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praise of candour and impartiality, notwithstanding his enthusiastic attachment to the memory of the illustrious individual, to whom the book relates.
But his enthusiasm finds aliment enough to maintain its vitality, activity, energy, and brightness, (materia alitur, motibus excitatur, et urendo clarescit,) in the acknowledged talents, and the undeniable moral excellencies of Dr. Parr, without claiming for him universal knowledge and infallible virtue. He so accustoms himself to look at human nature, that he is not disposed either to magnify failings till merits are obscured, (like
a mountain remarkable for sterility and barrenness, which encumbers the earth with its pressure, whilst it chills all around with its shade,”) or to withhold the due tribute of admiration from merits, which pass the ordinary bounds of human virtue, because they are accompanied by failings, which are the common lot of humanity. The venerable oak of the forest commands his approbation in spite of the knots, which deform its trunk ; the vast expanse of water in the hoary ocean is to him an object of sublime contemplation, whether it be like “the smooth surface of a summer's sea," or be lashed into tremendous fury by a wintry wind. “ It is the nature of everything, that is great and useful, both in the animate and inanimate world, to be wild and IRREGULAR, and we must be contented to take them with the alloys, which belong to them, or live without them. Genius breaks from the fetters of criticism, but its wanderings are sanctioned by its majesty and wisdom, when
advances in its path ; --subject it to the critic, and you tame it into dulness.” Lord Erskine's Speech.on the Trial of John Stockdale. “ The human eye soon grows weary of an unbounded plain, and sooner, I believe, than of any limited portion of space, whatever its dimensions may be. There is a calm delight, a dolce riposo, in viewing the smooth-shaven verdure of a bowling-green as long as it is new. You must learn from repetition that those properties are inseparable from the idea of a flat surface, and that flat and tiresome are synonymous.
The works of nature, which command admiration at once, and never lose it, are compounded of GRAND INEQUALITIES.” Sir P. Francis's Letter Missive to Lord Holland p. 50.
The views, by which the Author is actuated in this publication, are twofold, 1. to illustrate the conduct, the character, and the writings of Dr. Parr; 2. to lay before the public his own feelings, sentiments, and opinions, as connected either with the name of Dr. Parr, or with the general interests of literature, which are involved in the mention of it.
Hence the reader will perceive that the Author does not hesi1 tate to step aside from the contemplation of Dr. Parr to the
consideration of literary questions; and for having done so he is responsible only to himself. He is under no obligation, and finds no necessity, to follow any strict plan of biography, and he conceives the province of the critics to lie rather in surveying what has been done with the limited means at his disposal, than in lamenting or blaming what has not been done, without a due regard to the circumstances, in which he was placed, or in pointing out what might have been done, without a proper consideration for its practicability in his situation. When critics have the power of prescribing to writers the plan, on which works should be conducted, they will acquire the right of judging the execution of them by that plan ; and when writers have pledged themselves to the adoption of a particular plan, the critics may have a better right to complain of any deviations made from it. The Author is too sincere a lover of candour and of truth to object to any free spirit of inquiry into the intrinsic merit and the public utility of works—he only wishes the critics to confine their censures within reasonable limits, and not to invade provinces, which belong to other consuls.
The reader will also remark that the Author manifests no particular zeal for one branch of literature, more than for another ; and he has never been disposed so to narrow his mind, as to condemn what he does not understand, (damnant quod non intelligunt.) All literature and all science, however imperfectly he may be acquainted with either, and the imperfection may be supplied in time,) are equally dear to him, from men of every tongue and every clime, of every church and every sect With him truth has no gradations — he finds no pleasures, which this world can afford, superior to the acquisition and the communication of knowledge — and in disposition, though not in means, he is a determined promoter of talent and learning. It will not, therefore, be a matter of surprise that the Author should, with these feelings, have given a place to the strictures of his friend, Thos. Taylor, Esq., on Dr. Parr's superficial acquaintance with the philosophy, however well read he may have been in the language, of Plato; and that he should have allowed “ample room and verge enough” for the philosophical discussions, (however different from those strictures) of his friend, John Fearn, Esq. To the very important papers of the latter gentleman, he would invite the particular attention of those, who are interested in the progress of pneumatological science, and in the analysis of language. The reader will peruse with painful feelings the account of the treatment, which Mr. Fearn has experienced from Dugald Stewart, Esq., and he will not fail to require proper reparation from the latter, by all that is sacred in the CANDOUR, which Mr. Stewart has manifested towards other writers, and in the HONOUR, which he has maintained in all the other transactions of life ; — by the PHILOSOPHY, which he has promulgated to the world as a system of truth, because he believes it to be the truth, and because the investigation of truth has been the dearest object of his life; by the REPUTATION, which he enjoys in lettered society as the merited reward of his own labours,---which he should readily assign to other meritorious philosophers, (so far as the fame of his writings extends,-) and which he will naturally desire to leave to his descendants, in unsullied purity, as a right noble inheritance; - by those HOARY LOCKS, which remind him that the night cometh, in which no man can work ;—and finally, by that RELIGION, which he professes, and which proclaims as its distinguishing characteristic doctrine, To do unto others as we would that men should do unto us!
