Martin, John (1741-1820) (DNB00)

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MARTIN, JOHN (1741–1820), baptist minister, son of John Martin (d. 1767), a publican and grazier, by his wife Mary, born King, was born at Spalding, Lincolnshire, on 15 March 1741. He was educated at Gosberton, and afterwards at Stamford, under Dr. Newark. Soon after his mother's death in 1756 he went as office-boy to an attorney at Holbeach, but developed religious melancholy, and in 1760 moved to London to sit under Dr. John Gill [q. v.] In 1761 he married a Miss Jessup, daughter of a farmer near Sleaford; she died in 1765. In 1763 he became convinced of ‘the duty of believers' baptism’ and published a pamphlet, suggested partly by his work in London as a watch-finisher, and entitled ‘Mechanicus and Flavens, or the Watch Spiritualised.’ Soon afterwards he was baptised by the Rev. Mr. Clark in a garden, Gamlingay, Bedfordshire, and joining the ministry of the particular baptists, was called successively to Kimbolton, Huntingdonshire, Sheepshed in Leicestershire, whence he did much village and itinerant preaching, and in 1773 to Grafton Street Chapel in London. His ministry proving successful, a new meeting-house was built in Keppel Street, near Bedford Square, in 1795. In 1798 Martin had offended his co-religionists by defending the Test and Corporation Acts, and in January 1798 he provoked widespread indignation among dissenters of all shades by declaring from the pulpit that should the French land in England many of them were quite capable of uniting to encourage the French (see ‘Letter to … Martin occasioned by his late … sermon,’ 14 Jan. 1798). A large secession from his chapel followed, and he was ejected from the communion of the particular baptists, but he continued to preach with unabated vigour to the remainder of his congregation until, in April 1814, he resigned his pulpit in consequence of a stroke of palsy. He died in London on 23 April 1820 (Gent. Mag. 1820, i. 475), and was buried in Bunhill Fields. Martin's chief writings are: 1. ‘The Christian's Peculiar Conflict,’ 1775. 2. ‘Familiar Dialogues between Amicus and Britannicus,’ 1776. 3. ‘On the End and Evidence of Adoption,’ 1776. 4. ‘The Conquest of Canaan … in a Series of Letters from a Father to his Son. Intended for the Amusement and Instruction of Youth,’ 1777, 12mo. 5. ‘The Counsel of Christ to Christians,’ 1779. 6. ‘Queries and Remarks on Human Liberty,’ 1783. 7. ‘A Translation of Marolles's Essay on Providence,’ 1790. 8. ‘A Speech on the Repeal of such parts of the Test and Corporation Acts as affect Conscientious Dissenters,’ 1790. 9. ‘Animal Magnetism Examined,’ 1790. 10. ‘A Letter to a Young Gentleman in Prison’ (under the pseudonym of ‘Eubulus’), 1791. 11. ‘A Review of some things pertaining to Civil Government,’ 1791. 12. ‘The Character of Christ’ (seventeen sermons), 1793. 13. ‘The Case of the Rev. John Sandys, in four Letters to Henry Keene, esq.,’ 1793. 14. ‘Some Account of the Life and Writings of the Rev. John Martin.’ An autobiography in the form of letters, dated from Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, March 1797. 15. ‘Letters on Nonconformity,’ 1800. Ivimey also credits him with a pamphlet on ‘The Murder of the French King’ (1793), which is not in the British Museum.

[Autobiography as above; Gent. Mag. 1797, ii. 1040; Ivimey's History of the Baptists, iv. 77–83, 342–50; Jones's Bunhill Memorials, pp. 164–71; Darling's Cycl. Bibliogr. p. 1989; m'Clintock and Strong's Cycl. of Biblical Lit. v. 824; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Literature; Reuss's Register of Living Authors, 1804, ii. 70; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors, 1816, p. 224.]

T. S.