Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700-1800

  • 40 179 9
  • Like this paper and download? You can publish your own PDF file online for free in a few minutes! Sign Up

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700-1800

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 Edited by Graham Gargett and Geraldine Sheridan IRELAND AND THE FRENC

1,243 40 1MB

Pages 312 Page size 394 x 615 pts Year 2007

Report DMCA / Copyright


Recommend Papers

File loading please wait...
Citation preview

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 Edited by

Graham Gargett and Geraldine Sheridan




Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 Edited by

Graham Gargett Senior Lecturer in French University of Ulster Northern Ireland


Geraldine Sheridan Associate Professor of French Department of Languages and Cultural Studies University of Limerick Republic of Ireland

First published in Great Britain 1999 by

MACMILLAN PRESS LTD Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS and London Companies and representatives throughout the world A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN 0–333–64638–X First published in the United States of America 1999 by ST. MARTIN’S PRESS, INC., Scholarly and Reference Division, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010 ISBN 0–312–22030–8 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 / edited by Graham Gargett and Geraldine Sheridan. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0–312–22030–8 1. Ireland—Intellectual life—18th century. 2. Ireland– –Civilization—French influences. 3. Ireland—Civilization—18th century. 4. Ireland—Relations—France. 5. France—Relations– –Ireland. 6. Enlightenment—Ireland. 7. Enlightenment—France. I. Gargett, Graham. II. Sheridan, Geraldine. DA947.3.I73 1999 303.48'2415044'09033—dc21 98–31442 CIP Selection and editorial matter © Graham Gargett and Geraldine Sheridan 1999 Chapter 2 and Appendix 1 © Geraldine Sheridan 1999 Chapters 4, 8 and Appendix 2 © Graham Gargett 1999 Chapter 9 © Máire Kennedy and Geraldine Sheridan 1999 Chapters 1, 3, 5–7, 10–11 © Macmillan Press Ltd 1999 All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any licence permitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London W1P 9HE. Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. The authors have asserted their rights to be identified as the authors of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully managed and sustained forest sources. 10 08

9 07

8 06

7 05

6 04

5 03

4 02

3 01

2 00

Printed and bound in Great Britain by Antony Rowe Ltd, Chippenham, Wiltshire

1 99

Contents List of Abbreviations


Notes on the Contributors


Introduction and Acknowledgements


Part I Irish Readers and Readings 1 2

3 4 5


Readership in French: the Irish Experience Máire Kennedy



Montesquieu and Burke Seamus Deane


Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland Graham Gargett


Rousseau in Eighteenth-Century Irish Journals: ‘A Wanton and Romantic Imagination’ Michael O’Dea


French Scientific Innovation in LateEighteenth-Century Dublin: the Hydrogen Balloon Experiments of Richard Crosbie (1783–1785) Barbara Traxler Brown

107 127

Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish in Enlightenment France Éamon Ó Ciosáin


Voltaire’s View of the Irish Graham Gargett


Part III Tools of Transmission 9


Irish Literary Review Magazines and Enlightenment France: 1730–1790 Geraldine Sheridan

Part II Ireland Seen from France 7



The Trade in French Books in Eighteenth-Century Ireland Máire Kennedy and Geraldine Sheridan v


vi 10 11

Contents Ireland and the French Theatre Simon Davies


Irish Church Libraries and the French Enlightenment Jane McKee




Appendix 1 Literary Review Magazines Printed in Ireland, 1700–1790 Geraldine Sheridan


Appendix 2 List of Books Connected with the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 Graham Gargett




List of Abbreviations AMR Bartlett


Berman 1

Berman 2


Cole Courtney D

Darnton 1

Darnton 2 ECI Eisenstein

Rousseau, André-Michel, L’Angleterre et Voltaire, Studies, 145–7 (1976) Bartlett, Thomas, The Fall and Rise of the Irish Nation: the Catholic Question 1690–1830 (Dublin: 1992) Benhamou, Paul, ‘La Présence des œuvres de Voltaire dans les cabinets de lecture parisiens et provinciaux au XVIIIe siècle’, VC, pp. 509–15 Berman, David, ‘Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment in Irish Philosophy’, Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, 54, no. 2 (1982) pp. 148–65 Berman, David, ‘The Culmination and Causation of Irish Philosophy’, Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, 54, no. 3 (1982) pp. 257–79 Bibliothèque publique et universitaire de Neuchâtel Burke, Edmund, Correspondence, ed. Thomas W. Copeland and others, 20 vols (London: 1958–1978) Cork. History and Society. Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County, eds Patrick O’Flanagan and Cornelius G. Buttimer (Dublin: 1993) Cole, Richard Cargill, Irish Booksellers and English Writers 1740–1800 (London: 1986) Courtney, C.P., Montesquieu and Burke (Oxford: 1963) Voltaire, Correspondence and Related Documents, ed. Theodore Besterman (Voltaire 85–135) (Geneva, Banbury, Oxford: 1968–1977) (individual letters are referred to by their number) Darnton, Robert, The Business of Enlightenment: a Publishing History of the ‘Encyclopédie’, 1775–1800 (Cambridge, Mass. and London: 1979) Darnton, Robert, The Forbidden Best-Sellers of PreRevolutionary France (New York: 1995) Eighteenth-Century Ireland Eisenstein, Elizabeth L., Grub Street Abroad: Aspects of the French Cosmopolitan Press from the Age of Louis XIV to the French Revolution (Oxford: 1992) vii

viii Essai Fitzgerald

Foulet Fuchs Gargett Gough

Kennedy 1

Kennedy 2

Kennedy 3 Kennedy 4


M. Marion Mélanges Noël


List of Abbreviations Voltaire, Essai sur les mœurs et l’esprit des nations, ed. René Pomeau, 2 vols (Paris: 1961) The Correspondence of Emily, Duchess of Leinster (1731–1814), ed. Brian Fitzgerald, 3 vols (Dublin: 1949–1957) Correspondance de Voltaire, ed. Lucien Foulet (Paris: 1913) Fuchs, Michel, Edmund Burke, Ireland and the Fashioning of Self, Studies, 343 (1996) Gargett, Graham, Voltaire and Protestantism, Studies, 188 (Oxford: 1981) Gough, Hugh, ‘Book Imports from Continental Europe in Late Eighteenth-Century Ireland: Luke White and the Société Typographique de Neuchâtel’, Long Room, 38 (1993) pp. 35–48 Kennedy, Mary Elizabeth (Máire), ‘French language books in eighteenth-century Ireland: dissemination and readership’ (unpublished PhD thesis for University College, Dublin: 2 vols: 1994) ‘The Distribution of a locally produced French periodical in provincial Ireland: the Magazin à la mode, 1777–1778’, ECI, 9 (1994) pp. 83–98 ‘The Encyclopédie in eighteenth-century Ireland’, The Book Collector, 45, no. 2 (Summer 1996), pp. 201–13. ‘The Top 20 French authors in eighteenth-century Irish libraries’, Linen Hall Review, 12, no. 1 (Spring 1995) pp. 4–8 Rousseau, Correspondance complète de JeanJacques Rousseau, ed. R. Leigh, 50 vols (Oxford: 1965–1991) Voltaire, Oeuvres complètes, ed. Louis Moland, 52 vols (Paris: 1877–1885) Marion, Michel, Les Bibliothèques privées de Paris au milieu du XVIIIe siècle (Paris: 1978) Voltaire, Mélanges, ed. Jacques Van Den Heuvel (Paris: 1965) ‘Images de l’Irlande dans la conscience française au XVIIIe siècle’, Cahiers du Centre d’Etudes Irlandaises, no. 6 (Rennes: 1981), pp. 7–56 Rousseau, Oeuvres complètes, eds Bernard Gagnebin and Marcel Raymond, 5 vols (Paris: 1959–1995)

List of Abbreviations Phillips

Pollard Sells Sheridan STN Studies TCD Tillyard Trapnell

United Irishmen





Phillips, James W., Printing and Bookselling in Dublin, 1670–1800, a Bibliographical Enquiry (Dublin: 1998) Pollard, Mary, Dublin’s Trade in Books 1580–1800 (Oxford: 1989) Sells, Arthur Lytton, Les Sources françaises de Goldsmith (Paris: 1924) Betsy Sheridan’s Journal, ed. William Lefanu (London: 1960) Société Typographique de Neuchâtel Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century Trinity College, Dublin Tillyard, Stella, Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah Lennox 1740–1832 (London: 1994) Trapnell, William H., Survey and analysis of Voltaire’s collective editions, 1728–1789, Studies, 77 (Oxford: 1970) pp. 103–99 The United Irishmen: Republicanism, Radicalism and Rebellion, eds D. Dickson, D. Keogh and K. Whelan (Dublin: 1993) Voltaire’s British Visitors, eds Sir Gavin de Beer and André-Michel Rousseau, Studies, 59 (Oxford: 1967) Voltaire et ses combats: actes du congrès international Oxford–Paris 1994, eds Ulla Kölving and Christiane Mervaud (Oxford: 1997) Voisine, Jacques, Jean-Jacques Rousseau en Angleterre à l’époque romantique: les écrits autobiographiques et la légende (Paris: 1956) The Complete Works of Voltaire, ed. Theodore Besterman and others, (Geneva, Banbury, Oxford: 1968–)

Notes on the Contributors Máire Kennedy is Librarian of the Gilbert Library, Pearse Street, Dublin. She obtained a PhD at University College, Dublin on the subject of ‘French Language Books in Eighteenth-Century Ireland: Dissemination and Readership’. She has also taught librarianship and communication studies at UCD and has published several articles on topics connected with the reception of French culture in Ireland during the eighteenth century. Geraldine Sheridan is Associate Professor of French at the University of Limerick. Having taken a BA in French and English and an MA in French at University College, Dublin, she obtained a PhD at the University of Warwick. She taught at Paris and UCD before moving to Limerick. She has published a monograph on Nicolas Lenglet Dufresnoy and the Literary Underworld of the Ancien Régime, an edition (with Jean Sgard) of Bougeant’s Voyage du Prince Fan-Férédin dans la Romancie, and a number of contributions to studies of the clandestine manuscript tradition in early eighteenth-century France. Now President of the Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society, she has a strong interest in the history of the booktrade, reflected in her contributions to this volume. Seamus Deane was formerly Professor of English and American Literature at University College, Dublin, and has been Keogh Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame since 1993. He has published four volumes of poetry (including Selected Poems: 1988); Celtic Revivals (1985); A Short History of Irish Literature (1986); The French Revolution and Enlightenment in England 1789–1832 (1988); Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood in Irish Writing since 1798 (1997); edited the 3-volume Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 550–1990 (1991). His prize-winning novel Reading in the Dark was published in 1996. Graham Gargett is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Ulster at Coleraine. He took a degree in French at the University of Reading and subsequently obtained a PhD at the University of East Anglia on the subject of ‘Voltaire and Protestantism’. Before being appointed at Coleraine, he taught English in France. His publications include Voltaire and Protestantism (Oxford: 1980), Jacob Vernet, Geneva and the ‘Philosophes’ (Oxford: 1994), and a monograph on the abbé Trublet published in the Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century in 1996 (vol. 336). He has x

Notes on the Contributors


been interested in the influence of Enlightenment France on Ireland for several years and published an article on ‘Voltaire and Irish History’ in the periodical Eighteenth-Century Ireland in 1990. Michael O’Dea is Senior Lecturer in French at University College, Dublin. He was previously Head of the Department of French at Carysfort College in Dublin and has also taught at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He took his first degree at University College, Dublin, and later studied at the University of Geneva and Brown University, where he obtained his PhD in Comparative Literature. His particular specialism is Rousseau, on whom he has published several articles and a book, Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Music, Illusion and Desire (Macmillan: 1995). He has also edited, with Kevin Whelan, Nations and Nationalisms: France, Britain, Ireland and the Eighteenth-Century Context (Oxford: 1995). Barbara Traxler Brown is a lecturer in the Department of Library and Information Studies at University College, Dublin. She is particularly interested in the history of science and has published several articles in this area. She has worked on scientific libraries in eighteenth-century Ireland and continental Europe, in particular that of the famous chemist, Richard Kirwan. Éamon Ó Ciosáin is Lecturer in French at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He took a BA at University College, Dublin and an MA at the University of Rennes. He is currently completing a PhD thesis on ‘Irish Migration to France 1600–1700 and its Portrayal in French Sources’ for the Université de Paris IV. He has published extensively in the Irish language as well as in French and Breton, has translated into French two books of modern poetry in Irish, and has published several articles on Irish exiles in France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Simon Davies is Reader in French at Queen’s University, Belfast. He obtained both his degree in French and his PhD from the University of Exeter. He is a Past President of the Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society and has published widely in the area of eighteenth-century French studies, including monographs on Paris and the Provinces in Eighteenth-Century Prose Fiction (Oxford: 1982) and on Laclos’s Les Liaisons dangereuses (London: 1987), contributions as an editor to The Complete Works of Voltaire and various interdisciplinary studies of Ireland and the Enlightenment.


Notes on the Contributors

Jane McKee started her career in the French Department, Maynooth but moved in 1986 to the University of Ulster where she lectures in the School of Languages and Literature. She is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin where she also obtained her doctorate in 1979. Her current work on Irish church libraries was inspired by her research into the Huguenots in Ireland which has led to a number of articles on Peter Drelincourt, Dean of Armagh, 1690–1722.

Introduction and Acknowledgements The title of this book may raise some eyebrows: the concept of an Irish Enlightenment, let alone a French Enlightenment in Ireland, being somewhat novel. Indeed, many would agree instinctively with John McVeagh when he states that ‘No Irish equivalent to the Scottish Enlightenment took place’,1 excepting perhaps for the North where Roy Foster suggests that the ‘traditions of enlightenment debate were diffused through Belfast “society” notably via education in Glasgow’, by implication having little effect in the rest of the country, where, moreover, ‘deism was never popular’.2 Furthermore, the image of Ireland, whether before or after the Act of Union, as a remote outpost on the periphery of Europe – ‘l’île derrière une île’3 – largely untouched by the intellectual developments taking place there, has been firmly entrenched in Ireland’s national mythology. That these assumptions needed challenging was obvious to a number of scholars based at Irish universities who had been struck by some aspect of the intercultural exchange that took place in the eighteenth century, whether the reaction to the French Enlightenment in Ireland or the image of Ireland prevalent in eighteenth-century France; a collaborative venture which would provide a framework for further studies seemed the best way forward. We were moreover encouraged by two ground-breaking articles (Berman 1 and 2) arguing for the existence of an authentic Irish school of philosophy during the period 1690 –1750, ‘its character and growth being constituted by the so-called Deist controversy and the play of Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment forces’ (Berman 1, p. 149). Based largely on responses to John Locke’s Essay concerning human understanding (1690) and instituted by the period’s most provocative Irish philosopher, John Toland, the movement spanned the works of radicals like Molesworth, Emlyn, Hutcheson and Clayton as well as conservatives such as Browne, Dodwell, King and Skelton, culminating – for Berman – in the philosophy of Edmund Burke. Berman’s stimulating perceptions of a distinctly Irish Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment gave impetus to our search for connections with the broader European intellectual traditions of the time. In putting together this volume, we have studied in detail many aspects of the transmission and translation of Enlightenment culture, in its broadest sense, between the francophone world and Ireland. We looked at much of xiii


Introduction and Acknowledgements

the available evidence concerning the importation, circulation and readership of French books, highlighting the extent to which they included not just devotional works, aids to learning French (which was certainly seen as an important social accomplishment) and classics like Molière, Racine and La Fontaine, but a substantial proportion of ‘modern’ texts representative of, or connected with, the French Enlightenment. Most usefully, perhaps, we have catalogued for the first time – based not only on readily available sources like the British Library’s Eighteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue but also on extensive first-hand library research – some 300 such books published in Ireland, in French or translation, in the period 1700–1800 (Appendix 2), certain evidence of a perceived demand not adequately served by the import trade. We have likewise trawled the much neglected area of Irish-printed literary periodicals, whose abundance may surprise the reader. Catalogued in Appendix 1, they offer fascinating evidence, referred to in several chapters, that many of the key texts and concepts associated with the French Enlightenment reached socially and geographically far beyond the fashionable Dublin francophile élite. It is hoped that both these tools will prove useful for further research in the area. The impact of the writings of the philosophes in the Irish anglophone context is, of course, the central theme uniting many of the focused studies in the book; there obviously remains much to be done, not least in the area of Gaelic literature. But what exactly was the French Enlightenment? This is far from being an idle or rhetorical question, for experts still continue to argue about its meaning, discourse and duration.4 The Enlightenment is one of those movements, like the Renaissance, christened long after its beginning, indeed in this particular case towards its end, in Immanuel Kant’s famous essay Was ist Aufklärung? (1784). In France the term Lumières was current, and those who wished for enlightened reforms were also referred to (usually by their opponents) as philosophes or ‘encyclopédistes’, taking their name from the great Dictionnaire edited by Diderot and d’Alembert. The very complexity and ubiquity of ‘Enlightenment’ in the French context has presented us with something of a problem: clearly, a vague correlation between the Enlightenment and all or any aspects of eighteenth-century French thought and literature would be unacceptable; on the other hand, to focus attention solely on the major philosophes would seem unduly exclusive. So, while several chapters do deal with undisputed Enlightenment personalities such as Voltaire, Montesquieu and Rousseau, others include figures perhaps not primarily thought of as philosophes but whose work or thought was influenced by the Lumières. This is particularly true of the list of books connected with the French Enlightenment in Appendix 2 (referred

Introduction and Acknowledgements


to throughout the book by the number of the relevant volume), which takes as its parameters the years 1700 and 1800. Sometimes the choice was difficult. Fénelon, whose didactic novel Télémaque contains an extremely influential critique of absolute monarchy, has been excluded as clearly belonging to the previous age, as has the popular picaresque novelist Lesage. However, Fontenelle has been included, not only as an important precursor of the French Enlightenment but because he lived until 1757 and continued to be widely influential in the salons. Though later reacting against the movement, Mme de Genlis is present because she went through an ‘enlightened’ stage.5 Finally, a novelist like Marivaux, though personally hostile to Voltaire and many of the philosophes’ ideas,6 manifests despite himself the dominating influences of his times. In the body of the book, and in the catalogue of Irish Literary Review Periodicals (Appendix 1), we have tended to place most emphasis on the period 1720 to 1789, 1721 being the year the work most generally considered to be the first widely distributed text of the French Enlightenment, Montesquieu’s Lettres persanes (1721), appeared; 1789 because the last dozen or so years, overshadowed by revolution both in France and Ireland, have already received considerable attention.7 If our selection of ‘enlightened’ writers and thinkers appears impressionistic or somewhat arbitrary at the outset, we hope that the book as a whole validates our choice by illustrating just how extensive was the influence exercised on eighteenth-century Ireland by Enlightened France and its ideas in all their manifestations. An analysis of French views of Ireland completes our study of cross-cultural exchange. The chapters that follow range widely: from church libraries to hot-air balloons; from French input into eighteenth-century Irish theatre to Burke’s assimilation of ideas developed by Montesquieu; from Irish views of Rousseau and Voltaire to the latter’s none-too-flattering opinion of ‘les celtes’. Behind it all, however, are the undisputed ideals and beliefs of the French philosophes: all phenomena, whether in human society or the physical world, are explicable by reason; religion can be a dangerous and corrupting influence if not properly controlled; toleration and moderation are the marks of a civilized society. These values clearly shock, irritate, scandalize and incense some Irish readers, but at the same time they fascinate and increasingly persuade, permeating Irish society from east to west, progressively becoming the fashionable norm even for the common reader of the popular miscellany, whether Dublin artisan or Castlebar merchant. We hope that these varied viewpoints will provide the reader with some new food for thought in relation to the reading public in eighteenthcentury Ireland.


Introduction and Acknowledgements

All French texts of more than a few words have been translated into English unless stated otherwise by the author of the chapter concerned. Original spelling has generally been retained (unless so indicated) but, except in Appendix 2, capitalization has been standardized: in Appendix 2 also, full titles, original spelling, capitalization and punctuation have been reproduced.

Thanks are due to the many institutions and individuals who have helped in the preparation of this volume. The University of Ulster generously financed a research assistant for three months, and this was followed by a major grant from the Leverhulme Trust. These two awards were vital to the project and grateful thanks are hereby offered to both institutions. Many libraries, too numerous to list, have provided support and assistance: our thanks to all of them, but particularly the staff of our own institutions: Kay Ballantine, Frank Reynolds and Linda Southall, of the University of Ulster at Coleraine, and Patti Punch of the University of Limerick. The illustrations in Chapter 6 are reproduced courtesy of the Library of University College, Dublin. We are very grateful to the many colleagues who have advised and encouraged us individually; we must particularly thank Professor H.T. Mason and Professor John Renwick, both of whom have provided assistance and shown continuing interest in the project from beginning to end. A key role has also been played by our two research assistants, Dr Joy Kleinstuber and Susanne Reid; our grateful recognition to both of them, and above all to our collaborators who contributed the chapters which we hope add up to an interesting and original contribution in a challenging field of research.

NOTES 1. 2. 3. 4.

All Before Them, ed. John McVeagh, vol. 1 of English Literature and the Wider World (London, New Jersey: 1990) p. 44. Modern Ireland 1600–1972 (London:1988) p. 265. Jean Blanchard, Le Droit ecclésiastique contemporain d’Irlande (Paris: 1958) p. 11. See for example the account of the workshop on ‘Lumières: definitionperiodisation’, held in July 1995 at the Ninth International Congress on the

Introduction and Acknowledgements

5. 6. 7.


Enlightenment in Münster (Concepts and Symbols of the Eighteenth Century in Europe, European Science Foundation, Newsletter 3 (February 1996) pp. 5–9). Cf. Marie-Emmanuelle Plagnol-Diéval, ‘Le Voltaire de Mme de Genlis: combat continué, combat détourné’, VC, pp. 1212–13; and Appendix 2, 78. For a recent study see H.T. Mason, ‘Voltaire vu et commenté par Marivaux’, Revue Marivaux, 4 (1994) pp. 37–44. See for example Marianne Eliott, Partners in Revolution: the United Irishmen and France (London: 1982); Ireland and the French Revolution, eds David Dickson and Hugh Gough (Dublin: 1990).

This page intentionally left blank

Part I Irish Readers and Readings

This page intentionally left blank

1 Readership in French: the Irish Experience Máire Kennedy The concept of readership is difficult to define historically, especially in Ireland where no statistical evidence for basic literacy in English or Irish among the whole population is available before the census reports of 1841 and 1851. Readership in a foreign language, such as French, poses even greater problems of definition. As we shall see in Chapter 9, substantial quantities of French-language books were imported into Ireland from the late seventeenth century and small numbers of French-language works were printed in Dublin from the early eighteenth century. This presupposes a market for these works, and, by extension, a readership. We know from book sale catalogues that French-language books were purchased and held in private libraries. In certain instances anecdotal evidence confirms that some individuals at least read the French books in their possession, or books borrowed from other sources. There were few native French speakers in the country; enclaves of exiled Huguenots existed in Dublin from the mid-seventeenth century, and in Portarlington, Cork, Lisburn, Carlow, and a number of smaller settlements after 1685. These populations began to be assimilated into Irish society from the mid-eighteenth century, a process completed early in the next. French was, therefore, an acquired second language for most readers and speakers in Ireland.

WHO LEARNED FRENCH AND HOW? Advanced levels of reading and writing, especially in a foreign language, were the product of a lengthy formal education, confined usually to the higher socio-economic groups and those aspiring to such status. For Irish students of French two distinct possibilities existed. Some learned it on the continent; alternatively students could acquire it in Ireland from native French teachers, or teachers who had spent time in francophone countries. Post-elementary education was provided in government-sponsored diocesan, royal and grammar schools, or in private academies conducted as commercial ventures, French appearing in the latter from the early eighteenth century. This emphasis on the teaching of French can be seen as part of 3


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

a European-wide trend in education.1 As the century progressed, the emphasis became increasingly practical, boys being instructed in all branches of mathematics, navigation, fortification, book-keeping, history and geography, as well as the traditional classical subjects, in order to fit them for careers in the army, the navy, in trade and commerce. Foreign languages prepared the student for clerical and administrative posts and the diplomatic service. Girls were grounded in French as a polite accomplishment to equip them with the social graces necessary for advancement. French was first taught in the Huguenot enclaves in the late seventeenth century. By the first decade of the eighteenth there is evidence of private academies offering French as a subject, not to the children of Huguenot exiles wishing to maintain their traditions, but to the sons and daughters of the gentry and the middle classes. Portarlington, in particular, was renowned among Huguenot schools for the purity and quality of its French. The language taught was old-fashioned, keeping to the forms and vocabulary of the time of Louis XIV. Strong emphasis was placed on oral competence and the use of English officially prohibited.2 Among many well-known eighteenth-century figures educated in the Portarlington schools were the father and uncle of the Duke of Wellington. Private schools in Dublin began to offer French from the first decade of the eighteenth century, and from about mid-century private academies teaching the language were set up in many Irish provincial towns. Such was the importance of French that it began to be taught as a subject in diocesan, royal, and grammar schools by the last quarter of the century. After the lifting of restrictions on Catholic and Dissenter education (1782) French was introduced into the newly founded Catholic and Presbyterian schools and academies. Private tutors and governesses regularly placed newspaper advertisements to publicize their competence in French. Most sought after as teachers were native speakers, the Parisian accent being at a premium. Maria Edgeworth’s father emphasized the value of having the correct French accent and even felt it was better to speak French as an Englishman than to display a provincial accent: If, when he goes to the continent, he pronounce French only like an Englishman, the French in their truly polite toleration for the blunders of foreigners would probably say, ‘Monsieur a un petit accent étranger qui est très agréable: nous aimons de voir comment Monsieur se joue de notre langue, &c.’ But if he had acquired the patois, or even the provincial accent of some inferior French master, they might be less tolerant, especially in those high-bred societies to which young men of rank and fortune ought to have access. Courts and Courtiers are on these points fastidious.3

Readership in French: the Irish Experience


Throughout the century plentiful opportunities existed for children to learn French. Nearly 250 schools countrywide where the language was taught have been identified but there were certainly a great many more.4 With average fees of four guineas per annum for day students, or 20 to 25 guineas for boarders, an education with French as an important component was within reach of the middle classes. This was comparable to the situation in England where J.H. Plumb has shown that fees of two to four guineas for day-pupils fell within the means of shopkeepers, small farmers, tenant farmers, tradesmen, merchants, clerks or skilled artisans.5 A continental education was generally the choice of better-off Catholics, even though heavy fines and forfeiture of goods were liable to be imposed on families sending their children abroad to be ‘trained up in any priory, abby, nunnery, popish university, college or school, or house of jesuits or priests’ (Irish Statutes).6 Those trained on the continent often continued to live abroad, taking up careers in the church, the army, and in trade. But many Catholics returned to Ireland in the 1780s and 1790s when conditions had improved as the Penal Laws were gradually dismantled. During the French Revolution and the revolutionary wars in Europe the status of the Irish abroad was eroded; as subjects of the British monarch they were regarded as ‘enemy aliens’, and many chose to return to Ireland at this period. While the commercial academies responded promptly to market needs by providing education in practical career subjects, university teaching throughout Europe continued to be classical in orientation and the teaching of modern languages and history was slow to enter the curriculum. Such developments, prompted by the need to train officials for diplomatic and state duties, were evident in Italy (University of Piedmont) and in institutions in Austria and Spain, while Göttingen University was founded to create a trained bureaucratic corps.7 Trinity College, Dublin established two professorships of modern languages in 1775–76, putting modern-language teaching on a firmer footing than was the case at Oxford or Cambridge where the two teachers of modern languages were subordinate to the professor of modern history.8 At Oxford and Cambridge the initiative came from government, but the two Dublin posts were founded by the Provost, John Hely-Hutchinson (one for French and German, the other for Spanish and Italian), and a degree course materialized only in 1873. Attendance at the lectures was voluntary, students paying an additional fee.9 So committed was HelyHutchinson to the scheme that, if government failed to fund the professorships, he was prepared ‘to give an annual sum of two hundred pounds, out of his salary as Provost, for that useful purpose’. Though Hely-Hutchinson


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

did not expressly mention the training of officials as an objective, he hoped that modern language teaching would be ‘the Means of enabling young Gentlemen of Fortune to finish their Education at home, and […] send them abroad more capable of receiving Improvement from their Travels, when they are acquainted with the Languages of the Countries which they visit’.10 Antoine D’Esca was appointed to teach French and German, receiving an honorary degree of LLB from the college. D’Esca’s main interest seems to have been French, to the neglect of his German studies.11 Above all he was an enthusiastic Voltairean, in 1781 compiling and editing a volume entitled Lettres curieuses et intéressantes, which included letters by the great author and several of the latter’s correspondents (Appendix 2, 239). He was also aware of forthcoming editions of Voltaire, stating the hope in the Avertissement ‘que l’on inserera celles [les lettres] de M. de Voltaire, dans l’édition de ses Oeuvres que Mr Panckoucke fait imprimer’.12 In the same year he received £11.7s.6d. from the college for a subscription to an edition of Voltaire’s works. This corresponds exactly to the price of the 4° set of Voltaire’s Oeuvres (12 vols), advertised by the Dublin bookseller, Luke White, in November 1777 (Hibernian Journal, 3–5 November 1777). By the last quarter of the century French was, then, considered an intrinsic part of post-elementary schooling for the gentry and middle classes and was an optional extra at university level. While we cannot estimate the percentage of the population who studied French at school, or who had tutors or governesses to teach them French, a significant proportion of the upper classes were probably able to understand, speak, read and write the language with reasonable ease and exactitude.

LEVELS OF OWNERSHIP OF FRENCH BOOKS An examination of book sale catalogues and library listings of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries combined with a survey of bookshop stock, as shown by advertisements and stock catalogues, indicates levels of book purchasing and ownership. However, such evidence privileges the wealthier segment of the reading public, as only prestigious or valuable libraries were offered for sale by catalogue. In the Irish context the surviving book auction catalogues are the best source of information on private eighteenth-century libraries; no sustained contemporary source, such as the French inventaires après-décès, exists for Ireland to enable us to piece together the literary holdings of rich and poor alike. The survival rate of catalogues is slim, especially those of named consignors; by nature ephemeral

Readership in French: the Irish Experience


items, only a fraction of those originally issued still remain. The catalogues we do have point to ownership of French material among the aristocracy and gentry, clergy (both Anglican and Catholic), the professions, and merchants. Of 193 named catalogues we have surveyed, dating from 1715 to 1830, virtually all listed works in French, and most were very well supplied indeed (Kennedy 1, Chapter 10 and Appendix G). Forty per cent of the library owners are known to have been educated at Trinity College Dublin or the King’s Inns in Dublin and a further six per cent at Oxford or Cambridge. The 16 per cent with a continental education were Catholic clergy, doctors and gentry trained in the Irish colleges in France, Spain and Italy, or in continental universities. Several library owners, especially among the nobility, were privately educated and often ended their studies with the European Grand Tour. The readership under consideration therefore consists of highly literate people, wealthy enough to assemble a collection of books. French dictionaries and grammars formed the single largest category of French books owned, hardly a surprise, since most library owners learned French as a second language and continued to perfect it throughout their lives. A conservative taste is evident in the reading matter as represented by the catalogues, French authors of the grand siècle (such as Fénelon, Boileau, Molière, Corneille, Racine and La Bruyère) remaining popular in Irish libraries throughout the eighteenth century, as did French translations of classical literature. A number of surveys have been carried out in Europe on the ownership of French-language books. Ronald Crane’s investigation, based on English book sale catalogues, covers works in French and in translation.13 Primarily, it concerns the writings of Voltaire but includes extremely useful figures for Rousseau also. Crane’s examination of 218 English library catalogues dating from 1750 to 1800, representing ‘a cross-section of the educated reading-public of the time’, revealed that 172 (or 78 per cent) of the libraries contained one or more of Voltaire’s works in French or in translation, the Histoire de Charles XII and Siècle de Louis XIV appearing in the greatest number. In our own survey of Irish book auction catalogues (Kennedy 4), where only French-language works were considered, the most owned authors and precursors of the French Enlightenment in order of popularity were Voltaire (3), Montesquieu (8), Rousseau (9), Fontenelle (19), Marmontel (21), Bayle (22), Raynal (23), Frederick II (30), Mercier (33), Buffon (57), Helvétius (59), Marivaux (68), Necker (84), Prévost (91) and La Condamine (94). The Encyclopédie appears at 58. The holdings reveal an interest among


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Irish readers in both religious and secular writing, ranging from works of the grand siècle to the Enlightenment. Of French Enlightenment authors represented, the works of Voltaire were the most owned, although no individual work predominated. Several collective editions were present, often illustrated and sometimes costly. One of the most prized was the 70-volume 8° edition of the Oeuvres complètes published at Kehl in 1785–89 by Beaumarchais (also printed in a 92-volume 12° edition).14 Several editions of Voltaire’s Oeuvres could be acquired in sets or in separate volumes in Dublin from the late 1770s from booksellers such as White, Gerna, Archer and Wilson. The London edition of Voltaire’s epic La Henriade was published by subscription (see Chapter 4) and found its way into several Irish libraries, including Swift’s.15 For all its popularity at the time of publication Candide was held as an individual title in only five libraries in the sample, though it was also present in most Oeuvres and in the Romans et contes. Although only three titles by Voltaire appear to have been printed in French in Dublin (Appendix 2, 239, 245, 268), an impressively large number appeared in translation, as can be seen from Appendix 2 and Chapter 4. French editions of Voltaire’s works were found in private libraries of both Anglican and Catholic owners, and clergy of both denominations, the collections displaying a great range of individual titles and sets of his works. However, it is clear that the historical and dramatic texts were often present in libraries where anti-religious material was absent. Thus John Wickham, parish priest of Templeshannon and Edermine, Co. Wexford, possessed a copy of Voltaire’s The Age of Lewis XIV (Dublin: 1752; Appendix 2, 271), despite the rest of his library’s impeccably orthodox credentials.16 Even the Duchess of Leinster’s sister, Lady Caroline Fox, generally an enthusiastic Voltairean, was wary of certain writings. In October 1766 she commented: ‘Voltaire has wrote two more books, not such as you or I shall read, in the style of the Dictionnaire Philosophique’ (Fitzgerald, i, pp. 471–2). Some Irish readers may have indeed have been more interested in the littérateur than the Enlightenment crusader, though this was far from always being true (cf. below). Crane (p. 269) did find such a situation in England: ‘it was Voltaire the historian, Voltaire the epic poet, Voltaire the writer of tales, and not to any appreciable extent Voltaire the deist and religious critic, that aroused the interest of the Englishmen whose libraries we have been examining’. A number of works denouncing Voltaire’s anti-religious beliefs are found in Irish libraries of the period, for example, the abbé Nonotte’s Les Erreurs de Voltaire (1762), and the abbé Guenée’s Lettres de quelques juifs à M. de Voltaire (1769), translated into English by the Rev. Philip Lefanu (Dublin: 1777; Appendix 2, 92).

Readership in French: the Irish Experience


One work opposing Voltaire, Claude Duplain’s La Religion vengée des blasphèmes de Voltaire (Appendix 2, 52), was published by subscription in Dublin in 1783. Among the 154 subscribers are 39 clergymen or 25 per cent of the total, a large proportion of whom belonged to the established church. Also present on the list were Catholic nobility and clergy. Thus, as might be expected, it appears that many Catholics and Protestants were united in their opposition to Voltaire’s anti-Christian sentiments. Rousseau’s works were found in French in 39 per cent of libraries surveyed. Robert Darnton considers La Nouvelle Héloïse the ‘biggest bestseller’ of the century, a phenomenal success throughout Europe.17 In Irish library catalogues the work appears marginally more popular than Émile, Rousseau’s great treatise on education. Although there was no Irish edition in French of either title, both were reprinted in translation (Appendix 2, 196–7; 198–201). We know also that Rousseau was much admired by Irish readers in certain circles, most owners of his works in fact possessing several titles. Richard Lovell Edgeworth writes that ‘His Émile had made a great impression on my young mind I determined to a fair trial of Rousseau’s system’.18 He thus educated his eldest son, Richard, according to Rousseau’s precepts, with disastrous results. The boy became unmanageable, obstinate and self-willed, and his father was forced to ‘acknowledge, with deep regret […] the error of a theory which I had adopted at a very early age’ (Memoirs, i, p. 274). While in France in 1771–72 he took his son (then eight) to meet Rousseau, who was unimpressed with the boy, noting in him a ‘propensity to party prejudice, which will be a great blemish in his character’ (ibid., p. 258). Rousseau nonetheless retained his influence over the Edgeworths, and some of his principles were adopted by them: in particular the importance in education of capturing and encouraging the child’s interest. As the catalogue of the Edgeworth library is incomplete, containing authors A–P only, the section on Rousseau is absent; however, two works were found listed by title: Émile and the Discours sur l’inégalité.19 Rousseau’s writings were also admired by the Duchess of Leinster and most of her family. Lady Emily and her sister Lady Caroline Fox read Émile in August 1762 shortly after its publication. Lady Caroline wrote (Fitzgerald, i, p. 339) that she had ‘just finished Rousseau’s Sur L’éducation; there are more paradoxes, more absurdities and more striking pretty thoughts in it than in any book I ever read that he did not write’. She felt (i, p. 421) that ‘Rousseau, Richardson and Crébillon have quite spoiled the good old fashion’d storybooks like the Doyen de Killerine and Mlle Sallens’. However, she was later to change her mind, stating (i, p. 522) that ‘Rousseau is undoubtedly right in some things, but I have so bad an


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

opinion of the man, and upon reflection think his writing so very dangerous, so very destructive of all principles hitherto held sacred both moral and religious, that I hate to think I could be drawn in for a time to admire him’. Mary Delany too showed herself very suspicious of Rousseau’s writings. On 4 September 1766 she told Mary Finch, Viscountess Andover: I am glad you have seen the Rousseau; he is a genius and a curiosity, and his works extremely ingenious, as I am told, but to young and unstable minds I believe dangerous, as under the guise and pomp of virtue he does advance very erroneous and unorthodox sentiments; it is not the ‘bons tons’ who say this, but I am too near the day of trial to disturb my mind with fashionable whims. Lady Kildare said she would ‘offer R. an elegant retreat if he would educate her children’! I own I differ widely with her ladyship, and would rather commit that charge to a downright honest parson, I mean as far as to religious principles. […] [P.s.] Most of Monsieur Rousseau’s works are translated. […] (Leigh 5404: cf. Leigh 5427) Although the Duchess of Leinster’s correspondence shows that copies of Rousseau’s individual titles were present in the eighteenth-century library at Carton, the catalogue published at Dublin in 1925 lists only the Collection complète des oeuvres in the four-volume London edition of 1774, with two plates after Moreau. Various editions of the Encyclopédie were held in private library catalogues. Imported by booksellers from the 1750s onwards, by the 1780s they could be purchased in Dublin shops at £30 to £35 for the quarto editions. Thirty one sets have been traced to contemporary purchasers, 29 in private libraries, one in the Dublin Library Society and one in Trinity College, Dublin (Kennedy 3). The library at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, possesses a set of the Leghorn (Livourne) folio edition (1770–8), with the supplement and plates (cf. below, p. 224), but we do not know when this was acquired. These figures represent minimum levels of ownership and, interestingly, one notes that not one of the 13 sets of the Neuchâtel 4° edition imported by the bookseller Luke White in 1779–80 has been traced in the extant library catalogues. James Phillips has suggested that the reading of French literature in eighteenth-century Ireland was confined to the dilettante and amounted to no more than a fashionable veneer.20 Yet the widespread presence, in private libraries, of serious literary works by the major thinkers of the age in many different areas of endeavour surely demonstrates on the contrary a profound and genuine interest in these topics. Such a conclusion is moreover amply confirmed by the large number of

Readership in French: the Irish Experience


translations of works connected with the French Enlightenment which were published in the country during this period (see Appendix 2). Specific types of material in the libraries of certain individuals imply use. For example, the presence of medical and scientific works in French in the libraries of doctors, chemists and other professionals suggests their value as working texts. Readers interested in science invested in a number of works which led the way in their field. Buffon’s Histoire naturelle, held in 24 libraries, was one of the most popular. The great naturalist’s readable style made his work accessible to the non-specialist, appealing to a general enlightened public. Various sections of the complete work, originally published between 1749 and 1804 in 44 volumes, were present in Irish libraries. All editions boasted plates and engravings and many were ‘exquisitely coloured after nature’. The Mémoires de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, published annually, provided invaluable information on the latest scientific discoveries and processes for scholars throughout Europe. Some volumes of the Mémoires were present in 25 libraries, most representing fairly substantial sequences. The importance of the regular transactions of such a prestigious scientific body cannot be overestimated for scholars working in different parts of Europe, unable to attend meetings or see their colleagues regularly. Irish scientists became corresponding members of many such bodies, including the Royal Society in London and the Académie Royale des Sciences at Montpellier. For example, Richard Kirwan, the chemist, belonged to the academies of Stockholm, Uppsala, Philadelphia and Dijon. Moreover, serious scientific works by the abbé Nollet, Macquer, Fourcroy, Lavoisier and Lémery graced the libraries of Irish men of science. A wide range of topics is covered in the French material encountered in Irish libraries. Literature, history, theology and the sciences form the main categories, followed by a whole range of other subjects, from architecture to mechanics. This breadth of interest in contemporary movements in thought is typical of the international cosmopolitan culture of the period.

FLUENCY IN FRENCH The ownership of French books suggests, though does not prove, an ability to read in that language, but anecdotal evidence confirms readership in some instances. Personal accounts, especially by French visitors to Ireland, give an indication of proficiency in French among individuals and groups. Additional information can be gleaned from private letters and diaries, as well as from advertisements for public readings, performances


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

and lectures in French. Such sources, weighted in favour of the more literate and wealthy, preclude generalization. Nevertheless it can be shown that in certain circles, especially in the second half of the century, reading in French was common as a cultural and fashionable activity. In the last decade of the seventeenth and early eighteenth-century Ireland the use of French, except in the Huguenot communities, was confined to those intellectuals whose interest in literature and the sciences required them to read and correspond with colleagues in that language. Their reading matter, as shown by book sale catalogues, and from correspondence, was in the area of scholarly books and periodicals, weighty and expensive tomes imported from London and the continent. But, as general literacy improved and educational facilities became more widespread, a reading public developed among the gentry and upper middle classes, who had an interest in the fashionable works of the French Enlightenment and could read them in the original. Towards the end of the century this reading public extended to the lower middle classes, and foreign language books in small format and plain bindings were on sale new or secondhand for a relatively modest cost. For example Raynal’s Révolution de l’Amérique, reprinted in Dublin in 1781 (Appendix 2, 174), cost 2s.2d. sewed, or 2s.8d. bound (Freeman’s Journal, 28–30 August 1781), while Laclos’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses in the Dublin edition of 1784 (two volumes 12° sewed: Appendix 2, 101), could be bought for 5s.5d (Volunteer’s Journal, 12 July 1784). A ladies’ magazine in French, aimed at students of French, the Magazin à la mode, published in Dublin from 1777 to 1778 by William Whitestone, was available in several Irish provincial towns for 1s.1d. per monthly issue (Kennedy 2). In the earlier part of the century, the intellectual circle of Jonathan Swift provides evidence, mainly through correspondence, of proficiency in French. This scholarly group included George Berkeley, philosopher and Bishop of Cloyne, William King, Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Claudius Gilbert of Trinity College, and Mrs Mary Delany, wife of Dean Patrick Delany. Berkeley could certainly read French and had met Voltaire (see below, p. 155). Having a number of faults to find with an abstract of his Essay on Vision which had appeared in the Bibliothèque choisie in 1711, he wrote twice in Latin to its editor Jean Le Clerc, in Amsterdam, correcting the French since he felt it misrepresented his ideas.21 Swift corresponded in French and English with Voltaire, the abbé Desfontaines and other French writers, though he told Knightley Chetwode in 1721: I forsook the world and French at the same time, and have nothing to do with the latter further than sometimes reading or gabbling with the

Readership in French: the Irish Experience


French clergy who come to me about business of their church, car je parle à peindre, mais pour l’écrire je n’en songe guère depuis que j’ay quitté la politique.22 Evidence in Swift’s letters shows that he read Guez de Balzac, Malebranche, Montaigne, Molière, St Evremond, Rabelais, La Rochefoucauld and Voiture in French. Somewhat later in the century, the social circle of the CastletownCarton group, surrounding the Duke of Leinster, Ireland’s foremost peer, also displayed fluency in French. Carton House (Co. Kildare), the Duke’s seat, was situated no more than two miles away from Castletown House, residence of the Hon. Thomas Conolly, reputedly Ireland’s richest landowner. Both houses were connected by marriage, Emily and Louisa Lennox, daughters of the Duke of Richmond, being wives of the Duke of Leinster and Thomas Conolly respectively. Some 2000 letters penned by members of the family from 1752 to 1805, covering all aspects of life, literature and politics, provide a documentary source of great richness (Fitzgerald, Correspondence; Tillyard). Lady Emily and her sister, Lady Caroline Fox in London, corresponded regularly about books, reading and the education of their children. Their letters (1756 –1774) show Lady Emily dependent on her sister to keep her up-to-date with the fashionable reading of London society. The latest works were sent to Carton by Mrs Dunoyer, a London bookseller, with whom Lady Emily had an account (i, pp. 212, 224): while visiting France and Geneva in 1767, Lady Caroline dispatched several recent books to her sister, including ‘four new volumes of Voltaire’s works printed last week’ (i, p. 507). Accounts written by visitors to Ireland shed further light on this noble circle. Such aristocratic groups typify the international community of the eighteenth century, acquainted with and often related to the nobility of other European countries. In his month-long visit in 1784 the marquis Marc de Bombelles visited the homes of the aristocracy and gentry around Ireland,23 declaring himself particularly impressed by Carton and Castletown. On one occasion he met among the guests at Carton Lady Harrington, who ‘speaks French passably as do all the ladies who were at Carton’ (Bombelles, p. 235), and on another (p. 242): We found a numerous and pleasant company who spent the evening at the castle. Out of 12 women, 10 spoke very good French. All the women of the best society in England and Ireland know the language but often wait for one to pay tribute to the English language and for one to be better acquainted with them.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Likewise, Thomas Conolly, according to Bombelles (p. 245), ‘speaks French very well and gives such a gracious welcome that one is at ease with him from the first instant’. Clearly, then, the Carton-Castletown circle was highly literate in French, even though not all its members can have been equally proficient. Representing, as they did, the circle who set the tone in Irish society, it is likely that other Anglo-Irish families learned French with the objective of achieving a similar level of social accomplishment. From the middle of the century young gentlemen of fortune began to make the Grand Tour; Lord Charlemont for example met Montesquieu in Bordeaux. Henry George Quin spoke French and Italian, but when he called at Turin as part of his Grand Tour he complained: ‘The Language spoken here is a sad jargon half French and half Italian, so barbarously disguised that several words escaped my knowledge’.24 Lady Louisa Conolly was presented to Louis XV at Marly in 1765; Henry Grattan toured France in 1771 and Richard Lovell Edgeworth lived at Lyon in 1771–72. This contact with Europe, particularly France, led to an awareness of French literature and culture and stimulated the desire to participate in the cosmopolitan civilization of the Enlightenment. The Rev. T. Campbell commented that ‘well-bred people of different countries, approach much nearer to each other in manners, than those who have not seen the world’.25 Foreign travel and contact with cultures quite different from their own tended to broaden young men’s minds: noting a mood of enlightened toleration among Irish Protestants towards their Catholic compatriots from the middle decades of the century, Bartlett (pp. 66–7) attributes it to French cultural influence and a more cosmopolitan outlook among the Irish political élite. The nobility and gentry of Dublin were sufficiently literate in French to support an interesting theatrical venture in 1782. The performer, probably one M. Le Texier (or Tessier: see Sheridan, pp. 193– 4), ‘whose peculiar talents are well known for reading French plays’ (Freeman’s Journal, 20–22 August 1782), opened a subscription for three readings to take place in the Exhibition Room, William Street: on Saturday 24 August 1782 (a comedy); on Tuesday 27 August (a sentimental drama); and on Saturday 31 August (a farce). Subscription for the three readings was one guinea. The undertaking was clearly successful as a second subscription was opened a week later ‘by desire’ (Freeman’s Journal, 12–14 September). On this occasion three comedies were read: Favart’s La Soirée des boulevards on 17 September, Molière’s Le Médecin malgré lui on 19 September and Beaumarchais’s Le Barbier de Séville on 21 September, also at one guinea (Freeman’s Journal, 19–21 September 1782). Presumably, most members of the audience were able to understand the performance.

Readership in French: the Irish Experience


As the century progressed, scholars and those interested in science increasingly needed to read French, an invaluable asset in keeping abreast of new developments, whereas for such men the spoken language was relatively unimportant. Since French scientists were in the vanguard of discoveries in many disciplines, Irish scholars in general needed to correspond with French colleagues and to read their books and papers in the original. The scholarly group associated with the Royal Irish Academy, through their writings and correspondence, display a working knowledge of French. Members (and honorary members) of the Academy included Richard Kirwan, the internationally renowned chemist; Richard Lovell Edgeworth and his daughter Maria, the writer; William Burton Conyngham, scholar and antiquary; James Gandon, the architect, who settled in Ireland; and General Charles Vallancey, antiquary and scholar of Irish, who made Ireland his adopted country. Correspondence with friends and fellow scholars in Europe was frequently in French from mid-century or even earlier. Most founder members of the Academy in 1785 knew some French; of the 15 whose private libraries are known, all possessed books in the language. Where diaries or letters of these individuals survive, their knowledge of French can be clearly shown. Richard Kirwan corresponded in French with colleagues in Scandinavia and France, including the leading French scientists of his day: Laplace, Lavoisier, Fourcroy, Berthollet, Monge and Guyton-Morveau. His correspondence with Chaptal led to the exchange of papers and articles. A 24-page letter of May 1783 from a Monsieur Pouget of Montpellier to Kirwan ‘sur les condensations produites par l’alliage de l’alkool avec l’eau’ was read to the Academy on 6 June 1789 and published in volume 3 of its Transactions (pp. 157–80), presumably implying that members were capable of following it. Vallancey translated two works from the French, the chevalier de Clairac’s Essay on Fortification (Dublin: 1757) and The Field Engineer (Dublin: 1759). A prominent member of the Royal Dublin Society, on at least one occasion he bought books for the Society in France, being given £200 to do so while visiting Paris in 1787. He asked for recent copies of the Society’s publications to be forwarded to the Société Royale d’Agriculture in Paris and to some individuals who ‘are daily making great improvements in that and other Arts, in order to set up contacts between scholars working on similar projects in both countries’, adding: ‘I have been assured of an earnest desire of frequent communication and correspondence’ (The Dublin Chronicle, 24 July 1787). If the increase in the use of vernacular languages from the midseventeenth century broke up the unity of intellectual life which the use of Latin had created, this was offset by the introduction of French as the diplomatic and scholarly language of Europe (Houston, p. 161).


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

The exchange of books and recommendations among readers was very much a part of contemporary intellectual life, but such activity is poorly documented; nonetheless, examples can be found in individual correspondences. Joseph Cooper Walker wrote to Lord Charlemont in 1796: ‘my friend and neighbour Mr Hardy sent me the Duc de Nivernais’ “Essai sur la Vie de M. Barthélemy”. If your Lordship has not already read it, permit me to recommend it to your perusal’.26 Maria Edgeworth, whose French was excellent, remarked in a letter to her aunt in 1794: I will look for the volume of the Tableau de Paris which you think I have; and if it is in the land of the living, it shall be coming forth at your call. Do you remember our reading in it of the garçon perruquier who dresses in black on a Sunday […]?’27 Several years later, in 1802, when Maria attended a performance of Andromaque in Brussels with Madame and Monsieur Talma in the leading roles, she wrote: ‘we read the play in the morning, an excellent precaution otherwise the novelty of the French mode of declamation would have set my comprehension at defiance’.28 Such glimpses of readership are rare but bring to life the evidence summarized by other sources. Also well versed in French were the parliamentary élite, including Henry Grattan, whose son writes that his father laid aside the cultivation of the language [French] for a considerable time, but in the latter part of his life he amused himself translating into French Miss Edgeworth’s Tales and other light works. He admired Racine and Corneille, and used to read them with much pleasure.29 Other members of the group included the Hon. John Foster, last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons; the Hon. Denis Daly, owner of one of the finest libraries in Ireland; John Beresford, under whose auspices the Custom House was built; and Henry George Quin, who donated a fine collection of books to Trinity College. Strong commercial links bound Ireland and France throughout the century, the ports of Nantes and Bordeaux playing a prominent role. Since trade was the one area in which discrimination was minimal, Catholic merchants were particularly active, and many Irish houses existed in the continental seaports from the late seventeenth century. Sons of Catholic gentry and merchants frequently went to France to train in such establishments, later either setting up in business there or returning home to supervise the Irish end of the trade. With fluency in French at a premium, young hopefuls like these acquired linguistic competence in the private academies in Ireland, or worked in a French business house as part of their

Readership in French: the Irish Experience


apprenticeship. James Roche of Cork, educated at the Collège de Saintes, became a wine merchant in Bordeaux before returning to Cork in 1797 to embark on a career in banking. In his essay The Universality of the French Tongue Roche drew attention to ‘the variance between the deep-toned brogue of the brigaded Irish officers in speaking English, and the exquisite polish of their foreign accents, acquired in high military intercourse abroad’.30 Similarly, Betsy Sheridan noted (Journal, p. 192) that her Irish doctor in Bath preferred to speak French in public ‘to hide his Brogue’. Catholic gentry, doctors and clergy trained in the Irish colleges on the continent, returned to Ireland fluent linguists. Catholic doctors included John Fergus, an important Irish scholar and collector. Among gentry educated in France, or with family or trading links, may be numbered Francis Thomas Fitzmaurice, third Earl of Kerry, and Thomas Wogan Browne, son of an Irish exile, a colonel in the French army. The Bellew family provide a particularly good example. Catholic gentry who retained their status and lands during the eighteenth century, they made a living from flour milling. Christopher Dillon Bellew and his brothers were educated in France; John Bellew of Galway served in the Imperial Habsburg army; Dominick Bellew of Louth, after attending first the Irish college at Bordeaux, then at Louvain, later became Bishop of Killala; Luke Bellew of Galway studied at the Irish college in Douai and later became its president.31 Many Catholics educated abroad entered the church and returned to the Irish ‘mission’ as priests and bishops. It has been estimated that 11 000 Irish students were trained in Paris in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, about one third of all Irish students attending the Irish colleges in Europe during the period.32 Church of Ireland clergy, especially the higher levels, educated at Trinity College or at Oxford or Cambridge, were very much in tune with intellectual currents from the continent and many were capable of reading and speaking French, as witness Dr Edward Synge, Bishop of Elphin. His daughter Alicia’s governess and companion Blandine Jourdan was the grand-daughter of Elie Bouhéreau, Huguenot exile and first Keeper of Archbishop Marsh’s library in Dublin. French words and phrases pepper the letters from father to daughter, in which literature and a wealth of other topics are discussed. In June 1751 the Bishop advised Alicia to follow Mme de Sévigné’s example in her letters as she ‘is the best pattern I know’ and to this end he sent her a new six-volume edition of that writer’s Recueil des lettres. In July 1752 he remarked, apropos of her cousin, Molly Curtis: ‘If you resume your Correspondence, Continue to write in French’.33 Among the middle classes evidence is less forthcoming, but glimpses of French-language use can be caught now and then. In later years of the


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

century, reading and speaking French became an expected accomplishment in this milieu and fashionable young men and women acquired a veneer of French manners and culture. W.G. Neely comments of late eighteenthcentury Kilkenny that ‘most young ladies and gentlemen affected to write letters in French and to converse in the language’ and that visiting French and Spanish officers at Kilkenny Castle were much in demand among people of fashion.34 The McCrackens of Belfast, middle-class merchants related to the Joys (proprietors of the Belfast Newsletter), were admirers of French culture. Henry Joy McCracken, the United Irishman, and his family, learned the language from an old weaver, a native French speaker from Belfast.35 Henry must never have become fluent, however, as his sister Mary Ann advises him in a letter not to neglect the use of his French dictionary and grammar, remarking that ‘John Templeton keeps his always either in his hand or in his pocket’ (McNeill, p. 128). While in jail in Dublin for being one of the leaders of the United Irishmen McCracken read Fénelon’s Télémaque but had to be helped by a French prisoner, arrested for spying (p. 146). Evidence is scarce regarding knowledge of French among lower socioeconomic groups. Clerks and upper servants sometimes had some competence, not as a social grace but as a necessary component of their career training. Thus a lady’s companion might be expected to read to the lady in French, or a children’s nanny to teach elementary French to children before they were old enough to have a tutor or governess. However, the acquisition of the French language in Ireland during the eighteenth century was largely confined to those who could afford, at a minimum, a postelementary education in a private boarding or day school. This was within the reach of the middle classes from at least mid-century and, for such groups, could serve as a means of social advancement. On one level, speaking and reading French was no more than a fashionable pursuit connected with the evident appreciation of French culture in its widest sense, an influence found in clothes, coiffure, cuisine and wine, which gave a cachet of refinement and culture to both men and women. Yet the presence of substantial quantities of French books in private libraries and the vigour of the trade in such books indicate a receptive market. What evidence we possess suggests that, rather than merely being an unimportant fad, ownership of such works did often mean that they were read and enjoyed, discussed and recommended to others. In addition, as we shall see later, the large number of French Enlightenment texts published in translation at this period provides significant confirmation of the interest that appreciable numbers of Irish readers showed in them and of the influence that such works are likely to have exercised.

Readership in French: the Irish Experience


NOTES 01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10. 11.

12. 13.

14. 15. 16. 17.

R.A. Houston, Literacy in Early Modern Europe (London: 1988). J.G. Simms, ‘The Huguenot contribution to Ireland, with special reference to Portarlington’, Huguenot Portarlington, record of the commemorations, np [23 August 1972] p. 22. Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Essays on Professional Education (London: 1809) pp. 388–9. Máire Kennedy, ‘French language teaching in eighteenth-century Ireland’, Pages: Arts Postgraduate Research in Progress, i (1994) pp. 37–46. ‘The New World of children in eighteenth-century England’, Past and Present, 67 (May 1975) p. 78. Irish Statutes, 7 William III, c. 4, 1695, in The Statutes at Large, passed in the Parliaments held in Ireland from 1310–1800, a biographical enquiry (Dublin: 1998). Facets of Education in the Eighteenth Century, ed. James A. Leith, Studies 167 (1977) p. 17. Charles Firth, Modern Languages at Oxford 1724–1929 (Oxford: 1929) pp. 1–20. Francis M. Higman, ‘Modern languages in Trinity College, Dublin 1776–1976’, Hermathena, cxxi (1976) pp. 12–17. [John Hely-Hutchinson], Account of some regulations made in Trinity College Dublin since the appointment of the present Provost (Dublin, A. Leathley: 1775); reprinted in the Freeman’s Journal (4–7 February 1775). M.M. Raraty, ‘The Chair of German at Trinity College, Dublin 1775–1866’, Hermathena, cii (Spring 1966) pp. 53–72; Máire Kennedy, ‘Antoine D’Esca: first Professor of French and German at Trinity College Dublin’, Long Room, 38 (1993) pp. 18–19. This would appear to be a 1783 Paris reprint by Panckoucke of his 1772 Oeuvres de M. de V …. See Trapnell, pp. 133–5, and Georges Bengesco, Voltaire; bibliographie de ses œuvres (Paris: 1890) iv, pp. 91–4. ‘The Diffusion of Voltaire’s writings in England, 1750 –1800’, Modern Philology, 20 (February 1923) pp. 261–74. Studies like Michel Marion, Les Bibliothèques privées de Paris au milieu du XVIIIe siècle (Paris: 1978), and Gerhard Streich, ‘Die Büchersammlungen Göttinger Professoren im 18. Jahrhundert’ in Wolfenbütteler Forschungen Öffentliche und Private Bibliotheken im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert. Raritätenkammern Forschungsinstrumente oder Bildungsstätten? Herausgegeben von Paul Raabe (Bremen, Wolfenbüttel: 1977) pp. 241–99, also provide fascinating insights into book ownership at this time. However, their scope, both geographical and chronological, is so disparate as to make useful comparison with the Irish situation almost impossible. Trapnell, p. 138; Bengesco, iv, pp. 105–46. A Catalogue of books, the library of the late Rev Dr Swift, Dean of St Patrick’s, Dublin (Dublin, printed for George Faulkner: 1745), item 536. Pádraig Ó Súilleabháin, ‘The Library of a parish priest of the penal days’, Collectanea Hibernica, 6–7 (1963–1964) pp. 236–7. The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (Harmondsworth: 1985) p. 235.

20 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 33. 35.

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 Memoirs of Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Esq., with an introduction by Desmond Clarke, 2 vols (Shannon: 1969) i, pp. 177–8. National Library of Ireland: Ms. P.7655, Catalogue of books in the Edgeworth Library (c.1830). ‘A bibliographical enquiry into printing and bookselling in Dublin from 1670 to 1800’, unpublished PhD thesis (Trinity College, Dublin: 1952) p. 138. Pierre Bellamare and David Raynor, ‘Berkeley’s letters to Le Clerc’, Hermathena, cxlvi (1989) pp. 7–23. The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, ed. Harold Williams, 5 vols (Oxford: 1963) ii, pp. 410–11. Journal de voyage en Grande Bretagne et en Irlande 1784, texte transcrit, présenté et annoté par Jacques Gury, Studies, 269 (1989); our translations. TCD: Ms.2261/1, Henry George Quin Diary 1785–1786, Geneva–Rome, 18 October 1785. A Philosophical survey of the South of Ireland (Dublin: 1778) p. 40. The Manuscripts and correspondence of James, first Earl of Charlemont, ii (1784–1799), Historical Manuscripts Commission, Thirteenth Report, Appendix, part viii (London: 1894) p. 274. Augustus J.C. Hare, The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, 2 vols (London: 1894) i, p. 33. F.V. Barry, Maria Edgeworth: Chosen Letters (London: 1931) pp. 103–4. Memoirs of the life and times of the Rt Hon. Henry Grattan, by his son Henry Grattan, Esq., M.P., 3 vols (London: 1839–1841) i, p. 248. Critical and Miscellaneous Essays by an Octogenarian (Cork: 1851) ii, pp. 422–3. Karen J. Harvey, ‘The Family experience: the Bellews of Mount Bellew’, in Endurance and Emergence: Catholics in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, eds T.P. Power and Kevin Whelan (Dublin: 1990) p. 183. L.W.B. Brockliss and P. Ferté, ‘Irish clerics in France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: a statistical survey’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 87C (1987) pp. 536–7. The Synge Letters: Bishop Edward Synge to his Daughter Alicia: Roscommon to Dublin 1746–1752, ed. Marie-Louis Legg (Dublin: 1996) pp. 306, 438. Kilkenny: An Urban History, 1391–1843 (Belfast: 1989) pp. 221–2. Mary McNeill, The Life and Times of Mary Ann McCracken 1779–1866 (Dublin: 1960) p. 40.

2 Irish Literary Review Magazines and Enlightenment France: 1730–1790 Geraldine Sheridan The periodical literature published in Ireland from 1730, when the phenomenon of the miscellany is about to appear in England, to 1789 and the eve of the French Revolution, was a relatively popular medium of communication reaching a wide public both geographically and socially, but has been largely ignored by scholars.1 We study here magazines which reviewed, catalogued or reproduced contemporary literature. Our aim is to build up a profile of France, French culture and specifically writings of the Enlightenment as presented to an Irish readership through periodicals, to complement the information provided in Chapter 1 on the dissemination of French books. The magazines included are of two types: l


the literary journal of the older European tradition, with lengthy abstracts of books, some critical commentary, and ‘literary news’ the literary miscellany, inaugurated with Cave’s Gentleman’s Magazine in London in 1731, which was to dominate the later part of the century with extensive plagiarism from one journal to another. Such miscellanies contained a broad range of material of very varied quality, with news of newly printed books from around Europe, in foreign languages or translation; extracts, frequently carried forward from one issue to the next, from books seen to be ‘popular’, whether new to the market or reprints; short stories and anecdotes, parliamentary and military news, and local gossip.

The ‘essayist’ type of publication, made famous by Addison and Steele, was excluded, as being a discreet genre not particularly concerned with reflecting the world of literary activity beyond itself. The periodicals we identified are listed and described in Appendix 1. Our search revealed a much more extensive range of works than expected, with reprints of London magazines and original Irish miscellanies appearing as early as 1734, even if a certain unevenness of treatment 21


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

was inevitable due to the irregular conservation of part of this ephemeral material. Some publications offered very good value for money at up to 60 pages per issue for as little as 6d. (for example Exshaw’s: see Appendix 1, no. 6), making them much more accessible than the books they reviewed, which might cost anything from 2s. (for an Irish reprint) to 6s. for one London-printed volume (Pollard, pp. 131ff.). The price of chap-books such as Jack the Giant Killer, Irish Rogues and Raparees and so on, was 6d., within the purchasing reach of those Whitley Stokes referred to as the ‘lower classes in Ireland’ in 1799 (ibid., p. 222). A Catholic farm labourer throughout most of the century might earn somewhere between 6d. and 1s. per day (Cole, p. 160). Given the number of titles identified, the relatively wide distribution of many, and the fact that every copy sold was likely to have been read by several individuals – six readers for one copy was regarded as the average for newspapers (Cole, p. 17), with perhaps a somewhat lower figure for the type of periodical material we are considering – it is clear that the journals made a significant contribution to the transmission of ideas. One way of identifying more precisely the reading public of each periodical would be a full-scale study of birth, marriage and death notices which give some indication of who was buying each journal; a cursory survey suggests that the Hibernian Magazine and Exshaw’s, for example, appealed to traditional book buyers: clergy, lawyers, army officers, nobility and gentry (cf. Pollard, pp. 214–15), while other journals catered to a much more modest public. The Dublin Magazine deals with Dublin tradespeople – for instance, in January 1762 registering the death of ‘Mrs. Mary Kane, mistress of the Globe Coffee-house’ (p. 63) – and generally mentions any particularly colourful deaths. The ‘Monthly Chronicle for Ireland’ added into the Grand Magazine noted the nuptials or decease of a succession of ‘eminent’ farmers, farriers, linen-drapers and silk-weavers, some of them – John Magrath or Foghney Farrell (January 1760) – very probably Catholics like this magazine’s publisher Hoey. But Protestant publishers (the majority) also increasingly opened their columns to readers of widely varied social groups, and probably religious affiliation: Whitestone’s Town and Country Magazine in 1784 even records the death at Ennis of ‘the Rev. Mr. Kelly, a clergyman of the church of Rome’ (p. 56). In general, the notices in that magazine testify – unsurprisingly in view of the title – to a rural readership. Little is known of the number of copies printed of any of these periodicals, though an indication of success would seem to be the reprinting of vol. 1 of Droz’s Literary Journal (cf. Appendix 1). A letter criticizing the Weekly Miscellany, published in the Dublin Weekly Journal and aiming to refute their rival publication’s claim (in issue 10) to have had to reprint all

Irish Literary Review Magazines


except the eighth number ‘such was the extraordinary demand of the public’, suggests that ‘they are not selling above four hundred in all with 200 subscriptions’. This assertion surely implies that a normal printing may have been the equivalent of what is supposed to be the average book edition, c.500 copies (cf. Chapter 9), and a publisher would have done well to sell more. The above correspondent, ‘Z.M.’, complains of market saturation, of ‘the innumerable pamphlets and flying papers constantly thrust into peoples’ hands in Dublin by those other pests the Newsboys’.2 A phenomenon deserving special mention is the publication of two journals in the French language in the 1770s: their existence, along with a proposal to publish a weekly Gazette françoise in 1776, underlines the growth of interest in the language as described in Chapter 1 (see Appendix 1, nos. 7, 13 and 15). Charles Praval’s Preface to his Magazin à la mode aims to attract and flatter Irish readers anxious to improve their knowledge of French: ‘Il n’y a pas un homme instruit, qui ne parle aujourd’hui François, ou qui ne le lise, pas une femme bien élevée qui n’en connaisse pas les expressions’. These experiments in French publishing, if short-lived, nonetheless contradict the assumption of Ireland’s total cultural dependence on mainland Britain, and offer further evidence of a European awareness in segments of the Irish reading public which had the confidence to look far beyond London for sources of information, and unmediated access to ‘le bon ton’.

FRENCH CULTURE IN PERIODICALS FROM SELECTED YEARS (1734, 1745, 1764, 1784) In an attempt to grasp some of the elements of change and development across the century, we concentrated particularly on four sample years of publication: 1734, for which year we located two relatively short-lived and little-known periodicals; 1745, the first full year of the appearance of Droz’s important Literary Journal; 1764, representing the high point of the Enlightenment in France; and 1784 for the pre-revolutionary years. Such an undertaking presents many methodological problems, not least the relative arbitrariness of the selection: the magazines identified are so different in nature that it is difficult to draw comparisons between them, or quote any useful statistics; and, as much of the material derives from sources outside Ireland, conclusions concerning the specifically Irish dimension are necessarily circumscribed. Nonetheless, all the editors concerned were involved in choosing material from a vast potential range; we have tried to give a flavour of what was deemed attractive by each editor for his


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

particular clientele, and was therefore made available to the literate reader in the chosen years.

1734 The Weekly Miscellany Appearing simultaneously with Faulkner’s reprint of the London (Appendix 1, no. 16), clearly this is Edward Exshaw’s first effort to establish a place in the burgeoning periodical market; a unique publication, it purports to be written by one hand, and has a very high proportion of material of French origin. It testifies to a very early recognition of French Enlightenment influences on anglophone readers: the first number (10 January 1734) advertises Voltaire’s Letters Concerning the English Nation (London and Dublin: 1733), remarking: Mr Voltaire who these 7 years past, has been lab’ring into Fame, is now in Possession of a most establish’d Character in the Commonwealth of Learning. This rare and universal Genius has had the Pleasure to see all his Productions greedily read, I had almost said, devoured, and himself received with great Marks of Distinction on t’other Side the Water: and since the Impression of these Letters here, one could hardly go into a House of any Note, without finding them on every Gentleman’s Table. […] Perhaps […] he thinks to secure to himself a comfortable retreat in England, when his senseless Affectation of libertine and irreligious Principles, shall render his own Country too hot for him. These remarks are continued on 13 June, in connection with The Temple of Taste, recently published in translation in London. Voltaire has been banished, says the author, adding: I […] foretold in my first paper [such] would be his fate if he dared in his own Country of France to vend those dangerous wares he had picked up during his short Stay in England. Deistic and Libertine Airs do not suit every Clime. The vain and light French as we love to call them have not quite divested of all Seriousness and Solidity. They have not yet arrived at the refinement of disgracing taste and nature, and of abandoning religion and her august Mysteries to open redicule [sic] and contempt […] Those conceited French will be followed in everything though they vouchsafe to imitate us in nothing.

Irish Literary Review Magazines


Here already are several stereotypical views on the French which will recur throughout the magazines, allied with the explicit recognition of their predominating influence in all matters of culture and taste, and an extraordinary interest in the life and activities of a budding ‘star’ writer. The ‘Literary News’ for 17 January 1734 describes the Histoire des Papes, a strongly anti-Catholic satiric work published in the Hague (5 vols, 1732–34): the later volumes are mentioned on 21 September. Rumour immediately associated it with Lenglet Dufresnoy, but it was in fact penned by an impecunious young man named Bruys. The writer of the Weekly Miscellany rather disingenuously claims that ‘Our present Historian has avoided […] Extreams, and is valuable for the Truth and sincerity of his recitals. Tho’ a staunch Catholick, he assures us, that whoever reads this Work, “will be scandalized at those enormous Vices he is obliged to produce” ’. The editor’s allegiances are further highlighted in his eulogy of Limborch’s History of the Inquisition, published in London in 1731, with a long introduction, concerning ‘the rise and progress of persecution’. A number of references are made to debates on natural religion and freethinking, rejected by the Protestant authors reviewed,3 the editor outlining the paper’s intention ‘not only to advance learning and the Belles Lettres, but also to promote religion and the interest of our Establishment’ (25 April). Many other French works are discussed, including several classical favourites; commenting on the London translation of the abbé Pluche’s best-selling pre-Enlightenment Spectacle de la nature (1733), the journalist clearly expects a substantial portion of his readership to be capable of understanding the original (21 March 1734). Indeed, at the end of the same issue, Exshaw takes advantage of the opportunity to advertise this work for sale ‘Just imported from London […] in the original French or translated’. The response must have been significant, for Exshaw later printed his own translation (Appendix 2, 154–5). The London and Dublin Magazine Initially just a copy of the London Magazine, the articles themselves make little reference to French writing, but the ‘Monthly catalogue of Books’ mentions a good number of London editions, such as of Voltaire’s Temple of Taste (February 1734, p. 97; March, p. 151), of which the French version had been published in Rouen in 1733, and his Lettres écrites de Londres (another title for the Lettres philosophiques) printed by Davis in a small pocket volume for 3s.6d. (April 1734, p. 448). La Fontaine’s Fables (4s.6d.; May, p. 266) reflect the taste for parallel translations of which examples can be seen in the ‘Poetical Essays’ in the magazine itself


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

(December 1734, p. 676). Like Exshaw, Faulkner seeks to reinforce his own sales of French books and translations: the January number publicizes his own edition of Voltaire’s Letters (Appendix 2, 240), and in volume 1 his list of ‘Books imported from London, and Sold at the Cheapest Rates’ includes Rapin de Thoyras’s History of England, Pluche’s Spectacle de la nature (translation 1733), Fénelon’s Télémaque in both French and English editions, Le Sage’s Aventures de Gil Blas likewise, and the radical early Enlightenment work of the comte de Boulainvilliers, Life of Mahomet (London: 1731); in February 1735 Voltaire’s Henriade is added. Strong interest is shown in the work of Madeleine-Angélique Poisson, Mme de Gomez, prolific author of novels of gallantry: both La Belle assemblée (February, p. 97) and L’Entretien des beaux esprits (March, p. 151) are listed in translation in this year, though with French titles, and a London translation of Marivaux’s Paysan parvenu is catalogued in June. 1745 Exshaw’s Magazine Exshaw’s London Magazine was the major periodical printed in Dublin in this the year of Swift’s death, though it was still simply a reprint of the London edition. (See Appendix 1, no. 6, for changes of name.) It sold not just in Dublin (a city of almost 150 000 inhabitants) but also in the provincial cities and towns. Starting in 1747 and through the 1750s the title-page lists the distributors of the magazine, including, at various times, all the following locations: Drogheda, Kilkenny, Mountmellick, Cork, Belfast, Newry, Armagh, Limerick, Waterford, Cashel, Clonmel, Coleraine, Athlone, Galway, Strokestown, Derry, Roscommon, and Maryborough. Some distributors were booksellers, more were general merchants, and there is a certain overlap with those known to have distributed the Magazin à la mode (Kennedy 2). Interestingly, however, the dearth of outlets in the West which Kennedy remarked on is less acute in this connection, with two in Galway (J. Cox and Mrs. E. Exshaw, probably a relation of the publisher, and the only known booksellers in the city for this period)4 and, for a time, D. Mahon in Strokestown and Thomas Cuff in Roscommon, though the south-west is still poorly served. Not surprisingly, the majority of references to France in 1745 occur in regular features under titles such as ‘Foreign Affairs’ or ‘Journal of the Proceedings of the Political Club’ and give a metropolitan English viewpoint on the War of the Austrian Succession. We find detailed accounts of the Battle of Fontenoy (May, pp. 269 –72, 282– 6, 290; June, p. 343; July,

Irish Literary Review Magazines


pp. 403–8), in which the Irish brigade in the French service distinguished itself (p. 406; cf. below, pp. 157–8). The attitudes expressed to these political and military matters are, of course, virulently anti-French; one essay, taken from the Westminster Journal, and reproduced in the same month (June, pp. 327–9), is revealingly entitled ‘How France has deluded all her neighbours, and does still delude some of them’. Another item ‘Upon the French King’ (June, p. 355) refers to ‘Pale Lewis’, the ‘insidious Gaul’. More geared towards the local population, in October (pp. 578–9) an extract from ‘The Drapier’s letter to the good People of Ireland’, recently printed in Dublin, warns how King James would ruin the country financially, to the benefit of the ‘hungry Frenchmen’. A poem in the same issue (p. 581) raises the spectre of colonization by the French, and one also finds a number of distinctly anti-Catholic pieces which mention France in particular: ‘Popery an Enemy to Learning and Common Sense’, from the Westminster Journal, attacks the ‘learned men in France who are Papists’ (November, pp. 618–19), and in the same month an article from the Craftsman, ‘Of Popery and the Inquisition’, recounts the plight of French Protestants, invoking Pierre Bayle whose work would furnish readers ‘with every Argument necessary to convince them of the evils of a Popish Reign’. The death of Henri IV is given as proof of ‘the danger a Protestant Prince is in from Popish Subjects’, a favourite theme of these periodicals. In addition, this and other magazines are peppered with references to the trade wars, castigating Irish manufacturers for buying textiles from France. However, the anti-French attitudes can be tempered when it comes to French literature. A good example is the article entitled ‘Poetical essays’, referring to Voltaire’s ‘Poem on the Battle of Fontenoy, in which he treats the English a little unpolitely’. The author is clearly loath to adopt an entirely chauvinistic stance towards ‘th’insulting Gallic Bard’ (p. 257). ‘Voltaire, a truce at least with thee!’, he pleads: ‘Twill be too much for Louis’ pride, Should the triumphant monarch see, On all this truth thy genius try’d. There are only a few other references to French material, mainly to literature of the grand siècle – Fontenelle (pp. 215–16), Boileau-Despréaux (p. 477), Molière (September, pp. 502–6), and French women writers (January, pp. 27–30). Four French books newly printed in translation in London are mentioned in the monthly catalogues: Lesage’s Adventures of Robert Chevalier, call’d De Beauchene, Captain of a Privateer in New-France, the Chevalier de la Chétardie’s Letter to a Young Lady of Distinction at the Court of France (March, p. 180), The Secret history of Persia. Translated


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

from the French Original; with a Key (August, p. 483; cf. below, pp. 40–1), and Voltaire’s Essay on the Civil Wars of France (November, p. 645). As early as 1745 then, some interest is shown in the contemporary as well as the more classical elements of French language and culture in the popular miscellany, despite the chauvinistic, anti-French discourse of the political pieces. Droz’s Literary Journal This work, modelled on the great French-language periodicals of the early century, is distinctly different from contemporary English miscellanies: shunning overt political comment, it focuses more on books, on literary news, with a determinedly European orientation. Responses by readers reinforce the impression of an educated public eager to engage in scholarly debate (April–June, pp. 33–42). Through journalism, highly trained members of the Huguenot Diaspora – like Droz himself – retained contact with members of their congregation both near and afar. As Jean-Paul Pittion has shown,5 three-quarters of all the abstracts included in the Journal originate from French-language journals, and nearly half the abstracts are translated or adapted from the Bibliothèque raisonnée des ouvrages des savants de l’Europe, published in Amsterdam by Wetstein. The group of writers associated with the Bibliothèque were recruited largely from Huguenot réfugiés in the Low Countries, and a number of colleagues in Switzerland and the German states (for example Haller in Göttingen): many of them came to represent the ‘cosmopolitan Enlightenment’ (Eisenstein, passim), that opposition to French Catholic hegemony which translates into the very different context of eighteenth-century Ireland with somewhat paradoxical results. The articles in 1745 represent a wide spectrum of European learning, the major focus being natural history, the experimental sciences and contemporary history and memoirs. A long article ‘Of Bees’ is abstracted, with additions, from Réaumur’s Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire des insectes (Journal, ii, 2, pp. 162–76 and iii, 1, pp. 5–22). Abraham Trembley’s Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire d’un genre de polypes d’eau douce (Leyden: 1744) is summarized, apparently in Droz’s translation, and augmented by a report to the Royal Society in London in March 1743 (ii, 1, pp. 114–23). Physics is touched on in a note on d’Alembert’s Traité de l’équilibre et du movement des fluides (Paris: 1744; ii, 2, p. 220); Buffon and Réaumur figure large in abstracts from the Mémoires de l’Académie Royale des Sciences for 1739 and 1740 (i, 2, pp. 356–66; ii, 2, pp. 141–8; iii, 1, pp. 121–32). The abbé Nollet, also a member of the said Académie, is mentioned in the ‘Literary News’ (ii, 1, p. 217) for his Leçons de physique

Irish Literary Review Magazines


expérimentale (6 vols, Paris: 1743 and 1748). Droz aptly comments: ‘Experimental Philosophy begins to prevail in France, as everywhere else, over the hypothetical way of philosophising’ (ii, 1, p. 217: cf. p. 189). This typical early Enlightenment fascination with the experimental sciences shades over into a specifically enlightenment interest in ‘philosophie’ in the account of the publication in Paris (‘Leyde’) of the Dissertation physique à l’occasion d’un nègre blanc ascribed to Maupertuis, with the comment: There is lately published here a very pretty piece of sceptical Philosophy in French […] All the Systems about Generation are there examined in a very genteel Kind of Pyrronism. (ii, 1, p. 213) Voltaire’s description of an albino ‘in the VIth Volume of his Works lately published’ (Amsterdam: 1745) is also quoted. Droz’s lively interest in the early Enlightenment debates on metaphysics is also reflected in this volume in many references to deism: in announcing this same volume of Voltaire’s Oeuvres, Droz chooses to concentrate on the former’s ‘Observations on Deists in general’ (ii, 1, pp. 217–18), the ‘Discours sur le déisme’ which was unavailable in English. A passing comment by Droz to the effect that Julian the Apostate was more of a deist than a pagan (iii, 1, p. 78), provoked a lengthy and somewhat outraged refutation (iii, 1, pp. 55–95) by his fellow Dublin pastor Desvœux (later to publish a continuation of the Journal after Droz’s death). The orthodox Desvœux attacks Voltaire’s claim (as reported by Droz) that deists ‘never persecuted’, and therefore should be preferred ‘to all other known Sects’, declaring it ‘deserves no serious Answer, till it be proved that Toleration is the only duty we are bound to observe with respect to God and Men, and that it agrees better with the Principles of Deism, than with those of Christianity’ (p. 57). The grey world between theology and science wherein one can locate many of the heated controversies of the first half of the century, such as the debate concerning animal souls, is represented by The Theology of Insects6 (i, 2, pp. 269–84), which again provokes a response from Droz’s – probably clerical – readers, this time putting Droz on the conservative side of the argument. The first, who signs ‘PH-’, attacks Droz’s defence of the existence of a ‘particular Providence’: I cannot agree with you; ‘That a Providence by general Laws is no Providence at all’: on the contrary it is the only Providence Man has to trust to, the only one of which I believe any Interposition can be proved’. (ii, 1, p. 34) This deistic position is in turn attacked by a defender of Droz in the following issue (ii, 2, pp. 20 –34). Droz shows himself to be a well-informed


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

reader and sophisticated interpreter, well aware of the political context of the philosophical debate. Commenting on Voltaire’s statement of preference for deists ‘over all other known Sects whatsoever’, Droz inserts a note: Mr. Voltaire adds these Words (except our own Church, excepté nostre Eglise). Whether by them, he means Christianity in general, or the Roman Catholic Religion in particular, or whether he did insert them by way of Precaution, in case of Need, is more than I can tell. (ii, 1, p. 217) Again, in relation to a review in the Bibliothèque raisonnée of the Universal History, 1736–1744, Droz corrects the author for quoting the comte de Boulainvilliers as an authority concerning the danger of Spinoza’s theories. He rightly points out that Boulainvilliers was ‘one of the greatest Defenders of Spinoza’, whose manuscript ‘Essai de métaphysique dans les principes de B*** de S***’ was published in the confusingly-titled and notorious work Réfutation de Spinoza.7 Droz thus shows an impressive acquaintance with some of the most subversive philosophic material in circulation through underground channels. Given Droz’s religious, linguistic and cultural allegiances as a minister of the French Conformed Churches, it is hardly surprising to find the work of Pierre Bayle quoted as an authority (i, 2, p. 334; ii, 2, p. 278; iii, 1, pp. 67, 84): Bayle’s Nouvelles de la République des Lettres would have been one of the most influential models in the publishing world of the réfugiés, particularly among those who held liberal views. Lionel Gossman remarked how Bayle came to occupy a central place in European intellectual life although he was a marginal figure in every sense of the word, partly, Eisenstein suggests, because of the kind of decentralized transnational network of which Droz can be seen to be part.8 The overall thrust of Droz’s Journal is wholly consistent with his defence of ‘the spirit of liberty in religious matters [which] is the right of every natural being’ in the original advertisement. Although in general he professed a neutral stance as editor of the Journal, it is clear even in this early year’s work that he was sympathetic towards deism and aspects of the argument for toleration. David Berman has highlighted the degree to which Droz can be seen to be associated with a liberal, tolerant tendency evident in the writings of Molesworth (friend and patron of Toland) and his group – which included Francis Hutcheson, James Arbuckle, and Edward Synge the younger – published from the 1720s onward. He concludes that ‘Irish freethinking was timid and slight when compared with that in England, Scotland and France; but there was plainly a continuing spectre of freethought which frightened Irish philosophers into producing

Irish Literary Review Magazines


some of the most invective and weighty defences of religion published in the 18th century’ (Berman 2, p. 259). Philip Skelton, the author of Opiomaches: or deism revealed (London: 1749), was a central figure in what Berman has characterized as Irish right-wing Lockeanism; Droz published a critical review of the latter work, which in turn provoked a counter-attack by Skelton, The censor censured; or, an answer to Mr. Droz’s remarks (Dublin: 1750). In 1748 Edmund Burke also attacked the freethinkers and deists, whom he described as ‘a set of men not infrequent in this city [Dublin]’.9 Berman suggests that this counter-reaction can be closely identified with a defence of the Ascendancy position against Catholics and Nonconformists alike, as ‘deism’s emphasis on morality and toleration could hardly fail to soften or erode the Penal Code’ (p. 267). The impact of Droz’s Journal is attested not just by Skelton’s jibe at the ‘Censor of Literature’ – that ‘the Publick takes every Thing for granted which you dictate’ (p. 4) – but by the existence of a second edition of volume I, clearly reprinted as a result of an unpredicted level of demand (see Appendix 1, no. 10). In its liberal stance, A Literary Journal – but to a much lesser extent its successor the Compendious Library – belongs squarely with the critical tradition of the francophone periodical press operating outside France, spreading an enlightenment French culture throughout Europe and posing a complex challenge to the hegemonies of state religions. As such, it made a unique contribution to the Irish cultural landscape in this first half of the eighteenth century.

