Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/267

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Froude
Froude
255

able and solitary in his habits and amusements. As a younger brother of Richard Hurrell Froude, one of the ablest of the tractarians, he was naturally regarded by Newman and Mozley as a possible recruit, but he seems to have resented attempts to influence his theological opinions, and rarely attended Newman's undergraduate parties. He contributed, however, a generous appreciation of Newman to 'Good Words' for March 1881 (Newman, Letters, ii. 147, 153, 493). He was placed in the second class in the honour school of literæ humaniores in 1840, and graduated B.A. on 28 April 1842. In the same year he won the chancellor's prize for an English essay, and Avas elected Devon fellow of Exeter College. Shortly afterwards Froude spent some months in the house of a clerical friend in Ireland. His host was a strong evangelical, and his simple piety, coupled with the degradation of the Roman catholic peasantry, led Froude to take a more favourable view of protestantism than that which he had imbibed from the Anglo-catholics at Oriel. Other influences tended to impair his belief in tractarianism. In 1841 he had met John Sterling [q. v.] at Falmouth, and in the same year he read Carlyle's 'French Revolution.' Carlyle's works at once began to exercise a dominant influence over him, though many years later he wrote to Hallam, Lord Tennyson, 'I owe to your father the first serious reflexions upon life and the nature of it' (Memoir of Alfred Tennyson, ii. 180, 468). From the writings of Carlyle he passed to those of Goethe, Lessing, Neander, and Schleiermacher, with the result that his expressions of opinion on theological matters caused the fellows of Exeter some alarm (Morley).

On 2 March 1843 he graduated M.A., and in 1844 he took deacon's orders, then a necessary step if he wished to retain his fellowship: he never proceeded to priest's orders. Newman now invited his assistance in preparing his 'Lives of the English Saints,' and entrusted to him St. Neot. The life was published anonymously, like the rest of the series, in 1844 (Lives of the English Saints, vol. ii.), but Froude's faith was unequal to the strain put upon it by the miraculous stories he read. He regarded them, he says, as 'nonsense,' severed his connection with the series, and devoted himself to the study of modern history and literature. In 1844 Froude visited the English lakes with George Butler [q. v. Suppl.] and Hartley Coleridge. Butler found Froude 'the most perfect companion imaginable,' and in 1845 the two went to Ireland, where they both had small-pox (Recollections of George Butler, pp. 41-5). Froude published in 1847 a sermon preached at St. Mary's Church, near Torquay, at the funeral of the Rev. George May Coleridge, nephew of S. T. Coleridge. In the same year appeared, under the pseudonym of 'Zeta,' his 'Shadows of the Clouds,' containing the story of Edward Fowler, already mentioned, and another equally disagreeable story of seduction. The greater part of the edition is said to have been bought up and destroyed by Froude's father. In October of the same year Froude contributed an article on Spinoza to the 'Oxford and Cambridge Review,' which caused some comment at Oxford (Knight, Principal Shairp and his Friends, pp. 40, 451), and about the same time Mark Pattison [q. v.] vainly endeavoured to check the progress of his scepticism (Mark Pattison, Memoirs, p. 215). Early in 1849 Froude completed his breach with orthodoxy by publishing his 'Nemesis of Faith' (London, 12mo). The hero of the story, Markham Sutherland, who,like Froude, had been subject at Oriel to tractarian influence, makes shipwreck of his life in the shipwreck of his faith. Froude subsequently described the book as 'heterodoxy flavoured with sentimentalism.' Bunsen and F. D. Maurice sympathised with Froude (Mem. of Bunsen, ii. 217; Life of F. D. Maurice, i. 516-18), but Archbishop Whately and Bishop Hampden seized upon the book as an illustration of the evil effects of tractarianism (Memorials of Bishop Hampden, p. 177); on 27 Feb. 1849 William Sewell [q, v.], after denouncing the book in a lecture in Exeter College hall, burnt before his audience a copy discovered in the possession of a pupil (Rev. A. Blomfield in Daily News, 2 May 1892; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. i. 430; Boase, Reg. Coll. Exon. p. cxlviii). The incident helped to create a large demand for the book, and a second edition was published in the same year; in 1880 Froude was urged by his publishers to reprint it, but nothing came of the suggestion (Slekton, Table Talk, p. 164), though the book was reissued in America without Froude's consent (Wheeler, Hist. and other Sketches, New York, p. 16). On the day that his book was burnt Froude resigned his fellowship at Exeter. He had just been appointed to the head-mastership of the high school, Hobart, Tasmania, but from that post also he retired. His breach with clericalism and clerical office was complete and final. On the passing of the Clergy Disabilities Relief Act he divested himself of his deacon's orders (19 July 1872).