A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature, by John W. Cousin


Paine, Thomas (1737–1809). — Political and anti-Christian writer, son of a stay-maker and small farmer of Quaker principles at Thetford, became with large classes perhaps the most unpopular man in England. After trying various occupations, including those of schoolmaster and exciseman, and having separated from his wife, he went in 1774 to America where, in 1776, he published his famous pamphlet, Common Sense, in favour of American independence. He served in the American army, and also held some political posts, including that of secretary to a mission to France in 1781. Returning to England in 1787 he published his Rights of Man (1790–92), in reply to Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution. It had an enormous circulation, 1,500,000 copies having been sold in England alone; but it made it necessary for him to escape to France to avoid prosecution. Arrived in that country he was elected to the National Convention. He opposed the execution of Louis XVI., and was, in 1794, imprisoned by Robespierre, whose fall saved his life. He had then just completed the first part of his Age of Reason, of which the other two appeared respectively in 1795 and 1807. It is directed alike against Christianity and Atheism, and supports Deism. Becoming disgusted with the course of French politics, he returned to America in 1802, but found himself largely ostracised by society there, became embroiled in various controversies, and is said to have become intemperate. He died at New York in 1809. Though apparently sincere in his views, and courageous in the expression of them, P. was vain and prejudiced. The extraordinary lucidity and force of his style did much to gain currency for his writings.

Painter, William (1540?-1594). — Translator, etc., ed. at Cambridge, was then successively schoolmaster at Sevenoaks, and Clerk of the Ordnance, in which position his intromissions appear to have been of more advantage to himself than to the public service. He was the author of The Palace of Pleasure (1566), largely consisting of translations from Boccaccio, Bandello, and other Italian writers, and also from the classics. It formed a quarry in which many dramatists, including Shakespeare, found the plots for their plays.

Paley, William (1743–1805). — Theologian, son of a minor canon of Peterborough, where he was born, went at 15 as a sizar to Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he was Senior Wrangler, and became a Fellow and Tutor of his coll. Taking orders in 1767 he held many benefices, and rose to be Archdeacon of Carlisle, and Sub–Dean of Lincoln. P., who holds one of the highest places among English theologians, was the author of four important works — Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy (1785), Horæ Paulinæ, his most original, but least popular, book (1790), View of the Evidences of Christianity (1794), and Natural Theology (1802). Though now to a large extent superseded, these works had an immense popularity and influence in their day, and are characterised by singular clearness of expression and power of apt illustration. The system of morals inculcated by P. is Utilitarian, modified by theological ideas. His view of the “divine right of Kings” as on a level with “the divine right of constables” was unpleasing to George III., notwithstanding which his ecclesiastical career was eminently successful. His manners were plain and kindly.

Palgrave, Sir Francis (1788–1861). — Historian, son of Meyer Cohen, a Jewish stockbroker, but at his marriage in 1823, having previously become a Christian, assumed his mother-inlaw’s name of Palgrave. He studied law, and was called to the Bar in 1827. From 1838 until his death in 1861 he was Deputy Keeper of the Records, and in that capacity arranged a vast mass of hitherto inaccessible documents, and ed. many of them for the Record Commission. His historical works include a History of England in Anglo–Saxon Times (1831), Rise and Progress of the English Commonwealth (1832), and History of Normandy and England (4 vols., 1851–64), published posthumously. He was knighted in 1832. His works are of great value in throwing light upon the history and condition of mediæval England.

Palgrave, Francis Turner (1824–1897). — Poet and critic, son of the above, ed. at Oxford, was for many years connected with the Education Department, of which he rose to be Assistant Sec.; and from 1886–95 he was Prof. of Poetry at Oxford He wrote several vols. of poetry, including Visions of England (1881), and Amenophis (1892), which, though graceful and exhibiting much poetic feeling, were the work rather of a man of culture than of a poet. His great contribution to literature was his anthology, The Golden Treasury of Songs and Lyrics (1864), selected with marvellous insight and judgment. A second series showed these qualities in a less degree. He also published an anthology of sacred poetry.

Paltock, Robert (1697–1767). — Novelist, was an attorney, and wrote The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins, a Cornish Man (1751), admired by Scott, Coleridge, and Lamb. It is somewhat on the same plan as Robinson Crusoe, the special feature being the gawry, or flying woman, whom the hero discovered on his island, and married. The description of Nosmnbdsgrutt, the country of the flying people, is a dull imitation of Swift, and much else in the book is tedious.

Pardoe, Julia (1806–1862). — Novelist and miscellaneous writer, born at Beverley, showed an early bias towards literature, and became a voluminous and versatile writer, producing in addition to her lively and well-written novels many books of travel, and others dealing with historical subjects. She was a keen observer, and her Oriental travels had given her an accurate and deep knowledge of the peoples and manners of the East. Among her books are The City of the Sultan (1836), Romance of the Harem, Thousand and One Days, Louis XIV. and the Court of France, Court of Francis I., etc.

Paris, Matthew (c. 1195–1259). — Chronicler, entered in 1217 the Benedictine Monastery of St. Albans, and continued the work of Roger de Wendover (q.v.) as chronicler of the monastery. In 1248 he went on the invitation of Hacon King of Norway to reform the Abbey of St. Benet Holm. In this he was successful, and on his return to England enjoyed the favour of Henry III., who conversed familiarly with him, and imparted information as to matters of state, which constitutes a valuable element in his histories. He had a high reputation for piety and learning, was a patriotic Englishman, and resisted the encroachments of Rome. His chief work is Historia Major, from the Conquest until 1259. In it he embodied the Flores Historiarum of his predecessor Roger, and the original part is a bold and vigorous narrative of the period (1235–59). He also wrote Historia Minor and Historia Anglorum, a summary of the events (1200–1250).

Park, Mungo (1771–1806). — Traveller, born near Selkirk, studied medicine at Edinburgh As a surgeon in the mercantile marine he visited Sumatra, and on his return attracted the attention of various scientific men by his botanical and zoological investigations. In 1795 he entered the service of the African Association, and made a voyage of discovery on the Niger. His adventures were published in Travels in the Interior of Africa (1799), which had great success. He married and set up in practice in Peebles; but in 1805 accepted an invitation by Government to undertake another journey in Africa. From this he never returned, having perished in a conflict with natives. His narratives, written in a straightforward and pleasing style, are among the classics of travel.

