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Memoirs of the Rev. Samuel Parr
Ch. XVIII. 1789

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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“Dr. Parr’s Republication of Tracts by Warburton and a Warburtonian, &c. with a Dedication and two Prefaces” Notice of Bishop Warburton—of Bishop Hurd—Offence committed by Dr. Jortin—Dr. Hurd’s “Delicacy of Friendship”—Offence committed by Dr. Leland—Dr. Hurd’s letter to him—Warburton’s two Tracts—Question considered, Whether the republication of these Tracts is justifiable?—Dr. Parr’s vindication of himself—His character of Warburton—of Hurd.

Few readers will require to be told that Warburton, the celebrated Bishop of Gloucester, was a man of powerful mind, which he assiduously cultivated with little assistance from others, and of vast and various learning, for which he was indebted almost entirely to his own laborious exertions. He received no other education, but that of a common grammar-school;1 and was brought up to the study of the law, in which, for some years, he practised as an attorney. Changing afterwards his views, he entered into the church, and soon obtained considerable preferment; though it was not till a late period of life that he rose to its higher dignities. As a divine, a scholar, and a writer, he was long regarded not only as the distinguished ornament of his profession, but also as one of the

1 “With eloquence so vigorous, knowledge so various, and genius so splendid, Warburton might justly have laughed at the censures of his contemporaries, upon his want of skill in verbal criticism, and his want of practice in Latin composition, S. P.”—Bibl. Parr, p, 640.

great men of his age and his country. Far, however, from being content with the respect and the deference, to which he was really entitled, he set up for himself a bold claim of dictatorial authority, which least of all in the republic of letters can ever be patiently endured. The consciousness of his own abilities inspired him with a proud esteem of self, and a haughty disdain of others, which he was at no pains to conceal, even in his conduct, and still less in his writings. Nothing could be more disgraceful in itself, or more degrading to the clergyman and the man of letters, than the contempt and abuse, which he poured upon all, by whom his opinions were rejected, or in the smallest degree opposed.

His works are numerous; and all bear the stamp of his superior genius: but it is genius, deserted by common reason and sense; wandering without a guide; perplexed with its own errors, lost in the mazes of its own creation. No one more frequently mistook the shadows of imagination for the realities of truth; and none ever more scornfully rejected the best established opinions of mankind, or more obstinately and arrogantly maintained his own peculiar notions, however visionary and absurd. It was his delight to employ the mighty powers of his mind in searching after strange and repulsive novelties, and dressing out whimsical and astounding paradoxes in the imposing garb of new and important discoveries. It was impossible, therefore, with all his just claims to the respectful regards of others, that he should not be the object often of silent wonder, and sometimes of serious
censure. But if he created many enemies, he also attached to himself many friends and partisans, by whom he was at once admired, loved, and feared.

Amongst the number of his devoted followers, none was more remarkably distinguished than Dr. Hurd, the late Bishop of Worcester; who, on every occasion, pressed eagerly forward to do him homage, with all the zeal of a sworn vassal to his liege lord; and who ever stood ready armed to defend him, when attacked; to support him when attacking others; and to claim for him the victory, even when repulsed or defeated. Dr. Hurd never shrunk from maintaining the most absurd or objectionable of Warburton’s theological dogmas, or critical decrees; nor hesitated to encounter with rude defiance or cool derision, the most reasonable and respectable of his opponents. “Pariterque in bella ruebant;” and it might be added, “his unus amor erat.” For, never were disciple and his master so well pleased with each other, or so profuse in their mutual adulations. This sufficiently appeared in their long published writings; and was still more glaringly exhibited in the volume of “Letters,” bequeathed by his Lordship of Worcester, as a legacy to posterity; being printed during his lifetime under his own direction, though not presented to the public till after his death. Nothing can be more truly disgusting than the gross flattery so complacently given and received, in the course of these Letters; and yet even this would have been less intolerable, if it had not been accompanied by so many supercilious remarks and scornful jeers, pointed against some of the greatest and best men
of the literary world, who refused to measure their opinions by the standard of Warburtonian infallibility.

Dr. Hurd was, in many respects, an amiable man and an exemplary clergyman. He was an accomplished scholar, and an elegant, though by no means a faultless writer. It is much to be lamented, therefore, that he should have imbibed, in so large a portion, his master’s acrimony of temper, and have imitated so frequently his contemptuousness of manner: nor is it possible to absolve him from the severe censure, which Mr. Hume has pronounced in the “Short Account of his Life;” where, speaking of one of his own works, he observes, that “Dr. Hurd wrote a pamphlet against it, with all the illiberal petulance, arrogance, and scurrility, which distinguished the Warburtonian school.”1

Such was Warburton, and such the Warburtonian—whose tracts, rejected by their authors, were republished, certainly with no friendly views, by Dr. Parr; and, therefore, his conduct may seem to require some explanation, or to call for some vindication—if, of vindication, it admit.

