Sydenham, Floyer

, deserves a fuller account than can now be given of a learned and diligent man, unfortunately altogether un patronized, who undertook, and in | part executed, a translation of the works of Plato. His proposals for this great undertaking were published in a quarto tract in 1759; and he produced successively, between that time and 1767, translation of the “lo, a discourse on poetry,” of “The Greater Hippias,” “The Lesser Hippias,” “The Banquet, Part I.” and “The Banquet, Part II.” He is said to have lived for some years, and finally to have died, in great indigence. The Gentleman’s Magazine places his death on April the 1st, 1787, and adds, that he was born in 1710, and educated at Wadham college, Oxford, where he took the degree of M. A. April 30, 1734. In an account published by the society called the Literary Fund, the following narrative of his death is given: “During the summer recess of the year 1788, an event took place, which tarnished the character of English opulence and humanity, and afflicted the votaries of knowledge. Floyer Sydenham, the well-known translator of Plato, one of the most useful, if not one of the most competent Greek scholars of his age; a man revered for his knowledge, and beloved for the candour of his temper and the gentleness of his manners, died in consequence of having been arrested, and detained, for a debt to a victualler, who had, for some time, furnished his frugal dinner. At the news of that event, every friend of literature felt a mixture of sorrow and shame; and one of the members of a club at the prince of Wales’s coffeehouse proposed, that it should adopt, as its object and purpose, some means to prevent similar afflictions, and to assist deserving authors and their families in distress.” Whether the account reported to these gentlemen, of the time and manner of Sydenham’s death was accurate or not, the friends of literature and humanity will feel great consolation in finding that it gave occasion to a society so benevolent in its designs; which arose 3 after a few changes and modifications, out of the proposal above-mentioned. The society is now in a flourishing and improving state, and has given very timely and important assistance to many deserving authors. 1

1 Preceding edition of this Dictionary.