Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hallifax, Samuel
HALLIFAX, SAMUEL (1733–1790), bishop successively of Gloucester and St. Asaph, born at Mansfield on 8 Jan. 1733, was eldest son of Robert Hallifax, apothecary, of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, by Hannah, daughter of Samuel Jebb of the same town, who are commemorated by a monument in Chesterfield Church. Robert Hallifax, M.D. (1735-1810), who was physician to the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV), was a younger brother (Munk, Coll. of Phys. ii. 336). Sir Richard Jebb (1729-1787) [q. v.] and John Jebb (1736-1786) [q. v.] were his first cousins. His grandfather, Robert Waterhouse of Halifax, was the first to drop the patronymic of Waterhouse, and to call himself Hallifax, from the town with which his family had been long connected. After attending the grammar school of Mansfield,. Hallifax was admitted into Jesus College, Cambridge, as an ordinary sizar 21 Oct. 1749, and was elected to a close scholarship on the foundation of Archbishop Sterne on 24 Oct. In January 1754 he graduated B.A., when he was third wrangler in mathematics, and won the chancellor's gold medal for classics, and in 1755 and 1756 he carried off one of the members' prizes. He was elected foundation scholar on 16 Feb. 1754, and admitted to a fellowship on 22 June 1756. Next year he proceeded M.A., and before resigning his fellowship at Jesus College, early in 1760, held the college offices of praelector, dean, tutor, steward, and rental bursar. On migrating to Trinity Hall, Hallifax was elected to a fellowship (3 April 1760), and speedily became eminent as its tutor. Here he applied himself to the study of law, and took the degree of LL.D. in 1764. He was presented to the rectory of Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, 30 Nov. 1765, and held it until 1777, but continued to reside at Cambridge, and retained his fellowship until 1 Nov. 1775. When the chair of Arabic became vacant in January 1768, Hallifax, then deputy of Dr. Ridlington, professor of civil law, defeated his cousin, John Jebb, who had studied Arabic for some time, in the contest for the Arabic chair. He held as sinecures for two years both the professorship of Arabic on the foundation of Sir Thomas Adams and the lord almoner's professorship of Arabic (1768-70). These censurable proceedings on the part of Hallifax alienated his cousin. Their differences were aggravated in 1772 on the attempt to abolish subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles by clergymen and members of the universities, when some letters signed 'Erasmus' in the newspapers, in favour of subscription, were generally ascribed to Hallifax. He was attacked by Mrs. Jebb with such wit and sarcasm that he is said to have called on Wilkie, her publisher, to request him not to print any more of her writings. They were again at variance in 1774, when Jebb carried his grace for a syndicate to promote annual examinations. From 1770 to 1782 Hallifax held the regius professorship of civil law at Cambridge. He was created chaplain in ordinary to the king in February 1774, and D.D. by royal mandate in 1775. When Dr. Topham vacated his mastership of faculties at Doctors' Commons, Hallifax succeeded to the post (1770). In 1778 Mrs. Gally, for his services to religion, rewarded him with the valuable rectory of Warsop, Nottinghamshire, where he made the parish choir famous for miles round. His candidature in 1779 for the mastership of Catherine College, Cambridge, was unsuccessful. On 27 Oct. 1781 he was consecrated bishop of Gloucester, and on 4 April 1789 he was confirmed as bishop of St. Asaph, being, it is said, the first English bishop that had been translated to a Welsh see. After much suffering he died of stone in the bladder at Dartmouth Street, Westminster, on 4 March 1790. His favourite son, who died at Warsop in 1782, when a boy, through being scalded in a brewhouse, was buried in the chancel of Warsop Church, where the bishop directed that he himself should be buried, and a mural tablet with a Latin inscription, written by his father-in-law, records their death. His wife, whom he married in October 1775, was Catherine, second daughter of Dr. William Cooke, dean of Ely (1711-1797) [q. v.] Their surviving issue was one son and six daughters; the widow is said to have received a pension from George III. John Milner, the Roman catholic bishop of Castabala, asserted in his 'End of Religious Controversy' (pt. i. p. 77) that Hallifax 'probably' died a catholic. This assertion was contradicted in the 'British Critic' April 1825, pp. 365-6. Parr, in his elaborate letter on Milner's work, showed its improbability, and incidentally dwelt on Hallifax's amiability and his intellectual qualities. Parr's appendix (pp. 53-60) contains correspondence between Milner and the Rev. B. F. Hallifax, the bishop's son.
