Boucher, Jonathan

, a learned English clergyman and philologer, was horn at Blencogo, in the county of Cumberland, March 12, 1738; and after receiving his education at Wigton, under the rev. Joseph Blaine, went in his sixteenth year to North America. At the proper age he returned to England to be ordained, previously to which, in 1761, the vestry of the parish of Hanover, in the county of King George, Virginia, had nominated him to, the rectory of that parish. He afterwards exchanged this | for the parish of St. Mary’s in Caroline county, Virginia. When the late sir Robert Eden, bart. became governor of Maryland, he appointed Mr. Boucher rector of St. Anne’s in Annapolis, and afterwards of Queen Anne’s in Prince George’s county, where he faithfully and zealously discharged the duties of a minister of the church until 1775.

Of his exemplary conduct in the discharge of his ministerial functions in the western hemisphere, abundant proof is furnished by a work published by him in the year 1797, intituled, “A View of the Causes and Consequences of the American Revolution, in thirteen discourses, preached in North America between the years 17t.3 and 1775.” In the preface to that work, which contains anecdotes and observations respecting the writers and most eminent persons concerned in the American Revolution, he observes, that, “cast as his lot was by Providence, in a situation of difficult duty, in such an hour of danger, it would have been highly reproachful to have slept on his post. Investigations on the important subjects of religion and government, when conducted with sobriety and decorum, can never be unseasonable; but they seem to be particularly called for in times like those in which these discourses were written times when the kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers took counsel against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bonds asunder^ and cast away their cords from us.” He adds, in the words of Bishop Wetenhall’s preface to his Royal Sermons, printed in Ireland in 1695, that his Discourses in America were preached by him “with a sincere intention of conscientiously performing his duty, and approving himself to God, in his station, by doing what lay in him (at a time of exigence) to confirm the wavering, to animate the diffident, to confirm, excite, and advance all in their loyalty and firm adhesion to. his gracious majesty, our present, alone, rightful liege lord and sovereign.” Indeed, these sermons unequivocally demonstrate that their pious author was not to be deterred, by the personal difficulties in which the schism and faction that then pre^ vailed had placed him, from maintaining, with undaunted resolution, those doctrines, political and religious, in which he had been educated.

In 1784, long after his return to England, he was presented by the rev. John Parkhurst, editor of the Greek and Hebrew Lexicons, to the vicarage of Epsom in Surrey; but the same year he had the misfortune to lose his first wife, | who was a native of Maryland, of genteel connections, and of the same name and family as the celebrated Joseph Addison, whom in many of the great points of his character she resembled. Through life Mr. Boucher enjoyed the society and friendship of men of erudition and science; and on various occasions employed his pen, not only in defence of those political principles on which the British monarchy is founded, but in critical inquiries, and in theological duties. Of his discourses from the pulpit in Great Britain, two Assize Sermons, preached in 1798, have been printed, and fully justify the request of the Grand Juries to whom we are indebted for their publication. He vas also an ample contributor to Mr. Hutchinson’s History of Cumberland. The account of the parish of Bromfield, and the very interesting biographical sketches of eminent Cumberland men, published in the same work, and marked “Biographia Cumbriensis,” were written by him. Mr. Boucher was a patriot in the best sense of the word: he was ever anxious to promote the happiness of his fellow countrymen; and in many instances personally contributed, either by pecuniary or literary exertions, to meliorate the condition pf society. In 1792, he published an anonymous pamphlet, ^ubscribed “A Cumberland Man,” which was reprinted in the Appendix to sir Frederick Morton Eden’s “State of the Poor,” published in 1797. This pamphlet is addressed to the inhabitants of Cumberland, and has for its object the improvement of that county in every point which can render a country opulent and happy.

During the last fourteen years of his life, Mr. Boucher’s literary labours were chiefly dedicated to the compilation of a Glossary of Provincial and Archaeological words, intended as a “Supplement to Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary,” the proposals for which he issued in 1802, under the title of “Linguæ Anglican Veteris Thesaurus.” The printed aid which he collected for this work appeared sufficiently by the library he left, and which was sold by auction after his death. Few collections are more copious in early printed literature. A part of this undertaking was published in 1807, containing words under the letter A. by which it appeared that the author’s plan, including Scotch words, was more extensive than originally intended. The encouragement given to this specimen has not been sufficient to induce his relatives to publish more, or to encourage any gentleman of adequate talents to attempt the | completion of the work. Mr. Boucher died April 27, 1804, leaving eight children by his second wife Mrs. James, widow of the rev. Mr. James, rector of Arthuret, &c. in Cumberland, whom he married in 1789. 1

1 Life in —Gent. Mag. 1804, drawn up by the late sir Fred. Morton Eden, bart.