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a learned English gentleman, fellow and treasurer of the royal

, a learned English gentleman, fellow and treasurer of the royal society, one of the lords of trade, and comptroller to the archbishop of Canterbury, was descended of an ancient and honourable family of that name, seated at Shilston, in Devonshire, and was the son of Richard Hill, of Shilston, esq. His father was bred to mercantile business, which he pursued with great success, was chosen an alderman of London, and v.as much in the confidence of the Long-parliament, and of Cromwell and his statesmen. Abraham, his eldest son, was born April 18, 1633, at his father’s house, in St. Botolph’s parish by Billingsgate, and after a proper education, was introduced into his business. He was also an accomplished scholar in the Greek, Latin, French, Dutch, and Italian languages, and was considered as one of very superior literary attainments. On his father’s death in 1659, he became possessed of an ample fortune, and that he might, with more ease, prosecute his studies, he hired chambers in Gresham college, where he had an opportunity of conversing with learned men, and of pursuing natural philosophy, to which he was much attached. He was one of the first eucouragers of the royal society, and on its first institution became a fellow, and in 1663 their treasurer, which office he held for two years. His reputation, in the mean time, was not confined to his native country, but by means of the correspondence of his learned friends, was known over most part of Europe. Having, like his father, been biassed in favour of the republican party from which he recovered by time and reflection, his merit was in consequence overlooked during the reigns of Charles II. and James II. but on the accession of king William, he was called to a seat at the board of trade, where his knowledge of the subject made his services of great importance; and when Dr. Tillotson was promoted to the see of Canterbury in 1691, he prevailed on Mr. Hill to take on him the office of his comptroller, which he accordingly accepted, and lived in Jiigh favour with that distinguished prelate, who would frequently term him “his learned friend and his instructing philosopher.” On the accession of queen Anne, Mr. Hill resigned his office in the Board of Trade, and retired to his seat of St. John’s in Sutton, at Hone in the county of Kent, which he had purchased in 1665, and which was always his favourite residence. Here he died Feb. 5, 1721. In 1767 a volume of his “Familiar Letters” was published, which gives us a very favourable idea of his learning, public spirit, and character; and although the information these letters contain is not of such importance now as when written, there is always an acknowledged charm in unreserved epistolary correspondence, which makes the perusal of this and all such collections interesting.

a learned English gentleman, well known in the history of British

, a learned English gentleman, well known in the history of British India, was the son of Zephaniah Holwell, timber-merchant and citizen of London, and grandson of John Holwell, a mathematical writer of much fame in the seventeenth century. The father and grandfather of this John Holwell both fell in support of the royal cause during the usurpation, and the family estate of Holwell-hall, in Devonshire, was lost to their descendants for ever; for although Mr. Holwell applied to king Charles at the restoration, the only recompense he obtained was to be appointed royal astronomer and surveyor of the crown lands, and the advancement of his wife to a place of some honour, but of little emolument, about the person of the queen. Some years after he was appointed mathematical preceptor to the duke of Monmouth, for whom he conceived a warm attachment, and, believing him to be the legitimate sou of the king, was induced to take a very active and imprudent part against the succession of the duke of York, which in the end proved his ruin. Having published in 1683 a small Latin tract called “Catastrophe Mundi,” which was soon after translated, and is a severe attack on the popish party, he was marked for destruction as soon as the duke of York came to the throne. Accordingly, in 1685, it was contrived that, in quality of surveyor to the crown, he should be sent to America, to survey and lay down a chart of the town of New York; and at the same time secret orders were sent to the government agents there, to take some effectual means to prevent his return. In consequence of this, it is said, that he had no sooner executed his commission, than he died suddenly, and his death was attributed, at the time and on the spot, to the application of poison administered to him in a dish of coffee. His son was father to the subject of the present article.

a learned English gentleman, was descended from a family in Dorsetshire,

, a learned English gentleman, was descended from a family in Dorsetshire, and born in 1579. Being sent to Westminster school, he was admitted scholar upon the foundation, and thence elected student of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1596. Four years afterwards he commenced B. A. about which time he became heir to a considerable estate, was made a justice of peace, and knighted by king James in 1613. He obtained a seat in the House of Commons in several parliaments; but he is entitled to a place in this work as a man of learning, and author of several books, which had considerable reputation in their day. He died June 14, 1636, and was interred in the chancel of the church at Cobham in Surrey. The night before he died, being exhorted by a friend to give some testimony of his constancy in the reformed religion, because it was not unlikely that his adversaries might say of him, as they did of Beza, Reynolds, King bishop of London, and bishop Andrews, that they recanted the protestant religion, and were reconciled to the church of Rome before their death; he professed, that if he had a thousand souls, he would pawn them all upon the truth of that religion established by law in the church of England, and which he had declared and maintained in his “Via tuta.” Accordingly, in his funeral sermon by Dr. Daniel Featly, he is not only styled “a general scholar, an accomplished gentleman, a gracious Christian, a zealous patriot, and an able champion for truth; but” one that stood always as well for the discipline, as the doctrine of the church of England; and whose actions, as well as writings, were conformable both to the laws of God and canons and constitutions of that church."

a learned English gentleman, was a younger son of sir John Scot,

, a learned English gentleman, was a younger son of sir John Scot, of Scot’s-hall, near Smeeth in Kent, where he was probably born; and, at about seventeen, sent to Hart-hall, in Oxford. He retired to his native country without taking a degree, and settled at Smeetb; and, marrying soon after, gave himself up solely to reading, to the perusing of obscure authors, which had by the generality of scholars been neglected, and at times of leisure to husbandry and gardening. In 1576, he published a second edition, for we know nothing of the first, of “A perfect platform of a Hop-garden,” &c. in 4to and, in 1584, another work, which shewed the great depth of his researches, and the uncommon extent of his learning, entitled “The Discoverie of Witchcraft,” &c. reprinted in 1651, 4to, with this title: “Scot’s Discovery of Witchcraft; proving the common opinion of witches contracting with devils, spirits, familiars, and their power to kill, torment, and consume, the bodies of men, women, and children, or other creatures, by diseases or otherwise, their flying in the air, &c. to be but imaginary erroneous conceptions and novelties. Wherein also the practices of witch. mongers, conjurors, inchanters, soothsayers, also the delusions of astrology, alchemy, legerdemain, and many other things, are opened, that have long lain hidden, though very necessary to be known for the undeceiving of judges, justices, and juries, and for the preservation of poor people, &c. With a treatise upon the nature of spirits and devils,” &c, In the preface to the reader he declares, that his design in this undertaking, was “first, that the glory of God be not so abridged and abased, as to be thrust into the hand or lip of a lewd old woman, whereby the work of the Creator should be attributed to the power of a creature secondly, that the religion of the gospel may be seen to stand without such peevish trumpery thirdly, that favour and Christian compassion be rather used, towards these poor souls, than rigour and extremity,” &c.