Be it known then, if not already known, to the reader, that, among the many persons, who brought down upon them the displeasure of the great hierophant of Gloucester, there were two more notorious, perhaps, than the rest, Dr. John Jortin, and Dr. Thomas Leland; and their story must now be told somewhat in detail.

1 “My own Life,” prefixed to Hume’s History of England, vol. i. p. 13.


Of his numerous productions, the great and the favourite work of Warburton was, “The Divine Legation of Moses demonstrated;” of which, it may be truly said, that never was there a work so universally read at the time, and so soon afterwards utterly neglected, and almost utterly forgotten. Such is the fate of misguided, though splendid genius!1

Amidst the wild conjectures and strange assertions, the unsafe premises and unsound conclusions, with which that singular production abounds, not the least remarkable is the allegorical interpretation attempted to be imposed on the sixth book of Virgil’s Aeneid. The learned author contends, “that Eneas’ adventure to the infernal shades is no other, than a figurative representation of his initiation into the mysteries, and an exact one, especially, of his initiation into those of the Eleusinian spectacles.”2 The hypothesis is supported with much ingenuity and learning; but it is a “baseless fabric,” which dissolves and vanishes at the first touch of true criticism, or even of sound sense. “It is,” says Dr. Parr, “completely confuted, in a most clear, elegant, and decisive work of criticism; which could not, indeed, derive authority from the greatest name, but to which the greatest name might with propriety be affixed.”3—“These critical observations,” as it

1The Divine Legation of Moses” is a monument, already crumbling into dust, of the vigour and the weakness of the human mind.”—Gibbon.

2 Div. Leg. Book ii. sect. 4.

3 Dedication to Warb. Tracts, p. 192.

afterwards appeared, were written by the
historian of the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.”1

And now for the high misdemeanour laid to the charge of Dr. Jortin. He was guilty of the twofold offence2 “of writing upon the same subject, and of not taking the same view of it with “the inquisitor-general and judge-supreme of the opinions of the learned.”3 He had published a volume, containing “Six Dissertations;” in the last of which, he dares to discuss the subject of the Sixth Eneid; and ventures thus to notice, cautiously and respectfully, the Warburtonian hypothesis. “That the subterraneous adventure of Eneas is intended by Virgil to represent the initiation of his hero, is an elegant conjecture; which has been laid before the public, and set forth to the best advantage, by a learned friend.” He then proceeds, but without one word of direct objection to the allegorical interpretation to deliver his own, which, no doubt, he thought more reasonable; referring the decision, as indeed he safely might, to the judgment of the readers.

Such was the offence committed against the self-created lord of the literary world, which was thought to call for exemplary punishment; and the task of inflicting it was promptly taken upon himself, by one of the ablest, perhaps, certainly one of the most obsequious of his servants. A pamphlet accordingly soon appeared, with the title “On the Delicacy of Friendship; a seventh

1 Gibbon’s Works, vol. ii. p. 437.

2Delicacy of Friendship,” Hurd’s Works, vol. xiii. p. 283.

3 Lowth’s Letter to Warburton, p. 9.

Dissertation, addressed to the Author of the Sixth:” of which, though it appeared without a name, the writer was in no long time discovered to be
Dr. Hurd; and surely, of all the productions which ever came from the pen of a scholar of reputation, and a man of respectability, this was the most offensive and inexcusable. It was received with the indignation1 which it merited, by men of all parties, not excepting some of Warburton’s friends.2 Unjustifiable in its object, odious in its spirit, false in many of its statements, and futile in most of its reasoning, it can hardly be condemned, on its own account, with too much severity; and when considered as an address from one scholar to another, of equal or greater pretensions, it must be pronounced, in a high degree, pert and petulant, if not rude and insolent. He that can read it, with patience enough to admire it as a composition, must first forget the outrage which it offers, not only to the dignity of letters, but to the just decorum of common life.

“Who will refuse the praise,” asks Dr. Parr, “at least of ingenuity, to the Dissertation on the Delicacy of Friendship? Perhaps it is difficult to name a book where the defects of the cause are so abundantly supplied by the skill of the advo-

1 “See the base and malignant ‘Essay on the Delicacy of Friendship.’”—Gibbon.

