Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Chamberlayne, Edward (1616-1703)
CHAMBERLAYNE, EDWARD (1616–1703), author of 'The Present State of England,' grandson of Sir Thomas Chamberlayne, knight, at one time English ambassador in the Low Countries, and son of Thomas Chamberlayne, was born at Odington, Gloucestershire, on 18 Dec. 1616. He was first educated at Gloucester, entered St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, at Michaelmas 1634, proceeded B.A. on 20 April 1638, and M.A. 6 March 1641. During a part of 1641 he held the office of rhetoric reader at Oxford, and as soon as the civil war broke out he began along continental tour, visiting France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Bohemia, Sweden, and the Low Countries. At the Restoration he returned to England, in 1669 became secretary to Charles Howard, earl of Carlisle, and went to Stockholm to invest the king of Sweden with the order of the Garter. He was granted the degrees of LL.D. at Cambridge (January 1670-1) and of D.C.L. at Oxford (22 June 1672). About 1679 he became tutor to Charles II's illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, duke of Grafton, and he was subsequently English tutor to Prince George of Denmark. He was one of the original members of the Royal Society. In later life he lived at Chelsea, and he died there in May 1703 (Luttrell, v. 302). He was buried (27 May) in a vault in Chelsea churchyard. His friend Walter Harris wrote a long Latin epitaph, where it was stated that, with a view to benefiting posterity, Chamberlayne had had some books of his own composition enclosed ill wax and buried with him. He married in 1658 Susannah, daughter of Richard Clifford by whom he had nine children. John Chamberlayne (1666-1723) [q. v.] was a younger son. Chamberlayne's wife died on 17 Dec 1703, and was buried beside her husband.
Chamberlayne wrote and translated a number of historical tracts, but his best-known work is a duodecimo handbook to the social and political condition of England, with lists of public officers and statistics, entitled 'Angliæ Notitiæ, or the Present State of England.' The publication was an obvious adaptation of 'L'Estat Nouveau de la France ' (Paris, 1661). The first edition appeared anonymously in 1669 (not in 1667, as stated by Lowndes), and was dedicated to the Earl of Carlisle. Two other editions, with the author's name, were issued later in the same year. With the fifth edition of 1671 is bound up the first edition of a second part, containing additional information; in the sixth edition of 1673 a portrait of Charles II, by Faithorne makes its first appearance; in the ninth edition of 1676 is a new dedication to the Earl of Danby; with the eighteenth edition of 1694 is bound up a new third part, first issued separately in 1683. Hearne tells us that Andrew Allam [q. v.] had contributed largely to the sixteenth edition (1689), and that his information was inserted by Chamberlayne without acknowledgment in all later issues (Hearne, Collections, Oxford Hist. Soc., i. 130). Chamberlayne issued the twentieth edition in 1702, and after his death his son John continued to edit the publication. The twenty-first edition (1708) Dears the new title 'Magnæ Britanniæ Notitia, or the Present State of Great Britain.' John Chamberlayne died after the issue of the twenty-second edition in 1723, but fourteen editions were subsequently issued by the booksellers, the last being the thirty-sixth and bearing the date 1756. The popular handbook had its plagiarist in one Guy Miege, who brought out 'The New State of England' in 1691, and although both Chamberlaynes called repeated attention to Miege's theft, Miege continued his handbook till 1748. A French translation of Chamberlayne's second edition appeared in 1669.
Chamberlayne's other books were:
- 'The Present War' Paralleled, or a Brief Relation of the Five Years' Civil Wars of Henry III, King of England,' London, 1647.
- 'England's Wante,' London, 1667.
- 'The Converted Presbyterian, or the Church of England Justified in Some Practices,' London, 1668.
- 'An Academy or College wherein young Ladies and Gentlemen may at a very Moderate Expence be Educated in the True Protestant Religion and in all Virtuous Qualities,' London, 1671.
- 'A Dialogue between an Englishman and a Dutchman concerning the late Dutch War,' London, 1672. Chamberlayne published in 1653 a volume of translations from Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, containing:
- 'Rise and Fall of Count Olivarez.'
- 'The Unparalleled Imposture of Mich. di Molina, an. 1641.'
- 'The Right of the present King of Portugal, Don John the Fourth.'
[Notes and Queries, 6th ser. xii. 116, 137, 189, 7th ser. i. 123, 302, 462, ii. 123; Biog. Brit. (Kippis); Wood's Athenæ Oxon. iv. 789; Faulkner's History of Chelsea.]