Copyright
John S. (John Scandrett) Harford.

The life of Thomas Burgess online

. (page 1 of 38)
Online LibraryJohn S. (John Scandrett) HarfordThe life of Thomas Burgess → online text (page 1 of 38)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


^KMIIYMO^



3-JO^









uivaan






THE

LIFE

OP

THOMAS BURGESS, D.D.

F.R.S. F.A.S. &c. &c. &c.

LATE

LORD BISHOP OF SALISBURY.

BY

JOHN S. HARFORD, ESQ. D.C.L. F.R.S .



St. Basil, Ep. 70.



jfrrcDirtr «f*fttum.



LONDON:

PRINTED FOR

LONGMAN, ORME, BROWN, GREEN, & LONGMANS,

PATKRNOSTER-ROW.

1841.



Printed by A. Spottiswoouu,
New-Street- Square.



5^ HA

TO
THE MOST REVEREND

WILLIAM HOWLEY, D.D.

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY,

PRIMATE OF ALL ENGLAND, AND METROPOLITAN,
THIS MEMORIAL

OF A PRELATE WHO WAS EDUCATED IN THE SAME SCHOOL AND
IN THE SAME UNIVERSITY WITH HIS GRACE,

AND WHO ADORNED,

WITH CONGENIAL TALENTS, VIRTUES, AND PRINCIPLES,

THE CHURCH OVER WHICH HIS GRACE PRESIDES,

IS MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED,
BY HIS FAITHFUL AND DEVOTED SERVANT,

JOHN S. HARFORD,



A 2






PREFACE



THE SECOND EDITION.



The rapid sale of the first edition of this work
leads the Author to hope that it has proved ac-
ceptable to the public. It is now printed in a
smaller and cheaper form, with the view of pro-
moting its more extended circulation. Some
interesting letters from the Bishop's own pen
have been added. For those addressed to the
late Dr. Burney the author is indebted to Arch-
deacon Burney, to whom, as well as to the other
individuals who have laid him under similar ob-
ligation, he begs to offer his sincere thanks.

Blaise Castle, May 11. 1841.



A 3



PREFACE.



If the charm of a biographical work consists in
the novelty of its incidents, or in the striking vicis-
situdes which it records, the life of a learned and
pious Bishop, whose time was chiefly spent in
labouring for the good of mankind, and in pro-
moting the great objects of the Christian Mi-
nistry, would necessarily fail in general interest.
But expectations of this description arise, as Dr.
Johnson observes, from false measures of excel-
lence and dignity, and " must be eradicated by
considering that, in the esteem of uncorrupted
reason, what is of most use is of most value." In
this point of view, those who teach us by their
bright example how to live and how to die, — how
to pluck the fruits of imperishable truth and un-
fading happiness, may well claim our sympathy
and fix our attention. Of this number was the
excellent Prelate whose life and character it is
the object of the following pages to depicture.

a 4



PREFACE.



To profound and extensive erudition Bishop Bur-
gess united a firm and inflexible adherence to his
convictions of Christian duty both in public and
private life, accompanied with deep humility,
and guileless simplicity of mind and manners.

The particulars of his learned and literary life
include much that is curious and interesting.

To trace the formation and developement of
his character, and its practical influence in the
exalted station which he filled in the Church,
has been the Author's endeavour. He writes
from personal knowledge and authentic data,
having been honoured with the friendship of the
departed Prelate, and intrusted by him with the
disposition of his papers and correspondence.

His aim being to interest general readers, va-
rious particulars, familiar to scholars, are occa-
sionally explained, and when quotations from
the learned languages are introduced, upon
which the point or meaning of a passage depends,
a translation is added.

In the original papers a few inaccuracies of
expression, which, however, very rarely occur,
have been corrected, and, in some instances, a
slight transposition has been made in the order



PREFACE.



of the sentences, with the view of conveying
more clearly the meaning of the writer.

The author cannot conclude without express-
ing his particular obligation to the Bishop of
Nova Scotia, and to Dr. Gilly, for enabling him
to present to his readers many interesting par-
ticulars respecting the late Bishop Barrington.

