Richard Lalor Sheil (1791-1851)


Life
b. 17 Aug. 1791, Bellevue House, Drumdowney, Co. Kilkenny [nr. Waterford]; eldest son of Edward Sheil and Catherine MacCarthy [of Spring Hse., Tipperary], his father being a successful wine merchant who purchased Bellevue; br. Sir Justin Sheil; ed. in Kensington (London) under tutelage of an émigre, M. de Broglie; he afterwards at Stoneyhurst, 1804-07; entered TCD 1807; incommoded by his father’s bankruptcy in 1807, but funded by a relative of his mother; spoke for Catholic Emancipation at the Historical Society, 1809; grad. BA 1811; entered Lincoln’s Inn, Nov. 1811 [1811-17 DIH; vars. 1813, and 1814 ODNB];
 
while studying for the bar, Sheil lived in London with his uncle Richard Sheil; he returned to Ireland, 1813; and became a founding mbr. of the Catholic Board, 1813; he addressed the Board opposing a motion to reprobate securities as a condition of emancipation, on 3 Dec. 1813; attracted praise of Daniel O’Connell but protested at O’Connell’s refusal of concessions to Protestant supporters (i.e., conditional emancipation), though later joining him whole-heartedly in the Catholic Emancipation movement; opposed O’Connell on the Veto question, 1813-15;
 
Sheil turned to writing for the stage to alleviate draught of family finances; earned £2,000 from his dramatic writings commencing with Adelaide, or the Emigrants (Theatre Royal, Dublin, 1814), a five-act tragedy in verse concerning French nobility fleeing the Revolution, and purportedly written for Miss O’Neil in the title role; played successfully at Crow Street, Theatre Royal (Dublin 19 Fen. 1814); afterwards, less successfully, at Covent Garden, 23 May 1816; bar. 1814
 
m. Miss O’Haloran [O’Halloran], niece of Master of the Rolls, 1814; travelled with her to London for the premier of his next play, The Apostate (Covent Garden, 3 May 1817), concerning the fate of the Moors in Spain, also in verse; with Macready, Young, Kemble, and Miss O’Neil; received £300 from John Murray for the copyright; followed its success with Bellamira, or the Fall of Tunis (Covent Gdn., 1818), and Evadne, or the Statue (Covent-Garden, London [Theatre Royal] 10 Feb. 1819), adapted James Shirley’s The Traitor [Traitor], again successfully staged;
 
Sheil visited Paris, Sept. 1821, and met the actor Talma, about whom he would write in the New Monthly Magazine (July 1822); a new play The Huguenot was postponed due to the marriage of Miss O’Neill, and later staged without success in 1822; a play, Montoni (3 May 1820), failed and was withdrawn after three nights; he assisted John Banim with Damon and Pythias (Covent Garden, 1821), drawing £100 from the proceeds, and making extensive claims to authorship in the published version - alway disputed on Banims part and leading to a breach; his critical sketch sketch of O’Connell drew an unflattering retort (‘iambic rhapsodist’);
 
commencing his celebrated “Sketches of the Irish Bar” in the New Monthly, issued serially with his associate W. H. Curran; joined with O’Connell in congratulating Lord Wellesley on his appt. to Lord Lieutenancy (Viceroy) of Ireland, 1 Jan. 1822; suffered the death of his wife, 1822; disappointed by the Wellesley administration, he joined with O’Connell in founding fnd. Catholic Association with Daniel, 12 May 1823; wrote a petition to both houses setting forth abuses of the Irish administration which was presented by Brougham, and aspersed by Peel as being ‘more in the declamatory style of a condemned tragedy than of a grave representation to the Legislature’ - to which Sheil retorted with an allusion to Peel’s ‘plebeian arrogance’;
 
