Gough, John (1721-1791) (DNB00)

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GOUGH, JOHN (1721–1791), quaker, son of John and Mary Gough, quakers, of Kendal, Westmoreland, was born early in 1721. He was educated at the Friends' school at Kendal, and when only fourteen became an assistant in the school kept by Thomas Bennet, a quaker, at Pickwick in Wiltshire, where he remained till 1740. After spending some time with his mother at Kendal he went to Ireland to take charge of the school at Cork established by his brother, James Gough, who was on a religious journey in England till 1742. John then became tutor to the children of Benjamin Wilson, near Edenderry, King's County, Ireland. A year and a half later he again took his brother's place in his absence, and continued to hold it on his brother's removal to Mountmellick, Queen's County. About this time he married, having a son named John. In 1748 he went to live with his brother, whose wife died in that year at Mountmellick. In 1752 he accepted the mastership of the Friends' school at Dublin, which he held till 1774. He then removed to Lisburn, and undertook the charge of a boarding-school. He also took a more active part as a minister, chiefly labouring in Munster and Leinster, although in 1785 he spent a considerable period in visiting meetings in various English counties, and several times attended the London yearly meetings. When about sixty-one years old he commenced to write a history of the Society of Friends, which occupied him for eight years, and was published in 1789–90. He died of apoplexy 25 Oct. 1791, and was buried in the Friends' burial-ground at Lisburn. The ‘testimony’ of the Lisburn Friends records the sobriety and gravity for which he had been distinguished from childhood. Gough's ‘History of the Quakers’ has long been accepted as a text-book; it is neither full, clear, nor very accurate, but its biographical notices of Irish Friends are valuable.

His works were: 1. ‘A Treatise of Arithmetic in Theory and Practice,’ 2nd ed. 1770. 2. ‘Practical Arithmetick in Four books,’ Dublin, 1767, republished in 1792 with an appendix on Algebra; this, extracted from the first edition of the former, ran through at least sixteen editions. 3. ‘Some Brief and Serious Reasons why the People called Quakers do not pay Tythes,’ 1777; this is still a very popular tract, and has frequently been reprinted. 4. ‘A Practical Grammar of the English Tongue,’ n.d. First compiled by James Gough, revised, digested, and enlarged by John Gough; sixth edition published in 1792. 5. ‘A History of the People called Quakers, from their First Rise to the Present Time,’ 4 vols. 1789–90. Gough wrote several small tracts, republished as ‘Tracts on Tithes’ in 1786.

[Testimony of the Lisburn Friends' Meeting; Gough's Hist. of Quakers; Memoirs of the Life of James Gough; Smith's Cat. of Friends' Books.]

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