Station Five: Wilkins Donations (Politics and Religion)

Henry Wilkinson

Conciones tres apud academicos Oxonii nuper habitae, quibus subjungitur brevis tractatus de jure divino diei Dominici (1654)

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 Henry Wilkinson, Conciones tres apud academicos Oxonii nuper habitae

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The final book is a small item by the Oxonian Henry Wilkinson (1616/17-1690). Wilkinson was a notable Presbyterian preacher, fellow and vice-president of Magdalen College, and Principal of the adjoining Magdalen Hall, where John Wilkins had studied in the late 1620s and early '30s. 'Dean Harry' was a prominent figure in Oxford, and the Conciones tres was his first appearance in print. His religious complexion may be divined from one of the conclusions to his essay in this publication on keeping the Sabbath:

If that day be entirely consecrated to God, and to the works of God, then ought we in no way to be busying ourselves with our own affairs, and far hence ought we banish sportive games, idle ramblings in the fields, vain entertainments, and all that kind of laxity intended for invigorating the body, to be expelled far off from Christian confine. (p. 139, in Latin)

Wilkinson himself distributed copies of this little book as gifts around Oxford: a Bodleian copy (8o B 399 Linc.), for instance, was presented to his friend Thomas Barlow, Bodley's Librarian. Later, in 1661, Wilkinson published a catalogue of Magdalen Hall's library, which was in fact Wilkinson's own library, presented to his society in an effort to bring it into intellectual parity with the colleges. This was the first published catalogue of any college or hall library, and by it Wilkinson intended to elicit more donations. A benefactors' register was also commenced, which survives today in Hertford College, where many of Magdalen Hall's original books are too.