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WA L K E R's
Compendium of Entertaining Knowledge,
Memoirs of WOOD GIBSON, D.D. late Rector of Cappagh.
Witb bis Portrait, beautifully engraved.) N attempting to delineate a charac- bim, and spared no expence on his ble for its virtues, or distinguished by made such a considerable progress in any excellence, it is hardly possible, the classics, that he mighe then have from the nature of its claims, to escape entered college with credit; but it was the imputation of exaggerated panegy- judged advisable to poftpone it for ten ric. The person, who underiakes to months longer, an interval which he present the public with the following laid out to such advantage in preparing sketch of Dr. Gibson's life and charac. himself, as effectually to overcome any ter, is conscious that he labours under scruples which mighi be entertained on this disadvantage; and his embarrass. account of his tender years. On enterment is not a little heightened by a ing the university, he justified the warmfense, that his endeavours muft after all eft expectations of his friends, in being prove very inadequate to the lask: the distinguished with the first place; and motive, however, by which he profesies for the first four years of his underhimself to be acłuated, must operate graduate course, he regularly obtained ftrongly in his favour, and thai is a a premium and a certificate, besides fincere defire of doing some degree of other marks of honourable teftimony. justice to the memory of that venerable The success which attended his acadegentleman.
mic studies, while it attracted the notice The doctor was the eldest son of a of his acquaintance, naturally pointed respectable merchant in Fleet Atreet, his views to a fellowship, and he looked Dublin, where he was born in the year forward with well grounded confidence 1711. From the earlieft dawn of reaa toward the attainment of that truly fon, he exhibited proofs of a very fupe. dignified fituation. In the fellowship rior understanding, which he cultivaied course he had made some proficiency, by a close and unremitting attention to when a misfortune occurred, which books; insomuch, that those hours seemed to darken his most flattering which health seems to demand for re- prospects. Sitting up late one night laxation, were by him usually dedicated reading, he was attacked by a violent to liudy; and whenever he was pre. nervous complaint, occafioned by his Vailed upon to join in any puerile sedentary life and intenseness of applirecreation, it was generally with appa- cation, which so affected his
of rent reluctance, as it he thought it a speech, that he fpoke not without a mifemployment of his time. His father, thickness and impediment ever afieras might be expected, did not repress wards. From that period he disconti. this ardent difpofition to learning, nor nued his lucubrations, and except on discourage his afliduous exertions, but very particular occasions, never again employed the ableft masters to inftruct fudied after the proper season of going Hib. Mag. April, 1796.
to reft. But it was not necessary : the into her mind, that it seemed to efface materials he had laid up already in his from it all impressions of a softer namind from the stores of Science and Hu- ture. In her grief for her brother, manity, required rather to be digefted every other paffion was absorbed, and than added to: and as bis studies be that love for his friend, which he had came , thenceforward less intense, so helped to cherish in her breaft, subsided they took a greater scope and variety, to the level of esteem. She still reHis leisure hours he devoted to poliie tained for him the highest regard, though literature, and even paid his court, oc- uninfluenced by those sentiments of casionally, to the muses. When he tender affection, which a happier day was in his 191h year, he sat for a inspired. So that when the doctor fellowship, and succeeded with the came to renew his addresses, at such a greater ease, as there were three va- distance of time as decency prescribed, cancies, and but five candidates. He he had the mortification to find her had now reached the summit of literary deaf to his solicitations. Her objection diftinction, at a period of life when to him could arise from no other cause others have hardly set out on their than that of too great fenfibility, as the career. His acquaintance was sought doctor, though now eight years a senior after and folicited by persons of the fellow, was only about thirty-five years first consequence, whether for genius, of age, rather hand fome, of refined fortune, or station. He was even com- manners, and most generally admired plimented with the tuition of the fon of and caressed. This repulse from his a duke, then lord lieutenant of Ireland; mistress, for which he was so ill preparbut either from a disapprobation of his ed, preyed upon his fpirits and affe&ted grace's minifterial conduct, or on ac- his health so much, that he was ordered count of the diffipated habits which his abroad by the physicians, for his recopupil had contracted, in a few months very. Upon this occafion he spent he relinquilhed his