Chishull, Edmund

, a learned divine and antiquary, was born at Ey worth, in Bedfordshire, and was the son of Paul Chishull, formerly bible clerk of Queen’s college, Cambridge, and master of arts, as a member of Pembroke college, Oxford. His son being intended for the church, was sent to Oxford, became a scholar of Corpus Christi college, and received the degree of master of arts in February 1693; and he was chosen, likewise, a fellow of his college. Previously to his commencing master of arts, he had published in 1692, a Latin poem, inquarto, on occasion of the famous battle of La Hogue, entitled, “Gulielmo Tertio terra manque principi invictissimo in Gallos pugna navali nuperrime devictos, ‘ carmen heroic urn,” Oxon. When queen Mary died, on the 28th of December 1694, Mr. Chishull was one of the Oxford gentlemen who exerted their poetical talents in deploring that melancholy event, and his tribute of loyalty is preserved in the third volume of the Musse Anglicans, but is rather a school exercise, than a production of genius. In 1698, having obtained a grant of the traveller’s place, from the society of Corpus Christi college, he sailed from England on the 12th of September, and arrived on the 19th of November following at Smyrna. Before he set out on his voyage, he preached a sermon to the Levant company, which was published, and probably procured him to be appointed chaplain to the English factory at Smyrna, in. which station he continued till the 12th of February, 1701-2. On the 16th of June, 1705, he was admitted to the degree of bachelor in divinity. In the next year he engaged in a controversy, which at that time excited considerable attention, by publishing “A charge of Heresy maintained against Mr. Dodwell’s late Epistolary Discourse concerning the Mortality of the Soul,London, 8vo. This was one of the principal books written in answer to Dodwell on that subject. In 1707, Chishull exerted his endeavours in opposing the absurdities and enthusiasm of the French prophets, and their followers, in | a sermon, on the 23d of November, at Serjeant’s-inn chapel, in Chancery-lane, which was published in the beginning of 1708, and was entitled, “The great Danger and Mistake of all new uninspired Prophecies relating to the End of the World,” with an appendix of historical collections applicable to subject. On the 1st of September, in the same year, he was presented to the vicarage of Walthamstow, in Essex; and in 1711, he had the honour of being appointed one of the chaplains in ordinary to the queen. About the same time, he published a visitation and a few other occasional sermons, preached on public occasions, all which were favourably received. But he, soon became more distinguished for his researches in ancient literature and history.

One of his, first publications in these sciences appeared in 1721, and was entitled, “Inscriptio Sigæa antiquissima Βουστροφηδον exarata. Commentario earn HistoricoGrammatico-Critico illustravit Edmundus Chishull, S.T.B. regiae majestati à sacris,” folio. This was followed by “Notarum ad inscriptionem Sigaeam appendicula; addita a Sigaeo altera Antiochi Soteris inscriptione,” folio, in fifteen pages, without a date. Both these pieces were afterwards incorporated in his “Antiquitates Asiaticae.” When Dr. Mead, in 1724, published his Harveian oration, delivered in the preceding year at the royal college of physicians, Mr. Chishull added to it, by way of appendix, “Dissertatio de Nummis quibusdam a Smyrnseis in Medicorum honorem percussis,” which gave rise to a controversy very interesting to the professors of the medical art, and amusing to the learned world in general. The question was, whether the physicians of ancient Rome were not usually vile and despicable slaves, or whether there were not some, at least, among them, who enjoyed the privileges of a free condition, and the respect due to their services. The history of this controversy will be found in the articles of Mead and Middleton; but Mr. Chishull has not been deemed happy in all his explanations of the Smyrnsean inscriptions. In 1728 appeared in folio, his great work, “Antiquitates Asiaticoe Christianam Æram antecedentes ex primariis Monumentis Graecis descriptae, Latine versae, Notisque et Commentariis illustratae. Accedit Monumentum Latinum Ancyranum.” Dr. Mead contributed fifty-one guineas, Dr. William Sherard twenty, and Dr. Lisle five guineas towards this book, which was published by | subscription, at one guinea the common copy, and two o-uineas the royal paper. The work contains a collection of inscriptions made by consul Sherard, Dr. Picenini, and Dr. Lisle, afterwards bishop of St. Asaph, which was deposited in the earl of Oxford’s library, and is now in the British Museum. Mr. Chislmll added to the “Antiquitates Asiatics;” two small pieces which he had before published, viz. “Conjectaneade Nummo Ckhiii inscripto,” and “her Asite Poeticum,” addressed to the rev. John Horn. Our author not having succeeded in his explication of an inscription to Jupiter Ourios, afterwards cancelled it, and substituted a different interpretation by Dr. Ashton, which was more satisfactory; but our author did not submit in, this case with so good a grace as might have been wished, and was reasonably to be expected. He added also, at the same time, another half sheet, with the head of Homer, of which only fifty copies ’were printed. He had formed the design of publishing a second volume, under the title of “Antiquitates Asiatics? pars altera diversa, diversarum Urbium inscripta Marmora complectens,” and the printing was begun; but the author’s death put a stop to the progress of it, and the manuscript was purchased at Dr. Askew’s sale in 1785 for the British Museum, for about 60l. It is to be regretted that the learned Thomas Tyrwhitt declined being the editor of this second volume. Mr. ChishulPs printed books were sold by a marked catalogue by Whiston in 1735. In 1731, Mr. Chishull was presented to the rectory of South-church in Essex. This preferment he did not long live to enjoy; for he departed the present life at Walthamstow, on the 18th of May, 1733. Mr. Clarke, of Chichester, writing to Mr. Bowyer, says, “I was very sorry for Mr. Chishull' s death as a public loss.” That our author sustained an excellent character, as a clergyman and a divine, cannot be doubted. Two letters, written by him to his friend Mr. Bowyer, and which Mr. Nichols has preserved, are evident proofs both of the piety and benevolence “of his disposition. With respect to his literary abilities, Dr. Taylor styles him” Vir celeberrimus ingenii acumine et literarum peritia, quibus excellebat maxime;“and Dr. Mead has bestowed a high encomium upon him, in the preface which introduces Mr. ChishulPs Dissertation on the Smyrnxan Coins. The same eminent physician testified his regard to the memory of his learned friend, by publishing in 1747 our author’s” Travels in | Turkey, and back to England," fol. They were originally published at a guinea, in sheets, and in 1759, the remaining copies, which were numerous, were advertised by the proprietors at fourteen shillings bound. 1

1 Biog. Brit. from information chiefly in Nichols’s Bowyer, where are some curious letters of Mr. Chishull. —Ath. Ox. vol. II.