Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hayward, Abraham

HAYWARD, ABRAHAM (1801–1884), essayist, was descended from an old Wiltshire family. His grandfather owned a small property at Hillcott, North Newton. His father, Joseph (d. 24 Dec. 1844)—writer of ‘The Science of Horticulture’ (1818) and ‘The Science of Agriculture’ (1825)—sold the property and went to live at Wilton, near Salisbury, where in 1799 he married Mary, daughter of Richard Abraham of White Lackington in Somerset. There Abraham, their eldest son, was born on 22 Nov. 1801. From about 1807 to February 1811 Hayward was at Bath as private pupil to Francis Twiss, whose wife was a sister of Mrs. Siddons. From 1811 till January 1817 he was at Blundell's school at Tiverton, where he learned to swim and to fish, took a moderate place in the school, and suffered from the severe discipline and spare diet. After a couple of years spent at home under a private tutor, he was articled in September 1818 to George Tuson, solicitor, of Northover, afterwards of Ilchester in Somerset, a bookish man, in whose library Hayward read widely. On the expiration of his articles he abandoned the profession of solicitor, and entered himself as student of the Inner Temple in October 1824. He was then almost without friends in London. As a law student he joined the London Debating Society, where he came into contact with many young men who afterwards attained distinction. ‘In the session following, 1826–1827,’ J. S. Mill writes of the society, ‘things began to mend. We had acquired two excellent tory speakers, Hayward and Shee’ (Autobiography, 1873, p. 128). In June 1828 the first number of the ‘Law Magazine, or Quarterly Review of Jurisprudence’ appeared under the joint editorship of W. F. Cornish and Hayward, the latter of whom became sole editor after the fourth number, retaining the position until June 1844. Under his guidance the magazine attained much reputation, and in the course of his editorial duties Hayward gained the acquaintance of many foreign jurists. He paid his first visit to Germany in the autumn of 1831, and was handsomely received at Göttingen, at that time a great centre of legal studies. On his return from his continental tour he printed privately a translation of Goethe's ‘Faust’ into English prose, and published the book through Edward Moxon in February 1833. By this time he had been called to the bar, and chose the western circuit. Lord Lyndhurst acknowledged his obligation to an article by Hayward (see Law Magazine, ix. 392–413) in successfully opposing Brougham's local courts bill in the House of Lords in 1833 (Sir T. Martin, Life of Lyndhurst, 1884, p. 313). In the autumn of the same year he revisited Germany, and obtained suggestions for a second and enlarged edition of ‘Faust,’ published in January 1834. The book was reviewed in Germany by F. C. Horn, and was the subject of a pamphlet by D. Boileau (1834). Hallam, Southey, Rogers, Allan Cunningham, and many others wrote to congratulate the author, and the work has retained its reputation as a straightforward rendering in prose of the original. Carlyle considered it the best English version.

The success of ‘Faust’ gave Hayward an assured position in society, and he became a frequent contributor to the leading reviews. In August 1834 he made a journey across the Alps into Italy, described in a long and interesting letter addressed to one of his sisters (privately printed at the time, and reproduced in ‘Correspondence,’ i. 22–50). The letter ends with the characteristic remark, ‘I had my usual luck in getting acquainted with interesting people on my way back.’ On 17 Feb. 1835 he was specially elected by the committee a member of the Athenæum. An article in the ‘Quarterly Review’ on Walker's ‘Original’ (February 1836) attracted attention; with another on gastronomy and gastronomers the two were afterwards published under the title of ‘The Art of Dining.’ These essays made Hayward's reputation as an authority on the subject, although he remarked of the first article, ‘I got it up just as I would get up a speech from a brief’ (ib. i. 54). His dinners in his chambers in the Temple were famous for choiceness of fare and distinction of company. Lockhart, Macaulay, Sydney Smith, Lord Lansdowne, Henry Bulwer, George Smythe, Lyndhurst, Hooke, Mrs. Norton, were constant guests.

Between 1838 and 1840 Hayward saw much of Prince Louis Bonaparte, and gave him literary assistance. In 1844 he began to contribute to the ‘Edinburgh Review’ under Macvey Napier. A visit to Paris brought him the acquaintance of Thiers, afterwards a frequent correspondent. Although Hayward had only a moderate professional practice, he was made Q.C. by Lyndhurst early in 1845, but was not elected a bencher of his inn owing to the opposition vote of Roebuck. Hayward bitterly resented the exclusion, and attacked the benchers with his usual energy. He brought the question before the judges, and wrote several pamphlets (1845–1848), which produced others by Neate and T. Falconer. In 1847 he circulated a few copies of extremely commonplace ‘Verses of other Days.’

