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AND IN PART WRITTEN
VARIOUS SOURCES, PRINTED AND MANUSCRIPT,
By E. H. BARKER, Esq.,
Of Thetford, Norfolk.
THE PRINCIPAL CONTENTS:
Printed by F. Skill, Swaff ham.
1. “Why should I deny myself the satisfaction I must feel in saying of him here, what of such a man I could say everywhere, with equal justice and equal triumph? The friendship of this excellent person, believe me, readers, will ever be ranked by me among the sweetest consolations, and the proudest ornaments of my lite?” Dr. Parr's Works 3, 285.
2. “The esteem, the affection, the reverence, which I feel for so profound a scholar, and so honest a man, as Dr.” (PARR)“ make me wholly indifferent to the praise and censure of those, who vilify, without reading, his writings, or read them without finding some incentive to study, some proficiency in knowledge, or some improvement in virtue.” Dr. Pakk's Preface to the Two Tracts of a Warburtonian p. 196.
3. “ But you owe to me some recompence for the heavy disappointment I have experienced from the delay of the publication of Wray; and that recompence is, though it should produce more delay, that you should confer upon my ambition the honour of accompanying Dr. Park in the same volume. I will bribe you, if I can; though I have been imprudent enough to think our friendship ensured your coincidence in all my wishes, that are ingenuons-- and I think, if I know myself, the ambition, to which i allude, is that of being accredited as an admirer of Genius and Virtue. My wish to accompany Dr. PARR, and you may tell him so, arises from the enthusiasm, which I entertain for his powerful intellect, for his classical taste, for his depth of learning, and for his eloquence.” Mr. Justice HARDINGE's Memoirs of Dr. SNEYD DAVIES p. 263.
4. “And now, Sir, I am upon this great subject of writing lives, let me also give my opinion, which is, that, if the lives of great and good men were wrote by their most intimate friends, that were persons of unblemished reputation, that would not write their own fancies and inventions for truth, but would take on them the fatigue of searching of books, papers, and letters, which concerns the person, whose life they intend to write, and report matters of fact faithfully, it would be a very useful and acceptable work; for examples of heroick piety and virtue, are more pleasant and prevalent with mankind than just precepts and commands.” A Letter from Moses PITT to the Author of a Book intituled • Some Discourses upon Dr. BURNET, ( now Lord
Bishop of Salisbury,) and Dr. TULLOTSON, (late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury occasioned by the late Funeral Sermon of the former upon the latter. Lond. 1695. 4to. p. 21.
5. “The conversations of scholars have been collected in ages of literature. That they have not been formed with that care, and that selection they merited, has been the only cause of their having fallen into disrepute. With such substitutes we are enabled, in no ordinary degree, to realize the society of those, who are no more ; and to become more real contemporaries with thegreat men of another age, than were even their contemporaries themselves. Are we not all desirous of joining the society of eminent men ? It is a wish of even the illiterate. But the sensibility of genius shrinks tremblingly from the contact of the vulgar, and the arrogance of learning will not descend to their level. They prefer a contemplative silence, rather than incur the chance of being insulted by their admiration. Few, therefore, can be admitted to their conversations. Yet, when a man of genius displays conversible talents, his conversations are frequently more animated, more versatile, and, I must add, more genuine than his compositions. Such literary conversations may be compared to waters, which flow from their source; but literary writings resemble more frequently an ornamented fountain, whose waters are forced to elevate themselves in artificial irregularities, and sparkling tortuosities. These collections are productive of utility. A man of letters learns from a little conversation, which has been fortuitously preserved,— a casual hint, which was gathered, as it fell,- and an observation, which its author might never have an occasion to insert in his works, numberless mysteries in the art of literary composition, and those minute circumstances, which familiarize us to the genius of one, whom we admire, and whom sometimes we aspire to imitate.” A Dissertation on Anécdotes, by the Author of 'Curiosities of Literature, Lond. 1793. 8vo. p. 50.
