Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/162

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Bryant
Bryant
156

the Marlborough family allowed him 1,000l. a year, gave him rooms at Blenheim, and the use of the famous library. He twice refused the mastership of the Charterhouse, although once actually elected. His first work was 'Observations and Enquiries relating to various parts of Ancient History, ... the Wind Euroclydon, the island Melite, the Shepherd Kings,' &c. (Cambridge, 1767, 4to), in which he attacked the opinions of Bochart, Beza, Grotius, and Bentley. He next published the work with which his name is chiefly associated, 'A New System or an Analysis of Ancient Mythology,' with plates, London, 1774, two vols. 4to; second edition, 1775, 4to; and vol. iii. 1776, 4to. His research is remarkable, but he had no knowledge of oriental languages, and his system of etymology was puerile and misleading. The third edition, in six vols. 8vo, was published in 1807. John Wesley published an abbreviation of the first two vols, of the 4to edition. Richardson, assisted by Sir William Jones, was Bryant's chief opponent in the preface to his 'Persian Dictionary.' In an anonymous pamphlet, 'An Apology,' &c., of which only a few copies were printed for literary friends, Bryant sustained his opinions, whereupon Richardson revised the dissertation on languages prefixed to the dictionary, and added a second part: 'Further Remarks on the New Analysis of Ancient Mythology,' &c., Oxford, 1778, 8vo. Bryant also wrote a pamphlet in answer to Wyttenbach, his Amsterdam antagonist, about the same time. His account of the Apamean medal being disputed in the 'Gentleman's Magazine,' he defended himself by publishing 'A Vindication of the Apamsean Medal, and of the Inscription Nωη,' London, 1775, 4to. Eckhel, the great medallist, upheld his views, but Daines Barrington and others strongly opposed him at the Society of Antiquaries (Archæologia, ii.) In 1775, four years after the death of his friend, Mr. Robert Wood, he edited, 'with his improved thoughts,' 'An Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer, with a Comparative View of the Troade,' London, 4to. The first edition, of seven copies only, was a superb folio, privately printed in 1769. Bryant published in 1777, without his name, 'Vindiciæ Flavianæ: a Vindication of the Testimony of Josephus concerning Jesus Christ,' London, 8vo; second edition, with author's name, London, 1780, 8vo. This work converted even Dr. Priestley to his opinions. In 1778 he published 'A Farther Illustration of the Analysis ... ,' pp. 100, 8vo (no place). He next published 'An Address to Dr. Priestley ... upon Philosophical Necessity,' London, 1780, 8vo, to which Priestley printed a rejoinder the same year. When Tyrwhitt issued his work 'The Poems supposed to have been written at Bristol by Thomas Rowley and others,' Bryant, assisted by Dr. Glynn of King's College, Cambridge, followed with his 'Observations on the Poems of Thomas Rowley in which the Authenticity of those Poems is ascertained,' 2 vols., London, 1781, 8vo, a work that did not add to his reputation. In 1783, at the expense of the Duke of Marlborough, the splendid folio work on the Marlborough gems, 'Gemmarum Antiquarum Delectus,' was privately printed, with exquisite engravings by Bartolozzi. The first volume was written in Latin by Bryant, and translated into French by Dr. Maty; the second by Dr. Cole, prebendary of Westminster, and the French by Dr. Dutens. In 1785 a paper 'On the Zingara or Gypsey Language' was read by Bryant to the Royal Society, and printed in the seventh volume of 'Archæologia.' He next published, without his name, 'A Treatise on the Authenticity of the Scriptures,' London, 1791, 8vo; second edition, with author's name, Cambridge, 1793, 8vo; third edition, Cambridge, 1810, 8vo. This work was written at the instigation of the Dowager Countess Pembroke, daughter of his patron, and the profits were given to the hospital for smallpox and inoculation. Then followed 'Observations on a controverted passage in Justyn Martyr; also upon the 'Worship of Angels,' London, 1793, 4to; 'Observations upon the Plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians,' with maps, London, 1794, 8vo, pp. 440. Professor Dalzel's publication in 1794 of M. Chevalier's 'Description of the Plain of Troy' elicited Bryant's fearless work, 'Observations upon a Treatise ... (on) the Plain of Troy,' Eton, 1795, 4to, and 'A Dissertation concerning the War of Troy' (? 1796), 4to, pp. 196; second edition, corrected, with his name, London, 1799, 4to. Bryant contended that no such war was ever undertaken, and no such city as the Phrygian Troy ever existed; but he won no converts, and was attacked on all sides by such men as Dr. Vincent, Gilbert Wakefield, Falconer, and Morritt. In 1799 he published 'An Expostulation addressed to the British Critic,' Eton, 4to, mistaking his antagonist Vincent for Wakefield, and for the first time losing his temper and using strong and unjustifiable language. His next work, 'The Sentiments of Philo-Judæus concerning the Logos or Word of God,' Cambridge, 1797, 8vo, pp. 290, is full of fanciful speculation which detracted from his fame. In addition to these numerous works he published a treatise against the doctrines of Thomas Paine, and a disquisition 'On the Land of Goshen,' written about 1767, was published in Mr.