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Memoirs of the Rev. Samuel Parr
Ch V. 1810-1813

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. 1810—1813.
Death of Mrs. Parr—Her character—Marriage of Miss Parr—Her family—Her death—Her character—Dr. Parr’s letter to Mr. Roscoe on the occasion—His disunion with his son-in-law—Their reconciliation—A second separation—Dr. Parr’s letters to his grand-daughters.

The year 1810 was marked by a succession of melancholy events, in the family of Dr. Parr. The first was the death of his wife, the consequence, it was believed, of excessive fatigue and anxiety in attending upon her eldest and only surviving daughter; whose health had been for some time in a declining state; and who was then residing, for the benefit of sea-air, at Teignmouth in Devonshire. Mrs. Parr’s presence had been required on a trial, at Shrewsbury assizes; and the hurry and exhaustion of a rapid journey from Teignmouth to that town, and from Shrewsbury back to her charge at Teignmouth, was followed by a sudden illness; which, within a few days, terminated fatally, on April 9, 1810.

In the course of her late journey, Mrs. Parr was met by Dr. Parr at Birmingham. Their short interview was affecting in the extreme; rendered so by the weight of their domestic sorrows; and they bade each other adieu, little supposing that that farewell would be their last! Though, from
great unsuitableness of temper, their union was not happy; yet Mrs. Parr unquestionably felt a sincere regard for the honour and the interest of her husband: and if she was too quick in noticing, and too severe in upbraiding his foibles, she could not be insensible to the extraordinary merits, which obtained for him the admiration, and attached to him the affection, of so many good and enlightened men, in all classes of the community. On his part, he often spoke, with pride and pleasure, of the strength of her understanding,1 the independence of her spirit, and of the grace and dignity of her manners, which were remarkably such as distinguish persons of superior birth and station.

Of her family and her education, Dr. Parr has himself given the following account:2—“Her grandmother was Mrs. Mauleverer, widow of Thomas Mauleverer, Esq. of Arncliffe, Yorkshire, whose maiden name was Hodgkinson; and who belonged to a very ancient and respectable family in the north of England. Her mother was Mrs. Marsingale. She died in childbed of her only daughter, Jane, whom Dr. Parr married in Nov. 1771. The widow Mauleverer, her grandmother, was a very well-informed, well-bred lady, and a most exemplary Christian. She, during her widowhood, lived and died at Darlington, in the county of Durham, where she treated her motherless grand-daughter, Jane, with the greatest kind-

1Priestley’s Theological Repository, 6 vols.—These six volumes were given by Dr. Priestley to my late sagacious and serious wife, Jane Parr. S. P.”—Bibl. Parr. p. 87.

2 In a manuscript in the writer’s possession.

ness; bestowed upon her a good education; set her a good example; and, upon her death, bequeathed to her a legacy of 700l.”

Much kind feeling towards his wife breathes in the tender pathos of the following passage, written by Dr. Parr on the death of his younger daughter. It touchingly describes the sorrows of a parent bereaved of the object of her fond affection; and bears witness to the fidelity and tenderness, with which she had fulfilled the obligations of maternal love and duty. “Her afflicted mother, of whom she was the constant and beloved companion, and round the fibres of whose heart she was closely entwined, weeps, like Rachel, mourning for her child, and refusing to be comforted because she is not.”

Mrs. Parr was buried in the chancel of Hatton church; but there was no sepulchral memorial of her, till, in 1826, her name, and the dates of her birth and death, were engraven, according to Dr. Parr’s orders, on the same marble tablet which records his own.

Scarcely had the grave closed over the remains of Mrs. Parr, when it was opened a second, and again a third time, to receive those of her granddaughter and her daughter. Miss Sarah-Anne Parr had been married, in 1797, to John, the eldest son of Colonel Wynne of Plasnewydd, in Denbighshire. At the time of his marriage, he was one of Dr. Parr’s pupils; and as he was then in his minority, it was, what is termed, “a stolen match.” It proved, as was generally augured at the time, an unhappy union; and, in a few years,
a separation was the consequence. The issue of the marriage was three daughters,
Caroline Sobieski, Augusta-Eliza, and Madelina. On the birth of the third, which took place after the separation, an attempt was made, on the part of the lady, to obtain an interview, with the hope of effecting a reunion with her husband. But the attempt failed; and this and other disappointments, to which she was afterwards subjected, together with the loss of her mother and her daughter, so affected her declining health, as to hasten her dissolution. She breathed her last at Hatton, July 8, 1810.

