Bingham, George

, the sixth son of Richard Bingham, esq. and Philadelphia, daughter and heir of John Potinger, esq. by Philadelphia, daughter of sir John Erule, bart. chancellor of the exchequer, was born, in 1715, at Melcomb Bingham, in the county of Dorset, where that antient and respected family have resided for many centuries.

Patronized by Mr. Potinger, his grandfather, who very early discovered his promising talents and amiable disposition, he was at 12 years of age sent to the king’s college at Westminster and by his unremitting industry so improved his abilities, that he was elected, before he had reached his 17th year, student of Christ-church in Oxford. Being here valued on account of his literary attainments, and justly beloved for the urbanity of his manners, he was within four years from his matriculation, elected fellow of | All Souls’ college, where he had an opportunity of cultivating a sincere and unalterable friendship with many gentlemen of the most distinguished reputation and it has been justly remarked to‘-his honour and credit, that he never made an acquaintance by whom he was not highly respected, or formed an intimacy that was not permanent. The late excellent judge, sir William Blackstone, who was his friend and contemporary, and whom he not a little assisted in his “Stemmata Chicheliana,” well knew his worth, and kept up a correspondence with him, with a sincerity and fervour unaltered and undiminished, to the last hour of his life. In 1745-6, when party ran high, and the Pretender had made incursions into England, he served the office of proctor in the university, and conducted himself in those troublesome times with a proper spirit and resolution, as became an upright magistrate and a good man. Being a few years after, on the death of the rev. Christopher Pitt, the excellent translator of Virgil’s Æneid, presented by George Pitt, esq. (the late lord Rivers) to the rectory of Pimpern, Dorset, he married a lady to whom he had been some time engaged, by whom he had three children, a daughter and two sons but his wife, whom he doated on, with the tenderest affection, was, after the death of her youngest child, seized with an illness which terminated in a dropsy, and brought her to the grave in the 36th year of her age. She was buried, in 1756, in the chancel of the parish-church of Pimpern.

Being now a widower, he divided his time between theological studies and the education of his children; but having been presented by sir Gerard Napier to the living of More Critchil, he changed his residence from Pimpern to his new preferment, that he might by absence alleviate the severe stroke he had sustained, and might enjoy the acquaintance and friendship of his hospitable and worthy patron. His patron did not long survive, nor was he allotted to continue long in his new-chosen habitation for being seized with a violent ague and fever, from which he with the greatest difficulty recovered by the skill of his physician and strength of his constitution, he was obliged again to return to the rectory at Pimpern.

His two sons were now entered on the foundation at the college near Winchester, and had both of them made such rapid progress in their education, that they gave him every possible satisfaction. The eldest was the senior scholar | at 16 years of age, and was certain of succeeding at the next election to that goal of Wiccamical hope, a fellowship of New college, in Oxford; when, a few days prior to that sera, as he was bathing in the navigable river Itchin, in a place well known to every Winchester boy by the name of The Pot, he was seized with a cramp within two yards of the shore, in the presence of more than 100 expert swimmers, and his unfortunate younger brother, who was close to him at the moment, and sunk beneath the water never to appear again. His lifeless body was not found till half an hour had expired. All arts to re-animate him were tried in vain; and he was buried a few days after in the cloisters of Winchester college, amidst the tears of his afflicted companions.

Mr. Bingham was inconsolable at this event; and his most intimate friends observed, that it cast a gloom over his countenance during the remainder of his long life but so silent is real sorrow, that he was never heard to mention his loss, nor was any account of it found among his papers, except an insertion in a Family Bible.

When the author of the Antiquities of the County of Dorset first offered his labours to the public, Mr. Bingham, who was not ignorant how much care and study had been bestowed in collecting those valuable materials, gave him every assistance in his power. By examining with indefatigable attention the numerous Roman tumuli and causeways that abound in that country, and by a knowledge of many circumstances that had escaped the observation of others, he enriched the collection with a treasure of many curious accounts, and made no small addition to the numerous list of subscribers, by soliciting his friends in behalf of Mr. Hutchins. The author expressed his acknowledgments in many private letters; but Mr. Bingham would never permit him to make known from what hand he received his communications, nor is the name of G. B. once mentioned in the work, except after the marvellous account of Sadler’s prophecy, attested by Cuthbert Bound at the end of the first volume it is added, “this narrative was communicated by the rev. G. Bingham, of Pimpern.” The original paper, signed by C. Bound, which has been long preserved in the family, is now in the possession of the rev. P. Bingham, as are also many observations, corrections, tt additamenta, never yet published.

Mr. Bingham died at Pimpern, beloved and regretted, | Oct. 11, 1800, aged eighty-five, and was buried in the chancel of Pimpern church, wh’ere on a marble monument is engraved a classical and characteristic epitaph by his son, the rev. Peregrine Bingham, rector of Radclive, Bucks. As an author, Mr. Bingham acquired a considerable share of fame in his life-time by his “Vindication of the Doctrine and Liturgy of the Church of England.” occasioned by Mr. Theophilus Lindsey’s Apology for quitting his living, 1774, 8vo and his essay on the “Millenium,” entitled “T %iMa eln” “Dissertationes Apocalypticae” “Paul at Athens,” an essay a “Commentary on Solomon’s Song,” and some sermons, all which were published by his son above-mentioned in 2 vols. 1804, 8vo, with Memoirs of the author, in which it is said, that Mr. Bingham united the profoundest erudition with the most consummate piety, and had a perfect knowledge of the Hebrew tongue, an intimate acquaintance with the earliest fathers of the church, and an accurate skill in classic literature, and in history ancient and modern, sacred and profane. His opinions, however, on some points, differed much from those of his brethren particularly in contending that Mahomet and his religion are the sole objects of the prophecies of Daniel and St. John, which so many able divines have uniformly applied to papal Home. Upon this account, when the Warburtonian lecture was offered him in 1781, he declined preaching it, because the object of the founder was to prove the truth of Christianity from the completion of the prophecies which relate to the Christian church, especially the apostacy of papal Rome. Mr. Bingham conceived that the church of Rome is a part, though a corrupt part, of the Christian church, and which, agreeing with us in fundamentals, may be still capable of reformation. In his sentiments on the Millenium, he restricts that state to the enjoyment of uninterrupted peace by the church for a determined time, and therefore neither admits that the Millenium is already past, which Hammond and a few more thought, nor that it will be, what the majority of writers have described, the literal reigning of the saints on earth, with Christ, for a thousand years. 1

1 Life prefixed to his Works.—Gent. Mag. 1803, 1804.