WARE, Sir James [and HARRIS, Walter] The Whole Works of Sir James Ware concerning Ireland, Revised and improved. In Two Volumes. Vol. I. Containing the History of the Bishops of that Kingdom and such matters Ecclesiastical and Civil, in which they were concerned, from the first Propagation of Christianity therein to the present Time. Illustrated with Views of the Cathedral Churches, engraven on Seventeen large Copper-Plates. Vol. II. The History and Antiquities of Ireland, illustrated with Cuts of Ancient Medals, Urns, &c., also, the Canons, Nuns, Templars, Monks, Friars, and Hermits, in their proper Dresses: Engraven on Twenty-one large Copper-plates. Also, The History of The Writers of Ireland, in Two parts, viz. I. Such Writers who were born in that Kingdom, and, II. Such who, though Foreigners, enjoyed Preferments or Offices there, or had their Education in it; with an Account of all the Works they published. Written in Latin by Sir James Ware, Knight; now newly translated into English, revised and improved with many material Additions; and continued down to the Beginning of the present Century. Dublin: Printed for the Author, by E. Jones in Clarendon-street, and by S. Powell for the Author, 1739/1745. Folio. pp. (1) [xii], 660, 16 (index), (2) , 284, , , 363, 5 (index). From the library of Sir Robert Peel with his armorial bookplate on front pastedown of volume two. Contemporary full panelled calf, spines professionally rebacked with double raised bands, titled in gilt direct. Professional paper repair to top corner of titlepage and final leaf of volume two. A very good set with a great provenance. €3650 [FS]
Sir James Ware (1594-1666), antiquary and historian, was born in Castle Street, Dublin. Educated at TCD. He collected and studied manuscripts and charters from an early age. Knighted in 1629, he succeeded his father as Auditor-General for Ireland in 1632 and became MP for Dublin University and member of the Privy Council. During the Civil War he was imprisoned by the Parliamentarians as a Royalist and then expelled from Dublin in 1649. After a year and a half in France, Ware settled in London and pursued his studies there until the Restoration of 1660, when he returned to Dublin and was re-appointed Auditor-General. From his emoluments of office he made generous contributions to widows and to fellow-Royalists who had been ruined by the war, while continuing to collect and preserve valuable historical material on Gaelic Ireland. It was around this time that he employed Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh to prepare transcripts and translations from Irish manuscripts. He published a number of treatises in Latin on Irish and ecclesiastical antiquities, as well as editions of Campion’s ‘History of Ireland’ and Spenser’s ‘View of the State of Ireland’. His son, Robert Ware, translated and re-published his works, which gained wide circulation. ‘The Whole Works of Sir James Ware’ was published in Dublin (1739-1746) by Walter Harris who married Ware’s grand-daughter.
The establishment of Irish literature and history as subjects of study in the general world of learning in modern times is due largely to the lifelong exertions of Sir James Ware. Sir Frederick Burton in his fine drawing of the three founders of the study of Irish history and literature, has rightly placed him alongside his contemporaries, Michael Ó Cléirigh, the hereditary chronicler, and John Colgan the Irish hagiologist.
Ware died at his family house in Castle Street, Dublin and is buried in St. Werburgh’s Church. His manuscripts are in the Bodleian and British Libraries.
Provenance: Sir Robert Peel’s copy, (1788-1850), second baronet and third of the name, came of a prosperous family of Lancashire calico-printers. He graduated from Oxford in 1807 with a double first, and in 1809 his father bought him a parliamentary seat for Cashel. He was undersecretary for war 1810-12, and became Chief Secretary for Ireland in August 1812 when aged only 24. It was evidently during this period that he acquired this work. During his six year tenure he established a national force of Peace Preservation Police, popularly called ‘Peelers’, and resisted pressure for Catholic Emancipation, clashing with Daniel O’Connell, with whom he declined to fight a duel. Moving on from this post in 1818, he was an increasingly significant figure in later British governments. In 1829, as Home Secretary, he introduced the Bill for Catholic Emancipation in spite of his personal reservations; in 1834 and again in 1841 he became Prime Minister. He carried the repeal of the Corn Laws, initiated electoral reform, and is regarded as the principal architect of the modern Conservative Party and the English Police.