Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hildrop, John

HILDROP, JOHN (d. 1756), divine, was educated at St. John's College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. on 7 July 1702, M.A. on 8 June 1705, B.D. and D.D. on 9 June 1743. On 14 April 1703 he was presented to the mastership of the Royal Free Grammar School at Marlborough by Thomas, earl of Ailesbury and Elgin. He was also rector of Maulden, Bedfordshire. He resigned the mastership on 4 Dec. 1733, and the rectory on 23 March 1733–4. On 13 April 1734 he was instituted to the rectory of Wath-juxta-Ripon on the presentation of Charles, lord Bruce, afterwards earl of Ailesbury and Elgin, whose chaplain he was. He was a friend and correspondent of Dr. Zachary Grey [q. v.] In 1740 he became one of the regular contributors to the ‘Weekly Miscellany.’ He died on 18 Jan. 1756. Hildrop published from time to time, anonymously or under the pseudonyms of ‘Phileleutherus Britannicus’ and ‘Timothy Hooker,’ various fugitive essays of a satirico-polemical stamp, chiefly directed against the deists, of slight intrinsic value, but written in a style unusually nervous, easy, and entertaining. Some of these were reprinted as ‘The Miscellaneous Works of John Hildrop, D.D.,’ London, 1754, 2 vols. 8vo. They comprise: 1. ‘An Essay for the better Regulation and Improvement of Free-Thinking.’ 2. ‘An Essay on Honour.’ 3. ‘Free Thoughts upon the Brute Creation or an Examination of Father Bougeant's “Philosophical Amusement,”’ &c. (an attempt to prove that the lower animals have souls in a state of degradation consequent upon the fall of man). 4. ‘A Modest Apology for the Ancient and Honourable Family of the Wrongheads.’ 5. ‘A Letter to a Member of Parliament containing a Proposal for bringing in a Bill to revise, amend, or repeal certain obsolete Statutes commonly called the Ten Commandments.’ This amusing jeu d'esprit, which on its first appearance was attributed to Swift, was reprinted in 1834, London, 8vo. 6. ‘The Contempt of the Clergy considered’ (an argument for the liberation of the church from state control). 7. ‘Some Memoirs of the Life of Simon Shallow.’ Other miscellanies by Hildrop are: 1. ‘Reflections upon Reason,’ London, 1722, 8vo (a satire upon free-thinking, attributed at first to Bishop Gastrell [q. v.], and examined by Thomas Morgan in ‘Enthusiasm in Distress,’ London, 1722, 8vo). 2. ‘A Caveat against Popery; being a seasonable Preservative against Romish Delusions and Jacobitism now industriously spread throughout the Nation,’ London, 1735, 8vo. 3. ‘A Commentary upon the Second Psalm,’ London, 1742, 8vo.

[Cat. of Oxford Graduates, notes; Gent. Mag. 1756 p. 43, 1834 ii. 114; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. i. 466, ii. 534; Nichols's Illustr. of Lit. iv. 323; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

J. M. R.