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Dibdin's Library Companion, 1824, p. 88.
8 A previous article on Wordsworth in vol. xii. was by Charles Lamb ; " but so mercilessly mangled by Mr.

Gifford the Editor that I entreated Wordsworth not to read it." Charles Lamb's Letters, p. 323.









Vol. II. pa;

je 75











Vol. III.

Vol. iv.

Vol. v.

Vol. vi.














Vol. vn.









Vol. vin.

Vol. ix.

Vol. xi.

Vol. xn.






Vol. xiv.






Vol. xv.

Vol. xvii.

Vol. xvin.



Vol. xxi.



by publishers and authors. One of the Petitions that were from time to time presented to

the House of Commons for the redress of this grievance, bears the name of Dr. Whitaker

as the first of its numerous signatures, and possibly the petition itself was in whole, or in

part, drawn by him. 1

In the composition of Latin Inscriptions he had much taste and skill. Besides those

to his own family at Holme, others will be found in this work to the memory of

Dr. Holmes at Haslingden, and Mr. Wilson at Clitheroe. The epitaph of Mr. Charles

Towneley at Burnley has been attributed 2 to his pen ; but the terms in which he intro-

duces it at the close of his memoir of Mr. Towneley makes this very doubtful. Two

inscriptions which he wrote, for the tomb of Archdeacon Paley, and for an intended

monument to Ralph Thoresby the historian, are preserved only upon paper. 3
The peace of Dr. Whitaker's latter years, and his literary leisure, if not his health also,

were considerably disturbed by the public commotions of the times, with which his

residence at Blackburn, and his determination to fulfil all the duties of an acting magis-

trate, brought him directly into contact. It was remarked by one of his intimate friends,

the Rev. William Parker, 4 that, "Though possessing a delicate frame, no violence of the

Jacobinical mob, however malignant, no threatenings however diabolical, excited his fears,

or prevented him from discharging the most laborious and dangerous office of a magistrate ,

in the disaffected district of Lancashire where he resided." Ordinarily (according to the

same writer) " his eloquence was rarely exerted on political occasions. A friend of mine

expressed his utmost astonishment when Dr. Whitaker addressed the meeting at Blackburn

convened by the magistrates in order to support the arm of Government, and to check the

nefarious designs of the lower ranks. The hall was crowded to excess, particularly by the

Radicals. When the Doctor unexpectedly rose to address the meeting, he instantly poured

forth such a torrent of eloquence, that the higher ranks were completely electrified, and the

disaffected sneaked out one by one, overpowered by his arguments, or convicted by their


1 On further examination I have no doubt that this petition was prepared by Mr. Sharon Turner, F.S.A., a

solicitor in Red Lion Square, and the well-known historian, whose signature is last of the " 65 authors of the first

respectability," from whom it proceeded, as Dr. Whitaker's is the first. It was presented to the House of Commons

April 6, 1818. My attention has been directed to it by its being entered under Dr. Whitaker's name in the Catalogue

of the British Museum Library, where it forms part of a very curious volume (shelf-mark 515 1. 20) consisting of

pamphlets and other documents on the Copyright question, collected by the Rev. Rogers Ruding, B.D., F.S.A., Vicar of

Maldon in Surrey. This gentleman individually petitioned Parliament upon the same subject, stating that in his Annals

of the Coinage of Great Britain, the value of the eleven copies taken was 1MI., and that if he attempted a second edition,

with any improvements, which he could not deliver separately, he must deliver eleven copiss again. At the same time

the loss arising from this cause on Dr. Whitaker's Leeds was reckoned as 16U. 14s. ; on Mr. Omerod's Cheshire 2381. 10s.

2 Baines, History of Lancashire, 1836, iii. 258; 1870, ii. 38; and Wilkinson's History of Burnley Church,

1869, p. 11. It seems unlikely that Dr. Whitaker would describe his own composition as " chosen for its classical

purity and elegance." History of Whalley, Third edit., p. 487.
* See the former in Wilsons Miscellanies, p. 187 (its place in Carlisle Cathedral is occupied by a very few

words in English,) and the latter in Mr. Hunter's preface to Thoresby's Diary, 1830, p. viii.

4 Under the lignature P. W. in the Leeds Intelligencer, shortly after Dr. Whitaker's death.


It was considered desirable to confirm the impression made by Dr. Whitaker's efforts

on this occasion by the publication of his address, which was printed as " The substance of

a Speech delivered at a meeting of the Magistrates, Clergy, and other inhabitants of the

Hundred of Blackburn, convened in order to enter into certain Resolutions, tending to

support the Laws and Constitution of England. Blackburn, 1817." 8vo. This was also

inserted in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. Ixxxvii. i. 213.

