[taken from Chapter 2 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]
born at Douglas, was the son of a shipwright who was killed by a fall from a mast, when he was yet a boy. High-spirited, fearless, and fond of hazardous adventure, he was frequently in mischief. At the age of fourteen, he was bound as an apprentice to a shipbuilder in Liverpool, and proved himself so expert that he soon received sufficient wages to enable him to contribute to the support of his mother, then in very straitened circumstances, and to that of her younger children. It was not until he attained his twenty-first year that he felt any call to the Methodist ministry, of , which he became so distinguished an ornament. As a first step towards his new vocation, he formed a class composed entirely of chimney sweeps, at that time a most abandoned and abject body. It soon appeared that the young shipwright had gifts as well as zeal, and that he was destined for a higher position and a wider sphere than that of a local preacher. PHILIP himself was with difficulty brought to the same conclusion, and, though he had shown great powers as a preacher, he did not consent to enter the ministry till 1799, when he received an appointment as probationer, without having offered himself as a candidate. He was at once appointed one of the ministers in the Aberdeen and Inverness circuit. In 1803, being recalled to England, he served, for the most part, in the manufacturing districts of the north. It is impossible in such a limited space to do justice to his manifold and successful labours. It must, therefore, suffice to state that he became a real power for good among working men. "His plainness of speech, quaintness, wit, originality, simplicity, sympathy, give him the open sesame"--" to their intellect and feelings. He was even more popular on the platform than in the pulpit. '~ His straight-forward, idiomatic way of speaking, his undaunted fervour in rebuking what he thought to be wrong, combined with his almost frolicsome humour, his cheery, genial, and wining ardour, and his sweetness, shrewdness, and simplicity made him respected and beloved wherever he went."' Let us now try and depict his personal appearance. He was a little below the middle height, round, plump, and with a bright and healthy complexion. " There was in his face and figure a strange blending of the comic with the venerable. One could see at a glance that he was a character, an original, in some respects an oddity."+ We should also remember that it was not only in the path of his ministry that PHILIP GARRETT attained distinction. He was a diligent student of astronomy, and had a " rare knowledge in the science of gnomics and ingenuity in constructing every possible variety of dials."+ In 1828, he published his "Easy method of constructing Mathematical Tables; including the Logarithms of Numbers, Lines, Tangents, Secants, Versed Lines, &c., and their application to Trigonometry, Geometry, Compound Interest,t, Geography' Astronomy, Dialling," the main feature of which is that all the tables are constructed solely by the aid of the first four rules of arithmetic, without algebraic signs or formulae. In 1827, he published " A Digest of the Minutes of the Methodist conference," and, in 1829 and 1830, his " Astronomical Sketches " appeared. When we remember that the man, who not only wrote these and other books and pamphlets, but mastered sufficient Hebrew and Greek to read the Bible in those languages, was practically self-educated, we are lost in admiration at his application and perseverance, as well as struck by his natural abilities. These, abilities, it may be mentioned, were also conspicuously displayed in his conversation. "He was a famous talker. His brusque repartee. . . . grotesque presentation of powerful thought, apt anecdote, relevant reminiscence, sudden and most effective pantomime. . . . all this made PHILIP GARRETT the life of any congenial company into which he might be thrown."++. But when all has been said about PHILIP GARRETT, it is his beautiful and sterling character that constitutes his best claim to remembrance. " Its basis was Christian simplicity, its most prominent features contentment, cheerfulness, and kindliness."1
The Rev. W. T. Radcliffe, who knew PHILIP GARRETT, writes of him as follows : " He was an able, preacher and very popular; a great genius in mathematical science. In the grounds of Woodhouse Grove School, near Leeds, is a sun-dial made by him which is a summary of marvellous knowledge in astronomy. He was singularly free from pride, and from the stiff and conventional, even in the pulpit. In one sermon preached in the Well-road Chapel, Douglas, he told his congregation of his recollection of the site of the chapel being a garden, and of the interest he took, as a boy, in the apples there."2
* Methodist Magazine (1877), pp. 66-67.
+ Ibid, p. 67.
++ Ibid, p. 124.
1 For full particulars see the Methodist
Magazine for 1877, from which the greater part of the foregoing
account has been taken. t
2 Methodist Magazine (1877), p. 67.