trust, though much to four years on the continent, when he the diffatisfaction of the noble father; also availed himself of the opportunity at the same time he refigned a deanery of enlarging his knowlege and improvto which he had been preferred, on ing his tante, by travelling through the learning, about a fortnight after he had principal parts of Holland, Germany, taken poffeffion of it, that it was ori- Swisserland, France, &c. On his reginally intended for another. The turn, he felt the veteris veftigia flamme, duke, both then and some few years unabated by absence or length of time, after, on his being appointed a second and found the transfer of his affections time to the government of this king, impracticable. He recommenced his dom, endeavoured by the mediation of suit, but still the lady continued obdu. friends, to conciliate the doctor; but fo rate; nor was it without the kind interdeeply rooted was the prejudice of the vention and earnest importunity of some latter, that all efforts proved ineffectual, very particular friends, that she was at and he remained inflexibly obftinate. length induced to yield. The doctor
He had in his chambers a favourite by this time had attained his 41st year, pupil of the name of Holt, the only fon and the college living of Cappagh, in of ibe then rector of Paineftown, whom the diocess of Derry, happening to behe fo effcctually affifted in reading for a come vacant, he gladly accepted of it, fellowship, as to enable him to fucceed in order to have it in his power to be to one with great credit. To this in- united to one, who had been so long timacy he owed his introduction to that the object of his tendereft regard. ACgentleman's fifter, Frances, a young cordingly, the nuptials were folemnized lady of many amiable qualifications at the house of Mifs Holi's father, a and perfonal accomplishments, to whom' clergyman of exemplary piety and sirhe paid his addresses, which were at tue. first favourably received; but the un- When the doctor went first to his timely death of Mr. Holt, about a year' living, be found the parish in so low a after he became a fellow, sunk so deeply ftate in almost every respect, moral,
civil, and natural, as to call forth all the county, of his grace the primate, bis exertions of mind and body, to re- and of the bishop of the diocess. daim and improve it. The bulk of Thus had he the happiness of seeing the inhabitants were wretchedly poor, in the course of a few years, the salutaignorant and unprincipled; the church ry effects of his exertions in his paftoral and glebe- house both in a decayed con- vocation. Under his foftering care, dition; and hardly a passable road the cause of virtue and religion was through the parish, though upwards advanced inanner hitherto unexof twenty-five miles in circuit. With an amplified in those parts, and by the activity and energy suited to the im- right principles, which he was ever inportance of the occafion, and invigorat- culcating on the minds of the rising geed by a sense of duty, he persevered, neration, a fair prospect was opened of till by his well-adapted exhortations, its still farther improvement. Populaboth public and private, which he il- tion and agriculture were in a flourishluftrated by his own example, he ing state; and the bleffings of honeft wrought a moft ftriking and fubftan- labour, fobriety, good order and civilitial reformation in the morals of the zation, were extended all around him. people ; while, by his charities, which Thus be continued until his 77th year, he beftowed with a liberal, but discri- refpected, esteemed, and beloved by all, minating hand, he contributed to and enjoying those refined and exalted alleviate the distress, and promote the pleasures, which flow from a well. comfort of numberless families. He spent life. As yet his days seemed to endeavoured to excite a spirit of indul- be unclouded by any material affliction, try amongst them, and as far as was in and to have passed on in an uninter. his power, gave them employment. rupted serenity. But the more length. The education of their children, was ened the life, the less prospect can there one of his principal objects. He efta- be of exemption from the viciffitudes blished schools, wherever the neighbour- incident to mortality. hood was fufficiently populous to It now pleased Heaven to deprive fòrnith pupils, and appointed to each him of that wife, with whom he lived an approved mafter, with a competent in the moft perfect union for upwards falary. In order to facilitate a commu. of thirty-five years, on whofe account nication and carriage beiween the diffe- he endured so much, and had waited fo rent parts of the country, he repaired long; and whose loss was the more. old roads, made new, and conftructed heavy and severe, as he had no child to bridges where necessary, to accomplish soothe and mitigate his forrows. He that most useful end, He built yery was not deftitute of friends and relaexcellent parsonage house, and another tions, who by their kind offices, concomfortable one for the curate, besides tributed all in their power to render a number of fnug cottages for labour- the refidue of his days supportable: but