Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, Volume 2 · Fenton John Anthony Hort,Sir Arthur Hort No preview available – Life and Letters. Fenton John Anthony Hort. D.D., D.C.L., LLD. SOMETIME HULSEAN PROFESSOR AND LADY MARGARET’S READER. IN DIVINITY IN THE. Life and Letters contains a collection of F. J. A. Hort’s letters arranged chronologically with biographical notes by his son, Arthur Fenton Hort. Volume one covers.

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Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. A scholar s life contains little of outward incident, and it has been my endeavour to tell the story of my father s life so far as possible in his own words. In all that he wrote his real self is shown, and nowhere more than in his letters.

Hence this book may perhaps justify itself, if it enables the voice of a man who was interested in such a variety lettegs subjects, and who spoke always with such singular sincerity, to reach beyond the limited circle of those who were privileged to know him in life. For the earlier years at least the epistolary material is enough, I think, to give a very fair portraiture. In later years his letters became inevitably fewer and shorter, but in all cases I have not scrupled to insert letters which, whatever their subjects, help to show what the writer was, as well jonn what he did and thought.

For this very reason it would not be right to give to the world without a caution views which he never meant for publication ; moreover, his letters, even of undergradu ate days, often show a maturity of thought and expres sion which is apt to make one forget the writer s age.

In the brief narrative which accompanies the selec tion of correspondence, I letterz aimed generally at little more than filling up with necessary dates and facts the story presented in the letters.

For obvious reasons a critical biography could not be part of my plan, and, if my narrative is more than necessarily jejune, it is because I have tried so far as possible to avoid a tone of eulogy which would have been very unfitting, and which my father would vehemently have deprecated if indeed he would have approved of his life being written at all.

I am conscious, however, that I have not altogether succeeded in keeping the balance ; I could wish that this were the only shortcoming in the execution of a task which has been one of considerable difficulty as well as of extreme delight. Ellerton, for invaluable help of the same kind ; to Professor Ryle, who, to his numerous other acts of devotion to my father s name, has added that of reading the proofs and giving me his counsel ; and above all, to one without whose constant aid I could not have attempted this book.

I desire also to thank Miss J. Craig for clerical assist ance, given in a manner and in a spirit on which my father himself would have bestowed the praise of guileless workmanship. His father, Fenton Hort, was the grandson of Josiah Hort, who is the earliest of the name of whom any record is preserved. Josiah s father lived at Marshfield, near Bath, but that is the solitary fact in his history handed down to his descendants.

His son, of whom an account is given in the Dictionary of National Biography, was brought up as a Nonconformist, and was a schoolfellow and lifelong friend of Isaac Watts, 1 who spoke of him as ” the first genius in the academy,” viz.

Lord Wharton s chaplain presently obtained a parish, whence he rose, through the deaneries of Cloyne and Ardagh, and two bishoprics, of Ferns and Leighlin, and of Kil- more and Ardagh, to be Archbishop of Tuam.

He enjoyed some repute as a preacher, and a volume of his 1 See Milner s Life of Dr. He is said to have been the anrhony magnate who ate his dinner from a wooden trencher.

Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort – Fenton John Anthony Hort – Google Books

Dean Swift made a violent attack upon him in a satirical poem ; the rise of the English clergyman was apparently unpopular in Ireland, and he had to contend with much opposition. Swift, however, became afterwards so far friendly that he procured for Hort or Horte, as he sometimes spelt his anhony the publication of a satire on the prevalence of the game of quadrille in society. He was disabled from preaching by an overstrain of the voice some years before he became Archbishop.

In the preface to his sermons he uses his own experience to point a warning to ” all young preachers whose organs of speech are tender.

The author shows an anxiety to interpret the Bible in a manner ” agreeable to the Principles of Philosophy and Morality,” and he displays some ingenuity in the attempt ; for instance, when he explains the doctrine of Original Sin by the suggestion that the tree of which Adam ate contained in its juice a ” slow poison which, being incorporated with the Blood of our first Parents, might in a natural course be transfused through the Veins of all their Posterity, and carry with it irregular Desires and Passions, as well as Diseases and Death,” i PARENTAGE AND CHILDHOOD 3 This somewhat startlingly literal exegesis is illustrated by reference to ” a Tree in our American colonies the Manchineel Tree that bears a very beautiful apple, which yet has poisoned many.


