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by illness. His constitution, hurt by the studious midnight labours of his younger days, and an unhappy aversion he always had to exercise, grew daily worse; not only the gout, with which he was frequently, though not very severely, visited from 1759, but a nervous disorder also, that frequently brought on a giddiness or vertigo, added to a corpulency of body, rendered him still more unactive than be used to be, and contributed to the breaking up of his constitution at an early period of life. About Christmas 1779 he was seized with a violent shortness of breath, which the faculty apprehended was occasioned by a dropsical habit, and water on the chest. By the application of proper remedies that effect of his disorder was soon removed, but the cause was not eradicated; for on his coming up to town to attend Hilary term, he was seized with a fresh at. tack, chiefly in his head, which brought on a drowsiness and stupor, and baffled all the art of medicine; the disorder increasing so rapidly, that he became at last for some days almost totally insensible, and expired on the 14th of Feb. 1780, in the fifty-sixth year of his age.
A few weeks before he died, he was applied to by the trustees for executing the will of the late sir George Downing, bart. who had bequeathed a large estate for the endowing a new college in Cambridge, to give his assistance in forming a proper plan for this society, and framing a body of statutes for its regulation. This was a task to which his abilities were peculiarly adapted; and it may be difficult to determine, whether the application reflected more honour on the trustees, or on him. He had mentioned to some of bis most intimate friends, his undertaking this business with great pleasure, and seemed to promise himself much satisfaction in the amusement it would afford him : but, alas ! his disorder was then coming on with such hasty strides, that before any thing could be done in it, death put an end to this and all his labours, and left the university of Cambridge, as well as that of Oxford, to lament the loss of Mr. Justice Blackstone. He was buried, by his own direction, in a vault he had built for his family, in his parish church of St. Peter's in Wallingford. His neighbour and friend Dr. Barrington, bishop of Landaff, now of Durham, at his own particular request, performed the funeral service, as a public testimony of his personal regard and highest esteem.
In his public line of life he approved himself an able,
upright, impartial judge; perfectly acquainted with the laws of the country, and making them the invariable role of his conduct. As a senator, he was averse to party violence, and moderate in his sentiments. Not only in parliament, but at all times, and on all occasions, he was a firm supporter of the true principles of our happy constitution in church and state ; on the real merits of which few men were so well qualified to decide. He was ever an active and judicious promoter of whatever he thought useful or advantageous to the public in general, or to any particular society or neighbourhood he was connected with ; and having not only a sound judgment, but the clearest ideas, and the most analytical head that any man, perhaps, was ever blessed with; these qualifications, joined to an unremitting perseverance in pursuing whatever he thought right, enabled him to carry many beneficial plans into execution, which probably would have failed, if they had been attempted by other men.
He was a believer in the great truths of Christianity, from a thorough investigation of its evidence: attached to the church of England from conviction of its excellence, bis principles were those of its genuine members, enlarged and tolerant. His religion was pure and unaffected, and his attendance on its public duties regular, and those du. ties always performed with seriousness and devotion.
His professional abilities need not be dwelt upon. They will be universally acknowledged and admired, as long as his works shall be read, or, in other words, as long as the municipal laws of this country shall remain an object of study and practice: and though his works will only hold forth to future generations his knowledge of the law, and his talents as a writer, there was hardly any branch of literature he was unacquainted with. He ever employed much time in reading, and whatever he had read and once di. gested, he never forgot. He was an excellent manager of his time; and although so much of it was spent in an application to books, and the employment of his pen, yet this was done without the parade or ostentation of being a hard student. It was observed of him, during his residence at college, that his studies never appeared to break in upon the common business of life, or the innocent amusements of society; for the latter of which few men were better calculated, being possessed of the happy faculty of making his own company agreeable and instructive, whilst he en
joyed, without reserve, the society of others. Melancthon himself could not have been more rigid in observing the hour and minute of an appointment. During the years in which he read his lectures at Oxford, it could not be remembered that he had ever kept his audience waiting for him, even for a few minutes. As he valued his own time, he was extremely careful not to be instrumental in squandering or trilling away that of others, who, he hoped, might have as much regard for theirs, as he had for his. Indeed, punctuality was in his opinion so much a virtue, that he could not bring himself to think favourably of any who were notoriously defective in it.
The virtues of his private character, less conspicuous in their nature, and consequently less generally known, endeared him to those be was more intimately connected with, and who saw him in the more retired scenes of life. He was, notwithstanding his contracted brow (owing in a great measure to his being very near-sighted), a cheerful, agreeable, and facetious companion. He was a faithful friend, an affectionate husband and parent, and a charitable benefactor to the poor; possessed of generosity, without affectation, bounded by prudence and economy. The constant accurate knowledge he had of his income and expences (the consequence of uncommon regularity in his accounts) enabled him to avoid the opposite extremes of meanness and profusion.
