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with orders, that, if he were able to bear the journey, he should come home, where during a lingering sickness (as he thought it would prove) he might find that tender care and attendance which his constant duty and affection had so well deserved. His brother accordingly began his journey on Ascensiouday, presuming the charity of it would excuse his travelling on so great a festival. He had promised to write from Cambridge the very next post; but his father was very much surprised to receive a letter, which, by the superscription appeared to be neither his nor his brother's*; and the very next post came a letter from his brother-f-.
"P. S. About 4. I have been at church, and am come down now into public again by Mr. Roper's advice, who was with mc after dinner. He bid mc be sure not to fright you, because he ho]jed all was very well. But he said I must avoid all straining myself, and taking cold, which Dr. Wagstaff had told him after bleeding was of ill consequence, though little regarded. Our letters are not yet come in from London; but if I receive any this post, you may expect to have it answered, and a farther account of my health, the latter end of this, or the beginning of next week."
* " REVEREND SIR, M(NJ 0, 1714.
"I .am extremely concerned that I am obliged to acquaint you with the most afflicting news of a very great loss. It has pleased God to take to himself one of the best youths that I ever knew in this College, and for whom every body here had the greatest value. Mr. Roper will write to you next post, and give you the particulars of the manner of his death. In the mean time 1 know 1 need not pray you to bear this loss with a suitable resignation; nor, after the character I have mentioned, is it necessary to say it is your son that we have lost. Your younger son is very well rccovei'ed of the great surprise he was in on his fust hearing the sad news. Every thing in relation to a decent funeral shall be taken care of by, Sir, your most afflicted friend and sen ant,
"Christopher Aicstey J."
St. John's, May Hj
f "honoured Sir, a ground-chamber.
"J Must intreat you to cease your grief for my dear brother's untimely, yet happy departure out of this world > for he is now (in the judgment of :dl that knew him) much happier than we j and, when you he ir the circumstances which preceded it, you will, I am confident, agree with me in that phra<e I used
J At that time a tutor at St. John's; see vol. I. p. 221.
Next day (being, St. John Port Lot. one of their Foundation-days as they call it, as well as
just now of happy departure. This therefore that follows, you may depend ujwn as certain, for indeed I cannot affirm any tiling of myself, who did but set out from home the morning next to that fatal night. He was in company with Sir Newton that night till about 8 o'clock, and then retired, telling him he had business at home (which was to prepare himself for the blessed Sacrament next morning, this being Ascension-eve). Accordingly having examined himself (as was found by a paper of his own writing) and prayed for devotion in celebrating those mysteries (as may be seen by the books that were found open on his do?k), it pleased Almighty God then and there to take him to himself, and that he shoidd die such a death, as he had (I doubt not) often desired, in that prayer of Dr. Whichcot, which I wrote for him into his Nelson; when he was neither unprepared, nor his accounts wnready; when he was in a perfect renunciation of the guise of this mad and sinful world, and not being tormented by a lingering sickness; for in all probability he was taken away in an instant, liaving not made the least noise, not even so much as to be heard by his good neighbour Mr. Ropor. The time he died, happy for him, unhappy for all that knew him, is supposed to be about 9 or 10 o'clock on Wednesday night. His body was interred in the chancel of Allhallows church on Friday night, and his funeral very decently performed the Sunday night following. There was within the College-walls a very great attendance of Fellows and Scholars, yea, and Fellow-commoners too (who are generally negligent at these times), but a much greater multitude expected the bier at the gates; for, having the week before performed public exercise in the schools with great applause, his death was more univ eisally taken notice of, and sadly lamented too, as may be seen by the ingenious elegies which people so freely made on this occasion; some of which, I hope, will ere long be sent you. The Master, when I was with him yesterday to write my Rediit, told me, he hoped I should continue in health, though he could not but own the great loss befallen both myself and the College; so, enquiring after your health, dismissed me. After which I went to Mr. Baker, who desired me to give his service to you, and tell you that he joined in bewailing the loss of such an ornament to the College; whither (though I was in the town on Friday in the afternoon) 1 came not before Saturday, but no nearer the chamber than Mr. Roper's door, and cannot find in my heart to go any higher. I have, indeed, no relish for the College, and should not abide it, were it not for some good friends, whom I am very much obliged to. But after six weeks I shall have kept my term; and then I hope to see you again, and take a little school-burthen off from you; which, I am sure, must lie heavy, when such a sad addition comes to it; and whatever alterations 1 find in myself, I am pretty sure they
are Holy Thursday) his death was not so soon discovered as otherwise it might have been. He was then alone, his brother and his other chamber-fellow being in the country; and though he was asked after by several, because missed at the public communion that day, where all were obligtd to be present; yet it passed off without farther enquiry tilt after evening prayer, when his dear friend (with whom he had last conversed, and very cheerfully, as he said, though he complained his head was out of order) asked the bed-maker whether lie lay at home that night; and she answering no, he, knowing his constant regularity in that and all other particulars, bid her go and tell Mr. Roper, whose mind immediately misgave him; and going up ami forcing open the study-door, he found him sitting in his chair, cold and stiff, and so leaning back that the chair lay against the door, his candle by him unlighted (as was supposed) that he might be the more retired and undisturbed; his Officmm Eucharisticvm open before him, with a paper in it, containing the abstract of that week, from Sunday-morning to the end of that day, Wednesday; his Nelson, Common Prayer-book, and others lying by it.