Parker, Theodore (1810–1860). — Theologian, born at Lexington, Massachusetts, ed. at Harvard, was an indefatigable student, and made himself master of many languages. In 1837 he was settled at West Roxbury as a Unitarian minister, but the development of his views in a rationalistic direction gradually separated him from the more conservative portion of his co-religionists. He lectured on theological subjects in Boston in 1841, travelled in Europe, and in 1845 settled in Boston, where he lectured to large audiences, and exercised a wide influence. He took a leading part in the anti-slavery crusade, and specially in resisting the Fugitive Slave Act. In 1859 his health, which had never been robust, gave way; he went to Italy in search of restoration, but died at Florence. Although he was a powerful theological and social influence, his writings are not of corresponding importance: it was rather as a speaker that he influenced his countrymen, and he left no contribution to literature of much permanent account, though his collected works fill 14 vols. Among the most outstanding of his writings are A Discourse of Matters Pertaining to Religion, and Sermons for the Times.

Parkman, Francis (1823–1893). — Historian, son of a Unitarian minister in Boston, Massachusetts, graduated at Harvard, and qualified as a lawyer, but never practised, and though hampered by a state of health which forbade continuous application, and by partial blindness, devoted himself to the writing of the history of the conflict between France and England in North America. This he did in a succession of works — The Conspiracy of Pontiac (1851), The Pioneers of France in the New World (1865), The Jesuits in North America (1867), La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West (1869), The Old Regime in Canada (1874), Count Frontenac and New France (1877), Montcalm and Wolfe (1884), and A Half Century of Conflict (1892). In these the style, at first somewhat turgid, gradually improved, and became clear and forcible, while retaining its original vividness. P. spared no labour in collecting and sifting his material, much of which was gathered in the course of visits to the places which were the scenes of his narrative, and his books are the most valuable contribution in existence to the history of the struggle for Canada and the other French settlements in North America. He also wrote two novels, which had little success, and a book upon rose-culture.

Parnell, Thomas (1679–1718). — Poet, born and ed. in Dublin, took orders in 1700, and was Vicar of Finglas and Archdeacon of Clogher. The death of his young wife in 1706 drove him into intemperate habits. He was a friend of Swift and Pope, a contributor to the Spectator, and aided Pope in his translation of the Iliad. He wrote various isolated poems showing a fine descriptive touch, of which the most important are The Hermit, The Night Piece, and The Hymn to Contentment. P. was a scholar, and had considerable social gifts. His Life was written by Goldsmith.

Parr, Dr. Samuel (1747–1825). — Scholar, son of an apothecary at Harrow, where and at Cambridge he was ed. He was successively an assistant-master at Harrow and headmaster of schools at Colchester and Norwich, and having taken orders, finally settled down at Hatton, Warwickshire, where he took private pupils. He was undoubtedly a great Latinist, but he has left no work to account for the immense reputation for ability which he enjoyed during his life. His chief power appears to have been in conversation, in which he was bold, arrogant, and epigrammatic. He was nicknamed “the Whig Johnson,” but fell very far short of his model. His writings, including correspondence, were published in 8 vols.

Pater, Walter Horatio (1839–1894). — Essayist and critic, son of Richard G.P., of American birth and Dutch extraction, a benevolent physician, born at Shadwell, and ed. at the King’s School, Canterbury, and at Queen’s College, Oxford, after leaving which he made various tours in Germany and Italy where, especially in the latter, his nature, keenly sensitive to every form of beauty, received indelible impressions. In 1864 he was elected a Fellow of Brasenose, and in its ancient and austere precincts found his principal home. As a tutor, though conscientious, he was not eminently successful; nevertheless his lectures, on which he bestowed much pains, had a fit audience, and powerfully influenced a few select souls. He resigned his tutorship in 1880, partly because he found himself not entirely in his element, and partly because literature was becoming the predominant interest in his life. In 1885 he went to London, where he remained for 8 years, continuing, however, to reside at Brasenose during term. The reputation as a writer which he had gained made him welcome in whatever intellectual circles he found himself. Leaving London in 1893 he settled in a house in St. Giles, Oxford In the spring of 1894 he went to Glasgow to receive the honorary degree of LL.D., a distinction which he valued. In the summer he had an attack of rheumatic fever, followed by pleurisy. From these he had apparently recovered, but he succumbed to an attack of heart-failure which immediately supervened. Thus ended prematurely in its 55th year a life as bare of outward events as it was rich in literary fruit and influence.

P. is one of the greatest modern masters of style, and one of the subtlest and most penetrating of critics. Though not a philosopher in the technical sense, he deeply pondered the subjects with which philosophy sets itself to deal; but art was the dominating influence in his intellectual life, and it was said of him that “he was a philosopher who had gone to Italy by mistake instead of to Germany.” He may also be called the prophet of the modern æsthetic school. His attitude to Christianity, though deeply sceptical, was not unsympathetic. As a boy he came under the influence of Keble, and at one time thought of taking orders, but his gradual change of view led him to relinquish the idea. Among his works may be mentioned an article on Coleridge, and others on Winckelmann, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, etc., which were collected and published as Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873); Appreciations (1889) contained his great essays on Æsthetic Poetry and Style, various Shakespearian studies and papers on Lamb and Sir T. Browne; Imaginary Portraits, and Greek Studies (1894); Plato and Platonism (1893). His masterpiece, however, is Marius the Epicurean (1885), a philosophical romance of the time of Marcus Aurelius. The style of P. is characterised by a subdued richness, and complicated, but perfect structure of sentences. In character he was gentle, refined, and retiring, with a remarkable suavity of manner and dislike of controversy.

Patmore, Coventry Kersey Dighton (1823–1896). — Poet, son of Peter George P., also an author, born at Woodford, Essex, was in the printed book department of the British Museum. He published Tamerton Church Tower (1853), and between 1854 and 1862 the four poems which, combined, form his masterpiece, The Angel in the House, a poetic celebration of married love. In 1864 he entered the Church of Rome. Thereafter he published The Unknown Eros (1877), Amelia (1878), and Rod, Root, and Flower (1895), meditations chiefly on religious subjects. His works are full of graceful and suggestive thought, but occasionally suffer from length and discursiveness. He was successful in business matters, and in character was energetic, masterful, and combative. He numbered Tennyson and Ruskin among his friends, was associated with the pre-Raphaelites, and was a contributor to their organ, the Germ.

