Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

for inspecting the college books upon dates and other particulars, which I mean to ascertain with precision. I intend to give myself rather a wide scope, and shall introduce some matter about the Masters of Eton school : and the men of Eton are aware of my intention. Mr. Nichols! I detest the jealous and censorious spirit of scholars towards each other, and I am sure that my mind is in harmony with your own, when I take an opportunity of doing justice to some eminent teachers in the school where my beloved instructors Thackeray and Sumner were educated. As the article will be known to come from me, I shall endeavour to make it interesting to our learned countrymen, and having before me, as models, your two most excellent books about Bowyer, I shall now and then introduce a little criticism. The whole subject is before me, and I have thrown upon paper a great number of notices. The Bishop of Gloucester, Dr. Gabel, the Master of Winchester, the Provost of King's, and the Masters of Eton and Harrow, are apprised of my intention. The narration cannot be very long, for the life of Sumner was not largely fraught with incidents; but it will suggest a variety of matter, which in all probability will do no discredit to your work; and the men of Eton will be pleased with the attention which you and I pay to them. I assure you, my friend, that in the way of inquiry I have been compelled to make many applications in many quarters. Give me leave to ask whether I may be permitted to speak in my own person : you must determine this. My present obliging scribe has made me some extracts from Sir William Jones, Dr. Middleton, Dr. Barford, and Bishop Hare. At this moment I am expecting from Lincolnshire an answer to some queries about an epitaph in that part of the world. And perhaps I shall be able to trace plagiarism in two instances. - You, as a Tory, 'must venerate Andrew Snape; I have found one copy of his verses, and three of his sermons. Though a Whig, I love and I revere the memory of Snape; and vexed I am at not having been able to meet with the two or three volumes of his Sermons; but I have enough before me to justify me in applaud

ing him. There is in Mrs. Piozzi's Memoir of Johnson some account of what passed between him and Robert Sumner, about the custom of appointing tasks to boys in the holidays, and I must, from direct experience, oppose Sumner's practice to the concessions which he seems to have made to Johnson. At present I have to lament not only the want of health, but the want of an amanuensis; for Edmund Barker is attending to his conjugal duties; but he comes to me in January, and in his last letter he promises to aid me with his pen in the article of Sumner. I have something to say about Edward Barnard, whose talent for composition was not of a high order, but for scanty praise to him we shall make ample compensation by doing justice to his predecessors. And we shall tell some of our contemporaries some tales which they may have never heard.

66. My friend, I have had the good fortune to meet the only writing which Thackeray, the predecessor of Sumner, ever sent to the press; and I am in possession also of every syllable which Sumner himself ever printed. “ Į am, dear Mr. N.,

« Your sincere well-wisher,
" and very respectful humble servant,

“ S. PARR.”

That Dr. Parr's intelligent friend, Mr. Barker, was soon at his post, appears by a letter of his, dated January 23, 1815:

« January 23. To-morrow I set off for Dr. Parr's house, and there I shall remain for several weeks; and I hope to be the Doctor's amanuensis for the Life of Dr. Sumner.' Our excellent friend is quite recovered from his illness.”

In a letter dated Hatton, April 26, Mr. Barker says:

“ I am in great hopes that our excellent friend Dr. Parr will make a capital book of the Life of Dr. Sumner;' — I am to be his amanuensis; and he begins in earnest next Monday. He is in good health, and his spirits are excellent, when they are not disturbed by angry political discussion.”

Again, on the 26th of July, Mr. Barker writes from Whitchurch:

