John Sheares

Life
1766-98 [pseud. “Dion”]; b. Cork, ed. TCD, grad. 1787; called to bar, 1788; frequent contributor to the United Irishman’s Dublin organ, The Press; arrested with his brother 21 May 1798, by a Capt. Armstrong; tried for high treason; executed before Newgate Prison 14 July; bur. St Michan’s, where his body was long preserved from corruption by the special conditions of the crypt. DIB RAF

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Works
Beauties of the Press (1800) and Extracts from The Press (1802). Anthol. in Joshua Edkins, Collection of Poems (1789); also in R. R. Madden, Literary Remains of the United Irishmeni [1846].

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Criticism
Charles Graham Halpine, The Patriot Brothers ... Page from Ireland’s Martyrology (Dublin 1884).

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References
R. R. Madden, United Irishmen: the story of their pathetic death on the scaffold, roughly treated by the executioner who jerked the more fearful and younger brother, into the air before hanging. They held hands. The execution was extremely well attended. They were decapitated before burial.

D. J. O’Donoghue, The Poets of Ireland: A Biographical Dictionary (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co 1912); notes that he wrote for United Irishmen’s papers The Press [as ‘Dion’], The Harp of Erin, etc.; verse exemplified in Madden’s Literary Remains of the United Irishmen (1846); others antologised in Edkins’ collection (1789-90) and signed J- S-; remained unmarried; executed 14 July; bur. St Michans; bodies preserved.

Henry Boylan, Dictionary of Irish Biography (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1988), has have contiguous entries on John and Henry Sheares.

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Notes
Regicides?: The Sheares brothers were probably present at the execution of Louis XVI in Paris on Jan. 21 1793. According to J. G. Alger, it was John Sheares who, ‘crossing over to England in the same packet with young Daniel O'Connell, the future Liberator, then a staunch tory, exultantly exhibited a hankerchief dipped in Louis XVI's blood’.

(See entry on Abbé Edgworth de Firmont at the “Irish in Paris” website; - citing J.G. Alger, ‘The British Colony in Paris, 1792-1793’, in The English Historical Review, 13, 52 (Oct. 1898); accessed 29.12.2012.)

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