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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.

XVII. Political Literature

§ 8. Churchill: his earlier life

In the composition of his journal and in his whole campaign against the minister, Wilkes had for his coadjutor a more eminent man, who, unlike himself, is to be conceived of, not as a pleasant adventurer, but as a principal literary figure of the time, the poet and satirist Charles Churchill. The two men were fast friends, although their lives had flowed in very different streams until they became acquainted in 1761. Churchill was the son of a clergyman, who was curate and lecturer of St. John’s, Westminster, and vicar of Rainham in Essex. The younger Charles was born in 1731 and early distinguished himself by his ability at Westminster school. Thence, he proceeded, in 1748, to St. John’s college, Cambridge; but his residence there was not for long. With characteristic impulsiveness, when only 18 years of age, he contracted a marriage in the Fleet with a girl named Martha Scott, and his university education had to be discontinued. His kindly father took the young couple into his house and had his son trained, as best he might, for holy orders. In 1754, Churchill was ordained deacon and licensed curate of South Cadbury in Somerset, whence, as priest, he removed, in 1756, to act as his father’s curate at Rainham. Two years later, the father died, and the son was elected to succeed him as incumbent of St. John’s in Westminster, where he increased his income by teaching in a girls’ school.