Hussey, Richard (DNB00)

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HUSSEY, RICHARD (1715?–1770), politician, born probably in 1715, though Polwhele (Reminiscences, ii. 135) fixes the date two years earlier, was the son of John Hussey, town clerk (1722-37) of Truro, Cornwall, by his wife Miss Gregor. On 17 Oct. 1730 he matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, but did not graduate; and in 1742 was called to the bar at the Middle Temple (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1715-1886, ii. 720). He represented St. Mawes, Cornwall, in the parliament of 1761-8, and East Looe in the same county in that of 1768, retaining his seat until his death. After the accession of George III he received a silk gown (Foss, Lives of the Judges, viii. 222), and was appointed attorney-general to the queen. He was also auditor of Greenwich Hospital, counsel to the admiralty and navy, and counsel to the East India Company. In 1768 he was chosen auditor of the duchy of Cornwall (Royal Kalendar, 1769, p.88). As a politician Hussey won the respect of both parties by his integrity, fairness, and courtesy. Chatham thought highly of him (Stanhope, Hist. of England, v. Append, p. x). Lord Camden was his friend. Horace Walpole is never tired of eulogising his blameless life and talents as a debater. In the debates on Wilkes's complaint of breach of privilege he took a prominent part, especially in the debate on 24 Nov. 1763, when, says Walpole (Letters, ed. Cunningham, iv. 136), he 'was against the court, and spoke with great spirit and true whig spirit.' In the debate on the Stamp Act on 21 Feb. 1766 he advocated its repeal as an innovation upon what the colonies considered their usages and customs (Correspondence of Lord Chatham, ii. 394). However, in the debate arising out of the Massachusetts Bay petition on 26 Jan. 1769, he expressed himself strongly in favour of laying an internal tax upon America as the only practical way of forcing that country to own the supreme power of Great Britain (Cavendish, Debates, i.197-8). On the defeat of the ministry in January 1770 Hussey resigned the attorney-generalship to the queen (Walpole, Letters, v. 220). He died at Truro in the following September (Gent. Mag. 1770, 441).

[Correspondence of Lord Chatham, iii. Ill; Walpole's Last Ten Years of George II, 1832, i.375; Walpole's Memoirs of George III, 1845, i.326, 370-3, 377, ii. 60-1, 272, 279-80, 301, 379, iii. 161, 203, 208 n., 315, iv. 49-50; Walpole's Letters, ed. Cunningham, iii. 453, iv. 136, v. 220; Cavendish's Debates, i. 197-8, 246-7, 403; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. i. 260-1.]

G. G.

HUSSEY, ROBERT (1801–1856), professor of ecclesiastical history at Oxford, born on 7 Oct. 1801, was fourth son of William Hussey, a member of an old Kentish family, who was for forty-nine years rector of Sandhurst, near Hawkhurst in Kent. (His eldest sister, Mrs. Sutherland, gave to the Bodleian Library in 1837 the magnificent collection of historical prints and drawings, in sixty-one folio volumes, illustrating the works of Clarendon and Burnet.) Hussey was for a time at Rochester grammar school; but in 1814 he was sent to Westminster School, in 1816 became a king's scholar, and in 1821 was elected to Christ Church, Oxford. There he resided for the remainder of his life. He obtained a double first-class in the B.A. examination, Michaelmas 1824, and proceeded M. A. in 1827 and B.D. in 1837. After a few years spent in private tuition, he was appointed one of the college tutors, and held that office until he became censor in 1835. He was appointed select preacher before the university in 1831 and again in 1846. He was proctor in 1836, in which year he was an unsuccessful candidate for the head-mastership of Harrow. In 1838 he was appointed one of the classical examiners at Oxford, and from 1841 to 1843 was one of the preachers at Whitehall. In 1842 he relinquished his college duties on his appointment to the newly founded regius professorship of ecclesiastical history. As the canonry of Christ Church, which is now attached to the professorship, was not then vacant, an annual payment of 300l. was made by the university.

