Chapman, John (1704-1784) (DNB00)

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CHAPMAN, JOHN (1704–1784), divine, son of the Rev. William Chapman, curate of Wareham, Dorsetshire, then rector of Strathfieldsay, Hampshire, was born in 1704, probably at the latter place. He was educated at Eton, and elected to King's College, Cambridge, where he became A.B. 1727, and A.M. 1731. While tutor of his college, Pratt (first Lord Camden), Jacob Bryant, and, for a short time, Horace Walpole were amongst his pupils. He became chaplain to Archbishop Potter, and was made, in 1739, rector of Alderton, with the chapel of Smeeth, also rector of Salt wood in 1741, but resigned Saltwood in 1744 to become rector of Mersham, Kent. He was afterwards created archdeacon of Sudbury and treasurer of Chichester, and honoured by a D.D. degree at Oxford. In 1742-3 he was a candidate for the provostship of King's College, Cambridge, but Dr. William George won the office by a small majority.

His first work was 'The Objection of a late anonymous writer [see Collins, Anthony] against the Book of Daniel considered,' Camb. 1728. This was followed by 'Remarks on Dr. Middleton's celebrated Letter to Dr. Waterland,' Lond. 1738, 8vo, of which several later editions appeared. He next published 'Eusebius, or the True Christian's Defence,' directed against Morgan's 'Moral Philosopher,' and Tindal's 'Christianity as old as the Creation,' in 2 vols. Lond. 8vo (1739 and 1741). Warburton, in his letter to Doddridge, criticises its amusing mistakes, and says 'it was written' by order of the A. B. C (Arch-Bishop of Canterbury). In his essay 'De Ætate Ciceronia Libr. de Legibus,' Camb. 1741, 8vo, written in elegant Latin, and addressed to Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Tunstall, then public orator of the university, and published with his Latin epistle to Middleton, Chapman proved for the first time that Cicero had published two editions of his 'Academica.' In 1744 his letter 'On the ancient numeral characters of the Roman Legions,' was added to Tunstall's 'Observations on Epistles of Cicero and Brutus,' Lond. 8vo, in confutation of Middleton's notion that there were legions of the same number in different parts of the empire. In 1742 he published 'Miscellaneous Tracts relating to Antiquity,' in five parts, Lond. 8vo. In 1745 he assisted Zachary Pearce in his edition of 'Cicero de Officiis.' In 1747 he prefixed anonymously in Latin to Mr. Mounteney's edition of Demosthenes 'Observationes in Commentarios vulgò Ulpianeos,' and a map of ancient Greece to illustrate Demosthenes. Other editions of this appeared in 1791, 1811, and 1820.

As executor and surviving trustee of Archbishop Potter, Chapman presented himself to the precentorship of Lincoln (an option, or archbishop's gift). A suit was thereupon brought in chancery by Dr. Wm. Richardson. In 1760 Lord-keeper Henley made a decree in his favour, but tne House of Lords reversed the decision. Burn states the case in 'Ecclesiastical Law,' vol. i., but promised Chapman to modify the statement m a later edition. Hurd censures Chapman in his correspondence with Warburton; and Chapman published his own statement, 'His Case against Dr. Richardson,' &c., Lond. 1760, fol., which was not answered. His other works are 'Phlegm examined,' and 'Phlegon reexamined,' both Lond. 1739, 8vo, two tracts relating to the testimonies of Phlegon in answer to Dr. Sykes on the darkness at the crucifixion; 'Forty-five Sermons of J. C. and W. Berriman,' Lond. 1746, 8vo; 'Charge to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry .... Popery the true Bane of Letters,' Lond. 1746, 4to, which was violently attacked by Middleton; 'The Jesuit Cabal further opened,' Lond. 1747, 4to; 'Discovery of the Miraculous Powers of the Christian Church,' Lond. 1747, 4to; 'Concio ad Synodum .... Prov. Cant.,' Lond. 1748, 8vo; 'Ends and Uses of Charity Schools,' Lond. 1762, 4to; and 'Miraculous Powers of Primitive Christians,' and 1762, 4to; also single sermons in 1739, 1743, 1748, and 1762.

Chapman died at Mersham, 14 Oct. 1784, and was buried in the chancel. His library was sold by Leigh & Sotheby, 4-14 April 1786.

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. i. 467, ii. 168. 171, 192, V. 158, viii. 681; Nichols's Hist. of Lit. ii. 814. vi. 477, iii. 140; Leland's Deistical Writers, 1757; Letters from a late eminent Prelate, ed. 1809; Harwood's Alumni Etonenses, p. 312; Hutchinson's Dorsetshire. 2nd ed. 1. 65; Bibl. Top. Brit. 199; Hasted's Kent, iii. 290; Brown's Cases of Appeals to Parliament, v. 400; Burn's Ecclesiastical Law, under 'Bishops' and 'Options,' vol. i.; Chapman's Works.]

J. W.-G.