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Hume
Hume
230

Mayfair, London, on 1 March 1857, aged 75 (ib. 1857, pt. i. p. 500).

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. 1878, iii. 212-13; Foster's Alumni Oxon. ii. 713.]

G. G.

HUME, JOSEPH (1777–1855), politician, was younger son of a shipmaster of Montrose, Forfarshire, where he was born on 22 Jan. 1777. His mother, early left a widow, kept a crockery stall in the market-place, and having put her son to school in the town, apprenticed him in 1790 to a local surgeon. After three years he was sent to study medicine successively at Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and London, and in 1796 became a member of the College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and on 2 Feb. in the following year an assistant surgeon in the sea-service of the East India Company. This post was obtained for him by the influence of David Scott of Dunninald, Forfarshire, a director of the East India Company and M.P. for Forfar. He made his first voyage out in 1797, became a full assistant surgeon on 12 Nov. 1799, and was posted to the ship Houghton. On the voyage out he discharged satisfactorily the duties of the purser who died. He was then transferred to the land service of the company, and devoted himself zealously to the study of the native languages and religions. Having rapidly mastered Hindostani and Persian, he was employed by the administration in political duties. In 1801 he joined the army at Bundelcund on the eve of the Mahratta war as surgeon to the 18th sepoy regiment, and was at once appointed interpreter to Lieutenant-colonel Powell, commanding one of the forces. In 1802 he rendered the government an important service by devising a safe means of drying the stock of gunpowder, which was found to have become damp. During the war he filled several high posts in the offices of the paymaster of the forces, the prize agency office, and the commissariat, and at its conclusion was publicly thanked by Lord Lake. His opportunities of enriching himself had not been neglected, and in 1807 he was able to return to Bengal with 40,000l. and to quit the service. He landed in England in 1808, and spent some years in travel and study. He visited the whole of the United Kingdom in 1809, more especially the manufacturing towns, and travelled during 1810 and 1811 in the Mediterranean and in Egypt, and he published in 1812 a translation in blank verse of the `Inferno' of Dante.

In the same year he began a political career at home. On the death of Sir John Lowther Johnstone he was returned in January 1812 for Weymouth, having purchased two elections to the seat; but when upon the dissolution in the autumn of 1812 the owners of the borough refused to re-elect him, he took proceedings for the recovery of his money, and succeeded in getting a portion returned. While he held the seat he supported the tory government, and opposed the Framework Knitters Bill in the interest of the manufacturers.

Before re-entering parliament Hume took an active part upon the central committee of the Lancastrian schools system, and studied the condition of the working classes, publishing a pamphlet on savings banks. He also devoted great attention to Indian affairs, and tried strenuously but without success to obtain election to the directorate of the East India Company. He was indefatigable at proprietors' meetings in exposing abuses, and published some of his speeches at the Court of Proprietors. Upon the expiry of the charter of 1793 he advocated freedom of trade with India, and pointed out that it must result in an immense expansion of commerce with the East. He re-entered parliament under liberal auspices in 1818 as member for the Border burghs, joining the opposition in 1819. He was re-elected for the same constituency in 1820, and remained in parliament, excepting during 1841, when he unsuccessfully contested Leeds, until his death. He represented the Aberdeen burghs till 1830; Middlesex from 1830, when he was returned unopposed, till July 1837, when Colonel Wood defeated him by a small majority; Kilkenny from 1837 to 1841, for which seat he was selected by O'Connell (see Harris, Radical Party in Parliament, p. 285); and Montrose from 1842 till he died. In 1820 he drew attention to the enormously disproportionate cost of collecting the revenue, and forced the appointment of a select committee, which reported in his favour. In 1822 he opposed Vansittart's scheme for the reduction of the pension charges, in 1824 obtained a select committee on the Combination Acts, and moved in the same year for an inquiry into the state of the Irish church. In 1830, however, he with other reformers supported the Duke of Wellington upon Knatchbull's motion on the agricultural distress, and so saved him from defeat for the moment. He advocated the extension of representation to the colonies during the debates on the Reform Bill on 16 Aug. 1831, and in 1834 moved the repeal of the Corn Laws. In 1835 and 1836 he was active in attacking the Orange Society, to which was imputed a design to alter the succession to the throne (see Martineau, Hist. of the Peace, ii. 266).

For thirty years he was a leader of the radical party. His industry and patience