Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 2.djvu/283

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Hill
Hill
263

Hill energetically championed a forward liberal policy. Whilst the conservative reform bill of 1866 was passing through parliament he contributed to a volume of essays, 'Questions for a Reformed Parliament' (1867), an enlightened article on the political claims of Ireland. At the same time he wrote for the 'Saturday Review,' and a high place among London journalists was soon won. On the retirement of Thomas Walker [q. v.] from the editorship of the 'Daily News' in 1869, Edward Dicey [q. v. Suppl. II] filled the post for a few months; but Hill soon succeeded Dicey, and he held the editorship for seventeen years. The price had been reduced from threepence to one penny a year before he assumed office. Hill continued to give steady support to Gladstone's administration, and the journal became an influential party organ. Under his editorship and the management of (Sir) John Richard Robinson [q. v. Suppl. II] the 'Daily News' attained an influence and a popularity which it had not previously enjoyed. Hill collected a notable body of leader-writers. Amongst these, in addition to Peter William Clayden [q. v. Suppl. II], the assistant editor, were Justin McCarthy, (Professor) William Minto [q. v.], (Sir) John Macdonell, Prof. George Saintsbury, Andrew Lang, and later Mr. Herbert Paul—whilst William Black the novelist. Sir Henry Lucy, and Frances Power Cobbe [q. v. Suppl. II] were occasional writers or auxiliary members of the staff. Hill himself wrote constantly, notably a series of 'Political Portraits,' which was published separately in 1873 and went through several editions. His intimate relations with the political leaders of the day enabled him to gauge accurately their aims and ambitions, and his keen insight had at its service a caustic pen.

Hill declined to accept Gladstone's home rule policy in 1886. The proprietors were unwilling to sanction Hill's claim to independence of the party leaders' programme, and early in 1886 his services were somewhat abruptly dispensed with. He returned the cheque for a year's salary sent by the proprietors on his retirement. Thereupon Hill's political friends wished to show, by means of a pecuniary testimonial, their appreciation of his services to the party, but the proposal was abandoned in deference to his wish. Before the close of the year he became the regular political leader-writer of the 'World,' and held that post for twenty years.

Hill contributed to the 'Fortnightly Review' (1877-8) a bitter and trenchant article on 'The Political Journeyings of Lord Beaconsfield,' and to the 'Edinburgh Review' (July 1887) an appreciative article on 'Mr. Gladstone and the Liberal Party.' After leaving the 'Daily News' he was a frequent contributor to the 'Nineteenth Century.' A life of George Canning which he wrote for the 'English Worthies' series (1881) contained few new facts, but showed a clearer appreciation of Canning's political aims and difficulties than previous biographers had presented. Hill was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1872, but never practised. He died suddenly at 13 Morpeth Terrace, Westminster, on 28 June 1910, and by his will bequeathed 1000l. to the Boston grammar school to found an exhibition from the school to any English university. In June 1862 he married Jane Dalzell Finlay, daughter of the proprietor of the 'Northern Whig,' and a contributor to the literary section of that paper. After her marriage Mrs. Hill continued to write literary articles and reviews, chiefly in the 'Saturday Review.' She died in 1904.

[Private information; F. Moy Thomas's Recollections of Sir John R. Robinson, 1904; Justin McCarthy's Reminiscences; Notes and Queries, 15 Oct. 1910.]

L. G. R.

HILL, GEORGE BIRKBECK NORMAN (1835–1903), editor of Boswell's 'Life of Johnson,' born at Bruce Castle, Tottenham, Middlesex, on 7 June 1835, was second son of Arthur Hill and grandson of Thomas Wright Hill [q. v.], whose sons, Sir Rowland and Matthew Davenport, are separately noticed (for his paternal ancestry see his Life of Sir Rowland Hill and History of the Penny Postage). His mother, Ellen Tilt, daughter of Joseph Maurice, was of Welsh, and, through her mother, Theodosia Bache, of Huguenot origin. Educated at his father's school, he imbibed in youth strictly liberal principles. On 1 March 1855 he entered Pembroke College, Oxford, and there came under other influences. William Fulford, editor of the 'Oxford and Cambridge Magazine,' introduced him to the circle of Burne Jones, William Morris, and Rossetti, and he joined the Old Mortality Club, of which Swinburne, Professor Dicey, Professor Nichol, and Mr. Bryce were members. Ill-health condemned him to an 'honorary' fourth class in literæ humaniores. He graduated B.A. in 1858, and proceeded B.C.L. in 1866 and D.C.L. in 1871.

Eager to marry, he adopted the family