1707-1787; b. Derraghy, nr. Lisburn, Co. Antrim; Irish divine and scholar,
ed. TCD Sch., 1726; BA 1728; curate to Dr. Samuel Madden, afterwards at
Monaghan; came to London to publish Ophiomaches, or Deism Revealed
(1748); incumbent of Templecar on Lough Derg, 1750-59, Devenish 1759-66,
Fintona [Fermanagh], 1766; devoted to poor parishioners; represented in
Lyra Hibernica Sacra; d. 4 May, bur. St Peters Churchyard,
Dublin; his Collected Works (1770) incl. the first account of the
Lough Derg Pilgrimage and sixteen lengthy poems on pious subjects along
with other theological matter; the life by Rev. Samuel Burdy (1792) is
considered remarkable for its use of Ulster vernacular; the Complete
Works edited by Robert Lynam in 1824 is flawed by extensive supposed
improvements; an obituary appeared in Blackwoods Magazine
(June 1820). RR ODNB PI DIB DIW FDA OCIL.
A vindication of ... the Bishop of Winchester, against the malicious
aspersions of those who uncharitably ascribe the book ... A Plain Account
... to his Lordship (Dublin 1736); A letter to the author of the
Divine Analogy and the Minute Philosopher (1734); Ophiomaches,
or Deism Revealed (London 1749) [var. 1748]; The Censor Censured
(Dublin 1750); works edited in 1770 and 1824.
Samuel Burdy, Memoirs of Rev. Philip Skelton (London 1792), and
Do, rep. edn. introduced by Norman Moore (1914) [also prefaced to Works,
1824]; Richard Ryan, Biographia Hibernica: Irish Worthies (1821),
vol. II, pp.543-51; D. Berman, The Culmination and Causation of
Irish Philosophy, in Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, 64 (1982), pp.257-79. See also Irish Book Lover,
Patricia Craig, ed., The Rattle of the North (Blackstaff 1992),
gives extract from Burdys Life of the Late Rev. Philip Skelton (here p.71ff.). In it, he relates how Skelton, unable to find a wife
whom he could like and afford, was obliged to attempting to keep passion
down by living off vegetables; how he defended the food he brought to
feed the famine-stricken peasants with a whip applied to highwaymen; and
how he was prone to hypochondria, called the hips; Burdy writes,
It may be remarked that all this tends to degrade the person whose
life I write; but in my opinion it only shows that he was his own peculiarities
to which great characters are in general more subject than ordinary men.
[See Craig, Introduction, p.7].
Charles Read, ed., A Cabinet of Irish Literature (3 vols., 1876-78),
cites Vindication of Bishop Hoadley and Proposal for the Revival of
Christianity (1736); Ophiomaches, or Deism Revealed (1748);
Discourses Controversial and Practical on various Subjects (1754);
Description of Lough Derg (1759); Some Proposals for the Revival
of Christianity (1736).
Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 1, 796-97: extract
from Ophiomaches, or, Deism Revealed (1749) [SHEPARD, I did
not say, Sir, that it was impossible to form any idea of God; but only,
that reason, left to itself, having no power of its own to form any ideas
at all, and being supplied with ideas to work on only thro the senses,
could hardly form a right idea of God. This, however, it might be enabled
to do by him who taught it to believe, that the soul of man is formed
in the image of God; and that as we present our souls to our own conceptions
by a similitude or analogy to matter, so we ought to represent him in
our thoughts by the analogy between him and our souls].
Irish Book Lover, VI, p.185
gives notice of Burdys Life, reprinted by Norman Moore, 1914,
and remarks that he sold his library twice to feed the hungry of his parish;
Irish Book Lover, XIV notes that there is an obituary in Blackwoods
Magazine for June 1820; the entry in the Dictionary of National
Biography is by Norman Moore. SEE also under Burdy, Rx.
Belfast Central Public Library holds
Collected Works (5 vols. 1770).
When asked to assist a Tory candidate in the local elections, he agreed,
saying, They are a pack of rascals and a rascal is fittest to represent
them [from Moores pref. to Burdys Life, 1914].