FRANCIS HUTCHINSON was the son of Rev. Sir Samuel Synge, Archdeacon of Killala (who assumed the additional surname of Hutchinson on succeeding his uncle). He was born on 18th January, 1802, and fell asleep in Jesus on 3rd April, 1833. He married the sister of the Earl of Donoughmore and left two sons and one daughter. His eldest son succeeded his grandfather in the Baronetcy.
Francis Hutchinson deserves a special niche in any work of reference to the "Chief Brethren," for not only was he one of the first who met together for "the breaking of bread," according to primitive custom, on the first day of the week, but it was at his house, No. 9 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, that the little company were led to come together in the Name of the Lord Jesus, owning the presence and sovereign action of the Holy Spirit in their midst. The brethren continued to meet for some time in Fitzwilliam Square, and others were gradually added to their number. The Gospel was preached with a clearness and fulness and power unknown since the days of the apostles. Books and tracts were written and widely circulated. The grand doctrines of the Church, the operations of the Holy Spirit, the blessed hope of the Lord's speedy return were brought out with great freshness and power to the uplifting of many hearts, and to the eternal blessing of hundreds of precious souls. Great interest was awakened, and those who ventured to their meetings were struck by the fact of hundreds of people assembled together without a minister, so-called, and yet there was no confusion, but "all things were done decently and in order."
One after another becoming affected by the truth, were received into communion. The numbers so increased that in little more than a year the house of Mr. Hutchinson was found to be unsuitable for the meetings, and a large auction room in Aungier Street was hired for the purpose. From then on, as Mrs. E. Trotter writes, "the teaching and testimony of the men of 1828 not only directly animated and inspired the great evangelistic movement of 1857, but gave a new character to the missionary enterprise of the century, and antidated, in its fresh and unfettered study of the Scriptures, much truth which is now a common heritage of the Church of God." The old evangelicalism had become to a large extent a negation. Here was a vision; this was the burning secret at the core of life, transforming it from within to without.
"I have seen the face of Jesus,
Tell me not of aught beside ;
I have heard the voice of Jesus,
And my soul is satisfied."
In this light all other lights paled. Among the men affected by it were men of brain, born leaders, men of birth and of large means, scholars and students, who would have made their mark at any time and in any walk of life; lawyers of acute critical judgment, officers of promise in both services, large landowners with the cares and responsibilities of property.
The inspiration came to them at first alone, and not under the influence of large multitudes, neither did it die out, but energised and sustained them in lives of unusual toil and unusual length. Many of those principles for which they contended, and for which they suffered, have become in the last eighty years more or less a common heritage.