Madan, Martin (DNB00)

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MADAN, MARTIN (1726–1790), author of ‘Thelyphthora,’ born in 1726, was the elder son of Colonel Martin Madan, M.P., of Hertingfordbury, and Judith, daughter of Judge Spencer Cowper, aunt of the poet Cowper, and herself a writer of verses. Spencer Madan [q. v.] was Martin's younger brother. Educated at Westminster School, he, on 9 Feb. 1742–3, matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, graduating B.A. on 9 Nov. 1746. In 1748 he was called to the bar, and while in London became a member of a recklessly convivial club (see Notes and Queries, 7th ser. ii. 123, 14 Aug. 1886). It is related (Life of the Countess of Huntingdon, chap. x.) that he was commissioned by the club to attend Wesley's preaching in order that his manner and discourse might be caricatured for the entertainment of the company. But the sermon, on the text ‘Prepare to meet thy God,’ impressed Madan so deeply that when he returned to the club and was asked whether he had ‘taken the Old Methodist off,’ he replied, ‘No, gentlemen, but he has taken me off,’ and, at once abandoning his former associates, ‘from being of a very gay and volatile turn, [he] took orders’ (Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 5832, fol. 84, a paper by William Cole, 1760). The same authorities state that the change was confirmed by his friendship with two methodist clergymen, David Jones (1735–1810) [q. v.] and William Romaine [q. v.] Owing to his new methodist views he had difficulty in obtaining ordination, but Lady Huntingdon's personal efforts on his behalf were successful. Some curiosity was aroused in London to hear the ‘lawyer turned divine,’ even at his first sermon, preached at Allhallows, Lombard Street, 1750; and when appointed chaplain to the Lock Hospital, near Hyde Park Corner, his preaching, which at first took place in the parlour of the institution, rapidly acquired such reputation that a new chapel was built for him in the hospital, and opened on 28 March 1762. In 1760 he issued the first edition of the popular ‘Collection of Psalms and Hymns,’ which was sold at the hospital; and to his pen we are indebted for parts of the modern forms of ‘Lo, He comes,’ and ‘Hark, the herald angels sing.’ From 1750 Madan was in close connection with Lady Huntingdon, and from about 1756 in correspondence with John Wesley. At various times between 1750 and 1780 he is mentioned as ‘itinerating’ and preaching as a Calvinistic methodist at London, Bristol, Brighton (where he preached at the opening of the first chapel in 1761 and at its enlargement in 1767), Oathall, Everton and the neighbourhood, Lewes, Cheltenham, Tunbridge Wells (from 1763), Bath (from 1765), Norwich, Painswick, and other places. He was commonly known at this time as the ‘Counsellor’ (an allusion to his legal training), and is described as being tall in stature, and of a robust constitution, and as so devoted to music that every year an oratorio was performed at the Lock chapel, on which occasions Lady Huntingdon and Charles Wesley were often present. His preaching was both popular and impressive, but free from the extravagances which marked many of the early methodists. In 1768 he was stigmatised by the new Wesleyans as one of the ‘genteel methodists’ of Lady Huntingdon's connexion. His intercourse with his first cousin, Cowper, the poet, was slight, but about 1763, at a time when the latter was greatly depressed in mind, they conversed on religious subjects. Calvinism, however, made too many preliminary claims of belief as a basis of the hope of salvation for Cowper to profit by the interviews. When ‘Thelyphthora’ was published, Cowper prepared, anonymously, his first separate publication, to ridicule the author.

In 1767 Madan's conduct in the matter of the rectory of Aldwinkle in Northamptonshire was the subject of much public dispute. The patron, Mr. J. Kimpton, had wished in 1764 to sell the advowson of the living, which was on the point of becoming vacant, but failing to negotiate a sale he presented a person recommended by Madan, Thomas Haweis [q. v.], an assistant-chaplain at the Lock Hospital. After three years, when in very reduced circumstances, he obtained an offer of 1,000l. for the advowson, and at once tried to induce Thomas Haweis [q. v.] to resign, declaring that he had been presented with some such reservation. Haweis, fortified by Madan's advice, refused to do so. An acrimonious attack was, in consequence, made on Madan, and accusations of simony, methodist principles, and misrepresentation were freely bandied about. In the end Lady Huntingdon herself purchased the advowson from Kimpton for 1,000l. on 8 March 1768, and Haweis continued vicar. A qualified apology, which Lady Huntingdon wished Madan to make, was rejected by the latter, and not insisted on, and that his conduct in this matter did not forfeit the confidence of his friends may be gathered from the action of Lord Apsley, afterwards Lord Bathurst [q. v.], in appointing him soon after his domestic chaplain, but Lady Huntingdon and others certainly considered that he held to a narrow and legal view of the circumstances, in opposition to considerations of equity.

