Online Encyclopedia

THOMAS GEE (1815—1898)

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 549 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THOMAS GEE (1815—1898), Welsh Nonconformist preacher and journalist, was born at Denbigh on the 24th of January 1815. At the age of fourteen he went into his father's printing office, but continued to attend the grammar school in the afternoons. In 1837 he went to London to improve his knowledge of printing, and on his return to Wales in the following year ardently threw himself into literary, educational and religious work. Among his publications were the well-known quarterly magazine Y Traethodydd (" The Essayist "), Gwyddoniadur Cymreig (" Encyclopaedia Cambrensis "), and Dr Silvan Evans's English-Welsh Dictionary (1868), but his greatest achievement in this field was the newspaper Baner Cymru (" The Banner of Wales "), founded in 1859 and amalgamated with Yr Amserau (" The Times ") two years later. This paper soon became an oracle in Wales, and played a great part in stirring up the nationalist movement in the principality. In educational matters he waged a long and successful struggle on behalf of undenominational schools and for the establishment of the intermediate school system. He was an enthusiastic advocate of church disestablishment, and had a historic newspaper duel with Dr John Owen (afterwards bishop of St David's) on this question. The Eisteddfod found in him a thorough friend and a wise counsellor. His commanding presence, mastery of diction, and resonant voice made him an effective platform speaker. He was ordained to the Calvinistic Methodist ministry at Bala in 1847, and gave his time and talents ungrudgingly to Sunday school and temperance work. Through-out his life he believed in the itinerant unpaid ministry rather than in the settled pastorate. He died on the 28th of September 1898, and his funeral was the most imposing ever seen in North Wales.
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