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After having celebrated himself at Bradford by the readiness of his parts, and his naturally intuitive genius, he was removed to Clare-Hall, Cambridge, into which he was admitted July 5, 1755, under the care of the Rev. John Courtail, M. A, tutor of the college. He took the degree of Bachelor of Civil Law on July 7th, 1761, and entered into holy orders on the 6th September following ; having been ordained by Dr. E. Keene, bishop of that diocese. Immediately after this he was appointed to the curacy of Ripley, in this county, by Dr. Samuel Kirkshaw, at that time rector of the parish.
On the 12th September, 1762, he was ordained a priest at Brodsworth, by Dr. Robert Drummond, archbishop of York, and he succeeded to the perpetual curacy of Hedingley, on December 12th, 1764.
On the 1st August, 1767, he married Ann, the eldest daughter of the Rev. Dr. Wilson, then residentiary of St. Paul's, and afterwards bishop of Bristol; a young lady po less celebrated for her polite and literary accomplishments, than for the graces of her person, and the sweetness of her disposition.
In the month of November, 1768, Mr. Disney was collated by Dr. Terriek, bishop of London, to the vicarage of Halstead in Essex, and, in the spring of 1779, was offered a valuable rectory contiguous to Halstead, and legally tenably with it, which he refused; "although,” as he himself observes, “it was pressed upon him with earnestness, and supported by all the authority of some dignified and very learned persons." The reasons on which he grounded this steady and undeviating refusal, may be found in a work entitled, 66 Considerations on Pluralities,” published after his death, and subjoined to a volume of his Discourses, edited by Dr. John Disney, his relation. This production was intended to serve as an apology for his having declined the generous proposal of his friends, and while it exhibits an almost unparalleled instance of firmness and principle, may be considered as a specimen of ingenious reasoning and elegant composition. He clearly and undeniably points out the absurdity and impropriety of one man, in any capacity, holding, at the same time, two situations, either of which, if properly filled, would require the whole of his time and attention. “ The gardener,” says he, “ of college being dead, the porter applied to the master for his place, who told him, that he had enough to do in his proper business, and also, that he was ignorant of the science of gardening. The fellow replied, " Aye, master; but thirty pounds a year is a very pretty thing; and besides I can deputize a little." He was dismissed, however, for the present, with a denial of his suit, but wondered on beiog sent for into the lodge, a few days after, and accosted by the master with, “John, I sent for you to let you know that there is a scholarship vacant: it is twenty pounds a year in cash, and commons; a very pretty thing ; and will be examined for in the combination-room this morning at eleven o'clock. You will not fail to be there."
Aye, master,' says John, “but I don't understand a word of Greek or Latin : what can I do in this business ??— Why, John, I cannot say that you can do a great deal; but you know you can depu
tize a little.'” It is an unfortunate circumstance that cases analogous to that of John the porter are, in the present day, but too numerous.
On the appointinent of Dr. Wilson to the see of Bristol, in June, 1783, his lordship nominated Mr. Disney one of his chaplains ; but the pleasure which this nomination might have occasioned him was utterly destroyed by the death of his amiable and beloved wife, which afflicting event occurred very soon afterwards.
Mrs. Disney died at Kensingtun, of a consumption, and was interred in the vault of her grandfather, Bishop Gibson, at Fulhain, in Middlesex. The first appearance of her disorder exhibited no symptoms of danger, and it was not till the autumn preceding her dissolution that her friends began to dread the loss they were doomed so shortly to sustain; but from that time her disorder baffled the skill of her physician, and defied the power of medicine. After the death of the amiable partner of his joys, Mr. Disney became inconsolable; and even the promises of that Gospel of which he was the steady advocate, could scarcely assuage his grief, or reconcile his mind to his irreparable loss.
Soon after this melancholy event he visited Bath, and he had not returned home many weeks, before he was attacked by a putrid fever which occasioned his death. He was removed from this world, and conveyed into “the society of the just made perfect," to be again united to the wife of his bosom. He died on the 10th July, 1786, at the vicaragehouse, Halstead, in the forty-ninth year of his age, and was buried in the chancel of the parish-church of that place, on the 23d of the same month. A plain stone, bearing the initial letters of his name, is placed over his grave, an a monument of white marble, with a very appropriate inscription, has been erected to his memory.
On the 25th of the month preceding that in which he died, he preached an excellent discourse from Philippians iii. 8. “ That I may win Christ.” This was the last sermon he delivered, and would of itself, if there were no other specimen of his composition extant, entitle him to the character of a learned and pious divine.
