Open main menu


MADDEN, SAMUEL, D.D. (1686–1765), miscellaneous writer and philanthropist, born in Dublin on 23 Dec. 1686, was son of John Madden, M.D., one of the original members of the Irish College of Physicians, by his first wife, Mary, daughter of Samuel Molyneux, and sister of the famous William Molyneux [q. v.] and of Sir Thomas Molyneux [q. v.], professor of physic at Dublin. He entered the university of Dublin on 28 Feb. 1700. On the death of his father in 1703 he succeeded to the family estates, and took possession of the seat of Manor Waterhouse, co. Fermanagh, three miles from Newtown Butler. He graduated B.A. in 1705 and D.D. 23 Jan. 1723 (Cat. of Dublin Graduates, 1869, p. 364). After being ordained a clergyman of the established church, he obtained the living of Galloon, co. Fermanagh, including the village of Newtown Butler, and about 1727 that of Drummully, adjacent to the village of Newtown Butler, which was in the gift of the family. In 1729 he appointed as curate Philip Skelton [q. v.], who also acted as private tutor to Madden's sons.

In 1729 Madden published ‘Themistocles, the Lover of his Country,’ a tragedy in five acts, and in verse (three editions, London, 1729, 8vo). It was acted with considerable success at the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. In the following year he printed ‘A Letter from the rev. mr. M[a]d[de]n to the hon. lady M[oly]n[eu]x, on occasion of the death of the rt. hon. S[amue]l M[oly]n[eu]x,’ Dublin, 1730, fol., a single leaf. On 7 Sept. 1730 he submitted to the university of Dublin, through its parliamentary representative, Marmaduke Coghill, a scheme for the encouragement of learning by the establishment of premiums, for which he proposed to raise a fund, amounting at the lowest to 230l. per annum. Of this sum 80l. per annum was to be derived from a tax on undergraduates, and in addition 3,000l. was to be raised by subscription, and Madden himself contributed 600l. to carry out the scheme, which was, with some modifications, adopted by the university. The details were explained in ‘A Proposal for the General Encouragement of Learning in Dublin College,’ Dublin, 1731, 4to; 2nd edit. 1732. He next published, anonymously, ‘Memoirs of the Twentieth Century: being original Letters of State under George the Sixth … received and revealed in the year 1728, and now published for the Instruction of all eminent Statesmen, Churchmen, Patriots, Politicians, Projectors, Papists, and Protestants,’ London, 1733, 8vo. This cumbrous satire was to have extended to six volumes, only one of which, however, was published. A thousand copies were printed with unusual despatch, and within a fortnight nine hundred of them were delivered to the author, and probably destroyed. The current report was that the edition was suppressed on the day of publication (NICHOLS, Lit. Anecd. ii. 32). At this period Madden also published, anonymously, ‘A Letter concerning the Necessity of Learning for the Priesthood,’ Dublin, 1733, 8vo. It was followed by ‘Reflections and Resolutions proper for the Gentlemen of Ireland, as to their Conduct for the Service of their Country,’ Dublin, 1738, 4to. The latter was reprinted, Dublin, 1816, 8vo, by the philanthropic Thomas Pleasants, but without the original preface, the existence of which was positively denied by the editor (Lowndes, Bibl. Man. ed. Bohn, p. 1447). In this remarkable work the low condition of the country is ascribed to the extravagance and idle dispositions of the people. Madden recommended that criminals, instead of being executed or transported, should be employed in manufacturing hemp and flax in workhouses; that itinerant husbandmen should be encouraged to travel through the country, in order to give instruction to farmers; and that schools and professorships of agriculture should be established in the principal towns. The latter part of the work enumerates the benefits derivable from a judicious distribution of premiums, a subject which he brought under the notice of the Dublin Society, founded by himself and others for the improvement of ‘husbandry, manufactures, and other useful arts.’ He published ‘A Letter to the Dublin Society on the improving their Fund; and the Manufactures, Tillage, &c., in Ireland,’ Dublin, 1739, 8vo; and in order to promote his object he settled 150l. per annum during his life, adding in some years another 150l., besides obtaining a subscription of nearly 500l. per annum ‘for the encouragement of sundry arts, experiments, and several manufactures not yet brought to perfection in this kingdom.’ The scheme excited a beneficial spirit of emulation among the artists and manufacturers (Nichols, ii. 32, 33).

Dr. Johnson assisted Madden in preparing for publication ‘Boulter's Monument, a Panegyrical Poem, sacred to the memory of Dr. Hugh Boulter, late Lord Archbishop of Ardmagh,’ Dublin, 1745, 8vo; another edition, London, 1745, 8vo. It contains 2,034 lines of verse, and is dedicated to Frederic, prince of Wales. Notwithstanding his whig politics, and his connection with Boulter's party, Madden appears to have been on friendly terms with Swift. He contributed liberally to the funds of the ‘Physico-Historical Society,’ founded in 1744, and undertook, but did not complete, a ‘History of the County of Fermanagh,’ which was to have been brought out under its auspices. In 1746 he composed a tragedy, of which nothing is known except that he bequeathed it to Thomas Sheridan, and in 1748 he wrote a poem and dedicated it to Lord Chesterfield, but as it was published anonymously there is a difficulty in identifying it. His latest production is a metrical epistle of about two hundred lines, prefixed to the second edition of Dr. Thomas Leland's ‘History of Philip of Macedon,’ 1761. He died at Manor Waterhouse on 31 Dec. 1765. He acquired the sobriquet of ‘Premium Madden,’ and Dr. Johnson declared that ‘his was a name which Ireland ought to honour.’

Two three-quarter-length portraits of Madden, painted in oils, are preserved; one at the residence of his representatives at Hilton, co. Monaghan, the other in the possession of John Madden, esq., of Roslin Manor, Clones. In both he is represented in clerical costume, with full, flowing, curled dark hair, and a benevolent expression. The Dublin Society possess a white marble bust, and his portrait was engraved by John Brooks; by Spooner in 1752, ‘ex marmore Van Nost,’ and by R. Purcell in 1755, from the original by Thomas Hunter.

Madden married Jane, daughter of Mr. Magill of Kirkstown, co. Armagh, by whom he had five sons and five daughters. Skelton relates that he had frequent bickerings with Mrs. Madden, who was proud and parsimonious, and ruled her husband with supreme authority.

His second son, Samuel Molyneux Madden, who succeeded to the family estates, and died in 1783, bequeathed a fund to the university of Dublin, to be distributed in premiums at fellowship examinations. The Madden premiums were first bestowed in 1798 (see Taylor, Hist. of the University of Dublin, 109–12).

[Baker's Biog. Dram. 1812, i. 478, ii. 329; Boswell's Johnson; Burdy's Life of Skelton, 1824, pp. xxii. seq.; European Mag. 1802, xli. 243 (with portrait); Evans's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, i. 219; Gent. Mag. 1746, 46; Irish Quarterly Rev. 1853, iii. 693–734 (by J. T. Gilbert); Martin's Privately Printed Books, 2nd edit. p. 227; Nichols's Illustr. of Lit. v. 388, viii. 446; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ii. 699; Cat. of Library of Trin. Coll. Dublin; Whitelaw and Walsh's Hist. of Dublin; John O'Donovan's The Tribes and Customs of Hy-many, commonly called O'Kelly's Country (Irish Archæological Soc. 1843).]

T. C.