Richard Whately

Last updated

Richard Whately
Archbishop of Dublin
Bishop of Glendalough
Primate of Ireland
Richard Whately.jpg
Church Church of Ireland
Diocese Dublin and Glendalough
In office1831–1863
Predecessor William Magee
Successor Richard Chenevix Trench
Consecration23 October 1831
by  Richard Laurence
Personal details
Born(1787-02-01)1 February 1787
Died8 October 1863(1863-10-08) (aged 76)
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Buried Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin
Nationality English
Denomination Anglican
Spouse Elizabeth Whately
Philosophy career
Education Oriel College, Oxford
(B.A., 1808)
Institutions Oriel College, Oxford
Main interests
Theology, logic
Notable ideas

Richard Whately (1 February 1787 – 8 October 1863) was an English academic, rhetorician, logician, philosopher, economist, and theologian who also served as a reforming Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin. He was a leading Broad Churchman, a prolific and combative author over a wide range of topics, a flamboyant character, and one of the first reviewers to recognise the talents of Jane Austen. [1] [2] [3]


Life and times

He was born in London, the son of the Rev. Dr. Joseph Whately (1730–1797). He was educated at a private school near Bristol, and at Oriel College, Oxford, from 1805. He obtained a B.A. in 1808, with double second-class honours, and the prize for the English essay in 1810; in 1811 he was elected Fellow of Oriel, and in 1814 took holy orders. After graduation he acted as a private tutor, in particular to Nassau William Senior who became a close friend, and to Samuel Hinds. [3] [4]

Early married life

After his marriage to writer Elizabeth Whately ( née Pope) in 1821, Whately lived in Oxford. He had had to give up his college fellowship, which could not be held by married men, and at this period lived by tutoring and his pen. [5] An uncle, William Plumer, presented him with a living, Halesworth in Suffolk; in August 1822 Whately moved there. Two of his daughters were writer Jane Whately and missionary Mary Louisa Whately. [6] In 1825, he was appointed principal of St. Alban Hall, a position obtained for him by his mentor Edward Copleston, who wanted to raise the notoriously low academic standards at the Hall, which was also a target for expansion by Oriel. [3] Whately returned to Oxford, though giving up only in 1831 the Suffolk living, where he had seen the social effects of unemployment. [7]

A reformer, Whately was initially on friendly terms with John Henry Newman. They fell out over Robert Peel's candidacy for the Oxford University seat in Parliament. [8]

In 1829 Whately was elected as Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford in succession to Nassau William Senior. His tenure of office was cut short by his appointment to the archbishopric of Dublin in 1831. He published only one course of Introductory Lectures in two editions (1831 & 1832). [9]

Archbishop of Dublin

Whately's appointment by Lord Grey to the see of Dublin came as a political surprise. The aged Henry Bathurst had turned the post down. The new Whig administration found Whately, well known at Holland House and effective in a parliamentary committee appearance speaking on tithes, an acceptable option. Behind the scenes Thomas Hyde Villiers had lobbied Denis Le Marchant on his behalf, with the Brougham Whigs. [10] The appointment was challenged in the House of Lords, but without success. [9]

In Ireland, Whately's bluntness and his lack of a conciliatory manner caused opposition from his own clergy, and from the beginning he gave offence by supporting state endowment of the Catholic clergy.[ clarification needed ] He enforced strict discipline in his diocese; and he published a statement of his views on Sabbath (Thoughts on the Sabbath, 1832). He lived in Redesdale House in Kilmacud, just outside Dublin, where he could garden. He was concerned to reform the Church of Ireland and the Irish Poor Laws. [9] He considered tithe commutation essential for the Church. [11]

Irish national education 1831 to 1853

In 1831, Whately attempted to establish a national and non-sectarian system of education in Ireland, on the basis of common instruction for Protestants and Catholics alike in literary and moral subjects, religious instruction being taken apart.

In 1841, Catholic archbishops William Crolly and John MacHale debated whether to continue the system, with the more moderate Crolly supporting Whately's gaining papal permission to go on, given some safeguards. [12] In 1852, the scheme broke down due to the opposition of the new ultramontanist Catholic archbishop of Dublin, Paul Cullen, who would later become the first Irish prelate named Cardinal. Whately withdrew from the Education Board the following year.

