Chapman, John

, D. D. was the son of the rev. William Chapman, rector of Stratfield-say in Hampshire, where he was probably born in 1704. He was educated at King’s college, Cambridge, A. B. 1727, and A. M. 1731. His first promotion was the rectory of Mersham in Kent, and of Alderton, with the chapel of Smeeth; to which he was appointed in 1739 and 1744, being then domestic chaplain to archbishop Potter. He was also archdeacon of Sudbury, and treasurer of Chichester, two options. Being educated at Eton, he was a candidate for the provostship of that college, and lost it by a small majority, | and after a most severe contest with Dr. George. Among his pupils he had the honour to class the first lord Camden, Dr. Ashton, Horace Walpole, Jacob Bryant, sir W. Draper, sir George Baker, and others who afterwards attained to considerable distinction in literature. His first publication was entitled “The Objections of a late anonymous writer (Collins) against the book of Daniel, considered/’ Cambridge, 1728, 8vo. This was followed by his” Remarks on Dr. Middleton’s celebrated Letter to Dr. Waterland,“published in 1731, and which has passed through three editions. In hisEusebius,“2 vols. 8vo, he defended Christianity against the objections of Mor-­gan, and against those of Tindal in his” Primitive Antiquity explained and vindicated.“The first volume of Eusebius, published in 1739, was dedicated to archbishop Potter; and when the second appeared, in 1741, Mr. Chapman styled himself chaplain to his grace. In the same year he was made archdeacon of Sudbury, and was honoured with the diploma of D. D. by the university of Oxford. He is at this time said to have published the” History of the ancient Hebrews vindicated, by Theophanes Cantabrigiensis,“8vo but this was the production of Dr. Squire. He published two tracts relating toPhlegon,“in answer to Dr. Sykes, who had maintained that the eclipse mentioned by that writer had no relation to the wonderful darkness that happened at our Saviour’s crucifixion. In 1738 Dr. Chapman published a sermon preached at the consecration of bishop Mavvson, and four other single sermons, 1739, 1743, 1748, and 1752. In a dissertation written in elegant Latin, and addressed to Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Tunstall, then public orator of the university of Cambridge, and published with his Latin epistle to Dr. Middleton concerning the genuineness of some of Cicero’s epistles, 1741, Dr. Chapman proved that Cicero published two editions of his Academics; an original thought that had escaped all former commentators, and which has been applauded by Dr. Ross, bishop of Exeter, in his edition of Cicero’s” Epistolse ad familiares,“1749. In 1744 Mr. Tunstall published” Observations on the present Collection of Epistles between Cicero and M. -Brutus, representing several evident marks of forgery in those epistles,“&c. to which was added a” Letter from Dr. Chapman, on the ancient numeral characters of the Roman legions.“Dr. Middleton had asserted, that the | Roman generals, when they had occasion to raise new legions in distant parts of the empire, used to name them according to the order in which they themselves had raised them, without regard to any other legions whatever. This notion Dr. Chapman controverts and confutes. According to Dr. Middleton there might have been two thirtieth legions in the empire. This Dr. Chapman denies to have been customary from the foundation of the city to the time when Brutus was acting against Anthony, but affirms nothing of the practice after the death of Brutus. To this Dr. Middleton made no reply. In 1745 Dr. Chapman was employed in assisting Dr. Pearce, afterwards bishop of Rochester, in his edition of” Cicero de Officiis*

*

This Dr. Chapman always called “our edition.” Its excellence was mentioned with high encomium by a cardinal at Rome to Mr. Guthrie. Our author’s assistance was thus acknowledged in the preface: “Ne quid vero huic editioni deesset quod a me parari posset a doctissimis quibusdam viris, amicis meis, impetravi, ut bos libros de officiis relegerent, et mecum sua quisque annotata commuuicarent. Gratis igitur tibi, lector, illis referenda sunt; in primis eruditissimo Joh. Chapmanno, cujus non paucas notas & utiles & doctas meis adjunxi, ejus nomine ad finem uniuscujusque apposito. Multurn debet iili viro respublica litei aria, qui nonnulla alia lectu digni^sima jam in lucem protulit, plora (ut spero) prolaturus, cum omni fere doctrin generi se tradit, incredibili pene 8* eadem fclici diligentia,

.“About this time Dr. Chapman introduced Mr. Tunstall and Mr. Hall to archbishop Potter, the one as his librarian, the other as his chaplain, and therefore had some reason to resent their taking an active part against him in the option cause, though they both afterwards dropped it. Dr. Chapman’s above-mentioned attack on Dr. Middleton, which he could not parry, and his interposition in defence of his much-esteemed friend Dr. Waterland, provoked Dr. Middleton to retaliate in 1746, by assailing him in what he thought a much more vulnerable part, in his Charge to the archdeaconry of Sudbury, entitled <e Popery the true bane of letters.” In 1747, to Mr. Mounteney’s edition of some select orations of Demosthenes, Dr. Chapman prefixed in Latin, without his name, observations on the Commentaries commonly ascribed to Ulpian, and a map of ancient Greece adapted to Demosthenes. Mr. Mounteney had been schoolfellow with Dr. Chapman at Eton, and was afterwards a baron of the exchequer in Ireland. If archbishop Potter had lived to another election, Dr. Chapman was intended for prolocutor. As executor and surviving trustee to that prelate, his conduct in that trust, particularly his presenting himself to the precentorship of Lincoln, void | by the death of Dr. Trimnell (one of his grace’s options), was brought into chancery by the late Dr. Richardson, when lord keeper Henley in 1760 made a decree in Dr. Chapman’s favour; but, on an appeal to the house of lords, the decree was reversed, and Dr. Richardson ordered to be presented, When Mr. Yorke had finished his argument, in which he was very severe on Dr. Chapman, Mr. Pratt, afterwards lord Camden, who had been his pupil, and was then his counsel, desired him, by a friend, not to be uneasy, for that the next day he “would wash him as white as snow.” Thinking his case partially stated by Dr. Burn, in his “Ecclesiastical Law,' 1 vol. I. (article Bishops), as it was taken from the briefs of his adversaries, he expostulated with him on the subject by letter, to which the doctor candidly replied,” that he by no means thought him criminal, and in the next edition of his work would certainly add his own representation." On this affair, however, Dr. Hurd passes a very severe sentence in his correspondence with Warburton lately published. Dr. Chapman died the 34th of October, 1784, in the 80th year of his age. 1
1

Bibl. Topog. Britan. Harwood’s Alumni Etonenses. Nichols’s Bowyer, —Leland’s Deistical Writers.