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MEMOIR OF THE Rigur Reverend RICHARD WATSON, D. D. F. R. S.
LORD BISHOP OF LANDAFF, Fellow of the American Society of Arts and Sciences; Member of the Massa
chusetts Historical Society; a Trustee of the Hunterian Museum ; and VicePresident of the Society for the Suppression of Vice.
This eminent Prelate, equally distin the following papers in the Philosophical guished as a Divine, a Natural Philoso. Transactions (having been elected a Felpher, a Polite Scholar, and a Politician, low of the Royal Society in 1769) : was born in August 1737, at Heversham “ Experiments and Observations on vain Westmorland, five miles from Kendal, rious Phænomena attending the Solution in which town his father, a Clergyman, of Salts,” Phil. Trans. LX. 325 ; “ Rewas Master of the Free Grammar School, marks on the Effects of Cold in February and took upon bimself the whole care 1771,” LXI. 213; “ Account of an Expe. of his son's early education. From this riment made with a Thermometer, whose seminary he was sent, in November 1754, Bulb was painted black, and exposed to with a considerable stock of classical the rays of the Sun,” LXIII. 40; “Che learuing, a spirit of persevering indus inical Experiments and Observations on try, and an obstinate provincial accent, Lead Ore,” LXVIII. 863 ; all which were to Trinity College, Cambridge, where, reprinted in the fifth volume of the “ Chefrom the time of his admission, he distin. mical Essays.” In 1768 be published guished himself by close application to “ Tostitutiones Metallurgicæ," 8vo, instudy, residing constantly, until made tended as a text-book for that part of his a Scholar in May 1757. He became Chemical Lectures which explained the engaged with private pupils in Novem- properties of metallic substances; and ber following, and took the degree of in 1771, “An Es ay on the Subjects of B. A. (with superior credit, being second Chemistry and their general divisions,"8vo. Wrangler,) in January 1759.
In 1769, he published an Assize Sermon elected Fellow of Trinity College in Oct.' preached at Cambridge, 4to; and in 1776, 1760; was appointed Assistant Tutor 10 two other Sermons preached at Cambridge, Mr. Backhouse in November that year; 4to, which extended his fame beyond the took the degree of M. A. in 1762, and was precincts of the University; one, on the made Moderator, for the first time, in 29th of May, “ The Principles of the ReOctober following. He was unanimously volution vindicated;" the other, on the elected Professor of Chemistry in Nov. Anniversary of his Majesty's Accession. 1764 ; became one of the Head Tutors of In 1774, he was presented to a Prebend Trinity College in 1767; appointed Re-. in the Church of Ely; and in January gius Professor of Divinity (on the death of 1780, succeeded Dr. Charles Plumptie in the learned Dr. Rutherforth) in Oct. 1771, the Archdeaconry of that Diocese. He with the Rectory of Somersham in Hunt- published a Serinon preached before the ingdonsbire annexed.
University at the General Fast, Feb. 4, During a residence of more than 30 1780 ; and a Discourse delivered to the years, he remained the pride of his Uni- Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Ely. In versity; at one tinie, by the ingenuity of August that year he was presented by his Chemical researches; at another, by Bp. Keene to the rectory of Northwold, his demeanour in the Divinity chair *. in Norfolk. He wrote, during his residence there, The principles expressed by Mr. Gib.
* On this subject a worthy Correspondent, who signs himself Clericụs Londinensis, affords us the following information :-"When I was resident at the University of Cambridge, I was fond of frequenting the Theological School. I have heard the most important questions in Divinity discussed with a propriety and decorum peculiariy becoming the subject. The late Regius Professor, Bp. Watson, had the singular qualification of impressing a numerous auditory with the highest opinion of his abilities. His comprehensive mind grasped every subject, and, as Moderator, he united the urbanity of the Gentleman with the dignity of the Professor. He gave full scope to the ingenuity of the Respondents, and their opponents; and delivered his sentiments with a Auency and elegance which few can attain in a foreign language During sixteen years be presided in the Chair, and left the learned Members of the University to lament that he was obliged, from bad health, to retire to his native county. Every admirer of tbat eminently-learved Bishop (our Correspondent adds) will wait with the utmost anxiety to peruse the life of a man, who was in a great measure the architect of his own förtune, and who, to the disgrace of Party, continued for thirty-four years to hold the poorest Bishoprick in his Majesty's Dominions. The words of Terence may be aptly applied upon this occasion Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit.”
