Roger O’Connor

Life
1762-1834; b. Connorville, Co. Cork; f. of Feargus O’Connor; ed. TCD; English bar, 1783; hunted Whiteboys in yeomanry; joined United Irishman; arrested at instance of br. Robert, acquitted; imprisoned in Fort George, 1799-1803; adopted acronym ROCK (for ‘Roger O’Connor, King’); relating to destruction of Dangan Castle, Trim, Co. Meath, by fire, for insurance premium of 5,000; eloped with married woman; arrested for robbing the Galway coach in order to capture love-letters incriminating his friend Sir Francis Burdett, 1817; tried and acquitted; father of Feargus O’Connor; issued Chronicles of Eri (2 vols., 1822), alleged trans. from Phoenician; d. 27 Jan., Kilcrea, Co. Cork. ODNB DIB DIH

[ top ]

Works
Chronicles of Eri. History of the Gaal Sciot Iber or the Irish People, translated from the original manuscripts [in the Phoenician dialect of the Scythian Language], 2 vols. in 1 (1822).

[in the Pheonician dialect of the Scythian Language, 2 vols in 1 (1822). Frontis. shows ‘O’Connor, Cier-Rige Head of his Race, and O’Connor, chief of the prostrated people of his Nation, soumis pas vaincus [engrav. port, London: printed for Sir Richard Phillips & co.]; title page shows device with 13 radiated points, ‘The Ring of Baal’, marked anti-clockwise 1-13 Tionnscnad, Blat, Bal tetgne, Sgit, Tarsgit, Meas, Cruinnige, Tirim, Fluicim, Geimia, Sneachda, Siocan, Deirionnae; also a fold-out map of ‘Western Asia, marked in Latin [Mare Internum, etc.]; a map of Spain; and a map of Britain, with details for S. Wales, Cornwall, and N. England [viz., Northumbria]. (For contents, see under Quotations, infra.)

[ top ]

Criticism
T. Finnerty, The Irish Patriot - The Trial of Roger O’Connor, Irish Patriot and Friend of Sir F. Burdett, on a charge of Robbing the Galway Mail Coach, Dec. 1812 (London: Fairburn c.1820), 48; see also chapter-essay in Robert Tracy, The Unappeasable Host: Studies in Irish Identities (UCD Press 1998).

[ top ]

