daughters (Polwhele, Devonshire, ii. 167). Thereupon he moved, with his children, to his mother's house in Cornwall, but after a short stay returned again to Kenton, and married there, on 29 Nov. 1793, Mary, daughter of Richard Tyrrell or Terrell of Starcross. Early in 1794 he was appointed to the curacy of Exmouth, on the opposite side of the Exe (Webb, Memorials of Exmouth, p. 30).
On the nomination of the bishop of Exeter, Polwhele was appointed in 1794 to the small living of Manaccan, near Helston, Cornwall, and he also undertook for a non-resident vicar the charge of the still smaller and poorer living of St. Anthony in Meneage, to which he was appointed in 1809. The parsonage of Manaccan was a mere cottage, and Polwhele spent a considerable part of his resources in repairs and enlargements. To secure the requisite education for his children, he accepted, about 1806, the curacy of the large parish of Kenwyn, within which the borough of Truro is partly situated, and obtained from the bishop a license of non-residence at Manaccan. Croker records in 1820 that Polwhele, who appeared ‘to have very little worldly wisdom,’ was in trouble through restoring his church without proper authority, and that the parishioners had threatened him with law proceedings. He vacated the living of Manaccan in 1821 on his appointment to the more valuable vicarage of Newlyn East, and he resigned St. Anthony in favour of his eldest son, William, in 1828. Though he retained the benefice of Newlyn until his death, the last ten years of his life were spent on his estate of Polwhele, where he devoted himself to the composition of his autobiographical volumes. He died at Truro on 12 March 1838, and was buried at St. Clement, where a monument preserves his memory. By his second wife he had a large family; among the sons were Robert, vicar of Avenbury, Herefordshire, and author of some small theological works; Richard Graves, a lieutenant-colonel in the Madras artillery; and Thomas, a general in the army.
Polwhele was, by turns, poet, topographer, theologian, and literary chronicler, and his fame has been marred by a fatal fluency of composition. Before he was twenty he wrote, besides the works already mentioned, an ode called ‘The Spirit of Frazer to General Burgoyne’ (1778), poems in the ‘Essays and Poems of Edmund Rack,’ and an ‘Ode on the Isle of Man to the Memory of Bishop Wilson’ for the 1781 edition of Wilson's works. The chief of his subsequent productions in poetry were: 1. ‘The Art of Eloquence,’ a didactic poem, bk. i. (anon.), 1785, the later editions and following books being known as ‘The English Orator,’ which was revised by Bishop Ross and others (Polwhele, Lavington's Enthusiasm of Methodists, App. p. 404). 2. Poems, 1791. 3. ‘Pictures from Nature,’ 1785 and 1786. 4. ‘Influence of Local Attachment’ (anon.), 1796, 1798, and 1810. This poem gave ‘indications of a higher excellence’ which were not fulfilled (Moir, Sketches of Poetical Lit. p. 37). Long extracts from it are given in Drake's ‘Winter Nights,’ i. 224–36, ii. 14–17, 247–63, and it was compared by some of the critics to the ‘Pleasures of Memory’ by Samuel Rogers. Polwhele thereupon attempted to prove the originality of his own ideas (Clayden, Early Life of S. Rogers, pp. 314–15). 5. ‘Poetic Trifles’ (anon.), 1796; suppressed after a very few copies had been sold on account of its satirical references to Montauban (i.e. Sir John St. Aubyn). 6. ‘Sketches in Verse,’ 1796 and 1797. 7. ‘The Old English Gentleman,’ 1797. 8. ‘The Unsex'd Females,’ 1798 and 1800. 9. ‘Grecian Prospects,’ 1799. 10. Poems, 1806, 3 vols. 11. ‘The Family Picture’ (anon.), 1808. 12. Poems, 1810, 5 vols. 13. ‘The Deserted Village School’ (anon.), 1812. 14. ‘The fair Isabel of Cotehele,’ 1815. 15. ‘The Idylls, Epigrams, and Fragments of Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus, with the Elegies of Tyrtæus,’ 1786; this has been often reprinted, the translations of Tyrtæus being included in a polyglot version published at Brussels by A. Baron in 1835. The rendering of the idylls of Theocritus has been much praised (Drake, Lit. Hours, ii. 191).
The topographical works of Polwhele included histories of Devon and of Cornwall. The second volume of 16. ‘The History of Devonshire,’ the first part that was published appeared early in 1793. The third volume came next, and, like its predecessor, was devoted to a parochial survey of the county. The style of these volumes was attractive, and the descriptions of the places which he had himself seen were excellent. But the author was wanting in application; large districts of the county were unknown to him, and the topography was not described on an adequate scale. The general history of the county was reserved for the first volume, the first part of which came out in the summer of 1797. This comprised the ‘Natural History and the British Period’ from the first settlements in Damnonium to the arrival of Julius Cæsar. Then came a querulous postscript with complaints of the withdrawal of subscribers and of the action of some of his friends in publishing separate works on portions of the history of the county. The first volume was at last