bon, in various parts of the “ History the analysis of Air and Fire, &c. With of the Rise and Declension of the Roman much less pecesrity the learned Author Empire,” called forth the zeal of Bp. apologizes to Divines; whose forgiveness Waison; whose " Apology for Christianity, he solicits, for baving stolen a few hours in a series of Letters, addressed to Edward from the studies of his profession, and emGibbon, Esq.” published in 1776, 12mo, ployed them in the cultivation of Natural and several times reprinted, replete with Philosophy; pleading, in his defence, the sound information and reasoning, seems example of some of the greatest characto bave produced in the learned Historian ters that ever adorned either the Univers'. a diffidence of his own powers, which he sity of Cambridge, or the Church of Enghad till then been unaccustomed to feel: land. In the preface to the last of these Mr. Gibbon attempted no public reply. volumes, he introduces the following inte. A correspondence, however, which took resting observations: “When I was elected place on that occasion between the Anta. Professor of Divinity in 1771, I delergonists, is preserved in the Life of Gibbon mined ta' abandon for ever the study of by Lord Shefield; and it has been gene Chemistry, and I did abandon it for severally considered, that of all the answers ral years; but the veteris vestigia flammæ. made to the attacks of Mr. Gibbon, Bp. still continued to delight me, and at length Watson's “ Apology" was the most libe- seduced me from my purpose. When I 'ral, the most elegant, and perhaps the was made a Bishop in 1782, ( again demost forcible. It is seldom, indeed, that termined to quit my favourite pursuit: controversy has been conducted with so the volume which I now offer to the pubmuch urbanity, and at the same time with lick is a sad proof of the imbecility of my so much spirit.
resolution. I have on this day, however, In 1781, he published a volume of offered a sacrifice to other people's noChemical Essays, addressed to his pupil tions, I confess, rather than to my okn the Duke of Rutland, which was received opinion of Episcopal decorum. I have dewith such deserved approbation, as to in. stroyed all my Chemical Manuscripts. A duce the Author to give to the world, at prospect of returning health might have different times, four additional volumes' of persuaded me to pursue this delightful equal merit with the first. It has been science; but I have now certainly done stated, that when Bp.Watson obtained the with it for ever--at least I have taken the Professorship of Chemistry, without much most effectual step I could to wean myself previous knowledge of that science, he from an attachment to it: for with the deemed it his duty to acquire it; and ac- holy zeal of the idolaters of old, who had cordingly studied it with so much iodustry, been addicted to curious arts - I have as materially to injure his health : with burned my books." what success, his publications on that Having been tutor to the late Duke branch of Philosophy demonstrate. When of Rutland, when his Grace resided at he was appointed to that Professorship, Cambridge, Dr. Watson was presented by he gave Public Lectures, which were at. him to the valuable rectory of Knaptoft, tended by numerous' audiences; and his Leicestershire, in 1782 ; and in the same “Chemical Essays" prove that his re year, through the recommendation of the putation was not undeserved. They have same noble Patron, was advanced and passed already through several editions, consecrated to the Bishoprick of Landaff. and are accounted a valuable manual to In consequence of the smallness of the those who pursue that branch of science. revenues of the former, Dr. Watson was “ The subjects of these Essays,” to use allowed to hold with it the archdea. the Author's own words, “ hare been conry of Ely, his rectory in Leicesterchosen, not so much with a view of giving shire, the Divinity Professorship, and reca System of Cheinistry to the Würld, as tory of Somersham. At that time his with the humble design of conveying, in a fame for talents and science stood very popular way, a general kind of knowledge high; but his politicks having taken an to persons not much versed in Chemical impression from the party which he had inquiries." He accordingly apologizes to espoused, and which, though then ada Chemists, for having explained common mitted to power, had been in opposition, matters with, what will appear to them, a probably prevented his advancement to a disgusting minuteness ; and for passing more considerable eininence on the Episover in silence some of the most interest- copal Bunch *, - Immediately after his ing questions, such as those respecting promotiou, he published “A Letter 10
* At the time of the King's illness in 1789, Bp. Watson advocated the unqualified right of the Prince of Wales to assume the Regency, which, with some other political ductrines occasionally advanced by him during the American War, and at an early period of the French Revolution, had the effect, it is supposed, of impeding vis translation to a better Bishoprick.
