Edward Hay (1761-1826)

References


Life
?1761-1826, b. br. Ballinkeele, Co. Waterford, son of Harvey Hay (d.1796) and Catherine [née Fergus]; related to Bagnal Harvey; br. of John Hay, a United Irishman and leader of the rebellion in Wexford, executed on Wexford Bridge, 26 June 1798; a second br., Philip, served in the British Army; member of Catholic gentry in Co. Wexford, of Norman descent; educ. France and Germany; raised petition of 22,251 names supporting Fitzwilliam after his removal from the lord lieutenancy at the behest of the ultra-Protestants;
 
elected local rep. to Catholic Committee, with his br. Harvey, and visited St. James Palace, London, with a petition to the king; disinherited by his father as a radical, 1795; organised census in Ballinkeele, reflecting proportion of Catholics and Protestants; accepted as a member of the RIA on account of his proposal for a national census, 1795 - and collected results widely from volunteers (publ. as appendix in his History, 1803); planned to leave Ireland for America in 1795, but prevented by legal business relating to his estate;
 
caught up in 1798 rebellion, nominally as a captain of the insurgents, though later pleading that he had to negotiate between parties due to his position, engaging in acts of mercy towards both sides - viz., implored the United Irishmen in Wexford to give their Orangeman prisoners a trial before execution (Kavanagh, Popular History, 1874); he was later one of those who conveyed the inhabitants’ peaceful undertakings on its capture by Kingborough; became the object of insinuations and persecution by the ultra-Protestant gentry who formed the Wexford committee, led by George Ogle (of ‘Ogle’s Blues’ yeomenry);
 
imprisoned on a hulk in Wexford harbour under dire conditions, and later in gaol without trial; ultimately tried for treason and acquitted; 1798, but rearrested by Gen. Grose in Wexford, and finally released through influence of Lord Cornwallis, 1799; issued a History of the Insurrection of the County of Wexford, a.d. 1798 (Dublin 1803), answering the charges of Sir Richard Musgrave (Memoirs, 1801), containing with a lengthy autograph account of his persecution and incarceration by the Wexford committee of ‘loyalists’, praising the courage of the ‘intrepid’ rebels in the main part but enjoining ‘union and harmony’ and the forgetting of the past for the benefit of Ireland;
 
subsequently lived in Dublin and acted as Secretary to the Catholic Society, 1806-1819; replaced for exceeding his authority in direct communication with the Government; imprisoned in Kilmainham on account of debts incurred by the Catholic Committee, 1822; beneficiary of court order for £2,000 in belated settlement of his dispute with his br. Philip, who had inherited Ballinkeele estate, 1825; the estate sold to the Maher family, the house being soon demolished and rebuilt, 1826; d., from blood-poisoning, in Dublin, 13 Oct. 1826; survived by four dgs. and three sons, living in poverty; bur. St. James's, Kilmainham, Dublin, where the headstone is extant; 1,000 of his letters have survived. ODNB RIA

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Works
  • History of the Insurrection of the County of Wexford, a.d. 1798; including an account of the transactions preceding that event, with an appendix. Embellished with an elegant map of the County of Wexford, by Edward Hay, Esq.; member of the Royal Irish Academy (Dublin: printed for the Author by John Stockdale , 62 Abbey St., 1803). [see details]
  • [Another edition with adds. as] History of the Insurrection in the County of Wexford, A.D. 1798; including an account of transactions preceding that event. With an appendix, etc. (Authentic detail of the ... conduct of Sir R. Musgrave. With a full refutation of his slander against E. H.. )(Dublin : J. Stockdale, 1803) [2 pts.] xliv, 304, xxxvi, 20pp., 8º [COPAC].
  • History of the Irish Insurrection of 1798: giving an authentic account of the various battles fought between the insurgents and the King's army, and a genuine history of transactions preceding that event, with a valuable appendix / by Edward Hay (Dublin: James Duffy 1842), vii, 344pp., 8º; Do. ((Dublin: James Duffy; London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co. 1847 ), iv, 13-252pp.; and Do. [Duffy's Library of Ireland] (Dublin 1854), 12º.
  • Do., as The History of the Irish Rebellion of 1798; and, The History of the American Revolution, by Edward Hay and Michael Doheny [Duffy's Library of Ireland], 2 vols. in 1 Dublin: James Duffy 1848), [2], iv, 13-252; xv, [1], 13-248pp. [14cm].
  • History of the Irish insurrection of 1798, giving an authentic account of the various battles fought between the insurgents and the King's army ... [New edn.] (Dublin 1898).

Hay’s History of the Insurrection ... (1803) is available on internet at —
.... Ask About Ireland [online] and Google Books [online] - both accessed 01.09.2010.
 
