Rev. John Walker

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Walker, John, Rev., was born about 1767. He entered Trinity College, Dublin; was a scholar in 1788; B.A. in 1790; a fellow in 1791; M.A. in 1793; and B.D. in 1800. On the 8th of October 1804 he informed the Provost that his religious opinions had undergone a change and that it was impossible for him any longer to exercise his functions as a minister of the Establishment. He proposed to resign his preferments in the College; but the Provost thought it his duty to expel him. He was followed by a number of disciples, who met in a chapel in Stafford-street, Dublin, where he preached the strongest Calvinistic doctrines. He ultimately removed to a wider field of labour in London. His followers — styled "Walkerites," "Separatists," and by themselves "The Church of God" — possessed sufficient influence to procure the passage of an Act of Parliament exempting them from the taking of oaths. The Rev. John Walker wrote, in a pamphlet enunciating his opinions: "It is contrary to the nature and laws of Christ's kingdom, that his disciples should acknowledge the state religion as theirs, or hold any connexion with the religious establishment of the country." The Walkerites appear to have rigidly forbidden any common worship, or even conversation on religious topics, with, those not in their communion; yet at one time they invited controversy with opponents at the conclusion of their services. At another it was the custom of the congregation to "salute one another with a holy kiss." John Walker was an excellent classical scholar, and edited Livy (1797), Euclid (1808), Lucian (1822), Geometry, Trigonometry (1844), and other works. Shortly before his death the Board of Trinity College, to make up for the illiberality of their predecessors, granted him an allowance of £600 a year. He died in Dublin, 25th October 1833, aged 66. In Blunts' Dictionary of Sects, his followers are described as "an Irish sect of Sandemanians." Walker's Essays and Correspondence, in 2 vols., 8vo, were published in London in 1838.

Sources

16. Authors, Dictionary of British and American: S. Austin Allibone. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1859-'71.

110b. Dublin, History of, by Whitelaw, Warburton, and Walsh. 2 vols. London, 1818.

146. Gentleman's Magazine. London, 1731-1868.
Gilbert, John T., see Nos. 110, 335.

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