[Rev. Dr.] Thomas Hussey

Life
1741-1803; first pres. of Maynooth; b. Ballybogan, Co. Meath; ed. Salamanca; Trappist monk [entered La Trappe]; assigned to Spanish Court by order of Pope; chaplain to Spanish embassy in London [rector of Spanish Church, Lon.], c.1767; met Johnson and Burke; FRS, 1792; stayed in London when Spain allied with France and the American colonies; sent by George III to Madrid to detach Spain from alliance; opposed to the 'French disease' (i.e., republicanism) but inappositely called 'an infamous incendiary' by Sir Richard Cox; commissioned to inquire into Catholic unrest in the English army in Ireland, 1794; helped est. Catholic seminary at Maynooth, Co. Kildare; appt. first President of St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, 1795; bishop of Waterford and Lismore, 1797; helped frame concordat between Napoleon and Pius VII in 1802; said to have attended his death-bed, acc. to The Irish Magazine and National Asylum (1808); d. Tramore, Co. Waterford, 11 July 1803. ODNB DIB FDA

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Works
A Sermon
[on Ps. xcv: 1] Preached at the Opening of the Spanish Chapel [...] 1791 [... &c.] (London: J. Ridgway 1792), 22pp., 8o.; A Pastoral Letter to the Catholic clergy of the United Dioceses of Waterford and Lismore (Waterford: James Ramsey Jnr. 1797), 8pp.; Do. [6th edn.] (Dublin: H. Fitzpatrick 1797), 8pp., 8o; A sermon preached [ ...] in the chapel in Spanish Place, on the sixth of May, 1798, Taken in Short-hand by one of the audience, to which is added a short account of the public prayers in the Spanish Chapel for His Holiness Pope Pius VI on the fourteenth of May, 1798 (London: J. P. Coghlan [1798]), 2 pt., 8o.; Do. [another edn., as] A Sermon Preached ... in the Spanish Chapel on Sunday the 2d of March, 1800, and taken in Short-hand by a Gentleman Present (London: executors of J. P. Coghlan 1800), 24pp., 8o.

Note, a namesake is accredited with The Christian obligation to the Poor, of a Sacramental Character. A sermon [on Deut. xv: 11] (London 1844), 8o.; The Claims of the Age and Nation to a Religious Character. A Sermon [on Luke xviii. 8] (London 1844). 8o. The Lessons of History: A Sermon [on 1 Cor. x: 11] (London 1844), 8o., and The Religious Efficacy of Sorrow [on Matt. v: 4] (q.d.).

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Criticism
Contemporary pamphlets, Remarks on a Pastoral Letter lately written by the Rev. Dr. Hussey, to the Roman Catholic Clergy of the united diocesses of Waterford and Lismore (Waterford: J. Ramsey 1797), 6pp., 8o.; Strictures and remarks on Dr. Hussey's late Pastoral address to the clergy of Lismore and Waterford (Dublin: W. M'Kenzie 1797), 11pp., 8o; and Pedro Voltes Bou[?], Thomas Hussey y sus servicios a la política de Floridablanca [q.d.].

Modern commentary, John Healy, in Maynooth College: Its Centenary History (Dublin 1895); Thomas Hussey, Edmund Burke as an Irishman (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son 1926); Daire Keogh, ‘Thomas Hussey’, in Waterford History and Society, ed. T. Power (Dublin 1992) [q.pp.].

See also Conor Cruise O’Brien, Edmund Burke: The Great Melody - A Commented Biography (London: Sinclair-Stevenson 1992), pp.470-71, 486, 572-73, 590-91 [infra]; also under Arthur O'Connor, infra.

