Charles Teeling (1788-1850)


Life
b. prob. Lisburn, to a Catholic family; br. of Bartholomew Teeling (1774), the United Irishman who landed in Ireland with Humbert and surrender at Collooney, after the battle of Ballinamuck, being subsequently court-martialled and hanged; Charles was arrested with his father, 16 Sept. 1796, by warrant of Lord Castlereagh on suspicion of treason; gave evidence at the secret parliamentary commission in return for safety; [?earlier offered a commission and refused];
 
settled in Dundalk as linen-bleacher; m. Miss Carolan of Carrickmacross, Co. Fermanagh, 1802; his eldest daughter m. Thomas O’Hagan, later Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and first Catholic in that office since the Reformation; editor-proprietor Belfast Northern Herald; est. Newry Examiner; editor-prop. Ulster Magazine, 1830-35; Personal Narrative of the Rebellion of 1798 (1828), followed by a sequel in 1832 (later published together in Glasgow, 1876);
 
the work is considered more valuable as the testimony of a witness than as a work of literature; his History and Consequences of the Battle of the Diamond (1835) is a pamphlet-account of events connected with the Orange Order; Lord O’Hagan, Lord Chancellor of Ireland in Gladstone’s 1st & 2nd administrations, married into the Teeling family, his own papers including copious records of that family. DIW DIB OCIL

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Works
  • Personal Narrative of the Rebellion of 1978 ([Belfast: John Hodgson] 1828) [infra];
  • Sequel to Personal Narrative of the “Irish Rebellion” of 1798 (Belfast: John Hodgson 1832), xlviii. 326pp., 8o.; both rep. as History of the Irish Rebellion of 1798: A Personal Narrative (Glasgow & London: Cameron & Ferguson 1876) [infra], and Do., rep. with intro. by Richard Grenfell Morton as History of the Irish Rebellion of 1798: A Personal Narrative [facs. of 1876 Edn.] (Shannon: IUP 1972) x, viii, 376pp., 22cm.;
  • Observations on the “History and Consequences” of the “Battle of the Diamond” (Belfast: John Hodgson 1838), 62pp., 8o.
See also History of the Irish Rebellion, trans. as Stair eirghe-amach na n-eireannach i 1798: cunntas pearsanta, Taidhg Ó Rabhartaigh a rinne an leagan Gaedhilge, 2 vols. (Baile Atha Cliath: Oifig an t-Solathair [1941]) [presum. trans. of 1879 edn.];

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History Of The Irish Rebellion Of 1798: A Personal Narrative (Glasgow & London: Cameron, Ferguson & Co. 1878), 376pp. [include A Sequel ... &c.]. The book is dedicated to ‘my wife and children at whose request solely it has been undertaken ... the only inheritance which the enemies of my country have left me to bequeath’, and signed, ‘Donogue Cottage 1828’. There is an epigraph from Thomas Moore: ‘Rebellion! foul dishonouring word / Whose wrongful blight so oft has stained / The holiest cause that tongue or sword / Of mortal ever lost or gained- / How many a spirit born to bless / Has sunk beneath that withering name / whom but a day’s - an hour’ success / Had wafted to eternal fame.’ [The 1878 edition examined here belongs to the Library of Herbert Bell of Belfast.] The A Personal Narrative occupies the first section of this edition (pp.1-156) while the Sequel… occupies the rest (pp.161-376). The 20 chapters of Teeling’s narrative proceed through ‘national indignation at removal of Lord Fitzwilliam’, ‘arrests in Ulster’, ‘magisterial atrocity’, ‘French fleet at Bantry bay’, ‘view of the Irish system towards the close of the year 1797’, ‘Lord Edward’ [Chap. XII], ‘Wexford campaign’, ‘Hill of Tara’, ‘effects of organised system on population of Ulster’ with ‘barbarous pastimes of the soldiery’, ‘Antrim and Down [and] Henry Joy McCracken’, accounts of actions at Saintfield, Portaferry, Ballynahinch, and ‘total suppression of the United Irishmen in Ulster’. Sundry contents include adverse remarks on Lord Castlereagh, Judge Boyd and others; remarks on Henry Grattan, Lord O’Neill, Lord Carhampton, Secretary Cooke, Aylmer of Kildare, Lowry and Magenis [sic]. An Appendix to the first section contains 1] Original Declaration of the United Irishmen 2] Resolutions of Northern Whig Club, 16 April 1790 3] The trial of Hugh Wollaghan for the murder of Thomas Dogherty (acquitted). An Appendix material to the second section is 1] William Orr, tried and executed for administering oath 2] Sir Edward Crosbie, tried and executed 3] Sheares Brothers, tried before Lord Carleton 4] Negotiation between Govt. and State Prisoners’ Samuel Neilson the ‘first mover in this negotiation’ intended to ‘put a stop to further carnage [after] an insurrection which failed’. The ensuing text of this appendix is a ‘powerful document’ from the pen of Arthur O’Connor, a prisoner, reporting that on 24th July Mr [Arthur] Dobbs and the Sheriff entered with a written paper, signed by 70 state prisoners, purposing to give information of arms &c., provided the lives of Bond and Byrne were spared. O’Connor refusing to sign. The whole document is addressed to Lord Castlereagh as being ‘sated with blood’. O’Connor concludes with these words, ‘Convince me that you are guiltless, that I am in error, and I will do you justice [&c.] signed Arthur O’Connor, prison 4 Jan 1799. (See Quotations, infra.]

