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Memoirs of the Rev. Samuel Parr
Ch. XVII. 1787

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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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
A. D. 1787.
Publication of “Bellendenus de Statu, Libri Tres”—Account of the author, and of his work—Of another work by the same author—Charge of plagiarism against Dr. Middleton—The three Dedications, to North, Burke, and Fox—The Preface—Public characters introduced into it—Beloe’s translation of it.

William Bellenden, a native of Scotland, descended from an ancient and honourable family, lived in the reign of James I., and was preferred by him to the office of Master of the Pleas, or Requests; an office of which the business seems to have been to receive petitions, and to make a report of them to the sovereign. He was a man, eminent for his talents and his learning; and is said to have been professor of the Belles Lettres, in the University of Paris. It is certain that, leaving his native country, he passed many years of his life, devoted to literary pursuits, in the French metropolis. As the reader of petitions to one prince resided so long in the capital of another, it should seem that the office itself was nominal, or that it admitted of being performed by deputy. These few particulars comprise all that has been discovered of the early or the later history of Bellendenus. It is not even known how long he lived, nor when, or where, he died.

During his residence at Paris his mind was not suffered to languish, nor were his studies barren of
public utility; for here he composed his three treatises, and published them successively in the following order: “
Cicero Consul”—“Cicero Princeps”—“De Statu Prisci Orbis.” The two first, from a principle of gratitude, he inscribed to James’ accomplished son, Prince Henry; who died, to the grief of the whole nation, at the early age of eighteen; and the last he dedicated to his second and only surviving son, afterwards the unfortunate Charles I. As the three treatises are on subjects in some degree connected with each other, he was induced, at a subsequent period, to print them together in one volume; reversing the order in which they originally appeared, and giving to the whole the title of “De Statu.” This was done in 1616.

Of the three books—the first, “De Statu Orbis” exhibits, in a series of slight but masterly sketches, the progress of religion, philosophy, and legislation, beginning with the earliest ages, and pursuing them through all their various modifications and improvements, during the times of the Egyptians, the Hebrews, the Greeks, and the Romans. The second book, “De Statu Principis,” shows the origin of all power in a state, and the true end for which government is instituted, prescribes the duties of princes and rulers, and strongly enforces those maxims of wisdom, which ought ever to guide both their public and private conduct. The third and the largest book, “De Statu Reipublicas,” explains the nature and duty of the consular and senatorial dignity at Rome; and delivers, in minute detail, those great rules of right conduct, applicable to all who are intrusted, especially
under free governments, with any share of public authority, civil, sacerdotal, or military.

Prefixed to the three books is a short introductory treatise, entitled “De processu et scriptoribus Rei Politicæ”—of which the object is to trace to their sources the false notions in religion, and the erroneous and defective views in moral and political science, prevalent in the earlier ages of the world. Even in this small part, as well as throughout the whole work, much curious and valuable information is communicated in a style perspicuous and elegant, with all the advantages of clear and lucid arrangement; and no reader can peruse it without being struck with the learned and diligent research, the strong powers of intellect, and the deep feelings of piety and virtue, which every where conspicuously appear.

Besides this work, Bellendenus had begun another and a still greater, entitled “De tribus Luminibus Romanorum;” with which high distinction it was his intention to decorate the name of Cicero, Seneca, and the Elder Pliny.1 But to the regret of all scholars, he lived to complete only the first of the three divisions of his work. “It is an admirable performance,” says Dr. Parr,

1Bellend. de tribus Luminibus Romanorum, &c. This celebrated work is posthumous. It relates to Cicero only; and of the other two Lumina we have nothing. In the spring of 1783, Sir William Jones told me, that his learned father-in-law, Dr. Shipley, Bishop of St. Asaph, held Seneca to be one of the Lumina; and the learned Dr. Lowth, Bishop of London, told me in 1787, that he believed Pliny to be the other. But it is singular that Shipley had not heard of Pliny, nor Lowth of Seneca. S. P.”—Bibl. Parr. p. 336.

