Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hawkins, Ernest

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HAWKINS, ERNEST (1802–1868), canon of Westminster, sixth son of Henry Hawkins of Lawrence End, parish of Kimpton, Hertfordshire, major in the East India Company's service, by Anne, only child of John Gurney of Bedford, merchant, was born at Lawrence End on 25 Jan. 1802, and educated at Bedford. He matriculated from Balliol College, Oxford, on 19 April 1820, and took his B.A. in 1824, M.A. in 1827, and his B.D. on 14 June 1839. On his ordination he became curate to the Rev. Joseph Gould of Burwash, Sussex, and subsequently travelled on the continent with a pupil. He returned to Oxford as a fellow of Exeter College on 26 Dec. 1831, when he acted as an under-librarian of the Bodleian Library, and served the curacy of St. Aldate in the city of Oxford. Leaving Oxford about 1835 he undertook the curacy of St. George's, Bloomsbury, London. In 1838 he was appointed an under-secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and succeeded to the secretaryship in 1843. In the following year he became assistant preacher at Lincoln's Inn, and a prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral, and in 1850 minister of Curzon Chapel, Mayfair. While he was secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, the income of the society rose from 16,000l. to 91,000l., and there was an increase of the colonial episcopate from eight to forty-seven sees. This was largely due to his tact and freedom from party feeling. During 1859 he served as vice-president of the Bishop's College at Cape Town. He retired from his secretaryship in 1864, and was promoted by the crown on 7 Nov. to a canonry at Westminster, vacated expressly for him by the voluntary resignation of William Henry Edward Bentinck, archdeacon of Westminster. Among his most intimate friends were Dr. Francis Fulford, metropolitan bishop of Canada; Dr. John Medley, bishop of Fredericton; and Dr. Edward Field, bishop of Newfoundland. Hawkins died at 20 Dean's Yard, Westminster, on 5 Oct. 1868, and was buried in the cloisters of the abbey on 12 Oct. He married, 20 July 1852, Sophia Anna, daughter of John Henry George Lefroy, rector of Ashe, Hampshire.

He was the writer or editor of:

  1. ‘Documents relative to the Erection and Endowment of Additional Bishoprics in the Colonies,’ 1844.
  2. ‘Historical Notices of the Missions of the Church of England in the North American Colonies,’ 1845.
  3. ‘Annals of the Diocese of Fredericton,’ 1847.
  4. ‘Annals of the Diocese of Quebec,’ 1849.
  5. ‘Verses for 1851 in commemoration of the Third Jubilee of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; ed. by E. Hawkins,’ 1851–2.
  6. ‘Documents relating to the Erection of Bishoprics in the Colonies, 1841–1855, with an historical preface,’ 1855; four editions.
  7. ‘Manual of Prayer for Working Men and their Families,’ 1855; four editions.
  8. ‘Psalms, Lessons, and Prayers adapted to the use of a Household,’ 1855.
  9. ‘The Book of Psalms, with explanatory notes,’ 1857; three editions.
  10. ‘The Gospel according to St. John. By Five Clergymen. Ed. by E. Hawkins,’ 1857.
  11. ‘Recent Expansion of the Church of England. The Ramsden Sermon at Oxford. With an appendix of dates and statistics,’ 1864.
  12. ‘Sick-bed Services. With a selection of Hymns,’ 1867; another edition, 1873.

He also edited Nos. II and III of a work called ‘The Church in the Colonies.’ No. II, ‘A Journal of Visitation to a part of the Diocese of Quebec in 1843,’ and No. III, ‘A Journal of Visitation in Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, and New Brunswick in 1843.’

[Men of the Time, 1868, p. 402; Boase's Exeter College, 1879, pp. 130, 216; Chester's Westminster Abbey, 1876, p. 518; Illustrated London News, 10 Oct. 1868, p. 363; Guardian, 14 Oct. 1868, p. 1146; Wordsworth's Sermon on Sunday after Funeral of the Rev. E. Hawkins, 1868.]

G. C. B.