Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gregory, George (1754-1808)

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GREGORY, GEORGE, D.D. (1754–1808), divine and man of letters, son of an Irish clergyman, was educated at Liverpool for the counting-house. For several years he was clerk to Alderman C. Gore, merchant of Liverpool, but took more interest in literature and the drama than in his employment, and was director of a small private theatre, for which he wrote several farces and plays. Resolving to give up business, he studied at the university of Edinburgh, and was ordained in the established church. He was admitted to the degree of D.D. in 1792. Gregory settled in London in 1782, and became evening preacher at the Foundling Hospital. In 1802 he was presented to the living of West Ham, Essex, a preferment said to have been given him by Addington for his support of the administration. He became prebendary of St. Paul's in 1806, and at the time of his death was also chaplain to the Bishop of Llandaff. Gregory was a hard-working parish priest, and an energetic member of the Royal Humane Society. He died on 12 March 1808.

Gregory was for the most part self-educated, and acquired a very creditable amount of erudition. His first work was a volume of ‘Essays Historical and Moral’ (1st ed. published anonymously 1783, 2nd 1788). In 1787 he published a volume of sermons to which are prefixed ‘Thoughts on the Composition and Delivery of a Sermon’(2nd edition, 1789). He was also the author of a ‘Translation of Bishop Lowth's Lectures on the Poetry of the Hebrews’ (2 vols. 8vo, 1st ed. 1787, last 1847); ‘The Life of T. Chatterton’ (1789, a reprint from Kippis's ‘Biog. Brit.,’ iv. 573-619); ‘An History of the Christian Church’ (1790, 2nd ed. 1795); a revised edition of Dr. Hawkesworth's translation of Fénelon's ‘Télémaque’ (1795); ‘The Economy of Nature Explained and Illustrated on the Principles of Modern Philosophy’ (1796, 2nd ed. 1798, 3rd 1804); ‘The Elements of a Polite Education, carefully selected from the Letters of Lord Chesterfield’ (1800, new ed. 1807); ‘Letters on Literature, Taste, and Composition’ (1808); and ‘A Dictionary of the Arts and Sciences’ (1808). On the death of Dr. Kippis in 1795 Gregory was appointed edit or of the ‘Biographia Britannica,’ but he made little progress with the work, and the sixth volume, to which he had contributed a preface, was burnt in the warehouse of Nichols & Son on 8 Feb. 1808. He was also for some years editor of the ‘New Annual Register,’ a publication started by Kippis in opposition to the ‘Annual Register’ in 1780, probably as successor to Kippis. Gregory changed its politics from whig to tory during the premiership of Addington.

[Gent. Mag. 1808, lxxviii. pt. i. pp. 277. 386; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

L. C. S.