Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hare, Julius Charles

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HARE, JULIUS CHARLES (1795–1855), archdeacon of Lewes, third son of Francis Hare-Naylor [q. v.] of Hurstmonceaux, Sussex, by his first wife, Georgiana Shipley, was born at Valdagno, near Vicenza, on 13 Sept. 1795. When he was two years old his parents [see Hare-Natlor, Francis] left him to the care of Clotilda Tambroni, professor of Greek in the university of Bologna, whose frequent letters to his mother dwell upon his 'angelic beauty.' In 1799 Julius was brought to his home at Hurstmonceaux, where lie remained till he was sent with his brother Marcus to Tunbridge School, then under the care of Dr. Vicesimus Knox. Ill-health soon obliged his removal, and he accompanied his parents to the continent, and during their residence at Weimar in 1804-1805 made his first acquaintance with German literature. On leaving Weimar in May 1805, he visited the Wartburg, and there, as he used playfully to say in after years, he 'first learnt to throw inkstands at the devil.' His education was conducted by his elder brother Francis till, after his mother's death in 1806, Julius was sent to the Charterhouse, where he was a schoolfellow of Thirlwall, Grote, Waddington, and his lifelong friends, Sir William Norris and Sir Henry Havelock. He continued to receive assistance in his studies from Francis, his 'kindest brother,' as he always called him, to whom he sent his verses for inspection, and who wrote weekly a series of essays on literary subjects for his benefit. Julius was the favourite brother of Francis, though the whole four were, as Landor called them, 'the most brotherly of brothers.' In 1812 Julius was sent to Trinity College, Cambridge.

Hare went up to Cambridge with a high school reputation both for classics and mathematics. Sedgwick, already a college tutor, made a friend of him, and Whewell and Kenelm Digby were his intimate companions. They were the witnesses of his enthusiastic championship or furious denunciations, for he never loved or hated by halves. In return, he was often loved,frequently detested, but never ignored. His acquaintance with English literature was extraordinary, and his knowledge of German probably unique for an undergraduate. He gave himself up with passionate delight to his classical studies; but his dislike of mathematics prevented him from qualifying to compete for the chancellor's medal. He was elected to a Trinity fellowship in October 1818.

After a winter passed with Francis Hare in Italy, he was persuaded by his elder brother to study the law, and took chambers in Hare Court, Temple. But legal studies were uncongenial, and he continued to read literature and philosophy, besides publishing (1820) a translation of 'Sintram,' which he intended to follow by the other works of Fouqué. In answer to a wish expressed by Lady Jones that all his German books might be burnt, he enthusiastically asserted his obligations to them, especially in enabling him to 'believe in Christianity with a much more implicit and intelligent faith' than he should otherwise have possessed. A German tone pervades many of the 'Guesses at Truth by Two Brothers,' furnished by Julius to the volumes which he prepared with his brother Augustus, and which appeared in 1827. (The last edition of this work appeared in 1871.)

In 1822, on his friend Whewell, already a tutor of Trinity, offering him a classical lectureship in his own college, he at once returned to Cambridge. Here he collected the nucleus of his remarkable library, and 'built up his mind' by his studies. Hare's lectures made a vivid impression upon his hearers. Maurice (Preface to Charges) forcibly describes his contagious interest in Plato, and his anxiety, while affording all proper help, to stimulate his hearers to active inquiry for themselves, instead of saving them the trouble of thinking.

Hare united with his friend Thirlwall in translating Niebuhr's 'History of Rome,' and editing it with fresh notes (2 vols. 1828-32). The work brought down upon its author, and by implication upon its translators, a charge of scepticism. This led Julius to publish (1829) his 'Vindication of Niebuhr,' the first of a long series of vindications which in later life he used playfully to say he should some day collect and publish in a volume under the title of 'Vindiciæ Harianæ,' or the 'Hare with many Friends.' If the energy and learning spent in refuting charges against such men as Luther, Niebuhr, Bunsen, and Coleridge seem disproportionate to the weight of the charges, he defended even his dearest friends rather from a sense of justice than from private partiality, and in the Hampden controversy he came forward in the same spirit on behalf of an entire stranger.

Hare's practice in matters of scholarship is illustrated by his spelling. He systematically used 'preacht' for preached, and the same form in similar cases. This principle he maintained in an essay in the Philological Museum; and it was for a time adopted by Thirlwall and by Whewell. Hare characteristically persevered in it to the end. If pushed to excess, it was an index of his 'conscientious stickling for truth,' and 'of that curious disregard for congruity which, more than any other cause, marred his usefulness in life' (A. P. Stanley, in Quarterly Review, vol. cxciii.)

In 1826 Hare was ordained. His first university sermon, afterwards published under the title of 'The Children of Light,' was preached on Advent Sunday, 1828. Another well-known sermon, 'The Law of Self-Sacrifice,' was preached at Trinity Chapel at the commemoration of 1829.