Pattison, Mark (1813–1884). — Scholar and biographer, born at Hornby, Yorkshire, son of a clergyman, ed. privately and at Oxford, where in 1839 he became Fellow of Lincoln College, and acquired a high reputation as a tutor and examiner. At first strongly influenced by Newman and the Tractarian movement, he ultimately abandoned that school. In 1851, failing to be elected head of his coll., he threw up his tutorship, and devoted himself to severe study, occasionally writing on educational subjects in various reviews. In 1861, however, he attained the object of his ambition, being elected Rector of Lincoln College In 1883 he dictated a remarkable autobiography, coming down to 1860. In 1875 he had published a Life of Isaac Casaubon, and he left materials for a Life of Scaliger, which he had intended to be his magnum opus. He also wrote Milton for the English Men of Letters Series, and produced an ed. of his sonnets.

Paulding, James Kirke (1779–1860). — Novelist, etc., born in the state of New York, was chiefly self-educated. He became a friend of W. Irving, and was part author with him of Salmagundi — a continuation of which by himself proved a failure. Among his other writings are John Bull and Brother Jonathan (1812), a satire, The Dutchman’s Fireside (1831), a romance which attained popularity, a Life of Washington (1835), and some poems.

Payn, James (1830–1898). — Novelist, son of an official in the Thames Commission, ed. at Eton, Woolwich, and Cambridge He was a regular contributor to Household Words and to Chambers’s Journal, of which he was ed. 1859–74, and in which several of his works first appeared; he also ed. the Cornhill Magazine 1883–96. Among his novels — upwards of 60 in number — may be mentioned Lost Sir Massingberd, The Best of Husbands, Walter’s Word, By Proxy (1878), A Woman’s Vengeance, Carlyon’s Year, Thicker than Water, A Trying Patient, etc. He also wrote a book of poems and a volume of literary reminiscences.

Peacock, Thomas Love (1785–1866). — Novelist, born at Weymouth, the only child of a London merchant, was in boyhood at various schools, but from the age of 13 self-educated. Nevertheless, he became a really learned scholar. He was for long in the India Office, where he rose to be Chief Examiner, coming between James Mill and John Stuart Mill. He was the author of several somewhat whimsical, but quite unique novels, full of paradox, prejudice, and curious learning, with witty dialogue and occasional poems interspersed. Among them are Headlong Hall (1816), Nightmare Abbey (1818), Maid Marian (1822), Misfortunes of Elphin (1829), Crotchet Castle (1831), and Gryll Grange (1860). He was the intimate friend of Shelley, memoirs of whom he contributed to Fraser’s Magazine.

Pearson, Charles Henry (1830–1894). — Born at Islington, ed. at Rugby and King’s College, London, at the latter he became Prof. of Modern History. Owing to a threatened failure of sight he went to Australia, where he remained for 20 years, and was for a time Minister of Education of Victoria. Returning to England in 1892 he wrote his National Life and Character: a Forecast, in which he gave utterance to very pessimistic views as to the future of the race. He also wrote a History of England during the Early and Middle Ages (1867).

Pearson, John (1613–1686). — Theologian, son of an archdeacon of Suffolk, born at Great Snoring, Norfolk, ed. at Eton and Cambridge, took orders, and after holding various preferments, including the archdeaconry of Surrey, the mastership of Jesus College, and of Trinity College, Cambridge, was made, in 1673, Bishop of Chester. His Exposition of the Creed (1659) has always been regarded as one of the most finished productions of English theology, remarkable alike for logical argument and arrangement, and lucid style. He was also the author of other learned works, including a defence of the authenticity of the epistles of Ignatius. In his youth P. was a Royalist, and acted in 1645 as a chaplain in the Royal army. He was one of the commissioners in the Savoy Conference.

Pecock, Reginald (1395?-1460?). — Theologian, born in Wales, entered the Church, and rose to be successively Bishop of St. Asaph 1444, and of Chichester 1450. He was a strenuous controversialist, chiefly against the Lollards; but his free style of argument, and especially his denial of the infallibility of the Church, led him into trouble, and on being offered the choice of abjuration or death at the stake, he chose the former, but nevertheless was deprived of his bishopric, had his books burned, and spent his latter days in the Abbey of Thorney, Cambridgeshire. His chief work is The Repressor of overmuch blaming of the Clergy (1455), which, from its clear, pointed style, remains a monument of 15th century English. The Book of Faith (1456) is another of his writings.

Peele, George (1558?-1597?). — Dramatist and poet, son of a salter in London, ed. at Christ’s Hospital and Oxford, where he had a reputation as a poet. Coming back to London about 1581 he led a dissipated life. He appears to have been a player as well as a playwright, and to have come into possession of some land through his wife. His works are numerous and consist of plays, pageants, and miscellaneous verse. His best plays are The Arraignment of Paris (1584), and The Battle of Alcazar (1594), and among his poems Polyhymnia (1590), and The Honour of the Garter (1593). Other works are Old Wives’ Tale (1595), and David and Fair Bethsabe (1599). P. wrote in melodious and flowing blank verse, with abundance of fancy and brilliant imagery, but his dramas are weak in construction, and he is often bombastic and extravagant.