“bearing, in every part, testimony to the diligent application, and the superior genius of the writer. Whatever we find in the different writings of Cicero acutely conceived, or elegantly expressed, he has not only collected in one view, but has elucidated in the clearest manner.”1

It is in reference to this last work, that Dr. Parr has exhibited a serious charge against a scholar, and a writer of high renown, to whose various excellencies he has, at the same time, rendered ample justice. “Dr. Middleton,” says he, “was a man of no common attainments; his learning was elegant and profound; his judgment was acute and polished; he had a fine and correct taste; and his style was so pure and harmonious, so vigorously flowing, without being inflated, that, Addison alone excepted, he seems to me without a rival.”—“As to his mind,” continues Dr. Parr, “I am compelled with grief and reluctance to confess, that it was neither ingenuous nor faithful; and I am vehemently displeased to find, that a man, so enlightened and accomplished, should have attempted to deprive another of his merited fame. For I assert, in the most unqualified terms, that Middleton, in his Life of Cicero, was not only indebted to Bellendenus for many useful and splendid materials, but that, whenever it suited his purpose, he has made a mere transcript of his work.”2

This extraordinary instance of literary theft had long indeed been suspected, but was never till

1 Præf. ad Bellen. p. 70. Trans, p. 149.

2 Præf. ad Bellen. p. 3. Trans, p. 7.

now sufficiently proved; and it must be owned, that it casts a dark shade over a name, which had hitherto shone, with resplendent lustre, in the republic of letters.

The three treatises of “Bellendenus de Statu” had long been remarkably scarce, when, in 1786, a new edition was projected, in concert with Dr. Parr, by the late Rev. Henry Homer, formerly of Emanuel College, Cambridge. Of the origin and progress of this design, the following account is given by Dr. Parr:

Mr. Homer had often heard me speak of the high esteem in which I held Bellenden’s book, “De tribus Luminibus,” and of the great pains I had taken to examine how far the charge of plagiarism from that work, urged against Dr. Middleton, was well founded. My conversation might, or might not, have excited his curiosity about the name of Bellendenus. But I know that he was a diligent searcher after curious books; and soon afterwards, having met with Bellenden’s three treatises, he wrote me a good-humoured and triumphant letter about his discovery. In the month of October, 1786, he came to me at Hatton, bringing with him the book in his pocket; and at the same time, talked about publishing it. I examined the tracts, which I had never seen before; I concurred with him in the propriety of publishing it; and the result of our conversation was, that I should assist in revising the sheets, write the dedications and preface, and partake of the expense. Thus we entered on the work by common consent
from the beginning, and pursued it with joint exertion to the conclusion.”1

Of the dedications and the preface, also, the learned writer has left upon record the following detailed account:

“Pleased as I was with the whole design proposed in October, I wrote the dedications and the preface, too, before the end of November. The preface at first filled about a sheet of paper; and contained such information, as I was able to obtain from my books. I afterwards gained, by means of Mr. Homer’s inquiries and my own, additional information, which I occasionally inserted, as soon as it reached me. About the end of November, or early in December, my daughter, who was very ill, went with her mother to London; and remained, for some time, under the kind and judicious care of Dr. Combe. I suffered great inquietude of mind, from the danger in which I supposed her to be. I sought relief, and found it, in preparations for the enlargement of the preface. The political matter was then for the first time introduced; and, of course, the preface grew larger and larger, as new efforts produced new additions. It was, in December, first transcribed by Mr. Maltby; and afterwards, in the month of January, 1787, it was again transcribed by him. In the same month, I had an opportunity of showing it to Mr. Sheridan. It happened to me, as it does to other men of letters engaged in a favourite work, that revisal, communication, and reading, supplied fresh ideas; and the

1 Reply to Combe, p. 42.

size of the preface was, in the second transcript, much increased, before I sent it up to the press, in the month of January. Whilst it was printing, I revised every sheet twice. I made several corrections in the style, a few alterations in the arrangement, and some additions to the matter. It was published about the end of May, or beginning of June.”1

From Dr. Parr’s great admiration, and from his frequent perusal of Bellenden’s unfinished work, “De tribus Luminibus Romanorum,” as mentioned by himself, the idea was no doubt suggested to his mind, of celebrating, under the similar designation of “Tria Lumina Anglorum,” the praises of the three illustrious statesmen, Burke, North, and Fox. He has, therefore, not only inscribed to them in three elegant dedications2 the three books of which the work consists; but he has also devoted a considerable portion of his preface, to a discussion of their respective merits, as statesmen and as orators. Their distinguishing excellencies, as orators, are traced in clear and strong lines; and the maxims and measures of policy, approved or adopted by them, as statesmen, are strenuously defended, and often lavishly applauded. But the whole preface, it must be owned, is written rather in the style of vehement declamation, than of cool and dispassionate reasoning.

