Hessey, James Augustus (DNB01)

HESSEY, JAMES AUGUSTUS (1814–1892), divine, eldest son of James Augustus Hessey of St. Bride's, London, was born in London on 17 July 1814. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, where he remained from 1823 till 1832, and obtained three times the chief annual prize for composition. On 25 June 1832 he matriculated at St. John's College, Oxford, of which he was for some years a resident fellow and lecturer. He graduated B.A. in 1836, taking a first-class in literis humanioribus, M.A. in 1840, B.D. in 1845, and D.C.L. in 1846. In 1839 he was presented to the vicarage of Helidon, Northamptonshire. He was appointed public examiner at Oxford in 1842, and select preacher in the university in 1849. From 1845 to 1870 he was head-master of Merchant Taylors' School, and from 1850 to 1879 preacher of Gray's Inn. In 1860 he preached the Bampton lectures at Oxford, and in the same year he was appointed by Archibald Campbell Tait [q. v.], bishop of London, to the prebendal stall of Oxgate, in St. Paul's Cathedral, which he resigned in 1875. In 1865 he was elected to the office of Grinfield Lecturer on the Septuagint by the university of Oxford, and, on the expiration of the two years' tenure, was elected in 1867 for two years more. At Christmas 1870 he resigned the head-mastership of Merchant Taylors' School, having a few weeks previously been appointed by John Jackson (1811-1885) [q. v.], bishop of London, one of the bishop's examining chaplains. In November 1870 he was nominated to preach the Boyle lecture for 1871 and the two following years. From 1872 to 1874 he was classical examiner for the Indian civil service. Dr. Hessey was appointed archdeacon of Middlesex in June 1875. He was a governor of St. Paul's, Highgate, and Repton schools, and in 1878 and 1879 was select preacher in the university of Cambridge. He was also one of the three permanent chairmen of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and an active member of nearly all the church societies. Both by his writings and his personal efforts he took a prominent part in resisting proposals for altering the laws of marriage. In 1884 the University of the South, Tennessee, conferred upon him the degree of D.D. He died on 24 Dec. 1892. Dr. Hessey was a scholarly and urbane clergyman, profuse in charity, and, although a devoted churchman, was tolerant of every reasonable effort for ameliorating the spiritual and material condition of the people.

He married, in 1845, Emma, daughter of R. Cazenove of Clapham.

His works are:

  1. 'Schemata Rhetorica; or tables explanatory of the nature of the Enthymeme, and the various modes of classification adopted by Aristotle in his Rhetoric and Prior Analytics. With notes and an introduction. To which is added the Commentary on Analyt. Prior II. xxix., by Pacius,' Oxford, 1845, fol.
  2. 'A Scripture Argument against permitting Marriage with a Wife's Sister,' 2nd edit. London, 1850, 8vo; 3rd edit. 1855.
  3. 'The Biographies of the Kings of Judah. Six Lectures,' printed for private circulation, London, 1858, 8vo.
  4. 'Sunday, its Origin, History, and present Obligation,' being the Bampton lectures at Oxford, London, 1860, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1861; 3rd edit. 1866; 4th edit. 1880; fifth edit. 1889.
  5. 'Biographies of the Kings of Judah. Twelve Lectures,' London, 1865, 8vo. This volume includes the six lectures which were privately printed in 1858.
  6. 'Moral Difficulties connected with the Bible: being the Boyle Lectures for 1871-3,' three series, London, 1871-3, 8vo.

In 1853 he edited the 'Institutio Linguae Sanctae' of Victorinus Bythner.

[Annual Register, 1892, Chronicle, p. 212; Foster's Alumni Oxon. ii. 651; Men of the Time, 11th edit.; Merchant Tailors' School Testimonials in favour of the Rev. J. A. Hessey, 1845; Robinson's Register of Merchant Taylors' School, ii. 219; Times, 26 Dec. 1892, p. 8, col. 4.]

T. C.