Michael J. F. McCarthy


Life
[Michael John Fitzgerald McCarthy]; b. Midleton, Co. Cork; son of Denis McCarthy and Catherine Fitzgerald of Clonmult, m. 1887, Margaret dg. of John Ronayne of Donickmore [sic]; ed. Vincentian Seminary, Cork; Midleton College, Co. Cork; TCD; BA, 1885; bar, 1889; took no part in public life until appearance of Five Years in Ireland (1901); since then wrote and spoke against Catholic Church in politics and education; stood for St. Stephen’s ‘Green division of Dublin 1904;
 
retired from contest to avoid split of Unionist vote; fnds. and conducts Christian Defence Effort in opposition to Papal aggression; books, Five Years in Ireland 1896-1900 (1901); Priests and People in Ireland (1902), his best-known anti-Catholic work, providing accounts of rich priests and substantial bequests and methods of clerical domination in education - and incidentally echoing the title of the anonymous novel of 1891 written in answer to Mulhulland’s Marcella Grace - leading in turn to clerical refutations such as notably Fr. Michael O’Riordan, Catholicity and Progress (1905); also issued Rome in Ireland (1904);
 
issued a novel, Gallowglass (1904), depicting corruption in the Catholic Church; his other works incl. Catholic Ireland and Protestant Scotland (1905); The Coming Power: A Contemporary History of the Far East (1905); Church and State in England and Wales (1906); Irish Land and Irish Liberty (1910); The Nonconformist Treason (1912); The Irish Revolution, Vol. 1 (Edinburgh & London: Blackwood 1912); The Dictators (1913);
 
he was author of num. letters to Parliament and other publications in opp. to Home Rule 1913-20; The British Monarchy and the See of Rome (1924); The Irish Papal State (1925); Church and Empire Breaking (1927); Anglo-Irish Bolshevism (1927); The Bishops and the Houses of Commons (1928); resided at 13 Alwyne Mansions, Wimbledon, London SW; d. 26 Oct. 1928 IF

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Works
  • Five Years in Ireland 1895-1900 [3rd Edn.] (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent; Dublin: Hodges & Figgis 1901; 10th edn. 1903);
  • Priests and People in Ireland (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent; Dublin: Hodges & Figgis 1902; 5th edn. 1905, pop. edn. 1908);
  • Rome in Ireland (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1904), 350pp.;
  • Catholic Ireland and Protestant Scotland: A Contrast (Edinburgh & London: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier 1905);
  • Irish Land and Irish Liberty: A Study of the New Lords of the Soil (London: Scott 1911);
  • The Nonconformist Treason, or the Sale of the Emerald Isle (Edinburgh: Blackwell 1912), 348pp.

Note: James Joyce had a copy of Michael J. F. McCarthy, The Irish Revolution [Edinburgh & London: Blackwood 1912] in his Trieste Library. See digital copy at Hathi Trust ed. - online

Hathi Trust also holds ...
  • Priests and People in Ireland (1903) - online; Do. [another edn.] (1912) - online; Do. [another edn.] (1911) online.
  • Gallowglass; or, Life in the Land of the Priests (1904) - online.
  • Catholic Ireland and Protestant Scotland: A Contrast (1905) - online.
[All US access only.]

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Quotations

Queen Victoria’s Visit in 1900: ‘Considering all the surrounding circumstances - notably, the advanced age of the revered and distinguished monarch herself; the length of time, 39 years, which had elapsed since her last previous visit; and the cantankerous state of existing Irish public opinion consequent upon the feelings aroused by the Boer war, already alluded to - considering all these things, the visit of Queen Victoria to Ireland in April 1900 must always be regarded as a public event of the first importance. / In no sense of the word can it be considered as a mere regal ceremonial. It was the act of a great woman, undertaken upon her own initiative, triumphantly carried through upon her own responsibility, and productive of results which will grow more apparent as we recede from the event. The Irishman who could regard the action of the sovereign in the matter without a thrill of sympathy must be lost to all instincts of chivalry.’ (From Five Years in Ireland 1895-1900 (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent; Dublin: Hodges & Figgis 1901); extract available at Chapters of Dublin online - accessed 09.11.2011.) [See full-length extract, attached.