Later life

During the famine years of 1846 and 1847 the archbishop and his family tried to alleviate the miseries of the people. [9] On 27 March 1848, Whately became a member of the Canterbury Association. [13] He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1855. [14]

From 1856 onwards symptoms of decline began to manifest themselves in a paralytic affection of Whately's left side. Still he continued his public duties. [15]


Monument dedicated to Richard Whately in the west aisle of the south transept in St. Patrick's Cathedral, sculpted by Sir Thomas Farrell Dublin St. Patrick's Cathedral South Transept West Aisle Monument Dedicated to Archbishop Richard Whately II 2012 09 26.jpg
Monument dedicated to Richard Whately in the west aisle of the south transept in St. Patrick's Cathedral, sculpted by Sir Thomas Farrell

In the summer of 1863 Whately was prostrated by an ulcer in the leg, and after several months of acute suffering he died on 8 October 1863. [9]


Whately was a prolific writer, a successful expositor and Protestant apologist in works that ran to many editions and translations. His Elements of Logic (1826) was drawn from an article "Logic" in the Encyclopædia Metropolitana . [17] The companion article on "Rhetoric" provided Elements of Rhetoric (1828). [9] In these two works Whately introduced erotetic logic. [18]

In 1825 Whately published a series of Essays on Some of the Peculiarities of the Christian Religion, followed in 1828 by a second series On some of the Difficulties in the Writings of St Paul, and in 1830 by a third On the Errors of Romanism traced to their Origin in Human Nature. In 1837 he wrote his handbook of Christian Evidences, which was translated during his lifetime into more than a dozen languages. [9] In the Irish context, the Christian Evidences was adapted to a form acceptable to Catholic beliefs, with the help of James Carlile. [19]

Selective listing

Whately's works included: [9]

(Linked works are from Internet Archive)



Humphrey Lloyd told Caroline Fox that Whately's eccentric behaviour and body language was exacerbated in Dublin by a sycophantic circle of friends. [21] He was a great talker, a wit, and loved punning. In Oxford his white hat, rough white coat, and huge white dog earned for him the sobriquet of the White Bear, and he exhibited the exploits of his climbing dog in Christ Church Meadow. [9] [22]


A member of the loose group called the Oriel Noetics, Whately supported religious liberty, civil rights, and freedom of speech for dissenters, Roman Catholics, Jews, and even atheists. He took the line that the civil disabilities imposed on non-Anglicans made the state only nominally Christian, and supported disestablishment. [23] He was a follower of Edward Copleston, regarded as the founder of the Noetics taken as apologists for the orthodoxy of the Church of England. [3]

A devout Christian, Whately took a practical view of Christianity. He disagreed with the Evangelical party and generally favoured a more intellectual approach to religion. He also disagreed with the later Tractarian emphasis on ritual and church authority. [9] Instead, he emphasised careful reading and understanding of the Bible.[ citation needed ]

His cardinal principle was that of Chillingworth —‘the Bible, and the Bible alone, is the religion of protestants;’ and his exegesis was directed to determine the general tenor of the scriptures to the exclusion of dogmas based on isolated texts. There is no reason to question his reception of the central doctrines of the faith, though he shrank from theorising or even attempting to formulate them with precision. On election he held, broadly speaking, the Arminian view, and his antipathy to Calvinism was intense. He dwelt more on the life than on the death of Christ, the necessity of which he denied. [24]

Whately took a view of political economy as an essentially logical subject. It proved influential in Oxford. The Noetics were reformers but largely centrist in politics, rather than strong Whigs or Tories. [25] One of Whately's initial acts on going to Dublin was to endow a chair of political economy in Trinity College. Its first holder was Mountifort Longfield. [26] Later, in 1846, he founded the Dublin Statistical Society with William Neilson Hancock. [15]

Whately's view of political economy, and that common to the early holders of the Trinity college professorship, addressed it as a type of natural theology. [27] He belonged to the group of supporters of Thomas Malthus that included Thomas Chalmers, some others of the Noetics, Richard Jones and William Whewell from Cambridge. [28] He saw no inconsistency between science and Christian belief, differing in that way from some Christian critics of Malthus. [29] He differed also from Jones and Whewell, expressing the view that the inductive method was of less use for political economy than the deductive method, properly applied. [30]

In periodicals Whately discussed other public questions. He addressed, for example, the subject of transportation and the "secondary punishments" on those who had been transported; his pamphlet on this topic influenced the politicians Lord John Russell and Henry George Grey. [31]


