Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Markham, William

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1442648Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 36 — Markham, William1893George Fisher Russell Barker

MARKHAM, WILLIAM (1719–1807), archbishop of York. eldest son of Major William Markham, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of George Markham of Worksop Lodge, Nottinghamshire, was baron Kinsale, in the county of Cork, where his father eked out his scanty half-pay by keeping a school. He was baptised on 9 April 1710, and on 21 June 1733 was admitted to Westminster School as a home boarder. In the following year he was elected head into college, and in 1738 obtained a studentship of Christ Church, Ox- ford, where he matriculated on 6 June 1738. He graduated B.A. on 13 May 1742, M.A. on 28 March 1745, B.C.L. on 20 Nov. 1752, and D.C.L. on 24 Nov. 1752. At Oxford Markham acquired the reputation of being one of the best scholars of his time. His ‘Judicium Paridis’ was published in the second volume of Vincent Bourne's ‘Musæ Anglicanæ,’ 1741, pp. 277–82, while several other specimens of his Latin verse, which appeared in the second volume of ‘Carmina Quadragesimalia,’ Oxford, 1748, 8vo, were collected and privately printed in 1819 and 1820 by Francis Wrangham under the same title. Markham appears to have been undecided for some years as to what profession he should follow. In 1753 he was offered the post of head-master of Westminster School, in succession to John Nicoll, which after some hesitation he decided to accept. Jeremy Bentham, who was at Westminster from 1755 to 1760, thus describes his head-master: ‘Our great glory was Dr. Markham; he was a tall, portly man, and “high he held his head.” He married a Dutch woman, who brought him a considerable fortune. He had a large quantity of classical knowledge. His business was rather in courting the great than in attending to the school. Any excuse served his purpose for deserting his post. He had a great deal of pomp, especially when he lifted his hand, waved it, and repeated Latin verses. If the boys performed their tasks well it was well, if ill, it was not the less well. We stood prodigiously in awe of him; indeed he was an object of adoration’ (Works of Jeremy Bentham, 1843, x. 30). Markham was appointed chaplain to George II in 1756, and prebendary of Durham on 22 June 1759. In the face of a good deal of opposition he obtained a bill in 1755 empowering him and Thomas Salter ‘to build houses and open a square in and upon’ Dean's Yard, Westminster (28 Geo. II, c. 54), and in 1758 the first classical scenes used in the representation of the Westminster Play were presented by him to the school.