In his will he exhorted his children to carry out his intentions in their obvious sense, ” without having recourse to law and the subtilty of lawyers ” ; in case of difficulty, he desires them to refer the question to ” the decision of lif of known probity and wisdom, this being not only the most Christian, but the most prudent and cheap and summary way fento deciding all differences.

Full text of “Life and letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort”

John Hort was appointed in Consul-General at Lisbon, and was made a baronet the same year. Attempts were made to detain him in England, but he spent thirty years in Portugal, and then retired on a pension. An estate in Co. Kildare, called Hortland, came to him on the death of his elder brother.

If one may judge of him anthomy a fine portrait, he was a man of considerable power. He is said to have been of peculiar temperament, and something of a martinet. Sir John had three sons and two daughters.

The third son, Fen ton, who was the father of the subject of this memoir, was educated at Westminster School and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a scholarship. He was one of the original members of the Union Debating Society, which was founded inand temporarily suppressed by authority inW. Whewell being at the time president and C.

Infour years after his marriage to Anne Collett, daughter of a Suffolk clergyman, and descended, I believe, from Dean Colet, Fenton Hort bought a house near Dublin, called Leopardstown ; it was delightfully situated at the foot of the Three Rock Mountain, with a view of Dublin Bay in front Here, after his father s death, his mother lived with him for part of the year ; the letterx he spent at her house in Merrion Square, Dublin.

At this house on St. George s Day,Fenton, his eldest son, was born. When he was nine years old, his father sold Leopardstown, and migrated to Cheltenham, after a temporary residence at Kelsall Hall, lent him by Mr. Collett, and a short stay at Boulogne, where Fenton at the age of ten was sent to his first school. His master, a Mr. Fenton Hort resided in various houses tillhis mother living with him till her death in The move from Leopardstown was made rather suddenly, and my father was never in Ireland again till he went to Dublin in to receive an honorary degree from the University.

On this occasion, anhhony the lapse of over fifty years, he drew overnight from memory a plan of the house and grounds at Leopardstown, which he the next day compared with the reality, and found to be completely accurate.

Of his early years there and at Cheltenham it is unfortunately impossible to recover more than a fragmentary account. He used to look back to the Leopardstown home and days with the most loving recollection, especially when across a time of grievous troubles that earliest period stood out as one of peculiar peace and happiness.

Antyony years later, in describing the Fellows garden at Trinity, he dwelt with a special delight on the anthojy, the blue Apennine anemone and the scented Daphne Cneorum, which he associated with favourite nooks in the beautiful old Irish garden.

School letters show the ffnton of relation which existed between Fenton and the rest of the home circle. Of the father no truer description could be given than that contained in a touching letter 1 written by his eldest son to his own children in His quiet, unostentatious, unselfish nature comes back to 1 See vol. He had no profession, but was always a busy man. In the Irish days he was much occupied with the administration of the Poor Law, and with many other kindred things.

In Cheltenham he took up the same kind of work, visited a great deal among the poor, and had a considerable share in the establishment of the Cheltenham Proprietary College, of which he became a governor.

The same unobtrusive devotion was shown in the direction of his own household, where a strict regime prevailed, and all were expected to conform to the rules of the house. Towards his children he was all gentleness and tenderness, though his training of them, like their mother s, was based on implicit obedience. Though not demonstrative in showing affection, he was a man who loved much and felt centon ; the past, especially the past of his own family, was constantly with him.

He was a most tender son to the mother who shared his home till her death ; the loss of his sister at an early age was a calamity whose effect had not worn off at the very end of his life.

He treasured little memorials of those whom he had lost with almost womanly care. One characteristic at least he be queathed to his son, a fastidious love of order and method. This trait is curiously illustrated by the numerous ingeniously contrived cardboard boxes, still extant, and sometimes jjohn the oddest shapes, which he delighted to make ; his wife called them his con lettera. In a word, he was thoroughly domestic ; home to him was everything, and the home life was a real society.

