time and opportunity. Intellectually he was weak, to say nothing of his deficiency in judgment and common sense; his voluminous writings are a string of sonorous commonplaces, empty of useful suggestion and original thought. This poverty of matter is in part redeemed by the dignity of the manner, for which Irving has never received sufficient credit. The composition is always fine, often noble; and, though it is certainly framed upon biblical models, such perfect imitation implies delicate taste as well as rhetorical power. In his familiar letters, however, the maintenance of this exalted pitch soon becomes exceedingly tiresome.
[Oliphant's Life of Edward Irving; Wilks's Edward Irving, an Ecclesiastical and Literary Biography; Carlyle's Reminiscences, and Essay on Irving in Fraser's Mag. for January 1835; Froude's Thomas Carlyle; Jane Welsh Carlyle's Memorials; Mrs. Alexander Ireland's Life of Jane Welsh Carlyle; Baxter's Narration of Facts; Hazlitt's Spirit of the Age; Collected Writings of Edward Irving, edited by G. Carlyle.]
IRVING, GEORGE VERE (1815–1869), lawyer and antiquary, born in 1815, was only son of Alexander Irving of Newton, Lanarkshire, afterwards a Scottish judge with the title of Lord Newton. In 1837 he was called to the Scottish bar. He took a great interest in the volunteer movement, and became captain of the Carnwath troop. He died at 5 St. Mark's Crescent, Regent's Park, London, on 29 Oct. 1869, aged 53 (Edinburgh Evening Courant, 3 Nov. 1869, p. 4).
Irving was F.S.A. Scot. and vice-president of the British Archæological Association. He also contributed frequently to ‘Notes and Queries.’ His works are: 1. ‘Digest of the Law of the Assessed Taxes in Scotland,’ 8vo, Edinburgh, 1841. 2. ‘Digest of the Inhabited House Tax Act,’ 8vo, London, 1852. 3. ‘The Upper Ward of Lanarkshire described and delineated. The Archæological and Historical Section by G. V. Irving. The Statistical and Topographical Section by Alexander Murray,’ 3 vols. 4to, Glasgow, 1864.
[Notes and Queries, 4th ser. iv. 398; Irving's Book of Scotsmen, p. 234.]
IRVING, JOSEPH (1830–1891), historian and annalist, born at Dumfries 2 May 1830, was son of Andrew Irving, joiner. After being educated at the parish school of Troqueer, Maxwelltown, on the opposite bank of the Nith from Dumfries, he served an apprenticeship as a printer in the office of the ‘Dumfries Standard;’ subsequently practised as compositor and journalist in Dumfries and Sunderland; was for a time on the staff of the ‘Morning Chronicle,’ London, and in 1854 became editor of the ‘Dumbarton Herald.’ For some years afterwards he was a bookseller in Dumbarton, published a history of the county, and started in 1867 the ‘Dumbarton Journal,’ which was unsuccessful. In 1860 he became a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and in 1864 an honorary member of the Archæological Society of Glasgow, to the ‘Transactions’ of which he contributed an important paper on the ‘Origin and Progress of Burghs in Scotland.’ Disposing of his Dumbarton business in 1869 on the death of his wife, who had helped him much in all his undertakings, Irving, after living a few years in Renton, Dumbartonshire, settled in Paisley in 1880, where he wrote for the ‘Glasgow Herald’ and other journals, and did much solid literary work. He was an authority on Scottish history and an excellent reviewer. After some years of uncertain health he died at Paisley 2 Sept. 1891.
Irving's works are as follows: 1. ‘The Conflict at Glenfruin: its Causes and Consequences, being a Chapter of Dumbartonshire History,’ 1856. 2. ‘History of Dumbartonshire from the Earliest Period to the Present Time,’ 1857; 2nd edit. 1859. 3. ‘The Drowned Women of Wigtown: a Romance of the Covenant,’ 1862. 4. ‘The Annals of our Time from the Accession of Queen Victoria to the Opening of the present Parliament,’ 1869 (new edit. 1871), with two supplements from February 1871 to 19 March 1874, and from 20 March 1874 to the occupation of Cyprus, published respectively in 1875 and 1879; a further continuation brings the record from 1879 down to the jubilee of 1887 (Lond. 1889), and Mr. J. Hamilton Fyfe has undertaken a later supplement. 5. ‘The Book of Dumbartonshire: a History of the County, Burghs, Parishes, and Lands, Memoirs of Families, and Notices of Industries,’ a sumptuous and admirable work, 3 vols. 4to, 1879. 6. ‘The Book of Eminent Scotsmen,’ 1882, a compact and useful record. 7. ‘The West of Scotland in History,’ 1885. He also published: ‘Memoir of the Smolletts of Bonhill’; ‘Memoir of the Dennistouns of Dennistoun,’ 1859; and ‘Dumbarton Burgh Records, 1627–1746,’ 4to, 1860. Irving has sterling merits as a local historian, and his ‘Annals’ is a standard work of reference.
[Information from Irving's son, Mr. John Irving, Cardross, Dumbartonshire, and Mr. George Stronach, Advocates' Library, Edinburgh; Glasgow Herald, 5 Sept. 1891.]