Whately was an important figure in the revival of Aristotelian logic in the early nineteenth century. The Elements of Logic gave an impetus to the study of logic in Britain, [9] and in the United States of America, logician Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914) wrote that his lifelong fascination with logic began when he read Whately's Elements as a 12-year-old boy. [32]

Whately's view of rhetoric as essentially a method for persuasion became an orthodoxy, challenged in mid-century by Henry Noble Day. [33] Elements of Rhetoric is still cited, for thought about presumption, burden of proof, and testimony. [34] [35]

In 1864 Jane Whately, his daughter, published Miscellaneous Remains from his commonplace book and in 1866 his Life and Correspondence in two volumes. The Anecdotal Memoirs of Archbishop Whately, by William John Fitzpatrick, was published in 1864. [9]


Whately married Elizabeth Pope (third daughter of William Pope, born 7 October and baptised 22 December 1795 at Hillingdon, Middlesex) at Cheltenham on 3 July 1821. She later authored some Christian literature herself, dying 25 April 1860. Her younger sister Charlotte married Baden Powell in 1837. [36] [37]

They had four daughters and a son, including: [38]

A programme in the BBC television series Who Do You Think You Are? , broadcast on 2 March 2009, uncovered that Richard Whately was an ancestor of British actor Kevin Whately. [45]

