Walton, Brian

, a learned English bishop, and editor of the celebrated Polyglott Bible* was born at Cleaveland in the North Riding of Yorkshire, in 1600. He was admitted sizer of Magdalen college, Cambridge, under Mr. John Gooch, but in 1616 removed to Peter-House college, where he took a master of arts degree in 1623. About that time, or before, he taught a school, and served as a curate in Suffolk, whence he removed to London, and lived for a little time as assistant or curate to Mr. Stock, rector of Allhallows in Bread-street. After the death of Mr. Stock, he became rector of St. Martin’s Orgar in London, and of Sandori in Essex; to the latter of which he was admitted in January 1635, and the same day to St. Giles’s-in-theFields, which he quitted soon after. The way to preferment lay pretty open then to a man of his qualities; for, he‘ had not only uncommon learning, which was more regarded then than it had been of late years, but he was also exceedingly zealous for the church and king. In 1639, he commenced doctor of divinity; at which time he was prebendary of St. Paul’s and chaplain to the king. He possessed also another branch of knowledge, which made him very acceptable to the clergy: he was well versed in the laws of the land, especially those which relate to the patrimony and liberties of the church. During the controversy between the clergy and inhabitants of the city of London, about the tithes of rent, he was very industrious and active in behalf of the former; and upon that occasion made so exact and learned a collection of customs, prescriptions, Jaws, orders, proclamations, and compositions, for many hundred years together, relating to that matter, (an abstract of which was after wards published,) that the judge declared, “there could be no dealing with the London ministers if Mr. Walton pleaded for them.” Such qualities, however, could only render him peculiarly obnoxious to the republican party, and accordingly, when they had assumed the iuperiority, he was summoned by the House of Commons as a delinquent; was sequestered from his living of St. Martin’s Orgar, plundered, and forced to fly; but whether be went to Oxford directly, or to his other living of Sandon in Essex, does not appear. It is, however, certain that | he was most cruelly treated at that living likewise, being grievously harassed there and once, when he was sought for by a party of horse, was forced to shelter himself in a broom-field. The manner of his being sequestered from this living is a curious specimen of the principles of those who were to restore the golden age of political justice. Sir Henry Mild may and Mr. Ashe, members of parliament, first themselves drew up articles against him, though no way concerned in the parish, and then sent them to Sandon to be witnessed and subscribed. Thus dispossessed of botli his livings, he betook himself for refuge to Oxford, as according to Lloyd, he would otherwise have been murdered,

On August 12, 1645, he was incorporated in the university of Oxford. Here it was that he formed the noble scheme of publishing the Polyglott Bible; and, upon the decline of the king’s cause, he retired to the house of Dr. William Fuller, his father-in-law, in London, where, though frequently disturbed by the prevailing powers, he lived to complete it. The “Biblia Polyglotta” was published at London in 1657, in 6 vols. folio; wherein the sacred text was, by his singular care and oversight, printed, not only in the vulgar Latin, but also in the Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldee, Samaritan, Arabic, Æ’thiopic, Persic, and Greek, languages each having its peculiar Latin translation joined therewith, and an apparatus fitted to each for the better understanding of those tongues. In this great work, so far as related to the correcting of it at the press, and the collating of copies, he had the assistance of several learned persons; the chief of whom was Mr. Edmund Castell, afterwards professor of Arabic at Cambridge. Among his other assistants were Mr. Samuel Clarke of Mertou college, and Mr. Thomas Hyde of Queen’s college, Oxford: he had also some help from Mr. Whelock, Mr. Thorndike, Mr. Edward Pocock, Mr. Thomas Greaves, &c. Towards printing the work, he had contributions of mqney from many noble persons and gentlemen, which were put intothe hands of sir William Humble, treasurer for the said work. The Prolegomena and Appendix to it were attacked in 1659, by Dr. John Owen, in “Considerations,” &c. who was answered the same year by Dr. Walton, in a piece under the title of “The Considerator considered: or, a brief View of certain Considerations upon the Biblia | Polyglotta, the Prolegomena, and Appendix. Wherein, among other things, the certainty, integrity, and the divine authority, of the original text is defended against the consequences of Atheists, Papists, Ariti-Scripturists, &c. inferred from the various readings and novelty of the Hebrew points, by the author of the said Considerations; the Biblia Polyglotta and translations therein exhibited, with the various readings, prolegomena, and appendix, vindicated from his aspersions and calumnies; and the questions about the punctuation of the Hebrew text, the various readings, and the ancient Hebrew character, briefly handJed,” 8vo. These prolegomena, which have always beeti admired, and afford indeed the principal monument of his learning, consist of sixteen parts: 1. Of the nature, origin, division, number, changes, and use of languages. 2. Of letters, or characters, their wonderful use, origin and first invention, and their diversity in the chief languages. 3. Of the Hebrew tongue, its antiquity, preservation, change, excellency, and use, ancient characters, vowel points, and accents. 4. Of the principal editions of the Bible. 5. Of the translations of the Bible. 6. Of the various readings in the Holy Scripture. 7. Of the integrity and authority of the original texts. 8. Of the Masora, Keri, and Ketib, various readings of the Eastern and Western Jews, Ben Ascher, and Ben Napthali, and of the Cabala. 9. Of the Septuagint, and other Greek translations. 10. Of the Latin Vulgate. 11. Of the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the versions of the same. 12. Of the Chaldee language, and versions.13. Of the Syriac tongue, and versions. 14. Of the Arabic language and versions. 15. Of the Ethiopia tongue and versions; and, 16. Of the Persian language and versions. As these instructive prolegomena were highly valued by scholars on the continent, they were reprinted at Zurich in 1573, fol. by Heidegger, with Drusius’s collection of Hebrew proverbs; and about 1777 Dr. Dathe printed an edition at Leipsic in 8vo, with a preface containing many judicious and learned remarks on several of Dr. Walton’s opinions.

Nine languages, as we have observed, are used in this Polyglott, yet there is no one book in the whole Bible printed in so many. In the New Testament, the four evangelists are in six languages; the other books only in five; tnd those of Judith and the Maccabees only in three. | The Septuagint version is printed from the edition at Rome in 1537. The Latin is the Vulgate of Clement VILI. But for these and many other particulars of the history and progress of this work, so great an honour to the English press, we must refer to Dr. Clark’s Bibliographical Dictionary, and that invaluable fund of information, Mr. Nichols’s Literary Anecdotes. The alterations in the preface to the Polyglott, in which the compliments to Cromwell are omitted or altered so as to suit Charles II. have been long the topic of curious discussion, which has had the effect to give a factitious value to the copies that happen to have the preface unaltered. This was a few years ago in some measure destroyed by Mr. Lunn, the bookseller, who printed a fac simile of the republican preface, as it has been called, which may be added by the possessors of the royal copies.

After the restoration, Dr. Walton had the honour to present the Polyglott Bible to Charles II., who made him chaplain in ordinary, and soon after promoted him to the bishopric of Chester. In September 1661, he went to take possession of his see; and was met upon the road, and received with such a concourse of gentry, clergy, militia both of the city and county, and with such acclamations of thousands of the people, as had never been known upon any such occasion. This was on the 10th of September, and on the 11th he was installed with much ceremony; “a day,” says Wood, “not to be forgotten by all the true sons of the Church of England, though cursed then in private by the most rascally faction and crop-eared whelps of those parts, who did their endeavours to make it a May-game and a piece of foppery.” This glory, however, which attended bishop Walton, though it seems to have been great, was yet short-lived; for, returning to London, he died at his house in Aldersgate-street, Nov. the 29th following, and was interred in St. Paul’s cathedral, where a monument with a Latin inscription was erected to his memory, of which a broken stone now only remains, with a few words of the inscription, in the vault of St. Faith’s under St. Paul’s. Dr. Walton was twice married. His first wife was Anne, of the Claxton family of Suffolk. She died May 25, 1640, aged forty-three, and was buried in the chancel of Sundon church, where a handsome monument was erected to her memory. His second wife was Jane, daughter to the celebrated Dr. Fuller, vicar of St. Giles’s Cripplegate. Dr. Walton had published at London, | in 1655, “Introdu’ctio ad lectionem Linguarum Orientalium,” in 8vo. 1


Biog. Brit. —Ath. Ox. vol. II. Con. Dict. Lloyd’s Memoirs. Walker’s Sufferings, etc.