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Lyttelton (afterwards Bishop of Carlisle, and President of the Society of Antiquaries), then come to be installed into the Deanry; and the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Milles, chantor, afterwards Dean of that church, and likewise President of that Body, on the death of Bp. Lyttelton; an affinity of studies setting aside the want of merit, and station in the Church.
This widened his circle of literary correspondence; and, bringing home to his door many useful animadversions, cast both new and old lights on the principal points of history: and the many obligations to these learned and communicative gentlemen (in consequence of this interview) W. B. has taken all possible care to acknowledge in his Works. He was desired to send what he had compiled to them for inspection, and encouraged to prosecute his studies.
In the year 1750, being in London, he was admitted fellow of the Royal Society, having been chosen the year before, after performing a sort of exercise for that honour, in a Treatise on the Cornish Crystals *. He now published the scheme of his intended Work, to be printed by subscription; a tedious way of proceeding, indeed, for himself, and, what gave him more pain, burthensome to his friends, but a method which did him much credit, by the number and rank of the subscribers.
In July 1753 he took his manuscript of the Antiquities of Cornwall to Oxford (though London was first thought of for printing it), determined in the choice of the place by the greater retirement, and more easy access to books; and, with incessant application, had superintended the engravings, and finished the whole impression, by the February following, when it was published !
* A list of his valuable communications to the Royal Society (nineteen in number) is printed in the Biographia Britannica, 1780, vol. II. p. 425.
+ His next publication was, “ Observations on the antient and present State of the Islands of Scilly, and their Importance to the Trade of Great Britain, in a Letter to the Rev. Charles Lyttelton, LL. D. Dean of Exeter, and F.R.S." This work, which
He returned directly to Cornwall; and, in all intervals of duty, sedulously set about the other half of his task, viz. the Natural History, for which he had been gathering collections on every side for many years.
in the year 1757, Oct. 30, he came to Oxford, to employ the same press where he had, much to his satisfaction, printed bis Antiquities ; engaging also the same engraver, the late ingenious Mr. James Green ; who, but that death interposed, had soon been among the first of his profession.
On the 24th of April following (viz. 1758), by the assistance of Providence, he had completed the impression, so as to set out on his return to Cornwall.
As soon as he returned, his first care was, to send all the fossils, and remains of antiquity, which he had described in his Works, for the satisfaction of the curious, as well as his testimony of gratitude to his Alma Mater, to the care of the learned Mr. Huddesford, fellow of Trinity College, and curator of the Ashmolean Museum, to be there reposited ; for which he received the thanks of the University, in a letter from the Rev. Dr. Thomas Randolph, then head of Corpus Christi college, and vicechancellor, dated Nov. 10, 1758; and the fossils, &c. were placed in a glass desk, or cabinet, for the more cominodious examination ; W. B. continuing to send every thing curious in his department, as it came to hand, to the same repository.
March 23, 1766, he was presented to his degree of Doctor of Law, by the University, the Rev. Dr. Durell, principal of Hertford College, being then Vice-chancellor.
was printed likewise at Oxford, and appeared in 1756, in quarto, was an extension of a paper that had been read before the Royal Society, Feb. 8, 1753. At the request of Dr. Lyttelton this account was enlarged into a distinct treatise, intituled,
« An Account of the great Alterations which the Islands of Scilly have undergone, since the Time of the Antients, who mention them, as to their Number, Extent, and Position."
As he was now grown old, his pastoral care, and study of the Scriptures, had not passed unnoted, and he had made many collections, extracts, and paraphrases, in the way of Sacræ Exercitationes, without any intention to publish them, merely to ascertain Scriptural truths, for his own satisfaction, but always stitched or bound in separate volumes, to keep them distinct.
His circle growing narrower every day, his amusements abroad, and in the open air, were superintending the many high-roads of his parish, which was so placed by nature, in a narrow slip slip of land between the North and South channels, that it had more roads in number from and to the neighbouring towns of Penzance, Marazion, St. Ives, Helston, Redruth, and Falmouth, than any one in Cornwall, perhaps than most (of equal extent) in England. Those, therefore, he took upon him to form, and reform.
