J. A. Froude ( 1818-94)

Biographical informationListing of the worksListing of commentaryExtracts from commentaryExtracts from the worksDigest of reference worksMiscellaneous annotations

[James Anthony Froude;] ed. Westminster and Oriel College, Oxon.; fellow; ‘Life of St. Neot’ for Newman’s Lives of the English Saints (1844); Nemesis of Faith (1849), an unorthodox work concerning a young man who takes orders and falls into disbelief and adultery; the text was publicly burned by William Sewell; Froude resigned fellowship, met Carlyle, and became his chief disciple; issued History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada, 12 vols. (1856-70); ed. Fraser’s Magazine, 1860-74; rector of St. Andrews, 1868; published ‘A Fortnight in Kerry’, in Cornhill Magazine (1870);
published The English in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, 3 vols. (1872-74), in which he called the Irish ‘the spendthrift sister of the Arian [Aryan] race’; the first volume deals with the history of Ireland from the conquest to 1760, featuring particularly ‘The Insurrection of 1641’ and ‘Irish Ideas’, a dark portrait of national crime; the second embraces the ‘Protestant rebellion’ of Grattan’s parliament, while the third deals wholly with the Rebellion of 1798, ending, ‘We cannot govern India; we cannot govern Ireland’;
lectured in America, 1872, and was driven from thence by Irish-American riots; travelled in South Africa, and argued for confederation; sole literary executor of Thomas Carlyle, 1881; ed. and published Carlyle’s Reminiscences (1881) and biographical works; his biography of Carlyle criticised for frankness, especially in relation to Miss Welsh’s motives in marrying Carlyle and her subsequent unhappiness; visited Australia, 1884-45; issued Oceania, or England and her Colonies (1886); English in the West Indies (1888); lectures on Erasmus, 1894; Council of Trent (1896);
commenced English in Ireland in the 18th Century (1872-74) at Laraugh [Laragh], and ded. to Sir G. J. Wolseley; its portrait of the Anglo-Irish as a garrison inspires W.E.H. Lecky to digress from his History of England in the Eighteenth Century (1878-1890) to write the Irish volumes intended to repute Froude’s “calumnies” [var. ‘calumnies on the Irish people’]; Froude issued Two Chiefs of Dunboy (1889), a novel set in Kerry in the 1770s concerning the between Colonel Goring, a law-abiding and progressive settler, and Morty Sullivan, the dispossessed chieftain and whiskey-smuggler;
he is remembered as a propagandist for empire more valued as a prose-writer than a historian; James Connolly quotes Froude several times in his Reconquest of Ireland (1915), and calls him ‘the great anti-Catholic historian and champion of the propertied classes’. ODNB IF NCBE OCEL ODQ SUTH OCIL FDA

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Works Historical works
  • The Two Chiefs of Dunboy: or, An Irish Romance of the Last Century (London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1889, 1891), [4], 456pp. [with 16pp. adverts.]; and Do. [abridged edn.], ed. & foreword by A. L. Rowse (London: Chatto & Windus 1969), 283pp.
  • The English in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, 3 vols. (London: Longmans, Green, 1872-74); Do. [with new preface] (1881); Do, further edns. in 1882, 1884, 1886) [Vol. 1: xviii, 704pp.; Vol. 2: xii, 568pp.; Vol. 3: xiii, 608pp. - incl. index]), and Do. [further edns.] (1874, 1894, 1895, 1901, 1906, &c.);
  • Thomas Carlyle: A History of the First Forty years of His Life 1795-1881, 4 vols. (London: Longmans 1882-84), and num. other works.
  • ‘A Fortnight in Kerry’, in Cornhill Magazine, 1 (1870), pp.513-31.

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‘The Sophistries of Froude Refuted’, in Very Rev. Thomas N. Burke, OP, Lectures on Faith and Fatherland (Burnes & Oates, n.d.), pp.117-288; Herbert Paul, The Life of Froude (1905) [var. 1907]; Donal McCartney, ‘James Anthony Froude and Ireland: A Historiographical Controversy of the Nineteenth Century,’ in Irish University Review (Spring 1971); Roy Foster, ‘Partnership of Loss’, [review of The Politics of Enmity, 1789-2006], in London Review of Book, 13 Dec. 2007, pp.21-23.

