[Rev.] John Barrett

Life
1753-1821 [‘Jacky’ Barrett; var. Jackie]; TCD don and eccentric; b. Ballyroan, Co. Laois, son of Church of Ireland clergyman; ed. TCD, Fellow, 1778; DD, 1790; Professor of Oriental Languages; Vice-Provost, 1807; An Enquiry into the Origin of the Constellations that form the Zodiac, and an essay on the early life of Swift (1808); discovered the Dublin Codex Rescriptus [Codex Z Dublinensis Rescriptus] in TCD Library, a MS palimpsest manuscript of Gospel of St Matthew, which edited and he published (Dublin UP 1787); remained inside College boundaries during most of his career; his extraordinary ignorance of ordinary things and general eccentricities made the subject of Trinity narratives in Sir Jonah Barringon’s Sketches (1827) incl. his observations on the sea as an ‘irregular, fluxious surface’, etc; saved hoarded his income, leaving 80,000 on death ‘to feed the hungry and clothe the naked’, against which his family appealed; there is an account of Barrett in Lever’s Charles O’Malley. ODNB DIB

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Works
An enquiry into the Origin of the Constellations that Compose the Zodiac, and the Uses they were Intended to Promote (Dublin: R. E. Mercier & Co.; London: Vernor & Hood 1800), vi, 198pp., 8o.; An Essay on the Earlier Part of the Life of Swift [...] To which are subjoined several pieces ascribed to Swift; two of his original letters; and extracts from his remarks on Bishop Burnet's History (London: J. Johnson 1808), viii, 4-232pp., 8o.; Evangelium secundum Matthaeum, ex codice rescripto in Bibliotheca Collegii SSae Trinitatis juxta Dublin. Descriptum opera et studio Johannis Barrett [...] Cui adjungitur appendix, collationem codicis Montfortiani complectens (Dublinii: Ex aedibus academicis [Dublin UP] 1801), 52, liv [facs. pls.], 35pp., 4o.

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Criticism
S. P. Tregelles, The Dublin Codex Rescriptus (London 1863); Patrick Kennedy, Modern Irish Anecdotes (London: Routledge [1872]), pp.116-18; W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; 1984), p.70.

See also report on Irish Literary Society ‘Table Talk’, in The Irish Book Lover (April 1920), which incls. reminiscences of Barrett, portrayed in Lever and recalled by Dr. Wall, TCD Vice-Provost, who declared that the portrait of “Jacky in the Hall grew liker the original, as it got dirter every day.’

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References
The British Library holds [1] An enquiry into the origin of the constellations that compose the zodiac, and the uses they were intended to promote.. Dublin: R. E. Mercier & Co.; London: Vernor & Hood, 1800. pp. vi, 198. 8o. [2] An Essay on the Earlier Part of the Life of Swift ... To which are subjoined several pieces ascribed to Swift; two of his original letters; and extracts from his remarks on Bishop Burnet's History. Title [Another copy.]. pp. viii. 4-232. J. Johnson, etc.: London, 1808. 8o [3] Evangelium secundum Matthaeum, ex codice rescripto in Bibliotheca Collegii Ssae. Trinitatis juxta Dublin. Descriptum opera et studio Johannis Barrett ... Cui adjungitur appendix, collationem codicis Montfortiani complectens. [with facsimiles.] pp. 52. liv. 35. pl. LIV. Ex aedibus academicis: Dublinii, 1801. 4o

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