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and boarded with his uncle, Mr. Henry Bonwicke, a bookseller in St. Paul's church-yard, a man of: great piety and probity, who died in 1706. In 1708-9, he gave a specimen of that habitual piety which was a prominent feature in his character. He: wrote to his father : “ You have told me, Sir, I should not want any helps for my learning (and I do not know that I do want any); and I doubt not but you will assist me in my devotions also, and therefore desire you would lend me a book or two to employ my spare time in the ensuing Lent; for i I think I cannot employ too much time in preparing. myself for the most Holy Sacrament, you intend I shall, and I desire to receive. If you cannot well spare me a book or two, I shall be very glad to buy myself one, if you would but please to send (when you have an opportunity, and can spare time) a line or two of your advice about the properest books and
On another marble
“H. S. E.
Johannis Bonwicke, istius
omnes quibus notus erat, jam maximè desiderant; hunc
sævus variolarum morbus nobis omnibus præripuit, et Deo suo reddidit, quem semper quantum humanitas patiatur
religione non querulå et muliebri, sed tacità et mascula coluerat. Abi quisquis es, et
scito te pariter
mortalem. Obiit A.D. 11 idus Decembres *, MDCLXXXVII, Counsellor Bonwicke, of the Mickleham family, and a barris. fer of the Middle Temple, died May 14, 1729.
* Sic Orig.
means, for I have no books that are particularly relating to that great affair."
At the latter end of July this year, he removed nearer to the school, and became a parishioner of Dr. Whincup's, under whose ministry he was a regular communicant so long as he continued at the school. At the election in 1709, he was left Captain of the school; but was disappointed in his expectation of going to St. John's at Oxford, through the Nonjuring scruples which he had imbibed from his father.
His not reading prayers was taken notice of by the master of the company, Alderman Ward, who, it was supposed, came to the knowledge of it by the means of some one of the head scholars, who hoped, by putting aside Bonwicke, to succeed himself. It is the custom of that school for the head-scholars in their turns to read the prayers there ; and among other prayers for the morning, the first Collect for the King at the Communion service of our Liturgy is appointed to be read. This our conscientious lad stuck at; and on that account was frequently attacked by most of his friends in London, who endeavoured not only to convince him with arguments, but to affright him with the consequences of his not complying. But the heroic youth stood firm against all their assaults, resolving to sacrifice every thing rather than his conscience *.
* In a letter to his father, dated Feb. 22, 1709-10, wherein he gave him a large account of what two of his uncles had said to him on this point, he thus expresses himself : “ Now though I am very well convinced in my own breast that these arguments are very false, yet I cannot so well answer to them, because I do not know whether you would have me open myself so much as I must of necessity do, if I go to refute these arguments; therefore I hear all, and say little. But, if you would have me do otherwise, pray let me know it.” And in another place thus : “I am stedfastly resolved to keep to your opinion, which I take to be the right, and my duty; and I hope God will give me grace and courage to suffer for the same, whenever it shall please him to call me to it.” To support and comfort him in this trial, he received two days after the following letter from his mother : " Dear Ambrose, we are afraid by your letter that came by your
At length the election for the year 1710 came on; and St. Barnabas being on a Sunday, the orations, examinations, and other exercises, were performed the day before. In all which our youth came off with a reputation answerable to his post and standing. Particularly his extempore translation of Livy, (which was truly so, for he declared he had never read that part of the history before) was so much admired, that Dr. Delaune *, then president of St. John's in Oxford, told the master of the school it was fit to be printed. On Sunday in the evening they proceeded to the election; and the captain being called in, the master of the company spoke to him in these, or words to this effect: * Mr. Bonwicke, the President and gentlemen who have examined you as a candidate for this election, declare that you have performed your duty very well
, and are every way capable of being elected But the company who are the electors have received information that you have not read the prayers of the school, whether enjoined by the statutes or your master I cannot tell. The company therefore desire to know of you the reason why you did not read them. You may make what excuse you please;
uncle, that you trouble yourself too much; and had that come time enough for us to send you orders to come down on Tuesday, I believe it had been done, though your father thought it would be too great a fatigue to return so soon now the ways are so bad. I pity you, supposing you have not one friend at London to encourage you, but that all blame us and you. I hope notwithstanding you will take courage and bear up, when you consider you had the same fate which you now fear, before you were a month old, and it has pleased God you have wanted for nothing since that time; and therefore you have great rcason to hope, if you do your duty, God will still provide for you some way or other; we do not in the least doubt of it. And if you are put by going to Oxford, and do not like Cambridge so well, you may assure yourself we shall not desire you to go thither, nor think you a burthen to us here, where you have a good friend to direct you in your studies. In the mean time God may raise us and you up friends, as he has done to a worthy person, which he never knew nor heard of before his troubles. So praying God in all things to direct and rule your heart, I leave you to his protection, who am your loving mother, E. B." * Of whom see vol. 1. p. 384.