See also
Lawrence McBride, ed., Reading Irish Histories: Texts, Contexts, and the Creation of National Memory, 1870-1922 (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2003).
Paul Bew, The Politics of Enmity 1789-2006 (Oxford UP 2007), 613pp.

Roy Foster writes: ‘[Bew] presents, among other specimens, an unfamiliar James Anthony Froude, whose fulminations about native degeneration in The English in Ireland contrast sharply with his early appreciation of Isaac Butt’s version of Home Rule in the 1870s.’ (Foster, ‘Partnership of Loss’, in London Review of Book, 13 Dec. 2007 - available online, or in RICORSO Library, as attached.)

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Oscar Wilde reviewed Two Chiefs of Dunboye (1889) in Pall Mall Gazette (13 April 1889): ‘Mr Froude admits the martyrdom of Ireland, but regrets that the martyrdom was not completely carried out … [his] resumé of the History of Ireland is not without power, though it is far from being really accurate … on every second page we come across aphorisms on the Irish character … it is dull … there are some who will welcome with delight the idea of solving the Irish question by doing away with the Irish people.’ (See further under Wilde, Quotations, infra.)

W. B. Yeats, ‘The Poetry of Sir Samuel Ferguson’ [II], in Dublin University Review, 2, Nov. 1886; rep. in Uncollected Prose, 1970, Vol. 1, pp.87-104): ‘[…] In these poems and the legends the contain lies the refutation of the calumnies of England and those amongst us who are false to their country.’ (Our italics.)

Standish James O’Grady cited Two Chiefs of Dunboy with approbation as Mr. Froude’s ‘spirited novel’ in the preface to Ulrick the Ready (1896), p.iv. See also O’Grady’s comments in Pacata Hibernia; o r a History of the Wars in Ireland (London: Downey & Co. 1896), ‘Introduction’: ‘Mr Froude’s picture of the up-right, God-fearing, and civilised Englishman contending against a flood of barbarism, is doubly untrue’ (p.xxx; quoted in David Cairns & Shaun Richards, Writing Ireland, Manchester 1988; see further under O’Grady.)

C. Litton Falkiner, Studies in Irish History and Biography (Longman & Co [1901]), on Froude and the Irish rebellion of 1642, ‘in general readable and accurate’; Faulkner’s interpretation corroborated by private letter to him from Froude [105]; 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. [158]

Cardinal Moran, Civilization of Ireland before the Anglo-Norman Invasion [pamphlet] (Dublin: CTS n.d), quotes Froude: ‘The Irish, when the Normans took charge of them were with the exception of the clergy, scarcely better than a mob of armed savages. They had no settled industry, and no settled habitations, and scarcely a conception of property … The only occupation considered honourable was fighting and plunder … The religion of the Irish Celts, which three centuries earlier had burned like a star in Western Europe, had degenerated into a superstition, and no longer served as a check upon the most ferocious passions…. their chief characteristics were treachery, thirst for blood, unbridled licentiousness, and inveterate detestation of order and rule. As a nation [Froude adds] they have done nothing which posterity will not be anxious to forget; [they] have little architecture of their own, and the forms introduced from England have been robbed of their grace; in fact, they are unable to boast of one single work of art’ [Of these people the Normans came to take charge] ‘fulfilling the work for which they were specially qualified and gifted … The true justification of the conquest lay in the character of the conquerors. they were born rulers of men, and were forced, by the same necessity which has brought the decrepit kingdoms of Asia under the authority of England and Russia, to take the management , eight centuries ago, of the anarchic nations of Western Europe’ [Froude, The English in Ireland, i, 14-22; Moran, 10-11]. To this Moran counterposes Geraldus Cambrensis’s wonderment at the Book of Kells, and remarks from Stoke’s Life of Petrie on the sudden deterioration of Irish culture under the impact of invasion.