2 Address to Dr. Hurd by Dr. Brown, author of “Essays on the Characteristics,” and a friend of Warburton:—“I think, my friend, you are in danger of hurting Dr. Warburton, as well as yourself, by the intemperance of your zeal,” &c.—Warb. Tracts, p. 200.

cate; or where the barrenness of the subject is more successfully fertilised, by the fancy of the writer. But these literary excellencies, however extraordinary, and however indisputable, are not sufficient to atone for the moral imperfections, which accompany them.”1

Such is the case of the first delinquent—let that of the second, Dr. Leland, be next heard. He was charged, in this high court of literary inquisition, with the offence of calling in question, amongst other strange and extraordinary positions, maintained by Warburton in his “Doctrine of Grace,” the two following:—the first, on the subject of divine inspiration—“that a rude and barbarous style, abounding with every fault that can deform a language, is so far from proving such language not inspired, that it is one certain mark of its being so;” and the second, on the subject of human eloquence—“that its true end is, to stifle reason, and inflame the passions.” These assertions Dr. Leland presumed to deny, and even attempted to refute, in his “Dissertation on the Principles of Human Eloquence;” and, what is more, in this attempt, by the general confession of the literary world, he has succeeded.

To defend the authority of his master from so daring an attack, Dr. Hurd again rushed forward, still disguised, and determined to call the bold assailant to a severe account. Accordingly he published, without his name, “A Letter to the Rev. Dr. Leland,” &c. “This letter,” says Dr.

1 Preface to Warb. Tracts, p. 176.

Parr, “is distinguished by a sort of sparkling vivacity and specious acuteness, which may, for a time, reconcile the reader to the want of solidity.”1 Another critic, still more severe, thus delivers his opinion: “A spirit of insolence breathes through this whole letter, with an academical pertness unworthy of a polite scholar; and, in an anonymous writer, extremely mean. As a defence of the Bishop of Gloucester, it is specious and plausible, but far from being solid or satisfactory.”2

Such is the history of the two tracts by a Warburtonian, which, together with two by Warburton himself, not admitted into the collected works of their respective authors, Dr. Parr thought proper to publish; and the question is, whether that republication admits of fair and reasonable vindication?3

Of Warburton’s tracts, the first consists of “Miscellaneous Translations, in Prose and Verse, from the Roman Poets, Orators, and Historians:”4—most of them inadequate and even incorrect, as translations, and all of them clothed in language, coarse, unpolished, often obscure, and still oftener, ungrammatical. The second and the more considerable work is entitled, “A Critical and Philosophical Inquiry into the Causes of Prodigies and

1 Preface to Warb. Tracts, p. 175.

2 Monthly Rev. Oct. 1764.

3 See the negative of this question maintained, Monthly Rev. Aug. 1789.

4 “This was Dr. Warburton’s first publication. It is very scarce; having been bought up, by his order, as often as it appeared. S. P.’—Bibl. Parr. p. 227.

Miracles, as related by Historians;” in which, if the reader sometimes stands aghast at the absurdity, or wonders at the temerity, or smiles at the credulity of the writer, there are bursts of Warburton’s powerful genius, and displays of his extensive learning, which will not fail to arrest his attention. Upon the whole, however, it will hardly be thought that these works, even considered as juvenile performances, reflect much honour upon their illustrious author; though it may still be admitted, in the language of the learned editor, “that his character will suffer no diminution of its lustre from their republication, among readers of candour and discernment.”1

But let Dr. Parr be heard more fully in his own words. “They, who are curious in collecting books, must certainly be anxious to possess all the writings of this eminent prelate. They, who mark with philosophic precision the progress of the human understanding, will look up to Warburton with greater reverence and greater astonishment, when they compare the better productions of his pen with his worse. The faults of the one are excused, by the imperfections of his education; but the excellencies of the other must be ascribed only to the unwearied activity, the unshackled boldness, the uncommon and almost unparalleled vigour of his native genius.”2

1 Preface to the Warb. Tracts, p. 1.

2 “This work was republished by Dr. Parr, but omitted in Bishop Hurd’s edition of Bishop Warburton’s works. And why omitted? For, with all its singularities, it has many marks of the vigorous and original mind of that distinguished prelate.”—Bibl. Parr. p. 690.


Such are Dr. Parr’s reasons, as stated by himself. But whether they justify sufficiently the republication, since no purpose of public good could possibly be answered by it, may reasonably admit of doubt. At all events, the editor of the complete edition of Warburton’s works is to be commended, not blamed, because, in rejecting these two tracts, he certainly consulted the wishes, and probably obeyed the express injunction of the author himself; in which case, even Dr. Parr allows “he acted an honourable part.”

