Abbott, Jacob (1803–1879). — Educationalist and miscellaneous author, born at Hallowell, Maine, ed. at Bowdoin College and Andover, entered the ministry of the Congregational Church, but was best known as an educationist and writer of religious and other books, mainly for the young. Among them are Beechnut Tales and The Rollo Books, both of which still have a very wide circulation.
Abbott, John Stevens Cabot (1805–1877). — Historian, etc., born Brunswick, Maine, and ed. at Bowdoin College He studied theology and became a minister of the Congregational Church at various places in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Owing to the success of a little work, The Mother at Home, he devoted himself, from 1844 onwards, to literature, and especially to historical writing. Among his principal works, which were very popular, are: History of Napoleon Bonaparte (1852–55), History of the Civil War in America (1863–66), and History of Frederick the Great (1871).
À Beckett, Gilbert Abbott (1811–1856). — Comic writer, born in London, the son of a lawyer, and belonged to a family claiming descent from Thomas à Becket. Destined for the legal profession, he was called to the Bar. In addition to contributions to various periodicals and newspapers, including Punch, The Illustrated London News, The Times, and Morning Herald, he produced over fifty plays, many of which attained great popularity, and he also helped to dramatise some of Dickens’ works. He is perhaps best known as the author of Comic History of England, Comic History of Rome, Comic Blackstone, etc. He was also distinguished in his profession, acted as a commissioner on various important matters, and was appointed a metropolitan police magistrate.
Abercrombie, John (1780–1844). — Physician and writer on mental science, son of a minister, was born at Aberdeen, and ed. at the Grammar School and Marischal College there. He studied medicine at Edinburgh, in which city he practised as a physician. He made valuable contributions to the literature of his profession, and published two works, Enquiry Concerning the Intellectual Powers (1830) and The Philosophy of the Moral Feelings (1833), which, though popular at the time of their publication, have long been superseded. For his services as a physician and philanthropist he received many marks of distinction, including the Rectorship of Marischal College.
Abercrombie, Patrick (1656–1716). — Antiquary and historian, was physician to James II. in 1685; he was a Jacobite and opposed the Union in various pamphlets. His chief work was Martial Achievements of the Scots Nation (1711–16).
Acton, John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Lord (1834–1902). — Historian, son of Sir Richard A., and grandson of Sir John A., who was Prime Minister of Naples, was born at Naples. He belonged to an ancient Roman Catholic family, and was ed. first at Oscott near Birmingham under Dr. (afterwards Card.) Wiseman. Thence he went to Edinburgh, where he studied privately, and afterwards to Munich, where he resided in the house of Dr. Dollinger, the great scholar and subsequent leader of the Old Catholic party, by whom he was profoundly influenced. While at Edinburgh he endeavoured to procure admission to Cambridge, but without success, his religion being at that time a bar. He early devoted himself to the study of history, and is said to have been on terms of intimacy with every contemporary historian of distinction, with the exception of Guizot. He sat in the House of Commons 1859–65, but made no great mark, and in 1869 was raised to the peerage as Lord Acton of Aldenham. For a time he edited The Rambler, a Roman Catholic periodical, which afterwards became the Home and Foreign Review, and which, under his care, became one of the most learned publications of the day. The liberal character of A.’s views, however, led to its stoppage in deference to the authorities of the Church. He, however, maintained a lifelong opposition to the Ultramontane party in the Church, and in 1874 controverted their position in four letters to The Times which were described as the most crushing argument against them which ever appeared in so condensed a form. A.’s contributions to literature were few, and, in comparison with his extraordinary learning, comparatively unimportant. He wrote upon Cardinal Wolsey (1877) and German Schools of History (1886). He was extremely modest, and the loftiness of his ideals of accuracy and completeness of treatment led him to shrink from tasks which men of far slighter equipment might have carried out with success. His learning and his position as a universally acknowledged master in his subject were recognised by his appointment in 1895 as Professor of Modern History at Cambridge. Perhaps his most valuable services to historical literature were his laying down the lines of the great Cambridge Modern History, and his collection of a library of 60,000 vols., which after his death was purchased by an American millionaire and presented to Lord Morley of Blackburn, who placed it in the University of Cambridge.
Adamnan, St. (625?-704). — Historian, born in Donegal, became Abbot of Iona in 679. Like other Irish churchmen he was a statesman as well as an ecclesiastic, and appears to have been sent on various political missions. In the great controversy on the subject of the holding of Easter, he sided with Rome against the Irish Church. He left the earliest account we have of the state of Palestine in the early ages of the Church; but of even more value is his Vita Sancti Columbæ, giving a minute account of the condition and discipline of the church of Iona. He died 704.
Adams, Francis, W.L. (1862–1893). — Novelist, was born at Malta, and ed. at schools at Shrewsbury and in Paris. In 1882 he went to Australia, and was on the staff of The Sydney Bulletin. In 1884 he publ. his autobiographical novel, Leicester, and in 1888 Songs of the Army of the Night, which created a sensation in Sydney. His remaining important work is Tiberius (1894), a striking drama in which a new view of the character of the Emperor is presented. He died by his own hand at Alexandria in a fit of depression caused by hopeless illness.
