Paul Hiffernan

Life
1719-1777, born Dublin; journalist and playwright, engaged by the Dublin Government to produce a satirical journal directed against Dr. Charles Lucas in 1747-48 and also attacked Thomas Sheridan; issued The Marrow of the Tickler’s Works, by ‘Scriblerus’ (1748) appears to be a counteract; adapted for publication Henry Jones’s, The Heroine of the Cave (1755); his Miscellanies in Prose and Verse (1760) contains essay arguing for higher estimate of Polonius in Hamlet; The Wishes of a Free People (1761), verse drama; dissolute; revised play by Henry Jones (q.v.); The Tickler in opposition to Charles Lucas (1750); issued in London The Tuner (1753); farces, and miscellanies; also Dramatic Genius (1770), ded. Garrick, who raised a subscription for him; d. London, on jaundice contracted in poverty;The Earl of Warwick (1764) reprinted by Robert Bell (1767). RR ODNB DIW OCIL

[ top ]

Works
The Recantation and Confession of Doctor Kenrick, LL.D. (London: Allen 1772), 12pp., contains a mock recantation prefaced by coarse dialogue between Kenrick and his publisher Wheble, attributed by Kenrick to ‘that filthy yahoo, Paul Hiffernan’. The affair arose in connection with the Kenrick-Garrick dispute of 1772, arising in turn from Kenrick’s scurrilous lampoon Love in the Suds (1772) concerning Garrick’s alleged involvement with Isaac Bickerstaffe imputed homosexual offences. (See Michael Arnott, English Theatrical Literature, 1970; item 2905. ) Also cited in Thomas O’Leary, Hugh Kelly, PhD., Fordham Univ. 1965, Bibl.

[ top ]

Criticism
T. Percy C. Kirkpatrick, ‘A Note on the Life and Writings of Paul Hiffernan, M.D.’ [Paper read before the Bibliographical Society of Ireland, 24th Nov. 1930) (Dublin: Bibl. Soc. of Ireland 1931), pp.11-12; see notice in Irish Book Lover (Jan., Feb., 1931). There is a short life in Richard Ryan, Biographia Hibernica: Irish Worthies (1821), Vol. II, p.311-21.

[ top ]

Commentary
Erskine Baker, reproved Hiffernan for lack of grammar and held him to be ‘perpetually disgracing literature’ (Biographia Dramatica, 1813).

Joseph Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael (1986), writes: Paul Hiffernan, the colourful mounteback [...] published in 1754 a pamphlet advocating the use of Irish subject-matter for a national (Anglo-)Irish literature [...] the pamphlet called The Hiberniad and advocating Ireland’s literary potential with an ‘apologetic Sketch, in Behalf or Its Natural Beauty, and Its Genius of its Inhabitants’ (p.3); also, ‘Two Motives for national Pride, ara (1) The Beauties of the Country; (2) The extraordinary Talents of its Native’ (p.5; Leerssen, p.409.)

Christopher J. Wheatley, ‘“Our own good, plain, old Irish English”: Charles Macklin Cathal McLaughlin) and Protestant Convert Accommodations’, in Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal, 4, 1 (Autumn 1998), account of Hiffernan’s attack on Thomas Sheridan’s contradictory attitude in employing a Catholic troupe called ‘Michel’ and making expensive apologies

[ top ]

References
Peter Kavanagh, Irish Theatre (1946), The Self-Enamoured or the Ladies Doctor, com. (1750); The Lady’s Choice, farce (CG 20 Apr 1759) Larpent MS; The Wishes of a Free People, dram. poem (1761); The New Hippocrates or A Lesson for Quacks, dram. sat. (DL 1 Apr 1761) Larpent MS; The Earl of Warwick or the King and Subject, trag. (1764); National Prejudice, com. (DL 6 Apr 1768); The Philosophic Whim or Astronomy, farce; In the Old Thespian Manner Being a New and Humorous Display of the Universe with Proper Elucidations (1774); The Heroine of the Cave (DL 19 Mar 1774) 1775, and Larpent MS. Life also in European Magazine, Vol. 25 (1798). Kavanagh gives no account of his Humorous Display.

Michael Arnott, English Theatrical Literature (1979), cites Philo-technicus miso-numides [pseud ?Paul Hiffernan], Foote’s Prologue detected, with a miniature prose epilogue of his manner in speaking it .., a scurrilous attack on the comedian and playwright Foote [q.v.]. The identification is made by Lowe who ‘does not doubt’ the authorship. Also, An appendix to Foote’s Prologue Detected; both 1770. BML.

British Library holds, A Faithful narrative of the barbarous murder of P-l H-ff-n, committed by himself (1748); Remarks on an Ode on the death of his Royal Highness Frederick, Prince of Wales, the Ode by W. Dunkin, Remarks by P H, M.D. (1752); The Heroine of the Cave adapted from Henry Jones (1755); The Marrow of Mr. Tickler’s Works [P.H.], by ‘Scriblerus’ pseud. (Lon 1748) Dramatic Genius, 5 books (1770); The Earl of Warwicke, tragedy, from La Harpe (1764); Miscellaneous Prose and Verse (1760); The Philosophic Whim, farce (1774); The Wishes of a Free People, dram. poem (1761); The Self Enamour’d, or the Ladies Doctor, 5 act com. (1750 Dublin).

John Hewitt Library at University of Ulster [contains vols.]

[ top ]

Notes
Lines on Swift: Hiffernan is supposed to be the author of lines on Swift: ‘The bard who triumphs o’er a single vice/Or saves this country by his sage advice;/Deserves as much a statue to his name/As he who conquers in a martial fame/And Drapier, Dublin, Wood intimes to come,/Shall sound like Tully, Catlaine, and Rome.’ (from ‘A Dish of Chocolates’, quoted in cited in Robert Mahony, Jonathan Swift: The Irish Identity, Yale UP 1995; cited in Rosine Aubertine, MA Dip, UUC 1996).

Obituary notice in the Westminster Magazine contains the verses, 'Here bows to earth, where all must bow,/A man devoid of care;/Who eat and drank - the Lord knows how!/And lodg’d - the Lord knows where!’

[ top ]