Penn, William (1644–1718). — Quaker apologist, son of Sir William P., a celebrated Admiral, was born in London, and ed. at Oxford, where he became a Quaker, and was in consequence expelled from the University. His change of views and his practice of the extremest social peculiarities imposed by his principles led to a quarrel with his father, who is said to have turned him out of doors. Thereafter he began to write, and one of his books, The Sandy Foundation Shaken (c. 1668), in which he attacked the doctrines of the Trinity, the atonement, and justification by faith, led to his being, in 1668, imprisoned in the Tower, where he wrote his most popular work, No Cross, No Crown (1668), and a defence of his own conduct, Innocency with her Open Face (1668), which resulted in his liberation. Shortly after this, in 1670, on the death of his father, who had been reconciled to him, P. succeeded to a fortune, including a claim against the Government amounting to £15,000, which was ultimately in 1681 settled by a grant of the territory now forming the state of Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, however, he had again suffered imprisonment for preaching, and employed his enforced leisure in writing four treatises, of which one, The Great Cause of Liberty of Conscience (c. 1671), is an able defence of religious toleration. In 1682, having obtained the grant above referred to, he set sail for America, with the view of founding a community based upon the principles of toleration. Having established a Constitution and set matters in working order there, P. returned to England in 1684 and busied himself in efforts for the relief of those Quakers who had remained at home. The peculiar position of affairs when James II. was endeavouring to use the Dissenters as a means of gaining concessions to the Roman Catholics favoured his views, and he was to some extent successful in his efforts. His connection with the Court at that time has, however, led to his conduct being severely animadverted upon by Macaulay and others. In 1690 and for some time thereafter he was charged with conspiring against the Revolution Government, but after full investigation was completely acquitted. His later years were embittered by troubles in Pennsylvania, and by the dishonesty and ingratitude of an agent by whose defalcations he was nearly ruined, as a consequence of which he was imprisoned for debt. He died soon after his release in 1718.

Pennant, Thomas (1726–1798). — Naturalist and traveller, born in Flintshire, and ed. at Oxford, was one of the most distinguished naturalists of the 18th century, and published, among other works on natural history, British Zoology (1768), and History of Quadrupeds (1781). In literature he is, however, best remembered by his Tours in Scotland (1771–75), which did much to make known the beauties of the country to England. He also travelled in Ireland and Wales, and on the Continent, and published accounts of his journeys. Dr. Johnson said of him, “he observes more things than any one else does.”

Pepys, Samuel (1633–1703). — Diarist, son of John P., a London tailor, but of good family and connected with Sir E. Montague, afterwards Earl of Sandwich, was ed. at St. Paul’s School and at Cambridge After leaving the University he entered the household of Montagu, who became his life long patron. He held various Government posts, including that of Surveyor–General of the Victualling Office, in which he displayed great administrative ability and reforming zeal, and in 1672 he became Sec. of the Admiralty. After being imprisoned in the Tower on a charge in connection with the Popish plot, and deprived of his office, he was in 1686 again appointed Sec. of the Admiralty, from which, however, he was dismissed at the Revolution. Thereafter he lived in retirement chiefly at Clapham. P. was a man of many interests, combining the characters of the man of business, man of pleasure, and virtuoso, being skilled in music and a collector of books, manuscripts, and pictures, and he was Pres. of the Royal Society for two years. He wrote Memoirs of the Royal Navy (1690), but his great legacy to literature is his unique and inimitable Diary, begun January 1, 1660, and coming down to May 31, 1669, when the failure of his sight prevented its further continuance. As an account by an eye-witness of the manners of the Court and of society it is invaluable, but it is still more interesting as, perhaps, the most singular example extant of unreserved self-revelation — all the foibles, peccadilloes, and more serious offences against decorum of the author being set forth with the most relentless naïveté and minuteness, it was written in a cypher or shorthand, which was translated into long-hand by John Smith in 1825, and ed. by Lord Braybrooke, with considerable excisions. Later and fuller ed. have followed. P. left his books, MSS., and collections to Magdalene College, Cambridge, where they are preserved in a separate library.

Percival, James Gates (1795–1854). — Poet, born at Berlin, Conn., was a precocious child, and a morbid and impractical, though versatile man, with a fatal facility in writing verse on all manner of subjects and in nearly every known metre. His sentimentalism appealed to a wide circle, but his was one of the tapers which were extinguished by Lowell. He had also a reputation as a geologist. His poetic works include Prometheus and The Dream of a Day (1843).

Percy, Thomas (1729–1811). — Antiquary and poet, son of a grocer at Bridgnorth, where he was born, ed. at Oxford, entered the Church, and became in 1778 Dean of Carlisle, and in 1782 Bishop of Dromore. He published various antiquarian works, chiefly with reference to the North of England; but is best remembered for his great service to literature in collecting and ed. many ancient ballads, published in 1765 as Reliques of Ancient Poetry, which did much to bring back interest in the ancient native literature, and to usher in the revival of romanticism.

Philips, Ambrose (1675?-1749). — Poet, born in Shropshire and ed. at Cambridge, wrote pastorals and dramas, was one of the Addison circle, and started a paper, the Freethinker, in imitation of the Spectator. He also made translations from Pindar and Anacreon, and a series of short complimentary verses, which gained for him the nickname of “Namby Pamby.” His Pastorals, though poor enough, excited the jealousy of Pope, who pursued the unfortunate author with life-long enmity. P. held various Government appointments in Ireland.

Philips, John (1676–1709). — Poet, son of an archdeacon of Salop, and ed. at Oxford His Splendid Shilling, a burlesque in Miltonic blank verse, still lives, and Cyder, his chief work, an imitation of Virgil’s Georgics, has some fine descriptive passages. P. was also employed by Harley to write verses on Blenheim as a counterblast to Addison’s Campaign. He died at 33 of consumption.

Phillips, Samuel (1814–1854). — Novelist, of Jewish descent, studied for the Church at Göttingen and Cambridge, but his father dying, he was obliged to give up his intention and take to business, in which, however, he was unsuccessful, and fell into great straits. He then tried writing, and produced some novels, of which the best known was Caleb Stukely, which appeared in Blackwood in 1842. He was latterly a leader-writer for the Times.

Picken, Andrew (1788–1833). — Miscellaneous writer, born in Paisley, was in business in the West Indies, and in Glasgow and Liverpool, but not being successful, went to London to try his fortunes in literature. His earlier writings, Tales and Sketches of the West of Scotland and The Sectarian (1829), gave offence in dissenting circles: his next, The Dominie’s Legacy (1830), had considerable success, and a book on Travels and Researches of Eminent Missionaries (1830) did something to rehabilitate him with those whom he had offended. His last work, The Black Watch (1833), had just appeared when he died of an apoplectic seizure. His best work is somewhat like that of Galt (q.v.).

Pierpont, John (1785–1860). — Poet, born at Litchfield, Conn., was first a lawyer, then a merchant, and lastly a Unitarian minister. His chief poem is The Airs of Palestine.

Pike, Albert (1809–1891). — Poet, born at Boston, Mass., was in his early days a teacher, and afterwards a successful lawyer. His now little-remembered poems were chiefly written under the inspiration of Coleridge and Keats. His chief work, Hymns to the Gods, which appeared in Blackwood’s Magazine, closely imitates the latter. He also wrote prose sketches.

