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passive obediente, and resigned his precentorship of Chichester, and vicarage of Waterbeach, in the county of Cambridge. Mr. Baker could not persuade himself but he might have shewn the same indulgence to his scruples on that occasion as he had done before while himself was of that way of thinking. Of all his sufferings none therefore gave him so much uneasiness. In a letter from Dr. Jenkin, addressed “ to Mr. Baker, fellow of St. John's,” he made the following remark on the superscription : " I was so then; 1 little thought it should be by him that I am now no fellow : but God is just, and I am a sinner.” After the passing the Registring Act, 1723, he was desired to register his annuity of 401. which the last act required before it was amended and explained. Though this annuity, left him by his father for his fortune, with 20l. per annum, out of his collieries by his elder brother from the day of his death, August 1699, for the remaining part of the lease which determined at Whitsuntide 1723, was now his whole subsistence, he could not be
prevailed on to secure himself against the act, but wrote thus in answer to his friend: « I thank
your kind concern for me; and yet I was very well apprised of the late act, but do not think it worth while at this age, and under these infirmities, to give myself and friends so much trouble about it. I do not think that any living besides myself knows surely that my annuity is charged upon any part of my cousin Baker's estate; or if they do, I can hardly believe that any one for so poor and uncertain a reward will turn informer; or if any one be found so poorly mean and base, I am so much acquainted with the hardships of the world, that I can bear it. I doubt not I shall live under the severest treatment of my enemies; or, if I cannot live, I am sure I shall die, and that's comfort enough to me. If a conveyance will secure us against the act, I am willing to make such a conveyance to them, not fraudulent or in trust, but in as full and absolute a manner as words can make it; and if that shall be thought good security, I desire
you will have such a conveyance drawn and sent to me by the post, and I'll sign and leave it with any friend
you shall appoint till it can be sent to you. He retained a lively resentment of his deprivations; and wrote himself in all his books, as well as in those which he gave to the college library, “ socius ejectus,” and in some“ ejectus rector.”
In 1730 he contributed a fine Common-prayer book* to Mr. Willis's chapel of St. Martin at Fenny Stratford op
He continued to reside in the college as commoner-master till his death, which happened July 2, 1740, of a paralytic stroke, being found on the floor. “ In the afternoon, being alone in his chamber, he was struck with a slight apoplectic fit, which abating a little, he recovered his senses, and knew all about him, who were his nephew Burton*, Doctors Bedford and Heberden. He seemed perfectly satisfied and resigned; and when Dr. Bedford desired him to take some medicine then ordered, he declined it, saying, he would only take his usual sustenance, which his bed-maker knew the times and quantities of giving: he was thankful for the affection and care his friends shewed him, but, hoping the time of his dissolution was at hand, would by no means endeavour to retard it. His disorder increased, and the third day from this seizure he departed. His accustomed regularity and abstemious way of living
* The folio edition of 1662; bound elegantly in blue Morocco.
† “ Mr. Baker desires me to convey his present of a fine common prayer-book for Mr. Willis's new chapel by the coach tbat goes from hence. He bids me further add, that he hath now by him Mr. Strype's last volume of Annals in MS. ; which, had you been here, he thinks you was fitter to have examined than himself, whether he hath been guilty of making repetitions, a fault he is too subject to; it is to remain in his custody till the last day of this month, and no longer." Letter to Dr. Grey, dated Cambridge, Oct. 15, 1730; from Mr. William Baker, fellow of St. John's college, Cambridge; for whom Mr. Bowyer printed a 30th of January Sermon, 1726. He published also two other single Sermons, in 1716 and 1728.
Mr. Richard Burton, of Elamore hall, Mr. Baker's nephew and executor.
had, one would have imagined, been a security from a disorder of this nature; though perhaps, when it did come, it rendered him less able to struggle with it. But it happened at this very time his great-nephew, Mr. Baker of Crook, was just come from Eton school to be admitted at St. John's, upon which occasion, besides the great joy he expressed in seeing him, he frequented company more than usual, and had entertainments in his own chambers (which he very rarely practised): so that this unusual hurry destroyed that equilibrium of spirits his wonted tranquillity had kept up, and, like
excess, proved too much for him to bear. "I recollect it always as one of the fortunate incidents of my life that I happened to be thrown in the way at this time, both as I had an opportunity of seeing my much honoured and great friend in his last minutes, as also of having an occasion of exerting myself in his service; who, when I was a student, had left no act of friendship or relation undone towards me; and next, I am extremely glad of this farther and public opportunity of owning the great obligation and honour I had in being known to, and in my youth regarded by, so great and learned a man, so kind and affectionate a relation *.” Letter from Dr. John Bedford (of whom see an account hereafter) to Dr. Grey, Durham, July 27, 1755. He was buried in St. John's outer chapel, near the monument of Mr. Ashton, who founded his fellowship. No memorial has yet been erected over him, he having forbidden it in his will t.
