Richard Ryan (1796-1849)

Life
[recte 1797?] (known as “Poet of Camden”); b. London, 18 April 1797, at Oxford Street, being the son of Elizabeth and Richard Ryan, a bookseller and himself the son of Patrick Ryan, orig. from Cork [var. Skibbereen]; ed. Soho Square Academy and St. Paul’s School; m. Amelia Cecilia Margaret Didier (1803-74), at St Marylebone, Westminster, May 1822, with whom four children - Edmund, Alfed, Elizabeth Bridget and Jane; his father kept a bookshop at 330 Oxford St. - formerly on site of Picadilly Circus - from 1784 up to his death in 1818, after which it closed within a year (Gent. Mag., Oct. 1818; March 1819); the son then reopened in Camden Town;
 

Ryan wrote some one-act plays, Everybody’s Husband, and Quite at Home; also Le Pauvre Jacques, vaudeville, all printed in J. Cumberland’s Acting Plays (1825); his other works incl. Eight Ballads on the Superstitions of the Irish Peasantry (1822); Biographia Hibernica [...] Irish Worthies, 2 vols. (1819-21) - the first of its kind and the work for which he is rememberd [see infra]; Poems on Sacred Subjects, etc. (1824); Dramatic Table-talk, 3 vols. (1825), and Poetry and Poets, being a collection of the choicest anecdotes relative to the poets of every age and nation, illustrated by engravings (1826); d. in October 1849; living descendents in New Zealand hold holograph and printed papers. ODNB


See holograph letter - infra.

[ top ]

