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the crown. Lord Rockingham was then Metallurgicæ ; and in the same year was minister (1766), and Mr. Luther, who had chosen a Fellow of the Royal Society. lately spent above twenty thousand pounds
In 1771, on the death of Dr. Rutherin establishing the whig interest in Essex, undertook to ask for it. Though an hun
forth, Mr. Watson was chosen Regius dred a year, given for the encouragement of
Professor of Divinity. science, is but as a drop in the ocean, when “ This professorship, as being one of the compared with the enormous sums lavished most arduous and honourable offices in the in unmerited pensions, lucrative sinecures, University, had long been the object of places, and scandalous jobs, by every minis
ambition; I had for years determined in ter on his flatterers and dependents, in order my own mind to endeavour to succeed Dr. to secure his majorities in Parliament, yet I Rutherforth, provided he lived till I was of obtained this drop with difficulty, and, un- a proper age, and fully qualified for the unless the voice of a member of Parliament dertaking: His premature and unexpected had seconded my petition, I doubt whether death quite disheartened me.
I knew as I should have succeeded. I sent up to the much of divinity as could reasonably be duke of Newcastle, Chancellor of the Uni- expected from a man whose course of stuversity, a testimonial from the Vice-Chan
dies had been directed to, and whose time cellor, that I had read with credit a course
had been fully occupied in other pursuits ; of chemical lectures; and that a chemical
but, with this curta supellex in theology, to establishment would be highly useful to the take possession of the first professional chair University; together with this testimonial, in Europe, seemed too daring an attempt I sent my petition to lord Rockingham, re- even for my intrepidity.” questing the duke to present it to him. It was, however, the general expecta
“The petition was presented in March, but tion that he would offer himself as a canI heard nothing about it till the July follow- didate for the vacant chair- and he pubing; when, waiting upon the duke of New, licly announced himself as such. "But eastle, he asked if my business was done? there was still a difficulty to be overcome. I answered, No, and that I thought it never would be done. I own I had been so much
"I was not, when Dr. Rutherforth died, vexed at the delay, that I was very indiffer
either Bachelor or Doctor in Divinity, and ent whether it ever was done or not, and
without being one of them I could not hetherefore answered with more firmness than come a candidate for a professorship. This the old man had been used to. He then puzzled me for a moment; I had only seven asked why it had not been done. My an
days to transact the business in ; but by swer was, “Because lord Rockingham says
hard travelling and some adroitness I acyour grace ought to speak to the king, as complished my purpose, obtained the king's Chancellor of the University; and your
mandate for a doctor's degree, and was grace says, that lord Rockingham ought to
created a doctor on the day previous to speak to the king, as minister.' He stared
that appointed for the examination of the at me with astonishment; and, calling for
candidates." paper, he instantly wrote a letter, and seal
“ Thus did I,” he continues, " by hard and ing it with his own seal, ordered me to go incessant labour for seventeen years, attain, with it immediately to lord Rockingham, at the age of thirty-four, the first office for who had a levee that day. I did so (and it honour in the University; and, exclusive of was the only time in my life that I ever at.
the Mastership of Trinity College, I have tended a minister's levee,) and sent in
made it the first for profit. I found the pro
my letter, before the levee began. I under- fessorship not worth quite 3301. a year, ana stood it was whispered, that lord Rocking- it is now worth 1000?. at the least.” ham and the whigs were to go out of admi
Of his conduct in the theological pronistration; and it was so: for their dismission fessorship, Dr. Watson gives the followwas settled that day. Lord Rockingham, ing candid account. however, undertook to ask the king; and, “I reduced the study of divinity into as apologizing for not having done it sooner, narrow a compass as I could, for I deteroffered in a very polite manner to have the mined to study nothing but my Bible, being stipend (I asked only for 1001. a year,) set, much unconcerned about the opinions of tled upon me for life. This I refused, and councils, fathers, churches, bishops, and desired to have it only whilst I continued other men, as little inspired as myself. This Professor of Chemistry; and discharged the mode of proceeding being opposite to the duty of the office.
general one, and especially to that of the “The ice being thus broken by me, similar Master of Peterhouse, who was a great stipends have been since procured from the reader, he used to call me autodid MXTOS, the crown, for the Professors of Anatomy and self-taught divine.-The Professor of Divi. Botany, and for the recent established Pro- nity had been nick-named Malleus Hæretifessor of Common Law.”
