Tweddell, John

an enterprizing scholar of uncommon talents and, attainments, was born June I, 1769, at Threepwood, near Hexham, in the county of Northumberland. He was the son of Francis Tweddell, esq. an able and intelligent magistrate. His earlier years were passed under the care and instruction of a most pious and affectionate mother; and at the age of nine years he was sent to school at Hartforth, near Richmond, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, under the superintendance of the Rev. Matthew Raine (father of the late learned Dr. Raine, of the Charter-house), who early discovered those rare endowments which were shortly to win high distinction, and were cherished by him with a kind solicitude, and treated with no common skill. Previously to his commencing residence at the university of Cambridge he spent some time under the immediate tuition of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Parr, whose | pre-eminent learning opened not its stores in vain to an ardent and capacious mind; and whose truly affectionate regard for his pupil spared no pains to perfect him in all the learning of Greece and Rome; nor is it too much to say, that the tutor saw his pains requited, and gloried in his charge; whilst he secured the grateful respect and lasting attachment of his accomplished scholar. Mr. Tweddell’s proficiency in his academical course procured him unprecedented honours. The “Prolusiones Juveniles,” which were published in the year 1793, furnish an ample and unequivocal testimony to the extent and versatility of his talents. Professor Heyne, of Goettingen, in a letter addressed to Dr. Burgess (the truly learned and venerable bishop of St. David’s), thus speaks of Mr. Tweddell’s productions “Redditos mihi his diebus sunt litters? tuae, missae ex urbe Dresdse, Saxoniae, inclusse litteris elegantissimis Jbannis Tweddell, juvenis ornatissimi; cujus visendi et compellandi copiam 'mihi haud obtigisse vehementer doleo; spirant litteroe ejus indolem ingenuam, ingenium venustum, mores amabiles et jncundos. Eruditionem autem ejus exquisitam ex prolasionibus ejus juvcnilibus perspexi, quas litteris adjunxerat; una cum generoso libertatis sensu, quern cum ipsa libertate sibi eripi haud videtur pati velle.

In 1792 Mr. Tweddell was elected fellow of Trinity college; and, soon afterwards, entered himself a student of the Middle-Temple. By those who were acquainted with the vivacity and playfulness of his mind, and who remember with what an exquisite feeling he relished the beauties of poetic fiction and the graces of classical composition, it will not be thought surprising that the study of the law should be in a more than common degree distasteful; yet, such was his deference to the wishes of his father, that, although he could never overcome the prevailing aversion of his mind, he paid considerable attention to his professional studies. It appears, both from the records of his private sentiments, as well as from his large and constant intercourse with the best sources of English history, and his predilection for political economy, that he would have wished to employ his talents and cultivated address in diplomacy at the courts of foreign powers.

It was not without a view to this that Mr. Tweddell determined to travel, and employ a few years in acquiring a knowledge of the manners, policy, and characters of the principal courts and most interesting countries of Europe, | which were not yet become inaccessible to an Englishman through the overwhelming dominion of republican France. He accordingly embarked on the“24th September 1795, for Hamburg; where that” Correspondence" commences which was lately published, and which may serve to illustrate, though very imperfectly, the progress, pursuits, and indefatigable researches of this traveller in Switzerland, the North of Europe, and various parts of the East, until the period of his arrival in the provinces of Greece: here, after visiting several of the islands in the Archipelago, he fixed his residence for four months in Athens, exploring with restless ardour, and faithfully delineating, the remains of art and science, discoverable amidst her sacred ruins. The hand of a wise but mysterious Providence suddenly arrested his career, on- the 25th of July, 1799.

The regret and regard expressed on this melancholy occasion were universal; and many honours have in consequence been paid to Mr. TweddelPs memory, by various distinguished travellers, who have since visited Athens, where his remains are deposited in the Theseum, with a beautiful Greek inscription by the rev. Robert Walpole, A.M. of Carrow abbey, near Norwich, a gentleman whose taste and classical erudition are well known, and particularly in the sources of Grecian literature and antiquities.

