Archdeacon Francis Higgins

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Higgins, Francis, Archdeacon of Cashel, a High Church clergyman, and Tory politician, styled by Sir Walter Scott the " Sacheverell of Ireland," was born in Limerick about 1670. He was elected a scholar of Trinity College in 1688, became reader of Christ Church Cathedral in 1691, rector of Gowran in 1694, and in 1705 was elected to the prebend of St. Michael's in Christ Church Cathedral. After appearing prominently before the public upon more than one occasion, he, in February 1707, preached at Whitehall Chapel in London, a sermon from Revelations iii. 2-3, which created a great sensation, and caused him to be for a time imprisoned under a warrant of the Secretary of State. Before his arrest he had preached this sermon no less than six times in different parts of London. An anonymous pamphlet (supposed to be by himself) in support of it was burnt by the common hangman at the Tholsel in Dublin, in July 1707.

On his return to Ireland he became involved in squabbles with his fellow magistrates at Kilmainham, was by the grand jury presented as a "common disturber of her Majesty's peace;" and on the other hand was upheld by Convocation as one that "hath both in his life and doctrines upon all occasions shown himself to be an orthodox divine, a good Christian, and a loyal subject." After the accession, of the house of Hanover we hear no more of his political doings. In 1725 he was collated to the Archdeaconry of Cashel. He died in August 1728, and was buried in St. Michael's Church, Dublin. Dr. Reeves concludes a manuscript notice of him with the words: "Three sermons, and his Cases were his only productions from the press, and even these were rather the developments of political excitement than the expressions of calm consideration or benevolent feelings."

Sources

233. Manuscript and Special Information, and Current Periodicals.

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