In 1780 Madan published a work entitled ‘Thelyphthora,’ in which he advocated polygamy, taking his stand on the Mosaic law, and elaborately arguing that it is in accordance with Christianity, properly understood. These principles, it may be noted, are said to have been previously held by Lord-chancellor Cowper, Madan's great-uncle, and by Westley Hall [q. v.], brother-in-law of John Wesley. Even before the appearance of the book Lady Huntingdon expressed to the author her readiness to send him a petition against it signed by three thousand persons, and when it was actually published it raised a storm of indignation, criticism, and opposition. Madan consequently resigned his chaplaincy of the Lock Hospital, and retired into private life at Epsom. He occupied his leisure in translating Juvenal and Persius, and other literary and theological work, and on 2 May 1790 died at Epsom, at the age of sixty-four, and was buried at Kensington.

In 1751 Madan married Jane (d. 15 June 1794 at Epsom), daughter of Sir Bernard Hale [q. v.], by whom he had two sons, Martin, of Bushey, Hertfordshire (d. 1809), and William (d. 1769), and three daughters, Sarah, Anna, and Maria. He was possessed of private means, and, after his father's death in 1756, of a considerable fortune. Activity, zeal, gentleness of temper, love of study, always distinguished him, and the directness and earnestness of his sermons, rather than rhetorical display, attracted the crowds who thronged the rooms of the hospital. The obloquy heaped on him in 1767 and 1780 did not sour his mind, but diverted it to quieter pursuits. No impartial reader of the two controversies can fail to acquit him of the charges of insincerity and of self-seeking.