Of the “Tria Lumina Anglorum,” the first presented to our view, on this political canvass, is, Mr. Burke; whose qualities, as a public man and a public speaker, are flatteringly delineated. But let it be

1 Reply to Combe, p. 43. 2 App. No. II.

remembered, it is Mr. Burke—qualis erat!—in his happiest phasis—before he assumed the strange shape in which he appeared after the French Revolution—opposing not only the party with which he had so long and so uniformly acted; but opposing, also, and even reprobating all the great principles of liberty and policy, which he had so constantly avowed, and so ardently maintained—Quantum mutatus ab illo!

“That man requires no studied panegyric as to his moral character, whose manners are conciliating and agreeable, and whose actions are directed by the rules of virtue. But the rectitude and integrity of Burke are so conspicuous, that defying all scrutiny into his own, he may be justified in exacting a rigorous account of another man’s conduct.”1

Then—as an orator—his eulogist thus speaks of him:

“Athens was the parent and patroness of science. But an Athenian audience would have listened, with delight, to Burke; would have admired his inventive copiousness of diction; would have thought the goddess Persuasion enthroned upon his lips.”—“He, who imitates Burke, may be assured that his model is marked by Attic excellence; and he, who hears him with delight, may be satisfied that his own progress in literature is far from being contemptible.”

The unfortunate war-minister, during the long contest with America—in private life so beloved!—as a public man so reprobated!—is next intro-

1 Præf. ad Bellen. p. 7. Trans, p. 15.

duced; and his character favourably, many will think too partially, represented, is given in a passage quoted in a former page of this work;1 to which may be subjoined the following:

“If we investigate more minutely the character of his mind, we shall have occasion to observe, that when in possession of the highest office, and opposed by a powerful competitor, he conducted himself with the extremest moderation. We shall find him steady in his attachments; placable in his resentments; successful in inspiring that confidence, which he never disappointed; without the least appearance of criminality, unless it be that, in the prosecution of the American war, he did not keep pace with the ardour of the public expectation.”—“But great as are his claims to praise in other respects, our admiration is principally attracted by the firmness, with which he supported adversity; and the dignity, which, in the midst of danger and difficulty, he preserved pure and undiminished.”2

If the portraitures of the two first great ornaments of Britain are but slightly touched, that of the third is more fully drawn, and more highly finished. He is thus introduced:

“My third illustrious character possesses a mind great and lofty, and, at the same time, full of candour and simplicity; who, alone, claims the singular merit of excelling in almost every species of eloquence.”3

1 See p. 114. 2 Praef. p 8. Trans, p. 17.

3 Præf. p. 9. Trans. p. 19.


Among the many striking and beautiful delineations of the vast and wonderful powers of Fox’s oratory, are the following:

“If he do not forcibly impress his audience at the commencement of his speeches, his strong and varied powers, as he proceeds, progressively rouse and fix attention. His introductory skirmishes, if we may so term them, are contrived—not for insulting parade, in imitation of the Samnites, who did not use in battle the spears, which they brandished before it—but so as to be of the greatest advantage to his purpose, when he appears more particularly anxious to gain the victory. If strenuously pressed, he retreats, not as if he had thrown away, or even dropped his shield; but he seems wholly collected in himself, and merely to be making use of a feint, whilst selecting a better situation. When his object is, to refute his adversaries, he accumulates all his powers. Sometimes, he applies the more compressed weapons of logic; and, with their extreme acuteness, harasses those who are most versed, and most obstinate in the contest. Sometimes he expands himself, and lets loose all the reins to that species of eloquence, which is more difficult, more magnificent, more splendid. But all the superior greatness of his genius is then apparent, when, unresisted, he takes possession of what seemed capable of a vigorous defence; when he describes the opinions and manners of men; when he applies examples; when he alarms his adversaries with apprehensions of the future; when he denounces vengeance against crimes; when he passes the limits, which
restrain ordinary speakers; when he expresses the emotions of supplication, of hope, of detestation.” 1

The unhappy errors of Mr. Fox’s conduct, especially at the beginning of his career, though acknowledged and lamented with all the regrets of virtuous consistency and dignity, are yet stated with those fair allowances, which candour requires, and moral justice approves.