Sheil travelled from county to county in Ireland making Emancipation speeches and promulgating the idea of the Catholic rent to support the movement; adapted Massinger’s Fatal Dowry for the modern stage (Drury Lane, 1824), and suffered its withdrawal through the illness of Macready; protested in London with O’Connell and the O’Gorman Mahon, against a Bill to suppress the Catholic Association; Catholice Relief Bill passed by Commons, 10 May 1825, but defeated in the Lords through the influence of the Duke of York; criticised for making rhetorical and unproven representations against the Irish administration before committees of both Houses;
 
following the suppression of the Catholic Association, he was complicit with O’Connell in establishing multiple meetings throughout the country in lieu of the former weekly meetings in Dublin; travelled extensively in Ireland in support of the new policy and practice; again visited France, Sept. 1826 and recruited Abbé Genoude, editor of L’Etoile for the Catholic cause in Ireland and contributed anonymously to the paper; an indictment for libel against him and Michael Staunton, proprietor of the Morning Register, was not proceeded with by George Canning, PM, who had succeeded Lord Liverpool in the interim, 1827;
 
Sheil differed with O’Connell’s in the latter’s determination to oppose each representative of the adminstration, feeling due gratitude to Wellington for his agreement to repeal the Test Act; strenuously opposed Vesey Fitzgerald’s candidacy in the Clare election which was won by O’Connell - unforeseeably at the time; Sheil purchased a small freehold in Kent in order to address a hostile Protestant audience at Penenden Heath, 24 Oct. 1829; admired for his courage in face of opposition and made the recipient of dinner in his honour, at the London Tavern, 3 Nov.; moved the dissolution of the Catholic Association when a speech from the throne held out promise of Catholic Emancipation;
 
accepted brief from Lord George Beresford in effort to recover his seat in Co. Waterford, and aspersed by Catholics as a ‘decoy duck’; admitted to the Inner Bar, Aug. 1830 - thus taking silk, 1830; he adopted the name of Lalor on marrying a widow whose father, Lalor of Crenagh, Co. Tipperary, bequeathed her a property, 1830; independent of means, he now accepted an invitation to contest the Louth seat, and was ignominiously defeated at the ballot, 1830; accepted the seat of Milborne Port in Dorset from Marquis of Angelsey; delivered maiden speech on Second Reading of the Reform Bill, 21 March 1831; in parliament he held to his practice of avoiding ex tempore speaking; secured the seats of Milborne and Louth seat, and chose to sit for Louth, 1831;
 
recommended the implementation of the Poor Law system in Ireland; reluctantly supported the Repeal Association established by O’Connell; served on the Select Committee on Dramatic Literature, 1831-32, chaired by [Lord] Edward Bulwer Lytton, resulting in the Act of 1832 which abolished the theatrical monopoly associated with the Royal Charter; he was returned unopposed as the Repeal MP Tipperary in the Reformed Parliament, Jan. 1833, and retained the seat 1833-41 [var. 1832 CAB]; was rumoured to have advised the Govt. not to abate any part of the Suppression of Disturbances Act of 1833, though publicly voting against it - Lord Althorp admitting the matter under questioning in Parliament from O’Connell;
 
considered the Irish question solved with appt. of Thomas Drummond as Irish Secretary of State, and turned his attention to foreign policy, speaking on the Eastern question, 17 March 1834 - seeing himself as a ‘gentleman of the empire at large’ (in Grattan’s phrase), but nevertheless assisted O’Connell at Lichfield House Compact with Whigs against Conservative ministry of Robert Peel, 1835; a committee of the House of Commons acquitted him of the of double dealing arising from the Disturbances Bill and Act [1835]; he opposed the Irish Corporation Bill, speaking in reply to Lord Stanley, 1836;also opposed the appt. of Lord Londonderry to ambassadorship to Russia, 1839; he was returned for Tipperary at general election on death of William IV;
 
