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Memoirs of the Rev. Samuel Parr
Ch. VIII. 1771-1776

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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A.D. 1771—1776.
Discipline of Stanmore School—Literary associations of the upper classes—Dr. Parr’s love of youth—His affection for his own pupils—His kindness of manner towards them—His private instructions and admonitions—His correspondence with his pupils—His encouragement of all the active and healthful sports of youth—their importance in the opinion of the ancients.

As the higher classes of Stanmore consisted of youths of more advanced age and more matured intellect, they were exempted to a certain extent, by special privilege, from the restraints properly imposed upon others. They had therefore, with free permission, their morning breakfast-parties, and their evening conversation-parties; and sometimes, too, though without the knowledge of the master—which seems, it must be owned, to imply some want of due vigilance on his part—they had their more convivial meetings, which they called “Attic symposia.” Yet, even on these occasions, we are assured by Mr. Maurice,1 one of their number, that “no intemperance, no indecorum, no rude or riotous mirth, ever disgraced the scholars of philosophy and of Parr!” Though highly social, these meetings, he tells us, were in their essential character literary. To stimulate to mental exertion by exciting rational curiosity, and encouraging free inquiry, was the object, as he states,

1 Mem. part 1. p. 63.

proposed and pursued by “the accomplished young men” with whom, in consequence of the tutor’s kind recommendation, though much their inferior in years and in knowledge, he was permitted to associate.

Of course the history, the oratory, and the poetry of Greece and Rome, would often afford to them interesting topics of debate; but more usually their choice was fixed, on subjects of English history and English literature. Sometimes, with all the ardour of youthful patriotism, they reviewed the great events, favourable to the progress of civilisation and the arts and sciences among a people, once slightingly noticed as “toto divisos orbe Britannos,”1 or contemptuously marked as “Britannos hospitibus feros;”2 and, especially, they celebrated in their harangues the great events, which contributed to the attainment or the establishment of the civil rights and liberties, so essentially connected with the true glory and prosperity of every country. The fine Alcaic fragment in praise of Harmodius and Aristogiton, the deliverers of Greece, was perpetually recited by them in the original language, and often translated into their own; and the same detestation, in which they held a Grecian or a Persian tyrant, they easily transferred to the tyrants of England. Sometimes, again, the merits of our most distinguished writers were discussed; and Pope, Dryden and Swift, Addison and Johnson, Hume and Robertson, had each his respective partizans. The learned, the

1 Virgil. 2 Horace.

instructive, the elegant volumes of
Gibbon had not then made their appearance; or, no doubt, they would have received from the juvenile critics their full tribute of applause.

“Young men of that age,” says Mr. Maurice,1 “will dare to think for themselves; and therefore it cannot excite wonder, if, among us, even Bolingbroke and Akenside had their admirers and their advocates.” But why is the philosophical poet placed in the same class with the philosophical statesman? The youthful censors acted surely under an erroneous impression, which many, indeed, much older than themselves, at that time received—probably from the unjust representations of the great literary tyrant of his age. Warburton had taken offence at some expressions in Akenside’s “Pleasures of Imagination,” and therefore, in remarking upon them, without the smallest hesitation, he ranks the author among “the freethinkers,” in defiance of the satisfactory evidence, which was immediately produced from his writings, of his reverential regard, not only for natural, but also for revealed religion. The same injustice seems to have been done to Dr. Middleton, in the Stanmore school; for even the authority of its great master2 could never induce, at least, the pre-

1 Mem. part l. p. 63.

2 “May not the Christian say of Middleton what Callixtus (a Lutheran divine) shrewdly said of Erasmus? Qui noster profecto non fuit, neque esse vel audiri unquam voluit. S. P.”—Bibl.Parr. p. 74. “He considered Dr. Conyers Middleton as a concealed infidel.” Butler’s Let. to Barker; Reminiscences, vol. ii. p. 249. See also, “Recollections of Dr. Parr, by a Pupil,” New Month. Mag. Aug. 1826.

sent writer to admit that the name of this celebrated divine ought to be blotted out of the list of sincere believers in Christianity, notwithstanding his rejection of much, which has been commonly received as part of it.