1764 The Dublin Magazine This is a peak period of the Enlightenment in France, no longer at war in Europe after the signing of the Peace of Paris in 1763: many of the key texts had been published in the preceding years, including Helvétius’s De l’Esprit in 1758, Voltaire’s Candide in 1759, Rousseau’s Contrat social and Émile in 1762, and most of the volumes of the Encyclopédie. In the Dublin Magazine the section on politics always occupies a significant proportion of each issue, with hostility to France still rumbling on in the reprintings of Wilkes’s North Briton. However, the authority of French writers can be invoked to back up the anti-Tory argument, the North Briton suggesting, for example, that ‘the inimitable Montesquieu’ would not have written The Spirit of Laws ‘had he not been conversant with that part of our statutes upon which our constitution turns’ (October, p. 579; from


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

North Briton no. 116), a common stratagem among journal writers who sought to appropriate certain French writers as their own, as reflecting their experience of the ‘freedom’ of a Protestant state. But most of the references to French literature and ideas are found in the sections of ‘Miscellaneous essays’, and ‘Literary intelligence’. October sees a three-page biographical piece critical of Voltaire: ‘Some Account of the Life and Writings of M. de Voltaire’ (pp. 589–91; cf. Chapter 4, pp. 77–8). We find two extracts from the latter’s works: ‘Reflections on the Population of America’ (February, pp. 94–6) from the Essai sur les mœurs, which had been published in Dublin some years earlier (see Appendix 2, 227; cf. Chapter 4, pp. 76–7); and the famous deist ‘Prayer’ (March, pp. 152–3), translated from the Traité sur la tolérance written in defence of Jean Calas, the French Protestant arbitrarily executed in Toulouse in 1762 for murdering his son despite his probable innocence. One of the most influential texts of the century, a great summa of Voltaire’s condemnation of extremism, fanaticism and sectarianism, it was published in English in Dublin in this year (Appendix 2, 273). This version was taken from the Gentleman’s Magazine of the same month (p. 113), and the work’s impact in England is well evidenced by a subsequent letter in that magazine (p. 322), which begins: In Conversation lately with an acquaintance of the Church of Rome, he asked me if I had read Voltaire’s letter on Toleration, to which answering in the affirmative, he immediately said, That he hoped that it might be the means of procuring the English Catholics in their native country a free and open toleration of their religion. The reproduction of any part of the Traité in the Irish context, when the Whiteboy disturbances were at their height in Munster, and the Oakboy disruption had broken out in Ulster, creating an atmosphere of mistrust, could hardly be seen as anodyne: Thou has not given us hearts to hate one another, nor hands to cut one another’s throats[…] Let not the little differences between the vestments that cover our feeble bodies, between our defective languages, between our ridiculous customs, between our many imperfect laws […] let not the many little distinctions that denote the several classes of atoms called men, be signals of hatred and persecution. Reinforcing a similar message, Rousseau’s ‘Savoyard Curate’s Profession of Faith’ makes one of its many appearances (February, pp. 107–112; March, pp. 177–80: cf. below, pp. 103–4). In February ‘Some entertaining extracts from the works of the famous Abbe St. Pierre lately published in Paris, entitled Political Annals’10

Irish Literary Review Magazines


accompanied by a rather sarcastic commentary, claim to be ‘translated for the Dublin Magazine’ (pp. 86–8), a fact that we may doubt since in the same magazine in August 1762 an edition in English of the work (London: 1762 and 1763) was reviewed (p. 496). D’Alembert’s Miscellaneous Pieces in Literature, History and Philosophy11 are announced as a matter of literary news, with favourable editorial comment. The work of the French academies evokes sustained interest, and the titles of competitions are announced: for the Académie des Sciences in Paris (pp. 442–3), for the Académies of Toulouse and Bordeaux (pp. 609 –11). The Histoire de l’Académie royale des sciences is referred to several times, particularly as regards extraordinary physical events (pp. 228–30; p. 478; pp. 531–32). Other areas of scientific interest include medicine, with an article contributed by one of the regular readers ‘On the use of lead in surgical cases extracted from M. Goulard’s book addressed to the Physicians and surgeons’ (January, pp. 1– 4): this is a good example of the early transmission of information to an interested professional readership through the periodicals, as the influential Traité sur les effets des préparations de plomb (Pezenas: 1760 and 1763) by Thomas Goulard, who was attached to the famous military hospital at Montpellier at this time, was not published in a full English translation until 1769,12 being subsequently published in Dublin by Arnaud in 1775 and Moncrieffe in 1777. There is also a review of Duhamel Du Monceau’s The Elements of agriculture (April, pp. 252–3), translated by Philip Miller (from the Paris edition, Eléments d’agriculture: 1762), published in London in this same year and in Dublin in 1767 (Appendix 2, 51). Like most of the miscellanies, the Dublin was extremely fond of anecdotes, and stories of marvels and deformations, many of French origin. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between anecdotes and very short fiction; in any case both were popular genres, copied widely among the magazines right through the century, and representing the less sophisticated end of the contemporary market. The prevailing interest in Marmontel’s Contes moraux is strongly marked in this issue of the Dublin: in February (pp. 116–17) the local pirate reprinting of the Denis and Lloyd translation (London, Kearsley) is announced (Appendix 2, 129). Already in January (pp. 25–30), ‘Lausus and Lydia’, one of the stories in the collection, had appeared in the rival Becket and De Hondt translation, no doubt copied from the Gentleman’s Magazine for December 1763 (pp. 25–30), and another was to follow in November, ‘Desbures and Jacquo’ (pp. 632–36), which, unusually, seems to be the only magazine printing of this particular tale. Overall, there is evidence of much interest in French literary output – and a level of knowledge of the foreign language (cf. p. 608) – at this time


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

on the part of editor and reader, and the material in the Dublin leaves the abiding impression of being addressed to a cultivated, European-oriented public. Exshaw’s Magazine This is now a more original periodical than in the former sample, though it does not baulk at copying the same sources as its rival the Dublin: once more the North Briton, regularly reprinted, constantly reminds the reader of French perfidies (cf. February, p. 90). Yet the cultural dominance of France goes undisputed, as witness reference to a scheme for promoting the English Language, ‘by a society of wits and men of genius, established for that purpose, in imitation of the Academy of France’, supported by Berkeley, Swift and Bolingbroke (February, p. 100). Again interest is shown in the scientific work of the French academies, and the prize competition at Toulouse for 1765, ‘to give the laws of frictional fluids in motion’ is announced (October, p. 653). A particularly interesting letter from a Dr. Patrick Blair of Cork details an interchange of ideas between Dr. Connel, also of Cork, and M. Belleteste, ‘Dean of the Faculty of Physick at Paris’, on the subject of inoculation against smallpox, which Voltaire had turned into an Enlightenment controversy in his Letters Concerning the English Nation of 1733 (pp. 177 and 433–5). Indeed this year is particularly notable for the large number of references to the work of Voltaire: not only is the ‘Prière à Dieu’ again reprinted, but an extract from the Traité sur la tolérance is added, emphasizing the cruelty and rashness of persecuting and damning those ‘who think differently from us’ (October, pp. 647), echoing, we are told, ‘the sentiments of many of the modern Roman Catholicks’. This was reproduced from the London Magazine for August (pp. 489–90), where it appeared without the above comment, and its sentiments, both theoretical and pragmatic, would thus appear to be endorsed by Exshaw for an Irish public. Exshaw draws attention to his own reprinting of the Traité, from the London translation by Smollett, Franklin and others (Appendix 2, no. 273). The ‘Literary Intelligence’ for July informs the reader that three manuscript works ‘of the indefatigable Voltaire’ are being circulated in Switzerland (pp. 403–4; from the Gentleman’s Magazine, July 1784, p. 338) and that his edition of Corneille has just been imported; it is further lauded in the number of October (p. 604). Lines from his Henriade, much admired by contemporaries, are quoted in French without translation in a political essay on p. 558, suggesting again the degree to which such texts had become part of a common European culture.

Irish Literary Review Magazines


Enlightenment publication had now reached a peak, and Rousseau is also strongly represented, again with the popular ‘Savoyard Curate’s Profession of Faith’ (January, pp. 45–8 and February, pp. 107–10), reproduced in the same months as in the Gentleman’s Magazine, and more-or-less simultaneously with the Dublin (February, pp. 107–12; March, pp. 177–80), highlighting the issue of deism and toleration which these Irish journals cumulatively seem to privilege. The message is reinforced by a ‘Translation of a letter from M. Rousseau to his bookseller (M. Neaulme of Amsterdam) who had strongly urged him to suppress the “Confession of Faith” ’ (p. 49): in this letter Rousseau spoke of the ‘bold Truths’ which he refused to alter to please the establishment. This had not been published in the Gentleman’s, but had appeared in the Dublin Magazine in November 1763 (pp. 705–10).13 Rousseau’s status as a political theorist is highlighted on p. 720, where the Corsicans’ appeal to him to frame a ‘code of laws’ for them is reported. Exshaw, a noted loyalist, does not however extend toleration to overt defences of the Irish Catholic position in Enlightenment France, and there is strong criticism of the abbé MacGeoghegan’s ‘History of antient and modern Ireland, lately published at Paris’,14 as the work of ‘a zealous Irish Catholic [who] makes not the least scruple of falsifying facts for the sake of indulging his inveterate spleen against the English and the Protestants’ (October, pp. 600–4). However, this article is taken from the Gentleman’s Magazine (October, pp. 464–7), and Exshaw tones down the original somewhat in relation to a dispute as to the number of Protestants ‘massacred’ in Ireland in 1641. MacGeoghegan claimed a figure as low as 3000; Voltaire had reported 40 000 (Essai, ii, p. 661: cf. below, pp. 160–1) but a note in the English translation of 1763–1764, Additions to the Essay on general history and the manners and spirit of nations, by Smollet and others (cf. London Magazine, March 1764, p. 135) read: Such is the computation of most historians, but the whole is a shocking exaggeration, derived from animosity and misrepresentation. If we should read four instead of forty thousand, we should approach nearer the truth; and we are afraid it will be difficult to prove that the Catholics were the aggressors. We do know that a number of Irish people worked on the translation of this edition, including the two Griffiths (see below, p. 190). The text in the Gentleman’s stated: This dispute has been lately revived on account of a note drawn up by the English Translators who are now disfiguring the works of M. de Voltaire at London.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Exshaw changes ‘disfiguring’ to ‘publishing’, proof that he did have his texts from English sources edited for his Irish readership, rather than simply handing them to a compositor. Overall the indications are that he was taking into consideration a Roman Catholic readership, with more longterm utilitarian considerations – the advantages for commerce of an open and tolerant attitude as spelt out by Voltaire – perhaps to the forefront of his concerns. Along with several mentions of the adventures of the colourful Chevalier d’Eon in Britain (cf. below, p. 210, n. 15), we find the usual collection of anecdotes of French origin. Reflected in one of these – ‘The History of the famous Madam d’Escombas executed a few years ago at Paris, for being privy to the murder of her husband by a former lover’ – is an enduring fascination with a popular view of the position of women in French society (pp. 316–18). The article begins: ‘There is not a city in the world where married women live with less restraint than at Paris; nothing is more common there, than for a lady to have a declared gallant’. We shall find such views echoed throughout the century, providing part of the stock-in-trade of the ‘Histories of the Tête-à-tête’ in particular, and contributing to a kind of highbrid genre between popular journalism and fiction. A further example in this year is extracts from the ‘Memoirs of Madam de Pompadour’ (pp. 260–3, 326–8), freshly translated from the Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de la marquise de Pompadour published with a London imprint in 1763, claiming to be from an English original but probably written in French by one of the notorious hacks of the illicit booktrade, Ange Goudar. Other apocryphal works in similar vein appeared in the following years (see Appendix 2, 9, 12, 117, 150), the mistresses of French kings with secrets to reveal providing a sure attraction for the reading public. In conclusion, it does appear that the Exshaws increasingly included more French material than their models: in 1766 a ‘Life of the celebrated Baron de Montesquieu’, with a full-page engraving (pp. 341–7), was not carried by either the London or the Gentleman’s, and again in 1766 the London Magazine prints a version of the ‘Concise and genuine account of the dispute between Mr. Hume and Mr. Rousseau’ (November, pp. 557–60), in which some of the Rousseau letters are summarized, but Exshaw in the same month carries a more complete version (pp. 736–58). This would tend to suggest that the Exshaws saw themselves as serving a somewhat different, perhaps more ‘serious’, literary, or European-oriented group. This hypothesis is given some weight by the fact that successive Exshaws were involved in the publishing of many works in French and in translation throughout the century.

Irish Literary Review Magazines


The Magazine of Magazines This publication is an interesting indicator of a lively but little-studied provincial market. The publisher Andrew Welsh had, in fact, distributed the Exshaw’s in Limerick, along with Ferrar, from 1748 to 1751, and this experience must have convinced him of the profitability of reprinting a London publication for the Irish market; he may have hoped to capture part of the same readership for himself. In fact, this magazine repeats much of the material already mentioned as it was in many ways a compendium of work published elsewhere: anecdotes found in Exshaw’s or the Dublin Magazine, all probably shared the same London origin, and likewise the North Briton appears in all three publications (starting here in June 1762, pp. 529 –30), highlighting an appetite for opposition politics, even slander. In addition, the cover lists several French-language journals as sources: the Mercure historique, Journal britannique, Bibliothèque raisonnée, Journal des savants, as well as the transactions of the ‘Royal Societies’ of Paris and other European capitals. How much of the material in this Magazine actually drew on the French-language sources listed remains to be established. As regards specifically Enlightenment material, Voltaire is mentioned regularly from the earliest volume (1751, pp. 270 –73), which contains a summary of Zadig attributed to The Gentleman’s Magazine.15 Sometimes there is hostile comment, as, for example, in a letter from ‘A Protestant’ entitled ‘Remarkable Remarks on M. Voltaire under a remarkable Title’, allegedly reproduced from The Gazeteer and London, where the French ‘Materialist’ is berated because ‘it seems the Atoms of which his Soul is composed, happened to have some mechanical inclination towards the corpuscular Souls of the Stuarts’ (vol. iv, 1752, p. 597); likewise a lengthy analysis of Voltaire’s ‘Lettre au docteur Pansophe’ [ie Rousseau], which had been published in late 1766, is strongly ironic – ‘a Confession of Faith from M. de Voltaire is a very great curiosity’ – and hostile to his deist views (February 1767, pp. 166 –70). But the Magazine did certainly contain some radical Enlightenment material, such as extracts (August 1768, pp. 178–82) from Voltaire’s ‘Critical Catalogue of Eminent free-thinkers, from Parson Rabelais to Parson John Meslier’ (cf. below, pp. 154–6). In October 1764 (pp. 319 –22) the biographical piece falsely attributed to Frederick the Great, ‘Some account of the life and writings of M. de Voltaire’, appeared at exactly the same time as in the Dublin Magazine (October, pp. 589–91: cf. above, p. 32, and below, pp. 77–8). Rousseau features large in the Magazine throughout the 1760s, the highpoint of his fame in Britain. A significant extract from his Treatise on the


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

social compact [sic] entitled ‘Singular Sentiments of M. Rousseau on the Power conferred by Constituents on their Representatives’ (January, p. 44; from Book iii, Chapter 15 of Du Contrat Social) is taken from the London Magazine of December 1763 (pp. 654–5). Moreover, several of the articles described by Michael O’Dea (below, pp. 97–9) appear in the Magazine in the same month as the Exshaw’s – for example ‘Some Account of the celebrated John James Rousseau’ (February 1766) and ‘Anecdotes relative to the Persecution of John James Rousseau by the Clergy in Switzerland’ (March 1766) – or even earlier, as with the ‘Translation of the paper found on a table in the apartments […] at Bourgoin’, which is published in the Magazine in December 1768 (pp. 510–11) but appears in Exshaw’s only in February 1769. As regards 1764, for which, unfortunately, not all issues are extant, the enduring and possibly feminine interest in accounts of the life of Madame de Maintenon is reflected in a short anecdote (September, pp. 259–60), lengthy extracts from the Memoirs of Madame de Maintenon having been published some years earlier (March–June 1757). The ubiquitous Marmontel is represented by ‘Annette and Lubin: A true Story’, which appears in the issue for January 1764 (pp. 10–15) and is taken from the anonymous Becket and De Hondt translation of the Moral Tales (London: 1764 [1763]), probably via the Universal Magazine, where it appeared with an identical title in December 1763. This story was based on a theatrical script ‘mêlée d’ariettes et de vaudevilles’ by Favart and Marmontel published in Paris in 1762, and was performed as an opera in Dublin later in the century (see Chapter 10, p. 199).

1784 Hibernian Magazine A year after the Treaty of Versailles and the end of the American War of Independence, the ever-increasing dominance of France as the European leader in gracious living and fashion is well marked in this Irish miscellany. French-language expressions such as bon vivant or sometimes full sentences are used to convey this dominance to the reader, even if on other occasions French manners and customs are ridiculed in stereotypical fashion. Sometimes the expressions or sentences are translated, sometimes not. An article in the September issue on ‘Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Dr. Samuel Johnson’ (pp. 530–34) quotes two lines from Fénelon’s celebrated Télémaque, and no translation is offered; indeed in 1781, when

Irish Literary Review Magazines


Antoine Desca published his collection of Voltaire’s Lettres curieuses (Appendix 2, 239), a number of poems were reproduced in French in the Hibernian (May, pp. 258– 9). Further evidence of the fluency in French typical of at least some readers in this later part of the century is provided by an original translation submitted to the Magazine by a Dublin reader who signs ‘W.C.J’. The translator highlights his own methodology in saying that he has ‘rejected all the French tinsel of the original; and aimed not without success, I hope, at simplicity’. This awarenness of the complex and important role of translation in the mediation of culture is further reflected in an interesting remark on the poem ‘Joseph’, translated from the French of the Huguenot Paul-Jérémie Bitaubé (Paris: 1767), which ‘now appears in a foreign garb with its native lustre undiminished’, saving it from ‘that intolerable pedantry and dullness which so often disgraces translation’ (p. 293). The specifically French Enlightenment material is dominated by the presence of Voltaire and Montesquieu. Voltaire is now dead, but his consecrated place as the European leader of Enlightenment is reflected in the lengthy extracts published throughout the year from his own (unattributed) ‘Memoirs of the Life of Voltaire’ (July, pp. 388– 94; September, pp. 493–6; October, pp. 567–70). This piece contains typical Voltairean side-swipes at the established churches as, for example, in the description of Frederick of Prussia’s court (where he also mocks Frederick’s homosexuality): ‘God was respected, but those who in his name had imposed upon credulity, were not spared. Neither women nor priests ever entered the palace’ (p. 494). Montesquieu features because of the recent publication of his Oeuvres posthumes in Paris and London (1783) which is signalled in May with a translation of an extract describing the ‘Character of the celebrated Duke of Berwick’. This item was of some local interest as it emphasizes that ‘wherever [the Duke] resided, all those poor English or Irish families who were related, in the most distant manner, to the exiled family, had a kind of right to introduce themselves’ (p. 648). The short story, ‘Arsaces and Ismena, an Oriental History. Now first translated from the Posthumous Works of the celebrated Montesquieu’, published in the Hibernian in June (pp. 315–19), was almost certainly copied from the Universal Magazine of May–June of the same year.16 The continuing trend towards sentimental fiction and a female readership is highlighted in the Editor’s preface: To secure Disciples [the Author] endeavoured to gain the good Graces of the beauteous Rulers of Mankind; he has written the Language in which they are most conversant, and with which they are best pleased.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Moreover, views on the position of women in French life are further reflected in quite a lengthy extract from a recent book (1783) which is also picked up in Exshaw’s Magazine in July, entitled Remarks on the French and English Ladies by John Andrews LL.D. (April, pp. 196–8) – an Oxford clergyman distinguished for his knowledge of French literature – and in essays ‘On the Infidelity of Women’ (pp. 19 –20), as well as the ‘Histories of the Tête-à-tête’ (pp. 132– 4). This notorious gossip column, copied from the Town and Country Magazine from September 1774 to December 1792, each issue appearing one month after its London printing and similarly adorned with portraits re-engraved in Dublin, frequently transported its heroes to the French capital of gallantry.17 The interest in natural history and travel is quite strongly represented, particularly in extracts translated from the Histoire générale des voyages by La Harpe, which mentions La Condamine, Maupertuis and Jussieu (pp. 233–6). A feature of this year’s Hibernian is, as illustrated in Chapter 6, the rage for air balloons: this current obsession even gave rise to poetry both in French and English (p. 216). We also find the usual anecdotes of French origin repeated from other magazines. Exshaw’s Magazine By 1784 Exshaw’s Magazine clearly affords an Irish viewpoint on European literature and affairs in terms of the editorial choices exercised and the original material included (see Appendix 1, no. 6). In general it carries more political material than its Irish competitors, and continually highlights the trading and commercial rivalry between France and Britain. The Exshaw also appears more loyalist, with some local material particularly from the northern counties of Ireland expressing clear Protestant sympathies, and blaming the insidious policies of France ‘upon the predominance of the Roman Catholic religion’ (1784, pp. 519–21). A wider spread of Enlightenment writers is dealt with in Exshaw than in the Hibernian in this year. ‘The great Montesquieu’s’ generosity to an impoverished family revealed after his death is recounted (pp. 76–7). Voltaire is represented by the poem ‘Sesostris, a Tale’ first published in 1776 and here translated into English (pp. 214 –15); his eminent reputation is consecrated in a lengthy extract from the new edition of the Nouveau dictionnaire historique for 1783 published in August 1784 (pp. 433–6). Interestingly, however, Voltaire is attacked in a translation by the W.C.J. of Dublin who had also contributed a translation to the Hibernian Magazine for the same year. This is taken from the Mémoires secrets pour servir à l’histoire de Perse, a famous ‘roman à clef’ reputed to have been written

Irish Literary Review Magazines


by Mme de Vieux-Maisons, lady-in-waiting to Mme de Pompadour, and described as one of the nastiest women of her generation.18 First published in French, and then in English in 1745 (cf. above p. 27), it gave a very unflattering, but sometimes apt portrait of Voltaire as the character Coja Sehid. Particularly hostile is the judgement on his intellectual achievements, which our Dubliner translated as follows: His soul was mean, his heart bad, and his character marked with deceit; he was envious, a severe but injudicious critic, a superficial writer, and endowed with an indifferent taste; but he acquired high estimation by a certain jargon to which fashion gave celebrity, in spite of the matters of eloquence, and to the prejudice of pure language. It is undoubtedly interesting that the only very distinctly local input in Dublin terms should be one which is hostile to Voltaire, whereas the vast majority of the articles appearing at this time are highly adulatory. Rousseau features in two articles: in a poem concerning his Eloisa (La Nouvelle Héloïse) by Mrs C— (p. 479), and in an essay on ‘National Traits; by the late Jean Jacques Rousseau’, (pp. 703– 4: from Émile?), both items taken from the London Magazine (July, p. 49 and November, pp. 359–60). We find a rare (in terms of Irish periodicals) mention of Helvétius: this is a humorous anecdote from De l’Esprit, not in itself of any subversive content, but notable nonetheless because it is one of very few references to what could be termed the more materialist grouping of French Enlightenment writers which we have found in the magazines. Another anecdote concerns ‘the celebrated abbé Prévost’ (pp. 708– 9), who again does not feature large in any of the periodicals, despite the great popularity of his fiction in French-speaking countries. The humanitarian, ‘enlightened’ interest in the black slave trade features here in ‘Observations on the Negro trade’ which makes many references to French writers including Buffon, La Brosse and Lecomte (pp. 716–18), and an extensive extract from Raynal’s Histoire des deux Indes in translation carries on the Enlightenment fascination with travel and comparative cultural analyses. Exshaw picks up on items also dealt with in the Hibernian Magazine, particularly the interest in air balloons. The obsession with French ‘style’ ensures further exposure for an extract on ‘The Extraordinary Influence of the Fair Sex in France’ by John Andrews (pp. 362–5; cf. above p. 40), with a ‘description of Parisian Manners’ also figuring in the January number (p. 32). The author of this abstract condemns the ‘French Misanthrope’ who criticized the women of his country for a false and superficial show of learning and interest in science, for ‘no [pedantry] is necessary to go and see experiments in electricity, to attend a course of


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

chymical lectures, and to be infinitely amused by it’, thus underlining the degree to which science had come to dominate the imagination of the century, and the increasing involvement of women in its popularization. Many other passing references are made to French authorities on heterogeneous subjects. Whitestone’s Town and Country Magazine, or Irish Miscellany In this short-lived work J. Andrews’s ‘On the Extraordinary Influence of the Fair Sex in France’ makes another of its many appearances, as does the ‘History of Sneezing’.19 The July issue contains a lengthy extract from Philosophic Essays on the Manners of Various Foreign Animals which is a translation, published in London in this same year by the ‘ingenious Mr. Holcroft’, from the French Essais philosophiques sur les moeurs de divers animaux étrangers written by Foucher d’Obsonville with Buffon’s encouragement.

CONCLUSIONS The most obvious point of interest concerning these periodicals is the sheer volume of French material: there are many hundreds of references to Voltaire from the 1730s to the 1780s (cf. Chapter 4), and he is followed in popularity by Montesquieu and Rousseau.20 Monographs on these authors have not adequately highlighted the extent to which the works of the three great figures of the French Enlightenment were popularized in the Englishspeaking world through the medium of periodicals such as we have described. Jürgen Habermas has emphasized how the Gentleman’s Magazine and its contemporaries established for the first time the press ‘as a genuinely critical organ of a public engaged in critical political debate’.21 In such magazines the French influence was not preponderant, but it was clearly significant, and certainly in cultural terms the most important influence from outside the anglophone world: this, as we have demonstrated, despite the popularist anti-French chauvinism of the war years. There is extensive biographical coverage of all of the above-named figures: posthumous, in the case of a ‘Life of the celebrated Baron de Montesquieu’ in Exshaw’s in 1766, or that other version, by d’Alembert, in the Hibernian in 1771,22 or strikingly contemporaneous, as in ‘Some genuine anecdotes of M. de Voltaire’ in Exshaw’s in 1768 (see Chapter 4). Indeed, one intriguing item in the Magazine of Magazines in January 1768 (p. 7), referring to the recent publication of the Lettres familières du président

Irish Literary Review Magazines


Montesquieu […] à divers amis d’Italie, thanks ‘a gentleman of Rank and Distinction in Ireland an intimate of the President’s’ – unfortunately not identified, but possibly the Earl of Charlemont – who sent new material to the editor. Michael O’Dea will show (Chapter 5) how Rousseau’s sorry quarrel with David Hume was chronicled in some of the Irish magazines through the year 1766: indeed Exshaw carried a fuller version than the London Magazine, and the Magazine of Magazines was still reproducing this material in December 1766. These writers seem to have been accorded ‘star’ status in the modern sense, every detail of their lives being avidly seized on by the press. But their works too were of interest to a widespread reading public, and as the century progressed an Irish audience was increasingly exposed to ideas that were clearly becoming common coinage in every corner of Europe. We have seen that one focus of great significance in the Irish context was the existence of many texts supporting religious toleration, even in Exshaw’s, along with the clear and perhaps more predictable sympathies of the Dublin and Hibernian magazines. These undoubtedly fed into the debates on the question of civil toleration for Catholics which echo through the journals: just one example is the controversy provoked by William Todd Jones’s address to the Earl of Charlemont when reviewing the Volunteers at Belfast in 1784. His letter defending his views in favour of toleration, published in Exshaw’s (p. 521), begins: ‘If any man can dispassionately resolve that the Protestants, a tenth part of the inhabitants of this island, ought of right to govern with their present despotic sway the Catholics, who are the remaining nine, he is both inconsistent and unreasonable’, following on with a mainstream Enlightenment utilitarian argumentation whose terms would have been familiar to his readers through the kind of material we have indicated (cf. Chapter 4, pp. 75–7, 80–3). If the enduring interest in Rousseau, Voltaire and Montesquieu throughout this and other periodicals is striking, there are strong indications that the British-Irish magazine public, well-informed on the publications of the three ‘giants’ of the period, were left in relative ignorance of other radical thinkers such as Diderot or Helvétius. The dual factors of reputation and accessibility worked in favour of the three great names, all of whom had spent an extended period in England; their works were frequently reprinted, even in Ireland, as can be seen from Appendix 2. Diderot, on the other hand, is listed only three times. His philosophical works, with the exception of the Encyclopédie, were not, of course, widely available in his lifetime. Neverthless, the Encyclopédie was imported and bought in Ireland (Kennedy 3), but the name of the editor-in-chief seems to have remained in relative obscurity: the only mention we have found was in the


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Compendious Library (see Appendix 1, no. 1). The second of only two references to Helvétius occurs in a well-informed article published in the Dublin Magazine in 1762 (pp. 176–8: cf. below, p. 92), which remarks that ‘the spirit of philosophy is rising in this [the French] nation’. D’Alembert, Montesquieu, Fontenelle, ‘and many others’ are part of an ‘honourable list’: on the other hand, Diderot, Helvétius, and ‘a motley crowd’ are dismissed as ‘minute philosophers’, stigmatized for their superficiality and impiety. This passage tends to confirm the ‘liberal’, rather than radical interest in Enlightenment thought, illustrated in an earlier period by Droz’s attitude to deism. Moreover, it is important to remember that a great deal of the French material exploited by the periodicals was, as we have shown, of a much more popularist and anodyne nature. One interesting issue is that of translation: extracts from foreign books normally appeared in the periodicals when a work had been printed in translation in London, and sometimes in Dublin. But other material – some of it ephemeral – was specially translated for the periodicals. This was the case for much of the short fiction, and examples have been given of Irish readers contributing such translations themselves. Who these people were, and the nature of the mediation which they provided would make an interesting study: we do know that some of the people involved in the translation of magazine fiction were women, but in general little attention has been paid to this very major aspect of the transmission of culture throughout this most cosmopolitan of periods (cf. Chapter 9, pp. 191–3). As the century progresses, the dominance of French material in the periodicals becomes more and more pronounced, although difficult to measure; we have already indicated that it became common to find words, even whole sentences and quotations, in French, often without translation, the assumption being that the readers would understand the language, not to mention the cultural references. We must not, however, neglect the evidence that already, as early as 1734, there was a strong interest in French literature, and we must note the acquaintance with the French language which is assumed in the fascinating controversy over the rival translations of Le Doyen de Killerine in 1742 (below, pp. 191–2). One is, of course, conscious of London as the metropolis; but the sphere of involvement of the magazine public stretches way beyond the English-speaking world, and this public is by no means insular in mentality. Obvious examples are Dean Madden’s pamphlet in 1751 reacting to a relatively unknown JeanJacques Rousseau (cf. Appendix 1, p. 235), or the correspondence between Dr Connel of Cork and the Faculté de Médicine in Paris. As regards readership, our cursory survey of birth, marriage and death announcements gives the lie to assumptions that access to French language, culture and

Irish Literary Review Magazines


‘manners’ were the preserve of the aristocracy, the ascendancy, or the Pale, and suggests that further benefits might be reaped from studying these more popular forms of communication which hitherto have been neglected in favour of the book culture proper.

NOTES 01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10. 11. 12. 13.

14. 15. 16. 17.

For Britain see British Literary Magazines. The Augustan Age and the Age of Johnson, ed. Alvin Sullivan (London: 1983); Walter Graham, English Literary Periodicals (New York: 1966). Reprinted in The Weekly Miscellany, 4 April 1734, no. 13. See for example the review of Turrettini’s Traité de la vérité de la religion chrétienne (24 January), and the lead article (untitled) 20 June 1734. Cf. Vincent Kinnane, ‘The Early book trades in Galway’, in Books Beyond the Pale. Aspects of the Provincial Book Trade in Ireland before 1850, ed. G. Long (Dublin: 1996) pp. 51–73. ‘A Literary Journal’, Hermathena, 121 (1976), pp. 129–41. Théologie des insectes […] Traduit de l’allemand de M. Lesser, avec des remarques de M. P. Lyonnet [published by Réaumur], 2 vols (Paris: 1745). (Amsterdam: 1733), ed. Lenglet Dufresnoy: cf. G. Sheridan, Nicolas Lenglet Dufresnoy and the literary underworld of the ancien régime (Studies, 262: 1989) pp. 136–41. ‘Marginal writing’, in A New History of French Literature, ed. D. Hollier (Cambridge, Mass.: 1989), quoted by Eisenstein, p. 4. The Reformer, no. 11, 7 April 1748, quoted in Berman 1, p. 265. Charles-Irenée Castel de Saint Pierre (1658–1743) was praised by Rousseau for his rationality, particularly his Projet de paix perpétuelle. Mélanges de littérature, d’histoire et de philosophie (Berlin: 1753 and 1759). A Treatise on the effects and various preparations of lead […] for different chirurgical disorders (London: 1769). In 1766 (pp. 347–9) an interesting article compares Richardson and Rousseau, showing strong sympathy for the latter’s religious views and the ‘philosophical, truly moral, and exceedingly respectable deist’ portrayed in his Eloisa (La Nouvelle Héloïse). Histoire de l’Irlande, vols 1–3, 1758–1762; an English translation appeared only in 1831–1832 (Patrick O’Kelly, Dublin): cf. below, p. 131. It did in fact appear there in February 1751; the story had been published in translation in London by Brindlay in 1749. The story was first published as ‘Arsace et Isménie, histoire orientale’, in the Oeuvres of 1783. The Town and Country, where the series appeared from 1769 to 1792, 13 issues per year, was sold by the booksellers J. Williams (Dublin) and T. White (Cork), according to its title-page, but this did not prevent other Irish


18. 19. 20.

21. 22.

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 booksellers from pirating it: see also Appendix 1, no. 15. Cf. C. McCreery, ‘Keeping up with the bon ton: the Tête-à-tête Series in the Town and Country Magazine’, in Gender in Eighteenth-Century England, eds H. Barber and E. Chalus (London: 1997) pp. 206–29. See M. Barbier, Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes et pseudonymes (Paris: 1822) ii, p. 399. From abbé Paul-François Velly, Historical Extracts Relating to Laws, Customs, Manners, Trade (London: 1769). Velly was a mild critic of Voltaire. For the same period of the Hibernian Magazine catalogued by Graham Gargett for Voltaire (1771–1783) where he found over 80 references (below, pp. 79–83), there are 28 to Montesquieu and 20 to Rousseau, but, of course, the high points of their relative popularity do not always correspond. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (Cambridge, Mass.: 1989) p. 60. A translation of the ‘Eloge de M. le président Montesquieu’ which d’Alembert wrote for the Academy, and which was published with De l’Esprit des lois in London in 1757.

3 Montesquieu and Burke Seamus Deane BURKE, MONTESQUIEU AND IRELAND Montesquieu’s great work De l’Esprit des lois was published in 1748, the first English translation, by Thomas Nugent, appearing in 1750. There was a Dublin reprint ‘with corrections and additions communicated by the author’ in 1751, another in 1767, and a further two in 1792 (Appendix 2, 144–7). Thomas Nugent was a brother of the Christopher Nugent whose daughter Jane married Edmund Burke in 1757, and Burke probably knew him. He certainly knew Lord Charlemont, who met Montesquieu in 1754 and 1755. It is in the first of these meetings that Montesquieu expressed his view of the Irish situation. Charlemont reports: In the course of our conversations, Ireland, and its interests, have often been the topic; and upon these occasions, I have always found him an advocate for an union between that country and England. ‘Were I an Irishman’, said he, ‘I should certainly wish for it; and, as a general lover of liberty, I sincerely desire it; and for this plain reason, that an inferior country, connected with one much her superior in force, can never be certain of the permanent enjoyment of constitutional freedom, unless she has, by her representatives, a proportional share in the legislature of the superior kingdom.1 This is not a view which Burke would have shared; but he would have agreed with Montesquieu’s criticisms of the conquest of Ireland, the confiscation of her lands, the Navigation Acts that crippled her trade and the Penal Laws against Catholics (Courtney, pp. 167–9). It is also well known that Burke’s Catholic relations, the Nagles of County Cork, with whom he lived for five years (1735– 40), had connections with France. Indeed, especially close connections linked County Cork and the Irish College at Bordeaux which was itself close to Montesquieu’s home. In addition, close trading links existed between Cork and Bordeaux in which Montesquieu, in his capacity as a wine exporter, played a part (Courtney, pp. 27–38). Recent research on Edmund Burke’s connections with County Cork and specifically the Blackwater Valley has emphasized the moulding influence upon him of the experience of the Catholic families who lived there under 47


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

the dominion of the Protestant régime that asserted its power in a memorable and scandalous manner on four celebrated occasions, by the murder, judicial or otherwise, of four men – Sir James Cotter in 1720, Morty Oge O’Sullivan in 1754, Arthur O’Leary in 1773 and, most notorious of all, Father Nicholas Sheehy in 1766.2 Louis Cullen (p. 574) has gone so far as to say that Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin and Burke share the same (political) language and views and that they are ‘those of the Blackwater’. It would, then, be possible to claim that it was this specific experience that governed Burke’s general view of the Protestant ‘junta’ in Ireland; this is what lies behind the assault on the Protestant Ascendancy that is most fully and angrily formulated in the 1792 Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe.3 Because the ‘sequence of gentry episodes of blood’ listed there ‘had no parallels elsewhere’ (Cullen, p. 573), Burke’s wide-ranging indictment of the whole system may be said to have derived from a local and untypical regional experience. This is possible. But it is also the case that the Blackwater valley episodes could be seen as locally enhanced examples of the whole political system in Ireland and that Burke is the first to identify that system as characteristic of the colonial structures that Britain had to learn to incorporate within the British constitution. Without such incorporation the way was open to various forms of coercive, despotic rule which ominously heralded the revolutionary despotism that was to take power in France in the final decade of the century.4 Since Burke also linked the Protestant Ascendancy’s brutalities in Ireland (or in the Blackwater valley) with those of Warren Hastings in India and those of the Jacobins in Paris, it would seem to be an implication of Cullen’s argument that Burke’s apocalyptic political vision of the 1790s owes a remarkable debt to his knowledge and experience of the plight of Cork Catholics, including his own relations, over a period of about 60 years. While it could hardly be said that Hastings or the Jacobins behaved in a manner that was untypical either of British colonialism or of radical revolutionaries, the suspicion still lingers that his Irish experience exercised such a determinant influence on Burke that he read international politics in the light of it. If he was wrong in general about the Protestant Ascendancy, perhaps he was wrong on the other issues too; or could he have been right about them and wrong about the Ascendancy? It would be of a piece with the view that Burke manifested a notable level of paranoia in the 1790s, not only in his vision of an isomorphic Irish-French-Indian structure of internal corruption within their various polities, but also with his belief in an external conspiracy of Illuminati, philosophes and freemasons to overthrow altar and throne in Europe.5 In effect, if there is substance in this account, Burke is not to be taken seriously as a political

Montesquieu and Burke


thinker, especially on Irish affairs. As an intellectual, or as a rhetorician, or as a hired gun for the Whigs, or as an apologist for the Irish Catholics, the French émigrés or the Begum of Oudh, he is too partisan to be reliable. For reliability, some less partisan witness must be found, although it is a puzzle to know just what definition of partisanship would allow one to discover such a commentator. Of course, it has always been a feature of Burke’s reception, both in his own time and since, that he has been regarded as a suspect witness to and analyst of the events of his own time. Caricatured endlessly as a closet Catholic, who had been educated at St Omer outside Paris by the Jesuits, or as a bourgeois apologist for an aristocratic order that he at once despised and admired, Burke has constantly been, in one incarnation, subject to local assaults on his religious beliefs, his national allegiance, his ‘outsider’ pathology; in another, he has been canonized as the most profound analyst of Revolution and of the alteration that the French Revolution inaugurated in Europe and the world.6 Montesquieu, on the other hand, has always enjoyed the reputation of being a sage, a founding figure in political and social science, and a reliable, if not always satisfactory, commentator on the French and European political systems before the Revolution. In him, more than in any other figure, the best qualities of the philosophe and the érudit were said to be combined. Burke, indeed, contributed in no small measure to this version of Montesquieu’s reputation in the English-speaking world. He made his admiration clear as early as 1757, when he praised Montesquieu as a genius of the first order in his Abridgement of English history. Thirty-four years later, he praised him again, more fulsomely and at more length, in An Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs (1791). On the second occasion, Montesquieu was chosen both for his own qualities and for the contrast which he made with the radical and revolutionary thinkers, Rousseau most prominent among them. It was, by then, beginning to be a standard feature of counter-revolutionary writings to ascribe to the radicals a shallow egoism and to the érudits a profound scholarship and respect for the complexity of human affairs. The scandal of revolutionary thought was that it was so simplistic and authoritarian in its schematic purity; in the case of Rousseau, it was also, according to Burke, the product of an eccentric and diseased sensibility which claimed for itself a universality that was both absurd and frightening. It is ironic that Burke deployed arguments against Rousseau that were to be used against himself, especially arguments that ascribed the formulation of a political philosophy to the psychology, even the pathology, of its creator. Even though Burke was anxious to enhance this contrast between Montesquieu and the other pre-revolutionary French philosophes, he did


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

not, on that account, give a wholly tendentious account of Montesquieu’s thought. He learned from Montesquieu – especially from De l’Esprit des lois and from the Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence – the art of analysing political systems in relation to their prevailing circumstances and also of achieving the formulation of general laws that governed these systems and made history intelligible. In many ways, Burke’s own writings aspire to the same admixture of laboriously detailed research on particular issues and wise sententiae, although he did not share Montesquieu’s confidence in the illumination that the discovery of first principles would shed on human affairs. But, for all the differences between them, Burke was influential in establishing the view that Montesquieu had offered an analysis of the ancien régime in France that demonstrated how it could have been effectively reformed without revolution. He consistently refused to see Montesquieu as one of those men of letters whose ideas had helped to destroy traditional France. Central to Montesquieu’s achievement, as Burke saw it, was the defence of traditional aristocratic rights and an appeal to the example of the mixed constitution of England for the liberation of France from centralized monarchical control.

MONTESQUIEU AND BURKE: BRITAIN AND FRANCE A brief account of the principles of Montesquieu’s political thought would identify the following features: an ever-changing relationship between what he calls ‘raison primitive’ and positive law and custom; the existence of a specific ‘principle’ which characterizes the main forms of moderate political systems – republic (democracy and aristocracy) and monarchy; a belief that man is determined only to a limited degree by the physical laws of nature; and a melancholy conviction that political systems have a natural tendency towards despotism. This last point is exemplified for him in the fall of Rome and in the history of France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He shared the contemporary conviction that the decline of the Roman empire was a dire warning to all European states, France most of all. This is countered by his apotheosis of England, of the 1688 revolution and of the British constitution, which he famously described (or misinterpreted) in book XI, chapter vi of the Lois. It was, of course, pleasing to Burke and to many others in England that Montesquieu should have seen the British constitution as the ideal system for the production of liberty. The question that concerns us here is the use to which Burke put Montesquieu’s version of the British constitution, his account of the

Montesquieu and Burke


decline of France into despotism and his analysis of the ‘esprit général’ which characterized all nation states. Since he was writing, for part of the time, after the French Revolution, it is understandable that Burke should have given prominence to features of Montesquieu’s writings which supported his own anti-revolutionary stance. Montesquieu’s famous separation of the three powers – executive, legislative and judicial – is, in itself, a formulation which has within it an implied tribute to the idea of complexity. The three powers are not always separate from one another; but in Europe, they are rarely confounded in one person. When they are, we are looking at the phenomenon of Oriental despotism, the antithesis of English liberty. Most kingdoms of Europe enjoy a moderate government, because the prince who is invested with the two first powers, leaves the third to his subjects. In Turkey, where these powers are united in the Sultan’s person, the subjects groan under the weight of tyranny and oppression.7 When the powers are separate, there is a risk of paralysis, but Montesquieu believed that since they were obliged to operate ‘par le mouvement nécessaire des choses’, they would do so in concert. The reciprocal interactions between the three would produce a ‘concordia discors’. Friction was both inevitable and necessary, for the rivalry between the powers assured that no one would predominate. The result was ‘une union d’harmonie’. Competing ideologies, a struggle for the rights pertaining to one or other branch of government, stimulated the health of the political system. Only within and through this complicated arrangement could the complexity of the society find adequate expression. Although Montesquieu does render his account of political systems in an almost diagrammatic form, it does not follow that he gives theoretical purity priority over specific circumstances. In his Lettres de Xénocrate à Phérès, he claims that the ruler who believes in theory and in perfection will often be more struck by a political fault or evil than by the inconvenience of repairing it. But it might be necessary to tolerate it, for the people may regard certain practices which are rationally inconsistent with the theory of a government as equivalent to laws, simply because they have been ratified by habit, by time and, perhaps, were at one time ratified by reason itself. Logical consistency is not a virtue at all times. The people cannot ‘changer d’esprit dans un moment’. This line of thinking leads Montesquieu towards his formulation of the ‘esprit général’ and is, I suggest, the element in his thought which Burke made central to his own political philosophy. The lack of uniformity in a European system of


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

moderate government is not, therefore, a flaw. Uniformity is attainable only under despotism (cf. Lois, V.xiv). Complexity, on the other hand, can be classified into four categories which are never, in practice, distinct from one another; these correspond to the four major divisions of De l’Esprit des lois. The first contains political systems and forms (books II–XIV); the second, physical and climatic influences (books XIV–XVIII); the third, social forms (books XVIII–XXVI); the fourth, historical influences and examples (books XXVII–XXI). Central to the whole argument is book XIX, which discusses the ‘esprit général’ and the main differences between moderate and despotic systems. Despotism has neither past nor future; it is the instant product of the individual will. Moderate governments are essentially evolutionary systems, belonging in part to the physical world of nature and the historical world of culture. They are susceptible to analysis for an account of their different forms but they are organisms of such delicacy that any sudden intervention, any upsetting of the fragile balance of powers which generates their growth, leads to ruin and, inevitably, to the rigidities of despotism. This is a brilliant reordering of the distinction between Europe and the Orient. In the revolutionary era, Burke exploits this to the full, seeing the French Revolution as precisely that kind of intervention in the historically evolved European system that will lead to its downfall and its replacement by the régime of the despotic instant, régimes that have no respect for custom, habit, affection or complexity, in which all powers are confounded in one person whose whim thereby becomes law. The French Revolution, so viewed, is something non-European, Oriental not Occidental, a repudiation of the idea of complexity and, with that, of moderation. The pursuit of theoretical purity is indulged at the expense of traditional habit and yet the consequent uniformity, no matter how stern it may be, is ultimately rooted in one person’s will. Burke reads Montesquieu’s version of Oriental despotism as a prediction of totalitarian rule. He envisaged the sultan of Montesquieu as the military dictator who would emerge to rule revolutionary France. Montesquieu is regarded as one of the founders of sociology because he developed a theory of a culture as an integrated system, the product of general causes operating within a specific set of circumstances (cf. Lois, XIX.iv). What might be regarded as vices from the point of view of one culture may have a particular function or be part of an intricate system in another. The traditional fidelity of the Spaniard, for instance, has a connection with his traditional laziness. The conscious reforming activity of the legislator, in attempting to correct a vice, might seriously impair the whole sytem in which the ‘vice’ is embedded. It is necessary to accept imperfection or, perhaps, complexity, since imperfection is not easily ascribed

Montesquieu and Burke


within a system that functions to any one of its parts. So, let man be; ‘qu’on nous laisse tels que nous sommes’ (Lois, This is not merely a defence of abuse. But it does mean that Montesquieu has to make a distinction between moral and political values. There might be some characteristics of a people (for example laziness, drunkenness) which are not morally admirable but might be politically useful. It is hard to say to what extent Montesquieu was covering himself against a clerical attack when he wrote: I have said nothing here with a view to lessen that infinite distance, which there must be ever between virtue and vice. God forbid that I should be guilty of such an attempt! I would only make my readers comprehend that all political, are not moral vices; and that all moral, are not political vices; that those who make laws which shock the general spirit of a nation, ought not to be ignorant of this. (The Spirit of Laws, XIX.xi) The apparent dominance of political influences over those of physical circumstances does not subvert the account, for it would seem that Montesquieu envisaged the replacement of physical by political and moral influences as a sign of a highly developed civilization. The more advanced the civilization, the less was it subject to purely physical laws – although, in the end, no absolute escape from them was possible. The point here is that he can be read as saying that we live in such a complex balance of forces that change should be only rarely or tenderly attempted. The conservative bias of his thought is certainly pronounced in the short term; in the long term, there is at least the suggestion of an eventual transformation. Burke evidently looked at the short-term implications and made them, in his own writings, the ground for his long-term scepticism about the human capacity for improvement. More immediately important for Burke was Montesquieu’s analysis of what had gone wrong in mid-century France and what was needed to put it right. Much of what Burke says in the Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) about the old French system and its capacity for an improvement which would have fallen short of revolution and gone far beyond revolution in bringing about the desirable changes, owes its substance to Montesquieu. In book IV of De l’Esprit des lois, Montesquieu dealt with old feudal laws of the Franks in such a way as to make it plain that he favoured the recovery by the contemporary aristocracy of the privileges which had been lost under the despotic rule of Louis XIV. He used the feudal system as a historical support for the aristocratic case, more urgent in this perhaps because he was himself a comparatively new member of that


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

thrustful section of the aristocracy, the noblesse de robe. This was obvious to the extreme royalists who attacked Montesquieu after the Restoration: the comte de Saint-Romain, in his Réfutation de la doctrine de Montesquieu sur la balance des pouvoirs (1816), saw the Charter of 1814 as a victory for ‘la transcendance de la royauté’. I mention this here because this royalist position seems to be close to that of Burke and his glorification in the Reflections of the French Royal Family. Yet Burke was too much a man of 1688, too much the long-term opponent of George III and the King’s Friends, to sponsor the cause of monarchy in so outright a fashion. He was perfectly willing to dispel the shadow of divine right from monarchy when he was defending the rights of parliament against monarchical encroachment, but he was also perfectly capable of reintroducing it as a historical memory in order to counteract the iconoclastic and secular spirit of the Revolution, which denied all divine inspiration or guidance in human affairs. Like Montesquieu, he believed that the remedy for the political ills which were the heritage of Louis XIV lay in the reintroduction of the rights of the parlements and of the aristocratic powers which had formerly intervened between the direct power of the king and the people. France was, in the view of both men, on the way to becoming a despotism but it still had the corporate bodies and the traditions which, reinvigorated, could restore it to its former status as a ‘moderate’ European government. As we have seen, ‘European’ was a key-word here. It helped enhance the contrast with the ‘Orient’ (represented for most Europeans by Turkey) and with the ancient world, of which the so-called Orient was an extension. Europe had been formed in its essential features by the Roman Empire, for the latter, unlike the Asiatic despotisms, had allowed a diversity which did not deny a fundamental unity. Montesquieu’s political theory of the balance of powers within a state was matched by his notion of a balance of European Powers or nation-states which was just as delicate and as necessary: Europe is no longer anything more than one Nation made up of several. France and England need the opulence of Poland and Muscovy, just as one of their provinces needs the others: and the state that believes it is strengthening itself by the ruin of its neighbour, generally weakens itself also.8 What distinguished modern Europe from the Roman Empire was the arrival of Christianity. This had two effects, according to Montesquieu. In the first place, the despotic paternalism of the Romans was broken by the new Christian emphasis on celibacy; by that, the extreme dependence of children on their parents was reduced. This, in turn, led to the emergence

Montesquieu and Burke


of a greater diversity in Europe since that which had been ancestrally established before Christianity had subsequently less hold than heretofore on the new generations. On the other hand, Christian celibacy encouraged the contemplative life, which Montesquieu thought unsuited to the development of a healthy social system, and it undermined the status of marriage, thus unwittingly ratifying the behaviour of those libertines who avoided it (see Lois, XXIII.xxi and XXIV.xi). Montesquieu goes on to contrast Christian contemplatives with the Stoics, who combined a distaste for the grosser pleasures of this life with a committed sense of duty to society at large. These stoical virtues were, he argues, transposed from the classical world to Protestantism in the Christian world. The liberty of the Protestant states of Europe seemed to him to be a natural product of their more independent form of Christianity, of their more invigorating (more northerly) climate, and to vary only in degree in relation to the particular form of Protestantism that prevailed – Lutheran or Calvinist. Catholicism, found in the more languid climates of the midi, and visibly ruled by a single figure, was less productive of liberty (Lois, XXIV.v). Its closest political analogue was monarchy and France was the country in which the political form and the religious influences had been most notably combined to produce a system which was manifestly less free than that of Protestant England with its modified monarchy and its various independent religious sects. The heading of the fifth chapter of book XXIV – ‘Que la religion catholique convient mieux à une monarchie, et que la protestante s’accommode mieux d’une république’ – gives away more than the actual discussion which follows. This investigation of the linkages between Europe’s Protestant north and Catholic south, taken up in relatively casual form in Burke’s writings, is not fully developed until the writings of Mme de Staël in the first two decades of the nineteenth century.9

BURKE’S MONTESQUIEU AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION Turning to Burke, then, we can see in what respects Montesquieu’s writings proved useful to him in his crusade against the French Revolution. The defence of historically accredited aristocratic rights against the increasing despotism of the French monarchy, the glorification of the British constitution, the general defence of complexity culminating in the formulation of the idea of an integrated culture, the identification of Europe as an exemplary instance of such a culture, heavily dependent on its Christian inheritance and wholly distinct from the culture of the Orient – all of these elements recur in his writings both before and after the French Revolution,


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

although their predominance increases markedly after 1789. Yet all of them operate in Burke in a different manner and, obviously, for a different purpose. Montesquieu’s elaboration of the ‘esprit général’ and its relation to the nation state as such, and to the European community of nations, is transformed by Burke into something at once vaguer and more powerful in its appeal. Europe was indeed, in his view, a historical entity, containing a diversity of nation states which, despite their differences, had many fundamental principles and values in common. The system of internal bonding which gave a nation its coherence was a local version of the system that gave Europe its cultural integrity. When he speaks of this, Burke does not reproduce Montesquieu’s diagrammatic descriptions of the balance of internal powers in a constitution. In fact he believed (rightly) that Montesquieu had seen in the British constitution a separation of powers that did not exist. What he does do, instead, is to seize upon the notion that the constitution operates like something that is natural, not man-made; it lacks symmetry, it lacks manifest clarity and yet it works in mysterious but successful ways: To avoid the perfections of extreme, all of its several parts are so constituted, as not alone to answer their several ends, but also each to limit and control the others; insomuch that […] you will find its operation checked and stopped at a certain point […] From thence it results, that in the British constitution, there is a perpetual treaty and compromise going on, sometimes openly, sometimes with less observation. To him who contemplates the subordinate material world, it will always be a matter of the most curious investigation, to discover the secret of this mutual imitation.10 The secret is, of course, not discoverable. Montesquieu may have thought the constitution beautiful; Burke sees it as sublime. Everything that is central to the functioning of a nation state, as Burke understood it, is either secret or virtual. Even when he denounced the failure of the British system in Ireland, he did so on the ground that it failed to give to the Irish that ‘virtual representation’ which, in the England of rotten boroughs and oligarchic rule, was the most they could ever expect to have. But that was also the most that was needed in a proper system. In the Second Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe (1795), he declared: Virtual representation is that in which there is a communion of interests, and a sympathy in feeling and desires between those who act in the name of any description of people, and the people in whose name they act, though the trustees are not actually chosen by them.11

Montesquieu and Burke


A nation in which such processes takes place is a ‘moral essence, not a geographical arrangement’.12 It makes its presence and its nature clear, but by indecipherable means. In fact, the nation is clearly what it is because its principle of bonding and of derivation is beyond analysis. For anything that is amenable to analytic scrutiny is not secret, not mysterious. Burke indicates time and again that mystery is the source of all our human enterprise. It is closely related to affection, to moral sense, to the workings of political arrangements, to historical processes and to the spirit of a people. But what it is in itself cannot be formulated; to attempt to do so is impious as well as foolish. Moral essence is constituted by natural aristocracy and natural aristocracy is the virtual expression of common feeling. The proof of this is simple. If it is true, the nation survives; if not, the nation is destroyed. Montesquieu’s ‘esprit général’ is thus transformed into an almost mystical notion that informs and is expressed in historical experience. During the revolutionary era, Burke applied to the idea of the European system of nations the same notions of secrecy, virtuality and sublimity as he had to the 1688 settlement in England. It was a system that, in its diversity, sustained a fundamental unity; in its divisions, it retained an underlying interdependence. Christianity bound Europe into one common culture and within a single providential destiny; the sectarian distinctions between the various religious factions were ultimately less important than their similarities. Protestantism, the national religion of England, could not survive the destruction of Catholicism, the national religion of France: Our business is to leave to the schools the discussion of the controverted points, abating as much as we can the acrimony of the disputants on all sides. It is for christian Statesmen, as the world is now circumstanced, to secure their common Basis, and not to risque the subversion of the whole Fabrick by pursuing these distinctions with an ill-timed zeal. (Writings and speeches, viii, p. 320) Further, the whole system of manners that characterized Europe derived from that common Christian heritage. Chivalric modes of conduct, towards women, between warriors, in relation to prisoners, the whole ethical system that had Christian morals as its ground and support, would disappear with the defeat of religion: The hell-hounds of war, on all sides, will be uncoupled and unmuzzled. The new school of murder and barbarism, set up in Paris, having destroyed (so far as in it lies) all the other manners and and principles which have hitherto civilized Europe, will destroy also the mode of civilized war, which, more than anything else, has distinguished the Christian world. (Works, ii, pp. 542–3; Writings and speeches, vii, p. 320)


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Montesquieu had also claimed that Christian Europe purged war of its more barbaric cruelties (Lois, XXIV.iii). But Christianity and feudalism, investigated by him as historical phenomena that had a bearing upon the present, were revised by Burke as forces in which a transcendent power operated by mysterious means to preserve, in Europe, a culture which was the product of a history in which God was immanent. Therefore, in relation to revolutionary France, Burke could easily adopt the principle of an appeal to complexity and, like Montesquieu, to the ‘concordia discors’. When he does so, there is always in addition an appeal to the latent providential design which, since it is visible in the historical past, must also be concealed in the present. Diversity, variety and complexity, by intricate processes, produce harmony and order: In your old states you possessed that variety of parts corresponding with the various descriptions of which your community was happily composed; you had that action and counteraction which, in the natural and in the political world, from the reciprocal struggle of discordant powers, draws out the harmony of the universe. These opposed and conflicting interests which you considered so great a blemish in your old and in our present constitution, interpose a salutary check to all precipitate resolutions. (Works, ii, pp. 308–9; Writings and speeches, viii, p. 86) The harmony he speaks of here is self-generated; it is not created by ‘precipitate resolutions’ nor is it elicited by any form of interference which is not itself in accord with the ‘spirit’ of the constitution and the nation. Burke did promote the idea of gradual reform and, as far as pre-revolutionary France was concerned, he was obliged to admit the necesssity of it. Yet he was not merely cautious and gradualist in his approach. To tinker with the established system was wrong unless the adjustments were designed to preserve, not to reduce or annihilate, the presence within all parts of the system of its abiding spirit. Therefore he was worried by the writings of men like De Lolme, Blackstone, Tucker and Ferguson on the British constitution because – influenced to a degree by Montesquieu – they tried to apply the notion of the separation of powers with a strictness and consistency that seemed to him anomalous in relation to such a mysteriously derived and complex entity. De Lolme argued against the predominance of the legislature; Blackstone for the power and prerogative of the king. The balance of powers seemed to Burke ‘a contrivance full of danger’ (Works, ii, p. 259), particularly because Blackstone, the most prestigious of these constitutional commentators, seemed to advocate the priority of the king, something against which Burke had long fought since his early days as a Rockingham Whig.13 In England, as in France, there was one guiding

Montesquieu and Burke


principle for reform; stay in accord with the spirit of the constitution and the nation. To do so was, in Burke’s view, analogous to preserving an inheritance. The legal metaphor is apt, since he often referred to the system of legal precedent as the surest guide to any attempted legal change or innovation. But, in complete opposition to a radical reformer like Bentham, Burke admired and cherished the unwieldy and disorganized bulk of legal precedent. As always, asymmetry was a mark of complexity. The Revolution would replace this with symmetry, order and the perniciously egoistic opinions of the individual, disguised as principles of right, claiming a theoretical purity while actually being individually eccentric: And first of all, the science of jurisprudence, the pride of the human intellect, which, with all its defects, redundancies, and errors, is the collected reason of ages, combining the principles of original justice with the infinite variety of human concerns, as a heap of old exploded errors, would no longer be studied. Personal self-sufficiency and arrogance […] would usurp the tribunal. (Works, ii, p. 367; Writings and speeches, viii, pp. 145–6) The new theory of the individual was the chief enemy. Individualism, as a political project, repudiated the past and looked upon its inheritors in a spirit of vengeance. Thus, Burke objected to the persecution of the clergy by the revolutionaries on the ground that it is unjust to punish men for the sins of their ancestors, even if those men are the beneficiaries of former injustices. He wanted to preserve what he called ‘the fiction of ancestry in a corporate succession’ and to do that, he had to see the nation, as he saw the French monasteries and the French clergy, as a corporate body: Corporate bodies are immortal for the good of the members, but not for their punishment. Nations themselves are such corporations. As well might we in England think of waging inexpiable war upon all Frenchmen for the evils which they have brought on us in the several periods of our mutual hostilities. (Works, ii, p. 411; Writings and speeches, viii, p. 189) Burke’s appeal to English legal history has a further implication. All his citations of Magna Carta, Coke, Bracton, the men of 1688, are designed to convey an essential point about the English character – that the English have always chosen the appeal to precedent and to history over the appeal to abstract principle and universal rights. But he wants to go further, especially in the revolutionary years. He wants to claim that this specific trait of the English is ‘natural’, that it is human in the most fundamental sense.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Those who yearn for abstract principle are those who belong to no community; they live in a state of psychic anarchy and therefore seek justification for themselves in the promulgation of doctrines which would annihilate the very idea of historical community and continuity. They have no access to, are not enfolded within, the ‘esprit général’; for them, existence is an experiment. The revolutionary is in love with risk, the conservative is in love with precedent. Out of this emerges a final paradox. France had, in Burke’s view, exchanged a species of despotism for a species of anarchy. Montesquieu had characterized despotism as the régime of the instant moment, founded on personal will, eccentric in its origin but appallingly uniform in its manifestations. It was this version of despotism that Burke ascribed to revolutionary France and he seemed to believe it a matter of indifference whether it was called despotism or anarchy. Revolution as such was flawed by an inherent contradiction. It spoke of liberty and created dictatorship; it reduced human diversity to the demands of uniform and universal principles; it regarded human existence as a problem and not as a mystery. Worst of all, it liberated people into barbarism in the name of progress. It persuaded them to give to the abstract idea of the State an allegiance which would never have been demanded of them by the Nation. The war against France, as he wrote in a letter of 1793 to the Duke of Buckingham, was ‘a war to civilize France, in order to prevent the rest of Europe being barbarised’ (Burke, iv, p. 215). Europe was in danger of becoming a drear Oriental waste, a despotic system which allowed of no difference or distinction, and where power exercised the function which had once belonged to authority. In De l’Esprit des Lois, Montesquieu had described the perfect despotism. In it, he claimed, ‘they have no limitations or restrictions, no mediums, terms, equivalents, parleys or remonstrances; nothing equal or better to propose; man is a creature that submits to the absolute will of a creature like himself’ (The Spirit of laws, III.x). In 1795, writing to William Elliott, Burke admitted the charge of ‘the jockey of Norfolk’, Thomas Paine, that he had defended the British constitution in its entirety, ‘loaded with all its incumbrances, clogged with its peers, & its beef; its parsons and its pudding; its commons, its beer; and its dull slavish liberty of going about just as one pleases […]’ (Writings and speeches, ix, p. 32). That was just the point. The constitution of England, the old constitution of France, the system of European civilization, with all their respective faults and flaws, their incoherence and their disorderly arrangements, were in accord with the unpredictable and complex nature and history of the human person. Ultimately, there was no order that man could discern but there was an

Montesquieu and Burke


order of which he could have a sense, an awareness. When this was replaced by man-made order, when all the circumstantial and specific aspects of geography, history and precedent were removed, then the order which was the consequence could only be artificial and despotic. In its thoroughness it would be more symmetrical; equally, it would in its functions and consequences be more anarchic. To be human, we had to assent to our place in a wider community, of the dead, the living and those to come. To be revolutionary, we had to assent to the titanic will of the here and now, embodied in a particular leader or group. To give such assent is to cease to be fully human. It is a surrender of civilization to barbarism, of actual experience to abstract principle. Montesquieu’s characterization of the French despotism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was adjusted by Burke to fit the authoritarianism of the French Revolution. Human nature itself was being altered. It would have been wiser and better to leave it as it was, doing as it pleased. What Burke and the revolutionaries made of Montesquieu is an exemplary instance of the reinvention of a political text for diametrically opposed purposes.

BURKE’S MONTESQUIEU AND IRELAND It is in the light of this particular interpretation of Montesquieu that Burke’s view of Ireland may be reconsidered. He was suspicious of the concentration of power in the hands of any group or person whose interests were hostile to those of the people at large. In the Second Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe (1795), he defined the common element that linked Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland, what he called ‘Indianism’, and Jacobinism: Whatever tends to persuade the people, that the few, called by whatever name you please, religious or political, are of opinion that their interest is not compatible with that of the many, is a great point gained to Jacobinism. (Works, vi, p. 58; Writings and speeches, ix, p. 667) This does not at all mean that Burke was in any remote sense sympathetic to democracy. Rather the reverse; concentration of power, by alienating the people, risked provoking the kind of insurrection that could lead to democracy. Reform in France was necessary in order to prevent that. This was increasingly Burke’s view of the Irish situation as it developed in the 1790s. But it is equally the case that Burke’s view of revolutionary France bears a remarkable resemblance to the view of Ireland he had held since his youth. A country ruled by a faction; a country subjected to a revolution in which an old religion had been disposessed; a country in which a juridically


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

established religious sectarianism was practised by a ‘plebeian’ oligarchy, pretending to aristocratic rights and privileges, in ignorance of the common cause of Catholicism and Protestantism against atheistic revolution – such a country was Ireland and, in secular mimicry, such a country was revolutionary France. ‘The State of France’, Burke declared in Remarks on the policy of the Allies, ‘is perfectly simple. It consists of but two descriptions – The Oppressors and the Oppressed’. This is also the situation in Ireland, where ‘every franchise, every honour, every trust, every place down to the very lowest and least confidential (besides whole professions), is reserved for the master cast’ (Writings and speeches, ix, p. 601). This is a telling point. Burke wanted to see something similar to the British class system established in Ireland. But that could not happen because of the caste system that operated there, under the principle of a ‘universal exclusion’ (p. 603) of the Catholics that was against the spirit of the British constitution but was exercised by the Protestants in Ireland, who ‘considered themselves in no other light than that of a colonial garrison, to keep the natives in subjection to the other state of Great Britain’ (p. 615). Burke takes the colonial situation in Ireland as a model for the revolutionary situation in France. Despite the differences, he sees one as an early version of the other. Where the difference is most marked, in the foundation of the former on a principle of exclusion on religious grounds, he incorporates that too in his lament for the weakening of Christian Europe in the face of international atheistic revolution, brought on by precisely that kind of sectarian bigotry that so disfigured Ireland and debarred it from the benefits of the British constitution. Britain enjoyed the benefits of a traditional, hereditary class system, with all its complex checks and balances between interests which the constitution preserved in a delicate, yet stable, equilibrium. Ireland had all the disadvantages of a caste system, in which there were only oppressors and oppressed and in which traditional habits and customs were starved of constitutional and juridical support. There has been much commentary on the class–caste distinction in relation to France and England in the vast literature on the French Revolution, but little or no attention has been paid to Burke’s inflection of this distinction in relation to Ireland. The best-known of all such commentaries is Alexis de Tocqueville’s L’Ancien Régime (1856). Tocqueville’s remarks on both Montesquieu’s version of the British political culture and Burke’s reading of the Revolution have a direct bearing upon this issue. Tocqueville believed that Montesquieu had only glimpsed the element that distinguished England from all other European states that had inherited the feudal system. In England, caste had been replaced by class; there was intermarriage between nobles and the merchant class.14 This is pertinent to

Montesquieu and Burke


Tocqueville’s accusation that Burke did not see what the French Revolution meant; the dissolution of the feudal system and the common law of European nations (p. 30). His comments go straight to the heart of the relationship between Burke and Montesquieu. Whatever Montesquieu may have said of England and its constitution, he evidently used England as an example for France. His purpose in so doing was to reinstate the power of the nobility, to place effective intermediary bodies between the king and the people; in effect, to restore the power and privileges of his class. Burke was at one with Montesquieu on this. Where he differed, or where he believed England differed from France, was that there the intermediate bodies that restrained any tendency towards despotism on the part of the king, were more complexly formed than in France. His diagnosis is similar to that of Tocqueville in that he identifies a division in eighteenth-century France between, on the one hand, the ‘men of letters’ and the ‘moneyed classes’ and, on the other, the political classes of the nobles, clergy and monarchy. In England, that division had been reconciled. Burke recognized that the British system had in effect brought the landed aristocracy and the mercantile class together within the political system. The social division remained; but it did not produce a corresponding political division. That was the difference. The constitution, in which the three powers were in fact intermixed and not separated, was a contrivance that enabled a conciliation between competing interests. By an intricate system of checks and balances, the product of many trials over a long history, the constitution provided a miraculous stability. It made virtue and commerce compatible one with the other. However, in the revolutionary period, Burke modified his view of the difference between France and England in relation to their respective caste and class systems, as Tocqueville described them. In Thoughts on French affairs (1791), he repeats his earlier charge that ‘The monied men, merchants, principal tradesmen, and men of letters […] are the chief actors in the French Revolution.’ But then he goes on to say: I once thought that the low estimation in which commerce was held in France, might be reckoned among the causes of the late revolution; and I am still of opinion, that the exclusive spirit of the French nobility, did irritate the wealthy of other classes. But I found long since, that persons in trade and business were by no means despised in France in the manner I had been taught to believe. (Writings and speeches, viii, p. 346) This leads on to the declaration that England is not quite so different from France as has been imagined. Men of wealth and talents might be excited to revolutionary action there as in France: ‘In England a security against


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

the envy of men in these classes, is not so very complete as we may imagine. We must not impose upon ourselves’ (p. 347). Tocqueville does not take account of this alteration, however strategic it may be thought to be, in Burke’s view of the caste and class systems in England and France. What is consistent in Burke is his opposition to any faction that might upset the traditional system of checks and balances: the powers of the king, if permitted to inflate, as during the period of the American War and the King’s Friends, could threaten to become despotic. Similarly, in colonial circumstances, like those obtaining in India or in Ireland, a faction in which all power was invested could emerge and become a caste, in Tocqueville’s sense. This caste could be based on money, as in the case of Warren Hastings and the East India Company; or on religion, as in the case of the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland. The despotism of such castes was a threat to the constitution. The Jacobin party in Paris was the most recent and formidable example of such a despotic group. In other words, Burke saw in Montesquieu’s reading of French politics a version of what he saw in the American crisis, in Ireland, in India and in revolutionary France – the arrogation of power into the hands of an élite group that was indifferent or hostile to the plight of those deprived of it. Such a concentration was possible because of the destruction of those intermediate bodies that, in complex and subtle ways, dispersed power throughout the whole system and thereby made liberty available and despotism impossible. The Penal Laws in Ireland constituted a grimmer internment camp than the gilded palace of Versailles; but their purpose was the same – the political and judicial demoralization of a community or class that claimed part of that power for itself. Burke’s Blackwater Valley experience may have helped mould his attitude towards the Protestant Ascendancy; Montesquieu was one of those thinkers who helped him to theorize it. The Ascendancy had produced the perilous situation of Ireland in the 1790s; the Indian faction had produced devastation in India and the impeachment of Hastings; the King’s Friends had lost the American colonies in war; the Jacobins had destroyed France and threatened to destroy Europe and civilization. All of these groups acted against the spirit of the cultures they spoliated; all of them were locked within an ideology that provided a rationale for greed and power. Because of the Ascendancy, Ireland was anomalous in the British system; because of the Jacobins, revolutionary France was anomalous within the European system. One was a constitutional monarchy that produced despotism; the other an absolute monarchy that produced revolution. Much of Burke’s effort as a politician and as a political theorist was to understand the paradoxes produced by these situations. After his death,

Montesquieu and Burke


two of the measures widely recommended in the 1790s as a solution to the political crises of the time were put in effect. But, despite the Union – a measure he had never anticipated with enthusiasm – and the Bourbon Restoration, which he might have greeted more warmly, the paradoxes remained. In 1829, the year of Catholic Emancipation and within months of the July Revolution in Paris, Eyre Evans Crowe described France as ‘une monarchie absolue, tempérée par des chansons’ and Ireland as ‘une monarchie constitutionnelle, tempérée par des gendarmes.’15 This is apt. Burke had always understood the relationship in Ireland between coercion and Catholic subjugation; it was the more complex one, between coercion and emancipation, that eluded him. He knew that the British system, as he and Montesquieu both described and understood it, had never transplanted successfully outside the Great Britain of the eighteenth century. Above all, it had never done so to Ireland, the realm nearest to it. He came to the point of recognizing that Ireland’s relationship to Britain was, at one level, an internal relationship that could be understood in terms of the British realm; at another level, it was a colonial relationship that could only be understood in terms of the Empire. Burke negotiates between these positions, increasingly anxious to find a language in which to clarify them in face of the threateningly new and highly developed language of revolutionary France.16

NOTES 1. 2. 3. 4.


Francis Hardy, Memoirs of the political and private life of James Caulfield, Earl of Charlemont (London: 1810) p. 36. Louis Cullen, ‘The Blackwater Catholics and County Cork society and politics in the eighteenth century’, CHS, pp. 535–84. The Writings and speeches of Edmund Burke, general editor, Paul Langford, vol. ix, i: The Revolutionary War 1794–1797. ii: Ireland, ed. R.B. McDowell (Oxford: 1991) pp. 602–3. See J.G.A. Pocock, ‘Political thought in the English-speaking Atlantic, 1760–1790. Part I: The Imperial crisis. Part 2: Empire, revolution and the end of early modernity’, in The Varieties of British political thought 1500–1800, ed. J.G.A. Pocock, with the assistance of G.J. Schochet and L.G. Schwoerer (Cambridge: 1993) pp. 246–317. See the excerpt from a letter from Burke to the author, used in the Introduction to the abbé Barruel’s Memoirs illustrating the history of Jacobinism, tr. Robert Clifford, 4 vols (London: 1797–1798); it was used again in Clifford’s abridgement, Application of Barruel’s ‘Memoirs of


6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11.

12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 Jacobinism’ to the secret societies of Ireland and Great Britain (London: 1798). The most interesting sustained treatment of Burke’s outsider status is Isaac Kramnick, The Rage of Edmund Burke: Portrait of an Ambivalent Conservative (New York: 1977). All quotations from Montesquieu, The Spirit of laws. Translated from the French of M. de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (Dublin: 1751; Appendix 2, 144). See also L. Althusser, Politics and History: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Hegel and Marx, tr. B. Brewster (London: 1972) pp. 87–95. Réflexions sur la monarchie universelle, in Montesquieu, Oeuvres complètes, ed. R. Caillois, 2 vols (Paris: 1956–1958) ii, p. 34: translated by the editors of this volume. See S. Deane, The French Revolution and Enlightenment in England 1789–1832 (Cambridge, Mass.: 1988) pp. 27–31; Martin Thom, Republics, Nations and Tribes (London: 1995) pp. 45–56, 200–11. The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, 8 vols (London: 1881) iii, p. 110. Ibid., p. 334; Writings and speeches, viii, The French Revolution 1790–1794, ed. L.G. Mitchell (Oxford: 1989) p. 629. Cf. p. 601: ‘They who are excluded from votes […] are excluded, not from the state, but from the British constitution […] The popular part of the constitution must be to them, by far the most odious part of it. To them it is not an actual, and if possible, still less a virtual representation. It is indeed the direct contrary’. Works, v, p. 220. See also the distinction between the ‘moral’ and the ‘geographical’ France that governs Burke’s argument in Remarks on the policy of the Allies (1793) (Writings and speeches, viii, pp. 452–99, especially 465). On these issues, see D. Lieberman, The Province of Legislation Defined. Legal Theory in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge: 1989). Cf. A. de Tocqueville, L’Ancien Régime, ed. G.W. Headlam (Oxford: 1904) p. 90. Yesterday in Ireland, (London: 1829) i, pp. 29–30. An earlier version of this essay was published in Ireland and France, a Bountiful Friendship, eds Barbara Hayley and Christopher Murray (Savage, Maryland: 1992) pp. 17–29.

4 Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland Graham Gargett To assess the impact of an author like Voltaire on Ireland and the Irish over a whole century is a complex task, so omnipresent was his influence, as Chapter 2 has already indicated. In order to gain as valid an impression as possible, two main approaches will be followed in this chapter. The first is to analyse the publication of his works. Even the briefest glance at the list of the French books published in Ireland over the period 1700–1800, either in translation or in the original French (Appendix 2), will demonstrate Voltaire’s contribution to the intellectual life of the country. With almost 70 printings, he stands out as by far the century’s most popular French author and, as far as can be established, his saleability also surpassed that of Corneille, Racine and Molière, the major writers of France’s grand siècle or classic age of literature in the seventeenth century.1 Although Fénelon’s didactic novel Télémaque was arguably the most successful book of all in the period 1700 –1800, with 18 editions so far identified (six French versions – one a parallel text – and 12 translations), this achievement is easily surpassed by the sheer number of different Voltaire works and by the wide area of subjects covered. Granted, the Irish book trade was at this stage essentially a reprint industry, aiming to export a substantial amount of its production to Britain and, more especially, to America. However, whether for motives of economy or patriotism, Irish bibliophiles usually purchased Irish editions when possible. Thus, even if only half the Irish eighteenth-century Voltaire reprint editions found their way into Irish libraries, this still represented a very considerable number of books.2 A second way of evaluating Voltaire’s impact in eighteenthcentury Ireland is to consider reactions to his life and ideas found in major Irish literary periodicals (we shall avoid here the passages mentioned in Chapter 2). Certain pieces of anecdotal information and a brief consideration of the attitude to Voltaire of some major Irish writers will also form part of our broadly chronological approach.

