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Parr's style of composition, with all its excellencies, has one capital defect, - it wants light and shade; everything is sacrificed to force; each part appears to be uniformly and intensely laboured; and nothing has the air of being the natural and spontaneous effusion of a mind seriously and earnestly engaged in communicating
any state in particular or of society in general. Burke would have been more logically correct, if he had said, 1. metaphysically true, 2. morally false, 3. politically wrong.
“ Johnson thus defined the difference between physical and moral truth. · Physical truth is, when you tell a thing as it actually is. Moral truth is, when you tell a thing sincerely and precisely as it appears to you. I say, such a one walked across the street; if he really did so, I told a physical truth. If I thought so, though I should have been mistaken, I told a moral truth.'” Boswell's Life of Johnson 4,6. The annotator K. remarks that “this account of the difference between moral and physical truth, is in Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding, and many other books." In a Ms. copy of Paley's unpublished Lectures on Locke's Essay, which was lent to me by a friend, I found the following account: “ Truth is the joining or separating of signs according as the things signified by them agree or disagree. Signs are of two kinds, 1. either ideas signs of things, or 2. words signs of ideas. By joining signs is meant the making them into affirmative propositions, as gold is malleable. By separating signs is meant the making them into negative propositions, as we say gold is not volatile. Truth is twofold, moral and metaphysical; moral, when we speak what we think; metaphysical, when our thoughts correspond with the real existence of things. Thus we say, the earth moves round the sun ; thus we say, the earth revolves round the sun.
This is a moral and metaphysical truth ; but the ancients said, the sun moved round the earth, which was a VOL. II.
its ideas and its feelings:- yet he writes, I am told, with Auency, and much in the same manner as he speaks.” P. 130.
“ Nov. 10, 1799. Read Dr. Combe's Statement of Facts; and Dr. Parr's Remarks upon it, in which he vigorously and successfully repels Combe's ill-advised attacks. It is impossible to read the latter pamphlet, without being struck with admiration at Parr's force of intellect, and grieving at the strange misapplication of it. of Burke p. 9, is fine; and of Porson p. 13, transcendental. I am surprised that in vindicating his politics by appealing to their sources p. 71, he should have mentioned Helvetius in the list of his tutors.” P. 172. “ Febr. 11, 1800. Looked over Dr. Parr's strictures on Dr. Combe's Horace, in the British Critic for Jan. Febr. March, and April 1794. They evince great force of mind, and depth of erudition ; but are evidently dictated by a spirit of personal and exceptious hostility, which, however, warranted by circumstances, and however becoming in a separate and specific attack, but ill accords with the air of dignified impartiality and judicial candour, which should pervade every article of a work professing to sit in judgment, indiscriminately, on all the literary productions of the day. His character of Horace at the outset p. 49, is exquisitely finished; and what he alleges p. 122, in defence of verbal criticism in general, and closes p. 423, with saying of Bentley in particular, towers into transcendental excellence.” P. 199.
moral iruth, because they spoke what they thought, but not a metaphysical truth, because their thoughts did not correspond with the real existence of things. The violation of moral truth is called a lie, but a metaphysical mistake.” E. H. B.]