[ For full-text version of the Introduction, see under RICORSO Library, “Writers”, via index, or direct. ]

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Bibligraphical details
History of the Insurrection of the County of Wexford, a.d. 1798; including an account of the transactions preceding that event, with an appendix. Embellished with an elegant map of the County of Wexford, by Edward Hay, Esq.; member of the Royal Irish Academy (Dublin: printed for the Author by John Stockdale , 62 Abbey St., 1803). [Epigraph: Pericolosae plenum opus aleæ / Tractus, et incedis per ignes / Soppositos Cineri dolos. (Q. Horatii, Carminum liber II); ‘I will a round unvarnished Tale deliver - Nothing extenuate / Nor set down ought [sic] in malice’ - Shakespeare.] Includes chaps. variously on ‘Riots in the year 1793’, ‘Melancholy effect produces by the riots in the county of Armagh, in 1795’, ‘Dreadful abomination at Scullabogue’, ‘Skirmish at Tinnahaly, 16th June [Tinnehely]’, ‘Trials and executions in Wexford’, ‘Conduct of General Hunter, his superior discrimination’, ‘Intended extermination of the inhabitants of the Macomores’, ‘Melancholy effect of the insurrection’, ‘Conflagrations of a protestant church and catholic chapels’, ‘Conclusion’ [304]. Appendices incl. various addresses, orders, and resolutions, affadavits, letters, and a testimony [of Dr. Jacob] - e.g., I: Speech of Captain Sweetman, on 22d of September, 1792 [i]; X: Address of the inhabitants of the Macamores to major Fitzgerald [xxv]. Also half-title: INSURRECTION / of the / COUNTY of WEXFORD / entered at Stationers'-Hall. (See also Quotations, infra; also a digital copy of the Introduction in RICORSO Library, attached [password access].)

Note: the Introduction and Appendix, and map are generally omitted from later editions. The map has been reprinted in the map H. F. B. Wheeler & A. M. Broadley, The War in Wexford: An Account of the Rebellion in the South of Ireland in 1798 (London: John Lane / Bodley Head 1910), a work based on the correspondence of Arthur, Earl of Mount Norris from 27 Dec. 1796 to 10 July 1813.

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Criticism
  • Kevin Whelan, ‘Politicisation in Co. Wexford: United Irishman xxx’.
  • Margaret Ó hÓgartaigh, ‘Edward Hay, Wexford Historian of 1798’, in Journal of the Wexford Historical Society (Old Wexford Society) 17 (1998-99), pp159-75.
  • Margaret Ó hÓgartaigh, ‘Edward Hay: Historian of of 1798’, in Eighteenth-century Ireland, XIV (1999), pp.121-24.
  • Margaret Ó hÓgartaigh, Edward Hay: Historian of 1798 (History Press 2010), 144pp. [see note]. See also the entry on Edward Hay in the Oxford Companion to Irish History, ed. Sean Connolly (1998).
 

Note: hÓgartaigh is the author of the revised entry on Hay in the New Dictionary of National Biography (2004) while the version in the older edition (DNB 1899) was written by Sir John Gilbert. Both are available online to password holders only. Ó hÓgartaigh [as Whelan] wrote an MA thesis on Hay at UCGalway [NUI] 1991) and the article in the RIA Dictionary of Irish Biography. There is also a Wikipedia article [online].

