Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Kipling, Thomas

KIPING, THOMAS (d. 1822), dean of Peterborough, born at Bowes, Yorkshire, was son of William Kipling, cattle salesman. He received his early education at Scroton and Sedbergh schools, and was admitted a sizar of St. John's College, Cambridge, on 28 June 1764. He graduated B.A. in 1768, was elected a fellow of his college 29 Jan. 1770, and commenced M.A. in 1771. In 1773 he was elected one of the taxors of the university. He took the degree of B.D. in 1779. In 1782 he was elected Lady Margaret's preacher on the resignation of Dr. Richard Farmer (Addit. MS. 5874, f. 87). He was created D.D. in 1784, in which year he was presented by his college to the vicarage of Holme on Spalding Moor, Yorkshire. In 1787 he was appointed deputy regius professor of divinity, the professor, Dr. Richard Watson, being in ill-health. In 1792 he preached the Boyle lectures, but did not print the course (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. vi. 456).

In 1792 he was severely condemned by the liberal party in the university for promoting the prosecution of the Rev. William Frend [q. v.], fellow of Jesus College, who had attacked the established church. The errors in Kipling's edition of the ‘Codex Bezæ’ and the bad latinity of the preface were mercilessly censured, so that in the slang of the university a ‘Kiplingism’ came to be synonymous with a grammatical blunder (Gradus ad Cantabrigiam, 1824, p. 64). On 10 Feb. 1798 he was made dean of Peterborough. In the summer of 1802 he resigned the deputy professorship of divinity in consequence, it is said, of ill-health. When Dr. Lingard's ‘Strictures’ on Dr. Herbert Marsh's ‘Comparative View of the Churches of England and Rome’ appeared in 1815, Kipling took offence at the term ‘modern church of England,’ and imagining that it came within the category of ‘seditious words, in derogation of the established religion,’ wrote to Lingard through the public papers informing him that unless within a reasonable time he should ‘publish a vindication of his inflammatory language’ he would be indicted and ‘summoned to answer for his offensive demeanour in Westminster Hall.’ By way of reply Lingard merely advertised his ‘Strictures’ in all the papers which had published the dean's letter; and Kipling, after another letter and a short rejoinder from Lingard, repeating the original offence, affected to discover that the latter was not, as he had supposed, ‘a popish priest,’ and entreated pardon for having entertained ‘the erroneous notion.’ Kipling died at his parsonage, after a lingering illness, on 28 Jan. 1822.

His principal work is: ‘Codex Theodori Bezæ Cantabrigiensis, Evangelia et Apostolorum Acta complectens, quadratis literis, Græco-Latinus. Academia auspicante venerandæ has vetustatis reliquias, summa qua potuit fide, adumbravit, expressit, edidit, Codicis historiam præfixit, notasque adjecit T. Kipling,’ Greek and Latin, 2 pts., Cambridge, 1793, fol., printed at the university press. The impression was limited to 250 copies. This edition of the ‘Codex Bezæ’ is a splendid specimen of typography, the types resembling the uncial characters of the original manuscript. It was criticised with severity in the ‘Monthly Review,’ new ser. xii. 241–6, and by Porson, who had a high opinion of Kipling's Greek scholarship, in two notices in the ‘British Critic,’ vol. iii. (1794); and the preface was coarsely attacked in a pamphlet entitled ‘Remarks on Dr. Kipling's Preface to Beza. Part the first. By Thomas Edwards, LL.D.,’ London, 1793, 8vo. No second part appeared. Horne remarks that Kipling's work, although imperfect, was unfairly underrated. The Rev. H. Scrivener, in the preface to his own edition of the ‘Bezæ Codex Cantabrigiensis’ (Cambridge, 1864), says: ‘I have found the text of my predecessor less inaccurate than some have suspected: the typographical errors detected (eighty-three, of which sixteen are in his notes, &c.) I have recorded as a matter of duty, not of reproach:—perfect correctness is quite unattainable, yet Kipling has laboured faithfully, and not wholly in vain, to approach it as near as may be. His most serious fault is one of design and plan, in that he has placed in the body of the work those numerous changes which deform the pages of “Codex Bezæ.”’ Kipling's other works are:

  1. ‘The Elementary parts of Dr. Smith's Complete System of Optics,’ 1778, 4to.
  2. ‘The Articles of the Church of England proved not to be Calvinistic,’ Cambridge, 1802, 8vo, which was attacked by a writer under the signature of ‘Academicus,’ and drew forth a defence claiming to be by a friend of Kipling, but supposed to be by himself.
  3. ‘Certain Accusations brought lately by the Irish Papists against British and Irish Protestants, of every denomination, examined,’ London, 1809, 8vo; reprinted in ‘The Churchman armed against the Errors of the Time,’ vol. ii. London, 1814, 8vo. This was elicited by a reprint of Ward's ‘Errata of the Protestant Bible.’

[Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, iv. 378, 431, 557; Gunning's Reminiscences, i. 24, 281 seq., 312, 314, ii. 49–51; Gent. Mag. 1822, pt. i. p. 276; Literary Memoirs, i. 199, 342; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors, pp. 190, 440; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), pp. 764, 1278; Graduati Cantabr. 1846, pp. 185, 398; Public Characters, vi. 91; Tierney's Life of Dr. Lingard, p. 9; Annual Reg. 1822, Chron. p. 276; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ix. 79; Annual Biog. vii. 449; Horne's Introduction to the Study of the Scriptures, 9th edit. v. 15; British Critic, xi. 619; Scrivener's Codex Cantabrigiensis Bezæ, Introd. pp. xii, xiii; Cooper's Memoir of W. Melmoth, pp. 285, 405; Christian Observer, vol. i. pref. pp. vii, 593; Le Neve's Fasti, ii. 541, iii. 645; Baker's Hist. of St. John's College, Cambridge, ed. Mayor, vol. ii.]

T. C.