James Arbuckle (?1700-42)


Life
[“Hibernicus”]; son of Rev. James Arbuckle (d.1720), Presbyterian minister in Dublin; ed. Univ. of Glasgow, friend of Allen Ramsay, Scottish poet; clashed with Calvinist authorities of the university; contrib. The Edinburgh Miscellany; returned to Dublin and ed. the Dublin Journal, as “Hibernicus”, 1725-27, printing work of Robert Molesworth [q.v.] and Francis Hutcheson [q.v.]; also in book-form Hibernicus’s Letters, 2 vols. (London 1725-27); became clerk of Quitrents and Forfeitures, and clerk of postage section of Office of Commissioners of Revenue and Excise;
 

issued Snuff (1719), mock heroic poem on tobacco; also an Epistle to Thomas, Earl of Haddington, on the Death of Joseph Addison, Esq. (1719), and Glotta (1721), featuring scenery of the river Clyde; ed. The Tribune, 1729; befriended by Swift aftewards wrote Momus Mistaken ( 1735), a satirical “Panegyric on the Reverend D-n S-t”; his papers are held in the National Library of Wales. PI ODNB DIW OCEL FDA OCIL

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Works
  • Snuff: A Poem (Glasgow: [n.pub.] 1717), 24pp., 8o.; Do. (Edinburgh: James McEuen for the author 1719), 32pp.;
  • Epistle to the Right Hon. Thomas Earl of Hadington, on the Death of Joseph Addison, Esq. (London: [n.pub.] 1719);
  • Glotta: A Poem Humbly Inscribed to the Right Hon. the Marquess of Carnarvon (Glasgow: William Duncan 1721), 22pp., 8°.;
  • A Short Account of the Late Treatment of the Students of the University of G[lasgo]w (Dublin: [n.pub.] 1722), 41, [1], xiii, [1]pp., 8o°;
  • Momus Mistaken: A Fable Occasioned by the Publication of the Works of the Rev Dr Swift DSPD in Dublin (Dublin 1735), fol. sh.;
  • A Poem Inscribed to the Dublin Society (Dublin: [n.pub.] 1737);
  • [with others], A Collection of Letters and Essays on Several subjects, lately Publish’d in the Dublin Journal, 2 vols. (London: J. Osborn: London 1729), 8°;
  • [with others], Hibernicus’s Letters, or a Philosophical Miscellany [2nd edn.] 2 vols. (London 1734); Do., [another edn.] as Friendship (1857).

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Criticism
  • T. P. C. Kirkpatrick, ‘The Bibliographical Society of Ireland’, in Irish Book Lover, Vol. 26 (May 1939), pp.103-04;
  • Bryan Coleborne, ‘James Arbuckle and Jonathan Swift: New Light on Swift’s Biography’, in Eighteenth-Century Life, Vol. 11 [n.s.] (Feb. 1987), pp.170-80;
  • M. A. Stewart, ‘John Smith and the Molesworth Circle’, in Eighteenth-Century Ireland, Vol. 2 (1987), pp.89-102;
  • Aubrey L. Williams, ‘“A Vile Encomium”, That “Panegyric on the Revered D-n S-t”’, in Contemporary Studies of Swift’s Poetry, ed. John [Irwin] Fisher & Donald C. Mell (Delaware UP 1981), pp.178-90;
  • James Woolley, ‘Arbuckle’s “Panegyric” and Swift’s Scrub Libel: The Documentary Evidence’, in Contemporary Studies of Swift’s Poetry, eds. John Irwin Fischer, Donald C. Mell, Jr. [assoc. ed., David M. Vieth] (Newark: Delaware UP/London AUP [1981]), pp.191-209;
  • John F. Woznak, ‘James Arbuckle and the Dublin Weekly Journal’, in Journal of Irish Literature, Vol. 22 (May 1993), pp.46-52.

