Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 11.djvu/433

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and especially for numismatics. He was elected a fellow of the Society of antiquaries on 10 Jan. 1771, and of the Royal Society on 11 Jan. 1776. In 1773, or earlier, he made the acquaintance of William Hunter, the anatomist. He always continued on intimate terms with him, and greatly aided him in getting together his fine collection of coins. Hunter's manuscript account of the sums expended on his collection shows that he not infrequently purchased from Combe coins of all classes. The largest payment made to him is 185. (in 1777), 'for weights and large brass (Roman coins),' which had been collected by Combe himself. Combe contemplated a complete catalogue of the Hunter coin collection, but only published one instalment his well-known work entitled 'Nummorum veterum Populorum et Urbium qui in Museo Gulielmi Hunter asservantur Descriptio, figuris illustrata,' London, 1782, 4to. A Latin preface gives the history of the Hunter collection. The illustrations, contained in sixty-eight engraved plates, are poor as works of art; but Combe took care that they should be more faithful to the original coins than the illustrations in previous numismatic works. Eckhel pronounced the text of the work to be compiled 'erudite, nitide et adcurate.' (For rectifications see Dr. J. Friedlaender, in the Numismatische Zeitschrift, 1870, pp. 321-8, and Dr. Imhoof-Blumer in Zeitschrift fur Numismatik, 1874, i. 321-7.) Combe was appointed one of the three trustees to whom Hunter (who died in 1783) left the use of his museum for thirty years, after which the collection passed to the Glasgow University. In 1788 Combe began to work in conjunction with Mr. Henry Homer, fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, upon an edition of Horace, with variorum notes. Dr. Parr was also originally to have taken part in the work. Combe's colleague died before the first volume was completed, and he finished the work alone, which was published as 'Q. Horatii Flacci Opera cum variis lectionibus, notis variorum et indice completissimo,' 2 vols. 1792-3, 4to. It was a fine specimen of typography, but some errors, especially in the Greek quotations in the notes, were severely commented on by Dr. Parr in the 'British Critic.' Combe replied with 'A Statement of Facts,' &c., and was answered by Parr in 'Remarks on the Statement of Dr. Charles Combe,' 1795, 8vo. Combe also published a work on 'large brass' coins, entitled 'Index nummorum omnium imperatorum, Augustorum et Cæsarum . . . ,' London, 1773, 4to. It only extends to the reign of Domitian. He wrote the memoirs prefixed to the sale catalogue of the Rev. Richard Southgate's library (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. vi. 359), and contributed to the appendix to Vertue's 'Medals of Thomas Simon,' 2nd edit. 1780 (ib. viii. 75). Besides coins he collected some rare books, especially editions of the Bible, some of which were purchased by the British Museum.

[Gent. Mag. vol. lxxxvii. pt. i. (1817), pp. 375,. 467-8; Annual Biography and Obituary for 1818, ii. 298-305; Hunk's Coll. of Phys. ii. 337-8; Hose's Biog. Dict.; Eckhel's Doctrina Num. Vet. i. p. clxx; Hunter's manuscript Account of My Purchases in Medals (a transcript of it by T. Combe is in the Library of the Department of Antiquities, British Museum); Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 162, 163, vi. 359, viii. 75; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

W. W.

COMBE, GEORGE (1788–1858), phrenologist, was born in Edinburgh on 21 Oct. 1788. He was one of the seventeen children of George Comb, a brewer (who wrote his name thus), by his wife, Marion Newton.

The education of both parents had been scanty. George had a dangerous illness in infancy, which left a permanent delicacy, increased by the unwholesome surroundings of his home. He was sent to the parish school of St. Cuthbert's about 1794 or 1795, and in October 1797 to the high school of Edinburgh. His impressions of school were painful; for his first four years he was under a cruel master; lessons were learnt by rote, under terror of the tawse, and his intellect was undeveloped. At home, though his parents, from a consciousness of their educational defects, never talked of religion, they drilled their children by mechanically instilling the catechism and by long attendances at church. Combe received gloomy impressions of religion, learnt little, and afterwards strongly condemned the whole system. From 1802 to 1804 he attended classes in the university, where the laxity of the discipline had the advantage of giving a rest to his brain. In the spring of 1804 he was articled to Messrs. Higgins & Dallas, writers to the signet. The only other clerk was George Hogarth, whose daughter, many years later, married Charles Dickens. Hogarth was a man of intelligence, and helped Combe in his efforts to improve his education. Combe himself became the chief adviser and teacher of his brothers and sisters. In 1810 he became clerk to Peter Cowper, W.S., and in leisure moments read Cobbett and the 'Edinburgh Review,' kept a diary, wrote essays, and belonged to a debating society called the 'Forum.' On 31 Jan. 1812 he was admitted writer to the signet, and started business on his own account. Cowper helped him by becoming security for a cash credit, and Combe was afterwards