corum ; it was thought to be his duty to
demolish every opinion which militated In 1767, he was chosen one of the against what is called the orthodoxy of the head tutors in Trinity College. In 1768, Church of England. Now, my mind was he composed and printed his Institutiones wholly unbiassed; I had no prejudice
against, no predilection for the Church of anonymous letter to his grace, compli-
“At the time I published this letter,” he ance. I never troubled myself with an
says, “I knew very little of the duke of swering any arguments which the oppo. Grafton as an acquaintance ; I had afternents in the divinity schools brought against wards more intimacy with him, and I was the articles of the church, nor ever admitted for many years, indeed as long as he lived, their authority as decisive of a difficulty: happy in his friendship. It appears from but I used on such occasions to say to them,
some hundreds of his letters which he had bolding the New Testament in my hand, ordered at his death to be returned unread En sacrum codicem! Here is the fountain of
to me, that we had not always agreed either truth, why do you follow the streams derived from it by the sophistry, or polluted
in our political or religious opinions; but
we had both of us too much sense to suffer by the passions of man? If you can bring proofs against any thing delivered in this tivity of personal attachment. I never at
a diversity of sentiment to deaden the acyou; articles of churches are not of die tempted either to encourage or discourage
his profession of Unitarian principles, for I vine authority; have done with them; for
was happy to see a person of his rank, pro
and they may be true, they may be false; appeal to the book itself. This mode of dis- fessing with intelligence and with sincerity
Christian principles. If any one thinks that puting gained me no credit with the hierar
an Unitarian is not a Christian, I plainly say, chy, but I thought it an honest one, and it produced a liberal spirit in the University.” think otherwise."
without being myself an Unitarian, that I In 1772, Dr. Watson published two The Marquis of Granby had been one short letters to the members of the House of Dr. Watson's pupils,--and to all who of Commons, under the feigned name of a had been under his particular care, he in “ Christian Whig,”—and in 1773 a tract the after periods of life continued his paentitled, “ A brief State of the Principles ternal friendship. In a letter to this poof Church Authority.”. He was opposed bleman, in 1775, he thus expresses himto requiring a subscription “ to any hu- self: man confession of faith further than a de
« Persevere, I beg of you, in the resoluclaration of belief in the Scriptures, as tion of doing something for yourself; your containing a revelation of the will of ancestors have left you rank and fortune ; God.”
these will procure you that respect from the In 1773, Dr. Watson married. He world, which other men with difficulty obthus notices this change in his situation. tain, by personal merit
. But if to these you
add your own endeavours to become good, “ My constitution was ill fitted for celiba- and wise, and great, then will you deserve cy, and as soon, therefore, as I had any the approbation of men of sense. means for maintaining a family I married.
6 General reading is the most useful for My wife was the eldest daughter of Edward
men of the world, but few men of the world Wilson, Esq. of Dallum Tower in West- have leisure for it; and those who have moreland. We were married at Lancaster courage to abridge their pleasures for the on the 21st of December, 1773. During a improvement of their minds, would do well cohabitation of above forty years, she has to consider that different books ought to be been every thing I wished her to be; and read with very different degrees of attenI trust I have lived with her, and provided tion: or, as lord Bacon quaintly enough for her, as a man, not unconscious of her expresses it, some books are to be tasted or worth, ought to have done.”
read in part only; some to be swallowed Through the kind intervention of the
or read wholly, but not cursorily; and some
to be digested, or read with great diligence, duke of Grafton, he now obtained a sine
and well considered. Of this last kind are cure living of the Bishop of St. Asaph, the works of lord Bacon himself. Nature which he afterwards exchanged for a has been very sparing in the production of prebend in the church of Ely. To this such men as Bacon; they are a kind of sunobleman Dr. Watson was sincerely at- perior beings; and the rest of mankind tached, till bis death, in 1810. The ca- are usefully employed for whole centuries lumnies of Junius have made the name in picking up what they poured forth at of the duke of Grafton familiar to most
Lord "Bacon opened the avenues of of our readers. It is pleasing to see him all science, and had such a comprehensive exhibited in these memoirs in a very familiarity with his writings cannot fail of
way of thinking upon every subject, that a different light from that in which a par- being extensively useful to you as an oratisan has attempted to place him. On tor; and there are so many shrewd obserhis secession from the administration in vations concerning human nature dispersed 1775, Dr. Watson, who was a zealous op- through his works, that you will be much poser of the American war, addressed an Die wiser for them as a private man.
