1736-1803; b. Ireland; half-pay officer, settled in London; associated
with William Gerard Hamilton, Johnson, Burke, Reynolds, Garrick, and Burney;
Master of [Lord Lieutenants] Horse from 1767, returning to Ireland;
MP for Old Leighlin in Irish Parliament [n.d.]; defended Lord Townsends
administration wittily in The Mercury, reprinted as The
Bachelor, or Speculations of Jeoffrey Wagstaffe ; plays Braganza
(1775), with prologue by Arthur Murphy and epilogue by Horace Walpole; Conspiracy (1796), acted by Kemble; Count of Narbonne (1781),
epilogue by Malone, afterwards played by John Philip Kemble in Dublin; Julia, or the Italian Lover, trag. (1787), with Kemble and Mrs.
Siddons at Drury Lane. Also some poems and other works; a farce, The
Hotel, or the Servant with Two Masters (Smock Alley, 1784); Two
Strings to Your Bow, farce (1791); Roman Portraits, heroic
verse poem, with engravings by Bartolozzi and others (1794), includes
a diatribe against ruthless fanatic Gauls at the killing of
Louis XVI; Confessions of Jacques Baptiste Couteau, satire on French
Revolution, 2 vols. (1794); poems incl. Roman Portraits, illustrated
by Bartolozzi; d. paralysis, Blackrock; involvement with Charles OConor,
infra. RR CAB ODNB PI DIW RAF OCIL
[Heroic] Epistle to Gorges Edmund Howard Esq, with Notes Explanatory,
Critical and Historical. By George Faulkner Esq and Alderman (1771;
6th edn. 1762; 9 eds.)], Braganza (1775); The Count of Narbonne,
stage-version of The Castle of Otranto by his friend Walpole (Covent
Garden 1781); The Hotel, or the Servant with Two Masters, farce
(Smock Alley, 1784); Roman Portraits, heroic verse poem, with engravings
by Bartolozzi and others (1794), includes a diatribe against ruthless
fanatic Gauls at the killing of Louis XVI; Confessions of Jacques
Baptiste Couteau, satire on French Rev., 2 vols. (1794); The Carmelite
performed at the first night of Robert Owensons Irish National Theatre
at Fishamble St. 
Peter Kavanagh, Irish Theatre (1946), An attempt was made by George Colman and the Irish dram. Robert Jephson to get a bill passed [in 1779] for ... the exclusive right of one theatre only in Dublin ; also, The Carmelite by Jephson, played at Owensons Fishamble St. National Theatre opening night; and also Jephsons wife sported gold ground silk, ornamented with artificial and silver flowers and with diamonds to the amount of 100,000 pounds playing Lady Macbeth in private theatre erected by Luke Gardiner as Master of Revels in the Phoenix Park, see Hibernian Magazine, Jan. 1778.
W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976;
1984), Among the numerous publications of minor writers a typical example
is Robert Jephsons Roman Portraits (1794), a fine quarto
volume of effete poems with 20 engravings from antique sources. Cf. Jephsons
lively letter to Edmund Malone in J Priors Life of Edmund Malone (London 1860), p.190-91, claiming that the book will at least have
the outside of a gentleman. [Stanford, 110]
British Library holds Martin S. Peterson, Robert Jephson
(Nebraksa UP 1930); Braganza, 5 acts trag. in verse (London: T.
Evans 1775), 8o, & eds.; Braganza (Dublin 1775), 12o; also
in Inchbald (1811), London Sage (1824), Dicks Standard Plays,
No.195 (London 18765), 16pp.; Confessions of JB Counteau,
citizen of France, written by himself and translated from the original
French by Robert Jephson [i.e. written by RJ], ill. 1 engaving (2 vols.
1794), 12o; Conspiracy, 5 act trag. in verse from Metastasios Clemenza di Tito (Dublin 1796), 8o; Count of Narbonne, 5
act trag. in verse (London 1781); do., ... Narbonne (Dublin 1782),
12o; 2nd Dublin ed. 1788), also in London Stage (1826), Dibdens London Theatre (1815), British Drama (1864), Dicks
Standard Plays, No.277 (?1877), and French translation Count de
Narbonne (1781); The Hotel &c. (Dublin: W. Wilson 1784),
48pp.; Julia or the Italian Lover, a 5 act trag. in verse (London:
C Dilly 1787), 8o; The Law of Lombardy, 5 act trag. in verse (London
1779; Dublin 1779), also in Inchbald (1811), hLondon Stage (1824), Brit. Drama (1864), and Dicks Standard Plays, No.283
(?1877); Roman Portraits, a poem in heroic verse with historical
remarks and illustrations (London 1794); Select Essays from the Bachelor.
Wagstaffe (1773 [n.loc.]); Songs, Chorusses in the Campaign, or Love
in the East Indias, a comic opera (London 1785); The Speech delivered
by R[obert] J[ephson] in the debate on the
committing head of a bill for the better encouragement of Persons professing
the Popish Religion to become Protestants, &c, with a preface
by C[harles] OConor (Dublin 1774), 8o; Two Strings to
your Bow, a farce in  acts in prose (London 1791), also in Cawthorn, Minor British Drama (1806); Inchbald (1815); British Drama
(1864), Dicks Standard Plays, No.144 (1875).
