Chelsum, James

, D. D. a learned divine of the church of England, was born about 1740 in Westminster, and educated at Westminster school, on bishop Williams’ s foundation. From that school he went to St. John’s college, Cambridge, but did not continue long there; as Dr. Freind, one of the canons of Christ church, gave him a studentship in that celebrated college. Here he resided for many years, taking his master’s degree in 1762, that of bachelor of divinity in 1772, and that of D. D. in 1773. It has been said he was for some time usher at Westminster school; but this is doubtful. At Oxford he entered into orders in. 1.762, and was presented to the college curacy of Lathbury near Newport Pagnel, and to the benefice of Badger in Shropshire, by Isaac Hawkins Browne, esq, His other and chief preferment, was the rectory of Droxford in Hampshire, given him by Dr. North, bishop of Winchester, whose chaplain he was. His learning was extensive; and his manners, though somewhat austere, were yet amiable. Bad health, however, created an unequal flow of spirits, which injured the powers of his mind towards the close of his life. He died in 1801, and was buried at Droxford. Besides some fugitive pieces without his name, and a tew occasional sermons, he wrote one of the ablest series of “Remarks on Gibbon’s Roman History,1772, 8vo, which Gibbon having noticed in a contemptuous manner, Dr. Chelsum answered him in a “Reply to Mr. Gibbon’s Vindication,1735, 8vo. The best edition of his “Remarks” was the second, published in 1773, much enlarged. Dr. Chelsum is also supposed to have had a share in the collection of papers published at Oxford under the title of “Olla Podrida,” and to have published an “Essay on the History of Mezzotinto.” As an amateur of the fine arts, he made a valuable collection of prints and gems, especially Tassie’s imitations, to whom he was an early and zealous patron. 2


Gent. Mag. vol. LXXI. p. 1176, and LXXII. p. 100. 293.