Howard, Gorges Edmond (DNB00)

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For works with similar titles, see George Howard.


HOWARD, GORGES EDMOND (1715–1786), miscellaneous writer, son of Francis Howard, captain of dragoons, by his wife, Elizabeth Jackson, was born at Coleraine on 28 Aug. 1715. He was educated at Thomas Sheridan's school at Dublin. After brief service as apprentice in the exchequer at Dublin, Howard enlisted in an infantry regiment, but at the end of a year returned to the exchequer, became a solicitor, and acquired a minute knowledge of legal procedure, as well as of the complicated systems of the exchequer, revenue, and forfeiture departments. He secured a lucrative business as a solicitor and land agent, and published professional works by which he lost money, although they were highly commended by competent critics. His laborious efforts at the same time to achieve reputation as a poet, dramatist, and literary moralist failed signally. The pertinacity with which he wrote and printed contemptible tragedies, none of which were acted, and occasional verse, led to the publication of facetious satires, written mainly by Robert Jephson [q.v.] in 1771. They appeared in the form of a mock correspondence in verse between Howard and his friend George Faulkner, the printer [q.v.] The text was copiously supplemented with foot-notes, in which the confused and jumbled styles of Howard and Faulkner were successfully imitated. The satires passed through many editions at Dublin, and were believed to have been partially inspired by the viceroy, Lord Townshend, who was personally acquainted with Howard and Faulkner. Howard's dramatic compositions formed the subject of an ironical letter addressed by Edmund Burke to Garrick in 1772. As a law official Howard rendered valuable services to government, which were scantily rewarded. He was active in promoting structural improvements in Dublin, having some skill as an architect, and the freedom of the city was conferred on him in 1766. He was among the earliest of the protestant advocates for the partial relaxation of the penal laws against Roman catholics in Ireland, and members of that church presented him with a handsome testimonial. He died in affluent circumstances at Dublin in June 1786.

His published literary works, apart from contributions to periodical literature, were: 1. 'A Collection of Apothegms and Maxims for the Good Conduct of Life, selected from the most Eminent Authors, with some newly formed and digested under proper heads,' Dublin, 1767, 8vo, dedicated to the king and queen. 2. 'Almeyda, or the Rival Kings,' Dublin, 1769, 8vo; a tragedy adapted from Hawkesworth's; `Almoran and Hamet.' 3. 'The Siege of Tamor,' Dublin, 1773, 8vo and 12mo, a tragedy. 4. 'The Female Gamester,' Dublin, 1778, 12mo. 5. 'Miscellaneous Works in Verse and Prose,' with a portrait, Dublin, 1782,8vo, 3 vols.

Howard's professional works are: 1. 'Treatise of the Rules and Practice of the Pleas Side of the Exchequer in Ireland,' 2 vols. 8vo, Dublin, 1759. 2. 'A Treatise on the Rules and Practice of the Equity Side of the Exchequer in Ireland, with the several Statutes relative thereto, as also several Adjudged Cases on the Practice in Courts of Equity both in England and Ireland,with the Reasons and Origin thereof, in many instances as they arose from the Civil Law of the Romans, or the Canon and Feudal Laws.' Inscribed to the chancellor, treasurer, lord chief baron, and barons of the court of exchequer, 2 vols.8vo, Dublin, 1760. 3. 'The Rules and Practice of the High Court of Chancery in Ireland,' 8vo, Dublin, 1772. 4. 'A Supplement to the Rules and Practice of the High Court of Chancery in Ireland lately published. Inscribed to James, Lord Baron Lifford, Lord Chancellor of Ireland,' 8vo, Dublin, 1774. 5. 'Special Cases on the Laws against the further growth of Popery in Ireland,' 8vo, Dublin, 1775. 6. 'An Abstract and Common Place of all the Irish, British, and English Statutes relative to the Revenue of Ireland, and the Trade connected therewith. Alphabetically digested under their respective proper titles. With several Special Precedents of information, &c., upon the said Statutes and other matters, never before published. Inscribed to the Earl of Buckinghamshire, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland,' 2 vols.'4to, Dublin, 1779.

[Hibernian Mag., Dublin, 1786; Baker's Biographia Dramatica; Garrick's Private Correspondence, 1831; Hist. of the City of Dublin, vol. ii. 1859; The Batchelor, 1772.]

J. T. G.