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John Wilkins
Home > Mezzofanti > Eminent linguists > British and Irish linguists > Wilkins

Early in the same century was born John Wilkins, another linguist of some pretensions. Perhaps, however, he is better known by the efforts which he made to recommend that ideal project for a Universal Language which has occupied the thoughts of 80 many learned enthusiasts since his time, than by his own positive and practical attainments; although he published a Collection of Pater Nosters which possesses no inconsiderable philological merit. He was bom in 1614, at Fawsley, in Northamptonshire ; and at the early age of thirteen, he was admitted a scholar of Magdalen College, Oxford, where he took his degree in 163-1. In the contest between the Crown and the Parliament, Wilkins became a warm partisan of the latter. He was named Warden of Wadham College, Oxford, by the parliamentary commission in 1648. Some years later, in 1656, he married Robina, sister of the Protector, and widow of Peter French; the Protector having granted him a dispensation from the statute which requires celibacy, as one of the conditions of the tenure of his Wardenship. In 1659, Richard Cromwell promoted him to the Mastership of Trinity College, Cambridge; from which, however, he was dispossessed at the Restoration. But his reputation for scholarship, seemingly through the influence of Buckingham' outweighed bis political demerits ; and he was named successively Dean of Ripon and Bishop of Chester, in which latter dignity he died in 1670.

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