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office at Gloucester, and to bring back Dr Clarke's answers.
When Mr Butler's name was discovered to the Doctor, the candour, modesty, and good sense, with which he had written, immediately procured him the friendship of that eminent and excellent man. Our young student was not, however, during his continuance at Tewkesbury, solely employed in metaphysical speculations and inquiries. Another subject of his serious consideration was, the propriety of his becoming a dissenting minister. Accordingly, he entered into an examination of the principles of non-conformity; the result of which was, such a dissatisfaction with them, as determined him to conform to the established church. This intention was, at first, disagreeable to his father, who endeavoured to divert him from his
purpose ; and, with that view, called in the assistance of some eminent presbyterian divines ; but finding his son's resolution to be fixed, he at length suffered him to be removed to Oxford, where he was admitted a commoner of Oriel-college, on the 17th March 1714. At what time he took orders doth not appear, nor who the bishop was by whom he was ordained; but it is certain that he entered into the church soon after his admission at Oxford, if it be true, as is asserted, that he sometimes assist
ed Mr Edward Talbot in the divine service, at his living of Hendred, near Wantage. With this gentleman, who was the second son of Dr William Talbot, successively bishop of Oxford, Salisbury, and Durham, Mr Butler formed an intimate friendship at Oriel-college ; which friendship laid the foundation of all his subsequent preferments, and procured for him a very honourable situation, when he was only twenty-six years of age. For it was in 1718 that, at the recommendation of Mr Talbot, in conjunction with that of Dr Clarke, he was appointed by Sir Joseph Jekyll to be preacher at the Rolls. This was three years before he had taken any degree at the University, where he did not go out bachelor of law till the 10th June 1721, which, however, was as soon as that degree could suitably be conferred upon him. Mr Butler continued at the Rolls till 1726 ; in the beginning of which year he published, in one volume octavo, “ Fifteen Sermons preached at that Chapel.” In the meanwhile, by the patronage of Dr Talbot, bishop of Durham, to whose notice he had been recommended (together with Mr Benson and Mr Secker) by Mr Edward Talbot, on his death-bed, our author had been presented first to the rectory of Haughton, near Darlington, and afterwards to that of Stanhope,
in the same diocese. The benefice of Haughton was given to him in 1722, and that of Stanhope in 1725. At Haughton there was a necessity for rebuilding a great part of the parsonage-house, and Mr Butler had neither money nor talents for that work. Mr Secker, therefore, who had always the interest of his friends at heart, and acquired a very considerable influence with Bishop Talbot, persuaded that prelate to give Mr Butler, in exchange for Haughton, the rectory of Stanhope, which was not only free from any such incumbrance, but was likewise of much superior value, being indeed one of the richest parsonages in England. Whilst our author continued preacher at the Rolls-Chapel, he divided his time between his duty in town and country; but when he quitted the Rolls, he resided, during seven years, wholly at Stanhope, in the conscientious discharge of every obligation appertaining to a good parish priest. This retirement, however, was too solitary for his disposition, which had in it a natural cast of gloominess
. And though his recluse hours were by no means lost, either to private improvement or public utility, yet he felt at times, very painfully, the want of that select society of friends to which he had been accustomed, and which could inspire him with the greatest cheerfulness. Mr
Secker, therefore, who knew this, was extremely anxious to draw him out into a more active and conspicuous scene, and omitted no opportunity of expressing this desire to such as he thought capable of promoting it. Having himself been appointed king's chaplain in 1732, he took occasion, in a conversation which he had the honour of holding with Queen Caroline, to mention to her his friend Mr Butler. The queen said she thought he had been dead. Mr Secker assured her he was not. Yet her Majesty afterwards asked Archbishop Blackburn if he was not dead; his answer was, · No, madam ; but he is buried.” Mr Secker continuing his purpose of endeavouring to bring his friend out of his retirement, found means, upon Mr Charles Talbot's being made lord-chancellor, to have Mr Butler recommended to him for his chaplain. His lordship accepted, and sent for him; and this promotion calling him to town, he took Oxford in his way, and was admitted there to the degree of doctor of law, on the 8th December 1733. The lord-chancellor, who gave him also a prebend in the church of Rochester, had consented that he should reside at his parish of Stanhope one half of the year.
Dr Butler being thus brought back into the world, his merit and his talents soon introduced
him to particular notice, and paved the way for his rising to those high dignities which he afterwards enjoyed. In 1736 he was appointed clerk of the closet to queen Caroline ; and, in the same year, he presented to her Majesty a copy of his excellent treatise, entitled, “ The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature.” His attendance upon his royal mistress, by her especial command, was from seven to nine in the evening every day; and though this particular relation to that excellent and learned queen was soon determined by her death in 1737, yet he had been so effectually recommended by her, as well as by the late Lord-chancellor Talbot, to his Majesty's favour, that in the next year he was raised to the highest order of the Church, by a nomination to the bishopric of Bristol; to which see he was consecrated on the third of December 1738. King George II. not being satisfied with this proof of his regard to Dr Butler, promoted him, in 1740, to the deanery of St Paul's, London ; into which he was installed on the 24th of May in that year. Finding the demands of this dignity to be incompatable with his parish duty at Stanhope, he immediately resigned that rich benefice. Besides our prelate's unremitted attention to his peculiar obligations, he was called