The literary discussions of his pupils were always encouraged by the approbation, if not sometimes sanctioned by the presence of the learned superintendent, himself, who so well knew how, on such occasions, to bend from his dignity, without degrading it, and to invite familiarity without losing his claim to respect. It is mentioned by Mr. Maurice, that Dr. Parr was accustomed to give to his senior pupils frequent invitations to join his own social literary parties. “When engaged in our lessons,” says another of his pupils, Mr. Hargrave, “he assumed a magisterial gravity of manner; but, at other times, he conversed with us as friends, and frequently entertained us with the most amusing anecdotes.”1

Through life, indeed, it was ever gratifying to him, to mingle in the society of ingenuous and intelligent young men, and to impart to them useful instruction or interesting information, in the course of unrestrained conversation. And here, the writer, himself an instructor of youth, cannot suppress the recollection, forcing itself at this moment on his mind, of the high pleasure with which four of the elder of his pupils invited, some few years ago, to dine with Dr. Parr at Hatton, returned home, conveyed in his carriage, purposely ordered out

1 New Month. Mag. Aug. 1826.

for their accommodation—and the proud delight they felt in speaking of the kindness and condescension, with which they had been entertained by their indulgent host, and of the sportive wit and gay humour, the striking observations and amusing tales, by which, during their whole visit, they had been enlivened and almost enraptured. “Aye! were they delighted?” exclaimed Dr. Parr, with his usual ardour, when told of it, a few days afterwards; “and so was I too!” “Yes, indeed,” added he, speaking fervidly, “scarcely less was the pleasure received, than the pleasure bestowed.” He thought, and he felt with his own favourite
Cicero, “Quid enim jucundius senectute stipatâ studiis juventutis?”1

On another occasion, though of much earlier date, returning home from Nottingham election, where he had been to give his vote in favour of that highly-distinguished lawyer, and truly excellent patriot, Mr. Denman, and stopping on his way at Leam, the place of the writer’s residence, he invited himself to dinner, absolutely insisting, however, on the condition that no separate table, nor second course should be provided for him. “No, no!” said he, “I shall dine with the boys, and fare alike with them.”

Dinner, on his own terms, being announced, almost as soon as he was seated in the midst of the youthful company, he began to take some kind notice of each, as each caught his eye. “Where do you come from?” was the first question addressed

1 De Senectute.

to every one; and the answer returned was sure to suggest some further inquiry. To one who came from Banbury, he talked of the battle of Edge Hill; and to another, who came from Market Bosworth, of that “bloody strife,” by which one king lost, and another gained, a crown. To a third, who said he came from Birmingham, “I suppose,” replied he, “you mean Brom-wych-am. Perhaps,” continued he, “you do not know the derivation, or signification of the word?—but I do.” And then he explained the first syllable to mean the name of a small tree, to which the neighbouring soil is favourable; the second, a steep declivity, such as that near the “high street,” the site of the original town; and the third, a home or dwelling-place; i. e. a town on a hill abounding with broom.

Guy’s Cliff being mentioned, he adverted to the tragic story of Gaveston, favourite of Edward II., who was beheaded on the summit of a hill near that place. Passing from the second Guy, Earl of Warwick, at whose instigation chiefly that dreadful deed was done, to the first and the most renowned Guy, and talking over the wondrous tale of his valiant deeds, Dr. Parr said that he was very learned in the old legends, and took great delight in reading the history of “Jack, the Giant-killer,” “Tom Thumb,” “Guy, and his wild boar and dun cow,” and all the rest of them.1

1Seven Champions of Christendom (the famous history of the). This very best edition was given me by the learned Dr. Anthony Askew, because it was a favourite book with me when a