On other occasions in the years which ensued there were further demands on Dr.

"Whitaker's energies as a magistrate; as is still remembered by some living witnesses. Mr.

Canon Raines, now Vicar of Milnrow, was present at Burnley, when during Henry Hunt's

political disturbances in 1819 the Riot Act was read by Dr. Whitaker ; whose fine voice,

dignified bearing, and haughty independence of manner, as displayed on that occasion, he

has never forgotten.

Scarcely a year before his death there was a turn-out of the colliers of Altham,

Padiham, and Hapton, who assembled in large numbers at Padiham, threatening to march

riotously into Burnley. Many parties recommended that they should not be allowed to

approach the town, but that they should be dispersed by the military. Dr. Whitaker,

although an invalid, drove into Burnley on the day when the colliers were expected, and

declared that he would not order the military out, until he had tried, in person, to persuade

the mob to return. Accordingly he met them near Gannow, a mile out of the town, in a

post-chaise; he was there helped into the driver's seat, from whence he harangued them so

successfully that they agreed to go home quietly ; and such was the respect paid to him

when he had finished, that the strong rough men lifted him down, like a child, and told

him, " Doctor, put your foot here ; we will take care that you shall not be hurt."
When the political atmosphere had somewhat cleared, it was resolved that a public

testimonial should be offered to Dr. Whitaker for these patriotic services ; and, upon the

arrangements being completed, this was presented to him at a dinner held in the Assembly

Room at Blackburn on St. George's day, April 23, 1821. The chair was filled by William

Feilden, esq. (afterwards Sir William Feilden, hart.) of Feniscowles ; and John Hargreaves,

esq. John Hornby, esq. and William Maude, esq. acted as Vice-Presidents. The offering

consisted of a silver soup tureen, and four corner dishes, upon each of which was engraved

the following inscription, with the armorial shield of Whitaker :





D- D D


The Chairman, in his address to Dr. Whitaker, desired his acceptance of this testimony

of the esteem which the subscribers entertained for him " as a Man and a Christian, and as


a token of their approbation of the great services he had afforded to the town and

neighbourhood in his capacity of a Magistrate, during the late most aAvful and perilous

times of Radicalism."
Dr. Whitaker replied in the following speech :
Mr. CHAIRMAN, Permit me to return to yourself and to the Gentlemen now assembled, my heartfelt

acknowlegements for the magnificent present which you have offered to my acceptance.

While I reflect upon the short and inconsiderable services rendered by me as a Magistrate in the town

and neighbourhood of Blackburn, I cannot but be filled with confusion, when compelled to institute a

comparison between two objects so incommensurate as those services and the splendid recompense which has

been offered for them. Much rather therefore do I receive that recompense as a stimulus to future activity, an

inducement to future usefulness. Never blessed however with a robust constitution, and shattered of late by

attacks of actual disease. I feel my hopes and anticipations considerably damped, and the alliance almost

inevitable between sickness and approaching age cannot, to the reflecting mind, but draw a dark cloud over

the prospect. From one circumstance, however, I derive great encouragement, the struggle of the last years

we hope is over for ever; the people, too long wrought up by their deceivers, are returning to a better under-

standing; our persons and our houses arc no longer threatened, and the great body of the inferior orders, long

misled, are beginning to perceive and to feel the difference between real friends and artful seducers.
The most p nverful medicines are perhaps the most distasteful; and the exertions of a Magistrate who

seeks not the praise of man are the same; but the favourable opinions expressed by spontaneous offerings of

the wise, the wealthy, and the good, while they are not unfrcqucntly wanted, countervail very far all the

irritation excited by the waywardness of others, and leave the object of them flattered at least by the assurance

that his endeavours however imperfect, however unskilful, have not wholly been disapproved.
My connexion with you, though not of long continuance, has in many respects to myself been eminently

delightful. How long it may be continued, and whether usefulness may not depart before life, it is impossible

for you or for me to predict; but of one fact I feel assured, that if, in the close of life, bodily debility should

leave any portion of mental energy, its last aspirations will be directed to the best interests, present and future,

of the Parishes of Blackburn and Whalley.
After many months of impaired health Dr. Whitaker died at his vicarage in Blackburn

on the 18th of December, 1821, in the G3rd year of his age. His funeral took place on the

following Monday the 24th of December, when his body was conveyed for interment to his

ancestral chapel at Holme. Many of the townsmen of Blackburn accompanied the

procession, and others from Burnley and its neighbourhood testified their respect by joining

it at that place.

