Hardy, Francis (DNB00)

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HARDY, FRANCIS (1751–1812), biographer, a native of Ireland, graduated as B.A. in the university of Dublin in 1771, and was called to the bar in 1777. He acquired an intimate knowledge of Latin and Greek authors, as well as of continental literature. In politics he was an associate of Henry Grattan. In 1782, through the interest of the Earl of Granard, Hardy was returned as member for Mullingar in the parliament of Ireland. He co-operated with Lord Charlemont in the establishment of the Royal Irish Academy at Dublin in 1786, and in 1788 contributed to its publications a dissertation on some passages in the 'Agamemnon' of Æschylus. Hardy sat as representative for Mullingar from his first entrance into parliament till 1800. He was an effective speaker, but only took part in the House of Commons in important debates. In person he was short, with penetrating eyes, and a strong voice of much compass. Although in straitened circumstances, Hardy declined governmental overtures, by which it was sought to induce him to vote for the legislative union. After that measure had been carried Hardy retired to the country, and passed much of his time with Grattan and his family. The publication of some of the writings of Lord Charlemont, who had died in 1799, was projected by Hardy, and he subsequently undertook a biography of that peer, at the suggestion of Richard Lovell Edgeworth. For this work he received assistance from the Charlemont family, as well as from Grattan and others. It appeared at London in 1810, in a quarto volume entitled 'Memoirs of the Political and Private Life of James Caulfield, Earl of Charlemont, Knight of St. Patrick, &c.' An edition,with little alteration, was issued at London in 1812, in two volumes 8vo. The memoirs contain much interesting matter, but are rather diffuse, and not free from inaccuracies. Hardy was appointed a commissioner of appeals at Dublin in 1806. He died on 26 July 1812, and was interred at Kilcommon, co. Wicklow. An engraved portrait of Hardy was published in 1833.

[Private information; Records of Hon. Soc. King's Inns, Dublin; Archives of Royal Irish Acad., Dublin; Review of Principal Characters of Irish House of Commons, 1789; Irish Parliamentary Debates, 1800; Memoirs of R. L. Edgeworth, 1820; Memoirs of Ireland, by Barrington, 1833; Memoirs of H. Grattan, by his Son, 1846.]

J. T. G.