Maittaire, Michael

, an eminent classical editor, of a foreign family, was born in 1668. He was educated at Westminster school, under Dr. Busby, who kept him to the study of Greek and Latin some years longer than usual. He then gained another powerful friend in Dr. South, for whom he compiled a list of the Greek words falsely accented in Dr. Sherlock’s books. This so pleased Dr. South, who was then a canon of Christ church, Oxford, that he made him a canoneer student (i. e. one introduced by a canon, and not elected from Westminster school), where he took the degree of M. A. March 23, 1696. From 1695 till 1699, he was second master of Westminsterschool which was afterwards indebted to him for “Græcæ | Linguæ Dialecti, in usum Scholas Westmonastcriensis,” 1706, 8vo ,*


Of this work Reitz published an edition at the Hague, 1738, 8vo, and a much more improved edition by Stuitz appeared at Leipsic, in 1807.

(a work recommended in the warmest terms by Dr. Knipe to the school over which he presided, “cui se sua omnia debere fatetur sedulus Author”) and for “The English Grammar, applied to, and exemplified in, the English tongue,1712, 8vo. In “Catalogus Librorum Manuscriptorum Angliae & Hiberniae,” Oxon. 1697, t. ii. p. 27, is inserted “Librorum Manuscriptorum Ecclesiae Westmonasteriensis Catalogus. Accurante viro erudito Michaele Mattaerio.” But before the volume was published, the whole collection, amounting to 230, given by bishop Williams, except one, was destroyed by an accidental fire in 1694. In 1699 he resigned his situation at Westminster-school; and devoted his time solely to literary pursuits. In 1711, he published “Remarks on Mr. Whision’s Account ef the Convocation’s proceedings with relation to himself: in a Letter to the right reverend Father in God, George, Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells,” 8vo; and also “An Essay against Arianism, and some other Heresies; or a Reply tp Mr. William Whiston’s Historical Preface and Appendix to his Primitive Christianity revived,” 8vo. In 1709, he gave the first specimen of his great skill in typographical antiquities, by publishing “Stephanorum Historia, vitas ipsorum ac libros complectens,” 8vo; which was followed in 1717, by “Historia Typographorum aliquot Parisiensium, vitas & libros complectens,” 8vo. In 1719, “Annales Typographic! ab artis inventae origine ad annum MD. Hagae Com.” 4to. To this volume is prefixed, “Epistolaris de antiquis Qnintiliani editionibus Disseitatio, clarissimo viro D. Johanni Clerico.” The second volume, divided into two parts, and continued to 1536, was published at the Hague in 1702; introduced by a letter of John Toland, under the title of “Conjectura verosimilis de prima Typographies Inventione.” The third volume, from the same press, in two parts, continued to 1557, and, by an Appendix, to 1564, in 1725. In 1733 was published at Amsterdam what is usually considered as the fourth volume, under the title of “Annales Typographic! ab artis inventae origine, ad annum 1564, opera Mich. Maittaire, A. M. Editio nova, auctior & emendatior, tomi | priori pars posterior.*

The aukwardness of this title has induced many collectors to dispose of therr first volume, as thinking it superseded by the second edition; but this is by no means the case; the volume of 1719 being no less necessary to complete the set than that of 1733, which is a revision of all the former volumes. The whole work, when properly bound, consists, ad libitum, either of five volumes, or of nine.

In 1741 the work was closed at London, by “Annalium Typographicorum Tomus Quintus & ultimus; indicem in tomos quatuor praeeuntes complectens;” divided (like the two preceding volumes) into two parts.

