Lort, Michael

, a learned and amiable clergyman, and some time Greek professor of the university of Cambridge, was descended from an ancient family in Pembrokeshire, and was the son of major Lort, of the Welsh fusileers, who was killed at the battle of Fontenoy, in 1745. He was born in 1725, and was admitted of Trinity-college, Cambridge, in 1743, from whence he removed into the family of Dr. Mead, to whom he was librarian until the death of that celebrated physician, in 1754; and while in that situation probably acquired the taste for literary history and curiosities which enabled him to accumulate a very valuable library, as well as to assist many of his contemporaries in their researches into biography and antiquities. In the mean time he kept his terms at college; and proceeded A. B. in 1746; was elected fellow of his college in 1749; and took his degree of M. A. in 1750. In 1755 he was elected a fellow of the society of antiquaries, and was many years a vice-president, until his resignation in 1788. During this time he made some communications to the “Archxologia,” vols. IV. and V. In 1759, on the resignation of Dr. Francklin, he was appointed Greek professor at Cambridge, and in 1761 he took the degree of B. D. and was appointed chaplain to Dr. Terrick, then bishop of Peterborough. In January 1771 he was collated by Dr. Cornwallis, archbishop of Canterbury, to the rectory of St. Matthew, Friday-street, on which he resigned his Greek professorship; and in August 1779 he was appointed chaplain to the archbishop, and in the same year commenced D.D. In April 1780, the archbishop gave him a prebend of St. Pau Ps (his grace’s option) and he continued at Lambeth till 1783, when he married Susanna Norfolk, one of the two daughters of alderman Norfolk, of Cambridge. On the death of Dr. Ducarel, in 1785, he was appointed by archbishop Moore, librarian to the archiepiscopal library at Lambeth. He was also for some years librarian to the duke of Devonshire. In April 1789, he was presented by Dr. Porteus, bishop of London, to the sinecure rectory Jqf Fulham, in Middlesex; and in the same year was instituted to the rectory of Mile-end, near Colchester. He died Nov. 5, 1790, at his house in Savile-row; his death was occasioned by a fall from a chaise while riding near Colchester, which injured his kidnies, and was followed by a paralytic stroke. He was buried at his church in Friday-street, of which he had been rector nineteen years. A | monumental tablet was put up to his memory, which also records the death of his widow, about fifteen months afterwards. They had no issue.

Dr. Lort was well known to the learned of this and other countries, as a man of extensive literary information, and a collector of curious and valuable books, at a time when such articles were less known and in less request than at present. He was very generally and deservedly esteemed by his numerous acquaintance. An artless simplicity formed the basis of his character, united to much kindness and liberality. With talents and learning that might have appeared to great advantage from the press, Dr. Lort was rather anxious to assist the labours of others than ambitious of appearing as the author of separate publications. Except a few occasional sermons, a poem on the peace of Aix-laChapelle among the Cambridge congratulations, and some anonymous contributions to the Gentleman’s Magazine, and other literary journals and newspapers, we can only mention, as an original work, “A Short Commentary on the Lord’s Prayer; in which an allusion to the principal circumstances of our Lord’s temptation is attempted to be shewn;” printed in 8vo, 1790. In this ingenious tract, he adopts the translation taken by Dr. Doddridge from the fathers, and given in his “Family Expositor.” Mr. Nichols has printed, from the pen of Dr. Lort, a curious “Inquiry into the author, or rather who was not the author, of The Whole Duty of Man.” The same gentleman acknowledges his obligations to Dr. Lort for assistance in some of his valuable labours. To Grander also Dr. Lort communicated much information. Biography had been always his study, and most of his books were filled with notes, corrections, and references of the biographical kind. He had likewise compiled many ms lives, which were dispersed at his death. Of some of these the editor of this Dictionary has been enabled to avail himself. His library was not remarkable for external splendour, but it contained a great number of rare and valuable articles, and formed a sale of twenty-five days, at Messrs. Leigh and Sotheby’s, in 1791. The produce was 1269/1; and his prints sold for 40 1l. 1

1 Nichols’s Bowyer. Nichols’s Poems. —Gent. Mag. LX. XXI. Lysoni’s Environs, vol. II. Granger’s Letters by Malrolin, p. 192.