Quotations
Chronicles of Eri: History of the Gaal Sciot Iber or the Irish People, translated from the original Manuscripts (1822): CONTENTS: A demonstration, vol. 1, pp.i-cccxii; The Writings of Eolus, vol. 1, pp.1-99 [conclusion of chronicle of Gaelag]. Demonstration contains sects. 1] a demonstration of the original seat, nations, and tribes of the Scythian race. 2] from the eariest accounts of the existence of this earth to the founding of Babel 3] from the dismemberment of the anc. Scyhtin empire, and the building of Bab-el by the Assyrians, in 246, to the expulsion of the shepherd chiefs from Egypt, and their arrival in Pelesgia and Ceropeia, in about 1100 before Christ. 4] Of all the Scythian tribes that emigrated to the Isles of the Gentiles, south of the Ister, from the Euxine, East to the Rhoetian Alps, and Panonia West to the extremity of Greece South, from the year 2170 to the birth of Christ. 5] Of the Scythian tribes that colonised th districts of Europe, from the western extremity of Itlay, and the Rhoetian Alps, to the German Ocean, between the rivers Danube, and Rhin, north and the Garonne south. 6] Of the Goths 7] Of the Scythian sidonians in Spain 8] Of the Scythian tribes in the Isle of Britain 10] Of all the nations of Europe, antecedently to the invasion of the Scythians. 11] Of the Manners, Customs, Original Institutions, and Religion of the Scythian race 12] Of the language of the Scythian Race. Conclusion, cccxlix [continuous roman pagination in two vols.] Dedicatory letter to Sir Francis Burdett, speaks of putting evidence of the ‘the last conspiracy against my life and honour, by agents of an oligarchy’ and the revolution; ‘the iron-hand of despotism; seeks a ‘fostering hand’ for his children; also speaks of ‘my gallant boy’ into whose hands Burdett placed his first weapon with instructions to use it against ‘tyranny and oppression’; ‘your never-failing advocacy and vindication of the Irish people, has endeared you to all our hearts.’ [v] Preface: fourth attempt … to present to the world a faithful history of my country … immured in prison … 1798 and 1799 charged by the oligarchy of English with the foul crime of treason, because I would not disgrace my name by the acceptance of an earldom and a pension, to b paid by the peopl whom I was courted to desert, and because I resisted every art to induce me to become a traitor to my beloved Eri … Fort George, Scotland … again writing’. He gives an account of the successive destructions of the manuscript. He reports that a third version perished with his belongings in the fire at the castle of Dangan in 1809. ‘[of] l iberty we wild Irish have none to lose’ [ix] Burdett arrives in Ireland, 1817. ‘This history is a literal translation into the English tongue (from the Phoenician dialect of the Scythian language) of the ancient manuscripts which have, fortunately for the world, been preserved through so many ages, chances and vicissitudes.’ [ix] ‘… I do not presume to affirm that the very skins, whether of sheep or of goats, are of a date so old as the events recorded; but this I will assert, that they must be faithful transcripts from the most ancient records; it not being within the range of possibility, either from their style, language, or contents, tht they could have been forged’ [ix] Comments on FLOOD: ‘So fully sensible was a man of Ireland, who far surpassed all his contemporaries, and in truth, most men, I allude to Henry Flood, that if encouragement were given to bring to light and investigate ancient records of Ireland, still existing, that would be the means of diffusing great knowledge of the antique world … so convinced was he, I say, of this fact, by means of deep reseaches he had made, that he bequathd the whole of his large possessions for the purpose of instituting professorships in the Univ. of Dublin, for th perpetuation of the Irish lande, and the purchase of manuscripts therein. In this magnificent design, his views were unfortunately frustrated by the contemptible policy of an incubus that hath long over-lain unhappy Eri; for, a claimant was set up to the estates of the philosophic doctor, to who they were accordingly decreed!’ […] O’CONNOR, Paris, 1821. On p.vi of his first chapter, O’Connor introduces his narrator, Eolus, who lived 50 years later than Moses, and was chief of the Gaal or Sciot of Iber within Gaelag, between 1368 and 1335 b.c. There is much reliance on Herodotus, Strabo, Thucydides, Polybius, etc. [Compares modern day writers to ‘the manner of Anglo Irish juries, who submit their oath to the arbitrament of chance (c) lxxi; a note relates that in a case of damages, the value is fixed between the highest and lowest sum named by the Anglo-Irish jurymen on their oaths]. Throughout, O’Connor makes extensive use of analogies and homologies between Irish [i.e., Eri, dialect of the Scythians] and Greek and Roman names. For instance, he glosses Greek Ogyges, ‘supposed to be an individual, a king of Attica, in 1766, before Christ: ‘Og-eag-eis, ‘the diminution of Og’s multitude’, the explanation heretofore given on this head, has, it is to be hoped, confuted all the fabulous relations, and demonstrated the fact; it is to be farther remarked, that the nae of Og-eag-ia hath been applied to Eri, from tradition, and frgments of old poems, at a time, and by men, who had no idea of founding s system thereon, but merely because th fact of the Gaal of Sciot having emigrated from Ib-er, which was one of the nations of Magh-Og, has never been lost sight of, and you will find by the chronicles of the Iberian races in Spain, they called themselves Og-eag-eis, and Noe-maid-eis.’ [clxxiii]. The name Bosphoros is glosses as ‘Cos-foras’, compound of Cos, or the foot, and Foras, a wa through or over the water [idem]; Maes-ia, glossed ‘Meas-iath, the land of acorns’ [clxxx]. On p.clxxxvii following he lists ‘a variety of words in th dialectics of Greece, Italy, and eri, of the same signification in all, wherefrom you will have an opportunity of witnessing that the dialects of greece and Eri bear a nearer resemblance to each other … &c’. Examples are Aggelos, Giola; Akrasia, Craos [gluttony]; airesis, airioch-seis [election]; amnes[t]ia, main-aide [out of mind]; eros, er [hero]; kalon, glan [neat]; kiste, ciste [chest]; lauros, go leor [abundant]; lithos, liath [stone]; phero, bear-im [I carry]; pornos, foirneadh [violent passion or inclination, i.e., adultery—O’Connor cites Matt. 5.28]; Selene, Sul-lu-aine-e, ‘It is the light of the lesser orb or ring’; Phos, fos [light]. Vol 1 contains the Chronicle of Gaelag, being prior to the arrival in Ireland. Eolus is made to count years of reigns as ‘rings’. Vol. 2 contains the Chronicles of Eri, Part II; commencing with ‘the annals of Eri’. A Frontispiece folding map shows Ireland with selection of ancient names inc. provinces. ‘What if this land, standing alone, an island, be called ERI for times to come? [7] … this place is too large for one chief’ [8] The final chapter of the narrative of Eolus takes events up to ‘the reign of Factna, the son of Cas, the son of Ruidhruide Mor king in Ulladh, Ardri, a space of one score and three years, from 30 to the year 7 before Christ.’ After a chronology extending across the full world-history involved, O’Connor ends:‘And now I take my leave for the present, wishing health and happiness to all the good people of the earth, and speedy amendmnt to the vicious; and if my health will prmit (I shall certainly carry the victory over my adverse circumstances), I hope early in the year that is to ensue, to present the world with a continuation of the history of my adored Eri.’ [End]