Addison, Joseph (1672–1719). — Poet, essayist and statesman, was the son of Lancelot Addison, Dean of Lichfield. Born near Amesbury, Wilts., A. went to the Charterhouse where he made the acquaintance of Steele (q.v.), and then at the age of fifteen to Oxford where he had a distinguished career, being specially noted for his Latin verse. Intended at first for the Church, various circumstances combined to lead him towards literature and politics. His first attempts in English verse took the form of complimentary addresses, and were so successful as to obtain for him the friendship and interest of Dryden, and of Lord Somers, by whose means he received, in 1699, a pension of £300 to enable him to travel on the continent with a view to diplomatic employment. He visited Italy, whence he addressed his Epistle to his friend Halifax. Hearing of the death of William III., an event which lost him his pension, he returned to England in the end of 1703. For a short time his circumstances were somewhat straitened, but the battle of Blenheim in 1704 gave him a fresh opportunity of distinguishing himself. The government wished the event commemorated by a poem; A. was commissioned to write this, and produced The Campaign, which gave such satisfaction that he was forthwith appointed a Commissioner of Appeals. His next literary venture was an account of his travels in Italy, which was followed by the opera of Rosamund. In 1705, the Whigs having obtained the ascendency, A. was made Under–Secretary of State and accompanied Halifax on a mission to Hanover, and in 1708 was appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland and Keeper of the Records of that country. It was at this period that A. found his true vocation and laid the foundations of his real fame. In 1709 Steele began to bring out the Tatler, to which A. became almost immediately a contributor: thereafter he (with Steele) started the Spectator, the first number of which appeared on March 1, 1711. This paper, which at first appeared daily, was kept up (with a break of about a year and a half when the Guardian took its place) until Dec. 20, 1714. In 1713 the drama of Cato appeared, and was received with acclamation by both Whigs and Tories, and was followed by the comedy of the Drummer. His last undertaking was The Freeholder, a party paper (1715–16). The later events in the life of A., viz., his marriage in 1716 to the Dowager Countess of Warwick, to whose son he had been tutor and his promotion to be Secretary of State did not contribute to his happiness. His wife appears to have been arrogant and imperious; his step-son the Earl was a rake and unfriendly to him; while in his public capacity his invincible shyness made him of little use in Parliament. He resigned his office in 1718, and, after a period of ill-health, died at Holland House, June 17, 1719, in his 48th year. Besides the works above mentioned, he wrote a Dialogue on Medals, and left unfinished a work on the Evidences of Christianity. The character of A., if somewhat cool and unimpassioned, was pure, magnanimous, and kind. The charm of his manners and conversation made him one of the most popular and admired men of his day; and while he laid his friends under obligations for substantial favours, he showed the greatest forbearance towards his few enemies. His style in his essays is remarkable for its ease, clearness, and grace, and for an inimitable and sunny humour which never soils and never hurts. The motive power of these writings has been called “an enthusiasm for conduct.” Their effect was to raise the whole standard of manners and expression both in life and in literature. The only flaw in his character was a tendency to convivial excess, which must be judged in view of the laxer manners of his time. When allowance has been made for this, he remains one of the most admirable characters and writers in English literature.
Summary. — Born Amesbury, ed. Charterhouse and Oxford; received travelling pension, 1699; Campaign (1704) leads to political office; goes to Ireland, 1708; assists Steele in Tatler, 1709; Spectator started, 1711; marries Lady Warwick, 1716; Secretary of State, 1716–18; died 1719.
Lives in Biographica Britannica, Dict. of Nat. Biog., Johnson’s Lives of Poets, and by Lucy Aikin, Macaulay’s Essay, Drake’s Essays Illustrative of Tatler, Guardian, and Spectator; Pope’s and Swift’s Correspondence, etc.
The best edition of the books is that in Bohn’s British Classics (6 vols., 1856); others are Tickell’s (4 vols., 1721); Baskerville edit. (4 vols., 1761); Hurd’s (6 vols., 1811); Greene’s (1856); Dent’s Spectator (1907).
Adolphus, John (1768–1845). — Historian, studied law and was called to the Bar in 1807. He wrote Biographical Memoirs of the French Revolution (1799) and History of England from 1760–1783 (1802), and other historical and biographical works.
Ælfred (849–901). — King of the West Saxons, and writer and translator, son of Ethelwulf, born at Wantage. Besides being the deliverer of his country from the ravages of the Danes, and the restorer of order and civil government, Æ. has earned the title of the father of English prose writing. The earlier part of his life was filled with war and action, most of the details regarding which are more or less legendary. But no sooner had he become King of Wessex, in 871, than he began to prepare for the work of re-introducing learning into his country. Gathering round him the few scholars whom the Danes had left, and sending for others from abroad, he endeavoured to form a literary class. His chief helper in his great enterprise was Asser of St. David’s, who taught him Latin, and became his biographer in a “life” which remains the best original authority for the period. Though not a literary artist, Æ. had the best qualities of the scholar, including an insatiable love alike for the acquisition and the communication of knowledge. He translated several of the best books then existing, not, however, in a slavish fashion, but editing and adding from his own stores. In all his work his main desire was the good of his people. Among the books he translated or edited were (1) The Handbook, a collection of extracts on religious subjects; (2) The Cura Pastoralis, or Herdsman’s book of Gregory the Great, with a preface by himself which is the first English prose; (3) Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English; (4) The English Chronicle, which, already brought up to 855, he continued up to the date of writing; it is probably by his own hand; (5) Orosius’s History of the World, which he adapted for English readers with many historical and geographical additions; (6) the De Consolatione Philosophiæ of Boethius; and (7) a translation of some of the Psalms. He also made a collection of the best laws of his predecessors, Ethelbert, Ine, and Offa. It has been said “although King Alfred lived a thousand years ago, a thousand years hence, if there be England then, his memory will yet be precious to his country.”