Works
  • Biographia Hibernica: A Biographical Dictionary of the Worthies of Ireland from the earliest period to the present time, written and compiled by Richard Ryan (London: John Warren; Dublin: M. N. Mahon, R. Milliken, and Hodges & M’Arthur MDCCCXXI [1821]) [infra];
  • Eight Ballads on the Superstitions of the Irish Peasantry (London: John Warren ... 1822), viii, 80pp. [17.5cm.] [Irish poetry in English];
  • Poems on Sacred Subjects, 3 vols. (London: Sherwood, Gilbert & Piper, 1826);
  • Dramatic Table-talk, or Scenes, Situations, and Adventures, Serious and Comic, in Theatrical History and Biography [Reflections on the theatrical art by M. Talma] 3 vols. (London: London: John Knight & Henry Lacey 1825), 3 v (li,xiii,288,x,288,ix,317p): ill. [front.]
  • Poetry and Poets, Being a Collection of the Choicest Anecdotes Relative to the Poets of every Age and Nation, Illustrated by Engravings (London 1826).
[ top ]
Drama
  • Everybody’s husband: a comic drama, in one act / by Richard Ryan; printed from the acting copy, with remarks, biographical and critical, by D.-G.; to which are added, a description of the costume, - cast of the characters, entrances and exits, - relative positions of the performers on the stage, - and the whole of the stage business, as performed at the Theatres Royal, London; embellished with a fine engraving, by Mr. Bonner, from a drawing taken in the theatre, by Mr. R. Cruikshank [Cumberland’s minor theatre, No. 34; performed at the Queens’s Theatre, Tottenham Street, Fitzroy Square, February, 1831] (London: G. H. Davidson, Peter’s Hill, Doctors’ Commons, between St. Paul’s and Upper Thames Street, [1831]), 28pp., ill. [15cm.].  
  • Le pauvre Jacques [by The´odore Cogniard]: a vaudeville, in one act / (translated from the French,) by Richard Ryan, author of Everybody’s husband, Quite at home, The invisible witness, &c.; printed from the acting copy, with remarks, biographical and critical, by D.-G.; to which are added, a description of the costume,-cast of the characters,-entrances and exits,-relative positions of the performers on the stage, and the whole of the stage business; as performed at the Metropolitan Minor theatres; embellished with a fine engraving, from a drawing taken in the theatre, by Mr. R. Cruikshank [Cumberland’s Minor Theatre, No. 92] (London: John Cumberland, 2, Cumberland Terrace, Camden New Town [1836]), 33pp., ill. [1 lf. of pls.], 15cm. [performed by the French Company at the St. James’s Theatre, 27 July 1836].
[ top ]
Lyrics
  • George Chapman, Oh tell me where the roses twine: a song, words by Richard Ryan Esq.; music with an accompaniment for the piano forte, composed by George Chapman (London: Printed by Rutter & McCarthy (18??]), 3pp.;
  • A voice from the waves: duett; Companion to the Popular Duett, “What are the Wild Waves Saying?” written by Richard Ryan, composed by Stephen Glover (London: Robert Cocks & Co. [1851]);
  • The Fairy-formed Harp: A Ballad ... [music] by Charles Smith (London: J. Power, [1824]), 1 score, 4pp. [for voice and pianoforte - ‘There was a harp of old ...’];
  • The Fairy’s Gift: a ballad / written by Richard Ryan; composed by Charles Smith (London: Published by J. Power [1824]), 1 score [3pp., 33cm.] (for voice and pianoforte: ‘With many a plant ...’];
  • The Flying Dutchman / composed by John Parry; poetry by Richard Ryan (London: D’Almaine & Co. [1840]), 1 score [7pp., 35cm. ]
  • I’d Be a Nightingale: Ballad / sung by Miss Graddon, written by Richd. Ryan, and composed by E. Solis. (London: Published by Goulding & D’Almaine, ... and to be had at the author’s music warehouse, ... [1835]), 1 score ([2], 5, [1]pp.[35cm.]
Miscellaneous
  • Foreword [Introductory Remarks] to Samuel Foote [pretended], The Tailors (or “Quadrupeds”), a tragedy for warm weather in three acts [and in verse], illllustrated with original designs by R. Cruikshank and Starling (London 1836), 12°. [Authorship ascribed to Foote in prefatory remarks but disclaimed by him];
[ top ]
Bookseller’s Catalogue [i.e., Richard Ryan, Snr.]
  • R. Ryan’s catalogue for 1814; containing many scarce and valuable books, in different branches of literature ... ([London]: [R. Ryan] 1814), [3], 2-140 [i.e.150]pp., 8°. [‘Every deduction that it is possible to make to purchasers, shall be made’; ‘Price: two shillings (allowed to purchasers)’ - t.p
  • The First Part of R. Ryan’s Catalogue for 1816, now on sale, &c. (London: J. Barfield 1816), 125pp., 8o.
Auctioneer’s catalogue
  • A Catalogue of the Valuable Stock of the Late Mr. Richard Ryan ... bookseller ... which will be sold by auction (London 1819), 22cm..  
Cited as bookseller ...
  • Jacob Des Moulins, Antiqua restaurata: A concise historical account of the ancient Druids, shewing their civil and religious governments, ceremonies, groves, derivations and etymologies; with biographical sketches; also, the remains of Druidical antiquity in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France. To which will be annexed, the animated speech of Caractacus, when sent captive to Rome. ... By Jacob Des Moulins ... (London: printed for the Author, and sold by Owen; Ryan; and Jones, 1794), viii, 58pp., ill. [pl.], 8°.
  • John Thomas Smith, Antiquities of Westminster; the old palace; St. Stephen’s Chapel, (now the House of Commons) &c. &c.: Containing two hundred and forty-six engravings of topographical objects, of which one hundred and twenty-two no longer remain / By John Thomas Smith. [...] contains copies of manuscripts which throw new and unexpected light on the ancient history of the arts in England .. (London: Printed by T. Bensley, Bolt Court, for J. T. Smith, 31, Castle Street East, Oxford Street, and sold by R. Ryan, 353, Oxford Street, near the Pantheon; and J. Manson, 10, Gerrard Street, Soho, June 9, 1807), [6], xv, [1], 276, [2]pp., ill. [38 lvs. of pls. - 14 col.; 2 plans], 4°. [See details at COPAC - online.
  • Thomas Peacham, The Period of Mourning: Disposed into sixe visions. In memorie of the late Prince. Together with Nuptiall hymnes, in honour of this happy marriage betweene the great princes, Frederick, Count Palatine of the Rhene, and the most excellent, and aboundant president of all virtue and goodness Elizabeth onely daughter to our soueraigne, his Maiestie. Also the manner of the solemnization of the marriage at White-Hall, on the 14. of February, being Sunday, and St. Valentine’s day / By Henry Peacham, ... (London: Printed by T. S. for Iohn Helme, and are to be sould in Saint Dunstanes Churchyard in Fleetstreet. 1613. Reprinted for the editor, and sold at no. 62, Great Wild-Street, near Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields; by Mess. Egerton, Whitehall; Mess. Cox and Phillipson, James-Street, Covent-Garden; R. Ryan, no. 351, Oxford-Street; H. D. Symonds, no. 20. Pater-Noster-Row; and W. Richardson, under the Royal-Exchange, 1789), 51pp., 8° [verse].