In the intermediate years, Mr. Mattaire was diligently employed on various works of value. In 1713 he published by subscription, “Opera & Fragmenta Veterum Poe’tarum,1713, two handsome’volumes, in folio, dedicated to prince Eugene; the title of some copies is dated 1721. In 1714, he was the editor of the “Greek Testament,” in 2 vols. The Latin writers, which he published separately, most of them with good indexes, came out in the following order In 1713, “Christus Patiens;” an heroic poem by Rene Rapin, first printed in 1674; “Paterculus;” “Justin;” “LucretiusPhædrus;“Sallust;“Terence.“In 1715,” Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius;“Cornelius Nepos;“Florus;“”Horace;“Ovid,“3 vols.;Virgil.“In 1716,” Caesar’s Commentaries;“Martial;“Juvenal and Persius;“Quintus Curtius.“In 1719, Lucan.” In 1720, “Bonefonii Carmina.” Here he appears to have stopped all the other classics which are ascribed to him having been disclaimed, by a memorandum which Mr. Nichols has preserved under Maittaire’s own hand, in the latter part of his life.

As the editor of several classics, some years ago printed in l2mo, at Mess. Tonson and Watt’s press, thinks it sufficient to be answerable for the imperfection of those editions, without being charged with the odium of claiming what has been put out by editors much abler than himself; he therefore would acquaint the public, that he had no hand in publishing the following books, which in some newspapers have been advertised under his name; viz. ” Sophoclis Tragoadia;;“” Homeri Ilias“” Musarum Anglicauarum Analecta;“” Livii Historia;‘’ “Plinii Epistolm et Pane?yricus ” Conciones & Orationes ex Historicæ Latinis.“M. M.

In 1721 he published “Batrachomyomachia Græce ad veterum exemplarium fidem recusa: glossa Greca, variantibus lectionibus, versionibus Latinis, commentariis & indicibus illustrata,” 8vo. At the end of this volume he added proposals for printing by subscription, “Musaeus,” in Greek and Latin, for half a guinea and “Rapin’s Latin works,” for a guinea, both in 4to “Musaeus,” to be comprised in | twelve sheets, “Rapin” in fifty. But neither of these were ever committed to the press, from want probably of sufficient encouragement. In 1722, “Miscellanea Graecorum aliquot Scriptorum Carmina, cum versione Latina & Nods,” 4to. In 1724, he compiled, at the request of Dr. John Freind (at whose expence it was printed) an index to the works of Aretaeus,“to accompany the splendid folio edition of that author in 1723. In 1725 he published an excellent edition ofAnacreon,“in 4to, of which no more than 100 copies were printed, and the few errata in each copy corrected by his own hand. A second edition of the like number was printed in 1741, with six copies on fine writing paper. In 1726 he published,” Petri Petiti Medici Parisiensis in tres priores Aretaei Cappadocis Libros Commentarii, nunc primum editi," 4to. This learned Commentary was found among the papers of Graevius.