Thus, within the space of three months, it was the melancholy fate of Dr. Parr to follow to the grave his wife, his daughter, and his granddaughter; and who but must acknowledge there was some justice in the severity of the remark to his friend, Mrs. Edwards, when he received from the herald’s-office a description of the Wynne family-arms, with the view of erecting a hatchment in honour of his deceased daughter? On observing that these armorial-bearings were “six bees,” he mournfully exclaimed—“Ah! Hannah, my family never partook of the honey of the hive; but the wound they gave was the sting of death.”

Mrs. Wynne was greatly admired for the vigour of her understanding, the brilliancy of her imagination, the keenness of her wit, and the powers of her conversation. She acquired, by reading the best English and French authors, a considerable store of knowledge, useful and ornamental; and what she wrote was written with much ease, elegance,
and spirit. She possessed extraordinary talent in discriminating characters, and pourtraying the excellencies which adorned them; and still more in exposing and satirising the peculiarities and foibles1 by which they were in any degree marked. She was the pride of her father’s heart; and over her loss, as she was the last of his family, he long and deeply mourned. He had a picture taken of her after her death, as she lay in her coffin. It was a distressing likeness; and he was wont to gaze on it, with a sigh, to the last. It hung for many years in the drawing-room; but some time before his death, to the great relief of all his friends and visitors, it was removed.

The following tribute to the memory of his last surviving daughter, from the pen of her afflicted father, appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine, August, 1810:—

“At Hatton, near Warwick, died, in the thirty-eighth year of her age, Mrs. Sarah-Anne Wynne, the only remaining daughter of the Rev. Dr. Parr. The brilliancy of her imagery in conversation and writing; the readiness, gaiety, and fertility of her wit; the acuteness of her observation on men and things; the variety of her knowledge upon the most familiar and most profound subjects were

1 See in App. No. VII. a sportive effusion of Mrs. Wynne, humorously rallying her father’s habit of affecting mysterious secrecy on trifling subjects. It was occasioned by his conducting a friend, with much form, into a retired apartment, for the purpose of making, as he said, some very important and very confidential communication. It was written during their absence; and delivered to that friend, on his return with Dr. Parr, to the rest of the company.

very remarkable. They, who lived with her on terms of intimacy, were again and again struck with admiration, at the rapidity, ease, vivacity, and elegance of her epistolary compositions. Whether upon lively or serious topics, they were always adapted to the occasion; they were always free from the slightest taint of affected phraseology and foreign idiom; they were always distinguished by a peculiar felicity and originality of conception and expression; and the genius displayed in them would undoubtedly have placed the writer in the highest class of her female contemporaries, if she had employed her pen upon any work, with a deliberate view to publication. Her reading in the most approved authors was diversified and extensive; her memory was prompt and correct; and her judgment, upon all questions of taste and literature, morality, and religion, evidently marked the powers with which she was gifted by nature, and the advantages which she had enjoyed for cultivating those powers, under the direction of enlightened parents, and in the society of learned men, to which she had access from her infancy. With becoming resignation to the will of Heaven, she endured a long and painful illness, which had been brought upon her by the pressure of domestic sorrow, on a constitution naturally weak. Her virtues as a friend, a child, a wife, and a mother, were most exemplary; and her piety being sincere, rational, and habitual, gave additional value to the great faculties of her understanding and the generous feelings of her heart.”

