Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Howe, Charles

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HOWE, CHARLES (1661–1742), author of ‘Devout Meditations,’ born in Gloucestershire in 1661, was third son of John Grubham Howe of Langar, Nottinghamshire. John Grubham Howe [q. v.] was his brother. In youth Howe spent much time at Charles II's court. About 1686 he is said to have gone abroad with a near relative who had been appointed ambassador by James II. It is stated that the ambassador (whose name is not given) died, and that Howe successfully managed the business of the embassy, but declined to accept the office permanently. On returning to England he married Elianor, only daughter and heiress of Sir William Pargiter, knt., of Greatworth, Northamptonshire, and widow of Sir Henry Dering, knt. By her he had three sons and three daughters, all of whom, with the exception of Leonora Maria, who became the wife of Peter Bathurst of Clarendon Park, Wiltshire, predeceased their mother. She died on 25 July 1696, and was buried in Greatworth Church, where an inscription, composed by her husband, remains. After his wife's death in 1696, Howe lived in seclusion in the country, chiefly devoting himself to religious meditation. He died on 17 Feb. 1742, and was buried in the same vault with his wife and children in Greatworth Church. A monument there was erected to his memory by his granddaughter, Leonora Bathurst.

Howe's well-known work, ‘Devout Meditations; or a Collection of Thoughts upon Religious and Philosophical Subjects,’ was written for his own use. Dr. Edward Young, author of 'Night Thoughts,' highly commended it as a remarkable proof ‘of a sound head and sincere heart.’ It was first published, posthumously, as ‘by a Person of Honour,’ in 1751, together with Young's commendations. The author's name was prefixed to the second edition, 1752. Other editions are dated Dublin, 1754, revised by George MacAulay; 3rd edit., London, 1761; 4th edit., edited by MacAulay, 1772; and London, 1824. The work is included in John Wesley's ‘Christian Library,’ 1819-27, vol. xxvi., and in Bishop Jebb's ‘Piety without Asceticism,’ 1837, pp. 255-404.

[Baker's Northamptonshire, i. 508-11; Bridges's Northamptonshire, ed. Whalley, i. 124-7, 184; 202; Collins's Peerage, ed. Brydges, viii. 139; Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, ii. 469-71, 555-7; Gent. Mag. 1776, p. 249.]

B. H. B.