Grey, Zachary

, LL. D. an English divine, and miscellaneous writer, was of a Yorkshire family, originally | from France. He was born in 1687, and was admitted a pensioner in Jesus college, Cambridge, April 18, 1704, but afterwards removed to Trinity-ball, where he was admitted scholar of the house, Jan. 6, 1706-7; LL. B. 1709 LL. D. 1720; and though he was never fellow of that college, he was elected one of the trustees for Mr. Ayloffe’s benefaction to it. He was rector of Houghton Conquest in Bedfordshire: and vicar of St. Peter’s and St. Giles’s parishes in Cambridge, where he usually passed the winter, and the rest of his time at Ampthill, the neighbouring market-town to his living. He died Nov. 25, 1766, at Ampthill, and was buried at Houghton Conquest. Very little of his history has descended to us. How he spent his life will appear by a list of his works. He is said to have been of a most amiable, sweet, and communicative disposition; most friendly to his acquaintance, and never better pleased than when performing acts of friendship and benevolence. Being in the commission of the peace, and a man of reputable character, he was much courted for his interest in elections. He was not, however, very active on those occasions, preferring literary retirement. His works were, 1. “A Vindication of the Church of England, in answer to Mr. Pearce’s Vindication of the Dis^ senters; by a Presbyter of the Church of England.1720, 8vo. 2. “Presbyterian Prejudice displayed,1722, 8vo. 3. “A pair of clean Shoes and Boots for a Dirty Baronet; or an answer to Sir Richard Cox,1722. 4. “The Knight of Dumbleton foiled at his own weapons, &c. In a Letter to Sir Richard Cocks, knt. By a Gentleman and no Knight,1723. 5. “A Century of eminent Presbyterians: or a Collection of Choice Sayings, from the public sermons before the two houses, from Nov. 1641 to Jan. 31, 1648, the day after the king was beheaded. By a Lover of Episcopacy,1723, 6. “A Letter of Thanks to Mr. Benjamin Bennet,1723. This Bennet published “A memorial of the Reformation,” full of gross prejudices against the established church, and “A defence of it.” 7. “A Caveat against Mr. Benj. Bennet, a mere pretender to history and criticism. By a lover of history,1724, 8vo. 8. “A Defence of our ancient and modern Historians against the frivolous cavils of a late pretender to. Critical History, in which the false quotations smd unjust inferences of the anonymous author are confuted and exposed in the manner they deserve, la two parts,1725, | 4vo. In reply, Oldmixon, the critical historian alluded to, published “A Review of Dr. Zachary Grey’s Defence of our ancient and modern historians. Wherein, instead of dwelling upon his frivolous cavils, false quotations, unjust inferences, &c it is proved (to his glory be it spoken) that there is not a book in the English tongue, which contains so many falsehoods in so many pages. Nori vitiosus homo es, Zachary, sed vitium. By the author,” &c. y. “An Appendix by way of Answer to the Critical Historian’s Review,1725. 10. * f A Looking-glass for Fanatics, or the true picture of Fanaticism; by a gentleman of the university of Cambridge,“1725. 11.” The Ministry of the Dissenters proved to be null and void from Scripture and antiquity,“1725. 12. In 1732 he wrote a preface to his relation dean Moss’s sermons,” by a learned hand.“Mr. Masters in his history of C. C. C. C. ascribes this to Dr. Snape, who might perhaps have been editor of the sermons, but it was written by Dr. Grey. 13.” The spirit of Infidelity detected, in answer to Barbeyrac, with a defence of Dr. Waterland,“1735, 8vo. 14.” English Presbyterian eloquence. By an admirer of monarchy and episcopacy,“1736, 8vo. 15.” Examination of Dr. Chandler’s History of Persecution,“1736, 8vo. 16.” The true picture of Quakerism,“1736. 17.” Caveat against the Dissenters,“1736, 8vo. 18.” An impartial Examination of the second volume of Mr. Daniel Neal’s History of the Puritans,“1736, 8vo. The first volume of Neal had been examined by Dr. Madox, assisted in some degree by Dr. Grey, who published his examination of the third volume in 1737, and that of the fourth in 1739. J 9.” An examination of the fourteenth chapter of Sir Isaac Newton’s Observations upon the prophecies of Daniel,“1736, 8vo. This is in answer to sir Isaac’s notion of the rise of Saintworship. 20.” An attempt towards the character of the Royal Martyr, king Charles I.; from authentic vouchers,“1738. 21.” Schismatics delineated from authentic vouchers, in reply to Neal, with Dowsing’ s Journal, &c. By Philalethes Cantabrigiensis,“1739, 8vo. 22.” The Quakers and Methodists compared,“&c. 1740. 23.A Review of Mr. Daniel Neil’s History of the Puritans, with a Postscript. In a letter to Mr. David Jennings;“a pamphlet, Cambridge, 174-4. 24.Hudibras with large annotations, and a prelate,“&c. 1744, 2 vols. 8vo. 2b.A serious address to Lay Methodists: by a sincere Protestant,“| 1745, 8vo. 27.” Popery in its proper colours, with a list of Saints invocated in England before the Reformation,“17, 8vo. 28,” Remarks upon a late edition of Shakspeare, with a long string of emendations borrowed by the celebrated editor from the Oxford edition without acknowledgement. To which is prefixed, a Defence of the late sir Thomas Hanmer, bart. addressed to the rev. Mr. Warburton, preacher of Lincoln’s-Inn,“8vo, no date, but about 1745. 29.A word or two of Advice to William Warburton, a dealer in many words; by a friend. With an Appendix, containing a taste of William’s Spirit of Railing,“1746, 8vo. 30.A free and familiar Letter to that great refiner of Pope and Shakspeare, the rev. William Warburton, preacher at Lincoln’s-Inn. With Remarks upon the epistle of friend W. E. (query if not T. E. i. e. Thomas Edwards). In which his unhandsome treatment of this celebrated writer is exposed in the manner it deserves. By a Country Curate,“1750, 8vo, 31.A Supplement to Hudibras,“1752, 8vo. 32.” Critical, historical, and explanatory notes on Shakspeare, with emendations on the text and metre,“1755, 2 vols. 8vo. 33.” Chronological account of Earthquakes,“1757, 8vo. In 1756 he assisted iVIr. Whalley in his edition of Shakspeare; he had also contributed to Mr. Peck’s” Desiderata,“and” Life of Cromwell," and collected some materials for a Life of Baker, the Cambridge antiquary, which were afterwards enlarged and published by the rev. Robert Masters. Dr. Grey left some other Mss. and a collection of letters, now in Mr. Nichols’s possession.