Writing to his friend, Mr. Roscoe, he thus un-
bosoms to him the grief, which, at this time, weighed on his heart:—

“Dear and much respected Mr. Roscoe,—For these two years, my mind has had no peace; and when you consider the severity, number, and rapid succession of the calamities, which have befallen me in domestic life, you will not wonder at the poignancy of my anguish. From change of scene, and the society of friends, I have derived some consolation: but my feelings are wounded; my kindest intentions have been frustrated; and, through the remainder of my existence, I have only to look for precarious and temporary mitigations of sorrow. You, dear sir, can understand the wretchedness of my situation; and from you I confidently expect sincere and soothing sympathy. I often think of you—often talk of you; and had it been possible, I should have proceeded onward from Shrewsbury to Liverpool. But my spirits were much disturbed about two grand-children, whose happiness is most dear to me; and I was under the necessity of returning, in order to make some arrangements for their welfare. I am anxious to discharge those sacred duties to them, which are imposed upon me by my own deep and unfeigned sense of right, and by the dying request of a most tender mother and a most dutiful daughter.

“Yours, &c.
“S. P.”
“October 4, 1810.”

An event, long desired by the friends of Dr. Parr, and most important to the young relatives, for whose welfare he expressed so much solicitude
in the above letter, at length took place. This was a reconciliation between himself and his son-in-law, effected by the kind interference of the tried and faithful friend of the family,
Mrs. Edwards; who thus repaid her great obligations to the parents, by the most devoted attachment to the interests of their grand-children. Uncertain about their precise situation at the time, she took a journey to Chester, for the sole purpose of inquiry; and there she had the good fortune to obtain the desired information. On her return home, she wrote to their father and his family, stating to them her views and wishes; and at the same time pleaded their cause so well with Dr. Parr himself, that conciliatory letters were exchanged; and Mr. Wynne and his daughters arrived at Hatton-parsonage at Christmas, 1812.

Great were the rejoicings, and many the festive entertainments, at Hatton-parsonage, and among the friends of Dr. Parr in the surrounding neighbourhood, on the happy occasion. Few, who were present, can easily forget the somewhat over-acted solemnity with which a goblet of spiced wine was introduced by Dr. Parr, with a kind of benediction, as the cup of reconciliation; and, after a suitable address, handed round to the company. Alas! who could have predicted what happened?—that within one short month, the reunion thus attested was, by a deplorable misunderstanding, dissolved for ever! Previously to this unhappy separation, Dr. Parr presented some family watches and other gifts to his grand-daughters, accompanied by a letter, addressed to each, in which the fol-
lowing fervent expressions of paternal solicitude and affection occur:—

“Your mother, foreseeing her approaching dissolution, requested that I would give this watch to her daughter Caroline. I now perform the sacred duty which she imposed upon me. I give it you, my dearest grand-daughter; I trust that you will value it as it deserves to be valued. I earnestly entreat you never to part with it; but to keep it for the sake of your grandmother, who loved you—of her grandmother, by whom she was herself beloved—of me, your grandfather, by whom you are loved most tenderly; and above all, of your own most affectionate mother. My dear grand-daughter Caroline, I give the watch to you on Christmas-day, with the hope that this circumstance will make a deep, lasting and solemn impression on your ingenuous mind; and I pray God Almighty to bless you, your sister, and your father. Preserve this letter as long as you live; and read it often and seriously. From just respect to the memory of the dead, and tender regard for the living, I shall have the watch accompanied by some additional presents. Keep them for my sake. Caroline, at no very distant time, and, perhaps, before you visit me again at Hatton, I may be called to another world; and the hand which writes this may be in the cold and silent grave, near the remains of your aunt Catherine, your grandmother, your sister Madelina, and your mother. May God’s will be done! and may we all meet together in heaven! Caroline, dear Caroline, wheresoever I live, and whensoever I die, it will be found that you had a
most considerate and affectionate friend in your grandfather.—

S. Parr.”

Nearly the same expressions occur in the letter which was at the same time addressed to her younger sister, accompanied with another watch, “which,” says the writer, “my dear Catherine, on her death-bed, desired, at a proper time, might be given to you, as a mark of her regard; and, as her affectionate father, and your faithful friend, I now perform the sacred duty she imposed upon me,” &c.

Dr. Parr took leave of his grand-daughters, who were torn from him, in consequence of the unhappy misunderstanding, to which allusion has just been made,in the following note:—“I observe, and, for your sake, I lament the present state of things between your father and myself; because it is very different from that which existed when, in the sincere and tender affection of my soul, I wrote to you my letters. I pray God to bless and preserve you.—S. P.”