Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/259

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Fraser
Freeman
247

electors having to all appearance changed their political opinions with singular unanimity in the interval. In 1803 he was chosen without opposition at a by-election at Ludlow, but he held this seat for no more than two years, and then remained out of parliament until 1874, when he was returned for Kidderminster. This constituency he represented until the general election of 1880, when he retired. In 1877 Fraser rendered a great service to historical research by moving (on 9 March) for a return relative to members of the House of Commons from 1295 to 1696, to be printed as a supplement to the return from 1696 onwards, which was ordered to be printed in 1876. This was accomplished in 1878. He was elected F.S.A. on 11 Dec. 1862, and during the later years of his life was a member of Queen Victoria's bodyguard for Scotland. From his anecdotes one would gather that he was only less susceptible to beauty than to wit and valour, but he maintained Disraeli's opinion that a man in chambers was the only true master of the universe, and he died a bachelor in the Albany on 17 Aug. 1898. He bequeathed a large fortune to be accumulated during twenty-one years in the interest of his nephew, Sir Keith Alexander, eldest son of General James Keith Fraser, formerly colonel of the 1st life guards, who succeeded to the baronetcy. By his will dated 1 Dec. 1886, and proved in October 1898, he further bequeathed a splendid collection of Gillray's caricatures to the House of Lords, a similar collection of H. B.'s caricatures, and a unique set of portraits of former speakers to the House of Commons; the chairs of Thackeray and Dickens respectively to the Travellers' and Athenæum Club, Nelson's sword to the United Service Club, Byron's sofa to the Garrick, the manuscript of Gray's 'Elegy' to the Eton College library, and the Duke of Marlborough's sword to the Scots guards at St. James's Palace. The chief portion of Sir William Fraser's library was sold by auction by Messrs. Sotheby, 22 to 30 April 1901, and one thousand eight hundred and fifty-two lots fetched 20,334l. 18s., or far more than twice what Fraser had given for them. The chief items were extra-illustrated books and books with autograph inscriptions by distinguished persons.

Besides the works mentioned he published anonymously in 1867 and 1869 two little volumes of verse, and issued (in 1876) three hundred copies of some annotations on Pope by Horace Walpole from a copy in his possession. He also issued a small tract called 'London Self-Governed' (1866, 12mo), a plea for more centralised municipal bodies for London, with an amusing denunciation of the metropolitan board of works. The most finished of his books is perhaps 'Disraeli and his Day,' which performs the feat of explaining the fascination which the House of Commons exercised over a man of Fraser's high culture and eccentric hero-worship.

[Times, 18 Aug. 1898; Scotsman, 20 Aug. 1898; Guardian, 24 Aug. 1898; Army Lists; Burke's Peerage; Debrett's Baronetage; Fraser's Works.]

T. S.

FREEMAN, EDWARD AUGUSTUS (1823–1892), historian, only son of John Freeman and Mary Anne, daughter of William Carless, was born at Harborne, Staffordshire, on 2 Aug. 1823. Having lost both his parents in infancy, he was brought up by his paternal grandmother, who in 1829 settled in Northampton, where he attended a school kept by the Rev. T. C. Haddon. He was a quaint and precocious boy; he read Roman and English history with delight before he was seven, wrote English verses at an early age, and at eleven had a good knowledge of Latin and Greek, and had taught himself some Hebrew. In 1837 he was sent to a school kept by the Rev. W. Browne at Cheam, Surrey, and in 1840 as a private pupil to the Rev. R. Gutch at Segrave, Leicestershire. By that time he was under the influence of the high church movement, and took much interest in religious and ecclesiastical matters. After failing to obtain a scholarship at Balliol College in November, he was elected in June 1841 to a scholarship at Trinity College, Oxford, where his fellow scholars generally were serious youths with high-church sympathies. He obtained a second class in the schools at Easter 1845, graduated B.A., and in May was elected probationary fellow of his college. In 1846 he wrote an essay on the effects of the Norman Conquest for a university prize; he was unsuccessful, and his failure stirred him up to study the period of the Conquest. Giving up thoughts of taking orders, from a feeling in favour of clerical celibacy, and also some idea of adopting architecture, at which he worked with pleasure, as a profession, he determined to devote himself to historical study. As an undergraduate he had engaged himself to Miss Eleanor Gutch, a daughter of his former tutor, was married to her at Segrave on 13 April 1847, and for a year resided at Littlemore, near Oxford.

An increase of fortune having come to him, he moved in 1848 to a house near Dursley in Gloucestershire. While there he read much history, both ancient and modern, made several contributions to two volumes