Notes and references


  1. Gary L. Colledge (1 June 2012). God and Charles Dickens: Recovering the Christian Voice of a Classic Author. Baker Books. p. 146. ISBN   978-1-4412-3778-1.
  2. John Cornwell (15 September 2011). Newman's Unquiet Grave: The Reluctant Saint. A&C Black. p. 34. ISBN   978-1-4411-7323-2.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Brent, Richard. "Whately, Richard". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29176.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. Deane, Phyllis. "Senior, Nassau William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/25090.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. The London Quarterly Review. Epworth Press. 1867. p. 477.
  6. Richard Whately; Elizabeth Jane Whately (1866). Life and Correspondence of Richard Whately, D.D.: Late Archbishop of Dublin. Longmans, Green. p.  44.
  7. Stefan Collini; Richard Whatmore; Brian Young (22 May 2000). Economy, Polity, and Society: British Intellectual History 1750-1950. Cambridge University Press. p. 190. ISBN   978-0-521-63978-1.
  8. "Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D. London: Longmans, 1894 volume one Chapter X" . Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Whately, Richard"  . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  10. David de Giustino, "Finding an Archbishop: The Whigs and Richard Whately in 1831", Church History, Vol. 64, No. 2 (June., 1995), pp. 218–236. Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Society of Church History
  11. Stefan Collini; Richard Whatmore; Brian Young (22 May 2000). Economy, Polity, and Society: British Intellectual History 1750-1950. Cambridge University Press. p. 191. ISBN   978-0-521-63978-1.
  12. Larkin, Emmet. "Crolly, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/17528.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  13. Blain, Michael (2007). "Reverend" (PDF). The Canterbury Association (1848–1852): A Study of Its Members' Connections. p. 87. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  14. "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter W" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  15. 1 2 Webb, Alfred (1878). "Whately, Richard"  . A Compendium of Irish Biography . Dublin: M. H. Gill & son.
  16. Casey, Christine (2005). The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 621. ISBN   978-0-300-10923-8.
  17. Whately, Richard, Elements of Logic, p.vii, Longman, Greens and Co. (9th Edition, London, 1875)
  18. Mary Prior and Arthur Prior, "Erotetic Logic", The Philosophical Review64(1) (1955): pp. 43–59.
  19. Donald H. Akenson (1985). Being Had: Historians, Evidence, and the Irish in North America. P. D. Meany. pp.  183–4. ISBN   978-0-88835-014-5.
  20. The Living Age. Littell, Son and Company. 1866. p. 388.
  21. Caroline Fox (1972). The Journals of Caroline Fox 1835-1871: A Selection . Elek Books. p.  167. ISBN   978-0-236-15447-0.
  22. David de Giustino, Finding an Archbishop: The Whigs and Richard Whately in 1831, Church History Vol. 64, No. 2 (Jun., 1995), pp. 218–236, at p, 220. Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Society of Church History. Stable URL:
  23. Marilyn D. Button; Jessica A. Sheetz-Nguyen (4 November 2013). Victorians and the Case for Charity: Essays on Responses to English Poverty by the State, the Church and the Literati. McFarland. pp. 90 note 17. ISBN   978-0-7864-7032-7.
  24. McMullen Rigg 1885.
  25. Nigel F. B. Allington; Noel W. Thompson (2010). English, Irish and Subversives Among the Dismal Scientists. Emerald Group Publishing. p. 201. ISBN   978-0-85724-061-3.
  26. Lee, Sidney, ed. (1893). "Longfield, Mountifort"  . Dictionary of National Biography . Vol. 34. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  27. Thomas Boylan; Renee Prendergast; John Turner (1 March 2013). A History of Irish Economic Thought. Chief Research Scientist John Turner. Routledge. p. 7. ISBN   978-1-136-93349-3.
  28. Donald Winch (26 January 1996). Riches and Poverty: An Intellectual History of Political Economy in Britain, 1750–1834. Cambridge University Press. pp.  371–2. ISBN   978-0-521-55920-1.
  29. Winch, Donald (2009). Wealth and Life: Essays on the Intellectual History of Political Economy in Britain, 1848–1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 12. ISBN   9780521715393.
  30. James P. Henderson (1996). Early Mathematical Economics: William Whewell and the British Case. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 72. ISBN   978-0-8476-8201-0.
  31. Norval Morris (1998). The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society. Oxford University Press. p. 256. ISBN   978-0-19-511814-8.
  32. Fisch, Max, "Introduction", W 1:xvii, find phrase "One episode".
  33. Robert Connors (5 June 1997). Composition-Rhetoric: Backgrounds, Theory, and Pedagogy. University of Pittsburgh Pre. p. 221. ISBN   978-0-8229-7182-5.
  34. Nicholas Rescher (19 June 2006). Presumption and the Practices of Tentative Cognition. Cambridge University Press. p. 18. ISBN   978-1-139-45718-7.
  35. Robert Crookall (1 November 1987). Intimations of Immortality: Seeing that Leads to Believing. James Clarke & Co. pp. 14–. ISBN   978-0-227-67662-2.
  36. Hugh James Rose; Samuel Roffey Maitland (1837). The British Magazine and Monthly Register of Religious and Ecclesiastical Information, Parochial History, and Documents Respecting the State of the Poor, Progress of Education, Etc. J. Petheram. p.  589.
  37. Corsi, Pietro. "Powell, Baden". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/22642.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  38. 1 2 Lauer, L. E. "Whately, (Elizabeth)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/59106.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  39. John Nichols (1849). The Gentleman's Magazine. E. Cave. p. 313.
  40. Laura Lynn Windsor (2002). Women in Medicine: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 214. ISBN   978-1-57607-392-6.
  41. "Wale, Charles Brent (WL836CB)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  42. Elizabeth Jane Whately (1866). Life and Correspondence of Richard Whately, D.D.: Late Archbishop of Dublin. Longmans, Green, and Company. p.  472.
  43. Elizabeth Jane Whately (1866). Life and Correspondence of Richard Whately, D.D.: Late Archbishop of Dublin. Vol. 2. Longmans, Green, and Company. p. 381.
  44. R. Charles Mollan (17 July 2014). William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse: Astronomy and the Castle in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. Oxford University Press. p. 86. ISBN   978-0-7190-9144-5.
  45. "Kevin Whately Episode Guide, Who Do You Think You Are Magazine" . Retrieved 22 March 2016.



Further reading

A modern biography is Richard Whately: A Man for All Seasons by Craig Parton ISBN   1-896363-07-5. See also Donald Harman Akenson A Protestant in Purgatory: Richard Whately, Archbishop of Dublin (South Bend, Indiana 1981)

Academic offices
Preceded by Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford
Succeeded by
Church of Ireland titles
Preceded by Archbishop of Dublin
Succeeded by

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Ussher</span> 17th-century Anglican Archbishop of Armagh

James Ussher was the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625 and 1656. He was a prolific scholar and church leader, who today is most famous for his identification of the genuine letters of the church father, Ignatius of Antioch, and for his chronology that sought to establish the time and date of the creation as "the entrance of the night preceding the 23rd day of October... the year before Christ 4004"; that is, around 6 pm on 22 October 4004 BC, per the proleptic Julian calendar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard Steele</span> 17th/18th-century Anglo-Irish writer, playwright, and politician