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The Nonconformist Treason (1912) - Preface ([v]-xi): ‘This book is written in no spirit of hostility to the historic position of British Nonconformity. On the contrary, its author is in sympathy with all the legitimate protests made by Nonconformists in the past against the efforts of certain men, pretending to divine or superhuman power, at maintaining a tyranny over their fellow-mortals for their own profit. / Amazement rather than indignation, grief rather than anger, must predominate in the mind of one holding such opinions at seeing the leaders of British Nonconformity how engaged in a SALE or BETRAYAL of Ireland to the worst of all those celibate sacerdotal tyrannies in resisting which Nonconformists have suffered and died. [v] Those people whose feelings this book is an attempt to voice are not sentimentalists; neither are they fanatics who live by preaching sectarianism. Their protest against setting up a Romanist Parliament and Executive in Dublin is the united and deliberate word of NINETY-NINE PER CENT OF THE Irish PROTESTANTS - men and women as sensible and industrious as are to be found in the world; men who in every clime are a prop to British rule and civilisation, and help to move the world along the path to progress. Their liberty and prosperity - the fruit of heroic suffering and plodding industry - are threatened with extinction and confiscation. (vi). The protest of the Irish Unionists is bases on the soundest reasons - social, political, and financial, as well as religious. But for those who do not know, it needs to be explained that in Roman Catholic Ireland, as in all countries dominated by the Roman system, economics and politics are included under the head of religion [quotes Redmond and Sylvester Horne on the priority of Catholic religion in the Home Rule scheme] (viii-ix); In the twelfth century there was a sale of Ireland by the Pope of Rome to Henry Plantagenet. In the twentieth century a British Nonconformist Government, with Mr Redmond as its broker, would sell Ireland to the Pope of Rome! (x) [&c.]

The Nonconformist Treason (1912) - Contents: Preface; The Sale is Treason, and the Treason is Nonconformist; Dublin Prepares for Home Rule; Belfast will Not Have Canon Law instead of British; Disestablishing Anglicanism and Establishing Romanism; The Home Rule all Round Fraud; Nonconformist Justification of the Treason; Protestant Position in 1800 and Now; Result of Overthrowing Protestant Management in Ireland; Financial Falsehood Refuted; Price of the Nonconformist Treason - Falsehoods about the Irish Famine and Emigration; Facts about Irish Crime, Police, and Education; Papal Supremacy in Ireland from 1172 to 1912l Vatican Experts and lay neophytes; German Invasion and Ulster Rebellion; The Seceders’ Myth about Dublin Castle; Irish Seceders: A Spent Force in Politics; Commercial Slanders on Ireland Refuted; Canadian Home Rule and the American Civil War Examined and Explained; Irish land Purchase Examined and Explained; Home-Ruled European Countries - Ulster Industry - Belfast’s Growth; The Truth About Irish County Councils and Catholic Tyranny; Nonconformist Justification of Mixed Marriage Decree; Canon Law already in Force in Ireland; Home Rule Must Lead to Separation; Mr. Winston Churchill’s Defence of the Treason; Index.

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The Nonconformist Treason (1912) - text: McCarthy’s title proceeds from a citation from Sir James Fitzsimon Stephen, acc. whom ‘our conception of a traitor is a man who asserts that the law is wrong and that he will forcibly set it to rights, for example, by proclaiming the independence of a province, by abolishing the office of king, or the privileges of a particular class, as the peerage.’ (‘Gen. View of the Criminal Law’) [1]; quotes Swift MacNeill, MP,: ‘My own experience ... coincides with that of every Irish Protestant who has thrown himself on the Catholic people’, and comments: Irish Protestants, happily, are not prepared to row in Mr MacNeill’s galley. (MacNeill, Times, 16 Feb. 1912). [9]; On the Parnell monument, unveiled ‘last Oct.’: ‘This ungracious memorial, in which all the fire and fineness of Parnell’s figure and features are missed, is the work of an American sculptor, and was erected mainly with money received from “Boss” Croker of Tammany Hall fame, who is now settled in Dublin, and not unlikely, if Home Rule should come, to be the “boss” of Ireland. [20-21]; They [Irish Separatists] regard the epithet “West Briton” as a term of contempt to be hurled at any Irishman who supports the Union. They are keeping the Nonconformist Radical Govt. in office, as a quid pro quo for the Secession Bill, which is to set up in Ireland a separative Parliament and Executive, the entire patronage and profit of which will be vested in the Irish Separatist leaders. [96]; Notes that a Liberal Govt. put his father in prison without trial and castigates Forster’s Coercion Act [97] ‘I know something of the Coercion Acts in Ireland. I saw my father pulled out of bed in the small hours of the morning and imprisoned without trial under the Coercion Act, because he happened to be president of the local Land League. Nevertheless, with an experience of life in Great Britain as well as in Ireland, I feel bound to say that, with a Coercion Act in force, there is no perceptible difference between life in Ireland and England for the ordinary person. The effects of the Irish Coercion Acts are mainly confined to print; and millions of Irish people only hear of them from the newspapers. never, under any Irish Coercion Act, was there anything approaching the violence recently displayed by the present Government at the siege of Sydney Street in East London and at the Welsh mining strikes.’ [97]; McCarthy answers in turn all of the ‘Fifty Points for Home Rule’ cited in the brochure issued by the Daily News, which he calls the organ of the Nonconformist govt., and behind which he sees the Cadbury family. [see p.55]; (Cont.)