In a letter to the Duke of Bedford, dated 14 Sept. 1763, Markham complained of ill-health, which made his ‘attendance on the school very painful’ to him, and asked for assistance in obtaining crown preferment (Correspondence of John, fourth Duke of Bedford, 1846, iii. 247–8; see also pp. 273–7). He retired from the head-mastership, on his appointment to the deanery of Rochester, in February 1765, and in the same year was presented to the vicarage of Boxley, Kent. In October 1767 he was nominated dean of Christ Church, Oxford, when he resigned the deanery of Rochester. Markham succeeded Edmund Keene as bishop of Chester, and was consecrated on 17 Feb. 1771 at the Chapel Royal, Whitehall. He thereupon resigned his Kentish living and his prebendal stall at Durham, but continued to hold the deanery of Christ Church in commendam until his promotion to York. Through the influence of his friend Lord Mansfield, Markham was appointed preceptor to the young Prince of Wales and Prince Frederick, bishop of Osnaburg, on 12 April 1771 (Walpole, Memoirs of the Reign of George III, 1845, iv. 311), but was suddenly dismissed from this post in May 1776 (Walpole, Journal of the Reign of George III, 1859, ii. 49–52; see also the Political Memoranda of Francis, fifth Duke of Leeds, Camd. Soc. Publ. 1884, pp. 5–9). In January 1777 he was translated to the archiepiscopal see of York, appointed lord high almoner, and sworn a member of the privy council. On 30 May 1777 Markham replied ‘with great warmth’ to the attacks made upon him by the Duke of Grafton and Lord Shelburne for preaching doctrines subversive of the constitution (Parl. Hist. xix. 327, 328, 347–8). According to Walpole he is said to have declared on this occasion that ‘though as a Christian and a bishop he ought to bear wrongs, there were injuries which would provoke any patience, and that he, if insulted, should know how to chastise any petulance’ (Journal of the Reign of George III, 1859, ii. 119). These ‘pernicious’ doctrines, which Chatham subsequently denounced in the House of Lords (Parl. Hist. xix. 491), were contained in a sermon preached by Markham in the parish church of St. Mary-le-Bow, before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, on 21 Feb. 1777 (London, 4to). Markham seems to have been unable to forget this attack, and was one of the four peers who signed the protest against the third reading of the Chatham Annuity Bill on 2 June 1778 (Rogers, Complete Collection of the Protests of the House of Lords, 1875, ii. 177–8). While on his way to the House of Lords on 2 June 1780 Markham was attacked by the protestant petitioners, and subsequently hearing of Lord Mansfield's danger he flew down from the committee room in which he was sitting, ‘rushed through the crowd, and carried off his friend in Abraham's bosom’ (Walpole, Letters, vii. 384). His town house at that period adjoined Lord Mansfield's in Bloomsbury Square, and in a letter to his son John, Markham gives a graphic description of the attack on Lord Mansfield's house by the Gordon rioters, and of his own narrow escape from the violence of the mob (History of the Markham Family, pp. 60–5). Markham was a staunch friend of Warren Hastings. His eldest son, William, who had been private secretary to Hastings, and was afterwards appointed resident at Benares, gave evidence at the trial in May 1792, and was cross-examined by Anstruther and Burke (Bond, Speeches of the Managers and Counsel in the Trial of Warren Hastings, 1859-61, vol. iii. pp. v-vi). The intemperate language which Markham used in reference to Burke's cross-examination of Auriol on 25 May 1793 (ib. pp. xxiii-iv) was brought under the notice of the House of Commons by Whitbread on 12 June following. After a debate, in which Windham, Dundas, Francis, Burke, and Fox took part, a motion for adjournment was carried, and the matter was allowed to drop (Parl. Hist. xxx. 983-94). On 24 March 1795, when the subject ot the present from the Nabob Wazir came under consideration, Markham expressed his opinion of the conduct of the trial in the strongest terms, and declared that Hastings had been 'treated not as if he were a gentleman, whose cause is before you, but as if you were trying a horse-stealer ' (Bond, vol. iv. p. lxi).

Markham died at his house in South Audley Street, London, on 3 Nov. 1807, aged 89, and was buried on the 11th of the same month in the north cloister of Westminster Abbey, where a monument was subsequently raised to his memory by his grandchildren.

Markham was a pompous and warm-tempered prelate, with a magnificent presence and almost martial bearing. According to Dr. Parr his 'powers of mind, reach of thought, memory, learning, scholarship, and taste were of the very first order; but he was indolent, and his composition wanted this powerful aiguillon' (History of the Markham Family, p. 66). Walpole calls him 'a pert, arrogant man' (Memoirs of the Reign of George III, iv. 311), and alludes to him as that 'warlike metropolitan archbishop Turpin' (Walpole, Letters, vii. 80-1). He is severely satirised in the twenty-first 'Probationary Ode' (The Bolliad, 1795, pp. 372-80). Markham married, on 16 June 1 759, Sarah, daughter of John Goddard, a wealthy English merchant of Rotterdam, by whom he had six sons—viz. (1) William, who died on 1 Jan. 1815 ; (2) John [q. v.], an admiral of the blue in the royal navy; (3) George, who became dean of York, and died on 30 Sept. 1822; (4) David, a lieutenant-colonel of the 20th regiment of foot, who was killed in the island of St. Domingo on 26 March 1795, while directing an attack against a fort near Port-au-Prince; (5) Robert, archdeacon of York and rector of Bolton Percy, Yorkshire, who died on 17 July 1837; and (6) Osborne, comptroller of the barrack department and M.P. for Calne, who died on 22 Oct. 1827—and seven daughters, viz. (1) Henrietta Sarah, who married Ewan Law of Horsted, Sussex, on 28 June' 1784, and died on 24 April 1829; (2) Elizabeth Katherine, who became the second wife of William Barnett of Little Missenden Abbey, Buckinghamshire, on 13 April 1796, and died at Florence on 22 April 1820; (3) Alicia Harrietts, who married the Rev. H. Foster Mills, rector of Elmley, Yorkshire, on 27 Nov. 1794, and died on 29 Feb. 1840; (4) Georgina, who died unmarried on 28 Mav 1793, aged 21; (5) Frederica, who married William, third earl of Mansfield, on 16 Sept. 1797, and died on 29 April 1860; (6) Anne Katherine, who died unmarried on 3 Oct. 1808, aged 30; and (7) Cecilia, who married the Rev. Robert Philip Goodenough, rector of Carlton, Nottinghamshire, on 6 Dec. 1808, and died on 30 March 1865. Markham's widow died in Mortimer Street, Cavendish Square, London, on 26 Jan. 1814, aged 75, and was buried in the north cloister of Westminster Abbey on 3 Feb. following.

