Falconer, Thomas

, an English gentleman of extraordinary talents and attainments, was the son of William Falconer, esq. one of the magistrates of Chester, by his wife Elizabeth, the daughter of Ralph Wilbraham, esq. of Townsend in Cheshire, and was born in 1736. That his education had not been neglected appears evidently from the uncommon progress he made in classical learning and antiquities, to which he appears to have been early attached, and in the study of which he persevered during a long and painful course of years. He had a permanent indisposition, which lasted thirty-two years, and which he bore with pious resignation. Such was his thirst of knowledge during this period, that he used to read in a kneeling posture, the only one in which he had a temporary respite from internal uneasiness, from which he was never entirely free. He was a man of taste and science, of extraordinary memory, and pqwers of application, and singularly comprehensive in his reading, and judicious and communicative. He was particularly acquainted with voyages and travels, and retained a fondness for both to the last. His latter days, when indisposition permitted him, were chiefly dedicated to the preparation of an edition of Strabo, in which he had made a considerable progress at the time of his death, Sept. 4, 1792. He was buried in St. Michael’s church, within the city of Chester, where he died, but there is a marble tablet to his memory in St. John’s church, in which parish he resided until within a few years of his death. On this tablet is a just and elegant inscription to his memory from the pen of his brother Dr. William Falconer of Bath.

As Mr. Falconer had little ambition to appear often in the character of an author, his works bear small proportion to the extent of his knowledge. The only publications from his pen were, “Devotions for the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, with an Appendix containing a method of | digesting the book of Psalms, so as to be applicable to the common occurrences of life. By a Layman,” 1786, which has often been reprinted; “Observations on Pliny’s Account of the Temple of Diana at Ephesus,” inserted in the Archaeologia, vol. XI. of which a very close examination and analysis may be seen in the British Critic, vol. VII.; and “Chronological Tables from the reign of Solomon to the death of Alexander the Great,Clarendon press, 1796, 4to. This was found among his Mss. in a prepared state, and presented to the university of Oxford by the author’s brother. The prefatory discourse, which is replete with elaborate research and profound erudition, while it explains, in a very satisfactory way, the arrangement of the tables, and settles many dark and discordant points of ancient history, may also be considered as a dissertation on the fine arts during the aera which it comprises; and the chronological tables will be highly acceptable to those who adhere to archbishop Usher’s mode of computation. His very learned and elaborate edition of Strabo, after being many years in the Clarendon press, was finally published in 1807, 2 vols. folio, by his nephew the rev. Thomas Falconer, M. A. of Corpus Christi college, Oxford, the translator of Hanno’s Periplus, and the author of several works worthy of the fame of his father and uncle. Of the merits of this edition of Strabo, it would be unnecessary to enlarge in this place, as they have so recently been the subject of much critical controversy, which the work will, outlive with lasting reputation. 1


Churton’s Life of Dr. Towason prefixed to hi* Works, p. Iv. Brit. Grit vols. VII. and IX.