Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hare, Francis
HARE, FRANCIS (1671–1740), bishop of Chichester, born on 1 Nov. 1671, was son of Richard Hare, the descendant of a family which had long been settled at Leigh in Essex. His mother, his father's second wife, was Sarah, daughter of Thomas Naylor. He was educated at Eton, and admitted in 1688 to King's College, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. in 1692, M.A. in 1696, and D.D. in 1708. At Cambridge he was tutor of (Sir) Robert Walpole and of Marlborough's son, the Marquis of Blandford, who died in his college on 20 Feb. 1702-3.
In 1704 Hare was appointed chaplain-general to the army in Flanders. He described the campaign of 1704 in a series of letters to his cousin, George Naylor of Hurstmonceaux Castle, and in a journal preserved among Archdeacon Coxe's papers in the British Museum. In the autumn of 1709 he married his first cousin, Bethaia Naylor, who became the heiress of Hurstmonceaux upon the death of her brother's only daughter, Grace. In 1710 he again joined the camp at Douai. Hare received a royal chaplaincy under Queen Anne, and he was elected fellow of Eton in October 1712. He was rector of Barnes, Surrey, 1713 to 1723, and held a prebend in St. Paul's from 1707 till his death. In 1715 he was appointed dean of Worcester, and in 1722 Henry Pelham (the younger brother of his sister-in-law, Lady Grace Naylor) made him usher to the exchequer. In October 1726 he exchanged Worcester for the richer deanery of St. Paul's, which he held till his death, and on 19 Dec. 1727 was consecrated bishop of St. Asaph. He had been dismissed from his chaplaincy about 1718, in consequence of his share in the Bangorian controversy, when he joined the assailants of Bishop Hoadly . On the accession of George II, he was in favour with Queen Caroline. She had intended him for the see of Bath and Wells, but the ministry remonstrated against giving the best preferments to newly consecrated bishops (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. v. 97). Hare's fame as a preacher at this time is shown by a complimentary allusion in the 'Dunciad' (bk. iii. 1. 204).
When the estates of Hurstmonceaux came to his son, who took the name of Hare-Naylor, Hare consented to pass as much time as he could at the castle, and there brought up his son with great strictness, 'obliging him to speak Greek as his ordinary language in the family' (Cole MS.)
While visiting his paternal estates near Faversham, Hare became acquainted with Joseph Alston of Edwardstone, Suffolk, whose eldest daughter, Mary Margaret, became his second wife in April 1728, and brought him a large fortune in the estates of Newhouse in Suffolk, the ancient manor of Hos-Tendis, near Skulthorpe in Norfolk, and the Vatche, near Chalfont St. Giles in Buckinghamshire. At the Vatche they always resided during the latter years of his life, and there the seven children of his second marriage were born.
In 1721 Hare was translated from the see of St. Asaph to that of Chichester. In 1736 Sir Robert Walpole, his old pupil and the godfather of his son Robert, proposed him as successor to Archbishop Wake, then rapidly failing. But Hare had recently opposed the government in some measures for the relief of dissenters; and Lord Hervey, who had encountered him on that occasion, successfully remonstrated against the appointment, saying that he was 'haughty, hotheaded, injudicious, and unpopular' (Hervey, Memoirs, ii. 101-10).
Certainly Hare's character was not conciliatory, and is thus summed up by Cole: 'That the bishop was of a sharp and piercing wit, of great judgment and understanding in worldly matters, and of no less sagacity and penetration in matters of learning, and especially of criticism, is sufficiently clear from the works he has left behind him, but that he was of a sour and crabbed disposition is equally manifest' (see also the Critical Review for February 1763, p. 82). The few friends whom he retained in later life were chiefly the Pelhams and Walpoles, and other friends of the old Naylor connection.
On 26 April 1740 Hare died at the Vatche, and was buried in a mausoleum which he had built for his family adjoining the church of Chalfont St. Giles. Warburton showed his gratitude by a warm eulogy in the preface to the second volume of the 'Divine Legation' (Works, iv. 33). His eldest son Francis gave the bishop much trouble by a wild life, and then by engaging himself to his stepmother's sister, Carlotta Alston. The bishop prevented this marriage in his lifetime, but it took place after his death. Another son, Robert, was father of Francis Hare-Naylor [q. v.], and a third, Richard, was father of James Hare [q. v.]