An interest in Voltaire’s works seems to have begun very early. On 19 May 1719, only a few months after his first great triumph, the successful 67


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

production of the tragedy, Oedipe, at the Comédie française, a certain Allen wrote from Dublin to William Duncombe: ‘I wish also to see the French Oedipus. The man who arrogantly contemns the Ancients will easily be brought to defy the Gods. Though, I think, there are as shocking expressions in Sophocles and Dryden’.3 No doubt Allen talked about the play and its author to his acquaintances, but it is probable that knowledge of Voltaire was at this stage restricted to a fairly small circle. A few years later, during and after the Frenchman’s English exile, we are on slightly firmer ground. As described in Chapter 8, Jonathan Swift met and befriended Voltaire while the two men were staying at the Earl of Peterborough’s London house: in addition, he promised to find Irish subscribers for the prestigious edition of Voltaire’s epic poem, La Henriade, the publication of which was the ostensible reason for Voltaire’s presence in England.4 Swift kept his word and clearly made some effort to oblige his friend, for the 343 subscribers contained a clutch of Irish men and women. Although not a single Catholic was numbered among them, this was also the case in England, presumably owing to the poem’s perceived anti-Catholic stance.5 In addition, the list included several other names of people connected in some way with Ireland, who may have spread knowledge there of Voltaire and his works. The most eminent of these, socially speaking, appears to have been John Carteret, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who helped Swift to place a whole box of copies as well as subscribing himself,6 and he is accompanied by Thomas Windham, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, William Connelly, a Lord High Justice of Ireland, Thomas Dalton, Lord High Baron of the Irish Exchequer, and Luke Gardiner, Vice-Treasurer of Ireland.7 Another important personage was Charles Whitworth, Earl of Galway.8 The author Congreve, born in England but educated in Ireland and referred to by Voltaire in the Lettres philosophiques (see below, p. 156), also subscribed (AMR, p. 115). Several prominent clergymen of the Church of Ireland were members of this group, including Hugh Boulter, Archbishop of Armagh (1724–42), the extremely unorthodox Robert Clayton, bishop of Killala,9 and the philosopher George Berkeley, soon to leave for America but later Bishop of Cloyne from 1734 to 1752. The latter is supposed to have asked Voltaire how he had managed to write the first canto of La Henriade, as rumour had it, while imprisoned in the Bastille without either pen or ink. ‘By chewing up my linen to make paper’, was the reply.10 Anecdotes and personal contacts of this type were no doubt much talked about in the rather restricted social group to which we have been alluding, where Voltaire’s fame was clearly spreading apace. On 21 February 1728 Edward Young wrote to his fellow poet Tickell, who was visiting Ireland: ‘Monsieur Voltaire, a French author, is publishing by an English subscription

Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland


an epic on Harry the 4th of France; as far as I can judge, it has a polite mediocrity running thro it and may be read with little blame and less admiration’. In November he gave a more positive judgement – ‘Monsieur Voltaire’s epic […] is thought to have considerable merit’ – possibly because he had now met its author.11 As well as promoting La Henriade by seeking subscribers, Swift was also responsible for the publication in Dublin two years later of a short piece closely connected with La Henriade, An Essay upon the civil wars of France and […] upon the epick poetry of the European nations (Appendix 2, 225). A second Irish edition of the essay, published many years later in 1760 (Appendix 2, 226), was in fact prefaced by ‘a short account of the author’, composed by Swift himself. During the 1730s, Irish interest in Voltaire seems evident, one proof being Dublin printings of several works, including very different aspects of his production. The first of these, The History of Charles XII. King of Sweden, appearing in 1732 (Appendix 2, 228), just a year after the publication of the French original, supports another view put forward by AndréMichel Rousseau (p. 373), that Voltaire’s historical works were a prodigious ‘succès de librairie’ in Britain and Ireland. Such interest is confirmed by further printings of the History of Charles XII, in 1735 and 1738 (Appendix 2, 229–30). When one turns to the Letters concerning the English nation, however, the situation is even more striking. Here (Appendix 2, 240) we have an edition of the original English text, printed in 1733, a year before the French version (Lettres écrites de Londres: subsequently Lettres philosophiques). Admittedly this was a reprint of one of the London editions, yet its rapid appearance almost certainly indicates the eagerness of Irish literary circles to read Voltaire, an interpretation supported by the review of the Letters in The Weekly Miscellany (above, p. 241). Moreover, two further editions of the Letters appeared at Dublin in the 1730s (1738 and 1739), followed by yet another, at Cork in 1740 (Appendix 2, 241–3). Ireland indeed saw as many editions of the Letters as did London over the same period (French editions of the Lettres philosophiques in 1734 and 1741; two English editions of the Letters in 1733) and completely outdid Scotland, which had to wait for a Glasgow edition until 1752.12 Whatever the explanation, there is no doubt that one of Voltaire’s most important works gained immediate and undeniable popularity in Ireland.13 The 1730s also saw a more direct development of interest in Voltairean theatre, a subject dealt with in greater detail in Chapter 10. A translation of Alzire (Alizira: Appendix 2, 213) was published in Dublin in 1736, the year the play was first staged in France. This compared with two 1736 London editions (one in the original French; one in translation) and two


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

further translations (1737 and 1738), though no editions whatsoever were printed in Scotland. One of Voltaire’s most successful tragedies, Zaïre, created in 1733, however, had to wait until 1737 for an Irish edition, The tragedy of Zara (Appendix 2, 276), printed a year after the play’s prodigious success at Drury Lane. By this time the original French version had appeared in London in 1733 and four translations had also been published there, one in 1735 and three in 1736 (AMR, pp. 1028–30). In contrast, no edition of Zaïre appears to have been published at all in Scotland during the eighteenth century (Howard, pp. 46 –57). Interest was also shown in Voltaire’s Temple du goût, a controversial work of literary judgement (cf. above, p. 24). Despite the appearance of the Letters concerning the English nation at Cork in 1740, relatively little by Voltaire was published in Ireland during the next decade, a time when, arguably, the Frenchman had already become Europe’s most talked about living writer. On one level, he enjoyed an uncharacteristic period of official success for, although his contacts with the French court were always uncertain, the cloud under which he had remained since the condemnation of his Lettres philosophiques in 1734 lifted temporarily during the 1740s and he occupied the position of Historiographer of France until he left for Berlin in 1750.14 The latter journey was made possible by his close literary relationship with King Frederick the Great, a contact which had begun when the then heir to the Prussian throne first wrote admiringly to Voltaire in 1736 (D1126) and which focused European attention even more on him. Although few pieces of direct information are available to us regarding the reception of Voltaire in Ireland at this stage, accounts of his actions as well as of his writings certainly reached lovers of belles-lettres in Ireland just as in other parts of Europe. One channel for such reports was provided by the Huguenot pastor Droz, in his A Literary Journal (1744–1749). Admittedly, Voltaire and his works play a relatively minor part in the periodical, but readers would have found confirmation of his European-wide importance and several significant references to his deism (see Chapter 2). In addition, the admittedly incomplete picture provided by the publication of Voltaire’s works in Ireland does establish several things. The first is a continuing appetite for Voltaire the historian, evidenced by the fact that a sketch of what was to become one of his most prestigious historical works, the Siècle de Louis XIV, translated and published in London in 1739 under the title An Essay on the Age of Lewis XIV, was reprinted in Dublin the following year by George Faulkner (Appendix 2, 270). Another glimpse of Voltaire’s prestige in this area is provided by the Irish historian Richard Rolt’s An Impartial representation […] of the war 1739–1748 (np: 1749–50),

Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland


whose preface (p. xiv) praises ‘the ingenious Voltaire’ for recommending that ‘history should incorporate reflections with the series of events related’.15 The other main area of interest at this stage is – unsurprisingly – that of religion. In the case of Voltaire’s controversial play Mahomet, a Dublin printing of which (in translation) appeared in 1745 (Appendix 2, 244), the already volatile mixture of theatre and religion (an exposé of hypocrisy) would become even more of an explosive mixture some nine years later during a performance which took on domestic political overtones (see below, pp. 204–7). Lord Chesterfield, briefly to be Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, had already seen clearly during a performance of the play at Lille in 1741 that Voltaire, ostensibly attacking Islam, had as his real target Christianity, ‘le culte et la croyance de son pays’ (quoted by AMR, p. 180). Voltaire’s fascination at the multiplicity of denominations in England and his controversial descriptions of them, possibly one of the reasons for the success of the Lettres philosophiques in Ireland in the 1730s, continued to produce reactions there in the following decade. In September 1748 the Ireland Half-Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends seriously considered subsidizing a reprint of ‘William Pen’s [sic] No Cross No Crown’ and a ‘Letter of our Frd Josiah Martin in answer to Voltaire’s remarks on the People called Quakers specified in his Letters on the English Nation’.16 Martin’s Letter from One of the People called Quakers to Francis de Voltaire, first published in London in 1741, had been one of the more successful replies to Voltaire’s Lettres philosophiques, and had both been reprinted in London and translated into French in 1745 (AMR, pp. 655–6): four years later a Dublin edition did indeed appear (Appendix 2, 136). As reported at a meeting in Cork held on 20 Twelve Month [December] 1748, Waterford Meeting subscribed for 36 copies of one of the English editions.17 A further indication of the interest and indignation produced by Voltaire’s caricature of the Friends is to be found in the minutes of the Antrim Circle, held at Lisburn in the same year: The number of Books William Pen’s no Cross no Crown also the Letter to Voltair [sic] subscribed for by Each meeting is desired to be sent to the Next Province meeting specimens thereof being sent last pro: meeting to Each meeting.18 Clearly, this extract does not indicate, as thought by André-Michel Rousseau (p. 656, especially n.15), that the Quakers decided to send a letter of protest to Voltaire, a decision apparently never acted upon, but rather – as the reference to Penn’s No Cross no Crown shows – that they too were buying copies of Josiah Martin’s very successful pamplet.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

The 1750s were a decade in which Irish interest in Voltaire increased considerably, opening with the publication, in French, of his tragedy Sémiramis, an initiative of the pastor Droz (see below, p. 182, and Appendix 2, 268). This rather exceptional edition was followed by two printings (1751 and 1753) of La Voix du sage et du peuple of 1750, translated as Observations on government, occasioned by the late disputes between the King of France and his clergy (Appendix 2, 274–5). The intriguing point here is that the Observations were claimed to be ‘written by the celebrated baron de Montesquieu’. However, any idea that, to sell, Voltaire’s work needed to benefit from the prestige and popularity accorded to a more senior philosophe is easily dispelled by evidence for the rest of the decade: in 1752 a Dublin printing of The Age of Lewis XIV, a year after the appearance of the French original (Appendix 2, 271); in 1754 the first Voltairean conte philosophique published in Ireland, Babouc, or the World as it goes (Appendix 2, 250); 1756 marking not only an edition of Voltaire’s most contemporary history, The History of the war of seventeen hundred and forty one (Appendix 2, 232), but also witnessing a printing of another tragedy, L’Orphelin de la Chine (Appendix 2, 257). In the last year of the decade this activity reached a climax, with translations of Candide (Appendix 2, 227), the Essai sur les moeurs (Appendix 2, 245), and a further version of L’Orphelin (Appendix 2, 258). This increase was to signal an even more striking one in the following decade, by far the most prolific as regards Irish editions of Voltaire, with a total of 20 translations representing 16 different works. Indeed, the period from 1750 to 1768 provides truly dramatic statistics: after a total of 13 Voltaire printings until this year, it is as if the flood-gates have been opened, 30 editions coming from the presses in the following 18 years. With so prolific a writer some increase in the number of translations is arguably predictable; nonetheless, the burst of new printings cannot be accounted for merely by this explanation. One reason is, no doubt, Voltaire’s increasing notoriety. His dramatic departure from the Court of Frederick the Great was reported throughout Europe. For example, readers of the Belfast Newsletter were informed on 6 July 1750 that Voltaire was on his way to Prussia; on 23 January 1753 that he had been ordered to leave Berlin; on 27 July 1753 that he had been released from arrest in Frankfurt.19 Public fascination with such details is further confirmed by the 1754 edition of Babouc mentioned above, which also contains ‘Letters concerning his Disgrace at the Prussian Court; with his Letter to his Niece on that occasion’. After a period of uncertainty Voltaire settled in Switzerland, first dividing his time between Lausanne

Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland


and Geneva, later de facto making the latter his principal place of residence. But the honeymoon was short-lived and Voltaire’s disputes with the city’s pastors, in particular over both the theatre and Calvin’s moral legacy, once more sent shock waves throughout the literary and religious world, no doubt attracting attention among Ireland’s Protestants just as among their continental brethren.20 In his The Lives of the principal reformers (np: 1759), Richard Rolt, the former admirer of ‘this eminent Frenchman’, scorns an intended compliment by Voltaire: The following work will shew that England has produced many glorious martyrs for the Christian faith. But how very different is the state of Christianity in this country at present if Voltaire is to be credited in his discourse on theism. (Preface, p. xii) Yet, tempting as it no doubt was to demonize the infuriating Frenchman, his talent, wit and literary stature meant that he exercised a continuing fascination, as the coverage of his works in perodicals like The Grand Magazine of Universal Intelligence illustrates (cf. Appendix 1, no.7). Even many who ought thoroughly to have disapproved of his beliefs and principles were not immune. John Thomas Troy, a future Bishop of Ossory (1777–86) and Archbishop of Dublin (1786 –1823), certainly showed some interest, though later he was to castigate Voltaire. At any rate, his diary, written when he was a youth of 16 on his way to Rome in 1756, contains ‘part of the Character of the celebrated Voltaire (who is said to be dead lately near the Lake Geneva) which was write [sic] a few years ago by the K. of Prussia’. Admittedly, the extract is hostile, but Troy also copied out some verses on the Jesuits’ expulsion from Portugal attributed to Voltaire and translated thus: That wicked spirit call’d the devil, Awkward at everything but evil, Spite of himself and spite of hell To Portugal has done so well That Jesus thou is [sic] once more free From his unworthy company.21 No great significance should be attributed to the jottings of a boy of this age, doubtless fascinated by everything new and fashionable he came across. Nonetheless, such youthful reactions may have been shared by other trainee Irish priests and transmitted to at least some of their contacts in Ireland.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

The 1760s witnessed by far the century’s largest number of Irish editions of Voltaire, the 20 printings covering every area of his literary production;22 the contes, with Candide (1761: Appendix 2, 216), L’Ingénu, The Princess of Babylon and The Man of forty crowns (1768: Appendix 2, 237, 265, 234); theatre, with the tragedies L’Orphelin de la Chine (1761 and 1763: Appendix 2, 259–60), Sémiramis (1760: Appendix 2, 269), Zaïre (two editions in 1762: Appendix 2, 277–8) and Mérope (1767: Appendix 2, 248), and the comedies The Coffee-house (1760: Appendix 2, 223), The English merchant (1767: Appendix 2, 224), and No One’s enemy but his Own (1764: Appendix 2, 236); history, with An Essay upon the civil wars of France (1760: Appendix 2, 225), The History of the Russian Empire under Peter the Great (1759: Appendix 2, 233); and ‘philosophy’, with An Essay on crimes and punishments (1767: Appendix 2, 218), A Defence of my uncle (1768: Appendix 2, 220), A Treatise upon religious toleration (1764: Appendix 2, 273), and material relating to the Calas case (1762 and 1763: Appendix 2, 262–3). Even without recourse to imports, Irish readers thus had easy access to Voltaire’s thought: particularly striking is the rapidity with which new works like L’Ingénu were published in Dublin. Above all, it was Voltaire’s interventions in favour of Huguenot victims of injustice, particularly Jean Calas, executed for the alleged murder of his son in 1762, that reconciled Protestant opinion to him, an obvious illustration being the appearance, in John Lockman’s A History of the cruel sufferings of the Protestants (1763: Appendix 2, 262) of Voltaire’s Pièces originales concernant la mort des sieurs Calas (Appendix 2, 263).23 But it was impossible to regard the great writer’s message as narrowly sectarian, whatever bizarre attempts might seek to make it so. To the poet, historian, dramatist, irreverent wit, was now added the philosopher and defender of toleration. Little wonder that such a figure could inspire all men of goodwill, Protestants, Catholics or those of no conventional faith. With the appearance in 1762 of the Dublin Magazine, another source became available for Irish readers wishing to keep abreast of new ideas both at home and abroad. Voltaire’s presence over the three short years (1762–65) of the journal’s existence, though not overwhelming, is undeniably significant. Often the Dublin (like its successor, the Hibernian Magazine) merely shadows London publications, though this does not necessarily diminish the importance of the passages reproduced.24 The Frenchman is mentioned some eleven times (six times in 1762, twice in 1763, three times in 1764). On occasion, these references are admittedly rather lightweight. For example, an item entitled ‘Domestic literary Remarks and Intelligence’ begins by quoting his observation that ‘a number of female authors may be considered

Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland


as a certain proof of a very learned and polished age’ (March 1762, p. 178); a brief review of his History of the Russian Empire under Peter the Great (August 1763, p. 516) is followed two months later by an anecdote quoted from the same work (pp. 606 –7). The June 1762 issue (p. 376) includes both the original text of a short poem, ‘M. de Voltaire à la Princesse Amélie de Prusse’, and an English translation (Séguin no. 114: this had appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine in April 1762). Voltaire is also referred to en passant in a review of Hume’s History of England (February 1762, p. 121) as well as being the subject of some perceptive remarks in August 1762, the writer correctly identifying Voltaire’s role in a refutation of Machiavelli, ostensibly the work of Frederick the Great (cf. Vaillot, p. 135). Sometimes, however, the Frenchman appears in much more substantial and important ways. His role as defender of the innocent is underlined in August 1762 (pp. 458–60) by the printing, in translation, of a crucial letter to d’Alembert, outlining Voltaire’s view of the Calas affair.25 The presence of such a document, illustrating not only Voltaire’s humanitarianism but also the persecution liable to be suffered by French Protestants, might seem unremarkable, as might the inclusion of a substantial biographical piece (‘Some Account of the Life and Writings of M. de Voltaire’) in October 1764 (pp. 589 –91): this had often appeared in the British press and was to be served up again more than once to the Irish public (see below, p. 79). Much more striking are undoubtedly three items: a letter to Father de la Tour (September 1762, pp. 541– 4); ‘Reflections on the Population of America’ (February 1764, pp. 94–6), and ‘A Prayer’ (March 1764, pp. 152–3). The printing in the Dublin Magazine of the major part of Voltaire’s letter to Simon de la Tour, dating from February or March 1746, at first sight needs no explanation, merely reproducing as it does a piece published a month earlier in the Gentleman’s Magazine (Séguin, no. 118). Moreover, such an extract from Voltaire’s correspondence at a time when the Calas case had focused massive attention on him in both Protestant and Catholic countries hardly seems surprising. Yet the letter’s far from anodyne contents do cause one to think twice, assuming that the editors of the Dublin Magazine showed some independent judgement and did not blindly republish any and every item that appeared in London. Were not many Irish Protestant readers rather nonplussed – if not actually shocked – to read a veritable encomium addressed by Voltaire both to Pope Benedict XIV and to the Jesuit Order? The background explains this uncharacteristic enthusiasm. The recent death in 1746 of Bouhier had opened the doors of the French Academy to the long-time candidate Voltaire, now Historiographer of France and for once in good standing with the government, but a virulent


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

attack in the Jansenist Nouvelles ecclésiastiques, expressing horror at the fact that the Pope should have honoured such an irreligious author, clouded the otherwise favourable horizon. Voltaire’s letter to the current principal of the Jesuit Collège Louis-le-Grand, his former school, allowed him both to attack the Jansenists, identified by him with ‘convulsionaries’ and other fanatics as the enemies of enlightenment, and to attempt to enlist the powerful Jesuit Order in support of his bid to enter the Academy. But, even if the Irish reader of 1762 were given some hint of the circumstances in which the letter had been written some 15 years earlier (which is not the case), would not Protestant readers have bridled somewhat to read of ‘his Holiness the Pope’, ‘the first Pontiff of the world […] endearing himself not only to his subjects, but to the whole Christian world’, especially when this is followed by several lyrical paragraphs about ‘men [the Jesuits], who take indefatigable pains to cultivate the manners and minds of youth, without any other regard than the consciousness of doing good’? For once Voltaire, guided firmly by ambition, writes with apparent sincerity. Was the Dublin Magazine inviting its readers to supply their own irony when reading such a flattering judgement of an order famed for its love of power and manipulation, notorious not only to most Protestants but even many Catholics?26 There is not the slightest editorial suggestion that this might have been the intention. Perhaps we have some reason to take an alternative viewpoint: that the printing of this pro-Catholic outburst at a time when Catholic schools were being tacitly tolerated in Ireland was not merely a chance reproduction of a London source but might also be interpreted as an attempt to further the ideals of tolerance and anti-sectarianism. Were this merely an isolated example of a somewhat controversial item, such a reading might seem fanciful. Even more striking, however, is the February 1764 article, ‘Reflections on the population of America’, an unacknowledged translation of the first half of chapter cxlvi of the Essai sur les moeurs, one of Voltaire’s major historical works.27 These ‘Reflections’ constitute a scathing refutation of the Biblical explanation of human prehistory. Orthodox apologists, both Catholic and Protestant, had sought to explain how so many different types of men (white, black, yellow, red) had reached the four corners of the world and established substantial populations there only a few thousand years after Noah’s Flood.28 Voltaire’s piece systematically dismisses this notion, substituting for it a completely naturalistic one – ‘If we are not astonished, that the discoverers found flies in America, it is absurd to wonder that they should meet with men’ – and strengthening his argument by the assertion that there are different species of mankind just as of animals, all adapted to the area in which they have naturally sprung up. The Bible is nowhere mentioned (though the piece

Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland


ends by referring dismissively to the religious beliefs of most native American peoples), but the message is clear: the Judeo-Christian explanation of mankind’s origins is not only absurd but demonstrably so. It would be hard to find a better example of the French Enlightenment’s most characteristic message being made available to Irish readers. Nor was this all. Only a month later they were treated to another classic piece of Voltairean rhetoric, ‘A Prayer’. Often reproduced in the British periodical press, this deistic appeal to the Supreme Being for toleration among all men ends the Traité sur la tolérance, a work prompted by the arbitrary execution of the French Protestant Jean Calas. As already shown in Chapter 2, it is difficult to believe that this passage and the two long extracts from Rousseau’s Profession de foi du vicaire savoyard, published in the Magazine in February and March 1764 (see below, pp. 101–4), were not part of a conscious strategy to promote religious freedom and anti-sectarianism. Thus, however indirectly at this stage, the French Enlightenment made a demonstrable contribution to the movement for toleration in eighteenth-century Ireland. Just a couple of months before its premature demise, the Dublin Magazine provided its readers with ‘Some Account of the Life and Writings of M. de Voltaire’, whose second part (pp. 590 –1) is a frequently-reprinted portrait ostensibly by Frederick of Prussia but in fact probably by either Piron or Desfontaines and composed as early as 1735.29 Built upon a series of antitheses, representing the supposed opposites of Voltaire’s character – ‘now a Philanthropist, then a Cynic; now an excessive encomiast, then an outrageous satirist’ – this often rings true, especially when it describes the great writer as ‘a kind of meteor, perpetually coming and going with a quick motion, and a sparkling light that dazzles our eyes’ (p. 590), though the piece is too contrived, too consciously a literary construct to carry any real conviction. More interesting is the first part of the article, which concentrates on Voltaire’s writings and adds information dating from much later than the original 1735 piece. Some of the comments show the limitations of their era and now sound eccentric or unfair – ‘His tragedies have great merit; some of them not inferior to those of Racine himself’; ‘His explanation of Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophy is but a trifling performance’. Modern criticism would agree with neither of these assessments. However, others have stood the test of time: despite some lack of impartiality, Voltaire’s historical works, says the article, especially the Siècle de Louis XIV, are admirable, above all for their lively and animated style. His ‘detached pieces and loose essays’ are ‘entertaining, full of wit’. Perhaps most interestingly, Voltaire’s ‘romances’ (nowadays known as contes philosophiques and the only part of the author’s huge output, apart from


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

his correspondence, still to be read by non-specialists) ‘are exquisitely entertaining, particularly Zadig’. And, although Voltaire’s masterpiece may have been found in few eighteenth-century libraries (above, p. 8), this Dublin Magazine article speaks of it in the most glowing of terms: ‘whatever may be objected to the morals of Candide, every one must allow that there is an amazing flow of wit, humour, ridicule, and satire, throughout the whole piece’. Many later critics, though not enthusiastic Voltaireans, would also endorse the article’s overall assessment of ‘one of the most celebrated writers in Europe’ – ‘This aiming at being universal has hurt his reputation, as it suffered some pieces to escape his pen unworthy of it’ (p. 589). In short, Irish readers were offered a positive, informative and lively sketch, though little attempt was made to detail Voltaire’s life. After the Dublin Magazine’s disappearance at the beginning of 1765, one publication that filled the gap for Irish readers until 1771 and the birth of the Hibernian Magazine, was the Gentleman’s and London Magazine (Appendix 1, no. 6). Yet although, as one might expect, Voltaire is mentioned several times in its pages – in connection with the Dictionnaire philosophique (January 1765, p. 57); the Calas and Sirven affairs (April 1765, pp. 238–41, 247–8); one of his tragedies, Oreste (November 1765, pp. 685–7); in an unfavourable comparison with Shakespeare (May 1766, pp. 297–300); in an Epistle by George Keate (April 1768, pp. 215–8); as regards his opinion of the Quakers (January 1769, pp. 31–3); in connection with his letters, translated by Francklin (June 1770, pp. 378–80) – he seems rather to take second place to Rousseau, whose stormy relationship with David Hume had fascinated both the English and Irish public.30 But further confirmation of Voltaire’s continuing popularity in Ireland is provided by a series of three articles in the Gentleman’s appearing in January to March 1768, ‘Some genuine Anecdotes of Mons. de Voltaire; in his present Situation at Fernex in Burgundy, near Geneva; never before made public’.31 The apparently random selection of gossip and tittle-tattle which make up the ‘Anecdotes’ is an irritating mixture: incorrect, often wildly inaccurate facts (Voltaire was of a noble family; he spent a year in Mannheim with the Elector Palatine after leaving Prussia; he went to England and was afterwards pardoned in France) are juxtaposed with entertaining and genuine anecdotes. The author, who claims to have witnessed Voltaire at Ferney, exaggerates the mean and petty side of the latter’s character (his avarice, selfishness and capriciousness), even attempting to justify this bias: ‘As his various works prove him the great man, I have only touched on those anecdotes which shew him in another light’ (February, p. 88). All the same, Irish readers who were not already convinced of Voltaire’s literary greatness would have received a powerful encouragement to be

Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland


so: ‘with all these littlenesses, he is at intervals the greatest genius of this century. When he does compose, which is rare, he is so amazingly attentive, that he has been known to write a five act tragedy in as many days; and I have heard him say of comedy, that he could write it faster than any actors could represent it, if he had good and quick secretaries’. One intriguing aspect of the ‘Anecdotes’ is that, at first sight, they appear to have been written for an Irish audience since they contain a reference to ‘Mr. Hayes’, a Dublin musician of some note.32 However, in reality the anecdote mentioning Hayes turns out to be from the Annual Register so that, rather than originality, we have here merely a case of slight adaptation from the British press, albeit possibly edited by the Irishman, Edmund Burke. In one way the ‘Anecdotes’ seem predictable, for they emphasize Voltaire’s ‘universal dislike to all religion’ (February, p. 89). Yet relatively little is made of this: ‘His conversation among men generally turns (and too unhappily so) on blasphemous subjects; and (which argues a great want of politeness) he generally increases this vein if any churchmen are present’ (February, p. 87). But this criticism is fairly mild, far indeed from the anathema that some might have expected: the author seems more concerned at the embarrassment caused to senior clergy than by Voltaire’s irreligion in itself. And when one turns to the Hibernian Magazine, the same overall comment applies: with some exceptions, Voltaire is generally portrayed not as a notorious unbeliever but as a genius, whose opinions are often appealed to or reproduced and the incidents of whose life are recounted in considerable detail. Some 80 references to the great French author occur in the Hibernian Magazine in the years 1771 to 1783. This time-span best represents Irish interest in Voltaire towards the end of his life and in its immediate aftermath, a period we might call the Late Enlightenment. Many of the articles mentioning Voltaire do so briefly or in passing. A substantial number are, however, significant, and it is these in particular that we shall highlight. Perhaps it is Voltaire’s life which at first sight appears to claim the most attention. The portrait attributed to Frederick the Great (cf. above, pp. 77–8) is printed twice, in July 1772 (pp. 347–50) and in July 1773 (pp. 347–8), the first time accompanied by a striking illustration of the author (see jacket). Voltaire’s triumphant return to Paris just before his death prompts a long and detailed account in May 1778 (pp. 274–8), continued in the following month (p. 316), both reproduced from the Gentleman’s Magazine.33 Extracts, in both French and English, are given of the triumphant staging in Paris of Voltaire’s last tragedy, Irène, an occasion often regarded as his apotheosis. The great author’s actual death is – somewhat bizarrely, one feels – reported in the births and deaths column (July 1778, p. 420),


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

though here again the Hibernian is merely shadowing the Gentleman’s Magazine (June, p. 286: Séguin, no. 286). However, two substantial pieces entitled ‘Historical Memoirs of the late celebrated Monsieur de Voltaire’, claimed to be ‘Extracted from the Memoirs published by Himself, in his Life-time’ (July, pp. 405–8, September, pp. 501–3), somewhat make up for this, though it must be said that they are far from accurate, even contriving to present the poet Jean-Baptiste Rousseau and his more famous namesake, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as the same man (July, p. 407)!34 January 1780 sees a further development, in the form of a long personal account of a visit to Voltaire by Martin Sherlock, chaplain of the eccentric Bishop of Derry, Frederick Augustus Hervey, and author of Letters of an English traveller,35 an account completed in May 1781 by an extract from the same author’s Letters on various subjects (p. 256). Further major contributions to the field of Voltairean biography are furnished in November 1781 with Frederick the Great’s comments on his death (‘Extracts from the Literary Correspondence of the King of Prussia. From the French of M. D’Alembert’, pp. 592–3) and in April 1783 by excerpts from Anecdotes of Frederick III [sic], King of Prussia (pp. 184–8). Voltaire has by now not actually been deified, but in the famous quarrel with the Prussian monarch all responsibility is (incorrectly) attributed to Voltaire’s rival Maupertuis. Over the years that concern us Voltaire is frequently cited as an authority or a noteworthy source on a whole range of subjects: the laws of Europe (August 1772: pp. 417–9); taste (November 1772: pp. 599–603); flattery (December 1772: pp. 633–4); the plurality of wives (March 1773: pp. 110–11); luxury, physics, native courtesy (September 1773: pp. 489 – 91); quacks (November 1777: pp. 744–5); absolute monarchies (July 1779: p. 382); language (August 1779: pp. 447–9). His literary opinions are also invoked of course, yet rather less than one might have expected.36 Also noticeable is the fact that the odium incurred by Voltaire in the English press because of his opposition to Shakespeare, though on occasion present in the Hibernian Magazine’s pages, seems much more muted.37 The most surprising aspect of the journal’s coverage of Voltaire is in the area of religion, for a recognizable Enlightenment influence can clearly be detected in many articles. Voltaire is even invoked as a bulwark against atheism (June 1771), in reaction to the materialism which had recently grown stronger in France. The item is prefaced thus: It is to be regretted that Subjects of the greatest Importance to the Happiness of Mankind were not oftener defended by so able a Writer as Voltaire. When he turns Champion, however, in Behalf of Virtue and Religion, to neglect an Opportunity of acquainting the World with his

Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland


Atchievements [sic] for that noble Cause, would be Injustice to him, and to the Public. – Monsieur Maribaud hath lately published a Treatise, intitled, the System of Nature; in which he endeavours to destroy the Belief of a future State. To this dangerous Book Mr. Voltaire has written a spirited and masterly Answer […]. (p. 244) Although the article merely reproduced a piece from the Gentleman’s Magazine,38 it nonetheless made Irish readers aware that, far from being a materialist, Voltaire was actually a deist or theist who increasingly saw atheism as a danger perhaps even more pernicious than the religious fanaticism he had combatted all his life. This appreciation is noteworthy, as many, and not only among Voltaire’s contemporaries, have failed to accept his claims and have ranged him with those infidels he attacked. But for the editors to choose to quote a passage like the following (from the Questions sur l’Encyclopédie) shows more than mere acceptance: The closet Atheist is almost always a peaceable philosopher; the fanatic is always turbulent; but a court atheist, an atheist upon the throne, may prove a scourge to human kind. (p. 247) This evident willingness to enlist a controversial writer like Voltaire in defence of the good cause is remarkable, and the Hibernian Magazine’s use of such copy can hardly be attributed merely to intellectual or journalistic laziness. Voltaire’s religious views are of course not always presented in a positive light. A piece on the ‘Memoirs of Pope Clement XIV’ (August 1775, pp. 455–9) represents the Pope as saying ‘that Mr. Voltaire, whose poetry he admired, attacked religion so often, only because it was troublesome to him’ (p. 456). Yet the criticism appears muted and, significantly, the article passes on immediately to a full-blooded attack on ‘a work called the System of Nature’. Once more, if not actually on the side of the angels, Voltaire is praised with faint damnation. Such a review of papal memoirs in any case draws attention to the Hibernian Magazine’s generally non-sectarian character. A striking example of the influence of Voltaire and the philosophes occurs in December 1775, in ‘Some Remarks on the Policy of the Popery Laws of this Kingdom, grounded on free constitutional Principles’ (pp. 708–10). The characteristic tones of the French Enlightenment are clearly in evidence: Religion is but an universal name for that duty, which the law of nature and reason has dictated to mankind, and which we indispensably owe to the supreme Creator of the universe for the continued protection we derive from his ineffable goodness […] (p. 708)


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

A little later the influence is signalled even more directly: to speak in the manner of the ingenious Mr. Voltaire: ‘Persecution never makes any but hypocrites or rebels; a shocking alternative! Besides, ought we to endeavour to establish by the bloody hand of the executioner the religion of that GOD who fell by such hands, and who while on earth taught mercy and forbearance?’ Voltaire himself may have shown little sympathy for the plight of Irish Catholics (see Chapter 8), but it is evident that the spirit of his pleas for tolerance was invoked in their favour, as on this occasion. It is after the Frenchman’s death that some of the most enthusiastic statements about his religious beliefs are to be found in the Hibernian Magazine. In January 1779 one of the Histories of a Tête-à-Tête (cf. above, pp. 36, 40), entitled Memoirs of the Priest of Nature and the Artful Mistress (pp. 77–9), has a unexpected hero: ‘the son of a collier in Wales’, is a priest who ‘has little recourse to the sacred writings’ (p. 77). He has corresponded with ‘the late celebrated Voltaire’, indeed ‘visited the celebrated bard of Ferney’ who ‘generally approved of our hero’s sentiments. During this visit, it is said, he planned his future theological system, and stiled himself the Priest of Nature’ (ibid.). This is a clear reference to David Williams, who for three years (1776–79) ran a non-Christian theist church at Margaret Street in London.39 Even more direct praise of Voltaire comes in March of the same year, with the printing of Frederick the Great’s ‘Panegryric’, the following passage (p. 163) perfectly encapsulating a central tenet of Voltaire’s views on religion: His morality consisted not merely in delivering good precepts, but in setting a good example. His courage assisted the unhappy family of Calas; he pleaded the cause of the Sirvens, and plucked them from the barbarous hands of their judges […] Philosophy and religion unite their strength in recommending the cause of virtue. Who then acted most like a Christian, the magistrate who cruelly banished a family from their country, or the philosopher who protected and received them? A third example of pro-Enlightenment rhetoric appears in April 1781, in an anonymous piece entitled ‘Description of the Island of Patmos, in the Archipelago; with an extraordinary account of a Greek Monk’ (203–5).40 This includes a conversation between a ‘French gentleman’ and the monk, who asks if Voltaire is still living, before launching into a veritable paean on ‘Voltaire and Rousseau, those benefactors of society’: Humanity has yet her advocates, Innocence her protectors, and Fanaticism and Intolerance the same formidable foes. May they live long enough to extirpate these monsters! (p. 204)

Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland


Then, in a passage owing much to Montesquieu41 as well as to Voltaire and Rousseau, the monk declares his credo: I cannot so much degrade the Creator of the Universe, as to imagine that he can entertain a predilection for a few unavailing ceremonies. All modes of worship are equal in His sight, who himself has no equal. To him it is of little moment whether we begin the sign of the cross by the right, or by the left, or whether we fast on the Wednesday instead of the Saturday. (ibid.). The application of this message to their own situation could hardly have been clearer to contemporary Irish readers. One illustration of this occurs in 1782, with an article entitled ‘Mr. O’Leary’s celebrated Plea for Liberty of Conscience’, which opens the July edition (pp. 337–41), ‘a striking Likeness of that Gentleman’ also being reproduced. O’Leary was a Catholic priest, whose ideas are warmly introduced by the journal’s editors (p. 337).42 Although he criticizes ‘the Deist and Free-thinker’, who holds all denominations ‘in equal contempt’ (p. 338), referring directly to ‘the satirical Voltaire’, in reality O’Leary puts forward an argument in favour of toleration, expressing horror at the oppression exercised by religion, that the Frenchman would happily have subscribed to and which, one feels, cannot but have been influenced by him: The ministers of a religion that had triumphed over the Caesars, not by resistance, but by suffering, became the apologists of calamnities that swept from the face of the earth, or oppress to this very day, God’s noblest images – upright, virtuous, and dauntless men. (p. 338) Like Voltaire, O’Leary reserves some of his highest praise for the peaceloving Quakers, reaching the impeccably Enlightenment conclusion that ‘the Protestant and Catholic’ are equally concerned in the establishment of religious toleration throughout the world. Enough has been said in this cursory survey to establish the generally positive reaction of the Dublin and Hibernian Magazines to Voltaire and many of his ideas, including some of those most typical of the French Enlightenment. Even if much was reproduced from the English press, editorial choice was still involved and Irish readers were offered a comprehensive diet of Voltaireana. By contrast, Irish publication of his works slackened off somewhat in the 1770s and 80s, though the amount remained substantial. Moreover, the 11 printings in the earlier decade include an edition of Voltaire’s works in 24 volumes, covering all aspects of his production.43 In addition, the 1770s saw the appearance of one history (The Age of Louis XV: 1770; Appendix 2, 264) and three plays


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

(Almida: 1772; Appendix 2, 272; Matilda: 1775; Appendix 2, 212; Alzuma: 1775; Appendix 2, 214). Perhaps most interestingly, several ‘philosophic’ texts were also published in Dublin: two contes: The Man of forty crowns (1770; Appendix 2, 235) and Young James (1776; Appendix 2, 231) as well as An Essay on crimes and punishments (1777; Appendix 2, 219). Voltaire’s Letters (1770; Appendix 2, 238) and biography (Historical memoirs: 1777; Appendix 2, 217) clearly fascinated readers, a trend set to increase in the following decade (Lettres curieuses et interressantes: 1781; Appendix 2, 239; Memoirs: 1784; Appendix 2, 245; Mémoires: 1785; Appendix 2, 246; Dom Chaudon’s Historical and critical memoirs: 1786; Appendix 2, 37) and paralleled, as we have seen, in the Hibernian Magazine. But, apart from this, Voltairean theatre is the only other area of his work represented in the 1780s: one tragedy (The Orphan of China: 1787; Appendix 2, 261) and the extraordinarily popular comedy The Man of the world, adapted from Nanine (1786 and 1786: Appendix 2, 251–2), which was to have four more printings in the 1790s (1790; 1791; two in 1793: Appendix 2, 253–6). When one turns to famous Irish writers, whose reactions to Voltaire add a further dimension to our study, no clear picture emerges. Despite his friendship with and influence on Voltaire, Swift appears never to have mentioned the Frenchman in his works (AMR, p. 116, n. 90): his library moreover contained only La Henriade, the Essay […] on epick poetry (Appendix 2, 225), and a translation of the Histoire de Charles XII (AMR, p. 87, n.34). Edmund Burke’s hostility is well documented. He held both Voltaire and Rousseau responsible for the French Revolution, commenting to an unknown correspondent in January 1790 that ‘The first has the merit of writing agreeably; and nobody has ever united blasphemy and obscenity so happily together’ (Burke, vi, p. 79). When he learned of Louis XVI’s unsuccessful flight to Varennes, Burke told the marquis de Bouillé on 13 July 1791: ‘those who have deny’d the God of humanity, and made the Apotheosis of Voltaire, are deprived of all the feelings of nature and of Grace’ (ibid., p. 291). In his youth too Burke had shown himself highly critical, a section of his early Note-book attacking Voltaire’s alleged mistakes in the Essai sur les moeurs regarding the Chinese and Chaldean calendars and the formation of the Chinese state (Fuchs, pp. 45–7). Yet his correspondence also shows that Burke not only knew but chose to quote sympathetically from Candide. On 20 June 1770, for example, he commented to Charles O’Hara that, despite being ‘public spirited’, Lord Kenmare was a Papist, And you know that such a man cannot and ought not to be endured in your Country, no more than the honest Anabaptist at Lisbon.

Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland


I remember they were going to fall upon him as well as upon others on the Treasonable Plot of the White Boys. Mais cultivons Notre Jardin – in spite of blind sons, disagreeable wives, party rage, ignorance, and bigotry – If we wait until these evils cease to be the lot of the best as the worst men, we shall have no cabbages. (Burke, vi, p. 143) The tone and style of this passage both perhaps indicate that Burke and Voltaire had more in common than some of the former’s more extreme statements might suggest. But, among Irish contemporary writers, it was Goldsmith who responded most enthusiastically to Voltaire. A competent French scholar with a wide knowledge of both classical and contemporary literature, he was arguably influenced perhaps even more by Marivaux but Voltaire’s influence is widely present in his essays, journalistic articles and historical writing, above all in his Memoirs of M. de Voltaire and his Chinese letters (1760–61), later revised as The Citizen of the world.44 Though the former, wildly inaccurate or on occasion downright untruthful, often seems the work of pure invention, Goldsmith displays real sympathy for the Frenchman and succeeds remarkably in identifying and in communicating the essential quality of his genius. The Chinese letters contain an extraordinary tribute (letter xliii) prompted by the supposed death of Voltaire, ‘the poet and philosopher of Europe’, as he is called in an inspired phrase (Works, ii, p. 181). For whatever reason, Goldsmith responded to the personality and work of Voltaire unlike any other English-speaking writer of the eighteenth century, an affinity all the more remarkable in that the Irishman was very far from being a deist or a freethinker. As the century neared its end, Voltaire was increasingly demonized. The Archbishop of Dublin, John Thomas Troy, who as a youth had copied out verses attributed to Voltaire, now regarded him as virtually the personification of evil: Of all […] the philosophers Voltaire is the most dangerous, as his fanciful and licentious works have been translated into several languages […] and continue to destroy innumberable incautious readers, by sapping in their minds the very elementary and fundamental principles of morality […] Every man who admits divine relevation, and is acquainted with the writings of Voltaire, must, if he reflects as he ought, be convinced of their manifest hostility to the Christian religion, and to all constituted authorities in church and state.45 It is difficult to imagine a more complete contrast with the attitudes expressed in the Hibernian Magazine only a few years earlier. And if


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

some, like Burke, rejected the political legacy of both Voltaire and Rousseau, others, influenced by the onset of Romanticism, aimed their fiercest criticisms at the former. For example, the Presbyterian United Irishman William Drennan railed at ‘that sycophant and serpent Voltaire’, who ‘lived like an Epicurean god on eight thousand a year at his castle at Ferney, near that very lake where poor Rousseau was born and whose beauties he so well describes’ (quoted in AMR, p. 345). Despite this reaction, the early 1790s saw two Dublin printings of one of Voltaire’s most ‘dangerous’ works, the Philosophical dictionary (Appendix 2, 221–2), demonstrating no doubt that he still appealed to at least some of those with radical sentiments.46 Apart from Nanine (Appendix 2, 253–6) and Zara (Appendix 2, 279), the only other Voltaire work published in the decade was in 1796–97, a limited edition of 50 copies of the ‘scandalous’ La Pucelle (a satirical epic on Joan of Arc: Appendix 2, 286). After this, no further Voltaire editions appeared in Ireland before 1800. However, the printing of several other ‘philosophic’ French works would seem to show that censorship or official pressure were not the explanation.47 Perhaps fashions had changed sufficiently for the reading public to have had its fill of Voltaire or the market had been saturated by previous editions. Whatever the reason, there can be no doubt that the great French writer had enjoyed an extraordinary vogue in Ireland over several decades and that his ideas had received a wide and influential airing.


2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Máire Kennedy also found Voltaire to be the most popular French author, his works being present in 53 per cent of the 193 libraries she sampled for the period 1715–1830 (Kennedy 4, p. 5: also above, pp. 7– 9; below, p. 228): however, it should be noted that Kennedy deals only with editions in the French language whereas this chapter is concerned with translations also. Cole, passim. For the likely size of editions (usually less than 500), see pp. 17–18. Quoted in AMR, p. 56. I acknowledge my debt to this magisterial study. Cf. René Pomeau, D’Arouet à Voltaire: 1694–1734 (Voltaire en son temps, vol. 1) (Oxford: 1985) pp. 200ff; below, Chapter 8, p. 153. La Henriade, ed. O.R. Taylor, Voltaire 2 (Oxford: 1970) p. 66. AMR, p. 104; D328. His wife and daughter Grace also owned copies (AMR, p. 86, n.30). Lucien Foulet, Correspondance de Voltaire (1726–1729) (Paris: 1913) p. 111, n.1.

Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland 08. 09. 10.

11. 12.


14. 15.


17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

22. 23. 24.


Voltaire was later to use Whitworth’s posthumous memoirs in writing his Histoire de l’empire de Russie (AMR, p. 58, n.7). Clayton was related to the future later Lady Sundon, lady-in-waiting to Princess (later Queen) Caroline, who held Voltaire in high regard (AMR, pp. 90, 93–4). AMR, p. 132, citing the Gentleman’s Magazine for 1797 (lxvii, p. 822). A similar anecdote appears in Goldsmith’s often grotesquely unreliable Memoirs of M. de Voltaire (Collected works of Oliver Goldsmith, ed. Arthur Friedman (Oxford: 1966; henceforth Works) iii, p. 223. In view of the dates (the Memoirs were first published in 1761), one wonders if Goldsmith was the source of this story. However, similar tales connected with the Bastille were fairly common. The Correspondence of Edward Young, ed. Henry Pettit (Oxford: 1970) p. 53, quoted in AMR, p. 82. See Alison K. Howard, ‘Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau in eighteenth century Scotland; a check list of editions and translations of their works published in Scotland before 1801’, Bibliotheck ii (1959) p. 48. In fact, there were no Scottish editions of Voltaire at all until 1751. Evidence of its continuing appeal throughout the century is provided by the Gentleman’s London and Dublin Magazine (January 1769, pp. 31–3), and the Hibernian Magazine (August 1776, p. 555; June 1777, p. 432; August 1777, p. 558; September 1778, p. 498). René Vaillot, Avec Mme Du Châtelet (Voltaire en son temps, vol. 2) (Oxford: 1988) pp. 246–58; René Pomeau and Christiane Mervaud, De la Cour au jardin (Voltaire en son temps, vol. 3) (Oxford: 1991) pp. 11ff. The author presented his work to Voltaire and received an obliging reply though, after Rolt’s comments cited below, Voltaire later described the Impartial representation as ‘a history which is as long as it is unreliable’ (AMR, p. 813). Archive of the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland, Dublin Friends’ Historical Library, vol. 1/2YM A.3 (1708–57), minutes for Nine-month [September] 1748, unpaginated. I am very grateful to Richard A. Harrison for help with this and note 17; also to Michael O’Dea. Munster Quarterly Meeting Minutes, QM II, A.5 (1739–57). Public Record Office, Belfast, T.1062. I am grateful to Simon Davies for this information. The crucial letter on Calvin was published in translation by Goldsmith in number ii of The Bee (12 October 1759; Works, i, pp. 391–3). V.J.C. McNally, ‘Archbishop John Thomas Troy and the Catholic Church in Ireland 1787–1817’ (PhD thesis, Trinity College, Dublin: 1976) p. 4. I am grateful to Professor Séan Conolly for drawing my attention to this passage, absent from the published version of McNally’s thesis: Reform, revolution and reaction: Archbishop John Thomas Troy and the Catholic Church in Ireland 1787–1817 (Lanham, New York, London: 1995). Appendix 2 provides the original French titles. Lockman’s book had the considerable number of 689 subscribers (Cole, p. 230). The source is often the Gentleman’s Magazine. J.A.R. Séguin’s Voltaire and the Gentleman’s Magazine 1731–1868 (New York: 1962), provides invaluable


25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

30. 31. 32. 33. 34.

35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45.

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 help in charting such borrowings. Where appropriate, the item number in his catalogue will be indicated, together with the date of London publication. D10394, 29 March 1762 (misdated as 29 June 1762). Widely reproduced (cf. Gentleman’s Magazine, July 1762: Séguin no. 117), this letter marked the beginning of the campaign to rehabilitate Calas. Voltaire’s attitude to the Jesuits was in fact complex: see Catherine M. Northeast’s admirable The Parisian Jesuits and the Enlightenment: 1700–1762, Studies, 288 (1991). See Essai, ii, pp. 340 –3. This extract had not appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine. A London source is likely, but has not yet been identified. For a rare exception see Northeast, pp. 123–5. R.A. Leigh, ‘An anonymous eighteenth-century character-sketch of Voltaire’, Studies, 2 (1956) pp. 241–72; Frédéric Deloffre, ‘Piron auteur du portrait de Voltaire?’, Le Siècle de Voltaire: hommage à René Pomeau, eds Christiane Mervaud and Sylvain Menant (Oxford: 1987) pp. 349 –64; Geneviève Artigas-Menant, ‘Le portrait de Voltaire dans les Miscellanea de FrançoisLouis Jamet’, VC, pp. 984–95. This was the portrait copied out by the young Troy: cf. above, p. 73; also Appendix 2, no. 57. See Michael O’Dea’s comments elsewhere in this volume, pp. 97–9. January, pp. 54–8; February, pp. 86–9; March, pp. 149–53. Philip Hayes (1738–97) visited Voltaire in May 1762: see VBV, p. 54. April, pp. 149–52, and May, pp. 213–4 (Séguin, nos. 243–4). Voltaire’s Commentaire historique of 1776 had been published in Ireland in 1777 (Appendix 2, 217): his 1759 Mémoires, because of hostile remarks about Frederick II, appeared in print only after his death, in 1784 (cf. Appendix 2, 245–6). pp. 30–2. The first of these two items shadows the Gentleman’s Magazine of December 1779 (Séguin, no. 254). See also VBV, pp. 181–7. For his views on Bacon see November 1776, pp. 737–51; on Congreve, June 1777, pp. 425–37; on Swift, August 1777, pp. 557–8. For hostile comments see February 1771, p. 44; April 1779, pp. 221–2; March 1782, p. 121. Séguin, no. 175 (February 1771, pp. 63–5). The work refuted was d’Holbach’s Système de la nature, published under the name of Mirabaud (not Maribaud). See J. Dybikowski, On Burning Ground: an Examination of the Ideas, Projects and Life of David Williams, Studies, 307 (1980). Williams corresponded with Voltaire (D20277) but never visited him. The work was Choiseul-Gouffier’s Voyage pittoresque dans l’Empire ottoman: see Anna Tabaki, ‘La réception du théâtre de Voltaire dans le SudEst de l’Europe: première moitié du XIXe siècle’, VC, p. 1539. Cf. Lettres persanes (letter xx). Arthur O’Leary (1729–1802), was a strong defender of the British government, which secretly subsidized him, leaving Ireland for England in 1789: see Dictionary of National Biography sv. For the original French titles see Appendix 2. The key study is Sells. The notes of Works list Goldsmith’s borrowings. Quoted in McNally, ‘Archbishop Troy’, p. 129.

Voltaire’s Reception in Ireland 46. 47.


Wolfe Tone, for example, frequently quoted Candide: see Simon Davies, ‘The Northern Star and the propagation of enlightened ideas’, ECI, 5 (1990) p. 152, n.22. The most striking examples are works by Condorcet (Appendix 2, 38), Diderot (Appendix 2, 45), Rousseau (Appendix 2, 201), and Volney (Appendix 2, 210).

5 Rousseau in EighteenthCentury Irish Journals ‘A Wanton and Romantic Imagination’ Michael O’Dea Following the career of a major Enlightenment figure like Jean-Jacques Rousseau through Dublin periodicals is at once intriguing and frustrating. Like most journals read after the events that they record are long past, the two Dublin periodicals to be mainly considered here, Peter Wilson’s shortlived Dublin Magazine (1762–65) and Alexander Walker’s later, more enduring, Hibernian Magazine (1771–1810), give an impression of unevenness. Most of the articles are of course anonymous. At least some are borrowed from other sources, as is frequently acknowledged for extracts from books but not for self-contained articles (cf. Chapter 2). Where possible, such borrowings are indicated.1 With that caveat, the career of Jean-Jacques Rousseau as reflected in the two papers can still be seen as offering an interesting measure of awareness of French Enlightenment thought in Ireland. Unlike Voltaire, 18 years his senior, and whose career spanned much of the century, Rousseau rose to fame suddenly and after ten years withdrew from public life. Born in 1712, he comes to general public notice only in 1751, after the publication of his Discours sur les sciences et les arts (cf. Appendix 2, 194–5). In 1755 there follows a second and more substantial work, the Discours sur l’origine de l’inégalité parmi les hommes. These two works established Rousseau as an important figure in the literary and intellectual life of the day. They also set him apart from many of his contemporaries, marking him as a critic of the Enlightenment consensus (in so far as such a consensus can be said to exist), since in the earlier discourse he links intellectual and scientific progress to moral decline, and in the second offers a radical view of man in society as a creature alienated from his own true nature, living in a world whose institutions are oppressive and unjust. The most remarkable period of Rousseau’s career, however, came a little later, when he offered stunning evidence of the range of his genius by publishing in quick succession La Nouvelle Héloïse (January 1761), which 90

Rousseau in Eighteenth-Century Irish Journals


was the most successful French novel of the century (cf. Appendix 2, 198–201), Du Contrat social (April 1762), his principal work in political theory (Appendix 2, 191), and Émile (May 1762), his treatise on education (Appendix 2, 196–7). This last work created a storm of controversy, mainly because in the section entitled La Profession de foi du vicaire savoyard Rousseau accorded little importance to the doctrinal and liturgical differences between the Christian churches. The book was immediately condemned by the Faculty of Theology of Paris, as later by the Protestant authorities in Rousseau’s native Geneva, and the French civil authorities issued a warrant for the author’s arrest. He took flight and sought refuge in Neuchâtel, a dependency of Frederick the Great of Prussia. Forced out in 1765 by a local campaign of intimidation, he spent 18 unhappy and controversial months in England before returning to France, where he was to live out the rest of his life in a state of mental turmoil. After the experience of real persecution, he was increasingly a prey to delusions of a universal conspiracy against him. Although his public literary career was over, he continued to write extensively. Three autobiographical works, all to be published only after his death, Les Confessions (Appendix 2, 189 –90), Les Dialogues and Les Rêveries du promeneur solitaire (Appendix 2, 189), were the principal fruits of the last 15 years of his life. The latter part of Les Confessions and the other two works in their entirety showed a mind invaded by dark shadows and unspeakable terrors. Rousseau died in July 1778, some weeks after Voltaire. Contemporary reactions to Rousseau can be divided into several different categories. Extreme judgements are not uncommon: he is a secular saint, a wronged and misunderstood martyr, incapable of wrong-doing; or he is a malign influence on European thought, a madman or a charlatan, in any case a figure whose deeds will not stand up to moral scrutiny. There are also, however, more moderate judgements. Some positive assessments recognize the originality of Rousseau’s achievement while challenging him on specifics. More negative contemporaries sometimes express puzzlement at his radicalism, ultimately rejecting it but acknowledging his talent while doing so. For some of them, Rousseau is a clever but superficial writer, a man of talent who has wandered off into the pursuit of trivialities. If in all Rousseau’s writings there is a critique of the contemporary world and its institutions, this critique is often said to be merely provocative. It is argued that to say learning has caused moral decline rather than enlightenment is perverse (Discours sur les sciences et les arts), to present man as a naturally solitary creature is intriguing but absurd (Discours sur l’origine de l’inégalité), to offer a chaste ménage à trois as the solution to the problems of a young woman who marries the man assigned to her although her


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

heart is engaged elsewhere is tempting nature and desire beyond all reasonable bounds (La Nouvelle Héloïse). The Dublin Magazine, running from 1762 to 1765, was published at the time when Rousseau’s fame or notoriety was reaching its peak. Would a reader relying on the magazine for information have had a good sense of the writer’s significance? If the answer, however heavily qualified, is yes, it is mainly because of one discriminating and intelligent essay on the state of French letters published in the issue of February 1762. Politically, this article2 is marked by ill-concealed British triumphalism as the end of the Seven Years’ War approaches. The approach is metropolitan; the article contains nothing to suggest a specifically Irish perspective.3 Several French authors are described admiringly as being imbued with the spirit of philosophy: the list includes d’Alembert, Montesquieu, Condillac and Fontenelle. Diderot and Helvétius, on the other hand, are dismissed as ‘minute philosophers,’ whose only merit is some pert wit, and a little knowledge, blended with an abundant portion of licentiousness and impiety’.4 Rousseau belongs to neither group; he is in a class of his own: in the writer’s comments there is keen awareness of an originality that is a mark of genius, and at the same time a slight unease at just that quality, in all its unpredictable exorbitance. Rousseau is marked by ‘sublimity of genius, irregularity of fancy, depth of thought, quickness of comprehension, and extent of knowledge’: the terms used could scarcely be warmer, with even the notion of irregularity taking on a mainly positive sense when applied to fancy. However, they are followed by a negative observation: Rousseau’s writing is like lightning in its rapidity, but like lightning ‘it often dazzles rather than illuminates’. This is a gesture in the direction of the critique outlined above, suggesting superficiality and a lack of engagement with reality. Yet the author is clearly not hostile to Rousseau, ending his general assessment with a finely balanced comment, more favourable than it might seem at first: ‘One thing, among many others, is remarkable in this writer, namely that both the purity of his intention, and the rectitude of his judgement, are frequently seduced by the victorious influence of a wanton and romantic imagination’. Here a familiar criticism is held at bay. La Nouvelle Héloïse shocked some of its readers because it depicted a young girl of good birth losing her virginity before marriage, and (worse still in some eyes) losing it to someone not of her own class. Voltaire gleefully used both objections to attack the novel.5 The comment just quoted both acknowledges and neutralizes this type of criticism, in a way that suggests understanding of the novelist’s serious purpose. To seduce and to be wanton: these are hardly in themselves terms of approbation, but the sentence gives a sense of creative

Rousseau in Eighteenth-Century Irish Journals


tension between rectitude and desire that corresponds closely to Rousseau’s complex moral vision in the novel. In the end, desire does not have its own way in La Nouvelle Héloïse, and the novel explores the consequences of its containment, as regards social order, personal loss and even possible personal gain. The security of the anonymous commentator’s positive view of Rousseau is reinforced by the succeeding paragraph on the eagerness with which the publication of Émile is awaited. Rousseau is at worst a risky writer, but the risks are concomitant with the rewards of his work. Where Diderot is placed beyond a boundary line drawn by faith and morality, Rousseau falls within it; or perhaps simply draws the reader a little beyond the boundary by the compelling power of his work. Subsequent briefer reports on Rousseau in the Dublin Magazine tend to describe the same oppositions, but with a variation in the weight accorded to the positive and negative elements, and with notably less insight.6 When the actual publication of Émile is reported under ‘Literary Intelligence’ in June 1762, these oppositions are strung together like so many well-worn beads (‘extravagance and good sense, infidelity and piety, good faith and bad faith, wit and folly’, and so on).7 Although the author remarks that there is much to learn in the work, its content is not discussed in any substantial way, and the oppositions diminish it to the point of suggesting a frustrating and incoherent assemblage by an author whose judgement is in any case described as being ‘carried away by an unbridled imagination’. In October, on the publication of a translation, the review is brief but ponderous: Émile raises problems of genre, among others, for it is ‘deficient in point of regular plan or fable, as a work of the historical or epic kind, and wanting all the advantages of connection, order and method, requisite to a systematic treatise’. The reviewer does, however, defend Rousseau against the charge of irreligion: he is an apostle of tolerance, and if he attacks the forms of religion it is only because ‘they are destructive to the spirit of it’. Here the Dublin Magazine, like the Hibernian Magazine after it, is strikingly sympathetic to Rousseau’s religious thought.

Meanwhile in London, a notable Irishman is the most likely author of two reviews of Rousseau’s work. Edmund Burke was associated with the Annual Register over many years, and although the reviews, like the other contents of the journal, are anonymous, the opinions expressed are consonant with those found elsewhere in writings that are undoubtedly by Burke.8 ‘None of the present writers have a greater share of talents and learning than Rousseau’: so begins the account of the Lettre à d’Alembert


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

sur les spectacles, Rousseau’s vehement assault on the theatre, in the Annual Register for 1759; in 1762 the Émile is considered in the same publication.9 The editors of Burke’s Correspondence (vi, p. 81) consider his reviews ‘sharply critical’ and in some regards that is so. Rousseau at this period inspires in Burke (if it is indeed he) both admiration and unease, and these two sentiments struggle for mastery. Thus, writing on the Lettre à d’Alembert, the author warns that ‘a satire upon civilized society’ (he is presumably alluding to the Discours sur l’origine de l’inégalité) ‘may unsettle our notions of right and wrong, and lead by degrees to universal scepticism’. On the Lettre itself, however, he is much more positive, even if ultimately unpersuaded by Rousseau’s arguments: ‘this is by far the most ingenious, spirited, and philosophical performance that ever appeared on theatrical entertainments. The author has placed the matter in a light almost wholly new’. Similarly, on the Émile, he writes that Rousseau offers ‘a thousand noble hints relative to his subject, grounded on a profound knowledge of the human mind, and the order of its operations’ before going on to observe: There is, it must be acknowledged, one considerable defect in his judgment, which infects both his matter and his style. He never knows where to stop. He seldom can discover that precise point in which excellence consists, where to exceed is almost as bad as to fall short, and where every step you go beyond, you grow worse and worse. (Annual Register, 1762, p. 227) ‘He never knows where to stop’: the sentence is all the more effective in its brevity for falling among the Latinate periods of the prose. It is perhaps a writer’s comment on another writer, as much an aesthetic judgment as a political or philosophical one. In the end, however, most of these critical comments converge on excess and lack of measure in Rousseau, in whatever mode or domain. The later Burke, who will defend the values of custom, ceremony and tradition against the onslaught of the Revolution, is perhaps foreshadowed here, but of his ad hominem attack on Rousseau as tutelary genius of that upheaval there is as yet little sign.

Some of the most dramatic events of Rousseau’s life occur between the closure of the Dublin Magazine in 1765 and the inauguration of the Hibernian Magazine in 1771. By far the most important of these for the Englishspeaking world is the quarrel with Hume of 1766–67, which turned large

Rousseau in Eighteenth-Century Irish Journals


numbers of his sympathizers against Rousseau, who was by now beginning to manifest signs of persecution mania. In 1771, when the Hibernian Magazine first appears, that drama is in the past, and Rousseau has withdrawn from public controversy to work quietly on his autobiography. Voltaire is more immediately in the public eye, with his efforts for the rehabilitation of Calas, the Protestant victim of a judicial murder in Toulouse, no doubt keenly remembered in the Protestant kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland (cf. Appendix 2, 262–3). In July 1772 the new journal gives its readers a portrait of Voltaire (reproduced on the jacket of this volume). The contents page engagingly announces the issue’s two engravings as follows: ‘Illustrated with an elegant full Length Portrait of the celebrated Voltaire, and the Beaver from Buffon’: both the animal as described by Buffon and the writer (also bedecked with fur) are indeed notable Enlightenment figures.10 These are also the years of Cook and Bougainville; in common with other periodicals, the Hibernian Magazine keeps its readers informed of the journals and other reports from the South Seas, at a time when the existence of the Australian sub-continent is still no more than a disputed hypothesis. Rousseau is not absent from these pages. The Émile in particular is referred to at various points; the echoes of the treatise rumble on, like distant thunder. However, over the years from 1772 to 1784 there are only three articles of any consequence. The first of these appears in October 1773, under the title ‘New Character of Rousseau’. It is long, substantial, intelligent, sympathetic yet quite incisively critical. Where the hapless reviewer of the Discourse on the Origins of Inequality in the Dublin Magazine in June 1762 (p. 379) absurdly describes the work as ‘most whimsical and ingenious’ and has little more to say about it, the writer of the 1773 ‘Character’ remarks more tellingly (p. 533) of the same work: ‘By raising the savage state much too high, and sinking the social much too low, he [Rousseau] appears to me to depart from the truth in both respects’. A similar argument is advanced in regard to Rousseau’s cult of the ancients: he is ‘governed by too warm an imagination and I know not what rage of decrying his contemporaries’. On La Nouvelle Héloïse, the author is at once critical and warmly admiring. The plot is ill conducted, the disposition of the parts bad, the characters unnatural and too uniform. Nevertheless, not only does it contains many beauties of detail, but the reader is to be pitied if he is not ‘melted into a love of virtue by the admirable picture the author has given of it’ (p. 534). This is precisely the kind of homage that Rousseau always craved: in the end, words are to fall away as author and reader share in the intimate experience of goodness and love. In his prefaces to the novel Rousseau is ready to accept criticism on


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

points of technique, but the goodness of his heroine is a sort of beacon that will cast a warm, steady light on all those who come in contact with her, whether fictional characters within the work or readers encountering her in the text and finding, like Rousseau’s imaginary interlocutor in the Second Preface, that ‘tout doit devenir Julie autour d’elle; tous ses amis ne doivent avoir qu’un ton’.11 Given the terms used to praise La Nouvelle Héloïse, it is not surprising that the work on which the most unequivocal admiration is lavished is Rousseau’s opera, Le Devin du village, first performed in October 1752 and regularly revived afterwards.12 Here the commentator who had so sharply rebuked Rousseau for his supposed excesses in matters of history and ideology yields completely to the author’s own style and concepts, writing: ‘This is the language which reaches the heart, because it comes from the heart; a language far preferable to those little frivolous, affected and insipid turns, which render our fashionable songs so childish, ridiculous, and contemptible’ (p. 534). In Le Devin, the first words sung by the ‘devin’ or soothsayer to the young heroine are: Je lis dans votre coeur, et j’ai lu dans le sien. (OC, ii. 1100) When the language of the author becomes the language of the reader, the communion that Rousseau longed for has taken place. This reader, who in ideological matters seeks to maintain his independence and mark a distance between his subject and himself, yields in the field of language and music to the model that Rousseau has offered. In the latter years of Rousseau’s life, the author’s interest in ideology receded, as an increasingly personal and Manichean vision of a world of open and closed hearts came to the fore. Although the works in which this vision is set out (notably the Dialogues) have not yet appeared, the commentary picks up those elements of earlier works that will become Rousseau’s almost exclusive preoccupations, in an example of critical sensitivity that verges on the prescient. A surprising aspect of this ‘New Character of Rousseau’ is that no mention is made of the quarrel with Hume. The Hibernian Magazine did not exist when the quarrel was the talk of London and Paris, and it is only when Hume dies in 1776 that the Irish journal recalls the event, describing it in terms unfavourable to Rousseau.13 The author of a memorial sketch outlines many of the details of this affair, which had convulsed the world of letters, and he is unambiguous in contrasting ‘the jealous and suspicious temper of M. Rousseau, and the generosity and candour of Mr Hume’.14 That is the first sharply critical reference to Rousseau in the journal; the tardiness suggests a certain distance from the passions of literary life in

Rousseau in Eighteenth-Century Irish Journals


London, for, as Jacques Voisine suggests (p. 14), the quarrel, soon forgotten in France, had a severe and lasting effect on Rousseau’s reputation in England.

‘L’etrange evenement qui occupe a cette heure l’Angleterre et la France […]’.15 These are the words used by the Countess de Boufflers to describe this quarrel, which transfixed the intelligentsia of Paris, London and Edinburgh and their aristocratic friends, who included Mme de Boufflers and her lover the Prince de Conti. It is difficult to recapture the intensity of feeling that was aroused. The falling-out of Sartre and Camus in France after the war, or the wars of Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal more recently in the US have neither the same grandeur nor the same tragic dimension. As with many epic quarrels, the sources of the disagreement are scarcely worth recounting. What matters is that Rousseau was widely perceived as having behaved ungratefully and unreasonably towards a benefactor, and that Hume parried Rousseau’s outbursts with cold precision, showing no insight into his friend’s increasingly unhappy mental state. For a contemporary Dublin record of the Hume affair, one has to turn to the Gentleman’s and London Magazine, a journal confusingly titled for the modern reader (see Appendix 1, no. 6). The year 1766 yields up a great density of references to Rousseau, beginning in the January issue with news in the monthly chronicle for Monday 13th: ‘This day the celebrated Jean Jacques Rousseau arrived in London, he was at the play on the 23rd, and presented himself in the upper box, fronting his Majesty’. What is not said is that Rousseau’s celebrity was such that His Majesty was present for the specific purpose of gazing on the great writer, to whom he was subsequently to grant a pension. February brings the Dublin printing of an article that was to weigh heavily on Rousseau’s mind. ‘Some Account of the celebrated John James Rousseau’ is full of inaccuracies on the subject’s early life and somewhat hostile to the works of his maturity, bringing against him the familiar charge of ‘mistaking novelty of opinion for justness of thinking’. The author nevertheless seems gratified that ‘he has at length thought proper to retire to end his days (as it is supposed) in this land of boasted liberty’. This trivial piece (reproduced in Leigh, Appendice 433) is borrowed from the London Chronicle of 4–6 February, where it aroused a disproportionately angry response in Rousseau. Henri Roddier, who provides an excellent account of this period, emphasizes the general role of the press in giving Rousseau the impression that after first being universally welcomed


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

he was now the victim of calumnies.16 Rousseau responds to the article in a letter of about 12 April: What strikes me most in this event is the casual and frankly foolish way in which the English, on the word of two or three wicked men whose two-faced and treacherous conduct ought to fill them with horror, are passing judgement on the character and morals of a foreigner whom they are not acquainted with and whom they know to be esteemed, honoured and respected in the places where he has spent his life. Witness this singular summary of my life-story, in which among others things I am said to be the son of a musician, circulating around London as an authentic document.17 A measure of the article’s intense impact on him, as he increasingly sees the hand of his enemies everywhere, is that he returns to it in the long and tortured letter he addresses to Hume on 10 July (Leigh 5274) setting out all his grievances against the philosopher. Whatever the motives of the London journals, it is clear that the Gentleman’s and London Magazine, at least initially, is relaying news of the controversial visitor without necessarily taking a position for or against him. Thus the March number sees an engraving of Rousseau, a significant measure of interest given the few illustrations that these journals could afford to provide, and a long and sympathetic account of Rousseau’s ‘persecution’ by the Swiss clergy, with a ‘Letter from a Gentleman to his Friend’ that takes Rousseau’s side vehemently against Voltaire and d’Alembert, described as his ‘rivals and enemies’. This is the English version of a memoir written by Rousseau’s loyal Swiss friend and patron Pierre-Alexandre Du Peyrou. A month later, in April, on the other hand, the magazine prints a letter of Voltaire’s denying all Rousseau’s charges against him: such items are presented with little or no comment.18 The actual quarrel with Hume surfaces in September with Rousseau’s letter ‘to a Friend at Paris’. In this letter, originally addressed to the bookseller Pierre Guy (Leigh 5332, 2 August 1766), and first published in the London Chronicle of 4–6 September, Rousseau dares Hume to publish their correspondence. Hume in fact was to do so, and used Rousseau’s rash comments as his pretext. He draws up his ‘Exposé succinct …’, the English version of which, ‘A Concise and Genuine Account …’, widely reprinted in the British press, appears in the Gentleman’s and London in two parts (November and December 1766). This account was often considered in Britain as giving the last word on the affair: Hume was victim of an impossibly difficult and susceptible man. Hume himself, whose own first reaction to Rousseau’s suspicions and delusions was extreme and

Rousseau in Eighteenth-Century Irish Journals


uncomprehending, later regretted having exposed such unhappy behaviour so clinically to the public eye, but in the mind of many his article had said all that needed to be said on the matter: as Voisine suggests, Rousseau’s English reputation never recovered. The following years bring scant reference to Rousseau in the Gentleman’s and London Magazine: one senses that at this stage little remains to be said of a man who had violated the laws of hospitality (and had perhaps also wounded national pride by his decision to leave the land of liberty and return to France). His departure from Wootton, his Staffordshire retreat, is noted with some hostile comment in June 1767 (p. 379).19 In February 1769 (p. 119), the magazine gives in translation a bizarre but authentic document which Rousseau, according to his own account, scribbled on the wall of his room in the inn at Bourgoin, the town not far from Lyon where he had taken up residence in 1768.20 This is, in the original, the ‘Sentiments du public sur mon compte dans les divers états qui le composent’. It runs through a series of social groups – kings, magistrates, philosophers, the common people, women, authors and others – and briefly sketches each group’s opinion of Rousseau. The prevailing view of Rousseau in England and Ireland is mainly evident in the journal’s brief introduction, which claims, wrongly, that Rousseau left Bourgoin having quarrelled with the magistrates. In fact he appears to have moved a little outside the town for health reasons, but by now a certain vision of him was becoming fixed in the public mind.21

Returning to the Hibernian Magazine we find two further articles in which Rousseau figures after his death. In 1782, the paper devotes three long articles to ‘A Complete View of the Origin and Progress of the Political Dissentions of Geneva to the Present Time’.22 Described as being by ‘a real Traveller, who had exact and infallible sources of Information’, these articles are indeed sober, detailed and accurate. They trace the long history of the struggle between oligarchs and democrats in eighteenth-century Geneva, where the democratic principles of the city’s constitution had been largely evacuated of their substance. The author is hostile towards Rousseau’s interventions in support of the democratic party in his native city, describing him as being ‘at first the accidental cause, and afterwards the avowed promoter’ of the civil strife that shook Geneva. Nevertheless, the desire to provide a sound historical record clearly motivates the writer more strongly than any polemical purpose, and the passages devoted to Rousseau are not immoderate in tone.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

October 1783 brings publication of ‘A Prophecy found in an old Manuscript’ by M. Borde. This is the translation of a vigorous satire on La Nouvelle Héloïse, very much in the style of Voltaire, and published in French many years before, in 1761. It sets out real or imagined contradictions of the novel in mock-heroic style to argue essentially that Rousseau’s complex account of moral issues amounts to no more in the end than condoning immorality: And the whole romance shall be useful, good, and moral, for it shall prove that daughters have a right to dispose of their hearts, hands, and favours, without consulting parents, or regarding the inequality of conditions. And it shall show, that, while you talk of virtue, it is useless to practise it. And that it is the duty of a young girl to go to bed with one man, and marry another. And that it is sufficient for those who deliver themselves up to vice to feel a temporary remorse for virtue. (p. 533) The piece stands on its own in the journal: it is the only one that resorts to mockery of Rousseau, and in that regards is at odds with the admittedly patchy coverage of his ideas that the magazine had offered its readers since its foundation. It presumably appears now, more than 20 years after its composition, because it had been reprinted in the posthumous Oeuvres diverses of Borde. London journals had published translations in the year of its first appearance in France, attributing it to Voltaire, but this is a different translation, and more complete than, for example, that found in the London Gentleman’s Magazine (September 1761) and the Annual Register (1761). Perhaps, by 1783, the wind has simply turned against Rousseau in the Hibernian Magazine as elsewhere. There is a Dublin printing of the Confessions in translation in that same year (Appendix 2, 189): although the paper never refers to the work before 1789, its reputation may already have spread widely enough to encourage ridicule, for Rousseau’s account of such intimate matters as his lifelong practice of masturbation and his secret longing to be spanked had provoked reactions ranging from mockery to revulsion among many readers.23 And if those were secrets almost too indecorous to be alluded to by his critics, there was always the question of his abandoned children to trouble the consciences of those who wished to defend him. Voltaire’s anonymous pamphlet, Le Sentiment des citoyens, had revealed the existence of these children in 1764; Rousseau himself acknowledges their fate in the second volume of the Confessions.

Rousseau in Eighteenth-Century Irish Journals


Again, Burke’s celebrated denunciation of Rousseau as ‘the insane Socrates of the National Assembly’ and the ‘Philosopher of Vanity’ is not now far off.24 This Irishman’s enormous influence will reinforce the dominant British and Irish view of Rousseau, for many years to come: when the quarrel with Hume has been forgotten, Burke’s words will still echo. Indeed, his aggressive challenge constitutes by far the most significant connection, however indirect, between Rousseau and Ireland, more significant, certainly, than the Duchess of Leinster’s desire to have Rousseau come to Ireland as governor to her children.25 Henceforth, Rousseau’s good faith will be widely disputed, and the voices of derision and vehement denunciation will be numerous.

In January 1762 the Dublin Magazine gave details of a letter that had been read in all the Roman Catholic chapels in Dublin. The letter noted ‘the merciful and humane dispositions of the present royal family’ and concluded: These happy dispositions, encouraged by a continuance of the same behaviour in you, may perhaps improve still more to your advantage: but whether we shall be deemed worthy of further favour or not, it is our duty, as ministers of Jesus Christ, strongly to enforce the obligations of a submissive, obedient, and peaceful behaviour; and yours, as Christians and good subjects, to fulfil them steadily in your practice.26 Eleven years later, the Hibernian Magazine reports under ‘Domestic News’ on a specific manifestation of submission and obedience: December 23. There was a grand procession of Roman catholicks of the first distinction from the Music-hall, Fishamble-street, to wait on his Excellency Lord Harcourt with an humble address, to assure his Majesty of their great loyalty and affection to his person and government, and to congratulate his Excellency upon his arrival in this kingdom; which address his Excellency received in the most polite manner. It is computed that there were eighty coaches, without one hackney among them. (p. 734) The last sentence is probably the most significant: naïve or even patronizing it may be, but the benign intention behind it is unmistakable. The tendency of both the Dublin Magazine and the Hibernian Magazine is in fact generally eirenic. The reader gets the sense neither of assertive privilege


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

nor of embattled defence. Signs of loyalty by the Catholic clergy are carefully noted, and the death of Catholic priests is sometimes recorded in the relevant section of the paper alongside that of their Establishment counterparts. These are papers that seem generally to encourage tolerance in Ireland, and to avoid any spirit of faction in their limited reporting of Irish events. That the struggle for toleration was entering a new phase seems to be agreed by historians.27 The first Catholic Association dates from 1756, and various efforts are made over the following years to find an oath of allegiance acceptable to Catholics. However, the situation is far from being clear-cut. There are anti-Union riots in Dublin in 1759, apparently not motivated by specifically Catholic fears, but arousing suspicions in London of Catholic and even French intrigue.28 Regular sectarian battles between gangs from what would now be called ghettos in the city were a feature of eighteenth-century Dublin life.29 In the countryside, the Whiteboys caused great fear from the early 1760s on and provoked severe countermeasures: the Hibernian Magazine records in April 1776, for example, that the Whiteboy Act of that year ‘empowers all Magistrates to search for and seize arms and ammunition in the possession of all Papists or reputed Papists’.30 During the following decade there is intense debate on toleration in the same journal, much of it turning on whether Catholics are bound to keep faith with heretics and whether their religion obliges them to seek to depose princes excommunicated by the Pope.31 Earlier, in the Gentleman’s and London Magazine, the year 1766 is not only that of Rousseau in England but also of a dramatic event in Ireland. The journal devotes much space to the case of Father Nicholas Sheehy, who died on the gallows on 15 March in Clonmel after he had been denounced as leader of a Catholic plot by Rev. Francis Hewetson, a violently anti-Papist priest of the established church, and others.32 As Bartlett observes (p. 70), ‘the whole business resembled the roughly contemporaneous Calas affair which had so exercised Voltaire; but no Philosophe took up Sheehy’s case’. In such a mixed atmosphere of deep-rooted suspicions and emerging moves towards Catholic relief, the publication of extracts from Rousseau’s Émile is not without interest. Rousseau is a Christian in his own mind (even if the title is disputed by the religious authorities on both sides), a Protestant, and a citizen of Geneva, the ‘Protestant Rome’. He had also been a Catholic in his youth, after running away from Geneva at the age of 14, and has lived most of his life in Catholic lands. His vicaire savoyard is of course a Catholic priest. Of five extracts from the Émile given in the Dublin Magazine, three are from the Profession de foi: it is a strikingly high proportion.

Rousseau in Eighteenth-Century Irish Journals


The first of these extracts appears in October 1762. This is a passage that was to become an anthology piece, in which Rousseau’s vicaire contrasts Socrates and Jesus, and exclaims (quoting in the Dublin Magazine translation): Ah! if the life and death of Socrates carry the mark of a sage, the life and death of Jesus proclaim a God!33 The passage more generally speaks of divine revelation with a degree of scepticism. It gives a guarded assent to the Gospels, while adding that they are full of incredible things. The advice offered is, in the last analysis, simply to be modest and circumspect, and to respect silently what one can neither reject nor understand. On that the extract ends, prompting the editor of the English version to add a comment on the ‘strange and uncomfortable situation of mind, with respect to religion, into which Mr Rousseau, speaking in the person of a country-vicar, casts the young Emilius’, and trying to take the harm out of the heterodox tendency of Rousseau’s conclusion by emphasizing how strongly and positively he depicted Christ’s mission in what preceded. Eighteen months later, the Dublin Magazine returns to the Profession de foi, reproducing two long passages (from Émile; OC, iv, pp. 566–606) in February (pp. 107–12) and March 1764 (pp. 177–80). These are essentially continuous and come from the beginning of the text. The vicaire or curate briefly recounts his humble origins, his priestly studies, his sin, that of making an unmarried girl pregnant, before beginning his arguments for the existence of God and the principle of conscience. In this abridged translation, the reader of the magazine is offered the substance of the first 40 pages of Rousseau’s text: it is a significant and intellectually demanding extract, though possibly less problematic for the editors than the previous one in that it is constructive rather than sceptical. The passage stands as a defence of the personal conviction that there is a Supreme Being, and that the individual conscience offers sure moral guidance to those who know how to listen to it. Sectarian matters scarcely intrude, though the vicaire does speak of the initial difficulty posed by his membership of the Catholic Church, which he depicts as forcing on him absolute and systematic belief, to a point that initially causes him to rebel against all faith. The exact weight to be given to these long extracts is imponderable. Too much could easily be made of them, too much significance attached to them in an Irish context. However, against a background of sectarian hostility and religious persecution, Rousseau’s consciously non-sectarian religious vision has obvious attractions. Built on the twin pillars of belief in God and the supremacy of conscience, it evacuates sectarian difference of


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

any relevance, while encouraging all to remain faithful to the religion into which they are born. Generally, the content of the journals is rarely informed by specifically Irish concerns: this could perhaps be an exception, and the voice of Rousseau’s curate may have been relayed in Ireland to offer support to those who opposed the exclusion of Catholics from full rights. Motives for publication can only be the subject of speculation, of course. What is certain is that Rousseau knew from the relations between Geneva and Savoy what sectarian hostility was and saw it as a problem to be overcome by redefining the essential content of the Christian religion while respecting the forms of worship of each church. The message of the vicaire savoyard was relevant to Ireland; perhaps some of the readers of the Dublin Magazine saw its relevance and were moved to apply its lessons.


2. 3.

4. 5. 6.


For the more important articles discussed from the Dublin Magazine and the Hibernian Magazine, a check has been made in three London papers: the Gentleman’s Magazine, the Annual Register, and the Monthly Review. Nothing was found except in one case (see note 4 below). For the Gentleman’s and London Magazine, covering the period of Rousseau’s greatest notoriety in England, an easily-identified London source exists in most cases. February 1762, pp. 115–21; review of various works by Daguesseau, Caylus, Chevrier, Villers and Rousseau (La Nouvelle Héloïse; Émile is also discussed, but in anticipation of its publication). A check of the three London publications already mentioned, the Gentleman’s Magazine (1761–62), Annual Register (1761) and Monthly Review (late 1761, early 1762) for a source was fruitless, but inconclusive, since there are other possible origins. The article is strikingly up to date in its account of Émile, publication of which is still some months off. See above, p. 44. Notably in the Lettres à Ximénès, published as Lettres à M. de Voltaire sur La Nouvelle Héloïse. See Mélanges, especially the second letter. Émile is to be burnt by the common hangman (June 1762, p. 383); brief review of the Discours, consisting to a considerable extent of a quotation from the work (June 1762, pp. 278– 9); Émile briefly reviewed on same pages; somewhat more substantial review of Émile in translation (October 1762, p. 620). There are distinguished precedents. See d’Alembert on Émile: ‘This book seemed to me in general, like all the author’s writings, full of brilliance and obscurity, of warmth and puerile details, of insight and contradiction,

Rousseau in Eighteenth-Century Irish Journals

08. 09. 10. 11. 12. 13.


15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.



of logic and oddity. It is in a thousand places the work of a great man and in a few that of a child’ (‘Jugement de d’Alembert sur l’Émile’, Leigh Appendice 257, pp. 274–8). The complex issue of Burke’s authorship of the Annual Register is discussed in Fuchs, pp. 248ff. On Burke and Rousseau generally, see especially Fuchs, pp. 138–9; also Voisine, pp. 127–54. Annual Register (1759) pp. 479–84; Annual Register (1762), second section, pp. 227–39. Buffon’s pages on the beaver (le castor) were among his most celebrated. They emphasize the cooperative work practices of the species. La Nouvelle Héloïse, Seconde préface, in OC, ii, p. 28. The first London performance is in 1765, in a translation by Charles Burney. An English translation was published in Dublin two years later (Appendix 2, 192). For one contemporary Irish response to the Rousseau–Hume affair, see Leigh Appendice 535, pp. 278– 9, giving James Caulfield Lord Charlemont’s account of some aspects of the affair in terms unfavourable to Rousseau: extract taken from Francis Hardy, Memoirs of the political and private life of James Caulfield Earl of Charlemont (London: 1810). October 1776, p. 685. The same article appears in the Annual Register for 1776 (second section, pp. 27–33) and is described as being ‘given to the World in one of the periodical Publications’. In view of Edmund Burke’s connections with the Annual Register, it is perhaps not impossible that the annual is quoting the Hibernian Magazine. However, it is more likely that both are following the same London source. Leigh 5304, to Hume, 22 July 1766. Henri Roddier, J.-J. Rousseau en Angleterre au XVIIIe siècle: l’œuvre et l’homme (Paris: 1950), pp. 284–92. Leigh 5158, Rousseau in Staffordshire to his cousin Jean Rousseau in London. Voltaire’s letter was published in London in that month; Rousseau refers to an advertisement for it in a letter to Richard Davenport of 19 April 1776. See Leigh 5162 and notes thereto. Taken from the Gentleman’s Magazine (London), May 1767. See Leigh 5859 notes. The text is borrowed from the Gentleman’s Magazine (London) of January 1769. The text of Rousseau’s document is to be found in a letter to Mme Delessert, one of the Boy de La Tour family with whom he maintained a life-long friendship. See Leigh 6418, 3 September 1768. October (pp. 539–43), November (pp. 574–7) and December (pp. 634–8). Rousseau’s involvement is discussed in the final part. The absence of any reference to the Confessions is surprising. During this period the Hibernian Magazine offered engravings of contemporary fashion and was briefly fascinated with ballooning, but Buffon, Voltaire and d’Alembert all figure between 1784 and 1789. An article in December 1787 states firmly: ‘The French nation […] is by no means ripe for a revolution’ (p. 659). Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (1791).

