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course of students, as much increased the dignity and fame of the university in which he taught.
He had already extended, to distant parts, his reputation for knowledge of ancient history by a treatise “ de Vectigalibus Populi Romani,” on the revenues of the Romans; and for his skill in Greek learning, and in ancient coins, by a tract called “ Jupiter Fulgurator;" and after his return from Paris, he published “ Phædrus,” first with the notes of various commentators, and afterwards with his own. He printed many poems, and made many orations upon different subjects, and procured an impression of the epistles of Gudius and Sanavius.
While he was thus employed, the professorships of history, eloquence, and the Greek language, became vacant at Leyden, by the death of Perizonius, which Burman's reputation incited the curators of the university to offer him upon very generous terms, and which, after some struggles with his fondness for his native place, his friends, and his colleagues, he was prevailed on to accept, finding the solicitations from Leyden warm and urgent, and his friends at Utrecht, though unwilling to be deprived of him, yet not zealous enough for the honour and advantage of their university, to endeavour to detain him by great liberality.
At his entrance upon this new professorship, which was conferred upon him in 1715, he pronounced an oration upon the duty and office of a professor of polite literature; “De publici humanioris Disciplinæ professoris proprio officio et munere;" and showed, by the usefulness and perspicuity of his lectures, that he was not confined to speculative notions on that subject, having a very happy method of accommodating his instructions to the different abilities and attainments of his pupils.
Nor did he suffer the publick duties of this station to hinder him from promoting learning by labours of a different kind; for, besides many poems and orations which he recited on different occasions, he wrote several prefaces to the works of others, and published many useful editions of the best Latin writers, with large collections of notes from various commentators.
He was twice rector, or chief governor of the university, and discharged that important office with equal equity and ability, and gained by his conduct in every station so much esteem, that when the professorship of history of the United Provinces became vacant, it was conferred on him, as an addition to his honours and revenues, which he might justly claim; and afterwards, as a proof of the continuance of their regard, and a testimony that his reputation was still increasing, they made him chief librarian, an office which was the more acceptable to him, as it united his business with his pleasure, and gave him an opportunity at the same time of superintending the library, and carrying on his studies.
Such was the course of his life, till, in his old age, leaving off his practice of walking and other exercises, he began to be afflicted with the scurvy, which discovered itself by very tormenting symptoms of various kinds; sometimes disturbing his head with vertigos, sometimes causing faintness in his limbs, and sometimes attacking his legs
with anguish so excruciating, that all his vigour was destroyed, and the power of walking entirely taken away, till at length his left foot became motionless. The violence of his pain produced irregular fevers, deprived him of rest, and entirely debilitated his whole frame.
This tormenting disease he bore, though not without some degree of impatience, yet without any unbecoming or irrational despondency, and applied himself in the intermission of his pains to seek for comfort in the duties of religion.
While he lay in this state of misery he received an account of the promotion of two of his grandsons, and a catalogue of the king of France's library, presented to him by the command of the king himself, and expressed some satisfaction on all these occasions; but soon diverted his thoughts to the more important consideration of his eternal state, into which he passed on the 31st of March, 1741, in the 73d year of his age.
He was a man of moderate stature, of great strength and activity, which he preserved by temperate diet, without medical exactness, and by allotting proportions of his time to relaxation and amusement, not suffering his studies to exhaust his strength, but relieving them by frequent intermissions; a practice consistent with the most exemplary diligence, and which he that omits will find at last, that time may be lost, like money, by unseasonable avarice.
In his hours of relaxation he was gay, and sometimes gave way so far to his temper, naturally satirical, that he drew upon himself the ill-will of those who had been unfortunately the subjects of his mirth ; but enemies so provoked he thought
it beneath him to regard or to pacify; for he was fiery, but not malicious, disdained dissimulation, and in his gay or serious hours preserved a settled detestation of falsehood. So that he was an open and undisguised friend or enemy, entirely unacquainted with the artifices of flatterers, but so judicious in the choice of friends, and so constant in his affection to them, that those with whom he had contracted familiarity in his youth had for the greatest part his confidence in his old age.
His abilities, which would probably have enabled him to have excelled in any kind of learning, were chiefly employed, as his station required, on polite literature, in which he arrived at very uncommon knowledge, which, however, appears rather from judicious compilations than original productions. His style is lively and masculine, but not without harshness and constraint, nor, perhaps, always polished to that purity which some writers have attained. He was at least instrumental to the instruction of mankind, by the publication of many valuable performances, which lay neglected by the greatest part of the learned world; and, if reputation be estimated by usefulness, he may claim a higher degree in the ranks of learning than some others of happier elocution, or more vigorous imagination.
The malice or suspicion of those who either did not know, or did not love him, had given rise to some doubts about his religion, which he took an opportunity of removing on his death-bed by a voluntary declaration of his faith, his hope of everlasting salvation from the revealed promises of God, and his confidence in the merits of our Redeemer, of the sincerity of which declaration his
whole behaviour in his long illness was an incontestable proof; and he concluded his life, which had been illustrious for many virtues, by exhibiting an example of true piety.
Of his works we have not been able to procure a complete catalogue; he published,
Quintilianus, 2 vols. 4to.
cum notis Ovidius, 3 vols. 4to.
variorum Poetæ Latini Minores, 2 vols. 4to. Buchanani Opera, 2 vols. 4to.