Gordon, James Bentley (DNB00)

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GORDON, JAMES BENTLEY (1750–1819), historian, was son of the Rev. James Gordon of Neeve Hall, Londonderry, by his wife, a daughter of Thomas Neeve [q. v.], the nephew of Richard Bentley [q. v.], the famous scholar. Gordon entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1769, and graduated B.A. 1773. On leaving college he took holy orders, and in 1776 became tutor to the sons of Lord Courtown. In 1779 he undertook the management of a boarding-school at Marlfield in Wexford, but was not very successful, owing probably to lack of worldly prudence. In 1796 he was presented to the living of Cannaway in Cork, and in 1799 to that of Killegney in Wexford, both of which he retained till his death on 10 April 1819. He married in 1779 a daughter of Richard Bookey of Wicklow, by whom he had several children; his eldest son, James George, entered the army, and was killed at Fort Sandusky in Canada, 25 Aug. 1813 (Gent. Mag. 1814, i. 65); another son, Richard Bentley, was prebendary of Ferns and Leighlin from 1819 to 1823 (Cotton, Fasti Eccl. Hib. ii. 365); a daughter was married to his biographer, Thomas Jones.

Gordon was a zealous student of history and geography. He wrote:

  1. 'Terraquea, or a New System of Geography and Modern History,' London, 1790-3, 2 vols., and Dublin, 1794-8, 4 vols. This work was then interrupted by the preparation of
  2. 'A History of the Rebellion in Ireland in 1798,' Dublin, 1801, 'a party work abounding in misrepresentations' (Lowndes, p. 914); 2nd edition, with additions, London, 1803.
  3. 'A History of Ireland,' Dublin, 1805; 2nd edition, London, 1806; translated into French, 1808.
  4. 'A History of the British Islands from the earliest Accounts to the Present Time,' Dublin, 1815. Gordon also left copious manuscripts, chiefly in continuation of his 'Terraquea,' of which a portion was printed in 1820 as
  5. 'An Historical and Geographical Memoir of the North American Continent. With a Summary Account of Gordon's Life, Writings, and Opinions,' by T. Jones. Another work left in manuscript was
  6. 'An Historical Memoir of the Church of Ireland;' of this a summary is given in Jones's 'Account,' &c.

[Memoir by T. Jones, as above; Taylor's Hist. of the Univ. of Dublin, p. 451; Todd's Dublin Graduates; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. p. 914; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

C. L. K.