Ælfric (955-c. 1022). — Called Grammaticus (10th century), sometimes confounded with two other persons of the same name, Æ. of Canterbury and Æ. of York, was a monk at Winchester, and afterwards Abbot of Cerne and Eynsham successively. He has left works which shed an important light on the doctrine and practice of the early Church in England, including two books of homilies (990–94), a Grammar, Glossary, Passiones Sanctorum (Sufferings of the Saints), translations of parts of the Bible with omissions and interpolations, Canones Ælfrici, and other theological treatises. His writings had an influence on the formation of English prose. He filled in his age somewhat the same position that Bede did in his, that of a compiler and populariser of existing knowledge.
Aguilar, Grace (1816–1847). — Novelist and writer on Jewish history and religion, was born at Hackney of Jewish parents of Spanish descent. She was delicate from childhood, and early showed great interest in history, especially Jewish. The death of her father threw her on her own resources. After a few dramas and poems she published in America in 1842 Spirit of Judaism, and in 1845 The Jewish Faith and The Women of Israel. She is, however, best known by her novels, of which the chief are Home Influence (1847) and A Mother’s Recompense (1850). Her health gave way in 1847, and she died in that year at Frankfort.
Aikin, John (1747–1822). — Miscellaneous writer, son of Dr. John A., Unitarian divine, born at Kibworth, studied medicine at Edinburgh and London, and received degree of M.D. at Leyden. He began practice at Yarmouth but, one of his pamphlets having given offence, he removed to London, where he obtained some success in his profession, devoting all his leisure to literature, to which his contributions were incessant. These consisted of pamphlets, translations, and miscellaneous works, some in conjunction with his sister, Mrs. Barbauld. Among his chief works are England Delineated, General Biography in 10 vols., and lives of Selden and Ussher.
Aikin, Lucy (1781–1864). — Historical and miscellaneous writer, daughter of above and niece of Mrs. Barbauld (q.v.). After published a poem, Epistles on Women, and a novel, Lorimer, she began the historical works on which her reputation chiefly rests, viz., Memoirs of the Courts of Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I. (1818–33) and a Life of Addison. She also wrote lives of her father and of Mrs. Barbauld. She was remarkable for her conversational powers, and was also an admirable letter-writer. Like the rest of her family she was a Unitarian.
Ainger, Alfred (1837–1904). — Biographer and critic, son of an architect in London, grad. at Cambridge, entered the Church, and, after holding various minor preferments, became Master of the Temple. He wrote memoirs of Hood and Crabbe, but is best known for his biography of Lamb and his edition of his works in 6 vols. (1883–88).
Ainsworth, William Harrison (1805–1882). — Novelist, son of a solicitor, was born in Manchester. He was destined for the legal profession, which, however, had no attraction for him; and going to London to complete his studies made the acquaintance of Mr. John Ebers, publisher, and at that time manager of the Opera House, by whom he was introduced to literary and dramatic circles, and whose daughter he afterwards married. For a short time he tried the publishing business, but soon gave it up and devoted himself to journalism and literature. His first successful novel was Rookwood, published in 1834, of which Dick Turpin is the leading character, and thenceforward he continued to pour forth till 1881 a stream of novels, to the number of 39, of which the best known are The Tower of London (1840), Old St. Paul’s (1841), Lancashire Witches, and The Constable of the Tower. The titles of some of his other novels are Crichton (1837), Jack Sheppard (1839), Guy Fawkes, The Star Chamber, The Flitch of Bacon, The Miser’s Daughter (1842), and Windsor Castle (1843). A. depends for his effects on striking situations and powerful descriptions: he has little humour or power of delineating character.
Aird, Thomas (1802–1876). — Poet, born at Bowden, Roxburghshire, went to Edinburgh, where he became the friend of Professor Wilson, Carlyle, and other men of letters. He contributed to Blackwood’s Magazine, and was editor of the Dumfries Herald (1835–63). His chief poem is The Captive of Fez (1830); and in prose he wrote Religious Characteristics, and The Old Bachelor in the Old Scottish Village (1848), all of which were received with favour. Carlyle said that in his poetry he found everywhere “a healthy breath as of mountain breezes.”
Akenside, Mark (1721–1770). — Poet, son of a butcher at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, gave early indications of talent, and was sent to the University of Edinburgh with the view of becoming a dissenting minister. While there, however, he changed his mind and studied for the medical profession. Thereafter he went to Leyden, where he took his degree of M.D. in 1744. While there he wrote his principal poem, The Pleasures of the Imagination, which was well received, and was subsequently translated into more than one foreign language. After trying Northampton, he settled as a physician in London; but was for long largely dependent for his livelihood on a Mr. Dyson. His talents brought him a good deal of consideration in society, but the solemn and pompous manner which he affected laid him open to some ridicule, and he is said to have been satirised by Smollett (q.v.) in his Peregrine Pickle. He endeavoured to reconstruct his poem, but the result was a failure. His collected poems were published 1772. His works, however, are now little read. Mr. Gosse has described him as “a sort of frozen Keats.”
Alcott, Louisa M. (1832–1888). — Writer of juvenile and other tales, daughter of Amos Bronson Alcott, an educational and social theorist, lecturer, and author, was born in Pennsylvania. During the American civil war she served as a nurse, and afterwards attained celebrity as a writer of books for young people, of which the best is Little Women (1868). Others are Little Men and Jo’s Boys. She also wrote novels, including Moods and Work.
