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His method of study was to impress the contents of his books upon his memory by abridging them, and by interleaving them to amplify one system with supplements from another.
With the congregation of his tutor Mr. Rowe, who were, I believe, Independents', he communicated in his nineteenth year.
At the age of twenty he left the academy, and spent two years in study and devotion at the house of his father, who treated him with great tenderness, and had the happiness, indulged to few parents, of living to see his son eminent for literature and venerable for piety".
10 He was then entertained by Sir John Hartopp five years as domestick tutor to his son3, and in that time particularly devoted himself to the study of the Holy Scriptures; and being chosen assistant to Dr. Chauncey preached the first time on the birth-day that compleated his twenty-fourth year, probably considering that as the day of a second nativity, by which he entered on a new period of existence.
In about three years he succeeded Dr. Chauncey 5; but, soon after his entrance on his charge, he was seized by a dangerous illness, which sunk him to such weakness that the congregation thought an assistant necessary, and appointed Mr. Price. His health then returned gradually, and he performed his duty, till (1712) he was seized by a fever of such violence and continuance that, from the feebleness which it brought upon him, he never perfectly recovered.
12 This calamitous state made the compassion of his friends necessary, and drew upon him the attention of Sir Thomas Abney', who received him into his house, where, with a con
'Gibbons (p. 20) describes them as the Church of Protestant Dissenters now  meeting at Haberdashers' Hall.'
2 The son, in his sixty-third year, wrote to his father when on his deathbed:-'I feel old age daily advancing on myself. Ib. p. 3.
3 Sir John Hartopp, son of a Roundhead Colonel, married a daughter of General Fleetwood. Burke's Peerage. To his son Watts dedicated his Logick, so written, he hoped, 'that the Gentleman and the Christian might find their account in the perusal
as well as the Scholar.' They lived at Stoke Newington. Gibbons, p. 92.
Isaac Chauncy. Ib. p. 96. He had studied theology at Harvard. Dict. Nat. Biog. x. 171.
5 'He accepted the call the day King William died, notwithstanding the fears with which that event filled the hearts of Dissenters in general.' Gibbons, p. 97. For the Meeting House see N. & Q. 7 S. iii. 416.
• Samuel Price. Gibbons, p. 99. 7 Alderman of London. Upon the day he entered on his office as Lord Mayor (A.D. 1700) he, without any
stancy of friendship and uniformity of conduct not often to be found, he was treated for thirty-six years with all the kindness that friendship could prompt, and all the attention that respect could dictate. Sir Thomas died about eight years afterwards', but he continued with the lady and her daughters to the end of his life. The lady died about a year after him.
A coalition like this, a state in which the notions of patronage 13 and dependence were overpowered by the perception of reciprocal benefits, deserves a particular memorial2, and I will not withhold from the reader Dr. Gibbons's representation, to which regard is to be paid as to the narrative of one who writes what he knows 3, and what is known likewise to multitudes besides.
'Our next observation shall be made upon that remarkably kind Providence which brought the Doctor into Sir Thomas Abney's family, and continued him there till his death, a period of no less than thirty-six years. In the midst of his sacred labours for the glory of God, and good of his generation, he is seized with a most violent and threatening fever, which leaves him oppressed with great weakness, and puts a stop at least to his publick services for four years. In this distressing season, doubly so to his active and pious spirit, he is invited to Sir Thomas Abney's family, nor ever removes from it till he had finished his days. Here he enjoyed the uninterrupted demonstrations of the truest friendship. Here, without any care of his own, he had every thing which could contribute to the enjoyment of life, and favour the unwearied pursuits of his studies. Here he dwelt in a family, which, for piety, order, harmony, and every virtue, was an house of God. Here he had the privilege
notice, withdrew from Guildhall after supper, went to his house, there performed family worship, and then returned to the company.' Gibbons, p. 104.
In 1722. Ib. p. 105.
2 In a situation of this kind a person of pure and exalted character, such a man as Ken was among the nonjurors and Watts among the nonconformists, may preserve his dignity, and may much more than repay by his example and his instructions the benefits which he receives. But to a person whose virtue is not high toned this way of life is full of peril.' MACAULAY, Hist. of Eng. v. 93.
