Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MURRAY, Lindley, grammarian, born in Swantara, Pennsylvania, 22 April, 1745; died near York, England, 16 February, 1826. He was the eldest son of Robert Murray, who afterward became the greatest New York merchant of ante-Revolutionary times. The son's education was begun at a Friends' academy, and he was a member of that religious society through life. His father, with a view of making a merchant of him, took him into his a counting-room, but, in order to escape from the severity of his father and the drudgery of business, he ran away from home, and went to Burlington, New Jersey By persuasions, promises, and, above all, the tears of his mother, the lad was induced to return, and, after this escapade, his father consented to his studying law. In 1765, after passing four years in legal studies, he was admitted to the bar, and soon afterward married. When the Revolution began he retired to a cottage on Long Island, and spent four years in fishing, boating, and fowling. He afterward regretted the years that he had thus passed without intellectual profit. Returning to New York in 1779, he entered into commercial speculations under the direction of his father, with such success that, at the close of the Revolution, he was able to retire with a fortune to a beautiful place on the Hudson about three miles from New York. Previous to this he had been attacked by a severe muscular affection, and, finding that a country life did not improve his health, he visited the springs and the mountains, but experienced very little relief. At last his physician recommended an entire change of climate, and he sailed for England early in the summer of 1784. Soon after his arrival he settled in Holdgate, about a mile from the city of York. Here he devoted himself to intellectual pursuits, and collected a library that was particularly rich in history, philology, and theology. His first literary work, "The Power of Religion on the Mind" (1787), was very successful, and passed through seventeen editions. His "English Grammar" was written for the use of a young ladies' school near York. It was first published in book-form at York in 1795, and its success was immediate and extraordinary. Edition after edition was published in a few years; it was introduced into all the English and American schools, and made his name a household word in every country where the English language was spoken. It was, however, severely criticised for its obscurity, blunders, and deficient presentation of etymology. His later years were devoted to the study of botany, and his garden at Holdgate, in the variety and rarity of its plants, surpassed the royal gardens at Kew. Besides the works mentioned above, he published English and French readers and spelling-books, " Selections from Bishop Home's Commentaries on the Psalms" (1812) ;" Biographical Sketch of Henry Tuke" (1815); " Compendium of Religious Faith and Practice: designed for Young Persons of the Society of Friends " (1815); and "On the Duty and Benefit of a Daily Perusal of the Scriptures" (1817). See "Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Lindley Murray, in a Series of Letters written by Himself, with a Preface and a Continuation by Elizabeth Frank" (York, 1826).
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