Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hoar, Leonard

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HOAR, LEONARD (1630?–1675), president of Harvard College, New Cambridge, America, born in Gloucestershire about 1630, was the fourth son of Charles Hoare, by Joanna Hinkesman of Gloucester (Edward Hoare, Pedigree of Hore and Hoare, pp. 63–4). Some time after the death of his father in 1638 he emigrated with his mother to America. Hoar, as he thenceforth called himself, graduated at Harvard College in 1650, and in 1653 returned to England, where he became ‘a preacher of the gospel in divers places.’ Through the interest of Sir Henry Mildmay he was afterwards beneficed at Wanstead, Essex, from which he was ejected by the Act of Uniformity in 1662. On 27 March 1661, while at Wanstead, he wrote to his nephew, Josiah Flint, then in the freshman class at Harvard, a long and interesting letter on the true methods of study, which is printed in the ‘Collections’ of the Massachusetts Historical Society (vi. 100–8). In 1671 he received the degree of M.D. from Cambridge by royal mandate, and in 1672 went again to Massachusetts to preach, by invitation, at the third or Old South Church, Boston. He brought a letter, dated 5 Feb. 1672, addressed to the magistrates and ministers in Massachusetts Bay by thirteen nonconformist ministers in and about London, friends of the colony and valuable agents in raising funds for a new college building, who strongly recommended Hoar for the post of president of Harvard as successor to Charles Chauncy [q. v.], who died 19 Feb. 1672. The general court voted an increase of salary on the condition that Hoar was elected. He was accordingly chosen, greatly to the disappointment of Urian Oakes, who was regarded by the students and many influential persons as Chauncy's legitimate successor. The students, according to Cotton Mather, who was then at the college, ‘set themselves to travestie’ whatever Hoar did and said, and to ‘aggravate everything in his behaviour disagreeable to them, with a design to make him odious,’ in which conduct they were abetted by powerful enemies outside (Magnalia, bk. iv. p. 129). Three of the corporation combined against him with such effect that all the students, with the exception of three, left, and in March 1675 Hoar resigned. On 28 Nov. following he died, aged 45, and was buried at Braintree, Massachusetts. His wife Bridget, daughter of John Lisley the regicide, died at Boston, Massachusetts, on 25 May 1723. By her he had two daughters: Bridget, who married, on 21 June 1689, the Rev. Thomas Cotton of London, a liberal benefactor of Harvard College; and Tryphena.

Hoar was author of:

  1. ‘Index Biblicus: or, the Historical Books of the Holy Scripture abridged. With each book, chapter, and sum of diverse matter distinguished, and a chronology to every eminent epocha of time superadded. With an Harmony of the Four Evangelists and a table thereunto, &c.’ [by L. H.], 12mo, London, 1668 (another edition 1669). It was afterwards reissued as ‘Index Biblicus Multijugus: or, a Table to the Holy Scripture. The second edition, &c.’ [by L. H.], 8vo, London, 1672.
  2. ‘The First Catalogue of Members of Harvard College,’ 1674. The only copy known was found in 1842 by James Savage in the State Paper Office in London, and has been printed in the ‘Proceedings’ of the Massachusetts Historical Society for October 1864 (p. 11), a few copies with a title-page being issued separately.
  3. ‘The Sting of Death and Death Unstung, delivered in two Sermons, preached on the occasion of the death of the Lady Mildmay,’ 4to, Boston [Mass.], 1680, published by Hoar's nephew, Josiah Flint.

[Sibley's Biog. Sketches of Graduates of Harvard Univ. i. 228–52; Quincy's Hist. of Harvard Univ. i. 31–5; Savage's Genealog. Dict. ii. 431–2.]

G. G.