The learned have looked with wearied expectation, and the friends of Mr. Tweddell with disappointed anxiety, to receive from the press some portion at least of the very large and choice materials which he had prepared for publication, both from his own pen, and from the pencil of an eminent artist, Mons. Preaux, acting under his immediate direction; these, it may be presumed, coming from a traveller so accomplished and so indefatigable, must have shed new and extraordinary light on the antiquities of Greece, and more particularly on those of Athens; whilst the journals of his travels in some of the mountainous districts of Switzerland, rarely, if ever before, visited, and in the Crimea, on the borders of the Euxine, could not have failed to impart much novel information. But notwithstanding the most urgent and diligent endeavours made by Mr. Tweddell’s friends notwithstanding the arrival at Constantinople of his papers and effects from Athens, and the actual delivery of his Swiss journals, with sundry other manuscripts, and above three hundred | highlyfinished drawings, into the official custody of the British ambassador at the Othman court, it remains at this time a mystery, what is actually become of all these valuable manuscripts and drawings. Neither have all the investigations set on foot by his friends, nor the more recent representations addressed to the ambassador, obtained any explicit or satisfactory elucidation of the strange and suspicious obscurity which hangs over all the circumstances of this questionable business.

Mr. Tweddell, in his person, was of the middle stature, of a handsome and well-proportioned figure. His eye was remarkably soft and intelligent. The profile, or frontispiece to the volume, lately published, gives a correct and lively representation of the original, though it is not in the power of any outline to shadow out the fine expression of his animated and interesting countenance. His address was polished, affable, and prepossessing in a high degree; and there was in his whole appearance an air of dignified benevolence, which pourtrayed at once the suavity of his nature and the independence of his mind. In conversation, he had a talent so peculiarly his own, as to form a very distinguishing feature of his character. A chastised and ingenious wit, which could seize on an incident in the happiest manner a lively fancy, which could clothe the choicest ideas in the best language — these, supported by large acquaintance with men and books, together with the further advantages of a melodious voice, and a playfulness of manner singularly sweet and engaging, rendered him the delight of every company: his power of attracting friendships was, indeed, remarkable; and in securing them he was equally happy. Accomplished and admired as he was, his modesty was conspicuous, and his whole deportment devoid of affectation or pretension. Qualified eminently to shine in society, and actually sharing its applause, he found his chief enjoyment in the retired circle of select friends; in whose literary leisure, and in the amenities of female converse (which for him had the highest charms) he sought the purest and the most refined recreation. “Of jhe purity of Mr. Tweddell’s principles, and the honourable independence of his character of his elevated integrity, his love of truth, his generous, noble, and affectionate spirit, the editor might with justice say much, but the traces and proofs of these, dispersed throughout the annexed correspondence, he cheerfully leaves to the | police and sympathy of the intelligent reader.” Such is the language of his brother, the rev. Robert Tweddell, and the editor of a very interesting volume, entitled “Remains of the late John Tweddell, &c. being a selection of his Letters, written from various parts of the continent, together with a republication of his Prolusiones Juveniles,1815, 4to. It has been justly remarked on this volume, that, though some letters in the collection, and parts of others, would have been perhaps judiciously omitted, there are few instances of a private correspondence, written without the least view to publication, which will bear a severer scrutiny, either in point of good sense, elegant taste, or honourable sentiments. Full of candour and discrimination, Tweddell pourtrays with great spirit the manners and customs, and characters of the different nations he visited imbued with classical lore, and blessed with a fine imagination, he paints in glowing colours the magnificent scenery of nature in her wildest regions, and throws a double interest over the deserted relics of ancient art: educated in the strict principles of morality and religion, by the most excellent of parents, he repays their care and solicitude by the strong and vivid sentiments of attachment displayed throughout his whole correspondence, which is undefiled by a single sentence of a licentious tendency. 1

1 Memoir prefixed to the Remains. Brit. Crit. vol. V. N. S. where the reader will find a caudid examination of the evidence respecting his lost Mss. &c.