Abp: Cornwallis on the Church Revenues," rable Discourse, replete with sound Phi. 1783, 4to; recommending a new dispo- losophy, and dignified by the firmest prinsition, by which the Bishopricks should be ciples of Christianity, has not been printed; rendered equal to each other in value, and but the substance of it remains fresh in the smaller livings be so far increased in the memory of one who was highly gratiincome,' by a proportionate deduction fied by hearing it. The text (from Gen, from the richer endowments, as to render ii, 7.) was, “And the Lord God formed them a decent competency. In this effort, man out of the dust of the ground; and whatever may be thought of the ultimate breathed into his nostrils the breath of expediency of the measures proposed, we life.” Setting aside every exploded cavil may at least discover a mind capable of on the immortality of the soul, the learned despising private interests, when he sup. Prelate (after convincing his auditors that posed public good to be opposed to it. whatever might have been the doubts of This Letter produced several pamphlets; the Jew or of the Heathen, the hopes of a among which was a Letter from Richard Christian were founded on the firmest Cumberland, Esq. containing some wit, basis,) with much delicacy and propriety but not much argument or candour; and took notice of many instances in which which was ably answered by another in Prejudice and Credulity had yanished begenious Writer.
fore the improvements of modern PhiloIn 1784, Bp. Watson published “A sophy (ever the more excellent when most Sermon preached before the Lords Spi- accompanied by modesty); and observed, ritual and Temporal, in the Abbey that an attempt to recall the latent spark Church, Westminster, on Friday, Jan. of animation, far from being either irra30,” 4to; and also “ Visitation Arti tional or impious, was “one of the noblest cles, for the Diocese of Landaff,” 4to. productions of human ingenuity;" that,
In 1785, this learned Prelate was editor not confined to any raok or description, of of a “ Collection of Theological Tracts, person or of age, it “comprehends the selected from various Authors, for the use whole ;" and that the commendations of the younger Students in the University," which an admiring publick have agreed 6 vols. 8vo. This compilation, compris to bestow on the Institutors and Promoters ing pieces on the most interesting subjects of so laudable a Society are well and jne in Sacred Literature by different writers, diciously bestowed. “ Just praise,” said displays extensive reading, candour, and the animated Preacher, “ from this place, judgment, and forms a valuable li would have the appearance of flattery;" brary of divinity for every candidate yet somewhat like this just praise his for holy orders. Some objections, how- Lordship condescended to bestow. An ever, have been made to it on the score of unequivocal proof of the effect of this ad. its not being entirely confined to the wri. mirable Sermon was, the profound attentings of Members of the Church of Eng- tion which was paid to it for forty minutes, land. In the same year he published His Lordship again pleaded for the “ The Wisdom and Goodness of God, in Royal Humane Society in 1797, in a Serhaving made byth Rich and Poor, a Ser mon at St. Bride's, Fleet-street ; which mon,” 4to ; and a second edition in 1793. Sermon also was never printed.
In 1786, Bp. Watson had a considera Bp. Watson's Sermon for the Westble accession to his private fortune, by minster Dispensary (preached in 1785), the death of Mr. Luther, of Ongar in was published in 1792, with an excellent Essex; who, having been one of bis pu- Appendix ; as well as “A Charge delipils at Cambridge, retained so great a vered to the Clergy of his Diocese in sense of his worth, that he bequeathed June 1791,” 4to.-Two Sermons, preachto him an estate, which was sold to the ed in the Cathedral Church of Landaff, Earl of Egremont for 24,0001.
