Hume, Abraham, (‘Billy M'Cart’) (1814–84), clergyman and antiquarian, was born 9 February 1814 at ‘Beechfield’, Corcreeny, Hillsborough, Co. Down, the younger of the two sons of Thomas F. Hume, farmer, and Margaret Hume (née Simpson). His birthplace had once been the manse of his grandfather, James Hume, who, after being deposed by the Church of Scotland, began preaching in Co. Down, becoming the first seceding presbyterian minister of Moira (ordained 1753). Hume attended Belfast Academical Institution (latterly Royal Belfast Academical Institution) (1830–31) before entering TCD (9 November 1835); he also studied at Glasgow. He returned to become head (1836–41) of the English school at Belfast Academy (latterly Belfast Royal Academy). During this time he also taught mathematics in Downpatrick, Co. Down, and was editor of the Downpatrick Recorder. He was principal of the English department in the Mechanics' Institute, Liverpool (1841–3), and head English master of the Collegiate Institution, Liverpool (1843–7). In 1843 he graduated BA from TCD and began studying for the Church of England. Ordained deacon in 1843, he served as curate in St Augustine's, Liverpool, while still teaching, and subsequently was appointed (1847) vicar of All Souls, Vauxhall, Liverpool, where he served for the following thirty-six years. On his appointment the district was populous but without a church. He embarked on a detailed survey which he forwarded to parliament. In 1867 he was sent on behalf of the South American Missionary Society on a fact-finding tour, exploring the west coast of the continent, especially Chile and Peru. His part in the effort for Liverpool to be created a diocese was recognised by his being made an honorary canon of Liverpool cathedral.
In addition to church matters, Hume had a great interest in cultural and other aspects of the city, and was vice-chair of the Liverpool school board (1870–76). He co-founded and was president of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, and secretary to the British Association when it visited Liverpool in 1870; he also contributed articles to the Ulster Journal of Archaeology. He was a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries. Another of his interests was dialect: under the pseudonym ‘Billy M'Cart’ (i.e., ‘Ballymacarrett’) he wrote Poor Rabbin's ollminick for the town o' Bilfawst (3 vols, 1861–3) and Remarks on the Irish dialect of the English language (1878). He was awarded the RIA's Cunningham prize for his contribution to dialect study, and was elected MRIA (1875). In all he published over 100 books and papers. It appears that he encouraged his older brother John to make a valuable collection of songs from oral tradition in north Co. Down, possibly with a view to publication (‘Songs and ballads in use in the province of Ulster … 1845’, NLI, MS 490). He amassed manuscripts, printed works, maps, and illustrations for a contemplated history of Co. Down, and bequeathed his library of over 2,000 valuable books, as well as antiquities, to Liverpool University College. A personal bible is in Liverpool cathedral. He was also interested in genealogy and heraldry, and was a copious correspondent. He received several honours, including an LLD from Glasgow University (1843), in 1856 an LLB and an LLD from TCD, and a DCL from Cambridge University. His episcopal licences are with the correspondence of F. J. Bigger (qv) in the Central Library, Belfast. Hume was unmarried. He died 21 November 1884, and was buried at Anfield cemetery, Liverpool; an Irish granite obelisk sent by his friends in Ireland marks his grave.
A cousin, Alexander Hamilton Hume (1797–1873), after whom the Hume river is named, was an explorer of Australia.