ejs. But what will remain for centuries the endearing attentions of one, whom a ftanding monument of his laudable mutual tenderness, as well zeal and high fenfe of parochial duty, habitude and intercourse of so many is the magnificent church and Ateeple years, had rendered indispensable to he was the means of erecting; towards him, could be but ill supplied by any, which he not only contributed with an the most feeling substitutes. He fought almost unbounded munificence, but relief from his anguilh in philosophic tuperintended the work in person, retirement, pious meditation, and the while it was carrying on; at the same society of a few chofen intimates; but cine that all the disbursements went the tiroke he had received, inflicted a through his hands, and the accounis, wound as deep, as it was hopeless. His even to the minuteft article, was kept conftitution, though naturally robuft, by himself
. His conduct, on this occa. unequal to the struggle, funk beneath it; fion particularly, was confidered to be a decline was vilible, though gradual, so highly meritorious, as to gain him and he languished till his 84th yearthe public thanks of the grand jury of when, no longer able to luftain the
preffure of mental and bodily infirmity, If we may dwell with pleafure on he betook himself to his chamber and any part of his character more than his bed, fully sensible of his approach- another, it is on the unblemifhed ing departure, and waiting for it with purity of his morals, and the rational meek resignation : his confinement, fervour of his piety: and yet, exempt however, was thort, and scarcely ac- as he was from every vice himself, he companied with any fymptom of pain; was reftrained by charity, from being four days only, did he linger in this too severe in his reprehenfions on the ftate, and on the fitih expired, criminal conduct of others. His moft September 18, 1795.
obvious foible. (as who is free from
every thade of imperfection ?) was With respect to the general charac- a certain fastidiousnels with which ter of doctor Gibson, we have little to he fometimes treated those with whom add to what has been already observed. he converfed.. But this arose more Neither his talents, nor his virtues were from natural temper and long inof the oftentatious kind; but the former dulged habits; than from any arrogated were estimable, and the latter amiable claim to personal, profeflional and useful. At a very early age, his fuperiority. If he poffeffed pride, sagacity enabled him to discover the it was unmixed with vanity ;' for, moft approved principles for the regu- however ambitious he might bave lation of his conduct, to which he been to establish a memorable recontinued through life to adhere with the putation, be delicately, but determimoft undeviating feadiness: and he nedly, declined the transmiffion of was not content with mediocrity, in ii io posterity, through any monumental any object of his pursuits, but aimed at medium, when strongly folicited to excellence in them all. He formed it by a perfonage of high literary his judgment, both of men and books, character, and flattering discriminaby ihe best models; and attained in a lion. degree of accuracy and refinement, which, as well in common as in literary Life of James Uther, Author of " Clis, matters, rendered him a molt intelligent
or a Dificurse on Tafte, &c. adviser and valuable friend. It must, however, be confeffed, that he had įT is too often the fate of genius, that more of honesty than of infinuation in when it comes unaltended by those his manners; and though his conversation secondary qualities which generally inwas not without charms, yet, perbaps, troduce it io ibe world," it advances there was discoverable in it fomewhat flowly to maturity, and sometimes, like of that ftudied air, which even the po- the fiower to which it has been beautilireft scholars are apt to contract in re- fully compared by Gray, " wastes its tirement, and to which, in his case, the sweteness on the defart air.” impediment in his speech already men.. 0! this last description was the ob. tioned, might not a little have contri- ject of this page. Though the Author buted.
of so elegant a compofition as Clio, Of his abilities in compofition, ,we and many others of equal character ; are precluded from forming an though well educated, and endued with adequate idea, as whatever productions morals and manners illuftrative of that of his pen he permitted to come before education ; his whole life was little the public eye, were under a feigned better than a fcramble for the support fignature; and those specimens of his “ of the day that was pasling over bim?" writings which he left behind him, his death obscure; and the remembrance (confining chiefly of a few fermons, of his talents principally depending on aphorisms, religious tracts and hymns) the memory of those few of his cotem-' he imposed an inviolable obligation poraries whom Providence has permiton his executors, to deftroy ; but we ted to survive him. may with truth affirm, that his laste. JAMES Usher was the son of a Genwas critically, exact, and his reflections tleman farmer in the county of Dublin, folid, and enlarged.