Whately, Richard, Dd
Whately, Richard, D.D.
an eminent Anglican prelate and writer, was born in Cavendish Square, London, Feb. 1, 1787. His father was the Rev. J. Whately, D.D., prebendary of Bristol Cathedral, and proprietor of Nonsuch Park, Suffolk, whose brother, Thomas Whately, the private secretary to lord Suffolk, was the author of Observations on Modern Gardening, and Remarks on Some of the Characters of Shakespeare. His mother was a daughter of W. Plummer, Esq., of Ware Park, in Herefordshire. He was carefully educated, chiefly in private, at Nonsuch Park, and early entered Oriel College as a commoner, under the tutorship of Dr. E. Copleston, then head of the college, and afterwards bishop of Llandaff (1776-1849). From public lectures, private conversation, and personal study, Whately acquired a reputation as a sound thinker. His active, ingenious, and fertile mind found scope in the university studies; and in the stir of ecclesiastical politics, then sounding on their dim and perilous way towards Tractarianism, he kept a heedful and safe course. At the Michaelmas tern in 1808 he graduated as A.B., taking a second class in literis humanioribus and in disciplinis mathematica et physicae, when the late Sir R. Peel went up from Christ Church and came out in both the only first-classman of his year. In 1810 Whately gained the chancellor's (lord William Wyndham Grenville's) prize of £20 for the best English essay on What are the arts in the cultivation of which the moderns have been less successful than the ancients? In 1811 he was chosen, one of the eighteen fellows of Oriel College, graduated as A.M. in 1812, and then began to act as tutor in his college, in which office, by his felicitous style of teaching, he produced more first-class graduates than any other tutor of his day.
In 1818 Whately contributed his article on Logic to the Encyclopedia Metropolitana. To the same work he also contributed the original outline of his Elements of Rhetoric. These writings were too important and useful to be kept shut up in the huge miscellany of learning in which they at first appeared, and were, on urgent demand, republished in 1825. The former, in which, as the late Prof. Spalding said, he has expounded the Aristotelian or syllogistic logic with admirable clearness and method, and illustrated it with characteristic sagacity, was severely commented upon by Sir G. C. Lewis, by George Bentham, nephew of the philosopher of Westminster, and notably by Sir W. Hamilton in his paper (subsequently republished) in the Edinburgh Review for April, 1833. Even by these opponents it is admitted that "a new life was suddenly communicated to the study" of logic by the publication of this work; and we may safely trust the decision of John S. Mill, that in it the student will find stated with philosophical precision, and explained with remarkable perspicuity, the whole of the common doctrine of the "syllogism." The latter work, that on Rhetoric, was immediately accepted as a text-book. De Quincey early acknowledged "the acuteness and originality which illuminate every part of the book," and asserted that "in any elementary work it has not been our fortune to witness a rarer combination of analytical acuteness with severity of judgment." In 1819 Whately issued anonymously his ingeniously grave logical satire, on skepticism, entitled Historic Doubts Relative to the Existence of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1822 appeared his Bampton Lectures, on The Use and Abuse of Party Feeling in Religion. This subject is treated with delicacy, discrimination, and liberality, and the series has been frequently reissued.
Meanwhile Whately became by marriage, in 1821, a member "not on the foundation" of Oriel. His wife was a daughter of Win. Pope, Esq., of Hillingdon, Middlesex, a lady of talent, taste, accomplishments and literary capacity. Shortly after his marriage he accepted the rectorship of Halesworth, with the vicarage of Chediston, deanery of Dunwich, in the Blything Hundred of Suffolk. In 1825 Whately succeeded Peter-Elmsley as principal of St. Alban's Hall. His Logic and Rhetoric were then republished as separate and independent works. In 1828 he published his Essays on Some of the Difficulties in the Writings of the Apostle Paul, which had been precede by a series on Some of the Peculiarities of the Christian Religion, and were succeeded by The Errors of Romanism having their Origin in Human Nature, etc. In 1830 his Thoughts on the Sabbath were issued by Mr. Fellowes, of Ludgate Hill himself a miscellaneous writer. This book was made the occasion of a prosecution for stamp-duty, to which all publications except books of piety and devotion were then liable. The publisher was fined £20, and, on remonstrance that the book was within the protection of the statute anent '"piety and devotion," he was answered that it was rather the contrary, because Mr. Whately controverts the Mosaic law, and inculcates that we may do just the same on Sabbaths as on other days." Several series of Sermons, Charges, and Tracts were published in 1830, 1833, and 1336. In 1831 earl Grey, then premier, promoted the logician, theologian, and politician- of St. Alban's Hall to the primacy of Ireland The appointment was at first the occasion of much animadversion. Suspicion was sown in the minds of the clergy, and dislike was shown in their conduct. But Whately's honest impartiality disarmed hostility, and he soon gained the hearts of clergy and people. Bishop Copleston said, Whately "accepted the arduous station proposed to him purely, I believe, from public spirit and a sense of duty. Wealth and honor and title and power have no charm for him. He has great energy and intrepidity; a hardihood which sustains him against obloquy when he knows he is discharging a duty; and he is generous and disinterested almost to a fault. His enlarged views, his sincerity, and his freedom from prejudice are more than a compensation for his want of conciliating manner." The labors of the episcopate, great as they were, could not exhaust his power of working. In 1828 he had composed a paper on Transportation in which he argued against convict colonies.
