Ingleby, Clement Mansfield (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

INGLEBY, CLEMENT MANSFIELD (1823–1886), Shakespearean critic and miscellaneous writer, born at Edgbaston, near Birmingham, 29 Oct. 1823, was only son of Clement Ingleby, a well-known solicitor of Birmingham, and was grandson of William Ingleby, a country gentleman of Cheadle. Ill-health, which pursued Ingleby through life, precluded him from receiving more than a superficial home education, but at the age of twenty he was entered at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was classed as a senior optime, proceeding B.A. 1847, M.A. 1850, LL.D. 1859.

On leaving the university he worked for ten years, though not assiduously, in his father's office, being in due course admitted a solicitor and taken into partnership. But the profession was distasteful to him, and his leisure time, so far as his health allowed, was devoted to the study of metaphysics and mathematics, as well as of English, and particularly dramatic, literature. His first Shakespearean paper, entitled ‘The Neology of Shakespeare,’ was read before a literary society in Birmingham in 1850. For a short period he held the chair of logic at the Midland Institute, and published in 1856 a class-book entitled ‘Outlines of Theoretical Logic.’ In 1859 he published a small volume entitled ‘The Shakespeare Fabrications,’ bearing on the controversy arising out of John Payne Collier's literary forgeries; and in 1861 ‘A Complete View of the Shakespeare Controversy,’ which practically closed the controversy, as Collier left the book unanswered.

In 1859 Ingleby severed his connection with the law, and removed from Birmingham to the neighbourhood of London. He busied himself at this time with contributions to periodical literature, among which may be noticed a series of papers for the ‘British Controversialist’ on Coleridge, De Quincey, Francis Bacon, De Morgan, Buckle, and Sir W. Rowan Hamilton. In 1864 he published the first part of his ‘Introduction to Meta-physic,’ and in 1869 the second and concluding part. He had previously schooled himself in this work by writing a lengthy treatise on ‘The Principles of Reason, Theoretical and Practical,’ which he did not deem worthy of publication. In 1868 appeared a tractate entitled ‘Was Thomas Lodge an Actor?’ and in 1870 ‘The Revival of Philosophy at Cambridge,’ suggested by the establishment in 1851 of the moral sciences tripos at Cambridge, and making proposals for its improvement, together with discussions of the more important topics embraced by the tripos. With the exception of a series of literary essays, published in the shortlived Dublin magazine ‘Hibernia,’ and a small book of original proverbs entitled ‘The Prouerbes of Syr Oracle Mar-text,’ Ingleby henceforth devoted himself almost wholly to Shakespearean literature. In 1874 appeared ‘The Still Lion,’ enlarged the next year into ‘Shakespeare Hermeneutics,’ in which many of the standing textual difficulties were explained, and a protest lodged against the unnecessary emendations to which the folio of 1623 was subjected by contemporary editors. In the same year appeared the ‘Centurie of Prayse,’ being a collection of allusions to Shakespeare and his works between 1592 and 1692. Of this work a second and enlarged edition appeared in 1879, prepared, with his permission and assistance, by Miss L. Toulmin Smith, under the auspices of the New Shakspere Society, and a third edition has since his death appeared under the same auspices. In 1877 he issued the first part of ‘Shakespeare: the Man and the Book,’ and in 1881 the second part. In 1882 appeared a small volume entitled ‘Shakespeare's Bones,’ in which a proposal was reverently made for the disinterment of Shakespeare's bones and an examination of the skull, with a view of throwing light on the vexed question of the portraiture. That the author made his proposal in no mere spirit of curiosity the book itself will testify, but many published protests proved at once that no such attempt would be tolerated by the public. In 1885 he published 'Shakespeare and the Enclosure of Common Fields at Welcombe,' reproducing in autotype a fragment of Greene's diary, preserved at Stratford-on-Avon, in which reference is made to the poet; and in 1886 appeared his edition of 'Cymbeline,' which, though not free from small errors due to failing health, is a model of what conscientious editing should be. He died at his residence, Valentines, Ilford, Essex, on 26 Sept. 1886. Ingleby married in 1850 the only child of Robert Oakes of Gravesend, J.P., and a distant connection of his own.

Although chiefly known by his work on Shakespeare, Ingleby's essays and lesser writings embrace a far wider range of subjects, and display remarkable versatility. Their subjects include: 'The Principles of Acoustics and the Theory of Sound' 'The Stereoscope;' 'The Ideality of the Rainbow;' 'The Mutual Relation of Theory and Practice;' 'Law and Religion;' 'A Voice for the Mute Creation;' 'Miracles versus Nature;' 'Spelling Reform,' &c. A selection of his essays was published posthumously by his son. Assisted by the late Cecil Munro, and at the request of the president of the Royal Society, he made a comprehensive report on the Newton Leibnitz Papers, upon which the society based its report to the Berlin Academy. He also gave valuable help to Staunton in his edition of Shakespeare. He occasionally wrote verses, which, if not of the highest order, were scholarly and graceful. Some of these appeared from time to time in periodicals, and a full collection was made at his death and printed for private circulation. He was a born, though untrained, musician, was endowed with a beautiful voice, and at intervals composed songs, some of which he published. Unhappily, ill-health seriously curtailed the amount of work he was able to perform.

As foreign secretary and vice-president of the Royal Society of Literature, he occasionally read papers at the meetings, most of which are printed in the society's 'Transactions.' He was for a short time one of the vice-presidents of the New Shakspere Society, and among other work edited for the society the 'Shakespeare Allusion Books,' 1874. He was also elected one of the English honorary members of the Weimar Shakespeare Society, and was an original trustee of Shakespeare's birthplace.

[A biographical sketch in Edgbastonia (1886); Timmins's Memoir in Shakespeariana (1886); private information.]

H. I.