Murray, Lindley

Murray, Lindley an American writer on morals and education, who flourished near the opening of this century, was born at Swatara, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1745. He was educated at an academy of the Society of Friends, and on his father's removal to New York was placed in a counting-house, from which he escaped to a school in New Jersey. He then studied law, and was admitted to the bar at the age of twenty-one, and commenced a good practice. During the Revolutionary War he engaged in mercantile pursuits with such success as to accumulate a handsome fortune. His health failing, he went over to England and purchased the estate of Holdgate, near York, where he devoted himself to literary pursuits, chiefly the composition of books intended for the instruction of youth. In 1787 he published anonymously his Power of Religion on the Mind, which passed through seventeen editions. It is a selection of passages from various authors. In 1795 he issued a Grammar of the English Language, followed by English Exercises, the Key, the English Reader, Introduction and Sequel, and a Spelling-book. There can be no stronger indication how entirely the systematic study of the English language was, until recent years, neglected by scholars than the fact that Murray's Grammar was for half a century the standard text-book throughout Britain and America. Far better books are his later publications: Selections from Horne's Commentary on the Psalms (12mo), and On the Duty and Benefit of a Daily Perusal of the Holy Scriptures (1817). Mr. Murray wrote an autobiography to the year 1809, which was published after his death, which occurred at his residence, near York, England, Feb. 16, 1826. The Friends thought much of Lindley Murray, for he devoted himself to their interests, and as a member of their body did all in his power to give influence and power to them. "The humility of his deportment, and the Christian spirit that breathed through his whole conduct, endeared him to the members of York Monthly Meeting, where he served in the station of an elder, and proved to be eminently useful. His charities, both public and private, but particularly the latter, were extensive. He was deeply interested in promoting the education of the poor and the elevation of the African race." See Janney, Hist. of the Friends, 4:55.

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