Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 37.djvu/294

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Meriton
Merivale
280

him to Dr. Humphrey Prideaux [q. v.] at Norwich (dated from Westminster 18 March 1698–9) respecting a petition against the quakers, which it was in contemplation to present.

[Mayor's Reg. of Admissions to St. John's Coll. Cambr. p. 108; Wood's Fasti (Bliss), vol. ii. col. 206; Dunn's Divines, p. 210; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 448, 483, 505; Sylvester's Reliq. Baxt. bk. i. pp. 284–5; Kennett's Reg. p. 513; Registers of St. Michael's, Cornhill (Harl. Soc.), pp. 42, 44, 53, 144, 148, 263, 265, 278, 296; Blomefield's Norfolk, vi. 60, 185, 193, 194, vii. 302; Admission Registers of Gonville and Caius College per the Master, and of Magdalene Coll. Cambr. per F. Pattrick, esq.; Cambr. Univ. Reg. per J. W. Clark, esq.]

B. P.

MERITON, THOMAS (fl. 1658), dramatist, born in 1638, was the second son of Thomas Meriton of Castle Leavington, Yorkshire, and Grace, daughter of Francis Wright of Bolton-on-Swale, and so grandson of George Meriton [q. v.], dean of York, and younger brother of George Meriton [q. v.], author of the 'Praise of Yorkshire Ale.' He was educated at a private school at Danby Wiske, and admitted at the unusual age of four-and-twenty a sizar of St. John's College, Cambridge, 9 May 1662, B.A. 1665, M.A. 1669.

He published two tragedies in 1658, 'Love and War,' dedicated to his brother, George Meriton, and 'The Wandring Lover,' which, according to the title-page, had been 'acted severall times privately at sundry places by the Author and his friends, with great applause.' In the dedication to Francis Wright he mentions the fact that he had also written the 'Several Affairs,' a comedy, and the 'Chast Virgin,' a romance, but that they were only shown to some private friends. 'Happy certainly,' says Langbaine, 'were those men who were not reckoned in the number of his friends.' Langbaine describes him as 'certainly the meanest Dramatick writer that ever England produc'd.'

[Dugdale's Visitation of Yorkshire (Surtees Society), p. 107; J. E. B. Mayor's Admissions to St. John's College, 1630-1655, pt. i. p. 155; (Graduati Cantabr.; Langbaine's Account of English Dram. Pcets, p. 367.]

G. T. D.

MERIVALE, HERMAN (1806–1874), under-secretary for India, born 8 Nov. 1806, at Cockwood House, Dawlish, Devonshire, was the eldest of twelve children of John Herman Merivale [q. v.] by Louisa Heath, daughter of Joseph Drury [q. v.]

Herman was a boy of extraordinary precocity. He read the Latin accidence when four years old with his grandfather Drury. In January 1817 he was sent to Harrow to the house of his uncle, Henry Joseph Thomas Drury [q. v.] He took a high place and was captain of the school before he was sixteen. He read much in his uncle's library and became, like his father, a good Italian scholar. In the 'Family Memorials' are printed long letters written by the boy to his father upon Tasso's 'Jerusalem Delivered' in 1819, and upon Gibbon's account of the Arian controversy in 1820. He won all the school prizes, and was taken by his father to see Coleridge at Highgate. He was entered at Oriel College, then under Copleston, on 3 Nov. 1823, and began residence with the highest school reputation in January 1824. In 1825 he won an open scholarship at Trinity College, and in the same year was elected to the Ireland scholarship, of which he was the first holder. He took a first class in classical honours in 1827, and in December 1828 was elected to a fellowship at Balliol. He was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1832, and practised upon the western circuit. He was highly respected in his profession, and was, when he had a favourable opportunity, a very effective speaker, but his practice was not in proportion to his reputation, perhaps because he was not disposed to the oratorical efforts which are admired at quarter sessions. He was appointed recorder of Falmouth, Helston, and Penzance in 1841. On 2 March 1837 he was elected to the professorship of political economy at Oxford, founded by Henry Drummond [q. v.] in 1825. His predecessors were Senior, Whately, and W. F. Lloyd. He held it for the usual term of five years, and in the last three delivered a course of lectures upon the colonies, which made a great impression. They contained a very able and discriminative criticism of the Wakefield scheme of colonisation, then much discussed, and showed much foresight in pointing out its strong and weak points. The book led to his appointment in 1847 as assistant under-secretary of state for the colonies, and in 1848 he succeeded Sir James Stephen as permanent under-secretary. In 1859 he was transferred to the permanent under-secretaryship for India, with the distinction of C.B., and held the office for his life. Lord Lytton, when resigning the secretaryship for the colonies in June 1859, expressed his gratitude for Merivale's services in the warmest terms. He was held in the highest esteem by all his official colleagues, but the precise nature of the work done by a permanent official is necessarily, for the most part, known only within his office, and in Merivale's case cannot be more precisely specified.

He married at Dawlish, on 29 Oct. 1834, Caroline Penelope, eldest daughter of the