One boy being pointed out to his notice, as the nephew of the celebrated but unfortunate French leader, Brissot, he turned to him a look of mingled curiosity and commiseration, which spoke the thoughts that stirred within him, though he carefully avoided all inquiries that might revive even transient feelings of pain in the youth’s mind. Another boy being mentioned as the grandson of Dr. Doddridge, he called for him, gazed upon him for some moments with evident delight; then taking his hand between his own, whispered a kind of benediction, and, with a benignant smile, and a tone of affectionate fervour, said, “Be a good scholar, and, above all, be a good man;” and, alluding to his grandfather, added, “He was a good man, and a good scholar.” The name of Doddridge led him to speak of other distinguished men among the non-conforming divines, and he spoke of them with expressions of high regard. He said that he had always lived as if there were no distinction of sects; and, in reply to the observation which this called forth, “So much the more to your honour, Doctor,” he exclaimed—“To my honour?—no! but so much the more to my comfort.”

Conversation, on topics so interesting to youthful curiosity, conducted with so much engaging affability of temper and manner, and accompanied with

boy. It is a most valuable, and not a common book.”—“Parismus folio. When I was a boy, at Harrow, Dick —— lent me a publication, in which, among other jocose romances, was the history of Parismus. Sir W. Jones, Dr. Bennet, now Bp. of Cloyne, and I, were delighted with it.” Bibl. Parr. p. 524-523.

so much imposing effect from eminence of fame and character, could not fail of fixing a deep impression on youthful minds. But, perhaps, it may surprise the reader to be told, that the above paragraphs were written, chiefly from the recollection, after a lapse of twenty years, of one who was himself a scholar of Leam school, and among the number present on that occasion. At a subsequent period, it was his good fortune to be introduced to the acquaintance of the great person to whom he then listened with so much reverence and delight; and by whom he was, ever afterwards, honoured with a large share of kind and friendly regard. He is now a physician of rising reputation, settled in the vicinity of the metropolis, and to his communications the writer is indebted for much valuable information, interspersed through these volumes.

The kindly sympathies which adorn our nature, especially when combined with the higher talents which exalt it, are, in every form, a most pleasing object of contemplation; and it well deserves distinct and honourable mention, that, with some sternness of authority as a master, and with much severity of temper as a disciplinarian, Dr. Parr united, in no small degree, the more amiable qualities of a wise and affectionate counsellor and friend.1 According to the report of all his pupils, with only a single exception,2 whilst he was rigorous in exacting their obedience, he, at the same

1 “Cum sibi ad literas monstraret viam, non austeram et inamabilem preceptoris disciplinary sed amici unice fidelis exhibuerit studiura.” Dr. Maltby. See Bibl. Parr. p. 149.

2 Mr. Beloe.

time, endeavoured, and rarely failed in his endeavours, to conciliate their esteem, and to deserve and obtain their confidence. If he was quick to discover and to reprove errors in thinking or acting, he was no less prompt to mark and to applaud whatever was right in sentiment, or right in conduct. If he was harsh in his censures, where censure was due, he was, at least to an equal degree, warm and liberal in his praise, where praise was merited.1 “Of course,” says
Dr. Monro,2 “severity, in his public reproofs, was sometimes necessary; and, on such occasions, not only was his language full of the bitterest reproach, but his character of countenance was terrific; and I have not, to this day, forgotten the dread it used to inspire.”3 On the other hand, in his private admonitions—usually the most effectual in restraining the follies and correcting the faults of youth—“he always appeared,” adds Dr. Monro, “very kind, very sincere, very earnest; and his address, highly energetic, was strongly marked with religious fervour.”

It too often happens that young persons, by

1 “True it is, that my conception of men and things is vivid, and that my language about them is seldom feeble. But if my censures are severe, I hope that my commendations are more frequent and not less forcible. I am sure, too, that I have much oftener had reason to repent of my precipitation in praise, than of my injustice in reproach.”—Reply to Combe, p. 20.

