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Andrew Müller
Home > Mezzofanti > Eminent linguists > Linguists of the Teutonic race > Andrew Müller

One of the scholars engaged in the compilation of Walton's Polyglot, Andrew Müller, has left a reputation less marvellous, but more solid. He was born about 1630, at Greiffenhagen in Pomerania. Müller, like Crichton, was a precocious genius. At eighteen he wrote verses freely in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. On the completion of his studies, he became pastor of Konigsberg on the Warta; but the duties of that charge soon became distasteful to him, and, after a short trial, he resolved, at the invitation of Castell, to settle in England, and devote himself to literature. He arrived just as Brian Walton was making arrangements for the publication of his celebrated Polyglot Bible, and at once entered earnestly into the scheme. He took up his residence in the house of John Castell in the Strand, where, for ten years, he applied himself unremittingly to study. It is told of him that, in the ardour of study or the indifference of scholastic seclusion, he would not raise his head from his books to look out of the window, on occasion of Charles II.'s triumphal progress at the Restoration ! Having received from Bishop Wilkins some information on the subject of Chinese, he conceived a most enthusiastic passion for that language. He obtained some types at Antwerp, and, through the instructions of the celebrated Jesuit, Father Kir-cher and other members of the society, he was perhaps the first European scholar who, without actually visiting China, acquired a mastery of its language; as he is certainly one of the first who deserted the track of the old philologers, and attempted the comparative study of languages on principles approaching to those which modern science has made familiar. Soon after the completion of Walton's Polyglot Müller returned to Germany. He was named successively Pastor of Bernau and Provost of Berlin in 1667, but resigned both livings in 1685, and lived thenceforth in retirement at Stettin. He died in 1694. Although a most laborious man and a voluminous writer, Mullens views were visionary and unpractical. He professed to have devised a plan of teaching, so complete, that, by adopting it, a perfect knowledge of Chinese could be acquired in half a year, and so simple, that it could be applied to the instruction of persons of the most ordinary capacity. Haller states that he spoke no less than twenty languages. Burgomaster-linguist is a more singular literary phenomenon.

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