Lawton, Charlwood (DNB00)

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LAWTON, CHARLWOOD (1660–1721), friend of William Penn, son of Ralf Lawton, of Egham, Surrey, surgeon general in the army, was born in 1660. He entered as a fellow commoner at Wadham College, Oxford, 23 Aug. 1677. He matriculated on 7 Dec. 1677, but left the university without taking a degree. He was called to the bar from the Middle Temple in 1688. Lawton became acquainted with Penn at a chance meeting on a coach in the summer of 1686, and the two remained friends for life. He acted in 1700 as Penn's agent in London. He did not practise at the bar, but was intimate with many notable people of the time, including Somers, John Trenchard, whose pardon he procured by Penn's agency in 1686, and Lord-chief-justice Treby. For a long time he lived near Windsor, but at the time of his death he was described as 'of Northampton.' He died on 18 June 1721; he was married, and left a son Henry. Lawton designed to publish a volume of memoirs, and was said to have left a large mass of papers relating to the affairs of the time. One such document, dealing with the life of Penn for a short period after Lawton knew him, was printed in 1834, in vol. iii. of the 'Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.' He also wrote various pamphlets, including, 'A Letter concerning Civil Comprehension,' 1705; a second 'Letter ' on the same subject 1706; a letter formerly sent to Dr. Tillotson, and 'The Jacobite Principles Vindicated.' All of these were republished in the 'Somers Tracts.' Two letters addressed by Lawton to Bishop Kennett are in Lansdowne MS. 990, ff. 15, 83.

[Gardiner's Reg. of Wadham, p. 319; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. v. 596, 3rd ser. ix. 511; Hepworth Dixon's Life of Penn.]

W. A. J. A.