Seddon, John (1719-1769) (DNB00)

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SEDDON, JOHN (1719–1769), unitarian divine, son of Peter Seddon (1689–1731), dissenting minister at Penrith, Cumberland (1717–19), and Cockey Moor in the parish of Middleton, Lancashire (1719–31), was born in 1719 at Lomax Fold, Little Lever, in the parish of Bolton, Lancashire. On his father's death, Seddon's education was undertaken by the congregation of Cross Street, Manchester; he was at Stand grammar school under William Walker; at the Kendal Academy (entered 1733) under Caleb Rotheram, D.D. [q. v.]; and at Glasgow University, where he matriculated in 1739, and is said to have graduated M.A., but of this there is no record. On leaving Glasgow he became assistant at Cross Street to Joseph Mottershead [q. v.], and was ordained on 22 Oct. 1742. He was a preacher of facility and power, and pursued a line of singular independence in theology. Priestley, when at Warrington (1761–8), speaks of Seddon as ‘the only Socinian in the neighbourhood,’ adding, ‘we all won- dered at him.’ He embodied his views in a series of six sermons, of which the first was preached on 27 May 1761. A contemporary account describes the excitement produced by his utterances; his outspokenness won for him increased respect, though he made few converts. The sermons were not published till 1793, when they were out of date, but they are noteworthy for their time as anticipating the historical argument of Priestley. Seddon lived on good terms with neighbouring clergy, especially with John Clayton (1709–1773) [q. v.], the Jacobite fellow of Manchester collegiate church. He was beloved for the amiability of his temper and his charity to the poor. After a long illness he died on 22 Nov. 1769, and was buried in Cross Street Chapel. He married, in 1743, Mottershead's eldest daughter, Elizabeth (d. 1765), and left a son, Mottershead Seddon. His library was sold on 26 Feb. 1770. He edited, with preface, ‘The Sovereignty of the Divine Administration,’ &c., 1766, 8vo, by Thomas Dixon (1721–1754) [see under Dixon, Thomas, M.D.]. His ‘Discourses on the Person of Christ,’ Warrington, 1793, 8vo, were edited with ‘An Account of the Author,’ by Ralph Harrison [q. v.], at the suggestion of Joshua Toulmin, D.D. [q. v.]

[Harrison's ‘Account,’ 1793; Toulmin's Memoirs of Samuel Bourn, 1808, p. 253; Monthly Repository, 1810 p. 322, 1818 p. 430; Rutt's Memoirs of Priestley, 1832, i. 59; Baker's Memorials of a Dissenting Chapel, 1884, pp. 30 sq. 143; Nightingale's Lancashire Nonconformity (1893), v. 98 sq.; Cross Street Chapel Bicentenary, 1894, p. 49; extract from manuscript minutes of the Lancashire and Cheshire Widows' Fund (for date of birth), per the Rev. P. M. Higginson; extract from Glasgow matriculation register, per W. Innes Addison, Esq.]

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