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Robinson's Guide to Richmond (1833)


Part 25

Appendix IV.

ARCHDEACON BLACKBURNE.

THE celebrated author of the Confessional, was born at Richmond, 9th of June, 1705. At the age of seventeen he was admitted a pensioner of Catharine Hall, Cambridge, where his peculiar notions on civil and religious liberty rendered him obnoxious to his superiors, and occasioned the loss of a fellowship for which he was a candidate. In 1739, he was ordained, and in a short time afterwards was inducted to the living of Richmond, where he resided constantly for forty years, during which he composed all the pieces contained in his works. In July, 1750, he was collated to the Archdeaconry of Cleveland; and in August following, to the Prebend of Bilton, by Dr. Matthew Hutton, Archbishop of York, to whom he had been for some years titular chaplain. His Confessional came out in the spring of 1766, and was the commencement of a controversy which continued until about 1772, and gave rise to 70 or 80 pamphlets. One singular effect followed the first publication of the Confessional. It was supposed that the author of such a work could not possibly remain in the church after having made so many objections to her constitution; and, accordingly, a congregation of dissenters in London, sent a deputation to him, to know whether he was inclined to accept the situation of their pastor. This, however, was refused. Although he abstained from any open opposition to the principles and conduct of Mr. Lindsey and Dr. Disney, (both his relations and friends) it is said that he did not approve of either. On the secession of Dr. Disney from the church, a circumstance which appears to have given him great uneasiness, he went so far as to draw up a paper, under the title of "An answer to the question, Why are you not a Socinian?" but this, although now added to his works, was not published in his life time. He had been suspected, from his relationship and intimacy with Dr. Disney and Mr. Lindsey, of holding the same sentiments with them, and his object in the above paper, was to vindicate his character in that respect. Still as it did not appear in his life time, it could not answer that purpose. However, we are now told, that some time before his death, he explicitly asserted to his relative, the Rev. Mr. Comber, his belief in the divinity of Christ. He died August 7th, 1787, in his 83rd year. (Biographical Dictionary.)

THE REV. ANTONY TEMPLE, Was born at Craike, in Yorkshire, January 30th, 1723-4. He was educated at Coxwold school, and from thence sent to Sidney College, Cambridge, where he proceeded B.A. in 1745, and in 1770, took the degree of M.A. In 1750, he was elected master of the Free Grammar School at Richmond, which he held till his death. The testimonials to his character and abilities, produced by him as candidate on that occasion, favourable as they were in an extraordinary degree, were abundantly realised by the most honourable discharge of the duties of that important station for 45 years. He died April 30th, 1795, in the 72nd year of his age. 'Though an uninterrupted state of ill health had long confined him to his house, he did not remit the most painful and assiduous attention to the duties of an office for which none was ever better qualified. One distinguishing feature of his character commands our applause. A generous patron and encourager of learning, he took under his protection poor scholars, for whom, as well by his own liberality, as by a prudent and successful application to the clergy and gentry of the neighbourhood, or to his friends at Cambridge, he procured the advantages of academical instruction. Many of these might be named, who are now an honor to the place of their education, an ornament to the republic of letters, and a blessing to society." (Gentleman Magazine, vol. LXV, p. 442.)

The first station which he held in the church, after his quitting Cambridge, was the curacy of Kilburne, in the north riding. He was afterwards for some time lecturer of Royston, in Hertfordshire; but the only ecclesiastical preferment which he possessed, was the vicarage of Easby, near Richmond, to which he was presented in 1770.

In 1766, he published a visitation Sermon, preached at Richmond in that year, which was followed by the publication of various other sermons and controversial pamphlets.

This short notice of Mr. Temple's Valuable life, is extracted from the first volume of Nichols's Illustrations of the Literary History of the eighteenth century.

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