Michael MacDonagh, ‘The Sunniness of Irish Life’, in Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (1904) - Opening essay of Vol. 8: ‘James Anthony Froude has said many hard things of Ireland - that is, of Ireland as the battle-ground of political and social questions - but he has paid an ungrudging and eloquent tribute to the charms of Ireland, of the mountain, the lake, and the valley, and of its light-heated and humorous inhabitants. “We have heard much of the wrongs of Ireland, the miseries of Ireland, the crimes of Ireland”, he writes, “[but] every cloud has its sunny side, and, when all is said, Ireland is still the most beautiful island in the world; and the Irish themselves, though their temperament is ill-matched with ours, are still amongst the most interesting of peoples”. Every cloud in Ireland has, indeed its glint of sunshine …’.

Denis Murphy, Cromwell in Ireland (1883) - extract in Irish Literature, 1904, Vol. VII, pp.2567-73: ‘Mr Froude has been unlucky he did not fall in with this detailed account given by [an eye-witness at Drogheda]. It proves his assertion to be wholly false, that there is no evidence from an eye-witness that women and children were killed otherwise than accidentally.’

Paul Bew [on Parnell], in Fortnightly Review (Oct. 1991) p. 19, notes that W. E. Gladstone rehearses the themes of J. A. Froude’s famous lecture On the Uses of the Landed Gentry (1876): ‘Even the Irish Nationalists may perceive that those marked out by leisure, wealth and station, for attention to public duties, and for the exercise of influence, may become in no small degree, the national and effective, and safe leaders of the people’ (Gladstone).

Tim Healy, Stolen Waters (1913), p.403, quotes Froude, and (later cites Lecky in support): ‘Sir Arthur Chichester, the great Viceroy of Ireland under James I, was, of all Englishmen who ever settled in the country, the most useful to it. His descendant, the Lord Donegall of whom it has become necessary to speak, was perhaps the person who inflicted the greatest injury upon it.’ (Froude). To a later Lord Donegall’s evictions, Froude traces the uprise of the Peep of Day and Heart of Steel conspiracies and adds: ‘Lord Donegall, for his services, was rewarded with a marquisate … a fitter retribution … would have been forfeiture and Tower Hill …’ (Healy, op. cit., p.404.)

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William Bullen Morris, Ireland and St. Patrick (London & NY: Burns & Oates; Dublin M. H. Gill & Son, 1891), pp.171-72, quotes at length from Froude’s article ‘Ireland’, Nineteenth Century (Sept. 1880, pp.342-358), incl. Froude’s remark that ‘the Irish Celts possess on their own soil a power, greater than any other known family of mankind of assimilating those who venture among them to their own image.’ (English in Ireland, Vol. I, p.22; here p.173); speaks also of Froude’s ‘loathsome romance’, Two Chiefs (p.173; & seq.).

Frederick E. Faverty, Matthew Arnold, The Ethnologist (Illinois: Northwestern UP 1951), ‘[To Froude] the modern Irish are of no race, blended as they are of Celt and Dane, Saxon and Norman, Scot and Frenchman; nevertheless, throughout his history he treates them as a distinct race with ingrained characteristics’. (Quoted in Chris Corr, ‘English Literary Culture and Irish Literary Revival’, PhD Diss., UUC 1995, p.68.)

Terence de Vere White: ‘James Anthony Froude’s novel about Kerry, where he used to come for his holidays - The Two Chiefs of Dunboy is due for a revival’ (Encyclopaedia of Ireland, Allen Figgis 1967, pp.348-49). Note: Rowse’s abridged edition followed two years after.

Austin Clarke writes of ‘the dogmatism of Froude, attracted and repelled in turn by an alien way of life and thought’. (‘Gaelic Ireland Rediscovered’, in Seán Lucy, Irish Poets in English, Cork: Mercier 1972, p.30.)

