Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lockhart, William (1820-1892)

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1447662Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 34 — Lockhart, William (1820-1892)1893Thomas Seccombe (1866-1923)

LOCKHART, WILLIAM (1820–1892), Roman catholic divine, son of the Rev. Alexander Lockhart (d. 1831) of Wallingham, Surrey (vicar of Stone, Buckinghamshire, from 1821 to 1830), and great-grandson of Alexander Lockhart, lord Covington, was born in 1820; matriculated from Exeter College, Oxford, on 17 May 1838, and graduated B.A. in 1842. Becoming an ardent follower of John Henry Newman [q. v.], he joined the latter at Littlemore immediately after taking his degree. His faith in anglicanism was already shaken, and his inclination to Rome was strengthened by the reading of Milner's ‘End of Controversy,’ and was confirmed by the dubitancy which he detected in Newman. He was received into the Roman communion in August 1843. He was the first of the Tractarians who went over, and his secession powerfully affected Newman, who almost immediately afterwards preached his last anglican sermon at Littlemore, on ‘The Parting of Friends,’ though he did not overtly follow Lockhart's example until two years later.

Shortly after his conversion Lockhart went to Rome, where he studied under the Rosminians, and in 1845 entered the Order of Charity—an organisation originally founded by Rosmini himself, of which Father Gentili, whom he had met first in W. G. Ward's rooms at Oxford and afterwards at Littlemore, was at that time head. Lockhart subsequently became procurator-general of the order. For the last few years of his life he was rector of St. Etheldreda's, Ely Place, Holborn, London, which he had brought out of chancery, and restored to the worship of his church. He generally wintered in Rome, and was frequently consulted on English affairs by the pope, but his diffidence and that lack of initiative which rendered him so greatly dependent on others, first on Newman, then on Rosmini, prevented him from obtaining high preferment in his church. He died at St. Etheldreda's on 15 May 1892.

While at Littlemore the task of translating a portion of Fleury's ‘History of the Church,’ and of compiling a life of St. Gilbert of Sempringham, was assigned by Newman to Lockhart; but he is best known as a prominent English disciple of Rosmini, and the translator of many of his ideas into English. He edited in 1856 a brief ‘Outline of the Life of Rosmini,’ and wrote in 1886 the second volume of a voluminous ‘Life of Antonio Rosmini-Serbati,’ of which the first volume had been written by G. S. MacWalter in 1883. Besides these works and his numerous articles in ‘Catholic Opinion,’ afterwards the ‘Tablet,’ and the ‘Lamp,’ of which he was many years editor, Lockhart wrote, besides minor tracts:

  1. ‘The Old Religion, or how shall we find Primitive Christianity?’ n.d., 3rd edit. London, 1870.
  2. ‘A Review of Dr. Pusey's Eirenicon: Possibilities and Difficulties of Reunion,’ 2nd edit. London, 1866. Reprinted from the ‘Weekly Register.’
  3. ‘The Communion of Saints; or the Catholic Doctrine concerning our Relation to the Blessed Virgin, the Angels and the Saints,’ London [1868].
  4. ‘Cardinal Newman. Reminiscences of 50 years since, by one of his oldest living Disciples,’ 1891. (The substance of this appeared in the ‘Paternoster Review,’ No. 1, Oct. 1890.)

[Times, 18 May 1892; Athenæum, 21 May 1892; Tablet, 21 May 1892; Autobiographical particulars prefixed to sketch of Cardinal Newman; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Mark Pattison's Memoirs, p. 210; Lockhart's Works.]

T. S.