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The Nonconformist Treason (1912) - cont.: The Twelfth point is that “The Famine in 1847” although it took place nearly half a century after the Union, is “the most damning charge ever brought against the Union”! Those who speak thus flippantly abut the Irish famine are either fanatical Irish Separatists, or Englishmen with axes to grind and anxious to make profit out of the Separatists. ... [101]/The cause of the famine must not be sought in the Machievelism of English statesmen. The Irish labourers and small cotters made the potato their standard article of diet, because it is easily cultivated and easily cooked, and with them it occupied the place which bread and meat, combined, occupied in England. it is a crop particularly subject to blight, a disease for which there was no preventative until recently. There had been heavy blights in 1814-16, and 1822, and in 1831; but in 1847 the potato blight was universal, and the inevitable result was famine - such famine as we still hear of in British India, despite the highly organised system of British administration. There was plenty of corn and cattle in Ireland in 1847, but they had never been regarded as food for the class then threatened with starvation, and belonged to sections of the community who did not make the potato their only or staple diet. The owners of corn and cattle continued to sell their stocks in the usual market, largely in England, and because they did so, Nonconformists are now told by ‘The Daily news’ that the famine was no ‘the act of God’ but ‘starvation brought out by Government methods’! [102]/Daniel O’Connell, it is recalled, urged that the export of corn and cattle should be forbidden, but he made no more workable proposal as to how they should be purchased from the owners for distribution among the starving; or how the owners were to be recouped for the loss of their markets, so as to enable them to pay their rents, rates, and other outgoings, and save themselves and those dependent on them from bankruptcy. When the English understood the dimensions of the famine, they poured money into Ireland for its relief, and many well-remembered English people went across and distributed quantities of food and clothing .... [103]; The massacre of the Huguenots was more savage, perhaps, but in no sense was it a more retrograde or infamous transaction than the treason now contemplated by Mr Asquith and his Nonconformists Government, who are about to sell into mental slavery, giving them the cruel option of flight, a million and a quarter of the best white men in the world. And Mr Asquith and his friends cry out as they proceed with the sale, like the chief priests and elders of Jerusalem, “Their blood be upon us and on our children!” [END; 340] Index cites, inter al., Wexford Bridge (1798) [eliciting a quotation from Froude of the murder of 97 Protestants]’

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References
Stephen Brown
, Ireland in Fiction [Pt. I] (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), compares him with Gerald O’Donovan, W. P. Ryan [O’Ryan], and others ‘sensational’ anti-clerical writers (Ireland in Fiction, 1919, p.238). See remarks in Angela Bourke's The Burning of Bridget Cleary (1999).

Absit: There is no Dictionary of National Biography on McCarthy nor any entries in Boylan, A Dictionary of Irish Biography (1988) and Doherty & Hickey, A Chronology of Irish History since 1500 (1989). See, however, Who Was Who (1928-29).

University of Ulster Central Library holds Five Years in Ireland 1895-1900 [3rd Edn.] (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent; Dublin: Hodges & Figgis 1901) [also 5th ed., Lon.] [DA960.M13]; Priests and People in Ireland (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent; Dublin: Hodges & Figgis 1902) [BX1515.M3]; Rome in Ireland (London: Hodder and Stoughton 1904) [BX 1505.M1 South]; Catholic Ireland and Protestant Scotland: A Contrast (Edinburgh & London: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier 1905) [JORD]; Irish land and Irish Liberty: a Study of the New Lords of the Soil (London: Scott 1911) [MAGEE]; The Nonconformist Treason, or the Sale of the Emerald Isle (Edinburgh: Blackwell 1912), 348pp. [DA960.M3].

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Notes
James Joyce: Joyce held a copy of The Irish Revolution (Edinburgh & London: Blackwood 1912), titlepage missing, in his Library in Trieste. (See Richard Ellmann, The Consciousness of James Joyce, Faber, p.119 [Appendix].)

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