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Home > Mezzofanti > Eminent linguists > British and Irish linguists > Gregory

John Gregory, who was born at Agmondesham in Buckinghamshire, in the year 1607, would probably have far surpassed Andrews as a linguist, had he not been cut off prematurely before he had completed his thirtieth year. He was a youth of unexampled industry and perseverance, devoting sixteen hours of the twenty-four to his favourite studies. Even at the early age at which he died he had mastered not only the Oriental and classical languages, but also Erench, Italian, and Spanish, and, what was far more remarkable in his day, his ancestral Anglo-Saxon. But he died in the very blossom of his promise, in 1646. those, however, must be regarded as exceptional cases the study of languages, it must be confessed, occupied at this period but little of public attention in England. It holds a very subordinate place in the great scheme of Bacon's " Advancement of Learning," in the model Republic of his a New Atlantis" only tour languages appear, " ancient Hebrew, ancient Greek, good Latin of the School, and Spanish."J Gregory's contemporaries, the brothers John and thomas Greaves, though both distinguished Persian and Arabic scholars, never made a name in other languages. Notwithstand ing the praise which Clarendon bestows on Selden's " stupen-dous learning in all kinds and in all languages " it is certain that the range of his languages was very limited. So, also what Hallam says of Hugh Broughton as a man "deep In Jewish erudition,"|| must be understood rather of the literature than of the languages of the East; and although Hugh Broughton's namesake, Richard, (one of the missionary priests in England in the beginning of the seventeenth century, and an antiquarian of considerable merit, mentioned by Dodd) was a learned Hebraist, there is no evidence of his having gone farther in those studies. 84 Indeed, strange as it may at first sight appear, the first epoch in English history really prolific in eminent scholars is the stormy period of the great Civil War. It is not a little remarkable that the most creditable fruit of English scholarship, Walton's Polyglot Bible, was matured, if not brought to light, under the Republic. The men who were engaged in this work, however, wrere, for the most part, merely book-scholars.

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