“I will confess that when Mr. Fox first entered on the dangerous paths of early life, when the blaze of the world first burst upon his inexperienced sight, he had not the resolution to forego the pleasures, the pursuits, or, if you please, the follies of his companions. I will concede yet more: I will even allow that his deviation from the right line of discretion was not abrupt or casual, but precipitate and continued; that he consumed his patrimony, became the victim of usurious engagements, and sullied the lustre of his rank and birth by vicious indulgence. But these delights, fallaciously so termed, never detained or occupied him very long. He felt a conscious superiority of talents; the studies of eloquence, at intervals, captivated his fancy; and with all his indiscretions, he preserved a certain dignity of character. We are bold to assert that he was never profligate. The interests of his country occasionally employed his thoughts and his active exertions. If, in the hours of indolence and retirement, his pursuit of pleasure was immoderate; yet, when occasion required, he was able to display the lustre of

1 Praef. p. 11. Trans, p. 23.

superior virtues; and he had always the faculty, which he still retains, of conciliating the affections of his friends.”1

The errors and indiscretions of youthful days were greatly atoned for by the subsequent conduct of Mr. Fox, in private, but especially in public life. So his admirer and his advocate powerfully pleads:—

“He may justly be ranked amongst the number of those, of whom there are many, entitled to the praise of estimable characters; who, from a youth consumed in intoxicating pleasure, have emerged, at length, and become deserving as men, and illustrious as citizens. Whilst employed in public affairs, all his plans were formed with so much diligence and energy, he was so vigilant and so indefatigable in the pursuit of the public welfare, so prompt and active in transacting business, that no spirit of jealousy or opposition could withhold from him the commendation, which was alike due to the wisdom of his councils, and the vigour of his actions.”2

But besides the “Tria Lumina”—the three principal figures in the picture—characters of other leading men of the times are sketched, with uncommon force and spirit; generally, with much truth of resemblance, though not wholly without those discolourations, and even distortions, by which the grave, as well as the merry satirist so often disguises or disfigures the reality of objects to the view of others, and sometimes to his own.

1 Præf. p. 14. Trans, p. 30.

2 Præf. ad Bellen. p. 15. Trans, p. 32.

Among the persons, standing most prominently forward in this splendid piece of political painting, is the prime-minister himself; and placed in contrast with him, appears his great rival in debate,
Mr. Sheridan. These are surrounded with a group of personages, of whom the chief are Miso-Themistocles, Doson, Novius, Thrasybulus, and Clodius; who are easily known, “vizarded” as they are, to be the late Duke of Richmond, the first Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord Chancellor Thurlow, Mr. Dundas, and Mr. Wilkes.

With respect to the prime-minister, whom the writer, for reasons given by himself,1 forbears to name, it must be confessed that the largest portion of Dr. Parr’s preface is one continued severe, indignant invective, pointed against the principles and the measures of his administration; and yet justice is not denied even to him, nor is a certain degree of qualified praise withholden from him. In the following passage, his admirers will acknowledge something like a fair estimate of his talents as an orator:

“This young man is distinguished by an ornamented and florid style of eloquence, which, as it seems transferred to the senate entirely from the schools of the sophists, offends the sagacity of some, and the dignity of others. He possesses,

1 “Some perhaps may be inquisitive to know why I have distinguished a certain young man of exalted station by a Greek appellation? I have, in this instance, imitated the example of Nicholas Heinsius, who, in his letter to Gronovius, frequently calls Gevaitius ό Δεινα, avoiding, in testimony of contempt, to give him his proper name.”—Praef. p. 75. Trans, p. 157.

however, one faculty, in my opinion his chief recommendation—that of speaking with facility on all occasions. The ancients were accustomed to believe that this talent could only be the effect—though the honourable effect—of continued industry. Whatever be the necessity of the occasion, as soon as he rises, at the very waving of his hand, and the motion of his foot, an exuberance of words, like the Pompeian Band, bound to their leader by the solemnity of an oath, press themselves forward with zealous eagerness; and very remarkable it is, that, whilst speaking with great variety, and still greater celerity, in all the turns and changes of debate, he is so accurate in the choice, and so correct in the application of his words, that he never, in the minutest instance, deviates from grammatical precision. Though there are some who do not entirely approve of that rapidity of style, which is produced by the imagination, when warm with new ideas; yet, even these acknowledge, that if his language were committed to writing, it could not be more polished or more perfect.”1

There is, in the following passage, a spirit of fairness and candour which, especially in a political disputant, all must approve and all admire:—

“I distinguish the cause from those who support it, hating the one, but not the other; which sentiment I particularly apply to that young man, in whom I willingly confess to have discovered proofs, both of virtue and genius, when first he

1 Praef. p. 23. Trans, p. 50.

entered the career of glory. Betwixt the barrier and the goal, however, a long distance and various objects intervene. The way to it is insidious; ‘puzzled with mazes and perplexed with errors.’ Why should I dissemble my sentiments? His colleagues seem to have brought him down from the skies; and to have succeeded in making him, not like his connexions, but most preposterously unlike himself.”1

Next to the minister, and opposed to him as he often was, in keen debate, appears Sheridan; in whose portrait, evidently drawn by the hand of partial and admiring friendship, the general likeness will be acknowledged, amidst the high colouring, with which it is heightened and adorned.

