Newcome, William

, an eminent prelate, descended from a non-conformist family, was born at Barton-le-Clay, in Bedfordshire, April 10, 1729, and educated at Abingdon school. In 1745 he entered of Pembroke college, Oxford, but removed some time after to Hertford college, where he took his degree of M. A. in 1753, and became a tutor of considerable eminence. Among other pupils who preserved a high respect for his memory, was the late hon. Charles James Fox. In 1765 he took his degrees of B. D. and D. D. and was appointed chaplain to the earl of Hert* ford, then lord lieutenant of Ireland, who conferred on him, withiti a year, the see of Dromore. In 1775, he was translated to Ossoryj and in 1778 produced his first workj “An Harmony of the Gospels,” which involved him in a controversy with Dr. Priestley respecting the duration of our Lord’s ministry, Dr. Priestley confining it to one year, while the bishop extended its duration to three years and a half. In 1779 Dr. Newcome was translated to the see of Waterford; and in 1782 published “Observations on our Lord’s conduct as a divine Instructor, and on the excellence of his moral character.” This was followed, ia 1785, by “An attempt towards an improved version, a metrical arrangement, and an explanation of the Twelve Minor Prophets,” 4to, and in 1788, by “An attempt towards an improved version, a metrical arrangement, and an explanation of the prophet Ezekiel,” 4to. He published also about the same time “A Review of the chief difficulties in the Gospel history respecting our Lord’s Resurrection,” 4to, the purpose of which was to correct some errors in his “Harmony.” In 1792 he published at Dublin one of his | most useful works, “Art historical view of the English Biblical translations; the expediency of revising by authority our present translation; and the means of executing such a work,” 8vo. Concerning the latter part of this scheme there are many differences of opinion, and in the learned prelate’s zeal to effect a new translation, he is thought, both in this and his former publications, to have been too general in his strictures on the old. He lived, however, to witness Dr. Geddes’s abortive attempt towards a new translation, and the danger of such a work falling into improper hands. For the historical part, the bishop is chiefly indebted to Lewis, but his arrangement is better, and his list of editions more easily to be consulted, and therefore more useful. Except a very valuable Charge^ this was the last of Dr. Newcorae’s publications which appeared in his life-time. In January 1795 he was translated to the archbishopric of Armagh. He died at his house in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, Jan. 11, 1800, in the seventy-first year of his age; and was interred in the new chapel of Trinity college. Soon after his death was published his “Attempt towards revising our English Translation of the Greek Scriptures, or the New Covenant of Jesus Christ,” &c. The writer of his life in the Cyclopaedia says that this work “has been made the basis of an” Improved Version of the New Testament, published by a Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, &c.“much to the mortification, as we have heard, of some of the archbishop’s relatives;” nor will our readers fail to sympathize with them, when they are told that this “Improved version” is that which has been so ably and justly censured and exposed by the Rev. Edward Nares, in his “Remarks on the Version of the New Testament lately edited by the Unitarians,” &c. 1810, 8vo. Archbishop Newcome’s interleaved Bible, in four volumes folio, is in the library at Lambeth-palace. He was, unquestionably, an excellent scholar, and well-qualified for biblical criticism; but either his zeal for a new version, or his views of liberality, led him to give too much encouragement to the attempts of those witb whom he never could have cordially agreed, and who seem to consider every deviation from what the majority hold sacred, as an improvement. 1

1

Gent. Mag. vol. LXX.—Rees’s Cyclopædia.