Newton, Richard, Dd

Newton, Richard, D.D., a noted English divine, was descended from a family that had long been of considerable repute and of good fortune. His father enjoyed a moderate estate at Lavendon Grange, in Buckinghamshire, which is now in the family. Richard Newton was born at Yardley Chase, in Northamptonshire, in 1676. He was educated at Westminster School, and elected from that foundation to a scholarship of Christ Church, Oxford, where he afterwards taught with great acceptability and honor. He became M.A. on April 12, 1701, and B.D. on March 18, 1707. He was inducted principal of Hart Hall, by Dr. Aldrich, in 1710, where he undertook the degree of D.D. on December 7 of that same year. Dr. Newton was next called into lord Pelham's family to superintend the education of the late duke of Newcastle, and his brother, Mr. Pelham, who ever retained (as many letters now extant show) a most affectionate regard for him; but being a man of too independent and liberal principles to solicit favors for himself, he never met with any return for his sedulous attentions to them until 1752, when he was promoted to a canonry of Christ Church. Some time prior he had been inducted by bishop Compton into the living of Sudbury, in his native county, and he held this living some time after he assumed the principalship of Hertford College, which he filled until his death, April 21, 1753. Newton was honored with the esteem of his contemporaries, and was conceded to be as polite a scholar and as ingenious a writer as any of that age. In closeness of argument and perspicuity and elegance of language he had not his equal. Never did any private person engage in more trusts, or discharge them with greater integrity. He was a true friend to religion and education, a man of exemplary piety and extensive charity. No one man was called forth so often to preach in the latter end of queen Anne's time and in the beginning of that of king George I as Dr. Newton. During his residence in the rectory at Sudbury he discharged all the parts of his office as parish minister with exemplary care and fidelity. Among other particulars, he read the evening prayers of the liturgy at his church on the week-day evenings at seven o'clock, hay-time and harvest excepted, for the benefit of his parishioners. As principal of Hart Hall he labored faithfully for its prosperity, and in 1740 obtained a charter to convert the school into a college, and thus became the founder, at a considerable expense to himself, of Hertford College, as the institution was named. He obtained great aid from his numerous friends, but contributed himself about £1000 at least, which he derived from a publication of his entitled Theophrastus. The famous Dr. Conybeare, rector of Exeter College, afterwards dean of Christ Church and bishop of Bristol, opposed Dr. Newton's project of obtaining a charter; and never, perhaps, were two people better fitted for a controversy, which deserves as much to be collected for the language as Junius's letters. Upon his (death-bed Dr. Newton ordered all his writings to be destroyed, excepting a select number of his sermons, which were published in 1784; a few others had already been published during his lifetime. He also had published A Scheme of Discipline, etc., (at Hart Hall (Lond. 1720): — University Education (ibid. 1726 and 1733, 8vo): — Pluralities Indefensible (ibid. 1743). A second edition of his Pluralities Indefensible, which was published in answer to the learned Wharton on Pluralities, appeared in 1744. Dr. Newton has not been, and probably never will be answered. The Characters of Theophrastus, with a strictly literal translation of the Greek into Latin, etc., with notes and observations on the text in English, was published from his MSS., as arranged before his death, for the benefit of Hertford College, by his successor in the principalship of that high school in 1754. See Hook, Eccles. Biog. 7:406- 408; Chalmers's History of Oxford; London Getlentman's Magazine, 1792; General Biog. Dict. 11:216-220.

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