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GRANVILLE SHARP was the youngest son of Thomas Sharp, Archdeacon of Northumberland, and grandson of Archbishop Sharp ; his father, the archdeacon, having been also the youngest son of the archbishop. Granville Sharp thus had the happiness of springing from a family in which piety, virtue, and benevolence seemed to be hereditary. He was born at Durham, November 10, in the year 1735, and was in due time apprenticed to one Halsey, a quaker and linendraper in London. It appears to be singular enough that his father, a dignified clergyman, should have made such a choice. The quaker dying in three years, he was then made over to a Mr. Willoughby, a presbyterian or independent, and afterwards lived with an Irish papist, and lastly with a master who had “ no religion at all.” It is related of him, that a series of controversies with an inmate of his master's house, (the last probably,) who was a Socinian, led Mr. Sharp to study Greek, his opponent having constantly alleged, when Granville quoted the New Testament, that the original did not admit of his interpretation. He acquired Hebrew from a similar motive, in order to confute a Jew who resided under the same roof. How singular and unfathomable are the ways of Providence, and by what unlikely and seemingly improbable means are great events produced ! The remark is made here, for had no such opponents arisen to unsettle his opinions, or he been indifferent to them, some of the most valuable biblical criticisms and elucidations, afterwards given to the world by our author, would probably never have been thought of or had existence.

It is a singular fact, also, that during his apprenticeship he had the good fortune to raise his presbyterian employer (Justice Willoughby) to the honours of the peerage, having discovered that the justice had a rightful claim to the title of Baron de Parham. Our author exerted himself so effectually in establishing the case, that the claims were admitted, and he sat for the remainder of his life a member of the House of Peers.

On the death of his father, the archdeacon, Mr. Sharp quitted business, and in 1758 he procured a subordinate appointment in the Ordnance

Office. Little is known of him for the following six years, except that he completed his great attainment in languages ; his hours of study having been chiefly snatched from sleep, and that he attended diligently to the duties of his station. His character soon after this period began to unfold itself.

In the year 1760, the learned Dr. Kennicott published proposals for printing a new edition of the Hebrew Bible, conformably to one of the best editions then extant, designing to insert in the margin the various readings of other editions, with such corrections of the text as appeared to be necessary. This was to have been by subscription. During the progress of the matter, the learned critic contemplated the more hazardous project of printing a Hebrew Bible, wherein the conjectures and other emendations were to have been incorporated in the text. To shew the necessity for this, Dr. Kennicott handed about a paper, entitled, “ A Catalogue of the Sacred Vessels restored by Cyrus, and of the chief Jews who returned from the Captivity ; together with the names of the returning families, and the number of the persons at that time in each family, disposed in such a manner as to shew most clearly the great corruptions of the proper names and numbers in the present text of the Old Testament."


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Alarmed at this project, Mr. Sharp drew up a tractate in reply, wherein he questioned the authorities and deductions of his learned opponent, examining them by the test of numerous Hebrew names and roots, accusing the doctor of drawing his instances of textual corruption from the English version only, without reference to the original. His aim being not to shew his own learning, but solely to prevent what he considered a serious evil in sacred literature, both the progress and result of the matter were alike honourable to him. He did not publish his tract, but distributed it gratuitously, and to such parties only as could produce a copy of Dr. Kennicott's own printed proposals. Dr. Kennicott was therefore obliged to confine himself to his original plan, viz., of publishing the text entire, and throwing his variatæ readings into the margin ; upon hearing which, Mr. Sharp remarks in his Diary, “I gave up all thoughts of printing what I had prepared to oppose him, and subscribed to his work.” That Mr. Sharp's contest with this literary veteran did not disturb the amiable spirit which distinguished him, we may learn from the following entry—“ August 20, 1775, Sunday, Oxford. Went to church at St. Mary's; went to visit Dr. Kennicott; drank tea with Dr. Kennicott."

The delicacy and disinterestedness shewn by

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