Sue Young Histories

Arthur Hugh Clough 1819 – 1861

September 13, 2008

Arthur Hugh Clough 1819 – 1861 Arthur Hugh Clough 1819 – 1861 was an English poet, and the brother of Anne Jemima Clough (1820-1892).

Arthur Hugh Clough took the cure at Great Malvern, where James Manby Gully practiced, and he was a friend of Thomas Arnold and Matthew Arnold, Ralph Waldo EmersonThomas Carlyle, Alfred Lord Tennyson and John Chapman. His wife Blanche was a cousin of Florence Nightingale.

Others whom John Chapman encouraged and employed were a set of young men from Oxford, many of them destined for the church as a career until they found themselves unable to sign the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, an act required not only in order to be ordained, but also in order to graduate or take a fellowship.

The poet Arthur Hugh Clough, the historian and biographer James Anthony Froude and Francis William Newman, the younger brother of John Henry Newman, were three such Oxford exiles; all of them found in John Chapman a willing publisher of their books and articles.

Arthur Clough was born in Liverpool to James Butler Clough, a cotton merchant of Welsh descent, and Anne Perfect, originally from Yorkshire.

In 1822 the family moved to the United States, and Clough’s childhood was spent mainly in Charleston, South Carolina…

In 1828 Clough and his older brother Charles returned to England to attend school in Chester. In 1829 Clough began attending Rugby School, then under Thomas Arnold, whose strenuous views on life and education he accepted.

Cut off to a large degree from his family, he passed a somewhat solitary boyhood, devoted to the school and to early literary efforts in the Rugby Magazine.

In 1836 his parents returned to Liverpool, and in 1837 he went with a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford. Here his contemporaries included Benjamin Jowett, Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, John Campbell Shairp, William George Ward and Frederick Temple. Matthew Arnold, four years his junior, arrived the term after Clough had graduated. Clough and Matthew Arnold enjoyed an intense friendship in Oxford, but neither liked the other’s poetry.

Oxford, in 1837, was in the full swirl of the High Church movement led by John Henry Newman. Clough was for a time influenced by this movement, but eventually rejected it. He surprised everyone by graduating from Oxford with only Second Class Honours, but won a fellowship with a tutorship at Oriel College.

He became unwilling to teach the doctrines of the Church of England, as his tutorship required of him, and in 1848 he resigned as tutor and traveled to Paris, where he witnessed the revolution of 1848.

Returning to England in a state of euphoria, he wrote his long poem The Bothie of Tober na Vuolich, a farewell to the academic life, following it up with poems from his time as student and tutor, in the shared publication Ambarvalia.

In 1849 he witnessed another revolution, the siege of the Roman Republic, which inspired another long poem, Amours de Voyage. Easter Day, written in Naples was a passionate denial of the Resurrection and the fore runner of the unfinished poem Dipsychus.

Since 1846 Clough had been financially responsible for his mother and sister (following the death of his father and younger brother and the marriage of his elder brother). In the autumn of 1849, to provide for them, he became principal of University Hall, a hostel for Unitarian students at University College, London, but found its ideology as oppressive as that which he had left behind in Oxford.

He soon found that he disliked London, in spite of the friendship of Thomas Carlyle and his wife. A prospect of a post in Sydney led him to engage himself to Miss Blanche Mary Shore Smith, but when that failed to materialize, he traveled in 1852 to Cambridge, Massachusetts, encouraged by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

There he remained several months, lecturing and translating Plutarch for the booksellers, until in 1853 the offer of an examinership in the Education Office brought him to London once more. He married (Blanche), and pursued a steady official career, diversified only by an appointment in 1856 as secretary to a commission sent to study foreign military education. He devoted enormous energy to work as an unpaid secretarial assistant to his wife’s cousin Florence Nightingale. He wrote virtually no poetry for six years.

In 1860 his health began to fail. He visited first Great Malvern and Freshwater, Isle of Wight. From April 1861 he traveled strenuously in Greece, Turkey and France, where he met up with the Tennyson family.

Despite his fragile health, this continental tour renewed a state of euphoria like that of 1848-9, and he quickly wrote the elements of his last long poem, Mari Magno. His wife joined him on a voyage from Switzerland to Italy, where his health finally collapsed.

He died in Florence on 13th November. He is buried in a tomb in the English Cemetery that his wife and sister had Susan Horner design from Jean François Champollion’s book on Egyptian hieroglyphs. Matthew Arnold wrote the elegy of Thyrsis to his memory.

Shortly before he left Oxford, in the stress of the Irish potato famine, Clough wrote an ethical pamphlet addressed to the undergraduates, with the title, A Consideration of Objections against the Retrenchment Association at Oxford (1847).

His Homeric pastoral The Bothie of Toper-na-fuosich, afterwards renamed Tober-na-Vuolich (1848), and written in hexameter is full of socialism, reading-party humours and Scottish scenery. Ambarvalia (1849), published jointly with his friend Thomas Burbidge, contains shorter poems of various dates from circa 1840 onwards…

_His only considerable enterprise in prose was a revision of the 17th century translation of Plutarch by John Dryden and others, which occupied him from 1852, and was published as _Plutarch’s Lives (1859).

Anne Jemima Clough 1820 – 1892 was an early English suffragist and a promoter of higher education for women.

Clough was born at Liverpool, the daughter of a cotton merchant. She was the sister of Arthur Hugh Clough, the poet.

When two years old she was taken with the rest of the family to Charleston, South Carolina.

It was not till 1836 that she returned to England, and though her ambition was to write, she was occupied for the most part in teaching.

Her father’s failure in business led her to open a school in 1841. This was carried on until 1846. In 1852, after making some technical studies in London and working at the Borough Road and the Home and Colonial schools, she opened another small school of her own at Ambleside in Westmorland.

Giving this up some ten years later, she lived for a time with the widow of her brother Arthur Hugh Clough—who had died in 1861 — in order that she might educate his children.

Keenly interested in the education of women, she made friends with Emily Davies, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, Frances Buss and others. After helping to found the North of England council for promoting the higher education of women, she acted as its secretary from 1867 to 1870 and as its president from 1873 to 1874.

In 1867, together with Anne Jemima Clough (1820-1892), later principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, Josephine Elizabeth Butler (1828-1906) was instrumental in establishing the North of England Council for Promoting the Higher Education of Women.

When it was decided to open a house for the residence of women students at Cambridge University, Miss Clough was chosen as its first principal. This hostel, started in Regent Street, Cambridge, in 1871 with five students, and continued at Merton Hall in 1872, led to the building of Newnham Hall, opened in 1875, and to the erection of Newnham College on its present basis in 1880.

Miss Clough’s personal charm and high aims, together with the development. of Newnham College under her care, led her to be regarded as one of the foremost leaders of the women’s educational movement. She died at Cambridge on 27 February 1892. Two portraits of Miss Clough are at Newnham College, one by W.B. Richmond, the other by J.J. Shannon.


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