Dictionary of National Biography
lists George Townshend, 4th Earl; created earl Viscount Townsend, and
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1767; resided in Dublin and attempted to break
down the government by undertakers [i.e. Beresford & Co];
promised restriction of pension list, habeas corpus, and other boons,
but met with great opposition, 1768; granted new peerages, places, and
pensions; obtained prorogation of parliament, 1769; obtained majority
by flagrant corruption and lowered his office; took to dissipated habits,
recalled, 1772. Cf. notice on Robert Jephson, also Master of Horse from
1767, ergo, a dependent of Townshend.
D. J. ODonoghue, The Poets
of Ireland: A Biographical Dictionary (Dublin: Hodges Figgis
& Co 1912); fives birthdate 1713; Heroic [sic] Epistle to
George Edmund (1771), Braganza (1775); Count of Narbonne,
trag. (1781), other trags., farces and musical pieces; satire on French
Rev. called Confessions of Jean Baptiste Couteau.;
Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature
in English, The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin
Smythe 1980), Vol. I; Jephson [here called novelist], Confessions of
J.B. Couteau (1794), offer[s] a very slanted view of the Terror ;
Robert Jephson dramatised The Castle of Otranto by his friend Walpole
as The Count of Narbonne (1781).
Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature
in English, The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin
Smythe 1980), Vol. 2; lists Braganza, Trag.; also Count of Narbonne,
based on Horace Walpoles Castle of Otranto; also Law of
Lombardy, trag. [Burton, Brit. Theatre, 1930, pp. 241, App.]
Roy Foster, Modern Ireland (1988), p.92, William Jephson (c.1615-c.1659), sat in Long Parliament,
inherited Irish estates in Mallow, dispersed insurgents there, 1641; deserted
Parliament with Inchiquin whom he was sent to dissuade; proposed Cromwell
for King, 1656, at 2nd Protectorate Parliament as MP for Cork.
R. R. Madden Papers in the Sir John Gilbert Collection of Pearse St. Public Library holds copies of Irelands Mirror (1804-1807) [var. Irish Mirror], in which is included a printed memoir of Jephson, the dramatist (in Irish Mirror, Vol 2), with printed appreciation of Oliver Goldsmith (Vol 2, April 1805), et al. [Gilbert MS 263].
Belfast Public Library holds
Braganza; see Arnott.
Sundry facts: 1] Burkes pension transfered to Robert Jephson in 1756, when the differences arose between him and Hamilton; [C. Cruise OBrien, the Great Melody, 1992, pp.19-20]; 2] Satire on Faulkner, imitating his manner of literary composition, Epistle to Gorges Edmund Howard Esq, with Notes Explanatory, Critical and Historical. By George Faulkner Esq and Alderman (1771; 6th ed. 1762; 9 eds.), actually by Robert Jephson against him, after quarrel with solicitor and friend Howard; 3] Gilberts account of Faulkner (in Prince of Dublin Printers, in History of Dublin) includes anecdote of Jephson; copied in JMC under Gilbert; 4] G[e]orges Edmund Howard satirised by Robert Jephson; 5] Note name of Norreys Jephson Connor 6] NOTE, Robert Jephsons lively letter to Malone in J Priors Life of Edmund Malone (London 1860), pp.190-91, claiming that the book will at least have the outside of a gentleman. (W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition, 1984, p.110.) 6] Murphy, in his prologue to Jephsons Braganza, claims that the latter comes from Shakespeares school (DL 1775); 7] Lady Morgan on her fathers Irish National Theatre at Fishamble Street, The first performance was to be altogether national, that is Irish, and very Irish it was. The play chosen was The Carmelite by Captain Jephson, with an interlude from Macklins farce of The Brave Irishman, and a farce of OKeeffes, The Poor Soldier; 8] Thomas Shadwell left the same ring to William Jephson and others. (Compiled by BS from this website.)
D. J. ODonoghue, The Poets of Ireland: A Biographical
Dictionary (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co 1912) erroneously
transposes word heroic from Roman Portraits to Epistle.]
Charles OConor mentions Jephson to Charles Ryan in a letter of (10 Sept. 1777), requesting that
his Reflexions be put in Jephsons hands; the editors seem to infer
that OConor met Jephson in consequence of the latters pamphlet, The Speech Delivered ... on the Heads of a Bill for the better encouragement
of persons profession the Popish Religion to Become protestants (Dublin,
n.pub. 1777), remarking that OConor obviously ...ust have
felt that he could count on Jephson to pass the pamphlets to MPs friendly
to the Catholic cause, and making no mention of the Preface by Oconor
cited in the BML catalogue. (Letters, ed. R. E. & C. Ward and
Ward, 1988, p.349).
Horace Walpole (letter of Feb.
1775) addresses Robert Jephson as a genuine poet and Braganza has an epilogue by Walpole, Drury Lane Feb. 1775. Later Jephson wrote a dram. version
of Castle of Otranto, as Count of Narbonne (Covent Garden
Robert Owensons Irish National
Theatre played The Carmelite by Jephson at the first night in Fishamble St.
Kith & Kin: Robert Wares history recounts that a certain Warren & Jephson were found guilty of treasonable entrance to Dublin Castle thorugh Sheep St. Gate; see James L. J. Hughes, Dublin
Castle in the Seventeenth Century: A Topographical Reconstruction,
in Dublin Historical Record [Journal of Old Dublin Society]; Vol.
II, No.3 (1940), p.91.
Kith & Kin: A certain Mr. Jephson, who lived
with Lord Primate Boyles family [viz, Michael Boyle, archb.
of Armagh, 1682-1702], was the object of persecution by sir Thomas Hackett
for failing to make gifts to a friar, as recounted in Archbishop William
Kings State of the Protestants of Ireland under .. James II.
(See The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, 1991, p.869.).,