[ top ]

Bibliographical details
Biographia Hibernica: A Biographical Dictionary of the Worthies of Ireland from the earliest period to the present time, written and compiled by Richard Ryan [epigraph ‘On Lough Neagh’s bank../..catch a glimpse of the days that are over ... looking of time,/far the long faded glories they cover’ ([Thomas] Moore) [London: John Warren; Dublin: M. N. Mahon, R. Milliken, and Hodges & M’Arthur MDCCCXXI]; frontispiece engrav. J. P. Curran by J. T. Wedgewood for Ryan’s Worthies; published R. Ryan 330 Oxford St., 20 March 1819; this copy, title page verso, Dr Corry’s sale July 1896. CONTENTS: Vol. I: Abernethy, John [1]; Alexander, John [6]; Annesley, Arthur, Earl of Anglesey [9]; Arehdale, Mervyn [17]; Archdekin, Riehard [19]; Arthur, James [20] Ash, St. George [21]; Atkinson, Joseph [23]; Averill, John [24]; Aylmer, Matthew [25]; Aylmer, George [27]; Baillie, Captain William [25]; Barber, Mary [28]; Barnewall, Anthony [28]; Baro, or Baron, Bonaventura [29]; Barret, George [31]; Barrett, Dr. James [33]; Barrett, Captain John [84]; Barry, David Fitzjames, Viscount Buttevant [40]; Barry, David, first Earl of Barrymore [41]; Barry, James, Lord Santry [42]; Barry, Spranger [44]; Barry, James, Jr [68]; Bathet, William [74]; Beard, Thomas [75]; Beling, Richard [76]; Berkeley, George, Bishop of Cloyne [76]; Bermingham, Hon. John [96]; Bernard, Harriet Catherine, Countess of Bandon [97]; Bickerstaff, Isaac [99]; Birmingham, Sir John, Earl of Lough [100]; Black, Joseph [101]; Boirumhe, Brien [113]; Borlase, Edmund [122]; Boyd, Hughl Macauley [124]; Boyle, Richard [128]; Boyle, Roger [133]; Boyle, Francis, Viscount Shannon [162]; Boyle, Hon. Robert [163]; Boyle, Henrietta, Lady O’Neil [177]; Boyle, Roger [133]; Boyse, Samuel [179]; Brabazon, William, first Earl of Meath [197]; Brady, Nicholas [198]; Brereton, Lieut.Gen. [200]; Brigit, St. [200]; Brodriek, Allan, first Viscount Middleton [201]; Brooke, Henry [201]; Brooke, Charlotte [211]; Brooke, or Brookes, John [212]; Brouneker, Sir William, Viscount of Castle-Lyons [214]; Brown, Dr. Jemmet [215]; Browne, Peter [222]; Browne, Patrick [225]; Bunworth, Charles [228]; Burghs Walter Hussey [299]; Burke, Edward [sic] [231]; Burke, Riehard [271]; Burke,Walter [272]; Burns, John [273]; Burrowes, Alexander Saunderson [274]; Butler, James, fourth Earl of Ormond [275]; Butler, Richard, third Viscount Mountgarret [278]; Butler, Thomas, Earl of Ossory [281]; Butler, James, Duke of Ormonde [286]; Butts, John [295]; Byrne, Charles [296]; Byrne, Charles [296; this line repeated in error]; Curran, John Philpot [298]; Caldwell, Sir James [363]; Caldwell, Hume [366]; Caldwell, Henry [374]; Caldwell, Charles [375]; Caldwell, Andrew [376]; Cantwell, Andrew [377]; Carleton, Sir Guy Lord Dorchester [377]; Carolan, Turlough [383]; Caron, Redmond [390]; Carter, Thomas [390]; Caulfield, William, second Viscount Charlemont [391]; Caulfield, James, Earl of Charlemont [392]; Centlivre, Sussanah [454]; Chandler, Edward [460]; Cherry, Andrew [462]; Chicester, Arthur, Earl of Donegal [467]; Clancy, Michael [469]; Clare, Benjamin [471]; Clayton, Robert, Bisbop of Clogher [471]; Cleaver, Mrs [478]; Cleiri, or Cleirigh, Michael [479]; Close, Sir Barry [480]; Coghill, Marmaduke [481]; Cole, Sir John [482]; Colgan, John [483]; Columbas, or Celumkille, St. [485]. Vol. II, includes 240 Irish lives from Matthew Concanen [1], to Matthew Young [645].