Cheryl Herr, For the Land They Loved, Syracuse UP 1991): ‘L. P. Curtis, Lecky’s modern editor: notes that Lecky countered the story of Irish history offered by Froude: “Froude’s stereotype of the unstable Irish Celt made his history read like a Tory brief on how to solve the Irish question, and his conclusion in The English in Ireland that Irishmen and ‘Asiatics’ require equally firm, authoritative government left little to the imagination”.’ (Curtis, ed. & abr. Lecky History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, Chicago 1972; quoted in Herr, p. 34. Herr adds, ‘Froude paints a picture of an England over-eager to accept blame and argues that seven years of Irish preparation for uprising created the actual revolt, not the relatively insignificant “cruelties”.’ (Idem, p.36).

A. L. Rouse, ‘Foreword’, Two Chiefs (1969): rates Froude’s style above that of Macauley; comments of the novel, ‘For one thing, the historian overbore the novelist in it. The original is too long and discursive; the historian is bent on explaining everything, instead of leaving the event to tell its own tale. I have pruned and pares the historical disquisitions in which so many of the exciting events were embedded [11] … his story would make a splendid film today’. [12 END.]

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Roy Foster, Modern Ireland ((London: Allen Lane 1988), writes: ‘Carlylean chronicler of Protestant heroism and Catholic villainy … exasperated interest in Irish affairs … his English in Ireland … (1872), written to expose the folly of Gladstonian conciliation, drew forth Lecky’s riposte’ (p.103). See also ftn.: Froude ’believed the most perfect English history was written by Shakespeare.’

Roy Foster, Paddy and Mr Punch (London: Allen Lane 1993), incls. remarks: [Froude] constantly returning to Ireland, writing beautifully of the therapeutic qualities of life on Co. Kerry; his Irish obsession produced his extraordinary The English in Ireland &c. (1881); sustained invective against Irish self government, argued on impeccably prejudiced Carlylean grounds of Irish unreliability; language of the preface suggests that the book represents an insecure Victorian overreaction against something insidiously attractive; quotes Froude: ’[the Irish are] passionate in everything - passionate in their patriotism, passionate in their religion, passionately courageous, passionately loyal and affectionate, they are without manliness which will give strength and solidity to the sentimental part of their dispositions, while the surface and show is so seductive and so winning that only experience of its instability can resist the charm’. Froude argued in Salisburian terms, the Hottentot case of Celtic incapacity for self-government; Irish criminality ‘originated out of’ Catholicism; Protestant virtues were commercial and social as much a religious … ‘Irish ideas’ were a debased set of beliefgs which should have been socialised out of the natives. (Chap., ‘History and the Irish Question’; espec. pp.9-10.)

Further, ‘Froude argued, in Salisburian terms, the “Hottentot” case of Celtic incapacity for self-government. Irish criminality “originated out of” Irish Catholics; Protestant virtues were commercial and social as well as religious’. Foster refers to ‘the exotic fact that Froude had regained his lost faith through a sojourn in a Wicklow rectory. Culture as well as worship, could be defined in religious terms, and Irish ideas were a debased set of beliefs … Anglo-Irish colonial nationalism was equally a corrupt; Irish declarations that they would fight for nationhood should, then and now, bee seen as bluff’ (p.10; and see also under Lecky, q.v.]. Foster cites ‘secondary literature of refutation by Thomas Burke, W. H. Flood, John Mitchel, J. D. McGee, and others’ (op. cit., Notes, p.311).

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Declan Kiberd (Inventing Ireland, 1995), comments on Froude in the context of Wilde’s review of Two Chiefs (1889), noting that West-Indian islanders coined the term “Froudacity” to describe his lofty condescension (p.37; see also under Wilde.)

Anthony Cronin, Beckett: The Last Modernist (Flamingo 1996), of Portora College: ‘Irish history was not taught there and Beckett rarely showed any but the most minimal interest in it, a fact which makes critical theory relating his work to the guilt he and other Protestants felt about their part in its melancholy course rather dubious. The general feeling among his class would certainly not have been guilt; and most members of it would have inclined to the J. A. Froude view that the Protestants were the civilising influence, teaching probity, fair dealing and respect for the law to the natives.’ (p.49.)

