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these, an Essay on Forgiveness, some extracts from which will be found in the appendix, exhibits the finest feelings of christian benevolence, combined with literary talents highly cultivated.
At the expiration of sixty years the humanity of Henry Sheares is still felt and appreciated in his native city. The Society for the Relief of Persons confined for Small Debts, was one of those institutions which owed its being to his benevolence, in the year 1777. But the character of this most amiable man I find so fully, and I believe justly, set forth in one of the periodicals for the year 1776, the year of his decease, that such a memorial, I am sure, of one who was the Howard of his native place, cannot be unacceptable to the reader, or irrelevant to my subject:—the "Hibernian Chronicle," printed in Cork, by Mr. William Flynn, speaks in the following terms, on the subject of Mr. Sheares's decease:
"He is gone for ever from amongst us. I never held a pen on a more melancholy occasion; being neither able to remember his life and virtues without veneration, nor to mention his name but with tears. The city of Cork has had its chief ornament torn from it; his wife has lost the husband who adored her; his children-numerous and inexperiencedthe wing that covered them; his friends-a gentleman of noble endowments and liberal affections; the whole community-a man from whose pen they derived both profit and pleasure, instruction and entertainment. As a husband, a father, a friend, and a citizen, he might be esteemed a most perfect model of imitation. No relation did he abuse; or
was he capable of abusing. His life was not only free from faults that invite censure, but filled with actions that deserve praise. In him, youth was a preparation for manhood-manhood for age, and age for immortality. In times that nearly touched the extreme of corruption or barbarity—at an age when licentiousness is scarcely deemed a vice, this enlightened character exhibited an uncommon example of assiduity in the cultivation of his talents-of moderation and refinement in the choice of his pleasures. Accordingly, the labours of his youth blossomed in the honours of his age. From parliament, where his distinguished abilities might have raised him to the highest posts of power or profit, he chose to retire with a moderate requital of his services; thinking the tumults of ambition, the disquietudes that attend, and the disappointments that cross it, to be well exchanged for the endearments of love, the enjoyments of friendship, the discharge of humane and social duties, the pursuits of industry, and the nobler pleasures that result from the improvements of reason, and the exercises of religion. In public he was honoured and admired; in private, respected and beloved. His understanding and virtues ensured him an esteem and authority which no station alone could command-no rank could procure. On the few, whose hearts he had tried, he bestowed an unlimited confidence and affection. To the rest of mankind, particularly to those who needed it most, he imparted a share of the blessings which heaven had poured profusely upon him. He was
always endeavouring to relieve the distresses of the indigent to redress the injuries of the oppressed! The charitable institutions which do honour to the city of Cork, particularly the Society for the Relief of Persons imprisoned for Small Debts, are principally indebted to his inventive humanity for their rise, and to his activity for their countenance. He saw into the human heart, but with the meekness of a christian-not the moroseness of a cynic. His contempt for the vices of the world did not extinguish his pity for their sufferings. When he wrote, instruction was incessantly flowing from his pen. To dissipate the clouds of vice, to check the wanderings of error, to enlighten the darkness of ignorance, to animate the slow, to refresh the faint, and to confirm the persevering, in the tasks of virtue and benevolence, was the perpetual employment and delight of a mind intent on the glory and perfection of its species. For this he was eminently qualified ; not less by the excellence of his heart than by the superiority of his understanding. The essays with which he obliged the public through this paper, bespoke him the generous friend of mankind, the steady assertor and advocate of virtue, the ingenious reasoner, and the liberal religionist. It would be presumption in me to decide on his merit, compared with other writers of this class; yet, in my opinion, no moralist-not even Mr. Addison-has excelled him in this species of composition. I will not enter into a detail of his other excellent qualities. Let it be sufficient to say, that he is now bringing to perfection
that mind in heaven, which he cultivated for the honour of God, and the advantage of his fellowcreatures on earth.-A. A.”
The remains of Mr. Sheares, were interred in Cork, in the church-yard of St. Nicholas; and, little to the honour of his native city, no monument has been erected to his memory. But, if the good people of Cork would only remember, that it is never too late to do justice to the dead, the virtues of this truly good and benevolent man would not be long without some tribute to them.
Many years after the death of Mr. Sheares, at a dramatic entertainment for the benefit of the Cork Society for the Relief and Discharge of Persons confined for Small Debts, which owed its origin and being to Mr. Sheares, the following allusion was made to its founder, in the prologue spoken on that occasion :
"Yes! some there are who feel delight to cheer The broken heart, and dry affliction's tear,
Bid the poor debtor pass the prison door,
And launch his hopes on life's expanse once more.
The father of this benevolent man died in 1750. He left three children: Henry, the subject of the
preceding lines; Thomas, who entered the army, served with some distinction in the "Seven Years' War," married a Spanish lady at Minorca, retired on half-pay in 1763, and died shortly after, without issue; and David, who took orders, a young man of considerable talents, and much promise in his profession-he died early, and was not married.
Henry, soon after his father's death, married Miss Jane Anne Bettesworth, sister of Sergeant Bettesworth, and a relative of the Earl of Shannon. This lady was highly accomplished, and possessed of every quality of the mind and heart that could endear her to a man of Sheares's disposition, tastes, and habits. The match was one of pure affection; and, in their case, "the current of true love" did "run smooth," from the commencement of its course, till it terminated in death. "The Dublin Magazine," for the year 1798, in an article on the family of the Sheares -evidently written by one well acquainted with it— among other circumstances connected with the literary and parliamentary pursuits of the elder Sheares, mentions his having established a private club, where popular and literary subjects were debated; " and his speeches," says the writer, "were long remembered by his friends, as pleasing memorials of great historical knowledge, a fine taste, and graceful elocution."
"His sons," this writer states, "the late Henry and John Sheares, had the best masters to attend them in the house, under his own eye: he narrowly inspected what company they kept; and, at a proper age, they were sent to the University, where, being