Furneaux, Pmup

, a learned dissenting clergyman, was born at Totness in Devonshire in Dec. 1726, and was educated in the free-school of that town at the same time with Dr. Kennicott, who was a few years his senior, and between them a friendship commenced which continued through life. From Totness Dr. Furneaux came to London for academical studies among the dissenters, which he completed in 1749. He was soon after ordained, and chosen assistant to the rev. Henry Read, at the meetinghouse in St. Thomas’s, Southwark, and joint Sunday evening lecturer at Salters’-hall meeting. In 1753 he succeeded the rev, Moses Lowman, as pastor of the congregation at Clapham, which he raised to one of the most opulent and considerable among the protestant dissenters. He remained their favourite preacher, and highly esteemed by all classes, for upwards of twenty-three years, bat was deprived of his usefulness in 1777, by the loss of his mental powers, under which deplorable malady (which was hereditary) he continued to the day of his death, Nov. 23, 1783. His flock and friends raised a liberal subscription to support him during his illness, to which, from sentiments of personal respect, as well as from the principle of benevolence, the late lord Mansfield, chief justice of the king’s bench, generously contributed. Dr. Furneaux (which title he had received from some northern university) united to strong judgment a very tenacious iriemory; of which he gave a remarkable proof, when the cause of the dissenters against the corporation of London, on the exemption they claimed from serving the office of sheriff, was heard in the' house of lords. He was then present, and carried away, and committed to paper, by the strength of his memory, without notes, the very able speech of lord Mansfield, with so much accuracy, that his lordship, when the copy was | submitted to his examination, could discover but two or three trivial errors in it. This circumstance introduced him to the acquaintance of that great man, who conceived a high regard for him. Dr. Furneaux published but little, except a few- occasional sermons the most considerable of his works was that entitled “Letters to the hon. Mr. Justice Blackstone, concerning his exposition of the act of toleration, and some positions relative to religious liberty, in his Commentaries on the Laws of England,1770, 8vo. This is said to have induced the learned commentator to alter some positions in the subsequent edition of his valu^­able work. To the second edition of Dr. Furneaux’s “Letters” was added the before-mentioned speech of lord Mansfield. In 1773 he published also “An Essay on Toleration,” with a view to an application made by dissenting ministers to parliament for relief in the matter of subscription, which, although unsuccessful then, was afterwards granted. 1


Prot. Dissenters Magazine, vol. v. —Gent. Mag. vols. LI. and LIII.