Richard Woodward

Life
1726-1794; ed. Wadham College, Oxford, BCL 1749; DCL, 1759; dean of Clogher, 1764-81; chancellor of St. Patrick’s, Dublin, 1772-78; co-fnd. Dublin House of Industry, 1769; Bishop of Cloyne, 1781-94; writings relative to Ireland; author of a pamphlet vindicating the Anglican tithe in Ireland - viz. The Present State of the Church of Ireland (1787) - called ‘bulky, able, and insolent’ by Thomas Davis in his edition of the speeches of J. P. Curran (1845, p.67). ODNB FDA

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Works

  • Mr O’Leary’s Defense Containing a Vindication of his Conduct and Writings during the late Disturbances in Munster. With a Full Justification of the Catholics ... In Answer to the false Accusation of Theophilus and the ill-grounded Insinuations of ... Dr Woodward, Lord Bishop of Cloyne (Dublin: P. Byrne 1787) [answer to Patrick Duigenan, MP, “An Address to the Nobility and Gentry of the Church of Ireland”];
  • The Present State of the Church of Ireland, Containing a Description of it’s [sic] Precarious Situation; and the Consequent Danger to the Pubic. Recommended to the Serious consideration of the Friends of the Protestant Interest. to which are Subjoined, Some Reflections on the Impracticability of a Proper Commutation of Tithes; and a General Account of the Origin and progress of the Insurrection in Munster (Dublin: W. Sleater 1787) [actually Dec. 1786].

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Commentary
Robert & Catherine Ward, eds., Letters of Charles O’Conor of Belanagare (1988): Woodward, future bishop of Cloyne, claimed in his book Present State [... &c], that the protest against heavy tithes on land in Munster was a popish plot perpetrated by Whiteboys (p.176, n.3); but note that this is given in a ftn. to Charles O’Conor’s letter of 1765 to Edmund Burke, suggesting an earlier date for the publication of Woodward’s pamphlet.

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References
Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, calls him the author of a pugnaceous tract, The Present State of the Church of Ireland (Dublin: W. Sleater 1787).

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Quotations
The Present State of the Church of Ireland (Dublin: W. Sleater 1787): ‘I need not tell the Protestant proprietor of land, that the security of his title depends very much (if not entirely) on the Protestant ascendency; or that the preservation of that ascendency depend entirely on an indissoluble connection between the Sister Kingdoms.’ (p.17.)

‘[...] which increased depression of spirits on one side, and by animation of hope and foreign assistance on the other, must soon overthrow the Protestant Ascendency.’ (p.77; the foregoing quoted in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writings, Vol. 1, 1991, section ed., W. J. McCormack.)

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Notes
Charles O’Conor wrote to one Fr. Brett, ‘from the extracts I have commn from the Bishop of Cloyne’s [Woodward] book I do not desire to know more of him’ (23 Jan. 1787); see Letters of Charles O’Conor of Belanagare, ed. Robert & Catherine Ward (Washington 1988), p.483; see also under Fr. Arthur O’Leary, q.v.

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