Alcuin or Ealhwine (735–804). — Theologian and general writer, was born and ed. at York. He wrote in prose and verse, his subjects embracing educational, theological, and historical matters. Returning from Rome, to which he had been sent to procure the pallium for a friend, he met Charlemagne at Parma, and made upon him so favourable an impression that he was asked to enter his service as preceptor in the sciences to himself and his family. His numerous treatises, which include metrical annals, hagiographical and philosophical works, are not distinguished by originality or profundity, but he is the best representative of the culture and mental activity of his age, upon which, as the minister of education of the great emperor, he had a widely-spread influence.
Aldrich, Thomas Bailey (1836–1906). — Poet and novelist, born at Portsmouth, N.H., was for some time in a bank, and then engaged in journalism. His first book was The Bells, a Collection of Chimes (1855), and other poetical works are The Ballad of Babie Bell, Cloth of Gold, Flower and Thorn, etc. In prose he wrote Daisy’s Necklace, The Course of True Love, Marjorie Daw, Prudence Palfrey, etc.
Alesius, Alexander (1500–1565). — Theologian and controversialist. His unlatinised name was Aless or Alane, and he was born at Edinburgh and ed. at St. Andrews, where he became a canon. Originally a strong and able defender of the Romish doctrines, he was chosen to argue with Patrick Hamilton, the proto-martyr of the Reformation in Scotland, with the object of inducing him to recant. The result, however, was that he was himself much shaken in his allegiance to the Church, and the change was greatly accelerated by the martyrdom of H. His subsequent protest against the immorality of the clergy led to his imprisonment, and ultimately, in 1532, to his flying for his life to Germany, where he became associated with Luther and Melancthon, and definitely joined the reforming party. Coming to England in 1535, he was well received by Cranmer and other reformers. While in England he studied medicine, and practised as a physician in London. On the fall of T. Cromwell in 1540 he again retired to Germany, where, at Leipzig, he obtained a professorship. During the reign of Edward VI. he re-visited England and was employed by Cranmer in connection with the 1st Liturgy of Edward VI. Returning to Leipsic he passed the remainder of his days in peace and honour, and was twice elected Rector of the University. His writings were both exegetical and controversial, but chiefly the latter. They include Expositio Libri Psalmorum Davidis (1550). His controversial works refer to such subjects as the translation of the Bible into the vernacular, against Servetus, etc.
Alexander, Mrs. Cecil F. (Humphreys) (1818–1895). — daughter of Maj. H., born in Co. Waterford, married the Rev. W. Alexander, afterwards Bishop of Derry and Archbishop of Armagh. Her Hymns for Little Children had reached its 69th edition before the close of the century. Some of her hymns, e.g. “There is a Green Hill” and “The Roseate Hues of Early Dawn,” are known wherever English is spoken. Her husband has also written several books of poetry, of which the most important is St. Augustine’s Holiday and other Poems.
Alford, Henry (1810–1871). — Theologian, scholar, poet, and miscellaneous writer, son of a clergyman, was born in London. After passing through various private schools, he proceeded to Cambridge, where he had a distinguished career, and after entering the Church and filling various preferments in the country, became minister of Quebec Chapel, London, whence he was promoted to be Dean of Canterbury. His great work was his Greek Testament in 4 vols., of which the first was published in 1849 and the last in 1861. In this work he largely followed the German critics, maintaining, however, a moderate liberal position; and it was for long the standard work on the subject in this country. A. was one of the most versatile men, and prolific authors, of his day, his works consisting of nearly 50 vols., including poetry (School of the Heart and Abbot of Munchelnaye, and a translation of the Odyssey), criticism, sermons, etc. In addition to the works above mentioned he wrote Chapters on the Greek Poets (1841), the Queen’s English (1863), and many well-known hymns, and he was the first editor of the Contemporary Review. He was also an accomplished artist and musician. His industry was incessant and induced a premature breakdown in health, which terminated in his death in 1871. He was the friend of most of his eminent contemporaries, and was much beloved for his amiable character.
Alison, Archibald (1757–1839). — Didactic and philosophical writer, was born in Edinburgh and ed. at Glasgow University and Oxford. After being presented to various livings in England, A. came to Edinburgh as incumbent of St. Paul’s Episcopal Chapel, where he attained popularity as a preacher of sermons characterised by quiet beauty of thought and grace of composition. His chief contribution to literature is his Essay on the Nature and Principles of Taste (1790), in which the “association” theory is supported.
Alison, Sir Archibald (1792–1867). — Historian, son of the above, was born at Kenley, Shropshire, and after studying under a private tutor, and at Edinburgh University, was, in 1814, called to the Bar, at which he ultimately attained some distinction, becoming in 1834 Sheriff of Lanarkshire, in which capacity he rendered valuable service in times of considerable difficulty. It was when travelling in France in 1814 that he conceived the idea of his History of Europe, which deals with the period from the outbreak of the French Revolution to the restoration of the Bourbons, and extends, in its original form (1833–42), to 10 vols. The work is one of vast industry, and gives a useful account of an important epoch, but is extremely diffuse and one-sided, and often prosy. Disraeli satirises the author in Coningsby as Mr. Wordy, who wrote a history to prove that Providence was on the side of the Tories. It had, however, an enormous sale. A continuation of it (1852–59) brought the story down to the accession of Louis Napoleon. A. was also the author of a life of Marlborough, and of two standard works on the criminal law of Scotland. In his private and official capacities he was highly respected, and was elected Lord Rector successively of Marischal College, Aberdeen, and of Glasgow University. He was created a baronet by Lord Derby in 1852.