appt. Commissioner of Greenwich Hospital and later accepted office of Vice-President Board of Trade in the ministerial revisions of 1839 [var. 1838-41 ODNB]; supported Lord Russell’s motion of confidence in the Irish adminstration, April 1839, and won O’Connell’s grudging praise for a speech that was ‘admirable, argumentative and brilliant’; opposed Repeal of the Union, 1840, since he though the House of Commons would not concede it; Judge Advocate[-General], 1841; defended John O’Connell in his state trial - the so-called ‘Monster Trials’ - of 1844, exposing the system of the packed jury, and bringing forward as an example the trial of Charles Gavan Duffy for article in Belfast Vindicator; did not trust Louth to re-elect him, and accepted seat for Dungarvan, Co. Wicklow instead, 1841;
 
made important speeches on the Corn Laws, 1842; the Repeal of the Union, 1843, and the Orange Lodges and Church of Ireland, 1839; also Turkish Treaties, 1843, and Vote by Ballot, 1843; appt. Chairman of Royal Commission [Income Tax], 1845; gave qualified support to the Irish provincial Colleges Bill - the so-called ‘Godless’ colleges - of 1845; stated his regret that Trinity College, Dublin, failed to take advantage of the opportunity to establish chairs and fellowships for Catholics as well as Protestants; travelled to Madeira in the hope of finding health for his son, and and could not be induced to leave the island at his death, returning to England only in 1846 to address the Irish Arms Bill;
 

appt. Master of the Mint on accession of Lord John Russell, 1846-50, giving rise to controversy when he omitted to have the florin coin of 1849 stamped with ‘Fidei Defensatrix Dei Gratia’ (viz., the ‘godless florin’) - and disclaimed sectarian motivation; his dismay and inaction at the events of the Irish famine attracted the epithet ‘splendid phantom’; re-elected with a small majority by Dungarvin, 1849 - opposed by the Conservatives and the Repeal Movement alike; appt. ambassador to the court of Tuscany, Florance, 1850; made last visit to Ireland, Nov. 1850; reached Florence, Jan. 1850;

 
d. 25 May, 1851, following an acute attack of gout; bur. Long Orchard, Tipperary, having been conveyed to Ireland by a British warship; his Sketches Legal and Political [otherwise, ‘Sketches of the Irish Bar’], orig. contributed to New Monthly with W. H. Curran, were collected posthumously, and issue with notes by M. W. Savage in 1855; his Speeches were ed. with memoir by T. MacNevin in 1847; also Memoir and Speeches of Richard Lalor Sheil, ed. by William Torrens McCullagh, 2 vols. (1855). CAB ODNB JMC PI NCBE DIB RAF DIW DIH FDA OCIL

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Works
Plays
  • Adelaide; or, The Emigrants (Dublin: Coyne 1814), 8°; Do, as. Adelaide: A Tragedy, in five acts, performed at the Theatre-Royal, Covent Garden [2nd edn.] (London: London : Printed for Henry Colburn, 1816), 72pp., 8°;
  • The Apostate: A Tragedy, in five acts; as performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent-Garden (London: J. Murray 1817), x, 83, [2]pp.; 21cm. [Copies at Cambridge UL, Edinburgh UL, V&A Libraries, et al.]; Do. [3rd edn.] (1817), and Do. [5th edn.] (London 1818), 8°;
  • Bellamira; or, The Fall of Tunis. A Tragedy, in five acts; as performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent-Garden (London: J. Murray 1818), xii, 76pp.;, and Do. [2nd & 3rd edns.] (London: John Murray 1818), pp. xii, 76 [78], 8°. [ 21cm.];
  • Evadne; or, The Statue: A Tragedy in five acts (London: John Murray 1819), iii, 62, 8°/21cm. [‘The plot of this piece is borrowed ... from The Traytor, a tragedy by Shirley’]; Do. [2nd & 3rd edns.] (London: John Murray [printed by W. Clowes 1819), vi, 86pp.; [‘The author has employed a part of the fable of Shirley’s Traytor in the construction of his plot’, Pref.] [see note]; Do., as. Evadne, or, The Statue: a tragedy, by R. Sheil; with prefatory remarks [Oxberry’s Edition] (London: Published for the Proprietors by W. Simpkin, and R. Marshall, 1821), iii, 62, iipp., ill. [port.], 18cm. [see note]; Do. [5th edn.] (London 1819), 21cm.; Do. [another edn.] The British drama (London: John Dicks 1870);
  • with John Banim, Damon and Pythias (London: John Warren, Old Bond-street 1821), viii, 70pp., [verse]; 8°/22cm. [‘This tragedy underwent a most considerable change in Mr. Shiel’s hands, after having been originally written.’ - prelim. page.; but see Carleton’s remarks, infra].

