Davis, Henry Edwards

, son of Mr. John Davis, of Windsor, was born July II, 1756, and educated at Eating, Middlesex; whence he removed to Baliol college, Oxford, May 17, 1774, where he took his degree of B. A. about January 177-. In the spring of that year he wrote an Examination of Gibbon’s “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” in which he evinced more knowledge than is usually found at the age of twenty-one. This was answered by the historian in a Vindication, which brougut out a reply by Mr. Davis, who, it is evident, gave Gibbon no small uneasiness by attacking him on his veracity and fairness of quotation, in which Gibbon fancied himself impregnable. In 1780, Mr. Davis having taken his master’s degree, and entered into priest’s orders, was made a fellow of his college; and, for some time before his death, had the office of tutor, which he discharged with a solicitude and constancy too great for the sensibility of his mind, and the delicacy of his constitution. A lingering illness removed him from the society of his many estimable friends, and deprived the public of his expected services. Affected by the strongest and tenderest of those motives, which endear life and subdue fortitude, he sustained the slow approaches of dissolution, not only resigned but cheerful, supported by the principles he had well defended. Feb. 10, 1784, without any apparent change, between a placid slumber and death, he expired. He was buried at Windsor, the place of his nativity. He had cultivated a taste for elegant literature, particularly in poetry. Though his voice was not strong, his elocution was distinct, animated, unaffected, and pathetic. The cheerfulness and vivacity of his conversation, the warmth and benevolence of his heart, fixed by principle, and animated by sentiment, rendered him in his private character, alike amiable and worthy of esteem. 2


Preceding edition of this Dictionary.—Gibbon’s Miscellaneous Works, vol. II.