Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Harwood, Edward (1729-1794)

HARWOOD, EDWARD, D.D. (1729–1794), classical scholar and biblical critic, was born at Darwen, Lancashire, in 1729. After attending a school at Darwen, he went in 1745 to the Blackburn grammar school under Thomas Hunter, afterwards vicar of Weaverham, Cheshire, to whom he ascribes the formation of his liberal tastes (Introd. to N. T., 1773, p. xi). Hunter wished him to enter at Queen's College, Oxford, with a view to the church. But his parents were dissenters, and he was trained for the ministry in the academy of David Jennings, D.D. [q. v.], at Wellclose Square, London. Leaving the academy in 1750, Harwood engaged in teaching, and was tutor in a boarding-school at Peckham. He preached occasionally for George Benson [q. v.], and became intimate with Lardner. In 1754 he removed to Congleton, Cheshire, where he superintended a grammar school, and preached alternately at Wheelock in Cheshire and Leek in Staffordshire. At Congleton he saw much of Joseph Priestley, then at Nantwich, who speaks of him as ‘a good classical scholar and a very entertaining companion.’ From 1757 he associated also with John Taylor, D.D., who in that year became divinity tutor in the Warrington Academy; and in 1761 he preached Taylor's funeral sermon at Chowbent, Lancashire. An appendix to the printed sermon warmly takes Taylor's side in disputes about the academy, and shows that Harwood was by this time at one with Taylor's semi-Arian theology, although he says that he never adopted the tenets of Arius. His letter of 30 Dec. 1784 to William Christie [q. v.] shows that in later life he inclined to Socinianism (Monthly Repository, 1811, p. 130). On 16 Oct. 1765 Harwood was ordained to the Tucker Street presbyterian congregation, Bristol. He had married, and was now burdened with a numerous family, and he describes his congregation as ‘very small and continually wasting;’ adding that ‘there never was a dissenting minister who experienced more respect and generosity from persons of all denominations than I did for several years.’ He indulged his bent for classical reading, employing it in New Testament exegesis. A first volume (1767) of ‘Introduction to New Testament Studies’ attracted the notice of Principal Robertson of Edinburgh, on whose recommendation he was made D.D. of that university on 29 June 1768. His proposals (1765) for a free translation of the New Testament, a tract against predestination, 1768, and the republication of a treatise by William Williams on ‘the supremacy of the Father’ (Gent. Mag. 1793, p. 994), made him locally unpopular; he was ‘shunned by the multitude like an infected person,’ and for some months ‘could hardly walk the streets of Bristol without being insulted’ (Introd. to N. T., 1773, p. xviii). He published his translation of the New Testament in 1768, and another volume by way of introduction in 1771. Some charge was brought against his character, and he left Bristol in 1772. Coming to London, he settled in Great Russell Street, and employed himself in literary work. He failed to obtain a vacant place at the British Museum, but says he got a better post (Gent. Mag. l. c.).

In 1776, soon after publishing a bibliography of editions of the classics, Harwood sold his classical books and took lodgings in Hyde Street, Bloomsbury. His means were straitened, and on 15 May 1782 he was attacked by paralysis. Though he derived some benefit from the application of electricity by John Birch (1745?–1815) [q. v.] (see Harwood's account in ‘The Case,’ &c. [1784], 8vo), he could neither walk nor sit, but was still able to write and to teach. He claims to have ‘written more books than any one person now living except Dr. Priestley’ (Gent. Mag. ut supra). Without being a follower of Priestley, he defended him (1785) against Samuel Badcock [q. v.] Later he complained of the coldness of his dissenting friends, contrasting ‘the benevolence and charity of the Church of England’ with ‘the sourness and illiberality of Presbyterians’ (Gent. Mag. 1792, p. 518). He died at 6 Hyde Street on 14 Jan. 1794. His wife, a younger daughter of Samuel Chandler [q. v.], died on 21 May 1791, aged 58. Their eldest son, Edward [q. v.], wrote a Latin epitaph to their memory (ib. 1794, p. 184).

Harwood's biblical studies received little encouragement from dissenters. Lardner just lived long enough to commend his first volume, and give some hints for a second, and other early friends were dead. Newton, bishop of Bristol, and Law, while master of Peterhouse, gave him encouragement; Lowth lent him books; and the value of his work was recognised by continental scholars, his first volume being translated into German (Halle, 1770, 8vo) by J. F. Schulz of Göttingen. His ‘liberal’ rendering of the New Testament, suggested by the Latin version of Castalio, was an honest attempt to do in English what Lasserre has done for the gospels in French. But Harwood's style was turgid; hence his translation has been visited with a contempt which on the ground of scholarship it ill deserves. His most important biblical labour, a reconstructed text of the Greek Testament, 1776, was neglected by his contemporaries. He based his text on the Cantabrigian and Claromontane codices, supplying their deficiencies from the Alexandrine; in a remarkable number of instances his readings anticipate the judgment of recent editors.