To Viscount Sidmouth, to the Bishop of Lin-
coln, to the Dean of Salisbury, to Archdeacon
Berens, to Dr. Wordsworth, to the Rev. Mr.
Townsend of Durham, to Dr. Ollivant, to the
Rev. Mr. Dansey, and to Mrs. George Marriott,
he is also much indebted for the loan of letters,
or for useful information.

But above all, he begs to acknowledge his
obligations to the Rev. C. B. Pearson, for in-
valuable co-operation and assistance.



CONTENTS.



CHAP. I.

1756 to 1775.
Birth. — Parentage. — Education - - Page 1

CHAP. II.

1775 to 1778.
College Life at Oxford Publishes Burton's Pentalogia - 8

CHAP. III.

1778 to 1780.

Takes his Bachelor's Degree. — Publishes Dawes' Miscellanea
Critica. — Opinion of Scholars upon the Work - - 12

CHAP. IV.

1780.

Commencement of Friendship with Mr. Tyrwhitt. — Corre-
spondence with him - - - - 19

CHAP. V.

1780 to 1781.

Obtains the Chancellor's Prize. —Extracts from the Prize Essay
— Lord Monboddo - - - 30

CHAP. VI.

1781.

Literary Correspondence with Lord Monboddo, Mr. Tyrwhitt,
and Dr. Vincent - -44



Xll CONTENTS.

CHAP. VII.

1782 to 1783.

Appointed Tutor of Corpus. — His College Friends and Asso-
ciates - - ... Page 60

CHAP. VIII.

1784.

Takes Orders. — Correspondence with Mr. Windham. — Mr.
Roberts's Description of his Pursuits, &c. at Oxford - 72

CHAP. IX.

1785 to 1786.

Appointed Chaplain to Bishop Barrington. — Sketch of the
Character of that Prelate. — Sunday Schools. — Salisbury
Spelling Book. — Hannah More - - - 82

CHAP. X.

1786 to 1789.

Visits Holland and Paris.— Death of Mr. Tyrwhitt. — Publi-
lications by Mr. Burgess in 1787 and 1788. — Correspon-
dence with Dr. Bumey, Dr. Parr, &c. — Publishes a Trea-
tise against the Slave Trade ... 101

CHAP. XL

Sermon before the University of Oxford in 1 790 — Correspon-
dence respecting it - - - - 139

CHAP. XII.

1788 to 1790.

Character of Mr. Corai. — Mr. Burke's Work on the French
Revolution. — Proposal of conferring the Degree of LL. D.

on him by the University of Oxford frustrated Letters on

the Subject - - - - - 154

CHAP. XIII.

1791 to 1795.

Translation of Dr. Shute Barrington to the See of Durham. —
Mr. Burgess resigns the Tutorship of Corpus. — A pre-
bemlal Stall given him at Durham — and subsequently the
Living of Winston. — His Style of Life there - - 164



CONTENTS. Xlll

CHAP. XIV.

Sacra Privata of Mr. Burgess - - Page 1 75

CHAP. XV.

1799 to 1803.

His marriage. — Domestic Life at Winston, &c. — Is appointed
to the Bishopric of St. David's - - - 189

CHAP. XVI.

1803 and 1804.

Settlement of the Bishop in the Diocese of St. David's. — His
primary Charge - - .... 202

CHAP. XVII.

Plans pursued by the Bishop for the Improvement of his Dio-
cese .... . 209

CHAP. XVIII.

The Bishop's Mode of preparing for, and of conducting his Ordi-
nations ... ... 222

CHAP. XIX.

The Bishop's Mode of Life in London and at Durham. —
Grounds of his Opposition to the Roman Catholic Claims.
— His Controversial Writings against Popery. — His Tracts
on the Independence of the Ancient British Church - 234

CHAP. XX.

1804.
Religious Societies ..... 255

CHAP. XXI.

1814 to 1820.

