Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 23.djvu/246

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Griffith
Griffith
238

obtained a reputation as a novelist. About 1760 he seems to have received some post from the Duke of Bedford, lord-lieutenant of Ireland. He joined his wife in the publication of their love-letters in 1757, and also issued with her two companion novels [see under Griffith, Mrs. Elizabeth]. He subsequently issued on his own account in 1764 a novel of loose morality, entitled ‘The Triumvirate, or the Authentic Memoirs of A[ndrews], B[eville], and C[arewe] by Biograph Triglyph.’ A piece called ‘The Koran,’ which is printed in the works of Sterne in the collected editions of 1775 and 1795, has been attributed to Griffith's son, also Richard Griffith (Gent. Mag., 1797, ii. 755; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. i. 418). But if the work be rightly attributed to a Richard Griffith at all, the father would seem, if only on chronological grounds, to have a better claim to it than the son. Griffith is credited with a comedy called ‘Variety,’ acted at Drury Lane 25 Feb. 1782, and eight times subsequently. Miss Farren, Baddeley, Palmer, and other well-known actors took part in the performance, but it was condemned as ‘uniformly dull’ (Genest, Hist. of Stage, vi. 217). Griffith is said to have taken to immoral courses in later life. But he seems to have died at his son's residence, Millicent, Naas, co. Kildare, on 11 Feb. 1788 (Gent. Mag. 1788, pt. i. p. 271, where the Christian name appears wrongly as Henry). He left two children; his daughter, Catherine, married the Rev. John Buck, D.D., rector of Desertcreat, co. Tyrone.

Richard Griffith (1752-1820), the only son, born on 10 June 1752, made early in life a fortune in trade in the East Indies, settled at Millicent, Naas, co. Kildare, in 1786, was deputy-governor of the county, and represented Askeaton in the Irish parliament (1783-90). The corporation of Dublin subsequently presented him with the freedom of the city, in consideration of his spirited defence of their rights and privileges in parliament. He was buried at Millicent on 30 June 1820. He married (1), on 17 Sept. 1780, Charity, daughter of John Bramston, esq., of Oundle, Northamptonshire (she died June 1789), and (2), on 24 Feb. 1793, Mary, daughter of DNB lkpl|Burgh, Walter Hussey|Walter Hussey Burgh}} [q. v.] (she died on 10 Sept. 1820). By his first wife he was father of Sir Richard John Griffith [q. v.], the civil engineer.

[Art. supra Griffith, Mrs. Elizabeth; Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; Burke's and Foster's Baronetage; authorities cited above.]

S. L. L.

GRIFFITH, Sir RICHARD JOHN (1784–1878), geologist and civil engineer, first baronet, son of Richard Griffith, of Millicent, Naas, co. Kildare [see under Griffith, Richard, 1714?–1788] by his first wife, Charity, daughter of John Bramston, Esq., of Oundle, was born in Hume Street, Dublin, on 20 Sept. 1784. Educated with a view to a military career, he obtained a lieutenancy in the royal Irish artillery in 1799. On the union of the two countries and the incorporation of the Irish artillery with that of England, he resigned his commission and entered upon the profession of a civil engineer. After studying for two years in London under the supervision of William Nicholson, editor of the ‘Journal of Natural Philosophy,’ he proceeded to Cornwall in order to acquire a knowledge of practical mining. His discovery of the ores of nickel and cobalt in the refuse deposits of the Dolcoath mine attracted the attention of Francis Basset, lord de Dunstanville [q. v.], who proposed to appoint him general manager and superintendent of his mineral property. But Griffith declined this offer, and completed his studies by visiting the different mining districts in England and Scotland. In Edinburgh he attended for two years the classes of Sir James Hall, Playfair, Jameson, and other distinguished professors; and such was the general esteem in which he was held that he was unanimously elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh when only twenty-three years of age. He had always been much interested in agriculture, and having made the acquaintance of a Mr. Begbie, who was also a geologist as well as a large landowner, he became through him thoroughly conversant with the agricultural system prevailing in the Lothians and with the method of land valuation there pursued, which he afterwards introduced with so much success into Ireland. In 1808 he returned to Ireland and began his professional career there by making a survey of the coalfields of Leinster for the Royal Dublin Society. From 1809 to 1812 he was occupied as one of the engineers under the commission for inquiring into the nature and extent of the bogs in Ireland. Among those that he examined was the great bog of Allen, and to his reports on the Irish bogs he appended one on Chat Moss in Lancashire. In 1812 he was appointed mining engineer and professor of geology to the Royal Dublin Society, and about the same time he succeeded Richard Kirwan as government inspector of mines in Ireland. His labours in this direction furnished him with admirable opportunities for the preparation of his geological map of Ireland, which was first published in 1815, and for which he was awarded the Wollaston medal of the Geological Society in 1854. Consequent on the famine of 1822 he was