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by a tiger, while in the East Indies, who had followed him into a river in which he had taken refuge, Mr. Watts turned to grapple with the monster, and, by singular coolness and dexterity, succeeded in ridding himself of his formidable enemy. In the Dutch war the vessel he commanded unfortunately exploded; and by this accident he perished in the prime of life. The following stanza, relating to the gallant and ill-fated seaman, written by his poetical relative, is honourable to the "manly spirit” it professes to describe:
“The painter-muse with glancing eye
That death had long disjoin'd :
Since he was seen on earth no more:
On the superior shore.” The poem from which the above lines are extracted is inscribed, “On the death of an aged and honoured relative, Mrs. M. W.” the widow of Mr. T. Watts, and the grandmother of the poet. She long survived her unfortunate husband, and lived nearly to witness her grandson finish his preparatory studies for the ministry.* The composition shows how much he esteemed her worth when living, and revered her memory when dead. In his early education she took a prominent part; and as her counsels and instructions would doubtless be directed towards bringing his mind under a religious influence, to them he was in no slight degree indebted for the preference which he gave to piety in his youth. In his ode he follows his revered preceptress to her celestial dwelling, and in the character which he assumes, that of a “paintermuse," thus pictures the disfranchised spirit:
«« 1693, July 13, Grandmo. Watts died.” Memoranda.
1. “I know the kindred mind. 'Tis she, 'tis she;
Among the heavenly forms I see,
Groaning and panting on the bed,
Life on this side, there the dead,
3. “Gaze on, my soul, and let a perfect view
Paint her idea all anew :
With youthful green and spotless white;
Provide no glooms to form a shade;
But if the features too divine
Beyond the power of fancy shine,
4. “ Describe the saint from head to feet,
But let her posture be
6. “ 'Tis done. What beams of glory fall
(Rich varnish of immortal art)
To gild the bright Original !
And let my honour and my love
Of Mr. Isaac Watts, the doctor's father, some interesting particulars have been preserved. He was the master of a very flourishing boarding-school at Southampton, which was
in such repute, that pupils from America and the West Indies were committed to his care. Dr. Johnson, indeed, mentions a report of his being a shoemaker; but his strong prejudices against the dissenters, led him in this instance to give a rumour access to his pages, which he must have learnt from Dr. Gibbons was wholly groundless.* Mr. Watts being a decided nonconformist, and a man of unquestioned piety, sustained the office of deacon in a church of protestant dissenters in his native town. At the passing of the Act of Uniformity, in 1662, two ministers of Southampton were deprived of their livings: Mr. Nathaniel Robinson, ejected from All Saints', and Mr. Giles Say, from St. Michael's.t The latter, after having been imprisoned for his secession from the persecuting hierarchy, removed from the scene of his toils and sorrows into the county of Norfolk ; but the former continued preaching to a congregation in the town, to the period of his death, in which it is probable Mr. Watts was a deacon.
The intimate connexion of Mr. Watts's family with the dissenting history of Southampton, and the friendship which not only subsisted between them and the Says, but between Dr. Watts and Mr. Samuel Say, the successor of Dr. Calamy ạt Westminster, which will hereafter be noticed, render the following particulars interesting.-Mr. Giles Say, the ejected minister, was born at Southampton in the year 1632; the
* See Lives by Johnson and Gibbons.
He settled at Guestwick in Norfolk, with the church of which Mr. Worts had been pastor, where he continued until his death in 1692. The son of this worthy man, Mr. Samuel Say, succeeded Dr. Calamy at Westminster. In the church-book it is said, that "the dissenting church in and about Guestwick, sat down in gospel order in the end of 1652, and chose Mr. Richard Worts for their pastor, who with fidelity and success laboured among them till his death, about May 6, 1686; he was succeeded by Mr. Giles Say (father of Mr. Samuel Say of Westminster), who died April 8, 1692.”
$ Mr. Robinson was imprisoned for his nonconformity, soon after his ejectment, along with Mr. Say.
family originally belonged to Dorsetshire, but removed in consequence of the father's marriage. On the blank leaf of a bible given to Giles by his brother Francis, in November, 1640, a few days before his death, he writes — “My mother, who was born in 1588, departed this life in February, 1669. She was of the French seed. Her ancestors were protestants. Her father and mother, with several other of her relations, fled for religion out of France, upon a great persecution there, in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's time, and came and dwelt at Southampton.” The name of these exiles was Câtell, and a considerable estate at Rouen in Normandy belonged to the family. The Says appear to have been eminently talented and pious: the family register, kept by Giles, has the following record, “ March 4, 1659, my brother Thomas Say began his sabbath in heaven, being of age about twenty-five years." In the year 1660, Mr. Giles Say was ordained to the ministry by the presbytery at Bishop's-stoke, a village in the neighbourhood of Southampton, where he had frequently preached; but the black Bartholomew day, two years afterwards, drove him from the pulpits of the establishment, and ranked his name with the two thousand confessors who preferred poverty and exile to the guilt of a sinful compliance.
At a time when persecution raged so bitterly against those who maintained the rights of conscience against the encroachments of secular power; when a preference given to the authority of the laws of Christ over the mandates of an earthly sovereign, was branded with the odium of sedition; the families of Watts and Say were called to suffer severely for
their attachment to the principles which they had espoused. - Colonel Norton of Southwick, a village where Mr. Say was accustomed to preach, though a churchman, proved a friend to him in his distress; and offered him the living of Wellow, worth about £.80 a year, if he would conform. Sir T. Barrow also, of Plate-ford in Wiltshire, afforded him an asylum; and
* Palmer. Noncon. Mem. ii. 279. Say Papers. Mon. Repos. 1809.
in his house his eldest daughter was born, in September, 1666, when the plague was ravaging in Southampton. The family register before cited, contains this memorandum: “A plague began in Southampton, the latter end of May or beginning of June, 1665, and continued till November, 1666, before it fully ceased. It is concluded by the common vote, that there died in it one thousand and somewhat over ; but there are that do affirm, that there died betwixt fifteen and sisteen hundred. It began in the buildings below Bull Hall, being in the lower end of the Back-street, by the Walnut Tree. The last that was reputed to die of the plague, was a youth that died over St. Michael's prison.” Upon the declaration of Indulgence, in 1672, the dissenters in Southampton met for worship in Mr. Say's house, which was licensed at Whitehall on the 2nd of May. The original license is among the Say Papers, printed in imitation of writing, on a half sheet of paper, small folio, with the blanks filled up in writing, which are here expressed by italics :
“ CHARLES R.
“Charles by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland,
France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. To all Mayors, Bayliffs, Constables, and other our officers and ministers, civil and military, whom it may concern, Greeting - In pursuance of our Declaration of the 15th of March, 1671 – We do hereby permit and license Gyles Say of the congregationall persuasion, to be a teacher of the congregation allowed by us in a Roome or Roomes, in his House, in Southampton, for the use of such as do not conform to the Church of England, who are of the persuasion commonly called Congregationall. With further license and permission to him, the said Gyles Say, to teach in any place licensed and allowed by us according to our said Declaration.