# Austin, John (1613-1669) (DNB00)

 Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 02 Austin, John (1613-1669) by Thompson Cooper
 1904 Errata appended.

AUSTIN, JOHN (1613–1669), a catholic writer under the pseudonym of William Birchley, was born in 1613 at Walpole in Norfolk, and studied under Mr. Trevillian in the grammar school of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, for a year and a half before entering the university of Cambridge, where he was admitted a pensioner of St. John's College under Mr. Clerke. He remained at St. John's till about 1640, when, having embraced the catholic religion, he found it necessary to quit the university. He entered as a student at Lincoln's Inn, and there is reason to believe that he distinguished himself as a lawyer; but the turbulence of the times and his religious belief prevented him from continuing the practice of his profession as a means of livelihood. During the civil war he resided for some time as tutor in the family of Walter Fowler, Esq., of St. Thomas in Staffordshire. About 1650 he returned to London. In a postscript to one of his works, the second part of the 'Christian Moderator' (1652), Austin alludes to a mournful event, by which he was unexpectedly called into the country; and as, after this date, he was enabled to retire to private lodgings in the metropolis, it has been inferred that he had acquired some property by the death of a relative. His death occurred in Bow Street, Covent Garden, in the summer of 1669, and he was buried in the parish church of St. Paul.

The Rev. John Sergeant, in the epistle dedicatory to the second edition of Austin's 'Devotions' (Rouen, 1672), says of his deceased friend the author: 'He was a Gentleman, so far from retirement, that his Chamber was generally open to Multitudes, who either lov'd his friendly Affability, or needed his useful Advice or Charitable Assistance. His Conversation and outward behaviour were exceedingly cheerful and pleasant. He appear'd Severe in nothing but sincere Honesty, in nothing Singular but perfect Innocence consistent with so much Freedom. The Great Business of his Life, that concern'd Heaven, was transacted in the inmost recess of his Soul, and never disclos'd it self without reluctancy and constraint. He was a Traveller, and brought home from Foreign Countries all that could conduce to a Manly becomingness and wise carriage, leaving the Extravagancies and follies where he found them. He was well skill'd in the best of our European Languages, and an absolute Master of our own.' And Dodd (Church History, iii. 257) says: 'Mr. Austin was a gentleman of singular parts and accomplishments, and so great a master of the English tongue that his stile still continues to be a pattern for politeness. His time was wholly spent in books and learned conversation; having the advantage of several ingenious persons' familiarity, who made a kind of Junto in the way of learning — viz., Mr. Thomas Blount, Mr. Blackloe, Francis St. Clare [Christopher Davenport], Mr. John Serjeant, Mr. Belson, Mr. Keightley, &c., all men of great parts and erudition, who were assistants to one another in their writings.'

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