Open main menu

HINCKS, THOMAS DIX, LL.D. (1767–1857), Irish presbyterian divine, was born at Bachelor's Quay, Dublin, on 24 June 1767. His father, Edward Hincks (d. 1772), had removed in that year to Dublin from Chester. Dix was his mother's name. On her husband's early death she retained his post in the Dublin customs. Hincks was at school in Nantwich, Cheshire, and Dublin. Intended for medicine, he was articled in 1782 to a Dublin apothecary, but after two years he entered Trinity College, Dublin, to study for the ministry. Here he did not finish his course, but in September 1788 entered Hackney New College, under Price, Kippis, and Rees. Kippis recommended him as assistant to Samuel Perrott at Cork. He began his ministry there in 1790, but was not ordained till 1792 by the southern presbytery. In 1791 he opened a school, which he continued till 1803, when he became a member of the Royal Irish Academy, and a salaried officer of the Royal Cork Institution, of which he was the projector. He lectured on chemistry and natural philosophy (1810–13). He removed to Fermoy, co. Cork, in 1815, succeeding Dr. Adair as tutor of the Fermoy academy. There he formed (1818) a small presbyterian congregation which met in the court-house. From 1821 to 1836 he was classical headmaster in the Belfast Academical Institution, filling also from 1822 the chair of Hebrew in the collegiate department of the institution till the establishment of the Queen's College in 1849. Of most of the scientific societies of Ireland he was a member. On settling in Belfast he was admitted a member of the Antrim presbytery. His theology was Arian, but he avoided polemics, and was on intimate terms with men of all religious parties. In 1834 he was made LL.D. of Glasgow. He died after some years of broken health on 24 Feb. 1857 in Murray's Terrace, Belfast, and was buried in the churchyard of Killeleagh, co. Down, his eldest son's parish. His portrait has been engraved, and there is a memorial window to him in the First Presbyterian Church, Belfast. He married, in September 1791, Anne (b. 25 Nov. 1767; d. 6 March 1835), eldest daughter of William Boult of Chester, grandfather of Swinton Boult [q. v.] . He had seven children, of whom five survived him. Edward [q. v.] and Francis [q. v.], the eldest and youngest sons, are separately noticed. William Hincks (b. May 1794; d. 10 Sept. 1871) was minister at Cork (1815), Exeter (1816–22), and Renshaw Street, Liverpool (1822–7), professor of natural philosophy at Manchester College, York (1827–39), editor of the ‘Inquirer’ (1842–9), professor of natural history at Queen's College, Cork (1849–53) and at University College, Toronto (1853–71). Thomas (b. 1796; d. 28 March 1882) was archdeacon of Connor from 1865. John (b. 24 Feb. 1804; d. 5 Feb. 1831) was minister at Renshaw Street, Liverpool (1827–31). A daughter, Anne, died unmarried on 26 Aug. 1877 at Montreal.

Hincks published:

  1. ‘Letters … in answer to Paine's Age of Reason,’ &c., Cork, 1795, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1796, 8vo.
  2. ‘A Plea for the Academical Institution,’ &c., Belfast, 1823, 8vo.
  3. ‘An Introduction to Ancient Geography,’ &c., Belfast, 1825, 8vo.
  4. ‘Rudiments of Greek Grammar,’ &c., Belfast, 1825, 8vo, and several other school-books.

While in Cork he edited the ‘Munster Agricultural Magazine,’ a quarterly, and wrote the article ‘Ireland’ and others on Irish topics for Rees' ‘Cyclopædia.’ He contributed papers to the ‘Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy.’

[Memoir by W. B. [William Bruce] in Christian Reformer, 1857, pp. 228 sq.; Bible Christian, 1835, p. 144; Thom's Memoir of John Hincks, prefixed to Sermons, 1832; Belfast News-Letter, 30 March 1882; Evans's Hist. of Renshaw Street Chapel, 1887, pp. 21 sq.; manuscript pedigree of Boult family.]

A. G.