General Remarks on the Bishop's Tracts in Refutation of
Unitarianism ... . 261

CHAP. XXII.

1810 to 1820.

Beneficial Results of the Bishop's Plans. — Progress of his
Collegiate Scheme. — Eisteddfodd. — Controversy with Pro-
fessor Marsh and R. P. Knight, Esq. ... 272



XIV CONTENTS.

CHAP. XXIII.

1820.

The Author's first Acquaintance with the Bishop of St. David's.
— Descriptive Character of Bishop Ryder Page 282

CHAP. XXIV.

1820 and 1821.

Progress of the College- Scheme. — C. R. Cockerell, Esq. ap-
plied to for Plans .... 288

CHAP. XXV.

1821 to 1822.

The Bishop publishes a Vindication of the disputed Verse in
St. John's First Epistle. — The King's Letter to the Bishop
announcing his Subscription of One Thousand Pounds to
the College. — The Bishop's Reply. — The Universities of
Oxford and Cambridge also subscribe - - - 292

CHAP. XXVI.

1823.

The Bishop's noble Sacrifice of Fines for the Augmentation of
the Income of the See of St. David's - - 299

CHAP. XXVII.

The Foundation Stone of St. David's College laid by the
Bishop ...... ;303

CHAP. XXVIII.

1823.

The Bishop's Catholic Spirit. — By Command of the King he

frames a Plan for a Royal Society of Literature Some

Account of it, and of his Anniversary Discourses. — He
questions the Authenticity of the posthumous Works ascribed
to Milton - - - 312

CHAP. XXIX.

1823. — 1824. — 1825.

Lords Liverpool and Eldon aid the College. — The Bishop's
Visit to the Author. — His perilous Voyage from Bristol to
Swansea. — His Translation to the See of Salisbury - 331



CONTENTS. XV

CHAP. XXX.

Testimonies of affectionate Veneration to the Bishop from
various Clergymen in his Welsh Diocese - Page 339

CHAP. XXXI.

1825 and 1826.

Various Letters. — Testimony of Dr. Jenkinson, Bishop of
St. David's, to the Necessity and Value of the College. —
Further Specimens of the Bishop's Sacra Privata. — Death
of the Bishop of Durham ... - 348

CHAP. XXXII.

1829.

Passing of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Bill, and Feel-
ings of the Protestant Public respecting it 367

CHAP. XXXIII.

Analysis of the Controversy respecting the disputed Verse,
1 John, v. 7. - - - - - 371

CHAP. XXXIV.

The Rev. L. Clarke's Testimony to the Episcopal Virtues of
Bishop Burgess .... 392

CHAP. XXXV.

Various Correspondence - - - - 411

CHAP. XXXVI.

The Bishop's latter Days .... 444

CHAP. XXXVII.

The Bishop's Seizure at Warminster. — The Author's last In-
terview with him - 466

CHAP. XXXVIII.

1836 to 1837.

The Bishop's Letter to Lord Melbourne. — Letters to Dr.
Scholtz. — His last Illness and Death. — Eulogistic Tributes
to his Memory from the Bishop and Dean of Salisbury, and
from Archdeacon Berens - - - - 47-J



XVI CONTENTS.

APPENDIX.

No. I.

Mr. Granville Sharp's Rule ... Page 501

No. II.
The Bishop's Letter to Lord Melbourne - - 505

No. III.

Principles upon which Bishop Burgess listened to Applications
for Orders in the Church of England from various Indivi-
duals who had been Dissenting Ministers - - 513

A List of the Publications of Bishop Burgess - - 517



ERRATA.

Page 236. note, after " Adolphus," read " and daughter of Theo-
dosius," &c.
258. last line, for " to," read " in."
475. line 6. for "is usual," read "as usual."
line 13. for "1782," read "1784."



<v



\ / K



/£*-



cut/L*-



Zts





/I








'<PL*Ji cr



i-



^ t/a^7^/%n



LIFE



BISHOP BURGESS.



CHAPTER I.

BIRTH. PARENTAGE. EDUCATION.

