Lancaster, Nathaniel (DNB00)

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LANCASTER, NATHANIEL (1701–1775), author, born in 1701 in Cheshire, was in early life a protégé of the Earl of Cholmondeley, who introduced him to polite society. He was appointed rector of St. Martin's, Chester, on 12 June 1725, and in January 1733 was made a chaplain to the Prince of Wales. In the following February he was created D.D. by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Gent. Mag. 1864, i. 637). On 17 Feb. 1733 he married the widow of Captain Brown, ‘a lady with a fortune of 20,000l.’ In September 1737 he obtained the rectory of Stanford Rivers, near Ongar, Essex. He died there on 20 June 1775. In his later years he acted as justice of the peace (see two letters of his describing his administration of justice, Gent. Mag. liv. 345). He was considered a brilliant conversationalist, but earned a reputation for extravagance and impecuniosity, ‘which urged him to indecent applications for the supply of his necessities.’

Lancaster wrote:

  1. 'Public Virtue, or the or the Love of our Country,’ London, 1746.
  2. ‘The Pretty Gentleman, or Softness of Manners vindicated from the false ridicule exhibited under the character of William Frible, Esq.,’ a pretended reply to Garrick's ‘Miss in her Teens,’ but in reality a veiled and caustic satire on the softness of manners which Garrick was ridiculing; reprinted in ‘Fugitive Pieces,’ London, 1761, 1765, 1771; Dublin, 1762. The identification of it as Lancaster's is due to a letter of Dodsley's to Shenstone (see Fugitive Pieces, 1771).
  3. ‘The Plan of an Essay upon Delicacy, with a Specimen of the Work in two Dialogues,’ London, 1748.
  4. ‘Methodism Triumphant, or the Decisive Battle between the Old Serpent and the Modern Saint,’ London, 1767, 4to, a long rhapsodical poem.

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ii. 379, repeated verbatim in Chalmers, and taken verbatim from Hull's Select Letters, i. 70, ii. 132; Gent. Mag. vols. iii. v. vii. xlv. liv.; Ormerod's Cheshire; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

W. A. S.