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THE LIFE OF PARNELL.
For the life of Parnell, the world is obliged to Goldsmith, á biographer worthy of his virtue and his genius. It is much to be regretted, that so masterly a writer had not the means of being more completely informed. Goldsmith not only did not know him himself, but was “ obliged to take his character from such as knew but little of him, or who perhaps could have given very little information if they had known more."
The facts stated in the present account of Parnell, are principally taken from Goldsmith, whose Darrative is written with an a&ivity of research, that leaves little to be supplied, and an agreeable manner of communication, that approaches so near perfection, as to preclude the most diftant hope of improvement.
“ The life of Parnell is a task," says Dr. Johnson, “ which I should very willingly decline, fince it has been lately written by Goldsmith, a man of such variety of powers, and such felicity of performance, that he always seemed to do best, that which he was doing; a man who had the art of being minute without tediousness, and general without confugion ; whose language was copious without exuberance, exad without constraint, and easy without weakness. What fuch an anthor has told, who would tell again ?"
Thomas Parnell was descended from an ancient family, that had for some centuries been settled a: Congleton, in Cheshire. His father, Thomas Parnell, who had been attached to the Commonwealth party, upon the Restoration went over to Ireland, where he purchased an estate, which, with his lands in Cheshire, descended to the poet, who was his eldest son, and fill remain in the family.
He was born in Dublin, in 1679, and received the first rudiments of his education at the school of Dr. Jones, in that city.
When he was only thirteen years old, he was admitted a member of Trinity College, Dublin, which may be considered as a presumption, that he had made great progress in learning at a very early age ; for young men, proposed to be entered at that University, are expected to be well acquainted with the Latin, and to have attained some proficiency in the Greek.
“ His progress," says Goldsmith,“ through the College course of kudy was probably marked with but little splendor ; his imagination might have been too warm to relish the cold logic of Bur. gerdicius, or the dreary subtleties of Smiglesius; but it is certain, that as a classical scholar, few could equal him. His own compofitions thew this, and the deference which the mori eminent men of his time paid him upon that head, put it beyond a doubt.”
He was admitted to the degree of Master of Arts, July 9. 1700, and was the same year ordained a deacon by Dr. King, Bishop of Derry, having obtained a dispensation from the Primate, as being under the canonical age.
About three years afterwards, he was made a priest by Dr. King, then Archb'fhop of Dublin, and in 1705, Dr. St. George Athe, Bishop of Clogher, conferred on him the Archıdcaconry of Clogher.
About the same time, he married Miss Anne Minchin, a young lady of great merit and beauty, upon whom he wrote the song beginning, My days bave been so wond'rous free,
of GREAT BRITAIN.
Volume the Seventh.
Containing Parnell, Garth,Rowe, Addison, Hughes, Sheffield, Prior, Congreve,Blackmore, Fenton Granville &Yalden.
Printed for Iohn&Arthur Arch, 23. Gracechurch Street.