He followed this up in 1832 with Thoughts on Secondary Punishments, and in 1834 with Remarks on Transportation. In these he had "the distinguished honor," says Henry Rogers, "of being the first who treated the subject comprehensively, or who succeeded in exciting any considerable degree of attention to it." In the parliamentary report on this topic in 1838 nearly all the opinions of archbishop Whately were adopted, and the carrying out of his principles was recommended. The question of the treatment of criminals did not use up all his sympathies. The cause of national education was advocated by him with force and pertinacity, and chiefly through his sagacity the national schools of Ireland, under the commissioners of education, were placed on a workable and useful foundation. For these schools (in particular) he composed several treatises; among others, his able little work, Easy Lessons on Reasoning, as well as those on Money Matters; Morals; Mind; and British Constitution. For scholastic purposes, too, he wrote for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge his candid Lessons on the History of Religious Worship, and his simple yet effective Lessons on Christian Evidences — the former of which has been translated into French and Italian, and the latter not only into these two tongues, but also into Spanish, Swedish. German, Greek, and Hebrew. Explanations of the Bible and Prayer-book "and Lectures on Prayer may also be regarded as additions to the educational repertoire. During the years 1833-41 the Tracts for the Times were issued, and for some years after Tractarianism was active and influential in the Church and in the university. The movement reached its crisis about 1843-45 in the withdrawal from the English communion of the author of Tract 90 Dr. J. H. Newman and several others. Newman had been a friend of Whately's, and had "actually composed a considerable portion," and was "the original author of several pages," of Whately's famous work on Logic "as it now stands." Yet Whately did not shrink from duty at the call of friendship, but produced, as occasion, seemed to demand, his quiet, lucid, logical, and pithy Cautions for the Times, and with more special reference to the material doctrines and theories involved in the hurricane of controversy with which the Church was assailed, he issued in 1841 a truly admirable work, The Kingdom of Christ Delineated. In his Charge in 1843 he characterizes the prevailing opinions on subscription in a non-natural sense as "dangerous, disgraceful, and ruinous." Cognate topics occupy his charge for 1844, entitled Thoughts on Church Government; for 1846, on The Danger of Divisions within the Church; for 1851, on Protective Measures on Behalf of the Established Church. The Maynooth question is reviewed in. Reflections on a Grant to a Roman Catholic Seminary, a charge delivered in 1845. On the failure of the potato crop in Ireland, he issued an Address to the Clergy and Other Members of the Established Church on the Use and Abuse of the Present Occasion for the Exercise of Benevolence; and the same topic occupied him in 1848, when he gave a charge on The Right Use of National Afflictions. The Tractarian doctrine of regeneration called from him in 1850 a charge on Infant Baptism; and every subsequent year found him holding himself abreast of the tide of speculative or practical difficulty, and able to teach his clergy to "buffet it aside with hearts of controversy." After the conference on Christian union, held at Liverpool in October, 1845, which resulted in the establishment of the Evangelical Alliance, Whately, early in 1846, issued Thoughts on the Proposed Evangelical Alliance, in which he expressed a fear that it would become an organized intolerance, or occasion a surrender of truth for the mere sake of an -outward unity; and "condemned as schismatical" the setting-up, by persons engaged in the ministry, of "extraneous combinations independently of their own Church authorities;" or the becoming members of those combinations when set up. He thus continued active in literature and public matters of importance until his death, which occurred at Dublin, Oct. 8, 1863.
Whately's works not already noticed are chiefly the following: Introductory Lessons on the Studies of St. Paul's Epistles (1849): — Scripture Revelations con2erning Good and Evil Angels (1851): — English Saynonlyms (epd.): — Bacon's Essays, with Annotations (1856):Lectures on Some of the Parables (1859): — Lectures on Prayer
(1860): — Thoughts on the Proposed Revision of the Liturgy (eod.): — A General view of the Rise, Prioress, and Corruptions of Christianity (cod.): — and in Miscellaneous Lectures and Relics (1861). Since his death two volumes of Remains have appeared. His Life and Correspondence (1866, 2 vols.) has been published by his daughter, Miss E. Jane Whately. See also Memoirs (1864), by William J. Fitzpatrick.