Markland, Jeremiah

, M. A. one of the most learned critics of the eighteenth century, was descended from an ancient family of that name, seated near Wigan, in Lancashire. He was one of the twelve children of the rev. Ralph Markland, M. A. vicar of Childwall, in that county, whose unblemished life and character gave efficacy to the doctrines he preached, and rendered him an ornament to the church of which he was a member. He was not, however, the author of a poem, frequently attributed to his | pen, entitled “Pteryplegia, or the art of Shooting Fly-, ing,” as it was one of the juvenile productions of his relative, Dr. Abraham Markland, fellow of St. John’s college, Oxford, and above thirty years master of St. Cross, near Winchester, of whose life and more important writings Wood has made some mention.

Jeremiah was born Oct. 29, 1693, and in 1704 was admitted upon the foundation of Christ’s Hospital, London, whence, in 1710, he was sent to the university of Cambridge, with the usual exhibition of 30l. per annum for seven years, and admitted of St. Peter’s college. Here he took the degree of B. A. in 1713, and the following year appears among the poetical contributors to the “Cambridge Gratulations.” In 1717 he took his master’s degree, and about the same time ably vindicated the character of Addison against the satire of Pope, in some verses addressed to the countess of Warwick. He was the author also of a translation of “The Friar’s Tale,” from Chaucer, which is printed in Ogle’s edition of 1741. Curl), the bookseller, in some of his publications, includes poems by a Mr. John Markland of St. Peter’s college. If tliis is not a blunder for Jeremiah, these might be the production of Mr. Markland’s brother John, who was also educated at Christ’s Hospital; but this is doubtful, and not very important.

In 1717 Mr. Markland was chosen fellow of his college, and probably intended to have taken orders j but it soon appeared that from extreme weakness of lungs he could never have performed the duties of a clergyman, and even at this time reading a lecture for only one hour in a day disordered him greatly. He continued, however, for several years as a tutor in St. Peter’s college. He became first distinguished in the learned world by his “Epistola Critica ad eruditissimum virum Franciscum Hare, S. T. P. decanum Vigorniensem, in qua Horatii loca aliquot et aliorum veterum emendantur, Camb. 1723, 8vo. In this, which at once decided the course of his studies, he gave many proofs of extensive erudition and critical sagacity. He appears to have been also at this time employed on notes and emendations on Propertius, and promised a new edition of the Thebaid and Achiilaid of Statius, but he published only an edition of the” Sylvae," in 1728, 4to, printed by Mr. Bowyer. In this, probably his first connexion with that learned printer, he gave a proof of the | scrupulous integrity which was conspicuous throughout his whole life; for, it not being convenient for him to pay Mr. Bowyer as soon as he wished and intended, he insisted on adding the interest.

Mr. Markland found the “Sylvae” of Statins in a very corrupt state, obscure in itself, and mangled by its editors; yet, notwithstanding the want of ms copies, of which there were none in England, he appears to have Accomplished his task by uncommon felicity of judgment and conjecture. It is not very easy to comprehend Ernesti’s objection, that he “sometimes rather indulged his ingenuity and exquisite learning against the expressed authority of books,” since his object was to prove how much those books had failed in exhibiting a pure text. Of the ancient editions, Mr. Markland owns his obligations to that of Venice, 1472, which he found in the duke of Devonshire’s library, and which is also in lord Spencer’s; and that of Parma, 1473, belonging to the earl of Sunderland. The “Statius,” as well as the “Epistola Critica,” was dedicated to his friend bishop Hare.

It appears that he had begun an edition of “Apuleius” at Cambridge, of which seven sheets were printed off, from MorelPs French edition; but on Dr. Bentley’s sending him a rude message concerning his having left out a line that was extant in one of the Mss. he went no farther. Bowyer, who knew the value of Mr. Markland’s labours, would have carried on this work, but never could obtain a copy of the printed sheets, which remained for many years in Mr. Bentham’s warehouse at Cambridge.

After several years residence at St. Peter’s college, he undertook in 1728 the education of William Strode, esq. of Punsborn in Herts, with whom he continued above two years at his house, and as long abroad in France, Flanders, and Holland. Some time after their return, Mr. Strode married, and when his eldest son was about six years old, Mr. Markland undertook the care of his education, and was with him seven years. This pupil, who was afterwards a gentleman of the bed-chamber to his majesty, a man of extensive benevolence and generosity, and always very attentive to Mr. Markland, died in 1800.

