Dodwell, Henry

, a very learned writer, was born in the parish of St. Warburgh in Dublin, towards the latter end of October 1641, and baptized November 4th. His father, who was in the army, had an estate at Connaught, but it being seized by the Irish rebels, he came, with his wife and child, to England in 1648, to obtain some assistance among their relations. After some stay in London, they went to York, and placed their son in the free-school of that city, where he continued five years, and laid the foundation of his extensive learning. His father, after having settled him with his mother at York, went to Ireland, to look after his estate, but died of the plague at Waterford: and his mother, going thither for the same purpose, fell into a consumption, of which she died, in her brother sir Henry Slingsby’s house. Being thus deprived of his parents, Mr. Doduell was reduced to such streights that he had not money enough to buy pen, ink, and paper; and suffered very much for want of his board being regularly paid*. Thus he continued till 1654, when his uncle, Mr. Henry Dodvvell, rector of Newbourn

* In this more liberal age it will iise of charcoal, instead of pen and Scarcely be credited that this youth ink, which he had not money to purwas forced to use such pape< as yeung chase; and then, when h^ came to gentlewomen had covered their work school, to borrow pen and ink of his with, and thrown away as no longer fit school-fellows to tit his exercises for for their use, he having no other to his master’s sight. write his exercises on and to make | and Hemley in Suffolk, sent for him, discharged his debts, and assisted him in his studies. With him he remained about a year, and then went to Dublin, where he was at school for a year longer. In 1656 he was admitted into Trinity-college in that city, of which he was successively chosen scholar and fellow. But in 1666 he quitted his fellowship, in order to avoid going into holy orders, for by the statutes of that college, the fellows are obliged to take orders when they are masters of arts of three years standing. The learned bishop Jer. Taylor offered to use his interest to procure a dispensation of the statute, but Mr, Dodwell refused to accept of it, lest it should be construed into a precedent injurious afterwards to the college. The reasons given for his declining the ministerial function were, 1. The great weight of that office, and the severe account which the ministers of Christ have to give to their Lord and Master. 2. His natural bashfulness, and humble opinion, and diffidence of himself; though he was, unquestionably, very well qualified in point of learning. 3. That he thought he could do more service to religion, and the church, by his writings, whilst he continued a layman, than if he took orders; for then the usual objections made against clergymen’s writings on those subjects, viz. “That they plead their own cause, and are biassed by self-interest,” would be entirely removed.

Mr. Dodwell came the same year to England, and resjded at Oxford for the sake of the public library. Thence he returned to his native country, and in 1672 published, at Dublin, in 8vo, a posthumous treatise of his late learned tutor John Steam, M. D. to which he put a preface of his own. He entitled this book, “De Obstinatione: Opus posthumum Pietatem Chrisdano-Stoicam scholastico more suadens:” and his own preface, “prolegomena Apologetica, de usu Dogmatum Philosophicorum,” &c. in which he apologizes for his tutor; who, by quoting so often and setting a high value upon the writings and maxims of the heathen philosophers, might seem to depreciate the Holy Scriptures. Mr. Dodwell therefore premises first, that the author’s design in that work is only to recommend moral duties, and enforce the practice of them by the authority of the ancient philosophers; and that he does not meddle with the great mysteries of Christianity, which are discoverable only by divine revelation. His second work was, “Two letters of advice. 1. For the Susception of | Holy Orders. 2. For Studies Theological, especially such as are rational.” To the second edition of which, in 1681, was added, “A Discourse concerning the Phoenician History of Sanchoniathon,” in which he considers Philo-Byblius as the author of that history. In 1673, he wrote a preface, without his name, to “An introduction to a Devout Life,” by Francis de Sales, the last bishop and prince of Geneva; which was published at Dublin, in English, this same year, in 12mo. He came over again to England in 1674, and settled in London; where he became acquainted with several learned men; particularly, in 1675, with Dr. William Lloyd, afterwards successively bishop of St. Asaph, Litchfield and Coventry, and Worcester *. With that eminent divine he contracted so great a friendship and intimacy, that he attended him to Holland, when he was appointed chaplain to the princess of Orange. He was also with him at Salisbury, when he kept his residence there as canon of that church; and spent afterwards a good deal of time with him at St. Asaph. In 1675 he published “Some Considerations of present Concernment; how far the Romanists may be trusted by princes of another persuasion,” in 8vo, levelled against the persons concerned in the Irish remonstrance, which occasioned a kind of schism among the Irish Roman catholics. The year following he published “Two short Discourses against the Romanists. 1. An Account of the fundamental Principle of Popery, and of the insufficiency of the proofs which they have for it. 2. An Answer to six Queries proposed to a gentlewoman of the Church of England, by an emissary of the Church of Rome,” 12mo, but reprinted in 1688, 4to, with “A new preface relating to the bishop of Meaux, and other modern complainers of misrepresentation.” In 1679, he published, in 4to, “Separation of Churches from episcopal government, as practised by the present non-conformists, proved schismatical, from such principles as are least controverted, and do withal most popularly explain the sinfulness and mischief of schism.” This, being animadverted upon by R. Baxter, was vindicated, in 1681, by Mr. Dodwell, in “A Reply to Mr. Baxter’s pretended confutation of a book, entitled,


