John Gamble

Life
?1770-1830; b. Strabane, Co. Tyrone; Army surgeon; served in Holland; travel tales and stories, including Sarsfield, or Wanderings of Youth (1814); Sarsfield (1814); Howard (1815); Northern Irish Tales (1818); Charlton, or Scenes from Northern Ireland (1823, 1827); Ulster novels give vivid picture (Crone). IF DIW MKA FDA DUB OCIL

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Works
Charlton; or, Scenes in the North of Ireland: A Tale, 3 vols. (London & Aberdeen 1823; 1827), 12o.; Sketches of History, Politics, and Manners, Taken in Dublin and the North of Ireland in the Autumn of 1810 (London: London: Published by C. Cradock & W. Joy; printed by Sidney George 1810; 1811), [2], 294pp. [attrib. to Gamble in BL Cat.]; Do. (Dublin: Grant, Bolton and Co., Dublin 1811) [same with ticket of Dublin publ. pasted over]; A View of Society and Manners in the North of Ireland: in the Summer and Autumn of 1812 (London: C. Cardock & W. Joy 1813), viii, 399pp., 8o.; Views of Society and Manners in the North of Ireland: In a Series of Letters Written in the Year 1818 (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown 1819), vi, 423pp. [See COPAC.]

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Commentary
A. A. Campell, Irish Book Lover, Vol. 1, ii, p.20 (1909); describes his stories and essays as a ‘vivid pen picture of the Ulster of his day ... invaluable’; see also Vol. 4. Noticed as fiction-writer in Cahalan, Irish Novel, p.25.

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Quotations
Views of Society and Manners in the North of Ireland
(1812): ‘The county of Armagh Presbyterians are the very Spadassins of Protestants. Their unhappy disputes a few years ago with the Catholics are well known. It is therefore unnecessary [and I rejoice in it] for me to touch on them here.’ Yet ‘Armagh is as much beautified byindustry as it is disfigured by the passions of men ...’Gamble relates how the lower class often describe his face as ‘moderate’ and therefore like a clergyman. ‘The lower class of people in Ireland are great physiognomists - good ones, I am bound ot suppose, for my face has often been received the above moderate compliment. It speaks favorably, however, of the manner of of the Irish Protestant clergy that a man of mild demeanor is almost always taken for one of them.’ (Extract in Patricia Craig, Rattle of the North (1992, p.81.)

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References
Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day Co. 1991), [Vol. 1], remarks: Gamble silently adopts the persona of a nondescript traveller in describing the social landscpae of his native province. While it appears to be yet another tour (cf. Arthur Young) his Sketches of Dublin and the North of Ireland possesses a modicum of fictional narrative. Apart from travel writings [here], Gamble wrote three novels and a collection of tales. His name can serve to remind us how relatively unexplored the mass of Irish fictional writing remains ... [W. J. McCormack, ed., ‘Language, Class and Genre’, 1081] BIOG, 1171, surgeon in Low Countries, sympathetic to Protestant radical aspect of United Irishmen; life obscure, bibl., A. Albert Campbell Irish Book Lover, Vol. 1 (1909), pp.20-21; selects from Sketches of Dublin and the North of Ireland, 1106-71; but see also note under Emmet’s Dock Speech.

Ulster Libraries: Belfast Central Library holds Charlton, or Scenes in the North of Ireland, Vol. 1, in 1810 (1826), listed as fiction; also, Sketches in History, politics and manners ... Dublin and N. Ireland. (1826). Belfast Linenhall Library holds Sketches of the History, Politics and Manners of Dublin and the North of Ireland (1826); also Views of Society and Manners in the North of Ireland (1812, 1813). Univ. of Ulster (Morris Collection) holds Views of Society and Manners in the North of Ireland, in a series of letters written in the year 1818 (NY [?]1981).

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