John Cornelius O’Callaghan


Life
1805-1883 [J. C. O’Callaghan]; b. Dublin, ed. Clongowes Wood; bar, 1829; contrib. The Comet, and Irish Monthly Magazine; early articles collected as articles collected in The Green Book (1841), verse and prose, ‘not altogether unserviceable to the cause of voluntaryism and repeal’; staff of Nation, 1842; mbr. Repeal Association, and designer of the Association Membership cards; supported O’Connell, crowning him, with John Hogan, sculpt., on Tara Hill; ed. O’Kelly’s Macariae Excidium (1846), a ‘secret history’ of 1688-1691; History of the Irish Brigades in the Service of France (1870). ODNB DIB DIW DIH RAF OCIL

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Works
The Green Book, or Gleanings from the Writing Desk of a Literary Agitator (Dublin: T. O’Gorman 1841; London: Dolman 1841; rep. edn. Dublin: Duffy 1845).

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References
Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), Vol. 2; b. Dublin, a lawyer, contrib. Nation; author of History of the Irish Brigades ... (Glasgow 1869; rep. IUP 1970).

Pearse St. Library: The Madden Papers in Gilbert Collection (MS 278), holds copies of The Tribune, incl. 2 printed extracts written by J. C. O’Callaghan, on ‘Burying Places that Preserve Corpses’, [being] Mrs. Trollope’s account of Krentzbergh Monastic Vaults (1409-1713) which J. C. O’Callaghan considered similar to St. Michan’s Dublin that contain the corpses of our Irish Martyrs for Freedom [viz., Sheares bros.], &c.; writes of ‘attachment of the Irish People to their country’s nationality’. (Tribune 5 July 1834; 2 Aug. 1834). Further holdings incl. 4 MS letters from him to Dr. R.R. Madden; 3pp. MS notes on him; 3pp. MS notes on ‘his productions’; copy of his ‘notice’ from Dr. Madden’s Memoirs, pp.306-10 [“GA” Stack]; copy of his picture from frontispiece of The Green Book (941.5; “A” Stack). See also references to him in notes on above listed newspapers to which he was a contributor. Mention is made (without printed extracts or transcripts) of ‘Ireland as a military nation connected with or separated from England’ (in Tait’s Magazine, Nov. 1832).

University of Ulster Library (Morris Collection) holds The Green Book, or Gleanings from the Writing Desk of a Literary Agitator (Dublin, T. O’Gorman 1841, Duffy 1845).

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Commentary
Patrick Kennedy, Modern Irish Anecdotes (n.d.) accredits O’Callaghan’s Green Book with a true account of how St. Ruth was killed at the battle of Aughrim with a shot fired by an aggrieved shepherd, O’Kelly, whose flock was taken by the soldiers, and who was refused even the skins by St. Ruth as needed by his men, and who was subsequently in service to the English gunner Trench when St. Ruth came into his sights.’ (p.21)

Dominic Daly, The Young Douglas Hyde, 1974): Hyde’s diary for June 1879 records a meeting at Traynor’s bookshop with John Cornelius O’Callaghan, to whom he inadvertently expresses adverse opinions about his ‘Green Book’, then in Hyde’s hand, ‘I told him I did not think the latter was a decent or a proper book because of certain things in it which I mentioned. Imagine my surprise when he roared at me in a voice like thunder, ‘Damn it, Sir, I wrote those pages myself! I wrote every line of them!’ I was very greatly taken aback ... He spent an hour talking to me, very fiercely anti-English. (The Green Book, or Gleanings from the Writing-Desk of a Literary Agitator, by John Cornelius O’Callaghan (Dublin: T. Gorman, 35 Upper Ormond Quay; London: C. Dolman 1841). (Daly, c.p.45.)

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Quotations
The Green Book, or Gleanings from the Writing-desk of A Literary Agitator
, by John Cornelius O’Callaghan (Dublin, 35, Upper Ormond-Quay: T. O’Gorman; London: C. Dolman 1841), 480pp.

The title-page epigraph-quotation is from Bishop Doyle [viz., “JKL” - see supra], among others from Dr. Johnson, Lord Byron, and Francis I of Germany. Ded., ‘To the People of Ireland, as containing some fact not altogether unserviceable to the cause of voluntaryism and repeal, and some defence of Irish military honor [sic] from English and Anglo-Irish Misrepresentation, this Miscellany is inscribed by their Countryman, The Author’ ; Preface assigns inspiration of collection to the desire of correcting the errors printed in Quarterly Review [June 1836], regarding two societies, The Comet Club and the Irish Brigade [sic], both suspected of having been concerned ‘in some occupations which shunned the light’ [&c.; copied in ftn., p.107].