Mr. Dodwell, when in London, used daily to frequent a coffee-house near Temple-bar, where he was willing to answer all who asked his opinion concerning matters of literature. Many of his countrymen resorted to the same coffee-house, and regularly saw him home every night.

| Sepafration of Churches,” &c. To which were added, “Three Letters to Mr. Baxter, written in 1673, concerning the Possibility of Discipline under a Diocesan Government,” &c. 8vo. In 1682 came out his “Dissertations on St. Cyprian,” composed at the reqviest of Dr. Fell, bishop of Oxford, when he was about to publish his edition of that father. They were printed in the same size, but reprinted at Oxford in 1684, 8vo, under the title “Dissertationes Cyprianse.” The eleventh dissertation, in which he endeavours to lessen the number of the early Christian martyrs, brought upon him the censure of bishop Burnet, and not altogether unjustly. The year following, he published “A Discovirse concerning the One Altar, and the One Priesthood, insisted on by the ancients in the disputes against Schism ,*

Before Mr. Dodwell committed this book to the press, he brought it to Dr. Tillotson, and desired his judgment concerning it. The doctor freely expressed his dislike of it; and told the author, that though his work was written with such great accuracy and close dependence of one proposition upon the another, as that it seemed to be little less than demonstration, “so that (added Tillotson) I can hardly tell you where it is, that you break the chain, yet I am sure, that it is broken somewhere: for such and such particulars are so palpably false, that I wonder you do not perceive the absurdity of them; they are so gross, and grate so much upon the inward sense.” When Dr. Tillotson, after the revolution, had consented to be archbishop of Canterbury, before he was consecrated to the see, Mr. Dodwell wrote him a letter to dissuade him from being the aggressor in the new-designed schism, and in erecting another altar against that of deprived fathers and brethren, “If,” says he, “their places be not vacant, the new consecration must, by the nature of the spiritual monarchy, be null, invalid, and schismatical.” He affirmed, likewise, that such as were concerned in this practice, cut themselves off from the communion of which they were before members; as did all others who joined with them.

Lond. 8vo. In 1684, a dissertation of his on a passage of Lactantius, was inserted in the new edition of that author at Oxford, by Thomas Spark, in 8vo. His treatise “Of the Priesthood of Laicks,” appeared in 1686, in 8vo. The title was “De jure Laicorum,” &c. It was written in answer to a book published by William Baxter, the antiquary, and entitled “AntiDodwellism, being two curious tracts formerly written by H. Grotius, concerning a solution of the question, whether the eucharist may be administered in the absence of, or want of pastors.” About the same time he was preparing for the press the posthumous works of the learned Dr. John Pearson, bishop of Chester, Lond. 1688, 4to. He published also,“Dissertations on Irenseus,1689, 8vo. On the 2d of April, 1688, he was elected, by the university of Oxford, Camden’s professor of history, without any | application of his own, and when he was at a great distance from Oxford; and the 21st of May was incorporated master of arts in that university. But this beneficial and creditable employment of professor he did not enjoy long; being deprived of it in November, 1691, for refusing to take the oaths of allegiance to king William and queen Mary. When their majesties had suspended those bishops who would not acknowledge their authority, Mr. Dodwell published “A cautionary discourse of Schism, with a particular regard to the case of the bishops, who are suspended for refusing to take the new oath,London, 8vo. And when those bishops were actually deprived, and others put in their sees, he joined the former, looking upon the new bishops, and their adherents, as schismatics. He wrote likewise “A Vindication of the deprived Bishops:” and “A Defence of the same,1692, 4to, being an answer to Dr. Hody’s “Unreasonableness of Separation,” &c. After having lost his professorship, he continued for some time in Oxford, and then retired to Cookham, a village near Maidenhead, about an equal distance between Oxford and London; and therefore convenient to maintain a correspondence in each place, and to consult friends and books, as he should have occasion. While he lived there, he became acquainted with Mr. Francis Cherry of Shottesbrooke, a person of great learning and virtue, for the sake of whose conversation he removed to Shottesbrooke, where he chiefly spent the remainder of his days. In 1692, he published his Camdenian lectures read at Oxford; and, in 1694, “An Invitation to Gentlemen to acquaint themselves with ancient History” being a preface to Degory Whear’s “Method of reading history,” translated into English by Mr. Bohun. About this time having lost one or more of the Dodwells, his kinsmen, whom he designed for his heirs, he married on the 24th of June, 1694, in the 52d year of his age, a person, in whose father’s house at Cookham he had boarded several times, and by her had ten children .*