From 1728 to 1732 he was employed in publishing, “Marmorum Arundellianorum, Seldenianorum, aliorumque Academies Oxoniensi donatorum, una cum Commentariis & Indice, editio secunda,” folio to which an “Appendix” was printed in 1733. “Epistola D. Mich. Maittaire ad D. P. Des Maizeaux, in qua Indicis in Annales Typographicos methodus explicatur,” &c. is printed in “The Present State of the Republic of Letters,” in August 1733, p. 142. The life of Robert Stephens, in Latin, revised and corrected by the author, with a new and complete list of his works, is prefixed to the improved edition of R. Stephens’s Thesaurus, 4 vols. in folio, in 1734. In 1736 appeared, “Antiques Inscriptiones cluae,” folio; being a commentary on two large copper tables discovered near Heraclea, in the bay of Tarentum. In 1738 were printed at the Hague, “Graecse Linguae Dialecti in Scholse Regias Westmonasterrensis usum recogniti opera Mich. Maittaire. Prosfationem & Appendicem ex Apollonii Discoli fragmento inedito addidit J. F. Reitzius.” Maittaire prefixed a dedication of this volume to the marquis of Granby, and the lords Robert and George Manners, his brothers; and a new preface, dated 3 Cal. Octob. 1737. This was again printed at London in 1742. In 1739, he addressed to the empress of Russia a small Latin poem, under the title of “Carmen Epinicium Augustissimae Russorum Imperatrici sacrum.” His name not having been printed in the titlepage, it is not so generally known that he was editor of Plutarch’s “Apophthegmata,1741, 4to. The last | publication of Mr. Maittaire was a volume of poems in 4to, 1742, under the title of “Senilia, sive Poetica aliquot in argumentis varii generis tentamina.” It may be worth mentioning, that Baxter’s dedication to his “Glossarium Antiquitatum Britannicarum,” was much altered by Maittaire; who died August 7, 1747, aged seventy-nine. There is a good mezzotinto print of him by Faber, from a painting by B. Dandridge, inscribed, “Michael Maittaire, A. M. Amicorum jussu.” His valuable library, which he had been collecting fifty years, was sold by auction, by Messrs. Cock and Langford, at the close of the same year, and the beginning of the following, taking up in all forty-four nights. Mr. Cock, in his prefatory advertisement, tells us, “In exhibiting thus to the public the entire library of Mr. Maittaire, I comply with the will of my deceased friend; and in printing the catalogue from his own copy just as he left it (though, by so doing, it is the more voluminous), I had an opportunity not only of doing the justice I owe to his memory, but also of gratifying the curious.”*


Mr. Nichols has here taken an opportunity of observing, that “the present mode of compiling catalogues of celebrated libraries for sale, so much more laconic than that which obtained about forty years ago, except when as Mr. Samuel Paterson exerts that talent of cataloguing for which he is particularly distinguished, cannot possibly do equal justice with the ancient mode, either in a literary or pecuniary view.” This remark is quoted in the “Critical Review,” with an additional observation “that, as the catalogues of large libraries sold by auction are generally preserved by men of learning, for the sake of ascertaining the dates or titles of books, they might be rendered infinitely more useful, in saving expence, by subjoining an alphabetical index, containing the names of the authors whose works are promiscuously introduced in the course of the sale. With Ibis improvement, Dr. Mead’s Catalogue, which at present is confined and almost useless, would have been valuable, in proportion to its extent, as the `Bibliotheca Menckeniana,‘ `Bultelliana,’ or any other publication of the same kind. The auctioneer would derive sufficient advantage from such catalogues.

Maittaire, it may be added, was patronized by the first earl of Oxford, both before and after that gentleman’s elevation to the peerage, and continued a favourite with his son the second earl. He was also Latin tutor to Mr. Stanhope, the earl of Chesterfield’s favourite son, and was esteemed by so many persons of eminence that we cannot wonder at his portrait being engraven jussu amicorum. He possessed many amiable qualities; in religion was orthodox and zealous ;

There is a passage in one of his Letters to Dr. Charlett, dated 1713 (published in “Letters written by Erninent Persons,1813, in 3 vols. 8vo), which implies that he had been under some restraint, on account of his principles. “The friendly turn,” be says, " which you gave to the leisure government has granted me, cannot entirely reconcile me to the hardships the laws


have put trie to. I thank God, I want no courage to go through, but courage does not exclude feeling. One thing I can boast of, that the cruelty never yet soured my looks, nor extorted any low levengetul expressions from my tongue or pen." To render this intelligible, the reader must be told that Mr, Maittaire, on the accession of George I. turned non-juror, and was probably included in the disabilities to which that sect was exposed.

in temper modest and | unassuming despising the pride of learning, yet fond of friendly intercourse.

With respect to his talents, he may be characterized as a sound scholar, and a careful editor; and, although his genius was confined, and his taste questionable, his labours have been truly useful, and entitle him to the grateful remembrance of the classical student. He has the glory, says Mr. Dibdin, of being the first who established in this country, on a solid basis, the study of bibliography. 1


Nichols’s Bowyer. Dibdin’s Classics and Bibliomania.