Thomas Prior

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Prior, Thomas, founder of the Dublin Society, was born at Rathdowney, in the Queen's County, in 1680, and was educated in Trinity College. The foundation of the Dublin (afterwards the Royal Dublin) Society appears to have been conceived and organized by him. The project took shape at a meeting of thirteen gentlemen, held in Trinity College, 25th June 1731. The Society was established to promote agriculture, manufactures, the arts, and sciences. It was duly incorporated, and received a parliamentary grant of £500 per annum in 1749; but did not reach the important position it at present occupies until long after his death. In his efforts for its establishment he was ably seconded by Dr. Samuel Madden. He died on 21st October 1751, aged 70, and was interred near his birth-place. A monument was erected to his memory in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, bearing an inscription by his friend and fellow-student, Bishop Berkeley, in which he is styled "Societatis Dubliniensis auctor, institutor, curator." He wrote tracts on The Absentees of Ireland, The Virtues of Tar Water, and various questions of the day.

Sources

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

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