Note: Evadne [4th edition] (1819), vi, 86pp. - the copy in Nat. Lib. of Scotland with Covent Garden prompter’s notes was used as basis of Microfilm edition (Newberry Library, Chicago).
Note
: The Oxberry edition is the only edition faithfully marked with stage business, William Oxberry being the manager at Theatre Royal.

Collected Works
  • Marmion W. Savage, ed., Political and Social Sketches of Richard Lalor Sheil (1855);
  • Thomas Mac Nevin, ed., The Speeches of the Rt. Hon. R. L. Sheil M.P (Dublin: Duffy 1845);
  • R. S. Mackenzie, ed., Sketches of the Irish Bar (NY: W. J. Middleton 1854).
Omnibus edns. (sel.)
  • Bellamira; or, The Fall of Tunis (London: John Murray, 1817), [vi], 82, 74, [vi], 78, [2], viii, 56, xii, 76, [2], vi, [4], 78, vi, 67, [iv], 69pp. [22cm.] - printed with R. C. Maturin’s Bertram, or, The Castle of St. Aldobrand and other works by C. E. Walker [Wallace], Horace Twiss, John Howard Payne, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Henry Hart Milman, Henry Summersett.  
  • Three Tragedies (London: [John Murray] 1818), 82, xii, 76, x, 83pp. [23cm.] [Bertram by R. C. Maturin; Bellamira & The Apostate by Sheil - each with separate, original, title page];
  • Bellamira; or, The Fall of Tunis (London: Printed for J. Dodsley [1781]), vi, 88, 67, [iv], 72, xii, 76, viii, [1], 84, [2]pp. [21cm.], with works by Thomas Morton, Philip Massinger, Charles Robert Maturin [Bertram ,, &c.], and Horace Walpole [The Mysterious Mother].

See also Report of the Select Committee Appointed to Inquire into the Laws Affecting Dramatic Literature 1832 [rep. edn.] (Shannon: IUP 1968)

