Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Malham, John

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MALHAM, JOHN (1747–1821), miscellaneous writer, born in Craven, Yorkshire, in 1747, was educated at the grammar school there. In 1768 he conducted a school, and corresponded on mathematical subjects in the ‘Leeds Mercury;’ but soon after entering into holy orders, he served a curacy in Northamptonshire. In 1781 he resumed the office of schoolmaster; and in September 1790 was residing at the Square, Plymouth Dock, in the capacity of ‘teacher of navigation and the classics.’ In 1792 he vainly petitioned John Pitt, second earl of Chatham, then first lord of the admiralty, for a naval chaplaincy. About 1798 he settled at Salisbury, where, in addition to his duties as ordinary of the county gaol, he became a corrector of the press. In the summer the Bishop of Salisbury (Douglas), in a charge to his clergy, gave great offence to the dissenters by his strictures on itinerant preaching. In the controversy that followed Malham was foremost in defending the bishop, and his assiduity was rewarded with the vicarage of Hilton, Dorset, on 30 April 1801. After writing a pamphlet to prove that it was quite unnecessary for country clergymen to reside on their livings, he betook himself to London, where he was employed by booksellers engaged in the issue of illustrated bibles, prayer-books, and popular historical works in weekly numbers. He died near London on 19 Sept. 1821.

Malham published: 1. ‘The Schoolmaster's Complete Companion and Scholar's Universal Guide to Arithmetic,’ 12mo, London, 1782. 2. ‘Navigation made Easy and Familiar,’ 12mo, London, 1790. 3. ‘The Naval Gazetteer, or Seaman's Complete Guide,’ 2 vols. 8vo, London, 1795; 2nd edit. 1801. 4. ‘A Word for the Bible, being a serious Reply to the Declarations and Assertions of the speculative Deists and practical Atheists of modern times, particularly the “Age of Reason,” by Thomas Paine,’ 8vo, London, 1796. 5. ‘Dictionary of the Common Prayer,’ 12mo, London, 1796. 6. ‘Infant Baptism defended,’ 12mo, London (1796?). 7. ‘The Curates' Act examined,’ 8vo, London (1796). 8. ‘A Broom for the Conventicle, or the Arguments for Village Preaching examined,’ 8vo, Salisbury, 1798; which had been preceded in September 1798 by ‘Remarks on a “Letter [by Henry Wansey, a clothier, of Salisbury] to the Bishop of Salisbury,” by a Country Curate.’ 9. ‘The Scarcity of Grain considered,’ 8vo, Salisbury, 1800. 10. ‘The Mischief of Forestalling considered,’ 8vo, London, 1800. 11. ‘An Historical View of the unavoidable causes of the Non-residence of the Parochial Clergy on their respective Livings,’ 8vo, Salisbury, 1801. 12. ‘The History and Life of Jesus Christ, … Evangelists, Apostles, and primitive Martyrs; with engravings,’ fol., London, 1811; 5th edit. 1814. 13. ‘The Grand National History of England … to the year 1816; second edition … embellished with engravings,’ fol., London, 1816. This compilation, more generally known as ‘Lowndes's History,’ had been previously issued under Malham's editorship in 1812.

Malham likewise continued D. Fenning's ‘Young Man's New Universal Companion,’ 12mo, 1788 (and 1800), and revised the same writer's ‘Universal Spelling-Book,’ 12mo, 1809. He furnished a preface to B. Crosby's ‘Complete Pocket Gazetteer of England and Wales,’ 12mo, 1807, was responsible for editions of Foxe's ‘Book of Martyrs,’ fol., 1811, and the ‘Book of Common Prayer, with Notes,’ 8vo, 1811, and corrected the fifth edition of the Rev. R. Turner's ‘New Introduction to Book-keeping after the Italian manner,’ 12mo, besides publishing three volumes of sermons.

[Malham's Works; Dict. of Living Authors, 1816, p. 218; Watt's Bibl. Britannica; Gent. Mag. 1821, pt. ii. pp. 568–9; Hutchins's Dorset, 3rd edit. iv. 359.]

G. G.