« ZurückWeiter »
the bishopric; but that he would have all the merit of having done it.” In 1768, however, he was permitted to resign his deanry, which was nearly double in point of income to the bishopric which he was obliged to retain.
With respect to Dr. Pearce's earnest desire of resigning his preferments, his biographer observes, that it gave occasion to much disquisition and conjecture. “As it could not be founded in avarice, it was sought in vanity; and Dr. Pearce was suspected as aspiring to the antiquated praise of contempt of wealth, and desire of retirement." But his biographer, who had the best opportunities of judging, is of opinion, that his motives were what he publicly alleged, a desire of dismission from public cares, and of opportunity for more continued study. To a private friend the bishop declared that “ as he never made i sinecure of his preferments, he was now tired of business, and being in bis 74th year, he wished to resign while his faculties were entire, lest he might chance to outlive thein, and the church suffer by his infirmities.”
Being now disengaged from his deanry, bishop Pearce seemed to consider himself as freed from half his burthen, and with such vigour as time had left him, and such alaerity as hope continued to supply, he prosecuted his episcopal functions and private studies. It redounds greatly to his honour, that in the disposal of ecclesiastical prefera ments, he never gave occasion to censure; except in the single instance of a young man *, on whom he bestowed the valuable rectory of Stone, in consideration of his being great grandson of his first patton, the earl of Macclesfield, whose favours, conferred forty years before, his gratitude did not suffer bim to forget.
In 1773, by too much diligence in his office, bishop Pearce had exhausted his strength beyond recovery. Having confirmed at Greenwich, seven hundred persons, he found himself, the next day, unable to speak, and never regained his former readiness of utterance.
This happened on the first of October, and from that time, he remained in a languishing state; his paralytic complaint ine creased, and at length his power of swallowing was almost lost. Being asked by one of his family, who constantly attended him, how he could live with so little nutriment, “ I live,” said he, “ upon the recollection of an innocent and well-spent life, which is my only sustenance.” After some months of lingering decay, he died at Little Ealing, June 29, 1774, aged eighty-four, and was buried by his wife in the church of Bromley in Kent, where a monument is erected to his memory with an epitaph written by bimself, merely rehearsing the dates of his birth and death, and of his various preferments. A cenotaph was afterwards erected in Westminster-abbey, with a Latin inscription.
* The reverend Thomas Heatbcote. tacked, than many panegyrics ; be“ This appointment gave so much of- cause it shews, that he who desired to fence to one, named by himself Cleri- say evil, had at last nothing to say." cus Roffeusis, who seemed to think the With respect to lord Macclesfield, ihe rights of seniority violated, that he reader will find one of the ablest vindi. wrote against his diocesan, a pamphlet cations of that vobleman from the per filled with the acrimony of disappoint-' of bishop Pearce, in the " Life" pub. ment; but which must conduce more lished by Mr. Derby. to raise the character of the man ate
Bishop Pearce married, in Feb. 22, the daughter of Mr. Adams; an eminent distiller in Holborn, with a considerable fortune, and lived with her upwards of fifty-one years in the highest degree of connubial happiness. Their chil- . dren all dying young, he made his brother William Pearce, esq.
bis heir and executor. He bequeathed his library to the dean and chapter of Westminster, except such books as they already had. His manuscripts, with the books not left to Westminster, and the copy-right of all his works, except the Longinus sold to Mr. Tonson, he gave to bis chaplain, the rev. John Derby. Besides some legacies to individuals, and some to various public charities, he left a noble bequest of five thousand pounds Old South Sea Annuities, towards the better support of the twenty widows of clergymen, who are maintained in the college of Bromley, the funds of which had become too scanty for that kind of genteel provision intended by the founder, bishop Warner. Bishop Pearce's benefaction raised the widow's pensions to 301. per ann. and the chaplain's salary to 601. His heir; William Pearce, esq. who died in 1782, left a reversionary legacy of 12,0001. for the purpose of building ten houses for clergymen's widows, in addition to bishop Warner's college, and endowing them. This legacy falling in a few years ago, the houses were completed in 1802.
The diligence of bishop Pearce's early studies, says his biographer, appeared by its effects; he was first known to the public by philological learning, which he continued to cultivate in his advanced age. Cicero “ De Oratore" was published by him, when he was bachelor of arts, and Cicero “ De Officiis," when he was dean of Winchester,
in 1745. The edition of Cicero undertaken by Olivet, produced a correspondence between him and Dr. Pearce, in which Olivet expresses, in terms of great respect, his esteem .of his learning, and his confidence in his criticism. But Dr. Pearce did not confine his attention to the learned lan; guages: he was particularly studious of Milton's poetry, and when Dr. Bentley published his imaginary emendations of the “ Paradise Lost,” wrote in opposition to them a full . vindication of the established text. This was published in 1733, 8vo, under the title of “ Review of the Text of Paradise Lost," and is now become very scarce; but many, both of the conjectures and refutations, are preserved in bishop Newton's edition.
In his domestic life he was quiet and placid, not difficult to be pleased, nor inclined to harass his attendants or inferiors by peerishness or caprice. This calmness of mind appeared in his whole manner and deportment. His stature was tall, his appearance venerable, and his countenance expressive of benevolence.
