Ellys

, or as sometimes improperly spelt Ellis (Sir Richard, Bart.), a gentleman of extensive learning, particularly in biblical criticism and antiquities, descended from an ancient family originally of S. by the sea; it is divided into 12…">Wales, but who afterwards obtained possessions in E. of England, between the Humber and the Wash, next to Yorkshire in size, consists of upland country in the W., chalk downs in the E., and fens…">Lincolnshire, was the son of sir William Ellys of Wyham, in that county, by Isabella, grand-daughter of the celebrated Hampden. Of his early history we have little information. His father had been a member of N. of London; is a very old and quaint city, with one of the finest cathedrals in England, and many historic buildings.…">Lincoln college, W. of London; it is a city of…">Oxford, where he proceeded M. A. and his son might probably have been sent to the same university, and left it without taking a degree. From, his extensive acquaintance with the literati of N. and W. by the German Ocean, and having Prussia on its E. and…">Holland, it is not improbable, as the practice was then common, that he studied at some of the Dutch universities. We are told that he served in two parliaments for Grantham, and in three for Boston in E. of England, between the Humber and the Wash, next to Yorkshire in size, consists of upland country in the W., chalk downs in the E., and fens…">Lincolnshire; but, according to Beatson’s Register, he sat only for Boston in the fifth, sixth, and seventh parliament of Great Britain, namely, from 1715 to 1734; but his father sir William sat for three parliaments for Grantham. Although sir Richard communicated some particulars of his family to Collins, when, publishing his “Baronetage,” the latter has either omitted, or was not furnished with the dates that might have assisted us in ascertaining these facts with certainty. Sir Richard married, first, a daughter and coheiress of sir Thomas Hussey, bart. and, secondly, a daughter and coheiress of Thomas Gould, esq. who survived him, and afterwards married sir Francis Dashwood, bart. (who died lord le Despencer in 1781), and died Jan. 19, 1769. Sir Richard had no issue by either of his wives, and the title of course became extinct on his death, which happened February 21, 1741-2, when he was deeply lamented, not only as a man of great learning and piety, but on account of his many and extensive charities. He entailed his estates, after the death of lady Ellys, on the Hobarts and Trevors, and his seat at Nocton in E. of England, between the Humber and the Wash, next to Yorkshire in size, consists of upland country in the W., chalk downs in the E., and fens…">Lincolnshire is now the chief seat of the earl of S. midland county, lying E. of Oxford, W. of Bedford and Hertford, is full of beautiful and varied scenery; hill, dale, wood, and water. The Thames forms the…">Buckinghamshire. Sir Richard had two sisters married to Edward Cheek and Richard Hampden, esqs. *

*

Sir Richard was chosen a member of the Spalding Society on March 12, 1729. From the same authority we learn that Edward Walpole, a minor poet, inscribed to sir Richard an imitation of the sixth satire of the first book of Horace. Nichols’s Bowyer.

Besides his literary friends at home, sir Richard appears to have corresponded with, and to have been highly | respected by many eminent scholars on the continent. He was a munificent patron of men of learning, and frequently contributed to the publication of their works, at a time when the risks of publication were more terrible than in our days. It was not unfrequent, therefore, to honour him by dedications. The Weuteins dedicated to him the best edition of Suicer’s “Thesaurus Ecclesiast.” to which he bad contributed the use of a manuscript of Suicer’s in his own possession, and Ab. Gronovius dedicated to him his edition of Ælian (Leyden, 1731). Horsley’s “Britannia Romana” was also dedicated to him. He was the steady friend and patron of Michael Maittaire, who, in his “Seoilia,” addresses many verses to him, from some of which we learn that sir Richard had travelled much abroad, that his pursuits were literary, and that he collected a curious and valuable library .*

*

Among the transactions of the Spalding Society we find the following minute: “June 24, (1742), account of sir Richard Ellys’s library, and some curiosities lately come in there.”— Nichols’s Bowyer.

The only work by which his merits as a scholar and critic can now be ascertained, was published at Rotterdam, in 1728, 8vo, under the title “Fortuita Sacra, quibus subjicitur Commentarius de Cymbalis.” The epithet fortuita is used as denoting that the explanation of the several passages in the New Testament, of which the volume partly consists, casually offered themselves. The whole indeed was written in the course of his private studies, and without any view to publication, until some friends, conceiving that they would form an acceptable present to the literary world, prevailed on him to allow a selection to be made, which was probably done by the anonymous editor of the volume; and they are written in Latin with a view to appear on the continent, where biblical criticism, although not perhaps at that lime more an object of curiosity than at home, required to be conveyed in a language common to the learned. Subjoined to these critical essays on various difficult texts, which the author illustrates from the Misnah and other books of Jewish traditions, is a curious dissertation on the cymbals of the ancients, which not being noticed by Dr. Burney in his History of Music, has probably escaped the researches of that able writer. In all these sir Richard Ellys shows a vast compass of ancient learning, and a coolness of judgment in criticism, which very considerably advanced his fame abroad. We know but of one answer to any of his | positions, entitled “A Dissertation on 1 Cor. xv. 29; or an Inquiry into the Apostle’s meaning there, of being `baptized for the dead,‘ occasioned by the honourable and learned author of the Fortuita Sacra his interpretation thereof.” This Inquiry is conveyed in a letter to the author ef the Republic of Letters, vol. V. (1730).

The dissenters claim sir Richard Ellys as belonging to their communion, and as having been a kind friend and patron to many of their clergy. We have alrendy noticed that he corresponded with, and was a liberal friend to Mr. Thomas Boston, (See Boston), whose “Tractatus Stigmatologicus” was dedicated to him, when published under the care of the learned David Mill, professor of oriental languages at Utrecht. It may now be added that he was a great admirer of Boston’s “Fourfold State,” and his “Covenant of Grace,” in the publication of which he assisted the author; of course his sentiments were Calvinistic, but they had not always been so. He was originally of Arminian principles, and by a letter in the appendix to Boston’s Life, we learn that he was induced to adopt other views from some conversations with an aged Jady, at whose opinions he used to laugh. This change took place about 1730, or perhaps somewhat sooner for in that year he appears to have been a decided Calvinist. He was first a member of Dr. Calamy’s congregation, and on his death in 1732 (whose funeral Sermon is dedicated to sir Richard, by the preacher Daniel Mayo), he joined Mr. Thomas Bradbury’s flock, and remained in communion with them until his death. 1

1

Collins’s Baronetage. —Gent. Mag. vol. LXXXII. Part II. and LXXXIII. Pitt. I. Boston’s Life, Appendix. ms information obligingly communicated by Mr. accbdeacou Narei. Nichols’s Bowyer-