Musgrave, Samuel (DNB00)


MUSGRAVE, SAMUEL (1732–1780), physician and classical scholar, son of Richard Musgrave, gentleman, of Washfield, Devonshire,was born at Washfield on 29 Sept. 1732. He was educated at Barnstaple grammar school, and matriculated at Queen's College, Oxford, on 11 May 1749. After his appointment on 27 Feb. 1749-50 to a scholarship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, he was entered on its books as a commoner, and graduated B.A. 27 Feb. 1753-4, M.A. 5 March 1756. About 1754 he was elected Radcliffe travelling fellow of University College, and spent many years on the continent, chiefly in Holland and France. He became fellow of the Royal Society on 12 July 1760, and took the degree of M.D. at Leyden in 1763, when he revisited Paris, and was elected a corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres. He afterwards alleged that during this residence at Paris in 1764 he received trustworthy information that the peace signed the previous year had been sold to the French by some persons of high rank. These persons, it subsequently appeared, were the princess dowager, Lord Bute, and Lord Holland. On 10 May 1765, on his return to England, he saw Lord Halifax, then secretary of state, on the subject, who required some corroborative evidence of the facts, and, when none was forthcoming, declined to make any movement. Musgrave then applied to the speaker, but he was again met by a refusal to take any action in the matter.

Musgrave's tenure of the Radclifle fellowship had now expired, and he settled about 1766 at Exeter, where he was elected on 24 July in that year physician to the Devon and Exeter Hospital. As he did not succeed in obtaining sufficient practice at Exeter, he resigned this post in the latter part of 1768, and removed to Plymouth. An advertisement by him in the 'St. James's Evening Chronicle' in October 1766, that he was preparing for the press a volume of papers on the late peace, attracted little attention. But a printed 'Address to the Gentlemen, Clergy, and Freeholders of Devon,' which he issued on 12 Aug. 1769, as a preliminary to a general meeting in Exeter Castle on the subsequent 5 Oct., excited universal astonishment. He admitted that he could not himself prove the charges, but he regarded the action of Halifax as 'a wilful obstruction of national justice.' Among the pieces published by Musgrave was one entitled ' An Account of the Chevalier d'Eon's Overtures to Impeach three persons, by name, of selling the Peace to the French.' D'Éon, who had been French plenipotentiary in England in 1763, was alleged to have been restrained from taking any open steps by the machinations of the parties accused. Many pamphlets appeared for and against Musgrave, and among them was one from D'Éon himself, repudiating all knowledge of him and of the circumstances which he alleged to have occurred. After a full and patient hearing in the House of Commons, Musgrave's accusations were voted 'frivolous and unworthy of credit,' 29 Jan. 1770 (Gent. Mag. 1770, passim; European Mag. 1791, i. 336).

These proceedings ruined Musgrave's chances of professional advancement at Plymouth, and he determined on living in London. He took the degree of M.D. at Oxford on 8 Dec. 1775, and settled at Hart Street, Bloomsbury. On 30 Sept. 1776 he was admitted a candidate of the College of Physicians, London, proceeded fellow on 30 Sept. 1777, and was appointed Gulstonian lecturer and censor in 1779. He was harassed by pecuniary difficulties, and, when he found that his practice did not improve, was forced to eke out his income by his pen. As a Greek scholar he had few superiors, and his great delight was the study and annotation of the works of Euripides, but through want he was unable to carry out his design of publishing an edition of that author, and he was forced to sell his collections to the university of Oxford for 200/. He died in very reduced circumstances at Hart Street, Bloomsbury, on 4 July 1780, and was buried, with a short inscription, in the burial-ground of St. George, Bloomsbury.

Musgrave's library was sold by James Robson of New Bond Street, London, in 1780, and, mainly through the exertions of Thomas Tyrwhitt, who is said to have surrendered to the widow a bond for several hundred pounds advanced by him to Musgrave, a very liberal subscription was obtained for the publication, in 1782, of 'Two Dissertations' for the benefit of his family.