1756 to 1775.

Doctor Thomas Burgess, late Lord Bishop of
Salisbury, was born on the 18th of November, 1756,
at Odiham, near Basingstoke, in Hampshire.

His father was a respectable grocer of that place,
a man of excellent understanding and sincere piety,
who was the object of his son's devoted respect and
affection, and whose memory he so tenderly che-
rished, that even to the latest period of his life he
could hardly mention his name without emotion.
There was so strong a likeness between them, that
a picture of the father, by Opie, with a wig some-
what of the episcopal cut, whieh hung in the Bishop's
library at Salisbury, might readily have been mis-
taken for a portrait of himself. His mother's maiden

B



name was Harding, and her connexions were highly
x'espectable.

Their family consisted of three sons and three
daughters. The Bishop was the youngest brother.
The eldest, who was a man of great natural talent,
inherited a property of several hundreds a year in
land from his maternal grandmother. John, the
second son, was apprenticed in London, and by his
steadiness of conduct and ability established him-
self in a good business, and acquired a considerable
fortune. Of the three daughters, the eldest married
Mr. Pinkerton, a gentleman of literary celebrity,
whose name is well known as the author of a work
on geography, and of other useful publications.

Thomas was sent when a little boy to a dame's
school, kept by a Mrs. Fisher, who seems to have
been the very counterpart of Shenstone's school-
mistress. In his visits to Odiham, after he had
distinguished himself, he never failed to call upon
his old mistress, who was exceedingly proud of
having had him at her school, and used to call him
" her scholar."

He was seven years old when he was sent to the
grammar school of Odiham. Though living in the
.same town with his parents, they denied themselves
the pleasure of having him home except at the re-
gular holydays, that he might not become unsettled,
and inattentive to his studies. As his mother
doated on him, this was a great trial to her, especially
when she saw him on Sundays, at church, among
the train of his schoolfellows; but she repressed her
feelings for her child's good. His own feelings, it
is scarcely needful to add, wire not a little excited
on these occasions.



BISHOP BURGESS. 6

Much pains were taken by this worthy couple to
imbue the minds of their children with religious prin-
ciples. The inscription on the monument to their
memory, erected by the Bishop conjointly with his
brother John, in Odiham church, expresses in beau-
tiful terms their high estimation of the pains be-
stowed by them on the education of the family, and
of the sacrifices of personal comfort which they had
cheerfully made for this purpose.

This wise and faithful discharge of parental duty
was peculiarly rewarded in the subject of this me-
moir. There is every reason to believe that the
good seed thus cast into his mind, germinated, by
the divine blessing, at a very early period, and that
through the restraining influence of the " fear of the
Lord," so justly denominated by the sacred penman
" the beginning of wisdom," he passed through the
dangerous ordeal of a public school, and of college,
uncontaminated. He was one of the most dutiful
and affectionate of sons, both to his father and
mother. The latter was a great invalid, and it was
his delight whenever he came home to pass much
of his time in her sick-room, and to devise every
means in his power to solace and amuse her. Till
her death, which occurred about 1798, he made her
as large an allowance as he could afford.

He does not appear to have been very fortunate
in his first tutor. Dr. Webb, then master of Odiham
school, was a scholar of very moderate attainments;
an inference which the boys themselves drew from
various facts, one of which was, that they frequently
observed on his table English translations of the clas-
sical authors they were in the habit of construing.
It was therefore with no small reason that he said to
B 2



4 LIFE OF

his old pupil Burgess, on receiving from him in after
years a present of his youthful publication of a new
edition of Burton's Pentalogia — " You are got far
beyond me."

