Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/79

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

completed with a very meagre sketch of its later history. Much matter was omitted, and the whole work was a disappointment to both author and public, which was not mitigated by the separate publication of 17. ‘Historical Views of Devonshire,’ vol. i. 1793. Four more volumes were announced, but only the first volume was published. Further information on these works will be found in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ for 1793 and following years, Upcott's ‘English Topography,’ i. 150–2, and the ‘Transactions of the Devonshire Association,’ xiv. 51–3. Perfect copies of ‘The History of Devonshire’ are very scarce. A copy with numerous notes by George Oliver, D.D. (1781–1861) [q. v.], is at the British Museum. The ‘History of Devonshire’ was reissued in 1806.

Polwhele's next great labour in topography—18. ‘The History of Cornwall’—also came out piecemeal in seven detached volumes (1803–1808), and copies, when met with, are rarely in perfect agreement either as to leaves or plates. A new edition, purporting to be corrected and enlarged, appeared in 1816, when the original titles and the dedication to the Prince of Wales were cancelled. The most useful of the volumes is the fifth, which deals with ‘the language, literature, and literary characters.’ A dull supplement to the first and second books, containing ‘Remarks on St. Michael's Mount, Penzance, the Land's End, and the Sylleh Isles. By the Historian of Manchester’ (i.e. John Whitaker [q. v.]), was printed at Exeter in 1804. The vocabularies and provincial glossary contained in vol. vi. were printed off in 1836. The complicated bibliography of this work can be studied in the ‘Bibliotheca Cornubiensis,’ ii. 510–11, the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ for 1803–4, Upcott's ‘English Topography,’ i. 88–93, and ‘The Western Antiquary,’ vol. ix. Polwhele gave much assistance to John Britton in the compilation of the ‘Beauties of Cornwall and Devon.’

The volumes of reminiscences and anecdotes by Polwhele comprised: 19. ‘Traditions and Recollections,’ 1826, 2 vols. 20. ‘Biographical Sketches in Cornwall,’ 1831, 3 vols. 21. ‘Reminiscences in Prose and Verse,’ 1836, 3 vols. The earlier part of the first set contains some civil-war letters, anecdotes of Foote and Wolcot, and many of his own juvenile poems. His chief correspondents were Samuel Badcock, Cobbett, Cowper, Darwin, Hayley, Gibbon, Mrs. Macaulay, Sir Walter Scott, Miss Seward, and John Whitaker, D.D. A memoir by Polwhele of the last of these worthies formed the subject of the third volume of the ‘Biographical Sketches.’ Copies of these three works, with manuscript additions, cancelled leaves, and many names, where blank in print, inserted in writing, are in the Dyce Library at the South Kensington Museum. Polwhele also published, in connection with the Church Union Society, two prize essays—respectively on the scriptural evidence as to the condition of the soul after death, and on marriage; printed many sermons, and conducted a vigorous polemic against the methodists. His chief opponent on this topic was Samuel Drew [q. v.], who first confuted Polwhele's arguments and afterwards became his firm friend (Life of Drew, pp. 129–52).

Throughout his life Polwhele was a contributor to the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ and from 1799 to 1805 he was a frequent contributor to the ‘Anti-Jacobin Review.’ He also supplied occasional articles to the ‘European Magazine,’ the ‘Orthodox Churchman's Magazine,’ and the ‘British Critic.’ Some of his poetry appeared in the ‘Forget-me-not,’ ‘Literary Souvenir,’ ‘The Amulet,’ the ‘Sacred Iris,’ and George Henderson's ‘Petrarca’ (1803). Several letters to him are in Nichols's ‘Illustrations of Literature,’ (iii. 841–2, v. 326, vii. 610–80), and some letters by him were in Upcott's collection (Catalogue, 1836, pp. 41–3).

Polwhele's portrait, by Opie, ‘one of the first efforts of his genius,’ painted about 1778, was in the possession of the Rev. Edward Polwhele, his son. It was engraved by Audinet as frontispiece to his ‘Traditions and Recollections,’ and was also inserted in Nichols's ‘Illustrations of Literature’ (viii. 646–7). Another engraved portrait from a miniature appeared in the ‘European Magazine’ for November 1795.

[Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Gent. Mag. 1793 pt. i. p. 187, pt. ii. p. 1149, 1838 pt. i. pp. 545–9; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. ii. 506–17, iii. 1316; Boase's Collect. Cornub. pp. 745–7, 1200; Vivian's Visitations of Cornwall, pp. 377–378; Parochial Hist. of Cornwall, i. 210–17; Literary Memoirs of Living Authors, 1798, ii. 144–6; Public Characters, 1802–3, pp. 254–67; European Mag. 1795, pt. ii. pp. 329–33; Redding's Personal Reminiscences, i. 176–200; Redding's Fifty Years' Recollections, i. 266; Croker Papers, i. 165.]

W. P. C.

POLWHELE or POLWHEILE, THEOPHILUS (d. 1689), puritan divine, of Cornish extraction, was born in Somerset. He was entered at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, as a sizar on 29 March 1644, and was under the tutorship of William Sancroft, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury. In 1651 he took the degree of M.A. He was preacher at Carlisle until about 1655 (Dedication to Treatise on Self-deniall). In 1654