C. L. Falkiner


Life
1863-1908 [Caesar Litton; occas. as Falconer, err.]; b. 26 Sept.; Irish historian, son of Sir Frederick Richard Falkiner [see infra]; ed. Royal Armagh and TCD, MA; barrister at law, 1863; leader article for the Daily Express; Sec of the Council of the RIA; Unionist contestant in Armagh, 1892; m. dg. of Sir Thomas Newenham Deane, the architect of the National Library; Recorder of Dublin and Privy Councillor; related on his mother’s side to Caesar Otway; issued Studies in Irish History and Biography (London 1902);
 
also Illustrations of Irish History and Topography (1904); Essays Relating to Ireland (1909), biog., hist., and topographical, containing essays on Spenser in Ireland, Sir John Davies, Robert Emmet, and Irish Places, with a memoir by Edward Dowden; ed. Ormonde Papers for Historical MSS Commission (5 vols. 1902-1908); edited and introducted a new edition of the poems of Thomas Moore (Macmillan 1903); edited Swift’s Letters (1908); corresponded with J. A. Froude; d. 5 Aug. while climbing in the Alps nr. Argentière, in the Chamonix Valley; there is a commemorative plaque to him at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. ODNB

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Works
C. Litton Falkiner, Studies in Irish History and Biography (Longman & Co [1901]) 350pp. [see details]; Illustrations of Irish History and Topography, mainly of the 17th century, by C. Litton Falkiner, 3 maps (Longmans Green & Co. 1904), 426pp.

See C. Litton Falkiner, ed. & intro., Poetry of Thomas Moore, selected and arranged by C. Litton Falkiner [Golden Treasury Ser.] (London: Macmillan & Co. 1903), Introduction - under Thomas Moore, infra, and attached; also available at Internet Archive online].

Bibliographical details

Studies in Irish History and Biography (London: Longman & Co [1901]) [but 1902 in bibl. of T. H. D. Mahoney, Burke and Ireland, Harvard 1960], 350pp, index; topics incl. notably Napper Tandy at Arran; J. Barrington on Sir Boyle Roche; Edmund Burke on Lord Clare’s father; Charlemont; Lord Clare [John Fitzgibbon]; J. W. Corker on the Catholic cause; J. P. Curran’s duel with Lord Clare; enmity to Sir Boyle Roche; O’Neill Daunt, historian; Mrs Delaney; Defenderism; James Dickey, executed; battle of the Diamond; Patrick Duigenan, ‘chief exponent of Irish Protestant opinion’, prof. of law at TCD, henchman of Lord Clare, placed by Wellington on Irish privy council; Edgeworth on Irish bulls; Emmets, Robert and Thomas; fighting Fitzgerald (George Robert); Fitzwilliam; Flood; John Foster; Froude, on Hervey ‘the most singular representative of the class of bishops who had been chosen to preside over the spiritual destinies of the Irish people’ [Froude, English in Ireland, Cabinet ed. ii.413], on Irish rebellion, ‘in general readable and accurate’; Grattan; Lady Gregory, cited as quoted Lecky’s conversation [‘far less is known about the beginning of the nineteenth century in Ireland than about the eighteenth century’]; diary of Rt. Hon. William Gregory quoted; Richard Griffin on Plunket; Lady Emma Hamilton and Hervey; Harwood, his account of Rebellion, 1845 [‘a deliberate policy of exasperation; a determination to get up a rebellion for the sake of putting it down’, p.69]; Humbert; Maj-gen. Hutchinson; Hely Hutchinson; Richard Hely Hutchinson, son of former; Dr Johnson on the Herveys; Angelica Kaufmann; Lord Kenmare; John Keogh, modified Catholic claims, agitation loyal to Constitution, first plebeian leader of Catholics; Tone’s adviser and associate, loyally accepts Union, repudiated by O’Connell; Lord Kilwarden [Clare administers oath on his deathbed]; Lecky, on Lord Clare, on rebellion; Dr Richard Madden, his history, a frank ‘separatist’; Edmund Malone, on John Fitzgibbon [a letter in the life by Prior, misconstrued as a reference to the effeminacy of Lord Clare; Faulkner’s interpretation corroborated by private letter to him from Froude asserting that Clare’s private life was ‘a simple one’, p.105]; Pope, his savage portrait of Hervey [see infra]; Moore, on Castlereagh [see infra, Castlereagh]; O’Connell, his brother Sir James; Steele’s devotion to O’Connell; Sir John Orde; General Pakenham at Ballinamuck; Sir Boyle Roche [e.g., humorously counters Grattan’s passionate declaration]; Thomas Russell, partisan of Tone; Bartholomew Teeling; Lord Thurlow; Matthew Tone, br. Wolfe; Tone; Sir Arthur Wellesley; Yelverton; and Arthur Young on Hervey, intimacy with; Note that Falkiner is a correspondent of Froude’s and adopts a doubtful attitude towards Lecky’s history of the Rebellion of 1798 and all versions of it - Madden et al. - tending to represent it as the result of spontaneous reactions to govt. oppression (p.169 [see infra]): quotes Alexander Pope on Lord Hervey as “Sporus”, viz., ‘Sporus! That white curd of asses’ milk,/His wit all see-say between that and this,/And he himself one vile antithesis./Amphibious thing! that acting either part,/The trifling head or the corrupted heart./Fop at the toilet, flatterer at the board,/Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.’ [Epistle to Arbuthnot?] Falkiner comments, But the jibes at Lord Hervey’s understanding were altogether inapplicable to one of the most capable politicians, shrewdest observers, and most caustic writers of his time; and the author of the Secret Memoirs of the Court of George II has had intellectually an abundant, though posthumous, revenge for the oblique slanders of the Epistle to Arbuthnot, the Imitations of Horace, and the direct insults of Letter to a Noble Lord. [61] Hervey is cited in The Beggar’s Opera, ‘Now, Hervey, fair of face, full well/With thee, youth’s youngest daughter, sweet Lepel.’ [62]. For further remarks, see under Lord Castlereagh [Robert Stewart, q.v].