The following is believed to be a complete list of his publications, anonymous books being distinguished by an asterisk: 1. *‘Seasonable Animadversions upon the Rev. Mr. Forster's Sermon (on John iii. 7). By a Member of the Church of England,’ London, 1759. 2. ‘A Collection of Psalms and Hymns extracted … and published by the Reverend Mr. Madan,’ London, 1760 (2nd edit. 1763, 4th 1765, 5th 1767, 6th 1769, 7th 1771, 8th 1774, 11th 1788, 12th 1787 (sic), 13th 1794). 3. ‘Justification by Works … a Sermon on James ii. 24, at St. Vedast's, Foster Lane, 8 Feb. 1761,’ London, 1761 (an Oxford University sermon on James ii. 14, by John Allen, preached and printed in 1761, contains strictures on the above sermon). 4. ‘A Treatise on Christian Faith, by H. Wits, translated by the Rev. Mr. Madan,’ London, 1761. 5. ‘Every Man our Neighbour, a Sermon on Luke x. 29, at the Opening of the Chapel of the Lock Hospital, 28 March 1762,’ London (1762). 6. ‘A Funeral Sermon on the Death of the Rev. Mr. Thomas Jones, by the Reverend Mr. Madan,’ London (1762). 7. ‘An Answer to the Capital Errors in the Writings of the Rev. William Law,’ London, 1763. 8. *‘A Scriptural Account of the Doctrine of Perfection, by a Professor of Christianity,’ London, 1763. 9. ‘An Account of the Death of F. S., a Converted Prostitute,’ London, reprinted at Boston in 1763. 10. ‘Justification in Christ's Name, by Bishop Andrewes, republished by Mr. Madan,’ London, 1765. 11. ‘An Answer to a Faithful Narrative of Facts relative to the late Presentation of Mr. H——s to the Rectory of Al—w—le,’ London, 1767 [occasioned by John Kimpton's ‘Faithful Narrative,’ 1767, and followed by *‘Strictures upon Modern Simony,’ 1767; *‘Remarks on the Answer by a Bystander,’ 1767; *‘Aldwinckle. A Candid Examination,’ 1767; ‘A Letter to the Rev. Mr. Madan, by M. Fleetwood,’ 1767; ‘An Exact Copy of an Epistolary Correspondence between the Rev. Mr. M—and S—B—(Brewer),’ 1768; ‘A Supplement, or the Second Part of an Epistolary Correspondence,’ 1768]. 12. ‘A Compassionate Address to the Christian World … for the use of the Lock Hospital,’ London, 1767. 13. *‘Elegy occasioned by the Loss of my sweet William’ (his son, d. 1769). 14. ‘A Conversation between Richard Hill, Mr. Madan, and Father Walsh … relative to … John Wesley,’ London, 1771, 1772. 15. ‘A Scriptural Comment on the Thirty-nine Articles,’ London, 1772 (2nd edit. same year: answered by *‘Real Scriptural Predestination … by Philadelphos,’ 1772). 16. ‘The Book of Martyrs, by John Fox, now revis'd by the Rev. Mr. Madan,’ London, 1776. 17. ‘A Sermon (on 2 Cor. viii. 9) for the Benefit of the Lock-Hospital, 25 Feb. 1777,’ London, 1777. 18. ‘Thelyphthora, or a Treatise on Female Ruin,’ 2 vols., London, 1780 (2nd edit. enlarged, 2 vols., London, 1781), vol. iii., London, 1781; in Dutch, Amsterdam, 1782. Besides many articles in magazines, notably some by Samuel Badcock in the ‘Monthly Review,’ the following works were occasioned by the foregoing book: *‘A Letter to the Rev. Mr. Madan, by a Layman,’ 1780; ‘Polygamy Indefensible, two Sermons by John Smith of Nantwich,’ 1780; ‘Polygamy Unscriptural, or two Dialogues, by John Towers,’ 1780 (2nd edit. 1781); ‘The Unlawfulness of Polygamy evinced, by H. W.,’ 1780; *‘An Heroic Epistle to the Rev. Martin M—d—n,’ 1780; ‘Whispers for the Ear of the Author of “Thelyphthora,” by E. B. Greene,’ 1781; ‘A Scriptural Refutation of the Arguments for Polygamy, by T. Haweis,’ 1781; ‘The Blessings of Polygamy displayed, by (Sir) Richard Hill,’ 1781; ‘The Cobler's Letter to the Author of Thelyphthora, by (Sir) R. Hill,’ 1781; ‘Remarks on Polygamy, by T. Wills,’ 1781 (written at the request of Lady Huntingdon); *‘Anti-Thelyphthora, a Tale in Verse’ (by William Cowper), 1781, &c.; *‘A Word to Mr. Madan’ (by Henry Moore), 1781 (2nd edit. same year); *‘A Poetical Epistle to the Reverend Mr. Madan,’ 1781; ‘An Examination of Thelyphthora, by John Palmer,’ 1781; ‘Remarks on Thelyphthora by James Penn’ (1781); ‘Thelyphthora, a Farce, by Frederick Pilon,’ 1781 (not printed); *‘Political Priest, a Satire, dedicated to a Reverend Polygamist,’ 1781; ‘Thoughts on Polygamy, by J. Cookson,’ 1782; *‘Polygamy, or Mahomet the Prophet to Madan the Evangelist, an Heroic Poem’ (in ‘Originals and Collections’). The author's only replies were: 19. ‘Letters on “Thelyphthora” by the Author,’ 1782; and 20. ‘Five Letters addressed to Abraham Rees, Editor of Chambers's Cyclopedia’ (on a notice of ‘Thelyphthora’), London, 1783. 21. ‘Poemata, partim reddita, partim scripta,’ 1784. 22. *‘Thoughts on Executive Justice,’ London, 1785 [2nd edit. same year; it occasioned (Sir Samuel Romilly's) *‘Observations on “Thoughts on Executive Justice,”’ London, 1786]. 23. ‘Letters to Joseph Priestley,’ London, 1787. 24. ‘A New and Literal Translation of Juvenal and Persius, with copious Explanatory Notes, by the Rev. M. Madan,’ 2 vols., London, 1789 [also, with or without the Latin text, Oxford, 1807; Dublin, 1813; London, 1822; Oxford, 1839; (Persius only) Dublin, 1795, &c.].

There are engravings of Madan in the ‘Gospel Magazine,’ 1774, and by R. Manwaring.

[Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; Life and Times of the Countess of Huntingdon; Tyerman's Life of Wesley; Lysons's Environs of London, iii. 224; History of Epsom, 1825, App. x.; Gent. Mag. 1790, i. 478; Monthly Rev.; Nichols's Lit. Anecd.; Julian's Dict. of Hymnology, 1892. See also Southey's edition of Cowper's Works, 1836–7, vii. 38, viii. viii–x, 112, xv. 36, 76; and Benham's edition, xxx. xxxii. 330–5, where a reference is given to the effect of Madan's writings on Cardinal Newman's view of the English Church (in Mr. Kingsley and Dr. Newman, a Correspondence, London, 1864, p. 18).]

F. M.