“It cannot be denied that there are some, among his adversaries, with whom the minister constantly avoids the encounter. At least, he fails in obtaining the applause even of his friends, whenever he opposes himself to that man, whose talents as an orator and a disputant, are so eminently great; who penetrates into every subject of whatever nature, and understands every weapon of attack and defence; who rivals Hyperides and Lysias in acuteness, Menander and Aristophanes in wit.”—“To a profound knowledge of affairs, Sheridan unites all the essential qualities of the orator. His vein of humour is great and delightful; his erudition is polite, elegant, and extensive; his quickness of apprehension and acuteness of reply

1 Præf. p. 61. Trans, p. 132.

are really wonderful; besides which, on all occasions, he discovers the most ingenuous and exquisite urbanity.”1

Of the remaining characters—Doson and Miso-Themistocles are introduced, merely for the purpose of receiving their sentence of condemnation; the one, for his mad fortification-projects, the other for his disingenuous conduct towards his political associates, after the decease of the Marquis of Rockingham. Clodius, too, is seen only for a moment, and is then dismissed, stamped with this mark of reprobation:—“The daring falsehoods of Clodius, which formerly inspired kings with terror, cease now to allure a smile, or the faintest murmur of applause; for, having been again and again repeated, they excite fastidiousness, among the lowest of the vulgar.”2

There are still two bold sketches to be noticed. The one is that of Novius:—“He is an orator, who carries menace and terror on his brow; but we think his eloquence Thrasonic, and despise its loudest thunder. His appearance never fails to communicate the idea of outrage; and his countenance is alike gloomy and terrific. Vast in his person, bold in his sentiments, pompous in his words, and powerful, not so much in the qualities of wisdom, as in the consequence, which he gives to trifles, he has secured the prejudices of the Upper House. His style of oratory is warm and petulant; neither remarkable for its neatness, nor offensive for its vulgarity. His attempts at ridi-

1 Præf. p. 29. Trans, p. 61. 2 Preef. p. 53. Trans, p. 115.

cule are mean and disagreeable. His replies to his opponents are constantly acrimonious. His constructions of law are artful and malignant. He often becomes so vehement and furious, as to exceed all bounds of decorum,—I had almost said, of reason.”1

“Behold now the mighty, the enormous Thrasybulus! whose countenance and appearance afford amplest matter for ridicule. If you wish to know the qualities of his eloquence, it is marked by no elegance or ornament; it is rude and offensive; always maimed, confused and obscure. To this add a prompt volubility of tongue, and impudence not easily abashed; with a tone of voice, which, though I have heard, I should find it difficult to describe. At one time, it menaces him with suffocation; at another time, it is harsh, as if passed over a file.”—“They who have seen Thrasybulus inclining, sometimes to this, sometimes to that side, are at a loss to imagine which will be favoured with his suffrage. His zealous services, indeed, every man of power may direct and command, as he pleases. He openly confessed, that no eye shall ever discover in him a reluctance to undertake measures of a difficult nature, or a fastidiousness with respect to those which appear base and dishonourable. By being every thing to every man, he insinuated himself into the favour of the great. His interest is therefore secure; for he never knew what it was to blush.”2

Such is a slight analysis of the Preface to Bel-

1 Praef. p. 49. Trans, p. 103. 2 Praef. p. 53. Trans, p. 116.

lendenus; and, imperfect as it is, it may yet be sufficient to convey some idea of that singular production to readers, to whom the original itself may not be acceptable. They will at least be able to judge of the validity of the objection urged against it, as being, like the two “well-known prefaces of
Sallust, entirely unconnected in its subject with the work to which it is prefixed. It cannot be denied, that the objection is founded in the long established rules of propriety and good taste; and yet, who would wish to take away either the short but pleasing and instructive proems to the histories of the Catiline and Jugurthine wars? or the long, the learned, the animated and eloquent preface to Bellenden’s treatises? When amusement or instruction is really communicated, a little incongruity as to time or place is easily pardoned.”1

Of the merits of this preface, as a composition, the writer presumes not to give any opinion of his own:—“Laudatur ab his, culpatur ab illis.” Whilst some have extolled it as a master-piece of modern Latinity, others have represented it as a copious collection of words and phrases, culled from the best authorities, and skilfully interwoven with each other, leaving little in the language, which can be called the writer’s own.”2 But allowing the just-

1Bellen. de Statu libri tres. I republished this book, and wrote for it a preface which attracted some notice. S. P.”—Bibl. Parr. p. 336.