Sir Richard Steele was an Anglo-Irish writer, playwright, and politician, remembered as co-founder, with his friend Joseph Addison, of the magazine The Spectator.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Magee (archbishop of Dublin)</span> 18th/19th-century Irish academic and bishop

William Magee was an Irish academic and Church of Ireland clergyman. He taught at Trinity College Dublin, serving as Erasmus Smith's Professor of Mathematics (1800–1811), was Bishop of Raphoe (1819–1822) and then Archbishop of Dublin until his death.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Nicolson</span> English-born Irish bishop

William Nicolson (1655–1727) was an English churchman, linguist and antiquarian. As a bishop he played a significant part in the House of Lords during the reign of Queen Anne, and left a diary that is an important source for the politics of his times. He was a versatile scholar, involved in numerous collaborations and contributing uncredited in the work of others.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Alban Hall, Oxford</span> Former hall of the University of Oxford

St Alban Hall, sometimes known as St Alban's Hall or Stubbins, was one of the medieval halls of the University of Oxford, and one of the longest-surviving. It was established in the 13th century, acquired by neighbouring Merton College in the 16th century but operated separately until the institutions merged in the late 19th century. The site in Merton Street, Oxford, is now occupied by Merton's Edwardian St Alban's Quad.

Events from the year 1768 in Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Carlile</span> Scottish clergyman

James Carlile (1784–1854) was a Scottish clergyman from Paisley. He was a joint minister of a Scots church in Dublin and an Irish commissioner of education. He introduced a different style of education in Ireland whereby children of different denominations could go to the same school.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles D'Arcy</span>

Charles Frederick D'Arcy was a Church of Ireland bishop. He was the Bishop of Clogher from 1903 to 1907 when he was translated to become Bishop of Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin before then becoming the Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore. He was then briefly the Archbishop of Dublin and finally, from 1920 until his death, Archbishop of Armagh. He was also a theologian, author and botanist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Gregg (archbishop of Armagh)</span> Irish bishop, theologian, and historian

John Allen Fitzgerald Gregg CH (1873–1961) was a Church of Ireland clergyman, from 1915 Bishop of Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin, in 1920 translated to become Archbishop of Dublin, and finally from 1939 until 1959 Archbishop of Armagh. He was also a theologian and historian.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joseph Peacocke (archbishop of Dublin)</span>

Joseph Ferguson Peacocke was a Church of Ireland cleric. He was the Bishop of Meath from 1894 to 1897 and then Archbishop of Dublin from 1897 until 1915. He was also briefly the professor of pastoral theology at Trinity College, Dublin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Samuel Hinds (bishop)</span>

Samuel Hinds, was a British clergyman. He was appointed Bishop of Norwich in 1849 and resigned in 1857. Hinds was of the Broad Church in his views. He had strong links with the Ngati Kuri (Wai262) and Te Patu tribes of New Zealand, noting a paramount Maori chief Rata Ngaromotu of Ngati Kahu and the colonisation of New Zealand and the town of Hinds, New Zealand is named after him.

The Oriel Noetics is a term now applied to a group of early 19th-century dons of the University of Oxford closely associated with Oriel College. John Tulloch in 1885 wrote about them as the "early Oriel school" of theologians, the contrast being with the Tractarians, also strongly based in Oriel.

John Davison (1777–1834) was an English clergyman and academic, known as a theological writer.

Rev. Canon Joseph Whately or Whateley (1730–1797) was an English clergyman and Gresham Professor of Rhetoric.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edward Hoare (priest)</span>

Edward Newenham Hoare, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin was an Irish Anglican priest: he was Archdeacon of Ardfert from 1836 to 1839, then Dean of Achonry from 1839 to 1850; and Dean of Waterford from then until his death.

Elizabeth Whately was an English writer and the wife of Dr Richard Whately, Protestant Archbishop of Dublin. She wrote and edited a number of fictional, religious and educational works, although little of her writing appeared explicitly under her own name.

Herbert Edward Whately MA Oxon was an Anglican priest: he was Archdeacon of Ludlow from 1939 to his death.

Edward William Whately was an Irish Anglican priest: Archdeacon of Glendalough from 1858 to 1862; and Chancellor of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin from 1862 to 1872.

James Bardsley (1805–1886) was an English cleric of evangelical views.

Jane Whately was an English religious author, published as E. J. Whately.