Pindar, Peter, (see Wolcot, J.).

Pinkerton, John (1758–1826). — Historian and Antiquary, born in Edinburgh, was apprenticed to a lawyer, but took to literature, and produced a number of works distinguished by painstaking research, but disfigured by a controversial and prejudiced spirit. His first publication was Select Scottish Ballads (1783), some of which, however, were composed by himself. A valuable Essay on Medals (1784) introduced him to Gibbon and Horace Walpole. Among his other works are Ancient Scottish Poems (1786), Dissertation on the Goths (1787), Medallic History of England (1790), History of Scotland (1797), and his best work, Treatise on Rocks (1811). One of his most inveterate prejudices was against Celts of all tribes and times. He died in obscurity in Paris.

Pinkney, Edward Coate (1802–1828). — Born in London, where his father was U.S. ambassador. He wrote a number of light, graceful short poems, but fell a victim to ill-health and a morbid melancholy at 25. His longest poem is Rudolph (1825).

Piozzi, Hester Lynch (Salusbury) (1741–1821). — Miscellaneous writer, married Henry Thrale, a wealthy brewer, and, after his death, Gabriel Piozzi, an Italian musician. Her chief distinction is her friendship with Dr. Johnson, who was for a time almost domesticated with the Thrales. Her second marriage in the year of Johnson’s death, 1784, broke up the friendship. She wrote Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson, a work which had a favourable reception, and gives a lifelike picture of its subject, and left an Autobiography. Her poem, The Three Warnings, is supposed to have been touched up by Johnson. Many details of her friendship with J. are given in the Diary of Madame D’Arblay (q.v.).

PlanchÉ, James Robinson (1796–1880). — Dramatist and miscellaneous writer, born in London of Huguenot descent, was in the Herald Office, and rose to be Somerset Herald, in which capacity he was repeatedly sent on missions to invest foreign princes with the Order of the Garter. He produced upwards of 90 adaptations, and about 70 original pieces for the stage. He also wrote a History of British Costumes, The Pursuivant of Arms (1852), and The Conqueror and his Companions (1874), besides autobiographical Recollections (1872).

Poe, Edgar Allan (1809–1849). — Poet and writer of tales, was born at Boston, where his parents, who were both actors, were temporarily living. He was left an orphan in early childhood in destitute circumstances, but was adopted by a Mr. Allan of Richmond, Virginia. By him and his wife he was treated with great indulgence, and in 1815 accompanied them to England, where they remained for five years, and where he received a good education, which was continued on their return to America, at the University of Virginia. He distinguished himself as a student, but got deeply into debt with gaming, which led to his being removed. In 1829 he published a small vol. of poems containing Al Araaf and Tamerlane. About the same time he proposed to enter the army, and was placed at the Military Academy at West Point. Here, however, he grossly neglected his duties, and fell into the habits of intemperance which proved the ruin of his life, and was in 1831 dismissed. He then returned to the house of his benefactor, but his conduct was so objectionable as to lead to a rupture. In the same year P. published an enlarged ed. of his poems, and in 1833 was successful in a competition for a prize tale and a prize poem, the tale being the MS. found in a Bottle, and the poem The Coliseum. In the following year Mr. Allan died without making any provision for P., and the latter, being now thrown on his own resources, took to literature as a profession, and became a contributor to various periodicals. In 1836 he entered into a marriage with his cousin Virginia Clemm, a very young girl, who continued devotedly attached to him notwithstanding his many aberrations, until her death in 1847. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym appeared in 1838, and in 1839 P. became ed. of the Gentleman’s Magazine, in which appeared as Tales of the Arabesque and Grotesque many of his best stories. In 1845 his famous poem, The Raven, came out, and in 1848 Eureka, a Prose Poem, a pseudo-scientific lucubration. The death of his wife gave a severe shock to his constitution, and a violent drinking bout on a visit to Baltimore led to his death from brain fever in the hospital there. The literary output of P., though not great in volume, limited in range, and very unequal in merit, bears the stamp of an original genius. In his poetry he sometimes aims at a musical effect to which the sense is sacrificed, but at times he has a charm and a magic melody all his own. His better tales are remarkable for their originality and ingenuity of construction, and in the best of them he rises to a high level of imagination, as in The House of Usher, while The Gold Beetle or Golden Bug is one of the first examples of the cryptogram story; and in The Purloined Letters, The Mystery of Marie Roget, and The Murders in the Rue Morgue he is the pioneer of the modern detective story.

Life, Woodberry (American Men of Letters). Works ed. by Woodberry and Stedman (10 vols.), etc.

Pollok, Robert (1789–1827). — Poet, born in Refrewshire, studied for the ministry of one of the Scottish Dissenting communions. After leaving the University of Glasgow he published anonymously Tales of the Covenanters, and in 1827, the year of his untimely death from consumption, appeared his poem, The Course of Time, which contains some fine passages, and occasionally faintly recalls Milton and Young. The poem went through many ed. in Britain and America. He died at Shirley, near Southampton, whither he had gone in search of health.

Pomfret, John (1667–1702). — Poet, son of a clergyman, entered the Church. He wrote several rather dull poems, of which the only one remembered, though now never read, is The Choice, which celebrates a country life free from care, and was highly popular in its day.

