Orville, James-Philip D'

, a very learned critic, and the correspondent of many eminent English scholars, was born at Amsterdam, July 28, 1696, of a family originally from France. He was intended for commerce by his father, who nevertheless gave him a classical education under David Hoogstraten and the celebrated Hemsterhuis. It was Peter Bdrman, however, who prevailed on his father to change his destination, and allow him to become a scholar by profession. He was accordingly sent, in 1715, to the university of Leyden, where he studied the Greek language and literature under James Gronovius; history, antiquities, and rhetoric under Peter Burman, the oriental languages under* Hey man and Schaaf, and jurisprudence under Schulting and No.odt. Before his academical course was completed, viz. in 1718, he visited England, where one of his brothers John-Leonard was settled as a merchant. His object on this visit was to form an acquaintance with some of the literati of that age; but principally to inspect the public libraries in London, W. of London; it is a city of…">Oxford, and Cambridge. He remained, however, here only from July to the beginning of Autumn, when he returned to Leyden; and, having finished his studies, took the degree of doctor of law Feb. 3, 1721. He then went to the Hague, with a view to the bar, but became dissatisfied with the profession, and seems from this time to have relinquished every pursuit but that of general literature. In 1723 be began his travels by visiting Antwerp, S. of Antwerp, is the capital of Belgium, in the heart of the country. The old town is narrow and crooked, but picturesque; the town-hall a…">Brussels, Louvain, and lastly France, where he spent a twelvemonth. At Paris he became acquainted with many eminent characters, particularly Monfaucon, Sallier, Fraguier, Sevin, Chamillart, Bouquet, Boivin, and Tournemine, who respectively introduced him to the societies of the learned, and to the most noted libraries and museums. In the month of August 1724, he returned to Amsterdam; but had not been long there before the dangerous illness of one of his brothers rendered it necessary for | him to revisit London, where he remained a year, employed as he had been at Paris, in the company of the learned, and among the libraries. Here he became intimate with Bentley, Chishull, Sherard, Cunningham, Mead, Potter, Hutchinson, Markland, Wasse, &c. &c.

On his return to N. and W. by the German Ocean, and having Prussia on its E. and…">Holland, he had no fixed settlement, dividing his time between Amsterdam, Utrecht, Leyden, and the Hague. In 1726, he determined to visit S. of Europe, has the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas respectively on the E. and W.,…">Italy, and after travelling through its principal cities, he went to Sicily, where he found ample gratification for his antiquarian taste. On his return he spent a winter at Rome, which he left in 1728, and made the tour of S. to the German Ocean and Baltic Sea on the…">Germany, and other parts of Europe, where any thing curious or interesting; was to be found. Returning at length home, he hoped to sit down to the quiet enjoyment of his books; but the magistrates of Amsterdam, sensible how greatly his talents would extend the reputation of their school, offered him the professorship of history, rhetoric, and Greek, which he accepted, and entered upon the duties of his office May 22, 1730, with an inaugural dissertation on the agreement between commerce and the muses, “De felici Mercurii cum Musis contubernio.” Two years after, at the celebration of the centenary anniversary of the school, he delivered a harangue, including its foundation and progress, and commemorating the eminent men it had produced. In 1742, he resigned his professorship, that he might have more leisure for his critical inquiries, and to avail himself of the stores of knowledge accumulated during his travels, as well as to communicate them to others. He had indeed a singular pleasure in assisting the literary researches of his friends, and was a very considerable contributor of notes, various readings and collations to mdst-of the editions of the ancient authors printed in his time, to Josephus, Lucian, Libanius, Diodorus Siculus, Aristopbanes, Livy, Caesar, &c. &c. All these, as well as his own works, show a profound knowledge of the Greek language, and an intimate acquaintance with classical history and criticism.

He published, in 1750, in quarto, a new edition of “Chereas and Callirhoe;” and a new edition of the Greek Anthology was expected from him, for which he had some valuable materials, and one of Theocritus, perhaps also one of Catullus, Tibulius, and Propertius but all these undertakings were frustrated by the unexpected death of | this labprious and acute critic, which took place Sept. 13, or 14, 1751. He left a son John, who was born in 1734. What D’Orville published is to be found in a collection, in imitation of one begun in England by Jortin, in 1731, under the title of “Observationes Miscellaneae,” a work of profound erudition, which he edited along with Burman, as far as Jo vols. 8vo; and after Burman’s death, D’Orville published four additional volumes, under the title of “Observationes Miscellaneae Novae,” the last of which was completed a few clays before his death. Of his dissertations inserted in these volumes, two have been greatly admired, “Exercitatio de inscriptionibus Deliacis,” and “Diatribe in Inscriptiones quasdam,” &c. Some years after his death, his travels and observations in Sicily were published by Peter Burman, the younger, under the title “Simula, quibus Siciliae veteris rudera, additis antiquitatum tabulis illustrantur,” &c. 1764, fol. His only other publication was a controversial pamphlet against Cornelius Pauw, Amst. 1737, 8vo, in which he retorts on that author for some of the severities he was too much accustomed to exercise upon his learned contemporaries. D’Orville had a brother Peter, who died in 1739. He wrote some elegant Latin poems, a collection of which was published at Amsterdam, in 1740.

But what renders some account of James Philip D’Orville iriore interesting in this country is, that his Long celebrated library and collection of manuscripts have been recently purchased from his heirs. So rich a treasure has not been imported into this country for many years, and the original purchase does honour to the two individuals, Dr. Raine, and Mr. Banks, who afterwards disposed of the Mss. to the university of W. of London; it is a city of…">Oxford, which did not hesitate a moment to add them to their incomparable library. Of these it would be unnecessary in this place to give any account, as they are amply detailed in the catalogue published at the Clarendon press in 1806, “Codices Manuscript!, et impressi cum notis manuscriptis, olim D’Orvilliani, qui in Bibi. Bodleiana apud Oxonienses adservantur,” 4to. About the same time D’Orville’s library of printed books were sold by auction in London, among which were many volumes with copious ms notes, which certainly ought to have been classed with the manuscripts. 1

1

Chaufepie. from Barman’s Life, prefixed to the “Sicula.”—Catalogue of his Mss.

|