« Atrium Atterbury, Francis Atterbury, William Wallace »

Atterbury, Francis

ATTERBURY, FRANCIS: English Jacobite bishop; b. at Milton or Middleton Keynes (about 45 m. n.w. of London), Buckinghamshire, England, March 6, 1662; d. at Paris Feb. 22, 1732. He studied at Christ Church, Oxford, and received holy orders about 1687. His brilliant success as a controversialist, and his powerful eloquence in the pulpit, soon attracted attention; he was made chaplain to William and Mary in 1692, dean of Carlisle in 1704, dean of Christ Church in 1711, and bishop of Rochester and dean of Westminster in 1713. He was a Tory in politics, and in ecclesiastical affairs his sympathies were with the High-churchmen. The succession of George I at the death of Queen Anne was unfavorable to his ambition, and, as a Tory; being coldly received by the new king, he took his place in the foremost ranks of the opposition, refused in 1715 to sign the paper in which the bishops declared their attachment to the House of Brunswick, and began in 1717 to correspond directly with the Pretender, and carried on his intrigues so skilfully that his most intimate friends did not suspect him. But in 1722 his guilt was manifested; he was committed to the Tower, and by an act of Parliament was banished for life in March, 1723, and all British subjects were forbidden to hold communication with him except by the royal permission. He went to the continent, and lived most of the time in Paris, in more or less constant correspondence with the Pretender, for whose sake he had suffered so much. The health and the death of a devoted daughter added to his afflictions. Atterbury was a man of restless and pugnacious disposition, with many striking qualities, and one of the foremost preachers and orators of his time. He had little learning, however, his talents were superficial, and his judgment was rash. In private life he is said to have been winning and amiable, and he counted among his friends most of the literary men of the day as well as many influential personages. He had much popular sympathy in his banishment. At his death his body was carried 358to England and buried privately in Westminster Abbey.

The most important of Atterbury’s controversial writings were: An Answer to Some Considerations on the Spirit of Martin Luther and the Original of the Reformation (Oxford, 1687), in reply to an attack upon the Reformation by Obadiah Walker; An Examination of Dr. Bentley’s Dissertations on the Epistles of Phalaris and the Fables of Æsop (London, 1698); Rights and Privileges of an English Convocation Stated and Vindicated (1700). Selections from his sermons have been many times printed and a collected edition in four volumes appeared in London, 1723–37. His Epistolary Correspondence, Visitation Charges, Speeches, and Miscellanies were edited by J. Nichols (5 vols., London, 1783–90).

Bibliography: The standard life is by T. Stackhouse, Memoirs of the Life, Character, Conduct, and Writings of Francis Atterbury, London, 1727; his biography by Macaulay is in the Encyclopedia Britannica; consult also F. Williams , Memoirs and Correspondence of Francis Atterbury, 2 vols.. London, 1869; DNB, ii, 233–238; W. H. Hutton, English Church (1625–1714), pp. 273, 278, 280. London, 1903.

« Atrium Atterbury, Francis Atterbury, William Wallace »
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