Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lettice, John
LETTICE, JOHN (1737–1832), poet and divine, son of John Lettice, clergyman, by Mary, daughter of Richard Newcome, rector of Wymington, was born on 27 Dec. 1737 at Rushden in Northamptonshire. His father died when he was fourteen, and left him to the guardianship of a maternal uncle. He was educated at Oakham School, and admitted to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1756, where he graduated B.A. 1761, M.A. 1764, S.T.B. 1771, and S.T.P. 1797. He became a fellow of his college, and in 1764 obtained the Seatonian prize with a poem on the conversion of St. Paul, which was published in 1765, and was reissued in the ‘Musæ Seatonianæ,’ 1772. In March 1765 he spent an evening with Dr. Johnson, who was visiting Cambridge. In 1768 he accompanied Sir Robert Gunning as chaplain and secretary to the British embassy at Copenhagen, was present at the palace revolution in 1772, and subsequently visited other parts of the continent. In 1785 he was presented by his college to the living of Peasmarsh (riding of Hastings, Sussex), in 1799 he was tutor to the Beckford family, and on 21 Feb. 1804 was nominated to the prebend of Seaford in the church of Chichester, both of which preferments he held till his death on 18 Oct. 1832. In his later years he was chaplain to the Duke of Hamilton. He was greatly respected by his parishioners, who erected a monument to his memory. Lettice married, first, a daughter of John Newling, an alderman of Cambridge; she died in January 1788: secondly, on 25 May 1788, a daughter of Dr. Hinckley of the parish of St. Mary Aldermanbury, city of London.
Lettice published, apart from sermons and the Seatonian poem: 1. ‘Letters on a Tour through various parts of Scotland in 1792,’ London, 1794. 2. ‘A Plan for the safe Removal of Inhabitants not Military from Towns and Villages on the coasts of Great Britain in case of the threatened Invasion,’ London, 1803. 3. ‘The Village Catechist’ (addressed to the inhabitants of Peasmarsh), 1803. 4. ‘Fables for the Fireside’ (dedicated to the Marchioness of Douglas and Clydesdale), London, 1812. 5. ‘Suggestions on Clerical Eloquence,’ London, 1822. He contributed articles on Scottish biography, which were originally intended as an appendix to the work numbered 1 above, to the ‘European Magazine’ for 1794–5. He also translated (with Thomas Martyn) ‘The Antiquities of Herculaneum,’ from the Italian (only one vol. published, London, 1773), and ‘The Immortality of the Soul,’ a poem, from the Latin of Isaac Hawkins Browne the elder [q. v.], Cambridge, 1795.
[Didot's Nouvelle Biog.; Gent. Mag. 1788, pt. ii. p. 648, 1789 pt. i. p. 466, 1832 pt. i. pp. 477–9; Nichols's Lit. Ill. vi. 141 sq., vii. 48 sq., viii. 372; Graduati Cantabr.; Lettice's pref. to his Suggestions on Clerical Eloquence; Horsfield's Sussex; Watt's Bibl. Brit. ]