Had Dr. Hurd, indeed, followed the dictates of his own judgment, unquestionably he would have given a place at least to one of these tracts, among the other works of Warburton. For, in one of his letters to his illustrious friend, thus he writes: “I met with the ‘Essay on Portents and Prodigies,’ which I liked the better, and still like it, because I understood it was most abused by those, who owed you no good will.”1 This, it must be acknowledged, is an odd reason for admiration: a better is given in the following passage—“The author, perhaps, may consider this tract with the same neglect as Cicero did his earlier compositions, on rhetoric; but the curious will regard it with reverence, as a fine essay of his genius, and a prelude to all the great things he was afterwards seen capable of accomplishing.”2

Warburton himself, however, it is certain entertained a very different opinion of this work, and

1 Warburton’s and Hurd’s Letters, p. 215.

2 Hurd’s Discourse on Poetical Imitation, Works, vol. ii. p. 206.

took much pains to suppress it. Thus in one of his letters he speaks: “I was very much a boy, when I wrote that thing, about prodigies; and I never had the courage to look into it, since;1 so that I have quite forgot all the nonsense it contains. But, a few years before
Curl’s death, he wrote me a letter, to acquaint me he had bought the property of my excellent Discourse; and that, as it had been long out of print, he was going to reprint it; only he desired to know, if I had any additions or alterations to make, he should be glad of the honour of receiving them. The writer and the contents of his letter very much alarmed me; so I wrote to Mr. Knapton, to go to the fellow, and buy my book of him again; and so ended this ridiculous affair, which may be a warning to young scribblers.”2

From this passage it appears how great was the anxiety of Warburton, to consign the first early effort of his genius to oblivion; and though that anxiety might not have been distinctly known to Dr. Parr, yet it was sufficiently intimated by the actual exclusion of the tract from the authorised edition of Warburton’s works. But to drag, a first or a second time, into the light a literary production of any writer, contrary to his own wish, where no object of public utility demands it, is a liberty which seems hardly to be justified.

The case of “Tracts by a Warburtonian” stands, however, on different grounds; and something may be said, which will, perhaps, go far towards vindi-

1 Warburton’s and Hurd’s Letters, p. 219.

cating the act of republishing them, even without the consent of their author. It is generally understood that
Dr. Hurd had been most diligently employed, some time before, in buying up all the remaining copies of his two pamphlets, with a view to their total suppression; and though they were afterwards admitted, no doubt, by his order, into the complete edition of his works, yet the admission, it must be remembered, was, in a manner, forced upon him, by the failure of his endeavours to suppress them.

Since, then, not the slightest reparation was ever offered to the two learned and excellent persons, whom he had so grossly insulted, it is reasonable to conclude that, in his attempted suppression, he was actuated, not by generous views of doing justice to them, but by the desire merely of escaping from the deep disgrace which, in the opinion of the literary world, he had brought upon himself. It might well be thought justifiable, therefore, to stop and baffle the scornful abuser of others, in his endeavour to hide his own shame, unaccompanied, as it was, with the faintest acknowledgment, expressed or implied, of his own delinquency; and it will not be denied, that a fair as well as an effectual mode of exposing to deserved reprobation so rude and so wrongful an attack on two illustrious ornaments of learning and religion, was to hold up the offensive tracts themselves, by publishing them, to the view and indignation of all; thus, at once, appeasing the shades of injured and departed excellence, and exhibiting to literary railers, however high their rank, and however splendid their fame,
a salutary warning for ages to come. So at least thought
Dr. Parr. “These great and good men,” says he, “are certainly entitled to some compensation or other; and the republication of the books written against them will more effectually answer this honourable and necessary purpose, than a direct argumentative defence. It will show, by the brightest proofs, that Leland and Jortin scarcely need any elaborate justification; and that their antagonist, however plausible in his objections, or smart in his raillery, cannot, without the greatest difficulty, be justified by himself or his admirers.”1

But let the learned editor be heard, still further, in his own justification: “By the writer of these pamphlets, two very learned and worthy men were attacked, with most unprovoked and unprecedented virulence. The attempt to stifle them is, however, a very obscure and equivocal mark of repentance in the offender. Public and deliberate was the insult, which he offered to the feelings of those whom he assailed; and, therefore, no compensation ought to be accepted, which falls short of a direct and explicit retractation. Even by his friends, his silence has not yet been represented as the effect of contrition. His pen has not been employed in any subsequent publication, to commend two writers, against whom he had formerly brandished his censures. His example—and this is worst of all—is at hand to encourage any future adventurer, who may be disposed to attack the best books, and the best men; and, afterwards,