Extracts
Preface
On voluntarism: ‘to state his views on the subject of voluntaryism [sic?] in a manner which he hopes will prove him to have been more qualified for [x] handling such a topic - or treating it according to the arguments suitable to persons of every religious belief, since all must be affected by the existence of such institutions as state-churches - than if he were capable of assailing the existing Establishment for the mere object of putting another Church in its place. As a layman, contented with his own creed, and willing to leave others contented with theirs, he cannot accuse himself of having been influenced, in any thing he has written, by the slightest feeling of bigotry against the Irish established clergy, for whom, - drawing a due distinction between the men and the system, - he always advocated the payment of a life-provision, equal to the value of the ecclesiastical income proposed to be taken from them.’ (pp.x-xi.)
 
expresses his resistance to the thesis of ‘those Williamite libellers’ that the Irish, who fought so we abroad, ‘fought badly at home’ (p.xvi); ‘calumniated military character of their ancestors’ (p.xxii); characterises the Williamite war as the ‘only war deserving the appellation national that can be said to have taken place between this country and England’, adding a footnote: ‘the only war in which Ireland had anything like a resident Sovereign’, and noting that the contemporaries flew a standard where the King was, “Now or never! Now and For Ever!” (p.xxvii, and ftn; this footnote includes specific reference to several men aged as much as 140 who claimed in 1792 and dates after to have marched with King James at the Boyne);
 
‘exaggerated descriptions of the conduct [xxviii] of the Roman Catholics to the Protestants of Ireland, while the former held power under James II, that the antinational scribes alluded to [‘libellers’], and their patrons, for their own selfish and intolerant supremacy alone, have been able to keep Protestanta dn Catholic disunited, to the loss of almost every thing politically honorable and valuable to them as Irishmen; the progaation of the calumny, that the Irish “always fought”, and, by implication, would again “fight badly at home” [... &c.]’ (p.xxviii-xxix); ‘even MacGeoghegan, who had sufficient authorities, in his time, for giving a far better account than he has done of the war of the Revolution, is miserablly concise and superficial’; complains about paucity of ‘literary nationality’ among the Irish (p.xxxi); ;
 
enlarges on ‘the most degrading of all the signs of submission to a foreign yoke, or the miserable subserviency of mind, which whould enslave this country, not only in a political sense but a literary sense, by making it necessary to have the stamp of a London publisher’s name afiixed to an Irish book, as well as the consent of a London parliament to an Irish law’ (p.xxxii).
 
Contents
‘I saw thee, Time’s rude hand had dimmed’ [1]; The defeat of Sisera [3]; Epigram on the weeping and laughing philosophers [6]; The Temperance Society: A Song [6]; Orrar and Muirne (from the Irish [9]; Epigram, on a wealthy and presuming upstart [10]; Epistle from Dr. Southey, Poet Laureate and Author of the Book of the Church, to the Editor of the Parson’s Horn-Book [11]; Impromptu, written at the time of the Anglesey Proclamations, &c. [16]; Let fanatics murmur at life: A Song [16]; A Character [18]; Epigrams [20]; The Parson’s “Horn of Chase”: A Parody [20]; Anacreontic [22]; Epigram, on reading the Marquis of Londonderry’s speech, &c. [23]; A Valentine [23]; Words for Music 25]; On an improvident Vocalist [26]; David’s lament for Saul and Jonathan [27]; To **** [31]; Impromptu, on seeing a Reverend Dignitary of the Establishment beating some poor boys from behind his carriage [32]; Nabis and the Union (written upon the passing of the Irish Coercion Bill) [32]; Almighty Lord [34]; Impromptu, to Miss --- [36]; The Episcopal Mammoth, alias A-X-d-r the “Great” - of Meath: A Parody [36]; Song for United Irishmen, or Irishmen United [39]; Epigram on a big-mouthed glutton [40]; A Contrast for the Church [41]; Bring me wine - bring me wine [43]; Epigram, on Miss .... [44]; from Voltaire’s tragedy of Mahomet [45]; Dear isle of my birth, ere I sail from thy shores [58]; Epigram, on a ruby-visaged friend rather partial to his tumbler [59]; Translation from Lucan’s Pharsalia [60]; Nay, do not tell me, when we meet [69]; The Duchess of Berri and the Jew [70]; Stanzas [71]; Pikes versus Pike [73]; War-song of the Irish Bards before the Battle of Clontarf [74]; Farewell to my Book [80].
 
Postscript - To Dr. Southey’s Epistle to The Author of the Parson’s Horn Book: Reasons for the necessity of substituting state-supported churches in every country by the ‘the voluntary system’ and more particularly in Ireland - Origin of the general diffusion of hostility to the Irish Church and tithe-system by the formation of the society of the original Comet Club, and the publication of the Parson’s Horn-Book and Comet Plan of operations against the Church adopted by tbe Club and its great sueeess - Prosecution and true causes of the extinetion of the Comet - Correction of the misinformation of the Quarterly Review respecting the two societies of the Comet Club and the Irish Brigade [85-114].
Postscript - to “David’s Lament’: David’s Lament and [Chas.] Wolfe’s Lines on Sir John Moore - Critical defect of the latter as compared with the former poem, and the other chief remains of Hebrew song on important national events. - Obscurity of Wolfe’s lines particularly demonstrated by their translation into French by Father Prout - Fittest place for those lines in a biography of Sir John Moore, or some future standard History of England, on the model of the modern French historians, Michaud, Barante, and Thiery - Historical use of national songs - Geddes’s critical version of, and comments upon, David’s elegy - Concluding remarks on the monotonous spirituality of Hebrew poetry, 111-143.
 
