Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Hare, Thomas

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HARE, THOMAS (1806–1891), political reformer, born on 28 March 1806, was the only son of A— Hare of Leigh, Dorset. On 14 Nov. 1828 he was admitted a student of the Inner Temple, and was called to the bar on 22 Nov. 1833. He practised in the chancery courts and from 1841 reported in Vice-chancellor Wigram's court. With Henry Iltid Nicholl and John Monson Carrow he edited the first two volumes (1840 and 1843) of 'Cases relating to Railways and Canals in the Courts of Law and Equity, 1835-1840.' His reports of cases adjudged by Wigram were published in eleven volumes (1843-1858), and rank as high authorities. He published in 1836 'A Treatise on Discovery of Evidence by Bill and Answer in Equity.' A second edition, 'adapted to the supreme court of judicature acts and rules 1873 and 1875,' was published by his eldest son, Sherlock Hare, in 1876. In 1872 he was elected a bencher of his inn. Hare was appointed inspector of charities on 22 Oct. 1853, and on 7 Dec. 1872 was created assistant commissioner with a seat at the board. On 21 Dec. 1887 he retired from official life. During these years he was engaged in reporting on the charities of the kingdom, those on London filling in a collected form the third volume of the reports of the Royal City Charities Commission. He was conspicuous for great industry, wide interest in life, and clearness of intellectual vision. He belonged to the Athenæum and Political Economy clubs, and to the last was actively interested in them. He died at Carlyle Mansions, Chelsea, on 6 May 1891, and was buried at Hook, near Surbiton, on 9 May. A cross, designed by Seddon, was erected over his grave. He married, first, in Dorsetshire on 7 Aug. 1837, Mary, daughter of Thomas Samson of Kingston Russell. She died on 21 Oct. 1855, and was buried in the churchyard of Brompton church. They had eight children. The eldest daughter, Marian, wife of the Rev. W. R. Andrews of Eastbourne, has written under the pseudonym of 'Christopher Hare;' the second daughter, Alice, married Professor Westlake. Hare married, secondly, on 4 April 1872, Eleanor Bowes Benson (1833-1890), second sister of Edward White Benson, archbishop of Canterbury [q. v. Suppl.], by whom he had issue Mary Eleanor (1874-1883).

Hare's energies were concentrated in an attempt to devise a system which should secure proportional representation of all classes in the United Kingdom, including minorities, in the House of Commons and other electoral assemblies. His views were set out at first in the 'Machinery of Representation' (1857, two editions), and they were afterwards more fully developed in his 'Treatise on the Election of Representatives, Parliamentary and Municipal' (1859, 1861, 1865, and 1873). A copious literature grew up for the promotion of his system, which was generally regarded as too complicated for practical working, and many societies were formed for its propagation. John Stuart Mill commended it in the second edition of 'Thoughts on Parliamentary Reform,' and Henry Fawcett, who held that in it 'lay the only remedy against the great danger of an oppression of minorities,' brought out in 1860 a pamphlet entitled ' Mr. Hare's Reform Bill simplified and explained' (Stephen, Life of Fawcett, pp. 170, 185, 451).

Hare's other works included a pamphlet in support of the relaxation of the navigation laws, published in 1826 at the request of Huskisson; 'The Development of the Wealth of India,' a reprint from 'Macmillan's Magazine,' 1861; 'Usque ad Coelum,' 'Thoughts on the Dwellings of the People,' 'Local Government in the Metropolis,' 1862; 'The Distribution of Seats in Parliament,' 1879; and 'London Municipal Reform,' 1882, which contained many papers he had previously published on that question. He contributed to Alfred Hill's volume of 'Essay's upon Educational Subjects' a paper on 'Endowments created for the Apprenticeship of Children.'

[Benchers of Inner Temple, p. 123; Times, 7 May 1891, pp. 1, 5; Athenæum, 16 May 1891, pp. 635-6 (by Leonard Courtney); Academy, 16 May 1891 (by John Westlake); A. C. Benson's family pedigree; Benson's Archbishop Benson, i. 5, 80-87, ii. 284-98, 399; private information.]

W. P. C.