and a Charge delivered to the Clergy The Bishop published “ Sermons on of that Diocese in June 1795,” were Public Occasions, and Tracts on Reli-' published together in 1795, 410. The gious Subjects, 1788," 8vo, coosisting first of these Sermons is a general arguchiefly of smaller pieces which had ment against Atheists; the second, a more before been printed separately. « Au particular discussion of the Evidences for Address to young Persons after Con. Christianity. The purport of the Charge firmation, 1789," 12mo, which had been is, to recommend theological humility, in annexed to the first of his Charges; and opposition to dogmatizing, (anonymous) “ Considerations on the Ex In 1796, his Lordship's powers in pediency of revising the Liturgy and Ar theological controversy were called forth ticles of the Church of England, 1790,” 8vo. on a most important occasion, though
On the 27th of February, 1791, Bp. by a very inferior antagonist to GibWatson preached, to a crowded congre. bon. Thomas Paine, after having en. fation, at the Church of St. Martin-in the lightened the world in regard to PoliFields, a Sermon before the Governors of ticks, proceeded,' in his " Age of Reathe Royal Humane Society, This admi. 800," to dispel the clouds in which, he
impiously conceived, Christianity had that two of them subjected themselves for so many ages enveloped the world. to legal prosecutions, His “ Charge The arguments of this man were abon delivered to the Clergy of Landaff,” in dantly superficial; but his book was likely that year, is a suitable Supplement to the to produce greater effect than the writings Address;” and in 1902, appeared anoof the most learned Infidels. The con ther very excellent“ Charge to the Clergy nexion of his political with his religious of Landaff.” In 1803, the Bishop pubopinious tended still farther to increase lished “A Sermon, preached in the Chapel the danger; for Atheism and Jacobinism of the London Hospital, on the 8th of at that time went hand in hand. It was April;" a powerful antidote to the mise on this occasion that the Bishop of Lan chief produced among the people at large daff stood forward in defence of Chris. by his old antagonist Paine; of whom he tianity, by publishing his most season takes occasion thus to speak, contrasting able, strong, judicious, and beautiful bin, as an Unbeliever, with Sir Isaac "Apology for the Bible, in a Series of Newton as a Believer : “ I think myself Letters addressed to Thomas Paine,"1200, justified in saying, that a thousand such His genius was here rendered peculiarly men are, in understanding, but as the conspicuous, by his adopting the popular dust of the balance, when weighed against., manner and style of his Antagonist; and Newton;" an indubitable truth, most useby thus addressing himself in a particular fully presented to the contemplation of manner to the comprehensions and ideas the multitude, In the same year apa of those who were most likely to be mis- peared his “ Thoughts on the intended Inled by the arguments he so very ably vasion,” 8vo. In " The Substance of a confuted. The service rendered to his Speech intended to have been delivered Country on this occasion by his Lordship iu the House of Lords, Nov. 22, 1803,"| cannot be too highly estimated. He not which was printed in 1804, Bp, Watson only prevented the pernicious effects of warmly entreats the Nation to coincide "The Age of Peason” among the lower with the measures proposed for the emane. classes of the community, but at the same cipation of the Catholicks, and also states time led them to suspect and detest the some Proposals for freeing the Nation of revolutionary and political tenets of the its public burthens by one patriotic effort. author. The British Criticks, speaking of The Bishop published a Sermon preachthis Apology, say, “We hail with much ed at St. George, Hanover-Square, May 3, delight the repetition of Editions of a book 1804, before the Society for the Suppresso important to the best of causes, the sion of Vice; for which, it cannot be de çause of Christianity, as the present. It nied, he pleads with his usual energy ; is written in an easy and popular style. though it must be admitted, the principles, The Author has purposely, and we think and maxims of the Society may not be wisely, abstained from pouring into it found so efficacious towards the wished much of that learning which the stores of for reformation, which is levelled at the bis mind would readily have supplied. lower ranks of society, instead of the He has contented himself with answering higher, who are the manifest corrupters of every argument or cavil in the plainest the others, by their example and influence. and clearest manner, not bestowing a, su “A Charge delivered to the Clergy of the perfluous word, or citing a superfluous Diocese of Landaff in June 1805," authority for any point whatever.” published in that year; and another in
From the very commencement of the 1808:4" Two Apologies, one for Chrisdiscussions the Slave Trade, histianity against Gibbon, and the other for Lordship always stood forward the Bible against Paine, published togestrenuous advocate for its abolition ; ther with Two Serraons and a Charge in Deand though in the earlier years of the fence of Revealed Religion," in 1806, 8vo: eventful contest with France which speedily -"A Second Defence of Revealed Religion; succeeded, he in general recommended in two Sermons; preached in the Chapel pacific measures, yet before its conclu- Royal, St. James's, 1807.”_"Cominuni. sion he became convinced of the necessity cation to the Board of Agricultire, on of prosecuting the war with vigour. His Planting and Waste Lands,” 1808. - His Lordship’s “ Address to the People of Lordship's latest publication was a colGreat Britain, 1798,” 8vo, is evidently lection of “ Miscellaneous Tracts on Rethe Address of a man, who, amidst all the ligious, Political, and Agricultural Subdifferences in matters of less moment, jects,” 1815, 2 vols. 8vo.Some articles feels honestly for his Country in the hour by him occur in the Transactions of the of danger, and wishes to unite all hands Manchester Literary and Philosophical and hearts in her defence.