Pope, Alexander (1688–1744). — Poet, was born in London, of Roman Catholic parentage. His father was a linen-merchant, who married as his second wife Edith Turner, a lady of respectable Yorkshire family, and of some fortune, made a competence, and retired to a small property at Binfield, near Windsor. P. received a somewhat desultory education at various Roman Catholic schools, but after the age of 12, when he had a severe illness brought on by over-application, he was practically self-educated. Though never a profound or accurate scholar, he had a good knowledge of Latin, and a working acquaintance with Greek. By 1704 he had written a good deal of verse, which attracted the attention of Wycherley (q.v.), who introduced him to town life and to other men of letters. In 1709 his Pastorals were published in Tonson’s Miscellany, and two years later The Essay on Criticism appeared, and was praised by Addison. The Rape of the Lock, which came out in 1714, placed his reputation on a sure foundation, and thereafter his life was an uninterrupted and brilliant success. His industry was untiring, and his literary output almost continuous until his death. In 1713 Windsor Forest (which won him the friendship of Swift) and The Temple of Fame appeared, and in 1715 the translation of the Iliad was begun, and the work published at intervals between that year and 1720. It had enormous popularity, and brought the poet £5000. It was followed by the Odyssey (1725–26), in which he had the assistance of Broome and Fenton (q.v.), who, especially the former, caught his style so exactly as almost to defy identification. It also was highly popular, and increased his gains to about £8000, which placed him in a position of independence. While engaged upon these he removed to Chiswick, where he lived 1716–18, and where he issued in 1717 a collected ed. of his works, including the Elegy on an Unfortunate Lady and the Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard. In 1718, his father having died, he again removed with his mother to his famous villa at Twickenham, the adornment of the grounds of which became one of his chief interests, and where, now the acknowledged chief of his art, he received the visits of his friends, who included the most distinguished men of letters, wits, statesmen, and beauties of the day. His next task was his ed. of Shakespeare (1725), a work for which he was not well qualified, though the preface is a fine piece of prose. The Miscellanies, the joint work of Pope and Swift, were published in 1727–28, and drew down upon the authors a storm of angry comment, which in turn led to the production of The Dunciad, first published in 1728, and again with new matter in 1729, an additional book — the fourth — being added in 1742. In it he satirised with a wit, always keen and biting, often savage and unfair, the small wits and poetasters, and some of a quite different quality, who had, or whom he supposed to have, injured him. Between 1731 and 1735 he produced his Epistles, the last of which, addressed to Arbuthnot, is also known as the Prologue to the Satires, and contains his ungrateful character of Addison under the name of “Atticus;” and also, 1733, the Essay on Man, written under the influence of Bolingbroke. His last, and in some respects best, works were his Imitations of Horace, published between 1733 and 1739, and the fourth book of The Dunciad (1742), already mentioned. A naturally delicate constitution, a deformed body, extreme sensitiveness, over-excitement, and overwork did not promise a long life, and P. died on May 30, 1744, aged 56.

His position as a poet has been the subject of much contention among critics, and on the whole is lower than that assigned him by his contemporaries and immediate successors. Of the higher poetic qualities, imagination, sympathy, insight, and pathos, he had no great share; but for the work which in his original writings, as distinguished from translations, he set himself to do, his equipment was supreme, and the medium which he used — the heroic couplet — he brought to the highest technical perfection of which it is capable. He wrote for his own age, and in temper and intellectual and spiritual outlook, such as it was, he exactly reflected and interpreted it. In the forging of condensed, pointed, and sparkling maxims of life and criticism he has no equal, and in painting a portrait Dryden alone is his rival; while in the Rape of the Lock he has produced the best mock-heroic poem in existence. Almost no author except Shakespeare is so often quoted. His extreme vanity and sensitiveness to criticism made him often vindictive, unjust, and venomous. They led him also into frequent quarrels, and lost him many friends, including Lady M. Wortley Montagu, and along with a strong tendency to finesse and stratagem, of which the circumstances attending the publication of his literary correspondence is the chief instance, make his character on the whole an unamiable one. On the other hand, he was often generous; he retained the friendship of such men as Swift and Arbuthnot, and he was a most dutiful and affectionate son.

Summary. — Born 1688, ed. at various Romanist schools, introduced to Wycherley 1704, published Pastorals 1709, Essay on Criticism 1711, Rape of the Lock 1714, Windsor Forest and Temple of Fame 1713, translation of Iliad 1715–20, Odyssey 1725–26, coll. Works 1717, buys villa at Twickenham 1718, published ed. of Shakespeare 1725, Miscellanies 1727–28, Dunciad 1728 (fourth book 1742), Epistles 1731–35, Essay on Man 1733, Imitations of Horace 1733–39, died 1744.

The best ed. of the Works is that of Elwin and Courthope, with Life by Courthope (10 vols., 1871–89).

Pordage, Samuel (1633–1691?). — Poet, son of a clergyman in Berks, ed. at Merchant Taylor’s School, studied law at Lincoln’s Inn, and made various translations, wrote some poems, two tragedies, Herod and Mariamne (1673), and The Siege of Babylon (1678), and a romance, Eliana. He is best known by his Azaria and Hushai (1682), in reply to Dryden’s Absalom and Achitophel, distinguished from the other replies by its moderation and freedom from scurrility.

Porson, Richard (1759–1808). — Scholar, son of the parish clerk of E. Ruston, Norfolk, was distinguished from childhood by a marvellous tenacity of memory which attracted the attention of the curate of the parish, who ed. him, after which he was sent by a gentleman to Eton. Subsequently a fund was collected for the purpose of maintaining him at Cambridge, where he had a brilliant career, and became a Fellow of Trinity College This position he lost by refusing to take orders. In 1792 he was appointed Prof. of Greek in the University, but resided for the most part in London, where he was much courted by literary men, but unfortunately fell into extremely intemperate habits. P. was one of the very greatest of Greek scholars and critics; but he has left little permanent work of his own. He ed. four plays of Euripides, viz., Hecuba, Orestes, Phoenissæ, and Medea. His most widely read work was his Letters to Archdeacon Travis on the disputed passage, 1 John v. 7, which is considered a masterpiece of acute reasoning. He is buried in the chapel of Trinity College

Porter, Anna Maria (1780–1832), Porter, Jane (1776–1850). — Novelists, were the daughter of an Irish army surgeon, and sisters of Sir Robert Ker P., the painter and traveller. After the death of the father the family settled in Edinburgh, where they enjoyed the friendship of Scott. ANNA at the age of 12 published Artless Tales, the precursor of a series of tales and novels numbering about 50, the best being Don Sebastian (1809). JANE, though the elder by four years, did not published until 1803, when her first novel, Thaddeus of Warsaw, appeared. The Scottish Chiefs followed in 1810. Both of these works, especially the latter, had remarkable popularity, the Chiefs being translated into German and Russian. She had greater talent than her sister, but like her, while possessed of considerable animation and imagination, failed in grasping character, and imparting local verisimilitude. Both were amiable and excellent women. A romance, Sir Edward Seaward’s Diary (1831), purporting to be a record of actual circumstances, and ed. by Jane, is generally believed to have been written by a brother, Dr. William Ogilvie P.

