Coxeter, Thomas

, a faithful and industrious collector of old English literature, was born of an ancient and respectable family at Lechdale in Gloucestershire, Sept. 20, 1689. He was educated in grammatical learning, first under the rev. Mr. Collier, at Coxwell in Berkshire, and afterwards under the rev. Mr. Collins, at Magdalen school, Oxford, from which he entered a commoner of Trinity college, Oxford, in 1705. From Oxford, where he wore a civilian’s gown, he came to London, with a view of pursuing the civil law; but losing his friend and patron sir John Cook, knight, who was dean of the arches and vicargeneral, and who died in 1710, he abandoned civil law and every other profession. An anonymous funeral poem to the memory of sir John Cook, entitled “Astrea lacrirnans,” the production probably of Coxeter, appeared in 1710. Continuing in London without any settled pursuit, | he became acquainted with booksellers and authors. He amassed materials for a biography of our poets, which were afterwards used in what is called Gibber’s Lives. (See art. The Cibber). He also assisted Mr. Ames in the History of British typography. He had a curious collection of old plays, and pointed out to Theobald many of the blackletter books which that critic used in his edition of Shakspeare. He compiled one, if not more, of the indexes to Hudson’s edition of Josephus in 1720. In 1739 he published a new edition of Baily’s, or rather Hall’s, lire of bishop Fisher, first printed in 1655. In 1744 he circulated proposals “for printing the dramatic works of Thomas May, esq. a contemporary with Ben Jonson, and, upon his decease, a competitor for the bays. With notes, and an account of his life and writings.” fl The editor,“says he,” intending to revive the best of our plays, faithfully collated with all the editions, that could be found in a search of above thirty years, happened to communicate his scheme to one who now invades it. To vindicate which, he is resolved to publish this deserving author, though out of the order of his design. And, as a late spurious edition of “Gorboduc” is sufficient to shew what mistakes and confusion may be expected from the medley now advertising in ten volumes, a correct edition will be added of that excellent tragedy; with other poetical works of the renowned Sackville, his life, and a glossary. These are offered as a specimen of the great care that is necessary, and will constantly be used, in the revival of such old writers as the editor shall be encouraged to restore to the public in their genuine purity.“Such are the terms of the proposals: and they shew, that, though this design did not take effect, Coxeter was the first who formed the scheme, adopted by Dodsley, of publishing a collection of our ancient plays. Sackville’s” Gorboduc,“here referred to, is the edition published by Mr. Spence in 1736. In 1747 he was appointed secretary to a society for the encouragement of an essay towards a complete English history; under the auspices of which appeared the first volume of Carte’s” History of England.“Mr. Warton made considerable use of his Mss. in his” History of Poetryand in 1759, an edition of Massinger’s works was published in 4 vols. 8vo. said to be” revised, corrected, and the editions collated by Mr. Coxeter." He died of a fever April 19, 1747, in his 59th year, and was buried in the chapel-yard of the | Royal hospital of Bridewell: leaving an orphan daughter, who was often kindly assisted with money by Dr. Johnson, and in her latter days by that excellent and useful institution, the Literary Fund. She died in Nov. 1807. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. LVI. the first account which ever appeared of Mr. Coxeter’s Life. — Nichols’s Bowyer.—Boswell’s Life of Johnson.