William Ballantyne Hodgson
(1815–1880) was a Scottish educational reformer and political economist.
The son of William Hodgson, a printer, he was born at Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...
on 6 October 1815. In 1823 he entered the Edinburgh High School, and, after working for a short time in a lawyer's office, matriculated in November 1829, when just turned 14, at Edinburgh University. He took no degree as a student.
He employed himself in lecturing on literature, education, and phrenology
Phrenology is a pseudoscience primarily focused on measurements of the human skull, based on the concept that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that certain brain areas have localized, specific functions or modules...
at towns in Fifeshire. On 1 June 1839 he was appointed secretary to the Mechanics' Institute of Liverpool. He was offered the editorship of a Liverpool newspaper in 1841, and that of a Manchester newspaper somewhat later, but declined both. In 1844, by his advice, a girls' school was added to the Liverpool Institute, and in the same year he was appointed principal of the institute. On 11 March 1846 he received the degree of LL.D. from Glasgow University.
From 1847 to 1851 he was principal of the Chorlton High School
Chorlton High School is a coeducational secondary school in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, specializing in the performing arts. It hold over 1000 students and was given makeover back in 2004. The headteacher is A. Park. It has no sixth form and ranges from yr 7 to yr 11.- External links :*...
, Manchester; in 1848 he agitated for the education of women at the Royal Institution of Manchester. In 1851 he travelled abroad, remaining in Paris from October 1851 to July 1852. In 1853 he returned to Edinburgh. Here he gave courses of popular lectures on physiology, having qualified himself by attending the classes at the College of Surgeons.
In 1854 he lectured at the Royal Institution
The Royal Institution of Great Britain is an organization devoted to scientific education and research, based in London.-Overview:...
, London, on economic science. He was appointed in 1858 an assistant commissioner of inquiry into primary education
A primary school is an institution in which children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as primary or elementary education. Primary school is the preferred term in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth Nations, and in most publications of the United Nations Educational,...
, and moved to London. He was examiner in political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...
to London University from 1863 to 1868, and was placed on the council of University College. As a member of council he seconded in 1866 the confirmation of the report of the senatus in favour of the election of James Martineau
James Martineau was an English religious philosopher influential in the history of Unitarianism. For 45 years he was Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy and Political Economy in Manchester New College, the principal training college for British Unitarianism.-Early life:He was born in Norwich,...
to the vacant chair of mental philosophy; he resigned his seat on the council 19 January 1867, George Grote
George Grote was an English classical historian, best known in the field for a major work, the voluminous History of Greece, still read.-Early life:He was born at Clay Hill near Beckenham in Kent...
having successfully argued for George Croom Robertson
George Croom Robertson was a Scottish philosopher.He was born in Aberdeen. In 1857 he gained a bursary at Marischal College, and graduated MA in 1861, with the highest honours in classics and philosophy. In the same year he won a Fergusson scholarship of £100 a year for two years, which enabled...
over the Unitarian Martineau.
In 1870 Hodgson moved to Bournemouth
Bournemouth is a large coastal resort town in the ceremonial county of Dorset, England. According to the 2001 Census the town has a population of 163,444, making it the largest settlement in Dorset. It is also the largest settlement between Southampton and Plymouth...
, but in the following year he was elected (17 July 1871) by the Merchant Company of Edinburgh as the first occupant of the new chair founded (largely by his efforts) of commercial and political economy and mercantile law in the Edinburgh University. He frequently attended the Social Science congresses, acting at Norwich
Norwich is a city in England. It is the regional administrative centre and county town of Norfolk. During the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England after London, and one of the most important places in the kingdom...
in 1873 as president of the educational section. In 1875 he was made president of the Educational Institute of Scotland
The Educational Institute of Scotland is the oldest teachers' trade union in the world, having been founded in 1847 when dominies became concerned about the effect of changes to the system of education in Scotland on their professional status....
. He was strong Liberal, but he took little active part in politics. He settled at Bonaly Tower, Colinton, a Scottish baronial house built by Lord Cockburn.
He died of angina pectoris at Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...
while attending the educational congress there on 24 August 1880. He was buried at the Grange cemetery, Edinburgh. He married, first (in 1841), Jane Cox of Liverpool, who died without issue on 1 July 1860; secondly (on 14 January 1863), Emily, second daughter of Sir Joshua Walmsley, who survived him, with two sons and two daughters.
- ‘Lecture on Education,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1837.
- ‘Address … to the Mental Improvement Society of the Liverpool Mechanics' Institute,’ &c., Liverpool .
- ‘The Secular, the Religious, and the Theological,’ &c., 1850.
- ‘On the Importance of the Study of Economic Science,’ &c., 1855; 1860; 1866.
- ‘On the Report of the Commissioners … to inquire into … Public Schools,’ &c., 1864,(two editions same year).
- ‘Classical Instruction,’ &c., 1866.
- ‘The Education of Girls,’ &c., 1864–6; 2nd edit. 1869.
- ‘The True Scope of Economic Science,’ &c., 1870.
- ‘Turgot: his Life, Times, and Opinions,’ &c., 1870.
- ‘Inaugural Address,’ &c., Edinburgh, 1871.
Posthumous was Errors in the Use of English
, Edinburgh, 1881, edited by his widow. He contributed a preface and notes to Horace Mann
Horace Mann was an American education reformer, and a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1827 to 1833. He served in the Massachusetts Senate from 1834 to 1837. In 1848, after serving as Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education since its creation, he was...
's Report of an Educational Tour in Germany, &c.
, 1846; edited, with Henry James Slack, the memorial edition (1865, &c.) of the Works
of William Johnson Fox
William Johnson Fox was an English religious and political orator.-Life:He was born near Southwold, Suffolk. He trained for the Independent ministry, at the dissenting academy known as Homerton College...
; and translated Count Cavour's Thoughts on Ireland
, &c., 1868.