Ferdinando Warner

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
1703-1768; English born; miscellaneous writer and historian of Ireland; LLD 1754, and vicar of Ronde, Wiltshire, 1730; rector of St. Michael’s, Queenhithe, London, 1747; Barnes, Surrey, 1758; author of a History of Ireland, 2 vols (London 1763-67), for which he received materials from Charles O’Conor with a view to remedying the account of Catholic massacres of Protestants in the Rebellion of 1641 and other matters prejudicial to Catholic relief in the period, but disappointed O’Conor with his version of these events; characterised Irish social organisation (gavelkind, &c.) as barbarous and ‘absurd’; also wrote dogmatic and liturgical tracts, and a history of the English Church. ODNB [FDA]

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Works
Historical writings
  • Ecclesiastical History of England to the Eighteeth Century, by Ferdo. Warner, 2 vols. (1756-57), fol., and Do. [rep. as] The History of England, as it relates to religion and the Church, from the earliest accounts to the present century. Comprehending a clearer and more connected view of the progress of our ecclesiastical constitution; the preservation of our rights and liberties; and the rise and declension of the power of the popes in England than any other history extant / by Ferdo. Warner , 2 vols. (London: Printed for L. Davis and C. Reymers, against Gray’s Inn-Gate, Holborn 1759), fol./38cm.;
  • The History of Ireland / By Ferdo. Warner, L.L.D. Volume the First (London: printed for J. and R. Tonson MDCCLXIII] [1763]), [8], xxiii, [1], 144, 165-428, 439-532p., 4°. [ESTC T061698; no more vols. published]; Do. [another edition as] The History of Ireland, from the earliest autentic accounts, to the year 1171 ... With a preliminary dissertation on the antient and present state ... of that Kingdom , 2 vols. (Dublin; printed for James Williams 1770), 8°. [copies in TCD Lib., BL, Oxford UL, Cambridge UL, Glasgow UL];
  • The History of the Rebellion and Civil-war in Ireland / By Ferdo. Warner, L.L.D. In two volumes (Dublin: printed for James Williams, in Skinner-Row, M.DCC.LXVIII [1768]), 8°; [ESTC N007471; proposals for printing this work by subscription issued in February 1766]; Do. (London: printed by J. Reeve for J. and R. Tonson MDCCLXVII [1767]), 4° [incls. ‘Explanations of the authorities mentioned in the margin, from which this history was principally compiled’ (pp.xxii-xxiii) ; and Do. [2nd edn.] (London : Printed for T. Cadell, 1768), xiii, [1], 614pp., ill. [pl., map.] - also available as Gale Group Microfilm
  • A Full and Plain Account of the Gout: from whence will be clearly seen, the folly, or the baseness, of all pretenders to the cure of it: ... The second edition corrected. To which is added an index. By Ferdo. Warner, L.L.D. (London: printed for T. Cadell, MDCCLXVIII] 1768), vi, xi, 13-306pp, 20cm.; and Do. (Dublin: printed for James Williams 1769), 243,[1]pp., 12°; Do. [Third corr. edn.] (London: Caddell 1772), v, 306pp.
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Theology & controversy
  • A Rational Defence of the English Reformation and Protestant Religion: in a series of discourses on the most essential points of controversy between protestants and papists. Compiled from the works of the most eminent divines of the Church of England. By the author of the System of divinity and morality (London: printed for R. Griffiths 1752), xiv, 477, [1]pp., 12°.
  • A Scheme of a Fund for the Better Maintenance of the Widows and Children of the Clergy (London: printed for Messrs. Whiston and White, and G. Hawkins; J. Hodges; J. Newbery, and W. Owen 1752), 26pp., 8°; also Proposals for raising and establishing a fund, by the aid of Parliament, for a provision for the widows and children of the ministers of the Church of England ([N.p.: n.pub. [1755]), 4pp.
  • An Illustration of the Book of Common-prayer: and administration of the sacraments, ... By Ferdinando Warner, (London: printed for John Allan, and James Hodges 1754 [1752-53]) [12°] [issued in 53 weekly parts Nov. 1752-Nov. 1753; prospectus as infra].
  • A Free and Necessary Enquiry whether the Church of England has not, by some unwary expressions, given an advantage to papists and deists, etc... (London 1754), and Do. [new edn. as] A free and necessary enquiry, whether the Church of England, in her liturgy, and many of her learned divines, in their writings, have not, by some unwary expressions, relating to transubstantiation, ... given so great an advantage to papists and deists as may prove fatal to true religion, ... By the author of the System of divinity and morality, &c (London: printed for Bladon [MDCCLV] 1755), xii, 113pp., 8°;
  • Memoirs of the Life of Sir Thomas More: Lord High Chancellor of England, In the Reign of Henry VIII. To which is added, His History of Utopia, Translated into English; Describing the most perfect State of a Common-Wealth, In the Manners, Religion, and Polity, of that Island: With Notes Historical and Explanatory. By Ferdo Warner, L. L. D (London: printed for L. Davis and C. Reymers, over-against Gray’s-Inn Gate, Holbourn; and J. Payne, at Pope’s-Head, in Pater-Noster Row, MDCCLVIII [1758]), [2], xiv, 156 [4] 230pp., 8°.
  • A Letter to the Fellows of Sion-College; and to all the clergy within the bills of mortality, and in the county of Middlesex. Humbly proposing their forming themselves into a society, for the maintenance of the widows and orphans of such clergymen. ... By Ferdo. Warner, (London: printed by C. Say 1764), 21, [2]pp., 8°.
  • A System of Divinity and Morality: in a series of discourses on all the essential parts of natural and revealed religion: ... To which are added, some occasional discourses. The whole revised and corrected by Ferdinando Warner, LL.D. In four volumes. ... The third edition [4 vols.] (London: printed for R. Baldwin, and L. Hawes, W. Clarke and R. Collins, 1767), 8°. [no 1st edition in COPAC].
  • The History of the Famous Preacher Friar Gerund de Compazas: otherwise Gerund Zotes; translated from the Spanish In two volumes [Historia del famoso predicador], 2 vols. (Dublin: Thomas Ewing 1772), 17cm., 12° [trans. by Thomas Nugent or Ferdinando Warner];
Prospectus: An illustration and paraphrase on the Book of Common-Prayer, and administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the Church of England: In which the observations of the learned divines, who have wrote upon any part of it, are included and inserted in their proper order: the whole containing a full and particular exposition of all the prayers, epistles, and Gospels throughout the year; notes on all the rubricks; and account of all the festivals and saints days, of the ancient use of liturgies, of lessons, of calendors, and their regulation under the late act of Parliament, of Psalmody, of churches, of ornaments, &c. An exposition of the communion service, rites of baptism, catechism, form of matrimony, visitation of the sick, burial of the dead, &c. With a paraphrase on all the Psalms, according to the translation used in the common-prayer-book. Complied by Ferdo. Warner, M.A. rector of Queenhithe. (London: Printed for J. Crokatt, near Surgeon’s-Hall, Ludgate-Hill [1752]), 1 sh. [prospectus for “An illustration of the Book of Common-prayer” ‘to commence publishing on ... the 25th of November [1752]’ in parts - as supra];
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Miscellaneous
  • Remarks on the history of Fingal, and other poems of Ossian: translated by Mr. Macpherson. In a letter to the Right Honourable the Lord L-. / By Ferdo. Warner ... (London: Printed for H. Payne and W. Cropley ... and J. Walter ... 1762), 32pp., 20cm./8°.

