Harris, Robert

, president of Trinity-college, Oxford, was born at Broad Campden, in Gloucestershire, in 1578, and sent for education to the free-school of Chipping-Campden, where owing to irregular conduct of the masters and their frequent changes, he appears to have | profited little. From thence he was removed to the city of Worcester, and lastly to Magdalen-hall, Oxford, which was preferred from his relationship to Mr. Robert Lyster, then principal, a man somewhat popishly inclined. Here, however, he had a tutor of a different stamp, a reputed puritan, under whom he studied with great assiduity. Although his parents designed him for the law, as soon as he took his bachelor’s degree, he determined to make trial of his talents for the pulpit, and went to Chipping-Campden, where he preached a sermon which gave satisfaction. He afterwards officiated for a clergyman in Oxfordshire, and in both cases without being ordained. At length he was examined by bishop Barlow, who found him a very accomplished Greek, and Latin scholar, and he had the living of Hanweli given him, near Ban bury, in Oxfordshire. During his residence here he was often invited to London, and preached at St. Paul’s cross, also before the parliament, and on other public occasions. He had also considerable offers of preferment in* London, but preserved his attachment to Hanweli, where he was extremely useful in confirming the people’s minds, then much unsettled, in the reformed religion, as well as in attachment to the church of England, although he afterwards concurred with those who overthrew it so far as to accept preferment under them. On the commencement of the civil war, tjie tranquillity of his part of the country was much disturbed by the march of armies, and himself obliged at last to repair to London, after his premises were destroyed by the soldiery. On his arrival in London, he became a member of the assembly, but appears to have taken no active part in their proceedings.or some time, Hanwell having now been taken from him, he officiated at the parish-church of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate-street, until the rilling powers ordered him to Oxford, as one of the reforming visitors. Here during the visitation of the earl of Pembroke, the chancellor of the university, he was admitted; D. D. and president of Trinity-college in April 1,648, in the room of Dr. Hannibal Potter, who was ejected by the visitors. This situation he retained until his death, Uec. 11, 1658,. in his eightieth year. He was buried in^ Trinity-college chapel, with an inscription from the ele-“gant pen of Dr. Bathurst, one of his successors, and contaming praises of his conduct as a president more than sufficient to answer the charges brought against him by others. | The only words Dr. Bathurst is said to have struck out are these in Italics,” per decennium hujus collegii Præses æternum cdebrandusnor was this alteration made in the epitaph itself, but in Wood’s ms. of the” Hist, et Antiquitates Univ. Oxon.“The only fault of which Dr. Harris can be accused, and which was very common with other heads of houses put in by the parliamentary visitors, was taking exorbitant fines for renewals of college leases, by which they almost sold out the whole interest of >the college in such estates. On the other hand he appears to have made some liberal grants of money to the posterity of the founder, sir Thomas Pope.” One is surprized,“says Warton,” at those donations, under the government of Dr. Robert Harris, Cromwell’s presbytenan president. But Harris was a man of candour, and I believe a majority of the old loyal fellows still remained.“Durham, the author of Harris’s life, gives him the character of” a man of admirable prudence, profound judgment, eminent gifts and graces, and furnished with all qualifications which might render him a complete man, a wise governor, a profitable preacher, and a good Christian." He appears to have very little relished some of the innovations of his time, particularly that easy and indiscriminate admission into the pulpits, which filled them with illiterate enthusiasts of every description. His works, consisting of sermons and pious treatises, were collected in 1 vol. fol. published in 1654. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. II. Wood’s Annals and Colleges and Halls. Wood’s Life, 1772, 8vo, p. 230. Harris’s Life, by Durham, 1660, 12mo. Warton’s Life of, Bathurst, p. 146, and of sir Thomas Pope, p. 446.