Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tunstall, James
TUNSTALL, JAMES (1708–1762), divine and classical scholar, son of James Tunstall, an attorney at Richmond in Yorkshire, was born about 1708. He was educated at Slaidburn grammar school under Bradbury, and was admitted a sizar at St. John's College, Cambridge, on 29 June 1724, when past sixteen, being partly maintained at the university by an uncle. He graduated B.A. in 1727, M.A. in 1731, B.D. in 1738, and D.D. on 13 July 1744. To the university collection of poems on the accession of George II he contributed a set of Greek verse, and his act for the doctor's degree was much applauded. On 24 March 1728–9 he was elected to a fellowship at his college, and ultimately became its senior dean and one of the two principal tutors. He was famous ‘as a pupil monger,’ both as regards his classical knowledge and his kindness of manners (Whitaker, Whalley, ed. 1818, p. 447).
Tunstall, on the presentation of Edward, second earl of Oxford, was instituted on 4 Dec. 1739 to the rectory of Sturmer in Essex, and held it until early in 1746 (Morant, Essex, ii. 347). In October 1741 he was elected to the post of public orator at Cambridge, polling 160 votes against 137 recorded for Philip Yonge, afterwards bishop of Norwich (Cooper, Annals of Cambr. iv. 244), and was allowed to hold it, though absent from the university, until 1746, when his grace for a continuance of the permission was refused. This absence was caused by his appointment about 1743 as domestic chaplain to Potter, the archbishop of Canterbury.
The archbishop offered Tunstall in 1744 the rectory of Saltwood in Kent, but it was declined. He accepted, however, the vicarage of Minster in the Isle of Thanet (collated 12 Feb. 1746–7), and the rectory of Great Chart, near Ashford in Kent (collated 6 March 1746–7), each of which was worth about 200l. per annum (Hasted, Kent, iii. 251, 410, iv. 332). He had become a senior fellow of his college on 12 Nov. 1746, but in consequence of these preferments he vacated his fellowship in February 1747–8. From 1746 to his death he was treasurer and canon residentiary of St. Davids.
Tunstall married, about 1750, Elizabeth, daughter of John Dodsworth of Thornton Watlas, Yorkshire, by his wife Henrietta, daughter of John Hutton of Marske, and sister of Matthew Hutton, successively archbishop of York and Canterbury. On the nomination of this archbishop he was collated on 11 Nov. 1757 to the vicarage of Rochdale, which was considered to be worth about 800l. a year. It fell short of that sum, and it was not the preferment that he longed for, his desire being to obtain a prebendal stall at Canterbury. He died, disappointed of his wish and in poor circumstances, at the house of a brother in Mark Lane, London, on 28 March 1762, and was buried in the chancel of St. Peter, Cornhill, on 2 April. His widow moved to Hadleigh in Suffolk, and died there on 5 Dec. 1772, in her forty-ninth year. A marble slab to her memory is at the west end of the north aisle. Seven daughters at least survived him. The three that were living in 1772 were sent to Lisbon for their health. Henrietta Maria, the second, married, on 14 June 1775, John Croft, merchant at Oporto, and was mother of Sir John Croft, bart. [see Croft, John], chargé d'affaires at Lisbon; Catherine, the sixth daughter, married, first, the Rev. Edward Chamberlayne, and, secondly, Horatio, lord Walpole, afterwards second earl of Orford; Jane, the seventh daughter, married, first, Stephen Thompson, and, secondly, Sir Everard Home [q. v.]
In 1741 Tunstall printed in Latin: 1. ‘Epistola ad virum eruditum Conyers Middleton,’ in which he made a ‘learned and spirited attack’ on that writer's life of Cicero by questioning the genuineness of Cicero's letters to Brutus, which Middleton had accepted without reserve. Middleton retorted very sharply in ‘The Epistles of Cicero to Brutus, and of Brutus to Cicero’ (1743), claiming to have vindicated their authenticity and to have confuted all his critic's objections. Tunstall promptly replied in 2. ‘Observations on the present Collection of Epistles between Cicero and Brutus, in answer to the late pretences of the Rev. Dr. Middleton’ (1744), and in the next year Jeremiah Markland confirmed his view. The verdict of most scholars is now against Middleton. Tunstall advertised a new edition of Cicero's letters to Pomponius Atticus and to his brother Quintus, and he brought up with him to London in 1762 his annotations on the first three books of the letters. They were offered to Bowyer, who declined to take them until the whole copy was ready. A week or two later Tunstall died (Pegge, Anonymiana, Century iv. 98).
Tunstall's other works were: 3. ‘Sermon before House of Commons,’ 1746. 4. ‘Vindication of Power of States to prohibit Clandestine Marriages, particularly those of Minors,’ 1755. 5. ‘Marriage in Society stated,’ 1755. Both of those productions were in answer to treatises of Henry Stebbing (1687–1763) [q. v.] and were caused by the passing of the marriage act of 1753. 6. ‘Academica. Part I. Several Discourses on Natural and Revealed Religion,’ 1759. 7. ‘Lectures on Natural and Revealed Religion read in the Chapel of St. John's College, Cambridge,’ 1765. They were published by subscription for the benefit of his family, and were edited by his brother-in-law, Frederick Dodsworth, afterwards canon of Windsor, who acted as a father to the children.
Tunstall gave critical annotations to the first edition of Duncombe's Horace, and obtained Warburton's notes on Hudibras for Zachary Grey. Letters from him to the second Earl of Oxford, Dr. Birch, and Zachary Grey are among the additional manuscripts at the British Museum (4253, 4300, and 23990 respectively). He was a friend and correspondent of Warburton (Nichols, Illustrations of Literature, ii. 106, 124–5, 129), and his letters to Grey are printed in that work (iii. 704–5, iv. 372–4). His other friends included Thomas Baker ‘Socius ejectus’ and John Byrom the poet. His library was sold in 1764, and 152 manuscript sermons by him passed to Sir Everard Home.[Nichols's Illustr. of Lit. iii. 703; Nichols's Literary Anecd. ii. 166–70, iii. 668, v. 412–13; Byrom's Remains, II. i. 42; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. xi. 85, 131; Mayor's Baker, i. 304, 306, 329; Masters's Memoir of Baker, pp. 83, 114–115; Vicars of Rochdale (Chetham Soc. i. new ser.) pp. 182–97; Pigot's Hadleigh, pp. 211–212; Fishwick's Rochdale, pp. 237–8; Le Neve's Fasti, i. 318, iii. 614, iv. 372–4; Foster's Yorkshire Pedigrees, sub ‘Croft’ and ‘Dodsworth;’ information from Mr. R. F. Scott, St. John's Coll. Cambridge.]