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The Scottish Nation

CHAPMAN, a surname evidently derived from trade, as chapman is the old Saxon word for a small trader, a dealer in petty wares, or more properly a pedlar. Burns, in the commencement of Tam O’Shanter, says,

                        “When Chapman billies leave the street,
                        And drouthy neighbours neighbours meet.”

It was the name of an English poet, who was contemporary with Shakspeare and Spencer.

CHAPMAN, or CHEPMAN, WALTER, the first person who introduced printing into Scotland (about 1507), is supposed to have held some respectable office in the household of King James the Fourth. He was a citizen of wealth and importance, and in his titles is styled Walter Chepman de Everland. That his office was not of an ecclesiastical character is proved by the fact that his wife, Agnes Coburn, is mentioned in the same titles, and he consequently was not bound by vows of celibacy. His name is frequently mentioned in the Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, inserted in the Appendix to Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials. On the 21st February 1496 there is the following item: “Giffen to a boy to rynne fra Edinburgh to Linlithg. to Watte Chepman, to signet two letteris to pas to Woddis, 12d.”

      In August 1503, on occasion of the king’s marriage, in a list which is titled “Pro Servitoribus,” there is an entry “for five elne Inglis claith to Walter Chepman, ilk elne, 34s.” “Chepman,” says Mr. Pitcairn, “was an extensive merchant and burgess of Edinburgh, as well as the earliest Scottish printer.” From a grant under the privy seal, dated September 15, 1507, printed in the first volume of Blackwood’s Magazine, it appears that it was at the special request of King James that Walter Chepman, and his partner, Andro Millar, also a merchant and burgess, were induced to set up a printing press in Edinburgh; and, for their encouragement, the king conferred upon them the sole privilege of “imprenting within our Realme of the bukis of our Lawis, actis or Parliament, croniclis, mess bukis, and portuus efter the use of our Realme, with addicions and legendis of Scottish sanctis, now gaderit to be ekit tharto, and al utheris bukis that salbe sene necessar, and to sel the sammyn for competent pricis.” In the Treasurer’s Accounts there is a payment entered under date

December 22, 1507, of fifty shillings, for “three prentit bukes to the king, tane fra Andro Millaris wyff.” the printing office of Chapman and Millar, the first printers in Scotland, appears to have been in the Cowgate, then called the South gaitt, near to what is now King George the Fourth’s Bridge. This appears from the imprint on the rare edition of “The Knightly Tale of Golagros and Gawane,” and others of the earliest issues from their press in the year 1508.

      In January 1509, we find Chapman asserting his patent against “Wilyiam Frost, Francis Frost, William Sym, Andro Ross, and divers uthers, merchandis within the brugh of Edingurgh,” for having infringed it, by importing books into Scotland contrary to the privilege granted to him by the king; and the lords of council accordingly prohibited these parties, and all others, from encroaching on his right in future. “It affords evidence,” says Wilson, in his Memorials of Edingurgh, (Vol. i. p. 30) “of the success that attended the printing press immediately on its introduction, that in the year 1513, Walter Chepman founded a chaplainry at the altar of St. John the Evangelist, on the southern side of St. Giles’ church, and endowed it with an annuity of twenty-three marks.” A set of works produced by Chapman and Millar are preserved in the Advocates’ library. We learn from a passage in the Traditions of Edinburgh, that Walter Chapman, on 12th August 1528, founded another chaplainry at the altar in the chapel of Holyrood, in the Nether Kirkyard of St. Giles’, and endowed it with his tenement in the Cowgate. The year of his death is not known, but there is good reason for believing that he was interred in the south transept of St. Giles’ church.

      A list of the works printed by Chapman and Millar, some of which are very rare, will be found in Watt’s Bibliotheca Britannica.

CHAPMAN, GEORGE, LL.D., author of some educational works, was born at the farm of Little Blacktown, in the parish of Alvah, Banffshire, in August 1723. At King’s college, Aberdeen, he obtained a bursary by competition, which enabled him to study there for four seasons. He was afterwards appointed master of the parish school of Alvah. In 1747 he became assistant in Mr. John Love’s school in Dalkeith. In 1751 he removed to Dumfries as joint-master of the grammar school there, in which situation he continued for twenty years. Having acquired some wealth, he was induced, from the increase in the number of pupils who boarded in his house to relinquish the school; but finding that his success in this line injured the prospects of his successor, he generously gave up his boarding-school, quitted Dumfries and went to reside on his native farm in Banffshire, where he kept a small academy. Being invited by the magistrates of Banff to superintend the grammar school of that town, he converted it into an academy. He finally removed to Edinburgh, where, for some years, he carried on business as a printer. His treatise on Education appeared in 1782. He also published some smaller works on the same subject. Dr. Chapman died February 22, 1806. – His works are:

      A Treatise on Education, with a Sketch of the Author’s Method of Instruction, while he taught the School of Dumfries; and a View of other Books on Education. Edin. 1773, 8vo. Lond. 1774, 1790. 5th edit. Lond. 1792, 8vo.

      Hints on the Education of the Lower Ranks of the People, and the appointment of Parochial Schoolmasters.

      Advantages of a Classical Education, &c.

      An Abridgment of Mr. Ruddiman’s Rudiments and Latin Grammar.

      East India Tracts, viz. Colloghon Bengalense; a Latin Poem, with an English Translation, and a Dissertation, &c. Edin. 1805, 12mo.

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