Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Boehm, Anthony William

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1312116Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 05 — Boehm, Anthony William1886Thomas Finlayson Henderson

BOEHM, ANTHONY WILLIAM (1673–1722), German chaplain at St. James's, was the son of the Rev. Anthony Boehm, minister of Oestorff, in the county of Pyrmont, Germany, and was born 1 June 1673. After courses of education at Lemgo and Hameln, he entered in 1693 the then newly founded university of Halle. In 1698 he was called to Arolsen, the seat of the Count of Waldeck, to educate the count's two daughters in the principles of Christianity; but, the liberality of his religious opinions having aroused the hostility of certain ecclesiastics, the count felt constrained, in opposition to his better judgment, to dispense with his services. Shortly afterwards he received an invitation to become chaplain to the Duchess-dowager of Coburg, but he finally resolved to respond to the request of some German families in London, who were desirous of obtaining German instruction for their children. He set out for London 25 Aug. 1701, and after spending some months in the strenuous study of English, he opened his school in February 1702. He met with fair success, but his office was by no means a lucrative one. It so happened, however, that on his way to England he had made the acquaintance of Henry William Ludolf, secretary to Prince George of Denmark, and when the prince, at the request of Queen Anne, resolved to introduce the common prayer book into his own chapel, Boehm, on the recommendation of the secretary, was appointed assistant chaplain to read the prayers, which the then chaplain found too hard for him. After the death of the prince the service was continued at the chapel as before, and on the accession of George I no alteration was made, 'so that,' in the words of his biographer, 'he continued his pious labours to his dying day, which, after three or four days illness, happened at Greenwich 27 May 1722, in the forty-ninth year of his age.' He was buried in Greenwich churchyard, where a monument was erected to his memory. Boehm was a very voluminous author. Besides a large number of works in German, many translations, and various editions of other authors, he published ‘Enchiridion Precum cum Introductione de natura Orationis,’ 1707, 2nd edition 1715: a volume of ‘Discourses and Tracts;’ ‘The Duty of the Reformation,’ 1718; ‘The Doctrine of Godly Sorrow,’ 1720; ‘Plain Directions for reading the Holy Bible,' 1708, 2nd edition 1721; ‘The First Principles of practical Christianity, in Questions and Answers, expressed in the very Words of Scripture,’ 1708, 2nd edition 1710. He also left a number of works in manuscript.

[The collected writings of Boehm were published at Altona in 1731–2 by the Rev. J. J. Rambach, professor of divinity at Halle, accompanied with a preface and memoirs. These memoirs, translated into English by John Christian Jacobi, appeared at London 1735; they contain a full list of his various publications and manuscripts. A condensation of the memoirs is given in Wilford's Memorials of Eminent persons.]

T. F. H.