Hartley, Thomas (DNB00)

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HARTLEY, THOMAS (1709?–1784), translator of Swedenborg, son of Robert Hartley, a London bookseller, was born in London about 1709. He was educated at Kendal School, and at the age of sixteen was admitted as a subsizar at St. John's College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1728, M.A. in 1745. In 1737 he was curate at Chiawick, Middlesex; in 1744 he became rector of Winwick, Northamptonshire, and held the living till his death, though apparently nonresident after 1770. His early connections were with the evangelical school represented by Hervey (his neighbour in Northamptonshire) and Whitefield, but his admiration for mystical writers comes out in his 'discourse on Mistakes concerning religion, enthusiasm, &c.,' prefixed to his collected sermons, 1754, and dedicated to Lady Huntingdon, and appears further developed in a millenarian treatise, 'Paradise Restored' (1764), including a 'defence of the mystic writers against Warburton,' which Wesley pronounced to be 'ingenious' but not satisfactory. With Swedenborg his acquaintance began about 1769. In that year Swedenborg wrote him a letter, declining an offer of pecuniary aid, and supplying autobiographical particulars. He visited Swedenborg at Cold Bath Fields, in company with William Cookworthy [q. v.] In 1770 he published 'A Theosophical Lucubration on the Nature of Influx,' &c, being a translation of Swedenborg's 'De Commercio Animoe et Corporis,' 1769. It was in response to his 'nine questions' that Swedenborg briefly formulated his view of the doctrine of the Trinity. In 1785 appeared his 'Quæstiones Novein de Trinitate . . . ad E. Swedenborg propositæ . . . turn illius responsa,' &c, 8vo; followed by an English version, 'Nine Queries,' &c, 1786, 8vo (appended to editions of Swedenborg's'Doctrine .. .respecting the Lord'). Hartley paid frequent visits to Swedenborg, but when Swedenborg sent for him in his last illness (March 1772) he 'did not embrace the opportunity,' to his great subsequent regret. He revised and wrote a preface for Cookworthy's translation (1778) of Swedenborg's 'De Coelo . . . et de Inferno,' &c, 1758. A letter from him to John Clowes [q. v.] is inserted in the preface to the translation (1781) of Swedenborg's 'Vera Christiana Religio,' &c, 1771. With the organised society for propagating the doctrines of Swedenborg, started in 1783 by Robert Hindmarsh [q. v.], he had no connection. During some part of his life he resided in Hertford, but from the early part of 1772 he lived at East Mailing, Kent, where he died on 10 Dec. 1784, aged 75 (Gent. Mag. 1785, p. 76; and Aurora, 1800, ii. 351; both give the age wrongly). He had considerable learning and wrote well.In addition to the works already mentioned, he published various sermons, and 'God's Controversy with the Nations,' &c, 1750, 8vo.

[Graduati Cantabr. 219; Scott's Diary, 1809; Tafel's Sammlung von Urkunden, 1839,pp. 177sq., 187sq.,230sq.; Smithson's Documcnts concerning Swedenborg, 1841, pp. 24 sq., 35 sq.; Walton's Notes for a Biography of Law, 1854, p. 158; White's Swedenborg. 1867, i. 320, ii. 480,583,586, 592, &c; Tyerman's Wesley, 1870, ii. 518 sq.; Tyerman's Oxford Methodists, 1873, pp. 259 sq.; extract from Admission Book of St. John's College, Cambridge, per R. F. Scott, esq.; information from the Bov. W. H. Disney, Winwick Rectory, Rugby.]

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