Amyas Griffith

Life
?1746-1801; b. Roscrea; Poems on Several Occasions (?), The Swaddler, farce (Dublin 1771); notice in Walker’s Hib. Mag. for Jan. 1773, and unflattering mention in Giffard’s Orange. His Miscellaneous Tracts (Dublin 1771) was printed with 748 subscriptions; it is impartial towards Catholics. but violent towards Presbyterians; appt. Surveyor of Taxes, but lost the position through opposing the Govt. at Carrickfergus elections in 1785. there is a memoir in Gentleman’s and London Magazine (Dec. 1785); Observations on the Bishop of Cloyne’s pamphlet, addressed to Richard Woodward; there is a study by F. J. Bigger (A Belfast Micawber [1916]). PI OCIL

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Works
Observations on the Bishop of Cloyne’s pamphlet, in which the Doctrine of Tithes is candidly Considered and Proved to be Oppressive and Unpolitic (Dublin: T. Byrne 1787), 72pp.; Griffith was the object of a vitriolic Letter from Patrick Duigenan (see James Kelly, ‘Relations between Presbyterians and Episcopalian Protestants’, in Eire-Ireland (Fall 1988). Also, ‘Wexford’, Dublin Magazine, August 1764 [Clark, Irish Stage in the County Towns, 1965]

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Criticism
F. J. Bigger, Amyas Griffith: A Belfast Micawber (1916); Aiken McClelland, ‘Amyas Griffith,’ in Irish Booklore, 2 (1972) [infra].

See under Richard Griffith (1704-1793), q.v., regarding the confusion of authors in D. J. O’Donoghue’s Poets of Ireland (1919).

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Commentary
C. G. Duggan, The Stage Irishman (1937): ‘I have excluded nondescript plays like ... Amyas Griffith’s The Swadler [sic] though it may be ... the Methodists of Ennis, Co. Clare, where he spent his youth, which [he] scurrilously attacks’ (p.4).

Peter Kavanagh, The Irish Theatre (Tralee 1946), cites Amyas Griffith 1745-1801, The ‘critical sovereign of Belfast’ and The Swadler, 1771, printed wth a portrait of the author, but unacted.

Aiken McClelland, ‘Amyas Griffith,’ in Irish Booklore, 2, 1 (Spring 1972), ‘Amyas Griffith’: b. Roscrea, 1746; all information from the biog. in The Gentleman’s Magazine, Dec. 1785, 616-121. He edited a Dublin magazine called The Phenix in 1791.

W. J. Lawrence (Irish Book Lover 1, 17 [q.d.]), notes that Amyas Griffin wrote ‘The Swaddler’, an unacted play which entails a caricature of his own mother.

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References
British Library holds Miscellaneous Tracts containing 1] Letter to D. Trant relative to his pamphlet against the Munster peasantry, and his unfortunate duel with J. Colthurst, Bt. 2] Observations on the Bishop of Cloyne’s pamphlet in which the doctrine of tithes is candidly considered 3] Extract of Theophilus’s letter to the author ... a letter to D. Toler ... relative to the unfortunate victim of popular prejudice, N. Sheehy (Dublin [1787], 85pp. 8o; Miscellaneous Tracts containing a narrative of the misfortune of the author ... in a letter to Dominic Trant ii] observations on the Bishop of Cloyne &c iii] Theophilus &c iv] Toler (Dublin 1788), 8o; Observations on Bishop of Cloyne [R. Woodward’s] pamphlet &c (Dublin 1787), 8o.

Belfast Linen Hall Library holds Miscellaneous Tracts; narrative of misfortunes of A. G.; Observations on the Bishop of Cloyne’s Pamphlet (1788).

Belfast Public Library holds F. J. Bigger, Amyas Griffiths, Surveyor Gen. of Belfast, 1780-1785.

Emerald Isle Books [q.d.] lists Observations on the Bishop of Cloyne’s pamphlet, in which the Doctrine of Tithes is candidly Considered and Proved to be Oppressive and Unpolitic (Dublin: T. Byrne 1787), 72pp.

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Notes
Nicholas Sheehy: There is a reference to Miscellaneous Tracts in entry on Nicholas Sheehy, the priest hanged by judicial murder in Co. Tipperary in 1966, in W. J. McCormack, Blackwell Companion to Modern Irish Culture (1999).

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