Powell, Frederick York (1850–1904). — Historian, ed. at Rugby and Oxford, called to the Bar at the Middle Temple 1874, became an ardent student of history, and succeeded Froude as Prof. of Modern History at Oxford in 1894. Absorbed in study, he wrote less than his wide and deep learning qualified him for. Among his works are A History of England to 1509, and he also wrote on Early England up to the Conquest, and on Alfred and William the Conqueror.

Praed, Winthrop Mackworth (1802–1839). — Poet, son of a sergeant-at-law, was born in London, ed. at Eton and Cambridge, and called to the Bar 1829. He sat in Parliament for various places, and was Sec. to the Board of Control 1834–35. He appeared to have a brilliant career before him, when his health gave way, and he died of consumption in 1839. His poems, chiefly bright and witty skits and satirical pieces, were published first in America 1844, and appeared in England with a memoir by Derwent Coleridge in 1864. His essays appeared in 1887.

Prescott, William Hickling (1796–1859). — Historian, born at Salem, Massachusetts, the son of an eminent lawyer, was ed. at Harvard, where he graduated in 1814. While there he met with an accident to one of his eyes which seriously affected his sight for the remainder of his life. He made an extended tour in Europe, and on his return to America he married, and abandoning the idea of a legal career, resolved to devote himself to literature. After ten years of study, he published in 1837 his History of Ferdinand and Isabella, which at once gained for him a high place among historians. It was followed in 1843 by the History of the Conquest of Mexico, and in 1847 by the Conquest of Peru. His last work was the History of Philip II., of which the third vol. appeared in 1858, and which was left unfinished. In that year he had an apoplectic shock, and another in 1859 was the cause of his death, which took place on January 28 in the last-named year. In all his works he displayed great research, impartiality, and an admirable narrative power. The great disadvantage at which, owing to his very imperfect vision, he worked, makes the first of these qualities specially remarkable, for his authorities in a foreign tongue were read to him, while he had to write on a frame for the blind. P. was a man of amiable and benevolent character, and enjoyed the friendship of many of the most distinguished men in Europe as well as in America.

Price, Richard (1723–1791). — Writer on morals, politics, and economics, son of a dissenting minister, was born at Tynton in Wales, ed. at a dissenting coll. in London, and was then for some years chaplain to a Mr. Streatfield, who left him some property. Thereafter he officiated as minister to various congregations near London. In 1758 his Review of the Principal Questions and Difficulties in Morals, a work of considerable metaphysical power, appeared; and it was followed in 1766 by a treatise on The Importance of Christianity. In 1769 his work on Reversionary Payments was published, and his Northampton Mortality Table was about the same time constructed. These, though long superseded, were in their day most valuable contributions to economical science. His most popular work, Observations on Civil Liberty and the Justice and Policy of the War with America, appeared in 1776, had an enormous sale, and led to his being invited to go to America and assist in establishing the financial system of the new Government. This he declined chiefly on the score of age. Simplicity, uprightness, and toleration of opinions opposed to his own appear to have been marked traits in his character.

Prideaux, Humphrey (1648–1724). — Divine and scholar, belonged to an ancient Cornish family, was born at Padstow, and ed. at Westminster School and at Oxford He first attracted notice by his description of the Arundel Marbles (1676), which gained for him powerful patrons, and he rose to be Dean of Norwich. Among his other works are a Life of Mahomet (1697), and The Old and New Testament connected in the History of the Jews and Neighbouring Nations (1715–17), long an important work, of which many ed. were brought out.

Priestly, Joseph (1733–1804). — Chemist, theologian, and political writer, son of a draper at Fieldhead, Yorkshire, where he was born Brought up as a Calvinist, he gradually became a modified Unitarian, and after attending a dissenting academy at Daventry, he became minister to various congregations. About 1756 he published The Scripture Doctrine of Remission, denying the doctrine of atonement, and in 1761 succeeded Dr. Aiken as teacher of languages and belles-lettres in the dissenting academy at Warrington. About the same time he became acquainted with Franklin and Dr. Price (q.v.), and began to devote himself to science, the fruits of which were his History and Present State of Electricity (1767), and Vision, Light, and Colours. He also became a distinguished chemist, and made important discoveries, including that of oxygen. In 1773 he travelled on the Continent as companion to Lord Shelburne, where he was introduced to many men of scientific and literary eminence, by some of whom he was rallied upon his belief in Christianity. In reply to this he wrote Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever (1774), and in answer to the accusations of Atheism brought against him at home, he published (1777) Disquisition relating to Matter and Spirit. In 1780 he settled in Birmingham, in 1782 published his Corruptions of Christianity, and in 1786 his History of Early Opinions concerning Jesus Christ. He was one of those who wrote replies to Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution, one consequence of which was his election as a French citizen, and another the destruction of his chapel, house, papers, and instruments by a mob. Some years later he went to America, where he died P. has been called the father of modern chemistry. He received many scientific and academic honours, being a member of the Royal Society, of the Academies of France, and of St. Petersburg, and an LL.D. of Edinburgh He was a man of powerful and original mind, of high character, and of undaunted courage in maintaining his opinions, which were usually unpopular.

Pringle, Thomas (1789–1834). — Poet, born in Roxburghshire, studied at Edinburgh, and became known to Scott, by whose influence he obtained a grant of land in South Africa, to which he, with his father and brothers, emigrated. He took to literary work in Cape Town, and conducted two papers, which were suppressed for their free criticisms of the Colonial Government. Thereupon he returned and settled in London, where he published African Sketches. He also produced a book of poems, Ephemerides.

Prior, Matthew (1664–1721). — Poet, born near Wimborne Minster, Dorset, son of a joiner who, having died, he was ed. by an uncle, and sent to Westminster School. Befriended by the Earl of Dorset he proceeded to Cambridge, and while there wrote, jointly with Charles Montague, The Town and Country Mouse, a burlesque of Dryden’s Hind and Panther. After holding various diplomatic posts, in which he showed ability and discretion, he entered Parliament in 1700, and, deserting the Whigs, joined the Tories, by whom he was employed in various capacities, including that of Ambassador at Paris. On the death of Queen Anne he was recalled, and in 1715 imprisoned, but after two years released. In 1719 a folio ed. of his works was brought out, by which he realised £4000, and Lord Harley having presented him with an equal sum, he looked forward to the peace and comfort which were his chief ambition. He did not, however, long enjoy his prosperity, dying two years later. Among his poems may be mentioned Solomon, which he considered his best work, Alma, or the Progress of the Mind, The Female Phaeton, To a Child of Quality, and some prose tales. His chief characteristic is a certain elegance and easy grace, in which he is perhaps unrivalled. His character appears to have been by no means unimpeachable, but he was amiable and free from any trace of vindictiveness.