This custom survived long after all the children were grown up. The mother, who, unconsciously perhaps, was the real controlling force of the household, was a woman of great mental power, which she brought to bear on every detail of daily life.

She had been extremely well educated, so far as the opportunities of that day allowed ; in English especially her training had been sound, and she could always express herself easily and gracefully ; both in writing and in speaking she used words in the most exact manner.


Her education had given her the thoroughness and scrupulous accuracy which she transmitted to her son. She grasped firmly whatever she took in hand and mastered any book which she read. Her reading was not wide, but she was interested in current literature of the more serious sort, such as biographies and books jkhn travel. Her religious feelings were deep and strong. Circumstances had made her an adherent of the Evangelical school, and she was to a certain degree hampered by it ; the Oxford Movement filled her with dread and anxiety as to its possible effect on her son.

She was unable to enter into his theological views, which to her school and generation seemed a desertion of the ancient ways ; thus, pathetically enough, there came to be a barrier between mother and son. The close inter andd on subjects which lay nearest to the hearts of each was broken, to the loss and sorrow of both. His love and veneration for his mother remained unimpaired, and his letters to her show his delicate consideration for her different point of view ; but it is sad that he should have had to recognise that the point of view was different.

Bible well, and her own religious life was most carefully regulated. She had a fine ear for music, and it was a rare pleasure to hear her read aloud.

Her spirits were naturally high, and she faced the ordinary ups and downs of life with cheerful courage ; but ill-health, brought on probably by the loss, within a few months, of two of her children, robbed her of her natural brightness and caused often painful depression. In bringing up her children she was strong pf to be able to combine the enforcement of very strict domestic discipline with close sympathy in all childish ways and interests.

The very keynote of her character was truthfulness ; untruth in any shape was her ab horrence.

Almost equally characteristic was her hatred of all half performance. It is easy to understand how straight, under such guidance, the path of duty became to her children ; the daily tasks must be learnt and said, and nothing might stand in the way.

There is a story of her sitting with her eldest son on a roll of carpet during some flitting of the family, and going through the appointed lessons, with which no temporary discomfort could be jhn to interfere. Yet she was no Spartan mother ; strength of will and inflexibility of purpose did not make her, any more than they made her son, incapable of ten derness.

Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort

It is difficult to centon such a character. This sketch must suffice to indicate the nature of her influence on her family. This was based upon a close study of the Bible, of the children s knowledge of which in quite early years records remain which might astonish many older children. The effects of such training were very deep and lasting, however much particular theological opinions were modified in later years ; the simple piety and reverential spirit which passed from mother to son remained unaffected by time and experience.

At the time of the move from Ireland there were four children two girls and petters boys ; the second boy, Arthur, was three years Fenton s junior ; his sisters, Margaret and Catharine, were born in and respectively. A third daughter, Josephine, was born at Boulogne inbut died at venton age of three.

This was the beginning of trouble. Only jobn months later Arthur, a child whose sweetness of pife and bright intelligence impress one wonderfully even in the slight records of his short life, died from the after effects of measles. His loss had the profoundest effect on his brother. The series of diaries which he kept from to is broken only once, and that during a period of two and a half years pf Arthur s death.

The family having settled in Cheltenham, Fenton was sent in the spring ofbeing then just eleven years old, to the well-known preparatory school of the Rev. John Buckland at Laleham, where he mohn till the end of the following year. Buckland laid great stress on accurate grammatical knowledge, and required rules of syntax to be learnt by heart, but he mentions in a letter to Mr.

Buckland s first regular report of Fenton speaks of him as ” a very promising pupil,” and says that there is no doubt of his becoming ” a first-rate scholar. At the age of twelve and a half the boy had apparently been well grounded in Classics, Algebra, and the first three books of Euclid.

Buckland s chief complaint was that he wanted more taste for games. At the time of his leaving Laleham he predicts a distinguished future as the certain out come of his ” indefatigable perseverance and foundation of good scholarship. Hort to point out any flaws in the boy s character, he mentions that he has heard of him as somewhat overbearing with other boys, a anthoyn which assuredly was not permanent.