“ Nov. 16, 1797. Parr, in his Preface to Bellendenus, has evidently borrowed a sentence from Quintilian 2, 12. Verum illis quidem gratulemur, sine labore, sine ratione, sine disciplina disertis, says Quintilian: Gratulemur illis quidem sine litteris et sine disciplina disertis, says Parr.” P. 52. “ Jan. 13, 1798. Parr, in his Preface has been busy with Quintilian 10, 1. One imitation is very striking. Ille se profecisse sciat, cui Cicero valde placebit, says Quintilian. In litteris ipsi se sciant plurimum profecisse, quibus Burkius valde placuerit, says Parr." P. 56. “Jan. 15. The Preface to Bellendenus, so far as it relates to Burke, (for I have attended, on a particular account, to that part alone,) is much indebted to Quintilian 12, 10. One imitated sentence is very glaring. Melius de hoc nomine sentiant credantque, Attice dicere esse optime dicere, is Quintilian's expression: Sed melius de hoc nomine sentiant ; Burkium si quis imitetur, cum credant et Attice dicturum et optime, is Parr's. I am not aware on what principle Parr sometimes gives, and sometimes withholds, his authorities for sentences and expressions; nor am I competent to decide on the propriety of this style of composing in a dead language. The effect, which it would have upon a Roman eye or ear, might easily be tried, by form- . ing an English composition from shreds of Addison, Johnson, Swift, Bolingbroke, and Gibbon - I suspect the texture would resemblea harlequin's jacket.”* P.57. “May 7,
[A distinguished scholar thus expressed himself in a Letter to me, dated June 22, 1827. : “ To the Doctor's Bellendenus I object, as I would to a gentleman's dressing bimself in patchwork. He shall have much praise for his ingenuity in putting bright colours together, to make a shewy mantle, and for his selection of the colours themselves. But then this is not the
1800. Looked into Cicero's Brutus. From the 49th to the 55th ch. Cicero contends that the popular judgment on oratory, - though not on poetry, - is always right, and coincident with that of the best judges. One does not see much ground for this distinction; except indeed that the people of Rome were more likely to be conversant
dress for a well-educated man to appear abroad in."
I am well aware that this is a very general opinion among literary men, silently acquiesced in by the Doctor's friends, and tauntingly proclaimed by his enemies; and that opinions often obtain such universal credence,as to pass for demonstrated truths. Nevertheless I am too independent a thinker to receive such opinions without examination, and I am happy to say that theresult of my examination is that the charge is NOT WELL-FOUNDED. I have read the Preface to the work of Bellenden, paying particular attention to the marginal references. Of these references a very considerable number is to the various rhetorical, oratorical, ethical, philosophical, and epistolary compositions of Cicero ; several to Quintilian ; many to the Latin and the Greek poets and orators; some to modern writers and philologists; and by far the greater portion of the Latin authorities is more connected with the matter than the style ; that is, they were designed rather to vindicate the thoughts than to authenticate the words, though they do at the same time serve for the latter purpose. What could be more natural than that in a Preface, in which Dr. Parr discusses the rhetorical and oratorical merits of certain English senators, he should have recourse to the appropriate language of Cicero and Quintilian, when they are describing the rhetoricians and orators of Greece and Rome? What more blame can be fairly imputed to Dr. Parr for having enlivened his Preface with forcible expressions taken from the Latin poets, than to Cicero, who frequently in his rhetorical, ethical, and philosophical writings diversifies his
with speeches than poems. Parr has professedly drawn much from this piece, in his Preface; and he has taken more than he has acknowledged. Parr: Peringeniosis neque satis doctis hominibus plerumque contingit, ut melius putent se dicere posse, quam scribere. CICERO C. 24.: Videmus alios, quod melius putent dicere se posse, quam
style or illustrates his matter with quotations from and allusions to Ennius, Accius, Pacuvius, Plautus, and other old and unpolished poets? And how is the originality, the beauty, or the energy of Cicero's language affected by such quotations, even if they are numerous ? Dr. Parr's style in the Preface is Ciceronian; the whole groundwork is decidedly Ciceronian; the Roman orator would, in my opinion, have recognised in this Preface a successful imitation of his own language; he, as a great master of composition, would not have considered that the ornaments of the building were so numerous as to hide or destroy the character of the building itself, but so sparingly and tastefully disposed as to exhibit its fine proportions to the eye, and to engage the admiration of the beholder. One fair test for trying the soundness of this vindication is this :-let any intelligent scholar suppose all the marginal references withdrawn, and assume that the language throughout the Preface is original. Could he discern any defects in the style? Would the harlequin's jacket, the gaudy patchwork, the coat of many colours then present itself to his eye? Assuredly he could not discover anything but the energy of one and the same powerful mind displayed in that vehement and glowing language, which was its fittest vehicle ;-he would see no traces of unequal composition, attesting an unfurnished intellect and an unpractised hand, - no marks of a pen necessarily dependent on other writers for the supply of matter or diction, but merely using in the way of pleasant allusion, or for the sake of greater force, those thoughts and expressions, which had been treasured in the