Charles Duke Yonge (30 November 1812 – 30 November 1891) was an English historian, classicist and cricketer. He wrote numerous works of modern history, and translated several classical works. His younger brother was George Edward Yonge.
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Charles Duke Yonge was born in Eton, Berkshire on 30 November 1812. He was baptised on 25 December 1812. He was the eldest of eight children to the Reverend Charles Yonge (1781-1830) and Elizabeth Lord (?-1868). His parents married on 4 December 1811. His grandparents were Duke Yonge and Catherine Crawley on his father's side, and Joseph Lord and Corbetta Owen of Pembroke South Wales on his mother's side.
On 17 May 1834, he attended St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, a dependency of and later incorporated into Oriel College. He graduated with a first-class honours B.A. in Classics in December 1834. In 1874, he acquired his M.A. from Keble College.
Like many young men at University he overspent his allowance. By 1837, his financial difficulties had caught up with him, and was taken to a debtors court. The court report reads:
"The insolvent is a young man. He as described in his Schedule as of Eton, of St Mary’s Hall Oxford, of Longs Hotel, of the Brunswick Hotel, of the Union Hotel, of Meurices Hotel Paris and of Proctors Hotel Westminster Road, at which last place he was known as Charles Duke. His debts amount to 2290l, contracted from 1834 and 1837. The insolvent had taken his degree at Oxford and had been a first-class man. His means of support at the time the debts had been contacted had been derived from his Mother, who resides at Eton, and who allowed him 240l per annum. The creditors of the insolvent were persons in trade in Oxford and in London – a horse dealer, jewellers, wine merchants, tailors etc etc. The cause of the insolvency was attributed to the expenses of the Insolvent exceeding his income.
It appears that the Insolvent had been at the University of Cambridge before he went to Oxford. He had contracted debts at Cambridge and in April 1831, his mother had compounded with his Cambridge creditors, and paid them 15s in the pound on his debts; that he was now indebted to various tailors nearly 900l; that he was known to Mr Justice Coleridge, to whom he had written from Paris, giving an account of his affairs and requesting his advice; that Mr Justice Coleridge had declined giving his assistance, but had told him he was certain to be arrested and would be confined to White Cross Street Prison, but being desirous of being confined in the Kings Bench Prison instead of the prison in White Cross Street, he had applied to his attorney and had been arrested on his return to England, at his own request by a Me Curlews, a tailor to whom he owed 150l.
The Insolvent in answers to Mr Woodroffe, said that he had never obtained credit from any person by representing he was about to become tutor to Lord Darnley. . He had expected that appointment but Lady Darnley had chosen another tutor for his Lordship.
Mr. Woodroffe said thee was a debt for a whip in the schedule. Had the Insolvent kept a carriage?
The Insolvent said it was a tandem whip. He had tossed up with a friend who should buy one. He had no carriage. There was a charge of 4l for prints and pictures
The learned Commissioner said there was no doubt that the Insolvent was a gentleman of taste) a laugh)
The Insolvent had been arrested on 11 November 1836 at Oxford by Mr Vincent. He was at the time dressed in his scarlet coat and about to mount his hunter. He was arrested by process out of the Vice Chancellor of Oxford's Court. On the same day he gave Mr. Vincent a cheque on Messrs Drummond and Co, directing them to pay Mr. Vincent or bearer 19l and place it to his (the insolvents) . The Insolvent admitted that he had never had an account with Messrs Drummonds but that a Mr Hanee had undertaken that if he (the Insolvent) would draw on Drummonds that he (Hanee) would take up or provide for the draught. Hanee was the person who had since been in Newgate. Mr. Vincent on receiving the draught had liberated the Insolvent. The draught was not paid. On the next day 12 November 1836, the Insolvent was again arrested for 25l, by another creditor, by similar process. On the same day he was liberated and left Oxford.
It further appeared that he had bought books and annuals which last had been sent to a lady in Portsea, with whom he was on terms of great intimacy [later to be his wife]. The lady had visited him in prison. She had an income of her own. He had also sent her a picture of Venus Cupid and doves, for which he had not paid; and also a pair of gold handled scissors and other things. Whilst he resided in the house of this lady in Portsea, he had paid for everything. Shoes had by his direction been supplied to her by Mr. Thomas of St James Street, to whom he was indebted 2l.