The reason of his marrying late in life was the offence he took at some of his relatives, who did not pay him a certain pittance which he had agreed with them should be transmitted to him yearly out of the fortune he possessed. The fact, as stated by Mr. Harris, in his edition of sir James Ware’s works, was as follows: he had a good estate in Ireland, the profits of which he gave to his next kinsman, reserving only a small part for his own subsistence. But upon his marriage he took the whole to himself; his kinsman having raised a fair fortune out of the estate, while he enjoyed it.

In 1696 he drew up the annals of Thucydides | and Xenophon, to accompany the editions of those two authors by Dr. John Hudson and Mr. Edward Wells. Having likewise compiled the annals of Velleius Paterculus, and of Quintilian, and Statius, he published them altogether in 1698, in one volume, 8vo. About the same time he wrote an account of tUe lesser Geographers, published by Dr. Hudson; and “A Treatise concerning the lawfulness of instrumental music in holy offices:” occasioned by an organ being set up at Tiverton in 1696: with some other things on chronology, inserted in “Grabe’s Spicilegium.” In 1701, he published his account of the Greek and Roman cycles, which was the most elaborate of all his pieces, and seems to have been the work of the greatest part of his life. The same year was published a letter of his, inserted in Richardson’s “Canon of the New Testament,” &c. concerning Mr. Toland’s disingenuous treatment of him. The year following appeared “A Discourse [of his] concerning the obligation to marry within the true communion, following from their style of being called a Holy Seed;” and “An Apology for the philosophical writings of Cicero,” against the objections of Mr. Petit; prefixed to Tally’s five books De Finibus, or, of Moral Ends, translated into English by Samuel Parker, gent, as also the annals of Thucydides and Xenophon, Oxoa. 4to. In 1703 he published “A Letter concerning the Immortality of the Soul, against Mr. Henry Layton’s Hypothesis,” 4to and, “A Letter to Dr. Tillotson about Schism,” 8vo, written in 1691.The year following came out, his “Chronology of DionX’Sius Halicarnasseus,” in the Oxford edition of that historian by Dr. Hudson, folio; his “Two Dissertations on the age of Phalaris and Pythagoras,” occasioned by the dispute between Bentley and Boyle; and his “Admonition to Foreigners, concerning the late Schism in England.” This, which was written in Latin, regarded the deprivation of the nonjuring bishops. When the bill for preventing occasional conformity was depending in parliament, he wrote a treatise, entitled, “Occasional Communion fundamentally destructive of the discipline of the primitive catholic Church, and contrary to the doctrine of the latest Scriptures concerning Church Communion;London, 1705, 8vo. About the same time, observing that the deprived bishops were reduced to a small number, he wrote, “A Case in View considered in a Discourse, proving that (in case our present invalidly deprived fathers shall leave all their sees vacant, either by | death or resignation) we shall not then be obliged to keep up our separation from those bishops, who are as yet involved in the guilt of the present unhappy schism,” Lond. 1705, 8vo. Some time after, he published “A farther prospect of the Case in View, in answer to some new objections not then considered,” Lond. 1707, 8vo. Hitherto Mr. Dodwell had acted in such a manner as had procured him the applause of all, excepting such as disliked the nonjurors; but, about this time, he published some opinions that drew upon him almost universal censure. For, in order to