwood's pru- after all, exhibted too Spartan a naning knife, we do concede for the kedness to have taxed any man very moment) that Latin is of little other severely, except for the negative application—is it to be endured that quality of forbearance; and the scanwe should be reduced to the neces dal, as between the two universities, sity of importing our Latin secre is actually on record and in print, tary ?* For instance, we will men of a chancellor of the one (Lord tion one memorable case. The Czar Grenville) corresponding with a docAlexander, as all the world knows, tor of the other, for a purpose which one fine day, in the summer of that exclusively concerned Oxford. Per. immortal year 1814, went down to haps the excuse may be, that Oxford Oxford in company with our own was not interested as a body in an Regent, the King of Prussia, the Het-affair which belonged personally to man of the Cossacks, and a long roll the warden and fellows of one soof other princely personages, with ciety. And at all events, the national titles fatiguing to the memory, and part of the scandal was averted.t names from which orthography re On this subject, which furnished coils aghast. Some were entertained so many a heart-ache to a loyal heartat one college-some at another. ed Englishman, we would beg to
We say Latin secretary, as indicating an office so far as regards its duties, which really does exist, though the emoluments do not. There is a great deal of public work to be executed in Latin, and it is done gratis, and by various hands. But, were this an age for increasing the public burdens, we should suggest the propriety of creating anew the formal appointment of Latin secretary, which ought for many reasons never to have been abolished. The Fox Ministry would have done rightly to have restored the office, and to have rewarded Dr Parr by the first appointment.
† But surely the brother of Sir Henry Halford (as the warden of Merton, Dr Peter Vaughan, we believe was) needed not to have gone out of his own family connexions for such an assistance. For Sir Henry himself writes Latin with ease and effect.
throw a hasty glance. John Bull, a great scholar was heard of on the who piques himself so much and so continent, him John Bull proceeded justly on the useful and the respect to buy or to bargain for. Many were able, on British industry, British imported at the Reformation. Joseph faith, British hardware, British mo Scaliger was courted in the suc. rals, British muskets (which are by ceeding age. A younger friend of no means the best specimens of our his, Isaac Casaubon, a capital scholar, morals, judging by the proportion that but a dull man, and rather knavish, annually bursts in the hands of poor was caught. Exultingly did John savages)—and, generally speaking, hook him, play with him, and land upon British arts, provided only they him. James I. determined that he are the useful and the mechanical would have his life written by him: arts—this same John Bull has the and, in fact, all sorts of uses were most sheepish distrust of himself in meditated and laid out for their every accomplishment that professes costly importation. But he died a purpose of ornament and mere without doing anything that he would beauty. Here he has a universal not have done upon the continent; superstition in favour of names in the whole profit of the transaction ano and ini. Every foreigner in- rested with the Protestant cause, deed, but more especially every Ita- which (but for English gold) Casaulian-it is John's private faith-is bon would surely have abandoned by privilege of nature a man of taste, for the honours and emoluments of and, by necessity, a knave. Were Rome. Cromwell again, perfect John it only of music that he thought this, Bull as he was in this feature, also and only of Italian foreigners, per- preserved the national faith; he haps he might not be so far amiss. would have his martial glories reOh! the barbarous leaning of Bri- corded. Well : why not ? Especialtish taste as regards music! oh, the ly for one who had Milton at his trashy songs which pollute our thea- right hand. But no; he thought tres, and are allowed to steal into little of him-he would buy a fothe operas of Mozart! Strange that reigner. In fact, he was in treaty the nation whose poetry and drama for several ; and we will venture to discover by degrees so infinitely the say that Salmasius himself was not most passion, should in their music more confounded upon finding bimdiscorer the least! Not merely, how- self suddenly seized, bound, and ever, in arts, technically so called, whirled at Milton's chariot wheels, but in every branch of ornamental in a field where he was wont to career knowledge, every thing that cannot up and down as supreme and unquesbe worked in a loom, weighed on a tioned arbiter, and at most expecting steel-yard, measured by an ellwand, a few muttered insults, that would valued by an auctioneer, John Bull not require notice,—than Cromwell secretly distrusts himself and his was on hearing that his own chamown powers. He may talk big when pion, a Londoner born, and manuhis patriotism is irritated ; but his factured at Cambridge, had verily secret and sincere opinion is, that taken the conceit out of the vainnature has made him a barbarian as glorious, but all-learned Frenchman. regards the beautiful; if not for sen. It was just such another essay as sibility, at any rate for performance; between Orlando and the Duke's and that in compensation of this no wrestler-as well for the merits of vercal usage, fortune has given him the parties, as for the pleasant disa long purse to buy his beauty ready appointment to the lookers-on. For made. Hence it is, that, whilst even on the continent all men reopenly disavowing it, John is for joiced in the humiliation of Salmaever sneaking privately to foreigners, sius. Charles II., again, and his faand tempting them with sumptuous rourite ministers, had heard of Des bribes, to undertake a kind of works Cartes as a philosopher and Latinist, which many times would be better but apparently not of Lord Bacon, done by domestic talents. Latin, we except as a lawyer. King William, may be sure, and Greek, fall too though in the age of Bishop Pearson, much within the description of the and Stillingfleet, and Bentley, in the ornamental—to be relished of home very rare glances which he condemanufacture. Whenever, therefore, scended to bestow on literature,