From this copious account of Dr. Grey’s literary employments, an idea may be formed of his character and sentiments. It would appear that in early life he had studied ffce history of the church to which he belonged, particularly during the seventeenth century when she suf* fered the severest shock; and having examined into the personal history of the artful agents, as well as the more artful means by which the hierarchy and civil government were overthrown, conceived an implacable dislike to the whole body of non-conformists, which by an easy transition, he continued towards their immediate successors, the dissenters. Finding the latter frequently employed in vindicating the cause of republican church-government, ’and bestowing all their pity on those who suffered by the restoration, without any notice of those whom they made | to suffer by the previous revolution, he directed his power* of controversy to some of those advocates, and by his laborious researches into the private history, annals, and pamphlets of the Cromwell period, was enabled to become a very formidable antagonist. His Examinations of Neal are, in this respect, the most valuable of his writings, and strict impartiality will be found to require a close attention, in the readers of Neal, to what Dr. Grey and his precursor bishop Madox have advanced. The same researches which Dr. Grey had occasion to pursue in answering Neal and others of that party, seem to have furnished him with the matter of the notes by which he afterwards illustrated his edition of Butler’s Hudibras, a work which will probably preserve his memory to a very long date, as his plan was entirely new. Yet, he did not escape attacks, both serious and jocular on this publication. Warburton, in his preface to Shakspeare, “hardly thinks there ever appeared, in any learned language, so execrable an heap of nonsense, under the name of Commentaries, as hath lately been given us on this satiric poet:” and Fielding, in the preface to his “Voyage to Lisbon,” has introduced “the laborious much-read Dr. Zachary Grey, of whose redundant notes on Hudibras he shall only say, that it is, he is confident, the single book extant, in which above 500 authors are quoted, not one of which could be found in the collection of the late Dr. Mead.” But Dr. Warton has very well observed, that, “if Butler is worth reading, he is worth explaining; and the researches used for so valuable and elegant a purpose merit the thanks of genius and candor, not the satire of prejudice and ignorance.

The above attack by Warburton produced, from Dr. Grey, the pamphlets mentioned above, No. 28, 29, and 30, in which there is much of the grossness as well as the acuteness of the controversial spirit. Warburton’s conduct, however, appears wanton and unprovoked, for he not only was at one time on good terms with Grey, and had himself some thoughts of illustrating Hudibras, but had actually supplied Grey with the result of his own inquiries, and was therefore a contributor to “so execrable an heap of nonsense;” for which Grey makes very grateful acknowledgment in his preface. To account for Warburton’s contempt for a commentator whom he had thus assisted, and for a plan which he meant to have executed (perhaps as he executed his plan on Shakspeare), we are inclined to prefer the | conjeeture of a gentleman whom extensive reading, reflection, and taste have constituted an able umpire in literary quarrels. Mr. D’Israeli thinks that V/arburton’s motive was jealousy, and that “though he had naif reluctantly yielded the few notes he had prepared, his proud heart sickened when he beheld the amazing subscription Grey obtained for his first edition of Hudibras he received for that work 1500l. a proof that J;his publication was felt as a want by the public.” Grey, “however, may be entitled to a higher merit than that of gratifying the public taste by his edition of Hudibras. He was unquestionably the founder of that species of commentary which has since been so successfully employed in illustrating Shakspeare, by bringing together all the information, the contemporary writing, and the style, manners, prejudices, and peculiarities of the age, however distant, in which the author to be explained wrote. And although this example has been followed, perhaps in some instances, to a degree of minuteness that exposes the commentator to the ridicule of the wits, and although it must be allowed that some of the Shakspeare commentators have” bestowed all their tediousness“upon us with a too liberal hand, yet it cannot be controverted, that they have pursued the only just and legitimate process for elucidating the writings of distant ages. The merit of this example, therefore, is due to Grey, and is that on which his fame as a writer and literary antiquary will rest, long after his other publications, with the exception perhaps of his Examinations of Neal, are forgotten. He had also made some progress in an edition of Shakspeare upon the plan of his Hudibras, which we presume his advanced age prevented his completing. What he had collected, however, appeared in his” Critical, historical, and explanatory notes“above-mentioned. Of this work Dr. Johnson says that” what Dr. Grey undertook he has well enough performed, but as he neither attempts judicial nor emendatory criticism, he employs rather his memory than his sagacity;“and he adds,” It were to be wished that all would endeavour to imitate his modesty, who have not been able to surpass his knowledge?." 1

1 Nichols’s Rowyr. D’Israeli’s Calamities of Authors Cole’s ms Atheuse in Brit. Museum.