Kennet, Basil

Kennet, Basil, an English divine of note, younger brother of the following, was born Oct. 21, 1674, at Postling, in Kent; entered Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1690; took the master's degree in 1696, and the year following entered the ministry. In 1706 he was, by the interest of his brother, appointed chaplain to the English factory at Leghorn, where he no sooner arrived than he met with great opposition from the papists, and was in danger of the Inquisition. This establishment of a Church of England chaplain was a new thing; and the Italians were so jealous of the Northern heresy that, to give as little offence as possible, he performed the duties of his office with the utmost privacy and caution. But, notwithstanding this, great offence was taken at it, and complaints were immediately sent to Florence and Rome, when both the pope and the court of Inquisition declared their resolution to expel heresy and the public teacher of it from the confines of the holy see, and secret orders were given to apprehend and hurry him away to Pisa, and thence to some other religious prison, to bury him alive, or otherwise dispose of him in the severest manner. Upon notice of this design, Dr. Newton, the English envoy at Florence, interposed his offices at that court, where he could obtain no other answer but that " he might send for the English preacher, and keep him in his own family as his domestic chaplain; otherwise, if he presumed to continue at Leghorn, he must take the consequences of it, for, in those matters of religion, the court of Inquisition was superior to all civil powers." When the earl of Sunderland, then secretary of state, was informed of this state of affairs, he sent a menacing letter by her majesty's command, and the chaplain was permitted to continue to officiate in safety (Life of Bishop Kennet, p. 53 sq.). In 1713 Kennet's failing health obliged him to quit Leghorn, and he returned to Oxford, to be elected only the year following president of his college. He died, however, shortly after, either towards the close of 1714 or the opening of 1715. He wrote in the theological department an Exposition of the Apostles' Creed:-Paraphrase on the Psalms. in verse (1706, 8vo); .and published shortly before his death a volume of Sermons on several Occasions (Lond. 1715, 8vo). He also furnished English translations of,

1. Puffendorf's Law of Nature and Nations:

2. Placette's Christian Casuist

3. Godean's Pastoral Instructions: —

4. Pascal's Thoughts on Religion, to which he prefixed an account of the manner in which those thoughts were delivered by the author:

5. Balzac's Aristippus, with an account of his life and writings:

6. The Marriage of Thames and Isis, from a Latin poem of Mr. Camden. Dr. Basil Kennet is said to have been a very amiable man, of exemplary integrity, generosity, and modesty. See Allibone, Dict. Engl. and Amer. Authors, s.v.; Genesis Dictionary; Hook, Eccles. Biog. 6:433. (J. H. W.)

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