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a literary and religious projector of some note, was born at a

, a literary and religious projector of some note, was born at a village near Cardigan, in 1738, and after receiving the rudiments of education, was placed in a school or college at Carmarthen, preparatory to the dissenting ministry; which profession he entered upon in obedience to parental authority, but very contrary to his own inclination. His abilities and acquirements even then appeared of a superior order; but he has often in the latter part of his life stated to the writer of his memoirs, in the Gentleman’s Magazine, that he had long considered it &s a severe misfortune, that the most injurious impressions were made upon his youthful and ardent mind by the cold, austere, oppressive, and unarniable manner in which the doctrines and duties of religion were disguised in the stern and rigid habits of a severe puritanical master. From this college he took the office of teacher to a small congregation at Frome, in Somersetshire, and after a short residence was removed to a more weighty charge at Exeter. There the eminent abilities and engaging manners of the young preacher opened to him the seductive path of pleasure; when the reproof that some elder members of the society thought necessary, being administered in a manner to awaken resentment rather than contrition; and the eagle eye of anger discovering in his accusers imperfections of a different character indeed, but of tendency little suited to a public disclosure, the threatened recrimination suspended the proceedings, and an accommodation took place, by which Mr. Williams left Exeter, and was engaged to the superintendence of a dissenting congregation at Highgate. After a residence there of a year or two, he made his first appearance in 1770, as an author, by a “Letter to David Garrick,” a judicious and masterly critique on the actor, but a sarcastic personal attack qn the man, intended to rescue Mossop from the supposed unjust displeasure of the modern Roscius: this effect was produced, Mossop was liberated, and the letter withdrawn from the booksellers, Shortly after appeared “The Philosopher, in three Conversations,” which were much read, and attracted considerable notice. This was soon followed by “Essays on Public Worship, Patriotism, and Projects of Reformation;” written and published upon the occasion of the leading religious controversy of the day; but though they obtained considerable circulation, they appear not to have softened the asperities of either of the contending parties. The Appendix to these Essays gave a strong indication of that detestation of intolerance, bigotry, and hypocrisy which formed the leading character of his subsequent life, and which had been gradually taking possession of his mind from the conduct of softie of the circle of associates into which his profession had thrown him.