The reader will find the Author to be actuated by the desire of illustrating the conduct and the character of Dr. Parr, not so much by an appeal to himself, who was honoured with the confidence, and the esteem, and the regard, of Dr. Parr, during a long period of time, as by an appeal to the authority of many most respectable, and some eminent pupils, and friends, and neighbours, and acquaintance of Dr. Parr, who must be considered as more impartial judges than a professed biographer and panegyrist of the Doctor, and whose sole motive for producing their information is either their obliging disposition towards the Author, or their sympathy with him in his object. The reader will also observe that the statements of these gentlemen are not garbled to serve the particular purposes of the Author, but presented entire to the view of the reader, partly to enable the reader to form his own judgment, and partly as vouchers to confirm the opinions, which the Author will hereafter deliver in his own biographical sketch of Dr. Parr. He does not know that he could have adopted any plan more satisfactory to himself, more acceptable to the public, or more useful to the readers of future times ; none can be more calculated effectually to dissipate the erroneous impressions, which have been formed, or indirectly to refute the malicious representations, which have been given of Dr. Parr, in many and even high quarters.
The Author will conclude his Preface with two quotations, the application of which to Dr. Parr will be well understood by many of his readers, and with these remarks-that the Second Volume will be prepared for the press with all possible expedition, and that it will contain many articles, which, the Author believes, will be most interesting to the public, one in particular, A MS. Memoir of John Lind, the writer of the celebrated Letters concerning the present State of Poland, Lond. 1773. edn. 2., with which he has been furnished by Jeremy Bentham, Esq., and which abounds with curious anecdote and important information.
1. “ But to return from philosophy to charity: I hold not so narrow a conceit of this virtue, as to conceive that to give alms,
is only to be charitable, or think a piece of liberality can comprehend the total of charity. Divinity hath wisely divided the acts thereof into many branches, and hath taught us in this narrow way, many paths unto goodness. As many ways as we may do good, so many ways we may be charitable. There are infirmities, not only of body, but of soul and fortunes, which do require the merciful hand of our abilities. I cannot contemn a man for ignorance, but behold him with as much pity as I do Lazarus. It is no greater charity to cloath his body, than apparel the nakedness of his soul. It is an honourable object to see the reasons of other men wear our liveries, and their borrowed understandings do homage to the bounty of ours. It is the cheapest way of beneficence, and, like the natural charity of the sun, illuminates another without obscuring itself. To be reserved and caitiff in this part of goodness, is the sordidest piece of covetousness, and more contemptible than pecuniary avarice. To this, (as calling myself a scholar,) I am obliged by the duty of my condition. I make not, therefore, my head a grave, but a treasure of knowledge ; I intend no monopoly, but a community in learning; I study not for my own sake only, but for theirs, that study not for themselves. I envy no man, that knows more than myself, but pity them, that know less. I instruct no man as an exercise of my knowledge, or with an intent rather to nourish and keep it alive in mine own head, than beget and propagate it in his ; and in the midst of all my endeavours, there is but one thought that dejects me, that my acquired parts must perish with myself, nor can be legacied among my honoured friends. I cannot fall out or contemn a man for an error, or conceive why a difference of opinion should divide an affection : for controversies, disputes, and argumentations, both in philosophy and in divinity, if they meet with discreet and peaceable natures, do not infringe the laws of charity. In all disputes so much as there is of passion, so much there is of nothing to the purpose ; for then reason, like a bad hound, spends upon a false scent, and forsakes the question first started. And this is one reason why