[ top ]

Quotations
Biographia Hibernica (1819-1820), Preface Dedicatory: ‘... biographies ... the vindicator of an unhappy people [...] The History of Ireland is the most calamitous moral document since the beginning of society. A goverment of barbarism was less succeeded than interrupted by a government of conquest; and the evil of this partial subjugation was reinforced by the subordinate mischiefs of a divided law, a divided language, and divided religions. The heroic savage of Ireland lost a share of his native virtues and filled up their place by the arts of a perverted civilisation. The laws of English had made a sudden burst into the country ... but their progress was as suddenly checked, and they only increased the tumult and dangers of that untamed element into which they had plunged. Ireland was left only a place of desperate rivalry or of desolation, a field of battle or a grave.’ [para; cont.]

[ top ]

Biographia Hibernica (1819-1820), Pref. - cont.: ‘The cause of these deplorable calamities was not in the English legislature; for the only crime of that legislature was in the slowness and unskillfulness of the cure. The original government of Ireland was, of all others, the most fatal to civilisation; it was the government of tribes, the devotedness of clanship without its compensating and patriarchal affections, the haughty violence of the feudal system without its superb munificence and generous achievement. Ireland was torn in pieces by four sovereignties; the people were kept in chains at home, that they might be loosed on their neighbours with the ferocity of hungry and thwarted strength. Her government was a graduated tyranny in which the sovereign stood at the highest point of licentiousness; and the people were sunk to the bottom of the scale in chill and deadly depression. But no man who knows the history of Ireland can compute the influence of England among the elements of her depression. She neglected, but she scarcely smote her. It was the physiciants disgusted by the waywardness of the patient, leaving the disease to take its course, and not the assassin inflicting a fresh wound. ... England was then fighting for her freedom [against] France ... Spain ... if she turned round to look upon the dissensions of Ireland, it was only with the quick and anxious irritation of a conqueror, who in the moment of deciding the battle, sees an insurrection of prisoners in the rear.’

[ top ]

See details - attached.

Note: includes the following remarks: ‘In his business, when it came to be my own, by the demise of my father in July 1818, I declined following, having initiated a taste for Literary Composition and which I cultivated by writing pieces of Poetry on various subjects for the newspapers - these were the produce of my leisure hours. My more important literary pursuit being to compile and write a work of Irish Biography [...]’ (Transcription provided by Paul Richard Ryan, the owner of the letter, in correspondence with Ricorso.)

[ top ]

References
D. J. O’Donoghue, The Poets of Ireland: A Biographical Dictionary (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co 1912); Eight Ballads on the Superstitions of the Irish Peasantry (London 1822); Poems on Sacred Subjects (Lon 1824), to which are added several miscell. pieces; d. (aetat. 71) recorded in The Gentleman’s Magazine (1830); Ryan wrote songs set by Hodson, Barnett, and others; interesting and useful works incl. Biographia Hibernica (2 vols. 1821); Dramatic Table Talk (London 1825), anon; Poets and Poetry (3 vols. Lon. 1826); prob. author of ‘Bold Barry of Macroom’; poem in Amulet, 1827.