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Quotations
History Of The Irish Rebellion Of 1798: A Personal Narrative (Glasgow & London: Cameron, Ferguson & Co. 1878), Introduction of the second section: ‘In order to disabuse the minds of those who conceive “that the wrongs of Ireland were exaggerated, or had they been of an extent and enormity represented [by the author] a mild and beneficent Monarch would have interposed between the crimes of his Ministers and the suffering of the people”[,] I shall adduce such authorities as even the most fastidious must consider conclusive.’ Teeling continues, ‘In their revolting system of hypocrisy and oppression, the independence of the Irish legislature was the uniform defence of the Ministers, for the acquiescence of the crown in the violation of the rights of the subject; while the most unconstitutional measures were exercised, with a shameless effrontery under the fallacious pretext of veneration of constitutional privileges.’ (p.165.) Footnote on p.187 gives an extract from a speech by Mr. Tighe in the Irish House of Commons: “The laws which had been enacted in this country two or three years back, had been of so severe and arbitrary a cast, as to have rendered the constitution almost a name. But the manner in which those laws had been executed was still more severe than the laws themselves [...]. In severity of legislation, they had exceeded any nation in Europe; but in severity of execution they had exceeded even the severity of that legislation.” [Tighe was the MP for Woodstock and husband to Mary Tighe, the author of Psyche, 1805.] Further: ‘As the vigilance of the government increased and the system of union became more pregnant with danger, for the insurrection act had now attached to it the penalty of death, the exertions of the people were redoubled. Music, to which the Irish are so peculiarly attached, and which, if I may use the expression, speaks the native language of their soul, was most successfully resorted to on this occasion; and the popular songs of the day, suited to the temper of the times, were admirably calculated to rouse the national spirit, and elevate the mind to contempt of danger and the most enthusiastic feeling which love of liberty and country could inspire.’ (History of the Irish Rebellion, 1876 edn., p.11; quoted in Mary Helen Thuente, ‘The Literary Significance of the United Irishmen’, Irish Literature and Culture, ed. Michael Kenneally, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1992, pp.35-62; pp.44-45. Note that Thuente further quotes the song “Paddies evermore” sung by United Irishmen in prison.)

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History of The Irish Rebellion of 1798: A Personal Narrative (Glasgow & London: Cameron, Ferguson & Co. 1878): ‘It has been the policy of Britain from the first hour her footstep was imprinted on our shore to render her name hateful to Ireland by the most flagrant acts of injustice: to irritte - to weaken - to divide; to insult every monument of national respect - to deride every feeling of national pride. The sneer of imagined [24] superiority meets the native proprietor in every walk and station of life, and the most insidious means are employed to debase him in the world’s estimation and his own.’ (p.68; quoted in Katie Trumpener, Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire, Princeton UP 1997, p.300 [Introduction, n.58.]

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References
Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), records that The Ulster Magazine (2 vols. 8vo.), was commenced by C. H. Teeling [in 1830] and continued for two years, publishing articles on current political events and general topics, as well as verse and stories, several being Irish interest including “The Castle of Strankally” and “The Bride of O’Cahan”.

