Hatchard had a trial at the works of the printer Thomas Bensley. He then served on apprenticeship, with John Ginger of College Street, Westminster. He later became an assistant to Thomas Payne of Mews Gate, and went into business on his own account at 173 Piccadilly, London. Starting there in 1797, he had the largest business in the retail book trade in London after four years.
Bookseller and publisher
The publication of a pamphlet Reform or Ruin: Take your Choice (1797), by John Bowdler in 1797 was the start of a long publishing career. Hatchard's views were conservative and evangelical, and he became the main publisher for works associated with the Clapham Sect. Rivington's, London publishers with a hold on Church of England-related trade, had set their face against the rise of Methodist and evangelical views; Hatchard gained both in terms of publishing work, and also with his shop becoming a social centre. William Connor Sydney wrote:
William Wilberforce, Samuel Rogers, Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode, Sir Walter Scott, Sir John Hawkins, Porson, Steevens, Lord Spencer, Malone, Windham, Hannah More, George Crabbe, were among those who frequented Hatchard's back parlour. Sydney Smith writing in the Edinburgh Review in 1810, described Hatchard's visitors as "a set of well-dressed, prosperous gentlemen, assembling daily at the shop well in with the people in power, delighted with every existing institution and with every existing circumstance."
Hatchard was appointed bookseller to Queen Charlotte and other members of the royal family. He published the Christian Observer from the first number in 1802 to 1845, when he retired from business. He also issued the publications of the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor, a venture of William Wilberforce, Sir Thomas Bernard, 3rd Baronet and Edward James Eliot. He was one of the specialist publishers of the "evangelical novel".
In 1817 Hatchard was taken to court in a libel case, and fined £100. He was publisher of a Report of the African Institution, which contained a story of a whipping of a pregnant slave on Antigua, which was found to be a fabrication. It reflected on the aides of Sir James Leith, the Governor of the Leeward Islands. Hatchard was defended by James Scarlett.
Hatchard married Elizabeth Lambert in 1790. They had two sons and three daughters.
The elder son, John Hatchard, was vicar of St. Andrew's, Plymouth, and the second son, Thomas succeeded as head of the house of Hatchard & Son, booksellers and publishers, 187 Piccadilly. Their daughter Charlotte married the printer George Josiah Palmer, and was mother of George Josiah Palmer (1828–1892) of the Church Times. Of the two other daughters, Sophia married J. R. P. Bright, and Frances died unmarried aged 19, in 1831.
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- John Feather (14 November 2005). A History of British Publishing. Routledge. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-134-41542-7.
- Piccadilly, South Side, in Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1, ed. F H W Sheppard (London, 1960), pp. 251–270 http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vols29-30/pt1/pp251-270 [accessed 20 January 2016].
- The Encyclopedia of Romantic Literature: H-Re. John Wiley & Sons. 2012. p. 1251. ISBN 978-1-4051-8810-4.
- Leslie Howsam (8 August 2002). Cheap Bibles: Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the British and Foreign Bible Society. Cambridge University Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-521-52212-0.
- Sydney, William Connor (1898). "The Early Days of the Nineteenth Century in England, 1800–1820". Internet Archive. London: George Redway. p. 244. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
- Peter Garside; Karen O'Brien (2015). English and British Fiction, 1750–1820. Oxford University Press. p. 271. ISBN 978-0-19-957480-3.
- William Brodie Gurney (1817). A Report of the Trial of the King V. John Hatchard: For a Libel on the Aides-de-camp of Sir James Leith ... and the Grand Jury of the Island of Antigua, as Published in the Tenth Report of the Directors of the African Institution. In the Court of King's Bench, Before Mr. Justice Abbott ... on February 20, 1817, Together with Mr. Justice Bayley's Address in Pronouncing the Sentence of the Court. Whitmore and Fenn. p. 127.
- Cawthon, Elizabeth A. "Scarlett, James". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/24783. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "History | St Paul's Clapham".
- Palmer, Bernard. "Palmer, George Josiah". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/37831. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Sylvanus Urban (pseud. van Edward Cave.) (1832). Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle. Edward Cave. p. 460.
- Edward Cave; John Nichols (1831). The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle. Edw. Cave. p. 381.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney, eds. (1891). "Hatchard, John". Dictionary of National Biography. 25. London: Smith, Elder & Co.