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Froude on the Irish: ‘[…] light-hearted, humorous, susceptible through the entire range of feeling, from the profoundest pathos to the most playful jest, if they possess some real virtues they possess the counterfeits of a hundred more.’ (English in Ireland, q.p.)

The English in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, 3 vols. [1872-74; rev. edn.] (London: Longmans, Green 1886): ‘The incompleteness of character is conspicuous in all that they do and have done; in their history, in thei pratical habits, in their arts and in their literature. Their lyrical melodies are exquisite, their epic poetry is ridiculous bombast. In the lives of their saints there is a wild if fantistic splendour; but they have no secular history, for as a nation they have done nothing which posterity will not be anxious to forget; and if they have never produced a tolerable drama, it is because imagination cannot outstrip reality. In the annals of ten centuries there is not a character, male or female, to be found belonging to them with sufficient firmness of texture to be carved into dramatic outline. Their temperaments are singularly impressionable, yet the impression is incapable of taking shape. They have little architecture of their own, and the forms introduced from England have been robbed of their grace. Their houses, from cabin to castle, are the most hideous in the world. No [t]ies of beauty soften anywhere the forbidding harshness of their provincial towns; rarely does climbing rose or [23] creeper dress the walls of farmhouse or cottage. The sun never shone on a loverelier country as nature made it. They have pared the forests to the stump, till it shivers in damp and desolation. The perception of taste which belong to the higher orders of uderstanding, are as completely absent as truthfulness of spirit is absent, or cleanliness of person and habit. The Irish are the spendthrift sister of the Arian race. Yet there is notwithstanding a fascination about them in their old land and in the sand an strange associations of their singular destiny. They have a power of attraction which no one who has felt it can withstand. Brave rashness, yet so inform of purpose, that unless they are led by others their bravery is useless to them; patriots, yet with a history which they must trick with falsehood to render it tolerable even to themselves; imaginative and poetical, yet unable to boast one single national work of art; attached ardently to their country, yet so cultivating it that they are the byeword of Europe; they appeal to sympathy in their very weakness; and they possess and have always possessed some qualities the moral worth of which it is impossible to overestimate, and which are rare in the choicest races of mankind.’ (pp.23-24; for longer extracts, see attached.)

Two Chief of Dunboy (1889): ‘’The Irish race have always been noisy, useless and ineffectual. they have produced nothing, they have done nothing which is possible to admire. What they are that they have always been, and the only hope for them is that their ridiculous Irish nationality should be buried and forgotten.’ (Quoted in Noreen Doody, ’Yeats and Wilde: Nation and Identity, Ground for Influence’, New Voices in Irish Criticism, ed. P. J. Mathews, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2000, pp.27-33, p.28 [no page ref.].)

Short Studies on Great Subjects (1898): The peasantry is called ‘the most deserving class in the country; Froude further considers the ‘material and spiritual conditions of the masses of the inhabitants’ and finds them unworthy of self-government, especially by a parliament of Irish clergy.

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Judicial murder: On the execution by hanging of Fr. Nicholas Sheehy at Clonmel in 1766: ‘[Sheehy] was raised on the spot to an honoured place in the Irish martyrology. His tomb became a place of pilgrimage - the scene at which the Catholic Celt could renew annually his vow of vengeance against the assassins of Ireland’s saints. the stone which lay above his body was chipped in pieces by enthusiastic relic hunters.’ (English in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, 1888 [Edn.], Vol. II, p.310; cited in Conor Cruise O’Brien, The Great Melody (London 1992). O’Brien calls Froude ’a fine writer’ adding: ’but his views were distorted by his highly idiosyncratic judgement, as evidenced by […] the source for this quotation.’ [ftn.]

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Failed experiment: ‘Had the Irish been regarded from the outset as a conquered people […] her lands [might have] been left in the hands of their native owners […] and her religion need not have been interfered with. […] The nature of the English constitution forbade an experiment which might have been dangerous to our liberties. Ireland was in fact a foreign country; we preferred to assume that she was an integral part of the empire [and therefore t]he rule of feudal tenure inflicted forfeiture.