Markham was at one time an intimate friend of Edmund Burke [q. v.] Their acquaintance began in 1753, and in 1758 Markham stood godfather to Burke's onlv son, Richard. An interesting letter from Markham to the Duchess of Queensberry, dated 25 Sept. 1759, soliciting her influence with Pitt to procure the British consulship at Madrid for Burke, is printed among the 'Correspondence of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham,' 1838, i. 430-3. Markham appears to have assisted Burke in his work for the 'Annual Register,' and to have corrected and revised the 'Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas on the Sublime and the Beautiful,' London, 1756, 8vo. In reply to the censures of Markham, who believed him to be the author of 'Junius's Letters,' Burke wrote an elaborate defence of his own conduct (Burke, Correspondence, i. 276-338). Their friendship was finally broken off by the trial of Warren Hastings [q. v.]

Markham's portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1760) hangs in the hall of Christ Church, Oxford. Another, painted by the same artist in 1776, was lent to the Winter Exhibition of the Old Masters in 1876 by the Archbishop of York (Catalogue, No. 28). There is a portrait by Hoppner (1799) at Windsor Castle, a bust in the library of Christ Church, Oxford, and another portrait at Westminster School. There are also engravings of Markham by J. R. Smith, Fisher, and S. W. Reynolds after Sir Joshua, by James Ward after Romney, and by Heath after Hoppner. A volume of letters written by the Prince of Wales and Prince Frederick to Markham while he was their preceptor is preserved at Becca Hall, Yorkshire. An interesting series of Markham's autograph correspondence with the Rev. Edward Bentham relating to the education of the students of Christ Church, Oxford, is referred to in 'Notes and Queries,' 4th ser. ii. 468. A few of Markham's sermons were published separately.

[D. F. Markham's Hist. of the Markham Family, 1854; A Naval Career during the Old War, 1883; Alumni Westm. 1802; Chester's Westminster Abbey Registers (Harl. Soc. Publ. 1876); Nichols's Lit. Anecd. 1812-15; Nichols's Illustrations of Literary Hist. 1858; Walpole's Letters, edited by Peter Cunningham; Burke's Corresp. 1844, i. 92-4, 270-2, 276-338, 467-9; Grenville Papers, 1852-3, ii. 474-5, 485-6, iv. 166-7; Hist. of the Trial of Warren Hastings; Cunningham's Lives of Eminent and Illustrious Englishmen, 1837, vii. 447-50; Monthly Mag. xxiv. 561-4; Gent. Mag. 1807, pt. ii. pp. 1082-3, 1049-50; Ann. Reg. 1807, Chron. pp. 101-2; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Anglic. 1854, iii. 119, 262, 310, 571, ii. 514, 579; Burke's Landed Gentry, 1886, ii. 1224; Foster's Pedigrees of the County Families of Yorkshire (vol. i. West Riding), 1874; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715-1886, iii. 913; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ii. 130, 197, 312-13, 355-6, 4th ser. ii. 467-8, 7th ser. xii. 187, 237, 292, 415, 451.]

G. F. R. B.