“In this way I endeavoured to seize the life and spirit of the olden world, and that life and spirit I compared and contrasted with the life and spirit of modern society” (pg. v).
In other words, he was neither trying to derive moral meanings nor attack the scripture, but to examine it in a philosophical/historical framework.
After discussing the translation of the term “Nephilim” (which he accepts as meaning “giants”), he discusses its meaning (pp. 172-175). He points out that no matter how tall Adam was, the Nephilim were still giants in comparison. He then ponders whether giants may have really existed, and considers the physical evidence. Several passages illustrate his answer to this question:
“The question, then, which we have to settle, is, not whether man was ever twenty feet in height (in which case we might appeal to the mummies and sarcophagi of Egypt, and through them show that man, four thousand years ago, was physically very like man of the present day, and that probably, therefore, the existing races in the same countries have always averaged the same height), but whether, with and among the race of men, there has ever existed another race—now extinct—the race of giants.” (pg. 175)
In support of the existence of giants, de Beauvoir Priaulx cites the common inclusion of giants in the mythologies of several different regions of the world as well as the accounts of ancient writers that discuss the “bones of men of gigantic stature.” It is his discussion of those skeletal remains that is interesting (emphasis in original):
“On these fossil remains, we will observe,
1st. That, with the exception of those mentioned by Pausanias, they were the remains, and only the partial remains, of single individuals; and that they do not seem to have been ever examined with any attention , but to have been at once received as the skeletons of men. And,
2ndly. That as no human fossil remains have been discovered since comparative anatomy has become a science, we must receive with caution all conclusions drawn by former times from some enormous tooth or thigh-bone; and with the more caution, as all such bones have, when submitted to scientific examination, been found to be the bones, not of men, but of some of those great primitive monsters who were the earth’s first inhabitants.” (pg. 176)
After discussing some historically-known persons of large stature, de Beauvior Priaulx makes the following conclusion:
“But these historical giants are pigmies compared with the giants of mythology, or even with the Og of Moses. They are moreover few, and only prove, that we do not justly rate the maximum of human stature, and not that nature has ever produced a finer and nobler race, to be pressed from the earth by a weaker and more ignoble one. Without, therefore, altogether denying the possibility of a race of giants, we must allow that we have no evidence for, and great probabilities against, such a race having ever existed.” (pg. 177).
"No evidence for" and "great probabilities against." That was the conclusion of someone writing prior to 1842. That means he reached this conclusion prior to the publication of On the Origin of Species (1859), and before the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution (1846). So you’ll have to remove from your list of reasons for his conclusion that he was an evolutionist or a government shill. What are we left with to explain his conclusions? He was just not satisfied with the evidence with which he was presented (mythology and misinterpreted animal bones).
That was 173 years ago. Sounds familiar.
That combination didn't make a strong case then, and it doesn't now.