Cambridge about 1740. Educated at Rugby, he entered the army at the age of eighteen, and, as captain of the 14th foot, served in Canada at the beginning of the American war. After giving up his commission he retired about 1788 to Girton, near Cambridge. A considerable legacy was left to him by Mrs. Elizabeth Rayner (d. 1800), a munificent patroness of the unitarians, to whose opinions Gifford had become attached through a perusal of the writings of John Jebb, M.D. [q. v.] His controversial publications brought him into friendly relations with George Dyer [q. v.], William Frend [q. v.], Theophilus Lindsey [q. v.], and others of the same school of thought. He died at Girton on 21 Jan. 1813, aged 73, and was buried in All Saints' Church, Cambridge, where there is a monument to his memory and that of his parents. He married, at Boston, U.S.A., Elizabeth Cremer, a native of Bury St. Edmunds, who died at St. Helier, Jersey, on 16 April 1840, aged 94. Among his children were (1) James, the younger [q. v.]; (2) William, major-general in the army, who died at Swansea on 9 Aug. 1825, aged 55; (3) Juliana Elizabeth, friend of Cobden, who died at St. Helier on 19 April 1858, aged 84; (4) George, captain in the army; (5) Lucius Henry, his sixth son, lieutenant R.N., who died 21 Sept. 1812, aged 29; (6) Theophilus John, his seventh son, lieutenant in the army, who died 14 March 1811, aged 23. He published: 1. ‘A Short Essay on the Belief of an Universal Providence,’ &c., Cambridge, 1781, 8vo. 2. ‘An Elucidation of the Unity of God, deduced from Scripture and Reason,’ Cambridge, 1783, 8vo; 5th edit., 1815, 8vo (edited by his son William). 3. ‘A Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury,’ &c., 1785 (dated 27 Jan.); 3rd edit., 1815, 8vo, printed as appendix to 5th edit. of No. 2. 4. ‘Reflections on the Necessity of Death and the Hope of a Future Existence’ (not seen).
[Particulars by Benjamin Mardon, Christian Reformer, 1845, p. 821; Kell's Memoir of Rear-Admiral James Gifford, Christian Reformer, 1854, p. 21 sq.; Kell's Memoir of Miss J. E. Gifford, Christian Reformer, 1858, p. 729 sq.; Monthly Repository, 1825, p. 499; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. v. 288; communication by George S. J. Gifford; monument at All Saints', Cambridge; information from Miss Isabella Gifford.]
GIFFORD, JAMES, the younger (1768–1853), rear-admiral, was born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 20 Nov. 1768. He was the son of James Gifford the elder [q. v.] Having entered the navy in 1783, he served under the broad pennant of Sir Charles Douglas on the Halifax station. He afterwards served in the West Indies, Channel and Mediterranean, and during the occupation of Toulon, in the St. George flagship of Rear-admiral John Gell [q. v.] In October 1793 he was promoted to be lieutenant, and shortly afterwards was appointed to the Lutine frigate, with Captain James Macnamara, in which he narrowly escaped capture by the French squadron under M. Richery, off Cadiz, on 7 Oct. 1795. After serving in the Pompée with Captain Vashon, and the Prince and Prince George, flagships of Sir Charles Cotton [q. v.], he was promoted to be commander on 7 May 1802. For a short time in 1803 he was acting captain of the Braave frigate; in 1804 was appointed to the command of the Speedy brig, which formed part of the squadron employed off Boulogne and Calais during that and the succeeding year. In 1808 he was appointed to the Sarpen, for service in the Baltic and North Sea, and in February 1812 to the Sheldrake, from which, on 12 Aug., he was advanced to post-rank. He had no further service afloat, and, following his father's example, devoted himself from this time to religious studies and labours in the cause of unitarianism. After the death of his father (1813), he seems to have lived for some time at Swansea, where he wrote ‘Remonstrance of a Unitarian, addressed to [Burgess] the Bishop of St. Davids’ (8vo, 1818), which won him a high place in the esteem of his brother sectarians, and quickly ran into a second edition (1820). Replies to this remonstrance were entitled ‘Unitarianism indefensible. A letter … to … James Gifford [by J. Garbett],’ London, 1818, 8vo, and ‘An Examination of the Remonstrance addressed to the Bishop of St. David's, with Answers to the Questions addressed to Trinitarians generally,’ London, 1822, 8vo. Gifford afterwards moved with his sister and mother to Jersey, where he lived in a very modest way, devoting the greater part of his small income to works of benevolence, and to furthering the cause of unitarianism. In 1845 he published as a pamphlet ‘Letter of a Unitarian to the Rev. S. Langston, minister of St. James's Church, Jersey;’ but his principal work lay in the silent and unpretending but effective devotion to the cause with which he had associated himself. In 1846 he became a rear-admiral on the retired list, but the promotion made no change in his life, beyond increasing his income and his ability to give. He was not married, and died at Mont Orgueil Cottage, near St. Helier, on 20 Aug. 1853. His mother had already died, at the age of 94, in 1840; his sister, Juliana Elizabeth, who had lived with