1 Dedication of the Two Tracts, &c. pp. 165, 166.

when the real merits of the dispute, or the real character of his opponents are known, may contrive to let his mischievous cavils sink into oblivion, to skulk, as softly as he can, from detection and disgrace; nay, to set up serious pretensions to candour as a writer, to decency as an ecclesiastic, and to meekness as a Christian.”—“This republication may, therefore, deter, and it is certainly intended to deter, others from indulging any mean expectation, that a calumniator can derive security from the very failures of his calumnies; or that what has been repeatedly and deliberately done in secret, will not, sooner or later, be punished openly. It may lessen, and is certainly intended to lessen, the number of those who speak too well of a man, by whom
Warburton was most extravagantly flattered, Leland most petulantly insulted, and Jortin most inhumanly vilified.”1

Such were the motives—and who will deny that they are just and worthy?—which led to the republication of the Warburtonian tracts; and from the same motives avowedly were written the celebrated dedication and preface, which accompanied them. This dedication, addressed to Bishop Hurd, as well as the preface that followed it, is written, as the reader is aware, in a strain of vehement and indignant remonstrance against the contemptuous and domineering spirit, which marked so disgracefully the character of his master and his own; and which, on the two occasions just noticed, broke forth, in a torrent of malignant

1 Preface to the Two Tracts, &c. pp. 178, 179.

abuse, bearing down before it all the due restraints of literary courtesy, and even of social civility.

It is true, the wrongs complained of, in the case of Leland and Jortin, were not, at the time of this publication, of very recent date. But “as no healing balm had been poured into their wounded spirits, by the hand which pierced them,” while they lived; and as no sufficient vindication had been offered to their injured names by others, either before or since their death; it was worthy of Dr. Parr to stand forth in their defence; to claim for them the respect which is their due; and to cause “the blighted laurels of their fame to spring up afresh, and to blossom anew,” over their graves. Most just and most grateful, indeed, is the highly-wrought eulogium, here bestowed upon the two great names, which Warburton dishonoured, and which Hurd insulted.1

It is seriously to be regretted, that the literary intolerance which ought to have been subdued, even in Warburton, by the general indignation of scholars, and by the strong remonstrances, in particular, of Bishop Lowth, Dr. Sykes, Henry Taylor,2 and others, unhappily survived him, and shed all its evil influence over the mind of Dr. Hurd; who had by no means the same excuse to offer, from natural irritability of temper, or from great superiority of talent. That high estimation of self, and that proud contempt of others, for mere difference of opinion, which he had too often discovered in his life and in his writings, were most offen-

1 See these given in a future page. 2 Vicar of Crawley.

sively exhibited, in what may be regarded as his last act, in the posthumous publication referred to in a former page. If Dr. Hurd had committed no other offence, he would have merited the severest censure for the low and wretched abuse, which he has poured out upon many good men, and many good and even great scholars—in the volume of “
Letters between himself and an eminent prelate, lately deceased.” The scurrilous language,1 of which there is so much reason to complain, proceeded, indeed, chiefly from the pen of Warburton; but even for this, who is to be made responsible to the moral and the literary world? Not surely he, who wrote the letters in strictest confidence to a friend: no!—but he, who, after long and cool deliberation, printed them in his lifetime, and published them, by an express

1Exemp. grat. “The mad Whiston.”—“That extreme poor creature, Spence,” (author of Polymetis, &c.)—“That scoundrel Voltaire.”—“That wretched fellow, Priestley.”—“Taylor more duncified than the dunce Webster,” (the former the learned editor of Demosthenes, &c. the latter an author of good repute.)—“Dr. Young, the finest writer of nonsense of any in this age.”—“Licking up the drivel of the Hoadleians.”—“The wretch Jackson (author of Ancient Chronology, &c.) spent his days in the republic of letters, in one unvaried course of begging, railing, and stealing.”—“Joseph Warton’s impertinence.”—“The vagabond Scot’s (Smollett’s) written nonsense.”—“Lowth’s wit and reasoning, God knows and I also, are much below the qualities, that deserve those names.”—“Leland’s second thoughts, as nonsensical as the first.”—“Jortin as vain as he is dirty.”—“His conduct mean, low, ungrateful.”—“His friends dirty fellows.”—“His heart full of rancour.”—“His overrating his abilities, and the public’s underrating them, made so gloomy a temper eat his own heart,” &c. &c.

order, after his death. It wears the appearance of a mean and dastardly spirit, in the “wary bishop,” to resolve to put forth his scurrilities to the world; but not till he himself should be placed beyond the reach of that indignation, which they were sure to excite, and of those animadversions which, he might justly dread they would provoke.

If, then, it be considered how easily men of high powers and attainments are betrayed into a spirit of dogmatism, and what mischief is done to the cause of truth and learning, by the admission of despotical authority into the republic of letters; it was desirable that the last decisive blow should be given to claims so outrageous, as those of Warburton and his followers, and an example held up as a warning against all future attempts to fetter the right of private opinion, and the freedom of public discussion, among literary men. This important service, by the present publication, Dr. Parr has performed with incomparable ability; and he has thus entitled himself to the gratitude of all, who wish well to the moral and intellectual improvement of mankind.