Allen, Charles Grant (1848–1899). — Scientific writer and novelist, born in Canada, to which his father, a clergyman, had emigrated, and ed. at Birmingham and Oxford. For a time he was a professor in a college for negroes in Jamaica, but returning to England in 1876 devoted himself to literature. His first books were on scientific subjects, and include Physiological Æsthetics (1877) and Flowers and Their Pedigrees. After assisting Sir W.W. Hunter in his Gazeteer of India, he turned his attention to fiction, and between 1884 and 1899 produced about 30 novels, among which The Woman Who Did (1895), promulgating certain startling views on marriage and kindred questions, created some sensation. Another work, The Evolution of the Idea of God, propounding a theory of religion on heterodox lines, has the disadvantage of endeavouring to explain everything by one theory. His scientific works also included Colour Sense, Evolutionist at Large, Colin Clout’s Calendar, and the Story of the Plants, and among his novels may be added Babylon, In all Shades, Philistia (1884), The Devil’s Die, and The British Barbarians (1896).
Allingham, William (1824–1889). — Poet, the son of a banker of English descent, was born at Ballyshannon, entered the customs service, and was ultimately settled in London, where he contributed to Leigh Hunt’s Journal. Hunt introduced him to Carlyle and other men of letters, and in 1850 he published a book of poems, which was followed by Day and Night Songs (1854), Laurence Bloomfield in Ireland (1864) (his most ambitious, though not his most successful work), and Collected Poems in 6 vols. (1888–93). He also edited The Ballad Book for the Golden Treasury series in 1864. In 1870 he retired from the civil service and became sub-editor of Fraser’s Magazine under Froude, whom he succeeded as editor (1874–79). His verse is clear, fresh, and graceful. He married Helen Paterson, the water colourist, whose idylls have made the name of “Mrs. Allingham” famous also. He died in 1889. Other works are Fifty Modern Poems (1865), Songs, Poems, and Ballads (1877), Evil May Day (1883), Blackberries (1884), Irish Songs and Poems (1887), and Varieties in Prose (1893). A selection from his diaries and autobiography was published in 1906.
Allston, Washington (1779–1843). — Painter and poet, born in S. Carolina, became a distinguished painter, and also wrote a good deal of verse including The Sylphs of the Seasons, etc. (1813), and The Two Painters, a satire. He also produced a novel, Monaldi. He was known as “the American Titian.”
Amory, Thomas (1691(?)-1788). — Eccentric writer, was of Irish descent. In 1755 he publ. Memoirs containing the lives of several ladies of Great Britain, a History of Antiquities and Observations on the Christian Religion, which was followed by the Life of John Buncle (1756), practically a continuation. The contents of these works are of the most miscellaneous description — philology, natural science, theology, and, in fact, whatever occurred to the writer, treated without any system, but with occasional originality and felicity of diction. The author, who was probably more or less insane, is described as having a very peculiar aspect, with the manner of a gentleman, scarcely ever stirring abroad except at dusk. He reached the age of 97.
Anderson, Alexander (1845–1909). — Poet, son of a quarrier at Kirkconnel, Dumfriesshire, became a surfaceman on the railway. Spending all his leisure in self-culture, he mastered German, French, and Spanish sufficiently to read the chief masterpieces in these languages. His poetic vein, which was true if somewhat limited in range, soon manifested itself, and his first book, Songs of Labour, appeared in 1873, and there followed Two Angels (1875), Songs of the Rail (1878), and Ballads and Sonnets (1879). In the following year he was made assistant librarian in the University of Edinburgh, and after an interval as secretary to the Philosophical Institution there, he returned as Chief Librarian to the university. Thereafter he wrote little. Of a simple and gentle character, he made many friends, including the Duke of Argyll, Carlyle, and Lord Houghton. He generally wrote under the name of “Surfaceman.”
Andrewes, Lancelot (1555–1626). — Churchman and scholar, was born in London, and ed. at Merchant Taylor’s School and Cambridge, where he took a fellowship and taught divinity. After receiving various other preferments he became Dean of Westminster, and a chaplain-inordinary to Queen Elizabeth, who, however, did not advance him further on account of his opposition to the alienation of ecclesiastical revenues. On the accession, however, of James I., to whom his somewhat pedantic learning and style of preaching recommended him, he rose into great favour, and was made successively Bishop of Chichester, of Ely, and, in 1618, of Winchester. He attended the Hampton Court Conference, and took part in the translation of the Bible, known as the Authorised Version, his special work being given to the earlier parts of the Old Testament: he acted, however, as a sort of general editor. He was considered as, next to Ussher, the most learned churchman of his day, and enjoyed a great reputation as an eloquent and impassioned preacher, but the stiffness and artificiality of his style render his sermons unsuited to modern taste. His doctrine was High Church, and in his life he was humble, pious, and charitable. Ninety-six of his sermons were published in 1631 by command of Charles I.
There are lives by A.T. Russell (1863), and R.L. Ottley (1894); Devotions were edited by Rev. Dr. Whyte (1900).
Anstey, Christopher (1724–1805). — Poet, son of Dr. A., a wealthy clergyman, rector of Brinkley, Cambridgeshire, was ed. at Eton and Cambridge. He published in 1766 a satirical poem of considerable sparkle, The New Bath Guide, from which Smollett is said to have drawn largely in his Humphrey Clinker. He made many other excursions into literature which are hardly remembered, and ended his days as a country squire at the age of eighty.