After his return from France, Mr. Markland again took up his residence at college, and resumed his learned labours. In 1739 we find Mr. Taylor acknowledging his obligations to Mr. Markland for the “Conjecturse| annexed to his “Orationes et Fragmenta Lysiae,” an incomparable edition, on which Taylor’s fame may securely rest. In 1740 Mr. Markland contributed annotations to Dr. Davies’s second edition of Maximus Tyrius. This volume was printed by Mr. Bowyer, uncier the sanction of the society for the encouragement of learning; and such was Mr. Markland’s care, that this society, although on their part not very consistently, complained of the expence which Mr. Markland occasioned by his extreme nicety in correcting the proof-sheets. In an address to the reader, prefixed to his annotations, Mr. Markland brought forward a very singular discovery, that Maximus had himself published two editions of his work. It is very surprizing, therefore, that at this time, when Markland was receiving the thanks and praises of his learned contemporaries, Warburton only should under-rate his labours, and say in a letter to Dr. Birch, “I have a poor opinion both of Markland’s and Taylor’s critical abilities.” Whether this “poor opinion” proceeded from temper or taste, we find that it was afterwards adopted by Warburton’s friend Dr. Kurd, who went a little farther in compliment to his correspondent, and, somewhat luckily for Mr. Markland, involves himself in a direct contradiction, calling Mr. Markland, in the same sentence, a “learned man,” and a man of “slencjer parts and sense.” It cannot be too much regretted that bishop Hurd should have left his Warburtonian correspondence to be printed, after he had, in the republication of his own works, professed to recant many of the harsh opinions of his early days.

In 1743, we find Mr. Markland residing at Twyford, where, in June of that year, he talks of the gout as an old companion: and at this period of life, it appears that he was twice encouraged to offer himself a candidate for the Greek professorship; but had either not ambition enough to aspire to this honour, or had some dislike to the office, to which, however, abilities like his must have done credit. From 1744 to 1752, his residence was at Uckfield in Sussex, where he boarded in the house of the schoolmaster under whose care young Mr. Strode had been placed, and where he first formed an intimacy with the rev. William Clarke, whose son Edward was placed uncier his private tuition. In 1745, he published “Remarks on the Epistles of Cicero to Brutus, and of Brutus to Cicero, in a letter to a friend. With a dissertation upon four | orations ascribed to Cicero; viz. I. Ad Quirites post rediturn: 2. Post reditum in seriatu 3. Pro domo sua, ad pontifices 4. De haruspicum responsis To which are added, some extracts out of the notes of learned men upon those orations, and observations on them, attempting to prove them all spurious, and the works of some sophist,” 8vo. These remarks, which were addressed to Mr. Bowyer, although very ingenious, brought on the first controversy in which Mr. Markland was concerned; but in which he was unwilling to exert himself. He seems to have contented himself with his own conviction upon the subject, and with shewing only some contempt of what was offered. “I believe,” says he, in a letter to Mr. Bowyer, “I shall drop the affair of these spurious letters, and the orations I mentioned; for, though I am as certain that Cicero was not the author of them, as I am that you were not, yet I consider that it must be judged of by those who are already prejudiced on the other side. And how far prejudice will go, is evident from the subject itself; for nothing else could have suffered such silly and barbarous stuff as these Epistles and Orations to pass so long, and through so many learned men’s hands, for the writings of Cicero; in which view, I confess, I cannot read them without astonishment and indignation.