Procter, Adelaide Ann (1825–1864). — Poetess, eldest daughter of Bryan W.P. (q.v.). Many of her poems were first published in Household Words and All the Year Round, and afterwards collected under the title of Legends and Lyrics (1858), of which many ed. appeared. In 1851 Miss P. became a Roman Catholic. She took much interest in social questions affecting women. She wrote the well-known songs, Cleansing Fires and The Lost Chord, and among her many hymns are, I do not ask, O Lord, that Life may be, and My God, I thank Thee who hast made.

Procter, Bryan Waller (“Barry Cornwall”) (1787–1874). — Poet, born at Leeds, and ed. at Harrow, went to London and practised successfully as a solicitor. Thereafter he became a barrister, and was, 1832–61, a Commissioner of Lunacy. By 1823 he had produced four vols. of poetry and a tragedy, Mirandola (1821). His works include Dramatic Scenes (1819), A Sicilian Story, Marcian Colonna (1820), The Flood of Thessaly (1823), and English Songs (1832), which last will perhaps survive his other writings. P. was the friend of most of his literary contemporaries, and was universally beloved.

Prout, Father, (see Mahony, F.S.).

Prynne, William (1600–1669). — Controversial writer, born near Bath, ed. at Oxford, studied law at Lincoln’s Inn, of which he became a bencher, but soon became immersed in the writing of controversial pamphlets. After the Unloveliness of Lovelocks and Health’s Sicknesse (1627–30) appeared his best known controversial work, Histrio–Mastix, or a Scourge for Stage Players (1633), a bitter attack on most of the popular amusements of the day. It was punished with inhuman severity. P. was brought before the Star Chamber, fined £5000, pilloried, and had both his ears cut off. Undeterred by this he issued from his prison a fierce attack upon Laud and the hierarchy, for which he was again fined, pilloried, and branded on both cheeks with the letters S.L. (seditious libeller). Removed to Carnarvon Castle he remained there until liberated in 1641 by the Long Parliament. He soon after became a member of the House, and joined with extreme, but not inexcusable, rancour in the prosecution of Laud. After this he turned his attention to the Independents, whom he hated scarcely less than the Prelatists, and was among those expelled from the House of Commons by Cromwell, whom he had opposed in regard to the execution of the King with such asperity that he again suffered imprisonment, from which he was released in 1652. He supported the Restoration, and was by Charles II. appointed Keeper of the Records in the Tower. Here he did good service by compiling the Calendar of Parliamentary Writs and Records. He published in all about 200 books and pamphlets.

Psalmanazar, George (1679?-1763). — Literary impostor. His real name is unknown. He is believed to have been a native of France or Switzerland, but represented himself as a native of the island of Formosa, and palmed off a Formosan language of his own construction, to which he afterwards added a description of the island. For a time he was in the military service of the Duke of Mecklenburg, and formed a connection with William Innes, chaplain of a Scottish regiment, who collaborated with him in his frauds, and introduced various refinements into his methods. Innes, however, was appointed chaplain to the forces in Portugal, and P. was unable to maintain his impositions, and was exposed. After a serious illness in 1728 he turned over a new leaf and became a respectable and efficient literary hack; his works in his latter days included a General History of Printing, contributions to the Universal History, and an Autobiography containing an account of his impostures.

Purchas, Samuel (1575?-1626). — Compiler of travels, born at Thaxton, and ed. at Cambridge, took orders, and held various benefices, including the rectory of St. Martin’s, Ludgate Hill. The papers of R. Hakluyt (q.v.) came into his hands, and he made several compilations relating to man, his nature, doings, and surroundings. His three works are (1) Purchas his Pilgrimage, or Relations of the World and the Religions observed in all Ages and Places, etc.; (2) Purchas his Pilgrim, Microcosmus, or the History of Man, etc.; and (3) Hakluytus Posthumus, or Purchas his Pilgrimes, containing a History of the World in Sea Voyages and Land Travels, etc. Although credulous, diffuse, and confused, these works have preserved many interesting and curious matters which would otherwise have been lost.

Pusey, Edward Bouverie (1800–1882). — Scholar and theologian, born at Pusey, Berks, ed. at Eton and Oxford, belonged to the family of Lord Folkstone, whose name was Bouverie, his father assuming that of P. on inheriting certain estates. After studying in Germany, he became in 1828 Regius Prof. of Hebrew at Oxford His first important work was an Essay on the Causes of Rationalism in German Theology, and the arrest of similar tendencies in England became one of the leading objects of his life. He was one of the chief leaders of the Tractarian movement, and contributed tracts on Baptism and on Fasting. In consequence of a sermon on the Eucharist, he was in 1843 suspended from the office of University Preacher which he then held. Later writings related to Confession and The Doctrine of the Real Presence, and in 1865 he issued an Eirenicon in support of union with the Church of Rome. He was prominent in all movements and controversies affecting the University, and was foremost among the prosecutors of Jowett (q.v.). Among his other literary labours are commentaries on Daniel and the minor Prophets, a treatise on Everlasting Punishment, and a Catalogue of the Arabic MS. in the Bodleian Library.

Puttenham, George (1530?-1590). — Was one of the son of Robert P., a country gentleman. There has been attributed to him the authorship of The Arte of Poesie, a treatise of some length divided into three parts, (1) of poets and poesy, (2) of proportion, (3) of ornament. It is now thought rather more likely that it was written by his brother RICHARD (1520?-1601). George was the author of an Apologie for Queen Elizabeth’s treatment of Mary Queen of Scots.

Pye, Henry James (1745–1813). — A country gentleman of Berkshire, who published Poems on Various Subjects and Alfred, an Epic, translated the Poetics of Aristotle, and was Poet Laureate from 1790. In the last capacity he wrote official poems of ludicrous dulness, and was generally a jest and a byword in literary circles.


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