Further, ‘at the conquest we enforced submission to the Papacy; at the reformation, we forced it to apostasize [… .] Had Union [been passed in 1706] … [and hd] ‘a strong British Protestant migration been directed continuously into all parts of the island, the native population might have been overborne or driven out.’ Further, ‘By a contemptible jealousy she flung them back upon themselves, a minority in a hostile population…left them to add their own grievances to the accumulated wrongs of the entire country … an army of occupants amid a spoliated nation who were sullenly brooding their wrongs.’ (‘Revival of the Celts’, The English in Ireland; In Bk. V., Chapter I, dealing with the tendency of the English garrison and the Irish natives to merge politically in the period of Grattan’s Parliament.

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Right is Might: ‘Among reasonable beings right is for ever tending to create might … There is no disputing against strength, nor happily is there need to dispute, for the strength which gives a right to freedom, implies the presence of those qualities which ensure that it will be rightly used.’ (The English in Ireland, Vol. I, Bk. 2, p.12; cited by Christopher Morash, in [q. tit.] C. C. Barfoot, et al., eds., The Literature of Politics, The Politics of Literature, Vol. 1, Amsterdam: Rodopi 1995, pp.207-17) Further, ‘If you choose to take a race like the Irish or like the negroes […] who are not strong enough or brave enough to defend their own independence, and whom our own safety cannot allow to fall under any other power, our right and our duty is to govern such races and to govern them well, or they will have a right in turn to cut our throats. This is our mission.’ (Froude, The English in the West Indies: Or, the Bow of Ulysses, London 1888, p.208; Morash, idem.)

Cromwell at Drogheda: ‘History … ever eloquent in favour of the losing cause - history, which has permitted the massacre of 1641 to be forgotten, or palliated, or denied - has held up the storming of Drogheda to external execration.’ (Quoted by Ramsay Collis, in History of Ulster, Vol. III [1640-1796] (London: Gresham Publishing MCMXIX [1919]) Note that Collis takes the view that the massacres are not forgotten and alludes to Froude as one who was ‘never a friend to the Irish’.

Lord Edward: ‘[…] Major Swan told him quietly that he had a warrant for his arrest; his resistance would be useless, but he would be treated with the respect due to his rank. Lord Edward cared nothing for his rank. He had abjured his title six years before in Paris, and in Dublin among the initiated he was called Citizen FitzGerald. But below his citizenship ran the fierce wild blood of the Geraldines. Springing from his bed, he levelled a pistol at Major Swan’s head …’ (Quoted in Cheryl Herr, For the Land They Loved, Syracuse UP 1991, p.32).

On the Presbyterians of Ulster: ‘Vexed with suits in the ecclesiastical courts, forbidden to educate their children in their own faith, treated as dangerous to a State which but for them would have had no existence, and associated with Papists in an act of Parliament which deprived them of their civil rights, the most earnest of them abandoned the unthankful service; they saw at last that the liberties for which they and their fathers fought were not to be theirs in Ireland. If they intended to live as freemen, speaking no lies, and professing openly the creed of the Reformation they must seek a country where the long arm of Prelacy was still too short to reach them. During the first half of the eighteenth century, Down, Antrim, Tyrone, Armagh and Derry were emptied of Protestant inhabitants who were of more value to Ireland than Californian gold mines, while the scattered colonies of the South, denied chapels of their own and if they did not wish to be atheists or Papists, offered the alternative of conformity or departure, took the Government at their word and melted away.’ (Quoted in James Connolly, The Re-conquest of Ireland, 1915; rep. with Labour in Ireland, Maunsel 1917.)

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Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), lists History of England (1869); English in Ireland provoked Lecky and also Father Thomas Burke’s Froude on Ireland; stayed at Derreen, Kenmare, Co. Kerry, where he began English in Ireland (Vol. 1, 1872); the novel Dunboy [1889] ‘embodies his chief ideas on Ireland’; O’Sullivan country in SW Cork, 1750-98; Brown summarises Froude’s thesis: if England had replaced the hopeless Celt by Anglo-Saxon and Protestant colonists, she would have avoided her subsequent troubles in Ireland.

