Born on 5 February 1739 at Cavan, Ireland, he was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and ordained to the priesthood in 1765 by the Bishop of Kilmore. From 1769 to 1783 he served as curate at Swanlinbar. During that time he read the Appeals which John Wesley sent him in response to an enquiry, met Wesley himself in 1773 and was converted in 1776. His Methodist irregularities, including preaching well beyond his own parish, and his preaching of salvation by faith antagonized both his parishioners and local Catholics. In 1783 he became one of Wesley's assistants at Wesley's Chapel, reading prayers and administering the sacrament there and elsewhere in the London Circuit and editing the Arminian Magazine from 1788 to 1792. In 1784 he was named in the Deed of Declaration as one of the Legal Hundred. He assisted that year at the ordination in Bristol of Thomas Coke and preachers for America, but in the 1790s was a moderating influence in the disputes that followed Wesley's death. His numerous writings include Elegiac Stanzas marking Charles Wesley's death (1788) and A Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names (1808) with a preface by Adam Clarke. He retired in poor health in 1810 and died at Hoxton, London on 26 December 1819.