Laurence, Richard (DNB00)
|←Laurence, John||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 32
LAURENCE, RICHARD (1760–1838), archbishop of Cashel, born at Bath in 1760, was younger brother of French Laurence [q.v.]. He was educated at Bath grammar school and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he matriculated on 14 July 1778 with an exhibition. After graduating B.A. in 1782 (M.A. in 1785), he in 1787 became vicar of Coleshill, Berkshire, where he took pupils. He also contributed to the 'Monthly Review' and undertook the historical department of the 'Annual Register.' Shortly afterwards he held the vicarage of Great Cheverell, and the rectory of Rollstone, Wiltshire. In June 1794 he took the degrees of B.C.L. and D.C.L. as a member of University College. Upon his brother's appointment to the regius professorship of civil law, in 1796, he was made deputy professor, and again settled in Oxford. In 1804 he delivered the Bampton lectures, 'An Attempt to illustrate those Articles of the Church of England which the Calvinists improperly consider Calvinistical,' 1805; 2nd edit. 1820; 3rd edit. 1838. The Archbishop of Canterbury presented him in 1805 to the rectory of Mersham, Kent; and in 1811 he was collated to the valuable rectory of Stone, near Dartford, in the same county.
From youth Laurence read widely in theology and canon law, and in later life he studied oriental languages. Accordingly in 1814 he was appointed regius professor of Hebrew and a canon of Christ Church, Oxford. In 1822, after the death of his wife, he reluctantly accepted the archbishopric of Cashel, Ireland. He resided at Cashel until the Church Temporalities Act of 1833 annexed the dioceses of Waterford and Lismore to that of Cashel and Emly, when he selected Waterford as the future place of residence for himself and his successors.
Laurence governed his dioceses with ability and tact. He died on 28 Dec. 1838 in Merrion Square, Dublin, and was buried in the vaults of Christ Church Cathedral there, in the choir of which a marble tablet was erected to his memory. The clergy of Cashel also erected a handsome monument to him in their cathedral; and in that of Waterford a small slab records the fact that it was owing to Laurence that Waterford remained the home of a resident bishop.
Laurence's wife was Mary Vaughan, daughter of Vaughan Prince, merchant, of Faringdon, Berkshire. Henry Cotton [q.v.], dean of Lismore, was his son-in-law.
Laurence's writings are models of exactness and judicious moderation. His erudition is well illustrated by the three volumes in which he printed, with Latin and English translations, Ethiopic versions of apocryphal books of the bible. The first, the 'Ascensio Isaiæ Vatis' (8vo, Oxford, 1819), which he dated a.d. 68 or 69, furnished in his opinion arguments against the unitarian falsification of passages in the New Testament. The second, 'The Book of Enoch the Prophet' (8vo, Oxford, 1821; other editions, 1832, 1838), was printed from the Ethiopic manuscript which James Bruce had brought from Abyssinia and presented to the Bodleian Library. The third was the Ethiopic version of the first book of 'Esdras' (8vo, Oxford, 1820).
Meanwhile Laurence was as zealously defending the church from the Calvinists as from the unitarians. 'The Doctrine of the Church of England upon the efficacy of Baptism vindicated from misrepresentation' appeared in 2 parts, 8vo, Oxford, 1816–18; other editions 1818 and 1838. While occupied by these investigations Laurence published 'Authentic Documents relative to the Predestinarian Controversy, which took place among those who were imprisoned for their adherence to the Doctrines of the Reformation by Queen Mary,' 8vo, Oxford, 1819.
Laurence's other writings include: 1. 'A Dissertation upon the Logos of St. John,' 8vo, Oxford, 1808. 2. 'Critical Reflections upon some important misrepresentations contained in the Unitarian version of the New Testament,' 8vo, Oxford, 1811. 3. 'Remarks upon the Systematical Classification of Manuscripts adopted by Griesbach in his edition of the New Testament,' 8vo, Oxford, 1814. 4. 'Remarks upon the Critical Principles ... adopted by Writers who have ... recommended a new Translation of the Bible,' 8vo, Oxford, 1820. 5. 'The Book of Job, in the words of the authorized version, arranged and printed in general conformity with the Masoretical text' (anon.), 8vo, Dublin, 1828. 6. 'Remarks on the Medical Effects of the Chlorides of Lime and Soda' (anonymously and privately printed), 8vo, Dublin, 1832. 7. 'On the Existence of the Soul after Death; a Dissertation opposed to the principles of Priestley, Law, and their respective followers. By R. C.,' 8vo, London, 1834. 8. 'Extracts from a Formulary for the Visitation of the Saxon Church, a.d. 1528,' 8vo, Oxford, 1838 (this is inserted in the last edition of the Bampton lectures; a few copies were struck off separately). 9. 'The Visitation of the Saxon Reformed Church, in 1527 and 1528, with an Introduction and some Remarks on Mr. Newman's "Lectures on Justification,"' 8vo, Dublin, 1839, a posthumous work, edited by Dean Cotton. 10. 'Poetical Remains,' 8vo, Dublin, 1872 (twenty-five copies privately printed), edited with those of French Laurence by Dean Cotton.[Gent. Mag. new ser. xi. 205–7, xiv. 677; Cotton's Fasti Eccles. Hib. i. 98–103; Cotton's Memoir prefixed to Laurence's Poetical Remains (with photograph); Martin's Cat. of Privately Printed Books, pp. 314, 371.]