Posts Tagged ‘Isaac Milner’

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Joseph Milner
1744 – 15 November 1797

He was born at Leeds and educated at Leeds Grammar School and Catharine Hall, Cambridge. On graduation he went to Thorp Arch, West Yorkshire as assistant in a school kept by Christopher Atkinson, the vicar of the parish, received holy orders, and became Atkinson’s curate. At Thorp Arch he made a lifelong friendship with the son of the vicar, Miles Atkinson, who subsequently became a leader of the evangelical party and vicar of St. Paul’s, Leeds.

Still in deacon’s orders Milner left Thorp Arch to become head-master of Hull Grammar School. There his pupils included William Dealtry, Samuel Marsden, George Pryme, Thomas Perronet Thompson, and Peter William Watson.

Milner was in 1768 elected afternoon lecturer at Holy Trinity Church, Hull. in that town. He now paid for the education of his brother Isaac Milner. In 1770 he became a follower of the rising evangelical school, suspected of Methodism, and the nature of his congregation at the High Church changed. He also undertook the charge of North Ferriby. Hull became a centre of evangelicalism.

Milner’s chief friends were the Rev. James Stillingfleet of Hotham, and the Rev. William Richardson of York, who both shared his own religious views. In 1792 he had a severe attack of fever; in 1797 the mayor and corporation offered him the living of Holy Trinity, mainly through the efforts of William Wilberforce, but Milner fell ill and died shortly (15 November 1797). He was buried in Holy Trinity Church, and a monument to his memory was erected in it.

Milner’s published works include essays and numerous sermons, but his best known work is the History of the Church of Christ (London, 1794–1809). He lived to complete the first three volumes, and two more were added by his brother, Isaac Milner (1750–1820), dean of Carlisle, who re-edited the whole work in 1810.

John Scott (1777–1834) published a new continuation in three volumes (1826, 1829, and 1831). Samuel Roffey Maitland criticised Milner’s history on the Waldenses (1832); the Rev. John King defended Milner, but Maitland published Strictures on Milner’s Church History (1834). A controversy ensued, and the Milners’ work had a new edition, published by the Rev. Thomas Grantham in 1847.

Other works published by Milner in his lifetime were:

  • Gibbon’s Account of Christianity considered, with some Strictures on Hume’s Dialogues on Natural Religion, 1781.
  • Some Remarkable Passages in the Life of William Howard, who died at North Ferriby on 2 March 1784, 1785.
  • Essays on several Religious Subjects, chiefly tending to illustrate the Scripture Doctrine of the Influence of the Holy Spirit, 1789.

He also edited, with the Rev. W. Richardson, the Posthumous Works of Thomas Adam (1786).

After Joseph Milner’s death many of his sermons were found, and these were published in four volumes under the title of Practical Sermons, the first (1800) with a memoir by the editor, Isaac Milner; the second (1809), edited by the Rev. W. Richardson. These two were later republished together.

A third volume (1823) was edited by the Rev. John Fawcett, and a fourth (1830), On the Epistles to the Seven Churches, the Millennium, the Church Triumphant, and the 130th Psalm, by Edward Bickersteth. In 1855 Milner’s Essentials of Christianity, theoretically and practically considered, which had been left in manuscript, and had been revised by his brother, was edited for the Religious Tract Society by Mary Milner, the orphan niece of whom Joseph Milner had taken charge, and writer of her uncle Isaac’s Life.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Thomas Ludlam
1727-13 November 1811

Ludlam was an English clergyman, known as a theologian and essayist.

Born at Leicester, he was younger brother to William Ludlam. He graduated B.A. at St John’s College, Cambridge, in 1748, and spent some time as chaplain in the Royal Navy, in 1750 he was appointed to the HMS Prince Henry. He proceeded M.A. in 1752.

Ludlum was appointed by the assistance of John Jackson confrater of Wigston’s Hospital, Leicester, in 1760. In 1791 he became rector of Foston, Leicestershire.

Ludlam attacked the Calvinistic writers of his day in the Orthodox Churchman’s Review. He was a disciple of John Locke, and applied Locke’s principles to religious discussion. Bishop Richard Hurd, on seeing his first essay, had his second to be printed at his own expense.

Ludlam’s brother William held unpopular views on the Holy Spirit, and Thomas supported them in his Four Essays. A savage controversialist, he was charged by Isaac Milner with “treating men as fanatics, enthusiasts, and rejecters of reason, or as sly, artful, and designing characters, because they venture to think for themselves in religious matters”.

Ludlam wrote:

  • Logical Tracts on Locke, Cambridge [1790]; vindicating Locke against Milner, George Horne, and others.
  • Four Essays on the Holy Spirit, London, 1797.
  • Six Essays upon Theological, to which are added two upon Moral, Subjects, London, 1798.

Most of these essays are in Essays, Scriptural, Moral, and Logical, by William and Thomas Ludlam, 1807; 2nd edit. 1809.

He died at Leicester on 13 November 1811.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Isaac Milner
11 January 1750 – 1 April 1820


Isaac Milner

Milner was born in Mabgate. He began his education at a grammar school in Leeds in 1756, but this ended in 1760 with the death of his father. He was apprenticed as a weaver, reading the classics when time permitted, until his elder brother, Joseph Milner, provided him with an opportunity. Joseph was offered the mastership at Hull’s grammar school and invited Isaac to become the institution’s usher.

Through the patronage of his brother, Milner was subsequently freed from his duties in Hull and entered Queens’ College, Cambridge, in 1770. He graduated BA in 1774, winning the Smith’s first prize.

Shortly after he was ordained as deacon; in 1776 Queens’ offered him a fellowship; in the following year he became a priest and college tutor; and in 1778 he was presented with the rectory of St Botolph.

During these years his career as a natural philosopher began to take off. In 1776 Nevil Maskelyne hired him as a computer for the board of longitude, and two of his mathematical papers were presented to the Royal Society, of which he was elected fellow in 1780. In these papers Milner displayed three things: proficiency in mathematics, suspicion of French philosophy, and adherence to English Newtonian mechanics.

In 1782 the Jacksonian professorship of natural philosophy was established and the syndicate selected Milner as the inaugural professor, a position he retained until 1792.

Besides lecturing, Milner also developed an important process to fabricate nitrous acid, a key ingredient in the production of gunpowder. His paper describing this process was published in the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions in 1789 alongside an article of Joseph Priestley’s, and the two corresponded on the subject. In later years Milner transferred his elaborate collection of chemical apparatus into the president’s lodge at Queens’ and performed experiments with E. D. Clarke, William Whewell, and the Wollaston brothers; he also collaborated with Humphry Davy and Joseph Banks in an attempt to cure gout.

Over the span of his forty-five-year career, Milner’s scientific sentiments came to reflect his religious sentiments strongly. Although he never parted from the Anglican fold, he came to embrace the central evangelical doctrines of the late eighteenth century.

Milner, with Charles Simeon, was largely responsible for the evangelical revival at Cambridge. Indeed, through the years of his tenure at Queens’ he dramatically changed the entire complexion of the college. He was also responsible for the conversion of William Wilberforce, which occurred during their long continental tour of 1784–5. While the parliamentary act of 1807 to abolish slavery owed much to their partnership, Milner’s co-authorship of the seven-volume Ecclesiastical History of the Church of Christ (1818) with his brother Joseph also earned him nationwide renown.

After his death Milner was remembered for his astonishing intellect, his peculiar lifestyle, his tremendous physical bulk and his part in the rise in evangelicalism. Thomas De Quincey, in his preface to the Confessions, deemed Milner an ‘eloquent and benevolent’ opium user.

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