Cecil, Richard

, a late clergyman of the church of England, was born in Chiswell-street, London, on -Nov. 8, 1743. His father and grandfather were scarlet-dyers to the East India company. His mother was the only child of Mr. Grosvenor, a merchant of London, and was a strict | dissenter, but his father belonged to the established church. In his early years his father intended him for business, but the son had a stronger predilection for general literature; and the success of some juvenile attempts, inserted in the periodical journals, with a taste for music and painting, diverted him still more from trade. At length his father determined to give him an university education, and, by the advice of Dr. Phanuel Bacon, an old acquaintance, sent him to Oxford, where he entered of Queen’s college, May 19, 1773. Before this he had fallen into a course of reading which dispelled the religious education of his infancy, and had made him almost a confirmed infidel. Previously, however, to going to the university, he had recovered from this infatuation, and became noted for that pious conduct and principles which he maintained through life. With his studies he combined his former attachment to the fine arts, particularly music and painting, and might be deemed a connoisseur in both, and upon most subjects of polite literature manifested a critical taste and relish for the productions of genius and imagination, of both which he had himself no small portion. In 1776 he was ordained deacon, and in 1777 priest, having only taken his bachelor’s degree, after which he withdrew his name from the college books, and exercised his talents as a preacher in some churches in Lancashire. Soon after, by the interest of some friends, two small livings were obtained for him at Lewes in Sussex, together in value only about 80l. a year. These he did not long enjoy, a rheumatic affection in his head obliging him to employ a curate, the expence of which required the whole of the income, but he continued to hold them for some years, and occasionally preached at Lewes. Removing to London, he officiated in different churches and chapels, particularly the chapel in Orangestreet and thai in Long-acre, &c. In 1780 he was invited to undertake the duty of the chapel of St. John’s, in Bedford-row, and by the assistance of some friends who advanced considerable sums of money, was enabled to repair it, and collected a most numerous and respectable congregation. But for many years he derived little emolument I from it, as he devoted the produce of the pews most conscientiously to the discharge of the debts incurred. Even in 1798, a debt of 500l. remained on it, which his friends and hearers, struck with his honourable conduct, generously defrayed by a subscription. In this year appeared | that complaint, of the schirrous kind, which more or less afflicted him with excruciating pain during the remainder of his life, and frequently interrupted his public labours, but which he bore with incredible patience and constancy. In 1800 he was presented by the trustees of John Tiiornton, esq. to the livings of Chobham and Bisley in Surrey, by which 150l. was added to his income, the remainder of their produce being required to provide a substitute at St. John’s chapel, and defraying the necessary travelling expences. In these parishes, notwithstanding the precarious state of his health, he pursued his ministerial labours with unabated assiduity, and conciliated the affections of his people by his affectionate addresses, as well as by an accommodation in the matter of tithes, which prevented all disputes. In 1807 and 1808 two paralytic attacks undermined his constitution, and at length terminated in a fit of apoplexy, which proved fatal August 15, 1810. Few men have left a character more estimable in every quality that regards personal merit, or public services, but for the detail of these we must refer to the “Memoirs” prefixed to an edition of his Works, in 4 vols. 8vo, published in 1811 for the benefit of his family. Such was the regard in which he was held, that the whole of this edition of 1250 copies, was subscribed for by his friends and congregation. The first volume contains his “Life of Mr. Cadogan,” printed separately in 1798; that of “John Bacon, esq. the celebrated sculptor,” in 1801; and that of the “Rev. John Newton” in 1808. Vol. II. contains his “Miscellanies,” practical tracts published in the course of his life vol. Ill; his “Sermons,” and vol. IV. his “Remains,” consisting of remarks made by Mr. Cecil in conversation with the editor (the rev. Josiah Pratt, B. D.) or in discussions when he was present, with an appendix communicated by some friends. 1


Memoir as above.