Bishop Bennet thus addresses Dr. Parr, Emmanuel College, Febr. 15, 1789.:-“I have bought your book with eagerness, examined it with attention, and shall bind it with elegance; and though I have received so many personal favours from Dr. Hurd, that I shall ever, as a man, esteem and respect him, yet as a writer, his sneers have ever displeased me, and I am not sorry to see them attacked. Let me add, however, that he seems to think poorly of them himself by the neglect he has shewn to them, which is a sort of virtual retraction,” (the publication of his Correspondence with WARBURTON under his own imprimatur proves that he had never virtually retracted them, — the sin of sneering was habitual, and he lived and died in the sin,] “and ought in part to have disarmed the severity of your censure. I will first tell you what I think wrong: I doubt if the offence given to you by Hurd could justify your attack. I know you will tell me,
When sense or virtue an affront endures,
" Th’ affront is mine, my friend, and should be yours;' and that the poisoned arrows he shot from his dark corner at Jortin and LELAND, justify your knocking him down with your Herculean club. But I suspect you have been misled by idle, perhaps untrue reports, that HURD may have spoken lightly of your own performances. If such is the case indeed,” [and it was the case, I “ and the facts can be proved, I think you are fully authorized to take your revenge. This rests on a ground you know, and I do not, and therefore I say no more of it. Johnson shall speak for me-- Respect is due to high place, tenderness to living reputation, etc. etc.” (Yes, but Hurd had shewn neither towards JORTiN and LELAND, and therefore could claim neither ; Park did not attack the Bishop, but the Scholar, and there is no high place among Scholars, who form a Republic.] “I do not like the phrase prodigality of cruelty: what is prodigal cruelty? But I suppose you have either authority for the phrase, or concealed allusion in it. There looks somewhat of an inaccuracy in this sentence, “Their titles indeed sometimes crept into the corner of ' a catalogue, and sometimes were caught skulking upon the shelf
of a collector,'” [p. 145.] “ You mean the pamphlets themselves were caught skulking. One can hardly say the titles were caught upon a shelf, and yet I believe it will do on a more diligent examination; but there is something in the sentence I do not quite
like.” [The phrase is peculiar to Parr, but, I think, justifiable: the title of a book, strictly speaking, may be just as soon caught SKULKING on the shelf of a collector, as CREEP into the corner of a catalogue; the expressions are metaphorical, and the one is admirably balanced against the other; the eye, as it surveys the shelf of a collector, catches the titles only of the books on it, and any particular book from its size, or from the magnitude of its companions, may be more concealed from the view, i. e. may skulk more or less, in which case the title, or, in other words, the book itself, is caught (by the eye) skulking on the shelf.]
- Who is the best Greek scholar in England ?” [PORSON is alluded to p. 156; at this time, (1789,) he was not Greek Professor, he had only taken his degree in 1782, and his reputation for scholarship
seems, not very general, for Dr. Bennet was at this time residing in College.] “Better than BENTLEY too; yes, when his conjectures are verified by the discovery of fresh manuscripts, and the cleaning of old marbles. Where does he lurk? in the Critical Review? This, my dear Doctor, is prodigality of praise. As far as my knowledge will go, no such character, the rival of Bentley, exists; aut mea sententia hic est Crassus noster, aut, si quis pari fuerit ingenio, pluraque quam tu et audierit, et lectitarit, paulum tibi aliquid poterit addere,” [Cic. de Orat. 1, 95.] “I value this performance of yours the more, because it has let me, and ought to let you, into a secret, viz. that your abilities in writing are never put out with more force than when you draw character. I look on those of WARBURTON and LELAND as good, but apon JORtin's as containing some of the best sentences I ever saw in my life, in point either of discriminating thought, or animated, yet chastised expression. Indeed I think that the style of the whole work, as less stiff, is more excellent than any of your other compositions; but in characters, I repeat it, you are almost unrivalled. And now you know your forte, I hope, as Walsh says to Pope, you will lose no opportunity of exerting yourself in it. I have received some entertainment from an extraneous circumstance. STEEVENS is concerned in the St. James's Chronicle ; he hates Hurd, and he is afraid of you. From the first moment, therefore, your pamphlet had appeared, that paper has lavished on it the highest praises ; has exaggerated the prices, at which WARBURTON's and Hurd's pamphlets sold before the re-printing ; has observed the opportunity collectors now have of purchasing them reasonably with your excellent Dedication ; has triumphed on the sneers against the sneering BışHOP; but what is very curious, he has drawn some of the paragraphs of the most bitter kind so much in SEALE's manner, that the Lambeth-Chaplain will be thrown into an agony of terror, and the BISHOP, if he sees them, into an agony of rage.
You will allow this to be perfectly Stephanie.'
The excellent Bishop is perfectly right about Dr. PARR's consummate skill in delineating character justly, brilliantly, and fully;
was superior to Johnson in this respect, because he was more critically exact, and more philosophically profound, less subject to