Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Paley, Frederick Apthorp

PALEY, FREDERICK APTHORP (1815–1888), classical scholar, was the eldest son of Edmund Paley, rector of Easingwold, near York, where he was born 14 Jan. 1815. He was grandson of Archdeacon William Paley [q. v.] Educated at Shrewsbury, and at St. John's College, Cambridge, he graduated B.A. in 1838, but, owing to his dislike of mathematics, he was unable to take a degree in honours. To classical studies he was devoted from early youth, although his interests were always wide, and as a boy he was a good mechanician and fond of natural science. In 1838 he published his first book, a translation of G. F. Schömann's ‘De Comitiis Atheniensibus.’ He proceeded M.A. in 1842, and received the honorary degree of LL.D. of Aberdeen in 1883.

From 1838 to 1846 he was in residence at Cambridge, and, in addition to reading with pupils, assiduously studied classics and ecclesiastical architecture. He was an original member of the Cambridge Camden Society, became honorary secretary and member of committee, and he contributed largely to the ‘Ecclesiologist’ while that paper was the organ of the society. He eagerly supported the restoration of the Round Church at Cambridge. During the progress of the Oxford movement, by which he was greatly influenced, he identified himself with the high-church party in his university. In 1846 he was suspected of having encouraged one of his pupils named Morris, a former pupil of Henry Alford [q. v.], to join the Roman church (Alford, An Earnest Dissuasive from joining the Church of Rome, London, 1846), and he was ordered by the master and seniors to give up his rooms in college (Cambridge Chronicle, 31 Oct., 11 Nov., 26 Dec. 1846, 26 July 1851).

He accordingly left Cambridge, but not before he had himself become a Roman catholic. He now sought employment as private tutor. From 1847 to 1850 he was tutor to Bertram Talbot, heir to the earldom of Shrewsbury. In 1850 he obtained a similar post in the Throckmorton family, and accompanied them on a visit to Madeira and Teneriffe for the benefit of his pupil's health (cf. Classical Review, iii. 82). From 1852 to 1856 he was non-resident tutor in the family of Kenelm Digby. He married in 1854, and after a brief sojourn at Westgate, Peterborough, where he took private pupils, he returned to the university in 1860, on the partial removal of religious disability, and settled at 63 Jesus Lane, Cambridge. He subsequently lived at 17 Botolph Lane.

Since 1844 an edition of ‘Æschylus,’ with Latin notes by him, had been appearing in parts, and, though coldly received abroad, the work was meeting with success in this country. During his absence from Cambridge of fourteen years (1846–1860) he had studied and written incessantly. Not content with producing several books on classical and architectural subjects, he had carefully studied botany and geology. He investigated the habits of earthworms, and contemplated a work on this subject, but his design was anticipated by the appearance of Darwin's book. In 1878 he published his discoveries, in tabulated form, in two articles, entitled ‘The Habits, Food, and Uses of the Earth-Worm’ (Hardwicke, Science Gossip, 1878, Nos. 162, 163).

From 1860 to 1874 he was an assiduous private tutor at Cambridge. His pupils found in him a stimulating guide, who never consented to teach solely for the examinations. He examined in the classical tripos in 1873–4. In 1874 he was selected by Manning to be professor of classical literature at the new catholic university college at Kensington, and removed to Lowther Lodge, Lonsdale Road, Barnes. The college proved a failure, and Paley ceased to be professor in 1877. He was classical examiner to the university of London (1875–1880), and to the civil service commission.

In 1881, owing to weakness of the chest and lungs, he removed to Bournemouth. He bought a house in Boscombe Spa, which he renamed ‘Apthorp.’ There he died 9 Dec. 1888. He was buried in the Roman catholic churchyard, Boscombe. He was twice married: first, 31 July 1854, at Brighton, to Ruth, sixth daughter of G. M. Burchell, esq., of Scotsland, Bramley, Surrey (Times, 2 Aug. 1854); she was killed in a carriage accident near Peterborough 26 May 1870, and was buried in Peterborough cemetery; he married, secondly, on 3 Oct. 1871, at Clifton, Selena Frances, youngest daughter of the late Rev. T. Broadhurst of Bath (Times, 6 Oct. 1871). He left two sons and one daughter by his first wife; his second wife survived him.