Mr. Allen, who had long acted as Dr. Whitaker's amanuensis, had at this period deter-

mined to enter the ministry of the Church, and it is remarkable that his ordination took

place in the interval between the death and funeral of his revered master. The following

letter (partly published at the time in the Gentleman's Magazine) may now be printed as

it was written.
The Rev. S. J. Allen to Mr. Nichols.
Blackburn, December 26, 1821.


I presume you have long before now received the sad tidings of our friend Dr. Whitaker's death. They

were communicated to me on the Bishop of Chester's threshold just as I was entering to encounter his exami-



nation, and you may readily imagine what kind of a preparation they would be for that trial. I did however

pass through without difficulty, was ordained on Sunday, and entered this Town on the day following, where

the first sound I heard was that of the passing bell which announced that the grave had closed on all that was

mortal of that excellent man, on whose loss I believe I cannot utter a sentiment in which you will not cor-

dially unite.
It is impossible to describe what I felt at the sound ; every incident of the three happy weeks we spent

together in Richmondshire, our journeys from Heysham, and indeed every circumstance of my intercourse

with him at Holme and elsewhere, arose as vividly on my recollection as if they were but now transacting,

and when I recalled to mind the fire of his eye, his eloquence and energy of manner, with his animated and

venerable form, I could hardly persuade myself it was possible he could be dead.
You will I believe give me credit when I assert that the blasting of the small expectations I might have

entertained of his patronage seemed the least part of my loss. The advice and countenance of such a man,

the fund of information to be derived from his conversation, and the constant resource I should have had in

his friendship, in a place where I knew nobody beside, seemed far more irreparable privations, and I still con-

sider them so, though I have been received here in a very friendly manner, and have every prospect of com-

fort during my stay.

I was at first disposed to regret deeply that I had not arrived in time to get a last glance of him living or

dead, but from Mrs. Whitakerand family I received such information as much to diminish any regret on this

account. He had never fully recovered the attack of paralysis he had last year, brought on by constant alarm

and fatigue during the Eadical disturbances: it terminated in a nervous asthma from which, after experiencing

incessant sufferings for some months, he was relieved by dropsy, the sure harbinger of dissolution. His mind

also had suffered, and the fine imagination, retentive memory, and other faculties, at whose fancied decay we

used to smile, were indeed in ruins before the body decayed, though intervals occurred to the last, in which,

like the remains of those venerable structures he has so nobly described, his former brilliance seemed to return as

an arch or a column erect amidst desolation, to tell how magnificent the structure had been. He was himself

long conscious of the manner in which his disorder must terminate ; and before he left the Holme for the last

time, he who had shivered to cross a stream, or descend a hill, for fear of death, walked calmly into his woods,

and setting his back against a master tree of his own planting, compared its bulk with his own, and ordered it

to be cut down and hollowed to form his coffin, which was done accordingly. In this he lies interred in the

Holme Chapel, attended to the grave by all the Clergy and most of the Gentry of Blackburn, Whalley, and

the neighbourhood.
The King has not living a more true and loyal subject, the Church a more useful and zealous minister, or

the literary world a more distinguished ornament.

Yours sincerely,
S. J. A.
At the invitation of Mr. Nichols, the same gentleman undertook to compose, for

insertion in the Gentleman's Magazine, a more extended memorial of his deceased patron,

and, as no contemporary writer appears to have performed the task hetter, we will now avail

ourselves of some of his remarks upon one whose manners and character he enjoyed so

much opportunity to observe.
As a literary man, in which character he is most generally, though perhaps not most deservedly, known,

lie was distinguished not less for industry and acuteness in research, accuracy of reasoning, and extent of

knowledge, than warmth of imagination and vigour of style. To the study of English Antiquities, which

the lovers of Greek and Roman lore too often affect to despise as barbarous and uninteresting, he brought a

rich store of classical information, and, what is of much rarer occurrence, a correct and classical taste ; and


when to these we add the knowledge of such modern languages as throw most light on the subject, an

intimate acquaintance with the Anglo-Saxon and Gothic dialects, on which our own is chiefly founded, and

the habit of close attention to those numerous traces they have left in the rude tongue of the people around

him, it may be admitted that few champions have appeared in the arena of antiquarian warfare more

completely armed for the field.