I do not put any thing to you to say; but only the reason why you did not read them." To which he in short answered: “Sir, I could not do it.” Upon which the master and several other persons there present, said, “ it was very honestly said, a very honest answer, the best answer he could give;" and one, “that he was very sorry for him.” Within a little while after, the second and fourth boys were elected, the third being set aside for having been absent some considerable time from the school since the last election. Our young confessor bore this defeat serenely and cheerfully; and, after he had served a long apprenticeship at the school, having been near seven years and a half there, and for a considerable time in the head-form, he laid down all his hopes of going to the same University and College of which his father had been, and of which he had heard so much (and once had viewed from an adjacent hill) with an evenness of mind becoming the title here given him; and retired to his father's in the country, where he patiently and industriously assisted him in his business, till the Bartholomew vacation afforded them leisure for a journey to Cambridge; where he was admitted into St. John's college, Aug. 25, and had another mortification in seeing several that had been below him at school, superior to him in the University. But this and some others he scarcely regarded, being on many accounts so well pleased with his condition. It pleased God to raise him up many friends, and among them one especially, over whom his chamber was, who was all along like a father to him in care and kindness, and whose favours were so many, that there was scarce any letter of the many that he wrote home, but mentioned some of them. He had an agreeable chamber-fellow, a very good scholar, a sober and innocent, yet chearful companion. But the greatest happiness of all, and what he valued above the honours and profits he lost with his election to the other St. John's, was the frequent returns of the holy Sacrament, which he would have missed of there, and
could not, probably, have enjoyed at any other house in either of the Universities, except Christ Church in Oxford, which, being a Cathedral as well as a College, is under a double obligation of conforming itself to the fourth rubrick after the Communionservice. Accordingly the second Sunday after his admission, as soon as he was tolerably settled, he addressed hiinself again to this holy duty, having had no opportunity of communicating since he left London, and it is certain from that time he missed but four sacraments all the while he was there, two of which happened on State-festivals, and the other two when he was confined to his chamber for the sake of his health. Just before he left Headley, he had by his dear mother's direction, transcribed into one of the spare leaves in his “Officium Eucharisticum,” a short prayer for a student, out of Dr. Patrick's Book of Devotions for Families, &c.; and as soon as his books were arrived, he betook himself heartily to his studies, and pursued them in spight of Sturbridge fair, which made most of the other students idle, and by that means deprived bim (for want of auditors) of those lectures and instruçtions of his tutor, which would have been more grateful to him than any of the diversions of that season *.
* From that time he followed his studies so close, that in the space of eleven months he had read over all Dionysius's “Periegesis," the Oxford edition; Virgil to the ninth book of the Eneis; all Ælian's “ Varia Historia,” as it is printed for the use of Eton-school; all Terence; fifty Hebrew Psalms; a great part of Seneca the Philosopher; all Burgersdicius's Logic; all the “Fasciculus Præceptorum Logicorum, Oxon;" and half another Logic book; all Bussiere's “Flosculi Historici ;” all Pindar's Olympic Odes, and the four first of the Pythian; the Lives of the three first Emperors in Seutonius; five books of Pliny's Epistles ; the Dialogue De Oratoribus, by some ascribed to Quintilian, by others to Tacitus ; the first book of Ascham's Epistles ; the first volume of Plutarch's Lives; the first volume of Lord Clarendon's History, and some other books; and this not hastily or perfunctorily, but he made his observations as he read them, and transcribed Excerpta out of several of them into his Adversaria. Besides these, on holy-days he read books of piety, and on Sundays