Mr. Quarterman a horse dealer of Oxford, the Insolvent had bought horses of him and horses had stood in livery at the stables of Mr. Quarterman. He had resold to Quarterman a horse; he had bought of him and had sold horses to other persons.
On 19 October 1836 Insolvent had called in London on Mr Matthewson and obtained his draught for 5l on a London banker, having given him in exchange his (the Insolvent's) draught on Messrs Parsons's bankers of Oxford for 5l. The Insolvent had kept money with Messrs Parsons. But on his return to Oxford he had stopped payment of this draught because he had subsequently to drawing it, directed a friend who owed him 5l on a bet to pay it in London to Mr. Matthewson. It had not however been paid, the friend having lost the money at a gambling house.
An offer had this morning been made to pay the draught of 5l. This offer had not been accepted by the clerk of Mr. Matthewson, as he did not consider he had authority to accept the money.
On behalf of Mr Hobdell, it was complained that the Insolvent had obtained a watch from him, but it appeared a cheque had been given to Mr. Hobdell for the amount of the charge for it by the mother of the Insolvent and consequently his opposition, with respect to the watch, was not tenable.
Mr. Woodroffe addressed the Court at considerable length, but with the exception to the clerk to Mr. Matthewson, called no creditors or witnesses to support his opposition.
Mr Cooke, in reply, spoke in strong terms of the manner in which tradesmen in Oxford allowed young men to run in their debt. He felt no sympathy with the Oxford creditors of his client, not one of whom Mr Woodroffe had ventured to put in the witness box.
The learned Commissioner, Harris, said the Insolvent had taken his own time to go to prison. He now came to be discharged from very numerous and large debts, contracted with a knowledge of his situation, after having left Cambridge. Such a career must be marked by the Court. It should be marked under the discretionary or 47th clause of the statute. The Insolvent by his conduct had lost much of that estimation which he might have obtained. He should not be entitled to his discharge until he should have been in custody six months from the date of his petition, under the discretionary clause of the Act."
The Bristol Mercury has the further comment.
"His debts were of that description usually incurred by gentlemen without adequate means who aspire to the reputation of fashionable means"
He married Anne, daughter of James Vincent Bethel originally of Hereford, She was born Portsea in 1810. They were married at Portsea on 15 August 1837. From the time of his marriage he seems to have turned himself around. There were no children of the marriage. Two of his married brothers also had no children
Then he earned a livelihood as a private tutor and writer, possibly living in London. On 4 October 1859 he was granted a civil list pension of £70 per annum. The citation was published in the Leeds Mercury. Also in other papers reads
"A pension of £70 a year has been given to Charles Duke Yonge, author of several Greek school books and the Phraseological English Latin Dictionary, for literary services."
The Belfast Newsletter records the following announcement from Dublin Castle.
"Dublin Castle 11 October 1866
The President of Queens College Belfast
I am directed by the Lord Lieutenant to acquaint you that Her Majesty’s warrant has been received appointing Charles Duke Yonge Esq. M.A. to be professor of History and English Literature at Queens College Belfast in room of George Lillie Craik Esq., Dec’d"
Queens College had been established in 1849, to the South of the city centre, but it did not become a full university until 1909. He held the chair until his death on 30 November 1891. He became a Fellow of the Royal University of Ireland in 1882.
Founded by Queen Victoria, Queen's was designed to be a non-denominational alternative to Trinity College Dublin which was controlled by the Anglican Church.
