I – A Defence of the Divinity of Christ, and the Immortality of the Soul: in answer to the author of a work, lately published in Cork, entitled, ‘Thoughts on Nature and Religion’. Revised and corrected. II – Loyalty Asserted: or, A Vindication of the Oath of Allegiance; with an impartial enquiry into the Pope’s Temporal Power, and the present claims of the Stuarts to the English throne: Proving that both are equally groundless. III – An Address to the common People of Ireland, on occasion of an apprehended invasion by the French and Spaniards, in July 1779, when the United Fleets of Bourbon appeared in the Channel. IV – Remarks on a letter written by Mr. Wesley, and a Defence of the Protestant Associations. V – Rejoinder to Mr. Wesley’s Reply to the above Remarks. VI – Essay on Toleration: tending to prove that a man’s speculative opinions ought not to deprive him of the rights of civil society. In which are introduced, The Rev. John Wesley’s Letter, and the Defence of the Protestant Associations. Dublin: Printed by Tho. M’Donnel at Pope’s Head, No. 32, New-Row, Thomas-Street, 1781. pp. xvi, 87, , 107, 101, 24, 81, . Bound by McKenzie in full red morocco, covers framed by a gilt floral roll. Flat spine elaborately tooled in gilt, title in gilt on olive-green morocco label; fore edges gilt; comb-marbled endpapers. Inscribed by the author on verso titlepage: “For the library / of Thomas Bennet / Esqr. and family / as a return for / the favours / conferr’d on / the author / August 29. 1781″. A fine copy. Exceedingly rare.
COPAC locates the Cambridge University copy only. WorldCat 1.
Arthur O’Leary was born in 1729 at Acres, near Dunmanway, County Cork. A prominent political writer, he was educated at St. Malo, in France, where he spent twenty four years as prison chaplain. In 1771 he officiated at the Friary of the Capuchins in Cork, where he attracted large audiences with his preaching. His ‘Thoughts on Religion’, written in answer to a free-thought publication by a Cork physician named Blair, gave him national recognition. He was always eager to mitigate the sufferings of his fellow countrymen caused by religious bigotry and he vehemently opposed the action of the Whiteboys.
In his ‘Address to the common People … concerning the Apprehended French Invasion’, he denounced a possible invasion and explained to his fellow countrymen their obligation of undivided allegiance to the British Government. His most acclaimed work was ‘Essay on Toleration’ which had a wide circulation both in Ireland and England. In recognition of this publication and for his scholarly acquirements and supposed patriotism he was elected as honourary member of ‘The Monks of the Screw’, a club formed by Grattan, Curran and Yelverton.
In 1789 O’Leary left Ireland for ever and took up residence in London as Chaplain to the Spanish Embassy. There, as in Ireland, he mingled in high society and was a friend of Burke, Sheridan, Fox and Fitzwilliam. It is recorded that he was in the pay of the Government as early as 1784 and on his death-bed in 1802 it is related that more than once he exclaimed, “Alas! I have betrayed my poor country”.