His natural temper was rather warm, and indeed irritable; but he contrived, by continual exertion, to bring it to that happy state of equanimity which reason prescribes and religion enforces. His disposition was his only enemy, and he aspired to no conquest but the subjection of his own heart. Too honourable to commit a mean action himself, he severely reprobated every tendency towards it in others.
His political sentiments were the result of consideration, and not the effect of a blind and limited attachment to any particular party. He was a strenuous advocate for the right of private judgment; and in the great political questions respecting economy in the expenditure of the public money, equalizing the representation of the people, and shortening the duration of parliament, he was uniformly on the side of the petitioners, and adopted every measure which his limited means of usefulness afforded, to ensure their final success.
His religious impressions, no less than his political opinions, were produced by deep investigation and attentive consideration; and, although
" he was in very general agreement with the established articles of the church of England, he had not the confined and partial ideas which are frequently connected with them. His catholic spirit indeed soared above the established ordinances of human systems, and was congenial with that Gospel from which it sprang, and with the liberal minds of those, who, regardless of human ordinances, look with love upon all, who, with integrity and singleness of heart, maintain a conscience void of offence to God
J. C. W.
TRANSLATION FROM PETRARCH.
Quanto più m'avvicino al giorno estremo;
l' dico a' miei pensier, non molto andremo
Perchè con lui cadrà quella speranza
Si vedrem chiaro poi, come sovente
Near and more near as life's last period draws,
Which oft is hurried on by human woe,
I see the passing hours more swiftly flow,
“ Not long shall we discourse of love below;
“ For this my earthly load, like new-fall’n snow
“ No more shall we resent, fear, smile, complain.--
LINES WRITTEN ON A VISIT TO LEVEN-GROVE IN CLEVELAND,
THE SEAT OF LADY AMHERST.
4..40.4.-4. 4o.de AN HISTORICAL Display of the Effects of Physical and Moral Causes
on the Character and Circumstances of Nations. By John Bigland. London, 1816. Pp. 477; price, 14s.
The work which we have at present to introduce to the notice of our readers is truly what it professes to be, an historical display of the operation of those causes which affect the character and circumstances of nations. Mr. Bigland divides these causes into two classes, Physical and Moral, treating of the former under the several heads of Geo. graphical Situation, Climate, Food, and Race; and the latter, under those of Govern. ment, Religion, Education and Habits, Letters and Arts, Agriculture and Commerce, War and Military Discipline, Current Ideas and Public Opinion, and, lastly, Political Events.
It will be immediately perceived that Mr. Bigland has here taken a wide range. His work indeed touches in its course almost every country and every age. He has brought together a large body of facts, and the opinions of many eminent writers, connecting them by those judicious observations which characterize the productions of his pen; and if not always drawing indisputable inferences, generally furnishing his reader with the means of weighing the validity of the conclusions at which he arrives.
The work is prefaced by a short introduetion, containing strictures on some of the erroneous ideas prevalent on the subject of national character. The following remarks from this part of the volume are not without foundation :-
“ Egregious errors are common in descriptions and estimates of national character. Its different colouring arises from causes of a general nature, and is totally distinct from any thing that proceeds from the passions or circumstances of individuals. In every age and country, the general principles of human nature are the same; and the diversified modes of human conduct, in the affairs of private life, may be rather ascribed to individual than national circumstances. The different individuals of each country, therefore, display all the diversity of character that can be imagined ; and in every nation, brave men and cowards, wise men and fools, may be found. But the vague assertions of inconsiderate writers, and the credulity of ignorant readers, have concurred to propagate an erroneous notion, that every individual has so strong a tinge of the character of the nation to which he belongs, as to be distinguishable from persons of a different country ; and what has been once said, has, for that very reason, been a thousand times repeated. According to these superficial observations of human nature, every Frenchman must be polite, but loquacious and rolatile, every German intemperate, every Dutchman avaricious, every Spaniard grave, solemn, and haughty; and to these might be added a long “et cætera,” of similar assertions, calculated to impose on the ignorant and to impress on the inexperienced mind erroneous ideas. So many foolish things, indeed, have been said, and so many sophisms repeated in regard to this subject, that a multitudinous mass of observations and opinions must be examined, before a right judgment can be formed."
The question respecting the influence of climate, is one which has frequently been agitated, and upon which the most discordant sentiments have been expressed. There is scarcely a traveller or an historian who has not pronounced his opinion upon it, and as such opinions are geuerally thrown out at random, and under the impression of the