Among the poets of the Lives a refuge was granted in the houses of
LIVES OF POETS. III
of a country recess, the fragrant bower, the spreading lawn, the flowery garden, and other advantages, to sooth his mind and aid his restoration to health; to yield him, whenever he chose them, most grateful intervals from his laborious studies, and enable him to return to them with redoubled vigour and delight. Had it not been for this most happy event he might, as to outward view, have feebly, it may be painfully, dragged on through many more years of languor, and inability for publick service, and even for profitable study, or perhaps might have sunk into his grave under the overwhelming load of infirmities in the midst of his days; and thus the church and world would have been deprived of those many excellent sermons and works, which he drew up and published during his long residence in this family. In a few years after his coming hither Sir Thomas Abney dies; but his amiable consort survives, who shews the Doctor the same respect and friendship as before, and most happily for him and great numbers besides; for, as her riches were great, her generosity and munificence were in full proportion; her thread of life was drawn out to a great age, even beyond that of the Doctor's; and thus this excellent man, through her kindness, and that of her daughter, the present Mrs. Elizabeth Abney, who in a like degree esteemed and honoured him, enjoyed all the benefits and felicities he experienced at his first entrance into this family, till his days were numbered and finished, and, like a shock of corn in its season, he ascended into the regions of perfect and immortal life and joy.'
If this quotation has appeared long let it be considered that it comprises an account of six-and-thirty years, and those the years of Dr. Watts.
From the time of his reception into this family his life was no otherwise diversified than by successive publications. The series of his works I am not able to deduce 2; their number and their variety shew the intenseness of his industry, and the extent of his capacity.
He was one of the first authors that taught the Dissenters to court attention by the graces of language. Whatever they had among them before, whether of learning or acuteness, was commonly obscured and blunted by coarseness and inelegance of style. He shewed them that zeal and purity might be expressed and enforced by polished diction.
These grounds have long formed Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington.
2 'A catalogue of his writings' is given in Gibbons, p. 471.
He continued to the end of his life the teacher of a congregation, and no reader of his works can doubt his fidelity or diligence. In the pulpit, though his low stature, which very little exceeded five feet 2, graced him with no advantages of appearance, yet the gravity and propriety of his utterance made his discourses very efficacious. I once mentioned the reputation which Mr. Foster 3 had gained by his proper delivery to my friend Dr. Hawkesworth, who told me that in the art of pronunciation he was far inferior to Dr. Watts.
Such was his flow of thoughts, and such his promptitude of 18 language, that in the latter part of his life he did not precompose his cursory sermons; but having adjusted the heads, and sketched out some particulars, trusted for success to his extemporary powers 5.
He did not endeavour to assist his eloquence by any gesticula- 19 tions; for, as no corporeal actions have any correspondence with theological truth, he did not see how they could enforce it".
At the conclusion of weighty sentences he gave time, by a short pause, for the proper impression.
To stated and publick instruction he added familiar visits 21 and personal application, and was careful to improve the opportunities which conversation offered of diffusing and increasing the influence of religion.
By his natural temper he was quick of resentment, but 22 by his established and habitual practice he was gentle, modest, and inoffensive. His tenderness appeared in his attention to children and to the poor. To the poor, while he lived in the family of his friend, he allowed the third part of his annual revenue, though the whole was not a hundred a year; and for children he condescended to lay aside the scholar, the philosopher, and the wit, to write little poems of devotion and systems
of instruction, adapted to their wants and capacities, from the dawn of reason through its gradations of advance in the morning of life. Every man acquainted with the common principles of human action will look with veneration on the writer who is at one time combating Locke', and at another making a catechism for children in their fourth year. A voluntary descent from the dignity of science is perhaps the hardest lesson that humility can teach 2.
As his mind was capacious, his curiosity excursive, and his industry continual, his writings are very numerous and his subjects various. With his theological works I am only enough acquainted to admire his meekness of opposition and his mildness of censure. It was not only in his book but in his mind that orthodoxy was united with charity 3.
Of his philosophical pieces his Logick has been received into the universities, and therefore wants no private recommendation*: if he owes part of it to Le Clerc 5 it must be considered that no man who undertakes merely to methodise or illustrate a system pretends to be its author.
In his metaphysical disquisitions it was observed by the late learned Mr. Dyer that he confounded the idea of space with that of empty space, and did not consider that though space might be
tation for its logic, and Bentham owned that his tutor gave him out of Sanderson's Logic some materials for correct reasoning. The English logic taught was Watts's, which Bentham always called "Old Women's logic." Bentham's Works, x. 37.
John James wrote from Queen's College in 1778:-'From a careful perusal of Watts and Duncan I hope e'er long to acquire a competent knowledge [of logic], and to be able at least not to be silent in the Hall [at the disputations].' Letters of Radcliffe and James, p. 50.
5 Gibbon, in 1762, described Le Clerc's Bibliothèque Universelle as 'an inexhaustible source of amusement and instruction.' Misc. Works, v. 224.
Samuel Dyer, a member of the Literary Club. Boswell's Johnson, i. 479, iv. II.