Although it was the first "University" in the north of Ireland, Queen's drew on a tradition of learning which went back and 1810 and the foundation of the Belfast Academical Institution. Founded in 1845, Queen's opened in 1849 when the first students moved in. A year later the Queen's Colleges at Belfast, Cork, and Galway were united under the Queen's University of Ireland. A later Act abolished the Queen's University of Ireland, while sparing its colleges, and set up in its place the Royal University of Ireland, an examining body entitled to give degrees to graduates of all the Colleges. Also he was made the director of Belfast's botanical gardens. The Royal Belfast Botanical Gardens, (now known as the Botanic Gardens), near Queens University was opened in 1828 and subsequently developed with plant collections and features. The garden must have been considerably crowded on occasions for when the working class public were admitted free on Saturday afternoons, from 1865 onwards. Although the original intention was to provide garden, primarily for instruction and the study of plants, it soon became evident that more popular support was required to raise the income necessary for the running of the property. Some splendid flower shows were held but many of the events had little or no connection with horticulture or botanical education. Band concerts, military tournaments, firework displays, dog shows, fancy dress parades, torch-light processions, fun fairs, performing Zulus, Punch and Judy shows, balloon ascents, gymnastic performances and dances all took place. There were also flower competitions, The results of whichwere published in the Belfast Newsletter.
"Azalea Indica of natural growth 1st Professor Yonge Azalea Indica in pots 1st Professor Yonge" - Calceolarias 2nd C.D. Yonge" In 1869 he wrote to his cousin Charles Tripp in New Zealand. He refers to his being director of the Botanical Garden, he voices his dislike of the disestablishment of the Anglican Church of Ireland in the previous year "it [the church] has been thrown into a sad state of distress and agitation by Gladstone’s nefarious attack on the Church". Though the religion of a minority of Irish people, the Anglican Church of Ireland remained the official religion of Ireland, established by law, until the Act of Parliament of 1869, came into effect in 1871. The Act had been brought forward by Gladstone in an attempt to induce the majority Roman Catholic population to accept continued English rule. In the letter referred to above he writes of returning to England when his 10-year appointment was up but he in fact stayed in Ireland some 25 years.
He became an active member of the Belfast branch Primrose League. The Primrose League was an organisation for spreading Conservative principles in Great Britain. In Belfast this included maintaining the Protestant ascendancy.
In 1869 the Belfast Newsletter published a letter by him.
"Ulster Protestant Demonstration At a meeting of the influential Protestant gentlemen held on the 28th ult. the Parliament Rooms Victoria Street Belfast, Sir Thomas Bateson Bart M.P. in the chair, the following resolution was universally adopted - That for the purpose of strengthening and consolidating the loyal Protestants of Ulster and of giving public expression of their sentiments in reference to important questions affecting religious, educational and social conditions of the Country, it is of the opinion that a great provincial Protestant Meeting should be held on Tuesday evening October the 221st in the Ulster Hall of this Town, that we rejoice to learn that the Duke of Abercorn has expressed his willingness to preside on the occasion, that arrangements be made to entertain his grace at a banquet in the Ulster hall on the day preceding the demonstration, that a circular be forwarded to the Conservative, nobility and gentry of the province, intimating our decision ands soliciting their presence and support. The following noblemen and gentlemen have already signified their intention to take part in the processions. Charles Duke Yonge Esq. Queens University"
The Electoral Roll for 1878 shows him as an elector at Keble College. The Oxford university constituency was created by a Royal Charter of 1603. It was abolished in 1950 by the Representation of the People Act 1948. The constituency was not a physical area. Its electorate consisted of the graduates of the University of Oxford. Before 1918 the franchise was restricted to male graduates with a Doctorate or MA degree. Charles got his M.A in 1874. In the 19th century Oxford almost invariably returned Conservative members. Neither he or his wife appear in any census entries.
He died on 30 November 1891, his birthday, of influenza. He is buried at Drumbeg churchyard, Upper Malone Road. near Lisburn. His obituary was in the London Times.
"The death is announced of Mr. Charles Yonge who since 1866 has filled the chair of English Literature in Queens College. Belfast. Professor Yonge was the author of a large number of works had for a long time been in delicate health. He was 79 years of age."
The report of the President of the College for 1892 contained this reference published in the Belfast Newsletter.
"On 30 November 1891 death deprived us of the services of one of our oldest professors, Mr Charles Duke Yonge M.A. who had held the Chair of History and English Literature since 1866. We shall long remember the many scholarly qualities which he possessed and his geniality, kindliness and deep interest in the College."
His wife Anne was still living in 1901 when the 1901 census records that she was living with her nephew the Reverend Charles Francis Lysaght Yonge at Shottisham near Woodbridge, Suffolk.