106 25.


27. 28. 29.


31. 32. 33.

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 She was not alone among the titled ladies of Europe in having that ambition. After the Duke’s death, the Duchess married her children’s tutor, Mr Ogilvie, the man who was doing the job to which she would have called Rousseau. There are faint echoes of La Nouvelle Héloïse here, perhaps, but with a happier ending. The connection is pointed out by Tillyard. See also Fitzgerald. A slightly less tenuous Irish connection with Rousseau involves the Duchess’s friend, Mary Delany of Delville. Mrs Delany’s brother, Bernard Granville, was a kind neighbour to Rousseau during the writer’s exile in Staffordshire. See Simon Dewes, Mrs Delany (London, Rich and Cowan: no date), and Letters from Georgian Ireland. The Correspondence of Mary Delany, 1731–1768, ed. Angélique Day (Belfast: 1991). Despite the enthusiasm of Emily, of her own and Bernard’s niece, Mary Dewes (who had beguiled Rousseau), and of her close friend Margaret Cavendish Duchess of Portland (who had botanized with him), Mary Delany remained steadfast. See above, p. 10. The magazine also reports a month later in its Chronicle that ‘exhortations of a like import’ have been read in the chapels of Cork, Galway and other towns. Kevin Whelan suggests that at a later stage, as the Penal Laws were repealed, a dichotomy opened up in Catholic circles on the specific, crucial issue of land ownership, the ‘Jacobite claim of aboriginal ownership’ being ‘discarded by the top echelons of the Irish Catholic class structure’ but ‘espoused by the Catholic middle and lower class’. See ‘An Underground gentry? Catholic middlemen in eighteenth-century Ireland’, ECI, 10 (1995) pp. 48–9. See Bartlett, especially pp. 45–65. Seán Murphy, ‘The Dublin anti-Union riot of 3 December 1759’ in Parliament, Politics and People. Essays in Eighteenth-Century Irish History, ed. Gerard O’Brien (Dublin: 1989). Constantia Maxwell records the alarm they inspired in Charles Wesley in 1747. See Dublin under the Georges (London: 1956) p. 279. For a full account of these street disturbances, see Patrick Fagan, ‘The Dublin Catholic mob (1700–1750)’, ECI, 4 (1989) pp. 133–42. On Whiteboy activity and other forms of agrarian unrest, see R.B. McDowell, ‘Colonial nationalism and the winning of parliamentary independence, 1760–82’, A New History of Ireland, eds T.W. Moody and W.E. Vaughan, vol. 4, The Eighteenth Century (Oxford: 1986) pp. 196–235, especially pp. 200ff. Cf. Hibernian Magazine, April, May, June and July 1787. Gentleman’s and London Magazine, March, April, May and June 1766. The report of the Sheehy trial in March coincides with publication of Du Peyrou’s account of the Swiss clergy’s persecution of Rousseau. Émile (Profession de foi du vicaire savoyard), book iv, in OC, iv, pp. 625–7.

6 French Scientific Innovation in Late-Eighteenth-Century Dublin: the Hydrogen Balloon Experiments of Richard Crosbie (1783–1785) Barbara Traxler Brown It is often thought that the early Industrial Revolution in England and Scotland derived much of its success from experimental research carried out by scientifically-educated and active local élites. The pioneering work in cities like Birmingham, Manchester or Glasgow of chemists such as Black or Priestley, or of designers like Boulton, Watt and Arkwright, seems to reflect an indissoluble equation by the final decades of the century between scientific progress and early industrialization. By comparison, the scientific life of Dublin during the Enlightenment can seem rather modest, somewhat less dynamic than the achievements and renown of scientists working in the English midlands and elsewhere. Is such an eclipse justified by the documented facts, however? The existence of a numerically small, but alert and competent public in Dublin has been demonstrated in several studies focusing on the University, the Royal Irish Academy and the Royal Dublin Society.1 By the mid-1780s a scientific community was undoubtedly active, pursuing research within a mainly formal academic context, attending commercially available public lectures on a wide range of experimental topics, and importing relevant literature (Gough; Darnton 1, p. 592; Kennedy 1, pp. 442–50). Yet the impact of that community in the context of industrial utility and regional ‘modernization’ still appears very restrained, when compared to England or Scotland. Roy Porter has, however, challenged a number of traditional assumptions about the role of scientific pursuits within urban provincial venues and has provided an alternative framework of interpretation for Dublin’s ‘performance’ in relation to other centres.2 107


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Drawing attention to the growing ‘fashionability’ of science in Georgian society, Porter (p. 23) emphasizes what he terms the ‘differentials’ between celebrated and less celebrated venues outside London – Birmingham as opposed to Nottingham, Manchester as opposed to Plymouth. Clearly, factors such as economic, religious, institutional or even political affiliation had an impact on the process of innovation and the ensuing calibre of local experimental research. Such differentials may not always have operated in the causal way previously assumed, however. For example, Porter (p. 24) reassesses the influence of denominational adherence, dismissing typical ‘caricatures’ such as that contrasting ‘Oxbridge Anglicans, indifferent to science’ with ‘progressive, enlightened, tolerant provincial rational Dissenters’. Viewing provincial scientific life as a ‘Dissenters’ preserve’, presenting ‘Anglicans and non-conformist culture as if they were utterly polarized’, is, in his view, at variance with the overall factual evidence. Another commonplace assumption about regional scientific vitality argues its key dependence on the search for useful knowledge, which would maintain industrial supremacy. Porter, on the other hand (pp. 25 and 29), argues that the aspirations and programmes of provincial societies were often emphatically non-utilitarian; instead they functioned as ‘an intellectual curtain’, one which served to distance the newly urbane and genteel from the uncultured provincial. When we consider the situation in eighteenthcentury Dublin, the Anglican stronghold of Trinity College could certainly in no way be described as ‘indifferent to science’, nor did the dissenting provincials of Belfast offer a monopoly of enlightened talent in this domain. That scientific pursuits could also be perceived as an expression of a newly urbane cultural identity does much to illuminate, however, changes in the behaviour of late eighteenth-century Irish élites which have been recognized and identified elsewhere. A process of estrangement, virtual withdrawal from popular culture was taking place: As the gentry adopted metropolitan standards of taste, propriety and refinement, their patronage of hurling, of traditional music, of mumming groups, and their involvement in sociable […] activities with their tenants […] withered and faded. (United Irishmen, p. 294) This cultural assimilation to metropolitan norms in scientific matters, as in other domains, requires close scrutiny and may help us to assess a striking example of scientific endeavour in late eighteenth-century Dublin, one whose credentials were indeed impeccably metropolitan and which seems to betray the clear influence of the French Enlightenment. As a result of his replication during 1784 –1785 of the air balloon experiments by the Montgolfiers in Paris, Richard Crosbie (1755?–1800)

French Scientific Innovation in Dublin


became a celebrated figure in Irish biography, ‘a mechanical genius […] the first native to make an ascent.’3 Born on the family estate in Wicklow as a younger son, Crosbie took up an army commission, and in 1780 married Charlotte Armstrong, the only daughter of a noted Middlesex family. The Crosbie townhouse was at North Cumberland Street, not far from his erstwhile alma mater, Trinity College, where a workshop would accommodate much of his daily experimentation and eat up no small amount of the Crosbie family fortune. Mechanical design had been a long-standing passion and already, by 1781, Crosbie had developed a new sort of clock, ‘executed with his own hand’.4 Such is the reputation of his exploits at Dublin, however, that awareness of previous duplications of the Montgolfiers’ experiments elsewhere in Ireland has been all but obliterated. Yet already, by mid-April 1784, it would seem that the small rural town of Navan in County Meath had been host to the aerial voyage of a visiting foreigner, a ‘Mr Rosseau’, who successfully piloted a hot-air balloon southwards, landing at the village of Ratoath less than 20 miles away just over an hour later.5 Despite this significant episode, Crosbie’s ascent at Dublin, as a native-born Irishman, remains the enduring recollection. Beyond this image, however, other questions emerge about the real merit of Crosbie’s endeavour. The task, though finally completed, had been a major challenge to his scientific abilities. His experiments during the months prior to January 1785 had been publicly questioned and his understanding of the chemical and mechanical principles at stake exposed to the indignity of newspaper polemics. Even more striking, this exposure was at the hands of an individual who personified the cliché of the ‘provincial rational Dissenter’, the Scottish scientific lecturer James Dinwiddie (1746–1815), a frequent visitor to the Irish lecture circuit in the early 1780s. His career and circumstances, as a largely self-financed graduate of the University of Edinburgh, were in sharp contrast to those of Crosbie, ‘a young gentleman of capital connections and family.’6 Comparatively little examination of Dinwiddie’s public critique in terms of its technical relevance has taken place, however; as with the unfortunate ‘Mr Rosseau’, his experimental contributions on the matter of air balloons have been largely eclipsed by the celebration of Crosbie’s genius. In what follows, an attempt will be made to verify the degree of technical ingenuity and originality which Crosbie contributed to the subject. To what extent was he the ‘mechanical genius’ of popular commemoration? How far can features of his urban milieu, as identified by Porter, be seen to have contributed to his success?


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

THE FIRST AIR BALLOON EXPERIMENTS: THEIR PUBLIC AND PRIVATE DIFFUSION In honour of the illustrious St. Patrick, a young gentleman […] exhibited a most beautiful Hibernian Montgolfiere, on the one side, the arms of Ireland elegantly emblazoned, with this motto ‘Thus we rise to fame and glory’. (Freeman’s Journal, 19–22 March 1785) Forever linked with the invention of the air balloon and the first piloted airborne flight in November 1783 are the names of the Montgolfier brothers, in particular Joseph de Montgolfier (1740 –1810). However, for stimulating their research in the domain, the latter privately gave full credit to the work of the Scottish chemist, Joseph Black (1728–1799), who had examined ‘the different kinds of air’ and ‘the superior lightness by which some of them were distinguished’.7 Although scientifically logical, the Montgolfiers’ first experiments during June–September 1783 were bound to provoke strong public reaction, especially among those who did not witness the balloon ascents but depended either on accounts given in the press or personal correspondence. The initial restraint of Irish newspaper coverage was strongly reflected in the caution and inbuilt authentication of the Dublin Evening Post’s announcement on 16 September 1783: FOREIGN NEWS Paris, Sept. 2. A discovery has been made, of which the government hath thought proper to give notice, in order to prevent the terrors which it might excite among the people […] The first experiment was made at Annonay, in the Vivarais, by the Sieurs Montgolfier, the Inventors. A globe made of linen and paper, of 105 feet circumference, filled with inflammable air, rose of itself to a height beyond calculation. The same experiment was repeated at Paris, on the 29th [sic] of August, at five in the evening, in the presence of an infinite number of persons. Not surprisingly the newspapers in Dublin pre-empted the local monthly magazines in publicizing foreign coverage of the invention, as derived from in-coming ‘packets’. Early news was not necessarily trustworthy news, however. Over the first weeks of newspaper and magazine coverage a variable, divergent basis of reference and information accumulated for the readership at Dublin. Despite this variability it was nonetheless the newspaper accounts which first inspired Crosbie to repeat the air balloon experiments, probably by October 1783 at the latest. It was not until then that coverage of the invention became truly pervasive at Dublin, by virtue

French Scientific Innovation in Dublin


of both local, as well as English, newspapers and magazines, and their spontaneous cross-referencing. For example, the Hibernian Magazine of October 1783 (p. 529) liberally cited correspondence from London and Paris about the invention, along with an additional letter from Calais, dating from 12 September. In this, the London papers are described as having the accounts of Montgolfier’s most recent experiments: ‘he has very much improved his globes and has a very flattering prospect of making them turn out a national acquisition of great importance’. Not everyone was convinced. As one contemporary put it, ‘the accounts received from France […] were treated as fables, the possibility of their existence [air balloons] was doubted’ (‘An Essay on Air’, Hibernian Magazine, October 1784, p. 578). Such scepticism resulted in the newspapers and journals delivering more factually based information to a distant reader like Crosbie than has perhaps been recognized. To counteract public disbelief, additional features were adopted for the news coverage. In addition to the reissue of ‘correspondence’ already noted, the inclusion of relevant ephemera as part of a magazine report became quite frequent. Published in translation as appropriate, these could range from chance eye-witness accounts, to formally signed and published affidavits or procès-verbaux by nominated witnesses, describing and authenticating features of a particular balloon launch and its subsequent journey. Among the procès-verbaux, by far the most celebrated and publicized was that describing the very first manned balloon release on 21 November 1783 at Château de la Muette, the Dauphin’s residence near Paris. The signatories included Benjamin Franklin, Barthélemy Faujas de St Fond (the associate and scientific chronicler of the Montgolfiers’ work), and members of the French Academy. Published in identical versions in both the Hibernian Magazine (pp. 668–9) and Exshaw’s Gentleman’s and London Magazine of December 1783, this affidavit was subsequently archived for contemporary reference in the Annual Register for 1783, the indispensable yearbook series of the era. The names of those most closely concerned with the innovation in France thus became general public knowledge among readers in Dublin. Crosbie would have become familiar with the names of key witnesses to balloon experiments, people who were potential contacts and advisers. A further stylistic resource noticeable in the Dublin press coverage was the use of illustration, in particular copper-plate engravings, of air balloons, their inventors and pilots, usually taken from London and Paris originals. Of particular interest here is the Hibernian Magazine’s reissue in January 1784 (p. 1 and Frontispiece) of the Représentation du globe aérostatique, the first piloted hydrogen balloon ascent of 1 December 1783, as


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

depicted in the Journal de Paris for 2–3 December (Fig. 6.1). While the name of Jacques-Alexandre-César Charles (1746 –1823) may not be as familiar as that of the Montgolfiers, his use of the new and unfamiliar hydrogen gas or ‘inflammable air’, ten times lighter than normal air, as a filling agent for the balloon, did mark a considerable advance in terms of safety. No longer did the passengers have to constantly attend a burning on-board brazier, in order, as the saying was, ‘to keep up the fire’.8 The Hibernian Magazine’s engraving of Charles’s ascent was almost certainly

Figure 6.1 The Hibernian Magazine’s reissue in January 1784 of the Journal de Paris’s illustration of the first hydrogen balloon ascent by Charles and Robert.

French Scientific Innovation in Dublin


one of the first exact contemporary illustrations locally available to Crosbie at Dublin. Not only did he decide to utilize the new hydrogen gas as a filling agent, in contrast to the much cheaper, but dangerous ‘smoke Balloon’, but he also adopted the device of a cerceau and netting, as illustrated in the Hibernian Magazine for September 1784, to reinforce the suspension of his gondola or ‘aeronautic chariot’ underneath (Fig. 6.2). Thus

Figure 6.2 Crosbie’s Aeronautic Chariot, in the Hibernian Magazine of September 1784 (frontispiece).


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

the Irish magazines contributed to the very substantial pictorial record which exists for the early diffusion of the invention within Europe as a whole and ensured that Crosbie’s own design of a balloon and gondola survived for later technical appraisal. The print media’s use of illustration, moreover, also appears to have influenced the actual sequence and content of Crosbie’s experimentation, an example of this impact being apparent within the first year of his work. For instance, to see if living animals could survive the hazards of a balloon journey, the Montgolfiers in September 1783 had proposed ‘sending up quadrupedes in a cage fixed to the globe’ (Hibernian Magazine, October 1783, p. 529). The experiment was duly conducted at Versailles on 19 September 1783. Given that the launch took place in presence of the King and Queen, the European Magazine in London responded with a highly satirical engraving and the November issue of Exshaw’s Gentleman’s and London Magazine in Dublin followed suit (Fig. 6.3). Less than a year later, this experiment was replicated by Crosbie at the Ranelagh Pleasure Gardens near Dublin, although by then it was well known that humans, let alone animals, could withstand the rigours of such a journey. For the advancement of scientific knowledge per se the procedure was redundant, but it offered a spectacle for which members of the public were prepared to pay the equivalent of good theatre seat prices, at just under half-a-crown. For Crosbie, faced with ever-increasing costs, this exhibition value of the ‘experiment’ was financially important. Accordingly, for several weeks during late August and early September 1784, weeks which saw the first manned ascents at Edinburgh and London, Crosbie floated a model Balloon, some 12 ft in diameter, at the end of a rope, ‘each day, sending up some animal or another’, and at length, ‘effectually launched it with a tame cat’ (Hibernian Magazine, January 1785, p. 2). Due to strong winds that day in Dublin, the balloon was eventually sighted over the coast of Scotland before being blown back across the Irish Sea. Next day it was found capsized and rescued by a fisherman convinced that it was a bale of goods. His hook penetrating the balloon, however, ‘a considerable quantity of inflammable air rushed out in a stream of fire […] with a great explosion […] the poor cat […] just expiring’ (Freeman’s Journal, 16–18 September 1784). Such elements of theatrical display and publicity seeking often seem to have accompanied eighteenth-century science, especially in the provinces (cf. Porter, p. 22, especially n.14). Because of restricted newspaper space, magazine coverage of the new invention from Paris was probably more extensive. But in terms of a hierarchy of possible sources, the most privileged of all were those who had access to the supplementary data furnished by the ‘open letters’ of learned

French Scientific Innovation in Dublin


Figure 6.3 The Montgolfier brothers’ experiments with live animals in a balloon gondola, as illustrated in Exshaw’s Gentleman’s and London Magazine, November 1783.

society correspondents, or personal contacts. Frequently such letters could combine instances of unique observation with locally-available sources in the original language of publication. For example, in relation to the Montgolfiers’ first experiment with live animals in the balloon gondola or cage, Benjamin Franklin, a constant observer of the experiments in Paris,


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

sent his fellow member of the Royal Society, Sir Joseph Banks, a pamphlet accompanied by ‘some prints’, the promised ‘printed particular account of the rise & progress of the balloon invention’ not yet having appeared (letter of 8 October 1783, in Goodman, p. 94). The further significance of this mode of scientific exchange may be seen in relation to the published affidavit or procès-verbal for the first manned balloon release of 21 November 1783. The use and circulation of such ephemera for purposes of authentication has already been mentioned. In Franklin’s letters this process is taken a stage further, with the standard, agreed text of the affidavit undergoing further annotation and comment, as follows: Developant du Gaz. That is, in plain English, burning more straw; for tho’ there is a little mystery made, concerning the kind of air with which the balloon is fill’d I conceive it to be nothing more than hot smoke or common air rarify’d, – tho’ in this I may be mistaken. (letter of 21–22 November 1783, in Goodman, p. 98) Exceptional social connections did of course link Banks and Franklin. Apart from the Royal Society, both were members of the Paris Masonic Loge des Neuf Soeurs, noted throughout Europe for its intellectual brilliance and whose other members included Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, recently nominated to the French Academy’s Commission of Enquiry into the new invention.9 The information forwarded by Franklin was undoubtedly intended for the use of the Royal Society as a whole. Just three months later (16 January 1784), following several detailed letters, Franklin reassured another member of the Royal Society, the botanist Jan Ingenhousz, that ‘every information in my power, respecting the balloons, I sent you just before Christmas, contained in copies of my letters to Sir Joseph Banks’ (Goodman, p. 103). He had also included a copy of a recent publication, the Description des expériences de la machine aérostatique de MM. de Montgolfier, compiled by their associate, the scientist Faujas de St Fond. Even today this anthology of technical data about the invention represents an exceedingly valuable documentary source.10 Along with the supplement of May 1784 (Première suite de la Description des expériences aérostatiques de MM. de Montgolfier), the work of Faujas de St Fond is an unparalleled assembly of incidental reports, analyses and specific evaluations, complete with engravings of high quality exactitude, showing various steps in both hot-air and hydrogen balloon construction and fuelling. It thus becomes possible to identify and monitor the development and implementation of new design features during 1783–1784, a step which is clearly relevant for evaluating the work of Crosbie in Dublin.

French Scientific Innovation in Dublin


In addition, from Faujas de St Fond’s publications as a whole, some impression can be obtained of the impact of Franklin’s letters at London, as they reveal the existence of highly interested individuals and groups. Firstly, the will to disseminate, to diffuse the invention, is clearly perceived as part of a quasi-public duty of enlightenment: Enlightened correspondents have been kind enough to promise to instruct me with exactitude about everything that may be done in this connection, and I shall not lose an instant before letting the public share in it. (Faujas, Description, p. 293) Secondly, the process is based on an assumption of reciprocity, as Faujas (pp. xxxiv–v) refers to ‘two academicians of the Royal Society of London’ and of scholars from Petersburg and Florence willing to inform him of similar developments in their cities. While one of these London académiciens was almost certainly Franklin, a witness and co-signatory with Faujas to the affidavit of 21 November 1783, several possibilities exist for the identity of the second: these include Richard Kirwan, then resident in London and a close associate of both Sir Joseph Banks and Jan Ingenhousz; Tiberius Cavallo of Naples, who had been experimenting with ways to overcome the forces of gravity and had systematically translated into English the French-language accounts of the first year of balloon travel; and John Sheldon, whose interest in such data from Paris is well attested.11 Thus, by Spring 1784 at the latest, a particular group of Fellows within the Royal Society were in a unique position with regard to the most recent technical data about the invention. In terms of early warning about relevant publications as well as evaluation and comment, membership of the Society offered an additional opportunity to follow the technical progress of the invention at a level which far exceeded that of the newspapers or magazines in calibre and reliability.

THE HYDROGEN BALLOON AND ‘AERONAUTIC CHARIOT’ AT DUBLIN (SEPTEMBER 1784) Is there any indication that Crosbie had access to this channel of information? Even to consider such a question about his scientific research is quite at variance with the popular contemporary perception of his work at Dublin. Few, if any doubts about the originality of ‘the machine, which he invented, […] his Aeronautic chariot’, were entertained by Crosbie’s supporters (Hibernian Magazine, January 1785, pp. 1–2). This was very evident when it came to dealing with ‘the hungry Caledonian emigrant’,


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

‘the itinerant peripatetic’, James Dinwiddie, and those who shared his scepticism. THO’ Envy, CROSBIE, vilify thy name, And strive to blast the harvest of thy fame, ‘Tis Virtue’s common lot; nor thou repine, The tribute due to great attempts is thine You, of Hibernia’s Sons, none can deny, A Dedalus, first launch’d into the sky, […] Untutor’d and alone pursu’d your flight Thro’ untried space impervious to the sight. COLUMBUS thus his daring sails unfurl’d, Stemm’d seas unknown and gave another world.12 Alone in his gondola Crosbie may have been, but he was certainly – by January 1785 – no Columbus, and far from ‘untutor’d’. This was already demonstrated in the exhibition at Ranelagh, where financial success depended on the familiarity and predictability of the experimental process. One recalls his use of a model balloon some 12 ft in diameter. Why did Crosbie select that precise measure; why not 8 ft or even 40 ft, the diameter chosen by the Montgolfiers for their equivalent experiment at Versailles with various animals? In this context the wealth of technical data provided by Faujas de St Fond in his first survey of November 1783 proves of exceptional interest, in particular the following one-page table of calculations (Description, p. 290): ‘TABLEAU comparatif des principales dimensions des Machines aérostatiques à air inflammable, avec diverses enveloppes, & des poids qu’elles peuvent enlever, en supposant l’air inflammable dans le rapport de 1 à 8’. In this table the loading capacity is provided for hydrogen-fuelled balloons of various diameters, ranging from 5 ft (1 lb 2 oz) to 200 ft, each load calculated for a balloon envelope in that diameter made of goatskin, sheepskin or the more normal silk taffeta. For Crosbie’s fee-paying exhibition at Ranelagh, a diameter of 12 ft is presented in this table as providing, for the least quantity of hydrogen, the most flexible loading capacity, namely up to 49 livres, the equivalent of just over 22 kg. Did Crosbie select this diameter for the animal cargo experiments at Ranelagh merely on the basis of his own independent enquiry and calculation of the forces at work, without knowledge or recourse to the Tableau comparatif? Perhaps he simply followed, or was inspired by a chance reference to an early model hydrogen balloon of that diameter from a Paris launch of 27 August 1783 in

French Scientific Innovation in Dublin


Exshaw’s Gentleman’s and London Magazine (November 1783, p. 561). If so, then the replication of this design feature for August–September 1784 would vouch for his understanding of the physical and mechanical forces at work. Coincidental solutions to a given problem are by no means unknown in the history of science. On the other hand, the public disagreement with James Dinwiddie illustrates a second coincidental design feature in the demonstrations at Ranelagh. Apart from the various animal cargoes, Crosbie had also displayed his ‘aeronautic chariot’, the gondola intended for his first ascent (Fig. 6.2). This was not the only opportunity which the Dublin public had to view his work, however. At a subsequent public lecture on the New discover’d Airs in Capel Street Opera House, James Dinwiddie produced not only some floating model balloons of his own, but also ‘a machine […] declared to be the model of that one exhibited at Ranelagh’ (Faulkner’s Dublin Journal, 21–23 September 1784). He proceeded to deliver some critical remarks thereon. The lecture merited a very appreciative review in the Dublin Evening Post of 21 September 1784, where the correspondent noted ‘the general approbation of the most brilliant and crowded audience that ever graced a theatre’. But, unknown to Dinwiddie, Crosbie was also present in the audience. Deeply offended by the critique and misrepresentation of his work, he became convinced (cf. letter to Faulkner’s Dublin Journal of 21–23 September 1784), that Dinwiddie’s purpose was to ‘depreciate and villify […] my humble endeavours to throw new lights on a matter of science, that at present employs the researches of the learned in most of the countries of Europe’. Dinwiddie’s only concession was to admit (Dublin Evening Post, 28 September) that the ‘model’ had indeed been defective: […] the masts and sails were omitted. I had already proved the inefficacy of sails when applied to a balloon, and it only remained to consider the fly, or windmill part of Mr C’s chariot. What was the function of these components? What exactly was this windmill which Crosbie had added to the ‘chariot’? From one of Faujas de St Fond’s correspondents the following explanation emerges. Among the most committed enthusiasts for the hydrogen balloon ascents developed by Charles Montgolfier was Jean-Pierre Blanchard, the first to attempt, and succeed, in crossing the English Channel by balloon in early January 1785. Faujas de St Fond was in direct correspondence with him by March 1784 at the latest, following Blanchard’s first successful balloon ascent near Paris.13 Blanchard specifically laid claim to the invention of a moulinet or volant, in effect, a ‘windmill’ or ‘fly’, an early type


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

of propeller. Such a device was one way of attempting to steer and stabilize an air balloon, once released, although the process was a difficult and physically demanding one: M. Sheldon turning the windmill (moulinet) or fly (volant), attached to my vessel, while I pressed on the rudder (gouvernail) in the opposite direction, these opposing movements […] changed the direction of our course a few degrees.14 Technical solutions for navigation had equally captured the attention of Blanchard’s fellow enthusiasts, however. The designer who succeeded in producing effective steering aids for the new means of transport, permitting travel in any desired direction, was assured of acclaim, patronage and fortune. Little wonder then at the indignant tones of Blanchard in the correspondence page of the Journal de Paris in August 1784 (p. 3, note), when he found himself accused of pirating the design solution of windmill blades (volants) for steering, adopted by one ‘M. Valet’. The gentleman in question was almost certainly the scientific protégé of the comte d’Artois, the future Charles X, whose balloon and paddle-operated gondola may be reconstructed from the 1785 pamphlet report, Précis des expériences faites par MM. Alban et Vallet, et souscription proposée pour un cours de direction aérostatique. This partnership was primarily commercial, as Alban and Vallet operated a vitriol works at Javel, near Paris.15 Since sulphuric acid was essential for the manufacture of hydrogen gas, now in frequent demand, the step from fuelling other people’s balloons to designing one of their own was quite logical. It would appear that their design process using windmill blades did involve experimental short-cuts, however, hence the accusations and recrimation with Blanchard in the Paris press in August 1784. Blanchard’s aggressive defence of his steering innovation, dating from 1781, is very striking, as he clearly perceived that a charge of plagiarism of an original design solution might be made. Yet, as can be seen from Fig. 6.2, by mid-August 1784, Crosbie’s aeronautic chariot came complete with a rudder or gouvernail – and not just one windmill, but two. How does this reflect on his originality? While the concept of using masts, sails and a rudder had already been explored during late 1783 and 1784, notably by the natural historian Thomas Martyn in London, the specific use of a windmill device in English ballooning technology did not occur until Blanchard’s own flight over London on 16 October 1784. Vincenzo Lunardi, who had made the first London ascent just a month earlier, had focused on the use of oars as a navigational tool (Hibernian Magazine, November 1784, pp. 618–9). Just as with Crosbie’s choice of a diameter of 12 ft for his hydrogen balloon, the

French Scientific Innovation in Dublin


similar solution adopted on either side of the Irish sea may be coincidental. If so, these parallels in Crosbie’s solution of the physical and technical problems involved could be seen as yet further tribute to his ingenuity. But, if not purely coincidental, how else could they be explained? For Crosbie to have heard independently, that is, without recourse to society memberships, or other affiliations, about Faujas de St Fond’s work would not be too surprising. The Description des expériences de MM. Montgolfier of November 1783 had been given a detailed synopsis and appreciation in a special Appendix to the Monthly Review for December 1783. Published in London by the Dissenter, Ralph Griffiths, the Monthly Review was frequently advertised in the Dublin Evening Post (cf. 16 August 1783), usually to coincide with the latest issue of the Hibernian Magazine. The Review’s treatment of the new anthology from Paris specifically highlights the following text, possibly a contribution of Blanchard himself, albeit in terms of considerable scepticism: An anonymous letter to M. de St. Fond containing a project for steering balloons in every direction, and conjectures on the uses to which they may hereafter be applied, has, we own, given us at least as much entertainment […] as the perusal of the Arabian Fairy Tales.16 In addition, the standard review treatment was extended to include (p. 557) direct eye-witness reports of the subsequent, post-publication, hydrogen balloon ascent of 1 December 1783. This determination to fulfil a publicizing, ‘enlightening’ role is even more clearly articulated in the concluding remarks. An ethos of communication and reciprocal exchange for the greater benefit of the readership at large, including de facto those readers located at Dublin, is clearly apparent in the stance of Franklin and Faujas himself. Even the cheapest and most basic of introductions to the subject did not escape the attention of the Monthly Review, for example William Cooke’s pamphlet, The Air Balloon which, at a retail price of just one shilling, had reached a third edition in January 1784.17 By early 1784, therefore, the existence at Dublin of highly relevant technical literature in French was signalled and publicized, independent of any need for Society affiliations. This situation may have been an inadvertent catalyst in Crosbie’s decision to use a particular diameter of 12 ft for the animal cargo demonstrations at Ranelagh. With the design feature of the windmill or moulinet, however, it seems inconceivable that the commercial magazine infrastructure provided the stimulus. Although Blanchard’s work is explicitly mentioned in the Monthly Review of March 1784, his pamphlet describing the third aerial voyage above Rouen is not publicized


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

until October 1784 (p. 382). Crosbie’s exhibition of the ‘aeronautic chariot’, complete with windmill, was already taking place by late August–early September 1784, as noted earlier. Accordingly, if this design feature of windmill propellers was not unique and original to Crosbie, some alternative publicizing circuit beyond magazines like the Monthly Review would have had to be involved. Earlier, in the context of the Franklin–Banks correspondence, the functioning of just such an alternative circuit was highlighted. The role of the wider Royal Society membership as a unique intermediary for such information has also been demonstrated. If Crosbie’s immediate associates and patrons at Dublin are examined, his access to such a unique circuit can by no means be excluded. Instead, an operating context emerges for his work which argues against the role of mere coincidence in his technical design solutions. As early as February 1784 Crosbie, a former student, had already acquired the public support of two Fellows at Trinity College, namely Arthur Browne and Dr Henry Ussher (Dublin Evening Post, 7 February 1784). Both men had secured their Fellowships, Browne in 1777, Ussher in 1779 and 1781 (Senior Fellowship) quite early in the reign of John HelyHutchinson (1774–1794), a Provost noted for his modernizing impact at a time when both Dissenters and Catholics were excluded from the College. Apart from the bestowal on him of a Senior Fellowship in 1781, the Provost’s esteem for Ussher was further demonstrated shortly afterwards by the award of the Andrews’ Professorship of Astronomy, a post which anticipated the design and construction of the College Observatory at Dunsink, just to the north of the city.18 To compensate for his lack of formal academic training in astronomy, Ussher had initiated contact during 1784 with the Astronomer Royal of England at Greenwich Observatory, Sir Nevil Maskelyne, who had been elected Fellow of the Royal Society as early as 1758 (Wayman, p. 5). The rationale for Ussher’s interest in both astronomy and Crosbie’s venture may be seen in the importance of observation balloons in noting and accounting for changes in weather conditions, an important factor for the accuracy and sustainability of telescope work. Such was Ussher’s scientific commitment to Crosbie’s venture that he himself experimented directly with the addition of new design features (Freeman’s Journal, 1–3 February 1785). Apart from the September newspaper polemics of 1784, there is further evidence in December correspondence that Crosbie was not left isolated in his experimental work. The letter attacks various assumptions concerning speed and altitude deriving from the addition of wings, yet another device developed by Blanchard, to the ‘aeronautic chariot’. Crosbie himself was

French Scientific Innovation in Dublin


to some extent exonerated, the anonymous critic referring instead to ‘those he looks up to as his philosophic advisers’ (Freeman’s Journal, 28–30 December 1784). It seems possible therefore that not only Ussher at Trinity College but through him, Nevil Maskelyne and other members of the Royal Society such as Cavallo, or Kirwan, may also have been communicating advice, and relevant news to Dublin in the role of ‘philosophic advisers’. Details of a ‘windmill’ or moulinet device for steering, and the subsequent dispute about ownership of that device between protégés of the comte d’Artois and Jean-Pierre Blanchard, were, to say the least, relevant and newsworthy in such a context. Pending further investigation of manuscript evidence relating to this inferred communications circuit, the issue of Crosbie’s technical originality must therefore remain open to debate. While the scientific benefits of Crosbie’s venture had clearly attracted Ussher’s academic support since February 1784, he also undertook the mobilization of wider political support and patronage. In early April Crosbie gave a formal presentation of his ‘aeronautic chariot’ at Ussher’s chambers in Trinity College. A few days later Ussher informed the Earl of Charlemont about the demonstration, advising him that with a man of Crosbie’s ingenuity the balloon should at least perform as well as any hitherto.19 In a subsequent letter to Charlemont Crosbie took full advantage of this recommendation. Not only did he let it be known that he ‘was warmly solicited to go to England immediately’, but also that in effect ‘the honor of this country’ was at stake. Charlemont was the foremost patron of the arts in Ireland, a Fellow of the Royal Society and an original founder member, together with Ussher and Richard Kirwan, of the Royal Irish Academy in April 1785 (Ó Raifeartaigh, pp. 8–11). Equally he was a figure of considerable political influence, known throughout the country in his role of Colonel-in-Chief to the Volunteers, and a member of the Privy Council of Ireland. Crosbie’s allusion to ‘the honor of the country’ could not have been sent to a more receptive sponsor. In the context of Ireland during the mid-1780s, patriotic endeavour was a powerful motivation for engagement in a wide range of pursuits, although, as indicated by Lunney (p. 77), this could degenerate into cultural chauvinism. The appeal was successful, and in later popular acclaim, the patriotic credentials of Crosbie’s venture are duly celebrated: as a ‘Dedalus’ among ‘Hibernia’s Sons’, he was inspired by ‘the flame of patriot glory’. It is presumably also due to Charlemont’s influence that the Wexford MP and Privy Council member, George Ogle, not previously noted as a patron of the sciences, became involved in Crosbie’s organizing committee for the first balloon ascent of January 1785.20 In addition to him, the Duke of Leinster and Charlemont both presided directly at the launch. For


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

several months previously this patronage had already been publicly demonstrated, for example, in the days following the newspaper polemics with James Dinwiddie and the public critique of the ‘aeronautic chariot’. Just two weeks later, in the Dublin Evening Post for 5 October 1784, Crosbie is described as having ‘liberated a second balloon, in the presence of their Graces the Duke and Duchess of Rutland’. Such patronage would influence the calibre of open debate on various aspects of the enterprise. It is also revealing about the type of scientific project which was perceived as attractive and worthy of aristocratic support in Dublin. In a subsequent letter to Haliday, his friend at Belfast, in which the organization there of an air balloon launch is discussed, Charlemont gives the following advice: Go on and prosper, strengthen, enrich, and adorn your country by your plans of education and manufactures. Cultivate the elements of earth, water and fire, […] and leave the air to metropolitan visionaries and idlers. (Gilbert, ii, p. 39) Haliday had previously defined Belfast as a town ‘just entering on a contest with Manchester’ and had deplored the crowds set ‘a-gazing’ at such spectacles as air balloon ascents. The non-utilitarian character of Charlemont’s scientific preferences is apparent here, likewise their ‘metropolitan’ credentials.

CONCLUSION Efforts to replicate the Paris hydrogen balloon experiments at Dublin thus offer a number of insights about scientific research there. Firstly, it is clear that the Dublin newspaper and magazine press played a crucial role in both publicizing and culturally integrating overseas scientific innovation. For exceptional events like the air balloon invention, the magazine press in particular deployed all its resources, reaching out to a pool of talent and ability, including those readers who were potential contributors, or ‘fellow projectors’, in the activities described. The amateur, short-lived and dilettante character of some eighteenth-century science may be partly accounted for by the liberality of this editorial stance. In itself, the latter may be considered as a further extension of the Enlightenment belief in the communication and reciprocal sharing of information. A further result of this broad media diffusion was the creation of a spectator public for scientific phenomena. This deliberate appeal for public support above all illustrates some curious aspects of Crosbie’s work which

French Scientific Innovation in Dublin


are at variance with the popular perception of his achievement. As regards the ‘aeronautic chariot’, his independent access to the particular gondola design feature of a ‘windmill’ propeller, via the commercial magazines, can be virtually excluded. Instead, close examination of his immediate associates at Dublin, especially at Trinity College, establishes their strong links with the Royal Society at London, a unique repository of data about the invention. It is clear that an influential faction at the College was actively pursuing scientific work of the highest calibre and that Crosbie had access to this milieu. Moreover, the fact that he had secured the patronage of Charlemont, ‘the Volunteering Earl’, was an asset of exceptional value. Beyond any conventional factors, such as Anglican denominational solidarity, as identified for the English context, it would appear that the motivation of patriotic endeavour, ‘the honor of the country’, could and did provide major impetus. Quite apart from any financial subsidy or benefit, Charlemont’s patronage conferred endorsement of Crosbie’s work at the highest socio-cultural levels, plus a ready defence in the event of impertinent criticism. But, even with such patronage, there is little likelihood that the hydrogen balloon venture could have succeeded but for Crosbie’s own fundamental ability and sustained commitment to scientific and technical experimentation. In this respect the ultimate value of his achievement as a ‘native of the kingdom’ remains unassailable, a tribute to the level of expertise which Georgian Dublin could develop and nurture.


2. 3. 4. 5.

Cf. J.E. Burnett and A.D. Morrison-Low, ‘Vulgar and mechanick’: the scientific instrument trade in Ireland 1650–1921, Royal Dublin Society Historical Studies in Irish Science and Technology, 8 (Dublin: 1989); The Royal Irish Academy: a Bicentennial History 1785–1985, ed. T. Ó Raifeartaigh, (Dublin: 1985). ‘Science, provincial culture and public opinion in Enlightenment England’, British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 3 (1980) pp. 20–46. Cf. S. Crone, A Concise Irish Biography (Dublin: 1928) p. 47; D. Kelly, Four Roads to Dublin: the History of Rathmines, Ranelagh and Leeson Street (Dublin: 1995) pp. 13, 17, 45–7. ‘Some memoirs of Richard Crosbie, Esq; the famous Aerial Traveller’, Hibernian Magazine, January 1785, pp. 1–2. Cf. D. Synott, ‘Georgian aviation’, Aerostat: Journal of the British Balloon and Airship Club, 22 (1992) pp. 40–1. For Rosseau’s ascent, see L. Byrne, History of Aviation in Ireland (Shannon: 1980) pp. 17–18.

126 06.

07. 08. 09. 10.


12. 13.

14. 15.

16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 L. Lunney, ‘The celebrated Mr. Dinwiddie: an eighteenth-century scientist in Ireland’, ECI, 3 (1988) pp. 69 –83. Cf. the Freeman’s Journal, 28–30 September 1784, ‘To Mr. D–w–e’, (letter signed by ‘An Enemy to Importation’). Cf. C. Gillispie, The Montgolfier Brothers and the Invention of Aviation, 1783–1784 (Princeton: 1983); J. Lough, ‘Encounters between British travellers and eighteenth-century French writers’, Studies, 245 (1986) p. 71. The Ingenious Dr. Franklin: Selected Scientific Letters, ed. N.G. Goodman, (Philadelphia: 1931) pp. 97–8, 21 November 1783. Cf. N.A. Hans, ‘UNESCO of the eighteenth century; the Loge des Neuf Soeurs and its Venerable Master, Benjamin Franklin’, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 97 (1953) pp. 513–24. B. Faujas de St Fond, Description des expériences de la machine aérostatique de MM. de Montgolfier et de celles auxquelles cette découverte a donné lieu, suivie de recherches sur la hauteur à laquelle est parvenu le ballon du Champ-de-Mars […] d’un mémoire sur le gaz inflammable & sur celui qu’ont employé MM. de Montgolfier [et] d’une lettre sur les moyens de diriger ces machines (Paris: 1783). Cf. T. Cavallo, The History and Practice of Aerostation (London: 1785); B. Faujas de St Fond (tr. C.R.W. Wiedemann), Reise durch England, Schottland und die Hebriden in Rücksicht auf Wissenschaften, Künste, Naturgeschichte und Sitten (Gottingen: 1799) pp. 21, 35; E.L. Scott, The Life and Work of Richard Kirwan (1733–1812) with particular reference to his influence on the chemistry, geology and meteorology of his time (PhD thesis, Faculty of Science, University of London: 1979) p. 22. [Anon.], To Richard Crosbie, Esq. on his attempting a second aerial excursion (Dublin: 1785): ESTC n°13782. B. Faujas de St Fond, Première suite de la description des expériences aérostatiques de MM. de Montgolfier […] contenant les voyages aériens de la Muette, des Tuileries […] etc., plusieurs mémoires de MM. de Montgolfier et de M. le Comte de Milly sur la manière de diriger les Aérostates […] un mémoire sur la gomme élastique ou caoutchouc […] différentes manières d’obtenir l’air inflammable, etc. (Paris: 1784) pp. 174–89. J.P. Blanchard, Journal et procès-verbaux du quatrieme voyage aerien de M. Blanchard, parti de Chelsea, le 16 octobre, 1784 (London: 1784) pp. 3–5: ESTC n°10241. For Alban and Vallet, cf. H. Beaubois (tr. M. and A. Kelly), Airships: An Illustrated History (London: 1973) pp. 14–15, 21; A. Musson and E. Robinson, Science and Technology in the Industrial Revolution (Manchester: 1969) p. 275; Faujas, Description, p. 168. Monthly Review, lxix (1783), Appendix, Art. viii, p. 560. Monthly Review, lxx (1784), pp. 78–9. P.A. Wayman, Dunsink Observatory 1785–1985: a Bicentennial History (Royal Dublin Society Historical Studies in Irish Science and Technology vii) (Dublin: 1987) pp. 3–4. The Manuscripts and correspondence of James, first Earl of Charlemont 1784–1799, ed. J.T. Gilbert (Historical Manuscripts Commission, Thirteenth Report, Appendix, part viii), (London: 1894) ii, p. 2. The Annual Register […] for the year 1785 (London: 1787) pp. 224–5.

Part II Ireland Seen from France

This page intentionally left blank

7 Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish in Enlightenment France Éamon Ó Ciosáin Louis, chevalier de Jaucourt, for long relegated to the ranks of pedantic bores, is now known to have written about a quarter of the entire Encyclopédie (1751–66), under Diderot’s often absentee direction.1 He was also responsible for most of the Encyclopédie’s Irish material. At a time in the mid-eighteenth century when Irish rebelliousness seemed to have abated, he penned the article on Ulster, explaining how the province, called ‘Cui Guilly’ by the Irish (from the Irish Cúige Uladh), fell to the English crown in the reign of James I. The Irish were then removed from all defendable places, and confined to the low-lying areas. They were taught farming and other skills. They were put into fixed dwellings for their security. Punishments were imposed for pillaging and robbery. Thus, from being the most savage and unruly of Irish provinces, Ulster soon became the province where the reign of law and a favourable culture seemed most established. James I did not admit of any other authority there or elsewhere throughout the island than the rightful law, which would protect the population from all future tyranny. The value of the taxes which the nobility demanded from their vassals was defined, and all arbitrary exactions forbidden […] Such were the measures by which the King introduced humanity and justice to a nation which had never previously risen above the utmost barbarity and the most terrible ferocity. Noble measures! far superior to the criminal vainglory of conquerors, but which require centuries of care and perseverance to cultivate such laudable enterprises to full maturity. (vol. xvii, p. 376a) Jaucourt’s approach illustrates both the method and the preoccupations of his French Enlightenment contemporaries. His articles draw on typical sources and echo previous French writing on Ireland, in particular various references by the philosophes to Irish affairs. The Irish had been depicted in French medieval literature as wild: in a list of national characters, 129


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

an Old French proverb locates ‘the most savage of peoples in Ireland’.2 They were first accused of barbarity and ferocity in ancient Greek sources, and each humanist revival recycled this stock description, often embroidering on the theme, as witness Giraldus Cambrensis.3 The French philosophes equated the Middle Ages with unmitigated barbarity, as the Encyclopédie article ‘Siècles d’ignorance’ indicates. Jaucourt’s view of Ireland in the late Middle Ages, before the English conquest, thus fits into this general perspective. The accusation of extortion follows the usual Enlightenment criticism of feudalism, classifying Irish political order among other types of ‘tyranny’, and ignoring any distinction between Gaelic, AngloNorman or English systems. Typical also is the suggestion that it was necessary to teach the Irish farming and ‘les arts’, which meant the broad Enlightenment view of the arts as including manufacture and commerce. This had been a constant motif in writing on Ireland from the time of Cambrensis. Ireland is also seen as land suitable for conquest, its potential for ‘progress’ being assessed in the terms of the outsiders’ economic and political structures: hence the oppositions between the lazy Irish and the work ethic (Anglo-Norman, Reformed, etc.), between wood-dwellers and walled towns, barter and coinage and so forth. Jaucourt unhesitatingly adopts the English conquerors’ point of view, as had the French historian Froissart centuries earlier in his account of the English Court’s attitude to Ireland. The French Enlightenment’s widespread anglophilia made its attitude to Irish affairs a foregone conclusion. It is well known that the French Enlightenment saw the English political system as the best available, particularly in terms of its aspiration to liberty, and set great stock by thinkers such as Locke and Hume in politics as in philosophy. English mediation of information and positions ideological, religious and cultural on Ireland had indeed been a constant factor in Franco-Irish relations since 1100. This was reinforced in the case of French eighteenth-century writers who had spent time in England, often as exiles: Montesquieu, Voltaire and Prévost all expressed opinions about the Irish. Jaucourt himself had not only studied English at Cambridge, one of his sisters was married to a Scottish major and lived in Dublin.4 One might expect that, for the sake of completeness, Jaucourt’s Irish Encyclopédie articles would make some allusion to the many works of defence and illustration of the Irish Catholic position published in France after 1620, if only to dismiss them. These works were mainly written by clerics. In the early period of Irish mass migration to France vindications of Ireland’s ancient piety were produced cataloguing Irish saints: tracts by Bishop David Rothe on Saints Bridget, Patrick and Colmcille (Paris: 1620)

Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish


and Thomas Messingham’s Florilegium insulae sanctorum (Paris: 1624). There followed, in the 1650s and after, works describing the persecution of Irish Catholics by the English and efforts at mixed-group government of a Royalist complexion such as the Confederation of Kilkenny. They affirmed that the Irish race had as much claim to respectability as a ‘nation’ as any other at the time, as it had had this status for centuries, with a high degree of learning and culture, and had been governed by kings. Such arguments were articulated by John O’Callaghan in the 1650s, by Bishop John Lynch in the 1660s and 70s, and in the eighteenth century in the abbé Heneghan’s Irish articles in the 1759 edition of the Moréri dictionary, the abbé James MacGeoghegan’s Histoire d’Irlande, and the bulky 1764 ‘Mémoire’ on McPherson, most likely written by Bishop John O’Brien of Cloyne, in the Journal des savants, claiming Ossian’s originals for Ireland.5 Some of this material was reactive, countering Scottish claims to ancient Irish history and literature or English denigration of the Irish. Very little made its way into mainstream French historical writing or into the various universal dictionaries read by the French, such as Bayle’s Dictionnaire, the Jesuits’ Dictionnaire de Trévoux, Lamartinière’s dictionary or the early editions of the Dictionnaire de Moréri, some of which show enlightened leanings. This was a dialogue of the deaf, partly because the polemics against Scottish claims to Ireland’s past no doubt appeared obscure to French readers, and also perhaps because the sources used and their criticism of the English were of clerical inspiration. Only with the appearance in French of Heneghan’s articles and MacGeoghegan’s Histoire d’Irlande (1758–63) was the Irish case at last granted a hearing, too late to influence the French Enlightenment’s view of the country.

THE PHILOSOPHES’ METHODOLOGY AND ITS LIMITATIONS The matière d’Irlande in the French Enlightenment illustrates very effectively the movement’s ideological thrust and methodology. Significant gaps are evident in the treatment of Irish affairs and people when compared to other groups. The lack of references to Irish publications in France provides one such instance. Little ethnological interest was shown in Ireland, apart from the article ‘Bardes’ in the Encyclopédie, which drew on Geoffrey Keating’s Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, in English translation.6 Enlightenment culture readily used various nations as polemical examples for internal French debates, particularly on political and religious matters: Turks, Uzbeks, Chinese mandarins, native Americans, all enjoyed their


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

vogue and were the subject of curiosity, even admiration. That the Irish were not similarly used may be attributable to their being little known and perhaps too uncomfortably close in place and colour of skin, although two notable exceptions occur in the work of Restif de La Bretonne: in his Veillées du Marais (1785), and in the Nuits, where his surrogate, M. de Fontlhète, dreams that he is Irish.7 Travel writing on Ireland in French was almost non-existent in the age of the Enlightenment. Only two French travellers had published accounts of their visits to Ireland in the seventeenth century, neither work reaching a large audience. Le Sieur de la Boullaye le Gouz visited eastern and southern Ireland in the 1640s, and his account alternates travel details with short essays on the character and customs of the Irish he met.8 A Royalist and a Catholic, he noted both the passionate nature and generosity of the Irish, situating his account in the devastated countrysides he traversed, without apportioning blame as to the causes of the war. Jouvin de Rochefort travelled from Dublin to Carrickfergus in the 1660s, and found Ireland to be a land flowing with milk and fish, the richest country in Europe as regards victuals but the poorest in money, its inhabitants strongly attached to the Catholic religion. Ireland was however only a stage on the journey to Scotland for Jouvin.9 Even had there been a substantial body of travellers’ tales about Ireland in an age which devoured such accounts, it would not follow that works like the Encyclopédie would have been better informed, since Enlightenment rationalism did not necessarily lead to a fresh, empirical approach to geographical and historical diversity. Nowhere in the articles on Ireland in the Encyclopédie are the descriptions borrowed from Tacitus and other ancient sources checked against current realities, which is not altogether surprising. Accounts of countries and ‘nations’ were often regarded by writers such as Voltaire, Diderot and Montesquieu as means of commenting indirectly on sensitive matters in France. As has been noted in a study of Islam in Montesquieu’s Lettres persanes, a sociological investigation of foreign civilizations was not the purpose of such usage.10 A certain wariness on the matter of nations and races is perceptible in the Encyclopédie article ‘Nation’, with the observation that ‘it is proverbial’ to be ‘malicious like an Englishman, proud as a Scot, drunk as a German, lazy as an Irishman’. Since the English appear, these prejudices are presumably native French coinage. Like the analysis of character based on climate, such lists of ‘national characters’ were a medieval legacy. As will be seen later with Montesquieu, old loci classici on Ireland were often repeated; the dictionaries and the Encyclopédie were of their nature compilations of such material.

Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish


EARLIER SOURCES OF ENLIGHTENMENT ATTITUDES Pejorative descriptions of the ancient Celts and Irish have dogged the latter throughout history.11 French writers of various periods gave fresh life to these vignettes of ‘barbarity’, debased customs and ‘laziness’, as described by Pomponius Mela, Pliny and others. The more nuanced view of Ireland in medieval French texts such as Les Merveilles de Rigomer de Jehan12 (written c.1260–90) and Creton’s verse chronicle of Richard II’s expedition to Ireland13 in 1399, whose authors had first-hand knowledge of the country, was unknown to the ancien régime writers. It is perhaps symbolic that Froissart, the most famous French medieval historian to have written on Ireland, never set foot there. His accusations of cannibalism survived the passage of time, but Creton’s vivid eyewitness account lies largely ignored to this day. The Enlightenment was daughter to the Renaissance in setting great store by the ancient classics. Coming shortly before the first large-scale arrivals of Irish migrants in France, Montaigne’s single reference (in his Apologie de Raimond Sebond ) to the Irish, who wear practically no clothes under such cold skies, is drawn from Tacitus. Nearly two centuries later the chevalier de Jaucourt’s articles on Irish geography in the Encyclopédie also repeated information from Tacitus and Ptolemy. Such a reverential attitude towards outdated material may seem to derive from an excess of piety, together perhaps with a soupçon of intellectual indolence. However, two mitigating factors should be mentioned. Firstly, Renaissance and post-Renaissance writers in general and the French educational system in particular, had looked to the Classics as paragons of style and thought. The idea that all that could be said had been said by the Ancients lingered on, and questioning of their authority came slowly, even in the eighteenth century. The philosophes had passed through the colleges, and some like Jaucourt had benefited from further classical training (Schwab, p. 50). Secondly, such reverence for the Ancients was not confined to French humanists and encyclopedists. Renaissance Italy had produced a series of geographical and literary works from 1528 to 1596 perpetuating the classical descriptions and rarely adding contemporary material. Fabulous tales of the barbaric Irish were the order of the day, as Eric Haywood has demonstrated.14 Paulo Giovio’s Descriptio Britanniae, Scotiae, Hyberniae et Orchadum (1548) was an exception in including facts gleaned from Italian merchants who had traded in Ireland. One might have expected that the Encyclopédistes’ interest in commerce, science and technology would similarly have prompted them to seek information from French traders who had visited Ireland or


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

from the numerous Irish merchants in France, but account must be taken of the fact that demarcations between subjects made such cross-fertilization unlikely. Bookish contributors like Jaucourt are partly responsible for this lack of contemporary awareness. Other humanist sources influenced Enlightenment perceptions of the Irish. Giraldus Cambrensis’s views came down to French seventeenth- and eighteenth-century writers through two channels. The first was Camden’s printing of Cambrensis’s Topographica Hibernica in his Britannia (1602). This became a standard work on Britain and Ireland for all sides in the intellectual debates in France during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as shown by geographical and other articles in dictionaries of various tendencies.15 It was translated into French in 1624 and again by Sorbière in 1662, and of course circulated in Latin. Of eighteenth-century writers on Ireland only James MacGeoghegan used John Lynch’s riposte, Cambrensis Eversus (1660), and the latter book had little effect on the traditional reliance on the Welshman, in France at least. The second channel was via the fourteenth-century Débat des Hérauts d’Armes de France et d’Angleterre, which picked up Giraldus’s comment about the Irish not knowing money, ‘trading in beasts and living like beasts’. This text was in the library of the historian J.-A. de Thou,16 whose Historia sui temporis covering the years 1543–1607 was a prime source for seventeenth-century French intellectuals. De Thou’s descriptions of the wars in Munster in the 1570s and 1580s are very hostile to the Irish side, portrayed as opposed to the rightful forces of their queen (albeit an English queen) and moreover allied to the Spanish, France’s arch-enemies until the 1660s. De Thou’s description of Ulster is similar to that of Jaucourt. Significantly, his Historia still interested printers in the eighteenth century, and further translations into French were planned, including one by the abbé Prévost, a major purveyor to the French public of English matter.17 That such reading could influence perceptions of the Irish who were arriving on French soil in the early 1600s can be seen in the biting descriptions of the Irish beggars who swarmed into Paris from 1602 to 1606, in D’Aubigné and in the the diary of Pierre L’Estoile. D’Aubigné’s religious satire, La Confession catholique du Sieur de Sancy, suggests that the Irish who were mugging Parisians by night, thinking they were in a Protestant kingdom, should be included among the martyrs of the Catholic church.18 The expulsion of some six to seven hundred ‘experts in the art of roguery […] nimble of hand and adept at making children’ was described as a great relief by L’Estoile in 1606.19 Archival documents in those years from Brittany associate the ‘pauvres Irois’ with carriers of the plague and, although the religious affiliation of Irish immigrants to France was

Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish


overwhelmingly Catholic, this did not necessarily help to impove their public image. It is noticeable that the authors who created the literary stereotype of the poor Irish beggar20 were either sympathetic to the Protestants (L’Estoile and De Thou) or Protestants themselves (D’Aubigné). D’Aubigné’s hostility to them in his Histoire universelle (which closely followed de Thou) derived from his fear that the Jesuits would use the persecution of the Irish as an argument to move Henri IV to more severe measures against the French Protestants.

IRISH MIGRATION: PRESENCE OR INVISIBILITY? The total number of Irish arrivals on French soil had reached tens of thousands at the point most histories of the question have started, at the retreat to France in 1691– 92, which is commonly (albeit inaccurately) accepted as marking the Flight of the French Wild Geese. One might expect that continued arrivals of large groups on French soil would have impinged on the consciousness of the public as on that of the élite, and that a clear image of the Irish and some exact knowledge of Ireland would develop. Wars and famine had cast hundreds of poor Irish on the roads of France from their first appearance in Paris and Brittany in 1602 until the 1630s.21 The social profile of the Irish migrants gradually broadened to include military recruits (brought over in an organised manner from 1635 onwards),22 clerics, merchants, Catholic bishops and some nobility. The latter were almost entirely Old English, the Gaelic nobility having virtually transplanted itself to Spain.23 Arrivals ran into the lower thousands in the 1600–30s period; 16 000 soldiers and an as yet unquantified number of civilians after the Cromwellian settlement (1650 –54), the flight after 1691 now estimated to have been of the order of nearly 20 000.24 These figures do not include the steady trickle of migrants at other times throughout the century. The Irish plea that persecution at home led to their enforced exile appears to have fallen on deaf ears until the arrival of the upper-class emigrants in the 1650s, followed by a noticeable change in French official attitudes to Irish Catholics. Negative perceptions nevertheless lasted among the French public. Loret, a Norman author of a Court newsletter written in doggerel in the 1650s and 1660s, includes the Irish in a list referring to national characteristics. Complaining of his woes in 1654, he says that he has more troubles than there are beggars in Ireland.25 Such images can only have been revived by the large numbers of destitute


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

ex-soldiers who took to the highways after various reductions of the Irish troops in France, in the years following the Franco-Spanish peace of 1659 and again after the Treaty of Ryswick (1697). Beggars were never far from the regiments at this time, as witness decrees against dependants of soldiers ‘restés à la traîne des troupes’. Perceptions and pejorative labels like these were commonplace among the administrative and political élite in Europe, the Irish being called slaves, gipsies and locusts in Spanish documents.26 The Irish in France in fact appear in archival and printed material as a subsection of groups such as Jacobites, clerics, beggars, soldiers and even ‘gentilshommes anglais’, the first-generation Irish writer the chevalier Rutlidge (1742–94) defining himself thus and others, such as the writer Antoine Hamilton (?1645–1719), being generally so regarded though, then as now, the distinctions between Irish and English were blurred in the French mind. The physical condition of those who landed in France in the winter of 1691–92 was very poor. In subsequent years writers were divided as to the fighting quality of the Irish troops in the French service. Opinion fluctuated according to geopolitics and the success or failure of military engagements. Sources from Mme de Sévigné onwards note the remarkable Irish loyalty to King James II, whom French ruling circles soon dismissed as incompetent.27 Although credit was given for victories such as Fontenoy, one also finds criticism of Irish fighting capacity, the Dictionnaire de Trévoux stating that ‘they are good fighters above all when abroad’, and the Lamartinière that ‘they have always been poorly disciplined, and cowardly, at least in their island’ (cf. Voltaire’s comments, quoted below, p. xx). Similar judgements of the rank and file were commonplace in European military circles from the early seventeenth century onwards.28 While it might be excessive to see these criticisms as uniquely stemming from older sources, given the widespread perception of the Wild Irish, such descriptions can be seen as a continuation of the distant savage theme one finds before their arrival en masse in the 1600s. Royal and state protection had been extended in the 1650s to the Irish clergy in France, as grants in aid and interventions on their behalf show. Irish soldiers who had followed James II to France were accorded privileges of residence and treated as native subjects. These privileges were eventually extended to all the Irish in France, after legal proceedings and a lengthy mémoire by the most illustrious among them (including Tyrconnell and Lally-Tollendal).29 The eighteenth century saw large numbers of Irish traders and merchants engaging in trade with Ireland, and on occasion privateering for their exiled Stuart monarchs or the French king. The Irish colleges in Paris, Bordeaux, Nantes and Toulouse supplied priests to

Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish


French dioceses which sometimes lacked personnel. Naturalizations rose considerably in the period 1710–40, and nobility could be bought by prominent Irish merchants like the Nantes group or awarded for extraordinary service, as witness the slave trader Antoine Walsh, who transported Prince Charles Edward to Scotland in 1745.30 Alongside these well-documented success stories are many other cases of hardship among soldiers, smalltime traders and workers. Conditions in the Irish seminaries could be near starvation level at times. Towards the end of the century migration ceased, leaving a mainly upper-class circle of families such as the Dillons and Walshes who maintained their Irish ancestry and a sprinkling of Irish surnames in some French towns and cities, notably Bordeaux and Nantes. Their rank is reflected in Beaumarchais’s play L’Autre Tartuffe ou La Mère coupable (the third play in the Figaro trilogy, first performed 1792), where the villain, the second Tartuffe, is a fortune-hunting Irish major, aided and abetted by a banker, O’Connor. Some of the means of ascent available to the Irish: the army, banking and the purchase of government offices, are identified by Beaumarchais, himself no mean social climber.

THE HUGUENOT DIMENSION English-mediated sources from the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were used by the philosophes with almost no countervailing or more nuanced view of any of the various groups of Irish, save references to Ware’s Antiquities of Ireland. Foremost among the French sources was the Histoire d’Angleterre of Rapin-Thoyras31 (1724–27) a Huguenot exiled in England. His fellow-Protestant Jaucourt also followed a Swiss Protestant, Guy Miège, author of The Present state of Great Britain,32 on British and Irish affairs, as Jaucourt’s spelling ‘Cui Guilly’ indicates. This spelling had been imported into French by Miège and had previously been copied by the abbé Prévost at the beginning of his ‘Irish’ novel Le Doyen de Killerine (1735).33 One can infer from this and other evidence that the religious aspect of the treatment of Ireland and the Irish in this material was influenced by the contribution of the prolific Huguenot writers in exile, who could hardly be expected to denigrate the kingdom which gave many of them asylum. Not that the experience of all Huguenots under the British régime, pressurised into conforming to the established Church, was a happy one.34 Many refused, including substantial numbers of Irish Huguenots, at great financial cost to themselves, their position leading at least one Huguenot in Ireland to suggest that tolerance be extended to all, both Nonconformist and Catholic.35


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Such exceptions were not of a nature to modify the overall portrayal of British-Irish relations by the French Enlightenment. One might, however, expect the general similarities between Huguenot and Irish migration to have prompted some re-examination of received ideas. The population movements were symmetrical to each other and the experiences of adversity and official protection of Jacobites in France, after 1692 in particular, resembled those of the Huguenots in Britain and Ireland. There were other parallels too: Huguenot traders and businessmen contributed to the British and Irish economies in the same way as Jacobite bankers (the Arthurs, the Cantillons) and Nantes and Bordeaux Irish traders helped the growth of early capitalism in eighteenth-century France. Huguenot goldsmiths came to Dublin while Irish goldsmiths moved to Brittany. This similarity between the Huguenots and the Jacobite Irish is not merely a modern perception but was apparent to some at the time. The abbé de Caveirac, in his Apologie de Louis XIV et de son conseil sur la Révocation de l’édit de Nantes (np: 1758), pitched his account of the Penal Laws in Ireland in language not unlike that found in the philosophes’ passages on the fate of the Huguenots.36 Prévost’s Le Doyen de Killerine describes an Irish family leaving Ireland, arriving in Dunkirk and exchanging properties with a French Protestant family fleeing France; the secrecy which both parties were obliged to observe in their native lands, the adverse conditions both are leaving behind and the favourable conditions which await them respectively in a foreign land are placed in a clear parallel. Further symmetry occurs between Prevost’s two novels of Irish interest, Le Doyen de Killerine portraying the tribulations of a Catholic Jacobite family and the Campagnes philosophiques, or Mémoires de M. de Montcal, following the Williamite campaign and the Huguenot troops at the Boyne. True, the Irish family in Le Doyen de Killerine is not obliged to leave, but later passages in the novel show the French Protestants similarly surviving and keeping their faith intact in their native country, although some of them preferred to emigrate. In 1772, the Franco-Irish author Jean Dromgold not only saw a similarity between the two predicaments, but also suggested that ‘these two ill-fated groups should be sensitive to each other’s case, to their respective afflictions which have a common cause; both certainly deserve the public’s esteem and compassion’.37 Nor should one forget Burke’s comparison of the two groups.38 However, most Irish in France had presented themselves as orthodox Catholics and Royalists from the 1650s on, and neither characteristic was likely to arouse sympathy for their case among the ranks of the Enlightened, any more than their loyalty to Rome ingratiated them to the Gallican elements of the French Catholic Church. Neither the pleas for religious toleration of Catholics nor the frequent accounts of religious persecution in

Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish


Ireland merited inclusion in the philosophes’ discourse on tolerance and tyranny. Undoubtedly significant in this connection was an admiration for the political systems of Protestant states like Holland, Geneva and Britain.

IRELAND AND THE IRISH IN DICTIONARIES AND ENCYCLOPEDIAS Apart from tendentious remarks about Irish clerics, which merit specific treatment, a moderate amount of material relating to Ireland can be gleaned from Enlightenment writings, much of it classified under the geographical dictionary headings of location, climate, ancient populations, principal historical events, language, religion and national character. The French version of Beeverell’s The Delights of Great Britain and Ireland, published in 1707 and known to Voltaire,39 was permeated by memories of the 1641 rebellion and hostile to the native Irish. It spared the urban dwellers and some of the Old English, but dealt severely with the rest of the Catholic population. These fault lines existed well before his work. The fifteenth-century romance Perceforest (published eventually in 1528), draws a distinction between the native ‘sauvages’ and more civilized, anglicized elements in the long compendium of knowledge of Ireland which prefaces the story. Irish historians of Old English extraction such as Stanihurst40 were at pains to differentiate themselves from the mainly rural Gaelic population. In France, the recent English and Scottish colonists were seen as progressive and their efforts to improve agriculture and commerce noted positively, as witness the favourable attitude of Prévost and of Montesquieu towards the various societies set up to encourage commercial and agricultural improvement in Ireland (Noël, p. 44, n. 90). Some of the spirit of enterprise could rub off on the natives, however, as Perceforest, the 1740 Lamartinière article ‘Irlande’ and Jaucourt’s piece on Ulster suggest. But Camden’s motif of Irish robbers reappears in several texts in references to the Rapparees, who reportedly live by ‘larcin’ (Trévoux). It seems absent from the writings of the philosophes, yet the near-unanimity of mainstream Catholic sources on the question is notable. One finds little ethnographical material on the Gaelic population, with whom these Rapparees are mainly associated. An exception is the article ‘Irlande’ in Lamartinière, where the writer mentions the colonists and the town-dwellers briefly but is clearly curious about ‘les Kernes, les Rapperis, et tous ces autres Irlandois sauvages’, and there follows a long digression on their character, family names, eating habits in time of penury, and their fondness for Usquebaugh (from the Irish uisce beatha, whiskey).


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

As for the Gaelic tradition of history, references to and listing of the ancient Irish kings serve as another instance of the dialogue of the deaf already evoked. Both MacGeoghegan’s Histoire d’Irlande and Heneghan (in Dictionnaire de Moréri: 1759 edition) devoted much space to genealogies of kings, working within a traditional royalist perspective to claim the status of a true ‘nation’ with an ancient state for their country. What the French reader made of pages full of exotically spelled names in these and previous Irish tracts over 130 years is matter for speculation. As might be expected, there is no mention of these in the Encyclopédie. Articles on ‘Irlande’ in both Trévoux and the Lamartinière shortlist some names of kings who ruled Ireland in ancient times only to dismiss them as ‘obviously pure fables of Irish invention’ (Lamartinière); ‘If these are not fables, then they resemble fables closely’ (Trévoux). The Encyclopédie exceptionally shows interest in the affairs of the ‘naturels du pays’ in two instances. MacGeoghegan’s authority is followed in the article ‘Lia Fáil’ (the ancient Irish coronation stone) with a sceptical note (vol. ix, p. 453b) about the whereabouts of the stone, ‘in Westminster, where it is claimed it still lies’. A longer article ‘Bardes’ in the Supplément incorporates points from Keating’s History of Ireland and uses Gaelic terms of poetry accurately. This implies a recognition of literature in Irish Gaelic not found previously, and an attitude, typical of the time, of curiosity towards primitive peoples, comparing the Irish to the ‘sauvages d’Amérique’. Macpherson’s Ossian is judged critically, ‘en philosophe’, and taken with a large grain of salt, as the Irish critics of the work recommended.41 The late date of publication may explain the change in taste, the influence of the burst of publishing in French by Gaelic scholars in Paris from 1758 to 1764 having probably spread to the encyclopedists by the time these articles were composed. Dictionary descriptions of the Irish (or rather Gaelic) national character emphasize its passionate and impressionable nature, suggesting that the Enlightenment bêtes noires of superstition and fanaticism are close by. Indeed, an attack on clerical fourberie and native credulity very much in the Diderot vein occurs in Jaucourt’s account of the history of Saint Patrick’s Purgatory in the Encyclopédie article ‘Raghles’ (the name of the island in Lough Derg where the cave was situated). The pilgrimage had been the principal and at certain times the only aspect of Ireland known in Europe during the Middle Ages, but scepticism regarding the visions and miracles had begun to creep into French references as early as the late fifteenth century.42 The fact that the legend underwent a revival in chap-books during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century could only have reinforced its image in the enlightened mind as a foible of the ignorant masses. The trickery of monks, a critique of miracles and visions, the

Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish


well-known anti-medieval bias of the Encyclopédie are all highlighted in the ‘Raghles’ article. Scientific and governmental order is affirmed by the mission of Richard Boyle, ‘Comte de Cork’, and Adam Loftus, Chancellor of Ireland, which destroyed the cave, according to Jaucourt. There remained a certain amount of medieval material in the Encyclopédie and other dictionaries, given their compilatory nature and reliance on older sources which focused on marvels and miracles: all included familiar motifs on bees in Ireland, Lough Neagh’s property of turning wood to stone, and other marvels reclassified as geological curiosities. Coverage of the political situation varies considerably, from the clear outline of Irish history in the 1740 Lamartinière to the strangely brief and dismissive short cut through the English conquest taken by Jaucourt in the Encyclopédie article ‘Irlande’: ‘I will not recount the various upheavals in Ireland; it will suffice to note that they seem to have been quietened for a long time; Dublin, its capital, breathes only attachment and affection for the established government’ (cf. Voltaire’s comments, quoted below, p. 166). Although written about the settled atmosphere of 1760s Ireland, parti pris and a lack of balance are surely evident here. There were instances of histories which even the workhorse of the Encyclopédie found tiresome to reiterate; one could perhaps define this passage as the Enlightenment equivalent of Pope Pius II’s dismissal of Irish affairs in his In Europam (1405): ‘nihil dignum gestum’.43 The Penal Laws, their workings and effects are mentioned perfunctorily by all dictionaries, mainstream Catholic and philosophiques alike. They seem to have been regarded as a normal means of implementing official policy. Montesquieu’s stray Irish references in his De l’Esprit des lois (1748) and his posthumous Pensées are slightly nuanced. He suggests in chapter IX, book iv of the former that the pride of the Irish could be used to good effect against their natural laziness in order to make them more industrious. In book xix, he mentions two neighbouring islands, one of which imposed its form of government on the other, regardless of the other’s natural character, thus making its prosperity precarious. This may refer to the restrictions on Irish trade with countries other than England, a situation of which the French were well aware, and which could have come to Montesquieu’s attention in the port of Bordeaux in particular.

PEDANTIC CLERICS AND SQUABBLING HIBERNIANS As early as the second chapter of Rabelais’s Gargantua (1534), a distinction appears to have been made between ‘Irlande’, the geographical term,


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

and the older medieval name ‘Hibernie’. ‘Hibernie’ is the land of Saint Patrick’s Purgatory, about which Rabelais echoes the obscene puns of the farces and satires of his century.44 The seventeenth century was to fill the term Hibernois with further semantic content. It occurs again in the context of a typical proto-Enlightenment critique of fables and miraculous cures, Saint-Évremond’s tale Le Prophète irlandois, written in London in the 1660s about a healer priest. The attribute ‘irlandois’ is used throughout the tale except for one instance: when the Irish faith healer’s disgruntled female customer sees the light she calls him ‘a useless Hibernian who could not overcome a will-o’-the wisp’.45 However, the clearest shift took place a few years later in a satirical text by Boileau, Requête et Arrêt […] pour le maintien de la doctrine d’Aristote (The Hague: 1671), purportedly responding to rumours that the University of Paris intended to ban those hostile to Aristotelian principles. The battle lines are drawn between the Ancients and the Moderns, between Scholastic theologians and the followers of Descartes, Malebranche and Gassendi. The old and rightful order is to be restored: the sun is to return to orbiting the earth, navigators are to cease going around the world or they will fall off into the sky, the Journal des savants is to be banned, vacuum as described by Pascal is to be abolished, the humours of the body will flow once more. The decree also ‘enjoins all Professors and Masters to give assistance in the application of the present decree […] and all Irish tutors and other subordinates of the University to lend them their arms and to round on all those who disobey. And bans Reason from the University for ever’ (Requête, p. 200). The Irish tutors, thus seen as opposing Cartesian reason, are called upon to apply the decree on pain of being deprived of the right to organize disputations on logical prolegomena. The decree further commands that scholastic categories such as ‘Entités, Identités, Petréités, Polycarpeités, Virtualités’, all children of Duns Scotus, have their good name restored again, and that ‘all the Beings of Reason who had taken refuge in Hibernia shall be recalled, and their places restored to them in our good University of Paris’. Hibernia is thus seen as giving asylum to outmoded philosophical categories and defending traditional Scholastic theology brought to its greatest refinement by Duns Scotus and his followers. Further research may show whether Boileau’s linkage of Irish and Scotist theology was fortuitous or whether he was aware of the activity of Irish theologians in France. In any case he was very accurate, as the Irish clerics had remained staunchly loyal to the University in times of controversy. During the Affaire de Hibernois in 1650 –51, however, Irish students and clerics were divided, but a group who were daring enough to

Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish


issue a statement on theological matters (attacking Jansenism), were soon reprimanded, and from then on there was no doubt of the orthodoxy of Irish clerics and bishops.46 Moreover, Boileau wrote after a sustained campaign by Irish Franciscans to claim Duns Scotus for Ireland, a campaign similar to that previously waged against Dempster and other Scots who maintained that all medieval Scoti were Scots and not Irish.47 Boileau’s association of the two was thus not without foundation and Irish theological Scotism lived on: in 1690 an Irish Dominican, Michael Corcran, published a rhymed version of Thomist theology in Latin for his students at Morlaix in Brittany, the little-known Rithmus pan-philosophicus. Boileau’s text was popular, and was republished twice after 1671. It sowed the seeds of some of the eighteenth-century satirical lore about Irish clerics disputing furiously in the streets of Paris. Its date of publication and that of the composition of Saint-Évremond’s text correspond to the period when proto-Enlightenment thought developed in the mid-seventeenth century. The texts which announce the philosophes’ view of things Irish are thus typical manifestations of this phenomenon. Irish Catholic clergy and futile theological disputes had already been linked in La Boullaye le Gouz’s Voyages et observations, where an entire chapter is devoted to a theological dispute between the author, described on the title page as a Catholic traveller, and Dominicans at Cashel. The said traveller denigrates their Scholastic theology in the name of ‘true philosophy’. His opponents are Spanish-trained and begin by insulting the French; their comments are dismissed as ‘shouting’, and le Gouz adds, dismissively (p. 445): ‘you argue for argument’s sake and not to arrive at truth’. Other Catholic sources weigh in against the Irish: a poem composed by J.-B. Santeul of the Order of Saint Victor in the mid-seventeenth century describes a crowd of Irish invading the University of Paris, with avid faces and minds sated on fantasies.48 The 1725 edition of the Moréri dictionary includes a predisposition towards metaphysics and Scholastic theology among the natural characteristics of the Irish, specifying however that this leaning has recently been replaced by ‘belles lettres’, history, medecine and ‘la théologie positive’ (Noël, p. 39). Both Diderot and D’Alembert made noted attacks on Scholasticism, the former calling it ‘one of the great sores of the human mind’ and the latter ‘une lèpre’ (‘leprosy’).49 Its pedantic distinctions and ‘frivolous’ categories and methods were a favourite target of the philosophes, for whom true philosophy began with Descartes, and the French discovery of Locke marked the second great step forward out of obscurantism. Irish clerics, presumably tainted with the aura of the Middle Ages and associated with superstitions like Saint Patrick’s Purgatory, were generally on the


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

wrong side of this divide, although it would be inaccurate to treat them as a monolith. Tensions existed between modernists among the Irish theologians in Paris and the traditionalists of the colleges, if a disagreement involving the Sorbonne professor Luke Hooke is representative.50 Another second-generation Irish abbé, attacked by Fréron and generally considered to have supported the philosophes, was the editor of the Journal Encyclopédique G.A. Méhégan.51 ‘Hibernois’ continued in use throughout the eighteenth century, usually as a pejorative term. At one extreme the Jansenist review Les Nouvelles ecclésiastiques vented spleen on Irish students – usually called Hibernois – for their ‘servile’ orthodoxy and conformism to Rome (Clark, Strangers and sojourners, pp. 216, 219), a tendency accentuated following the expulsion of the Jansenists from the Paris Faculty of Theology and their replacement by Irish clerics. The Jesuit Dictionnaire de Trévoux notes under ‘Hibernois’: ‘See under Irish. There are however occasions where one should use Hibernian and not Irish; for example, a Hibernian Master of Theology or Tutor’, adding that Saint Jerome saw Hibernians eat human flesh. The tone is even less circumspect in the 1739 Lamartinière, which notes the drift in usage and meaning, and leans towards the Enlightenment view: Hibernois means Irish in its proper sense; but the liking that the Irish who study in Paris have for Logical Prolegomena and other philosophical frivolities over which they quarrel with great subtlety and noise, has attached ridicule to this name of Hibernois, and it means an Ergoteur [hair-splitter], who instead of sticking to solid Philosophy is content to dazzle his adversary with childishness reduced to the form of syllogisms. The author adds that this was the meaning in Boileau’s Arrêt burlesque, from which the article clearly descends. Other writers less closely associated with the Enlightenment also satirized Irish tutors. Lesage, in Gil Blas (1715), depicts some Irish street theologians: I used to go to see Hibernian figures who were only too willing [to dispute] and you should have seen us arguing! Such gestures! Such grimaces! Such contortions! Our eyes were full of frenzy, we foamed at the mouth; we must have been taken for people possessed rather than for students of philosophy.

Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish


The Hibernois is but a minor figure in a long gallery of clerical characters in the novel. Similarly, in Enlightenment texts, the Irish are a detail of Parisian life. Montesquieu’s thirty-sixth Lettre persane evokes another type of arguers, who use a barbaric language, which seems to add to the fury and the stubborness of the combattants. In parts of the city one comes across a dark, dense mêlée of these sort of people; they feed on distinctions; they live on obscure reasoning and false conclusions. This profession, far from leading to death by hunger, continues to be profitable. We have seen an entire nation, banished from its native land, settling in France, bringing with it only a fearsome talent for theological disputes52 Generous hyperbole is likely, given the satirical nature of the text, but Montesquieu echoes Santeul’s quip about the Irish being fed on abstractions, and unconsciously revives a literary commonplace of the brain drain, first applied to Ireland by Héric d’Auxerre (c.876), who claimed that the entire Irish people had emigrated to be theologians abroad.53 The occurrence of an Irish motif to round off a satirical crescendo not only resembles Rabelais’s list of types of excrement mentioned above (note 44) but also an early seventeenth-century satire by Motin where, after a litany of physical denigration and pornographic fantasies, the ultimate disgrace wished upon the woman who slighted the poet is to die like a poor Irish beggarwoman under the bridges of Paris.54 In another passage often quoted in studies of the Irish colleges in France, Montesquieu’s contrasting of the dark of obscurantism and the light of reason was further developed. Composed by the diplomat and author, Claude-Carloman de Rulhière (1734–91), Discours sur les disputes (date of composition unknown) is a doggerel digest of Enlightenment motifs, where Scholastic street disputes on the essence of God use all the discredited weapons of Thomism and Scotism. His charges and the scene conjured up – of ‘poor Hibernian disputers who, fleeing their homeland on the strength of holy promises, come to live in Paris from arguing and saying masses’55 – may well be a simple reprise of Montesquieu. The language echoes Diderot and d’Alembert’s castigations of Scholastic excesses, and the sentiments of the Encyclopédie article ‘Formulaire’, which states that ‘l’esprit philosophique’ is indifferent to these frivolous disputes. Significantly, Voltaire praised Rulhière’s Discours in a letter to the author of 26 April 1769 (D15610), expressing particular pleasure over the passage concerning Irish priests, even going so far as to reprint the Discours under ‘Dispute’ in his Questions sur l’Encyclopédie of 1771 (D15610, n.1). Some explanations preferable to that of a supposed ‘national character’ may be found for the recurring portrayal of theological disputes among


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Irish priests in France. Similar satires of byzantine theology and learning had been frequent since the Renaissance, and it may be that the Irish were an obvious target, given their circumstances, and that they simply inherited a mantle of polemical commonplaces. Another explanation, based on economic reality, was that many Irish seminarians and priests were forced to live on their wits, their theological training being one of their few marketable skills. Hostile references even among orthodox Catholic sources stem from the fact that there was undoubtedly some tension between the immigrants and their hosts, even – or most predictably perhaps – their fellow clergy. Another characteristic attributed to the ‘prêtres hibernois’ was their wanderlust. A parish register of 1723 claims that generally, it is said that the temperament of the prêtres hibernois is to be restless and to move residence frequently. It is said that they often quote these words in Latin, pronouncing them in their own way, voloumous deamboulare, and that that is one of their basic principles.56 Whether this was ecclesiastical folklore or a more general perception remains to be ascertained. Clearly, though, eighteenth-century French intellectuals were familiar with a stereotyped image of Irish priests and often used the term ‘hibernois’ as a by-word for foreign pedants. ENLIGHTENMENT VIEWS OF IRELAND IN PERSPECTIVE The historical frame of reference within which the French philosophes wrote predetermined to a large extent their view of Irish affairs and Irish immigrants. They inherited strongly coloured sources of information on Ireland and portraits of its people. These were not first-hand French sources, but a combination of ancient classical geographers’ hearsay, the Anglo-Norman and English world-views of Ireland as a land of conquest, and contemporary English texts, accessed directly or transmitted through the writings of French Protestant exiles. The French Enlightenment’s pervasive anglophilia in matters philosophical and political meant that Irish grievances were barely heard, much less entertained. Huguenot intermediaries reinforced this anglophile tendency in their admiration for English intellectual achievements and the strong British parliamentary régime, and it is not surprising to find the chevalier de Jaucourt reacting in this way. Irish exiles remained orthodox in religious matters and staunchly royalist for most of the eighteenth century, with very few exceptions: accordingly they were not likely to suit ‘l’esprit du siècle’, as the Enlightened saw it. A study of the Irish material analysed earlier also suggests distinctions about the method and the quality of writing in the French Enlightenment.

Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish


It is scarcely novel nowadays to observe that much of this material lacked originality, but one must conclude that the absence of empirical method is especially evident in the Encyclopédie’s Irish citations. This difference between the overriding rationalism of the philosophes and a modern empirical approach is illustrated by the Encyclopédie’s lack of awareness of cultural and historical diversity. Although there are clear signs of a recognition of otherness with respect to certain countries and peoples, the historians’ and geographers’ neglect of the many volumes published by learned Irish exiles in France is striking. Anglophilia and a lack of originality go hand in hand and it is not irrelevant to remember that the Encyclopédie had originally been intended as a translation of Chambers’ encyclopedic dictionary. Moreover, despite their battle against the Middle Ages, synonymous in their minds with barbarity and obscurantism, the philosophes were themselves influenced by medieval systems and lore, as some passages analysed above demonstrate. Irish religious practices and fondness for scholastic reasoning meant that Irish clerics in particular found themselves at the receiving end of an attitude illustrated by Diderot’s outburst: ‘our motto is no quarter for the superstitious, the fanatical or the ignorant […]’57 Other factors point however to the existence of fault-lines which do not follow an Enlightenment/Catholic divide. It is well-known that many clerics read and sympathized with some strands of Enlightenment thought in eighteenth-century France, including certain Irish priests. Keating of Brest and Méhégan figure among the ranks of the Enlightened. Evidence adduced above suggests that Enlightenment influences were appearing elsewhere: in Catholic dictionaries, for example, and in the abbé Prévost’s writings, so that it is necessary to adopt a broader perspective. In order to explain the derogatory tone of so much writing on Ireland and the Irish in France during the century and a half of large-scale Irish migration, political, organizational and cultural factors must be taken into account. The once-pagan wild Irish were strangers, in the eyes of English colonists, post-Renaissance French and Irish bishops alike. The role of medieval religious writers in disseminating negative representations of the Irish has been noted by Boivin (pp. 133–5) in the case of Saint Bernard’s life of Saint Malachy, which exaggerated the vices of the Irish in order to magnify the saint’s achievements in converting them to the Roman church. The Roman model is again evident in the Rothe-Messingham writings of the early seventeenth century, where the necessity of converting primeval Ireland unintentionally confirms the existence of the ‘sauvages’ who live there. Such obstacles were highlighted in texts which sought help for the Irish ‘mission’, as it was described at the time.58 Whether it was a question


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

of colonization, proselytization or missionary work, there was a tendency to present the Irish as in need of reform, or perhaps more as lagging behind the pace of European reforms, cultural and political. Thus, when the anglophile abbé Prévost refers to Irish ‘idolâtrie’ as a well-known fact in his short tales, he of course echoes the language of some Protestant sources on Ireland but, as has been noted by others, the CounterReformation Roman church shared the British government’s negative view of the state of religion in Ireland, albeit for different reasons.59 The Encyclopédie and the French Enlightenment were therefore in accord with their opponents on many matters concerning Ireland. The battle-lines were elsewhere, and the problematics much older than their century. The Enlightenment view of Ireland and its inhabitants was not modernist: it regurgitated and echoed old material. One could view the century as simply a stage on the way from the medieval Ibernia fabulosa60 to nineteenthcentury positivism, empiricism and, it should be said, a much greater degree of accuracy of detail, both contemporary and historical, on the subject. These are evident in the contextual matter in novels by Pétrus Borel or Paul Féval, in biographies of Irish politicians, and the well-known French political and social studies on nineteenth-century Ireland. Such a development finally owed more to the stimulus of Romanticism and the arrival of the mass newspaper than to the universalist rationalism of the philosophes.

NOTES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

See J. Haechler, L’Encyclopédie de Diderot et de […] Jaucourt: essai biographique sur le chevalier Louis de Jaucourt (Paris: 1995). Le Dict de l’Apostoile, 12th century, quoted in A. Le Roux de Lincy, Le Livre des proverbes français (Paris: 1859) i, p. 290. J.-M. Boivin, L’Irlande au Moyen Age, Giraud de Barri et La Topographia Hibernica (Paris: 1993) pp. 36, 46–8. R.N. Schwab, ‘Un Encyclopédiste huguenot: le chevalier de Jaucourt’, Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire du Protestantisme français, 108 (1962) p. 67. J. O’Callaghan, Vindiciarum Catholicorum Hiberniae (Paris: 1650); J. Jynch, Cambrensis Eversus (Saint-Malo: 1660); J. MacGeoghegan, Histoire d’Irlande (Paris, Amsterdam: 1758– 63); ‘Mémoire de M[onseigneur]. de C[loyne]. à Messieurs les Auteurs du Journal des Sçavans, au sujet des Pöemes de M. Macpherson’ (Journal des savants, May 1764, pp. 277–91; June, pp. 353–62, 408–17; August, pp. 537–55; September, pp. 604–17; December, pp. 845–57).

Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish 06. 07.

08. 09. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

21. 22. 23. 24. 25.


Encyclopédie, Supplément, vol. i, p. 807a. Keating, a seventeenth-century French-trained priest of Anglo-Norman extraction, wrote the most popular history of Ireland in Irish. See David Coward, The Philosophy of Restif de La Bretonne, Studies, 283 (1991) pp. 192, 683, 687, and Appendix 2, 197. A further explanation for the philosophes’ failure to exploit Ireland in their Enlightenment propaganda may be the general perception of the country’s intractable Catholicism: see below, pp. 160–4. Voyages et observations du Sieur de la Boullaye le Gouz en divers pays d’Europe, d’Asie et d’Afrique, jusqu’en 1650 (Paris: 1653) pp. 432–60. A. Jouvin de Rochefort, Le Voyageur d’Europe (Paris: 1676) vi, pp. 472–92. Ahmad Gunny, ‘Montesquieu’s view of Islam in the Lettres persanes’, Studies, 74 (1978) pp. 151–66. See especially J. Leersen, Mere Irish and FíorGhael, Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, its Development and Literary Expression prior to the Nineteenth Century (Amsterdam, Philadelphia: 1986). Eds W. Forster and H. Breuer, 2 vols (Halle: 1908–15). J. Creton, Poème sur la déposition de Richard II, in vol. 14 of Chroniques, ed. J. Buchon (Paris: 1826). ‘Is Ireland worth bothering about? Classical Perceptions of Ireland revisited in Renaissance Italy’, International Journal of the Classical Tradition, vol. 2, no. 4 (1996) pp. 467–86. See, for example, É. Ó Ciosáin, ‘La Langue irlandaise et les Irlandais dans le Dictionnaire de la Langue Bretonne de Le Pelletier’, Mélanges à la mémoire de Léon Fleuriot (Rennes: 1992) pp. 51–62. P. Meyer and L. Pannier, preface to the Débats des Hérauts d’Armes (Paris, Société des Anciens Textes Français: 1877). Antoine-François, abbé Prévost, Oeuvres complètes (Grenoble: 1978 – henceforth Prévost) vii, pp. 286–7. Th. Agrippa D’Aubigné, Oeuvres complètes, eds E.-J. Reaume and F. de Caussade (Paris: 1871–92) ii, pp. 359–60. P. L’Estoile, Mémoires, édition complète par MM. Brunet, Champollion et al. (Paris: 1875–96) viii, p. 221 (le 20 mai 1606). See É. Ó Ciosáin, ‘Voloumous deamboulare: the wandering Irish in French literature, 1600–1789’, in Crossing thresholds, Proceedings of the 1994 Royal Irish Academy Modern Languages Conference held at Dublin City University, ed. A. Coulson (Brighton: 1997) pp. 32–42. É. Ó. Ciosáin, ‘Les Irlandais en Bretagne, 1603–1780; ‘invasion’, accueil, intégration’, in Irlande et Bretagne, vingt siècles d’histoire (Rennes: 1994) pp. 152–66. P. Gouhier, ‘Mercenaires irlandais au service de la France 1635–1664’, The Irish Sword, 7 (1965–66) pp. 58–75. R.A. Stradling, ‘Military recruitment and movement as a form of migration: Spain and its Irish mercenaries’, in Le Migrazioni in Europa secc.XII–XVIII, ed. S. Cavaciocchi (Florence: 1994) p. 489. N. Genêt-Rouffiac, ‘Les Jacobites à Paris et à Saint-Germain-en-Laye’, Revue de la Bibliothèque Nationale, 46 (‘Les Jacobites’) (1992) pp. 45–9. J. Loret, La Muze historique, ed. J. Ravenel, eds V. de la Pelouze, and Ch.-L. Livet, 4 vols (Paris: 1857–78), entry for 31.1.1654.

150 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39.

40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46.

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 R.A. Stradling, The Spanish Monarchy and Irish Mercenaries: the Wild Geese in Spain 1618–68 (Dublin: 1994) p. 158. Georges Ascoli, La Grande-Bretagne devant l’opinion française au dixseptième siècle (Paris: 1930), especially pp. 163–82. See Mazarin’s Correspondance and S. Molloy, Franco-Irish Correspondence 1688–1692, 3 vols (Dublin: 1984). Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, Correspondance Politique Angleterre, vol. 425, pp. 336–60. J. Meyer, La Noblesse bretonne (Paris: 1966) ii, pp. 1017–51; Ó Ciosáin, ‘Les Irlandais en Bretagne’, p. 160. 10 vols (The Hague), tr. N. Tindal as The History of England, 15 vols (Dublin: Gunne, 1726–32). G. Miège, L’Etat présent de la Grande-Bretagne, 2 vols (Amsterdam: 1708), a translation of The Present state of Great Britain (1707). Prévost used the 1711 English edition of Miège: see A. Principato, notes on Le Doyen de Killerine in Prévost, viii, p. 222. See B. Cottret, Terre d’exil (Paris: 1985), passim. Jean Cavalier of Portarlington, former Camisard leader in France, in preface to Memoirs of the Wars of the Cevennes (Dublin: 1726; Appendix 2, 36). For Cavalier see also below, p. 153. Apologie, pp. 420–4; I am grateful to Graham Gargett for drawing this text to my attention. Note to La Gaîté (Paris: 1772), quoted in D. Parris, ‘The Irish Connection’, Hermathena, 120 (Winter 1976) p. 128. For an authoritative discussion of Burke’s Tracts relative to the laws against popery in Ireland (unpublished in his lifetime) see Fuchs, pp. 280–97. S.E. Jones, ‘Voltaire’s use of contemporary French writing on England in his Lettres philosophiques’, Revue de Littérature Comparée, 56, no. 2 (1982), pp. 139–56; R. Beeverell, Les Délices de la Grand’Bretagne et de l’Irlande, tr. Abraham Ruchat (a Lausanne Protestant minister) (Leyden: 1707). See also Noël, pp. 10–13. R. Stanihurst, De Rebus in Hibernia gestis (Antwerp: 1584). Cf. ‘Mémoire de M. de C. au sujet des Poëmes de M. Macpherson’, Journal des savants (mai–décembre 1764): see above, note 5. Cf. preface of Louis Eunius ou le Purgatoire de Saint-Patrice (mystery play in Breton), ed. G. Dottin (Paris: 1911). These references occur in poems, farces and soties. Hence Haywood’s title, ‘Is Ireland worth bothering about?’: see above, note 14. In Le Quart livre, Chapter 67, which ends a list of types of excrement with ‘sapphran d’Hibernie’. Ch. de M. de Saint-Evremond, Oeuvres, ed. R. Ternois (Paris: 1962–65) iv, p. 83. P. Corish, ‘John O’Callaghan and the controversies among the Irish in Paris 1648–54’, Irish Theological Quarterly, 21 (1954) pp. 32–50; R. Clark, Strangers and Sojourners at Port-Royal (Cambridge: 1932) pp. 187–203; J. O’Leary, ‘The Irish and jansenism in the seventeenth century’, The Irish-French Connection 1578–1978, ed. L. Swords (Dublin, Paris: 1978) pp. 21–43.

Attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish 47.

48. 49.

50. 51.

52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60.


There was an Irish re-publication of Scotus (Doctoris Subtilis Jo. Duns Scoti quaestiones super libros Aristotelis de anima) at Lyon in 1625. Luke Wadding published his entire works (Opera J. Duns Scoti, 16 vols) in Lyon in 1639 and Vita J. Duns Scoti at Mons in 1644. In the 1650s the Corkman John Punch wrote a Scotist textbook, J. Poncius, Integres theologiae cursus ad mentem Scoti (Paris: 1652), and, in Scotus Hiberniae restitutus (Paris: 1660), claimed him for Ireland. J.-B. Santolini Victorini opera poetica (Paris: 1694) p. 107. Their views have been described elsewhere: see, for example, J. Lough, The Encyclopédie (London: 1971) pp. 140 –1, 253, and Henry Vyverberg, Human Nature, Cultural Diversity and the French Enlightenment (Oxford: 1989), pp. 187–8. See T. O’Connor, An Irish Theologian in Enlightenment France, Luke Joseph Hooke 1714–96 (Dublin: 1995) p. 67. See [Louis Petit de Bachaumont], Mémoires secrets pour servir à l’histoire de la république des lettres en France (London: 1780); 5 février; 12 février; 19 décembre 1762. Also Jean Balcou, Fréron contre les philosophes (Genève, Paris: 1975) pp. 116, 214. Fréron was a conservative journalist extremely hostile to the philosophes, especially Voltaire. Lettres persanes, ed. A. Adam (Paris: 1954) p. 95. Vita metrica Germani, commendatio, p. 429, quoted in B. Merdrignac, ‘Bretons et Irlandais’, in Ireland and Northern France, ed. J.-M. Picard (Dublin: 1991) p. 140. In Mémoires de P. L’Estoile, vol. xi, Recueils divers, pp. 233–6. Discours sur les disputes et autres poésies (Paris: 1803), p. 181. Inventaire des Archives d’Eure-et-Loire, Série E, Supplément iii, p. 212. Letter to Voltaire, 29 September 1762 (D10736). Ireland was a missionary land from 1622 until the nineteenth century, and as such was under the aegis of Propaganda Fide in Rome. See A. Clarke, ‘Plantation and the Catholic Question 1603–23’, in A New History of Ireland, iii, eds T.W. Moody, F.X. Martin, F.J. Byrne (1991) pp. 225–6. Orlando furioso, quoted in Haywood, p. 470.

8 Voltaire’s View of the Irish Graham Gargett

It should come as no surprise to anyone that even the greatest writer of the French Enlightenment was not immune to the influences, attitudes and prejudices of his day, though the events of his own life were naturally important also in colouring his view of Ireland and the Irish. Voltaire never visited Ireland but he did spend upwards of two years in England (1726–28), an experience which marked him profoundly1 and may well have been the decisive factor in forming his attitude to the Irish. Moreover, Voltaire learned English well and thus gained an access to anglophone culture shared by few Frenchmen of his generation. The already-famous author was 32 when he went into voluntary exile across the Channel and there is precious little evidence in his writing that he had heard or thought about Ireland much before then. Like most French people of his background and education, he must have regarded the Irish as a superstitious people on the periphery of Europe, backward, subjugated and uninteresting, indeed almost completely irrelevant to his interests and aims. Such a stereotypical view was doubtless reinforced by gossip he heard in Court circles, accounts by men like Lauzun, commander of the French troops during the Irish campaign of 1689–91 (just before Voltaire’s birth), a man who had very little time for the Irish and whose opinions later possibly influenced Voltaire’s account of crucial historical events like the Battle of the Boyne.2 This negative attitude is unlikely to have been substantially altered by Irish émigrés whom Voltaire may have met in this early part of his life. At any rate, there is no indication that he was greatly impressed or affected by any such people, a situation which was to change substantially in later years. André-Michel Rousseau feels (p. 67) that Voltaire probably knew the members of the Jacobite circle in Paris during the 1720s but that, temperamentally, he was repelled rather than attracted by their political and religious ideas and kept his distance from them. To this largely negative picture was thus added Voltaire’s experience of England. It seems inevitable that, even subconsciously, the impressionable Frenchman must have adopted during his stay at least some English prejudices about Ireland and the Irish, especially since he was so taken by English life and institutions, in particular the political system. Things may 152

Voltaire’s View of the Irish


not have been helped by the fact that, when in London, Voltaire came across Jean Cavalier, the former Camisard rebel who had preceded him in the affections of Olympe Du Noyer, with whom Voltaire had fallen in love while an apprentice diplomat in Holland and had at one stage been determined to marry: Cavalier had later married (another lady) and settled in the Huguenot colony at Portarlington.3 To judge from the Lettres philosophiques, the great work Voltaire published in 1734, a few years after his return to France, Ireland and the Irish, generally conspicuous by their absence, had signally failed to interest him. But in one area at least the situation was more positive, for Voltaire also became acquainted with Swift and seems to have developed a considerable friendship for the older man, whose writings were to constitute a significant literary influence on him. I shall begin by assessing this and reviewing Voltaire’s references to other Irish writers.

Voltaire’s connections with Swift have already been comprehensively studied.4 He probably met the French author in London in late May or early June 1726 through their mutual acquaintance Lord Bolingbroke, and it is also possible that the latter may have given Voltaire some advance knowledge of Gulliver’s travels before its publication that year. We do know for certain that Swift and Voltaire both stayed as guests in Lord Peterborough’s house at Parson’s Green for a considerable time in the summer of 1727 (AMR, pp. 80 –1). All the indications are that they quickly became good friends: Voltaire lost no time in writing several warm letters of introduction for Swift, who planned to visit France (see D316, D317, D318). In the event Swift did not use these since, after the sudden death of George I, he returned to Ireland. There is however evidence that Voltaire helped him in another way, as several critics have seen the Frenchman’s hand in a long, ironic letter sent during the summer of 1727 to Desfontaines, translator into French of Gulliver’s travels (Foulet, pp. 242–7). Swift’s literary influence on Voltaire was considerable, and in his writings the latter paid him frequent tributes. A passage in the Lettres philosophiques of 1734 sets the tone, which is almost wholly flattering: Swift has been called the English Rabelais, says Voltaire, and though his work is slightly less lively than that of his French counterpart, he more than makes up for this with his finesse, reason, choice and good taste, the only reservation being that to understand Swift properly the foreigner must visit his country (Mélanges, p. 95). By the last remark, of course, Voltaire


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

means England, not Ireland, and this is still the case in a 1756 addition, where he comments (ibid., p. 1342): In this country, which appears so strange to part of Europe, people did not find it strange that the Reverend Swift, dean of a cathedral, should have mocked Catholicism, Lutheranism and Calvinism in his Tale of a Tub. As Voltaire put it many years later, summing up his earlier comments: ‘Swift was far less learned than Rabelais, but his wit was more subtle and more nimble: he is the Rabelais of polite society’ (ibid., p. 1186) It is in fact this comparison with Rabelais that gives us the key to Voltaire’s enthusiasm. Swift the satirist clearly influenced him, perhaps the most striking imitation being the philosophical story or conte Micromégas (literally small-large), which shows an obvious debt to Gulliver’s travels. In Micromégas a gigantic inhabitant of Sirius visits the Earth together with a citizen of Saturn, much smaller than his companion but still of huge size in terrestrial terms. One is inevitably reminded of Lilliput and Brobdingnag, and there are many other similarities of detail (cf. Thacker, p. 62), though the general tone and thrust of Voltaire’s tale are quite different. A further example of borrowing is to be found in a satirical brochure published by Voltaire in 1759, the Relation de la maladie, de la confession, de la mort et de l’apparition du jésuite Berthier: avec la relation du voyage de frère Garassise. One inspiration of this work is probably the Bickerstaff papers of 1708–9 (Thacker, pp. 63–4). Another conte philosophique which may owe something to Swift is Pot-pourri, which has often puzzled critics but which Thacker (pp. 63–4) feels is modelled on The Tale of a Tub, with the same mixture of direct satire of the Church and numerous digressions, all to a greater or lesser degree, though not always very obviously, linked to the main theme.5 This indeed was the work by Swift most admired by Voltaire and it is described at some length in an anti-clerical broadside of 1767, the Lettres à Mgr le Prince de*** (Mélanges, pp. 1185–6). What particularly attracted Voltaire to Swift, even more than an admiration for the Irishman’s specifically literary achievements, was the fact that like Rabelais Swift was a cleric not afraid to mock Christianity and attack the Church and the fact that, despite such irreverence, he had been made Dean of St Patrick’s in Dublin. Speaking of the Biblical predictions of Christ’s Second Coming, Voltaire remarks: ‘All these interpretations bear a perfect resemblance to those of lord Peter in the Tale of a Tub, written by our dear Dean Swift’.6 A similar comment concerns the Old Testament: ‘My guess is that Esdras forged all these Tales of a tub after the Jews returned from the captivity’.7 Gulliver’s travels is also used in the

Voltaire’s View of the Irish


same way as when, talking about Saul and the Philistines, Voltaire observes: ‘We find similar tall-stories in our Gulliver, but not such great contradictions’ (Voltaire 62, p. 200: cf. p. 208). It is evident that ‘our dear Dean Swift’ was a powerful name to employ in such propaganda and Voltaire’s enthusiasm sometimes tended to run away with him, as when he claimed to his friend d’Argental, in a letter of 13 August 1760: ‘The Tale of a Tub has done more harm to the Catholic church than Henry VIII’ (D9137). Nonetheless, if Voltaire somewhat misunderstood the nature of Swift’s satire of religion and exaggerated its anticlericalism, the Dean of St Patrick’s was certainly an Irish influence he admired and respected. Another Irish churchman of whom Voltaire spoke with respect was the philosopher Berkeley, with whose theories he appears to have been quite familiar although, as he told Andrew Pitt around the end of 1732 (D558), he was an admirer rather than a disciple of the bishop: ‘I must tell you plainly that the doctor’s sagacity has pleased me more than convinc’d’. Both the Alciphron and the Theory of vision or visual language (1733) are referred to in Voltaire’s correspondence (D558 and D1215), and his Eléments de la philosophie de Newton contains a short sketch of Berkeley’s ideas on how we see. Voltaire had met Berkeley and obviously respected him. In the letter just quoted he commented: ‘I have known the man. He is certainly a learned philosopher, and delicat wit’. A few years later, in the autobiographical fragment of 1739, the Frenchman describes himself as a friend of Berkeley ‘depuis longtemps’ (M.xxiii, p. 30). Like Swift, another Church of Ireland clergyman is referred to in Voltaire’s anti-Christian propaganda, the Lettres à Mgr le Prince slyly suggesting that Bishop Taylor of Down and Connor, author of the Ductor dubitantium or Doubter’s guide, has been falsely accused of being anti-Christian. Although he says the opposite, Voltaire obviously implies that, in the case of a book with such a title, it is a case of no smoke without fire. In actual fact, there is no evidence that Bishop Jeremy Taylor wished to do anything other than quite genuinely convert doubters to the good news of Christianity.8 With another writer also mentioned in the Lettres à Mgr le Prince, Voltaire is, however, on firmer ground, for this is John Toland, the first of the notorious ‘English’ deists. Although Norman Torrey has established that Voltaire had little direct knowledge of Toland’s work and often falsified it to suit his propaganda, the Frenchman was quite correct to portray Toland as a ‘dangerous’ author. In this case Voltaire has no need to use ambiguous and questionable terms to communicate his anticlerical message, for the scandal caused by Toland to his contemporaries was not in doubt.9 Voltaire describes the outcry which followed the publication of


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Toland’s Christianity not mysterious, despite the fact that in his book the author was deliberately vague and veiled his real meaning: He was condemned; he was prosecuted in Ireland: soon the veil was rent. His Jewish origins, his Nazarean, his Pantheisticon, were so many combats that he openly waged on Christianity. (Mélanges, p. 1177) ‘The strange thing’, Voltaire observes, ‘is that having been persecuted in Ireland for the most circumspect of his works, he was never bothered in England for the most audacious books’ (ibid.). On this occasion, Voltaire is quite correct in his statements (Simms, pp. 309–11), the contrast between English laxity and Irish strictness in the matter of religion already seeming evident at the very beginning of the eighteenth century. Our review of literary figures should also perhaps mention Congreve, born in England but raised and educated in Ireland and for whom Voltaire shows considerable admiration in the Lettres philosophiques. The passage in question includes an often-quoted account of a meeting between the two men, Voltaire expressing shock that Congreve was prouder of being known as a gentleman than a playwright (ii, pp. 108–9). On a rather different tack, many years later Voltaire praised the Irish novelist Frances Brooke, when he reviewed her History of Lady Julia Mandeville (Dublin: 1763) for the Gazette littéraire in May 1764.10 However, as Voltaire’s remarks indicate, it is doubtful whether he even realized that Mrs Brooke was an Irish writer. From this rapid survey we can thus see that several Irish figures, most notably Swift, either influenced Voltaire in a purely literary way or were used by him for the purposes of anti-Christian propaganda. Also obvious, however, is that all the cases mentioned so far, with the exception of Toland, belonged to the Protestant Ascendancy, which to Voltaire was synonymous with the English. There is indeed no indication whatsoever that Voltaire even knew that Toland had been born a Catholic; if he did, he certainly did not mention it, merely stating that the Irishman had ‘a proud and independent soul’ and that ‘born in poverty, he might have risen to fortune had he been more moderate. But persecution enraged him; he wrote against the Christian religion through hatred and vengeance’ (Mélanges, p. 1177). Voltaire also claims that there exist a few poems in honour of Toland’s memory, but that ‘they were not written by priests of the Church of England’ (p. 1178), implying surely that he thought that Toland was a lapsed Anglican. As we have seen, Toland and Swift are indeed described as English authors by their French admirer. Now Voltaire believed that England was governed by a sophisticated class of Protestant gentlemen who regarded religion, well-organized and suitably controlled, as a useful

Voltaire’s View of the Irish


check on the populace but who themselves practised a healthy scepticism in such matters; and he may have thought the situation in Ireland similar. At any rate, the two major factors conditioning Voltaire’s views on Ireland and the Irish seem clear: he was irremediably hostile to the Catholicism of the majority of its inhabitants and he tended to blur the distinction between English and Irish when he approved of a phenomenon, author or person that had impressed him. Ireland was thus deprived of many of its best achievements, which Voltaire ascribed to the English.

It is in the field of history that Voltaire’s most controversial statements about Ireland and the Irish are to be found, though Voltaire has been generally commended by modern scholars for his attachment to factual accuracy, a distinct step forward compared to most of his predecessors.11 By the 1740s he had partly lived down his early reputation as a dangerous subversive, was in favour with Mme de Pompadour and had other strong allies at Court. As a result, he was appointed Historiographer of France, no mere sinecure in his case, for he showed an increasing fascination with the mechanics and motivation of political events. Official documents were scoured and ministers were sent lists of questions, all this culminating first in Voltaire’s Histoire de la guerre de 1741 and later in his Précis du siècle de Louis XV. Subsequently, the kernel of these works was incorporated into the Essai sur les moeurs, first published in its full form in 1756. Taken together with his most famous historical work, the Siècle de Louis XIV (as Voltaire encouraged printers and readers to do), this provided a tableau of world and particularly European history from the time of Charlemagne to the middle of the eighteenth century. The first events we should consider are those recounted in his poem La Bataille de Fontenoy (1745) and the Histoire de la guerre de 1741, texts dealing with the contemporary period, for which Voltaire carried out personal research during his time at Versailles. Unlike most of his historical works, these are relatively favourable to Ireland and the Irish, though the operative word here is ‘relative’. True, Voltaire does reduce the importance of Lally-Tollendal, the Irish hero of the Battle of Fontenoy, in which the French forces defeated the English, and this alleged deformation prompted a sarcastic response from John Dromgold (1720–81), like Lally a French resident of Irish stock.12 For Voltaire the decisive role in the battle was played by his schoolfriend and patron, the duc de Richelieu, who is duly lionized. But such self-interested flattery may be at least explained (if not excused) by the fact that, at the time when his account was being


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

written, Voltaire was passionately involved in the 1745 campaign to restore Prince Charles Edward’s father to the throne of his ancestors. Not only was Richelieu to be the commander of the French troops despatched to England but another schoolfriend of Voltaire’s, the marquis d’Argenson, was currently Minister of War and commissioned the author to compose a Manifeste du roi de France en faveur du prince Charles-Edouard for distribution in the event of a successful French landing.13 At this stage Voltaire worked with Lally, for whose rehabilitation he would later campaign (see below, pp. 165, 168). It is in fact partly to Voltaire that we owe the creation of the romantic legend around Bonnie Prince Charlie, the latter’s adventures occupying two entire chapters of the Précis du siècle de Louis XV. In composing his account, moreover, Voltaire used the memoirs of an Irishman, Captain John O’Sullivan, one of the ‘seven sages of Moidart’, who had accompanied the prince to Scotland. On 12 April 1754 Voltaire wrote to an unknown correspondent: ‘Monsieur de Sulivan […] dictated to me an account of everything that happened after the Battle of Culloden’ (D5769). In view of the anti-Irish attitude in Voltaire’s other writings, this idealization of Charles Edward is perhaps something of a surprise. For one thing, if restored to the throne, would the prince’s father not have actively promoted Catholicism, so detested by Voltaire?14 Whatever the potential danger, his admiration seems to have been quite genuine. Voltaire’s most anticlerical phase had not yet begun. In addition, he was human enough to be a patriot and at times identified himself closely with French foreign policy, enthusiastically celebrating victories over the English, despite his admiration for the latter’s political system, institutions and cultural freedom. Thus, in 1760, we see him showing close interest when François Thurot occupies Carrickfergus for a few days in the hope of holding Belfast to ransom. It is clear enough from Voltaire’s comments that he is more interested in a French success over the English and the daring of a brave man than in any help that might be given to the oppressed Irish.15 This nationalistic stance is seen even more clearly in Voltaire’s greatest historical work, the Siècle de Louis XIV, a major contribution to historical writing because it aimed to give a complete picture of the age, including chapters on the arts, theology and commerce, rather than merely restricting itself to dynastic, military and diplomatic affairs, as had generally been the tradition with previous historians. The Siècle was first published in Berlin in 1751, but Voltaire had been working on it for the previous 20 years (Brumfitt, pp. 48–61). For our purposes, the most significant chapter is the fifteenth, which recounts the climactic events of 1689–91, when James II, dethroned by his son-in-law William of Orange, tried to regain

Voltaire’s View of the Irish


his throne through a campaign in Ireland supported by the French. It is no surprise to find that Voltaire is hostile to James, seen as a pawn of the Jesuits and a weak-minded, superstitious coward, utterly incompetent as a leader. More debatable is the blame he attaches to James’s Irish supporters as well as to the king himself. The difficulty of the siege before the little town of ‘Londondéri’ is minimized, Voltaire wrongly attributing the city’s successful defence to ‘a Presbyterian priest, called Valker [sic]’: Walker was in fact a Church of Ireland clergyman whose relations with the Presbyterians were extremely bad.16 The Battle of the Boyne prompts some even more uncomplimentary reflections: The Irish, whom we have seen as such good soldiers in France and Spain, have always fought badly at home. There some nations which seem to be made to be subject to another. The English have always had over the Irish a superiority of genius, wealth and arms. Ireland has never been able to shake off the yoke of England, since the time when a mere lord subjugated it. (OH, p. 766) According to the 1785 Kehl edition of the Oeuvres complètes de Voltaire (xx, p. 408, n.24), the first edition of the Siècle had been even more extreme, for instead of the phrase ‘a superiority of genius, wealth and arms’ the original had read ‘the superiority that white men have over negroes’ (this was suppressed in later editions).17 Nor is Voltaire’s anglophile attack on the Irish his only insult. For him the real heroes of the campaign were Louis XIV and the French soldiers sent by the latter to help James. At the Boyne, he insists, ‘the French fought […] the Irish fled’, and after James’s return to France: The French fleets were occupied […] in bringing home the French who had fought pointlessly, and Catholic Irish families who, being very poor in their own country, wished to go to France and live off the generosity of the king. (OH, pp. 767–8) A final attempt to help the Irish (described as ‘an excess of liberality’) also failed. James still held several Irish towns, including Limerick, where there were more than 12 000 soldiers. Louis sent 3000 well-trained men and 40 vessels filled with ‘everything that can serve the needs of a great people and those of its soldiers’ (OH, p. 768). The implication is that Louis XIV was wrong to treat the Irish as a great people for, once again, both they and James failed their French allies: Limerick besieged, but furnished with so much help, hoped to see its king fight for its defence. But James did not come. Limerick surrendered;


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

the French vessels returned again to the Irish coasts, and brought back to France about 20,000 Irishmen, both soldiers and fleeing civilians. (ibid.) There is no mention whatsoever of the Battle of Aughrim, the impression being given that the Irish supporting James put up no resistance and that every positive action was taken – vainly – by their French allies. Nothing could be further from the truth, but Voltaire’s narrative would leave his reader in no doubt that the Irish thoroughly deserved their servile status and had completely lacked initiative, flair and resourcefulness in what seemed ideal circumstances to free themselves from English rule. Serge Rivière has recently demonstrated the considerable debt of Voltaire to the Protestant historians Philippe de Limiers and, especially, Isaac de Larrey, from whose Histoire de France sous le règne de Louis XIV (Rotterdam: 1718) he took many of the above details.18 Nonetheless, Voltaire clearly chose to use potentially biased sources: he could have amended his text, particularly in view of contemporary criticisms, but signally failed to do so.19 This generally unfavourable attitude to the Irish can also be seen in Voltaire’s other historical works. In the Essai sur les moeurs the Celtic church is given short shrift, its significance being reduced virtually to nothing and, although Voltaire at first sight appears to disapprove of Henry II’s invasion of Ireland in the twelfth century, twice describing it as ‘usurpation’, his apparent sympathy for the Irish should be treated with some reserve. What particularly piques Voltaire, apart from the fact that a priest, representative of the meek and humble Christ, could actually claim the right to dispose of a country like Ireland, is the fact that it was an English pope (Hadrian IV) who granted it to him (Essai, i, p. 514). As for Ireland itself, it was ‘an uncivilized country’, part of which had already been conquered by the Earl of Pembroke with a mere 1200 men, and Henry II overcame it easily. By far the most hostile remarks made by Voltaire about the Catholic Irish occur in his descriptions of the 1641 uprising and its accompanying massacres: these Voltaire frequently compares to the Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre in France. Typically, he lists with fascinated horror the atrocities allegedly committed by the Catholic rebels, showing no appreciation whatsoever for their position and attributing to them no other motives than blind hatred and sectarian prejudice. Indeed, so determined was he to maintain the full horror of this event that he refused to accept that estimates of the numbers killed had been grossly exaggerated, even though the thesis was put forward in a book by a Protestant author, Henry Brooke (The Tryal of the Roman Catholicks, Dublin: 1762). Once more Voltaire’s anglocentric perspective is evident,

Voltaire’s View of the Irish


not the slightest doubt being shown over statistics or alleged facts gleaned from English sources, though one would at least expect some scepticism from a professional historian: Mr Brouk appears in effect to prove that the Catholics cut the throats of only 40,000 Protestants including women and children and girls hanged round the necks of their mothers. It is true that in the first heat of the holy event the English parliament specifically referred to the massacre of 150,000 persons; but it could have been deceived by the indiscrete complaints of the relatives of the massacred people […] if we suppose that there were only about 80,000 people burned, or hanged, or drowned, or whose throats were cut for the love of God, we may flatter ourselves not to be too far from the truth. (D15195, 15 August 1768) Like the Polish, most Irish are irremediably damned in Voltaire’s eyes for their fervent Catholicism, and he insists on considering Irish Catholics as the perpetrators rather than the potential victims of persecution. A further striking example occurs in the Dictionnaire philosophique article ‘Anthropophages’ (‘Cannibals’): I have read among anecdotes in the history of England from the time of Cromwell that a Dublin candle-maker sold excellent candles made from the fat of Englishmen. After a time one of her customers complained because her candles were no longer so good. ‘Alas’, said she, ‘that’s because we couldn’t get any English this month’. ‘I ask who was more guilty’, concludes Voltaire, ‘those who cut the throats of the English or this woman who made candles from their tallow’.20

When we turn to Voltaire’s other writings – his correspondence, notebooks and philosophical stories – a similar picture emerges. A famous chapter in Zadig (1747), entitled Le Souper, shows the sectaires (devotees) of various ancient religions almost coming to blows in the defence of their different faiths. It is a satire of religious intolerance, modern as well as ancient, and the reasonable Zadig succeeds in showing how all the disputing parties really believe in the same divinity. Most obstreperous of all is ‘le Celte’, who becomes thoroughly drunk and threatens to set about all his fellow guests should they fail to show ‘much respect for his nation’.21 Now Voltaire had little admiration for the Celts in general, and his remarks are more likely to be directed at the ancient inhabitants of Gaul than at those of Ireland (cf. Essai, i, pp. 197ff.). Nonetheless, this caricature of the


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

short-tempered drunken Celt is at least similar enough to that of the shorttempered drunken Irishman beloved of the English imagination to retain our attention, particularly when other indications of a similar attitude are to be found. The so-called Sottisier, part of the Leningrad group of notebooks, probably dating from the period 1735–50, contains at least one example of an Irish joke: An Irishman was reading what an Englishman was writing. The latter noticing this continued and wrote, I can’t tell you any more, because a damned Irishman is looking over my shoulder. You’re a liar, cried the Irishman, I haven’t read a word.22 Voltaire also noted several times an anecdote he attributes to Swift, tending to suggest that the Irish Parliament was full of dullards or idiots: Sermon of Dr. Swift on pride delivered to the Irish Parliament Sirs, There are three sorts of pride, pride caused by birth, by position and by intelligence. As to the third, since no one in this august assembly can be accused of that vice, I shall not have the honour of speaking to you about it.23 This mockery may be significant because, like the comments about Irish history just considered, it shows a different reaction from that shown as regards certain literary figures, usually referred to as English, although Voltaire was certainly aware of their Irish origins in at least some cases. The most likely explanation may be that he took from his English friends an attitude of scorn, or at best of patronizing amusement toward the native or Catholic Irish, reserving for their Protestant fellow-countrymen a generally more favourable view though, as we have just seen, he was not above enjoying an occasional joke at the expense of the exclusively Protestant parliament also (cf. also Voltaire 82, p. 441) Another fascinating indication of Voltaire’s anti-Irish attitude is to be found at the very beginning of L’Ingénu, arguably his greatest conte philosophique after Candide: One day St. Dunstan, Irish by nation and saint by profession, left Ireland on a wee mountain which voyaged towards the coasts of France, and he arrived by this vehicle in the Bay of St. Malo. When he was on land, he blessed his mountain, which made several profound bows to him and returned to Ireland by the same way it had come.24

Voltaire’s View of the Irish


At first sight this humorous passage, mildly poking fun at the credulity behind many saints’ legends, may appear quite harmless, merely linking Ireland and Brittany as lands of naïve and uncritical religiosity. But there is more to it than meets the eye. In the first place, Saint Dunstan was not Irish, although he was brought up by Irish monks. Why then has Voltaire made him so, instead of the Englishman he really was? The full import of the passage becomes clearer when one realizes that it had already appeared in a virtually identical form in another work by Voltaire, published in 1765, two years before L’Ingénu: the Questions sur les miracles. This satirical brochure, made up of a series of letters originally published separately or in batches, is in large part an attack on John Needham. In letter 12 of the Questions we find this passage: I have read in the history of St. Dunstan, who is a famous saint from the Jesuit Needham’s country, that one day he had a mountain come from Ireland to Lower Brittany, gave it his blessing and sent it back to its home. I have no doubt that you can do as much as St. Dunstan […]25 Although John Turbeville Needham was a Catholic and did become a priest (though not a Jesuit), he was in fact English, being born in London in 1713, yet Voltaire invariably insisted on referring to him as both a Jesuit and an Irishman.26 Given Voltaire’s often vitriolic attacks on the Jesuits, it is clear that for him to say – in the same breath – that someone was Irish cannot have been much of a compliment. As well as the purely personal mockery directed at Needham in the Questions, one finds several other passages hostile to Ireland and the Irish. The attack is already more generalized when Voltaire calls Needham ‘one of those disguised Irish priests who travel around, and who go to preach popery secretly in England’ (M.xxv, p. 393), and further sneering comments occur. A typical example comes at the end of letter nine, emphasizing the credulity of Irish Catholics, even compared with their coreligionists: ‘indeed, only Catholics perform miracles. And everyone agrees that the most authentic happen in Ireland’ (M.xxv, p. 406). Perhaps the most interesting references are those concerning the greatest Irish saint. At the beginning of letter nine, Needham calls him ‘my patron St. Patrick’, adding: ‘I learn that the impious make fun of my patron and of me […] that doesn’t deflate me’ (M.xxv, p. 403). The saint is then mocked directly, à propos of one of his alleged miracles, heating an oven with snow. Somewhat earlier, in letter seven, Needham (‘an Irish papist’) is claimed to have undergone a type of transfiguration, ‘for, though Irish he disguised himself as a Genevan; though a priest, he disguised himself as a man; though absurd, he wished to be taken for a reasoner […]’


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

(M.xxv, p. 398). Covelle’s recommendation is that ‘he be sent back to St. Patrick’s hole [trou]’, and in a footnote Voltaire explains to his readers that ‘the hole of St. Patrick is very famous in Ireland: it is through it that these gentlemen say you go down into hell’.27 Voltaire’s references to the Irish in Questions sur les miracles duly include the incident he considered the most shameful of their history. ‘Certainly, my dear Needham’, declares one of the other characters, ‘when, at the time of Charles I, you Irish cut the throats of 80 000 Protestants whose number has been reduced to 40 000 at the most, according to the latest calculations, you showed Christian charity in all its glory’ (M.xxv, p. 434). The wide selection of writings we have been discussing thus further illustrates clearly Voltaire’s anti-Irish prejudice. Apart from certain elements of the Protestant Ascendancy, he seems to regard the Irish as at worst religious fanatics, at best naïve dullards. There is no apparent appreciation of the disabilities under which most Irishmen lived at the time, still less indignation. Nowhere is there any evidence that Voltaire had read the most biting and effective of Swift’s satires, The Modest proposal: at any rate, there is no reference to it in his correspondence, and no apparent echo of it in his works. Even when Voltaire does record an anecdote by Swift satirizing the English attitude to Ireland, the emphasis is on Swift’s wit rather than on English abuse of the Irish: Lady Carteret, wife of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in Swift’s time, said to him, ‘The air of this country is good’. Swift fell down on his knees. ‘For God’s sake, madam, don’t say so in England; they will certainly tax it.’28 Another anecdote is admittedly less favourable to the English: Dr. Swift says that the English, to make it thought that people are rich in Ireland and that the Irish may be taxed without being downtrodden, come and shit at their doors, and thus spread the rumour that there is enough to eat in Ireland […] (Notebooks, i, p. 254) but one still detects no hint of understanding or indignation on Voltaire’s part.

In the course of his long life Voltaire met or had some sort of connection with a considerable number of Irishmen, especially those in exile on the continent. It is thus perhaps slightly surprising that these contacts, many of which were friendly, did not make any apparent difference to his attitude regarding Irish history and the Irish character, in particular since, after his

Voltaire’s View of the Irish


remarks about Bonnie Prince Charlie, he was generally thought (by the British at least) to have strongly pro-Jacobite sympathies.29 The paradox inherent in this situation is brought out most clearly in Voltaire’s campaign on behalf of Lally-Tollendal.30 Thomas Arthur Lally had been born at Romans-en-Dauphiné in 1702; his father, Sir Gerard Lally, was a colonel in Lord Dillon’s Irish Regiment. Lally quickly distinguished himself in the service of France, making an important contribution to the French victory at the Battle of Fontenoy and later playing a key role in the campaign to restore the Stuarts to the throne. As we have seen, it was at this stage that Voltaire met Lally and worked closely with him. In 1757 Lally was appointed viceroy of the French possessions in India. Yet, despite his energy and undeniable gifts, Lally was an unpopular and unsuccessful leader, the outcome of his period as viceroy being that the French were defeated by the British, losing almost all their possessions in India. Lally himself was captured and, though later returned to the French, was prosecuted in France for high treason and executed in 1766. Voltaire clearly did not have much liking for Lally, but he was determined to right what he regarded as a blatant miscarriage of justice and to rehabilitate the Irishman’s memory. The passages devoted to the latter and his misfortunes are in fact among the few incidences where Voltaire seems to show some genuine sympathy for ‘wild geese’ like him. Moreover, the usually idealized picture of the English is also modified, as Voltaire describes the bad treatment to which Lally was subjected as a prisoner-ofwar, fed only on soup, which the ship’s captain felt was fitting for ‘an Irishman in the service of France’ (M.xxxix, p. 148). In these comments Voltaire shows himself to be both perceptive and reasonable. Why, one wonders, does a similar attitude not extend to other exiled Irish contemporaries of Voltaire and their fellow countrymen as a whole? Part of the answer may be that, from time to time, Voltaire met a very different type of Irishman and that such contacts must have given him a radically different picture of the country and its situation, confirming views and prejudices that he had acquired much earlier in his life. These were the Irishmen who, like many well-off Englishmen, visited him during their Grand Tour of Europe. Increasingly in the 1750s, 1760s and early 1770s a visit to Voltaire at Ferney was regarded as a desirable if not obligatory stop and men as diverse as George Macartney, later the first British ambassador to China, the musician Philip Hayes, and Charles Dillon (later twelfth Viscount) made the pilgrimage to meet the outstanding literary genius of the age.31 It should come as no surprise after what has been said earlier about Voltaire’s anti-Irish remarks that he viewed the situation of Catholics in


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

eighteenth-century Ireland (and England) with complacency. Arguably, the French Huguenots were even worse off than Irish Catholics: any Protestant pastor discovered in France was liable to the death penalty, men attending religious assemblies could be sent to the galleys for life, women committing a similar ‘crime’ imprisoned, also for life (though after 1760 the antiProtestant legislation was allowed to lapse more and more).32 So the slightly less oppressive régime in England and Ireland had a real appeal for Voltaire: indeed he took the status of Catholics there as a model when campaigning for limited Protestant toleration in France. He condemned unlawful religious assemblies, recommending instead private acts of worship: ‘any gathering is unlawful. Serve God as you wish in your homes’, the Huguenot M. de Boucacous is told in Pot pourri (Mélanges, p. 724). These remarks would certainly have applied to Irish (and English) Catholics as well as to French Protestants. Originally the Anglican Church had seemed to Voltaire just a paler version of its Catholic rival (cf. Lettres philosophiques, letter 5). As he grew older, however, Voltaire began to see it as an ideal model for a national religion, where priests – necessary to contain the potentially fanatical and rebellious lower classes – were kept in check by the enlightened secular authorities (Gargett, pp. 313–33). It is very probable that this approval was extended to the Church of England’s sister institution in Ireland. On several occasions, far from lamenting the oppression suffered by its native population, Voltaire presents the eighteenth century in Ireland as a golden age, compared with the rest of its history. In the Essai sur les moeurs he comments: This land has always remained under the domination of England, but uncultivated, poor, and unproductive, until finally, in the eighteenth century, agriculture, manufacturing, the arts, the sciences, everything has been perfected there; and Ireland, though subjugated, has become one of the most flourishing provinces in Europe.33 But Voltaire’s most controversial comments on contemporary Ireland occur in the Précis du Siècle de Louis XV, as he tries to explain why Ireland remained so quiet during the 1745–46 Jacobite uprising. A direct and somewhat questionable comparison is made between Scotland and Ireland, the latter being described as ‘a more fertile country, better governed by the London government, and in which the cultivation of the land and manufacturing had been encouraged’ (OH, pp. 1425– 6). In the Traité sur la tolérance of 1764, Voltaire optimistically affirms that sectarian massacres will no longer take place in Ireland, though on this occasion he attributes the allegedly improved situation not as much to enlightened government by London as to Enlightenment itself: ‘Philosophy, philosophy

Voltaire’s View of the Irish


alone, that sister of religion, has disarmed hands that superstition had so long covered with blood’ (Mélanges, p. 577). But what does Voltaire mean by ‘philosophie’ in an Irish context? On the strength of what we have already seen in this chapter, one might perhaps (rather lengthily) translate it as ‘enlightened direction of affairs by the Protestant Ascendancy’, a class which, closely allied to England (indeed, for Voltaire virtually indistinguishable from it), had espoused the ideal of limited toleration. The context of Voltaire’s interpretation is perhaps best illustrated by his relationship with that noted eccentric Frederick Augustus Hervey, Earl of Bristol and Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry.34 Voltaire had known the bishop’s father, Lord Hervey of Ickworth, during his years in London, and he continued to value his friendship, corresponding with him over many years. In the Lettres philosophiques he translated an anti-clerical poem which Hervey had written while on holiday in Italy, and perhaps most important of all, he prefaced the Siècle de Louis XIV with a letter to Hervey. Hervey’s son Frederic Augustus was not only eccentric, he was also a remarkably tolerant man, contributing to the building of Catholic chapels and to many public works in his diocese including the construction of the bridge in Derry, and allowing Mass to be celebrated in the Mussenden Temple on his estate at Downhill. In the 1780s he was to play a prominent, though rather bizarre role in the Volunteer Movement, but already in 1774 he was one of the chief sponsors of a bill passed by the Irish Parliament which allowed Catholics to take the oath of allegiance without renouncing their religion. Such toleration, limited though genuine, no doubt appealed to Voltaire: the bishop visited him several times on his travels in Europe and may even have helped to inspire one of Voltaire’s last contes philosophiques, Histoire de Jenni, whose protagonist, the spokesman for toleration and Voltaire deism, is an Anglican clergyman called Freind (Gargett, pp. 496–7). The relationship with Hervey, an Englishman closely associated with Ireland, surely typifies very aptly Voltaire’s own relationship with Ireland and its people. He saw Ireland and the Irish primarily through the eyes of England and the English. Swift and other literary figures whom he admires were as often as not described by him as English. A vein of mockery can be detected on many occasions when he refers to Ireland. At other times the Catholic Irish are seen as an inferior race and berated for their shortcomings, in particular their fanaticism in 1641 and a signal failure to respond to help provided by their French allies and benefactors during the crisis in 1689 –91. Though he protested at the ‘usurpation’ of Ireland by an English king aided by an English pope, Voltaire showed little sympathy for the Irish of later centuries, regarding them as a clear example of a


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

nation destined to remain subject. But at least he made some amends with his campaign to exonerate Lally. For all his faults, Voltaire was genuinely outraged by cases of injustice, once convinced that they had really occurred. As he lay on his deathbed in Paris, news came that Lally’s name had been vindicated and he wrote to the Irishman’s son, Trophime-Gérard: The dying man revives on learning the great news; he embraces M. de Lalli very tenderly; he sees that the king is the defender of justice; he will die happy. (D21213, 26 May 1778) Four days later he was dead. Voltaire may have been ill-informed about Ireland and short-sighted in many of his comments about Irish Catholics, but here at least he shows himself to be indeed the great humanitarian that history has portrayed.

NOTES 01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07.




See AMR; René Pomeau, D’Arouet à Voltaire (Oxford: 1985) pp. 212–56; H.T. Mason, Voltaire: a Biography (London: 1981) pp. 10–12. See G. Gargett, ‘Voltaire and Irish history’, ECI, 5 (1990) p. 141, especially n.89; AMR, p. 58. Gargett, p. 254; AMR, p. 139, especially notes 137 and 138. See Christopher Thacker, ‘Voltaire and Swift’, Hermathena (1967) pp. 51–66; AMR, pp. 80 –1, 86–7, 116–17; Ahmad Gunny, Voltaire and English Literature, Studies, 177 (1979) pp. 244–56. However, Deloffre and Van Den Heuvel do not mention the connection in their authoritative edition of Voltaire’s contes. Voltaire 62 (1987), ed. Roland Mortier, p. 244. The continuation of this paragraph shows a typical anti-Irish prejudice on Voltaire’s part: ‘He wrote them in the jargon of the country in Chaldean script, as peasants from the North of Ireland would write today in English letters’ (Voltaire 62, p. 186). Jeremy Taylor (1613–67) was in fact English, being born in Cambridge, but his Ductor dubitantium, published in 1660 and dedicated to Charles II, was written in Ireland. Taylor was strongly opposed to dissenters but thought that toleration was the way to win them over. See J.G. Simms, ‘John Toland (1670–1722), a Donegal heretic’, Irish Historical Studies, 16, no. 63 (1969) pp. 304 –20; Norman L. Torrey, Voltaire and the English Deists (New Haven, London, Oxford: 1930) pp. 12–24, 199–200. John S. Clouston, Voltaire’s Binary Masterpiece: ‘L’Ingénu’ Reconsidered, European University Studies, series xiii, no. 3 (Berne, Frankfurt, New York: 1986) p. 48.

Voltaire’s View of the Irish 11.

12. 13. 14.

15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.


Cf. Voltaire, History of Charles XII, tr. Antonia White, ed. Ragnhild Hatton, The Folio Society (London: 1976) p. 24; J.H. Brumfitt, Voltaire Historian (Oxford: 1958) p. 4. Recently, M.S. Rivière has expressed a more qualified view: Voltaire took liberties impossible for a modern historian, but he was capable of an ‘exactitude méritoire’ (‘Voltaire et les historiens érudits: les sources du ‘Catalogue’ du Siècle de Louis XIV ’, Studies, 332 (1995) p. 102. See also ‘Voltaire’s concept of dramatic history in Le Siècle de Louis XIV’, Studies, 284 (1991) p. 197). Réflexions sur un imprimé intitulé ‘La Bataille de Fontenoy’, poème par M.D.***G.L., dédiées à M. de Voltaire (np: 1745): see AMR, pp. 729–31. Laurence L. Bongie, ‘Voltaire’s English, high treason and a manifesto for bonnie prince Charlie’, Studies, 171 (1977) pp. 7–29. Cf. Fielding’s denunciation of ‘these rebels [Jacobites] with whose arms this blessed religion [Catholicism] is attempted to be introduced with all the war and massacre and bloodshed in which its genius delights, into this country [England]’ (The History of the Present Rebellion, (np: 1745), quoted by AMR, p. 731, p. 73, n.66). See D8424, D8444, D8581, D8585, and M. Beresford, ‘Francis Thurot and the French attack at Carrickfergus, 1759–60’, Irish Sword, 10 (1971–2) pp. 255–74. Voltaire, Oeuvres historiques, ed. René Pomeau, (Paris: 1957; henceforth OH ) p. 766; P. Mcrory, The Siege of Derry (London: 1980) pp. 323–37; J.G. Simms, Jacobite Ireland 1685–1691 (London: 1969) pp. 100–1. See OH, pp. 766, 1709–10. Maria and Robert Edgeworth commented on this passage in their Essay on Irish Bulls of 1802 (Noël, p. 7). I am grateful to Éamon Ó Ciosáin for drawing Noël’s article to my attention. ‘Voltaire’s use of Larrey and Limiers in Le Siècle de Louis XIV: history as a science, an art and a philosophy’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, vol. 25, no. 1 (January 1989) pp. 34–53, especially pp. 41–2, 44–5. A spirited protest against Voltaire’s account was published in the June 1753 edition of the Mercure de France (D5285), the author claiming to be a Catholic Irishman who had fought at the Battle of the Boyne. He defends the conduct of the Irish soldiery and lists the Irish writers who have glorified the English language. Voltaire did slightly amend the Siècle de Louis XIV after receiving an open (and signed) letter from the ‘chevalier’ James Rutlidge (D15928): the passage concerned the latter’s father. Voltaire 35, ed. Christiane Mervaud, pp. 349–50. Voltaire very considerably embellished a passage from John Temple’s The Irish Rebellion (London: 1646). Voltaire, Romans et contes, ed. H. Bénac (Paris: 1960) p. 33. Voltaire, Notebooks i, ed. Theodore Besterman, Voltaire 81 (1968) p. 373. Notebooks i, p. 418: cf. also Notebooks ii, ed. Theodore Besterman, Voltaire 82 (1968) pp. 522 and 607. Voltaire, L’Ingénu: histoire véritable, ed. W.R. Jones (Genève, Paris: 1957) p. 77. Douzième lettre du proposant à Mr. Covelle, citoyen de Genève, à l’occasion des miracles (Genève: 1765) pp. 3–4; M.xxv, p. 415. See also G. Gargett, ‘Some relections on Voltaire’s L’Ingénu and a hitherto neglected source: the Questions sur les miracles’, The Secular City: Studies in the


26. 27. 28. 29.

30. 31. 32. 33. 34.

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 Enlightenment, eds T.D. Hemming, E. Freeman, D. Meakin (Exeter: 1994), pp. 85–101. Cf. M.xxv, pp. 386, 388, n.2, 393, 404, 431, 440. For Voltaire’s complex relationship with the Jesuits, see above, Chapter 4, n.26. Cf. Michael Harren and Yolande de Pontfarcy, The Medieval Pilgrimage to St. Patrick’s Purgatory: Loch Derg and the European Tradition (Enniskillen: 1988) p. 83, n.1. According to Martin Sherlock, the anecdote was recounted to him by Voltaire in April 1776 (VBV, p. 184). Voltaire’s mistress Mme Du Châtelet was taught English by an Irish tutor (cf. D672). Voltaire also mentions the abbé Maccarthey, who became a Muslim (M.ix, p. 527n.); Valentin Jamery-Duval, of Irish extraction and librarian to the exiled king of Poland (AMR, p. 177); Richard Talbot, French representative at the Court of Frederick the Great (cf. D4549); the abbé Méhégan, co-editor of the Journal encyclopédique (AMR, p. 246, n.60). See Pierre-Antoine Perrod, L’Affaire Lally-Tollendal: une erreur judiciaire au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: 1976). However, despite his own and others’ claims, it is clear that Oliver Goldsmith never visited Voltaire: I hope to demonstrate this elsewhere. Gargett, pp. 250–398. See also Joseph Dedieu, Histoire politique des protestants français (Paris: 1925), and Burdette C. Poland, French Protestantism and the French Revolution (Princeton: 1957). Essai, i, p. 528. For rather similar comments by Montesquieu see De l’Esprit des lois, book XIV, Chapter ix. See William Childe-Pemberton, The Earl Bishop, (London: 1924), and John R. Walsh, Frederick Augustus Hervey, 1730–1803, Fourth Earl of Bristol, Bishop of Derry, ‘Le Bienfaiteur des Catholiques’ (Maynooth: 1972).

Part III Tools of Transmission

This page intentionally left blank

9 The Trade in French Books in Eighteenth-Century Ireland Máire Kennedy and Geraldine Sheridan

Throughout the Middle Ages cultivated readers in Ireland were aware of intellectual developments in Europe, currents in French thought reaching Ireland through England, or directly from continental sources. However, the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries saw a noticeable increase in the educated readership interested in French literature: works in French were imported by Dublin booksellers in the last two decades of the seventeenth century, and there is also evidence that books from England, Holland and France passed through the other major Irish ports before 1700 (Pollard, p. 160). Thus, by the early eighteenth century a varied diet of French-language works in areas such as literature, religion, history, voyages, architecture, antiquities, music, medicine and the sciences could be obtained in Ireland. French Enlightenment texts became available through the Dublin and London book trades, forming an identifiable strand in imported French-language material, especially after 1750. However, other types of French literature were not displaced, and French-language books appealing to a variety of tastes shared the market. No sources giving reliable figures for Irish book imports remain extant. Speaking of the period 1698–1829 J.W. Phillips concludes that ‘many books were exported and imported without being entered in the books of the Irish Customs Officials’.1 For example, in 1780 Luke White imported 13 sets of the Neuchâtel Encyclopédie, each with a retail value of £30, and a cargo of other French books, sent from Switzerland and shipped through Ostend,2 but the Customs House ledgers record a figure of only £9 from Holland and Flanders together for that year, and give none for France. Such examples could be multiplied. The Irish records indicate substantial imports from Britain, followed by France, and by Holland and Flanders together, but with great fluctuations; moreover, French books were undoubtedly included in the imports from Britain. Some information can be gleaned from stock catalogues containing French-language works and booksellers’ advertisements for books recently 173


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

imported; in addition, booksellers’ commercial catalogues were issued from the early 1700s. By the last quarter of the century catalogues dedicated to French, and sometimes to Italian books were issued by several Dublin booksellers. Booksellers’ account books, ledgers and business correspondence are sadly lacking in the Irish context, especially for the international trade. Several Dublin booksellers had dealings with continental suppliers, but the nature and scale of that trade can only be guessed at, though, in the exceptional case of Luke White, Swiss archival evidence is available (see below). As the century progressed, major Irish booksellers clearly imported books directly from the continent rather than purchasing from a London supplier. Newspapers were a focal point for the book trade, produced from the early century by booksellers who increasingly utilized them to advertise their books, products and services in Dublin, and in most of the major county towns after mid-century. Imported books, constituting the luxury end of the market, featured prominently in such advertisements. Literary journals also drew attention to the newest publications, whether imported or reprinted in Dublin (see Chapter 2). From these combined sources a profile of the trade can be sketched.

THE EARLY EIGHTEENTH CENTURY: THE HUGUENOT HERITAGE The first half of the eighteenth century saw moderate imports of Frenchlanguage books catering for a relatively narrow market. The books and periodicals in question were primarily works of scholarship: history, science, and the classics of the grand siècle. The French-language review journals and periodical works, produced by francophone exiles living in Holland and other publishing centres outside France, and aimed at a reading public dispersed throughout Europe, found a receptive market in Ireland. The Huguenot booksellers had ready-made contacts with their compatriots in Holland and Geneva, importation from the former being facilitated by the direct sea routes, often relatively free from disruption during the wars between England and France, when the French book trade suffered greatly. The ‘dangers of the sea’ were, however, ever present, and ensured a large mark-up on the books sold in Dublin over their counterparts available in the Netherlands. Significant numbers of books published in France, at Paris, Lyon and Rouen, were available throughout the period, procured directly or through wholesale suppliers in London or Holland. The booksellers William Binauld, Richard Norris, Thomas Green, John Smith, William Bruce, and Jean-Pierre Droz were the main importers of

The Trade in French Books


French-language material in this period. A French Protestant stationer, Binauld catered for the city’s Huguenot community; after his retirement in 1726 he carried on a scaled-down business at his country house at Corkagh, near Dublin. In 1722 he advertised ‘all sorts of French and Latin Books, together with all Kinds of Paper, and other Stationary Ware, at very reasonable Rates’. His stock came mainly from Holland, and on at least one occasion he offered subscribers insurance against the ‘Dangers of the sea’ (Dublin Courant, 29 December 1722). Richard Norris, bookseller, publisher and book auctioneer, supplied his customers with expensive review journals and periodical literature in French. His general auction catalogue of 1729 contains about 10 per cent of French material, including the Journal des savants, Nouvelles de la république des lettres, Nouvelles littéraires, Le Clerc’s Bibliothèque choisie, and the Bibliothèque ancienne et moderne.3 19 per cent (306 items) of Thomas Green’s 1731 catalogue were books in French: works of scholarly reference, dictionaries, religious material and individual titles by Ronsard, Guez de Balzac, Boileau and Fontenelle.4 John Smith was in partnership with his cousin, William Bruce, from 1725 to 1738. They carried on a thriving trade in French and Dutch books, John’s uncle, William Smith, travelling to Holland in 1725 to buy stock for the bookshop of Smith and Bruce on the Blind Quay, Dublin. This link was maintained until William’s return to Dublin in 1727 (Pollard, pp. 158–99) when he established a long-term association with George Risk and George Ewing, publishing translations of popular French works from 1727 to 1756. Before William Smith’s stay in Amsterdam, Smith and Bruce imported their stock from England, very little French material being evident in their advertisements at this time. On 11 June 1726, however, their announcement in the Dublin Weekly Journal of ‘Books newly publish’d Abroad’, lists 16 French titles out of 25. In 1726 and 1728 they issued catalogues of books recently arrived from England, Holland and France. The 78-page catalogue for 1726 contains 28 pages devoted to Latin and 17 to French books, listing 313 French-language titles, the vast majority printed in Paris (126) and Amsterdam (68). Serious works of scholarship predominate – history, theology, medicine, the sciences – including Bayle’s Dictionnaire historique et critique (Amsterdam: 1720), 30 volumes of the Histoire de l’Académie Royale des Sciences (Amsterdam: 1723), and the full series of Le Clerc’s periodicals; the classics of the seventeenth century are listed under ‘Belles Lettres’. The range of books in the 1728 catalogue closely resembles that of 1726, the French books occupying 20 pages out of 86. In addition to providing this wide selection of French material imported from Holland, Smith and Bruce also expressed a willingness to take orders.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Peter de Hondt, bookseller at The Hague, and later in partnership with Thomas Becket in London to import French-language books and publish translations from French, was briefly involved in the Dublin book trade. In 1741 and 1742 he shared a series of advertisements in the Dublin News Letter with Peter Lautal, bookseller in Dame Street, urging the ‘curious’ to apply to Lautal: the advertisements of February–April 1742 list a selection of French books just published ‘which are to be had from him [de Hondt] at the Hague’. Lautal, for his part, informs readers that he ‘hath lately imported a curious collection of Books in several languages, and being a new Beginner, will sell them at a small profit’ (15–18 August 1741; 17–20 April 1742). Lautal’s business failed, however, and in 1744 his complete stock of 1000 volumes was sold; the subscription list to Lévesque de Pouilly’s Théorie des sentimens agréables (Appendix 2, 112: see below, pp. 177–8) describes him as a teacher of French, a fate shared by other unsuccessful Huguenot publishers in Ireland (cf. Appendix 1, no. 11). Lautal’s compatriot Droz may have taken up his link in Holland: the October–December 1745 issue of A Literary Journal (p. 216) informed Irish readers that de Hondt was publishing a large quarto edition of Don Quixote in French with cuts by Coypel, Picart, Le Romain and others. Jean-Pierre Droz, native of Neuchâtel, and minister of the Huguenot congregation at St Patrick’s Cathedral from 1737 to his death in 1751, set up as bookseller in College Green and later in Dame Street, Dublin, from 1744 to 1751, in addition to editing Ireland’s first wholly original review periodical, A Literary Journal (see Chapter 2 and Appendix 1, no. 9). He specialized in imported foreign-language publications which were reviewed and abstracted in his journal. His most recent stock of imported books was advertised in the issue of September 1746 to March 1747. The 101 French-language titles included dictionaries, religious works, history, travel, memoirs and multi-volume reference works like Le Clerc’s Bibliothèque universelle, Bibliothèque choisie and Bibliothèque ancienne et moderne (82 vols); and multi-volume review periodicals keeping pace with developments in the world of scholarship and literature (the Bibliothèque germanique, Bibliothèque raisonnée and the Journal littéraire). He also offered a variety of works of the ‘amusing kind’ (for example Corneille, Molière, Mme de Sévigné and Voltaire). Through his periodical Droz encouraged the bookbuying public to take an interest in literary news from the intellectual centres of Europe. English abstracts of the latest publications in French, Latin, German and Dutch kept readers au fait with new books and helped create a demand for his imported stock. The Dublin printers who produced material in French in the early century were closely connected with the city’s Huguenot community, the greater

The Trade in French Books


part of their output being religious: either official publications like La Liturgie, a French translation of the Book of Common Prayer, Les Psaumes de David and other texts for use in the French churches, or original religious works by Huguenot pastors. These semi-official publications continued until the later part of the century, with a new edition of La Liturgie published by George Grierson, the King’s printer, in 1785; original religious works become rare in the later part of the century, dominated by secular authors. The literary activities of the early religious writers in French in Dublin reflect the spread of Huguenot exiles across Northern Europe from the 1680s. Huguenot ministers who published in French in Dublin had already done so on the continent, notably Abbadie (Netherlands, London, and Prussia), Daillon (La Rochelle, Geneva and Amsterdam), and Desvoeux (Leyden, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and London). These writers stimulated the Dublin printing trade in its early years and enhanced its cosmopolitan dimension. Close links remained between such Huguenot scholars in Ireland and their continental colleagues until at least mid-century, many still publishing their works in London or even Amsterdam. Because the Huguenot settlement in Ireland was military and mercantile in character rather than intellectual, unlike in Holland, French books were purchased by individuals not normally associated with the bookbuying public of the period, but this uniqueness disappeared as the Huguenot communities began to be assimilated after mid-century. Books printed in French in Ireland by subscription provide valuable information about patrons and general purchasers. John Smith and William Bruce printed Gaspard Caillard’s Sermons sur divers textes de l’écriture sainte by subscription in 1728 (reprinted in Amsterdam in 1738). A very high proportion of the 168 subscribers have French names, Huguenot army officers accounting for nearly 30 per cent of the list. In 1745 Samuel Powell printed Trois sermons, the first of several projects by the Rev. Antoine Vinchon Desvoeux. The edition was supported by Huguenot business interests in Dublin, over 37 per cent of the subscribers being listed as merchants. In 1748 he printed by subscription the work of another Dublin pastor, Charles Louis de Villette’s Essai sur la félicité de la vie à venir, published by Droz (cf. Dublin Courant, 6–10 October 1747): this list suggests a movement away from the Huguenot community, who account for little more than half the subscribers. From January 1749 the Dublin Courant outlined proposals for reprinting Lévesque de Pouilly’s Theorie des sentimens agreables (Appendix 2, 112). Droz had imported copies of the 1747 Geneva edition of this popular and quite ‘philosophical’ work, which he noted in A Literary Journal of March 1747–March 1748


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

(v, part 1, p. 199),5 and must have experienced a good response from his clients: this pattern of reprinting where the market proved buoyant for an imported work has been noted in the case of Exshaw as early as 1734 (see pp. 25–6). Here the subscribers represent a wider cross-section of society, with the Huguenot component down to under a third in this more secular undertaking. These lists thus suggest that the booksellers were cultivating a broader reading base for French-language literature, branching out from the Huguenot community to the clergy, nobility and middle class, the main readers and book owners in eighteenth-century Ireland. Overall the number of books in French printed in Ireland before 1750 was small: of nine which feature in Appendix 2, two (3 and 205) are probably false imprints, and one (177), is certainly so. But translations of popular French works do begin to come off the Dublin presses in this period, including novels like those of Prévost (157–61; 164–5; 167), and Marivaux (122, 124), or the Letters of a Peruvian Princess by Mme de Graffigny, a best-seller of the time (90). Voltaire heralds the ascendance of philosophie (225; 228–30; 240 –3) and Montesquieu’s Reflections on the causes of the grandeur and declension of the Romans (143) is printed in Dublin in 1734, the year of publication. Figure 9.1 illustrates the steady

50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

yy y


yy yyy yy y yy y y y yy y yy yy y yy y y yy y yy y yy y yy y y yy y yy y yy y y yy y y yy y yy y yy y yy y y yy y y yy y yy y yy y yy y y yy y y yy y yy y yy y yy yy y y yy yy y y y yy yy y yy y yy y yy y y yy yyy y y yy y yy y yy y yyyyyy yy yyyy

1710 1720 1730 1740

1750 1760 1770 1780 1790 1800+

works published in French translations from French other

Figure 9.1 Numbers of ‘Enlightenment’ books printed in Ireland, 1700–1800 (based on Appendix 2).

The Trade in French Books


increase in the publication of English translations to a high point in the 1760s.

THE LATER EIGHTEENTH CENTURY: A COSMOPOLITAN CULTURE The importation of French-language material continued through a slack period in the 1750s, noted by several contemporaries,6 with demand now growing among a wider section of the population who sought popular and entertaining literature in French. Our study of Luke White’s imports will highlight a market for ‘enlightened’, seditious and pornographic texts in French. By the late century such books could be bought from most Dublin booksellers. Small businesses, especially those not specializing in foreignlanguage literature, preferred to purchase from a Dublin wholesaler or through importers in London rather than obtaining material from continental booksellers. A system of sale-or-return practised by the London trade helped the smaller bookseller by cutting down on the risk factor. Such an arrangement was not feasible with continental suppliers, and the large-scale importation of continental editions was an entrepreneurial undertaking with a high level of financial risk. It is clear from White’s correspondence with the STN (cf. letter of 28 October 1782) that insurance was extremely costly, and he appears to have preferred to take his chances with losses at sea (BPUN, ms.1230). Imprints on the French books owned by Irish readers establish that they were often issued from printing centres outside France, from what E.L. Eisenstein (p. 3) refers to as ‘Cosmopolis […] that indeterminate, decentralized zone occupied by the dispersed citizens of the francophone Republic of Letters’. An analysis of the places of publication of the 100 most owned books in French in contemporary Irish private library catalogues reveals that, although Paris provided the greatest frequency of imprints, it was closely followed by Amsterdam (Kennedy 1). As experienced in Ireland, French language culture was thus cosmopolitan in its range of material and in its centres of production, printers in the Netherlands or Swiss cities rivalling their colleagues in France, and those of London and Dublin also playing a part through their reprints. Specialized booksellers, many dealing in continental material, could boast a large turnover and a breadth of stock unequalled at any other time during the century. Ireland was on the international bookselling map, as witness the listing of three Dublin booksellers – Ewing, Faulkner and Wilson – in the 1777 directory, Manuel de l’auteur et du libraire.7 Luke White began importing foreign-language literature at least as early as 1777


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

(cf. Hibernian Journal, 3–5 November 1777): by 1784 he claimed to be ‘constantly supplied with every Book of Merit in the English, French and Italian Languages’ (Volunteer’s Journal, 4 October 1784). White issued annual sale catalogues, concentrating on imported French and Italian literature. Antoine Gerna, initially a teacher of French and Italian and a translator of both languages, worked as a bookseller from 1786 until 1795. His April 1788 auction was a substantial undertaking, appealing to the cultural aspirations of his clientèle rather than their desire for cheap books. Gerna also offered to take commissions for ‘Gentlemen in the bookline’ when he visited Paris during the summer to buy books (Dublin Chronicle, 24 July 1788), suggesting that his business was oriented towards the wholesale as well as the retail trade. On 17 August 1790 Gerna announced in the Dublin Chronicle to ‘La Noblesse et le Public’ that he was establishing a Cabinet littéraire at his bookshop at 31, College Green ‘ou l’on pourra lire les Gazettes étrangères et d’autres imprimés utiles et agréables’. This opened early in 1791. Making it known that English, French, Italian and other authentic foreign newspapers would be available (Dublin Chronicle, 1 January), Gerna again hoped for the ‘Patronage of a learned, generous and enlightened Nation’ to support the endeavour: it was still flourishing in 1793 when he issued his only extant sale catalogue (Appendix 2, 87). His book importation business was also thriving: the catalogue contained 2133 lots, over 1700 (80 per cent) of them being in French. Notably represented were the Oeuvres de Voltaire (57 vols, 8°), probably the Lausanne 1770 edition (Trapnell, p. 131), three copies of the Beaumarchais (or Kehl) edition of Voltaire’s complete works, two in 70 volumes 8° and the third in 92 volumes 12°. Also listed were individual titles by Voltaire, and works by Bernardin de St Pierre, Calonne, Condillac, Condorcet, the two Crébillons, d’Alembert, Mably, Maupertuis, Mirabeau, Montesquieu, Rameau, Raynal, and Rousseau. Gerna was patronized by some of the wealthiest bookbuyers in the country, supplying books to the Castletown library from 1787 to 1793.8 In February 1795 he announced his retirement from business and his stock was auctioned by James Vallance.9 Three further figures merit particular mention. John Archer, one of the major importers of French books in the late eighteenth century, produced annual priced sale catalogues of his stock:10 his 1791 catalogue contained over 20 000 volumes in various languages ‘including an uncommon variety of rare books and every new Work of approved Merit published here and abroad’ (Dublin Chronicle, 31 March 1791). In 1801 he issued a priced Catalogue of French and Italian Books, Imported and Sold by J. Archer containing 564 titles in continental editions. In the early years of

The Trade in French Books


his business Archer had imported stock from England but by the 1790s his trade with the continent had greatly expanded and he went abroad regularly to purchase books. The extant stock catalogues of 1789, 1793, 1801 and 1810 display an extremely broad spread of titles covering the most heterogeneous areas and printed in an impressive range of European cities. William Wilson, publisher of Wilson’s Dublin Directories, printed and imported French works from 1768 to the time of his death in 1801 and was, as already stated, well known in continental bookselling circles, to the extent that his name was used on false imprints for three works published in France or the Swiss cities.11 In March 1779 he advertised a list of 44 French titles ‘importé et vendue [sic] par Guill. Wilson’, one of these being Fortuné-Barthélemy de Félice’s Encyclopédie in quarto format published at Yverdon between 1770 and 1780. The list concentrates on history and serious literature (Raynal’s Histoire philosophique et politique […] des Européens dans les deux Indes; Voltaire’s Prix de la justice et de l’humanité), but includes some lighter material, for example Barthélemy Imbert’s Rêveries philosophiques (The Hague: 1778), Lettres d’amour d’une religieuse – probably the ever-popular seventeenth-century work by Guilleragues, reprinted in London in 1777 – and the salacious Académie des dames, also known as the Aloysia, a staple of libertine publishing. Prices at the lower end are moderate, at 2s.2d. to 3s.3d. for the 12° volumes, rising to £3.8s.3d. for Condillac’s 16-volume 8° Cours d’étude and £34.2s.6d. for the Encyclopédie. In 1784 Wilson’s list of 66 French books lately imported indicates a preponderance of eighteenth-century authors, including Buffon, Marmontel, Montesquieu, Raynal, Rousseau, and Voltaire (Freeman’s Journal, 16–18 March 1784). Finally, Richard Edward Mercier (bookseller, book auctioneer and printer to Trinity College and to the King’s Inns) specialized in foreign-language literature and law books, producing in 1793 and 1794 a monthly periodical of ‘Science, Belles Lettres and History’, the Anthologia Hibernica, which was distributed to booksellers in London and several continental cities. Mercier claimed that his extensive correspondence enabled him to ‘announce valuable foreign works long before they are noticed in the best literary journals in Great Britain’ (ii, July–December 1793, Advertisement, p. 4). Literary and scientific periodicals, critical journals and newspapers in the French language played a major role in keeping the reader au fait with innovations, new research and recently published books. For those learning or perfecting a language a periodical was perhaps more approachable than a longer text. Generally, French-language periodicals and journals were sold in the same way as books rather than by regular subscription. For example, in 1750 Henry Hawker advertised monthly issues, for March to


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

August, of the Mercure historique, politique, littéraire et galant, a shortlived periodical published in London,12 without offering a subscription. In the last quarter of the century booksellers saw the advantage of providing periodicals in subscription reading rooms, Gerna’s being the most noteworthy. The Dublin Library Society, founded in 1791, furnished the conversation room with a collection of newspapers: by 1799 two French journals were supplied as well as the London and Dublin papers.13 John Archer set up his General Book Repository, which seems to have also served as a literary society, in 1788 in a room above his bookshop, and Cork had an English, French and Italian Circulating Library with mainly continental titles: these and other such enterprises may have included periodical material.14 The shift in Irish readership, evolving and expanding, and thus creating a growing demand for educational primers and works of general literature, is in line with trends in other European countries, especially France, where evidence of new reading habits can be detected from around 1750.15 In 1749 and 1750 Jean-Pierre Droz decided to test the market with a series of contemporary French plays; rather than being published by subscription, they were launched into the general market, demonstrating Droz’s confidence in their saleability. The plays, printed by Samuel Powell, were issued separately, each with its own title page, and gathered together in volumes entitled Recueil de Pieces de Théatre (Appendix 2, 48). Droz envisaged the project as an ongoing one but his poor health and death in 1751 put an end to the venture after the first two volumes. The appearance of the Recueil marks the effective commencement of the domestic publication of popular secular works in French. Eleven plays can be directly associated with Droz’s scheme: four by Marivaux, three by Nivelle de la Chausée, two by Delisle de la Drevetière, and one each by de Boissy and Voltaire. A further play, Marmontel’s Aristomène, was produced by Droz’s printer, Samuel Powell, in 1750 (Appendix 2, 125). By the 1770s, while religious and didactic works in French still appeared, the works of the Enlightenment, reprinted from copies imported from the continent and from London – in smaller format cheap editions – dominated the swell of fashionable reading. The principal booksellers connected with the import trade were also involved in the domestic publication of popular French-language books, particularly White (discussed below) and William Wilson. The latter’s father Peter had advertised an edition of Fénelon’s Les Aventures de Télémaque in 1747 (cf. Dublin Courant, 21–24 November) and brought out another in 1756. William continued to publish works in French, as well as translations, including Les Aventures de Télémaque in 1775 and Raynal’s Révolution de l’Amérique (Appendix 2, 174) in 1781. His ‘ordinary edition’ of the Révolution cost

The Trade in French Books


2s.2d. sewed, or 2s.8d. bound, but some copies, presumably intended to stand comparison with other titles by Raynal on sale in Wilson’s bookshop, ‘were printed in superfine paper, large octavo, to match the Author’s other works’ (Freeman’s Journal, 28–30 August 1781). Wilson was one of four publishers undertaking an edition of Madame de Genlis’s Théatre de société in 1783 (Appendix 2, 82). The important printing firm, M. and D. Graisberry, was active in the publication of French-language books and in printing such for other Dublin booksellers. Enlightenment works were apparently not published by subscription, appearing only when publishers felt assured of a market. Production costs were low as the books were typeset from printed originals, a much easier task than setting an original title from manuscript. Barber notes that London booksellers would purchase a holding copy of a French-language book likely to be popular, and reprint it instead of importing in bulk; the Dublin booksellers, with the additional advantage of being able to study trends in England, could then themselves reprint, whether in French or in translation, with little risk. For example, Candide was first published surreptitiously in Geneva in January 1759. By mid-March it was available in London from John Nourse; two weeks later the English translation appeared, speedily followed by another run of the French-language edition,16 and the translation was reprinted in Dublin in the same year by Hoey and Smith (Appendix 2, 215). Appendix 2 enables us to chart the steady rise in the number of Enlightenment French works printed in Ireland (see Fig. 9.1, above), reaching a plateau from the 1760s to the 1790s, except for a small dip in the 1770s. There was a significant surge in the publication of Frenchlanguage works in the 1780s, corresponding to the vogue also evident in the periodical literature of the period (see below, pp. 38–45).