 

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Commentary
Tobias Smollett, review of Warner’s History for the Critical Review (May 1763): ‘Had this writer studied to increase the number of those who are but too apt to ridicule the Irish nation, he could not have done it more effectually than by telling us (as in fact he does) in his preface, that they employed the author of Warner’s Ecclesiastical, to write their Civil History; that they invited him from London to Dublin for that purpose; and even paid him for his trouble’; ‘To do the Doctor justice, however, his narrative and apologies are sometimes not destitute of plausibility, though they are always of historical precision; and his style and manner are such as we may call historical romance ... (Critical Review, 15, May 1763, pp.361-67; cited in See Robert Ward and Catherine Ward, eds., Letters of Charles O’Conor, 1988, p.155, n.4., & 156, n.1.) Note: Smollett collected material with a view to writing a history of Ireland (Ward & Ward, idem.)

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Thomas Crofton Croker, Researches in the South of Ireland (1824), writes of the Confederacy of 1641 - citing Warner's dismissive phrase: ‘[...] To perfect the knowledge of these discords and harmonies, the terms “claims of kindred and bond of feudal clanship” may require illustration. Amongst the ancient Irish there existed two laws, termed Tanistry and Gavelkind, well adapted to an uncivilized state of society, and therefore unfairly styled by Dr. Warner “absurd:” by the first of these laws, possessions descended not according to birthright but to the strongest and most skilful; and by the other, women were excluded from any participation in the property of a deceased relative. These laws, amongst a barbarous people governed by “the strong hand,” proceeded from the necessity of possessing leaders with superior power and courage, and the clan or dependents of each chief were bound together by a double tie called Fosterage and Gossipred - customs that still prevail and affinities that are still acknowledged in Ireland.’ (p.10.)

