Carpenter, Nathaniel

, an English clergyman o great learning and parts, was born in the parsonage-house of North- Lew (not Northlegh, as Wood says), near Hatherlegh, in Devonshire, Feb. 7, 1588. His father, John Carpenter, a native of Cornwall, was at that time rector of this place, and author of some sermons enumerated by Wood. His son, after a private education, was entered of Edmund hall, Oxford; and in 1607, by the casting vote of the vice-chancellor, was elected fellow of Exeter college, to which he removed, and became distinguished as a logician, mathematician, and philosopher.- He took his degree of B. A. in 1610, of M. A. in 1613, and of B. D. in 1620, and soon after completing his master’s degree, entered into holy orders, and had the reputation of a very popular divine. About 1626 he became acquainted with

1 Gen. Diet. Biog. Brit. Richardsoniana, p. 259. See also an account of his conduct in Scotland in “A true relation of the Pursuit of the Rebels in the North, and of their Surrender at Preston to lieutenant-general Carpenter, commanding in chief his majesty’s forces there,” joined to a plan published under this title, “An exact Plan of the Town of Preston, with the barricades of the Rebels, and the disposition of the king’s forces, under the command of lieutenant-general Carpenter and major-general Wills.” See likewise “The | Poltarchbishop Usher, then at Oxford, who admired his talents and piety, took him with him to Ireland, and made him one of his chaplains, and tutor to the king’s wards in Dublin. These king’s wards were the sons of Roman catholics who had fled for their religion, leaving them in their minority; and Mr. Carpenter’s charge was to bring them up in the protestant religion. Soon after he came to Ireland he was advanced to a deanery, but what deanery is not mentioned. He died at Dublin in 1635, according to Fuller, or in 1628, according to Wood. Dr. Robert Usher, afterwards bishop of Kildare, and brother to the archbishop, preached his funeral sermon, and gave a high character of him, which seems to be confirmed by all his contemporaries. He published, 1.” Philosophia libera, triplici exercitationum decade proposita,“Francfort, 1621, under the name of Cosmopolitanus London, 1622, 8vo, with additions, Oxford, 1636, 1675. This was considered as a very ingenious work, and one of the earliest attacks on the Aristotelian philosophy. Brucker, who has given our author a place among the” modern attempters to improve natural philosophy/* adds, that he has advanced many paradoxical notions, sufficiently remote from the received doctrines of the schools. 2. “Geography,” in two books, Oxford, 1625, and corrected and enlarged 1635, 4to. In the latter part he maintains that mountainous people are more stout, warlike, and generous than the inhabitants of flat countries, and supports this doctrine by an appeal to his countrymen in Devonshire. 3. “Achitophel or the picture of a wicked Politician, in three parts,Dublin, 1627, 8vo, Oxford, 1628, 4to, 1640, 12mo. These three parts are the substance of three sermons on 2 Sam. xvii. 23. which he had formerly preached at Oxford. Some objections being made to several passages against (not, as Mr. Malone says, in favour of) Arminianism (for Carpenter was a Caivinist), the book was castrated by archbishop Laud in various places. “The scene,” says the writer in a dedication to archbishop Usher, “wherein I have bounded my discourse, presents unto your grace a sacred tragedy, consisting of four chief actors, viz. David, an anointed king; Absalom, an ambitious prince Achitophel, a wicked politician and Cushay, a loyal subject a passage of history, for variety pleasant, for instruction useful* for event admirable.” He inveighs in general against the inordinate ambition and subtle practices of | courts and courtiers. Mr. Malone takes more pains than necessary to prove that Dry den adopted no hint from it for his “Absalom and Achitophel.” 4. “Chorazin and Bethsaida’s woe and warning,Oxford, 1640. He wrote also a “Treatise of Optics,” of which there were some imperfect copies in Mss. but the original was by some means lost. 1

1 Prince’s Worthies of Devon. Fuller’s Worthies, —Ath. Ox, vol. I. Matone’s Dryden, vol. I. p. 139,