Society, of which he was one of the eartract from so distinguished a character liest members.--It is asserted that during was not likely to pass unnoticed: seve the last years of his life his Lordship emsal replies appeared; but so intempe- ployed his leisure upon a History of his rate were his Lordship’s antagonists, own times, after the manner of Bp. Bur
net's celebrated work; that he completed under the tuition of the Rev. Mr. Wilson, it about six months ago, and left direc then clergyman of the parish of Allenby, tions for its publication after his decease. who was an excellent classical scholar, Such a performance from so eminent a but did not possess any knowledge of macharacter will, of course, be expected with thematicks, to which study the mind of no ordinary anxiety by the political as his pupil seemed most to bend. His fawell as the literary world.
ther intended him for the Church; but a His Lordship was an excellent public strong predilection for a sea-life, ". speaker, both in the Pulpit and in the of danger and of honour,” caused a rooted Senate; his action graceful,' his voice full aversion to theological pursuits ; and be, and harmonious, and his delivery chaste shortly after leaving school, had his wishes and correct. As far as his influence ex gratified by the following circumstance : tended, he was invariably the patron of About the year 1756-7, great shoals of merit. As a Writer, Bp. Watson united with herrings came into the Firth of Forth; and almost unexampled grace the knowledge Allenby being a fishing-town, the elder of a scholar with the liberality of a gentle. Mr. Huddart, in conjunction with sone man, the warm piety of a Christian, and respectable neighbours, built conveniences the open manliness of a well-intending for the purpose of curing them. Young character; and in the course of a long, Huduart, of course, was much employed an active, and a conspicuous life, his in the fishery in small vessels, thereby Lordship's demeanour was marked by the laying the foundation, by practical knowcharacteristicks of a very superior mind. ledge, of the conspicuous talents which a His partiality to unlimited toleration in few years soon developed. His father regard to religions opinion called down dying in 1762, he becaine concerned in upon him the applauses of one part of the the profits of the fishery, when he took commucity, and the censures of the other. the command of a small brig employed in He uniformly exerted his endeavours to carrying cargoes of their commodity to procure the abolition of the Corporation different ports, principally to Ireland, for and Test Acts. In his private deport- the West-India markets. His time not ment, though somewhat reserved, he was being fully taken up with these trips, his remarkable for the simplicity of his man. active mind would not permit him to be pers, and the equality of bis temper; en idle ; and, having a strong mechanical joying all the emoluments of his stations, turn, he devoted bis leisure opportunities and the fame arising from his writings, in to the study of ship-building and astrorural retirement, at Calgarth Park, West nomy: in the latter pursuit, he derived morland, a beautiful sequestered situation great advantage from the assistance of the on the celebrated Lakes, a retreat which son of the Rev. Mr. Wilson, who had athe had not only adorned and improved, tended the University of Glasgow, and was but in some measure created, and where a very ingenious young man. Mr. Hud. his Lordship passed much of his time in dart, however, was not long destined to the indulgence of those deep studies to remain employed in the mere conveyance which his whole life was addicted. His of fish; for, in 1763-4, the shoals wholly Plantations here were very extensive, left' the Firth, and fell into Chester. Siand in 1789 gained him a premium milar conveniences, by the same com. from the Society for the Encourage- pany, were erected at Park-gate; but the ment of Arts, Manufactures, and Com- quantity fell so far short of his expectamerce.- On the whole, Dr. Watson may tions, that he took the command of a brig justly be pronounced a Prelate of distin. belonging to a relation, intending, as soon guished abilities, learning, research, and as a vessel which then occupied the slips industry. He had a numerous family; was completed, immediately to build one and many distinguished personages were biniself. It may appear surprising, that, attached to him by the ties of friendship; with no farther instruction than his own amongst whom, the late Duke of Grafton, genius elicited, this iask he accomplished to the close of his life, was long one of the in the course of the year 1768, and mould. most conspicuous.
ed every tiinber about her with his own
hands. In this vessel he continued till JOSEPH Huddart, Esq. F. R. S. (see p. 190.) 1773; and his navigation having been
This venerable gentleman, whose disa principally confined to St. George's Chautinguished services as a Geographer, and nel, every leisure moment was devoted to unwearied attention to the different de. the survey of the different ports and roadpartments of science which he embraced, steds; and having claimed the attention fully entitled him to the gratitude of his of nautical men, by the accuracy of the Country, was born at Allenby, a village in delineation of some few charts, which were Cumberland, 11th Jan. 1740-1, 0. S. at published, he was strongly solicited by Sir which place his father followed the pro Richard Hotham to enter into the ludia fession of a shoemaker. He was an only Company's service, He accordingly, in child; and, at a proper age, was placed the season 1773.4, proceeded to India as