HEARN, WILLIAM EDWARD, LL.D. (1826–1888), legal and economical writer, born, 22 April 1826, at Belturbet, co. Cavan, was son of the vicar of Killague in the same county. He was educated at the royal school at Enniskillen and Trinity College, Dublin, where he was first senior moderator in classics and first junior moderator in logic and ethics. After being professor of Greek in Queen's College, Galway, from 1849 to 1854, he was in the latter year nominated as the first professor of modern history, modern literature, logic, and political economy in the new university of Melbourne. He was called to the Irish bar in 1853, and to the bar of Victoria in 1860. On the reorganisation of the school of law in 1873 he resigned his professorship and became dean of the faculty of law, and from May to October 1886 was chancellor of the university. In 1878 he was elected to represent the central province of Victoria in the legislative council. While in parliament his energies were mainly devoted to codification of the law. In 1879 he introduced the Duties of the People Bill, a code of criminal law; in 1881 the Law of Obligations Bill, a code of duties and rights as between subject and subject; in 1884 the Substantive General Law Consolidation Bill. All these bills were in 1887 referred to a joint select committee of both houses for report, and their adoption was recommended, but owing to Hearn's ill-health they were dropped for the time. Hearn was a member of the church of England, and as a layman took a prominent part in the working of the diocese of Melbourne. In 1886 he was appointed Q.C. He died 23 April 1888.
- ‘The Cassell Prize Essay on the Condition of Ireland,’ London, 1851.
- ‘Plutology, or the Theory of the Efforts to satisfy Human Wants,’ 1864.
- ‘The Government of England, its Structure and its Development,’ 1867; 2nd edit. 1887; an important and valuable work, which is referred to by Mr. Herbert Spencer as one of those which have helped to graft the theory of evolution on history.
- ‘The Aryan Household, its Structure and its Development; an Introduction to Comparative Jurisprudence,’ 1879; his most important work, which, in the author's words, was intended ‘to describe the rise and the progress of the principal institutions that are common to the nations of the Aryan stock.’
- ‘Payment by Results in Primary Education,’ 1872.
- ‘The Theory of Legal Rights and Duties; an Introduction to Analytical Jurisprudence,’ 1885.
Hearn also made some brilliant contributions to the local press.
[A very full obituary notice is contained in the Australasian of 28 April 1888; Athenæum, 28 April 1888; Brit. Mus. Cat.]
HEARNE, SAMUEL (1745–1792), traveller, born in London in 1745, served as midshipman in the royal navy 1756–63, some of the time under Captain Samuel (afterwards Viscount) Hood [q. v.] He then entered the service of the Hudson's Bay Company, and in 1768–70 made three voyages of exploration for them in the north-west. On 15 July 1771 he began a survey of the Coppermine River, which he reached after a journey of thirteen hundred miles on foot, proceeded as far as the Great Slave Lake, and after the sorest privations made his way back to Prince of Wales's Fort 30 June 1772. He supposed that in this journey he had reached the northern coast of North America, and stood on the shores of the ‘Hyperborean Sea.’ He received the thanks of the Hudson's Bay Company and a handsome gratuity. In 1774 he established Fort Cumberland in the interior; in 1775 he was appointed governor of the company's station known as Prince of Wales's Fort, and was made prisoner at its capture by the French naval commander, La Perouse, in 1782 (see Gent. Mag. 1782, pp. 501, 546). He returned to England in 1787, and died in 1792. He is described as a man of enlightened and benevolent character, as well as of great courage and perseverance, and a close observer. After his death his ‘Account of a Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the North-West, undertaken … for the discovery of Copper Mines, a North-West Passage, &c.,’ was published in London in 1795, and another edition in Dublin in 1796. A German version is given in Sprengel's ‘Nachrichten.’
[Rose's New Biog. Dict. vol. xii.; Drake's American Biog. Dict.; Hearne's Journey, &c., London, 1795, 4to, which contains a refutation of Alex. Dalrymple's charges of inaccuracy in Hearne's latitudes; Brit. Mus. Cat. of Printed Books.]