Hunter, Thomas (1712-1777) (DNB00)

HUNTER, THOMAS (1712–1777), author, eldest son of William Hunter, born at Kendal, Westmoreland, and baptised there on 30 March 1712, was educated at the Kendal grammar school, and matriculated at Queen's College, Oxford, on 2 July 1734. In 1737 he was elected master of the Blackburn grammar school, and was subsequently appointed curate of Balderstone, Lancashire. One of his pupils was Edward Harwood [q. v.], who spoke of him as a 'most worthy preceptor,' and 'most learned and worthy clergyman' (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. ix. 579). He left Blackburn in 1750, on being appointed vicar of Garstang, Lancashire, and was preferred on 18 April 1755 to the vicarage of Weaverham, Cheshire, where he died on 1 Sept. 1777. He was blind for many years, during which some of his later works were produced. He married at Blackburn, on 28 Feb. 1738, Mary, widow of Hugh Baldwin, and among his children were William Hunter, fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford, and minister of St. Paul's, Liverpool, and Thomas Hunter, who succeeded him as vicar of Weaverham. Both published sermons.

Hunter wrote:

  1. 'A Letter to the Hon. Colonel John —— in Flanders, on the subject of Religion,' 1744, 8vo.
  2. 'A Letter to a Priest of the Church of Rome on the subject of Image Worship,' 8vo.
  3. 'Observations on Tacitus,' 1752, 8vo.
  4. 'An Impartial Account of Earthquakes,' Liverpool, 1756, 8vo.
  5. 'A Sketch of the Philosophical Character of Lord Bolingbroke,' 1770, 8vo second edition, 1776. For this work he received the degree of M.A. by diploma from the university of Oxford. Bishop Warburton's opinion of it was not very favourable (Letters to Hurd, cciv.)
  6. 'Moral Discourses on Providence and other Important Subjects,' 1774, 2 vols. 8vo; second edition, 1776.
  7. 'Reflections, Critical and Moral, on the Letters of the late Earl of Chesterfield,' 1776, 8vo.

[Fishwick's Hist. of Garstang (Cheth. Soc.), ii. 193; Earwaker's Local Gleanings, vols. i. ii. Abram's Hist. of Blackburn, 1877, pp.339, 347, 478; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Ormerod's Cheshire, orig. edit. ii. 58.]

C. W. S.