2 In his written communication to the author.

3 Mr. Beloe speaks also, “of his terror-striking looks that were irresistible.” Sex. vol. i. p. 23.

some rash and wrongful act, involve themselves in difficulty or danger; and, in such a case, the pupils of
Dr. Parr well knew that a better or surer method of relief they could not take, than by flying into the presence of their tutor; revealing to him the whole extent of the evil done, and imploring his advice or interference. Though not unsparing, it might be, of his own reproaches, he would hasten, with friendly speed, to shield them from the reproaches of others, and to save them from all serious consequences of their fault or folly. No youthful indiscretion could prevent him, in any case, from rendering full justice to those good qualities, which, perhaps, a less discerning eye could not discover, and which a less impartial spirit would not acknowledge.1

As he was careful, in every instance, to form a fair estimate of the mental powers and moral merits of those, committed to his charge; so, it may be added, he entertained a secret respect for the judgment which they, in their turn, might be disposed to form of his talents, his principles, and his temper; and when he delivered his opinions, or issued his orders, even though his opinions were respectfully received, and his orders implicitly obeyed, yet he was seldom well satisfied with himself, unless they were, at the same time, generally if not universally approved.

Much has been said of Dr. Parr’s severity in the maintenance of school-discipline; and yet there is reason to think that he was too often remiss in

1 European Mag. Aug. 1809.

noticing, or careless in correcting, even the serious faults of his pupils. In his letter to
Mr. Moore, already referred to1—speaking of Sheridan’s love of mischief when at Harrow School—he seems to express more admiration of the spirit and vivacity which accompanied it, than concern for its ill effects on the moral feelings of the boy himself, or for the injuries and vexations suffered from it by others. To tax all the gardens in the neighbourhood for the supply of his apple-loft; and after having planned the robberies, and appropriated the booty, to instigate or compel the younger boys to become the depredators; in all this, there was surely meanness added to injustice, which demanded, instead of good-humoured raillery, the severest animadversion. Who cannot perceive in such early practices, insufficiently restrained, or half-applauded, the first springs of those aberrations, which marked, in too many instances, his future course—throwing a shade over a name, which his grateful country, adorned by his talents and benefited by his services, would fain have consecrated to pure and unsullied glory?

In the “Memoirs of his own Life,”1 Mr. Maurice speaks of what was facetiously called “The Jockey Club,” in Stanmore School, the members of which were accustomed, in the view of an approaching holyday, to hire all “the fleet Rozinantes” of the neighbourhood; and, on the expected day, to scour the whole country round, far and wide, full of fun and frolic, for many hours together; and all

1 Life of Sheridan, vol. i. p. 8. 2 Part 2. p. 3.

this entirely without the permission, though it could hardly be without the knowledge, of a superintendent, whom he describes as “Argus-eyed.” Such lawless wanderings—exposing to moral mischief 1 as well as personal danger—ought surely to have been watched and prevented.2

From the defects—to turn again to the excellencies which distinguished Dr. Parr as a precep-

1 Mr. Maurice confesses the frequency of his own visits to “a certain taberna, near the bottom of Stanmore Hill, ycleped the ‘Queen’s Head;’ where he was initiated into an art, not usually taught in schools, the ars bibendi.” Alas! his case in this instance affords another proof of the powerful influence of early habits, good or bad, upon the conduct of future life.

2 That these irregularities were sufficiently known, but not sufficiently checked, may appear from the following story, which Dr. Parr himself often told. Going out in a carriage one afternoon, he overtook, at some considerable distance from home on the road, a company of his boys, amusing themselves with riding asses. Instantly on the master’s approach, they all dismounted and fled, leaving their coats, which they had taken off, and other articles of dress, behind them in their fright. Coming up, the master alighted, collected the scattered vestments, and putting them in his carriage, returned home. For a day or two, he took no notice of the misdemeanour. But, after having held the delinquents for that time in a state of suspense and alarm, he brought out the collected spoils, and called upon those, to whom they belonged, to come forward and claim them; jocosely observing, that he had, somehow or other, got together a heap of old clothes; that he was not a dealer in such articles; and that it might seem difficult to account for his possession of them. As the claimants severally appeared, covered with confusion at the complete detection of the offence, and fearful of punishment, a significant smile, or a nod, was all the reproof they received.

