Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hume, Abraham (1814-1884)

HUME, ABRAHAM (1814–1884), antiquary, son of Thomas F. Hume, of Scottish descent, was born at Hillsborough, co. Down, Ireland, on 9 Feb. 1814. He was educated at the Royal Belfast Academy, Glasgow University, and Trinity College, Dublin. On leaving Trinity College he was for some time mathematical and English teacher, first at the Belfast Institution and Academy, and afterwards at the Liverpool Institute and Collegiate Institution. In 1843 he graduated B.A. at Dublin, and received the honorary degree of LL.D. at Glasgow. In the same year he was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Chester, and after serving as curate for four years without stipend at St. Augustine's, Liverpool, was appointed in 1847 vicar of the new parish of Vauxhall in the same town. In 1848, in conjunction with Joseph Mayer and H. C. Pidgeon, he established the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, of which he was the mainstay for many years. He instituted minute statistical inquiries in connection with certain Liverpool parishes, which threw great light on their moral and spiritual condition. During 1857 and 1858 he sent to the 'Times' newspaper summaries of his previous year's work in his parish. These attracted much attention, and had the effect of modifying public opinion on the alleged idleness of the clergy. In 1858 and 1859 he gave evidence before select committees of the House of Lords, the first on the means of divine worship in populous places, and the second on church rates. In 1867 he was sent on a surveying tour by the South American Missionary Society, and explored the west coast, especially Chili and Peru. On the visit of the Church Congress to Liverpool in 1869 he acted as secretary and edited the report. He was also secretary to the British Association at Liverpool in 1870. He was vice-chairman of the Liverpool school board 1870–6, and secretary of the Liverpool bishopric committee 1873–80. For a long time he ardently advocated the formation of the Liverpool diocese. On the accomplishment of the project in 1880 he designed the new episcopal seal. He took an active part in most of the public, scientific, educational, and ecclesiastical movements in the town. He was a fellow of the Royal Society, of the Society of Antiquaries, of the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries at Copenhagen, and many similar associations. He died unmarried on 21 Nov. 1884, and was buried at Anfield cemetery, Liverpool.

He wrote more than a hundred books and pamphlets, the principal being: 1. 'The Learned Societies and Printing Clubs of the United Kingdom,' London, 1847, 8vo; an enlarged edition in 1853. 2. 'Sir Hugh of Lincoln,' London, 1849, 8vo. 3. 'Remarks on Certain Implements of the Stone Period,' 1851, 8vo. 4. Two essays on 'Spinning and Weaving,' 1857,4to. 5. 'Condition of Liverpool, Religious and Social,' Liverpool, 1858, 8vo. 6. 'Miscellaneous Essays contributed to the 'Ulster Journal of Archæology,' 1860, 4to. 7. 'Rabbin's Olminick' (Belfast dialect), 1861–3, 8vo. 8. 'Ancient Meols, or some Account of the Antiquities found on the Seacoast of Cheshire,' London, 1863, 8vo. 9. 'Examination of the Changes in the Seacoast of Lancashire and Cheshire,' 1866, 8vo. 10. 'Facts and Suggestions connected with Primary Education,' &c., Liverpool, 1870, 8vo. 11. 'Origin and Characteristics of the People in the Counties of Down and Antrim,' Belfast, 1874, 8vo. 12. 'Remarks on the Irish Dialect of the English Language,' 1878, 8vo. 13. 'Some Scottish Grievances,' 1881, 16mo. 14. 'Detailed Account of how Liverpool became a Diocese,' London, 1881, 8vo.

[Brief Memoir of Hume by John Cooper Morley, Liverpool, 1887; Liverpool newspapers, 22 Nov. 1884; Men of the Time, llth edit; personal knowledge.]

C. W. S.