Hope, Alexander James Beresford (DNB00)
|←Hope, Alexander (1769-1837)||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 27
Hope, Alexander James Beresford
HOPE (afterwards BERESFORD-HOPE), ALEXANDER JAMES BERESFORD (1820–1887), politician and author, youngest son of Thomas Hope (1770?–1831) [q. v.], writer and patron of art, was born on 25 Jan. 1820. On inheriting the English estates of his step-father, Field-marshal Viscount Beresford [see Beresford, William Carr], he took the additional surname of Beresford before that of Hope (30 May 1854). Hope was educated at Harrow, where he obtained a scholarship and prizes. At Trinity College, Cambridge, he gained the English and Latin declamation prizes in 1841, and obtained the B.A. university prize for Latin verse in 1841. He proceeded M.A. in 1844, and D.C.L. on 5 July 1848. He entered parliament on 29 June 1841, as conservative member for Maidstone, having defeated at the poll Alderman David Salomons [q. v.]. For Maidstone he sat until the dissolution, 1 July 1852, when he was out of parliament for some years; but he was re-elected by his old constituency in 1857. He contested unsuccessfully the seat for the university of Cambridge in 1859, and that for Stoke-upon-Trent in September 1862. On 12 July 1865 he was returned for Stoke. On 24 Feb. 1868 he was elected M.P. for the university of Cambridge, and represented the university till his death. He commenced his parliamentary career as an independent conservative, and retained that character to the last. His party could not always depend on his vote, but in all matters relating to the church he was the unswerving defender of its rights in its relation to the state. In the session of 1859 he gave his ‘undying, undeviating, and unmitigated opposition’ to the marriage with a deceased wife's sister bill, a proposal which he opposed in many subsequent sessions. In the same year he made an important speech against Sir John Trelawny's bill for the abolition of church rates, a measure which he regarded as destructive of church property. At the time of the American civil war (1861) he gave three lectures upon its leading issues, which he afterwards printed. He was an uncompromising opponent of the conservative Reform Bill of 1867. When the bill was in committee (12 April 1867) he taunted Disraeli with outbidding liberals in a liberal market, denounced the bill as a two-faced measure, and nicknamed Disraeli ‘the Asian mystery.’ Disraeli in reply sarcastically alluded to his opponent's ‘Batavian graces,’ a reference to Hope's Dutch descent and awkward delivery (Kebbel, Speeches of Earl of Beaconsfield, 1882, i. 600). Hope took a prominent part in the debate on Mr. Gladstone's Irish Church Bill in 1869, and in the session of 1873 moved the rejection of Mr. Osborne Morgan's Burials Bill. During the last ten years of his life he took little part in the debates in parliament. He was created a privy councillor in April 1880. The honorary degree of LL.D. was conferred on him by the university of Cambridge in 1864, that of LL.D. by the universities of Washington and Tennessee on 22 April 1879, and that of LL.D. of Dublin University in 1881.
Hope's devotion to the church of England was the leading feature of his life. Possessed of great wealth, he purchased in 1844 the ancient buildings of St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury, as a college for missionary clergy. In 1843 he published a volume of poems, and in the following year he translated the Hymns of the Church for popular use. Accepting the idea of the catholic church, he set himself to work out how the outward aspect of English public worship might be made most reasonably and intelligently to correspond to the ideals and to the best traditions of the ancient and historic church. He built at his own expense All Saints' Church, Margaret Street, London. He also rebuilt and endowed the parish church of Sheen, Staffordshire, in 1852, and kept up the daily service at his own cost.
In 1851, at the time of ‘the papal aggression,’ Hope, under the signature of D. C. L., wrote a series of letters to the ‘Morning Chronicle’ in vindication of religious liberty. In consequence he became closely connected with that paper and its editor, John Douglas Cook [q. v.]. On the ‘Chronicle’ passing to new proprietors, Hope, in partnership with Cook, in 1855 commenced ‘The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art.’ This paper, the first number of which appeared on 3 Nov., was an advocate of independent principles in politics, chiefly noticeable for original and smartly-written leading articles, reviews, and criticisms on the topics of the day. It was successful from the first, and its success was chiefly due to the first editor, John Douglas Cook [q. v.].