LUKE WHITE AND THE STN: A CASE STUDY Fortunately, the correspondence between Luke White, one of the leading figures in the Dublin trade in the later part of the century, and the Société Typographique de Neuchâtel (STN) – a major printing-house on the fringes of France, free of the restrictive trade legislation and tough censorship of the Bourbon régime – is extant. White was possibly a Huguenot from Cork: Le Blanc was a common French Protestant name in Ireland, and Luke’s first wife, Elizabeth, was one of the well-known de la Mazières, a Huguenot family from that city.17 In January 1780, when White first contacted the STN, he was already selling French books in his shops using


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

other suppliers. Presumably he knew the STN’s reputation for publishing works deemed subversive in France, where many copies were nevertheless sold illicitly. Where Robert Darnton described the trade of the STN primarily in terms of a profit-making commercial undertaking,18 Eisenstein has made a plea to restore an intellectual context to the work of the company and its directors; the founder, Frédéric-Samuel Ostervald, son of the principal pastor of Neuchâtel, was known to be a generous host to men of letters, and entertained many Enlightenment writers at his home and premises. Eisenstein continually emphasizes the point noted earlier, that ‘a proliferation of reading societies went together with subscriptions to periodicals, the maintenance of bookshop libraries, and regular gatherings of literary coteries in back rooms’ (p. 30) in establishing an Enlightenment culture. Thus it is important not to assume that White’s choice of supplier was a simple business transaction, to be equated with the purchase of linen or coffee. The context and overall shape of White’s trade with Neuchâtel has been well described by Gough (pp. 40–7). We will concentrate here on a broad category of ‘Enlightenment’ books, including within that rubric some of the novels and plays deemed subversive within France itself, and the political and pornographic libelles which could be construed as broadly related to ‘philosophic’ ideas. These best-sellers of the ancien régime, in Darnton’s argument (Darnton 2, pp. 137–66), possibly did more harm to the divineright monarchy post-1750 than the more enduring works we are wont to consider as mounting the great challenge to the French monarchy, and a high proportion of them were banned in France. Clearly excluded are the classics of seventeenth-century literature, most travel books, some history books, geography or treatises on classical antiquity. However, many works of history and Mémoires published in this period were considered as mauvais livres by the ancien régime, and such titles are included. Table 9.1 charts (by year) the trade recorded in the letters between White and the STN up to the cessation of the correspondence, due, it would appear, to White’s dissatisfaction with the level of service he received. The figures are based on White’s orders, in so far as it has been possible to quantify them, but sometimes they were unclear – as when he ordered ‘a few’ of Rousseau’s Oeuvres complètes – or, more frequently, when he ordered sets where we cannot be sure how many volumes he actually received: some sets were not completed until the late 1780s, for example Buffon’s works. In these cases we have made an estimate of the number of volumes received. However, it must be emphasized that the calculations relate to White’s orders, and we cannot know for sure that all of the items were delivered: indeed he complains bitterly at times that the STN have not responded to some of his orders, and that they advertise

The Trade in French Books


Table 9.1 Luke White’s book orders, 1780–84

1780 1781 1782 1783 1784 Total

Total titles

Enlightenment titles

Enlightenment copies

Enlightenment volumes

068 043 016 009 049 185

040 027 014 009 027 117

0195 0251 0295 0102 0209 1052

2421 1638 0832 0205 0886 5982

books in their catalogue which they apparently do not subsequently print. However, we can verify that the large orders – for the sets of complete works, the Encyclopédie etc. – were published, so the figures as given do offer a reasonably accurate picture of the level of trade involved. The total number of titles ordered by White for each year he traded is given, with repeated titles counted on each occasion, followed by the number of titles which can be considered to fall in the broad Enlightenment category, and the number of copies and volumes for this category. Overall White ordered almost 6000 volumes, his biggest order being for 1780, and including large stock items such as the 12 copies of the STN’s reprint of the Encyclopédie (with a thirteenth free copy in accordance with the terms of agreement) in 39 volumes, and four copies of the Description des arts et métiers, a revised edition of the Encyclopédie, in 20 volumes, printed in Paris. These in themselves represented a major investment, and White would presumably have expected to carry them in his stock over a considerable period of time. Six copies of the ‘Dictionnaire abrégé de Bayle’ by Bonnegarde in four volumes (the correct title was Dictionnaire historique et critique, published in 1771) were also included in the first order, along with many of the ‘classic’ Enlightenment texts which we would predict. Two separate works of Voltaire appear: L’Homme aux 40 écus (10 copies) and the play Irène (13 copies),13 and a collection of extracts from Voltaire’s works and correspondence tantalizingly entitled Confession de foi, originally published in Annecy in 1769 (six copies). In his second letter White enquires about ‘a few copies’ of the 12° edition of Voltaire’s Works, presumably in a Swiss edition; on 30 May he orders the Geneva 12° edition in 31 volumes (13 copies). No further orders for individual Voltaire texts occur, but a large order is placed on 28 May 1784 for a rather mysterious new edition of the Oeuvres in 60 volumes 8° (13 copies), and two copies of his Oeuvres posthumes in 21 volumes 8°.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Jean-Jacques Rousseau features from the second order (3 April 1780) when White enquires about the Geneva edition of the Oeuvres of which he would like ‘a few copies’ both in 4° and 8°, and places a firm order for 13 copies of the Oeuvres in 12°: this edition was to appear over the following years, and eventually comprised 35 volumes. A further 13 copies are ordered on 7 June 1781, though it is possible the order had not been filled the first time, as in October 1782 White has received only the first 18 volumes, and requests that the rest be sent on. He asks for 13 of ‘Vol. 26 and all after to complete the sets’ on 12 March 1785. On 17 May 1782 he orders 13 copies of Rousseau’s Oeuvres posthumes (7 vols 8°), subsequent volumes being requested on 28 May 1784, and 26 copies of the ‘Confessions de foi’ which was clearly a slip for the Confessions in two volumes 8°, but incidentally shows us that White was familiar with the popular ‘Confession de foi du vicaire savoyard’ (cf. Chapter 2, pp. 32, 35). An order is placed for 13 of the Supplément aux Oeuvres on 7 October 1783, and 13 of the Geneva edition of La Nouvelle Héloïse (1781) in four volumes on 28 May 1784, along with 13 copies of Émile (4 vols, Geneva: 1780). Overall the total number of volumes ordered for Rousseau outstrips Voltaire (1379 as against 1347), with the number of copies of distinct titles significantly higher at 113 as against 60 for Voltaire; this may seem surprising given that the interest expressed in Irish periodicals clearly privileges Voltaire, as does our Appendix 2 (69 Voltaire items: 13 Rousseau). But it must be remembered, firstly, that Rousseau printings were numerous between 1780 and the Revolution and would therefore have been to the fore in the catalogues sent to White and, secondly, that Switzerland remained one of the chief centres of publication for the works of the ‘citoyen de Genève’: very likely a somewhat different picture would emerge if detailed records of other continental suppliers to Irish booksellers were found. Montesquieu features only once in the lists, as White tends to concentrate on more recently published, and topical work: 13 copies of the Oeuvres posthumes are ordered on 28 May 1784. Raynal is in demand, however: one copy of his Histoire philosophique et politique des établissements et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes in 10 volumes was ordered in White’s first letter (9 June 1780); on 7 June 1781 he orders two more copies, stating that he ‘would have more […] but that it is printed here’ (presumably Appendix 2, 174). Nonetheless he re-orders a new edition in September 1782, six copies in eight volumes, and again just one month later he asks for six more copies and a further four copies of the Geneva 4° edition in five volumes. Clearly White had identified a demand for this work, one of the great pro-Enlightenment successes of the period (cf. Chapter 2, p. 41, Appendix 1, no. 11, and Chapter 11). As Gough has

The Trade in French Books


pointed out, White also ordered 13 copies of a polemical attack on Raynal, Lettre philosophique à monsieur l’abbé Raynal, in 1782, underlining the fact that at least some of White’s readers were engaged in the arguments of Enlightenment rather than passive consumers of fashionable texts. Raynal’s Histoire philosophique et politique des isles françoises appears on the list for September 1784, probably in the Lausanne edition (13 copies). The prevailing interest in Buffon and natural history, also evident in the periodicals, is reflected in orders (six and 12 copies respectively) of the new edition from France of the Oeuvres complètes, in 4° and 12°, in May 1780 – the 12° edition (1770–88) contained 90 volumes – and a further order for two Oeuvres in a 40-volume edition in June 1781. The more radical materialist ideas are represented in an order for six copies of Helvétius’s Oeuvres (5 vols in 12°) in June 1781, interesting because of the relative neglect of this controversial author in the periodicals (cf. above, p. 44). But perhaps one of the most striking aspects of White’s lists is the extent to which they show that the clandestine best-sellers of the Frenchspeaking world were also in demand in Ireland, far from the French metropolis. Thirty of the orders which occur in these lists can be correlated with the ‘720 Forbidden Books’ catalogued by Robert Darnton. Among these Louis-Sébastien Mercier features most prominently: Darnton has shown (Darnton 2, pp. 115–36) that his Utopian fantasy, L’An 2440, highly critical of the political status quo, was the overall best-seller on the STN lists, and went through at least 25 editions. In May 1782 White ordered 13 copies of the Tableau de Paris (published in 1781) in four volumes: in September of the same year he re-orders 13 in a five-volume edition, and as many of volume 5 to complete the sets already bought, together with 13 copies of a mysterious Oeuvres complètes (possibly the Théâtre complet: 4 vols, 1778–84). In October six copies of L’An 2440 (2 vols, originally published in 1770 but frequently reprinted) are requested, and one year later 26 in three volumes, along with six copies of Mercier’s Oeuvres dramatiques – a repeat of the previous order? – and 26 copies of ‘any new work of Mercier’s’, a sure indication of a significant demand identified by White. In May 1784 six copies of Mercier’s Mon Bonnet de nuit (2 vols) are ordered, in March 1785 13 copies of his Théâtre complet (8 vols), and 13 more of L’An 2440. The works of other populist writers such as Linguet’s Mémoires sur la Bastille (13 copies; May 1784) or La Fille Naturelle by Mercier’s friend Restif de la Bretonne (10 copies; May 1784) also feature, and the more explicitly political libelles were in strong demand. One of the most infamous, La Vie privée de Louis XV, attributed alternatively to Mouffle d’Angerville or Arnoux Laffrey, is ordered in


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

June 1781 (the year of its publication) in 13 copies, four volumes, and the same quantity is reordered in May 1782 with the special urging from White: ‘I wish very much to have Vie Privée […] and beg you will not disappoint me’. Other popular works, banned in France, include the Collection complète de tous les ouvrages pour et contre M. Necker (six copies in 3 vols), referring to the political situation, and bawdy, slanderous texts such as L’Espion français à Londres, by Ange Goudar (six copies, 2 vols; May 1782), or the Chroniques scandaleuses by Imbert de Bourdeaux, a former Benedictine priest, which White orders in 13 copies in May 1784. This kind of material, along with frequently reprinted pornographic novels like Les Égarements de Julie, attributed to Jacques-Antoine-René Perrin and sometimes to Claude-Joseph Dorat, ordered by White in six copies in May 1784 (repeated in March 1785), counterbalances the texts of Rousseau and Voltaire, and highlights how the desire to be fashionable and wellinformed about French affairs led readers to range wide across the contemporary literary spectrum. The Chevalier Rutlidge’s Quinzaine anglaise, already reprinted from the London translation by a group of Dublin booksellers, including White himself, in 1777 (Appendix 2, 202), is ordered in French in six copies (3 vols) on 28 October 1782, with a repeat order (four copies) in May 1784: this interest tallies with the overwhelming attraction to the mythology of the fashionable and morally dangerous Paris which dominates the English-language periodicals in this period, but may in part also be due to the fact that Rutlidge was of Irish extraction. Also noteworthy is the interest in modern novels, probably indicating a growing female clientèle: some of the most notorious have already been mentioned, but orders are also placed for Mme Riccoboni’s Oeuvres in nine volumes (four copies in October 1783) – again one of the biggestselling writers of the period – and repeated orders for the very popular Mme de Genlis: 13 copies of Annales de la Vertu (3 vols) in June 1781, and as many of Adèle et Théodore in May 1782. Marmontel, so often reproduced in the periodicals, features in an order for 13 of his Oeuvres complètes (16 vols), in June 1781. The older favourites such as Marivaux’s Le Paysan Parvenu (four copies, 3 vols in May 1784) and Prévost’s Mémoires et aventures d’un homme de qualité (7 vols, four copies in the same order) are not forgotten, the latter of some interest as Prévost was scarcely ever mentioned in Irish literary magazines (cf. Chapter 2, p. 41). White was obviously in touch with other suppliers of French books but would have preferred to get all his supplies through the STN had things worked out. Large publishing houses such as this traded widely, exchanging with their sister presses, and would frequently be in a position to fill any order from a client. Thus White asks that they supply him with catalogues

The Trade in French Books


or books from publishers in Geneva (3 April 1780) and Lausanne (7 June 1781) as well as France (30 May 1780), but complains bitterly about the price the STN charges him for the books procured, as they claim to have paid ‘ready money’ (1 May 1783). Thereafter White says he will apply elsewhere, and buy only their own publications/reprints from them. This is one reason why the orders drop very significantly after the first two years; other factors were the vagaries of the War of American Independence, the long delays with deliveries, and particularly White’s annoyance at the imperfections he had found in unbound volumes where sheets were missing (cf. 1 May 1783). In his last recorded letter to the STN (12 March 1785) White’s disillusionment is patent. Luke White published several popular French titles in the 1770s and 1780s; his earliest known book printed in French in Dublin is the Lettres de Mademoiselle Ninon de l’Enclos au Marquis de Sévigné (1777) in two volumes 12°, one of a number of contemporary French works he had recently imported (cf. Hibernian Journal, 3–5 November 1777). His is the sole imprint on Mme de Genlis’s Théâtre à l’usage des jeunes personnes (1781: Appendix 2, 80, and 1784: Appendix 2, 81), Les Veillées du château (1784: Appendix 2, 71), Adèle et Théodore (1783: Appendix 2, 63, and 1785: Appendix 2, 64), Berquin’s L’Ami des enfans (1784), Laclos’s Les Liaisons dangereuses (1784: Appendix 2, 101), and Montolieu’s Caroline de Lichtfield (1786), all in small format, cheap editions. He printed several translations from French, generally copied from the London editions, sometimes alone, as for the works by Mme de Genlis (see Appendix 2, 63, 64, 71), sometimes with others, a consortium being the best way of avoiding rival reprints by different publishing houses (cf. Pollard, pp. 169ff.). Yet we find him importing the self-same works in French, though there is no consistent pattern relating these two activities, and the French copies were sometimes bought after the publication of the English version: examples are Linguet’s Memoirs of the Bastille (Appendix 2, 113), Mercier’s Paris in miniature (Appendix 2, 141), Montesquieu’s Complete works (Appendix 2, 167), and Rousseau’s Confessions (Appendix 2, 189). Why did White buy or publish these books? Clearly he was most anxious to have the latest ‘nouveautés’, and this is why he tells the STN to send him six copies (later reduced to four) of any new book they print as a standing order, except for books of divinity and mathematics. Yet we have little information on how these books were read in Ireland. Some original book reviews are mentioned elsewhere, and it is clear that, for example, Jean-Pierre Droz was a discriminating reader well-informed of contemporary intellectual developments (above, pp. 28–31), but he could in no way be seen as typical. Those who bought books from White, Gerna and others in


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

the later part of the century were no longer, as we have seen, of identifiably French origin, but a diverse social group with, one assumes, widely differing approaches to reading such material. Some buyers may never have read the books at all, but used them as a mark of class and fashion as they would good furniture. But the volume of the trade is large enough to suggest that many not only read the books, but sought specifically the kind of material which White was most insistent in ordering. From the evidence already mentioned concerning cabinets de lecture in Dublin, it is reasonable to assume that engagement with books, as an intellectual rather than merely fashionable pursuit, took place in and around the booksellers’ premises as it did in so many other European cities,19 and that the Enlightenment texts supplied by White did not just disappear into great libraries without having some impact on the intellectual life of the city. It is worth mentioning that one of many interesting bookplates on volumes described in Graham Gargett’s Appendix 2, – in this case Diderot’s The Nun – was for ‘Somerville’s Circulating Lending Library, Londondeery [sic]’. Relatively speaking, however, the overall number of books in French printed in Ireland in the period, both originals and reprints, was small, about 100 titles excluding textbooks. We cannot be sure of the size of any edition, but they probably tended to the lower end of the scale, and were unlikely to exceed 500 copies.20 In reprinting such material, from London or continental sources, booksellers could hardly claim, as with Englishlanguage reprints, to be primarily interested in supplying cheap editions to the least affluent sectors of Irish society; on the other hand, the fact that the books were produced solely for the home market, and that it was thought worthwhile to print in Ireland titles that were also imported from London and the continent, shows a confidence in the market and points to a distinct element in Irish readership interested in books in the French language. The provincial printings in French, from Cork and Belfast, perhaps best illustrate this: the number of works reproduced may have been small, but their significance lies in the fact that they catered for a narrow local market, extending no farther than three or four counties. The publishing activity in French in eighteenth-century Dublin raises the question of whether compositors skilled in the language were available. In the period 1700 –1800 over 50 Irish booksellers published something in French; the number of printers was almost certainly far less but, since the printer of a work was not always identified, it is difficult to estimate the number of compositors at work at any particular time. The recently discovered Graisberry ledgers show that this firm carried out a substantial amount of printing work for other printers and booksellers in Dublin.21 As most French works printed in Ireland were reprints, compositors

The Trade in French Books


unacquainted with the language could be quite accurate in setting copy from a French edition. Original works, however, posed a greater problem and some authors complained about the level of printers’ errors in French. Antoine D’Esca’s original compilation of Voltaire’s correspondence, published in 1781 by William Hallhead (Appendix 2, 239), displays innumerable typographical errors: even D’Esca’s ‘Avertissement’, where he attempts to apologize for these, evidences his own imperfect command of French. Latocnaye complained bitterly about the mistakes in his Les Causes de la révolution de France, printed in Edinburgh by J. Mundell (1797: Preface): ‘this work appeared a little later than I had promised; it is no simple matter to have a French book printed by people who have not the slightest notion of the French language’. His later works, Promenade d’un Français dans la Grande Bretagne and Promenade d’un Français dans l’Irlande, were printed in Dublin by M. and D. Graisberry in 1797 (Appendix 2, 105). Latocnaye was now more aware of the difficulties of publishing a French language book in a foreign country. Even so, in a note at the end of the Promenade dans l’Irlande (p. 328) he admits that, since his printers did not know French, there were inevitably many mistakes, though less than in the work printed in Scotland. This suggests that francophone compositors and proof-readers were not available to set French-language work for Irish printers, the work being done by the printer’s regular employees. Such problems occurred even in a city as large as London, where printers were producing expensive French language books for the émigré community and as propaganda for export to France (cf. Eisenstein, p. 39).

TRANSLATIONS English translations of French-language works, first published in London, appeared regularly in Dublin throughout the eighteenth century, but relatively few originated in Ireland, most being reprinted from London editions in the same way as English-language books. There were exceptions, however, like the intriguing translation of Gérard’s Count de Vlamont ‘by the Rev. Francis O’Mooney’, which the latter apparently printed at his own cost (Appendix 2, 85); and sometimes works with a particular relevance to Ireland. Such is the case of Prévost’s Dean of Coleraine, where Exshaw, with 14 other leading Dublin booksellers, commissioned his own translation for £16, and published it in parts at 6d. per part in late 1742 (Appendix 2, 158), only to find that Thomas Bacon, with a rival group, had commissioned a translation from a Mr. Erskine (Appendix 2, 159).22 There followed a bitter dispute between the two sides, with Bacon stating


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

his case in his Dublin Mercury (18 September 1742): he had been first to publish title-pages, which should have given him precedence according to the conventions of the Dublin book trade, but he had nonetheless offered to bear half of Exshaw’s translation costs. To demonstrate the superiority of his edition he presented the original French text, the translation in Exshaw’s edition, and Erskine’s translation in his own edition side by side across three columns, inviting readers to judge for themselves which was the better translation, and adding his own critical observations for good measure. Indeed he states that he had himself translated some sheets of the work before turning to Erskine. Exshaw replied in kind in the Dublin News Letter (5–9 October), the newspaper he printed with Reilly, denouncing Bacon’s edition, with detailed comparisons. This case suggests again a high degree of literacy in French among a public thought capable of judging the quality of the translations. In general booksellers tried to avoid such occurrences, but we do find other examples of clashes (see Appendix 2, 186 and 187). Bacon, in the above newspaper article, cites the case of The Life of the Duke of Berwick, where the Irish translation having been paid for and the title-pages posted up, another bookseller rushed through a reprint of the English edition, and ‘the Expence of the Irish Translation was intirely lost to the Proprietors’. No doubt most Irish reprints were effectively pirate editions undertaken without the knowledge of the London publisher, who thus suffered the loss of much of the Irish market, but occasionally Dublin booksellers did enter into collaborative agreements with their English counterparts, who had nothing to lose and a small gain to make from such ventures (cf. Cole, p. 13). One example from our Appendix 2 (179) is the novel Letters from Juliet Lady Catesby by Mme Riccoboni which carries the imprint of the London publisher Dodsley as well as that of Potts in Dublin. Many Irish translators were active on behalf of London publishers: Paul Hiffernan, Thomas Sheridan, William Campbell, to name but a few. The latter, reputed to have been imprisoned in France for seven years for refusing to kneel before a Corpus Christi procession, took part, along with the Irish writer Elizabeth Griffith and her husband Richard, in the project of translating Voltaire’s Works (cf. Appendix 2, 211), Elizabeth having also translated Beaumarchais and Ninon de Lenclos (AMR, p. 364). Thomas Nugent is undoubtedly one of the most eminent translators of the century: of Irish origin, and probably related to Edmund Burke’s father-in-law,23 he is still remembered for his translation of De l’Esprit des lois (Appendix 2, 145–7), but he also translated a large number of other major Enlightenment texts including Rousseau’s Émile (Appendix 2, 196), Voltaire’s Essai sur les moeurs (Appendix 2, 227), Abrégé d’histoire universelle and Histoire

The Trade in French Books


de la guerre de 1741 (AMR, p. 361, n.5), and works by Condillac and Hénault. This was possibly one of the more lucrative intellectual trades in this cosmopolitan century, though André-Michel Rousseau (p. 365) suggests that the majority of Voltaire’s translators were attracted more by a commitment to spreading Enlightenment than by self-interest. The works of Vertot and Fontenelle were among the first to be issued in translation from the Dublin presses in the 1720s, followed by those of Voltaire, Montesquieu, Le Sage, and Rollin in the 1730s. Over 500 works translated from French and printed in Dublin have survived, some 300 of them of Enlightenment interest (cf. Appendix 2). Newspaper advertisements for newly-printed books, however, show that even this figure underrepresents the number of Irish-printed translations; for a relatively moderate price these offered the Irish public access to a broad spread of French culture irrespective of the ability to read the language. From the late 1720s, and through the 1730s, translations of mainstream French works were published by a partnership of three booksellers: George Risk, George Ewing and William Smith. Edward Exshaw was one of the many who reprinted translations from French during the 1730s and 1740s, most being published, as we have seen, in collaboration with a group of other booksellers. Among his reprints of French works were the abbé Prévost’s The History of a fair Greek, published in January 1742 (Appendix 2, 161) and a translation of the abbé Pluche’s Spectacle de la nature: or nature display’d (Appendix 2, 154), printed by subscription in 1742–43 (4 vols, 12°) with 1400 pages and 121 copper plates. Exshaw claims that the new plates he has commissioned ‘equal, if not excel those of the first London Edition in octavo’ (Dublin News Letter, 30 March–3 April 1742). Publishing such translations was also a feature of the provincial book trade in the second half of the century: works by Madame d’Aulnoy, Fénelon, Fleury, Gueullette, and Marmontel were reprinted in Cork from the late 1760s, and works by Millot and the abbé Raynal in Belfast.

CONCLUSION Books of the French Enlightenment were printed widely in English translations in eighteenth-century Ireland, though the bulk of works in French bought in the later part of the century were imports, private libraries reflecting this in their spread of imprints. Specialization in the foreignlanguage book trade, as witnessed particularly in the last quarter of the century, points to a strong demand on the part of the Irish reading public, as booksellers sought to import the latest and best publications from the


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

continent, through their contacts in Paris, Amsterdam, The Hague, Vienna, Neuchâtel and Utrecht. London continued to be used as a centre for the purchase of foreign-language editions, but for variety and novelty booksellers preferred to trade directly with the place of production. Paradoxically, the decline in the use of French among the Huguenot communities coincided with the strengthening of French as the language of European culture to which the middle classes increasingly aspired. We have seen how reading practices changed accordingly in the second half of the eighteenth century, in line with a parallel change in the pattern of periodical content and distribution in Ireland. Darnton has emphasized how much more potent the experience of reading was in this period than in a world dominated by television, film and radio, and how some of the books we have mentioned demonstrably changed lives in the passionate engagement between reader and text (Darnton 2, p. 218).24 There is no parallel in the modern context for the amount and variety of reprinting of books in French or translation which took place in eighteenth-century Ireland, ensuring access to the dominant European cultural experience. And we have already noted that the popularity of Voltaire and Rousseau in the eighteenth-century miscellanies has no equivalence in publishing for a wide audience today: how many Irish readers other than university language or literature students would even know the names of Sartre or Duras? The real demand which was gauged by astute booksellers such as White, though it may have been small in the overall context of the contemporary trade, can only impress if one contrasts the decline in such exchange in the modern period, when mass education, economics, and government policy combine to prioritize foreign language learning, but few Irish readers would have knowledge of contemporary French writers in translation, let alone in the original French.


2. 3.

‘A Bibliographical inquiry into printing and bookselling in Dublin from 1670 to 1800’, unpublished PhD thesis (Trinity College Dublin: 1952). Cf. Pollard, p. 155, and John Holroyd, Lord Sheffield, Observations on the Manufactures, Trade, and Present State of Ireland, 3rd edn (London: 1785) pp. 252–3. BPUN, ms.1230 (letter from White to STN: 26 January 1780, and ff.). Catalogue of a Choice Collection of Valuable Books, to be sold by Auction, 3 Nov. 1729 at Dick’s Coffee-house (Dublin: Richard Norris, 1729).

The Trade in French Books 04.


06. 07. 08. 09. 10.


12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.


A Large and Curious Collection of Scarce and Valuable Books, Lately Imported from England, France and Holland, in all Languages and Faculties […] at Thomas Green’s Ware-Room, 21 Oct. 1731 (Dublin: 1731). The catalogue also contained English, Latin and Italian material. The 1749 London edition was endorsed in a preface by Jacob Vernet, the liberal Genevan pastor whose Traité de la vérité de la religion chrétienne is noted by Droz (iv, part 1, p. 219), and this reinforces the conclusion reached elsewhere regarding Droz’s own liberal credentials. Cf. Graham Gargett, Jacob Vernet, Geneva and the Philosophes, Studies 321 (1994) pp. 54 –68, 71–2. Cf. Faulkner’s Dublin Journal, 1 March 1755; Robert E. Ward, Prince of Dublin Printers: Letters of George Faulkner (Lexington: 1972) p. 45. Giles Barber, ‘Pendred Abroad: a view of the late eighteenth-century book trade in Europe’, Studies in the Book Trade in Honour of Graham Pollard (Oxford: 1975) pp. 231–77. TCD: ms.3940, Tradesmen’s Receipts, Thomas Conolly, 2 (1785–1795). Freeman’s Journal, 17 February 1795; Dublin Evening Post, 17 February 1795. Máire Kennedy, ‘The Domestic and international trade of an eighteenthcentury Dublin bookseller: John Archer (1782–1810)’, Dublin Historical Record, 49, no. 2 (Autumn 1996), pp. 94 –105; John Archer, A Catalogue of Books [for 1789] (Dublin: 1789); Archer’s Catalogue of Books for 1793 (Dublin: 1793). [Jean-Pierre-Louis de Luchet], Le vicomte de Barjac, ou mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de ce siècle, 2 vols (A Dublin: de l’imprimerie de Vilson [sic], et se trouve à Paris, chez les libraires qui vendent des nouveautés: 1784); Mémoires de madame la Duchesse de Morsheim, ou suite des mémoires du vicomte de Barjac, 2 vols (Dublin: de l’imprimerie de Wilson, et se trouve à Paris, chez les libraires qui vendent des nouveautés: 1786; 1787); [anon.] Le songe de Mirabeau sur la révolution française sous Louis XVI (Dublin: chez Wilson, 1792). The Mirror, 8 November 1750; cf. Dictionnaire des journaux, 1600–1789, ed. Jean Sgard (Paris: 1991) vol. 2, no. 943. See Faulkner’s Dublin Journal, 19 January 1797; The Constitution or AntiUnion Evening Post, 26 December 1799. The French-language periodicals published in Ireland are described in Appendix 1; cf. Cole, pp. 34–5. See, for example, Marion and François Furet, ‘La Librairie du royaume de France au 18e siècle’, in François Furet and others, Livre et société dans la France du XVIIIe siècle (Paris: 1965). Giles Barber, ‘The Eighteenth-century Anglo-French book trade’, paper given to the Rare Books Group of the Library Association (Worcester College, Oxford: 12 September 1990). For White’s biography see Gough. Our warm thanks to Hugh Gough for sharing his references to material in Neuchâtel. See, for example, Darnton 1 and 2. Paul Benhamou, ‘La Présence des œuvres de Voltaire dans les cabinets de lecture parisiens et provinciaux au XVIIIe siècle’, VC, pp. 509ff.

196 20. 21.

22. 23. 24.

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 See the discussion of the typical size of editions in Pollard, pp. 116–20, and Cole, pp. 17–18. Vincent Kinane and Charles Benson, ‘Some late 18th- and early 19th-century Dublin printers’ account books: the Graisberry ledgers’, in Six Centuries of the Provincial Book Trade in Britain, Papers Presented at the Eighth Seminar on the British Book Trade, Durham, July 1990 (Winchester: 1990) pp. 139–50. Pollard, pp. 177, 185. Our thanks to the author for the additional information on this affair which she kindly communicated to us. See Courtney, p. 5: Nugent left £50 to Dr Christopher Nugent, Burke’s father-in-law, in his will. Cf. the cases of Edgeworth’s son Lovell (above, p. 9) and the Duchess of Leinster (above, pp. 9–10).

10 Ireland and the French Theatre Simon Davies The eighteenth century was marked by an exceptional contribution of Irish men and women to the theatre of the English-speaking world. The Irish distinguished themselves as writers, actors and managers. In the realm of comedy they are unsurpassed. Indeed the plays of Farquhar, Goldsmith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan have remained unchallenged in the repertory since their own day.1 It would seem therefore that Ireland was a fertile ground for those attracted by the diverse delights of the stage. The theatre at this time was held by many in disrepute. It provided a precarious living, as the majority of plays had very short runs, and was a form of public entertainment often subjected to the whims and control of governments. Only a brave or foolish manager would defy the desires of the public when various levels of patronage were essential for financial survival. The audience could be anything but well-behaved and a restless element might easily sabotage the enjoyment of a piece through boisterous conduct (in reading these accounts one is reminded of a modern football crowd). The success of a performance could be undermined in advance through the plans of a malevolent claque bent on amusing itself and being the centre of attention, a spontaneous or well-rehearsed quip having the power to devastate the flow of a performance. Audiences came to see their favourite actors and actresses and might manifest their displeasure when they failed to appear. Furthermore, the theatre was a public space where people not only came to see but to be seen, a potential site of collective celebration or factional disapproval. With those brief, general points in mind, let us turn to the theatre in Ireland. The theatre was at its most active in Dublin, although provincial towns could boast a surprising range of dramatic performances as the century unfolded. Given its prestige and role as a seat of government, it is no surprise that the capital produced a large selection of plays. Theatre-goers preferred comedies to tragedies and were regularly treated to farces, afterpieces, dancing and entertainments. Although theatrical managers kept abreast of stage novelties and successes in London, there was no automatic Irish follow-up and, indeed, the choice of plays could be quite conservative and unadventurous.2 The most famous theatre was Smock Alley 197


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

which, over the years, had to face up to the competition of a number of rivals such as the theatres in Aungier Street and Crow Street. The capacity of Dublin to sustain such theatrical rivalry was questionable and the competition could cause reciprocal damage.3 Knowledge of the French theatre came from various sources. For a limited and generally privileged number it came from contact with France. This may have been from experiences such as the Grand Tour, commercial relationships with ports like Bordeaux, perhaps service in the French army as wild geese. For example, Daniel O’Conor, the brother of Charles O’Conor of Belanagare, served in the Irish brigades and was interested in the theatre and French literature in general. He penned a tragedy which he hoped that Garrick might produce in London.4 It could also have come from reading printed versions of plays in single or collected editions for, although most plays were composed primarily for performance, print-runs were evidently produced for purchase and private consumption.5 Those able to read the original or adapted versions were thereby in a position to keep up with the cultural scene in France and display their familiarity as a social asset. Here, one must bear in mind the artistic prestige so often attached to France, even when that country was such a long-standing antagonist on the field of battle. Information regarding the French theatre might also be gleaned from the periodical press. If the majority of this came from Britain, late in the century details could also be gathered from an Irish source, the Hibernian Magazine. The latter contains frequent accounts of London productions but, sadly, none of performances in Ireland. Here one is evidently dealing with the production of plays in English versions. Such versions were basically adaptations and had no pretensions to being faithful translations; indeed the adaptors could consider their texts as improvements.6 It is important to recall that the notion of literary property was fairly meaningless at this time and that dramatists were wont to borrow plots and individual scenes with little or no compunction. This unlicensed free trade was particularly prevalent back and forth across the English Channel7 and frequently unacknowledged. A particular audience would not necessarily be aware of the provenance of a play, although its association with a celebrated French author might give it extra spice in the views of some. Before examining the performances of the adaptations of French plays on the Irish stage, it is appropriate to consider authors who enjoyed some contemporary renown on both sides of the Irish sea. Here I shall draw on material contained in the Hibernian Magazine, as it was locally produced and referred to historically significant playwrights. My survey will be restricted to important eighteenth-century writers and will thus omit

Ireland and the French Theatre


consideration of such seventeenth-century luminaries as Molière.8 I shall begin by considering an author whose works became best-sellers at the time, Marmontel. His moral tales enjoyed a tremendous vogue, including printings in Dublin (Appendix 2, 129 –35), and were frequently adapted for the stage. In the issue of January 1775 (p. 16) one finds a description of a two-act comedy by Mr Kelly entitled The Romance of an hour. It concludes with the observation that the ‘story of it is chiefly taken from a tale of Marmontel, called The Test of friendship’. Marmontel is also the inspiration for a musical entertainment or Persian tale noted in 1776 (Appendix, p. 104). Yet again he was the source of a comic opera entitled Annette and Lubin: ‘There is an opera in French written by Mons. Favarre [sic], founded upon the same story, which was originally taken from Marmontel. The present piece is little more than a translation from Favarre; but we cannot say that Mr Dibdin, who is the translator and composer, has been successful in transfusing the spirit of the original into the English copy, which met with little applause’ (November 1778, p. 624). The dramatist and songwriter, Charles Dibdin, is further denigrated for his efforts in a review of the Shepherd of the Alps (February 1780, p. 104). He is stated to have ‘more than once had recourse to Mr Marmontel, but has always shewn that he could not understand the meaning’. He is insensitive to the original text, as what is required is ‘a dialogue dictated by a heart in some degree congenial with that of Marmontel’. A new farce at Drury Lane, Who’s the dupe, owes something to Molière’s Burgeois [sic] gentilhomme as well as Marmontel’s Pretended philosopher which ‘furnished our author with some hints’ (May 1779, p. 260). Another writer renowned in his day, Destouches, was plundered for dramatic material. After outlining the plot of the Contract, ‘which was honoured with their majesties’ presence’, the critic remarks: This petite piece is said to be translated by Dr Francklin, from the French of Destouches. We cannot say that it abounds in either wit or humour, though the dialogue has merit. One particular passage met with great applause. “The most happy government, is that enjoyed under a good king;” chiefly, we suppose, on account of its being an indirect compliment to a royal auditor. (July 1776, p. 448) The same Frenchman was to supply the Irish dramatist, Arthur Murphy (of whom we shall learn more), with the basis for his Know your own mind: Mr. Murphy, the author of this Comedy, is well known as a very peculiar compiler of plays. He has proceeded in preparing the present comedy in the usual manner; has borrowed his plot and the out-lines of his characters from L’Irresolu of D’Estouches, and finished the whole by allotting to his Personages smart sayings, comical puns, and sentimental sentences


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

from his common place book. Mr Murphy is truly and exactly what ought to be understood by a playwright. Furnish him a plot, and characters and situations, and he will produce from his common-place book, words, and phrases, and sentiments which will suit them tolerably well […] (March 1777, p. 180)9 In 1780 Drury Lane was the venue for a new comedy entitled The Generous impostor: ‘The great outline of this piece is taken from the Dissipateur of Destouches. The alterations and additions are introduced to adapt it to the English stage, and not unsuccessfully’ (December 1780, p. 637). An adaptation of a far more famous comedy is reviewed at length in 1777 (October, pp. 691–95), Beaumarchais’s Le Barbier de Séville. The French dramatist is not named but The Spanish barber, or the fruitless precaution is accorded an extremely detailed account, with approval for some antiFrench digs at the end. However, the most significant French dramatist reviewed in translation is Voltaire. Dramatic adaptations into English by Voltaire have been examined in an old but still useful book by Harold Lawton Bruce.10 In December 1771 (pp. 574–75) the adaptation of the Patriarch of Ferney’s Les Scythes11 is reviewed under the English title of Zobeide (cf. Appendix 2, 267). We are informed that the adaptation is from the pen of Mr Craddock and the profits were to go to the great actress, Mrs Yates, who gave an ‘inimitable performance’. The tragedy was ‘an alteration from an unfinished piece of Voltaire, which that great poet mentions, in his preface, he has left to be perfected by some later successor; how far he has succeeded, the applauses of a crowded and brilliant audience have sufficiently testified’.12 Mrs Yates was again involved in a version of a tragedy derived from Voltaire in 1774 at a production in Drury Lane: The tragedy itself is a close translation of Voltaire’s Oreste, by Dr Franklin [sic] and printed in that Gentleman’s Edition of Dramatic works. Tho’ there is something singularly horrid and affecting in the story, and the translator has told it in good English poetry; yet, from its want of business, it is a very heavy, tedious performance. Most of the scenes are mere declamations; and a certain air of coldness and apathy, which is the peculiar characteristic of the French Drama, runs thro’ the whole, which must ever render it unpleasing to an English audience. (November, p. 675) Yet another debt to Voltaire is signalled in the final paragraph of a review of the tragedy, Mathilda. We are told that the ‘idea of the foregoing Fable is visibly borrowed from Voltaire’s Duke of Foix; but, greatly to the honour

Ireland and the French Theatre


of the English Poet, Dr Franklin [sic] has considerably improved upon the French original’.13 Thomas Francklin was also involved in a version of Sémiramis. A captain Ascough has written a tragedy which is ‘little more than a version of Voltaire’s piece as rendered by Dr Franklin [sic]; the captain having not stuck to the letter, but endeavoured to communicate the spirit of the original’ (Appendix, 1776, p. 907). A flattering review of a performance at Covent Garden of Arthur Murphy’s Orphan of China is recorded in 1777 (December, p. 809), although Voltaire is not mentioned as it was not a new play but a revised version (for performances of the same play in Dublin, see below). In a critique of Robert Jephson’s The Count of Narbonne, we are told that the ‘catastrophe […] is much inferior to the massacre at the altar, in Voltaire’s Mahomet, to which it is extremely similar’ (March 1782, p. 118). From these few examples it is evident that the Irish reading public could regularly receive up-to-date accounts of the London theatre and recognize the importance of French sources as contributing to its repertoire. Let us turn now to the French presence on the Irish stage. It should be noted that productions in the French language were extremely rare. It is difficult, indeed impossible, at the moment to draw up a comprehensive list of performances of plays which could be deemed to have a clear French connection.14 Playwrights were unlikely to admit plagiarism unless they believed that revealing their sources would make their work more marketable. How aware audiences might be to the origin of the works they were viewing is impossible to clarify, though they were likely to recognize adaptations of Voltaire. The first point worth stressing is that French influence is more readily manifest in comedies, which are easier to adapt from one language to another, and often rely on stock characters who may be transformed from the theatrical conventions of one nation to another. The tragic muse is thus almost exclusively restricted to Voltaire. There is one definite adaptation of Marivaux, composed by an Irishman and premiered in Dublin. Joseph Atkinson’s The Mutual deception, performed at Smock Alley on 2 March 1785, owes a considerable debt to Le Jeu de l’amour et du hasard. The Prologue begins: Hear me, ye Judges of an Author’s cause; (Anxious to please, and merit your applause), Who blends an Episode from Gallic lore! With a new Plot from Fancy’s Comic store. Lines 13–15 convey his plea: To fair Hibernia thus his Court he pays, This humble tribute, at her feet he lays, And rests his fame upon his Country’s praise.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

In his Advertisement he admits to the inspiration for his play: In publishing this Comedy, it may be deemed incumbent upon me (though already intimated in the Prologue) to confess myself indebted to a little piece from the Theatre Italien, intitled, ‘Le jeu de l’amour et du hasard’, for that Part of it relative to the quadruple Exchange of Characters, between the Mistress and Maid, Master and Man […]15 Here is a rare example of a work based on a French source first performed in Ireland and only subsequently produced in London, albeit in a revised version by George Colman the elder, at the Haymarket Theatre on 29 August 1786.16 The above would appear to be the only play with such a major debt to Marivaux. Regnard’s witty Le Légataire universel (1708) was adapted as A Will and no will; or, a new case for the lawyers, by the Irish actor and playwright, Charles Macklin. This was premiered at Drury Lane in the spring of 1748 and acted at Smock Alley on 12 December the same year. Arthur Murphy’s Zenobia, an adaptation of Crébillon père’s Rhadamiste et Zénobie (cf. Appendix 2, 44) was acted at Crow Street on 29 April 1771. The comic opera, Phillis at court, taken from Favart’s Caprices d’amour, ou Ninette à la cour, was produced at Crow Street on 25 February 1767. A libretto by Favart was sung in French at a performance at Smock Alley of the popular opera, Annette et Lubin, derived from Marmontel, as an afterpiece on 7 June 1782. On the same bill however, the most interesting event was to be a performance in French of Le Barbier de Séville. The event was advertised in Faulkner’s Dublin Journal of 18–21 May 1782: MARSHALSEA City Theatre, Smock Alley, At the request of several Gentleman and Ladies of Distinction, and under the Patronage of Lady Charlemont, Lady Lanesborough, Mrs Latouche, Mrs Bourke, and Mrs. O’Neil, for the Benefit of poor insolvent Debtors, confined in the Marshalseas; and in order to restore as many of them as possible to Society, on Friday 7th of June, will be presented a French Comedy, called, LE BARBIER DE SEVILLE Le comte Almaviva le Sieur Aubry, Figaro le Sieur Fleury, Bartholo le Sieur Le Vasseur, Don Basile le Sieur Place, Le Notaire le Sieur Geoffroy.

Ireland and the French Theatre


Unfortunately it has proved impossible to identify this acting troupe, to discover whether they were visitors from France or had some Huguenot connections.17 An adaptation of the same Beaumarchais comedy by Colman, The Spanish Barber, was staged at Smock Alley on 18 December 1782. Less than a year after its first public performance in Paris, Beaumarchais’s Le Mariage de Figaro was staged at Smock Alley on 23 February 1785 in Thomas Holcroft’s version, The Follies of a day (Appendix 2, 25). However, it is the works of Voltaire which loom largest, particularly L’Orphelin de la Chine and Mahomet, which will be given more extensive treatment. Mérope (cf. Appendix 2, 247–9) was produced at Smock Alley on 11 May 1751. Zara, Aaron Hill’s version of Zaïre, ‘is now in Rehearsal, and will be speedily performed at the Theatre Royal’ (Faulkner’s Dublin Journal, 2–5 November 1751). It was indeed produced at Smock Alley on 7 December 1751 and replayed many times before the close of the century; moreover, it had four Dublin printings in the eighteenth century (Appendix 2, 276–9: see also Chapter 4, p. 70). Macklin’s The True born Scotchman, later conflated with The Man of the world, was staged at Smock Alley on 7 February 1766; this was taken in part from Voltaire’s Nanine, which clearly had a great vogue in late eighteenth-century Ireland (see Appendix 2, 251–6). Mathilda, an adaptation of Le Duc de Foix, saw the boards in 1782.18 John Greene has brought to my attention an amateur performance in French for charitable purposes of La Mort de César on 12 April 1771. Voltaire’s L’Orphelin de la Chine (1754) was transformed by Arthur Murphy as The Orphan of China. Born in Ireland, Murphy had received some of his early schooling in France at St Omer and regularly used French sources for his plays. He had read Voltaire’s tragedy by 1756 although his biographer claims that he had already contemplated a Chinese play.19 Staged at Drury Lane for the first time in 1759, it was soon produced at Smock Alley on 5 February 1760. This was the first of well over a dozen productions into the 1780s. However, its greatest vogue was in 1761, when it was staged by rival companies. It is worth citing at length the account provided by Robert Hitchcock, the prompter of the Theatre Royal, Dublin: But the greatest piece of generalship, manifested through the whole of this doubtful contest was respecting the new tragedy, of The Orphan of China, written by Arthur Murphy Esq; and at that time exhibiting with uncommon reputation in London. The great fame and popularity of this piece, rendered it an object of peculiar attention to both houses in Dublin; but, to attain their object, they pursued quite different lines of conduct.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

The play being printed, was consequently, in possession of both. Mr. Mossop [the actor manager at Smock Alley] observed a profound silence on the subject, and kept his designs as much a secret as possible. The managers of Crow Street, on the contrary, confident of their strength, but rather injudiciously I should think, for several weeks, made a great parade of their intentions of producing it with a pomp and magnificence, equal to that of Drury-Lane; informing the public, of the extraordinary expence they were at, in having all the dresses made in London, from models imported from China, and an entire new set of scenes painted for the occasion, in the true Chinese stile, by the celebrated carver, then deservedly in the highest reputation. When the expectations of the town were raised to the utmost pitch, and curiosity strained to the highest point, without the least previous hint dropped, most unexpectedly, early on Monday morning January 5th, 1761, bills were posted up, announcing the representation of this much talked of tragedy, that very evening, at Smock Alley theatre […] The tragedy was rehearsed three times a day, and Mr. Tracey then tailor to the theatre, working day and night on the dresses, they were completed in eight and forty hours. The event proved that they acted right. The Orphan of China drew five tolerable houses to Smock Alley, before they were able to get it out at Crow Street; and then, it did not answer the expense they had been at. The dresses and scenery, were truly characteristic, but the curiosity of the public had been a great measure previously gratified.20 These remarks confirm the evident drawing power of the play as well as highlighting the nature and content of the advertising. Sadly, the relevant playbills for this and other ‘French’ performances have not survived. However, the greatest impact on the Dublin theatre of an adaptation of a Voltaire play was that of Mahomet the impostor in 1754; it caused a riot. The tragedy had experienced a checkered career in France.21 It had been adapted into English by two Protestant clergymen, James Miller and John Hoadly, and performed for the first time at Drury Lane 25 April 1744.22 Ten years later it made a far bigger impact in Ireland. As a preliminary it is essential to note the frequently close relationship between the authorities and the stage. La Tourette Stockwell writes that, throughout the century, ‘there are frequent contemporary references to the intimate association of the Lord Lieutenant and the nobility with the conduct of the Dublin theatre’ (p. 181). Plays could be prohibited as the result of fears that allusions might be made to the prevailing situation. This was the fate of Henry Brooke’s Jack the giant queller in 1749: ‘the Lords

Ireland and the French Theatre


Justices […] suspected local applications in its ridicule of bad governors, lord mayors, and aldermen, and they banned its second performance’ (Sheldon, pp. 138– 9). A major riot had occurred at a performance of Nicolas Rowe’s anti-French play, Tamerlane, at Smock Alley on 4 November 1712, the date being the anniversary of William III’s birthday.23 Now the adaptation of Voltaire’s tragedy was produced at a time of considerable political tension between the Government and the patriot party. A report of the first performance at Smock Alley on 2 February 1754 is provided by a Dr Barry in a letter dated 2 March the same year: ‘The play of Mahomet (a translation of Voltaire’s piece) was acted some time ago, and some parts were encored and applauded with repeated Claps, some faintly hissed, and the whole was attended with great confusion, without great mischief’.24 An account of the production is supplied by the Dublin Spy (8 February 1754): A Spirit of Freedom enlivens the tragic scenes of Mahomet the Impostor, indeed almost ev’ry line carries with it its point. If it had been calculated purely for the Meridian of Ireland, the acumens which run throughout some of the spirited Speech could not carry a keener edge. Mr Sheridan, who acted the part of Zaphna, was excellent in the scenes of love and distress. Mrs Woffington performed Palmyra with great decency and eloquence of action. Mr Diggs [sic], who played Alcanor, had a great advantage, for he was the chief engine that played against the Court. He was encor’d in a spirited speech, and Bravoes thunder’d from the Pit: and to prove how infamous is a Courtier’s heart, there were several diabolical hisses at the encore, some I marked to come from the tongue of two clergymen who sat near. Oh! the serpent tongues! to attempt to hiss down such sentiments of honour and freedom. Had they known I had been near, they had been less free of their infernal sibilations. (The Orrery papers, p. 123, n.1) It was the potential encores of Digges’s speech which were to prove the undoing of the subsequent production of the tragedy. Let us turn to an account of this celebrated incident in the words of Robert Hitchcock. He puts it firmly in its political context by bringing out the factionalism associated with the members of the Beefsteak dining club: […] most unhappily for the drama, the spirit of party had for some years past been advancing with rapid strides over this divided nation. The daemon of his discord had lighted his infernal touch, and scattered his destructive brands in every province of this distracted kingdom. Hitherto the monster had not found entrance into the theatre, but, once


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

admitted, he plunged its inhabitants into the worst of calamities, and spread desolation through the whole. Mr Sheridan’s conduct as yet had defied the most envenomed enquiry: from the innocent circumstance of forming the celebrated Beef Stake Club, did the most fatal consequences arise, and what at any other time would have passed unheeded, now gave the most unpardonable offence. ’Tis true the members were persons generally attached to the court, and the usual routine of toasts drank on this occasion were of a similar complexion. But neither the founder, members, or lovely president ever designed it as a school for politics […]25 Thomas Sheridan became associated with the court party, much to his disadvantage in certain quarters: At this very critical juncture, did the manager most unluckily bring forward the tragedy of Mahomet. It cannot be supposed he had any particular design in performing it at this time; on the contrary, it appears, that it was cast the season before, but laid aside as it was then too late, and would interfere with the benefits. However, no sooner was it announced, than the opposite party took the alarm, and resolved to demonstrate their sentiments by publicly marking whatever passages in the piece they thought applicable to their opinions.26 Hitchcock describes the first performance and states that in the pit were the ‘leaders of opposition’. The latter were evidently waiting for the following speech of Alcanor in the first act which ‘was deemed so remarkably applicable’: If, ye powers divine! Ye mark the movements of this nether world, And bring them to account? Crush, Crush those vipers, Who, singled out by the community To guard their rights, shall, for a grasp of ore, Or paltry office, sell them to the fore. The political activists from the pit demanded an encore which Digges, who was playing Alcanor, eventually gave them to sustained applause (p. 229). The rest of the tragedy proceeded in a straightforward manner, with little attention paid to either Peg Woffington as Palmira or Sheridan as Zaphna, but ‘the character of Alcanor, on every occasion, was marked with their loudest approbation’ (ibid.).

Ireland and the French Theatre


Sheridan, through some ‘unaccountable infatuation’ (p. 230), decided to mount another production. He assembled his company in the green room and lectured them as to the proprieties of the theatre and the necessity of maintaining neutrality in local political conflict. He expressed surprise at Digges’s willingness to deliver an encore but insisted that he was merely making recommendations for future performances. At the second staging on 2 March, ‘the enemy seemed to have collected its greatest force’ in the pit. It applauded Alcanor’s entrance and ‘the memorable speech’ provoked a ‘general demand of Encore! Encore! from every part of the house’ (p. 242). Digges declined, as he explained that it would be ‘greatly injurious to him’, and Sheridan refused to appear when called for as manager and departed (p. 243). Even Woffington, usually a favourite of the audience, failed to calm the protesters because of ‘her known connexions with the court party’ (p. 246). Finally exasperated, the malcontents rioted, causing much damage and even trying to set fire to the theatre. Thomas Sheridan subsequently claimed that he had feared trouble from the galleries because he ‘had heard from various Quarters, that there was an Intention of assaulting him, not only with Apples, and Oranges, but with Stones and Glass Bottles’.27 So great was the turmoil that Sheridan was obliged to flee to London. Voltaire himself was to learn of this riot, although it was ascribed to the wrong play. An admirer named Barnewall wrote to him on 3 August 1756 from Turin. He was a would-be translator of Alzire and knew that ‘Gengiscan [L’Orphelin de la Chine] has just been translated into our language’. He tells the dramatist that ‘Two years ago I saw one of the theatres of Dublin torn to pieces in an instant by the furious spectators, because an imprudent actor had refused to repeat for the third time a scene of Zaïre’.28 Since, as far as is known, there was no production of Zaïre in Dublin in 1754, Barnewall was mistaken in his choice of play, unless he was inventing his attendance to boost his reputation in the eyes of his illustrious correspondent. This was not, however, to be the end of the political adventures of Mahomet. Fresh demands were made for its revival. These were resisted at first but finally the new managers of Smock Alley promised a further performance on 4 March 1755, ‘fearing to incense the multitude’ (p. 257). Much to their surprise, there ‘was not above sixty pounds in the house’ and another actor playing Alcanor, Mr Guinness, ‘was instructed to yield obedience to the audience, their favourite speech was encored, and immediately repeated’ and the rest of the play went quietly (p. 258).29 Unhappy with this untroubled production the ‘leaders of opposition’ urged yet another staging, only to find that ‘so few came to the house that it was obliged to be dismissed’.30


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Brief comments are appropriate about the staging of French-inspired plays outside Dublin. Here considerable reliance must be placed on the pioneering study of William Smith Clark, The Irish Stage in the Country Towns: 1720–1800 (Oxford: 1965). He charts the ups and downs of provincial theatre and its healthy growth in commercial towns, the most important being Cork. It is no surprise to note that Voltaire is once again the source of most adaptations. Cork saw productions of Alzira in 1763, Mérope in 1766, Zara in 1766, Mahomet in 1776 and The Orphan of China in 1783. Belfast would seem to have have treated to a single production of Mahomet in 1796. Beaumarchais’s comedies were also performed in Cork; The Spanish barber in 1782 and The Follies of a day; or, the marriage of Figaro in 1785. The latter play was staged in Belfast in 178531 and even Derry in 1794. Arthur Murphy’s adaptation of Crébillon père’s Zenobia (cf. Appendix 2, 44) was acted in Cork in 1776. All in all the theatre managers of Dublin in particular brought to their patrons adaptations of major French dramatists in line with the city’s status as a European capital. The theatre-going public could thus feel that they were far from living in a cultural backwater; indeed Dublin’s theatrical reaction to the French Revolution is well documented.32 It is likely that a sizeable proportion of the audience was well aware of the sources of plays, given the presence of the governing élite and the participation of students from Trinity College. Attention to sources might be drawn in the plays themselves. The Prologue to Mahomet contains the line: ‘Voltaire hath strength to shoot in Shakespeare’s bow’. Even provincial audiences were increasingly able to sample foreign-flavoured fare. Moreover, as we have seen, the theatre could not be considered merely a genteel diversion. Governments were ever alert to the possibilities of sedition: ‘the impact of plays like The Beggar’s opera in London in 1728, Mahomet in Dublin in 1754, or Le Mariage de Figaro in Paris in 1784, could have left them in no doubt that the drama was capable of producing an immediate and, to a governmental way of thinking, alarming effect’.33 While it is hazardous to speculate on the impact of the French theatre, its influence is surely suggested by the inclusion of an unattributed quotation in the Northern Star, the United Irish newspaper printed in Belfast. In its issue of 20 August 1795, it championed the Enlightened ideal of free speech and the liberty of the press in the following terms: It is a very true remark that the most sacred principles and the most incontestable rights of man in society are those which are the most disputed and which meet with the greatest number of obstacles. It is thus with the freedom of thought and writing. Is there a right which proceeds

Ireland and the French Theatre


more directly from nature? Is there one which has been defended with more warmth and proclaimed with more emphasis? And yet is there one which has been less enjoyed in reality? It is the same as in the time of Figara [sic], and provided you attack neither the government, nor men in place, nor companies, you may write what you please. The final sentence is based on a passage in Figaro’s famous monologue in Act V Scene III of Le Mariage de Figaro.34 Whether this is a reminiscence of the production of the English adaptation in Belfast in 1785 or taken from a printed version cannot be ascertained. What one might reasonably assert is the importance of French plays in the entertainment and instruction of the curious public of eighteenth-century Ireland.

NOTES 1. 2.


4. 5.

6. 7.

Other Irish dramatists popular at the time include Hugh Kelly, Charles Macklin, Arthur Murphy, John O’Keefe and Sir Richard Steele. John Greene, ‘The Repertory of the Dublin theatres, 1720 –1745’, ECI, 2 (1987) p. 148. For details differentiating the Dublin and London theatres, see A.C. Elias, Jr, ‘Dublin at Mid-Century: the Tricks of The Tricks of the Town laid open’, ECI, 10 (1995) pp. 113–15. The standard works of reference for the eighteenth-century Irish theatre are: William Smith Clark, The Early Irish Stage: the Beginnings to 1720 (Oxford: 1955; reprinted Westport: 1973); La Tourette Stockwell, Dublin Theatres and Theatre Customs, 1637–1820 (Kingsport, Tennessee: 1938; reprinted New York, London: 1968); Peter Kavanagh, The Irish Theatre (Tralee: 1946); Esther K. Sheldon, Thomas Sheridan of Smock-Alley (Princeton: 1967). See also the observations of Christopher Murray in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, vol. 1 (Derry: 1991) pp. 500–7. See Simon Davies, ‘An Irish friend of Helvétius identified with an unpublished letter’, Studies, 267 (198) p. 247, and also below, note 11. Editions of French plays were printed in Dublin as well as being imported from Britain and the continent. Some 50 plays, either in French or English translation, published in Ireland in the eighteenth century, are contained in our Appendix 2. Harold Lawton Bruce, Voltaire on the English Stage (University of California Publications in Modern Philology: 1918) p. 6. For example, Marivaux probably derived material from Restoration dramatists (Lucette Desvignes, Marivaux et l’Angleterre, Paris: 1970, passim). Oliver Goldsmith would seem to have borrowed from Marivaux’s Le Legs for The Good-Natured man, while She stoops to conquer owes a debt to the same author’s Le Jeu de l’amour et du hasard (Sells, pp. 148–63).

210 08.


10. 11. 12. 13. 14.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 The Hibernian Magazine presents an account of a performance of the adaptation of Racine’s Iphigenia at Covent Garden (April 1778, pp. 234–5). There was a performance of a version of Racine’s Mithridates in 1743 at Smock Alley. Thomas Sheridan played a leading role and, in the uncorroborated opinion of Esther K. Sheldon (p. 4), may have been the translator/ adaptor. The same review ends with a general observation on the current attitude to the French theatre: ‘the playhouses are now almost deserted by persons of fashion, taste, and letters, who seem disposed to see French Comedies and Tragedies in their first and original state, before they have been mangled and mutilated by Plagiarists and Translators’ (p. 181). The information in Bruce’s study (cited in note 6) requires updating. Relevant material is also contained in AMR. Robert Niklaus, who is responsible for the critical edition of Les Scythes for The Complete Works of Voltaire, has suggested to me that Daniel O’Conor may have been involved in a private production of the play in St Omer. Irish involvement was high, with Goldsmith supplying the Prologue and Arthur Murphy the Epilogue (ibid., p. 575). The French original went through a series of variant versions which are admirably charted in Michael Cartwright’s critical edition in Voltaire, vol. 10 (Oxford: 1985). John Greene and Gladys L.H. Clark have produced an excellent work of reference for the early century: The Dublin Stage, 1720–1745 (Bethlehem, Lehigh University Press: 1993). John Greene is preparing calendars for the rest of the century in Dublin and for performances in Belfast, whose publication will prove invaluable. I should like to record my gratitude to Professor Greene for his generous advice and willingness to answer a number of queries. It was published as The Mutual deception, a comedy, as it was performed at the Theatre-Royal. Dublin: printed by P. Byrne, no. 108, Grafton Street (near the College), MDCCLXXXV. The Epilogue to this comedy contains a reference to the celebrated French transvestite, the chevalier d’Eon: And D’Eon too, that Female Chevalier Play’d the Ambassador and Mock-Monsieur: While France and Britain own’d her double arts, Her turn for business, and acknowledg’d parts –

15. 16. 17.

18. 19.

D’Eon was to fence in female garb on the Cork stage in 1794 (Clark, The Irish Stage, pp. 136–7). The London Stage 1660–1800, part 5, ed. Charles Beecher Hogan (Carbondale, Illinois: 1968) p. 907. The advertisement for the performance is followed by this notice: ‘THIS DAY IS PUBLISHED, The universally admired Comedy of LE BARBIER DE SEVILLE, and may be had at J. MEHAIN’s […] and, at the Theatre, Smock Alley. Price 1s 1d.’ (cf. Appendix 2, 24). See Bruce, pp. 98–104, 112–16, and Appendix 2, 212. Howard Hunter Dunbar, The Dramatic Career of Arthur Murphy (New York: 1946) p. 51. Murphy’s translation of Marmontel’s Bélisaire was published in 1767. His role in the debate on Intellectual Property is to be the

Ireland and the French Theatre

20. 21.

22. 23.

24. 25.



28. 29.


subject of a major study by Professor Don Nicoll of the Memorial University of Newfoundland who has recently identified some of his legal manuscripts in Edinburgh. Robert Hitchcock, An Historical view of the Irish stage; from the earliest period down to the close of the season 1788 (Dublin: 1788–1794) ii, pp. 60–3. A recent attempt to stage the tragedy as part of the commemoration of the tercentenary of Voltaire’s birth was stopped by Islamic fundamentalists, as Yves Laplace recounts in Nos Fantômes: ‘l’affaire Mahomet’ (CarrougeGenève: 1994). Bruce, pp. 57–68, recounts the relative success of the play on the London stage. Sheldon, p. 109. Professor Helen Burke of the Florida State University in Tallahassee is writing a monograph on the political significance of the riots on the Dublin stage in the eighteenth century. She has kindly allowed me to read some unpublished material which has helped to fill in the background to this major disturbance. The Orrery Papers, ed. The Countess of Cork and Orrery (London: 1903) ii, pp. 123–4. I am grateful to Máire Kennedy for providing me with this reference. An Historical view of the Irish stage, ii, pp. 227–8. The ‘lovely president’ was Peg Woffington. It would go beyond the remit of this chapter to detail the political controversies of the day. Suffice it to say that the rowdy elements in the audience belonged to the ‘patriot’ party, which was in bitter conflict with the court party, who supported the viceroy. As S.J. Connolly has noted, patriotism could have ‘a specifically Irish meaning, as the defence of local or national interests against English interference’ (Religion, Law, and Power: the Making of Protestant Ireland 1660–1760, Oxford: 1992, p. 92). Comparable observations are conveyed by Benjamin Victor: ‘During the Rehearsal of the Play, several Passages were talked of by the Anti-Courtiers as pleasing to them, and which they could not fail to distinguish’ (The History of the theatres of London and Dublin, from the year 1730 to the present time, (London: 1761) i, p. 160). Vindication of the conduct of the late Manager of the Theatre Royal humbly address’d to the Publick (Dublin: 1754) p. 13. The Vindication carries a number of affidavits in the Appendix including one from a John Wimp, who swore that he was ‘one of the Carpenters employed in repairing the Theatre Royal in Smock Alley, from the Havock that was made there on Saturday night the 2nd Instant, and that on clearing the Stage he saw on the Stage a great many Brick Bats, Stones, broken Glass Bottles and Oranges’. Extensive descriptions of the sequence of events leading to the riot and the riot itself are contained in Hitchcock, ii, pp. 242–50 and Victor’s History, pp. 166–79. D6956. The dating of the first Dublin performance in footnote 2 is evidently incorrect. Victor Benjamin also recounted the circumstances in a letter of March 1755 to Sackville Bale Esq, private secretary to the Duke of Dorset: (Original letters, dramatic pieces and poems (London: 1776) i, pp. 237– 9). See also





33. 34.

Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 A Letter to Messieurs Victor and Sowden, managers of the Theatre-Royal (Dublin: 1754). Ibid. Digges, who had acted the role of Alcanor in the ‘riot’ production, would appear to have long harboured a resentment against Thomas Sheridan: ‘In the year 1784, in Dublin, Digges chose for his own benefit once more to revive the Tragedy of Mahomet: and, in order to give more attraction to the entertainment of the night, caused it to be announced in the bills as “the Play had been the ruin of Mr Sheridan in 1754” […] One of Mr Sheridan’s daughters was in her private-box at the Theatre, and witnessed the manner in which Digges (then an old man) gave the memorable imprecation – ‘Crush, crush those vipers’ etc. It was with all the energy of his youthful feelings, and the poignancy of remembered and unextinguished hatred. But when he paused to receive the rapturous applause, that had formerly marked the delivery of this famous party speech, “a dead silence prevailed, and not a hand moved: so decided was the disapprobation of the public expressed at this attempt to revive forgotten animosities!” ’ (Memoirs of the life and writings of Mrs Frances Sheridan, by her Grand-Daughter Alicia Lefanu (London: 1824) pp. 66–7). The Sheridan family would appear to have been haunted by the play as Thomas’s daughter Betsy refers to her brother Charles, whom she disliked, as follows: ‘I feel to that Man as Palmira when Mahomet appears to her in his true coulours’ (ibid., p. 66). The Belfast Mercury; or Freeman’s Chronicle on 24 March 1785 carried the following advertisement: ‘THEATRE, Belfast, On Monday next the 28 inst will be presented a New Comedy never performed here called, THE FOLLIES OF A DAY; or, THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, With new scenery –’ The reactions of the Dublin theatre to the French Revolution have been the subject of two articles by John Hall Stewart: ‘The Fall of the Bastille on the Dublin stage’, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 84 (1954) pp. 78–97, and ‘The French Revolution on the Dublin stage, 1790–1794’, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 91 (Part 2, 1961) pp. 183–92. L.W. Conolly, The Censorship of English Drama 1737–1824 (San Marino, The Huntington Library: 1976) p. 179. For an assessment of the role of this newspaper as a vehicle for progressive ideas, see Simon Davies, ‘The Northern Star and the propagation of enlightened ideas’, ECI, 5 (1990) pp. 143–52.

11 Irish Church Libraries and the French Enlightenment Jane McKee INTRODUCTION This chapter investigates the presence of French Enlightenment texts in Irish Church libraries of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Eight libraries have been examined, six Church of Ireland, one Catholic and one Presbyterian. The disparity in the number of libraries for each Church reflects the realities of penal times in Ireland. The established church was the Church of Ireland, wealthy but much weakened by the wars of the seventeenth century. The eighteenth century saw strenuous efforts by some clergy to put this church on a sounder footing, financially, pastorally and intellectually. Part of this activity involved the provision of diocesan and public libraries in various parts of Ireland. The Church of Ireland already had a university library at Trinity College Dublin, which had been founded at the turn of the sixteenth century.1 Kilkenny Library dated from the end of the sixteenth century and was to be followed at the beginning of the seventeenth by the diocesan library in Derry and Marsh’s in Dublin. Later in the century came two libraries established by improving archbishops, Cashel and the Public Library in Armagh.2 There were also a number of other smaller diocesan collections. For Catholics and dissenters, the picture was very different. The Penal Laws sought to discourage Catholicism by, among other measures, refusing Catholics the right to enter Trinity College and forbidding them to act as tutors or schoolmasters. As a result, most of the Irish clergy were forced to train abroad in the Irish Colleges in Europe and, though there were some small ecclesiastical libraries of various kinds in Ireland during the eighteenth century, it was not until 1795 that the foundation of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth gave the Irish Catholic Church a national seminary to which a large ecclesiastical and academic library might be attached.3 Presbyterians also suffered discrimination, particularly as regards education, and either attended one of the few dissenting academies in Ireland or travelled to universities in Scotland or Holland. There were therefore no large church libraries for Presbyterians either, although a number of presbytery 213


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

libraries existed, of which the Antrim Presbytery Library, now in the Library of Queen’s University, Belfast, was the largest.4

THE LIBRARIES These then are the eight libraries upon whose collections the current study is based. Chronologically, they rank as in Table 11.1, although Derry was in operation as a library before its official foundation and we have no precise date for the foundation of the Antrim Presbytery Library, although the bookplates bear the inscription ‘The Belfast Library, 1765’. Two of these libraries were established before the beginning of the eighteenth century, another at the beginning and one very near its end, with four spanning the period 1729–1771. Church libraries, especially those of the Church of Ireland, thus grew in numbers in Ireland during the period of the Enlightenment, a fact which indicates an increasing awareness of the importance of the intellectual development for which libraries are such an important mechanism. The distribution of these libraries reflects an ambition to provide intellectual stimulation not just in Dublin but throughout Ireland. However, the foundation of a library was no guarantee of continuing interest in books and writing, and the methods of establishing and maintaining these libraries did not necessarily allow for regular purchasing to keep their collections up to date. In the Church of Ireland libraries this was a particular problem. They were generally founded on one or several private book collections, being augmented as other collections were bequeathed or given to them. Trinity Library had set this pattern through donations during the seventeenth century, with the acquisition in 1661 of Archbishop

Table 11.1 The eight libraries Library

Date of foundation

Trinity College, Dublin Kilkenny Marsh’s Library, Dublin Derry Diocesan Library Bolton Library, Cashel Antrim Presbytery Library, Belfast Public Library, Armagh Maynooth Library

between 1592 and 1601 1692 c.1701 17295 1732 before 1765 1771 18006

Irish Church Libraries


Ussher’s collection (approximately 10 000 volumes). In the eighteenth century there followed the collections of William Palliser, Archbishop of Cashel (1726), Dr Claudius Gilbert (13 000 volumes in 1735), Bishop John Stearne (1741), and a number of others.7 Later libraries tended to follow a similar pattern. Kilkenny, founded in 1693 with the bequest of the collection of Bishop Thomas Otway, was consolidated in 1756 by the addition of the books of Bishop Edward Maurice, no further acquisitions apparently being made during the eighteenth century (Campbell, pp. 1–2). Derry was essentially the collection of Bishop Ezekiel Hopkins, purchased from his heirs and bequeathed to the diocese by Archbishop William King in 1729. Marsh’s was established in 1701 with the collection of its founder, Archbishop Narcissus Marsh, augmented by that of its first librarian, Elie Bouhéreau, then by the purchase of Bishop Edward Stillingfleet’s library in 1705 and again in 1745 by part of Bishop John Stearne’s collection.8 Finally, the Bolton Library in Cashel was created in the mid 1730s on the collections of Archbishop Bolton and Archbishop King (Woodworth, pp. 4–6), while the Public Library in Armagh was yet again based on the collection of its founder, Archbishop Robinson, but supplemented by regular purchases.9 Usually, once the library had been founded, little further purchasing occurred, at least during the eighteenth century. This had an adverse effect as far as French Enlightenment authors were concerned, since many libraries were founded and stocked before their works were written. In the case of the libraries of the other denominations, the situation was rather different. Antrim Presbytery Library was built up gradually during the latter part of the century, while Maynooth Library, formally established in 1800, followed a similar pattern, although it quickly became considerably larger than that of the Antrim Presbytery (Corish, Maynooth College, pp. 52–3). One cannot always ascertain how large these libraries were during the eighteenth century but data does exist for some libraries and some collections. Trinity was easily the largest, with 10 000 volumes in the Ussher collection, 13 000 in that of Claudius Gilbert and an unknown number in other collections. Marsh’s had some 20 000 books in its four collections10 and the approximate sizes of the other libraries were: Cashel 12 000 books, Armagh 8000, Kilkenny 3300 and Derry 1550 books by 1848. The Antrim Presbytery Library amounted to 2700 volumes in 1849 while, by 1818, Maynooth Library possessed approximately 5000. As a point of comparison, Trinity, with something in the region of 30 000 volumes in 1735, was approximately the same size as the Sorbonne in the early 1720s, according to the figures of the Swedish visitor to Paris, George Wallin. The 19 libraries


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

which he recorded ranged from 80 000 to 7000 books, and only half of the Irish libraries mentioned here are large enough to fit at the middle or bottom of this range.11 Within Ireland, the Catholic and Presbyterian libraries were smaller than most of those of the Church of Ireland. This reflects the more straitened circumstances of these churches in the Ireland of the period. Our knowledge of the contents of these libraries during the eighteenth century is uneven. In some cases, we have a contemporary catalogue, in others only shelf lists remain while, in yet others, no catalogue was made until much later. This is the case in Kilkenny, where the first catalogue, by Rev. F.R. Sandys, appeared in 1836, another by Rev. Joseph Thacker in 1852 and a third by Rev. George Rooke in 1895.12 We have used Thacker’s, the earlier one being only rough lists of titles without authors. For Derry, the earliest available catalogue is that published by The Londonderry Sentinel in 1848, while the earliest available catalogue for the Antrim Presbytery Library dates from 1851.13 Three libraries have catalogues prepared quite soon after their foundation. Cashel, dating from the 1730s, has one drawn up by the Registrar, William Cooper, in 1757, while Armagh, founded in 1771, still has the catalogue prepared by its first librarian, John Lodge, probably written before 1799. Finally, Maynooth’s catalogue dates from the 1820s, just over twenty years after its foundation. All these catalogues are manuscript. In the cases of Trinity and Marsh’s, a different approach has been adopted. Here the volumes from the early collections still remain in their original positions, although later books were added to the shelves. The policy has therefore been adopted of selecting relevant authors and identifying their presence during the eighteenth century by shelf mark and indications of provenance. This has been augmented, in the case of Marsh’s Library, by the use of Newport J.D. White’s Catalogue of books in the French language printed in or before 1715 (Dublin: 1918). The study of Marsh’s Library is complicated by the fact that many duplicates were sold off and other books lost. In Trinity, the search has been limited to the Palliser and Gilbert collections, still identifiable from their positions on the shelves. The catalogue of Gilbert’s books, listed only by author, title and price, has also been consulted and provenance has been checked. Other eighteenth-century collections are not traceable, and the Ussher collection is too early to be relevant. The Fagel collection, purchased in 1802, which brought a very large number of French books into the Library, has also been excluded because it lies outside our period and because, in the case of Trinity, there was no obstacle to building up its library during the eighteenth century.

Irish Church Libraries


FRENCH ENLIGHTENMENT AND RELATED TEXTS IN IRISH LIBRARIES The Libraries examined are therefore very different in the manner and the circumstances of their establishment, although all were either in existence or founded before, during or just at the end of the eighteenth century. They also differ in their readership. In Trinity and Maynooth access to the libraries was restricted, in the case of Trinity to the fellows of the College and, in Maynooth, to professors and students of the postgraduate Dunboyne Institute. Marsh’s, the Church of Ireland diocesan libraries and the Antrim Presbytery Library were designed as public libraries, to provide resources for local clergy and gentlemen. The languages represented in the collections vary according to the date of foundation of the library. The collections in Trinity and Marsh’s Library have not been examined as a whole, because of their size, but those in Derry and Kilkenny contain large numbers of books in Latin, while in later libraries, although Latin theological and classical texts are well represented, most of the books are in English with a considerable number in French and a smattering in other European languages. The subject matter also evolves, from an emphasis on the classics and theology in the older libraries to a much greater diversity in those founded in the middle or at the end of the eighteenth century. As might be expected in the age of empiricism, geography, agriculture, zoology and the other natural sciences become increasingly important, and the collections also reflect the ‘predeliction for history’ which Dieter Gembicki sees as so typical of the Enlightenment.14 Although this study is primarily concerned with French writers of the Enlightenment, most of these libraries contain more French books of the seventeenth century than of the eighteenth, with a focus on classical authors such as Boileau and Corneille (although not Racine), a good representation of précieux writers such as Guez de Balzac, and a large number of works by the clergy of the Eglise Réformée. Though less numerous, eighteenth-century French writers are also well represented in all of the libraries. As the scope of this chapter is necessarily limited, selection becomes inevitable, raising the difficulty of establishing a list of Enlightenment authors, since the term is often used very imprecisely. Our list of authors has a number of strands. It contains those major figures, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot, who were central to the French Enlightenment, together with other writers involved in the Encyclopédie or in the development of the sciences and the advancement of knowledge. Also represented are some other major literary figures such


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

as Lesage, Prévost, Marivaux and Beaumarchais. The earlier authors, Bayle, Fénelon and Fontenelle, are included in order to provide a point of comparison for later writers. Finally, the table contains three authors not associated with the Encyclopédie but who were frequently represented in libraries of the period: Rollin, Pluche, and Vertot. Table 11.2 gives the number of titles (including copies) by each of the listed authors found in each location. It takes account of each copy and edition of each work, omitting editions published after 1800 but including works published before this bearing dates later than those of the collections with which they are shelved in Trinity and Marsh’s (because of the possibility that they may have been acquired later in the eighteenth century). Authors who feature in none of the libraries examined are simply omitted from the list. This group includes such major figures as Diderot (except in his role as editor of the Encyclopédie), Condillac, Condorcet, Marmontel, Morellet, d’Holbach, Turgot and Quesnay. By far the most frequently-occurring writers are those from the end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth. Of these, Fénelon, is the best represented, followed by Bayle and Fontenelle. Only the historian, Vertot, who appears more often than Fontenelle, compares in frequency with these writers. Of the more significant eighteenth-century writers, only Voltaire comes close, with 30 appearances, followed by Montesquieu (18), Buffon (9),16 Maupertuis (7), Crousaz and Raynal (6 each), and La Condamine (5). The figures for Vertot, Rollin and, to a lesser extent, Pluche, also show that, here as elsewhere, authors now thought very minor occupy more space than those now considered the major figures of the period. It is of course true that the patterns of purchasing and the dates of foundation of these libraries had an enormous influence on the collections within them. If we look at the distribution of the writers who occur most frequently, it becomes clear that, while libraries founded up to the middle of the century did not normally acquire the works of later authors, those founded at or near the end of the century continued to show an interest in earlier writers as well as in contemporary ones. Bayle and Voltaire are the only authors present in all the libraries, while Fénelon, Fontenelle and Vertot are found in seven, Rollin in six, Montesquieu in five and Raynal and Pluche in four. Buffon and Rousseau appear only in three libraries and the Encyclopédie only in Armagh and Maynooth. As far as holdings of writers associated with the Enlightenment are concerned, these libraries show huge discrepancies. Armagh with 38 titles (including copies) and Maynooth with 31 have most books and are latest in date. Trinity and Marsh’s come next with 20 and nine respectively, while the Antrim Presbytery library and the older provincial Church of

Irish Church Libraries


Table 11.2 Enlightenment and related authors15 TCD









17 07 07 31

1 0 0 1

06 04 07 17

03 06 01 10

05 08 03 16

08 07 06 21

046 051 038 135

00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 01

00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 00 00 01 02

00 02 00 00 01 02 00 00 01 00 00 00 01 01 00 04 08 01 02 00 02 13 38

00 05 03 00 01 01 00 00 01 00 01 01 00 01 00 01 06 00 02 00 01 07 31

001 009 006 001 002 003 001 001 005 001 001 001 002 002 001 007 018 002 006 003 004 030 106

(c) Other commonly found writers of the period Pluche 03 0 01 0 00 Rollin 04 0 06 0 01 Vertot 13 3 07 0 03 Total 20 3 07 0 04

00 03 01 04

01 01 8 10

01 08 06 15

006 023 041 070

(a) Precursors plus Fénelon Bayle 05 1 Fénelon 13 6 Fontenelle 12 2 Total 30 9

(b) Enlightenment editions dated before 1800 Beaumarchais 00 0 01 0 Buffon 02 0 00 0 Crousaz 03 0 00 0 Cuvier 01 0 00 0 Encyclopédie 00 0 00 0 Duclos 00 0 00 0 Helvétius 00 0 01 0 Jussieu 01 0 00 0 La Condamine 03 0 00 0 Lamarck 01 0 00 0 Laplace 00 0 00 0 Lavoisier 00 0 00 0 Lesage 00 1 00 0 Mably 00 0 00 0 Marivaux 00 1 00 0 Maupertuis 02 0 00 0 Montesquieu 01 1 02 0 Prévost 00 0 01 0 Raynal 00 0 01 0 Réaumur 02 0 01 0 Rousseau 00 0 03 0 Voltaire 04 2 01 1 Total 20 5 08 1

Ireland libraries have fewest, ranging from one each in Derry and Cashel to two in the Antrim Presbytery Library and five in Kilkenny (Table 11.3). These provincial libraries seem to have been relatively untouched by the Enlightenment, due, no doubt, to their reliance on bequests and gifts rather than purchase. Except in the case of Cashel, we cannot be absolutely sure


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 Table 11.317 Enlightenment titles in four Irish libraries


Lesage, Histoire de Gil-Blas de Santillane (Amsterdam: 1720) Marivaux, Le Paysan parvenu (The Hague: 1734) Montesquieu, De l’Esprit des lois (Edinburgh: 1750) Voltaire, Histoire de Charles XII roi de Suède (Basle: 1732) Voltaire, La Henriade (np: c.1728) Derry Bazin (Voltaire), La Philosophie de l’histoire (Geneva: 1765) Cashel Voltaire, The History of Charles XII (Dublin: 1732; Appendix 2, 228) Antrim Voltaire, On Toleration, tr. Smollett (London: 1764) Presbytery Raynal, History of the West Indies (Dublin: 1776; Appendix 2, 171)

that the books were actually present in the eighteenth century and we do not know how many or which books may have disappeared through unreturned borrowing or other losses before the collection was catalogued. This is particularly true of the Antrim Presbytery Library, which had a very peripatetic existence before finding a permanent home at Queen’s University in 1873. If we look at these four libraries in detail, Voltaire appears in all of them, while Lesage, Marivaux, Montesquieu and Raynal make one appearance each. Voltaire’s Histoire de Charles XII is the only title which occurs twice (Kilkenny and Cashel). In Cashel, the date of the title found corresponds to the date of establishment of the collection, while dates in Kilkenny correspond to those of the collection of Bishop Maurice. Only in Derry is there evidence of continued interest or of purchasing more controversial material after the original foundation of the library, although the Voltaire title (which has now disappeared) may have belonged to Gabriel Stokes, who died in 1806 and whose name is found in many books in the library, or been otherwise acquired after the end of the eighteenth century. In the Antrim Presbytery Library, which is considerably later than the others and of gradual accumulation, the imbalance between the large number of seventeenth-century works, most of them of religious interest, and the two Enlightenment texts might seem to indicate a rejection of eighteenth-century secularism. The two books in question were both major contributions to the philosophic movement, although they also deal with topics, religious toleration and colonialism, likely to have been close to the hearts of the dissenting minority in Ulster which suffered discrimination during our period and was at once the product of the Plantation of Ulster and heavily involved in emigration to America during the eighteenth century.18

Irish Church Libraries


Trinity and Marsh’s were both city libraries, one academic and the other a gentlemen’s public library. As we have seen, it is difficult to have accurate knowledge of the precise contents of either library during the eighteenthcentury. However, provenance has been checked and, on the Trinity list, books signed by Claudius Gilbert have been indicated with an asterisk*.19 For Marsh’s, the only eighteenth-century signature is that of Archbishop A. Smyth on Montesquieu’s Considérations sur les Romains, and Prévost’s Doyen de Killerine is likely from its date and location to have belonged to the Stearne collection, but no other certainty exists about dates of acquisition, and the Beaumarchais text in particular is likely to be late. If we look at the comparative lists with these caveats in mind, we see that both libraries contain works by Montesquieu and Voltaire and are the only collections to include Réaumur. Otherwise, they have very different emphases. Trinity has a rather scientific orientation, with works by authors such as Buffon, Crousaz, Cuvier, Jussieu, La Condamine, Lamarck and Maupertuis, and a historical text by Duclos. Marsh’s, on the other hand, has a more literary and philosophical focus, containing works by Beaumarchais, Lesage, Prévost and Rousseau along with others by d’Alembert, Helvétius and Raynal. This runs counter to the overall emphasis of the Marsh’s collection which is generally more scientific than literary. The titles held are as shown in Table 11.4. The small size of these collections, when compared to the holdings of earlier writers and of non-Enlightenment eighteenth-century writers, is deceptive, for it is clear that the book collectors who contributed to these collections were well informed about the contemporary intellectual environment. Claudius Gilbert certainly kept abreast of current publications up to his death in 1742, and the collections in Marsh’s were also very well stocked for their time, but the major eighteenth-century collections in both libraries were early, before the full flowering of the French Enlightenment. Although Marsh’s has some very advanced and controversial works, among them Rousseau’s Émile, Helvétius’s De l’Esprit and Beaumarchais’s Le Mariage de Figaro, it is impossible to be certain that they were acquired during the eighteenth century or to draw any valid conclusions from their presence in the modern library. Armagh and Maynooth have considerably more works by listed authors than the other libraries because they were founded at or near the end of the century, Armagh in 1771, based on Archbishop Robinson’s own collection, and Maynooth in 1800, incorporating both purchases and collections of books owned by members of staff who were French or had spent much of their earlier lives on the continent (Corish, Maynooth College, pp. 50–1, 441). For both libraries, we are fortunate to have access to early


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 Table 11.4 Collections in Trinity and Marsh’s libraries

Beaumarchais Buffon



Helvétius Jussieu

La Condamine

Lamarck Maupertuis



Trinity College Dublin

Marsh’s library

La Folle journée; ou, Le Mariage de Figaro (Lyon: 1785) —

Histoire naturelle des oiseaux (Paris: 1771–74) Histoire naturelle des oiseaux [planches] (np: nd) New treatise on the art of thinking (London: 1724)* Essai sur le mouvement (Gronigen: 1726)* Traité de l’algèbre (Paris: 1726)* Tableau élémentaire de l’histoire naturelle des animaux (Paris: an 6 [1798]) — Histoire des plantes qui naissent aux environs de Paris, avec leur usage dans la medecine. Par Pittion Tournefort; 2e éd augmentée par B. de Jussieu (np: nd) Journal du voyage à l’équateur (Paris: 1751) Mesure des trois premiers degrés du méridien dans dans l’hémisphère austral (Paris: 1751) La figure de la terre (Paris: 1738) Flore Françoise (Paris: 1778) La Figure de la terre (Paris: 1738)* The Figure of the earth (London: 1738)* Considérations sur les Romains* (Amsterdam: 1735) De l’Esprit des lois (Edinburgh: 1750) —

De l’Esprit (Paris: 1758) —

Considérations sur les Romains (Amsterdam: 1735) The Dean of Coleraine (Dublin: 1742)

Irish Church Libraries Table 11.4


Trinity College Dublin Raynal Réaumur

Rousseau Voltaire


— L’Art de convertir le fer forgé en acier; et l’art d’adoucir le fer fondu (Paris: 1722)* Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire des insectes (Paris: 1734–42)* — La Henriade (London: 1728)* Essay upon the civil wars of France and also upon the epick poetry of the European nations (London: 1731)* The History of Charles XII (London: 1732) An Essay on the age of Lewis XIV (Dublin, 1760 [1740]) (Appendix 2, 270)

Marsh’s library History of settlements and trade in the East and West Indies (London: 1798) The Art of hatching and bringing up domestic fowls by means of artificial heat (London: 1750) Émile (Paris: 1762)

Essai sur l’histoire générale (np: 1758)

records: William Lodge’s catalogue in the case of Armagh and the two copies of the 1820s catalogue in the case of Maynooth. Both libraries were intended to serve the needs of educational establishments: Maynooth those of the postgraduate seminarians and professors and Armagh those of a university planned by Primate Robinson but never built. Unlike the earlier libraries already examined, Armagh and Maynooth have fewer books written by authors of the proto-Enlightenment than by those of the actual period. They show a considerable degree of parallelism in the authors and works present in their collections. Both include texts by Buffon, Duclos, La Condamine, Mably, Maupertuis, Montesquieu, Raynal, Rousseau and Voltaire and, as we have already seen, both have versions of the Encyclopédie. Armagh’s version is in the form of Selected Essays (London: 1772), while Maynooth has the complete third edition with illustrations and supplements, published at Leghorn between 1770 and 1779. The parallel extends to titles and even editions by individual authors. Both libraries have copies of the same edition the Histoire de Louis XI by Duclos, of Montesquieu’s Considérations sur les Romains and of Voltaire’s La


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

Henriade. They possess different editions of Buffon’s Natural history, La Condamine’s Tour to Italy, Mably’s Droit public de l’Europe, Maupertuis’s Oeuvres, Montesquieu’s De l’Esprit des lois and three further titles by Voltaire: his Letters on the English Nation, his Histoire de Charles XII and his Histoire universelle, as well as collected editions of his works. Table 11.5 shows, in abbreviated form, the holdings of the two libraries in approximately 1800 and 1820 respectively:

Table 11.5 Holdings in Armagh and Maynooth libraries




Natural history (London: 1755) Natural history, abridged (London: 1792)

Natural history (London: 1762)


Diderot, ed.

