Aldrich, Henry

, an eminent scholar and divine, was son of Henry Aldrich of Westminster, gentleman, and born there in 1647. He was educated at Westminster under the celebrated Busby, and admitted of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1662. Having been elected student, he took the | degree of M. A. in April 1669; and, entering soon after into orders, he became an eminent tutor in his college. Feb. 1681, he was installed canon of Christ Church; and in May accumulated the degrees of B. and D. D. In the controversy with the papists under James II. he bore a considerable part; and Burnet ranks him among those eminent clergj T men who “examined all the points of popery with a solidity of judgment, a clearness of arguing, a depth of learning, and a vivacity of writing, far beyond any thing which had before that time appeared in our language.” In short, he had rendered himself so conspicuous, that, at the Revolution, when Massey, the popish dean of Christ Church, fled beyond sea, the deanry was conferred upon him, and he was installed in it June 17, 1689. In this station he behaved in a most exemplary manner, zealously promoting learning, religion, and virtue in the college where he presided. In imitation of his predecessor bishop Fell, he published generally every year some Greek classic, or portion of one, as a gift to the students of his house. He wrote also a system of logic, entitled “Artis Logicae compendium;” and many other things. The publication of Clarendon’s History was committed to him and bishop Sprat; and they were charged by Oldmixon with having altered and interpolated that work; but the -charge was sufficiently refuted by Atterbury. In the same year that he became dean of Christ Church he was appointed one of the ecclesiastical commissioners who were to prepare matters for introducing an alteration in some parts of the church service, and a comprehension of the dissenters. But he, in conjunction with Dr. Mew, bishop of Winchester, Dr. Sprat, bishop of Rochester, and Dr. Jane, regius professor of divinity in the university of Oxford, either did not appear at the meetings of the committee, or soon withdrew from them. They excepted to the manner of preparing matters by a special commission, as limiting the convocation, and imposing upon it, and they were against all alterations whatever. Besides attainments in polite literature, classical learn >ig, and an elegant turn for Latin poetry, of which some specimens are in the Musae Anghcanae, he possessed also gr> at skill in architecture and music; so great, that, as the connoisseurs say, his excellence in either would alone have made him famous to posterity. The three siues of the quadrangle of Christ Church, Oxford, called Peck water-square, were | designed by him; as was also the elegant chapel of Trinity college, and the church of All-Saints in the High-street; to the erection of which Dr. Ratcliff, at his solicitation, was a liberal contributor. He cultivated also music, that branch of it particularly which related both to his profession and his office. To this end he made a noble collection of church music, and formed also a design of writing a history of the science; having collected materials, which are still extant in the library of his own college. His abilities indeed as a musician have caused him to be ranked among the greatest masters of the science: he composed many services for the church, which are well known; as are also his anthems, to the number of near 20. In the “Pleasant Musical Companion,” printed 1726, are two catches of his; the one, “Hark the bonny Christ Church Bells,” the other entitled “A Smoking Catch;” for he himself was, it seems, a great smoaker. Besides the preferments already mentioned, he was rector of Wem in Shropshire. He was elected prolocutor of the convocation in February 1702, on the death of Dr. Woodward, dean of Sarum. He died at Christ Church, December 14, 1710. The tracts he published in the popish controversy were two, “Upon the Adoration of our Saviour in the Eucharist,” in answer to O. Walker’s discourses on the same subject, printed in 1687, and 1688, 4to. We have not been able to get an account of the Greek authors he published, except these following: 1. Xenophontis Memorabilium, lib. 4, 1690, 8vo. 2. Xenophontis Sermo de Agesilao, 1691, 8vo. 3. Aristese Historia 72 Interpretum, 1692, 8vo. 4. Xenophon, de re equestri, 1693, 8vo. 5.Epictetus etTheophrastus, 1707, 8vo. 6. Platonis, Xenopliontis, Plutarchi, Luciani, Symposia, 1711, 8vo. This last was published in Greek only, the rest in Greek and Latin, and all printed at Oxford. His logic is already mentioned. He printed also Elements of Architecture, which was elegantly translated and published in 1789, 8vo. with architectural plates, by the rev. Philip Smyth, LL. B. fellow of New College, and now rector of Worthing, Shropshire. He had a hand in Gregory’s Greek Testament, printed at Oxford in 1703, folio; and some of his notes are printed in Havercamp’s edition of Josephus.1

1

Biog. Brit Hawkins’s History of Music.—Burnet’s Own Times.—Birch’s Tillotson.—Nichols’s Atterbury’s Letters, vol. I. pp. 29, 35, 96, 114, 123, 189, 481.—Ath. Ox. vol. II. p. 1056.

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