He had left papers in three several places of his Nelson, which shewed what parts he had last made' use of; the first was at the prayers for Trinity Sunday, the second in the preparation for death on Easter-eve, and the third in the examination of
are in no less degree at home on such an occasion. Pray, Sir, jji\e my duty to my. mother.
"Your obedient son, Philit T?onwicke.
"P. S. Mr. Roper desired me to give his service to you, and beg your pardon for not writing according to promise, for he is in no condition to do it. On Wednesday night he received an account of the death of Dr. Turner, president of Corpus Christi, O.von. his be>t friend in the world; and on Thursday had the shock of finding my dear brother's dead body in his study. He desired me also 10 tell you, that he thinks his death proceeded from an extravasation of blood upoii his lungs, occasioned from winding- up the clock that day, which he had not done for a Week before."
himself himself on all Fridays in the year. That he had finished his sacramental preparation according to the method of the Officium Eucharist hum, may be gathered from his having consecrated (as it appeared lie had) and set apart what he designed for the Offertory the next day; which is one of the last things to be done according to that book, that charity may crown the devotions of the day. And in such charities, out of his little stock, he had expended in three vears and about eight months, the whole time from his admission at St. John's to his death, about 4/. Nor did his charity exert itself only in alms-giving, but in all the other branches of it, particularly in that of hoping the best, and judging the best of others. Of which, among,other instances that might lie given, take this of July 7, 1713; which being a State Holy-day, he absented himself from the public prayers; but his brother was present at them. However, for this he condemned him not, but thus charitably expressed himself in a letter to his father that day: "I dare say my brother would not iiave gone, had he thought he could not lawfully."
He shewed his great charity for souls, in the care he took to instruct some of the meanest Collegeservants in the principles of religion and piety, and helping them to good books for that purpose; a charity which exceeds all corporal ones, as much as the soul is superior to the body *.
* He continued the same early riser, that he had been all along, to the last day of his life; anil the Sunday before his death, when he was obliged 10 keep in on account of his illness, and having been let blood the day before, he was found rising at half an hour after 6, though sick at that very time, and immediately betaking himself to his prayers. And indeed it is wonderful to consider, that he who had such an infirm body, so often ailing, would not indulge in that ease, which any one but himself would have judged necessary. He went on in this time in reading " Echard's Roman History;" *' Dr. Hammond on the New Testament," whom by tlus time he had gone almost quite through; Terence, Tully, and Hebrew psalms. He read also "Fontenelle's Plurality of Worlds," "Appian's Roman History" in Greek, "Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity.' (as appeal's by the abstract he made out of each) and Whistoa's Astronomy, He
The Cambridge Muses were not wanting in their condolence on this promising young man's death. Several copies of verses were transmitted to his father. Of the two which are here selected, the first was printed, in the former edition of this Work, from the original MS. preserved by Mr. Bowyer.
Ode on the Death of Ambrose Bonwicke.
jDearest of all my friends, and best of men,
It will suihee
Unhappy youth! what shall I say?
Shall 1 complain
Aias! what have I said?
And blessed are the dead:
I'm the unhappy, who remain
I who groveling lie In darkness and obscurity: Whilst thou, let loose, dust roam the realms above, And view'st in brightest day the wondrous works of Jove. Those tilings from thee no longer hidden arc, Which rack the brain of the Philosopher.
made one Greek theme, one copy of Latin verses, two theses, one Latin, and one Greek declamation, besides the public exercises ai. the school, which his brother in his letter took notice of.