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References
D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis 1919), under Arbuckle, cites “Letters and Essays” contrib. by ‘Hibernicus’ to Dublin Weekly Journal (2 vols., London 1929); and satires against him, “Wit Upon Crutches” (Dublin 1725), and “The Last Speech and Dying Words of D[-ean] J. A[r]b[uc]kle, author of the Weekly Journal, Dublin” (1730), both folio sheets; O’Donoghue discusses the frequency of the name James Arbuckle as instanced by the subscribers’ list to Winstanley’s Poems and other contemporary matters; MS note on Glotta in British Library expressly says he d. in 1734 at aetat. 34, prob. a mistaken view since ‘he was living after that date’ [sic]; funeral sermon preached, Dublin 4 Jan. 1747 [presumably for his namesake the physician midwife; vide The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Vol. 1, infra.]; projected translation of Virgil; addressed lines to Allan Ramsay; became schoolmaster in North of Ireland; a satire in Smedley’s Gulliveriana refers to his editorship of Dublin Journal; called Irishman and dubbed ‘Dr.’ in Thomas Campbell’s Philosophical Survey ... (1778). Bibl. refs. Mind, Vol. VIII (1899), and W. R. Scott’s Life of Frances Hutcheson. O’Donoghue refers to the great number of Arbuckles in Ireland at the time and takes a funeral sermon preached over one James Arbuckle in Jan. 1747 as the obit. date.

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day Co. 1991), Vol. 1, selects “Momus Mistaken” [460-61], prefaced by remarks in the section editorial: ‘The most severe attack on Swift was made by James Arbuckle, the poet, philosopher and journalist who edited The Dublin Weekly Journal, 1725-27, and who was ridiculed again and again by the literati between 1725 and 1736. Swift had used the figure of Momus as the patron of the Moderns in The Battle &c. In 1735 Arbuckle used him to attack Swift’s private life, leaving it to Mercury, a thief, ‘Pimp’, and ‘Blackguard Crier of the News’, to make an unconvincing tribute to Swift at the end of the poem. The occasion of Arbuckle’s attack [was] the publication of the edition of Swift’s collected works [... &c.].’ (Andrew Carpenter, [sect. ed.], ‘Anglo-Irish Verse, 1675-1825’, FDA1, pp.453-54.) Further, the biographical notice on Arbuckle warns against confusing the poet with his namesake, a prominent midwifing physician who died in 1746. (FDA1, p.493; cf. O’Donoghue, PI, supra.) Note also, Andrew Carpenter warns against confusing Arbuckle with a physician-namesake who died in that year The Field Day Anthology to Irish Writing, 1991, q.p.).

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British Library holds [1] The last speech and dying words of D-n A-b-kle [i.e. Dean James Arbuckle], author of the Weekly Journal. [A satire.]. [Dublin? 1734?] s. sh. fol. [2] A Collection of Letters and Essays (Hibernicus’s Letters) on several subjects, lately publish’d in the Dublin Journal.. 2 vol. J. Osborn: London, 1729. 8°. [3] A Poem inscribed to the Dublin Society.. pp. 11. George Ewing: Dublin, 1737. 4°. [4] Glotta, a poem, etc.. pp. 22. William Duncan: Glasgow, 1721. 8o. [5] Momus mistaken: a fable. Occasioned by the publication of the works of the Revd. Dr. Swift ... in Dublin. [In verse.]. Dublin, 1735. s. sh. fol. [6] Snuff, a poem.. pp. 32. Printed by James McEuen for the author: Edinburgh, 1719. 8o. [7] Snuff. A poem, pp. 24. Glasgow, 1717. 8o. [8] Wit upon Crutches, or, the biter bitten, most humbly dedicated to the ingenious Mr. Arbuckle, author of the Dublin Weekly Journal. [In verse.]. Dublin, 1725. s. sh. fol. [9] A short account of the late treatment of the students of the University of G[...]w [i.e. Glasgow]. Dublin: printed in the year, 1722. 41,[1],xiii,[1]p.(8°)/15cm. Also, Wit Upon Crutches, or the Biter Bitten, is ‘dedicated’ to John Arbuckle, author of Dublin Weekly Journal.

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Belfast Libraries: Belfast Central Library holds Friendship by ‘Hibernicus’ (1857); I/820 Linenhall Library also Letters by Hibernicus and Others.

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Quotations
True-born Hibernian: ‘[The] fondness we express at all times for the writings of our Neighbours, while we despise and decry every thing of that sort that is produced among ourselves ... We bestow the ornaments of our own Nation on our Neighbours, and then pay then a dear Rate for the Use of them at second hand.’ (Hibernicus’s Letters [1734]; rep. as Friendship, 1857; copy in Belfast City Library.) [Note: The author’s tone in his first letter is patriotic but eschews political issues and concerns himself chiefly with the moderation of natural appetites and related moral issues - i.e., reason over fancy, virtue over vice. BS]

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