Parker, Benjamin (DNB00)

PARKER, BENJAMIN (d. 1747), author, a native of Derby, was originally a stocking-maker, who, having failed in business, took to manufacturing books. In 1731 he was living at Horsley, near Derby, and in 1734 at Mary Bridge, Derby; but in 1739 he came to London and established himself at ‘Sir Isaac Newton's Head,’ at the corner of Lincoln's Inn Fields, next Great Turnstile, where he sold a ‘restorative jelly’ for chest complaints, and a ‘cordial cholick water.’ He also professed to cure consumption. Not meeting with success as a quack, he removed in 1744 to Fulwood's Rents, Holborn, and delivered lectures on theology and philosophy, which he afterwards published. He likewise took part in the trinitarian controversy of 1735. Though he failed to attract the notice of the king and queen, he could count among his patrons the Duke of Devonshire, Lord Chesterfield, and Chief-justice Lee. He died ‘very poor,’ in Marylebone, on 17 Sept. 1747 (Gent. Mag. 1747, p. 448), and was buried at Paddington on the 18th (Lysons, Environs, iii. 338).

Parker wrote: 1. ‘Parker's Projection of the Longitude at Sea,’ Nottingham, 4to, 1731, a scheme drawn up by him in 1725, and submitted to the ‘great Dr. Halley.’ He published it in fear of Halley forestalling him in what he supposed to be his discovery, and dedicated it to the king. 2. ‘Philosophical Meditations, with Divine Inferences,’ 8vo, London, 1734; 2nd edit. 1738; 3rd edit., revised by a ‘gentleman of the university of Oxford,’ 1744, including the second part. 3. ‘A Second Volume of Philosophical Meditations,’ 8vo, London, 1735; 2nd edit. Birmingham, 1738, dedicated to the queen. 4. ‘A Journey through the World in a View of the several Stages of Human Life,’ 2nd edit. 8vo, Birmingham, 1738. 5. ‘Philosophical Dissertations, with proper Reflections,’ 8vo, London, undated; 2nd edit. Birmingham, 1738; 3rd edit. London, 1743. 6. ‘Money: a Poem, in imitation of Milton,’ 4to, London, 1740; this is sad stuff. 7. ‘The Divine Authority of the Scriptures philosophically proved; or, the Christian Philosopher,’ 8vo, London, 1742. 8. ‘A Survey of the Six Days Works of the Creation,’ 8vo, London, 1745. 9. ‘A Prospect into the Spiritual World,’ 8vo, London, 1745. 10. ‘A Review of the State of the Antediluvian World,’ 8vo, London, 1748.

[Hutton's Derby, 2nd ed. p. 238; Lysons's Mag. Brit. v. 111.]

G. G.