exalt the powers and dignity of the priesthood, in that one communion, which he imagined to be the pecuHum of God, and to which he had joined himself, he endeavoured to prove, with his usual perplexity of learning, that the doctrine of the soul’s natural mortality was the true and original doctrine; and that immortality was only at baptism conferred upon the soul, by the gift of God, through the hands of one set of regularly-ordained clergy. In support of this opinion, he wrote “An Epistolary Discourse, proving, from the scriptures and the first fathers, that the soul is a principle naturally mortal; but immortalized actually by the pleasure of God, to punishment, or to reward, by its union with the divine baptismal spirit. Wherein is proved, that none have the power of giving this divine immortalizing spirit, since the apostles, but only the bishops,” Lond. 1706, 8vo. At the end of the preface to the reader is a- dissertation, to prove “that Sacerdotal Absolution is necessary for the Remission of Sins, even of those who are truly penitent.” This discourse being attacked by several persons, particularly Chishull, Clarke, Norris, and Mills afterwards bishop of Waterford, our author endeavoured to vindicate himself in the three following pieces: 1. “A Preliminary Defence of the Epistolary Discourse, concerning the distinction between Soul and Spirit: in two parts. I. Against the charge of favouring Impiety. II. Against the charge of favouring Heresy,” Lond. 1707, 8vo. 2. “The Scripture account of the Eternal Rewards or Punishments of all that hear of the Gospel, without an immortality necessarily resulting from the nature of the souls themselves that are concerned in those rewards or punishments. Shewing particularly, I. How much of this account was discovered by the best philosophers. II. How far the accounts of those philosophers were corrected, and improved, by the Hellenistical Jews, assisted by the Revelations of the Old | Testament. III. How far the discoveries fore-mentioned were improved by the revelations of the Gospel. Wherein the testimonies also of S. Irenaens and Tertullian are occasionally considered,” Lond. 1708, 8vo. And, 3. “An Explication of a famous passage in the Dialogue of S. Justin Martyr with Tryphon, concerning the immortality of human souls. With an Appendix, consisting of a letter to the rev. Mr. John Norris, of Bemerton; and an expostulation relating to the late insults of Mr. Clarke and Mr. Chishull,” Lond. 1708, 8vo. Upon the death of Dr. William Lloyd, the deprived bishop of Norwich, on the first of January 1710-11, Mr. Dodwell, with some other friends, wrote to Dr. Thomas Kenn, of Bath and Wells, the only surviving deprived bishop, to know, whether he challenged their subjection? He returned for answer, that he did not: and signified his desire that the breach might be closed by their joining with the bishops possessed of their sees; giving his reasons for it. Accordingly, Mr. Dodwell, and several of his friends, joined in communion with them. But others refusing this, Mr. Dodwell was exceedingly concerned, and wrote, “The case in view now in fact. Proving, that the continuance of a separate communion, without substitutes in any of the late invalidlydeprived sees, since the death of William late lord bishop of Norwich, is schismatical. With an Appendix, proving, that our late invalidly-deprived fathers had no right to substitute successors, who might legitimate the separation, after that the schism had been concluded by the decease of the last survivor of those same fathers,” Lond. 1711, 8vo. Our author wrote some few other things, besides what have been already mentioned *. At length, after a