His biblical works are:

  1. ‘A New Introduction to the Study … of the New Testament,’ &c., vol. i. 1767, 8vo, vol. ii. 1771, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1773, 8vo, 2 vols. (a third volume was projected, but not published. Harwood waited for the promised issue of a posthumous volume of biblical notes by Chandler, which never appeared).
  2. ‘A Liberal Translation of the New Testament … with Select Notes,’ &c., 1768, 8vo. 2 vols. (appended is Clement's [first] Epistle to the Corinthians).
  3. ‘H KAINH DIAΘHKH … collated with the most approved MSS., with Select Notes in English,’ &c., 1776, 12mo, 2 vols. (has appended bibliography of editions); his interleaved copy in the British Museum is corrected to 1 Nov. 1778.
His contributions to classical studies are:
  1. ‘Catulli, Tibulli, Propertii Opera,’ &c., 1774, 12mo (with revised texts).
  2. ‘A View of … editions of the Greek and Roman Classics,’ &c., 1775, 8vo; 2nd edit., 1778, 8vo; 3rd edit., 1782, 12mo; 4th edit., 1790, 8vo, reprinted in Adam Clarke's ‘Bibliographical Dictionary,’ Liverpool, 1801, 12mo, 6 vols.; translated into German by Alter, Vienna, 1778, 8vo; Italian, by Pincelli, Venice, 1780, 8vo; and by Boni and Gamba, with large additions and improvements, Venice, 1793, 12mo, 2 vols.; the ‘Introduction to … Editions,’ &c., 1802, 8vo, by Thomas Frognall Dibdin [q. v.], is ‘a tabulated arrangement’ from Harwood's ‘View.’
  3. ‘Biographia Classica,’ &c., 2nd edit., 1778, 12mo, 2 vols. Harwood also translated from the French Abauzit's ‘Miscellanies,’ 1774, 8vo, and from the German (a language which he learned after 1773) Wieland's ‘Memoirs of Miss Sophy Sternheim,’ 1776, 12mo, 2 vols. He edited the eleventh edition of J. Holmes's Latin Grammar, 1777, 8vo; the twenty-fourth edition of N. Bailey's English Dictionary, 1782, 8vo; and an edition of the Common Prayer Book in Latin, ‘Liturgia … Precum Communium,’ &c., 1791, 12mo, reprinted 1840, 16mo. An edition of Horace bearing his name was printed in 1805, 12mo.
Among his publications on general religious subjects are:
  1. ‘A Sermon at the Funeral of John Taylor, D.D.,’ &c., 1761, 8vo.
  2. ‘An Account of the Conversion of a Deist,’ &c., 1762, 8vo.
  3. ‘Reflections on … Deathbed Repentance,’ &c., 1762, 8vo (reached a third edit.).
  4. ‘Chearful Thoughts on … a Religious Life,’ &c., 1764, 8vo (reached a second edit., and was translated into Dutch).
  5. ‘Confession of Faith,’ printed with Amory's sermon and Chandler's charge at his ordination, 1765, 8vo.
  6. ‘A Letter to the Rev. Mr. Caleb Evans, occasioned by his … Confession of Faith,’ &c., 1768, 8vo.
  7. ‘The Melancholy Doctrine of Predestination,’ &c., 1768, 12mo.
  8. ‘The Life and Character of Jesus Christ,’ &c., 1772, 8vo.
  9. ‘Five Dissertations,’ &c., 1772, 8vo (defines his theological position; the second dissertation ‘on the Socinian scheme’ was republished with additions, 1783, 4to, and 1786, 8vo).
  10. ‘Of Temperance and Intemperance,’ &c., 1774, 8vo.
  11. ‘Seven Sermons,’ &c., 1777, 12mo.
  12. ‘The … Duty … of Contentment,’ &c., 1782, 12mo.
  13. ‘A Letter to the Rev. S. Badcock,’ &c., 1785, 8vo.
  14. ‘Discourses,’ &c., 1790, 8vo.

[For Harwood's life the chief authorities are his letters to the Gent. Mag. (see references above, also 1783 p. 691, 1793 p. 409), and the prefaces to some of his works; Aikin's General Biog., 1804, v. 73 (article signed M.); Watt's Bibliotheca Britannica, 1824, i. 472 (gives other publications by Harwood, but omits some specified above); Rutt's Memoir of Priestley, 1831, i. 44 sq.; Cat. of Edinb. Graduates, 1858, p. 243; Baines's Lancashire, 1870, ii. 82; Gregory's Prolegomena to Tischendorf's Greek Test., 1884, pp. 241, 248 sq.; Walter Wilson's manuscript account of Dissenting Congregations, in Dr. Williams's Library.]

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