Cawton, Thomas

, son of the above, was born at Wivenhoe, about the year 1637, his father being then minister of the place. The first rudiments of learning he received from his father, whom he attended in his banishment, and lived with him several years in Holland, where he studied the oriental languages under Mr. Robert Sheringham, at Rotterdam, with equal diligence and success. About the year 1656, he was sent to the university of Utrecht, where he distinguished himself by his extraordinary skill in the oriental languages, in such a manner as did honour to his country. On the 14th of December, 1657, he maintained a thesis in relation to the Syriac version of the New Testament, and printed his discourse, as he did some time after another dissertation on the usefulness of the Hebrew language in the study of theoretic philosophy, Utrecht, 1637, 4to; which treatises sufficiently shew both the extent of his learning, and the solidity of his judgment. When he left Utrecht, the celebrated professor. Leusden subscribed an ample testimonial in his favour, and expresses a great regard for his person, as well as his talents. Ou his return to England, he went to Oxford, and was entered of Merton college, for the sake of M,r. Samuel Clark, famous for his thorough knowledge of the oriental languages. Our author shewed his loyalty by writing a copy of Hebrew verses on his majesty’s restoration, having been pretty early in the year 1660, admitted to the degree of bachelor of arts, at which time professor Leusden’s certificate was read publicly. In 1661, he was ordained by the bishop of Oxford; and in 1662, he published the “Life of his Father.” In all probability he might have obtained very considerable preferment, if his principles had not led him to nonconformity. When he retired from the university, he was taken into the family of sir Anthony Irbj a of Lincolnshire, where b officiated for some years as chaplain; but the air of that country disagreeing with him, and the family going down thither on account of the plague in 1665, he was obliged to quit it, and lived afterwards with the lady Armin till about the year 1670, when he gathered a congregation of dissenters in the city of Westminster, to whom be preached with some interruption from the severities of the government, for about seven years, tiil falling into a bad state of health, he died of 4 gradual decay, April 10, 1677, being then about forty years of age. He was buried in the New church in. Tothil-street | Westminster, at which time his friend and fellow-collegian, Mr. Henry Hurst, preached his funeral sermon; as did also >lr. Nath. Vincent in another place. He was a man whose learning rendered him admired, and his virtues beloved by all parties. Anthony Wood, speaking of the praises bestowed upon him by Mr. Hurst in his discourse, t>ives them also his sanction; “they were,” he -ays, “deservedly spoken.” His congregation followed the advice he gave them on his death-bed; for he told them that he knew none so proper to be his successor, as a certain Northamptonshire minister, who wrote against Dr. Sherlock, Mr. Vincent Alsop, whom they accordingly chose. The changes of religious opinion in this congregation may be estimated by those who are acquainted with the character of Mr. Alsop’s successors, Dr. Calamy, Mr. Samuel Say, Dr. Obadiah Hughes, and the late Dr. Kippis. The only publication of Mr. Cawton’s, besides those mentioned, was a single sermon entitled “Balaam’s Wish,London, 1670, and 1675, 8vo. 1

1

Biog, Brit.—Calamy.—Wood’s Athenæ, vol. II.