D’arblay, Frances (Burney) (1752–1840). — Novelist, daughter of Dr. Charles B., a musician of some distinction, was born at Lynn Regis, where her father was organist. Her mother having died while she was very young, and her father, who had come to London, being too busy to give her any attention, she was practically self-educated. Her first novel, Evelina, published anonymously in 1778, at once by its narrative and comic power, brought her fame, and, through Mrs. Thrale (q.v.), she made the acquaintance of Dr. Johnson, with whom she became a great favourite. Her next literary venture was a comedy, The Witlings; but, by the advice of her father, it was not put upon the stage. In 1782, however, she produced Cecilia, which, like its predecessor, had an enormous sale, and which, though not perhaps so popular as Evelina, added to her fame. She now became the friend of Burke and other distinguished persons, including Mrs. Delaney, through whom she became known to the royal family, and was offered the appointment of Second Keeper of the Robes, which, with some misgivings, she accepted. This situation did not prove a happy one, the duties being menial, the society uncongenial, and the court etiquette oppressive and injurious to her health, and in 1791 she obtained permission to retire on a pension of £100. She had, during her connection with the court, continued her Diary, which she had begun in girlhood, and continued during her whole life, and which during this period contains many interesting accounts of persons and affairs of note. She married (1793) Gen. D’Arblay, a French emigré, their only income being her slender pension. This she endeavoured to increase by producing a tragedy, Edwy and Elvira, which failed. In 1795 she published by subscription another novel, Camilla, which, though it did not add to her reputation, considerably improved her circumstances, as it is said to have brought her £3000. After some years spent in France, where her husband had obtained employment, she returned to England and published her last novel, The Wanderer, which fell flat. Her only remaining work was a life of her father, written in an extraordinarily grandiloquent style. She died in 1840, aged 87.
Arbuthnot, John (1667–1735). — Physician and satirist, was born in Kincardineshire, and after studying at Aberdeen and Oxford, took his degree of M.D. at St. Andrews. Settling in London, he taught mathematics. Being by a fortunate accident at Epsom, he was called in to prescribe for Prince George, who was suddenly taken ill there, and was so successful in his treatment that he was appointed his regular physician. This circumstance made his professional fortune, for his ability enabled him to take full advantage of it, and in 1705 he became physician to the Queen. He became the cherished friend of Swift and Pope, and himself gained a high reputation as a wit and man of letters. His principal works are the Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus, partly by Pope, but to which he was the chief contributor, the History of John Bull (1712), mainly against the Duke of Marlborough, A Treatise concerning the Altercation or Scolding of the Ancients, and the Art of Political Lying. He also wrote various medical treatises, and dissertations on ancient coins, weights, and measures. After the death of Queen Anne, A. lost his court appointments, but this, as well as more serious afflictions with which he was visited, he bore with serenity and dignity. He was an honourable and amiable man, one of the very few who seems to have retained the sincere regard of Swift, whose style he made the model of his own, with such success that writings by the one were sometimes attributed to the other: his Art of Political Lying is an example. He has, however, none of the ferocity of S.
Argyll, George John Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of (1823–1900). — Statesman and writer on science, religion, and politics, succeeded his father, the 7th duke, in 1847. His talents and eloquence soon raised him to distinction in public life. He acted with the Liberal party until its break-up under the Irish policy of Mr. Gladstone, after which he was one of the Unionist leaders. He held the offices of Lord Privy Seal, Postmaster–General, and Indian Secretary. His writings include The Reign of Law (1866), Primeval Man (1869), The Eastern Question (1879), The Unseen Foundations of Society (1893), Philosophy of Belief (1896), Organic Evolution Cross-examined (1898). He was a man of the highest character, honest, courageous, and clear-sighted, and, though regarded by some professional scientists as to a certain extent an amateur, his ability, knowledge, and dialectic power made him a formidable antagonist, and enabled him to exercise a useful, generally conservative, influence on scientific thought and progress.
Armstrong, John, M.D. (1709–1779). — Poet, son of the minister of Castleton, Roxburghshire, studied medicine, which he practised in London. He is remembered as the friend of Thomson, Mallet, and other literary celebrities of the time, and as the author of a poem on The Art of Preserving Health, which appeared in 1744, and in which a somewhat unpromising subject for poetic treatment is gracefully and ingeniously handled. His other works, consisting of some poems and prose essays, and a drama, The Forced Marriage, are forgotten, with the exception of the four stanzas at the end of the first part of Thomson’s Castle of Indolence, describing the diseases incident to sloth, which he contributed.
Arnold, Sir Edwin (1832–1904). — Poet, son of a Sussex magistrate, was born at Gravesend, and ed. at King’s School, Rochester, London, and Oxford. Thereafter he was an assistant master at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, and was in 1856 appointed Principal of the Government Deccan College, Poona. Here he received the bias towards, and gathered material for, his future works. In 1861 he returned to England and became connected with The Daily Telegraph, of which he was ultimately editor. The literary task which he set before him was the interpretation in English verse of the life and philosophy of the East. His chief work with this object is The Light of Asia (1879), a poem on the life and teaching of Buddha, which had great popularity, but whose permanent place in literature must remain very uncertain. In The Light of the World (1891), he attempted, less successfully, a similar treatment of the life and teaching of Jesus. Other works are The Song of Songs of India (1875), With Saadi in the Garden, and The Tenth Muse. He travelled widely in the East, and wrote books on his travels. He was made K.C.I.E. in 1888.
Arnold, Matthew (1822–1888). — Poet and critic, son of Dr. A., of Rugby (q.v.), was born at Laleham and ed. at Rugby, Winchester, and Balliol College, Oxford, becoming a Fellow of Oriel in 1845. Thereafter he was private secretary to Lord Lansdowne, Lord President of the Council, through whose influence he was in 1851 appointed an inspector of schools. Two years before this he had published his first book of poetry, The Strayed Reveller, which he soon withdrew: some of the poems, however, including “Mycerinus” and “The Forsaken Merman,” were afterwards republished, and the same applies to his next book, Empedocles on Etna (1852), with “Tristram and Iseult.” In 1857 he was appointed to the Professorship of Poetry at Oxford, which he held for ten years. After this he produced little poetry and devoted himself to criticism and theology. His principal writings are, in poetry, Poems (1853), containing “Sohrab and Rustum,” and “The Scholar Gipsy;” Poems, 2nd Series (1855), containing “Balder Dead;” Merope (1858); New Poems (1867), containing “Thyrsis,” an elegy on A.H. Clough (q.v.), “A Southern Night,” “Rugby Chapel,” and “The Weary Titan”; in prose he wrote On Translating Homer (1861 and 1862), On the Study of Celtic Literature (1867), Essays in Celtic Literature (1868), 2nd Series (1888), Culture and Anarchy (1869), St. Paul and Protestantism (1870), Friendship’s Garland (1871), Literature and Dogma (1873), God and the Bible (1875), Last Essays on Church and Religion (1877), Mixed Essays (1879), Irish Essays (1882), and Discourses in America (1885). He also wrote some works on the state of education on the Continent. In 1883 he received a pension of £250. The rationalistic tendency of certain of his writings gave offence to many readers, and the sufficiency of his equipment in scholarship for dealing with some of the subjects which he handled was called in question; but he undoubtedly exercised a stimulating influence on his time; his writings are characterised by the finest culture, high purpose, sincerity, and a style of great distinction, and much of his poetry has an exquisite and subtle beauty, though here also it has been doubted whether high culture and wide knowledge of poetry did not sometimes take the place of the true poetic fire.
There is a bibliography of A.’s works by T.B. Smart (1892), and books upon him have been written by Prof. Saintsbury (1899), H. Paul (1902), and G.W.E. Russell (1904), also papers by Sir L. Stephen, F. Harrison, and others.
Arnold, Thomas (1795–1842). — Historian, son of an inland revenue officer in the Isle of Wight, was ed. at Winchester and Oxford, and after some years as a tutor, was, in 1828, appointed Head Master of Rugby. His learning, earnestness, and force of character enabled him not only to raise his own school to the front rank of public schools, but to exercise an unprecedented reforming influence on the whole educational system of the country. A liberal in politics, and a zealous church reformer, he was involved in many controversies, educational and religious. As a churchman he was a decided Erastian, and strongly opposed to the High Church party. In 1841 he was appointed Professor of Modern History at Oxford. His chief literary works are his unfinished History of Rome (three vols. 1838–42), and his Lectures on Modern History. He died suddenly of angina pectoris in the midst of his usefulness and growing influence. His life, by Dean Stanley (q.v.), is one of the best works of its class in the language.
Ascham, Roger (1515–1568). — Didactic writer and scholar, son of John A., house-steward in the family of Lord Scrope, was born at Kirby Wiske, Yorkshire, and ed. first by Sir Humphrey Wingfield, and then at St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he devoted himself specially to the study of Greek, then newly revived, and of which, having taken a fellowship, he became a teacher. He was likewise noted for his skill in penmanship, music, and archery, the last of which is the subject of his first work, Toxophilus, published in 1545, and which, dedicated to Henry VIII., gained him the favour of the King, who bestowed a pension upon him. The objects of the book are twofold, to commend the practice of shooting with the long bow as a manly sport and an aid to national defence, and to set the example of a higher style of composition than had yet been attempted in English. Soon afterwards he was made university orator, and master of languages to the Lady (afterwards Queen) Elizabeth. He then went abroad in various positions of trust, returning on being appointed Latin Secretary to Edward VI. This office he likewise discharged to Mary and then to Elizabeth — a testimony to his tact and caution in these changeful times. His principal work, The Schoolmaster, a treatise on education, was printed by his widow in 1570. He also published a book on the political state of Germany.
Editions: of Toxophilus, Arber; Schoolmaster, Arber, also Mayer (1883); English works, Bennet (1767), with life by Dr. Johnson; whole works, Giles (1864–5).
Asgill, John (1659–1738). — Eccentric writer, student at the Middle Temple, 1686, and called to the Bar 1692. In 1699 he published in an unlucky hour a pamphlet to prove that death was not obligatory upon Christians, which, much to his surprise, aroused the public wrath and led to his expulsion from the Irish and English House of Commons successively. A. thereafter fell on evil days, and passed the rest of his life between the Fleet and the King’s Bench, where, strange to say, his zeal as a pamphleteer continued unabated. He died in 1738.
Ashmole, Elias (1617–1692). — Antiquary, was ed. at Lichfield, and became a solicitor in 1638. On the breaking out of the Civil War he sided with the royalists; went to Oxford and studied science, including astrology. The result of his studies in this region of mystery was his Theatrum Chymicum Britannicum, which gained him great repute and the friendship of John Selden. His last astrological treatise was The Way to Bliss, which dealt with the subject of “the philosopher’s stone.” He also wrote various works on antiquarian subjects, and a History of the Order of the Garter. A. held various posts under government, and presented to the University of Oxford a valuable collection of curiosities now known as the Ashmolean Museum. He also bequeathed his library to the University. His wife was a daughter of Sir W. Dugdale, the antiquary.
Asser (died 909?). — Chronicler, a monk of St. David’s, afterwards Bishop of Sherborne, was the friend, helper, and biographer of Ælfred. In addition to his life of Ælfred he wrote a chronicle of England from 849 to 887.
