James Harris (grammarian)

James Harris (grammarian)

James Harris (July 20, 1709 – December 22, 1780), English grammarian, was born at Salisbury.

He was educated at the grammar school in the Close at Salibury, and at Wadham College, Oxford. On leaving the university he was entered at Lincoln's Inn as a student of law, though not intended for the bar. The death of his father in 1733 placed him in possession of an independent fortune and of the house in Salisbury Close.

He became a county magistrate, and was Member of Parliament for Christchurch from 1761 until his death, and was Comptroller to the Queen from 1774 to 1780. He held political office under George Grenville, retiring with him in 1765. The decided bent of his mind had always been towards the Greek and Latin classics; and to the study of these, especially of Aristotle, he applied himself with unremitting assiduity during a period of fourteen or fifteen years.

He published in 1744 "Three Treatises--on art; on music, painting and poetry; and on happiness". In 1751 appeared the work by which he became best known, "Hermes, a philosophical inquiry concerning universal grammar". He also published "Philosophical Arrangements" and "Philosophical Inquiries". Harris was a great lover of music and a friend of Handel and directed concerts and music festivals at Salisbury for nearly fifty years. He adapted the words for a selection from Italian and German composers (subsequently published by the cathedral organist, James Corfe) and wrote a number of Pastorals (pastiches of various - mostly Italian - works), one of which was produced by David Garrick at Drury Lane under the title "The Spring".

Harris is also known as a correspondent of fellow classicist Lord Monboddo, who disclosed in a 1772 letter [Letter from Lord Monboddo to James Harris, 31 December, 1772; reprinted by William Knight 1900 ISBN 1-85506-207-0] to Harris the possible first glimmerings of pre-evolutionary thought.

Harris's works were collected and published in 1801, by his son, the first earl of Malmesbury, who prefixed a brief biography. His papers are held by the Hampshire Record Office.

Line note references

Further reading

*"Music and Theatre in Handel's World: The Family Papers of James Harris 1732-1780", by Donald Burrows and Rosemary Dunhill, Oxford University Press, USA (March 29, 2002)


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • James Harris — may refer to:* James Harris, 1st Earl of Malmesbury (1746 ndash;1820) *James Harris, 3rd Earl of Malmesbury (1807 ndash;1889) *James Harris (American football) (born 1947), first modern black professional American football quarterback to start a… …   Wikipedia

  • Harris, James — (1709 1780)    Grammarian, was a wealthy country gentleman and member of Parliament, who held office in the Admiralty and the Treasury. He was the author of a singular and learned work entitled Hermes, or a Philosophical Inquiry concerning… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Earl of Malmesbury — is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1800 for the diplomat James Harris, 1st Baron Malmesbury. The son of the grammarian and politician James Harris, he served as Ambassador to Spain, Prussia, Russia and France and also… …   Wikipedia

  • Salisbury — This article is about the city in the United Kingdom. For the capital of Zimbabwe formerly named Salisbury, see Harare. For other uses, see Salisbury (disambiguation). Coordinates: 51°04′26″N 1°47′37″W /  …   Wikipedia

  • Salisbury Cathedral School — Infobox UK school name = Salisbury Cathedral School size = latitude = 51.063777 longitude = 1.795966 dms = motto = Domine dilexi decorem domus tuae (Lord I have loved the habitation of thy house) [Salisbury Cathedral. Domine dilexi decorem domus… …   Wikipedia

  • education — /ej oo kay sheuhn/, n. 1. the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life. 2. the act or process of… …   Universalium

  • Robert Browning — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Browning. Robert Browning …   Wikipédia en Français

  • LINGUISTIC LITERATURE, HEBREW — This article is arranged according to the following outline: introduction foreword the beginning of linguistic literature linguistic literature and its background the development of linguistic literature Foreword: A Well Defined Unit the four… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • List of people from Michigan — A list of notable people from the U.S. state of Michigan. Bolding indicates places in Michigan. People from Michigan are sometimes referred to as Michiganders, Michiganians, or more rarely as Michiganites. Actors, entertainers and… …   Wikipedia

  • encyclopaedia — Reference work that contains information on all branches of knowledge or that treats a particular branch of knowledge comprehensively. It is self contained and explains subjects in greater detail than a dictionary. It differs from an almanac in… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.