Much of his published work is good, notably his introductions to the plays of Euripides, which are models of clearness, and his ‘Manual of Gothic Mouldings,’ which is admirably compiled. He was never at leisure, but he lacked patience for research. For years Donaldson's ‘New Cratylus’ and ‘Varronianus’ formed his ultimate court of appeal in classics. He possessed scarcely any works by foreign scholars, and he never read German. With authors like the Latin poets, full of recondite learning, he was not competent to deal. His Greek and Latin compositions were marked by fluency and delicate taste, and his epigrams were admired; yet his English translations were deplorable. His defence of Euripides against the aspersions of A. W. Schlegel and his school was well reasoned, penetrating, and convincing. As an annotator of the Greek dramatists he exhibited intimacy with their diction, but showed no poetic imagination.

To the Homeric controversy Paley contributed a theory that the ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey’ as we have them were first put together out of a general stock of traditions, either in or not long before the age of Pericles. His theory was not accepted in England, but attracted notice in Germany. Another theory in which he placed firm faith was the ‘Solar myth,’ which he introduced into his books at every opportunity, until at last he applied it to the exegesis of St. John's Gospel. In the ‘Journal of Philology’ (vol. x.) he wrote a paper ‘On certain engineering difficulties in Thucydides's account of the escape from Platæa,’ wherein he sought to prove that the story told by Thucydides is impossible, and to that end he made use of his knowledge of geology (cf. Classical Review, iv. 1). This article created a school of critics in Germany who impugn the credibility and accuracy of Thucydides. But Paley's opinion did not meet with general assent.

Paley's chief publications were:

  1. ‘The Church Restorers: a Tale treating of Ancient and Modern Architecture and Church Decoration,’ London, 1844, 8vo.
  2. ‘Ecclesiologist's Guide to Churches at Cambridge,’ 1844, 12mo.
  3. ‘Illustrations of Baptismal Fonts,’ 1844, 8vo; only part of the letterpress is his.
  4. ‘Æschyli quæ supersunt omnia,’ 1844–7, 7 pts.; in one vol. 1850. This work laid the foundation of Paley's reputation as a Greek scholar.
  5. ‘Manual of Gothic Mouldings,’ 1845, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1847; 3rd ed. with additions by W. M. Fawcett, M.A., 1865; 4th ed. 1877; 5th ed. 1891.
  6. ‘Manual of Gothic Architecture,’ 1846, 12mo.
  7. ‘A Brief Review of the Arguments alleged in Defence of the Protestant Position,’ London, 1848, 8vo.
  8. ‘On the Architecture of Peterborough Cathedral,’ Peterborough, 1849, 8vo.
  9. ‘Propertius, with English Notes,’ London, 1853, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1872.
  10. ‘Ovid's Fasti,’ 1854, 12mo, 2nd ed. 1886; bks. i. and iii. 1888.
  11. ‘The Tragedies of Æschylus, with English Notes,’ London, 1855, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1861; 3rd ed. 1870; 4th ed. 1879. This is the first of Paley's contributions to the ‘Bibliotheca Classica.’
  12. ‘The Tragedies of Euripides,’ 3 vols. London, 1857, &c.; 2nd ed. 1872, &c.
  13. ‘Æschylus: a Recension of the Text,’ Cambridge, 1858, 16mo; ‘Cambridge Greek and Latin Texts.’
  14. ‘A few Words on Wheat-ears,’ London, 1859.
  15. ‘Notes on twenty Parish Churches round Peterborough,’ 1859.
  16. ‘Flora of Peterborough,’ 1860.
  17. ‘The Epics of Hesiod, with English Notes,’ London, 1861, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1883. For this work Paley read fourteen manuscripts.
  18. ‘Theocritus, with short Latin Notes,’ Cambridge, 1863, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1869.
  19. ‘A Prose Translation of Æschylus,’ London, 1864, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1871.
  20. ‘The Iliad of Homer, with English Notes,’ 2 vols. London, 1866, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1884.
  21. ‘Verse Translations from Propertius, Book Five, with Revised Latin Text and brief English Notes,’ London, 1866, 8vo.
  22. ‘Homer's Iliad, I.–XII.,’ 1867, school edition.
  23. ‘Homer's Iliad, I.–XII.: Recension of the Text,’ Cambridge, 1867, 16mo.
  24. ‘On the Late Date and Composite Character of our Ilias and Odyssey,’ 1868, 4to.
  25. ‘Select Epigrams of Martial,’ with W. D. Stone, Cambridge, 1868, 8vo.
  26. ‘The Odes of Pindar, translated into English Prose, with Introduction and Notes,’ 1868, 8vo.
  27. ‘Religious Tests and National Universities,’ 1871, 8vo.
  28. ‘Aristotle's Ethics, V., X., translated into English,’ 1872, 8vo.
  29. ‘Architectural Notes on Cartmel Priory Church,’ Cartmel, 1872, 8vo.
  30. ‘Aristophanes' Peace, with English Notes,’ 1873.
  31. ‘Plato's Philebus, translated with Notes,’ 1873, 8vo.
  32. ‘Select private Orations of Demosthenes,’ with J. E. Sandys, 2 vols. Cambridge, 1874, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1886.
  33. ‘Milton's Lycidas, with a version in Latin Hexameters,’ 1874.
  34. ‘Various Readings in Demosthenes De falsa legatione, for the Cambridge Philological Society,’ 1874.
  35. ‘Plato's Theætetus, translated with Notes,’ 1875, 8vo.
  36. ‘Aristophanes' Acharnians, with English Notes,’ 1876, 8vo.
  37. ‘Homerus Periclis ætate quinam habitus sit quæritur,’ 1877.
  38. ‘Commentatio in scholia Æschyli Medicea,’ Cambridge, 1878, 8vo.
  39. ‘Aristophanes' Frogs, with English Notes,’ 1878.
  40. ‘Homeri quæ nunc extant an reliquis Cycli carminibus antiquiora jure habita sint,’ London, 1878, 8vo.
  41. ‘Quintus Smyrnæus, and the “Homer” of the Tragic Poets,’ London, 1879.
  42. ‘On Post-Epic or Imitative Words in Homer,’ London, 1879.
  43. ‘Greek Wit: Smart Sayings from Greek Prose Writings,’ two series, 1880–1, 12mo.
  44. ‘Sophocles, with English Notes,’ London, 1880, 8vo; vol. ii. of Blaydes's edition.
  45. ‘Poems by Alfred, Lord Braye, edited with a Preface on the latest School of English Poetry,’ London, 1881, 8vo.
  46. ‘Bibliographia Græca: an Enquiry into the Date and Origin of Book-writing among the Greeks,’ London, 1881, 8vo.
  47. ‘A Short Treatise on Greek Particles and their Combinations,’ 1881, 8vo.
  48. ‘On Professor Mahaffy's “Epic Poetry” and “History of Classical Greek Literature,”’ 1881, 8vo.
  49. ‘Æschyli Fabulæ Ἱκετίδες, Χοηφόροι, cum scholiis Græcis et brevi adnotatione critica,’ Cambridge, 1883, 8vo.
  50. ‘The Truth about Homer, with Remarks on Professor Jebb's “Introduction,”’ London, 1887, 8vo.
  51. ‘The Gospel of St. John: a Verbatim Translation from the Vatican MS.; with the notable Variations of the Sinaitic and Beza MSS., and brief Notes,’ 1887, 8vo.
  52. ‘Fragments of the Comic Greek Poets, with Renderings in Verse,’ London, 1888, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1892.

