Edward Hincks

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

« Mathew James Higgins | Index | John Hogan, Sculptor »

Hincks, Edward, D.D., a distinguished philologist, was born in Cork, in August 1792. [His father, Rev. T. Dix Hincks (born 1767; died 24th February 1857), a Presbyterian minister, was a well-known orientalist.] After a careful training under his father, he entered Trinity College, became scholar in 1810, and obtained a fellowship in 1813, having as an opponent the Rev. Thomas Romney Robinson. He retired on the College living of Ardtrea in 1819, and in 1826 exchanged it for that of Killileagh, which he held until his death. "The fact of his not having received any other promotion, notwithstanding his European reputation and high personal character, has been ascribed to the earnestness with which he advocated a reform in the Irish Established Church, and a larger and more liberal system of education."

He was an excellent Oriental scholar, and published a Hebrew Grammar. But it was in the field of Egyptian and Assyrian translation that his laurels were chiefly won. Mr. Layard remarks: "It is to Dr. Hincks we owe the determination of the numerals, the name of Sennacherib on the monuments of Kouyunjik and of Nebuchadnezzar on the bricks of Babylon — three very important and valuable discoveries." He threw a flood of light on the grammar of the language, on cuneiform writings generally, and in various ways did much to smooth the path for subsequent investigators. His views have not all met with acceptance; but concerning the value of his researches and the soundness of his judgment, there is no difference of opinion. Most of his investigations were published in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, In 1854 he published a Report to the Trustees of the British Museum respecting certain Cylinders and Terra-cotta Tablets, with Cuneiform Inscriptions; and in 1863 a Letter on the Polyphony of the Assyrio-Babylonian Cuneiform Writing. Mr. Hincks died 3rd December 1866, aged 74. His brother, Francis Hincks, C.B., still living, may be said to have secured to Canada the independence she enjoys.

Sources

40. Biographical Division of English Cyclopaedia, with Supplement: Charles Knight, 7 vols. London, 1856-'72.

241. Men of the Time. London, 1856-'75.

« Mathew James Higgins | Index | John Hogan, Sculptor »