Clark, Thomas (d.1792) (DNB00)
CLARK, THOMAS, M.D. (d. 1792), seceding minister in Ireland, was a native of Scotland, and a graduate of medicine at Glasgow. Prior to 1745 he was tutor and chaplain in a gentleman's family in Galloway. He joined the Duke of Cumberland's army on the outbreak of the second Jacobite rebellion. In 1748 he was licensed as a preacher by the 'associate presbytery' in Glasgow, and on 27 June 1749 he was sent by that presbytery on a mission to Ulster, he was ordained in 'William McKinley's field,' at Cahans, near Ballybay, co. Monaghan, on 23 July 1751, being the third seceding minister ordained in Ireland. Travelling through various parts of Ulster, he preached with great zeal in opposition to the 'new light' views, then in much vogue among the presbyterians. Killen gives a graphic description of his dark visage, gaunt Hgure, Scottish brogue, and highland bonnet. His objections to the phraseology of the oath of abjuration, and to the usual forms observed in oath taking, led to his being fined in May 1752, after which he retired to Scotland for some months. He resumed his work in Ireland, but was arrested for disloyalty at Newbliss on 23 Jan. 1754, at the instance of Robert Nesbit and William Burgess, presbyterian elders of Ballybay. After a confinement at Monaghan for two months and eleven days, he was released at the next assize, owing to an informality in his committal. Left in peace Clark's influence as a preacher declined, and with it his means of subsistence, though he made something as a medical practitioner. He emigrated to America, sailing from Narrowwater, near Newry, on 10 May, and reaching New York on 28 July 1764. He had received two calls from congregations in New England, but he settled ultimately at Long-Cane, Abbeville, South Carolina; and here he was found dead in his study on 26 Dec. 1792. His wife had died at Cahans on 18 Dec. 1762. Clark was the earliest author of the secession church in Ireland. He published: 1. 'A Brief Survey of some Principles maintained by the General Synod of Ulster,' &c., Armagh, 1751, 12mo. 2. 'Remarks upon the manner and form of Swearing by touching and kissing the Gospels,' &c., Glasgow, 1752, 18mo (partly extracted from an anonymous work, 'The New Mode of Swearing,' 1719. The seceders' opposition to what they called 'kissing the calf's skin' led to their being allowed to make oath in the Scottish form with uplifted hand, a right since 1838 extended to all presbyterians). 3. 'New Light set in a Clear Light,' second title-page 'A Reply to a late Pamphlet,' &c., Dublin, 1755, 12mo. Posthumous was 4. 'A Pastoral and Farewell Letter,' &c., 1792, 8vo.
[Reid's Hist. Presb. Ch. in Ireland (Killen), 1867, iii. 311 sq.; Witherow's Hist, and Lit. Mem. of Presb. in Ireland, 2nd ser. 1880, p. 86 sq.]