At an early age Hope evinced deep interest in archæology and ecclesiastical history. Artistic and architectural subjects also occupied much of his attention. He was a firm advocate of Gothic principles in art, and frequently lectured on artistic subjects. He was president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 1865–7, became a trustee of the British Museum on 19 March 1879, was president of the Ecclesiological Society and of the Architectural Museum, a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, and a fellow of numerous learned societies. Late in life he wrote a successful novel, ‘Strictly Tied Up.’
Beresford-Hope died at his seat, Bedgebury Park, Cranbrook, Kent, on 20 Oct. 1887, and was buried at Kilndown, Kent, on 26 Oct. He married, on 7 July 1842, Lady Mildred Arabella Charlotte Henrietta Cecil, eldest daughter of James, second marquis of Salisbury, by Frances Mary, daughter and heiress of Bamber Gascoyne, esq., and sister of Robert, third marquis of Salisbury, prime minister. She was born on 24 Oct. 1822, was well known for many years as a leader of London society, and died at Nice on 18 March 1881. By her Hope had three sons and seven daughters. Beresford Hope was the author of: 1. ‘Oratio Latina, aureo numismate R. Peel recitata Scholæ Harrowviensis,’ 1837. 2. ‘Poems,’ 1843. 3. ‘Essays,’ 1844. 4. ‘Hymns of the Church, literally translated,’ 1844. 5. ‘The New Government Scheme of Academical Education for Ireland,’ 1845. 6. ‘The Reports on the Laws relative to Marriage with Deceased Wife's Sister,’ 1849; fourth edition, 1850. 7. ‘The Celebrated Greek and Roman Writers,’ 1856. 8. ‘Public Offices and Metropolitan Improvements,’ 1857; third edition, 1857. 9. ‘The Common Sense of Art,’ 1858. 10. ‘The Church Cause and the Church Party,’ 1860. 11. ‘The Hop Grower's Policy,’ 1860. 12. ‘The English Cathedral of the Nineteenth Century,’ 1861. 13. ‘A Popular View of the American Civil War,’ 1861; third edition, 1861. 14. ‘The Results of the American Disrup- tion,’ 1862; third edition, 1862. 15. ‘Two Years of Church Progress,’ 1862. 16. ‘The American Disruption,’ sixth edition, 1862. 17. ‘England, the North and the South,’ 1862; fourth edition, 1862. 18. ‘The American Church in the Disruption,’ 1863. 19. ‘The Condition and Prospects of Architectural Art,’ 1863. 20. ‘The Social and Political Bearings of the American Disruption,’ 1863; third edition, 1863. 21. ‘The Social Influence of the Prayer-book,’ 1863. 22. ‘The World's Debt to Art,’ 1863. 23. ‘The Art Workman's Position,’ 1864. 24. ‘Church Politics and Church Prospects,’ 1865. 25. ‘The Irish Church and its Formularies,’ 1870. 26. ‘Hints towards Peace in Ceremonial Matters,’ 1874. 27. ‘The Place and Influence in the Church Movement of Church Congresses,’ 1874. 28. ‘Worship in the Church of England,’ 1874; second edition, 1875. 29. ‘Strictly Tied Up,’ a novel, 1880; third edition, 1881; reprinted 1886. 30. ‘The Brandreths,’ 1882, 3 vols., a novel. 31. ‘Worship and Order,’ 1883.
[Saturday Rev. 29 Oct. 1887, p. 585; Times, 21, 22, 24, 27, 28 Oct. 1887; Guardian, October 1887, pp. 1612, 1635, 1676–7; Illustrated London News, 16 May 1857, pp. 477, 479, with portrait; Pall Mall Gazette, 26 Oct. 1887, p. 8, with portrait, 24 Dec. p. 10; Anderson's Scenes in the House of Commons, 1884, pp. 34–8; C. Brown's Life of Beaconsfield, 1882, i. 194, with portrait; Waagen's Galleries of Art, 1857, pp. 189–92; Neale's Extreme Men—A Letter to A. J. B. B. Hope, 1865.]