In the year 1768 he was sent to Winchester
school, and remained there till 1775. Dr. Joseph
Wartou, so well known by his Essay on the Genius
and Writings of Pope, was then head-master; and the
Bishop often expressed himself greatly indebted for
the pains which he took in directing the attention
of his pupils to the critical beauties or defects of the
authors they read with him. A poet himself of some
reputation, and passionately attached to literature, it
was his ambition to kindle in their breasts a con-
genial flame, and under his auspices their ordinary
classical lessons were often converted into an instruc-
tive lecture on the principles of good taste in com-
position. He was also in the habit of lecturing to
the elder boys on Grotius de Veritate during Lent,
out of the regular course of school hours, and con-
trived to render his comment so interesting that they
listened to him with delight. Warton, however,
though an elegant scholar, was not an able philologist.
He held verbal criticism cheap, and, as a natural con-
sequence, frequently encountered insurmountable dif-
ficulties in Greek authors ; while the expedients to
which he resorted in order to conceal the fact were
easy of detection, and excited much amusement
among the elder boys. When, for example, he came
to a passage of peculiar obscurity in the chorus of
a Greek tragedy, he would allow the boy wlio was
construing to glide through it in the best way he
could, while he raised his own voice to an unusual
pitch, and complained of noises, which to every body



BISHOP BURGESS. b

else seemed no more than ordinary in other parts of
the school. It was one of the late Bishop Hunting-
ford's anecdotes, that he so well knew what would
happen on an approach to such passages, that he had
often said to the boy next him, M Now we shall have
a noise." But Warton wanted also other qualities
essential to the head-master of a public school. He
was inconsistent in his plans, and deficient in moral
courage ; often conceding with respect to points of
discipline upon which he ought to have been inflex-
ible. These defects paved the way for what was after-
wards called the Row, when the school was in such a
state of rebellion that the interference of the magis-
trates was required, and upwards of thirty of the boys
were expelled. Burgess had left the school before this
catastrophe occurred, but used to tell, among other
proofs of the insubordination which prevailed even in
his time, that a riotous boy had the audacity, on one
occasion, to hurl a Latin dictionary at Warton's head.
He himself never participated in any of these tur-
bulent proceedings. Manly and independent in
his disposition, but at the same time mild and in-
offensive, he steadfastly pursued a course of good
conduct. He admired his master's literary enthu-
siasm, and daily felt in himself the growth of a
congenial taste. Not only did he diligently apply
to the appropriate studies of the place, but found
leisure to peruse in succession some of the best
English classics ; and after he had risen high in the
school, it was frequently his habit to sit up for
hours after the other boys had retired to rest, in
order to enjoy undisturbed his favourite authors.

It has been justly remarked, that the future man
may usually be traced in the dispositions and habits
b 3



6 LIFE OF

of the hoy. That calm self-possession, that love of
books, that taste for a studious and contemplative life,
which characterised the Bishop to the end of his
career, were not only thus early developed, but had
even stamped a thoughtful expression on his counte-
nance. By way of illustration, some doggerel strains
shall be quoted, which I have more than once heard
him repeat, in which one of his comrades, passing in
review the leading peculiarities of his schoolfellows,
described him and a boy, named Eper Jasper, as
follows; —

And what's Eper Jasper made of?

Of sauntering walk,

And little talk,

And that's Eper Jasper made of !

And what's Tom Burgess made of?

Of pensive looks,

And toys full of books,

And that's Tom Burgess made of!

I have often wished, he added, on repeating these
lines, that I had preserved a copy of this gallery of
my old schoolfellows.

Fraught with this early passion for literature, he
regarded men of genius, or of extensive learning,
with feelings of admiring reverence, while the
thought would steal through his mind, " Shall /
ever participate in similar honours ? " Such thoughts
are. natural to every youthful aspirant after fame.
The time came, when, without losing this admiration
for superior talents, his reverence was reserved for
those who consecrate them to the glory of God,
and to the advancement, on Christian principles, of
human improvement and happiness.

Among those who were thus the objects of his



BISHOP BURGESS.



youthful homage, was the highly accomplished
brother of his preceptor, still familiarly called Tom
Warton. He Avas a frequent visiter at the Doctor's,
and happening one day to want the loan of a volume
of Johnson's Shakspeare, inquiry was made in the
school whether any of the boys possessed it. Burgess
proved to be the happy individual, and in addition
to the pride of producing it out of his own stores,
he deemed it (he has told me) quite a privilege to
render this service, however trivial, to the scholar
and the poet. In these early days he delighted in
Warton's Sonnet to the River Lodon ; and as he
was fond of repeating it, or having it read to him
to the last, it will not be out of place to introduce
it here.

