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Ouseley, Gideon
1762-1839; e.m. 1799

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Irish preacher, born at Dunmore, Co. Galway, on 24 February 1762, into a family originating from Shropshire. Following his marriage in 1783 he went through a dissolute phase, but lost an eye in a drunken shooting incident and was brought to his senses, partly through reading Young's Night Thoughts. He came under Methodist influence in 1791, became a freelance preacher and eventually was appointed a General Missionary in Ireland in 1799 with Charles Graham and James McQuigg. A fluent Irish speaker and colourful personality, he was the longest-serving and most effective Irish evangelist of his day. With ready wit, homely illustrations and everyday turns of phrase, he established a close rapport with his hearers. He presented Roman Catholicism as an oppressive system, exposing what he saw as its errors and longing for the conversion of Roman Catholics. In the 1820s his main preoccupation was with Ireland's social problems. Many of his converts emigrated to America. He died in Dublin on 14 May 1839 after being attacked and robbed in the street and is buried in Mount Jerome cemetery.

Sources

  • William Reilly, A Memorial of the ministerial life of the Rev. Gideon Ouseley, Irish missionary... (1847)
  • William Moister, Missionary Worthies, 1782-1885 (1885) pp.15-17
  • William Arthur, The Life of Gideon Ouseley (1876)
  • T. MacCullagh, Gideon Ouseley, the wonderful Irish missionary (1906)
  • D. Hempton, The Religion of the People: Methodism and popular religion c.1750-1900 (1996) pp.130-39
  • N.W. Taggart, Gideon Ouseley, Evangelist and the Irish Methodist Mission (Emsworth, 2001)
  • Herbert McGonigle, Gideon Ouseley, Methodist Preacher and Biblical Scholar (2015)
  • Oxford DNB

Entry written by: NWT
Category: Person

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