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The Rev. THOMAS WATSON was a native of Lauder, in the county of Berwick, and was born in the year 1743. His parents, William and Ann Watson, were in humble circumstances; but wisely availing themselves of the advantages of education which North Britain offers to every class of society, they brought up a family of five sons, in a highly respectable manner. At a proper age, Thomas their second son, and the subject of this memoir, entered the University of Edinburgh, as a student for the Ministry, intending most probably to exercise his ministry among the Seceders, to which body his parents belonged. Here he was introduced to the notice of Dr. Robert Henry, with whose friendship he was afterwards honoured, and with whom he occasionally corresponded, till the year 1785, when the health of that learned and excellent historian began to decline.
Having finished bis preparatory studies at Edinburgh, Mr. W. engaged, as is usual with young candidates for the ministry in Scotland, as a private Tutor: first in the family of Mr. Kerr, and afterwards in that of Mr. Wajt. In this latter situation he formed an acquaintance, highly interesting
* John, the eldest son, was killed by a fall from his horse on returning from the funeral of a friend, leaving an only child, a son, now living at Lauder, and carrying on business there as a general dealer. Till lately he was one of the Bailies of his native place. James, the third son, died suddenly in bis bed about two years ago, leaving several children and grand-children engaged in various laborious occupations. The fourth son, Richard, was Master of a vessel in the Coasting Trade, and died in the West Indies about thirty years ago, when rising into opulence. Andrew, the fifth son was likewise bred to the sea ; and having been pressed during the American war, was killed on board one of the ships of Admiral Rodney's fleet in the engagement with Compte D'Estaing.
and useful to him, with the Rev. G. Ridpath, brother of Mrs. Wait, and the well known author of " The Border History of England and Scotland.” With him also be carried on an occasional correspondence during several years.
In the year 1769 the English Presbyterian Congregation at Whitby,* being destitute of a Minister in consequence of the sudden death of the Rev. Wm. Wood, M.D, Mr. Hendry of Darlington, probably a hearer of Dr. Wood, previously to his removal from that place to Whitby, at the suggestion of Dr. R. Henry, recommended Mr. Watson as his successor. The talents of the candidate, supported by such a recommendation, could not fail to secure a favourable result; and Mr.
* This congregation appears to have been first formed about the year 1695, and to have assembled, probably in a private house, in Bridge Street. In 1704 the congregation removed to Staithside, and in 1718 erected a place of worship on a small plot of ground which they purchased in Flowergate. The deed of trust executed on that occasion describes the congregation as “ Protestant Dissenters called Presbyterian, frequenting and assembling in the Meeting House for the worship of God ; and this must undoubtedly be considered as a recognition of the title belonging to it from its original formation. No mode of church government is prescribed, nor assent to any articles of faith on the part either of the Ministers or the Members of the church required.
Their first Minister was a Mr. Brooks, wbo is said to have died in 1699, and to have been succeeded by Mr. Worthington, on whose re. moval to Durham in 1702, Mr Duckinfield became the Minister. He conformed and was succeeded in 1704 by Mr. Thompson, who removed to Nottingham in 1715, it is said, and was succeeded by the Rev. John Reddid. Ofthe three Ministers whose names we have inserted between those of Mr. Brooks and Mr. Reddid, nothing is recorded in the registerbook belonging to the chapel; nor is there indeed an entry of any kind between the years 1695 and 1713. There is however a slip of paper attached to the book, containing the record of five baptisms and one marriage, in the congregation at Pickering, during the year 1706, in the hand writiog of Mr. Reddid, accompanied with this remark, “ The Congregation at Pickering having no Register, I shall here set down of my own Memorandum matters as they occur.” And in bis hand writing also are the Registers in the book for the years 1713 and 1714, as well as of those which follow. Was Mr. Reddid then Minister of Whithy and Pickering jointly in the year 1706? or is this paper a fragment of a more extensive private register kept by him while officiating at the latter place? It seems probable however from the circumstance of the entries in the register-book at Whitby so early as 1713, being written by him, that his settling at Whitby did not take place later than that year! He died in the year 1729, and the following entry in the Chapel-Register bears an honourable testimony to his liberality and his consistency as a Protestant Dissenter. “ Memoran
April 26th, 1729. Died the Rev. John Reddid, pastor of this con
Watson being appointed Minister, was ordained at Newcastle by the Rev. J. Lowthion, at that time the highly respectable Minister to the English Presbyterian Congregation assembling in Hanover Square Chapel. This situation he continued to occupy till the day of his death, and with very few interruptions regularly to discharge its important duties, during the uncommonly long period of 56 years; surviving, as it may be readily supposed, all whom he found members of the congregation when be entered upon his charge. This connexion was as productive of mutual satisfaction, as it was extended. They who chose him as their Minister loved hiin as their faithful instructor, and their kind and judicious friend ; and they who have been born and have grown up under bis ministry, revered him while living as a father, and now cherish his memory with filial esteem and reverence.
gregation, aged 52 years. And although he was a man of a weakly frame, yet went through various difficulties with a cheerful and resigned temper of mind; as was remarkably shown when in the year 1718 he was struck off the fund in London for his non-compliance with those who would have imposed on his judgment; rather chusing to follow the dictates of his conscience than the impositions of man. As he lived universally beloved, so he died regretted by all.” The fact alluded to in this memorandum was most probably Mr. Reddid's refusal to comply. with the wishes, and to follow the example of those Ministers who, at a meeting held at Salter's Hall, March 3d, 1718—19, in consequence of the disputes relating to the Trinity then existing at Exeter, agreed to sign as a declaration of their faith, the first of the thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, and the answers to the fifth and sixth questions in the Assemblies Catechism.
The Rev. Isaac Barker succeeded Mr. Reddid, and died at the beginning of the year 1756. The register-book contains the following tribute to his memory, affixed by the same hand that had recorded tho virtues of his predecessor, “ Memorandum. The Rev. Isaac Barker died Jan. 2d, 1756. His amiable character gained him the esteem of all ranks and denominations; and to do justice to his memory this is recorded, that his example was a fit pattern for all to follow who profess christianity.” The Rev. W. Lee, the next Minister, removed to Sunderland in the year 1754, and was succeeded by the Rev. Williain Wood, M.D. son of the Rev. Aaron Wood, formerly Minister at Etat in Northumberland, and descended from a good family in Staffordshire. Dr. Wood was a man of great learning and piety, and previously to his settling at Whitby, had been, many years, Minister at Darlington. He practised as a physician, and died very suddenly at the house of a patient whom he was visiting. The patient was a lady in the last stage of a consumption. He was sitting by the side of her bed, when he suddenly fell upon it, and the lady having a pen-knise at hand, cut his wrist-bands, saying, she would perform that last sad oslice for so goud