2 Horne Tooke once said of it, “It consists of mere scraps;” and the sarcasm was reported to the learned editor. They happened soon afterwards to meet. “So, Mr. Tooke,” said Dr. Parr, “you think my ‘Preface’ mere scraps?”—“True,” replied Tooke, with his usual inimitable promptness, “but you know, my dear doctor, scraps are often titbits!”

ness of the remark, in a degree, it would hardly be fair to urge it to the extent of destroying all claims, on the part of
Bellenden’s editor, to the honour of an original writer. Bellenden himself not only professes to form his style on the model of Cicero, but has borrowed freely from his master, especially in his third book; which, indeed, is little more than a vast collection of Cicero’s thoughts, in the very words of Cicero. Even in his first and second books, where he speaks more from himself, it is often difficult to distinguish the language which he borrows from his own; and yet, upon the whole, who will deny him the praise of being a skilful and elegant writer of Latin?

But on this subject let Dr. Parr himself be heard:

“My relief from the continued fatigue of a laborious situation has been the perusal of Greek and Latin authors. The candid reader will, therefore, forgive me, if I should be found to have used in this preface such words and phrases as, in the course of my reading, have excited my more particular attention. To what precise limits the imitation of the ancients may extend, I pretend not to determine. In matters of this kind, every one has his own particular taste to pursue, and judgment to satisfy. Merit, in such cases, is not to be decided from particular phrases or expressions, but from the general tenour and complexion of the entire performance.”1

Thus, also, in answer to some remarks of a literary opponent, he speaks in another publication:

1 Præf. p. 73. Trans, p. 154.

“Hitherto, I have been accustomed to think, that the preface excited some degree of attention to the work itself; and had gratified a little the curiosity of scholars not only in England and Scotland, but also in Germany: where I know that
Mr. Heyne paid a most honourable tribute of commendation to me, for not preferring what Milton calls the ‘gay rankness’ of modern fustianists to the native Latinism of Cicero.”1 He afterwards adds, “Highly as I am gratified by the approbation of Mr. Heyne, I by no means aspire even to the qualified praise bestowed on those writers who are known by the name of Ciceronians. Instead of imitating, as some scholars have professed to do, the manner of Terence or Tacitus among the ancients, or of Lipsius and Strada among the moderns, I have endeavoured, as far as my slender abilities would permit me, to make the style of Cicero a general model of my own; and, at the same time, I have avowedly followed the example of many learned men in the occasional use of words, which are not found in the writers of the Augustan age. Even in the corrected preface to Bellenden, I have discovered some faults; and I have no hesitation in saying, that I think my own talent for Latin composition very inferior to that of Sir W. Jones, Bishop Lowth, Dr. Philip Barton, Dr. Lawrence, and Sir G. Baker.”2

Soon after the preface to Bellendenus had made its appearance, an English translation was published by Mr. Beloe, without the knowledge and

1 Reply to Combe, p. 47. 2 Ibid, p. 82.

consent, and, as it afterwards appeared, contrary to the wishes of the author. Thus, however, the translator speaks in his own justification:—

“If the learned author of the preface had condescended to favour the public with his name, motives of delicacy would have restrained us from translating it, without the express sanction of his approbation. As he has not done this, we may indeed indulge conjecture concerning him; but conjecture is, in its very nature, vague, and of necessity it is often fallacious. It would, however, be invidious and malignant to suppose that any man delivers sentiments in a dead language, which he will not avow, or which he cannot vindicate, in his own. We will not, therefore, believe, that with respect to the editor of Bellendenus we have any resentment to deprecate; we are even inclined to hope that he will expect no further apology from us, than we are ready to make from the consciousness of not having rendered adequate justice to his taste, his erudition, and his genius.”1

Attached to the copy of this translation in Dr. Parr’s library, are the following words—“Hastily and incorrectly translated by the notorious William Beloe, who apologised to Dr. Parr for the liberty he had taken.”2

1 Advertisement to the “Free Translation of the Preface to Bellendenus.”

2 Bibl. Parr. p. 336.