tor—it is stated by his pupils,1 and deserves to be recorded by his biographers, that, besides delivering his instructions in the public schools, he was watchful of opportunities to interpose his advice in the conduct of their private studies; and that these he was careful to point towards the objects, more immediately connected with their intended situations in future life.2 To the youth, who had in view the study and the practice of medicine, he would recommend such writers as
Hippocrates and Celsus, among the ancients, and Boerhaave, Mead, and Cullen, among the moderns. To the attention of the future barrister, civilian, or statesman, he would propose the volumes of Blackstone, Grotius, Puffendorf, and Vattel: and to those whose choice was fixed on the profession of a divine, he would guide, with careful hand, to the pure fountain of sacred truth, in the study of the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, aided by the critical skill of Lambert Bos, Palairet, and Bowyer.3

The same anxiety which watched over the improvement and the happiness of his pupils, whilst

1 “Parum contentus singularem illam exantlâsse curam, dum in conspectu ejus ageret, intraque limites scholæ moraretur; defuerit nunquam in se adhortando, eam ut servaret in studiis prosequendis diligentiam, eumque in virtute sedulò excolendâ tenorem,” &c. Dr. Maltby.—See Bibl. Parr. p. 149.

2 Maurice’s Mem. part 1. p. 105.

3Dr. Parr holds, that Mr. Bowyer is not a rash conjecturer; that he is not a mere retailer of Markland’s, Bentley’s and Wetstein’s guesses; that the last edition of the ‘Conjectures’ is a book which ought to be read by every scholar and every rational Christian.”—Bibl. Parr. p. 4.

under his care, continued even when they were withdrawn from it, and followed them to the universities, and to those stations of public or private life, which it was afterwards their lot to occupy. In the course of an epistolary correspondence of no small extent, he often conveyed his wise advice or his friendly wishes to those, who had minds to appreciate the importance of the one, or hearts to feel the value of the other. “Of these admirable letters,” says
Mr. Maurice, “I have myself seen as many as, could they be collected and published, would make a volume, replete with the noblest precepts for the conduct of the rising generation.”1

To the present writer, long engaged in the business of education, next to the mental and moral improvement of his pupils, it has ever been his great delight to witness, and he has ever felt it an important duty to promote, their innocent amusements, and especially their active and healthful sports. It is, therefore, peculiarly pleasing to him to relate, that Dr. Parr was no less friendly to those feats of bodily exertion, and games of manly contention, which so much contribute to give health, agility, and firmness to the body, and, by a reciprocal effect, to impart also spirit, activity, and energy to all the powers and operations of the mind.

On the high days, specially devoted by the youths of Leam to the noble amusement of a cricket-match, in association with many young men of the surrounding neighbourhood, Dr. Parr

1 Maurice’s Mem. part 1. p. 106.

was always delighted to appear among them; animating by his presence, by his good-humour, and his kind manner, amidst the fragrant fumes of his pipe, the sportive field and the sprightly throng; sharing, almost as much as the youngest and the gayest, in all the ardour of the contest, and in the life and joy of the whole scene.1

But there is one kind of personal contest, with respect to which the writer and his illustrious friend could not agree. He was the admirer and the advocate, which the writer is not, of pugilistic encounters among boys; and these he defended by the usual arguments, as the exercise of a manly and useful art, calculated to inspire firmness and fortitude, and to furnish the means of defence against violence and insult. It was amusing to hear him speak of the tacit agreement which subsisted, he said, between himself and his pupils at Stanmore, that all their battles should be fought on a certain spot, of which he commanded a full view from his private room; as thus he could see, without being seen, and enjoy the sport, without endangering the loss of his dignity. It must be owned, indeed, that there is more to be advanced in favour of the practice, considered as the least dangerous mode of terminating real quarrels, especially among the lower classes of the people, than can

