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Memoirs of the Rev. Samuel Parr
Ch. IV. 1765-1766

Ch. I. 1747-1752
Ch. II. 1752-1761
Ch. III. 1761-1765
‣ Ch. IV. 1765-1766
Ch. V. 1767-1771
Ch. VI. 1771
Ch. VII. 1771-1776
Ch. VIII. 1771-1776
Ch. IX. 1776-1777
Ch. X. 1779-1786
Ch. XI. 1779-1786
Ch. XII. 1779-1786
Ch. XIII. 1780-1782
Ch. XIV. 1786-1789
Ch. XV. 1786-1790
Ch. XVI. 1776-1790
Ch. XVII. 1787
Ch. XVIII. 1789
Ch. XIX. 1790-1792
Ch. XX. 1791-1792
Ch. XXI. 1791-1796
Ch. XXII. 1794-1795
Ch. XXIII. 1794
Ch. XXIV. 1794-1800
Ch. XXV. 1794-1800
Ch. XXVI. 1800-1803
Ch. XXVII. 1801-1803
Ch. XXVIII. 1800-1807
Vol. II Contents
Ch I. 1800-1807
Ch II. 1807-1810
Ch III. 1809
Ch IV. 1809-1812
Ch V. 1810-1813
Ch VI. 1811-1815
Ch VII. 1812-1815
Ch VIII. 1816-1820
Ch IX. 1816-1820
Ch X. 1816-1820
Ch XI. 1816-1820
Ch XII. 1816-1820
Ch XIII. 1816-1820
Ch XIV. 1819
Ch XV. 1820-1821
Ch XVI. 1816-1820
Ch XVII. 1820-1824
Ch XVIII. 1820-1824
Ch XIX. 1820-1824
Ch XX. 1820-1825
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Produced by CATH
A.D. 1765—1766.
Dr. Parr’s admission into Emanuel College, Cambridge—Notice of Dr. Richardson, the master—of Mr. Hubbard and of Dr. Farmer, the tutors—Admission of Dr. Bennet into the same college—Course of Dr. Parr’s studies—Death of his father—His pecuniary difficulties—His abrupt departure from Cambridge, in consequence—His account of the university—Remarks upon it.

Leaving Harrow in the autumn of 1765, Dr. Parr proceeded to Cambridge; and, according to the plan proposed and approved, entered himself of Emanuel College.

This college was at that time placed under the superintendence of Dr. William Richardson,1 who is described as a man of kind temper and agreeable manners; but rigidly exact in enforcing the regulations of academical order and discipline. Although not, as commonly supposed, a Jacobite, he was a decided and vehement Tory; and exerted himself, with all the zeal of a partisan, to maintain and to diffuse his own principles in his college and the university. It is curious to remark, in this

1Godwini de Præsulibus Angliæ Com. &c. This beautifully printed work of Goodwin contains many valuable additions and improvements. It was conducted by the late Dr. Richardson, master of Emanuel, in my time; and is dedicated to his patron, Abp. Potter, who encouraged, and, I believe, assisted him in his very useful work. S. P.”—Bibl. Parr. p. 402.

instance, the fluctuating nature of all human institutions. Emanuel College, at this time, so completely under the controul of persons of the highest toryism, both in church and state, was formerly regarded as the great nursery of the opposite principles, civil and religious, as held by those, who were contemptuously denominated puritans and roundheads.1

Such was the master of Emanuel, at the time Dr. Parr became a member of it: of which the tutors, at the same time, were, Mr. Hubbard and Dr. Farmer; the former a man of considerable, and the latter of high, repute. Of their merits, and of his own obligations to them, Dr. Parr thus speaks: “My tutors were eminently able, and to me uniformly kind.”2 In his catalogue of distinguished academics, who have done honour to the universities to which they belonged, he introduces the name of Mr. Hubbard, whom he calls “his venerable tutor:”1 and he has offered to Dr. Farmer other testimonies of his esteem and gratitude on various occasions. To both some respectful notice is due, in a work dedicated to the honourable remembrance of a pupil, whom their instructions have contributed to form to all that greatness of character, as a man and a scholar, which he afterwards attained.

