Walter Sweetman

Life
1830-1905 [var. 1831]; b. at Flohamon, Ferns, Co. Wexford; fourth son of Michael Sweetman of Longtown Hse., Co. Kildare; ed. Stonyhurst and London; London Univ. Gray’s Inns, BA 1852; bar; lived on private means as country gentleman in England; m. sister of Gen. Sir William Francis Butler; vols. of verse in 1871 and 1875; wrote religious disputations and the novels Through the Night (1869), a landwar story in which the landlord Sir Hugo de Burgho turns back to a proper affection for his tenants; Libertas, or Through Dreamland to Truth (1891), and Roland Kyan: An Irish Sketch (1896); argued that the Church must accept ‘natural human progress’ if it is ‘to regenerate’ the world; d. Ferns. PI IF SUTH

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Works
Fiction
, Through the Night, a Tale of the Times, to which is added ‘Onward, a Summer Sketch’, 2 vols. (London: Longmans, Green 1869); Libertas, or Through Dreamland to Truth [a novel] (London: Eden, Remington & Co. 1891); Schoolfellows’ Stories (London & Sydney: Eden, Remington & Co. 1892); Roland Kyan: An Irish Sketch (London: Digby, Long [1896]), 283pp.

Poetry, Lost Footsteps, Poems (Edinburgh 1875); The Daughters of the King and Other Poems, being a sequel to Through the Night and Onward (London 1871).

Miscellaneous, The Decline of Darwinism (London: CTS 1906). 16pp.; A Few Thoughts on the Infallibility of the Pope (London: Eden, Remington & Co. 1870; 2nd edn. 1870); The Reign of Perfection, Letters on a Liberal Catholic Philosophy (London: Digby, Long & Co. 1896); Some Thoughts on Free-Will, to which is added a short personal statement (Dublin 1873).

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Criticism
James H. Murphy, Catholic Fiction and Social Reality in Ireland, 1873-1922 (Conn: Greenwood Press 1997), Part I: ‘Upper Middle-Class Fiction 1873-1890’, espec. p.59.

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References
Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), lists Through the Night, to which is added Onward (Longmans 1869), two stories, half & half, in the first of which Marcus brown returns to his estate from the continent and implements his liberal and democratic notions, including an endorsement of old age pension; includes a Fenian episode; Onward deals with an English Catholic family in Switzerland and, like the other, is clogged with theological and philosophical discussions. Roland Kyan [sic], An Irish sketch (Digby, Long 1896), an oddity set in an Irish country seat, where discussions between mainly French and English visitors lead to a clearer understanding of Ireland and also the betrothal of Roland - educated in England to Ethel and his return to Catholicism; further remarks, Sweetman ‘took some share in the liberal Catholic movement of the day but remained a staunch Catholic’.

British Library holds [1] Title A few thoughts on the infallibility of the Pope. Title Second edition. London, 1870. 8o.. London, 1870. 8o. [2] Libertas, or Through Dreamland to Truth. [A novel.] 3 vols. Eden, Remington & Co.: London, 1891. 8o. [3] Lost Footsteps. Poems.. Edinburgh, 1875. 8o. [4] Roland Ryan [sic err.]. An Irish sketch. 283pp. Digby, Long & Co.: London, [1896.] 8o. [5] Schoolfellows’ Stories. 288pp. Eden, Remington & Co.: London and Sydney, 1893 [1892]. 8o. [6] Some thoughts on Free-Will; to which is added a short personal statement. Dublin, 1873. 8o. [7] The Daughters of the King, and other poems. Being a sequel to ‘Through the Night’ and ‘Onward’ Title [Another copy.]. London, 1871. 8o. [8] The Decline of Darwinism. 16pp. Catholic Truth Society: London, [1906.] 8o. [9] The Reign of Perfection. Letters on a Liberal Catholic philosophy. 139pp. Digby, Long & Co.: London, 1896. 8o. [10] Through the Night: a tale of the Times. To which is added, Onward, or a summer sketch. Title [Another copy.] 2 vol. London, 1869. 8o.

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Quotations
‘To educate the sons of her large framers and small shopkeepers and give her a strong middle-class at last. Then, and not till then, could her priesets retire with safe consciences from the rough work of politics’ (Pref., Through the Night, 1869 edn.; Murphy, op. cit. 1998, p.65.); ‘The foreign type of Liberalism must be introduced into the country and he [de Burgo] was the man to do it. There could be no hope for the people until they threw off the leadership of the priests. I tried to explain to him that he was mistaken altogether; that the priests had ever been the truest friends of the people, with whom that friendship had been cemented with the blood of a common martyrdom; and that even if other leaders were desired, they had a hold on the people’s hearts that he and a hundred like him could not share.’ (Through the Night, p.283-84; Murphy, op. cit. 1998, p.59.)

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Notes
Daughters: The subtitle of Daughters in BL Catalogue has lead O’Donoghue [PI] to infer that it too is poetry, an mistake avoided by Brown and Sutherland.

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