closer as time went on. Particular questions of importance, the Jerusalem bishopric, the healing of the Colenso schism in the diocese of Natal, the organization of native ministries and the like, occupied much of his time; and he did all in his power to foster the growth of local churches. But it was the work at home which occupied most of his energies. That he in no way slighted diocesan work had been shown at Truro. He complained now that the bishops were “bishops of their dioceses but not bishops of England,” and did all he could to make the Church a greater religious force in English life. He sat on the ecclesiastical courts commission (1881-1883) and the sweating commission (1888-1890). He brought bills into parliament to reform Church patronage and Church discipline, and worked unremittingly for years in their behalf. The latter became law in 1892, and the former was merged in the Benefices Bill, which passed in 1898, after his death. He wrote and spoke vigorously against Welsh disestablishment (1893); and in the following year, under his guidance, the existing agencies for Church defence were consolidated. He was largely instrumental in the inauguration of the House of Laymen in the province of Canterbury (1886); he made diligent inquiries as to the internal order of the sisterhoods of which he was visitor; from 1884 onwards he gave regular Bible readings for ladies in Lambeth Palace chapel. But the most important ecclesiastical event of his primacy was the judgment in the case of the bishop of Lincoln (see Lincoln Judgment), in which the law of the prayer-book is investigated, as it had never been before, from the standpoint of the whole history of the English Church. In 1896 the archbishop went to Ireland to see the working of the sister Church. He was received with enthusiasm, but the work which his tour entailed over-fatigued him. On Sunday morning the 11th of October, just after his return, whilst on a visit to Mr Gladstone, he died in Hawarden parish church of heart failure.
Archbishop Benson left numerous writings, including a valuable essay on The Cathedral (London, 1878), and various charges and volumes of sermons and addresses. But his two chief works, posthumously published, are his Cyprian (London, 1897), a work of great learning, which had occupied him at intervals since early manhood; and The Apocalypse, an Introductory Study (London, 1900), interesting and beautiful, but limited by the fact that the method of study is that of a Greek play, not of a Hebrew apocalypse. The archbishop’s knowledge of the past was both wide and minute, but it was that of an antiquary rather than of a historian. “I think,” writes his son, “he was more interested in modern movements for their resemblance to ancient than vice versa.” His sermons are very noble though written in a style which is over-compressed and often obscure. He wrote some good hymns, including “O Throned, O Crowned” and a beautiful version of Urbs Beata. His “grandeur in social function” was unequalled and his interests were very wide. But above all else he was a great ecclesiastic. He paid less attention to secular politics than Archbishop Tait; but if a man is to be judged by the effect of his work, it is Benson and not Tait who should be described as a great statesman. His biography, by his son, reveals him as a man of devout and holy life, impulsive indeed and masterful, but one who learned self-restraint by strenuous endeavour.
His eldest son, Arthur Christopher Benson (b. 1862), was educated at Eton and King’s College, Cambridge. He became fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and was a master at Eton College from 1885 to 1903. His literary capacity was early shown in the remarkable fiction of his Memoirs of Arthur Hamilton (1886) under the pseudonym of “Christopher Carr,” and his Poems (1893) and Lyrics (1895) established his reputation as a writer of verse. Among his works are Fasti Etonenses (1899); his father’s Life (1899); The Schoolmaster (1902), a commentary on the aims and methods of an assistant schoolmaster in a public school; a study of Archbishop Laud (1887); monographs on D. G. Rossetti (1904), Edward FitzGerald (1905) and Walter Pater (1906), in the “English Men of Letters” series; Lord Vyet and other Poems (1897), Peace and other Poems (1905); The Upton Letters (1905), From a College Window (1906), Beside Still Waters (1907). He also collaborated with Lord Esher in editing the Correspondence of Queen Victoria (1907).
The third son, Edward Frederick Benson (b. 1867), was educated at Marlborough College and King’s College, Cambridge. He worked at Athens for the British Archaeological Society from 1892 to 1895, and subsequently in Egypt for the Hellenic Society. In 1893 his society novel, Dodo, brought him to the front among the writers of clever fiction; and this was followed by other novels, notably The Vintage (1898) and The Capsina (1899).
The fourth son, Robert Hugh Benson (b. 1871), was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. After reading with Dean Vaughan at Llandaff he took orders, and in 1898 became a member of the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield. In 1903 he became a Roman Catholic, was ordained priest at Rome in the following year, and returned to Cambridge as assistant priest of the Roman Catholic church there. Among his numerous publications are The Light Invisible, By What Authority?, The King’s Achievement, Richard Raynal, Solitary, The Queen’s Tragedy, The Sentimentalists, Lord of the World.
See A. C. Benson, Life of Archbishop Benson (2 vols., London, 1899); J. H. Bernard, Archbishop Benson in Ireland (1897); Sir L. T. Dibdin in The Quarterly Review, October 1897.
BENSON, FRANCIS ROBERT (1858- ), English actor, son of William Benson of Alresford, Hants, was born at Tunbridge Wells on the 4th of November 1858. He came of a talented family, his elder brother, W. A. S. Benson (b. 1854), becoming well known in the world of art as one of the pioneers in the revival of English industrial craftsmanship, especially in the field of the metallic arts; and his younger brother, Godfrey Benson, being an active Liberal politician. He was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford, and at the university was distinguished both as an athlete (winning the Inter-university three miles) and as an amateur actor. In the latter respect he was notable for producing at Oxford the first performance of a Greek play, the Agamemnon, in which many Oxford men who afterwards became famous in other fields took part. Mr Benson, on leaving Oxford, took to the professional stage, and made his first appearance at the Lyceum, under Irving, in Romeo and Juliet, as Paris, in 1882. In the next year he went into managership with a company of his own, taken over from Walter Bentley, and from this time he became gradually more and more prominent, both as an actor of leading parts himself and as the organizer of practically the only modern “stock company” touring through the provinces. In 1886 he married Gertrude Constance Cockburn (Featherstonhaugh), who acted in his company and continued to play leading parts with him. Mr Benson’s chief successes were gained out of London for some years, but in 1890 he had a season in London at the Globe and in 1900 at the Lyceum, and in later years he was seen with his répertoire at the Coronet. His company included from time to time many actors and actresses who, having been trained under him, became prominent on their own account, and both by his organization of this regular company and by his foundation of a dramatic school of acting in 1901, Mr Benson exercised a most important influence on the contemporary stage. From the first he devoted himself largely to the production of Shakespeare’s plays, reviving many which had not been acted for generations, and his services to the cause of Shakespeare can hardly be overestimated. From 1888 onwards he managed the Stratford-on-Avon Shakespearian Festival. His romantic and intellectual powers as an actor, combined with his athletic and picturesque bearing and fine elocution, were conspicuously shown in his own impersonations, most remarkable among which were his Hamlet (in 1900 he produced this play without cuts in London), his Coriolanus, his Richard II., his Lear and his Petruchio.
BENSON, FRANK WESTON (1862- ), American painter, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on the 24th of March 1862. He was a pupil of Boulanger and of Lefebvre in Paris; won many distinctions in American exhibitions, and a silver medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1900; and became a member of