Jones, William, Ma, Frs
Jones, William, M.A., F.R.S.
of Nayland, as he is generally called, was born at Lowick, in Northamptonshire, July 30, 1726. He was educated at the Charter House and University College, Oxford. He there became a convert to the philosophy of Hutchinson, and, having induced Mr. Home, afterwards bishop of Norwich, to adopt the same system, together they became the principal champions of that philosophy. He was admitted to deacon's orders after having received the degree of B.A., in 1749. In 1751 he was ordained priest by the bishop of Lincoln, and on quitting the university became curate of Finedon, and afterwards of Wadsohoe, both in his native county. In 1764 archbishop Secker presented him to the vicarage of Bethersden, in Kent, and in the next year to the rectory of Pluckley, in the same county. In 1776 he took up his residence at Nayland, in Suffolk, where he held the perpetual curacy; and soon after he exchanged his living of Pluckley for the rectory of Paston, in Northamptonshire. In 1780 he became fellow of the Royal Society of London. During many years he was engaged in the composition of a treatise on philosophy, which was intended to elucidate his favorite system. In that work he displayed great learning and ingenuity, as well as ardent attachment to the interests of piety and virtue, united with the eccentric peculiarities of the Hutchinsonian school. Alarmed at the progress of radical and revolutionary opinions during the French Revolution, he employed his pen in opposition to the advocates of such destructive principles, and his writings were widely circulated by the friends of the British government. He treated with equal success questions of theology, morals, literature, philosophy, and, in addition to all these, showed great talents in musical composition. "He was a man of quick penetration," says bishop Horsley, "of extensive learning, and the soundest piety, and he had the talent of writing upon the deepest subjects for the plainest understanding." In the year 1792 he met with a severe loss in the death of his most intimate friend, bishop Home, to whom he was chaplain. Being now of advanced age, and obliged, by his growing infirmities, to discontinue his practice of taking pupils, that he might not be subjected to inconvenience from the diminution of his income, in the year 1798 the archbishop of Canterbury presented him to the sinecure rectory of Hollingbourn in Kent, which, however, he did not live long to enjoy, dying Feb. 6, 1800, in consequence of a paralytic stroke. His most important works are, A full Answer to Bp. Clayton's Essay on Spirit (1753, 8vo): Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity proved from Scripture:(1757): — Course of Lectures on the Figurative Language of the Holy Scriptures (1787, 8vo): — Sermons — (1790, 2 vols. 8vo): — The Scholar armed against the Errors of the Times (2 vols. 8vo): — Memoirs of the Life, Studies, and Writings of George Horne (1795 and 1799, 8vo). The most complete collection of his works is that in 12 vols. 8vo (Lond. 1801). The theological and miscellaneous works were republished separately (London, 1810, 6 vols. 8vo). Two posthumous volumes of sermons were published for the first time in 1830 (London, 8vo). See W. Stevens, Life of W. Jones (1801), Aikin, Gen. Biography; Hoefer, Nouv. Biogr. Générale, 26, 908; Buck; Davenport; Darling, Cyclopoedia Bibliog. 2, 1682. (E. de P.)