Selected essays from the Encyclopédie (London: 1772)22


Histoire de Louis XI (Amsterdam: 1746) History of Lewis XI (London: 1746) Journal of a tour to Italy (Dublin: 1763)

La Condamine Laplace

Histoire naturelle des oiseaux (Paris: 1770) Oeuvres complètes (Paris: 1774) Oeuvres complètes (Paris: 1775)20 Table des matières des œuvres (Paris: 1779) Réflexions sur l’utilité des mathématiques (Amsterdam: 1715) Examen du pyrrhonisme (The Hague: 1733) 2 copies21 Encyclopédie sans planches (Leghorn: 1770) Encyclopédie française avec planches (Leghorn: 1772) Encyclopédie: Supplément (Leghorn: 1778) Encyclopédie: Supplément avec planches (Leghorn: 1779) Histoire de Louis XI (Amsterdam: 1746) Journal of a tour to Italy (Dublin: 1763) Traité de la mécanique céleste (Paris: 1799)

Irish Church Libraries Table 11.5


Armagh Lavoisier Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane (Paris: 1747)


Droit public de l’Europe, (Amsterdam: 1748) Sur les astres (Paris: 1732) La Figure de la terre (Paris: 1738) Ouvrages divers (Amsterdam: 1744) Oeuvres (Dresden: 1752) Considérations sur les Romains, (Amsterdam: 1734–5) 2 copies


De l’Esprit des lois (Geneva: 1750) De l’Esprit des lois (Edinburgh: 1750)23 The Spirit of laws (London: 1750)


Maynooth Traité de chimie (Paris: 1793)




The Spirit of laws (Dublin: 1751) (Appendix 2, 144) Oeuvres (Amsterdam: 1758) Miscellaneous pieces (London: 1759) Mémoires d’un homme de qualité (Amsterdam: 1745)


Droit public de l’Europe, (Geneva: 1768)

Oeuvres (Lyon: 1756) Considérations sur les Romains, (Amsterdam: 1734) Considérations sur les Romains (Paris: 1755) De l’Esprit des lois (Geneva, nd) The Spirit of laws (Dublin: 1767; Appendix 2, 145) The Spirit of laws (Dublin: 1792; Appendix 2, 146 or 147) Oeuvres (Amsterdam: 1749)

Histoire du parlement d’Angleterre (Paris: 1750) Anecdotes historiques, militaires et politiques de l’Europe (Amsterdam: 1754) History of Modern European settlements (Dublin: 1776; Appendix 2, 171)

History of the West Indies (London: 1777)


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 Table 11.5






Discours sur les sciences et les arts (Dublin: 1751) Lettre à d’Alembert (Amsterdam: 1759) La Henriade (London: 1728)

Du Contrat social (Paris: 1791)

History of Charles XII of Sweden (London: 1732) History of Charles XII of Sweden (London: 1733) Letters concerning the English nation (London:1733) La Philosophie de Newton (Amsterdam: 1738) A Defence of the late Lord Bolingbroke’s Letters on the study of history (London: 1753)25 Histoire universelle (The Hague: 1753) Candide (Geneva: 1759) On Toleration (London: 1764) Essay on crimes and punishment 2 sets (London: 1769) Works (London: 1770)

La Henriade (London: 1728) La Henriade (Paris: nd)

Histoire de Charles XII, roi de Suède (Paris: 1757)24 Letters concerning the English nation (Dublin: 1733, Appendix 2, 240)

Histoire universelle (London: 1759) Oeuvres (Paris: 1757) History of the Russian empire (Edinburgh: 1769)

In spite of the parallels mentioned above, it is clear that there are some differences between the collections. Armagh contains a number of novels by Lesage and Prévost as well as Voltaire’s famous conte philosophique Candide, while there are no novels at Maynooth. As in Trinity College, works by scientific writers such as Crousaz, Laplace and Lavoisier feature prominently in Maynooth, but the presence of a considerable number of scientific works by Maupertuis in Armagh makes the distinction between these libraries less clear-cut than was the case of Trinity and Marsh’s. Both libraries have an impressive collection of texts by Montesquieu and Voltaire, although Armagh has more copies of Montesquieu and a

Irish Church Libraries


much wider range of texts by Voltaire, including works on history, science and religion. Maynooth seems, not surprisingly, to have avoided his works of religious controversy and to have focused on his historical output, but the Letters on the English nation are present, and the 1757 Oeuvres included some controversial pieces entitled ‘Mélanges de philosophie’ (vol. 7).27 The presence in Maynooth of these books, as well as of a 1791 edition of the Contrat social, suggests that there may have been some grounds for the fear of radicalism prevalent among the founding bishops of the College (Corish, Maynooth College, p. 12). However, the Maynooth collection also includes works which sought to refute Enlightenment ideas, among them the Dictionnaire de Trévoux, Nonnotte’s Erreurs de Voltaire and two copies of a five-volume Critique de l’Encyclopédie. In spite of the differences in language and content noted above, these libraries remain very similar in their choice of material, suggesting that, except perhaps in relation to Voltaire and to the inclusion of works by the opponents of the Enlightenment, religious differences did not dictate vastly different choices from one church to the other.

CONCLUSIONS It is clear that the French Enlightenment did find a place in Irish church libraries of the eighteenth century, sometimes in the form of very radical texts. If we include the Derry Philosophie de l’histoire, Voltaire is present in all libraries, Montesquieu in five and Rousseau in three. The number of texts by these writers increases considerably as the century progresses, as does the range of Enlightenment authors present in the collections. But the method of establishment of the early Church of Ireland libraries, relying on donations and without provision for continuing purchase, was clearly an impediment to the penetration of Enlightenment authors into their collections. Of the authors found, Voltaire and Montesquieu were the most widely distributed, but Raynal appears in four libraries and Buffon, La Condamine and Maupertuis, like Rousseau, in three. Enlightenment authors are generally less represented, as far as numbers of titles and distribution in the libraries are concerned, than either the figures of the proto-Enlightenment, Bayle and Fontenelle, than Fénelon, or than the now largely forgotten writers, Vertot, Rollin and Pluche. This pattern was not peculiar to Ireland and it finds a parallel in some private collections in France of roughly the same period. In the inventory of Montesquieu’s library in 1756, for example, Fénelon appears five times, Vertot four, Bayle three times and Montesquieu


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

and Voltaire twice.27 The 1753 inventory of the library of the Duchesse d’Aumont records Rollin three times, followed by Fontenelle, Vertot and Prévost, all appearing twice (Marion, pp. 193–210). Marion (pp. 159–69) also finds Rollin to be the most popular author in his combined list of the inventories of four parishes in Paris, followed by Pluche and Bayle. These French studies rely on inventory lists which mention only occasional titles, but there is a considerable degree of correspondence between their findings and those of the present study, and it seems clear that the relative frequency of authors in some French libraries was not very different from that in evidence in Irish church libraries. The findings of Máire Kennedy’s recent study of the most commonly-enountered French authors in eighteenth-century Irish private libraries, however, differ slightly from those in the present study (Kennedy 4: cf. above, pp. 7–11). She places Voltaire first, Fénelon second, Montesquieu sixth, Rousseau seventh, Lesage eighth, Vertot thirteenth, Fontenelle sixteenth, Bayle eighteenth and Raynal nineteenth. The differences in ranking of Enlightenment, proto-Enlightenment and minor authors may well be due in part of the fact that the dates of Kennedy’s study are slightly later (1715–1830), but more work remains to be done to ascertain whether, in fact, the libraries of the Irish churches differed greatly from those of the laity (Kennedy’s study includes writers of all periods but excludes translations). The close parallel between Armagh and Maynooth, as regards titles and even editions, has already been noted. If we look for similar patterns in all the libraries, we find a number of instances where two or three libraries hold the same edition of a work. The 1728 London edition of Voltaire’s La Henriade appears in Trinity as well as in Armagh and Maynooth, and the London 1732 edition of this Histoire de Charles XII in Armagh and Trinity. The 1735 Amsterdam edition of Montesquieu’s Considérations appears in Trinity and Marsh’s and seems also to be one of the two editions in Armagh, while the 1750 Edinburgh edition of De l’Esprit des lois is held in Kilkenny and Marsh’s and possibly also in Armagh. The same 1738 Paris edition of La Figure de la terre by Maupertuis was found in both Trinity and Armagh, while the Antrim Presbytery Library shares its editions of both Raynal and Voltaire with the Public Library in Armagh. These linkages are not generally dependent on Irish or even English publishers and they suggest that the writers and works involved were common currency in the educated Irish society of the period. This is confirmed by the presence of other editions of the same works, either in the same libraries or in others. Other editions of the Henriade appear, for instance, in Kilkenny and Maynooth, of the Histoire de Charles XII in Cashel and Kilkenny, as well as in Armagh and Maynooth, and of Montesquieu’s

Irish Church Libraries


Considérations and De l’Esprit des lois in Armagh and Maynooth. There was clearly considerable agreement within these libraries about the authors and titles considered most significant. Novels were found in three Church of Ireland libraries: Kilkenny, Marsh’s and Armagh, although only one, Lesage’s Gil Blas, occurs more than once. No conclusion can be drawn from their absence from Cashel and Derry, or indeed from the Antrim Presbytery Library, because virtually no Enlightenment texts are present in these collections. It is tempting to speculate that the Presbyterians may have excluded them for religious reasons, but this seems unsafe as, although it includes no novels, the library has quite an extensive collection of seventeenth-century French literature, including the plays of Molière and the Contes et nouvelles of La Fontaine. The absence of eighteenth-century novels from Trinity and Maynooth seems to be of greater significance, since both were teaching establishments involved in the education of the clergy and had a reasonable number of Enlightenment works. Their educational function is perhaps also at the root of their shared interest in science which, although considerably stronger in Trinity than in Maynooth, is greater than in the other libraries. Montesquieu’s De l’Esprit des lois, found ten times and in four libraries, was the most common title by a major French writer, followed by his Considérations sur les Romains (seven times and in five libraries) and by Buffon’s Histoire naturelle, parts of which occur seven times and in four libraries. Voltaire is omnipresent, but with a greater range of titles, the most frequent being his Histoire de Charles XII (six times and in five libraries) and his Henriade (five times and in four libraries). Raynal’s History of modern European settlements occurs four times and in four libraries, while parts of Buffon’s Histoire naturelle occur five times and in three libraries. This ranking suggests a preference for Voltaire’s historical works, a considerable respect for Montesquieu and Buffon, whose works were purchased in multiple copies by later libraries, and an interest in colonization shared between the denominations.28 Denominational differences are evident in these collections but perhaps to a lesser extent than might have been expected. The Antrim Presbytery Library shows less interest in Enlightenment authors than might have been expected in a library founded in the latter part of the century. The catalogues we have are late and it is possible that Enlightenment books were purchased for the collection and subsequently disappeared. However, a comparison between the catalogues of 1851 and 1874 reveals additional purchases of seventeenth rather than eighteenth century material and we must conclude that this library accorded less importance than those of the other denominations to the French Enlightenement. As far as the Catholic


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800

library at Maynooth is concerned, the picture is very different. It contains works by all the major authors, some of them very controversial, and is very close to Armagh in its holdings, but, as has already been pointed out, it holds no novels, has fewer of the more controversial works of Voltaire and includes works calling into question Enlightenment figures and ideas. The Church of Ireland libraries, for their part, evolve with the century and their holdings depend very largely on their dates of foundation and the dates of donations to them. Emphases differ, particularly between the teaching library in Trinity and the others, but there is clear evidence of strong general interest in French Enlightenment authors and their writings. The French Enlightenment then would seem to have been well received by the Church of Ireland, with a certain reserve by the Catholic Church and with greater reticence by the Presbyterians, although even they were not wholly untouched. The libraries examined here were, along with magazines, lending and circulating libraries and learned societies, a part of the mechanism by which the ideas of the French Enlightenment found their way into Ireland.29 They gave great importance to religious writers, but they accommodated other interests too, such as history, geography, politics, law and science. Eighteenth-century literature, whether novels, essays, plays or poetry, has little part in these collections, which are concerned with the pursuit of knowledge rather than of aesthetic pleasure. The degree of awareness of authors and publications in France is generally quite significant, each collection featuring works contemporaneous with the dates of acquisition of the collections of which it is composed, and a considerable interest in major French Enlightenment writers develops as the century progresses, finding its fullest expression in the collections of Armagh and Maynooth and considerably reinforced in 1802 by Trinity’s purchase of the 20 000 volumes of the Fagel collection.

NOTES 1. 2.

Peter Fox, ‘They glory much in their Library’, in Treasures of the Library, Trinity College Dublin, ed. P. Fox (Dublin: 1986) pp. 1–3. Muriel McCarthy, All Graduates and Gentlemen (Dublin: 1980) pp. 33– 6; Hugh Campbell, ‘St Canice’s Library: The Otway-Maurice Collection’ (np: 1994) p. 3; A Catalogue of the books in the Library of the Diocese of Derry (Londonderry: 1848) pp. i–ii; Christopher Mohan, ‘Archbishop Richard Robinson, builder of Armagh’, Seanchas Ard Mhacha, vol. 6, no. 1

Irish Church Libraries






08. 09.


11. 12. 13. 14. 15.


(1971) pp. 94–130; David Woodworth, Cashel’s Museum of Printing and Early Books: a Short History of the GPA-Bolton Library (Clonmel: 1994) pp. 3–6. Cathaldus Giblin, ‘Irish exiles in Catholic Europe’, in A History of Irish Catholicism, ed. Patrick J. Corish, vol. 4, parts ii and iii (Dublin: 1971) p. 11. The academies of Kilkenny and Carlow opened before Maynooth but operated on a much smaller scale (Patrick J. Corish, Maynooth College 1795–1995 (Dublin: 1995) p. 6). Finlay Holmes, Our Irish Presbyterian Heritage (Belfast: 1985) p. 67. A.C. Anderson, The Story of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (Belfast: 1965) p. 53; Walter Gordon Wheeler, ‘Libraries in Ireland before 1855: a bibliographical essay’ (unpublished thesis for the University of London: 1957) p. 105. Archbishop King had already left the Hopkins books behind in Derry in 1703 and it is believed that the library was in operation before King’s death in 1729, when the official bequest was made. See Directory of Rare Books and Special Collections in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, ed. B.C. Bloomfield (London: 1997), p. 596. This library has been included because it is central to the Catholic Church in Ireland and is assumed to contain the collections of teachers in the college, of whom several were French and others had taught or worked in France. It therefore provides an insight into the extent to which the new Catholic seminary and the clergy trained there came under the influence of French writers and thinkers. Fox, pp. 1–7. Gilbert, who died in 1741, gave the bulk of his books to Trinity in 1735. As the dates and signatures on the books show, some of the books in his collection were clearly added to the original gift. Stearne gave his collection of manuscripts to Trinity Library in 1741 and the Library may also have had some of his books, since the Board Register records that the College Librarian was sent to examine his books in Clogher in 1742. McCarthy, pp. 33– 45. Bishop Stearne’s books arrived in Marsh’s in 1745, two years after his death in 1743. D.R.M. Weatherup, ‘The Armagh Public Library, 1771–1971’, Irish Booklore, vol. 2, no. 2 (Belfast: no date) pp. 269 –99; ‘Abstracts from the Library Minute Book’ appended to unpublished version of the above paper held in Armagh Public Library (1973) pp. 16–27. Stillingfleet’s library contained 9512 books, Bouhéreau’s 2078 and Stearne’s approximately 3000, according to Newport J.D. White (An Account of Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Dublin (Dublin: 1926) pp. 8– 9). We have no precise figures for Archbishop Marsh’s own collection. George Wallin, ‘Les bibliothèques de Paris en 1721–22’, reproduced with a short introduction by “H.O.” in Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire de l’Ile de France (1918) pp. 63–6. Hugh Campbell, Information Notes on ‘Previous Catalogues’, undated, Kilkenny. Catalogue of books in the Library of the Presbytery of Antrim (Belfast: 1851). ‘La polémique autour de l’Essai sur les moeurs’, VC, p. 1293, n.14. In spite of their apparent precision, these numbers cannot be considered definitive. The handwritten catalogues are, according to place, more of less


16. 17. 18.


20. 21. 22.


24. 25.

26. 27. 28.


Ireland and the French Enlightenment, 1700–1800 incomplete, sometimes entering titles without authors or using shortened titles. The books mentioned have also in some cases, disappeared. It is therefore difficult, at this stage of our research, to be absolutely certain that no Enlightenment work, entered by title only, has been inadvertently omitted. As Buffon’s work was cumulative, later single editions are likely to be more complete than earlier single volumes. Because of the lack of consistency of some of the hand-written catalogues, I have generally modernized titles and given the place of publication in English. This is not the edition of Raynal’s work to which Diderot famously contributed in 1780. B. Kennedy, in his Scots-Irish in the Hills of Tennessee (Belfast, Londonderry: 1995) p. 19, records the figure of approximately 250 000 (mostly Presbyterians) for Scots-Irish emigration between 1717 and the early 1780s. Claudius Gilbert’s manuscript catalogue in Trinity Library mentions the Jussieu text listed below and two texts by listed authors which are not present in the Trinity collection: a copy of Voltaire’s Letters (perhaps the Letters concerning the English nation) and Crousaz’s Examen du pyrrhonisme). One of the catalogues gives the date 1755, but 1775 seems more probable. The catalogue entry for the title is not totally clear, but the date and author fit. The second set is mentioned in one catalogue only. No further details are given and the work has now disappeared from the library. Only one volume of Select essays from the Encyclopdy [sic] appeared (in 1772): see John Lough, The Encyclopédie in eighteenth-century England and other studies (Newcastle: 1970) p. 8. Lelinb. in the catalogue. It corresponds by date to the Edinburgh edition in the Reeves catalogue, still in the library. Rare books librarians consulted via the Berkelely Exlibris Internet interest group suggest that Lelinb, may be an error and may refer either to Edinburgh or Berlin. The date is rather illegible and may be 1752. This was catalogued by Lodge as one of two copies of Bolingroke’s letter to Sir W. Wyndham and traced to Voltaire through the later Reeves catalogue and the contemporary computerized catalogue. The other copy is given as Dublin: 1753, but is not necessarily an edition of the Voltaire text. See Trapnell, p. 119. The catalogue also has a Dictionnaire philos. (no author) (Avignon: 1775). The Voltaire Foundation could find no trace of this text, evidently not by Voltaire, and it has disappeared from the collection. See Louis Desgraves, Catalogue de la bibliothèque de Montesquieu (Geneva: 1954). One notes some similarities here with Daniel Mornet’s classic study, ‘Les Enseignements des bibliothèques privées (1750–1780) (Revue d’Histoire Littéraire de la France, 17 (1910) pp. 440–98). There the most frequent titles include Buffon’s Oeuvres, Voltaire’s Henriade and his Siècle de Louis XIV. For the role of circulating and lending libraries in Ireland see Cole and Chapter 2, above.

Appendixes Key to Libraries Mentioned Andrews Arizona Barker Beinecke Birmingham BL BNR BNP Bodleian Boston California Camden Canterbury Carter Charleston Chicago Claremont Clark Columbia Cornell CUL DCL E Ellis FLK Florida Fondren Harvard Harvard Law Heidelberg Heythrop Houghton Huntingdon Kalamazoo Kansas Leeds BL Lilly LVUL McMaster Magee Maynooth

Andrews Clark Library, UCLA, USA. Arizona State University Library, USA. Barker Texas History Centre, University of Texas at Austin, USA. Beinecke Library, Yale University, USA. Birmingham Central Libraries, UK. British Library, London, UK. Bristol, New Room, John Wesley’s Chapel, UK. Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France. Bodleian Library, Oxford, UK. Boston Public Library, USA. University of California, Special Collections, UCLA, USA. Camden Libraries, London, UK. Canterbury Cathedral Library, UK. John Carter Library, Brown University, USA. College of Charleston Library, USA. Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, USA. Francis Bacon Library, Claremont, USA. Williams Andrews Clark Library, UCLA, USA. Columbia University, Teachers College Library, USA. Cornell University Library, USA. Cambridge University Library, UK. Dublin City Libraries (Gilbert Library), Ireland. National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK Ellis Library, University of Missouri-Columbia, USA. Franciscan Library, Killiney, Ireland. University of Florida Library, Gainesville, USA. Fondren Library, Rice University, Texas, USA. Harvard University Libraries, USA. Law Library, Harvard, USA. Universitätsbibliotheck, Heidelberg, Germany. Heythrop College Library, London, UK. Houghton Library, Harvard, USA. Henry E. Huntingdon Library, California, USA. Kalamazoo College Library, USA. Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, USA. University of Leeds, Brotherton Library, UK. Lilly Library, Indiana University, USA. Liverpool University Library, UK Mills Memorial Library, MacMaster University, Canada. Magee College Library, University of Ulster, N. Ireland. Maynooth College Library, Ireland.


234 Miami Minnesota MCL MLD MUL New York Newark NLI NLC NLW Pattee Peabody Pennsylvania Philadelphia Princeton Pusey QUB RIA Swem Taylor TCD Texas Toronto UCC UCD ULL Waterloo Wayne Williams Wilson Yale

Appendixes Miami University Library, USA. Meredith Wilson and James Ford Bell Libraries, University of Minnesota, USA. Manchester Central Library, Manchester, UK. Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Dublin, Ireland. John Rylands University Library of Manchester, UK. New York University Library, USA. Newark Public Library, USA. National Library of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland. National Library of Canada, Ontario, Canada. National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK. Pennsylvania State University, Pattee Library, USA. George Peabody Library, John Hopkins University, USA. Pennsylvania University Libraries, USA. Library Company of Philadelphia, USA. Princeton University Library, USA. Pusey Memorial Library, Pusey House, Oxford, UK. Special Collections, Queen’s University, Belfast, N. Ireland. Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, Ireland. Swem Library, College of William and Mary, USA. Taylor Institution Library, Oxford, UK. Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland. San Antonio College Library, Texas, USA. University of Toronto Libraries, Canada. University College Library, Cork, Ireland. University College Library, Dublin, Ireland. University of London Library, Senate House, London, UK. University of Waterloo Libraries, Canada. Wayne State University Libraries, Michigan, USA. Dr Williams’ Library, London, UK. Wilson Library, University of North Carolina, USA. Yale University Library, USA.

APPENDIX 1 LITERARY REVIEW MAGAZINES PRINTED IN IRELAND, 1700–17901 Geraldine Sheridan 1. The Compendious Library, or Literary Journal Revived (December 1751–April 1752) Sequel to no. 9. Three issues only (95 pages average). Printer Samuel Powell in Crane Lane (price 1s.). Sold by 6 Dublin booksellers named in imprint. Edited by a Huguenot minister, Antoine Vinchon de Bacquencourt (commonly known as Desvœux). Generally followed Droz’s format, but more interest in French Protestant history, less in theological discussions. Less successful than A Literary Journal (perhaps because Droz was also a bookseller?). French Literary Interest Like Droz (no. 9), interested in natural history, science and the new learning. Reviews Buffon, Maupertuis, d’Argens and Pluche. In issue 2 reports on Dean Madden’s reply (Appendix 2, 115) to Rousseau’s famous first Discours (1751): this rapid response to a relatively obscure French writer shows an early, if hostile recognition of the Discours’ originality. A rare journal reference to Diderot in Part ii, pp. 178– 9, presents him as the Enlightenment victim of Catholic tyranny after the banning of the Encyclopédie’s first two volumes. Desvœux mentions a small number of novels, perhaps indicating growing awareness of female readership?, i.e. those tending ‘to the Reformation of Manners and the advancement of Virtue’ (Part ii, p. 175: cf. also pp. 179, 189). NLI 2. The Dublin Library or Irish Magazine (May–October 1761) Published fortnightly by Dillon Chamberlaine, Smock Alley (average 55 pages). Originally closely based on The Library, or Moral and Critical Magazine (also titled The London Royal Gazette) published monthly in London by Griffiths (1761–62). Like other reprints, increasingly tailored its choice of articles to its public, adding a ‘Chronicle of Intelligence for Ireland’, which covered a wide geographical and social constituency. French Literary Interest Book reviews (under ‘Literary Articles’) deal with French translations published in London and Dublin in 1761. Voltaire’s History of the Russian Empire (Appendix 2, 233) praised (p. 49), as is Candid (Appendix 2, 206), mistakenly described as ‘undoubtedly the work of Voltaire’ (p. 436). Rousseau’s Eloisa (p. 49: Appendix 2, 198) and Charles-François Tiphaigne de la Roche’s novel Giphantia (Paris [The Hague]: 1760; Dublin translation: 1761; Appendix 2, 207) also recommended. (p. 139). NLI 3. The Dublin Magazine (January 1762–January 1765) First indigenous magazine of the miscellany type (title used briefly by James Hoey for a miscellany of poetry in 1733). Modelled on British magazines from which it




frequently borrowed. Published by Peter Wilson in Dame Street. Appeared monthly, a little over 60 pages per issue. Contained more original Irish material than any other contemporary magazine, some still reproduced (eg illustrated essays on Dublin public buildings or descriptions of counties and cities of Ireland). Aimed at broad public (articles on husbandry; cures for common ailments; short fiction items probably targeting female audience; accounts of contemporary social and cultural events in Dublin). Political reports mainly British: July 1762 Wilson highlights ‘anti-ministerial papers’ attacking Tory government; August onwards reprints entire North Briton, Wilkes’s virulent weekly (also appeared simultaneously in Scots Magazine for some time; in Exshaw’s from early 1763; in The Magazine of Magazines from June 1762). February 1764: Wilson imprisoned in Newgate for breach of privilege in the January issue.2 French Literary Interest See Chapter 2.


4. The Dublin Magazine and University Museum (1782) Advertised in The Hibernian Journal (no. 16, February 1782); printed for C. Jackson, 26 Anglesea Street (price 4d.). No copies traced. 5. La Gazette Françoise (1776?) Advertised by Michael Mills of Capel Street in Hibernian Journal (2– 4 October) to be published 12 October 1776 and every succeeding Saturday, price 3d., ‘elegantly printed in the French language […] a general Desire of becoming familiarly acquainted with it now being universally prevalent’ (see also Finn’s Leinster Journal, 9–12 October 1776). Was to contain foreign and domestic news; original essays, poems, epigrams and general remarks accepted from readers; advertisements would be ‘translated into French gratis’. No copies traced. 6. Gentleman’s and London Magazine and Monthly Chronologer (January 1741–December 1794) Most long-lived of Dublin-printed magazines. First published by Edward and John Exshaw ‘at the Bible on Cork Hill’ as London Magazine and Monthly Chronologer (better-known title adopted 1755). Initially mere reprint, page for page, of London Magazine, continuing from Faulkener (no. 10): 13 issues per year, each with ‘Monthly Chronologer for Ireland’. 1752: Sarah and John Exshaw reduced number of articles, selecting from those in the London, and incorporating some material from elsewhere (including Cave’s Gentleman’s Magazine). Change reflected in title as above (1755; vol. 24), without editorial comment, followed by increase in proportion of literary material: original articles and correspondence of Irish origin; more pages per issue than London rivals; printing better quality. By 1782 London Magazine is copying material from Exshaw’s (name added to title in 1791). Magazine’s impact extended to most of Ireland; supported by professional classes and nobility. Good value at 6d. for 60 pages on average.

Appendixes French Literary Interest See Chapter 2.

237 TCD

7. The Grand Magazine of Universal Intelligence and Monthly Chronicle of our Own Times (January 1758–December 1760) Published monthly by James Hoey Junior: an issue of London magazine of same name published by Ralph Griffiths, who presumably sent the printed sheets and plates to Dublin. Varied imprints, with partial reprinting of vol. i. A ‘Monthly Chronicle for Ireland’, unpaginated, was printed separately and added to vols destined for Irish market (cf. Hoey’s advertisement: The Public Gazeteer, 26 May 1759). Announcements imply wide geographical and social spread in distribution: the Hoeys were the most eminent of Catholic publishers. French Literary Interest Good awareness of developments in the world of French books (no doubt thanks to Griffiths): journal quotes French periodicals (cf. ii, p. 80 and p. 492) and summarizes The History of the Marchioness de Pompadour (with its account of the young Murphy, briefly mistress to Louis XV: i, pp. 608–13). Most notable is the huge interest in Voltaire: first complete translation in rhyming verse (by Edward Purdon) of La Henriade (cf. AMR, pp. 545– 6; it was as an intended introduction that Oliver Goldsmith composed his Memoirs of M. de Voltaire, eventually published in 1761). Vol. ii also contains extensive extracts from Candide (reprinted in Dublin by Hoey himself in this same year: see advertisement in January 1760 number, which refers also to his reprinting of The Orphan of China: cf. Appendix 2, 215 and 259). A letter to the editor defends Candide, preferring it to Swift’s Gulliver (ii, p. 535). Voltaire’s critics are also mentioned: cf. abstract of Claude-Marie Guyon’s anonymous Oracle des nouveaux philosophes, on deism and Christianity (1759, p. 529). Other noteworthy items include translation of ‘Reflections on the Dangers of Human Understanding’, attributed to Frederick of Prussia (January 1760, pp. 9–13), and lengthy extracts throughout 1760, beautifully illustrated, from Buffon’s Compleat System of Natural History. NLI 8. The Hibernian Magazine: or Compendium of Entertaining Knowledge (January 1771–December 1810) In many ways successor to no. 3. First published by James Potts ‘at Swift’s Head in Dame Street’. October 1772–July 1773 (or longer), variant text (various printers) issued simultaneously by Peter Seguin (King’s Street, Stephen’s Green). 1774 taken over by Thomas Walker at Cicero’s Head, Dame Street. April 1785 onwards Walker’s Hibernian Magazine. Gradual increase in size to over 90 pages per issue (extra material; larger pages; smaller print). Material includes: British and Irish parliamentary reports; romantic fiction serialized; articles on fashion, cosmetics, occasional dress patterns. Walker disappointed at failure of ‘Learned and Ingenious of all denominations’ in Ireland to furnish him with copy (May 1773, p. 219). Perceptible toleration of nationalist and Catholic viewpoints, later issues publicizing creation of Catholic Committees. Many items copied from the London European Magazine after its inception in 1782.



French Literary Interest See Chapter 2.


9. A Literary Journal (October 1744–June 1749) Edited by Rev. Jean-Pierre Droz (cf. above, pp. 28–31), printed by Samuel Powell. First issued quarterly, then less frequently (Droz’s health failing). 1s.6d. per part (5 vols altogether: each had 2 parts of around 200 pages). First original review-type journal in Ireland. Droz utilized wide range of European sources; most translations probably his own. Wrote extracts of books potentially interesting to his readers and listed others (as bookseller, could supply many himself). For success of journal see Compendious Library, ‘Preface’, part 1; moreover, vol. 1 was issued in a second edition (TCD), print-runs for subsequent volumes presumably increasing in accordance with sales. French Literary Interest See Chapter 2.


10. The London and Dublin Magazine, or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer (January 1734–November 1745) Printed by Samuel Powell: sold by George Faulkener ‘and by the Booksellers’. First of several reprints of London Magazine, which began publication 1732. From April 1734 adds hotchpotch of information entitled ‘Dublin’ then ‘Irish News’. From July 1734 ‘Dublin Poetical Essays’ introduced. 6p. per issue of 70–100 pages. French Literary Interest See Chapter 2.


11. Le Magazin à La Mode (May 1777–April 1778) Published in French by William Whitestone in Capel Street, editor Charles Praval, teacher of French in Dublin. Material more tailored to local concerns than Mercure de France (no. 13): accounts of theatre performances and description of a ‘Bal masqué’ in Dublin; mainly local birth, marriage and death announcements. Distributed throughout Ireland even to smaller post towns like Ballinrobe and Clonmel (cf. Kennedy 2). Appeared monthly (average over 90 pages): 10s.6d per year. French Literary Interest Although dedicated ‘Aux Dames’, dealt with a range of more serious literature. March 1778: summary of Nicolas Linguet’s latest Annales politiqes, civiles et littéraires du XVIIIe siècle (pp. 232–50). Voltaire referred to regularly: lengthy extracts from Anecdotes de la vie de M. de Voltaire (August 1777, pp. 324 –31, September, pp. 420 –7); youthful ‘Epître à Mlle le Couvreur, Actrice de Paris’ (December 1777, p. 765). Also extract re establishment of the India Company in England from Raynal (September 1777, pp. 393– 402) and references to proceedings of scientific academies (both English and French).



Overall, strong interest in Enlightenment themes and use of ‘philosophic’ vocabulary: cf. Marmontel’s aim in Les Incas (cf. Appendix 2, 128) to make fanaticism increasingly detestable, the Incas being a ‘gentle people’, needing only enlightenment (‘à être éclairés’) to bring them to renounce their errors (September 1777, p. 432). Also varied diet of fiction, mostly short pieces in prevailing genres of moral and oriental tales: eg Baculard d’Arnaud’s Suite des épreuves du sentiment (February 1778, pp. 147–55; March, pp. 217–21). Readers invited to contribute: ‘P.L.’ from Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath provided several ‘Fables sentimentales’ in verse (May 1777, p. 21). Also interesting letter (16 February 1778), ostensibly written from Paris to Praval recounting Voltaire’s return to Paris (10 February) and reception, along with two poems on that event. NLI 12. The Magazine of Magazines. Compiled from Original Pieces, with extracts from the most celebrated books and periodicals published in Europe (January 1751–September 1769) Reprinted from London edition by Andrew Welsh in Limerick. Major undertaking for provincial printer: almost 100 pages monthly (1s.). Sold by C. Sullivan and Phineas Bagnell (who also distributed Exshaw’s in Cork), also by G. Condy (Castle Street, Cork) and R. James (Dame Street, Dublin). Probably also distributed via the post towns throughout the West and South. Followed London edition (which itself creamed articles from other journals) page for page, with ‘Monthly chronologer for Ireland’ containing many announcements from the Munster region.3 French Literary Interest See Chapter 2.


13. Mercure de France (April–July 1775) Published monthly in French by R. Marchbank (Cole’s Alley, Castle Street), 95 pages average. Purportedly by a ‘Société de gens de lettres’; in fact compendium of material from Paris edition of Mercure de France combining elements from different numbers, often several months old. Editor, Mr. de Rilly ‘at Mr. Stroker’s, no. 49 in Mary’s-street’, probably member of Dublin Huguenot community. Only items of specifically Irish interest, two short poems, occur in first issue (pp. 27 and 96), taken from Paris issues of October and November 1774. Three subscription lists appended to last three volumes suggest that editor had aimed at a broad, cultivated francophone reading public (rather than concentrating on pedagogy), but the number remained small (first list 40 names; final list 50). Bulk of subscribers native English speakers, including some great families (Earl of Harcourt, Lord Russborough, Countess of Ross). Publisher may have overestimated demand or failed to advertise and circulate the journal adequately. French Literary Interest Quizzes, anecdotes, light verse by unknown authors, literary news. Evidence of vogue for contes moraux in short stories like ‘L’Amitie à l’épreuve de l’amourpropre’ imitating Marmontel (June, from Paris edition, October 1774, by marquis



de Cogners). Voltaire appears largely in relation to belles lettres: for example ‘Discours […] prononcé à l’ouverture du Théâtre Français en 1732’ (April, pp. 20–3) and ‘Réponse de M. de Voltaire à M. le Comte de Médini’, a translator of La Henriade (May, p. 86). However, clear indications of sympathy for French Protestants in some articles and the attack on sectarianism in ‘Le Consul Villars’ (poem opening first volume) would certainly have a ‘message’ for Irish readers. Some interest in Académie des Sciences, and in education, but overall little attention paid to mainstream Enlightenment literature. Yale University Library (Beinecke Library, Hf3.26) 14. The Town and Country [Weekly] Magazine: or Universal Repository of Knowledge, Instruction and Entertainment (April 1785–January 1786) Printer Brett Smith (34 Bridge Street). Most issues have ‘Weekly’ version of title: unlike its London model, seems to have had this format from inception (average 24 pages). Mixture of items of local interest (including ‘Weekly register of historical affairs’), and much material from the London publication. Announcements show many readers were simple commoners and possibly Catholics (cf. ‘Miss Mary Keogh, of Fade Street’ and ‘Miss Mary French of Loughrea in the Co. of Galway’). The weekly format presumably made each issue accessible at a very modest cost. French Literary Interest Relatively little French material, but 3 September issue (pp. 497–8; copying London edition, July 1785, p. 370) contains ‘Thoughts on free-thinking and free thinkers, in a letter from Mr. Gray to Mr. Shonhewer’ mentioning an unnamed French author – d’Holbach? – whose materialist ideas are much admired by one of their acquaintance, a rare journal reference to a French materialist writer. Review of 7 January 1786 (pp. 7–9) relates ‘the circumstances which attended the death of Rousseau […] convinced it cannot but be acceptable to the admirers of that celebrated man’. NLI; TCD 15. The Weekly Magazine and Literary Review (2 January–17 April 1779) Published weekly by John Norman, Essex Street, ‘opposite the Custom House’; title used in London 20 years earlier. Some original material of Irish interest, many articles copied from British magazines (eg ‘Histories of the Tête-à-tête’, appearing since 1774 in the Hibernian Magazine). Announcements suggest a broad readership. French Literary Interest Much French ‘gossip’ such as extracts from Mémoires of Mme de Maintenon (January, pp. 54–5, 86) and anecdote re Mrs. Macaulay and the Countess ‘du Barré’ (January, p. 22). A letter from ‘miss N’ in Paris details reactions to a performance of Voltaire’s Zaïre (January, pp. 35–7). Also notable interest in Rousseau: extracts from the Letter […] to d’Alembert on theatre (January, pp. 5–7), a garbled translation (ibid., pp. 50 –1) of a passage from Émile (Book 1), and ‘Memoirs’ of



Rousseau’s life incorporating part of the Preamble to the Confessions, three years before their publication (no doubt based on translation in London Monthly Review of February 1779).4 NLI 16. The Weekly Miscellany (January 1734–January 1735) Publisher Edward Exshaw; printer Samuel Powell. Appeared weekly at 1s. per quarter. Curious hybrid between newspaper and magazine, combining literature and politics. Three sections: ‘Discourses, Political and Moral’, ‘Literary news’, ‘Exact summary of the news of the week’; perhaps drew on English sources, but appears unrelated to the London publication of the same name. Aimed more directly at an Irish audience than no. 10. Intended to assist Exshaw’s bookselling operations. Many reviews of French books, some of Latin. French Literary Interst See Chapter 2.

BL (microfilm TCD; NLI)

17. Whitestone’s Town and Country Magazine, or Irish Miscellany (June–July 1784) First of two attempts to coat-tail on success of The Town and Country Magazine or Universal Repository – notable for its essay serials including the ‘Tête-à-tête’ copied in nos. 8 and 15 – published by Archibald Hamilton (later H.D. Symonds) in London 1769–96; London edition sold by J. Williams (Dublin) and T. White (Cork). Printed monthly (56 pages; 6d.) by Henry Whitestone, 29 Capel Street, for only two issues. Mixed substantial amount of local material (reports on Dublin theatre, Irish Parliament, etc.) with items taken from its English namesake and possibly other British sources. Announcements columns suggest wide readership in geographical, social and religious terms. French Literary Interest See Chapter 2.


18. The Young Gentlemen and Ladies Magazine or the Repository of all Entertaining Useful and Polite Knowledge (c.1770) Printed for Samuel Watson in Dame Street, for only one issue. In Preface publisher courts the ‘fair readers’ and all who could profit from a popularization of knowledge, for though he has attended to ‘utility and rational entertainment’, ‘even the learned themselves must acknowledge, that many authors are only to be tasted’. Message is underlined by an engraved frontispiece of a classical figure pointing to books and papers strewn on the floor where the words ‘Berlin’, ‘Paris’, ‘Rome’ can be read. The one issue discovered is an undistinguished miscellany, with ‘Domestic Intelligence’ concerning commercial and social life in Dublin, and some derivative literary material. Only French news is of a military nature (pp. 3, 25). NLI




2. 3. 4.

See introduction to Chapter 2 re the parameters of this study; I have generally furnished just one location for each periodical. However, when the collection was very incomplete, I have provided two complementary locations. My warm thanks to Dr Joy Kleinstuber for her assistance in researching this material, and to Mary Pollard for many helpful details. See M. Pollard, Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Booktrade, 1550–1800, forthcoming. See Robert Herbert, Limerick Printers and Printing (Limerick: 1942). See Voisine, pp. 95–7. Thanks to M. O’Dea for help with identifying this piece.



APPENDIX 2 FRENCH BOOKS CONNECTED WITH THE FRENCH ENLIGHTENMENT PUBLISHED IN IRELAND, 1700–1800 Graham Gargett This list has no claim to be exhaustive. As explained in the Introduction, any selection of books connected with the French Enlightenment may necessarily appear somewhat arbitrary. Nonetheless, despite limited space, as comprehensive a selection as possible has been included. The following points should be noted: 0(1) Original spelling and capitalization have been retained as far as possible. However, capitalization of entire words has not. Professional bibliographers interested in an exact transliteration of titles should refer to the original texts. 0(2) Books in the French language are indicated with an asterisk and bold type. 0(3) Books which have not been seen are indicated by the symbol º immediately before the number on the list. 0(4) All verified locations have been included. Bold type indicates the location whose copy we have inspected. With works that include more than one volume, if the set is incomplete, this is indicated as far as possible. The French titles and date of first French edition have been added for some works (particularly for major authors like Montesquieu and Rousseau as well as Voltaire). 0(5) Locations are abbreviated, as shown (see above, pp. 233–4). 0(6) Books by a particular author are generally presented alphabetically rather than chronologically, but in the case of a specific work by an author, any French version(s) appear(s) first in chronological order followed by any translations of that title (also in chronological order). The alphabetical sequence then resumes. 0(7) The following items represent books refuting the Enlightenment: 22, 23, 26, 37, 52, 53, 59, 84, 85, 92. 0(8) Items 2, 5, 6, 36, 39 and 40 concern French Protestants and are included because of the French Enlightenment’s interest in Protestant emancipation. 0(9) Items 27A and 208A are thus numbered because they were added at a late stage: no other significance should be attached to this. (10) Items 214, 259, 260, 261 were written by Arthur Murphy; items 251, 252, 254, 255, 256 by Charles Macklin. However, I have followed the practice established in AMR of listing them among Voltaire’s works, as they are arguably adapted translations. I am indebted to Joy Kleinstuber and Susanne Reid, without whose invaluable assistance this list could not have been completed. I am also grateful to Professors Haydn Mason and John Renwick, to Professor André-Michel Rousseau, to Fr Ignatius Fenessy, to Dr Máire Kennedy, and to Ms Mary Pollard, for many helpful comments and suggestions. All errors are entirely my own responsibility. 1. ANON A Discourse on the advantages resulting from the Arts and Sciences, pronounced in a public Assembly of the Academy of Sciences and BellesLettres of Lyons, on the 22d [sic] of June 1751. Translated from the





*5. 6. 7.




Appendixes French Original. By Mr. D-. Dublin: printed by George Faulkner in Essex-street. MDCCLII [1752]. NLI; CUL —— An Abstract of Several Letters from Languedoc: giving An Account of the most remarkable Transactions passed between the French King’s Troops and the Protestants of Cevenes. A Copy of the Letter from Languedoc, Dated the 26th of January, 1703, N.S. Dublin, Printed by Andrew Crook on the Blind-Key 1703. NLI —— L’Art de mediter sur la chaise percée, par l’auteur de Gulliver l’ainé [sic]. Avec un projet pour bâtir & entretenir des latrines publiques dans la ville & fauxbourgs de Paris […]. Dublin: de l’imprimerie du Docteur Swift 1743. Clark —— La Compagne de la jeunesse, ou entretiens d’une institutrice avec son elève. Montrez aux Enfans dans leurs devoirs la source de leurs plaisirs et le fondement de leurs droits. Est-il pénible pour étre aimer, de se rendre aimable pour être heureux, de se rendre estimable pour être obéi, de s’honorer pour se faire honorer! J.J. Rousseau. A Dublin: chez H. Colbert, dans 136, Capel-street 1795. BL —— Le Manifeste des Protestans des Cevenes. A Dublin, chez André Crook, sur le Blind-key 1703. NLI; BL —— The Manifesto of the Protestants of Cevenes. Dublin, Printed by Andrew Crook on the Blind-key 1703. NLI —— Letters of an Italian nun to an English gentleman: translated from the French of J.J. Rousseau. Il cor gradisce;/E serve a lui chi’l suo dover compisce. Dublin: printed for C. Jackson, bookseller, No. 26, Anglesea-street. M.DCC.LXXXII [1782]. NLI; BL; NLW —— [identical title] Third edition. Dublin: printed by Graisberry and Campbell, for P. Byrne, C. Brown, C. Lewis, J. Moore, Grueber & M’Allister, and W. Jones 1790. TCD; BL; CUL; California —— Memoirs of the Marchion. of Pompadour; Written by herself. Wherein are displayed the motives of the wars, treaties of peace, embassies, and negotiations, in the several courts of Europe: […] Translated from the French. In two volumes […] Dublin printed for W. and W. Smith, P. Wilson, J. Murphy, E. Watts, W. Sleator [and 5 others in Dublin] [1766?] NLI; CUL; NLC —— Le Trou de Saint Patrice. Je ne sais pas après son trépas/Là où son Esprit s’en alla;/Mais je sais bien qu’on ne va pas/En Paradis par ce Trou là. Grec. A Dublin 1774. TCD; Bodleian



°11. —— The Amorous abbess; or, love in a nunnery. A novel. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed by Augustus Long 1748. Cornell °12. —— The Life of Madam de Maintenon. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed for George Faulkner 1773. Boston 13. —— The Perjur’d Monarch: a satire on the K---g of P---ssia. Translated from the French by J. W---s. This Piece having raised the Curiosity of all Europe, has been handed about by the Ambassadors of all the Courts, and is justly esteemed the Soul of Satire, as it reprehends Vice in the Royal Character, abstracted from the Personage.[…] The Spirit of British Freedom runs thro’ the Whole, tho’ written by a Frenchman. Dublin: printed by Z. Martineau, next Door to the Play house on the lower Blind Quay; where Subscriptions are taken in for printing a Beautiful and Correct Edition of the Harleian Miscellany. M DCC XLIV [1744]. TCD 14.


16. 17.


ARGENS, marquis d’, Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, The Jewish spy: being a philosophical, historical and critical correspondence, by which letters lately pass’d between certain Jews in Turkey, Italy, France, &c. Translated from the originals into French, by the Marquis d’Argens; and now done into English. In four volumes. Dublin: printed for Oli. Nelson, at Milton’s-Head in Skinner-Row; and H. Saunders, at the Corner of Christ-Church-lane. MDCCLIII [1753]. NLI; BL; CUL —— The Memoirs of the Count du Beauval. Including Some Curious Particulars Relating to the Dukes of Wharton and Ormond During their Exile. With anecdotes of several other Illustrious and Unfortunate Noblemen of the present Age. Translated from the French of the celebrated Marquis d’Argens, Author of the Jewish Letters. By Mr. Derrick. Dublin: printed for W. Whitestone and B. Edmond, Booksellers, at Addison’s-Head, Dame-street. M DCC LIV [1754]. DCL; Toronto —— [identical title] Dublin: printed for William Williamson, Bookseller, at Mecaena’s Head in Bride-street. M DCC LVI [1756]. CUL AUNILLON, Pierre-Charles-Fabiot, The Force of education. Illustrated in the memoirs of Mademoiselle de St. Eugene, and the Baron de Cromstad. Translated from the French of Monsieur de V-. Dublin: printed for G. and A. Ewing, at the Angel and Bible in Dame-street. M,DCC,LLII [1752]. BL BACULARD D’ARNAUD, François-Thomas-Marie de, Fanny: or the happy repentence. From the French of M. D’Arnaud. Dublin: printed by and for H. Saunders, in Castle-street. MDCCLXVII [1767]. TCD



19. —— The Abbey of La Trappe; or, memoirs of the Count d’Auvergne, and Adelaide de Benavides. Translated from the French of M. Arnaud. With I. The funeral of Arabert, monk of la Trappe, by Mr. Jerningham. II. Epistle from the abbé de Rance to a friend, by Daniel Hayes, Esq. Dublin: printed by and for John Rice, College Green 1792. TCD; NLI, BL 20. —— The History of Sidney and Volsan. Translated from the French of the celebrated Arnaud. Dublin: printed for James Vallance, Bookseller, in Suffolk-street. M,DCC,LXXII [1772]. BL; NLI 21. —— Warbeck; a pathetic tale. Translated from the original French by the author of the recess. In two volumes. Dublin: printed by S. Colbert, 136, Capel-street, opposite Abbey-street 1786. BL; NLI; Huntingdon 22. BARRUEL, abbé Augustin, Memoirs, illustrating the Antichristian Conspiracy. A translation from the French of the Abbé Barruel. Dublin: printed by William Watson and Son, No., Capel-street. M.DCC.XCVIII [1798]. TCD; BL; CUL, Bodleian 23. —— The History of the Clergy during the French Revolution. A work dedicated to the English Nation: by the Abbé Barruel, Almoner to Her Serene Highness the Princess of Conti. Dublin: printed by H. Fitzpatrick, for P. Wogan, No. 23, on the Old-Bridge; H. Colbert, 136, Capel-Street; and H. Fitzpatrick, 2, Upper-Ormond-Quay 1794. DCL °*24. BEAUMARCHAIS, Pierre-Augustin Caron de, Le Barbier de Séville, ou la précaution inutile, comédie, en quatre actes, par M. de Beaumarchais; représentée […] 1775. Dublin: printed by M. Mills, and sold by J. Mehain, and by all the booksellers 1782. Bodleian 25. —— The Follies of a day: or, the marriage of Figaro. A comedy in five acts. Written originally by Monsieur Beaumarchais, and acted at the King’s Theatre, Paris, with uncommon success; translated and adapted for the English stage, by Mr. Holcroft. And performed with great applause at the Theatres-Royal, Covent-Garden and Smock-Alley. Dublin: printed for W. Wilson, No. 6, Dame-street. M,DCC,LXXXV [1785]. TCD 26. BERGIER, Nicolas S., Deism self-refuted; or an examination of the principles of infidelity scattered throughout the different works of Mons. Rousseau; in form of letters. By Monsieur Bergier, D.D. An Associate of the Academy of Sciences, Belles Lettres, and Arts of Besançon, and a Correspondent of



the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres. Newcastle upon Tyne: published by Francis Coates: sold in London by T. Booker and P. Keating; in Dublin by J. Mehain and H. Fitzpatrick. 2 vols. [1775?]. FLK 27. BERNARDIN DE SAINT PIERRE, Jacques-Henri,






Amasis. From the French of J.H.B. de Saint Pierre. By E.A. Kendall. Dublin: printed by William Folds, for Messrs. Burnet, P. Wogan, W. Porter, J. Moore, W. Jones, G. Folingsby, B. Dornin, N. Kelly, H. Fitzpatrick, and R.E. Mercer 1779. MLD Paul and Mary, an Indian Story. Dublin: printed for Messrs. P. Byrne, Grueber, and M’Alister, J. Jones, J. Moore, and William Jones. M,DCC,LXXIX [1789]. NLI —— Paul and Virginia. Translated from the French of Brenardin [sic] Saint-Pierre; by Helen-Maria Williams, author of letters on the French revolution, Julia, a novel, poems &c. The third edition. Dublin: printed by Graisberry & Campbell, for P. Wogan, P. Byrne, J. Archer, J. Moore, and W. Jones 1796. BL; NLI; Arizona —— Studies of Nature. By M. de St. Pierre [...] From the translation of Henry Hunter, D.D. Minister of the Scots Church, London-Wall. Dublin: printed by William Potts, for Pat. Wogan, Old-bridge, and William Porter, Grafton-street 1800. NLI —— The Indian Cottage. Translated from the French of Monsieur de St. Pierre, author of Etudes de la nature, Paul et Virginia, &c. &c. Dublin: printed for J. Parkes, J. Jones, W. Jones, R. White, J. Rice, R. Mc.Allister 1791. NLI —— The Indian cottage, by James Henry Bernardin de Saint Pierre. Translated by Edward August Kendal. Dublin: printed by William Porter, Grafton-st 1800. NLI

*32. BOUGAINVILLE, comte Louis-Antoine de, A Voyage round the world. Performed by order of His Most Christian Majesty, in the years 1766, 1767, 1768, and 1769. By Lewis de Bougainville, Colonel of Foot, and Commodore of the Expedition in the Frigate La Boudeuse, and the Store-ship L’Etoile. Translated from the French by John Reinhold Forster, F.A.S. Dublin: printed for T. Exshaw, H. Saunders, J. Potts, W. Sleater, D. Chamberlaine, E. Lynch, J. Williams, R. Moncrieffe, T. Walker, and C. Jenkins. M DCC LXII [1772]. NLI; CUL

248 °33.

Appendixes BOUGEANT, Guillaume-Hyacinthe, The Wonderful travels of Prince Fan-Feredin, in the country of Arcadia. Interspersed with observations […] Translated from the original French. Dublin: printed by Zachariah Jackson, for Messrs. W. Gilbert, Grueber and M’Allister, and J. Jones 1789. CUL


BRISSOT DE WARVILLE, Jacques-Pierre, Le Philadelphien à Genève, ou lettres d’un Américain sur la dernière révolution de Genève, sa constitution nouvelle, l’émigration en Irlande, etc., pouvant servir de tableau politique de Genève jusqu’en 1784. Dublin: 1783. BL


BUFFON, Georges-Louis-Leclerc, comte de, Buffon’s Natural History, abridged. Including the history of the elements, the earth, and its component parts, mountains, rivers, seas, winds, whirlwinds, waterspouts, volcanoes, earthquakes; and of man, quadrupeds, birds, fishes, shell-fish, lizards, and serpents; with a general view of the insect world. Illustrated with great variety of copperplates elegantly engraved. 8 vols. Dublin: printed for P. Wogan, P. Byrne, A. Grueber, W. M’Kenzie, J. Moore, J. Jones, J. Halpin, W. Jones, R. White, J. Riche, G. Draper, P. Moore, and A. Porter. M.DCC.XCI [1791]. NLI


CAVALIER, Jean, Memoirs of the Wars of the Cevennes, under Col. Cavallier, in Defence of the Protestants Persecuted in that country. And of the Peace concluded between him and the Mareschal D. of Villars: of his Conference with the King of France, after the Conclusion of the Peace. With Letters relating thereto, from Mareschal Villars, and Chamiliar, Secretary of State: As also, A Map describing the Places mentioned in the Book. Written in French by Colonel Cavallier, and translated into English. Dublin: printed by J. Carson, in Coghill’s Court, for the Author, and are to be sold by William Smith Bookseller in Dame’s-street, 1726. TCD; BL; NLI; UCD; CUL; Bodleian; LVUL; MUL


CHAUDON, Dom Louis-Mayeul, Historical and critical memoirs of the life and writings of M. de Voltaire: interspersed with numerous anecdotes, poetical pieces, epigrams and bon mots [sic], little known, and never before published in English, relative to the Literati of France. Particularly the life of the



celebrated J.B. Rousseau, as written by Voltaire; and the history of the famous libellous couplets. From the French of Dom Chaudon. Dublin: printed for L. White, P. Wogan, P. Byrne, J. Cash, W. M’Kenzie, J. Moore, and J. Jones. M.DCC.LXXXVI [1786]. NLI; UCC 38.

CONDORCET, Antoine-Nicolas de, Outlines of an historical view of the progress of the human mind: being a posthumous work of the late M. de Condorcet. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed by John Chambers, No. 5, Abbey-Street 1796. NLI; Camden




COURT, Antoine An Historical Memorial of the Most Remarkable Proceedings against the Protestants in France, from the year 1744 to 1751. Translated from the French original, printed at Amsterdam. With an appendix. Containing the French King’s Ordonnance of 17th January, 1750. Some Instances of Persecution since the Date of the Memorial. Extracts from the Acts of the National Synod of the Reformed Churches assembled in the Desert in the Lower Languedoc. A Letter from Paul Robaut [sic], a Protestant Minister, written to the Intendant, November 22, 1746, on Occasion of the Invasion of Provence by the Austrians. A letter from a Protestant Gentleman at Q—— in Languedoc, dated April 17, 1752. A letter from Nimes in Languedoc, dated May 10, 1752, containing an account of the Seizure, Imprisonment, and Execution of Mr. Benezet. And a second Letter from Q—— in Languedoc, dated, June 24, 1752. To which is added, a letter from the Curate of L——, to the Lord Bishop of Agen, occasioned by the Letter which that Prelate wrote to the ComptrollerGeneral against the tollerating of the Huguonots [sic] in France. Dublin: printed for R. James, and R. Main, Booksellers in Dame-street 1752. BL; NLI; TCD; Birmingham —— An Historical Memorial of the Most Remarkable Proceedings against the Protestants in France, from the Year 1744 to 1751. Translated from the French Original, printed at Amsterdam. With an appendix. Containing, A letter from Nîmes in Languedoc, dated May 10, 1752, giving an Account of the Seizure, Imprisonment, and Execution of Mr. Benezet, &c. Dublin: printed for William Williamson, Bookseller at Mecaena’s Head in Bride-street. M DCC LVI [1756]. BL CRÉBILLON, Claude-Prosper-Jolyot de, (1707–1777), Letters from the Marshioness de M***, to the Count de R***. Translated from the original French, by Mr. Humphreys. Dublin: printed by James Hoey, junior, on the West-side of Parliament-Street, near Essex-Bridge. M.DCC.LXVI [1766]. NLI; BL

250 42.



Appendixes —— The Happy Orphans: an authentic history of Persons in High Life. With a Variety of uncommon Events and surprizing Turns of Fortune. Translated from the French of Monsieur Crébillon, the Son. Dublin: printed for P. Wilson, J. Exshaw, and H. Saunders. M,DCC,LIX [1759]. BL —— The Wanderings of the heart and mind; or memoirs of Mr. de Meilcour. Translated from the French of Mr. de Crebillon the Son. Dublin: printed for Geo. and Alex Ewing, at the Angel and Bible, in Dame-street. MDCCLI [1751]. NLI; BL; CUL CRÉBILLON, Prosper-Jolyot, sieur de, (1674–1762), Zenobia: a tragedy. As it is performed at the Theatre-Royal in DruryLane. By the author of the Orphan of China. [Arthur Murphy] Dublin: printed for J. Hoey, sen. W. Wilson, J. Exshaw, L. Flin, H. Saunders, W. Sleater, D. Chamberlaine, J. Potts, J. Mitchell, J. Williams, J. Sheppard, and W. Colles. MDDCLXXIII [1773]. TCD




DIDEROT, Denis, The Nun. By Diderot. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed by Brett Smith, No. 38, Mary-Street 1797. TCD; NLI; BL; CUL; Bodleian —— The Man of Family: a sentimental comedy. By the author of the Placid Man: and Letters from Attamont in the Capital to his friends in the country. Dublin: printed for H. Saunders, W. Sleater, D. Chamberlaine, J. Potts, J. Williams, R. Moncrieffe, and T. Walker. MDCCLXXI [1751]. TCD (under Jenner, Charles) —— The Heiress. A comedy in five acts. By Lieut. General John Burgoyne. As performed at the Theatre-Royal Drury-Lane. Dublin: printed for John Exshaw, for the Company of Booksellers. M DCC LXXXVI [1786]. TCD (TCD online cites Diderot and Mrs. Lennox as sources for this play.)

*48. [DROZ, Jean-Pierre, ed.,], Recueil de Pieces de Théatre. Tome I. Contenant Timon le Misanthrope, le Jeu de L’Amour et du Hasard, Melanide, Arlequin Sauvage, et l’Homme du Jour. Dublin: imprimé chez S. Powell, en Crane-lane. MDCCLIX [1749]; Recueil de Pieces de Théatre. Tome II. Contenant L’Isle des Esclaves, La Double Inconstance, et l’Ecole des Amis, Par Mr. Marivaux. La Gouvernante Par Mr. Nivelle de la Chaussée et Semiramis, Tragoedie [sic], Par mr. de Voltaire. Dublin: Imprimé chez S. Powell, en Crane-lane. M DCC L [1750]. TCD; BL; CUL; Bodleian



49. DUCLOS, Charles-Pinot,


Memoirs illustrating the manners of the present age, wherein are contained the remarkable incidents in the life of a young nobleman. By Monsieur Du Clos, Historiographer to the French King, and Member of the Royal Academy at Paris. Translated from the French by a Gentleman. In Two Volumes. Dublin: printed for G. Faulkner 1752. NLI; CUL; Minnesota —— The History of Lewis XI. King of France. In which is comprehended a General View of the Affairs of Europe during the XVth Century; and also a clear Account of the true Causes of those Disputes which have occasioned most of the long and bloody wars that have happened since. […] interspersed throughout with the most lively and impartial characters of the Persons mentioned therein, disclosing the Secret Springs of many important Events, and affording a most admirable Picture of the Condition of a Great Kingdom, when governed by a designing Prince whose policy is no other than a Compleat system of Corruption. By M. Duclos of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres. Faithfully translated from the French original, which was supressed at Paris. In Two Volumes. Dublin: printed by George Faulkner, in Essex-Street. M,DCC,XLVI [1746]. TCD (vol. 2); CUL; McMaster

51. DUHAMEL DU MONCEAU, Henri-Louis, The Elements of Agriculture. By M. Duhamel du Monceau. Of the Royal Academy of Sciences in France, and Fellow of the Royal Society in London, &c. &c. &c. Translated from the original French, and Revised by Philip Miller, F.R.S. Gardener to the Worshipful Company of Apothecaries at Chelsea, and Member of the Botanick Academy at Florence. In two volumes. Vol.I. Illustrated with fourteen copperplates. Dublin: printed by G. Faulkner, in Parliament-street. M DCC LXVII [1767]. CUL *

52. DUPLAIN, Claude, La Religion Vengée, des Blasphèmes de Voltaire, en six cantos. Ou les horreurs de son Epitre à Uranie, pour la méditation des Déistes, et les jeunes Chretiens qui n’ont pas encore sécoué le joug de la foi, pour les mettre en garde contre un Auteur dont les ouvrages tendent à les surprendre et à les perdre. Par Claude Duplain. Ainsi chantoit jadis la trompeuse Siréne/Remplissant de ses aires la mer Sicilienne,/Qui sur ses bords scabreux enchantant les marins/Leur faisoit tout risquer, et tenter les destins,/Quand poursuivant les sons d’une voix si flatteuse/Trouvoient dans le naufrage une fin Malheureuse./ Aussi chante Voltaire en vers harmonieux,/Le chant de la Sirène étoit moins


Appendixes dangereux. Imprimé à Dublin: par J.A. Husband, No. 28, AbbeyStreet. M,DCC,LXXXIII [1783]. NLI; DCL; BL; Bodleian


FELLER, François-Xavier de, The Philosophical Catechism, or, a collection of observations fit to defend the Christian religion against enemies. Written in French by F.X. de Feller, author of the Biographical Dictionary, the Luxemburgh Journal, and several other learned works. Translated by the Rev. J.P. Mulcaile, from the third edition, revised and considerably augmented by the author. 3 vols. Dublin: printed by H. Fitzpatrick, No. 4, CapelStreet. And sold by Keating and Co., London 1800. NLI; UCD; BL; E; Bodleian; Maynooth; Heythrop

FONTENELLE, Bernard le Bovier, Sieur de, Dialogues des morts (1683) 54. Fontenelle’s Dialogues of the dead, in three parts. I. Dialogues of the antients. II. The antients with the moderns. III. The moderns. Translated from the French by the late John Hughes, Esq; with a reply to some remarks in a critique, call’d The judgment of Pluto, &c. And two original dialogues. The third edition. Dublin: printed by R. Reilly, on CorkHill, for George Risk, at the Angel and Bible: And William Smith, at the Hercules, Booksellers in Dame’s-street. MDCCXXXV [1735]. NLI; BL; CUL; Magee Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes (1686) 55. Conversations with a lady, on the plurality of worlds. Written in French, by Mons. Fontenelle, author of, the dialogues of the dead. Translated by Mr. Glanvill. The fifth edition. With the addition of a sixth conversation. To which is also added, a discourse concerning the antients and moderns. Written by the same Author: And translated by Mr. Hughes. Dublin: printed by William Forrest, in Hoey’s Alley, for G. Risk, G. Ewing, and W. Smith, book-sellers in Dame’s Street. MCDDXXVIII [1728]. NLI; BL; CUL 56. Conversations on the plurality of worlds by M. de Fontenelle. Translated from the last edition of the French. Illustrated with notes, collected from the most approved writers; and containing all the late discoveries in astronomy. Together with copper-plates. The worlds were framed by the Word of God. Heb.XI.3. Dublin: printed for Peter Wilson, in Dame-street. M,DCC,LXI [1761]. NLI; BL 57.

FREDERICK II, King of Prussia, Royal Dissertations. 1 On Manners, Customs, Industry and the Progress of the Human Understanding in the Arts and Sciences. II On



Superstition and Religion. III On the ancient and modern Government of Brandenburg. IV On the Reasons for the Enacting and Repealing of Laws. With the character of the celebrated M. de Voltaire. By the Present King of Prussia. (Translated from the Berlin Copy.) To which is Added his Description and Character. Dublin: printed for Wm. Williamson, Bookseller at Mecaena’s-Head, in Bride-street. M CDD LVIII [1758]. NLI 58. —— The History of my own times […] Translated from the French by Thomas Holcroft. Dublin Luke White: 1791. TCD 59. GAHAN, Rev. William, [Augustinian], Youth instructed in the grounds of the Christian religion. With remarks on the writings of Voltaire, Rousseau, T. Paine, &c. Intended as an antidote against the contagious doctrines of Atheists, Materialists, Fatalists, Deists, Modern Arians, Socinians, &c. by the Rev. William Gahan. Dublin: printed by T. M’Donnel, No. 50, Essex-Street 1798. NLI 60. GAUTIER, Joseph, An Answer to the discourse which carried the praemium at the Academy of Dijon; on the question, whether the re-establishment of arts and sciences hath contributed to the refinement of manners? By Monsieur Guatier [sic], professor of Mathematicks and of History, and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Belles-Lettres, at Nancy. To which are added, Observations on the above answer to that discourse. By John-James Rousseau, Citizen of Geneva, author of the Discourse. Translated from the French originals. Dublin: printed by Richard James, at Newton’s Head, in Dame-street [1752?]. NLI; BL; CUL 61. GENLIS, Stéphanie-Félicité, comtesse de, A New Method of instruction for children from five to ten years old, including moral dialogues, the children’s island, a tale, thoughts and maxims, models of composition in writing, for children ten or twelve years old, and a new method of teaching children to draw. Translated from the French of Madame de Genlis. Dublin: printed by William Porter, for P. Wogan, W. Porter, and T. Jackson 1800. CUL; BL °62. —— A New Method of instruction for children from five to ten years old, [...] Translated from the French of Madame de Genlis. Dublin: printed for J. Rice, B. Dornin, and J. Stockdale 1800. Pennsylvania *63. —— Adele et Théodore, ou lettres sur l’éducation, contenant tous les principes relatifs aux trois différens plans d’éducation des Princes,


*64. *°65.


*67. *68. *69.




Appendixes des jeunes Personnes, & des Hommes. 3 vols. A Dublin: de l’imprimerie de Luc White, Dame-Street. M,DCC,LXXXIII [1783]. NLI —— [identical title] A Dublin: de l’imprimerie de Luc White, DameStreet. 3 vols. M,DCC,LXXXV [1785]. BL; Bodleian —— Adelaide and Theodore; or letters on education: containing all the principles relative to three different plans of education […] Translated from the French of Madame la Comtesse de Genlis […] 3 vols. Dublin: printed for Luke White 1783. CUL; Pattee —— Adelaide and Theodore; or, letters on education: containing all the Principles relative to three different Plans of Education; to that of Princes, and to those of young Persons of both Sexes. Translated from the French of Madame la Comtesse de Genlis. The Second Edition, carefully corrected and amended. 4 vols. Dublin: printed for Luke White, No. 86, Dame-Street. M.DCC.LXXXV [1785]. NLI; UCD; BL; CUL —— [identical title] The third edition, carefully corrected and amended. 3 vols. Dublin: printed for W. Jones, No. 86, Dame-street 1794. NLI; UCD —— [identical title] The third edition, carefully corrected and amended. 3 vols. Dublin: printed by Pat. Wogan, No. 23, Old-Bridge 1796. MLD —— Les Chevaliers du cygne, ou la cour de Charlemagne. Conte historique et moral pour servir de suite aux Veillées du château, et dont tous les traits qui peuvent faire allusion à la Révolution Française, sont tirés de l’Histoire, Par Mde de Genlis, auteur du Théâtre d’éducation, d’Adèle et Théodore, des Veillées du château, etc. etc. 2 vols. A Dublin: chez Graisberry et Campbell, 10, Back-lane 1796. TCD; NLI; BL; LVUL —— The Knights of the Swan; or, the court of Charlemagne: an historical and moral tale. To serve as a continuation to the tales of the castle; and of which all the incidents that bear analogy to the French Revolution are taken from History. Translated from the French of Madame de Genlis, author of the Theatre of education, Adelaide and Theodore, &c. By the Rev. Mr. Beresford. 2 vols. Dublin: printed for P. Wogan, P. Byrne, H. Colbert, J. Milliken, J. Chambers, B. Dugdale, W. Porter, H. Fitzpatrick, J. Rice, G. Folingsby, and N. Kelly 1797. TCD; NLI —— Les Veillées du château, ou cours de morale par l’auteur d’Adele et Théodore. 4 vols. A Dublin: chez Luc White, Dame-Street. M,DCC,LXXXIV [1784]. UCD; NLI; CUL —— Les Veillées du château, ou cours de morale à l’usage des enfans, par l’auteur d’Adele et Theodore […] 3 vols. A Dublin: chez Wogan, 23 Old-Bridge, et Jones, 86 Dame-street. M,DCC,XCV [1795]. BL

Appendixes *73.

*74. *75.







—— Tales of the castle: or, stories of instruction and delight. Being Les Veillées du chateau, written in French by Madame la Comtesse de Genlis, author of the Theatre of education, Adela and Theodore, &c. Translated into English by Thomas Holcroft. […] 4 vols. Dublin: printed for Messrs. Price, Moncrieffe, Jenkin, Walker, Burton, Exshaw, White, Byrne, Parker, H. Whitestone, and Cash. M DCC LXXXV [1785]. CUL; BL; Bodleian —— [identical title] 4 vols. Dublin: printed for Messrs. Moncrieffe, Walker, White, Byrne, and Parker. M DCC LXXXIX [1789]. NLI; Birmingham —— Lessons of a governess to her pupils. Or, journal of the method adopted by Madame de Sillery-Brulart, (formerly Countess de Genlis) in the Education of the Children of M. d’Orleans, First Prince of the blood-royal. Published by herself. Translated from the French. 2 vols. Dublin: printed for Messrs. P. Wogan, P. Byrne, A. Grueber, W. Mc.Kenzie, J. Moore, J. Jones, W. Jones, R. McAllister, H. Colbert, and J. Rice. M.DCC.XCIII [1793]. NLI; Columbia —— The Child of nature. A dramatic piece, in four acts. From the French of Madame the Marchioness of Sillery, formerly Countess of Genlis. Performing at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. By Mrs. Inchbald. Dublin: printed by Messrs. Byrne, Colles, Jones, Chamberlaine, Halpen, Wilkinson, Perrin, Gilbert, Parker, Archer, Marchbank, Brown, Wogan, M’Donnell, and Lewis. M,DCC,LXXXIX [1789]. TCD; NLI —— The Young exiles, or, correspondence of some juvenile emigrants: a work intended for the entertainment and instruction of youth. From the French of Madame de Genlis. In two volumes […] Dublin: printed for V. Dowling and J. Stockdale 1799. Minnesota —— Rash vows: or, the effects of enthusiasm. A novel. Translated from the French of Madame de Genlis, author of The Theatre of Education, Adelaide and Theodore, &c. &c. In two volumes. Eh! le vœu le plus libre et le plus volontaire,/Au Dieu qui prévoit tout, peut sembler téméraire! La Harpe. La modération est le trésor du sage. Voltaire. […] Dublin: printed by J. Stockdale, for J. Rice, No. 111, GraftonStreet, opposite the College 1799. Harvard —— Sacred dramas, written in French, by Madame La Comtesse de Genlis. Translated into English, by Thomas Holcroft. Dublin: printed by J. Walker, for Messrs. Wilson, White, Wogan, Cash, M’Kenzie, and Moore. M.DCC.LXXXVI [1786]. NLI; BL —— Théatre a l’usage des jeunes personnes, par Madame la Comtesse de Genlis. Leçon commence, Exemple acheve. La Motte, Fable de l’Aigle et de l’Aiglon. 4 vols. A Dublin: de l’imprimerie de Luc White, Libraire, dans Crampton Court, près Dame-street. M,DCC,LXXXI [1781]. TCD; NLI (vol. 2); UCD; BL; CUL




—— [identical title] 4 vols. A Dublin: de l’imprimerie de Luc White, Libraire, dans Crampton Court, près Dame-street. M,DCC,LXXXIV [1784]. Bodleian; NLI (vol. 1) *82. —— Théatre de société, par l’Auteur du Théatre à l’usage des jeunes Personnes. Tome premier. Contenant La mère rivale, l’Amant anonyme, Les Fausses delicatesses, la Tendresse maternelle, la Cloison. 2 vols. A Dublin: de l’Imprimerie de G. Wilson, R. Moncrieffe, P. Byrne, and R. Burton. M,DCC,LXXXIII [1783]. TCD; UCD *83. —— Theatre of education. Translated from the French of the Countess de Genlis. Leçon commence, Exemple acheve. La Motte, Fable de l’Aigle et de l’Aiglon. In four volumes. Dublin: printed by D. Graisberry, for Messrs. Whitestone, Walker, Moncrieffe, Beatty, Byrne, Burton, and Cash. M,DCC,LXXXIII [1783]. BL *84. —— Religion considered as the only basis of happiness and of true philosophy. A work written for the Instruction of the Children of his Most Serene Highness the Duke of Orleans; and in which the principles of modern pretended Philosophers are laid open and refuted. By Madame the Marchioness of Sillery, heretofore the Countess of Genlis. In two volumes. Dublin: printed by William Porter, for H. Chamberlaine, White, Byrne, Colbert, W. Porter, and Moore. M.DCC.LXXXVII [1787]. TCD *85.

GÉRARD, Philippe-Louis, Count de Vlamont [sic]; or the deviations of the human mind. In a series of letters. Translated from the French, by the Rev. Francis O’Mooney. Dublin: printed for the Translator, by H. Chamberlaine, No. 5, College Green. M,DCC,LXXXIII [1783]. RIA


GIRARD, Joseph de, The Friend of nature, translated from the French of Mons. de Girard, by A. Gerna […]. Dublin: printed by Robert Marchbank; for the translator; and sold by W. Gilbert, T. Stewart, P. Byrne, W. Sleater, J. Jones, J. Moore, J. Rice, J. Archer, and W. Jones 1795. BL


—— GERNA, Antoine, Catalogue des Livres Francois, Italien, &c. de Antoine Gerna, Libraire. A Dublin. Actuellement No. 31, College-Green, à côté de la grande Poste aux lettres. C’est chez le même Gerna qu’on s’abbone



[sic] pour lire les Papiers de nouvelles, les Gazettes, les Journaux Anglois & Francois, &c.&c. 1793. NLI; BL *88. GOLDSMITH, Oliver, Le Curé de Wakefield. Traduit de l’anglois, par M. J.B. Biset, ancien professeur de rhetorique en France, maitre de langue francoise a Londres […]. Dublin: chez G. Gilbert, No. 26, dans South Great George’s-Street 1797. TCD; NLI; CUL; Leeds *89.

GOUDAR, Ange, The Chinese spy; or, emissary from the court of Pekin. Commissioned to examine into the present state of Europe. Translated from the Chinese. In Six Volumes. Dublin: printed for P. Wilson, J. Exshaw, S. Cotter, E. Watts, J. Potts, and J. Williams. M DCC LXVI [1766]. TCD


GRAFFIGNY, Françoise d’Issembourg d’Happoncourt, Mme de, Letters written by a Peruvian Princess. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed by S. Powell, for Thomas Moore at Erasmus’s-Head in Dame-street, Bookseller. M DCC XL VIII [1748]. DCL; CUL; Ellis


GUILLARD DE BEAURIEU, Gaspard, The Man of nature. Translated from the French by James Burne. Volume I. Solitude […] 2 vols. Dublin: printed for J. Potts, J. Williams, J. Husband, T. Walker, R. Moncrieffe, and C. Jenkin. M.DCC.LXXIII [1773]. NLI


GUÉNÉE, abbé Antoine, Letters of Certain Jews to Monsieur de Voltaire, Containing an apology for their people, and for the Old Testament; with critical reflections and a short commentary extracted from a greater. In two volumes. Translated by the Rev. Philip Lefanu, D.D. […] Dublin: printed by William Watson 1777. BL


IVERNOIS, Sir Francis d’, An Historical and political view of the constitution and revolutions of Geneva, in the eighteenth century. Written originally in French, by Francois d’Ivernois, Esq LL.D. (late citizen of Geneva) and translated


Appendixes by John Farrell, A.M. Dublin: printed by W. Wilson, No. 6 DameStreet. M,DCC,LXXXIX [1784]. TCD; NLI; BL; CUL; MUL

*94. JARNAC, Charles-Rosalie de Rohan-Chabot, comte de, Lettre du Comte de Jarnac, à Monsieur de Condorcet, l’un des quarante de l’académie française, secrétaire perpétuel de l’académie royale des sciences, des académies de Turin, de Bologne, de Philadelphie, de Petersbourg, et de Padoue. Dublin: printed by P. Byrne, Grafton-Street. M,DCC,XCI [1791]. NLI; BL 0*95. LA BEAUMELLE, Laurent Angliviel de, Memoirs for the history of Madame de Maintenon and of the last age. Translated from the French, by the author of the female Quixote. In three volumes […] Dublin: printed for A. and H. Bradley, P. Wilson, J. Exshaw, and S. Cotter, Booksellers. M,DCC,LVIII [1758]. NLI; BL; CUL; Bodleian 0*96.

LA BLETTERIE, Jean-Philippe-René de, The Life of Julian the Apostate. Translated from the French of F. La Bleterie. And improved with dissertations on several points relating to Julian’s character, and to the history of the fourth century. By V. Desvœux, Chaplain to the Regiment of the King’s Carabiniers. 2 vols. Dublin: printed by S. Powell, for Peter Wilson, at Gay’s Head, opposite to the Spring-Garden in Dame-street. M DCC XLVI [1746]. TCD; BL

0*97. LA CHAUSSÉE, Pierre-Claude Nivelle de,



La Gouvernante, comédie nouvelle en cinq actes, en vers. Par M. Nivelle de la Chaussée […] Dublin: imprimé chez S. Powell, en Crane-lane. MDCCL [1750]. BL; NLI; Bodleian —— L’École des amis, comédie en vers, et en cinq actes. Par Marivaux. (false atribution) Dublin: imprimé chez S. Powell, en Crane-lane. MDCCXLIX [1749]. NLI; BL; Bodleian —— Mélanide, comédie nouvelle de Monsieur de la Chausée de l’Academie Française. En cinq actes, en vers. Dublin: imprimé chez S. Powell, en Crane-lane. M DCC XLIX [1749]. BL

Appendixes *100.


LA METTRIE, Julien Offroy de, Man a machine. Translated from the French of the Marquiss d’Argens. Dublin: printed for W. Brien, Bookseller, in Dame-street. MDCCXLIX [1749]. DCL; BL; E

*101. LACLOS, Pierre Choderlos de, Les Liaisons dangereuses ou les lettres recueillies dans une société, & publiées pour l’instruction de quelques autres. Par M. C.… de L… J’ai vu les mœurs de mon temps, j’ai publié ces lettres. J.J. Rousseau, Préf. de la Nouvelle Héloïse. 2 vols. A Dublin: de l’imprimerie de Luc White, Dame-Street. M,DCC,LXXXIV [1784]. TCD; Bodleian 102.



