Patrick Duigenan

1735-1816; son of master of St. Bride’s parish school; ed. TCD; Irish bar, 1767; MP Old Leighlin, 1790, living on Henrietta St.; privy councillor of Ireland; prof. of civil law, TCD; MP for Armagh in united parliament; violently opposed Grattan and Catholic Emancipation on ultra-Protestant grounds. ODNB

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Rev. Dr. Hammill’s account of him in a 6pp. printed extract, is held as part of Madden’s papers in the Gilbert Collection (Gilbert MS 276), Pearse St. Library, Dublin; J. A. Froude gives an account of Duigenan’s fanatical oratory in The English In Ireland in the 18th century, Vol. 3., p. 98, Bk. VIII, chap. II; James Bryce, 2 Centuries of from Irish History, 1691-1870 (1888), gives an account of an anti-Catholic address made by Duigenan in on May 13, 1805, in Westminster and Grattan’s moderating response (p.232.) See also Roy Foster, Modern Ireland (1988), and James Kelly [under Sir Richard Musgrave, infra.]

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Patrick Kennedy, Modern Irish Anecdotes (n.d.), p.54, offers a sardonic portrait of Duigenan: born of obscure Roman Catholic parents, and bred, up to early manhood, in their faith, became Scholar, and then Fellow of Trinity College, not only quarrelled with the faith of his poor relations, he quarrelled with the provost, and every one who did not fall down and adopt his opinions, which were as variable as his fortunes [...]; published Pranceriana in ridicule of provost’s planned riding school, and added Lachrymae Academicae to open the world’s eyes to the effeminacy and bad management of the College authorities. [...] Dr Madden, who does anything but revere Dr. Patrick’s memory [...] d. April 1816. Kennedy goes on the narrate that a reporter gave out that a gentlemen with a decided smell of brimstone visited the bedchamber of the dying man, and in spite of reputation on a large placard by Giffard the editor of Dublin Journal from his balcony, the corporation refused to assist at the funeral.

Benedict Kiely, Poor Scholar (1947; 1972), calls Duigenan him ‘the kiln-dried Protestant who had publicly read his recantation of the errors of the Church of Rome, changed his name from O’Deweganan to Duigenan, become remarkable for ever as a man of the rudest manners and the most intolerant principles. Patrick Duigenan came from a poor cabin in the bleak western land of Leitrim, from the influence of a father who herded cattle and wanted his son to be a priest, from six years wandering as a poor scholar, from the patronage of a kindly Protestant clergyman to a position at the Irish Bar and the political championship of the most rabid anti-Catholicism’; Kiely compares him with the Tithe Proctor in his subject, Carleton’s, fiction. (See Kiely p.80; citing Sketches of Irish Political Characters, London 1799).

Rosamund Jacob, The Rise of the United Irishmen 1791-94 (1927) calls him advocate general, and formerly a Catholic; with Speaker Foster, Ogle, and David La Touche, he was among the opposition to the Relief measures proposed in 1793.

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Contra Presbyterians: ‘They are all rebels in their natures ... they sip sedition with their mother’s milk and no wonder they should always be ripe for insurrection.’ (Quoted James Kelly, ‘Relations between Presbyterians and Episcopalians in Ireland, 18th c.’, in Eire-Ireland (?Fall 1988), p.38.

GB & Ireland: ‘The present connection with Great Britain and Ireland is such as has no parallel in the history of the world: it contains in it anomalies heretofore unknown to the law of nations, and the seeds of dissolution these anomalies must be corrected; and these seeds must be effectally prevented from striking root; which can be only effected by an incorporating union of the two kingdoms.’ (Speech of Patrick Duigenan, LLD in the Irish House of Commons, Wednesday February 5 1800, on the subject of an incorporating union between Great Britain and Ireland, London 1800, pp.6-7; quoted in Claire Connolly, ‘Writing the Union’, in Dáire Keogh & Kevin Whelan, eds., Acts of Union: The Causes, Contexts and Consequences of the Act of Union, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2001, p.179.)

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C. Litton Falkiner, Studies in Irish History and Biography (Longman & Co [1901]); Patrick Duigenan, ‘chief exponent of Irish Protestant opinion’, prof. of law at TCD, henchman of Lord Clare, placed by Wellington on Irish privy council.

Cathach Books (Cat. 12) lists Duigenan, An answer to the address of the Rt Hon. Henry Grattan, to his fellow Citizens of Dublin (Dublin 1798).

Emerald Isle Books (1995) lists [Duigenan,] An Address to the Nobility and Gentry of the Church of Ireland, as by law established. Explaining the causes of the commotions and insurrections in the Southern Parts of This Kingdom, respecting tithes, and the real motives and designs of the projectors and abettors of these commitions and insurrections [&c.]. By a Layman (Dublin 1786; reprinted in London 1786), 114pp.

Belfast Public Library holds A Fair Representation of the Political State of Ireland (1799); An answer to the address of ... Grattan (1798); An Impartial History of the late rebellion in Ireland (18-); Lachrymae academicae, or the present deplorable state of ... Trinity College (1777); A Speech [in] the House of Commons (1743).

Belfast Linen Hall Library holds Rt. Hon Patrick Duigenan, 1) Extract of Theophilus’s Letter to the Author, etc. (in Griffth, A., Miscellaneous Tracts, 1788); 2) M’Kenna, T., Arguments against Extermination occasioned by Dr. Duigenan’s Representation of the Present Political State of Ireland (1801).

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A portrait of Duigenan is included in the engraving of House of Commons of 1790, now preserved in Bank of Ireland (College Green) [as figure No. 135 in key].

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