A little farther account, however, of this controversy, and its rise, may yet be interesting. In 1741, Mr. Tunstall, public orator of Cambridge, published his doubts on the authenticity of the letters between Cicero and Brutus (which Middleton, in his Life of Cicero, had considered as genuine), in a Latin dissertation. This Middleton called “a frivolous, captious, disingenuous piece of criticism,” answered it in English, and published the disputed epistles with a translation. On this, Tunstall, in 1744, published his “Observations on the Epistles, representing several evident marks of forgery in them, in answer to the late pretences of the Rev. Dr. Conyers Middleton.” Markland, the following year, published his arguments on the same side of the question, which called forth a pamphlet, written by Mr. Ross, afterwards bishop of Exeter, entitled “A Dissertation in which the defence of P. Sylla, ascribed to M. Tullius Cicero, is clearly proved to be spurious, after the manner of Mr. Markland; with some introductory Remarks on other writings of the Ancients, never before suspected.” It is written in a sarcastic style, | but with a display of learning very inferior to that of the excellent scholar against whom it was directed, and in a disposition very dissimilar to the candour and fairness which accompanied the writings of Markland. It has lately been discovered that Gray, the celebrated poet, assisted Ross in his pamphlet, but at the same time does not seem to have entertained a very high opinion of Ross’s wit. In a manuscript note in the first leaf of his copy of Markland, he writes: “This book is answered in an ingenious way, but the irony is not quite transparent.” Gray’s copy of Markland is now in the possession of his late excellent biographer, the rev. John Mitford, to whom we are indebted for these particulars. Mr. Mitford adds, that the notes which Gray has written in this copy “display a familiar knowledge of the structure of the Latin language, and answer some of the objections of Markland,” who had not then learnt the caution, in verbal criticism and conjectural emendation, which he well knew how to value when an editor of Euripides.“The only other pamphlet which this controversy produced was entitledA Dissertation in which the observations of a late pamphlet on the writings of the Ancients, after the manner of Mr. Markland, are clearly answered; those passages in Tully corrected, on which some of the objections are founded: with amendments of a few pieces of criticism in Mr. Markland’s Epistola Critica," Lond. 1746, 8vo. At length Gesner defended the genuineness of the orations in question, and they were reprinted by Ernest, and are still believed to be part of Cicero’s works.

In 1748, Mr. Markland contributed some notes to Arnald’s “Commentary on the book of Wisdom,” which are noticed at the end of the author’s preface, in the second edition, 1760. In 1750, he communicated some very judicious remarks on an edition, then printing by Bowyer, of “Kuster de Verbo medio.” He was also at this time employed on his Euripides. In 1752, having completed the education of his amiable pupil Mr. Strode, he first began, to seclude himself from the world. “By this time,” he says, “being grown old, and having moreover long and painful annual fits of the gout, he was glad to find, what his inclination and infirmities, which made him unfit for the world and for company, had for a long time led him to, a very private place of retirement near Dorking in Surrey.” In this pleasant and sequestered spot, in the hamlet of Milton, he saw little company his walks were almost | coufined to the narrow limits of his garden: and he described himself, in 1755, to be as much out of the way of hearing, as of getting. “Of this last,” he adds, “I have now no desire: the other I should be glad of.” What first induced him to retire from the world is not known. It has been supposed to have proceeded from disappointment: but of what nature is matter of conjecture. There is a traditionary report, that he once received a munificent proposal from Dr. Mead, to enable him to travel, on a most liberal plan, in pursuit of such literary matters as should appear eligible to himself; and that his retirement arose from a disgust his extreme delicacy occasioned him to take during the negociation. He was certainly disinterested to an extreme: and money was never considered by him as a good, any farther than it enabled him to relieve the necessitous.

In 1756 appeared an edition by Musgrave of the Hippolytus of Euripides, under the title of “Euripidis Hippolytus, ex Mss. Bibliothecse regias Parisiensis emendatus. Variis lectionibus et notis editoris accessere viri clarissimi Jeremiae Markland emendationes,” a title which was printed without Mr. Markland’s knowledge, and very contrary to his inclination, as he has written on the margin of his own copy, now in Dr. Burney’s possession; and it is said that his notes were obtained by a friend, and did not pass directly from Mr. Markland to Mr. Musgrave, In 1758, he contributed some notes to an edition of seven plays of Sophocles printed by Mr. Bowyer.

In 1760, Mr. Markland printed in quarto, at the expence of his friend William Hall, esq. of the Temple, an excellent little treatise, under the title of “De Grsecorum quinta declinatione imparisyllabica, et inde formata Latinorum tertia, quaestio Grammatica,” 4to. No more than forty copies having been printed, which were all given away, it was annexed, in 1763, to an edition of Euripides’s “Supplices Mulieres,” 4to. This book was published without the editor’s name perhaps owing to the discouragement shewn to critical learning, as appears from a memorandum of his own hand-writing in a copy of it, in which he says, “There were only 250 copies printed, this kind ol study being at that time greatly neglected in England. The writer of the notes was then old and infirm; and, having by him several things of the same sort, written many years before, he did not think it w&rth while to | revise them; and was unwilling to leave them behind him. as they were, in many places not legible to any body but himself; for which reason he destroyed them. Probably it will be a long time, if ever, before this sort of learning will revive in England; in which it is easy to foresee, that there must be a disturbance in a few years, and all public disorders are enemies to this sort of literature.” In the same dejected tone he speaks, in 1772, of the edition of Euripides lately published: “The Oxonians, I hear, are about to publish Euripides in quarto; two volumes, I suppose. Dr. Musgrave helps them with his collections, and perhaps conjectures. In my opinion, this is no time for such works; I mean for the undertakers.