Miscellaneous
  • A Full Account of the Proceedings: with a correct report of the speeches delivered by Mr. O’Connell, Mr. Shiel, &c. at the general meetings of His Majesty’s Catholic subjects, held at the Free Mason’s Tavern, Great Queen Street, on Saturday the 26th February, 1825. [2nd edn.] (London: Ambrose Cuddon [1825]) [23cm.];
  • Report of the Proceedings of Three Public Meetings, which were held in the City of Cork; containing, the speeches of Mr. O’Connell, Mr. Sheil, and Mr. Bric, and of the Rev. Mr. Falvey, and Mr. England, in opposition to the general use of the Scriptures; together with arguments which were advanced in defence of the same ... Published, with notes, by order of the Cork Discussion Committee (Dublin: Richard Moore Tims 1825), vi, 136pp.
  • The Speech of Mr. Sheil, as it was intended to have been delivered at the County of Kent Meeting ... 24th of October, 1828 (London [1828]), 8pp. [8°];
  • A Collection of Speeches spoken by Daniel O’Connell, Esq. and Richard Sheil, Esq. on subjects connected with the Catholic question (Dublin: John Cumming, 1828), iv, 508pp. [20cm.]  
  • Mr. Sheil’s speech upon the Irish Church in the House of Commons, on the 23d July, 1835 (London: Henry Hooper 1835), 20pp.
  • The Speech of Richard L. Sheil: delivered on behalf of John O’Connell in the court of Queen’s bench, Dublin on saturday January 27th 1844. (London: Chapman & Elcoate [1844]), 15pp. [27cm.; available at JSTOR - 19th c. British Pamphlets, 2009.
  • Reports from Commissioners and others on the constitution and management of the Royal Mint and on international weights measures and coinage, 1845-64 [British parliamentary papers - 2. Monetary policy Currency] (ondon: HMSO 1845-64), 3-438pp., ill. [fold. pl., 1 plan; 35cm.], and Do. [facs. rep. (Shannon: IUP 1969), [orig. pag.; quarter leather];
  • Sketches of the Irish Bar, by Richard Lalor Sheil; with memoir and notes by R. Shelton Mackenzie, 2 vols. (NY: Redfield 1854) [Vol. I: 388pp.; Vol. II: 380pp.], ill. [1 port.; 20cm.]
  • Sketches, Legal and Political, by the late Right Honourable Richard Lalor Sheil, ed.
  • with notes by M[armione] W[ilme] Savage, 2 vols. (London: Published for Henry Colburn by his successors, Hurst & Blackett, 1855), viii, 411pp.;
  • Marriage Law Amendment Bill. The speeches of the Right Honourable the Lord Chief Justice Campbell [25 Feb. 1851] and of the Right Honourable Richard Lalor Shiel ... Reprinted from Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates for the year 1851 (London: Vacher & Sons 1858), 16pp. [8°]
  • The Speeches of the Right Honorable Richard Lalor Sheil, M.P : with a Memoir, &c., ed. by Thomas MacNevin (London: H. G. Bohn 1847), 2pp. l., [ix]-lxli, 378pp [23cm.]; and Do. [2nd Edn.] (Dublin: James Duffy 1867), xliv, 471pp. [19cm.].
Verse
  • An Irregular Ode for the Drawing-Room ... Written at the command of his Ex[cellenc]y, by Richard Sh[ei]l, Esq. ... (s.n.; n.d.); 3pp.3., 4°. 
  • Henry Rowley Bishop, The vocal music sung in the new tragedy call’d The apostate : at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, composed & arranged for the organ or piano forte by Henry R Bishop; the poetry by Rich[ar]d Sheil (London: Printed by Goulding, D’Almaine Potter & Co ... & to be had at ... Dublin, [1817]), 1 vocal score, 7, [1]pp. [34cm.]
Modern reps. (prose)
  • Sketches, Legal and Political [1855], ed., with notes by M. W. Savage, rep. in Political and cultural analyses of Ireland, ed. & intro. by Michael Hurst [Ireland observed, 6 vols. (Bristol: Thoemmes 2002), [2700pp.] - with others, as listed under Select Annal Bibliography, infra.

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Criticism
Older studies

W. T .McCullagh, Memoirs of the Rt. Hon. R. L Sheil, 2 vols. (London: H. Colburn 1855); also memoirs by T. MacNevin, R. S. MacKenzie and M[armion] W. Savage, in editions of his works and speeches; Irish Book Lover vols. 3, 13.

Recent criticism

Claire Connolly, ‘Theatre and Nation in Irish Romanticism: the tragic dramas of Charles Robert Maturin and Richard Lalor Sheil’, in Éire-Ireland: A Journal of Irish Studies, 41, 3 (Fall/Winter 2006), pp.185-214.

See also Connolly, ‘Irish Romanticism, 1800-1839’, in Cambridge History of Irish Literature (Cambridge UP 2006), Vol. I [Chap. 10:] ‘Irish Drama on the London Stage’ [see extract].

There is a biographical account of R. L. Sheil by Marjorie Bloy at WebHistory - online; accessed 11.09.2011.

