Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Morgan, James

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MORGAN, JAMES, D.D. (1799–1873), Irish presbyterian divine, son of Thomas Morgan, a linen merchant, of Cookstown, co. Tyrone, and Maria Collins of the same town, was born there on 15 June 1799. After attending several schools in his native place, he entered Glasgow University in November 1814, before he was fifteen, to prepare for the ministry, but after one session there studied subsequently in the old Belfast college. In February 1820 he was ordained by the presbytery of Dublin as minister of the presbyterian congregation of Carlow, a very small charge, which, however, increased greatly under his care. In 1824 he accepted a call from Lisburn, co. Antrim, to be colleague to the Rev. Andrew Craig, and for four years laboured most successfully there. In 1827 a new church was opened in Fisherwick Place, Belfast, and he became its first minister in November 1828. The congregation soon became a model of wise organisation and active work. Morgan also became prominently associated with all benevolent and philanthropic schemes in the town. In 1829 he joined with a few others in founding the Ulster Temperance Society. He was also most active in promoting church extension in Belfast. In 1840, when the general assembly's foreign mission was established, he was appointed its honorary secretary, and continued to hold this position with great advantage to the mission until his death. In 1842 he helped to found the Belfast town mission, and became one of its honorary secretaries. He was appointed moderator of the general assembly in 1846, and next year received the degree of D.D. from the university of Glasgow. He took a foremost part in the establishment of the assembly's college, Belfast, which was opened in 1853. He died in Belfast on 5 Aug. 1873, and was buried in the city cemetery.

Morgan was a voluminous writer. For some time he was joint editor of 'The Orthodox Presbyterian.' His chief works, besides sermons, tracts, and other fugitive publications, were: 1. 'Essays on some of the principal Doctrines and Duties of the Gospel,' 1837. 2. 'Lessons for Parents and Sabbath School Teachers,' 1849. 3. 'The Lord's Supper,' 1849. 4. 'Rome and the Gospel, 1853. 5. ' The Penitent; an Exposition of the Fifty-first Psalm,' 1854. 6. 'The Hidden Life,' 1856. 7. 'The Scripture Testimony to the Holy Spirit,' 1865. 8. 'An Exposition of the First Epistle of John,' 1865. An autobiography was posthumously published in 1874, with selections from his journals, edited by his son, the Rev. Thomas Morgan, Rostrevor.

He married in 1823 Charlotte, daughter of John Gayer, one of the clerks of the Irish parliament at the time of the union, and by her had three sons and three daughters.

[Life and Times of Dr. Morgan, 1874; information supplied by the eldest and only surviving son, the Rev. Thomas Morgan; personal knowledge.]

T. H.