Tag Archives: Thomas Anguish

Thomas Anguish

Thomas Anguish (1724—1785) FRS was a barrister who rose to become Accountant-General to the Court of Chancery. Originally from Beccles in Suffolk he was the only son of Thomas Anguish and Mary Elmy. His great-grandfather had married into the Allin family and Thomas had hopes that his eldest son, also Thomas, would one day inherit the estate of Somerleyton from the Allins.

Thomas Anguish’s will discusses various contingencies of bequests depending on when or if his son inherited, which he did in 1794 after the last Allin died. However, the younger Thomas Anguish never married and, according to Venn, ‘died a lunatic’ in 1810, whereupon the estate passed to his brother Rev. George.

Thomas Anguish was the chief of the Commissioners of the Public Accounts and wrote all of their reports except the last, which appeared after he died. The Commissioners of the Public Accounts were effectively the government’s first thorough auditors. Their reports focused on one area of public expenditure after another and were incredibly thorough and, remarkably, unbiased. Every parliamentary bill drawn up as a result of their recommendations passed into law.

Thomas Anguish was elected to the Royal Society in 1766, the citation on his election certificate reading:

Thomas Anguish Esquire of Great Russel Street Bloomsbury Accomptant General to the High Court of Chancery, a Gentleman very conversant in most branches of natural knowledge being desirous of the honour of election into the Royal Society, we upon our Personal knowledge do recommend him as a Gentleman likely to be a usefull member of the Society

Once elected, Thomas Anguish went about supporting other candidacies, including that of Joshua Kirby the following year. Perhaps Anguish’s Suffolk background explains his support of Kirby, although I do not think we should read too much into it: Anguish supported no fewer than 33 candidates.

Thomas Anguish was active until his death 31 December 1785, reported in the Gentleman’s Magazine as being, ‘of indigestion, occasioned by eating a quantity of cold oysters for supper’.

Joshua Kirby, F.R.S.

Joshua Kirby was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 26 March 1767. His election card is now, as the Royal Society says on its web page, barely legible, but they do manage a transcription of his citation:

Joshua Kirby of Kew in the County of Surry [sic] Esq. Designer in Perspective to their Majesties, & Author of Brook Taylor’s Method of Perspective made easy, &c & of other considerable Improvements in that Science, being very desirous of the honor of Election into the Royal Society; We whose names are underwritten, recommend him on our personal Knowledge, as a Gentleman likely to prove a useful Member

How useful a member he was is unclear, as he seems to have had little to do with the Society, although he did sponsor two Fellows, Andrew Joseph Planta, and John Lodge Cowley. Kirby himself was proposed by: