Froude, Richard Hurrell (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 20
Froude, Richard Hurrell

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FROUDE, RICHARD HURRELL (1803–1836), divine, son of Robert Hurrell Froude, afterwards archdeacon of Totnes, was born 25 March 1803, at his father's rectory, Datington, Devonshire. He was elder brother of William Froude [q. v.], and of the historian, James Anthony Froude. He was educated at Ottery free school, where he lived in the house of George, elder brother of Samuel Taylor, Coleridge, and was sent to Eton in 1816. In 1821 he came into residence as a commoner of Oriel College, Oxford. He graduated as B.A. in 1824, when he was second class both in ‘Literæ Humaniores’ and mathematics. He was elected to a fellowship at Oriel at Easter 1826, took his M.A. degree in 1827, and in the same year became tutor in his college, retaining the office until 1830. He was ordained deacon at Christmas 1828 by the Bishop of Oxford, and priest in 1829. In 1826 (the present Cardinal) Newman became tutor of Oriel, and there made an acquaintance with Froude, which ripened into a close and affectionate friendship about 1829. Newman, in his ‘Apologia,’ speaks of Froude's bold and logical intellect. He already detested the reformers, admired the church of Rome, accepted tradition ‘as a main instrument of religious teaching,’ and was ‘powerfully drawn to the mediæval church, but not to the primitive.’ He was ‘a high tory of the cavalier stamp,’ a man of strong classical tastes, and fond of historical inquiry, but ‘had no taste for theology as such.’ He became an influential member of the party afterwards known as the Oxford school, and had a strong influence upon its founders. In 1831 he showed symptoms of consumption, and passed the winter of 1832 in the south of Europe for the sake of his health. He was accompanied by his father, and for part of the time by Newman. He was ‘shocked by the degeneracy which he thought he saw in the catholics of Italy.’ At Rome he began with Newman to write the ‘Lyra Apostolica,’ which appeared in the ‘British Magazine.’ His contributions signed β are exceptionally beautiful. After his return in the summer of 1833, he sailed in November 1834 to the West Indies, where he stayed until the spring of 1835. His health was not really improved, and he died at his father's house 28 Feb. 1836. He contributed three of the ‘Tracts for the Times.’ Two volumes of ‘Remains’ published at the end of 1837 were prefaced by Newman and edited by James B. Mozley [q. v.] The preface shows that although he hated ‘protestantism,’ he was still opposed to ‘Romanism.’ He was a ‘catholic without the popery, and a church of England man without the protestantism’ (Remains, i. 404). He was in fact at the stage reached by Newman at the same period. Two later volumes appeared in 1839. They show his strong prejudices more distinctly than the intellectual power which he undoubtedly possessed.

Mr. J. A. Froude says that he never saw any person ‘in whom the excellencies of intellect and character were combined in fuller measure’ (Nineteenth Century for April 1879).

[Life prefixed to Remains; Newman's Apologia, 1st ed. 75, 77, 84–7, 95, 109, 110, 125, 128, 129, 154; Mozley's Reminiscences (1882); Churton's Joshua Watson (1861), ii. 139–41; Coleridge's Keble, pp. xii. 111–13; Life of S. Wilberforce, i. 34, 95; J. B. Mozley's Letters, pp. 73, 102.]