The Rev. Henry Hubbard, M. A., was born at Ipswich, 1708, of humble parents; and, after the usual preparatory education, was entered of Clare

1 Nichols’s Liter. Anec. vol. ii. p. 619.

2 Spital Serm. p. 125. and p. 110.

Hall, Cambridge: whence, in 1733, he was removed to Emanuel College. In the discharge of his official duties, he was faithful, active, and unwearied. To a profound knowledge, he added an ardent love of the science of which he was professor; and with a deep-felt concern, combined a well-directed activity for the improvement of those, who were committed to his charge.1 As a man, he possessed many amiable qualities. In his temper, he was retired and unambitious; in his manners, simple and unassuming. Though exposed to the charge of avarice, he was in reality disinterested, and to a certain degree generous; but so frugal and parsimonious were his habits, that he amassed a larger fortune than any fellow of a college without a patrimony had ever been known to acquire.2 Though not distinguished by the extent or depth of his theological learning, he was a good divine; and, aided by the advantage of a dignified person and a commanding voice, he became a popular preacher. Like the majority of his college, he was a Tory in early life; but with advancing years and maturer reflection, he opened his mind to views more consonant with reason, and more conducive to the im-

1 “In this college he was happy in receiving the countenance, and in being permitted to attend the lectures, of that excellent tutor, Mr. Henry Hubbard, although he had been admitted under another person.”—Bp. Hurd’s Notes of Occurrences in his own Life.

2Harry Hubbard is to be buried on Thursday next, in the chapel-vestry. He has left 800l. in legacies, and 8000l. to the college; the largest fortune, I ever heard of, acquired by the fellow of a college.”—Letter from Mr. Tyson to Mr. Gough: Nichols’s Anec. vol. viii. p. 360.

provement, the elevation, and the happiness of the human species.

During his long residence in his college, he gained for himself so high a place in the good opinion of the whole society, that on the death of Dr. Richardson, in 1775, he was unanimously chosen to succeed him. But he declined the honour in a respectful address, modestly pleading his inability, and urging the growing infirmities of age. This pleasing and gratifying incident of his life he survived three years; and, on the 23d of Jan. 1778, peacefully expired. He published only a single sermon,1 preached in behalf of the widows of indigent clergy, in his native town, Ipswich, 1750.2

The second tutor, the Rev. Rich. Farmer, D.D., was of higher fame, and more splendid fortunes. He was born at Leicester, where his father was a hosier; and having received the earlier part of his education at the grammar-school of that town, he entered himself a pensioner of Emanuel College in 1752. In 1765, he was appointed the classical tutor; and in 1775 was chosen master of the same college. He was afterwards advanced to the office of principal librarian, and was twice elected vice-chancellor of the university.

Dr. Farmer was greatly distinguished by all those amiable qualities, which form the agreeable man and the delightful companion. He was sincere, frank, kind, generous, cheerful, and social. As a tutor, though his qualifications were such as

1 “My venerable tutor, Harry Hubbard’s sermon, was much and justly admired. S. P.”

2 Nichols’s Anec. vol. ii. p. 619.

to inspire respect, yet something considerable must be deducted from the value of his services, and imputed to that indolence of nature, and to those irregularities of habit, which constituted his principal defects. As a master, it was his just praise, that whilst other societies were too often disturbed by feuds and animosities, in the large college over which he presided, uninterrupted order and harmony prevailed; chiefly through the influence of his own good humour, softening the asperities of others, and infusing itself into the minds of all around him. As vice-chancellor, jealously watchful over the interests of the university, and carefully attentive at the same time to those of the town, which owed many important improvements to him; he acquired in both, and for many years retained, greater authority and influence than any other individual of his time.

As to his literary attainments, he held in no regard the mathematics, though the prevailing study of the university; and even in classical learning, to which he was much devoted, he gained the character of a good, rather than a great scholar. He owed his celebrity chiefly to his knowledge of old English literature, especially that part which is connected with the English drama; and as a writer, his reputation entirely depends upon one small but admirable work, entitled “An Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare:” which, by the confession of all, is a masterly performance; and completely settles a question, till then so frequently and so keenly agitated among men of letters.

Dr. Farmer was no proficient in theological learn-
ing. The religious creed of the old church he adopted, just as he found it; and this he warmly maintained, in opposition to the then rising, and now powerful party, known under the name of Evangelical. If he was little distinguished as a divine, he was not much more so as a preacher. His sermons were ill composed, and worse delivered. His utterance at his first commencing was so vehement, as to make nervous people start; and so loud and so rapid in its progress, and often so abrupt in its close, as to produce, even upon those who were not nervous, the most displeasing, and sometimes ludicrous effect.

