Young, Matthew

, the very learned bishop of Clonfert and Kilmacduacb, in Ireland, was of a respectable family in the county of Hoscommon, where he was born in 1750. He was admitted of Trinity college, Dublin, in 1766, and was elected fellow of x the college in 1775, and took orders. He became early an enthusiastic admirer of the Newtonian philosophy, and even at his examination for his fellowship, displayed an unexampled knowledge and comprehension of it; but although it was his favourite subject, his actjve mind, in rapid succession, embraced the most dissimilar objects; and these he pursued with unceasing ardour, amidst his various duties as a fellow and tutor, and the freest intercourse with society, which he was formed at once to delight and instruct. His love of literary conversation, and the advantages he experienced from it. in the pursuit of science, led him early to engage in forming a society whose chief object was the improvement of its members in theological learning. It consisted of a small number of his most intimate college friends, and continued to exist for a series of years, with equal reputation and advantage. Out of this association grew another, somewhat more extensive, whose labours were directed to S’lilosophical researches, and in the formation of which r. Young was also actively engaged: and this itself became the gerrn of the royal Irish academy, which owes its existence to the zeal and exertions of the members of that society, among whom Dr. Young was particularly distinguished. In the intervals of his severer studies, he applied himself to modern languages: and the result of his labours | may be seen in the transactions of the royal Irish academy, to which he also contributed largely on mathematical and philosophical subjects. Besides these he published the following learned and ingenious works: 1. “The phendmena of Sounds and Musical Strings,1784, 8vo. 2. “The force of Testimony,” &c. 4to. 3. “The number of Primitive Colours in Solar light on the precession of the Equinoxes; Principles of Natural philosophy,1800, 8vo, being his last publication, and containing the substance of his lectures in the college.

In 1786, when the professorship of philosophy in Trinity college became vacant, he had attained so high reputation in that branch of science, that he was elected to the office without opposition. His “Essay on Sounds” had been published two years, and it was known that he was engaged in the arduous task of illustrating the “Principia” of Newton. He now devoted himself to the duties of his professorship: and the college having been enriched with the excellent apparatus of Mr. Atwood, Dr. Young improved the occasion of carrying his lectures to a degree of perfection unknown in the university of Dublin, and never perhaps exceeded in any other. He proceeded in the mean time in his great work, “The method of Prime and Ultimate Ratios, illustrated by a commentary on the first two books of the Principia,” and had nearly completed it in English, when he was advised by his friends to publish it in Latin. He readily acquiesced, and thus had an opportunity, while translating it, of revising the whole, and rendering it fuller and more perfect. It was finished a year or two before his promotion to the see of Clonfert, at which time he was engaged in preparing it for the press. The^circumstances of this promotion reflect equal honour on himself and on the lord lieutenant (earl Cornwallis) who conferred it. It was a favour as unsolicited as unexpected, unless the report made to his excellency by his principal secretary, on being consulted as to the properest person to fill the vacant see, may be called solicitation. His report was, that “he believed Dr. Young to be the most distinguished literary character in the kingdom.

His attention however was now diverted from his intended publication by the occupations incident to his new charge; and before he could return to it ,*


No part of this work has since appeared, but in 1803, was published at Dublin ’ An Analysis of the Priciples of Natural Philosophy. By


Matthew Young, &c." an octavo volume containing a very imperfect collection of sixty-three lectures on various philosophical subjects, or rather such heads or minutes as a lecturer might use when addressing his pupils, and published as they were found among his papers.

a cancer in his | mouth had made an alarming progress, and in about fifteen months, terminated fatally, Nov. 28, 1800. He was at this time at Whitworth in Lancashire. 1

Hutton’s Dict. new edit, —Gent. Mag. vol. LXX.