[Sir] George Ogle (1742-1814)


Life
[“The Younger”]; b. Co. Wexford 14 Oct. 1742; represented Wexford for 28 years [1768-96] before becoming Dublin MP, 1798-1800; Colonel in the Irish Volunteers, 1782; he was a member of J. P. Curran’s Monks of the Screw; Irish privy counsellor, 1783; Gov. of Wexford, 1796; voted against Union in 1800 but opposed Catholic Emancipation; MP for Dublin in Westminster, 1801-04;
 

Ogle wrote “Molly Astore” [aka “Banna’s Banks”], using a Gaelic refrain and addressed to a Miss Moore. whom he married - , acc. to Thomas Moore in Poems of Ireland; d. 10 Aug.; poems uncollected except in Croker’s Some Popular Songs of Ireland ( 1839); d. 10 Aug. 1814; there is a life-size memorial statue of him by John Smythin St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. PI ODNB DBIV TAY JMC RAF FDA OCIL

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Commentary
Maureen Wall, Catholic Ireland in the 18th Century, ed. Gerard O’Brien (1989): The attempt to gain passage for a bill entitling Catholics to rights of mortgage and lease gained supporters, but aroused as many enemies, among them churchmen and merchants concerned with the advance of ‘popish religion’ and competition in town properties. The Protestant case against mortgages and leases was made by George Ogle, member for Co. Wexford, when he said that Catholics had hitherto received only toleration, but the passing of a lease bill would mean that popery ‘would be established by law’. (Reported in Faulkner’s Dublin Journal, 8 Feb. 1774). [122] Further, The entry of France into the war in 1778 intensified Protestant fears, but when George Ogle, chief exponent of militant Protestantism, proposing the establishment of a Protestant militia, declared that if the French landed they would be joined by the disaffected Catholics, the law officers of the crown hastened to pay tribute to their loyalty and fidelity; the prime sergeant, Hussey Burgh, going so far as to say that Protestant and papist alike were men and brothers. [Nevertheless] a motion for leave to introduce a bill to enable Catholics to take long leases on 12 March 1778 met with such opposition from Ogle, Richard Longfield, John Foster, and others that it had to be withdrawn.

Ogle’s Loyal Blues
Memoir of Ogle in Edward Hay’s History of the Insurrection of the County of Wexford, a.d. 1798 (Dublin: 1803).

Among the twenty-one doomed to this dreadful and loathsome confinement, (which I believe net to be paralleled by any dungeon in the world) there were desperate villains and scums of the earth; a circumstance more degrading and offensive to a liberal mind than any other punishment, when unable to avoid such intercourse, and this was the case aboard the Lovely Kitty, whose burden was but about fifty tons. This aggravation was verily and avowedly intended by the merciless persecutors; for when one of them was told, on his coming on board, of our desperate situation, I heard him assert, that “we had no reason to complain, since the vessel had been fitted out by the rebels she was good enough for us!” Our guards were at first seven yeomen of the Shilmalier infantry, afterward called Ogle’s Loyal Blues. These were relieved every twenty-four hours, and indeed they were apparently humane. One of [xvii] them was an apprentice to a carpenter who used to work at my father’s, and offered to be particularly kind to me. He promised to bring me my bed, and represented it would not become wet through in the course of the night, but that he would continue to dry it in the day-time, in which he hoped to be assisted by another young man, his fellow-apprentice; and proposed to arrange it so as that they would every day mount guard alternately. He, however said, that he could not act without the permission of his captain, the Right Hon. GEORGE OGLE. With this gentleman I formerly kept company, as our families were neighbours, and visited each other. I therefore thought, as well as from the favourable opinion, which he before constantly expressed of me, that his prejudice or bigotry could not make him forget good manners so far as not to answer a letter from me on such an occasion. I did of course address him one, but certainly not in the strain of a prisoner, which I knew I ought not to be, but, as one gentleman would write to another, giving an account of my distressing and unmerited situation. This letter, the Right Hon. GEORGE OGLE laid before the Wexford committee, and declared, that he would not permit any of his corps to go on such an errand. Of this I was informed of a letter from the secretary of the committee, which I preserve for the inspection of the curious. It was intimated that, if I wanted my bed, the committee would grant a pass to any other messenger I could procure, to bring it to me; but this was impossible at the time, as military law existed in such rigour, and it was a great while afterwards before I could procure a bed to be brought to me. The goodnatured yeoman who offered me his kind service, was checked by his captain for demeaning himself by speaking to the prisoners, and he soon after quitted the [xviii] corps in disgust, and enrolled himself with a captain more congenial to his disposition and feelings. (pp.xvi-xviii.)

