1798 in Review


This note gathers some of the events as seen from the Dublin Freeman's Journal in 1798 and subsequent years. Many families were affected by the Rebellion, many Irish people were transported for involvement. I have included one event that has links with my family history and a number of general interest.

Capture of Lord Edward FITZGERALD

Lord Edward FITZGERALD was a son of the Duke of Leinster and thus one of the establishment. He involved himself in the rebellion but was captured by a party led by Henry Charles SIRR on 18 May 1798. In the capture he vigorously defended himself mortally wounding one of the party and seriously wounding another. At the end of the encounter he was shot in the shoulder and the ensuing infection killed him.

His involvement in the rebellion and early death made him one of the icons of the rebellion. See Stella Tillyard's very sympathetic biography Citizen Lord.

My family history interest is on the other side. William Bellingham SWAN was wounded in the affray and survived another thirty years. He was described in a memorandum left by my great great grandfather, William Swan CROKER, as uncle to his father, Thomas Swan CROKER.

William Bellingham SWAN was rewarded by the government for his involvement in the capture. He was made Assistant Town Major of Dublin later in 1798 a post he held until the late 1820s. His family had long held posts in government. His father and uncle were justice of the peace and sheriffs. His uncle the Rev Bellingham SWAN obituary appears in the Freeman's Journal 16 October 1798 as follows.

Died in Cork, at the Advanced age of 102 years, the Rev. Bellingham SWAN, Rector of the united parishes of Desartsurges and Kilroan, one of the Vicars Choral of Saint Finbarry's Cathedral, of the city of Cork, and one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the county. This respected and venerable old man was curate to the celebrated Dean SWIFT, he was brother to Wm. SWAN, Esq of Kilrisk, co Dublin, one of the oldest magistrates of his day, and uncle to the present Wm Bellingham SWAN, Esq; Inspector General of Excise, and of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace and Quorum. This Respectable family was ever conspicuous for their attachment to their Sovereign, and active zeal and loyalty in support of the Constitution and laws, from the reign of the immortal William, down to the present day, and during that time have held uninterruptedly the Commission of the Peace, which they have discharged with honour to themselves, and advantage to their country. In consequence of the death of the Rev B SWAN, a great many expectants, are, of course, looking to the valuable livings thus become vacant.

William Bellingham SWAN died on 12 January 1837. He was a son of William SWAN (d<1791) and Jane LEE (d 12 Jul 1791) the widow of Walter CHAMBERLANE (whom she married by Killaloe licence 1749), Assistant to Major of Dublin Garrison c1798-1830.

Description of the arrest appear in Sir Richard MUSGRAVE Memoirs of the different rebellions in Ireland London 1804 pp206210. He states that Captain SWAN received "a wound in the hand, and different wounds in the body; one of them under the ribs was deep and dangerous, and bled most copiously." In the Freeman's Journal he is described as Mr Justice SWAN in their description of the capture and contemporary events see for example issues dated 22 and 31 May 1798. The weapon used by Lord Edward to defend himself was later stolen from Major SWAN's house by Emma Lucretia DOBBIN the daughter of Rev William DOBBIN DD and Catherine COOTE (see J Royal Soc Antiquaries of Ireland Vol 41 (1911) p376-379. Major SWAN is described in Irish Genealogist V6 p489 where he is said to have too much blood on his hands in the supression of the rebellion.

He was Inspector General of Excise and Licences of Ireland 1817 (Treble Almanack) and Freeman of Dublin Christmas 1797 Goldsmith by birth right. Descended from Sir Daniel BELLINGHAM Kt and Bt goldsmith and banker the first Lord Mayor of Dublin. Half-brother of Edward Bellingham SWAN Prerogative Will 1788, Commissioner for Stamps and Accounts from 1776 (Gentleman's Magazine 1776 p336). His wife Grace COOTE sister of Deborah COOTE who married Edward Abraham CROKER on 10 June 1784 and daughter of Thomas COOTE of Kilfinane.  She was described by Emma DOBBIN's as a relative of her mother. He was trustee for the marriage settlement of Margaret CROKER (probably a sister of Thomas Swan CROKER) and Joseph SMITH in 1807.

Vinegar Hill

I have no known association with Vinegar Hill but was intrigued by the following entry in the Freeman's Journal dated 17 April 1800:

Laurence CLONEY for the murder of Marcus HAWKINS on Vinegar Hill on the 15th June 1798. The deceased had two brothers also killed at that place. There were two other persons Michael DEVEREUX & Michael DOYLE charged in the same indictment with CLONEY. The jury remained enclosed all night and did not return a verdict till nine in the morning; finding guilty the latter and acquitting the others. CLONEY was ordered to be executed.