These melancholy views of literary patronage and support did not hinder Mr. Markland from hazarding his little property on the more uncertain issue of a law-suit, into which he was drawn by the benevolence of his disposition. His primary object in this affair, which occurred in 1765, was to support the widow with whom he lodged against the injustice and oppression of her son, who, taking advantage of maternal weakness, persuaded her to assign over to him the whole of her property. The consequence was a law-suit *, which, after an enormous expence to Mr. Markland, was decided against the widow; and his whole fortune, after this event, was expended in relieving the distresses of the family. Some assistance he appears to have derived from his friends; but such was his dislike of this kind of aid, that he could rarely be prevailed upon to accept it. Yet at this time his whole property, exclusive of his fellowship (about seventy pounds a-year), consisted of

*

My engaging in a law-matter was much contrary to my nature and inclination, and owing to nothing but vompassion (you give it a suspicious name when you call it tenderness, she being in her 63d year, and I in my 74th) to see a very worthy woman oppressed and deprived by her own son of every farthing she had in the world, and nothing left to subsist herself and two children, but what she received from me for board and lodging and this too endeavoured by several bad and ridiculous methods to be taken from her, and myself forced hence, that they might compel her into their unjust measures not to mention the Jessw injuries, indignities, and iaso lences, which were used towards her. ‘Could I run away, and leave an afflicted good woman and her children to starve, without the greatest baseness, dishonour, and inhumanity Poor as I am, I would rather have pawned the coat on my back than have done it. I speak this in the presence of God and I appeal to Him, before whom I must soon appear, that this is the true and only reason of my acting in this matter and though I know that the consequences of it will incommode me greatly, and almost ruin me, yet I am sure I shall never repent of it.” Letter from Mr. Mukland, in Nicbols’s Bowyr.

| five hundred pounds three per cent, reduced annuities; and part of the latter we find him cheerfully selling out for the support of his poor friends, rather than accept any loan or gift from his friends. He appears indeedabout this time to have been weaning himself from friendly connections, as well as his customary pursuits. In October of this year he even declined entering into a correspondence with his old acquaintance bishop Law, who wished to serve him, and desires Mr. Bowyer to write to the bishop, that “Mr. Markland is very old, being within a few days of seventy-three, with weak eyes and a shaking hand, so that he can neither read nor write without trouble: that he has scarce looked into a Greek or Latin book for above these three years, having given over all literary concerns and therefore it is your (Mr. Bowyer’s) opinion that he (the bishop) had much better not write to Mr. Markland, which will only distress him; but that you are very sure that he will not now enter into any correspondence of learning.” At length, in 1768, after much negotiation, and every delicate attention to his feelings, his pupil, Mr. Strode, prevailed on him to accept an annuity of one hundred pounds, which, with the dividends arising from his fellowship, was, from that time, the whole of his income.

Fortunately for the world of letters, the notes on the two “Iphigenias,” which Mr. Markland at one time intended to destroy, from despair of public encouragement, were preserved and given by him to Dr. Heberden, with permission to burn or print them as he pleased; but if the latter, then they should be introduced by a short Latin dedication to Dr. Heberden, as a testimony of his gratitude for the many favours he had received from that gentleman. Dr. Heberden, whose generosity was unbounded, readily accepted the gift on Mr. Markland’s own conditions, paid the whole expence of printing, as he had before done that of the “Supplices Mulieres,” and in 1770 had secured a copy of it corrected for a second edition, though at that time it was intended that the first should not be published till after Mr. Markland’s death. He had then burnt all his notes, except those on the New Testament; and the disposal of his books became now to him a matter of serious concern. He wished them to be in the hands of Dr. Heberden, to whom he presented the greater part of them in his life-time, and the remainder at his death. These notes | n the New Testament had often made part of Mr. Markland’s study, and many of them have since appeared in Bowyer’s “Conjectures on the New Testament.” Thej T were written in Kuster’s edition.