Postscript - “Nabis and the Union’: Historical sketch of, and resemblance between, Scotch and Irish Anti-Unionism, and remarkable official testimony to the predominance of Anti-Union sentiments in Ireland (145-54). Enquiry, as regards the idea of maintaining a Union by force, into the number of Irish who died in the British army and navy during the last half century, and likewise into the comparative military qualities of the British and Irish people (156-72). Statement (in reference to the same idea of a Union) of the comparative size, in geographical square miles, of Ireland, and the principal states of Europe, vith a view of her great natural capabilities for being a maritime power, and the peculiar military strength of her territory, as combined with the large amount of her population, and illustrated by a plan of defensive operations, based on Napoleon principles (p.181-200).
 
Examination of the assertion of Voltaire and others, that the Irish “have always fought badly at home,” and confutation of that assertion, by an account of what men, and how much domestic dissension and money enabled England to terminate the Elizabethian and Cromwellian wars (200-08). Extension of the same enquiry, in greater detail, to the Jacobite and Williamite war, containing a true, in opposition to the false, or British and Anglo-Irish statements, respecting the comparative amount of the Irish and English numbers, artillery, &c. at the Boyne; and also a passing review and comments on the events of that campaign, including William’s repulse at Limerick, Marlborough’s capture of Cork and Kinsale, the subsequent defeat of Ginckle’s [viz., Ginkel] attempted winter-operations against Kerry and Connaught, and the great annoyance given to the invaders by the Irish guerillas, or Rapparees (208-51). Great preparations of the English for the next campaign, or that of 1691, and strictures on the equally base and impolitic conduct of the French, who, by any thing like proper succours, would have enabled the Irish, at the very least, to maintain James on the throne of Ireland, as is shewn by the events of the war in Ulster, previous to Kirk’s and Schomberg’s landing - or, in other words, by the complete defeats of the Orange insurgents by the Irish army, with very inferior numbers, at Dromore-Iveagh, the passes of the Ban [River Bann] and at Clady-ford before Derry, and even by a fair view of the shamelessly-overrated Williamite defence of that place (251-85).
 
Privations endured by the Irish army previous to the arrival of St. Ruth; great diminution of the national force through the treachery of O’Donnell and other causes; and a detailed account of the campaign down to, and inclusive of the battle of Aughrim, by way of showing what sort of ‘bad fighting’ the Irish displayed “at home” (285-55). Complete confutation of the notion of the Irish having ‘fought badly at home’, by a full exposé of what an immense sum it took to put them down (459-63). Capabilities of Ireland for national or self-legislative independence, as contrasted with the native strength of Greece in the time of Philip and Alexander, Spain under Philip II, Holland from the time it threw of the Spanish yoke to the French Revolution, Portugal before and after it cast off the same yoke, and Prussia down to the French Revolution (464-71). Proof of the enormous injustice and spoliation imposed on Ireland by England, as evinced by the general effects of the Act of Union, but, more particularly, by the violation of that Act in reference to the portion of the national debt agreed to be borne by each country; and concluding induction from the whole of the preceding facts, that Ireland is entitled to, would be able to obtain, and can only only expect justice from, a REPEAL Of The UNION (471-75).
 
APPENDIX, From Tait’s Magazine, illustrating, from Scotch testimony, the fallacy of asserting that a Union with England, which was so good for Scotland, must also be good for Ireland. NOTE, text includes parenthetical expression of ‘my hatred of any nation’s either directly or indirectly pluming itself upon the merits of another, after the English Union mode, or “british-heart-and-British-arm” style!’ (identifying Wauchope, Gov. of Scotland, as a Scottish, not an Irish, soldier; p.318; ftn.) Copy examined includes some manuscript corrections, viz., ‘6 twenty-pounders’ corrig. to ‘twenty-four’ [p.320].

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Notes
Very Rev. Canon Murphy, DD, PP, Pres. of Maynooth, Two Irish Parliaments, A Contrast (CTS 1909), a 32pp. pamphlet, quotes O'Callaghan's editorial notes in Macariae Excidium (1846) referring to Sir Richard Cox's view of the regicides whom he wished he could call Irish. (See under Cox, infra.)

Kith & Kin: John Keats met with a certain Isabella Jones, a beautiful older woman whom he encountered with Donal O'Callaghan, elderly brother of Cornelius O'Callaghan, MP, 1st Baron of Lismore. (See Nicholas Roe, John Keats; cited in John Montague, review of same, in The Irish Times, 20 Oct. 2012, Weekend, p.13.)

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