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Illustrations of Irish History and Topography, mainly of the 17th century, by C. Litton Falkiner, 3 maps (Longmans Green & Co. 1904), 426pp., and index. Ded. to Pres. and Members of RIA. Maps are, The Walls of Dublin from all available authorities, Leonard R. Strangeways, MA MRIA 1904; colour Mercator map of Irland in the middle of the XVIth c., W & A. K. Johnston, Edinburgh & London, Longmans [English miles to Irish miles: 30/24]; Dublin in the 17th c., attempt to identify the streets as depicted by T. Phillips 1685, LRS [Strangeways] 1904. PART I, essays by the author, His Majesty’s Castle of Dublin; The Phoenix Park; The Irish Guards; The Counties of Ireland; The Woods of Ireland; The parish Church of the Irish Parliament; Illustrations of the Civic and Commercial History of Dublin, The Origin of the Ballast Office &c, The Origin of the Chamber of Commerce, the Aldermen of Skinner’s Alley, the Ouzel Galley Society. PART II, contemporary accounts of Ireland in the 17th c., I] The Itinerary of Fynes Moryson, pp.211-309 II] Sir Josias Bodley’s Visit to Lecale, 1602, pp.326-44 III] Luke Gernon’s discourse of Ireland, 1620, pp.345-62 IV] Sir William Brereton’s Travels in Ireland, 1635, pp.363-407 V] M Jorevin de Rocheford’s Description, 1668, pp.407-26. Also contains The Itinerary of Fynes Moryson [first publ. in Sherratt & Hughes, eds., Shakespeare’s Europe], consisting of 3 chps., The Description of Ireland, The Commonwealth of Ireland, and The Manners and Customs of Ireland. [See under Moryson.]

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Commentary
George A. Little, Dublin Before the Vikings (Dubln: M. H. Gill 1947): ‘Owing its origin to Danish auspices, Dublin was neither first built, nor originally peopled by men of Irish race.’ Litton-Falkiner, Handbook to the City of Dublin and Its Surrounding Districts, prepared for the British Association, Dublin 1908). Little’s riposte, ‘I hold in fact that the dogmatic conviction expressed by Litton-Falkiner and subscribed to by so many (i.e. that a pre-Scandanavian town on the site of Dublin never existed) is against all the evidence and must therefore be held untrue. (p.xiv)

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Luke Gibbons, Transformations in Irish Culture (Field Day/Cork UP 1996), quotes C. Litton Falkiner on Irish topography as being ‘generally deficient in that wealth of historical or literary association which lends so much charm to a summer’s ramble in rural England, and invests with so much romantic interest so many of the ancient cities and boroughs of great Britain ... Historical continuity has been lost in the endless civil distractions of the island, and tradition itself speaks in confused and scarcely intelligible accents’; ‘Nowhere is the contrast between the remote antiquity of Irish historical origins and the long silences which intervene between recorded episodes to destroy all natural continuity and intelligible sequence.’ (‘Youghal’, in Essays Relating to Ireland, &c., 1909; p.180); answered by Alice Stopford Green: ‘How was it that these Englishmen left none of their “romantic charm” there? What strange history lies hidden behind this saying?’ (‘The Way of History’, in The Old Irish World, Gill, 1912, p.16.)

