Samuel Whyte (1733-1811)

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
b. on shipboard between Ireland and Liverpool; cousin of Francis [Chamberlaine] Sheridan, raised by the Sheridan family in Dublin; opened his famous school at 75 Grafton St. in 1758; ‘Whyte’s School’ became alma mater to R. B. Sheridan, the Duke of Wellington, and Thomas Moore - who eulogised him early with the lines ‘hail heaven-taught votary of the Muses nine ...’; Donovan, the Latin ussher at his school, was an ardent patriot (acc. Stephen Gwynn, Thomas Moore, 1905);
 
ed., Shamrock or Hibernian Cresses (1772) containing poems of his protegés and later a selection of same as Poems on Various Occasions (1792; rev. 1795), heavily subscribed and twice reprinted, containing verses by his pupils and others, incl. Hall Hartson, Thomas Moore and Thomas Dermody; provided guide to pronunciation for 1798 edition of Dr. Johnson’s English Dictionary; also Miscellanea Nova (Dublin 1800). ODNB DIW FDA OCIL

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Works
Poetry
  • The Shamrock, or Hibernian Cresses, edited by Samuel Whyte (Dublin 1772); Do. [another edn.] (London: printed for S. Bladon, No. 28, Pater-Noster Row, MDCCLXXIII [1773]), viii, 272pp., 8°; Do. [pirated 2nd edn.] (London: R. Snagg No. 29, Pater-Noster Row, MDCCLXXIV [1774]), [2], v-viii, 272pp.; and Do., reissued as A Collection of Poems, the production of the kingdom of Ireland; selected from a collection pub. in that kingdom intituled, The Shamrock; or, Hibernian Cresses (Dublin 1792-94), with add. material;
  • ed. Poems on Various Subjects including The theatre, a didactic essay; in the course of which are pointed out, the rocks and shoals to which deluded adventurers are inevitably exposed. Ornamented with cuts, and illustrated with notes, original letters and curious incidental anecdotes (1792) [printed with 705 subscriptions]; Do., The second edition, carefully revised and conducted through the press, by Edward Athenry Whyte (Dublin: printed by Robert Marchbank, and sold by Exshaw, Archer, Jones, Moore, Rice, Grueber, Draper, Mercier, &c. and by the editor, 1794]), [2], vii, [1], vii, [2], iv-x, [1], x-lvi, [2], 257, [7], 257-343, [1]pp., ill. [pls.: port.], 8° [bearing add. t.p. engraved ‘Dublin, printed for the editor, Edward Athenry Whyte, F.C.T.C.D. 1793’; incls. list of subscribers, the addenda to which are dated April 16th, 1794; text continuous despite some mispagination; and Do. [3rd edn.] [1796]) [see details]; also electronic edition [Eighteenth Century, Reel 5001, No. 3].
Miscellaneous
  • ed., [James Burgh,] The Art of Speaking: Containing I. An essay; in which are given rules for expressing properly the principal passions and humours, […] and II. Lessons taken from the antients and moderns […] (London : printed for T. Longman, J. Buckland, and W. Fenner, in Pater-noster-Row; J. Waugh, in Lombard-street; E. Dilly, in the Poultry; and T. Field, in Cheapside, M.DCC.LXI. [1761]), [4],373,[19]pp.; Do. [2nd edn.] (London 1768); Do. [4th edn.] London: T. Longman & J. Buckland, etc., 1775), 373pp., 8°; Do. [5th edn.] (London 1781), 8°; [6th edn.] (Dublin 1784), 12°; Do. [7th Edn.] (London: printed for T. Longman and J. Buckland, in Pater-noster-Row; T. Field, in Leadenhall-street; and C. Dilly, in the Poultry, 1787, 1792), 373pp. [see details]; and Do. [another edn.; so-called 7th Edn] (London 1792) [copy held in Oxford UL].
  • English grammar-school, Grafton Street, Dublin ([Dublin] c.1765]), 8pp.; 22 cm./8° [‘Next to the preservation of life, the education of our children is indisputably of the highest importance …’; longer version of the text given in Samuel Whyte, Shamrock (1772) as ‘Thoughts on the prevailing system of school education’.
  • [anon.,] Modern education; or, An attempt to explain the chief causes and effects of our errours and deficiencies in that particular : with practical proposals for a reformation. In the course of which the female right to literature is asserted … and the trite witticisms, usual on the question, fairly stated and confuted … (Dublin: printed by R. Marchbank, Cole's-Alley, Castle-Street, M,DCC,LXXV. [1775]), [2], 78pp., 12°/18 cm.
  • The Beauties of History … A new edition, enlarged and carefully corrected. To which is prefixed, an introductory tract on education … By Samuel Whyte (Dublin: printed by R. Marchbank, 1775), 2 vol. 12° [the author named on the titlepage of Vol. 2].
  • The theatre, a didactic essay, in the course of which are pointed out the rocks and shoals to which deluded adventurers are inevitably exposed[,] by Samuel Whyte (London: Printed for the editor, Edward Athenry Whyte, MDCCXCIII [1793]), viii, viii, iii-x, ix-xl, 260, [4], 257-77, [2], 277-79, [3], 280-365, [1], xli-lxxx, [2], 341-42, ill. [6pp. of pls.; port., 8°. Do., as The Theatre, a didactic essay: including an idea of the character of Jane Shore, as performed by a young lady in a private play, &c. (Dublin: printed by Zachariah Jackson, for John Jones, 1790), xiv, [2], 30, [8]pp. [The last three leaves contain the prologue to “The Sailor metamorphosed” and “Address, &c. to Miss Whyte” followed by a final advertisement leaf; ESTC T92974; also electronic copy, Gale / Eighteenth Century, Reel 17349, No.03.]
  • An Introductory Essay on the Art of Reading, and Speaking in Public, Part First and Second; in which an Investigation of the Principles of Written Language is Attempted. By Samuel Whyte, Principal of the English Grammar and Classic-School (Dublin: printed by Robert Marchbank, for the editor, Edward-Athenry Whyte; where it may be had, and of the booksellers, 1800), vii, [1], 288pp., 8°. [mentions Miscellanea Nova, Dublin 1800, on t.p.]
  • [with Edward Athenry Whyte,] Miscellanea Nova; containing, Amidst a Variety of Other Matters Curious and Interesting, Remarks on Boswell's Johnson … a critique on Bürger's Leonora … and an introductory essay on the art of reading and speaking in public, In two parts. A new edition. By S. Whyte, and his son, E. - A. Whyte (Dublin 1800, 1801), [iii-]ix, 280pp., 8°/20cm.; see note];
 