“I would observe the same of Mr. Locke's ty polemics of the time; they were angry writings, all of which, without exception with me for not having bespattered him with (even his letters to the Bishop of Worcester a portion of that theological dirt, which will teach you acutenese in detecting sophis. Warburton had so liberally thrown at his try in debate,) may be read over and over antagonists. One of that gentleman's greatagain with infinite advantage. His reason- est admirers, (Bishop Hurd,) was even so ing is every where profound, and his lan. uncandid, as to entertain, from the gentleguage masculine. I hate the flimsy woman- ness of my language, a suspicion of my sinish eloquence of novel readers, I mean of cerity; saying, of the Apology, “it was well such as read nothing else, and wish you, enough, if I was in earnest.' therefore, to acquire both justness of sen- " I sent a copy, before it was published, to timent and strength of expression, from the Mr. Gibbon, from whom I received the folperusal of works of great men. Make Ba- lowing note. con, then, and Locke, and why should I 6 MR. GIBBON takes the earliest opportunot add that sweet child of nature, Shakes- nity of presenting his compliments and peare, your chief companions through life, thanks to Dr. Watson; and of expressing let them be ever upon your table, and when his sense of the liberal treatment which he you have an hour to spare from business or has received from so candid an adversary. pleasure, spend it with them, and I will an- Mr. Gibbon entirely coincides in opinion swer for their giving you entertainment and with Dr. Watson, that as their different seninstruction as long as you live.
timents on a very important point of history “ You can no more have an intimacy with are now submitted to the public, they both all books than with all men, and one should may employ their time in a manner much take the best of both kinds for one's peculiar more useful, as well as agreeable, than they friends ; for the human mind is ductile to a can possibly do by exhibiting a single com-degree, and insensibly conforms itself to bat in the amphitheatre of controversy. Mr. what it is most accustomed to. Thus with Gibbon is therefore determined to resist the books as with men, a few friends stand us in temptation of justifying, in a professed reply, better stead than a multitude of folks we any passages of his history, which it might know little of.”
perhaps be easy to clear from censure and We wish we could afford room for the misapprehension. But he still reserves to whole letter, which is replete with whole- himself the privilege of inserting, in a future
edition, some occasional remarks and exsome instruction. In 1776, Dr. Watson preached the pleasure or business should bring Dr. Wat.
planations of his meaning. If any calls of Restoration and Accession Sermons be.
son to town, Mr. Gibbon would think himfore the University-both of which he self fortunate in being permitted to solicit published. The first, which was entitled the honour of his acquaintance. “ The Principles of the Revolution Vin- Bentick-street, Nov. 2d, 1776.' dicated,” gave great offence at court, " Answer to Mr. Gibbon's Note. and ever afterwards constituted an ob- 6. Dr. Watson accepts with pleasure Mr. stacle to the author's preferment.
Gibbon's polite invitation to a personal acNotwithstanding Dr. Watson's distaste quaintance, and, if he comes to town this for religious controversy, he did not hesi- winter, will certainly have the honour of tate to enter the lists with Mr. Gibbon, waiting upon him ; begs at the same time to when that gentleman assailed the outposts
assure Mr. Gibbon, that he will be very hapof Christianity. He conducted the dis- py to have an opportunity of showing him cussion, however, with a temper as admi
every civility, if curiosity or other motives rable as singular in such disputes. He should bring him to Cambridge. Dr. Wat
son can have some faint idea of Mr. Gibbon's gives us the following account of the pub- difficulty, in resisting the temptation hè lication of his Apology for Christianity, speaks of, from having of late been in a siand his intercourse with Mr. Gibbon iu tuation somewhat similar himself. It would regard to it.
be very extraordinary if Mr. Gibbon did not “ In the summer of 1776, I published feel a parent's partiality, for an offspring my Apology for Christianity. I was in- which has justly excited the admiration of duced to look into Mr. Gibbon's History, all who have seen it, and Dr. Watson would by a friend, (Sir Robert Grabam,) who told be the last person in the world, to wish him me, that the attack upon Christianity, con
to conceal any explanation which might
tend to exalt its beauties. tained in two of his chapters, could not be repelled. My answer had a great run, and is
«« Cambridge, Nov. 416, 1776.' still sought after, though it was only a month's " In the beginning of the year (1779,) Mr. work in the long vacation. But if I had been Gibbon published an answer to his various longer about it, though I might have stuffed antagonists, who had animadverted on his it with more learning, and made it more bul- History of the Decline and Fall of the Ro. ky, I am not certain that I should have made man Empire. This answer was distinguishit better. The manner in which I had treat- ed by great severity towards other men, but ed Mr. Gibbou displeased some of the dough. by great courtesy towards myselt. I thought
myself called upon to write to Mr. Gibbon, He was strenuously opposed to the revoand sent him the subjoined letter.
