(c.1760–1832), Wesleyan Methodist preacher, theologian, and linguist, the most distinguished scholar thrown up by the Methodist movement in Britain or in Ireland. Born in Co. Londonderry of humble parents, Clarke was converted under Methodist influence in 1778, was stationed in England in 1782, and settled in London in 1795. He somehow combined a dedicated career as a Methodist preacher, including three stints, in 1806, 1814, and 1822, as the president of the Wesleyan Conference, with a prolific scholarly output. His miscellaneous works were published in a thirteen-volume edition in 1836. Although primarily interested in theology, biblical studies, the natural sciences, and history, Clarke's special forte was a quite remarkable facility with languages. This interest extended to the Irish language, the use of which Clarke enthusiastically supported, not solely on grounds of missionary expediency. In the early 1820s he helped persuade the British and Foreign Bible Society to print and circulate copies of the scriptures in Irish.
From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: European History.