John Francis M. Maguire (1815-72)


[J. F. M. Maguire;] b. Cork, issued Total Abstinence Justified (1838) in support of Fr. Theobald Mathew’s Temperance Campaign; fnd. and ed. Cork Examiner, 1841; bar, 1843 (CC); supported Daniel O’Connell; MP Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, 1852-65; The Industrial Movement in Ireland (1853); elected Mayor of Cork, 1853, and also in 1862-1864; elected MP for Cork, 1865-72; opposed British monopoly of shipping in Cork harbour; brought about change in law effecting Irish paupers in England, reducing qualification for relief in English parishes from 5 years’ to six months’ residence; supported Tenant Right and Disestablishment;

visited Pius IX and published Rome and Its Ruler [1856]; appt. Commander of St. Gregory by Pius, 1856; re-published Rome [&c.] in 3rd edn. as The Pontificate of Pius the Ninth [1870]; issued Life of Father Mathew (1862); visited America, 1866, publishing The Irish in America (1868); advocated women’s rights in The Next Generation (1871); d. his home at Stephen’s Green, Dublin; bur. Cork; he is the subject of a pamphlet by James Pearse, the father of Patrick Pearse, contesting his anti-Home Rule politics - described as ‘bigoted’ by Róisín Ní Ghairbhí, Willie Pearse’s biographer (16 Lives [ser], 2015). CAB ODNB JMC DIB DIH

The Irish in America (1868) [see extract]. See also Removal of Irish Poor from England and Scotland: shewing the nature of the law of removal, the mode in which it is administered, the hardships which it inflicts, and the necessity for its absolute and unconditional repeal (London: W. & F.G. Cash 1854) [copy bound with others in Victoria and Albert Museum, London].

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The Irish in America (1868): ‘[...] There is another evil which overtakes Irishmen of a certain class in the new world; it may be called the Micawber evil - “waiting for something to turn up.” The delay of a week may be the destruction of the young man who comes out to America with the highest hopes of doing something, he knows not what, and getting on, he knows not how. In mere delay there is danger quite sufficient; but woe to him if he bring with him the faded gentility of poor Ireland to a country utterly without sympathy for such threadbare nonsense. The Irishman who brings with him across the ocean this miserable weakness travels with the worst possible compagnon de voyage. / In America there is no disgrace in honest labour. It was labour that made America what she is; it is labour that will make her what she is destined to be - the mightiest power of the earth. But that pestilent Irish gentility, which has never appreciated, perhaps never could appreciate, this grand truth; that Irish gentility, the poorest and proudest, the most sensitive and the most shamefaced, of all such wretched shams - that weakness of indigenous growth has brought many a young Irishman to grief and shame. Advised, by those who knew America well, to “take anything” or to “do anything” that offered, poor Irish gentility could not stoop to employment against which its high-stomached pride revolted - poor Irish gentility was “never used to that kind of thing at home;” so poor Irish gentility wandered hopelessly about, looking in vain for what would suit its notions of respectability; until poor Irish gentility found itself with linen soiled, hat battered, clothes seedy, boots unreliable, and spirits depressed - so down, fatally down, poor Irish gentility sank, until there was not strength or energy to accept the work that offered; and poor Irish gentility faded away in some dismal garret or foul cellar, and dropped altogether out of sight, into the last receptacle of poor gentilities - the grave of a pauper. I heard a good Irish lady describe an awful tragedy of this nature; and as she told the melancholy tale, her face grew pale at its remembrance. Called too late to save one who had been her friend in youth, she was in time to close her eyes as she lay in her last mortal agony on the bare floor of a back room in a tenement house in New York. Meek, gentle, well educated and accomplished, the poor exile who thus died on that bare floor, with scarcely sufficient rags to hide her wasted limbs, was the victim of the husband’s false pride and morbid sensitiveness - of his poor Irish gentility. Through every stage of the downward process he rapidly passed, dragging down with him his tenderly-nurtured wife until the sad ending was that death of hunger on those naked boards. / There must be no hesitation, no pause, in a country in which there is no hesitation, no pause, no rest--whose life is movement, whose law is progress. The golden rule to be observed by the new-comer is to accept any employment that offers, [...]’ (Quoted on Library Ireland website online; accessed 09.10.2008.)