In his public principles, Dr. Farmer was a Tory of a high tone and temper. Ardently devoted to “the powers that be,” immovably attached to the existing order of things, he constantly opposed every scheme, and even every hint of reform, either in church or state, however reasonable or moderate. With the same pertinacity, he resisted some new academical regulations, which were proposed in his time; and yet so evidently wise and salutary were they, that, in despite of old and stubborn prejudices, they have since been in part adopted.

The qualities which Dr. Farmer possessed were, it need not be said, of brightest lustre in the eyes of a Tory ministry, like that of Lord North and of Mr. Pitt; and high preferment followed of course. The career of his professional honours may thus be slightly traced. He was appointed in 1769, a Whitehall preacher—in 1780, a prebendary of Lichfield—1782, a prebendary of Canterbury—in 1790, a residentiary of St. Paul’s; and, besides all these
honours, another greater than all was placed not only within his sight, but also within his grasp: for twice the dignity of the bench was offered, and twice refused!

Early in 1797, Dr. Farmer was seized with an illness, which proved long and painful; and which, to the grief of the whole university, and of a wide social circle, terminated fatally on the 8th of Sept. in the same year. He was buried in the chapel of his college, near the altar, in a spot chosen by himself; and against the wall of the adjoining cloisters is a monumental tablet, of which the inscription in Latin is candidly, as well as pleasingly and forcibly written by Dr. Parr.1 By the same pen, also, is traced the following delineation of his character, in which its amiable and respectable qualities are brought, by a few masterly strokes, finely and strikingly to view, whilst the defects, which shaded them, are lightly touched with the hand of tenderness and delicacy:—

“Of any undue partiality towards the master of Emanuel College, I shall not be suspected by those persons who know how little his sentiments accord with my own upon many ecclesiastical and many political matters. From rooted principle and ancient habit, he is a Tory—I am a Whig; and we have both of us too much confidence in each other, and too much respect for ourselves, to dissemble what we think, upon any grounds, to any extent. Let me then do him the justice, which, amidst all

1 App. No. II.

our differences of opinion, I am convinced he will ever be ready to do me. His knowledge is various, extensive, and recondite. With much seeming negligence, and perhaps, in later years, with some real relaxation, he understands more, and remembers more, about common and uncommon subjects of literature, than many of those, who would be thought to read all the day, and meditate half the night. In quickness of apprehension, and acuteness of discernment, I have not often seen his equal. Through many a convivial hour have I been charmed by his vivacity; and upon his genius have I reflected in many a serious moment, with pleasure, with admiration, but not without regret, that he has never concentrated and exerted all the great powers of his mind in some great work, upon some great subject. Of his liberality in patronising learned men, and of his zeal in promoting learned publications, I could point out numerous instances. Without the smallest propensities to avarice, he possesses a large income; and without the mean submissions of dependence, he has risen to high station. His ambition, if he has any, is without insolence; his munificence is without ostentation; his wit is without acrimony; and his learning is without pedantry.”1

Such were the tutors of Emanuel College: under whose direction Dr. Parr entered on his academic course, with a mind confident of its own powers, well-disciplined by previous culture, and

1 Remarks on Combe’s Statement, p. 25.

panting after excellence, in every object of its aim. Classical, philological and metaphysical1 studies were still those, to which his attention was most fondly turned, and on which it was most eagerly fixed. But secretly aspiring to the highest of honourable distinctions, which, it is well known, Cambridge too partially bestows upon proficiency in her own favourite studies, mathematics and natural philosophy—he formed the serious determination of bending the whole force of his mind to those branches of knowledge; respecting which, important as they are, it may well admit of dispute, whether they are entitled to that great and almost exclusive importance, too long claimed for them in that university.

Amidst the high resolves which Dr. Parr had thus formed, and the ardent hopes which he had thus ventured to cherish—grievous to relate!—his pecuniary resources failed him, and he was reduced to the hard necessity of withdrawing himself from all the delights, and depriving himself of all the advantages of academic life. The circumstance is feelingly deplored by himself, in the following passage: “I was compelled to leave Cambridge, not by the want of a proper education, for I had ar-

1Scheibleri Metaphysica, &c. A favourite book. I first met with it in the public library at Cambridge. I diligently read it at the university, and at Hatton. S. P.”—“Vossii Aristarchus. This book Dr. Parr read at college; and there is no book to which he is more indebted for his knowledge of the Latin language.”—“Sophoclis Tragcediæ. Interleaved in 4 vols, completely filled with Ms. notes, probably written by Dr. Parr when at college.”—Bibl. Parr. pp. 209. 453. 701.

