Denis Scully

Life
1773-1830 [or Denys]; b. 4 May, Kilfeakle var. Kilfeacle], Co. Tipperary; ed. Trinity College, Cambridge [DIW DIH; ODNB var. TCD], the second Catholic to do so since the Reformation; Irish bar, 1796; Leinster Circuit barrister and leading Catholic advocate after O’Connell; leader of democratic faction in Emancipation movement, 1812-29 [ODNB one of the leading Catholic agitators]; prob. author of article leading to persecution of John Magee for seditious libel of Duke of Richmond; his Statement of the Penal Laws (1812) ran into many editions but resulted in imprisonment for the printer Hugh Fitzpatick. ODNB DIW DIH

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Works
[Denis Scully], A State of thePenal Laws which Aggrieve the Catholics of Ireland [2nd edn.] (Dublin 1812); Brian McDermot, ed., The Catholic Questions in Ireland and England: The Papers of Denys Scully (Blackrock IAP 1988), 774pp; also Brian MacDermot, ed. The Irish Catholic Petition of 1805, the Diary of Denys Scully (IAP 1992), 240pp.

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Criticism
Brian MacDermot, ed., The Catholic Question in Ireland and England 1798-1822 (Dublin: IAP 1988); Maureen Wall, Catholic Ireland in the 18th c., ed. Gerard O’Brien (1989) [infra].

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Commentary
Maureen Wall, Catholic Ireland in the 18th c., ed. Gerard O’Brien (1989), Denis Scully, Catholic spokesman before O’Connell, published his Statement of the Penal Laws (1812), advancing the typical pro-Emancipationist propaganda of the period, ‘All Catholic merchants and artizans ... are under necessity ... of resding in these cities and towns, and under the yoke of corporate power. ... some hundred thousand of the most useful, laborious and valuable citizens of Ireland ... such persons in any well-regulated state, would be deemed fit objects of favour and encouragement, at least of protection ... in Irealnd ... They are debased by the galling ascendancy of privileged neighbours ... depressed by partial imposts ... undue preferences ... uncertain and unequal measure of justice ... fraud and favoritism ... daily practised to their prejudice ... every species of Catholic industry and mechanical skill os checked, taxed, and rendered precarious.’ Wall, op. cit., p.91.) ‘.. the peculiar misery of Irish corporate towns; the general ignorance and unskilfulness of their tradesmen; their dear charges for labour; their irrational combinations; their abject poverty; their saqualid exterior ... are solely attributable to this perverted and unnaturl system of penal laws, which confounds all ordinary principles of human action, and frustrates the most helpful projects of benevolence and patriotism’. (Scully, 1812; Wall, idem.)

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Brian Girvin, ‘Making Nations, O’Connell, Religion and The Creation of Political Identity’, in Daniel O’Connell, Political Pioneer, ed. Maurice R. O’Connell (Inst. Publ. Relations 1991), pp.13-34, Denis Scully addressed O’Connell, ‘You are now preeminently the head of the Irish Catholics.’ Psuedonymously as A Munster Farmer, A letter to Daniel O’Connell, Esq. occasioned by the Petition adopted at the Late Aggregate Meeting of the Catholics of Ireland (Dublin 1824). See Brian MacDermot, ed., The Catholic Question in Ireland and England, The papers of Denys Scully (Dublin 1988). [14]; And see Munster farmer, infra, 24 n., One observer [‘A Munster Farmer’, probably Denis Scully; see n.1, supra] considered that O’Connell remained ‘an Orange Catholic’ until 1810. (A Munster Farmer, Reminiscences of Daniel O’Connell (London/Dublin 1847, p.14). [24] FURTHER, Scully’s policy, ‘You see that it is the interest and the principle of the present Government, who espouse no party, to treat all with impartiality and justice; that, if you continue cordially to support them, they in return, will continue to protect you and reward you with their esteem and confidence.’ (ibid., p.51) [25]. Scully supported the Union believing that the ascendancy aristocrats who had left Dublin were not sympathetic to Catholic demands [and that the British parliment was the more likely place to see it passed]. His view of the effect of the union on the Protestants, ‘You see that Faction, whom you dread, have changed sides, and are become the most discontented party in the country; that they are become the most clamorous against the British connection, because it has clipped their monopoly; that they are incensed by the late Union, which has demolished not our Parliament (for we had no share in it) but their club house.’ An Irish Catholic’s Advice to His Brethern (Dublin 1813), p.50 [24]. The Drumgoole Case, A proposal to rescind the condemnation was proposed by Aeneas McDonnell, ed. of Cork Merchantile Chronicle, and supported by Denis Scully who compared the attack on Drumgoole to the persecution of Titus Oates. [31]

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Quotations
Anglo-Eibhlis: ‘I have often heard Irish ladies (who possessed rank or birth, or forune or education, or some or all of those advanages together) express themselves in words which would shock an ear of common delicacy in England, such as the following, “stinking”, “dirty”, “nasty”, “fat woman”, “the fellow’s carcase”, “swim in blood”, “rotten”, “to spit” - with fifty other phrases (nauseous to recollect) which ware in English confined to the drunkard, debaucher, or the butcher and the scavenger. Yet is is a fact that they possess as much native innocence of mind, genuine modesty and rather more prudery than the English women - and I impute the use of those coarse phrases (which are inconceivably grating to the ear from a female voice) to the ignorance of mothers in a few insstances more generally to their shameful neglect of cultivating the style of conversation and many other useful attainments.’ MacDermot, ed., Scully Papers, pp.43-44; quoted in Thomas Bartlett, ‘Britishness, Irishness and the Act of Union’, in Dáire Keogh & Kevin Whelan, eds., Acts of Union: The Causes, Contexts and Consequences of the Act of Union, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2001, p.254; Bartlett notes that Scully recommends the substituted terms fetid, soiled, embonpoint, and putrid, carious or decayed.)

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References
Dictionary of National Biography also lists his son Vincent Scully (1810-1871), ed. TCD and Trinity College, Cambridge; Irish bar, 1833; QC, 1840; MP Cork, 1852-57, and 1859-65; political pamphlets.

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