Paul Ryan writes: "Before my aunt died last year I had found out as much as I could about the Ryans, so I knew about Richard Ryan from the family verbal history. While I didn't know about the printed poems saved by Richard Ryan, or about the [3pp.] handwritten letter that I received last week (from another aunt) I had been told that he was a poet and "the Poet of Camden Town". The family also knew that his father "had a bookshop in Soho". It was only when I Googled him that I found out information about him running his own bookshop (as listed in the Dictionary of National Biography, 1897) and I am still looking for proof of the Camden bookshop. The one run by his father for 35 years on Oxford Street closed in 1819, a year after he died in 1818. Regarding his father coming from Cork [...] the verbal family history says his parents were Patrick and Bridget Ryan and came to London from Skibbereen [...] and that Patrick Ryan was a steward to the Duke of Wellington - but seeing as the Duke of Wellington was born in 1769 that doesn't quite match, unless he was an older man at the time. The first time Richard Ryan's birth date was listed wrong was in 1897 in the same Dictionary of National Biography as mentioned above." (communication to Ricorso of 28 May 2013.)

[ top ]

Ulster libraries
Belfast Linen Hall Library holds Biographia Hibernica, 2 vols. (1819-21). Belfast Public Library holds Biographia Hibernica, Worthies of Ireland, 2 vols. (1821); Poems on Sacred Subjects (1824) - presum. the work of the vicar of Rathcore.

[ top ]

Notes
Henry Boylan, Dictionary of Irish Biography (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1988), contains no entry on Ryan but does list his Worthies of Ireland (1821) in the bibliographical list of works consulted.

[ top ]

Namesake (1): Not to be confused with Richard Ryan, Vicar of Rathconnell, Co. Meath, and afterwards Vicar of Rathcore, author of Directions for proceeding under the Tithe Composition Acts(Dublin 1823, & edns..), also [prob.,] Practical remedies for the practical evils of Ireland (Dublin: Tims; London: Hatchard 1828), 33pp. [available at JSTOR, 2009]. See other works, e.g.—

Richard Ryan, Vicar of Rathcore
  • Directions for proceeding under the Tithe Act ... / by the Rev. Richard Ryan, Vicar of Rathconnell in the Diocese of Meath. 1823; Do., ... Third edition, containing the 7th and 8th George IV. chap. 60, and notices of some cases, &c. (1828), 12°;
  • The Irish Incumbent’s Guide; or, Digest of the Ecclesiastical Law of Ireland. / By the Rev. Richard Ryan, A.B., Vicar of Rathconnel [sic], in the Diocese of Meath. (Dublin: Printed by William Underwood 1825), 14+18pp., 8°.  
    [...]
  • A Digest of the Irish Church Temporalities Act. Being the 3d and 4th William IV., Cap. 37. With notes and an appendix / by Richard Ryan, Vicar of Rathcore. (Dublin 1833).
  • A Digest of the Law for Collecting and Enforcing Tithe Composition, &c. 1834.
  • A Digest of the new Act 2d and 3d William IV., chap. 119, arranged under the headings of the original treatise, ... intended as an appendix to his former work. 1832.
See COPAC online.

Namesake (2): Not to be confused with Richard Ryan, M.D., practising in Edinburgh, who wrote a thesis on diabetes - viz.,

Disputatio medica inauguralis, de diabete mellito: quam, annuente summo numine: ex auctoritate reverendi admodum viri, D. Georgii Baird, SS.T.P. Academiae Edinburgenae Praefecti: necnon amplissimi senatus academici consensu, et nobilissimae facultatis medicae decreto: pro gradu doctoratus, summisque in medicina honoribus ac privilegiis rite et legitime consequendis / eruditorum examini subjicit Richardus Ryan, Hibernus (Societ. Reg. Phys. Edin. Soc. Hon. MDCCXCIX [1799]).

[ top ]