Open main menu

LANCASTER, HENRY HILL (1829–1875), essayist, born on 10 Jan. 1829 at Glasgow, was son of Thomas Lancaster, a Glasgow merchant, and of Jane Kelly. He was educated first at the high school, Glasgow, and afterwards at the university. A distinguished student, he proceeded in 1849 as a Snell exhibitioner to Balliol College, Oxford. In 1853 he obtained a first class in literis humanioribus as well as third class honours in the school of law and modern history, and in the following year he was awarded the Arnold prize for an essay on 'The Benefits arising from the Union of England and Scotland in the reign of Queen Anne.' He graduated B.A. 1853 and M.A. 1872. Settling, on leaving Oxford, in Edinburgh, he passed as an advocate there in 1858, and proved himself an able and industrious lawyer. He defended the university in Jex Blake v. the University of Edinburgh, and the 'Athenæum' in the action brought against that journal by Keith Johnston. Under Mr. Gladstone's ministry (1868 to 1874) he held the office of advocate-depute. He took an active interest in the cause of education. In 1858 he served as secretary to a commission of inquiry into the state of King's and Marischal Colleges, Aberdeen ; and in 1872 was a member of a royal commission on Scottish educational establishments.

In his leisure Lancaster contributed to the daily Edinburgh preas.andiu November 1860 he began a connection with the 'North British Review' with an article on 'Lord Macaulay's Place in English Literature.' He took a strong interest in Scottish political history, and wrote for the 'Edinburgh Review' articles on Burton's 'History of Scotland' (July 1867), and on the two Lords Stair under the title of 'The Scottish Statesmen of the Revolution' (January 1876). All his essays are clearly written and display much care and knowledge. He died suddenly from apoplexy, on 24 Dec. 1876, aged 18. In the following year his more important essays were reprinted privately in two volumes, with prefatory notice by Professor Jowett. Most of them were afterwards published in a single volume entitled 'Essays and Reviews,' Edinburgh. 1876.

Lancaster married in 1863 a daughter of Mr. Graham of Skelmorlie, Ayrshire.

Private information ; Scotsman, 25 Dec. 1875; Edinburgh Journil of Jurisprudence, February 1878; Athenæum. 1 Jan. 1876; Oxford University Calendar.]

T. B. S.