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Charles Read, ed., A Cabinet of Irish Literature (3 vols., 1876-78) speaks of The Next Generation (1871), as ‘a feminist novel on the conditions of society in which such rights exist. In this novel, he sketches a feminist parliament where English, Scottish, Irish, and Jewish subjects of the Queen live harmoniously, having pursued meliorist policies to the atonement of ancient wrongs in all quarters of the realm’; duly elected representatives of colonial countries are present at Westminster; Maguire applies Grattan’s Esto in Perpetua! to the Gladstonite Union of Hearts in a truly ‘United Kingdom’.

Irish Literature, gen. ed., Justin McCarthy (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904) copies A Cabinet of Irish Literature - verbatim in places - and adds that his articles on Home Rule appeared in The Examiner, and were published in book form shortly before his death. Maguire’s Pauper Bill altered the qualification from 5 yrs to six months. JMC selects “The Irish in the War” from The Irish In America, which includes a passage on ‘Meagher of the sword’ [see Meagher, q.v.]

Henry Boylan, A Dictionary of Irish Biography [rev. edn.] (Gill & Macmillan 1988), calls him a journalist and politician; biog. details as above; in Parliament he supported nationalist policies on land, disestablishment, and reform of the Poor Law; made three visits to Rome to see Pius IX, and was named Commander of St. Gregory the Great on publication of his book; elected Mayor of Cork four times; DIH relates the story of how he sustained abuse from opponents in Mallow and holds his peace but finally, at the railway station on departing, joins his hands and says, ‘Sed libera nos a malo [but deliver us from evil ...]’.

Belfast Central Public Library holds Life of Father Mathew (1862); The Next Generation (1871); The Industrial Movement in Ireland (1853); The Irish in America (1868), and J. F. M. Maguire, Total Abstinence Justified (1838).

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The Next Generation (1871) - is a sketch of the House of Commons attended by 89 women: ‘[...] the fairest women of the three kingdoms lending the attraction of their charms ... some lovely specimens of the genuine oriental type ... were scattered through the ranks of northern beauty ... pride themselves on their punctuality on all occasions. Mrs. Bates is ‘the chancellor; Meliora Temple is the Commiss. of Works, who bestows grand public parks ‘on the million’ and is loved by them; Grace O’Donnell is the Minster of Patronage. He mentions the ‘women’s charter’, “Sir, it has pleased the wisdom and generosity of the present enlightened age to grant to my sex the full and free right of taking part in public affairs, and sharing in the sacred trust committed to a representative for the advantage of the general community. But that splendid concession – at once so large and so magnanimous on the part of the other sex – was not obtained without nuch difficulty, and in the face of powerful opposition.” Honours are bestowed on four British subjects, An English and a Scotch lady, a Jewish gentleman, and an Irish priest.’ [Extract in Cabinet of Irish Literature.]

The Next Generation (1871) - cont.: The passage on Ireland, in Miss Hingston’s speech (unchallenged by the House), as follows, ‘.. allusion is made to the condition of Ireland, to the happy state of things existing in that country which was the birthplace of one of my parents. Sire, we are now accustomed to these auspicious announcements. But their similarity is far from being monotonous or displeasing ... And of what is the state of things which they depict the result? Of a godlike policy – of justice, kindness, confidence, and sympathy (cheers) – of all that could satisfy a justice-loving, a proud, and a sensitive people (hear, hear). It would be morally impossible that the people of Ireland could be insensible to a policy that has been now for nearly a quarter of a century unfalteringly persevered in. There was much to undo, much to atone for; but it has been boldly undone, and it has been nobly atoned for. And now ... Heaven smiles this day on its crowning triumph (cheers); for sir, this is indeed – in fact and truth, an identity of feeling as well as interest – an United Kingdom (cheers). My prayer, in which I know all join, is – Esto in perpetua! [Grattan’s words in 1782] (Loud cheers.) [...]’ [Extract in Cabinet of Irish Literature].

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