SONNET TO THE RIVER LODON.*

Ah ! what a weary race my feet have run

Since first I trod thy banks, with alders crown'd,

And thought my way was all thro' fairy ground,

Beneath thy azure sky and golden sun,

Where first my Muse to lisp her notes begun !

While pensive Memory traces back the round

Which fills the varied interval between,

Much pleasure, more of sorrow, marks the scene.

Sweet native stream ! those skies and suns so pure

No more return to cheer my evening road ;

Yet still one joy remains, that not obscure,

Nor useless, all my vacant days have flow'd,

From youth's gay dawn to manhood's prime mature ;

Nor with the Muse's laurel unbestow'd.



Near Basingstoke, Warton's native country.
B 4



LIFE OF



CHAP. II.

COLLEGE LIFE AT OXFORD. PUBLISHES BURTON'S

PENTALOGIA.

1775 to 1778.

In the year 1775, Mr. Burgess removed to Corpus
Christi College, Oxford, upon a Winchester scholar-
ship, which he gained after passing through a se-
vere competition with five or six other candidates.
Dr. Lawrence, the future friend of Burke, entered
at the same time. They were both good scholars,
and their tutor, who soon discovered that their clas-
sical proficiency much exceeded his own, intimated
to them that he dispensed with their future attend-
ance at lectures. Dr. Randolph was at this time
head of Corpus.

The philological deficiencies of Dr. Warton have
already been mentioned. His pupil was so sensible
of the consequent defects of his own early training,
that he now assiduously applied to the study of the
best authors on Greek verbal criticism. Hoogeven,
Bos, and Vigerus, became his constant companions,
and he even submitted to the drudgery of committing
to memory the whole of Nugent' s Greek Primitives.
The solid advantages which he felt that he had thus
acquired, often led him to recommend a diligent
consultation of similar authors to such of his younger
friends as manifested a taste for Greek literature,
and he would sometimes expatiate to them upon
the great importance of cheerfully submitting, early
in life, to the necessary labour of accurately investi-



BISHOP BURGESS. y

gating the fundamental principles of those particular
parts, whether of learning or science, to which their
studies were directed.

His conduct as an under-graduate was, I have every
reason to believe, in all respects exemplary. His
circle of acquaintance was small, and pretty much
confined to such as, like himself, were men of high
principle and studious habits.

The four years which he spent at Oxford, pre-
viously to taking his degree, were steadily devoted
to hard reading and to learned researches. He
studied some of the finest works of the Greek
philosophers and poets, with critical attention ; and
being fond of the philosophy of language, ap-
plied its principles to the investigation of the
origin and formation of that of Greece, with an
acuteness which contributed much in its conse-
quences to his future eminence. He delighted also
in metaphysical reading and research ; and when he
relaxed from these severer occupations, it was to
cultivate a more intimate acquaintance with the
finest productions of elegant literature, both classical
and English. From an admirer, he became a votary
of the Muses, and, in the year 1777, published, in
the spirit of youthful ambition, an English poem,
entitled BagleyWood, which was followed at a short
interval by another, the title of which I have been
unable to discover. BagleyWood is situated between
Abingdon and Oxford, and was one of his favourite
rural retreats. His library has been searched in
vain for copies of these youthful productions, which,
however useful they might have proved to himself
as exercises in composition, were probably of no
great poetical merit.



10 LIFE OF

In the year 1778, before taking his degree, he
tried his strength as an author in a way better
adapted to the powers of his mind and to the course
of his learned studies, by editing a new edition of
Burton's Pentalogia. This work, which comprises
five of the finest of the Greek tragedies, illustrated



Online LibraryJohn S. (John Scandrett) HarfordThe life of Thomas Burgess → online text (page 1 of 38)