Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Chapman, John (1822-1894)

1417886Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement, Volume 1 — Chapman, John (1822-1894)1901John Goldworth Alger

CHAPMAN, JOHN (1822–1894), physician, author, and publisher, was son of a chemist at Nottingham, where he was born in 1822. He was apprenticed to a watchmaker at Worksop, but, not staying long with him, went to his brother, a medical student at Edinburgh, who sent him out to Adelaide to start in business as a watchmaker and optician. Returning to Europe about 1844, he began studying medicine in Paris, and continued his studies at St. George's Hospital, London. After submitting a book on human nature to Green, a publisher and bookseller in Newgate Street, he was led to take over Green's business, which he transferred to 142 Strand. He acted as agent for American firms, and in his capacity of bookseller originated the allowance of 2d. in the shilling discount to retail customers. In 1851 he became editor and proprietor of the 'Westminster Review,' Robert William Mackay [q. v.] being for a time his associate. Mary Ann Evans [see Cross, Mary Ann] for two years resided with him as sub-editor at the publishing offices, 142 Strand. On 4 May 1852 Chapman convened a meeting of authors to protest against publishers' regulations which fettered the sale of books. Charles Dickens presided, and Babbage, Tom Taylor, Cruikshank, and Professor Owen were present. Emerson, of whom Chapman was an admirer, visited him in London, and he had social, literary, or business relations with John Stuart Mill, F. W. Newman, Louis Blanc, Carlyle, George Combe, J. A. Froude, G. H. Lewes, W. C. Bryant, Harriet and James Martineau, and Herbert Spencer. His receptions attracted especially religious, social, and political reformers, who found in him a warm sympathiser. On 6 May 1857 he took a medical degree at St. Andrews, and practised as a physician. He advocated the application of an ice-bag to the spine as a remedy particularly for sea-sickness and cholera. In March 1860 he handed over his publishing business to George Manwaring. In 1874 he removed to Paris, where he also gathered round him men of advanced views, still continuing, with his wife's assistance, to edit the 'Westminster Review.' He died in Paris on 25 Nov. 1894, from the result of being run over by a cab.

Chapman edited and published 'Chapman's Library for the People,' 15 nos. 1801-1854, and 'Chapman's Quarterly Series,' 7 vols. 1853–4. His original works include:

  1. 'Human Nature,' 1844.
  2. 'Characteristics of Men of Genius,' 1847.
  3. 'The Book-selling System,' 1852.
  4. 'Chloroform and other Anaesthetics,' 1859.
  5. 'Christian Revivals,' 1860.
  6. 'Functional Disorders of the Stomach,' 1864.
  7. 'Diarrhoea and Cholera,' 1865.
  8. 'Seasickness,' 1869.
  9. 'Medical Institutions of the United Kingdom,' 1870.
  10. 'Prostitution,' 1870.
  11. 'Neuralgia,' 1873.
  12. 'Medical Charity,' 1874.

[Personal knowledge; Athenæum, November, December, 1894, pp. 755, 790, 828; American Critic, September 1899, p. 782; New York Critic, September 1899, p. 782; Cross's Life of George Eliot.]

J. G. A.