He was a most prolific academic writer, on the classics and history and school dictionaries, with his first work published in 1844 and his last, published after his death in 1892. He compiled numerous translations of classical works for Bohns classical, antiquarian and ecclesiastical libraries. Bohns’ was a publishing label of the London publishers George Bell and sons and through them the classics were made widely available to the middle and lower middle classes at affordable prices." The critics however were not always kind to him.
The Saturday Review.:
"His book "Three Centuries of Modern History" contains no doubt a good deal of information but so ill arranged and at times so mixed up with such inaccuracies that we shall hesitate to place it in any ones hands."
The Literary Examiner on his "History of the British Navy".
"Nearly 1400 pages are assigned while but one tenth of the space is given to the centuries [prior to] 1700. The first few chapters moreover are written with less care than the rest. Mr. Yonge appears to have drawn much of his information from second rate authorities and to have missed the help of some safer guides."
Jackson's Oxford Journal on his "Three Centuries of Modern History".
"We fear that among the feelings with which we approach this work, reverence is not the most prominent. As a faithful critic we are bound to say Mr. Yonge’s English is very bad and that in matters of opinion he is by no means to be trusted"
The Pall Mall Gazette on "Three Centuries of English Literature.
"The author has undertaken to produce a text book of English Literature without possessing the knowledge or judgment which the task requires."
To be fair to him however he was writing for the general market and often young people and he was not out to write books containing new scholarship or original research and he does seem to have had a successful career.
- The Life of Arthur, Duke of Wellington (1860)
- The History of the British Navy: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time (1863)
- The History of England, from the Earliest Times to the Death of Viscount Palmerston, 1865
- The History of France Under the Bourbons, a.D. 1589-1830, (1866, 4 vols.)
- Life and Administration of Robert Banks, Second Earl of Liverpool (3 vols., 1868)
- The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France (1876)
- The Constitutional History of England from 1760 and 1860 (1882)
- Life of Sir Walter Scott
- England's Great Generals: Sketches of the Lives of Duke of Marlborough, Lord Clive, Duke of Wellington, Sir Charles Napier, Lord Gough
- Flowers of History, Especially Such As Relate to the Affairs of Britain
- Seven Heroines of Christendom
- Three Centuries of Modern History
- Cicero, De Inventione (1853)
- Cicero, On the Laws
- Cicero, On the Republic
- Cicero, The Nature of the Gods and on Divination (1853)
- Cicero, The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero (1888)
- Cicero, Tusculan Disputations: On the Nature of the Gods, And on the Commonwealth
- Diogenes Laërtius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers
- Philo of Alexandria, The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged (1854–55)
- A phraseological English-Latin dictionary, for the use of Eton [and other schools] and King's College, London (1856)
- An English-Greek lexicon
- Letters of Horace Walpole, 2 vols.
- Essays Of John Dryden
- Three Centuries of English Literature
- A gradus ad Parnassum: For the use of Eton, Westminster, Harrow, and Charterhouse schools, King's college, London, and Marlborough college (1850) Longmans
- Yonge Family Website Yongefamily.info
- A newspaper report of the London Insolvent Debtors Court: London Times 31 May 1837.
- Bristol Mercury 8 April 1837
- General Registry Office 1837 Vol. 7 page 159
- The Leeds Mercury 4 October 1859
- The Belfast Newsletter on 16 October 1866
- Belfast Newsletter 9 July 1869
- Letter Charles Duke Yonge to Charles George Tripp 1869 Somerset Record Office
- The Belfast Newsletter 6 October 1869
- London Times 2 December 1891
- The Belfast Newsletter 10 September 1892
- The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art
- The Literary Examiner 28 November 1863
- Jackson’s Oxford Journal 11 May 1872
- The Pall Mall Gazette, Wed 21st 1872
- The Ideas That Have Influenced Civilization, vol. III, pg. 228
- The Ideas That Have Influenced Civilization, vol. III, pg. 241
- The Ideas That Have Influenced Civilization in the Original Documents: Ten Volumes. Vol. III: The Roman World (Milwaukee: The Roberts-Manchester Publishign Co., 1901). Oliver J. Thatcher, Ph. D., Editor.
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