Hallifax, says Sir Egerton Brydges, who attended his law lectures, was 'a mild courteous little man, accomplished with learning, and of a clear intellect, not only of no force, but even languid.' Bishop Watson adds that he was not above the 'ordinary means of ingratiating himself with great men.' His treatment of dissenters during his tutorship at Trinity Hall is shown in his harsh demeanour towards Samuel Heywood, serjeant-at-law. His numerous publications comprised : 1. 'Saint Paul's Doctrine of Justification by Faith explained in three Discourses before the University of Cambridge,' 1760; 2nd edit. 1762, in which he replied to some previous sermons by the Rev. John Berridge [q. v.] on 'Justification by Faith alone, without Works.' 2. 'Two Sermons preached before the University, 1768, in praise of Benefactors.' 3. 'Three Sermons preached before the University on the Attempt to abolish Subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion,' 1772, two editions; this produced an anonymous 'Letter to Dr. Hallifax upon the Subject of his three Discourses,' 1772, by Samuel Blackall [q. v.], which was deemed by Parr 'very argumentative and justly severe,' while the three sermons were, on the same critic's authority, 'shewy and amply rewarded.' 4. 'An Analysis of the Roman Civil Law, in which a Comparison is occasionally made between the Roman Laws and those of England: being the heads of a course of Lectures publickly read in the University of Cambridge,' 1774; 2nd edit. 1775; 4th edit. 1795; new edition, with alterations and additions by J. W. Geldart, king's professor of the civil law, 1836. It was also included in vol. ii. of three volumes published in 1816-1818 by the proprietors of the 'Military Chronicle,' to show the course of education at Cambridge and Oxford. These lectures were attended 'by persons of the highest rank and fortunes in the university.' 5. 'Twelve Sermons on the Prophecies concerning the Christian Church, and in particular the Church of Papal Rome. Preached in Lincoln's Inn Chapel at Lecture of Bishop Warburton,' 1776. 6. 'Sermons in Two Volumes by Samuel Ogden. To which is prefixed an Account of the Author's Life,' with a vindication of his writings by Hallifax, 1780, 1786, 1788, and 1805. Hallifax followed Ogden at the Round Church, Cambridge, and 'affected his tone and manner of delivery, but did not succeed in attracting so numerous a congregation' (Gunning, Reminiscences, i. 240). 7. 'Preface by Hallifax to a Charge delivered by Bishop Butler at his Primary Visitation of Durham Diocese,' 1786. The preface was added to numerous separate editions of Butler's 'Analogy' from 1788, and to the edition in Bohn's Standard Library, and to the reproduction of Butler's 'Fifteen Sermons preached at the Rolls Chapel' in Cattermole and Stebbing's sacred classics. He contributed to the university collections of poems printed in 1760 and 1763. He published fourteen single sermons, and that preached in 1788 on the anniversary of the martyrdom of King Charles provoked 'A Letter to the Bishops on the Test Acts, including Strictures on Hallifax's Sermon 1789.' An apology for the clergy and liturgy of the established church was attributed to him by Dr. Lort. There are some slight references to him in the Cole MSS. at the British Museum (Addit. MSS. 5859, 5872, and 5876), and several of his letters are in the possession of the Dalrymple family (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. p. 531). His portrait hangs in the hall at Trinity Hall.[Disney's Jebb, i. 20-35, 62-70, iii. 60; Bishop Watson's Anecdotes, i. 115; Sir E. Brydges's Autobiography, i. 59; Wakefield's Memoirs, i. 96, 283-5, 330; Beloe's Sexagenarian, i. 60; Dyer's Cambridge, ii. 139; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, iv. 328, 389; Nichols's Illustrations of Lit. vii. 505-7; Nichols's Lit. Anecdotes, iii. 96, v. 664, vi. 368, viii. 367, 576, 649, ix. 630, 659; Field's Parr, ii. 26; Barker's Parriana, i. 287, ii. 377-408; Bibl. Parriana, p. 576; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy); Thoroton's Nottinghamshire, iii. 370; Lipscomb's Buckinghamshire, iii. 313; Jesus College Records, supplied by the Rev. H. A. Morgan, D.D.; Warsop Parish Registers by the Rev. R. J. King, 1884.]