Namely, 1. “Dissertatioad Frag- don, 1711, 8ro. 3.” Julii Vitalis Epimentum quoddam T. Livii," extant taphium, cum notis Henrici Dodwelli,

among archbishop Laud’s Mss, in the et commentario G. Musgrave. AcceBodleian library. Mr. Dodwell like- dit Dodwelli Epistola ad cl. Goezhim

wise settled the times of the actions re- de Piiteolana & BajanS. Inscription!­lated by that author, by the years ab bus." Iscas Dunmoniorum & Londini,

Urbe Cond. according to Ihe Varronian 1711, 8vo. This epitaph of Julius Viaccount, set at the top of each page, talis, on which Mr. Dodwell wrote notes,

At the request of a gentleman in was found at Bath, and published by

the Isle of Man, who had desired his Mr. Hearne at the end of his edi ion of

thoughts on this point, " Whether the King Alfred’s Lite by sir John Svelrnan,

church of England had just reasons, 8vo. The letter lo Mr. Goetz, profeswhen she reformed, to lay aside the Sot at Leipsic, was written by Mr.

se of incense, which was practised in Dodwell in Itoo, beinj an explanation

all churches before our quarrel with of an inscription on MemoniusCalistus,

the church of Rome?" he wrote, in found at Puteoli. and on another found

1709, 2. “A Discourse concerning the at Bairn. 4.” De jei.ate & patriA

V*e of Incense in Dirine Offices,“Lon- Dionysii Periejetas. Priuted hi the | very studious and ascetic course of life, he died at Shottesbrooke the 7th of June 1711, in the seventieth year of his age; and was buried in the chancel of the church there, where a monument is erected to him. Mr. Dodwell, as to his person, was of a small but well-proportioned stature, of a sanguine and fair complexion, of a grave and serious, but a comely, pleasant countenance: of a piercing eye, of a solid judgment, and ready apprehension. He naturally enjoyed so strong and vigorous a constitution of body, that he knew not, by his own experience, what the head-ach was. His industry was prodigious, as appears by the many books he published. He was extremely frugal of his time, and indefatigable in his studies, by which means he became acquainted with almost all authors, both sacred and profane, ancient and modern. He studied, not for his own benefit only, but also for that of others: for he was generously communicative, and always ready to assist others in worthy undertakings; very zealous to promote learning, and though learned almost beyond any one o.f his age, yet (what is very uncommon) of singular humility and modesty. Accordingly he was courted and admired by the most eminent men abroad, who bestow the highest encomiums upon him, on all occasions. It must, however, be owned, that, as he conversed more with books than men, his style is, for that reason, obscure and intricate, and full of digresOxford edition of that author in 1710, wherein he showed, that airtiyj-arro does 8vo. 5.” De Parma Equestri Wood- not signify his being strangled with wardiana Disserta'.io,“&c. on the grief, as Grotius and Dr. Hammond ancient Roman shield, formerly in Dr. understood it, but that he hanged himWoodward’s possession, whereon was self. It was never printed: nor the represented the sacking of Rome by following, which was left unfinished, the Gauls. This dissertation, which 8.” A Dissertation concerning the Time Mr. Dodwell was prevented by death of the Greek translation of the Old from finishing, was published by Hearne Testament by the LXX.“9.” ADisin 8vo, Oxon 17 13, but brought Hearne sertstioa concerning the Laws of Nainto a dispute with the university, ow- hire and Nations“in which the author i:ig to some supposed reflections on proposed to shew, that these lows w< re the jurors, and he was ordered to sup- not the result of reason, but laws depress the work. After, however, he livered by God to Adam, or Noah, and had cancelled the preliminary niafer, were transmitted to us by tradition. the publicatiou was suffered to go on. 10. He designed to publish” The Mr. Dodwell supposes this Roman Epistle of St. Barnabas,“with a liteshield to have been made about the ral translation, and notes; having ever time of Nero. 6. Four letters, which since the year 1691, wrote” Prolegopassed between the right reverend the mena" to it; but it was left, imperfect. lord bishop of Sarum, and Mr. Henry 11. Lastly, He began to s. tile theDodwell, were printed from the origi- time and order in which Tertullion nals, Lond. 1713, 12mo. v^ro’e each of his books, on which he

Mr. Dodwell wrote likewise, “A made but very little progress. Tract concerning the Death of Judas, | sions: for he often complained to his friends, that he was not able to comprise his thoughts in few words. With regard to his moral character, he was a person of great sobriety and temperance; of exemplary charity, notwithstanding the narrowness of his fortune; of strict piety; a great lover of the clergy, and a zealous member of the church of England. His failings may be discovered even from the titles of his works. His judgment bore very little proportion to his learning, and for want of this very necessary ingredient in controversy, he often unintentionally injured the cause he meant to support. But while his theological paradoxes are forgot, his critical works will still support his reputation. Speaking of his” Annales Quintilianse,“Gibbon says, Dodwell’s learning was immense” in this part of history especially (that of the upper empire) the most minute fact or passage could not escape him; and his skill in employing them is equal to his learning.“Gibbon adds the general opinion that” the worst of this author is his method and style; the one perplexed beyond imagination, the other negligent to a degree of barbarism."

Of Mr. Dodwell’s ten children, six survived him; four daughters, and two sons, Henry and William. Heniiy was brought up to the law, and became sceptical in his principles. In 1742, he published a pamphlet, entitled “Christianity not founded upon Argument,” which, under the cover of zeal for religion, was an attack upon revelation. It was written with ingenuity and subtlety; excited great attention for a time; and was answered effectually by Dr. Doddridge, Leland, and other able and learned men. This Mr. Henry Dodwell took a very active part in the society for the encouragement of arts, manufactures, and commerce, during the early period of that society; and is said to have been a polite, humane, and benevolent man. Mr, Dodwell’s son William will require a separate article. 1


Life by Brokesby, 1715, 8vo. Biog. Brit. Gibbon’s Life, vol. II. p. 55. Birch’s Life of Tiliotson. Mosheim’s History. Wood’s Fasti, vol. II. Letters Written By Eminent Persons. 1813, 3 vols. 8vo.