Hare was a prolific author. He had been an old friend of Bentley, to whom he addressed in 1713 'the clergyman's thanks to Phileleutherus' (Bentley's pseudonym in the controversy with Anthony Collins [q. v.]). They were estranged perhaps by Hare's support of John Colbatch [q. v.] In 1724 Hare published an edition of 'Terence,' founded upon that of Faërnius, and with notes founded partly on previous communications from Bentley, who had intended to publish an edition himself. Bentley, vexed at this anticipation, published his own edition with notes, bitterly attacking Hare, and soon after issued an edition of 'Phædrus,' in order to anticipate a proposed edition by Hare. Hare retaliated with great bitterness in an 'Epistola Critica' in 1727, addressed to Bland, head-master of Eton, exposing many errors in his rival's hasty edition (see Monk's Bentley, i. 348, ii. 219-32, 234, 235; Gent. Mag. 1779, pp. 547-548). Hare's Latin scholarship has been praised by Parr and by Bishop Monk, Bentley's biographer. The praise of Warburton, who owed great obligations to him, and was no scholar, is of less value. Some of the proof-sheets of the 'Divine Legation' (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. v. 544) were seen by Hare, who tried to serve Warburton, and was only prevented from introducing him at court by Queen Caroline's death (Watson, Warburton, p. 181, &c.)
In 1736 Hare published an edition of the Psalms in Hebrew. Dr. Richard Grey, in the preface to his 'Hebrew Grammar,' declares that it restores the text in several places to its original beauty. But Hare's theory of Hebrew versification was ably confuted by Lowth in 1766, and feebly defended by Thomas Edwards (1729-1785) [q. v.] Among other learned men, Hare was the patron of Jeremiah Markland, who dedicated his edition of 'Statius' to him. Hare was involved in various controversies. He defended Marlborough and the war in pamphlets, publishing 'The Allies and the Late Ministry defended against France,' 4 parts, 1711 (a rejoinder to Swift's 'Conduct of the Allies'); 'Management of the War,' 1711; 'Conduct of the Duke of Marlborough during the present War,' 1712; and other tracts in defence of the negotiations of 1719 and the Barrier treaty. A thanksgiving sermon on the taking of Bouchain (preached by Hare 9 Sept. 1711) was bitterly ridiculed by Swift in 'A Learned Comment,' &c. (Swift, Works, 1814, vi. 111). A sermon on King Charles's martyrdom (preached 1731) produced six pamphlets in its defence (Cole MS. vol. xvi.) A tract published by the bishop in 1714, entitled 'Difficulties and Discouragements which attend the Study of the Scriptures in the way of Private Judgement,' was censured by convocation. It was taken to be ironical; but it is not very clear whether he meant to defend Samuel Clarke and Whiston (to whom he refers) against authority, or to imply that their vagaries made an appeal to authority necessary. It has been often reprinted down to 1866 (see Hunt, Religious Thought, iii. 82-4).
Besides the works above mentioned Hare contributed to the Bangorian controversy 'Church Authority Vindicated,' 1719 (a sermon which went through five editions), and was answered by Hoadly. Hare retorted in 'Scripture vindicated from the misrepresentations of the Bishop of Bangor,' 1721, and an ironical 'new defence' of the bishop's sermon. These are all collected in his works in four volumes (1746 and 1755), where the complimentary letter of 1713 to Bentley is omitted as inconsistent with the later attack upon his 'Phaedrus.'[Harwood's Alumni Etonenses; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), i. 78, 253, ii. 316, 425, iii. 72; Cole MSS.; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 57, v. 98, and elsewhere; Winston's Memoirs, i. 110-14; Biog. Brit, Suppl. (1776), pp. 102, 133; Burke's Landed Gentry, s. v. 'Hare of Court Grange;' manuscript letters of Francis Hare to his cousin, George Naylor, and his son, Francis Hare-Naylor.]