Open main menu

Jones, Samuel (1680?-1719) (DNB00)


JONES, SAMUEL (1680?–1719), nonconformist tutor, was probably born in Pennsylvania about 1680. His father, Malachi Jones (d. 1728), was a Welsh divine who had emigrated to America, and at the time of his death had been long pastor of a congregation in Pennsylvania. Samuel Jones was educated at Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, under Roger Griffith; at Knell, near Radnor, under John Weaver; and at Leyden, where he entered the university, 7 Aug. 1706, under Hermann Witsius and Perizonius. He did not join the active ministry, but settled at Gloucester. There he opened a nonconformist academy, which had attained considerable repute by 1710, when Thomas Secker, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, entered it as a divinity student. In a letter from Secker (18 Nov. 1711) to Isaac Watts there is an interesting account of the studies pursued in the second of the five years' course. There were sixteen students, who rose at five, and were obliged ‘to speak Latin always, except when below stairs amongst the family.’ Every day they turned two verses of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Twice a week they read Isocrates and Terence, on which books Jones gave his pupils some notes he had received from Perizonius. Heereboord was the text-book in logic; but Jones, being ‘no great admirer of the old logic,’ lectured also on Locke's ‘Essay.’ Secker writes of Jones's ‘real piety, great learning,’ and ‘agreeable temper;’ ‘he is very strict in keeping good order, and will effectually preserve his pupils from negligence and immorality (cf. Monthly Repository, 1810, p. 401). In the spring of 1712 the academy was removed to larger premises at Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, where Jones succeeded James Warner, a presbyterian tutor. The admission of Joseph Butler [q. v.] was probably coincident with the removal. It was from the academy at Tewkesbury that Butler conducted his anonymous correspondence with Samuel Clarke (1675–1729) [q. v.] Fellow-students with Secker and Butler were Samuel Chandler [q. v.], Daniel Scott [q. v.], ‘Secker's bedfellow,’ and Jeremiah Jones [q. v.], the tutor's nephew; a later pupil was Andrew Gifford [q. v.] Jones was probably of the independent denomination; the presbyterian board sent no students to him till 1714. He died in 1719. Shortly before his death he married Judith Weaver, whom Job Orton describes (evidently erroneously) as a daughter of John Weaver, Jones's tutor at Knell. His widow was married again to Edward Godwin, and died at Watford on 25 Jan. 1746. William Godwin the elder [q. v.] was her grandson.

Jones published nothing. A manuscript copy, in two octavo volumes, of his Latin lectures on ‘Jewish Antiquities’ (founded on those of Witsius) is in Dr. Williams's Library, Gordon Square; a short extract is given by Philip Furneaux [q. v.], in his edition of the ‘Jewish Antiquities’ of David Jennings, D.D. [q. v.] David Jennings had not seen Jones's lectures, but they are said to have been in use at the Kibworth academy under John Jennings, and various transcripts from Jones's lectures were supplied to Doddridge, for use in his academy, by Samuel Clarke, D.D. (1684–1750) [q. v.] Jones's library, ‘composed for the most part,’ according to Secker, ‘of foreign books … very well chosen,’ is traditionally said to have passed at his death to the presbyterian academy at Carmarthen; there is no evidence of this in the minutes of the presbyterian board, and the library probably went with the academy to Nailsworth. In William Somervile's ‘Hobbinol,’ 1740, canto iii., is a description of an academy as then existing at Tewkesbury, under ‘Gamaliel sage, of Cameronian brood;’ ‘Gamaliel’ has been identified with Jones, in defiance of chronology.

It may be doubted whether the tutor is to be identified with a Welsh poet, Samuel Jones (fl. 1680–1720), who is stated in Williams's ‘Eminent Welshmen,’ p. 260, to have been a clergyman by profession, and to have presided at the Glamorgan gorsedd in 1700.

[Monthly Repository, 1809, pp. 651 sq. (Some Account of Mr. Samuel Jones by W. W., i.e. Walter Wilson); Gibbons's Memoirs of Isaac Watts, 1780, pp. 346 sq.; Doddridge's Works, 1802, i. 42; Palmer's Nonconformist's Memorial, 1803, iii. 509 sq. (note by O. i.e. Job Orton); Jennings's Jewish Antiquities, 1823, pp. vii. sq., 380 sq.; Bogue and Bennett's Hist. of Dissenters, 1833, ii. 225; Rees's Hist. of Protestant Nonconformity in Wales, 1883, p. 493; Jeremy's Presbyterian Fund, 1885, pp. 13, 39 sq.]

A. G.