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Russell K. Alspach, Irish Poetry from the English Invasion to 1798 (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania UP [1943] 1959), p.97. Notes that Keating was one of his sources, ‘but the beauty and charm of the tales told by Keating flee the dusting imagination of Warner’; Alspach quotes Warner, ‘The original of the quarrel was an Ulster gentleman’s stealing a young lady, whom Connor, to defeat the prophecy of a Druid at her birth about the disturbances she should occasion, had kept confined and guarded; and although he had given hostages for their safe return as a testimony of his pardon, yet he caused the lover and his two brothers to be assassinated; whose friends, and the hostages themselves resenting this perfidy, took up arms against him, as it has been said; and retreating into Connaught they interested the Queen and people of that province in their cause.’ (History of Ireland, 1763, I, p.206; Alspach, 1959, p.97); Alspach identifies the account of the rules and regulations of the Fianna with that in Keating (Warner, 1763, I, pp.249-56; Alspach, p.98).

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James Plunkett, The Gems She Wore, A Book of Irish Places (1972), notes prefatorily that Thomas Moore’s poem “Rich and rare were the gems she wore [&c.]”, was first printed with a quotation from Warner’s History of Ireland [Vol. 1, Bk. 10]: ‘A young lady of great beauty, adorned with jewel and a costly dress undertook a journey alone, from one end of the kingdom to the other, with a wand only in her hand, at the top of which was a ring of exceeding value; and such an impression had the laws and government of this monarch (Brian) made on the minds of all the people, that no attempt was made upon her honour, nor was she robbed of her clothes or jewels’]. This was rendered thus by Moore: ‘On she went, and her maiden smile / In safety lighted her round the Green Isle; / And blest forever was she who relied / Upon Erin’s honour and Erin’s pride.’ End]

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Joseph Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael (Amsterdam 1986), Charles O’Conor responded to the arrival of Ferdinando Warner, who was now in the good graces of the Dublin Society, and likely to be recipient of a public subscription towards a general History of Ireland, by communicating to him papers to offset the Protestant interpretation of 1641 and other parts of Irish history, notable John Curry’s Historical Memoirs. [386-87] Charles O’Conor’s letter to Curry, remarking on his encouragements to Warner, is to be found in his Letters, ed, C. E. & R. E. Ward, 2 vols. (Ann Arbor, Mich.; Irish Am. Cult. Inst./Univ. Microfilms 1980). In his History of Ireland (London 1763), Warner allow himself the usual Anglo-Irish condescension, ‘they [the native Irish] are yet so far from being civilised, especially in villages distant from cities, and where the English manners have not prevailed, that their habitations, furniture, and apparel are as sordid as those of the savages in America. ... laziness ... a cynical content in dirt and beggary &c. [verbatim quoting Berkeley].’ Preparatory to publishing a second volume - in fact never completed - Warner issued a separate History of the rebellion and civil war in Ireland ([1767] 2nd edn. 1768), diminishing the reputed number of massacre victims and condemning the penal laws, but not absolving Catholics. Note also that Curry commenced to write a history in reply but was asked to suspend his work by O’Conor when the latter began to supply Thomas Leland with material. (Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael, 1986, p.389ff.)

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Joseph Leerssen (Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael, 1986) - cont.: Ferdinando Warner, then preparing his history, issued an attack on Macpherson called Remarks on the history of Fingal (London 1762) in which he was evidently primed by Charles O’Conor, who wrote to Curry speaking of presenting Warner with ‘unanswerable arguments’. Warner had at first had ‘credulity enough to think the epic poem of Fingal a translation’. (See O’Conor’s letter to Curry, 4 June 1762; Leerssen p.401. See also ftn: Concerning the introduction of Christianity [in his History], Warner took a non-papal line, apart from which O’Conor felt that Warner ‘has the merit of casting our antiquities into a good historical mould’ (O’Conor to Curry, 23 July 1763, Letters, Vol. 1, 164; Leerssen, p.402, n.).

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References
Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (1991), Vol. 1, gives references only at pp.1054, 1060n & 1061n.

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