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Maureen Wall, Catholic Ireland in the 18th Century (1989), cont. - footnote: Ogle, MP for Wexford, was lampooned in the Dublin Evening Journal, 25 April 1778, for his opposition to long leases and Catholic recruitment, ‘We’ll toast our own Shorsheen, who drove us from the land, Who refused us long leases and red cloth on our backs.’ [192, n.75]. Further, in the discussion of the British-sponsored Catholic relief bill [introduced as a motion by Luke Gardiner], George Ogle went so far as to enunciate the principle that government by taking sides was exercising undue influence in a question of church and state in which they had no right to interfere. [130] On Barry Yelverton arguing the urgency of Catholic relief for the peace of the country, Ogle responded that if the bill was founded on fear, it was unreasonable to invest those they feared with unnecessary power. ... Further, [Ogle failed to carry a proposal to reduce the scope of the measure to that of permitting Catholics to have leases of forty-one years or three lives, but he scored a major triumph on 16 June when on a division of 111 to 108 he carried a motion to remove the right to purchase and outright ownership [leaving the lease period at 999 years]; he was supported on this by Grattan and Fitzgibbon. The motion to repeal the gavel act was passed without a division [131]

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Maureen Wall, Catholic Ireland in the 18th Century (1989), cont.: When the bill was returned from Westminster [under Poyning’s law] without the sacramental test [dear to the Irish Protestant bishops] Ogle made a motion calling for it to be rejected on the grounds that it had been altered [...] when motion was defeated by 127 votes to 89, the Freeman’s Journal reported, ‘the shoal of papists in the gallery was so elated with their success, that they clapped and shouted, as in a play house.’ (Aug. 4 1778). [c.132] Further, Ogle declared that he had opposed the earlier bill of 1778 ‘because its introduction had been sprung as a surprise on the house’; he was now ready ‘to do everything for the Papists of Ireland consistent with the safety of the constitution, and their Protestant fellow-subjects’ (Parl. Reg.) ~This was, however, patriot politics, not a change of heart. [136] Note further, Ogle [with Hely Hutchinson, Bushe, and Yelverton] favoured the admission of Catholics to Trinity - and a proposal that the king assent to a statute admitting them - in preference to their continuing to be going abroad [142]. (For the contrary view of same question, see under Edmund Burke, Commentary, Maureen Wall, supra.)

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Quotations
Mailligh mo stór / Molly Astore”: ‘As down by Banna’s banks I strayed, / One evening in May, / The little birds with blithest notes, / Made vocal every spray; / They sung their little notes of love, / They sung them o’er and o’er. / Ah! grádh mo, chróidhe, mo cailín óg, / Is Mailligh mo stór. [...] Then fare thee well, my Molly dear! / Thy loss I e’er shall moan, / While life remains in my poor heart, / ’Twill beat for thee alone: / Though thou art false, may heaven on thee / Its choicest blessings pour. / Ah! grádh mo chróidhe, mo cailín óg, / Is Mailligh mo stór.’ (See full text, infra.)

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References
Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic University of America 1904), gives “Mailligh Mó Stoir”, and two other famous poems, “The Banks of Banna”, and “Banish Sorrow” (‘Follow, follow pleasure -/ There’s no drinking in the grave.’); bio-dates, b. 14 Oct., d. 10 Aug. The air for “Molly Astore” was the same as that for Sheridan’s “Had I a Heart for Falsehood Framed” and Moore’s “The Harp that Once Through Erin’s Halls”.