Hayward began life as a tory, but on the split in the party in 1846 developed into a Peelite and free trader. He first gave expression to his dislike of Disraeli in an article in the ‘Edinburgh Review’ in April 1853. Thinking his political services to the party gave him some claim, he applied for a commissionership under the new Charitable Trusts Act, stating to Sir G. C. Lewis that he had lost a considerable part of his small income on the death of his brother (ib. i. 186). He did not obtain the office, but he was nominated in 1854 by Lord Aberdeen to the post of secretary to the poor law board; the appointment fell through, however, owing to the refusal of Lord Courtenay, who already held the office, to exchange it for a commissionership of woods and forests. He supported the government in the ‘Morning Chronicle’ against the ‘Times’ charges of neglect in the Crimea, and wrote an article on De Bazancourt's ‘Expédition de Crimée,’ which was translated into French, and was circulated on the continent at the special request of Lord Palmerston, to counteract the bad impression raised by De Bazancourt's semi-official publication.

Hayward wrote constantly in the quarterlies, ‘Fraser,’ and other periodicals; one of his best essays being ‘Pearls and Mock Pearls of History,’ in the ‘Quarterly Review’ of April 1861. He endeavoured in a series of trenchant articles in ‘Fraser's Magazine’ to avert the split in Lord Russell's government on the reform question in 1866, and at the commencement of 1868 was engaged on his ‘More about Junius,’ a subject which, like whist, dining, and political memoirs, he considered peculiarly his own. The claims of Francis were stoutly denied, and he told Sir W. Stirling Maxwell ‘that five out of six of the best intellects of my acquaintance think the Franciscan theory rudely shaken if not demolished’ (ib. ii. 176). In 1869 he became a regular contributor to the ‘Quarterly Review,’ after a long retirement, and down to October 1883 wrote an article in each number. ‘The Second Armada, a chapter in future History,’ suggested by the ‘Battle of Dorking,’ was written for the ‘Times’ in 1871. In the same journal, 10 May 1873, appeared a biographical sketch by him of J. S. Mill, including some passages which gave deep offence to Mill's friends. The Rev. Stopford Brooke protested against the statements in a sermon, G. J. Holyoake issued a pamphlet, ‘J. S. Mill as some of the working classes knew him,’ and W. D. Christie published ‘J. S. Mill and Mr. Abraham Hayward,’ containing an acrimonious correspondence.

On his return from a visit to Paris in the autumn of 1883, Hayward finished his October ‘Quarterly’ article on Marshal Bugeaud, the last to which he put his pen. He died in his rooms in St. James's Street, 2 Feb. 1884, in his eighty-third year.

Hayward was entirely a self-made man. Disappointed in hopes of legal success and of employment in the public service, he devoted his later life to letters and society. He made many enemies and many sincere friends. With a hasty temper and a shrewdly biting tongue, he was generous at heart. He was not a great or even a good talker, but he was unsurpassed as a teller of anecdotes. His reading, especially in the departments of history and memoirs, was extensive, and his ‘Quarterly’ essays, which seem to be written with a flowing pen, were put together with elaborate care and preparation, and with incessant striving after accuracy in details. He was fond of wire-pulling, but it is doubtful whether the political leaders who corresponded with him took his pretensions quite seriously. His physical aspect at the age of seventy-two, allowing for a touch of caricature, is shown in a cartoon by Pellegrini (Vanity Fair, 27 Nov. 1875). For many years he was a conspicuous figure at the Athenæum Club.

Besides numerous contributions to periodical literature he wrote:

  1. ‘Of the Vocation of our age for Legislation and Jurisprudence, translated from the German of F. C. von Savigny,’ London, 1831, 8vo (not for sale).
  2. ‘The Statutes founded on the Common Law Reports, with Introductory Observations and Notes,’ London, 1832, sm. 8vo.
  3. ‘Faust, a Dramatic Poem, by Goethe, translated into English Prose, with Remarks on former Translations and Notes,’ London, 1833, 8vo (for private distribution); also published in 1833; ‘second edition, to which is appended an abstract of the continuation, with an account of the story of Faust, and the various productions in literature and art founded on it,’ London, 1834, 8vo; various editions down to 1889.
  4. ‘Some Account of a Journey across the Alps, in a Letter to a Friend,’ London, 1834, 12mo (for private circulation).
  5. ‘Summary of Objections to the Doctrine that a Marriage with the Sister of a Deceased Wife is contrary to Law, Religion, or Morality,’ London, 1839, 8vo (privately printed, afterwards issued in the ‘Law Magazine’).
  6. ‘Remarks on the Law regarding Marriage with the Sister of a Deceased Wife,’ London, 1845, 8vo.
  7. ‘Verses of other Days,’ London, 1847, sm. 8vo (printed for friends; anonymous; again with additions in 1878).
  8. ‘The Ballot for Benchers; by a Templar,’ London, 1848, 8vo (anonymous, privately printed).
  9. ‘On the Origin and History of the Benchers of the Inns of Court,’ London, 1848, 8vo.
  10. ‘Report of the Proceedings before the Judges as Visitors of the Inns of Court on the Appeal of A. Hayward,’ London, 1848, 8vo.
  11. ‘The Art of Dining; or Gastronomy and Gastronomers,’ London, 1852, sm. 8vo (based on articles in ‘Quarterly Review’ for July 1835 and February 1836, with additions).
  12. ‘Lord Chesterfield: his Character, Life, and Opinions; and George Selwyn, his Life and Times,’ London, 1854, sm. 8vo (reprinted with a few corrections from ‘Edinburgh Review,’ No. 161, 1844, and No. 166, 1845; in Longman's ‘Traveller's Library’).
  13. ‘The Secretaryship of the Poor Law Board: Facts and Proofs against Calumnies and Conjectures,’ London, 1854, 8vo.
  14. ‘Juridical Tracts, pt. i., containing Historical Sketch of the Law of Real Property in England; Principles and Practice of Pleading; Historical Sketch of Reform in the Criminal Law,’ London, 1856, 8vo (all published; a second part was advertised, and a third part was announced to consist of a new edition of the translation of Savigny's tract, see No. 1).
  15. ‘Specimens of an Authorised Translation from the French,’ London, 1856, 8vo (privately printed; criticism on an incorrect version of De Montalembert's ‘De l'Avenir Politique de l'Angleterre’).
  16. ‘Expédition de Crimée: quelques éclaircissements relatifs à l'armée Anglaise,’ Bruxelles, 1857, 8vo (translated from the ‘North British Review;’ it also appeared in German).
  17. ‘Biographical and Critical Essays, reprinted from Reviews, with Additions and Corrections,’ London, 1858, 2 vols. 8vo; a new series, 1873, 2 vols. 8vo; 3rd series, 1874, 8vo (the last with much additional matter; five volumes in all, the ‘Sketches’ (see No. 27) are supplementary).
  18. ‘Autobiography, Letters, and Literary Remains of Mrs. Piozzi (Thrale), edited with Notes and an Introductory Account of her Life and Writings,’ London, 1861, 2 vols. cr. 8vo (two editions, the second greatly improved).
  19. ‘Mr. Kinglake and the Quarterlys, by an Old Reviewer,’ London, 1863, 8vo (anonymous; also issued ‘not for sale’).
  20. ‘Diaries of a Lady of Quality [Miss F. W. Wynn] from 1797 to 1844, edited with Notes,’ London, 1864, cr. 8vo (two editions).
  21. ‘More about Junius; the Franciscan Theory Unsound; reprinted from “Fraser's Magazine,” with Additions,’ London, 1868, 8vo.
  22. ‘The Second Armada: a Chapter of Future History,’ London, 1871, sm. 8vo.
  23. ‘John Stuart Mill, reprinted from the “Times” of 10 May 1873,’ 8vo (privately printed; Hayward also circulated a letter to the Rev. Stopford Brooke on the subject).
  24. ‘The Handwriting of Junius,’ reproduced from the ‘Times’ in a pamphlet by H. A. W. ‘The Evidence of Handwriting,’ Cambridge [U. S.], 1874, 8vo.
  25. ‘Goethe,’ London, 1878, sm. 8vo (in Mrs. Oliphant's ‘Foreign Classics for English Readers’).
  26. ‘Selected Essays,’ London, 1878, 2 vols. sm. 8vo (chosen from the three series No. 17).
  27. ‘Sketches of Eminent Statesmen and Writers, with other Essays reprinted from the “Quarterly Review,” with Additions and Corrections,’ London, 1880, 2 vols. 8vo (supplementary to No. 17).
  28. ‘A Selection from the Correspondence of Abraham Hayward, Q.C., from 1834 to 1884, with an Account of his Early Life, edited by H. E. Carlisle,’ London, 1886, 2 vols. 8vo.

[The best authority for the early life of Hayward is the Selections from his Correspondence, edited by Mr. H. E. Carlisle, 1886, 2 vols. 8vo; see also some interesting papers in the Fortnightly Review, March and April 1884; the Times, 4 and 7 Feb. 1884; Athenæum, 9 Feb. 1884; Academy, 9 Feb. 1884; Saturday Review, 9 Feb. 1884; some good stories about Hayward are told in E. Yates's Recollections, 1884, ii. 133, 157–61, and in G. W. Smalley's London Letters, 1890, i. 315–25, ii. 63, 64, 104. His journalistic career is described in H. R. Fox Bourne's English Newspapers, vol. ii. passim. See also E. H. Dering's Memoirs of Georgina, Lady Chatterton, 1878, pp. 92–4; Letters of the Right Hon. Sir G. C. Lewis, 1870, 8vo; P. W. Clayden's Early Life of S. Rogers, 1887, and Rogers and his Contemporaries, 1889, 2 vols.; Selections from the Correspondence of the late M. Napier, 1887, 8vo.]

H. R. T.