Being himself strict in the exercise of every public and private duty, he expected the same attention to both in others : and, when disappointed in his expectations, was apt to animadvert with some degree of severity on those who, in his estimate of duty, seemed to deserve it. This rigid sense of obligation, added to a certain irritability of temper, derived from nature, and increased in his latter years by a strong nervous affection, together with his countenance and figure, conveyed an idea of sternness, which occasioned the unmerited imputation, among those who did not know him, of ill-nature : but he had a heart as be. nevolent and as feeling as man ever possessed. A natural reserve and diffidence which accompanied him from his earliest youth, and which he could never shake off, appeared to a casual observer, though it was only appearance, like pride; especially after he became a judge, when he thought it his duty to keep strictly up to forms (which, as he was wont to observe, are now too much laid aside), and
not to lessen the respect due to the dignity and gravity of his office, by any outward levity of behaviour.
For this excellent memoir of Judge Blackstone, we are indebted to the Preface prefixed to his “Reports," 1780, 2 vols. folio, written by James Clitherow, esq. his brotherin-law. For its length no apology can be necessary, for Blackstone may justly be ranked among the illustrious characters of the eighteenth century, and as possessing a claim to permanent reputation which it will not be easy to lessen.- It was not long after his death, before the sons of Oxford paid the honours due to the memory of so eminent a scholar and benefactor. In 1781, a portrait was presented to the picture-gallery, by R. Woodeson, D. Č. L. professor ; T. Milles, B. C. L.; T. Plumer, A. M.; and H. Addington, A. M. (now lord Sidmouth), scholars upon Viper's foundation : and in 1784, by the liberality of Dr. Buckler, and a few other members of All Souls, a beautiful statue, by Bacon, was erected in the hall of that college, and may be considered as one of its most striking ornaments. His arms are likewise in one of the north windows of the elegant chapel of All Souls.'
BLACKWALL (ANTHONY), a native of Derbyshire, born in 1674, was admitted sizer in Emanuel college, Cambridge, Sept. 13, 1690; proceeded B. A. in 1694, and went out M. A. 1698. He was appointed head master of the free-school at Derby, and lecturer of All-hallows there, where in 1706 he distinguished himself in the literary world by “ Theognidis Megarensis sententiæ morales, nova Latina versione, notis et emendationibus, explanatæ et exornatæ : unà cum variis lectionibus, &c.” 8vo. Whilst at Derby he also published “ An Introduction to the Classics; containing a short discourse on their excellences, and directions how to study them to advantage: with an essay on the nature and use of those emphatical and beautiful figures which give strength and ornament to writing," 1718, 12mo; in which he displayed the beauties of those admirable writers of antiquity, in a very instructive, concise, and clear manner. In 1722 he was appointed head master of the free-school at Market-Bosworth in Leicestershire; and in 1725 appeared, in quarto, his greatest and most celebrated work, “ The Sacred Classics defended and il. Justrated.” A second volume (completed but a few weeks before his death) was published in 1731, under the title of “ The Sacred Classics defended and illustrated. The second and last volume.” To this volume was prefixed a portrait of the author by Vertue, from an original painting. Both volumes were reprinted in 4to, Lipsiæ, 1736. In many respects this is a work of great merit. It displays a fund of genuine learning, and contains a number of useful and important observations. In a great variety of instances it is shewn, that several of the words and phrases in the New Testament which have been condemned as barbarous, are to be found in Greek writers of the best reputation. But it is the opinion of some judicious critics, that he has not succeeded in proving the general purity and elegance of language in which the evangelists and apostles wrote. Among these Dr. Campbell appears to be Mr. Blackwall's most formidable adversary, in his “ Four Gospels translated from the Greek,” 4to edit. vol. I. p. 13—17.
1 From Memoirs as above.-In 1782, a strange, rambliog Life of Sir W. Blackstone, appeared in an Sro volume, remarkable only for captious remarks.
Mr. Blackwall, in his seminaries at Derby and Bosworth, had the felicity of bringing up a number of excellent scholars besides Mr. Dawes. Among these was sir Henry Atkins, bart. who, being patron of the church of Clapham in Surrey, as a mark of his gratitude and esteem, presented our author, on the 12th of October, 1726, to that rectory, which was then supposed to be worth three hundred pounds a year. The grammar which Mr. Blackwall made use of, for the purpose of initiating the young people under his care into the knowledge of the Latin tongue, was of his own composition; and it was considered as so well adapted to that end, that he was prevailed upon to publish it in 1728. Such, however, was his modesty, that it would not permit him to fix his name to it, because he would not be thought to prescribe to other instructors of youth. The title of it is, “A New Latin Grammar; being a short, clear, and easy introduction of young scholars to the knowlege of the Latin tongue ; containing an exact account of the two first parts of grainmar.” It is probable, that Mr. Blackwall's situation at Clapham did not altogether suit his disposition ; for, early in 1729, he resigned the rectory of that place, and retired to Market-Bosworth, where his abilities and convivial turn of mind rendered him generally respected. At the school-house of this town he died, on the 8th of April, 1730. He left behind him two children, a son and a daughter. The son was an attorney at Stoke