Hill, Robert

was a man remarkable for his perseverance and talent in learning many languages by the aid of books alone, and that under every disadvantage of laborious occupation and extreme poverty. His extraordinary character was made known to the world by Mr. Spence in 1757, who, in order to promote a subscription for him, published a comparison between him and the famous Magliabecchi, with a short life of each. From this account it appears that he was born January 11, 1699, at Miswell near Tring in Hertfordshire, that he was bred a taylor, which trade and that of a staymaker he practised throughout life, sometimes adding to them that of a schoolmaster. He was three times married, and the increase of his family, with the extravagance of his second wife, kept him always in great, penury. He worked in general, or taught by day, and studied by night; in which way he acquired the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, with a good knowledge of arithmetic. As he could proceed only as he accidentally picked up books in a very cheap way, his progress was slow, but by his unremitting diligence very steady. | According to his own account, he was seven years acquiring Latin, twice as much in learning Greek, but Hebrew he found so easy that it cost him little time. He wrote, 1. “Remarks on Berkeley’s” Essay on Spirit. 2.” The Character of a Jew.“3.” Criticisms on Job." He was a modest sensible man, fond of studying the Scriptures, and a zealous member of the church of England. He died at Buckingham in July 1777, after having been confined to his bed about a year and a half. During this time he employed the hours in which he was able to sit up, in his favourite study of the Old Testament in Hebrew, which he frequently said now more than repaid him for the trouble he had taken to acquire the language. It is probable, that the notice into which he was brought by Mr. Spence secured him afterwards from the extremities of poverty. 1


Parallel between Magliabecehi, &c.