[Sir] Thomas Wyse (1791-1862)

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
historian of Catholic Emancipation; b. St. John’s Manor, Co. Waterford, ed. Stonyhurst, TCD, and Lincoln’s Inn, 1813; Grand Tour to Italy, Athens, Constantinople, Egypt, 1814; m. eldest dg. of Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino, in 1821, Laetitia leaving him in 1828 after the birth of two sons at Viterbo; returned to Ireland and entered politics, on the side of Emancipation, 1825; issued A Letter to My Fellow Countrymen (1829), calling for dissolution of Catholic Association on eve of Emancipation, followed by An Historical Sketch of the late Catholic Association (2 vols, 1829);
 
proposed progressive scheme for education; MP for Tipperary, 1830-32; MP Waterford, 1835-47, though opposed by O’Connell’s party; introduced bill for National Education in Ireland, 1835; Chairman of Commission of Inquiry into National Education, anticipating provincial colleges and a second university; issued Education[al] Reform (1837); co-fnd. Central Society for Education, and professes incomprehension that the national school system, introduced in Ireland, could be resisted in England; Lord of Treasury in Lord Melbourne’s government, 1839-41;
 
member of Royal Commission for decorating Westminster Houses of Parliament; sought release of Daniel O’Connell in 1844; Secretary to Board of Control for India, 1846; influential British Minister in Athens, 1847 [var. Ambassador to Athens, 1849]; successfully conducted negotiations occasioned by claims of David Pacifico et al. on Greek Government; CB, 1850; KCB, and envoy extraordinaire for successful management of Greek affairs during Crimean war, 1857; President of Commission for enquiry into financial resources of Greece, 1857-59; works relating to travel and politics; d. Athens, 1862. ODNB DIB DIH

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Works
An Historical Sketch of the late Catholic Association
, 2 vols. (London: Henry Colburn 1829); Excursions in the Peloponnese (1856); Impressions of Greece (1871) [posthum.].

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Criticism
J. J. Auchmuty, Sir Thomas Wyse 1791-1862 (London 1939).

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Commentary
W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (1984), Sir Thomas Wyse, b. Co. Waterford, ed. Stonyhurst and TCD, British Minister at Athens, 1849; recreated good-will and did much to promote literary and artistic enterprise in Greece; state funeral there in 1862; Excursions in the Peloponnese (1856) and Impressions of Greece, pub. posthum. (1871) reflects warm sympathy and constant interest in the classical past; his son William Bonaparte Wyse recommended as successor to King Otho of Greece after his abdication in 1862, but became in fact High Sheriff of Waterford. [225] Bibl, JJ Auchmuty, Sir Thomas Wyse 1791-1862 (London 1939).

Brian Girvin, ‘Making Nations, O’Connell, Religion and The Creation of Political Identity’, in Daniel O’Connell, Political Pioneer, ed. Maurice R O’Connell (1991), pp.13-34, At this point [1808] the Catholic gentry seceded from the Catholic Committee in a fit of pique and – according to the Thomas Wyse – ‘crept ingloriously away from the contest, and allowed themselves to be trampled into obscurity by numbers.’ (Thomas Wyse, Historical Sketch of the Late Catholic Association of Ireland, London 1829), I, p.183. [27]

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Quotations
Mixed education: ‘If the adoption of a mixed system of education was right in Ireland, it was equally right and proper in England and he could not understand why it had been rejected or repudiated by the noble Lord [Archbishop of Canterbury]’; pointed out that similar systems were in use in Greece, Naples, Tuscany, Switzerland, France, and the states of Germany, as well as Russia, Sweden, Holland and the United States of America; further that the Church of England was not the church of the ‘entire nation’ and hence had no right over those [‘]who had no sort of communion with her’. (Hansard, Commons, xlviii, 19 June 1839, pp.532; cited in Hugh Kearney, ‘Contested ideas of Nationhood 1800-1995, in Irish Review, Winter/Spring 1997, p.11.)

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References
Univ. of Ulster (Morris Collection) holds Historical Sketch of the late Catholic Association of Ireland (1829).

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