, the author of many pious works of great popularity, was born at
, the author of many pious works of great popularity, was born at KingVcliffe, in Northamptonshire, in 1686, and was the second son of Thomas Law, a grocer. It is supposed that he received his early education at Oakham or Uppingham, in Rutlandshire, whence on June 7, 1705, he entered of Emmanuel college, Cambridge. In 1708 he commenced B. A.; in 1711, was elected fellow of his college; and in 1712 took his degree of M. A. Soon after the accession of his majesty George I. being called upon to take the oaths prescribed by act of parliament, and to sign the declaration, he refused, and in consequence vacated his fellowship in 1716. He was after this considered as a nonjuror. It appears that he had for some time officiated as a curate in London, but had no ecclesiastical preferment. Soon after his resignation of his fellowship he went to reside at Putney, as tutor to Edward Gibbon, father to the eminent historian. When at home, notwithstanding his refusing the oaths, he continued to frequent his parish-church, and join in communion with his fellow parishioners. In 1727 he founded an alms-house at Cliffe, for the reception and maintenance of two old women, either unmarried and helpless, or widows; and a school for the instruction and clothing of fourteen girls. It is thought that the money thus applied was the gift of an unknown benefactor, and given to him in the following manner. While he was standing at the door of a shop in London, a person unknown to him asked whether his name was William Law, and whether he was of King’s-cliffe; and after having received a satisfactory answer, delivered a sealed paper, directed to the Rev. William Law, which contained a bank note for 1000l. But as tlifre is no proof that this was given to him in trust tor the purpose, he is fully entitled to the merit of having employed it in the service of the poor; and such beneficence was perfectly consistent with his general character.