Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hartog, Numa Edward

HARTOG, NUMA EDWARD (1846–1871), senior wrangler, born in London 20 May 1846, was eldest son of M. Alphonse Hartog, a native of France and professor of French in London. Both his parents were of the Jewish faith. Hartog attended University College School and University College, London, and passed with remarkable distinction the B.A. and B.Sc. examinations at London University in 1864. Matriculating at Trinity College, Cambridge, in October 1865, he was elected a foundation scholar in 1866, and came out senior wrangler in the mathematical tripos of January 1869. As a Jew he declined to go through the ordinary ceremony of admission to the degree of B.A., and in accordance with a special grace passed unanimously by the senate on 29 Jan. 1869, the vice-chancellor admitted him to the degree without employing the form of words invoking the Trinity, to which Hartog objected. He won the second Smith's prize immediately afterwards, but the existence of religious tests prevented him from offering himself as a candidate for the fellowship at his college, which usually rewarded the senior wrangler. Leaving Cambridge he held for a short time a post in the treasury; and subsequently entered the office of Mr. (now Lord) Thring, parliamentary draughtsman. In 1869 Sir John Duke (now Lord) Coleridge, solicitor-general in Mr. Gladstone's first ministry, introduced a long-promised bill for the abolition of religious tests at the universities, and quoted Hartog's case in support of his argument. Many other references were made to Hartog's disability in the succeeding debates. The commons passed the bill in 1869 and 1870, but the lords rejected it on both occasions. On 3 March 1871 Hartog was examined at length by a select committee of the House of Lords, appointed to consider the question of university tests, and presided over by Lord Salisbury. His evidence made considerable impression. The bill was passed by the House of Lords in May, and received the royal assent 16 June 1871. Unfortunately Hartog died from smallpox three days later (19 June) before he could benefit by the new legislation.

[Times, 21 June and 22 June 1871; Jewish Record, 3 Feb. 1869 (quoting Cambridge Chronicle and Manchester Guardian), and 23 June 1871; Jewish Chronicle, 23 June 1871; Morais's Eminent Israelites, Philadelphia, 1880, pp. 119 sq.; Hansard's Parl. Debates, vol. 194, pp. 1043, 1051, vol. 201, p. 1210; Report of the Lords' Select Committee on University Tests, 1871, pp. 131–8, 337.]

S. L. L.