Lhuyd, Edward

, an eminent antiquary, born about 1670, was a native of South Wales, and the son of Charles Lhuyd, esq. of Lhanvorde. In 1687 he commenced his academical studies at Jesus college, Oxford, where he was created M. A. July 21, 1701. He studied natural history under Dr. Plot, whom he succeeded as keeper of the Ashmolean museum in 1690. He bad the use of all Vaughan’s collections, and, with incessant labour and great exactness, employed a considerable part of his life in searching into the Welsh antiquities, had perused or collected a great deal of ancient and valuable matter from their Mss. transcribed all the old charters of their monasteries that he could meet with, travelled several times over Wales, Cornwall, Scotland, Ireland, Armoric Bretagne, countries inhabited by the same people, compared their antiquities, and made observations on the whole. In March 1708-9, he was elected, by the university of Oxford, esquire beadle of divinity, a place of considerable profit, which, however, he enjoyed but a few months. He died July 1709, an event which prevented the completion of many admirable designs. For want of proper encouragement, he did very | little towards understanding the British bards, having seert but one of those of the sixth century, and not being able to procure access to two of the principal libraries in the country. He communicated, however, many observations to bishop Gibson, whose edition of the Britannia he revised; and published “Archasologia Britannica, giving some account additional to what has been hitherto published of the languages, histories, and customs, of the original inhabitants of Great Britain, from collections and observations in travels through Wales, Cornwall, Bas Bretagne, Ireland, and Scotland, Vol, I. Glossography *.Oxford, 1707, fol. He published also “Lithophylacii Britannici Iconographia,1699, 8vo. This work, which is a methodical catalogue of the figured fossils of the Ashmolean museum, consisting of 1766 articles, was printed at the expence of sir Isaac Newton, sir Hans Sloane, and a few other of his learned friends. As only 120 copies were printed, a new edition of it was published in 1760 by Mr. Huddesford, to which were annexed several letters from Lhuyd to his learned friends, on the subject of fossils, and a“prselectio” on the same subject.

He left in ms. a Scottish or Irish-English dictionary, proposed to be published in 1732 by subscription, by Mr. David Malcolme, a minister of the church of Scotland, with additions; as also the elements of the said language, with necessary and useful information for propagating more effectually the English language, and for promoting the knowledge of the ancient Scottish or Irish, and many branches of useful and curious learning. Lhuyd, at the end of his preface to the “Archaeologia,” promises an historical dictionary of British persons and places mentioned in ancient records It seems to have been ready for press, though he could not fix the time of publication. His collections for a second volume, which was to give an account of the antiquities, monuments, &c. in the principality of Wales, were numerous and well-chosen j but, on account

* His “Glossography” is divided Davies’s Dictionary.“6.A Cornish

ioto ten titles: 1. “The Comparative Grammar.” 7. " Mss. Britannicorum

Etymology.“2.” The Comparative Cataiogus.“8.A British EtymoVocabulary of the Original Languages logicon, by Mr. Parry, with an Apof Britaiu and Ireland.“3.” An Ar- peudix.“9.A brief Introduction to

morick Grammar, translated out of the Irish or ancient Scottish LanFrencb, by Mr. Williams, the sub-li- guages.“10.” An Irish English Diebrarian of the Museum.“4.” An titi>ary.“And lastly,A Catalogue

Armorick English Vocabulary.“5. uf Irish Manuscripts.” "Some Welsh Words omitted in Dr. | of a quarrel between him and Dr. Wynne, then fellow, afterwards principal of the college, and bishop of St. Asaph, the latter refused to buy them, and they were purchased by sir Thomas Seabright, of Beachwood, in Hertfordshire, whose grandson dispersed them by auction in 1807. Of the sale and the chief articles, an account was given by Mr. Gough in the Gentleman’s Magazine for May of that year. Carte made extracts from Mr. Lhuyd’s Mss. about or before 1736; but these were chiefly historical. Many of his letters to Lister, and other learned contemporaries, were given by Dr. Fothergill to the university of Oxford^ and are now in the Ashmolean museum. Lhuyd undertook more for illustrating this part of the kingdom than any one man besides ever did, or than any one man can be equal to.

To this account of so eminent an antiquary we shall subjoin some loose memoranda by the rev. Mr. Jones, a curious collector of anecdotes, and curate to Dr. Young at Welwyn:

"He was certainly a very extraordinary man, both for natural abilities, and sedulous and successful application, He deserved more encouragement.