rived at the first place of the first form of Harrow School, when I was not quite fourteen—not by the want of useful tutors, for mine were eminently able, and to me uniformly kind—not by the want of ambition, for I had begun to look up ardently and anxiously to academical distinctions—not by the want of attachment to the place, for I regarded it then, as I continue to regard it, with the fondest and most unfeigned affection—but by another want, which it were unnecessary to name; and, for the supply of which, after much hesitation, I determined to provide, by patient toil and resolute self-denial, when I had not completed my twentieth year. I ceased, therefore, to reside, with an aching heart. I looked back, with mingled feelings of regret and humiliation, to advantages, of which I could no longer partake, and honours, to which I could no longer aspire.”1 Who, even at this distant day, can help sympathising with the sighs and the sorrows of a youthful scholar, fired with the spirit of literary ambition,—upon whom the fair prospect of fostering and gratifying it, thus pleasingly opened, and thus painfully closed?

When Dr. Parr went to Cambridge, he was in his eighteenth year; and the whole time of his continuance there scarcely exceeded twelve or fourteen months. Yet at that early age, and in that short space, his genius and his learning shone out so conspicuously, as to attract the notice, and excite the admiration, not only of those of his own college, but also of many of the most distinguished

1 Spital Serm. p. 125.

members of the university. Nor was his conduct less approved, than were his talents and his acquirements admired. His application to his studies was close and incessant, and his obedience to the college rules strict and exemplary. Though his spirits were lively and even gay, yet his pleasures were few, and of the most temperate and innocent kind. Though his temper was in a high degree social, yet his acquaintance was restricted to a small number, and those chiefly men of an inquiring mind and of studious habits.

One of the most intimate of all his associates was his former schoolfellow, Dr. Bennet, who had entered of the same college, about the same time; and whose tastes, opinions and pursuits were much in harmony with his own. At every interval of leisure, it was their great delight to meet and converse on literary and other subjects: often visiting at each other’s rooms; and, almost every day, pacing together the college-walks, or wandering through the neighbouring fields. To this early and beloved friend Dr. Parr unbosomed all his most secret thoughts, and especially those anxieties, which soon began to press heavily on his mind about the means of present or future support.

Towards the end of January, 1766, only a few months after Dr. Parr had left Harrow, and had removed to Cambridge, his father died suddenly; and he was summoned home to discharge the melancholy duty of following the remains of his last surviving parent to the grave. After a short absence he returned to Cambridge, finding himself
in possession only of a small sum of money, all that his father had been able, or willing, to bequeath to him. That small sum, whatever it was, he confided to the care of his friend,
Dr. Bennet, on whose considerate and faithful advice he was accustomed to rely. But so small it was, that no frugality on the one side, or careful management on the other, could prevent it from being, in a little time, exhausted.

And what was then to be done? The college to which he belonged offered him no chance of a fellowship: he had no friend, no patron, from whose resources he might be permitted to draw; and, rather than adopt the only remaining expedient of incurring debts which he could not speedily repay, he determined to leave Cambridge,1—a resolution the more painful, because he could entertain little or no hope of returning to it. He kept his name, however, on the college boards, with an intention, which subsequent events frustrated, of performing the usual exercises for a bachelorship in divinity—a degree which, by the customs of this university, is always granted to non-resident members, who have been in holy orders for ten years. The custom is peculiar to Cambridge; and seems liable, it must be owned, to some abuse, by too easily allowing to persons,

1 “On balancing his accounts, he found, to his extreme surprise, that he had 3l. 17s. over and above the full payment of his debts; and such had been the economy of his expenditure, that, he said, had he previously known of any such sum, he should have remained longer at Cambridge.”—Memorabilia of Dr. Parr. Lond. Mag. April, 1825.

not well deserving of its honours, a right to claim them.

The following sketch of the literary pursuits at Cambridge was given by Dr. Parr, in answer to the well-known remarks of Mr. Gibbon on the state of learning in the two universities; and it refers, no doubt, in some degree, to the time of his own residence there, though still more expressly to a period somewhat later.

