Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pleasants, Thomas

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PLEASANTS, THOMAS (1728–1818), philanthropist, was born in co. Carlow in 1728. He was educated for the bar, but did not enter on the practice of the law, of which, as well as of classical literature, he acquired an extensive knowledge. His affluent circumstances enabled him to gratify a philanthropic disposition, and he made large contributions to benevolent objects. Among his gifts were 14,000l. for a stove- tenter house at Dublin, to facilitate the work of poor weavers; 6,000l. for a Dublin hospital; and 700l. for buildings at a botanic garden. In 1816 Pleasants defrayed the cost of reprinting at Dublin 'Reflections and Resolutions proper for the Gentleman of Ireland' (1738), by Samuel Madden [q. v.].

Pleasants died on 1 March 1818, in Camden Street, Dublin, and bequeathed sums for schools, almshouses, and hospitals in Dublin. A portrait of Pleasants in oil is in the possession of the Royal Dublin Society.

A kinsman, Robert Pleasants, of James river, Virginia, at the sacrifice of more than 3,000. liberated all his negroes in 1786.

[American Register, August 1786; Annual Biogr. 1818; Gent. Mag. 1818, i. 113-16, 155, 371; Ryan's Worthies of Ireland, 1821.]

J. T. G.