Graves, Richard (1763-1829) (DNB00)

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GRAVES, RICHARD, D.D. (1763–1829), dean of Ardagh, and regius professor of divinity in the university of Dublin, was descended from Colonel Graves, who commanded a regiment of horse in the army of the parliament, and volunteered for service in Ireland in 1647 (Whitelocke, Memorials, London, 1732, pp. 250–6). He was fifth and youngest child of the Rev. James Graves, vicar of Kilfinnane and Darragh, co. Limerick, and of Jane, daughter of the Rev. Thomas Ryder, rector of Mitchelstown, co. Cork, and was born at Kilfinnane on 1 Oct. 1763. Having received his early education at home from his father and his elder brother Thomas (afterwards dean of Connor), he entered Trinity College, Dublin, 5 June 1780, under the tutorship of the Rev. William Day; he was there elected a scholar in 1782, and was distinguished throughout his undergraduate course, and likewise as an active member of the College Historical Society. He graduated B.A. 1784, M.A. 1787, B.D. 1794, and D.D. 1799. On 12 June 1786 he was a successful candidate for fellowship on his first trial, and was admitted to deacon's and priest's orders in 1787. In the same year he married Elizabeth Mary, daughter of the Rev. James Drought, D.D., senior fellow, and (from 1790 to 1819) regius professor of divinity in Dublin University. In 1797, and again in 1801, he was elected Donnellan lecturer, his subject being ‘The Divine Origin of the Jewish Religion, proved from the internal evidence of the last four Books of the Pentateuch;’ and his lectures were first published in London in 1807, in two octavo volumes. In July 1799 he was co-opted to a senior fellowship of his college, and in 1801 was presented by the dean and chapter of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, to the prebend of St. Michael's in that city. He soon became widely known as a preacher. In 1799 he was professor of oratory, in 1810 regius professor of Greek, and in 1806 and 1807 he held the office of university librarian. In 1803 the dean and chapter of Christ Church elected him to the prebend of St. John's, Dublin, but he declined it, as not being tenable with his fellowship; and in 1809 he was elected by the same patrons to the prebend of St. Michan's, but his election was set aside as informal, and the presentation for that turn lapsed to the crown. In the same year he was presented by the crown to the rectory of Raheny, co. Dublin, and in 1813 he also received from the crown the offer of the deanery of Ardagh, which he hesitated to accept, as the appointment would have involved the resignation of his fellowship; but on being appointed deputy professor of divinity, he resigned his fellowship in 1814, and was instituted to the deanery. In 1819 he succeeded Dr. Drought as professor of divinity. In 1823 he resigned the prebend of St. Michael's, and was presented by the dean and chapter to the rectory of St. Mary's, Dublin, which benefice he held until his death. He succeeded in effecting some considerable improvements in the divinity school over which he presided, and was a conscientious parochial minister. He died from a repeated attack of paralysis on 29 March 1829, and was buried, in the same grave with some members of his family, in the old churchyard of Donnybrook, near Dublin, where there is a brief inscription to his memory.

Graves was author of the following, besides separate sermons: 1. ‘An Essay on the Character of the Apostles and Evangelists,’ London, 1798; 2nd edition, improved, Dublin, 1820. 2. ‘Hints on a Plan for advancing Religious Education.’ 3. ‘Lectures on the four last Books of the Pentateuch,’ preached in the chapel of Trinity College, Dublin, 2 vols., London, 1807; 2nd edition, with large additions, 1815. 4. ‘The First Prælection delivered as Professor of Divinity by Richard Graves,’ 1815; 2nd edition, with additions, 1820. 5. ‘Select Scriptural Proofs of the Trinity, in four Discourses, with Notes and Illustrations,’ London, 1819. 6. ‘Calvinistic Predestination repugnant to the general tenor of Scripture; in a series of Discourses,’ London, 1825; 2nd edition, 1829. 7. ‘Sermons on Practical Subjects,’ London, 1830. His collected works have been published by his son, Richard Hastings Graves [q. v.], with a memoir, in four octavo volumes, Dublin, 1840. A younger son, Robert James Graves, is also separately noticed.

[Memoir by Richard Hastings Graves, D.D.; Dublin University Calendars; Todd's Catalogue of Dublin Graduates; Cotton's Fasti Ecclesiæ Hibernicæ ii. 70, iii. 189–91; Blacker's Brief Sketches of Booterstown and Donnybrook, p. 39.]

B. H. B.