[Sir] Hercules Langrishe


Life
1731-1811 [1st baronet]; b. Knocktopher, Co. Kilkenny, ed. TCD, BA 1753p poems included in Life of Grattan, ed. by Grattan’s son, which also includes a key to Baratariana - of which he was said to be the chief author [see infra]; also in Anthologia Hibernica (July 1793); MP Knocktopher from 1761; friend of Burke; supported Catholic Emancipation and introduced the third Catholic Relief Bill, 1792;
 
published ‘History of Baratar[an]ia Continued’, in Freeman’s Journal (April-May 1771), attacking Government, esp. Lord Macartney; created baronet, 1777; introd. Catholic Relief Bill in 1792, prompted by Burke’s Letter (1792); supported Union and received money; d. St. Stephen’s Green. port. included in engraving of House of Commons of 1790, now preserved in Bank of Ireland (College Green) [as figure No.19 in key]; d. St Stephen’s Green, aged 82. ODNB PI DIB

 

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Commentary
J. Fitzgerald Molloy, Romance of the Irish Stage (1897) records an anecdote according to which Langrishe is found at table with ten ‘dead men’ [i.e., empty bottles]. “Did he get through them alone?” “No, he had the help of a bottle of Madeira.”

"Baratania" - appendix in The Sham Squire (by J. W. Fitzpatrick): Sir Hercules Langrishe, Mr Grattan, (then a young barrister not in Parliament,) and Mr Flood, were, according to the "Memoirs of Flood," (p.79,) the principal writers of "Baratariana." In "Grattan's Life" (vol. i., p.185) there is an account of a visit to Sir Hercules in 1810; and the octogenarian is found repeating with enthusiasm some of his flash passages in "Baratariana." The contributions of Sir Hercules to this bundle of political pasquinades are noticed in Grattan's elegy on the death of the patriot baronet, ( vide vol. i., p.188.) The late Hon. Major Stanhope informed us that Mr St George, a connexion of his, hold the very voluminous papers of Sir H. Langrishe, and not the present baronet. They threw, he said, great light on the political history of the time, and he promised to give us access to them if desired. The articles written by Grattan were, as his son informs us, (vol. i., p. 185,) - "Posthumous," "Pericles," and the dedication of "Baratariana." He read them to his friends, and they were struck by his description of Lord Chatham. Gilbert's "Dublin" (vol. i., p. 294) tells us, what the "Life of Flood" does not, that the articles signed "Syndercombe" were from Flood's pen. The volume of "Public Characters for 1806," in noticing William Doyle, K.C., and Master in Chancery, remarks (p. 64) that he was "universally admired for his brilliant wit," and that "he contributed largely to 'Baratariana.'" [See at Dublin Chapters - online.]

Maureen Wall, Catholic Ireland in the 18th c., ed. Gerard O’Brien (1989), quotes Sir Hercules Langrishe, in the the Catholic Relief debate of 1778: ‘If you take away persecution, the Established Church will of necessity swallow up the rest.’ [131]

Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fior-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, Its Development and Literary Expression Prior To The Nineteenth Century (Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Pub. Co. 1986), Langrishe’s contention ‘that the roman catholics should enjoy everything under the State, but should not be the State itself’ withered under the clear gaze of Edmund Burke (Letter to Langrishe, 3 Jan 1792; and published in the same year; also in Burke Letters, speeches and tracts on Irish affairs, ed. Matthew Arnold, 1881, pp.206-278).

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References
D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1912), lists poems in Life of Grattan, also in Anthologia Hibernica (July 1793); ‘Anacreon to Stella’ addressed to Duchess of Portland; chief author of History of Baratarania [the squib on Hely Hutchinson].

Dictionary of National Biography notes that he was a Borough owner and opposed efforts to reform Parliament but supported the Catholic Relief Bill; also supported Union; some speeches published.

Richard Ryan, Biographia Hibernica: Irish Worthies (1821), Vol. II, contains a short life (p.117).

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, 3 vols. (Derry: Field Day Publications 1991), Vol. I, selects Edmund Burke, “1st Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe”, c.p.834ff.

Belfast Central Public Library holds Speech in the Irish House of Commons April 7th, 1791 (1791).

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Notes
Kith & Kin: Sir Richard Langrishe: Hubert Butler relates that ‘when in 1850 Sir Richard Langrishe of Knocktopher heard that a tenant of his was about to destroy the huge Ballyboodan ogham stone, he promptly stepped in.’ (‘Lament for Archaeology’ [Chap.], The Sub-Prefect Should Have Held His Tongue, ed. R. F. Foster, London: Allen Lane/Penguin Press; Dublin: Lilliput 1990, p.172.)

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