lutionary, and the late war, with this 66 SIR,
country,—he was also opposed to making 666 It will give me the greatest pleasure to
war upon France, to control the municihave an opportunity of becoming better acquainted with Mr. Gibbon; I beg he would pal acts of the French people. When accept my sincere thanks for the too favour. France, however, had stained herself with able manner in which he has spoken of a the blood of her princes, and her whole performance which derives its chief merit force was directed to the subversion of from the elegance and importance of the the liberties of other states, he exerted his work it attempts to oppose.
eloquence to encourage the British peo" "I have no hope of a future existence except ple to stand firmly by the constitution and that which is grounded on the truth of Chris- the crown.
Of a reform of the representianity; I wish not to be deprived of this hope; tation of the people, the Bishop of Lanbut I should be an apostate from the mild daff was ever an advocate, and on all principles of the religion I profess, if I could occasions he stood forth to resist the exbe actuated with the least animosity against tension of the royal prerogative and of the those who do not think with me, upon this, of all others the most important subject. i royal influence. He was equally sedubeg your pardon, for this declaration of my lous to preserv unimpaired the legitimate
This volume conbelief, but my temper is naturally open, and power of the king. it ought, assuredly, to be without disguise tains extracts from several able speeches to a man whom I wish no longer to look delivered by him in Parliament --but we upon as an antagonist, but a friend.
must forbear to insert even a specimen of ««I am, &c.
666 R. Watson.' In 1784, Gilbert Wakefield published “This letter was published in Mr. Gibbon's his “ Enquiry into the Opinions of the Miscellaneous Works and Life, in 1796, and Christian Writers of the three first Cenno sooner published than noticed by the turies, concerning the Person of Jesus king, who spoke to me of it at his levee, Christ," and dedicated it to the Bishop of calling it an odd letter. I did not immediately recollect the purport of it; but on his majes. Landaff
. This civility the Bishop acty's repeating his observation, it occurred knowledged in the following letter. to me, and I instantly said to him that I had
6 Sir, frequently met with respectable men, who “ A variety of business has prevented me cherished an expectation of a future state, for some time from reading your book, or I though they rejected christianity as an im- would sooner have thanked you for the hoposture, and that I thought my publicly de- nour you have done me, by inscribing your claring that I was of a contrary opinion Enquiry to me. I admire and approve the might perhaps induce Mr. Gibbon, and oth- spirit and erudition with which it is written; er such men, to make a deeper investigation and though I think the pre-existence of into the truth of religion than they had Christ to be the doctrine of the New Testahitherto done. His Majesty expressed him- ment, yet I am far from wishing the cou. self perfectly satisfied, both with my opin- trary opinion to be stifled, or the supporters ion and with my motive for mentioning it of it to be branded as enemies to the Christo Mr. Gibbon.”