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Quotations
A History of the Insurrection ... 1798 (1803): Introduction: ‘[...] I would not obstrude myself on public attention, were I not earnestly solicited by numerous and respectable friends, (who have at length prevailed) to give a genuine acount of the transactions in the county of Wexford, during the insurrection, in the year 1798; in order to counteract the baleful effects of the partial details and hateful misrepresentations, which have contributed so much to revive and continue those loathsome prejudices that have, for centuries, disturbed and distracted Ireland. It is conceived, that a fair and impartial account, by dissipating error, may operate as a balm to heal the wounds of animosity; for let the candid reader be of what political principles he may, I am confident he must be sensible, that no adherent of either o fhte contending parties in this unhappy country, can in justification feel himself authorized to assert, that his own party was perfectly in the right, and the other egregriously in the wrong; and yet there are partizans to be found on either side, endeavouring to maintain that this is actually the case. But if these cealots could be induced calmly to listen to the melancholy tales of enormity that can unfortunately be told of both parties, they might be prevailed upon to relax a little in their prejudices. If the spirit of intolerance and retaliation be still held up, no kind of social intercourse [ii] or harmony can exist in Irland With a view, therefore, to establishing concord, by shewing from what has happened, that it will be of universal advantage to forget the past, and to cultivate general amity in the future, I have undertaken the arduous task of endeavouring to reconcile; pointing out errors by a genuine relation of facts, and I hope this may eventually prevail upon neighbours of all descriptions to cherish the lessings of union and mutual benevolence, which cannot fail of naishing from their breasts every rankling idea, and must prevent the possibility of their ever becomine the easy tools of political speculation, which unfortunately hitherto encouraged hatred and variance, and ended in the miserable debility and depression of all. / Did I know any other person willing and able to give a more circumstantial account of what has fatally happened in the county of Wexford (which is the only part of Ireland I at present undertake to treat of) I would cheerfuly resign my documents into his hands; but as I have been most peculiarly circumstanced, as an eye-witness of many remarkable transactions, the information cannot be so well handed over, and might not be produced with such good effect at second-hand. Iconceive it therefore necessary to give some account of myself, as most of my readers could not possibly otherwise be sensible of the many opportunities I had of being informed of the state of the country, which certainly did not fall to the lot of many persons. / My family have been established in Ireland since the reign of Henry the second, as my ancestor came over with Strongbow, and was alloted a knight’s share of [iii] lands in the southern part of the country of Wexford, which his descendants possessed until the revolution in Ireland about the middle of the seventeenth century [...]’ (pp.i-iii) [Cont.]

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A History of the Insurrection ... 1798 (1803), Introduction - cont.: ‘[...D]uring the suspension of the habeas corpus act no man could be secure from the rancour of party-spirit, which I fear it will still take much time to allay, before numbers are brought back to their sober senses. I have had constant opportunities of observing the baleful effects of being led away by party.I have known men, whom I believe to be naturally well inclined, if their dispositions were not warped by the virulence of such companions, as they think it necessary to associate with, lest their loyalty may be otherwise impeached, join in acts of outrage and excess; varying their conduct according to the temper of their associates, or the circumstances that may occur, and condescending, now and again, to speak only to individuals whom it was happy for them, to meet in the hour of misfortune, and to whom they owe any share of character they still retain; but so lost to all sense of gratitude, that the mere condescension of speaking is never exhibited in the presence of certain individuals, or where there may be any possibility of its being observed by such characters. As for myself I was so calumniated and reviled during my confinement, when I had not the power of counteraction, that evil rumour wrought so much on some of my former acquaintance as to occasion their assuming the appearance of not knowing me; but I was even with them in pitying their pusillanimity and littleness. I was well prepared for such occurrences, and I have made it an invariable rule with myself, not to appear to know [xxxv] any former acquaintances, until first known by them; considering that my misfortunes entitle me to the first compliment; and some have after a time returned to former civility, and excused themselves on being undeceived, as having been misled by false information. Indeed the spirit of MISTAKEN LOYALTY was so zealous, that it induced many to fabricate lies which required numberless others to support them; nay, the public mind was so led astray, that truth itself, by various misconstructions, was perverted into absolute falsehood. I remember on my first coming to Dublin after my acquittal, that several persons told me, how distressing it was to them to hear many falsehoods related of particular instances of which they had themselves been witnesses, but which their timidity prevented them from contradicting. On my mentioning that I would not act in a manner that might sanction falsehood, by remaining silent in the presence of its known assertors, I was entreated not to give them as authority.’ (p.xxxv; For further extracts, see attached; see also full text of Introduction in RICORSO Library, Historical Authors, via index or direct.)

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Reference
Dictionary of Irish Biography: biog. as supra; quotes Henry Grattan as calling Hay ‘a well meaning person; very busy, always in a bustle, and extremely loquacious’, and O’Connell as calling him ‘the servant of eight million people’ - but note that O’Connell made him chargeable for the debts of the Catholic Committee after it was abandoned by the aristocracy [i.e., Lord Trimleston] and divided by the episcopal Veto issue; also, opposed the petition of 1812 which contained insulting references to the Prince Regent. [Ibid., article by Margaret Ó hÓgartaigh.]

British Library holds History of the Insurrection in the County of Wexford, A.D. 1798; including an account of transactions preceding that event. With an appendix, etc. (Authentic detail of the ... conduct of Sir R. Musgrave. With a full refutation of his slander against E.H.). (Dublin : J. Stockdale, 1803) 2 pt. xliv, 304, xxxvi, 20 p. ; 8º.

London Quarterly Review (1836): Note that a William Hay, late commander of the East India Company's ship Charles Grant and formerly second officer of the Dutton, writes the London Quarterly Review rebutting the charge brought against the officers of the Dutton, lost in Plymouth Sounds, in 1796. (Quarterly, Dec. 1836, p.147f.)

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