Alexander Knox

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Knox, Alexander, a man of great learning and piety, a voluminous writer on religious questions, was born in Londonderry the middle of the 18th century. He was the author of Essays on the Political Circumstances of Ireland (Dublin, 1798), in denunciation of the United Irishmen and their principles. Their drift may be gathered from a portion of the concluding paragraph: "Let me entreat the sober, moderate, intelligent part of the community.. to ask their own understandings, to consult their own feelings, whether the sovereignty of the public will or the will of the people is not a principle in every point of view ruinous and detestable. Whether it is not a monster in politics, which even poetic fiction is inadequate to describe, a blind and shapeless thing, which adds to the mutability of Proteus, the hands of Briareus and the heads of the hydra."

Private Secretary to Castlereagh, he strenuously supported and advanced the passage of the Act of Union, but no less strenuously and consistently advocated the admission of Catholics and dissenters to complete equality of political rights. After the Union he for a short time represented his native city in Parliament, but most of his life, apart from official duties, was given up to religious meditation, and correspondence, especially with Bishop Jebb. The editor of his Remains says: "His least digested thoughts are precious... With every qualification for a distinguished career in public life,.. his choice was made for a more immediate service of God, in the cultivation of revealed truth, for the dissemination of which he was eminently fitted, not more by the powers of his pen than by the unrivalled charm of his conversation. The whole tenor of Mr. Knox's writings is evidence that, for the ground of man's hope and trust, he looked to Christ as 'all in all.'" He died in 1831. Thirty Years' Correspondence between John Jebb, Bishop of Limerick, and Alexander Knox, appeared in 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1834, and his Remains, in 4 vols. 8vo. London, 1834-1837 — yet we have no particulars concerning his life.

Sources

72. Castlereagh, Viscount: Memoirs and Correspondence, edited by the Marquis of Londonderry. 12 vols. London, 1848-'53.

206. Knox's, Alexander, Remains. 4 vols. London, 1834-'7.

206a. Knox, Alexander: Political Circumstances of Ireland. Dublin, 1798.

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