[ top ]

References
Dictionary of National Biography: English bar 1784 [sic]; imprisoned with his brother Arthur; involved in insurance crimes; other details as above; Chronicles of Eri, mainly imaginative.

Hyland Catalogue No. 219 (Oct. 1995) lists An Address to the People of Ireland Shewing them Why they ought to Submit to an Union (Dublin 1799), 16pp.

Belfast Public Library holds to the People of Great Britain and Ireland (1799); View of the System of Anglo-Irish Jurisprudence and the effects of trial by Jury [in cases of faction] (1811); Chronicles of Eri. History of the Gaal Sciot Iber or the Irish People, translated from the original manuscripts, 2 vols. in 1 (1822). defendant, Margaret Dawes widow plaintiff, Richard O’Connor, attorney defendant; trial for the seduction of Margaret Dawes (1828).

National Library of Scotland holds Chronicles of Eri; being the history of the Gael Sciot Iber: or, the Irish people; translated from the original manuscripts in the Phoenicians dialectic of the Scythian language. Vol. I (London: Sir Richard Phillips & Co. 1822).

[ top ]

Notes
Dangan Castle, Co. Meath, was the birthplace of Richard Colley Wellesley, 2nd Earl of Mornington and Marquess (1760-1842), Lord Lieutenant in 1821-28, and 1833-34 (See Doherty and Hickey, A Chronology of Irish History since 1500, Gill & Macmillan 1989). See also Hubert Butler, ‘Dangan Revisited’, in Grandmother and Wolfe Tone, 1990): ‘[…] the house passed to a Mr Roger O’Connor, who cut down all the trees he could sell and skinned the rooms of every saleable fitting. Finally, after it had been well insured, the house burst into flames. No great effort was made to quench them.’ Further, Dangan was visited by Mrs Delany. The house belong to a Mr Wesley, who acquired a peerage, and a boy, who was to be Mrs Delany’s godson and the father in turn of the Duke of Wellington. ‘It is possible that he [Wellesley] disliked the middle-class associations which cam to the family name through his kinsman John Wesley.’ (p.105.)

Etymology: O’Connor derived Palatinus from Gaelic for ‘the high place of the fire of the multitude’ and Italia from Iataille, ‘the most beautiful country’, both supposed words in Gaelic. See Celtica, 1967; catalogue of Celtic works in National Library of Scotland.

[ top ]