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OF THE LATE
REV. WILLIAM EDWARD MILLER,
BY JAMES DIXON.
HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND COMPANY, PATERNOSTER ROW;
AND JOHN MASON, CITY ROAD.
LOVE AND BARTON, TYPOG., MANCHESTER.
WILLIAM EDWARD MILLER was born in the beautiful town of Doncaster, June 1, 1766. His father, Dr. Edward Miller, was, in his sphere, a man of talent, literary taste, refined manners, and great eminence as a professor of music. He was the organist of the church at Doncaster for the long space of fifty years ; and his performances were much admired by the multitudes who were accustomed to flock to that gay and fashionable town, it is to be feared, much more as a gratification of taste, than as an incitement to the devout worship of Almighty God. He succeeded in effecting a reformation in church music, by adopting Tate and Brady's version of the Psalms, and composing tunes, suited to the psalmody, for every Sunday in the year. This work obtained great celebrity in its time, and was of eminent service in a department of religious worship, which, though much neglected, stands intimately associ
ated with the best feelings and highest joys of all who “ worship God in spirit and in truth.” It is said, “ this book could boast of a greater number of subscribers than any one preceding it, with the exception of Pope's Homer."
In addition to his musical compositions, Dr. Miller wrote the History of Doncaster ; and his researches indicate a taste for the antique, a knowledge of the arts, an admiration of the beautiful, and a considerable amount of literary talent and research. The celebrity of his name, as a musician, composer, and man of letters, induced the University of Oxford to confer on him the honorary degree of doctor of music. Dr. Miller was not only eminently successful in his own personal pursuits, but was the means of drawing from obscurity, and developing the latent faculties, of that greatest of modern astronomers——the late Sir William Herschel This great philosopher was first known to Dr. Miller as a German musician, and perceiving those high qualities in his friend which were afterwards the admiration of the world, he took pains to place him in a position to pursue his favourite studies, and to gain the patronage of the wealthy.
The wife of Dr. Miller died when his children were young. This natural guardian of her family left five sons and daughters, of whom William Edward was the eldest, and he only ten years of age at the period of her death. We have no account of the education of the bereft children, but, from the habits of their father, there is no reason to suppose that religion would constitute an element of instruction. Three of these children were daughters, and successively died of consumption, about the age of twenty-one; the eldest