COPAC lists History of the Irish rebellion of 1798; and, Sequel to the ’History of the Irish rebellion of 1798’ [by] Charles Hamilton Teeling [facs. rep. of 1st edns, Glasgow, Cameron and Ferguson, 1876 [with a new] introduction by Richard Grenfell Morton (Shannon: Irish University Press 1972), x, viii, 376pp., 23cm; Observations on the “History and consequences” of the “Battle of the Diamond” [a reply to an article by S. O’Sullivan in the Dublin University Magazine, vol.10, October 1837] (1838) [copy in Durham UL]; Personal narrative of the “Irish rebellion” of 1798 (London: Henry Colburn 1828), xv, 285pp.; [another edn.] (London: printed for the author 1828), xv, 285pp.; [Personal narrative trans. as] Stair eirghe-amach na n-eireannach i 1798: cunntas pearsanta, Taidhg Ó Rabhartaigh a rinne an leagan Gaedhilge Baile Atha Cliath: Oifig an t-Solathair, 2 vols. [1941].

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British Library holds [1] History of the Irish Rebellion of 1798 [... &c.] (Shannon: Irish University Press 1972 [ISBN 0 7165 0014 0] pp. x, viii, 376. 22 cm. [2] Observations on the “History and Consequences” of the “Battle of the Diamond.” [A reply to an article in the Dublin University Magazine]. John Hodgson: Belfast, 1838. pp. 62. 8o. [3] Personal Narrative of the “Irish Rebellion” of 1798. Title [Another edition.] History of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, etc.. London, 1828. 8o. Glasgow, 1876. 8o. [4] Sequel to Personal Narrative of the “Irish Rebellion” of 1798.. pp. xlviii. 326. John Hodgson: Belfast, 1832. 8o. [5] Stair eirghe-amach na n-eireannach i 1798: cunntas pearsanta. Oifig an t-Solathair, [1941] 2 vols.

Ulster libraries: BELFAST LINENHALL holds Personal Narrative of the Irish Rebellion of 1798 (1828); UNIV. of ULSTER (Morris Collection) holds The History of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, a personal narrative [1828] (1876) 376pp.

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Notes
Bartolomew Teeling (br. of Charles Teeling) was commemorated with a statue at Carricknagat, Collooney, Co. Sligo; he was aide-de-camp to Gen. Humbert in 1798, and conducted a daring action when he broke from the French line to ride across open country, taking the British cannon on Parker’s Hill; captured at Ballinamuck three days after; sentence and executed, at Arbour Hill, 24 Sept. 1798; described as gallant and full of gaiety at his death-scene in London Star. (See Maureen Murphy, ‘“Of Loayal Nature and Noble Mind”: Jack B. Yeats and His Siblings’, in Declan J. Foley, ed. & intro., The Only Art: Jack B. Yeats - Letters from his Father John Butler Yeats; Essays on Their Works, Dublin: Lilliput Press 2008, p.125.)

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Paul Bew, reviewing of Marianne Elliott, The Catholics of Ulster: A History (Penguin 2000), 622pp. Speaks of 5,000 document archive of Lord O’Hagan, Lord Chancellor of Ireland in Gladstone’s first and second administrations who married into the prosperous Teeling family, not used here at all, though the Teeling’s eighteenth-century role is brilliantly discussed. Generally critical of the stance that Ulster Catholics can be seen as naturally loyal to the crown; Sir Charles Russell is seen to have poisoned Gladstone’s mind against Ulster Presbyterianism. (Times Literary Supplement, [Irish issue], 29 June 2001, p.11.)

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R. F. Foster, ‘Remembering 1798’, [chap.] in The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland (Penguin 2001, 2002), quotes Bartholomew Teeling’s address at the foot of the gallow: ‘If to have been active in endeavouring to put a stop to the blood-thirsty policy of an oppressive government has been treason, I am guilty. If to have endeavoured to give my native country a place among the nations of the earth was treason, then am I guilty indeed. If to have been active in endeavouring to remove the fangs of oppression from off the heads of the devoted Irish peasant was treason, I am guilty. Finally if I [recte to] have strove [sic] to make my fellow men love each other was guilt, then I am guilty.’ (PRO HO 100/82/160, quoted in Liam Kelly, A Flame Now Quenched: Rebels and Frenchmen in Leitrim 1793-1798 (Dublin 1998), p.141 [appendix]; here p.212. Foster remarks: ‘it seems likely that this influenced Robert Emmet’s much more celebrated speech from the dock four years later.’

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