Bishop Matthew Young

Young, Matthew, Bishop of Clonfert, an eminent mathematician and natural philosopher, was born in the County of Roscommon in 1750. He entered Trinity College in 1766, and was elected Fellow and took orders in 1775. In 1798 the bishopric of Clonfert and Kilmacduagh was most unexpectedly conferred upon him by Lord Cornwallis. He wrote several scientific works, including: Inquiry into the Phenomena of Sound, 1784; The Force of Testimony; Primitive Colours in Solar Light; Analysis of the Principles of Natural Philosophy, 1803. He was also a musician, an enthusiastic botanist, and somewhat of an artist. The Gentleman's Magazine says: "The versatility of his talents, the acuteness of his intellect, and his intense application to study were happily blended with a native unassuming modesty, a simplicity of manners, unaffected, and infinitely engaging; a cheerfulness and vivacity;.. afirm and inflexible spirit of honour and integrity."

One of the pleasures he hoped to derive from a country residence, on his appointment to the bishopric, was the opportunity of pursuing his botanical studies; but shortly after his elevation, symptoms of cancer developed themselves. Slowly dying from that dreadful disease, and shut out from social intercourse, he continued his studies with great activity — revising his works for the press, and even studying Syriac for the purpose of editing a new version of the Psalms, He died at Whitworth, in Lancashire, 28th November 1800, aged 50. Bishop Young contributed largely to the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, of which he was one of the earliest members, and left some mathematical treatises in manuscript.


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

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