"This little story of him was told me lately by a very knowing person, who had it from good hands; viz. ‘ That during his travels in Bretagny, in the time of our wars with France, he was taken up for a spy, confined for a few days to prison, and all his papers seized. The papers being examined by the priests and Jesuits, and found to be to them unintelligible, raised die greater suspicion. But the principal managers against him, receiving assurances, by letters from learned and respectable men in England, that he was only pursuing inquiries relating to the antiquities of Britain, and had not the least concern with state-affairs, honourably dismissed him.’ I wish I had more little anecdotes of this kind to add, relating to that truly great man. He would have done wonders if he bad lived to complete his designs; and posterity would have wondered, and thanked him.

"I remember I was told formerly at Oxford, by a gentleman that knew and honoured him, ‘ that his death was in all probability hastened, partly by his immoderate application to researches into antiquity, and more so by his chusing, for some time before his decease, to lie in a room at the Museum, which, if not very damp, was at | least not well-aired, nor could be.’ This, it seemjs, was then the current opinion; for he was naturally, as I have heard, of a very robust constitution. It would probably have been better, if he could have contented himself with, a chamber or two in his college, though only a sojourner there, and paying rent. He well deserved to have lived rent-free in any part of Great Britain though I do not; know that his college denied him this piece of small respect so evidently due to nis great merit.

The ingenious and learned Mr. Thomas Richards (formerly a member of that college, and afterwards the most worthy rector of Lhanvyllin in North Wales) told me, in 1756,” that, in a year or two after his admission into the university, a consultation was held by the fellows of Jesus- college, about a proper person of that college, or any other native of Wales, (though of another college,) to answer the celebrated * Muscipula,‘ then lately published by the ingenious Mr. Holdsworth, of Magdalen-college, at the request, and by the direction, of Dr. Sacheverell. Those who knew, and had often observed, the collegiate exercises of Mr. Richards, were pleased to propose him, though of so low standing, as the fittest person that they could think of for such an undertaking. Mr. Lhuyd, being present, asked, ’ Has he the caput poeticum?‘ They assuring him that he usually wrote in a strong Virgilian verse, ’ Theji,‘ said Mr. Lhuyd, * I will give him a plan,’ which was that of the * Hoglandia,‘ since published and well known. Mr. Richards, as he told me (and a friend of his said the same), retired with leave, for about a week, out of college, taking lodgings at St. Thomas’s, and completed the poem. When finished, and corrected by Mr. Lhuyd, and Mr. Anthony Alsop, of Christ-church, Mr. Lhuyd drew up a preface, or dedication, in very elegant Latin, but in terms by much too severe, which made Mr. Richards very uneasy, for he must obey. Before the poem was sent to the press, Mr. Lhuyd died; Richards was then at liberty. He consulted with his friend Mr. Alsop (who was greatly offended with Dr. S.’s haughty carriage), and both together drew up the dedication as it now stands.

A friend of Mr. Richards informed me, * that, upon the publication of the * Muscipula,‘ Dr. 8. gave a cppy of it to Mr. Lhuyd, with these haughty words: * Here, Mr. Lhuyd, I give you a poem of banter upon your country; and 1 defy all your countrymen to answer it.’ This provoked the old Cambrian,' &c. | ”He had prepared many other valuable materials, but did not live to finish and publish them. His apparatus, in rough draughts, are now in the possession of the family of the Seabrights at Beach-wood, in the county of Hertford. 1 wish they were bestowed upon the British Museum in London, or the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, of which latter the said Mr. Lhuyd was keeper.

"In some blank leaves of my printed copy of the aforeaid Archaeologia, I have minuted down some particular anecdotes relating to this extraordinary person. The said copy I intend to bestow for the use of the public academy at Caermarthen, in South Wales, to be preserved in the library there, amongst my other poor donations to that seminary of useful learning and religion.

"The story of SacheverelPs indecent affront to Mr. Lhuyd is there set forth more at length, from an authentic account, which I had from a person who well knew the whole.

"At evenings, after his hard study in the day-time, he used to refresh himself among men of learning and inquiry, and more particularly Cambro-Britons, in friendly conversations upon subjects of British antiquity; communicating his extensive knowledge therein, with much good humour, freedom, and cheerfulness, and, at the same time, receiving from them farther and more particular informations, subservient to his great and laudable designs. This, I have been informed by good hands, was his general manner. His travels furnished him with many more materials for his work, and he knew how to make the best use of them all.

"In the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, is a Latin catalogue of the curiosities there, in his own hand-writing; and the statutes of that place were drawn up by him under the directions of the trustees thereof.

" There are many valuable Mss. of his still remaining in private hands. See the anecdotes before mentioned, prefixed to my printed copy of the Archaeologia.

The remaining printed copies of the same book lay mouldering in the aforesaid Museum at Oxford. I wish they were purchased by some worthy antiquary, and dispersed.1

1 Biog. Brit. Cough’s Topography, vol. II. Owen’s British Remains, 8vo. I‘uliuiuy’!, Sketches of Botany. —Gent. Mag. vol. Lxxvu. p. 419,