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References
De Burca Books (Cat. 44; 1997) lists Essays Relating to Ireland, Biographical Historical and Topographical. With a memoir of the author by Edward Dowlen. London, Longmans, 1909. Pages, xx, 249pp., with studies in Irish biography: Spencer; Sir John Davis; First Duke of Ormond; Archbishop Stone, and Robert Emmet. Illustrations of Irish topography: Dublin, Youghal, Kilkenny, Drogheda, Armagh, and Galway. Studies in Irish history: Irish Parliamentary Antiquities; The Succession of the Speakers; List of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in the Irish Parliament 1586-69, and John Hooker’s Diary 1568-69. [70]; Illustrations of Irish History and Topography, mainly of the seventeenth century. With three fold. maps. London, Longmans, 1904. Pages, xx, 433, 40 (catalogue). V.good. two parts: Historical and Topographical Studies - His Majesty’s Castle of Dublin; The Phoenix Park; The Irish Guards- The Counties and Woods of Ireland; The Parish Church of the Irish Parliament Illustrations of the Civic and Commercial History of Dublin. Part two: The Itinerary of Fynes Moryson; The Description of Ireland, The Commonwealth of Ireland, The Manners and Customs of Ireland, Sir Josias Bodley’s Visit to Lecale; Luke Gernon’s Discourse of Ireland 1620; Brereton’s Travels in Ireland 1635; De Rocheford’s Description 1668 [75.].

Note: Illustration of Irish History cited as 1902 in Bibl. of T. H. D. Mahoney, Burke and Ireland, Harvard 1960].

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Belfast Public Library holds Illustrations of Irish History and Topography of the 17th c. (1904) [in which he reprinted part of the MS of Fynes Moryson, infra.]; Essay Relating to Ireland (1909); Memoir of John Kells Ingram; Earl Bishop of Derry (in his Studies in Irish History, 1902).

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Quotations
1798: ‘In view of the apotheosis of the rebellion and its authors, and of the hearty endorsement of its separatist objects which is to be found in the writings of so many historians of the movement.’ (p.169.) Further, Falkiner assesses the historians of 1798, Froude, suffer[s] from a characteristic inexactitude of detail, and from the somewhat polemical character of the objects its author had in view in writing it ... [yet] in general reliable and accurate. Lecky, impossible to exaggerate the merits [of] his patient investigations, scrupulous accuracy and generous indication of the sources ... though of higher authority than Froude’s as a chronicle of events, Mr Lecky’s work [has] less narrative unity than his predecessors. Maxwell ... at a distance of fifty years ... so poor a book as Maxwell’s History of the Irish rebellion of 1798, with Memoirs of the Union and Emmet’s Insurrection of 1803’ remains the most complete account of the rising accessible in a single volume ... less a history than a compilation based on such authorities as were available so long ago as 1845 ... largely a rechauffé of the writings of Musgrave, Hay, Barrington, and others. [158] Falkiner goes on to mention Hay and Clooney on the rebel side in Wicklow and Wexford, and Taylor and Jackson on the loyalist. Gordon’s narrative has been eulogised by Lecky as the most truth, moderate, and humane. Sir Richrd Musgrave, the most painstaking and fully informed, though stigmatised by a recent writing as ‘written in the evil Orange spirit. Musgrave impartially defended by the American author Mr Gribayedoff, in The French Invasion of Ireland, who remarks that contrary to fashionable vilifications it is impossible to find an instance of conscious misrepresentation in Musgrave; Musgrave’s connection with Govt., source of information [158-60].

Long 19th c.: ‘Thus in the long nineteenth century there are long silences which intervened between the Union and Catholic Emancipation, between Repeal and Home Rule agitations. And in the eighteenth century, the pasues are still longer and the silences yet deeper.’ (Quoted [as C. Litton Falconer] in A. T. Q. Stewart, The Shape of Irish History, Belfast: Blackstaff 2001; cited in review of same by Patricia Craig, Times Literary Supplement [Irish issue], 29 June 2001, p.22.) Note that Stewart took ‘a deeper silence’ as his title for a study of the United Irishmen issued in 1993.

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Notes
Journals: Falkiner contrib. to literary journals such as the Irish Monthly Review; also a memoir of Charles Wolfe in an edn. of The Burial of Sir John Moore and other Poems, xxxviii, 61pp. (1909 [?recte 1903].

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