In 1832 the family living of Hurstmonceaux fell vacant by the death of an uncle, and when Augustus Hare refused to accept it, it was offered by his eldest brother to Julius. He accepted it, and went to reside there after a journey to Italy, in which he made the acquaintance of Bunsen. He was aware that he would never make a good parish priest, for he feared that his constitutional peculiarities and previous habits would disqualify him from talking easily to the poor. He retained the strong sense of clerical responsibility which made him answer the 'Guess,' 'What is a living worth? Heaven or Hell as the occupier does his duty.' But the difficulties he had foreseen really pressed heavily upon him. Sick people in the parish used to say, 'Mr. Hare do come to us, and he do sit by the bed and hold our hands, and he do growl a little, but he do say nowt.'

His sermons were equally over the heads of his congregation, who used to say: 'Mr. Hare, he be not a good winter parson,' which meant that he kept them so long in church that they could not get home before dark. Hare generally preached for an hour to a nodding audience. But a few of his sermons which had an especial local application were valued accordingly.

Apart from parochial duties nothing could be happier than Hare's life at Hurstmonceaux. The widow of his brother Augustus, whom he regarded with the most devoted affection, made her home in his parish, where Bunsen also settled for a time, and where John Sterling [q. v.] was his curate. His own house, surrounded by fine oaks and cedars, was one vast library, the books clothing the whole of the wall-space except that occupied by the fine collection of pictures which he had formed in Italy, and which are now in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge. Here he continued to extend his vast knowledge amid his multiplying books. The rugged, almost uncouth presence of the master of the house pervaded everything. The eagerness with which he called for sympathy over every passing event of public interest, his uncontrolled vehemence where he detected any wrong or oppression, his triumphant welcome of any chivalrous or disinterested action, his bursts of unspeakable tenderness, the hopeless unpunctuality of everything, especially of every meal, the host often setting oft' on his long evening ramble as the dinner-bell was ringing, gave a most unusual character to the daily life, and the emotions of the day culminated during his readings aloud in the evening. Most remarkable of all perhaps, was his reading in church, perfectly simple and yet indescribably elevating and touching.

In 1839 Hare delivered his sermons on the 'Victory of Faith' before the university of Cambridge as select preacher. Their prodigious length prevented their being appreciated when they were preached, and provoked such obtrusive symptoms of impatience that his friends got up a petition for their publication to efface the discourtesy from his recollection. Hare intended to have illustrated these sermons with a copious collection of notes, such as were appended to his next course, on the 'Mission of the Comforter,' preached in 1840. It was in the latter year that he was appointed by Bishop Otter to the archdeaconry of Lewes. His duties as archdeacon were especially congenial to him. With his clergy he felt none of the difficulty of making himself understood which shackle'd him with his parishioners. He delighted in his church visitations, in which the war against pews, then at its height, called forth all his characteristic vehemence; he found most congenial work in the preparation of his lengthy charges, in which he entered into all the ecclesiastical subjects of the day to a degree which makes them almost an ecclesiastical history of their times. His collected charges were published in 1856, with an introduction by F. D. Maurice.

In 1844 Hare was married to Esther, one of the many sisters of his friend and former pupil, Frederick Maurice. Ill-health began to press upon him soon afterwards, but his life for several years continued to be full of literary activity. A memoir of his friend John Sterling (1848) was followed by a series of vindications and defences, many of them of ephemeral interest, but given to the world with an energy of furious championship which absorbed his whole being at the time. In 1851 his charge on the 'Contest with Rome' (published with exhaustive notes, like those on the 'Mission of the Comforter') attracted a wider circle of readers. This was his last conspicuous work. On 23 Jan. 1855 he died at Hurstmonceaux, where he was buried by the side of his youngest brother Marcus, under the great yew tree of the churchyard.

Besides the works referred to above and some scattered sermons and pamphlets, Hare wrote:

  1. 'The Victory of Faith,' 1840; 3rd edit., 1874, edited by E. H. Plumptre, with introductory notices by Professor Maurice and Dean Stanley.
  2. 'Sermons preacht in Hurstmonceaux Church,' 1840-9.
  3. 'The Mission of the Comforter,' 1846; 2nd edit., 1850; 3rd edit., 1876.
  4. 'English Hexameter Translations from Goethe and Schiller,' 1847.
  5. 'A Letter … on … the Appointment of Dr. Hampden to the See of Hereford,' 1848.
  6. 'A Letter … on the Recent Judgement of the Court of Appeal,' 1850; on the Gorham case.
  7. ' The Vindication of Luther against his recent English Assailants,' 1855.
  8. 'Miscellaneous Pamphlets on Church Questions,' 1855.
  9. 'Sermons preacht on Particular Occasions,' 1858.
  10. 'Fragments of two Essays on English Philology,' edited by J. E. B. Mayor, 1873.

He also edited some other works, among them the 'Philological Museum,' 1833, and the third volume of Arnold's 'History of Rome,' 1843.

[A. J. C. Hare's Memorials of a Quiet Life, 1872 ; personal knowledge. To an edition of the Victory of Faith and other sermons in 1875 are prefixed F. D. Maurice's preface to the Charges, 1856, and A. P. Stanley's article in the Quarterly Review for July 1855.]

A. J. C. H.