Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hare-Naylor, Francis

HARE-NAYLOR, FRANCIS (1753–1815), author, was grandson of Dr. Francis Hare, bishop of Chichester [q. v.], and the eldest son of Robert Hare-Naylor of Hurstmonceaux, Sussex, and canon of Winchester, by his first wife, Sarah, daughter of Lister Selman of Chalfont St. Peter's, Buckinghamshire. His mother died when he was a child, and his father married secondly Miss Henrietta Henckell, who sold the family properties in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Hampshire to pay for her constant extravagance, and eventually persuaded her husband to consent to the demolition of Hurstmonceaux Castle, that she might build a modern house, which could be settled upon her own children. Francis Hare-Naylor had a small fortune from his mother, and, being unhappy at home, lived almost entirely in London, where he formed an intimate friendship with Fox, and, himself handsome and witty, became one of the brilliant circle which gathered round Georgiana Cavendish, duchess of Devonshire [q. v.], at Chiswick. By her he was introduced to her beautiful cousin, Georgiana, fourth daughter of Jonathan Shipley, bishop of St. Asaph [q. v.], by his wife, Anna Maria Mordaunt, niece of the famous Earl of Peterborough. Georgiana Shipley was accomplished in modern languages, had studied classics with her father, had been petted by Benjamin Franklin, had learnt painting in Reynolds's studio, and was a general favourite for her conversational powers upon all subjects. Her eldest sister, wife of Sir William Jones, the famous orientalist, had just sailed for India (April 1783), when she made the acquaintance of Hare-Naylor. The Duchess of Devonshire never lost an opportunity of throwing them together, and Bishop Shipley was at last persuaded to invite him to Twyford. The following day he was arrested for debt while driving in the episcopal coach with Georgiana and her parents. He was then forbidden the house, but disguised himself as a beggar, and met her while driving with her family. Her recognition of him produced a crisis. His father refused to do anything for Hare, but the Duchess of Devonshire gave the pair an annuity of two hundred a year, and on this they married. They went to Carlsruhe, and afterwards to the north of Italy. Here their four sons, Francis, Augustus, Julius, and Marcus, were born, and here Mrs. Hare-Naylor devoted herself to painting, the family eventually settling at Bologna, to which an agreeable literary society was attracted by the university. With Clotilda Tambroni, at that time the famous female professor of Greek, Mrs. Hare-Naylor formed a devoted friendship.

In 1797 Hare's father died, and it was found that his intention of leaving everything to his second wife was frustrated by her having built her new house of Hurstmonceaux Place upon entailed land. The Hare-Naylors therefore set off for England, leaving three of their children in the care of Clotilda Tambroni and Father Emmanuele Aponte, an old Spanish priest, and appointing the famous Mezzofanti tutor of their eldest son, who at eleven years old learnt to read the deepest Greek books, and to write Greek epigrams upon his step-grandmother.

The Hare-Naylors settled at Hurstmonceaux, and for years were engaged in reconciling residence in a large and expensive house with an ever-diminishing income. Hare-Naylor's vehement democratic principles made enemies and lost friends. He indignantly rejected, as aristocratic, the distinction of a baronetcy. From 1799 (when the Hare-Naylors went to Italy to fetch home their children) life became an increasing struggle with the requirements of an impoverished estate. Hare-Naylor wrote plays, 'The Mirror' and 'The Age of Chivalry,' which were rejected at Drury Lane. In 1801 he published his 'History of the Helvetic Republics,' in two volumes, which was also a severe disappointment, though it passed into a second enlarged edition (4 vols. 1809). Misfortune soured his temper, and the family was only saved from great privations by the intervention and help of the now widowed Lady Jones.

In 1803 Mrs. Hare-Naylor began a large series of pictures representing Hurstmonceaux Castle as it appeared before the destruction. She finished her work, but the minute application seriously affected her health, and brought on total blindness in her forty-eighth year. In the following year the Hare-Naylors left Hurstmonceaux for ever, and went to reside at Weimar, attracted partly by its famous literary society, but more by the kind friendship of the reigning duchess, who paid daily visits to the blind lady. Whilst at Weimar, Hare-Naylor published the very dull novel of 'Theodore, or the Enthusiast,' for which Flaxman, whose sister had been his children's governess, and who had already executed many portraits of the family, made a beautiful series of illustrations. On Easter Sunday, 1806, Georgiana Hare-Naylor died at Lausanne, leaving her children to the care of Lady Jones.

After his wife's death Hare-Naylor could never bear to return to Hurstmonceaux, and in 1807 he sold the estate. In the same year he married again a connection of his first wife, by whom he became the father of two sons and a daughter, subsequently the second wife of Frederick Denison Maurice [q. v.] In April 1815 he died, after a lingering illness, at Tours, and was buried beneath the altar of Hurstmonceaux Church. In 1816 was published his best-known work, a 'Civil and Military History of Germany, from the landing of Gustavus to the Treaty of Westphalia,' in two thick octavo volumes. Two of his sons by his first wife, Augustus William and Julius Charles, are separately noticed.

[Manuscript letters of Bishop Shipley to Lady Jones, of Benjamin Franklin to Bishop Shipley, of Sir J. Reynolds to Bishop Shipley, of Clotilda Tambroni and Emmanuele Aponte to Mrs. Hare-Naylor, of Mrs. Hare-Naylor to Lady Jones and to Miss Bowdler, and of Francis Hare-Naylor and of Francis Hare to Lady Jones.]

A. J. C. H.