Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Caunter, John Hobart

CAUNTER, JOHN HOBART (1794–1851), miscellaneous writer, born at Dittisham, Devonshire, 21 July 1794, went to India as a cadet about 1809. He was soon disgusted with oriental life, and ‘having discovered, much to his disappointment, nothing on the continent of Asia to interest him,’ he returned home. He recorded his impressions of India in a poem entitled the ‘Cadet’ (2 vols. 1814). Caunter then studied at Cambridge for the ministry of the church of England. In 1828 he obtained the degree of B.D. ‘After he had entered holy orders he was for nineteen years the incumbent minister of St. Paul's Chapel, Foley Place, in the parish of Marylebone. In 1846 he took a lease of a proprietary chapel at Kennington. He held for a short time the rectory of Hailsham in Sussex, and was also chaplain to the late Earl of Thanet’ (Gent. Mag.) At the time of his death, which took place in London, 14 Nov. 1851, he was curate of Prittlewell, Essex. His wife and three young children survived him. Caunter's best known work is his ‘Romance of History,’ India, 3 vols. 1836 (republished in 1872), which formed part of a popular series. Under the form of stories it treats of the most remarkable incidents of the Mahommedan conquests in India. Caunter also wrote: ‘The Island Bride, in six cantos,’ 1830; ‘Sermons,’ 3 vols. 1832; ‘Familiar Lectures to Children,’ 1835; ‘St. Leon, a Drama, in three acts,’ 1835; ‘Posthumous Records of a London Clergyman,’ 1835; ‘Descriptions to Westall and Martin's Illustrations of the Bible,’ 1835; ‘The Fellow Commoner; a Novel,’ 3 vols. 1836; ‘The Poetry of the Pentateuch,’ 2 vols. 1839; ‘The Triumph of Evil; a Poem,’ 1845; ‘Illustrations of the Five Books of Moses,’ 2 vols. 1847; ‘An Inquiry into the History and Character of Rahab,’ 1850. Besides various sermons, theological notes, &c., Caunter was engaged in the production of ten ‘Oriental Annuals’ between 1830 and 1840.

[Gentleman's Mag. for 1852, xxxvii. 627–8; Times, 20 Nov. 1851; Graduati Cantabrigienses, p. 96 (Cambridge, 1884); Notes and Queries for 1870, 4th ser. vi. 274, 353, 445; Add. MSS. 24867, f. 41, Brit. Mus. Cat.]

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