Atherstone, Edwin (1788–1872). — Poet and novelist. His works, which were planned on an imposing scale, attracted some temporary attention and applause, but are now forgotten. His chief poem, The Fall of Nineveh, consisting of thirty books, appeared at intervals from 1828 to 1868. He also produced two novels, The Sea Kings in England and The Handwriting on the Wall.
Atterbury, Francis (1662–1732). — Controversialist and preacher, was born near Newport Pagnel, Bucks, and ed. at Westminster School and Oxford. He became the leading protagonist on the High Church side in the ecclesiastical controversies of his time, and is believed to have been the chief author of the famous defence of Dr. Sacheverell in 1712. He also wrote most of Boyle’s Examination of Dr. Bentley’s Dissertations on the Epistles of Phalaris, and published sermons, which, with his letters to Swift, Pope, and other friends, constitute the foundation of his literary reputation. During the reign of the Tories he enjoyed much preferment, having been successively Canon of Exeter, Dean of Christ Church, Dean of Westminster, and Bishop of Rochester. His Jacobite principles, however, and his participation in various plots got him into trouble, and in 1722 he was confined in the Tower, deprived of all his offices, and ultimately banished. He died at Paris, Feb. 15, 1732, and was buried privately in Westminster Abbey.
Aubrey, John (1626–1697). — Antiquary, was a country gentleman who inherited estates in several counties in England, which he lost by litigation and otherwise. He devoted himself to the collection of antiquarian and miscellaneous observations, and gave assistance to Dugdale and Anthony à-Wood in their researches. His own investigations were extensive and minute, but their value is much diminished by his credulity, and want of capacity to weigh evidence. His only publication is his Miscellanies, a collection of popular superstitions, etc., but he left various collections, which were edited and publ. in the 19th century.
Austen, Jane (1775–1817). — Novelist, daughter of a clergyman, was born at the rectory of Steventon near Basingstoke. She received an education superior to that generally given to girls of her time, and took early to writing, her first tale being begun in 1798. Her life was a singularly uneventful one, and, but for a disappointment in love, tranquil and happy. In 1801 the family went to Bath, the scene of many episodes in her writings, and after the death of her father in 1805 to Southampton, and later to Chawton, a village in Hants, where most of her novels were written. A tendency to consumption having manifested itself, she removed in May, 1817, to Winchester for the advantage of skilled medical attendance, but so rapid was the progress of her malady that she died there two months later. Of her six novels, four — Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816) — were published anonymously during her life-time; and the others, Northanger Abbey — written in 1798 — and Persuasion, finished in 1816, appeared a few months after her death, when the name of the authoress was divulged. Although her novels were from the first well received, it is only of comparatively late years that her genius has gained the wide appreciation which it deserves. Her strength lies in the delineation of character, especially of persons of her own sex, by a number of minute and delicate touches arising out of the most natural and everyday incidents in the life of the middle and upper classes, from which her subjects are generally taken. Her characters, though of quite ordinary types, are drawn with such wonderful firmness and precision, and with such significant detail as to retain their individuality absolutely intact through their entire development, and they are never coloured by her own personality. Her view of life is genial in the main, with a strong dash of gentle but keen satire: she appeals rarely and slightly to the deeper feelings; and the enforcement of the excellent lessons she teaches is left altogether to the story, without a word of formal moralising. Among her admirers was Sir W. Scott, who said, “That young lady has a talent for describing the involvements of feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with;” others were Macaulay (who thought that in the world there were no compositions which approached nearer to perfection), Coleridge, Southey, Sydney Smith, and E. FitzGerald.
Austin, John (1790–1859). — Jurist, served in the army in Sicily and Malta, but, selling his commission, studied law, and was called to the Bar 1818. He did not long continue to practise, but devoted himself to the study of law as a science, and became Professor of Jurisprudence in London University 1826–32. Thereafter he served on various Royal Commissions. By his works he exercised a profound influence on the views of jurisprudence held in England. These include The Province of Jurisprudence Determined (1832), and his Lectures on Jurisprudence.
Ayton, Sir Robert (1570–1638). — Poet, son of A. of Kinaldie in Fife. After grad. at St. Andrews, he studied law at Paris, became ambassador to the Emperor, and held other court offices. He appears to have been well-known to his literary contemporaries in England. He wrote poems in Latin, Greek, and English, and was one of the first Scotsmen to write in the last. His chief poem is Diophantus and Charidora; Inconstancy Upbraided is perhaps the best of his short poems. He is credited with a little poem, Old Long Syne, which probably suggested Burns’s famous Auld Lang Syne.
Aytoun, William Edmonstone (1813–1865). — Poet and humorist, son of Roger A., a Writer to the Signet, was born in Edinburgh and ed. there, and was brought up to the law, which, however, as he said, he “followed but could never overtake.” He became a contributor to Blackwood’s Magazine in 1836, and continued his connection with it until his death. In it appeared most of his humorous prose pieces, such as The Glenmutchkin Railway, How I Became a Yeoman, and How I Stood for the Dreepdaily Burghs, all full of vigorous fun. In the same pages began to appear his chief poetical work, the Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers, and a novel, partly autobiographical, Norman Sinclair. Other works were The Bon Gaultier Ballads, jointly with Theodore Martin, and Firmilian, a Spasmodic Tragedy, under the nom-de-plume of T. Percy Jones, intended to satirise a group of poets and critics, including Gilfillan, Dobell, Bailey, and Alexander Smith. In 1845 A. obtained the Chair of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres in Edinburgh University, which he filled with great success, raising the attendance from 30 to 150, and in 1852 he was appointed sheriff of Orkney and Shetland. He was married to a daughter of Professor Wilson (Christopher North).
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