James Napper TANDY

James Napper TANDY appears a number of times in the Freeman's Journal from the early 1790s. The following are a few snippets:

16 November 1793 Mr J Napper TANDY is amongst those who have flown from Philadelphia. The presence of this poor gentleman seems extremely ominous to civic communities, while he himself seems destined to owe his safety to great masterly principle of generals

11 January 1794 Last accounts from citizen TANDY place him in Boston. Heaven forfend that good city from plague pestilence and sedition

4 September 1798 The following are the names of the persons ordered to return, surrender and abide their trials, under pain of outlawry, and their property being confiscated as mentioned in the bill brought into the House of Lords by the Rt Hon Lord Chancellor James Napper TANDY, Theobald Tone WOLFE ...

18 December 1798 Hamburg Nov 27 - Capture of Napper TANDY - Napper TANDY is in a bad state of health - Nov 30 The Irish state prisoners continue in close custody B BLACKWELL has, as well as TANDY been relived from irons on the remonstration of the French minister - Dec 4

21 October 1799 Napper TANDY given up to English by Senate of Hamburg

23 November 1799 Mr James TANDY visited his father [James Napper TANDY] in Kilmainham gaol, yesterday, by permission from Government

10 February 1801 James Napper TANDY was brought this day up to the bar, and Mr Attourney-General informed the court that it was intended that the prisoner be tried in the Co Donegall ... [change of legal representation for James Napper TANDY]

Dr Richard WADDY report in the issue of 30 December 1799

An occurrence of a very extraordinary kind took place a few days since in the county Wexford, at Clough-east-Castle, the seat of Dr Richard WADDY Doctor WADDY having rendered himself very obnoxious to the rebels by his active loyalty during the rebellion, particularly concerned in the apprehension of Bagenal HARVEY, found it necessary for the safety of his life to reside in an old vaulted Castle of Clough-east, where the entrance of his bed-chamber was secured by an antique portcullis; Thus fortified, Dr Waddy had hitherto defied all threats of assignation which came against him from every side. A few days ago, a mendicant popish friar of Taghmon, named BURN, visited the doctor in his castle, and was hospitably entertained at dinner in the evening, when it was time to part, BURN begged to be allowed to remain, and after some difficulty on the part of his host, was permitted to lie in a second bed in the vaulted chamber. While the Doctor and the friar were going to their beds, the friar expressed great anxiety that his host should say his prayers, a duty which the Doctor, who had drank freely, seemed disposed to neglect; in the middle of the night, Doctor WADDY heard somebody drawing his cavalry sword, which hung at his bed's head, and immediately after was attacked by the friar, and was now endeavouring to murder his host; the latter received several wounds in the head and arm, and at length the friar supposing that he had accomplished his purpose, attempted escape under the portcullis. Doctor WADDY had just strength enough remaining to loose the cord which supported it, and it fell on the priest with such violence, almost to sever his body, which fell down lifeless into the apartment below. the nest morning the body of the friar was found, and the servants, going into their master's apartment, found him covered in his own blood Immediate medical aid was had, and we have the satisfaction of hearing that Doctor WADDY is now out of danger. A Coroner's Inquest was held on the body of BURN, and the jury (composed of the Roman Catholic inhabitants of the neighbourhood) found a verdict of "accidental death" Flk Jl

Patrick WARD (11 June 1801)

Patrick WARD was tried on a charge of using seditious and traitorous words, such as "a groan for the birth-night, and a clap for Bonaparte, and the memory of Lord Edward FITZGERALD, &c" in the upper gallery of the Theatre Royal, Crow Street, on the evening of his Majesty's birth-day. Two peace-officers appeared to substantiate the above charge, and one of them actually swore that he heard the prisoner say, "a groan for the birth-night;" but he did not positively swear that the prisoner used the other words imputed to him, though he plainly heard them spoken from the spot he immediately sat at, and that he did not perceive any other person speaking in a similar manner at the moment. The pique sergeant who was on guard at the Theatre on that night, positively swore that he sat immediately on the next seat above the prisoner, that he did not hear him utter any such words, and that if he had so heard him, he certainly would conceive it his duty to take him into custody, Mr M'NALLY, counsel for the prisoner, addressed the Court, and said, that he could at the moment prove his client's loyalty, by the testimony of a very respectable person who attended for that purpose, but the Court considered that going into such evidence was unnecessary. The prisoner was forthwith acquitted and liberated.
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