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Commentary
William Carleton, ‘The Late John Banim’ [National Gallery, No. V], The Nation, 23 September, 1843), writes of Banim’s Damon and Pythias (1821): ‘It is generally understood that this play was a joint performance between Mr. [Richard Lalor] Sheil and Banim; but this, we have been assured on good authority, Banim always strenuously denied, affirming that Mr. Sheil only made some slight alterations in the mansucript. Conecte with the representation of this play, there has been a further statement made to us - not resting, however, so far as we know, on the authority of Banim himself - which, if true, would go to prove that Mr. Sheil’s share in the literary partnership was one more profitable to himself than honorable or laborious. We trust, for the credit of our country and th hour [sic] of our distinguished countryman, that the actual circumstances attendant on the employment of his influence for its production on the stage vary from the circumstantial detail which we have heard. We strongly incline to think so; and whilst in candour we cannot forbear from alluding to a rumour current in literary circules, we feel boundot intimate, at the same time, our disbelief of a story which reflects on the generosity and the sense of justice of our gifted orator and dramatist. [Col. 3a; see further under John Banim, Rx.].

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Tom Garvin, ‘O’Connell and Irish Political Culture’, in Daniel O’Connell, Political Pioneer, ed. Maurice R O’Connell (Inst. Publ. Relations 1991), pp.pp.7-12, Richard Lalor Sheil wrote of O’Connell’s organisational policy, ‘Various schemes of popular organisation had been revolved from time to time in the fertile brain of O’Connell; but that which eventually commended itself above all others to his judgement was one which, while it reserved to persons of better education a controlling power, provided for the involvement of the masses of the people as associate members of the body, the former, on payment of one guinea, and the latter on the payment of a shilling a year. ... The ... United Irishmen ... afforded an example only to be avoided. [The Volunteer Movement of 1782] ... was the improvisation of a national militia by the propertied and privileged classes - [the United Irishmen] the conspiracy of the disenfranchised many.’ (McCullagh, Memoirs of Sheil, vil. 1 (1865), pp.184-5). The new organisation would have to ‘invite and secure the cooperation of persons of every degree; to win the confidence of the wealthier classes it must avoid every semblance of illegality or enmity to the established order of things; and yet it must, to kindle the smouldering passions of an infuriated and oppressed people, deal fearlessly with those many-sided questions about [which] the opulent and the poor, the well-born and the humble, can seldom, if ever, be expected cordially to agree.’ (ibid., p.187). [10] Further, Richard Lalor Sheil, the Catholic playwright and politician, warned O’Connell ... that his actions in mobilising mass opinion against Grattan’s bill were postponing Emancipation ... Although [he] was later to become one of O’Connell’s close allies they disagreed fundamentally on the veto. ... Sheil may have been optimistic [about support in parliament for Grattan’s bill]. [30]

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Claire Connolly, ‘Irish Romanticism, 1800-1839’, in Cambridge History of Irish Literature (Cambridge UP 2006), Vol. I [Chap. 10:] Irish Drama on the London Stage: ‘The most significant Irish contribution to the legitimate drama came from Richard Lalor Sheil (1791-1851). It is possible to connect Sheil to a wider European impulse to reinvent the resources of tragic drama for a range of national cultures: writers form Germany, Italy, France, Poland and of course England all sought, as Jeffrey N. Cox puts it, “to redefine the tragic and renew the stage”. Following an early success in Dublin with Adelaide; or The Emigants (1814), Sheil moved to London to pursue a career that involved politics and the law as well as the stage. His plays are built around powerful dramatic monologues that give expression to sexual jealousy, violence, black hatred, revenge, madness, intrigue and conspiracy. The surviving stage directions given (especially in the plays that followed Adalide) asggest the extent to which Sheil made full use of the resources of the London stage: wing-and-backdrop scenery gives [431] depth and colour, characters move to the front of the stage to deliver powerful speeches and there is a strong overall sense of pictorial symmetry, as when twin pillars are placed at either side of the stage to frame the closing scenes of Bellarima. Like Maturin, Sheil was criticism for an excessive dramaturgical vigour and an undue violence of effect.’ [For full text - giving an account of his involvement with the Select Committe on Dramatic Literature, and his connection Gerald Griffin and ith C. R. Maturin - go to RICORSO Library, “Irish Critical Classics”, via index or direct.)

