Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 31.djvu/10

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memory of Pope when in the ‘Essay on Criticism’ he wrote:

Then unbelieving priests reformed the nation,
And taught more pleasing methods of salvation

(see Jortin's note, Pope, ed. Elwin, ii. 68, iii. 329). Kennett's subsequent preferment was naturally connected by his enemies with the strain of adulatory reference to the second duke with which the sermon concludes.

In 1707, desiring more leisure for study, he resigned the rectory of St. Botolph, Aldgate, and obtained the less remunerative rectory of St. Mary Aldermary, London. During this period he published numerous sermons, and his pen was actively engaged in support of his party. He zealously opposed the doctrine of the invalidity of lay baptism, and his answer to Dr. Sacheverell's sermon preached before the lord mayor on 5 Nov. 1709 raised a storm of indignation. In 1710 he was severely censured for not joining in the congratulatory address of the London clergy to the queen, which was drawn up on the accession of the tories to office after Sacheverell's trial. Kennett and others who declined to subscribe it were represented as enemies to the crown and ministry (cf. Dyer, Newsletter, 4 Aug. 1710). Dr. Welton, rector of Whitechapel, introduced into an altar-piece in his church a portrait of Kennett to represent Judas Iscariot (Lansdowne MS. 702, f. 101; Sharpe, Short Remarks, p. 30). It was stated that the rector had caused Kennett's figure to be substituted for that of Burnet at the suggestion of the painter, who feared an action of scandalum magnatum if Burnet were introduced. A print of the picture in the library of the Society of Antiquaries is accompanied with these manuscript lines by Maittaire:—

To say the picture does to him belong,
Kennett does Judas and the Painter wrong.
False is the image, the resemblance faint:
Judas compared to Kennett is a Saint.

Multitudes of people visited the church daily to see the painting, but Compton, bishop of London, soon ordered its removal. For many years afterwards it is said to have ornamented the high altar at St. Albans (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. viii. 369; Notes and Querie, 3rd ser. iii. 409).

In order to advance the interests of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, Kennett made a collection of books, charts, maps, and documents, with the intention of composing a ‘History of the Propagation of Christianity in the English-American Colonies,’ and on the relinquishment of that project he presented his collections to the corporation, and printed a catalogue entitled ‘Bibliothecæ Americanæ Primordia,’ London, 1713, 4to, afterwards republished with additions by Henry Homer the elder, 1789, 4to. He also founded an antiquarian and historical library at Peterborough, and enriched the library of that church with some scarce books, including an abstract of the manuscript collections made by Dr. John Cosens, bishop of that see, and a copiously annotated copy of Gunton's ‘History of Peterborough.’ The collection, consisting of about fifteen hundred books and tracts, was placed in a private room at Peterborough, and a manuscript catalogue was drawn up and subscribed ‘Index librorum aliquot vetustorum quos in commune bonum congessit W. K., Decan. Petriburg. MDCCXII.’ (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. i. 257). This library is now arranged in the chapel over the west porch of the cathedral.

On 25 July 1713 Kennett was installed prebendary of Farrendon-cum-Balderton at Lincoln. He preached vehemently against the rebellion of 1715, and in the two following years warmly advocated the repeal of the acts against occasional conformity. In the Bangorian controversy he opposed the proceedings of convocation against Bishop Hoadly. By the influence of his friend Dr. Charles Trimnell, bishop of Norwich and afterwards of Winchester, he was appointed bishop of Peterborough; he was consecrated at Lambeth on 9 Nov. 1718, and had permission to hold the archdeaconry of Huntingdon and a prebend in Salisbury in commendam (Stubbs, Registrum Anglicanum, p. 111). He died ten years later at his house in St. James's Street, Westminster, on 19 Dec. 1728. He was buried in Peterborough Cathedral, where a marble monument with a brief Latin inscription was erected to his memory (cf. Nichols, Lit. Anecd. ix. 319).

He married first, on 6 June 1693, Sarah, only daughter of Robert and Mary Carver of Bicester (she died on 2 March 1693–4, sine prole); secondly, on 6 June 1695, Sarah, sister of Richard Smith, M.D., of London and Aylesbury (she died in August 1702); thirdly, in 1703, Dorcas, daughter of Thomas Fuller, D.D., rector of Wellinghale, Essex, and widow of Clopton Havers, M.D. (she died 9 July 1743). His second wife bore him a son, White Kennett, rector of Burton-le-Coggles, Lincolnshire, and prebendary of Peterborough, Lincoln, and London, who died on 6 May 1740; and a daughter Sarah, who married John Newman of Shottesbrook, Berkshire, and died on 22 Feb. 1756 (Howard, Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, new ser. ii. 287). Hearne, writing on 26 April 1707, says that Kennett's ‘pre-