His sedentary amusements at home were, the belles lettres, among which painting was chief, as producing always "something new to wish, or enjoy," and rather whetting the appetite to go on (for in this art there is no summit, no ne plus ultra) than fatiguing by what was gone through. The literary walk, however, was not deserted; he had been for some time before correcting and enlarging his Antiquities, and in the year 1769 he published, in London *, the second edition of the Antiquities of Cornwall, with several additions, corecting the press himself at his own house, whither the sheets were all sent for his revisal.
His next chief attention, in the literary way, was confined to revising minutely his Natural History of Cornwall, contracting superfluities, rectifying mistakes, and interspersing such additional discoveries as occurred. He added also to the plates of that work, such fresh subjects and embellishments as after-informations furnished.
* From the press of W. Bowyer and J. Nichols.
After this, he revised and prepared for the press, a treatise he had composed some years before, called “ Private Thoughts concerning the Creation and the Deluge;" but a violent illness, in 1771, and the apprehensions of entangling himself in so long and close attention, as correcting the press solely, and at such a distance as London, made him drop this design, and recall his manuscript, which he had sent to his bookseller to be published, after printing a page or two.
Being now in his 77th year, very little more can be hoped for by himself, or expected by others.
Having been long accustomed to the confinement of his study, retirement and old-age incessantly call upon him with the less terror, and resignation to his increasing infirmities becomes every day easier, and less irksome, till he now, at last, accounts it among the blessings of long life, that it has quieted and extinguished every spark of ambition, and that it enables him to withdraw more and more with some decency from the world; precluding the wellintended, perhaps, though rather too frequent, visits of civility, in which there is generally more dissipation, at all stages of life, than real compensation for the waste of time, especially in the days of age.
In hopes, however, of being not entirely useless, as yet, whilst it pleases God to grant him life, most of his present time (as not the least of his pleasures) he allots to the instruction of a dutiful and apprehensive youth, the present companion of his retirement.
Thus, sir, I have complied with your request of the 13th of last December, dicenda tacenda locutus; and if such a weak career of life can amuse you for half an hour, it cannot be owing to the critic, but the friend of, dear sir,
Your most affectionate humble servant, W. B.”
Though Dr. Borlase, by the time he had completed his three principal works, had exceeded his sixtieth year, he continued to exert his usual dili
gence and vigour. The chief objects of his attention were his pastoral daty, and the study of the Scriptures. In the course of this study, 'he drew up paraphrases on the book of Job and the books of Solomon, and wrote some other pieces of a religious kind; all which, however, he seems to have coinposed rather for his private improvement, than with a view to publication. The correction and enlargement of his Antiquities of Cornwall for a second edition engaged some part of his time; and when this business was completed, he applied his attention to a minute revision of his Natural History, and to intersperse the additional discoveries which had occurred to him. As this work is become scarce, a new edition of it, with the author's improvements, would probably be very acceptable to the publick. After he had revised his Natural History, he also prepared for the press (as he mentions himself) a Treatise concerning the Creation and Deluge. This curious work was actually put into my hands; and two pages of it printed in octavo as a specimen; when a violent iilness, in January 1771, induced him to drop his design.
From the time of his illness, he began sensibly to decline; the infirmities of old age came fast upon him; and it was visible to all his friends that his dissolution was approaching. This expected event happened on the 31st of August, 1772, in the 77th year of his age. He was lamented in the several relations of a kind father, an affectionate brother, a sincere friend, an instructive pastor, a man of erudition, and a good citizen.
He was buried within the communion rails in Ludgvan church, by the side of Mrs. Borlase, who had been dead about three years, and over whose grave he had caused to be engraved the following elegant testimony of the mutual harmony and affection in which they had lived:
" ANNæ suæ per annos propemodum quadraginta et quinque uxori peramatæ, amanti, amabili,