Musgrave's works were: 1. 'Euripidis Hippolytus. Variis lectionibus et Notis Editoris. Accessere Jeremiæ Markland emendationes,' 1756. For the production of this volume he visited Paris, and collated several editions in its libraries. The notes of Markland were obtained through a friend, and his name was prefixed without his knowledge, 'and very much against his inclination.' This text was adopted in the Eton editions of the play in 1792 and 1799. 2. 'Remarks on Boerhaave's Theory of the Attrition of the Blood in the Lungs,' 1759. 3. 'Exercitationum in Euripidem libri duo,' Leyden, 1762. 4. 'Dissertatio Medica inauguralis sive Apologia pro Medicina Empirica,' Leyden, 1763. 5. 'Address to the Gentlemen, Clergy, and Freeholders of Devon,' dated Plymouth, 12 Aug. 1769. 6. 'True Intention of Dr. Musgrave's Address to the Freeholders of Devon,' 1769. 7. 'Dr. Musgrave's Reply to a Letter published in the Newspapers by the Chevalier d'Eon,' 1769. The 'Gentleman's Magazine' and the 'Oxford Magazine' for that year are full of comments on this controversy. 8. 'Speculations and Conjectures on the Qualities of the Nerves,' 1776. 9. 'Essay on Nature and Cure of Worm Fever,' 1776. 10. 'Euripidis quse extant omnia,' Oxford, 1778, 4 vols. ; another edition, Glasgow, 1797. Musgrave's collections, embodied in this edition, consisted of collations of the text, fragments of the lost plays, various readings, notes, and a revision of the Latin translation. His notes were included in the Leipzig edition of 1778-88 and the Oxford edition of 1821. The British Museum possesses two copies of the 1778 edition, with manuscript notes by Charles Burney. 11. 'Gulstonian Lectures on Pleurisy and Pulmonary Consumption,' 1779. 12. 'Two Dissertations : i. On the Graecian Mythology. ii. An Examination of Sir Isaac Newton's Objections to the Chronology of the Olympiads,' 1782. They were prepared for the press by Musgrave, and were handed by him shortly before his death to Tyrwhitt.

His notes on Euripides were included in the following editions : 1. 'The Alcestis,' published at Leipzig by C. T. Kuinoel in 1789. 2. 'The Medea,' published at Eton, 1785, 1792, and 1795. 3. ' The Electra,' for Westminster School, 1806, and a Glasgow issue in 1820. 4. 'Hecuba, Orestes et Phoenissa?,' 1809. 5. ' Hecuba, Orestes, Phœnissæ et Medea,' 1823. Selections from his notes were included in editions of 'Iphigenia in Aulis' and 'Iphigenia in Tauris,' published at Oxford in 1810. A letter from him to Joseph Warton (15 Dec. 1771) on a projected edition by the delegates of the Clarendon Press, under his editorship, of the plays of Euripides, is in Wooll's 'Warton,' pp. 387-8.

Musgrave's notes on Sophocles were bought by the Oxford University after his death, and were inserted in an edition of the tragedies printed at Oxford in two volumes in 1800. A volume of the tragedies of Æschylus printed at Glasgow in two volumes in 1746, and now at the British Museum, contains manuscript notes which are said to be in his handwriting. He edited in 1776 the treatise of Dr. William Musgrave [q. v.], 'De Arthritide primogenia et regulari,' and he translated into Latin Ducarel's letter to Meerman on the dispute concerning Corcellis as the first printer in England.

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. ed. 1878, ii. 312–16; Western Antiq. vii. 33–5, 86; Telfer's D'Éon, pp. 199–205; Leyden Students (Index Soc.), p. 72; Letters of Radcliffe and James (Oxford Hist. Soc. vol. ix.), p. 91; Walpole's George III, iii. 384–5; Cavendish Debates, i. 623–4; Journ. House of Commons, 1770; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Gent. Mag. 1780, p. 347; Nichols's Lit. Anecdotes iii. 149–50, 663, iv. 285, 288, vi. 387, viii. 119, ix. 685.]

W. P. C.