Note: Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of English […; 8th edn.] (Dublin: printed by R. Marchbank, No. 18, Chancery-Lane., 1798) - being first edition to incorporate a guide to pronunciation supplied by Samuel Whyte acc. to a note on [a]2\v [in TCD copy, observed by Robin Alston]. An earlier issue of this edition has Vol. 1 dated 1797 and gives Marchbank's address as Temple-Lane; texts are from same setting of type except that titlepage to Vol. 1 has been reset in this later issue. Subscribers' list present, [a]2; note at end states that as not enough subscriptions were received Marchbank had to relinquish a half share in the edition to William Gilbert and Jeremiah Sullivan. Issued in parts (see nos. in signature lines: 26 in Vol.1 and 27 in Vol. 2); text in 3 columns; press figures present in Vol. 1; substantial amount of Anglo-Saxon type used in prelims. [TCD Lib., cat. no. OLS L-5-186-187],

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Bibliographical details

Poems on Various Subjects [] illustrated with notes, original letters and curious incidental anecdotes [The 3rd edition, carefully revised and conducted through the press by Edward Athenry Whyte (Dublin: Robert Marchbank [printer]; Byrne, Moore, Rice, Milliken, Mercier, et al., and editor MDCCXCV [1795]), viii, viii, [1], iv-xi, [4], x-xl, 161, 16s, 16v, 16y, 16z, [1], 163-32 60, [4], 257-77, [2], 277, [1], 78, [3], 280-336, 335-365, [2], xlii-lxxx, [2], 341-342, [6]p., ill. [3 lvs. of pls.; port.], 8°.

