Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Paradise, John

PARADISE, JOHN (1743–1795), linguist and friend of Dr. Johnson, was born at Salonica in Macedonia in April 1743, being the son of Peter Paradise (d. 1 Feb. 1779), English consul in that town, who married a daughter of Philip Lodvill [q. v.] He was educated at Padua, but resided for the greatest part of his life in London. His talent for the acquisition of languages was remarkable; he knew ancient and modern Greek, Latin, Turkish, French, Italian, and English. On 14 April 1769 he was created M.A. of Oxford University, and on 3 July 1776 the degree of D.C.L. was conferred on him. He was elected F.R.S. on 2 May 1771. His house was always open to literary men, and he entertained the leading personages of that date. Johnson frequently dined with him, and on one occasion met Dr. Priestley there at dinner. When Johnson started an evening club at the ‘Essex Head’ in Essex Street, Strand, London, in December 1783, Paradise was one of the constant attendants. Sir Joshua Reynolds, when analysing the qualities of its members, enumerated him among the ‘very learned.’ A letter from Johnson to him, dated from Lichfield, 20 Oct. 1784, acknowledged his ‘great and constant kindness,’ and he was one of the mourners at Johnson's funeral. Paradise was a friend of Sir William Jones, and two Greek lines by him are mentioned in a letter written by the Duchess of Devonshire in October 1782 (Life of Sir W. Jones, i. 466). Paradise is described as very silent, modest, and amiable. He lived at one time in Charles Street, Cavendish Square, but he died at Great Titchfield Street, London, on 12 Dec. 1795.

He married ‘a beautiful and lively American,’ with a very ‘neat and small figure,’ who once made Barry the artist dance a minuet with her. She was passionate, and her anger sometimes prevailed over her good sense. Some particulars of an altercation with Mary Moser are given in Smith's ‘Nollekens and his Times’ (i. 347–9). She was once so irritated by Baretti that she turned the boiling water of her tea-urn upon him. On another occasion, when a servant brought her a dirty plate, she threatened, in the presence of a large dinner party at her own house, to break his head with it should he bring another one in the same state. A rout at her house in February 1782, when Pacchierotti the singer was present, is described in a letter from Fanny Burney (Diary and Letters, ii. 116–22), and Charlotte Burney gives an account of a ball at her house on Twelfth night, January 1784, when she showed bad manners. About 1805 she went with her children to America, where she owned considerable property.

[Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Gent. Mag. 1779 p. 103, 1787 ii. 1030, 1795 pt. ii. p. 1059; Thomson's Royal Soc. Appendix, p. liv; Boswell, ed. Hill, i. 64, iii. 386, iv. 225, 254, 272, 364, 434; Taylor's Reynolds, ii. 455; Frances Burney's Early Diary, vol. i. pp. xc, 198, vol. ii. pp. 313–16; L. M. Hawkins's Memoirs, i. 72–4.]

W. P. C.