Whitley Stokes

Life
1763-1845; ed. TCD; Fellow, 1787; MD, 1793; King’s Professor of the Practice of Medicine, 1798; issued his thesis on respiration, followed by pamphlets sympathetic to the United Irishmen; suspended by Lord Clare at his visitation in 1798; contributed orthography to selected edition of New Testament in Irish, 1799, issued in full in 1806;

elected Senior Fellow, TCD, 1805; issued Catalogue of the Minerals in the Museum of Trinity College, Dublin (1807); Natural History lect. 1816; published an English-Irish dictionary at his own expense (1814); worked exhaustively to combat typhus epidemics; appt. Regius Professor of Medicine, TCD, 1830-43; d. 13 April 1845. ODNB PI DIB DIH OCIL

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Works
Disputatio inauguralis de respiratione pro gradu doctoratus in medicina [… &c.] [TCD] (G. Bonham 1793), 8o.

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Commentary
Wolfe Tone: Tone’s opinion of Stokes is cited in Rosamund Jacob, The Rise of the United Irishmen 1791-94 (1927), in speaking of ‘a man the extent and variety of whose knowledge is only to be exceeded by the number and intensity of his virtues.’ Jacob continues: He joined the United Irishmen at the formation of the Dublin society but left since his religious principles were offended by the free-thinking tendency associated with republican doctrine; Stokes commanded in 1789 a division of the yeomenry corps of TCD in the service of the Castle Government (Jacobs, op. cit. pp.194-95.)

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Rolf Loeber & Magda Stouthamer-Loebber, ‘Fiction available to and written for cottages and their children’, in Bernadette Cunningham and Máire Kennedy, eds., The Experience of Reading: Irish Historical Perspectives (Dublin: Rare Books Group [… &c.] 1999), quoting Stokes in connection with the promotion of improving reading: ‘The subjects on which books should be written for the poor are, the different branches of natural history […] illustrated with wooden cuts, and calculated to come to one shilling and [140] sixpence a volume […]. Books on farming, not on the management of fifty, but of two or three acres; on the domestic animals; on domestic manufacture, as many of these books should be kept within sixpence halfpenny […]. Besides […] abridgements of voyages and travels are of great use, by turning the spirit of enterprise to a laudable purpose.’ (Projects for re-establishing the internal peace, 1799, pp.42-43; here 140-42).

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References
D. J. O’Donoghue, The Poets of Ireland: A Biographical Dictionary (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co 1912); b. Waterford 1763; United Irishman, according to Wolfe Tone, the ‘very best man I have ever known’; The Satanical Remembrancer, an Apparition between an Apparition and an Archbishop, a poem (Dublin 1783); d. 13 April. ODNB, suspended for nationalist opinions, 1798-1800. DIH var., b. Dublin.

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Belfast Public Library holds W. Stokes, Project for Re-establishing the Internal Peace and Tranquillity of Ireland (1799)

Notes
Portrait: Whitley Stokes [b.]1763 pencil by Charles Grey drawing for etch. in Dublin University Magazine Vol. xxvi 1845; also painting exhib. 1840 (see Anne Crookshank, Irish Portraits Exhibition, Ulster Mus. 1965).

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