Paley also contributed many articles and reviews of classical books to the ‘Edinburgh Review,’ the ‘American Catholic Quarterly,’ ‘Hermathena,’ the ‘Journal of Philology,’ the ‘Transactions of the Cambridge Philological Society,’ ‘Fraser's Magazine,’ the ‘Journal of Hellenic Studies,’ ‘Athenæum,’ ‘Academy,’ ‘Macmillan's Magazine,’ &c. He also edited in ‘Cambridge Greek Texts with Notes’ the greater part of the Greek tragedies separately, his work for this series being continued until his death. Every new edition of his books was practically a new work.

[The Catalogues of the British Museum and of the Cambridge University Library; information kindly communicated by Mrs. Paley, Apthorp, Boscombe, W. B. Paley, esq., Messrs. G. Bell & Sons, Professor J. E. B. Mayor, A. W. Spratt, esq., Rev. Thomas Field, Bigby Rectory, Brigg, Lincoln; Eagle, June 1889; Cambridge Chronicle, 31 Oct. 1846, 11 Nov. 1846, 4 June 1850, 26 July 1851; Times, 6 Oct. 1871, 12 Dec. 1888; The Ecclesiologist, vols. i.–iv.; Classical Review, iii. 80; Academy, 1888, p. 406; Athenæum, 15 Dec. 1888; Rev. S. S. Lewis in Bursian's Jahresbericht, xvi. 15.]

E. C. M.