Contrary to the original intention, his edition of the “Two Iphigeniae,” which had been printed in 1768, 8vo, with a view to posthumous publication, was given to the world in 1771, under the title of “Euripidis Dramata, Iphigenia in Aulide, et Iphigenia in Tauris; ad codd. Mss. recensuit, et notulas adjecit, Jer. Markland, Coll. D. Petri Cant. Socius.” Of this, the “Supplices Mulieres,” and the “Quaestio grammatica de Gnecorum quinta declinatione imparisyllabica,” &c. an elegant and correct edition has just been published at Oxford, in 8vo and 4to, under the superintendance of one of the most profound Greek scholars of the age, Mr. Gaisford of Christ-church.

Repeated attacks of the gout, and an accumulation of infirmities, at length put an end to Mr. Markland’s life, at Milton-court, July 7, 1776, in the eighty-third year of his age. His will was short. He bequeathed his books and papers to Dr. Heberden, and every thing else to Mrs. Martha Rose, the widow with whom he lived, and whom he made sole executrix, although he had a sister, Catherine, then living, and not in good circumstances. This is the more remarkable, as we find in his letters, expressions of affectionate anxiety for this sister; but he delayed making his will until the year before his death, when his memory and faculties were probably in some degree impaired. He had formerly entertained hopes of being able to make some acknowledgment to Christ’s-hospital for his education, and to Peterhouse, from which he had for so many years received the chief part of his maintenance; but, to use his own words, “as the providence of God saw fit that it should be otherwise, he was perfectly satisfied that it was better it should be as it was.” Immediately on his death, his friend Mr. Strode and Mr. Nichols went to Milton-court, to give directions for the funeral, which was performed, strictly agreeable to his own request, in the church of Dorking, where a brass plate commemorates his learning and virtues. Several of his books, with a few ms notes in them, after the death of Dr. Heberden, were sold to Mr. Payne; and some of them were purchased by Mr. Gough, and others are now in the possession of Dr. Burney, Mr. Heber, Mr. Hibbert, &c. c. | Such are the outlines of the history of this excellent scholar and critic, concerning whom many additional particulars may be found in our authority. The most conspicuous trait in his character was his singular and unwearied industry. The scholar, who secludes himself from tlic world for the purposes of study, frequently abandons himself to desultory reading, or at least is occupied at intervals only, in deep and laborious research. This, however, was not the case with Markland. The years that successively rolled over his head, in the course of a long life, constantly found him engaged in his favourite pursuits, collating the classic authors of antiquity, or illustrating the book of Revelation. Of the truth of this remark, which we borrow from his amiable relative, his correspondence affords sufficient testimony; and the proofs which he there displays, even after he had passed his eighty-first year, of vigour and clearness of intellect, are perfectly astonishing. To this we may add what has recently been said of iMr. Markland, that “for modesty, candour, literary honesty, and courteousness to other scholars, he has been considered as the model which ought to be proposed for the imitation of every critic.” With exception to the opinions of Warburton and Hurd, which were concealed when they might have been answered, and published when they were not worth answering, his deep and extensive learning appears, from the concurrent testimony of his contemporaries and survivors, to have been at all times most justly appreciated; and a tribute, of great value, has lately been paid to his memory by Dr. Burney in tho preface to his “Tentamen de Metris ahæschylo in Choricis Cantibus adhibitis,” where he places him among the “magnanimi heroes” of the eighteenth century, Bentley, Dawes, Taylor, Toup, Tyrwhitt, and Porson.

It is to be regretted, however, that the splendour of his abilities was obscured by the extreme privacy of his life, and the many peculiarities of his disposition. The latter indeed seem to have been produced by the former, and that by some circumstances in his early life, which prevented him from making a choice among the learned professions. It is well known that bishop Hare would have provided for him, if he would have taken orders; but what his reasons were for dec-lining them, we are not told. It may be inferred from his correspondence that in maturer age he had some scruples of the religious kind, but these | do not appear inconsistent with the liberty which many great and good men have thought consistent with subscription to the formularies of the church. By whatever means he was prevented from taking orders, it appears to have been a misfortune to him, as the patrons who were the best judges of his merit had no means of providing for him in any other direction. If he ever fancied that he could make his way through the world by the talents of a mere scholar employed in writing, we have evidence in his letters that he soon found his mistake, and that in his time classical criticism was not an article in great demand. Another reason for his frequent despondency, and love of retirement, appears to have been his interesting himself too much in the politics of the time, which he always viewed through a gloomy medium. We may, however, conclude this article with the striking and just observation made by his pupil Mr. Strode, in a letter to Mr. Nichols, that “Do friend of Mr. Maryland can reflect on his life without great satisfaction, although, for the further benefit of society, one might be led to wish some few circumstances of it had been otherwise.’1