Hare, Dr. Francis

, an English bishop, was born in London, and educated at Eton, whence he was admitted of King’s college, Cambridge, in 1688, and took his degree of A. B. in 1692, and of A. M. 1696. He afterwards became tutor in the college, and in that capacity superintended the education of the celebrated Anthony Collins, who was fellow-commoner there. He had also the tuition of the marquis of Blandford, only son of the illustrious duke of Marlborough, who appointed him chaplain-general | to the army; but this promising young nobleman died in 1702, and was buried in King’s college chapel. The inscription on his monument is by our author. In 1708 Mr. Hare took his degree of D. D. obtained the deanery of Worcester, and in 1726 the deanery of St. Paul’s. In Dec. 1727, he was consecrated bishop of St. Asaph, where he sat about four years, and was translated, Nov. 25, 1731, to the bishopric of Chichester, which he held with the deanery of St. Paul’s to his death. He was dismissed from being chaplain to George I. in 1718, by the strength of party prejudices, in company with Dr. Moss and Dr. Sher-r lock, persons of distinguished rank for parts and learning. About the latter end of queen Anne’s reign he published a remarkable pamphlet, entitled “The difficulties and discouragements which attend the Study of the Scriptures, in the way of private judgment;” in order to shew, that since such a study of the scriptures is an indispensable duty, it concerns all Christian societies to remove, as much as possible, those discouragements. This work was thought to have such a direct tendency to promote scepticism, and a loose way of thinking in matters of religious concern, that the convocation judged it right to pass a severe censure on it; and Whiston says, that, finding this piece likely to hinder preferment, he aimed to conceal his being the author. The same writer charges him with being strongly inclined to scepticism that he talked ludicrously of sacred matters and that he would offer to lay wagers about the fulfilling of scripture prophecies. The principal ground for these invidious insinuations some suppose to be, that, though he never denied the genuineness of the apostolical constitutions (of which he procured for Whiston the collation of two Vienna Mss.), yet “he was not firm believer enough, nor serious enough in Christianity, to hazard any thing in this world for their reception.” He published many pieces against bishop Hoadly, in the Bangorian controversy; and also other learned works, which were collected after his death, and published in four volumes, 8yo. 2. An edition of “Terence,” with notes, in 4to. 3. “The Book of Psalms, in the Hebrew, put into the original poetical metre,” 4to. In this last work he pretends to have Discovered the Hebrew metre, which was supposed to be irretrievably lost. But his hypothesis, though defended by some, yet has been confuted by several learned men, particularly by Dr. Lowth in his “Metrics Hareaue brevis | confutatio,” annexed to his lectures “De Sacra Poesi Hebreeorum.” He was yet more unfortunate in the abovementioned edition of Terence, which sunk under the reputation of that of Dr. Bentley, of whom he was once the warm admirer, and afterwards the equally warm opponent. During their friendship the emendations on Menander and Philemon were transmitted through Hare, who was then chaplain-general to the army, to Burman, in 1710; and Bentley’s “Remarks on the Essay on Freethinking” (supposed to be written by Collins) were inscribed to him in 1713. As soon as the first part of these were published, Hare formally thanked Dr. Bentley by name for them, in a most flattering letter called “The Clergyman’s Thanks to Phileleutherus,” printed the same year; but, in consequence of the rupture between them, not inserted in the collection of Hare’s works. This rupture took place soon after the above-mentioned date, and Bentley in the subsequent editions of his “Remarks” withdrew the inscription. Hare was excessively piqued at the utter annihilation of his Terence and Phoedrus, the one soon after its birth, the other before its birth, by Bentley’s edition of both together in 1726, who never once names Hare.

Bishop Hare, about the time of his death, was preparing an edition of Plautus. He died at his house at Chalfont St. Giles’s, Bucks, where he had bought an* estate and resided very much, April 26, 1740, and was buried in that parish church. He was twice married. His son, the rev. Robert Hare of Hurstmonceaux place, in Sussex, prebendary of Winchester, died in March 1797. He was the father of James Hare, esq. late member of parliament for Knaresborough. 1


Gent. Mag. see Index. Swift’s Works. Whiston’s Life. Cole’s ms in Brit. Mus.