James Godkin

Life
1806-1879; b. Gorey, Co. Wexford; purportedly a convert from Catholicism; became a Protestant and was ordained in the Congregation Church, Armagh; became a journalist after writing prize essay on Federalism in the context of Repeal called the Right of Ireland; fnd-ed., Derry Standard and Christian Patriot (1838-40), and ed. Daily Express; secured pension from Victoria for his Illustrated History of England from 1820 to the Death of the Prince Consort [q.d.]; joined the Tenant League, 1859; other books include Ireland and Her Churches (1867), with outspoken remarks on the Famine, emigration, Land War, education, Catholicism and Presbyterianism in Ireland, incorporating views of Dr. Chalmers; also The Land-War in Ireland (1870), and The Religious History of Ireland, Primitive, Papal, and Protestant (1873). CAB ODNB JMC DIH DUB

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Works
Ireland and Her Churches (London: Chapman 1867); with John A. Walker, The New Hand-Book of Ireland, an illustrated guide for tourists and travellers (Dublin: Steam Printing c.1869), 468pp. [maps and cold litho ills. by Foster of Dublin]; The Land War in Ireland: A History for the Times (Port Washington NY: Kennikat 1970), xiv., 439pp. [facs. edn.]; also A Guide from the Church of Rome to the Church of Christ (q.d).

Bibliographical details
The Land- War in Ireland: A History for the Times / By James Godkin, Author of Ireland and Her Churches, late Irish Correspondent of the Times (London: Macmillan & Co. 1870), . Demy 8vo. 12s. [notice in end-list catalogue of Arnold’s ed. of Burke on Irish Affairs (1881).

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References
Dictionary of National Biography, gives bio-data: 1806-1879; writer on Ireland; est. Christian Patriot (Belfast 1849; recte 1838-40; see note]); ed. Derry Standard and Dublin Daily Express; member of Tenant League, 1859; civil list pension, 1873; The Land War in Ireland (1970); Religious History of Ireland (1873).

Belfast Public Library holds The Religious History of Ireland (1873).

Emerald Isle Books (1995) lists Ireland and Her Churches (London: Chapman 1867); with John A. Walker, The New Hand-Book of Ireland, an illustrated guide for tourists and travellers (Dublin: Steam Printing c.1869), 468pp.; maps and cold litho ills. by Foster of Dublin [£75]

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Quotations
Land-War (1870): ‘Let them picture ... this fine race of honest, godly people, rack-rented, crushed, evicted, heart-broken - men and women, and children - Protestants, Saxons, cast out to perish as the refuse of the earth, by a set of landed proprietors of their own race and creed; and learn ... that if any body of men has the power of making laws to promote its own interest, no instincts of humanity, no dictates of religion can ... keep them from acting with ruthless barbarity ...’ (q.pp.). Also states that Godkin was baptised by Bishop James Keating of the Diocese of Ferns in 1818 or 1819, his parish priest being one Patrick Synnott (‘Father Sinnott’) of Gorey, Co. Wexford in his own account of his conversion. ’

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Notes
Gerald Hall
(Centre for Research Libraries, Chicago) writes that the online New Dictionary of National Biography gives 1838-40 as publication dates of the Christian Patriot (Belfast), compared with those stated in the Shorter ODNB and cited in References [supra]. Hall also cites a collection of Godkin’s newpaper writings published as The Touchstone of Orthodoxy (1838), and confirms that he wrote a prize-winning Repeal essay, adding that ‘his conditions for Repeal, such as a majority of Protestants acceding to it, certainly were not the party line.’

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