The change of employment was thoroughly congenial. For the benefit of the students attending his lectures he edited the histories of Socrates (1844), Evagrius (1844), Bæda (1846), and Sozomen (3 vols. finished after his death, 1860). In a volume of 'Sermons, mostly Academical' (Oxford, 1849), Hussey published a 'Preface containing a Refutation of the Theory founded upon the Syriac Fragments of three of the Epistles of St. Ignatius,' then recently discovered and published by William Cureton [q. v.] His conclusion, which is now generally adopted, was that these fragments only contain certain extracts from the Epistles and not the whole text. In 1851, at the time of the 'papal aggression' he published a useful manual on 'The Rise of the Papal Power traced in Three Lectures' (reissued, with additions, in 1863). Hussey was in a general way opposed to the Oxford movement; but his egregia æguitas prevented his being a party man. He issued a pamphlet in February 1845 containing 'Reasons for Voting upon the Third Question to be proposed in Convocation on the 13th inst.,' in which he showed the unreasonableness of the proposal to condemn 'Tract 90' a second time, four years after its first appearance. In 1845 Hussey was presented by the dean and chapter of Christ Church to the perpetual curacy of Binsey, a very small parish, with a very small emolument, within a short walk of Oxford. He was subsequently appointed rural dean by Bishop Wilberforce, and was elected one of the proctors in convocation for the diocese of Oxford. In 1854, when the new hebdomadal council was appointed, Hussey was chosen one of the professorial members almost by general suffrage. Tall and strong, and fond of manly exercise, Hussey died rather suddenly of heart disease on 2 Dec. 1856. To the dean and chapter of Christ Church he bequeathed so much of his library as related to ecclesiastical history and patristic theology, for the use of his successors in the chair. He married Elizabeth, sister of his friend and contemporary at Christ Church, the Rev. Jacob Ley. She survived him with one daughter. Besides the works already mentioned and some academical pamphlets and sermons, Hussey wrote:

  1. 'An Essay on the Ancient Weights and Money and the Roman and Greek Liquid Measures; with an Appendix on the Roman and Greek Foot,' 8vo, Oxford, 1836, an accurate work of permanent value, the fruit of a diligent examination of ancient coins in museums at home and abroad.
  2. 'An Account of the Roman Road from Alchester to Dorchester, and other Roman Remains in the Neighbourhood,' 8vo, Oxford, 1841, in 'Transactions of the Ashmolean Society.'

[Memoir by his brother-in-law, the Rev. 'Jacob Ley, in the Advertisement to the 2nd edition of the Rise of the Papal Power, 1863; Preface to Dean Burgon's Lives of Twelve Good Men, 1888, p. xii; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; private information and personal knowledge.]

W. A. G.

HUSSEY, THOMAS (1741–1803), Roman catholic bishop of Waterford and Lismore, born in Ireland in 1741, studied with distinction at the Irish catholic college at Salamanca, but determining to devote himself to an ascetic life, he obtained admission to the penitential monastery at La Trappe. Much against his own wishes, he quitted that establishment by order of the pope, entered holy orders, and undertook duties in the service of the king of Spain. Hussey's abilities and acquirements soon gained him high reputation at Madrid. Towards 1767 he was appointed chaplain to the Spanish embassy in London, and head and rector of the Spanish church there. Hussey was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London on 8 March 1792 and enjoyed the friendship of Dr. Johnson. According to Francis Plowden, few ecclesiastics ever possessed more general knowledge. When Spain joined France in the war between England and her American colonies, the Spanish ambassador quitted London, and left the arrangement of some uncompleted transactions to Hussey, who was thus brought into direct personal intercourse with ministers of George III. By them he was engaged to proceed to Madrid in a confidential capacity, with the object of detaching Spain from France in the American contest. During this mission Hussey came into communication with Richard Cumberland (1732-1811) [q. v.], who held a temporary appointment as political agent from England to Spain. Hussey, according to Cumberland, was endowed with high natural abilities, incorruptible by money bribes, an adept in casuistry, and fitted by constitution for the boldest enterprises. Cumberland, who considered Hussey to have acted disingenuously towards himself, averred that Hussey would have willingly headed a revolution with the object of disestablishing the protestant church in Ireland. Hussey paid two official visits to Madrid, but his efforts, although approved by George III and his ministers, were without result. In subsequent years Hussey publicly expressed his gratitude to George III for his frequent and honourable mention of him. In August 1790 some representatives of the catholics in Ireland appealed to Hussey to secure the services of Edmund Burke's son Richard in the removal of their disabilities. In November of the same year a meeting of the committee of English catholics in London unanimously resolved to depute Hussey to lay before the pope a statement of their position. But the Spanish ambassador to England refused Hussey leave of absence, and he was unable to leave London. Hussey's devotion to the king and his aversion to Jacobinism led the Duke of Portland and