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Poems on Various Subjects [another edn] (1796). The TCD Library catalogue gives details for several copies: viii, viii, iii-xi, [1], ix-xl, 365 (i.e. 387), [1], xli-lxxx, [2], \341-342, [6]p., ill. [5] pls., port.], 8°/18.9cm. [A]\4 a\4 \chib\4 chi1 b-c\4 B-K\4 L\4(+/-L1) M-X\4 Y\4(Y1 + '*Y2'.1) Z-2E\4 2F\4(+/-2F1.2) 2G\4 2H\4(+/-2H2) 2I-2L\4 \chi2L\4 2M-2N\4 \chi2N\4 2O-3A\4 f-k\4 *\22chi\4(-2chi1)) Copy B imperfect: lacks chi1 and plate 5. L1 uncancelled, verso with advertisement for Lady Borrowes’s private theatre, 16 March 1790, with cast, DB/U-1. Copy C imperfect: lacks [A]1, title-page; chi1 and plate 5. Plate 2, engraved title to The theatre, Dublin, 1793, has been substituted for missing title, DB/U-1 Edition: first issued Dublin, 1792. Names associated with the edition incl. Mary Henrietta Balfour and Whyte, [former owners]; Henry Brocas [engraver]; Byrne [bookseller] Thomas Dermody, William Esdall [engraver] Hall Hartson (ca. 1739-1773), ?Robert Marchbank [binder & printer] Mercier [bookseller] Milliken [bookseller] Moore [bookseller] Thomas Moore (1779-1852) Rice [bookseller] Edward Athenry Whyte (fl.1790-1824) [editor]. Illustrations: portrait engraved by Brocas after Hamilton; 2 engraved plates and some vignettes signed Esdall; “Dr Sheridan’s School”, p.44, drawn by T. Archdeaken. Imperfect: lacks plate 5, Balloon, DB/U-1 In part a made-up volume with various pagination, etc. Text on 3A4\r dated 5 Sept. 1796 Paper: wove Subscribers' list \chiB\4 with Addenda 2, chi1\r. Errata, e2\v. Verses by Whyte's pupils, including Hall Hartson, Thomas Dermody and Thomas Moore, 1 Jan. 1794: \chi2L1-\chi2N4 (Listed in COPAC; copies at TCD Library.)

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The Art of Speaking: An essay; in which are given rules for expressing properly the principal passions and humours, which occur in reading, or public speaking; and II. Lessons taken from the ancients and moderns (with additions and alterations, where thought useful) exhibiting a variety of matter for practice; the emphatical words printed in italics; with notes of direction referring to the essay. To which are added, a table of the lessons; and an index of the various passions and humours in the essay and lessons. [7th Edn.] (London: printed for T. Longman and J. Buckland, in Pater-noster-Row; T. Field, in Leadenhall-street; and C. Dilly, in the Poultry, 1787), 373pp. [copy in Leicester, Spec. Colls.]; and Do. [another edn.; so-called 7th Edn] (London 1792) [copy held in Oxford UL].

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Miscellanea Nova; containing […] Remarks on Boswell's Johnson [… &c.] (Dublin 1801): The Remarks on Boswell’s Johnson deal mainly with Johnson’s relations with Thomas Sheridan; Original letters (p.[89]-144) are selected from correspondence between Mr. and Mrs. Sheridan and Thomas Whyte. “Elegies and other poems chiefly from the Shamrock” is appended (pp.[249]-280); pag. is irreg. between p.[243] and pp.254. [COPAC online; accessed 21.06.2010].