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Commentary
Conor Cruise O’Brien, Edmund Burke - The Great Melody: A Commented Biography (London: Sinclair-Stevenson 1992), Sept 1790. O'Brien notes that Richard Burke (1758-1794) was made agent of the Catholic Committee, led by Thomas Hussey (1741-1803), later president of Maynooth, and first Catholic Bishop of Waterford [468]. The Catholic committee remained inactive from 1783 to 1790 [468]; Hussey wrote Burke a letter of overture, 13 Aug. 1790. He later wrote [to Edmund Burke]: ‘Should these Kingdoms be involved in a war, a further toleration to the Catholics of necessity should compel, what true Policy ought to offer voluntarily, i.e., enfranchisement. &c.; see Quotations, infra.] Hitherto the Catholics of that Country have proceeded with proper deference, and submission to the laws, in their application for redress, notwithstanding the endeavors of neighbouring Countries, suggesting to them to wrest by force and violence, what, I hope, they will never mention, but with moderation, and temper. Sublimated, however, as mens minds are by the French disease (as it is not improperly called) one cannot foresee, what a continuation of oppressive laws may work upon the minds of the people, and those of the Irish Catholics are much altered within my Memory; and they will not in future bear the lash of Tirranny [sic for 'tyranny'] and oppression which I have seen inflicted upon them, without resisting or even complaining.’ (Corr., VI p.134) [470-71] O’Brien goes on to quote numerous epistolary exchanges with Hussey with whom he believes Burke marshalled the campaign for Catholic Emancipation. Viz, At the recall of Fitzwilliam, Burke wrote to Hussey: ‘As to the Rest, everything has gone beyond my reach. I have only to lament.’ [532] Further, Hussey at Maynooth is increasingly alarmed by the growth of the Catholic-United Irish connection. ‘I am terrified at what I foresee regarding my own unfortunate native Country. To pass by Parliament, and break the connexion with Great Britain, is, I am informed, the plan of the United Irishmen.’ [572] Burke reply of post 9 Dec 1796 to Hussey’s of 30 Nov. 1796 was his most comprehensive later statement on Ireland. [572] In it he speaks of the ‘desperate alternative between a thankless acquiescence under grievous Oppression or a refuge in Jacobinism.’ [573] It also contains his distinction between the levity of intellectual Jacobinism, and the Jacobinism ‘which arises from penury and irritation, from scorned loyalty, and rejected Allegiance’ and therefore has ‘much deeper roots’. ‘These roots will be shot into the Depth of Hell, and will at last raise up their proud Tops to Haven itself.’ [573] Hussey inappositely described by Richard Musgrave as ‘an infamous incendiary ... now living in the greatest intimacy with Messrs. Fox, Grey, and Sheridan.’ Further, Burke advises Hussey not to exert himself in trying to avert a rebellion, a piece of irrationality on his part which confirms O’Brien’s theory of ‘the existence of strong guilt-feelings on Burke’s part in this area at this time.’ [585 n.] Also, Burke probably saw Dr. Hussey at his deathbed, as alleged by Rev. John Healy, in Maynooth College, Its Centenary History (Dublin 1895), p.100, n.2. [590] Patrick J. Corish, consulted by O’Brien, remarks that the Irish Magazine, 1808, contains a letter stated to be from ‘one of the Maynooth Professors’ and claiming that Hussey ‘attended Burke spiritually in his last illness’. Corish adds, there is a touch of Private Eye about the Magazine, but Private Eye has been known to get it right! He further notes that J. Fitzpatrick writes the same in Secret Service Under Pitt (1892), p.386, with the comment: ‘Fitzpatrick never gives his sources, but his overall accuracy is remarkable. He would not say a thing without having good reason for saying it.’ O’Brien concludes the Burke did indeed send for Hussey but too late [591].

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Quotations
Hussey to Edmund Burke: ‘Should these Kingdoms be involved in a war, a further toleration to the Catholics of necessity should compel, what true Policy ought to offer voluntarily, i.e., enfranchisement. Hitherto the Catholics of that Country have proceeded with proper deference, and submission to the laws, in their application for redress, notwithstanding the endeavors of neighbouring Countries, suggesting to them to wrest by force and violence, what, I hope, they will never mention, but with moderation, and temper. Sublimated, however, as mens minds are by the French disease (as it is not improperly called) one cannot foresee, what a continuation of oppressive laws may work upon the minds of the people, and those of the Irish Catholics are much altered within my Memory; and they will not in future bear the lash of Tirranny and oppression which I have seen inflicted upon them, without resisting or even complaining.’ (Correspondence of Edmund Burke, Vol. VI p.134; cited in Conor Cruise O'Brien, The Great Melody, 1991, pp.470-71.)

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References
Dictionary of National Biography records that his 'abilities [were] recognised]' by the ministry of George III and that he was 'sent to Ireland to investigate Catholic unrest in the English army there' as he was sent to Spain earlier to 'detach' Spain from the alliance of France and America.

British Library holds A Sermon [on Ps. xcv, 1] Preached at the opening of the Spanish Chapel [...] 1791, etc. London: J. Ridgway 1792), 22pp., 8o.; A Pastoral Letter to the Catholic clergy of the United dioceses of Waterford and Lismore (Waterford: James Ramsey Jnr. 1797), 8pp.; Do. [6th edn.] (Dublin: H. Fitzpatrick 1797), 8pp., 8o; A sermon preached [...] in the chapel in Spanish Place, on the sixth of May, 1798. Taken in short-hand by one of the audience. To which is added a short account of the public prayers in the Spanish Chapel, for His Holiness Pope Pius VI. on the fourteenth of May, 1798 (London: J. P. Coghlan [1798]), 2 pt., 8o.; Do. [another edn. as] A sermon preached ... in the Spanish chapel, on Sunday the 2d of March, 1800. And taken in short-hand by a gentleman present (London: executors of J. P. Coghlan 1800), 24pp., 8o. Also, Remarks on a Pastoral Letter lately written by the Rev. Dr. Hussey, to the Roman Catholic Clergy of the united diocesses of Waterford and Lismore (Waterford: J. Ramsey 1797), 6pp., 8o.; Strictures and remarks on Dr. Hussey’s late Pastoral address to the clergy of Lismore and Waterford (Dublin: W. M'Kenzie 1797), 11pp., 8o; and Pedro Voltes Bou[?], Thomas Hussey y sus servicios a la política de Floridablanca [q.d.] Note, A namesake is accredited with [1] The Christian obligation to the Poor, of a Sacramental Character. A sermon [on Deut. xv. 11]. London 1844), 8o.; The claims of the age and nation to a religious character. A sermon [on Luke xviii. 8] (London 1844). 8o. The lessons of History: A sermon [on 1 Cor. x. 11] (London 1844), 8o., and. [4] The religious efficacy of sorrow. St. Matt. v. 4 [q.d.].

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Notes
A portrait of Thom. Hussey (Bishop of Waterford) by an unknown hand is held at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth [Catholic seminary], NUI. (See Anne Crookshank, Irish Portrait Exhibition, 1965).

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