In his parochial cure he was punctually diligent, and very seldom omitted to preach; but his sermons had not all the effect which he desired, for his voice was low and feeble, and could not reach the whole of a numerous congregation. Those whom it did reach were both pleased and edified with the good sense and sound doctrine which he never failed to deliver. When advanced to the honours of episcopacy, he did not consider himself as placed in a state that allowed him any remission from the labours of his ministry. He was not hindered by the distance of Bangor from annually resorting to that diocese (one year only excepted), and discharging bis episcopal duties there, to 1753; after which, having suffered greatly from the fatigue of his last journey, he was advised by his physician and friend, Dr. Heberden, and prevailed upon, not to attempt another. When he accepted the bishopric of Bangor, he established in himself a resolution of conferring Welsh preferments or benefices only on Welshmen; and to this resolution he adhered, in defiance of influence or importunity. He twice gave away the deanry, and bestowed. many benefices, but always chose for his patronage the natives of the country, whatever might be the murmurs of his relations, or the disappointment of his chaplains. The diocese of Rochester conjoined, as had been for some time usual, with the deanry of Westminster, afforded him a
course of duty more commodious. He divided his time between his public offices, and his solitary studies. He preached at Bromley or Ealing, and by many years labour in the explication of the New Testament, produced the “ Commentary,” &c. which was offered to the public after bis decease. It was bequeathed to the care of the rey. John Derby, his lordship’s chaplain, who published it in 1777, in 2 vols. 4to, under the title of “A Commentary, with potes, on the Four Evangelists and the Acts of the Apostles, together with a new translation of St. Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, with a paraphrase, and notes. To which are added other Theological pieces.?? Prefixed is an elegant dedication to the king, in the name of the editor, but from the pen of Dr. Johnson ; and a life written by the bishop himself, and connected in a regular narrative by paragraphs, evidently by Dr. Johnson's pen. This life is highly interesting, and contains many curious particulars which we have been obliged to omit.
Dr. Pearce published in his life-time nine occasional sermons, a discourse against self-murder, which is now in the list of tracts distributed by the Society for promoting Christian knowledge; and soon after the publication of his “ Commentary,” his editor gave the public a collect tion of the bishop's “ Sermons on various subjects,". 4 vols. 8vo. Besides what have been already specified, our au, thor published in 1720, a pamphlet entitled “ An Account of Trinity college, Cambridge;" and in 1722, “ A Letter to the Clergy of the Church of England," on occasion of the bishop of Rochester's commitment to the Tower. He had also a short controversy with Dr. Middleton, against whom he published “Two Letters," and fully convicted that writer of disingenuousness in quotation. Hiş editor, Mr. Derby, who had married his neice, dịd not long sur, vive his benefactor, dying Oct. 8, 1778, only five days after the date of his dedication of tbe bishop's “ Sermons.” ?
PEARSALL (RICHARD), a pious dissenting divine, was born at Kidderminster in Warwickshire, Aug. 29, 1698, and received his education at a dissenting academy at Tewkesbury, in Gloucestershire, under Mị. Jones, who was Jikewise the master of this school when Messrs. Butler and Secker, afterwards the well-known prelațes, were educated at it. Mr. Pearsall having been admitted into the ministry
? Life as above.
among the dissenters, was settled for ten years at Bromyard, in Herefordshire, and afterwards for sixteen years at Warminster, in Wiltshire. His last charge, for about fifteen years, was at Taunton, in Somersetshire, where he died Nov. 10, 1762. He is known in the religious world by two works of considerable reputation, his “ Contemplations on the Ocean," &c. in 2 vols. 12mo, which are mentioned with respect by Hervey in the third volume of his “ Theron and Aspasio;" and his “Reliquiæ Sacræ,” which were published by Dr. Gibbons, 1765, 2 vols. 12mo. They consist of meditations on select passages of scripture, and sacred dialogues between a father and his children. He is much an imitator of Hervey, particularly in his “ Contemplations,” but has less imagination, although enough to catch the attention of young readers."
PEARSON (John), a very learned English bishop,' was born Feb. 12, 1612, at Snoring in Norfolk; of which place his father was rector. In 1623 he was sent to Eton school; whence he was elected to King's college, Cambridge, in 1632. He took the degree of B. A. in 1635, and that of master in 1639; in which year he resigned his fellowship of the college, and lived afterwards a fellow-commoner in it. The same year he entered into orders, and was collated to a prebend in the church of Sarum. In 1640 he was appointed chaplain to Finch, lord-keeper of the great seal; by whom in that year he was presented to the living of Torrington, in Suffolk. Upon the breaking out of the civil war he became chaplain to the lord Goring, whom he attended in the army, and afterwards to sir Robert Cook in London. In 1650 he was made minister of St. Clement's, Eastcheap, in London. In 1657 he and Gunning, afterwards bishop of Ely, had a dispute with two Roman catholics upon the subject of schism. This conference was managed in writing, and by mutual agreement nothing was to be made public without the consent of both parties; yet a partial account of it was published in 1658, by one of the Romish disputants, cum privilegio, at Paris, with this title, .“ Schism unmasked; a late conference," &c. * In 1659
1 Gibbons's Preface. * To the piece is, “A Preface of to Mr. Den's Quaker no Papist, by the Catholic disputants, containing the Mr. Thomas Smith, of Christ's-college proceedings of both parties on matter in Cambridge,” Lond. 1659. The con: of fact." There is an account of this ference was reprinted at Oxford during publication in a piece entitled “ A the reign of king James II. under this Gagg for the Quakers; with aŭ Answer title, “ The Schism of the Church of