But though the views of public good, avowed by the author, might seem to explain sufficiently the origin of this extraordinary publication; yet there are some persons, who, not satisfied with this explanation, have thought themselves justified in ascribing it rather to motives of a more private and personal nature.

Disraeli, in his “Quarrels of Authors,” states it, as if it were a well-known fact, that “a great
philologer delivered a memorable sermon, which, besides the sesquipedalia verba, was perhaps the longest that ever was heard: that a certain bishop, who had always played the part of one of the most wary of politicians1 in private life, and who thoroughly understood the meaning and use of the French word retenue, was heard, in an unguarded moment, to declare that he did not like the doctor’s vernacular sermon; and that this being reported to the person whom it most concerned, the mighty and vindictive Grecian collected the rejected works of the bishop and his patron; and has furnished posterity with a specimen of the force of his vernacular style, giving to the wary bishop a lesson, which he had scarcely ever wanted all his life, of the danger of an unlucky epithet.”2

The same story is repeated by the author of the “Pursuits of Literature” in one of his notes. “The unfortunate Education-Sermon,” says he, “Bishop Hurd happened to dislike.—Hinc illæ lacrymæ! This produced the republication of Warburton’s and Hurd’s Tracts, with the splendid and astonishing Dedication by Dr. Parr.”3 Indeed, it must be owned that the story receives some countenance from the following passage in the Dedication itself: “Knowing, my Lord,” says the writer, “the rooted antipathy, which you bear to long epistolary introductions in classical writers, to long vernacular sermons from Dr. Parr, and to long Latin anno-

1 “In Parr’s sarcastic but eloquent Dedication, he deals a severe blow or two at Bishop Hurd, for certain crawling but thriving qualities, &c.”—New Monthly Mag. Dec. 1826.

2 Quarrels of Authors, vol. iii. p. 287.

3 Pursuits of Literature, p. 115.

tations from
Philip D’Orville, I will take care not to stray beyond the limits of a just and legitimate dedication.”1

There are others, again, who think they can plainly discover the true origin of this publication in the following remarkable passage; in which the writer, describing what Warburton was not, certainly meant to describe what Hurd, in his estimation, was: “He, my Lord, threw a cloud over no man’s brighter prospects of prosperity or honour, by dark and portentous whispers, in the ears of the powerful. He, in private company, blasted no man’s good name, by shedding over it the cold and deadly mildews of insinuation. He was too magnanimous to undermine, when his duty and his honour prompted him to overthrow. He was too sincere, to disguise the natural haughtiness and irritability of his temper, under a specious veil of humility and meekness. He never thought it expedient to save appearances, by shaking off the shackles of consistency—to soften the hideous aspect of certain uncourtly opinions, by a calm and progressive apostacy—to expiate the artless and animated effusions of his youth, by the example of an obsequious and temporising old age. He began not, as others have done, with speculative republicanism; nor did he end it, as the same persons are now doing, with practical toryism. He was a churchman without bigotry. He was a politician without duplicity. He was a loyalist without servility.”

Considered as compositions, the Dedication and the Preface to the Warburtonian Tracts have been

1 Dedication to the Two Tracts, &c. p. 170.

generally regarded as among
Dr. Parr’s happiest efforts; and have certainly established his claim to a distinguished rank, among the great writers of his age. All the excellencies of his style, here, burst “like a flood of glory” on the astonished and delighted reader; though, it must be owned, that its usual defects are almost equally conspicuous, especially his excessive and inveterate love of antithesis.

But though constituting a great fault, when carried to excess, yet antithesis in itself, as all know, is one of the most pleasing and powerful figures of rhetoric; and many striking specimens of it occur in the volume, now under consideration. Thus, in the following passage, the literary portraitures of the two prelates are placed together, in strong contrast; and it will be owned, that the likeness is sufficiently exact in the case of Warburton, whilst in the case of Hurd it approaches far too much towards caricature.

“He blundered against grammar; and you refined against idiom. He, from a defect of taste, contaminated English by Gallicism; and you, from excess of affectation, sometimes disgraced what would have risen to ornamental and dignified writing, by a profuse mixture of vulgar or antiquated phraseology. He soared into sublimity, without effect; and you, by effort, sunk into a kind of familiarity, which, without leading to perspicuity, borders upon meanness. He was great, by the energies of nature; and you were little, by the misapplication of art. He, to show his strength, piled up huge and rugged masses of learning; and
you, to show your skill, split and shivered them into what your brother critic calls ψήγματα χαί άραιώματα. He sometimes reached the force of
Longinus, but without his elegance; and you exhibited the intricacies of Aristotle, but without his exactness.”