1 “My good friend,” said Dr. Parr, on one occasion, to the writer, “I was passing, a day or two ago, by your field, and saw all your boys intently and merrily engaged in their sports. Oh! it was a sight which cheered my heart! Pray tell them from me that the old Doctor longed to throw away his hat and wig, and to run and make one among them!”

possibly be urged for those brutal exhibitions of venal stage-fights, which are unquestionably the disgrace of the age and the country.1

Among the Greeks and Romans, the importance, even at the earliest age, of those bodily exercises, called gymnastics, was highly estimated; and the ancients certainly understood better than the moderns the beneficial influence, mutually exerted by the three great branches of physical, intellectual and moral education. The aid of the first they held to be equally necessary with that of the second and the third, in order to form and to produce the proper model of a man, and to raise up the human creature to his due state of perfection. In their opinion, the highest refinements of the mind, without the exercise and improvement of the body, would leave the business of education only half accomplished; or rather the whole object of it would then be in a great measure defeated, because in that case the mental faculty itself would inevitably sink into a state of inertness or imbecility, either from over-action, and its necessary consequence, exhaustion, or from that strong sympathy which ever subsists between the two great parts of the human system. The mens sana could, therefore, according to their idea, have no possible, or at least no permanent, existence but in corpore sano.

Pliny, in one of his letters, describing the manner in which he was accustomed to unite the handling of the spear and the hunting of the boar with

1 See a sensible paper on this subject, by Dr. Bardsley, in the “Manchester Philosophical Trans.” 2d series, vol. i. p. 164.

the studious pursuits of literature, exclaims, “It is wonderful how much the mind is invigorated by the brisk action, and the vigorous exertion of the body!”
Plato, in his “Protagoras,” calls that man a cripple who cultivates the powers of his mind only, leaving those of the body unemployed or unimproved. His disciple Aristotle, in his book on “Politics,” lays it down as a maxim, that, on corporeal vigour, mental energy greatly depends; and he strongly advises that in youthful age the mind should be moderately, but not strenuously, exerted; and that the principal care should then be, to preserve and improve the bodily health and strength. It was by these principles that his own conduct was guided, in the education of his illustrious pupil, the great Macedonian prince; of whom, it is well known, that he was carefully instructed in all the manly and martial exercises of the age; and was no less distinguished for strength and agility of body, than for the high and active powers of his mind.

Let no one, then, who may peruse these pages, think the subject degraded, when it is noticed with due commendation, that, at Stanmore School, all proper attention was given to those arts and amusements, which have for their object the culture of the external senses, and the preservation and improvement of the bodily health and vigour. Besides the elegant accomplishments of music, drawing, and dancing, the youths of Stanmore were accustomed to the hardier exercises of archery, fencing, and military drilling; and were encouraged, during the allotted hours of the day, to engage vigorously
in all the usual sports of school-boys, and most of all in the game of cricket.

On the summit of the neighbouring hill, near which the first Duke of Chandos built a mansion, called the “Banqueting House,” there is a spacious area, once used as a bowling-green; and this was the place appropriated to the favourite English sport. Two or three times a week, matches were made, and the skill and strength of the contending parties called forth into full exertion. Around this elevated spot there was, and still is, a plantation of large and lofty firs; and it is amusing to be told that, here, those, who at one time performed the part of the ancient athletæ, would at other times assemble as juvenile philosophers; holding disputations on questions of science and literature, with all the solemn gravity of their venerable ancestors, the disciples of Plato and Aristotle, reposing in the groves of Academus, or walking amidst the deep shades of the Lyceum.1 If the reflecting reader should smile when he peruses these paragraphs, it will not be with the smile of derision or of contempt.

Of the scholars of Stanmore School, there were many, who afterwards appeared with honourable distinction, some more and others less, in the public or private walks of life; and of these, short biographical notices will be found subjoined to these Memoirs.

1 Maurice’s Mem. part 1. p. 106.