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Criticism
Russell K. Alspach, Irish Poetry From the English Invasion to 1798 (Philadephia: Pennsylvania UP 1959), pp.53-54, citing severely adverse criticism by Howard Mumford Jones, The Harp that Once (NY 1937). See also Stockwell, Dublin Theatres (2nd edn. 1968), p.397.

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Commentary
John O’Keeffe, Recollections (London: Colburn 1826), Vol. I, 304: ‘[…] the children of Mr. Samuel Whyte’s school in Grafton Street, getting up Cato, at Crow Street theatre … succeeded to the delight of every feeling mind’ (Quoted in P. Kavanagh, Irish Theatre, 1946, p.54.) Note that O’Keeffe goes on to describe how ‘the master of a most eminent classical school in Dublin permitted and encouraged his boys to act the First Part of Shakespeare’s Henry IV. The schoolroom was fitted up as a theatre in very good style [… &c.]’ (Quoted La Tourette Stockwell, Dublin Theatres and Theatre Customs 1637-1820, NY: Benjamin Blom, 1968, p.353).

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Thomas Moore: Moore wrote that Whyte stood ‘at the head of his profession’ and that he owed ‘to that exalted person all the instruction in English literature I have ever received’ (Memoirs of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, I, p.3.) Moore also speaks of Whyte’s theatricals, Memoirs, Journals, and Correspondence ([8 vols.] 1853), Vol. I, p.8. Further: ‘In the direction of those private theatricals which were at that time so fashionable among the higher circles in Ireland, he had always a leading share. Besides teaching and training young actors, he took frequently a part in the dramatis personae himself, and either the prologue or the epilogue were generally furnished by his Pen.’ (Moore, idem.)

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Robert E. Ward, Encycopedia of Irish Schools 1500-1800 (Mellen Press 1995), remarks on Whyte as ideal teacher for Thomas Moore and author of elocution textbook The Art of Reading and Speaking in Public (1768), [&c], who encouraged his students to write and recite poetry; Moore’s early verses were written in emulation of Whyte’s. Ward further quotes from Moore’s preface to the Poetical Works referring to the period when he was Whyte’s ‘show scholar’ in this line (Moore p.16), contributing an item called ‘An Epilogue, A Squeeze to St. Paul’s’ to a performance of 1790 in Lady Borrowe’s private theatre. (Ward., op. cit., p.154.) Bibl., Hoover. H. Jordan, Bolt Upright: The Life of Thomas Moore, 2 vols. (Salzburg: Salzburg Institut für Englische Sprache und Literatur 1975).

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Rolf Loeber & Magda Loeber, A Guide to Irish Fiction, 1650-1900, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2006 [Intro.]: ‘Prose fiction in the English language started to replace ppoetry in the first part of the nineteenth century. Samuel Whyte anticipated this change in a poem published in Dublin in 1795: “If though must write, and would'st they work disperse, / Write novels, sermons, and any thing but verse.” He was right about novels, which became a popular genre of writing […].’ (p.liv.)

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Quotations
Poetry or fiction? ‘If thou must write, and would’st thy works disperse, Write novels, sermons, and any thing but verse.’ (Poems on Various Subjects, Dublin 1795, p.161; quoted in Rolf Loeber & Magda Loeber, A Guide to Irish Fiction, 1650-1900, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2006, p.lii.)

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References
Belfast Central Public Library holds Whyte, Samuel, The Shamrock; or, Hibernian Cresses, a collection of poems, songs, epigrams, &c., Latin as well as English, the original product of Ireland. To which are subjoined, thoughts on the prevailing system of school education respecting young ladies as well as gentlemen, with practical proposals for a reformation (Dublin, printed by R Marchbank 1772), 515pp.

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Notes
Frances Chamberlaine : Francis Elizabeth Chamberlaine who married Dr. Thomas Sheridan, the actor and father of R. B. Sheridan, was a cousin of Samuel Whyte (see Percy Fitzgerald, The Lives of the Sheridans, 1886, vol. 1, p.25).

A. A. Kelly, Pillar of the House (1988), Preface, cites his attitude on women.

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