LAMBERT, Anne-Thérèse de Marguenat de Courcelles, marquise de, A New-Year’s-Gift, being advice from a mother to her son and daughter. Written originally in the French by the Marchioness De Lambert, and just publish’d with great Approbation at Paris. Done into English by a Gentleman. Dublin: printed by S. Powell, for George Risk, at the Shakespear’s Head, George Ewing, at the Angel and Bible, And William Smith, at the Hercules, Booksellers in Dame’s-street. M DCC XXXI [1731]. TCD —— Essays on friendship and old-age, by the Marchioness de Lambert. Translated from the French, by a lady, with an introductory letter to William Melmoth, Esq. Dublin: printed for S. Price, W. and H. Whitestone, Sleater, Walker, Jenkin, W. Wilson, R. Cross, White, Parker, and P. Byrn [sic]. M,DCC,LXXX [1780]. BL —— The Works of the Marchioness de Lambert. Containing Advice to a son and a daughter. Treatises on friendship and old age. Reflections on the fair sex, taste and riches. With a number of genuine letters […] and several other pieces never before printed. […] Carefully translated from the French. Dublin: printed by R. Wilson 1752. CUL

*105. LATOCNAYE, Jacques de Bougrenet de, Promenade d’un Français dans la Grande Bretagne […] Par de Latocnaye. 3 vols. Dublin: imprimé aux frais de l’auteur, par M. et D. Graisberry 1797. NLI; BL; RIA; CUL; Bodleian; E; MRU *105A —— Promenade d’un Français dans l’Irlande. Ornés de Gravures en Taille Douce. Troisième Volume, d’un Ouvrage dont le Premier contient, les Causes de la Révolution de France, et les efforts de la


Appendixes — Noblesse, pour en arrêter les progrès et le Second [sic] Promenade dans la Grande Bretagne. par De Latocnaye. à Dublin: imprimé aux frais de L’Auteur, par M. et D. Graisberry. 1797. NLI; BL; RIA; CUL; Bodleian; E; MRU (This appears to be vol. 3 of 105: vol.1 of 105 seems not to have been printed.)

106. —— Rambles through Ireland; by a French emigrant. In two volumes. Translated from the French of Monsieur de Latocnaye, by an Irishman. 2 vols. Cork: printed by M. Harris, No. 6, Castle-Street 1798. NLI; TCD; RAI; BL *107.

LAVALLÉE, Joseph, marquis de Boisrobert, The Negro equalled by few Europeans. Translated from the French […] Dublin: printed for P. Byrne, A. Grueber, W. Jones, and R. White 1791. TCD; NLI; BL; Bodleian


LE BLANC, Jean-Bernard, Letters on the English and French Nations. Containing curious and useful observations on their Constitutions natural and political; nervous and humorous. Descriptions of the Virtues, Vices, Ridicules and Fables of the Inhabitants: critical remarks on their Writers; Together with Moral Reflections interspersed throughout the Work. In Two Volumes. By Monsieur l’Abbé le Blanc […] Translated from the Original French. Dublin: printed by Richard James, for William Smith in Dames-Street, and George Faulkner in Essex-Street. M,DCC,XLVII [1747]. BL


LE COURAYER, Pierre-François, A Defence of the validity of the English Ordinations, and of the Succession of the Bishops in the Church of England: together with proofs justifying the Facts advanced in this treatise. Written in French by the Reverend Father, Peter Francis Le Courayer, Canon Regular and Librarian of St. Geniéve [sic] at Paris. Translated into English by Dan Williams, Presbyter of the Church of England. To which is prefixed, a letter from the Author to the Translator. Dublin: printed by and for J. Hyde, R. Gunne, R. Owen, and E. Dobson 1725. BL; NLI; TCD; CUL; Canterbury; Pusey


LENGLET DUFRESNOY, Nicolas, Du Fresnoy’s Geography for youth; or, a short and easy method of teaching and learning geography: designed principally for the use of




schools […] Dublin: printed by A. Stewart, 86, Bride-Street, for the editor 1800. Barker ——Geography for children; or, a short and easy method of teaching and learning geography: designed principally for the use of schools […] Dublin: printed by H. Chamberlaine, No. 5, College-green [1785?]. NLI; BL

*112. LÉVESQUE DE POUILLY, Louis-Jean, Theorie des sentimens agreables: où Après avoir indiqué les régles que la Nature suit dans la distribution du plaisir, on établit les principes de la Theologie naturelle, & ceux de la Philosophie morale. Dublin: imprimé chez S. Powell, en Crane-lane MDCCXLIX [1749]. TCD 113.

LINGUET, Simon-Nicolas-Henri, Memoirs of the Bastille. Containing a full exposition of the Mysterious policy and despotic oppression of the French government, in the interior administration of that State-prison. Interspersed with a variety of curious anecdotes […] Translated from the French of The Celebrated Mr. Linguet, who was imprisoned there from September 1780, to May 1782. Dublin: printed by J.A. Husband, for Messrs. H. and W. Whitestone, Wilson, Moncrieffe, Walker, Burnet, White, Exshaw, Byrne, Burton, Cash, Sleater, Junior, and Parker. M,DCC,LXXXIII [1783]. TCD; NLI; UCD; Bodleian; Wayne


MABLY, Gabriel Bonnot, abbé de, Remarks concerning the Government and Laws of the United States of America: in four letters, addressed to Mr. Adams […] from the French of the abbé de Mably: with notes, by the translator. Dublin: printed for Messrs. Moncrieffe, Jenkin, Walker, Burton, White, Byrne, Cash, and Heery 1785. TCD; BL; CUL


[MADDEN, Rev. John, Dean of Kilmore], A Reply to the discourse which carried the praemium at the Academy of Dijon in 1750. On this question, proposed by the said Academy, hath the re-establishment of Arts and Sciences contributed to purge or corrupt our manners? In a letter to the author. Dublin: printed for Peter Wilson, in Dame-street. MDCCLI [1751]. NLI

262 116.

Appendixes MAINTENON, Françoise d’Aubigné, marquise de, The Letters of Madam de Maintenon; and other eminent persons in the age of Lewis XIV. To which are added, some characters. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed by George Faulkner in Essex-Street. M DCC LIII [1753]. DCL; NLI; BL; CUL


MAIROBERT, Mathieu-François Pidanzat de, Letters to and from the Countess du Barry […] Containing her correspondence with the princes of the blood, ministers of state, and others: including the history of that favourite, and several curious anecdotes of the Court of Versailles […] With explanatory notes. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed by P. Higly, for the Company of Booksellers 1780. NLI; BL; CUL; Bodleian

*118. MARIVAUX, Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de,

*119. *120.

*121. *122.



La Double inconstance. En trois actes. Par Marivaux. Dublin: imprimé chez S. Powell, en Crane-lane. MDCCXLIX [1749]. NLI; BL; Bodleian —— L’École des mères, comédie. Par Mr. de Marivaux. Dublin: imprimé chez S. Powell, en Crane-lane. MDCCL [1750]. BL —— Le Jeu de l’amour et du hazard comédie en Trois actes. Par Marivaux. Dublin: imprimé chez S. Powell, en Crane-lane. M DCC XLIX [1749]. BL —— L’Isle des esclaves, en un acte. Par Marivaux. Dublin: imprimé chez S. Powell 1749. BL —— Le Paysan parvenu: or, the fortunate peasant. Being memoirs of the life of Mr.—— Translated from the French of M. de Marivaux. Dublin: printed by S. Powell, for William Heatly, at the Bible and Dove, in College-Green. M DCC XXIX [1739]. NLI —— Pharsamond: or, the new Knight-errant. In which is introduced the Story of the Fair Anchoret, with that of Tarmiana and her unfortunate Daughter. Written originally in French, by Monsieur de Marivaux, member of the French Academy in Paris: Author of the Life of Marianne, &c. Translated by Mr. Lockman. 2 vols. Dublin: printed by George Faulkener, in Essex-Street. MDCCL [1750]. TCD; NLI; BL —— The Life of Marianne: or, the adventures of the Countess of ***. By M. De Marivaux. Translated from the original French. 3 vols. Dublin: printed by and for George Faulkener, W. Heatly, and O. Nelson 1742–3. Bodleian; Andrews



*125. MARMONTEL, Jean-François,


°127. °128. °129.

°130. °131. °132.





Aristomène, tragédie. Par M. Marmontel. Représentée pour la première fois par les comédiens ordinaires du roy le 30 avril, 1749 […] A Dublin: imprimé chez S. Powell, pour R. Main, Libraire en Damestreet, vis à vis Fowne’s-street. MDCCL [1750]. NLI —— Belasirius. [sic] By M. Marmontel, Member of the French Academy […] The second edition. Dublin: printed for P. Wilson, J. Exshaw, H. Saunders, J. Murphy, W. Sleater, D. Chamberlaine, J. Potts, J. Hoey jun. and J. Williams. MDCCLXVII [1767]. Yale —— [identical title] Cork: printed for the Proprietor. M,DCC,LXVII [1767]. NLI —— Les Incas: or, The destruction of the empire of Peru. By M. Marmontel. Dublin: printed by A. Stewart, for P. Wogan […] 1777. Yale —— The Moral tales of M. Marmontel. Translated from the French by C. Denis and R. Lloyd. 2 vols. Dublin: printed for A. Leathley, P. Wilson, J. Exshaw, S. Price, H. Saunders, and J. Potts 1764. NLI; Columbia —— [identical title] 2 vols. Dublin: printed for A. Leathley, P. Wilson, J. Exshaw, S. Price, H. Saunders, and J. Potts 1767. NLI (vol. 1 only); UCD; Huntingdon —— The Moral tales of M. Marmontel. Translated from the French. Vol. III. Dublin: printed by James Potts 1767. 192p. Huntingdon —— The Moral tales of M. Marmontel. Translated from the French. Vol. I. Dublin: printed by James Potts, Swift’s Head in Dame-street. MDCCLXXV [1785]. NLI (vol. I only) —— Tales, translated from the French of M. Marmontel. Consisting of Tales of an evening, and the honest Breton. Dublin printed for Messrs. P. Wogan, P. Byrne, A. Grueber, J. Moore, J. Jones, W. Jones, R. McAllister, and J. Rice 1792. Pennsylvania —— Tales, translated from the French of M. Marmontel. Consisting of The village breakfasts [and others] Vol. II. Dublin: printed for Messrs. P. Wogan [and others] 1792. MLD —— Marmontel’s tales, selected and abridged for the instruction and amusement of youth, by Mrs. Pilkington. Dublin: printed by N. Kelly, for T. Jackson, 23 Parliament-street and 3 New Sackville-street 1800. MLD [MARTIN, Josiah], A Letter from One of the People called Quakers to Francis de Voltaire, occasioned by His Remarks on that People, in his Letters


Appendixes concerning the English Nation. London: Printed, and Dublin: Re-printed by and for Isaac Jackson, at the Globe and Bible in Meathstreet. M DCC XLIX [1749]. BL; Beinecke


MELON, Jean-François,

A Political essay upon commerce. Written in French by Monsieur M***. Translated, with some annotations, and remarks. By David Bindon, Esq; Dublin: printed for Philip Crampton, Bookseller, at Addison’s Head, over against the Horse-Guard, in Dame’s-street. M DCC XXXVIII [1738]. NLI; BL; Leeds BL 138. —— [same title] Printed at Dublin: and sold by T. Woodward; and T. Cox; in London 1739. CUL; E 139.

MERCIER, Louis-Sébastien,

Memoirs of the year two thousand five hundred. Le tems present est gros de l’Avenir. Leibnitz. Translated from the French by W. Hooper, M.D. In two volumes. Dublin: printed for W. Wilson in Dame-Street. M DCC LXXII [1772]. NLI; Minnesota 140. —— New picture of Paris. By M. Mercier. Translated from the French. In two volumes. Dublin: printed by N. Kelly, 6 South Gt. George’s-street 1800. TCD; NLI; BL; CUL 141. —— Paris in miniature: taken from the French Picture at full Length, entitled Tableau de Paris. Insterspersed with remarks and anecdotes. Together with a Preface and a Postface. By the English Limner. […] Dublin: printed by J. and W. Porter; for T. Walker, C. Jenkin, J. Beatty, L. White, R. Burton, P. Byrne, and C. Lewis. M, DCC, LXXXII [1782]. BL; CUL 142.

MONTESQUIEU, Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de la Brède et de, The Complete works of M. de Montesquieu. Translated from the French. In four volumes. Dublin: printed for W. Watson, W. Whitestone, J. Williams, W. Colles, W. Wilson, T. Walker, C. Jenkin, L.L. Flin, E. Lynch, R. Moncrieffe, L. White, E. Cross, M. Mills, P. Wogan, T. Armitage, J. Beatty, and J. Exshaw 1777. TCD; NLI; UCD; BL; CUL; ULL; LVu

Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence (1734) 143.

—— Reflections on the causes of the grandeur and declension of the Romans. By the author of the Persian letters. Translated from the



French. Dublin: printed by R. Reilly on Cork-Hill, for George Risk, at the Shakespear’s Head, George Ewing, at the Angel and Bible: And William Smith at the Hercules, Booksellers in Dame Street, MDCCXXIV [1734]. TCD; NLI; Bodleian; Claremont De l’Esprit des lois (1748) *144.

—— The Spirit of laws. Translated from the French of M. de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. With corrections and additions communicated by the author. In two volumes. Dublin: printed for G. and A. Ewing, in Dame-Street, and G. Faulkner in Essex-street. MDCCLI [1751]. TCD; NLI; FLK; CUL; NLW; Harvard Law *145. —— The Spirit of laws. Translated from the French of M. de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. By Thomas Nugent, LL.D. Vol. I. […] The fifth edition, carefully revised and improved, with considerable additions by the Author. 2 vols. Dublin printed for G. Faulkner in Parliamentstreet, and T. Ewing, in Dame-street. M DCC LXVII [1767]. NLI; CUL; Miami *146. —— The Spirit of laws. Translated from the French of M. de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. By Thomas Nugent […] 2 vols. Dublin: printed for William Jones 1792. NLI; FLK; Swem *147. —— The Spirit of laws. Translated from the French of M. de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. By Thomas Nugent, LL.D. Vol. I. […] The sixth edition. Carefully revised and improved with considerable Additions by the Author. 2 vols. Dublin: printed for W. McKenzie, and J. Moore 1792. NLI; BL; Bodleian; Harvard Law Le Temple de Gnide (1725) *148.

—— The Temple of Gnidus/Le Temple de Gnide. Dublin: printed by S. Powell, in Crane-Lane. MDCCL [1750]. (This is a parallel text). DCL; TCD

Lettres persanes (1721) *149.

—— Persian letters. By M. de Montesquieu. Translated from the French, by Mr. Flloyd. In two volumes. The fifth edition. With several new letters and notes. Dublin: printed for J. Potts, and W. Colles, Booksellers, in Dame-Street. MDCCLXVII [1767]. TCD; CUL


MOUFFLE D’ANGERVILLE, Barthélemy-François-Joseph, The Private life of Lewis XV, in which are contained the principal events, remarkable occurences, and anecdotes of his reign. Tr. from the French by O. Justamond, F.R.S. 4 vols. Dublin: Parker 1781. QUB

266 151.

Appendixes NECKER, Jacques, Of the importance of religious opinions. Translated from the French of Mr. Necker. Dublin: printed by M. Mills, No. 36, Dorset-Street, for Messrs. White, Byrne, Wogan, and Jones. M DCC LXXXIX [1789]. TCD


PAINE, Thomas, A Letter addressed to the Abbé Raynal, on the affairs of North America. In which the mistakes in the abbé’s account of the Revolution of America are corrected and cleared up. By Thomas Paine, M.A. of the University of Pennsylvania and author of a tract entitled “Common Sense”. Philadelphia printed: Dublin reprinted, for E. Lynch, J. Williams, W. Colles, W. Wilson, T. Walker, R. Moncrieffe, W. Gilbert, L. White, P. Wogan, P. Higley, P. Byrne, T. Webb, M. Doyle, R. Marchbank, &c.&c. M,DCC,LXXII [1782]. TCD


PERRIN, Pierre, The Female Werter. A novel. Translated from the French of M. Perrin. Dublin: printed for P. Wogan, P. Byrne, A. Grueber, J. Halpen, J. Moore, J. Jones, W. Jones, R. M’Allister, J. Rice, G. Draper. M.DCC.XCII [1792]. BL; Harvard


PLUCHE, Noël-Antoine,

Spectacle de la nature: or nature display’d. Being discourses on such particulars of natural history as were thought most proper to excite the curiosity, and form the minds of youth. Illustrated with copper plates. Translated from the original French by Mr. Humphreys. Vol. I. The sixth edition, Corrected. 4 vols. Dublin: printed by A. Reilly, for Edw. Exshaw, at the Bible on Cork-Hill. M,DCC,XLII [1742]. TCD; NLI; Pennsylvania 155. —— [identical title] Vol. II. The seventh edition, corrected. [4 vols.?] Dublin: printed for E. and J. Exshaw, at the Bible on Cork-Hill. M,DCC,XLVII [1747]. NLI (vol. 2 only) 156.

POIVRE, Pierre, Travels of a philosopher: or, observations on the manners and arts of various nations in Africa and Asia. Translated from the French of M. Le Poivre, late Envoy to the King of Cochinchina, and now Intendant



of the isles of Bourbon and Mauritius. Dublin: printed for P. and W. Wilson, J. Exshaw, H. Saunders, W. Sleater, B. Grierson, D. Chamberlaine, J. Hoey, jun. and J. Williams. M DCC LXX [1770]. TCD 157.

PRÉVOST, abbé Antoine-François,

The Dean of Coleraine. A moral history. Founded upon the memoirs of an Illustrious Family of Ireland. And embellished with whatever may render the reading of it profitable and agreeable. Written in French by the author of a Man of Quality. And now done into English. Utile Dulci. 3 vols. Dublin: printed by S. Powell, for R. Gunne, S. Hyde, G. Risk, J. Leathley, W. Smith, P. Crampton, G. Faulkner, A. Bradley, T. Moore, E. Exshaw, C. Wynne, C. Connor, J. Keating. O. Nelson, I. Kelly, and Booksellers. MDCCXLII [1742]. NLI; TCD (vols. 2 and 3); BL (vols. 2 and 3); Bodleian (vol. 1); Leeds BL (vol. 1); New York °158. —— The Dean of Coleraine. A moral history, Founded upon the memoirs of an illustrious family of Ireland […] Written in French by the author of The memoirs of a man of quality. And now done into English. In three volumes […] Dublin: printed by S. Powell, for Edward Exshaw 1742. (Probably the same as 157 with a different title-page.) BL °159. —— The Dean of Coleraine, a moral history. Composed from the memoirs of an illustrious Irish family […] By the author of the Memoirs of a man of quality. And now done into English by Mr. Erskine […] Dublin: printed for John Smith, George Ewing, and Thomas Bacon 1742. CUL; NLI (vol. 1) °160. —— The Dean of Coleraine: a moral history. Composed from the memoirs of an illustrious Irish family. By the author of the Memoirs of a man of quality. And now done into English by Mr. Erskine […] Dublin: printed for Ignatius Kelly 1745. NLI °161. —— The History of a fair Greek, who was taken out of a seraglio at Constantinople […] interspersed with the surprising adventures of several other slaves. By Abbot Provost […] In two volumes. Dublin: printed by S. Powell, for Edward Exshaw 1741–2. NLI Manon Lescaut (1731) °162.

—— The History of the Chevalier des Grieux, written by himself. Translated from the French […] 2 vols. Dublin: printed for P. Wilson, W. Sleater, J. Hoey, Jun., J. Potts, D. Chamberlaine, J. Mitchell, J. Williams, and W. Colles. M,DCC,LXVII [1767]. NLI; McMaster °163. —— The History of Margaret of Anjou, queen of England. Translated from the French of the Abbé Prévost. In two volumes. Dublin: printed



for G. Faulkner in Essex-Street, and R. James in Dame-street. M,DCC,LVI [1756]. NLI; TCD; BL °164. —— Memoirs of a man of honour. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed for William Brien, near Crow-street, and Richard Jame, opposite Sycamore-alley, in Dame-street, Booksellers. M,DCC,XLVII [1747]. NLI; DCL °165. —— The Life and entertaining adventures of Mr. Cleveland, natural son of Oliver Cromwell, written by himself. Giving a particular account of his Unhappiness in Love, Marriage, Friendship &c. and his great Sufferings in Europe and America. Intermixed with Reflections, describing the Heart of Man in all its Variety of Passions and Disguises; also some curious Particulars of Oliver’s History and Amours, never before made publick. In two volumes. Dublin: printed by S. Powell, for William Heatley, Bookseller, at the Bible and Dove in College-Green. MDCCXXXVI [1736]. NLI 166. —— [identical title] Dublin: printed for Augustus Long, under Welsh’s Coffee-house in Essex-street; and Henry Hawker, at Homer’s Head in Dame-street, Booksellers. MDCCL [1750]. NLI °167. —— The Memoirs and adventures of the Marquis de Bretagne, and Duc d’Harcourt. Written orignally in French; and now done into English, by Mr. Erskine. Dublin: printed by Oli. Nelson, for the translator 1741. BL; Leeds BL; Toronto; Ellis (vol. 1) °168. —— The Memoirs and adventures of the Marquis de Bretagne, and Duc d’Harcourt. Written originally in French; and now done into English, by Mr. Erskine. Dublin printed for James Williams 1770. BL; California; Peabody (vols 2–3) 169. RAMEAU, Jean-Philippe, A Treatise of music, containing the principles of composition. Wherein the several Parts thereof are fully explained, and made useful both to the Professors and Students of that Science. By Mr. Rameau, Principal Composer to his Most Christian Majesty, and to the Opera at Paris. Translated into English from the Original in the French Language. Second edition. Dublin: printed for Luke White. MDCCLXXIX [1779]. CUL *170. RAYNAL, abbé Guillaume-Thomas-François, Addresse de Guillaume-Thomas Raynal, remise par lui-même à M. le Président, le 21 Mai, 1791, et lue à l’Assemblée le même jour. A Dublin: chez Guillaume M’Kenzie, No. 63, Dame-street 1791. Bodleian; Kansas



Histoire philosophique et politique des établissments et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes (1772) 171. —— A Philosophical and political history of the settlements and trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies. Translated from the French of the Abbé Resnal, by J. Justamond, M.A. In four volumes. Volume the first. Dublin: printed for John Exshaw, No. 86, and William Halhead, No. 63, Dame-street. M,DCC,LXXVI [1776]. BL; CUL 172. —— [identical title] The third edition: revised and corrected. With maps adapted to the work, and a copious index. Volume the first. 4 vols. Dublin: printed for John Exshaw, No. 86, and William Halhead, No. 63, Dame-street. M,DCC,LXXIX [1779]. NLI; TCD; BL 173. —— A Philosophical and political history of the settlements and trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies. Revised, augmented, and published in ten volumes, by the Abbé Raynal. Newly translated from the French by J.O. Justamond, F.R.S. with a new set of maps, elegant engravings adapted to the work, and a copious index. In six volumes. Dublin: printed for John Exshaw, Grafton Street, and Luke White, Dame Street. M DCC LXXXIV [1784]. NLI; Magee; Birmingham *174. —— Révolution de l’Amérique par M. L’Abbé Raynal, auteur de L’Histoire philosophique et politique des etablissemens, et du commerce des Europeens dans les deux Indes. A Dublin, Chez Guillaume Wilson. M.DCC.LXXXI [1781]. CUL; Houghton; Carter 175. —— The Revolution of America. By the Abbé Raynal, Author of the philosophical and political history of the establishments and commerce of the Europeans in both the Indies. Dublin: printed by C. Talbot, for Messrs. Price, W. Watson, Sleator, Whitestone, Sheppard, Lynch, Colles, Wilson, Williams, Chamberlaine, R. Cross, T. Stewart, Wogan, Burnet, Jenkin, Moncrieffe, Potts, Walker, White, Beatty, Burton, M’Donnel, Mills, Parker, Higly, Talbot, Byrn, Exshaw, and Webb. M,DCC,LXXXI [1781]. NLI °176. RÉAUMUR, René-Antoine Ferchault de, The Art of hatching and bringing up domestic fowls, by means of artificial heat. Being an abstract of Monsieur de Reaumur’s curious work upon that subject; […] By Mr. Trembley, […] Translated from the French. Dublin: printed by George Faulkner 1750. BL (temporarily unavailable) *177.

RESTIF DE LA BRETONNE, Nicolas-Edmé, Les Veillées du Marais; ou Histoire du grand Prince Oribeau, Roi de Mommonie, au pays d’Evinland; & de la vertueuse Princesse


Appendixes Oribelle, de Lagenie: Tirée des Anciénnes-Annales-Irlandaises, & recemment-translatée en-français: Par Nichols-Donneraill, du Comté de Korke, Descendant de l’Auteur. Volume; Partie, Contenant les Chapitres du Premier Abecedaire. 4 vols. Imprimé à Waterford, Capitale de Mommonie 1785. (personal copy)

178. RICCOBONI, Marie-Jeanne Laboras de Mézières,


180. 181. 182. 183.




Letters from Elizabeth Sophia de Valiere to her friend Louisa Hortensia de Canteleu. By Madam Riccoboni. Translated from the French by Mr. Maceuen. In two volumes. Dublin, printed for J. Potts, J. Williams, T. Walker, and C. Jenkins, Booksellers 1772. TCD; Charleston —— Letters from Juliet Lady Catesby, to her friend Henrietta Campley. Translated from the French. London: printed for R. and J. Dodsley, in Pallmall. Dublin: reprinted by J. Potts, at Swift’s Head, in DameStreet. MDCCLX [1760]. TCD —— [identical title] The second edition. Dublin: printed by J. Potts, at Swift’s Head, in Dame-street 1763. NLI; BL; NLW —— [identical title] The third edition. Dublin: printed by J. Potts, at Swift’s-Head, in Dame-street 1773. NLI —— [identical title] The fourth edition. Dublin: printed by J. Potts, No. 74, Dame-Street. M DCC LXXX [1780]. Waterloo —— Letters from Lord Rivers to Sir Charles Cardigan, and to other English correspondents, while he resided in France. Translated from the original French of Madame Riccoboni, by Percival Stockdale. In two volumes. Dublin: printed by S. Colbert, (at the Established Circulating Library) No. 136, Capel-street, opposite Abbey-street, where every new book is hired out 1785. CUL; NLI —— Letters from the Countess de Sancerre, to the Count de Nancé, her friend. By Madame de Riccoboni, translated from the French. Dublin: printed for James Williams, Bookseller in Skinner-Row. M,DCC,LXVIII [1768]. TCD; Princeton —— The History of Christina, Princess of Swabia; and of Elisa de Livarot. Translated from the French of Madame Riccoboni. In two volumes. Dublin: printed by J. Rea, for Messrs. Price, Moncrieffe, Exshaw, Wilson, Walker, Burton, Jenkin, White, Byrne, Parker, Cash, Marchbank, and Brown. M,DCC,LXXXIV [1784]. BL —— The History of Miss Jenny Salisbury; addressed to the Countess of Roscommond. Translated from the French of the celebrated Madame Riccoboni. In two volumes. Dublin: printed for A. Leathley, J. Exshaw,



S. Price, H. Saunders, S. Cotter, E. Watts, J. Potts, S. Watson, J. Mitchel, J. Williams, and J. Sheppard 1764. TCD; Bodleian 187. —— The History of Miss Jenny Salisbury; addressed to the Countess of Roscommon. Translated from the French of the celebrated Madame Riccoboni. In two volumes. Dublin: printed for James Hoey, junior in Parliament-street, near Essex-street. M DCC LXIV [1764]. NLI; Lilly 188. —— The History of the Marquis de Cressy. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed by and for P. Higly, No. l, Henry-street. M,DCC,LXXXI [1781]. UCD ROUSSEAU, Jean-Jacques, Confessions (books I–VI, 1781; books VII–XII, 1788); Les Rêveries du promeneur solitaire (1782) 189.

—— The Confessions of J.J. Rousseau; with The reveries of the solitary walker. Translated from the French. Vol. I. Dublin: printed for Messrs. Whitestone, Lynch, Gilbert, Colles, Moncrieffe, Porter, Wilson, Beatty, Burton, Jenkin, Exshaw, Walker, Burnet, White, Byrne, N. Cross, and J. Cash. M,DCC,LXXXIII [1783]. NLI; Bodleian; NLW; Philadelphia; McMaster 190. —— The Confessions of J.J. Rousseau, citizen of Geneva. Part the Second. To which is added, A New Collection of Letters from the author. Translated from the French in Three Volumes. Dublin: printed for P. Byrne, J. Moore, J. Jones, W. Jones, A. Grueber, G. Draper, R. White, and J. Rice 1791. TCD; NLI; BL; Bodleian

Du Contrat social (1762) 191.

—— An Inquiry into the nature of the social contract; or principles of political right. Translated from the French of John James Rousseau. – Foederis aequas/Dicamus leges. Aeneid.XI. Dublin: printed by B. Smith, for William Jones, No. 86, Dame-Street. M,DCC,XCI [1791]. NLI; BL

Le Devin du village (1752) 192.

—— The Cunning-man, A Musical Entertainment, in two acts. As it is performed at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane. Originally written and composed by M. J.J. Rousseau. Dublin: printed for J. Hoey, sen. P. Wilson, S. Cotter, J. Exshaw, J. Murphy, H. Saunders, L. Flin, W. Sleater, D. Chamberlain, J. Potts, J. Hoey, jun. S. Watson, J. Mitchell, J. Williams, O. Adams, T. Ryder, and W. Colles. M,DCC,LXVII [1767]. TCD



Dictionnaire de musique (1767) °193.

—— A Complete dictionary of music. Consisting of a copious explanation of all words necessary to a true knowledge and understanding of music. Translated from the original French of J.J. Rousseau. By William Waring. Dublin: printed for Luke White 1779. Toronto

Discours sur les sciences et les arts (1750) °194.

—— The Discourse which carried the praemium at the Academy of Dijon, in MDCCL. on the question propos’d by the said Academy, whether the Re-establishment of Arts and Sciences has contributed to the refining of Manners. By a Citizen of Geneva. Barbarus hic ego sum, quia non intelligor illis. Ovid. Translated from the French original. Dublin: printed by Richard James, at Newton’s-Head in Dame-street 1751. TCD; NLI; RIA; BL °195. —— [identical title] The fourth edition. Dublin: printed for G. Faulkner, in Essex-street, and R. James, at Newton’s Head in Dame-street 1752. NLI; Bodleian Émile (1762) °196.


—— Emilius and Sophie; or, an essay on education. By John James Rousseau, Citizen of Geneva. Translated from the French by Mr. Nugent. […] In two volumes. Dublin: printed for Dillon Chamberlaine, and James Potts, Booksellers, in Dame Street 1764. NLI; BL; Bodleian; CUL —— Emilius and Sophia: or, a new system of education. Translated from the French of Mr. J.J. Rousseau. By the translator of Eloisa. In four volumes. A new edition. Dublin: printed for J. Potts, No. 74, Dame street and D. Chamberlaine, No. 5, College-green 1779. TCD; NLI; Bodleian; CUL; Birmingham

La Nouvelle Héloïse (1761) °198.

—— Eloisa: or, a series of original letters collected and published by J.J. Rousseau. Translated from the French. In four volumes. Dublin: printed for James Hunter, in Sycamore-alley. M,DCC,LXI [1761]. BL °199. —— Eloisa: or, a series of original letters collected and published by J.J. Rousseau. Translated from the French. In four volumes. Volume I. The fourth edition. Dublin: printed for P. Wilson, Bookseller, in Dame-street. M DCC LXVI [1766]. Bodleian (vols 1 and 2) °200. —— Eloisa: or, a series of original letters collected and published by J.J. Rousseau. Translated from the French. Volume IV. The Fifth edition.





4 vols. Dublin: printed for Peter Wilson, in Dame-street. M,DCC,LXVII [1767]. TCD (vol. 4); NLI; BL; Bodleian —— Eloisa: or a series of original letters collected and published by J.J. Rousseau. Translated from the French. A new edition: to which is now first added, the sequel of Julia; or the New Eloisa (Found among the author’s papers after his Decease.) 4 vols. Dublin: printed by John Pasley, for P. Wogan, P. Byrne, W. Jones, J. Rice, J. Milliken, and J. Archer 1795. TCD; NLI; Bodleian; Newark RUTLIDGE, Jean-Jacques, The Englishman’s Fortnight, in Paris; or, the art of ruining himself there in a few days. By an Observer […] Translated from the French. Dublin: printed for B. Corcoran, R. Cross, J. Hoey, J. Potts, J. Williams, W. Colles, W. Wilson, T. Walker, P. Wogan, C. Jenkin, R. Moncrieffe, L. White, E. Cross, J. Beatty, J. Exshaw, J. Magee, H. M’Kenly 1777. TCD; BL; CUL


SEDAINE, Michel-Jean, Richard Coeur de Lion. An historical romance. Translated from the French of Monsr. Sedaine. By Lieut. General Burgoyne. Adapted for theatrical representation, as performed at the Theatre-Royal, Drurylane. Regulated from the prompt-books, by Permission of the Managers. […]. Dublin: printed by J. Chambers, for William Jones, No. 86, Dame-Street. M DCC XCIV [1794]. NLI; BL; CUL; Birmingham


SIGAUD-LAFOND, Joseph-Aignan, The School for happiness: or, portraits of the social virtues. Wherein precept, supported by example, presents the most certain road to felicity. A Work no less useful in the Education of both Sexes, than agreeable and interesting in general. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed for the Translator by J. Exshaw, No. 98, GraftonStreet. M DCC LXXXVII [1787]. BL


SWIFT, Jonathan, Les Trois justaucorps, conte bleu, tiré de l’anglois du Révérend Mr. Jonathan Swif [sic] […] Avec Les trois anneaux, nouvelle tirée de Bocace. Dublin 1721. BL




THOREL DE CAMPIGNEULLES, Charles-Claude Florent de, Candid: or, All for the Best. Translated from the French of M. de Voltaire. Part II. Dublin: Printed for Peter Wilson, in Dame-street. M,DCC,LXI [1761]. McMaster


TIPHAIGNE DE LA ROCHE, Charles-François, Giphantia: or, A View of What has Passed, What is now Passing, And, during the Present Century, What Will Pass, in The World. Translated from the original French, With explanatory Notes. Dublin: printed for G. Faulkner, in Essex Street, and J. Potts, in Dame Street. M DCC LXI [1761]. TCD; BL


TOUSSAINT, François-Vincent, Manners: translated from the French of Les moeurs. Wherein the principles of morality, or social duties, piety, wisdom, prudence, fortitude, justice, temperance, love, friendship, humanity, &c. are described in their Branches; the obligations of them shewn to conflict in our Nature; and the Enlargement of them strongly enforced […] Dublin: printed for James Esdall, at the Corner of Copper-Alley, on Cork-Hill; and Matthew Williamson, at the Golden Ball, opposite Sycamore-Alley, in Dame-Street. M,DCC,LI [1751]. TCD; NLI; CUL


VALOIS DE LA MOTTE, comtesse Jeanne de, Memoirs of the Countess de Valois de la Motte; containing a complete justification of her conduct, and an explanation of the intrigues […] relative to the diamond necklace; also, the correspondence between the Queen and the Cardinal de Rohan […] Translated from the French, written by herself. Dublin: printed by Graisberry and Campbell, for John Archer, and William Jones 1790. NLI; BL; CUL; MCL


VATTEL, Emer de, The Laws of Nations; or, Principles of the Law of Nature: applied to the conduct and affairs of Nations and Sovereigns. By M. De Vattel. A work tending to display the true interest of powers. Translated from the French. Dublin: Luke White M.DCC.XCII [1792]. NLI


VOLNEY, Constantin-François, The Law of Nature: or, Catechism of Reason. Translated from the French of C.F. Volney, Author of the “Ruin of Empires”, &c. &c. and



Professor since the Revolution, at Paris. Dublin: printed for the booksellers 1796. RIA VOLTAIRE, François-Marie Arouet de, Complete Editions °211. The Works of m. de Voltaire. Translated from the French. With notes, historical and critical. By T. Smollett, M.D. T. Francklin, M.A. and others. In twenty-four volumes […] Dublin: printed by R. Marchbank, for R. Moncrieffe 1772–1773. TCD (vol. 17); NLI; CUL; Peabody Adélaide Du Guesclin (1752) °212.

Matilda: a tragedy. As it is performed at the Theatre-Royal, in DruryLane. By the Author of the Earl of Warwick. Dublin: printed for J. Exshaw, W. Sleater, J. Potts, D. Chamberlaine, J. Williams, W. Wilson, J. Sheppard, J.A. Husband, R. Moncrieffe, R. Marchbank, T. Walker, C. Jenkin, and J. Hillary. M.DCC.LXXV [1775]. TCD; CUL

Alzire (1736) °213.


Alizira [sic]. A tragedy. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Lincoln’s-Inn Fields. Written originally in French, by Mr de Voltaire. Dublin: printed by S. Powell, for G. Risk, at Shakespear’s Head, G. Ewing, at the Angle [sic] and Bible, and W. Smith, at the Hercules, Book-sellers in Dame-street. MDCCXXXVI [1736]. TCD; CUL Alzuma, a tragedy, as performed at the Theatre-Royal in CoventGarden […] Dublin: printed for Messrs. Exshaw, Saunders, Sleater, Chamberlaine, Potts, Williams, Wilson, Lynch, Husband, Walker, Moncrieffe, Flin, and Jenkin. M.DCC.LXXIII [1773]. TCD (listed under Arthur Murphy)

Candide (1759) °215. °216.

Candide, or all for the best, by m. de Voltaire. The second edition. Dublin: James Hoey jr and William Smith jr 1759. AMR, p. 993 [identical title] Dublin: James Hoey jr and William Smith jr 1761. AMR, p. 993

Commentaire historique sur les œuvres de l’auteur de La Henriade (1776) °217.

Historical memoirs of the author of the Henriade. With some original pieces. To which are added, genuine letters of Mr. de Voltaire, taken from his own minutes. Translated from the French.


Appendixes Dublin: printed for R. M.DCC,LXXVII [1777].




Capel-street. TCD; BL

Commentaire sur le livre des délits et des peines (1766) °218.


An Essay on crimes and punishments, translated from the Italian; with a commentary, attributed to Mons. de Voltaire. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed by John Exshaw, in Dame-street. MDCCLXVII [1767]. NLI; CUL; Harvard Law [identical title] The fifth edition. Dublin: Printed by John Exshaw, No. 86, Dame-Street. MDCCXXVII [1777]. Peabody; NLI

La Défense de mon oncle (1767) °220.

A Defence of my uncle. Translated from the French of M. de Voltaire. Dublin: printed for Stewart Lynch, and John Milliken, Booksellers, in Skinner-Row. M DCC LXVIII [1768]. BL; Taylor

Le Dictionnaire philosophique (1764) °221.


The Philosophical dictionary. From the French of m. de Voltaire. Dublin: printed by Bernard Dornin, No. 9, Grafton-Street, (opposite Exchequer Street). M,DCC,XCII [1792]. TCD The Philosophical dictionary, from the French of m. de Voltaire. A new and correct edition. Dublin: B. Dornin 1793. AMR, p. 84

L’Ecossaise ou le café (1760) °223.


The Coffee-house or fair fugitive. A comedy of five acts. Written by Mr. Voltaire. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed by J. Potts, at Swift’s Head in Dame-street. MDCCLX [1760]. TCD; NLI The English merchant, a comedy. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane by George Colman. Dublin: printed for W. and W. Smith, P. Wilson, J. Exshaw, H. Saunders, W. Sleater, J. Potts, D. Chamberlaine, L. Flin, J. Hoey, jun. R. Bell, S. Watson, J. Williams, J. Mitchell, T. Ryder, and W. Colles 1767. TCD

Essai sur les guerres civiles de France (1729) °225.

An Essay upon the civil wars of France extracted from curious manuscripts. And also upon the Epick poetry of the European nations from




Homer down to Milton. With a short account of the author. By Mr. de Voltaire. Dublin: printed by and for J. Hyde, Bookseller in DameStreet M DCC XXVIII [1728]. TCD; Heidelberg; Florida; Boston; Carter An Essay upon the civil wars of France, extracted from curious manuscripts, and also upon the epick poetry of the European nations, from Homer down to Milton. By M. de Voltaire. To which is prefixed, a short Account of the Author, by J.S.D.D.D.S.P.D. [Jonathan Swift, D.D., dean of St. Patrick’s, Dublin]. Dublin: printed for William Ross, Bookseller in Grafton-street. MDCCLX [1760]. TCD; BL; Yale

Essai sur les mœurs (1751) 227.

An Essay on universal history, the manners, the spirit of nations, from the reign of Charlemaign to the age of Lewis XIV. Written in French by m. de Voltaire. Translated into English, with additional Notes and Chronological Tables, by Mr. Nugent. The third edition, revised and considerably improved by the author. 4 Vols. Dublin: printed by S. Cotter, Bookseller in Skinner-Row. M DCC LIX [1759]. NLI; BL

Histoire de Charles XII (1731) 228.



The History of Charles XII. King of Sweden. By Mr. de Voltaire. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed by A. Rhames, for George Risk, at the Shakespear’s Head, George Ewing, at the Angel and Bible, and William Smith at the Hercules, Booksellers in Dame-street. M DCC XXXII [1732]. NLI; BL; Bodleian; Toronto The History of Charles XII. King of Sweden. In eight books. Dublin: printed for George Golding Book-sellor [sic], at the King’s-Head in High-Street 1735. TCD The History of Charles XII. King of Sweden. By Mr. de Voltaire. Translated from the French. The Sixth Edition, with Additions, and a compleat Index. Dublin: printed by R. Reilly on Cork-Hill, for G. Risk, G. Ewing, and W. Smith, Booksellers, in Dame’s Street. M,DCC,XXXVIII [1738]. CUL; Swem

Histoire de Jenni (1775) 231.

Young James, or the Sage and the Atheist. An English story. From the French of M. de Voltaire. Dublin: printed for D. Chamberlaine, W. Whitestone, J. Sheppard, J. Potts, S. Watson, J. Hoey, J. Williams,


Appendixes R. Cross, W. Colles, W. Wilson, C. Jenkin, G. Burnet, T. Walker, P. Hoey, M. Mills, P. Higly, T. Armitage, J. Colles, T.T. Faulkner, and W. Hallhead 1776. MLD; CUL

Histoire de la guerre de 1741 (1755) 232.

The History of the war of Seventeen hundred and forty one. By M. de Voltaire. In two parts. The second edition. Carefully revised and compared with the Original; with the Addition of a Plan of the Battle of Fontenoy, not in any other Edition. Dublin: printed for G. & A. Ewing, at the Angel and Bible in Dame-street. MDCCLVI [1756]. CUL; Bodleian; NLI

Histoire de l’empire de Russie sous Pierre le grand (1759) 233.

The History of the Russian Empire under Peter the Great, by M. de Voltaire. Dublin: printed for G. Faulkner, in Essex-Street, and P. Wilson, in Dame-Street. M,DCC,LXI [1761]. TCD

L’Homme aux quarante écus (1768) 234.


The Man of forty crowns. Translated from the French of M. de Voltaire. Dublin: printed by W.G. Jones, for J. Milliken, in Skinner-Row. MDCCLXVIII [1768]. TCD; NLI [identical title] Dublin: printed for J. Milliken, No. 10, in SkinnerRow. MDCCLXX [1770]. BL

L’Indiscret (1725) 236.

No One’s Enemy but His Own. A comedy in three acts. As it is Performed at the Theatre-Royal in Covent-garden […] Dublin: printed for G. Faulkner, J. Exshaw, H. Saunders, H. Bradley, J. Hoey, jun. D. Chamberlaine, E. Watts, T. Dyton, S. Watson, J. Mitchell, and J. Williams. M DCC LXIV [1764]. BL

L’Ingénu ou le Huron (1767) 237.

L’Ingénu; or, the sincere Huron: a true history translated from the French of M. de Voltaire. Dublin: printed for J. Milliken, in Skinnerrow. M DCC LXVIII [1768]. NLI; BL; CUL; Toronto

Appendixes Letters *238.



Letters, from M. de Voltaire. To several of his friends. Translated from the French by the Rev. Dr. Francklin. Dublin: printed for H. Saunders, W. Sleater, D. Chamberlaine, and J. Potts 1770. TCD; NLI, BL; CUL Lettres curieuses et interessantes de Monsieur de Voltaire, Et de plusieurs personnes, distinguées par leur rang & par leur merite. Avec des Reflexions & des Nôtes. Par M.A.D. [Anthony Desca]. A Dublin: Chez W. Hallhead, No. 63, Dames-street. MDCCLXXXI [1781]. NLI; BL; Bodleian; CUL; Taylor

Letters concerning the English Nation (1733)/ Lettres philosophiques (1734) 240.

°241. 242.


Letters concerning the English Nation. By Mr. de Voltaire. London: Printed, Dublin: reprinted by and for George Faulkner in EssexStreet, opposite to the Bridge. M DCC XXXIII [1733]. NLI; MLD; Bodleian; Princeton Letters concerning the English Nation. By Mr. de Voltaire. Dublin 1738. AMR, p. 1010 Letters concerning the English Nation. By Mr. de Voltaire. The fourth edition. Dublin: reprinted by and for G. Faulkner. M,DCC,XXXIX [1739]. TCD; BL; Bodleian, CUL; NLI Letters concerning the English Nation by Mr. de Voltaire. 4th edition. Dublin 1740. UCC; BNP

Mahomet (1742) 244.

Mahomet the Impostor. A Tragedy. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, by His Majesty’s Servants. Dublin: printed by J. Esdall, in Fishamble-street, for W. Smith, Bookseller, at the Hercules in Dame-street. M,DCC,XLV [1745]. TCD; NLI; DCL (listed under J. Miller)

Mémoires de M. de Voltaire écrits par lui-même (1759) *245.


Mémoires de m. de Voltaire écrits par lui-même. La troisième édition. A Dublin: chez Byrne, No. 35, College-Green. M,DCC,LXXXV [1785]. TCD; Philadelphia Memoirs of the Life of Voltaire. Written by himself. Translated from the French. Dublin: printed for Messrs. Moncrieffe, Walker, Exshaw, Wilson, Jenkin, Burton, White, Byrne, Marchbank, Cash, Heery. MDCCLXXXIV [1784]. TCD; MLD; NLI; UCD; BL; E; Taylor



Mérope (1744) 247.

248. °249.

Merope. A tragedy. Acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, by His Majesty’s Servants. By Aaron Hill, Esq. Dublin: printed by S. Powell, for G. and A. Ewing, G. Faulkner, J. Exshaw, W. Brien, R. James, and J. Esdall, Booksellers. M DCC XLIX [1749]. TCD [identical title] Dublin: printed for G. and A. Ewing, G. Faulkner, J. Exshaw, and T. Dyton, Booksellers. MDCCLXVII [1767]. TCD Mérope. A tragedy as it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Lincoln’sInn-Fields. Written by George Jeffreys, Esq; London: printed and Dublin: reprinted, and sold by George Faulkner, at the pamphlet shop in Essex-street, opposite to the Bridge. [no date] TCD

Le Monde comme il va, vision de Babouc (1746) °250.

Babouc, or the World as it Goes. By Monsieur de Voltaire. To which are added, Letters concerning his Disgrace at the Prussian Court; with his Letter to his Niece on that occasion. Also, the Force of Friendship, or Innocence Distress’d. A novel. Dublin: printed by and for H. Saunders, at the Corner of Christ-Church Lane 1754. BL

Nanine (1749) °251.

°252. °253. °254.

°255. °256.

The Man of the world. A comedy, in five acts. As performed at the Theatres-Royal of Covent-Garden and Smock-Alley. Written by Charles Macklin, Esq. Dublin: printed in the year, M,DCC,LXXXV [1785]. TCD [identical title] Written by C- M-, Esq. Dublin: printed in the year, M,DCC,LXXXVI [1786]. TCD The Man of the world […] Dublin, c. 1790. AMR, p. 1016 The Man of the world. A comedy in five acts. As performed at the Theatres-Royal of Covent-Garden and Smock-Alley. Written by C- M. Esq. Dublin: printed in the Year, M,DCC,XCI [1791]. TCD [identical title] Written by Charles Macklin, Esq. Dublin: printed by W. Wilson, No. 6, Dame-street. M,DCC,XCIII [1793]. NLI; DCL The Man of the world. A comedy. By Charles Macklin, Esq. Adapted for the theatrical representation. As performed at the Theatres-Royal, Drury-Lane, Covent-Garden and Smock-Alley […] Dublin: printed by Graisberry and Campbell, for W. Jones, No. 86, Dame-street. MDCCXCIII [1793]. NLI; DCL



L’Orphelin de la Chine (1755) °257.



°260. °261.

The Orphan of China. A tragedy. Translated from the French of m. de Voltaire. First acted at Paris, on the 20th of August 1755. The third edition. Dublin: printed for William Smith, Bookseller, at the Hercules in Dame-Street. MDCCLVI [1756]. NLI; BL; Bodleian; CUL; Taylor; Fondren The Orphan of China. A tragedy. As it is performed at the TheatreRoyal in Drury-Lane. Dublin: printed for G. and A. Ewing, P. Wilson, A. James, W. Sleater, B. Gunne, H. Bradley, J. Hoey, jun and W. Smith, jun. Booksellers. MDCCLIX [1759]. TCD [identical title] By Arthur Murphy. Dublin: printed for A. Leathley, G. and A. Ewing, P. Wilson, J. Exshaw, A. James, W. Sleater, J. Hoey jun. H. Bradley, W. Smith, jun. Booksellers. M,DCC,LXI [1761]. DCL The Orphan of China, a tragedy, as it is performed at the Theatre-Royal in Crow-Street, by Arthur Murphy. Dublin: printed in the year, 1763. AMR, p. 1018–19 [identical title] Dublin: printed for W. Gilbert and H. Chamberlaine. M,DCC,LXXXVII [1787]. DCL

Pièces originales concernant la mort des sieurs Calas (1762) °262.


Original pieces relative to the Trial and Execution of Mr. John Calas, Merchant at Toulouse, who was broke on the Wheel in that City, pursuant to his sentence by the Parliament of Languedoc, for the supposed Murder of his eldest Son, to prevent his turning Roman Catholick. With a Preface, and Remarks on the Whole, by M. de Voltaire. Dublin: printed for John Mitchell at the Golden Sugar Loaf in Sycamore-Alley near Dame-street 1762. NLI The Memorial of mr Donatus Calas, addressed to the Chancellor and Council of State of France, concerning the Execution of his Father, Mr. John Calas, a Protestant Merchant of Thoulouse [sic]; who was broke on the wheel in that City, pursuant to his Sentence, by the Parliament of Languedoc, for the supposed Murder of his eldest Son to prevent, as was alleged, his becoming a Roman Catholic. With Remarks on that horrid Tragedy, by M. de Voltaire. [in John Lockman, A History of the cruel sufferings of the Protestants]. Dublin: printed for J. Potts 1763. NLI

Précis du siècle de Louis XV (1755) °264.

The Age of Louis XV. Being the sequel to the Age of Louis XIV. Translated from the French of M. de Voltaire. Dublin: printed for G. Faulkner, J. Exshaw, H. Saunders, W. Sleater, D. Chamberlaine,


Appendixes J. Potts, J. Hoey, jun. J. Williams, J. Porter, R. Moncrieffe, and T. Walker. M.DCC.LXX [1770]. TCD; NLI

La Princesse de Babylone (1768) °265.

The Princess of Babylon. Translated from the French of M. de Voltaire. Dublin: printed for W. Colles, in Dame-Street. MDCCLXVIII [1768]. NLI

La Pucelle (1755) *266.

La Pucelle; or, the maid of Orleans: a poem, in XXI cantos. From the French of M. de Voltaire. With the Author’s preface and original notes. Vol. I. [Dublin] 1796. Vol. II 1797. TCD (Written on inside cover – ‘Translated by Catherine Maria Bury, Countess of Charleville one of 50 copies probably printed in Dublin. probably wholly translated by her husband, Charles Wm. Bury’.)

Les Scythes (1767) *267.

Zobeide. A Tragedy. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Covent Garden […] Dublin: printed for J. Exshaw, W. Wilson, H. Saunders, W. Sleater, J. Potts, D. Chamberlaine, J. Williams, J.A. Husband, J. Mitchell, J. Milliken, W. Colles, T. Walker, R. Moncrieffe, D. Hay, and C. Jenkin. MDCCLXXII [1772]. TCD

Sémiramis (1749) *268. *269.

La tragédie de Sémiramis. Dublin: imprimé chez S. Powell, en Crane-lane. M DCC L [1750]. BL; CUL; Taylor Semiramis, a tragedy. Translated from the French of M. de Voltaire […] Dublin: printed for Benjamin Gunne, in Lurgan-street, and James Potts, in Dame-street, Booksellers. M DCC LX [1760]. BL

Le Siècle de Louis XIV (1751) *270.

Essay on the Age of Lewis XIV. By Mr. de Voltaire. Being His Introduction to the work, Translated from the French by Mr. Lockman. The fourth edition. Dublin: re-printed by and for George Faulkner. MDCCLX 1760 [1740]. TCD; NLI; BL; Bodleian; CUL

Appendixes *271.


The Age of Lewis XIV. Translated from the French of M. de Voltaire. The second edition. Dublin: printed by George Faulkner, in EssexStreet. M,DCC,LII [1752]. TCD; NLI; BL; Bodleian; CUL

Tancrède (1760) *272.

Almida, a tragedy. As it is performed at the Theatre-Royal in Drury Lane. By a lady. Dublin: printed for W. Wilson, J. Exshaw, H. Saunders, H. Bradley, W. Sleater, D. Chamberlaine, J. Potts, J. Williams, W. Colles, R. Moncriefe, and T. Walker. MDCCLXXI [1771]. TCD

Traité sur la tolérance (1763) °273.

A Treatise upon religious toleration. Tending to shew the advantages of it to every state, with notes, historical and critical. By M. de Voltaire. Translated from the French. By T. Smollett, M.D. T. Franklin, M.A. and others. Dublin: printed by J. Exshaw, in Damestreet. MDCCLXIV [1764]. TCD; NLI; Bodleian; Williams

La Voix du sage et du peuple (1750) °274.


Observations on government, occasioned by the late disputes between the King of France and his clergy. Translated from the French, published in France and written by the celebrated baron de Montesquieu. Author of the Persian Letters, and the Spirit of Laws. Dublin: Printed, And Sold by the Booksellers. MDCCLI [1751]. TCD; NLI; UCD; BL; CUL Observations on government, occasioned by the late disputes between the King of France and his clergy […] Dublin, printed and sold by the booksellers, 1753. NLI (unavailable)

Zaïre (1733) °276.

°277. °278.

The Tragedy of Zara. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal, in DruryLane, by His Majesty’s Servants. Dublin: printed for T. Moore, at Erasmus’s-head in Dame-street, Bookseller. M DCC XXXVII [1737]. UCD [identical title] Dublin: printed for W. Smith, P. Wilson, J. Exshaw, and H. Bradley, in Dame-Street. M,DCC,LXII [1762]. TCD (listed under Aaron Hill) [identical title] Dublin: printed by Cusacke Greene, on the Coal Quay 1762. TCD (listed under Aaron Hill)

284 °279.

Appendixes Zara. A tragedy. By Aaron Hill, Esq. adapted for theatrical representation, as performed at the Theatres-Royal, Drury-Lane and Covent Garden. Regulated from the prompt-books, by Permission of the Managers […] Dublin: printed by Graisberry and Cambell, for William Jones, No. 86, Dame-street. MDCCXCI [1791]. UCD

Index Académie Française, 34, 75, 111, 116 Académie Royale des Sciences, 28, 33, 37, 175 Alembert, Jean Le Rond d’, xiv, 21, 28, 33, 42, 44, 46, 75, 80, 92, 98, 104–5, 143, 145, 180, 221 Traité de l’équilibre et du mouvement des fluides, 28 Mélanges de littérature, d’histoire et de philosophie, 33 America, 64, 67–8, 76–7 Amsterdam, 28–9, 175, 177, 179, 193, 228 anecdotes, 21, 33, 36–7, 67–8 Anglican, 108, 125, 156, 166–7 anglophilia, 130, 146–8, 159–60 anglophone, 24, 42, 44, 49, 152 Anthologia Hibernica, 181 anti-sectarianism, 76–7, 81, 103 Annual Register, 79, 93–4, 100, 104–5, 111, 126 Archer, John, 180–2, 195 aristocracy, 44, 50, 53–6, 62–3 Bacon, Thomas, 191–2 Baculard d’Arnaud, François-ThomasMarie de, 239, 245–9 Balzac, Guez de, 13, 175, 217 Banks, Joseph Sir, 116–17, 122 Barber, Giles, 183, 195 Barruel, Augustin, abbé, 65–6, 246 Bastille, 68, 87 Bayle, Pierre, xv, 7, 27, 30, 185, 218–19, 227–8 Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de, 14, 137, 180, 192, 203, 208, 218–19, 221, 246 La Mère coupable, 137 Le Barbier de Séville, 14, 200, 202, 208, 210 Le Mariage de Figaro, 203, 208–9, 212, 221–2 Belfast, 18, 26, 43, 72, 108, 124, 158, 190, 193, 208–9, 212, 214, 220

Berkeley, George, 12, 34, 68, 155 Berlin, 70, 72, 158 Berman, David, xiii, 30–1, 45 Bibliothèque raisonnée des ouvrages des savants de l’Europe, 28, 30, 37 Boileau-Despréaux, Nicolas, 7, 27, 142–4, 175, 217 Bolingbroke, Henry Saint John, Lord, 34, 153, 232 Bordeaux, 33, 47, 136–8, 141, 198 Bougainville, Louis Antoine, comte de, 95, 247 Boulainvilliers, Henri de, 26, 30 Britain/British, 23, 36, 38, 50, 62, 64, 67, 69, 74, 77, 79, 95, 98–9, 137–9, 146, 148, 165, 181, 198 British constitution, 31, 50, 55–6, 58, 60, 62–6 Britanny, 134–5, 138, 143, 151, 163 Brooke, Henry, 160–1, 204 Buffon, Georges Louis Leclerc, comte de, 7, 11, 28, 41, 95, 105, 181, 184, 187, 218–19, 221–4, 227, 229, 248 Histoire naturelle, 11 Histoire naturelle des oiseaux, 222, 224, 229 Natural history, 224, 237 Oeuvres, 187, 224, 232 Burke, Edmund, xiii, xv, 31, 47–66, 79, 84–6, 93–4, 101, 105, 138, 150 Abridgement of English History, 49 An Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs, 49 Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe, 48 Reflections on the Revolution in France, 53–4 Remarks on the Policy of the Allies, 62 Second Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe, 56, 61 Thoughts on French Affairs, 63




Calas, Jean, 32, 74–5, 77–8, 82, 95, 102 Calvin, Jean, 55, 72–3, 87 Calvinism, 154 Cambridge, University of, 5, 7, 130 Catholics/Catholicism/Catholic church, 22, 25, 27, 30–2, 34–6, 40, 47–8, 55, 57, 62, 65, 68, 74–6, 82–4, 101–3, 106, 122, 130–2, 134–5, 138–9, 141, 143, 147, 154–63, 165–8, 213 Catholic emancipation, 43, 65, 102–4 Cavalier, Jean, 150, 153, 248 Cavallo, Tiberius, 117, 123, 126 Celts, 133, 160–2 Charlemont, James, First Earl of, 14, 16, 43, 47, 105, 123–6 Christ, Jesus, 73, 101, 103, 154, 160 Christians/Christianity/Christian world, 29–31, 39, 54–5, 57, 62, 71, 76–7, 82–3, 85, 91, 101–2, 104, 154–6, 164 Church, xv, 82, 154–6, 159, 166 clergy, cleric, 22, 39, 59, 63, 73, 79, 98, 102, 139–47, 154–5, 158–9, 167, 178, 217, 229 Compendious Library, The, 31, 43 Condillac, Etienne Bonnot de, 92, 180–1, 193, 218 Condorcet, Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de, 89, 180, 218, 249 Congreve, William, 68, 88, 156 Conolly, Louisa, Lady, 14 Thomas, 13–14, 195 Cork, 3, 17, 6, 34, 44, 46–8, 69–71, 106 Corneille, Pierre, 7, 16, 34, 67, 176, 217 Crébillon, Claude-Prosper-Jolyot de, 180, 202, 249–50 Crébillon, Prosper-Jolyot, sieur de, 180, 250 Cromwell, Oliver, 135, 161 Crousaz, Jean-Pierre, 218–19, 221–2, 224, 226, 232

Delany, Mary, 10, 12, 106 democracy, 50, 61 Derry, 8, 26, 80, 167, 169 Desca (d’Esca), Antoine, 6, 39, 191 despotism, 48, 50–5, 60–1, 63–4 Desvœux, Antoine Vinchon de Bacquencourt, dit, 29, 177 dictionary, 131–2, 136, 139–41, 143–4, 147, 175, 185, 227 Diderot, Denis, xiv, 43–4, 89, 92–3, 129, 132, 140, 143, 145, 147, 190, 217–18, 224, 235, 250 Encyclopédie, 224 Dinwiddie, James, 109, 118–19, 124, 126 Dissenters, 108–9, 121–2, 213 Droz, Jean-Pierre, 22–3, 28–31, 44, 70, 72, 174, 176–7, 182, 189, 235, 238, 250 Dublin book trade, 173–80, 182–3, 188–93 and education in French, 3–4, 14, 214 and Huguenot exiles, 3–4, 138 and opera/theatre, 14, 79, 105, 197–9, 201, 203, 205, 208 and periodicals, 22–3, 26–7, 31–3, 40–1, 43–5, 90, 97, 100–2, 111–14 and publication of French works, 8, 47, 69–72, 74, 86 and scientific pursuits, 107, 109–12, 114, 116, 119, 121–2, 124–5 Dublin Evening Post, 110, 119, 121, 124 Dublin Magazine, 22, 31–5, 37, 44, 74–8, 83, 90–3, 95, 101–4, 235–6 Dublin Newsletter, 176, 192 Dublin Weekly Journal, 22–3, 175 Duclos, Charles-Pinot, 219, 221, 223–4, 251 Duhamel Du Monceau, Henri Louis, 33, 251 Duplain, Claude, 9, 251–2

Darnton, Robert, 184, 187, 194 deism/deists, xiii, 24, 29–31, 35, 37, 46, 62, 70, 80–3, 85

Edgeworth, Maria, 4, 15–16, 169 Edgeworth, Richard Lovell, 9, 14–15, 196

Index Edinburgh, 97, 109, 114, 191, 228 Eisenstein, Elisabeth, 30, 179, 184 Encyclopédie, The, 10, 31, 43, 129–33, 140–1, 145, 147–9, 151, 173, 181, 185, 217–19, 223, 227, 232 encyclopédistes, see philosophes, England/the English, 21, 24, 30, 34, 36, 39, 40, 45, 47, 50–1, 54–5, 57–60, 63, 68, 71, 78, 80, 83, 91, 98–9, 102, 104, 107, 119, 129–31, 137, 139, 141, 146–7, 152, 154, 155–6, 158–4, 166–7, 173, 175, 180–3, 198 Europe, 21, 23, 28, 30–1, 34, 36, 43, 48–9, 51–2, 54–8, 60, 62–4, 70, 72, 80 Ewing, George, 175, 179, 193 Exshaw (publishers), 24–6, 34–6, 43, 111, 114, 119, 178, 191–3, 236, 241 Exshaw’s, see Gentleman’s and London Magazine fanatics/fanaticism, 32, 76, 81–2 Faulkener, George (publisher), 26, 70, 119, 202, 178–9, 195, 236, 238 Faujas Barthélemy, de St Fond, 111, 116–19, 121, 126 Favart, Charles Simon, 14, 199, 202 Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe, 7, 18, 26, 38, 67, 182, 193, 218–19, 227–8 Télémaque, xv, 18, 26, 38, 67, 182 Ferney, 78, 82, 86, 165, 200 feudal system/feudalism, 53, 58, 62–3, 130 Fontenelle, Bernard Le Bovier de, xv, 7, 27, 44, 92, 175, 193, 218–19, 227–8, 252 Fontenoy, Battle of, 26–7, 136, 165, 169 Francklin, Thomas, Dr, 78, 199–201 Franklin, Benjamin, 111, 115–17, 121–2, 126 Frederick II (The Great), 7, 37, 39, 70, 72–3, 75, 77, 79–80, 82, 88, 91, 237, 245, 252–3 freethinkers, 30, 83, 85


French culture, 25, 27, 34, 38, 44 French language, use of, 27, 33, 38–9, 44 Gaelic, xiv, 130, 135, 139–140, 142 Galway, 26, 106 Gazette françoise, 23, 236 George III, 54, 58, 97, 101 Geneva, 73, 78, 91, 99, 102, 104, 139, 163, 174, 177, 183, 185–6, 189 Genlis, Stéphanie Félicité du Crest de Saint Aubin, comtesse de, xv, 183, 188–9, 253–6 Gentleman’s and London Magazine, 21–2, 26, 34–6, 78–9, 87, 97–9, 102, 104, 106, 111, 114, 119, 236, 239 Gentleman’s Magazine, 21, 33, 34–8, 40–3, 75, 79–81, 87–8, 100, 104–5, 236 Gerna, Antoine, 180, 182, 190, 256–7 Gilbert, Claudius, 12, 215–16, 221, 231–2 God, 29, 58, 81–4, 103, 145, 161, 166 Goldsmith, Oliver, 85, 87–8, 170, 197, 209–10, 237, 257 Grand Magazine of Universal Intelligence, 22, 73, 237 Goudar, Ange, 36, 188, 257 Gough, Hugh, 184, 187, 195 Graffigny, Françoise d’Issembourg d’Happoncourt de, 178, 257 Graisberry (publishers), 183, 190–1, 196 Grand Tour, the, 13, 165, 198 Green, Thomas, 174–5, 195 Griffiths, Ralph, 121, 235, 237 Hastings, Warren, 48, 64 Hayes, Philip, 79, 88, 165 Helvétius, Claude-Adrien, 7, 31, 41, 43–4, 92, 187, 209, 219, 221–2 De l’Esprit, 31, 41, 221–2 Oeuvres, 187 Hely-Hutchinson, John, 5–6, 122 Heneghan, David, abbé, 131, 140 Henri IV, 27, 160 Hervey, Frederick Augustus, bishop of Derry, 80, 167



Hibernian/Hibernie/Hibernois, 141–2, 144–6, 201 Hibernian Magazine, 22, 38–40, 42–3, 46, 74, 78, 79–5, 87, 90, 92, 94–6, 99–102, 104–6, 111–14, 121, 198, 237 Hill, Aaron, 203, 207 ‘Histories of the Tête à-Tête’, 36, 40, 82, 240–1 Hitchcock, Robert, 203, 205–6, 211 Hoey (publishers), 22, 183, 235, 237 Holbach, Paul Heinrich Dietrich von, baron d’, 81, 88, 218, 240 Holland, 139, 153, 173–7, 179, 193, 213 Huguenots, 3–4, 12, 17, 28, 137–9, 146, 153, 174–8, 194, 203–4, 239 see also Protestant(s) Humanist/humanity/human nature, 60–1, 81–2, 84, 130, 133–4 Hume, David, 36, 43, 75, 78, 94–9, 101, 105, 130 India, 48, 64, 165 Italy, Italian, 5, 133, 167, 174, 180, 182 Jacobins/Jacobinism, 48, 61, 64 Jacobites, 106, 138, 149, 152, 165–6, 169 James I, 129 James II, 136, 158–60 Jansenists, 76, 143–4 Jaucourt, Louis, chevalier de, 129–30, 133–4, 137, 139–41, 146 Jesuits, 49, 73, 75, 88, 135, 159, 163 Journal britannique, 37 Journal de Paris, 112, 120 Journal des savants, 37, 131, 142, 148, 175 Jussieu, Antoine de, 40, 219, 232 Keating, Geoffrey, 131, 140, 149 Kelly, Hugh, 199, 209 King, William, Archbishop, 12, 215, 231 Kirwan, Richard, 15, 117, 123, 126 La Chaussée, Nivelle de, 182, 258 Laclos, Pierre Choderlos de, 12, 189, 259

La Condamine, Charles Marie de, 7, 40, 218–19, 221–4, 227 La Fontaine, Jean de, xiv, 25, 229 Lally-Tollendal (family), 136, 157–8, 165, 168, 170 Lamarck, Jean-Baptiste de Monet, Chevalier de, 219, 221–2 La Mettrie, Julien Offrey de, 259 Laplace, Pierre Simon, marquis de, 219, 224, 226 Latin, 134, 143, 146, 175–6, 217 Latocnaye, Jacques de Bougrenet de, 191, 259–60 Les Causes de la révolution de France, 191 Promenade dans la Grande Bretagne, 191 Promenade dans l’Irlande, 191 Lavoisier, Antoine-Laurent, 116, 219, 225–6 law(s), 5, 51, 53, 81 Leinster, Emily, Duchess of, 101, 106, 196 James, Duke of, 13 William, Robert, Duke of, 123 Lenglet-Dufresnoy, Nicolas, 25, 260–1 Lesage, Alain-René, xv, 26, 193, 144, 218–21, 225–6, 228–9 Lévesque de Pouilly, Louis Jean, 176–7, 261 liberty, 30, 50, 60, 83 Limerick, 26, 37–8, 159 Linguet, Simon-Nicolas-Henri, 187, 189, 238, 261 Literary Journal, A, 22–3, 28–31, 70, 176–7, 238 Locke, John, xiii, 130, 143 London, 21–3, 25–8, 33, 36–7, 44, 69, 71, 74–6, 82, 93, 96–8, 102, 104–5, 111, 114, 117, 120–1, 153, 166–7, 173–4, 176–7, 179, 181–3, 188–94, 197–8, 201–4, 207–8, 228 London and Dublin Magazine, 25–6, 238 London Chronicle, 97–8 London Magazine, 25, 34–6, 38, 41, 43, 236 Louis XIV, 53–4, 159

Index Louis XV, 27 Louis XVI, 84 Lynch, John, 131, 134 Lyon, 99, 174 Mably, Gabriel Bonnet, abbé de, 180, 219, 223–5, 261 McCracken, Henry Joy, 18 MacGeoghegan, abbé, James, 35, 131, 134, 140, 148 Macklin, Charles, 202–3, 209, 243 Macpherson, James, 131, 140, 150 Madden, Dean, 44, 235, 261 Magazin à la mode, le, 12, 23, 26, 238–9 Magazine of Magazines, The, 37–8, 43, 239 Maintenon, Françoise d’Aubigné, marquise de, 240, 262 Malebranche, Nicolas de, 13, 142 mankind, 50, 81 Marivaux, Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de, xv, 7, 26, 85, 178, 182, 188, 201–2, 209, 218–19, 220, 262 Le Jeu de l’amour et du hasard, 201–2 Le Paysan parvenu, 26, 188, 220 Marmontel, Jean-François, 7, 33, 181, 188, 193, 199, 202, 210, 218, 239 Annette et Lubin, 199, 202 Aristomène, 181 Contes moraux, 33, 263 Oeuvres complètes, 188 Pretended philosopher, 199 Martin, Josiah, 71, 263 Maupertuis, Pierre Louis Moreau de, 29, 40, 80, 180, 218–19, 221–8, 235 Maurice, Edward, Bishop, 215, 220 Méhégan, Guillame Alexandre de, 144, 147 Mémoires de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, 28 Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de la marquise de Pompadour, 36, 244 Mémoires secrets pour servir à l’histoire de Perse, 27, 40–1 Mercier, Louis-Sébastien, 7, 187, 189, 264


Mercure historique, Le, 37 Messingham, Thomas, 130, 147 metaphysics, 29, 143 Middle ages, 130, 140, 143, 147, 173 Moderns, 142–3, 148, 157 Molière, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, dit, xiv, 7, 13–14, 27, 67, 176, 199, 229 Bourgeois gentilhomme, 199 Le Médecin malgré lui, 14 monarchs/monarchies, 50, 54–5, 63–5, 80 Montaigne, Michel Eyquem de, 13, 133 Apologie de Raimond Sebond, 133 Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat, baron de la Brède et de, xiv-xv, 7, 14, 31, 36, 39–44, 46–66, 72, 83, 92, 130, 132, 139, 141, 145, 178, 180–1, 186, 189, 193, 217–19, 223, 225, 226–8, 232, 243, 264–5 ‘Arsaces and Ismena’, 39 Considérations sur les Romains, 50, 221–3, 225, 228–9 De l’Esprit des lois, 31, 46–7, 50, 52–3, 55, 60, 141, 220, 222, 224–5, 228–9 Lettres familières, 2–3 Lettres persanes, v, 132, 145 Lettres de Xénocrate à Phérès, 51 Oeuvres, 225 Oeuvres posthumes, 39, 186 Pensées, 141 Montgolfier, Etienne and Joseph, 108–12, 114–15, 118–19, 126 Monthly Review, 104, 121–2 morality, 31, 82, 85 Mouffle d’Angerville, BarthélemyFrançois-Joseph, 188, 265 Murphy, Arthur, 199–204, 208–10, 243 nation states, 51, 56–7 nature, 50, 82, 84 Necker, Jacques, 7, 266 Neuchâtel, 91, 173, 176, 183–4, 194 Newsletter, The, 72 newspapers, 110–11, 114, 117, 122, 124, 148, 174, 181–2, 193, 208 Norris, Richard, 174–5, 195



North Briton, The, 31–2, 34, 37 Nugent (family), 47, 192, 196 O’Conor, Charles, 198 Daniel, 198, 209 O’Leary, Fr. Arthur, 83, 88 Orient, 39, 52, 54–5, 60 Oxford, University of, 5, 7 Paine, Thomas, 60, 266 Paris, 29, 35–6, 40–1, 49, 57, 65, 79, 91, 96, 108, 110–11, 114–21, 124, 134–6, 140, 142–5, 152, 168, 174–5, 179–80, 185, 188, 194, 203, 208, 228 Patrick, Saint, 110, 140, 142, 144, 163–4, 213 Penal Laws, 5, 31, 47, 64, 81, 106, 138, 141, 213 persecution, 25, 59, 75, 82, 102–3 Peterborough, Charles Mordaunt, comte de, 68, 153 Peyrou, Pierre-Alexandre le, 98, 106 philosophes/philosophie, xiv–v, 44, 48–9, 81–2, 85, 92, 102, 129–31, 133, 137–9, 141, 143–4, 146–8, 166–7 Pius II, pope, 141 Pluche, Noël Antoine, abbé, 25, 154, 193, 218–19, 227–8, 235 Pollard, Mary, 194, 196, 242–3 Pompadour, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, dame Le Normant d’Etides, marquise de, 41, 157, 237 Portarlington, 3–4, 153 Porter, Roy, 107–9 Potts, James, 192, 237 Powell, Samuel, 177, 182, 235, 238, 241 Praval, Charles, 23, 238–9 Presbyterian, 159, 213, 229 Prévost, Antoine-François, abbé, 7, 41, 44, 130, 134, 137–9, 147–50, 178, 188, 191, 193, 218–19, 221–2, 226, 228, 267–8 priests, see clergy progress, 60, 90 Protestant(s)/Protestantism, 22, 25, 30, 35, 40, 48, 55, 57, 62, 73–6, 83,

95, 102, 134–5, 146, 148, 156, 160–2, 164–7, 183, 243 see also Huguenots Ascendancy, 31, 44, 48, 61, 64 providence, 29, 57–8 Prussia, 39, 72, 78, 80, 91, 177 Quakers, 71, 78, 83 Quin, Henry George, 14, 16 Rabelais, François, 13, 141–2, 145, 153–4 Racine, Jean, xiv, 7, 16, 67, 77, 210, 217 Rameau, Jean-Philippe, 180, 268 Raynal Guillaume, abbé, 7, 12, 41, 180–1, 183, 186–7, 193, 218–21, 223, 225, 227–9, 232, 238, 268–9 reason, xv, 50, 81 Réaumur, René Antoine Fenchault de, 28–9, 45, 219, 221, 223, 269 religion, xv, 25, 30–1, 45, 55, 61–2, 64, 71, 77, 79–83, 85, 93, 103–4, 156, 176 irreligion, 24, 93 religious, 83, 164, 166, 177, 182 Renaissance, xiv, 133, 146–7 Restif de la Bretonne, Nicolas-Edmé, 132, 149, 187, 269–70 revelation, 85, 103 Revolution, revolutionary France, 5, 27, 48–9, 51–2, 54–65, 84, 94, 105 Riccoboni, Marie-Jeanne, 188, 192, 270–1 Risk, George, 175, 193 Robinson, Richard, Archbishop, 215, 221, 223 Rollin, Charles, 193, 218–19, 227–8 Rome, Roman, 50, 54, 73, 138, 144, 147–8 Rousseau, André-Michel, 69, 71, 152, 193, 243 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, xiv–xv, 7, 9–10, 32, 35–8, 41–5, 49, 77–8, 80, 82–4, 86, 89, 90–106, 180–1, 184, 186, 188, 194, 217–19, 221, 223, 227–8, 235, 271–3 Burke on, 93–4 quarrel with Hume, 94–9, 105

Index Rousseau, Jean-Jacques – continued reputation in England, 91, 94–9 Confessions, 91, 100, 105, 186, 189, 271 Contrat social, Du, 31, 38, 91, 226–7, 271 Devin du village, Le, 96, 271 Dialogues, 91, 96 Dictionnaire de musique, 272 Discours sur les sciences et les arts, 90–1, 226, 272 Discours sur l’inégalité, 9, 90–1, 94–5, 104 Emile, 9, 31, 41, 91–2, 94–5, 102–4, 106, 186, 193, 221, 223, 240, 272 La Nouvelle Héloïse, 9, 41, 46, 90–3, 95–6, 100, 105, 186, 272–3 Lettre à d’Alembert, La, 93–4, 226, 240 Oeuvres, 186 Profession de foi du vicaire savoyard, 32, 35–7, 91, 102–4, 186 Rêveries d’un promeneur solitaire, 91 Royalist, 131–2, 138, 140, 146 Royal Irish Academy, 15, 107, 123, 125 Royal Dublin Society, 107, 125 Royal Society (of London), 28, 116–17, 122–3, 125 Rutlidge, Jean-Jacques, 136, 169, 188, 273 Saint-Evremond, Charles de Marguetel de Saint-Denis de, 13, 28–9, 142–3, 150 Saint-Pierre, Charles Irenée Castel, abbé de, 32–3, 45 scepticism, 53, 103 science, 29, 33–4, 42 Scotland/Scottish, 30, 69–70, 107, 110, 114, 130–2, 137, 139, 143, 158, 166, 191, 213 Scotus, Duns, 142–3, 151 sectarianism, 32, 57, 62, 102–4 separation of powers, 51, 56, 58 Sévigné, Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de, 17, 136–7


Shakespeare, William, 78, 80 Sheehy, Father Nicolas, 48, 102, 106 Sheridan, Thomas, 192, 205–7, 209–10, 212 Sirven, Paul, 78, 82 Smith (publishers), 174–5, 177, 193, 240 Socrates, 101, 103 Spain/Spaniard(s), Spanish 5, 52, 134–6, 143, 159 Stearne, Bishop John, 215, 221, 231 STN (Société Typographique de Neuchâtel), 179, 183–5, 187–9 Stuart (family), 37, 136, 165 Swift, Jonathan, 8, 12–13, 26, 34, 68–9, 84, 88, 153–6, 162, 164, 167–8, 273 Bickerstaff papers, 154 Gulliver’s travels, 153–5, 237 Tale of a Tub, 154–5 The Modest proposal, 164 Switzerland, Swiss, 28, 34, 38, 72–3, 137, 173–4, 179, 181, 185–6 theism/theists, see deism/deists theologians, theology, 9, 142–7, 158, 217 Thou, Jacques de, 134–5 Toland, John, xiii, 30, 155–6, 168 tolerance, toleration, xv, 29–31, 35, 43, 74, 76–7, 82–3, 93, 102 Toulouse, 32–4, 95, 136 Town and Country Magazine, 40, 45–6, 240 translation(s), xiv, 26, 35–6, 39, 44, 72, 75–6, 93 Trinity College, Dublin, 5, 7, 108–9, 122–3, 125, 181, 208, 213 Troy, John Thomas, Archbishop of Dublin, 73, 85 Ulster, 32, 129, 134, 139, 220 Ussher, Dr Henry, 122–3 Ussher, James, Archbishop, 215–16 Versailles, 38, 64, 114, 118, 157 Vertot, Réné, abbé, 193, 218–19, 227–8 vice, 52–3, 80, 82 Virtue, 63, 80, 82–3



Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet de, xiv–xv, 6–8, 12–13, 24, 27, 29–30, 32, 35–7, 41, 43–4, 46, 67–89, 90, 92, 95, 98, 100, 105, 130, 132, 136, 139, 141, 145, 151–8, 161–2, 164, 166–8, 176, 178, 181–2, 186, 188, 191, 193–4, 196, 200–1, 204–5, 207–10, 217–19, 220–1, 223–4, 226–30, 235, 237–40, 275–84 apotheosis, 79, 84 death, 79, 82, 91 historian, 70–1, 75–7 most celebrated writer in Europe, 39, 78, 85 ‘Some Genuine Anecdotes’ (character sketch of), 32, 37, 73, 75, 77–9 theatre, 77, 79, 84 view of Calas affair, 75, 77 views on deism, 37, 79, 81–2 Almida, 84 Alzire, 69, 208 Alzuma, 84 Babouc, 72 ‘Bataille de Fontenoy, La’, 72, 157 Candide, 8, 31, 72, 74, 78, 84, 89, 162, 183, 226, 237 Commentaire historique, 84, 88 Commentaire philosophique sur le livre des délits et des peines, 74, 84 Confession de foi, 185 Conte Micromégas, 154 contes philosophiques, 74, 77, 84 correspondence, letters, 26, 39, 72, 75, 77–8, 84 Défense de mon oncle, La, 74 Dictionnaire philosophique, Le, 78, 86 ‘Discours sur le déisme’, 29 Le Duc de Foix, 200, 203 Ecossaise, L’, 74 edition of Corneille’s works, 34 Eléments de la philosophie de Newton, 77, 155, 226 Essai sur les mœurs, 32, 72, 76, 84, 157, 160, 166, 193 Essai sur l’histoire générale, 223

Essay on the Age of Louis XIV, 70, 223 Essay upon the civil wars of France, 27, 69, 74, 84, 223 Henriade, La, 8, 26, 34, 68–9, 84, 220, 223–4, 226, 228–9, 232, 237, 240 Histoire de Charles XII, 7, 69, 169, 220, 223–4, 226, 228–9 Histoire de Jenni, 84, 167 Histoire de la guerre de 1741, 72, 157, 193 Histoire de l’empire de Russie, 74–5, 226, 235 Histoire universelle, 193, 224, 226 Homme aux quarante ecus, L’, 74, 84, 185 Ingénu, L’, 74, 162–3, 169 Irène, 79, 185 Lettre au docteur Pansophe, 37 Lettres philosophiques/Letters concerning the English nation, 24–5, 34, 68–71, 150, 153, 156, 166–7, 224, 226–7, 232 Mahomet, 71, 201, 203, 205–8, 211–12 Manifeste du roi de France en faveur du Prince Charles-Edouard, 158 Mathilda, 84 Mémoires, 39, 4, 88 Mérope, 74, 203, 208 Mort de César, La, 203 Nanine, 74, 84, 86, 203 Oedipe, 68 Oeuvres, 8, 29, 159, 180, 185–6, 192, 226–7 Oreste, 78, 200 Orphelin de la Chine, L’, 72, 74, 84, 203, 207–8, 237 Philosophie de l’histoire, La, 220, 227 Pièces originales sur l’affaire Calas, 74 Pot-pourri, 154, 166 ‘Prayer, A’, 32, 34, 75, 77 Précis du siècle de Louis XV, 157–8, 166 Princesse de Babylone, La, 74 Pucelle, La, 86 Questions sur l’Encyclopédie, 81

Index Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet de – continued Questions sur les miracles, 163–4 Sémiramis, 72, 74 Sentiment des citoyens, Le, 100 Sesostris, 40 Siècle de Louis XIV, Le, 7, 70, 72, 77, 157–9, 167, 169, 232 Siècle de Louis XV, Le, 84 Temple du goût, Le, 70 Traité sur la tolérance, 24–5, 32, 34, 74 Voix du sage et du peuple, La, 72 Zadig, 37, 78, 161 Zaïre/The Tragedy of Zara, 70, 74, 86, 208, 240 Volney, Constantin François, comte de, 89, 274–5


Walker, Thomas, 90, 159, 237 Weekly Miscellany, The, 24 –5, 69, 241 Westminster Journal, 27 White, Luke, 173–4, 179–80, 182–90, 194–5 Whiteboys, 32, 85, 102, 106 Whitestone, Henry (publisher), 238 Whitestone’s Town and Country Magazine, 22, 42, 241 Wild Geese, 150, 165, 198 William III (of Orange), 138, 158, 205 Williams, David, 82, 88 Wilson, Peter, 90, 195, 236 Wilson (family), 179, 181–3 windmill, 119–24 Woffington, Peg, 205–7, 211