“ I rejoice to tell you that Dr. Parr has made very considerable progress in the Life of Dr. Sumner.' You begged me to tell him not to spare pages, and I am afraid that when you come to see the immense extent of the work, you will smile at yourself for charging me with the commission. However, I can assure yon, that it will be a most interesting and curious work. It embraces not merely a sketch of Sumner's life, but very many particulars respecting the masters of Eton and Etonian scholars. The Doctor has thrown into it a great quantity of criticism upon little errors in the Latinity of modern writers of verse and prose; and he has not failed to introduce his opinions upon many controverted passages in Horace, and other classical authors. He has made the book replete with information and learning, and I am no prophet, if I am mistaken in supposing that it will meet with a rapid and extensive sale. As it will be of itself a book of some magnitude, perhaps it will be the best plan to let it form by itself an additional volume to the Literary Anecdotes, and while the press is set, to strike off three or four hundred copies, to be sold separately with a separate title-page. But, as Dr. Parr writes the book for a continuation of the « Literary Anecdotes,” he might not altogether approve of its being sold separately, and so, perhaps, you had better not consult him about the matter, but take it for granted that, as he has given the book to you, you are at liberty to pursue such measures, as will give you the best chance of being remunerated for the expences of printing and publishing. I fear that on accountof corrigenda and addenda, you will be under the necessity of sending the proofs to be inspected by me, who have so long been the Doctor's amanuensis, and am so accustomed to his interlineations, &c. I did all I could to finish the work before I left Hatton, for Thetford, in Norfolk; where I shall be by the 1st of August, and where I shall remain for several months, but we could not get it finished. The Doctor expects to have it completed in about a month."

were

On the 7th of January, 1816, the Doctor says: -
“ I have not lost sight of the Memoirs of Dr. Sumner,'
you

in my upper book-room, you would see at this moment more than forty books on the floor. While Mr. Barker was with me, he made copious extracts. He left me five months ago, and no other progress has been made than in the collection of a few additional materials. I have had correspondence with the men of Eton, and have much to say about Etonian scholars and their masters. The critical matter will be more copious than the historical. I have been urged to make it a separate work-no-no, no-it shall go to John Nichols, it shall, — besides, in this form it will be a more permanent record. I am not pleased with Hardinge's panegyric upon Barnard, nor with his censures upon John Foster. I find in your inestimable work more useful matter.

I have no other trouble before me, but dictating a few plain sentences, and putting together the massy materials already brought together, and already examined. I write what no printer can read. My last work was in seven different hands, and I shall bequeath the MS. to a college library, for a proof of the insuperable and almost incredible obstacles that hinder me from publishing. As to reading, and even revising, I am constantly employed. Two of my best auxiliaries are dead; a thírd lives at

and we are not on our former terms of friendship; the fourth, who helped me most largely in the rough draft for Sumner, is now at Thetford, and finds his whole time occupied by Henry Stephens's “ Thesaurus.' Still I shall endeavour to get one person to help me. He is a good scholar, and an old friend, but from long disuse he cannot do justice to his own talents. * My friend, I am far more anxious than you can be, to get this business off my spirits; and the more so, as my intentions are known at Eton, Harrow, Winchester, and both Universities, and much curiosity is excited. Oh, that I could finish this work about Sumner! Books, letters, thoughts, and materials are all ready, but where is to be found the scribe? I will do my

• The Rey, John Bartlam..

[ocr errors]

ütmost, even for my own sake, for I am pledged not only to you, but to many of my honoured contemporaries.' With unfeigned respect and regard “ I am, dear Sir, your friend,

65 S. Parr." Again, March 17:

“ Dear and much respected Mr. N. “ I thank you for your letter. I hope in a day or two to find a scribe who will aid me in answering it. You would smile if you saw the eagerness with which I open your letters. You are an honest constitutional tory, and I really cannot name the writer to whom scholars and men of research are so much indebted for useful and curious information, as yourself. I have a promise of help in the summer. I have laid my papers and a mass of books in my upper library, and I am most anxious to finish what I intend. All I want is an amanuensis. The matter is ready, and as to language it will cost me no trouble, for I shall use the very plainest. This week I have found two facts, upon emendations of critical writers, unknown to me before. The critic was Andrew Snape, whom I love and venerate, though in politics and theology we should not have quite agreed. He was a thorough scholar, and a thorough Christian. Remember me to all your family, that is, add my best wishes and my best compliments. “ I am, sincerely, your friend,

6 S. PARR.” Once more, Jan. 10, 1817:

“ Dear Sir, 66 Amidst the bustle and the vexations of very important business, I am anxious to acknowledge your kind and warmhearted letter, and to thank you for the very acceptable present with which you have honoured me.

I have always thought with respect of Mr. Hardinge's vivacity, taste, and fondness for classical erudition; and from those who had the good fortune to be acquainted with him, I have again and again heard that he was a most kind-hearted and honourable

[blocks in formation]
« ForrigeFortsæt »