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Maurice, Henry (DNB00)


MAURICE, HENRY (1648–1691), divine, born in 1648, was son of Thomas Maurice, perpetual curate of Llangristiolus, Anglesey. He was grandson of Henry Perry [q. v.], the Welsh scholar (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 667). After attending Beaumaris grammar school, he matriculated on 20 May 1664 from Jesus College, Oxford, and graduated B.A. on 28 Jan. 1667–8, M.A. in 1671, B.D. in 1679, and D.D. in 1683 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714, iii. 991). His learning and brightness attracted the notice of Sir Leoline Jenkins [q. v.], then principal of the college, and he was elected to a fellowship. About 1669 he took, at the request of the college, the curacy of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, where, says Wood, being provoked by some ‘malapert Socinians, he managed a controversy with them in writing so successfully that he gained to himself great reputation.’ In 1671 he returned to college. When Jenkins was sent as plenipotentiary to Cologne in 1673, Maurice accompanied him as chaplain. During the three years that he remained abroad he took every opportunity of increasing his knowledge by learning modern languages and conversing with eminent scholars. On his return to England he lived in the family of Jenkins at Doctors' Commons and in college until 1680, when he became domestic chaplain to Sancroft; he continued in that office till June 1691, though he did not sympathise in the archbishop's refusal to take the oath of allegiance to William. Under the patronage of Sancroft he received the treasurership of Chichester, in which he was installed on 7 Jan. 1681, the rectory of Chevening, Kent, which he held from 1681 until 1685, and in 1684 the sinecure rectory of Llandrillo-yn-Rhôs, Denbighshire (Thomas, St. Asaph, p. 551). In April 1685 he was presented to the richly endowed rectory of Newington, Oxfordshire. By the clergy of the diocese of Oxford he was chosen in October 1689 to be their representative in the convocation held at Westminster in the following November, and he fully justified their choice. On 18 July 1691 he was elected Lady Margaret professor of divinity at Oxford (Le Neve, Fasti, ed. Hardy, iii. 519), in right of which office he was installed prebendary of Worcester (ib. iii. 85). Maurice died suddenly on 30 Oct. 1691 at his house near Newington, and was buried in the chancel of the church there on 6 Nov. He was unmarried, and his estate was administered to by his sister, Elizabeth Clancey, a widow (Administration Act Book, P.C.C. 1691, f. 224). A monument was erected to his memory in Jesus College chapel (Wood, Colleges and Halls, ed. Gutch, i. 588). Both Wood and Hearne praise Maurice's fine scholarship, solid judgment, ready wit, and blameless life. He was an eloquent extempore preacher and a learned controversialist, being especially well versed in canon law. He wrote: 1. ‘A Vindication of the Primitive Church and Diocesan Episcopacy, in Answer to Mr. Baxter's Church History of Bishops,’ &c. [anon.], 8vo, London, 1682. To this Baxter rejoined the same year in his ‘True History of Councils enlarged and defended,’ and appended to his book a reply called ‘Diocesan Churches not yet discovered in the Primitive Times,’ by the anonymous author of a tract entitled ‘No Evidence for Diocesan Churches,’ 1681, whose arguments Maurice had also assailed. 2. ‘The Antithelemite; or an Answer to certain Quæres by the D[uke] of B[uckingham], and to the Considerations of an unknown Author concerning Toleration’ [anon.], 4to, London, 1685. 3. ‘The Project for repealing the Penal Laws and Tests, with the honourable means used to effect it,’ &c. [anon.], 4to [London, 1688], a satirical tract, secretly printed, on James's efforts to introduce Roman catholicism. 4. ‘Doubts concerning the Roman Infallibility’ [anon.], 4to, London, 1688 (reprinted in Bishop Gibson's collection, called ‘A Preservative against Popery,’ edit. 1738, vol. i., and edit. 1848, vol. iv.). 5. ‘Letter to a Member of the House of Commons concerning the Bishops lately in the Tower, and now under Suspension’ [anon.], 4to, London, 1689. 6. ‘Remarks from the Country upon the two Letters relating to the Convocation and Alterations in the Liturgy’ [anon.], 4to, London, 1689. 7. ‘The Lawfulness of taking the new Oaths asserted’ [anon.], 4to, London, 1689. 8. ‘A Defence of Diocesan Episcopacy, in Answer to a Book of Mr. David Clarkson … entituled “Primitive Episcopacy,”’ 8vo, London, 1691; 2nd edit. 1700. Maurice also published in 1682 a sermon preached before the king at Whitehall on 30 Jan. 1681–2, which was reprinted in 1744. He was the reputed author of ‘Animadversions on Dr. Burnet's “History of the Rights of Princes,”’ 4to, London, 1682, which elicited an ‘Answer’ from Burnet in the same year. Maurice was an intimate friend of Henry Wharton, a fellow-chaplain at Lambeth, whom he assisted in the composition of the ‘Defence of Pluralities,’ 1692. In 1688 Maurice was bitterly attacked by an anonymous Roman catholic writer in ‘Some Reasons tender'd to impartial People why Dr. Henry Maurice ought not to be traduc'd as the Licenser of the Pamphlet entituled “A plain Answer to a Popish Priest, questioning the Orders of the Church of England,”’ appended to ‘Twenty-one Conclusions further demonstrating the Schism of the Church of England,’ 4to, Oxford.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 326; Williams's Eminent Welshmen, 1852, pp. 317–18; Lansd. MS. p. 987, ff. 129, 147; Hearne's Remarks and Collections (Oxford Hist. Soc.), i. 99, 214, ii. 60; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. iv. 337.]

G. G.