1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir James Marriott

Nathan Drake, in Essays Illustrative of the Rambler (1809-10) 2:297-98.



SIR JAMES MARRIOT, KNT. LL.D. the son of an attorney in Hatton-Garden, was born about the year 1731. He completed his education at Cambridge; and having been fortunate enough to obtain the patronage of the Duke of Newcastle, then Chancellor of the University, in consequence of the assistance which he gave him in the arrangement of his library, he speedily acquired the honours which his college had to bestow. In 1764 he was elected, on the death of Dr. Dickins, master of Trinity-hall; and in the same year he was appointed advocate-general to his Majesty, and had the honour of knighthood conferred upon him. Soon afterwards he received the further promotion of judge of the High Court of Admiralty, vacated by Sir George Hay. He was twice the representative for the borough of Sudbury, and occasionally spoke in defence of administration. He died at his seat at Twinsted-hall in Essex, on March the 21st, 1803, and in the seventy-third year of his age. The publications of Sir James may be divided into legal, poetical, and miscellaneous productions. In the first of these departments he has given to the public two works, namely, The Case of the Dutch Prizes taken in the War before last, 1759; The Rights and Privileges of both the Universities, and of the University of Cambridge in particular, defended, in a Charge to the Grand Jury at the Quarter Sessions of the Peace at Cambridge, Oct. 10, 1768; also an argument in the Case of the Colleges of Christ and Emmanuel, printed in 1769. His poetry, consisting principally of lyric effusions, was originally circulated for private amusement, but was afterward introduced into Dodsley's Collection, and into Bell's Fugitive Poetry; it displays some pleasing and well-conceived imagery, in metre correct and polished.

His essays in the World are, No. 117, on the fashionable admiration of Chinese and Gothic architecture; No. 121, the Vision of Parnassus, and No. 199, on the Genteel Mania. Of these, the second possesses a considerable share of imagination, and is conducted with much critical propriety; it is, indeed, by far the best of the groupe, though the third has a claim to approbation for its satiric humour.