Yet not only is full justice done, but high praise awarded, to the beauties and elegancies, which, “amidst many laughable and many loathsome singularities,” adorn their writings.

“Often has my mind hung with fondness and with admiration over the crowded, yet clear and luminous galaxies of imagery, diffused through the works of Bishop Taylor, the mild and unsullied lustre of Addison, the variegated and expanded eloquence of Burke, the exuberant and dignified ease of Middleton, the gorgeous declamation of Bolingbroke, and the majestic energy of Johnson. But were I to do justice, my Lord, to the more excellent parts of your own writings, or of Warburton’s, I should say that the English language, even in its widest extent, cannot furnish passages more strongly marked, either by grandeur in the thought, by felicity in the expression, by pauses various and harmonious, or by full and sonorous periods.”

Thus again, in the following passage, their mental prowess and intellectual achievements are described; and, by the help of the favourite antithesis, brought into contrast:

“To grapple with the unwieldy was among the frolics of Warburton, whilst your Lordship toiled in chasing the subtle. He often darkened the
subject, and you perplexed it. He, by the boldness and magnitude of his conceptions, overwhelmed our minds with astonishment, and you, by the singularity and nicety of your quibbles, benumbed them with surprise. In him, we find our intellectual powers expanded and invigorated by the full and vivid representation which he sometimes holds up, both of common and uncommon objects, while you, my lord, contrive to cramp and to cripple them by all the tedious formalities of minute and scrupulous analysis. He scorned every appearance of soothing the reader into attention, and you failed in almost every attempt to decoy him into conviction. He instructed, even where he did not persuade, and you, by your petulant and contemptuous gibes, disgusted every man of sense, whom you might otherwise have amused by your curious and showy conceits.”

But though alive to the serious defects of Warburton, both as a man and as a writer, yet generous justice is done to all his great and shining excellencies, in the following passages:

“The Bishop of Gloucester, amidst all his fooleries in criticism, and all his outrages in controversy, certainly united a most vigorous and comprehensive intellect with an open and generous heart. As a friend, he was zealous and constant; and, as an enemy, he properly describes himself to have been choleric, but not implacable.”

“What I have written about Warburton was suggested to me, by a frequent but unprejudiced perusal, and by a fond, though not undistinguishing approbation of his works. I read them, in the
earliest and the happiest stages of my literary pursuits. They captivated my imagination; they exercised my reason; they directed my attention towards the most important topics; and they sent out my curiosity in quest of the most useful knowledge. The impressions made upon my mind were strong and deep.”

“The dawn of Warburton’s fame was overspread with many clouds, which the native force of his mind quickly dispelled. Soon after his emersion from them, he was honoured by the friendship of Pope, and the enmity of Bolingbroke. In the fulness of his meridian glory, he was caressed by Lord Hardwicke and Lord Mansfield; and his setting lustre was viewed with nobler feelings than those of mere forgiveness, by the amiable and venerable Dr. Lowth. Halifax revered him: Balguy loved him; and, in two immortal works, Johnson has stood forth in the foremost rank of his admirers. By the testimony of such a man, impertinence may be abashed, and malignity itself may be softened.”

These few extracts may serve to give, to the reader, some idea of the nature and the spirit of this powerful remonstrance against moral and literary injustice, though supported by all the imposing influence of rank and talent. Curiosity might be disposed to inquire, what impression was produced by it, on the mind of him, to whom it was principally addressed? But all such curiosity will find itself stopped and baffled by the impenetrable silence, within which the “wary bishop” thought it best to retire and entrench himself. Not only
did he adopt the resolution of offering no formal defence, but he studiously avoided, in his subsequent publications, the slightest allusion either to the bold remonstrant or to the subject of his appeal. It should appear, however, as if he never felt, or as if he affected not to feel, the disgrace, which he had brought upon himself, by the shameless attempt to debase and to defame two fair and illustrious names, of which one at least will probably descend to posterity with more honour than his own. “
Among some occurrences in his life,” prefixed to his collected works, he has coolly noted down the two obnoxious publications, with the proper dates, but without the least expression of concern or regret at the sentence of reprobation which had been pronounced by the verdict of public opinion against them. In his “Life of Warburton,” too, not a word of apology occurs for the serious wrong to others, which in this and so many instances, was done by his great master and by himself; and, to crown all, in his posthumous volume of “Letters,” he has repeated, publicly and deliberately, after a long interval of time, amid the cool reflections of age, and in the full prospect of death, those rude jeers and calumnious reproaches, which, if uttered in the heat of controversy, would have been in a far less degree censurable; or which, if confined to the privacy of confidential communication, would not of course have been amenable at all, before the bar of public judgment. No one has a right to pry into the secrecy of an epistolary correspondence; but when such correspondence is put forth to the world, by one of the parties engaged
in it, that party becomes, like any other author, responsible to the public. The secret whispers thus proclaimed aloud, from that moment become open calumnies; and as long as his book is known, and the real state of facts remembered, so long the offending individual will remain self-branded with the guilt and the shame of a public reviler and slanderer.

