Magee, William

Magee, William D.D., a noted Anglican prelate, was born March 18, 1766, in the county of Fermanat, Ireland, and was educated at the University of Dublin (Trinity College). He obtained all the college honors, and graduated A.B. in 1785, and in 1788 was elected a fellow. His friends desired him to enter the legal profession, but he himself inclined to the ministry, and in 1790 he was ordained, acting at this time as a tutor in his alma mater; later he became assistant professor of the Oriental languages, and in 1806 senior fellow and professor of mathematics. In 1812 he retired from the university, and accepted the livings of Kappagh, in Tyrone, and Killyleagh, in Down; in 1814 he was appointed dean of Cork, and there became greatly celebrated as a pulpit orator. Notwithstanding the length of his discourses (he never preached less than one hour) he was followed by crowds, though no man less courted popularity. His sermons, his biographer says, "might be characterized as solid Gospel truth, strongly and plainly enforced in simplicity and sincerity." Bishop Barrington, a contemporary, thus comments upon Dr. Magee's eloquence: "I have often heard and admired Mr. Pitt, but while I am listening to my friend dean Magee I feel that if I were to shut my eyes I could fancy that Mr. Pitt was speaking." In 1819 Dr. Magee was promoted to the bishopric of Raphoe; in 1821, when George IV visited Dublin, he was appointed by the king dean of the Viceregal Chapel at the castle; and in 1822, after declining the archbishopric of Cashel, he became archbishop of Dublin. He died Aug. 18, 1831. Archbishop Magee is noted particularly for his opposition to Romanism and Unitarianism. Against the latter he sent forth his Discourses on the Atonement and Sacrifice (1811, 8vo; 2d edit. 1812, 2 vols. 8vo; 3d edit. 1816, 3 vols. 8vo; 7th edit. 1841, 1 vol. royal 8vo), universally pronounced one of the ablest critical and controversial works of modern times. His Works were published in 1842, in 2 vols. 8vo, with a memoir of his life by Arthur H. Kinney, D.D. See, besides this Memoir in Works, the Dublin University Magazine, 26:480 sq.; 27:750 sq.; Christian Observer, 1843 (May and June); Christian examiner, 28:63 sq.; Allibone, Dict. of British and American A uthors, s.v. (J. H. W.)

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