To him we are chiefly indebted, if it has, in modern times, been discovered, that Topography may be

united with the keenest relish for natural beauty, with the most devoted attachment to the Fine Arts, with

the grave contemplation of the Moralist, the edifying labours of the Biographer, and the loftiest flights of

the Bard.
In the fields of verse he never rambled, though no man could better appreciate the merits of poetry, 1 or

more readily transfuse its chief graces into his own compositions. His style was nervous, yet elegant ; concise,

yet fluent ; averse to the modern barbarisms and affectation which degrade the English tongue, but never

hesitating to naturalize a foreign word, so it were of respectable origin, and would conform to the usages of its

adopted country. In the use of simile and quotation he was remarkably happy ; but, above all, excelled in

the faculty of painting (if it may be so called) the object before him of seizing at once the chief features,

whether of scenery, architecture, or human character, and, by a few well-chosen epithets, or by one masterly

stroke, conveying a rapid but finished picture to the mind. In this respect he strongly resembled Camden ;

and, had the custom of publishing in a learned language prevailed now, as it did in the Elizabethan age, we

have reason to suppose, from his little work, " De Motu per Britanniam Civico," &c., that he would not have

fallen short of that great Master in his Latin style. 2 To his characteristic warmth, however, the defects as

well as the merits of his works may be mainly ascribed ; nor is it to be wondered, that, though for the most

part no less accurate than vivid in his ideas, his rapidity should now and then have overlooked an object

worthy of notice, or represented it in a manner which a second glance would infallibly have corrected ; that

in his opposition to principle, he should occasionally have appeared somewhat too unsparing of persons ; and

that his zeal.when counteracted by those with whom reason and authority had about equal weight, should

sometimes have defeated its own object, where partial concession, and a more conciliatory tone, might

have prevailed.

1 Mr. Mitford in his Preface (p. xxi.) to the Correspondence of Gray and Mason, remarks that Dr. Whitaker

" added to great acquirements much of the elegance and enthusiasm of the poetic mind." Gibbon, in a note to his

History, had lamented " that Gray, instead of compiling tables of chronology and natural history, did not apply the

powers of his genius to finish the philosophical poem of which he left so exquisite a specimen," but a later writer,

Dr. Whitaker, (remarks Mr. Mitford,) in his admiration of Gray's genius, has far exceeded the cautious language and

the moderate desires of the Historian, and has regretted to behold " that fatal gulf of pertinacious industry in which

the fire and genius of Gray were swallowed up, and which perhaps extinguished in its first conception some great epic

work which would have placed the author on the level which he was entitled to ascend that of Spenser or Tasso."

(Quarterley Review, xi. 306: Whitaker's own words are now given, which the printer of Mr. Mitford's Preface, doubt-

less in consequence of his very bad manuscript, has materially altered.)

1 The admiration which Whitaker entertained of Camden's style of composition may be perceived, not only in

his review of the Britannia of Lysons, (Quarterly Review, May, 1811,) but in that he wrote upon Chalmers's Caledonia

(November 1810). Of the latter work he says, " Written in a very inferior language, it will notwithstanding be

allowed to rank with the immortal Britannia of Camden, which it as much surpasses in industry of research and

accumulation of matter, as it falls short of it in purity and elegance of style." Of the first edition of the Britannia he

adds, " The information which it contained was of course superficial, but the matter was well arranged, the style good

the reasoning clear, and the whole work classical."


His Theological Works were confined to the publication of occasional Sermons, but he had the enviable

art of making every literary undertaking subservient to the great interests of religion and morality, without

violating the proprieties of the subject in hand ; an object which certainly no Clergyman should ever suffer

to escape his view, whatever be the lighter studies or amusements he may think proper to indulge.

In this character, indeed, Dr. Whitaker was most exemplary. Placed in situations which gave him a

sort of episcopal superintendance over a district no less than thirty miles in extreme length, nearly the same

in breadth, containing twenty-four dependant chapelries, and occupied by more than 100,000 inhabitants, he

exercised this important influence in a manner which might well have become a still wider sphere of labour.

In his appointments to the chapels which came under his own immediate patronage, he was ever actuated by

the purest and most disinterested motives; nor could any practicable scheme for promoting the temporal or

spiritual welfare of his parishioners be proposed to him, which did not meet his ready concurrence, and active

co-operation. More frequently, indeed, these plans originated with himself; and while he was thus enabled

to place around him a body of zealous and useful clergy, his own conduct in the discharge of his more personal

functions furnished an excellent model to all. To this part of his character such ample justice was done him

by one of the correspondents to the Gentleman's Magazine, 1 during his life-time, that I need not dwell on it

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