Being appointed one of the executors of his eldest brother's will, by which a large sum was bequeathed
* In a letter of Bishop Warburton, written towards the close of Mr. Baker's life, and first published by Mr. Maty in his “New Review," he says,
“Good old Mr. Baker of St. John's has indeed been very obliging. The people of St. John's almost adore the man; for, as there is much in hiin to esteem, much to pity, and nothing (but his virtue and learning) to envy; he has all the justice at present done him that few people of merit have till they are dead."
† Mr. Cole, by his will, left ten pounds, to buy a black marble elab, to cover Mr. Baker's grave,
to pious uses, he prevailed on the other two executors, who were his other brother Francis and the Hon. Charles Montagu, to'lay out 13101.of the money upon an estate to be settled upon St. John's college for six exhibitioners. He likewise gave the college 100l. for the consideration of 61. a year (then only legal interest) for his life; and to the library several choice books, both printed and MS, medals, and coins; besides what he left to it by his will; which were “all such books, printed and MS, as he had, and were wanting there."
All that Mr. Baker printed was, 1. “ Reflections on Learning *, shewing the insufficiency thereof in its several particulars, in order to evince the usefulness and necessity of Revelation, London, 1709-10," (which went through eight editions; and Mr. Boswell, in his “Method of Study” ranks it among the English classics for purity of style); and 2. “ The Preface to Bisliop Fisher's Funeral Sermon for Margaret Countess of Richmond and Derby, 1708 ;" both without his name. Dr. Grey had the original MS. of both in his own hands. The latter piece is a sufficient specimen of the editor's skill in antiquities to make us regret that he did not live to publish his “ History of St. John's college,
* This piece is written with much ingenuity and learning, and points out in an agreeable, but yet in a very general and superficial manner, the defects and errors in the various branches of literature and science; and it is remarkable, that too close an attachment to his point has made the author overlook some real and capital acquisitions, that have been made in the field of knowledge. For proof of this, we need only observe, that though he hath one chapter upon Metaphysics, and another upon Natural Philosophy, yet he hath not mentioned either Locke or Newton. He does indeed allude to Newton, in his chapter upon Natural Philosophy; but it is only to observe, that his principle of attraction is rather pious than philosophical, and in truth no better than an occult quality. Though the author doubtlessly intended this little work for the benefit of Rerelation, as he professeth; yet many have not perceived the consequences, which were so striking to him; nor, why Revelation is the more necessary and useful, because Nature has prescribed bounds and limits to the powers of the human understanding. His book however, which was printed about the year 1700, has gone through eight or ten editions. The fifth was printed in 1714.
from the foundation of old St. John's house to the present time; with some occasional and incidental account of the affairs of the University, and of such private colleges as held communication or intercourse with the old house or college; collected principally from MSS. and carried on through a succession of masters to the end of Bishop Gunning's mastership, 1670.” (The original, fit for the press, is among the Harleian MSS. N° 7028.)
His MS Collections relative to the History and Antiquities of the University of Cambridge, amounting to XXXIX volumes in folio and III in quarto, are divided between the British Museum and the Public Library at Cambridge; the former possesses XXIII volumes, which he bequeathed to the Earl of Oxford, his friend and patron; the latter XVI in folio and III in quarto, which he bequeathed to the University. A particular detail of the contents of those in the British Museum may be seen in the Harleian Catalogue, from N° 7028 to 7054; and also in “ Masters's Memoirs of Baker," together with the contents of those in the Public Library at Cambridge.
“ Baker, after many years passed in Biography, left his manuscripts to be buried, in a library, because that was imperfect which could never be perfected *."
Dr. Knight of styles him“the greatest master of the Antiquities of this our University;" and Hearnet says, " Optandum est ut sua quoque collectanea de Antiquitatibus Cantabrigiensibus juris faciat publici cl. Bakerus, quippe qui eruditione summâ judicioque acri et subacto polleat."
Mr. Baker intended something like an Athence Cantabrigienses on the plan of the Athenæ Oxonienses. Had he lived to have completed his design, it would have far exceeded that work, notwithstanding the reflection, as unjust as severe, with which the writer of Anthony Wood's article in the first edition of the “ Biographia Britannica” insults Cambridge, by saying, that Mr.
* Dr. Johnson, in the Idler, No. LXV. July 14, 1759. + Life of Erasmus, p. 88. Pref. ad Ross. Warw. p. 6. Vol. V.