" Whoever is afraid of submitting any In 1782, under the administration of question, civil or religious, to the test of lord Shelburne, and through the influ- free discussion, seems to me to be more in ence of the dukes of Grafton and Rut- love with his own opinion, than with truth. land, Dr. Watson was promoted to the I shall be glad to see you either in CamSee of Landaff. That political indepen- bridge or in London, that I may become dence and inflexibility which had so long personally known to you. That the Spirit retarded his advancement, when it came of God may guide you in all your researches, to be more conspicuously displayed in the is the sincere prayer of House of Lords, proved an effectual bar
6 Your much obliged servant, rier to his further preferment. Allying
« R. LANDAFF." himself with no party, he had the support In March, 1785, Bishop Watson pubof no party, but to a certain degree the lished a Collection of Theological Tracts, hostility of all parties. Yet was he assi- in six volumes, closely printed, principalduous in his endeavours to promote the ly intended for the benefit of young men public weal, and ever evinced his loyalty who had not money to purchase books on to the king as well as his attachment to divinity. This collection he informs us the constitution. We have not time to was well received by the world, and sold follow him through his political career, rapidly; but was very ill received by the which appears to have been equally ho- bishops, on account of his having printed nourable to his consistency and foresight. some tracts originally written by dissez
ters. He exclaims that he could not have tunity,” he observes, of thanking the believed such bigotry was to be found Academy for this unexpected honour, but upon the bench. This impartiality brought I hereby assure them of my gratitude, him, among other grateful and approbatory and of my ardent wishes, that in conforletters, one from Dr. Harwood, a dissent, mity with the motto of their seal) Sub ing minister, some of whose works he had libertate in æternum floreat Academia.” mentioned with commendation. We must In the same year he was applied to by omit this letter-but the Bishop makes several gentlemen of Calcutta to aid, by the following mention of the man: his influence, the establishment of a prc
« Doctor Harwood was a learned and re- testant mission in India. He suggested spectable man; he died in 1794, and about the subject to the consideration of Mr. a year before his death he published a letter Pitt, then premier, but no steps were then in a valuable miscellany (Gentleman's Ma- taken towards it. The Bishop thus speaks gazine, Nov. 1793, p. 994.) which he con
of the proposal, and of missions in general. cludes in the following very remarkable manner :- After expending a great deal of in propagating christianity by missionaries
“I do not, indeed, expect much success time in discussing, I am neither
an Athanasian, Arian, nora Socinian, but die fully con
from any part of Christendom, but I exfirmed in the great doctrine of the New pect much from the 'extension of science
and of commerce. The empire of Russia is Testament, a resurrection, and a future state of eternal blessedness to all sincere penitents has acquired a stability and strength answer
emerging from its barbarism, and when it and good Christians.”
ing to its extent, it will enlarge its borOn this the Bishop observes,
ders; and, casting an ambitious eye on « The most undecided men on doubtful Thibet, Japan, and China, may introduce, points are those, often, who have bestowed with its commerce, christianity into those most time in the investigation of them, countries. India will be christianized by whether the points respect divinity, juris- the government of Great Britain. Thus prudence, or policy. He who examines only Christian monarchs, who aim at nothing one side of a question, and gives his judg. but an increase of their temporal kingdoms, ment, gives it improperly, though he may may become, by the providence of God, unbe on the right side. "But he who examines conscious instruments in propagating the both sides, and after examination gives his spiritual kingdom of his Son. It will not assent to neither, may surely be pardoned be easy for missionaries of any nation to this suspension of judgment, for it is safer to make much impression on the Pagans of continue in doubt than to decide amiss.” any country, because missionaries in gene
In 1786, Mr. Luther, of whom we have ral, instead of teaching a simple system of already spoken, died, and left Bishop christianity, have perplexed their hearers Watson his executor, with a bequest of
with unintelligible doctrines not expressly
delivered in Scripture, but fabricated from twenty thousand pounds sterling.
the conceits and passions and prejudices of "I have managed,” says he," as I ought to men. Christianity is a rational religion; have done this legacy. It has enabled me to
the Romans, the Athenians, the Corinthians preserve my independence, and to provide for and others, were highly civilized, far admy family. I have a thousand times thought, vanced in the rational use of their intellecthat had I been a mean spirited, time-serv. tual faculties, and they all, at length, exing bishop, I might perhaps have escaped changed paganism for christianity; the that marked and unmerited neglect of the
same change will take place in other councourt, which I have for so many years ex- tries, as they become enlightened by the perienced, but that I should certainly have
progress of European literature, and become forfeited the affection of my friend; his up- capable of justly estimating the weight of right and honourable principles would never historical evidence, on which the truth of have suffered him to distinguish such a cha
christianity must, as to them, depend." racter with that eminent token of his regard
In 1789, in consequence of the mental which he bequeathed to me.”
derangement of the king, a resolution Ill health, which he had suffered under
was brought forward in Parliament to inmany years, but which a new attack bad
vest the prince of Wales with powers to aggravated, compelled Bishop Watson to administer the government as regentappoint a deputy, to officiate in the pro- the Bishop of Landaff supported the professorship of divinity, which he still re- position. The king soon afterwards retained. He selected Dr. Kipling for this covered, and the Bishop was brought situation.
into additional disgrace at court. In the year 1788, the American Aca
« It was the artifice of the minister to demy of Arts and Sciences, established represent all those who had opposed his by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, ` 'measures, as enemies to the king; and the elected Bishop Watson a Fellow of their queen lost, in the opinion of many, the Society. “I have never had an oppor- character which she had bitherto maintdin VOL, III.No. III.