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Charles A. Read, The Cabinet of Irish Literature (London, Glasgow, Dublin, Belfast & Edinburgh: Blackie & Son [1876-78]); 1739-1814; little known of early life, respectable Wexford family; commander of local yeomanry; Monk of the Screw (see also Cabinet, Vol. 2, p.144n); represented Dublin in 1799; remembered as strongly opposed to Union. A note signed Brewer explains that it is believed Ogle afterwards married the object of Molly Astore, a Miss Moore. The two-line refrain, ‘Ah, gra-mo-chree, ma colleen oge, My Molly astore’, is editorially translated as ‘ah, love of my heart - my young girl - my treasure.’

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Dictionary of National Biography calls him the author of “Banna’s Banks” and “Molly Asthore”, both inspired by admiration for certain Irish ladies; MP for Wexford after 1796, he supported Legislative Independence but opposed Catholic Emancipation; Volunteers colonel, 1782; Irish privy councillor, 1783; gov. of Wexford, 1796; Dublin MP at Westminster [imperial parliament], 1801-04.

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Anthologies: Croker’s Some Popular Songs of Ireland; Samuel Lover’s Poems and Ballads; ascribes to him a lyric known as ‘Banish Sorrow’; John Cooke’s Dublin Book of Irish Verse 1728-1909 (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis 1909) contains “Mailligh Mo Stór” and “Banna’s Banks” [‘As down by Banna’s banks I strayed ..’]; Geoffrey Taylor , ed., Irish Poets ( 1951), incls. “Maillig Mo Stór” [“Molly Asthore”].

Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, 1789-1850(Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), Vol. 2; vites dates,?1742-1814; his name appears in the following volumes before 1850, Poetical Amusements at a Villa Near Bath (1775); T. C. Croker, The Popular Songs of Ireland (1839); Hercules Ellis, The Songs of Ireland (1849).

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 1: the song-lyric reasserts itself [over the satiric] as the 18th c. advances, as George Ogle’s “Mailligh” demonstrates [465]; “Mailligh Mo Stór/My Darling Molly” [471-72. Bibl., “Mailligh” taken , from Dublin Book of Verse, ed. John Cooke, pp.3-5 [492]; BIOG, 496, b. Ireland 1742, son of translator; d. Co. Wexford; poems uncollected; several in T. C. Croker, ed., Popular Songs of Ireland (London: Henry Colburn 1839). Note that the Irish refrain in Deane is produced as follows: Ah! grá mo croí, mo chailín óg / Mailligh a stór’, while ‘kine and fleecy store’ is thoughtfully annotated ‘cattle and sheep’ [472].

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Dictionary of National Biography: b. Co. Wexford; raised at Rossminoge by a rector called Millar; imbued with strong Protestantism; fought duel with member of the Catholic Committee for the suggestion that a Catholic could make false oaths, which he denied uttering, using the term rebel instead; Hibernian Mag., reports his saying that he never hated any man for his religion; Sir Boyle Roche believed to have carried out the trick of informing the parliament that the Catholics were content with present relief, on the supposed authority of Lord Kenmare, for which he was blamed [this information of England, Life of [Arthur] O’Leary; wrote to Fox opposing the use of repression in Ireland; joined Monks of St Patrick’s, 1779’.

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Notes
M.P. (College Green): Ogle is included in the engraving of House of Commons [presum. for Wexford] in 1790 now preserved in Bank of Ireland (College Green) and identified as figure No. 137 in key.

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Banna-bananas: Note that Ogle is accredited with two famed poems, “Molly Astore” and “The Banks of Banna”, notwithstanding the fact that the phrase “Banna’s banks” falls in the second line of the former. Note also that mo stór and astore are used variously according to the Irish-language competence of the editors.

Portrait: On the plinth of the life-size statue by John Smyth in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin appears an inscription: ‘[...] he exhibited a perfect model of that exalted refinement which in the best days of our country characterised the Irish gentleman.’ (See also Brian de Breffny, ed., Ireland: A Cultural Encyclopaedia (London: Thames & Hudson, 1982, p.214.)

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Kith & Kin: Sir John Ogle (1569-1640), was sergeant-major under Sir Francis Vere in Netherlands, 1591; lieut.-col., rallying forces at Nieuport, 1600; knighted1603; helped recover Sluys, 1604; gov. of Utrecht for stadtholder Maurice, 1610-18; coat of arms, 1615;; member of council of war, 1624; active member of Virginia Co.; employed under Wentworth in Ireland. [ODNB]

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