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SIR THOMAS POPE BLOUNT (1649-1697)

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Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 88 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR THOMAS POPE BLOUNT (1649-1697), English author, eldest son of Sir Henry Blount and brother of Charles Blount (q.v.), was born at Upper Holloway on the 12th of September 1649. He succeeded to the estate of Tittenhanger on his mother's death in 1678, and in the following year was created a baronet. He represented the borough of St Albans in the two last parliaments of Charles II. and was knight of the shire from the revolution till his death. He married Jane, daughter of Sir Henry Caesar, by whom he had five sons and nine daughters. He died at Tittenhanger on the 3oth of June 1697. His Censura celebrorum authorum sive tractatus in quo varia virorum doctorum de clarissimis cujusque seculi scriptoribus judicia traduntur (169o) was originally compiled for Blount's own use, and is a dictionary in chronological order of what various eminent writers have said about one another. This necessarily involved enormous labour in Blount's time. It was published at Geneva in 1694 with all the quotations from modern languages translated into Latin, and again in 1710. His other works are A Natural History, containing many not common observations extracted out of the best modern writers (1693), De re poetica, or remarks upon Poetry, with Characters and Censures of the most considerable Poets . . . (1694), and Essays on Several Occasions (1692). It is on this last work that his claims to be regarded as an original writer rest. The essays deal with the perversion of learning, a comparison between the ancients and the moderns (to the advantage of the latter), the education of children, and kindred topics. In the third edition (1697) he added an eighth essay, on religion, in which he deprecated the multiplication of ceremonies. He displays throughout a hatred of pedantry and convention, which makes his book still interesting. See A. Kippis, Biographia Britannica (1780), vol. ii. For an account of Blount's family see Robert Clutterbuck. History and Antiquities of the County of Hertford (1815), vol. i. pp. 207-212.
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