Page:A Compendium of Irish Biography.djvu/547

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to London became one of the delights of his life. In 1840 he laid before the British Association a report on the vertebrata of Ireland. In 1841 he joined his friend Edward Forbes in a naturalist cruise in H.M.S. Beacon in the Ægean Sea. The first three volumes of his Natural History of Ireland, comprising the Birds, were published between 1849 and 1851. The work was most favourably received, and has since been regarded as a standard authority on the subject. He died suddenly in London, 17th February 1852, aged 46, and was interred at Belfast. "Mr. Thompson differed from the generality of naturalists in the wide range of his research. He gave attention not only to the long series of vertebrate and invertebrate animals (excepting insecta and infusoria) but also to the vegetable kingdom in all its various forms." He made several contributions to the Phycologia Britannica of Dr. W. H. Harvey. By a provision in his will, his unpublished papers were left in the hands of his friends Robert Patterson and James R. Garrett, the former of whom edited the fourth volume of his Natural History of Ireland, published in 1856. The book is prefaced by a memoir, from which this notice is taken: it concludes with a catalogue of Mr. Thompson's publications, numbering seventy-three, and a list of ten species to which his name has been given. 323‡

Thomson, Charles, LL.D., Secretary of the United States Congress during the Revolutionary War, was born at Maghera, in the County of Londonderry, 29th November 1729. In 1741 he and three sisters landed penniless at Newcastle, Delaware. He was educated by Dr. Allison, and became teacher in a school belonging to the Society of Friends. He early enjoyed the friendship of Benjamin Franklin. In 1758 he was sent to treat with the Indians at Oswego. The Delaware tribe adopted him, and conferred on him an Indian name signifying " One who speaks truth." He consistently espoused the cause of the Revolution, and his services as Secretary of the Continental Congress from 1774 to the organization of the government under the Federal Constitution in 1789, were highly esteemed. He made copious notes of the proceedings of Congress and the progress of the Revolution; and after retiring from public life prepared a history of his own times. But his goodness of heart would not permit him to publish it, and a short time before his death he destroyed the manuscript, giving as a reason that he was unwilling to blast the reputation of families rising into repute, by placing on record the want of patriotism of their progenitors during the war. He was a good classical scholar, and was the author of a Harmony of the Gospels, a translation of the Old and New Testaments, and an Inquiry into the cause of the Alienation of the Delaware and Shawnee Indians. He died in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 16th August 1824, aged 94. 37* 40*

Thorkil, or Turgesius, a Scandinavian chieftain who held sway in Ireland from about 832 to 845. It has been suggested by some writers that he was identical with Ragnar Lodbrok. He arrived with three fleets. Dr. Todd says: "He seems to have had in view a higher object than the mere plunder which influenced former depredators of his nation. He aimed at the establishment of a regular government or monarchy over his countrymen in Ireland, the foundation of a permanent colony, and the subjugation or extermination of the native chieftains. For this purpose the forces under his command, or in connexion with him, were skilfully posted on Lough Ree, at Limerick, Dundalk Bay, Carlingford, Lough Neagh, and Dublin. He appears also to have attempted the establishment of the national heathenism of his own country, in the place of the Christianity which he found in Ireland … With this view he placed his wife, Ota, at Clonmacnoise, at that time second only to Armagh in ecclesiastical importance, who gave her audiences, or according to another reading, her oracular answers, from the high altar of the principal church of the monastery." He was reinforced from time to time by the arrival of contingents of his countrymen, but in 845 was arrested in his victorious course by Malachy I., then King of Meath, who had him drowned in Lough Owel. The romantic story of his death, told by Cambrensis, evidently an imitation of the story of Hengist's treacherous banquet to Vortigern, although repeated by Keating, is not found in any ancient Irish authority." 144

Thornton, Matthew, Colonel, one of the signers of the American Declaration of Independence, was born in Ireland in 1714. He went to America at an early age, studied medicine, and settled as a physician at Londonderry, New Hampshire. In 1745 he served as a surgeon in an expedition against Louisburg, and was appointed a colonel of militia. In 1775 he presided over the convention which assumed the government in the name of the people of the colony. He was a delegate to Congress in 1776, in which capacity he signed the Declaration of Independence.