Hatred in the Academy

Recollections of the Table Talk of Samuel Rogers, to which is added Porsoniana:

‘Porson had no very high opinion of Parr, and could not endure his metaphysics. One evening, Parr was beginning a regular harangue on the origin of evil, when Porson stopped him short by asking “what was the use of it?” Porson, who shrunk on all occasions from praise of himself, was only annoyed by the eulogies which Parr lavished upon him in print. When Parr published the remarks on Combe’s Statement, in which Porson is termed “a giant in literature,” &c., Porson said, “How should Dr. Parr be able to take the measure of a giant?”

Parr was evidently afraid of Porson, of his intellectual powers. I might say too that Horne Tooke had a dread of Porson; but it was only the dread of being insulted by some rude speech from Porson in his drunkenness. Porson thought highly both of Tooke’s natural endowments and of his acquirements.” I have learned many valuable things from Tooke,”was what he frequently said; “yet I don’t always believe Tooke’s assertions,” was sometimes his remark. (I knew Parr intimately. I once dined at Dilly’s with Parr, Priestley, Cumberland, and some other distinguished people. Cumberland, who belonged to the family of the Blandishes, bepraised Priestley to his face, and after he had left the party, spoke of him very disparagingly. This excited Parr’s extremest wrath. When I met him a few days after, he said, “Only think of Mr. Cumberland! that he should have presumed to talk be fore me, before me, sir, in such terms of my friend Dr. Priestley ! Pray, sir, let Mr. Dilly know my opinion of Mr. Cumberland, that his ignorance is equalled only by his impertinence, and that both are exceeded by his malice.” Parr hated Dr. Horsley to such a degree that he never mentioned him by any other name than the fiend. Parr once said to Barker, “You have read a great deal, you have thought very little, and you know nothing.”)’

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