Francis Hutchinson (1660-1739)


Life
[Bishop Hutchinson] b. 2 Jan. 1660, at Carsington, Derbyshire, of gentry stock; ed. by a Puritan clergyman-uncle; ed. Catherine Hall, Cambridge, BA 1681, MA 1684; ord. by Bishop of London; lecturer at rectory of Widdington, Essex; upheld Glorious Revolutin as example of justified resistance and celebrated William and Mary as ‘princes who so happily preserved our endangered religion’; appt. vicar of Hoxne, Suffolk, a living in the gift of the Whig magnate William Maynard, c.1990; appt. chaplain at ordinary to George I, 1715; received living at St James’s, Bury St Edmunds, and issued there his Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft (1718), attacking witch-hunts and impugning in particular the use of teenager witnesses in such cases;
 
preferred to Anglican see of Down and Connor, 1720-39, by influence of William Wake, Archibishop of Canterbury; regularly attended House of Lords and attacked Papism in speeches and sermons; seemly uninterested in his sacerdotal duties, he confined himself to one Confirmation tour and two diocesan visitations between 1721 and 1728; issued the Life of Archbishop Tillotson (1718); also a Church Cathecism in Irish (1722), and later his Defence of the Ancient Historians (1734), giving due recognition to Gaelic historical records; also sermons and political pamphlets, freq. anti-Catholic;
 
he is regarded as first liberal churchman in Europe because of his advocacy of the use of reason in religious worship and sometimes called a low-church latitudinarian on the same account; did not extend his sympathy to Catholicism, which he regarded as synonymous with Jacobitism and latterly worked at conversion of the Catholic Irish in his own version of the Irish language; the first application of the term ‘witch doctor’ is attributed to him in the OED. ODNB

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Works
Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft (1718); Life of Archbishop Tillotson (1718); Church Cathecism in Irish (1722); Letter to a Gentleman of the Landed Interest in Ireland (1721); Sermon Preached [ ] on Friday, November 5th, 1731 [3rd edn.] (Dublin 1731); A Defence of the Antient Historians: with a Particular Application of it to the History of Ireland and Great-Britain, and other Northern Nations, in a Dialogue between a Protestant and a Papist, an Englishman and an Irishman (1734).

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Criticism
Andrew Sneddon, Witchcraft and Whigs: The Life of Bishop Francis Hutchinson, 1600-1739 (Manchester UP 2008), 231pp. [reviewed in Books Ireland, Summer 2009 - with biog. details, as in Life, supra].

See also Kevin Herlihy, Propagating the Word of Irish Dissent, 1650-1800 (Dublin: Four Courts Press 1998), contains essay by Michael Brown focusing on Hutcheson [noticed in Irish Studies Review, Dec. 1999, p.375].

Note: The NDNB entry is by Toby Barnard [730 wds.].

There is a Wikipedia notice [partially as supra]

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Commentary
Russell K. Alspach
, Irish Poetry from the English Invasion to 1798 (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania UP [1943] 1959), p.95: describes Defense of the Antient Historians [...] of Ireland and Great Britain (1739-64) as taking the form of a dialogue between a Prtoestant and a Catholic, defining staunchly the work of Walsh, Keating and MacCurtin, adding in the Preface that he had ‘of late translated many of their old Fragments into English Verse and Prose’ (Defense, p.v); Alspach considers that his knowledge of Keating came from Dermod O’Connor’s translation. (Alspach, op. cit., p.95.)

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Robert Welch, A History of Verse Translation from the Irish 1789-1897 (Gerrards Cross 1988), cites Francis Hutchinson, Defence of the Ancient Historians of Great Britain and Ireland (Dublin 1734): ‘In 1734, Francis Hutchinson, in his Defence of the Ancient Historians of Great Britain and Ireland, wrote that native Irishmen had “of late translated many of their old Fragments into English Verse and Prose”, but gave no examples of the work being done.’ (Quoting from Russell K. Alspach, Irish Poetry [ ... &c.,] Pennsylvania UP [1943] 1959, p.95; Welch, op. cit., p.188 [bibl.]).

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Quotations
An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1788): ‘We may be uneasy while a desired Event is in Suspense, and yet not desire this Event only as the Means of removing this Uneasiness: Nay, if we did not desire the Event without View to this Uneasiness, we should never have brought this Uneasiness upon ourselves by desiring it.’ (Epigraph to “The Event” [poem], by Manny Blacksher, in Young Blood: New and Emerging Poetic Talent from Ireland, with Fortnight Review, 404, May 2002.)

A Defence of the Antient Historians (1734): ‘For altho’ I pretend not to understand much of the Language,yet I have several Books written in it, and am no stranger to its Character and Alphabet.’ (Preface, p.xiv; cited in Alspach, Irish Poetry, 1959, p.95, ftn. 121.)

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Letter to a Gentleman of the Landed Interest in Ireland (1721), ‘’Ireland hath three or four, perhaps five Papists to one Protestant, and therefore, if the Name was to follow Number, must be called a Popish, rather than a Protestant Nation.’ (quoted in Gerard McCoy, ‘“Patriots, Protestants and Papists”: Religion and the Ascendancy, 1714-60’, in Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal, Vol. 1 No. 1 (Spring 1994), pp.105-18; p.105)

Sermon Preached … on Friday, November 5th, 1731 (1731): ‘Ireland hath three or four, perhaps five Papists to one Protestant, and therefore, if the Name was to follow Number, must be called a Popish, rather than a Protestant Nation.’ (Quoted in McCoy, op. cit., p.110.)

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