CLARKE, ADAM (1762?–1832), British Nonconformist divine, was born at Moybeg, Co. Londonderry, Ireland, in 1760 or 1762. After receiving a very limited education he was apprenticed to a linen manufacturer, but, finding the employment uncongenial, he resumed school-life at the institution founded by Wesley at Kingswood, near Bristol. In 1782 he entered on the duties of the ministry, being appointed by Wesley to the Bradford (Wiltshire) circuit. His popularity as a preacher was very great, and his influence in the denomination is indicated by the fact that he was three times (1806, 1814, 1822) chosen to be president of the conference. He served twice on the London circuit, the second period being extended considerably longer than the rule allowed, at the special request of the British and Foreign Bible Society, who had employed him in the preparation of their Arabic Bible. Though ardent in his pastoral work, he found time for diligent study of Hebrew and other Oriental languages, undertaken chiefly with the view of qualifying himself for the great work of his life, his Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (8 vols., 1810–1820). In 1802 he published a Bibliographical Dictionary in six volumes, to which he afterwards added a supplement. He was selected by the Records Commission to re-edit Rymer’s Foedera, a task which after ten years’ labour (1808–1818) he had to resign. He also wrote Memoirs of the Wesley Family (1823), and edited a large number of religious works. Honours were showered upon him (he was M.A., LL.D. of Aberdeen), and many distinguished men in church and state were his personal friends. He died in London on the 16th of August 1832.
His Miscellaneous Works were published in 13 vols. (1836), and a Life (3 vols.) by his son, J. B. B. Clarke, appeared in 1833.