Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 12.djvu/380
cules the Cartesian notion of an immaterial soul residing in the pineal gland. From a letter (published in the 'Gentleman a Magazine,' 1787, p. 100) it appears that Sir Hans Sloane corrected the proofs, and that in spite of Sloane's remonstrances Coward declined to conceal his opinions. Swift and other contemporaries frequently ridicule Coward in company with Toland, Collins, and other deists.
Coward published two poetical works, 'The Lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, an heroic poem' (1705), which seems to have disappeared; and 'Licentia Poetica discussed ... to which are added critical observations on . . . Homer, Horace, Virgil, Milton, Cowley, Dryden, &c. . . . ' (1709). Commendatory verses by Aaron Hill and John Gay are prefixed. It is a didactic performance in the taste of the day, with an apparatus of preface, notes, and political appendix. Coward left London about 1705, and in 1718 was residing at Ipswich, whence in 1722 he wrote to Sir Hans Sloane, offering to submit an epitaph upon the Duke of Marlborough to the duchess, who was said to have offered 500l. for such a performance. He was admitted a candidate of the College of Surgeons on 5 July 1695, and remained in that position till 1725, when the absence of his name from the lists proves that he must have been dead.
His medical works are : 1. 'De Fermento volatili nutritivo conjectura rationis,' &c. (1695)). 2. 'Alcali Vindicatium' (1698). 3. 'Remediorum Medicinalium Tabula' (1704). 4. 'Ophthalmoiatria,' &c. (1706).[Wood's Athenae Oxon. (Bliss). iv. 480; Biog. Brit.; An Historical View of the Controversy concerning an Intermediate State, pp. 174-82 (2nd ed. 1772); Munk's Coll. of Phys. i. 512; Gent. Mag. 1787, 100; Hearne's Collections (Oxford Hist. Soc. 1885). i. 248. 25, 3, 304.]
COWARD, WILLIAM (d. 1738), a London merchant, famous for his liberality to dissent, possessed large property, including lands and hereditaments in Jamaica. Little is known of his early life, but towards the close of his days his charitable gifts brought him into notice. At that time he lived in retirement at Walthamstow, a favourite retreat for wealthy London nonconformists, where he purchased a fine house, and spent much time and money in beautifying its gardens. His household arrangements were very strict, the doors being rigidly closed against visitors at eight o'clock in the evening, and mention of his eccentricities is frequently made by the ministers who partook of his hospitality. He established a meeting-house at Walthamstow, and selected Hugh Farmer as its first minister. A course of lectures ‘On the most important Doctrines of the Gospel’ was instituted by him in 1730 in the church of Paved Alley, Lime Street, where twenty-six in all, afterwards published in two volumes, were delivered. A second set was established by him at Little St. Helen's in 1726, and a third course at Bury Street, St. Mary-Axe, in 1733, the last set being printed in 1735. In the spring of 1734 he contemplated founding a college at Walthamstow for the education of children of dissenters for the ministry, and the post of professor of divinity was offered to Doddridge, but the scheme came to nothing, although Coward continued, while alive, to assist the poorer ministers and to aid in the teaching of their children. He died at Walthamstow on 28 April 1738, aged ninety, when his property was valued in the paper at 150,000l., and the bulk was said to have been left in charity. His arbitrary character is described in a letter from the Rev. Hugh Farmer, printed in Doddridge's Correspondence, iii. 251–2, and another of the same divine's correspondents (ib. iii. 315) went so far as to say that the old man had ‘a bee in his bonnet.’ It was this fiery disposition that caused a fierce quarrel between Coward and the hotheaded divine, Thomas Bradbury [q. v.] Coward's will is dated 25 Nov. 1735, and full credit for the disposition of his property may fairly be assigned to the donor. With the exception of his wife, no relatives are mentioned as such; but the similarity of name and the largeness of the bequest would lead us to infer that Mr. William Coward of Saddlers' Hall in Cheapside, to whom was bequeathed the main portion of the ‘lands and hereditaments whatsoever lying in the island of Jamaica,’ and Mary Coward, daughter of this William Coward, to whom 500l. was left, were nearly connected with him. Considerable property was left in trust ‘for the education and training up of young men … between 15 and 22, in order to qualify them for the ministry of the gospel among the protestant dissenters;’ and the four trustees, of whom Dr. Watts and the Rev. Daniel Neal were the best known, were enjoined to take care that the students should be instructed according to ‘the assembly's catechism, and in that method of church discipline which is practised by the congregational churches.’ For many years two educational institutions, one in Wellclose Square, and the other, first at Northampton and then at Daventry, were almost entirely maintained from the income of the trusts; but in 1785 pecuniary necessities brought about the withdrawal of the grant