RIDGEWAY, William. A Report of the Trial of Mr. Hugh Fitzpatrick for a Libel upon his Grace the Duke of Richmond, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.


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SKU: 575 Categories: , , ,

Dublin: Graisberry and Campbell, 1813. Large post octavo. pp. [ii], 105, [1]. Disbound. A very good copy.
COPAC with 6 locations only. Not in Bradshaw. Gilbert 700. O’Higgins 3.195n. Hugh Fitzpatrick (d.1818) was one of the leading Catholic printers and booksellers in Dublin. Hugh had his premises in Capel Street from 1801 to 1821 and was printer to the Catholic Committee and bookseller to St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Fitzpatrick’s trial arose following his refusal to name the author (Denis Scully) of a book ‘A Statement of the Penal Laws’ which he had just published in 1811. It included what was perceived to be a libellous attack against the 4th Duke of Richmond, accusing him of wilfully obstructing a Royal Pardon for Philip Barry, a Catholic farmer, convicted of robbing the Carrick Mail in 1809. The kernel of Scully’s indictment of Richmond was that Barry was convicted and executed purely on the basis of his religion. Rather than betray his author Fitzpatrick was sentenced to gaol for eighteen months and fined £200. It is stated that he was worth £20,000 in 1812, but after his spell in prison he was reduced almost to ruin. Inglis states in his book ‘The Freedom of the Press in Ireland’ that the prosecution of Hugh Fitzpatrick, a bookseller, for libel is “The only important instance in the period of government action against the press” [L3 MBC 2C]


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