James Harris (grammarian)

James Harris (Grammarian)

James Harris (grammarian)

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James Harris, FRS (24 July 1709 – 22 December 1780) was an English politician and grammarian.

Life and works

He was born at Salisbury and educated at the grammar school in the Close at Salisbury, 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's Cathedral Close.

On his mother's side, Harris was the nephew of the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713), the philosopher and famous author of Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (1711). Many influences of the uncle are to be found in the philosophical works of the nephew.

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...
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