In Reply to: Men of fine parts posted by Adrien on April 10, 2009 at 11:28:
: What are "Men of fine parts"? If they are so fine, why are they so despised by Sir Roger? Are they physically frail? Steele No. 6, March 7, 1711.
This one is still around?
Yes, I have the answer but it is complicated.
One can also search for "a man of fine parts"
It means a wit, sharp mind, talented, capable
as in a promising university student 18th century usage there.
The text you cited well is about one stating that
"men of fine parts" should be hanged, meaning not that all such men but those criminal, evil sorts that where one combines such intellect with evil then he will equate the greatest threat, danger.
Hope this helps, also yes, the quote is allied to a person with a disability, that gets even more complicated as it is the 18th century view.
It also relates to people of great talent, wit and brains that achieve nothing: they are a waste.
But it as been over forty years sinces I was a honours English student at university..
The brain does wain