Oxford Dictionary of Quotations selects [of two]: ‘Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only [animal] to whom torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself,’ from Oceania; also ‘Fear is the parent of cruelty’; ‘Men are made by nature unequal … vain to treat them as if they were equal.’

Margaret Drabble, ed., Oxford Companion to English Literature (1985, 1996), emphasises his temperamental problems, as early casualty of Oxford Movement; wrote spectacularly bad novel, Nemesis of Faith (1849) out his sexual frustration, causing him to leave the University; his American tour cut short by Irish nationalist agitation; his Reminiscences of Carlyle (1881) and Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle (1883) distinguished by their shattering frankness; bibl., Herbert Paul, Life of Froude (1907); Waldo Hilary Dunn’s biography (1961-63).

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2 , 380-83 reprints Oscar Wilde’s review of The Two Chiefs of Dunboye (1889), ‘Mr Froude’s Blue Book on Ireland’ [here 380-83], first printed in [?recte] Pall Mall Gazette, 13 April 1889; Declan Kiberd writes [ed. essay, 375-76]: ’In a review of Froude’s Two Chiefs, [Wilde] ridiculed its theory that Celts only thrive under the rule of Anglo-Saxons. Froude had indicted the Anglo-Irish ascendancy not for its cruelty, but for its inefficiency in enforcing the law. ‘Mr Froude admits the martyrdom … carried out’ Froude had endorsed Matthew Arnold’s comment on the inability of the Celt to cope with the tyranny of fact, to the great disgust of Wilde, in whose moral lexicon the word fact enjoyed a low estimate. ‘‘The Irish, [Froude] tells us, had disowned the facts of life and the facts of life had proved the strongest.’ Wilde closed his review with a wicked inversion of the author’s original purpose, ‘As a record, however, of the incapacity of a Teutonic to rule a Celtic people against their own wishes his book is not without value’, mischievously adding the afterthought that, ‘There are some who will welcome with delight the idea of solving the Irish question by doing away with the Irish people. Note: FDA3 remarks that of W. E. H. Lecky that his History of Ireland in the 18th Century effectively exposes the intemperate rancour of the former’s [i.e., Froude’s] work. (See further under Lecky.)

Oxford Literary Guide to British Isles cites Lauragh [sic] in Kerry as the place where he wrote his Irish novel, ‘with only a peat-stack for prospect’.

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Libraries & Booksellers
Ulster Libraries: Belfast Linen Hall Library holds The English in Ireland in the 18th Century, 3 vols. (1872-74); Belfast Public Library holds The English in Ireland, 3 vols. (1907-1906 sic); Two Chiefs of Dunboy; also, My Relations with Carlyle (1903). University of Ulster Library, Morris Collection holds The English in Ireland &c, 3 vols. (1901).

Hyland Catalogue (No. 214) lists Short Studies on Great Subjects (1898), vols. 1-3 [only]; vol. 3 has articles on ’Fortnight in Kerry’, and ’Ireland Since the Union’; also Herbert Paul, The Life of Froude (1905).

Stevens Catalogue (1995) lists James Anthony Froude, Thomas Carlyle, A History of the First Forty years of His Life 1795-1881, 4 vols. (London: Longmans 1882-4) [35].

De Burca Catalogue (No. 18) lists Rev. T. N. Burke, Ireland’s Case Stated in reply to Mr. Froude (NY Haverty, 1873), pp. 238.

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The Smugglers’, being a section in The English in Ireland (Vol. I, Book III, Chap. II; 1881 Edn. pp.504-56), deals with circumstances that form the plot of The Two Chiefs of Dunboy (1889).

Tone: Froude quotes Theobald Wolfe Tone: ‘A country so great a stranger to itself as Ireland, where North and South and East and West meet to wonder at each other, is not yet prepared for the adoption of one political faith … &c.’ (See further under Tone.)

Fortnight, 299 (Oct. 1992) contains an unsigned anniversary account of the 1641 Rebellion which alludes to the argument between Lecky and Froude that sparked off numerous books including Thomas Fitzpatrick’s Bloody Bridge [1903]. (Fortnight, p.31.)

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