Hampden, Renn Dickson, Dd
Hampden, Renn Dickson, D.D.
bishop of Hereford, England, a descendant of John Hampden, was born A.D. 1792, in the island of Barbados, where his family had settled in 1670. He entered Oriel College, Oxford, as a commoner, in 1810, and subsequently was admitted a fellow, appointed a tutor, and, in 1829 and 1831, was public examiner in classics. lie delivered the Bampton lecture in 1832, choosing for his subject The Scholastic Philosophy considered in its relation to Christian Theology (3rd edit. Lond. 1848, 8vo), and in 1833 was appointed principal of St. Mary's Hall. In 1834 he was elected White's professor of moral philosophy (Oxford), and published a pamphlet entitled Observations on Religious Dissent. The opinions expressed in this work and in his Bampton lecture were made the grounds of opposition to his confirmation in 1836 as regius professor of divinity (Oxford), to which Lord Melbourne, then premier, had appointed him. The controversy over this appointment, which assumed the character of a violent struggle, — and is known as the First Hampden Case, appears to have been based on political feelings as well as theological grounds. His principal opponents were Tories and High-Churchmen, among whom were Dr. Pusey and J. H. Newman, now a Roman Catholic. A remonstrance against the appointment was sent to the archbishop of Canterbury, to be presented to the crown. A declaration, condemning Hampden's "mode of viewing the doctrines of the Bible and the Articles of the Church" was numerously signed by residents of the university, and an effort was made in the House of Convocation to pass a statute expressing want of confidence in his views, which was only frustrated by the interposition of the proctors. The struggle was renewed in the Second Hampden Case, occasioned by Hampden's appointment to the see of Hereford by lord John Russell in 1847. Thirteen of the bishops remonstrated against the appointment, "appealing to the former controversy, and urging the inexpediency of placing over the clergy one whose opinions were rendered suspicious by the decision of a body like the University of Oxford." Hampden's friends replied that a change had taken place in the minds of the members of the Convocation of the University, reducing the proportions of 474 to 94 in 1836, to 330 to 219 in 1842, on the proposition to repeal the expression of censure; and further, that many who censured Hampden "objected to the university as an arbiter of doctrine in the case of Tract 90, and of Mr. Ward's ideal of the Church." The opposition, as in the former case, arose mainly from political opponents and from Tractarians. The government refused to yield, and Dr. Hampden was installed as bishop of Hereford, and thenceforth devoted himself to his episcopal duties, the attacks upon him gradually ceasing. He died April 23,1868. His position was that of a moderate churchman, and the expression of his views at this day could hardly provoke so fierce an opposition as in 1836. A list of the most important pamphlets relating to the Hampden cases is given by Allibone, s.v. Hampden. Besides the works mentioned above, Dr. Hampden's most important writings are, Philosophical Evidence of Christianity, etc. (1827, 8vo): — Lectures on Moral Philosophy (8vo): — Parochial Sermons (1836, 8vo): — Lecture on Tradition (1841, 8vo): — Sermons before the University of Oxford (1836- 1847): — a Review of the writings of Thomas Aquinas in the Encycl. Metropolitana, which led Hallam to characterize Hampden "as the only Englishman who, since the revival of letters, has penetrated into the wilderness of scholasticism;" and the articles on Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, in the Encycl. Britannica. See English Review, 8, 430; 9:229; Blackw. Mag. No. 246 (April, 1836); Brit. and For. Rev. 15 ,169; N. Brit. Review, 8, 286; Edin. Rev. 63, 225; Fraser's Mag., 37, 105; Eclec. Rev.
4th series, 23:221; Allibone, Dict. of Authors, 1, 780; Chambers's Cyclop. of English Literature, 2, 733 (Philada. 1867); Rose, in Church Hist. from Thirteenth Century to Present Time, in crown 8vo edition of Encycl. Metropolitana, p. 385. (J. W. M.)