Maittaire, Michael (DNB00)
|←Maitland, William Fuller||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 35
|Majendie, Henry William→|
MAITTAIRE, MICHAEL (1668–1747), classical scholar and typographer, was born in France in 1668 of protestant parents, who about the time of the revocation of the edict of Nantes sought refuge in England (Biographie Universelle; Nichols, Lit. Anecd. iv. 556, says his birthplace is not known). He obtained a king's scholarship at Westminster School in 1682. Dr. Busby, then head-master, 'kept him to the study of Greek and Latin some years longer than usual.' He was grateful for his Westminster training, and afterwards compiled his 'Græcæ Linguæ Dialecti' and 'English Grammar' for the use of Westminster School. On leaving school he visited the Hague, where he was well received by the Vaillants, and then proceeded to Paris. On returning to England he gained the goodwill of Dr. South (at the time canon of Christ Church, Oxford), through compiling, it is said, a list of the Greek words that were wrongly accented in the works of Sherlock. South made him 'canoneer' student of Christ Church, and he took the degree of M.A. on 23 March 1696, being incorporated M.A. at Cambridge in 1708. In 1695 he was appointed second master of Westminster, but resigned in 1699 and kept a private school, one of the pupils at which was Stephen Martin Leake [q. v.], the herald and numismatist. Late in life he was Latin tutor to Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield's son. In 1728 he was living in a house in Orange Street, near Holborn, London (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. i. 388). Maittaire began to publish about 1706. His works consist principally of his 'Annales Typographici' and other laborious writings on the history of printing in Europe, and of editions of the classics, especially the series of Latin classics printed in duodecimo by Tonson and Watts of London from 1713 to 1719. In character, Maittaire was 'modest and unassuming.' Dr. Johnson (referring chiefly to Maittaire's 'Stephanorum Historia' and the 'Dialecti') says that he had a large measure of scholarship, but was 'puzzle-headed' and without genius (Boswell, Life of Johnson, chap. xliv. anno 1780). Pope, who often spoke disdainfully of critical scholarship, had made Maittaire in the manuscript of the 'Dunciad' (bk. iii.) an inhabitant of the 'Kingdom of Dullness:'
On yonder part what fogs of gathered air
Invest the scene, there museful sits Maittaire.
But these lines were never printed, owing to a request made for their suppression by the Earl of Oxford, a patron of Maittaire (Pope, Works, ed. Elwin, viii. 235).
Maittaire died on 7 Sept. 1747, aged 79 (Gent. Mag. 1747, p. 447). During fifty years he had formed a large library, rich in classical authors and in early printed editions by Aldus, the Stephenses, the Elzevirs, &c. This was sold by auction in London by Cock & Langford, the sale beginning on 21 Nov. 1748 and lasting for forty-four evenings. A copy of the sale catalogue (which was printed from Maittaire's own manuscript catalogue), with the prices marked, is in the British Museum. There is a good mezzotint of Maittaire by Faber from a painting by B. Dandridge, inscribed 'Michael Maittaire A.M. Amicorum Jussu.' Nichols (Lit. Anecd. iv. 564) also mentions two portraits of him as having been in the possession, respectively, of the Duke of Rutland and Sir Richard Ellis. Some extracts from Maittaire's letters to the Earl of Oxford are printed in Nichols's 'Literary Anecdotes,' i. 200 ff., and other letters by him are in Ballard's collection in the Bodleian Library (ib. iv. 566). In his earliest letters he signs his name 'Michell Mattaire' (ib. i. 201).
Maittaire's principal publications are as follows: 1. 'Græcæ Linguæ Dialecti,' London, 1706, 8vo; also an edition by Reitz, Hague, 1738, 8vo, and an improved edition by Sturz, Leipzig, 1807, 8vo. 2. 'Stephanorum Historia, vitas ipsorum ac libros complectens,' with appendix, London, 1709, 8vo. 3. 'An Essay against Arianism and some other Heresies' (against Whiston), London, 1711, 8vo; also three other similar pamphlets, London, 1711. 4. 'The English Grammar,' London, 1712, 8vo. 5. 'Opera et Fragmenta Veterum Poetarum Latinorum Profanorum et Ecclesiasticorum,' 2 vols. London, 1713, fol., published by subscription and dedicated to Prince Eugene; some copies have the title-page dated 1723. 6. Latin Classics, 12mo, 1713-19, edited by M. M.: in 1713, Paterculus, Justin, Lucretius, Phædrus, Sallust, Terence; in 1715, Catullus, Tibullus and Propertius, C. Nepos, Florus, Horace, Ovid, Virgil; in 1716, Cæsar, Martial, Juvenal and Persius, Q. Curtius; in 1719, Lucan. Editions of Sophocles, Homer, Livy, Pliny, and the 'Musarum Anglicanarum Analecta,' were attributed to Maittaire, but were formally disclaimed by him. 7. The New Testament (Greek), ed. by M. M., 1714, 8vo, 1756, 8vo. 8. 'Historia Typographorum aliquot Parisiensium, vitas et libros complectens,' 2 vols. London, 1717, 8vo. 9. 'Annales Typographici ab Artis inventæ origine ad annum MD' (and continued thence to 1664), 5 vols. 1719-41, 8vo (vols. i-iii. Hague, vol. iv. Amsterdam, vol. v. London). 10. 'Batrachomyomachia,' ed. by M. M., 1721, 8vo (only 204 copies printed, Nichols, Lit. Anecd. i. 199). 11. 'Miscellanea Græcorum aliquot Scriptorum Carmina cum Versione Latina et Notis,' London, 1722, 4to. 12. 'Anacreontis Opera,' ed. by M. M., 1725, 4to; 1740, 4to (only a hundred copies printed of each edition). 13. 'P. Petiti ... in tres priores Aretæi Cappadocis libros Commentarii,' ed. by M. M., 1726, 4to. 14. ' Marmorum Arundellianorum, Seldenianorum, aliorumque Academiæ Oxoniensi donatorum, cum variis Commentariis et indice, secunda editio,' with appendix, London, 1732, 1733, fol. (see on this publication, ib. ii. 1-8, 27). 15. 'Aretæi de causis .. . morborum . . . cum Maittairii opusculis in eun- i dem,' 1735, fol. 16. 'Antiquæ Inscriptiones duæ' (on inscriptions found at Heraclea in Lucania), London, 1736, fol. 17. 'Carmen Epinicium' (on Catharine I of Russia), , 4to. 18. ' Plutarch's Αποφθἰγματα, ed. by M. M., 1740, 4to. 19. 'Senilia, sive Poetica aliquot... tentamina,' London, 1742, 4to.[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. and Lit. Illustr. various references, especially Lit. Anecd. iv. 556-66; Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; Welch's Alumni Westmonasterienses. p. 198; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. i. 42, iii. 346, 409, 7th ser. ii. 98; authorities cited.]