The Times/1916/Obituary/John Llewelyn Davies
Scholar and Liberal Churchman.
We regret to announce that the Rev. John Llewelyn Davies, translator of the "republic" of Plato and a Liberal Churchman of wide influence, died yesterday at his residence in Hampstead, aged 90.
John Llewelyn Davies was the son of the Rev. J. Davies, D.D., one of the leading Evangelical clergyman of his day, and was born at Chichester on February 26, 1826. He was educated at Repton, and went up, as a scholar, to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he found himself one of a very brilliant company. Davies was not a man to make friends quickly, but his chief associates, Westcott and D. J. Vaughan, could hardly have been matched for the variety of their influence. Davies became president of the Union; he and Vaughan were the two Bell scholars of 1845, they were bracketed as Fifth Classic in 1848, and they have been constantly bracketed ever since in the minds of students through their collaboration in the famous rendering of Plato's "Republic." This work appeared in 1852, and has been through many editions. The translators sold it outright for £60. For a short time Davies took private pupils, among them Leslie Stephen, and his election to a Fellowship at Trinity came in 1851. After ordination he took an unpaid curacy at St. Anne's, Limehouse, but was soon beneficed, being collated by the Bishop of London (Dr. Blomfield) to St. Mark's, Whitechapel, in 1853 and in 1856 he was nominated by Lord Palmerston, on the recommendation of William Cowper (Cowper-Temple), for the vicarage of Christ Church, Marylebone, Queen Victoria made him one of her chaplains in 1876. In 1889 he left London for the Trinity living of Kirkby Lonsdale, which he held until 1908. He was an original member of the Alpine Club, and was the first to climb the highest peak within the Swiss frontier.
In him was exemplified the highest ideal of the teaching order in the Church of England,. one whom the authorities of that Church, to whom his "Erastian" views were antagonistic, never favoured with promotion, but whom many of its members revered. With him disappears almost the last of the personal friends of Frederick Denison Maurice. Mr. Davies had been associated with him in the foundation of the Working Men's College in 1854, and from his pulpit at Christ Church, while varying the letter, he upheld the spirit of Maurice's teaching with all the force of his original mind. He was elected one of the members of the first London School Board, in place of Professor Huxley, and worked with others of like mind for the friendly settlement of religious difficulties. He became principal of Queen's College in Harley-street, which Maurice had founded for the better education of women, and he took part with Kingsley and "Tom" Hughes, whom he knew intimately, in teaching classes at the Working Men's College.
As a commentator on the New Testament and a writer on theology, and especially St. Paul, his name has a large place in the book catalogue of the British Museum, but what brought him into touch with younger men were his letters to The Times and the Guardian on the prominent matters of the day—and the always sensible, always clear, and always warning his readers against "the falsehood of extremes." In politics he was an independent Liberal and Free-trader. On the Irish question he was a Liberal Unionist. To those who sought him personally with projects of social reform, or consulted him on ecclesiastical difficulties, he proved a wise adviser.
When Mr. Davies in 1889 left London for Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland, he received a remarkable testimonial to his influence in the shape of a letter signed by some 700 names, including those of nine Bishops, 13 deans, many well-known lawyers, doctors, men of science, heads of colleges and schools, professors, and a large body of clergy. The letter recorded the signatories' "grateful admiration" for his scholarship, his "moderation, independence, and charity," his "clear and firm assertion of Christian truth," combined with his "generous appreciation of all earnest thought and feeling," and his "Habitual sympathy with rich and poor alike." In the country he was as vigorous in pursuit of his new duties and as interested in them as in any associated with the town, and when he came back to London at the age of 82 he appeared to bring with him a second youth.
In his family Mr. Davies was exceptionally happy. He married in 1859, Mary, the eldest of the three daughters of the late Mr. Justice Crompton, by whom he had six sons and one daughter. He was left a widower in 1895. Several of his sons had academic careers at Trinity as brilliant as his own, but the sorrow of his old age was the early death of two of them—one suddenly in bathing, the other by a lingering illness—and both at a time when their lives were bright with promise.The funeral will take place at Hampstead Parish Church next Monday at 3 o'clock.