Annexed to “Leland’s Dissertation on the principles of Human Eloquence,” in Dr. Parr’s library, is the following note: “This copy was given to me by Dr. Leland himself; and thinking that he had confuted his opponent, and that his opponent had treated him with unbecoming and unmerited scorn, I republished the whole dispute. I dedicated the book to Bishop Hurd, and the dedication was followed by no answer. S. P.” But, though not from Dr. Hurd himself, yet an answer soon came forth from one of his friends, Dr. Lucas, who had been presented by him to the rectory of Ripple, in Worcestershire. “It is a well-meant defence of his learned patron,” says Dr. Parr; who adds, that “he found nothing in it to blame, but a very rash, invidious, and groundless charge of having written some puffs in the newspapers about his own learning and his claims to ecclesiastical preferment.”1 He afterwards mentions that a copy of it was sent by the author, with his written compliments, to Dr. Parr, “who read it, with much entertainment from its vivacity, with no conviction from its argument, and with calm contempt at the false and injurious intimation contained in it.”2

1Bibl. Parr. p. 443. 2 Id. p. 651.


Some manuscript extracts from “Hurd’s Life of Warburton” are accompanied with the following note: “That Life was prefixed to the posthumous 4to. edition of Warburton’s Works, and therefore could in print be possessed only by the subscribers. The learned Mr. Gaches1 was a subscriber, and lent the book to Dr. Parr; who caused extracts to be made, from some apprehension he might have occasion for them, if any unseen and unpleasant event should render it necessary for him to resume the controversy with Bishop Hurd. Dr. Parr met with many passages which offended him; but as the names of Dr. Jortin and Dr. Leland were studiously avoided, Dr. Parr was resolved not to defend any other excellent men, whom the biographer had treated harshly. Archbishop Secker found an advocate in Mr. W.——. Dr. Parr lamented the languor of the Wykehamists, in suffering the unjust attack upon Bishop Lowth to pass unnoticed.2 Dr. Parr, in the correspondence between Hurd and Warburton, met with some offensive matter about Leland and Jortin; but as, in consequence of Warburton’s life, written by Hurd, and softened too, in all probability by Dr. Parr’s publication, and perhaps extorted from Hurd sooner than he intended to let it see the light, there has been a considerable change in pub-

1 See p. 202.

2 What can be more outrageously unjust than the following representations? “Bishop Lowth’s Latin Lectures on Hebrew Poetry,” says Dr. Hurd, “are written in a vein of criticism not above the common; and his translation of Isaiah is chiefly valuable, as it shows how little is to be expected from a new translation of the Bible for public use.”—Life of Warburton.

lic opinion, Dr. Parr determined not to take up his pen.”1

“Many notable discoveries,” says Dr. Parr in his dedicatory address to Dr. Hurd, “might be made by comparing the variæ lectiones, the clippings and the filings, the softenings and the varnishings, of sundry constitutional doctrines as they crept by little and little into certain ‘Political Dialogues.’” This statement is denied by a writer in the British Critic;2 but to his copy of these dialogues the following note is subjoined by Dr. Parr:3 “For the purpose of knowing whether I had once spoken too severely of Bishop Hurd, respecting the changes silently and gradually made in his celebrated dialogues, I carefully compared the fourth edition with the two former ones; and the result was, my conviction that I had done the bishop no injustice. If I had thought differently, my determination was to retract and apologise. S. P.”4

1Bibl. Parr. p. 535. 2 Brit. Crit. Feb. 1812.

3Bibl. Parr. p. 439.

4Dr. Hurd, it is well known, published, at one period of his life, Moral and Political Dialogues with a woful whiggish cast. Afterwards, his Lordship having thought better, came to see his error, and republished his work, with a more constitutional spirit. Johnson, however, was unwilling to allow him full credit for his conversion. I remember, when his Lordship declined the honour of being Abp. of Canterbury, Johnson said, ‘I am glad he did not go to Lambeth; for, after all, I fear he is a Whig in his heart.’”—Boswell’s Life of Johnson, vol. iv. p. 202.