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References
Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: University of America 1904); extracts of speeches, ‘Ireland’s Part in English Achievement’, commons 1837 [‘Wherever we turn our eyes ... never did a liberated nation spring on in the career that freedom throws open towards improvement with such a bound as we have; in wealth, in intelligence, in high feeling, in all the great constituents of a state, we have made in a few years an astonishing progress. The character of the country is completely changed; we are free, and we feel as if we never had been slaves. Ireland stands erect as if she had never stooped; although she once bowed her forehead to the earth, every trace of her prostration has been effaced ... &c; lists offices filled by Roman Catholics]; ‘Pen and Ink Sketch of Daniel O’Connell [from ‘Sketches of the Irish Bar’].

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H. Hovelaque [professeur au lycée Saint-Louis], Anthologie de la Littérature irlandaise des Origines au XXe siècle (Paris Libraire Delagrave 1924), extracts: ‘Evadné etle roi’, pp.275ff.

Charles A. Read, The Cabinet of Irish Literature (London, Glasgow, Dublin, Belfast & Edinburgh: Blackie & Son [1876-78]), notes that he assisted W. H. Curran with Sketches of the Irish Bar; Sheil was born at his father’s house, Bellevue, near Waterford. 1791-1851; abandoned idea of priesthood [vide The Apostate] and ed. TCD; Bar in 1814; MP in 1831; Master of the Mint, and Ambassador to Florence.

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Peter Kavanagh, The Irish Theatre (1946), Richard Lalor Sheil 1791-1851; Adelaide, or The Emigrants, trag. (Crow St., 19 Feb 1814) 1814; The Apostate,trag. (Covent Garden, 3 may 1817) 1817; Bellamira or the Fall of Tunis, trag. (CG 22 Apr 1818) 1818; Evadne or the Statue, trag. (CG 10 Feb 1819) 1819; Montoni or The Phantom (CG 3 May 1820); The Hugenots (CG 11 Dec 1822), and an adpt. of Massinger’s Fatal Dowry (Dryury Lane 1824). Hazlitt thought of Adelaide that ‘the language of this tragedy is made up nonsense and indecency,’ but it ran 30 nights; ‘sentimentality and horror’ (Kavanagh).

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Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), Vol. I; notes that the Preface to Richard Sheil’s The Emigrants (1814) deplores literary absentees: ‘While Irish genius soars through every clime, / and gains new laurels from the hand of time, / Why should her sons to foreign nations roam, / Nor trust the native patronage of home? .. / Long time indeed our sage has been supplied / With stale productions, first in Britain tried .. / . (Prologue by J. H.–H., Esq., p.vi.); Vol. 2, lists Adelaide, or the Emigrants, trag. (Dublin 1814), performed Dublin 1814; also other works [as above].

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R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland (London; Allen Lane 1988), p.307, bio-note: ed. Stonyhurst and TCD; Bar, 1814; wrote with some success for Dublin and London stage, 1814-20; O’Connell’s chief opponent on veto question, attempted to conciliate liberal Protestant opinion; distanced from O’Connell after 1829; MP for Irish constituencies, 1831-51; Vice Pres. Board of Trade, 1839; defended John O’Connnell, 1844; Master of Mint, 1846, Brit. Minister at Tuscay, 1851.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 1: selects ‘A Speech made in Cork’ (1825), pp.906; 949-50; notes at pp.1138n, 1170, 1205, 1254; Vol 2, p.990.

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De Burca (Catalogue 18), lists The Speeches of the Rt. Hon. Richard Lalor Sheil with memoir by Thomas MacNevin (Duffy 1845).

Library of Herbert Bell, Belfast, holds Thomas McNevin, The Speeches of Rt. Hon. Richard Lalor (Dublin 1853); another edn. (Dublin 1868).

Belfast Public Library holds R. Sheil, The Apostate (1817); R. L. Sheil, Sketches, legal and political, 2 vols. (1855); Speeches, with a memoir, ed. Thomas MacNevin (1867).

University of Ulster Library, Morris Collection, holds Speeches (Duffy 187-).

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