Howard, Leonard (DNB00)

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HOWARD, LEONARD (1699?–1767), divine, born about 1699, was originally a clerk in the post office. In 1728 he published some absurd 'Verses on the Recovery of the Lord Townshend, humbly inscribed to … Sir Robert Walpole,' annexed to a poem on William III (Craftsman, 15 June 1728). He took orders, was M.A. probably of some Scottish university, and D.D. by 1745. In 1742 he was curate of the parishes of St. John, Southwark, and St. Botolph, Aldersgate, and chaplain to the Prince of Wales. Three years later he had become vicar of either Bishops or South Tawton, Devonshire, and lecturer of St. Magnus, London Bridge, and of St. James, Garlick Hythe. On 18 July 1749 he was presented by the crown to the rectory of St. George the Martyr, Southwark, which he held with the lectureships of St. Magnus and of St. Margaret, Fish Street. He subsequently was appointed chaplain to the Princess Dowager of Wales. He died on 21 Dec. 1767, aged 68 (Gent. Mag. 1767, p. 611), and was buried underneath the communion-table in St. George's Church (Manning and Bray, Surrey, iii. 641). Howard was a popular preacher, a pleasant companion, and, though hardly a model pastor, a favourite with his parishioners (ib. iii. 646). His improvidence frequently led to his imprisonment in the King's Bench, where he was dubbed poet laureate, and sometimes obtained money as subscriptions to books which he pretended to have in hand.

Howard's best known work is 'A Collection of Letters from the original Manuscripts of many Princes, great Personages and Statesmen. Together with some curious and scarce Tracts and Pieces of Antiquity,' 4to, London, 1753. At the back of the last page is a list of the contents of a second volume, which was announced to be in preparation, but did not appear. This incongruous and ill-arranged compilation was formed with the object of supplying the place of a promised work of a similar kind, the materials for which had been destroyed by fire. Another edition, in two volumes,' to which are added Memoirs of the unfortunate Prince Anthony the First of Portugal, and the Oeconomy of High-Life,' 4to, London, 1756, is fairly well arranged. Many of the articles are of the highest interest (cf. notice in Retrospective Review, new ser. i. 1-16). Besides several sermons, including two preached at assizes, and one delivered before the House of Commons on 'Restoration Day,' 29 May 1753, Howard also published: 1. 'The Newest Manual of Private Devotions. In three parts,' 12mo, London, 1745 (1753, 1760). 2. 'The Royal Bible; or a complete Body of Christian Divinity: containing the Holy Scriptures at large, and a full … explanation of all the difficult texts … together with critical notes and observations on the whole,' fol., London, 1761. 3. 'The Book of Common Prayer … illustrated and explained by a full … paraphrase,' 4to, London, 1761. Both 'Bible' and 'Prayer Book' are disfigured by bad plates. 4. 'Miscellaneous Pieces in prose and verse … to which are added The Letters, &c. of … Henry Hatsell, Esq., deceased; and several Tracts, Poems, &c. of some eminent personages of wit and humour,' 4to, London, 1765. Prefixed is a miserable portrait of Howard. He also 'revised and corrected' a Layman's 'New Companion for the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England,' 8vo, London, 1761. Howard's literary thefts exposed him to much obloquy, to which he refers in the prefaces to his 'Newest Manual' and 'Collection of Letters.'

[Authorities as above.]

G. G.