Having mentioned the names, and appealed to the public services of those eminent professors, Dr. Halifax, Dr. Rutherford, Dr. Waring, Dr. Watson, all men of his own time, he thus proceeds:—“Whatever lectures may, or may not have been given by other professors, I am convinced that Mr. Gibbon, if he had visited Cambridge, would have been surprised to find, and ready, I trust, he would have been to embrace, many opportunities for congratulating other men upon the enjoyment of those advantages, which, during his own time, may not have been in his own college accessible to himself. He would have seen many elegant scholars, and many deep mathematicians among the tutors: he would have seen the most generous emulation, and the most indefatigable diligence in the younger members of the university: he would have seen plans of study recommended for their use—exercises prescribed for the display of their ingenuity, or the exertions of their industry—rewards proposed for their merits, in mathematics, in poesy, in prose, in Greek composition, in Latin and in English. In almost every college he would have seen young
men, who were able to understand originals without the dim and delusive light of translations; who were well acquainted with Greek as well as Latin classics; and who had improved their taste, as well as enlarged their knowledge, by the aid of ‘dead languages.’ He would have seen days, and weeks, and years, employed in the most intense labour upon ‘living science.’ He would have seen amusements, exercise, society, health, and sometimes even life, cheerfully sacrificed to the acquisition of that knowledge which no learned man ever despised, who possessed it; and which no candid man would depreciate, who possesses it not.”1

This is a great, and many will think a flattering account of Cambridge literature. Indeed, in perusing it, a little allowance ought, in fairness, to be made for the natural warmth of disputation, and the common effect of unjust depreciation on the one side, in producing exaggeration on the other. It appears from a paper in the “Idler,” referring to about the same period of time, that Dr. Johnson, another competent judge, was far from entertaining so favourable an idea of the state of learning in the two universities; though he repels the imputation of wishing to decry them. For, not to insist on the “Journal” there given2 of a fellow of a college “steeped in port and ignorance,”—an individual, it is apprehended, of a large species, and a portrait drawn, it is

1 Spital Serm. p. 124.

2 No. 33, written by the Rev. T. Warton.

feared, but too closely from the life—even when the great moralist speaks as from himself, he states with concern that these noble institutions are “fallen from their primeval simplicity;” he observes, with sarcastic severity, that “literature is not the essential requisite of a modern academic;” and he seems to look for the chief advantages of these celebrated schools, not so much from the learning or the diligence of present instructors, as from “the Genius of the Place,” inspiring ardour in literary pursuits, by the recollection of its older and better times, and of the scholars of ancient renown, who mused and studied beneath its venerable walls. The strong representations and the spirited remonstrances of
Dr. Adam Smith,1 Dr. Knox,2 Dr. Jebb,3 and other writers since his time, have also shown the defective state of our universities, and the necessity, in many important respects, of new and better regulations. If then it should be thought that Dr. Parr has drawn his pleasing delineation of Cambridge with the fond partiality of a son who loves and was torn from his “mother,”4 still that there is, upon the whole,

1 See the “Wealth of Nations.”

2 See his “Letter to Lord North,” and his “Remarks on the State of the Two Universities,” in Treatise on Education, vol. ii.

3 Jebb’s Works, vol. ii. p. 255.

4 Mr. Gibbon had said of Oxford, “She will as cheerfully renounce me for a son, as I am willing to disclaim her for a mother.” Of Cambridge, Dr. Parr re-echoes, “Never shall I have the presumption to disclaim her as a mother; and never may she have just occasion to renounce me as a son.”—Spital Serm. p. 125.

much truth in his statement, will hardly be denied. The outlines of the picture, at least, every impartial person will allow, are just, even if the colouring be high.

What kind and gratifying attentions Dr. Parr himself had received, and what agreeable and friendly connexions he had formed at Cambridge:—what high expectations of important advantages, from along residence in it, once delighted him:—and what sad and severe regret was excited in his mind, when he found himself obliged so soon to retire from it, may be inferred from the following passage:—

“Upon the access, with which I was honoured, at a very early period, to the presence of men, high in academical rank, and conspicuous for literary excellence, often have I reflected with the pleasure and the pride of an ancient writer,1 who has more than once recorded his own intimacy with the poets and the statesmen of the Augustan age. The unreserved conversation of scholars, the disinterested offices of friendship, the use of valuable books, and the example of good men, are endearments by which Cambridge will keep a strong hold upon my esteem, my respect, and my gratitude, to the latest moment of my life.”2

1 See Horace, Sat. x. lib. 1. Sat. i. lib. 2. Epist. xx. lib. 1.

2 Spital Serm. p. 125.